If You’re Going to Ride Coast to Coast, You’ve Got to Start at the Coast

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EvilClown, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    If You’re Going to Ride Coast to Coast,
    You’ve Got to Start at the Coast


    There’s a couple of spots up near the lighthouse where I know it’ll be necessary to get a shot or two before we leave. Parked, I head over to where I spotted Don on the way in. He’s already working on his bike. His brandy-new high-dollar headlamp bulb has failed him. He’s already got the spare in and is buttoning it up. Apparently, my unintentional circuitous route around the Mulberry bush to get here hasn’t set us back as far as I thought it would. We’re at Nubble Light on Cape Neddick, Maine, where we agreed we’d meet to officially begin our journey. We’re heading to Malibu, California.

    “How you doin’?” “I think I’m about ready to throw up.” Good. I’m not alone. It’s been quite an emotional ride to this point. Somewhat surprising and yet it shouldn’t have been. The concept of riding all the way to Malibu and everything that goes with it has become somewhat overwhelming the closer our actual departure comes.

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    Done with the headlamp, Don gets his bike moved over near mine for the obligatory photo shoot that marks the beginning of our journey. We get some shots.

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    Don even has a new digital camera! Wow! First a GPS, and now going digital? What’s next? Not so fast. Out comes his trusty 35mm. He’s not yet ready to completely abandon the ‘old school’ memory recorder.

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    Photos taken and a quick chat with the van load of people next to us, we’re geared up and heading towards the EvilClown compound for dinner.

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    We pull up just in time to see Sue pulling steak tips off the grill. She still hasn’t met Don. Introductions quickly out of the way, it’s time for dinner.

    Having taken the first steps, and a bit more relaxed, we discuss this anxiety surrounding the trip over a couple of beers. Neither of us are prepared to abandon the trip. We do, however, conclude that tomorrow we’ll just head to Pennsylvania instead of Malibu. Much like eating an elephant, it’s much easier to swallow this trip ‘one bite at a time‘.

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    With our final plans made, Don settles into the 'Flamingo Lounge' for the night and Sue and I head to bed. While the journey has already begun, tomorrow’s the big day.
    #1
  2. kres

    kres Arrrrrrrrr!

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    Ooooooh! Its gunna be like a time capsule. Neat.

    :lurk
    #2
  3. FreeTheBeast

    FreeTheBeast Shunpiker

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    A few more pics...

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    All 760 pounds of the 'S.S. Clampett' is ready to roll.

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    Woody’s convinced he’s going to be meeting Malibu Barbie.

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    Heading east to go west (my mom‘s crowd gets a kick out of this for some reason), I cross into Maine to meet up with ‘Guzzi Don'. Hi, Mom!:wave

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    Didn't think of it at the time but we might as well had been staring out across the country as far as distance goes.

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    Back across the bridge to NH.

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    The sun sets on our first day - or partial day.



    Hmmmmm...what's up with this font...?
    #4
  5. atadloco

    atadloco Ouch.. Ta Daaaaaa..

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    I think you need more stickers on you bike Mike.. :D
    #5
  6. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

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    Perth Australia
    Looks like some fun here.... bring it on(with lots of pics please):clap
    #6
  7. goodolguzzi

    goodolguzzi Guzzen around the hood

    Joined:
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    Holy Nerves! In me forty-tree years of motorcycle touring, i've never been so nervous/scared. Maybe it was because my old man said to me about a week before the trip: "It'll be a miracle if you make it there and back!" :huh

    Great, thanx for the support......

    Did we mention that this trip started on Friday the 13th?

    Not even half as nervous for the Barrage-Gouin ride a few years ago.....that one i should have been a wreck.....why? Let's put knobbies on a Moto Guzzi Quota, follow 18 other inmates on 950's, 640's, KLR's, GS1150ADV's, GS80PD and an MZCountry to Northern Quebec and ride 500 miles of dirt roads! Sounds like a great time :evil And it was :clap


    Sue's the best! Great steak tip dinner, thanx :wink: Plus she let her husband go on a tree week cross country ride with some strange long haired Guzzi dude from Maine, very cool :freaky Flamingo Lounge accomadations were first class.

