Phillys Big Trip (Alaska to Chile or is that Argentina)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dean10, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Winslow to Gallup, Saturday, 11 August 2012, Day 68


    Route 66 Wigwam Motel[/caption]

    I have no idea where I am and I have no idea where I am going. The Plan is to do the Route 66 to Chicago I am not sure why as to be honest it is not that inspiring. I had my free breakfast and I chatted with Chuck owner of the motel when a native Indian woman came in asking about a key that she may have left there 2 years ago. She was quite obviously drunk which was scary, as she had just driven up in a car. She then pounced some breakfast and disappeared calling chuck a white bastard. So the conversation turned to aboriginal's and how much they get from the government and their dependency on hand outs etc. This was such a déjà vu conversation as I have had it many times in Australia and Canada and in many countries I am not sure where I stand on this lot of finger-pointing and very little understanding but what I just witness gave a lot credence to the lazy freeloading drunk stereotype that is used in these dialogs so lets just say I was more concerned that she got in her car and drove away as another drunk behind the wheel is that what scares me most as I was just about to hit the road again.


    Holbrook[/caption]







    Another hot day and this time I went to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park which was nice even though I was not ideally dressed for the weather conditions.


    Hot and lost[/caption]







    It took longer than I thought and I also crossed the state line into New Mexico and lost an hour without realising it so at about 4pm ish so I decided to call it a day in a town called Gallup I did not cover too much distance today I only did 160 miles today but the heat is exhausting for a chubby little fellow like me. Loads of motel in Gallup all advertising cheap rates but when you roll up well suddenly the rate on the huge billboard is not valid and its more expensive. This was pissing me off no end I was hot sweaty and tired and very irritable. I eventually got one that matched the price on the sign but when I went to put my gear in my room it had not been made up and looked a mess. I had already woke the young guy up from his afternoon nap (idle bastard) all I wanted was a nap as well. Room eventually sorted next problem Internet. Got chatting to the guy and I found out the reason he was napping was that he was fasting for Ramadan so a retraction of the previous idle bastard comment and big respect as there is no way I could be fasting in this heat. I am on the outskirts of town next to the railway and the freeway so not much doing so I decide to walk for 30 minutes in the direction of town and see what I can find in the heat but it just the usual stuff you find on the strip outside of all American towns so its KFC for me dinner and then I walked back to the motel for another evening of trying to get this blog up to date read me book and watched the goggle box. Failed on the first two but watched some crap on the telly in a tatty cheap motel room. I am living the life here I went to bed with John Wayne and woke up with John Wayne as I said before the walls are paper-thin and the bloke next door must be deaf and a John Wayne fan so it was on when I went to bed and on again in the morning. “Get off your horse and drink your milk”


    My little pony![/caption]

    [​IMG]
    #81
  2. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Gallup to Santa Rosa, Sunday, 12 August 2012, Day 69



    As I said yesterday I have no idea where I am never mind where I am going just blindly following Route 66 signs, which is most cases is not there or it just disappears and re appears infinitum, todays parts of it was calling itself Route 66 prior to 1937 whatever that means I think it is just that certain town can claim the route 66 kudos.







    Mirror Mirror on the wall!

    Interesting it is not and every now again an old car or gas station but for the rest pretty boring. I only took few pictures today and most of them of a scrap yards so the scenery is not at all enthralling. Highlight of the day was that yesterday I noticed the screw holding the petrol tank on was missing. So it was both forgotten and or not replaced during the last service or it had worked loose (doubtful). So I decided to find a Suzuki dealer in Albuquerque so I plugged Suzuki into the GPS. Two things I had forgotten was that it was Sunday so they would be shut and when I got there it was indeed shut and it was a car dealership. Homer Simpson Doh! This heat is getting to my brain. I finally called it quits at a place called Santa Rosa as it allegedly had some nice lakes close by and I managed to get some more miles in than yesterday but the heat finally got to me so its another cheap motel at the edge of town does this sound familiar?


    Route 66 New Mexico[/caption]



    This one had a café next door so grabbed some food there as no Internet at the motel so I watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Seeing as this is first real viewing of the Olympics I had watched as I have been watching very little on the goggle box lately I must say I was quite impressed and dare I say it proud of the little show us chaps put on. I only it turned of when the Brazilian did their bit which was not half as good as us. So again I found myself in a decrepit cheap motel with the air co sounding like it going to cough itself to a terminal standstill and I am wondering what the bleeding hell am I doing here. Route 66 so far has not been that exciting or engaging, I have not spoken to anyone for days except for “how you doing” and the very sincere “have a nice day” and I all I am seeing is freeways and freeways and the odd service towns. Every now again I can escape on to the old route 66 but this is always short-lived or a dead-end so ends up with a lot of back tracking and looking at the maps there are not many alternatives routes. So What to do?
    #82
  3. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Santa Rosa to Amarillo, Monday, 13 August 2012, Day 70


    Route 66 or whats left of it[/caption]

    I am not sure what time I got up as I am still a bit confused on the time zones and for me currently it does not really matter. Well actually it does I missed McDonald’s Egg McMuffin by 10 minutes so not a great start to the day. I am desperately looking for inspirations or something to get excited about so after failing at breakfast I decided to go and look for the lakes I saw on the bill board that I saw yesterday so I headed of to Santa Rosa Lakes State Park. Well considering I am in the middle of desert and it has been 30 plus centigrade for the last few weeks I was not sure what I was expecting. (It was raining last night I know this because the owner of the motel was banging on my door late last night telling me if I wanted I could move my bike under cover so that it did not get wet which was nice however in the the fleapits I am staying when there someone banging on your door late at night ones does tend to crap one pants!) So here I was heading for the lakes in a desert well you guessed it was just a dried out small puddle oh well very little inspiration there or in Santa Rosa so decided to treat myself to a Denny breakfast. On the way in there was a French guy and a whole load of Harley Rider's. He asked me about my trip and bike and I told him briefly and said goodbye as it was very hot and as I had come so far today I needed some breakfast and walked into Denny’s I could hear him recanting my story in French to all his Harley's pals excitedly which made me feel quite cool and nonchalant all at the same time. I have been complaining about not talking or engaging with anybody and I just walked away from an audience but in my defence I needed a coffee :-)

    I finally got out of Santa Rosa at about 12am and continued to play hide and seek with Route 66. Well I was looking for excitement and today I found it I am not sure I need it in this kind of dosage but certainly got the old ticker working and it cost me a pair of underpants.









