Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Friends and familiar places

Our ride from Belleville, KS to Columbia, MO on Saturday was a hot one at 96 degrees actual temperature with a heat index of 105.  I have to say, our Aerostich suits perform very well in the heat (and in the wet as they've also proven on this trip), although it still gets pretty muggy inside the suits when we're stopped in traffic.  Today was our fastest paced day so far, with us averaging about 50mph.  I practiced drafting on the hills today (Colin's used to it from his racing days, but I've always been more for putt-putting along, not for achieving maximum speed).  As the day wore on, we noticed that we seemed to be stopping an awful lot for fuel, and when Colin did our fuel consumption calculations realized that our average dropped from 94mpg to about 78mpg!  Needless to say, we've decided that an extra 5mph is not worth the added cost in gasoline use.  Today's riding was otherwise uneventful, and I spent much of my time imagining the smell and flavor of fried chicken.  Some things are a challenge to find in Portland, OR- good fried chicken being one of them, and it's one of the foods we've both craved for months.  So after stopping one more time to refuel the bikes, we refueled our tummies on fried chicken and ribs at Lee's and continued to Columbia, Missouri, where we lived while attending the University of Missouri (go Tigers!).  Once our trip planning was underway a few months ago, we emailed friends and relatives to let them know what kind of craziness we'd be undertaking soon.  My former professor, Glen Heggie, who was an avid motorcyclist and is a fountain of knowledge of all things mechanical (and basically, just of all things) kindly offered advice and a place to stay if we passed through Columbia on our journey.   We gladly took him up on his offer and were welcomed into their home when we arrived on Saturday evening.  His wife, Martha, immediately guided us to the showers, offered up laundry services, and dished up delicious food and wine.  We spent a lovely evening laughing and exchanging stories about our trip so far and their many travel adventures in Canada and Europe.

Glen's happy tools getting used as they should!
We awoke Sunday morning (actually sleeping past sunrise!!!!) after an excellent sleep of the dead in a real bed with fluffy pillows.  After eating too much at breakfast and chatting away the morning, Glen and Colin adjourned to the garage to work on the bikes (look for Colin's post soon on it).  While they got going, I wrote my previous blog post and caught up on my email.  Once those duties were completed, I spent much of the day with Martha, who is a kick in the pants!  She was busy in the kitchen and I "supervised" and acted as "taster."  I really wish I'd gotten to know her while we lived in Columbia- I'm pretty sure we would have had a great time causing trouble together.  When I got to feeling guilty about the men sweating in the garage, I did go outside to assume my "tool monkey" role and hold the wrench periodically, but they seemed to have everything well under control.  I did manage to rid both bikes of most of their road grime (as least temporarily).  Once the mechanic duties were done and we were clean, we ate another wonderful meal accompanied by Delirium Tremens [my first D.T.s! (not to worry, Mom, it's the delicious Belgian beer, not the result of a nasty habit)] and more great conversation in the evening. 

Martha and Glen with Phoebe
Monday morning, we packed up to move onward to St. Louis and said our goodbyes to Glen and Martha.  Our time with the Heggies was a wonderful, relaxing (and productive) vacation from traveling.  I cannot say how much we appreciate their warm hospitality and kindness toward us, and I really look forward to repaying them when they come to visit us, whenever and wherever we will be! 

Monday night we arrived in St. Louis and are visiting our good friend, Michael.  The trip here was probably the longest journey from central Missouri to St Louis since the Lewis and Clark expedition because we were restricted to the backroads which adds about 60 miles to the trip.  It was a beautiful ride through the town of Hermann (see it sometime if you can), but I had forgotten how the suburbs of St. Louis SPRAWL on and on and on and ON.  We spent the evening catching up on life with Michael over Racanelli's pizza and Schlafly Kolsches.

Our Symbas meet Billie in St Louis!
Tuesday afternoon, we stopped in at Maplewood Scooter Company, which our follower Keith told us about, and met the very friendly Mike and Jeff.  They offered their shop space, and Mike gave us advice on clutch adjustment and also a pair of UNI pod filters to hopefully improve the bikes' performance at high altitudes.  Everyone we've met along our way has been so NICE! 

Tomorrow we move eastward, with a goal of Elizabethtown, Kentucky!


  1. I am soooo totally jealous! LOL

    Glad you found Billie. I always wondered what she did while I was busy working. Now I know, she meets up with world travelers.

    Also, glad you met Mike and Jeff. I'll have to check in with them tomorrow. Hope the UNI pod filters help.

    About the gas mileage thing. I've, too, found Billie likes 45mph. She'll go faster, but the mileage goes to pot. And, she gets rather buzzy.

    Ride safe and I'm sorry to have missed out on meeting you, but I'm glad you get to meet Billie.

  2. Keith-

    Sorry it didn't work out so we could meet while we were in STL, our day suddenly got too busy. We even missed out on a picture with the Arch. Thanks for the tip on the Maplewood Scooter Company, they seem like nice folks.