Well, this was unexpected. Went to bed expecting to get up and hit the trail to Braman, Oklahoma but woke up to a line of strong thunderstorms in northern Oklahoma and south-central Kansas moving east. They had dumped a lot of rain directly on the secondary roads we would be on today. Not what we wanted to see. We had a couple of hundred miles to ride to get to Braman, and slogging through mud would make that seem like an insurmountable goal. Since we were going to Braman, just to head home the next day, we took another look at the weather and decided to head for home today. We’ll meet here next year for the ride to the Pacific, instead of meeting in Braman.
John saddled up and headed southeast, I headed northeast on I-44, trying to get ahead of the storm. The storm was tracking roughly parallel to I-44, and I knew that I would turn north after going through St. Louis. If I wasn’t far enough ahead, when I turned north I would get caught and get seriously wet for a while.
I made fairly good time, and came through St. Louis around 3pm, leaving 5 hours or so for the rest of the trip. We had just visited Dave and Lynn in St. Louis, so I was confident in the 5 hour estimate. I stopped for gas in Springfield, and it looked like the rain was beginning to cover my route. Unfortunately, the look was right. I was soaked through until I got north of Champaign. It had changed to a drizzle and then stopped shortly after my last gas stop. I got home around 8pm, after a 12 hour day on the road.
Let’s just say the KTM seat isn’t made for long distance riding, and over 600 miles in a day on the KTM was definitely a long day’s ride. I got home after dark, again not my first choice, but home was a powerful draw. I hadn’t seen my wife Amy for a week and I missed her.
I’m glad to be home and I’m also glad John and I rode the eastern part of the trail. Next year, we’ll be better prepared and likely on different bikes for the western trail.
Stay tuned for the eastern TAT post mortem.
The stats from a long day in the saddle: