"Man in the Arena", *_** **_* _ _*

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Flawedmasterpiece, Jul 2, 2021.

  1. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Blink Blink Blink.
    The vertical marker for this space waited patiently, keeping time like a metronome, forgetting that its real job was to mark the placement for type. I stared at it as if I was waiting for it to type exactly what needed to be said, forgetting that it was my job to put text to page.
    Blink Blink Blink.

    I guess the only way to start is to start and I imagine it started in one way shape or form similar to a lot of the inmates that frequent these pages.

    The thought that sticks out and is still a wow was as a child my father made the declaration was that our drive way connected to this exact same spot to where we were at that moment, I don't remember how far away from home it was and a child's perspective of time and geography really wouldn't benefit this any but lets say it was a great distance and time from the house. , A breaking open the head moment because as a kid you just don't think that way. Not sure if it was my first conceptualized thought but it was a dinger when it clicked in and still does on occasion when the thought passes the days endless stream of gibberish.

    Then we come to the idea that a person, yet alone 2 could could test that concept by riding all the way around the world on a motorcycle. I won't spend too much on this point as you all know what I am speaking about. I will say after seeing Charlie and Ewan make LWR, LWD, I am glad they did LWU just to cover that geography also.

    Then it comes to me being introduced to this website by a fellow teacher who passionately rides a DR650. I think it was in simple passing that it was mentioned but I remember staying up late reading different areas. Remember I didn't even have a bike at this moment. The areas I frequented were the "G Spot" under "GS Boxers" and was impressed by the helpful community it has to assist other riders with their bike issues. Under "The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths" I frequented "Most Important Things to Know For a Motorcycling nOOb". Being a teacher you can never know enough about anything and safety is my highest priority. These were my primary areas of reading in the beginning, constantly looking for more material, the smallest of crumbs.

    Eventually I found my way here reading the numerous trips in this particular forum. Just dreaming and following along seeing the world through a different set of eyes and a given perspective. A huge thanks to those before me, inviting me to join along for the ride, many of you being the inspirational push to do this trip without you even knowing the impact your trips have made.

    So let's talk about Bikes.
    I will say that there is an Amazing BMW Motorad Dealership in Western North Carolina that has done something very special. They have turned a massive corporate entity/image and have made it feel like a local Mom and Pop Shop. I can not tell you the number of times I would go in just to look and talk to them. Never any pressure, always entertaining my curiosity, making me feel welcome instead of the bothersome neighbor. I simply wanted to be around more of the culture is all and they make you feel welcome. Having read some of my fellow inmates stories of their encounters with some dealers, we are blessed and I have been known on occasion to stop in if I am in town, 40 min out, and drop off a 12 pack just because.

    This also paired itself with my perusing of the "Bikes" section under "Flea Market". So many well cared for and loved machines. Proof that there is a soul in a machine and the seller can and is usually selective of who will take ownership of their beloved traveling companion. Money in hand always helps also.
    Before I get to this part I want to briefly mention that I am 6'8" in boots and can mount a GSA on a center stand in a show room with the slightest of effort. In fact one of the employees at the "Mom and Pop Shop" said he had never seen someone do that before.
    Late one night I found a posting that just posted and was geographically under an hours drive of my area. A 2015 GSA that the owner ordered factory direct my local W. NC. "Mom and Pop Shop". I shot him a late night PM and said I would like to come see it. Next day, road trip. I roll up into a beautiful neighborhood, well landscaped yards and knocked on the door. The fellow inmate kindly greets me, he is also tall, like 6'4" and he later told me he was happy to see that I had some height in me. He walked me out to the garage and to say the garage was immaculate would be an understatement. I noticed that the boots were neatly stacked and orderly by size in the corner and I knew this was my guy. The bike looked like it was on the showroom floor. Clean, on its center stand and covered in glistening diamonds, so many farkles to find them all in one viewing you might as well be looking for Waldo. I told him I wanted it, wasn't even going to haggle and would be back with a check. You can tell he loved this bike and he could tell I would love it too. Two very happy individuals when it all went down. I still text him from time to time and will be sending him a link to this so that he can follow along just so he can follow the bike out on its adventure doing what it was made to do.

