Bakery Quest - a year hacking the US with our kid and dogs.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by szurszewski, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Mesa Verde -
    We were just out of season, so all the tours were shut down, but we did have the park mostly to ourselves, and had a good time enjoying the views, driving the roads and walking about near the various ruins. We all agreed we want to come back when we can climb around in the cliff dwellings. Of course we also agreed it would be very cool to come stay in the winter when we could ski or snowshoe the upper loop roads.

    These folks had the right idea - can you think of a cooler place to live?

    IMG_1292.jpg

    Obligatory rig shot:

    IMG_1299.jpg


    Some of us are too lazy to get up for sunrise, and some of us are too lazy to walk down hills at the end of the day. I'm not saying who is who!

    IMG_1296.jpg

    And here is our day late celebration dinner as we are now officially homeless (but do have a bit more traveling $$ as a result) - we thought we were going just about all out and stuffed ourselves with big dinners, drinks and desserts, but the bill ended up only being $50 with tax (which is more than we've spent on any other meal, but not nearly what we were thinking we'd spent...). El Burro Pancho in Cortez - super friendly, super good and apparently super reasonably priced - highly recommended by the Szurszewski family

    IMG_1301.jpg
    #81
    DRONE likes this.
  2. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Time 1:04 am 11/4/16
    Location: halfway between Denver and Mount Rushmore.

    Laura's been driving, and the rest of us have been napping. Rig was stashed at dirt1st's place following a lovely dinner and we are rolling north in a rented Sienna. Toasty in here but about 33F out there.

    IMG_1346.JPG IMG_1343.JPG IMG_1344.JPG
    #82
  3. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,592
    Location:
    marietta, ga.
    Enjoying the report/yeah, I'm here also.:lol3
    #83
    szurszewski likes this.
  4. PJ Bren

    PJ Bren Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    WV
    I haven't read the total trip report, but I saw your looking to possibly start/overthrow a bakery. We have a good friend who has a business in Renick, WV that has been looking for the right way to "transition" into retirement while keeping the business going. His advertisement is here and facebooks here. Maybe this helps?
    #84
  5. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    His breads look delectable - I watched the "news" clip with him and I think he and Laura would get along regarding what bread should be. We won't be up into that part of the east coast until spring or so, but I'm sure Laura would like to talk to him.
    thanks!
    josh
    #85
  6. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,592
    Location:
    marietta, ga.
    Josh, my phone # is 404-580-4300. I have two spare bed rooms but a cat who doesn't like dogs. Fenced in back yard. I'm only here about 50% of the time but let me know if your passing this way and I'll try to work something out. Suburbs north of atlanta 4 miles from I-75.

    Marty
    #86
  7. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Hi Marty!

    Thanks for the offer - we will happily try to take you up on that once we make it that far!

    ...but are you really home even 50% of the time? And does this mean you have a phone again? I'm sure eddd will be pleased to hear that your check came in! :hide
    #87
  8. waybill

    waybill wayward

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,261
    Location:
    J-ville and Maysville
    Marty, you gotta admit that's funny. :D
    #88
  9. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA

    ...maybe so, but maybe I just got that invitation rescinded... :eep
    #89
  10. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    So yeah, we sort of wimped out and decided it if we really wanted to see Mt. Rushmore on this trip, this was our chance...but we weren't going to camp, and I had no interest in riding 400 miles straight up and then straight back (now, if I got to ride in the sidecar....). So, we rented a van in Denver Thursday night, drove all night and got to Rushmore at 4am (apparently the grounds actually open at 5:30am, but I don't know if that's true because by then I was asleep in the van at a closed rest stop somewhere further north). We got BACK to Rushmore around 9:30, made a quick breakfast in the van and went to check it out. We all had a good time and enjoyed the very uncrowded nature (though there were still actually quite a few people - it certainly wasn't deserted), and the weather was perfect for viewing. After that we went over to Crazy Horse, which Jeremiah really liked, drove through Wind Caves NP and saw coyotes, bison, and LOTS of prairie dogs (I decided it was my turn to drive when Laura, apparently fatigued, started gushing about how cute they were and pulling over like every forty yards to look at more...seriously...I was waiting for her to jump out and try to snuggle one), had a pizza at a "family dining" bar in...uh...somewhere..., and then drove until about Wheatland, WY before stopping in another rest stop. Some pics for you:

    waking up at the rest stop - if Laura sees this online, the ride report - as well as my life - is probably over
    IMG_1352.jpg

    Home state flag!
    IMG_1356.jpg


    Taken by the boy
    DSCN0782.jpg

    Artsy shot by me
    IMG_1366.jpg
    #90
    SmittyBlackstone and Nixels like this.
  11. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Jeremiah has been working on Jr. Ranger badges for some of the parks along the way. We got tipped off that, in addition to these, many parks have information and/or activity packets geared toward home-schooled kids at various levels, and we've been amassing a collection of much more interesting worksheets than he would have been likely to see in school (not to knock public schools too much, but volunteering at Jeremiah's school in various grade level classes, I saw a LOT of worksheets, and many of them were not great - he lucked out with his teachers for the most part and they did more interesting things...mostly). Here is drawing the monument - one of the requirements for the Rushmore badge.


