(almost) 2000 miles 2-up on a Sportstour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by c1skout, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    I thought it'd be neat to run US40 "the National road" from Cumberland to Vandalia Ill, so I started looking at the atlas. I'd never seen the Mississippi either.... I guess I'll check that out too since I'm heading that way. The Mrs. decided she'll come along! I took some vacation time, and planned out a route. Here's the Sportstour loaded up and ready to go!
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    #1
  2. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    I took a shot of the mileage before pulling out. I figured my planned loop would put us back home in about 2000 miles, give-or-take.

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    Our offspring were home to see us off, so they took a pic for me.
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    We made it about 15 minutes from the house before we pulled over to put on our rain dudds.
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    I just hammered down the "big roads" south, then west into West Virginia on I70, where we stopped to get lunch and cross the old suspension bridge to Wheeling island.
    #2
  3. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    The Wheeling suspension bridge was the worlds largest when built in the 1840's and after some rebuilds over the years is still open. You can even see the river below through the steel grate surface, but it does make the bike feel like the tires are both half-flat! Wiki link if you wanna read more about it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheeling_Suspension_Bridge

    This is the view when entering from town westbound.

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    After an unintended tour of the racetrack and gentlemans' club grounds, we found our way off the island and onto Ohio rte7 south to start following the Ohio river to the Mississippi. We kept running into and back out of the rain, and finally just ditched the rain dudds and took the cooling from the occasional wet spot.

    We made a stop at a rest area and watched the river for a bit.

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    I truly enjoy running along the rivers, even though they're populated with all the ghosts of our industries past. Our dinner stop was in Athens Ohio. Lots of hilly wet brick streets to slip on here!
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    More to come
    #3
  4. JBSmith

    JBSmith Ink-stained wretch

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    I never would have thought a Windjammer on a Sportster would look that good. And those panniers...damn, that whole setup looks sweet.:thumbup
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  5. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    Thank you!
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  6. longwaypyder

    longwaypyder Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm in!
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  7. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    Here's the diner in Athens where we had chicken fingers and fries. Not a large variety on the menu, but what we had was yummy!

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    from Athens we stayed on Ohio rt32 to US23, then we hit a storm near Portsmouth on US52. Ohio rt125 took us the rest of the way to the campground at Shawnee state park. It was dark by now, but the rain slowed long enough for us to get the tent set up without getting everything soaked! We went to bed as the thunderstorm began in earnest.
    384 miles traveled day 1
    We woke early in the morning to more clouds and birdsong. Sorry no pics of the campsite, didn't think of that before the tent came down. At the camp store the helpful attendant suggested we try "the Lodge" for breakfast, so we got directions and headed off to secure our breakfast.

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    The lodge was set on the top of a hill in the park. The waitress said it was built in the '70's but it looks really well kept.
    The view out our dining room window

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    and an interior shot

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    We left the lodge and headed back out to US52 following the river again. Nice road and not much traffic early in the day during the week, but there appeared to be a lot of camps along the river, so I think it may be a different scene on the weekend!
    #7
  8. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    I wanted to catch the ferry across the river to Augusta KY, so we found the ramp and had a brief wait for our boat ride.

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    Only a $2 fee for motorcycles, and they even had a "blue-room" on board! Not a good view out the window though.
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    We offloaded in Augusta and parked the bike to stretch our legs and grab some lunch. The town is stuffed with interesting old buildings that I didn't take pictures of. We had a small lunch and traveled on.
    Looking at the maps I knew the next section of Kentucky was gonna give me some trouble. I wanted to head west while keeping south of Cincinnati and north of Louisville. My highlighted state maps jammed into the tank bag had me routed from state rt to state rt, and I ended up taking some wrong turns here and there. I did blunder onto some really good motorcycle roads while being disoriented though, so it was all good. Didn't know how much lime came from this area.
    We eventually made it over to Warsaw where we stopped at a pull-off to eat some snacks. Found this historical marker there!

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    A bit after Warsaw we crossed over into the state of Indiana
    #8
  9. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    Didn't do much picture taking the rest of the day. We followed Indiana 56 over to the Hoosier national forest area, then 37 south and 64 west to Huntingburg where we got a room for the night. 304 miles traveled on day 2.

