Sunday, April 24, 2005

Skip ahead from Kansas to home

As you can see by the date, we made it home and then I went into my post trip decompression phase. Since I am also in my post trip insomnia phase, I'll finish what I should have done several days ago.

Monday, April 18 - Wichita Kansas to Long Grove Iowa

It was a windy Kansas morning. Nothing new here. The Weather Channel doppler showed a storm system near Topeka so we hightailed it up I-35 towards Kansas City. Mostly tailwinds, and we slid by the system as we approached KC. Stopped briefly for gas and it almost caught us, so we kept on making miles towards Des Moines.

The right turn onto I-80 at Des Moines meant that the tailwind turned into a brutal crosswind. At one point, we got hit by what would, in the south, be called a dust devil. Here, it was more of a bark devil and peppered us with little bits of organic shrapnel.

The temperature was warm in Iowa. About 85 degrees. Not bad for April.

We rolled into Long Grove about 5:00 PM after covering 562 miles. Auggie was there and we loaded the bike into the trailer right away. BTW, the bike now has a name. Quicksilver. I was thinking Mercury because it is silver and is also a god with winged feet, but Sandy said no and Quicksilver means the same thing.

We spent the evening chatting. After the ladies went to bed, Auggie and I kept it up until about 1:00 AM. Then we gave up and retired, too.

The one downside to the day was that we found our friend Sherm, who we were supposed to see again in lake Lure in a couple of weeks, had caught a cold and had decided to return home to Oregon. This was a disappointment, but we will be seeing him again later in the season in Utah, Nevada and Arkansas. Travel safe, Sherm.

Many thanks to Auggie and Sue for the hospitality and looking after the van and trailer while we were away.

Tuesday April 19 - Long Grove Iowa to Sault Ste Marie Ontario

Nothing special to report for this trip. 662 miles towing a trailer behind a Dodge Caravan. We got through Chicago without getting hung up in traffic and crossed the Mackinac Bridge under high wind warnings. The border crossing was easy as pie and we were at my Mom's house in the Soo about 8:30 Eastern time.

We spent the evening visiting and then called it a night.

Wednesday April 20 - Sault Ste Marie Ontario to Sudbury Ontario

I was going to unload the bike this morning and take Mom for a ride, but the weather had turned cold and wet overnight so we agreed to an IOU for that. The trip to Sudbury was uneventful, although I noticed that there were a lot of cars with Ontario plates. This always surprises me for a couple of days after I get home from a trip.

Once home, we unloaded the bike and moved the trailer into its customary place in the driveway. I hope we don't need to use it before next fall unless it is to haul someone else's bike.

The odometer on Quicksilver said 8,411 kms. Not bad for a three week old machine, but only a taste of what is to come. This motorcycle is everything I had hoped it would be and more. It's going to be a great season.

Just to spite us, this was the scene this morning in our driveway.

The travel blog will resume about May 2nd or 3rd when we head out for Lake Lure, North Carolina. To those of you who have been reading this, I hope you enjoyed it and you are welcome to ride along with us on the next trip. Until then, be well.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Fredericksburg Texas to Wichita Kansas

We were up at 6:00 and packed by 7:00. After saying goodbye to the few people who were up, we had the hotel’s continental breakfast and headed down to the gas station. After fueling and fighting with an air hose as I made some tire adjustments, we headed out about 7:50.

It was overcast but warm and, following Coyote’s sage advice, we rolled to Johnson City and caught Highway 281 north. With almost no traffic and a tailwind, we cruised along at a steady 80 MPH. The first tank of gas carried us all the way to I-20 just east of Fort Worth. Swinging up to I-35W North, we passed Texas Motor Speedway at 12:00 noon just as a B-52 bomber was making a low level fly by as part of the opening ceremonies for today’s NASCAR race.

We continued on just stopping for fuel and a quick bite to eat. Oklahoma City must have had some kind of car gathering because the highways were choked with what looked like street rods. Very interesting. We arrived in Wichita Kansas about 6:00 PM. Just over ten hours for 607 miles was a pretty good average.

