It’s not even that good of a pun. Why would you reuse it? Anyway….more from Spirit Lake, Little Rock and Sioux City. Can you smell the sweet corn cooking?
Wednesday, August 9
This was originally supposed to be my departure date, but I decided to stay an extra day. I would be without wifi for a few days, so I wanted to be as current as possible. It rained most of the day, so this ended up being a good decision.
My work was accompanied by this diminutive creature:
I’m not completely sure about its origin, a large rodent perhaps? Whatever it was, it seemed to have an affinity for the warmth of my laptop exhaust.
I had a little time to relax too. I paddled around in a kayak for a bit. Thankfully, it is not piranha season at Center Lake right now.
I got lots of work done this day and had more awesome family time. Right after, my hosts took part in the obligatory photo:
My cousin Ben described the Selaceks as a “one take family.” The quality of this photo would seem to support that assertion.
Thursday, August 10
Homeward bound. This would be the last day of the first leg of my adventure.
Dan and Karen took care of Spirit Lake on my sign before I took off.
I made an unofficial song stop soon after I left: Little Rock, IA. I have tried to keep my selection of places free from personal bias, but this one was difficult for me. Little Rock should be the one in Arkansas, but the one in Iowa is special to me. It is where my awesome grandma is from. You know, this one:
I still have family here and I was met by my first cousin-once removed, Orvis.
I did an interview with Virginia at the Little Rock Free Lance (which wins the award for best newspaper name).
Orvis and I visited the cemetery where many of my relatives are buried.
He bought me lunch at the diner in town before I headed on my way.
There would be one more song stop before I reached home: Sioux City (Verse 4 Line 6). This would be place number 21 of 92. Now let me say this: Sioux City has been the punchline of a number of jokes through the years. (Its airport code is “SUX”. You can’t make this stuff up.) At one point, I quipped that my picture for Sioux City would be a place where sewage is being pumped into the Missouri River. Or perhaps it would be a construction sign, commemorating the perpetual guarantee of death, taxes and I-29 road work.
But I was determined to see this river city free of all preformed bias. Besides, my trip does have a special connection to this place, more than just being in the song. It was the first place that I met Annie.
I am kind of a sentimental guy, but maybe not in the traditional sense. My sentimentality is connected to things like history and statistics. If marriage is in my future, I imagine this characteristic will manifest itself in strange ways: I will probably want to make many visits to the place where we first met. I will probably know the exact number of days between our first two dates. I will probably even know the duration, down to the tenth of a second, of our first kiss. (though I have not quite yet resolved how to operate a stopwatch while this takes place) 🙂
Being that my current object of affection is an actual 470-lb. inanimate object, visiting our meeting place seemed like a great first stop. The first look, with sound effects by Randel Anderson:
In October 2013, I was all set to take a two week trip to Niagara Falls on “Meiling,” my 1971 CB350. I had recently done an engine rebuild and she was running great. Unfortunately, I had over-torqued one of the cam chain sprocket bolts and it sheared off less than two weeks before my departure date. I could fix it, but it would take time.
When the NC700X was released, I knew that it would be my next bike. It was the exact machine I had been waiting decades for Honda to build. After my mechanical issue, I decided to just look around to see if I could find one for cheap. I found Annie listed on ebay, watched the auction carefully and placed my winning bid with just 3 seconds left on the clock. She was one year old, had just over 1,000 miles on the odometer and I paid $5,300 (October is a great month to buy a bike).
Still the biggest check I have ever written:
Annie and I on our first trip in 2013:
The bike was sold by a car dealership called Ideal Wheels. I had good memories of my interactions with the guys there.
I pulled up and browsed around while the guy behind the counter, Craig, helped another customer. They have some really neat old mopeds and scooters, including a Honda Cub with only 35 miles on the clock.
I think I could make a case that this is the best vehicle of all time.
After the previous customer left, I went up to Craig and asked him if he wanted to hear a funny story. As I told him about my adventure, he grinned from ear to ear. At one point he put his hand to his head in joyful disbelief. On the way to walking over to see Annie, he rounded up most of the other guys in the office and the shop to take a look.
They all remembered the original owner, who had actually just recently passed away. There seemed to be a sense of pride that something they had sold was going on such a grand adventure. They had lots of inquisitive questions were very encouraging.
I asked Craig about some other places to see in Sioux City and he was really helpful. I was so glad that I stopped.
Retracing the first turn that Annie and I took together:
My next stop would be a sweet one. Palmer’s Candy Factory. They are perhaps best known for their hand-made, cherry nougat confection: Twin Bing. They have a little candy shop with lots of goodies and some historical items. This sucker press intrigued me:
I bought some Twin Bings and took some photos.
I drove up to the top of a bluff to see the War Eagle monument.
From the high vantage point I could see across the Missouri River, glimpsing my home state for the first time in over two months.
Next on the agenda was some Lewis and Clark history. There’s this awesome statue by the interpretive center (which was free and wonderful).
My last stop in town was at the Sargeant Floyd memorial. He was the only person to lose their life on the 28 month expedition, which I find absolutely incredible. His death was most likely due to appendicitis. I thought about how lonesome he must have felt at the time of his death. He was in the middle of an unfamiliar wilderness, hundreds of miles from civilization. There’s no way that he would have believed that the site of his passing would someday be commemorated with a 100-ft. tall obelisk. I wonder if that would have been any consolation to him?
I had a great time in Sioux City. There’s no way that I can say that it “SUX.”
The border was calling me. My home state was just a bridge away. I was overjoyed to pass back into Nebraska.
A few miles into the state, I passed a 1990s F-150 driving about 5 mph below the speed limit in the left hand lane. Ahhhhh….it feels good to be home. 🙂
My stop for the night was my grandma’s farm outside of Wausa. A massive family reunion at the farm would begin the following day. It was great to be home.
Here my story ends, for now. I am going to do sort of a progress report in a couple of days, but for now I’ll just say that things seem to be going pretty well.
Real time update: I’m still with my family in Norfolk, but will be heading towards Lincoln in a few hours. I have lots of mechanical things to work on over the next few days.