I used to know this guy named Terry. He was a farmer, and complained he didn’t get to ride as much as he wanted. To be fair, it’s a common complaint, myself included.
He lived in a rather boring and empty part of Illinois, but found this retired couple that had opened a small placed called Moonshine. Along with various country knickknacks, Moonshine had a small grill and offered up burgers. Terry really liked the burgers, so he invited a few friends to follow him there to try them.
I went to Moonshine in 2006 for the first time. I was already something of a habitual solo rider. Despite a group of my friends also planning on attending, I left the day before them and camped on my own. Truthfully, this managed to get me much better weather than my friends had to deal with, but I don’t really know anymore if that was a factor in my choice.
The day of the Event I went to Moonshine, following some other riders. Casey, IL was the staging location and groups left regularly from the Days Inn, a tradition which continues to this day.
I remember thinking at the time the event was really too big for me. There were, perhaps, 500 motorcycles there, and the line out the door was perhaps a dozen people.
Terry passed away suddenly late 2010, and I wasn’t able to attend the 2011 Moonshine Lunch Run since I was buried in prep for my trip. Since Curiosity has a had a lot of work done and I haven’t been on a multi-day trip in a while I decided to use Moonshine as a sort of test for my upcoming Overland Expo trip.
The modern Moonshine Lunch Run (held on Saturday) starts around Wednesday. Events run through into the next week, basically as long as people want to hang around. With Terry gone a Board of Trustees have taken over coordinating the whole thing, something I hadn’t known until I got there Friday night.
I left later than planned Friday Morning, and rode in rain and upper 30s all the way south. I had thought it would warm up, and was wrong, and had to take an extra warm-up stop on the way south. My GPS also showed something of a sense of humor while directing me to the Hammond farm, where I was planning to camp.
At least the rain here hadn’t been so much as to flood the crossing.
I quickly put up my tent and dumping my sleeping kit inside, losing about 15 more minutes before heading to Richards where the ‘official’ dinner and kick off were to be held. An extraordinary number of bikes were already parked out front. There was a buffet dinner, which I ate about 3 plates.
There’s Curiosity, with the fuel cell I installed for this trip. It’s supposed to hold 3.5 gallons, but I was only getting about 2 out of it, probably due to how it was sitting on the rear rack. I’ve already taken it off, more because the short seat just isn’t as comfortable as the full seat I used on the trip. The extra range was nice, though.
Around 7pm a sort of meeting developed, where I learned about the board and other minutiae. There were awards targeted for the endurance riding crowd, which seemed to account for a larger percentage of the population. It’s a group I’ve never really joined, since I am a terrible joiner, but it was clear the knew each other well. Still, I am not a fan of meetings.
Even though I wasn’t really interested I stayed until the end so I didn’t seem rude. As it turned out a chunk of people did leave just as the meeting started, so I guess it was am option.
Back at the farm there was a large fire with a ring of people around it, telling tall tales of extraordinary courage or prowess. You know, like people do.
It got cold overnight, though not so cold that my water froze. In my sleeping bag I was nice and toasty, and this delayed my actually getting up for thirty or forty minutes. Once I was up packing went quickly (I’ve had a far amount of practice) and I was ready to head back into Casey.
Proof Blue did come with. I’ve gotten out of practice at carrying my daypack, which is funny since when I first got back I felt weird without it.
The Day’s Inn at Casey is Moonshine Central during the Run. And full, if you haven’t already got a reservation for next year you are probably already out of luck.
I spent some time here looking at motorcycle and…odd tree decorations…
I heard someone say it was there to dry out, which seems silly to me but this wasn’t my crowd.
(How much stuff can you possibly need, if you are staying at a hotel?)
After some chatting and declining repeated offers of bibles and blessings I got back on Curiosity and headed for Moonshine. Unlike 2006, I had it marked on my GPS this time and took a slightly scenic route to get there. The weather was warming up, and for the first time since I left home I was able to put on lighter gloves and skip the neck gator.
When I first got there the crowd was minimal. I went right for a burger, since I was hungry.
As I said last time I was there, the burger was good but not amazing. It was still warm, which was good, though they had been cooking since early in the morning and I had no idea how long ago mine came off the grill. Seven bucks for the whole meal, which isn’t bad.
While I was eating the bulk of the riders arrived and the lines all got longer.
And it wasn’t just the food line, walking over the intersection Moonshine sits on there were motorcycles as far as the eye could see in all four directions.
I met some new people, and had a few people who knew me, either from Curiosity or Blue.
While I’d thought the 2006 event was huge, it was nothing compared to 2013. I’ve heard over 2000 burgers were served, which is crazy. I had planned to head for the river and spend another night camping, but there was snow on the way to southern Wisconsin and I decided to head straight home to beat it.
Well, not straight home.
Apart from my heated gear failing at the Wisconsin/Illinois border the ride was uneventful. For the most part I used my phone as GPS and bluetoothed in audio, which worked really well. Actually, the GPS was disappointing. Apparently the Galaxy S2 has problems with it’s GPS sensor, and I had issues with the cable I’d hard wired to the bike not actually charging the phone. Still not sure what that was about.
The end result is, instead of a screenshot of my Olympia Speedo screen I have a shot of my Garmin, which I was running as a back up.
It was a good weekend, and I learned enough to feel better about being on the road for three weeks (in 2.5weeks as I write this, more like two when it’s posted). Working through the few issues that came up while I was out and expect to be fully ready to go in time!