NE TN to KC MO, summer of ’08
Riding from Johnson City Tn. to Kansas City MO.
The ride was fairly uneventful, of course there are some Small adjustments that had to be made, but…after a thousand miles, I can honestly say I hadn’t had any problems with inattentive drivers, or with drivers who just didn’t give a rats ass. I rarely do though once on the road proper. In fact, it’s rare I have problems with bad drivers….once in a blue moon. How often do they come around anyway?
Jumping on I-81 and heading west towards Nashville….by the time I got to Knoxville I was bored out of my mind. I stopped and consulted the map for an alternate route north for my foray into KY. It was the interstate I-75 turn to bore me to death now….that continued until I got to the state line of KY.
I pulled off the road into a truck stop in KY, sat down to consult the map once more, when I realized the weather channel was on TV. I heard them talking about Indiana. WHAT was that about FLOODING? OH yeah they were talking about the INDY area…that’s where I was heading to get to 2-Guns and Clem and Peaches….I-70 Closed…I-65 closed…due to flooding. Both roads were instrumental for me getting to as well as away from the INDY area. I look at my cell phone and there was a call from Peaches…yuppers, she verifies the storms in that area and suggests I try getting there another time…GOOD IDEA! I go to call My friend 2GUNS and realize, I must have had another blond moment before I left; because when I programed his phone number into my phone, it didn’t take…no 2Guns in my phone book. OPPS…sorry guy!
SOOOO….I go back to the atlas…and check out other routes for Kansas City MO. I’m bored off my rocker with the Interstate systems…looking for some good local twisty roads that will get me off the four lanes and onto some good state and county maintained roads. I found em! I jumped on 25 North for about 18 miles until it intersected with KY-92 West. Cool move there slick…nice road, two lane, well maintained, a few nice twists…nothing drastic….it even came with a few farm tractors, taking to the road as they moved from one field to another… I loved it!
Most all the farmers were out cutting hay that Sat. morning and the smell of freshly cut grass, (much different than lawn mowing cut grass smell) was in the air…I fell in love with the small farming towns I passed through in KY…
It appears to be legal to smoke in some public buildings! It was 94 degrees in the shade and I was dehydrating quickly. I wanted a smoke and some Ice Tea….I was looking desperately for a bar so I could smoke and enjoy my ice tea with air conditioning….none to be had in small town KY….so I stopped at a little country store that had a gas station. I went inside and my nostrils were assaulted with that ghastly smell of stale cigarette smoke! How wonderful? There was a small dining area and there were ASHTRAYS at every table! YEAH! So I retrieved a tall water from the coolers, paid for it, sat at a table and lit up a smoke.
As I was settling in, I noticed a small boy watching me. After a time his Dad noticed me as well and started talking to me… good guy …not real talkative, but just enough to break up the boredom for both of us. I was wearing my leather chaps…they are oil soaked on the left leg….and bug encrusted on both legs…the kid was fascinated with the bugs…he kept telling me about this dragon fly or that small unidentifiable mess that was on this leg or the other… I find travels and kids to be of small wonders!
Well, time to move on….KY-92 eventually joined up with KY-90 West, and I moved on that road for about 15 miles until I found the Cumberland Highway. I found myself heading west once again. This turned out to be another interstate type road, but time was getting on and I needed to make some tracks towards I-65 North.
It was all quite uneventful…nothing of particular interest to stop and photograph…so I just kept heading north from Bowling Green on I-65 until I hit Louisville in KY. There I picked up I-64 West…taking that into ST. LOUIS.
I stopped and stayed the night after crossing into Indiana. I was beat up by the sun, the heat, and the road. It was 7.30 PM and I was just looking for that air conditioned comfort and a gallon of Ice Tea. I found both at the Super Eight that night…my room even had a Jacuzzi in it. I had a good night, and sleep fitfully until 2 am….where I wondered through the halls looking for the stupid snack machine…I found it on the main floor, in my PJ’s….where one could buy a regular sized candy bar for 1.50 cents….YOUR SHITTIN me right? I needed a chocolate fix…I paid for the fricken candy bar…stupid!
Finally fell asleep at five am…woke again at 7.30. Went down stairs for continental breakfast…went back upstairs and grabbed all my gear. Got packed and back on the road by 9.15.
Another uneventful day on the road, I hit ST.LOUIS in a bored way…I couldn’t believe it…there was no fricken traffic on the highway…none! It was heaven…if I wasn’t on an interstate in ST. LOUIS…it runs through the poorest parts of that town, and ya really don’t wanna stop there for a breakdown or anything…so keep on trucking though old girl…keep on trucking through.
I’ve spent some time in ST.LOUIS before, so stopping there didn’t quite blow my dress up…moving along the interstate 64 You can watch the great ARCH of the Gateway to the West come into sharp focus on your left…it’s a true wonder of the modern world. I recommend stopping in to visit if you’ve never seen it up close before. Yes It’s worth braving downtown ST. Louis for…better at night though!
After leaving ST. Louis, the Interstate merges with I-70 west and you travel the rest of the trip into Kansas City on that Interstate.Once again, moving along that road wasn’t bad, there was light traffic all the way. I could see the Missouri River flooding over it’s banks as I passed above it and around it in several areas, as well as all the other local and smaller waterways. I’m so glad I don’t live here…I hate floods.
I’m now 50 miles east of Kansas City, and I call my daughter for directions into her house. No I’ve never been here before. She hands the phone over to her husband…my daughter gets lost trying to get her hand out of a paper bag….good thing she has this good man to get her around KC.
I get the directions, then I get a warning…more rain. Severe threats they say…I look in the general direction….I don’t see nuthin….keep on moving on!
OK, I’m in Kansas and the skies look real bad…nasty black roiling clouds above me, the temps have dipped a bit…I’m just crossing fingers hoping I will get to my daughter’s house before the rain comes down.
NOPE…get on the 435 by pass and down comes the rain, the temps dropped even more…it was cold as shit. No problem…really, I like riding in the rain. Oh no….now come the winds. I’m riding on grooved cement….rain, wind, and grooved cement make for lethal combinations. I kept riding…then I came across a bridge and the crosswinds were the nastiest things I have ever encountered. I have encountered what I thought were severe cross winds before, after all, I’ve traveled throughout the West, over mountain passes and gorges but this scared me.
I could feel the tires of my bike losing contact with the slippery road surface as the bike and I drifted over towards the wall of the bridge…we drifted over a full lane and a half! 2 Feet from the wall…I was shitting myself by that time…couldn’t wait to get off the bridge and find an exit….whew…there”s one…hey, it says there are casinos here! Whoo hoo! I don’t gamble, but I know they have good security in their garages, I can unpack my shit, call my daughter to come get me…lock the bike, and leave it there for the evening, which is what I did.
I slept like a baby that night…felt good to lie down….
Now I wonder what’s gonna happen next?