Day 1 – Lexington, KY to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Well, what can I say about riding through the Midwest that hasn’t already been said? Yes, it’s a little stinky in some places… yes, it was hot as all get out. Muggy. Buggy. Flat. Straight. Farmland.

So needless to say, my “initiation” into the world of cross-country riding was a toughie! I found myself singing along to the music in my headphones and glancing down to check my mileage every 10 miles or so.  The borrowed Yamaha VStar650 Classic was everything I could have asked for.   First and foremost, it is beautiful!  Plenty of storage space, great River Road luggage, a nice big windscreen, a throttle lock and a driver backrest all made the trip just a little sweeter.  It rides great, gets up to highway speeds in no time, and isn’t too buzzy (like some 600s I’ve ridden). It took me a while to get used to the new leg position, and I would have given my left pinky for highway bars, but besides that, I was comfy and cruising like a Pro!

A big storm came through Van Wert, Ohio where I was 4 hours into my journey.  Needless to say, the rain delay lasted for about 2.5 hours.  So my “strategic timing” while passing through Chicago turned into rush-hour traffic in 105 degree heat.  Thank goodness we never came to a stand still.  If you think I am a wimp for not riding in the rain… just wait.  Day 3 was  a doozie.

If you ever have the opportunity to ride westbound on 88 through Illinois between 8pm and 9:30pm in the summertime, DO IT.  I watched a sunset that took my breath away, and it lasted nearly 90 minutes! All the industrial plants out that way make for some heavy cloud coverage… those clouds react to sunlight with gorgeous coloring, and the sky seems so big when ignited by vibrant hues of red, purple and orange.

I passed the “Largest Truck stop in the World” somewhere in Iowa and saw some pretty cool stuff – custom trucks and big tents full of random exhibits.  Crossing the Mississippi River at night is amazing – twinkling lights bouncing off the surface of the water as a vast mass of blackness surrounds you.  I reached my destination at midnight (Central time), so I officially had been on the road for 16 hours.  I think it’s a given to say I slept well that night while dreaming of my itinerary for day 2 .

DAY 1 STATS:

Hours Traveled: 16

States Visited: 5

Times Zones crossed: 1

Miles Traveled: 708

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