GL1800Riders Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of MAY's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This ride requires we visit and photograph our motorcycles in front of 12 unique American sites. The requirements are you finish in 30 days giving the rider plenty of time to see the sites as they ride. I've been to most so I stopped at those I wanted to visit and just photographed others. This is my ride, adventure, journey and 16 day excursion. Hope you enjoy reading it.

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Great American Motorcycle Adventure - DAY 1

SUNDAY - June 11

John G. my riding partner on the GAMA came up from San Diego Saturday afternoon since we are headed north and I live in Orange County, CA. We talked about the pending ride, had some laughs about prior rides, grabbed some dinner, and hit the rack fairly early, not planning for an exceptionally early start. We both got up early but didn't actually hit the road until a few minutes before 8:00 a.m. starting with a gas stop in Corona del Mar to document the official start location and time. John is on a 2009 Triumph Rocket III with a massive 2349 cc engine. I'm on a white 2008 Honda Goldwing with an 1832 cc motor.

It was June gloom cloudy outside with that annoying mist that accumulates on the windshield that causes you to turn on your windshield wipers every 3 minutes. Oh ya, I've got no windshield wipers. The temperature is about 60.

We head north out of town taking Hwy 73 to Hwy 55 and then north on Interstate 5. We headed through the Gormon/Tejon pass near Magic Mountain where the drizzle gets a bit heavier. Don't tell me we're going to hit rain this early in the trip? I didn't check the weather forecast before I left as I usually do. But I'm prepared for rain so it doesn't matter. It's just nice to know what's ahead. I didn't forget to buy some beef jerky though! Johh and I trade off leading every gas fill up and I am leading this leg of the trip.

First stop, Bakersfield, CA. where they were kind enough to charge $4.80 a gallon for gas. Were out of the pass and the sun came out and the clouds disappeared about 3/4 of the way through the pass. Equipment and rider seem to be operating well... okay, the equipment's operating well! That's a good thing for an 18/19 day 9000 motorcycle journey.

John takes the lead. Next gas stop King City, California where we stopped for lunch. We feel like we just rolled into Tijuana. There is a festival going on with Mexican music, Mexican radio station vans, and I suspect, lots of Mexicans. I didn't ask anyone, just assuming so. Rather than go for the burritos and tacos we hit a small converted Shakey's pizza parlor and opted for Italian. Please note I made no deragatory comment about the liklihood that anyone of these nice folks might have squeezed through the ever-so-tight border. That's because my riding partner works for DHS and he's out checking green cards! "C'mon John, I'm hungry!" One slice of pizza and a salad. Trying to avoid heavy and fattening food. That should change by day 2! (See second paragraph down, let's change that to day 1)

We roll into Monterey without any directional difficulty. The GPS's and past knowledge of the area take us right to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the first photo. There is no parking anywhere near the aquarium, but a 3 minute loading zone we take advantage of. A security guard tries to chase us off, but we let her know we're "out of there" in 3 minutes. We take the picture and find a better place to park and head out to San Francisco.

It's about 3:45 p.m. now and we encounter an hours worth of bumper to bumper traffic. Motorcycle engine guage indicates we're running a bit hot but not serious yet. We split some traffic following a couple of other guys on BMW's who part traffic for us, making it safer, but not something I like to do unless I feel I have to. Got through the traffic safely and followed signs to the S.F. Golden Gate which I knew was just west of Fisherman's Wharf. We also got down to the wharf with only one minor wrong turn and pulled into the parking lot right across the street from Tarantino's famous seafood. The parking lot attendant let us pull in front of the Fisherman's Wharf sign for the "photo op" and actually saved a convenient space nearby. Why not? Parking is $3 for every 20 minutes! Two of 12 sites completed. It was very crowded with people and cars. The typical S.F. temperature dropped to the mid 50's and winds now gusting to 20 mph. It didn't effect S.F. tourists. Everyone was walking around like it was sunny and 75 with chowder and Boudin (spelling?) sour dough bread. We stopped in for a bread bowl of chowder and headed to the Oakland Bay bridge toward Interstate 5 to find a hotel outside the city. So much for the heavy and non-fattening food! What?



Monterey Bay Aquaium Fisherman's Wharf John and the Triumph Rocket III


We stopped in at the Marriott/Fairfield at 9:15 p.m. and the day was done. I jumped in the hotel spa for 10 minutes, called Steph and jumped in bed. I was out.

Days ride: 557 miles
Ride: 11 hours, 15 minutes. (less stops)
Gas: 15.44 gallons
Cost: $62.28
Next Day: Northern California, Oregon, and might hit Washington

More when I have time... Steve


[/FONT]
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
King City!

Lots of cool places to eat there. Let me know next time your through.....

