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Leonard's First Tour - Part 2

Motorcycling articles by Leonard R.

Leonard - Motorcycle Touring contributor

Continued from Part 1

We sort of planned the route, by linking various State Parks together and finding the least complicated route to get there. Back in those days in Central United States, most highways, whether they were Federal or State, were two lane. And the maximum speed on the highway was 55 mph (88kph). So, a 250 mile day was a good amount of motorcycle traveling, considering the amount of time it took us to break camp and set back up again. And then factoring in all the small towns we would have to go through each day. Most small towns then had 25mph (40kph) as a maximum speed. And we obeyed the speed limit, because we couldn't afford a ticket or get hassled by a sleepy town constable.

I don't remember the date in September of 1965 when we left on our trip. It must have been close to the end of the month, but I do know it was a Saturday. Once packed we headed out from our town of Webster City, Iowa.

Day 1. Saturday

Our goal that day was to make it to Crowder State Park, near Trenton, Missouri. So we headed south, down a Federal highway # 69 on our very first official tour. I don't recall any incidents on this day's leg of the trip. Over the years while still living in Iowa, I have since then ridden parts of the route at various times and I like the farm scenery, the small rivers, forests and pastures. The small towns have either gotten larger or smaller according to the economy in the area. But basically, the farm scenery has never changed.

first night stop on tour, Crowder State Park Our gas tanks were small, but we got excellent mileage. So gas stops and for other reasons were only about two hours apart. Once we got into Missouri, we found that people got concerned that we were so far from home. We reassured them that we had our parents blessings. We did call home each after noon. Marvin would call his mom one afternoon and I would call my mom the next afternoon. We called collect from a phone booth, which were common and plenty in most stores, cafes and gas stations. We didn't want to worry our mothers so we never told our mothers about any problems.

We reached Crowder State Park early that first afternoon and figured we had ridden about 200 miles. We were excited to set up the tent and cook our first meal. Everything went perfect. We set up our make shift tent, cooked supper and ate. We talked with other people in the park and a couple of old people told us how adventuresome we were. It never occurred to us that we were "adventuresome."

Day 2. Sunday

We awoke to clear skies and crisp air. Just cool enough for a sweat shirt, which we shed before taking off, since it had warmed quickly. Breakfast was fast. With the bikes packed we headed on South. Our goal this day was to get deeper into Missouri.

The ride, as I recall, was going great until after we had stopped and had lunch. Sometime in the early after noon, Marvin's drive chain broke. It didn't catch anything as it flew off, but I had to ride back a few feet and pick it up. Those Hondas had a center stand, which lifted the back wheel off the ground, so repairing the back of the bike was easy. Using one of the extra master links we had packed, we got the chain back on, adjusted and we were once again on our way. We were now about an hour behind schedule.

After checking our maps, we decided to stay at Knob Noster State Park in Missouri, rather then push on into the dark. So, we filled our tanks at the town of Knob Noster and rode onto the park and went to bed early. Our days ride was just over 100 miles.

second night on tour stopped at Knob Noster State Park

Day 3. Monday

After eating breakfast, we had to re-adjust our route so that we could arrive at the next camp ground in the afternoon. The bikes were packed and off we went. Our next stop was to be... well there were no State Parks to be found for the end of the days stop, so we decided we could camp in somebody's farm grove of trees.

We reached the small town of Bradleyville, Missouri to get gas and asked the attendant if there were any county parks near by. He said there was a city park, but didn't know if camping was allowed. We found the local Police Station and the kind lady at the desk, said we could camp in the city park, but be sure to clean up any of our litter. As we were cooking our supper, a Policeman drove up. "Oh, boy," we thought. "We were in some kind of trouble for sure." He just stopped to chat and asked us if we could be done camping by 7:00 the next morning, so we would not disturb the business people opening up their shops. We had traveled about 200 miles this day.

In the middle of the night it started to rain rather gently. We checked and the tarp didn't seem to be leaking anywhere. However, we did get a little seepage into the inside, where the tarp met the ground. We were to tired to be concerned and went back to sleep.

Leonard's First Tour Continues: Part 3

Back to Leonard's Two Wheels by the Campfire page

Leonard's First Motorcycle Tour in 1965 - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

Leonard's One Pot Camping Recipes - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

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