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Departure Day – October 1, 2009

November 19, 2009

Lampe, MO to Omaha, Nebraska – 425 Miles

I had packed the bike the night before. As usual the left saddle bag contained my sleeping bag, a Big Agnes 30+ bag, and the matching air mattress that fits inside the sleeping bag. This is very handy as most ground pads and air mattresses that you sleep on top of you tend to slide off when you are soundly asleep and wake up frozen and stiff in the morning. The bag also housed my tent – a free standing EMS Quarter Dome one person that works perfectly in just about any condition. The only problem is that it is truly a ONE person tent and with your gear stored inside it’s very, very tight. One of the best tips I got when researching my first long distance month long ride is take a pillow. My pillow is a compressible thermarest pillow that is by far the most comfort inducing piece of gear I took on both trips (In May I rode 5,300 miles from Vermont to Texas, Key West, FL and surrounding areas). I can usually fit my LED headlamp and when I really need space my flip flops to and still get the bag closed. I can’t tell you the satisfaction I feel when I walk up to the bike and know everything I need to sleep well and be protected from the elements fits in a single pannier on my Futura.

Home away from home:




















The right side bag is for clothing. For a month out on the road I take two pairs of cargo pants, a pair of cargo shorts, swim trunks, two pair of socks, two pair of underwear, two outfitter style shirts, a sweat shirt, two t-shirts and a pair of sweat pants and a zip up vest with a high collar. Most of this gear is a high tech fabric that washes and dries overnight easily. My daily riding apparel consists of the following bits in no particular order. – LDC comfort shorts – single best long distance sport touring clothing I’ve ever purchased. These are riding underwear that are specially made for long distance riders. They are seamless and although they fit snugly they are not compression shorts – which serve a different function – more for sports activities not hours and hours of motorcycle riding. I read that long distance riders often wear bicycle shorts on their rides. Let me tell you after 5,300 miles of wearing a set HATED them. The padding is in the wrong place and the seams cut into your skin. It got so bad at one point earlier in the year that I tried to cut out the sewn in pad in a McDonald’s bathroom with my Leatherman! That must have been somewhat of an interesting visual, my black Alpinestars black-label cargo pants around my ankles, my leather jacket on the hook and me hunched over sitting on the crapper sawing away at my shorts with a razor sharp knife all while cursing under my breath and yanking out the stretchy panels of the underpants, hacking away. Anyway they are great and you should RUN to the computer to buy a set immediately – trust me on this.
On the road again:

I was finally on the road again. The radar was sketchy for a ride north. Rain near Kansas City and the Dakotas, sheesh, don’t get me started on the Dakotas. For the last week the weather had been deteriorating. From middle 70’s in late September to 40’s and snow at the start of October. But one thing I learned from the last trip is that weather forecasters are full of shit and wrong almost all the time. The ride from Lampe to Omaha would be mostly slab. However, the first part was fantastic with a million sweepers, tight turns, s-turns and hills that were rollercoaster like in their rises and falls. I replaced my onboard GPS with a Garmin. My $99.00 Sony died a horrible death after I rammed my fist through the glass faceplate. It just did too many frustrating things too many times to tolerate and I guess this was my subconscious making me get something else. This GPS cost 4x the price of the Sony and over the course of this trip would pay for itself many times over. After the fun part of the ride I hit the highway and basically headed due north. This part of the ride was eyeglazingly boring only interrupted by a few showers and trucks trying to kill me. I stopped to refuel and while having an iced tea and sitting next to the bike I noticed this extremely interesting site. It was an Amish family getting into a pickup truck. I’m thinking they can’t drive and then I see their driver and for the first time actually notice what’s on the back of the flatbed. TWO brand new buggies and all the fixins. So, somewhere in America there is a factory that turns out buggies for the Amish. Interesting stuff, at least it was for me.

I got off the interstate again to get gas and stumbled on this little town somewhere between Lampe and Omaha. Yeah I know I need to be more specific with details but at this point in the trip I was just enjoying riding to be riding.

Another small town that Wal-Mart wiped out. I wonder if Sam realized that his business would essentially destroy small town America.

It was cold and wet fo the last ½ of the ride. Entering Nebraska is very cool as they have a bunch of locomotives on a hillside at the state greeting sign. I checked into dumpy La Quinta and dragged my bags to the room. Being an ex-Hotelier (French for “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time”) I called Karyn and said come and rescue me. Karyn is a loooovely red head who used to work for me in New York back in the days when I was a Hedge .

Our first stop was the Interlude Lounge in a strip mall in downtown Omaha. This place was FANTASTIC. Sunken seated areas, wacky 60’s lighting, and a huge L shaped bar. There are always places you stumble into when you travel that make you want to move to that area just to be near them. The Interlude is one of those places – you just feel comfortable the moment you walk in the door. The smoking hot blonde large breasted cougar bartender helped too…. If you have a chance to get within 100 miles of this place (on a ride to Sturgis or whatever just GO. It’s worth it.

Karyn getting her groove on.

Our next stop was the bar “Beer and Loathing” This was a fun place for beers and we had a great time.

As Karyn had to work the next morning we shut it down before things got totally out of control. Dinner this lovely evening was Taco Bell and crashing by the TV.

Tomorrow – Omaha to South Dakota?


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