For any of you that know football or have watched American Gladiators on the telly, there is a thing in both called The Gauntlet. It usually involves a runner attempting to get from point A to point B. While on his merry way he is met mightily from one or both sides by blows from opposing forces designed to rend his head from atop his ever-lovin’ neck.
This was my journey through Kansas. Keeping my skull attached and my bike from entering oncoming traffic thanks to the breeze coming North from the plains. It whips quite wickedly, especially once the hills start. I happened to latch on to two other riders pretty early and until Topeka I was able to judge when the gusts would hit by watching the lead rider hunch down and lean at almost a 45 degree into the blast. You’d think that having I70 cut down into the hills a bit would be better. And you’d be wrong. It just means that the wind swirls around and hits you from the other side. Gauntlet, baby, at 80 mph.
Last night I gave over to some route alterations. I meant, meant, to go 70e – 75s – 50e to Binder State Park for some camping. Part of the reason for the change is that even before I left I was feeling a little nancy about always staying at KOA campgrounds. They are well maintained, corporate versions of down and dirty camping. And they spell everything with a “k” instead of a “c”. That’s just plain stoopid. The other part of the change is that I had stumbled on a website that mentioned SR 19 as being an incredible motorcycle ride. It’s slightly on the way. I’m in. So, Binder State Park outside of Jefferson City it was.
It wasn’t a problem when I missed 75s. I hooked up with something else and headed west to Lawrence. Lawrence has a fantastic cooperative food store on the scale of a Whole Foods. I see Co-ops like this and it gives me hope for our Reno venture. Especially when I see that those that are most enviable are much older than ours. Lawrence’s is over 30 years old. I picked up some lunch there as well as what I hope to be better mozzie deterrent. Even for ones that speak a foreign language.
I darted down 59s to hook up with 56e and make my way to 50e and straight on to Binder Lake. It was dreamy how well the directions on my iPhone were. Unfortunately, it didn’t tell me that the campground would be full. Stoopid iPhone. That’s why we call for reservations, no? Looking on the map showed a couple of campgrounds on the other side of JC. One has no tent sites, only RV pull throughs (Well, then. You can’t really call yourself a campground, can you?). The other closes it office at 1(WTF?) but they’d meet me at the office in 40 if I wanted it. I did. But I missed the turn. And more often than not, I hate to turn around. So, I stopped in Lipton at the Lipton Motel because I don’t think I can go any farther. But they just switched to apartments and don’t rent rooms for the night.
What is the question that comes to my mind immediately? Where is the nearest KOA? Stanton, MO. Google says it’s 2 hours from where I am at the moment – Lipton, whose prominent feature is, well, featured in the only photo today. Was this a sign? Ask again later. On I go east: route 50. And now the road becomes exquisite. Beautiful country lines the two laner. Cows, horses and green, green, green. I love it. This is what motorcycles are made for. And I see loads of ‘em. All the way to Sullivan, MO I’m grinning. I stop in Sullivan to double check directions, listen to the kids screaming on the rides at the fair 200 yards away and grab a few bites of a snack before jumping on 44e for a few moments to get closer to the KOA.
At the Stanton, MO KOA the campground is noisy with frogs. And they sell local Missouri wine. I’m currently more than half a bottle into a 2005 Cynthiana(?) from St. James Winery in St. James, MO. It’s nice. I’m done.
End of day 22,722. 440 miles today. My arse can usually take only about 320 in that saddle.
I asked the gas station girl what this meant. She said "Try again later."