Friday, September 21, 2007

Joplin to Wappapelo State Park

408 miles today, totaling 1814 for the trip.

It was an interesting day. Started out headed west on I-44 towards Oklahoma. Got to the last exit in Missouri, and saw a sign saying it was the last exit before a toll plaza. I avoid tolls because I just hate to pay, so I got off the interstate. I saw a small road on the GPS just off the exit that went into Oklahoma, then connected with another road that went into Kansas. Perfect!

However, as I went down the small road, it was apparent the road was little-used. The pavement was broken in many places, and gravel had replaced pavement in other places. About ¼ mile down the road, I could tell that it didn’t go as shown on the GPS. It appeared that a barricade had the road blocked. Closer to the barricade there was a big monument of stones just off the road. I rode around the monument and noted that it was something done by the youth works administration or something similar, but it didn’t say what it was about.

Closer to the monument, I could see some concrete surrounded by the barricade. So, I rode there and then saw that it was a marker to denote the exact spot where Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma meet! I think the other monument was likely an older version of the same spot, with newer technology replacing the older one. Quite a find, all by accident! Neat!!

So, I backtracked and went into Kansas a bit, just so I could say I rode in Kansas with honesty.

Then I started East, headed back towards home. What I discovered is that the roads in western Missouri run due north/south and east/west, in a grid with roads approximately 1 mile apart. I jigged east for a while, then north for a while, bypassing Joplin.

The riding was easy. Go straight and hold on. Ride as fast as you want—there was absolutely no traffic and maybe one house per mile. Sorta fun, even though not challenging.

After a while I started needing gas, so I started looking for it with the GPS. Found it after a while, and Casey’s General Stores sell premium 10 cents lower than regular gas ALL THE TIME!! Great!

Went north east towards a lake and state park. Had a little adventure getting there—he roads got smaller and smaller, finally with 1.2 miles of gravel that deadended running into a river. No barricade or sign or anything, just the road going into the river! So, I backtracked all the gravel roads back to “civilization” (paved roads) and found Lake Stockton. Pretty, but nothing really special.

Getting hungry, I found the Corner CafĂ© in Stockton and had lunch.. Good home cooking is what’s served there.

Then started heading east in a more serious manner. Roads got curvy, and found one highway that was great—Hwy 38 is perfect for my style of riding. No traffic, good road surface, lots of sweeping curves and changes in elevation. Great for cruising at 80 or so with some challenges. Wonderful road!

Finally, it got time to start thinking of lodging for the night. Called a couple of hotels in the Poplar Bluff area, but they were very expensive (more than I was willing to pay). So, I found Wappapello Lake State Park and a campsite there, right on the lake. A pretty place.

I set up camp and asked about a place to eat. The camp host recommended the “Corner Store” a few miles outside the park. So, I rode there and got a very good smoked turkey sandwich and Gatorade for dinner.

Brought the food back to the camp and ate it, looking at the sunset and the lake. Nice!

Then a shower and bed. I was in bed at 8:15pm!

Tomorrow-starting home seriously. Think I’ll try to get there by Saturday if possible.
More tomorrow!


Adrian said...

I'm glad our roads don't "lead" into rivers. Sounds like you are having fun even though you are challenged a bit.

Nichols said...

NICE blog, Malcolm. Good pictures, too. Because you constantly talk about interesting roads and good eats, I think I'll call your motorcycle adventure a "Feast on Missouri Asphalt" ... ummm?
By the way, congratulations grampa.