Sturgis 2017-getting nowhere fast 

FINALLY it is Tuesday and I get to leave for Sturgis! But , first I must work a 10 hour day at the office. The bike is packed up and ready to go and I thoroughly enjoy the sound of my recently tweaked Vance & Hines exhaust on my 45 minute commute, oh she roars now!!! 

Doctor clock watcher made sure I knew all day long how many hours and minutes I had left to wait, (this actually kept me entertained most of the day) while others randomly told me what time it was, and we all had an in depth conversation about what would happen if we pulled the fire alarm or called in a bomb threat ….not that any of us would ever do that, made for fun lunch room talk though! After what I swear was 10 days, it was time for me to roll west!

 I checked my email to discover I had gotten my FedEx delivery this afternoon which they said couldn’t arrive until Wednesday so I had it go to my house instead of my office. This means a pit stop and some rerouting was in order because it just wouldn’t make sense to go to the biggest bike rally in the U.S. without advertising myself right?! Instead of heading north from Verona and up through Wisconsin into Minnesota I would simply drive south to my place and go through Iowa to get to Minnesota no big deal, one  twist of the throttle and away I went to retrieve these awesome stickers! 

  I was about 30 minutes into my commute home and there were 4 vehicles in a line in the fast lane and 3 vehicles in line in the slow lane when all of the sudden there were brake lights and cars swerving everywhere in and out of both lanes and coming to an abrupt stop! I shouted a few choice words into the wind missed the back end of an orange Jeep by about a foot and rode the center line between the chaos. It appeared someone in a large black SUV was turning left from the fast lane and had not signaled or braked to do so until last minute so everyone else nearly had a 7 car 1 bike pile up, I can only hope someone stopped to inform the SUV driver of what they almost caused to happen.                            Now home safe and sound, stickers strategically placed on the bike, what in the hell is that route through Iowa again ?! 11.5 hours that is not so bad. Except I’ve already had a 12-13 hour day working and driving so we will see what happens. 

Iowa is a 100 MPH state, meaning there’s no reason for me to be there other than it’s in between me and South Dakota therefore the speed limit should just be 100 MPH to get me through it faster. It was still daylight out on my venture through there and one nice thing about the flat 100 MPH states is they usually have the best sunrise and sunset views. And of course the mighty Mississippi! 
Shortly after midnight I was passed Souix Falls, which is my halfway point, and I pulled in for fuel. I grabbed a couple Snickers and some caffeine, thought the hotel next door was looking like a great idea , sat down on the bike with my snack and fell asleep! I’m guessing about 30-40 minutes later, a truck pulled in and the headlights woke me up. Now I am wide awake the coffee I had prior to falling asleep was kicked in and I just got a nice nap in, I should probably just keep rolling west….

30 miles later it’s smelling like rain in the air. 35 miles later the highway is soaking wet and there is some awesome lightening off in the distance. 36 miles later Jessie is pulled off on some side road trying to put rain gear on in the wind. I could not have timed that more perfect if it had been daylight and I could see it coming! Slid my helmet on and hopped back on the bike, WHOOSH!!! Rain drops are falling on my head. 

The rain was directly followed by what appeared to be large snow flakes which ended up being some kind of unidentifiable insects, the bike and I were covered in goo!!! Yucky! I was very happy I had my helmet on. I am willing to bet whatever these creatures were they have won an award for most successful mating process. I’ve only ever seen that many bugs in one place one other time in my entire life and that little story will soon be in a book of mine. 

3/4 of a tank of gas later I pulled in for fuel and the rain had pretty much stopped but I had been running in it through construction zones in the dark and only able to go about 45-50 MPH so the night is slipping away quickly and I’m still about 250-275 miles away from Sturgis. 
As I was pumping gas a guy in raingear with a cell phone in hand comes wondering over to announce that “we” are going to get wet again according to the radar. Now mind you it is somewhere around 3:30 A.M. I have been up and running since 4:30 A.M. Yesterday minus my accidental gas station bike nap, so, that being said, I may not be in the best of moods as I stand here soaked and a tad cold pumping fuel.

 My initial thought was, “There is not now and never will be a “WE” here!” Edit

Then I checked myself and realized I should just smile and be nice. Turns out he’s coming from Minneapolis and usually trailers out but decided to “torture” himself this year. As I sat there with more coffee and he appeared to pack and unpack his trunk a few times, 3 more bikes pulled in. I noticed the one was carrying a notebook and checking the bikes dashboards as they got fuel. Soon I found out why, these guys had just completed their K in a day Iron Butt challenge! I and the Minnesota man signed off for them as witnesses and they told us their story. Very cool guys from North Carolina, they left Tennessee this morning and just now at 3:47 A.M. Successfully had Iron Butts. Originally there were 14 going to do the challenge and have an entire convoy but when it came down to it just these 3 showed up to go! I can relate to this I’ve had as many as 6 people going to Sturgis and ended up solo.