You can also bypass the freeway there and head inland and travel North on Highway 25, perhaps one of the best motorcycle roads in central California.
Lots of tight twists and turns for 25+ miles then long rolling straights as you transcend from cattle to wine country.

Heading South from King City on 25 takes you to Coalinga Grade and Parkfield, the earthquake capital of the world, another wonderful ride, but perhaps a bit too tough for most wing riders.

West from King City takes you through the coastal canyon hills and directly to Monteray
 

·
Registered
2019 Tour DCT
Joined
·
164 Posts
Great American Motorcycle Adventure

Enjoyed the reading.. and will look forward to your updates. I live in N. CA just north of SF so am familiar with most of the areas you have highlighted thus far. Heading out myself on a journey east in two weeks and truly looking forward to the ride.

Take care and ride safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DAY 2 and DAY 3

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]DAY 2:


Started the day with great weather out of Fairfield, CA. Headed north through lots of countryside. John had called his cousin Deb, in Bend, Oregon to see about a visit. We opted to drive central Oregon rather than Interstate 5 and take back roads. On the way we drove past Mt. Shasta which was covered with snow as if it were January. Beautiful! Bikes ran well. Opted for another salad along the way and got to Bend. Don and Deb have a nice home with a spectacular view. Don BBQ'd salmon and we sat around talking while John and his cousin "caught up."


Days Ride: 489 miles
Ride: 11 hours


DAY 3:




Got up pretty early (4:30 a.m.) Not sure why. We hit the road about 8 a.m. and are headed to Seattle and Pike's Place Market in Seattle... destination #3. We take country roads to Portland, Oregon and then pick up the Interstate on the way to Seattle. Got a little cloudy in Portland and encountered a bit of drizzle approaching Seattle, but not enough to consider it rain. Enroute, we had great views of the Cascades and drove through the mountains to elevations of about 4000' under the shadows of a fully snow capped Mt. Hood. Ran into a couple of riders at the gas station near Mt. Hood. One was on a 2005 Honda Goldwing like mine. We talked motorcycles for a few minutes. He lived in the area and they were heading where we were coming from. Nice guys. This was a terrific ride through the mountains. Temps got down to about 48 and I was on the border of throwing on the heated vest. Decided to keep riding and we were out of the mountains. Temps ran about 57 to 65 during the day.


We got to Pike Place Market with no problems and parked the biked in front of the marquis for the photo. A zillion tourists walking around. There is a recession? We walked around the market place and stopped in for some seafood. Rain seemed to be off in the distance so we packed up, stopped for a cold drink near my cousin Judith's house in Seattle. We met her at the house after she got done with work and stayed at her house for the night. We sipped wine for a bit, chatted, and called it a night.


Off to Walla Walla, Washington tomorrow to visit Harry, Judith's husband, who is staying at their get-away home this week. Looking forward to some country roads again. Bikes are running well. No mechanical problems. Have only encountered a few dead deer along the roads and we're not driving at night, so far. Easy days and not too many miles. John happened to check a motorcycle blog and saw that a husband and wife from northern California were driving to Alaska on their bikes and the husband was leading. He looked back and didn't see his wife. When he went back he found she was off the road and struck a deer. She was airlifted out but apparently going to be okay. Deer and bad drivers are not good when riding.


Days Ride: 343 miles
Ride: 5.5 hours





Off to Walla Walla tomorrow


[/FONT]
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DAY 4 and 5

DAY 4 June 15, 2011 Thursday

Headed toward the highway in the morning and we had to compete with two factors that weren't fun. Rain and Seattle traffic. We took the 405 east to avoid Seattle but still picked up traffic into Kirkland. I opted for my newer SIDI boots which I thought were water resistant. I brought booties in case of rain but didn't put them on during the drizzle (I should have). Since the rain didn't start until after we were underway, for those of you who want a pair of these, they are definitely NOT water proof. About an hour of rain and we were out of it and the wind dried them out. I put on a heated vest as we were going to cross the Cascades. It was a beautiful ride across the mountains and evidence of a snowy winter. We pulled into Walla Walla about 3 p.m. and stopped at the Crossroads restaurant. Great food and service. I found out the restaurant had a history of being a brothel with tunnels underneath to businesses across the street. Interesting. Harry, Judith's husband, met us at the restaurant and took us over to the Powerhouse Theater which he and others remodeled. I saw it as a shell in January when Stephanie and I visited. It is modeled after the Bard's Black Friar theater. It was completed in 2 1/2 months and is phenomenal. Great job Harry! If you want to see great Shakespear in a great environment visit the Powerhouse in Walla Walla. We then went to the outdoor theater and this is another great venue. Prior to buying and remodeling the Powerhouse, this theater is where the Shakespeare festival was held. Harry took us to Waitsburg for dinner where Harry introduced us to Ross one of the two owners. Valerie, the dessert preparer dropped by our table on the way out to say "hi". Of course, she knew Harry. We nursed some wine then headed back to the house and called it a night. A great day and great hospitality by Harry. Thank you!

