Southeast Motorcycle Forum

Rides and Reports => Canada => Topic started by: Olive on May 27, 2011, 08:51:45 PM



Title: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 27, 2011, 08:51:45 PM
I had been watching the weather all week, and not feeling overly impressed with what I saw.  Rain.  Rain.  More rain.  Torrential rain.  And Rain.

There were a few things that I wanted to do before I set off on the trip.  An oil change was at the top of the list.  My plan was to have it completed before I left town.  At least I followed that plan.  This morning after the rain let up a bit I headed outside with the tools necessary to pull off the fairings and take care of maintenance.  As soon as I started pulling off the fairings the rain picked up.  By the time I removed the fairings and drained the oil I was drenched.  I used a plastic bag to shelter the funnel as I filled the bike up with fresh oil, and then reassembled the bike.  Well, almost reassembled the bike.  There was one stubborn plastic push clip that didn't want to cooperate.  Although it might have been my hands that weren't being cooperative: they were red and very aware that the temperatures left a little to be desired.

After I finished changing the oil, I grabbed my push mower and ran it across the lawn, then headed inside to wring out my clothes.  After I dried off I finished last minute packing, clipped the luggage on the bike and headed east.

It was a later start than I had anticipated, however it didn't make sense to wait for tomorrow morning's promised thunderstorms, so I set off in the rain.

As I headed out of Calgary I did a mental inventory of all of the things I needed that couldn't be conveniently picked up at a Walmart.  Whups!  Time for a U-Turn.  I headed back home for my glasses.  I had put in contacts just before leaving, and my glasses weren't occupying their traditional location on my nose.  While I prefer to ride with contacts, I am completely blind without my glasses, and it is one thing that I can not possibly leave behind.

My second trip out of town was uneventful.  The highway featured rain, potholes and some construction.  People were driving fairly decently given the weather, and I pulled off for my first gas fill of the day as the rain picked up.  As with most gas stations located on the highway the apron around the pumps was paved, but the area between the road and the apron featured small lakes, craters and lots of slick mud.  Not my favourite terrain during a rainstorm.  I was a little nervous taking the bike across this, especially given how easily the pooled water could hide a feature that would take both me and my bike horizontal.  After I topped off with gas, I carefully picked my way back to the road, and pulled onto the highway.

A few hours into the trip I pulled off for a coffee, and an opportunity to warm up.  The rainsuit I was wearing over my gear was doing a reasonable job of keeping me dry, however I was quite aware that my gloves were drenched, as were my socks.  While I had remembered to close the vents on my riding boots, they are sadly not waterproof.  As I type this my socks are hanging in my tent drying.  My gloves are vented and also let in a lot of moisture, and I am hoping that they also dry out by morning.

I continued on to Medicine Hat where I pulled into Gas City Campground and rented a tent site for the evening.  The rain held off while I set up the tent, but is now gently falling outside.  There is only one other tent site occupied today, but quite a few RVs are set up for the night.  The tent is rapidly cooling down, so I am going to crawl into a sleeping bag and settle down for the night.

Tomorrow my plan is to continue to head east, and hopefully post up a few pictures of today.



Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on May 28, 2011, 02:48:23 AM
Even the longest march begins with a 1st step


(http://cdn.dipity.com/uploads/events/60ae893d16e4fd45416b6bf56590c325_1M.png)





Wishing you a fun trip and warm nights.....  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on May 28, 2011, 08:43:03 AM
So you're away, I was wondering if the fun was gunna start Friday :icon_biggrin:
Good luck O, hope the weather picks up in a good way, we'll be closely following your adventure...be safe  :wheels:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on May 28, 2011, 09:12:18 AM
Well at least you just forgot glasses and not your wallet  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Im no one to talk, had to stop at Walmart to buy riding boots when I forgot mine in Tucson a couple years ago  roflol


See you in a few weeks Nik, be safe  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 28, 2011, 09:14:29 AM
Hey O !   It may be raining now, but just wait 'til you get to the east coast and Florida ! ! !   Sunshine, heat, humidity ...  the exact opposite.  But that's part of touring.  Enjoy trip and be safe.    :icon_salut:  


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on May 28, 2011, 02:56:27 PM
Hey O !   It may be raining now, but just wait 'til you get to the east coast and Florida ! ! !   Sunshine, heat, humidity ...  the exact opposite.  But that's part of touring.  Enjoy trip and be safe.    :icon_salut:  

Ya..touring...should have come south 1st cuz its only 99 here right now, by the time you get here its gonna be hot  roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 28, 2011, 03:04:47 PM
Hey O !   It may be raining now, but just wait 'til you get to the east coast and Florida ! ! !   Sunshine, heat, humidity ...  the exact opposite.  But that's part of touring.  Enjoy trip and be safe.    :icon_salut:  

Ya..touring...should have come south 1st cuz its only 99 here right now, by the time you get here its gonna be hot  roflol roflol roflol roflol

Don't really think she'll have much trouble handling your heat, Cruz.  For a Canuckian, she did real well in the 105º temps we were touring in on some of the BBB2 trip !   ...  At least she gave us that impression....   :dontknow:   These women can be pretty introverted and illusive when necessary !   .....    :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 28, 2011, 04:09:59 PM
Ya..touring...should have come south 1st cuz its only 99 here right now, by the time you get here its gonna be hot  roflol roflol roflol roflol

Decided to ride in 37F temps this am, and then spend a couple of days hanging out in Swift Current where I know nobody and there is very little to do.  My bike found a really nice sheltered place with friendly folks...  Why go south when I can stay on the prairies?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 28, 2011, 04:16:53 PM
Hey, you got the time... might as well milk it !  ...  :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 28, 2011, 10:37:46 PM
Woke up this morning with the birds.  They started before the sun came out.  I hunkered down in the sleeping bag trying to stay warm for a little longer as it had gotten cold overnight.  Eventually I decided it was time to get up.  As soon as I started packing things up I discovered that the tent had gotten a little damp overnight.  My sleeping pad kept my sleeping bag dry, and my gear was on the higher side of the tent, so it remained dry as well.  Perhaps it is time to pick up some weatherproofing for the tent, although it was rather wet during the wee hours.  Wet tent packed up, I was still on the road a little after 6am. 

Stopped for gas, and then headed for Swift Current for my morning coffee.  A really early start to the day, and I was eager to put some distance under my wheels.  I headed out in weather that was much more promising.  Open roads lay ahead!

Coming up on a car, I decided to pull out to pass.  Checked my mirrors and did the customary head-check, and pulled out.  I glanced down at my speed, and didn't register anything unusual on the dash.  As I started to signal my intention to move left I caught sight of something that could have been smoke.  Hey, whazzat?  I quickly checked again - copious amounts of white smoke seemed to be coming from my bike.  It didn't take me long to pull onto the shoulder and park the bike.

The sight of oil dripping off of my bike, and steaming as it hit hot exhaust was not the sight I hoped to see.  At this point I decided to take off my gloves and helmet, figuring that I was going to be parked for a little while.  There was significant oil gathering on the ground under the bike - not consistent with a minor issue like a crush washer.  What was rather evident was that the bike would not be going anywhere under its own power without an intervention.

I walked around the bike, and when breaks in traffic allowed I hunkered down on the road beside it to check the obvious.  The bike still had an intact drain plug, and it was tight.  The exhaust was still quite warm.  Oil continued to drip on the road.  I tried to check out the oil filter, but access was limited.  The highway where I had pulled over was not conducive to removing fairings and trying to troubleshoot in more detail.  The available lighting wasn't adequate to see what was going on.

This is the sight that originally greeted me:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5327)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5320)

Oil trail behind bike

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5321)

Check out the oil on the rear tire - significant.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5326)

I weighed out my options.  I needed a garage, and probably could use a pair of helping hands.  VFRD has always been good for members helping members, and I thought that would be the best place to look.  Once I realized that my Blackberry could read but NOT post to VFRD I phoned Daisy and asked him to post up a call for help detailing the problem.

AMA (Alberta Motor Association) includes motorcycle towing with the appropriate level of membership, and I realized that I could do nothing at the side of the road so I called for a tow.  While waiting I continued to try and figure out anything I could, as well as where to take the bike.

Another helpful member from VFRD emailed me the info on the Powerhouse Dealership in Swift Current (also suggested by the tow truck driver), and since I didn't have any other options I opted to have the bike taken there.  It surprised me that there was a local Honda motorcycle dealership with service, but I wasn't going to question my luck.  I exchanged emails with a couple of people, and took the opportunity to shoot a few pictures of rural Saskatchewan.

Reed Lake

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5325)

Blue Skies

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5315)

I got very familiar with this patch of highway

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5317)

As I waited a few freight trains rolled past

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5314)

Darker clouds started to roll in

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5313)

I took a few more photos of the bike

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5312)

Eventually the two truck showed up.  Time during something like this is always subjective.  I hadn't checked my watch when I had called for the truck, and I didn't check the time when he arrived.

A large flatbed.  Hmmm... I've loaded bikes on pickup trucks and U-haul trailers, but the flatbed looked a little intimidating. 

After a brief discussion with Brent from Low Cost Towing (who had been dispatched by the AMA), we determined that the slope was too much to walk the bike up, especially with the oil slick on the tire.  He had me straddle the bike while he very slowly winched it on the bed.  I was rather nervous about this, as my contact with the ground seemed rather tenuous as soon as the bike started up the ramp, and wind from large trucks was pushing me around a lot.  I was on tip-toe with calves that were cramping as I tried to reach the ground to stabilize the bike.  It definitely made me more than a little nervous. Just as soon as we got the rear tire on the flatbed, Brent helped stabilize the bike while I got off.  We set the bike on kickstand, and I stood on the platform while he gently brought it to horizontal.  That was a very odd feeling ride.  He hopped up and we wheeled the bike to the front.  He carefully secured it to the truck, and we were off to make a U-turn and return to Swift Current where I had previously stopped for my morning coffee.

I have to admit that I didn't expect to be posting this picture on day 2 of my trip:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5323)

The bike really looks dwarfed by the truck.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5322)

After a short drive we reached Regier Honda, the Powerhouse Dealership in Swift Current.  Wayne helped us unload the bike from the trailer, and it was sliding a bit with the oil soaked tire, and the oil on the flatbed deck.  I was very relieved when we got the bike safely on the pavement, and rolled it inside the dealership.

Wayne was good enough to lend me a flashlight so I could take a better look under the bike.  I would have loved to pull the fairings to see what was actually going on, but that's bad form in someone else's shop.  The pattern of oil on the top of the oil filter caught my eye.  The front of the oil filter had some oil on it, around the nut (K&N), but not at the side of the filter (oriented to the top).  This has me suspecting perhaps that the filter had an issue.  I tried to get a picture of it, but was not very successful.  I could see it, but trying to get the camera to focus on it was a totally different story.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5318)

The bike made itself comfortable in the service bay.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5316)

As it was a Saturday, I wasn't surprised that Reiger's service department wasn't open.  Wayne promised that he would have Alex, his service manager look at the bike as early as possible on Monday to determine the problem.  This seemed very fair given the circumstances.  I was pleasantly surprised by the service that I received - Wayne even loaned me a phone book and personally chauffered me and my bike luggage to a motel.  This seemed prudent given the circumstances.  While I had located one campground it was out of town, and I didn't have any transportation.  Given that I dry-camp, it was preferential that I stay in town where there were some facilities and access to groceries.

While I was standing inside the dealership Wayne had a phone call come in.  What caught my attention was the phrase "She is right here, would you like to talk to her?".  Since I was the only other person in the showroom, I did a double take. I was completely mystified when the caller hung up without leaving a name, nor speaking with me. Later I found out it was Cogswell from VFRD looking for options for me, assuming that I was still on the roadside.  (What a thoughtful guy!).   

In his own words, "I called the Honda dealer in Swift Current, Reiger Honda 306-773-3535 to find out about a MC retrieval service, and the manager asked why, and I mentioned that we have a stranded rider on a 2008 Interceptor with an oil leak somewhere near. His reply was "she's here". Yeah! This was as of Noon Pacific. Hopefully they'll get her taken care of and back on the road. Hang in there Olive!"

I thought this was incredibly thoughtful of him!  He was looking out for an absolute stranger!  But that seems to be part of the bike fellowship, especially on motorcycle forums.  I am incredibly grateful to look at the responses to the thread asking questions, making suggestions, providing advice and wishing me well.

After dealing with the bike, I checked into the Rainbow Motel.  It looks to be a family run operation, nothing fancy but my needs were simple:  low price, reasonable distance to dealership, access to internet. They offered very fair rates, and were conveniently located just off of the highway, walking distance to restaurants and the dealership.  After checking in I hung the tent over the shower rod to dry, and will pick up something to weatherproof the seams tomorrow.  At least I will be doing something productive!

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5324)

It looks like I will be hanging around Swift Current for a couple of days, but I'm optimistic that the issue will be resolved quickly.

Given the amount of oil on the rear tire I am very fortunate that I caught it as early as I had, and didn't encounter problems when I pulled the bike to the side of the highway.  The amount of oil on the side of the tire could have made for a nasty lack of traction.  While it is frustrating that the bike is parked for another day, the situation could be much worse.  At least I am at a location where it is possible to do something about the problem, and I do have plenty of time for this trip.  Stories like this are always memorable, and are part of why riding is such an adventure.  I met a lot of people today that I would not have met otherwise, and have had an eventful day. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on May 28, 2011, 11:07:17 PM
I sent you a text to see how things are going, but I see your safe and sound. Keep us posted on what happens and I hope its a minor and quick / easy fix and your out of there Monday am first thing.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on May 29, 2011, 03:51:55 AM
WOW.  Damn good thing you were on those long straight roads!  That is a lot of oil on your rear tire.  Glad you noticed it when you did.  Enjoy Swift Current!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on May 29, 2011, 05:41:20 AM
WOW.  Damn good thing you were on those long straight roads!  That is a lot of oil on your rear tire.  Glad you noticed it when you did.  Enjoy Swift Current!
+1


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 29, 2011, 03:49:57 PM
The oil was everywhere - and that is a good sign, because it meant that I caught the issue early.

A few really astute comments from folk on the other forum about cleaning the tire, or considering replacing it (the argument is that rubber is porous and you want a tire you can trust), as well as checking the rear brake pads.  Both excellent points. 

Hopefully I will be back on the road tomorrow.  It's a little embarrassing to be on day 3 of the trip, and look at my  average miles per day... 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on May 29, 2011, 05:23:50 PM
Good thing you were still in Canada!  National holiday on Monday in the US.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on May 29, 2011, 10:22:58 PM
Hope you enjoyed your day off in .........jeez, the middle of friggen nowhere. I'm a few Makers and Cokes in and Wheaties been sleeping for an hour, WTF!!
Good luck O, hope you're back and running tomorrow as early as possible.......carry on  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: daisy on May 30, 2011, 10:54:27 AM
Latest update from O,

"Popped weld on filter and lost 1L+ out of the bike. He cleaned tire using spray 9, said it should be ok see how it feels. Straight track to regina so will try it. Yes he checked brake pad. Service seemed really good guy. On the road again."


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on May 30, 2011, 11:33:21 AM
Thanks for the update Daisy and good to know she is on the road again.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on May 30, 2011, 12:08:55 PM
Glad yer back on the road...popped weld....wtf are the chances of that happening  :dontknow:  :BangHead:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 30, 2011, 12:55:29 PM
Stopped to dethaw and for a cup of coffee in Moose Jaw.  Bike was reporting 44F in rain that started halfway between Swift Current and Moose Jaw.  So far so good.

The bike had lost over a liter of oil, and the oil was right at the bottom of the sight glass.  When I had installed the filter I went to hand-tight plus a quarter turn.  Apparently that was too much.  The weld points on a K&R filter are the weak point, and it looks like I cracked the filter, which let go on the highway.  You couldn't see the crack by eye under the nut, but that is where the oil was exiting.

While riding I kept a close eye for an oil trail near where I stopped and I was able to spot it.  The trail wasn't very long - about 600 meters from start to parking place at the side of the highway (just over ten seconds travel time).   Really nice smooth trail.  I am amazed how quickly I spotted it. 

Honda cleaned up the rear tire using a chemical cleaner and high pressure wash.  There is still a bit of evidence of oil on the sides of the tire. I have been taking it easy to see how it feels.  Feeling confident that the issue was the oil filter (didn't want to go for an instant replay). 

Going to continue east along main roads for a while.  Probably going to stop somewhere around Virden Manitoba this evening.  See how the weather is and how the bike feels.  Looks like I will be riding in 40F temps and rain all day.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on May 30, 2011, 01:30:30 PM
1/4 turn on a filter after it was seated  didnt crack a weld. Glad yer back on the road..and off to gmail now cuz Im sure you just emailed me.  :icon_salut:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on May 30, 2011, 03:17:06 PM
In addition to the BRP you should look at the Shenandoah National Park.  There is only one public road through the park that runs 105 miles and the speed limit is 35.  The road runs the length of the park along the crst of the mountains.  The road ends where the Blue Ridge Parkway begins.  There is a $10 entry fee and there are four campgrounds.

http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm (http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 30, 2011, 04:43:18 PM
Back from OzVille ..... catching up on the O News !....  I kind of figured it was a filter-oriented problem...  Quick fix, your back on the road !  That's the good news !....  And I really wasn't asleep for that hour...   The party went on without me, and I left my ear plugs at home !    roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on May 30, 2011, 05:12:11 PM
Good news O! Glad you're back up and goin' and no big issue with the bike! :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 30, 2011, 06:11:00 PM
1/4 turn on a filter after it was seated  didnt crack a weld. Glad yer back on the road..and off to gmail now cuz Im sure you just emailed me.  :icon_salut:

Tech said it was really on tight and he had a problem getting it off.  I dunno Cruz... maybe I've been eating too much spinach?  roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on May 30, 2011, 07:19:25 PM
Geez now Yer taken. Popeye's lunch??  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 30, 2011, 07:27:59 PM
He says you're taken  !!   Ok, O !  Wazzup  ? ? ? 

 roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on May 30, 2011, 09:05:21 PM
you guys and Gal......cracking me up...maybe O's Filter also. Damn Sears and their unbreakable Craftswoman wrenches  :BangHead:......
Party died down when the Weedman left town, turned a  :icon_biggrin: upside down into a frown  :sad1:
Keep plugging away O, warm weathers only 2 weeks out  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 30, 2011, 10:44:06 PM
Today was cold and wet.  The rain was just threatening when I picked up the bike from Honda, but socked in fairly quickly as I headed east.  The wind was driving it which didn't help matters.

I posted up about the service experience on my previous post, but have a few more pictures to share on this post.

You can see where oil soaked into this tire, despite it being cleaned:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5336)

Alex, the friendly service tech at Reiger Honda who provided priority service to put me back on the road:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5337)

Temperatures on the bike were registering in the low 40s (6C), with high winds and rain that seemed everpresent.  At times it was really coming down.  I had hoped to ride through it quickly, but by the time I reached Moose Jaw I needed to stop to warm up and dry out a bit.  I took the opportunity to don my rain gear, and add an extra layer under the jacket.  I felt a little overstuffed with the number of layers that I was wearing, but riding when you are both cold and wet can be a draining experience.

Turning the heated vest to "high" I headed eastward.  I only saw two other motorcylists all day.  Friday, when I left Calgary I didn't see any other riders, and Saturday I saw a couple before I had the bike towed back to Swift Current.  Most riders aren't convinced that riding season is upon us.

Strong wind really seemed to slow down the ride - I was heading right into it.  Weather forecasts indicate that wind was gusting 60, although at times it felt stronger than that.  Roads in Saskatchewan are fairly straight, and there isn't much wildlife around.  I had a beautiful coyote cross the road in front of me.  He was jogging with his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth and reminded me of Wilie Coyote.  No indication what mischief he was up to, and I didn't see any signs for Acme Industries.  (No roadrunners either.)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5338)

Potholes like these are a regular sight after Canada's hard winter.  Lots to be found on the TransCanada.  Extra attention is needed!

Along the side of the road there were a few hawks keeping an eye out for a tasty morsel.  Mid afternoon I spotted a fox trotting down the grassy divider between westbound and eastbound highway 1.  Foxes aren't a normal sight for me - I think this is the second one that I have seen on the road.  Beautiful animals, and they always surprise me with how small they are.

The highway curves around Regina, and I thought that I needed to stay on the same road.  As I passed the exit for the TransCanada eastbound I realized that I was now travelling on Regina's ring road, and got to look at a bit of the city as I retraced my steps back to the main highway.

It seems odd how the highway circles around Regina, much like the highway in Tennessee slides around Nashville.  I am accustomed to Calgary where the highways intersect the city passing directly through it.

There wasn't much to see as the day was very overcast, and the rain was a constant veil shadowing the land and reducing line of sight.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5339)

Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Finally I stopped in Indian Head to use a washroom at the visitor's center, pull out the camera and give myself a break from the wind.  Apparently Indian Head, Saskatchewan is home to a quirky Canadian TV show, "Little Mosque on the Prairie"'.  It is also home to a large statue of an Indian Head.

I continued riding through the rain, battling fierce gusting winds and started looking for a campsite.  The first place that I pulled into had a sign up indicating that their tent sites were closed due to weather.  Large puddles were evident, and grassy fields were partly flooded.  I continued on.  The next campground I also passed up after one glance at the deep muddy tire ruts that lead into the site.  I didn't want to take the bike mud-bogging.

Camping seemed to be a bad idea given the rapidly dropping temperatures and heavy rain.  I pulled into a small motel in Broadview, Saskatchewan - Sweet Dreams Motel.  It is an older building but well kept up.  Small touches such as these friendly bears stood outside the inviting rooms.  The owner offered me a decent price on the room for the night, so I opted to keep the tent dry.  Given that the tent had leaked the first night, it was probably the best idea.  My plan for the road was to camp whenever feasible, but to take an inexpensive motel or hostel if the weather seemed hostile.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5340)

Sweet Dreams Motel, Broadview Saskatchewan was a welcome sight in driving rain and high winds

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5341)

Welcome bears provide a whimsical touch at the door to my room at the Motel.  For some reason these bears reminded me of Skuut and Mahawk.

Checking the forecast for the evening I am glad that I stopped in for a room.  Environment Canada is calling for up to an inch of rain overnight, and temperatures dropping just a few degrees above freezing with a risk of frost.

After checking into the motel I hung up my gear to dry.  My left boot has a significant leak and had trapped some icy cold water.  The sock was completely soaked.  The right boot also leaks but not as badly - the sock and boot were merely damp.  It will be nice to start off tomorrow with dry socks, dry boots and warm feet.

Tomorrows forecast is more of the same - chilly temps and liquid sunshine.  Regardless of the weather it feels really good to be out on the road, and in a few weeks time I am likely going to be wishing for some cooler temperatures.

Sitting in the Motel I had an opportunity to go through some of the pictures I had taken yesterday in Swift Current.  I liked this shot of one of the local houses with the resident peeking out the front door.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5343)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on May 30, 2011, 11:34:20 PM
Glad it all worked out OK Olive.... :headbang:.....Now, here comes the (Yes, I know They are High Priced) Honda Oil Filter Commercial.....I have had Oil Filter Failures at various times usin' Every Major brand on Motorcycles "EXCEPT" Honda Filters....NEVER had One Fail in Any Form, and I have done a Lota' Changes as many Miles as I have ridden.....OK, carry on..... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on May 31, 2011, 01:05:11 AM
Olive oil
Engine oil
what is next?
Massage oil?  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on May 31, 2011, 07:15:16 AM
Olive oil
Engine oil
what is next?
Massage oil?  :laughing7:

....... roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Sweeper on May 31, 2011, 04:25:29 PM
Glad to see you are living up to your Ms. Adventure handle and still able to bring the stories.  Be safe Olive.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 31, 2011, 07:28:34 PM
This morning I woke up to discover the motel room had been leaking.  The wind was blowing hard enough that the water came through the window, and the floor was rather wet.  The wind continued to howl unabated, and the rain came down with a vengeance.  I took my time getting going this morning, hoping that the weather would die down a bit.  

Heading east on the Trans Canada the wind was ferocious, pushing the bike around like it was a lightweight.  I was thankful that I was riding the VFR with full luggage, because every pound made a difference.  I stopped in one of the small towns that dot the highway looking for gas, but after one look at the muddy clay that the bike would have to cross to reach the station, I decided to press onwards.  It wasn't just wet dirt, it was well churned up mud, the kind that is usually incredibly slick.  Deep tire tracks cut across it, showing just how much rain had settled into the ground.  The idea of going down in the wet muck had little appeal.

I continued riding east and stopped in the next small town.  My gas gauge was flashing. At this point I decided that worst case I would park on the road, hike in to the gas station and borrow a Jerry Can if there was no paved access.  No gas station to be found.  Returning to the highway I pressed onwards.  The same problem at the next small town.  At this point I was getting very nervous recognizing that I was probably going to be out of fuel soon, and backtracking to the last known location of a gas station would be too far.  The idea of running out of fuel in the driving rain and strong winds on the highway had little appeal.

I was very relieved to spot a sign indicating a gas station ahead, and when I topped up the fuel the bike needed a full tank.  That was really cutting things close.  I noted with humour that the small town had not one but three gas stations - feast or famine.  Even here on the main highway gas stations aren't as plentiful as I might wish.  Every trip I seem to have at least one occasion where I get nervous about the location of the next gas station.  I need to remember to treat 1/4 tank as "empty".

As I filled up with gas I noticed that snow was mixed in with the rain.  White flakes howled past, settling momentarily on the bike before melting.  I thought this was supposed to be Spring, after all it is May 31st already.  Frost in many Canadian locations last night, snow today... yup, still in Canada.  Forecast for points further east is a lot more promising - sunshine and warm temperatures.

Returning to the highway I noted that the bike was handling a little nicer - the added weight of the fuel made a difference to the handling with the wind.  Even so the wind gusts were really pushing me around, and seemed a cause for concern.  Wet roads with rivers of water running down the tire tracks do not make fun riding even on calm days. The rain was sheeting down, and I adjusted my speed according to conditions and direction of travel - the wind was easier to deal with when it wasn't catching me right from the side.

Gusts pushed me around in my lane, and the occasional vehicle passed me - the extra spray from their tires all but obscuring visibility.  It made for very stressful riding.  At times I had the bike on a hard lean just to keep myself tracking against the wind to maintain my line.  The wind was even pushing hard at my tank bag and it was leaning against my left arm.  

When I went through Virden wind gusts were around 90km, and making the road a real challenge.  The bike was registering a temperature of 33F, and I was wet despite my rain gear.  My boots were leaking, and I could feel the icy water sloshing when I moved my feet around.  Water had soaked my socks and leached its way up my pants.  My gloves also were soaked, and water was slowly working its way up my sleeves.  I started to consider the wisdom of making it an early day - nobody would accuse me of being a fair-weather rider, but this was truly beyond riding conditions.  

Along the roadside fields were lakes, and water was running along the side of the highway like a river.  A truck pulled past me and was caught by a gust of wind, pushed into my lane.  I tracked sideways into the shoulder - not exactly where I wanted to be riding.  Definitely not good riding conditions.  I decided to call it an early day.

Approaching Brandon, Manitoba the road crossed over the assiniboine River - it was spectacular to see the flooding.  The river was well over its banks, and spread out like a lake with trees and other dry-land features sprouting from the surface.  The rain made it unfeasible to take a photo.

I pulled off the highway down the 1A which advertised access to central Brandon.  The old highway wound past a few houses and then dropped down to pass under a low bridge.  There was a submerged car parked directly under the bridge, so I re-evaluated my plan and very carefully turned the bike around balancing it against the gusting wind.  

Returning to the Trans Canada, I continued onwards to a better access to Brandon.  Pulling into the first motel, I parked the bike in a sheltered spot and booked a room for the night.  Soggy conditions over the past month had caused major flooding in the Brandon area, and a number of residents had been evacuated.  That fact, along with the rivers running along the side of the highway were a clear indication that camping was not feasible, unless it was a tent mounted on a canoe.

I was drenched.  I pulled off my wet gear and hung it out to dry.  Stepping into the bathroom I noted that the tile floor and my soaked socks were a bad combination - very slippery.  I pulled off the socks and wrung them out in the sink.  Stopping for the day was definitely a wise choice.

Once I was settled in I walked over to a neighboring restaurant for coffee and a small bite to eat.  I didn't want to tempt fate by taking the bike out in the ferocious winds again.  I had found myself struggling to balance the bike at stop signs against the gusting wind, and that always makes me nervous.

This evening the rain cleared up enough for me to take out the camera and shoot a few pictures along the highway to show the amount of water on the ground.  Winds were still very strong, and you can see them in the ripples in the pooled water at the side of the roadway.

Water filled ditch - notice the water is right up to the roadway.

(http://i1189.photobucket.com/albums/z426/olivebiker/DSCF0684.jpg)

(http://i1189.photobucket.com/albums/z426/olivebiker/DSCF0678.jpg)

Another soggy ditch, not quite as much water.

(http://i1189.photobucket.com/albums/z426/olivebiker/DSCF0683.jpg)

(http://i1189.photobucket.com/albums/z426/olivebiker/DSCF0682.jpg)

Water gathered in low spots.  Grass looked lush, but was growing out of a bog.

(http://i1189.photobucket.com/albums/z426/olivebiker/DSCF0678.jpg)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 31, 2011, 07:41:14 PM
That's some tough riding, O.  Hope things clear up for you soon .....  so far, a vacation this ain't !  ....    :disgust:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: daisy on May 31, 2011, 08:03:14 PM
May 31st isn't spring, it's summer :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on May 31, 2011, 09:13:07 PM
That weathers so crap the ducks have packed it in and left for Minnesota....the good old days of Duckdum.
Great typical O read, things are always happening when your azz hits the saddle, carry on this most excellent adventure....safely please  :icon_salut:.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on May 31, 2011, 09:42:27 PM
May 31st isn't spring, it's summer :icon_biggrin:

Apparently not up here...  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on May 31, 2011, 10:01:41 PM
That weathers so crap the ducks have packed it in and left for Minnesota....the good old days of Duckdum.
Great typical O read, things are always happening when your azz hits the saddle, carry on this most excellent adventure....safely please  :icon_salut:.


Here, here !!!   Or heah, heah if you fum da sout !  ...   (this is not a politically charged post... relax, already ! )    :sad1:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 01, 2011, 08:24:29 AM
33 degrees, windy as hell,raining/snowing....oh ya that sounds like my kind of vacation  :BangHead: :BangHead:

Hopefully now that its June things will warm up a bit for you.  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: daisy on June 01, 2011, 09:12:56 AM
33 degrees, windy as hell,raining/snowing....oh ya that sounds like my kind of vacation  :BangHead: :BangHead:

Hopefully now that its June things will warm up a bit for you.  :icon_biggrin:

Warm up to summer highs of 45F?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 01, 2011, 09:19:24 AM
33 degrees, windy as hell,raining/snowing....oh ya that sounds like my kind of vacation  :BangHead: :BangHead:

Hopefully now that its June things will warm up a bit for you.  :icon_biggrin:

Warm up to summer highs of 45F?

Shoot !  That's T-shirt weather in CCCCCanada  ! !      :cold:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 01, 2011, 09:27:16 AM
Just looked at weather reports on her route....this looks like a pretty good day, sunny and in the 60's all the way to Thunder Bay  :dance: worst wind at TB and only 24mph. Finally some relief for her  :icon_biggrin: :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 01, 2011, 09:57:41 AM
Just looked at weather reports on her route....this looks like a pretty good day, sunny and in the 60's all the way to Thunder Bay  :dance: worst wind at TB and only 24mph. Finally some relief for her  :icon_biggrin: :icon_thumleft:

'Bout damn time !  I was thinkin' she'd be a prune by the time she got to Quebec  ! !     Tx for that, Cruz !     :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 01, 2011, 12:17:27 PM
Nice "VACATION PROGRAM" Olive.....when's the "Fun Part" start..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 01, 2011, 12:33:03 PM
When the wind stops shes gotta be careful to not just ride in circles....straighten it up O, the edges are worn so start using up the centers  :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 01, 2011, 07:04:38 PM
Tent is set up beside the lake in Dryden, Ontario.  Low to mid 50 temps were a welcome change.  There was even a strange glowing yellow orb in the sky, although it occasionally played shy and hid behind the clouds.