    Route 66 New Mexico

    I had turned of the freeway trying to find the illusive route 66. On my GPS is said you are now travelling on historical route 66 no road showing however but heading east so I just kept rolling. All of sudden the road turned from tarmac to dirt track. Hammered on the brakes as soon as I spotted this to wash of as much speed off before I hit the dirt the ABS was going into overtime. So down to a slower pace the road is dirt but hard and compact with the odd sharp rocks so decide to continue my pace picking up as you know this fella has done the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle so this bit of dirt no problem. Getting braver and getting faster and faster when all of a sudden it all goes pear shape and the bike goes all wobbly and loose under me front wheel digs in I am flying all over the place. Now in the manual it states the best way to handle a situation like this is to accelerate through it well bollocks to that I was off the throttle in no time which did not help the situation and I managed to wrestle the bike to a standstill which seem to take a long time and I was all over the road but least when it was stopped I may be in control of the bucking beast. I finally stopped and remembered to breath and then I looked down to see which of tyres was flat as I presumed I had just a big tyre blow out nope both looked fine except they where both buried in 2 to 3 inches of sand. So the hard dirt track I was following just turned into a sand road with no warning except the bike wanting to throw me off and by then it was too late. Shaking like a leaf I pulled forward and it was hard going in the soft sand every time I picked up a little speed the front wheel dug in and decided it no longer wanted to cooperated with the instructions it was getting from me so I was down to a snail's pace confidence totally shot in the middle of who knows where no one around for miles around and this went on for a couple more miles it felt like longer then eventually the road turned back to Tarmac much to my relief. I pulled over had a pee and and just started to giggle. That was a close call to close. I keep getting let down by my off-road skills I was looking for excitement well I just got it in spades can we go back to dull ville please.

    I was just 1 mile short of the Texas State line so another State to add to my ever-growing list and back on the boring I40 where I kept seeing signs for a cheap motel in Amarillo with a swimming pool which seem very tempting considering the temperature and my motocross exertions. It was early but I had lost another hour as I crossed into Texas and I had had enough for one day. One final stop before I hit Amarillo the famous Cadillac Ranch a public art installations of about 10 Cadillac half buried in a field. I had a wonder round here which was nice except for all the empty aerosols canister lying all over the field there where thousands of them. Not sure if was the original intention that they all get covered with graffiti and if was there is no need to leave the empty canister lying around spoilt it a wee bit in my view but maybe the graffiti has added something to the piece.


    Cadillac Ranch Amarillo[/caption]









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    Swimming pool here I come as it now about 40 centigrade I find the place and yes the sign says 29.95 per night but guess what when I go in and ask that rate is only if I have a sick relative staying in the hospital down the road! What a load of bollocks I had seen about 10 signs since New Mexico for this place and then they pull this kind of Bollocks so to the Executive Inn Amarillo you can eat my shorts the ones I was wearing today which you can imagine are not very pleasant. Final rant I am getting sick of huge signs saying one thing only to found out they are totally meaningless should not be allowed. So I found a place round the corner where they did honour the huge sign outside and they had a pool as well but it was tiny more like a large bath so I gave that a miss. So again I am in cheap motel on the outskirts of town tonight walked to a huge shopping mall for the Food Court for me dinner but have not seen much of Amarillo as I do want to get on the bike after a long day in the saddle but guess I will have to start doing this or it is going to be very boring through the rest of the States. I need to get some kind of plan together on what I am going to do as what I am doing it not that exciting and the only buzz I get is when I nearly hurt or kill myself so it is back to the drawing board me thinks! Good news is this blog is now up to date all I need to do is publish it.
    #83
  4. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Amarillo to Elk City, Tuesday, 14 August 2012, Day 71


    Only in Texas[/caption]

    Todays highlight was a huge cross in a place called Groom. Well I am in Texas so I guess they had to have the biggest one! I have no idea why it's there as I am in the middle of nowhere there where a whole load of other religious sculptures at the place to all in all very strange. It was the signage that amused me the most which said “Keep off not responsible for accidents” We know that allegedly it is the fella who’s sculpture you trying to keep folk of who is responsible for the accidents or am I missing something :-) Made me giggle.




    Bloody Big Cross[/caption]



    Slow hot day I did not get out of Amarillo till after 12am as I needed to find a Suzuki dealer to replace the bolt that was missing that held me petrol tank in place. No problems easy fix but it took time to find the place and get the right bolt and you do not move to fast in this kind of heat.

    Afterwards I had breakfast at a Donut place and I got chatting to an ex retired air force guy who had been stationed in the UK. It was cool in the Café and I was reluctant and get out into the heat outside and they had donuts. So I finally got going trying to track the elusive 66, which kept appearing then disappearing. Just grinding out the miles trying to find something interesting to see but not being that successful a all as all I got today was a bloody huge cross.


