Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Sly-on-2, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
    For the second half of 2007, I called my motorcycle “home,” as I rode over 30,000 miles across 40 States & 5 Provinces.



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    The real-time RR was posted on my blog. But the ADV inmates who&#8217;ve taken time to post inspiring reports have compelled me to do the same for all my fellow riding fools. Many of us also enjoy reading about adventures while our bikes sits cold, waiting the next time when the two-wheels roll.
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    Before I introduce myself, I want to ask the GSA, KTM & KLR guys to take a look and not write me off quite yet, simply because I chose a 21 year-old Wing as my Adventure Sled. &#8220;Yes,&#8221; it can be an &#8220;Adventure&#8221; if you ride a road bike. :D Over 2,000 miles of gravel and virtually no superslab make this adventure the real-deal. (IMHO of course.) Not to mention, six months on the road changes the vibe of the adventure. One thing I took away from the trip is that I&#8217;ll never be able to recreate it. Two to six weeks just can&#8217;t compare with the life-changing experiences that seem to happen when one truly becomes a wanderer for so long. People began to react to me differently, and I to them. Realistically, though I&#8217;ll take big trips for many years to come, a multi-month trip is probably out of the question.
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    I&#8217;m so lucky to have been able to do it once. Hope you enjoy reading about it.



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    Introduction: Well, I turned 33 on my trip. I&#8217;ve been dreaming of riding to <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:state> since I was 15. At 15, I bought a Yamaha RD 400. At 19, a Honda Hawk. After totaling it, I didn&#8217;t ride for a couple of years, but then bought an &#8217;85 V-Max at 26. I put over 20k each on both the Hawk and the Max and took 2-week trips on both. I sold the Max at 30, after it had sat for a couple of years. I bought an 1100 V-Star on e-bay, and put over 5k on it during the summer of &#8217;06 that I spent in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Minnesota</st1:place></st1:state>. I loved riding the back roads of MN and WI.



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    You crazy mo-fo&#8217;s inspired me to ride ADV style and I tried to ride that thing like a GSA. Here&#8217;s a link to the RR, if you care to see a cruiser buried to the frame.
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213654


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    <o:p> </o:p>
    On a whim, I bought the Wing on e-bay over Thanksgiving &#8216;06 and after a bit of maintenance, rode 3,000 miles in 5 days to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Key West</st1:place></st1:city> and back, just because. Then, I pulled the trigger and committed to taking a trip beginning in six months (May 2007.)



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    <o:p> </o:p>
    I&#8217;d gone back to school for two years and would finish at the end of April. Rather than get a job to start paying off the staggering student loans, I chose the FYFF route and loaded up the bike and headed out. Figured I&#8217;d ride until I either broke the bike or broke my savings account. Fortunately, the bike held up unbelievably, given the way I flogged it like a rented mule. My cheap a$$ learned quickly how to squeeze a nickel until the buffalo barked and I stayed rolling down the road for a long time, much longer than anticpated.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The beginning of the report won&#8217;t be as cool as the last four months, but I&#8217;m going to start from the beginning, so if you get bored, just skip ahead.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I&#8217;d read a few ride reports on ADV before heading out. Here&#8217;s a genuine &#8220;thank-you sir&#8221; to Kaneman. :clap I&#8217;d made it through about 150 pages before I left and really liked hearing about his saga.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Since I got back, I&#8217;ve loved reading about CaveBiker, Rogue1, DKADV, Flanga and others.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Funklab is often in my thoughts. :cry My soon-to-arrive Clayton RIP shirt will always make me think fondly of the ADV community and the genuine warm-heartedness that people exhibit, often towards people they&#8217;ve never met.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Thanks to all those who&#8217;ve inspired me with their adventures and ride reports. This is one hell of a cyber-place. :strum
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    Cheers,
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    Sly

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    #1
  2. Kaanan

    Kaanan Knee deep in snow.

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    591
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    After a build up like that I have high expectations for this ride report! I might just be a young rider, but I plan on taking at least one of these trips in my lifetime. I congratulate you for having the will to complete the journey.
    #2
  3. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,565
    Location:
    NA
    A ride report of 6 months on the road? :clap Sign me up. However, I hold YOU responsible if I do not go to work Monday.
    :lurk
    ok, im ready!
    #3
  4. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
    *** Disclaimer ***
    This section isn't your typical ADV RR and may be better suited to another audience, but please stick with me.


    I'll keep the racing and Bike Week pics to a minimum.


    I've read the thoughts of many guys on this forum with regards to NASCAR. Oh well... at least we all agree on motorcycles.





    The preparation:
    • Timing belts
    • Radiator, flush and fill
    • Plugs, fuel and air filters, and battery.
    • Cleaning all the electrical contacts and some soldering
    • Remove, clean, grease, and reassemble the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Final Drive</st1:address></st1:street> and Drive Shaft.
    • Replace the front fork oil and swap the springs for Heavy Duty Progressive Springs.
    • New Tires
    • New Wheel Bearings
    • New cigarette lighter style accessory outlet in the fairing.
    • Remove the antanna and disable the pos tape player.
    • New Magellan RoadMate 2200 GPS with RAM Mount
    Not only could I not afford to pay someone to turn the wrenches, no local shop will touch a bike that's older than 7 years.



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    The morning after classes ended, I hopped on the Wing and left <st1:city w:st="on">Winston-Salem</st1:city> for the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Carolina</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Coast</st1:placetype></st1:place>. While staying with friends on the beach, I used the daytime to click off a couple hundred miles of beautiful coastline roads.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I left <st1:city w:st="on">Wilmington</st1:city> area and headed toward <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Richmond</st1:place></st1:city> for the NASCAR race. Along the way, I stopped at a BMW dealer to check out a GSA for the first time. Hell, if I can ride the Wing, I can ride the GSA.
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    I’m a short guy. 5’7 and a buck-sixty. My Jeans are 32x30. Not only can I not flat-foot the GoldWing, I can barely get both tips of my boots on the ground. So I never put both feet down at once. Technique is my friend. At low speeds, if I try to put a foot down to correct a mistake, the bike will go down. Period. All I’ve got is the throttle to help me keep the bike shiny side up.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Anyhow, made it to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Richmond</st1:place></st1:city> and found a great place to camp, pulled the beer and bungee cords off my bike and trekked to the track for some great racing.