Miles ridden: 302
Hours on the road... not many

DAY 5 June 16, 2011 Friday

We hit the road about 7:30 a.m. John headed to Rapid City on a northern route and I headed to Boulder on I-84/80. We will join again at Mt. Rushmore (site #4) on Sunday and head to Chicago. Scott Davis from Chicago is meeting me in Boulder for a BBQ with some friends from elementary school. Scott is riding his motorcycle to Boulder. We'll ride to Rapid City to meet John and then all three will ride to Chicago where we will leave Scott behind. Scott and I camped in Mitchell, South Dakota last year where he met me 10 hours west of Chicago.

Weather on this leg of the adventure was cool, but dry. I logged 651 miles today and stopped because the temps got down to 49 degrees, there were 30 mph winds and the elevation was 7000 feet. I was getting tired and just crossed into Wyoming, having traveled through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. I stopped in a little town called Evanston. I wasn't sure what was ahead in way of a hotel so I stopped here. One quick story. I usually travel about 5-7 miles over the speed limit. A car passed me somewhere north of Salt Lake City. He was only going about 3 mph faster than me and I usually duck in behind these "decoys" (pun intended). This time I opted not to and stayed in the right lane. It was 15 seconds after I made that decision when a State Highway Trooper pulled out of the weeds and stopped the guy. Good decision.

It's supposed to rain tonight and possibly in the morning. Temps are supposed to get down to 32 degrees and it might snow. It's June, right? Footnote: It's Friday morning and if it rained or snowed there is no evidence of it. It's cold outside but skies are clear... looking forward to riding Wyoming today!


 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Day 6, 7 & 8

DAY 6 June 17, 2011


Losing track of days since I haven't e-mailed in a few days. Left Evanston Wyoming, it was 37 degrees. It was supposed to rain and I was worried about snow or ice in the morning. Turned out to be a nice day but a chilly morning. I'm going a few hundred miles out of the normal direction to Rapid City to go to a BBQ with old friends from Glencoe, Illinois where I grew up. They are old friends and old friends! With the time change I arrived at Bob and Abbie's house about 4:30 p.m. They invited me to stay and I couldn't resist. A gorgeous house, right on the golf course. We went over to the golf course club house for dinner. Cool. When we got back to the house I was beat. We talked for a few minutes and I had to hit the rack. It was fun catching up with Abbie. We go back to elementary school.


Only rode 445 miles today


DAY 7 June 18, 2011


Today was the BBQ day so I didn't make any progress on the road. I did, however, tour a bit of Boulder. They have cornered the market on hiking and bicycling. They are everywhere. I stopped at a Farmer's Market, road Canyon Drive along a raging river and watched Boulder Rescue Team practice rescuing each other in the chilly waters of the river I just spoke about. I videoed the training and it was fascinating. I went back to Abbie's house just before 2 for the BBQ. I saw several friends I hadn't seen in years who now live in the Denver area but went to school with me in Illinois. Scott Davis rode in from Illinois for the BBQ... only 1400 miles for a hamburger!


Everyone left about 5 or 6 and we talked for awhile, and, again, I hit the rack early. Long riding day tomorrow. Scott and I are going to Mt. Rushmore and then meet up with John G. who, as you might recall went to Rapid City when we departed Walla Walla.


Thanks again to Bob and Abbie for hosting the BBQ and letting me crash at your house!


Miles... a paltry 30


DAY 8 June 19, 2011


Now this was an interesting day. I got up about 5:15 with arrangements to meet Scott at Hwy 52 and Interstate 25. We were to meet at a gas station/McDonalds at 7:00 a.m. but we both got there about 30 minutes early. Scott stayed with family members. Oh, I forgot to mention Scott was going to meet up with me the day before but he got delayed in Limon, Colorado because of a tornado and inches of hail on the ground. He took refuge under an overpass. When he did, cars pulled in and piled up under the bridge to avoid the high winds and hail. Ahhh the joys of motorcycle riding.


Anyways... we hit the rode and got through Cheyenne, Wy. and could see rain ahead about an hour before we hit it. Visibility was quite good. When we knew we were going to hit rain we pulled into a gas station where other bikes were also putting on rain gear. We had rain for the next 4 hours. Not hard, but never pleasant. Temperatures remained in the mid 50's. Not bad with the Gerbing heated vest! I highly recommend carrying a heated vest if you hate the cold as I do. Make sure you get one with a thermostat. Ok, I'm a wimp!


