June 4, 1998
I left Houston on Thursday the 4th at about 7:30 in the morning. Traffic was light heading up 610 to 59 north for the first leg of my trip. The Sporty was running strong and I had a 15 to 20 mph tail wind pushing me along. Cruising up 59 was a treat for my eyes because they'd become so accustomed to city scenery that the change to trees and hills was nice. I made my first gas stop at 100 miles at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Continuing on from there, I rode through more nice scenery and hit Texarkana some time around 1 pm. In Texarkana I jumped on I-30 north to Little Rock. When I hit Little Rock, I took 430 to 40 north to Conway, Arkansas. When I got into Conway I hooked up with Charles Siefert who had kindly offered to let me stay there overnight. He and his wife are wonderful people. Thursday ended at about 6:00 pm with approximately 470 miles racked up.
June 5, 1998
Friday the 5th found me topping off the oil bag and heading out on route 64 heading for Highland, Illinois. I got to ride through some nice scenic routes cutting across Arkansas to I-55 north. From 64 I hit 67 then over to 14 which hit 63 which took me to 55 north about 50 or 60 miles south of the Missouri border. Somewhere on those back roads I managed to lose one of my perforated gloves, so just make sure that anything you've got bungeed down really is down. This came back to haunt me later. I also ran into a couple of Texans heading for Milwaukee. One of them was riding a rigid knuck and the other a softtail. I rode with them for a little while, but because of the rigid they were taking things slower that I wanted to, so I said my goodbyes and cranked the Sporty back up to 75. The weather started turning a little cooler and it was totally overcast. I fought a head wind the whole day, which really wore me out. As I got into Missouri heading for St. Louis, the threat of rain kept getting stronger. Somewhere around Sikeston the rain started, but thankfully it was only a light drizzle. It's not fun putting on rain gear on the side of the road. Especially when 18 wheelers are flying by you. By this time the temperature had dropped into the mid to upper 50's! I was starting to shiver a little bit and was thinking to myself, "This is JUNE?!?!" The cold was REALLY getting unbearable, and it took about 1/2 hour to warm back up in St. Mary. I made the decision to push on to Festus and hit the dealership there for some better gloves (remember, I'm only riding with one perforated glove on my left hand). I made it in to Festus and blew 90 bucks on a sweatshirt and some thiker gloves. It made all the difference! About 45 minutes later I was in St. Louis gassing up. I headed out from there, crossed the Illinois border, gassed up and wandered around for a while trying to find the camp site. The odometer read 940 miles, so I'd done about another 470 miles.
June 6-7, 1998
MITM was a BLAST! Meeting all the people that I've been reading for the last year was great! Friday night was so INCREDIBLY cold though. I pitched my tent and sacked out early (I was beat). It was so cold that I actually didn't take my leathers off. Saturday morning was a little nicer, it was starting to warm up a bit. About 7 ro 8 of us Morning People headed into Highland to terrorize the Cracker Barrell for some REAL breakfast. Sorry Cheezie, doughnuts didn't cut it for me. I decided to skip the ride Saturday morning and relaxed and chatted with a bunch of netscum instead. We had some AWESOME barbecue for dinner! Then came the tat contest, and there was much fine work displayed. You've gotta love the Houligans' group effort :) Great campfire that night, lots of good conversations. I tink I finally hit the hay at about 3 am. Sunday was tough, 4 hours of sleep. Started breaking camp and packing up for the short hop to Peoria to visit my GF's mom and an old friend of mine from college. Saying goodbye to all those great people SUCKED! I know I've left a lot out, but that's ok. I just wanted to say thanks to Cheezie for the great weekend. Big hugs to Wild Flower, and Sunshine. And a promise that I'll be there next year no matter what.
June 7, 1998
Sunday the 7th, DW and I hit the road for Peoria. It was just a short hop of about 3 hours. I got in at about 3 or so. The odometer read 1137. Tim (my college friend) and I headed over to Joi's mom's house for burgers on the grill and beer. We managed to get to see the Jazz get spanked as well :)
June 8, 1998
Monday was a day off. Joi's younger brother Billy and I drove over to Galesburg to hit the dealership. It was pouring like crazy! Picked up a couple shirts and some oil. One of the guys there also gave my a Hog Tales so that I could pick up some ABC points on the way back. I'd forgotten mine at home.
June 9, 1998
Tuesday the 9th saw me leaving Peoria heading back for Conway, Arkansas to spend the night with the Sieferts again. This was the leg of the trip that I was a little unsure of because with the added distance from Peoria it turned into about 600 miles or so. I pushed a little farther into my gas tank, took shorter breaks when I did fill up, and made up for the lack of stretching by stopping to snap photos for the ABC's of touring contest. Once I got back on I-55 southbound in Missouri I passed the HOG ride to Milwaukee. That hurt a little. I'd kinda wanted to go, but couldn't get enough time off to pull it off. I made a small side trip to Tennessee (only about 20 miles total) to pick up another ABC point. I made it into Conway at about 8:30 at night. I'd done about 630 miles today.
June 10, 1998
Wednesday found my cleaning out my left LeatherLyke bag. It seems that Harley's oil containers don't like buzzing around in a saddle bag all day and decided to leak. I topped off the old bag, warmed to scoot up and headed out. Again, traffic was light heading into Little Rock. I got back on I-30 west and headed out for Texarkana with a strong desire to get back to Houston. I stopped when I saw a sign that I needed for the ABC's and for gas about every 100 miles. I made it into Texarkana at about 11 am or so, and stopped at Doolin's HD. They seemed like a nice shop, definitely much less of a boutique than most of them. Really nice! Picked up a couple shirts and snapped an ABC photo. I was now in Texas and on 59 southbound for Houston. I took a little slowdown because of construction but that cleared up and I started making up time. The weather was HOT and sunny. I got back into Houston at about 6:00 pm Wendesday evening. The odometer read 2225.0 miles.