The Ride Across North America- 10000 Miles on a Buell for the American Cancer Society

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Prior, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    This is the first Ride Report I've posted on ADVRider, might as well make it a good one. This was originally posted on badweatherbikers.com and is a trip I did over the summer of 2004 while in college. I rode my Buell Cyclone from San Diego, CA to St. John's Newfoundland and then down to southern PA to raise money for the American Cancer Society in the name of a friend whom had brain cancer.

    I should have been destined for failure on this trip- first really long trip, a bike that has an attitude from time to time, thrown together in a few short months, no planned support and a lot of miles to cover. It turned out to be a complete success; raised $5000, saw the continent and some awesome roads and made a lot of new friends in the process. Truly the trip of a lifetime for a kid getting ready to graduate college. My friend left this earth in May of 2007, so this trip (and the bike) have a lot of sentimental value for me.

    With that, I give you the Ride Across North America (or North Equador if you are Ferris Bueller)
    #1
  2. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]

    Well, it's not actually a tale yet, but one in the making.

    I recently had a very good friend, Matt, diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma,a pretty serious form of cancer which developed in the left lobe of his brain. The tumor was surgically removed, and he has started radiation and chemo therapy. The prognosis and survivability of this particular type of cancer is not very good, 20% at 5 years.

    After getting advice from a lot of guys on this site (http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/4062/45543.html?1078407160), I've put together what I consider an epic journey, from southern California to St. John's Newfoundland to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The overall mileage for the trip is around 8000 miles once the trip is completed.

    The American Cancer Society is very enthusiastic about the trip, and is going to be helping out with literature, publicity and some general coordination of the trip. My fraternity brothers will be helping with fundraising, as well as helping out with some of the logistics about the trip. Fundraising is going to be done through pledges based on mileage from CA to Newfoundland, which is 5000 miles, or on straight pledges. We will also be making T-shirts later in the spring with the above logo.

    It is my goal, through this trip, is to raise $5000 for the American Cancer Society in my friend's name. I believe this trip will be something that will change my life, both through the people I will meet along the way and the purpose of the trip. I hope to meet as many Buellers along the way as possible, and ride with them if possible. If any of you might be along the route and would have an extra couch to crash on, I'd appreciate that as well.

    The trip itinerary thus far:
    Early July: Ship the Buell to California to be picked up by Ferris and stored in his stable until I arrive.

    Tuesday, July 20th:
    Arrive in Bakersfield, CA and visit with Ferris.

    Wednesday, July 21st:
    Hang out with Ferris, and travel to Anaheim, CA in the evening to visit with Grandparents.

    Thursday, July 22nd:
    Visit with the grandparents a bit more, head back to Lake Isabella to Ferris's place to get everything packed and ready.

    Friday, July 23rd:
    Depart the Thunderdome early am and travel to UT via Ferris's secret route through Death Valley and other scenic California areas to Zion National Park, UT. I will be camping somewhere in that area.

    Saturday, July 24th:
    Depart Zion National Park and head to Stoner, CO for another night of camping. The route I have picked takes me through the Smokey Mountains, Capitol Reef National Park and numerous other parks. This leg of the trip is right around 400 miles, I want plenty of time to take pictures and take in the scenery.

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    Sunday, July 25th:
    Depart Stoner, CO and head to La Junta, CO. This leg of the journey includes the San Juan National Forest, the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, and crossing over the Rocky Mountains. I will be staying inside somewhere in La Junta or the area, I'll welcome a bed and TV.

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    Monday, July 26th:
    La Junta, CO to Salina, KS. I'll be on route 50 pretty much the whole way, passing through the Commanche National Grassland, and probably a whole lot of farmland.

    Tuesday, July 27th:
    Salina, KS to St. Louis, MO. I'm hoping to run into a few of the KC Mob along the way, and I figured I'd stop by the Sportster/VRod plant for a picture or two. Most of Kansas and Missouri don't seem to have a whole lot of stuff to see as the mountainous states, so if the KS and MO guys have stuff that would be worth seeing, please give me a shout.