We made a few right and left turns and then onto Mt. Rushmore Rd. right behind a small white SUV. We didn't go but a mile when out of nowhere a deer darted across the road in front of the SUV. He slammed on the brakes (the SUV not the deer) and the deer continued across the road looking back at the SUV and a couple of startled motorcyclists. We were far enough back not to be part of the action but close enough to watch it unfold. Keeping my eye out, we didn't go but another 3-4 miles when I caught movement from my right side. A deer was racing from the forest to the hwy. It got to about 4' from the shoulder of the road in front of me and then turned around and ran back into the forest. I must have looked scarey and he turned around! We visited Mt. Rushmore, got a picture and then met up with John G. at the Firehouse Brewery for lunch in Rapid City. No brews for us, just lemonade and water. Oh ya, I had a burger this time! So much for diet food.


The rain stopped right before Rushmore and when we arrived in Rapid City there was sun! After lunch we drove west on I-90 for 250 more miles and called it a day. Half of the last 250 miles caused us to don the rain gear again. Getting tired of that wet stuff.


Going to try to make Chicago tomorrow.


Miles: 632
About 12 hours of riding today.


 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 9

Day 9 - June 20, 2011

A fairly uneventful day. Scott, John, and I stayed in a place called Oacoma South Dakota and finished the ride in Love Park, Illinois. Scott peeled off to go home about 100 miles before we ended the ride. He lives in a northern Illinois suburb. John and I continued until dusk and hit a hotel. The day threatened rain and it was supposed to be thunderstorms all day. We had about an hours worth of sprinkles and grey skies the entire day but nothing major. We saw more dead deer on the side of the road today than in the entire ride. There must have been about 20. Nothing really to report, just a long ride. John is heading to Bufallo, NY toward Niagara Falls on his own tomorrow and I will meet a friend for coffee in the morning and get a late start. I will meet him in Bufallo after making a brief photo op at Navy Pier in the City of Chicago. I grew up here and spent a lot of time in Chicago. I think it's about 685 miles to Bufallo and I'm starting late. I want to make it as early as possible to avoid those darn deer in the evening hours.

Miles today: 628
Total time on the road: 11.5 hrs.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Day 10

DAY 10 - June 21, 2011

Okay, unlike yesterday, this a really long day. No, it really was a really long day, summer soltice, you know, June 21. But for me it was a really long because I left the hotel at 6:50 a.m. and it was 77 degrees with 70% humidity. It was supposed to get up to 89 degrees but it didn't. It got hotter. 8 hours of my day was between 91 and 93 degrees. I kept watching my temperature gauge and it didn't drop below 90 until 6:45 p.m. But let's start at the beginning.

John headed to Buffalo to meet a friend while and I started later. I was to meet John in Buffalo tonight.

Before making it to destination #5, Navy Pier, in downtown Chicago, I had to make a stop which delayed my start. I also wanted to visit a close friend, but that didn't happen. Once finished, I went downtown where it was really busy. (see pictures on DAY 9 post) Tuesday in Chicago at 11:00 a.m., what would you expect? I pulled up to the stop sign in front of the pier and I rode to the middle of the interection and told the woman directing traffic, "I drove 2500 miles to take a picture of my bike in front of Navy Pier, can you help?"
She stopped cars, and had me pull right in the middle of the driveway. The perfect shot. It was now 88 degrees. I took the picture, shed my jacket and strapped it to the back of the bike. Short sleeves the rest of the day. Where did I put that sunscreen?

I made it out of Chicago traffic on my way to Indiana on Wacker, then 55 the Interstate 94 and the Express Skyway. I have know idea why they call it "express." Speed limit is never higher than 55.

Somewhere in Indiana the 90 and the 94 cross. I want the 90 to Buffalo. I'm following this Harley about 10 mph over the speed limit (65 mph) using it as State Trooper bait. I've already seen several cars pulled over. When the highways cross I think I'm on the 90 so I follow the Harley. He must know where I'm going, right? Well I go about 5 miles and think I'm on the I-94 so I get off. I take Hwy 20 to cut over to I-90 and get on the Interstate again only to realize I was on I-90 and now on I-94. The guy did know where I was going! There is something comforting about riding with other bikes. I get off again and try to make my way back to I-90. I'm about 175 miles into the day and while looking for I-90 I pull off for a bathroom, water, and, gas stop in Springville, Indiana. The level of importance was in that order. There was only one gas station in the immediate area and there were cars everywhere. A migrant farm truck pulled in right before me and 8 guys get out. I go inside and grab a LARGE bottle of water and get in line. One guy in front of me and he asks for the bathroom key... damn! I pay for the empty bottle because I drank it between the refrigerator and the counter. I follow the guy to the bathroom and 7 migrant workers are in the bathroom line, waiting for their friend with the bathroom key. Rather than wait in the blazing sun and humidity I go back in and get another bottle of water. 20 minutes and a very disgusting bathroom later I used the bathroom. Not a moment to soon. I finish the water and try to find I-90. The GPS is directing me accordingly. I follow the Hwy about 5 miles only to intersect I-90 and there's no on-ramp! I then take side roads and use my instincts to find an on-ramp to I-90 which is a tollway with few ramps in the area. I've now passed a "you are entering" and "you are leaving Springville" 4 times. I want out of Springville! I'm not going to get to Bufallo at this rate. I felt like I was in a twilight zone and it wasn't getting any cooler. It's now 91 degrees.

