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Old 04-07-2008, 11:30 AM   #16
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:57 PM   #17
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:59 PM   #18
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:01 PM   #19
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In the morning, after some trail mix and craisains, I headed up the coast, one back road at a time. I got lucky when I turned left on a gravel road and ended up at a lobster shack on a costal inlet.















I had every intention of photographing the lobster dinner before I ate it, but when it was ready, I was ravenous and forgot all about taking pictures.





A one pound lobster, a pound of steamers, an ear of corn and bag of potato chips for $14. The lobster was delicious. The view was equally fabulous.

After the best lunch ever, I headed North along the coast toward the Acadia National Park. Riding through Bar Harbor Maine was enough to convince me that I will vacation there at some point. It is spectacular. Just outside of town, the scenery is still great.











Just after going through Bar Harbor, I stopped and put $2.50 in a locked box and took a load of firewood and then headed to get fuel and a half dozen oat-sodas.






The bungee cords held the wood in place, but the load of kindling fell out as I rode into the park. With an axe to split my own kindling, I wasn't about to hang a U-Turn to pick up a couple pieces of kindling. Just as the dusk turned to night, I pulled into my campsite in Acadia National Park.



I hadn't had a campfire since PA. Cold Maine microbrews and a crackling campfire made the perfect end to my first full day on the coast of Maine.

As I broke camp in the morning, I noticed a family camped nearby with the Dad wearing a t-shirt from the VIR 500. The Virginia International Raceway in Southwest Virginia is nationally recognized as a premiere motorsports park.

Unfortunately, as I got off my bike to talk to him, I removed my riding glasses and broke them. Those were really nice glasses. Pan-Optx have a foam goggle-like eye piece that keeps wind and debris out of a rider's eyes in any condition. They were super-expensive 10 years ago when I bought them and had served me well, but they still had many years worth of use… until I broke them.

Acadia National Park is huge. Riding around on the road that goes through the park took a couple of hours. I rode to the top of Cadillac Mountain and went down to the Sandy Beach (original name eh?)











On Sandy Beach I met a HS teacher from Ohio who was about to retire and went on summer-long trips each summer. He grew up in a little town in Ohio called Washington Courthouse, the same little town that my Grandpa drives 50 miles to for dinner each week. The small-world episodes really make the trip exciting.




The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain is really neat. Sometimes, taking pictures while riding one-handed yields junk photos that go straight to the recycle bin. But sometimes, they are spectacular.













After leaving Acadia, I rode inland to make my way North and cross the border. There was enough time to take back roads and roam around before going North. It was only 10:00, but I'd been riding around Acadia since before 5:00, so when I saw sighs for the Atlantic Brewing Company, I decided to stop in.

I tasted a half a dozen beers an then left to go find breakfast.





Fitting in Maine, I had a Lobster quiche at the Moose Crossing restaurant.






The food was great and the waitress kept my coffee full even though I tried my best to drink faster than she could refill.

Mmmmmmmm.... coffee.......

A couple hours later as I went to swap my yellow-tinted riding glasses for my black regular glasses, I realized I’d left them at the restaurant. Having broken my Pan Optix that morning, it really sucked to lose my only other pair of glasses with dark lenses. I tried to call, but the breakfast joint had closed.

Northern Maine was full of gorgeous scenes.




This sign reminded me of a Grateful Dead tune. “Saint Stephen will remain, all he's lost he shall regain, seashore walk by the suds and the foam, been there so long, he's got to calling it home.”








Ever wonder where to find the best seafood? Look no further than St. George Canada. The sign says "Best Seafood in North America." Bold statement.





There's a little slice of heaven right there on my plate.









After getting back across the border, I rode Rt. 1 along the coast for a few miles to a state park on Whiting Bay. Just before dark, I rode in with a load of wood and got a spot right on the water. It was almost as spectacular as was Lake Ontario at Sodus Point. Though the bugs were awful and the heat oppressing Oh well...









