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Old 06-21-2008, 09:33 AM   #41
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WOW....very impressive.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:35 AM   #42
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:33 AM   #43
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Quote:
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squeaky = hardcore.
+1...

top 100 things to do before I go, plan a trip with Squeaky...
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:49 AM   #44
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Awesome, It looks like Spanky had a great time also, Thats effed up Ur stuffud monkey gets more ride time than I do
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:55 AM   #45
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WOW THATS A LONG TRIPP
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It makes me cry, but real tears not the ones out of my like usual.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:59 AM   #46
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:15 PM   #47
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That took a long time to read...but was worth it! You are a badass, that's one of a trip.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:26 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mudbug View Post
give that monkey a bath.
Mother Nature tried MANY times - but somehow he just got more dirty when it rained.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo View Post
top 100 things to do before I go, plan a trip with Squeaky...
Unless it's a solo run, y'all are welcome to tag along!
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:33 PM   #49
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Day 11
May 5th

Cinco de Mayo. Just another day, but this one started late. I woke up at the not-so-early hour of 9:30, but I stayed in bed listening to the sound of the birds chirping in the mountain air and the dog chasing the cat through the hallway. Keith's house is the perfect mountain retreat, and his offer to "stay a few days, the road can wait" was all too tempting.

291327767 EcoKk O

291327188 xrJRm O

I caught up on some postings from the weekend and sorted out my pictures, then packed up the bike once again. I said goodbye to Abby with a game of catch in the yard, then thanked Keith for his hospitality. I tried to convince him to come down to Houston sometime, but I don't think he was going for it.

"Free pool tonight at the bar within walking distance!"

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He couldn't convince me to stay, but I can't blame him for trying. I was very tempted.

Down the road I go...

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Unfortunately he had some work to do and couldn't break away for lunch, but he had recommended the Vermont Country Deli just a few miles through town.

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Brattleboro, Vermont. A quaint little town that, according to Keith, has everything you'd want without the sprawl of an urban city.

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I had intended to get breakfast (despite it being well past noon) but the baked three cheese macaroni caught my eye. I got a half pound with a fresh baked roll and some coffee.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:34 PM   #50
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Hwy 9 was also highly recommended as a scenic alternative to the interstate system.

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I concur!

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100-mile lookout. The day was clear enough to see what this great Earth had to offer.

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Slowing down through each town that appeared, this caught my eye.

MOOOOOSE!

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And this had me thinking of my sister. (Hey Nicole, what do you have planned for June 7th?)

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Welcome (back) to New York! This time I was entering on land instead of by bridge/tunnel as I had down in the city.

291327453 85zTo O

Spank agrees, this is a HUGE state that not may people realize stretches as far as it does. We'd be spending the rest of the day just getting across it.

291327472 kcDCx O
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:35 PM   #51
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And cross it we did. With the sun shining, it was almost warm with my jacket liner in. I was able to ride with mesh pants without even a hint of a chill.

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Albany. New York's state capital. Like most states, the capital is not the primary city but houses the gub-ment entities and has its fair share of towering office buildings.

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I was on the New York Thruway, but I didn't want to be - so I wandered off. Another $1.20 toll (New England sure gets ya on toll roads and crossings) and I was free and wandering the Catskill region. Instead of following a set route, I turned off the GPS navigation setting and opted instead to follow the lines that looked twisty and went in a general southwesterly direction.

291327553 xSYkn O

Game Farm Road. It was shaded by the tree canopy and just what I was looking forward to.

Until this.

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So I backtracked and found some other squiggly lines, but this time I scooted the screen over a bit to make sure they went all the way through.

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Glamorous, ain't I? LOL

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Chasing the sun. I have a feeling I'll be doing this just about every afternoon until I get home.

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I made my way through Woodstock and wanted a picture of something cute and "hippy" with my bike, but it wasn't like I'd expected. It's turned into yuppy art studios and little sidewalk cafes. I'm sure everything is overpriced and the hippys of yester-year are baby boomers trying to squeeze every penny out of their 401k plans.