I finally get out of town and head northeast on.... yep, I-90. I never spot the Harley again. I get through Indiana, Ohio and into Pennsylvania with several water stops and sweltering heat and humidity. Speeds are generally 60 - 65 with occasional 70 mph. Lots of road work and 45 mph speed limits. I'll never get to Buffalo to meet John tonight at this rate.

I get to Erie, PA. about 9 p.m. It's getting dark and I'm beat. I'm about 90 miles out of Buffalo. John's already there and given my day I hit a hotel on my own. I'm done for the night, except for this post. I took no pictures others than those in Chicago. I'll post a few more here.

Niagara Falls tomorrow (#6) and possibly Times Square (#7).

Miles driven: 577
Total time on the road: too long!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,169 Posts
Being that I can't be on the road right now I'm doing the next best thing.....following along with you on your trip. I'm enjoying every mile. Thanks for posting your adventures. :yes1:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Adventure

I can really appreciate your comments as I read "road trips" in between my rides! I'm glad you're enjoying them. Some interesting stuff coming up. Day 11 and forward should be posted today or tomorrow. Thanks again for reading! :popcorn:

Steven
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
What a blast! I'd have to be divorced or widowered to do this trip. :joke: Or if I went, I'd be divorced or dead when I got back.

My wife doesn't like long trips and I'd be gone WAY too long.

Thanks for all the updates. It was a pleasure reading them!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Day 11 & 12

DAY 11 - June 22, 2011 (Wednesday)

So you might remember (or not even care), John was ahead of me and got a room for two in Buffalo, NY. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to Buffalo so I checked into a hotel in Erie, PA., about 90 miles from Buffalo. I get up at 4:45 a.m. the next morning to meet at John's hotel so he doesn't have to wait for me. He's only 20 miles from Niagara Falls. I have no rain riding to Buffalo. John and I have breakfast at his hotel and when we get ready to hit the road it's pouring rain. We suit up and head to Niagara. We make it to site #6 (the falls) but don't stick around too long as it's about 400 miles to NYC and we're going to get to NYC about 5:00 p.m. Can you think of anything sillier than going to Times Square at 5 p.m. on a weekday? Perhaps driving the country on a motorcycle? But I digress. We drive through beautiful mountain roads and the Poconos on the way to the City, mostly in the rain. We have about 8 hours of moderate to heavy rain and the State Troopers are everywhere. It doesn't matter cuz, I don't like riding in rain and speed wasn't an issue in the wet stuff.

Now the "fun" part. We can see the NYC skyline in the distance around 5 p.m. and the GPS is directing us through the Lincoln Tunnel to get into Manhatten. We hit rush hour traffic getting to the tunnel. First there is a bit of a an uphill drive, then a 1-1/2 mile downhill drive to the toll booth. If you didn't know, the Lincoln Tunnel goes under the Hudson River into the City. John and I were sort of coasting in neutral with the engine off and on. We were doing this because it was tiresome to let the clutch in and out in bumper-to-bumper traffic with plenty of humidity. Then... while in traffic, John's motorcycle wouldn't start and we're 1 mile from the toll booth, all downhill, and no shoulder. It's 85 degrees and if we block a lane of traffic we're going to end up being thrown in the Hudson by an irrate New Yorker or New Jerseyite! As John does the bumper-to-bumper thing in neutral, we get near the toll booth. I see a coned off, "do not enter", "wrong way" break in the road with three lanes of solid traffic (mostly buses) unrelated to the tunnel. We get to the area and I stop three lanes of buses and John pushes his bike into the New Jersey Transit District parking lot. Don't worry, I got pictures of a lot of this because I thought no one would believe it. This stuff happens on motorcycle trips! So we try to figure out what was wrong with John's bike and start taking stuff apart. This kid, about 23 years of age, named Andrew Jimenez comes out of the transit office to see "what's up." He knew a little about motorcycles and brought out his tool kit and even tried to "jump" the bike in case the battery died. Nothing worked and Andrew offered us shelter in the office when it started to rain very hard. (John offered the kid $20 when we left and he wouldn't take it... unbelievable) The end to this story is John's bike is dead and it got towed (4 hours later) to the hotel (6 miles away) we booked from the transit office. John grabbed his gear and jumped in the tow truck while I followed them to the hotel. It's now 9 p.m. and Triumph dealers are closed so John can't do anything until morning. John heads to the room and I grab 2 beers for us.

