Come along on a ride with me!

Monday, May 28, 2012

          Took a short 5 day trip out to Missouri to my brother’s place.  Only 2300 miles in those 5 days.  The first and last days were just travel days to and from Missouri and Ohio.  Each of those trips was almost 800 miles each.  Makes for a very long day in the saddle and a sore butt.

            Day one started out about 4:30am with a departure time of about 5:30am.  I made my way down 71 south to 70 west for the majority of the trip.  I was hoping to make Columbus before any rush hour traffic started.  I did clear Columbus by 7am and made my first gas stop about 7:30am. 

            I was filling up watching a tree line across the road and noticed a deer walking the tree line.  A few minutes later I saw its friend come out to join.  Better in the field than in the road in front of me.

            Back on the road heading east traffic has been light at this point and the weather has been great sunny and low 70’s.  Two hours down and at least another ten or more to go.

            The time and the miles go by and before long I am getting hungry so at my next gas stop is a Bob Evan’s for breakfast.  As I approached the exit I was just east of Indianapolis.  I got to thinking I bet this is the same exit I stopped at years ago on my iron butt ride.  Once I reached the top of the ramp I knew I was right.
            Me and the bike all fueled up its time to make some more miles.  The waitress told me there was a lot of construction in Indy, but as I made my way through I only encountered a small patch. 

            As part of the ride through Indy I got to see the Colts stadium.  It didn’t look like any stadium I had ever seen before.  It was more of a rectangle than round like I thought it would be.

            Now my next real concern was Saint Louis.  Last time I was there this loving fat guy tried to kill me and my daughter.  Stupid ass didn’t bother to look when he was changing lanes.  Even though I scared him with my air horn he kept coming anyway.

            As the miles went by and Saint Louis looming on the horizon my Garmin tells me of traffic ahead.  Great this is all I need, heavy traffic!  As I approached the 65 and 70 split, right at the gate way arch traffic opened up on 70 and was clear sailing!

            Although traffic was moving well I didn’t think I was ever going to get out of the Saint Louis area.  That city just seemed to go on forever!

            Cruising down the highway I see a lone motorcycle cop going the opposite direction with lights on.  Then looking down the road here comes more.  Behind them is a huge line of bikes.  There had to be several hundred bikes with police escort.  They even had the on ramps closed down while they pass.  I can only assume it was some kind of ride in conjunction with Memorial Day coming.  I did see people on overpass with flags before that but didn’t think anything about it at the time.

                        Clear of the city and the miles and time flying by its getting close to dinner time.  It’s around 3 something local or 4 something my time.  I see a sign for Dq about 80 miles ahead.  Yeah that sounds good!  I have been craving a blizzard anyway.  Dairy Queen shares a place with a gas station so it works out well.  This will be my final stop of the day.
            I make it to my brother’s place just before 6 local time and let myself in.  The two dogs act as I am their long lost buddy.  What a great memory they had.

            Day two starts off early as I can’t sleep so I get up and find my way to the coffee pot and get it brewing.  Not long after my brother gets and we talk a bit before he has to head out to work.
            I look at my map and decide where to go for the day.  I am looking for state parks to visit.  I see.  I find Harry S Truman State Park on the map and that looks like a nice place to visit.  So I load that up in the Garmin and off I go.
            It was a fairly short trip of about 60 miles to the park.  I was kind of disappointed when I got there.  Granted it’s a huge lake but it’s not up to the beauty I am used to of other parks I have visited. 

            As I am walking around the lake I happen to look down and there is this brown spider.  Then here comes this wasp looking bug and they start fighting.  It was cool to watch.  I also watched a squirrel running around in that same area.

            Going to the other side of the park where the Dam is I saw some cool reconstructions of some old log cabins.  After looking around I need to find a new destination. 
            The General Store.

            I look on the GPS for another park or scenic place to visit.  I decide on Covered Bridge Park.  I head up US 65 north.  As I am on the way I see this really cool church just off the road.  So I had to stop and take a picture.

            I find this nice ice cream stand for lunch.  I finally got my milkshake I have been craving the last few weeks!
            I make it to Sedalia and the Covered Bridge Park.  But when I get there there is nothing to see.  I had to turn around because it was a restricted access road.

            Time to find something else nearby.  I find Knob Noster just a few miles away.

            Knob Noster is near the Whitman Air Force Base.  Couldn’t tell once in the park though.  There is a lake but not much else to see.  So I walked the lake and into the woods and found a couple more squirrels to take pictures of.

            Leaving the park I am heading north some more to a Confederate Memorial Park.  It’s just off 13 a few miles north of Interstate 70.