After sitting by the smoky fire to avoid the bugs, I crawled into the tent for the last relaxing night on this leg of the trip. I set my alarm for 4:30 so I could log a lot of miles. I planned on allowing for 700 miles each day so that if I had to stop to avoid storms, I could still make in to Carolina in two days. My family would be waiting for me to spend a few days with them before I headed West for the Alaskan leg of the adventure.

I broke camp and was on the road before five. The ride to Bangor was one of the best ways to start a day. There were few people on the roads, and good fortune smiled on me as I slowed to 25 just in time as I rolled by the local sheriff. There wasn't a "reduce speed ahead" sign and the 25mph caught me off guard. Gotta’ love providence.

During my first stop on I-95, I talked to a guy on a bimmer adventure bike. He's a Brit in his 50's who was on his way to Panama. He had family in Savanna and Asheville and his wife and kids were flying in to meet him. They were flying together to Vegas and Napa for a few weeks and then he was flying back to resume riding. Canada, the four corners in the US, and ultimately, Panama; what a ride. In front of his trunk was a leather bag strapped to the seat. It was a brown alligator bag that looked as if it had traveled the world a time or two, and had generations of world travel left in it. The bag was clearly more valuable than my Goldwing. The guy (Eric) was such a badass, I wouldn't be surprised if he killed the gator himself and stitched the bag on the spot. What a cool guy!






During a pitstop in Marlborough Mass, my GPS notified me of a nearby bar. My water bottles were empty and I really wanted to catch the Weather Channel to modify my route to best avoid thunderstorms.




The bartender, Joe, had played football for Maris College and told me to take the Taconic State Parkway. That worked well because I wanted to get as far West as possible, even though it was out of the way. After a couple of cold ones, I kicked back for the leisurly ride on the parkway. I took the Mass Turnpike to the Taconic and then rode through The Delaware Water Gap National park and got to Pocono, PA as the thunderstorms finally caught me.

It was nearly dark, so I began looking for a place to camp. After getting several bad directions, I found myself at 8:30 in pouring rain, with a headlight that didn't work. I pulled into a KOA, but no one was around. I could barely see and went riding around the campground looking for a place to put a tent. I turned left and suddenly found myself not on a gravel road, but on a muddy trail used by earth-moving equipment. The front end was plowing through 6+ inches of wet clay.

Remember that my bike is huge, and I'm 5'7 and can't get both feet on the ground. The one foot I could get down sunk in a bunch of slipery mud. This sucks!!!

Keeping the bike up became a nightmare. The speedometer read 30 mph and I wasn't moving an inch. Twice, I was spinning the rear wheel and got on the pegs to jump a foot and land on the seat to give more traction to the spinning rear wheel. After what seemed like eternity and after several points of being stuck, I made it a very long 80 yards back to gravel. It would have been awful to drop my bike in that mess, I got lucky as hell.

The bike and I were quite muddy and I was sufficiently freaked out. It was now dark. I got back on the road and put on a turn signal so that others could see me. I rode in the rain to the nearest hotel. So much for an all-camping adventure.

I was so glad to have my bike on its kickstand on asphalt.

I left Pocono before 6:00 and made great time heading South on 81. As I reached my old stomping-grounds near Front Royal, VA it became clear that I could take a huge detour and still make NC before dark. The ride on 340 to 211 was fantastic. All the twisty curves and mountain roads of Skyline Drive, without the low speed limit and drastic penalties for non-compliance. I got on Skyline Drive and rode 100 miles to Afton Mountain where Skyline Drive meets the Blue Ridge Parkway.






What a great way to end this leg of the trip. Afton Mountain is 30 miles from where I grew up.
The nostalgic ride on 151 past Wintergreen really capped things off. Now to spend a few days with my Family on the Carolina coast.

In the last three days, I rode 678, 684 & 572 miles respectivly. Over 1,900 in three days. Not extreme, but I was certainly ready to kick back for a bit.
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Sly-on-2 screwed with this post 04-07-2008 at 02:49 PM
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:45 PM   #20
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After a few days at the beach with my family, but with very little riding, I was ready to log a lot of miles. But first, the bike needed work. Off to spend a day in the driveway.