This had been an eventful gas stop and I was awake again ready to roll….except it seemed Mr Minnesota was him -hawing around as if he was going to ride with me from here, Nope! I very politely told him to have a nice ride and put in my earplugs before sliding on my helmet and played with my phone until he was on his way. Nice guy but I’m not up for company. 

I rolled on until I got to Chamberlain bridge and decided I needed a nap big time. I pulled over at the huge rest area there and found my self a picnic table to rest on, I layed down and looked up and there right above and beside me was a gigantic silver statue of an Indian woman. How I didn’t notice this on the walk over I can only blame on my exhaustion but there she stood big and proud scaring the crap out of me,I almost fell off the bench and then I followed that with a loud giggle which was replied to by a near by dog with a series of barks! 

Ok 5 A.M. Closing the eyes time! 

I woke up shortly after 6 to a nice view of the Francis Case Resevoir.  

A few miles up the road my little girl turned 30! 

I had breakfast in Wall at The Cactus Cafe, the service was less than great but the coffee was hot and the food was decent. I’ve eaten there other trips and thought it was much better so maybe they were just having a bad day. 

While I was eating I did have live entertainment from a table of guys discussing their trip. They were all terribly upset that they have come across so many gas stations with only 87 octane fuel because their “bikes just won’t run on it”…more than once this trip they have put in just enough to get to the next town where they hoped there would be 91 octane. I’m going to guess they aren’t getting very far very fast either. 
Everyone has their own opinion on fuel and oil and tires and everything else in life so I just giggled to myself about the fact that I have 2 Harley’s with combined mileage around 75-80,000 mark aaaaaaaand the majority of those were while burning 85, 87, and 89 octane fuel. Hopefully the rest of their Sturgis experience goes more pleasantly. 

I do have a question, has anyone ever counted the endless Wall drug billboards along I-90 through South Dakota??? I am extremely curious how many there actually are! 

From breakfast it was not far to my little slice of heaven …. where I will be surrounded by motorcycles and then more motorcycles and even more after that all while cruising amazing backroads with beautiful scenery. 

766 miles from home I arrived, set up camp, and am now headed for a much overdue nap !!! 

Until tomorrow friends thanks for riding along 😎

2 days, 2 bikes, dozens of people, 1 belly, & 1 butt hug?! 

When the weathers right and the wheels are rolling you know good times are ahead! Saturday morning it looked a lot like rain but the chances were low and scattered. I hopped on the Streetglide and headed to meet up with several other bikes and good people for a short day ride in honor of a friend of mines mom who passed away several years ago. 

One of many great things about being a biker/ motorcyclist is there are infinite causes and reasons to ride for aside from the pure joy of it. Many times on rides like these most people don’t know most of the other people and it never matters because they are all out for the same purpose enjoying the same wind and living the dream. By the end of the day new friends and memories have been made. On this particular ride most of the people were family and that was ok because they all treated me as if I was too! 

First stop Paoli Pub in Paoli Wisconsin….After filling the parking lot with chrome ponies we all saddled up and headed down the wonderful winding Wisconsin back roads to the Junction House in Monroe. We rolled along on our wide variety of machines each enjoying the ride for different reasons. 

The temperature was rising and by the time we were ready to head to the next destination the tops were coming off! Shirts & kickstands up we headed down the road. 

Next stop Blanchardville. Followed by me hopping behind the bar in Mt Vernon to work my night away after a great day with awesome people on cool machines! 

Have you ever been to Marcines in Mt Vernon Wisconsin??? I highly recommend you get there and order a pizza! They should seriously be world famous! I love the can koozi!  Mostly because I am a bartender and people always say that they are overserved,  then I have to correct them and let them know that that is a lie! They in fact over ordered!Sunday Bloody Sunday was a whirlwind of people, roads, and bars! I chose to take the Streetbob without a windshield and discovered throughout the day that the bugs are out in full force and I was going to get plenty of protein in my diet! 

The Breakfast Club meets up on Sundays at The Riley Tavern for some charcoal grilled steak & eggs with a side of some mysterious but spectacular hash browns. There may or may not be vodka in the orange and tomato juices that come in those wonderful red solo cups….some mysteries are better left unsolved. After our bellies were full we decided a bar tour was in order for our Sunday Funday. Somehow I became the ringleader of our circus and mapped out a 4 bar excursion that would lead us on a lovely backroad adventure. 

Before we even made it out the door plans changed. This is the best part about having a Sunday Funday, go with the flow and see what happens next! Now that our course had changed I factored in a fuel stop on our way to enjoy a meat raffle at everyone’s favorite basement bar in Basco, Dots Tavern! 

4 bikes, a jeep, and a few miles later we arrived at Kwik Trip. This is where my first ever butt hug happened….yes you read that correctly I did say butt hug! A few photos and shenanigans and down the road we went. 

