Mexico, MO to Quinter, KS, August 30th

I thought Kansas would be more flat. The western half of the state was rolling hills with a lot of character, striated layers of sandstone and sedimentary rock where blasting exposed the interior. The ride down to route 70 and to Kansas City was uneventful, and the only traffic I experienced was mild congestion around the twisty highway right around KC itself. Beyond that were the rolling hills with 70 gradually climbing in elevation.

Once past the midpoint of Kansas things flattened out, and I began to see the acres and acres of farmland I expected. I drove by lots of americana including signs for the OZ museum and many signs touting things like “live 6-legged calf!” and “200 pound spider!” I didn’t stop, and probably won’t bother to see the “60 pound world’s largest prairie-dog” tomorrow when I pass that, either.

Traffic was light after KC, and became nearly nonexistent as my bike ate up the miles west. I ended up doing about 530 miles before stopping in Quinter about 100 miles from the CO border. I rented a cheap (but really nice!!) motel room in Quintas to rest up for the leg into Colorado.

About 100 miles past the CO border I’ll be leaving route 70 behind and dropping to a smaller highway. I’ll follow route 24 to Colorado Springs and then Montrose. Since my next goal is Montrose instead of Denver, I’m going to bypass 70 from Limon, CO on.

I believe Montrose is about 600 miles from Quintas, though I don’t have internet at the moment, so I cannot look it up 🙂 I might do the whole distance tomorrow, but if 24 is a slower route then that will not happen, and I’ll stop somewhere in CO before reaching Montrose and the Million Dollar Highway. Perhaps Buena Vista? Or maybe I’ll camp tomorrow night in the Pike National Forest.

I’m ahead of schedule, and need to find a laundromat too, so perhaps I’ll find a cafe with internet next to a laundromat 🙂

That’s all for now!

Michigan Pix

A couple of pictures my uncle Wally took while I was in Alma visiting.

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Soon after I arrived; this is my aunt Gwyneth.

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Also Gwyneth – she is checking out a neurofeedback system I brought with me. Yup, I’m a brain geek.
Actually, both Gwyn and Wally are neuroscientists who teach at Alma College in Michigan, so it’s not too weird that she was checking this out.

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I think this was taken in the morning, after I was all packed up to leave. Bleared-eyed look to the contrary, I was reasonably well rested and had been stuffed full of aunt Gwyn’s great chow the night before. It was a real treat to see them, and Michigan is interesting country – lots of midwest-type farmland but with trees 🙂

Alma, Michigan to Mexico, Missouri, August 29th

Another long day – although this one was surprisingly easy.

I went a total of 625 miles today, starting from Alma, MI and driving down by Chicago to route 80, west and then south, eventually getting off the highway in IL and doing about 100 miles of IL and Missouri along “highway” 54, which is a 2 lane road passing through rolling farmlands.

This was some of the most beautiful riding I’ve done yet this trip, out of my approximately 1600 miles so far.

Along 54 I crossed the Mississippi river, and took some pictures:

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views to the north (left) and south (right) of the Mississippi River

Once in Missouri the rolling farmlands continued, and I took some more pictures:

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these were taken along US HWY 54, Vandalia, MO

I stopped in Mexico, MO for the night, although I could have probably done another couple of hundred miles. That being said, the Holiday Inn bed and hot shower were greatly appreciated! Also, if I had kept driving into the night then Tuesday would have been a wash, as I would have slept in, and late afternoon driving into the sun is no fun.

So, almost to Route 70 and only 750 miles to Colorado Springs before I start winding my way down through Four Corners.

After doing some tech support for people in FL on tuesday morning, I’m just about to head out again at 9am. Kansas, here I come!

Niagara Falls, Ontario to Alma, Michigan, August 28th

Just a short post for now – it’s late 🙂

I had a great time on my first full day of traveling alone. I headed west from the Falls though Ontario – a couple of hundred miles of beautiful rolling farmland, then over the bridge back into the USA and up to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Alma, Michigan. Didn’t get asked for an ID returning to the US either.

To bed now – leaving for Springfield, IL tomorrow!

Chesterfield, MA to Niagara Falls, Ontario, August 27th

Whew. First full day of driving is behind us. Sean and I handled it like a pro – right around 400 miles once adding in the meanderings that took us down Rt 9, through Dalton and Pittsfield, and then across into Canaan, NY. The bikes handled great, we learned of the importance of earplugs (badly seated earplugs and and hour of loud wind made my ears ring for about half an hour) and eventually we crossed the border into Canada. The border guard wanted to know where I was born, where the bike was registered, the plate number, how long I was going to be in Cananda, etc., but never asked me for any ID. Maybe she felt bad because I didn’t know my plate number and had to get off to look.

