Friday, September 15, 2006


Day Five - Valentine, NE to Ames IA

Today's ride was all about fighting the wind. Two things scooters really do not like, wind and steel grating bridges (the third is gravel). Today we had high winds in the form of gusting crosswinds buffeting the scooters while we crossed the Missouri River on the Decatur Bridge, an old steel grating bridge. The scooters wander on steel grating, giving you the sense that you are not in control. The secret to handling this is just to relax, but that is a lot easier said than done. Anyway, as far as I know, everybody made it safe and sound.

Today we lost dc_rob and Mike Heytens who both had come to the end of the line with their scooters. It is a sad day for the Cannonball. The finish will be bitter-sweet without them. Rats...

Last night I forgot to set my clock forward one hour for the time zone change, and got up just in time to see my riding partner putting out of town. Rats! I had to navigate like crazy all day, which is not something I am very good at. I guess now we know which half of Team Lost & Found I am.

Seldom in life do you get a second chance. I had one today, and I was glad to take advantage of it. I had pulled off the road for a reality check because the Mike Heytens Route Cheat Sheet seemed to be wrong. I could not figure out if I had missed a turn or what. While I was looking at the map, a local Harley rider pulled up and offered assistance. I told him what road I was looking for and he told me how to get there, which involved a short trip down a road that was not on the cheat sheet. I was not enthusiastic about his idea as well-meaning locals have repeatedly tried to send us off the route, something we are not allowed to do.

By chance, another fellow Cannonballer came by and I waved thanks to the Harley guy who seemed genuinely puzzled about the whole thing. I felt sort of bad that I had dissed his advice and wished I had a chance to explain. In the next town, I stopped for gas and while I was sitting there, you guessed it, he came rolling in. I was only too happy to take a minute to explain to him what we are up to and showed him the erroneous cheat sheet. He and I shared a hearty laugh, shhok hands, and parted company. Every day of every life should have a cool moment like that.

In Ames, we ate a huge dinner of BBQ and fell asleep the instant we sat down back at the room.

Today's Theme: Wind

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You are doing great! I am really enjoying the adventure through your writings.

How is the Blur performing now that you are out of the high mountain elevations? Have you had any maintence issues to speak of?

I hope to meet you Monday! Ride safe my friend.

Tom (Tikka)
Wish I was out there riding too.
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