    Overwhelming......
    Vanload of people: "where ya going"
    us: "Malibu"
    Them: "where's that?"
    Us: "California"
    them: ":eek1"
    This was pretty much the reaction we got from everyone!
    So the going to Pennsatucky theme worked very well.
    #7
  8. FreeTheBeast

    FreeTheBeast Shunpiker

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    #8
  9. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Actually, I picked up a few more along the way but for some strange reason they wouldn't stick. :augie
    #9
  10. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    O’dark-thirty comes early as it usually does. A rap on the door of the ‘Flamingo Lounge’ rouses Don. It’s time.

    Amazingly enough, we actually got a little sleep. Last minute stuff is lashed to the bikes.

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    The only thing missing is rain. Sue and Kayla get up to see us off.

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    Sue cooks us up some killer omelets. She doesn't refer to herself as the Director of 'Camp Spoiled Rotten' for nothing!

    I should mention that without her support, none of this would be possible. Don tells me she's a keeper. I don’t disagree. After 28 years I still wonder how I ended up with her - and probably more so - why she keeps me.

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    Fed and loaded we pull out of the driveway. We’re on our way - to Pennsylvania.

    But first, let's swing by the scale and see just how much 'more shxt than a Christmas Goose' weighs...

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    760 pounds full of fuel. For those who care, it was 560 with a gallon or two in it and no bags.

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    Despite our non-plan to slab it to Colorado before any meandering begins, we cut across Hogback to Albany. After all, it’s the shortcut.

    Don and I have ridden together as part of a larger group in the past but never just the two of us. We try to get into a ‘rhythm‘. It’ll come.

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    Following a state trooper or a while…

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    …a stop at the overlook on Hogback…

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    …fuel in Brattleboro, Vt (nice Corvair, btw)…

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    …Max‘s BMW for a spare hall sensor I didn‘t make it to the NH store for (prep for this adventure is a whole nuther story)...

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    …it seems to take forever to get to Albany. That’s alright. We really don’t have to be anywhere for a few days. 9 or 10 actually.

    I keep this in mind and try to get into 'vacation mode'. It usually takes a day or two but I really don't want to take that long.

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    It's begining to warm up.

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    The flooding in the Midwest sends us towards I-70 out of Albany instead of our original I-80. The biggest difference? Ten. That, and it’s drier.

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    Slab through the Midwest is slab through the Midwest. The upside is it gives some good ‘helmet time’. Time to think. Time to contemplate. Not a bad thing at this point in my life.

    Droning along my mind can drift to places it hasn’t been to in a long time. Places like the planning sessions Lenny and I had way back and when for a trip very similar to this one that was to happen in 1992 - 500 years after Chris Columbus did his whole deal. It seemed appropriate at the time.

    Of course, life came along and that ride never happened. Wasn’t it John Lennon who said that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”? Oh, well. Most of it I wouldn’t change.

    There was at least one moment leading up to our departure that had me wondering if I was going to have to bail and postpone the trip yet again. This thing we call work does occasionally have it’s drawbacks.

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    Obviously, things worked out as they typically do as Don and I were on the road ‘living the dream‘...

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    ...visiting exotic locations...

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    ...seeing the sights...

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    As ordinary as they often were they took on an extraordinary flavor. There's something about the road that does that.

    About two hours before we call it a day the ‘first day rain’ finally hits. I’m somewhat surprised - ok, shocked - it’s taken this long as I can typically forecast the weather weeks in advance of my departure: RAIN. Lots of it. At least on the day I'm leaving.

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    I don't think I even bothered with the rain gear.

    We reach our goal of Pennsylvania. As it turns out it’s a fairly uneventful day. That's ok. Events are often overrated.

    The Knights Inn in Somerset is home for the night.

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    Our poseur camping gear looks good lashed to the bikes in front of our dry room.