    IMG_1374.jpg


    And here he is being sworn in at Rushmore. You can see that he already has a Grand Canyon badge on, so he's getting good at the oath. We were also told, by a ranger in Death Valley, that you can send the packets after you leave the park (if you don't have to finish them), and they will mail the packet back to you along with the badge. Pretty sweet deal. Most of the rangers are really great with him and with other kids, and this one in particular was excellent - we met her coming into the park and would have sought her out, but she happened to have switched stations and was right next to where Jeremiah completed his last activity (well, second to last - the LAST activity was to ask a ranger what they do as a ranger).
    IMG_1377.jpg

    How many prairie dogs can you spot in this shot? Do you want to hug them? Trying having a couple of beers before answering that, or just deprive yourself of sleep for a day or two...

    IMG_1391.jpg



    Jeremiah got this shot - not bad for an old point and shoot shot by a seven-year-old out the window of a moving car, his dad said - and I bet that guy wants to "hug" a prairie dog as well....
    DSCN0805.jpg
    #91
  12. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    We spent another night in the van near maybe Wheatland, WY
    IMG_1397.jpg


    Warmed up with a romp in a very nice park in Cheyenne, had some doughnuts to celebrate National Doughnut Day (no, not the one in June - the other one)

    IMG_1400.jpg

    Spent a BUNCH of money at Sierra Trading Post (but took no pictures) and then headed south to someplace I'd never been but always wanted to go (not sure why I didn't make it there when we lived like 45 minutes away). Spyderco! I was really into knives, probably like most young boys, when I was a kid and really wanted one of the clipit style Spydercos. I got an Endura from a friend as a high school graduation present, and have carried it most days over the last 20 some years (including while teaching at some schools that forbid such behavior - probably shouldn't have said that...) and it is in fact in my pocket right now. I also have a coveted Dyad and have had and lost a few other of their knives over the years (I've actually lost and been reunited with my Endura at least three times!). I'd asked - out of his earshot - Laura while we were at Rushmore if she thought Jeremiah was ready for his first proper knife, and she agreed that he was; then at Sierra Trading Post he came up to me on his own and asked if he could have a knife. Huh. That pretty much sealed it, and we made a plan to pick something out at Spyderco later that day.

    I think there was only one other customer in there when we showed up, but I was still impressed by the time the salesman spent with us (and I'm not just saying that because his name is also Josh), and the knife he helped Jeremiah pick. I know the boy will probably lose this thing (but probably not until after he slices up a finger or something with it), but I still wasn't worried about the price. Josh, though, steered Jeremiah toward one of the Byrd knives, which is a less expensive sort of sub-brand, for various reasons, and then spent a bunch of time working with Jeremiah on opening, closing and just handling several knives. ...and he posed for this goofy picture and sharpened up my old Endura. And gave us stickers, and tattoos and candy. All that and a new knife for like $25 bucks!
    IMG_1401.jpg

    Since we got him a knife, we figured he was now a man and ready to be on his ow, and to celebrate that we took him to the Coors brewery - here he is at the bar at the tour's end.
    IMG_1406.jpg


    After that we had just enough time to return the van and pass out. Well, not really - Glenn/Dirt1st was kind enough to drive his car over to the airport so Laura didn't have to drive the van while I followed on the rig (which was good as she was still looking a bit slap happy despite having only had 2oz of beer that day), and then Linda (Mrs. Dirt1st) made us dinner! And then we passed out...for a few hours.
    #92
  13. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    ...and then it was time to kiss mom goodbye - and again Glenn drove us to the airport. I mean, I get that one has more free time when retired, but I can't imagine driving across the Denver metroplex to/from the airport and then doing it again 12 hours later is his idea of a good time.


    IMG_1408.jpg

    I never know how much to say about the kindness of people who host us. We have been active on CouchSurfing for more than 12 years now (essentially since the beginning); we've only surfed a few times but in Portland we hosted A LOT of people. Sometimes, when we particularly liked our guests, or when it just happened to be convenient, we'd feed them and drive them around or to/from the airport or whatever. Once we gave a guy a ride to SeaTac (which is about 150 miles north) and another time we drove a couple up to Olympia, took them out to dinner there, and they ended up staying with my mom a few more nights. But...you know...I always felt odd when people would gush about how nice we were online, because other times we'd basically let people in, show them the guest room, give them some towels and then we'd not see them much again because of work or whatever, and I wondered if they were like, hey - why no dinner for us?

    That said, particularly for people we'd never interacted with in any way and had no connection with other than a post I made in the rockies forum saying, hey people in Denver - can I park my bike at your house a couple of days and maybe also stay there with my wife kid and two dogs for a night, Glenn and Linda were incredibly generous. When I called Thursday to let Glenn know when we'd arrive, he said, sounds great. Now, about dinner - have you eaten? And from there it only got better.