Ontario is beautiful country to ride through compared to the Prairies - curves in the road, lush green trees and hills.  Speed limit is 90 (55mph). Limit seems to be dropping as I head east - Alberta 110, Saskatchewan/Manitoba 100, Ontario 90. 

No WIFI tonight, so a proper trip update will come tomorrow.  Just wanted to quickly post progress and let everyone know where I am for the night.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 01, 2011, 07:40:49 PM
Good on ya for hangin' in there and gettin' through all the BS !  ... Lookin' forward to more reports & pics  !  ....    :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 02, 2011, 12:42:36 PM
Had a tire go funky on me.  Bald as a baby... Roll bike forward a foot to rotate the tire and presto! Lots of tread. 

Avon storm shoe going on in thunder bay ontario. Blog update soon!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 02, 2011, 01:36:30 PM
This is just my opinion and you know what they are worth  roflol BUT...I have been running on BStone 023's since the last tire change cuz 021's were gone. 023 rear 6500 miles later was changed, front is still on bike with almost 8000 miles on it. I know I ride slow and all so thats prolly why they lasted longer than the 021's.  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 02, 2011, 02:06:33 PM
Limited tire choices up here... gotta take what I can get.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 02, 2011, 02:54:39 PM
Had a tire go funky on me.  Bald as a baby... Roll bike forward a foot to rotate the tire and presto! Lots of tread. 

Avon storm shoe going on in thunder bay ontario. Blog update soon!
I also do not recommend the Storms but you did say it was limited choice...Hope you are having nice travels today!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 02, 2011, 04:28:40 PM
Looks like you are getting close to half way to St. John's.  Weather doesn't look very good up there tomorrow!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 02, 2011, 05:16:02 PM
Geez, Steve !  You could at least said the glass was half full ! ! !

 roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 02, 2011, 05:32:54 PM
And how would I say thunder showers in a positive way????????????? (forreal)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 02, 2011, 06:39:47 PM
Well isn't THIS funky.

The rear tire was feeling a little squirrelly, and it wasn't just because it was flatspotting... it was a really funky wear pattern that had me more than a little concerned today. I made a beeline for Thunder Bay where I got the rear tire swapped. The ride into Thunder Bay was not a very nice one because I was riding with "bad-tire-failing-fast" in the back of my mind. Having had a tire fail while riding before, it is not something I want to experience again. Last time it was the front tire, and I'm told a rear is preferable, but still... not fun!

Pictures are worth a million words...

This tire looks like it still has meat on it:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5344)

This tire looks like it is balding badly:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5345)

I took a picture of a third side of the tire which was balding far worse, but the picture didn't turn out.

The problem? This is the same tire, rotated 120 degrees.

Yes, as in walk bike forward half a foot, take photo. I could understand one side of the tire being worn more than the other left to right, but NOT front to back, because a tire is circular and rotates evenly.

The tread on the one side just evaporated. You could also still feel oil in the rubber at the side of the tire compared to the front tire. The side of the tire also showed a bit of "shredding" or "balling" as if it were a track tire that had been pushed hot, but high on the curve of the tire.

In a couple of hundred kilometers the bad side of the tire went from having a bit of tread to bald. The speed in which the tire disappeared was disturbing.

My theory is that the bike sat with the tire coated with oil on the weekend, oil ran to the lowest point, and the bike sat in it. When Honda cleaned up the tire, they used a chemical cleaner to scrub at the oil soaked tire. Some combination of chemical/oil impacted the tire negatively.

Even Honda in Swift Current made the comment that they thought the tire still had a lot of life in it. I have never seen a tire evaporate so quickly in my life - yes, I was on straight roads, but cool temperatures (mid 50s and lower), wet conditions and lower speeds. Road conditions were reasonable (I wasn't riding on chip-seal or anything that trashes a tire).

Very glad that I replaced her when I did. The folks at Excalibur Cycleworks in Thunder Bay took the bike in right away and took care of me.

Note: I posted this up on VFRD and someone there suggested that this is a classic wear pattern for an out of balance tire.  Does this make sense to any of you?  Cruz?  Skuut?



Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 02, 2011, 06:47:26 PM
It is hard to figure out with the little bit of the tire in the photos, but everytime I have had a tire out of balance I have felt it.  Did it just wear in that one place?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 02, 2011, 07:10:47 PM
Agreed !  Had the tire been THAT out of balance, you would have notice extreme vibration, increasing exponentially as the tire wore thinner....    Not a good thing.  Get new rubber, get on the road !     :icon_salut:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 02, 2011, 07:26:08 PM
Update for Wednesday - limited internet access can sometimes delay posting...

Woke up to a strange sight – sunshine, and very little wind.  It looked like I was actually going to be able to put a few miles on the bike.  I packed up my gear, and then went to lock my GIVI cases.  Hmmm.... where did I put that key?  A methodological search ensued, checking the pockets in every piece of clothing, scouring the top of flat surfaces, looking underneath things, checking the bike, and eventually unpacking and repacking the hard cases.  No key.   I did have a backup set of keys, but figured that my main set couldn't have gone far.  Eventually I discovered them in the hidden fore-arm pocket of my jacket.  Apparently I had outsmarted myself.

I put on the rest of my gear.  Everything was dry except for my gloves – cold and clammy.  They dried out quickly enough once I started riding, but they are perforated leather and more appropriate for use as summer gloves.

Off to a little later start than I had planned, I dialled the bike out onto the highway.  It was a far cry from yesterday – today the roads were dry, wind was moderate and conditions were ideal for riding.  The bike felt much more confident under me – strange how much more settled you feel when you can see potholes before you are right on top of them and the bike is not in imminent danger of hydroplaning.

Rivers ran in the ditches along the side of highways, and wheatfields were lakes of water.  Grass and trees were a lush green from all the rain, but farmer's fields still lay unplanted.  With the massive amounts of rain and flooding from spring run-off the farmers are going to be off to a very late start this year, if they are able to plant at all.

In places the road was in rough condition – lots of potholes, especially down the center of the two lanes where the dotted line was painted – at times it looked like there was a small ditch between the lanes, just deep and wide enough to spell disaster if a motorcycle tire was to get caught in it.  The road continued in front of me for many miles, straight and open.  The green of grass and trees was offset by the golden shade of wheatfields harvested the previous fall.  Skies were blue with white clouds.  A beautiful day where temperatures stayed in the low to mid 50s.  Comfortable temperatures to ride in.

Apparently I was not the only person to think that it was riding weather – I saw a number of bikes on the road.  The previous day in the gusty winds and torrential rain I was the only rider foolish enough to venture out.

My first gas stop was in Portage la Prairie.  Portage la Prairie was just off the highway and I followed the 1A highway through town.  Nothing in particular caught my eye, so I continued riding, stopping only to top off the tank.  While waiting to pay for my tank of gas I had a short conversation with someone driving a large van.  They commented about the wind pushing them around on the road.  Hmmm... they must have missed out on the fun and games of highway driving yesterday, because today's wind was not nearly as noticeable.

After another expanse of vast prairie, I followed the highway through Winnipeg.  I could have circumvented the city using the ring road, but decided that I wanted to see what the city had to offer.  I didn't stop to take any pictures, but it felt like a much smaller city than I was expecting.  While riding through I turned off of the main route, and took a scenic route back to the highway.  I figured that if I continued to follow roads south and east I was bound to intersect with the TransCanada again.

Leaving Winnipeg traffic ahead of me came to a stop.  Two Canada Geese and twenty goslings walked across the road.  They moved with purpose, Geese marching as if they expected to have the right of way.  My camera was inside the tank bag and not easily accessible at the time.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5346)

Stopping at Falcoln Lake to fill up with gas I looked for a place to have a cup of coffee.  Popeyes wasn't open so I made do with the small restaurant beside it.  Typical small town restaurant it was set up cafeteria style.  Tables were pushed together in long rows, and locals dropped in and joined in at the tables in a constant dance of people.  It was easy to pick out the tourists – they sat by themselves.  One fellow rode up on a bicycle.  He was wearing a large backpack, and his bike was outfitted with pannier bags.  Strapped across the rear of the seat was a large sleeping pad.  Obviously someone on a journey like mine.  We made eye contact and nodded to each other, but sat alone at opposite sides of the diner listening to the chatter of the locals.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5347)

As I passed from Manitoba to Ontario I left the prairies behind.  Ontario definitely has a different look and feel to it.  Wide open fields were replaced with lush green forests.  The speed limit dropped to 90km/hr (55 mph).  It seemed that the speOed limit continued to drop as I travelled east . Alberta featured 110, Saskatchewan and Manitoba favoured 100 and Ontario insisted vehicles slow down to 90.  Signs along the highway advised the cost of traveling in excess of the posted speed – it seemed rather effective to actually post the cost of the ticket that would result at higher speeds (110, 120).  A little later I passed a sign that advised the penalties for travelling in excess of 50km over the posted limit – a fine of up to $10,000, vehicle seizure and immediate loss of license.  Ontario definitely takes their speed limits seriously, although I didn't see any officers handing out performance awards.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5348)

In Ontario, so far, the TransCanada has been mostly one lane traveling in each direction, with the occasional passing lane opening up every 15 or 20 km.  The road winds through rocky hills, and the sight of blasted rock allowing the road to pass through hills is a common sight.  I have always found riding through an expanse with walls of blasted rock on either side of the road to showcase man's mastery over nature.  Not only have we painted an asphalt ribbon across the land, but where it is not convenient to curl that ribbon around hills, we blast right through them.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5349)

Clouds painted a picture overhead, partly obscuring the sun.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5350)

I passed four deer nibbling on the grass at the side of the road.  These were the first deer that I had seen since leaving Calgary – that in itself seemed odd since I encounter deer on almost every ride I go on.  Insects were out in full force as well, as evidenced by the splatters on the face shield of my helmet. 

Another gas stop in Vermillion Bay.  I stopped to take a few photos.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5352)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5351)

I was beginning to get hungry, so I started looking out for a place to pitch the tent for the evening.  Down by the lake in Dryden, Ontario I found a small campground with fully serviced RV sites, a marina and a grassy area to pitch a tent.  This was exactly what I was looking for – inexpensive and quiet. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5353)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5354)

After setting up the tent for the night I took a walk on the docks.  The lake stretched out a gorgeous shade of blue.  In the distance homes dotted the lakeside, and some sailboats were out for an evening cruise.  Along the docks a few people were fishing – it looked like they were having more luck drowning minnows than catching dinner, but they didn't seem too bothered by that.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5356)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5355)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5357)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5358)

Sitting in my tent typing up today's update I am listening to the trill and evening calls of birds, gulls screeing, robins chattering, geese honking and the mournful call of a loon as dusk falls across the lake.  A veritable symphony.  A car crunches along the gravel drive down to the docks, headlights flickering across my tent.  Finally, it feels as if this trip has gotten started – I am outside my normal frame of reference, seeing new things and appreciating the journey. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on June 02, 2011, 07:39:05 PM
Nice photos and glad your on the road. Unless I missed what tire did you get ? AND... new jacket huh.....  :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 02, 2011, 07:56:03 PM
Avon Storm.  I didn't have much choice.

Yes, new jacket.  My old one was falling apart and the weather has been a tad too chilly for my perfed leathers... Great sale at Newenough.com. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 02, 2011, 08:02:32 PM
Nice photos and glad your on the road. Unless I missed what tire did you get ? AND... new jacket huh.....  :icon_thumright:

Ya she traded her wet one for a DRY one  roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 02, 2011, 08:19:12 PM
OK..on a more serious note..I talked with Nik about the rear tire.... and this is my evaluation of it. Its not at all a balance issue IMO..and this is ALL "my" opinion....... I believe that being oil soaked for that many hours sitting caused the decay of the rubber on one side of the tire.

I also believe it was in her best interest to change it ASAP and move on with her trip, I did not and will not post this anywhere else because there are quite a few engineers that will discredit my thoughts on this. Do I really care tho???



I guess I must or I would have.

Rock on Nik and we will see you in a few weeks  :icon_thumleft: :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 02, 2011, 08:31:36 PM
well now Im just stupid..I just clicked on another site and saw I once again am all wrong. Go figure...guess its just a balance problem after all nik...


I NEVER had a BALANCE issue that did that before tho...but what the HELL do I know about tires.....apparently not a damn thing. Back to class I go now  :icon_biggrin:

I did have ONE front tire that I couldnt keep in balance at 100mph..was ok 15mph before and 15 mph after and it Never wore like that.....but WTF do I know.


ya..Im pissed off....so what  :BangHead:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 02, 2011, 09:41:08 PM
well now Im just stupid..I just clicked on another site and saw I once again am all wrong. Go figure...guess its just a balance problem after all nik...


I NEVER had a BALANCE issue that did that before tho...but what the HELL do I know about tires.....apparently not a damn thing. Back to class I go now  :icon_biggrin:

I did have ONE front tire that I couldnt keep in balance at 100mph..was ok 15mph before and 15 mph after and it Never wore like that.....but WTF do I know.


ya..Im pissed off....so what  :BangHead:

No worries Cruz, those of us that know ya will continue to value your opinion and expertise ....... you know rubber like  Courtney Love knows crack, you know it even better than Jenna James  :icon_biggrin:
Good going O, really happy to hear you've had acceptable weather this past day and hope it continues, at some point when you turn South all you'll need to worry about is Tornado's  :laughing7:. Have a great day tomorrow and will be waiting for the next installment. Cheers  :wheels:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 03, 2011, 03:04:34 AM
I still don't see how any tire could be out of balance enough to wear like that and not be noticed.  Not sure about oil damaging rubber like that, but it is a better answer than out of balance.

Glad to see the weather has gotten better.  They have changed the forecast for that area some.  At least now they are forecasting "scattered" storms.  I hope they are scattered elsewhere (like behind you)!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 03, 2011, 06:57:20 AM
On the Tire.....As I stated on Facebook, only time(s) I have ever had a tire wear that way to that extent, in that time frame, I had either: Bad Wheel Bearing, Loose Axle, Loose Swingarm.........If none of these, "I'm out", no idea... :dontknow:....."NEXT"..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 03, 2011, 07:25:33 AM
All more likely than out of balance.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 03, 2011, 03:36:12 PM
well now Im just stupid..I just clicked on another site and saw I once again am all wrong. Go figure...guess its just a balance problem after all nik...


I NEVER had a BALANCE issue that did that before tho...but what the HELL do I know about tires.....apparently not a damn thing. Back to class I go now  :icon_biggrin:

I did have ONE front tire that I couldnt keep in balance at 100mph..was ok 15mph before and 15 mph after and it Never wore like that.....but WTF do I know.


ya..Im pissed off....so what  :BangHead:

Well, now we know to put 1lb weights on my rear tire to balance it...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 03, 2011, 03:54:42 PM
Damn, you must have a bent wheel......


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 04, 2011, 07:27:54 AM
I woke up with the sun.  Bright and early.  Didn't hear very many birds calling out yet, so assumed that they were still asleep.  It had rained a little during the night, and everything outside was wet.  I stayed in the tent for a little while hoping to catch a little more rest, and to let outside temperatures warm up a little.  It was another chilly night spent in a tent.  

Finally I started packing up inside the tent – stuffing the sleeping bag into the compression sack I pulled the straps tight.  Well, perhaps a little too tight – I pulled one of them right off the bag.  No real harm done.  I adjusted the other three to make up for the missing strap, and still get the bag down to a semblance of “small”.   I squeezed the air out of the sleeping pad, and rolled it up as well.  Blankets were folded into zip-loc bags, and I shuffled the rest of the gear that spent the night inside the tent with me towards the front.  

Unzipping the tent, I pulled on shoes, and then unzipped the tent fly to see what the day had to offer.  The lake was a gorgeous shade of blue, but the sun had risen high enough in the clouds that the light was watered down.  The docks were quiet, as was the campground and the lake.  I had the entire place to myself.  

Efficiently I started packing up the tent.  Shaking out the wet fly to get rid of as much moisture as possible I tucked it away in one bag.  Once the tent was emptied I packed it up as well, folding the groundsheet leaving only a crushed impression in the grass to show that I had been there.  The bike was repacked, and giving one last look to make sure that nothing was left behind, I threw a leg over the bike and followed the gravel road to return through town.

The town was also very quiet.  On one road a woman jogger silently headed up a hill intent on her destination, or perhaps the tunes of her headphones.  A couple of blocks further away someone was walking from house to car.  But still, very quiet.  I stopped at McDonalds for my morning coffee.  The coffee there is inexpensive, and they offer free WIFI – something that I need to take advantage on during this trip.  The table beside me was a group of local seniors.  One noticed that my bike had Alberta plates and asked where I was from.  The usual small town friendliness.  Someone new, something new, and it becomes a temporary topic of conversation, dismissed as easily as last night's hockey game.

Finishing up my coffee I headed outside and did a preflight check.  Bags were secure and locked cloesd.  Tank bag was fully clipped.  Checking out the tires I noticed something that was a note of concern – the rear tire was looking awfully short on tread.  I figured that I was going to be replacing it a lot sooner than I had anticipated.  Everything else with the bike checked out, so I headed East out of town.

While riding I was thinking about the tire – and started considering what my options were.  Thunder Bay might have a solution.  Sault Ste. Marie was another option.  So were Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.  The next stop I would take a better look at the tire and the map and decide the best course of action.

Scenery was gorgeous as the day before – the road curved around hills, lots of changes in elevation, lush green trees, majestic rocks, and an odd brown shadow...  I slowed down quickly as I spotted the Moose, scanning for the rest of his friends.  Belated it dawned on me that Moose are usually solitary creatures unlike deer who travel in herds and it is the deer you haven't spotted yet that has suicidal tendencies and a fond wish to throw himself on the road in front of your bike.  After spotting the first moose I also noticed a tree and two rocks later in the day that also had moose-silhouette-characteristics about them.  Very little wildlife on the road, if you don't count the variety in cars.

Riding I realized that I was still tired, and the tire was on my mind.  I pulled in for gas, and after filling the tank moved the bike over to the parking area so I could take a better look at the tire without being in the way of cars lined up for fuel.  Checking out the tire I went from concerned to alarmed.  I hadn't travelled excessive distance, yet the tire was visibly lower on tread from the previous time I checked.  This did not bode well.  At this point I noticed that the tire wear was very uneven around the circumference, and my mind was made up to replace it at the earliest opportunity... Thunder Bay was my destination, after another cup of coffee.

One side
(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5361)

The other side
(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5362)

There was spotty rain, and the sun spent a lot of time hiding behind clouds.  Not many places to stop for pictures, and I was eager to get the bike to Thunder Bay early enough for tire replacement.  The road was lined with trees as the previous day, and at times I saw a passing train as the tracks followed the road in many places.  The Trans Canada continued to be one lane each direction, with frequent passing lanes opening up.  I saw a couple of Ontario's finest on the road, but they didn't take issue with me.  

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5360)

Running low on gas I pulled into an old Shell station.  It had obviously been there for quite some time to judge from the age of the pumps.  This gas station was notable, however, because it had the highest prices per that I had encountered the entire trip thus far.  

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5359)

The ride to Thunder Bay wasn't as enjoyable because the tire remained at the back of my mind.  It didn't feel good under the bike, and every time I stopped I was expecting to see a completely bald tire.  Eventually I reached the city, and tried to find Excalibur Motorcycle Works on May Street.  First I found May Street, but didn't spot the sign for the company.  It was pretty clear when I reached the end of the street that circled behind some houses changing name along with direction that I had missed out on the business I was looking for.  A second pass yielded the same empty results.  So I pulled out the Blackberry and checked the address, making note of the street number.  This time I found an empty building that seemed to be a match, along with a sign indicating a new address for whomever had previously occupied the building – although there was no indication that it had been a motorsport company.  I had noticed the sign the first time I went past, but had dismissed it as it didn't seem relevant to my search.

I flagged down a passing biker and asked for directions to the new address – he provided clear directions, but I wasn't convinced that I was on the right track as the road I was on turned from business to residential with no sign of the company in question.  Eventually the residential gave way to business once again and in the distance I spotted my elusive quarry.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5363)

Pulling up, I parked beside the service gate and headed inside.  In very short order I selected an Avon Storm (Traditionally I prefer to run Pilot Road2s on my bike, but that wasn't an option open to me).  It surprised me how quickly and efficiently the service manager whisked my bike into the back.  I was fully prepared to pull the rear tire off myself, but was told not to worry about it – the VFR has a single sided swing arm and it is a question of removing a few bolts and popping the tire right off.  Simpler than the tire on the BMW F800S that I had owned previously – it also had a single sided swingarm design, but also required the exhaust to be swung out of the way to provide access to the tire.

Excalibur is a small shop, but staffed with people who are riders themselves.  Always a good combination.  They offered me a coffee while I waited, and had the bike ready in record time.  After I settled up I started heading outside to the bike and the service manager stuffed a T-shirt into my helmet.  The first souvenier of my journey – a 20th Anniversary Tee for Excalibur Motorcycle Works in Thunder Bay.  

After a quick check of the bike ensuring the tire was mounted the right way and bolts were secure, I set off to top off the gas tank once again.  While I am sure that the staff at Excalibur are competant, like most other riders I like to double check anything that is mission critical on the bike myself.  After all, if anything goes strange, the rider is ultimately the person who has to deal with the consequences.

I rode around Thunder Bay a little more to check a few things out, including their construction zones.  Continuing east I decided to make use of the sun while it lasted.  I finally pulled in just west of Nipigon at a small campground.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5364)

This campground was evidently well kept up, and someone there likes to garden.  Reasonable price for a tent, I settled up the bill and pulled my bike around to park just off the “road”.   Getting off the bike the first thing I noticed were lots of black flies all interested in me.  I sprayed myself down with bug spray, and this seemed to have a measurable impact on the black flies... it attracted more of them over to me.  

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5365)

Tent set-up was accomplished while swatting at the air in front of my face to keep the flies out of my eyes.  After I got the tent put together and everything loaded inside, I headed for the enclosed porch to charge my phone and quickly catch up on the internet.  There was a connection to the net, but it was very slow and not conducive to doing much on the web beyond text based email.  

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=53606)

Back in my tent for the evening I finished setting up my nest for the night.  Since the temperatures were rapidly dropping I crawled into the sleeping bag and tried to get some rest.  

Boom!  Flash-BOOM!  A thunderstorm rolled overhead.  It was neat to watch it light up the tent as it headed over.  As lightning and thunder neared in proximity, I briefly considered the location I was in.  The tent has aluminum poles stretched out over top of my head, but the bike was parked not very far away, and had a lot more metal, and was higher from the ground than me.  I stayed inside listening to the rain fall on the tent, and watched the light-show that nature was providing to me.

(Friday's update will be up later today, net access willing)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 04, 2011, 07:59:50 AM
Can't really figure out that tire wear.  Never seen or heard of anything like it !...   Comes to mind just a bad tire in itself, but that may be a stretch;  never heard of one bad tire in a batch, either.  Then there's the question of liability, given the right time frame. 

Oh well, carry on O !  As usual, your reporting is first-rate and I (we) look forward to the next installment. 

Cheers !    :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 06, 2011, 06:07:25 PM
Has anyone looked at the route across Newfoundland?  This looks awesome!  http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=49.199654,-57.260742&aq=1&sll=49.199654,-57.260742&sspn=2.756728,7.113647&ie=UTF8&t=h&rq=1&split=0&ev=zo&ll=48.345297,-55.953369&spn=2.804023,7.113647&z=8 (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=49.199654,-57.260742&aq=1&sll=49.199654,-57.260742&sspn=2.756728,7.113647&ie=UTF8&t=h&rq=1&split=0&ev=zo&ll=48.345297,-55.953369&spn=2.804023,7.113647&z=8)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 07, 2011, 07:31:14 PM
Limited internet access means I am a little behind posting reports - this is from this past Saturday.

With a new rear tire on the bike I felt a lot more confident about riding.  The sun was out as well which brightened things up significantly.  The previous night I had eaten a bagged salad for dinner.  I must have looked a sight riding with my dinner stuffed inside my gear to transport from the store. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5375)

I got off to a later start than planned.  Packing and repacking – still getting into the groove of putting everything where it belongs.  Finally I was ready to go and headed towards Ottawa.

The skies were overcast, but the weather was nice.  I headed through roads that were laced with curves, a little busier now than the previous day.  More bikes were on the road as well. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5371)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5372)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5374)

I passed through White City, home of Winnie the Pooh.  Stopped to take a picture of Winnie himself.  In front of his statue was a plaque... or rather space for a plaque.  The woman in the visitor center told me it had been stolen the previous year and the town had no budget to replace it.  This is a story that seemed to repeat itself at many visitor sites across Canada - a space where a plaque used to be invariably meant that someone had decided it would look better inside their garage, basement, or perhaps hanging like a trophy kill in the living room over top of the hearth. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5368)

Many small towns had small monuments and something that they were known for, if only a slogan.  Many of them seemed to feature slogans such as “the best place to live, work and play” - and invariably the signboard with the slogan was posted beside a boarded up gas station or business that had closed its doors.  A little depressing to see.

I passed through a place called Wawa.  I'm not sure if it was named for the lake, the large puddles of water everywhere after the rainstorm, or perhaps the sound of a goose calling, but the goose was certainly popular around there.  Here is a picture of the town mascot.  Here is a picture of the town mascot.  These giant geese were standing at the entrance to the town, on the roof of the motel, and beside the gas station. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5370)

Gas was the real reason I had pulled in to the town although since I was there I took a short tour to see what the town had to offer.  The gas station afforded this photo opportunity with a Moose.  This one was friendly enough...  The ones who live in the wild also like to get friendly with visitors on the highway.  My bike and myself had no desire to meet one.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5369)

Heading down the highway a small mite got sucked into my helmet vents and headed straight for my eye.  I blinked furiously and came up a little blurry.  Did I lose a contact?  Not exactly... when I closed the other eye I could still see out of the blurry eye, but only partly.  Hmmm.... this wasn't exactly good.  I wondered if I had somehow torn a contact, leaving me with only partial vision.  I headed into the first stop that presented itself – Echo,  Bay.  I found a gas station with a bathroom and checked out the contact in the mirror.  The problem was that the small mite had gotten itself underneath the contact and was holding the contact partly away from my eye.  I removed it and cleaned it.   (I have no idea how I managed that through just blinking).

Sight restored, I continued on past Echo Bay.  As I rode I spotted some road signs that were amusing.  They indicated that the road was shared with horse and buggy – and it certainly was.  It wasn't much past the first sign that I spotted a horse pulled buggy being driven by two women.  The women were wearing long brimmed bonnets that reminded me of those from “Little House on the Prairie”.  They were dressed in sombre colours, long sleeves and long skirts.  I found it most amusing.  A little further along the road I spotted a few more trotting along the side of the road, unperturbed by the cars on the highway passing them.  A young lad dressed in similar style of clothing cycled past.  In places the buggies were stopped at the roadside selling wares.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5376)

I shared the road with a lot of furry creatures.  Small bunnies.  Large racoons.  Adventurous chipmunks.  Dead porcupines.  The occasional collection of feathers blowing across the road that had previously belonged to an unlucky bird.  I avoided everything except for the bugs that splattered themselves across my face shield.  Saw quite a few juicy wasps close up, turning my helmet to allow the wind to whisk the carcass off of the face shield leaving only the goey yellow smear behind.

At times the road signs amused me – I spotted “Seldom Seen Road”, but since it also looked seldom traveled I opted to remain on the main road.  I passed by one of Canada's  nuclear reactors, and the site of a meteor crater.  A little while later I slowed for flashing blue and red lights ahead – a police officer was investigating a car that tried climbing a tree.  That was odd since it was at a location where the road was straight and there was no sign why he left the road, or how he managed to land with his hood pointed up a tree, rather than the tree trying to pass through the hood.  Still I pressed onwards. 

Construction ahead was signalled with the customary unhappy motorcyclist sign showing ruts in the road.  I've ridden these ruts hundreds of times before, but these were very notable.  They were deep and wide, and despite riding easy and relaxed the bike was pulling all over the road.  They continued for quite some time and I was relieved to finally leave them behind.  I also passed through a small town that  featured construction.  The main road passing through, the highway, was torn up with large rocks scattered across the muddy surface, and water pooling in huge muddy puddles.  I picked my way through this carefully, choosing to bypass a couple of puddles on the oncoming side of the road.   I did this right in front of a local cop, but he didn't bother with me at all – probably understood that I was just trying to maintain a vertical position on the bike.

As dusk fell I headed into Ottawa passing signs advising of deer and moose at night.  Fantastic colours of sunset were evident in the sky reflected by my side mirrors – pinks, blues, purples in an ever-changing dance.

I stopped a couple of times to consult the tiny map on my Blackberry, finally locating a cousin's place where I stopped for the night.  He was inside his garage working on something when I pulled up, and didn't hear the smooth exhaust sound of the VFR.  His bike of choice is a Harley, and he values the roar of his loud pipes.  Amusingly enough he had been into bikes when he was young, but didn't get back into them until he heard that I had taken up riding.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5377)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 07, 2011, 09:05:40 PM
My cousin Derrick took me out around the Ottawa area.  One Harley and one VFR.  First up was a visit to Parliament.It might not have been the way I had hoped to visit the Parliament buildings, but I certainly made it there in style. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5378)

Then we headed onwards through a small park like ride through Promenade de la Gatineau in Hull, Quebec that lead up past lakes and to a fantastic lookout point.  There were a lot of cyclists out on the road, and it seemed a popular destination for motorcycles as well. The road had wonderful curves in it, however caution was called for as in many cases you came around a corner to find a car encroaching well into your lane passing a cyclist.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5379)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5380)

My cousin and myself do not share the same philosophy towards riding.  My attitude is that the cow is already dead and has little use for his hide, and I still have some use for mine.  His is that the freedom of the road entails riding in blue jeans and a short sleeved shirt.  I guess to ride a Hog you have to be tough enough to withstand a little road rash.  His argument is that he is careful when he rides.  Personally I'll stick with my gear, because my crystal ball isn't good enough to predict when I am going to go down despite the care and caution I ride with.  Riders know it is not a question of if you fall off the bike, but when.  I do my best to stack the odds in my own favour.

Leaving the park we returned through Ottawa for a quick stop at my cousin's place where I stopped to pick up my battery charger that had been forgotten, and then across the ferry into Quebec.  We rode for a while, then stopped for a late lunch before Derrick headed back towards home and I set off for Montreal.

Everything in Eastern Canada is lush and green – quite the contrast to when I left Calgary a little over a week ago.  Trees were still beginning to bud, I only saw one tulip starting to bloom, and my grass was still a shade of winter brown, with fresh green starting to poke through

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5381)

Passing through Montreal was an odd experience, and the language barrier seemed obvious when I was faced with road signs that were difficult to interpret.  The road passed through a long tunnel underneath Montreal – very cool to ride. The Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel. (It is actually the longest underwater vehicular tunnel in Canada, .  The tunnel was well lit, and the edges were sligthly curved.  Three lanes headed down the tunnel, with lit “exit” doors every few hundred feet.  There was nowhere to pull over to take a photo.

Leaving Montreal I started looking for a spot to pitch my tent for the night.  The first road I followed to a provincial park didn't actually have any camping.  The next pull off was a grand detour – a little frustrating to discover that I had mis-translated a sign and sent myself on a wild goose chase (something that perhaps is more appropriate in Wawa, Ontario than Quebec).  Finally I found a campsite, and had a small struggle with the attendent.  Language was definitely a barrier, but it seemed that they wanted to charge me $60 for the site for the night.  Assuming that I was misinterpreting I even pulled out my wallet to show $20, but they shook their head, and held up three fingers pointing at my twenty dollar bill.  Hmmm... no, there was no way I was paying THAT much for a campsite.  Highway robbery!

