Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Day 42 - Wichita, KS. to Vandalia, IL. Back East of the Mississippi River!
Day 42 – Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Start: Wichita, KS
End: Vandalia, IL
Trip Miles Today: 527
Total Trip Miles: 11214
This was a day for which I had no real expectations, except that it would be a long ride on a hot day. Well, as it turned out, this was a day of a number of fun surprises. My only real goal for the day was to make it across the Mississippi River before calling it a day. To do so, I felt the need to leave depart early, which I did by getting underway just before 6:30AM. It seemed a bit unusual to be packing up the bike in the pre-dawn darkness inasmuch as two weeks ago I was in Alaska where there was virtually no darkness at all. It was 65 degrees when I took to the Kansas byways and I took that as an omen that another sweltering day was in store. Anyway, off I went. The initial part of the trip took me on the Kansas Turnpike toward Kansas City, about 200 miles distant. I relished the lack of traffic at that hour and in the bright morning sunlight one could see lots of deer grazing in the farm fields. Pretty nice! I covered 100 miles before 8:00am and that amount of progress gave me confidence that my Mississippi Crossing goal was in reach as well as reinforcing the notion that I could stop in St. Louis and visit the Headquarters of the BMW Motorcycles Owners of America. So on I pressed. It was shortly after passing Kansas City that I got my first exciting “surprise” sighting of the day. Just barely into Missouri and what should I see but a sign proclaiming that the town I was passing through, Blue Springs, was the home of American Idol 2008 winner David Cook! The “World’s Biggest Prairie Dog “ yesterday and now this! I guess it’s just plain wrong to say there’s nothing to see on the prairie! And on I rode. About 2:30 I arrived in Ellisville, just outside St Louis at the BMW MOA headquarters, an organizaion to which I have belonged since the early 1990s. They gave me the grand tour and I spent some time speaking with the organization’s magazine editor about doing a piece based on this blog and on my trip. We explored ideas and left open the possibility. Maybe the best part of stopping in at BMW MOA was that it’s just right down the street from the Historic Route 66! I’ve spent days (no weeks!) following all manner of pioneer trails – the Oregon Trail, The California Trail, the Mormon Trail, etc, etc, etc. However, to we geezers from the motorized travel era nothing is bigger than Route 66. The Mother Road! And I got to ride on it (if only briefly) on my bike. How cool is that? Later in the day I had another encounter with Route 66 as I stopped just before crossing the Mississippi at the location of the historic “Chain of Rocks Bridge” that carried Route 66 over the Mississippi “back in the day.” All in all a pretty good day. Oh yes, it never really got hot either. Highest temp I saw all day was about 85 and after crossing the River I rode for another hour in mid 70s temps. Just about perfect I’d say.
The plan for tomorrow is to get another early start and to arrive in the Columbus, Ohio area early enough in the afternoon to go and visit the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Heritage Museum in Pickerington, Ohio. The distance is reasonable (only about 370 miles) but I get hit with another of those pesky time zone changes and lose an hour! Fortunately it’s the last one as , by this time tomorrow I’ll be back in the Eastern Time Zone where I belong! I only have one other thing to tell today but this is really weird. Tonight I’m in a hotel in Vandalia, Il. My room number is 312. In fact my room number has been 312 for 3 of the last 4 nights! Rock Springs, WY – 312. Limon, CO – 312. Now Vandalia, IL – 312. Very creepy! Maybe this means something but I don’t quite know just what yet. Stick around and maybe we’ll see before the trip is over!!
More pictures are available to be seen at http://jackb1.smugmug.com
The 2009 Ride to Alaska for The Austin Hatcher Foundation is supported by RevZilla.com , Philly's Premier Destination Motorcycle Gear and Apparel store and by Hermy's Cycles of Port Clinton, PA.