All photos -
Where do I start - the weather, the 'routes' or the almost accidents?
Let's start at the beginning...
Back in leather this morning as the weather had turned. The cold front brought rain through overnight and the temperature was down to 17 (63).
Since crossing the Mississippi at Cairo I started seeing signs saying 'Auto Tour Route'. I didn't read the rest of the sign till today. "Trail of Tears". I stayed on the route till it turned west on I44.
A few miles later I picked up the 'Lewis & Clark' trail.
Just after lunch in Jefferson City, in that period just after you've
eaten when the blood is round the stomach (which is bigger than the brain
- well mine is) . Going through a series of traffic lights and lane closures
I realised that the queue of cars in front of me had stopped.
About an hour later, while I was still thinking about that incident,
three deer ran in front of me.
Not long after that, while still on the 'Lewis & Clark' trail I picked
up the 'Santa Fe' trail - an old wagon trail, but after the events of
today I stopped early.
A three state day.
Started in Missouri, through part of Kansas and into Nebraska.
The roads are getting straighter. I've stopped worrying too much about squaring off the rear tyre as it's going to happen. I'm not riding at excessive speeds so hopefully it will last till the next service when I should be near the mountains.
After yesterday I was feeling quite down and considered having a day off, but there was nowhere that struck me as 'somewhere I want to spend a day or so'. Thankfully today has been some good riding - apart from the lack of corners that is.
I stopped at the 'Native American Heritage Museum' in Kansas - a bit disappointing. It was a missionary in the 18 something's and there were two rooms that talked about the mission and the broken treaties - not much about 'Heritage'.
One thing that I did find out was how vast the 'Louisiana Purchase' was.
The roads through the big flat centre of the US are straight.
Toady's 'routes' were - more of 'Lewis & Clark' some 'Pony Express' some 'California Trail' (wagon trail) and another that I failed to read.
I thought about stopping in Omaha - but it was full.
Tonight I'm in Blair - about 20 miles north of Omaha.
I realise that I haven't been supplying many helpful hints. I had intended
to use my stupid mistakes to help folks avoid making the same mistakes
- and giving them a laugh. Unfortunately I haven't done anything real
stupid recently. I could state the obvious like 'Pay attention, small
details are the difference between crashing and not' and 'It's the journey
not the destination' but if you ride a bike you know this. If you don't
ride a bike, I'm sorry.
HH2 - You will take too much stuff with you.
Much as I like the VFR, I think I'd rather be on a 'blade with less clothes,
throw overs panniers & tent on the back seat.
You realise that a brand new 'blade over here is $10,000 (About £5,500).
Looking at the map - at this pace I'll be in the Black Hills / Sturgis
area in a couple or three days.
Well I was wrong about that too - apparently there's loads of bikes at Sturgis already ...
Anyway - from the top ...
Is it a UK thing to be talking about the weather all the time - or a biker thing ?
Rain overnight and seriously slick wet tarmac in the breakfast diner's
A lovely 26 (79) this morning. Ran up and round the North East corner of Nebraska.
Stopped at 'Blackbird Overlook', near the site of Chief Blackbird's burial, which provides a great perspective over the Missouri into Iowa.
Heading west I decided that the big black clouds in front of me that were spewing lighting bolts weren't for me so crossed the river again into Yankton, South Dakota to dodge north of the storm.
Stopped in Yankton for lunch & a spot of shopping (run out of shaving
After the storm passed it was like someone threw a switch. The temperature went straight to 34 (93) and the side winds hit from the south.
West of there is the Fort Randall Dam which creates Lake Francis Case
- the colour of which is amazing.
Stopped in Winner for the night.
Tomorrow is Badlands and Wounded Knee, the next day is Mt Rushmore, Sturgis and Devils tower - well that's the plan.
Added an hour this morning crossing into mountain time.
The temperature climbed quickly to very hot by 10am.
Long straights through grassland then the Badlands start appearing on
The route I had intended to take, north through the park then west and
south to Scenic turned out to be impractical as the second half was a
gravel road. I could have ridden it slowly but in that heat slow means
hot (and dusty).
Headed south through the Sioux reservation to Wounded Knee.
I hurt, I need to find a laundry and the MotoGP is on TV.
One thing I did find out - there are loads of signs by the road side
with a red "X" saying 'marks the spot' and either "Think"
or "Why Die". These seem to be quite randomly scattered. Sometimes
you wont see one for a mile or so then 7 or 8 within a mile. Turns out
these are markers where a road death has been caused by a drunk driver.
Up and out by 7am.
As this is getting physically and temporally close to Sturgis week there
are hundreds of Harleys.
First stop of the day - Crazy Horse Memorial.
The Crazy Horse statue is looking impressive and it's not even half finished.
Next - Mount Rushmore.
On to Deadwood and the Mount Moriah Cemetery.
Headed North to the 'Geographic Centre of the US Marker'. This is, I
now know, one of three.
I failed to find it as the location on my map is some 15 miles out -
and on the wrong side of the highway.
Time to post this.
Rt8 - the excellent roads continue.
Rt68 & US 63 - OK - nothing special
I - through Jefferson City Rt 179 - Good and bad - some sections were
lovely - some straight for over a mile.
Rt 41 - Not bad
Rt 65, 24, 13 - Nothing special
Rt 116 - real straight - there was a 10 mile diversion on some back roads that did have one or two corners.
I took Rt 7 as it's marked a 'scenic' on my map and US73 looks very
straight - and I wanted to check the 'Native American Heritage Museum'.
US73 to Nebraska - straight.
US73 / 75 - these guys should talk to Kentucky or West Virginia and
swap some straights for some corners.
Rt12 - half and half - it was quite good until it turned due west at Wynot. Absolutely straight. I turned north at US81 to Yankton to avoid a thunderstorm which is a shame as the map looks like 12 would get better near the end.
From Yankton I took Rt50 then Rt46 across the river, back to US18. Again mostly straight.