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    Next, I headed to <st1:place w:st="on">Western North Carolina</st1:place> to meet a buddy and spend a week riding the mountains. Think “The Dragon” for a week. We only spent a day on The Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap, but we rode similar roads all week long. Just over 1,000 miles that week, but very technical miles. It was awesome to get my confidence up and know that I could lay that beast over until the metal screamed and it would still track through the corners and straighten back up with me in one piece.

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    No need to comment on my line. I'd hung U-turns and was posing for Killboy taking pictures from the side of the road. On the Dragon, I hugged the white and watched out for double yellow-crossing sport bikes and dump trucks. I just increased my lean angle and drifted toward the center for the photographic effect.




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    My buddy on his new Scrambler.




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    My buddy hooked us up with a cool place to stay. No tent for a couple of days.




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    Tom, pretending to give a damn about where we're going next.




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    I'm a HUGE Evel fan, have been since I was 4. Me in front of one of his bikes at The Wheels Through Time Museum.

    All bikers of all types will love this place. Check it out in Maggie Valley, NC. All gearheads will like it for that matter.




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    <o:p> </o:p> Then, I rode two-up with a friend of mine while camping at night near <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Asheville</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">NC</st1:state></st1:place>. She had never ridden and we spent a few days on the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Blue Ridge Parkway</st1:address></st1:street>.



    From the top of Mt. Mitchell

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    Given that I was about to say "goodbye" to my home for a longtime, and given that we'd agreed to say "goodbye" to each other, it was so nice to spend a few days riding the Blue Ridge Mountains and camping by the French Broad River with a great girl. Gotta make some sacrafices to hit the road for half a year. New chicks dig it, the "present" chicks... well... not-so-much.



    Having swapped the Wing for the V-Star, I took off for a week of Racing and Harleys. I went to the NASCAR race in <st1:place w:st="on">Darlington</st1:place> and then went to Bike Week in Myrtle, just to see what it was like.
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    My "neighbor" at Darlington taking a nap. He's a helluva guy and I had fun partying with him for a couple of days.




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    Loaded up and ready to leave Darlington... with a few beers to spare. "No officer, I haven't been drinking...yet."

    A shovel-head under the kickstand kept the bike from taking a trip without me. A "shovel head" under a Yamaha, it's the little bits of irony that crack me up.



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    Bike week was nuts. I got there on Sunday and left on Wednesday, so the real crazy stuff happened when I wasn't around. It's just not my scene. I like riding, not sitting in traffic surrounded by people who often don't take riding as seriously as I do. It was a cool experience though, and I met some kickass people.

    During the days, I clicked off about 300 miles each day riding the South Carolina low-country.




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    Even found some sand to ride. Heck yeah it's an adventure!!! (on bald street tires.)




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    At the end... a cool old historic plantation.

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    If money grew on trees, I'd have a jockey-shift Boss Hoss for sure. Since money is hard to come by, this is the closest I'll ever get to riding one.




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    Two V-Twins in one motorcycle. I wish I had that much free time. Oh yeah, I do... that's why I riding around the continent. Different strokes for different folks.





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    Riding with my neighbors from the campground.




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    Then, I headed north. Before this trip, <st1:state w:st="on">Maine</st1:state> and <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Wyoming</st1:place></st1:state> were the only two in the lower 48 that I hadn’t visited. For two weeks, I took two-lane roads from NC to ME and into <st1:state w:st="on">Quebec</st1:state>, and to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">St. John</st1:place></st1:city>.



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    I’ll break down that part of the trip with pictures and stories and then, I’ll move on to the westward journey that takes me to the <st1:place w:st="on">Dakotas</st1:place> where the trip took on a new twist.
    #4
  5. E-man

    E-man 4-4-09, 12-6-09, 1-13-10

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,392
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    :lurk
    #5
  6. jw18

    jw18 fail

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    666
    Location:
    Alabamer
    Yea, can't wait to read more!
    #6
  7. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
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    With the Wing pointed North West, I took off toward <st1:city w:st="on">Roanoke</st1:city> and then onto <st1:city w:st="on">Covington</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">VA</st1:state> and then into Warm Springs in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Bath</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">County</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">VA.</st1:placename></st1:place>



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    That night, I crawled into my tent just as the rain drops turned into a torrential downpour. My tent has an orange rain fly and the spectacular lightning strikes made a cool glow in my 10 year-old Eureka Apex 3XT. Having spent a year’s worth of nights in the tent before the trip, I knew it wouldn’t leak a drop. Unfortunately, I’d not properly staked it and the whipping winds pulled a stake from the now soft soil. Not wanting to get my clothes wet, I stripped down to my bare ass and grabbed my axe and went out to re-stake the tent. With the lightning, it was as bright as high-noon, but who would be outside in such weather to see me streaking?
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I crawled into my tent, had a good laugh at myself and drifted off into the kind of sleep that only comes in a thunderstorm.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Before I’d parked the night before, I’d noticed a vibration and thought I’d warped a front rotor. So I used the rear brake more (something I never do) but with the linked braking system, there was still a slight wobble. I hadn’t gone too far when I noticed it had gotten worse. Inspection didn’t show anything unusual so I just kept the speeds down so I wouldn’t have to get on the brakes too much. After a couple of hours, it had gotten really bad. Every time I hit the front brake, the whole front end lurched into a frightening shudder. I was convinced it was a bent rotor. What a way to start the trip. Breaking down was my biggest fear because I just didn’t have the budget for it. The only thing that would end my journey would be mechanical problems (or crash induced breakage.) In <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Elkins</st1:city> <st1:state w:st="on">WV</st1:state></st1:place>, I saw a bike shop and pulled in. It was a KTM / Yamaha dealer but I hung a U-turn and nearly lost it in the process, the front end was FUBAR. Beside the shop-front was a steep ramp that led to the garage. Clearly not intended for customers, I rode up and stopped directly in front of the garage door. The mechanics were clearly not amused. They ignored me until I spoke, and then walked over coldly to look at my bike.
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    I’ll never forget the next 45 seconds as long as I live.



