Windy City

Four and a half days and 1982 miles after leaving Phoenix, I pulled onto the forecourt of BMW in Countryside, Illinois to a warm welcome. I was surprised to discover that Countryside is the name of a suburb of Chicago, although to Americans it's a town in its own right. I was exhausted, dirty and ready to collapse, but just the fact that I had made it in time was enough to perk me up.

and there are a lot of BMWs
and a very warm welcome from BMW Motorcycles of Countryside, Illinois who were hosting me for the next couple of days

Thelma soon takes her place with the other Beemers

and enjoys the company.

meanwhile I am meeting customers and talking about my travels (yes I'm the one who looks like a dwarf as I was showing them the map on my topbox with my various routes around the world)

 

I had a couple of invitations while I was in Chicago, one of them was to a meeting of Chi Vin, a group of vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. I'm not sure if Thelma was supposed to be along as well (I think she may be a bit offended to be called vintage!), and maybe it was just as well I'd left her at the dealership because the other bikeswould have shown her up as they were very well maintained and shiny, they've obviously never battled through sandstorms in the Gobi, the Atacama and the Sahara Desert or been dropped in multiple rivers.

There was a Vincent amongst the many bikes in the garage, which I know will get a few of those reading this blog, going "oooooh".

I'd been given a lift to the meeting by Kevin, riding shotgun in his battered but classic Dodge van. In fact it was a bit of a shotgun ride as we accelerated along Chicago's freeways, with last minute turns and swerves...or maybe everyone in Chicago drives that way? To add more authenticity to the ride, Kevin even has a couple of bullet holes in his bonnet (hood), he assured me that he was not the intended target.

Rocket Chics- a Chicago female motorcycle group, were holding one of their regular meet ups at Countryside while I was there and I joined in. They ride a wide range of bikes and it was great to hear about their experiences of riding in and around Chicago. We had a workshop session with Ken, one of the mechanics, who was extremely patient with all our questions and had an encyclopaedic knowledge about all the bikes we asked about.
d like to say thanks to Tommy, Shy, Lynn, Barb and Jasmine for the warm welcome to their group. And hopefully I'll be able to make it to one of their Wednesday meet-ups at the fantastically named Cheeseburger Paradise.
 

Rocket Chic's say HI!!!

 Hi Tiffany,

We are still talking about the really cool chic that rides all over the world.  It has actually inspired me to seriously consider buying a BMW from the Countryside location and hitting the road.  We miss you Tiffany!  Ride safe and we will keep up with your where abouts via Facebook and your blog.

Take Care,

Tommy