Three meals in three different states is a fun way to spend a day. We started in Bowling Green, KY with breakfast at the Fairfield Inn. There was a long line for waffles, but no one was waiting for the individual containers of red grapefruit. I opted for the healthier food with a shorter wait and enjoyed fruit, hard-boiled eggs and a mini-bagel.
The temperature was 83 degrees when we started off at 8:30am, with more dire warnings of excessive heat and humidity speeding us on our way. We stayed off the Interstate system and rode on state highways that wound their way up and down the hills, through forests, and eventually along wide-open farmland with fields planted in corn, wheat and soybeans. Most of the time we had the road to ourselves, with very few cars except in the small towns we periodically passed. I saw churches, or signs for churches just down the road, at what seemed like every intersection. It was a lot more fun for both of us on these rural roads, and we thoroughly enjoyed the morning.
We stopped for gas and directions in Madisonville, KY and once again met friendly people interested in our trip. Almost everyone asks us where we're from, and many of them seem to have no idea that Vermont is a state, or where it's located. I finally started explaining that 'we live north of NYC' and that seems to satisfy their curiosity.
When I plotted our route for today, I knew we'd cross the Ohio River into Illinois, but I didn't realize we'd make the trip via ferry.
Illinois was our second state for the day, and it wasn't long before we started looking for a place to eat lunch. The towns were even smaller and more empty here than earlier in the day in Missouri, but we had a run of luck in Golconda, IL, right on the Ohio River. We found one restaurant in the three blocks of the downtown area: Sweetwater Bar with the motto 'Hunters, Boaters, Bikers all meets where the water is sweet'. We sat inside at a picnic table, enjoying the air-conditioning along with atmosphere that my father would have loved, especially the boat labeled 'Early Times' hanging from the ceiling. Mike noticed they had Jaegermeister on tap, but we skipped it in favor of water for me and RC Cola for Mike - they don't carry Pepsi or Coke. The hamburgers were delicious and the waitress friendly and efficient. Thank goodness we stopped here, because we rode for many more miles before coming to another town.
We crossed the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, MO, catching a glimpse of the soaring spans of the bridge long before we actually rode over it.
I felt like I was baking in an oven the last two hours of today's trip as the temperature rose to 105.8 degrees at one point. The heat was bearable while we were moving, but every time we stopped at a stop light, or to wait for a car in front of us to make a left-hand turn, the heat became oppressive. When we reached our hotel in Farmington, MO and I peeled off my motorcycle gear, I really wasn't surprised to find the inside of my motorcycle pants were damp with sweat. Thank goodness I wore shorts made from technical fabric, because they were soaking wet. This part of the Midwest has been 8-15 degrees warmer than usual the past few days, with no relief in sight. An airconditioned room and cool shower made both of us feel better.
The final meal of the day was a 5-minute walk from the hotel, recommended by Brett, the friendly and helpful person working at the front desk. When we came back from dinner, there was a BMW 1200GS with Georgia license plates parked right behind us. We saw six motorcycles today, to our surprise the most that we've seen on this trip.
Tomorrow we have a 3-hour ride to Sedalia, site of the BMW rally. Let's hope my clothing and motorcycle gear dries out overnight.