Day One: Leaving!
Are hot air balloons good luck? Probably not, but that's what I'm going to think from now on. How can you not be excited about leaving for a trip when a hot air balloon silently drifts fifty feet above the garage as you're rolling a fully loaded Harley out?
My wife and I were planning to do this motorcycle trip riding two-up and camping as much as legally possible along the way. Needless to say, this meant that space was at a premium on the motorcycle. With one more adjustment of the luggage on the luggage rack, we aimed the motorcycle down the road and were off.
To avoid some of the more stoplight heavy portions of US 50 as it goes through Cincinnati, OH, we took the interstate and picked up US 50 in Indiana near the casino boats. Being that it was still early in the morning at this point, we decided it wasn't appropriate to stop in for a quick game of blackjack.
US 50 is fairly boring through Indiana, Illinois, and the eastern side of Missouri. Most of the road goes through rural/suburban areas with little to see and uninteresting road. The only interesting part of the day was after Bedford, Indiana where the road introduces some slight curves and goes through some rolling hills. My motorcycle growled happily as I pushed it a little more than I probably should have through this section.
We got to St. Louis in the late afternoon and the traffic had noticeably picked up. This is primarily because US 50 merges with some major interstates in St. Louis, most notably Interstate 44. Being on a motorcycle on a very busy interstate is not my idea of fun.
After driving on this for thirty minutes, I quickly realized that among all of our gear, we had forgotten one of the most important things for a motorcycle trip - ear plugs. My ears were buzzing! I made a mental note to swing into the nearest store tomorrow and pick some up.
The most difficult thing about trying to follow smaller highways through larger cities is that the signage is very difficult to follow. In addition to navigating through SUV's and eighteen wheelers, you need to make sure you are keeping an eagle eye out for small signs designating your highway of choice. Unfortunately, it seems our eye was not that keen as we found ourselves doing a lot of backtracking in St. Louis.
With our ears buzzing and the prospect of rush hour traffic, we decided to swing off and find a place to eat just west of St. Louis. Luckily, we found a pretty cool residential area that had a great pizza joint!
We ended the day at Robertsville State Park in Missouri, which offered a great campsite and facilities. After a long day of riding the motorcycle, nothing feels better than a campfire out in the woods!
Here's what the motorcycle looked like all packed up in the morning. It looks pretty good considering we were riding two-up and camping for nine days. You quickly learn to be very efficient at packing when you travel by motorcycle.
Entering Illinois. The picture is a little blurry but it was the only one I had so I felt obligated to use it.
This was on the eastern side of Missouri. It's a pretty good indication of what you can expect through Indiana, Illinois, and the eastern part of Missouri. (Indiana and Illinois are a little more suburban)
A slightly different angle to capture the trees to the side of the road. It looked like they must have been working on reforesting the land.
The pavement was actually quite nice through this section of US 50. You do need to be aware of the shoulders though, they were either non-existent, deep gravel, or in pretty bad shape.
This is the little township that we stopped off to eat at in St. Louis. There are a lot of these throughout St. Louis so if you take a little time to explore you can probably find a pretty nice one with a good restaurant or two.
Sometimes your eyes are just bigger than your stomach. We definitely underestimated the portion sizes at this place!
Pulling into our campsite for the evening. The sites at Robertsville State Park were very nice.
The motorcycle's parked, the tent's up, now all we need is a campfire!
Its funny how photography works some times, this area was not necessarily one of the most photogenic areas that we ran across on this trip. Yet, my wife took the following two pictures which are my favorite from the whole trip!
Slightly different angle...
great read , ive had the rt.50 trip on my mind for years, time, money, life been kinda in the way. havent done a trip this long ever, but hoping to get around to it by next summer. i thoroughly enjoyed the pics and story, thanks for sharing!
Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 7:36 AM
Great ride brutha. I rode for 2 weeks with some friends from NC to out West, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, S Dakota and circling back around to NC. It was a great ride. Loved your story and pics. Thanks for sharing. Dave
Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 12:02 AM
I took a nine day trip from East Tennessee to Vermont in September. Trip was great,we had only two days with any rain (first and last). Vermont has some great areas to see and to ride.
I am planning on a Highway 50 ride next summer. Your log and pictures have given me some great ideas.
Other than the gravel, it sounds like most of the road surfaces were in good shape.
Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 11:00 AM
i'm planning a coast to coast trip on hwy 50 on my restored/modified honda 750 four in spring of 2010. was going to do it this year but the restore ran longer than expected and i still want to get the bugs out.
Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 12:04 AM
Totally enjoyed it, better than a RT.66 trip.Would like to do the RT.50 from beginning to end one day.......
Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 6:36 PM
Poker Alice in Lake City opened the 2008 season with new owners. Best to pass it by until matters get sorted out.
Plan your trip to ride 149 during daylight hours. Ride at night and you will miss some of the best Colorado has to offer.
Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 7:32 PM
Oh no...you were so close. My favorite road in the whole U.S.is just west of there. It's hwy 92 through the Black Canyon. just west of Gunnison is Blue Mesa Resevior and at the Dam,(which is a sight in itself)is hyw 92 it goes to Crawford,where Joe Cocker has his "Mad Dog Restaraunt" bikers riding in get a free bandana. All his gold and platinum awards are hanging on the wall. He lives on a ranch not far from there.anyway it is a beautiful ride you can ride the whole Canyon or cut back to Delta to get back on hwy 50.I have traveled thousands of miles on my harley all through the states and Canada many times and anytime I am anywhere near colorado, I will go out of my way to ride this stretch of road,sometimes twice in one trip,especially in the fall. Oh well... I guess you will just have to take another road trip. RIDE SAFE...Scott
Wed Sep 26, 2007 at 10:39 AM
Hi Chachi - we packed pretty light - you're forced to when riding two-up for over a week. Bare essentials only plus a laundry stop. No problems whatsoever with the wind in Colorado - riding was smooth and easy. It was a little gusty in Kansas, but still not bad if you are expecting it.
Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 9:52 AM
How light did you pack ??? Any problems with wind in Colorado ??
Fri Aug 3, 2007 at 11:33 AM
Great story! I grew up in Colorado unitl I joined the Navy which brought me out to Maryland. I think I might be riding US 50 back to Colorado to see the folks because of your story. Thanks!
Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 10:45 AM
Great story and thanks for the advice about raingear...I have been planning a multi-day trip from Lynchburg, VA down the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the end of the parkway in North Carolina. Its about 500 miles of twisties, mountain passes and so on. The one thing I hadnt really though very hard about was raingear and I realized after reading your story I had best get something better than I have for this trip. While I am down there, I'll be riding the Dragon's tail. I plan to take some notes and photos and write something to post here when I get back.
If you have any other advice for a first-time multi-day traveler, I am all ears.
Sat May 5, 2007 at 5:58 AM
Great pictures! You need a map of the trip.
Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 8:52 PM