    The mechanic’s expression and attitude changed suddenly. He turned white as a ghost. His hand started shaking and in a very different tone of voice he turned to his buddy and said: “This guy almost died.”
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    He turned to me: “You almost died man, you… you… I can’t believe it. You almost died. Holy… look at this” he said to the other mechanic.
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    One of the U-Clamps holding the axel to the forks had fallen completely off!!! The other was held on by only one nut which was hanging on by two threads!!!.<o:p></o:p>
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    The remaining U-Clamp had lost three of the four nuts that held it on and the one remaining was unthreaded by a dozen threads, clinging to the forks by only two threads.
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    Of the eight screws, sever were gone. Of the two clamps, one was gone and the other was super loose and barely there.
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    One bump or seam in the asphalt and my front wheel would have fallen clean off.
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    You can imagine the ugly result of losing a front wheel while riding.
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    I was in shock.
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    On a side note, you’re the first people to hear this. I never posted the details on my blog for fear my parents and friends would freak. I left Elkins with a different perspective. If it had been my time, I would have been gone. For the next 30,000 miles, I never went long without remembering that moment. Even in scary situations, I felt like it wasn’t my time. Anyhow, back to the story.
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    The other mechanic was a big ass dude. A prison guard is his second job. Huge. His name is Angel. I couldn’t get over the “sign.” I was being helped by an Angel. This experience really shaped my trip, as you’ll read about later.
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    Angel makes some calls, and the soonest Honda can get a part here is a couple of days later. Then, he says “how about that guy that’s got the chopper shop across town, doesn’t he have some old Honda rusting out back?” Evidently, that guy doesn’t have a phone, so off Angel goes to track down an axel-clamp. He comes back with a clamp from a ’70 something Honda and says “close enough.”
    <o:p> </o:p>
    He puts it on, and then puts a second nut on each of the eight studs for safety. Then, torque specifications be damned, he took that wrench and put them on such that I’d need to find a 250 pound guy to help me get my wheel off next time.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Total time at the shop, less than two hours. Cost: $50. The two guys said sincere goodbye’s and wished me well on my way to <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:state>. It was hard to believe that I almost didn’t make it West of WVA. Rather than get on the highway and have time to really think about what happened, I went straight for the tiny mountain roads without painted lines. A bit of hard riding allowed me to focus on what I had to do, which was ride hard, ride carefully and keep going.
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    Next stop – <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Johnstown</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">PA</st1:state></st1:place>
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    I rolled into <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Johnstown</st1:place></st1:city> in the early afternoon. I’ve been a Johnny Cash fan for years and love the song “The Night of the Johnstown Flood.” I went to the memorial to fully understand that tragic night.
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    I knew the flood was deadly, but had no idea how many people died. Over 2,200 people died on May 31st, 1889.
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    From there, I pulled into <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Punxsutawney</st1:place></st1:city>.



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    I stopped into a watering hole to take the parch off. It was a biker bar and I was out of place, but had fun nonetheless. After a cold Bud, I went out to gear up and hit the road. A guy came out and went up to the totally chromed out Road King parked next to my ugly Wing. A mini-van pulled up and out jumped a cute little boy. Grandpa lifted him up and put him on the Harley.
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    I turned and said: “That’s good, get him into motorcycles early. If you’re not careful, he could grow up and get a Honda!” They had a good laugh. Harley guys always treat me great. “It’s not what you ride, it’s that you ride.” I’ve heard a <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Milwaukee</st1:place></st1:city> devotee say it a hundred times.
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    Even after the escapade in Elkins, I still got in over 350 miles, and spent time at the Flood memorial, all without the aid of the Eisenhower Interstate system.
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    In <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Marionville</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">PA</st1:state></st1:place>, just before dark, I found a National Forest and rode a few miles of gravel to find a spot. I got there, and there was a fee, an honor system fee. I’d been told that National Parks charged to camp, but that Forests didn’t. I didn’t have anything but a $20 and wasn’t about to pay that to camp, so regretfully, I compromised my morals.
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    I broke camp early, just after daylight. Packed up, cranked the choke and hit the button.
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    Nothing. Not a click, not a single turn of the starter or the motor. Serves me right, must be the bad karma from stealing from the National Park Service. All the years of enjoyment I’ve gotten from the Park Service and then I screwed them out of five bucks. Now who has the last laugh?
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    I started trouble shooting. Not the ignition, not the starter, it’s got to be the starter switch. After 30 minutes, I hit the button for the hundredth time and it started. Sweet.
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    Today I decided to follow my new GPS to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niagara Falls</st1:place></st1:city>. I packed up after routing to the Falls via the "avoid interstates" option. The GPS indicated a right hand turn when a left is what I expected. I followed the GPS and spent the next hour riding 15 miles of dirt roads. Nothing quite like riding a 21 year-old machine that weighs nearly half-a-ton down trails meant for snowmobiles.<o:p></o:p>
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    The road went from gravel to deep graded gravel to dirt and back to loose stuff.<o:p></o:p>
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    Notice the headlight is working... will make sense in a few days.


    At points, the road was very wide, perhaps three lanes wide. I can only imagine flying down the road at 80 mph through a foot of fresh powder.
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    After getting out of the middle of nowhere, I knew I had to get to the nearest mechanic.



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    I made it three hours to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Jamestown</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">NY</st1:state></st1:place>. There was an older guy who specializes in Goldwings and rode up after a test ride on an old 1200 just like mine.<o:p></o:p>
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    Merv grabbed a multimeter and ran some tests. Sure enough, the starter switch was shot. Honda doesn't make the part anymore and it's a huge pain to change. Something I didn't want to do in a parking lot. Merv showed me how to start my bike with a screwdriver and told me it would run like that forever. I was delayed less than an hour. Merv was fantastic. He answered my questions and didn't charge me a dime. Back on the road and off to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Niagara Falls</st1:city></st1:place>.


