The Road Home – Day 1 – Louisville KY to Lohman MO
Up early, checked out of the Galt House Hotel, and got on the I-64 westbound. Somehow we lost our nice Rand McNally 2013 map book so I was a little unclear on the route, so had to ask the way to St. Louis. Pretty simple. It was a straight shot. After that, I knew the way back to Colorado.
As I recall, we ran into quite a bit of rain, which kept things cool. Pretty uneventful drive, thank goodness. It’s always fun to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I recalled the 2004 Convention in St. Louis. Also recall coming through St. Louis in 1999 when we rode across America. Also remember ending our ride post-Convention in 2006 riding over the Chain of Rocks bridge. We rode in this area in 2008 as well.
Got on the I-70. Westbound, skirting the north part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. I stopped at a truck stop to look for postcards, and Charlotte bought a replacement for the map atlas that we lost in Indiana. That was very sweet.
Stayed on the I-70 westbound, past St. Charles, reminiscing about past rides and misadventures (looking for First Capitol Road when we were in Booneville, not in St. Charles). Time and miles went by quickly and soon we turned off on US 54 (which Sherri and I missed last year) and drove SE towards Jefferson City, which is the capital of Missouri. Spotted the KATY Trail Parking lot where rides in 1999, 2004, and 2008 took us. Called Denise, our co-host for the evening, to get directions. As many times as we’ve stayed in Lohman, I always seem to forget. It all sounded familiar, West on US 50 to the turnoff for D and T Roads, go south into Lohman, then bear left onto Lohman Road.
It always feels like “old home week” in Lohman. Del/Art Ehrhardt and daughter Denise/son-in-law Keith Ziegelbein have taken us in so many times since we first met in 1999. We have watched some of the nieces/nephews grow up over the years. We got there pretty early after just a 433 mile drive. We stayed overnight at the Ziegelbein’s energy efficient house that is built into the hillside, with a Southern exposure on the other side. We have missed Del/Art on the last couple of stops, but they were home this time. They are in their 80's but very active. Del fixed a lovely chicken dinner for us, with green beans and even a gooseberry pie/ice cream. Charlotte was familiar with gooseberries, but I had never heard of nor eaten them. Art/Del’s daughter Danielle and her husband Ed Racow joined us for dinner. We managed to watch the second half of the World Cup game where the US played Portugal, which ended in a 2-2 tie.
Got to bed about 9:00 pm as I recall, knowing we needed to be on the road pretty early the next day, by 5:30 a,m, I slept in what I call the “baseball” room, with decor from both Missouri MLB teams, the KC Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals. Sherri slept in that room last year.
Two more days of driving ahead of us.
With love from home, getting caught up,
The Road Home – Day 2 – Lohman MO to Stratton CO
Up at 4:45 a.m. Keith and Denise were up, too, since they wanted to say “goodbye” and also had to get up to go to work on a Monday morning. Fond farewells to these special folks. They mentioned that they are planning a road trip to CA in the fall, and may be coming through Grand Junction. Charlotte offered for them to stay with her in her townhome, and I promised I’d take them out to dinner. Hope this happens!
We pulled out of their driveway right on time. We took US Hwy 50 west. First stop planned was in Tipton at the Dutch Bakery & Bulk Food Store. Keith had told us they built a new store, so I was anxious to see it. In the past, they were always open by 6 a.m. but this time they weren’t open until 7:00 a.m. Bummer!
Continued West on US 50 to Sedalia. Bought gas for the van at “just” $3.39/gallon, considerably less than the $4.09 / gallon in Sault Ste Marie MI.
Continued West towards the KC Metro area. Using a map that Art Ehrhardt gave me, I drove and navigated to the IHOP restaurant in KC Kansas, just North of the I-70. We had pre-arranged to meet with Barbara and Megan Younger (from the Hunt-Dis list) and Megan’s brother Nate. We have met up there 4-5 times, so again it felt like “old home week.” It was great to see the Youngers again. Megan has a new job as a co-responder with the police department. Nate is a camera operator at the sporting events at Arrowhead Stadium. Got caught up with them. Barbara gave each of us a special loaf of bread called a Povitica. Very thoughtful. Always hard to say good-bye; lots of hugs and farewells.
