Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One Hundred Seven

Well, *that* was quite a day. 

As detailed below, we had a little bit later start today.  That sounded real good at 8:30 when we were eating breakfast.  We set out about 9:30, clipping the corner of the Ozarks on I-44, before picking up the ghost of Rt. 66 again just past Springfield.  Little did we know we'd just be pulling into tonight's hotel with the same thing displayed on our watch. Eating lunch at the "It'll Do Diner," we came to terms with the fact that getting through to Oklahoma and back up to Kansas City in time for dinner was pretty much not going to happen.  I called to make a status report, and got us off the hook for our dinner plans.

We then lucked into an awesome afternoon of sightseeing and batting the breeze with one of the most entertaining and interesting people we've ever met in Paris Springs at the Sinclair station.  Had we not decided to make a u-turn, we'd never have had met Gary, and we'd have about 50 less pictures.

Following 66 into Joplin, we came to a chilling scene we will remember forever.  Coming from the north, everything looked like a normal Midwest town of 16,000 people.  Cresting a rise at about 20th street, the scene changed almost instantly to a war zone.  We were awestruck by both the destructive power of the tornado, and the precision with which it struck.  Just two blocks away there was no sign of damage.  But the tornado's path was wide, and ruthless. 

We continued on 66 through the 12 miles that pass through Kansas and into Oklahoma, just to say we were there.  A few miles down the road, we turned back toward Kansas and made a beeline for KC. 

Did I mention it was 107 degrees through all this?

We drank probably 2 gallons of water today and dumped at least that much over ourselves.  I employed the old biker trick of taking off my shirt and soaking it, which works amazingly well at cooling you down at at speed, until 3 minutes later when it's completely dry again.  The last leg northward, through untold miles of nothingness, was unbearable.  And I blame Donna entirely, because she said after all the rain we've ridden through this year, she didn't care if it was 100 degrees every day, as long as the sun was shining and she was getting a tan in her spaghetti strap top. 

Ask, and ye shall receive.

But honestly, we have a strict 'no whining' rule, and we both held up our end of the bargain, just like always.  The alternative was to go nowhere and see nothing, which to us isn't much of an alternative at all.  Right now, we're both cool, clean and happy, even if dinner did come out of a vending machine in the lobby and our gummi bears are melted into one big blob.  We're ready to give it another go tomorrow, but I can tell you that we'll be off the road *much* earlier.  Even though excused from dinner, we had to keep plugging to get here because of an appointment tomorrow.  Check back in and see what it's all about.

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