    One last thing, for the past 3 or 4 weeks I have been riding with a local group of amazing, experienced, and respectfully elder riding individuals. I think I am the youngest but very welcomed. We are fortunate to have the Blue Ridge Parkway at our beckon call and is usually incorporated into the Wed rides to some extent. I have learned a lot from them, and several have helped me immensely in what I am about to undertake and several were inspirational in that several rode out to the recent Rally in Montana. My thinking was, "I have summers off what am I waiting for?" So a huge heart felt thank you to those guys and gals for allowing a 3 year nOOb in their posse.

    So that catches you up briefly. I figured my first journal should have somewhat of a back story. I didn't want the choice of bike, destination, or lack of background keep you from joining along. With all that we have endured these past 18 months I just wanted to give back to this great community of riders who have assisted in my journey. The one thing I appreciate about the community of riders is behind that simple passing wave, or head nod, is the gesture of kindness and acceptance. Doesn't matter who you are or what you believe in, if you want to dress like Pirate or an Astronaut or barely nothing at all, you're just a fellow rider and they are simply acknowledging the fact that you are out in the world riding and they see you.

    So I am venturing out on the road. There are things that I have wanted to see and have put them on my radar and I am sure there will be a lot of things one person simply can not know without being present personally. I will be camping as much as I can. I will be reaching out to fellow inmates along the way that are on the map site and hope to incorporate some of their stories into mine so that they may also become more of this story in an active non-traveling role.

    "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
    April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt "The Man in the Arena"

    The Adventure comes with the unexpected but fear can not be the excuse for not trying. This will be a learning experience as much as it will be a life experience and I look forward to those willing to join me and provide guidance and assistance along the way. Thanks for being here!

    Much more to follow....4 days and counting until lift off....

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    #1
  2. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    It has been several days and the readiness of finalizing last minute details has now allowed me to move forward with this trip. I will say that I am several days delayed however I have 3+ weeks for this adventure still so tomorrow I am off.

    Gear is ready (pic attached) and half way loaded. Dry bags just need to be strapped on and the Yeti already has ice in it to prime it for traveling. They say it is always good to waste a bag on getting the temp right and adding so for tonight it is just ice.

    Rever has been tested and the Garmin Mini was activated today. Traditional paper maps were also addressed an looked over a "quick start" will hopefully get me in the geography I want to be tomorrow so that I feel like a solid day of riding has been made.

    A couple of possible stop offs were identified and it will all depend on how much ground is covered on where I set up camp for the first part of this trip. I have to say that it is an interesting feeling not knowing where one will rest for the night but that is part of pushing the boundary on one's bubble which this trip will most certainly do. I just finished David Goggin's Biography, if you don't know him look him up, and he speaks several times on the "comfort" we find ourselves in on a daily basis.

    I also located some interesting places to stop before making it to St. Louis. I will be adding interesting points of interest along the way so that I can hopefully share with my students when we return in the fall.

    So tomorrow is the launch. T minus 10 and counting......



    Attached Files:

    #2
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  3. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Day 1:

    So three very eventful days have passed and I’m sitting for a late breakfast and wanted to update.

    So let’s start with the morning I left. It’s raining and it hasn’t rained in weeks and all of a sudden the sky wants to fall out so that’s already a motivator to stay home. I ride with the Revit Dominator line and it is dry, I don’t intentionally go for rides when it’s raining but with this line up of gear I’m thankful I don’t have to stop and add more when like our temperate rain forest area acts normal. That being said , maybe I’ll leave tomorrow.
    Everything was already packed and went by to see my wife before I left. It’s amazing how the comfort bubble wants to keep you enveloped like a blanket so much that you don’t wanna leave the blanket however adventures are not accomplished from the view of a spectator. Fear and comfort are siblings to keep you complacent with the little bubble. So easy to come up with a reason.




    Off we go. I have driven from the west coast to the east before, the furthest I have driven in the opposite direction is Clarksdale, Mississippi. In a car/cage I can cover some ground. On a bike it is totally different. For the first leg I did interstate to cover get part what was familiar, Nashville.

    The interstate on a bike can feel like this….

    I pull over to take a break and the sky went black and a months rain fell out.
    Perfect time to have taken a break. The interstate was almost a stand still. The smart cagers pulled over also.
    Second break was in Crab Orchard. Half between Knoxville and Nashville.

    Does’t matter who you are or what your life looks like, when you are the new kid in town on a bike it always seems like your worth talking to. Some would look down on these folks because of where they are from, we get some of that back home from mostly out of towner’s that just haven’t taken the time to see the whole picture. They were the warmest and kindest with their hospitality in this little no light town.

