California 2016

Day 01

June 18

  I got to bed early last night, but I did not sleep solid. I know better than to leave 'sleepy', so I try to squeeze in a few more winks. SweetTreat is ready to roll when I am.  
  We get out of the Holler about good day light after a quick breakfast. I24 is pretty deserted this morning which is okay by me.  
  For the first few hours it's just me and my shadow rolling along.  
  I don't know how many times I've followed this part of the route that I call the 'River Route'.  

A barge is slowly moving it's load up the Tennessee to destinations unknown. As I make my next gas stop, I notice an SUV pull in with a USMC sticker on the back window. When the gentleman gets out, I tip my USMC hat and say -

"I like that sticker on your back window."

He stops for a minute then says with a grin "Semper Fi to you."

As is usually the case with Marines, the first question is when were you in and what boot camp you went through. It's an inside joke as those that went through San Diego instead of Parris Island are called 'Hollywood Marines' since it's out on the West Coast. We swap a few tales from those days then he tells me -

"One day in mess hall there is this private being real belligerent. The DIs pull him out of line, shoot him and throw his body in the dumpster. We all think at that point - How do we get out of here? It was quite a few weeks later when we see the guy again and realized he is a Drill Instructor too and the whole thing was faked."

I shared with him the day I saw one of my platoon members hauled off in a straight jacket when he cracked up.

"If you've never seem them put a feller in one of those, it's pretty interesting" I tell him.

But we both have places to be, so we wish each other well and then get back on the road.

  I wave at my buddy Superman as I pass Metropolis, his home town. This Superman is the old Superman that does not have a fight to pick with Batman. He comes from the days when the heroes were well defined and the enemies were well known.  
  Soon I'm in my first construction zone but not the last one for the day. And today will be a busy day for the state troopers as they are out in force in every state I cross.  
  A few years ago I decided that going straight through St. Louis was not conducive to my general motorcycle well-being with the crazy traffic patterns near the Arch. So I take a I255/I270 around the city which only adds about ten miles and subtracts a lot of vehicle induced stress. As I cross the Mississippi River, I always admire this neat railroad bridge.  
  I'll see some 'natural' dust devils on this trip farther out West, but this one is of man's making - assuming a man is driving the pickup truck.  
  Approaching Kansas City, I'm amazed at number of tracks that converge in this rail yard.  
  Due the current dryness, lots of sprinklers are running today. Some days if you catch it just right you can see little rainbows off the end of the sprinklers. As the temps rise, it sort of makes me want to pull off and run under them like we did with a hose pipe when I was a kid. Sometimes we got really adventurous and collected water in a number 5 washtub. Then we'd take turns dumping on each other from a second story stoop - sort of a poor man's waterfall.  
  It's been a warm 800+ miles today so I am glad when I see this water tank, knowing the motel is right nearby.  
  Then I see this sign and I know air conditioning is on the way in copious amounts.  
  Check in is easy enough and when I get to the room, I set the unit to the 'cold enough to hang meat' setting. After a nice cold shower, I wander across the road and pay a visit to the 'Colonel' to get some chicken. I bring it back to the room and have a nice little feast in the cold air. I tend to a little business then I pillow my head knowing tomorrow will be another long day. But a long day on the road is still better than a short day at work.