We’re settled in a Super 8 here and had supper at a very nice place called the Italian Garden. Tomorrow should see us back at Auggie’s in Davenport, Iowa loaded in the trailer and ready to head back to Canada.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Fredericksburg Texas - Llano and Enchanted Rock

We got up late again today. Sherm came by about 10:30 and we hot-footed it the 41 miles to Llano to try to beat the crowd at Coopers. It worked last year but the crowd was early this year and we had to stand in line for a while. We had good company, though, because some VROC friends including Coyote, Slash, Oldman, Wiliedog and Pam showed up at the exact same time. Here are Wiliedog and Pam in front of the big Mequite barbequing kilns at Coopers.

After we ate, Coyote guided Sherm, Sandy and I back to Fredericksburg via Enchanted Rock. The large domed rock formation was sacred to the Comanche tribe. The ride back was pleasant and the road had a few nice curves.

Back in town, we wandered around chatting with a variety of people and tinkering with the computers until it was time for the group photo over at the Kawasaki pavilion. Then Sandy and I helped Sherm load the NoClassEak onto its trailer for the drive to North Carolina and headed back to the Dairy Queen for Blizzards.

Tonight, the tone in the hotel parking lot is subdued as another HCR comes to an end. Our saddlebags are packed and we are ready to pull out early headed north to Davenport Iowa where the van was left not quite two weeks ago. We will load up there and go home for a little bit. Sherm will wander the southeast and we will see him in Lake Lure, North Carolina in a little over two weeks.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fredericksburg Texas - The Poker Run and Luckenbach

The 8th VROC Hill Country Rally continues.

We arose late and took the route directions for the poker run. Since I don’t know the local roads we hooked up with a group. Unfortunately, the group that knows the roads had already left so we hooked up with the Oklahoma crew bolstered by a lone Illinois rider and a couple of Louisianaites. I probably should have known it was a mistake when we took four wrong turns getting out of Fredericksburg.

In any case, this group rode fast and had no idea where it was going. We stopped several times to discuss which way to go and then the lead part of the pack blew by a turn at 85 MPH and we got a new leader as the rest of us made the turn. The first checkpoint was at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, about 75 miles from our start.

In the museum parking lot, I saw a BMW 1200LT with North Dakota plates. I looked long and hard at the couple who were riding it and then asked the rider if I had met him last year in the parking lot at the Kearney Arch on I-80 in Nebraska. Sure enough, it was the same people. It becomes a small world on the road.

I could see Sandy wasn’t enjoying the run, and I wasn’t any too thrilled myself, so we decided to head back and retrace our steps home. We had a nice time wandering through the flowing curves along the Guadaloupe River that we had taken at speed going down. At one spot, we saw a bad wreck where a new GoldWing had missed a curve and gone down a bank into some trees. Since there were already a lot of people there and I had no place to stop we kept going. I heard later that rider and passenger had been life flighted to San Antonio.

We got back and took a nap before heading out to Luckenbach for dinner. The famous old dance hall was full as we enjoyed a fine Mexican buffet and Fergie, the organizer, gave out awards and drew for some very nice door prizes. I didn't take it personally that Sandy and I were the only ones at our table who didn't win. Speaking of our table, the cosmopolitan nature of VROC was evident in the people there. Joker and 57 Dave were from Florida, we were from Ontario, Sherm was from Oregon and Manjo and Linda were from Massachusetts. Despite the distances, we have been good friends with all these people for years.

The ride back from Luckenbach was slow and careful since it was dusk and the deer were coming out. We heard a car hit one just after we came through and a VROCer stopped to drag the carcass off the road.

