Day 9
October 9, 2017
Rodeway Inn
Garrard, Kansas

Darkness greeted us at 6:30 am when we opened the motel room door to load the bikes.  Today would be another long day in the saddle.  We had to finish the balance of Kansas, and then all the way across Missouri to Poplar Bluff.

For the heck of it, I checked the weather app for Colorado Springs, and saw it was indeed snow flurries and cold there.  “Good thing we gotta out there when we did bro, cold and icy there right now.”

“yeah we did”

Tire pressure was good on the RT, according to the baked in TPMS on the zumo.  I was only down a couple of pounds since departure.

I dropped the card key off while Gus finished loading.  Mic check was good, and we rode down the service road to the Wal Mart that had Murphy gas pumps and filled up.  I had the leather gloves on.  Been wearing them last couple of days in all the pleasant weather.

By 7am we were on U.S. 400 riding east through the darkness of Witchita.  “Same as yesterday, tough Eastern sun shortly in our faces."  I announced as we ran through the gears to crusining speed.

Like last year, construction was ongoing through the city.  We jostled with the trucks and commuters for position.   Construction didn’t fool the GPS, as is often the case in such situations, and we stayed on track.

The Eastern suburbs of Andover and Augusta slowed us as we held steady with the rising sun in our face.  The glare made it difficult to see the brake lights on cars in front of us.

The RT was better, but still did not want to idle, making it difficult in commuter traffic.  I managed to get it to idle at the motel, but so far no luck on the road.

Last year I took a more southerly direction to Poplar Bluff, but today I just let the Garmin auto direct us, no custom route.

Riding East through the countryside Gus commented over the Sena, “landscape changing back to green underbrush and trees.”

“yeah that happens around Wichita,  its kinda nice after all those miles in the desert and plains.”

We passed two 18 wheelers chugging up a long rise near Piedmont.  I told Gus pass first, the RT would slow down the more powerful 1400 Concours.

“Man I’m gonna need some gas soon”

“You sure you don’t have a hole in that tank?”

In Fredonia we left 400 and went into the town to find a place to eat.  A slow recon of the area came up empty so I went back to the Zumo to get to return us to 400.  The GPS pointed us through a couple of very local roads, they were bumpy and rough. 

I looked back for Gus and didn’t see him and he didn’t answer my hails.  “Where’d he go?”

I doubled back looking for him. “This is not good,” I thought.  “Hey where are ya?”  I kept calling, but didn’t see him anywhere.

Finally he answered; “I’m back near the cleaners, and that big church.”

That didn’t help me much.  “Tell me what you see?  You Ok?”

“yeah, right bag popped open dropped my stuff out.”

I found him on a side street near the white church.

We gathered a few items off the ground and returned to U.S. 400 and found a well equipped 66 Truck Stop.  I had a sausage biscuit, and a Mountain Dew.  The store had tables so we hung around 35 minutes, then loaded up.  I switched the leather gloves out for the summer mesh, and opened the vents to let in the Kansas air pass through.

U.S. 400 took a southern tack out of Fredonia, and put us in a line of crosswinds.  I’ve been on 400 numerous times.  There are only so many ways to get back into Alabama from this area of the country, so the first and last days ride of any western tour will be a rehash of miles and places from previous journeys,

Riding east across Kansas we fought a stiff headwind and it punished our mpg.  The RT suffered, but the 1400 Kawasaki seemed to be leaking gas.  We stopped again at Conco in Pittsburg for Gus to top off.  I skipped it.  “I’m not pumping 2 gallons of gas.  Gus will need gas again before I even go to reserve.”

Cruising down the road Gus said, “Your CB 1100 pings when you shut it off just like our old CBs from the 70s.”

“Yeah funny how that is, I guess air cooled motors do that”

“I think that trait is unique to Honda.  They really did a good job on your bike keeping it true to the CB legend.”

The miles seemed to go by slower the closer we came to Missouri.

The Zumo took us around Joplin and dropped us off on I-44 East.  We sifted through the slower moving cars and broke into the open 5 miles east of Joplin.

At Mt. Vernon we exited, and found a KFC to eat lunch. We were both hungry and did not want to stray too far from I-44 to find something.   The parking space was sloped in and I was unable to push the RT back from the saddle, I had to get off the bike and push.  “If I had to get off to back I know Gus will.”  So I hung around to help him before going in.

The chicken was tasty and the restaurant had a nice crowd come in from I-44.

A young guy with his hair pulled back asked from the next table over, “That’s y’alls bikes out front?”


“nice, where y’all been/going?”

“on the way home from Utah.”

After a quick lunch we were back on the interstate slapping the miles down.  Cruising at 80 mph, not many were passing us.

“Ok, follow me, we’re gonna exit I-44 in a mile and take U.S. 60.  Work over to the right.”

With the Garmin pointing the way we slipped back behind 2 SUVs and a 18 wheeler to position ourselves to make the route change.

U.S. 60 skirts south of Springfield and then shoots a guy straight east across the width of the state.  It is 4 land divided and fast most of the way.

Scenery was good as we moved into the southern reaches of the Ozarks.  No color on the trees, Fall was still many weeks away.  Currently it was 85 muggy, degrees. 

U.S. 60 cuts a long path across Southern Missouri and the Ozarks.
The day and the trip were winding down.  We were just riding now, looking to get home.  We passed the time chatting and laughing about so many things I couldn’t begin to file them in a organized manner.  Farms, timber and pastures made up most of the geography

Our butts were stiff, so we took a break in the McDonald’s at Mountain Grove.  It would be the last well run fast food place we’d see.  The staff there was friendly and couldn’t do enough for us. 

I sent a text to Debbie, “almost done for the day, talk tonight”


“Alright next stop Poplar Bluff.  We’re in a part of the country we can ride the Connie into reserve.   Gas is plentiful.”

The highway flowed across the land; it was good riding the last 50 miles into Poplar Bluff.  “We’ll pull into Poplar Bluff and be 400 miles from home.”

“That’s good!”

The Motel 6 was right where I remembered it; edge of town.  As far as Motel 6 goes, best I ever stayed in.  The unit is only a year old. 

It was late afternoon, and the end of our 456 mile day.  Rooms were inside facing so no easy load/ unload out the door.  We resorted to a cart to bring our gear in.

We relaxed around the room for a hour.  “Man its 33 degrees in Colorado Springs right now.  LOL.  Ain’t you impressed with your older brother’s wisdom to go 2 days ahead of schedule?”

“Oh yeah”

A late afternoon rain moved into the area.  It cooled things off and wet our bikes, but nothing worse.

It was our last night on the road, I almost always eat steak on the last night.  Last year I went to Colton’s Steakhouse, and planning to go back.  “Soon as it quits raining, we’ll go eat.”  My brother was always worried about the food situation.

The rain moved out and so did we.   The steakhouse was 2 miles away so we cranked up the bikes and took a ride  Our seats were wet and had to be wiped.

I had a 8 oz sirloin.  Not as good as the strip that night in Wyoming, but not bad.  Gus had the same.  We toasted waiting for our food, “to long riding.” “ Long Riding,” As we tipped our tea glasses.

Back at the room I called home.

“Have the garage door up, home about 4”

“Ok be careful”


I cleaned the Shoei and put journal notes in the app.

We stayed up late, watching TV and talking.  Funny, we still had stuff to say to each other even after 10 ours of riding, but we're brothers on a adventure.  We enjoyed our last night on the road.