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I had said that I wouldn’t report on the Gala Dinner held on Thursday – to spare the blushes of the innocent! However, I must mention two things:

First, yours truly was chosen as “Most Improved Irish 66er 2008” – for “going from 50 miles per hour to 90 in 5 days”!

The hat - my prize! (The shirt is our team shirt, kindly provided by Nobby Usher)

The hat - my prize! (The shirt is our team shirt, kindly provided by Nobby Usher)

Second, and the real reason for this extra blog entry, was that I and two other Irish 66ers who had had small tips (the technical term is that we “laid down” our bikes) were called up at the end of the awards presentations and given a wodge of cash each, a contribution towards the loss of our deposits with EagleRider, raised in a whiparound by the Irish 66ers. Chief RoadCaptain Tony Toner explained to me “You’re an Irish 66er now and we look after each other”. You sure do – guys and gals, I don’t know you all by name, but thank you all most sincerely – I’m truly humbled by your generousity. GO Irish 66ers!!

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The great day dawns! Our planned early start was again delayed by slow breakfast service – 100 hungry bikers at 6.20 am is NOT a pretty sight! But, after a quick talk from Angela McNulty and Tony Toner, our group were first out on the road.

Look at the sparkle from those bikes! Leaving Victorville CA, Wednesday morning

Look at the sparkle from those bikes! Leaving Victorville CA, Wednesday morning

A fast run down the mountain – Victorville is several thousand feet above sea level – to LA in the valley below, on the Interstate – slowing when we hit traffic as we neared the city proper. We were first to the meeting place – another Denny’s, this time on Sunset Boulevard, THE Sunset Boulevard! Other groups, who had elected to travel the original Route 66 into LA, were much delayed by traffic – one arrived more than two hours after us! We had breakfasted well in their absence – and were now sweltering in the sun!

This waiting around is tiring, you know!

This waiting around is tiring, you know!

At midday, we moved out, with our police escort holding junctions for us – the only way to travel! Along Sunset Boulvelard, past the Beverly Hills Hotel and the entrance to Bel Air – and then disaster struck!

Less than 5 miles and 10 minutes from Santa Monica pier, riding on the inside of a paired formation, my wheels got caught in a rut, straight into a deep pothole, which trapped the front wheel, twisting it out of my hands – I lost control, went heading for the curb, hit it, and the Road Glide and I parted company! I landed on the grass (luckily), the RoadGlide scraped along the curb. The bikers behind me were quick to help – while keeping the convoy moving – Martin, a paramedic, made sure I was OK before I got up on the bike again and rejoined the convoy at the back. Sore shoulder, a skinned knee and injured pride aside, I was fine – the RoadGlide needs repair work, which cost me my deposit – still it was cheaper than a night or two in a hospital! And, since I couldn’t be first man onto the pier – that honour went to Declan Connaughton – I managed to be last – one must take what comfort one can!

I was very grateful for the good wishes of the other 66ers – roadcaptain Gerry Barry came back down the convoy to check on me, as soon as he heard I was down, losing his own place in the line-up onto the pier – and many other bikers came over to check that I was alright.

Rita – with our great LA friends, Bonnie and George – was waiting on the pier at Santa Monica. A great reunion, some words of welcome from Michael O’Leary, city councillor for Culver City, who spoke on behalf of Mayor Katz of Santa Monica who was unable to meet us, group photos – and then off to EagleRider LA to return the bikes. Nobby Usher and I got separated again from our group but met up with another group and arrived at our destination well ahead of our teammates. EagleRider were surprisingly relaxed about the damage to my RoadGlide – the fact that it was insured made a difference, I suppose! And I’m sure they have seen bikes returned in worse condition than mine!

We made it!!

We made it!!

Joe and myself on Santa Monica pier with my crashed bike - you can't really see the damage!

Joe and myself on Santa Monica pier with my crashed bike - you cannot see the damage from this angle!

Then back to meet up again with Rita, Bonnie and George, and off to their home in Orange County, where they made us most welcome.

Rita and I rejoin the 66ers for a Gala Dinner tomorrow night – there will be no reporting on that! And then, as the group makes its way home on Friday, we begin a short hioliday for ourselves, travelling up Highway 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway – eventually meeting up with Bonnie’s sister, Kathy, and her husband, John, in Sacramento, before flying home.

The team on Santa Monica pier - the end of the Challenge!