    We get checked in, spread everything around the room to dry and head to dinner where Don is introduced to one of the best features of digital *photograghy...

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    ...you don't worry about wasting film so you can take shots of food!

    (*I use the term very loosely.)

    We both end up ordering the blackened chicken and shrimp which came highly recommended by the hotel owner.

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    She knew of what she spoke!

    Over our Yuenglings we plot our course...

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    We decide. Tomorrow…we’re going to Missouri.
    #10
  11. goodolguzzi

    goodolguzzi Guzzen around the hood

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,309
    mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Fresh coffee and Mrs Evilclown loaded omelettes :dg
    a great start to day 1.....ah, actually day 2.

    June 14 stats:

    575 Guzzi Miles
    592 GPS Miles
    67.8 mph moving ave
    90 mph Max
    54' Min Elev.
    2437' Max Elev.
    46,325' Climb Elev.
    297 Miles Climbing

    Slow day.....but we got to PA for ysinglings :1drink

    Wonder if anything good happens in MS? :lol3

    Carry on Mr Evil :evil

    Happy weekend :freaky
    #11
  12. goodolguzzi

    goodolguzzi Guzzen around the hood

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,309
    Holy photo attachment......didn't think it workd :huh
    Still new to this teknologee stuff.......

    The featherweight red headed step child @ 700 pounds!!!

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    #12
  13. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Location:
    In the shadow of the Uncanoonucs...
    Up early, we load up and walk over to a little diner we spotted last night on the way to dinner.

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    We review our course over coffee. “Hmmmmm…let’s see…it looks like we get on I-70W and ride…FOREVER!!!!”

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    The breakfast of chumpions arrives! Mmmmmmmmm...

    Back at the room we gear up. Our gear is still a bit damp but it looks like it’s going to be a Golden Graham day!

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    The owner is out and about and gives us the sideways look after seeing our parking arrangement under the eaves. She couldn’t have been too upset as she allowed me to fill my cooler despite the sign suggesting I don‘t. Nice lady.

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    We finish loading up...

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    ...put few clothes in the 'dryer'...

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    ...and roll out towards the interstate.

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    The weather is perfect. A call home the night before gives me the news my mom is praying for good weather for us. It's working. Thanx, Mom!:thumb

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    My camera keeps me entertained...


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    ...the sky smiles on Don...

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    ...as the morning fog burns off...

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    ...we roll past farms...

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    ...and shiny trucks...

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    ...over rivers...

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    ...and through mountains.

    At a fuel stop I talk with this couple just returning from a rally.

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    He mentions the impact of the price of gas these days. By now I've learned to just tuck the receipt away and don't think about it. Quick math the day before made we wonder if I could afford to get home at that rate.

    Afterwards I hope that Sue and I are able to do what they do when we're 70-something.

    Back on the road...

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    ...we motor past another couple out for a ride...

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    ...it's a great day to see America.

    Riding isn't easy. We stop for a rest.

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    The ginormous building in the background resembles the one in front of our bikes. Apparently, they are Ohio's tribute to fine porcelain. That is all they house. No restaurants. No gas. Just porcelain. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Back on the road, this van's plate makes me smile...

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    ...the driver sees me snap a picture and gets a charge out of it. I wonder if they are retired teachers...or just socially inept.

    We stop in London for gas. Seeing a hospital sign I ask how far it is. The cashier is extremely concerned. "Are you ok?" "I'm fine." Don interjects "He just wants to eat there." Through a grimiced face she says, "Oh, don't eat there. Get something right here. We've got sandwiches and stuff."

    The look was enough to convince me. We hang around a awhile waiting for the sandwich and eating. She harasses us a bit. We harass back. Her shift is about to end and a couple of vans packed with kids pull in. For whatever reason she blames me for this.

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    As a final shot I ask, "How's that working out for you?" I guess you had to be there.

    We get back on our bikes.

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    We try to make the best of the weather.

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    The state of Ohio thanks us for visiting.

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    This rig makes me think of Sue. "If we could just get a bike in there somewhere..."

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    I work on my photo composition techniques...