Once at the hotel John encourages me to keep riding because we don't know if the bike will be fixed tomorrow, or the next day, or at all. We're trying to be home by June 28th as we both have appointments the 29th. I feel pretty bad about leaving John with the dead bike, but it's sort of a rule we have. If something like this happens, the other guy goes on as long as he is safe. We would never do this on the road. As soon as I make the decision to leave in the morning I get a wake up call for 4:45 a.m. as I need to get in and out of NYC (Time Square) before rush-hour traffic. John is looking for a Triumph dealer nearby...

DAY 12 - June 23, 2011 (Thursday)

I'm up at 4:45 and John is up. We plan on meeting somewhere down the road (more on that later). I'm on the road at 5:10 a.m. I'm one exit from the Lincoln Tunnel and $8 later I'm in Manhatten. I pull onto the sidewalk and take the Time Square shot (destination # 7 of 12) and I get out of there. I have no idea how to get off the island because I want to go south, not the way I came. I plug Alexandria, VA. into the GPS and it takes me to the Holland Tunnel. By 5:45 a.m. I'm out of Manhatten and into New Jersey. I manage the freeway system and head south to my next destination... Washington D.C., the Lincoln Memorial. The ride was long, hot and humid. Temps topped at 95. I figured I could make it to Fayetteville today but thunderclouds started to form and I hit heavy rain. I pulled off twice when I heard a warning on the radio about 58 mph winds, and hail that could damage cars. I decided to call it a day and found a hotel in Dunn, North Carolina about 5:15 p.m. I got almost no rain today and not enough to don the rain gear.

My day consisted of crossing or going through or parts of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and finally North Carolina. My "plan" is to make Cape Canaveral tomorrow. When I got to the hotel I found out John's bike is fixed and he is going to try to meet me in New Orleans on Saturday so we can be home by Tuesday. He is going to have to abandon 3 of the Great American Motorcycle Adventure destinations and cut the corner to Interstate 10 in New Orleans to do this... hopefully this will be the only unexpected "adventure."

Miles driven: 667
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Day 13

DAY 13 - June 24, 2011 (Friday)

Wake up call at 4:00 a.m. today to get some miles on today. But more importantly, early start to beat the heat. On the road at 4:30. Better to ride in the early morning, and log miles at lower temperatures I thought. I couldn't tell if skies were clear in the morning but it wasn't raining and that's all I cared about. Nope... couldn't see stars, must be cloudy. I packed up the bike and headed south on Interstate 95 in hopes of hitting Cape Canaveral today. Actually, Kennedy Space Center is on Merritt Island outside of Titusville about 15 minutes north of the City of Cape Canaveral. It was about 75 to 77 for the first 5 hours of riding. Finished riding through the bottom of North Carolina, then through South Carolina and a piece of Georgia a bit smaller than South Carolina. I entered Florida about 10:30 a.m. and it got hot and humid fast. Got gas in Jacksonville an hour later and it's 95 degrees on Interstate 95, how appropriate. Could be a song. (95 on 95 sung by WIllie Nelson?) Heat must be gettin' to me. Stopped in Daytona Harley for a souvenir shirt. I hit Kennedy Space Center at 2:20 p.m. I was at the Space Center a few years back so I just snapped a couple of pictures (site #9 of 12) with the assistance of a NASA guy in a golf cart. He started to throw me out of the area restricted for "Crew Members Only" but when we were done talking, and I told him I came 6500 miles for this photo. He then took a picture of me with the bike in front of the entrance and restricted sign. Then I got a picture of him with the bike! I thought he was going to invite me in for lunch! We shook hands and I got out of there as Thunderclouds were forming fast as is the case this time of day and year. As I put on my helmet lightening and a clap of thunder... outta here.

I opted for an inland route heading north to I-10. It looked a bit clearer going east then north. I made it to central Florida and went north a bit dodging rain storms. As I approached Ocala my path was pitch black and the road wasn't going to avoid a major storm. 40 miles to Gainesville. I stopped in Ocala for the night. SHOWER! Bike is running well but need to check tire pressure tomorrow. It does look like I rode through the desert though the rain takes care of some of the bugs and dust.

Hope to get a little west of New Orleans tomorrow and meet up with John. His text indicated he was making great progress and the problem with his bike had to do with a part burning up. Well, yaaaaa, it was hot, and it was New York!