Before that though, a bit of an ATGATT tangent.

As you’ve noticed, I wear an open faced helmet. Haven’t worn a full one in a long time. Deep down, I know that I ought to dress for the crash. I ride hard. Very hard. But I’m also quite alert and very experienced. But neither of those things matter if you crash without the right gear. And anyone that’s ridden as much as I have (and most of you guys and gals too,) know that being good doesn’t mean that you won’t go down.

So I ordered a TourMaster jacket and pants, both with armor. My leather First Gear jacket is awesome, but not rain proof. I also decided to stop and buy a full-faced helmet. So this next part of the trip, the main part, begins with me having a fundamentally different frame of mind. Anyhow, back to the RR.

Before leaving, I had to fix the starting problem that happened in Western PA and continued for over 3,000 miles through VT, NH,ME & Canada. I didn't want to start the bike with a screwdriver any longer. So many starts had left my screwdriver with pock marks. Laying metal across the posts of the solenoid had gotten old after several hundred iterations.














You can see the two posts below, they are obscured by my hand above.

I disassembled the throttle-side handlebar assembly and cleaned the brass components of the starting switch. Problem solved. The bike starts and the headlight works. Outstanding! I found out that the start switch temporarily cuts power to the headlight during starting. So with a bad switch, I had no headlight. So much for my work in the parking lot in Vermont.







The bike is loaded differently this time too as I’m now going to be gone for many months. I have a second dry bag for food and cooking stuff. My first dry bag has my tent, thermarest, axe and sleeping bag. Saddlbags have tools, computer, water, camera bag, etc. My tour-pac has shoes, towels and stuff that I would never need except at night. I had another little dry bag for random stuff. The kitchen sink was strapped the the floorboards... er.. wait... I had everything but the kitchen sink.

I left Winston-Salem after viewing a Weather Channel radar map of the Southeast that was predominantly green. Being three hours away from Asheville, I was three hours from purchasing a full-face helmet. Riding in the rain in an open face helmet is an exercise in pain management. Having ridden exclusively in open faced helmets for the last ten years, I was used to it, but not looking forward to it.


The clouds threatened to sting my face with needle-like drops, but the rain held off.





I bought a new Arai Quantum 2 helmet (in flat-black of course) and hit the road. The rain began 15 minutes later and continued through WNC (Western North Carolina) and TN.




With raingear and face protection, the ride across the mountains was actually quite serene. On my new faux i-pod, I had some good Old-Time tunes playing. All the rain songs, train songs, and a few lonesome tunes. What a great way to kick off the trip.

The sun poked back out in Kentucky and I kicked back on the highway pegs and enjoyed the Kentucky Mountains.






I made it to Hazard KY around 7:30 and stopped at a campground near the Daniel Boone National Forest. I thought it was a State Park, but it turned out to be a private campground. Though beautiful and on a river, I wasn’t prepared to spend $20. The nice lady who owned the place told me I could make Daniel Boone before sunset and camp free, and then offered a spot on the river to me and then offered to cover the $20. How generous! I unloaded the bike, set up camp, and enjoyed some tuna before firing up my stove to make a pot of tea.













After spending over a month on the road without a stove, having a hot cup of tea after dinner seemed like the best way to end a day. It was amazing.

So I’m a bit of a pack rat. I hate throwing stuff away that I may use again one day. I also tend to buy food that is on sale and is non-perishable. Hence my collection of about a half dozen flavors of tea. I brought the remains of six boxes with me on this trip, about 50 bags in all. The Twinning’s Red Bush tea that I drank tonight is probably two years old. But there is a pretty good chance that it is not two years old, but rather five years. Anyhow, it was delicious and I’m finally eating the food I’ve been hoarding for so long.


It wasn’t very light out when I woke up at 5:30. The fog was so thick that from the tent, it seemed as if dawn had yet to break. I got up and dressed in ATGATT for the first time..