The team on Santa Monica pier - the end of the Challenge!

 

The Challenge is done! I have achieved what I set out to do – I arrived safely, if a little bruised, in Santa Monica – and I have done some good for the children in Temple Street Hospital – thanks to all my generous sponsors! It’s been a tough but enjoyable 10 days, thanks to the great spirit among our team. Go Irish 66er!

Our usual early start was delayed by a slow breakfast service – several of the hotels we stayed at appeared unable to cope with a rush of bikers at 6.30 am – the best were those that served us buffet-style in a separate banqueting room.

Across the “High Desert” to a gas station for our usual early morning stop after perhaps 60 or so miles biking – for once, our stop was not for coffee to warm us up but for water to cool us down – it was hot! And would get hotter as the day went on!

Just after we crossed into California, we stopped to join another group who were taking photographs of a Route 66 sign painted on the road surface – we saw several of these from here onwards, but this one was on an open stretch of road, with clear visibility for a mile or so in all directions, an ideal place to stop for photos. Siezing the opportunity presented by the presence of another group, Joe McCaul started a “Happy Birthday” for Gerry Barry, which was enthusuiastically joined in by all present!

Gerry Barry, Tom Browne and myself on Route 66

Gerry Barry, Tom Browne and myself on Route 66

Then on through the high desert – little sand, just scrubland – to Roy’s Cafe at Amboy, which has been serving travelers for 150 years. It’s not much – just a gas station and small shop, with a preserved but now non-functioning diner attached – but it’s a welcome break.

Roy's Cafe, Amboy CA

Roy's Cafe, Amboy, CA

Earlier, we had overtaken a young couple on a Harley, she in a bikini (hell of a way to get a suntan!), accompanied by a third guy on another bike and a couple in a people carrier. They pulled into Roy’s a little while later – and the lads formed a queue to present the bikinied young lady with one of our trademark shamrock pjns, provided only that they could pin it on her! Wisely, she resisted the temptation!

Lunch was in Ludlow – a gas station and cafe. across the road from one another. Again, it’s amazing how “towns! that apear on the map turn out to be disappointingly small. In the cafe, we met a couple from Cambridge, England, touring America on a Harley. In conversation, we discovered that she had Irish roots – having spent most of childhood summer holidays outside Tullamore, where Sean Tynan hails from – a small world!

Ludlow to our overnight at Victorville, with a short stop at the Victorville Harley-Davidson shop for the enthusiasts among us. Luckily, the hotel was just around the corner, so some of us headed there early – and yours truly, having spotted a Starbucks across the road, went off to indulge in a cafe latte – only my third on the roadtrip! but the bikes also had to be cleaned for return to EagleRider the next day – my protests that no one would believe that we had travelled 2500 miles across America if we turned up on Santa Monica pier on showroom-condition bikes went unheeded – I was given a cloth and shown where the hose was!

Over dinner that evening, word began to emerge of a police escort into Santa Monica the next day. After a prolonged roadcaptain’s meeting, it was announced that we would make our way in our groups to a meeting place in central LA, where we would be joined by 25 motorcycle police officers, from 12 different police forces in the LA area, who would escort us to the pier – this on their own time!!

To bed then, with mixed emotions – delighted to be nearing the end of the Challenge, only a week earlier, Santa Monica had seemed impossibly far away; but, at the same time, sad that it was all coming swiftly to an end and that we would have to return soon – too soon – to the real world.

After a Sunday evening spent listening to stories of the day’s ride to the Grand Canyon or Sedona (having nothing to contribute from my day of idleness), we started back on our Route 66 Challenge 2008 on Monday morning. When Tom and I woke at 6 am, having lost several hours sleep due to a party inconsiderately held in the next door bedroom at 3 am, the outside temperature was only 2 degrees. Nonetheless, by the time we were ready to leave, it was warm enough to go around in just a T-shirt, provided you stayed in the sun. Experience told that it would be much colder on the bikes – after all, like Denver, Flagstaff is a mile high at 7200 feet – so we donned our rainsuits despite the cloudless sky.

Sunrise over our bikes in Flagstaff AZ

Sunrise over our bikes in Flagstaff AZ

An hour later, we stopped for coffee and to remove the rainsuits. And then onto Seligman. This small town has become something of a tourist trap – while we were there, there were at least three busloads of of French tourists, all intrigued by the crazy Irish people on their motorcycles.