    Route 66 Texas[/caption]

    The heat sucks the life out of you and it has been very windy for the last couple of days so it is like riding with someone pointing a huge hairdryer at you yes even the winds are a hot ones. So at about 5.30pm I started to look for a Motel. The first one that looked affordable was an Ex Motel 6 well I thought it was but the owner a nice catholic Indian chap (Not sure why his religion is relevant but he wanted to be sure that I knew and there where pictures of the last supper in the reception and lots of useful quotations from the good book all over the place) he claimed it was a Motel 6 but I am not sure as the signage was decrepit and all Motel 6 logos been eliminated so it may had been in the past but I doubt if it is now. Good thing about Indian Motel owners is that they are always ready to haggle. It did not go so well but I managed to get a reduced rate but as it was just starting to rain outside I think he had me over a barrel as I was hot sweaty and tired and I did not fancy getting an external warm shower. As usual motel on the outskirts of town next to the freeway but fortunately there was a nice little Italian restaurant just across the road so spaghetti sausage and meatballs for dinner and back to the motel room for the rest of the evening who said travelling was glamorous and exciting?
    #84
  5. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Elk City to Claremore, Wednesday, 15 August 2012, Day 72


    Yet another Route 66 Petrol Station![/caption]

    As you can probably tell I am not to impressed with this part of the journey but I had very little option but to grind it out in the hope that it will get more interesting soon. I had a pleasant day Route 66 was more present in the State of Oklahoma so this got me of the freeway, which was a nice change.



    I must confess I am no longer a speed freak and on the Freeways you are allowed to go 75 mph but that is a tad fast for my liking the bike could do that all day long the rider however prefers the more leisurely pace of the back roads where he is not being humiliated and passed by 20 wheel trucks as he tootles along in the slow lane. It is official I most be getting old as I am no longer in hurry to be the fastest thing on the road and considering the miles I am putting in I would be even more tired than I am now. Again on me own in a tatty old motel room so I finally got all my routes downloaded from my Garmin GPS onto my computer as there is no Internet and the goggle box here is crap.


    Bugger it was Closed![/caption]

    So here are some Stats;

    I have done about 23,690km in 72 days so that is about 330km a day. The most I travelled in one day is 764km from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. I have spent about USD 1, 250 on fuel and about USD 2,200 on Accommodation and god knows how much on Cinnamon Rolls. I know but I am not telling. So a pleasant enough day at the office not mind-blowing or much to write about but pleasant. I have got some ideas on how to liven things up bit but a tad more research is needed so watch this space.
    #85
  6. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Claremore to Rolla, Thursday, 16 August 2012, Day 73


    yet another scrap yard on Route 66![/caption]



    Another pleasant day at the office but I need to put some serious miles in if I am going to get to Indianapolis for Friday evening as I have decided to treat myself to a weekend of MotoGP. However Route 66 is showing more of herself than she has in other states and there is even signposts making it a lot easier to follow in Missouri. I cannot say that route 66 is that interesting put today was a pleasant ride hot in the morning but towards the end of the day started to cool which was nice when I say cool still warm but a lot cooler than I have been for a while. As I was just about to call it quits for the day and start looking for a Motel for the night. I loose the signs for Route 66 but I am on a gorgeous road and the scenery is pleasant and its that time if an evening when the light is brilliant I decide to keep going in the hopes I am on the right road. Eventually I have to admit I am lost so stop and pull out the maps and with the GPS figure out where I am. I was heading for a place called Rolla as I presumed there would be some cheap motels there. It took me a while to figure out where I was as I had gone miles in the wrong direction but soon I was heading to where I wanted to be when the GPS turned me down a dirt track which I had no intention of doing as I had been riding for miles to long if truth be told and I was completely knackered so I had no ambitions for off-roading so I ignored the GPS and hit recalculate button and continued with my search of Rolla. Again it directed me to another dirt track so this one I decided to take as I just wanted to be at a motel by now. So the usual Philly off-road shinangings scaring myself half to death, as I was so tired I was not really concentrating and suddenly the road turned very steep bike picking up speed very rapidly and all my mind wanted to do was a slow tappy lappy until the rough stuff finished and the road turned back to Tarmac. So again floundering off-road this time I will blame my lack of skills on fatigue. Luckily I managed to gain control of the situation and had an uncomfortable couple more miles before I was back on normal roads and a couple more before I was back on the freeway heading to Rolla by this time quite late getting dark and threatening to rain which it did just as I rolled into Rolla but at the same time I saw a sign for a cheap ish motel so pulled straight in there just as the heaven’s opened. I am such a jammy bastard sometimes I live quite a charmed life!


    Just me and the Cops![/caption]


    Got all my gifts for you here[/caption]

    #86
  7. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Rolla to Indianapolis, Friday, 17 August 2012, Day 74


    The Brickyard[/caption]

    It rained a lot that evening which was nice as I have been travelling in some seriously hot weather in the high 90s Fahrenheit mid 30s Centigrade for the last week and above the 100s Fahrenheit so that is 40 plus Centigrade so when I got up this morning and it was a balmy 72f or 22c it was a pleasant relief. I had done a lot of miles yesterday however a lot of them in the wrong direction so I still had a lot of miles to do today and to add to that also wanted to stay off the freeway and follow route 66 as much as possible so it is going to be a long day again in the saddle. I said goodbye to Route 66 at St Louis which also looked like an interesting place to stay however I had a date with Valentino, Lorenzo, Casey and Danny and the rest of the MotoGP mob so I pushed on to Indy.




    Illinois Toll Bridge[/caption]


    I was not walking paid 1 cent![/caption]

    I got there about 8.30pm I had lost an hour going into Indiana or was it Illinois I do not know anymore I found the campsite which was right next to the track and I set up camp. It has been more than month since I have been under canvas so hopefully all the mossies that I packed last time I camped are all dead if not they are going to be very angry
    #87
  8. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Indianapolis, Saturday, 18 August 2012, Day 75


    showing the motogp jockeys how to look good on a bike![/caption]



    I have let this slip so I am doing a bit of a catch up so this may be a bit slapdash. As you have probably gathered I am now at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Circuit for the MotoGP. I decided I had been alone to long in tatty motel rooms in the middle of nowhere and I would go to the other extreme and set up camp in a middle of field with loads of like-minded motorcycle enthusiast and maybe even talk to some of them.