    Wednesday, July 28th:
    Spend the day in St. Louis for a small break and do a presentation at the Pi Kappa Alpha National Convention about community service and the trip I'm doing. Hopefully I'll get a picture taken under that big arch.

    Thursday, July 29th:
    Head to Grand Rapids, MI to meet up with Matt and his family, as well as a bunch of friends that are in the area. We're working on a dinner for everyone, and a few other special events. This will be where the tire change occurs, at a Moto Guzzi dealership, of all places.

    Friday, July 30th:
    Converve on Detroit and meet up with the midwestern gang to make the trip to Newfoundland. We'll be on the road for two days, stepping off of the ferry Sunday, August 1st.

    August 1st- August 4th:
    Take in the sights and atmosphere of Newfoundland with Newfie as tour guide. It looks like he has a lot planned for us.

    Thursday, August 5th:
    Depart Newfoundland for the US. IAmike and I are working on a route through New England, and I plan to take three or four days to travel through New England and eventually head home to Hanover, PA.

    The trip is essentially 8000 miles in about two and a half weeks. I am truly looking forward to doing this trip, I think it's a very noble cause, and a lot of money can be raised through the trip.

    If any of you are interested in participating in any of the ride, donating money or a place to crash along the way, I'd really appreciate it.

    I have a long list of people to thank already, namely Ferris for helping me out with logistics of the trip with picking up my bike and picking me up at the airport. I've gotten advice from a ton of people, offers for places to stay and rides to a dealership if the bike breaks down (Hoping that doesn't happen). Court has offered to come down to PA at some point in time and go over some things with me. Everyone on this board has helped motivate me to do what I wasn't sure could be done.

    As the trip grows closer, I'll use this Tales Section page to post updates, and once the trip begins, I'll be using it to keep everyone up to date and post pictures.

    If you'd like to know more about the trip, shoot me an email and read the document below.

    Again,
    I thank everyone here for their support and the American Cancer Society for their backing.
    Alex
    #2
  3. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    As promised, a press release for the trip:


    The Ride Across North America to Benefit the American
    Cancer Society


    This summer, Alex Prior, a 23 year old college student at Kettering University in Flint MI, will be riding his Buell Cyclone across North America from San Diego, CA to St. John’s Newfoundland, to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. The trip will begin July 22nd in California, arriving two and a half weeks later in Newfoundland.

    “The whole idea of this trip started when I learned that an alumni member of my fraternity, Matt Ware, was diagnosed with brain cancer. My friend, Matt Ware, has been a big influence in my life, while at school and as he battles his cancer. His enthusiasm for life and positive attitude throughout his battle is very inspiring. I thought about a lot of different ways to raise money for the American Cancer Society in support of Matt, and decided that this ride was the best way to do it, since it’s not something that is done everyday”, said Alex, the president of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at Kettering.

    “So far the trip has received overwhelming support, but more donations are still needed” says Alex. He can be contacted by the phone number or email address above for more information about the trip, and ways to make donations.

    Funds raised by the Ride Across North America support American Cancer Society services to patients and their families. Donations help to support services such as: transportation to outpatient appointments, school health programs, helping patients and families through support groups, and 24 hour access to cancer information via 1.800.ACS.2345 and www.cancer.org among other services throughout the area.

    The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
    #3
  4. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    I had the opportunity to hang out with Matt (one the left) for a few hours this weekend at our annual Pikes Bash at our fraternity house. He'd got one heck of a scar on the side of his head from his surgery and is missing some hair, but doing great other than that. He is really looking forward to the trip. I'm hoping to have another friend drag him up to Newfie with me...

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    #4
  5. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    THE ADVENTURE BEGINS...

    This past week began lots of work for the trip. Saturday I put on a new set of D220s, by hand, since the UPS guy managed to stuff the tires in the corner of the garage and I didn't see them until 3 days later (no time to set up an appointment after that). We also did quite a bit of riding throughout the past few days just to check everything out. Brian (stingaroo), Mike (amazing_nobody) and one of Mike's friends were around for the Gettysburg Bike Week, and we logged close to 800 miles during that.

