The final phase of my journey begins! I have my two year reunion, experience lots of connections to my past and finally cross off Kansas City.
Thursday, June 6th
After many months together, it was finally time for Mom and I to part ways. This day also marked the two year anniversary since my journey began. It’s crazy to think about everything that has happened in that time.
She also did a last minute stitching to my tent bag, which is now mostly comprised of thread and duct tape.
Any reader of this quality publication will know just how special my Mom is. We’ve had some amazing time together over the preceding months. We’ll see if she decides to join me for any more adventures.
Subconsciously, I must not have been ready to say goodbye. I forgot my bag of toiletries and had to return before I even got out of town. As usual, Mom was on top of it.
Perhaps I just wanted to give Mom one more hug, but maybe I just really wanted my Ecuadorian toothpaste. It contains a guinea pig fat extract which has really helped brighten my smile.
I had a beautiful ride down to Lincoln, where I would finish my preparations.
One of my favorite maintenance items is watching brake fluid go from yellowish-brown to nice and clear. So satisfying:
Monday, June 10th
The final departure day! Chapter 4 has really begun now!
A final cosmetic upgrade to Annie was adding one of my Dad’s paintbrushes. It will serve as a reminder to see the beauty in every situation.
A quick shout-out to my roommates, Kyle and Matt. We worked out an agreement for me to just pay partial rent while I am on my trip, which has ended up being over a year longer than I anticipated. Surprisingly, I have yet to find my belongings by the curb when I return home. You guys are the best!
I would have just a short ride over to Omaha. I wanted to see my brother and his family one more time before my trip recommenced. Rose treated me to a nice French Horn solo.
We are having a family reunion in late July in Colorado, so I’m looking forward to spending more time with the whole family soon.
Tuesday, June 11th
I made some Swedish Pancakes for the crew in the morning and we had a nice morning together. I had my brother, Rose and Calvin clean up their signatures which had faded a bit during the Great Colombian Car Wash Fiasco of 2018.
Though I’ve been with my brother’s family quite a few times during my trip, I still don’t think I’ve gotten a picture of all six of them around the bike. I guess it’s easier to go Everywhere than to get all of our schedules to align. 🙂
My route for the day was chosen partially due to I-29 being underwater and partially due to wanting to retrace steps from an important maiden voyage.
The year was 2012. I had just upgraded to a 1971 CB350 named Meiling. The bike was still 13 years my senior, but I now felt like I had the engine size to do some motorcycle touring. I planned my first out of state motorcycle trip, to visit my friend Jared in Kansas City and my friend Adam in Joplin.
Funny enough, these would be the first two destinations of the final phase of my journey.
It’s interesting how the road can bring back memories and emotions. I recognized immediately the gas station where I first discovered a head gasket leak. The emotions of the moment flooded back intensely. Chiefly, the feeling that I had no idea what I was doing. I still feel that way quite often, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it did back then.
I wanted to make sure to take Annie down some of Nebraska’s wonderfully maintained gravel roads. It will be awhile before I have a chance to explore these again.
This is surely the “real” Glenrock, right Wyoming George?
Leaving Nebraska felt like a big step this time. The next time I am back, this journey will be at an end.
In 2012, I had complete electronic failure when I was in NE Kansas. I had a multimeter along (never leave home without it!) so I was able to track down the short and wire around it.
On my current trip, I recognized immediately the location where this had happened. I pulled Annie over, but still couldn’t find anything that needed fixing. 🙂
With much less drama than seven years prior, I arrived at the home of my Kansas City hosts. It was so great to see Jared, Michelle, Kate, Claire, Jack and Hope.
Hope is a new addition since I rolled through at the end of Chapter 2. I’ve actually been in Kansas City three times since the trip began. This fourth time would finally be my “official” visit. I’m glad the timing worked out this way, because it meant that I could spend a little more time here than during previous Chapters.
Jared and I go way back. Probably most notably, he is the co-founders of U-SUC (United Swedes Under Criticism). We created this club in high school which was dedicated to ending racism against Swedish people. Our high school selves would be happy that we are still strangely proud of our Swedish heritage.
This first night, Jared took me out to complete a vital act of the Kansas City Experience: Barbeque! We went to Joe’s Barbeque, one of the most classic BBQ joints in the city. I had their legendary Z-Man sandwich. It is definitely worth the hype.
As good as the sandwich was, the conversation with my old friend was the real highlight. It’s always such a pleasure to reconnect with him.
Wednesday, June 12th
This would have been my Dad’s 73rd birthday.
