Today was an incredibly long journey in terms of mentally coping, though I only traveled about 200 miles. I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures, if I had some to post, they’d likely be the same rolling corn fields or gorgeous sunset photos.
I left Jay’s house just after noon Central time. I had taken the time to wash the clothes I had dirtied in the last two days, ate some breakfast, and worked on my homework and the blog I posted earlier. I also attempted to map out the day’s travel. I clearly failed at that last part because the first 70 miles of my riding consisted of two giant u-turns and getting pulled over by an Iowa state trooper, whom I’ll refer to as Dick, appropriately. The general speed limit in the area was about 55mph and I was cruising along at just over 60. Seriously, I was not speeding. As I approached a hill, a police cruiser crested it going the opposite direction. Immediately, he turned his lights on, flipped a u-turn and was tailing me. Like a good citizen, I pulled over onto the shoulder which consisted of about two feet of paved road and then another four of gravel; I remained on the paved part because I really didn’t trust the soft shoulder… not after the Tekoa incident. Dick approached me nonchalantly and told me I had been speeding. I politely asked if the speed limit was still 55 and he replied, “yes, but you were going much faster than that.” It was at the point that I boiled inside because I know it is impossible to radar a vehicle accurately while going the opposite direction yourself. I also happen to know that it is difficult to radar a motorcycle from the front, anyway. So to you, Dick, I say good play, but cheap attempt. I knew that I wouldn’t get a ticket based on these facts and figured he saw a bright green sport bike in the middle of nowhere and thought it would be a good license to check. Well, I hope he had fun checking my Oregon license. I have a feeling, though, that as soon as he realized I was a girl, he didn’t have a good reason to ticket me. The thing about Iowa is, you only wear helmets if you intend on riding fast, well, I wear my helmet because I’m not a dumb dumb and my mother taught me better (thanks, ma). After getting all my info, Dick came back to me and said, “it’s just a warning, but take it easy.” To which I replied, “thanks, what’s the best way to get to Des Moines?”
The whole stop was frustrating to me because of the several reasons, but also because I have never been pulled over before. I would have been less peeved if the shoulder had been safer and there weren’t huge farm trucks barreling by. Also, I’ve sped a lot worse and had cops do nothing back home, that’s just how it goes.
After all that, I kind of got going in the right direction. My GPS was helpless in no man’s land and my big maps were no good at showing the tiny roads around there. Next time, I’ll be investing in a more detailed map book.
Currently, I am sitting at my “camp site” amongst RVs in a casino RV area. I got to Des Moines around 7pm, wilth still no set destination in mind. My plan was to ride until I saw a sign for a campsite or get too tired to continue and just make due somehow.
As I rode on, the most incredible sunset was visible. The sun was a glowing magenta and the few clouds there were streaked pink and orange. I would have pulled over to take the picture, but the roads were a mess with construction and I figured my camera would never do it justice. After a while, I began to get tired and decided to go to a gas station to find out where any possible camping was. The young guys behind the counter said I may have luck at the casino. Fortunately, they were right! I pulled up to the casino, walked over to the valet counter, and asked three kids that looked to be about 18 how I would go about renting a camping spot. They explained that they didn’t really rent out to campers, but if it was just me, my motorcycle, and one tent, they wouldn’t charge me and I was welcome to set up anywhere there was room. Needless to say, this is some cozy free camping! I have free WiFi and an outlet post here to recharge my electronics. Having the first world amenities in the middle of nowhere makes me happy because I can get my frustrations out.
I didn’t quite make it to Missouri, but I am close. I think I am about 48 miles North of the border at the Lakeside Casino. Google it, you’ll see. I’m pretty close.