    Yesterday Brian and I built the crate that the Buell will be going to California in:
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    A few Yuenglings during work, and the salute...
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    Early this morning, getting ready to leave for the airport.
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    Little did I know that the ride down would involve more rain that I've ever ridden in (think 6" streams running across the road), as well as hellish traffic on I-695. It wasn't too bad though, my baby is on the way to the left coast for one heck of an adventure! I leave Friday morning, and I'll keep everything updated as much as I can.
    Alex
    #5
  6. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    In a strange twist of fate... I was flagged by the TSA this morning at Baltimore/Washington International, and subsequently missed my flight. They took GREAT notice to all of the gear, tools etc. that I had packed and asked a whole lot of questions.

    So plan D or whatever it is... I'll be leaving Sunday morning, at the same time as the rest of the family for the adventure to California and overnighting some of my 'stuff' to San Diego. It's a minor setback, but we'll get through it.

    Ferris, expect a call alter this evening when your minutes are cheaper... See the left coast in two days now!

    Alex
    #6
  7. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    My adventure began on July 16th, with an early morning flight to San Diego, CA. The plan was to fly to CA, pick up the bike at the Forward Air Terminal, and hang out with a few friends from school for a few days. Due to a few circumstances that were sort of out of my control, I didn't end up leaving for California until Sunday the 18th, the same day as my parents left for Anaheim, CA. I had gotten tickets for my family to fly out, as a trip sendoff, and to see my grandparents, which we hadn't seen in quite a few years.

    I made it to California, picked up the bike (with more than a few problems in the process). We were pulled over for speeding (63 in a 65, but the max trailer speed is 55). When we picked up the bike, the crate had been 'opened', more realistically rammed with a fork truck. The strap across the rear of the bike was broken, which allowed the bike to slide around in the crate, doing some minor damage. I thought, big deal, it made it here. Good enough for me.

    We spent the next few days relaxing and hanging out with family, and even took my grandmother on California Screamin' at Disneyland. That was cool.

    The last night we were all together, we had some great Chicago style pizza and wathced movies, and I crashed early so I could be up and ready for the adventure to begin...

    This was at the San Diego Airport, found it fitting for some of the discussions we have on Badweb from time to time...
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    This guy was hanging out at BWI when I made my first attempt to get to California, I was hoping it wasn't an omen for the rest of the trip.
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    The scenery around Anaheim and the other areas we visited there was great. I had no idea what to expect for the rest of the state.
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    July 22nd began the riding adventure. I left Anaheim around 7 am, for a 9:30 meeting with Ferris, Denise, Unibear and Jim Atterbery (sp?) at the base of the Angeles Crest roadway.

    I did a bit of lane splitting on the 5 headed north, which scared the crap out of me at first. The cars and other vehicles in California seem to have a respect for bikers that I haven't seen anywhere else; they were very aware of your presence (I'm sure the exhaust note of the M2 helped a little as well). Once I was a little past LA, I headed up Hwy 2, where I was passed by 3 LA Bomb Squad vans at a very high rate of speed. Scared the heck out of me!
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    We met at a gas station at the start of the road, and the mountains in the distance looked awesome. It was nice to finally meet in person, after many many emails and phone calls. Jerry is an awesome individual, someone I am very proud to know as a true friend, and someone who is very passionate about motorcycles. He was instrumental in getting this trip off and running.
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    The road was great, lots of twists and turns, and it climbed in elevation pretty quickly. Our first photo stop on the top of one of the peaks over looked the Mojave desert. Ferris was kind enough to tell me just how hot is was down there, well into the 100s.
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    We stopped for lunch around noon, and talked bikes, life, and what we'd be seeing in the next few days.
    We headed down the mountain and proceeded to Willow Springs, which was awesome to see. They had a little museum of sorts, lots of go fast toys and pictures from races dating back years.
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    From Willow Springs we headed towards Lake Isabella and the Thunderdome. We took a road named the 'Lion's Tail', which was a great road, very small, very tight turns, complete with cattle standing in the middle of it. We have cattle in PA, but we don't let them wander all over the road...
    The first views of Lake Isabella were breathtaking. The lake is surrounded by a few small towns, great scenery, and awesome roads. A Bueller's dream.
    The Thunderdome is somewhere around the mountain on the left...

