The next morning, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. loaded the bike, had breakfast at the hotel (where I tried out their ingenious pancake machine) and, by 7 a.m., started to head to Springfield, Mo. to make up for the lost time due to weather delays. I finally made it to Amarillo around 10:30 a.m. and had an early lunch at Whataburger, my favorite fast-food chain, then headed out for the long ride to Springfield.
I wanted to make at least a few fun stops on old Route 66 so I took a detour to explore Shamrock, Texas, famous for its art deco-style Conoco station. While there, I met a fellow motorcyclist from Germany, on a tour of the U.S. going the other direction, who took a picture of me with the K16 in front of the station. I went inside on the on-site diner to cool off, as it was 110 degrees in the shade. The waitress took one look at me and immediately handed me two bottles of water, which I drank in about 30 seconds. I stayed a little longer checking out their nice little museum and then rode on to rejoin the interstate. I am happy I made the side trip despite the extra miles as the people there were so nice, and this station is truly a neat piece of Route 66 history.
This next leg of the journey was absolutely the most boring part of the entire ride, as there is literally nothing in any direction for hours. All I did was stop for gas and hydration and then get back on the road. I started to understand why T.G. thought my choice of route was questionable but headed down the road.
The day wore on and the miles flew by. I made my last fuel stop of the day somewhere in Oklahoma and again made tracks towards my Marriott Courtyard hotel in Springfield. As the day moved into evening, I was able to experience how good the lighting was on the K16. I am thankful for the LED lighting as it was pitch dark on the interstate and I still felt visible to drivers. Around 9 p.m., a misty light rain started up, misting both my helmet visor and windshield, but I still plowed on, determined to make it to the hotel. Did I mention that I hate riding in the rain and am not a big fan of riding at night?
This was by far the sketchiest part of the entire trip. I knew I was almost at my limit and still had about 100 miles to go when I realized this. I was doing everything I could to stay alert and was still drifting off at times. The issue is that there was literally no place to stay for the night, with the closest hotel being the one I had booked on the outskirts of Springfield. At 10:35 p.m. I finally arrived at the Marriott. I had been on the bike for 15½ hours, including stops for gas and food, and covered just under 1000 miles. The extra miles were due to a few stops along the way on old Route 66. I was exhausted and collapsed in my bed, falling to sleep immediately. I can honestly say that I will never repeat riding that long and so many miles in a single day.