    It was getting time to find a place to rest. Still an hour out of Nashville and knee I wouldn’t make it. Came across a State Park sign that showed camping and took s chance. Place was called, Edgar Evins State Park and what a beautiful place. So unexpected. Just riding back to it was so refreshing and it was on cliff based water front. Was fortunate to grab a site,16$.

    found a greasy spoon up the road, first chicken sandwich. Best tater tots.

    Next morning” Left No Trace “ and back at it. I would HIGHLY recommend this place if you get the chance.



    Off to Nashville….

    Attached Files:

    #3
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  4. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Day 2:
    Made it to Nashville. I’ve only been here one of their time and it was a New Year’s a year and a half ago where we saw Stevie Nicks a keys urban after a musical tour to Memphis Clarksdale Mississippi and muscle Shoals Alabama I highly recommend that circular route if you love music history.

    So this is just a quick stop in the Nashville

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    #4
  5. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    What I need is some help from a Super Hero
    #5
  6. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Day 2:
    So three things when I was running north from Nashville on the interstate.
    The first thing was this guy in an orange Chevy sedan of sorts passed me and when he did he leaned over the empty passenger seat and flashed me the peace sign. Big smiles and just a great moment when hammering down some time. big thanks to the Dude in the orange car, my favorite color, there’s a sign.
    Stopped for some shade and a break and there was a guy sitting in this door Toyota I had never seen. Asked him and he said it’s an import from Japan called a C-HR. Said the insurance is only 30 bucks because they didn’t have anything to compare it to.
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    Lastly 3 Yellow School Buses come off the on ramp so I move to the left but they didn’t need the room. Thesethings were moving 70+ down the highway WITH kids on them. Never happen in our district. McCallester Schools if I’m not mistaken.

    Finally off the Hywy and first stop. Home of… 29292A61-F11D-45F8-8638-76BD2A5D1FF5.jpeg

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    Superman himself in no other city but Metropolis
    #6
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  7. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    If any of the inmates can tell me why images import sideways this can be so much easier to update. Takes several tries to get it to import correctly. thanks
    #7
  8. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    One more.
    Bike had never been safer.
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    #8
  9. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    There was another place near by but it was an hour south and to the West. Almost didn’t go because o had been in such a grind to cover time and ground and remembered this is the trip and don’t know of I will ever be back this way again, headed south to Cairo.
    Stopped off at one of the best places to ask for directions.


    The significance of this place is that it is where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. Hwy 3 runs up from Memphis and Clarksdale.
    The rivers meet for the first time.


    Left side is the Ohio, right is the Mississippi.

    Crossed the Mississippi by accident, filled up and crossed back before this park. Love these bridges. The wind was high and you could actually smell the water before getting here, kind of like being near the beach before you see it. Smelled so fresh. Loved watching the barges move up the river.


    Left there and headed north. Came to a crossroads and sat and debated. North would take me to the next sight I wanted to see by for some reason west was calling me. I have to say I started thinking about places to stay and sent a note to an inmate East of Chester but hadn’t heard from him yet. Went west and crossed into Cape Girardeau. Stopped just over the bridge as it was going to rain. Called my wife to check in and figure out a hotel for the night. Sitting at a pump and a guy comes up because he was at a motorcycle rally and saw the AdvRider sticker on the top box, started to chat a bit and he mentioned he filled the site and lived near by, asked him his name and it Was the intimate I tried to contact earlier. He even said the look on my face when he left was “did that really happen”. Ride was an hour away and was happy to host. Just didn’t know of I had it in me to go that far. Started calling around and EVERY hotel in the area plus some was booked, like cities over even, remember the rally. Note the storm really came down.

    I mean a storm. Still at the pump. Go inside cause the rain is sideways and take a seat. My feet are killing me. Take off my boots and both ankles are raw.

    This is an hour later by the time the storm passes, found a room finally an hour north, still raining just not that hard and not it’s dark. Don’t want the interstate so I found back roads in the storm, Heat lightning everywhere, pitch black. Load up the Nav and take off. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and get it done. Only place I’m gonna rest is up there so of I go. In all this horror something amazing happen. Huge fireworks display is going off in the horizon like lighthouse. Called sent most beautiful thing when all this turmoil Is going on. Not once but twice along the route. Backroads in the rain, another sign. Hunkered down behind the windshield and incoming lights are the worst momentarily. Finally get to the hotel Another sign.
    Dry, clean room and another day down.