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    We swung by Ferris's place to ditch our gear, and to relax a bit before we headed to Cheryl's diner for dinner. Cheryl donated dinner for us hungry Buelligans, which was a phenominal meal. If you have a chance, stop by and say hey, she's a great lady. FMJ and Dino met us at the restaraunt a bit after we arrived. We traded stories, probably one of the funnier ones was Dino and his Persian rug smuggling problems. (PERMIT!) As we were finishing dinner, there were a lot of Park Service firetrucks and personnel flying about the town, which is NOT a good sign. As we headed back to the Thunderdome, I was in awe with what had happened in the short time that we were dining: the entire mountain across the lake had been engulfed in flames.
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    We stayed up until about 1 am trading stories and marveling at the fire that was burning in front of us, hoping that no houses were destroyed in the process. It was about time to turn in, we were leaving for Zion Nat'l park in a few short hours, and had a long, hot day of riding ahead of us. It was a great first day of the trip, great scenery, roads, and I made some great new friends.


    Tomorrow: Ferrisville to Zion National Park, via Death Valley, Las Vegas, Arizona and lots of twist roads...<!--/Text-->
    #7
  8. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    Day two of the trip: Lake Isabella, CA to Zion National Park, UT. This stretch would take us through the rest of California, to Las Vegas, through the northwestern corner of Arizona and into Utah.

    Ferris sounded reville at 4:30 am, after hitting the sack at 1 am. We were all a little blurry eyed, but had quite a few hot, long miles ahead of us. We rode through some of the areas where the wild fire had been burning the night before, there were numerous fire trucks along the road keeping an eye on everything. It was weird riding through that area, thinking of what it looked like up in flames a few short hours ago. There was a lot of soot blowing around, and the smell of charred countryside was strong.

    The first photos we took were of Walker pass, at dawn.
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    We rode through some vast expanses of, well, nothing really, and headed to a town close to the China Lake Airbase for breakfast at Denny's. I didn't realize just how big the desert and mountains out here were. It seemed like they went on for miles without seeing any towns or anything.

    Our next stop was another mountain pass, over looking Death Valley. We could only think about how hot it was going to be when we hit the bottom.
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    Death Valley proved to be interesting, as there's not a whole lot there. Lots of sand (watch out for the mini dunes on the road), and one gas station somewhere in the middle. The highest temp we rode through there was 116, a bit more than the 60 degrees we left Lake Isabella with.
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    This was the only place to stop for gas, cold water or anything along the way.
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    Shrotly after this stop, Unibear's XB12 developed a problem that continually caused his check engine light to turn on. It turns out that the tank was being overfilled, causing some sort of problems with the CA emissions junk on the bike. Eventually we figured that one out, and continued on the way.

    The next stop was Badwater Basin, a suitable name for the Buellers rolling through. This place is low and hot. It's 282 feet below sea level, and there's a little water, surrounded by salt crust.

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    The sea level marker was way up on the side of the mountain behind the basin.
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    But it's a dry heat... My butt. It's still hot. Surprisingly, the black 'Stich worked well, dumping a half gallon of water inside it worked great. By far, the best piece of riding gear I've ever purchased (other than my other Aerostich stuff).
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    We headed out of the desert towards Las Vegas to meet up with Bartimus (one of the more interesting characters I've come across in my travels).
    I'll bet one of Ferris's memories is of me, stuck in traffic just outside of Vegas, sweating like hell with a bike that was sweating ever more, riding up next to him, tapping him on the shoulder and saying, 'this is awesome, man'. It truly was. Even with the heat and exhaustion, it was one of the best rides I'd been on.

