Day 7​​
​October 16th, 2016
Rodeway Inn
​Goddard, Kansas

​I was going to Mass at the 8am service at Holy Spirit Church across the street from the motel, so hit the floor at 7:15 to pack and get situated.   For the 7th consecutive day the weather would be perfect.  I had a few minutes to kill so watched a little TV.  I could have returned to the motel and loaded but wanted to save time and just head out straight from the church.  Going to Mass would put me behind, but any inconvience I encountered I would get back in other ways.

​I left my key on the night table and fired up the FJR, then went down the service road to use the light to cross the street to the church.  While in the parking lot, a mini van pulled along side the Yamaha with a young man about 15 sitting in the rear seats, he looked to me, "nice bike."  "Thanks."  I went inside and took a pew in the rear.  I was in the red and gray Klim riding gear and didn't want to be conspicous.

​The service was good and I was heading back out in 45 minutes.  I reset the trip meters, and went to the custom route for the day.  My target is Poplar Bluff, Missouri, getting there would be a 500+ mile ride on backroads.   I'm not going to ride all the way home on interstates.  If I'm going to do that I'd just as soon be a heretic and fly.

​U.S. 400 transported me through the South side of Wichita, and becaue it was Sunday, not much of a challenge.  I ran into a few construction zones, but the light traffic flow made it ok.  "I'm going to get gas 1st Shell I see."  None appeared, but I did find a Valero in Augusta and went in to top off the tank.  The pump had a TV encased in the covers, and believe it or not, a old Andy Griffith rerun was playing.  I skipped pulling the receipt, I don't advise that, on 2 occassions back home someone drove off and I was questioned, but each time I had a receipt.  All the clerk knew someone drove off and I was in the vicinity.

​With all that taken care off I rode East. "I'm only half way across Kansas, but that's ok.  I'm on a ride and nothing else matters."  I cleared the Wichita suburbs and 40 miles later turned on SR 99.  The road is marked scenic in my atlas, The route skirts the fringes of the Flint Hills I toured in 2014.

​​    I found the tin man on SR 99.  Howard, Kansas

I started the day with mesh gloves and T shirt, it was already warm at 10am, speaking of which it was nice being back on Central Time.   My butt was ok to this point.   A few miles later, SR 99 met U.S. 160 where I turned East for Missouri.  This is a God fearing area of the country.  I passed many rural churches with full parking lots.  I moved the sreen to full low to move some air.  The wind felt good but I paid the price with buffeting.  The crosswind gradually increased all day, before finally calming down in the late afternoon.

​The road bent hard a few times to avoid property and fence lines.   I also had a few curves when I came near Elk City Lake.  I shot by what I thought was a rock in the left hand track, then noticed it was a turtle.  No traffic, so slowed, did a U turn and came back to the little fella.  I parked the FJR on a dirt drive, walked over, picked him up and put him in the weeds of the southbound shoulder.  "There ya go little fella, live long and prosper."  I smiled and got back on Feejer and continued my ride.

​​  I helped him cross the road.  Live long, and prosper little fella.

You don't get anymore Midwest than Independence, Kansas.  Even the name reminds you are in the Heartland.  It had been a long ride from Wichita while fighting a ever increasing crosswind, but at least the landscape was beginning to change from prarie, and grassland, to trees and green undercover, but I still had a long way to go to the Mississippi River.

​Riding through Independence I was scanning for a local place to eat and Chinese buffet sounded good.  I found one on the north sound of town and availed myself.  The young Asian waitress sat me in a booth in the front which allowed to watch the FJR.  Only a few customers were present.  I ate quietly and when finished I called home.

​Debbie, anxious for my return, asked why I was still in Kansas.

​"you don't understand how this works, how any of this works.  It is 500 miles across Kansas, and I'm not on I-70. It takes a couple of days to ride across Kansas, but I should clear into Missouri soon and pull within one day's ride home."

​"LOL, well I was just wondering, because you said you were in Wichita last night."

​Lunch Time Independence, Kansas

After lunch it was more of the same.  Bucking crosswinds, and long roads.   Farm houses became more numerous as I neared Missouri.  I knew I'd enter the state in the Joplin area.  From here it is a day's ride home, I'd done it before, but not today.  In fact I came through here in 2014 on this very bike.  I state now the FJR is better in crosswind then than the Honda, and a toss up with the RT. 

