Rockies 2007

Day 02

June 15

  Realizing the heat ain't gonna get any better till I get to higher altitudes, I get up before dark. It's nice and quiet and I move quickly to get out of Dodge. As I get out into the country, the mist is rising from the fields like a man pulling back the covers of his bed. Soon I come to the crossing of the mighty Mississippi just as the day breaks.  
  When I've got a lot of miles to cover like I do today, I tank up at breakfast and then it's cokes and nuts the rest of the day until supper. I usually go for what I call a 'safe' place to eat, usually a chain that I'm familiar with like Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, Perkins or IHOP. Lesser chance of getting something that might cause a problem with the stomach later on. This morning as I get into Blue Springs, MO I see the signs for a Bob Evans so that's the breakfast choice for me. Their food is pretty consistent and pretty good so the choice is easy. I like their omelets, which is the breakfast I prefer when I'm traveling.  
  As I walk outside, I notice a boat trailer in the parking lot that has a set of my company's fenders on it. I take a shot so I can show the workers back at the office how all that metal they fool with all day ends up. People tend to take pride in what they do when they see it in use, and hopefully this will be an encouragement to them.  
  The route today is pretty simple - I70 to I29 to I90, nothing more dramatic than that. I've made this run before, so I know about where I need to stop for fuel. Once again, I wish that I had the time to do backroads instead, but I need to be where I need to be and this is way that it will happen. Fortunately, a major portion of most interstates out here run through the open countryside so the scenery is not bad. I am always amazed when I am in the Midwest how the fields just stretch on and on til they reach the horizon. Me, I need a high spot I can climb up on and look out, but I know that's not for everybody.  

At one gas stop I make, there's an elderly man and I can tell that this is career number 2 for him. He's struggling with the register and stuff but he's trying real hard. He apologizes for the delay. I tell him -

"Don't worry about it. Everybody's got to learn and today is your day. At least you're out here working when a bunch of folks are sitting home on their do-nothings."

This seems to encourage him and he finally gets it right.

He asks me -

"What's the big difference between a Harley and a Honda? They're both motorcycles."

I figure this one can end in metaphysics, so I tell him -

"Well, that's a really good question. I like Hondas because I do a lot of cross-country trips and want something really reliable."

He seems to get my drift and the conversation sort of ends there. I get back after it and as I approach Sioux Falls and the I90 interchange, it's closed due to construction. In my head I tell myself with a slight grumble -

"Well I wonder how long this is gonna take."

Fortunately, there's not a lot of traffic and the detour is well marked. So I get a few unintentional miles on some South Dakota backroads anyway. Soon I'm back on I90, knowing I've still got a little over 300 miles to Rapid City and the Black Hills. As get into the Black Hills, I can't help but admire their rolling heights and valleys. They're not as tall as where I grew up, the effect is the same and I like it. I finally arrive at my stopping point for the evening, a Motel 6 in Rapid City. It's been a long day and I've got 960 miles under my belt in this one sitting. As I've said before, I know when I come out this way, there's just gonna be days like this that you just suck it up and go on. But it's either that or never get anywhere, because Tennessee is a long way from here. After that many miles, I like a good walk to get my joints working and my blood flowing. There's a Perkins at a bit of a walkable distance, so that's got supper covered for the evening. The temperature is cooler up here, so I really enjoy the walk to and from the restaurant. I'm really looking forward to the next day's riding - finally getting to go over Beartooth Pass after all of these years and spending a little time in Yellowstone, my favorite national park. With these thoughts floating in my tired head, I drift off into a peaceful slumber, anticipating the joys and adventures I'll encounter before the sun sets tomorrow.