Monday, July 27, 2015

Two days on the road, one to go

perkins in mitchell SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – I left the rally site around 8’ish with plans to rendezvous with Ray Kaufmann in Mitchell, S.D. and share my room with him. He was traveling with Theresia Shearer and they left about 45 minutes before I did.

I rather expected to pass them at some point, but it was not to be.

I rode down to I-90, stopping at the west edge of Rapid City for gas and a Subway lunch before pressing on.

I overtook a nasty looking storm at the Badlands National Park exit and listened with alarm to reports from westbound travelers about golf ball-size hailstones and torrential rain. A BMW GS rider from North Carolina named Jeff and I shared a bench on the porch of a convenience store and studied the weather radar for a break, but the intense storm cell seemed parked across the interstate about 5 miles east of us.

I ended up waiting more than an hour before it showed signs of weakening and rode off in the direction of a horizon-to-horizon rainbow. I got into a few miles of heavy rain, saw a BMW rider being treated by an ambulance crew and finally made it to the motel in Mitchell sometime after 9 p.m. I caught up with my friends at the Perkins restaurant next door and had a light dinner before checking into the motel and unloading.

Ray and Theresia and I enjoyed a free motel breakfast at 6 a.m. today and they hit the road immediately afterward. I took my time and rolled out of a nearby gas station with a full tank at 8:08 a.m.

I was grateful for a thick cloud deck that spared me the ordeal of riding into the rising sun, but had to pull off to don rain gear just west of Sioux Falls. The rain was short-lived and I tuned south and away from it at Sioux Falls.

The rest of the day is was blur of gas-and-go, highlighted by a gas stop at Elk Point, S.D. where I finally got around to checking my oil sight glass and found there was no oil showing. Fortunately, I had an unopened quart of BMW motor oil. Unfortunately, the paper funnels I stashed under the seat years ago fell apart because the glue was cooked and dried out. Fortunately, the clerk had a couple of paper funnels, one of which worked perfectly.

The stressful low point of the day was the slog around the north, east and south sides of Kansas City in torrid heat and blazing sunshine. By the time I got off the interstate and onto U.S. 49, I was fried. I had some ice cream and took Wayne Garrison’s advice and tried a bottle of 5 Hour Energy before phoning a reservation in to the Comfort Inn & Suites on the north side of Springfield, Mo.

The elixir swept away my fatigue and gloom and made the last 120 miles of the day rather pleasant, despite the 101-degree heat index. My LDComfort shirt did a splendid job of evaporating my perspiration and keeping me surprisingly cool.

I checked in with Maria, showered and had a cajun pasta dinner next door at Ruby Tuesday before returning to my room to blog and crash.

Just for the record, I rode 533 miles yesterday and 590 miles today.

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