Continued the long trek across Kansas on the I-70. The Kansas Turnpike is about 40 miles of Tollway there, before it turns South at Topeka and heads to Wichita. Drove through the rolling Flint Hills (Kansas is not flat!) Through Salina, Russell, Hays, WaKeeney, Oakley (where I bought gas), Colby, and Goodland. Central time changes to Mountain time between Colby and Goodland so we “gained” an hour, which was nice.
Because of the generosity of a lovely friend of mine, we had a room paid for and waiting for us in Stratton. (Thanks, Janice). We had a light dinner (ramen noodles with canned chicken) before turning in.
Long day today, 636 miles. A three state day. First day was a four state day: Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Today was Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. Tomorrow is just Colorado!
With love from home, almost caught up,
The Road Home – Day 3 – Stratton CO to Grand Junction CO
Up pretty early, packed up, and then walked across the parking lot to the restaurant where we got a free breakfast as part of our motel room cost. Very nice! Great way to start the morning.
Forgot to mention yesterday that I saw mile marker 419.99 three-quarters of a mile east of the Stratton exit on westbound I-70. What’s that about? I’ll tell you. Colorado, the first state to legalize rereational marijuana, is cracking down on souvenir-takers. Pot enthusiasts kept swiping the mile marker 420 (420 is a nickname of marijuana), so the Colorado Department of Transportation relocated the marker 1/100th mile to the west, where motorists now pass Mile Marker 419.99 en route to Denver.
Got on the I-70 West towards Limon. Saw what had previously been billed as “See Six States” (Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, New Mexico, and South Dakota) which is now called the “World’s Wonder View Tower.” This tower has been a roadside tourist attraction since 1926. Its builder, Charles W. Gregory, claimed that its observation deck was the highest point between New York City and Denver. It was a welcome stop on US Hwy 24, but the I-70 by-passed US 24 and Charles W. Gregory died. The Tower, however, survived, thanks in large part to its owners since 1967, Jerry and Ester Chubbuck. Jerry had hoped to find a buyer for the Tower by the end of 2012, but when a worthy candidate failed to materialize, Jerry stayed on. However, by August 4, 2013 Jerry passed away and the Tower was closed.
A bit Northeast of Limon, I turned off and took a secondary road (State Road 86) across the plains through Kiowa, Elizabeth, and Franktown. Plains, then a forested area with large pine trees. Got on the I-25 in Castle Rock, went North to the C-470 and then saw our first sign for Grand Junction. Did the cloverleaf onto the I-70, and headed up towards the Continental Divide. Stopped for a mid-morning snack of OJ and a Sausage Biscuit, really hit the spot.
Easy driving through very familiar territory. I called Ron to let him know about when we would arrive. Charlotte had left her car at our place, so it would be easy to transfer her bike and gear.
Arrived home about 3:00 pm. Charlotte had to pick up some Doctor tapes for transcription. We got back in time to attend our local HD Support Group at 6:30 pm. We honored our out-going group facilitator John who needed to spend more time with his wife who has major health issues. Met our new facilitator Robin Slater).
It was a 417 mile drive from Stratton to Grand Junction.
I think I will write one more message with various ride totals – Road change, Route, fundraising totals, etc. So stay tuned ….
Thanks again to everyone who supported us during the ride. We appreciated the prayers, accommodations, gas money, donations, t-shirt sales, planning, publicity, etc. Couldn’t have done it without you, and all by the grace of God. It’s not too late to contribute. The FirstGiving website is still accepting donations through August 31 (www.firstgiving.com/bikeforcure) You can also still send a check to me (payable to HDSA): Marie Nemec, 3087 – A 1/2 Road, Grand Junction CO 81503. We are very close to making the goal of $20,000 so your donation would push us close to achieving that milestone.
With love from the home stretch,