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    I took off the plastic cover that covers the battery and stowed it away. I kept a flat-head screwdriver wedged in my Crazy Creek chair. Turn the key, bridge the posts on the solenoid and wha-la. The bike fires right up. Amid a firestorm of sparks, of course.<o:p></o:p>
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    My first stop for fuel was a bit sketchy. For the rest of the trip, I pulled as far from the fuel pump as possible and downwind. As I got better with starting the bike with a screwdriver, the resulting sparks got smaller. The screwdriver bridges the posts of the solenoid to complete the circuit. The sparkler-like sparks don't hurt anything, but are quite disconcerting while standing next to a gasoline pump.<o:p></o:p>
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    After beginning the day with 15 miles of gravel, I couldn't resist the urge to take a jaunt through the fields for a change of scenery on the way to <st1:place w:st="on">Niagara</st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
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    Wow!<o:p></o:p>
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    The falls were awesome. After seeing them, I was compelled to hit the road once again. ... without seeing Goat Island



    [​IMG]



    From <st1:city w:st="on">Niagara Falls</st1:city>, I would ride the coast of Lake <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Ontario</st1:place></st1:state> all the way. Last summer, I rode along Lake Superior from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Deluth</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">MN</st1:state></st1:place> up to Grand Maris.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to see the falls. <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mission</st1:place></st1:city> accomplished.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I'd hoped to make <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Saranac</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake</st1:placetype></st1:place> before nightfall, but that wouldn't happen. The coast along <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Watertown</st1:city> <st1:state w:st="on">NY</st1:state></st1:place> looked good, so off I went.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Since Merv had shown me how to start my bike, I grabbed my screwdriver and fired it up. The looks on peoples' faces are priceless.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I rode the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Lake Ontario State Parkway</st1:address></st1:street> all along the shoreline and it was fantastic.



    [​IMG]



    I saw this sign and had to hang a U-Turn and chuckle.


    [​IMG]






    Around 5:00, I was tooling around some back roads and saw some signs that looked interesting and then stumbled on a little coastal town with marinas and shops. I went in to grab a quick bite and a drink (if only there were sweet tea in NY.)

    [​IMG]


    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I walked into the bar and sat down to enjoy the lake view and the food. The people there all wanted to hear who I was and why I was there, so I obliged. A girl seated near me mentioned she had just ridden the <st1:place w:st="on">Adirondacks</st1:place> on her Sportster, and that if I was headed that direction, she should advise me on my route. After 10 minutes with her and my Atlas, I had the next 6 hours of riding planned. She told me I'd never make my destination by sundown and that I should camp there in Sodus Point. After only riding 320 miles that day, I wasn’t ready to call it a day, but I also didn’t want to pass up a potentially epic night.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Next thing I knew, I was following her Jeep Wrangler down a dirt road through an apple orchard for a few miles until the road ended at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Ontario</st1:placename></st1:place>. The "secret spot" wasn't secret to locals, but a traveler would never find such a jewel of a camping spot. Along the gravel road, is the clubhouse of a local MC. They were all hanging out as I rode by and just gave a friendly biker-wave. I guess me riding by on a bagger, going so fast I left a huge plume of dust, they took me seriously as a rider and not some chump on a Honda who'se just out for a Sunday ride.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    I set up camp and she gave me a lift back to Captain Jacks and then she took off and headed for home. We didn’t hang out for long, but she made my day for sure. A great palace to camp, and a great bar to hang out and spend the evening; I’d never have found either without her.


    <o:p> </o:p>
    A bunch of cool people came in during the next several hours. I stayed until closing and partied with a whole bunch of rowdy folks. After closing, the bartender gave me a ride back to my tent. I expected her to drop me off at the end of the gravel road and leave me to walk a few miles. Nope, she took me down the road, through the field and all the way to the shoreline. She even turned her car to shine her headlights on my tent to give me a second to find my headlamp. When I set up my camp, I purposely put my headlamp in an easy-to-find place. After many hours of drinking at Captain Jack’s, I had no idea where to begin looking.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Thanks for the lift!


    A little drunken nighttime photography.


    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
    The road to the lake was clearly posted no trespassing, but the girl that told me about it knew the people that owned the land and assured me I would be ok. No one messed with me all night, as far as I know. :freaky
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The view when I awoke was spectacular!

    [​IMG]


    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The panorama from my tent.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    What a way to wake up at 7:00.



    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]



    I walked down a hill to a beach that had amazing rocks which were smooth from the <st1:place w:st="on">Lake</st1:place>'s waves and multi-colored from some geological affect that I'm not familiar with.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    A bit of whittling and subsequent discovery of driftwood yielded this sculpture.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    I should leave the artwork to Mother Nature. Here is a fine example of her work.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    When wet, the rock showed more brilliant colors than when dry. It was pretty cool.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>With the cobwebs now cleared,</o:p> time to hit the road... but first, a few miles of gravel.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    I thought to myself: &#8220;This pattern of waking up to gravel riding cannot be healthy for a twenty-one year old Gold Wing. &#8220; Oh how attitudes change!!! Stay tuned for the 70mph ass-haulin&#8217; over The Top of the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">World Highway</st1:address></st1:street> into Chicken. Stay way tuned though, it&#8217;ll be awhile. A couple of months&#8217; worth of posts.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I headed into Sodus Point to take some pictures.

    [​IMG]


    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here are a few. Perhaps you'll find them even more interesting without an explanation.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I left Sodus Point and headed North East along the coast. I would explore the Adirondacks and go to <st1:placename w:st="on">Saranac</st1:placename> Lake <st1:place w:st="on">and Lake Placid.</st1:place>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The ride along the lake was beautiful. I was surprised by how many modest homes lined the shore. Sure, there were huge lakefront compounds, but there were also many homes with amazing views that looked as if the homeowners could work at one of the nearby plants or farms. Very cool. After riding the gulf coast over Christmas, and the Carolina Beaches earlier in this trip, seeing something in between the beachfront mansions in beach towns and the beachfront shanty's in the impoverished South was really nice.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    No sooner than I made it to the mountains than it began raining. The fog was so bad, that even during dry periods, visibility was terrible.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My cell phone had died and wouldn't charge. I decided to make <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Burlington</st1:place></st1:city> before sundown to get to a Verizon store. Surely in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Burlington</st1:place></st1:city> there is downtown camping.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My stupid Magellan GPS sent me to a neighborhood rather than to a store (I should have listened to all you Garmin fans who warned me against the Magellan. You were right and I was wrong&#8230; saving a few pennies was NOT worth it.)
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Working in their front yard, I saw a Dad and his teenage son and asked them for directions. They gave me none. Instead, (after hearing my story) the Dad told his son to get in the car and let me follow him to the store. It took nearly 20 minutes. What a nice guy! I wish I could send them a note.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I got a new phone as the sun set. My headlight had quit working so parking before dusk was paramount. I rode three miles past the <st1:placetype w:st="on">University</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st="on">Vermont</st1:placename> and camped in a State Park on <st1:place w:st="on">Lake Champlain</st1:place> and then walked downtown to eat dinner and drink beer like a civilized person. The craft beer was cold and delicious and the people friendly. I do like <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state>&#8230; a lot.

