If you were watching the SPOT today, you might have been confused by my route. For those who have peeked at my “About” page, you may recall there was a gap in the middle of the country for my motorcycled states. Today, I closed that gap by riding 200 miles out of my way to Oklahoma via Kansas.
I wasn’t sure if I should do it or not. The thought of riding hundreds of miles across Kansas didn’t thrill me, but the alternative would be I-80 across Nebraska which is just as bad (or worse). I threw out the question on twitter and facebook, and overwhelmingly it was suggested to ride the US roads in Kansas. I’m glad I listened. It was a long 400 mile day that started at lunch time, but I enjoyed the very empty roads in Kansas. I rode for miles just admiring the fields of wheat without a car in sight. There was only a massive thunderstorm to keep me company. It was nice.
The towns along the way all look the same. As far as the trip goes, this is the beginning of the scenery deflation until I get back to Minnesota. The flat “boring” part in the middle must be crossed to get home.
I started today with some awesome scenery and a very fun ride. I rode up Pike’s Peak. The ride up was a bit slow to start because of some repaving around mile 6, but after that… sweet. I was really in the zone alternating between first, second, and third. It was early in the day, so there was almost no traffic.
When I got to the top a lady asked me how long it took to ride up. I told her I thought maybe 30 minutes; she told me it took over an hour for her to drive! Huh?! I had a fun ride. The sky was blue. It was warm until mile 14/15, and then I turned on my heated coat and grips. I could see just sky along the edge of the road towards the top, and I knew it was a sheer cliff down. It made me a touch nervous when I thought of it, so I didn’t. I kept my attention on the corners and the road. On the way down, I left it in first and enjoyed the vistas. They say when it is clear like it was, that you can see all the way to Canada. I don’t think I saw Sonja’s house, but maybe it was the shiny spec on the horizon (it could also have been a plane).
These guys are tough. Maybe next time I’ll try it.
To celebrate the great weather and ride, I feasted some some more tastiness in Manitou Springs.
With a full stomach, it was time to hit the road. I was heading to Elkhart, KS and the Oklahoma border. I have been to both states several times, but not on a motorcycle. I addressed that today.
The day got a bit longer than I expected. I didn’t anticipate the time zone change (the last one of the trip); I thought it would be further east. There were also no rooms available anywhere near Elkhart or my more likely destination afterwards, Dodge City.
No rooms, but they had a tank.
With a bit of google-fu on my phone, I found a place in Garden City. One of the last rooms in the entire town. How do they fill up on a Tuesday night? sheesh.
Tomorrow, more Kansas and some Nebraska.
Video: Pikes Peak
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