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Route 70 Rest Area, KS
Saturday, July 30, 2011 - 8:45pm by Herb
385 miles and 7 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
Since I had driven west via route 80, I thought it would be good to return via 70. This would also give me the option to visit my brother-in-law in Ohio and add some variety to the return leg.
Kansas is one of the few states that actually let RV's camp for free in their interstate highway rest areas. That fact, and the flatness of the road makes it easy to just use cruise control and head down the highway until it's time to settle down for the night.
I pulled into the rest area at mile marker 187 with about 45 minutes before sunset and got myself a cold beer. After a few sunset photos of the campsite (alas lost), I noticed 2 guys on big touring motorcycles settling down at another picnic table. Since I have always thought about crossing the country on my own motorcycle (a 1996 Honda ST1100), I walked over with a gift of a few cold beers to try and find out their story.
I learned that they were a little older than me, and had recently retired. One was a former policeman, and the other an airplane pilot. They had left from their homes in Kentucky, ridden west and were now on the return leg back home. They were just stretching their legs in the rest area before the final 2 hour ride to their motel reservation in Topeka. We got to talking about bikes, travels, and dreams of what you want to do once you've retired.
Just as I was going to excuse myself, I got an offer I couldn't refuse. "Have you ever had any genuine Kentucky moonshine?" said the former airline pilot as he pulled a mason jar half filled with a clear liquid from his saddlebag. Now I didn't want to refuse his hospitality, but I think he could see that I might be a bit reluctant to dive into the home-brew of a stranger without a little more understanding. He assured me that while you might go blind from drinking the "bad stuff", this was high quality as evidenced by the clearness of the liquid. As a final proof he took out a few dixie cups and proceeded to pour all of us a tall shot.
After finishing my drink (which was actually quite smooth, despite it's obvious high proof), and maybe another, I wobbled back the 200' to my rig wondering how these guys were going to make it to Topeka on their bikes. I was comforted the next day when I heard nothing about any motorcycle accidents on the morning news.
Rest area at mile marker 187 in Kansas along I70.
Route 70 Rest Area location map in "high definition"