    The beer really hit the spot. All eight of them. Pints of microbrew were much appreciated after the cans of Bud I've been drinking on the trip so far. Plus, I logged just over 500 miles today, and worked on the bike and dealt with Verizon and thier horse-shite customer service. Actually, the first couple of beers hit the spot. The last few served a different purpose. Mission accomplished. The walk back to camp could have been 10 blocks or 10 miles, either way, I didn't care.



    [​IMG]


    In the morning, I broke camp and rode downtown to the Chew-Chew festival. It's a food festival on the waterfront; a food festival with a funny name. I met Gino and Sophia, he is from <st1:city w:st="on">Boston</st1:city> and she&#8217;s from <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Montreal</st1:place></st1:city>. They married two years ago and have been on the road traveling the country selling custom jewelry at festivals. They were among the nicest people I'd met. They'd just returned from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Mt. Airy</st1:city> <st1:state w:st="on">NC</st1:state></st1:place> (aka "Mayberry" from The Andy Griffith Show.) Between his <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Boston</st1:place></st1:city> accent and her French one, the three of us provided eavesdroppers with a cacophony of regional sounds. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Airy</st1:placename></st1:place> is part of my &#8220;local loop.&#8221; On sunny days, I take off from <st1:city w:st="on">Winston-Salem</st1:city> <st1:state w:st="on">NC</st1:state> and ride a couple hundred miles on little country roads and usually end up in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Airy</st1:placename></st1:place> for bar-b-que and hushpuppies.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The view from the downtown waterfront is fantastic.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After a great six-course meal from the Chew-Chew vendors, I left to roam the Great North Woods of Vermont.
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,329
    Location:
    Toronto
    Awesome adventure indeed :thumb

    :lurk :lurk :lurk
    #9
  10. CamoGreg

    CamoGreg Can you see me?

    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,378
    Location:
    Lewis & Clark Valley
    Dual sport not required. Awesome looking adventure:thumb
    :lurk
    #10
  11. buster

    buster Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2001
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Augusta GA.
    :lurk
    #11
  12. Rossbike

    Rossbike Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    I'm in. Subscribed for the whole story. Keep it coming.
    #12
  13. Meesh

    Meesh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    202
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    :lurk
    #13
  14. allengt

    allengt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    63
    Keep it coming. :lurk
    #14
  15. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
    [​IMG]



    I’d ridden over 500 miles the day before and today wanted to keep it under 300 and do some other stuff.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    For example, fix my headlight. The Wing has a light on either side of the headlight so I still had light for people to see me, but I needed to get it fixed. What luck, fewer than 30 miles from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Burlington</st1:city></st1:place>, just as I left secondary roads for back roads, I met someone who directed me to a dealer so that I could buy a bulb.
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    The plastic stuff that makes a Goldwing a Goldwing is great at keeping off the elements in cold or wet weather. But it's also great at turning a 10 minute job into a two hour job. I pulled plastic and chrome off in the parking lot and replaced the bulb... without the desired effect. What the heck? Still no light. Damn.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I borrowed contact cleaner from the mechanic and soon got the light working. The picture doesn't really show the mirrors, chrome, and plastic strewn about the parking lot.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Electrical gremlins scare me and I was beginning to worry. Though I never planned on riding after dark in Moose country, I still didn't like the idea of having a busted light. Oh well, I put the bike back together and began riding North. I did all the mechanical work on my bike, but never learned anything about electrical systems. Call me “Sly,” or call me “dumbass;” either is appropriate given my bike is 21 years old and I don’t know my way around a schematic.
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    As I ambled along through farm country, I saw a road sign and knew I had to go. I hadn't planned on going to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region> at this point in the trip, but why not just go and see how long the line at the border crossing was and check it out.

    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    The little 1 1/2 lane road with no lines on either the sides or the center rounded a turn and there was a border crossing. I was the only one there on both the way in and on the way out. It was pretty neat. I rode four miles to <st1:city w:st="on">Frelighsburg</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">Quebec</st1:state> and then came back to <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state>. I thought about hitting a pub for a pint, but I don’t speak French and didn’t have Canadian currency. After spending the day riding thru the most rural areas up North in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state>, I headed toward NH.

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The Constable: Me and Johnny Law go way back. Seems that me on motorcycles has even worse luck with the 5-0 than with me in a cage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those cop-haters. Far from it. But I do hate getting tickets and I get mad at myself. But not this time, I was mad at the cop. And still am. That money-hungry heartless SOB.:dog
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The setting: Early evening on a quiet afternoon in a cool little <st1:place w:st="on">New England</st1:place> hamlet-of-a-town. Me on my old Wing, freezing my butt off. I’d gotten so cold I was starting to twitch. As usual, I slowed to 15-20 mph so as to come nowhere near the posted speed of 25. There wasn’t another car in sight on the streets of the town and I just looked around at all the cool historic buildings. As I approached the town limits before going back to the rural countryside, I pulled over to layer up. I was smiling just thinking how warm my fleece and gloves would be.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I got off the bike and turned around. What the hell? There was a Buick behind me that was lit up like a Christmas tree. Flashing lights everywhere. The green <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state> license plate said “Constable.” He walks up to me and I said “hi” and politely said that I take a lot of care never to speed in towns and that I was only going about 15 mph. He asks me about a stop sign. “A stop sign, I didn’t even see an intersection?” There isn’t an intersection he said, but there is a stop sign in the middle of town. I apologized for breaking the law. I told him I was cold, but still paying careful attention and certainly didn’t mean to roll through a stop sign. Then he walked away. He didn’t run my license, he didn’t call <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">North Carolina</st1:place></st1:state>, he didn’t do a damn thing but fill out a ticket. He came back and said: “you can go to the court house and pay it, or you can mail it to us as long as we receive the money order in fewer than 10 days. If you don’t pay it, we’ll track you down and put out a warrant for your arrest.”
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I was stunned. Too stunned to argue. Totally in shock. I thought he’d run my license to make sure I wasn’t wanted and then let me off with a warning. I looked at the ticket: $250. WTF? $70, maybe $80, but $250? I was pissed off!
    <o:p> </o:p>:dizave
    I’d just blown through 3,000 miles worth of gasoline by having to fork-over a quarter grand to the punk-ass LEO in BFE Vermont. OUCH! Time to get d-runk.
    <o:p> </o:p>:freaky
    Time to get the hell out of Dodge… make that Richford. I liked this town, except for the jackass constable. The town was built on a river, but didn’t use the river for commerce, but only for natural beauty and boy is it a pretty little town.