Seligman - activity on Main Street
Seligman – activity on Main Street

On then to Kingman, we were stopped for lunch at another Denny’s – for the first time, we were able to get a table for all the group to sit together – and the lads flirted shamlessly with the waitress, Miranda, who was well able for them! But we got magnificent service – and Miranda got a great tip!

Lunch at Denny's Kingman AZ - taken by Miranda, our waitress

Lunch at Denny

Under a little time pressure, we made our way across a barren desert plain to cross the mountains at the infamous Sitgreaves Pass. Sitgreaves has long since been bypassed but early settlers often used to pay locals to drive their cars through the pass for them, since it was so dangerous. In many cases, the cars had to be reversed up the hill – as reverse was the only gear capable to managing the grade! We avoided the use of reverse gear, and made our way to the pass without mishap.

Irish 66ers making their way up Sitgreaves Pass

Irish 66ers making their way up Sitgreaves Pass

There we waited for the other groups to join us – having arrived first. Our purpose at the pass was to place a memorial to brothers Dave Yost and JB Norris, who had planned to join our roadtrip in Chicago. Sadly, both died in June, within 5 days of one another. Their mother had asked Chief Roadcaptain, Tony Toner, to carry their ashes on a final bike journey across America and to place them at Sitgreaves Pass. So we held a brief and moving ceremony – sadly, the occasion was marred by the discovery that a memorial left to mark the passing of John McLaughlin, a 2004 66er, who died before he could take part on the 2006 Challenge, had been removed – it had been there only weeks earlier. Who would do such a thing?

Watching the ashes ceremony at Sitgreaves Pass

Watching the ashes ceremony at Sitgreaves Pass

Then down the mountain, into Oatman, an old mining town that has maintained the ramshackle facade of yesterday, underneath which lies a slickly-run tourist machine. Burros (donkeys) roam the street (there’s only one!) at will, cadging carrots (available for a dollar a bag at any shop) from visitors. In the absence of carrots, the burros will eat most anything else – one tried to eat the Irish flag flying from the radio aerial of my RoadGlide!

I bet he wouldn't try that with an American flag!

I bet he wouldn't try that with an American flag!

Rested and refreshed, we made our way across more barren territory to the town of Laughlin, in Nevada, departing slightly from Route 66 in the search for accommodation. Our beds for the night were in the Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel in Laughlin, which, being across the state border in Nevada, is a gambling town – at least six casinos, all bigger than the Golden Nugget, itself large – and surprisingly busy for a Monday night. A lovely dinner, served on a deck overlooking the Colorado river, with fish visible in the clear water below, as well as ducks and raccoons on the riverbank, loosened roadcaptain Gerry Barry’s tongue sufficiently for him to reveal that the next day, Tuesday, was his 50th birthday – a fatal mistake!

We’re getting better and better! On the road this morning at 7.30 am sharp, gassed up from the night before. I discovered first-hand this morning most people travel Route 66 east-to-west – not just because that was the pattern of migration that underlies Route 66 but because the sun in your eyes in the morning is blinding – we had a quarter-mile or so to drive from the hotel onto I-40 to start our day’s journey and that was enough for me.

We had been expecting snow, from the previous night’s forecast, but the day started fine – but bitterly cold.

Our first stop, about 90 minutes on, was at the Contintental Divide, where rainwater falling on the west side of the divide flows to the Pacific, while rainwater falling on the eastern side flows to the Atlantic. We used the sto to warm ourselves with coffee – and put on our rainsuits to keep out the biting wind.

Tom and myself stradding the Contintental Divide

Tom and myself stradding the Contintental Divide

Then through Native Indian territory on Route 66 on into Arizona, where we gained another hour. We used this wisely for an early lunch at the restaurant in the Visitor Centre at the Petrified Forest National Park. We explored the park and had a group photo taken by two American girls from Washington DC.

(from left to right, back row) Joe, myself, Tom, Sean and Paul); (front row) Declan, Gerry, Siobhan and Nobby

At the Petrified Forest National Park: (from left to right, back row) Joe, myself, Tom, Sean and Paul); (front row) Declan, Gerry, Siobhan and Nobby

On then, in pouring rain, to Winslow, Arizona – to stand on the corner! I bought an Eagles CD with ‘Takin’ It Easy’ on it and used the CD player on my RoadGlide to blast it out while we took photos.

