Day 2 (August 25th
Anyone who does this trip knows that an eastern boy traveling west has to recalibrate somewhere around the Mississippi River; Things slow down a little, you get your groove back. I was not meant to be a go-go go getter and out here that is just fine they like you the way you are. It rubs off and I begin to be less of an asshole. The cashier asks how is it going and listens to the response. She seems to care more about your day than you do. The smiles come easier. There is one more recalibration around the Missouri River
I will get to later. I don’t know if this same transmogrification happens in a car full of people. I doubt it.
We head into the Quad Cities (Davenport
, Rock Island
, Ottoman and Moline
) I holler at Drifter to get pictures of the flooding. The water is up the roofs on some of the houses and outbuildings. I should have given him some rudimentary instruction on digital camera operation before leaving. Tempers flare. Oh well the inappropriate double A batteries fail almost at once anyway. It would be some time before we found the appropriate gillion dollar kryptonite batteries to take blurry pictures of the back of my head.
I get the distinct impression that this had been a bean field the day before.
We went to the worlds largest truckstop on I-80 it is quite an edifice to movement. Chip was like my mom at a scrapbook convention as he is a trucker. I forgot to go around back and look at the 800 parking spaces filled with American Steel. Enjoy your biscuits and gravy boys the Mexicans are coming.
This is one large truck stop. There are 2 semi rigs inside along with miscellaneous other vehicles.
Drifter looks natural behind the wheel doesn't he
We probably saw 100 of these tree trucks headed toward chicago.
Obligatory picture of the Mississippi
I like Iowa, it is like rural Michigan was when I was a wee lad. We headed west (I-80) for awhile until Bruce got tired of leading at which point he instructed me to go about 70mph for 25 miles and then head south (just west of Des Moines which is French for “the Moines”) to break up the boredom. God I was excited I got a position of responsibility. I charged out front and enjoyed leading my posse across the cornfields. Once the thrill of the promotion wore off it occurred to me that I had no way of knowing my speed or distance* and I hadn’t been paying attention to the mile markers.
*I abbreviated/eliminated my instrument cluster when my speedo broke. The logic being that I had not been pulled over for speeding since 1987 and even then I had a speedo so it didn't help. Bye Bye speedo. Tach who needs a tack it is a Honda twist the handle until the noise quits getting higher there is your redline. A side benefit of this arrangement was that without a temp. gauge it would not overheat. I would have liked to have kept the gas gauge but my mallot was not that precise.
I blame Bruce for pegging me as leader. Oh well I rode west for a undetermined period of time and then headed south on a 2 lane.
As it turns out this areas claim to fame is that it was the setting for the book/movie “Bridges of Madison County”. I read/saw neither. I don’t tend to watch Merle Streep movies as they don’t usually have any explosions or wet scantily clad women. For that matter I am not sure I want to see Merle wet, scantily clad or exploding. I digress. As fearless leader I decided to follow one of the historically significant signs to one of these bridges. The name of which escapes me. I envisioned a long covered bridge with gingerbread scroll work on the peak. I thought it would be an excellent photo op. to add some interest to our mid afternoon ride. Of course the fact that I cared for the aesthetics of the moment and had heard of Merle Streep put me on the suspicious list with male nurses, male flight attendants and banquet organizers. Sorry if I offended anyone, if so go take a nap.
Anyhow we turned off the two lane and headed down a soupy gravel country road for quite a ways. Under these circumstances Chip usually gets quite agitated, this was no exception. Bruce just handles it having driven 800 miles of gravel road in the Yukon on his fully loaded E-Glide the previous summer (distance and territory subject to later fact injection). Now that I think of it my bike was no picnic, a tired road bike with no suspension* 2 up with the equivalent of a refrigerator on the back. We rode some distance (no odometer) and finally came upon the bridge. It was a piece of crap, It had a flat roof and was about thirty feet long with some pot bellied local guy running his riding mower next to it. Oh well, we still have our health. We headed west on county 2 lanes till we got to the Missouri River and we crossed on an old tyme run down toll bridge that was about 1.5 lanes wide. Just think approx. 200 years ago Lewis and Clark went under this very bridge headed toward North Dakota. Historical footnote, the act of shivering was perfected during this phase. Until the Lewis and Clark expedition shivering was only used as a primal response to kissing old moley aunts.
The Missouri River up north by where it crosses I-90 is the boundary of the true west for me. When ever I ride out to Sturgis on westbound I-90 over the hill that gives you the view of the Missouri
it takes my breath away. To the east is the world you know, square cornfields, Home Depots, and lip biting soccer moms. To the west is the true prairie, hot grass lands as far as the eye can see that mankind has never really figured out how to harness. Teddy Roosevelts only failure involved loosing a large portion of the family fortune grazing cattle in the badlands. I dig it. Drifter has no point of reference for this feeling yet. Maybe he'll get it maybe he won't. I hope he is better at adapting to the "real world" than I am and becomes a success on his own terms and won't have to run the prairies to find peace.
unfortunately we are between cameras now use your imagination.
In Nebraska now, Ride, Ride, Ride, Ride, Ride,
corn, corn, corn, whats that smell corn, corn, corn, (Haywood Banks I-80 song)
*after a several year struggle with fork seals the forks finally puked fork oil all over newly installed brake pads. That was the straw that broke the camels back. I drilled holes in the fork legs and watched the demon fluid drain out into a tray. I have never regretted that move.
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