    [​IMG]

    <o:p> </o:p>
    Dusk approached, and I crossed the river into <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">New Hampshire</st1:place></st1:state>. Riding down state route 102, I noticed a little sign that said: " Racing on Saturday nights at 7:00" As a short-track fiend, I was excited. It was nearly 8:00 so I raced down the gravel road a couple of miles and pulled into the raceway. It was clearly race night. After checking with the cop standing in the parking field, I went to the back corner of the field and set up camp. I chugged a liter of water, grabbed a handful of trail-mix, and walked toward the track. I saw three hours of great racing before walking five minutes back to my tent for ten hours of fantastic sleep. What a Saturday! Just under 200 miles, but a beautiful day of riding.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    Before going into the track, I talked to the cop for awhile. He was a super cool guy. He had a hard core <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">New Hampshire</st1:place></st1:state> accent and kept cracking me up. He laughed his ass off at my story about the Constable in VT. “How the hell do you think he affords that custom Buick?” he asked. Evidently, that guy sits there all the time and just writes tickets to tourists who don’t see the hidden stop sign. I also found out about a biker rally going on, so maybe he thought I was biker trash. I’m definitely a biker, but not one that causes trouble, and certainly not one who can afford a $250 extortion scam. Jackass.


    [​IMG]

    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    Some folks at the race had told be about an unusual bike rally up the road about 20 miles. It had been going on since Thursday. I woke up with this view and then headed out on a beautiful Sunday morning. The "Our Lady of Grace" shrine is a French church which holds a biker rally as its premiere fundraising event. It’s held just after <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Laconia</st1:place></st1:city> and draws quite the hard-core crowd. I saw a few “81” t-shirts. Nice guys. All of them.


    [​IMG]

    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    Pretty Cool
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Over 500 bikers came to have the minister bless their bikes. It's called the Great North Woods Ride in for the Blessing of the Motorcycles. I didn't stay for the blessing, but I did check out the vendors and stay for the pancake breakfast. I was talking with a woman whose husband served the pancakes. Their son's girlfriend had a job offer from some school in no-where NC. They didn't know the name of the school, but after playing the name game, we figured out it's the NC School of the Arts, located five minutes from my house. Certainly not in podunk NC! What a small world. They are going to look me up when they visit in the fall.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I met a guy on a 1500 Goldwing who had been on the road for a year. His name is Skip and he got divorced after 28 years and took his savings and set out to live on the road for three years. He’d lost a starter in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Fairbanks</st1:place></st1:city>, but other than that, the Wing had performed beautifully. His bike was packed to the gills and he gave me some packing tips. He asked me about The Dragon. “Yup, I rode if a few weeks ago.” He said he had three “must rides” on his list. The Dragon, The top of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Mitchell</st1:placename></st1:place> on the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Blue Ridge Parkway</st1:address></st1:street> and the Top of Mt. Washington. I’d ridden 2 of 3 and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Washington</st1:placename></st1:place> was close by, so he suggested a route and I decided to ride it later that afternoon. Great call Skip. It was stunning!
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    A group of French speaking women took this picture for me. You can see the shrine in the background. It's quite large. The surrounding grounds are beautiful. I wish I spoke French.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I left the rally at 10:00, three hours before the blessing. I had to make the coast of <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Maine</st1:place></st1:state> before dark. There was plenty of time to take the long way.
    The ride to <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Washington</st1:placename> was every bit as nice as the rest of <st1:place w:st="on">Northern New Hampshire</st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> [​IMG]</o:p>


    [​IMG]



    It's eight miles to the summit at 6,288 feet. I didn't know that the last couple of miles were gravel. It was a stunning ride. When I saw this, I was glad to be riding a Goldwing. I might have to start my bike with a screwdriver, but I know that there is no chance of overheating.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The first mile or so was just an awful road with no view. As soon as the view opened up, the view was spectacular. With my camera dangling from my neck, I just kept clicking away. Riding one-handed on a gravel road along a 5,000 foot precipice drew some strange looks from car drivers. However, I've practiced a hundred times and saw no reason to let elevation affect change anything.

    A distinction about <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Washington</st1:placename></st1:place> is the erratic weather. The wind is intense. The temperature dropped from 80 to 40.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After taking pictures and buying a refrigerator magnet, I decided to get back on the road. Before that, I had to descend. What a different experience than was the ascent. The bike's gearing keeps speed down, but a lot of braking made the ride pretty exhausting. Forearms, wrists, and abs are the only thing that acts as a brake for me. The brakes slow the bike, but slowing me is up to me.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    It was quite steep for the entire eight miles. The stretches where I didn't have cars in front were really enjoyable.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I got behind a pack of bikes. Ride however slow you want, but don’t be a jerk and refuse to pull over. These morons were going so slow that it was hard for me to keep the big bike upright. Less than 20mph on gravel is really a pain in the neck for me. Finally, I lost my temper and flew by them on a stretch of straight gravel at 50+ mph while giving them the ADV salute. I know, that makes me the ass. Oh well.:asshat
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At a brewery on the NH / ME border, I got a great lunch and a great tip to head further south than planned to go to Old Orchard Maine. It's a vacation town for people from <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Quebec</st1:place></st1:state>.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    When I set up camp in the downtown campground in Old Orchard <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Maine</st1:place></st1:state>, I was exhausted. After a hot shower, I was ready to head downtown.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There, I met some guys from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Quebec City</st1:city></st1:place> who overheard that I was from NC. One was smoking Winston's, so I commented that I was from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Winston-Salem</st1:city></st1:place>. One of the other guys said he lived in NC for awhile and asked if I'd heard of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Greensboro</st1:city></st1:place>. He played hockey there. I asked when, and he answered 2002. I told him I'd seen the Generals play in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Greensboro</st1:city></st1:place> every Thursday night that season. His friends spoke broken English, but when they heard that I knew the name of the Greensboro Generals, they were stunned. They were all hockey teammates now playing for a team in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:state w:st="on">Quebec</st1:state></st1:place>. He played goalie in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Greensboro</st1:city></st1:place> and I actually have pictures of him playing during the 2002 season. While working in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Dallas</st1:city></st1:place> several years ago, I took a fantastic picture of Patrick Roy in action while he was tending goal during a Stars / Avalanche playoff game. Since then, I photograph goalies. (Because the indoor lighting is tricky and they’re the only ones that stand still long enough to be photographed.) They insisted that I party with them in <st1:state w:st="on">Quebec</st1:state> on my way back from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:state w:st="on">Alaska</st1:state></st1:place>. That was truly amazing! Two "small-world" experiences in one day.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I walked back to a downtown campground. It's nice to be able to camp and walk to the downtown scene. Nice, but expensive ($30.) I like the free camping in Lake Ontario Apple Orchards. After many hours of drinking, and tagging along with the hockey players who had a following of hot French-speaking Canadian women in tow, I was happy to have forked over the $30. What a night!


