Day Three by Dave Schultheis
Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - Colby, Kansas
Today is my birthday. Once again: big deal.
I slept comfortably, but between the flickering neon glow of the hair dryer, which I could not unplug (screwed to the wall) and the click-tick of water pipes in the wall, I was awake just after 5 a.m. Central Time. I never did determine what the clicks were, but considered that it could be a water heater controller or recirculating water pump switch, and that once I left, it would no longer be my problem.
I got up and dressed, packed and loaded the Road King. The exterior security lights were off when I first went outside, although it was still dark.
I was outta there at 6:05 a.m. Central Time and eastbound on Interstate 70. It was cold, and even though the sun was rising, my breath was visible at times.
I stopped for a Gove County photo, then for a Quinter KS photo, then stopped in Hays KS for photo at 8:05 a.m. Following directions I had seen on a freeway sign, I found Doerfler's Harley-Davidson's old building, with a sign on the door. They were moving, and the new location would not be open for another few days, so they missed the chance to sell me something from their bargain table.
On the way back to the freeway I saw a sign on a Walgreens saying 50 degrees F. I stopped at a Texaco Station for fuel, then headed east on I-70 for a while longer.
A little after 9:00 a.m. I pulled into a McDonald's at Russell KS, hoping to find Senator Bob Dole having coffee, but he was not among the large group of seniors that were there. I did, however, talk to a couple on an H-D in the parking lot who were enroute home after participating in part of the Run For The Wall; they had to get back to work.
A couple hours later I stopped at Harley-Davidson of Salina, which is also a Honda dealer. Nice place, but nothing special.
I took a picture of the directional sign that said "KHP training academy," referring to the Kansas Highway Patrol. It's humorous because my amateur radio call sign is WB6KHP and some folks have used "Kansas Highway Patrol" as phonetics for it.
A while later, a surprise. A little cough, a little sputter, and I was out of gas at 178 miles on the tank, so I quickly took exit 333 near McFarland KS and pulled safely to the side. I added 22 ounces of spare gasoline from my REI fuel bottle, then found a Texaco Station at exit 338, near Paxico KS, where I filled the tank (5.3 gallons!) and the bottle (another 22 ounces).
It could have been worse, and has been on previous trips, where I waited at the side of the road for a long time. I highly recommend a spare fuel bottle (metal) when touring.
The local patrol car on duty circled the gas station a couple of times, evidently observing to see if I would do anything illegal, and when I not, he or she went on about his or her business.
Back on the highway, I took the first Topeka exit and stopped in the shade by a convenience store to check the map and have another sip or two of Mountain Dew. A couple of guys in a Water Pollution Control truck were kind enough to give me directions to the nearest AAA office at 6th and Gage, across from a memorial park ("cemetery"). I was able to get whatever maps I wanted, but the clerk wrote down my AAA card number and all the maps she gave me. I don't recall this happening before.
Interstate 70 became the Kansas Turnpike, and I had to stop to pick up a ticket, rode a while, then had to stop again and pay $1.85, then continued back onto just plain Interstate 70. I was amused because there are no toll roads in my part of California, except bridges, and I usually go the "other" way when possible.
At about 3 p.m. I stopped at the Kansas Travel Information Center, which doubles as the gift shop for the Kansas Speedway next door. They gave me both a KS map and a MO map, as I would be in Missouri in a few miles. It was quite warm outside as I called home on the cellular phone to check in.
Forty minutes later I crossed the Missouri River into the state of Missouri. It was not possible to stop on the bridge for a picture, but the Missouri Welcome Center was not far, so I stopped there for pictures in warm temperatures. I took exit 12 and stopped at Wendy's in Independence MO for a Frosty and a map check.
Another 80 miles down the highway I stopped at Betty's Convenience Store and Texaco Station outside Sweet Springs, MO for fuel.
After crossing the Missouri River again, I pulled into Mid-America Harley-Davidson in Columbia MO about 5:15 p.m., found a nice shirt on the bargain table, and talked briefly with the clerk, who was planning a visit to the San Francisco area. I gave her what advice I could, then continued.
Shortly before 7 p.m. I pulled into a rest stop not far from the MO/IL border. It was cool and comfortable but I was very sore from the long day of riding. I called Michael's Swiss Inn, in Highland IL, where I'd stayed before. The employee expressed surprise that I thought I could make it there from so far away (over 80 miles), but said they had rooms available, so I kept going.
It was somewhere around here, and I'm not really sure where, that I saw a lighted, overhead sign that said "Share the road, watch for motorcycles." I was impressed.
Eastbound I-70, eastbound MO Highway 370, eastbound Interstate 270, across the Missouri River again, into Hazelwood for a stop at a Texaco Station, across the Mississippi River and into Illinois at 8:10 p.m. I took two pictures, one with flash and one without, hoping that at least one would come out.
I rode east on I-70, then took exit 24 onto IL Highway 143, into the bustling metropolis of Highland. They've added a new Wal-Mart at the north end of town, along with other businesses. Buzzy's Diner is still there, near the railroad tracks.
I pulled into Michael's Swiss Inn at 8:45 p.m. When the office is closed, you have to go next door and see the bartender, so I did, and he checked me in. I went into the restaurant, but they've changed the menu and raised the prices, and there is no more walleye, so I did not eat there.
Instead I backtracked a few blocks to the Motormart for milk and Mountain Dew for the morning, then parked the Road King in front of Room 137. It's on the ground floor, 2nd room from the end of the building, with nobody in that last room, so I didn't think anybody would be inconvenienced.
The room was very fancy, with nice carpeting and other appointments, two queen beds, and extra blankets on the shelf. I was amused that there was a desk, but no chair, so I made do with what I had.
My friend Glenn called on the cel-phone, then I checked messages, watched some of the country music awards, made some notes, checked the maps for tomorrow, took a shower, watched a little of The Late Show (an hour earlier than at home), then went to bed after 10:45 p.m. Central Time.
Another day of starting in one state, riding completely through another, and ending the day in a third. KS, MO, IL.
Miles for the day = 665. Miles for the trip = 2202.
Tomorrow: an"X" city, an oil & filter change, and the longest day yet.