Continuing on as dusk began to fall I finally found a place to spend the night.  I was tired and feeling very frustrated with my efforts to communicate.  Quebec seemed in some ways more foreign than anywhere I had travelled in the States.  Distinct and different certainly was the feeling.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 08, 2011, 06:38:55 AM
Looks like the Relatives are doin' Ya' Good Girl.....Great Writin' and Pics..... :headbang: :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 08, 2011, 08:03:31 AM
Some beautiful country back there !  I'm beginning to think all the good stuff is east of the Mississippi ... with the exception of the Rockies, that is ! !    Nice, O !  ... carry on ----------------->   :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 08, 2011, 08:18:45 AM
It really is nice back there. Thanx for the update  :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 08, 2011, 10:42:30 AM
Great installment O, keep em coming....oh and keep enjoying the open road..with full gear  :icon_thumleft: :icon_salut:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 09, 2011, 06:18:11 AM
On Newfoundland.

Heavy fog, just up to Cornerbrook where the fog has lifted. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 09, 2011, 07:29:36 AM
Where Dat ? ?    :dontknow:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on June 09, 2011, 08:00:51 PM
http://www.cornerbrook.com/ (http://www.cornerbrook.com/)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 10, 2011, 07:32:19 AM
Some beautiful country back there !  I'm beginning to think all the good stuff is east of the Mississippi ... with the exception of the Rockies, that is ! !    Nice, O !  ... carry on ----------------->   :occasion14:


It's "The People" east of the Mississippi...... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 10, 2011, 07:54:49 AM
Have had very limited net connectivity - heading back through Nova Scotia after having taken the overnight ferry from Newfoundland (you load up just before midnight, and arrive the next morning at 7am. Last night was a rougher crossing than the journey there - they even tied down the 18-wheelers. Apparently a month or so back they caught rough sea and had a couple of trucks tip over on top of cars. I just tried to sleep in the chairs - didn't want to spend the extra money on a cabin.

Thick fog and rain leaving Sydney, Nova Scotia. It cleared for a short while, and then the fog socked back in. Stopped to dry off and de-thaw crossing at the Canso penninsula. Proper report with photos and catching up on the story to date will follow hopefully this evening if I have decent internet access.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 10, 2011, 08:01:34 AM
.............and the adventure continues ---------------------->     :icon_salut:  :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 10, 2011, 08:50:07 AM
"Great Experiences" will most likely describe a lot of this Trip.....not sure all of it falls under the "FUN" heading.....Keep up the Reports Girl..... :headbang: :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 10, 2011, 09:04:19 AM
Some of it's all about pain threshold, Skuuter ! !   I'm thinkin' hers is pretty high !    :icon_thumright:

 :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 11, 2011, 05:04:01 AM
Some of it's all about pain threshold, Skuuter ! !   I'm thinkin' hers is pretty high !    :icon_thumright:

 :icon_biggrin:

Yep, I understand.....I've had some of "Those Rides" too..... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 11, 2011, 07:48:02 AM
Some of it's all about pain threshold, Skuuter ! !   I'm thinkin' hers is pretty high !    :icon_thumright:

 :icon_biggrin:

Yep, I understand.....I've had some of "Those Rides" too..... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:
roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol Havent we all....seems the most miserable parts of "those" rides are the ones we remember the best huh?  :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 11, 2011, 02:34:11 PM
So... Does anyone care to wager a guess where I am today?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 11, 2011, 02:37:21 PM
I have a quarter to throw away....yer w Timmy the cop  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 11, 2011, 02:41:16 PM
Maine?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 11, 2011, 03:46:26 PM
Maine?

 :headbang: :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 11, 2011, 04:28:26 PM
I got off to an early start and continued riding through Quebec.  In parts it reminded me of Ontario with  lots of trees and signs reminding of moose on highway.  There was a little more farmland here, and the word pastoral could be applied to parts of the countryside.  Small towns dotted the area, and the road I was on was fairly quiet.

I stopped for a quick coffee at a place where I could access WIFI, and took a picture of the menuboard - so familiar, yet so different.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5382)

Continuing on to Quebec City, I stopped at a visitor center to get directions to the old quarter.  To my surprise I found out that bikes are not allowed within the walled city itself.  The attendant at the booth provided me with a small map and directions to a good place to park.

Following her directions which seemed to be a fairly major route on the map, I rode through a lot of residential areas . The houses were beautiful, and built tall around the road.  It wasn't unusual to see two or three story buildings close to the road, reminding me of the way apartment buildings are set on a lot out west, although these were houses.  Some of them had a balcony and door upstairs with an iron stairway spiraling up to the second floor – I surmised that these were duplexes or triplexes with a separate external entrance.  It didn't look like it would offer much fun on moving day given how steep some of the staircases were.

Cars were parked along the side of the road making it very narrow at times.  Oncoming traffic darted into my lane to push past the larger vehicles at the side.  Cyclists were very evident at the side of the road as well.  The road curved a lot, and had quite a few hills and busy cross streets.  It was bustling with people, bicycles and traffic.  Occasionally I saw another motorcycle ride past.

I passed by some industrial buildings, including a school.  It must have been break time because there were a lot of girls outside, all wearing the same design of plaid skirt, but their tops varied widely from bulky fleece tops to sweaters and t-shirts, none of which seemed to be part of a uniform.

I continued to ride past housing and businesses through a very nice area.  Finally I approached an area with a lot of cafes at the side of the street.  Signs at the side seemed to indicate no parking, but there were a lot of cars at the side.  I headed onwards to the parking lot that the woman at the information booth had suggested only to find a sign showing that it was cars only – both trucks and motorcycles had a round circle and slash through them.  Turning around, I started searching for a place to park the bike.

After a few loops I finally decided to stop on the main street outside the cafes.  The parking signs were tandem.  The top sign clearly indicated the times that parking was not available.  The bottom sign had text that I couldn't translate into sense – why would there be a need for a sign indicating no parking during designated times if it was a no-parking zone for vehicles at any time.  I parked the bike.  Gettnig off I had a brief chat with a local who had noticed the Alberta plate . He correctly surmised that I didn't speak french, and had halting english.  After a brief discussion the second sign made sense – no motorcycle parking.  Right, “moto” means bike, not vehicle.  Oops.  (A pictograph would have made a lot more sense). 

I got back on the bike, circling around until I finally found street parking for the bike.  Unfortunately it was in a time limited parking zone.  I grabbed the camera and took a quick hike toward the old quarter, passing building construction and Quebec's Legislature.  As the walls of the old city came into view, so did a horse drawn carriage. 

It was a warm day, and I regretted that I was still wearing all of my bike gear.  I didn't want to leave the tank bag on the bike either, so I was carrying that and my feet weren't thrilled that I was still wearing my bike boots. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5383)

Entering the walls I was greeted with a sight out of a postcard.  Tall buildings and narrow roads.  Old french architecture.  In places the roads were cobblestones, but always very narrow.  Dark narrow alleys let in little daylight and cut between buildings, at times seeming a tunnel between two businesses.  Tourists clustered on the sidewalks clutching cameras and shopping bags of souvenirs.  I passed by a small area where horses and carriage drivers waited for their next fare.  Expensive restaurants, exclusive boutique hotels, gift shops and cafes dotted the streets.  In places umbrellas bloomed from an outdoor cafe .  Along some of the side streets carts were parked offering the fare of local artists.  Construction took place in areas. In the distance statues and a large cathedral towered over the city.  I had seen photos of Old Quebec before, and it was all here in a very small area.  Reminded me a lot of pictures I have seen of France.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5386)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5385)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5384)

Heading back to the bike, I had to really push so I wouldn't be parked past the allotted parking time.  The hot sun beat down on me and my tank bag gained a few pounds just from being carried . I felt my boots rubbing, and wished that I had taken the time to switch out to more comfortable footwear. 

Reaching the bike I was a few minutes late, but other cars were still parked on the street as well.  I took my time re-gearing up, and noted that traffic was beginning to pick up.  Some of the streets in Quebec are on very steep hills, and I would not want to try to take a car along them on a wintery day.  It was enough to take the bike.  Perhaps hill is not the correct term – as they seemed more like a small mountain rising steeply ahead.  I had to stop the bike on a couple of them while waiting for a light to turn green, and each time this made me uneasy because of the pitch of the hill.

I chose to head along the North side of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.  Passing out of Quebec I saw an immense bridge spanning the distance to an island to the right and a huge waterfall to the left.  Continuing onwards the highway felt a little more open, but passed through a lot of small towns.

One interesting feature was a number of small traffic circles to the right of the road.  There was only one entrance into them, which was also the exit.  In a few places there was also access to a few homes, but this was the exception, not the rule.  Riding for a while I realized why there were so many turnabouts – they were primarily intended for traffic that wanted to access businesses on the opposite side of the roadway.  Barricades in the center of the roads made it impossible to cross over, and U-turns were not allowed.

Up ahead I saw the sign for Anne du Beaupre.  In the distance I saw another majestic church rising over the town.  Getting closer I found a huge cathedral and had to stop to take a few pictures and a better look.  It was obviously a tourist spot open to the public. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5387)

Parking my bike on the street, I walked in.  The building was incredibly large, towering over the town.  Two huge spires flanked the building that showcased ornate sculptures.  Just magnificent!  Heading up the stairs the detail on statues became more evident, and I noticed the brass doors were open.  Stepping inside I was greeted by the soaring notes of an organ.  The interior eclipsed the exterior.  I stepped inside and discovered that a service was in progress.  I sat down in a pew and just listened to the sound of the organ, the sole female soloist raising her voice in song, the fluid sounds of french from the priest.  The cathedral was immense with tile mosaics, stained glass and huge arches dwarfing the small wooden benches below.  Words are not enough to describe this building as a work of art.  After the service concluded I was able to take a few pictures of the interior.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5388)

The street beside the cathedral - typical for small towns in Quebec.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5389)

Continuing onwards, the road climbed another steep hill and I passed a few truckers laboring up in low gear.    It was time to stop for gas, and at this point the proximity of towns spread out a lot.  Finding a gas station I pulled in and topped up the tank.  I talked to the person behind me in line while waiting to pay – he was curious about the Alberta plate.  As he was also a biker, he was curious about my trip.  I indicated my plans to continue with a crossing of the seaway at the ferry, and he told me that the ferry I had planned to cross with wasn't running yet this year.  A brief exchange in french with the cashier of the gas station produced the brochures for the local ferries, and he was indeed right – it was too early in the season for the crossing I had intended.  Very helpful, he let me know about the road construction at the later crossing and recommended that I follow the road back through Quebec and take the south side of the seaway. 

Returning back the way I came, I decided to try to pull over at the falls to take a picture.  The entrance was a toll gate, and I didn't think that the amount they wanted to charge was enough just to go in for a picture, so I turned the bike around and continued back through Quebec City.  Inadvertently I took the scenic route through the city, eventually finding the south bridge and the highway once again.

I was very hot, and pulled over for a cold pop.  The weather was the warmest I had seen all trip.  It would make a beautiful night to pitch a tent.  I continued riding for another half hour as the sun began to drop in the sky, and followed signs to Domaine Champetre campground.  After booking a site for the night and pitching the tent, I tried to get onto the internet – my net book wasn't at all interested in being cooperative with their WIFI router, so I folded up the computer and decided that an early night might be a better idea.

I have a lot more photos, but to post on time constraint am only picking a very, very few.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 11, 2011, 06:05:23 PM
 :icon_thumleft:  :icon_thumright:  :headbang: :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 11, 2011, 06:39:40 PM
(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5390)

I woke up early in the morning to the deep buzz of bullfrogs and birds outside my tent.  I packed up my tent, although the air was a little chilly.  As I was starting to load the luggage on the bike the owner of Domaine Champetre campground said hello and offered me a coffee.  What a great offer given the brisk temperatures.  We stood and chatted for a while.

He explained that he was a little nervous when I had ridden up the previous night.  It is not unknown for a group of bikers to send a lone female rider in first to book a site, and then a few minutes later an entire pack of loud bikes show up.  I gather he expected me to be a forerunner for one of these groups.  It surprised me that this sort of thing was a problem, but might explain the type of reception I had gotten at the first campground I had tried a previous night.

He was proud of his campground and understandably so having done a lot of work on it.  It catered to Rvs, tenters, and tried to provide a destination not just a place to pitch a tent for the night.  It provided badminton and volleyball courts, a swimming pool, fish ponds, bike trails and many places to hike.  There were plenty of small features like fish ponds, benches and nicely planted gardens. He was still setting it up for the seaoson, although it was in very nice shape.

As we stood talking a young kitten wandered up.  We weren't sure if it was tame or wild, but it seemed a little leery of us, stalking around the bike and the bench that was against the side of the building.  It finally adventured on top of my bike to check out my camping gear.  This was too perfect to miss out on, and since I had the camera out I tried to take a picture.  The picture turned into an action shot of “attack kitty”.  The little fellow decided that my shoulder looked substantially more interesting and comfortable than where he was, and launched himself at me.  Startled, I sloshed the cup spilling hot coffee everywhere, just before evicting the cat from my shoulder where he definitely did not belong.  Perhaps he wanted to explore the Maritimes with me, but I wasn't interested in a hitch hiker... besides, I didn't have a spare helmet that would fit him.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5391)

I set off down the access road, dodging potholes until I reached the main highway and turned east.  Ten minutes into the ride large heavy rain drops started to fall.  I pulled over for a coffee and to wait for the weather to properly sock in, then continued heading east.  The usual stops for the day - coffee, gas, and where facilities like this roadside rest stop existed, a bathroom break.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5392)

I had a specific plan for heading into New Brunswick, but like best laid plans I laid it aside when I pulled off the highway to top off the tank and followed what looked to be a promising road.  It was marked with scenic route signs, and I hadn't actually checked my map to double check the route number I had planned.  The route headed south past lots of small towns – passed right through them, so road speed was constantly varying from 50 to 90.  The houses by the road were mostly older, although there were a few with fresh siding as well.  Not many places to pull off the road – the shoulder was gravel, the road was narrow and there was just enough traffic to be an issue.  The condition of the road made for an entertaining ride – traveling through curves had a higher than usual degree of difficulty thanks to the potholes, ruts and other asphalt obstacles. 

The houses were perched fairly close to the road in places, reminiscent of other parts of Quebec.  Side roads were gravel, and there wasn't a paved driveway to be seen.  At times the hills made the driveways charge up steep slopes, or circle down dropping quickly away from the road.  Lots of wooded areas, but also farms and ranches to be seen. Every small center sported a church with a tall white steeple standing up tall against the countryside visible for miles. 

I continued riding, finally locating a promising spot for a late lunch and a coffee.  Turning on my phone I was bemused to note an automatic email my cell service provider sent me “welcome to international roaming”.  I hadn't crossed the border, at least not yet... although was just across the river from the States. 

As usually happens when I stop, a local quizzed me about where I was from.  An Alberta plate in these regions on a single bike tends to draw a bit of notice.  I found out that I had actually taken a side highway, and this was why the directions I was following weren't exactly accurate.  Setting off with rewnewed directions I backtracked part of my route, exiting to finally find the highway I had originally intended to follow.  It was in significantly better repair than the road I had take earlier in the day.

Traveling onwards I stopped for gas in a small town that claimed fame for it's waterfall, and headed over to the lookout point.  Tourist center was closed this late in the day but the falls were still accessible.  If I had more time and better shoes it could make an interesting hike.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5393)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5394)

At this point I was very aware that my left foot had picked up a large blister the day before.  I could feel it every single time I shifted or put weight on my foot as the boot pressed against it uncomfortably.  Not much I could do about it, so I continued to ride. 

The major industry in this area of the country was pulp and paper.  Lots of lumber mills around, and a few large manufacturing centers as well as I took busier roads.

Lots of warnings along the side of the road about Moose, and I spotted a rather unlucky Moose as I continued to ride.  The car that hit him was rather unlucky as well – but that had been towed away some time before I arrived.  All I saw was the Moose, eyes glazing white in death with a few hopeful black birds having a late evening snack.

Dusk was falling so I started searching for a campground not wanting to meet one of the Moose's close relatives at close quarters.  I followed one turnoff sign, and explored some of the roads that it linked to but no further signs of the previously advertised campground.  Back onto the highway I finally found a place for the night as darkness settled in.   


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 12, 2011, 06:23:30 AM
Thursday

Continued to head east across an ever changing terrain.  Skies I were cloudy but temperatures weren't too bad.

After I crossed the Canso Causeway there was definitely a different feel to the roads.  Instead of going through the hills they went over and around.  In places the road was in poor repair, and curves had increased technical difficulty as I dodged pothole after pothole. 

Still a lot of churches around – this one was just across a small lake and at first glance I thought the field behind it was filled with grazing animals – nope, that is a very large graveyard.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5395)

The road ran along lots of small bodies of water.  This dock had a boat tied up, for sale by owner.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5396)

As I reached McNabs cove the road rose up into some very low lying clouds and temperatures rapidly dropped.  Riding through the fog felt a little eerie, but I had plans to catch the overnight ferry to Newfoundland so continued to press onwards.  A lot of fun riding roads in Nova Scotia, and lots of smaller pockets of population dotted the highway and surrounding areas.  A police car pulled in behind me for a short while, following me through some nicely curved territory while I kept a close eye on my speedometer.  Satisfied, perhaps, that I was behaving myself he pulled on past and I saw him again at the bottom of a hill with a slow lazy curve coming into sight holding a radar gun checking speed of oncoming vehicles.  Fortunately I was still behaving myself.

Reaching the ferry terminal I followed instructions to enter the port.  The enterance reminded me more of customs than a toll booth.  Since I hadn't gotten an advance reservation there was a little more paperwork to do.  Apparently in the high season it is almost impossible to get a place to board if you haven't reserved in advance.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5398)

I was directed to park at the front of one of the loading lanes and looked around.  It was a huge parking lot, one side filled with cars,  and the other with Rvs, Trucks and Semis.  In another segment of the lot semi-trailers were parked without their tractors, and a small shunt truck painted bright yellow was towing them up onto the ship.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5397)

The ship parked ahead was huge – it resembled a cruise ship more than a ferry.  My mental image of a ferry had been a flat barge.  This was a far cry from that.  The fog was thickening and it was impossible to see much beyond the parking area and the boat.  A little eerie.

Parking I got off the bike to stretch my legs.  I was feeling a little stiff having pushed riding a bit far to make the ferry in time to book a space for the evening.  A call came for boarding, but the attendant who was directing traffic let me know that they were loading the hold first and it would likely be at least an hour before they got to the bike.  Apparently the hold in the ship is accessed by an elevator and they rarely put bikes down there.  I walked into the area surrounding the port, waiting for a security guard to let me outside the gate to take a quick look around and find a cup of coffee.  The warmth of the coffee was appreciated given the rapidly dropping temperatures outside .

Heading back towards the ship I pressed the intercom button on the gate and waited.  Then waited a bit more.  I pressed it again.  Hmmm.... I walked over and looked inside the guard shack.  I still had plenty of time to get back to my bike.  About five minutes later the guard returned and let me back in after checking my bording pass.

Returning to the bike I stopped to talk with a friendly driver.  He had a small truck and was hauling a brand new RV over to the island.  Turns out he was a commercial driver who specialized in hot-shots, usually picking up recreatinoal vehicles and boats in the states and bringing them up to Canada.  He was called to load his vehicle, and I returned to my bike.  While I was gone another rider had joined the lineup.  I walked over to talk to the rider of the Honda ST.  Tom was doing some solo touring as well and was from New Hampshire.  We talked about bikes, customization, the roads and then were called to load up on board.

I was very relieved to see that we were heading across a relatively flat ramp to board the boat.  I had no idea what to expect, and somehow I wound up leading Tom.  Reaching the boarding planks there were a lot of staff providing directions, and I stopped my bike a little too early.  He directed me forward a bit more and had me park my bike right inbetween four deck tie-downs.  I was a little nervous because the deck was wet and looked rather slippery. Dismounting from the bike I quickly removed gloves and helmet. 

The deck hand provided me with a batch of tiedowns and asked if I had been on the ferry before.  He gave me instructions on how he wanted the bike tied down – two points on the rear, and through the front tire to both sides.  The crossing was expected to be quiet so I didn't have to worry as much. 

I threaded the rope through the first mounting point I selected on the bike, and slipped the metal hook through the loops in the rope.  Then I attached the second end of the hook to the deck and pulled it tight, snapping the buckle clip over once I had the cable taught.  The same on the other side. 

The deck hand came over and told me it needed to be a little tighter, and suggested that I might want my husband to give me a hand as it was easier with two.  I looked at him a little blankly, and he correctly interpreted the look – “oh, I'm sorry I justa ssumed the other biker was your husband”.  He told me that he wasn't supposed to help with tie downs, but gave me a hand regardless,  I thought that was really nice of him.

Once I had my bike secured, I went back to give Tom a hand with his.  Once both bikes were secure we collected our stuff from the bikes and headed up into the ship.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5400)

Wow!  This was certainly not what I had pictured.  The boat was the Blue Puttee, and was one of the newest additions to the fleet.  It was very nice, and looked more like a cruise ship than a utilitarian vessel.  I walked around to see what was offered.  A playroom for kids.  Video arcade for teens.  Internet cafe.  Gift shop.  Tourist information.  A bar, restaurant and cafeteria.  Upstairs there were small cabins for people who had paid the extra to have a place to sleep overnight, as well as an area with reserved seating. Outside all that you could see was the thick fog.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5401)

Looking around for information about the vessel, a helpful crew member provided me with a bit of detail since they didn't have anything out on it yet.  This boat could take in excess of 500 cars and 1000 passengers.  I did mention that it was huge?

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5402)

I returned to the front of the boat where there were rows of seating with television screens at the front.  The chairs were large, reclining like seats in aircraft.  Lots of room between the aisle – space wasn't at a premium here as it is on an airplane.  The spacing reminded me more of the first class section of an airplane.  I choose a spot where I was going to spend the night.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5403)

Looking out the windows all I could see was fog.  It had really rolled in – you couldn't even see the water below the boat.  I sat and felt the gentle rocking of the boat and listened to the deep thrum of the engines.  I was on my way to Newfoundland.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 12, 2011, 06:51:22 AM
.....but, but....  I thought you were in Maine ! ! !   :dontknow:

Eh, I'm getting ahead of yourself !...      roflol roflol roflol

 :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 12, 2011, 12:31:57 PM
Enjoying the write-ups O! Keep'em comin!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 12, 2011, 10:03:47 PM
Well...  If I don't have the time for a proper writeup the dailies would look like:

Right now I am a little ahead of schedule.  Been covering more ground than I expected. 

Today was... Interesting...  Lots of rain (as in hydroplanable puddles). Soaked boots and gloves, wicked up my socks and up my legs, as well as up my arms.  Cold and clammy.

Temperatures have been slowly rising as I have headed south.

The rain stopped and I tried to put some distance between me and it.  Then I managed to get sucked into some rather intimidating roads this evening.  I did New York and the New Jersey Turnpike after dark.  (Drivers out here...  Shall we just say they aren't very polite?). 

On the south end of the Turnpike - it has narrowed to 3 lanes from 10 (I didn't spend a lot of time counting - it was dark and people wanted to kill me)... Pulled into a motel for the night. My clothes are still wet and I can't see finding a campground in this concrete population belt.  I decided getting off the road was the *best* idea. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 13, 2011, 12:46:04 AM
So... Does anyone care to wager a guess where I am today?

No Idea "Miss-Travel-The-World-While-I-Work".....that's Your cue to enlighten us..... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 13, 2011, 04:04:31 AM
Are you still planning to take the BRP and Skyline Drive?  Just take I-66 east out of DC to exit 13.  Turn left on Apple Mountain Rd.  Turn right on John Marshall Highway (55).  Follow 55 to US340 (South Royal Ave.) and turn left.  Skyline Drive will be about 1/2 mile on your left.  I would top of your fuel in Front Roayl.  It should be about a four hour ride to the BRP.  ENJOY THE RIDE!!!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=New+York,+NY&aq=1&sll=34.065405,-84.352534&sspn=0.015038,0.032938&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=New+York&ll=38.854013,-78.182831&spn=0.113094,0.2635&t=h&z=13 (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=New+York,+NY&aq=1&sll=34.065405,-84.352534&sspn=0.015038,0.032938&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=New+York&ll=38.854013,-78.182831&spn=0.113094,0.2635&t=h&z=13)

http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm (http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 13, 2011, 12:05:03 PM
Ah, headed for Skyline Drive......we'll be in Maggie Valley off the BRP next Thursday for the TRIKE TALK RALLY IN THE VALLEY IV......where You gonna' be then Olive.....?....... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 15, 2011, 07:42:20 AM
Not even phone service yesterday. Rode through Shenandoah National park through Skyline Drive, and then down the Skyway. Beautiful roads built for bikes! Camped at Otter Creek last night, and just ducked out to get coffee and a cup of internet connection. :goofy:

This morning was a fairly sedate ride - I headed along the parkway for some time until I caught up to another rider. Following them I noted that they were slowing down a lot for corners, braking IN corners, and seemed to be a fairly new rider. Not wanting to spook them I waited for a passing zone and then went on by. He decided to follow me into a corner, and I watched him almost arrange a single bike accident. I didn't mean to suck another rider in, but it seemed he was determined to try to keep up hammering it through the short straights and braking for corners. (I remember when I started to ride... it wasn't that long ago).

I decided to slow up and show them proper lines through corners, and point out road obstacles. See if I could impart the lesson of "the pace". Besides, it wasn't that far before I was heading off the parkway for gas and coffee, and I decided the responsible thing was to watch out for the other rider. Really wished I could have given him one message: "ride your own ride".

Heading back on the Parkway today. Planning a group ride on Sunday... mark your calendars!  And please let me know if you can join us.

I will catch up on posts properly in a day or so. Really want to be back out on the Parkway today.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 15, 2011, 12:45:42 PM
"WHO, WHERE, WHEN" on Sunday.....the Trike will be packed, but dependin' on the answer to the first part, the PCX125 "might" could make it, at least for a twisty meet-up somewhere. Depends a lot on how much I get done on Saturday toward next week's TRIKE RALLY..... :headbang: :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 15, 2011, 04:00:12 PM
Oh !  So you're putting a trike rally ahead of meeting up with an international touring pro ? ? ?   How could you even THINK of such a dastardly act ? ? ? 

 roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 15, 2011, 09:07:27 PM
I am just posting a quick update of where I am today (still need to catchup on PROPER ride reprots, but thought a brief update would be in order):

Spent today riding the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Beautiful ride.  Gorgeous weather.. this morning.

Earlier I posted that I couldn't wait to get back on the Parkway.... this evening I couldn't wait to get OFF of it. 

The weather was a little overcast.  I thought nothing of it.  I rode through a brief rain shower - a little sprinkle, then it dried up again.  Did this a few times. 

It was taunting me.

The next "brief rain shower" turned into a torrential downpour in short order.  By the time I found a place to pull over to don rain gear I was completely drenched.  Decision time... do I put on rain gear and trap all of the lovely wet inside... or do I gamble that the weather will dry up quicky, as will I... I went with the latter option.  Apparently a huge mistake.

The rain didn't stop.  It was out to have a real party.  After inviting close friends lightning and thunder, it also thought to add to the scenery with low lying clouds.  Looking down from the Blue Ridge you could see them. You could also see them on the parkway.  However, you couldn't see through them.  Very bad for visibility, and the cloud banks varied in size. 

Then a little wind storm kicked up.  It didn't seem that bad, but it left a mess all over the road.  Scattered green leaves stripped from trees.  When wet on the roadway they are as slick as owl snot - this is something I can personally attest to.  Small branches from trees.  Two not-so-small-branches, also torn from trees.  A small rockfall. 

At first my plan was to push past the storm cell... then my plan was to get off of the road before it got me off without my authorization.  As dusk fell things got rapidly worse. To this end I was riding with my fours flashing, speed down to 25 MPH in sections with heavy low lying clouds just so I could see the crap on the road in enough time to dodge it.  I was very thankful I had slowed down that much as I saw a large animal cross the road in front of me - I think it was yet another deer. 

I paused at the top of a lookout to take a brake as the rain let up a bit.  I had a view across the valley, not too bad - a clear spot in the clouds...  this wasn't long lived.  I watched the clouds blow in around me, and within two minutes all I could see was thick white fog.  Very fast moving storm system!

I was beginning to seriously think of just holing up for the night in a park bathroom.  Finally I saw the sign for Asheville loom out of a cloud bank.  Very relieved I headed for town and booked into a cheap motel for the night.  I was so wet by this point in time all of my clothing was drenched.  Perhaps I would have been better served by putting rain gear on over wet clothing - it would have kept me a little drier.

Tomorrow I plan to finish riding the Blue Ridge (if road conditions warrant) as well as some of the other area roads.

As I said, I kept this one "short"... and a proper full ride report will follow.



Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 16, 2011, 12:05:21 AM
Oh !  So you're putting a trike rally ahead of meeting up with an international touring pro ? ? ?   How could you even THINK of such a dastardly act ? ? ?  

 roflol roflol roflol


"Not Exactly", but the 5-Day TRIKE RALLY has been booked since this time last year..... :laughing7:

....."and", with the Trike being more or less packed for the Trip and put away, my only "Non-Cage" Ride right now is the PCX125 Scooter. I don't mind ridin' twisties with it along with Motorcycles (I do it all the time), but dependin' on where Sunday's "Olive Ride" is, I may not can get there, ride, then get Home in a Day..... :headbang: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 17, 2011, 06:16:21 AM
A catch-up post on Newfoundland....

Having slept in a reclining chair – errr... make that having rested fitfully the previous night, I was up early enjoying the daylight which gave me a much clearer view of the fog.  I had coffee on the boat, and had to wait for it to board before I could go down to the bike.  Getting down there I re-loaded my bike and got ready to go.

Looking back at the other rider, Tom, I noticed he had left one of the tie downs looped through his front tire.  I removed it for him before disaster could strike – he wouldn't have gotten very far vertically if he left that in the wheel.

Tom left the boat before I did, and I left a little nervous about the deck and the ramp off the ferry.  Heading off I noticed him stopped at the side of the lot before the road left the ferry terminal, and waved as I went past.  I went charging into the fog, thinking I would see what it was like when I got moving, and perhaps stop very early if the fog didn't clear. 

Having watched the crazy Canadian chick take off in the fog, Tom decided to follow me.  We were the only two motorcycles on the boat the night previous, and there was only one road to follow.

The highway went past a place called Wreckhouse. It was named a such because of the strong winds in the area – they had demolished every house that had been built in that location.  The winds weren't too bad and the fog was beginning to lift as we headed inland from the coast.

After a short while the fog cleared, and Tom and myself continued to ride together.  I put on my signal to pull off the road and he followed.  We stopped, had a quick discussion and decided to go for coffee.  He suggested McDonalds, and I waved him ahead.  He took the first exit, and then did a U-turn when the road turned to gravel as it entered a nature preserve.  Returning the way we had come, we located the McDonalds in Corner Brook.  The parking lot was up a fairly steep hill in a small shopping plaza.  Beautiful view of the town with houses built along the shore up the steep hills.

After coffee, we decided to ride together for the day.  Tom explained that he was originally going to stop to gear up in some rain wear and perhaps go for coffee to wait out the fog, but when he saw me take off decided to follow. 

The scattered population in Newfoundland is mostly located near the water.  Some areas, such as St Johns have a much higher population.  The areas with higher populations had chains like Tim Hortons and McDonalds, but most places only had local restaurants.  Some gas and service stations actually had limited hours posted.  People go where there are jobs.  Plenty of construction projects along the road were evident.  One temporary bridge that diverted around a project was simply metal grating put down on a simple frame to cross the river.  Not my favourite to ride on. 

