Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 2 Monday, June 27, 2011

Camp Dubois, Illinois to Oak Grove, Missouri
Miles Traveled Today: 291.9
Total miles: 751.6

Motorcycle riders know that sometimes it's the destination that creates anticipation, but usually it's the ride. Today was about the ride.

We made only one stop, at the Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Museum in St. Charles, Missouri. There a 55 foot replica of the keel boat and 2 pirogues (large canoes with sails) were in the boathouse. Unfortunately they were not on display, so we could not even take pictures of them. Instead we were relegated to photographing the models inside the museum.

The lifesize replicas actually were used during the bicentennial celebration of Lewis and Clark from 2003-06.

The museum had some awesome dioramas of scenes from the entire journey.

They also had Clark's ancestry (8 generations) to the present day. He has quite a legacy, including a number of boys with the last name Clark that could continue his family tree. The final item that was of great interest was a model display that shows how the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers form islands, sand bars, channels, and all the other features of a major river. We were so engrossed with the video and model, photographs were forgotten. Looks like it would be a great science and/or geography lab.

That was the destination, but the ride today was the real highlight. Didn't start that way though. About 3 a.m. a storm rolled through the St. Louis area, woke us up, and caused us to have a late start this morning. Usually we are on the road by 8, but packing in the rain and preparing to ride takes more time. With a late start, and driving in a downpour, it did not look like a fun day was to be had.

We reached the museum safely in about half an hour. Then we found out it did not open until 10, so we had to wait around. Then, after the tour, we grabbed breakfast, which turned out to be lunch because the restaurant wasn't open yet either, so we waited around again. Thankfully, by noon we were finished eating, and, yes, the skies had cleared. Good thing, too.

The road we traveled from St. Charles to Jefferson City is Missouri Hwy. 94. As Jeff said, "A biker who wanted to build a road would build one like this one." Twisties and turns, chicanes and a few switchbacks, and tons of hills awaited us. If it had been raining, this road would have been absolutely treacherous. Lucky for us it was dry and sunny...for the time being. It was hot and humid too, nearing 90 degrees. When we applied for the grant to take this journey, we noted that we wanted to experience all the types of weather and environmental factors. Well, be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. We did.

For the wine lovers out there, this road also travels through the heart of Missouri wine country. Vineyards seem to come around every corner. Being on the bikes, we chose not to partake. There is some interesting history there, however. It seems the French wine industry had to use grapes from Missouri because all of their vineyards were hit by disease or insects and were wiped out. Missouri's vineyards saved them. The plants here are much more resistant than those in Europe. Maybe that expensive bottle of French wine you bought originally came from the heart of America.

The last part of the ride was a race against the weather, as it was clouding up in the west. As we came closer to our camp, the sky grew more ominous. Just before we arrived, Poof! The clouds disappeared, and we arrived dry and happy.

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