8/15/17-8/16/17 Just Going Home

The monotony of the highway serves as a stimulus for thought.

In brief, we have broken through to the East. Humidity, heavy traffic and lots of humanity welcomed us back. After crossing from Missouri into Illinois, in a quiet lunch by the Mississippi, Hannibal charmed us from across the Big Muddy. Of course we imagined Mark Twain or his alter ego, Tom Sawyer, on makeshift rafts, skinny dipping in the channel where jet skis now play.

After that it was pretty much a mile eating challenge, as we roared toward home. We sliced through the Land of Lincoln, following Route 36, then 72. Springfield, Decatur and Champagne flew by. Not quite making it to Indiana, we stopped near the border in Danville for the night.

Then into Indiana. Traffic picked up and by the time we busted through Indianapolis and jumped on Route 70, tractor trailers accounted for 50% of the thick congestion. Hours on the bike at high speeds with little to look at except our reflection in the shiny hubcaps of some passing …

8/13-8/14 The Heartland

For two days we plowed a straight furrow through the Heartland.

There's not much to exclaim about eastern Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, but I'll try anyway. Corn greeted us and corn followed us for 600 miles. Route 36, our headland, drew us east through miles of carefully cropped farms. Huge tractors dwarfed modest homesteads where equipment is the only luxury. Giant green machines stood for sale at John Deere dealerships in every small town, far outnumbering any McDonalds in the area.

I amused myself as the miles stretched ahead by spotting water towers that stood high above the corn, announcing each town before its arrival. I counted sections on pivot irrigation. I looked for Dorothy's house. Silent windfarms intermingled with reeking feedlots, packed with cows destined for the table.

And on the seventh day they rest here ( except for farmers). We were hard pressed to find an open gas station and when we did, they were out of gas. A Sunday night in Phillipsburg, a count…

8/12/17 A Rocky Ride

The old adage "If you don't like the weather in Colorado, stick around for 10 minutes" proved so very true today.

Into a cloudless sky, we set out from Craig toward what would be our last major climb of the trip, Rocky Mt. National Park. This massive chain of ancient tectonic movement charmed us in British Columbia and called to us again in Colorado. One of our favorite National Parks, it was hard not to answer.

A stop to buy wine and cheese gleaned us a weather report that we had failed to catch at home - rain was coming! When I asked if it would hit the park, the answer was, elevation adds likelihood and severity! Outside the sky told a different tale.

Then as we approached, thunderheads roiled at the top of the mountain, angry and ominous. Deep rumblings accompanied our lunch as we anxiously watched the direction of the clouds. Deciding to be precautious, we suited up; wet and cold at 12,000' is no joke. At Grand Lake the rain hit us and we ducked into the visitor…

8/11/17 An Apology

I sincerely apologize - maybe...
The ride out of Salt Lake City treated us to a spectacular view. The sun shot lake surrounded by carved mountains, gave reason to the early Mormon's settling in the desert. Easing through the morning rush, we headed toward the famed ski resort,  Park City. Scored by dozens of ski runs, the slopes surrounded a litter of mansions and condominiums.
Escaping Route 80, we turned onto 40. Roadwork slowed us a bit, but presented the chance to appreciate the scenery. A much less hectic ride, we relaxed into the climbs over mountains and the seemingly endless one point perspective through the Uinta Basin. I felt that if I squinted my eyes, I could see Elmer and maybe even Atlantic City on this major transcontinental highway.
At our first picnic of the day, we sat atop a hill, affording  a view that stretched for miles. Distant mountains folded into the haze as the valley splayed out beneath us. Back on the highway, I was encouraged by the miles being sucke…