Telephone poles supported wires along the roadway.  Some of them were buried in the ground and others were supported by what looked like large wooden crates filled with rocks.  I assumed that it was because Newfoundland is a large rock.  (There is a reason a lot of people refer to it as “the rock”. 

We rode past a variety of scenery.  Forests, fields, houses occasionally dotted the roadside.  A lot of the land looked pristine and untouched.  Garbage bins at the side of the road were painted bright, cheerful colours.  Some were decorated with flowers, others with images, one even illustrated which team the occupant supported. 

The highway was one lane in each direction, with passing lanes opening up regularly.  There was a lot of traffic coming off of the ferry, but onec that spaced out the road was little traveled. 

We headed to Gros Morne National Park.  Entering the park we stopped at the booth.  I had a family national parks pass for the year, and it easily covered both bikes – it was nice to save someone a few dollars.  We headed first for the Tablelands.  Turning onto the road that lead for that part of the park Tom took the lead for a while.  He went over the edge of a freshly painted road line.  I followed suit, my back tire sliding out as I went over the slippery paint.  Whups.  Following the Honda ST I was amused by the bright yellow stripe on the side of the tire.   The road was very hilly with a number of very steep slopes winding through wooded terrain.

Approaching the shore quite a few small fishing villages opened up.  Houses were perched above the road, as well as below.  The driveways to the houses were paved and looked more than a little intimidating.  I was very glad not to take them on a bike.

The road leading up to the tablelands went around a very sharp hairpin turn, and a steep hill.  Not something I would want to try in the winter.  As we reached the plateau the land opened up around us.  Sandy brown flat topped mountains rose on one side, and growth was very sparse.  There were hiking trails available, but we stayed with the bikes. 

From the tablelands we did some more riding around the park checking out what was to be seen, including a few small towns.

Leaving this section of the park I spooked myself on the sharp right at the bottom of the hill, deciding at the last minute to go left which didn't involve a sharp turn at low speeds.  A little later in the trip (as in a few days later) I figured out why I had been feeling a little spooked on the tight right handers at low speed – the throttle rocker I use as a cruise control would impact the tank bag at a full turn, limiting the bike's agility.  I moved it a little further out on the bars – problem solved. 

Tom and myself stopped for gas and tried to locate an air pump – one of my tires was a little low.  The gas station didn't have one – apparently they had gotten tired of having air chock and hose stolen regularly, and just quit providing air.  Same with other gas stations in the area.  The local auto service bay had air available, but had very limited hours, only open in the morning.  I wasn't that low so just continued on.

Time for a quick food stop – we choose the only restaurant in town... a small place called “restaurant”.  A quick bite then we were off exploring more of Newfoundland.  Heading back to the ferry we encountered some strong winds.  We wanted to get to the boat a little on the early side because we didn't have a reservation, and I had reservations about evening fog.  Our plan was to book the boat and then do a bit more riding in the area – by the time we reached the ferry the fog was beginning to settle and Tom's teeth were chattering.   Yes, temperatures dropped rapidly. 

We went inside the ferry building for a coffee and to warm up.  Tom discovered that there were showers in the building.  Unfortunately the showers didn't have a shower head or running water... there were just signs and something to taunt travellers. 

The boat started loading a few hours before departure, and bikes were waved on early.  Behind us two Newfoundlanders had ridden up planning to spend their weekend exploring the mainland – a father and son pair of riders.  One on a well beat up sport bike and leathers, the other on a more conventional cruiser.  They followed us onto the ship. 

Parking the bike I looked around for tie-downs, finally having to ask a deck-hand.  He pointed at the chains and hooks.  Since he clearly didn't understand what I was looking for I asked him how I was supposed to use these on the bike – he said just hook onto the bike anywhere.  Ummmm... I don't think that it is a good idea to put a metal hook on my bike, any more than a person might appreciate having a hook buried on their car.  After talking to two other deck hands, the proper tie-downs were produced and I showed the other two riders how to secure their bikes as it was their first ferry journey off the rock with the bikes.

In the hold even the semi-trailers were being tied down to the deck.  They expected a rough crossing.  As we finished making sure the bikes were well secured, three more bikers rolled up.  They were on larger dual-purpose bikes and had ridden through Labrador and did the return trip through Newfoundland.  The roads in Labrador are a lot more remote and there is no way that anyone in their right mind would take a sport touring road bike on them. 

This ferry was a little older than the one I had taken out.  Facilities weren't quite as nice and the reclining seating was in a dark area without windows.  I staked out a seat for the evening, and then explored the rest of the ship.  Returning to the reclining seat I used my jacket as a blanket and tried to get a little rest in the chair.  Some people in the area had actually brought pillows, blankets and bunked down on the floor.  Technically not allowed, but nobody said anything to them. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 17, 2011, 07:25:26 AM
we choose the only restaurant in town... a small place called “restaurant”.

Dag nab it all  !!   I shoulda named Ol'86  "bike"  !    (forreal) (forreal) (forreal)

 roflol roflol roflol

....."a much clearer view of the fog" ...    O', ya killin' me ! ! !     :laughing7:

Very entertaining commentary.   Keep up the good work !    :icon_thumleft:





Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 17, 2011, 07:40:37 AM
Where are You at right now Olive, and where is Your Ride this weekend..... :dontknow: :dontknow: :dontknow:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 17, 2011, 11:01:39 AM
Atlanta - meeting up with Bigfoot and Troll this evening.  Out with Wrestler right now.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 17, 2011, 11:11:24 AM
Atlanta - meeting up with Bigfoot and Troll this evening.  Out with Wrestler right now.
What a social butterfly you are  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 17, 2011, 12:20:42 PM
What a social butterfly you are  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

No kidding...she knows more people than Wilt Chamberlain.. :laughing7:
I saw the pics, looks great. Hope ya enjoying yourself after the run-in with the Cop...in flat black  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 17, 2011, 12:26:57 PM
Pictures from Newfoundland...

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5404)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5405)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5406)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5407)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5408)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5409)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5410)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5411)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5412)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5413)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5414)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5415)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 17, 2011, 01:42:01 PM
So O.... you gonna write this whole adventure up and submit it anywhere for print?  :dontknow:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 17, 2011, 02:36:49 PM
So O.... you gonna write this whole adventure up and submit it anywhere for print?  :dontknow:

Why?  Do you want to buy an autographed copy?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 17, 2011, 02:50:56 PM
So O.... you gonna write this whole adventure up and submit it anywhere for print?  :dontknow:

Why?  Do you want to buy an autographed copy?
:laughing4:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 17, 2011, 04:54:37 PM
Sure I got a

(http://www.duanestorey.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/penny.jpg)

 :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :nah: :nah:

J/K Nik, you write VERY well and you know it!  :headbang: :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 17, 2011, 05:24:36 PM
Sure I got a

([url]http://www.duanestorey.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/penny.jpg[/url])

 :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :nah: :nah:

J/K Nik, you write VERY well and you know it!  :headbang: :headbang:

Thats worth 1.03c US right now, ya may wanna go cash it in.
O can write  :dontknow:...who'da thunk
What we talking, Hardback or soft cover? Freakin Oprah leaves us right when we've got a bestseller !!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 17, 2011, 05:30:30 PM
My .01 Canadian !....  I've seen a lot of bike touring articles in different mags.  Have yet to read one that compares to your literary talent !....  Highly suggest you save everything you write and get it published.  How that's done,  :dontknow:  ...  but it's worth a try.  Only takes one good-to-best seller and you're KNOWN ! 

 :icon_thumleft: 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 17, 2011, 05:42:35 PM
and you're KNOWN ! 
Just dont get "KNOWN" like I am  roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


All BS aside go for it Nik...I think you already had that in your sights anyway tho  :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 17, 2011, 06:25:33 PM
Just dont get "KNOWN" like I am

Oh HELLLL no ! ! ! 

 roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol



Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 17, 2011, 08:10:06 PM
Just back home from Dinner with the wife, Nicole and Troy. Good times, good food and  great conversation at Tilted Kilt. Glad we worked out timing to be able to get together.  :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 17, 2011, 10:36:55 PM
Great to see Bigfoot and Troll!  And thanks for dinner :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 17, 2011, 10:37:59 PM
My .01 Canadian !....  I've seen a lot of bike touring articles in different mags.  Have yet to read one that compares to your literary talent !....  Highly suggest you save everything you write and get it published.  How that's done,  :dontknow:  ...  but it's worth a try.  Only takes one good-to-best seller and you're KNOWN ! 

 :icon_thumleft: 

 :icon_thumleft:  :icon_thumright:  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 18, 2011, 01:07:51 AM
Great to see Bigfoot and Troll!  And thanks for dinner :headbang:

 :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 18, 2011, 08:48:09 AM
Great to see Bigfoot and Troll!  And thanks for dinner :headbang:

 :icon_thumleft:  :icon_thumright:  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 18, 2011, 09:29:11 AM
Ahh...Yer living the dream Nik...guess its time to throw the dead cow on and get my little piece of the dream today.

No comparison to yours tho but WTH a little is better than zero  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 20, 2011, 03:33:33 PM
 Have you found the heat you were looking for?  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 20, 2011, 06:57:11 PM
We could turn down this oven a few degrees please!  Fine when I'm riding but this tent is very hot.  Tempted to go for a swim in the alligator swamp...  Lol.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 20, 2011, 07:01:20 PM
We could turn down this oven a few degrees please!  Fine when I'm riding but this tent is very hot.  Tempted to go for a swim in the alligator swamp...  Lol.
Hope you have a big stick......


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 20, 2011, 07:04:05 PM
We could turn down this oven a few degrees please!  Fine when I'm riding but this tent is very hot.  Tempted to go for a swim in the alligator swamp...  Lol.
roflol roflol roflol roflol Aint even hot there..wait a while till ya get here...we are 107 today but it SNOWED in Telluride TODAY!!! So you will be at "home" there  (forreal) (forreal) :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 21, 2011, 05:37:26 AM
Last night I camped at Laura S. Walker State Park.  it was very odd to pull in and find the campground deserted.  There wasn't even a campground host in attendance.  I read all of the notice boards and learned about the fire ban and procedures in place in case of tornado.  I also discovered the note on the office requesting campers to return to the office after 8am to register.  The fact there was no gate attendant on duty didn't worry me overly much given the hour.  Although it was really weird to be the only person in a campground in prime camping season!

I did spot a couple walking through the park.  I stopped to talk to them.  Locals out for an evening walk.  They also found it really weird that the campground was deserted - even the volunteer campground host was gone. 

After a bit of deliberation I decided to just pitch the tent.  Since there was nobody to pay when I left this morning I got my nine square feet of dirt last night for free. 

Riding out this morning I encountered thick smoke on the highway to the south in a few patches.  Really weird to ride through.  The sun did it's best to illuminate the scene, a dim red ball ominously hanging in the sky.

With access to a WIFI I decided to see if I could find any news on the fires in conjunction with Laura S Walker State Park.  Found this:

http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2011-06-18/story/not-enough-rain-help-douse-southeast-georgia-fires (http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2011-06-18/story/not-enough-rain-help-douse-southeast-georgia-fires)

It is from a couple of days ago, but I had a chuckle at the following at the bottom of the article:

Quote
"Chinooks were filling up at Laura S. Walker State Park on Friday where, Assistant Manager Wade Huffman said, the lake has been closed for days because the water was too low for boats. The park has smoke warnings on its website and warnings that it could be evacuated.

It is nonetheless open albeit with a single camper.

“I did everything I could to scare him away,’’ clerk Jen Dyal said, including warning him the window-shaking Chinooks were dipping water from the lake.

“He said, 'That ought to be fun,’’’ she said.

There is no fun inside the swamp as Okefenokee Swamp Park, Suwannee Canal Recreation Area, Kingfisher Landing and Stephen C. Foster State Park are all closed.
"


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 21, 2011, 06:40:20 AM
'That ought to be fun,’’’

This so easily could've been a classic comment of a certain Crazy Kanuuckian chick who's riding a loaded silver VFR all over the damn place, sounds just like something she'd say...........and do!!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 21, 2011, 07:11:19 AM
The smoke is bad enough, but swamp fires are really nasty smelling!  I think Florida has quite a few fires right now, but I hear the bridge to the Keys is an awesome ride.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 21, 2011, 12:27:30 PM
'That ought to be fun,’’’

This so easily could've been a classic comment of a certain Crazy Kanuuckian chick who's riding a loaded silver VFR all over the damn place, sounds just like something she'd say...........and do!!

The proof of that is the fact that I camped there last night and had the entire campground to myself.  Probably why I found the article so amusing.  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 21, 2011, 12:31:35 PM
The smoke is bad enough, but swamp fires are really nasty smelling!  I think Florida has quite a few fires right now, but I hear the bridge to the Keys is an awesome ride.

Probably a good thing that I don't have a very good sense of smell. 

I missed out on this, and I missed out on the manure/fertilizer truck that Blesk, Bigfoot and myself were following on Sunday.  She commented on it later and I was mystified as to what truck she was talking about until she clarified that it was the slow one descending Blood Mountain.  Yup, I remember a slow moving white truck there...   :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 22, 2011, 04:10:46 AM
We used to get trucks around here hauling the stuff they didn't use from the chicken processing plants.  I don't think there is any worse smell on the planet.  You would smell them a mile or two ahead of you on the interstate and you either had to get off or catch and pass them.  Would bring tears to your eyes!!!

I understand that the toll roads around Miami are kind of weird.  Apparently some of them take a picture of your tag and send you a bill.  Wonder how that works with Canadian tags?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 23, 2011, 05:29:17 AM
As I moved south in Florida traffic continued to get worse and driving was slow.  Crowded with people everywhere.  The gear is OK when I am moving, but overheats quickly if the vents aren't able to let air pass through.

I got stuck in traffic for two and a half hours.  The final traffic straw for me was getting pushed to the right by a car that decided to share my lane at the same time someone behind me decided to overlap me in the shoulder.  The car ahead of me made sure I was properly boxed in.  I had the center of the lane, but it felt as if I were lanesplitting with vehicles to the left and right. Apparent total disregard for those funny lines painted on the pavement that hold meaning for people who are not from Florida, and lack of respect for the motorcyclist.

Toll roads down here are very strange.  Signs indicated on the one that I had routed myself towards that only their sunpass was accepted, no cash.  Vehicles taking the road without a sunpass would have their plate photographed and be sent a $100 ticket in the mail.  Hmmmm.... that really isn't good for tourism.  Why should I have to purchase a transponder to drive down a road once?  Plus I had no idea where to even get one.

Recognizing that I really had no use for the big cities, traffic and oppressive heat as well as recognizing that I didn't NEED to be there - after all this was a trip, I took an exit planning to just hit a campground and figure out tomorrow when it came.  I assumed I would find one in Alligator Alley which is also national/state park.  That was also toll road, but the booth was manned so that was not an issue.

Lots of places to picnic or launch a boat, but no campground.  Also no place to turn around for the next 80 miles - that was also where you could stop for gas.  By this point I didn't see the point in turning back, so I headed for Naples which was only 20 miles away.

Arriving there I found camping was going to cost me $55-60 for the night.  Mostly RV Campgrounds in the area.  Being sensible I got a motel for $39 for the night.  It doesn't seem logical to me either.  I might have found a cheaper place for my tent, but I didn't want to drive around in the rain looking, and this seemed a very good solution.

When I originally peeled off looking for a place for the night I figured that traffic in the morning would be better, I wouldn't have made the keys that evening and camping would increase in expense if I pressed on.  So stopping for the night was a good idea. 

This is why I am in Naples, and not Key West.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 23, 2011, 05:38:43 AM
Florida in the summer is not a fun place to drive!  Sh*t, Florida isn't ever a fun place to drive or ride.  Miami is insane and anything near a beach is packed.  Good luck with today's route!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 23, 2011, 05:47:36 AM
I still have to do a proper job running through photos, but a few people wanted to see what the smoke ride looked like (this was South Georgia on Tuesday).

Smoke from Forest Fires:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5416)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5417)

Also a couple of shots from the storm on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This is the evening of the storm - looking down you can see very low lying clouds.  This was a very brief lull in the rain, and by the time I had geared up this overlook had whispy clouds blow in so quickly that it was as if I was riding through a thick fog:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5418)

The morning after showcased some of the leaves that had been stripped from trees.  There were also a lot of twigs stripped, as well as some branches and whole trees. This shot shows the road that the path of cars had been clearing as they drove over the detrius of the storm:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5419)

An overlook that had not had the same benefit of cars "sweeping" up the leaves:

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5420)

(I wasn't kidding when I mentioned the less-than-optimal riding conditions).


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 23, 2011, 07:13:23 AM
Damn O, you've got alot to write about on this one....holy smokes, you've run into everything. Time to start really mapping out your days, only 1 week till the majority of BBB3's get on the road, the one exception being the one from your neck of the snow...he's off tomorrow.
Have a great ride today Nik......stay outta the way of those fooked up Floridians!!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 23, 2011, 07:44:36 AM
Better yet, insist upon them staying out of YOUR way ! ...  I know, difficult at best being the least significant of the bunch.  I've never been to Florida and I don't think I'd care to.  You've already found out why !  ....  +, it's filled full of ol' geezers like me !  Who'd wanna mess with THAT !  ....    :evil7:

Thanks for the post.  I was wonderin' where you were !....  Have fun, see ya in a week 'n change !  .....

 :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 24, 2011, 06:00:18 AM
Yesterday I stayed on secondaries and local roads exploring a number of small islands, and places like Longboat Key.  It is strange to be driving down a road on an island that is so narrow you can see the ocean by looking either left or right. 

The weather isn't bad as long as I keep moving which allows a little breeze into my gear.  Sitting stopped in traffic with the sun beating down creates my own private sauna. 

I stopped at one of the local beaches and waded in the ocean.   The water is surprisingly warm and the sand is very fine and soft.  The beach was much cleaner than I had expected.  Garbage strewn around was minimal.  Since it was mid-week there weren't many people on the beach, but parking was still at a premium and roads on the islands and keys were busy.

Today's plan is to head up the north west coast of Florida.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 24, 2011, 07:39:26 AM
What's your mileage so far, O ?   I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 km 'n change !  Close ?     :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 24, 2011, 10:57:29 AM
My bike turned 20,000km this morning.

I bought it in October at 0km, parked it for 7 months... 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 24, 2011, 07:05:56 PM
Tonight's sport was "find a campground".  Loads of RV camping but us tenters are second class citizens in Florida it seems.

Had lots of fun with one - downhill access was steep.  Started on asphalt turned to packed gravel turned to loose sand.  At the bottom I found an "absolutely no tents allowed" sign.  Turning around was best accomplished by riding through the campground which was all deep, loose sand - at least the roads were.  You could see the deep tire tracks left by the RVs that had passed there before me.

Just to clarify one small point...  I do NOT like riding in deep, soft sand.

Very relieved to get back up on the main road.  Tonight I am in a KOA.  This also involved riding on some sand roads within the campground, but at least it wasn't deep.

Milton, Florida.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 24, 2011, 07:08:03 PM
My bike turned 20,000km this morning.

I bought it in October at 0km, parked it for 7 months... 

Ok, but I was talkin' about your current trip mileage...  sorry !   :crybaby2:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 24, 2011, 07:11:14 PM
Tonight's sport was "find a campground".  Loads of RV camping but us tenters are second class citizens in Florida it seems.

Had lots of fun with one - downhill access was steep.  Started on asphalt turned to packed gravel turned to loose sand.  At the bottom I found an "absolutely no tents allowed" sign.  Turning around was best accomplished by riding through the campground which was all deep, loose sand - at least the roads were.  You could see the deep tire tracks left by the RVs that had passed there before me.

Just to clarify one small point...  I do NOT like riding in deep, soft sand.

Very relieved to get back up on the main road.  Tonight I am in a KOA.  This also involved riding on some sand roads within the campground, but at least it wasn't deep.

Milton, Florida.

How's the humidity ? ?  I understand it gets pretty miserable there this time of year !!....


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 24, 2011, 07:19:22 PM
Humidity?  It was in the form of rain all day.  Water pooling on the road in places, and up to car running boards in a parking lot.  For some reason I didn't try to park there.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 24, 2011, 08:38:34 PM
How's the humidity ? ?  I understand it gets pretty miserable there this time of year !!....
You don't have to go that far south to find the humidity. It is here in GA.  :disgust:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on June 25, 2011, 02:08:05 AM
.....and High Humidity here in Maggie Valley,NC at the TRIKE RALLY.....also rained (POURED) the whole length of the Cherohala Skyway yesterday....Anyone else had this same experience before...... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 25, 2011, 04:18:08 AM
I think I still have water in my boots from that trip across the Cherohala!  The humidity in Atlanta is only 90% this morning!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 25, 2011, 05:24:11 AM
Wet?  I had a wee bit 'o that on Blue Ridge. 

Apparently you can dress me up but you can't take me anywhere... Since I skipped dinner I stopped for a hot breakfast.  Cracker barrel. 

Hmmm... This breakfast includes biscuits and grits.

I remember "grits" are sorta like hot cereal.  My breakfast comes out and I pick up a spoon and start eating.  Ok.  Sorta like a congealed cream soup.  I get a very odd look from the waitress when she comes out with the actual bowl of grits. I was eating a white gravy that was intended for the biscuits. :disgust: 
Bloody canucks don't know a grit if it bit them on the nose.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on June 25, 2011, 07:31:29 AM
Grits=warm sand


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 25, 2011, 09:02:04 AM
Grits=warm, tasteless sand

 :icon_puke_r:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 25, 2011, 09:03:50 AM
Since I skipped dinner the night before I decided to stop this morning for a hot Southern breakfast including biscuits and grits.

I know "grits" are sorta like hot cereal, but it is not a common menu item for me up in Canada. My breakfast came to the table and I picked up a spoon and start eating. So grits are sorta like a congealed cream soup served luke-warm. I got a decidedly odd look from the waitress when she came out with the actual bowl of grits. I was eating a white gravy that was intended for the biscuits.  

After my food faux pas I spotted a sign for an attraction that looked interesting.  I took a detour to the  http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/ (http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/) .  It is actually on the base.  Entering the base I was asked for my driver's license and the guard did a double take remarking that I was quite a ways away from home.  Very interesting place to wander through.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 25, 2011, 11:21:50 AM
Linky wont work O....
btw.....how about a re-title to "six weeks, a wetsuit and a canoe"


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 25, 2011, 11:32:57 AM
Linky wont work O....
Link fixed  :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 25, 2011, 01:48:43 PM
Linky wont work O....
Link fixed  :icon_thumleft:
Thanks Randy  :occasion14:
Looks like a pretty cool joint ta hang for a bit


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 25, 2011, 01:51:26 PM
We need some sorta map to see where the heck you are, I know its Florida and i/m assuming its not far from "Sweet home Alabama"


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: RRW on June 25, 2011, 01:57:14 PM
The Naval Aviation Museum is in Pensacola. That's about 50 miles east of Mobile AL or 1600 miles east of Tucson.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 25, 2011, 03:43:57 PM
Do you think Olive was there looking for a top gun?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 25, 2011, 03:53:04 PM
You really made some southerners laugh with that one!  Grits are ground corn meal cooked like oatmeal or cream of wheat.  There isn't much to them by themselves.  They are better if you dump them on your eggs and bacon/sausage.  Mix all or that up and eat it like a caserole.  Grits have no taste by themselves!  Some people put suger in them... :icon_puke_r:

White gravy is made from bacon or sausage fat and flour with a little milk.  Not exactly healthy, but it sure tastes good.
.

Wet?  I had a wee bit 'o that on Blue Ridge. 

Apparently you can dress me up but you can't take me anywhere... Since I skipped dinner I stopped for a hot breakfast.  Cracker barrel. 

Hmmm... This breakfast includes biscuits and grits.

I remember "grits" are sorta like hot cereal.  My breakfast comes out and I pick up a spoon and start eating.  Ok.  Sorta like a congealed cream soup.  I get a very odd look from the waitress when she comes out with the actual bowl of grits. I was eating a white gravy that was intended for the biscuits. :disgust: 
Bloody canucks don't know a grit if it bit them on the nose.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 25, 2011, 07:06:28 PM
But Aussie...  I left both the wetsuit and canoe at home.  I knew I should have packed them rather than the kitchen sink.

Nomo - I didn't find a top gun there...

As for where the heck I am...  Well, I was in Florida this morning, that turned into Alabama, Mississipi and now Louisiana.  Just outside of Baton Rouge.

I went through New Orleans and it was fitting that I was following the hurricane evacuation route as I had a torrential downpour to ride through.  The rain also hit in Baton Rouge.

Aussie, maybe you're right that I >>>should<<< rename the thread...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 25, 2011, 07:19:33 PM
Watch out for the Mississippi River.  I think it is still pretty high.  I lived in Baton Rouge until I was four.  My dad was going to LSU!

Time to "suck some heads and eat some tails"....crawfish, that is!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 25, 2011, 09:36:06 PM
Keep us posted, gunna haveta check out a map and see exactly where you is at  :laughing7:  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 26, 2011, 10:37:04 PM
Today's selection of fresh roadkill included armadillo, large snake of some unknown variety, turtle, some unidentified small furry creatures and quite a few 'gators. Went exploring swamp country in southern Louisiana.

I try to ensure I am prepared for anything.  I even picked up a spare headlight bulb for the trip.  As an added bonus I even remembered to bring it with me.  The unfortunate bit was that it was the wrong bulb.  The low beam on the 6th gen is a different bulb type than the high beam. My spare was high beam.  Murphy ensured that the low beam burnt out.  A visit to Walmart quickly rectified that issue for me.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 27, 2011, 06:34:03 AM
Today's selection of fresh roadkill included armadillo, large snake of some unknown variety, turtle, some unidentified small furry creatures and quite a few 'gators. Went exploring swamp country in southern Louisiana.

I try to ensure I am prepared for anything.  I even picked up a spare headlight bulb for the trip.  As an added bonus I even remembered to bring it with me.  The unfortunate bit was that it was the wrong bulb.  The low beam on the 6th gen is a different bulb type than the high beam. My spare was high beam.  Murphy ensured that the low beam burnt out.  A visit to Walmart quickly rectified that issue for me.
Although i'm confident you didn't take out any Gators i'm sure your critter count on the bottom of your page could use some re-adjustment, 1 rabbit isn't exactly your grand total.
Who'da thunk Walmart would have a 6th gen low beam bulb...most excellent info i'll be keeping in the memory bank.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 28, 2011, 09:54:25 AM
Looking in the rear-view mirror... a detailed ride report from Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.  A few weeks late, but slowly getting caught up!

After another night sleeping in the chairs of the ferry I was ready for it to dock and return to the road.  This morning was a little less foggy so it was possible to see the wake as the ship cut through the water.  Although the previous night staff had indicated that the crossing was expected to be rough, to the point that even semi-trailers were tied down to the deck, it wasn't that bad.  Occasionally the boat would rock which was an odd feeling.  I was aware that all of my surroundings remained the same, but there was the undeniable feeling of motion followed by an attempt to remain vertical.  On a sudden wave it was a feeling not unlike going down a flight of stairs, expecting one more step and finding a flat landing instead.  Disconcerting.

The boat took much longer to dock that the previous trip, but eventually the boat was secured and the announcement came over the intercom for people to return to their vehicles.  Going downstairs with the press of the crowd I quickly unhooked the restraints and prepared myself for another ride.

On the deck I talked briefly with some of the other guys who had bikes on the boat.  A group of three had been touring Labrador on dual sport bikes which were appropriate to the rough, unpaved road conditions that are found up there.  It is a large land-mass but population is sparse, and roads are under infrequent use.  In many places access from one small town to the next is accomplished by boat or ferry instead of road.  A very different, remote world up there.  My off-road experience is very limited – really on-road but through challenging construction sites or unimproved forestry roads, so that is not the type of trip I would feel confident tackling on my own.  It is also not the type of trip I would want to do solo, because finding help if needed could be a real challenge.  Not many tow trucks in parts that remote, and it is a very long walk back to civilization.

I also said goodbye to Tom.  He was planning a different route through Nova Scotia, so we were parting ways.  He was a good guy to ride with the previous day because our riding styles were complimentary – neither of us were out to collect a “performance award”, and we both had the same idea of a decent pace.

Disembarking from the ferry my first priority was a tank of gas.  It was becoming a rather urgent priority, so I took the first likely looking exit which had an effect opposite than I had intended.  I managed to ride around using more gas without finding a place to replenish the tank.  Returning to the highway I had a few questions in my mind as to how much further the bike would go without refueling.  It was good to see a “gas at this exit” sign come up on the road ahead. 

The day was overcast and chilly, and I decided to stop for a quick coffee.  Then I rode a little further and found a service station that actually had an accessible air hose.  The bike garnered a bit of interest from one of the mechanics at the station, especially when he noticed that the plate wasn't exactly from those parts.  At times it can be rewarding to see the double take that people give you when they realize just how far the bike is from home, and that you are on a solo trip.

Returning to the road I encountered drizzle and more fog.  The roads weren't in great condition, but as with other parts of the maritimes I noted that occasionally the roads changed colour.  In places the pavement had a reddish hue, in others greenish, and in others a more standard grey or black showing where fresh blacktop had been laid.  The road surface was cracked and crazed, reminding me of the crazed glaze on cheap porcelain. 

Despite the weather the road was enjoyable winding through a lot of small towns, houses clustered cloes to the road.  Lots of narrow bridges went over the small streams and tributaries that ran across the land like a spider web.  At times I had the scenery of a small lake. 

Up ahead traffic slowed as we approached two patrol cars with blue and red lights flashing.  As I rode up I was pulled to the side.  The police were doing a vehicle inspection looking for an inspection sticker that indicated the vehicle could be taken on the highway.  After realizing I was from Alberta, with different registration requirements I was waved through on my way. 

The rain was very constant, and the day was chilly.  I stopped at a McDonalds for coffee and to warm up.  The menu amused me, and I decided that since I was in Atlantic Canada I had to try some local fare.  I ordered a McLobster . I kid you not – in the Maritimes McDonalds actually offers McLobster which is made with real Lobster.  It seems disconcerting given the cost of lobster in other parts of Canada and the States, but up there a fresh catch is affordable.

Returning to the bike I plugged my heated vest back in, and decided that I would bypass Prince Edward Island.  I had wanted to visit, but given the weather neither the bridge nor the ferry were likely to be an enjoyable experience.

As I approached the exit for the road leading to the PEI ferry the sun poked out from behind a cloud and the drizzle stopped.  Once again my plans changed as I swung to the right and headed to check out the ferry schedule.  It only runs every few hours so I was still not sure how long the wait would be.  Reaching the terminal I was waved to the front of the line, and an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the ferry was about to begin boarding.  Perfect timing.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5421)

The tiedowns on this ferry were much thinner, and the boat was smaller.  They only wanted bikes secured by two tie-down points, so I quickly clipped the bike in and headed upstairs to check out this boat.  Definitely a different feel from the cruise ship that traversed the strait between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.  Seating was much more utilitarian, and there was a small cafeteria which attracted the majority of passengers. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5422)

I discovered that there was an outside deck where I could stand and watch the ferry pull away from the shore.  The camera got a very good workout as the boat pulled past a lighthouse.  I went around the other side of the boat and discovered access to a top outside deck.  Concrete benches were set up, but very few people were upstairs.  The day was still a bit brisk, but I decided that the best ferry experience would be one with a view that didn't include the inside of the ship or people watching.  What a gorgeous view!  I watched a few fishing trawlers go past.  few people emerged from the lower section of the boat, but quickly returned to the heated section of the boat.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5423)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5424)

The 45 minute ferry ride passed quickly, and it was much more of a water experience than the larger ferry where there was little to see courtesy of the foggy weather that had graced both cruises.  Approaching Prince Edward Island I noticed short reddish cliffs topped with bright emerald green grass.  On one side of the ship we passed a picturesque white whitehouse.  This one provided a much better photo opportunity than before.  A blast on the horn sounded, and I waited on top of the ferry for it to finish docking.  After the ferry docked I headed downstairs to find the ferry deserted.  Apparently the rules on the smaller ferries were a bit different.  For the larger ferry passengers were not allowed on a vehicle deck until the deck had finished docking due to transport Canada regulations.  The smaller ferry had different rules.  I raced down the stairs and to my bike, undoing the restraints, and pulling on the helmet just in time to follow the biker who had parked ahead of me off the ship.  I felt a bit rushed, but that went away quickly as I took in what the tiny island had to offer.  It had a very different feel from the rest of the Maritimes and I was glad that I had taken the time for this particular detour.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5425)

The tiny island was very picturesque.  Emerald green grass, red clayish soil, tiny white houses with sharply peaked roofs that almost resembled cottages, red barns... almost how a child would picture the countryside.  It was like I had always pictured the English countryside – although my bike certainly hadn't left Canada yet.  Roads were narrow, one lane each direction with some areas permitting passing.  It was unrushed.  Signs along the side of the roadway pointed the way to tourist attractions – local businesses offering pottery, the cottage of Anne of Green Gables, beaches, golf... the list went on. 