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    ...and read the bumper stickers...

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    ...and exchange a thumbs up with this truck load of GI's.

    A fellow traveler...

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    ...with an old school bed roll...

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    ...Don is still awake.

    About to lose service...to be continued...
    #13
  14. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Ahhhhh...back at Camp Spoiled Rotten, with consistent internet service and the font figgered out...now where were we...?

    Oh, yes, somewhere in Indiana about to enter Illinois...

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    ...we click off another state on our way to Missouri. Truth be told, we're really heading to the National Moto Guzzi Rally being held in Malibu but we can't tell our heads that or we seize up.

    Despite my mother's prayers the sky is turning ugly.

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    We stop in Casey for fuel...

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    ...and check out the local bike scene...

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    ...while carefully watching the sky.

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    Gassed and snacked, we continue on. With the heat we decide if it starts raining we'll stop and put on the rain gear and stash the camera.

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    The clouds put on an impressive show (we've been on the slab for a couple of days now so it doesn't take much to amuse us...ok, just me.)

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    Looking back over my shoulder I roll the throttle just a tad more...


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    ...we can see much friendlier skies ahead...

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    ...somehow, we manage to escape the ugly weather...

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    The sun is getting low but we continue on...

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    ...Saint Louis isn't too far off...

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    We make the obligatory stop for photos at the Gateway to the West...

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    Don is such a tourist.:lol3

    With the quick photo stop out of the way we move on to find a place to stop for the night.

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    A little ways into the suburbs, this will do.

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    Bikes unloaded, showers, etc, we head out for a late dinner...

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    Tomorrow, with any luck at all, we'll be in Colorado!:clap
    #14
  15. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    11,633
    Location:
    Lost Coast, Cali
    So when was this? The title makes it sound like it was taken in '92 and just now posted, but that ain't right. :ear Good start! :thumb
    #15
  16. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Thank you, MeefZah! And thanks for coming along on the adventure.

    As alluded to earlier, for me this trip wasn’t necessarily about heading to Malibu for a Guzzi Rally. Heck, I don’t even own a Guzzi - yet. (It’s no secret I’m one of many in line for Mr. Rookie’s 1975 T-850 police bike - but that’s another story.) For me it was about achieving a long lost dream of mine: discover America by motorcycle.

    A cross-country motorcycle trip is something I had planned long ago, but alas, we didn’t get to do it in 1992 as planned. Instead, the ride was June 13 - July 5, 2008. As the title says - finally being able to make it happen - it‘s “better late than never”.
    #16
  17. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    ...but You Can’t Prepare for Self-inflicted Boneage!


    We wake up somewhere on the outskirts St. Louis. Today’s goal is Colorado so we can get off of this slab and onto some good roads.

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    We start lugging our poseur camping gear and other worldly possessions out to the bikes. I move my bike somewhere more convenient to get it up on the center stand to check the oil then make another trip up to the room.

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    After a few trips all the gear is at least near the bike so it can be lashed back on. I check the sight glass, “Hmmmm…it could stand to be topped off given the high rpm’s we’ll be running” then dig out a paper funnel and the liter of oil I have stashed for this occasion.

    Tank pannier up out of the way and the cap pulled, I add a little oil. I feel much better seeing the oil near the top. Tank pannier back in place, the oil and funnel stashed, we’re ready to roll.

    I meet Don back over where we had parked the night before and we head out.

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    Still in the ’city’ I take the ‘high-vis’ position. Working our way out through the traffic I’m looking for Don in my mirrors. After a few miles I don’t see him but I do notice a stream of smoke and a brownish mist. “Hmmmmm…what’s that from?” Looking around at all my fellow traveling companions I see nothing out of sorts. Then, looking down, “It’s me!” My left leg and boot is covered in hot oil. I know what the problem is. “You dumb ass!"

    I immediately start working my way over to the right side of the road and stop in the breakdown lane. There’s what appears to be five gallons of oil coating my leg, the entire left side of my bike and gear.

