This morning is more relaxed. The alarm went off at 8:12. We're meeting the rest of the crew for breakfast in the hotel at 9am. There is 130 less miles to travel today. We are also going to visit the Nebraska capitol building. Donna and I packed the trailer before we went to breakfast.
The dining room was busy so we sat out by the pool again for breakfast. I had some boiled eggs. They had biscuits and gravy but I went for the safe food. So far this trip I've avoided any gastrointestinal mayhem. It is supposed to be hot today and the heat and humidity are already noticeable.
The capitol building was about eight miles away and was a short hop down I-80. It gave by far the best first impression with its tall tower of any capitol we've been to. We found parking right in front. Hopefully the authorities won't mistake John and Mike's bison head box for a nuclear device. Ha!
The interior was nice also. Lots of marble and granite. Side rooms and semi-hidden staircases. It reminded me of a castle. A tour started in about 20 minutes so we sat around enjoying the cooler inside temperatures.
The tour guide was by far the best tour guide we've had. He was very knowledgeable and gave an enthusiastic presentation. Through the course of the tour we came upon three different wedding parties taking pictures and preparing for the ceremonies.
An interesting tidbit learned during the tour is that Nebraska's state government doesn't have a senate and a house like other states. They only have a house. I guess the less politicians the better. Ha!
After the official tour we were able to go up to the tower observation deck. I was loving this. I love the views from up high. It was somewhat like a maze.
To the west was a large railroad yard. Schwing! You can see a coal train snaking through the yard.
If you click on the picture you can see a larger version. Near the center of the picture are an orange and a white BNSF locomotives. Could these be the pushers from the 9230 train we saw yesterday? Something to ponder.
Our bikes from the tower.
With our tour of the capitol over it was time to get down to business and cover some miles. With the exception of about 60 miles in Missouri all the roads will be 4-lane today. We're back in the familiar looking greenery of the midwest. No worries about finding gas stations. We just have to deal with the heat.
It didn't take long to weave our way through town and get on Hwy 2. After a bunch of traffic lights in suburbia we were finally rolling through the open spaces, cruise control on, and letting the humidity work for us a bit.
Percival, IA. 13:29, mileage 60,957 - We stopped for fuel at the intersection of Hwy 2 and I-80.
Breakfast was long gone so we decided to eat at an Apple Barrel travel center across the road. Apparently last year the area flooded but this place was spared by a wall of sandbags. We browsed around awhile before moving to the restaurant. I had an excellent club sandwich and we consumed copius amounts of liquid.
As we prepared to leave we talked to a guy who had just returned from a mission trip to South America. He rode an Ultra Classic.
Back on the road we were quickly into Missouri. Near Corning the strap that holds Mike's cooler onto his trailer failed. He used a couple tie down straps I had. John is showing some leg. He's trying to compete with Donna's holey pants.
I guess some government entity has plenty of money for road signage. There were mileage markers every two-tenths of a mile. I still haven't figured out the purpose for that.
St. Joseph, MO. 16:20, mileage 61,040 - There's a big antique store next to this gas station. They were having a barbeque and cookout. It would have been a nice place to check out if it were 75 degrees. Soon we turn onto US36 for the rest of the day.
Chillicothe, MO. 17:57, mileage 61,118 - US36 has been a nice road. Four lane. Light traffic. A fair number of motorcycles to be seen. For the mostpart it's straight as an arrow. Train track parallels the road in places but no trains to be seen. Even though it is evening by now it is still hot.
Shelbina, MO. 19:47, mileage 61,202 - Given the time we decided to have convenience store food for supper. We ate inside where it was cool. I had pizza. We decided we would do the last 140 miles to Springfield in one hop. This place had the lowest gas prices I've seen in a long time.
By the time we left Shelbina it was dusky and the temperature had fallen to non-miserable levels. We had a nice moon to help light our way. We would be doing some night riding and I had my clear glasses this time.
There were darker clouds to the northeast and the radar showed some rain. It was 50/50 whether we'd see any of it as it was to north of US36 for the most part.
Speaking of US36, we had gotten a pleasant surprise. My 2012 Rand-McNally road atlas showed the road to be 2-lane from Macon to Hannibal. It was 4-lane the whole way, and from the looks of the road had been 4-lane for years.
By the time we reached Hannibal it was dark. In the moonlight we could see heavy clouds to our left. Sometimes patches of heavy clouds would hide the moon. We'd gotten a few sprinkles already and as we crossed the Mississippi River Illinois welcomed us with a more steady rain. You started wondering if it was time to break out the raingear and then the rain would slack off. This went on for about 30 minutes after which the rain cleared. Donna gave me a napkin to try to wipe the raindrops of my clear glasses but all it did was smear. I guess I should have given the new glasses a good cleaning with Windex before using them.
With the threat of rain seemingly minimized I kept a vigilant lookout for deer and road debris through my smeared and wet glasses. The frequent blood-stained patches on the road didn't ease my mind any. Whenever possible I used my driving lights to help look for hazards.
Eventually Springfield started moving into view on my GPS. In the distance we could see lightning towards Springfield. The closer we got the more frequent the lightning and you could tell by the wind a storm was brewing. Donna didn't like the lightning and was ready to get to the hotel. I told her I don't worry so much. If the lightning strike doesn't kill you then the crash will. She didn't care for my dark humor.
We finally arrived at the same Candlewood Suites we stayed at in 2010. We got our rooms and settled in. The guys had just parked the bikes and were walking back towards the hotel when the big raindrops started falling. Whew...beat the storm. The storm sang us to sleep.
Tomorrow will be another capitol visit before our final leg home.
Click here for our next day's adventure.