Dots proved to be a worth while stop, a few of us won meat at the raffle and we acquired a truck with more friends to lengthen our convoy! 

Being the beautiful day that it was, we milled around outside admiring some classic cars and chit chatting about bikes. Drinks were cold, company was great, and Lady’s Luck was the center of attention once again. This would be a Road King belonging to a very good friend of mine that was painted by another friend of ours….it is AMAZING…so amazing in fact that most people can’t just look at it they actually reach out to touch it !Pop quiz…..does anyone know where to put gas into a 57 Chevy?! 

We took turns trying to push and pull parts of the bumper and tail lights with no luck at all. Finally I decided to crawl under the car and see where the fuel tank neck lead to and TaDa there it was right behind the chrome on the tail fin …who knew?!? Dots to Marcines is not a long ride but it was great to get a little wind in the hair between stops! We now had 4 bikes, a jeep, and a pickup truck parading around the back roads. Here we gathered 3 more people and 2 more bikes to the group. The day was rolling along fantastically at this point and the next stretch of road was one of my personal favorites with lots of curves! I’m a fan of the 30-40 MPH curves than can be taken at 50-60 MPH on my Streetbob without scraping my pegs into the pavement. 

Off to Bluemounds we traveled, 2 bikes went a different route and the rest of us enjoyed the slow roll through the countryside. A little while later we were approaching our last turn before our next stop when the 2 bikes went cruising by in front of us….guess both ways consume the same amount of time! Good to know for future adventures in case we need a fuel stop on the route.  Hooverville is one of my favorite places to have a Bloody Mary. I may have skipped the water at this stop . 

The 5th stop of the day was Hyde General Store. Another country favorite. We lost 3 bikes when we left Hooverville but the rest of us made a photographer out of an unsuspecting bicyclist who happened to be taking a break by the old mill. This is a fairly famous motorcycle photo opp here in Wisconsin. County T is a scenic ride to Hyde but the road itself is rough and broken up unfortunately. It was this stop where the group discovered that Sesame Street and pink can koozis are the new trend …The afternoon was winding to an end and we had one more stop to make. Originally we were headed to Pleasant Ridge, another general store country stop, but our new friends suggested Traders instead. I stepped down from ringleader and followed them to the next destination after watching a very impressive wheelie from their big wheeled bagger. 

Traders does not believe in air conditioning so we rallied out side for a bit everyone deciding to head different ways for the remainder of the day. This was the end of my part in the convoy I was headed south about 45 minutes to enjoy the final part of my Sunday ride solo before picking up my little man for the week. What a fabulous weekend sharing the road with some wonderful people! Sometimes it’s not about the miles traveled but more the smiles that happened. 

Just call me Dorothy 

1869 miles later I arrived back home tonight. 

I left Iowa in a T-shirt thinking it was much warmer than it was! This stretch of roads I have traveled dozens of times so I was in the 100 MPH state kind of mood and too stubborn to pull over and put my jacket on.  On the flip side of things it was another sunny day and I was still rolling on 2 wheels! Today was a day for wrong turns. First as I was traveling across Iowa I missed my turn north and all I could do was laugh at myself because this isn’t the first, or the second, or even the third time that I have missed this turn! I have actually lost track of how many times I have missed this road and I am not sure why, there are great big green and white signs stating where I need to go and every time I fly right by. As per usual I went up the road to one of the no U-turn spots and made a not so U-turn?! I went back took the turn I was supposed to take and boy when I caught up to that minivan that had been following me they were just a little confused. I just waved and rolled on by laughing out loud at myself. You would think if I am able to navigate myself all the way across the country and back that I could probably find my way home maybe from now on I should start leaving breadcrumbs.

I logged onto my Instagram account as I was rolling along and to my great surprise the first thing in my news feed was a picture of myself with my bike! The Alabama friend I had met the previous day put a lovely post about me up. 5 minutes of Instagram fame, I love being a unicorn! 

I couldn’t help but notice as I got closer to Wisconsin the wind was picking up at a high rate of speed. It was beginning to become one of those days where when you pass a semi you get a big burst of wind coming out the other side that pushes you over towards the ditch or the median. But the sun was still shining and I was still rolling on two wheels so life was still good.

I crossed over the mighty Mississippi once again and found my way home, stopping an extra few seconds on the offramp to throw my jacket on finally. I pulled in my driveway, checked my oil, unhooked my bag and helmet from the bike, and met up with this fine piece of iron to continue my adventures for the day. What an awesome machine! We made five or six stops and nd everywhere we were this thing was the center of attention. Pictures, stares, and a few people had to touch it! Now there is something I will never understand, I have a few friends with some pretty bad ass paint jobs on their bikes and it never fails people have to touch them. I can’t help but wonder,what exactly are they expecting to feel other than cold smooth paint !?

Not exactly sure where we were headed for the day, I took off winding down the back roads and up on top of the ridges couldn’t help but notice that my bike was more of a sail in the wind than anything, I found myself riding a little more horizontal towards the road then perpendicular!

