Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Five Days On the Road - Part 1

Friday, July 1:  I drove the Clampettmobile over to Brad's place at about 7:30 AM and picked him up.  I had the truck fairly well loaded, already, and by the time we added in his XO-3, I was but one rocking-chair away from full Beverly Hillbillies-dom.

We headed east, out of Denver, bound for Mercer, PA.  The truck and the motorcycle were headed for a new life in Keystone State.  So, our plan was to take a leisurely drive to Mercer, and fly back.

We started the trip off by stopping in Limon, 90 miles outside of Denver, for a big truckstop-breakfast.  many eggs and pork products were consumed.  Then, we headed out for the real driving of the day.

The heat, in Kansas, was astounding.  We would step out of the truck at a gas stop, and the wind would hit us like the draft of a blast furnace.  As we approached Kansas City, we decided that a Starbuck's stop was a medical necessity.  That, coupled with how badly I needed to use the restroom, made me pretty anxious to get to the coffee. Brad and I had gotten caught up in a batch of stopped traffic on the Kansas Turnpike, so more time than usual had gone by since our last rest stop. 

Brad whipped out the iPhone and pulled up the Starbucks locator app, and directed me to take the next exit.  I did so, and we had our choice of two different locations;  one south of the road, one to the north.  We picked the southern shop, and drove toward it.

It was quite a way to the location that the iPhone was giving us, and by the time we got there, I pretty much had to go.  The problem was, there was no Starbucks there.  The app had led us to a garden Center.  No problem, I figured.  They are bound to have a bathroom.

I went inside and was struck by what a nice store it was.  There was a ton of merchandise on display, but the big showroom didn't seem crowded, at all.  It was like the polar opposite of a Lowe's or Home Depot...

I used the restroom, walked out, and found Brad browsing through the store.  I joined him, and we talked a bit about how nice the place was.  Then, I saw a product I had never before seen.

There was a display of squirrel repellent, for bird-feeders, which was hot pepper-based.  I read the label of the bottle, and it said that the birds loved the taste, but squirrels and other mammals would be repelled by it.  Being a mammal who happens to love hot pepper sauce, I wanted to see how the stuff smelled.

I opened up the bottle, and took a sniff.  It didn't really smell like anything.  I squeezed the bottle, gently, to push the air out of it and see if I could smell it.  Unfortunately, I didn't squeeze gently enough, and some of the sauce plooped up out of the bottle and got on my right hand.

"Don't touch your eyes," Brad said, as I looked for some place to wipe the stuff off.  I didn't want to run right back into the bathroom and draw attention to us, so I just sort of trailed my hand under the water of a few of the display fountains on the sales floor.

Once outside, in the blast-furnace wind, we saw the Starbucks, across the highway we had followed down, on the opposite corner of the intersection.  We rolled over to it, only to find that there was a boil-alert for the county water system, and the Starbucks was closed.

We walked down a few doors to a yogurt place, which was open, and I went into their bathroom to wash my hands, well, with soap and water.  Then, we took off for the other Starbucks, north of I-70.  Nothing was going to deter us from finding coffee.

Then, I rubbed a small itch at the corner of my right eye, and immediately knew I had made a mistake.  Despite liberal doses of soap and water, and a thorough scrubbing, the squirrel repellent was apparently still embedded in my skin.

Either that, or Brad pepper-sprayed me while I wasn't looking.  Come to think of it, it was my right eye, and he was sitting to my right....

My eye immediately swelled shut, and copious amounts of tears began to flow.

"I think i have a problem," I said.

"Touched your eye, didn't you?" Brad replied.

We motored on, me with one eye and Brad directing me to the other Starbucks.  By the time we arrived, I could open my eye, and even see through it.  So, I figured there was no harm done.

We rolled up to the target store, inside of which was the Starbucks, when we saw this, across the road:

After we got our coffee, we just had to go get a closer look.  It turned out to be a restaurant/"adventure" in an outlet mall.  The restaurant was called "T-Rex", and had a paleontological theme.

We looked around, snapped a few pictures, and then headed back to the truck.  As we walked to the street, a couple of  local geniuses drove by in a truck and yelled a racial slur at us.  Since neither Brad ,nor I, is African-American (and I tend to be mistaken for a friendly ghost, at times), we were a bit confused by the whole incident.

Once back into the truck, we made our way to the Interstate, and continued heading east.  I had made a hotel reservation in Columbia, MO, and we were running a little late, after our adventure.

The next couple of hours passed as we listened to the soundtracks to Purple Rain and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (which Brad had compiled on his own, since the soundtrack was never released as a package), while commenting on all of the fireworks stands and permanent stores along the highway.  I told Brad that I had decided against buying any fireworks to take to my nephews, since I wasn't sure my sister, Joy, would want to deal with them.

Eventually, we made it to our hotel, at about 11:30, local time.  As we checked in, Brad asked the desk clerk if there was somewhere good, nearby, to eat. 

"Oh, yeah!" she enthused.  "Appleby's is right across the road, where you got off of I-70!"

Brad and I just looked at each other.  If Appleby's is the "good" joint, neither of us was going to ask about the sub-par restaurants!

We went to Appleby's (neighborhood bar and grill), and had some hot wings and beer.  Brad, at some time or another during the day, had said he didn't know if he had ever had "good" whiskey, so I ordered us a couple of Crown Royals for dessert.

"Now, you've had good whiskey,"  I told him.

We went back to La Quinta, and unloaded the three bicycles from the truck, and took them inside along with our bags.  Our first day on the road was done, after 15 hours and 725 miles.

After we wound down, a bit, and I wrote my story for the day, we went to sleep.  I was looking forward to the next morning's free breakfast.



At 11:42 AM , Blogger Apertome said...

I always knew you were a squirrely dude, now we have confirmation! Apparently squirrel repellent also works well as Jon-repellent.

I was trying to picture the dinosaur place when you were describing it, the pictures definitely give a better impression of what that place was like. Pretty wild!

I'm definitely a fan of "good whiskey," although I am not sure that I would be Crown Royal in that category. More importantly, what did Brad think?

At 2:09 PM , Blogger katina said...

Yeah. Stupid peppers. I inevitably do the same thing when I cut up Thai chili peppers (or habaneros).

At 7:43 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Apertome: Brad appreciated the smoothness of the Crown. I don't like it like I like Stranahan's (I "like-like" Stranny's, if you know what I mean...), but it's a lot smoother and dessert-like than many whiskeys.

Katina: That's one reason why I love you: You can understand the klutzy things I do.

At 7:55 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Crown is smooth and dessert-like, definitely.

I usually get some kind of bourbon. I think my favorite is W.L. Weller, a wheated bourbon. It's under $20 a bottle, but you wouldn't guess it, based on a tasting.


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