The last time I went down to Red’s MIAZ (Meet In Arizona) gathering, I got nearly all the way to St. Louis, Missouri on the first evening’s ride. This time, as noted in my previous post, I only got to Springfield, Illinois, which meant that I would need to make up the lost hour the next day. That would be a challenge since this day was to be 800+ miles anyway.
The good news is that there wasn’t a drop of rain in the forecast. The bad news is that there was a steady strong wind coming from the west and I would be doing battle with it all day.
I stopped in Litchfield, Illinois to get gas and ate breakfast, a danish and a gas station hot dog. The hot dog had probably been cooking on those metal rollers for two weeks, but I hadn’t had dinner the night before, so I ate it anyway.
I hit St. Louis, Missouri well after the morning rush hour so there was no problem getting through the downtown mess. The St. Louis skyline looked splendid in the morning sun as the scattered clouds had broken up.
The trip across Missouri on I44 was uneventful. The headwind would subside a bit down in valleys but get back at me coming over hills. I noticed that almost all the river valleys contained overflowing rivers; they’ve had a lot of rain lately.
Somebody look this up for me. Was there some sort of national gathering this week in Missouri for the Can-am Spyder trikes? I saw them everywhere in all forms of custom paint schemes, bag configurations, and trailer setups. This couldn’t have been naturally occurring; there must have been an event.
Oh, I’m now a fugitive in Oklahoma. Coming up on Tulsa, I hadn’t refreshed my memory regarding the best route through town. (I wasn’t concerned about traffic as it was already nearly 6pm.) Unfortunately, I ended up on the Creek Turnpike. The stupid thing is that so few people use the damn thing that they don’t post attendants at most of the toll booths and the machines only take coins. Who the hell carries coins anymore? Yeesh. I fed all my spare change into the first booth, it still wasn’t enough, and ran the gate. I ran the next two gates too, once right behind a local biker who did the same thing. I’ll see if they send me a bill.
The timing of the trip had me riding into Oklahoma City as the sun was setting in the western sky. There was a certain grandeur to the Oklahoma City skyline silhouetted against the deepening orange sky with brilliantly clear sky.
The advantage of sunset was that the headwind lost some of its energy. I found that I40 west of Oklahoma City was a nice smooth highway and enjoyed the ability to make up some time without the headwind. The deepening indigo of the post-sunset sky was occasionally reflected in the lakes and rivers near the highway. It was rather beautiful.
I rode until a little after midnight and managed to get to my favorite Super8 motel in Amarillo, Texas. After checking in and unpacking, I walked out the back door, across the parking lot, to the Waffle House that’s open all night. I was the only one in the place and wound down with some biscuits and gravy and hot chocolate.
Back at the room, I made my nightly call to Karen and laid down to get some sleep. All those miles into a headwind can wear you out.
The total for the day was 863 miles in just under 15 hours. The map only shows progress to Oklahoma City because of the configuration screw-up from the night before. Rest assured that I really made it to Amarillo. Really.
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