West 2020

Day 07

July 19

  Another grind it out day with a little rain, so I suit up accordingly and get back to the slab slaying.  
  Nothing magical today - I90 to Sioux Falls, hang and right on I29 to Kansas City, then I435 bypass to a little bit of I70 then the motel - little over 700 miles. I should be there before dark and then I have short day tomorrow back to the Holler.  
  Through the rain, I see a hole in the sky and I think how much it is like life. It may be dark all around us but the Lord will make a 'hole in the sky' for His Children.  
  I have forgotten that this is Wall Drug territory that I finally stopped at back in 2013. It is really good but with the Covid craziness I figure they may not be open and I don't want to waste a lot of time today.  
  But as you travel I90 you see one Wall Drug sign ...  
  after another one ...  
  after another one ...  
  after another one until ...  
  you come to your 'Last Chance' exit. But this morning I decide that I will just pass up my last chance and keep rolling along.  
  The sun is trying to break through the clouds ...  
  and it finally, as always, is successful - and for that I am thankful.  
  I remember this village that was originally constructed as an old western town for a movie set. Some one took it over and turned into a place to 'see'.  
  The heat is starting to bear down and breakfast is way over due, so I find a Pilot Travel Center that has a Subway.  
  Their breakfast sandwiches are not bad, and the chocolate milk and donuts help with the whole process.  
  Once I'm back to the slab slaying, I run into another construction zone.  
  But soon I escape it and get back out into the open of the green, rolling hills.  
  There's an interesting railroad bridge off to my right.  
  And further along, I see an old prairie church still standing.  
  These windmills look like evil alien insectoids to me peeking over the horizon with their arms flailing about.  
  Further down the road I see an old fashioned version which sure seems a lot more benign to me and again almost artistic in its construction.  
  Finally I made the turn and I'm on I29 and headed due south.  
  The corn crop seem to be doing well here and I hope that is a good thing for the farmers. Farming is a very difficult way to earn a living, considering I had a lot of experience with it in my younger days. There's seldom a day off and the weather can make or break you.  
  As I pass by these things, I have to chuckle. I'm sure the municipality spent great sums of money to have these garish constructions of metal erected as art.  
  Then there's art that I understand - a water tower that looks like a coffee pot to advertise a travel center. At least this art is functional as well as being ornamental.  
  Finally I cross the last state line of the day and I am really looking forward to getting off the road at a reasonable hour.  
  But as it sometimes happens, the vulgarities of the road change a man's plans. All of a sudden, my throttle no longer works and the bike is just idling. I am in the middle of nowhere Missouri and nowhere to pull off safely. The thought occurs to me if I put on the choke (which is technically a fuel enricher), I may can get the bike to continue on at some sort of speed. I can get about 35 mph out of her until I come to hill so I keep my four way flashers on. It still amazes me how many times I have to run off the interstate because drivers are not paying attention. There's a town about 20 miles away so hopefully I can limp along to a safe spot there for the evening.  

But, I come to a single lane construction zone and know that if I go into that, some inattentive driver will run right up my exhaust pipe as I will not have a place to get out of the way. Fortunately they've got a whole lane blocked off and it is in the shade of a hillside. So I come to a halt and figure I'd better see what I've got. I call the motel and tell them -

"I am broke down on the side of the road. I don't know if I will be 2 hours or 2 days so please cancel my room."

I don't want to get hit with a motel room charge that I ain't gonna use on top of whatever this little adventure will cost. I know it has to be a throttle cable that has broken, but I can't imagine the Honda ones breaking as thick as they are. So I strip the bike down til I can get a good view. It turns out it is the cruise control throttle cable that has snapped. That's fixable as I can remove the cruise control cable unit - but there's just one problem. It requires that I remove the gas tank from the bike and it has quite a bit of fuel in it. There is no other way after several minutes of trying various options. So out it comes, out comes the cruise control cable unit and I hook the original throttle cable back in place. It appears to be working fine now, so I reassemble things and she fires back up and we are ready to go.

  This whole little 'adventure' has taken about 2-3 hours but I decide I will head for my original motel. I figure I have a better chance of getting a room there than anywhere else since I did have a reservation originally.  

I finally arrive, pull into the lot and go inside. I tell the lady behind the counter -

"Ma'am, I'm the feller that called a while back, broken down on the interstate, and canceled my room. Anything you can do for me?"

She says -

"Sure thing. I gave your room to a older lady, but I can get you into another one."

She gets me all set up and I thank her very much as I did not look forward to trying to find a room at this late hour.

  With that business done, I see a gas station across the road and a Hardee's still open across the highway. I get Bluebell fed, then proceed to get fuel for myself. The Hardee's lady gets me a good plastic bag with handles so I can ferry my supper back across the highway. It's the bed/table again but I am just thankful to be in a room and not stuck on the side of the interstate waiting for a wrecker.  
  I am physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted so it takes about a New York minute for me to collapse into a comatose heap after supper. But as I will see tomorrow, there are even more challenges ahead.