Just a little fair warning. This column is going to start out with an anecdote from my recent trip to see my son. While everything is factual, it is also a little gross – funny – but a little gross. Now, please continue…
It was a beautiful day in Nebraska. Well, as beautiful a day as you can have in Nebraska. Nebraska, while a fine state, is not exactly known for its vast beauty.
I was traveling to Wyoming to see my son on Father’s Day weekend. He is all alone in a very small town, so he needed a little family connection. So, I was riding my motorcycle out to see him.
So here I was on I-80, where the speed limit is 75. I will tell you I was going probably 80, but most traffic was going even faster. I come up to a cattle hauler, which has just moved into the left lane to pass another semi. I am now behind the cattle hauler.
Now, I am sure we have found ourselves behind cattle haulers many times in our lives. I can’t count the number of times I have been behind one. But this time, I was in for a surprise.
I was a reasonable distance back from the semi when I saw something shoot out of the right side of the truck. It took me a fraction of a second to realize what it was: A geyser of cow urine.
I ducked as quickly as I could behind my windshield, and thankfully, most of it hit my windshield. Some did hit my riding goggles, but I came out of the whole thing in pretty good shape.
Except on a warm day, the smell is not good. At all. I quickly made an exit and found a McDonald’s so I could clean myself off.
This was truly one for the books. And yes, I got a pretty good laugh out of it.
This trip had a little bit of everything, really. I rode about four hours the first day, because I still had to work that day. By the time I got to Des Moines, Iowa, it was 102 degrees and I felt like I was about to burst into flames. Riding a hot motorcycle on a hot day is not a great idea.
I was just glad to stop for the night and get off the interstate. While Iowa can be a lovely state, the drivers are left-lane campers of the highest order. They even make the questionable drivers in Wisconsin look good by comparison. Please people, pass in the left lane and then move to the right. Don’t stay left.
I got up early the next day with a more than 600 miles to ride and it was a beautiful morning. The sun was just coming up and I was all smiles. Until I saw the clouds. I pulled over and put on my rain gear – great to have but not fun to wear – and continued on. The rain started about five miles later. The intense lightning started about 15 miles after that.
When the lightning gets intense, it is smart to pull over. So I found a gas station and parked my bike under the shelter at the pumps and went inside.
It was one of those places with tables where the locals go for a morning chat. I ran into a local rancher who was nursing a coffee. We had a great conversation about life, travels, the state of the world.
I love moments like this when I travel. I enjoy making a momentary connection with someone with a life far different form my own. These moments enrich my life.
That is one thing I love about traveling on a motorcycle. People always talk to me. They ask about riding in the weather. They ask how far you are traveling. They ask about the bike itself. They talk about their own experiences on a motorcycle. This stuff doesn’t happen when I am traveling by car.
I had a great visit with my son. It is always great to see him and spend time with him. He is a great dude.
But this will always be the trip where I got hit by cow pee. That is just the way it will be remembered. But you have to admit, it’s a great story.