After a little lunch in New Diggins I headed us South crossing into my fifth state for the long weekend, Illinois. Council Hill Station is always a treat! There were a few people there from Des Moines Iowa we had a nice little chat about bikes, roads, places we’ve been and things we’ve done. 

From this spot I had planned on running down into Galena Illinois and I was beginning to run low on fuel so needed to get somewhere before too long. In the midst of talking with the folks here I completely changed my course of direction and decided to hit up Bobbers bar in Winslow Illinois instead. 

This is where the day got a little interesting. First after heading down to Stagecoach Trail I remembered I needed to get fuel and that there was a small gas station in Scales Mound.  I turn into scales mound to find out that the gas station is closed and they do not have pay at the pump. Thinking I knew where I was I headed out the back side of town on a  small windy road only to discover that I in fact did not know right where I was. That’s OK I’m always up for a new adventure and when the road came to a T I made a right hand turn which would take me back to Stagecoach Trail with any luck. A short bit down this road it suddenly looked like we were going to run face first into a wall, I did not remember seeing any dead end signs ….then it hit me, not the wall but my memory. This road has a tunnel under the train tracks what an excellent feature I was at this point very happy I somewhat got us lost to wind up here.After getting back out on Stagecoach we soon came into Apple River where there was a gas station and my motorcycle flashing low fuel at me was very happy about this fact. 

I think at this point I was three wrong turns into my day but it’s just all part of an adventure right? Leaving Apple River I knew I had to make a left-hand turn once I got into warren Illinois and then that road would take me into Winslow, I thought wrong. Soon I arrived in Nora Illinois and remembered I had done this once before because I had missed my turn. I pulled over grabbed my trusty phone which actually had service so I was able to use my Google maps and looked up the fastest route over to Winslow. I recognized the names of a few of the roads so away we went. I took a right on Quarry Hall road only to discover it was gravel. I don’t think twice about this I just continued to head on,  then I looked in my rearview mirror and realized my travel partner was quite a ways back. Ooops! Probably should’ve made sure the gravel was OK with them.  After a few miles we came up to a paved road and I was laughing hysterically, turned around and said, “Hey,  so by the way I forgot to ask, are you OK with gravel?”  We laughed and continued on our adventure where I continued to miss two more turns, a stop sign, and wind up on gravel twice more. Eventually though we found our way to Bobbers! Excellent outdoor river side bar themed like a giant fishing boat! The bartender there is hilarious I’ve stopped a few times this year and she has entertained me and kept me there longer than intended. Today my friend asked where the bathroom was and she pointed behind us and said, “Turn around and pick a size.” ….this is what we saw she told us most guys pick the hole to the right! …Then was kind enough to point my friend to the actual men’s room. 

After striking up a conversation with a couple standing by the river we came to find out that we had some friends in common, what a small world it is! We swapped some stories about a few people and good times we all had and couldn’t help but wonder if we had been in the same place at the same time before since one of our mutual friends owned a bar that we have each been to to listen to some bands. Crazy the people you meet out on the road! 

Next up dinner time! I was half starved and luckily about 10 minutes up the road a good friend of mine manages The Vault in South Wayne Wisconsin and they happen to have excellent food! I guess I should say it was only supposed to be 10 minutes up the road, the way that I took to get there since there were a few other wrong turns, took more like 20 minutes! Still having a great day just laughing not a care in the world. Though I was starting to feel like Dorothy out here looking for Toto in this wind seriously it was a little nuts. 

We arrived at The Vault I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to eat but my lovely friend Miss Fish recommended trying out the nachos with beef brisket on top, turned out to be fabulous and the pizza was also excellent! So if you ever find yourself traveling through South Wayne Wisconsin make a right hand turn off of Main Street and find the vault! Actually that depends on whether you are traveling east or west through town and on second thought why would you take turning directions from me at this point?! 

Use google maps! 

The day was starting to get away from me and I wanted to make it home at a decent time since tomorrow is back to reality! One more stop at the Cork down saloon by Yellowstone lake not far from home and the day was done. 

Here I am roughly 5 miles from my house and what do I do? Yep you got it, made another wrong turn! It was more like an 8 mile ride home. No idea where my head was today but what an excellent adventure no harm in racking up a few extra miles with some wrong turns in the wind right?

I have no idea what the weathers going to be for the morning so I’m just going to leave the bike right here at the front door in case I decide to ride to work.5 states, 1869 miles, dozens of conversations, and a lifetime of memories all in 4 days time! Life is a highway! 

Fudge factories and Alabama unicorns

Day 3 of my 3 day tour ….

I woke up somewhere in Arkansas, as always, I was in desperate need of some coffee! I walked down to the hotel office where the desk clerk was sleeping in the lobby and I couldn’t help but notice that there was no coffee out. So I went back to my room for a bit, packed up my things, and got ready for the day. Roughly 30 minutes later I walked back down to the office and lo and behold the desk clerk had awoken.