The look of Lacrosse shorts and cowboy boots is almost enough to make me reconsider. After putting on my armored and waterproof pants, I didn’t look nearly so ridiculous. I grabbed my new helmet and posed for a photo and then jumped on the bike.












For some reason, I though I should ride through Hazard listening to the theme song from Smokey and the Bandit. I pressed play, but then decided that humming along to: “they boys are hot down in Atlanta, and the beer’s in Tex-Arkana” wasn’t the way to begin the day. Instead, I put on some Bossonova. Riding to a saucy Samba along a river in a gorge at dawn really set the tone for the day. (Though I did hum a bit of: “If I can keep it on the ground, when I put the hammer down, then I’ll be Texas bound and flyin’)



I hopped on the Hal Rodgers Parkway. It was a beautiful ride. After leaving the parkway for more rural roads, I came across this; a church named Egypt in Kentucky. An hour or so later, I went through Bagdad, KY. Interesting. I couldn’t pass up a restaurant called Lighthouse. As a fan of the old structures, I wasn’t expecting to see a Lighthouse themed place in Kentucky. Perhaps someone has opened a Derby restaurant in NC?












The Kentucky hills gave way to Midwest farmland. The ride wasn’t as great, but the scenery was great. I rode through Indiana and stopped at a town called Napoleon and a restaurant called Bonaparte’s Retreat. When I saw a sandwich called Waterloo, I didn’t even read the description, I just ordered it. Hilarious. It was good. I went to a little town where I’d grown up as a little kid before moving to Virginia. Saw the old house and rode a bit of gravel. Good scenery for sure.
























Back on the road. An hour later, I had to get on the Interstate, agggh. The GPS said I had 5 hours to Chicago and I had to be there in 5 hours. No time to take the scenic route.
My buddy and his wife are taking me out to see the town and I care more about seeing downtown Chicago than riding through farmland. I’ll have time for that after I leave Chicago.

The ride into the city was hell. I’ll leave it at that as I don’t care to recall it. The traffic, the confusion, the weight of a 1,000 lb motorcycle; it was most unpleasant.

I'd logged just shy of 600 miles today. The beers are gonna' be tastey!

I found a place to park on the street and then lugged my gear inside. A few quick hellos, a not-so-quick shower, a cold beer and a couple of stories and then we set off for dinner and drinks (with me wearing a borrowed shirt.) My buddy's passport is full of stamps while mine is not. Perhaps I'll make it to Chile one day. If not, at least I got to wear the t-shirt.



It was a great day followed by a great night.

We decided to see an afternoon Cubs game and the three of us walked to Wrigley. On the way, we passed this bar. Great sidewalk decor! I have a new goal: Don't let my Goldwing suffer such a fate and end up planted in a Chicago "flower garden."



The search for tickets didn’t go so well. We couldn’t get in, so we watched from across the street. The Cubby Bear is a great bar with a diehard crowd. My Chicago Dog was delicious and the beer was cold.















The sun was shining and we could hear the roar from the stadium. The Cubs spanked the Astros and Chicago was a happy town.

We went to an Outdoor Store and I got a new headlamp. I can’t complain that my old one suddenly started shorting out while in Hazard, KY. I’ve used it hundreds of times and have put it through some rough use. A headlamp is a necessity, as I rarely have a fire.

This morning I’m up early and writing about the last couple of days before heading off to see the Busch race at Chicagoland speedway. Tomorrow morning, I’ll ride along Lake Michigan. Then, Huron will be the only one that I haven’t ridden a good stretch of coastline.





Check out my new ATGATT setup.





The forecast is sunny and I’m anxious to get back on the road, though today I’ll only ride about 60 miles. Tomorrow I’ll log some miles. But for now, I'm off to see my 4th NASCAR race of the year; the 8th if counting local short-track races.

We said goodbye and I left to ride the hellish streets of Chicago. It would be nice to be in a car... a very big car with a loud horn and a solid bumper. Oh well, the Goldwing will have to do.