Back at the Super 8, Sandy went to bed early but I stayed up and socialized in the parking lot for a while. This is, after all, one of the main reasons for showing up. I did retire earlier and more sober than I did the night before.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fredericksburg Texas - Willow City Loop, Llano and Luckenbach

We have WiFi in our hotel. Sherm came over from the motel he was staying at down the street and got on-line. We waved goodbye to Joker who was off with some of the Texas bunch to ride the 3’s, a set of twisty roads to the south. Then Sherm, Sandy and I went 41 miles north to Llano where we joined a crowd for lunch at Cooper’s BBQ. Texas BBQ is unlike any other and Cooper’s is one of the best. I managed to consume four large pork ribs, although two would have been better, corn on the cob and blackberry cobbler. Sandy had a more sensible serving of pork tenderloin and some corn.

On the way back, we took a detour around the Willow City Loop. This is a scenic drive through the rolling hills with fields of bluebonnets and devil’s paintbrush. This is a scenic drive through the rolling hills with fields of bluebonnets and devil’s paintbrush. Here is Sandy sitting behind a prickly pear cactus.

Sherm, here, is the goodwill ambassador of VROC. We rode back into town and went our separate ways to do laundry. Sandy and I went over to visit the Kawasaki people at the Riders of Kawasaki site. ROK is the affinity club run by Kawasaki USA. They had some spectacular custom cruisers, but I didn’t have my camera.

When Sherm returned, we rode out to Luckenbach, a place made famous by the song of the same name. A good number of VROCers were either there or rolled in shortly after. We’ll be coming back here tomorrow night for dinner. Here’s Sherm getting ready to take a picture, as usual.

We rode back to the hotel and spent the evening meeting and greeting a large number of members who had arrived while we were gone, and then it was off to bed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Carlsbad New Mexico to Fredericksburg Texas

So much for plans. We skipped Langtry and came straight across to Fredericksburg a day early.

It was a balmy 38 degrees in Carlsbad as we headed out to the caverns to get our National Parks Passport stamped. Didn’t go down into the caves since we had been there before, but the ride up was nice.

Then we headed over to 285 on an obscure little county road and ran down to Pecos and Fort Stockton.

It was while having lunch in Fort Stockton that I suggested to Sandy she might prefer if we went straight on to F'Burg. She thought that might be a plan so I called ahead to see if there was room at the Super 8, which was Hill Country Rally headquarters. There was, so we pointed ourselves east on I-10 and rolled.

The first members of the VROC crew we met at the hotel were four Texans who were all on Goldwings. We talked bikes for a while and then our friends started to show up. Sherm, Joker and 57 Dave from Florida, Wiliedog and Pam from Louisiana and a few others. After unpacking, several of us headed for a German restaurant. The wait was long and the food was only OK but the company was excellent. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was time to call it a night.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Las Cruces New Mexico to Carlsbad New Mexico

Today we headed out of Las Cruces and over the San Andreas Mountains towards Alamagordo. The San Andreas have one section that are pretty rugged and make me think of a dinosaur's back.

We stopped at White Sands and rode through the park. The sand was so white it made me think I was riding on snow. At the Nature Center, there was a man from Pensacola who took a sabbatical from teaching to tell visitors about the flora and fauna. On the way back, we stopped at the visitor’s center again and met two locals, Larry and Dale, from Alamagordo. They were on Vulcans and were amused to see my patches considering what I rode in on. They had never heard of VROC but they have now. Hope they find us here.

In Alamagordo, we had lunch with Stan McCann, AKA Uncle Pirate of VROC fame. Stan was in an accident a couple of years ago, but has made a lot of progress since we saw him last year. Here is a picture of him standing unsupported.

Leaving Alamagordo, we road up to Cloudcroft at an elevation of about 8.600 feet. There was still some snow on the ground. Then we wound our way back down to the desert and headed for Artesia and Carlsbad. We weren’t in time to get to the cavern today, but we will be there early tomorrow to get our new Parks Passport validated. (I can see this passport is going to add new destinationsJ)

Anyway, we are still on track for getting to Fredericksburg on Thursday.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tucson Arizona to Las Cruces New Mexico

It was cool, clear and not very windy when we rolled through Tucson eastbound on I-10. We had breakfast at a Mickey D’s in Benson, Arizona and then headed south on Highway 80 to check out Tombstone where the Earp’s and Doc Holliday had it out with the Clantons and their compatriots at the OK Corral. The town was quiet since we got there about 9:00 AM and most of the shops on the old main street were just opening. It was an interesting place for those who follow that period in history.

