Sunday, October 7, 2007

AMA IBET - Tiniest Post Office and Ol' Sorehead

With Black Rock photo and Charleston photos complete, I continued on I-57 north, where I got onto IL 13 to head east to Pittsburg and Eldorado. Google Earth told me there was a Pittsburg town services building just off of County Road 3. The little town of Pittsburg is nothing more than a very small crossroads, with a filling station and a few homes clustered on 3 or 4 side streets. I turned onto E. Avery which, according to Google, would be the location of the town services building. And there it was, a small tidy aluminum and brick building with an elaborate monument arching over the sidewalk at the street. I set up for the photo, took the shot, then headed down the side street, working my way back toward the main road. These tidy little towns are so much more fun to scout and visit than their large city named counterparts. Pittsburg PA would have been an entirely different experience!

Now it's on to Eldorado. According to Streets & Trips, this would be a significantly larger town or small city with several possible photo opportunities. As I headed east on IL 13, I spotted a motorcycle on the shoulder, its rider down on his hands and knees working on something under the gas tank. I pulled over and stopped and walked back to see if he needed help. Just as I got to him, he stood up, gave a big smile, and said he thought he'd solved the problem. A loose vacuum line. We chatted for a bit, there on the side of the highway, with cars, trucks, and a surprising number of motorcycles whizzing by.

When he learned I was from Houston TX, he was all questions: where was I going, do I ride a lot by myself, and so on. He and his wife ride Harleys, and he was headed to Cave In Rock for an event called HOG Rock, apparently an annual motorcycle rally for the cruiser crowd. I told him that I was doing the AMA tour and explained the rules of the contest, saying that my next stop was Eldorado. he offered to come with me, since he lived in nearby Harrisburg, and offered to show me the smallest post office, which was on the way to Eldorado.

We took off, me following him toward Eldorado. In the tiny little town of Muddy, he put his turn signal on and we turned left down a very small little street past small homes to a deadend right turn where he slowed and U-turned into a small turnout area next to a pre-fab building housing a post office. Shoot! That's not that small! Boston KY post office was smaller than that. But then I parked my bike, took off my helmet and he pointed across the street to the building I didn't see. Easy to miss, it was that small!

Before we went our separate ways, he told me about a sign in Eldorado that would make for the perfect photo for the AMA Tour. So as I headed into Eldorado I kept my eye out for it, not sure what I was looking for or how big it would be. As it turned out, I couldn't miss it! It was billboard-sized and conveniently there was a dance hall right next to it, with a large open parking lot, so that I could get the photo easily without fear of traffic. The billboard welcomed me to Eldorado and informed me that their town boasts 4,536 friendly people and one ol' sorehead. The folks of Eldorado clearly have a great sense of humor!

AMA Tour points collected for this trip, I pointed my front wheel south on IL-145 toward Metropolis and a weekend spent with over 100 of my closest friends!
Next entry: Is there really a Houston in FL?

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