We left Logan, Utah before sunrise under a clear sky with the temperatures in the high 40s. Driving to Bear Lake as the sun was coming up, I taped great footage of tree canopied roads, cliffs, curves, lakes, mountains, etc. After we passed Bear Lake, Utah, we hit a straight stretch of highway through sagebush. All of a sudden, we were in Wyoming with our three motorcycles singing in harmony as we purred eastward at 70 MPH on two-lane roads.
Hooking up on the interstate, we cruised eastward through Wyoming and marvelled at the constntly changing topography. One mile, sagebush. Antother mile, a healthy stand of fir trees depending on elevation and exposure and soil drainage. We played tag with the continential divide, crisscrossing it three or four times and finally crested at 8,000 feet and started descending.
Towards late afternoon, we were on a vast prairie with a howling wind coming down from North and black clouds towering up several thousand feet, stretching from west to east coming towards us with lighting. No place to stop, no shelter ... just many miles of highway. The wind started picking up really fierce and David had to slow down on his Silver Wing due to buffetting. In the distance I spied an exit as an ominous wall of rain sped to us from the North.
It was a hardscrabble kind of exit ... a few forlone buildings, a gas station and (gasp) a motel! The motel was called Gator! We turned in with enthusiasm and checked in. Robb, David and I enjoyed sitting out in front of our room enjoying the cool gusty winds.
Well, in this place in the middle of nowhere in the Wyoming plains, we saw a restaurant and went inside. It was such a pleasant shock ... the inside was softly lit with silhouttes of cowboys and various western animals ... felt like a four star steak house. The food was truly delicious!
Retiring to our room, we turned on weather channel and lo and behold ... the area we were going to that night was outlined on the weather map as being under severe weather warning! The guys liked my decision to make a stop there!
Saturday morning, we left at 5 a.m. because we were already 120 miles behind schedule. One headlight was burned out on my bike so I left the room first to go to the gas station and changed the headlight ... only took me all of five minutes! There was a Harley driver and his wife. Robb an David came over and talked to them and found out that they had left at midnight and as they were going west, they drove through an area of high winds and turbulence (that was the very same area we were supposed to go to last night!).
As we eased onto the interstate in the predawn darkness (imagine only last week, in Alaska it would be bright daylight at 3:30 a.m.) we entered Nebraska. All day, we cruised eastward observing the vegetation change from sage to grasslands to forests.
When we reached the end of I-70 at Lincoln, Nebraska, David parted with us as he was going to visit his dad and daughter. Robb and I eased towards Kansas City, thankful it was a Saturday as it was now 5 p.m. and the rush hour traffic would have been an unpleasant experience.
Our goal was to reach Springfiled, MO but as we went south east, a wall of black clouds persuaded us to stop. So, we stopped about 40 miles southeast of Kansas City, MO after covering 666 miles.
Tomorrow, we will be on the road before sunrise, most likely to Little Rock, Arkansas then go East either thru Memphis or a bit more south thru Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Here is an update from Chuck. I'm glad he is home safely and I wonder if he plans to fly to Alaska in time to ride back with us!
Mike, I am fine and arrived home in Greenville WI today - Saturday. Left bike in Ancourage and will go back next year after it. Bike fell on me when headed for Tok. About week later my leg swelled and went to Dr. in Ancourage where they immediately sent me to the emergency room. Dr. lanced my wound to find it full of blood as had ruptured a blood vessel during the fall. They removed about a liter of blood from my leg and after 2 days of follow up they released me - saying continue with trip but rest leg about every 100 miles - this was on Friday 7/18. The following Monday could not get out of bed the leg was so painful. Visited the emergency room again and this terminated my trip. Took several days to investigated the alternatives, make arrangements to store the bike and get the leg well enough to travel. I'm fine and looking forward to my return trip to Alaska. Mike thanks again for all your efforts arranging this trip - we had a great group of guys. Thanks for your concern with my safety. chuck