Had to take a break in Effingham, IL because I was hot and the mule was tired: So I wimped out and decided to break for the afternoon and regroup and do the nighttime shift instead, seems it will be easier to make quality time, less heat and traffic to deal with. I left the house late last night and made it up to Springfield, MO for the first night. Stopped by one of the worlds largest McDs on my way, the glass house over the Will Rogers: and bush camped right in town across the street from the BPS sleeping on rocks means nothing to me now, thanks to the little cot that I love: and woke up early because the store was opened at 7am and I wanted to make the most of the day, so I thought. Went in and checked the store out, going under lots of changes right now. The big tank with the biggest fish was even empty for rennovations. The big alligator turtle was still there: He's a beast: Starting to run out of room on the bike but I found a spot for my new little camping mat here: After I loaded up this is where I first noticed something amiss. I started the bike and it bulked and acted like the battery was low. Had a recent battery that I put in not long ago but it was a Westco so I was wondering a bit. The starter was taken off and cleaned up last time I did a major overhaul in the spring before SLAP so I thought I was alright. I went on to St Louie to check out the arch. Getting closer, it is one cool looking SS piece I was thinking at this point it would be could to pick up some oil for a needed oil change sometime before Wed and thought why not stop at the local shop for some lubricants and have a look around, I've heard good things about the place anyway. Pulled up to the place and I was impressed with all the bikes, they even got white ones now: It was pretty busy and took a little to get some oil and crush rings gathered up but they had wifi so I took it easy and made a quick post to stay current with the world. I met Justin aka Muddbutt'n who really went all out to take care of me. Here's The Man: I got hooked up with the oil and some swag from the GM, who's name I forget but was a gs-ing fool as well, and loaded the oils and got ready to roll when I cranked the bike smoke rolled from the starter and the smell of something bad filled the air. Damn, so much for making good time today. Turned out my little old starter gave up its ghost, better here than anywhere because these just happened to have one of the high-dollar little bastards that I was very happy to get my hands on, what are the odds? So out with the old and in with the new: That back bolt is a real SOB to get at and Justin hooked me up with an unknown mechanics wobble socket to get it, note to self, need one or have to remove the CAT to get it best I could tell. Wobble in there out of sight. Man I didn't know it should be that quite starting up, awesome. My only complaint now is the the top end of the throttle is hanging up or something going on with the TPS that lets in stumble at high speeds, maybe it will keep my out of trouble but its aggravating in heavy traffic where I need it most to stay out of the way. I changed the starter out front in the parking lot and in retrospect I should have taken the offer to work in the shade of the shop but I thought I would give a short exercise in the servicability of starter exchange in the hot parking lot for the hell of it. I like picking good places to have problems and this was the absolute best place to be in the world today. Thanks Gateway BMW, I will speak highly of you guys and special thanks to Justin to helping me out, the dude said he would give me the starter off his 1150 if need be and I believe him I finally got loaded back up with the fresh starter in place and was ready to roll. I had some packing issues with the backpack that I've been running for the first couple of trips this year, and had lunch at another McD and sorted the load by strapping the backpack on top, what a difference. I think I would still be going if the throttle thingy, the heat, and the traffic hadn't got to me a little and make me want to take a break and ride at night. Fixed a couple things on the bike with the handle bars where they got tweaked from the mule napping and still sorting the packing like I always have to do during the first part of a big trip. Getting ready to take a shower and take off in the cool of the night and see what we can do about chopping some miles down tonight.