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    “Oh, good. I‘m not supposed to get dirty today”

    Don pulls up as I kick myself in the ass. After a few moments we come up with the plan of Don going back and seeing if he can find my oil cap. “I’ll wait here.” And I do.

    Meanwhile, commuter traffic is zipping by a few feet away.

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    I get the slimy bike up on its center stand and look for something to try to sop up some of the oil. As much stuff as I have strapped on, there aren’t enough rags and/or towels to deal with this. I just get the big chunks.

    Adding the other half of the liter doesn’t bring the level up in the window. Even though these sight glass checks can often be deceiving I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy over this.

    Nextel and BOUNTY HUNTER to the rescue! “You probably didn’t lose that much” followed by a story of someone who started an oil head that they forgot they drained and it lived. I feel slightly better but I’m still somewhat stranded on the side of the road. At this point we’ll have to wait and see. I thank Chris and tell him I’ll keep him posted.

    In the event the cap was lost or crushed somehow I start looking for something - anything - that can be shaped into an oil cap.

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    Right about then Jesse pulls up on a Harley to check on me. I ‘splain the situation and ask where the nearest oil might be if it’s needed. He gives me directions and also mentions a dealer quite a ways back as his son apparently has a BMW. We chat a bit. There’s not much he can do now so I thank him and he rolls on.

    What seems like an eternity but what was really only minutes later the calvary rolls up on the Redheaded Step Child with my oil cap in his hand.

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    It was right where I left it during that moment of distraction. D’oh! Lesson learned. Thank you once again, Don!

    Not wanting to turn an inconvenience into a total disaster I impose on Don once again to shag some oil. I tell him where I thought Jesse said oil might be and give him some cash.

    Might as well get a picture or two while I pass the time. If you’re moving with traffic you might not give it any notice…

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    ...stuck on the side of I-70 and it becomes one of those ‘
    loneliest highways’.

    Time to kill and a signal, I phone Sue. My predicament comes up in conversation. Nothing to worry about just yet. I find out later this news spread like wildfire moments later. Much like the old game of ’Telephone’ the endings had quite a range to them.

    While working out logistics I hope I don’t need to use I happen to spot a black Tiger approaching over in the farthest lane. As the bike blows past I see it cut across 4 or 5 lanes to get off at the next exit. Next thing I know he’s on the other side of the Jersey barrier/fence!

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    It’s fellow ADV’er BritBiker! As I explain the situation and the ride we’ve embarked on it becomes very clear to me how much I really want to do this ride and how disappointing it’s going to be if this little boneheaded episode kills it.

    Even though I tell him I think we’ll be ok Marty tells me he has a trailer, barn and a place to stay if it doesn’t work out and gives me his number. I thank him before he heads off and hope, as much as I appreciate it, I don’t have to take him up on any of it.

    Shortly thereafter Don shows up with oil.

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    I add a touch and “Yippee!” it’s in the sight glass. I am a very happy camper! Firing up the pig she’s fine and the best part of all we've finally put an end to the great debate on what the best oil is for your GS - whatever you can find when you really, really need it! (He did find me some 20w50, btw.)

    I pull off the exit and catch up with Don on the other side of the fence. With a few hours gone by we decide now would be good time to find breakfast and start this day over…right after I find a carwash! I’ve got to get this completely behind me to move on. Yeah, I’m a nut job like that.

    Carwash found, Don heads over to one of the fine eateries and waits. We’re both a bit discombobulated by the morning’s events.

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    I douche off my bike, gear and leg as best I can without unloading everything. “Ahhhh….” Ok, let’s go eat.

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    I catch up with Don who is entertaining the staff of the Waffle House with my tale of woe. At least we can laugh about it.

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    I walk in and sit down answering the waitress, “Yes. Coffee would be good.” Breakfast ordered, I go clean up and go back out and try to get some more oil off the bottom of my boot by kicking around in the dirt. This, of course, offers more entertainment for the masses.