(from left to right, back row) Joe, myself, Gerry, Tom and Paul; (front row) Declan, Nobby, Sean and Siobhan

Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona: (from left to right, back row) Joe, myself, Gerry, Tom and Paul; (front row) Declan, Nobby, Sean and Siobhan

Sitting on my bike on a corner in Winslow, Arizona!
Sitting on my bike on a corner in Winslow, Arizona!
note the "Thank You" to the Eagles!

The shop across the road from the corner in Winslow, Arizona: note the 'Thank You' to the Eagles!

Excitement over, we made our way to Flagstaff. Across the plain, I-40 doubles as Route 66 so, for 40 miles of so, we fought winds from the south that threatened to blow us, not just off the road, but halfway to Canada. Still for such bad weather forecasts, we escaped with colder temperatures than we were prepared for, some rain, and strong winds – and arrived safe in Flagstaff.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a day off – much needed! Most of the 66ers are going to the Grand Canyon or Sedona – I’m planning a day of idleness, interspersed with bouts of blogging!

It’s been a hard – but interested – week. We have travelled nearly 2000 miles – not much left to go to reach our destination in Santa Monica. But we’ve seen little of the country – we’ve been travelling fast, with short stops for petrol (gas!), coffee and lunch and only one or two ‘tourist’ stops each day. Shame perhaps, but the Challenge is about covering the distance, not sightseeing.

As a group, our team has come together well – there’s lots of slagging – and we’ve grown to know and to trust one another’s biking abilities. Certainly, I’m a better biker after this week – in six days, I done about 60% of the mileage that I have covered in the past 16 months on my own bike, over a much wider range of conditions and situations. It’s been great! I’m looking forward to the next few days, crossing the rockies and descending through California to the sea – and our end-point!

Tom Browne, my roommate, and I missed our wake-up call and were rescued only by my iPhone, which beeped on schedule on 6 am. Nonetheless, we managed a quick breakfast before joining the group and hitting the road.

We cleared Amarillo easily, heading for the town of Adrian, which claims to be the midpoint of Route 66, equidistant from Chicago and Santa Monica. We managed to take the necessary individual and group photographs and run across the road and order delicious cinnamon rolls and coffee, before the other groups descended on the town. Again, picking up yesterday’s point, “town” is perhaps too grand a term for Adrian – beyond the “midpoint” sign and the cafe, there’s little else.

Tom and myself at the halfway point!

Tom and myself at the halfway point!

On to Tucumcari, once known as Six-shooter Siding, now staging something of a comeback, with several new hotels and restaurants. Arriving here, some of the lads contributed mightily to local drought prevention, unable to wait to use the restrooms at the gas station just down the hill, less than half a mile away! Maybe shamrocks will grow in Tucumcari one day – and only the Irish 66ers will know why!

Irish 66ers do their bit for drought prevention, Tucumcari NM

Irish 66ers do their bit for drought prevention, Tucumcari NM

Lunch at a brand new Denny’s, where the other guests were entertained by our obvious enjoyment of a long series of jokes, one better than the last, but (thankfully) spared understanding of them by our foreign accents.

Then to Clines Corner, a large rest-stop on I-40, famous for souvenirs and trinkets. Cowboy hats were the de rigeur purchase here, probably fueled by memories of the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, the night before. Although some US states are quite relaxed about whether bikers were helmets, our road captain was not – all hats had to go into the panniers and we had to wear our conventional helmets.

And then into Albuquerque, arriving earlier than usual, helped in part by crossing into a new time zone – which we will do again tomorrow, as we cross into Arizona.

A good day’s biking for me – things came together: good, smooth, straight roads, with plenty of forward vision, allowed me to keep up with the group easily – not the case on Thursday, when the Challenge felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew. But I’m on track, gaining in confidence, more than half-way to Santa Monica. The only problem is that rain and snow are forecast for tomorrow, Saturday. It’ll be interesting!!

It’s amazing that only a week ago we were all fully occupied with our work and families and now, after only three days on the road, we’re old hands at 6 am wake-up calls and 7.30 am starts.

We left Oklahoma City, revisiting the open prairies. First stop, after an early coffee to warm us up (mornings are surprisingly chilly, especially on the bikes, where the wind lowers temperatures sharply), was the Route 66 Museum in Clinton. There we met a Brazilian, accompanied by a film crew who were recording his trip, who was doing Route 66 in a pristine original Chevrolet Corvette – red and white, it got the small boy in all of us going!