 I caught the weather map on the TV as I was pouring my coffee and the man behind the desk asked where I was headed, I told him Iowa but I was taking the roundabout way to get there. 

It was at this very moment that I did not need a penny for his thoughts they were free for the taking! It turns out this man was not only a desk clerk at this local motel he was a weatherman, GPS, geologist, and tour guide all rolled into one. I did appreciate a small amount of his information but given the fact that I was without coffee at this point in my day I did not absorb much of it and was very happy when the phone rang so I could run away. 

After the hellacious storm that had crashed down much earlier in the morning the beginning of my ride was a tad foggy and wet but it was warm and very eventful in all the best sort of ways. I discovered another favorite Highway, Arkansas 123. Full of Rolling hills, twisty curves and beautiful scenery even in the rain. I shared my lane with some bicyclists who happened to be peddaling uphill paying no attention to my motorcycle rapidly approaching them and I am assuming they were just as shocked as me that all of us fit between the yellow and white lines!  It was also along Highway 123 where I not only became a hero but I also became a turtle!  First I saw a little hard shelled creature in the middle of the road, I noticed that he had not yet been squished as the many others this week,  I pulled over and put him off in the grass where I thought he would be safe. As Mother Nature would have it, shortly down the road after that it began to rain so I stopped and put on my rain gear. However, I am stubborn and knowing that several hundred miles of my day was going to be in a state with a helmet law I was going to take full advantage of not having to wear one in this state. I put on my yellow glasses and raingear and away I went only to discover that at lower rates of speed rain and wind in the hair just do not mix and stick to your face, I solved this problem by pulling up the hood on my rain jacket resulting in myself becoming a turtle.  While in full turtle mode I was tooling along rounding one of the curves when I saw a black Dodge charger screaming around this very same curve over halfway into my lane, now you may think that this was karma at work for me sharing lanes with those bicycles…EXCEPT, I made sure all of us stayed in one lane this guy was taking up both lanes and there was nowhere for me to go other than onto the shoulder, luckily I wasn’t traveling at that high of a rate of speed and kept everything under control. Had this been my first rodeo I may have swallowed a Barbwire fence.

Not too many miles further I drove out of the rain and came to an awesome one lane hundred year old bridge, on the other side I found some fellow motorcyclists from Alabama. We will call them Scott and Robert. These guys were traveling together up to this very point and then one was headed to Montana and the other back to Alabama. We started swapping stories and taking pictures and next thing we knew we all had been standing out there swatting Nats for about an hour of our morning.

 I was informed that I am in fact a unicorn! I will take this as a very big compliment, by their definition a woman who is out riding alone for the adventure or fun of it is indeed a unicorn. I like it! 

Turns out Rob and I were headed down the same stretch of road for the next hour or so and we traveled together until 123 came to an end, both agreeing it was by far one of the best roads we had ridden in a while and very similar to those in northern Georgia and Tennessee. Steep grades coupled with 10 MPH curves all the way up to 50 MPH curves made this one adventurous beautiful ride. I pulled into a gas station to top off and say goodbye to my travel partner. When I walked into the Casey’s in Harrison Arkansas  the clerk right away struck up conversation about riding and roads and motorcycles. What an awesome way to be greeted! Pretty soon a customer sitting in a booth by the window started talking with me and gave me some advice on different routes I can take from here to Iowa today. He was a truck driver and has been in all 48 lower states in his big rig and also rides motorcycles! It never ceases to amaze me the people that I meet on these adventures. A few minutes later I went outside to eat my lunch and chat with Rob a bit before heading out, out of the blue a man walks up and hands me a business card from Youngblood Harley Davidson in Harrison Arkansas he had seen us standing there with the motorcycles talking and just wanted to make sure that we were OK and didn’t need anything. Once we said we were fine he handed me his card and said well in case you ever do let me know. 

Now that is some excellent marketing! After putting my helmet back on and once again becoming a bobble head I trusted the good old GPS to route me the fastest way to Iowa. First it took me down Highway 65 through Arkansas up into Missouri which was quite a beautiful ride for four-lane highway. The speed limit is only 60 miles an hour but the views were fantastic and the pavement was smooth as glass. 

Next it ran me down Highway 44 (Route 66) where I discovered some more excellent marketing skills! There’s a big yellow billboard on the side of the road and in large letters it says URANUS. Right away this grabs my attention and when I got close enough to read the rest it not only got my attention but had me laughing for miles! Uranus is the name of a fudge factory. Anyone else find the irony in this? Somewhere down the road I turned up Highway 54 which was also very scenic and great riding. I spotted Ozark Harley Davidson and noticed they were open so I hopped off on the frontage road to go grab my son and Isome poker chips. I don’t believe we have any from Missouri yet unless I happened to pick some up on my trip down route 66 with my dad a few years back, I’ll find out soon. 

