2012 Colorado Ride - Day Two (May 21st)

Dalton, GA to Springfield, MO

I arranged for Day Two to be my longest mileage of the four days to travel to Denver, CO.  This would be a 603 mile day, traveling from Dalton, Georgia to Metropolis, Illinois (to see the Superman statue in the town square) and then on to Springfield, Missouri.

As I rode to Chattanooga, I was able to see the fog capping the tops of the mountains along both sides of the road.  

I timed my departure from Dalton to avoid the worst of the morning rush hour traffic through Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The tricky part of the day’s ride was also timing the passage through Nashville, TN about two hours later.  Fortunately, I accounted for the change to the Central Time Zone and I arrived at Nashville around 9 a.m., well after the rush hour.

I continued riding north on I-24 through the Tennessee mountains to Clarksville.  After Clarksville, the terrain became rolling hills of farm land.  The hay was ready for harvesting and the corn was just starting to grow.

Eventually I crossed the Tennessee River and entered Kentucky.  The countryside continued to be rolling hills and farms.  Finally, after four hours of riding, I reached Paducah, Kentucky on the Ohio River.  Although I have travelled through Paducah during a couple of previous transits to Colorado, I never realized, until recently, that Metropolis, Illinois was just crossed the Ohio River.  Metropolis, IL is home to a well-known roadside attraction – a large status of Superman in the center of town.  I crossed the Ohio River and entered Illinois and within ten minutes was in Metropolis.  The residents of Metropolis make full use of the Superman theme for their town.  When you enter town, you are greeted with a sign welcoming you to Metropolis, the home of Superman.

The light poles down the main street display signs declaring it “American Way.”  Following the signs, I quickly reached the town hall and saw the large Superman status on display in front of the old town hall.

Across the street is the Superman souvenir shop, which I chose to avoid.  

While photographing the status, I met a couple of gentlemen who introduced themselves as BMW motorcycle riders.  One of them said he was preparing to leave for the Rubber Chicken Rally down in Huntsville, Alabama this weekend.  They recommended a nearby restaurant that is the favorite lunch spot for the locals – Rube’s.  I rode there, stopping briefly to photograph another bronze status of Lois Lane, which has been placed on a street corner a few blocks away.

At Rube’s, I enjoyed a good home-style buffet meal – country-fried steak with all the fixings.

After lunch, I wander some back roads, dubbed the Ohio River Scenic Byway, through the countryside bordering the Ohio River.  This eventually led me to I-57.  Interstates are not my preferred travel routes when motorcycling, but with this being a 600 mile day, I had no choice but to use them to cover the miles required.  I-57 took me across the Mississippi River into Missouri.  

As soon as you cross the river, the terrain becomes absolutely flat, and continues that way for what must have been 20 or 30 miles.  This eventually gave way to gently rolling countryside and later the northern foothills of the Ozark Mountains.  I followed Route 60 west across the state and finally arrived in Springfield around 5:30 p.m. CDT.

My Garmin Montana GPS performed  flawlessly today, so I was spared the aggravating lock-ups  of the day before.  It was a great day’s ride, with temperatures in the upper 70s for the entire day.  Tomorrow, I am off to see Big Brutus and, hopefully, the Kansas Salt Museum and Mine.

More pictures from the day’s ride are available in my Picasa web album.