The Day the Music Died

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by zookster, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. ross

    ross Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I'll have to take a trip to the motorcycle museum in Anamosa. I didn't even realize it was there. I went to Barber a few years ago and was totally amazed. Going to Barber was my longest motorcycle journey to date.
    #21
  2. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

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    Very nice. :clap
    #22
  3. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    Day 9 - Anamosa, IA to Wakonda State Park, La Grange, MO

    A friend of mine is from the St. Louis, MO area. When he found out I was going to be "in the area" he suggested I ride U.S. Hwy 61, the "Great River Road". I headed out from the museum to find this road.

    This is the point I made my first navigation error. Somehow I had miscalculated the mileage and a road I was looking to turn South on was a lot closer than I expected.

    This is the IA Route I missed that cost me 50 miles. The next sign said 38 North, I was looking for 38 South. How ironic I got it in a picture but missed it on the road! No indication at the junction for 38 South.
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    Ah well, it was still pretty countryside.
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    I continued on not knowing I had missed my turn, still thinking "well it will be just up ahead".

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    I came across U.S. 61 in Maquoketa, IA instead of Muscatine, IA as originally planned. Only 50 miles and 1 hour out of my way, an hour I would soon wish I had not wasted.

    Having rejoined my planned route I set off South on U.S. 61. Not so great as the "Great River Road" at this point, some glimpses of the Mississippi but for the most part it was a 4 lane divided highway. Still nice countryside though.

    I got just south of Grandview, IA only to find the road completely shut down with no indication of a detour. Simply closed. No getting around the barricades type of closed.

    So I backtracked to a nearby gas station, where the clerk was kind enough to provide a route around the closure. Turns out the Mississippi and Iowa rivers were flooding the road out at various points. The flooded parts from the Iowa river were the reason for the road closure just south of Grandview. She had been asked for directions so many times she had prepared a printout of the go-around directions. The "go-around" actually turned out to be a nice curvy section of old US 61.

    Some of the roads on the "go-around" were close to being closed due to flooding.
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    The 20 mile detour was quite scenic.
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    Crossed another section of the Iowa River that was very close to flooding the bridge
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    When I got close to the Missouri state line another closure, but this time a huge orange billboard size sign indicating a emergency route was to be taken, as Hwy 61 in Missouri was closed. Well hell there went my plans to ride the Great River Road.

    I followed the detour which took me way out in the country away from the river. I began running various alternate plans in my head, sure I was going to miss out on the campground I had intended on stopping at. Couldn't decide if I wanted to chuck it and get a quick hotel or not, so I pressed on. It was starting to get late so I wicked the DR up to make some time.

    Soon I saw a familiar sign, lo and behold here is Hwy 61 again, heading towards Hannibal, MO. I remembered there was a state park in Hannibal and almost stopped to call but once you are moving it is hard to stop sometimes, even for a quick phone call.

    Anyway I saw a State Road sign that was on my original route, Business 61 and MO road "B". Luckily I had not passed the campground I wanted after all.

    Chasing my shadow, hoping to make it to my destination before it got too late
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    I found my way to the campground at Wakonda State Park and set up my tent.
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    Decided to run in to La Grange and pick up something for dinner. The river (Mississippi River this time) was quite high and had partially flooded the town. In fact when I left the next morning they had the barricades in position to close Bus. 61 through town.
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    The pizza that I picked up for dinner didn't travel too well but it tasted fine!
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    One of the most entertaining things on this trip took place in the campground. There was a group of 3-4 boys around 10 years old riding their bicycles in the campground. Everywhere they rode one was singing the phrase "On The Road Again" over and over. He would be silent for a moment or two the break out into song again. Hilarious. I still hear it in my mind.

    This tree was in the campground, a good 200 feet from the lakeshore. The high water mark is 10-12 feet up the tree trunk from a 1993 flood.
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    415 Miles for the day.
    #23
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  4. adit

    adit Bent and Broken

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    Excellent ride report ! Great pictures.
    #24
  5. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    Day 10 - Wakonda State Park to Henderson, TN.

    Having had enough of the not-so-"Great River Road" I got out my maps to plot an alternate course. I had noticed a potential escape, MO Route 79, which ran along the river for 101 miles to just outside St. Louis, MO. A fellow rider at the National Motorcycle Museum had mentioned another possibility, MO Route 19, which went more through the central part of MO. Both looked good on the map so I decided that I would head for MO 79 first, since I really did want to ride along the river. If it was a no-go I could easily get over to MO 19, which looked quite enticing too.

