Am anxious to get going… Long ride ahead of me. Am a bit fed up with everything going wrong… It is much worse than usual. I’ve lost my rest day so something is going to have to give. First is the Gateway Arch in St Louis, I don’t have time to ride into the city and sit in traffic cooking, just for a photo basically.
Also, it looks like the Pacific coast highway 1 is off the agenda because of the horrific fires…. Really peeved about that, it was one of my major aims, but you never know they might reopen it.
Before I leave I pay a visit to the local Harley dealers to get my pin. I realised I don’t have one for Illinois so glad I stopped in.
Back onto Route 66… Am now heading towards St Louis to cross the Mississippi River into Missouri and on to Springfield.
The first interesting event is stopping to take this picture…
Just as I’m about to take the snap a man appears from behind it, gesticulating madly for me to ride on down.. I wave and tap my watch and then give him the thumbs up. This seems to spur him on so he starts making his way towards me. Oh oh, what now?
I switch off the engine, don’t want to be rude… He says…
‘Hi there, have you seen the giant covered wagon?’
‘Oh! Yes, yes I have’
‘I made that… And two years ago a tornado destroyed it, so I built it again… Here’s some photographs’
‘My names Dave Barclay and you can check it out in the Guiness Book of World Records… The worlds biggest covered wagon’
He shows me a photo.. He explains..
Yep had to rebuild the wheels.. Here’s a photo, that’s me in my workshop. I’m building a spaceship now, in my workshop, just going to put the skin on, it’s all aluminium and it’s going to go on display here. There’s a hole for you to put your head through to take a photo. … Imagine the little kids, won’t they be stoked?’
‘Yes, sounds like a great idea’
‘I call it the EPV… Earth Patrol Vehicle.. You get that? EPV cos the earth needs watching over right now’
Oh yes, good name’
‘Well see, I’m a retired police officer so that’s why EPV.’ He then whips out his badge to show me.
‘Don’t forget now, watch out for EPV, Earth Patrol Vehicle and stay safe on your ride’
And here he is, the man himself, Dave Barclay
Completely bonkers but very nice.
The road is quite straight but every so often I am directed off to visit a section of the road that goes through the small towns on the way. Have to say I haven’t seen anything of note, however on one turn I realise I am riding a piece of the original road.. Wow am really pleased.
The first section is quite rough but the next two are really bumpy and it is causing me pain in my right elbow and hand. I was planning to suffer to get some video of the next one, but it has been tarred over so don’t bother.
In Nilwood Illinois I pass an MC clubhouse.. that’s a motorcycle ‘gang’… like the wall art and, as far as I can tell, it’s the only reference to the fact that Route 66 passes through this small town.
Now you might have noticed that I also have a love of onions, well onion shaped water towers that is, and there are lots of them. I really like them so have taken a few pics of places I have passed. I think it’s a cool way to record my route.
Oh by the way, they don’t have to be onion shaped… Any old water tower will do 😜
I soon arrive in a town called Gillespie, a very interesting place but the main reason I stopped is because of this…
I gotta have a snap of myself in this… but, who will take it. I park up and see if there is anyone in the shop..nope… mmm what to do?? Ok I’ll try a selfie…
One on each side for good luck…
Gillespie is a mining town and has a number of references to this
After leaving Gillespie I take a wrong turn… so another cloud, but with that all important silver lining…. it is a really hot day and I am sweltering, the ‘detour’ takes me up a leafy lane, very reminiscent of Essex.. where it is so much cooler in the shade.
I also pass a few other ‘attractions’ on the way, but it is getting late now and they are closed… not that I have time to stop and go in anyway.
Well, apart from this one… it just appeared at the side of the road!
It is now getting really late so I have to abandon 66 and take the interstate for the last 100 or so miles. I arrive at the house at 9.30pm, I have not inconvenienced the host as she is out so I let myself in and unpack the bike. The host comes in and introduces herself and then shows me where everything is and goes to bed… she has to be up very early in the morning so I won’t see her then either.
The reason I have prebooked this via AirBnB is to get the keys to the GPS mount that my partner has sent from the UK, however they haven’t arrived yet… mmm hope they come tomorrow – fingers crossed.
P.S. Happiness is…. a sunny day, an open road, a full tank of fuel and a harley….