After we saw the sights, we headed back up Highway 80 to I-10 and continued east. We came into the Texas Canyon, where the rocks are jumbled creatively. It is an unusual and amazing place. I got off the road twice to admire the formations.

Just inside New Mexico, we stopped at a rest area that had some friendly people and free coffee. I found out later that Sherm had left a message on my voicemail to check out the free internet access provided there.

It was also obvious that the south has a long memory.

Continuing east, we crossed the Continental Divide as C.W. McCall was singing Wolf Creek Pass on the MP3 player. There were repeated warnings about zero visibility dust storms on signs along the highway, and we watched dust devils of varying sizes playing their way across the desert.End of day saw us in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Although we have been running about 36 MP(US)G, we got 44.6 on this stretch at 75 – 80 MPH. We had supper at a Cracker Barrel and got some more bungie cords at a nearby WalMart. These are to secure our jackets on the rear rack when the temperature gets too hot to wear them.The hotel had an indoor pool heated to 92 degrees. That was warmer than I have ever seen, but it was nice after a day on the road.

It looks like the bad weather keeps moving out ahead of us so we will head up to Alamagordo tomorrow to see a friend named Stan McCann and will then cross the mountains through Cloudcroft and will be on to Texas.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Mesa Arizona - The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch

The Ringleader

His Right Hand Man

Mesa Arizona to Tucson Arizona

It was a morning of goodbyes as the various contingents rolled out in different directions, although most of us will be gathering in Kanab Utah in late June. Word was that it had snowed a bit in Holbrook and Denver was getting up to 12” of the white stuff so it was nice to be heading east.

We took a short hop down to Sun Lakes to see some friends, Jim and Sandy Bullock, from home. They have a nice place down here where they winter while we are enjoying the cold, ice and snow. We had a nice lunch, caught up on old times and made some golfing plans for after we all get back.

After leaving, we rode south and east on I-10. The scenery was composed of rolling hills and huge saguaro cacti, which gave way to flat desert and stark mountains. It amazes me the way that the black volcanic rock just juts up out of the flat desert floor.

In Tucson, we got a room in a Motel 6. We met a couple in an adjacent parking lot on a white GL1800 trike. They were from Denver and were camping in the area.

Tomorrow we will head down to Tombstone, “the town to tough to die”. This was a wild place back in the days of the old west and was the scene of the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. Then we will head on east into New Mexico. It looks like the bad weather is clearing out ahead of us.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Mesa Arizona

It was a little sad watching the crew head out for the ride this morning, but we had a noon appointment at D&D to get the cruising pegs and Tulsa mirror wings put on the bike. I caught up on the blogs and we lazed about for the morning. Noon saw us at D&D where we left the bike and went to a nearby Greek restaurant for lunch.

After lunch, we saw a titanium GL1800 in the parking lot with the same pegs I was getting installed. The couple standing beside it was friendly and we talked about the nuances of the Wing. After telling him about are travels, he asked me if I was the guy who left his gas cap in Texas. Seems he reads the GL1800 board. Anyway, here is a picture of Glider and his lady.