I decided Binghampton was as good a stopping point as any for the night, so I pointed the GPS to it and kept following the squiggles. I found Hwy 28, which has a 40+ mile stretch from Delhi to Deposit that I would LOVE to ride over and over again!

291327683 HKt8r O

The road twists and turns over water and between mountains as it makes its way through a valley. Curves are posted between 35 and 55 mph, and although the road surface leaves much to be desired, I found my groove and started to (finally) scrub off some of the rubber on the sides of my tires. It was invigorating! If it hadn't been so late in the day, I probably would have turned around and done the section again. The elevation was around me - but it went up, not down. The curves weren't tight enough to make me nervous, and there was very little traffic to deal with.

I was in heaven.

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291327700 U7sGM O



After Deposit, I made my way via Hwy 17 into the sleepy college town of Binghampton. I hadn't expected to be in this area, so I had to stop at a gas station to load the GPS basemap. It's one of the few downsides to the Quest I have, but since I road trip with a computer it's not much of a problem, just an inconvenience.

The bugs made sure I'd need to pull over to change out my visor anyway.

291327745 sfPBL O

Vermont, New York
286 wonderfully lazy miles

291327116 xDP9J O
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:37 PM   #52
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Day 12
May 7th
My Birthday

The whole reason this ride was planned for early Spring during such tumultuous weather was because of today. I wanted to be on the road on my birthday just like I was last year and how I hope to be in future years. I like traditions. I like looking forward to things. Regularity

Well, the trip itself has been anything but "regular". As Mollie said, if everything were going perfectly this would be a vacation, not an adventure. There have been moments that I wished this was a vacation though, sitting on a beach with an icy fruit drink in my hand. Most of the time that thought is the farthest from my mind. An adventure it shall be.

I woke up to a few phone calls and text messages reminding me that I'd grown a year older (seemingly) overnight. Why should we feel like we're a whole year older on this ONE day when its been creeping towards us all year?

The bike had been parked right outside my hotel patio door throughout the night and was easy to pack up.

292108344 6Taw7 O

The bugs that had smashed themselves against my visor had also encrusted most of the front of my bike. I took soapy water and a rag to the lights and blinkers to aid visibility.

292107242 onM3B O

Having typed up a day or two of ride reports but not uploading them due to lack of WiFi at the Motel 6, I decided to stop for a liquid breakfast to get that done.

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After two iced caramel macciatos (sp?) I was ready to roll.

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Westbound

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I found myself following water again. You can see it in this picture off to the right of the road.

292107402 JcUFc O

I've found peace with water. It doesn't like to run along mountain ridges, so it tends to allow for twisty roads at lower elevation. It's a safe bet.

Not sure what's up with this FEMA area.

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Miles and miles of construction slowing me down.

292107493 n6Q5b O
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:38 PM   #53
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The state line was tangled up in this mess, and with state police sporadically placed to watch the flow of traffic, I didn't risk weaving through to the other side of the barrier for a picture. I ventured off the highway to escape the smell of fresh laid asphalt.

292107635 x8Mkv O

About an hour into the ride, my MP3 player decided to quit. It signaled low battery and turned itself off, but I was sure I'd charged it. I took it as a sign that I should be thinking more than singing today, so I left the earphones in to block the wind noise and motored on. I caught myself repeating some of my riding music over and over, but I got a good hour or two of thinking done as well.

No, you don't get THOSE details. As much as I share on this ride, there are things that nly I will know once it's over.

In the next town, I pulled over and swapped out to my "backup" MP3 player. It's shown it's age and has no LCD glass, but it plays music and I'm a creature of habit.

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Hills and valleys

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Expansive interstates

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With the late start, I'd almost forgotten to eat lunch. It was already well into the afternoon when I pulled off for gas and found Aungst's Family Restaurant.