    I drove into Indianapolis late last night and what struck me was that for a Motorcycle event there where not many motorcyclist around so at first I thought am I in the right place and if yes have I got the right weekend. After putting the tent up I went looking for where the action maybe but to be honest there was not much to be found so I walked miles to find some food and then back to the tent and spent the rest of the evening chatting to my neighbours before retiring to bed.


    Indy MotorGP No one here![/caption]

    Up quite early and headed to the track for a full day of watching motorcycles go round and round in circles at different speeds and levels. Just what the doctor ordered my idea of heaven. Today was just the warm up and the qualifications so with my general admission ticket I was allowed to go into pretty much all of the grandstands so I spent all day moving from one to another trying to figure the best spot to watch the race tomorrow when with the ticket I had I would be restricted as to where I could stand.















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    [​IMG]
    Indy MotorGP StillNo one! here![/caption]

    Gorgeous hot day very little shade and we all know Philly’s views on Sun Tan Oil (I can’t stand the stuff) I was a burnt red little boy at the end of the day but very happy I had been chatting and bull shitting bikes all day good atmosphere here and the racing and what I get to see is very good quality. I got back to my Tent at about 6pm so I have been cooking in the sun for about 10 hours but I was beyond caring and I was a bit whiffey as well as there was no water or showers at the campsite or internet so I thought I would address one of those Issues and headed to McDonald’s for a drink as they have free WiFi and I sorted out some digs for Monday in Chicago.

    [​IMG]

    Afterwards headed into town where the whole center of town was closed of except for Motorcycles so there where bikes everywhere. Spent the rest of the evening just wandering around people and bike watching and later I did some cruising in the hope that some of me pongs may be blown away.

    [​IMG]
    Indianapolis Biker Party[/caption]

    [​IMG]

    I got back to the campsite quite late had a chat with a Fries couple and then back to me tent to crash a burnt smelly but happy chap and the good news is that I get to do it all again tomorrow yeah!
    #88
  9. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Indianapolis, Sunday, 19 August 2012, Day 76


    Sun Cream Nope Custard Cream Yep it all about priorities[/caption]

    Up at about 9am I headed straight to the race track and to the loo's there as the ones at the campsite where a bit minging by now and I also took my towel and managed to have a stand up wash at one of the baisins to get rid of some of me pongs a big improvement on the French shower I had yesterday but as I had a good couple of hot days and night pongs on me not ideal. I grabbed a coffee and a breakfast sandwich and sneaked into one of the stands I was not allowed into and had me breakfast watching the warm up sessions. Eventually they started checking folk’s tickets so I decided to move before I was asked to leave and made my way to the cheap seats. I had a place in mind which covered the exit of the pit lane turn 1 through 4 and was high up in the stand there’s was cool breeze to keep the heat down as is was still sunny I cooked again but I did not notice as much. I spent the rest of the day up in there on me perch chatting and chewing the fat with the folks around me and also I got talking to a Canadian/Dutch guy who had ridden all over Mexico and Central America and even had sort of published a bikers hotel guide to the area so spent the day picking his brains for useful gems of information which I have probably forgotten by the time I get there I should really start writing some of this info down.


    Race Day[/caption]


    Most crowded stand![/caption]



    Another good day at the race Danny Pedrosa took the main event big prize easily I saw loads of crashes in the last couple of days a great venue what surprised me was how empty it was very few spectators if you compare it to say something like Assen where they get about 100,000 plus spectators there it felt like there was hardly any one at this event which is great for me as I hate large crowds :-).


    Need a shower soon![/caption]

    What surprised me even more was I was practically the only person left staying at the campsite I got back to the tent and everyone had left! So had a very strange evening where I walked about 3 miles to the nearest place selling food (Taco Bell I have not had one of these yet) it is still hot totally burnt and not smelling that pleasant. I cannot get it into my head that you need a vehicle in the US if you want to do anything as everything is so far apart but I did not fancy getting the bike out so of I go walking everywhere hoping that it will be closer than it actually is. The exercise will do me good. I got back to the tent at about 7pm it was like a ghost town now so I did a little bit work on the PC but no wi-fi so limited with what I could do and what I could be bothered to do without any power there as well. Read me book for a short while and as I was knackered and there was bugger all to do decided on early night so at 10pm I went to bed so a reverse sleep in. Why is going to bed early not as pleasurable as a sleep in this has always bothered me as I much rather have a lie in than go to bed early.


    Where has everyone gone ?[/caption]
    #89
  10. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Indianapolis to Chicago, Monday, 20 August 2012, Day 77


    Chicago Skyline[/caption]

    I woke up quite early which is not surprising as I had gone to bed early but I thought I would get a lie in as well but the Bin men where making a racket clearing up the campsite and it was already starting to get hot in the tent. It was last Friday morning when I had my last shower it was now Monday Morning so you can imagine I looked and smelt awful. Packing the tent did not help this position much but it actually made it a tad worse that I was glad when I finally hit the road I had some coolish wind breeze to around my smelly body. Today destination Chicago which is only 180 miles away so no Freeways for me today. Stopped in Lafayette for breakfast/lunch and I was getting some funny looks as I said before I looked like shit warmed up. I went into Subways where they tried to serve me cold coffee, well I was not having that so made a bit of a fuss you could see them cringing as this hobo demanded in his perfect English accent that they put his coffee in the microwave as coffee is supposed to be served hot. Got to Chicago and the Hostel at what I thought was about 4pm but it was 3pm as Illinois is an hour early than Indiana all these time zone changes is giving me brain ache. I checked in OK and then I asked about Parking and they said yes no problem that will be an additional 25 bucks a night. No way Jose! I could park on the street a block away and that was free so I went for that option. While I was unloading the bike I walked round the back to check the parking facilities and I saw there was loads of unused space that I could easily put the bike in without taking up any car parking space so I went and had another word and they said yes I can park the bike in these dead space and that would be 10 buck a night. Bugger that talk about being motorcyclist friendly not so my bike is parked on the street a block away I hope my bloody mindless action does not turn round and bite me in the bum and it is there in the morning. It seems quite a nice neighbourhood and it is parked in front of a church. And the sign says no parking tow away zone when there is more than 2 inches of snow so heres hoping that it does not snow tonight.

