DATE: The Saturday closest to the summer solstice (June 24th in 2017)
DEPARTURE POINT: The Geographical Center of the Contiguous 48 States Monument, Lebanon, KS
DEPARTURE TIME: Between dawn and sunrise (5:34 – 6:07 AM CDT)
1 mile east on KS Hwy 191
640 miles north on US Hwy 281
34 miles west on US Hwy 2
DESTINATION: The Geographical Center of North America Monument, Rugby, ND
ARRIVAL TIME: Between sunset and dusk (9:45 PM – 10:27 PM CDT)
The Smackdab route is 675 miles long, but it is neither challenging to ride nor difficult to navigate. The route is smoothly paved and well maintained throughout. U.S. Route 281 makes up 95% of the distance, except for the first mile and last 34 miles. It is mostly rural two-lane, with a couple of stretches of four-lane divided highway in southern Nebraska. There are few curvy sections; be prepared for a lot of straight-line cruising. Fortunately, traffic congestion is largely not an issue.
Speed limits vary from 55-65 MPH. With over sixteen hours to complete the trip, there is no need to exceed the posted speeds, even when taking fairly leisurely stops for gas, food, and perhaps even a bit of sightseeing.
The only potential concern on the trip is the availability of fuel for bikes that have small fuel tanks. In several stretches of North Dakota, it would be wise for riders whose bikes have a range under 120-130 miles per tank or that require high octane fuel to fill up whenever available.
The International Peace Garden (www.peacegarden.com) is located less than an hour north of Rugby and is well worth visiting. This unique and remarkable attraction is nestled in rugged, picturesque hills unlike anything seen along the Smackdab route. It makes a great side trip after you depart Rugby on Sunday.