A Chevrolet crovette at the Route 66 Museum, Clinton OK

A Chevrolet Corvette at the Route 66 Museum, Clinton OK - Joe on the left

The Route 66 Museum at Clinton OK

The Route 66 Museum at Clinton OK

Moving on, we crossed into Texas, passing the “towns” of Erick and Texola – the two of them would fit in a handbag! It’s scary to see towns – and we saw more later on that day in Texas and, apparently will see more further along Route 66 – so devoid of any form of activity, closed up and almost tumbledown buildings, and no people on the street.

If I thought Illinois was flat, it’s positively Alpine compared to the Texas Panhandle – vast stretches in all directions, with nothing more than the odd grain silo between where you stand and the horizon.

We stopped for lunch in Shamrock, where the Irish connection was lost on the people we met, despite an annual St Patrick’s Day parade and a Blarney Bar – no, we didn’t visit it, not even in the name of authentic research! Shamrock is a once-thriving, now virtually a ghost, town, struggling to make a comeback.

The restored Conoco Tower in Shamrock TX

The restored Conoco Tower in Shamrock TX

Groom is another such town, where religious fervour overcomes such adversities as lack of facilities – an invitation from the town to visit its business district (how could one ignore such an invitation, even when on holidays) leads to three grain solos and the Blessed Mary restaurant! Just outside Groom is the cross – it doesn’t need a name – “the cross at Groom” is sufficient for a structure that stands several hundred feet tall and first can be seen five miles off. The cross also has a well-depicted sculptured layout of The Stations of the Cross.

Irish 66ers arrive in the business district, Groom TX - note the camera crew on left
Irish 66ers arrive in the business district, Groom TX – note the camera crew on left
The Cross at Groom, TX

The Cross at Groom, TX

The Stations of the Cross, Groom TX

The Stations of the Cross, Groom TX

A final run into Amarillo was spoilt by having to ask for police guidance – “show me the way to our hotel” doesn’t quite have the same ring as the Tony Christie original. In fairness, it was one of the other teams who, having got lost, looked for directions and then graciously shared their escort – no flashing lights, sirens or roadblocks, just follow me!

So, what would have been an early arrival at the hotel was a little later than planned but time enough to change for dinner (some standards must be preserved, even among bikers) at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, where 72oz steaks (a normal steak is between 8 and 12oz) are free, provided you eat it – with all the trimmings – within an hour. Sensibly, none of the 66ers tried it but, while we were eating, a young man had a go – he topped out at 49oz at the end of the hour – a good try, but no cigar!

And after a good meal, bed – ready for the morrow – Amarillo to Albuquerque.

After the previous day’s timing debacle, we were on duty for a 7.30am departure. So, in a chilly hotel carpark (sorry, parking lot!), there we were, ready for the off. Tom Browne (my roommate) and I decided after discussion that we wouldn’t rob a towel from the hotel room to dry our bikes – we’d make do instead with the one that Sean Tynan, a teammate, had robbed the previous morning!

Sean polishing his bike - with THAT towel!

Sean polishing his bike - with THAT towel!

Our run of 340 miles took us first through more grain country, with farms big enough to have their own rail spur! A great harvest this year, according to locals we met in a gas station – so good that apparently much of it will be left to spoil in the fields to protect prices.

The cold quickly gave way to heat – off with the windstopper and silk inner gloves, and open some of the vents – and on with the sunscreen. We’re lucky Nivea sponsors all the bikers with sunscreen – we’re using so much already and we haven’t yet got to the really hot parts.

Great roads today – long stretches of Route 66 cutting through flat countryside – a 27-mile straight stretch once!

From Missouri farmland across the state line into Kansas, for a dog-leg 20 miles or so. Not the Kansas of popular legend, a lush and fruitful land, but impoverished and abandoned mining towns instead. In Galena, where we stopped to have our photos taken sitting on a bike (Sean’s, as it happens), we met Melba, who, with her three female partners, had started 4 Women on Route 66, a gas station cum general store, with plans for a flea market and other attractions across the road. We wished her well and set off for Oklahoma.