    Chopper what? Why no Buell???
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    The bikes in front of Vegas Harley/Buell:
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    FMJ's Triumph was the only bike to have problems along this stretch of the trip, shearing a few of the drive pins for rear wheel. Unable to find the parts we needed locally, or anywhere close by, we continued towards Zion National Park. We took a very sprited pace through a cool little canyon on I-5 through Arizona. I can't say some of the people that were on the road were too happy with us, but it was a great road.
    We stopped by Zion Buell to meet up with Alan Blackburn (aka Papa) and see the dealership. Alan is a great guy, he helped us out tremendously with getting our rooms in Zion, and had his techs take a look at Unibear's bike to see what was causing the trouble codes.

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    #8
  9. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    As we approached Zion, I was amazed by the beauty of this area. I had seen pictures in magazines and a few on the net as I did my research for the trip, but seeing all of it in person was just amazing.
    The view from our hotel:
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    The Tubers that were along for the first part of the trip:
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    The mountains... Wow. Cool cloud layer too.
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    Two of my new good friends... The stories they can tell... It was great riding with you guys.
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    The little bar/grill we had dinner at. It turns out that the following day (Saturday) was Pioneer Days, which I guess is the big Utah celebration for the summer. Good thing we got there when we did, the bar was closed the next day, and we all needed a margarita or two after the long day on the road. We celebrated the ride with a few rounds, and it was Glenn's birthday too! What a great way to spend that.
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    It turns out that Utah has a law against having more than one beverage (alcoholic) per person at a table, so we had to slurp down the margaritas pretty quickly once we started ordering more than one round. No one said anything about the roadie that FMJ had taken in with him.

    Must be a Utah thing, we didn't see anyone with hula hoops though.
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    We spent the rest of the evening talking bikes, Old School Buell, while sampling a few local brews. Bed came early, it was a long day, Bart, Jim Atterbery and I had a lot of road to travel heading east, and the California boys had a ways to go back to their home state.

    The next morning we headed through the park, which was even better than the stuff we had seen outside of it.
    Our fearless leader on the first of many u-turns, as we stopped for a lot of pictures:
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    Bart being, Bart
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    The roads in Zion were great, turns and great scenery. There were a lot of RVs and Park Service personnel around though.
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    A sad ending to a great morning of riding (all of 30 miles), and a great past few days. This is the eastern entrance of the part, where Bartimus, Jim A. and I would head east, and Ferris and Unibear would head back west to California. Truly an honor to ride with these guys, and the memories will last a lifetime. Thanks for a great trip, and I can't wait to ride together again.
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    Up next: Bartimus, Jim and I roam through Utah... Lots of great stories there. And who called me baby Bart again???
    #9
  10. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    More to come tomorrow, hope you enjoyed installment one!
    #10
  11. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Cool beans, Prior! Denise and I were honored to be a small part of the Ride Across North Ecua....oops, America.

    Ride in Peace Matt Ware.

    Ferris
    #11
  12. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    #12
  13. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Prior, if I may:

    I can't say enough about Alan Blackburn's support and enthusiasm for Alex's ride. Mr Blackburn, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your help.

    Zion Harley-Davidson/Buell
    2350 N. Coral Canyon Blvd.
    Washington, Utah 84780
    435/673-5100

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    #13
  14. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    I left you at the eastern end of Zion National Park. It was now Bartimus, Jim A and myself heading through the rest of Utah:
    Bart checking the map, close to the Black Canyon in Utah:
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    Some of the scenery in Utah. Notice the desert that eventually fades to a green plateau. And we did run into the rain you can see...

    The top of many mountain passes we hit along the way.
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    A view of where we had just come from:
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    And where we were about to go. The switchbacks in this area were amazing.

