Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 24 & 25 A Whole Lotta Flat Land...

Bright and early, well, at least early, I packed up the not quite as Dirty Girl for a long couple of days. My saddlebag bracket snapped while on the ride the day before, so I took the opportunity to give her a quick Pledge wipedown while I was zip tying bag on as a quick fix. Two great inventions here.. zip ties and Pledge as a bike polish. No riders should be without a half a dozen spare ties in their saddlebag. And the Pledge makes my bike shine AND smell lemony fresh. :)

I hit the road at 5:15AM, my goal was to get to at least Lincoln Nebraska, 500 miles away. I had been toying with making a detour to Sturgis, but this would add about 200 miles and I decided it was not all that important and so started off into the darkness of the predawn morning. When I approached the highway, Jack was doing his best to send me north to Sturgis. Apparently I had not loaded the correct route. Sometimes, I can simply turn down another road and the gps will recalculate toward the next point in the route. And then there are the other times, when he keeps telling me to turn around and go back. I did not feel like arguing with Jack this morning, so I pulled over and figured out how to make a new route. This is a major accomplishment for me! Learning to control Jack has been a challenge at best. :)

Small success, I headed south from Hot Springs SD toward Nebraska. Like the other predawn ride, I took it easy and this time I am really glad I did, I came around a corner and there was a herd of small deer in the road. I slowed down, and they were not startled by my presence. I said good morning and waited until they cleared. It was really sweet.

It was another gas and go day... I stopped every 100 miles, a quick stretch, refuel and hopped back on. The miles melt away this way, and before I knew it, a few hundred miles were under my belt. I can't say that the scenery was all that exciting though...

Riding a lot of miles on long flat roads gave me a lot of time to think. I got to thinking about when I get back home and how I will process everything that I have seen and experienced.
At first, the idea of making a quilt crossed my mind, and different ways to interpret the trip ran through my head. I will play with colored pencils when I get home and see what kind of design happens. The idea of a quilt that moves through the different landscapes that I have ridden through then morphed into the thought of a series of paintings.

I have a very clear picture of the series, probably small canvases, with an occasional larger one in the line. The series would be hung in the same sequence that I rode. I am really excited about this and cannot wait to start. I will pull out photos of the trip to interpret. As the miles ticked away, this idea then moved to another series of paintings... the same idea, but this time as abstracts. And then I would like to have the two series hung either on opposite walls or one above the other as they relate in the sequence. As I look at landscapes in front of me now, I see them in a new light, to see if there are any inspirations for art. I tend to look at the world in this way to begin with, but it is heightened now.

My goal was at least 500 miles, around Lincoln. Originally, I thought I could go further, but I hit Lincoln right at 3pm, goal achieved. Suddenly, I was very tired and began looking for a motel. Not long, I saw a building off to my right that looked very hotel-ish. Sure enough, an AmericInn. With all my gear on, I went inside to ask the rate for the night. The young man said, $80 plus tax. "okay, let me go get my wallet, I'll be right back" I was told they had a king bed room and that sounded fine, as I melted onto the counter while he processed it. As he handed me my key, he said, "I gave you a room with a jacuzzi in it, enjoy."

Never have I had a hotel room like this!! How decadent!! When I went out for supper, (a family place across the parking lot, very convenient) I looked at the two people working behind the desk and said "This is the best hotel EVER!" They said to me with a knowing smile, "He upgraded you, didn't he?"

It was a super relaxing night, such a gift.. one of those random acts of kindness that make such a difference to someone.

That night were wild thunderstorms and I moved the bike under the overhang (with permission) because of hail predictions.

Today, the goal was St Louis Missouri, and my friend Ranger's home, where I sit now, listening to the happy noises of grandchildren playing. Ranger rode north to St Joseph to meet me on the highway and pound the slab back to StL. I was thankful for the company, as the road was long and flat and hot. We did the gas and go thing until a stop for lunch at a mom and pop restaurant. A simple lunch of sandwiches,

and we were back on our way.

One little side trip, proved to be just the break from the highway that I needed. We rode through Hannibal MO, a historic town because of Mark Twain. The town was very quaint as we rode through it... I suddenly realized I was looking at the Mississippi River again. I had come full circle. Ranger turned up a steep winding road that lead to an overlook...

The original Lover's Leap! The story of the leap was an old one, about two young Indians who were from different tribes, rather than facing getting killed, the young lovers leaped off the rock.

After that, we went down a smaller route that had a detour down a small road. It was such a treat!

I loved this little church...
and then how cool is the photo with Ranger in the mirror?
A tiny road, winding and moving up and down little hills like a roller coaster, the road was lined with wildflowers on both sides.

I was in heaven! This was just the break I needed from all the highway.

We arrived at about 4:30.... 950 miles in the two days. :) :)

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