Day 4
October 4, 2017
Super 8 Motel
Grand Island, Nebraska

In the early morning dawn I cleaned the front end of the RT from bugs and rain spray.  I like to start each day with a clean windshield.  We had the bikes loaded quickly and went back to I-80 to continue the ride West.

We held our breath to see if the Connie would light up when Gus turned the switch.  It did.  The morning was still dark and cloudy, but no rain was ahead.

Today would not be fancy.   Just ride I-80 to Laramie.  I mentioned before there is really no other way to go West in this area of the country. 

The Shell station was closed so we went down the street to top off the tanks at a 66.

Mics checked out ok, so off we went.

I had on the lined gloves, jacket vents still closed.  I checked the traffic behind me as I entered I-80, and merged over to take my spot in the thin traffic.  Quickly the RT was up to speed and I brought the screen up high and activated the cruise control.  “Just settle in and ride.”

We spent the first 100 miles talking about the bikes we use to own, our first jobs, and our sons.  The miles went by quickly.  We were still a little nervous about the speed after the tickets we got on Day 2.  It would really suck to get 2 tickets in one trip.

From the seams of I-80 the Nebraska farmland looked to be in good shape.  Tall corn, and fields of other crops I didn’t know looked to be doing well.  Tractors and other machines dotted the land.  Everyone was hard at work.

A sign near the Gothensberg exit informed us the first Pony Express station could be found north into the town.  “Hey lets go check that out.”   “Yeah that might be pretty neat.”

We exited and worked our way through the town following the signs. It didn’t seem the most direct way, but the city did not want tourist traffic bogging down Main Street.

The old station is located in what is now a city park.  My guess the park grew up around it.  We pulled to the curb, took a few pictures, and saw a lady walking the sidewalk to the entrance to open the building.  “I guess she lives in one of the nearby houses. Must be nice to live so close to your job.”
The orignial Pony Express Station, Gothenberg Nebraksa  
I always enjoy seeing a slice of history.  It was from here riders checked in, swapped out horses, got something to eat and continued on.  Kind of like us, but we don’t have to change out bikes.

From the park we rode back out to the shores of I-80 and found the McDonalds we needed for our morning break.  Our ride through Gothenburg told us the city was heavily dependent on the surrounding agriculture.

The morning had been cool on us, so we opened the blinds and let the warm rays shine on us.  Man, it felt good.  I had the hash browns while Gus took the “Big Breakfast.”  It was a long 45 minute break, but we were in no hurry.

The run across Nebraska seemed to seep by.  It was if we were being held back by some kind of long bungee cord.  Wary of the cops we ran SL + 5.  The clouds were back, and it grew more damp by the mile.

We gassed in Ogalla, and stretched out our legs.

At the I-76 split off we ran into a construction zone that backed us up for 20 minutes.  We were glad to clear it.  The ride into Sidney was more of the same.  I just put the cruise on and leaned back on the Moto Fizz bag.  Every once in a while I’d stand on the pegs a few seconds to move some blood.

I was thankful to be on the RT this tour with its nice cockpit and seat. 

In Sidney we ate lunch at a friendly Perkins.  It was the first time Gus had ever been in one.  My iphone told me Laramie had a Super 8 so I put the address in the Zumo.  “There that’s taken care of.”

Not long after lunch, and back on I-80 the road ahead looked like rain.  We exited for Gus to put on his rain gear.  He had separate rain gear.  Not the most ideal way, but each has to do what he can.  Not a thing was at this exit.  No store, no anything. just fields.  We had just crossed into Wyoming.

“Don’t turn your bike off, now would be a bad time not to power on”

“yeah no kiddin.”  He put his suit on with bike idling.

Gus rainsuit dance somewhere in Wyoming
​"Not a thing was at this exit.  No store, no anything. just fields."  
In Wyoming the wind picked up and was raking us from the side out of the south.  The sun also broke out, but it failed to warm things up very much.  I saw Gus clear a 18 wheeler ahead and when he punched through the turbulence it jolted the bike and his head back.

A photo op presented itself so we took the overlook and grabbed a few pics of the far off mountains and the surrounding praries.  In a day of many firsts, this was Gus first sight of the Rocky Mountains.  
Our first sighting of the mountains.
The RT cut a path through the fine mist as we headed West on I-80.   With lunch behind us there was nothing left to do but push on.

