A Nasty Austrian Will Try to Conquer the USA and Canada

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BIG OIL, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Great Lakes
    After suffering through another Michigan winter with a bad case of ‘Cabin Fever’, I have decided to embark on a multi month motorbike adventure without any timeline. I set a goal about 10 years ago to ride a motorbike through all 50 States and Canadian Provinces. I have 15 States and a handful of Provinces to reach my goal.

    I left the Great Lakes State 18 May 2018 making my way slowly to the Dallas Fort Worth area, where I am currently, to visit friends. Also ordering everything I’ll hopefully need to conquer this multi month trip.

    I will be leaving DFW tentavively 20 June 2018, heading to Carlsbad Caverns and Guadeloupe NP before beginning the NM BDR. I’m also hoping to ride part of the CO BDR, before heading to Moab to ride the White Rim Trail and visit all the southern Utah NP’s, before riding parts of AZ.

    After AZ, I’m hoping to rest for a few days in Vegas, before visiting friends in La Jolla, CA. Then, touring north through the rest of CA, OR, WA, ID, Banff, Jasper. If my body isn’t broken by then, I will ride to Alaska, before heading East back to Michigan.

    I’m hoping to meet some fellow ADV riders who will ride with me and point out secret spots.

    Anyhoo, here are a few teaser pics of Michigan to Texas.

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    #1
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  2. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Great Lakes
    A few more teaser pics.

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    #2
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  3. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Great Lakes
    A few more pics!!



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    #3
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  4. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Melbourne
    In, maybe we will cross paths in the road, we currently in Austin
    #4
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  5. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    It appears we’re riding opposite directions. You’ve already visited sites I plan to visit.

    Regardless, have fun, enjoy our amazing country.

    If you make it to the amazing beautiful state of Michigan, I can recommend routes and places you’ll not ever forget, such as Kitchen-iti-kipi, the Keweenaw Peninsula, Tunnel of Trees, Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, and a boat ride you’ll certainly NEVER forget, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Boat Tour, running out of Munising, Michigan.
    #5
  6. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Great Lakes
    Blog 1 - Rain, Rain, and Rain
    Star Date - 18 May 2018
    Distance - 217 miles / 350 kilometers



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    Where do I begin? Okay then, at home. Typically, when leaving for a multiple week motorbike trip, I only sleep a few hours the night before. With this trip hopefully lasting multiple months, I didn't sleep for a second worrying I'd packed everything I'd need. Finally, after lying in bed all night with mind racing, I decided to roll out of bed at the butt crack of dawn and start strapping bags to my bike and get every last minute thing I thought I'd need. Finally, a little after noon, and after breakfast, a visit with mom to say my goodbyes, I was off.

    First stop, just a short ride to Brembo North America MFG and Foundry, near Homer, Michigan. Brembo bought out the original brake manufacturer and has been growing every year since. The factory and foundry are enormous, and they can't hire fast enough. They've begun hiring directly off the street and offering incentives trying to hire enough staff. I had some more pics of the foundry, they were lost however. I'll have to shoot some more when I return to Michigan and add them to the report. No, this factory does not mfg the calipers, master cylinders, or any of the braking components on your bike. The components this location mfg's feeds the Big 3.

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    Since I'm dedicating this ride to my hometown, its citizens, school I attended from kindergarten until graduation, our athletic teams, of which our baseball team holds the national record for consecutive wins, 75-0 before losing, the superintendent of my local school invited me for a photo-op. Here's a link providing the story of the record breaking streak. http://michiganbaseballhall.org/members/homer.html BTW, major league pitcher of Arizona Diamondback fame, Josh Collmenter, was a member of the record breaking Homer team. Here's my bike in front of the north entrance.

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    And, the photo-op with Superintendent and Michigan Hall of Fame coach and friend, Scott Salow. A genius baseball coach, Scott was the coach during the record setting years, including a 4 year stretch when Homer played 149 games, winning 143 of them. Scott is still the head coach presently.