            It’s was basically a retirement home for some of the Confederate soldiers in the early 1900’s.  It’s a nice park but not much to see there.
            Now I am on my way to Lexington Missouri.  There was a battle here during the Civil war.  I don’t normally think of Missouri when I think civil war.  This wasn’t the only battlefield I would find on this trip.

            The battle of Lexington happened in late September in 1863. The battle between Union Commander Gen John C Fremont and Gen Sterling Price wasn’t very bloody by Civil War standards killing less than 100 soldiers.  General Price was quoted to say; "It is unnecessary to kill off the boys here. Patience will give us what we want." September 18 1863.

             This is the house the Union was using as a hospital.  It changed possesion three times during the three day battle.
             Unknown soldiers grave.  Rest in peace boys!
            Sight seeing over for the day it’s time to head back to the house.  I am getting tired and sun burned anyway.
            Day three finds me heading south again, but this time to Pomme De Terre Lake.  I should look that up and find out what it means, but I’ll let those interested do that.

             It was a nice place but again I am disappointed at how little there is to see or do.  I guess when you get spoiled by the mountains of West Virginia other places just aren’t as impressive.

            Heading south some more I find myself at Wilson Creek Battlefield another Civil war sight.  Here you had to pay 5 bucks to get it.  Once in you are on a 5 mile trail of 8 different sights of homes and battle emplacements.  If you have horses they have several horse trails too.

            If you come to this park be ready to do some walking if you want to see the sights.  They have them well marked and the paths are easy to walk but walk you must do in spots.

            After I left the park it was getting late and time to head back home.  Still have over 2 hours before I get my to my brothers place.
            Day 4 the weather could create a problem.  There is a chance of storms in the afternoon.  So I head into Kansas to see Hillsdale Lake.  It’s not that far away only about 60 miles.

            I get there and as I am getting used to it’s a bust as far as sights go.  It’s mainly a camp ground.  So I snap a few pictures of the lake and look for a new destination.

            As I am browsing the Garmin I see a Naval Air Station Museum.  Naval Air in Kansas?  It’s only a few miles away so north I go.  I head into the town of Olathe. I find this park with 3 old jets from the Navy two A7 Corsairs and one A4 Skyhawk but no museum.  I guess this park is the museum?  Ok sure. But it was a Naval Reserve Air Station back in WW2 to 1970.  So back to the Garmin I go.  It says there is another Naval Air park just 5 miles away. 

            As I am leaving the area I pass Garmin.  I really wanted to stop and talk to them about all the things they could do to make this biker version of GPS a real biker version, but I kept going because it would fall on deaf ears.
            I get to this second Naval Air Park and it’s barely a patch of grass.  Another bust.  At this point in the day my butt is already sore from over 1500 miles in just 4 days so I decide to head back to the house and call it a day early.  I end this day by noon.  Tomorrow is another big day, riding home.

            Day five we had several good thunder storms roll through last night.  They woke me up around midnight.  They are supposed to be gone by morning so let’s hope!
            So the alarm goes off at 4 and I hit snoozes.  I manage to get up about 10 minutes later and hit the coffee maker and shower.  As I am putting on my riding pants I think I hear light rain.  Great!  So I turn the TV on and go through the chore of bringing up the satellite on the dish.  It says it’s clear, good!  
            But when I go outside I am feeling light rain on me.  So I load the bike up with what I have and turn the GPS on so I can see a real radar image.  By the time I go back inside and grab the rest of my stuff and come back out its not raining anymore.  I look at the radar and it clear over head and east but a big cell is coming at me from the west.  I can see the lightning as I am gearing up.

            My sister-in-law comes out just as I am putting my jacket on and then goes and gets my brother.  We say our good byes and I am on the road.
            I take the back roads north to 50 east then onto 13 north to I70 east.  Just as I get on I70 east there is a big red cell right at my back tire.  So I open the bike up to 75 and set the cruise.  I managed to out run the storm! 
            So the next 12 hours I spend on the interstate, what fun.  I timed it right with fuel and breakfast to miss rush hour in St. Louis.  I couldn’t believe how smooth sailing it was.  Made good time through Illinois and Indiana.  Stopped in Indiana for fuel and dinner hoping to miss rush hour in Columbus.  That mostly worked
            Made good time coming into Columbus and got on I 270 north.  Made it onto I71 north and then ran into a couple back ups.  First back up was when 71 when down from three lanes to two but that wasn’t bad.  Next one was thanks to all the dumb ass rubber neckers!  A guy on the side of the road had to have another guy come and change his flat tire.  Ten minute back up for that!  What dumb asses.
            Made my last gas stop in Lexington and made it home just after 7pm.  Would have made it in under 13 hours if not for the back ups in Columbus.  Now time to make final plans for Me and the kids vacation in June.  That should be around 5K miles or so.

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