Last weekend events in my neighborhood altered some of our plans. I opened up the Flea Market section of Adventure Rider (shouldn't have and I really do know better), saw a 650 KLR for sale within 100 miles of home, mentioned my new purchase to Mark and the two of us went after it last Friday. Cody was thinning his collection by a count of 4 but the KLR was really the only one of his machines that belonged here with mine. Thursday evening I texted son Ben to let him know what was happening and he wondered if my "old lethargic 250 KLR" might be for sale.
I'll put it this way; it wouldn't have been at any other time or to anyone else. He had spent enough time on it to grow almost as fond of it as I am.
Sunday, my brother was excited to learn that there would be some extra space in the garage, wanted to stop by to see the units inside before they all disappeared. We then made a quick lunch run, each of us both way too busy to do any extra miles that we'd otherwise have preferred to do.....way too many home projects that needed finishing in his case, started in mine.
So this week instead of one bike passively riding to Texas on Thursday there were two of them. I was on my way by 5PM and stopped for a few hours of rest just north of Kansas City at the last Rest Stop before the city.
I was reminded that single women seem very cautious about guys taking Rest Stop photos at 3AM and they have good cause. Hopefully she was relieved when I got back into the van and drove away.
Gas stop in Emporia, KS......hard not to be reminded of a film.....
All week, actually ever since the decision had been made to make the TX trip, I've been looking forward to returning to, actually passing through the Flint Hills again, if however briefly.
Remember this from almost exactly 4 years ago?? My Flint Hills Ride Day 2??
Looking North from the bridge, atop the "Mound"......
What Teapot Mound looked like early on Friday from the Kansas Turnpike.....
(Just an aside, after my original Post about riding the Flint Hills, I had a question from a rancher in the area based on some research he'd been doing on Chase County, KS....our correspondence fun)
Seeing the area again, the names on the signs and the very few sights available from my limited access on the Turnpike brought back so many memories. I need to get back down there for more exploring. That view from the Matfield Green - Knute Rockne Memorial Service Area, located on a high point is incredible. I think you can see almost half way around the world from there.....well, maybe 1/3 of the way.
The sign warns of springtime burning with cautions about smoke across the road.....
South of the Flint Hills, land(s) of windmills, an entire 'farm' not yet up and running.
Through KC, through Oklahoma City and finally through Ft. Worth. At that point, local radio reports of "inches of rain" the day or so previous and I certainly found out that they weren't lyin'.
"Avoid Interstate 35 if at all possible......"
South of Dallas/Ft. Worth, around Waco there was a section of Northbound lanes that had what looked to me like 3' of standing water. Three lanes of stopped traffic for what I measured as 10+ miles south of there.
Pouring rain and MORE pouring rain, as if we needed any more. Central Texas had been dry.
Between wiper sweeps.....
At least those of us Southbounders were still moving.....but that didn't last, not long enough anyway. Beyond Waco it was our turn. Between accidents, traffic, flooded roads, etc., etc......
Those poor, poor folks still moving North wouldn't be for long.
Free advertising......I had my fingers crossed that his oily, smoky exhaust wasn't going to foul a couple of his plugs, which then would have fouled me.
Those of you familiar with Texas freeways know about the one-way frontage roads beside the major artery roads. Some of us with less patience, thought we'd be crafty and avoid the blockages.....
Trouble was, the road ditches were soft because Texas road ditches aren't always dry and hard. Even for those that managed to traverse the low spots, there was for most of them the later issue of MERGING back ON, only compounding things once we actually started to move again.
It took almost 2 hours to make my last 20 miles, but I finally made the mall parking lot in Killeen. The rain gods were kind to us.....no rain for the swapping of personal goods, getting the bikes unloaded at his buddy's home on the Base or for us to get some dinner together.
Ben's 'new' Forerunner.......
Ben and I said our goodbyes, it was about 9PM and I felt like crawling in back for another nap right there in the quiet Walmart parking lot. Weather radio said "Flash Flood Warning, 6-8" more rain overnight......." Darn that Hurricane Patricia!!
Knowing what I knew about road conditions already to the north and with adrenaline flowing, I jumped back into the driver's seat and drove to a quiet gas station parking lot north of Dallas (Argyle) for a nap, deciding not to get caught in even worse conditions when traffic would be more intense the following morning.
About 3AM the local constable seemed to be nervous about my presence in the "all night pumps but store is closed" parking lot. It wasn't a different enough time from my normal wake-if-not-rise time anyway, so I drove to Oklahoma City where another hour and a half nap carried me through to a cloudy, misty sunrise. From there, a quite pleasant drive home. Conditions were better, got some more views of the Flint Hills and for the most part, courteous and reasonable travelers were my company.
50 hours, 2300 miles and cargo delivered except for Ben's USB cord that I forgot to grab from under the seat.
It's good to be home.