    Posh Hostel and quite expensive as well but I guess I am in Chicago so these are big city prices. First thing I did was get a shower oh god I needed that and I spent the rest of the afternoon doing my washing as I was running out of clean stuff so as yet have not seen much of Chicago except for the drive in where I drove right through the centre and I like the look and feel of this place. After I had done my washing I went to a Supermarket to get some dinner and later I walked to the lakeside where there where some great views of the Chicago skyline. I say lakeside for me this is more like being on the coast as the Lake is huge and you cannot see the other side, which for me is not normal, attributes for a lake. I Wondered round the neighbourhood which is called Fullerton and it is very nice the dilemma I have now is do I stay just tomorrow or 2 days as I am not sure I cannot do Chicago justice in just one day but the clock is also ticking on when I need to be think about going back to the NL and where I need to be to do that efficiently. Luxury problems I know but I still need to make a decision on this. I will decide in the morning, as procrastination is a good friend of mine.


    Chicago Night Skyline[/caption]

    #90
  11. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Chicago, Tuesday, 21 August 2012, Day 78


    Chicago Art[/caption]

    I got up quite early and had the free breakfast which was surprisingly good and plentiful for a hostel. I have decided to stay an extra day, as after checking the bike it was still there which it was a relief so with that decision made I could now take it easy. Last night I had been doing some timeline planning as I had arranged to meet an old friend of mine Supriya who lives in Nashville and it would be nice to be able to tell her when I maybe turning up on her front doorstep. It sounds quite a simple exercise but there are so many variables so I was only able to come up with a rough estimate of 2 weeks but based on my planning thus far this either very optimistic or very pessimistic and as I have nothing to base the planning on as it is all unknown territory to me. I also need to figure when I will be going back to the NL and that is turning into a logistical nightmare as well. So having made the simple decision of staying here an extra night I set of to get an all day travel card and discover the delights of Chicago. The Plan was to use public transport as much as possible but again this plan was ignored as I spent most of the day walking from one Chicago hotspot to another so I am well knackered but it was very enjoyable but I certainly walked for miles. Tomorrow I will use the public transport more and give me poor little legs a rest



















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    #91
  12. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Chicago, Wednesday, 22 August 2012, Day 79


    Chicago River[/caption]

    I am glad I decided to stay an extra day in Chicago as I really enjoyed yesterday and was looking forward to doing it all again today. First thing I did was go to the Zoo why because it was free. Normally I am not a big fan of zoos as I believe animals should be in the wild not in cages but I do like seeing animals so zoo does make sense at a certain level but I still have mixed emotions on this especially after I saw one of the lions there pacing his area he was walking around a log and just kept on doing this and was still doing this later when I went past so I am sure that not a good sign when animals are pacing like that surely it is a sign of madness and stir craziness creeping in and this was one of the reason I do not like going to zoos when you see unnatural behaviour like this.





    True to my word after the zoo I hopped on a bus to minimise the walking today and then on to the L train L for elevated and went round the loop a couple of times taking pictures. This was after waiting for ages for a purple line train to come eventually I just got on the first train coming through and later I found out that the purple train only runs in the rush hour.







    So spent all day wandering the town on a mix of train’s buses and walking.





    I went to China Town for a late lunch early supper and I walked the golden mile and eventually got back to the hostel at about 6pm ish short rest and then back into town to the John Hancock Building again as I had been there yesterday and it was fantastic and you could buy another ticket cheaply if you brought it whilst you where there the first time so this time I was going to watch the sunset. After the sunset at about 8.45pm I was just about to get in the lift and leave when the attendant mentioned that on Wednesday night there was a firework display at 9.30pm from Navy Pier so a quick U-turn and I grabbed a seat and waited for the display to start whilst waiting I got chatting a nice German lady who had just qualified as a Doctor. Watching the fireworks from a skyscraper was weird as normally you are looking up at the display going ooh and aah but now I was looking down on it with no sounds as I was indoors excellent if not a bit strange!





    Afterwards back to the hostel which was a bit lively, quite a young crowd in all trying to out cool each other which is amusing to watch bad thing was there where a couple of guitars there as well and there is always some sad git who thinks they can play a bit murdering all your favourite or not so favourite songs I do wish they would shut the f**k up as I have no desire to hear some talentless git play the guitar and sing tonelessly along with it. I do that myself in the shower where it bothers no one mini rant over guess I am no longer young and or cool.
    #92
  13. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Chicago to Flint, Thursday, 23 August 2012, Day 80


    Michigan Road[/caption]

    I am heading towards the Niagara Falls today it is 2 days hard drive so I am planning to get some decent mileage done today to make tomorrow easier. I thought I would be on a scenic road following the lake but for the 1<sup>st</sup> hour rough old working towns round Chicago and very industrial I saw very little of the lake later in the day turned into corn fields which was pleasant riding if not a tad warm today. Not very photogenic scenery, so a very few pictures taken today but all in all a nice day in the saddle.

    Come quitting time I started to look for somewhere to stay but there where very few cheap motels around only the standard mainstream chains so ended up in a motel 6 slightly over my usual budget but I was tired. Tonight for my haute cuisine I decided to try an Arby’s, which was nice change, roast beef sandwiches then back to the motel to chill.