After lunch, we rode out to Champion Cycle and picked up the two gas caps. Three was a little too much, so I gave one to Sherm. When the gang got back from the ride, they headed up to Rawhide while Sherm, Sandy and I hunted down the local Hometown Buffet. The others got back later and hadn’t eaten, so the whole crew adjourned to the restaurant here at the hotel. Those of us already stuffed made do with coffee or water and enjoyed the company. We moved out to the fireplace on the patio and kept on enjoying until it was time to go to bed.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Prescott, Jerome and Cottonwood

It was cooler this morning. We hit the included buffet breakfast at 7:00 AM sharp and were ready to ride at 8:00. We headed north out of town and then west to Wsickenburg where we stopped for fuel. From there we went north to Yarnell and started the climb to Prescott. The first part is four lane divided road with tight but sweeping curves. The next part involves going up and down a twisty two lane road. The Wing was up to the challenge and my problems with vertigo and panic attacks in this type of situation did not occur.

In Prescott, Jack led us all onto a sidewalk in front of the courthouse. After a few words with a local police officer about our choice of parking spaces, I was allowed to take a few pictures of the park. This was the setting for the famous fight scene in the movie Billy Jack.

From Prescott, we started up what they call the Mingus Mountain Scenic Highway to the mountainside town of Jerome. This is even twistier and the edges are closer and steeper. Still no problems. The do-it-yourself cognitive behaviour therapy must be working. We descended to Cottonwood, where the group split for lunch. Sherm, Lefty, Captain Kirk, Craig joined us at a Jack In The Box. Not bad.

The rest of the group headed over towards Payson while we and Sherm headed down I-17. Didn’t quite beat rush hour so we just got back when it was time to head over to Mel’s D&D for BBQ hamburgers and brats. It was a good meal, and I bought some cruising pegs (for me) and mirror wings (for Sandy). They will get installed tomorrow at noon.

Back at the hotel, everyone adjourned to the grassy knoll and then wandered off to bed as the urge hit them.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Holbrook Arizona to Mesa Arizona

Jack cooked breakfast this morning. We loaded the gear and went down to the shop where Jack and Karl Guzzo got their Nomads ready. It was a little cool as we headed south of Holbrook on 377 and 260 with stops in Heber and Payson. There were still some pockets of snow on the ground before we started down the Mogollon Rim. Coming down from Payson, we turned towards Saguaro Lake where we got some pictures of the big cacti.

By the time we got to Mesa the Wing was telling me that the air temperature was 36C. We dropped our jackets at the hotel where we ran into fellow wanderer Sherm Acord of Coos Bay, Oregon. He was on the infamous NoClassEak, a modified Kawasaki Vulcan that he is breaking in for another VROCer.

We all headed towards a restaurant called Lolo’s in Phoenix. Pugg, a local, was already there and Tony D and Theresa showed up minutes later with Craig Scott from Edmonton who had just arrived by plane. The gang was now all here. Lolo’s special is southern fried chicken and waffles, which Tony has been raving about for weeks on the newsgroup. Now I’ll rave about it too.

I called Champion Honda to see about the gas caps ordered from Albuquerque. Seems the guy who took the order didn’t specify overnight so they weren’t there yet. Despite their error, they would not loan me a cap off an 1800 on the floor. I have no respect for these people. After we got back to the hotel, Jack took me over to D&D Cycle, which is owned by a VROCer named Mel. Mel called a scrapyard in Phoenix and found a cap, so Jack and I braved rush hour traffic and took a shortcut through the airport. Bob’s Salvage charged $12 for the cap which came off a mangled yellow 1800. The bike stopped smelling like gas.

Back at the hotel, we found Jerry “Pop-Pop” Zimmerman and his California contingent sitting around the pool. For those of you who don’t know Jerry, he is the father of Jeri Ryan of Star Trek Voyager and Boston Public fame. We sat around the pool and swapped stories and then, when they closed the pool, we moved to a grassy knoll near a back parking lot until it was time to go to bed.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Albuquerque New Mexico to Holbrook Arizona

We woke up early in Albuquerque. We’ve been picking up a time zone a day and haven’t adjusted yet. Watched TV until it was time to wander next door to Mickey D’s for a bacon and egg McGriddle. I checked and saw that, while our current location was a balmy 41F, it was 21F in Gallup, NM. Since we would be passing through Gallup on our way to Holbrook, we found some ways to kill time until things warmed up a bit.

