July 9, 2016: Lincoln, NE
Whenever we cross into a new state somebody will ask: "what's the state motto of X?" Normally one of us (usually Jesse) knows the answer, but there was no need when we crossed into Nebraska only 9+ hours & 345 miles after we left Nevada, MO.
The Good Life.
We're not even sure (nor do we care) if that is the real state motto, but it's good enough for us. Daily reminders to each other about how amazing & insane this trip has already been are enough to confirm that this is, indeed, the good life. But we learned today that sometimes the good life includes a test, and today's covered what we've learned when it applies to mechanical skills, patience, and emotional fortitude.
We'll explain why there's a bunch of twisted metal on the ground in a minute, but this morning started with our 4th challenge: The Hamburglar! The one & only Big Daddy himself put a cul-de-sac/eyebrow on the line by stopping at every single McDonald's we saw for 345 miles and ordering something from the dollar menu.
Who eats ice cream at 7am?
Having passed what felt like hundreds of McDonald's over the last 5 days - we all had really high hopes to see Big Daddy's face every time we saw another set of golden arches... but it just didn't happen. I guess The Hamburglar Gods were on the Daddy's side today, because we only saw a total of FOUR McDonald's restaurants.
Then again, we didn't see much of anything today except rolling hills, straight stretches, and some corn fields. The day was going about as boring (and hot) as we had predicted it might after looking at the map, but we got the bright idea to get into a very tight row and 'draft' each other to make up some speed the same way cyclists do during races.
It didn't take long before the 'drafting' turned into some sweet choreographed Blue Angel-type maneuvers, but just like the landscape... even that got boring. It wasn't long after we broke formation when we heard a loud BANG, saw sparks, a puff of blue smoke, and we helplessly watched as Paul went into the ditch at 50mph.
His transmission seized (we still don't know exactly how/why), causing his back tire to lock up and send him fish-tailing off the road. By some miracle Paul was able to keep the scooter upright and came to a full stop at the bottom of the ditch where he sat down shaking from adrenaline. Nobody wanted to say it at the time, but if this had happened 1/4 mile earlier - he would have hit a guardrail. Ten miles earlier and he would have tragically ended our sweet Blue Angel routine.
He was very shaken up, but it's still pretty difficult to take him seriously with that stupid haircut. Glad you're ok, buddy.
Justin and Derric immediately ripped the transmission apart (photo above) and stared in disbelief as they sorted through the broken bits of metal, rubber, and scalding-hot oil. Joe and Big Daddy called any scooter shops within 100 miles to check on the availability of spare parts (shocking, nobody in Nebraska has any) and Elliott & Dane helped us swap parts from our spare Zuma to put us back on the road.
The bugs out here have been getting nasty, so we grabbed some Motul helmet cleaner and gave everybody a fresh view for the final leg to Lincoln. We made a joke about "keeping our eyes peeled for flying parts," but it was mostly serious. Today was scary.
We pulled in to Lincoln with plenty of daylight left and were happy to see some care packages waiting for us at the hotel. Big thanks to KIND Snack and Sparking Ice to hook us up with some treats.
Lincoln is a cool college town with a really awesome downtown district, and tonight was made EXTRA special by finally meeting up with Carly who runs the Camp Erin in town! We had been playing email tag for a few months, but it was great to chat about her story, her camp, and The Moyer Foundation while we enjoyed a beer and ate some amazing pizza.
Carly is a terrific ambassador for TMF and we're very happy that we were able to spend some time together.
We were all pretty emotional spent and physically exhausted, so we sent Justin off to the laundromat across the street to wash everybody's sweaty clothes while we took turns showering before bed.
We couldn't leave without showing you another slice of this amazing country and how gorgeous it has been to experience it from the seat of 125cc machines.
Cheers to living the good life.
--SLOW RIDE HOME