Lone Star Rambling

As if I hadn’t been gone enough this year, one more trip seemed appropriate. This trip was an attempt to get Mrs. Henry some motorcycle miles in a different state and see some things we hadn’t seen before. The plan was to load the bikes into the trailer and get to Amarillo, Texas as quickly as my old bones would let us. Amarillo is approximately 1,200 miles from The Henry Ranch in central Indiana. During the planning stage, two days seemed to be sufficient for that distance in air conditioned, diesel powered comfort that we refer to as truckasaurus.

Loading of the bikes was pretty straight forward. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this in a trailer but it is the first for this particular trailer. I purchased a smaller trailer (7 x 12 feet) to relieve the feeling that I was pulling an entire city block behind us. It took about an hour but the bikes fit nicely and seemed to settle in to their new surroundings.

The last time I pulled a trailer out west a considerable amount of diesel exhaust fluid was consumed. This meant that it was necessary to purchase said fluid and stand on my head in a parking lot while trying hard not to spill the liquid gold onto the pavement. (I thought liquid gold was an appropriate description because the stuff is refined urea which is pasteurized pee pee – at least that’s what I was told.) In any case, I came prepared for the same level of consumption this time.

We ended up pulling away from the house on Thursday evening with a scheduled arrival in Amarillo of Saturday – sometime after 4:00 PM. I felt like we were getting a head start by getting a few hours down the road before the “heavy” travel days. We ended up in Effingham, Illinois Thursday night. That’s a little shy of 200 miles but Jana had to work all day (mostly to pay for my crazy trips and motorcycles of course) and I felt like driving all night would be too much for both of us. I had a hard day of ……..well …….. OK – I did load the bikes on the trailer. That should count as work – right?

The flaw in my plan was that we hit Indianapolis at 5:15 PM. If you aren’t from around here you may not know that there are only 2 seasons in Indiana – winter and road construction. We happen to be in the latter season. Every major interstate around the Circle City is closed or has major work going on. What should have taken about 45 minutes to get to the west side of the city took an hour and a half. We should have put our money into the orange cone manufacturer.

Illinois is in a different time zone – I think they are in the Twilight Zone or something like that. The clock said 9:00 but we felt like we hadn’t slept in days. After a lovely meal at the famous Golden Arches Restaurant (where we could not eat inside), we crashed at the Holiday Inn.

Day two started just the way I like it. It was a cool morning and we decided to drive for an hour or so and find a local diner for breakfast. This time Jana rolled the dice and chose the Chuckwagon Cafe in Vandalia, Illinois. It was a great choice. I’m pretty sure that we were the only non-locals in the building that morning. Everybody knew everybody and the servers already knew what each person wanted to eat. We presented a highlight for her day since she didn’t know what our order would be. Surprise – Bacon and Eggs.

Across the interstate I saw something that was strangely familiar looking. I took a picture and posted it on social media. I realized after I saw it that it was much smaller than it should have been and looked a little different than it does on TV. (If you don’t recognize it – just google the “Gateway Arch”). Truckasaurus and trailer included for perspective.

The rest of the day (Friday) was not very exiting or picture worthy. I wish I could take pictures of all the crazies that are still on their cell phones (talking and texting) going down the road. Please – if you do this STOP before you kill someone – maybe me. Friday night was spent in another Holiday Inn this time near Tulsa, OK. All the travel I used to do for work garnered some rewards points and I’m using them up at Holiday Inns. Somehow the hotel feels nicer when it’s “free”. It was a 500 mile push from Effingham.

Saturday was a long hot haul from Tulsa to Amarillo. It’s good to know that Indiana doesn’t have a monopoly on orange barrels and cones. Oklahoma seems to have purchased a few. The highlight of the day was an interstate rest area. I’m glad I have XM radio in the truck.

We rolled into Amarillo and arrived at our rental property. The landlord still had not sent us the codes to get in the door. I actually had to call her. It was over 100 degrees. I was hot and tired and in no mood to stand around waiting for some crazy codes. She apologized profusely and handed over the codes. We were in and unloaded quickly. The trailer was disconnected and only a grocery store run remained. We can’t really mess up our condo. We have company coming on Monday.

I can cover our Sunday in a very few words. A breakfast ride to the “best pancakes in the world” then back to the condo to listen to the opening game of the Indianapolis Colts. It’s going to be a long, long season.

If you can read the sign behind our bike, you can see we were parked at Gold’s Gym. That’s where I was NOT. We were across the street eating the world’s best pancakes.

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