11 September - Rolla to Tulsa: 320 miles
Biggest day of the trip today including a 2:30 section with no break. GPS says only 316 miles, but what a 316 miles. Three states today, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and less than 24 hours from Tulsa.
The rain of yesterday is gone and it's a beautiful morning. Filled up across the road from the motel and on the road.
Some nice windier stuff as we paralled the I40. Got a motor on due to the distance today. Filled up again at a Conoco in Lebanon. Like Lebanese food. Discovered Starbuck's in a can that became a staple on some of the longer days. Really was a lifesaver that Starbuck's in a can.
Back to paralleling the I40 and putting in the miles. 2 hours 30 minutes in the saddle with no break. Difficult for pillions.
Very green. Very rolling. Getting into a rhythm with the bike and road.
Through the second Springfield, third fill-up just north of Carthage at a petrol station ith a flying tractor, along a big long straight to Joplin.
Real scenes of devastation. The town was hit by a tornado on 25 May 11 that cut a swathe of destruction a mile wide through it killing over 120. It is frightening to see. Even after 4 months and a lot of clean-up there's nothing. I mean nothing, for block after block. Said a silent prayer for the people of the town. I couldn't imagine what losing that much must be like. Scary.
Joplin is hard up against the Kansas border, third state, although it has the least amount of Route 66 of any of the states it passes through. Galena, Riverton and lunch in Baxter Springs. That's as much Kansas as we saw.
Lunch after 208 miles in Baxter Springs was at the Cafe on the Route in the old Crowell Bank, held up by them James Boyos.
Very good lunch. BBQ beef was simply awesome. Too much to eat again, and on a long day.
After lunch Bear introduced us to one of the 'characters'. If you've seen Pixar's Cars allegedly the character of 'Mater' was based on a Baxter Springs denizen - Crazy Legs. This guy can, and this is difficult to explain, reverse his feet. With help from a bystander, he can effectively turn his feet so that they are facing in the opposite way to the rest of his body. Weird, looked painful, but they were his real legs.
Had the first real 'diversion' in that we lost Bear going through Vinita and almost ended up on a dirt track. It is sometimes difficult to follow through towns. Diversion dig bring out just how poor some areas of America really are. It is not a land of milk and honey at the moment across large swathes.
The Blue Whale in Catoosa is a real Route 66 icon, but was getting tired.
Finished with the day with a dash up the I44. 316 miles
Really tired by the time we got to the hotel Best Western Tulsa. Very long day with one very difficult long section. Kernackered.
Dinner was very good in Ruby Tuesday.
Wifey suggested going for a stroll because we'd been in the saddle for so long and her leg was playing up. Said OK. Then ran into one of the many scams you get. Bloke pulled up in a car with some sob story about daughter in hospital and needed money to stay in the Super 8. Sorry mate, no cash, quick run back to hotel. Quite scary, he was a big bloke. Apparently tried a couple of other couples and one did give some money. It is everywhere.