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    I didn't even leave the school without dropping my bike. I had a lot of weight on my rear rack and the 2 Ortleib bags filled with a bunch of stuff I probably didn't need. I tried to swing my right leg over the bike and didn't quite make it, started to fall, didn't let go of the left hand grip, and brought the bike over as I fell on the ground. Lol, luckily I had my helmet on as my head hit the cement!!! Coach Salow and a schoolteacher came out to assist!! The 3 of us were able to right the bike. They wished me well, and I was on my way.

    Shortly after leaving Homer, Michigan, it started to rain just across the border in Fremont, Indiana. It rained, and rained, and rained some more. I decided to just dead head on the Interstate as I've already ridden most of the great routes in Northern Indiana. I just wanted to get south as fast as I could on day 1. After riding in frigid rain for hours, I decided I was done for the day in South Indianapolis. I had my waterproof Rukka Argosaurus jacket on, which kept my upper body dry. Because I was still carrying my winter hibernation weight I typically gain every winter, I could not fit in my Rukka Argosuarus pant, so had to wear my BMW City Pant, which are very comfortable, but in no way waterproof.

    I didn't take many pics on day 1 because of the rain and I didn't want to get my new camera wet as I hadjust read on the internet a few days previously my new camera is fragile to water.

    I booked a room at a Super 8. Friendly staff, but cleanliness was terrible. The carpet needed changed years ago, stains everywhere. I hadn't even got in my room before a meth head girl came up to me to ask me if I had a lighter she could use. What was really strange, after I entered my room, removed my jacket, I went back outside to retrieve a duffel bag off my bike, reentered the motel hallway. Not 3 minutes had passed since the girl had asked me for a light, when the same girl came up to me again, asking me if I had a lighter she could use. I felt sorry for her, she was obviously quite strung out and frustrated she couldn't find a light. I would avoid the Super 8 in South Indy if I was you. Turned out to be the most expensive hotel room from Michigan to Texas and was by far the worst experience I've had in years. I don't need a fancy hotel by any means, but this place was a disaster.

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    The only good part about the stay was I cooked my own meal on my JetBoil stove. Unfortunately, it started pouring rain before I was done cooking. Oh well, that's part of the adventure and a little water adds to the adventure.

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    I plugged in the mini-fridge in my room, but couldn't hear the compressor cycling. Darn, I wanted to keep my drinks cold. Unplugged the mini-fridge, turned the unit around to look at the back, and noticed someone had done some questionable repairs on the fridge. Appeared the return line had been cut and was crimped with pliers, lol. I notified the front desk my fridge did not work. A repair man showed up a few minutes later. He couldn't fix the unit either. He said he'd be back in a few minutes with a new unit. He came back with a unit, but it was not new, it appeared to be several years old and had just been found in a salvage yard. I wasn't complaining though, it worked, aesthetics didn't matter at this point!!

    I actually slept well, only awoken a few times during the night by most likely drug addicts in the hallway. Quite an experience, my first night away from home!
    #6
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  7. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    805
    Picking hotels is a science. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Hopefully, it gets better!
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  8. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,759
    Location:
    God's country, Western North Carolina
    LOL, perfect start! I could share a story about a RAIN ride and "joyously" finding the most run down Motel 6 well after midnight that would make you feel even better, but these situations with "happy endings" just make the good stuff seem even better. Congrats to the Coach and Team(s) as well as the Community!, so many great folks everywhere we never hear about! Safe travels.

    Cheers
    #8
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  9. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
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    So true, chudzikb!

    Fortunately, from Michigan to Texas, the Super 8 in South Indy was my worst night, my motel stays got much cheaper and much nicer from South Indy to Texas.
    #9
  10. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Hi, bobw, feel free to share your story. Gives me something to read during downtime! The worst motel stay of my life was back in 2016 in New Brunswick, Canada!! You’re right though, it adds to the adventure. I’d much rather sleep in my tent versus a shithole motel room.