    We woke up and watched the news reports while having our continental breakfast. Forecasts call for sporadic thunderstorms all over our route, of course. 64 west to US41 south back across the river into Kentucky. I then followed US60 through Paducah and over to Cairo, Illinois, where I wanted to see Ft Defiance state park. The sign musta been missing, or I missed seeing it, and we were quickly over the next river and into Missouri.

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    There was lotsa big-truck traffic here, and not a lot of shoulder to pull off, so I traveled on until I got to a turn off for Bird Point. I looked at my map and saw that we were just across the river from Ft Defiance, so I said "good enough" and we headed in to see the point. The asphalt soon turned to washboard gravel in spots, then when we followed the sign for "river access" we had to go through a couple of soft spots in the road due to all the recent rains. Not quite mud yet, but close enough for a top-heavy sportster on street tires. Up over the levee and we're dipping our toes in the Mississippi!

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    I decided to ride back out to the road on the top of the levee rather than take the low road where I had to negotiate the small sippee holes.
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    We could tell from the gathering black clouds that another thunderstorm was coming, so we made haste north on US61 and took refuge at a Flying J with a Huddle House. When the storm passed we continued on to Perryville, where we again got a room for the night. Its a whole lot easier to find a hotel than it is a campground. Pretty sure my Mrs. would veto stealth camping other than in an emergency!

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    That was it for day 3. We traveled 323 miles.
    #9
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  10. luftkoph

    luftkoph Long timer Super Supporter

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    I've said it before, but that's the coolest sporty ever.
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  11. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    We woke up on day 4 and after another continental breakfast headed north again on US61 to Ste Genevieve, where I wanted to take another boat ride across the Mississippi. We followed the signs to the landing and went through these cool river gates.

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    we followed the instructions at the landing to hail the ferry from across the river (flash your lights for service) , but after a 15 minute wait I figured the operator didn't want to come across for a single $7 fare. I gave up and headed back out to town. There were some cool old buildings there.

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    We continued north towards St Louis. My Mrs. wanted to stop and shop at the St Louis Harley store to get a T-shirt with the semi circle on the back. So we found the shop and bought some shirts. No pics of the shirts. Leaving the dealer I hopped on the interstate to follow signs to the arch, so we could do some regular touristy stuff. Trouble was we missed the turn-off. The signs said (something like) "arch plaza and downtown attractions", then just "downtown attractions", so I figured I'd keep going looking for the turn-off for "arch plaza". I never found it and the next I know we're back in Illinois. Did get some high speed shots while riding by though.

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    I asked if she wanted to circle back and she said "no", so we pressed on farther into Illinois, finally running on US40.
    All this flat land kinda wigs me out! The thunderstorms even look a bunch meaner when there's no hills to slow them down. I got to run beside a freight train for a bit. He was running just a little slower than I was, and it took a few miles to get around him. Racing between the corn fields and the train made me feel like I was in the middle of a David Mann painting! This may be my favorite pic from the trip!
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  12. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    Thank you, I appreciate that!
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  13. Runswithscizzors

    Runswithscizzors Been here awhile

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    Hey man, thanks for sharing your ride.
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  14. Chuck Pryce

    Chuck Pryce Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great trip thanks for the report
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  15. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    My plan from here is to get to Vandalia Ill, which was the original western terminus of "the National road" and then remain on 40 as much as possible back east to Cumberland MD, only jumping on the interstate where it absorbs the old road. The old road is pretty flat and straight, and between towns you can make good time.

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    We were soon in Vandalia, and stopped at a Pizza Hut for the lunch buffet. We went into the center of town and found the old state house.

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    This statue is a monument to pioneer women. The base also has some Abe Lincoln and National road info.

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    and a National road plaque.

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    #15
  16. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    My Mrs went across the street and tried to strike up a conversation with honest Abe, but he didn't have anything to say.