As I pulled off the interstate to find the frontage road the Harley dealership was on I found another sign that still has me laughing today! Apparently there is a town called Licking….. I am most definitely going to google the history of this town and how exactly that name happened. 

It was just a short little trip maybe a mile down the road to Ozark Harley Davidson. They had bikes outside for demos and the inside was full of very helpful happy staff! For people working on Sunday of a holiday weekend I was thoroughly impressed at their smiles and helpfulness!  Back out on the interstate with a few hundred miles yet to go I started growing tired and I hate to say it but a tad bored. Today was not a day I wanted to be on four-lane highway with a bunch of cage traffic. I wanted to be winding down back roads around curves and over hills again! Unfortunately that was not my reality so I made the best of my situation. I discovered that if you set the cruise control you can actually get a hell of a workout on a motorcycle on a smooth flat road surface. I would stretch my arms out and fight the wind giving my biceps and triceps a great challenge and from there I wrapped my legs behind me and in front of me working on some yoga stretches … I should ask the people down here for some marketing advice on this! Anyone ever heard of Harley Davidson road workouts? Or yoga poses? I think it fits right up there with my wind therapy theory. Although if this started catching on I can’t help but think Insurance companies would need to add a new clause to their policies and the highway patrol may need to add new citations to their ticket book! Shortly after my workout I got serious again and was riding  as a normal motorcyclist should, feet on the floorboards hands on the bars and I still had a brain bucket on my head. It was around this time when an unidentifiable insect smacked into my vest and somehow maneuvered its way into my jeans!! 

I am here to tell you; you never fully understood what your grandmother meant when she asked you if you had ants in your pants until you are riding down the highway at roughly 75 miles an hour and have something unknown crawling around inside your pants! 

This is not the first and I’m sure not the last time this has happened to me, I’ve had Hornets up the pant leg which caused me to Depants myself on the side of Highway 90 in South Dakota. Once while wearing a full face helmet I for some reason had the visor up and a bumblebee went directly between the padding of the helmet and my temple. And there have been numerous other occasions when said insects have flown down my shirt, up my shirt, and every other inconvenient place you can think of. I am certain passersby at this point figured I was inventing new dance moves.

I enjoyed Route 54 even though I wasn’t feeling the four-lane vibe today, somehow even ended up on a country County Highway H which was definitely a motorcyclist dream. Crossed a beautiful bridge. Before I knew it I was in Iowa, where I once again pulled over right at the Stateline and removed my helmet. After which  I was sporting some pretty amazing gas station sunglasses !  Iowa isn’t home but it was for tonight. I ended my 600 mile day with magnificent sunset views followed by going to see my favorite band perform. What a completely fantastic and eventful day on two wheels!  All that’s left from here is a 2 hour and 15 minute ride home…let’s hope it’s in the sunshine! 

Hope you enjoyed my three day tour and you will all join me again on my next adventure!!! 

Several armadillos and a handful of turtles later…

Day 2 of my 3 day tour….

 14 hours of adventure leaves a lot to talk about. What an epically fantastic day! 

This morning I discovered that southern Missouri is quite wonderful aside from the helmet law. That half of the state is jam packed full of swervy curvy hilly roads and wildlife. 

Does anyone know why The armadillo crossed the road?

 If you think you do you are probably wrong because from what I saw today none of them actually made it across! These crazy creatures along with the poor turtles were obviously never schooled on the “look both ways before crossing the street” theory and they repeatedly fail to make it all the way across the road down here. The fox are much smarter or maybe just faster because they seem to be living long enough to hang out in the ditches waiting for unsuspecting vehicles to pass by so they can dart out in front of them. 

I’m going to come back to this roadkill/wildlife subject later at the moment I have another question. 

What do breakfast, Chinese food, salads,  and burgers have in common?

They are all served here before 11 a.m. Now, I will give the owners credit the advertising is perfect,  very first thing I saw when I pulled off the interstate was big bold bright red letters saying “CAFE” and I was starving. If you do not like your coffee refilled & are a huge fan of liquid smoke saturated bacon this my friends is your breakfast café! I try hard not to criticize I know everybody has a bad day once in a while so I will just leave it at that. The biscuits and gravy here were actually pretty fantastic. That is all I have to say about Nevada Missouri. 

I left there and headed to fill up with fuel where I discovered that on top of having famous motorcycle roads this area of the country is also well-known for jeep & 4×4 trails! These guys looked like they were about to have some fun. 

From here I was headed to Arkansas it was only a few hour ride and I was very excited to get off of the interstate. The weather was sketchy off in the distance and I was happy to steer away from it successfully… Once I finally did I found heaven. Rolling paved Hills winding through the forest and bright blue sky! After many miles of twists and turns down highway 86 I found myself right where I wanted to be, the Stateline where I could remove my helmet since it was 92°! I wear my helmet when it’s cold and when it’s raining but on a day like today I prefer to let the wind rip through my hair and feel the sun on my face. Helmet laws will be a subject of another post here soon. Now THAT feels better!!! I know you are all jealous of my $7.99 gas station sunglasses. 

