Day 5: Mostly Maintenance

One of the many things that makes riding a vintage motorcycle different than a newer model is the maintenance.  While you guys/gals on new bikes might go a whole riding season without making a single adjustment, my '33 Harley needs to be attended to on a daily basis.  The good news is that the maintenance is pretty basic.  You can essentially break down most of the tasks into one of two categories:  the first being lubrication and the second being mechanical adjustments.  That adds up to one saddlebag filled with hand tools and the other filled with various lubricants.

To start off, my bike was overdue for a valve adjustment.  If you've never worked on an engine before, that might sound a little intimidating, but actually it is a simple job.  All you need is a feeler gauge to check the gap between the end of the valve stem and the threaded adjuster.  To set the desired gap, you loosen the lock nut on the adjuster, rotate the adjuster to achieve the correct gap and then tighten the lock nut back down.   Since my bike was already on the center stand, I also went ahead and changed the oil, topped off my transmission fluid and went over all the fasteners I could get a wrench on.  That doesn't sound like much, but it still took a couple hours to complete.

It was around 11AM when both bikes were finally packed and ready to head out, so after filling up with gas the main focus was finding lunch.  Right on time, a BBQ joint was spotted on the horizon with wood smoke curling up behind it.  Nothing beats hickory smoked pork and as interesting as the special Paducah Dog sounded, I had to go with the BBQ sandwich.

After lunch we said goodbye to Kentucky and crossed over the Ohio River into the city of Cairo, Illinois.  Like it's namesake in Egypt, Cairo had once been a very prosperous city.  Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, it was a major steamboat and railroad hub in the early 1900s.  Sadly those days are gone, but the impressive architecture still remains to harken back to better times.

We were barely in Illinois for more than 30 minutes before we crossed over the Mississippi river and into Missouri.  The first town we came to was Sikeston, so we pulled off to pickup up a state map at the local Walmart.  Turns out the Walmart of Sikeston carried maps for every state that borders Missouri, but failed to stock a single map of Missouri!  While we poked at our phones trying to find where to go next, we got word that Sikeston is home to a restaurant called Lambert's Cafe.  I'd never heard of Lambert's, but they have the honor of being named the top place to "pig out" in America.  Sounded like a challenge to me and within the hour we had set up camp just outside of town at the Town and Country RV Park, making ready for a serious meal.

Lambert's did not disappoint with their huge portions and what they called "pass arounds".  Basically you ordered your meal (which was plenty big enough) and then while you ate, servers came by with additional side items that they happily mounded on your plate.  They also had large dinner rolls which they literally threw to the customers across the restaurant.  I left the restaurant more than stuffed and spent the rest of the evening in a mild food coma.

Only 120 miles today, but we ate so much food at Lambert's that we will make up the miles by not needing to eat for a few days.

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