Gotta remember to get more sunscreen tomorrow... ride across the southern part of the country is going to be brutally hot. Still plan on making it home Tuesday... plans change.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Day 14

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]DAY 14 - June 25, 2011 (Saturday)

Started my day riding in Ocala, Florida, about mid-State. I hit the road at 5:00 a.m. and didn't realize how long a day this was going to be. The days here start in the mid 70's and within 5 hours they are in the mid 90's. Temperatures here come with high humidity. I wear my new white, long sleeve "Daytona Harley" as it's just too hot to wear short sleeves. By 1 p.m. the clouds are building again but it's so hot I'm hoping I get a rain shower or two. I manage to get two, three minute showers and the temperatures drop to about 80 for about 5 minutes... a welcome relief. My next stop is New Orleans and trying to meet John somewhere west of Baton Rouge, Louisiana today. He left Tennessee this morning after getting his bike fixed. We never actually get together today but talked about meeting in New Mexico. I ride home solo the rest of the way. I manage to find Bourbon Street in New Orleans (site # 10 of 12) and the place is packed with music blaring from every establishment. Party time at 1:00 p.m. Despite my thurst for a cocktail, I have a long ride today and want to see how far west I can get to make it home by Tuesday. Besides I don't normally drink at all when riding. I take a picture of my bike in front of a Bourbon St. bar and some guy motions to take my picture with the bike. In my haste to get going I hand the guy my camera and realize it's a homeless person. He still takes my picture and even gave me my camera back! I get on my bike and take off.

It's so hot I have to stop for water more often than normal. I ultimately drink over 200 ounces of water today (ten, 20 ounce bottles). While it's hot, I'm finding it easy to put on the miles. At 10:15 p.m. I hit the San Antonio, Texas area. I've traveled about 17 hours today. I drove through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and half of Texas. Texas is a really long State. Do I try to take a picture of the bike in front of the Alamo (site # 11 of 12) tonight or do I get a hotel and take a picture in the morning? I decide to to do it tonight. When I get downtown it's about 10:45 p.m. and it's busier than New Orleans. I pull up on the walkway in front of the Alamo but I'm still about 50 yards away. It's lit up but I'm not sure there is enough light. I see an "Alamo" security guard talking to someone and approach him. I know I think I look worse than the homeless guy in New Orleans and am sure I smell worse. 18 hours of sweating can't be very appealing. I ask the guard if I could take a picture of my bike closer to the Alamo and that I drove 6500 miles for the photograph. (Hey, it worked at the Kennedy Space Center) He scolds me and tells me to take the picture from where the bike is. I'm in no mood to beg and he's in no mood to provide a favor. Oh well, I think I have a workable picture. I decide to go west a few more miles finding my way to the I-10. I make it to Kerrville, Texas, the mid-way point between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans on I-10 at 12:25 a.m. about a 19 1/2 hour, 1200+ mile day. I'm tired but not as tired as I should be.

I walk up to the front desk... one room left. I think they say that to anyone checking in after 10 p.m., but the rate is reasonable. Like I'm going to shop rates at this point. Covered two sites today with one left... the Grand Canyon.

I hit the rack with no wake-up call. I wake up whenever.

Having trouble downloading the Alamo picture will try tomorrow.

Miles driven: 1200
On road: 19 1/2 hours
[/FONT]
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,169 Posts
I'm still following you on your journey and enjoying every mile. Easy for me to say, huh! :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Day 15

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]DAY 15 - June 26, 2011 (Sunday)

Despite the long day I wake up at 6:15 a.m. and on the road at 6:50 after a 10 minute hotel, self serve breakfast. If I can get close to Phoenix, AZ. I might make it home a day early. I'll travel through two times zones today picking up 2 hours. The bad thing about this is it means two more hours in the heat. I hear on the forecast, Texas and Arizona are having a heat wave. Isn't that like saying Phoenix is likely to get a little sun this summer? Well they're right. The first 4 hours were in the 70's and 80's. By noon it was over a hundred hovering between 108 and 111 degrees. This is a miserably hot section of the country. I did have one scary experience during today's ride. About 9:00 a.m. I've ridden about 154 miles. I usually start looking for a gas station about now because I get 230 miles per tank, at the most. My first tank is usually my longest because it's the start of a day and I'm not tired. I look at the gas gauge and I'm almost on reserve. My heart sank to my knees. I haven't been paying attention to gas stations because I thought I had 75 miles left. Speeds in western Texas are 80 mph. I do 5 mph over so I'm traveling at 85. The winds in this part of Texas are big and I don't realize I'm riding into a 30 mph headwind which is beating up my gas mileage. I check the GPS for distances to gas stations. It's showing 16 miles to one station and then 48 miles to the next. This is a very desolate area like the Mojave Desert to Vegas. I can make 16 miles but not 48. As I make a turn or two I realize the 16 mile station is not on the Interstate and I can't rely on one station. I also know better than to leave the Interstate in heat. I can't make 48 miles and I'm going to run out of gas. I cut my speed to 60 mph in order to optimize fuel. Temperatures are climbing fast and I didn't grab the extra water I usually do. I get to within 14 miles of the gas station and I am on fumes. The gas gauge needle is past empty. How could I be so stupid? This is a mistake made by others, not me! I've been paying attention to the number of vehicles on the road. Not that many. I'm hugging the right side of the road planning my final approach to the right side of the shoulder. There is nothing more frustrating, particularly when it could have been avoided. I'm cussing myself out at this point. As I continue I come across a sign that reads, "Rest Area, 1 mile." I never stop at these rest stops so I really haven't been paying attention to these. I pray I can go one more mile... I roll into the rest area where I will stay until I get gas, even if I have to call AAA. I'm not leaving the safety of this place. It's now 91 degrees. I ask a trucker pulling out if he carries gas and he tells me some truckers do, but he doesn't. I then see a maintenance guy watering the lawn and figure if he waters it, perhaps he mows it. I ask him if he has gas for a mower or weed wacker. He says, "Let me look." Sure enough, he comes out with a one gallon gas container and pours it in the tank. I give him 10 bucks and with a 5 minute delay, I'm on my way. The fuel gets me to the one open gas station where I sought refuge from a windstorm a year ago. At that time the station wasn't open which is why I try to make my stops where there are two or more stations. I get water, gas, and move on. Lesson learned.