It was close to 10:00 Mountain Time when we finally fueled up, stuffed a new rag where the fuel filler cap should be, and headed for the I-40 West on ramp was located. Typically, the ramp was closed but there were nice coloured signs directing us to an alternate ramp. I followed these for a few miles but then they stopped so I can only assume I missed the on saying to turn left. Not being one to ask for directions, I followed the road for a little further. Ten miles later, we were heading north into the mountains when I decided to turn left and look for an Interstate. Any InterstateJ)

I hadn’t realized how high we climbed until we ran downgrade for over two miles before encountering I-25. Dodged an accident scene in the southbound on ramp and ran several miles south before encountering and getting on I-40 West. The detour was interesting, though, because we saw a very pretty part of Albuquerque we would have otherwise missed.

This was the first time we got to run the Wing in relatively ideal conditions. We cruised into a light headwind at an average of about 85 MPH with occasional stretches up over 90. Despite the 75MPH speed limit, we were just keeping up with trafficJ) Since radio stations are few and far between, we ran with the MP3 player hooked into the Honda sound system and enjoyed some of the songs I had selected for the journey. The bike never missed a beat and, when we stopped for coffee and gas in Gallup, we had gotten 43 MPG.

The scenery along I-40 was a mix of red rock cliffs, black lava rocks, canyons, snow covered mountains, stunted trees and wide open spaces. It is terrain like this that makes traveling worthwhile.

We pulled into Holbrook and found Jack Foree’s body shop just down the street from the famous Wigwam Motel. Greeting exchanged and bikes admired, Jack cleared the wash bay so we could clean off three days of road grime and a flock of yellow butterflies that attacked us in the last 30 miles. Greeting exchanged and bikes admired, Jack took us to a nearby restaurant for lunch. He then cleared the wash bay so we could clean off three days of road grime and a flock of yellow butterflies that attacked us in the last 30 miles. Yes, I washed the bike.

After the cleaning, which is fairly easy with a Wing, Jack took us over to meet his wife Barb at the school where she teaches. One of her students, Cynthia, had corresponded with me by Email last winter for a school project she was doing on Canada. Jack took Sandy back to their house while I stayed at school and answered class questions on The True North Strong And Free. It was fun. I then took a tour of Holbrook and headed for Chez Foree to join Sandy.

When Jack and Barb got home we had supper and spent the evening swapping stories and songs. The Forees are the picture of hospitality.

We’re fading out now and are planning a 9:00 AM departure for Phoenix in the morning.


No, it's not what you think. In VROC, this stands for We Haul Our Rides Everywhere. I saw this outfit in a parking lot in Abuquerque, New Mexico:

Twelve bikes on one Eagleriders treailer. The tow vehicle had a North Carolina plate, but the bike plates I could see were all California.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Liberal Kansas to Albuquerque New Mexico

It was calm in Liberal this morning, but the Weather Channel was showing a wind warning. In this neck of the woods (as if they have woods), if they warn you about it, it can't be good.

We rolled out at first light headed south on 54 towards Tucumcari, New Mexico. The wind was building in our face as we crossed the Oklahoma line and we watched large storm systems building off to the west. I figured we could get below them before they could tag us and, for a while, it looked like we would succeed. As we crossed into Texas, the wind switched to NW and started hitting us from the right hand side. This let us wear the other side of the tires from the ones we wore yesterday in Kansas.

Two things of note. Dodging tumbleweeds is like some kind of warped video game. Also, Stratford Texas is the pheasant capital of the state and proved it by launching a ringneck across the road about ten feet in front of my face. Pretty bird. I will dream about it tonight.

As we arrived in Dalhart Texas, about 110 miles down, the weather was socking in just ahead. Since this was basically the last place to stop for 100 miles, we took refuge in the Sands Restaurant. We were immediately invited to sit down by Ken and Sue, Wingers from Minnesota trailering their bike (and two others) home from Mesa, Az. Their Wing is silver, too, an '02 like Sherm's with 52,000 miles on it. After they left, we moved over by the window and watched the weather keep rolling in, colder and raining. Called Auggie to get a doppler feel for what was going on, but he said it couldn't find Dalhart.

