Weather was so great that while I still did the SS1k out (1,000 miles in 24 hours or less) I opted for mostly back roads instead of interstate. Did this last year too and enjoyed it. I left Thursday around 11am after getting some work done. Started the SS1k about an hour north of the house, got into Casey, IL about 8am local time (one hour later than Colorado). The trip out was fantastic! No wind, great weather. Chilly overnight but I was prepared, and not nearly as cold as it's been past years. Here's the SPOT track for the trip:
Here's the bike all packed a few days in advance. Didn't need the handlebar mitts this year, too warm! Swapped over to my summer setup, a pair of dirt bike-ish handguards. Block the wind, but not as extreme as the mitts.
With the great weather I made crazy good time. So about 50 miles outside of Casey I decided to go play on some farm roads. Can you see the roller coaster? There are miles and miles and miles of these out there! Just watch out for atvs and huge farm equipment!
I met up with my friends Todd and Jeff again this year. They did an SS1k together, Jeff's second and Todd's first. They did a great job! Jeff had recently traded in his Kawasaki Versys for a Yamaha Super Tenere, a significant jump in weight, power and seat height. It's a dual sport-ish motorcycle, built for paved and dirt roads. Beautiful bike. Well, this was his first trip and the first time he took the bike off pavement. He discovered pretty quickly he had to be careful with his footing! That's a heavy bike and the ground is a long way from the seat. The bike decided to take a little nap in the soft, squishy grass at the farm. No harm no foul, he literally fell over right when he stopped. All of us had been awake for quite a long time!! I remember asking him if he was ok, running over to turn off his motorcycle, then telling him to wait while I grabbed the camera... Resulting evidence was hilarious!
Do you see my Ninja in the background? It's upright, not it's natural state off pavement.... ROFLMAO
Dumped our gear (after we picked up Jeff's bike, lol) and we all couldn't wait for a burger. 9:30am be damned! Been a while since any of us had had a real meal and we were hungry! Man and the weather was perfect. Warm, sunny and dry. We evidently had just missed a bunch of rain by a few hours on our way in, whew. Met up with some more friends at the store:
I ordered my usual double cheeseburger. Delicious. The beef is sparingly seasoned and so fresh we joked they must have shoved a cow in a grinder out back. Everyone had a good laugh at me as I tried to stuff that monstrosity in my mouth. Another rider and friend Adam said, "you know you do this to yourself every year right?" LOL, I guess some things are worth repeating. ;-) Evidently I was too busy for a picture...
After lingering on the picnic tables in the sun, I had to run back to the hotel in Casey that served as a home base for the SS1k certification. My odometer reads low, so I had to grab 20 more miles before they'd certify my ride. No problem, I had until 1pm. Brace yourself, here comes a picture of me! Can you tell I've been up for 30 hours??? Ha, happy camper right there. Great ride out, fantastic weather, old friends, Iron Butt ride certification in hand. Yep.
We all met back at the farm to relax the afternoon away. I picked up some ice for the cooler I brought. Jeff and Todd both brought Yuengling (my favorite beer from the east) and I brought them some rum and Colorado whiskey in return. Friday night most head over for a huge banquet/awards ceremony/presentation, I went my first year but have absconded since. Don't much care for the crowds. This year I offered to cook for Todd and Jeff. I'd popped over to the local grocery store to rustle up some supplies and into the coals they went.
Turned out pretty good! two packets each, so plenty to go around.
One of my favorite things about middle America farmlands are the sunsets. It's so dang flat that you really get to enjoy them! That evening did not disappoint. Turned my bike and tent a pretty color.
Here's a little video. Hear those frogs? More on those shortly.
I like to camp on the other side of the big storage sheds from the fire, it's quieter as I tend to go to bed earlier than many. On the other side of our tents is a small retaining pond. The thing was VERY full this year and holy smokes, the frogs were crazy!! It was deafening if you stood right at the water's edge.
My thoughts exactly, LOL
Todd and Jeff crashed out super early Friday night, pretty sure they were asleep by 7 or 7:30. I hung out by the fire for a while, hit the tent by 10. We all got up early (for us) on Saturday, didn't want to miss out on cinnamon rolls at the hotel in Casey! This wonderful local woman makes them and donates all proceeds to a local charity. Pretty sure Todd was more excited about these than the burgers!! I think he bought 6 of them... He was so quick I couldn't get a picture! I managed to almost get one of Jeff buying his though. That's him in the Air Force tshirt.
Hung out in the parking lot for a bit, then off to the store to beat the crowds for a burger! I think we made it over there by 9am? Wait for it, another picture of me coming!!
Every year an Amish family serves homemade pies and ice cream. I always miss out, as I'm not much of a pie person and they sell out of blackberry (my favorite) first. I outsmarted the crowds this year! Pie for second breakfast! OMG. It was amazing. This would totally make me love pie.
Here I am again!! Amazing!
