What Dorothy Never Told Us

It isn’t always easy getting to Kansas; I’m afraid Dorothy left that bit of information out when she described her beloved home state to the Munchinlanders of Oz.  I woke up bright and early this morning at 6:30am due in part to the sunrise, the nearby interstate traffic picking up, but mostly due to the fact that the ground I was sleeping on was terribly uncomfortable.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to camp, but I’m already giving my body a hard enough time by making it sit on a motorcycle most days.

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The morning view of my campsite at Lakeside Casino off of interstate 35.

I began to pack up my tent and eat a well-rounded breakfast of left over doritos and a red delicious apple.  The friendly folks in the neighboring RV, Allen and Cheryl I later learned, struck up a conversation asking about my journey and complimenting me on my swift tent tear-down skills.  Allen and Cheryl offered me a cup of coffee, I’ve become accustomed to drinking it black, and they told me about their travels around Minnesota this summer and how they’re headed back home to Eastern Missouri.  Cheryl insisted Allen show me his hand wood carvings that he creates at home, and man were they impressive!  Before departing, they insisted that I call them and stop by if I’m ever in there area.  Cheryl slipped me a piece of paper with their information and said I was welcome to stay anytime.  To describe these two, I’d start by saying they were very friendly, almost family feeling.  Like those neighbors you had growing up that looked after you as if they were your own, but not quite the same as your parents or grandparents.  I appreciated their generous offer.

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Allen and Cheryl’s RV, my overnight neighbors from Missouri.

After departure, I got onto the highway and in less than a half hour I was over the Missouri border; less than an hour after that, I came to a dead stop.  I could see a jack-knifed semi truck blocking both lanes about a quarter of a mile ahead. A police cruiser flew passed me while I was stopping.  Within a couple minutes, all the vehicles around me realized we weren’t going anywhere and engines shut off one by one.  It wasn’t even ten yet, but I could feel the heat coming and I had no shade.  After a bit of waiting, I took my jacket and boots off, I had taken my helmet and gloves off as soon as I’d shut off my engine.  At one point, a thoughtful trucker came out of nowhere and handed me an ice cold water and said, “you’re going to want to drink this.”  I was very grateful for yet another act of kindness.  I filled my waiting time with texts to family and friends, facebook, napping, and photographing various things.

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Sitting on the interstate, hoping the accident gets cleared soon.

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Getting ready to nap on the shady side of my bike as temperatures got warmer.

Not many people can say they’ve napped directly in the middle of an interstate…  After a while, I even walked up close to the wreck to see what was going on – it was very clear we weren’t going anywhere soon.  The opposing direction of traffic had also been stopped, but wasn’t backed up too far.  The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDot, hahaha) had been rerouting traffic.  Apparently, the jack-knifed truck was heading northbound and did not get around a state vehicle hauling canola oil fast enough and hit it, hard.  Oil was all over the northbound side and workers were trying to clean it up.  The truck had ended on the southbound side of things after hitting the state vehicle.  Kind of funny, if you ask me.  As far as I can tell, no one was hurt.  

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Several emergency vehicles responding to the wreck.

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Truckers looking on at the jack-knifed semi truck… and my free water 🙂

I continued to sit there for all of three hours before deciding to risk riding through the grassy ditch of a median to turn around.  I hadn’t done so earlier because I really didn’t think it would take that long to move the truck, given the amount of emergency vehicles and personnel on scene.

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A cornsnake I spotted on the shoulder of the interstate, he was about 2.5 feet long… and dead.

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A large, fast spider wandering the highway. I poked it with my toe and it crawled up my sock, ewwww! Gave me the willies for the next hour.

My stubbornness got the best of me until I had to pee so bad it hurt.

Turning around, I only had to drive about two miles before I was able to take the makeshift detour.  The first gas station I found had a line of people who had waited the same as me, but decided to throw in the towel and turn around.  The detour proved just as effective and I kicked myself for not taking it sooner.  Oh well.

Next stop: Kansas City, Kansas.  I had my heart set on a recommended barbecue restaurant and my GPS led me right to it.  Oklahoma Joe’s, and I ordered the Z-Man as directed.  Well worth it, if you ever get the chance to go!

After gorging myself at Joe’s, I googled some places to camp off of I35 further south.  I found a great little place about 50 miles away, but knew I should probably get a sleeping pad if I wanted any good sleep tonight.  I found a Dick’s sporting goods, but their mats were too big.  Fortunately, there was a “Super Target” across the road that had what I needed.  Coincidentally, the only color mats they had were kawasaki green… I guess I match all around, I don’t mind.

After figuring out a way to stuff it into my saddlebags, I took off, back to interstate 35 for another little while.

The campsite was only $14 for the night, I was able to take a wonderful shower after the long, hot day, and there is free WiFi, again!

Upon arriving at my campsite, I checked my odometer.  So far, I’ve racked up almost 2,700 miles.  It doesn’t seem like that much now, but some days sure feel longer than others.

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My tent under a tree in an open lawn. The sounds of insects are dramatically loud.

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Looking back toward the interstate. Kansas City Left (North), Wichita Right (South). Notice how long this back road goes for – as far as the eye can see.

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Another amazing sunset. This one from Kansas over a field of small yellow flowers.

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