    I was behind this guy on my way into Old Orchard... I get it buddy, it's yours. Wo-hoo... a 911, la-de-da-de dah. Nothing agains Porche drivers, they're great cars but the licence plate is a bit pretentious. Good for a laugh though.

    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    At least there was wi-fi and I could let pictures upload overnight. Tomorrow, I’d ride the coast of <st1:state w:st="on">Maine</st1:state> and spend the night in <st1:place w:st="on">Acadia</st1:place>.
    #15
  16. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,565
    Location:
    NA
    :clap
    :lurk
    #16
  17. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    521
    Location:
    Wichita
    :clap
    #17
  18. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    103,249
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #18
  19. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
    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.



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]






    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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After the best lunch ever, I headed North along the coast toward the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Acadia</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">National Park</st1:placetype></st1:place>. Riding through Bar Harbor <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Maine</st1:place></st1:state> 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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    Just after going through <st1:place w:st="on">Bar Harbor</st1:place>, 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.<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    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 <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Acadia</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">National Park</st1:placetype></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I hadn't had a campfire since PA. Cold <st1:state w:st="on">Maine</st1:state> microbrews and a crackling campfire made the perfect end to my first full day on the coast of <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Maine</st1:place></st1:state>.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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 <st1:place w:st="on">Southwest Virginia</st1:place> is nationally recognized as a premiere motorsports park.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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&#8230; until I broke them. <o:p></o:p>

    <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Acadia</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">National Park</st1:placetype></st1:place> is huge. Riding around on the road that goes through the park took a couple of hours. I rode to the top of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Cadillac</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountain</st1:placetype></st1:place> and went down to the Sandy Beach (original name eh?)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    On Sandy Beach I met a HS teacher from <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Ohio</st1:place></st1:state> who was about to retire and went on summer-long trips each summer. He grew up in a little town in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Ohio</st1:place></st1:state> 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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The view from the top of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Cadillac</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountain</st1:placetype></st1:place> 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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    After leaving <st1:place w:st="on">Acadia</st1:place>, 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 <st1:place w:st="on">Acadia</st1:place> since before 5:00, so when I saw sighs for the Atlantic Brewing Company, I decided to stop in.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I tasted a half a dozen beers an then left to go find breakfast.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    Fitting in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Maine</st1:place></st1:state>, I had a Lobster quiche at the Moose Crossing restaurant.



    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The food was great and the waitress kept my coffee full even though I tried my best to drink faster than she could refill.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Mmmmmmmm.... coffee.......
    <o:p> </o:p>
    A couple hours later as I went to swap my yellow-tinted riding glasses for my black regular glasses, I realized I&#8217;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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:place w:st="on">Northern Maine</st1:place> was full of gorgeous scenes.<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    This sign reminded me of a Grateful Dead tune. &#8220;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.&#8221;<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p> [​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    There's a little slice of heaven right there on my plate.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>


    [​IMG]



    After getting back across the border, I rode Rt. 1 along the coast for a few miles to a state park on <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Whiting</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Bay</st1:placetype></st1:place>. 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 <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Ontario</st1:placename></st1:place> at Sodus Point. Though the bugs were awful and the heat oppressing Oh well...<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> [​IMG]
    </o:p>



    [​IMG]



    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 <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Carolina</st1:place></st1:city> 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.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I broke camp and was on the road before five. The ride to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bangor</st1:place></st1:city> 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&#8217; love providence.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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 <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Panama</st1:place></st1:country-region>. He had family in Savanna and <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Asheville</st1:place></st1:city> and his wife and kids were flying in to meet him. They were flying together to Vegas and <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Napa</st1:place></st1:city> for a few weeks and then he was flying back to resume riding. <st1:country-region w:st="on">Canada</st1:country-region>, the four corners in the <st1:country-region w:st="on">US</st1:country-region>, and ultimately, <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Panama</st1:place></st1:country-region>; 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!



    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [FONT=&quot]The bartender, Joe, had played football for <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Maris</st1:placename> <st1:placename w:st="on">College</st1:placename></st1:place> and told me to take the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Taconic State Parkway</st1:address></st1:street>. [/FONT]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 <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Pocono</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">PA</st1:state></st1:place><o:p></o:p> as the thunderstorms finally caught me.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I was so glad to have my bike on its kickstand on asphalt.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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 <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Skyline Drive</st1:address></st1:street>, without the low speed limit and drastic penalties for non-compliance. I got on <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Skyline Drive</st1:address></st1:street> and rode 100 miles to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Afton</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountain</st1:placetype></st1:place> where <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Skyline Drive</st1:address></st1:street> meets the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Blue Ridge Parkway</st1:address></st1:street>.<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    What a great way to end this leg of the trip. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Afton</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountain</st1:placetype></st1:place> is 30 miles from where I grew up.<o:p></o:p> <o:p> </o:p>
    The nostalgic ride on 151 past Wintergreen really capped things off. Now to spend a few days with my Family on the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Carolina</st1:city></st1:place> 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.
    #19
  20. Sly-on-2

    Sly-on-2 Rockin' Winger

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
    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.
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]



    <o:p></o:p><o:p> </o:p>
    Before that though, a bit of an ATGATT tangent.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    As you&#8217;ve noticed, I wear an open faced helmet. Haven&#8217;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&#8217;m also quite alert and very experienced. But neither of those things matter if you crash without the right gear. And anyone that&#8217;s ridden as much as I have (and most of you guys and gals too,) know that being good doesn&#8217;t mean that you won&#8217;t go down.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Before leaving, I had to fix the starting problem that happened in <st1:place w:st="on">Western PA</st1:place> 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.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]
    </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    You can see the two posts below, they are obscured by my hand above.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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 <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:state w:st="on">Vermont</st1:state></st1:place>.
    <o:p> </o:p>

