Monday, August 9, 2010

Great River Ride – Day 5 – Into Missouri

I woke up with Déjà Vu this morning - lots of thunder and rain again. We started getting ready slowly and ate breakfast. Just like yesterday, the rain stopped before we were ready to hit the road. How lucky are we? It was bit chilly, but I went with just my mesh. My wife decided to wear her rain gear for the first hour or so.
The ride this morning was pretty boring. The Great River Road on the west side was mostly US-61 which is a four lane slab of concrete that is entirely to straight and flat. We turned off to follow the route into Montrose, but soon found the road closed. We briefly followed the detour, but it turned into a muddy, gravel road. To play it safe, I turned around and we went back on to US-61 which is where the route would have taken us anyways.
We crossed into Missouri today. This is the first new state I’ve ridden in for 2010!
Pictures on the side of the road were a bit interesting. More than once I found quite a lip on between the road and the shoulder making the bike want to tip over each time it was crossed.
After Keokuk, IA, we tried to follow the route again, but again, it was detoured. This happened a couple more times. One of the detours away from 79 was an amazing twisty road with lots of hills. We both really enjoyed it. It also rejoined US-61 and then back to the twisties. That is until we found this sign:
Fresh Oil - Loose Gravel
We eventually found Louisiana, MO after passing near Mexico, MO. Louisiana was founded in the 1800s and has over twenty murals in their downtown area.
IMGP7905 IMGP7902
We didn’t manage to find them all, but we did enjoy the ones we did find. My favorite part of this city was the old buildings.
The city is also right on the Mississippi River which meant that it was slightly cooler than the roads surrounding it. The recorded temp was 103F!!
This is my new highest temp. It was pretty incredible. I will say that the hotter it got today, the better the mesh seemed to work. Even though it felt like I was riding into an oven, it was comfortable. We stopped frequently to drink water and take shelter in the gas station AC.
The first half of the ride north of Hannibal, MO was boring and I hope the IL side would be more interesting. Hannibal was worth the stop as it was the boyhood home of Mark Twain. We road up a very steep hill to look at a lighthouse. We also briefly looked at the boyhood home from a distance. It looked interesting. Walking around in the 95F+ wasn’t fun, so we pushed on.
IMG_5987 IMG_5983
We made it to the suburbs of St. Louis by dinner time and met up with Bash3r who very graciously offered us his popup camper for the night. Thank you Bash3r!! He suggested we ride Hwy P from Hwy M. What a great set of roads. These two were some of the best riding we had all day! It was great to finally meet him after corresponding for so many months. He also has a WR250R and we have been copying each other’s farkles all year. He also just got back from a 2,000 mile ride in Idaho
Strangely, we made it 216 miles again today (same as yesterday – actually 215.9 both days!). We did alright in the heat today, but I hope the route is shady tomorrow.

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  1. Not a good start to the day - even the thought of rain gets you down. I rode a little along US 61 and I kept singing the Bob Dylan song "Highway 61" which he wrote about that road. Weird about the mileage!

  2. Gary: Was your US61 as bad as mine?? We've been lucky so far to only have a few minutes of sprinkles of rain in MN. *fingers crossed* we can keep avoiding it.

  3. When you are visiting the Arch you will be quite close to the Courthouses I work in. So, do wave.

    There is open area (mall) that runs west of the Arch and the Old Courthouse. There is a neat park called City Garden that is definitely worth a slow drive by, if not a moment or two stop. There are always people there and kids playing in the water features.

    Enjoy your time in St. Louis. It has much to offer.


  4. My US 61 wasn't too bad. I was only on it for a short while though. Good about the rain. In 48 days I have only needed to put my wet gear on twice! I think I am getting good at weather-guessing and finding a different route!

  5. I was looking at your weather yesterday morning and saw the big rain but figured it would be gone by the time you were up and moving. I hate the fact that the roads are all tore up. Seems like a great deal of the country is that way.
    Love the scenery and flowers and that photo of the Skink! I do love the lizards of the south!!

  6. You might be interested in knowing that Keokuk is in Iowa, not Missouri.

  7. It was our pleasure to have you and your wife stay with us. We had a great time meeting & talking with you guys, it's always great to meet awesome people through this crazy hobby of ours. We will be following you the rest of your ride, have a great trip!! We'll see you in Minnesota.... some day soon!

  8. Chris:

    I find that it is great to meet people along the way. It's like having friends all over the country.

    what an adventure you two are having.

    Wet Coast Scootin

  9. ah yes, summer and road construction....and yet things seem to be going well for you in spite of all that.

  10. Keith: We did the slow drive by and waved! I hope you saw us. We spent an entire day exploring the area a few year ago. We spent three days exploring the surrounding area and still ran out of time. We'll be back again I'm sure. My wife's company HQ is there.

    Gary: After today, we like the rain. It cuts the heat and humidity to somewhat normal levels.

    Eve: Yea, the recovery act put a lot of funds into road repairs. Seems the MN joke applies to the rest of the country too: There are only two seasons - winter and road construction.

    Bash3r: The pleasure was all ours! It was great to meet you and your family. I hope we can meet again soon. Thanks again!!

    Bob: We do have friends all over. It's great to spend some time with them. We are having a good time. I hope you are enjoying the posts.

    Dom: Yes, things are going well. With no plans, detours are more chances to explore!

  11. Anonymous: Thanks! Typo on my part. My map clearly shows it as IA and not MO. I updated the post.