Charlotte to Canada to South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by funklab, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    382
    Location:
    VenCo/CA
    I'm a UNCC - College of Architecture - Grad from (gasp!) 1986.
    #41
  2. twistydave

    twistydave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Charleston, SC and Saluda NC
    I'm having some folks to my cabin in Saluda NC, wish you could make it.. Good to see you on the road and not burning you saddle bags anymore. Crestin that learning curve. I'm about ready to take off anytime myself.. Looking forward to your future post. I have 8832 miles on my april 27 2007 KLR today. How many miles have you logged on your trip so far? Happy trails...
    #42
  3. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    My bark busters were a tight fit, and when I crashed a couple times into the rock, I guess they bent a little bit, and I didnt notice. So when I released the brake lever, it wasnt going all the way out and I had brake pressure building up.

    It was an easy fix once somebody told me. Makes me feel like an idiot though

    ***mini update***

    I am in Sacramento now (had to drive thru the snow for 80 mother %$#@ing miles to get here). I am about to go try and find Squeeze Inn for a cheeseburger and then work my way over to the Pacific Coast Highway.

    Anybody know a good shop in San Diego to get some work done before I hit Mexico???? (just maintenance stuff, nothing wrong with the bike)

    I am about 42days and 8000+ miles into the trip.



    I am having a hard time updating this thread (even just uploading my photos) often enough, so unless I find a cheap internet cafe in mexico, or a library that will let me use their computer for more than 30 minutes, I might have to leave it all till I get back. I will try to keep you guys updated though, and you can always check the pics to see where I am at even if their are no words.

    www.funklab.smugmug.com
    #43
  4. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Wow, I am a whole month behind on this thread... its gonna take some doing to catch up.

    I woke up this morning and decided to go ahead and take the ferry to Manitoula Island.

    I got there kinda late, about 15 minutes before the ferry was supposed to leave.

    Coming up on the the line of cars and RVs waiting to get on the ferry.
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    A guy was on riding his bicycle onto the ferry, gotta respect that.
    Me and him were the last ones on.

    Pretty good views from the boat as we went out into the water. I've never been where I cant see the shore, except in the ocean... come to think of it I dont think I've ever been out that far in the ocean! I guess these great lakes are kinda big.

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    The guys who worked on the boat pointed me in the direction of some rope to tie down the bike. I didnt really trust the flimsy pieces of rope they had, so I broke out a couple of my free BMW tie down straps, kept the bike nice and safe. Its a strange feeling putting my bike into another vehicle. Pretty cool though.

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    I guess it felt more like an actual adventure to be strapping the bike down on a ferry in a foreign country.
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    Got off the ferry and rode around Manitoula Island, which was pretty cool, but there wasnt really much there (which I guess is why its cool). Mostly looked like this.
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    this is what the island is like, and this is how you get around for a few months without buying any maps (also a lot of getting lost is invovled, but thats half the fun now isnt it:D )
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    this was a really pretty view. Strawberry Channel or something, didnt come out so great in the photo though.
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    I rode across this little bridge onto the mainland, and looked for some fun roads.

    I found one and went down it. A really rough dirt/mud/rock road. Then it just turned into double track with low trees all around. It didnt look like it was going anywhere, so I turned around.

    On the way out two guys in a pickup are headed the opposite direction. I wave them down and ask them where the road goes. The passenger says it goes to his property, which is where the double track started. He asks if I am looking for a place to camp. I wasnt really, its kinda early, but hey Canada is getting expensive, so I tell him yes.

    He says I probably dont want to camp here (the driver is going to be hunting bear tonight), but he tells me about a spot down the road, near a dam or something. I thank him and set off to find it.

    His directions were easy enough to follow, and I find this place.
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    He told me to camp down the river a bit, where there was some sand, but it was right by the water, and there were all kinds of signs about drastically changing water level without warning, so I was kinda paranoid.

    I found a fire ring up higher, closer to the dam, and set up camp.
    this section seemed difficult when I did it (Colorado taught me that this was a very good road, not very rocky at all)
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    problem
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    solution
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    water at most dams is pumped from the bottom, so its nice and cold. Gotta keep the beer cold.
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    As I was finishing setting up camp, the pickup guy drove in and we chatted for a bit, he was a cool guy, I think he was from Michigan or something.

    the sun setting behind these trees was more beautiful than my camera can capture.
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    Got a little fire going
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    It rained on and off that night, but my tent kept me dry. It was nice to not have to pay to sleep at night, especially in Canada where everything is so damn expensive.
    #44
  5. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    In my journal I decided to blame it being the 13th day of my journey and a friday.

