The heat wave was not giving in, so I had to make an executive decision. I was due in Louisville on Friday evening to coach an MSF class and needed to get home before then to regroup and grab my coaching supplies, at the very least. I was considering riding at night to beat the heat, but the area between Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Lexington, Kentucky is swarming with deer and nocturnal creatures of death (like racoons and possums) that like to play “suicide run” games in front of vehicles. I think they huddle by the side of the road in groups and take bets on who runs next, whether or not they will get hit, etc… sick and twisted, I tell you!
I decided to ride halfway to Kentucky by stopping in Champagne, Illinois and visiting with one of my best friend’s parents. The ride there was, again, uneventful. I fondly remembered breezing by the Midwest in 2 days on my way to Wyoming, a week before the sun decided to take it’s yearly vacation in our atmosphere. All I could think of while cruising down the interstate and fighting semi-trucks for road position was getting to the AC and seeing my second parents. Finally arriving around 7pm, they took my into their beautiful home after my 5 hour ride and then treated me to a delicious meal at Jupiter’s Pizza. Champagne is a college town, with 1/3 of the population attending the University there, so it was no wonder the pizzeria was also a sports bar and pool hall. Very cool pace with really great food… I highly recommend it!
The next morning I was up and out by 6:30am, while the air was still tepid rather than scorching. I was 2 hours from Indianapolis and was not too excited when I realized that the entire interchange I needed to ride through was under construction. What a huge mess! Signs and cones and barrels… oh my! Luckily the delay wasn’t too crazy at 9:30am (thank goodness for the time change) and I was headed south to Louisville before I knew it. Crossing the Ohio River was a huge relief, as I shot footage the Louisville skyline for an upcoming video. I knew I was close to home. I stopped once more gas in Shelbyville and felt my allergies start to kick in. “Welcome to the Ohio River Valley,” I could hear the voice in my head nagging me about my choice in place of residence. From there, I fought the most traffic I’ve seen during my entire trip (go figure) until I reached the state capital of Frankfort, and then sailed smoothly home.
As the garage door opened I could hear a chorus of angels singing in harmony. An empty spot was waiting for my bike and as I put my kickstand down, I took one last big breath as a Conga rider. Until next year when the time comes to dress a bike in pink feathers and Hawaiian leis… I will dream of the Wyoming mountains, the cool and crisp air, the smell of pine trees, the familiar smiling faces of the people of Shell, the carefree feeling of time slowing down, and of making a tangible difference in the world simply by riding a motorcycle across the country… and taking a stand.
Take that, Breast Cancer! Your ass has been thoroughly kicked. See you next year.
FULL TRIP STATS:
Days “On the Road”: 12 (288 hours)
States Visited: 8 (KY, OH, IN, IL, IA, MN, SD, WY)
Timezones Crossed: 2 (Eastern to Mountain)
Miles Traveled: 4027