Day 14
May 9th

I woke up and prepared for another wet day in the saddle. The jacket liner had been in since day 2, I think. A quick email check and a glance at my ride reports revealed this:

Flashstromer: "Get yer ass to southern MO for SLAP."

Good 'ol Gordon. I met his sorry Strom-ridin self in Big Bend during Ride the Rio a few months back, so he and I exchanged quick PMs and a phone call to aim me in the direction of the (now annual) ADV rally in Dawt Mill, MO.

I prepped the bike by wiping the lights, blinkers, and mirrors to remove the grime from the previous day. I gave the chain a good dousing of lubricant. It's filthy, but a quick inspection showed no kinks and the tension was still within acceptable limits.

Someone had asked how I was carrying the SPoT tracker to maintain a view of the sky. It's stored in the small zippered pocket in the bag on my pannier. The bag isn't waterproof, but the SPoT is water resistant and within easy reach for OK check-ins at stops but out of sight when I'm away from the bike.

I headed over another bridged state line, but stopped for a pic from the other side. This was the Ohio river, which I'd crossed yesterday as well.

And the interstate. Again. They're a means to an end. At least out here, there's greenery and elevation to keep from getting too bored.

Crossing Illinois, I ignored the GPS's desire to cut south and instead headed farther west on I64 towards Evansville. My stomach was growling and telling me to pull over, but a billboard for an Amish buffet had caught my eye. I'd hold out another 25 miles for it instead of defaulting to fast food again.

The food was delicious. It had a very family-friendly feel to it, despite being a rather large store and commercial restaurant.

With my full belly loaded back on the bike, I headed out and saw this:

Odd as I am, I took this opportunity to lick the inside of my helmet because it was funny.

Only after doing so did I recall the sneezing fit I'd had inside my helmet the day before.


Another photogenic bridge:

With a state line on it:

The bigger/beautiful sign was out of reach within construction on the other side of the crossing. It seems most of the midwest is being repaved this month. Yay.

There was more sun calling to me up ahead:

And clouds and wet weather hanging out to the rear:

As I left the interstate, the twisty roads of Missouri showed themselves.

In addition to being wonderful for riding, they are miserable for finding a safe spot to pull over to snap a picture or take a "break" without parking in the roadway.

I found a driveway that, while gravel, was suitable for a quick park-n-pic.

It was another race against the sun. I needed to make it to Dawt Mill before dark.

I got there just as the overpacked beer-laden delivery car was arriving, so as any good ADVer does, I stood by watching and snapping pictures as the round keg was placed in the square box.

Now that there's some ADV engineering for ya!

Gordon scrounged a spare bed for me to sleep in (thanks a million Ian & Jasmine!) and then introduced me to the natives.

Well, to one Native and a bunch of other guys n gals.

Man get wood.

Man make fire.

Fire pretty and warm.

Drunk coyote lays on box

Not a good place to sleep. Beer is in box. Drunk coyote is moved.

Tinks smiles pretty.

Before I secured a bed, she was kind enough to offer up space in her tent with her and her hubby. She's awesome and I'm glad I finally got to meet her, Bonnie, KCD, and all the other fine folk out there at SLAP. Any long trip that can incorporate a rally on-the-fly is a good one.

Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri
487 miles