I had a fun time remembering two years prior, when he and my Mom were following me through Saskatchewan. We visited Gravelbourg, just the second place that I crossed off of my list that day. Beginning my trip with him was such a pleasure and in some ways I feel that he is still with me.
Picture from Banff, a couple of days later:
I think Dad would have approved of our morning activities: Taking lots of pictures and taking Annie to questionable locations. 🙂
Like many “picture days,” I was up before sunrise. However, this time I was not the only one. Jared agreed to play photographer/navigator/coffee provider before he headed to work. My main goal during my visit to KC was to see how badly I could mess up my friend’s sleep schedule. I succeeded well!
It was a dark, drizzly morning as we made our way down into the center of Kansas City. Maybe it is just because I know the city well, but I felt I was spoiled for choice in terms of “iconic” pictures of this place. First up was to bounce Annie up to the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
There are a couple of strange fiberglass sculptures of badminton shuttlecocks up here.
I just love weird/unique things like this.
Kansas City is known as “The City of Fountains.” Probably the most famous one is in the area known as The Plaza. There were a few joggers around, but it was still deserted enough to feel safe rolling Annie down to it.
I really enjoy pictures of the “process” like the one above. I only get these when someone is accompanying me.
My awesome photographer:
I was a bit stumped about where to find a Kansas City sign. There wasn’t a notable one that I was aware of. Michelle mentioned a neat spray paint mural that ended up being perfect.
Walt Disney actually spent some of his formative childhood years in KC:
Having sufficiently snapped a slew of scenes, we settled down at a coffee shop that had an airplane on top.
It was a great place where you could watch the coffee process while drinking.
After we split up, I spent most of the rest of the day getting some work done. I also had some fun moments with Michelle and the kids.
That evening we went to Kauffman Stadium to take in a Royals game. They are not very good this year, so tickets only cost $2 more than a beer. My initial idea was to use this game as a chance to get a picture of Annie next to Arrowhead Stadium (they share a parking lot). However, the Chiefs office let me know that the stadium grounds were available to visit during the day.
I’m not a huge baseball fan, but it is always fun watching a ball game in person. The stadium was empty enough that we could move down to some good seats after a couple of innings.
This was a long day, but a great day!
Thursday, June 13th
Anyone who casually follows this quality publication will know about my fervent dedication to the Kansas City Chiefs. I still don’t quite understand how I became such a big fan (they’ve never won a championship in my lifetime), but love is always a hard thing to describe. 🙂 I did bring Annie’s windshield to the AFC Championship game in January, but I wanted an opportunity for a better photo on this trip.
It’s about a 40 minute drive from Jared’s place to the stadium if there is no traffic. Statistics like this one make me wonder if I could ever live in a big city. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day for riding and for pictures.
It was a unique experience to be the only person in the parking lot. Normally when I am here it is packed with grills, yard games and loud drunk people.
I took lots of shots from both sides and feel like I got some winners.
Hail to the Chief!
Lamar Hunt (statue above), is the Chief’s founder. There is perhaps no one more responsible for the success of American Football than him. But he was not only notable for his accomplishments. He was a humble man, civic-minded and passionate about philanthropy.
I had a nice visit with the guy working the gift shop and got a little weather-proof souvenir.
I really wanted to visit the exceptional World War I museum in town, but just didn’t quite have the time. KC isn’t far from home for me, so I know I will be back.
Jared signed as a representative for the whole family, expertly choosing a spot that only a lefty could reach:
Michelle took care of Kansas City on my sign. This is such a fun picture:
During out last afternoon/evening together. Jared and I had an important mission. One of our favorite activities as kids was playing ping-pong. We probably hadn’t played in more than a decade, which I thought was a darn shame. I talked them in to buying a table to commemorate my visit. It was definitely “lots of assembly required,” as we probably spent three hours putting it together.
This also means that the door has officially opened for me to find true love, but that is another story…
Friday, June 14th
I celebrated our last morning together by making Swedish Pancakes.
The time spent here was so special. Maybe I didn’t get to know Kansas City as well as I should have, but I got better acquainted with the best people who live there. That’s surely an acceptable song place experience.
These first few days back on my quest provided lots of glimpses into my past. Memories of my Dad, of childhood friendship and of taking my first unsteady baby steps in motorcycle traveling. Like a fine wine, memories have a way of aging well. I know this will be true of the memories earned on this journey as well.
24 to go
Keep recollecting, everybody
Realtime update: I just landed in Dodge City. Tulsa, Springfield and Wichita are all done too. The places are really coming thick and fast in this part of the world. I’ll probably be in the area for two nights, as I work on getting caught up on the story. Next up will be Hennessey, OK, then Texarkana.