    Thanks for the congrats, we are very proud of our B.B. team and coach!

    Cheers!
    #10
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  11. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,759
    Location:
    God's country, Western North Carolina
    BIG +1 on my tent over flop houses masquerading as Chain Hotels. Short version is after a loooong hot day I stopped for gas and food before camping for the night. I had a weird number and a message showing on my phone and for some reason instead of ignoring "unknown" robot callers I opened the message. I carry two wallets and one of them had fallen out during a water break about 250 miles behind earlier in the day. A very nice and honest person located it and the local Sheriffs Office did an incredible job tracking down my work from the credentials found inside and one thing led to another. I set up a meeting in the morning to retrieve my stuff and headed East from Texas. A storm of amazing strength proceeded to come out of nowhere and before I could exit I was forced to stop as I literally could not see beyond my windscreen and when stopped I thought I was a bit uphill, but rolled the just the opposite, tree limbs flying across the roadway stuff. It slowed enough that I made it to an exit where I waited an hour hiding out at a garage awning and watched the "river" that was their parking lot slowly drop. I headed out looking for a room and checked every hotel for miles, but other travelers caught in the middle of nowhere had taken up what was left over from some convention that had dibs on most of them to begin with. I continued for hours through bow wave depth water that was present even on the interstate and around 2 in the morning took a room in a crack house, I mean Motel 6 I was grateful to have and even though exhausted and wetter than wet, took every bit off my bike I possibly could (first time ever did that), got 3 hours "sleep" and got out early to ride back to get my wallet. It took me days to recover the lost time and I was tired in the 100+ degree to whole new levels as it was a looong day times "X" times "Y" etc. Anyway, that's the short version, another "renewed my faith" in people silver lining and I gratefully survived what had to have been at least a micro burst with a warm up for the Noah Jr. boat building......

    And I love riding in the rain, so no whinging there, just respect for Mother Nature.
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  12. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
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    Quite an experience you had there!!! Glad it all worked out.

    I too enjoy riding in the rain, as long as I'm somewhat dry, not soaked.
    #12
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  13. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Great Lakes
    Blog 2 - Larry Legend
    Star Date - 19 May 2018
    Distance - 216 miles / 348 kilometers

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    Awaking up in the shit-hole of the century, I wanted to get the hell out of the Super 8 in South Indy asap. I quickly loaded my bags, which admittedly, I already knew I'd brought too much stuff. Better to have too much than not enough I suppose. One can always send unneeded luggage back home, via UPS or USPS.

    I made my way south on HWY 37 to Bloomington, before diverting east towards Lake Monroe on HWY 446, aka Knightsbridge road. I stopped near a public recreation area for a break and a picnic. It was a pretty area, I think the waterway was named Lake Monroe, not sure.

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    It appeared the area had received much rain and experienced areas of flooding.

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    My picnic spot, where I enjoyed a turkey sammich.

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    From the picnic spot, I continued on Knightsbridge road towards Blue Springs Cavern, for a possible underground boat tour. What a beautiful building the Blue Springs Cavern Tour has to book the tour.

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    A lovely looking rose bush near where I parked my bike, with roses in full bloom, just after a nice long drink.

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    Inside the Visitor Center at Blue Springs Cavern, near Bedford, Indiana.

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    From Blue Springs Cavern, I continued south southwest on HWY 50, aka Indiana's Historic Pathways North Spur, to near Shoal, Indiana and found Jug Rock. Not a very good pic, as the foliage was taking over the sightline to the cool rock formation.

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    I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who'd grown up in the area. He suggested I visit and tour 'The Dome' when in West Baden Springs, Indiana. The man wasn't sure of the name of the site, but he told me to ride into town and ask anyone where 'The Dome' is and they'd know.