We went by 18 wheelers en mass.  They lined I-80 both east and west bound.  Many of them were FedEx trucks.

“FedEx must have some kind of warehouse or central drop off around here”

“Yeah they have a lot of trucks both ways,” I noted.

We pulled into a Cheyenne C-store, whipped after fighting the crosswinds for 100 miles.  After topping off the tanks we went in for something to drink, but soon we were back out on I-80.  So far the Concours has not given us anymore trouble.
On the way back to I-80 we passed 3 Harley guys, they waved.  None of them wore a helmet and I wondered how they did that.  All that noise and wind would run me crazy. 

By now the lowering sun was staring us in the face.  The drop down sun shield on the Shoei did a pretty good job, but with a sun this intense it had its limits.  I fought the glare and at times couldn’t see much.

The speed limit in Wyoming is 80 mph so we cooked along on I-80 at 85 mph.  When I noticed the signs I shouted out over the Sena to Gus “Wyoming speed limit 80 mph yeehaaaaa.”

That made it a quick ride across the prairie to the old west town of Laramie.  The song lyric “marry me in Laramie” was stuck in my head for 50 miles.  This town oozes old west culture.  It was great.

The Zumo pointed me to the exit for the Super 8 and next thing we know we’re docking in for the night after a 405 mile day.  Despite I-80 it was a good ride.

Gus checked us in and we hustled off to relax.  We were off he road early.
In fact I fell on the bed and fell asleep for 30 minutes.  When I woke it was time to clean up the RT.  “Put that off long enough.” When I finished I came back to the room and made a few phone calls, and then went to my checking account via the Iphone.  I do that every few days to make sure nothing is going on I should know about.  I don’t that on my credit cards often, because well, that’s their money.

I noticed the balance in my checking account.  “Something’s not right, that’s way too much money.”  I scrolled the transactions to see if the bank wrongly deposited someone else’s money.  Even if they did I knew enough I was still accountable for it, and even if I wasn’t, I’d never take what wasn’t rightfully mine.

I found the deposit.  It was my very first Social Security direct deposit!  I swelled up inside.  I was told it would post second Wednesday of the month, and mine came in 5 days early.   I wasn’t expecting it, but I was there, everything in order, most importantly it was in the correct account.   Do your paperwork off by 1 digit and who knows where your money goes.

“I made it.  I lived to see a social security check, and the system is still solvent!”  All I could think about.  I sent Debbie a text.  I have been so very blessed in this life.

I told Gus.  “Brother we are going to out to eat the biggest steak in Laramie tonight, on me, I got my social security check!”  “Yeeeha!”

The scenario reminded of my Heartland Ride way back in 2002.  I left Prattville knowing the new fire department pay plan was going online.  I knew I had a raise coming, but was never told how much of one.  I was somewhere in Illinois, when the checks went out.  I called into my checking account and once again thought some mistake had been made.  It was a 40% raise all at once.  No kidding.  I even called Debbie to go by the fire department offices to verify.  She was told her husband was plugged in right where he was suppose to be.  

I had that same feeling on this night.

Walking out I asked the desk clerk who was local, “Best steak house in town?”  “That’s gonna be J’s Steakhouse.”  The Garmin looked it up for me,  about 3 miles away.
We ate big. I had a 8oz sirloin so did Gus, with all the trimmings.  Neither of us drinks so we had to do something.  It was great.  Nobody does steak like a local place out West.  Mine was cooked to perfection and just the right season.  I left the waitress a nice tip and slipped back to the Super 8 in the darkness.  I noticed on the ride back the air was cool.

In the room I checked the weather radar and looked ahead.  A cold front was dropping down and we cover the area in a few days.

“We’re gonna have to cut a day off the ride, or risk getting snowed in on the west side of the mountains, effectively stranding us.”

“Ok what’s the plan?”

“The original plan was to ride down over to west Utah and come into Moab from the south.  We are a day ahead already, but that’s not enough.  We need to get to Moab tomorrow, which is 2 days ahead of schedule.”

“Ok, I don’t want to be anywhere cold’

“I’ll make us route through the northern Colorado Mountains, and come into Moab from the East; we should be there tomorrow afternoon.”

It was all we could do, and it proved to be a good decision.

With that settled we watched TV and did some Facebook stuff.  It was great evening.

Next - Down into Colorado and the Utah Canyons