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I've always found that restaurants with "family" in the name are worth stopping for, and this one was no exception.

I splurged on a loaded bacon cheeseburger and fries.

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When the waitress cleared my plate (yes, it was empty except for the pickles) and asked if I wanted dessert I instinctively said no. I did a double-take though and remembered that it was MY day, so I asked what my choices were.

292108020 Hqwfe O

If this place were closer to Texas, I'd say we need to have a pie run here!

A slice of peanut butter pie and a hot up of coffee were the perfect cap to a great meal.

292108056 ueRmS O
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:39 PM   #54
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Back on the road, the skies grew darker as I made my way across PA.

292108177 HSwKB O

As the drizzles began, I stowed the camera and started to make a plan for the night. If I could make it to Columbus, OH I had a friend I could stay with. The backup plan was a colleague of my mother's that lived outside Pittsburgh.

The rest areas along the interstates are much cleaner than I remember from my childhood. I stopped at this one to let some of that coffee out and to put the liner back in my jacket.

I was making good time on the highway when I realized I was nearing 200 miles on the current tank of gas. I'd been pretty good about refueling well before I needed to, so when the flashing beacon of stupidity blared at me for 15 miles I actually started to worry.

Thing is, I worried less about what I'd do if I ran out and more about how I'd never live it down with the Monday night crew... go figure...

292108274 yQu9V O

Turns out I still had a half gallon or so to spare.

I made the decision to head towards Darlington, PA where Salome (pronounced Sol-oh-may) would gladly accept me into her home for the evening. She rides a Harley with her husband and has been following my journey on my blog.

She warned me that they lived "in the boonies" and offered to come meet me in town and lead me back to the house, but the GPS said it knew how to get me there so I declined the offer and wound my way up the dark, wet hills and right into their driveway. As I rolled to a stop and put me feet down on the gravel, the garage door magically opened before my eyes and I nestled the soaking Strom in for the night.

Cheyenne said I could share her house as long as I pet her for a while.

292108313 pPACs O

After her husband Dennis went to bed, Salome and I stayed up for a while drinking coffee and talking before finally calling it a night. She offered to let me sleep in and leave when I felt like it or even stay another day to stay warm and dry, but I regretfully had to decline so I could (again) try to make up the miles getting back home.

Oh, how I long for the day I can hit the road and not have to "be" anywhere.

New York, Pennsylvania
363 miles

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Old 06-21-2008, 12:43 PM   #55
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Day 13
May 8th

Although Salome insisted, I declined to sleep in and spend the day being lazy around the house and avoiding the rain. She wanted to cook me breakfast, but I didn’t want her to go to too much trouble. I’d use the light hunger as incentive to get a hundred miles or so covered before stopping.

“Where ya goin? Can I come too?”

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The Strom packed and warming up, I said goodbye to Dennis’ Harley

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Salome, cute as a button (and not looking anything like the grandmother she is) in her high heels and works clothes helped me push the bike backwards out of the garage and onto the gravel. She handed me a pack of Pop Tarts and we said our goodbyes.

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The drizzle wasn’t bad, but the roads were slick and my visor was fogging horribly. I snuck into this parking lot, the first place I could find with an awning to duck under to properly dry the inside of the visor and get it on my head without rain getting back in.

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Sunshine?

Must be an old sign.

Reese’s 1830 Mercantile at the corner of PA 18 and PA 30. If you blink, you could miss it.

As I was clearing the visor and adding more soap in an effort to keep it clear, a gentleman came out to his car and asked where I was headed. The people up here in New England always seem amazed that I’m this far from home. He suggested I go inside for a breakfast sandwich and some coffee, and it sounded like a good idea. The banner near the door boasted free Wifi, so I’d try to get some pictures uploaded.

I have to say - this was THE best egg sandwich I’ve ever had. It wasn’t fried, either. Sliced hard boiled eggs, ham, cheese (maybe provolone?) and a pesto-type spread on crunchy, toasted bread. If you are ever near there, you simply MUST try one!