    So, from Jug Rock, I rode HWY 150, which was motorbiking nirvana. High speed sweepers. It was wet, but the TKC 80's were glued to the wet pavement. I had quite a spirited ride from Tug Rock to West Baden Springs, Indiana. Luckily, 'The Dome' was easy to find. 'The Dome' is actually named West Baden Springs Hotel and is part of French Lick Resort. Take my word for it, if you ever find yourself nearby, do yourself a solid and stop by and tour the dome. When you walk in the hotel and reach the dome, your mouth will drop at the design and architecture.

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    A little too fancy for my tastes, as rooms begin around the $250 mark and go skyward from there. However, I'd like to bring my elderly mother down here someday so she can enjoy herself in the lap of luxury, while I golf at the Donald Ross designed golf course nearby.

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    I found a little history about the place, Italicized with my pics in between.

    In 1855 the Mile Lick Hotel was built to capitalize on the abundance of mineral springs in the area. The name was later changed to West Baden Springs Hotel as it was fashioned after the great mineral spa of Europe, Baden Baden. Lee W. Sinclair transformed West Baden into a sophisticated resort, adding an opera house, a casino, a two-deck pony and bicycle track and a full-size baseball field. Sadly, in June of 1901 a fire destroyed the entire lodging structure in less than two hours. Thankfully, all of the guests escaped harm.

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    Sinclair used this tragedy as his opportunity to build the hotel of his dreams. He envisioned a circular building topped with the world's largest dome, decorated like the grandest spas of Europe. Architect Harrison Albright of West Virginia, accepted Sinclair’s commission and agreed to complete the project within a year. The new hotel, complete with a 200-foot diameter atrium and fireplace that burned 14 foot logs opened for business in June of 1902.

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    After Sinclair died in 1916, his daughter, Lillian, and her husband took over the hotel's operation and completed a massive renovation effort that left their finances overextended. In 1923 Lillian sold the hotel to Ed Ballard for one million dollars.

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    When the stock market crashed in 1929 the hotel emptied of guests almost overnight. Eventually Ballard closed the hotel in June 1932 and in 1934 sold it to the Jesuits for one dollar. The Jesuits removed many of property’s elegant appointments and eventually dismantled the building's four Moorish towers. The seminary, known as West Baden College, operated until 1964 when declining enrollment led the Jesuits to close the facility. A Michigan couple purchased the property in 1966 and donated it to Northwood Institute, a private college, which operated in West Baden until 1983.

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    While the colleges did not maintain the West Baden property in the same lavish style it exhibited during the hotel era, it was relatively well cared for until 1985 when Northwood sold it to a real estate development firm. That firm soon declared bankruptcy and the property was tangled in years of litigation.

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    In 1974 West Baden was listed as a National Historic Landmark but the elements took their toll on the neglected hotel and it was closed to the public in 1989 for safety reasons. In January 1991 a buildup of ice and water on the roof and in drainpipes caused the collapse of a portion of the exterior wall. Indiana Landmarks, the country’s largest state-wide historic preservation organization, led the charge to stabilize the hotel to preserve redevelopment potential, and attract a new owner capable of restoring the property for a new use. In 1992 Indiana Landmarks spent $140,000 to stabilize the hotel, matching a $70,000 contribution from an anonymous donor.

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    In May 1994 the hotel was sold to Minnesota Investment Partners [MIP] for $500,000. Grand Casinos, Inc., an investor in the purchase, optioned the hotel from MIP. The COOK Group, Inc., a global medical device manufacturing company, headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, stepped in to preserve both French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel. Under the direction of Bill, Gayle and their son, Carl Cook, both hotels and their grounds received a multi-million dollar renovation returning them to the grandeur of the days of Sinclair and uniting them as one resort. In 2006, French Lick Springs Hotel reopened after an extensive renovation and new addition, French Lick Casino. The original 1917 “Hill Course” was reopened and restored as The Donald Ross Course. With the completion of the West Baden Springs Hotel restoration in 2007 French Lick Resort was born.

