Friday, July 11, 2008
Epic Journey: Day Six
The little westward spur you see in the middle of our track is from our detour to the Deke Slayton Museum in Sparta, WI, which doubles as a bike museum:
A bit hot and muggy, so we left Old Man Neptune with some water in the shade of a big tree by the little Masonic building that houses a number of museums.
The volunteer who admitted us to the museum highlighted this artifact from the bittersweet Apollo 17 mission right up front.
Of course we have to look at a bike museum!
I can't imagine riding one of those old "boneshakers" around Vermont.
100 points if you can ID all the Original Seven without cheating. I did, though I spaced for a moment and swapped the middle and upper right at first.
Life also promoted the Seven Wives, too.
A volunteer built a scale mockup of the Mercury capsule. E's shorter than the astronauts, but there was a 6 foot height limit so the spacecraft was still pretty tiny for her.
As close as I'll ever get to donning a suit.
The way they displayed Deke's Mercury pressure suit made me laugh since it looks like a mummy.
Posing with Deke himself.
Lounging at the La Quinta in Madison.
Deke was a neat guy who didn't get to fly as originally planned, but eventually was able to go up as part of Apollo-Soyuz (doing so, oddly enough, with the first man to walk in space). Being a space geek I really wanted to check the museum out and E obliged.
Not long after we made it to Madison, represented by the blue circle at the lower right of our track. We were supposed to get off at Exit 135B, but...failed to. Then we used the live updates from Google Maps on E's Crackberry, which were...not so accurate. But we already had a reservation at the hotel and weren't in a big hurry, so we enjoyed a scenic tour of the state capital (even drove by the capitol) before checking in. Speaking of which, I need to call rory at No Capital...
Inching our way across the US:
Last leg: 323 mi
Trip odometer: 2262 mi
Maximum speed: 105 mph
Average speed: 70 mph
Number of plague-infested prairie dogs seen: 0
Number of vintage Wall Drug signs seen: 218
Highest elevation: 5724 ft
Lowest elevation: 46 ft
Speeding tickets handed out to NTodd: 0
Near heart attacks from flashing lights in mirror: 3
Have you checked out the Old Spokes Home in Burlington? (North Winooski, near Sam's Unfin. Furniture) The have a great little museum of old bikes, including the big front wheel thingies
Posted by: Gromit | Jul 11, 2008 9:43:00 PM
Glad you are enjoying our state. Hope the rest of your trip is highly eventful, in the best sense of the word. Drive carefully, don't hit any deer.
Posted by: coldH2Owi | Jul 11, 2008 9:58:46 PM
Have a safe trip. I had the pleasure of taking the Empire Builder from Portland to Chicago a few years ago, and greatly enjoyed it. (OT - Chicago to Baltimore via the New River Gorge was subsequently spectacular)
But do tell us about the 105 mph episode. We just know you've been waiting for someone to ask.
Posted by: gbbalto | Jul 11, 2008 10:14:37 PM
Gromit - I've driven and ridden by Old Spokes--my in-town friends use them--but I've never been in!
coldH2O - oddly, we saw more (dead) deer in SD than we have in WI.
gbb - oh, okay. We were in MT and there was a nice straight, flat stretch and rumor has it they still don't enforce speed limits, so...I was going to go faster, but Ericka noticed the speed and hinted that I might consider decelerating. But it was fun, and our average through the state was pretty good. Fucking MN dropped the limit down to 70 and WI's 65, which is killing me!
Posted by: NTodd | Jul 11, 2008 10:42:21 PM
Hey, I rode one of those museum bikes when I was a kid. I recognize the "saddle shoe" seat. They were all the rage back then.
Posted by: Lesley | Jul 12, 2008 12:06:59 AM
NTodd - Thanks! I've done similar speeds on the autobahns and it does feel great to let it rip. Nice to do it on less busy US roads - I did hitch through MT and NV in 1972 when there were NO speed limits (MT rides were characterized by (a) 6-pack of beer by driver's side (b) lurid tales of one particular hitchhicking psychopath - but I was always offered a beer). On the autobahns, though - there is nothing like feeling like King of the Road at 105 and then suddenly finding yourself being tailgated with flashing headlights by some rocket ship that came up out of nowhere. The Passat diesel wagon was just not up to the competition (AND I had had to bitch and moan some at Frankfurt airport even to get that instead of the roller skate that I had apparently been assigned).
Posted by: gbbalto | Jul 12, 2008 1:03:44 AM
So, onto the Greatest City On Earth, home of the Cubs!
I don't think your route out of CheeseheadLand will take you by Campbellsport, which is where Mom and Dad's ashes are scattered.
Ohio by Sunday?
Posted by: Buckeye, Dealer of Rare Coins | Jul 12, 2008 8:16:54 AM
Lesley - LOL. There were a lot of bikes I remember from the Olden Days, though none that I actually rode.
gbb - oh man, the Autobahn is sweet. Only rode on it once: very fast cab ride from a hotel to the airport in Frankfurt.
Buck - actually, we're just going to transit ChiTown and head straight for Toledo by this evening. We might even go to the zoo!
Posted by: NTodd | Jul 12, 2008 10:57:28 AM
You're not stopping in the Greatest City On Earth!?
(sulks, turns in the general direction of I-90 and drops trou).
I haven't been to the Toledo Zoo since 1983, me and mom and dad met up with Barb and her new beau (now hubby) there.
Posted by: Buckeye, Dealer of Rare Coins | Jul 12, 2008 1:06:30 PM
hey, my friend is doing a study at NASA right now! my friend is an astronaut, my friend is an astronaut!
pillownaut.blogspot.com, if you're interested.
Posted by: barbie2be | Jul 12, 2008 6:22:56 PM
1. John Glenn
2. Tom Hanks
3. Kevin Bacon
4. Gary Sinise
5. Leonard Nimoy
6. Martin Landau
7. Dorothy Hamill
Seven out of seven! Not bad for a foreigner.
Posted by: Diane | Jul 15, 2008 9:11:26 PM