Day 7
August 27, 2014
Super 8 motel
​Council Bluffs, Iowa

It was still dark outside, when I packed the Motofizz bag for the long ride ahead.  Radar indicated heavy rain west, east, and north of my location.  South was rainy, but had areas of no rain.  "Glad to be riding south this morning."

When I opened the door downstairs, I was greeted by dark, threatening skies.  It was raining everywhere but Council Bluffs.  I put the phone on charge in the compartment.  The outlet would charge ( I have the USB adapter) the Ipad, but I'd have no place to keep it while doing so.  A tank bag might work, but I don't use them.  My plan is to install a rear plug soon, and charge the device while in the motofizz.

I backed the Yamaha out of the parking space and made my way to I-29 south under skies that looked it could drop rain any second.
The 1300 quickly got up to speed and in the flow on I-29.  Gas was more than half so I pushed south.  

I knew this was not going to be a glamorous ride.  How could it be?  I'm spending half a day on I-70, the only highway in the America that might be worse than I-40.  I gave deep thought of trying to get to South Missouri on back roads, even downloaded a custom route for that, but changed my mind.  That route came in over 500 miles.  Not doable in this part of the country.  I rode south to north through the state in 2002 and it was not a good ride.  Took all day to go 300 or so miles.  Just a lot of urban sprawl, and congestion. 
Council Bluffs is 1000 miles from home.  My plan is 600 today and 400 easy miles the next day to Prattville.

One thing about the Yamaha FJR 1300; it will do anything you need it to do.   On this day I needed it to knock out these 600 miles as quick as it could.  At 85 mph I went south on I-29 lapping traffic like they were go carts.

With rain all around me it was if the Feejer was splitting the Red Sea for me, and providing me a path of escape from the rain in the area.  I flipped the main shield of the Shoei down, and raised the sun visor, I stayed with the leather gloves.

A sign read it was 164 miles to Kansas City.  That depressed me, I failed to realize it was that far.

North of St. Joseph my luck ran out when I ran into heavy rain.  I slowed down to 60 in the blinding water and kept going.  "Ill run outta this in just awhile."  I just moved the screen up and and motored on.  The reserve bar started flashing a few miles later.

The rain lifted but more was in the offering.  I exited south of St. Joe for gas at a Sinclair con store.  We don't have such in Alabama.  I recalled them from my childhood in Virginia, and always liked the dinosaur logo.  I took in 5.2 gallons of 91.

An attractive young mother in a SUV pulled to the pump on the other side, a young boy was strapped in the rear seat.  She spoke to me as I returned the nozzle to the cradle.  "Wet day for a ride."  

"it is, but just part of it"

"you look like you're on a trip"

"I am, on the way home from Colorado, and South Dakota."

" I see"

"You have a good day m'am," as I tipped my head, and got back on the FJ.

Just outside of Kansas City the GPS directed me to SR 291.  An outer loop around the outer loop.  The route had every feel of a federal interstate, but had state markings.  I guess they couldn't convince the feds of the need for another outside loop, so took the project on themselves.  It seemed I was on 291 a long time.

It was only mid morning and I was already on 200 miles for the day.  The early start, combined with the 85 mph cruise speed, knocked down wholesale miles.  "Past break time, but I'm gonna take a early lunch, for now I gotta get started on I-70, before I change my mind."

The zumo tracked me around the ramps and deposited me I-70 East.  It was depressing.  There was nothing to do but ride.  I spent most of the next 200 miles on the cruise control.  I entertained myself with the GPS and bike computers, and sang songs.  Deep thought was not possible, too much traffic.

My last sojourn on I-70, KC to St. Louis, was way back in 2001 on my Iron Butt ride.  It was no coincidence I've avoided 70 for so long.  I hate this ride.

Twelve miles east of Independence, I found a Mickey Ds for lunch.  I ate way too much fast food on this tour.  Most days I skipped lunch because I wasn't hungry.  What was happening was the result of all the late starts.  In yeas past, I was on the road by 6:30, ride till 9 or so, take morning break, so by 11:30 I was hungry.  But this tour the morning break was coming in around 10, so no need to stop for lunch.  This was a busy exit, with lots of food/gas options, but none of them were good.

