Day 45/46 – Runaround Sioux

South Sioux City, Nebraska to Cedar Rapids, Iowa – 30th/31st July 2021

30th July

So guess what I did today?? Absolutely nothing… well of course I caught up my washing/blog, but for the most part I sat on my arse all day. Also watched a little bit of television for a change. There is a Diner just a couple of hundred yards away so I have been there for every meal, quite good it is too.

31st July

The first thing is when I get out to the bike I notice the auxiliary light bar is pointing up to the sky… WTF… I check it out and the bar has completely separated from the mounting, the weld has split right across and the single jubilee clip Walt put on for me now won’t hold it.

Mmmm what to do… my first thought is to ask on Bunka Biker, maybe there is someone nearby who knows a welder. Then I remember there’s another Facebook group in the US called Biker Rescue where bikers in need can post to get help, but I need to apply to join the group, which might take some time, but I apply anyway. Responses on Bunka Biker include using zip ties to trying Biker Rescue, but while I’m waiting for approval I google local welders. Most of them are shut, it is Saturday today, but there is one open so I give him a call, no answer… ok what now?? I think maybe a small independent motorcycle mechanic might be able to help so back on google and I find Sioux City Powersports, they are open until 12 today. Ok Im not messing around any longer and decide to just get myself over there asap.

As I’m leaving I see this little fella or lassie… they just seem to be everywhere or maybe it’s the same one following me!!

I put the address into my GPS and make my way over the bridge back into IOWA, it routes me to the middle of nowhere… OMG I can’t believe it, ok so I’ll just carry on up this road and try to get back to Sioux City. Just then I see a sign for Powersports, oh maybe that’s them. It’s a long gravel drive, of course, but I have no choice so I gingerly make my way down. There are plenty of bikes outside, mostly choppers, and a couple of guys who look to be just lazing around. I get off the bike and one of the guys comes over. I explain the problem and ask if it’s possible to do a quick tack weld to get it back into place. I’m not bothered about the auxiliary lights, but the indicators are also on this bar so I need those. He says yes we can do that and talks to another guy who comes over and looks at the bike, he says he can weld it, but it won’t look pretty… I really don’t care about that, I just want it to stay on the bike and not fall off. “Ok just ride it into the workshop and I’ll get right on it”… No issues or having to wait they just get down to it there and then… fantastic. The main guy who spoke with me is wearing a Hells Angels supporter tee shirt, but who cares let’s just get welding.

Checking it out

While they are doing that I take a look at the choppers lined up outside….

I mean, how do they even see where they are going, must have to look around the petrol tank I guess. Each bike has a ‘support your local Hells Angels’ sticker or 81 (alphabet letter numbers 8 = H and 1 = A), so they are all obviously HA hangarounds i.e. not patch members just wannabes who run with the gang. Having said that they are really nice guys and I get into a great conversation with Tyler the welder while we wait for the weld to cool down before I can take it away. We chat away about Harleys of course and then I ask how much I owe, just an hours labour, $80… I am very happy with that given that I paid Honda over $200 for an hour and a half!! He says he is very pleased with the work and it’s not a simple tack job, he has welded it on fully and indeed it is better than the original, that light bar is going no-where I can tell you.

I also learnt something new… also stuck on one of the bikes is this

Cats like motorcycles… who knew… mmmm

I ask them about the American love affair with gravel, they all laugh and say yeah, but it’s cheap, asphalt or concrete is so expensive that no one can afford it… anyone who rides a street bike hates gravel, we have the wrong frame type and definitely the wrong kind of tyres to ride on it with complete confidence. However I pucker up and get the bike back up the long gravel drive without incident. A massive shout out for Sioux City Powersports, if you ever need help in their vicinity then I fully recommend you contact them, HA or not.