The ride was a slow, almost lazy pace.  Roads weren't technically challenging, but the island for some reason dictated a chance of pace.  There was no rush to get anywhere.  Perhaps the 45 minute ride on the ferry put me in the mindset – I wasn't in any hurry, I just sat on the bike and took it in.  Much the way I took on the ride.  It was almost disappointing when I entered the outskirts of Charlottetown with evidence of heavy industry and the feeling of a bustling city.  Somehow it seemed out of place on the small island.

I skirted Charlottetown quickly, and then continued to drive through the countryside.  The western part of the province wasn't as geared towards tourists as the eastern section had been.  Fewer signs pointed the way towards tourist attractions and the feel was different. 

As I approached the Confederation Bridge to leave the island I passed a number of campgrounds.  PEI would have been an ideal place to spend the night, but I was destined to continue on further that day so I rode onwards.  Paying the toll at the bridge I looked around for a good place to take a few photographs.  Nothing was evident from this side of the island, but the woman at the toll bridge suggested a good pulloff on the other side of the bridge.

The bridge opened up in front of me.  I had heard a lot about it – talking to a couple of other bikers earlier in the day I wasn't sure what to expect.  They hadn't enjoyed the experience at all and were very happy to hear about the ferry as an alternative to leaving the island.  Certainly the bridge had a reputation. 

Reading up about the bridge brought to light a few interesting facts.  The Confederation Bridge is the world's longest bridge over ice covered waters spanning eight miles of water.  For wide loads the bridge is be closed to two way traffic for periods of up to fifteen minutes.  Pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed on the bridge, however a shuttle service is available for them.  Drivers with vertigo can actually request help to shuttle their vehicle across the bridge.  That says a lot right there about this particular bridge.

Entering the bridge I noted it was narrow, only one lane going each direction.  A very narrow shoulder extended to either side of the thin concrete ribbon that stretched out across the expanse of water.  The edges of the bridge were concrete barricades, just like the ones I was accustomed to seeing in construction zones or between lanes of traffic on the freeway.  Light poles extended along the bridge like a row of toothpicks far into the distance.  Every so often traffic lights were evident at the side of the bridge, to communicate issues further along to drivers on the thin concrete ribbon.

Looking over the barricade I noted the Northumberland Strait below.  In the distance there were a few boats, but an expanse of water stretched as far as the eye could see.  Ahead of me the bridge stretched out into the distance, and I couldn't see land on the other end.  Prince Edward Island receeded in my mirrors as I headed across the bridge.  Finally New Brunswick came into view, and I pulled off the bridge and stopped at the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre which provided an opportunity to take some absolutely spectactular photos of the bridge.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5426)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5427)

Another lighthouse was also near the nature centre providing another fantastic photo opportunity.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5428)

After walking around for a while, I continued heading south across New Brunswick taking some secondary highways and finally finding a place to spend the night near Moncton.  Another day was in the books.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on June 28, 2011, 02:37:11 PM
Great report and WOW! That grass is really green and that water is beautiful in the one lighthouse pic! Where are you now?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 28, 2011, 07:52:38 PM
Texas where the grass is brown, trees are green and "Lost Creek" appeared to have lost all of its water.  Noticed the same issue when a bridge crossed a river...  The river was also missing.

109 in the shade - dry heat.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on June 28, 2011, 08:18:26 PM
Texas where the grass is brown, trees are green and "Lost Creek" appeared to have lost all of its water.  Noticed the same issue when a bridge crossed a river...  The river was also missing.

109 in the shade - dry heat.


Are you sure you aren't in Arizona?  Their rivers don't have any water either!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on June 28, 2011, 08:43:18 PM
Where exactly in Texas are ya girl?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 28, 2011, 08:51:07 PM
Where exactly in Texas are ya girl?

Yeah !  We keep gettin' your reports, but no idea where you are !   ....  Maybe a daily post on "here's wtf I am" mystery girl ? ? ?

 :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 28, 2011, 09:14:06 PM
I thought it was RRW who did the scolding of those who transgressed with "failure to file flight plan".


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on June 29, 2011, 07:43:10 AM
I thought it was RRW who did the scolding of those who transgressed with "failure to file flight plan".

He hired a coupla contractors to do his dirty work for him  ! ! !   


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on June 29, 2011, 07:50:15 AM
The beauty of the SPOT is people know where you are. The downfall is they know when you took a wrong turn / overshot a intersection. I still use the papermap on the tankbag like you Olive, old habbits die hard.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on June 29, 2011, 11:47:36 AM
The beauty of NOT having the spot is that people don't have a clue where you are.  :laughing7:

(And at times I don't have a clue either, so it works well!).


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 01, 2011, 12:19:34 AM
Since Florida I have definitely found the warmer weather.  It has been interesting seeing how the land changes in relatively short distance as I have traversed the lower states.  For a person who has spent their entire life living in Calgary, it seems decidedly odd to see alligators, turtles, snakes and armadillos make up the road-kill, or to see roads raised over the swamps of Louisiana as if the roadway was one continuous bridge, or to see the long expanses of brown and dead Texas, where the only sign of life is a tumbleweed crossing the road in front of you or the occasional green tree with a group of cattle clustered desperately underneath in a search for some shade. 

The dryness has caused fire departments across multiple states to put out fire bans because of tinder dry conditions.  In Georgia I rode through the thick smoke of some well established forest fires, and while riding in Florida I saw quite a few signs warning of possible smoke from fires ahead.  In Louisiana I noticed the trees clustered together in the median of the highway were very brown, and even the ground around them looked burnt.  Ahead a bit of smoke was evident, but I didn't take note of it until I got closer and realized that the trees to my left were actually burning.  It was neat to see the flames flickering around the trees, dancing yellow, orange and red seemingly innocuous.  There was very little smoke, although the narrow tract of forest was definitely aflame.  Sadly I couldn't pull over to take a picture or to watch the fascinating spectacle.

This evening I am in Flagstaff where I met up with the group.  Rumour has it that RRW will be pulling in later this evening. The weather seems a lot cooler in Arizona than the dry burning heat of Texas, or the moist humidity of Florida or Louisiana, although it could be a hot one tomorrow enroute to Telluride.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 06, 2011, 11:06:43 PM
When I stopped in to visit friends in the greater Atlanta area I was teased about being the vortex attracting Weather (yes, that's weather with a capital W).  They may have had a point.

In Telluride I attracted rain, thunder, lightning, hail and a bit of hail.  At least Aussie and Cruz assure me that there was no doubt it was indeed hail, I just figured it for driven rain.  Guess I'm spoiled with the type of hail I hit closer to home... where there is little doubt that you are being pelted by chunks of ice from the black, threatening skies above. 

Great roads around Telluride, although most of our group was wiped out after the ride to Telluride and Saturday's run.  Consequently only three of us hit the road on Sunday - Aussie, Mormon Boy and myself.  Just a short morning run that hit the aforementioned storm.

But I digress.  Riding through Utah and Arizona I found rain, lightning and thunder.  Yesterday I found the edge of what seemed to be a dust storm in Arizona - I really didn't like the look of it so I decided to turn back to find a place to stay for the night.  That was when I found another thunderstorm.  I have to admit that it was really odd to be riding through very dusty air during a rainstorm - the rain was falling in large, muddy drops.  I ran out of the dust storm quickly and back to the cleaner rain north of Phoenix towards Flagstaff.  This morning I discovered that I had found the edge of Phoenix's dust storm of the decade that was front page news.  Probably a very good thing that I decided to turn back.  Even today when I passed through the area there was a lot of dust in the air, reducing visibility and reminding me of the forest fires of southern Georgia.

This evening finds me in Tuscon with the first opportunity to sit down with a computer and net access in a few days.  The bike is just shy of 17,000 miles and I put on the second set of tires of the trip with the help of Cruzinaz.  This set should last me the rest of the trip, as I am now headed for California and my tour up the Pacific Coast Highway.  I haven't yet decided where I am going to join on the highway because I am not terribly eager to discover heavy congested traffic, but there are sections of the highway south of San Luis Obispo that I missed out on during my trip last year.

I am glad that I took the time to revisit Arches National Park - just gorgeous scenery in Utah that really speaks to me.  It was a very different experience this year.  Last year I remember the heavy traffic in parts of the Park, but this year it was almost deserted despite the fact I visited on Monday, July 4th.  I wasn't going to complain, because I liked having the park mostly to myself.  Temperatures rose as I drove further into the park topping out around the 115F mark.  I spent three hours in the park, and put on an extra 55 miles during the time.  Just amazing how quickly the landscape changes, and how impressive the towering rock formations really are when you see them in person.  Some shadows of the rock formations are to be found in other parts of Utah as well, such as south on the 141 about 25 miles south of Moab where the Wilson Arch can be found.  Definitely some of my favourite riding scenery!

While I haven't been posting proper ride reports the last few weeks, I will be doing a retrospective look in the side view mirror with lots of photos and the story of the trip.  My original intention was to keep posting during the ride, however time really isn't permitting that as much as I had hoped.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on July 07, 2011, 08:14:33 AM
Thanks, O !   Continued good reading...   And yes, that dust storm was all over the news !....  Happy you didn't get caught in the middle of it.  Judging by the first-hand, on-scene reports I saw on the tube last night, it would have been almost impossible to ride in.



Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 07, 2011, 03:52:56 PM
Had to break in the new tire today. What better place than Arivaca.

I learned a few things on that road.  Apparently there has been recent flooding pulling gravel and dirt all over the road. One spot on a curve had a mound of gravel - about a foot deep, road width and three feet long.  It reminded me of the extra large speedbumps many cities are introducing as traffic control measures.  I probably shouldn't have taken it across the middle of my lane where it wasn't as well packed.

The next lesson of Arivaca was snakes.  They move like quicksilver although can be found stationary as road kill.  They are rather slippery on a curve.

I now understand why Cruz refers to that road as a rollercoaster - the road runs over the hills and curves around them constantly.  A few of the rises if caught quickly enough give you the feeling of your bike flying off the suspension with just the wheels dangling below to touch the road.  Worthwhile detour.  I think the tire is now well worn in.

Crossed over four border patrol checkpoints today, and my phone sent me multiple messages welcoming me to international roaming so I was close to Mexico.  (Btw border guards do a double take when they ask if you are an american citizen and you answer with a negative.)

Triple digit temperatures today.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on July 07, 2011, 05:22:57 PM
Wish you would have told me you were gonna experience Vaca..could have left shop early and been a tour guide. If you know whats coming up its a piece of cake at 135mph most of the time  :icon_biggrin:

After monsoons hit that road can be impassable.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 07, 2011, 06:54:14 PM
I didn't know until I realized I'd missed the exit for the 86 and something interesting lay ahead...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on July 09, 2011, 02:48:51 AM
The Naval Aviation Museum is in Pensacola. That's about 50 miles east of Mobile AL or 1600 miles east of Tucson.

Well worth a Detour too...... :headbang:

Glad You're havin' another Great Adventure Olive....... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 10, 2011, 11:17:32 PM
Eureka!

I mean to say, I stopped for the night in Eureka.

Was involved in a hit and run today.  I was stopped when a californian driver decided to try sharing my lane with me. My side luggage case took the paint from his vehicle (guess that means I won?).  I didn't get a plate number because I was too busy fighting with gravity and the laws of physics - the bike wanted to lay down and I really didn't want to let it. It got to the lean angle known as "the point of almost no return".  Thankfully I won the wrestling match but it was close. By the time I recovered vertical the other driver had taken off.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on July 11, 2011, 12:33:48 AM
Read this on Facebook....Stay Safe Girl..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on July 11, 2011, 06:40:43 AM
O.......I'm speechless on this one..... :disgust:  :BangHead:
Just glad you're not hurt.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on July 11, 2011, 07:17:31 AM
----ditto that  ! ! ! ! !     :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on July 11, 2011, 02:22:07 PM
GLad it worked out in your favor even tho you got a little "extra" paint now.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 14, 2011, 12:29:00 AM
25,270 km
18.686 miles
two sets of tires
...
and I'm right back where I started.

Arrived home tonight.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on July 14, 2011, 03:27:16 AM
I am glad to see that you made it home safe and sound!  You have had quite an adventure!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on July 14, 2011, 04:21:52 AM
+1


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on July 14, 2011, 07:20:14 AM
 :occasion14:  Well done, great to hear you're home safe and sound.
Looking forward to seeing and hearing all about this adventure.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on July 14, 2011, 07:27:34 AM
....as we all are.  Good to hear you made it back safely  ! ! !   :hello2:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on July 14, 2011, 08:30:04 AM
Welcome back to the sunny province.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on July 14, 2011, 10:18:21 AM
Welcome back to the sunny province.
Now thats just bloody hilarious......... roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on July 14, 2011, 10:26:02 AM
Not so much !   They're havin' a heat wave up there now...   temps in the 70s ....    :dontknow: they both ought to acclimated ...

 :presemts:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 14, 2011, 01:04:56 PM
Welcome back to the sunny province.

Now thats just bloody hilarious......... roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


I've been cold since northern California.  

Listening to the news this morning it sounds like I am indeed acting as a weather vortex.  There was a report of a tornado touching down in south Calgary last night http://www.calgaryherald.com/twister+Meteorologists+confirm+Calgary+tornado/5103413/story.html (http://www.calgaryherald.com/twister+Meteorologists+confirm+Calgary+tornado/5103413/story.html)- exceedingly unusual weather for this city.  Golf ball sized hail, torrential rain and a live thunderstorm wouldn't have surprised me... it was what the weather forecast was calling for.  


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on July 14, 2011, 02:20:15 PM
Link wasn't working O...fixed it for ya. :icon_salut:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on July 15, 2011, 07:03:52 AM
Glad All went "relatively" Safe....Impressive Ride Girl...... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 28, 2011, 04:20:36 PM
I have been a little delinquent posting on this thread. Now that I am back I have time to go through photos and sit down to catch up on the story of the trip.

Had one hiccup with the pictures. The XD card I was using decided it wanted to be corrupt. It is a very sickening feeling to find a memory card reporting no files when it should contain about 800 photos that are a little hard to replace. Although I was more than willing to throw a leg back over the bike and return to retrace my steps to re-take the photos, it seemed to make more sense to try to recover the files. I was quite fortunate that I was able to recover most of the files using software.

In today's post I will retrace my steps into New Brunswick as I head for the States...


(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5459)

I started out the morning by touring the Moncton area. The tour wasn't exactly intentional, but I had gotten off of the main highway, went into Moncton and had difficulties locating the road I originally planned to take out of the area. Finally I found the side road I had planned and set off down it.

The secondary highway wound past a drainage canal and a few streams. Signs at the side of the road told me that Moncton was currently debating the future of the drainage canal. Houses clustered around the highway, stretching out with larger spans of land between them – rural living at its finest. Dirt roads headed north and south but I kept to the paved highway although it was in very questionable condition with potholes, ruts and pavement that had weathered one too many harsh winters. One of the side roads had a sign indicating a covered bridge ahead. I didn't take the unpaved road but I did see the indicated covered bridge a short ways down the road crossing a small stream parallel to the road I was on. A little later on another covered bridge came into view. Lots of small farms and ranches lay at the side of the road, with a few small towns in between.

It was a Saturday and there was a lot of casual traffic out for a drive. Signs for garage sales dotted the road as people tried to make a few dollars recycling stuff they no longer had a need or desire for. After I reached a more traveled road a lot more bikers were in evidence out for a ride enjoying the sunlight and warm weather.

At this point I got myself a little turned around with my paper map, something that doesn't happen very often but is a little unnerving when it does occur. Realizing my error quickly I doubled back and made fairly good time stopping off in Saint John for a quick bite and rest stop. (no, not St John Newfoundland, the other Saint John in New Brunswick – I didn't get that turned around). I headed over the Harbour Bridge and past a sign for the Reversing Falls. Apparently when the tide comes in from the Bay of Fundy the water flow reverses itself, the river returning to empty into the ocean once again as the tide goes out.

Saint John is a fairly small town, but colourful with murals and a lot of activity. Bike lanes followed the main road past floral boulevards. I saw a few groups of bikers gathering to head out for a Saturday ride, including a group with a VFR in it. I wasn't in the right location to pull into the parking lot and say hello, but I waved on my way past briefly wondering if it was one of the riders from the other forum.

Heading back out on the highway, I traveled for a while past construction sites. They were doing work on bridges and widening the road. Signs in the orange flagged zones warned of blasting and requested truckers to turn off their transmitters.

For most of the run I was on the main highway, which was reasonably quiet, but when opportunity arose I headed along some parallel highways and roads that offered better scenery. One rather rewarding one looped along the east coast and provided some gorgeous views that reminded me of last year's trip down the west coast. Blue water, expansive skies, and a cove that was all but deserted. I had the road to myself, and it was a great run, both in terms of technical curves and scenery. The sort of road that tears a rider between enjoying the view or opening the throttle a wee bit.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5460)

Every so often along the secondary routes I encountered a cluster of houses or a small town. As always church steeples dominated these small towns which seemed clustered around small harbours filled with boats.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5461)

Heading back onto the main highway, I filled my tank for the last time in Canada and continued to head south for the border. The questioning I went through at the border was rather vigorous. Given the length of my planned trip border security queried what I did for a living, and when I indicated that I was between jobs the questioning increased in intensity. Briefly I wondered if I was going to be barred from crossing the border, but after answering a number of questions about how I was funding my trip, if I owned or rented my residence in Canada, the exact roads I planned to ride on and where I planned to stay I was waved across. Of course on a trip like this I don't plan that kind of detail in advance, and the border seemed to want concrete answers on when and where I planned to be – questions even I didn't know the answer to at this point. He seemed happy enough when I fabricated a potential timeline with a few set locations.

After crossing into Maine, I headed down a route that had been suggested by Tom, the Honda ST rider I had encountered in Newfoundland. It was a reasonably quiet two lane road that wound through forests. Marked speed was the double nickel, 55, which translated to 90km per hour. I rode for about an hour before I decided to pull off to take a brief break and set my speedometer back to Imperial. Having done so I headed back out on the road and promptly pulled up to speed... right up to 90. The VFR didn't even blink and feels so grounded and comfortable at speed it took me a few minutes before it dawned on me that I had just switched out the speedometer and probably should slow it down 55 mph or so before I picked up an undesired driving award.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5462)

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful, and the road was quiet as the sun began to slowly set and the shadows grew longer and the rain started to fall. Yes, the rain continued to follow me on this journey. At this point it wasn't that heavy but darkening skies promised more precipitation throughout the night. It was time to stop for another night and send out a few quick emailed notes to let people know where I was at now that I had crossed to international roads.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on July 28, 2011, 08:17:42 PM
 :icon_thumleft: Keep 'em comin'!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on July 29, 2011, 08:04:33 AM
I marvel at your photographic technique and composition !  ......   The church is a postcard !      :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on July 29, 2011, 11:10:42 AM
I marvel at your photographic technique and composition !  ......   The church is a postcard !      :icon_thumleft:

 :+1: :+1: :+1:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on July 29, 2011, 03:17:53 PM
I marvel at your photographic technique and composition !  ......   The church is a postcard !      :icon_thumleft:
That church isn't a postcard Weedff70zeimer, its a cleverly disguised pub, brilliant idea and they get tax exemptions. I hear they do "have a beer with Heyzuss Thursdays" and "Mary Mother of Margarita Mondays", services are packed!!
Nice work as usual O, i'll be keeping an eye on this epicness  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on July 29, 2011, 03:45:57 PM
Morning dawned and it was another wet one.  It wasn't raining at the time, but the bike showed evidence of a recent soaking.  The skies promised more of the same as I set off.  Briefly I debated taking faster roads but decided to stay with my original plan.

I headed down the road through what started out as intermittent rain.  The roads were interesting, but beyond trees there was little scenery.  Occasionally the road headed through small towns which featured picturesque architecture.  Main street of many of the small towns were dominated by two and three story buildings, a lot of red brick with white features.  Some of the towns had seen better days.  Occasionally delipidated buildings stood boarded over and empty, falling in on themselves.  A few of them had hopeful faded “for sale” signs tacked on the front.  These concrete signs illustrated that the economic conditions of the past few years had taken a toll.  The conditions of cars and houses predicted the number of closed businesses that would accompany them. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5463)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5465)

The secondary highways I followed wound through many of these one or two traffic light towns  In one of the towns the police had a detour organized that took traffic through a residential area – I couldn't see much beyond flashing lights ofs fire, police and ambulance, but there was definitely some excitement happening.

I had to pause to take a picture as I came up on Mexico during a break in the rain.  Mexico, Maine.  Later in the trip I was to ride close enough to the Mexican border to pass through a number of checkpoints manned by border guards, but Mexico, Maine was very quiet. 


(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5464)

For a while I had a police car tailing me through a section where speed limits dropped and rose every few minutes as I drove in and out of a number of small towns.  It was aggrivating to keep such a close eye on my speed, but I had the feeling that this particular vehicle tailing me was looking for an excuse to pull me over, so I did my best to avoid providing him with one.  Eventually he lost interest, pulled a U-turn and headed back the way he had come.

As the day progressed so did the weather.  The rain started coming down a lot heavier.  Rain ran in rivulets down the road, gathering in the depressions formed by hundreds of thousands of cars which had passed down the section of asphalt before me.  In a few sections the rain was heavy enough to be a concern with enough water on the road to provide prime conditions for hydroplaning.  I was glad for rain gear, although the water seeped into my boots and gloves, slowly working its way up the long sleeves of the t-shirt I wore under my gear. 

Pausing for gas, I took a few pictures of the wet roads.  The camera didn't get much of a workout during the day due to the excessive moisture.  Quite a few times during the trip the weather kept the camera safely tucked away.  I was on the trip to ride, not to take photographs.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5470)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5466)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5469)

Most of the wildlife seemed to be hiding from the weather as well, but I had a young doe and his mother head out onto the road ahead of me.  I slowed watching it unfold in front of me.  The full grown deer crossed, but the doe paused taking in the new sights and sounds.  He was shy enough to turn back the way he came, ready to live another day.

At the side of the road I slowed to take in the sight of what had obviously been a recent fire.  Despite the rain a couple of people were walking around the smoking remains of a blackened foundation.  The field in front of the house was churned up with mud and tire tracks.  Somebody had obviously not had a very good day.  Given the location in terms of population I surmised that it had likely taken a while for the volunteer firefighters to arrive. 

Maine.  New Hampshire.  Massachusetts.  Connecticut.  One state turned into the next, all showcasing the same type of forested terrain as the torrential rain continued to pour down. I headed down the #2, eve ntually I pulling onto the I-93 to try to put some of the weather behind me.

The other thing I wanted to put behind me were allergies.  It was obvious that there was something in bloom in the northeastern states that my allergies weren't overly fond of.  My nose had been constantly running for the second day.  My eyes were red, itchy and running in competition with my nose.  Ahhh, Spring – not exactly my favourite season.  Although since it was June, it was technically Summer.

Stopping for gas, I headed into the store taking out my wallet to put $20 down on my pump.  I unzipped the side pocket and dropped the wallet back inside while I fueled up the bike.  Returning to the store to collect my change, I was a little puzzled to unzip the pocket and find the complete absence of a wallet.  I patted myself down quickly – rear pockets, side pockets... the wallet was nowhere to be found.  Looking out the plate glass window I saw the wallet lying on the ground a couple of feet away from the bike.  Apparently I had unzipped not the pocket, but the side leg zipper and dropped the wallet right down the side of my leg, where it exited beside my boot.  I quickly hurried outside to collect it, relieved to locate it and aware just how much of a disaster the loss of the wallet could be on this trip.

I continued to push south, and found myself riding into New York as the final remnants of daylight were fading.  That was quite an experience as traffic became heavy, and skyscrapers reached for the stars.  Riding through New York at night wasn't exactly on the itinerary, however since it was obvious that I was not going to skirt the Big Apple as planned, I pressed on through the rain.  Riding through the big city took quite a while, and there were a few times I wished I had a good place to pull over and take out the camera although the continuous rain made that impractical.

As I exited the big city I headed on the New Jersey Turnpike.  That is quite a road.  Entering the Turnpike a number of toll booths spread across the roadway, some reserved for those with Ez-passes and others for cash customers.  I pulled into a lane marked cash customer, and pulled forward to the signage that indicated I should take a ticket.  Looking around I was a little confused because there was no ticket to be found.  The booth wasn't manned, and there didn't seem to be a ticket dispenser anywhere.  The person behind me was impatient, and leaned on the horn creeping forward within millimeters of my rear tire.  I guess I had taken more than a “New York minute” to find the ticket, and I ended up taking off without one in my possession.  Ooops.  As I pulled away I saw a white flash behind me, and with a bit of wry humour figured that I would be getting the ticket a little late in the mail.  Perhaps not the best way to deal with it, however I felt as if I had no choice with the aggressive driver behind me.

It's hard to describe the Turnpike to anyone who hasn't experienced it.  In places it is up to 14 lanes wide, with each side divided into two spurs, the outer lanes signed as truck/bus lanes and the inner spur signed cars only.  Each side was serviced by entrance and exit lanes, and it was very strange to see the lanes travelling in a single direction divided up in this manner.  The width of the roadway was incredible, especially when you accounted for the access and egress lanes.  At first I entered into the left hand lanes anticipating that I would need access to leave the roadway to fill up on gas.  It quickly became clear to me that this was a mistake, as both sides had equal access to exit and entrance lanes for the Turnpike.

Despite the late hour and the continuing rain the Turnpike was very heavily traveled.  The right hand spur was full of large trucks and semi-trailers, all of whom seemed to be completely ignoring the posted speed limit.  Definitely not where I wanted to be riding with the bike, but also where I had managed to position myself out of ignorance.  The left hand spur also had heavy traffic, but it was limited to passenger vehicles which seemed significantly safer.  I traveled on the right hand spur dodging debris for a while before pulling off at a rest stop to top up the gas tank. 

Even the gas station was a unique experience.  Traffic off of the Turnpike lined up for the available pumps.  It was unusual to see a full serve gas station, but it was clear from the speed of vehicles through the station that the staff were extremely good at keeping traffic moving quickly.  In past experience I had never seen pump attendents working so quickly and efficiently.  I felt rather slow taking off my gloves and unclipping my tank bag to access my gas tank.  The attendant was good enough to set the pump and let me fill the bike on my own.  As soon as the tank was topped up I quickly reclipped the tank bag on, pulled on my gloves and got out of the way of the traffic waiting behind me to access the same pump.

Heading back onto the Turnpike I made a point of heading for the inner spur so that I was running with cars and light trucks rather than riding alongside commercial trucks with dubious maintenance.  Along that entire spur the shoulder of the Turnpike was littered with torn apart truck tires and other garbage.  Certainly not the type of thing I want to hit with a bike, and the heavy rain in the dark didn't improve visibility any.

After my short break I continued riding along the Turnpike with tunes from the Ipod.  Most of the time I ride with earplugs in, but long, drab, rainy days like this call for a bit of music.  Cars whipped past me like I was standing still despite the fact I was traveling well in excess of the posted speed limit of 65.  I increased my speed 20 over the speed limit just so that I wasn't being run over by other vehicles on the road, but I was still traveling slowly compared to the other vehicles on the road.  Traffic continued to be very heavy, cars passing each other at times unsafely – there were a few times when I was passed by cars who wanted to shave off a few seconds by sharing my lane with me.  This was more than a little unnerving. 

It was late and I was tired.  By this point in time I was holding a lot of tension in my shoulders, and had done what felt like one too many evasive manouvers.  Drivers on the Turnpike seemed oblivious to motorcycles, and many seemed equally oblivious to other cars, or for that matter what they were doing when driving.  Given the length of time I had been traveling on the Turnpike it was clear that I wasn't going to find many places to stop for the night, so I eventually took an exit that advertised a few motels. 

At the exit of the Turnpike I stopped at a tollbooth.  This one was manned.  The first thing that I was asked for was a ticket.  So I explained what had happened with my failure to collect a ticket on my entrance to the Turnpike, and indicated that I belived I had gotten on at the very beginning of the toll road.  Had a short friendly chat with the toll operator who was also an avid biker with her husband.  She was very enthused about the trip when she found out where I was from and did something very nice for me.  “Tell you what, why don't I just charge you $0.50, it's the minimum toll.”  That really surprised me – I was expecting to pay a lot more, especially in light of the fact that I didn't have a ticket with me.  She reminded me to collect a ticket when I entered onto the Turnpike the next morning, and wished me a safe trip.

Just off the Turnpike there were a few motels.  I looked at the options and chose what looked to be the least expensive.  I was wet and tired, and even though it was likely that I would be able to find something cheaper if I explored further, I was ready to get off the bike and out of my wet clothing.  It was a relatively large motel with a large office area that was well lit.  The door was locked, but a sign indicated that they were open. I rang the buzzer and waited.  When it became evident that nobody was coming in response to the doorbell, I put back on my helmet and started to get back on the bike.  Timing is everything – at that point someone came to the front and unlocked the door.

The motel I stopped at wasn't that cheap, and it wasn't the nicest, but it was warm and dry which was all I was interested in at the time.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on July 29, 2011, 07:29:09 PM
I marvel at your photographic technique and composition !  ......   The church is a postcard !      :icon_thumleft:
That church isn't a postcard Weedff70zeimer, its a cleverly disguised pub, brilliant idea and they get tax exemptions. I hear they do "have a beer with Heyzuss Thursdays" and "Mary Mother of Margarita Mondays", services are packed!!
Nice work as usual O, i'll be keeping an eye on this epicness  :headbang:

Bloody right y'are, M8 !   VERY clever, those Nor' easterners !...     roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 02, 2011, 07:58:47 PM
The next morning my clothes weren't completely dried out yet, and the lining of my riding gear was still damp. Both leggings and long sleeve T-shirt were wet. Still no internet access. The hotel didn't look much nicer in the morning than it had the night before. Given the cost of the room it was a little disappointing as a nonsmoker to have paid a premium for a smoking room that had two dirty ashtrays in it. I slept a little later than I had intended, but the previous night had gone well into the wee hours of the morning so it was probably needed.

As I clipped my luggage back onto the bike I had a good view of the entrance ramp for the Turnpike. Great scenery. In the parking spot beside my bike a couple was busy packing in pillows, blankets, suitcases and stuffed animals. The sedan was packed to the roof, and it was obvious that the rear view mirror wouldn't be of much use. A young child was running in and out of the hotel room, as the parents checked to make sure that they hadn't forgotten anything, such as the kitchen sink.

As I readied the bike the woman started a discussion with me. She told me that they were on a week long trip. I found it rather humorous looking at the amount of stuff they had in their car – I had everything for six weeks tucked away inside hard cases, including camping equipment and all of my cold weather gear.