    Later that evening as I was doing my expenses I noticed my credit card was missing! PANIC empty wallet not there look all over room not their MORE PANIC where did I have it last Arby’s so I hop on the bike and quickly ride down to Arby’s with all sorts of thing going through my mind on how complicated life is going to be if I have lost me card as I use for everything at the moment. I got to Arby’s but it was shut PANIC luckily they where cleaning up and the drive through part was still operating so I got their attention and what a stroke of luck I had left on the counter when paying and they had put it to one side so a happy reunion with my credit card that was a close call need to take more care I am getting a bit lapsydasickle in me old age I cannot afford the hassle of a major upset of loosing my credit card. PANIC officially over relax.
    #93
  14. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Flint to Niagara Falls, Friday, 24 August 2012, Day 81


    Niagara Falls at night[/caption]

    It looks like my forgetfulness is getting worse. I packed the bike checked the room to see if I not had left everything then went to hand in my key when I realised I had forgotten my helmet even after checking the room missed that key bit of kit! So my rituals to ensure I have everything are no longer working note to me I must focus more or I am going to lose something important. I blame the heat my poor little brain is frazzled. Now you are going to think I am a seriously sad git when I tell you the following. I had heard that there are Tim Horton’s in the North East of the US so last night I had Googled it to find the nearest one and joy of joys there was one just down the road so had my first destination already sorted now the sad thing is not only did I have breakfast at Tim Horton’s I had afternoon tea and later a late supper there as well so that is 3 times in one day so new record had been set. In my defence I have not been there since I left Canada nearly a month ago but even I have to admit this is quite a sad little addiction I have developed but I guess there are worse things to be addicted to. After breakfast and my joyful reunion with Tim (It was not as good as I remember it to be yet I still went back twice that day!!) I hit the road as I had not done as many mile yesterday as I wanted well I did but not all of them in the right direction so still had quite a tough day in the saddle today adding on my little diversion as I either got lost or todays case in search of a petrol stations. Still hot in the thirties centigrade still but other than the heat another nice days riding again not many photos taken or stops for photos as it is quite pretty and nice country side but not very photogenic or may be I have been spoilt rotten by gorgeous scenery over the last months or I over did it on the photo front in Chicago but I was struggling to find things to that I thought would make a good photos so grand total of 3 compared to about 100 I took in Chicago and 100 I took in Niagara Falls. That’s does not mean it is not nice just not that photogenic with my mediocre camera skills. Highlight today other than nearly running out of petrol and been unable to find a petrol station when I needed one was that a bee stung me! Riding along in sort of rush hour traffic because it is so hot I have my jacket partly loose and my sleeves are also opens allowing air to flow though keeping me sort of cool. Today a felt something go up my sleeve and was buzzing around my arm. Instead of just relaxing and letting it find its way out I panicked and pulled of the road ASAP into some kind of parking lot and started flapping my arms trying to get whatever it was out. Well you guessed it was bee and did not like my flapping so it stung me. Ouch but I guess it was my own fault.

    Got to Niagara Falls at 7pm first hostel I tried was full but I knew of another one around the corner which had a space. The plan was to try to get this up to date and then go to the falls tomorrow but the strange little old French chap Charlie running the hostel mentioned that tonight there will be a fire work display over the falls tonight so a change of plans grabbed a late dinner at you know where and walked down to the fall. It was getting dark and to be honest as I was not to impressed with what I saw but my view on this changed later.


    Niagara Falls inhabitants[/caption]

    Fireworks where good this time looking up at them rather than looking down at them better this way me thinks. I walked back to the hostel tried to do some work on this but the internet was not working I am not sure it ever had a Chinese/Canadian bloke and me tried to get it working well mostly him but we were unsuccessful so I called it a night as is was late a hot night in the dorm tonight.
    #94
  15. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Niagara Falls, Saturday, 25 August 2012, Day 82


    Niagara Falls[/caption]

    I had my free breakfast and I headed down to the falls and they are a bit more impressive in daylight also as it was Saturday and it was very busy. The plan was just to wonder around soak up the atmosphere of the falls (More an atmospheres of tourism rather than of nature which was a shame:-( ) I was going to do one token gesture to tourism and take the Maid in the Mist tour when in a moment of madness I brought an adventure ticket that included the Maid of the Mist tour plus Journey behind the falls, Niagara’s Fury, and White water walk. This ticket gave you free use of the buses around the area, which was the clinch as I did not fancy walking too much today (As usual I walked for miles again)



    So first attraction was Niagara’s Fury described as;



    Experience the Creation of Niagara falls in 4-D! The temperature will drop 20 degrees. Water will bubble and spray while snow falls all around. Standing in the mist on a massive platform you will feel the full wrath of Mother Nature as the floor tilts and trembles beneath you. You'll never look at the Falls the same way again.

    What a load of bollocks I stood on a platform and a bloke chucked a bucket of water at you, well that is what it felt like very disappointing.

    Next tourist bit

    Journey Behind the Falls



    The sound is like thunder; the sight is awe-inspiring! Take a journey deep below and behind the heart of Niagara, and stand in the mist where the mighty Horseshoe Falls tumbles from 13 storeys above! At Journey Behind the Falls, you'll experience the awesome spectacle of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the basin below. During summer daylight hours, over 2,800 cubic meters of water thunders over the brink every second, traveling 65 kilometers per hour







    Bollocks again not as bad as the first event but I took an elevator to a tunnel which had to small holes which 2 to 3 people max could stand and all you see is a wall of water could be anywhere. Saving grace of this tour was you where allowed outside quite close to the falls so here you could get an impression of the power and the magnitude of the falls up until now I was pretty nonplussed about the falls but this bit changed that view so now I was impressed and also wet :-)

    I had to queue for ages on the Maid of the Mist tour but this was also quite enjoyable also giving you a feel of the power and the magnitude of the falls unfortunately long wait and you had to share this experience with thousands of other tourists not my cup of tea at all but if you ignored them a great little boat ride.







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    The final excursion was also a bit of a disappointment a elevator ride down to the river and a short walk alongside it. Class 6 rapids seemingly and you could see and feel the force of the river but I would not have bothered if this was not part of the package.