So now I am heading for Cedar Rapids, I am staying with another Bunka couple, Dawn and Ted, so I put their address into my GPS and I’m off… back across the bridge again into Nebraska, this is getting old.. after a few miles I think, why am I still in Nebraska, I should be in Iowa from the start as I have crossed the Stateline already, several times. Then I feel a definite case of Deja Vu when I stop to take these photos

Still I carry on until I find myself back in Jackson… what!! I check out google maps and yes there are two Cedar Rapids within 100 miles of each other, one in Iowa where I want to go and one in Nebraska where I am now heading… grrrrrrr!

Turn around bright eyes…. that’s for the stalker rabbit… and back over the bridge again… sheesh!!! but a chance to get this photo too

Notice the smoke haze

At last I am heading in the right direction and finally can say Not Coming Back Again Nebraska…. ever!

Back on historic 20 and passing through

and the curiously named

Where I stop for a late lunch

Back out to the bike and I notice the left front indicator is now almost hanging off… FFS whatever next??? I’ll sort that out later when I get to Cedar Rapids.

After this the next major event is a sign saying ‘Worlds Largest Popcorn Ball’… so I take a right.

It is so large that I cannot find it… round and round.. then I notice a sign so park up thinking maybe it will be easier on foot and suddenly there it is, not out in the open where it would be easy to spot, but housed in its own glass shed.

Well, not exactly a ball is it.. and a little disappointing to be honest. However Sac City is quite cute and has a number of older buildings and a great water tower… whoop whoop

I have been keeping in touch with Dawn via text to update her on progress. I mention the popcorn ball and say how much Americans crack me up, she says in that case I should visit Brandon and Iowas’ Largest Frying Pan… well indeed I must.

But that is for later, now I must keep going along the 20 passing through

and then Williams where I make a stop for petrol and see this interesting sculpture, rather reflective of the region I think

Soon I am turning off towards Brandon and the Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan.. I must admit I am having second thoughts as evening is now closing in and I am worried about the deer starting to get frisky, but I decide it’s not to be missed… I hope

It’s actually not that big, but again just bonkers. I have to say the water tower is fantastic though!

I send Dawn a revised eta and she tells me they are going out to a biker bar for dinner and I am to join them there, she sends me the address, looking forward to it.

I arrive in Cedar Rapids, the right one, around 8pm.. rather late. As I park up Dawn aka ‘Bacon’ (don’t know why), comes over and gives me a huge hug, she is just wonderful and she introduces me to hubby Tom aka ‘Doc’. There is a live band playing, really loud and conversation is quite difficult but I join them at their table with some friends who are very friendly.. apparently they are either friends or relations of some of the band members and both Dawn and Tom are huge fans. I have to say they are very good, if a little too loud for my taste.

The waitress comes over and takes our food order, it looks like they have waited for me, just so gracious.. and they won’t let me pay for a thing; I try to insist but they just won’t have it.

After we eat they say we are going home now and Tom leads off on his Street Glide, Dawn follows on her Road King and me at the back on the crappy Honda.. so jealous.

At their home they insist I put my bike in the garage, even though this means Tom will leave his bike outside.. Dawn would like him to squeeze it in but he says its fine. Then I get to meet the gorgeous Kitti, a miniature long haired dachshund.. so cute. I stupidly forgot to take any photos of Kitti so have asked Dawn if she can send me some.. and here they are with a one of Mom and Dad enjoying themselves at Sturgis.

We then spend a good hour or so drinking beer and chatting. Dawn explains why she won’t let anyone pay.. she used to live in Belize and when she came home to the States she was absolutely broke, just 2 dogs and a couple of suitcases. It took 2 years to get herself back on her feet and she is forever grateful to everyone who helped her out, therefore she feels committed to paying it forward… I tell you, these Bunkas and indeed all the Americans I have been privileged to meet or stay with are just beyond hospitable, I hope we can do the same once I get back to London.

They are in the process of getting packed up for Sturgis, they are regulars at the rally. I have taken over Dawns ‘packing’ room for the night and a very, very comfortable bed it is too.. thank you so much.

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