Day Two: Attack of the Squirrels
I woke up in the tent the next morning and thought squirrels were chucking acorns from the trees at our tent. The sun was just starting to rise, so I rested in the sleeping bag for a while waiting for the grogginess to wear off.
As the morning fog cleared from my head, the small army of squirrels bombarding our tent with acorns actually turned out to be rain. Frankly, I would have rather it been the squirrels. Good thing I had put the tarp on the motorcycle last night.
After waiting the rain out in the tent, we finally got back on the road around 8:30AM and picked up US 50/I44 again. By then, the rain had turned to drizzle, and by 10AM'ish the rain had burned off completely and we were on dry road.
On longer motorcycle trips, the only thing that you can guarantee is that you'll see a little bit of every kind of weather. I was sure this particular trip was going to be no different.
After a few miles US 50 broke off from Interstate 44. It was great to get away from the interstate and US 50 finally started to deliver a little of what I was hoping the "Loneliest Highway" would deliver: Interesting rural sights, great pavement, mildly hilly country, and plenty of gentle to sweeping curves thrown in for interest! A motorcycle rider's paradise!
US 50 was pretty much like this all the way into Jefferson City, MO. Through Jefferson City, the roads straightened up and sported some of the smoothest black top I've ever been on. I probably could have driven the bike hands free for 30 miles on that road!
The rest of US 50 through Missouri was ok, affording some nice views, light traffic, and interesting rural areas. As we approached Kansas City, though, I could tell we were going to be in for another heavy traffic experience like we had in St. Louis. Luckily, this time we had our ear plugs ready to go!
For the most part, US 50 through Kansas City wasn't too bad. It swung far enough south of the city that we didn't hit the traffic that we were expecting. The only bad part of the whole experience was when we merged with Interstate 35 - lots of traffic, mostly big trucks, made this a stressful stretch of road on a motorcycle. In retrospect, I would have chosen a different route that avoided Interstate 35, but we wanted to experience US 50 the whole way to Colorado and we held true to that.
In general, when planning any motorcycle trip, I always try to loop around the big cities even if it means a little more time or getting off course slightly. I ride motorcycles to relieve stress, not increase it.
US 50 separates from Interstate 35 at Emporia, KS. Having had a long day with a decent amount of miles under our belt - we decided Emporia would be our resting spot. With a quick glance at the map to confirm that there really weren't any camping sites nearby, we decided to rough it in a Holiday Inn Express with a quick meal at the nearby Applebees. I'm not sure if it was hunger, road weariness, or what, but the food at Applebees sure tasted good.
I didn't take many pictures on this day because there wasn't much to photograph! Don't worry though, I'll make up for it very shortly.
Usually I like waking up to a little rain, but not when you're on a motorcycle trip. Luckily, I threw the tarp on the night before even though the weather was beautiful!
Here are some pictures from the more western part of Missouri where US 50 started to get a little bit more interesting and fun.
Remember those warnings about gravel shoulders? Check it out here, this was probably about an inch deep.
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