Her young daughter seemed to find the bike fascinating, and she politely asked if I would mind if she took a picture of the daughter on the bike. I don't mind when they ask, but find it highly offensive when I come out to my parked bike and find a child sitting on top with the parent's approval. I have had that happen in the past, usually when I stop at a tourist spot. With my blessing she set up the photo opportunity for her toddler. It's best to corrupt them at a young age.

After I finished packing up the bike I headed back onto the Turnpike. This time I paused early and noticed that the ticket was actually delivered quite a ways back from the sign that advised motorists to take a ticket. There were two dispensers, one at arm level, and one much higher. I had to stand up to reach the ticket, which I tucked away carefully mindful of my luck from the previous night.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5481)

I had gotten past the worst of the traffic the night before, at this point the Turnpike was down to three lanes in each direction and much calmer. Still plenty of traffic, but it wasn't the nightmare of the previous evening. The rain had stopped which made for a significantly better ride.

Eventually I reached the terminus of the Turnpike and continued down the highway following the directions that TimmytheCop (one of the members on VFRDiscussion who had encouraged me to stop by) had furnished me the day previous. The plan was to meet up with him mid-day. The ride was relatively uneventful, although I stopped to double check directions at one point when a route I was following ended, and I wasn't sure if I had missed a turn. I was very close to where I should have been and was back on track fairly quickly.

Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge I was a little surprised. A few people had made comments to me about that bridge being a bit unnerving to ride over. I don't agree with their assessment as it was wide, twinned and provided lots to look at in terms of traffic in the water as well as a clearly visible shoreline on the other side. I guess after Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island other bridges pale a bit in comparison.

I started looking for the meet-up point that Timmy had suggested, a Harley Davidson dealership. They are usually well signed and easy to reach from the highway. I saw the sign up ahead, and as I passed a semi I saw a motorcyclist stopped at the side of the road. I passed him and headed into the pullout for the next exit. As I stopped at the light just past the exit a biker pulled up beside me. A flat black VFR. Sure enough, it was Timmy. He had encountered issues trying to find the access to the dealership, and figured that if he had problems, I probably would encounter the same type of difficulty.

Timmy had been waiting and expected to first recognize the 6th generation headlight pattern or perhaps the distinctive exhaust note, but the first thing he noticed was the bright yellow jacket. The intent of the jacket was to be seen, and apparently it had done the job quite well.

I followed the flat black VFR as Timmy lead me back to his place. The day was a lot drier than the previous one, although it was quite warm. As we hit traffic the frequent stops just exacerbated the heat. When we arrived at Timmy's house I realized that I had left the vents on the jacket zipped up, which explained why it was a tad bit warm.

We visited on the front porch over coffee and I met his wife and kids. Every so often conversation was interrupted with the roar of a figher jet as it passed overhead, and we watched his youngest race to the edge of the porch for a closer look at the aircraft. Apparently Air Force One flying overhead is a regular occurrence for his household as he lives close to Andrews Air Force Base.

Gll429, another forum member, came down after he finished work to join us for dinner and a visit, but was on four wheels instead of two as he had been doing some work on his bike and it was still in pieces. Since Gll429 works as a motorcycle tech he took a few minutes to check out my bike and noticed that the chain had some slack. Timmy's bike suffered the same affliction, so I got a quick lesson on how to adjust the chain.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5482)

Gll429 had a far better technique at chain adjustment than Timmy who subscribed to the brute force school of thought.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5483)

Beside the Silver 6th Gen, Timmy's flat black 5th Gen takes on a greyish note. Gll429 and Timmy stand discussing matters of grave import in the background.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5484)

While sitting over dinner as the sun set an odd flicker of light caught my attention. It was a firefly. In a few minutes there were flickering lights all over the yard. Lots of fireflies. The guys found my fascination with them very amusing, but it was the first time I had seen this sort of light show.

In the late evening after Gll429 had headed home, Timmy and myself headed out in his van for a quick tour of Washington DC. Washington by night is very picturesque, with a lot of familiar sights in a very small area. It was very cool to see, and if we would have been on the bikes I probably wouldn't have been able to look around as much.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5486)

We even swung past Timmy's workplace where I checked out one of the official bikes and then returned to his place where we visited half the night. It is always interesting to run into someone who has worked in the print industry in the past, and gave us a lot to talk about. We also talked about people we both knew (Dutchy's ears must have been burning). That lead into a discussion of Timmy's plans for renting a bike and terrorizing all of Europe on two wheels. Errr, I mean his plans to tour the Netherlands on two wheels. Late nights are the affliction of those of us who work graveyard shift, and my body was still used to the third shift schedule.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5487)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 02, 2011, 08:43:10 PM
NEXT ! ! !      :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 03, 2011, 12:02:09 AM
NEXT!!!


Yeah the intend was to hook up with Timmy, since he would be camping (their annual family do) 16kms from where my sister in law lives.
But as the time drew nearer PM's were left unanswered. A cop gun shy?  :laughing7:

 So that's why I ended up riding to the Somme instead of Luxemburg...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 07, 2011, 03:50:39 PM
The next morning I got up, went upstairs and promptly startled Pien, TimmytheCop's wife.  Guess I was walking a little too softly.  We visited over coffee until Timmy finally emerged.  I was amused by their youngest child who was busy trying to be a mini-adult.  Pien cooked some eggs for breakfast while he “cooked” some grapes.  His older brothers were presumably just as occupied at school.

After coffee, we checked out the bikes and headed out together through Washington past many of the buildings we had gone past the night before.  Everything looked different in daylight, however traffic really didn't permit me to pull out the camera.  TimmytheCop took me on a proper bike tour over and through all of the potholes and rough roads in the area.  Very few visitors to the area get a cop escort through the area, so I consider myself fortunate.

We headed past some construction, and I think Timmy got a little turned around because of it.  After an urban detour he pointed me in the right direction for Shenandoah National Park.  When we stopped to say farewell I showed him my odometer which was just rolling over 10,000.  With a wave we headed off our separate directions.

I gassed up in Front Royal, which was a rather unique experience.  I found a small gas station that was a little off the beaten path, and the clerk looked like he really didn't want to be there.  I decided to buy a pop, and counted out the change.  As I headed out the door he called out belligerently after me “Hey!  Lady!  Are you trying to cheat me?”  A little confused I turned back.  He then informed me that I had given him three Canadian pennies and those weren't real money.  He continued to berate me as if I had committed some carnal sin.  I tried to be polite as I exchanged three US pennies for the Canadian counterparts, although I felt like responding to him in kind.  Welcome to friendly Virginia?

Continuing onwards I found the entrance to Shenandoah National Park and paid my admission.  As I stopped just past the toll booth to put myself back together I got into a short discussion with a Marine who had just returned from active duty and was doing some motorcycle touring himself.  He was a little surprised to see an Alberta plate in Virginia. 

Shenandoah: http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/whole_park.pdf (http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/whole_park.pdf)

Shenandoah was a beautiful ride.  Speed limit is limited through some of the parks, but the scenery more than made up for it.  As I reached the southern portion of the ride I stopped once again to top up the gas and a cup of coffee.  In the parking lot I pulled in beside a BMW F800ST and talked a while with the rider.  This fellow and his wife had just started riding, and he was out for a day trip.  We talked about the bike for a while – the F800S and ST are basically the same bike, and I had just sold mine having replaced it with the VFR. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5503)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5504)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5505)

Heading out of Shenandoah I continued on to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I had ridden part of this route last October, but on this trip I had the opportunity to do the entire scenic drive. 

Blue Ridge Parkway: http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/maps.htm (http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/maps.htm)

This drive is a absolutely beautiful, and pictures do it much more justice than words can.  These mountains are very different than the ones I am accustomed to.  They are much more characteristic of rolling hills, covered with trees.  The road wound through the mountains, and had some traffic but not too heavy.  It was easy to find locations to pass slower moving vehicles, although at times I was stuck behind a car or truck that stopped for every corner.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5506)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5507)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5508)

I saw some wildlife on the road including some deer, and stopped to watch a Bear and her cub as they debated if the grass was indeed greener at the other side of the road.  After much deliberation the pair decided that they were best off on the side where they started, and quickly melted back into the shadows of the trees.

Along the roadway I stopped to take photos, and check out some of the information plaques talking about local flora and fauna.  It was no surprise that the fauna included Virginia Creeper, and I found the reminder about Poison Ivy to be an apt overview of a plant that I never have encountered up in Canada. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5509)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5510)

Since I was beginning to see an increase in wildlife and the wind was picking up a bit, I thought it best to stop for the night and pitched my tent at Peaks of Otter.  At $16 it was one of the more affordable campsites of the trip.  There were a couple of other bikers also in the campground, and we clustered in adjacent sites.  As I put up my tent I was invited to join the other riders and share a campfire, so I headed over for a while as the dusk turned to full night.  The weather was beautiful for sleeping in the tent with a brief spattering of rain overnight, but nothing heavy enough to leave me feeling that I should build an ark.  This was definitely not a sign of things to come the following day, but I get ahead of myself.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5511)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5512)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 08, 2011, 08:26:16 AM
"NEXT".....This is the point where I shoulda' got a phone call...might coulda' came up and rode with You..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 08, 2011, 09:31:25 AM
"NEXT".....This is the point where I shoulda' got a phone call...might coulda' came up and rode with You..... :headbang:
Well go on "up" there and ride with her...  (forreal) (forreal) :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

Winter wont set in for another what.....week or so?  roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 08, 2011, 12:04:15 PM
Winter wont set in for another what.....week or so?  roflol

3.5 days by my calendar...  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 08, 2011, 05:36:13 PM
 :idea1: Get a Trike and toss some snow tires on it  :icon_biggrin:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 08, 2011, 05:51:28 PM
Last time I tossed chains, I was beaten in the arena  !   Yeah, I'm that old  !  ..... :disgust:    Ooops, I thought .. eh  (forreal)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 08, 2011, 06:01:34 PM
Winter wont set in for another what.....week or so?  roflol

3.5 days by my calendar...  :laughing7:
Move south  :headbang: :headbang: and SOON  :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 09, 2011, 12:53:29 PM
"NEXT".....This is the point where I shoulda' got a phone call...might coulda' came up and rode with You..... :headbang:
Well go on "up" there and ride with her...  (forreal) (forreal) :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

Winter wont set in for another what.....week or so?  roflol

Wasn't Your "Old Name" Cruzinsmartazz or somethin'...if not, maybe it should be.......... roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 09, 2011, 01:13:30 PM
"NEXT".....This is the point where I shoulda' got a phone call...might coulda' came up and rode with You..... :headbang:

Well go on "up" there and ride with her...  (forreal) (forreal) :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

Winter wont set in for another what.....week or so?  roflol


Wasn't Your "Old Name" Cruzinsmartazz or somethin'...if not, maybe it should be.......... roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_lMHdYVxOlEI/S-1nqCq2AcI/AAAAAAAABMg/BG3EfctfiK4/s400/KettleCallingPotBlack.jpg)

 (forreal) (forreal) (forreal) (forreal) (forreal) (forreal)



 roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 10, 2011, 08:23:49 AM
"NEXT".....This is the point where I shoulda' got a phone call...might coulda' came up and rode with You..... :headbang:

Well go on "up" there and ride with her...  (forreal) (forreal) :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

Winter wont set in for another what.....week or so?  roflol


Wasn't Your "Old Name" Cruzinsmartazz or somethin'...if not, maybe it should be.......... roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


([url]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_lMHdYVxOlEI/S-1nqCq2AcI/AAAAAAAABMg/BG3EfctfiK4/s400/KettleCallingPotBlack.jpg[/url])

 (forreal) (forreal) (forreal) (forreal) (forreal) (forreal)



 roflol roflol roflol



"GOOD ONE"..... roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on August 10, 2011, 03:43:23 PM
 :laughing4:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 12, 2011, 03:27:47 PM
As daylight dawned, I packed up the tent and got ready to head back out on the road.  It didn't take long for me to spot the first wildlife of the day as two wild turkeys crossed the road in front of me.  Shortly afterwards I spotted a shy deer at the side of the road.  None of his friends were present, but I slowed back just in case. 

One of the biggest problems with the road is the lack of services within the parkway itself.  To find gas you have to leave the parkway to head to the nearest town.  Since it was time for both gas and my morning coffee I headed out to Roanoke to fill the tank and grab a quick bite to eat. 

Quite a few locations along the parkway my phone had no signal so I felt a bit out of contact.  Generally while riding I only use my phone for email and text based web access, but find that very useful.  There were a number of people I was planning to catch up with in the greater Atlanta area who were looking for updates on when I planned to arrive.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5515)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5514)

Riding along the parkway I stopped at overlooks to take in the scenery and to take a few more photos.  During one stop I recognized a truck from the previous day.  The driver and his wife also recognized me and came over to say hello.  They were taking their time winding through the Parkway on their holiday as well, and as a point of commonality he also rode, although a different class of bike.  After we visited for a few minutes, we headed out our separate ways.

As the parkway progressed the ridge of the mountains gave way to riding through some valleys.  In some sections faming was evident at the side of the road, fields with mowing and baling in progress.  In places the grass at the side of the road was also being cut with scattered fresh grass clippings scattered on the Parkway.  The trees at the side of the road were well established, some had huge vines hanging down.  The forested areas with tall trees gave the roadway shade a dappled appearance.  Green stretched everywhere the eye could see. 

I stopped for a break at a quiet overlook – it was nice that I had it to myself.  I sat down beside a tree which had seen better days.  On the ground by my feet huge ants scurried about on important errands.  A butterfly lazily caught a breeze with wings flexing as it drifted through the air.  I listened to the birds with the distant sound of vehicle motors.  It was very peaceful until another vehicle pulled in and the chatter of the couple emerging from within broke the spell.  I headed back out on the bike.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5516)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5517)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5518)

The road was relatively quiet for most of the day, but the frequent stops and speed limit slowed down  progress considerably.  Lots of cyclists were out on the road as well, at times riding three abreast really slowing down traffic.  There were a few construction zones where the road was closed to two-way traffic and there were a few delays with flagmen holding stop signs until traffic was once again traveling in my direction. 

One section of the parkway was closed with a detour running west of the Parkway through smaller towns and secondary highways.  I followed the signage and took the opportunity to fill up the bike with gas.  After paying for gas, I realized that the egress from the gas station wasn't optimum.  It reminded me of the angle I had experienced with disasterous results the previous fall when I was exiting Deals Gap.  Even getting the bike back up to vertical was a bit of a struggle, because I could only touch with one foot at a time.  I found myself wishing I was a few inches taller.  Balancing the bike on the right foot, I managed a hill start without touching the brake and made it back onto the road with a sigh of relief.  I followed the detour signs through town and headed down a few side highways past small farms and the occasional house or business.  I rode for a while, and began to wonder if I had missed out on a detour sign directing me back to the Parkway when at last I saw a familiar orange triangle indicating that I was to remain on the same route.  So I continued riding, and riding, and riding.  Deciding to give it another ten miles, I continued onwards, and since I didn't see any signs directing me back, I decided to backtrack sure that I must have missed a sign.  Sure enough, that was the right decision as I spotted a road sign that was mostly tipped into a ditch that indicated the return to the Parkway. 

I stopped at Mabry Mill, and walked around the displays for a while.  This mill is one of the iconic images of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  There are a few touristy stops along the Parkway, but for the most part it is a scenic drive.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5519)

Back on the Parkway the skies were overcast.  I rode through a few rain showers – just brief scattered showers that soaked me, the bike and the road, but cleared up quickly.  I didn't even bother to put on my rain gear because the rain was so intermittent that it didn't warrant it in my opinion.

Another rain shower came up, and I rode into it expecting some more of the same.  The rain grew heavier and the rain soaked through to my clothing, wicking up my sleeves until I was soaked.  Obviously more than a brief scattered shower, and at this point I was so wet that adding rain gear would do little because there was nothing left to keep dry.  The clouds were low, and at times my view of the valleys was an overlook on top of the clouds.  Riding through the clouds was eerie, like thick fog significantly limiting visibility.

When it became clear that the rain wasn't getting any better, I started to look for a place to stop for the night.  To reinforce my decision the conditions got worse, rain coming down in torrents, strong winds whipping leaves across the roadway, and very limited visibility.  I flipped on my four-ways as I slowed my pace.  Now instead of passing cars I was being passed by the occasional car.  I figured that the drivers were idiots given the road conditions. 

As I reached an overlook the rain let off for a brief moment, and I took the opportunity to pull off and take a brief break.  The setting sun made for an opportunity to pull out my camera.  The wind was blowing the clouds quickly and within a few moments the overlook was obscured and visibility was back to zero as the rain set in once again.  A brief momentary respite from the storm that I might have missed had I not pulled off to stop for a few minutes.  It seemed almost surreal.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5520)

Twilight and fog combined for very poor visibility.  A dark shadow flashed in front of my bike.  I couldn't make it out for sure, but given the size I am pretty sure that it was a deer.  Definitely not good conditions to be out riding in.

Getting desperate I started considering options for getting off the Parkway, including spending the night in a nice dry bathroom wrapped in a sleeping bag.  That option was beginning to sound really good by this point.  I was soaked to the skin, and was holding a lot of tension in my neck from the demands of concentration in the storm as I fought sudden strong winds with the apparent intent to sweep me off the side of the road.  Finally I found an exit – I know that I must have missed a few with the weather obscuring roadside signs.

Pulling into Asheville I was only interested in finding somewhere cheap and dry.  I pulled into the first motel I saw.  No vacancy.  That seemed very odd because I was sure that I had seen a vacancy sign a few moments earlier.  No matter, by the looks of the motel I wasn't missing out on much.  I continued back onto the main road and looked for the next available option.  I passed a couple of places that had prices advertised outside that seemed a bit steep, and then I spotted another motel.  It didn't look like much, but that was fine by me.  I pulled in, got a room, and pulled off my wet gear which was immediately wrung out in the washroom.  This was definitely a cheap motel, the rooms weren't very nice, and I briefly debated if I should sleep in my sleeping bag on top of the bed, or trust the provided linens.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 12, 2011, 08:30:25 PM
Awesome scenery ! ! !   The narrative wasn't bad, either ! ! !    :notworthy:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 12, 2011, 11:42:34 PM
GREAT Pics.....some really familiar Scenery there..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 23, 2011, 11:34:38 AM
I woke up and realized that my gear was still sopping from the previous night.  Looking outside I was greeted with bright sunlight, a definite change.  I picked out some dry clothing to wear under the wet jacket, and got ready for another run on the Blue Ridge. 

Packing up the bike I looked at the motel I had stayed at.  It was definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel.  Looking at the sign I discovered that it was possible to book a room by the night, by the week or by the month.  I picked leaves off of my bike, and found a large twig sitting on top of my swingarm, too close to my wheels for comfort.  Obviously my bike had picked up a few souvenirs from the storm. Across the parking lot a group of men were standing around a battered old pickup truck.  One of the broke off and headed towards me. 

He seemed friendly enough saying hello, and looking at the bike.  Given that I had the solo rack with my top box and the seat cowl on the bike was obviously a one seater.  He asked if I was riding such a large bike by myself.  Obviously.  He also made comment on the fact that I didn't look like I was from around the area.  The license plate gives that one away.  Ascertaining that I was riding solo, he decided that hitting on me was a good idea.  He definitely wasn't my type, and seemed to be showing off for his group of friends.  I must admit that I really don't appreciate being called “honey” by anyone, especially not a stranger. 

My new “friend” seemed to think that I should stick around for a while, as I had only just gotten there.  I asked him if he was going to be around with his friends and he indicated that they lived there.  The revelation came as little surprise.  It seemed that the best way to handle the situation was to indicate that I had to meet a friend, but I certainly would give some thought to returning, and I knew where to find him.  Needless to say the thought that ran through my mind was that returning would be a very poor idea. 

Getting on my bike I stopped at the top of a steep slope and checked out the traffic on the road below.  Judging that I had a clear window I pointed the bike down the steep slope and headed out onto the highway relieved to be leaving the guys behind me.  I pulled into a gas station to fuel up for the day, and as I stood inside paying the interior decor confirmed that I was in the bad part of town.  Where most gas stations would feature a display of gum and candy, this one displayed drug paraphernalia.  Ugh.

Leaving Asheville behind I headed back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway where I was greeted with bright sunshine and some detritus from the previous evening's storm.  The sides of the parkway were covered with downed leaves and twigs.  In places water pooled, drainage channels blocked by detritus from the storm. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5538)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5536)

This sign had obviously been hit by a large limb from a tree.  Along the sides of the parkway quite a few trees showed signs of storm damage with broken limbs.  Obviously the previous night's storm had taken a toll.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5540)

I stopped at a pull-off to take a few pictures of the aftermath of the storm.  Most of the leaves and twigs had been windswept from the road, but in corners and sections of the road that were protected they remained a road hazard.  The fresh green leaves were quite slippery, making traction in corners a challenge at times.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5539)

Flowers along the sides of the Parkway were brilliant shades of yellow and orange.  Lots of cyclists were on the parkway, at times riding in packs of two or three abreast across the road.  More vehicles were out as well, slowly traveling around corners with caution.  Quite a few motorcycles were out, including a lot of trikes.  A definite change from the previous day. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5537)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5541)

Continuing up the parkway, I stopped to take a few pictures at the apex.  The sign indicates that this is the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6053 feet.  I had ridden this particular section of the Parkway the previous year when I had picked up the VFR.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5542)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5543)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5544)

Continuing along the parkway, I followed it to the end, where I headed through Cherokee.  Traffic was heavy and slow moving as I rode through an Indian reservation and along the 19.  At the side of the highway lots of people were on the river on tubes and rafts enjoying the sunshine.  I continued riding and stopped for a bite to eat in Andrews.  My phone showed no service, and my computer could barely  pick up a signal, which kept on dropping out.  Apparently the storm had raged in Andrews the previous evening as well and had taken out a number of cell towers.  It certainly wasn't the best weather to be riding through.

I took a detour around the Andrews area, before continuing on my trek towards Atlanta.  Some of the roads were familiar from my ride the previous fall.  Lots of curves, a reasonable speed limit, and corners that were properly cambered building a lot of confidence.  Spotting the signage for the Appelachian Trail and the store at Neels Gap I realized that I was on Blood Mountain.  Heading down the mountain I tempered my speed a little more than I had on the ascent. 

Continuing on I passed Riders Hill, and continued towards greater Atlanta.  I stopped to take a break and send a few emails because I wasn't entirely sure where I was going.  Eventually I met up with Daisy, and followed him back to Blesk and Strap's place.  We beat them back by a few minutes and spent the time visiting.

I was a little disappointed that the storm on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the posted road speeds had slowed me down so that I wasn't going to be able to meet up with Nomo this trip – he was headed out on a trip to California, and had left mid-day, and wouldn't be returning until after I was back on the road. 

Thursday came to a close as the sun set.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 23, 2011, 12:25:26 PM
Nice write up......Honey





 (forreal) (forreal) roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 23, 2011, 12:28:21 PM
Someone stole the "Highest Point" sign (raggedly tore it off by chains/truck... :disgust:) about 2 weeks after You came through Olive.....Good that You took Your Picture when You did..... :headbang:.........Good Luck on Your Part...Honey..... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 23, 2011, 12:54:20 PM
There are a few people on this board who seem to like living dangerously...  :angry4:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 23, 2011, 12:58:50 PM
There are a few people on this board who seem to like living dangerously...  :angry4:


.....must be Cruz.......... :angel4:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 23, 2011, 01:27:03 PM
There are a few people on this board who seem to like living dangerously...  :angry4:


.....must be Cruz.......... :angel4:

 :dontknow: :dontknow: :dontknow: :dontknow:


 :innocent:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on August 23, 2011, 02:15:08 PM
 I'm sticking with Honey Dew, way healthier.....and quite refreshing ta boot


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on August 23, 2011, 02:47:48 PM
Someone stole the "Highest Point" sign (raggedly tore it off by chains/truck... :disgust:) about 2 weeks after You came through Olive
Seriously? I hadn't heard about this. WTF do they hope to do with it? That's just crazy.
 :disgust:


Nice writeup once again O


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 23, 2011, 04:40:30 PM
Someone stole the "Highest Point" sign (raggedly tore it off by chains/truck... :disgust:) about 2 weeks after You came through Olive
Seriously? I hadn't heard about this. WTF do they hope to do with it? That's just crazy.
 :disgust:


Nice writeup once again h-O-ney
Fixed it for ya


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 23, 2011, 04:46:52 PM
O, you have my permission to B-slap the lot of 'em  ! ! !    :evil7:

 :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 24, 2011, 07:29:26 AM
Someone stole the "Highest Point" sign (raggedly tore it off by chains/truck... :disgust:) about 2 weeks after You came through Olive
Seriously? I hadn't heard about this. WTF do they hope to do with it? That's just crazy.
 :disgust:


Nice writeup once again O

Yep, it's gone......I was told by a Motel Owner in Maggie Valley, that a new one is being made..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 24, 2011, 09:56:09 AM
Friday morning I got up and started my day with a cup of coffee.  Blesk was working out of the house which meant that we had an brief opportunity to visit.  Since most people in the area were working I made plans to meet up with Wrestler for lunch.  He provided me with directions and I headed south towards his place.

The route included a toll and the people behind me in the cash lane weren't thrilled when I stopped the bike to take off gloves, and fumbled around to find some change. 

Continuing south I had an opportunity to check out some of downtown Atlanta as I headed past and through.  The roadways wove in around each other, stacking traffic on top of each other as congestion built up and the highway went underneath downtown.  Following the directions I had jotted down I turned into the area surrounding the Atlanta University Center.   It wasn't hard to locate Lyke house where I found Wrestler out in the parking lot installing a new license plate on his car. 

We headed upstairs for a brief visit and coffee before heading out for lunch and a visit.  Wrestler's bike isn't stored where he lives so we took his car.  As we got to the restaurant Wrestler discovered that he had forgotten his wallet at home.  It was amusing given his last motorcycle trip where he had lost a tank bag containing his wallet, phone, gps and passport.  At least this time he was in his car and the wallet was only a few minutes across town.

After lunch he pointed out a number of places in Atlanta as we returned to his place.  It's always nice to have a tour guide.  Since I wasn't meeting up with others until dinnertime I hung out with Wrestler borrowing his internet for a while as I sat down with my computer to catch up on a bit of writing.  Obviously since I am posting about Atlanta a month after I arrived home I had a lot of catching up to do.  Wrestler lives above Lyke House and took me on a tour of the expansive space with african inspired artwork.  Gorgeous.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5545)

I left Wrestler and headed north to meet up with Bigfoot and Troll for dinner.  The rain started as I headed up the busy freeway and participated in a traditional Atlanta parking lot.  Perhaps I ought to have headed out a little earlier, or taken a different route, but being unfamiliar with the area it seemed prudent to stick to the directions I had been provided.  I watched a bike pull out onto the shoulder and head past the parked traffic and briefly considered the advisability of doing so myself.  Since traffic was still in motion I opted to creep along until road speed picked back up.

As I rode I was a little nervous if I had missed a turn because it seemed as if I had been traveling along the route for quite some time.  That's one of the drawbacks of being unfamiliar with an area.  Eventually I spotted the turn I was supposed to take, and rode right past the next road I was supposed to turn on.  I spotted the road sign a little too late to execute a turn.  I headed up a little ways until I found a good place to do a U-turn, and retraced my path.

Eventually I found Bigfoot's place, where he and his wife were waiting for me outside.  We had a brief chat, although I was a bit loud – since I hadn't removed my helmet my earplugs were still in and they did a remarkable job of blocking out sound.  They took their car and I followed on bike.  Troll was already waiting at the Tilted Kilt for us, and had began to wonder where we had gotten to.  It was good to see the guys again, and great to meet Bigfoot's wife. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5546)

After dinner we headed out to the parking lot where the guys checked out my bike and my packing methodologies.  The idea of fitting full camping gear as well as everything I needed into hard luggage seemed to either involve ninja packing skills or luggage with the properties of a Tardis.  We stood outside visiting for a while before heading out our separate ways.  Blesk sent a text to Bigfoot indicating that the door would be unlocked when I got back to their place.

Thus far in Atlanta I had met up and traveled behind Daisy in his car, with Wrestler in his car, behind Bigfoot and his wife in their car and met up with Troll who had also taken his car.  I found it mildly amusing that all of these were people from the forum, yet the bikes were nowhere to be seen.

On my way back to Blesk's I took a quick detour to a Walmart, and then tried to locate her place in the dark.  My notes were tucked into the plastic sleeve on top of my tank bag but were difficult to read in the dark, and everything always looks different at night.  Once I have traveled somewhere by myself I can usually find it again, but the previous night I had been following Daisy and somehow when there is someone else navigating you do not pay as much attention to the route.  I definitely took the scenic route, but eventually found the right house.

Arriving I noted that the garage door was propped open, and I checked the side door which was locked.  I also went around the rear of the house and checked that door which was also locked.  Quietly I knocked on the door, which Kafka immediately noted and went wild inside.  Apparently an excited dog wasn't enough to catch their attention.  Eventually I phoned Blesk, who headed out to let me in.  I found out that their house has two rear doors – one upstairs, and a sliding patio door to their basement.  It was the latter that was unlocked, and the former that I had checked out.  Ooops!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 24, 2011, 10:08:24 AM
Sweet as honey  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on August 24, 2011, 10:31:45 AM
Isn't Georgia filled with "Honey Bees" when its not on your mind, really good Honey... :headbang:  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 24, 2011, 01:02:31 PM
Dutchy and Aussie.....Ya'll are bein' sweet as Honey today.....glad to have both of You onboard...Cruz thanks You too..... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


.......not sure about Olive bein' so glad yet..... :dontknow:... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on August 24, 2011, 05:03:22 PM
Sweet as honey  :laughing7:
roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol



and yer next on the Honey hit list now  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 24, 2011, 06:49:43 PM
Sweet as honey  :laughing7:
roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol

and yer next on the Honey hit list now  :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

Remember this guys... I don't get mad, I get even.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 24, 2011, 06:57:35 PM
That's EXACTLY why I'm stayin' low key on this thread  ! ! ! !      (forreal) (forreal) (forreal)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 25, 2011, 10:11:47 PM
The following morning I visited with Strap and Blesk over coffee and met the kids who were over for the weekend.

There were a number of things that I had with me that I doubted I would need on the trip now that I had reached a warmer climate.  I snagged a box and packed up my heated vest, long johns and wool socks.  Strap and myself headed out for the post office where I dispatched my extra gear back home, and then stopped for oil and groceries on the way back.  I took care of an oil change on Blesk's driveway and Strap lent a hand, and then headed out to visit Kaiser Jokay and his wife.  

I had checked my options on Google maps and it seemed the quickest way to get to Canton would be following Campground Road rather than heading all the way over to the 19 which seemed to take me quite a ways out of my way.  It was less than 15 miles.  I was driving along Campground Road when I realized that it headed west, so I turned to continue following Holden Campground Road.  The road wound through a residential area, and I continued to follow it.  I was beginning to wonder if I had taken a wrong turn because it felt as if I was heading south rather than north, but I had no way to check because the sun was directly overhead.  I continued to ride, and confirmed that I had obviously taken a very wrong turn when I reached Roswell, well south of Alpharetta where I had started out.  I turned east and located the 19, and headed north trying to make up for lost time on the long route that I had dismissed earlier.  Later checking the map I discovered that I had been within 4 or 5 miles of his house before taking a 55 mile detour.  But the navigation entertainment wasn't finished yet.

Eventually I turned onto Kaiser Jokay's road and looked for his house number.  Houses seemed to be sequentially numbered as I rode, which is what I expected.  As numbers climbed I slowed my pace and started scanning.  Recognizing that I had obviously ridden right past his place because the numbers had climbed too high, I did a U-turn and backtracked.  That was odd, obviously I had ridden past it again as the numbers had dropped too low.  I was hot and flustered by the unexpected detour and was running late.  With a sigh I did another U-turn and followed the numbers up once more.