The ride along Lakeshore Drive was spectacular and quite manageable. The toll-road out of town was a bit dicey, but the downtown ride made it all worth while.



I found a great spot right across from Turn 1 and the lady, skeptical at first, then offered me a spot for $10. Once she knew what I was doing and why, she became very friendly and offered a spot to me for a small fraction of what the other guests paid.

I set up and left for the race. Good luck continued as I found a guy who’s buddy bailed and so he had an extra ticket. Brian sold it to me at a great price and we headed off to catch the green flag.























After returning to camp around 6:00, that's when the post-race fun began.



The guys camped next to me were great. They were two friends in their mid career, who came down to watch racing.

Here are a few of the characters I met at the campsite. One guy was drinking Red Bull and Liquor of some sort. He and his girlfriend were the loud and hell-raising type. Hysterical too, they had us all in stitches. He insisted that everyone take a sip. After all that insisting, he didn't have many takers. Drinking liquor from a leather canteen isn't many people's idea of a raceday. How about some burgers, potato salad and a cold Budweiser?

















I met this guy a few yards from my tent. Just for fun, he'd built a replica '57 Chevy Bel-Air Body for a golf cart. It was immaculate. The doors opened and were precise. The paint appeared ready to drip, though it had dried months ago. Amazing!




Someone told me that I could walk into the infield during the evening. Wow! I grabbed a cooler of beer and my camera and started walking. The infield score tower marks the spot.






I spent the next five hours meeting some really cool people and seeing a lot of unique things. Right away I noticed the difference between the infield tailgates and those camped outside of the track. There were so many custom busses alongside the $1M diesel pusher motor homes. Some of the busses were quite elaborate. I decided to spend my night hanging out with “bus people.” The quest began and during the evening I went on a dozen busses and have pictures of some. The people were regular people who decided that a few times each year, they would travel in style to a place where they could have the most unique tailgate among 100,000+ tailgaters.





























The guy taking this picture had been playing "drinking horseshoes." True, he'd been winning, but clearly even a good game hadn't spared his sobriety. It's a good picture of the bus, though having my head in the picture would have been nice. Can’t expect too much from a drunken racefan though. I don't thank him for the bad picture, but I do thank him for the tequilla shots... all of them.



This one if for you guys. The ADV Salute from atop the party deck. HELL YEA!!!!






Who says there aren't chicks at NASCAR races? This guy found someone to hang out with.






The folks playing Jenga made from pressure treated 4x4’s cut into two foot lengths were all family. Over 50 family members came to have an annual get-together at Chicagoland. This little dude had won the last three consecutive games. He had become a family legend.





The asked me to sign a Jenga piece and then insisted that I play. I was glad it was the beginning of the Jenga game as Jenga and I have a love-hate relationship. I love when my turn is over and hate when it comes around again.


Don't know if you can read it or not, I signed it: "Sly 1200 Goldwing North America 2007" My handwriting was bad, perhaps from so many miles of working the throttle. Perpaps the whiskey played a part. Or maybe the jello shots, could have been the tequilla, no... must have been the beer bong. Nope, it was the rum punch. Or maybe it was something that I can't remember. Enough speculation... back to the RR.



I'm not sure what was going on here. A soldier, an inflatable monkey, and a bunch of onlookers. Gotta' love the infield.







Back at the campground around midnight, I met up with the guys from earlier and went over to watch a band play in our campground. They were good.


That's all for now. I've got to go sleep one off. Tomorrow is going to be a big day. MI & WI.


Better have one more beer before bed. Because good judgement turned his back on me hours ago.
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Sly-on-2 screwed with this post 04-07-2008 at 10:02 PM
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:32 PM   #21
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Keep it coming
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:18 PM   #22
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Great stuff, keep it coming!!
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:00 PM   #23
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Wow, that's livin' the life. A bike, lots of beer, self-determination, and a grand destination - keep the story going!
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:51 PM   #24
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What a great story and greater still, pictures. Keep it coming. Thanks for taking the time to share your trip.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:17 PM   #25
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The morning of Sunday, July 15th, I left Chicagoland as the race fans filed in. I had slept like a log and got a late start on Sunday as the race crowd poured in. It was tempting to stay, but the price wasn’t right and I was anxious to get on the road. I’d got a good night’s sleep, which is good considering my tango with libations the night before. The booze had been a kind dancing partner; a great night followed by a surprisingly pleasant morning.