    The plan was to ride into Hannibal, MO (Mark Twain's hometown) and check on the status of MO 79, finding out if it was closed at any point due to flooding. I rode the short 26 miles to Hannibal and stopped at a BP station. When I asked about 79, the clerk said it was open but I'd better get going as the parade was starting in 10 minutes, and to get to 79 I had to cross the parade route. Parade? What parade? Having been on the road for over a week at this point I had sort of lost track of dates/days. It was July 4th, so an Independence Day Parade, dummy!

    I hightailed it across town, getting through the parade route cross street just before they blocked it off. Whew!
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    I headed off on 79 and knew I'd made the right choice, 79 was actually old US 61, and still:
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    This road turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip, lots of curves and elevation changes as it followed the Mississippi River, a fun way to pass 100 miles
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    This family of ducks hurried across the road right in front of me
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    Crossed the Mississippi into IL then turned around and crossed back to 79 again!
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    Louisiana in Missouri! Old river town. The road was closed once again (just past the 2nd stop sign in this picture), but I was able to get around it fairly easily.
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    The river was quite high, not too far from shutting down this part of route too
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    I stopped for gas once I reached I-70 at O'Fallon. Got to talking to a guy there and he suggested I ride around St. Louis and pick up IL Route 3 just after crossing the river. He said it was a good road, equal to MO 79. I decided to give it a try.
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    Well this one turned out to be a bust. It went well inland of the river, and while scenic enough, wasn't what I was looking for. If I had had time to scout around a bit I could have found some of the old sections, which did indeed run along the river. I crossed back into Missouri at Chester to pick up US 61 again.
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    Back into farm country
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    What's a ride report without a selfie?!! Really enjoying this trip!
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    Towards the end of US 61 I had to get on I-55 for a bit then off onto US 412. I soon saw this sign, getting ever closer to home now.
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    I had intended to camp at Chickasaw State Park in Henderson, TN but due to the holiday weekend it was full, office closed! I ended up at a local hotel, with a perfect parking spot. Is this bad form?
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    440 Miles for the day.
    #25
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  6. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 11
    Final day on the road!

    Henderson, TN to Birmingham.

    I left the hotel a little late, didn't get on the road til almost 10am. No worries, should be a fairly short day in the saddle today. Took US 45 S from Henderson, crossing into Mississippi. Not a whole lot of pictures today, most of my route was familiar territory I had ridden in the past.

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    Shortly after entering MS I picked up US 72, then onto AL 157. Of course once I got to Moulton,AL I couldn't resist a run down AL 33 through the Bankhead Forest.
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    A cool twist on this leg of the ride. A couple of friends from over on BamaRides.com happened to be riding north on AL 33 and recognized my bike, snapping a photo on the fly as we passed each other. Of course I was then in for some good natured ribbing, with them asserting I had actually been hiding out in the local National Forest camping out the whole time and faking all the pictures on the ride. Buttmunches the lot of them!
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    On this leg the old DR rolled this number, started the trip at 58,800.
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    And finally back home 3,300 miles and 11 days later.
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    225 Miles for the day.
    #26
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  7. Titlerider

    Titlerider Been here awhile

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    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Lots of pictures, good stories, clearly written by someone enjoying the ride. I've never heard what caused the plane to crash.
    #27
  8. tedmarshall

    tedmarshall Been here awhile

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    Wilmette, Illinois
    Novel idea. Neat perspective.
    Thanks
    #28
  9. TSSRA

    TSSRA KTM 350 Rider

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    Great story. Thanks for fantastic pictures and reminding us of today. I was only 5 when Buddy Holly died. I only remember his music. Later, Mclean's American Pie imortalized all that was good and bad of the sixties! As I recall, American Pie was the name of the plane that, crashed 'the day the music died'
    #29
  10. dickosaurus

    dickosaurus Geezer Coalition Supporter

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    Fun and interesting ride report. Thanks for posting. Liked your photos.
    #30
  11. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    Basically attributed to pilot error. A snip from the accident investigation report with the Conclusion and Probable Cause:

    Conclusion

    At night, with an overcast sky, snow falling, no definite horizon, and a proposed flight over a sparsely settled area with an absence of ground lights, a requirement for control of the aircraft solely by reference to flight instruments can be predicated with virtual certainty.