    It was all wet in the morning.
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    And it was all wet all the way to the US border.
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    And it was a driving stinging rain that hurt through my jacket for a hundred miles or so of the upper peninsula of Michigan.

    This was a nice shot though, it was really really windy here.
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    And it was wet and miserable all the way to Bruce Crossing, MI. Which I doubt you will find on any map, but they did have a hotel for like $27 WITH tax, which I gladly took, even though it smelled a little.

    Not sure why I took this pic, but I think I was missing skin from parts of my hands, what from being all wet and cold and gloved for 10 hours +.
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    So I went to sleep warm at least.
    #45
  6. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
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    3,961
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    Thanks for the updates
    #46
  7. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
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    2,700
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
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    I heard the the reason this hotel is smelly is from people standing on the beds to take pictures!!!:lol3 just kidding!

    Great trip report!!!!! keep up the good work!!!!!
    #47
  8. atadloco

    atadloco Ouch.. Ta Daaaaaa..

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    705
    Location:
    Cow Hampshaaa
    Great ride Funk. Stay safe!!
    #48
  9. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I hit the road this morning. No rain so I guess thats a good thing. Kinda colt though.

    Saw this sign. Seemed a funny thing to make a memorial for :huh
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    Stopped in Poplar, WI and had lunch at a place called Mother's Kitchen. Pretty damn good burger.

    Then I rode on into Duluth and found the aerostitch warehouse. The showroom was smaller than I thought it would be, but I think they pretty much had everything upstairs or downstairs or wherever they were keeping it. The sales guy was really helpful, and I got me a pair of Combat Boots. I am really happy with them.

    I rolled on south and ended up in Balsam Lake for the night. Eating out of a gas station. Not the most fun.
    #49
  10. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    In Balsam Lake on my way out of town I saw this rig.
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    Never seen a KLR with a sidecar:eek1 . Wish I coulda met whoever owned this beast, I just want to see what the owner of a KLR with sidecar looks like.

    I ended up at some caves. I forgot to write down what caves they were, but it was somewhere south of Balsam Lake.

    gotta watch your head in this one
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    Pretty cool stuff, I dont think I've been in a cave since I was a real little guy.
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    after the caves, I hit the road again.

    Had to stop and take a pic of these fields cuz they look so damn cool. Wish I had a wider lens
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    I ended up at Beaver state park or somehting like that.

    Coming across a small stream that went across the road, I thought hmmm my first real water crossing. It was about 2 inches deep, so I thought nothing of it, and was staring off to the side when my back tire slipped away and I hit the ground hard. One day with my combat boots, and the bike lands on 'em... I guess thats what they're made for right.

    I take the bags off of the bike so I can get it up easier. And I only have to unsnap the right side, because I ripped off both of the straps on the left side:ddog . I get the beast upright and find a camping spot.

    I built a fire and then set up my tent... never again will I do it in that order. My tent pole snapped. I had been using this ultra cheap Eureka Solo something or other, one person tent. Its only got two poles, and the front one split along a whole section. Well there was no hope of me being able to fix it and the sun was going down, so I decided to head out.

    I found a hotel in Caledonia, MN and shacked up there for the night.

    Sorry, no pics of the crash. I have this thing where I dont like fluids pouring out of my bike while I stop to take a pic of it first. If you want a pic of my bike down, you had better ride behind me.:D
    #50
  11. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I got up early this morning, planning to get an early start (i shoulda known better, me and early starts dont get along).

    It was dumping rain outside. I took full advantage of the continental breakfast, and stuffed myself full of bagels and donuts and coffee while watching the weather channel. Looked like if I went north and west just a bit I could get out of it.

    As I was checking out the lady said I could stay later if I wanted to wait for it to clear up... I'm kinda a smartass when it comes to the rain and riding a bike, so I told her a little rain never hurt anybody.

    Eventually it did clear up, and I got over into Iowa and tried to use roads that looked like this.
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    With signs like this
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    as much as possible... notice the dark grin above:evil

    if its gonna be flat and straight, it had better be dirty.

    Pretty cool wind mills out there in the fields. Those jokers are massive!
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    ended up in LeMars, IA. Actually I'm not sure if its Le Mars or LeMars or Lemars, as I saw it written all of those ways, but signs assured me its the icecream capital of the world... in that case I definitely have to have a hotdog.
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    Any motel that puts a roadsign above the bed is definitely my kinda place.

    Stayed here for the night.
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    #51
  12. ST4Fun

    ST4Fun Proud to be an Infidel

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    SoCal
    One hechava trip on a 650...I'm jealous:lurk
    #52
  13. Mr.Moose

    Mr.Moose Living the Adventure

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    528
    Location:
    Vancouver, OR
    :lurk :lurk looking forward to following your adventure.
    #53
  14. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I left Le Mars today and drove thru Sioux City to Nebraska.

