Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Western Mountain Ride - Days 2 and 3

I found myself riding past fields of emerald-green corn and thinking about my new friend Dave and his untimely demise. It raises all sorts of questions for me about motorcycling and egos, skill sets and equipment. I never did come up with any answers that would make me feel any better about losing a friend.

My day started yesterday with a successful backtrack to Wichita State University and a perfect photo opportunity. It cost me very little in time, and soon enough I was headed back north on I-135. In Salina, I turned west on I-70 for a little ways, then got off the interstate and spent much of the day on back roads riding through KS and NE. I rejoined the interstate on I-70 100 miles east of Sidney NE and my stop for the night.

Along the way, I stopped at Nicodemus national historical site. It sits on the south side of the road, and is the first freedman settlement during the reconstruction period post Civil War. Several buildings still stand, including two very old churches, dating back to the early 1880's, an old hotel, school house, and other buildings.

Further along, I turned north on a beautiful little road that took me into NE. I found a skinny little ribbon on this otherwise shoulder-less road to stop on and get a photo of the Welcome To Nebraska sign at the state line, for the AMA "I've Been Everywhere" tour. I should tell you that on some of these roads my GPS got totally lost and could not find me. I had a white question mark displayed on the screen for quite a distance. Nice to get lost!!!

Before getting to Sidney, I took a little detour down I-76 to get the Colorado state line sign, but was stymied by construction which sent traffic over to the other side of the divided highway, and I watched the sign as I passed it by, too far away and no place to stop. But all was not lost! At the exit where I intended to get off anyway, was the Colorado Visitor Center, and a perfect photo opportunity. I rode through the visitor center parking lot just to check it out, and there, parked way up on the hill in front of the welcome sign, was a KTM or KLR (not sure which) dual sport bike. As I rounded the sign, there was its owner taking photographs. I parked in front of the sign, and he walked over for a chat. He was from Quebec (wonderful heavy French accent) and is headed to the Rockies and then beyond, to do some riding. He's really a long ways from home on a bike not terribly suited for long distance riding. Nice young man and we had a great chat.

AMA photo of Colorado in the bag, I continued north on yet another pretty little road to join back up with I-80 and the short 40 miles to my exit and hotel in Sidney. Today I head west a little ways and then turn north toward Billings MT.

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