    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>
    </o:p>

    The bike is loaded differently this time too as I&#8217;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.:lift
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I left <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Winston-Salem</st1:place></st1:city> after viewing a Weather Channel radar map of the Southeast that was predominantly green. Being three hours away from <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Asheville</st1:place></st1:city>, 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.:pain
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p> <o:p> </o:p>
    The clouds threatened to sting my face with needle-like drops, but the rain held off.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]



    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 (<st1:place w:st="on">Western North Carolina</st1:place>) and TN.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>

    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    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.:D
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The sun poked back out in <st1:state w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:state> and I kicked back on the highway pegs and enjoyed the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountains</st1:placetype></st1:place>.

    [​IMG]


    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I made it to <st1:city w:st="on">Hazard</st1:city> <st1:state w:st="on">KY</st1:state> around 7:30 and stopped at a campground near the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Daniel</st1:placename> <st1:placename w:st="on">Boone</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">National Forest</st1:placetype></st1:place>. I thought it was a State Park, but it turned out to be a private campground. Though beautiful and on a river, I wasn&#8217;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.




    [​IMG]

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    <o:p> </o:p> 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.<o:p></o:p>
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    So I&#8217;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&#8217;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&#8217;m finally eating the food I&#8217;ve been hoarding for so long.<o:p></o:p>
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    It wasn&#8217;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.. <o:p></o:p>
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    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&#8217;t look nearly so ridiculous. I grabbed my new helmet and posed for a photo and then jumped on the bike.<o:p></o:p>
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    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: &#8220;they boys are hot down in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Atlanta</st1:place></st1:city>, and the beer&#8217;s in Tex-Arkana&#8221; wasn&#8217;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: &#8220;If I can keep it on the ground, when I put the hammer down, then I&#8217;ll be <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Texas</st1:place></st1:state><o:p></o:p> bound and flyin&#8217;)
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    I hopped on the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Hal Rodgers Parkway</st1:address></st1:street>. It was a beautiful ride. After leaving the parkway for more rural roads, I came across this; a church named <st1:country-region w:st="on">Egypt</st1:country-region> in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:place></st1:state>. An hour or so later, I went through <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Bagdad</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">KY.</st1:state></st1:place> Interesting. I couldn&#8217;t pass up a restaurant called Lighthouse. As a fan of the old structures, I wasn&#8217;t expecting to see a Lighthouse themed place in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:place></st1:state>. Perhaps someone has opened a <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Derby</st1:place></st1:city> restaurant in NC?



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    The <st1:state w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:state> hills gave way to <st1:place w:st="on">Midwest</st1:place> farmland. The ride wasn&#8217;t as great, but the scenery was great. I rode through <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Indiana</st1:place></st1:state> and stopped at a town called Napoleon and a restaurant called Bonaparte&#8217;s Retreat. When I saw a sandwich called <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Waterloo</st1:place></st1:city>, I didn&#8217;t even read the description, I just ordered it. Hilarious. It was good. I went to a little town where I&#8217;d grown up as a little kid before moving to <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Virginia</st1:place></st1:state>. Saw the old house and rode a bit of gravel. Good scenery for sure.






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    Back on the road. An hour later, I had to get on the Interstate, agggh. The GPS said I had 5 hours to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city><o:p></o:p> and I had to be there in 5 hours. No time to take the scenic route. <o:p> </o:p>
    My buddy and his wife are taking me out to see the town and I care more about seeing downtown <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city> than riding through farmland. I&#8217;ll have time for that after I leave <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city>.<o:p></o:p>
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    The ride into the city was hell. I&#8217;ll leave it at that as I don&#8217;t care to recall it. The traffic, the confusion, the weight of a 1,000 lb motorcycle; it was most unpleasant.<o:p></o:p>
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    I'd logged just shy of 600 miles today. The beers are gonna' be tastey!<o:p></o:p>
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    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 <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chile</st1:place></st1:country-region> one day. If not, at least I got to wear the t-shirt.<o:p></o:p>
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    It was a great day followed by a great night.<o:p></o:p>
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    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 <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city> "flower garden."<o:p></o:p>
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    The search for tickets didn&#8217;t go so well. We couldn&#8217;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.<o:p></o:p>
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    The sun was shining and we could hear the roar from the stadium. The Cubs spanked the Astros and <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city> was a happy town.<o:p></o:p>
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    We went to an Outdoor Store and I got a new headlamp. I can&#8217;t complain that my old one suddenly started shorting out while in Hazard, KY. I&#8217;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.<o:p></o:p>
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    This morning I&#8217;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&#8217;ll ride along <st1:place w:st="on">Lake Michigan</st1:place>. Then, Huron will be the only one that I haven&#8217;t ridden a good stretch of coastline.

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    Check out my new ATGATT setup.




    <o:p> </o:p>
    The forecast is sunny and I&#8217;m anxious to get back on the road, though today I&#8217;ll only ride about 60 miles. Tomorrow I&#8217;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.<o:p></o:p>
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    We said goodbye and I left to ride the hellish streets of <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city>. 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.



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    The ride along <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Lakeshore Drive</st1:address></st1:street> was spectacular and quite manageable. The toll-road out of town was a bit dicey, but the downtown ride made it all worth while.<o:p></o:p>
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    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.<o:p></o:p>
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    I set up and left for the race. Good luck continued as I found a guy who&#8217;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.



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    After returning to camp around 6:00, that's when the post-race fun began.<o:p></o:p>
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    The guys camped next to me were great. They were two friends in their mid career, who came down to watch racing.<o:p></o:p>
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    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?<o:p></o:p>
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    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!<o:p></o:p>
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    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.



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    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 &#8220;bus people.&#8221; 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.<o:p></o:p>
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    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&#8217;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!!!!

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    <o:p> Who says there aren't chicks at NASCAR races? This guy found someone to hang out with.
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    The folks playing Jenga made from pressure treated 4x4&#8217;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.<o:p></o:p>
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    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.<o:p></o:p>
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    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.<o:p></o:p>
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    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.:rofl
    #20