Monday, July 09, 2007

What I Did This Summer (2007)

This is for my sister who says I never update my blog ;)

June 23 through July 8

Fillmore UT, June 23 2007
Fillmore UT - The County Courthouse and Territorial State House were half a block from my hotel.
Day 1: Leaving Los Angeles! The new bike's odometer reads 743 miles. It's a long hot day riding across the desert. I-15 carries me north to Fillmore, Utah (a fairly small town about 100 miles south of Provo.) My hotel has the world's worst bed, soft and saggy and a guaranteed backache the next morning.

Day 2: Yup, backache. Nicer weather now that I am a little further north and at a little more altitude than yesterday. I get screwed up and miss going through Provo Canyon (I got on 89 instead of 189) and end up going through Salt Lake City proper on I-80. Traffic isn't bad so I don't mind. I make it all the way into Nebraska, stopping in Kimball. I am treated to twenty miles of cold stinging rain at the very end of the ride - wow, the weather is REALLY different in this part of the country!

Original Pony Express station, Gothenberg NE
The first Pony Express station
Day 3: Today is hot and muggy. (I am born and raised in the southwest ... how do you all handle the humidity? Ugh!) I stop in Gothenburg NE and see the first Pony Express station. I finally get off the interstate and onto US-30, and watch for Lincoln Hwy sights. Stop for the night in Ames IA.

Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa ... the Field of Dreams, where Shoeless Joe and Moonlight Graham play
In the bleachers, the Field of Dreams
Day 4: Meander my way through Iowa, stopping off to visit the Field Of Dreams in Dyersville. I cross the Mississippi at Dubuque, get rained on like hell in Rockford IL, and work my way through Chicago traffic (since I don't know how to route myself away from the bad spots) before stopping for the night to visit with Tink in Dyer IN.

The Hall of Fame really does look like a juicer
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Day 5: Off and on rain for my trip across Indiana and Ohio, all on US-30. Visit the NFL Hall Of Fame in Canton. Get caught in a local holiday parade in Minerva OH ... seriously, all these folks were in folding chairs on the sidewalks or their front stoops, and they were all waving at me, so I waved back. LOL. (I was about ten car lengths behind the last float. The 2 mph pace just about killed my clutch hand!) End up in Moon PA, just outside of Pittsburgh, for the night.

Fallingwater, in my eyes the most beautiful architectural feat in America
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, in southwest Pennsylvania
Day 6: Visit Fallingwater, and run into Budgirl there, too funny! My intention had been to take the old Lincoln Hwy all the way to Jet's house near Philly, but when I find myself running hopelessly late, I hop on the Penn Turnpike and haul ass across the state. Saves time, costs me $14.75. Geez I hate toll roads.

Day 7: Ger lets me borrow his shop to change the oil and filter on the new beast, the only maintenance required on this trip. Set off for Lancaster PA to hook up with my pals there.

The Angle, where Pickett's Charge ended
Gettysburgh, the Angle. Called the High Water Mark of the Confederacy, here the rebellion broke in blood.
Day 8: Jet, Bam, Ger and I head off for Gettysburgh early in the morning. This is a Holy Grail for Civil War geeks like me, and they graciously humor me and listen to me go on and on and ON about many details of the place. Nice riding, but the humidity is still killing me. Back in Lancaster, the RSBS Wigapalooza provides the evening's festivities :)

Whooooo hooooo!!!
Takin' a ride in the Stearman ... what fun!
Day 9: Up early and heading out; we're off to the VanSant airport in Erwinna PA. Jet and I have got it in our heads to ride one of those barnstorming biplane rides so that's going to be the adventure for today! We sign up for the full-monty aerobatic flight and that's what we get: loops, barrel rolls, hammerheads, Immelmans, other stuff I forget what it's called, EVERYTHING. I love it. Jet turns a little green around the gills ;) We give her all the time she wants to recover before leisurely riding home again.

Mmmm, pie.
Lancaster PA is Amish Tourist Town!
Day 10: I bid a fond farewell to Jet, and start heading west again. I stop for a looksee at Valley Forge. I stop one last time in Lancaster PA for a slice of shoofly pie. I stop and spend a little more time in Gettysburgh, walking around on Little Round Top which we had hurried through on Saturday. I also stop in Bedford PA to take pictures of a famous building in the shape of a coffee pot. Then I realise I've been farting around most of the day and I am not even going to get out of PA if I don't beat feet, so I hop down to the interstate and end up making it to Wheeling WV for the night, a stone's throw from Ohio.

Day 11: It's a haul-ass day. I-70 carries me to Warrenton MO, 50 miles west of St Louis. 600 miles. It is STILL hot and humid.

Sunset at the dome site
Sunset in Missouri, and we're gonna set off LOTS of fireworks
Day 12: Today is the 4th of July, and I arrive at my sister's house in Warrensburg MO before noon, where we promptly go out and buy a massive amount of fireworks, and set 'em off that evening. Artillery is fun :)

Hey, go check out my sister's blog - she has a great writeup of my visit (much more detail than my lightning recap here, and more photos!)

Mmmm, Guber Burgers.
Last chance for Guber Burgers.
Day 13: My one day off the bike. The family heads down to the Ozarks for a cave tour and a little sightseeing. One of my fondest wishes, to have a Guber Burger at the Wheel Inn before they close for good, is fulfilled. What? You've never heard of the Guber Burger? It's a burger topped with peanut butter, a surprisingly good combo. The Guber Burger has now passed into history as great road food sacrificed to the gods of progress, as the Wheel Inn was closed forever. Hwys 50 and 65 in Sedalia MO are being widened.

Day 14: Sadly I have to head on home to get back to work next Monday, so around midday I say goodbye to my sister & family, then haul ass west, making it to Limon CO an hour after full dark.

Why is the sky so hazy? (I'm gonna figure it out soon!)
The hazy, hazy skies in Utah were my first tipoff something was wrong.
Day 15: I head through Denver and cross the Rockies via I-70. I get caught in the mess where the Utah brushfire has closed the interstates; they take us off and send us southbound on Hwy 89, which would be a lovely two-lane highway except for all the interstate traffic on it. Yuck! It's horribly smoky and I ride with a wetted-down handkerchief tied across my mouth and nose, which at least keeps the flying ashes out of my lungs. At last we are allowed back on to I-15 and I get as far as St George UT before getting a room for the night.

Day 16: On the road at sunup, trying to beat the worst of the killerheat across the desert. As it warms up I end up taking two water breaks for every gas stop, but it's working and holding the heatstroke at bay :) I roll into my driveway around 2 pm.

6621 miles and one helluva trip! So, where should I head next? ;)

Respectfully submitted,


carole and julie said...

finally! this trip sounds like you had as good a time as our 7 week road trip, on 4 wheels that is. carole and i love reading your blog entries. watch ours very soon, we leave for england next friday for 2 to all! carole and julie steele, former aftershock mom's

Kay said...

Yay, I love the update! We had some fun on the 4th, huh? Sitting up on the dome ridge, setting off our fireworks & watching everyone else's for miles around. Come back & do it again soon! Thanks for posting too.