After waffles, coffee, more coffee, soup and more coffee, we decided to make a run for it since the rain had stopped. Put on all the gear we had, went outside, and the rain started again. Screw it, we're going. So I stopped for gas and then we headed out.

BTW, if anyone is going through Dalhart, check the gas pumps at the station on the corner. You might find my gas cap. I have to learn to keep my mind on my tasks:-))

Rain and heavy crosswinds all the way to Tucumcari. Debated stopping, but the rain let up there and the wind died down so we ran another 50 miles to Santa Rosa where we had caramel apple crumble in the Denny's. Debated stopping, but decided to head for Albuquerque. Stopped for gas and discovered the gas cap missing. Worked good so far, so filled it up and closed the door. GoldWings have doors hiding the missing gas caps. This is progress....

Winds picked up from the north the remaining 110 miles, but it stayed dry and we made it OK. Got a hotel with WiFi and called around to Honda dealers for gas caps. None in stock, too late to order for tomorrow. Checked the web and found a dealer in Mesa. Ordered TWO caps overnight delivery. Should be there Thursday, Friday at the latest. Scrounged a rag from the hotel desk and stuffed it in the tank cap. Posted a query on the GL-1800 board about cap alternatives. One said a Honda car cap might fit, one said use duct tape, two said don't use duct tape, one said the rag should work and about eight gave me tips on how not to make a dumbass mistake like this again.

Weather looks good for tomorrow. We'll be off to Holbrook after breakfast. Despite being filthy, the silver doesn't hardly show the dirt. Looks like we picked the right colour:-))

Our friend Sherm is heading down from Oregon and will be at Tempe, Fredericksburg Texas and Lake Lure North Carolina along with us. Anybody who wants to follow his trip can check it out at:

Monday, April 04, 2005

Merriam Kansas to Liberal Kansas

We wanted to see the Kansas countryside and I guess we did. Took I-35 out of Merriam but took off west on 50 instead of getting on the Turnpike. Part way across 50, there was a portable sign suggesting we check AM 1610 for info on construction. It said heavy construction was going on around Florence and suggested an alternate route. So we turned on 150 and went west to McPherson where we took 61 and then 54 southwest.

Kansas is very pretty when you get off the Interstates. But it is flat and provides no barrier against strong gusting winds from the south. Kansas must be an Indian word for “Holy hurricane, Batman, is it ever windy here.” Topeka radio called it “breezy”. But I did get a chance to see how the Wing would handle crosswinds. It does pretty well.

On the plus side, it was clear and sunny and warmed up to 80 degrees by the end of the day.

Small towns, irrigated farmland and, more as we headed SW, the same high desert that runs from West Texas all the way to Oregon.

The end of the day finds us in Liberal, Kansas, which is half way between Wichita and Tucumcari, New Mexico. This is the hub city of the area and, despite having only 24,000 people, boasts three Chinese buffets on the main strip. We tried one and found it to be pretty good (although not on a par with the Joy Buffet in Titusville).

I can see that Liberal must have been a wild cow town 120 years ago. Dodge City is just north of us and Meade, just NE, claims to have the Dalton Gang hideout. Here, attractions include an Oz museum and what looks like an interesting aviation museum. We may check it out tomorrow before heading on to Tucumcari and Albuquerque.

I do need some cruising pegs for the bike. A second foot position would be very nice.

So we’re on schedule and still having fun.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Long Grove Iowa to Merriam Kansas

Today was the first real day traveling on the Wing.

The day dawned cool and clear but the temperature started rising quickly. We spent time repacking our gear after rethinking the overall strategy. It is now working well. I got it all stuffed in the bike and then we had a light breakfast of toast and coffee. We suited up, waved goodbye and were on the road about 9:30.