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    So that is all me tourist bits done the plan now was to find a supermarket and get something for my tea and then I headed back to the hostel with big ambitions to do the American side of the falls after tea. I only managed the first part and once back at the hostel I was too knackered to go out again made my tea (nuked a shepherds pie) and tried to get this up to date which I also failed miserably on as to many people around and I was busy chatting to them.

    Comment on Niagara Falls Canada. This was very un Canadian which was strange seeing as I was in Canada they can do these thing very well but for some reason they have decided to go the American mass tourism route someone described this as Las Vegas puked up onto Canada. Do not get me wrong I get mass tourism and even like it some of it a perverse kind of way and I like the way the Americans do some of the big brash theme towns and parks but this is Canada and I would have preferred there own stuff and style rather than trying to mimic there neighbours and in my view failing. Did I like it I am not sure did I enjoy myself yes I did.
    #95
  16. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Niagara Falls to Lock Haven, Sunday, 26 August 2012, Day 83


    Kinzua National Park[/caption]

    On the road again it’s hot again last drive past the fall’s and heading for the USA again. Big queues at the border but no problem getting back in except that the custom guy did not have available box to tick for the Netherlands for where the bike had come from so it went down as Mexican and other. Plan is to try to get to Washington DC in 2 day riding even with all my going of in the wrong directions it should be doable. I could not do a road trip of the US without picking up the nation capital. So the first hurdle was to get it into my GPS.

    Washington, D.C., formerly the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. As permitted by the U.S. Constitution, the District is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Congress and is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.

    What state is Washington DC in as that is what the GPS needs to know but try telling the above to it and it will not have it I finally figured out how to put it in :-)


    So Butch :-)[/caption]

    Quite an uneventful put pleasant day I stopped at the Zippo factory in Bradford Pennsylvania which was interesting and there I picked up a map which had some scenic routes in the State so decided to follow one of them as long as I was heading in a South easterly direction and I was moving closer to Washington DC.




    Zippo Factory Bradford PN[/caption]




    That is the theory but in reality I probably added loads of extra miles but who cares when the miles are interesting. I found an interesting State park called Kinzua where there used to be a huge steel railway bridge across a valley but this was blown over by a tornado in 2003 so what is left they have turned into a walkway where you can walk out over the valley with really cool and great views. Not for the vertigo sufferers.


    Kinzua Bridge State Park[/caption]





    Later following one of the scenic routes it had started to cool down and the wind had picked up which was nice as it had been hot all day but when this happens it normally means it is going to rain. It was late so I was going to call it a day and was already looking for cheap motels of which there where not many around. I had just checked out one but to expensive for my budget so I said no thanks and hit the road again just then it began to spit oops regretting my decision already then the skies opened and it absolutely chucked it down before I knew could not see a thing water everywhere soaked to the skin finally I was able to pull of the road (not easy in the US) into a lay by and took shelter in a smelly invalids porter loo. It was dry and only shelter I could find to pull on my waterproof's which was pointless really as I was already soaked to the skin but it was still pissing down hard. So after a nice day riding last hours in the wet I finally found a motel not many around here and it was more expensive than the one I had declined earlier but I was wet and knackered so bollocks to the budget. Dinner tonight something nuked (Microwaved) from Wal-Mart and because I was wet I decided a treat was needed so a whole chocolate Swiss Roll and again trying and failing to get this blog up to date as I keep finding other things more interesting to do.
    #96
  17. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Lock Haven to Washington DC, Monday, 27 August 2012, Day 84


    Maryland Bridge[/caption]

    Its was dry the next morning and hot but my bike gear was still soaking wet so the best way to dry this was to wear it and as it was more than 30 degrees centigrade and it was dry in no time. Today I decided to head straight to Washington DC no detours (well no really big ones) nice ride scenery pleasant lots of small towns with nice houses with porches. I do like houses with porches no idea why but like the idea of sitting in a comfortable chair on porch watching the world go by this to me is very appealing.


    Did not see any![/caption]


    Americana[/caption]


    Harrisburg[/caption]



    Country turned to stop start city driving but surprisingly unlike other American cities Washington DC has no skyscrapers and very little high-rises seemingly they did not want it to be like Chicago and New York so they had rules around the height and they wanted to keep that the country feel and vistas which if you are around the Mall area of Washington I think they have succeeded.



    I found the place I was staying no problem as I had booked something the night before as it can be difficult to find cheap digs on the fly in large city. Usual problem in big cities that being parking. They had parking at the hostel but they want too much and as usual and all I want is a small space, which they had, loads not a full parking place but it all about the money. So I parked it on the street where there was 2 hour parking limit whatever that meant usual non understandable signs not for parking. Later I tried to Google and find out about Parking for Motorcycle in DC I found a few addresses which I checked out but no parking in the evening as it was now being used for valet parking and or parking meters for motorcycle that needed topping up every 4 hours so I gave up and decided to risk getting a ticket. Why are these towns so Motorcycle unfriendly they expect a bike to pay the same as a car when they take up hardly any room and if encouraged would solve a lot of the traffic congestion issues. Loads of space to loose bikes but not allowed dumb dumb and dumber me thinks.
    #97
  18. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Washington DC, Tuesday, 28 August 2012, Day 85


    Washington DC[/caption]

    My poor little legs I have walked for miles today. I left the hostel at 9am and I got back at 9pm so that is 12 hours and I have been on my feet walking all day I think I did about 20 odd km. But it was worth it and I did see all the sights in Washington
    White House





    Vietnam Memorial





    Lincoln Memorial





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    Korea Memorial



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    Jefferson Memorial
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    Capitol Hill
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    Union Station

    Smithsonian Space and Aircraft Museum
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    And loads more. Very reflective day probably due to the recurring theme in the above list that being Memorial. It was also another scorcher so my poor little nose got burnt yet again. The many Memorials I saw where all different and all fascinating in their own right and what struck me where the number of dead and as it was stated on a few of the monuments that is the price of freedom. At the Lincoln memorial there where school children who were allowed to stand where Martin Luther King had stood and did I have a dream speech and they were given a couple of minutes each to do their own hopes and dreams speach. The ones that appealed to me most where not of Peace and to stop world hunger and curing cancer of which there where loads but the simple one like be a nicer person or make lots of friends or have a good school year or get better at math’s as that what kids should be thinking about having fun and leaving the biggies for us grown ups to try to figure out.