    In Nebraska I was doing the same thing that I did in IA, just getting off of the main road and taking dirt roads in the general direction that I was trying to head Colorado's west right?

    Well in Nebraska if they say a road isnt maintained, they ARE NOT lying. I almost dumped it in the mud here
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    thick soft nasty stuff.

    One road ended up turning into sand. Where the hell did sand come from?

    This pic is AFTER I picked the bike back up.
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    When I dumped it on this road, gas was POURING out of my tank around the plastic cap. Upon closer inspection I dont have a gasket in there :eek1 wonder when I lost that!


    All around this part of the country I started seeing this at the gas pump. 90 octane with ethanol for cheaper than 87 octane.
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    When your wheels look like this, you know its an adventure.
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    I ended up in Gothenburg, NE for the night, at a motel just off of the freeway.

    I got dinner at a little restaurant, and as I was coming in, a guy with Aerostitch boots all geared up for riding was coming out. I asked him if it was his KLR outside, and it was, he was headed for death valley.
    #54
  15. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I got on the interstate for a little bit this morning, trying to knock off some miles. It allways sux riding on the interstate. I hopped off on a fun looking road. It didnt go anywhere, but it did seem like an out of the way place to change my oil, so I went for it.
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    Allmost hit this guy, who was catching a tan in the middle of the road. Had to turn around and get a pic of him.
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    I didnt take any more pics that day, it was miserably boring as I headed out of Nebraska and into Colorado on the interstate.

    At a rest stop in Colorado I ran into the same KLR guy from yesterday. He was sweatin it out in his leather pants. Funny thing, both of us broke a Eureka tent on this trip... I guess I'll have to find a better brand, oh well, needed a bigger tent anyway.

    I hunt out a honda dealer in Denver, but they cant install the barkbusters I need today, and I really need to be making soe miles to get to Telluride tomorrow for the Blues and Brews festival. A guy who works at the dealer (damned if I havent forgotten the name of the dealer, but its on Arapahoe Rd) named Matt was SUPER helpful. He's a really cool guy, he races dirtbikes, and seemed really excited to hear about my trip. If you ever need some parts, look him up.

    I also headed downtown and bought a new tent at REI it was over $200 but seemed much better quality than my Eureka and now there is enough room for me and my gear.

    I rode on to Idaho Springs and got a room at some off brand hotel for the night.
    #55
  16. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    The ROCKIES!!! wicked, I've been missing some mountains.

    Even the interstate was reasonable. I HATE interstates with a passion, but 70 was actually kinda fun!

    seemed wierd to me all this water way up here in the sky
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    Not the best picture I ever took, but proof that I was actually here
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    the scenery changes so quickly out here, one minute your in a pine forest, then over the next summit you're in a desert
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    Stopped at a rest stop about 100 miles past Vail. An old guy there was real helpful and gave me one of the free maps, he even highlighted a route he suggested to me. It was a pretty damn good route too.

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    Stuff most of us dont see everyday!
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    They've even got nice cars... well it would be nice if he gave it to me.
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    I wound my way into Telluride. When I got close, they closed the road for 15 minutes or so for construction. Seemed like bad timing to me with all the people coming in today for the festival.

    I set up camp in the park, my new tent seemed really nice (at least compared to the one person tent I was using before.

    Had dinner at a Mexican joint, it was decent.

    Had a couple of drinks at a bar. This "woodsie", I think that's what he called himself, he lives in the woods and comes in and plays his guitar on the streets to make money for food and whatnot (basically a homeless guy... like me), sits beside me. He was really cool, called himself Mr. Ed. Apparently he plays a 12 string guitar and it seems like everbody who lives there knows him. The bartender gave him a free beer when he said he was out of cash. He had some interesting stories, and he told me about a bear breaking into his tent at night... that didnt sit well for all the camping I would do alone in the Rockies. If you ever see a guy in Telluride playing a 12 string guitar, give him a couple bucks and stop and listen, he's got a lot of stories to tell.
    #56
  17. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Not a great day today, and no pics for today or tommorow, so I will keep it brief (dont worry, I make up for the pics over the next couple days... make up for the days off of the bike too)

    I went to the festival today. Pretty decent bands, and pretty good beer. Too much beer. Im gonna blame it on the altitude though, not my low tolerance. I got so wasted that I ended up not being able to get into my tent at night, and passing out under the rainfly, but not inside the tent. Which was good, cuz its easier to clean up puke from the outside of a tent than the inside I imagine:puke1 .
    #57
  18. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    The Grand Tasting was today. I wasnt really in the mood for much beer though. Spent most of the day in my tent and trying to clean up my tent and shirt, etc.