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    #9
  10. RTWstare

    RTWstare Dismissed! Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Mexico
    You've checked a bunch of boxes, and are underway. Bravo!

    A suggestion if I may; Take a deep triumphant breath often, embracing the journey. Followed by another deep breath for your soul. In those moments unforced perspectives abound.

    Oh and whatever it takes, eliminate the cause of your raw ankles.
    #10
  11. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Thanks RTW, I appreciate that. I am definitely learning as I go.

    Thank you also for this simple reminder. Two breaths taken and a promise to repeat on regular intervals as I continue forward.

    I believe I have remedied the solution. I think it was simply of the boots being a little tightly bound. Added extra padding and have my self the ability to work my feet some while riding. Also when taking breaks I take them off and let them breath some.

    Have a great day!
    #11
  12. Cow Boy Brad

    Cow Boy Brad brad1098

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    So. IL.
    It was one of the more unusual encounters, that whole small world thing. I would not have stopped to chat in the rain but the pump wasn't done filling the tank with that cheap Missouri fuel. That station is 65 miles from home and I have only been there a few times, what are the chances. Give me a shout on your way back through if the timing and route works. Pictured are RTWDoug and my kids just 10 minutes before the skies really opened up. He finished 2nd overall and 1st in class.

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    #12
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  13. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

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    Thanks again CB Brad. I will most certainly give a shout if I come that way. I know I will be coming back into St. Louis so it could be a possibility.

    Really is a small small world. That was a serious rain. I spoke with a framer the day after and he was ecstatic.

    Long day today, got my first 500 mile badge. Will update the trip in the morning.
    #13
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  14. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Day 2:

    Breakfast in Perryville. I eat at this little bakery somebody recommended and and young man opening the counter said that they just stop serving breakfast. Needed some plant-based foods so I got a veggie wrap. They are Bakery so I just told him to choose any donut and told his young man who looks like he was a high school student to choose the one donut that represents the bakery. I told him that this would be the one and only time I would eat here so what is going to be the one donut that’s going to sum up my whole experience he hit it put it in a bag and gave it to me. He chose a simple glaze and I have to say just one of the best donuts I’ve ever had. If you’re gonna make ice cream you got to get the vanilla rightSince I got the glaze doughnut perfect I’m sure the other donuts for magnificent.

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    On my way out of town there was a long stretch of road with just breathtaking views of large amounts of swaying corn. I stopped to take the attached pic and a kind getmore ride passed and turned around to see if I needed help. Arden was his name and he had just gotten his trike out as it was needing mechanical attention, ended up being plugs. I’ve learned to start at the simple basics after an issue with a BMW 5 series once. Had a nice and positive road side chat and then we went on our ways.

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    Crossed over the bridge into the town of Chester. Chester is famous for the invention of Popeye.
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    On my way back to the bike I meet this young man who was standing next to a bike. I stopped and chatted and he just graduated high school and was going to college in the fall. He had ridden his bike from Oregon and was headed to Virginia. He was 6 weeks into it and thought he had about 2 more to go. Had the wisdom to realize this may be the only chance he would ever get. Kudos to him and his parents. I forgot his name but he certainly was inspiration to me and my continued quest. Also he tent camped so when more after that big storm the night before.
    There is a ferry that will take you back across the river just a little further north and I called and they were running, on a Sunday. Was on my way when I came up on a guy on a scooter out for a leader ride. I was going to pass him and thought it was more enjoyable just to ride with someone. We rode for about 10 or 15 when we came up to a stop sign. I pulled up next to him and said it was nice riding with him. He asked where I was headed and I told him and he said he would follow. The ferry was on its way back, couple of Jeep’s waiting and he said if I wanted there was a better option. I asked him what that was and he said he was on his way to see some friends for black powder muskets. I had my heart on the ferry but it would be interstate north and couldn’t oust up the chance so I followed. So happy I did, place was and off for out in beautiful cornfield, I would have never known. His name was Cliff and he knew so shot the fort, its history, like the design came from Frances and allowed intruders to be shot from any point against its wall. The shoes were in full attire and having a meeting so we walked more of the fort.
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    the shooters came out and were very kind. Brenda was actually the one everyone has to beat. She told me about the rifle, which someone in the group made in its entirety and a few interesting facts. Like the term half cocked comes from the concept the trigger should not go off of you hold the fully loaded rifle vertically by the trigger. Flash in the Pan came from the gun powder that the flint lock ignites because the area the outward gun powder holds is called the Pan, there was one more but I can’t remember.
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    This is the back country road Cliff told me to take North to St. Louis. I am standing on the pegs in the lock stand with my arm fully stretched, so camera is maybe 10 of the ground.

