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August 15th, 2012 | Illinois

Seven States, Two Days…!!

There is not a heck of a lot to see in the mid-west, until you want to take in an agricultural museum in every small town you pass through…!!

I have covered just over  1 800 km in the last two days, riding in or through seven states…

Seven states in two days….!! Going like a Boeing…!!

Heavy rain and hail, did not make for a pleasant start to my day…!!

Yeah, good and seemingly empty…!! Miles and miles of maize…!!

I left Ainsworth, Nebraska, and rode in torrential rain for over 300 km, before breaking out into sunshine 100 northwest of Omaha…

I then crossed into Iowa, and headed south until I made a sharp right turn and found myself in Kansas….

I cut across the north-east corner of this state and entered Missouri a few hours later… I managed to avoid the traffic in Kansas City, and as dusk settled over us, arrived in the eastern suburbs of Independence, where I holed up for the night…

My strategy was to make two big rides in a row, so that I could slow down and enjoy the last three ride I would make to get us into Washington DC, so I chose to stick to Interstate 64 today, and let the Big Fella chew us the miles… And boy was he greedy…!!

Never to return….!!

…to not much change in the scenery…!!

We covered 962 km (over 600 miles) in just under 9 hours…!! We rode through St Louis, Louisville and a short distance past Lexington, Kentucky, where I called a halt to the day’s proceedings…

In the process, we rode right across Missouri and Illinois, skirted through the southern part of Indiana and into Kentucky… I figured four states in one day was good going…!!

Despite being on a dual carriageway for the entire day, I did as usual, meet a few interesting people along the way, most notable was three ladies who did not seem to know exactly where they were going…

In Kansas City, I met Ken and Sandra, two long distance riders with very impressive credential… They were riding their 4th Four Corners epic, where each of the four corners of the United States are ridden to in a single tour…!!

Just cannot shake him….!!

“Does the 41 go down into Kentucky, or should we stay on the 64…??” one of them asked me…

I raised an eyebrow, before telling her that I had no idea where the 41 was, but Kentucky was that-away, pointing over her shoulder…

They then began the usual series of questions about me and the bike, and took a number of photos of us…

One of them told me that they were on their way to visit her parents in Kentucky…. I asked where they had ridden from…

“Effingham, Illinois…!!” she replied…

“I’ve used that word in a sentence before…!!” I told her…

“You have…??” she said with a frown…

“Yes… I recently told a waiter to take the effingham away and bring me some bacon…!!”

She burst out laughing and I thought she might wet herself…!!

“You sure are something, fella….!!”, she eventually managed to splutter, and then we spent the next few minutes chatting with her friends, before they took off down Interstate 64, and hopefully got to where they wanted to…

Even out in the countryside, seemingly miles from anywhere, the roads are in near perfect condition…and not too many traffic officers about to spoil our enjoyment of them…. The roads, not the officers…!!

Snazzy paint job on this rig…!!

Another state falls to the GBWT….

I took this photo while we were cruising at about 120 km/h…!! We rode together for about half an hour, and I had to shake my head at the “no helmet law” in Kentucky….!!

While I sat munching on a sandwich and chugging down an Energade, an elderly farmer wearing a tattered pair of dungarees, walked in and sat down across from me…

“Nice bike, Mister…!! You been to all those places…??”

“Yeah…!!” I replied lazily… “It’s been a long old ride…!!”

“You shitting me…??”

“I shit you not, sir…!!”

We chatted on for another ten minutes or so before he said with just a hint of a smile, “That bike must have a darn good battery…!!”

I frowned back at him, and then realised what he was getting at when I saw the smile on his face broaden…

“Oh shit…” I exclaimed, “I’ve left my lights on again, haven’t I…!!”

“You sure have, son…!!”

I leapt out of my booth, and hurried outside, and quickly pressed the starter button… The Big Fella roared to life, and I revved him a couple of times before switching off and cutting the lights in the process…

Home of the Thoroughbred Racehorse….!!

I walked back inside and sat down to finish my snack…

“Darn good battery…!!” said the farmer with a straight face…

“You might’ve told me earlier that my lights were on…” I grinned across to him…

“Well…” he replied, “I was hoping you would need to be pushed on that there fancy machine of yours…!! That would have been fun to see…!!”

The countryside I have ridden through has been mostly planted with maize and soy beans… Hundreds of kilometres of the stuff…!! I have also passed massive chicken batteries and feed lots stocked with plump cattle…

I am continually impressed by how tidy the roadsides are here in the states… Signs warning that litter-bugs will be prosecuted seem to have an effect on the populace… Fines range from $200.00 in some states to as much as $2 500.00 in others…!!

The roads are in excellent condition, and there is always a construction crew cruising along to ensure that potholes and surface cracks are quickly repaired…

The most striking thing has been the friendliness of the people I come into contact with… They are quick to greet me openly, or nod a greeting as they pass by… Many will strike up a conversation with me, and wish me well on my ride…

I am looking forward to leaving the plains and heading into the Smoky Mountains in the next few days….

And of course, the Tail of the Dragon is waiting…. I can almost hear it calling to me on the wind…!!

GB

Lexington, Kentucky.

 

3 comments to Seven States, Two Days…!!

  • It would seem your pushing your mileage even more than we pushed you!! I guess your done your trip in your mind anyway and now its just about getting there, good job the US roads are long and straight perfect country to make up time. Enjoy the next few days. As Doron our Israeli biker dude rode off this morning after spending three days with us here on SSI, I felt the urge to climb on Big Red and go too. I thought about you and the end of your trip. It will be hard for you to sit still and stay off the Big Fella for long, keep him close so that when the moment arrives and it will, you will be able to take him for a ride on the open road, feel the wind in your face again and know that, in life, in our hearts, we are always free!
    hugs

  • Yes… I don’t think I could be off the bike for too long now… It has become such a big part of me after these last few years…!! I will have to think carefully about where I end up, because the bike will come into the equation somehow…!!
    And yes, we are free, the alternative is to live in a world of smoke and mirrors…!! Who would want that…?? R.

  • Patricia

    Beautiful comments Chenty! Mr. B…I like that snazzy yellow rig with the trailor…I could do that 🙂

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