Strolling along through Arkansas I couldn’t help but notice that not only do they have armadillos and turtles they also have snakes on the roads. One lucky turtle was saved today though, I came around a curve at a rather high rate of speed and there was a man walking down the road, as I got closer I realized he was holding a turtle that he had pulled off of the road to go back and save! Now that is a standup kind of guy don’t you think ladies? 

Where I live we also have tons of road kill but ours consists of deer, raccoon, and possim for the most part. It is a whole different world down here trying to get used to seeing all of these other creatures in the roadways. The most fascinating thing I may have ever seen crossing a roadway was right here in Arkansas on this day! I have seen numerous animals in numerous states on numerous roads all over the country. I like to consider myself a fairly well traveled person in the US. Today I was cruising down a back road I had just rounded a curve and was leaning the bike back up right when I caught sight of a raised shadow ?? towards the centerline roughly as big around as a soup bowl and an inch or 2 high. 

Any guesses??? 

I simply could not get to my camera fast enough but right there ladies and gentlemen was the biggest spider I have ever seen in my entire life! And I saw him on the roadway of all places! Shortly after that sighting I found myself driving down the road singing in a true Wizard of Oz tone armadillos, turtles, snakes,  and spiders oh my! Then I hit shuffle on the iPhone and found one of my all time favorites…excuse the dirty dashboard I’ve been too busy riding to stop and wash it! 

Next up was a place I was very happy to have my camera out for, Eureka Springs. What an awesome little town it is jampacked full of everything & anthing. I was trying my best to take in all of the sites around me and almost ate the rear end of a Cadillac, I’m guessing that would not of tasted so good so I’m glad I got stopped in time to avoid disaster. There was one picture from Eureka Springs that needed to be set aside from the crowd so I am going to upload it here and you are probably going to think I was taking a picture of a mural on the building but that is not what caught my attention.  

Can you zoom in and find what I found so entertaining? After Eureka Springs I headed south on Highway 23 down Arkansas’s Pig Trail & stopped for a snack at a neat little souvenir shop where I met 4 combat veterans on their way from South Carolina to San Diego on their bikes. That was a half an hour not wasted out of my day,  awesome people! Maybe I’ll see them in Sturgis this year. 

The Pig Trail ride was nothing short of amazing it was just like being in the smoky mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina the entire ride felt like I had been there before and my pictures won’t even do it justice! There are 50 mph curves all the way down to 10 mph U-turns. The road crosses and follows a few rivers and creeks and is surrounded by lush green forrest on both sides full of 4×4 roads! Highly recommend this route as long as you watch out for the armadillos, snakes, turtles, and spiders oh my! After today’s ride down route 23, I am convinced I am the last motorcyclist in the country to know about this place. Not exactly sure how I have never heard of it but I’m glad I finally found it! It was awesome to see the parade of other bikes around today from all over the country. The cage drivers down here are very motorcycle friendly and about every other house in north western Arkansas has a “lookout for motorcycles” sign in the yard, very welcoming! 

I was being followed by a giant Dodge truck as I was following a Ford Ranger and there were three sport bikes that came flying down the hill behind all of us, one by one we motioned them around us on the straight parts of the road since there are no passing zones we shared the lane as best we could so they could get passed us to enjoy their stroll through the winding curves. I can only corner so fast before my pipes dig into the pavement and I was trying to behave and obey the speed limit. (A few of you who know me will find that hilarious) It was an excellent team effort from a group of people who will probably never know each other and we all got to enjoy our ride at our own pace. After finishing up with the Pig Trail I found the Scenic 7 Byway which led to Jessieville! I’ve been famous down here all these years and never even knew it!

The sun was going down and it was time to figure out where to end my journey for the day.  I headed back up Scenic Route 7 and took a different stretch of it than I had on the way down and discovered that it just doesn’t matter where you are around here it is beautiful! 560 miles of nothing but fabulous weather, roads, people and scenery today! 

A margarita and Mexican food hit the spot and I was back at my hotel for the night. Around 1 o’clock in the morning I heard something that woke me up and set me straight up in bed, it turned out to be the most wicked thunderstorm I have ever witnessed. The lightning in thick bright white bolts coming down all around and thunder so loud it shook the entire hotel and drown out any other sound.  Never in my 35 years have I heard something so loud that just echoed for what felt like several minutes, I’m sure it was seconds but WOW Mother Nature has one hell of a voice on her here tonight! I am a lover of thunderstorms so this was quite an awesome end to my day that I thought had already ended hours before! 

Saturday complete! 

Tune in tomorrow for day 3 and my report of Arkansas Dragon, HWY 123 


Day 1 of my 3 day tour …Im like the highway version of Gilligan out here entertaining myself. 