    The clouds continued to get thicker and thicker. Time to don the rain gear and button up the luggage.
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    Two tubers, and the FJR
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    We passed through the desert areas, and into some really beautuful GREEN country, which we hadn't seen much of in the past few days. It's a big departure from the scorched areas of California and Utah we had seen earlier. The pictures don't do this view justice, it's amazing how big everything is.
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    After running through an incredible rain storm (the one in the previous pictures), meeting a guy that lives all of 15 miles from my house on a BMW (with a very bald rear tire, we stopped for lunch and said goodbye to Jim, as he was headed towards the North West to meet up with some friends on his month off from the Air Force. Bart made numerous attempts to call work and let them know he wasn't going to be in the next day, he had a bit more riding to do. I must say the guy is dedicated, his employment was definitely in jeapordy at this point.
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    And a few more pics to end that day, heading towards Blanding, Utah.
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    Tomorrow I'll have more pics and some of the stuff out of my journal from Utah, and then Colorado.
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    #14
  15. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    The next morning, Bart and I headed out to fire up the steeds, check oil and get some breakfast. Bart's S2 decided it didn't want to leave town, so it fouled the plugs. After a bit of cleaning and filing, the bike was ready to head down the road.
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    After fueling up, Bart and I parted ways, Bart headed back to Phoenix to work on a new job, and I headed to Colorado via US666. I just had to take that road, Oz would be proud. The western end of Colorado to Durango was great. Lots of twisties, and not a whole lot of traffic.
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    I saw an S1 in Durango, which was very cool. Aside from those I had been riding with, there weren't a whole lot of bikes around. I wish I could have explored the town a bit more, but there wasn't a whole lot open as it was Sunday. I stopped just north of Durango to stretch my legs, and get a picture of the mountains headed up towards Silverton. They look big, and I was right.
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    I also had to stop and get a picture of this:
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    Which was the Durango-Silverton railroad. The sound of a steam locomotive rolling by 10 feet from me was very impressive!
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    US 550 ran north from Durango to Silverton, Ouray and on to Montrose. I'm sure that this road was created with Buellers in mind. It had facinating views, along with lots of changed in elevation ad twisties. Going up the mountains was great, as there was a passing zone. Coming down was a different story, you get somewhat sick of smelling red hot RV brakes after a few miles.
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    Coal Bank Pass, between Durango and Silverton. There is a noticible difference in air density at this elevation, and the Buell can feel it.
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    One big right turn past the Coal Bank pass was this view, complete with, yes, snow, and a few guys I met up with from Texas. No, they didn't know Blake.
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    Silverton is just over the rise on the left of this picture. I can't imagine how much snow they must get here in the winter. There were a number of ski resorts in this area.
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    The Miner's Tavern in Silverton. The 'Welcome Bikers' sign was cool, but not anywhere near as cool as the 'track parked out front.
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    Bart had recommended a place called the Handlebar Inn or something for lunch, but I stopped at the Miner's place 'cause the bike was already parked. After a very filling meal of country fried steak and talking with some of the locals about the trip and exactly what a Buell was, I was off again headed towards Ouray.

    Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture at Red Mountain pass, at 11,000 feet, I was too busy enjoying the roads! On the way back down the mountains towards Montrose, I stopped to snap this picture, and escape some of the brake fumes from the RVs that clogged the road. A gentleman stopped in his Vette, and asked if my Buell was enjoying the roads. I said of course, but I might be having more fun! He had been looking into getting an XB, but I forgot to tell him about Badweb.
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    Just outside of Montrose is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I had intended on stopping here for an afternoon break and for some pictures, but the road to the park was under construction, and the looming rain clouds forced me to continue on my way. This was taken at what I remember as Gunnison Lake, where the the river dumps into the lake.
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    This area was gorgeous, I took more time taking in the roads and the scenery than taking pictures.

    This is the northeastern end of Monarch Pass, at 11312 feet, according to my map. The temperatures here were a brisk 45 or so, which was much different than the heat I had left behind in Utah. Again, notice the snow on the peaks.
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    The ride from Monarch Pass into the plains of Colorado was spectacular as well. This was taken around Salida, I believe, on Route 50. The road followed this creek or river for miles, sticking to every twist and turn.
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    Long days on the road and partying with new friends was beginning to take it's toll, and I decided to make Canon City, CO my end destination for the night. They were having Fiddle Days or something, so I grabbed a room and walked across the street to a park overlooking the Arkansas River and listen to some old school country, sipped a few beers and grabbed some chow. That evening, the Buell stayed in the room with me, a few kids thought it would be a good jungle gym. Usually, I let people sit on the bike, but tonight wasn't the night for that.
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    Today's route: US 666E->US160E->US550N->US50E.
    #15
  16. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    The next stage of the trip was to be from Canon City, CO to Kansas City, MO, which I found out, is a long long way when you consider the amount of construction I ran into crossing Kansas.

