Wow… what a difference a day makes. I open up the door from my motel room and wow the heat and humidity is stifling. I need to go jogging as I’ve been idle the past few days so I start with a 2-3 mile run to get the blood moving. There are plenty of dirt roads so it’s great to jog on. It’s nice and easy for the feet.
This is the first day I’ve had to deal with oppressively humid weather. I merge onto the I-70 for a short jaunt. Once I’m at the top of the ramp, I’m smacked by the wind. I had expected to hear “Dan has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. Please return to the seat and check the security of the seatbelt.” I’ve only had to deal with oppressively stiff wind once up on the 680. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been knocked around by the breeze on a regular basis, but today it took a full lean of the bike to go straight.
What was so pleasant yesterday turned brutal today. The wind was stiff from the south, so going over a bridge, through a turn, or passing cars made for a bumpy ride. Most of today was going east, so I had this gusty wind as a crosswind. I’m going 55 on the freeway in a 70 not saving any gas… I remember asking God this morning what he’s trying to teach me. This wasn’t the lesson I wanted. At least it’s not raining and the traffic is light.
Heading east from Wichita, the wind gets even worse. The dust from the nearby field blows across the road like a freight train. I push through dirt, grit, fertilizer and who knows what else to get through it.
I sure as hell haven’t found it!
Exhausted and hungry I pull off to a small town called Cherryville, KS. There was a coffee shop on the GPS that looked like it might have Wi-Fi. Once in town, everyone I look at gives me the you don’t belong here look. I keep rolling.
Convinced I’m not going to find internet in rural Kansas, I pull into Altamont, KS to get gas. The place is exactly what you’d expect to find in small town, USA. There is a small convenience store with a few old men sharing in the day’s events. A father and son duo (the son is 55-60) come up to me as the leave asking me what I’m up to. I share that I’m from San Jose and headed to Eureka Springs, AR. They tell me all their ties with California: coming back to Vallejo, CA from World War II, their son training in San Diego, and trips they have taken there. They gave me some insider tips on how to get to Eureka Springs as well. Both of them were good folks. Meeting people like them along the way make trips like this worthwhile.
I was going to hit a few more states before the day was out. I’m actually going to be skimming the borders of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Moving from Kansas into Oklahoma, the havoc wreaked by the tornado was incredible. The tornado just scalped the ground taking homes, trees and who knows what else. I’m only in Oklahoma for a few moments before jumping over into Missouri.
I knew I was going to cross the old route 66. I just wasn’t sure where. Well it was in northern Oklahoma!
Crossing the state line, you immediately notice the presence of the Ozarks. The wind has calmed down and the road is twisty again. I’ve not eaten all day and there is not much in the way of food out here, so Mc Yuk it was for the evening. I dunno… having missed good chicken fingers since moving to CA, Mc D’s substitute seems to fit the bill. I remember a biker hotel over in Eureka Springs (it’s popular with the bikes). Anel comes to the rescue with a bit of Google searching and scores me the last room in the place.
Heading into northwest Arkansas, you feel the presence of Wal-Mart.
The running joke here is: “What is Arkansas tumbleweed? Wal-Mart plastic bags.” I saw signs off the freeway for the Wal-Mart museum, but I could not find it when I got there. The way up to the cabins was great. The roads were smooth and traffic was light. Just after sunset, I pull into Rider’s Rest. The hosts Bob and Anne are riders themselves. Actually, they only let bikers stay there.
After unpacking I see a few folks milling around. We each tell our war stories of how we got to the motel. There were folks from Texas, Arkansas, and Wisconsin. I’m the furthest from Cali. I get a few beers from the other guys for being the long hauler (and w/o beer). Three brews later I’m very happy to be there.. Yes… very happy.