Todd's burger and birch beer soda made for the best picture:
Instead of getting a double like I usually do, bought two singles to help that record along. They were all out of birch beer (glad I had one the day before), but this Nehi stuff was tasty! Never heard of it before. This was what, third breakfast? OMG so full.
Todd said he was dealing with PTSD from the SS1k... Remember it was his first? I think that double burger and pie may have gotten the best of him. That warm sun helped!
Oh yeah. Full blown food coma.
My Ninja tends to draw a lot of looks everywhere it goes. I wonder why? LOL. For those non-motorcycle folks, my Ninja is rather original. It's small for a touring bike and usually ridden by new riders or those who can't afford to insure a full out sport bike. Rarely ridden as far or as often as mine. Plus I was the only Colorado plate there that I noticed.
Todd, me and Jeff. Jeff, that thing makes your head look fat!
Todd on his trusty BMW K75. Solid as a rock it is! Alternator the size of Texas, I swear you could power a small city. Plus it gets 45mpg no matter what you do to it. Good bike.
Jeff's shiny Super Tenere. Upright this time.
The guys heading out to make their way through the crowds back to the farm.
I hung around a bit later talking with friends and taking pictures.
The line was NUTS. 78 degrees and sunny really brought folks out. Thankfully the store owners were prepared to serve 4,000 people.
Just when I thought I'd seen everything there was a Triumph Sprint ST with a car tire on the back. I'd seen them on big heavy sport touring bikes and Goldwings, but this? Dang. I bet the rider did some serious touring, that's an extra gas tank on the back plumbed into his stock fuel line.
Jason, the local fire chief, sent their drone up to take some shots. It looks like he did it in the morning, the line of parked bikes definitely was MUCH longer when I left around noon!
Stopped at the gas station on the way back to the farm for more ice for the beer. Saw this Honda NC700X in the parking lot. The bike interests me, it's powered by half a Honda Jazz car motor which means it has a lower red line than you'd expect and gets crazy gas mileage. Has decent suspension travel so quite a few folks treat them like a mild dual sport. This guy was rocking some great knobby tires! Beauty. Would love to own one.
We all tried to nap a bit back at the farm. It was hot! We were thankful for a stiff wind that kicked up, but it sent any tents not staked down flying!
Look! It's still upright!
A Kawasaki Concours rider and friend from another forum found this big snapping turtle wandering around. Grumpy guy...
Hey Todd, get your hand in there for scale! LOL
He didn't care to be directed towards the lake... Action shot!! Watch your foot!
Headed over to the high school for the firehouse chili dinner. Put on by the firemen and all proceeds went to the firehouse. TASTY. I may have gone back for a second bowl. As did Todd and Jeff. I pity the school janitor in charge of cleaning the bathrooms...
Still had daylight left when we headed back, so did a little exploring. Hey look, a water crossing! Anyone ever done one before? No. Well, it's not deep so lets just see what happens... Todd and Jeff went first, Todd got some pics of me. Weeeee!!!
Pretty sure I'm grinning like an idiot
The gravel was pretty deep and not any fun, so we didn't go much further. Got some video of the guys coming back through.
Poor Todd only brought one pair of socks.......
Didn't take too many beers until Todd was frog hunting!
Too small to eat
I hit the sack by 10 again, the weather was going to be nasty for the ride home. Changed plans and opted to just boogie to my cousin Christie's house in Kansas City to get out of it. Sunrise came quickly.
George snapped this great one as I was heading out.
Weather stayed alright until the last 100 miles or so. The last 50 was a real frog soaker! Oh well, bike needed a bath anyway. Was nice to get to Christie's. Garage for the bike, hot food, hot shower, beer and fun company for me. Thanks again Christie!!
Woke up early the next morning to 25mph sustained north winds, damp but warm roads, 34 degrees and sideways blowing snow. UGH. It wasn't sticking, but I hid under the covers until it got light outside. KDOT cameras were showing dry roads not far outside the city and no reports of ice, so figured I may as well get it over with. Roads were just fine, but saw temperatures as low as 28 degrees near Topeka. Lots of hilarious looks from car drivers as I wiped snow from my helmet visor. Weeeeeeeeeee!!! It never got above 40, but atleast the sun came out about 3/4 of the way across Kansas. I stuck with I-70 the whole way as I knew it'd be clear. The wind never did quit, so lots and lots of gas stops as my bike was flying through fuel fighting the huge cross wind. Fine with me, I had to warm up often!
Hot chocolate and toe heaters... Lifesavers!
Oh well, guess I had to pay the piper for the brilliant weather I'd enjoyed all weekend. I had a blast on the ride home nonetheless! Due to all the long stops I didn't get home until 6:30, super hot shower felt great.
Fantastic weekend. Hard to beat a weekend like that with the amazing weather. Was very pleased I didn't have to get a lift into town due to snow like last year... Thanks for reading!