Chapter Director Message, July 2017 – Jim Kopchok

As I listen to the fireworks going off over this past weekend I think of it as a celebration of sorts that we are in the midst of the full riding season! The cookouts, barbecues and brilliant light shows just add to the party and the festive atmosphere as we contemplate upcoming rides. Hope you all had a great holiday.

Our group of indomitable riders recently returned from our first Adventure Ride of the season. The journey to Nauvoo, IL and surrounding area was a great success. All riders and bikes returned with the rubber down and sitting tall in the saddle. With a small threat of rain on Friday, we set out with 9 bikes and 13 people and saw nothing but sunshine. A constant wind pushed us along all weekend, but much preferred over other weather elements. Back roads all the way down at a leisurely pace saw us arrive 280 miles later in Keokuk, Iowa by early dinnertime.

We were joined by two couples for the first time, Larry and Arlene, and Roger and Anna. It’s always fun to share our experiences with others and we had a lot of laughs. They jumped right in with our usual banter! Our lodging was a little less than what we had hoped. Earlier this year, Doug, Don and myself had tried looking for an alternative but struck out on cost and availability. We thought, “how bad can it be for two nights?”. As usual, we made the best of it and didn’t let anything stop our good times. On Friday, we celebrated with Roy and Dawn Hickstein (Doug’s daughter) Dawn’s birthday. Cake and pizza in the lobby left us all satisfied.

Saturday morning, we started out for Nauvoo, riding along the majestic Mississippi and crossing back over into Illinois north of Keokuk. We stopped by the Mormon temple, re-built on the site of the second such temple built in the US, the first being in Kirtland, OH. A very peaceful overlook of the river and beautiful grounds. Around the corner the small historic town of Nauvoo was a clear stop for some shopping, browsing, and fudge before we made our way to the edge of town to the local sandwich shop. Taking over half of the restaurant, we ordered some great food, including a maid-rite loose meat sandwich favored by Joanne (an  Iowa native). We then continued on to the local winery, the oldest in Illinois to sample some of their fine work. Wife Barb was utterly disappointed in the fact there were no pies as advertised, still we persevered!

We headed south to Quincy before crossing back over the Mississippi into Missouri and turning north back to our hotel. If you haven’t already, enjoy the pictures that Chris Shore posted on Facebook of the many sites we passed along the way! She does a great job.

We found a great local eatery by the hotel and enjoyed a stroll down to the river on a perfect Saturday evening.  Heading home on Sunday, Don found us a route to Peoria for lunch along the Illinois River for part of our ride.

Thanks, Don, Doug and everyone who participated for carving out some more memories!

This past weekend Barb and I took advantage of member Bill Bijou’s invitation to visit the Moving Wall, a half scale reproduction of the Wall in Washington, D.C. that honors our fallen veterans from the Vietnam War. It was an impressive and sad reminder of those times. Thanks Bill and all our veterans for your service.

We missed the Illinois District Summer Rally in Pontiac due to our ride. I hope they return to our area next year due to its convenience.

More riding coming up, so come hear all about it at the next meeting. The Midwest Motorcycle rally, (not a GWRRA event) is coming up on July 13-16; and the Illinois State Police Motorcycle Run (not a GWRRA event), mentioned by member Fred Creed is coming July 15. Look at our web site calendar for more details on those events. Our ride to Hayward, WI is scheduled for the end of the month, July 29-Aug. 6. See you July 9 for our regular monthly meeting!

Ride Safe!

Jim & Barb Kopchok
Chapter Director

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