Rockies 2007

Day 01

June 14


I'm really looking forward to this ride for several reasons. One, I will be able to finish the lower 48 states on the SweetTreat and have that behind me. Two, I'll hopefully get to ride the Beartooth Pass, the Lolo Pass, and the Million Dollar highway. I'm leaving from work on this trip, so things don't sort out quite like I hope. As always in the computer business, something seems to break just before I walk out the door. I finally get the deck cleared, but I get away an hour later than I planned. It is blazing hot in the bowl of Nashville which makes for some pretty serious sweating on my part, even wearing my FirstGear mesh riding suit. But soon I get out of the bowl and the temperatures cool off just a bit. My first gas stop at a little convenience market just off the slab at Vienna.


A couple of teenagers are running the place and I can tell they're about as enthusiastic as a man facing his first and only hanging. One of them wanders outside to fill his lungs with noxious fumes. He starts with the usual line when someone sees me in my full riding gear -

"Man, aren't you hot in that suit?"

"No, it's not as bad as it looks. It's mostly mesh and really lets the air through once you get moving."

I don't figure I'll waste my breath explaining why I'm wearing it.

"I'm headed up to the northwest to Montana and Wyoming, then back down to spend some time in Colorado riding."

He has this really blank look on his face and says


"I reckon it beats working most days. You ought to try it some day" I say with a grin.

I finish up my coke and cashews and head on back out to the concrete cooker. The heat just wrings you out like a sponge because the humidity is so high. If you're not careful, you can dehydrate yourself from just sweating profusely. The sweat doesn't evaporate because of the humidity so you don't get the cooling effect. And it can happen before you know it, so you've got to be careful riding in these conditions. I'm thankful that the sun begins to sink and the temperatures go down with it. As it goes behind a cloud, it makes for a beautiful sunset.

  The meeting of I55, I64, and I70 is real malfunction junction as you get into St. Louis so I decide to try a little different route. I head north on a feeder expressway, but unfortunately I turn west too soon and still end up going through the mess. It's a series of ramps that merge and converge and go through underpasses in a short distance - just the kind of place a feller on a bike can get squeezed into the side wall or squashed between two semis. Before I make my attack, I get a good picture of the Arch for my trouble.  
  Once again, I thread the eye of the needle and come out on the other side unscathed. As I cross the Missouri River I manage to squeeze off a shot of the twin bridges on the move.  

I find my exit in St. Charles and make my way to the Motel 6 that I've picked for the evening. I notice across the road is a large shopping mall and something must be happening, judging by all the people and the traffic. As I check in, I ask the lady behind the desk -

"What's up with all the folks across the street?"

She tells me -

"Oh, they're having a rock concert over there this evening. Where are you headed?"

"Well, tomorrow night I plan on being in Rapid City, South Dakota then Butte, Montana, then Oregon then back to Colorado for a few days."

Her jaw just about bounces off the counter.

"Rapid City is a long way from here" she says in disbelief.

"Yes ma'am, I reckon at little over 900 miles and some change" I tell her.

"But it's where I need to be and it ain't my first rodeo."

She finishes checking me in, just shaking her head. I pull up to my room and unload the SweetTreat. The concert is in full swing now and as we used say in the music business -

"If you can't be good, be loud."

And they are loud. I figure with the crowds, I'll just hit the snack machine in the motel rather than try to walk somewhere for supper. It's just been 360 miles for the day, but I'm hot, tired and pretty wrung out. Tonight It won't take much to satisfy these weary bones as far as grub goes. Fortunately, the machines are pretty well stocked, so I grab some junk and go back to my room. I get the AC up on full tilt, dispose of the munchies and a coke quickly, then lay down to rest my weary bones. The racket across the street is so loud that I finally put in my earplugs so I can doze off to a fitful sleep. Tomorrow will be a long day and I will need all the sleep that I can get.