I told him I'd see him Saturday night for certain. I then shot my friend Lisa a message about the show. I knew she'd wanted to see the Living Deads for some time. She was free that night, so we made it a plan. Saturday arrived and I hopped on the bike about 5:30 that afternoon and headed for Bloomington.
I got to Lisa's just a few minutes behind schedule. Only because I stopped at a gas station and had a twenty minute conversation with Ron, some dude that pulled up aside me in a pick up truck. He was diggin my bike and telling me about his pan head chop. He had twelve years on me, but we were cut of the same cloth. You know how it goes.
After figuring out just where the hell we were going, Lisa and I straddled the scoot and headed towards the freeway. About an hour later we arrived in Pekin and after a phone call to Lane, found the venue. The High Note is located in old store front along Court St. It's fairly close to the Illinois River and appears to be in an older part of town. We breezed right by it during our first pass on the strip because it is located on the second floor, and I'm pretty sure there is no sign. I didn't see one. The building was the former home of a Mason's Hall. There is still a symbol on the tin ceiling and a marker in the floor.
|The Living Deads|
The band played for a few hours and the crowd was high energy and attentive the whole time. Afterward, Lane and I chatted a bit more before the RV rolled westward toward Indiana. Lisa and I had planned for the front end of this venture, but not so much the back end. We bid adieu to the band and went out front to where the bike was parked.
|Randee, Lane, Barry, Symphonyy|
About 15 miles or so out of town we breezed by an old timey roadside motel. The theme of the place was log cabin influenced and their was a restaurant called Boss Hog's on the lot as well. I grabbed the brakes and made the second entrance, doubling back to the front lot. We parked and walked toward the office. Closed. There was a phone number for "after hours" but we weren't certain of what we wanted to do just yet.
I took a stroll to relieve myself behind a dumpster before meeting Lisa back at the bike, under the Banner Inn sign. While standing there fumbling with our phones, realizing we did not have cell service, we were discussing our options. About that time we heard a few voices in the darkness and noticed one of the motel room doors had opened and three individuals were exiting.
"Hey! Ya'll alright? Bike break down?" said a high pitched voice from across the lot.
Now given the time of night this was, and that we were in the middle of nowhere, there's always a certain level of "on guard" feeling you have.
I responded, "Nah, just taking a break." The three then began to walk towards us. So I began to walk towards them. Lisa followed. A little chatter across the parking lot ensued until we were face to face. Josh, Manuel and Annie were employees of the Inn and restaurant and had just gotten off work a few hours earlier.
Annie and Josh said "Nice bike" and Josh added "Is that a CB750 Honda?" I was thoroughly impressed. And I told him so. This kid had to have been in his mid twenties and I said "Man, how in the hell did you recognize that across the parking lot (the bike was about 60 feet away) in the dark?"
"Ah man, my dad had one of them. I recognized the four pipes coming out of the front" he answered.
Granted there are other bikes that have four pipes out front, but, he knew it, or was right anyway. Again, I was impressed.
We sat and shot the breeze for a few minutes, them telling us of their night and us of ours. Annie said "Ya'll wanna beer?" I responded, "That depends. You gotta room available?" Turns out she was the manager and they did indeed have a room so we took her up on the beer. During our conversation with our new found friends we realized that Banner, IL was actually not on the way back to Bloomington and that we had headed West out of Pekin instead of East. We had gotten more turned around than we initially thought. But all was good. If we hadn't, then we would not have ended up in Banner.
We stood and talked for quite awhile about bikes and life and just whatever. Then I revisited the room issue. "So what do ya need for one of these rooms?" She sorta stood there with this look in her eye and said, "Nothin.". I told her "No I can't do that. I have to pay you something." She retorted, "I tell ya what. We're having a Mother's Day Buffet in the morning. You come to the buffet and have some breakfast, I'll give you a room, and just pay it forward". With that, she was speakin' my language.
Eventually 4 a.m. had crept upon us and these three had to be up in just a few hours for the buffet. We were all pooped and agreed it was time to hit the sack. We again thanked them and retired to room number 12. Annie told me to park my bike up by her's, under the awning, in case it rained again (glad we missed that).
|Annie's Shadow. Room 12.|
After we filled our bellies we met Annie at the the register and paid the buffet fee. Which was damn cheap considering there was a room included. We slipped her the key and headed out to the bike. We hit Rt. 9 and headed west. There was a strong wind blowing but the sun was shining and it was a nice two lane cruise back to where we came from.
Some added pics from Saturday via Michael McMillen Photography with permission
Dude does good work, check out his page (https://www.facebook.com/michaelmcmillenphotography)