It was a super-slab sort of day. Down 61, west on I-80 to Des Moines and south on I-35 to where we are now just on the south side of Kansas City, Kansas. About 415 miles on what was a very windy day. We cruised along between 75 and 80 mph, but saw many drivers doing much faster. We spent a good part of the day listening to the NASCAR carnage at Bristol Tennessee on the radio. The bike ran flawlessly. The weather, wind notwithstanding, was quite warm and sunny most of the way.

In the interests of weight control, Sandy and I split a veggie and cheese sandwich at a Subway in Osceola Iowa and a breakfast for supper at an IHOP here in Merriam. It would be nice if we can stay disciplined for the whole trip. I also smoked my last Colt’s Mild cigarello before we started out from Auggie’s, so extra willpower will be needed.

We have to sit down and figure where we are going tomorrow. Wichita may be involved. For all the states we have ridden over the years, this is our first time riding in Kansas so we will try to make the most of it.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Ottawa Illinois to Long Grove Iowa

Got up to a cool, clear morning in Ottawa. While loading the van, I noticed grease around the rim of one of the trailer wheels. One of the rubber plugs sealing the grease in the Dexter EZ Lube hub had developed a pinhole. Something to be fixed as soon as I get a chance.

We got up on I-80 headed west towards the Iowa border. Stopped at a Flying J for the first time. Nice place, but no plugs for a Dexter hub. We then hit a Mickey D’s where Sandy got her usual bacon and egg McGriddle and I tried the new Steak & Cheese Bagel. Not bad for fast food.

Heavy crosswinds meant I kept the van speed down to about 60 MPH. Before too long, we were across the Iowa line and turned north on 61 headed for Auggie and Sue Bader’s house in Long Grove. Auggie was in the driveway waiting when we pulled in.

First order of business was to go down to the nearby RV place and see about finding a Dexter plug. The parts guy thought he didn’t have any, but then found a two-pack on the shelf. Now I have a spare. We got back and, in short order, Auggie’s old bike came by to visit and then Sue came home. We unloaded the Wing and greased the trailer bearing before installing the new plug. Sandy and Sue went inside while Brillo, another Iowa VROC’er with a spectacular green VN2000 came to visit.

After Brillo left, the four of us went to a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Davenport. Sandy and I shared a rack of ribs that were done just right. We then returned to Long Grove via a drive up the shore of the Mississippi River. After watching some TV, we went to bed.

We are done with the trailer for a few weeks.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Cambridge Ontario to Ottawa Illinois

It was very windy today. Out of the west, of course. We loaded the van and rolled out about 9:30.

We ran along at about 65 MPH. Across 401 to London and then 402 to Sarnia since I try to avoid the Ambassador Bridge at Detroit as much as possible due to heavy traffic.

The customs guy at Port Huron asked where we were going, so I told him we were trailering to Iowa and unloading the bike for a loop through Arizona and Texas. He asked what kind of bike. I told him. He told us to have a nice day. Didn't even take our picture ID. Maybe this is a GoldWing thing. I hope so.

We were making good time across I-69 to Battle Creek and I-94 until we got to where I-80 and I-94 merge in Gary Indiana. Then it took us over an hour to cover ten miles due to a combination of rush hour and construction. They have been rebuilding I-80 as long as I have been coming through here. After the I-294 split, they had the effrontery to charge me a toll for what I had just been through.

It rained pretty heavy from Chicago west, but stopped before we got to Ottawa Illinois where we are now holed up in a Holiday Inn Express. Got here late enough that the crowd at the Cracker Barrel next door had abated and we managed to get a table for supper right away. This little burg is hopping on a Friday night.

After supper, we took the GL bag liners and tried to figure out what will pack where. Looks like we have it scoped out, but the acid test will come tomorrow when we unload the bike and actually try to fit the liners into the bags. Some fine tuning may be required.

That's about it for today. Weather forecast up here looks good for the weekend so it will be good to get back on two wheels.