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    Breakfast arrives. We kick around our plan for the day which is now somewhat behind schedule. We’ll see how it goes. We may be on this slab a little longer than we had hoped...
    #17
  18. goodolguzzi

    goodolguzzi Guzzen around the hood

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,309
    650 guzzi miles
    761 gps miles.....it lies!
    76.6 mph moving ave
    93.6 mph max
    407' min elev
    2600' max elev
    40,934 climb elev
    360 miles climb dist


    Local bike night close up

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    #18
  19. Mercury264

    Mercury264 Once you go Triple...

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    :lurk
    #19
  20. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Apparently I was supposed to fuel up before breakfast so I head out before Don and get gas. My phone is alerting me to a message when I get off at the pump. It's Marty checking up on me. He's good people.

    Gassed, I catch up with Don and we're back on the road.

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    The weather is perfect. I can't help but wonder how this story would have ended if it were raining with a good spray coming up off the road. Might not have seen that trail of smoke and brown mist in time.

    The scenery doesn't change much…

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    …with the exception of a bridge or two. I love bridge shots.

    We pass my place of birth.

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    No time to visit.

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    Some poor guy loses the grip on his hand truck along with the load.

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    We stop for gas and with a handy dandy packet of detergent Sue slipped into my tank pannier I try to get some more oil out of the leg of my riding pants in the men's room sink. I conclude that ordeal is going to haunt me for some time.

    We've been joking back an forth about the load on the bikes - ok, my bike. "That's how Jed would roll" has become the motto. Don comes out with a handful of souvenirs for friends back home.

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    This one he's keeping. It's an acronym for "What Would Jed do?".

    We take in the scenery...

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    ...road signs…

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    …interesting cargo combinations…

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    ...Stuckey's - haven't seen one of those in years!

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    Somehow amongst all the concrete I miss the sign entering Kansas - at least in time to get a shot of it.

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    Out of Kansas City we're back into the fields and plains.

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    At a fuel stop...

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    ...we meet this couple from New Ipswich, New Hampshire who're moving to Colorado. I don't fully understand why until later in the trip when we get to Colorado.

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    Thankfully the temperatures is relatively cool...

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    ...not much shade in these parts.

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    Don and I wonder if it'll ever end.

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    This car we pass gives us hope.

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    After another fuel stop we're compelled to stop by the boutique next door and see what all the fuss is about.

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    (Hi Tom and Manny!:wave Hee hee hee)

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    Staring out to the ends of the earth I compare the scene to being out on the ocean where all you can see is water. Not much difference except the comfort in knowing if you go overboard, you won't drown.

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    After miles and miles and miles of 'flyover country' these pop up and add a bit of interest.

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    Don's 'metal horns' shows his approval. I'm also fascinated with these. Interestingly enough all but one is stationary.

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    They go on forever.

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    This poor little fella is feeling inadequate.

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    Someone else has apparently forgotten to replace their oil cap today.

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    I'm guessing there was an argument and his girlfriend is now riding in the back…

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    …they appear to be traveling with this truck. Go team Yamaha!

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    Don't see too many Nova's these days.

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    Man, there's a lot of nothing out here - 'cept for maybe that train on the horizon. More time to think…

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    Don gives I-70 the thumb up! He's all over this stuff!

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    Another fuel stop and we discuss how far we want to go. "One tank at a time" got us to here.

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    We'll see how the next tank or two go and maybe we'll get to Colorado after all.

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    Though I'm sure they're also passing through, surfboards in Kansas made me laugh out loud.

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    With the sun just about to drop below the horizon we're not too far from the Colorado border. There's no stopping us now.

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    Without even stopping I blow by the 'Welcome to Colorado' sign. Don later reveals this was a faux pas of sorts. Sorry, again, Don. We'll stop next year.

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    We arrive in Burlington with the draw of the agricultural/industrial zone too strong to avoid.

    We (ok, I) manage to find the worst motel possible short of the state prison down the road. We're too beat to care.

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    Bikes parked and we're off to suppah in such a tear we leave our cameras behind.

    Despite our rough start we have some celebrating to do. Nearly 700 miles later, we've finally made it to Colorado!:clap
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