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Old 06-21-2008, 12:44 PM   #56
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After the relaxing break, I headed out towards the thin sliver of West Virginia that must be crossed to get from PA to OH.

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Rain and construction. I hate the combination.

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I decided to pull into a rest area to add my thermals to the multiple layers of clothes I had on.

The Eisenhower Highway. Interesting.

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License plate - check
Monkey - check
Helmet - dropped off the seat and rolled halfway through the parking lot and was almost run over by a minivan before I could get to it. Ugh.

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I made up more time by taking I70 towards Columbus, where a friend from Houston had moved a few years ago. Attempts to reach her on her cell phone to meet for lunch failed, so I dined alone at the McDonalds.

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Here I met Helen (who refused a picture), a state employee working on the road system that rides a Rebel 250. She asked about my luggage, my Camelbak, my GPS - she was absorbing all the details about how to make herself more of a distance rider. She also shared with me the fact that up ahead was a section of road called “suicide alley” - the tar snakes had been laid out of spec, and until they can be repaired motorcyclists should avoid the interchange between Interstates 70 & 71. Duly noted, I detoured south around loop 270.

A few miles shy of Cincinnati:

Quote:
Lucky 13? Well, that remains to be seen. I'm writing this while sitting on the floor in the lobby of an Ohio interstate rest area. Bathrooms to the left and right of me, a map on the wall with a pin indicating "you are here" and people coming and going; most looking at me like I'm a deranged idiot for being on a motorcycle.

Well, at the moment I'm NOT on a motorcycle. Like I said, I'm sitting on the floor. I found an outlet for the laptop so it can charge while I type just in case I get caught somewhere down the road without power.

And the reason I'm here on the floor typing instead of out there riding away the miles? The weather. I'm 20 or so miles northeast of Cincinnati and a line of storms is moving through the region. I can ride in the rain and I can ride in the cold. I can even ride in the cold rain. What I can't ride in (or rather WON'T ride in for the sake of my own well being) is the downpour that creates almost zero visibility. The rain from above, the road spray from below, fog rolling over each bridge I cross, trucks passing me at full speed, water running down the inside of my visor despite NOT lifting it for any reason, and of course the fogging in the visor that won't quit even when I hold my breath.

I called a friend and he says the worst is still to come. I asked if I had enough time ahead of the squall line to make it to a hotel, and it was recommended that I just stay put for an hour or so. I can't pick up a WiFi signal here (I wish I had one of those USB internet do-dads), so I'll have to trust him. He says after that moves through I'll be safe to resume my travels.
After the rain settled down, I headed back out and made my way into Indiana.

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The dark clouds remained behind me the rest of the day.

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The mighty Ohio River.

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Old 06-21-2008, 12:45 PM   #57
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I decided to ignore the GPS and follow the water once more. I was aiming for Louisville, KY for the night but I had a few hours of daylight left. I followed SR156, and signage indicated this was a “scenic byway”.

Rising Sun. There’s a big casino here, but there wasn’t time for gambling on anything but weather and roads.

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A few sections of roadway were visibly damaged in what appeared to be landslides. I’m not sure how often the river gets out of its banks, but with the pavement this close, it takes its toll.

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Switzerland County courthouse. I guess there was a large Swiss population that settled here.

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In Switzerland, I found this sign for SR56, which appeared to parallel SR56 up in the adjacent hills. I wasn’t about to try it, but some of you that are near there would probably enjoy it.

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Chasing the sun again, probably squinting age lines into my forehead for an hour or more.

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But worth it.

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I finally crossed over the river and into Kentucky.

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I made it back to the highway as it got dark. I prefer to be on major roadways after the sun sets.

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I got a room east of the city and settled in with a pizza to work on the ride report.

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Sadly, I fell asleep with the computer on my lap and gave up.