The number I was searching for seemed not to exist.  Feeling more than a little silly I pulled out my phone and double checked the address.  Yes, I had written it down right.  A little confused I returned the way I came to double check that I had turned on the right road.  Sure enough, I was on the right road. More than a little rattled I returned up the road.  I had been at his house the previous fall so I thought I should be able to recognize it, so I rode slowly taking a very close look at each house on the way past.  I rode past the fence in front of which I had performed the previous two U-turns and discovered that the house associated with it looked very familiar... and was even marked with the right house number.

I parked the bike and pulled off my helmet.  Kaiser Jokay came outside to greet me, and I explained why I was late much to his amusement.  Apparently house numbers along the road weren't entirely sequential and I had gotten caught in a logic trap.

Heading inside we visited for a while before heading out for dinner and a social visit.  After we left the house the rain started coming down hard accompanied with lightning and thunder.  Kaiser Jokay piloted the car around a power wire that was hanging down directly over the road, swinging in the wind.  Mrs Jokay commented that the weather was very unusual – the storms usually diverted around her.  It was obvious that the weather vortex was in the car.  Even though I wasn't on bike, I had attracted quite the wind, light and rain display from Mother Nature.  In short, all was normal.

The one really abnormal thing about this particular day was that it appears I didn't pull out my camera,.  I gave the memory card a good shake to see if something was tucked in a corner hiding, but nothing appeared.  I think that this was the first and only day during the six week trip where the camera wasn't exercised.  

Stay tuned for the next installment... it even has pictures! :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on August 26, 2011, 03:58:35 AM
Don't feel bad, I have missed Joker's house a few times too.  It is confusing and certain times of the year you can barely see his house.  I can't figure out how you got lost getting to GA-20 on Campground, but one thing that makes navigation interesting around here is that they like to change the names of roads numerous times.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 26, 2011, 06:15:01 AM
Count yourself lucky Kaiser doesnot live in Japan.....   house numbers are assigned in the order the houses were built/registered.....  :laughing7:


hhhmmmm
enjoying a cup of tea with some honey.............    :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 26, 2011, 07:22:00 AM

enjoying a cup of tea with some honey


................. :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on August 26, 2011, 07:42:40 AM
Count yourself lucky Kaiser doesnot live in Japan.....   house numbers are assigned in the order the houses were built/registered.....  :laughing7:
You thought it was hard to find houses before the horrible water relocation act of 2011.
No pics....it mustn't of happened....the usual suspect, again something associated with Kaiser is mysterious, foggy, surreal...Spacey!!


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 26, 2011, 01:07:52 PM
I can't figure out how you got lost getting to GA-20 on Campground, but one thing that makes navigation interesting around here is that they like to change the names of roads numerous times.

Very easily.  Follow Campground road North.  Turn left onto Campground road and continue to follow it as it winds around, changes names a few times, and eventually you wind up in Roswell...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 27, 2011, 10:27:17 PM
The next morning I got up early and headed downstairs for coffee.  Kaiser Jokay made his special scrambled eggs for breakfast.  The dogs were up, and Sami, a pitbull that was a recent rescue decided to share the couch with me.  The cone around her head got in the way as she tried to make friends heedless of the coffee I was balancing.

Kaiser Jokay decided to send me on my way with a piece of technology that might be useful – his old GPS.  It was collecting dust in a box, but was a definite upgrade over my paper map.  The GPS certainly would have saved me a lot of hassle the previous day, which had indubitably precipitated the donation.  (Thanks Joker!).

I headed out the door at the same time as Kaiser Jokay.  He had morning plans and I was heading for Riders Hill to meet up with Blesk and Bigfoot for an area ride.  As we reached the turnoff where we were to split ways I meeped my horn confusing him.  My intent was to say farewell, however it gave him pause wondering if I was trying to attract his attention.  We headed our separate ways.

When I arrived at Riders Hill Bigfoot was sitting in one of the big white rockers waiting for my arrival.  We visited for a while, and head the familiar sound of a V4 as Blesk's gorgeous white with a hint of pink pearl-coated bike pulled up the hill.  Since we didn't know if anyone else was joining us we waited for a while before heading out on the road with Blesk taking the lead.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5547)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5548)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5549)

During our ride we saw a few downed limbs and leaves from the storm on the previous night, but the detritus had nothing on what I had encountered on Blue Ridge Parkway a few days previous.  We headed past a deer and a turtle on the road.  I found the latter a little odd.

After stopping for lunch we headed out to Mercier orchards where Blesk picked up a few treats for the family, and Bigfoot a shirt for his grandson.  

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5551)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5552)

I decided to check out what gave Bigfoot his forum name... Yup, one or two sizes larger than my own.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5550)

Blesk was hopeful that she would run into her son's grandparents because she had something to drop off for him.  Unfortunately our timing was a little off so we reverted to plan B which was a short detour to meet her son along the way.  He was waiting at the roadside reading when we got there, very thankful that his mom had taken the time to play courier.

Heading back towards Atlanta we headed up Blood Mountain.  Stopping at the store at Neels Gap we saw a bike that had crashed a little further down blood Mountain.  The rider had managed to limp it back to the store, but wasn't feeling very good and was met at the store by an ambulance.  His bike had weathered the crash relatively well, although had a lot of dirt and grass packed on the side. Blood Mountain is served by two police services – Blount County and Union County.  The police had arrived shortly after the ambulance to investigate the single bike accident, but found that it was on the wrong side of the mountain to be under their jurisdiction.  The invisible line drawn in the sand.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5553)

Heading back down Blood Mountain we were held up behind a slow moving manure truck.  Having no sense of smell I was blissfully unaware of the cargo, but Blesk was complaining about it later.  Traffic was fairly heavy heading back to Alpharetta, and as soon as we got back Blesk and Strap took off to drop the kids off.  Strap had spent his Fathers Day with the kids and seemed to have had a great time while the rest of us were out riding.

Stay tuned for the next installment where I head south for a unique camping experience...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 28, 2011, 12:57:39 PM
did you buy some honey at the orchard?  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 28, 2011, 02:21:27 PM
did you buy some honey at the orchard?  :laughing7:

Dutchy,

Perhaps now would be a good time to remind you of the wise words of Ben Franklin?  "Honey is sweet but a bee has a sting."


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 29, 2011, 09:06:19 AM
did you buy some honey at the orchard?  :laughing7:

Dutchy,

Perhaps now would be a good time to remind you of the wise words of Ben Franklin?  "Honey is sweet but a bee has a sting."

........... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 29, 2011, 10:49:05 AM
Ben who?

Is he the Ben from Ben&Jerry's

Coconut Seven Layer Bar (92g): Cream, liquid sugar, water, skim milk, sugar, coconut, walnuts,
egg yolk, coconut oil, corn syrup, soybean oil, milk, corn starch, natural flavor, wheat flour,
cocoa (processed with alkali), graham flour, cocoa, milk fat, canola oil, salt, guar gum, soya
lecithin, molasses, pectin, honey, baking soda, carrageenan.


 :dontknow:  :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 29, 2011, 12:14:27 PM
Ben who?

Is he the Ben from Ben&Jerry's

Coconut Seven Layer Bar (92g): Cream, liquid sugar, water, skim milk, sugar, coconut, walnuts,
egg yolk, coconut oil, corn syrup, soybean oil, milk, corn starch, natural flavor, wheat flour,
cocoa (processed with alkali), graham flour, cocoa, milk fat, canola oil, salt, guar gum, soya
lecithin, molasses, pectin, honey, baking soda, carrageenan.


 :dontknow:  :laughing7:

HONEY is used in a Lota' Things Dutchy, but this Thread seems to have HONEY oozing out of everywhere..... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 29, 2011, 12:26:01 PM
Coconut Seven Layer Bar (92g): Cream, liquid sugar, water, skim milk, sugar, coconut, walnuts,
egg yolk, coconut oil, corn syrup, soybean oil, milk, corn starch, natural flavor, wheat flour,
cocoa (processed with alkali), graham flour, cocoa, milk fat, canola oil, salt, guar gum, soya
lecithin, molasses, pectin, honey, baking soda, carrageenan.

Dutchy, are you trying to kill me off now?  Dangerous territory that...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 29, 2011, 02:30:01 PM
I would never................







honey honey honey  :headbang:

(http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n206/Dutchy_748/0e9e56ce.jpg)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on August 29, 2011, 03:53:47 PM
Ben who?

Is he the Ben from Ben&Jerry's

Coconut Seven Layer Bar (92g): Cream, liquid sugar, water, skim milk, sugar, coconut, walnuts,
egg yolk, coconut oil, corn syrup, soybean oil, milk, corn starch, natural flavor, wheat flour,
cocoa (processed with alkali), graham flour, cocoa, milk fat, canola oil, salt, guar gum, soya
lecithin, molasses, pectin, honey, baking soda, carrageenan.
 :dontknow:  :laughing7:

Notice a problem??


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 29, 2011, 03:57:39 PM
Sure did ! ! !  So much for that  !.....    roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 30, 2011, 09:15:34 AM
Monday the plan was to continue south on my trip.  I met Daisy for breakfast and he hung out with me while I took care of chain maintenance and exchanged the dongle for my heated vest for a 12 volt power plug.  I only had room to attach one item to my battery at a time, and since mailing my vest home the dongle was no longer needed.

It seemed that the morning had passed very quickly as it was well past noon according to the clock on my bike by the time I set off south.  Some days time speeds past faster than others, and this was definitely one of those mornings.  It wasn't until later that I figured out why time had passed so rapidly.  I hadn't realized that when I rewired the accessories I had disconnected the bike battery effectively resetting the clock to 12:00.  Oops. 

It took a while to ride south through greater Atlanta and traffic was heavy.  I headed past the downtown core, and traffic built as I got closer to the center of town.  Once I cleared the area I continued to ride south trying to put some distance on the bike, and make up for what I thought was a very late start.  Ready for a break I pulled off at Luv's Truck Stop for a cold drink and a break.  I had definitely found the warm weather.  I sat for a while people watching.  The manager was overbearing and micromanaging the staff.  She had a sharp, shrill voice, and was issuing orders in a tone that sounded like an exasperated mother not someone managing adults.  As a customer I found it grating on my nerves as it continued to distract me from the map I was looking at trying to plan the next stage of my ride. 

Heading back on the road I continued heading south towards Florida.  As I approached a large tractor trailer I spotted a burst of dust as a tire separated from the rim and leapt skywards like a spawning Salmon.  Surprises like this on the road are never welcome.  I swerved to avoid an accident, heart pounding and adrenaline coursing through my veins as the ruined rubber bounced and rebounded unpredictably on the road beside me.  Large trucks always capture my attention because there is so much that can happen around them – evidence of how often tires and re-treads blow out are found littering highways across North America.  It's not just the tire flying off the truck that worries me, but also the debris that it can scatter and kick up, as well as the reactions of other vehicles as the freeway becomes a free-for-all potential smash up derby with vehicles swerving and braking unpredictably.

I stopped for gas and a break the next opportunity that presented itself to give myself some time to relax after the excitement.  That tire had come too close for comfort and was fresh in my mind.

As I headed down the 82 I saw yellow temporary signs set up at the side of the highway indicating fog or smoke ahead.  These signs were placed at regular intervals along the road, even though things seemed clear.  I had ridden through thick fog on occasions before, one of the most notable being the California Redwoods in the early morning the previous year.  I remembered the poor visibility quite clearly, and was glad that this year I was riding with contact lenses, making the lenses of my glasses one less thing to worry about.  There were other routes I could take, however this seemed to make the most sense if I wanted to return east to the Florida coastline so I pushed onwards, figuring if conditions warranted I could always turn back.

Every so often I came across a pick-up truck hauling a trailer of watermelon.  The watermelon were just stacked on the trailer and not tied down.  As a truck ahead went over a bump one of the melons liberated itself, smashing and bouncing down the road in front of me.  This  served as a reminder that even smaller trucks could be a hazard and explained why I had seen the remnants of a smashed watermelon on the road earlier in the day.  I stopped at a gas station to fuel up.  One of the now ubiquitous trailers of watermelon was parked out front.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5557)

By this point in the ride I noticed that things were a little hazy with smoke, but nothing significant.  I knew that southern Georgia and Florida both had forest fires burning, which were obviously the reason for the warning signs out on the highway.  As dusk was falling I started looking for a campsite, eventually pulling into Laura S. Walker State Park.

The entry booth was closed, with a sign advising after-hours arrivals to check in at the information center.  I parked the bike and walked over to the building.  The door was locked and a sign suggested campers could pay for their site the following morning when the building reopened. 

Throwing my leg back over the bike I rode into the campground to see if I could locate a vacant campsite.  That wasn't a problem.  There were a lot of vacant campsites.  As a matter of fact, all of the camp sites were vacant, including the one signed as campground host.  Decidedly odd.  I headed back up to the main building to read notes on the notice board to make sure that I hadn't missed out on a campground closure.  Nothing was posted.  I checked other notice boards where campfire warnings were posted, but nothing indicated that I couldn't pitch a tent.

I saw a couple out for a walk.  This was the first sign of life I had seen in the park so I pulled over to check if they knew something I did not.  It turned out that they lived near the park and were out for their evening stroll.  They found the vacated campground to be as unsettling as I did, but confirmed that there were no evacuation orders in place.  I let them know that I was intending to camp there that evening and requested that if an evacuation was announced that they swing into the campground to pass on the message.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5558)

Since I had my choice of campsites I decided to take over an RV site that was right beside the lake.  It provided easy access for the bike, a flat spot for the tent and a gorgeous view.  By the time I pitched the tent the sun was setting, but I had enough time to take a short walk to check out the lake.  A few meters away from where I had pitched my tent I found a sign advising there was no swimming in the lake and warning that alligators were present.  Apparently I had pitched my tent right beside a Gator swamp.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5559)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5560)

Crawling into my tent I exchanged emails with a few friends on my Blackberry, and had one of them do a quick web search on the forest fires and Laura S. Walker park to make sure that there wasn't an evacuation I didn't know about.  I still felt a little unsettled because the campground was deserted.  Since it seemed clear I settled down for the night listening to the buzz of frogs and chirps of insects. The silence of the night was disturbed by the crunch of gravel and a flash of light as a truck slowly drove through the campground, but it didn't stop.  After the sound of the engine faded in the night the quiet settled around my tent like a cloak.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 30, 2011, 12:04:05 PM
You did realize Alligators roam around away from the Water....eh, Olive.....?...... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 30, 2011, 12:13:45 PM
You did realize Alligators roam around away from the Water....eh, Olive.....?...... :laughing7:

Oh yes... hence my comment about pitching the tent beside the Gator Swamp.  They have legs for a reason eh?


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on August 30, 2011, 11:59:42 PM
I don't think aligators have a sweet tooth............    :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on August 31, 2011, 01:09:18 PM
I don't think aligators have a sweet tooth............    :laughing7:

.......... :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on August 31, 2011, 03:35:16 PM
June 21, 2011 (Day 26/48)

It was just as quiet when I got up with the sun.  The camp ground remained.  I packed up my gear in silence, and headed out of the park.  There was nobody around to pay for the campsite from the previous night, and I didn't want to wait around for two hours.  There was nowhere to leave a cash payment either.  Given that I dry camp, don't even bother with a campfire and left no evidence of my presence I didn't feel too bad about not being able to leave payment.  It certainly wasn't as if my presence had displaced another camper. 

Exiting the park I noticed that Okefenokee Swamp had barricades across the entrance and signage indicated that it was closed.  Traveling south the air quickly filled with smoke, and visibility decreased. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5561)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5562)

I stopped in Folkeston at a McDonalds for coffee and breakfast.  While enjoying my coffee I tried to pull up some information on the fire on my computer.  Much to my amusement I encountered an article about someone who had camped at Laura S. Walker State Park during the weekend.  Much like me, he had the entire campground to himself.  However the news article indicated that although the campground was not closed a local Ranger had tried to dissuade the camper warning that there was a high likelihood of Chinook helicopters scooping water out of the lake right beside the campsite during the night.  Apparently I could have had a lot of excitement in the middle of the night, and I'm almost disappointed that I missed out on the experience. 

During my coffee break one of the local state troopers came over to my table to talk to me briefly.  He asked about where I was traveling and recommended that since I was on a bike that I stick to major highways.  The fires could be quick moving jumping highways and I probably didn't want to get caught alone on a secondary highway in those conditions. 

Continuing south I took a few pictures of the highway illustrating how thick some of the smoke was.  It gave an otherworldly perspective to the ride.  Some people might complain about these type of riding conditions, but they simply add to the story.  Riding exclusively in good weather and optimum conditions don't make for a very good tale.

A few hours later the smoke started to thin and I continued riding south in to Florida.  My next stop was  in Daytona Beach where I caught up with Oyama for lunch.  He had sent me a message a few days previous extending the invite if my route took me through Daytona, and since timing was working out I thought I would meet up with a member from another forum.

Oyama arrived as I was getting off my bike, dressed in crisp beige work clothes,which contrasted with the helmet.  I didn't capture a picture of it but I found the sticker on the side of his bike reading “VTEC Inside” to be highly amusing.  His red bike shone with obvious care and attention.  Mine had collected a bit of road grime, but when I am on a trip I am much more concerned with riding than cleaning. 

After lunch Oyama had to head back to work after a quick photo opportunity, and I continued with my trip.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5563)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5564)

When in Daytona there are some places that you just need to check out – so I stopped to walk around for a bit before following the 1 and 1A south.  Is it really an surprise that I stopped here?

(Forget the beach, there are more interesting things to look at!)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5565)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5566)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5567)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5568)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5570)

There were lots of small towns dotting the highways.  Most were populated with older homes and small mom-and-pop businesses with sun faded signage fronting the highway.  In quite a few areas RV parks proved popular, and signs indicated that space could be booked by the month or year.  Lots of signs pointed the way to beach access and other tourist spots. Quite often I had a view of the Ocean as I rode past – a brilliant deep blue that seemed to go on forever.

Later in the afternoon I stopped at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and walked around for a while in the heat.  It seemed strange to think that a few weeks previous I had been leaving Calgary where the trees were still in bud, yet here the foliage was lush and vibrant. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5571)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5582)

The tourist information center was air conditioned, and the staff inside very personable.  I checked out the exhibits enjoying the brief respite from the warm weather outside.  Through the window I watched a variety of birds visiting feeders for a snack.  Cardinals, hummingbirds, cuckoos and mockingbirds vied for a snack outside.  An enterprising squirrel tried to outsmart the squirrel proof devices in place to keep him from raiding the feeders.  His contortions and acrobatics showed that he was familiar and practiced with the moves needed to partake in a snack.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5574)

I only found one Alligator at the refuge, and he seemed to thrive on a steady diet of tourists.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5572)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5573)

A boardwalk provided tourists an opportunity for a self guided tour.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5577)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5578)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5579)

Small green lizards darted quickly across the boardwalk diving into the trees and bushes.  This one paused on the rail of the boardwalk so I could take his picture.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5576)

Green brackish water hosted a variety of fish and turtles.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5580)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5583)

A turtle across the marsh sat on a wooden platform sunning himself.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5581)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5575)

Leaving the refuge, I continued down the Space Coast, past the Kennedy Space Center and the Launch Area.  The  Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge actually overlays the Space Center – fantastic example of shared space.  Unfortunately road access prohibits riding over to the launch area so I settled for viewing from a distance.  I stopped in McDonalds for a cold pop.  The decor was obviously aimed at the space center tourist.  The newer McDonalds seem to be becoming standardized pushing towards the adult coffee crowd, but some of the older ones reflect tourism and the area where they are found. 

Continuing down the coast I started to look for a place to camp for the evening.  Eventually I settled for an RV campground that had a few tent sites and accepted nighly bookings. This particular campground used to be a KOA, which says a lot about the style of it.  Obviously an older campground it didn't offer a playground for children, as most KOAs today seem to feature.  It was simply a parking lot for RVs with a small store at the front, and bathroom facilities with showers.  At one side there were a couple of cabins available for booking.  The tent sites were a grassy area at the rear of the property near a swampy lagoon that was covered in algae.  Notably I was the only tent in the entire campground.  Nearby a bulldozer sat parked beside a large pile of sand.  Obviously they were doing some work on the campground. The road surface was gravel/dirt packed on top of sand, and I parked the bike right on the edge of the road so that I had less worry about the kickstand sinking in to the soft ground overnight.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5584)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5585)

As usual I covered every square inch of myself with bug deterrent before I even started putting up the tent, but discovered that no-see-ums ignore Deep Woods Off and find a white Canadian to be a very tasty treat.  I also discovered that they are small enough to come through the screen of a tent.  By the following morning I was covered in nickel-sized itchy welts and looked like I had been the site of a recent mosquito orgy. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on August 31, 2011, 04:08:45 PM
Two words;   very good !  .....  'nuf said and looking forward to the next installment  ~~~~~~>

 :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on September 01, 2011, 12:12:44 AM
Note to Dutchy: Look through Olive's Pics...seems there is an Alligator with a Sweet Tooth..... :laughing7:


GREAT Pics and Write-up Olive..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on September 01, 2011, 07:19:46 AM
LMAO at the Alligator head shot.....nice!!!  Way different than a Polar Bear head shot which could be as easily expected from the "O" factor. Nice work as usual Honeyless O .... :headbang:  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on September 01, 2011, 11:37:16 AM
Note to Dutchy: Look through Olive's Pics...seems there is an Alligator with a Sweet Tooth..... :laughing7:


GREAT Pics and Write-up Olive..... :headbang:


he likes his "honey"............  :evil7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on September 01, 2011, 01:24:16 PM
This is one HONEY of a Write-up..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on September 02, 2011, 10:47:43 PM
June 22, 2011 (Day 27/48)

The weather was warm even though it was still very early in the day.  Quite warm actually.  I had left the fly off of my tent the previous night and could feel the early morning sun burning on my shoulder.   The welts left from the no-see-ums from the previous night were nickel sized and rather itchy.  I packed up my tent and quietly headed out of the campground past the slumbering occupants of tent trailers and motor homes.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5588)

It was quiet on the road at this hour as I rode out past the ubiquitous palm trees.  As I rode through  small towns too numerous to count I took a few short detours to look around.  At the side of residential roads piles of palm leaves sat ready for pickup.  Arbourists were at work removing excess foliage and grooming the area to be picture perfect.  Given the size of the palm fronds I wouldn't want to be riding underneath when one of them dropped off of a tree. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5589)

It wasn't far to the beach.  I stopped short of it, pausing for a few pictures before continuing south.  Small town gave way to small town and traffic volumes began to climb as I approached and drove through Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Miami.  As I moved south in Florida traffic continued to get worse and driving was slow. It was crowded with people and cars everywhere. The gear is OK when I am moving, but overheats quickly if the vents aren't able to let a breeze flow through.   Moving slowly through Florida I was really noticing the heat.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5590)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5591)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5592)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5593)

I found toll roads in Florida to be very strange.  Signs on the one I had routed myself towards indicated that only the Florida “Sunpass” was accepted, no cash.  I also learned from signage that vehicles taking the road without a Sunpass would have their plate photographed and be sent a $100 ticket in the mail. Hmmmm.... that really isn't good for tourism.  Why should I have to purchase a transponder to drive down a road once?  Plus I had no idea where to even get one. Many of the roadways in the area seemed to be toll roads, and the majority seem to only accept the Sun-pass, which means that the tourist is left with few choices.

It wasn't until I spotted this sign that it dawned on me that I was in Florida on a solo motorcycle trip. Florida! The furthest point I could get diagonally across the continent from home.  If anyone would have suggested to me in 2008 when I was first learning how to ride a motorcycle that I would ever do a ride of this magnitude I would have laughed at them - but at that point even the ride from Calgary to Lake Louise seemed daunting in terms of distance.   The ferry to Newfoundland reminded me that I was heading for the easternmost part of Canada, but it wasn't until I realized I was one right hand turn away from Miami that the distance became real for me.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5594)

The day passed quickly, and I got caught up in Miami rush hour traffic.  Getting caught up in a rush hour traffic jam as traffic ground to a halt wasn't part of my daily ride plan, and not something I would recommend to anyone.  The sweat beaded on my forehead and ran down into my eyes as I slowly crept forwards.  I noticed a hitch hiker on my mirror.  A large white spider clinging on, as my bike crept forwards.  Thin spindly legs and a round abdomen that reminded me of a juicy grape.  Usually I'm ok with bugs, as long as they aren't yellow and black striped, but there was something about this large white spider that got to me.  I briefly considered reaching out to brush it off the stalk of the mirror but the idea of touching it gave me pause.  With a shudder I ignored it, assuming that it would fall off quickly enough, especially once I started moving.

Other vehicles pushed into my lane, sharing space in my lane with my bike trying to gain a few precious feet of space.  I really didn't appreciate them being quite so friendly.  Pushing forward I crawled past a tow truck and accident scene.  Traffic picked up in pace a bit, but still moved slowly enough to qualify as a nightmare.  I still had the spider on my mirror.  It was being very stubborn, and the breeze didn't seem to phase it at all, as it slowly made its way down closer to my front cowl.  Briefly I wondered if spiders in Florida were poisonous.

I was stuck in traffic for over two and a half hours.  The final traffic straw for me was getting pushed to the right by a car that decided to share my lane at the same time someone behind me decided to overlap me and try to pass in the shoulder.  The car ahead of me made sure I was properly boxed in. I had the center of the lane, and speed was barely crawling, however it felt as if two other vehicles were trying to occupy the same point in space and time as I was. Florida drivers have apparent total disregard for those funny white and yellow lines painted on the pavement that hold meaning for people who are not from Florida, not to mention their complete and total lack of respect for the motorcyclist.

Since I was hot, tired and getting cranky I decided to find a place to pull off the road for a while to cool off and have something to eat.  When I stopped I took a quick look for the spider, but it seemed to have had dropped off the bike at some point during the journey.

Recognizing that I really had no use for the big cities, traffic and oppressive heat as well as recognizing that I didn't NEED to be there -- after all this was a vacation, I took an exit planning to just hit a campground and figure out tomorrow when it came. Looking at the map and realizing that campsites in the Florida Keys would prove challenging at best, I decided to loop north a bit to pitch my tent in the Everglades, reasoning that would put me close enough to ride out to the Keys the following morning. 

My plan was to head up the 41, but I managed to get myself turned around and headed too far north.  Stopping to check my map I noted that it was all indicated as green parkland, so the 93 seemed a good alternate route. I assumed I would easily find a campsite in Alligator Alley because it was marked on my map as a national/state park. The 93 was a toll road, but since the booth was manned payment wasn't an issue.

I was committed to a westerly trek across Florida.  Bringing the bike to highway speed I glanced in my mirror and noticed that my friend was still hanging out with me.  Yes, I still had that same white spider on my bike.  Earlier I had thought that I had lost him, but apparently he had found somewhere clever to hide.  He was sitting on the base of the mirror, getting blown by the wind generated as my bike pushed down the highway at 75mph, but he obviously had a good grip.  Once more I considered reaching forward to detach him, but the idea of having that particular spider crawling on me while riding was enough deterrent for me to keep my hands to myself.  Every so often my gaze wandered over to the mirror to watch the spider buffeted by the wind, one leg waving in the breeze.

Stopping at one of the viewpoints I decided to get rid of the spider before the distraction caused me a larger problem.  I didn't want to touch it, so I reached forward with a key.  The spider scrambled into the housing of the mirror mounting.  I could see him in there, but was unable to get him out with the key.  While I don't have any qualms about squishing bugs, I didn't want a squashed white spider in a part of my bike that would be difficult to clean.  I walked away, hoping that he would emerge.

I was in the Everglades, and it was time to explore a little.  The rest stop had a large raised wooden platform that overlooked a narrow body of water.  I took the camera with me, but didn't expect to find much to photograph.  To my surprise there were alligators out for a swim. I didn't spot them right away - I was actually watching a turtle in the water, when a bit of motion across the water caught my attention.  This was the first live gator that I had seen.  Watching for a few minutes, I noticed a second one in the water as well.  Slowly and silently they paddled across the narrow stream, almost invisible in the water.  At the rest stop I saw lots of other wildlife as well – birds, turtles, fish and colourful insects.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5597)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5598)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5599)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5602)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5596)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5601)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5603)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5604)

Did I mention that I was able to photograph a few alligators?

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5606)

(Ooops... is this becoming the 'Gator Gallery?)

Returning to my bike I checked on the spider.  He was still hiding. 

At this time I didn't realize that there really weren't any options off of the 93.  Once you get onto the 93, you have opportunities to stop at viewpoints on the Everglades Parkway and your choice of locations to to picnic or launch a boat, but no campground.  Also no place to turn around for the next 80 miles - that was also where you could stop for gas.  By the time I reached this point I didn't see the sense in turning back, so I headed for Naples which was only 20 miles away.

Continuing west I headed into the setting sun.  Silhouetted in the colourful sky was the spider, who had once again emerged onto the stalk of my mirror like a dog hanging his head out of the window enjoying the breeze.  This spider had now been with me for hours, obviously having discovered the joys of riding a motorcycle.  Briefly I considered taking a picture of him at the next stop, since he was obviously interested in joining me on the trip and had inadvertantly become part of the story.  However, by the time I stopped at the next gas station entering Naples he had disappeared once again.  I checked and this time he wasn't hiding in the base of the mirror.  Hopfully he was gone for good.

Arriving in Naples I discovered camping was going to cost me $55-60 for the night.  Mostly RV campgrounds in the area.  Parking the bike in front of a Red Roof Inn, I went inside to check what price I could get a room for. 

Walking inside I explained to the desk clerk what I was looking for, and she indicated that she could offer me a room at a very competitive rate.  Sold.  It didn't make much sense to me that a room was cheaper than a place to pitch my tent, but I wasn't going to argue the fact.  A few minutes later I carried my gear up to the room I had found for $39, and stepped into a shower to sluce the sweat from my body. 

Much better.  Now fit for company, I got dressed and walked across the parking lot to a nearby restaurant for dinner and to study maps to decide where I was going the next day.  At this point to detour back to the Florida Keys would add another two or three hours travel time across the Everglades Parkway.  The road itself wasn't very exciting – as a friend had commented to me about packing for Florida, I didn't need to bring the sidewalls of my tires.  I knew that the Keys would be busy, lots of traffic and debated if it was worthwhile to go there, or simply spend the time on the west coast of Florida instead, where it seemed things were a little quieter.  But that decision could wait for the next day.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on September 03, 2011, 09:25:48 AM
My, you do attract strange house guests, doncha ? ?   roflol     Strange place to hitch a ride ... !  Must have been part Daicos ! 

Nice pics, narrative as usual...   :hello2:   Looking forward to the trip to Flagstaff ... !    :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on September 03, 2011, 02:09:27 PM
..........GOOD STUFF Olive.......... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on September 03, 2011, 02:10:39 PM
My, you do attract strange house guests, doncha ? ?   roflol     

Honey attracts ALL kinds  roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol
 



 :help: :help: :help: :help:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on September 03, 2011, 04:05:22 PM
I really love all the pics that you take. Sometimes I think I caught a couple good ones and then I see yours  :BangHead: Guess you just have an "eye" for it. Great installment once again and awaiting the next!  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on September 03, 2011, 04:16:06 PM
I really love all the pics that you take. Sometimes I think I caught a couple good ones and then I see yours  :BangHead: Guess you just have an "eye" for it. Great installment once again and awaiting the next!  :headbang:

Thanks Bigfoot!  What you don't see are the pictures that I choose NOT to post.  Most of the pics I put up here are cropped (my camera introduces a dark spot on the upper left hand corner of images which is really aggravating), and sometimes quickly colour balanced. 