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    I left Vandalia happy to have seen it, but a bit dismayed to find that nobody else seems to be interested in it. I guess I was romanticizing that there would be groups of other travelers there, all trying to see this historic spot. Oh well, at least I didn't have to wait for busloads of tourists to walk out of my camera frame before snapping any pictures.
    So here we go......Eastbound and down....racing a southbound thunderstorm. I could see it coming for miles, and I think if I'd have had a 10 minute head start we'd have beat it. As it was I could see we were gonna hit the leading edge of it.

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    We started hitting BIG drops of rain, and I saw a road to the right so I took it, and in a quarter mile or so there was a large open building that I pulled right into.

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    It seemed to be a truck loading area for grain or feed, 2 conveyors overhead for loading in a large pole building with no doors. I walked out and found somebody who appeared to work here, and told him I was hiding from the storm. He just laughed and said "that's fine". We ended up spending almost an hour there while the storm passed. We left again and headed into Indiana.
    Here's a mural from Brazil.

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    We made it to the outskirts of Indianapolis where we stopped at a Steak-n-Shake for a bite and to discuss our lodging options. We hadn't seen any campgrounds, and some frantic calling while eating confirmed that the Indy hotels were mostly all booked up! The Mrs' cell phone showed a Yogi Bear campground on the eastern side of town so we decided to head that way. As the sun was sinking we were heading through the middle of downtown Indianapolis on I70, and the colors from the storm clouds and the sunset really made the high-rise buildings look spectacular! I tried some high speed pics that didn't turn out. One exit before we were going to get off to head north to the campground I saw signs for a bunch of hotels, and at least one that we hadn't called. We exited and found a room. It was an older hotel but it was clean and didn't smell funny, so we were satisfied.
    Day 4 ends in Greenfield Indiana, 381 miles traveled.
    #16
  17. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    No continental breakfast at our Greenfield hotel, but that's OK......there's a Waffle House down the street! Fully saturated with grits, eggs, and toast I'm ready to tackle the day.
    We traveled on east just enjoying the sights, smells, and occasional cloudbursts.
    I thought this sign was neat.
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    When we crossed into Ohio and I switched maps I remembered something that I've always wanted to see. I scanned the map and decided it was close enough that I could effect a small detour and scratch one more thing off my bucket list! Dayton international airport was hosting an airshow, so while we passed by we got to see a few of the planes twirling around in the air.

    This pic was somewhere between Dayton and Columbus.

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    We headed north on the interstate around Columbus, then got off to head to Westerville on surface streets. I'm excited now, bucket list time! Hoover Dam!

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    We walked around on the trails, watched the Mallards and geese for a bit, had a small picnic, and walked over the dam breast. It was a good time, but I hafta say, it definitely looks bigger in the movies!

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    #17
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  18. thebugslayer

    thebugslayer Been here awhile

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    Great RR. Keep it up!

    thanks.
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  19. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    We left Hoover dam, reconnected with US40 east and continued homeward. I noticed I had a turn signal bulb out, so I pulled into the first auto-parts store I came to, Advance auto of Hebron, OH. A 2-pack of Sylvania 1157's cost $7!

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    Quick bulb swap in the fairing and we're on our way. There seems to be a lot to look at in Zanesville, "pottery capitol of the world" according to one sign I saw.

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    The Muskingum county courthouse is right along 40 and really impressive! DSCN1249.JPG

    Wikipedia says they also have a Y bridge there, the only one in the country. The canal through town is a national historic civic engineering landmark. I didn't get to examine any of this as we rode through town, so I hope to get back sometime and see some more. We stopped in Cambridge for supper. I had a steak and my Mrs. had crab cakes. This was our favorite eats of the trip! Really good food, quick service even though the place was packed, and affordable. The coffee wasn't any good, but I'm still recommending this place. Theo's, right on 40 in town.

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    #19
  20. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    Form Cambridge it was a short hop to our campground for the night, Barkcamp state park.

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    We got checked in, set the tent, and walked around for a bit. Home for the night.

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    Day 5 total, 301 miles.
    When the birds woke us in the morning we walked out to the camp store. We wanted to get pictures of it and the other old buildings there.

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    We were told that the barn and storage shed were original to the property, and the camp store was moved there from somewhere else in the county.
    #20