I am on the hunt for treasure! I always have been and I am not stopping now. From my east coast moped trip and time in Puerto Rico I didn’t end up finding material gold or diamonds, but did find much more valuable treasure in the relationships I made and currently have.
Flying into Pennsylvania I was re-united with my sister and her family.
My brother in law, adventurer that he is, opted to ride back with me the 45 minutes after I bought the bike.
I had a LONG drive taking the back roads to my brother near Cincinnati, but loved powering up the same mountains that took me so long on the scooter. I stopped in the same lookout spot and had deja-vu for a lot of the roadway that I had been scootering less than 8 months ago.
That day ended up being about 12 hours with the very sore bottom and legs. I needed to get broken in on the new bike and I was up for a good challenge. I had a wonderful time with my brother and his family and shortly headed back to Michigan to see my parents.
It was great to go on walks with my mom again and spend time with my dad. : )
My mom and I even had time to go on a road trip and catch up with my sisters at their colleges.
From here it was time to head West! The first bit of the drive South along the lake was stunning and incredibly scenic. I really love the water. Below was an especially sweet spot with swings overlooking Lake Michigan.
The rest of the way to the east side of Chicago was great as well; lots of trees, and small towns.
After staying with a friend in Chicago I pushed on to St Louis. Some friends of friends offered to host me there and my trip so far was going so easy. Almost too easy. I hadn’t yet needed to take out the hammock and camp in an unfamiliar spot.
There was SOOOO much farmland from Chicago to St Louis on the back ways. Beautiful farmlands for hours and hours! My hosts in St. Louis kindly took me to Ted Drewes custard which, according to Wikipedia, has been called the best ice cream shop in the world in 2016! (From a firm in Ireland that published a world ice cream index every year.)
I would definitely recommend having some if you are in St. Louis. (The one with banana, raspberry and blueberry mixed in was absolutely fantastic.)
The next motorcycle ride to Topeka Kansas was LONG and SUPER wet. I had to make a lot of stops to survive the cold and downpour of rain. To prevent my phone from getting soaked I only was taking pictures when it wasn’t raining heavily.
It was the most I have ever rode in the wet and even my strong will to push through and laugh at challenges was tested. My fingers went numb and I had to keep moving on the bike to stay warm. I ended up bagging my feet to try and stay warm and sang to myself along with giving myself pep talks to keep on keeping on.
While I kept pushing through, I was awestruck at how ideal these Missouri back roads would be on a good day. When I wasn’t thinking about how cold I was and how absolutely soaked my feet, hands, and jeans were, the view really was relaxing and gorgeous. I was the only ones on the these back roads for a good amount of time. No semi’s, and a quite country side.
On my breaks for gas, some of the gas station workers felt bad for me and offered to give me large trash bags to help me stay warm (To wear as a jacket and hopefully stay more dry.). Very kind of them. : ) They also charged me for a small hot chocolate when I had grabbed a big one. I had a nice little chunk of time talking with each gas station workers while I was warming up enough to gather my resolve and push on to Topeka.
I first took the most scenic route south through more forested areas (Even hitting some dirt roads way out with the cows roaming the green hills and strong trees soaking in the rain.)
When I had gotten super fed up and discouraged with the hours and hours of cold wet riding left. I pushed to 50 West to not have to look at directions as much and get to my destination and out of my hypothermia inducing wet clothes quicker. The temps were around 50 degrees. It felt even colder with the constant wind.
When I arrived at my sister in laws house. She was very concerned for me with my shaking and struggle I had to swing my leg off the motorcycle. I grinned though, maybe foolishly, for having bested the beast of weather and making it without all those fancy heated suits, grips, and seats. (I did think about them a LOT while riding though. lol)
Later that night we played some games and I was very, very thankful for family, friends, and a roof over my head.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
P.S. I have learned a lot from my adventures. Challenges drive me. If something is too easy, I will get disinterested. All my life I have had goals of what needed to be done. High school had a whole slew of tests for me to prove myself. After having the other challenges of driving, SAT’s, and college degrees, I went into work excited to learn. Once I had payed off my debts and wasn’t being constantly challenged to learn at my job, I got bored. Working to just work isn’t where I want to be.
I also learned from Puerto Rico how much I love the water and warmth.