Monday, March 31, 2014

Frozen Moose Finds El Dorado (KS)

Marla took a shot of me as I took off at 8aAM Sunday. The Wing read 38, and even with the vents drawing engine heat and the grips on high, I ought to have had long underwear and the liner in my jacket ... good for future reference. I need at least 45 or maybe calm, there was a 20-30MPH headwind the whole day ... noisy, and enough to keep a bit busy on the bars at bridges or when semis were around, but otherwise no problem.

Anyway, I was uncomfortably cold by Austin, toughed it out to Albert Lea and stopped into the truck stop and REALLY enjoyed having a very generous and nicely finished ham steak with eggs and hash-browns. They had a wood fired rotisserie doing chickens, I basked next to that for a bit. 

When I got out, it had warmed to 44 and that made all the difference. I saw 3 loud Harley's, heading S on  35 as I was getting on the bike. Not a lot of bikes to be seen until Ankeny IA or so, but by Des Moines and certainly Kansas City there were quite a few. I got about 150 mi each tank,  and other than breakfast, those were my stops until 8PM when I pulled in here

I did take a couple curvy road interludes ... I went west on 80 a bit at Des Moines, then turned off and picked an "avoid highways" mode with a town on  I35 ... so it gave me some curves and then I just picked up the old route ... did the same just N of Kansas City to avoid downtown ... it put me on a pretty cool road with lots of big houses, a flowage, and a good number of crotch rockets. So after a bit of a rocky start with the Wing guidance maiden the last couple years, we can get along after all!

Other than the wind, it was quite nice once I hit Des Moines. The last of the snow in ditches was N of there, but VERY little greening even down into KS. I still love the Flint Hills area. In 2012 early August it was under a long term drought, and looked terrible, but now other than being probably a month  later than "normal", the little ponds are full, and quite a few cattle were around. I saw one LARGE grassfire ... at least a mile or so fire line, but it was going away from the road, and while there were a couple of trucks out there, they didn't seem very concerned ... multiple signs that "this is a prairie fire area, don't drive into smoke". 

35 SW of Kansas City is a 75mph toll road that everyone is running 85 on. Went by a couple of groups of 2-up Harleys running 75ish and looking like they didn't enjoy running that fast -- shorty windshields, loud pipes, but I think they might have been struggling a bit 2-up with the headwind, besides the wind factor ... even on the Wing there was some evidence of a "breeze".

I'm smitten with the Indian, but on days like today, it would be A LOT tougher! Yea, yea, I know those V-twin riders are just tougher than the old Moose, but lots of smooth power and superb wind handling is going to be awfully hard to part with! Kinda like my giving up my blanky from childhood. Like all Wing riders, we know we need to give it up , SOON! 

There are well attended sessions on leaving your blanky behind every year at WingDing!

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