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    Pretty damned good day I liked Washington and I even had ambitions after I got back to the hostel to go again and see the sights when lit up at night but like all my over ambitious plans scuppered by the fact that I am only human and there is only so much I can do it one day so once in I did not go out again but I got chatting to folks at the hostel and again still have not worked on updating this blog so I am really behind now.
    #98
  19. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Washington DC to Waynesboro, Wednesday, 29 August 2012, Day 86


    Hot tired and Happy[/caption]

    Wow I think I have caught up with my blog I thought it would never happen. I got up and went round the corner to where I had parked the bike I had been ignoring it all yesterday as I did not want to know if I had a parking ticket as I had left it in a 2 hour parking place and that was about 36 hours ago so that is a tad over 2 hours. No ticket :-) packed my bike and set of in the direction of the Skyline Drive in Virginia.

    Still hot in a funny mood must be the heat but I had a ruck in Safeway’s where I went for my breakfast after waiting for about 10 minutes for someone to actually appear behind the counter after having to find someone to page someone else to serve me. I would like a breakfast sandwich please? We do not do sandwiches was the response. I look up at huge sign advertising all sorts of sandwiches so I point at that no they do have the facility to make sandwich yet there are huge signs saying sandwiches and if not ready in 3 minutes you get them for free. So I am pissed of as I want me breakfast and I have being hanging around like a prick for while so I have a Philly rant about signs saying one thing and not being able to live up to what’s on the sign and insisting they take the sign down and generally cussing everybody and everything. (Same thing happened tonight at the motel walked in for a room how much $X I have a voucher for $Y about 20 bucks between X and Y okay you can have it $Y prices plus tax plus other sundries!!!. Why can’t they just be honest upfront and quit all the lies and the false advertising bullshit it is really starting to piss me off the lies and the bollock and the false claims. Rant over!


    Skyline Drive Virginia[/caption]

    After I got out of the city and managed to get a coffee and sandwich at a Subway's , the rest of the day was again hot but lovely ride on the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park. I called in at the tourist info place at Front Royal and a really helpful chap there gave me maps for the next 3 states I am passing through info on todays ride and more info about the Blue Ridge Parkway which is my plan for the next coming days plus a discount coupon book for hotels in Virginia. So loads of paperwork but all useful so thank you mate your great service just cancelled out the earlier rant and has wetted my appetite for the coming days.



    The other weird thing about today is that on the Skyline drive the speed limit is only 35mph which very hard to stick to seeing as the roads are empty and good and this speed is just to slow to keep in top gear especially on inclines so who would thought it is actually harder to go slow than at a normal pace. Tomorrow the speed limit is 45mph so a bit faster but I will not be getting anywhere in a hurry so a nice enforced change of pace so lets see how that works out.

    I think I am now up to date with this probably a load of tosh and probably missed out loads like the great little curry I had in Washington DC at Union Station Food Court, Chatting to a Sri-lanken Olympic female speed walker, the amount of dead wildlife on the roads in US I miss the live wildlife I saw in Canada, I have seen some wildlife such as dear and some other furry animals that I have no idea what it is, Trying to see as much as possible in the Smithsonian in an hour before they close, 15 minute glimpse inside of the Rotunda at the United States Capitol, Chatting to the Park Ranger at the Korean War Memorial and getting a private tour and description of the design and layout of the place and so much more. Life on the road is hot and tiring but as yet never boring I am still having a blast

    #99
  20. dean10

    dean10 Been here awhile

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    Waynesboro to Roanoke, Thursday, 30 August 2012, Day 87


    Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfall[/caption]

    Today I start the infamous Blue Ridge Parkway ride I had decided I needed a sleep in and today was going to be a short day in the saddle. I sort of slept then I decided to get up and fettle with the bike as it was about time I adjusted the chain as it was getting a bit sloppy and as I am being forced to go at quite slow speeds for the next couple of days the chain needed adjusting. This took a while as the person who had tightened the bolt the last time this was done must have been a gorilla I was practically jumping up and down on the spanner with all my weight and the thing still would not loosen. Finally loosened the nut and adjusted the chain well I think it's adjusted I never know how tight or how loose to do the chain so probably did not change it that much I am quite inept at these sort of things. Talking of inept and gorillas well you never guess what I found whilst fettling on bike. Remember a couple of weeks ago I noticed a bolt missing that held on the petrol tank and was not sure if it had worked itself loose or was just forgotten to be put back after the last service well the answer was it was omitted to be put back after the last service as I found it in the tray under the seat. Bad Show Aurora Motorcycles Seattle I take back some of the praises I gave you a month ago.


    Blue Ridge Parkway VA[/caption]











    After sorting the bike out I took a shower as it was already hot and then hit the road at about 11am stopping at Subway for some breakfast before hitting the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nice day in the saddle very pretty and picturesque cooler up in the mountains than in the valleys heading for a place called Roanoke which is the one of the more populated areas around the parkway and I have a voucher for a motel there. Got there about 4pm ish and boy was it hot down out of the hills I checked in but could not be bothered to do much eventually I decided to head in town on the bike and I regretted this as soon as I started it was 7pm and it was still above 30 degrees centigrade to hot to do anything comfortably so change of plan supermarket for me dinner and back to the motel to veg in an ac room. Sounds easy but the GPS started playing up and I had no idea where I was or where there was a supermarket and god it was so damned hot.



    Finally found a supermarket and on my way back to the motel I went and then I locked myself in the room with me dinner and I did not reappear till the following day spent all evening watching the goggle box which was a nice change as that was all I could be bothered to do that evening.