From Chicagoland, I took the advice of my race neighbors, and headed to West Bend, WI for the last day of a BMW rally. The guys from WI told me about a big rally and it sounded like fun. There was sure to be tons of overpriced crap that I couldn’t afford.

In some little town near the speedway, I stopped for gas. As I was riding through town, the battery cover flew off my bike; a plastic piece or in "Honda speak," an expensive piece. I turned 180 degrees and hoped to get it before someone ran over it. I had to hang another U-turn to get to the spot and there was a cop there directing race traffic. I pulled a U-turn right in front of the cop. As I pulled way, he screamed: "DUMBASS!" I couldn't argue with him. Had I known how prophetic his words would be, I'd have parked the bike and taken a day off. It's pretty embarrassing being called a dumbass by a cop. Even if there's no one around to hear it, it's still embarrassing.

In my defense, both U-turns were done with unmistakable precision. Badass u-turns if you will.


Locked handlebars, excessive lean-angle, feet on the pegs and heavy on the throttle. I was proud of my u-turns, even though both were stupid. The first was in front of oncoming traffic. I knew I had enough time to accelerate out of the way, but it was still rude. Had I dropped the bike, I would have run to the shoulder in time to see my bike run over. The second was right in front of a cop who was standing in the median directing traffic. Had he been in a car, he would have chased me down and ticketed me. I knew he was powerless and exploited it, thus saving my expensive piece of plastic. He retaliated by yelling at me. Grabbed the plastic and stuffed it in my jacket and nailed the throttle and made tracks.

Then, I rode past The Motor Company and wanted a Harley more then ever… as I rode by on a Honda. Yeah, I want a Harley… so I can ride it like Cavebiker. I’m clearly in the “chrome don’t get ‘ya home” camp. Not a fan of the Orange County Choppers show, or their trailer-queen bikes, but the Gander Mountain Bike is just my style… ugly and functional. I like the reliability and power of Harleys. Also, it’s American made. More than I can say for the 2009 Goldwings. Anyhow, I like all bikes (except that ugly-ass new Victory touring rig) and don’t want to alienate readers, so I’ll get off the soapbox. Plus, I’ll buy a ’74 Honda CB 350 and a ’79 KZ1000 before I drop the coin on Milwaukee iron.



I pulled into the fairgrounds at 4:00 and it was empty. Not a bike in site. I finally saw one guy on an old BMW off in a field next to a tent. He said it had been over for hours. Oh well. Back on the road. WTH Bimmer guys? One thing struck me though; there wasn’t a trace of a rally. No trash, nothing. Pretty cool.

I’d been on the road for six hours and decided to stop and eat. Being in Wisconsin, I had to eat cheese curds; delicious cheese curds. I’d never heard of them before spending last summer in Minnesota. I’ve never tried crack, but I can’t imagine that it’d be much better than cheese curds. Little round globs of deliciousness. What the hell is a curd you ask? Don’t ask… just shut the hell up and enjoy them with a couple frothy pints.










Speakin’ of frothy pints… riding through Fond du Lac county, I saw a bar and pulled in. From the looks of it, I wasn’t expecting much, but once inside, I was glad I’d stopped.

The entire place was made of pine and was bright and cheery. It was empty so the bartender put the NASCAR race on the big screen. He and I were the same age. Brian had bought the place from his parents earlier that year and had left his construction business to rebuild the restaurant into the greatest place around. He rides too and was quite interested in my trip. Hey Brian, pack the bike and take a few weeks to ride!

There are several people I’ve met who’ve indicated they’d like to take a trip. There are a few that I actually think will do it; Brian is one of those.

