Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 10: Mound City, MO to St. Louis, MO

Another really HOT day today. The average temp from the time we started was 93 degrees. Since we're now in the Midwest the humidity is up there as well. All in all it makes for some uncomfortable moments sitting on the bike. It's not bad when you're moving - the airflow keeps you pretty cool - but anytime spent sitting in traffic is miserable.

Despite all the fun with the heat, I still love getting on the bike and moving. Motorcycles are addictive. I can't wait to spend some offroad time with the bike - soon.

Sean: We departed Mound City, still unsure why it was named such. Heading south along I-29 we passed thru St. Joseph, with little view of it from the interstate, and headed into Kansas City where we discovered their propensity for reconstructing bridges starting with the middle lane. After significant stop and go, once with a pack of bikes around us, we cleared KC and headed east. We rapidly left the other bikes on their pleasure cruises behind us as we were on a mission to book miles. We ran straight for 150 miles and pulled off just as the Triumph's reserve light came on. We took a break got gas and got back on for another 150. We peeled off Outside Columbia, MO as the traffic began to ramp up, got gas & gatorade and rejoined the fray. Stopped again around 60 miles from St Louis, seriously hot, for more gatorade and gas and back out again. over the last two stops I discovered the joy of evaporative cooling, at first drenching a bandanna in water and tying it 'round my neck and later drenching both the bandanna and shirt and jacket for an even better effect. We closed in on St. Louis and met up with rush hour, we hung on to the left lane where an open shoulder and speed were our best defense along with a very loud Triumph ridden by a glowstick. (Liz Note: Sean's jacket is fluorescent yellow)

We were successful in dodging the storms that are all around the Midwest. There was a storm system following us that we stayed ahead of, though we could see the giant anvil-shaped cloud off to our right as we got into St. Louis.

All day we crossed rivers that were overflowing their banks, roads that led into the water, and trees submerged to their tops. I didn't have an appreciation for exactly how much rain this area has had over the past few weeks - I do now. Sean and I were both determined to get some decent miles today, and we did get around 375 total. But we didn't get quite as far as we thought we would.

As we came into St. Louis at around 600pm, the Arch was right in front of us. Sean was leading and gave me a "should we exit?" signal. I was up for it and we jumped off the interstate to the Arch and the park that surrounds it right along the Mississippi River. After parking the bikes we walked to the Arch and took a few pictures. It's hard to understand the scale of the Arch until you stand directly under it looking up.
You can't really see it in the picture but that's me standing on the bench in the lower left hand corner. There is a museum right under the arch that is really cool, literally the airconditioning was appreciated. We took some pictures including the only bear we saw on the trip. I was somewhat disappointed that we didn't see a real bear, Sean not so much.

After we came out of the museum, fully prepared to get back on the bikes, we noticed the Hyatt two blocks away. I have a Diamond membership with Hyatt, and lots of points good for free rooms. Hmm, maybe they had something available. After all, we wouldn't want to push too hard now would we?

Turns out they had a room that's not bad for a free room and is cheaper than the Motel6/Super8 genre we've been staying at. We are really going to pick up speed tomorrow.

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