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    Amazing ride. Follows the Bluff around the area of Hwy 3. Thanks Cliff, sorry I didn’t get a pic to add but am forever gracious for the kind hospitality you showed me. Spent about an hour.
    #14
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  15. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

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    St. Louis was a milestone for me. Have friends I wanted to meet up but they will be part of the journey back. Couldn’t help it, had to briefly see the arch. Got so excited when I came off Bluff rd when I could see it. Popped in for just a second and took a pic. The lady taking payment have me VIP parking and didn’t charge me. Couldn’t leave her sight but told her o wouldn’t with all my gear on the bike.

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    From there headed up to Hannibal, birth place of Mark Twain.

    Stopped and sat in the shade of a bank for a bit to take care of my feet.
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    big storm tried to sneak in but got out and ahead of it before it dumped.

    Very large statue entering Hannibal.

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    Found a place to stay. But the best. Tried very hard to smell clean. This place is simply unloved by its owners and its staff, who o am sure they are grateful for the work but the hole place felt sad and was coming apart. Reminded me of a place where you go to just get in trouble. For me it reminded me of a few places we rented in Daytona when we were in high school and it was what it was and we didn’t care too much about environment just down many off is could sneak and stay overnight.
    The one big plus and has changed my trip and was the only place that was maintained was it had a pool. I was able to get a solid work out and really work out my legs in an anti gravity setting from being on the bike. So far it will be what I look for when I’m on this trip. No pic of pool, sorry.
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    Great day though.
    #15
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  16. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Day 3:

    Left the little sad hotel and headed into town. 48DA282F-7673-4107-93C7-8C98DE61E0CB.jpeg

    On the way in there were these little bars with old school Budweiser and Busch signs. The “Watering Hole” had at least 5 cars out front and out was 10:30 in the morning. That’s retirement. Wanted to pop in but today was going to be a full day riding.
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    Cute little town, very small.
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    The tan building on the left behind the bike is the birth place and now museum of Mark Twain. 1570DFF3-0FF7-4993-BA48-E219BADC5F92.jpeg

    I was getting ready to get back on the bike and I heard someone talking to me. I looked over and look there.
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    You may remember this from the movie BIG with Tom Hanks. There was a older man walking in talking about this also to what looked like his grandson. He looked at me and said will I guess I need my fortune read, I’m just not going to wish to be Big. I have it in my wallet still and will read out when I get home.

    Rode up to Quincy on Hwy 57 and saw this interesting church with very interesting architecture. 38172E70-A3A4-41BE-8B8F-1352648F67D7.jpeg

    Church marked the starting spot where 800 Native Americans were forced to march West of the Mississippi to Kansas called the Trail of Death.

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    #16
  17. Flawedmasterpiece

    Flawedmasterpiece Adventurer

    Joined:
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    From Quincy I headed north to Mt. Pleasant.
    I stopped at a little park and this group of gentleman crossed the street. I dismounted and then they crossed back. They were from Mexico and asked off they could take their picture with me and the bike, which I kindly agreed to. They wanted to sit in it but with so the gear I declined.
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    and they had this awesome old tractor at the center of the park.
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    Big push to the nights stopping point. Walnut Woods State Park on the Raccoon River in Western Des Moines, IA. Got to the site and the care taker said he thought everything was full for the night but to go through. I made a loop and being on the bike I could get closer. Low and behold there was a sign that said reserved but it was for the following night. Score! I was told that someone came through just before o did with a camper but guess they thought it was reserved for the evening and moved on. I was kindly welcomed from my neighbor and the granddaughter visiting kindly helped with my tent. Her little boy was 2.5 and very smart and fascinated that he could throw his shoe up on the air and acknowledged that it was his shoe. This isn’t what made home smart, he Knew off colors and irregular shapes. Great day off riding.
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    I highly recommend this site and say hello to Bob the caretaker for me.
    #17
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