I wanted an adventure. I bought a bike and rebuilt it from the ground up. I was bolting it back together the night before I left on my trip.
The plains really showed poverty. People were living out of their cars in Kansas. Yet I didn't have one person ask for money. I had someone offer to pay for my water, he looked homeless and worse off than me. It really is amazing how giving people are even in their time of need.
I met up with an old friend the night before the eclipse. He helped me tighten and lube my chain. The next day we headed out to see the eclipse. I had to ride 15 miles of gravel covered asphalt, then 15 miles of dirt, then another 15 miles of gravel covered asphalt. That was a tiring day. The eclipse was amazing to watch.
Nebraska has some beautiful country with rolling hills and wild flowers. I could smell them on my ride. I saw a falcon the day of the eclipse sitting on the shoulder watching traffic South of Alliance, NW. Nebraska had 4 tracks for trains to haul coal it looked like. The night I stayed in the Nebraska forest. There was a mowed place between camp sight 9 and 10, even though the campsites were technically full I payed my $5 for camp site 9 3/4. I figured I had a better chance of getting in trouble riding with dim headlights and being that tired than camping where I probably wasn't suppose to. That night was so cold I crawled out of my sleeping bag and got all geared up in my motorcycle gear and crawled back in to try to stay warm.
I rode up to a vintage motorcycle shop in hot springs. The guy wasn't there, so I called him, because I needed a chain bad. He said if he was there we could take the chain off his VN800A and put it on mine, but if I could make it to powersports in Rapid City, they should have the chain in stock. I called them and they did have it in stock. Along the way I saw the Crazy horse carving, which was amazing. I rode by Mount Rushmore, but didn't stop. I got to powersports, but they didn't have anyone that could put the chain on. So I got a ridiculously priced hotel, because evidently everyone was vacationing at the same time I was, because school started the next week.
I walked over to a beer and burger joint, a man and his wife stopped while I was walking over there. They asked me what I was doing, I told them I was going to have a beer and won't touch the bike after I have one. They replied, "Your mother should be proud".
When I went the next day to get my chain fixed. I pulled into the powersports parking lot and antifreeze hit the ground. They said it was the radiator cap and replaced it. I turned out to be leaking around the new hoses because they were adhering to the shape of the nipples. The bike looked like it was pulling water from reserve just fine, so I kept plenty of water with me and kept refilling the reserve as I traveled.
I got to Sturgis and met a guy on a Harley, we got to visiting and by the time I got in the museum he pay for me to tour. It is amazing how generous people are.
I rode onto Deadwood next. I toured the Days of '76 Museum. When I came out a biker out of Austin stopped. We talked a bit about where we had ridden. I stayed in the Deadwood KOA. That night I took the trolley in to eat. I went by the bar where Wild Bill Hickok died. There was a singer playing Texas country and called me out for singing along. I started requesting songs and had a great time. I missed the last trolley back, but the trolley driver went out of his way to take me to the KOA. Another instance of how amazing people are.
I decided I would cut the trip short instead of doing my original 4k miles I would head back towards home and go back to work early from being tired and having bike problems. This turned out to be a great decision because later Harvey would hit Houston and this would save me paid time off for helping them when the time comes.
I rode out to devils tower the next day. I saw a mountain lion cub beside her dead mother on the way out of devils tower. I had an RV that was trying to murder me on the road.
Between Wright, WY and Douglas, WY there is 75 miles of nothing. The sign says 75 miles of no gas but there is nothing. 25 miles into it my bike died and I tried reserve to no avail. A rock had hit my key, bent it, and turned it to the off position killing the bike.
Laramie Wyoming, Talked with a lady from California that rebuilds old British bikes, though she rides a Harley.
Riding into Denver, I was stopped in a traffic jam because a PAM truck had caught on fire. This delayed me for over an hour. I dropped the bike trying to let the emergency vehicles by. I scratched my visor, and only marred the brake handle, so I feel it was about the best out come I could have hoped for.
Once the traffic jam cleared I headed into Denver, to a friends house. Come to find out I didn't have a dash light, so when it got dark I couldn't tell how fast I was going. I was having problems seeing the road also, because of my dim headlights. There were a few times I thought I was going to loose it.
I got to the residential area my friend lives in and a lady pulled up rolled down her window and told my I didn't have any tail lights. I felt God was watching over me for me to make it to his house safely.
My tire bottomed out destroying the wires going to the tail lights causing it to blow the fuse. I was able to take the bike apart and fix it at his house. It was funny, God doesn't seem to give you more than you need in the way of stuff like this. He didn't have many tools, honestly he only had 2 sockets for his ratchet, but they were the only 2 sizes I needed. I stayed two nights with my friend for some much needed rest.
I rode from Denver to Amarillo the next day, stopping to see the garden of the gods and bishops castle. They are worth seeing, but I wouldn't go up in the sphere tower in bishops castle, it is rickety and has lots of broken spot welds. It will fall someday and may take someone with it. Garden of the gods was impressive. I really want to go back with a mountain bike and ride through it.
Riding into Texas from Clayton, NM I hit about 3 minutes of rain; this was the only rain I hit on the trip.
Riding into Amarillo, It was dark I lost my tail lights on highway 54 cutting across to 287 to skip bishops road, because it is too curvy for at night. There is nothing on the north side of Amarillo. I ran out of fuel coming in and had to refill with my reserve using my cell phone flashlight.
I stayed at my friends house and was able to repair my tail lights, this time I routed the wires on the outside of the fender so if I bottomed out it wouldn't eat the taillight wires. Drake rode to Childress with me. He turned back to Amarillo and I headed on to Decatur, the rest of the trip was uneventful. I was sure worn out.