    I left Canon City around 5 am, 50 degrees, with rain and a whole lot of fog. There were numerous lookout in Eastern Colorado, but there was little else to see other than a lot of fog.

    I had my first encounter with some of the local Law at probaby 6 am. I was stuck behind two FedEx rigs, going maybe 45 in ••••, on the straightest road I've ever seen, but still had a double yellow line on it. One of the trucks slowed a bit and pulled to the shoulder, and I passed him. Passed his friend a few minutes later and then found out that the Crown Vic that had been behind us for a good 30 miles was indeed an unmarked car.

    Turns out the guy is a rider as well, so I didn't get a ticket, and he was cool enough to sign my tank. Disaster averted.

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    Lots of flat farmland. I managed to get in about an hour of sleep when I was stopped here for the construction. Nice mid day nap.
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    So the plan was to meet some of the KC Mob guys in Salina, KS and proceed to Kansas City. Well, I was pretty far behind to say the least, and rolled into town about 4 hours after they had arrived. And we still had an additional 4 hours of riding ahead of us.

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    #16
  17. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    We took Tripper's 'scenic twisty road' to get back to KC. 115 miles, and probably 7 or 8 turns. It was fun blowing through the Kansas counry side with the boys though, and Tripper launching a wheelie after every single stopsign.

    We stopped at this little joint to get gas, as it was pretty much the only station along the way. 87 octane was the only choice.
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    So we finally made it into Kansas City, and rode around a bit to check out the city lights and all. It was nearing 10 PM, and I had been on the road since 5 am, I was a tired kid by this time. We stopped by KC Bill's place and checked out a hot rod he was working on (gorgeous car!), and then Jeff Griswold and I headed to his place to crash for the evening.

    After the long day I had the day before, I decided to spend an extra day in Kansas City and relax a bit. I had put on a ton of miles since leaving California, and had never done long days like this before. The break was definitelt needed.

    Jeff, Tripper and I headed to the Kansas City HD plant for a tour and to take some pictures.
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    Now, I know this tale was posted somewhere else within this thread, but it bears repeating. The gentleman that gave us the tour of the plant (and also gave me a free t-shirt) was Phil Swope, the director of security for the plant. As we went around on his golf cart, we were talking a bit about the plant and all, and it turns out that Phil knew a good friend of mine that I go to school with here in MI.

    Turns out Phil's grandson ran over my buddy's Kawasaki in the parking lot of the plant the summer before. Small world.
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    And Tripper, next time you see Phil, give him my email address in case he needs parts for that Corvair. I happen to know someone that had a ton of those cars...

    So we left the plant and headed to Oklahoma Joe's BBQ for lunch. You just can't go to KC without getting some BBQ. Great food, great atmosphere. Sorta. The front of the joint was a gas station, the middle was the restaurant, and the back was a beer distributer. Pretty much had all the bases covered.

    I also did a rear tire change at Midwest Powersports. The D220 I started the trip with didn't hold up too well on the abrasive and straight roads through Kansas. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent sipping Boulevard Pale Ale and watching the Republican Convention
    #17
  18. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    The next morning Jeff had a big stack of pancakes made up to get the morning rolling. We were headed east, I was going to St. Louis, and Jeff was going to roll along for part of it.

    Jeff, Suzanne, Rosie and Tootsie were great hosts, thank you again. Someday I hope to repay the favor.

    Jeff and I stopped by Mid America Buell and had a chance to see the new CityX. Neat looking bike. Jeff and I parted ways at this point, another new friend headed back west as I continued my journey east.

    My fraternity was having it's convention in St. Louis, so I felt the urge to swing by and say hey, after all, this trip was for one of my fraternity brothers. I cannot remember for the life of me what hotel the convention was being held at, but the valets and bellhops were not impressed with the Buell being parked on the sidewalk right in front of the hotel for a few hours while we had dinner. Whoops.