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    An incredible antique Rolls Royce is on display.

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    After leaving the dome, it actually stopped raining for the first time in quite awhile on my trip!! I then continued south through the neighboring town of French Lick, Indiana. French Lick holds a dear place in my heart as it's the hometown of Larry Joe Bird, aka Larry Legend, the famous Boston Celtic and Gold Medal winner, and whom I believe to be one of the best, if not thee greatest NBA (National Basketball Association) player of all time. Many will argue with me on that point and claim Michael Jordan, Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, or Lebron James is the GOAT, but I still will say Larry Legend was the best. Larry at the same age, leads Lebron in several stats. Yes, MJ has the rings, but he was also the face of the NBA and anyone whom got near Jordan, got whistled for a foul. Not taking anything from MJ, Magic, or Lebron, they're incredible basketball players, but in my opinion, the NBA hasn't been the same since Larry, Magic, and Jordan played. I hope I get to meet Larry Legend someday, I'd like to have an autographed Celtic jersey.

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    From French Lick, Indiana, I continued south to Patoka Lake. Beautiful area and lake. I'm not sure, but I think I heard someone say it is man-made.

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    From the Patoka Lake area, and after all of the rain I'd ridden through again, I decided I didn't want to setup a tent in the rain, so optioned for the Motel 6 in Owensboro, Kentucky. Actually a very nice Motel 6, clean rooms, hot shower, and a nice flatscreen tv, and ice-cold air conditioning, I couldn't have been more satisfied.

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    I decided on a couple brats I had in my Pelican cooler.

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    And a real nice reduced price Ribeye steak I discovered at Wally World!!

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    I was happy to be in Kentucky.

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    #13
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  14. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,908
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Really enjoying your trip! I’m a Midwest boy and when I was younger some of my family was involved in the Baden Hotel restoration, so cool to see it here!
    #14
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  15. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    698
    Location:
    Corrales, New Mexico
    Big Oil when you get to New Mexico you should check the National Forest status. Some forests are closed (Stage 3 Fire Restrictions) due to our drought. The BDR goes thru the Mescalero Apache Reservation and it is closed and travel restricted to Hwy 70 and 244. The BDR goes through the Zuni Mountains, Mount Taylor and the Jemez. These area also have closures from Stage 3 fire restrictions. You may have to route around some BDR sections and stay on the main highways and county roads in these areas.
    Southwestern Colorado has some Stage 3 fire restrictions as well.
    In all cases there are some pretty routes to get around the closures.
    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
    https://firerestrictions.us/nm/
    We just had a little rain so the situation may change by time you get here.
    #15
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  16. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
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    What a hotel. Lots of history. Entering the dome was a mouth dropping experience.
    #16
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  17. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
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    Thanks for the heads up, Sir CaptCapsize!

    I'll keep my eye on those links you provided. If I have to detour around, so be it, I'd rather not get caught in a massive fire, especially not knowing the terrain.
    #17
  18. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    698
    Location:
    Corrales, New Mexico
    You are welcome.
    A lot of the closure aren't on fire yet. The Stage 3 closures are to prevent fires.
    It is just the maximum penalty of $5K I want to avoid.
    #18
  19. BIG OIL

    BIG OIL Loooozer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
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    Ouch, 5 grand fine. I've already been phucked enough by the gov't!!! I'm still sore from it!!
    #19
  20. Air Force Vet

    Air Force Vet Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    434
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Last Wed I left Albuquerque headed to Virginia for a class. I road the Dragon, Blue Ridge Pkwy and Skyline Dr along the way. I stayed at 5 hotels, all fine and pleasant except the one Super 8 by Wyndham I stayed at in Waynesboro VA. What......a......dump!!!! They should have payed me to stay there. I stayed at a Super 8 about 5 years ago and said never again. This time I finally learned my lesson....never again. Sorry for the hijack but Super 8 struck a nerve.
    Safe travels!!!
    #20
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