​By mid afternoon I knew I would have to leave my custom route to have any chance at making it to Poplar Bluff by dark.  I wanted to ride SR 14 across the state because I heard it was a good ride.  Near Baxter Springs I pulled into a church parking lot to assess the situation.  "I don't have time to ride SR 14," so tabbed out of the custom route.  I tapped in Poplar Bluff for GPS to plot quickest path.  It came back with the route and miles to go.  "Dang over 250 miles?"  Not a big deal if you're butt is not screaming for relief.  "Well I'll ride as far East as I can, if I come up short I'll just add it to tomorrow's ride."  I cranked up the Feejer and checked left, then right while moving in the parking lot, and got back on the highway without having to stop.

​At last I entered Missouri and went to I-44.  I saw  a sign "Springfield 72 miles," and felt like I was riding north.  "Springfield is NORTH of Joplin why am I going this way?"  I needed gas anyway so exited to see what was going on.  I found a snakapak con store or something like that and filled the tank, then went inside for something sweet and a Mountain Dew.  Gas was cheap on this tour.  With my discounts I was buying 91 or better for about 2.25 a gallon.  I had no fillups more than 16 dollars.  The Yamaha holds 6.4 gallons.

​I took the FJR to the side, and got out the atlas to verify what I needed to know.  I could see Springfield WAS due East of Joplin.  "Not how I remembered it, I thought it was north."  Confident all was in order, I finished my snack and got back on I-44.

​It felt good to get on the interstate to knock out some quick miles.  I moved along at SL + 10.  After all those days out West it felt good to see trees again.

​In Springfield the Zumo diverted me to U.S. 60 East, a 4 lane divided highway that would take me all the way to Poplar Bluff.  My butt would have none of it.  It forced me to stop at a McDonald's in Seymour.  The con store back in Joplin had no seats to sit down, I had to eat my snack standing by my bike.  "Not going to make that mistake this time."  After buying a cookie and a drink, I latched on to the excellent WIFI and rested my butt for 20 minutes. in a nice booth.  I reported in to Debbie and sent a few texts.  I wasn't sure what my plan would be in Poplar Bluff but I'd worry about that when I arrived.

​It was not long after this stop I had my first close call in many years.  I was coming into Mountain View and was in the left lane about 50 mph overtaking slower traffic, I was passing a car, when all of sudden he started coming over on me.  I quickly got on the brakes, slowed the Feejer, and let him over.  He finished the manuever, at the last second noticed me, but it was too late.  He had almost forced me off the road to give him room.  I didn't blow the horn, not that he could hear it, but felt it was a waste of time, and would delay my best course of action.  He made apologetic gesture, and I let it go.

​Out of Kansas, the crosswinds that had battered me most of the day died off in Missouri, and I was thankful.

​My shadow moved to the front in the late afternoon, and U.S. 60 was a good ride when I wasn't wiggling in the saddle to relieve my butt.  The ride through the Mark Twain National Forest, was reminiscent of Tennessee rides.

​           U.S.  60 on the way to Poplar Bluff                
Ozark, Mountains

I needed gas and a butt break, and took care of both in Van Buren.  It was my third fill up of the day.  It was getting, late so it was a quick gas and go.  "What kind of helmet is that?  A man in a pick up asked.  "Shoei GT Air."   "Nice lid." 

​The sun was waning when I arrived in Poplar Bluff.  I started looking for a motel and saw the Motel 6.  It was unlike any I had ever seen.  It was brand new and 6 floors high, and on the outskirts of town just like I prefer.  I took the service road and negotiated the uphill drive to the lobby, and booked the 60 something room.  Only drawback all inside rooms and I was on the 2nd floor.  But they had luggage carts so I was good.  I parked the Yamaha near 2 covered bikes that looked to be HDs underneath.

​Folks, this is the grandest Motel 6 you're ever going to see.  It reminded me of a college dorm. 

Motel 6, Poplar Bluff, Missouri

I relaxed awhile, then headed out for supper.  It was dark when I stepped outside, and a quick ride found the Colton Steakhouse.  It was my last night on the road so wanted to go out big.  I ordered way too much food.  Baby backs and a 8 oz strip.  I only managed 2 of the baby backs and felt bad about the waste.  The Colton had a Lonesome Dove feel to it.  After clearing my table my friendly waitress stopped to chat and asked where I was from and about my trip.  When she left I made journal notes and sent out a few texts.  Tommorrow would be the last ride for this tour and then it would go in the books.  It had been a great ride, and I was thankful for it.

Colton Steakhouse 

A 5 minute ride returned me to the motel, finishing the day at 493 miles.  Before going upstairs I cleared the bugs off the 1300.  "Now its good for the ride home."  Back in the room I took a nice shower, and washed off the 500 miles of road dust.  My back was stiff from the seat, but felt better after the hot shower.

​I rolled into bed and watched a little football and facebook.  I managed to stay awake till 10 pm.  I was looking forwad to home, but not going through Memphis.

​Next- Memphis, and home.