In the end the Mcdonalds had WIFI and I didn't need a password.  My Ipad so far has lit up in every store I have stopped, without having to log in.  I ate a small chicken nugget thing, picked up a text from Debbie, it said- "CALL ME."  Time stamp 10:36.  So I did-

"what's goin on baby?"

"just workin, been on the phone most of the time.  How come you didn't call me this morning?"

"you just said you were on the phone all morning"

"yeah but you didn't know that"

"yes I did, kept gettin voice mail"

"I don't have ANY missed calls on the log"

"Ok, Ok, but I've been riding hard to escape all that rain closing in on Council Bluffs"

"I think we need a new couch?"

"What's the matter with the one we got?"

"You gotta a new motorcycle.  In fact you have 3."

"so we're gonna get 3 couches?"


"Well go pick one out you have my debit card"

"I want you to help pick it out"

"I'd rather get a colonoscopy"

"quit being funny, you becareful k?"

"I will, call you later, look for me around 3"

I threw away the trash and went back to get on the Yamaha, when 3 guys, in shorts and t shirts (they were young) came over to me.  "Man what a bike!" One called out.  Another said, " Look at THAT helmet."  I had the Shoei on the seat while I was getting situated to ride out.  I never knew a helmet could command such attention.  It was then I noticed it was getting hot.  I put away the leather gloves and broke out the summer.  "The temp will only get hotter as the day goes on and I ride south."

Traffic was heavy on I-70, as I worked the Feejer around slow moving trucks, U Hauls, and motorists on cell phones.  I was going to need gas in 180 miles, but filed that thought away.

The miles on I-70, even at 80 mph, seemed to trickle.   St. Louis felt far away and nothing I was doing on I-70 could make it grow closer.   Thirty minutes felt like 2 hours, but I rode on East.  If I thought I could have gotten away it, I would've put the FJ on 100 and said,  "Let's ride."  I use to think Columbia was near St. Louis, but I found out different, halfway at best.

The 1300 had been on reserve for 20 miles, so it was time to honor the flashing bar and miles to empty numbers at one of the Warrenton exits.  The Sinclair was the only thing at the exit.  I pulled in to find the only no pay at the pump dispenser in Missouri.  I went inside the old gas station (I could tell by the building.  I happen to be the last generation that knows what a "service" station looks like or is).  She advised me the pump was on.  This fill up was 5.9 gallons.

Finally, after what seemed like a millennium, I was directed by the zumo to leave I-70 in the Western suburbs of St. Louis, for I-270 to connect to I-55 South.  I was jostled in the fast moving traffic trying to find a good spot.  Depending on the construction, I often had traffic merging from the right.  I dodged construction barrels and dopey drivers to find myself coming out of St. Louis on route.  Recalling the night I spent in Cape Girardeau in 2007 I entertained no thoughts of that this time.  "I'll get as far south as I can before calling it a day.  If I can get to Sikeston I can get off the interstates for most of the ride tomorrow."

Hot and thirsty, I took a butt break in a Love's truck stop, that I failed to record.  I drank a gatorade and looked up motel info in the zumo.  I found a Motel 6 in Sikeston, and tabbed it.  

I went by the Cape exit that was the home of that awful motel I stayed at in 2007.  I didn't even want to look at it.  It was all out hot in South Missouri.  Felt like Alabama and a far cry from the weather I was just a few days ago.

By late afternoon I was coasting in the Motel 6 parking lot and checking in.  I traded 49 debit cad dollars for a 1st floor room.   I covered 577 miles today. Not the best of miles, but certainly better than working.  I threw my stuff on the table and turned on the AC.  

A short walk to a con store bought me a Mountain Dew, popcorn, and a Payday bar.  I wasn't  hungry, but didn't want to get back out anyway.  I realized I hadn't taken a picture all day, proof what kind of lackluster day of riding it had been.

 After relaxing for 30 minutes I went back out in the sultry, stale heat of South Missouri, to clean the FJR of bugs and other stuff.  The sounds of late summer were everywhere.  A katydid (locust kind of bug) was making their noise in a few trees.  The whine of air conditioning was everywhere.  It was so hot not one thing was stirring about.  Not a bird, squirrel, or lost cat.  No air was moving.  All flags were limp on the pole. After cleaning the FJR I was soaking wet in sweat.

I came in and took a shower.  Called home and drank my Mountain Dew, and watched TV from the bed.  It was nice.  Looking forward to the ride home.