Memorial weekend every year I take a ride on my bike. Not just a ride and not just any ride. I pick a state or direction or sometimes even a destination or just a road. Next I point my motorcycle in that general direction and depending on the weather sometimes I make it there, other times I may turn to avoid the weather or simply because I find something I must explore and I end up somewhere completely different than where I had headed out to go. 

A while back I read an article about the top 10 best motorcycle roads in the US. I have been on 7 of those 10 and 2 of the 3 that I haven’t been on are in Arkansas. This years Memorial Weekend ride is aimed at Arkansas and the weekend starts today. 

I began my day racing a cow somewhere on a back road through the driftless hills of Wisconsin. 

Now there is something you don’t hear and I don’t say every day! …yes he is on the wrong side of the fence, guess he’s seeing if the grass really is greener?! 

It was a beautiful morning somewhere in the 60° range a little patchy fog, a few clouds, and  blue sky showing through.    After 45 minutes of enjoying this, I interrupted my morning with seven hours of work at the office. As luck would have it my last patient of the day canceled so I got to check out early on a Friday to leave for the long weekend! Sun was shining all day and it was beautiful! ….Right up until that part where it was time for me to head out on the bike! The clouds rolled in and the rain fell down… BUT the ride must go on! So I suited up in my 10 year old rain gear, which currently has more miles on it than most of my buddy’s motorcycles, and down the road I went with complete confidence that I would not melt. Needless to say the first hour of the ride was a little damp.  After 60 or 70 miles the sun came out and the world was right! This was shortly before I entered into my First of 2 100 MPH states I’ll be traveling through this weekend.  I have nothing against Iowa, a lot of the state is filled with rolling hills and valleys not to mention the entire eastern side is bordered by the Mighty Mississippi. There are several motorcycle friendly venues in Iowa such as J&P Cycles (excellent retailer of aftermarket motorcycle parts) they hold a weekend rally every June. There is a motorcycle museum not far down the road and just down from the museum is Scooters bar which is conveniently located next to the Animosa Motorcycle Hillclimb. These and several other things make Iowa a state worth visiting. 

However, this particular trip is not the time for me to stop and see the sights. This particular trip is the time where I am simply traveling through because that’s what I must do to get from Wisconsin to any other state west of the Mississippi.

On trips like this Iowa is simply lumped into the category of 100 MPH states. Meaning that no matter what part of the state you’re in or what highway you’re on or which direction you’re heading you see absolutely no reason in the world why you shouldn’t just be able to set your speedometer at 100 and push the go button.  These are the states you look at on the map and try your damnedest to go around, make disappear, and quite possibly just close your eyes and pretend they aren’t there. Without them you can just get where it is you are going without the extra travel time, traffic, and gas money. 

As always I made the best of my 100 MPH state, even kept it under 100 for a change. I played the “look mom no hands” game for several miles. Of course like most things that grew tiresome quickly and I decided maybe it was time to relax a little. I came to the conclusion that people don’t actually need recliners if they have a Streetglide…I couldn’t help but feel that capturing this photo with the radio playing “Rockin down the Highway ” by The Doobie Brothers was ridiculously awesome timing on my part given that that is precisely what I was doing .  The final hours of my day were spent chasing the sunset, admiring the views, and grinning ear to ear that I’m out here for the next 2 days with the love of my life! 

(Just so there’s no confusion, my bike is the love of my life) I pulled in a little early tonight with 427 miles on for the day and hopes that tomorrow turns out to be as wonderful as today! Good night boys and girls I hope you enjoyed my adventure! There will be more tomorrow! 

Jessie Lee’s Open-Road Lifestyle

IMG_5838Hi! I’m Jessie, avid motorcyclist, mile collector self-diagnosed with wanderlust, Mom of 1, Dental Hygienist, Bartender, & soon to be Author! Here to help you explore life on 2 wheels!

If I have to explain you wouldn’t understand… over the years I’ve found this is the best explanation I can give people when they ask why I want to strap my necessities to the fender of my bike, suit up in leather, wrap my legs around 700 lbs of steel, and hit the open road for hundreds or thousands of miles! To me this is as normal as walking and talking but for someone who has never experienced the thrill of a ride it seems a tad crazy. This weekend I’ll be adding a 35th state to my collection of miles and since people always love to hear my 2 wheel adventure stories I have decided to share them right here! If you have never taken a ride through the wind comment below and next time I happen to be traveling through your state I’ll stop by and take you for a spin!!!

I am currently writing a book, Jessie Lee’s Guide to the Open Road Lifestyle, in hopes of sharing my experience and know how with the millions of up and coming riders out there on the road today. It is my dream to show them how to harness the sense of freedom and confidence that comes from conquering the world on 2 wheels. My dad shared the secret with me over 25 years ago and it was the best thing he could have ever done. Now, 16 bikes and tens of thousands of miles later I want to pass this key to happiness along to the world.