Back on the road and headed North. I went through Oshkosh and Appleton and decided to pull off the road around 8:00 to camp. The state park was a fee area; an $18 fee area. I took a National Forest road instead to find a free spot.



That’s when things took a turn for the worse, followed by a turn for the better. After riding a few miles on the National Forest Road, I turned right down a gravel side road. After a mile or so, it turned to dirt and then to single track. Oops.





I needed to get back to a road, but there wasn’t a place to turn the big rig around. Suddenly, the dirt turned to silt. Deep sand. The front end was plowing and the rabbit-ear style handlebars were shuddering in the deep stuff. I was in trouble and needed to get out of there, but there was nowhere to turn around. With so much weight over the rear wheel, the front end is especially light and not suited for plowing through deep sand. I tried to turn around by riding up an embankment and then rolling back down. The off-camber hill and my huge Goldwing made for an unpleasant combination. I dumped the bike about 10 miles from the nearest County road at dusk. The bike didn’t just go down, it went down and then down some more and both wheels were off the ground.






It was so far over that there was no way I was going to get it back up by myself. I can pick up the bike on pavement, when I have solid footing, but when I began to push it up, my feet just slid in the loose dirt.










Thank goodness for cell phone reception. I called a bar I’d passed earlier. “Hey bartender, I’m a moron, but I’m in trouble and need help. I passed your place a few miles up the road and am now off a National Forest road and dropped my bike and need help picking it up. Is there anyone there you can hand the phone to so that I can talk them into giving me a hand?

Silence

What kind of bike are you on?



An old Goldwing.



You are a moron.

A half hour later, Dave and his friends showed up in a red Pontiac and gave me a hand.
We got the bike up easily and I fired it up and rode white-knuckled with the front end all over the place until we got back on gravel. They offered to let me follow them to a great camping spot they knew of that was in the National Forest only a few miles away. The sun had faded away and visibility was nearly gone so I followed their tail lights.





We turned off a gravel road toward a lake and suddenly, sand, deep sand. It was even worse than before! I nearly lost it twice before the red car stopped and I frantically said: “Man, I’ve got to get out of here.” Dave felt bad for taking me down such a bad trail, but knew of a better place right off the gravel road. We got there as it was dark. I got off the bike and was happy to see it parked on grass. As my hands and legs still shook from the ordeal, I chatted with the folks who’d saved my day.


Here's a view of what the unsavory road conditions were like during this stretch of travel; the loose stuff that caused me so much difficulty.










In Chicago, the rubber gasket that water seals the tour pack had come loose. I used some gasket sealer and my headlamp to do a little late-night repair.

Only 363 miles today, but I was exhausted.





After some hot tea and a couple of pulls from my emergency whiskey stash, I slept amid dreams of dropped bikes.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:31 PM   #26
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sweet.


bring it on!
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:57 PM   #27
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I woke up ready to ride.

Evidently, someone had left this and it hung feet from my tent. All is good again.





A free campsite & facilities? God Bless the National Park Service.



Amidst all the hubbub, I'd not been able to enjoy the lake-view from my campsite. In the morning calm, it was quite tranquil.





The ride back to pavement in the morning gave me reason to reconsider my cavalier attitude toward taking my Goldwing off –road. I need to keep the bike on pavement or on gravel in controlled conditions. In other words, no gallivanting down gravel unless I know where the road leads. It’s a long way to Alaska and I can’t afford to wreck doing something stupid.




After returning to the pavement, I had to check out the watering hole where Dave and friends came from to help. The place is called the Cowboy Coral in Mountain, WI. Thanks Dave & Friends!



Wisconsin countryside is amazing. After awhile, I pulled over to the Rawhide Bar & Grill for breakfast.







It’s such a small world. The proprietor and her husband had just bought a piece of land near Hickory, NC and were selling the restaurant and moving to NC. We had a great time talking about NC. Their daughter lives in Mooresville and works for a well-known racing-related company. He rides a Harley and wears a helmet. That is really cool because no one in Wisconsin wears helmets. My earlier conversation with Brian confirmed that. It’s like no other state I’ve ridden through. No one wears them… not even a skid lid, much less a full-face helmet.