446 miles
Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky

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'03 VStrom 1k "Wilbur"
'98 XR400R "Templeton"
"Forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." -Kahlil Gibran
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:46 PM   #58
nutmegchoi
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Whoa, Becca.
If you ever come to my way, you and your bike will have a place to stay.
You know, Minnesota isn't that far from Canada! lol
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:48 PM   #59
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Day 14
May 9th

I woke up and prepared for another wet day in the saddle. The jacket liner had been in since day 2, I think. A quick email check and a glance at my ride reports revealed this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashstromer
Get yer to southern MO for SLAP.
Good 'ol Gordon. I met his sorry Strom-ridin in Big Bend during Ride the Rio a few months back, so he and I exchanged quick PMs and a phone call to aim me in the direction of the (now annual) ADV rally in Dawt Mill, MO.

I prepped the bike by wiping the lights, blinkers, and mirrors to remove the grime from the previous day. I gave the chain a good dousing of lubricant. It's filthy, but a quick inspection showed no kinks and the tension was still within acceptable limits.

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Someone had asked how I was carrying the SPoT tracker to maintain a view of the sky. It's stored in the small zippered pocket in the bag on my pannier. The bag isn't waterproof, but the SPoT is water resistant and within easy reach for OK check-ins at stops but out of sight when I'm away from the bike.

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I headed over another bridged state line, but stopped for a pic from the other side. This was the Ohio river, which I'd crossed yesterday as well.

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And the interstate. Again. They're a means to an end. At least out here, there's greenery and elevation to keep from getting too bored.

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Crossing Illinois, I ignored the GPS's desire to cut south and instead headed farther west on I64 towards Evansville. My stomach was growling and telling me to pull over, but a billboard for an Amish buffet had caught my eye. I'd hold out another 25 miles for it instead of defaulting to fast food again.

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The food was delicious. It had a very family-friendly feel to it, despite being a rather large store and commercial restaurant.

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With my full belly loaded back on the bike, I headed out and saw this:

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Odd as I am, I took this opportunity to lick the inside of my helmet because it was funny.

Only after doing so did I recall the sneezing fit I'd had inside my helmet the day before.

EEEEW!
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'03 VStrom 1k "Wilbur"
'98 XR400R "Templeton"
"Forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." -Kahlil Gibran
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:49 PM   #60
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Another photogenic bridge:

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With a state line on it:

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The bigger/beautiful sign was out of reach within construction on the other side of the crossing. It seems most of the midwest is being repaved this month. Yay.

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There was more sun calling to me up ahead:

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And clouds and wet weather hanging out to the rear:

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As I left the interstate, the twisty roads of Missouri showed themselves.

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In addition to being wonderful for riding, they are miserable for finding a safe spot to pull over to snap a picture or take a "break" without parking in the roadway.

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I found a driveway that, while gravel, was suitable for a quick park-n-pic.

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It was another race against the sun. I needed to make it to Dawt Mill before dark.

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I got there just as the overpacked beer-laden delivery car was arriving, so as any good ADVer does, I stood by watching and snapping pictures as the round keg was placed in the square box.

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Now that there's some ADV engineering for ya!

Gordon scrounged a spare bed for me to sleep in (thanks a million Ian & Jasmine!) and then introduced me to the natives.

Well, to one Native and a bunch of other guys n gals.

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Man get wood.

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Man make fire.

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Fire pretty and warm.

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Drunk coyote lays on box

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Not a good place to sleep. Beer is in box. Drunk coyote is moved.

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Tinks smiles pretty.

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Before I secured a bed, she was kind enough to offer up space in her tent with her and her hubby. She's awesome and I'm glad I finally got to meet her, Bonnie, KCD, and all the other fine folk out there at SLAP. Any long trip that can incorporate a rally on-the-fly is a good one.

Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri
487 miles

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__________________
Rebecca
'03 VStrom 1k "Wilbur"
'98 XR400R "Templeton"
"Forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." -Kahlil Gibran
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