Riding to GenCon 45

Tuesday morning. I’m looking forward to getting home. Both because I’ve been really worried about Ariel. He’s been badly sick and spent several days in the hospital last week. I would have been very sad if he’d passed while I was gone. The heat was really bad too. I’m still not a big fan of riding in the heat, even with the nice gear. So I got up at my normal 5am and as I stepped out of my room, I realized Mike was up. Apparently Daniel, their dog (who vomited on the floor last night) had been up all night being sick so Mike stayed up to help him through the night. I got the bike packed up and Mike and I chatted, mainly about bikes of course. He used to ride until he had an accident and tore himself up pretty good.

I zipped off at about 5:30am and headed up to 244 so I could zip through town and out the other side before it got too busy. The merge lane was non-existent. If I wasn’t going slower anyway, I might have been taken out by the truck that zoomed by. The sign had said “short merge lane” which I guess in Okie means “no merge lane”. It wasn’t scary close but it was a sudden slow down that I might have not had to do. On the other side of Tulsa and in the Service Area, I stopped for gas and a bite.

I was actually somewhat surprised at how quickly I got to 35 north and even to the Service area on the Kansas turnpike just south of Wichita. I pulled in for gas and a stretch of my legs.

Again, a swift ride up through Wichita, around Salina and on to 70 west. I was getting low on fuel and needed a stretch. It took a few exits before I pulled off at the Effington exit and gassed up.

The woman there was cheerful and wanted to chat while I snacked on some nuts. She was trying to figure out how to get to Tulsa in order to pick up a Bandit. She was selling her GS500 and wanted to upgrade. Her husband had a Katana and she had a list of other bikes they had gone through to get where they are now. She said he wanted to get a Hayabusa but would wait on it. They were planning on a vacation to Fayetteville Arkansas to ride around in the area. Sounded like fun to me and I told her about it as I’d been through a couple of times so far. So we had a nice chat before I headed off again.

I decided to stop in Hays again for lunch, again heading down to the Taco Bell for a burrito. It’s a cheap lunch and doesn’t put me into a food coma.

From there I could almost see Colorado. I have to say it was a wide open space with horizon out as far as you can see (no trees or mountains to block the way). It was like you were all alone in the world. It had been quite windy though and I spent a few miles tilted over to the right just a little (the bike tilted to the left to fight the wind). I got to Quinter and knew that would be the last Kansas stop.

And I’m in Colorado, Burlington Colorado to be precise. I should be able to see mountains in an hour or two.

When I pulled out, I had a white car pulling a trailer with bicycles in it and a gold colored SUV with a canoe on top right in front but going a tiny bit slower. So I zipped by. The SUV decided he wanted to be in front and zoomed by with the white car hanging back. I decided to use the SUV as a rabbit and kept back a mile or so. I had been seeing cops both on the way out and back and kept my speed at about 5mph over the speed limit. It had a few cars pass now and then and I passed vehicles more often (the trucks and campers mainly). The guy in the white car stayed pretty close. I guess he was using the SUV as a rabbit as well, or trying to use me as a rabbit but he was following too closely for that to work correctly.

I got to Limon and pulled in for some gas. The white car was over in front there (see picture) with the trailer and the gold SUV was next to me (again, see the pic) 🙂 When I left, they were right behind me. The SUV took off again and the white car hung on my tail.

I decided to take the toll road as it was about 4pm and I expected traffic to be moderately heavy. When I got to 25, I found it was indeed pretty heavy. I got off at 52 west, turned on 287 towards Longmont. Made the turn on Pike, again on Hover, once more on Mountain View, then Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford, and finally Cornell and I’m home.

All in all, it was somewhat tiring. I think it wasn’t as bad as the previous trip to California and back through Amarillo but it was a bit tedious and hot. Oh, and I started taking pictures of the new tire at each gas stop. At the end of 2,000 miles, the tire looks almost new. I’ll keep this going until it’s time to replace the tire. We’ll see how it progresses.

The first gas stop:

Upon reaching home, almost exactly 2,000 miles later:

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