Sean, who was 2 vehicles behind me, was asked the same questions, but did have to show his license. He didn’t know his plate number either, but just pulled forward a few feet so the border guard could look for herself.

Here is proof that we actually made it to Canada.

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We spent half an hour oohing and aahing over the falls, but the touristy-ness was kinda boring, so after grabbing dinner (halfway good burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe) we went to find a place to sleep. Leaving the cafe we found it was raining, so getting a dry spot to sleep was key at this point.

We had been warned by an info booth staffer in a plaza on Route 90 that the motel prices on the Canadian side of the falls were outrageous, so Sean and I drove out of the tourist trap in search of a divey motel. A few blocks from the falls we found this lovely place – $45 a night for a 10×10 room with 2 beds, that didn’t smell too bad once we closed the bathroom door. Here is Sean in repose, resigning himself to the teeny tiny room.

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This pic is taken from outside the door to the room.

As it turns out one of my bike bags isn’t waterproof – so the motel room is now hung with lots of things to dry.
I must say, it does improve the room!

Tomorrow – to Michigan.

On my way, August 26th, 2005

It’s been too many days of sorting and tossing things out, but now I’ve reached some semblance of completeness. My room is fully empty and swept, random crap has been pulled out from where it accumulated and dealt with, and I’ve only left my dad a moderate amount of things to deal with in terms of dump and salvation army trips. He was kind enough to offer to deal with the last minute shlepping.

So, now it begins – several days crossing the country with adventures ahead of me before I arrive in Los Angeles.
For anyone who has not see it, here is my baby:

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And here it is all packed up – check it out.
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This is my first attempt to put everything on the bike; I’m sure I’ll find ways to arrange it better as I go.

That’s all for now – I’m off!

Westport, MA to Chesterfield, MA, August 26th

A long day of driving. What was supposed to be a quick trip out to spend a final night with Martin and Asherah turned into a longer trip than I expected.
I first had to go to Marlborough, as that EMS was the only one in New England that had a “Pacsafe” in stock. This clever item will allow me to lock my laptop and other important stuff up in a metal mesh bag attached to my bike, dissuading would-be pilferers.

I met James in Marlborough – he came for the trip out to Chesterfield. We got turned around a few times though. The idea was to avoid the parking lot of 495 approaching route 90, so we tried to head up to Route 2, but got turned around once or twice, going the wrong way on 290 (ending up in Worcester) and then the wrong way on 495. Eventually we make it to Rt 2, and had a traffic-free (and quite lovely) drive out to Greenfield and then down to Chesterfield. Got to see Martin and Asherah one last time, and met Sean there, who is coming on the trip as far as Niagara falls.

Got to catch up with M&A a bit, as well as see Wolfgang, before Sean, James and I hit the sack, planning a very early morning.

About to begin!

As I sit knee deep in crap of one sort or another, my drastically pared belongings are, at least spiritually, wending themselves to California on their own path (actually, the truck doesn’t leave until next Wednesday, but already with the shipper.)

I leave in about 12 hours. I’ve still got a few hours of errands to do, but I’m confident they will get done.

Around 2pm, I’ll be leaving.
Here is my rough itinerary, watch this space for trip updates, pictures (ooh!) and, if you are lucky, witty meanderings.

My Chautauqua
Each line is about a day, each (s) signifies a sleep stop:

  • Westport, MA -> Chesterfield, MA (138) (s)
  • Chesterfield -> Niagara Falls, Ontario (369) (s)
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario -> Alma, MI (s) (334) Visit Aunt Gwyneth and Uncle Wally
  • Alma, MI -> Springfield, IL (441)
  • Springfield -> Kansas City (341)
  • Kansas City->Denver (600) (ooh that’s a long one)
  • Denver->Colorado Springs, west to Monrtrose (300)
  • -slow the pace, explore, visit friends-
  • Montrose -> the Million Dollar Highway to Durango -> (106)
  • Durango to Cortez (Mesa Verde +Canyons of the Ancients nm) (50) -> Cortez to Aztec, NM (s)(82)
  • Aztec Ruins nat mon -> (Petrified Forest – (s) Holbrook, AZ (232)
  • Lillith & Jonathan Visit (40 mi south of Holbrook) (s) (stop 1 day)
  • -end vacation-
  • (2710 miles so far!) then either:
  • Petrified Forest -> Grand Canyon (250)** -> Los Angeles (500) or
  • Petrified Forest -> Las Vegas (340 ) -> Los Angeles (270) or
  • Petrified Forest -> Los Angeles, CA (550)**


** what do
you think?