    The Board concludes that pilot Peterson, when a short distance from the airport, was confronted with this situation. Because of fluctuation of the rate instruments caused by gusty winds he would have been forced to concentrate and rely greatly on the attitude gyro, an instrument with which he was not completely familiar. The pitch display of this instrument is the reverse of the instrument he was accustomed to; therefore, he could have become confused and thought that he was making a climbing turn when in reality he was making a descending turn. The fact that the aircraft struck the ground in a steep turn but with the nose lowered only slightly, indicates that some control was being effected at the time. The weather briefing supplied to the pilot was seriously inadequate in that it failed to even mention adverse flying conditions which should have been highlighted.

    Probable Cause

    The Board determines that he probably cause of this accident was the pilot's unwise decision to embark on a flight which would necessitate flying solely by instruments when he was not properly certificated or qualified to do so. Contributing factors were serious deficiencies in the weather briefing, and the pilot's unfamiliarity with the instrument which determines the attitude of the aircraft.

    By the Civil Aeronautics Board: James R. Dupree/ Chan Gurney/Harmar D. Denny/ G. Joseph Minetti/ Louis J. Hector


    The full Civil Aeronautics Board Report can be found here:
    http://www.fiftiesweb.com/cab.htm

    A more "plain English" explanation can be found on Roger Peterson's Wiki page:
    The Civil Aeronautics Board concluded that the primary cause of the crash was pilot error due to Peterson's inability to accurately interpret the plane's Sperry F3 attitude indicator which he was forced to rely upon in the prevailing weather conditions. The theory is that Peterson may have read the unusual gyroscope as though it was a conventional gyro and thought that the plane was gaining altitude when it was actually descending; resulting in him encountering spatial disorientation while airborne. Peterson was not certified to fly solely by reference to instruments. A secondary factor was that the pilot had not been informed of adverse flash weather forecasts

    Roger Peterson


    Very sad all around. Roger Peterson was the second youngest person on board the plane at age 21. Can you imagine how thrilled and excited he must have been when he learned who he would be flying that night?
    #31
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  12. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    Thanks for the background info. If your wife's parents would be willing to share their recollections of the concert I would be interested. I understand the "lack of a wealth of information" about the show - It didn't become a unique event until the morning after the show, so it probably wasn't something they were trying to remember every minute of while there that night. A PM or Email would be fine.

    I figured from looking at those booths that they were designed to encourage folks to be up dancing and drinking, not sitting!
    #32
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  13. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    Thanks for the compliment. From what I have been able to find out the popular notion that the plane was named "American Pie" is not true.

    The_Day_the_Music_Died

    Snopes American Pie
    #33
  14. vagueout

    vagueout Long timer

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    Bitter sweet ride report but nonetheless very informative. Seeing Holly's last show venue restored like it is was fantastic. If i remember Buddy's stratocaster was sold at auction in about 1990 for a sum of about $70,000 us. At the time i considered that a bargain. Holly had three similar stratocasters over an eighteen month or so period and two were stolen when he was still alive. Pictures of texas often look to me like a lot of queensland and new south wales here in australia. Thank you for your report.:thumb
    #34
  15. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    60 years gone now. :(: :cry

    Bump.
    #35
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  16. slime

    slime Healing nicely

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    I'm late, but well done! I ride to Barber for vintage days but would really like to see the National museum as Evel was a big influence in my life ( as a lot of other riders ) as a young kid with a dirt bike. I have a cousin in Perryville,MO. so I've made that ride too. You missed the Popeye statue in Chester,Ill. just before ( or after ) you cross the Mississippi. People love to steal the pipe from the Popeye statue too! I take 3 down along the river in Illinois to ware. Then over to Metopolis,Ill for the superman museum and a yearly festival. Great RR by the way...thanks!
    #36
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  17. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    62 years ago today the Winter Dance Party made it's fateful stop in Clear Lake Iowa. It would be the last performance for Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley), Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela) and The Big Bopper (Jiles "J.P." Richardson).

    RIP Buddy, Ritchie, JP and Pilot Roger Peterson.

    Bump.
    #37
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  18. kirbic

    kirbic n00b

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    Fascinating indeed!
    I wasn't there... but I was born that morning.
    #38
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  19. Comrade Arturo

    Comrade Arturo Veterinario

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    Buddy was THE REAL KING of Rock & Roll. John Lennon was quoted as saying that the Beatles first three albums were basically a rip off of Buddy Holly.
    #39
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  20. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

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    I got to the very end of this, before realizing your ride was 6 years ago. A testament to the quality of your trip, and your writing.

    Ride on!!
    #40
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