    I spoke with probably a hundered people about the trip, the reason for doing it, and the people behind the trip that helped make it all happen. Talking with all of them really made me feel great about what I was doing.

    I walked to the arch at dusk and took this
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    Followed by this one early the next morning.
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    After being on the road for a week, I was about the cross the Mississippi and head to Grand Rapids to meet up with Matt.<!--/Text-->
    #18
  19. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    The trip from St. Louis to GR was all highway, which inceased the suck factor for this leg of the journey. The traffic in Chicago was just as I had always remembered it from my trips to Iowa, and I couldn't lane split. That is one thing I missed from Cali.

    I got to Matt's place around 4 pm, and we had dinner with his family and a few of our Brothers that live in western MI.
    And this is Matt:
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    This little thing was pretty fun. Can't say the neighbors were too happy with my all to quiet Buell running around and this little smoke screen machine rolling around the neighborhood.

    Of course, it had to get a set of these:
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    We had another relaxing evening in GR, and I once again decided to push back the trip another day. Matt and I ran around Grand Rapids and Lansing most of the day, and then headed to Royal Oak, outside of Detroit for the evening. We met up with a bunch of our friends and again, spent a night relaxing and sipping cold beverages.
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    Realization of the trip: It's fun as hell to party after a long day of driving, but going to be at 3 am and getting up at 5 and riding all day is not the greatest thing in the world. We did it at the Thunderdome, and I did it here as well. But it was a damn good time.

    Tomorrow: The aventure into Canada begins...<!--/Text-->
    #19
  20. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    Lets see... The last pics were taken in Royal Oak, MI at the Sky Bar with a few of my buddies from school. The next morning, I met Bill Rufus at the bridge to Canada at Detroit.

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    The ride to the bridge was rainy and cool, but this was the first bad weather I had encountered, other than chasing a few storms through Utah and getting dumped on pretty bad there.
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    We traveled on back roads for quite some time, as the 401 was packed with traffic because of a festival in Cornwall. We had intended in staying in the area, but everything was booked for the weekend.

    This is close to Cornwall, ON, overlooking Northern New York.
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    We spent the night right outside of Montreal. After a hearty meal and a few beers, I was headed to bed. The late nights were beginning to catch up, and the ride today was slow with bad weather. Hopefully the next day would be nicer.

    This was taken outside of our hotel the next morning. Nice weather again!
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    This was taken at one of the rest stops along the TCH, near Rivere du Loup.
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    The ride on day 11 was great. We rolled through Montreal at dawn, and the city looked like a really cool place to visit when time allows. Added it to the list of places to visit again.

    The TCH had little to no traffic, since we were on the road early on Sunday.

    The ride south from Rivere du Loup into New Brunswick was amazing. Miles and miles of trees, the smell of pine everywhere. My only concern was the logging trucks we saw, and what kind of damage a 30' log could do to a bike if it were to fall off of a trailer.

    Overlooking the St. John River near Fredrickton, NB. We followed this river, seemingly forever, as we rolled through New Brunswick.
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    The Welcome Center at the eastern end of Nova Scotia. I believe it was near Amherst. As the next few pictures will show, the weather was rainy, foggy, windy etc. It wasn't the best weather of the trip, but it was great to smell salt water again. I had left California only 11 short days ago, and, once again, could smell the sea.
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    Check out the flags... It was a brisk, cold wind.
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    Overlooking the flood channel (I guess that's what it it) between Amherst and Sackville. It's as narrow a stretch of land between the Bay of Fundy/Chignecto Bay and the Northumberland Straight.
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    Truro, NS was the stopping point for this leg of the trip. Bill and I pulled into a hotel, unloaded and headed off for dinner. On the way back, we ran into a gentleman from Boston with a Road King who was up for the week to cruise around the island.

    Truro is easily within one day of Boston, and probably two days away for anyone else north of the Mason Dixon line... I'd highly recommend it. Hell, next time I'm back east for a bit, I'll lead the ride.

    The next round of pictures are the real exciting ones... the rest of Novia Scotia and Newfoundland!
    #20