    Here's a quick shot of he and Linda as Jeremiah and the dogs and I took off (for the first time - we came back twice for stuff we'd overlooked when packing - usually Laura does that while I'm loading the rig and apparently, as Jeremiah pointed out, I'm not nearly as good at it). We could gladly have hung out another week with them, but it was time to move on.

    IMG_1409.jpg

    We were headed back toward Salida, and we decided to find an alternate route. Glenn had some good suggestions but they all involved gravel and, in his estimation, more washboard and switchback than would be wise with our lack of ground clearance and very street oriented pusher tire. We did find a county road between Pine and Woodland Park that was very nice, and on a tip from a gas station employee an excellent and extensive playground. I don't know how Jeremiah does those rotating ring things - they mess me up every time.
    IMG_1420.jpg

    We actually made it to Salida pretty early, picked up some groceries and settled in for dinner and a movie in front of the fire.
    IMG_1423.jpg
    #93
    Nixels likes this.
  14. Dirt1st

    Dirt1st Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Centennial, CO 8012
    Thanks for the kind words Josh. Linda and I really enjoyed you and your family while you were here, and were happy to have been of some assistance. Laura left a very nice thank you note on her pillow (also signed by Jeremiah). Please thank her for us. Safe travels, and good luck on your quest for the "ultimate bakery". We will follow your adventure.
    #94
  15. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    :D:D:D

    She does write a pretty good thank you note (I signed it too, but I'd not expect anyone to be able to decipher my scrawl), and I hope you found the snail too.

    I was waiting the whole way to Salida to hear from you that I'd left something else behind....
    #95
  16. BMWBUD

    BMWBUD Should be old enough to be better.

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,803
    Location:
    Mid-Wurst Southern Illi-noise
    Worthy!

    If you end up in the Mid-wurst, near St. Louis, we have lots of extra rooms and garage space.

    We hosted a BMWST Gypsy tour here a few years ago and my wife really enjoyed it.
    #96
  17. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Hi Bud!

    We will definitely be in the mid-west at some point. Laura's family is from, and mostly still lives in, Springfield Ohio, so we have to go there, and Laura lived in O'Fallon for some years as a kid (you probably know where that is - she took me there once, but I'm still not really sure I could find it again), so she'll want to show that to Jeremiah as well.

    Which is to say, offer accepted :)
    josh

    PS - I'm in the middle of updating the thread on BMWRT.com (ok, st - whatever - I guess I should stop being a hold out now that I no longer own an RT) - I'm caught up all the way to Brookings! (What is that? Like day four? That's only 30 days behind where we are!) if you haven't seen that - trying to keep things a bit different between here and there and our non-moto related public blog...
    #97
    Nixels likes this.
  18. Dirt1st

    Dirt1st Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Centennial, CO 8012
    Yes, we did find the snail, thanks. We will cherish it. We haven't found anything else that looks like it belongs to any of the Szurszewskis - that is hard to spell, especially after a beer or two.
    #98
    noshoes likes this.
  19. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    That would be an interesting hypothesis to test - usually what messes people up with our name is thinking about it too much (or trying to look at it and say it at the same time).

    I keep hoping someone will ask about the snails, but no one has (so maybe you're the first person to find one). Since nobody asked, I'll explain anyway: we made those (mostly me, but Laura made some) back when we lived in Kasigluk, AK ('02-'07). I managed to rescue a kiln from the tundra (literally) in a nearby village and started up a ceramics class. I'd make the snails out of left over extruded bits from coil pots and such and leave them with friends (usually hidden in weird places - I'm sure some have yet to be found) when we'd visit (one does a lot of visiting in rural AK as there are not many other things to do in the dark and cold of winter). We happened to find a cache of fifty or so when we packed up our house in Portland, and decided to leave them places we stay on our trip as long as they last. Each one is different (size, shape, glazes, etc) and we are weird, so we try to match each one to the recipient in some way. I'll leave it to you to ponder why we thought that snail was for you and Linda :)
    josh
    #99
  20. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Well, the pups the boy and I spent a few nights in Salida getting some "stuff" caught up (my bmwst.com thread, our trip expense and mileage logs, some school work for Jeremiah) and just generally relaxing. We followed that up with a rather long day -for us on this trip- to Amarillo (damn song still stuck in my head) at 419 (indicated) miles, and then a shorter day to Altus. We arrived yesterday, Laura arrived today, tomorrow (the 13th) is Jeremiah's birthday - if you've got any amusing birthday wishes for him, let me know and I'll pass them on. We'll be here at least a handful of days to help Laura's mom get her stuff from the Uhaul into storage and then I don't know. My dad and stepmom invited us to join them and some friends for Thanksgiving in Santa Fe, and we've also been invited to stay here that long....

    Some pics you say? Ok - a few from the last few days....

    [​IMG]I

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]