Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16, 2010 – Day 40 Hotter’n a pepper sprout out there today….

This was a decidedly hot day today and I was in for an unexpected surprise. Before getting to that I’ll do the usual update stuff. I began by not leaving the motel key in the box which I discovered down the road and it was way too late to do much about.

Home, home on the range...
On the road I soon discovered highway 183 going north was closed at the Nebraska border due to construction and I was able to take highway 8 & 10, a more favorable route for me. Along the way I passed the site where “Home on the Range” was either composed or was the inspiration for the composer. That part of our country looks exactly like it did in all the old cowboy movies I remember and it’s an easy trick to imagine you’re back in time.

Once I’d worked my way into Nebraska it was well past my regular morning feeding frenzy so I pulled into Bugbee’s, a roadside restaurant next to a gas station. It was full of locals, mostly older ranchers from what I could see and I think they may have had some odd thoughts when an old geezer biker entered wearing a Bohn armored shirt. They didn’t exactly stop eating and talking but I could feel their eyes on me as I passed by. Several of them left before me and stopped for a look at YP on their way. It seemed to trigger a whole new wave of comments, some of which garnered curious looks at me through the window. Hey, pearl yellow is a great color guys, so what?

It was after breakfast while fishing YP's key out of my pocket that I discovered I still had possession of the motel’s key. I called them to let them know I’d be mailing and apologized for bumbling.

On down the road I came to the small town of Arapahoe, another tiny hamlet with the usual farm implement shop, gas station, & fields of corn growing right up to the houses. They had a huge irrigation system going full bore and I wondered where they got enough water for it. At home our eastern OR farmers are always running out of water for their crops which is a big concern. I wanted to go stand under the spray but figured the owners might not approve. It was HOT.

Indianola with its green city park next to the Catholic Church caught my eye and I pulled in for a look at a memorial to a Pawnee woman who was killed in an inter-tribal war not far away. She and her child were collateral victims of the fighting and she was brought to Indianola for care but died in a few days. Originally she was buried in another location but reinterred in the park site more recently. It’s interesting to note on the original grave marker she is referred to as a Pawnee Squaw and on the more recent historic commemorative one she is a Pawnee Woman. Times change.
The newer more politically correct version
Did I mention it was HOT today? I couldn't resist checking the temperature displayed on YP's dash against the various time/temp signs we saw. It was a scorcher but oddly enough I never felt the need to wear the swamp vest. Maybe the higher humidity down south made the difference?
My ride continued to the North Platte area where just before reaching the city I stopped for fuel and water and met an interesting guy. He’s a local and was piloting what looked like an old hippy school bus but after closer examination turned out to be support transportation for cross-country bicyclists.

We met when I was shooting pics of his bus and being about the same age started talking about hippy busses, then bikes. It turned out that we shared a lot of common interests in bikes including having owned identical BMW machines right down to the color. Meeting people like him on the road is part of what makes this type of touring so interesting; you just never know who you’ll run into.

I turned west at North Platte towards what would be my day’s destination, Ogallala. The final stretch of the ride was on highway 80, a super-slab with a posted speed limit of 75mph. This is where the pleasant surprise came in I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Hot as it was, just the right amount of breeze came through the ventilation window on YP’s windscreen and the combination of that and the automobile type cruise control made it perfect. I set the cruise on 80, kicked back and watched the scenery flow past; it was heaven. Green Girl was a nice ride but the backwash from semis and cross winds made it uncomfortable to ride much above 65 mph. YP’s just the opposite, she’s totally immune to those things and I’m sure she’d easily cruise in triple-digit country. Not that I'd ever ride that fast you see, I'm just saying, uh...

Arriving in Ogallala in the early afternoon gave me pause to consider riding on for another hour or so. The heat convinced me otherwise and I started the search for a motel or even a B&B to land at. No such luck, there were no B&B’s and only 3 motels, one of which was out of business and the other two were grim looking. Phooey I thought, time to move on. I set the GPS for the next town of size located another 80 miles north and started out. Just as I was about to turn onto the freeway I saw a McDonalds and Best Western signs close by. Doing a quick stage left I was immediately onto a frontage road with several decent name brand motels and eateries. Apparently Honda’s GPS data base doesn’t keep up the pace, something I’ll have to consider when referring to it for lodging and eats.

To be honest I was happy to make the discovery as riding another 80 miles in near hundred degrees heat had limited appeal to me. I checked and parked the YP in front of my room. It’s a nice room and I spent a few minutes unpacking small things, then as luck would have it I had to get something off the bike.

 As I left the room I noticed she was leaning way over on her side stand; more so than usual. Approaching from the low side I was startled to see the entire foot of her side stand had sunk through the hot asphalt and was moving even more as I watched. If I’d been a couple of minutes longer returning I’d have needed a crane to get her back on her feet. A few days ago I’d stayed in another Best Western and they’d automatically given bikers a small plastic pad to use under side stands to prevent just such a thing and I’d kept mine.

Lucky that I did too as I hadn’t brought one from home. I moved her further up the parking space into the shade where the pavement wasn’t as hot and stuck the pad in place. Sometimes pure luck just happens.

Dinner was easy; the motel has a great restaurant attached to it, The Golden Spur, one of those country-barbeque pit things that actually turned out a pretty good feed. To help boost appeal to the biker crowd they keep a livestock watering tub filled with peanuts which when eaten you’re expected to toss the shells on the floor.
No problem. I went there and pigged out on dead bovine, mashers, & slaw plus a brewsky or two. Dining entertainment was provided by a crowd of HD riders yakking at about the same volume as their bikes make. I have a feeling those super loud pipes most of them seem to have might be responsible for a lot of premature hearing loss. Oh well….

PS - One good thing about Best Western compared to sleeze motels - the bathroom sinks hold water.
Life on the ain't as bad as you'd think...


  1. Great ride and report! The NT looks pretty puny next to that thing.
    Next stop must be Custer's Last Stand?

  2. You know me, as of this morning I'm getting the itch to see the Colorado Rockies so Mt Rushmore can wait for another time. Got to practice my yodeling....

  3. You should have ordered the "air conditioning" option on the new, don't let her fall over.