2020 Moto Trip - Day 1 - Hauling Ass
Day 1 (8/12/2020)
Waking up this morning I could hardly focus on anything other than the trip. Bob and I were taking half days at work so that we could get some miles under our belt on the first leg of the journey to Cologne, MN. Over and over I wracked my brain on what I might have forgotten to pack the night before. Tools? Check. Underwear (I’ve forgotten them before, luckily it was a shorter trip)? Check. Common sense? Jury is still out on that one. Luckily I had a bunch of meetings that morning that forced me to step away from the bike brain and back into reality. Said meetings were also very helpful in passing the time, otherwise it would have felt like an eternity before we were skating down the pavement.
Finally the time had come, and just as I’m backing the bike out of the garage some delivery guys show up with our new massive bathroom vanity. Okay great, let me give you clowns a hand in the August heat while dressed in all of my gear and get even more sweaty to start this shindig off. Back on the bike a few minutes later, I kiss Alexa goodbye and head the the gas station where Bob and I set to meet. We fuel the bikes, exchange a few high fives, and off we go!
Luckily it was around noon when we set out so Denver traffic wasn’t too awful yet. Being back in the saddle again felt amazing, minus the fact I knew we had a very long and boring 400 miles ahead of us pounding mostly interstate pavement. Colorado is a very beautiful place, but Eastern Colorado is almost an entirely different world filled with flat and boring. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration, but when you’re just rolling through on the freeway only stopping for gas it’s not terribly exciting. Our first “on the road” stop to take a break, grab some gas, and a quick snack was in Fort Morgan. We were prepared with our masks, being accustomed to how things were in the city and the ordinances there. It was quite eye opening right away that rural areas gave zero shits about masks and social distancing. We still wore them because it was easier than having to hear about it from some know-it-all grouch-bag, but the difference in attitude was pretty surprising.
Back on the road was a whole lot more of the same flat and unappealing landscape. And that’s fine, we went into the trip knowing that and fully prepared to blaze through these areas as fast as possible. We crossed into Nebraska and eventually Bob signaled that he was hurting for fuel so instead of stopping in North Platte, NE where we would finally cut off the interstate we pulled over a few miles before in Sutherland. In hindsight it was a good spot to stop for a few reasons: 1) we didn’t have to deal with a crowded city gas station; 2) the convenient store also had a gun store attached which I thought was oddly hilarious; and 3) they had a sweet dinosaur for me to ride!
From North Platte we cut north for a bit and then zig zagged through a lot of Nebraska farmland, and I was impressed with how pretty it was out there. I was expecting a lot more brown and flat but was pleasantly surprised with rolling hills and green landscape. At one point near Broken Bow we got caught at a train crossing so we stopped and wolfed down another snack and took a pic while waiting for the train to pass before hopping back on the iron horses to continue. There were no twisties to burn through, mostly just straight north for a bit, then straight east for a bit and so on and so forth until we eventually rolled into the quaint little town of Burwell, NE concluding our travel day in the saddles.
We pulled up to the Rodeo Inn motel and chatted with the office lady who was concerned that we didn’t have a reservation…no no ma’am, we’ve had this reservation for months. Luckily her paperwork was in order so she gave us the key and informed us room 24 was right over there. We whipped around, hopped off, I opened the door and there was a guy sitting right there on the bed. “Oh shit man I’m sorry!” Pretty lucky that’s all he was doing in there! As I was walking back up to the office the woman was sitting out having a cigarette laughing…”oh did I say 24? I meant 23, look at the key.” At first I was worried that my key worked for someone else’s door, but then I realize it was probably unlocked since the guy was literally right there. We unpacked the bikes, kicked off our gear, and stretched out for a good long bit while searching for a good spot to eat dinner. We also found the “Comendy Ch.” on the TV guide and had a good laugh about that.
We settled on the Sandstone Grill for supper, your typical small town American style restaurant. The food was pretty good and the beers were cold so I was plenty happy. Bob had also purchased a new coin prior to our departure for deciding who was to pay for dinner, the sides reading “Hell Yeah” and “Fuck No.” Luck was on my side this first flip, the new coin ruled in my favor so I was off to a good start there! If you’ll recall on our Canada trip I got stuck paying all but 1.5 tabs. Riding into dinner we discovered they had a legit town square in the heart of town so when we left the restaurant we rode around it and saw a whole lot of nothing, but I suppose that’s to be expected in a small town on a Wednesday night. It was still nifty to see a town square like that though, something new for me. We also discovered a sign that the bowling alley was open and that they didn’t have any “rona” so that put our minds at ease a little.
Sleep came fast that night which was great because we had another long day ahead of us with lots of miles to cover before getting into Cologne where we’d be staying for a few days. Being back on the bike for a long trip felt amazing. I didn’t think we’d be able to do this trip this year, but sure as shit here we were. I’m glad I got Bob to commit to such a long trip after Old Al had to unfortunately bow out of the bike trips for the year due to a few unforeseen circumstances. We were supposed to do three shorter trips this summer; an Enchanted Circle/Durango/Million Dollar Highway ride, Moab/Telluride long weekend, and then Cody/Deadwood/Beulah Testicle Festival. With one of the crew not being able to go I took the opportunity to plan this long two week trip in place of the three shorter ones knowing that it might be my last opportunity for one like this for a while.