Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Cross Country Log - Day 5

Today was without a doubt, the most moving day of the trip. Four hundred fifty miles, five states and memories of times long forgotten, welcomed to the surface of my consciousness. I was going home.

There is no log for this day for two reasons. One reason is that I was physically drained and likely hypothermic when I put the kickstand down for the day. The other reason is that I was home, drinking up the comfort and love that only a family can give. My Mom and her husband welcomed me in with hugs, a much welcomed steaming cup of coffee and a late dinner.

So, I will use the entry I posted at as a proxy for my written log. I hope you enjoy it!
I woke up bright and early at about 5 and was showered, packed, checked out and on the road by 7. After about thirty miles, just before Nebraska, I decide to pull over for gas and fresh beef jerky. It was a tad bit chilly but overall a beautiful riding day.
The typical urban rider doesn't normally see a tractor at a gas station!

At this point my camera really starts malfunctioning in a bad way. It would take pictures and report all was OK. After getting to my Mom's place that evening, I discovered that about 2/3 of all of the pictures were corrupt.

Anyway, I stopped at a little place in Nebraska for some warm coffee. It said coffee but I honestly believe someone boiled a gallon of water with a single coffee bean and poured it into the decanter. HORRID!!!

But the conversation was good. I had a chat with an older fellow outside who told me of the time he and his wife rode their GoldWing to Vegas. I always enjoy those little chats.

And, I was on the road again, this time to a little corner of Missouri. Finally a picture!
After crossing what I believe was the Missouri river, the road led up a little bluff to a great string of windmills. This wasn't the first wind farm I have seen, but the first one I have been this close to.

After pausing for that, I was on the road to South Western Iowa. For the first time on my ride I actually got to see live deer just before the Iowa line. DANG CAMERA!!!
Here's my bike in Shenendoah, Iowa. It is a great little town.

After fueling up and getting some real coffee, I headed east on Iowa Route 2. That is for the most part a nice concrete road. Unfortunately, it is somewhat old and the slabs of the highway settled unevenly. So, I rode along, 'ka-chunk... ka-chunk... ka-chunk...' for about three hours.

To make up for the road, the little towns were gorgeous! I wanted to stop at each one and just ride around, looking at the old buildings. BUT, I knew this would be a long day so I didn't have many stops.

The stops I did make, I really enjoyed!
Here is a wheat thresher I found just outside of a small town.
And right next to it, a real steam engine! I LOVED it!!! Think it is a little larger than my bike???

And I was back on the road with a destination in mind. One that holds great child hood memories. Heck, I even remember making out with my high school girlfriend there. This is a special place in my heart.

As I pull into Mt. Pleasant, Iowa the roads immediately become familiar. Tears came to my eyes, and it wasn't from wind or chemicals or smoke. This is a great place for me. For many it is just a museum, but for me, it is a vital piece of my childhood.

Midwest Old Threshers Museum This is one of those places and times where words are difficult to come by.

I rode around the grounds a bit even though they were closed and hit the road for Burlington, IA. Getting there I take some pictures of the Mississippi River before I crossed. It was magnificent with the sun going down behind me. (darned camera)

I was on the home stretch. Only another 75 miles or so and I would be at my Mom's doorstep. Fate had a little twist just waiting for me.

I knew this road like the back of my hand and I hadn't been here for nearly 20 years. I was riding on cloud nine, humming along, looking at the flooded farmland along the road in the twilight. I come to my turn and make a left.

I stop.


Ok, so I head back and find the detour signs. Following them led me into some great riding areas but it was getting COLD!!! Ahead in the town of Biggsville, Illinois, the detour signs point left. Forward was Monmouth, Illinois. If I went forward I knew the way 100% but would add about 50 miles. I was cold and my butt hurt. So I took the detour.

The remainder of the ride to my Mom's place is a complete story in itself. Maybe I will tell it later. Suffice it to say, after riding this unfamiliar road with no overhead lights, no traffic, no more detour signs and curves with little notice for what seemed like an hour in the cold dark, I arrived shivering and exhausted at my Mom's.

I honestly should have stayed in Burlington. It would have been much safer. BUT, I made nearly 450 miles that day.


Doug C said...

I'm enjoying the posts, Ken. The Mrs. and I have a chance for a cross country trip and I am reading with great interest and may be picking your brain at some point...

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Do it!!! Without a doubt it was a sublime experience, and one that few people get the opportunity to do.

I am certainly not an expert, but e-mail me any time, Doug. Hope you and the Mrs. are staying warm!