    I found the internet at the library and uploaded some photos. Checked out some of the bands and went to bed reasonably early.
    #58
  19. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Today was definitely a "WOW!!!" day.

    I got up and broke camp, decided to miss the last day of the festival.

    I had been asking around about Imogene pass just above Telluride. Nobody seemed to know much about it. Might as well give it a shot.

    Took a pic of bridal veil falls before I headed off. I think that house on the top is like the 2nd oldest working generator in the world or something like that.
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    Can you see who's playing on stage????
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    yeah, me neither

    When the road started getting rocky, I realized that I was gonna have to do something about my leaking gas cap, I was getting gas everywhere. I stopped and sat on the side of the road for a little while carving a gasket out of a piece of inner tube I had (turns out that works great, until you have to take the gas cap off!). As I was working I was passed by several two stroke dirt bikes, bouncing their way up.

    Off the side of the pass there is all this crazy cool stuff that miners abandoned whenever they abandoned the gold mines up here. The remnants of this building are like 10,000 feet high!
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    Not a bad view from the office in summer, but I woulda hated to be a miner here in the winter.
    [​IMG]

    As I got to around 12,000 feet or so (the pass is at 12,800) the track became this real loose football sized rock, and STEEP. I miscalculated how much momentum I needed for one section and ground to a halt, sliding backwards 15 feet when I stopped.

    As I try and catch my breath and look for the easiest path up, I see a 1200 GS ADV in my mirrors. I cant believe my eyes, I am struggling with this track and here he comes with a 1200 alum panniers and everything!

    He dumps it about 50 yards behind me. We chat for a bit, trying to decide what to do next. We walk the next section, looks like it gets better. I ride up the next little section, and wait for him, he makes it pretty easily for such a big bike, I have to say, I have a lot more respect for the 1200 now that I've seen it ridden like that.

    The next section does get worse though. I go first and dump it. I get it back up and it starts to rain:huh . This isnt gonna be good. I still want to go up, we are so close, he seems to have given up. I try again and dump it again.

    As I pick the bike back up, here comes the dirt bikes that passed me earlier on their way back. Where my bike is, forces them on the very edge, with a 2500 ft drop off to the side (though it was the least rocky path). I thought the last guy was gonna hit me, but he pulled it out.


    Me and Mr BMW turned arond and headed back downhill. He said it was the 2nd time he failed to finish it, tried from the other side last time.

    We pass a bunch of jeeps on our way down, and the BMW guy is really fast. I saw him once when he stopped for the jeeps then never again after that.

    Much respect to Joel on the Yellow 1200 GS... Much respect

    Well I am not one to be defeated so easily, so I wind my way around and end up in a roundabout sorta way at Engineers Pass/Cinnamon Pass. I am not sure which is easiest, but when I had to choose I chose Engineers (at least it sounds more hardcore than Cinnamon).

    Colorado certainly is a colorful place.
    [​IMG]

    This road to animas forks was covered in a thin layer of mud. I got a stripe all down the back of my jacket and helmet.
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    Near where Cinnamon Pass and Engineer's pass split, there is a cool little ghost town called Animas Forks.

    the structures are in surprisingly good shape
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    for being up so high, I guess they didnt get a lot of avalanches at this spot.

    Like I said, when the decision time came, I chose Engineers pass.
    Wow, what an incredible view the whole way. And there was much less loose rock here than Imogene.
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    pictures dont do this landscape justice, off the side of the road there is "alpine tundra" growing (or dying I guess this time of year).

    view from the top
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    To prove the bike made it
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    To prove I made it too
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    notice the big smile on my face. It was an awesome ride, pretty challenging, but I didnt even crash on this one.

    The rain started as I headed down.

    On the other side of the pass I came to some town. It was raining pretty good at this point. I pull into the only motel, and there are about a hundred harleys... Okay, but for real at least 30 harleys. Only 12 rooms or so, the harleys are still checkin in, but I am pretty sure its full.

    Its raining pretty hard, and I decide to head on down the road. One guy comes up and tells me "it doesnt get any better down the road" "whaddaya mean?" "we just came from that way and its raining there too" "a little rain never hurt anybody" and I'm off.

    Ended up after 70 miles or so of rain (and lightning that was a little uncomfortably close considering how exposed I was on top of the hills I ended up in Gunnison.
    #59
  20. Zrexrob

    Zrexrob Fla Mountains...yep!

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,757
    Location:
    Clermontvegasville, Fl
    Very good stuff!!!:clap
    #60