Day Sixteen by Dave Schultheis
Monday, June 4, 2001 - Jefferson City, Missouri
I awoke about 5:30 a.m. to thunder and lightning. I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Ahhh, Missouri in June," but that's not what I was thinking at the time.
The Weather Channel agreed: there would be rain that morning.
I got up at 6:35 a.m. Do I need to say "there was still no heat"?
I packed my stuff, loaded the bike and rode over to the office to check out about 7:15 a.m. The clerk gave me a coupon for a free breakfast at the restaurant next door. I can't quite remember what I told him, but it might have been distantly related to sunshine or the lack thereof.
I continued riding west on U.S. 50. Rain. Rain. Rain.
About 9 a.m. I stopped for fuel in Sedalia, MO. As I continued west, there was less and less rain.
I pulled over in Knob Noster, MO for a "K" picture. It wasn't raining but the roads were still wet. I stopped at a little store for some juice and warmth, then pressed on westbound.
At 10:38 a.m. I pulled into a Hardee's in Lee's Summit, MO. I had been passing Hardee's restaurants for several days but had not stopped at any of them. It was about time to find out it they make a good product, since we don't have Hardee's where I live.
As it turned out, one of the employees saw my "San Jose" patch and mentioned that he was from Sacramento and wanted to go back home. He couldn't stand the humidity in Missouri. I wished him well, ate my turkey sandwich and drank my beverage.
As I got back onto the bike, there was no rain, but it was cold and of course the roads were still wet.
When I was nearly out of Missouri, I thought about taking a detour to visit the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City, but it was on the north end of town and I was wet and it was a long way, and I was tired and ... I chose not to visit the plant this time. Okay, so I'm a wus. I have to leave something to do on my next trip!
I crossed the Kansas state line, got a picture, and then followed the signs to the Kansas Travel Center just off Interstate 35. I was in the Overland Park - Kansas City, KS area. I must have been just blocks from my insurance company's claims office, and would have dearly loved to walk (squish) into their office and hand them the damage photos, but I did not make that visit, either.
I picked up a map at the Travel Center, then got back on the freeway and continued west on Hy 50, which was kinda south or southwest on Interstate 35. There was no rain but plenty of wind.
I stopped at a rest stop, then continued, then fueled at Beto Junction about 1:40 p.m. There were lots of clouds, along with some sunshine, and it was still windy.
About 3:20 p.m. I pulled into a small gas station in Walton, KS. There was bright sunshine with the wind and the roads were dry. I got a photograph of the Walton water tower and watched a little boy ride his scooter near me, but not too near. It looked like he wanted to see the motorcycle but was too shy to ask.
I was lucky enough to see a BNSF (Burlington Northern - Santa Fe) train go by and got a picture of it.
About an hour later I pulled into a place called Great Plains Honda Yamaha in South Hutchinson, KS. My smoked shield was really hard to see through, but they didn't have a replacement. However, they did give me directions to the Quality Inn in downtown Hutchinson, just a couple miles down the road. There was bright sunshine and it was warm and humid as I rode down there.
I found the Quality Inn on West Fourth Street and went into the office a little before 5 p.m. A cheerful young woman named Rae was on duty, and she set me up in a non-smoking King size room at the Queen size rate. I can't remember exactly how it came up in the conversation, but she mentioned that she was kinda hungry.
I went over to Room 121 and put my stuff inside. It was about time to do some laundry, so I walked across the parking lot to the laundry room and tried to run a load. The washing machine was malfunctioning and took forever to fill. There was nothing I could do, so I just kept walking back and forth to check on my clothes.
Meanwhile I called a local pizza place and they delivered. Since my momma didn't raise no fool, I took two pieces of pizza down to the office and thanked Rae for putting me in such a nice room.
Out in the parking lot, at the swimming pool, a saw a handful of men gathering, but they were fully dressed and I couldn't quite figure out what they were doing. I was able to walk by non-chalantly on the way back and forth from the room to the laundry room. They were running their radio-controlled boats in the pool. There's nothing wrong with that, it just seemed a little strange. But to each his own.
Eventually I was able to get my laundry done, although it seemed to take forever. Then it started raining again. I was glad I was off the highway.
By this time, you know the routine: watch CNN, take a shower, watch a little more television, go to bed.
Miles for the day = 364.
Rainy miles for the day = far too many.
Miles for the trip = 5392.
Nice people I met today = several.
Tomorrow: Will it rain forever, or does it just seem that way?