At 8:00 p.m. (10 p.m. my time) I get to north Phoenix. The sun is starting to hide behind the desert mountains. Since I have to go north in the morning and I don't want to get stuck in Monday morning business traffic. I check into a hotel out of the City. It was a long and VERY HOT riding day. I order a pizza to the room but can only eat a slice and hit the bed after a shower.

Destination Grand Canyon and home tomorrow. (729 miles) Long back to back days.

Note: I can't seem to load the Alamo picture with my bike in the foreground. I think it is too large KB-wise and therefore only have the Alamo marker next to the bike... but no bike in the picture. Trust me... I got it.

Miles driven: 976
Hours driven: 15 hours
[/FONT]
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Awesome ride, report and pics! Thanks for the detailed commentary and pics.. Really enjoying your ride :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,134 Posts
very interesting ride !

nearly out of gas in the middle of no where i know the feeling :eek:4: stopping in that rest area was a very smart decision :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
DAY 16 - June 27, 2011 (Monday)

I leave north Phoenix at 5:20 a.m. No wake-up call for me but an alarm in the next room wakes me up. I know this is going to be a terribly hot day after the Grand Canyon so the sooner I leave the longer I have cooler weather. When I leave it's 77 degrees. On the way to Flagstaff (7000' elevation) it got as low as 59. I really want to be home at this point but I'll have to do 700+ miles and I'm really tired of this heat. This is going to be a big swing in temperature today. I got to the Grand Canyon at 9:00 a.m. but didn't stay too long. I also got my picture and some guy from Germany was really excited to take my picture with his camera and mine. I let him, and thanked him. Pretty scenery and smell of pine trees up here. Okay lady, I'm moving the bike, now it's your turn in front of the marquis. Hang on, I'll be out of here in a second, it's heavy! C'mon lady, you're in that big RV with food, I'm on a two-wheeler with melted M&M's in my pocket.

As I got out of elevation the next 500 miles got a little hotter and the wind picked up. Yep, watch the fuel gauge. To say the rest of the day was less fun than being waterboarded might be an understatement. Temperatures ranged from 111 to 115. (temperature swing of 56 degrees if my addition is correct) I drank about 180 ounces of water this day and could only go about 60 miles between water breaks for a few hours.

One last interesting note. Back in Florida (3 days ago) I strapped a bungee cord type net over my jacket and attached it to my luggage rack and never took it off. I didn't even take it off when going into a hotel the last few days. These straps apparently are only good for about 2500 miles. Somewhere between Needles and Ludlow, CA. the straps broke and the jacket flew off. I didn't notice until a gas stop in Ludlow where the cords were shredded. If you happen to be traveling between these two points, and see a "Joe Rocket" motorcycle jacket in the road, would you mind picking it up for me? You can keep the dozen or so quarters I had leftover from toll ways I used from Chicago eastward. Hey, watch out for on-coming traffic!

I pulled into the gas station one mile from my house to top off the tank at 6 p.m. Got home and hit the shower and relaxed. Just another 9500 miles and tour of a lifetime!

Thanks for reading: I hoped my ride and write-up provided some entertainment for some of you. I certainly enjoyed writing it. I hope my experience will also help some of you who haven't (or have) taken long distance rides. I seem to learn something everytime I do one of these and this was my third trip from Pacific to Atlantic in the past year. I think the GreatAmericanMotorcycleAdventure.com ride requires 25 - 30 days to do it right and really enjoy the sights.

If you care to e-mail me you can at: [email protected]

Mile driven: 729
Hours driven: About 11 hours.
Ride: 16 days
Total miles driven: Approximately 9200 (pending GPS check)
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top