Alaska 2023

Day 01

July 8

  Today I head out to grab a final state line sign for BlueBelle in Alaska and to visit some places there I have not seen before. It will be a trip of over 8,000 miles before I see this garage again. BlueBelle is loaded up and we are both ready to go.  
  Today is the longest day - over 800 miles - but it is mostly interstate. It's about 3 AM so I am out and about long before the sun comes up. Hopefully I'll be a good bit north before the heat really gets to be a big issue.  

It's beautiful sunrise but if the old saying holds -

"Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning"

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight"

I'll be seeing some rain before much longer.

  I hit my first but not my last construction zone of the trip. It seems most states are making up for 'lost time' as this will be a frequent experience regardless of what state I am going through.  
  I'll be on Interstate 57 for a good while today as I head north to Wisconsin.  

My predictions of rain are true and fortunately I find a bridge to stop under so I can gear up for the coming storm. A Harley Davidson rider who I'd been swapping the lead back and forth pulls over to make sure I'm okay.

"Yeah, I'm just stopping to put on rain gear. But I really appreciate you checking on me. Where you headed?"

He replies "Back to Missouri."

"Well be careful, you've got a bit of haul" I tell him.

Then he's off and I'm about the business of get suited up.

  Fortunately for me, I'm suited up and on the road before the bottom falls out.  
  Even though I finally come out of the current storm, I decide to keep my rain gear on as the sky does not look promising.  
  Once again I pass by one of the largest crosses in the United States and it reminds me of Who controls my very breath and cares for for me more than I care for myself.  
  The corn crop up here looks really good but I have to wonder if this will end up in a gas tank somewhere instead of on a dinner plate.  
  I grew up in the hills of Tennessee where my grandfather's farm of 75 acres had nary a flat spot. I am always amazed when I see farmland stretching out as flat as can be and as far as the eye can see.  
  Soon I leave I57 and I74 becomes my new concrete magic carpet ride for just a short while until ...  
  I'm on I39 for a good part of the day.  
  To me, the power generating windmills sure are ugly. Maybe if they painted them blue they wouldn't be such an out of place eyesore.  
  At my next gas stop, I recognize the old jet on display. Funny how some things stick in your mind and some things you can't remember with a lot of effort.  
  For a little while I39, I90 and I94 are bosom buddies ...  
  but soon I39 parts company and goes its own lonesome way.  
  Then I90 runs off and it's just poor old I94 by itself.  
  I spy a lovely barn off to my right and I have to admire its good condition. Up here I presume barns are more than just hay shelters given the colder weather and the amounts of white stuff that comes blowing in.  
  It's been a peaceful day and I arrive at a Super 8 I have stayed at before plenty of time before daylight ends. It's been a little over 800 miles for the day but I needed to get north and out of the heat so at least today the plan worked.  
  I like this Super 8, not so much for the motel, but for the great restaurant right across the street - Randy's.  
  The food and service is always good and tonight is no exception. I start off with some of their delicious beef stew ...  
  and finish up with their open face roast beef sandwich. Some mighty fine fixin's if I do say so myself.  
  Tomorrow is a shorter day of just under 600 miles. Since I retired at the end of 2022, I have taken into account that I don't have to do 'compression' touring when vacation days were precious. It's a nice luxury to me and I believe that I can work it in just fine. Sleep comes quickly when the lights go out as the skin over my stomach tightens up and pulls the skin over my eyes down.