Laying Low in Springfield

We did the short drive from Conway to Springfield, Missouri on Saturday. Our initial plan had been to visit some sights, move onto Joplin, and spent the night there. Nothing went according to plan, but that’s ok.

Closed on weekends?!

The Route 66 visitor center and museum is closed on weekends. That makes no sense. The weekends are when people are more likely to be traveling, and therefore visiting! So we didn’t get to check this one out.

Closed for winter?!

Nor this one, which closed at the beginning of October for the winter. So Springfield turned out to be a bit of a bust for us.

Then we heard about some nasty weather coming up. Strong storms were forming over Oklahoma with the potential for high winds, hail, and even tornadoes. The storm was going to be precisely where we’d planned to go next, when we’d planned to be there. We could’ve made it to Joplin on Saturday, especially since our stops in Springfield were fast because they were closed. Instead, we decided to stay here for the weekend, and let the storms blow over before moving on.

Plan B.

In Springfield, however, it was a beautiful day. I got some small projects done in the van, and I took a bike ride. The last ride I actually enjoyed was the Triple Nickel way back in east Ohio. I went on the Ozark Rides website, and while it’s not quite as good as New England Riders, I found a couple of fun trips to take. Missouri, of all places, reminds me the most of riding in New England than anywhere else I’ve been on this trip. The only real difference is that the speed limit is much higher, so it’s that much more fun! I’m on the edge of the Ozarks here, so I’m just getting a small sample of them. I think they’ll be worth checking out on a trip back east sometime. It’s so fun.

Not fun.

At least, until it isn’t. I rolled up on this scene somewhere between Nixa and Cape Fair. The road was closed, and the helicopter parked in the field told me this was a serious scene that I wasn’t getting past for a while. I didn’t really need to get to Cape Fair, so rather than wait I turned around and headed back — at a somewhat reduced pace.

Fun.

I still managed to find some dirt roads to explore, too. Just as I got thinking that maybe something like an SV650 would be more fun, I find some dirt and have more fun on dirt than I could ever have on an SV650. The KLR’s flexibility to tackle any kind of road is what makes it great for this sort of exploration, especially since it can keep right up with the 55 mph back roads and even faster short highway sections, where a smaller and lighter TW200 would struggle.

I picked up a few essentials on the way back, as I passed every store you can possibly imagine heading back into Springfield. That’ll save an extra stop later. The rain’s supposed to hit here overnight, a bit heavy but nothing like they’ll be experiencing out west.

Tomorrow we resume our journey. Normally I like to put down extra miles on weekends, rather than none, because I’m not working. But this just gave me even more time off, which was good in itself. I’m looking forward to getting back on the move again, but some time off from travel has been good, too. I feel refreshed, the van is in slightly better shape, and I’m ready to go.

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