On Route 66 in Kansas

On Route 66 in Kansas

4 Women on Route 66, Galena TX - the photographer is Paul Redmond

4 Women on Route 66, Galena KS - the photographer is Paul Redmond

Once prairie, that fact is still evident in the state – broad, gently rolling countryside, grassed and wooded – you can almost see the buffalo moving across the plain. Great road on Route 66, because it is here that the idea for Route 66 began, with the aim of bringing the bourgeoning tourist traffic to Oklahoma. So, although Route 66 begins in Chicago, it’s heart is in Oklahoma.

Mindful of the previous day, we made good time and had covered 200 miles by 2pm – so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the restaurant attached to the Harley-Davidson shop in Tulsa.

(from left) Declan (back), Gerry (middle), Sean (front), Nobby, myself and tom
Lunch at the 5 & Diner, Tulsa OK: (from left) Declan (back), Gerry (middle), Sean (front), Nobby, myself and Tom

Great meal, lots of photos from obliging waitresses, some shopping but more mooching – and now it was 4pm with still 120+ miles to go. This time, we stuck to Route 66 proper, since the roads were so good but we still found ourselves killing time over coffee about 40 miles out of Oklahoma City at 6pm, waiting for the sun to set sufficiently to allow us to ride in without being blinded.

Waiting for the sun to go down, outside Oklahoma City, with some of the support team

Waiting for the sun to go down, outside Oklahoma City, with some of the support team

Good intentions, but due to roadworks that upset road captain Gerry Barry’s GPS navigation, it was gone 8pm before we found our hotel.

Absolutely bushed, a quick meal – not even bothering to shower – and to bed (or, in my case, to blog).
Tomorow’s another (300 mile) day – to Amarillo, Texas, singing all way!!

Springfield, Illinois to Springfield, Missouri. The odometer on my RoadGlide had read 2176 miles on pick-up in Berwyn, Chicago – at the start of Day 2, it read 2406. By the end of the day, it would read 2736 miles – so Day 2 covered 330 miles.

It was a LONG day – our planned 8.30 am start was brought forward to 8 am (at 7.55!). Illinois is mainly flat, grain country, with the grain growing to within a few feet of the road. Only when we came close to the state boundary with Missouri, north of St Louis, and still on the east side of the river, did we encounter any ups and downs. We rode through Madison County, famous for its covered bridges, though we didn’t cross any, and then across the Mississipi – where we took a break to look at the Chain of Rocks bridge, the first road bridge across the Mississipi on Route 66.

The Chain of Rocks bridge, crossing the Mississipi above St Louis

The Chain of Rocks bridge, crossing the Mississipi above St Louis

(from left) myself, Joe McCaul, Sean Tynan (kneeling), Declan Young and Tom Browne

At the Chain of Rocks bridge: (from left) myself, Joe McCaul, Sean Tynan (kneeling), Declan Young and Tom Browne

We had passed a large group of Dutch people – easily identified by their orange jackets – pedalling furiously on Solexes! For those don’t know, Solexes are those funny black bicycles with a tiny engine mounted over the front wheel that one sees in deepest rural France – obviously, they have a following in Holland too. According to their support team, whom we met at the Chain of Rocks bridge, it will take them a month to get to Santa Monica!

Missouri seemed to be more cattle land – at least, the part we saw.

Due to lots of stops for petrol, coffee, toilets, coffee, more toilets, petrol for those who hadn’t filled earlier, we found ourselves still searching for lunch at 2pm. A Dairy Queen appeared to offer succour, but all they had were burgers -perhaps we should have known – though we did wonder how lunch might have gone if we had taken up the server’s offer of take-out – it’s quite hard enough to control the Harley with two hands and full concentration!

We were joined at lunch by an Illinois State Police officer, Gayle, who rode with us for the day on her Honda Goldwing – with her dog, which sat in a special basket on the pillion seat!

Travelling in style! Illinois State Police officer with her Goldwing and dog

Travelling in style! Gayle, her Goldwing and her dog

So we found ourselves with nearly 200 miles to do before reaching our hotel and it was already 3pm! There followed a high-speed dash, part of it on the Interstate to make up time, on which yours truly bravely overtook semis (artics to you and me) at 80mph, and then had to bow to fate when one of the semis decided he didn’t want to be overtaken – at 85mph, I’d used up whatever confidence I had gained during the day and gracefully gave in!

We got to Springfield MO about 7pm, having ridden the last 30 miles or so with the sun directly in our eyes – something we would learn to avoid.

A long day but a good day – no mishaps and more confidence on the bike!