2008 Western Adventure

Day 5 - June 24, 2008

Today started great, but it didn't last too long.  I managed to see most of the things that I wanted in the morning.  There were a couple of places that I wanted to see, but the roads were closed because of there recent floods.  There's a definite pattern weaving its way into my routing plans....I seem to be choosing the wrong back roads, the ones that are flooded.

I decided to stop for a bite to eat at the very first Steak and Shake that I had ever eaten at.  They built it near our home in Chesterfield, MO in 1976, and it's still there after 32 years.  I no sooner got my order, and the skies opened up.  I had to run out and get something over my electronics stuff, and got soaked in the process.  I went back in and finished my soup and steakburger.  It rained the whole time that I was eating and I wasn't looking forward to going out into a pretty nasty thunderstorm, but I braved.  I was putting on my rain gear when a lightning bolt struck very very close.  It darn near caused me to fall down while I was on one leg putting my pants on.  I finally got everything on and took off in one scary storm.  It came down fairly heavy for the next hour, and then it stopped.  I went for another 1/2 hours without any rain, so I decided to stop and remove my rain gear.  By this time I was in Hannibal, MO, the home of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer adventures.  I managed to get a few pictures of the historical downtown area, but could not get close to the Mississippi River, which had extra sand bags on top of the levy.  The river was really high and has not finished cresting.  There is water everywhere in this part of the country.   As soon as I finished looking around it started raining again.  This time I left my gear on for a couple hours, until I saw sun again and no dark clouds on the horizon.

I finally started to make some good time, and enjoyed the scenery as well.  The countryside was green and lush, with lots of wild flowers.  Of course, with all the rain you can imagine that things are growing like a wild fire.  At around 6:30 I decided that I would call it a day, so I pulled into a motel in a rather small town and asked for a room.  Much to my surprise, they told me that they were full and were also booked for the next month.  The motel clerk said there were a lot of flood victims, out of area workers, and FEMA people staying there.  She also said that all of the hotels in town and the surrounding towns were completely booked for the next month.  This did not sound very encouraging.  I checked my GPS, and the next town was about 25 miles away, so I headed off in that direction.  It was the same story in Fairfield, Iowa.  By this time I was getting hungry, so I stopped at Jarred's place (Subway) and got a foot long sub.  While there I made a few phone calls to my family to keep them updated on my progress. 

When I finished eating it was pitch black outside.  I hate to ride in the dark, so the next 30 some miles were a little tense.  There were lots of "watch out for deer signs", and that made me even more tense.  Guess what, I did see some deer's and almost hit one of them that was standing in the middle of the road.  I had to swerve to miss it and was close enough to reach out and pet it when I went by it.  Having survived a deer hit a couple years ago, I didn't want to have a repeat performance, so I slowed way down until and 18 wheeler passed.  I laid in closely behind him, and stayed there until I hit the next town.  I spotted a Motel 8 sign in the distance and headed for it.  Luckily they still had a couple of rooms left.  By this time it was 10:30 and I was completely drained, especially after the deer incident.  I unpacked all my stuff from my bike and settled in for the night.  Before I could get to sleep the rains came again.  These people just keep getting the rains, and with each rain comes more flooding.  As pretty as this part of the country is, I'll be glad when I get through the flood area.  Goodnight!

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