As I handed my card to Hannalore to pay for breakfast, she handed it back and tore up my tab. How cool! She filled my four water bottles for me and sent me on my way.

Time to leave the National Forest and stick to pavement.




A few hours later, I arrived in the Western UP of Michigan. Silver City is a cool little town on Lake Superior. After the fiasco the night before, I decided not to go backwoods looking for a free spot to camp. They’ll be plenty of those out West. The State Park was $25. No thanks.



I headed inland about 10 miles and got a room. The hotel is called the Konteka. It has a bar, restaurant, laundry and bowling alley. It was nice to get clean clothes, a hot meal and a cold beer. Though I only paid $40 for the room, by the time I left the Konteka had much more of my money. It was worth every nickel.

The lady from the front desk / restaurant / bar / bowling alley called me 4 times to tell me the bears were feeding. I sprinted from the shower to the lounge only to find them gone. The forth sprint was the charm; I saw bears!






I did laundry, met some cool people at the bar, ate a big 'ole plate of food and then had a snit of Wild Turkey. All before crawling in between sheets. As in no zippers and thermarest. Ahhhhh.






I woke up early on Tuesday, the 17th and rode 626 miles from the UP, across MN, across ND, and into Pollock SD.













68,000 on the old ticker. This bike's been good to me so far.










I took a freeway around Duluth for about 10 miles. The rest of the day was solely two lane roads. From the ND border, I rode state route 13 for nearly 300 miles. North Dakota is beautiful. The prairie is stunning and the crops never ending. I saw thousands of birds, possibly tens of thousands. They are everywhere. I even saw hundreds of pheasants. The beautiful birds run across the road. Stunning.

I rode by the Bobcat plant. Ingersoll Rand is headquartered in Charlotte and I’d interviewed there for an internship the year before. They talk about Bobcat, but it was cool to see the place.



































I rode the Lewis and Clark trail until dusk. It was getting dark and I needed to get off the road. I saw a trailer down by a river and the guy had a utility building and I could see an Ultra Classic parked inside. I left the Goldwing running and knocked on his door and told him I was traveling and asked if I could throw up my tent in the corner of his yard. Sure, he said. But if you go another 10 miles you’ll make Pollock and can camp there. Nice. Thanks man. Off I went and then crossed into SD and came upon Pollock. Population 329, Pollock is the coolest little town. There is a park in town on the water where one can camp: free. I set up camp and headed into town for dinner. I rode the few hundred yards to the city center because it was about to rain.



















At Slick’s Place I met Arlo. Arlo went to 'Nam in 65. At 68, he still farms for 14 hours a day. He has over 1,000 acres and 100 head of cattle. As the youngest of 11, he had some neat stories. We talked for a couple of hours. What a guy. After a couple of great burgers and a few rounds of longnecks, I went back to get some sleep. Before I left, I promised him I’d go to Pierre in the morning and see the Veterans memorial. It is a really nice memorial. While living in DC, I enjoyed the Ride to the Wall in which 500,000 motorcycle converge in the Pentagon parking lot and then ride to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.



It is a powerful event. People line the streets from FairfaxArlington to the District to wave as the bikers ride by. I think I convinced Arlo to take a trip to the Capitol when he retires and to see the monuments. If he makes it, he promised to go to Charlottesville to see Monticello. In Jefferson’s entry way, the décor is that of a museum with pieces brought back by Lewis & Clark. (I’m from Charlottesville, VA) to

Wish I had digital images of the Ride to the Wall. It’s amazing! I rode my V-Max in 2000 & 2001.


After 626 miles, it was so nice to crawl into my sleeping bag. Goodnight world, let's do it again tomorrow.



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Old 04-07-2008, 10:06 PM   #28
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Glad to see a carolina son doing so well!

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Old 04-08-2008, 01:25 AM   #29
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The road dreams are made of...
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:55 AM   #30
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I'm really enjoying reading this

thanks

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