If you are looking for better pictures take more photos.  Try five or six different framings of the same image - you will learn to look through the lens differently, and the feedback you get from the pictures will help you learn framing.  Look for different perspectives - shoot low to the ground, standing on something for height, move around to change the angle yu are shooting from.  The other tip is think foreground, background and the positioning of the focal point of the image.  Google "Rule of Thirds in Photography" for advice on that.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on September 10, 2011, 12:54:23 AM
June 23 (Day 28/48)

I debated if it was worthwhile to ride across the Everglades Parkway again and head south into the Keys.  The other option was to spend some time exploring the west coast of Florida which seemed much less populated. 

Starting out the morning I headed through Naples and looked at some local colour.  The residences in the area next to the Ocean qualified as mansions.  This was the better part of town.  Yards immaculately manicured and homes well cared for.  People were out walking their dogs our having a jog in the early morning sun.  Everyone seemed to have a healthy looking bronze tan.  There were a lot of small parking lots at the end of side streets leading to the beach.  I rode past a number of these until I found one that was quiet.  Pulling in I parked and picked up my camera.  Some quiet beach shots were called for.

The access from the parking lot was via an inviting wooden boardwalk that went through a screen of green trees.  Through the archway through the trees I could catch a glimpse of blue sky and the promise of an ocean.  It seemed so contained by the framing of the trees.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5612)

A helmet hobbit playing on the beach

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5607)

Seabirds along a pier against an empty ocean

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5608)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5609)

A couple of people swimming in the ocean.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5610)

A  quiet beach

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5611)

There weren't many people out on the beach at this hour.  It was nice and peaceful.  It was also very clean.  The ubiquitous cigarette butts and garbage were missing.  It was a very nice change.  I felt a little overdressed in my gear, but I wasn't planning to stop for long.  I noticed that the sand was very fine, and there were lots of small seashells.  I picked up a few small ones the size of a nickel as a souvenir. 

I headed north on small roads that wound through residential areas, stopping at a dollar store to pick up a new pair of sunglasses.  The bright sunlight had me squinting.  The previous day I had tried to put on my helmet when my sunglasses were perched on top of my head.  The results weren't very good, and my sunglasses lost that battle.  It was also a good opportunity to stop for a morning cup of coffee. 

Continuing to ride on secondaries and local roads I headed north and turned to explore Longboat Key.  It seems strange to drive down a road on an island that is so narrow that you can see the ocean between homes by looking either left or right of the road.  Definitely an improvement over some of the crowded, busy freeways of the previous day.  There was a lot of slow moving traffic on the island, despite the fact it was mid week.  I could only imagine the traffic I would have found on the more popular Keys on the south eastern tip of Florida.  While some of the roads weren't fast moving, they still let enough of a breeze to flow through my gear to keep it from turning into my own private sauna.

Deciding to stop at one of the small beaches on Longboat Key, I pulled the bike into the only free parking spot.  Since it was a warm day I locked my jacket, helmet and tank bag onto the bike and slathered my exposed skin with sunblock.  There were a few things I didn't want to leave behind, so I tucked my wallet and passport into my leather pants and kept them on. 

Leaving the parking lot walking towards the beach I noticed this sign advising the beach was a Sea Turtle Protection area. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5613)

Much like Naples, the beach access was a wooden boardwalk that passed through a screen of trees, although this beach also had a small road providing access.  Traffic was barred from access to the sandy road with a locked metal gate.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5614)

As soon as I reached the beach I removed my Sidis and socks.  The sand was warm and as fine a sugar.  The beach was gorgeous and sparsely populated.  This was a surprise given the traffic and lack of parking. 

The wide stretch of sand was very clean.  Some people had staked out sections of the sandy expanse with beach towels, umbrellas and deck chairs.  Children played under their parents watchful eye, bright coloured pails and shovels building sand castles.  Obviously the town took good care of the beach, clearing away the usual garbage you find in public spaces. To the north there was evidence of some sort of pipeline construction, and along the beach homes peeked out through a screen of trees. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5615)

I unzipped the side zippers of my leather pants and tied the legs around my waist forming a pair of shorts and waded into the ocean.  The water was very warm, and the waves lapped at my legs.  Standing  I could feel the sand eroding out from under my feet as the waves receded.  Footing felt much more secure when I was walking, not giving the sand a chance to trickle out from under my feet.

Out on the water there were some small boats in the distance.  In spots the sand on the beach was undisturbed, although a vehicle had obviously passed across the beach at some point in the recent past.  Some dried seaweed lay scattered on the sand, and shorebirds seemed more populous than sunbathers.  The warm sun beat down on my tank top.  As I slowly headed back towards my bike I saw more small shells scattered in the sand.

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My unusual attire attracted the attention of one of the visitors to the beach.  Upon finding out I was on a bike and from Canada, he asked me where I had rented it from.  Quickly I set the record straight, much to his surprise.  Throughout the trip it seemed to surprise people that I was out on a bike this far from home on my own. 

Returning to the bike I put my gear back on and checked out the town of Anna Maria on the northern end of Longboat Key.  At this point the island was a lot wider and was host to small town.  Signs advertised vacation house rentals, and the tourist trade clearly thrived along the edge of the Ocean.  It seemed such a contrast to the Everglades of the previous day.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5620)

Heading back to the mainland, I continued riding north.  The ever present signs indicating hurricane evacuation routes amused me.  People lived and vacationed here, but were always reminded of possible danger, and the need to depart at a moment's notice.

The sport of the night was “find a campground”.  Once again I was able to find lots of camping targeted at the RV, but tents seemed to be the dominion of second class citizens.  In the past I have tried to argue that the bike is a recreational vehicle, and as such I should be able to access the campground, but usually campgrounds don't go for that. 

I finally found something that seemed promising.  Camping was advertised.  The name “RV” wasn't in the name, and nothing on the signage indicated that tents were prohibited.  I followed a side road and turned into the campground.  This one was a lot of fun with steep downhill access.  I started riding on asphalt which turned into packed gravel which in turn gave way to loose sand.   At the bottom I found a sign indicating “absolutely no tents”.  Another sign advised that motorcycles and dirt bikes were not at all welcome at this campground either. 

Weighing my options for turning around in the deep sand I evaluated my footing.  I was on my toes in loose, unstable sand.  On the road ahead you could see deep tire tracks which had been left by the Rvs which had passed there before me.  Rather than attempting a tight turn on unstable ground, I decided to ignore the signage and execute a safer turn by riding through the campground and following the loop around. 

Just to clarify one point.  Neither me nor my bike like riding in deep, soft sand.   I might feel a little differently about it if I wasn't on a 550lb VFR complete with loaded touring luggage, but it really feels squirrelly on that kind of footing.

I was relieved to get back on the main road.  Riding a bit further I located a KOA near Milton Florida.  Not my favourite type of campground, and usually overpriced for what they offer to me, but all I wanted was a place to pitch the tent for the night.  I rode past the parking lot of motor homes and past the usual selection of tent trailers with all the comforts of home.  The tent sites were tucked at the back and also involved riding on some sandy roads, but at least it was well packed and not deep and loose like my previous experience. 

As I lay in my tent I could hear the sound of trucks rushing past on the highway, planes flying overhead and young children screaming as they dashed about the campground well past their bedtime. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on September 10, 2011, 02:08:07 PM
Great story telling O, and nice pics  :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on September 10, 2011, 05:40:29 PM
+1


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on September 10, 2011, 07:46:08 PM
...what they said ! ....    :icon_thumright:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on October 23, 2011, 12:59:46 PM
June 24  (Day 29/48)

The previous night I was lulled to sleep by screaming kids, the sounds of the highway, planes overhead and the flash of lightning brightening the sky in the distance.  It was warm and dry, no rain or audible thunder, just a light show from a distance.  The morning was much quieter, as the campground was still asleep.  A few people were starting to stir as I rode past the rows of parked motor homes in the early morning sun ready for an early start to my day.

Apparently you can dress me up but you can't take me anywhere... Since I skipped dinner the night before I stopped for a hot breakfast. Cracker Barrel seemed a safe bet.  They are usually reasonably priced and a definite step up over McDonalds.

I ordered a coffee and perused the menu to see what was offered.  Lots of what looked like typical southern fare, and many of the breakfasts included biscuits and grits.  I can be adventurous, and it sounded like a good start to the day.

It didn't take long for my breakfast to arrive.  While I was not really familiar with “grits” I did know that they are similar to hot cereal, and there was only one item which resembled that on my table.  So I picked up a spoon and started eating.  I started with the bowl containing a pale tan creamy substance which I identified as “grits”.  Ok.  They were warm, and reminded me of a congealed cream soup. Hmmm.  Not bad, but kinda rich.  Perhaps not something that I would choose to eat for breakfast on a regular basis, but it's always good to try new things.

I got a really odd look from the waitress when she came back out to my table with a refill for my coffee,  a plate containing two biscuits and the actual bowl of grits.  Whups.  It turns out that I was eating a white gravy that was intended for the biscuits.  An understandable error I'm sure. 

The waitress had a hard time keeping a straight face when I asked her what was in the second bowl.  “Grits”.  Blink.  Blink.  “Ok, if those are grits what am I eating?”.  “That's the white gravy for the biscuits.'.  Ahh... epicurean enlightenment and coffee – a great way to start the day.

After my food faux pas I spotted a sign for an attraction that looked interesting. I took a detour following roads south towards the Ocean to the Naval Aviation Museum (http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org (http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org)). The naval museum is actually located on the Pensecola Naval Base. Entering the base I was asked for my driver's license and the guard did a double take checking my plate  remarking that I was quite a ways away from home.  I was handed a tag to display on the dash of my vehicle (I tucked it inside my windshield when I parked), and headed through the park like surroundings of the base.

On my right a large black lighthouse stood sentinel at the edge of the Ocean.  The view of it was partly obscured by trees, and there seemed no way to position myself to take a photo of the classic tower without violating some no-trespassing laws that were likely to be enforced given the number of people crawling over the base in full uniform.

I continued to follow the parklike road to the signage indicating the turn for the Naval Museum.  A few large buildings surrounded with ample parking were located a short ways in the base.  Grass was neatly kept, and a few well polished aircraft stood outside.  The sun was beating down so I grabbed my tank bag and headed indoors where there was a promise of air conditioning.  It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the museum offered free admission.  Many of the staff were volunteers who seemed genuinely interested in visitors at the museum.

Main Entrance

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5633)

The Naval Museum is a large facility.  Guided tours were offered on a regular schedule, but I opted to tour the museum myself.  Lots of signage accompanied the displays which covered a wide period of time.  The museum is home to over 150 restored aircraft. There were lots of opportunities to pull out the camera.

The Blue Angels were displayed in a large atrium flying in close formation.

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Upstairs there were some displays of main street USA circa 1943. 

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There were a number of simulators upstairs, but the cost was a deterrent. 

Lots of great photo opportunities.

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Partway through the museum the batteries on my camera faded.  I dug through my tank bag looking for fresh batteries, only to discover that my extra batteries were also flat.  It meant that the rest of my day was image free.

After leaving the museum I continued to explore the area.  Riding along some secondary roads I passed a sign indicating an airstrip.  Glancing to the side I saw a large green pasture with some small airplanes parked on the the side near the trees. 

I was amused when I rode through Eberta, Alabama.  If I hadn't already stopped for a break I might have been tempted to stop at the Road Kill Cafe.  Vaguely I wondered if the menu contained any of the road kill I had noticed earlier that day... Alligators, Armadillo, Snake or perhaps Turtle.

A little while later I headed through New Orleans.  The bridges and causeways surrounding the city were impressive.  It likely would have been much more impressive had the weather not been quite as wet and rainy.  As I reached New Orleans the rain was coming down in torrents flooding the roadway.  I continued to ride in an ambiance that really accentuated the signage on the main roadways indicating hurricane evacuation routes.  It seemed only appropriate that the skies were gray and the rain seemed unending.  On my right I noticed an incredible graveyard, crypts and mausoleums visible from the road.    I was a little disappointed that I couldn't stop for photos courtesy of the weather.

Many of the areas near New Orleans also boasted bridges which were marvels of engineering.  Even the roads were incredible, as I saw some of them raised up on stilts like long continuous bridges that went as far as the eye could see.  As I rode I left the rain behind me and headed towards Baton Rouge for the night.  Once again the rain caught up with me.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on October 23, 2011, 01:25:05 PM
June 26 (Day 30/48)

The rain cleared up overnight, but I was surrounded by wetlands.  Swamps and Bayous were the watchword for southern Louisiana.  The roads ran across the seemingly endless expanses of water on elevated pillars.  The highway was two separated concrete ribbons winding high above the soggy ground through the dense foliage.  It was almost as if the roadway was a continuous bridge.  In places there were crossovers between eastbound and westbound roads joining the two ribbons.  These crossovers were barricaded with large concrete blocks that could be removed to open access if needed in the case of construction or perhaps an accident. 

This area was sparsely populated, and it was easy to see why.  The wetlands didn't look conducive to housing.  As I traveled west of Baton Rouge I spotted a tourist information center, which looked like a great place to stop and stretch my legs and check out some local maps to better plan my route.

Just west of the tourist center there was a boat access ramp.  I followed my nose down the ramp to the parking area and was rewarded by some fantastic pictures of the Atchafalaya Swamp.  The boat launch was obviously a popular spot for sportsmen to park trucks and boat trailers and disappear into the brackish water flowing amidst the dense vegetation that ran along either side of the roadway. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5634)

A dark green truck was parked at the side of the access to the swamp and a park ranger was inspecting boats.  It looked like he was writing a ticket when I first arrived. Once he was finished he walked over to where I was shooting the bike and started up a conversation with me.  He used to own a VFR, and my license plate really caught his attention.  Alberta plates aren't very common in Louisiana, especially not on solo sport touring motorcycle parked swampside.

Miles of highways are raised over the brackish swamps on tall pillars.  On the right were the westbound lanes, and on the left the eastbound.  Essentially the highways were bridges that went on for miles and miles and miles.  A concrete jungle emerging out of the swamps.

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After I was finished with the boat launch I headed over to the tourist information center.  It was a nice building, had clean facilities, and, perhaps most importantly, offered visitors free coffee.  I was certainly sold on that. 

As I sipped my coffee I walked around and looked at the exhibits.  The Atchafalaya Swamp is a combination of wetlands and river delta where the Atchafalaya River meets the Gulf of Mexico covering a wide expanse.  A large segment of the visitor center was dedicated to talking about the wetlands and wildlife, however there was also information available on plantation tours, swamp walks and boat excursions.  Shopping, nature walks, museums, historical homes and other attractions were advertised on cards and pamphlets that lined one wall of the visitor center.  My main interest was on roads – in particular scenic byways.  I decided to head south and tour through Louisiana's Outback along the Creole Nature Trail.

As I headed south to pick up the start of the scenic byway I noticed signs welcoming me to various parishes.  Sometimes small things like differences in nomenclature really serve to remind you just how far away from home you have travelled.  At home, and in the majority of provinces and states which I traveled through the areas were split into counties. 

As I passed through Lafayette a cemetery caught my eye.  It reminded me a lot of the one I had passed in New Orleans with crypts, mausoleums and ornately sculpted gravestones.  It was surrounded by a wrought iron fence.  I could always stop and shoot through the fence, but I surmised that public access would be available.  I followed along the cemetery, turning to loop around the block.  Heading east an ornate building caught my eye, graceful lines in a classic southern style.  The church towered high above the one and two story buildings in this section of town.  A deep brick red offset with white trim it stood out against the brilliant blue sky.  It seemed more fitting to label the building a cathedral given the size and grandeur of architecture.  I parked the bike on the road a short distance away.  Parking was at a premium, but that was understandable given that it was Sunday.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5637)

Hiking back to the building I found my instinct was correct.  It wasn't just a church, it was St. John's Cathedral.  Just past the cathedral I found access to the cemetery.  When I had passed through New Orleans I regretted that the weather made it impossible to photograph one of the classic “cities of the dead”, however it appeared an opportunity had presented itself.

While it may seem morbid, I find myself drawn to cemeteries.  There is something hauntingly beautiful about gravestones, especially older ones that show the ravages of time.  Certainly Louisiana is well known for their above ground cemeteries which have become a tourist attraction of themselves.  Lafayette, like like other low laying areas boast above ground burial that is necessary given the high water table.   The St. John Cathedral cemetery in Lafayette had a classic feel with tree-lined streets of tombs and unique, incredible monuments , weathered vaults and monuments honouring the dead.  Pictures are the best way to share the experience.  The only regret I had was that the morning skies were blue with only a few clouds drifting in – it would be incredible to shoot this type of cemetery at night or perhaps against a dramatic cloudscape. 

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The day was warm and I was eager to return to the bike to get a breeze flowing through my gear so i could cool down a bit.  Heading south I picked up the Creole Nature Trail which took on a very different character than the raised roads I had been traveling along earlier in the day.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5663)

The nature trail followed the Gulf of Mexico west, and showcased a lot of wildlife.  Along the side of the road I saw quite a few striking birds.  Right along the side of the road in the shoulder I saw a lot of fresh road kill including an armadillo, a large snake of some unknown variety, turtle, some unidentified small furry creatures and quite a few 'gators both small and large.

The scenic byway wound past and through small towns and collections of residences.  Most of these were raised up on pillars.  Barns and utility buildings were often built right at ground level or raised on short concrete pyramids and pillars a foot or two in height.  A few of the older buildings were tilted, with supports partly sunk into the soggy ground.  Homes were most often raised a lot higher than utility buildings, some as much as eight or twelve feet above ground level, towering on stilts.  It didn't seem to matter the type of house either – small mobile homes stood like storks in the landscape, as did larger bungalows.  I even spotted a home complete with raised attached carport that was accessed by a long, steep ramp.  Definitely an area that was prepared for flooding.

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Signs at the side of the road warned of wildlife crossing.  I found the yellow sign with the image of an alligator on it amusing – back home I would see the same type of sign depicting long horn sheep, deer or moose.  Alligator seemed a bit of a stretch. 

Along the side of the road were streams, swamps, bayous and waterways.  Many of these had attracted sport fishermen, out for a leisurely Sunday with folding lawn chairs, coolers and children making it a full family outing.  The narrow road was relatively quiet, every so often I would see a vehicle passing the other direction. 

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Trees were sparse and windblown sculpted in odd leaning shapes obvious testament to strong gusts.  The hot sun beat down, and cattle huddled under the few trees seeking a bit of shade.  The landscape offered a lot of variety – Chenier plains, marshes, small lakes and flat open grassland.  Signs of civilization were liberally dotted along the roadway – fences, homes and barns festooned open land.  To the south I could see a variety of boats on the water ranging from small pleasure craft to larger industrial ships.

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Turning north, I left the Gulf of Mexico behind as I headed past drier land.  I stopped in at a visitor center to use facilities, and continued my northerly trek.  It was time for a tank of gas and a quick bite to eat.

My plan as I approached the Houston area was to meet up with VFRD Member DarkKnight who had been an avid follower of trip reports.  He had graciously offered to take me riding around the area.  The initial plan was to meet up the following morning, however I found myself making better time than anticipated so I checked in with him.  He provided me with directions and I headed into Houston. 

The highway into Houston is very straight and very boring.  As I entered Houston I looked at my notes and continued heading west watching for a turnoff.  I rode past interchanges curving around the highway like concrete ribbons.  I rode past the tall buildings of downtown Houston.  By this point in time I was beginning to question if perhaps I had missed the turnoff so I pulled off the highway at the next opportunity.  It seemed odd that an exit dropped me almost immediately into an older residential area – houses, small mom and pop businesses, schools and traffic calming curbs protruding towards the center of the road. The narrow tree lined road with stop signs was a stark contrast to the highway I had just left.  I rode up a couple of blocks and pulled into a small parking lot opposite a school.  Parking the bike I pulled out my phone and exchanged a few quick notes with DarkKnight.  I located my position on the GPS, although I found the type of map it displayed to be a little unsettling.  It isn't really intended to be an electronic version of a paper map, more a cross-section of the road you are currently traversing and the upcoming intersection, something that I was still getting accustomed to.  Quickly I programmed in the suggested meet-up location and continued exploring Houston as dusk fell. The GPS display glowing in the dark made for easy navigation.

It turned out that I wasn't that far away from the road DarkKnight had recommended that I take – it was a matter of minutes before I pulled into a gas station parking lot to await a red VFR as daylight continued to fade.  I had barely put down the kickstand when he pulled up and we exchanged greetings.  I followed him back to his house which was in an area too new to show up on my GPS.  It is always an odd feeling to follow someone who knows the roads.  I find when I am not doing the navigating I lose track of the routing fairly quickly, paying more attention to traffic patterns and the person who I am following.  We had arrived.  My bike had a garage for the night, a welcome parking spot. 

Gratefully I took up DarkKnight's offer of a shower.  When I emerged I found him in the garage giving my bike a bath.  Obviously on a trip like this I don't have many opportunities to clean the bike, and I came to the conclusion quite some time ago that on a trip the bike is going to get a little dirty.  However my bike was standing in the middle of the garage sparkling clean for the first time in weeks.  Wow!  That gesture of welcome and kindness really blew me away. 

There was one small maintenance issue that I needed to take care of – changing a headlight.  On a trip I try to ensure that I am prepared for anything.  Along with my tools I even had a spare headlight bulb packed for the trip.  I remember last year on the F800 encountering an issue when the headlight bulb burned out.  It was more of an issue because that bike only has a single bulb headlight.  I still had the high beam but it seemed awfully impolite to be running with that at night.  The VFR is much easier to find parts for than a BMW, and also is designed in such a way that one headlight bulb burning out isn't a big issue because there are two lights. 

Unpacking my bike to find the light I noticed that the restraining straps for one of my side bags had detached - a strap intended to keep the bag from opening past ninety degrees.  The small screws attaching them to the plastic seemed inadequate for the task.  Sand had collected in the ridges at the bottom of my sidebag as well.  My tarp had been a bit moist and sand had stuck to it from the previous night sifting down and collecting at the bottom of the bag.  Having gotten rid of the majority of the sand I located the bulb and repacked the saddlebag. 

DarkKnight had changed out the headlights before and popped the plug off the back of the bulb quickly.  It only took a few minutes to remove the old light, and then we fumbled with the new bulb which didn't seem to fit properly.  Taking a quick look I realized that it was the wrong bulb... at least the wrong bulb for the lowbeam headlights.  I had picked up an extra high-beam bulb by mistake.

We headed out to Walmart to grab a new bulb of the right size in his Cobra.  Nice car with a definite classic muscle-car feel.  Could be a lot of fun to drive – you could feel the power even in the passenger seat. It didn't take long to pick up the new light and to install it on the shiny clean bike.  That task taken care of we headed inside for a cup of coffee and I met the rest of his family as they arrived home - his wife and the two kids that are clearly his pride and joy.  We made plans to ride out to Galveston the following day, and I bunked down on the sofa for the night. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: obryap on October 23, 2011, 04:57:09 PM
([url]http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5634[/url])

I wish I had been home when you passed through the area. My wife and I could have cooked a great southern louisiana feast for you and give you a comfortable bed for the night. You were less than 15 minutes from our house when you were between New Orleans and Baton Rouge (in one of those sparsely populated areas)
We enjoyed a short 2 hour ride today following the winding bayous. There are not many twisty roads here but there is a lot of interesting landmarks. I enjoy reading your ride reports. keep up the good work Olive.

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Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on October 23, 2011, 06:49:20 PM
Great report once again O! Interesting read and pics as always!  :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on October 24, 2011, 08:15:05 PM
June 27 (Day 31/48)
DarkKnight and myself headed to McDonalds for coffee and a bite to eat. The bikes were parked just outside the window where we could keep an eye on them. A vehicle parked right beside me, and it looked as if he might have brushed my bike with his door. It's aggravating when others don't take as much care of your property as you do. We watched the person come into the restaurant, and then start heading back out for his car. DarkKnight snagged the keys and headed outside to move the bikes over so they were less likely to be scraped by that same person's lack of care getting back into their vehicle.

After breakfast we headed south through Houston and out onto the highway. The route we followed took us through the airport where signs advertised hay for sale – it looked like the land around the runways was being put to good use. Leaving the airport behind we passed through light industrial and headed into the country as traffic thinned out considerably. There were a few construction zones on the way out to Galveston where it was obvious that new interchanges were going in for roads to service the rapidly growing city. The City hadn't reached out that far yet, but interchanges were being readied to hook up with roads when the time was right.

Many places in Texas I noticed signs that proclaimed “FM99” or “FM293”. I asked DarkKnight about these, because I couldn't figure out what they meant – obviously they weren't talking about a radio station. FM stands for Farm to Market, and that was a designation that those rural roads were initially given. Much like Louisiana, Texas also refers to rural districts as Parishes, so there were a lot of signs along the road that reminded me that I was a long ways from home.

The day warmed up quickly, and as we headed across the bridge to Galveston I noticed a large Pelican swooping low parallel to my bike, gliding with its long angular wings extended. The size of the bird was notable, and for some reason it reminded me of a small bullnosed cargo plane. There is something distinctive about a Pelican soaring past with a distinct S shaped curve in the neck, wings almost impossibly long and a squat, rounded body. The Pelicans of Galveston continued to catch my eye, and I watched for an opportunity to capture them on film, but it didn't materialize quite the way I had pictured.

Our first stop on the island was main street Galveston in an area known as the Strand.  The street boasted historic buildings two or three stories high restored to their original spelndor.  Businesses of all descriptions called the Strand home, and it was clearly popular with tourists.  We parked on the street beside the street-car tracks and stopped for a cold soda. The day was already quite warm although it was still relatively early in the morning. Businesses along the Strand were getting set up for the day. Large windows were folded back like shutters on a restaurant beside where we were sitting, and waitresses helped set up chairs and tables on the wide sidewalk under a shady overhang. Young adults walked up the strand dressed in tie dyed T-shirts and festooned with Mardi-Gras beads proclaiming the wonders of "Joe's Crab Shack", handing out coupons for a free appetizer and party atmosphere if you ate at Joe's.  Up the street a FedEx truck pulled over to drop off something at a local business. It was Monday, but business as usual.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5664)

Leaving the Strand, we headed towards the waterfront passing some incredible homes that seemed works of art. Galveston is rich in history with homes that had been built at the turn of the century and lovingly restored. We stopped briefly in front of the Bishops Palace with its distinctive round crenolines with conical peaked roofs on beautifully landscaped ground. Across the street from the Palace was a church that was dwarfed by the grandeur of the palace.  It would have been easy to park the bike and spend a few hours just taking photos, but the light changed and we were once again in motion.

Once we reached the seawall traffic took on a new flavour. Tourist season on the beach. Cars, trucks, bicycles and the occasional motorbike slowly paraded down the main street. The sides of the street were lined with parked cars. We headed west, ocean to our left, and a variety of businesses and hotels to our right. There was some parking available along the main roadway, but we pulled into the parking lot of a grocery store in an empty corner near some palm trees. It seemed a safe place to leave the bikes while we crossed over to walk along the beach.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5665)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5666)

The beach was a popular place for people to be, even though it was Monday morning. Brightly colourful umbrellas and tents dotted the coarse sand at regular intervals, and lifeguard stations flying yellow flags stood sentinel on regular locations along the beach. Long stone jetties jutted out into the ocean, dividing the beach into sections. Young families frolicked in the surf. But it wasn't all leisure – a woman sat in the sand digging through seaweed collecting oysters while a man gathered garbage from the sandy shoreline. Sea birds stalked through the sand, long spindly legs supporting them high above the seaweed as the waves washed in.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5667)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5668)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5669)

DarkKnight pointed out a long pier that showcased construction. During Hurricane Ike, which had hit the island with a vengeance, quite a few buildings were damaged. That seemed so long ago, a distant memory of the news on this warm summer day where the biggest concerns of tourists seemed to be the lowest price on boogie boards or the biggest selection of beach towels. At least that's what advertising on local storefronts seemed to suggest.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5670)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5671)

We continued to head west along the Gulf of Mexico leaving the growing crowds behind. As traffic thinned out the character of the area changed. There were a few smaller private beaches, and a lot of vacation cottages. Everywhere you looked signeage advertised vacation homes for rent. There was a wide variety ranging from apartments to narrow condominiums, or stand alone homes clustered together. Amongst the cookie cutter shapes there were a few notable architectural anomalies. A few homes were shaped like geodesic domes. Homes closer to the water stood tall on pillars raising them out of the sand and away from the dangers of flooding.

Reaching the edge of the island we decided to turn back the way we had come rather than pay a toll. Since traffic was light and the roads were open our speed crept up a little bit. We both agreed that it was awfully nice of the speeding truck ahead of us to attract the attention of the policeman traveling the opposite way. The marked car hit his flashers, pulled a U-turn behind us and passed us to pull over the unsuspecting truck. For a brief moment I questioned if he was interested in us, but his intentions were plain. We were both glad not to have picked up an unwanted souvenir of the island.

We headed back into town and passed the long expanse of beach once again.  It was busier than it had been a few hours previous.  Since it was past lunch hour we stopped for a quick burger. Air conditioning was definitely high on the list of things we had to appreciate! The A&W that we ate at was directly across the street from the beach and had brisk traffic. We watched traffic parade past the front window.  The other side of the building behind the cramped parking lot homes clustered – one of the bad areas of town. There was a very good reason we parked at the side of the building where we could easily keep an eye on our bikes.  Out the front window we watched traffic go past, and the tourist trade flourish.  An Amphibious bus proclaimed tours on land and water - it looked a little strange, but that seemingly only spurred on the interest of the tourists.

There was one section of the island left to visit, so we headed out to the industrial sector where we found a great place to park and take a few pictures. A few other tourists seemed to be of the same mindset. Along the water edge fishing was a popular sport, both for people and Pelicans. The Pelicans swooped out along the water gliding low only to suddenly dive with a splash and emerge from the water, prize held in their scoop-like beaks paddling like a duck. Out in the water you could see shipping vessels and oil tankers.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5672)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5673)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5674)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5675)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5676)

This corner of the island was a far cry from the beach, Strand or cottage section populated with lots of large buildings that cried out heavy industry. It seemed odd that this was only a few miles away from the popular tourist beach, and around the corner from the Strand. We got off the bikes to walk around for a few minutes in the middle of the street, parking the bikes in the middle of traffic. This wasn't a problem because we were part of the line-up of cars waiting for a freight train to pass.

Leaving Galveston we were once more surrounded by traffic which continued to build as we headed back towards Houston. Traffic, traffic and more traffic. We wound our way past other vehicles, and cut past downtown. When we stopped at red lights there were some people looking for handouts and offering to wash windshields in exchange for a few coins. One of them passed a comment on the bikes – how did that go again DarkKnight? He liked the sharp looking silver streak and thought it looked much faster than the red one. Right?? That's at least how I remember it.

I continued to follow DarkKnight through the urban jungle decorated with asphalt ribbons and concrete trees, at this point not even trying to keep track of our route. We stopped to top up the gas tanks, and continued our rush through the sprawling city.

Stopping back at DarkKnight's place we had coffee and took a break from the relentless sun. I sat down and went through some of my pictures while DarkKnight took a nap. He said he wasn't used to riding like that... but that didn't stop him from joining me for another run late afternoon north of the city where we found some some great farm roads to share with the deer.

The hospitality of forum members never fails to astonish me - people like Blesk, Strap, Aussie, Skuut and Joker opening their homes to me, offering a warm shower and a place to lay my head for the night.  It's very special to meet the other members of their families as well...  the list goes on. It's not just the people who have offered me a place to stay who have made my trip special - even people from that other forum... a brief lunch with Oyama in Florida, Gll429 teaching me how to adjust my chain, Cogswell phoning the dealership to follow up on a stranded rider he didn't even know... it all really creates special memories.  The trip might be one I do solo, but it is not one I do alone.  A lot of special people join me on it.  Even those of you who are living vicariously through this ride report are part of it, and I really enjoy reading your comments. The words "Thank You" really seem inadequate.

Stay tuned for the next installment...


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Mr. Gramps on October 24, 2011, 08:50:03 PM
Woman....it seems you've been on the road for months.... :laughing7:  :laughing7:  :laughing7:
Another great report O, have you considered writing a book or something  :dontknow:












 roflol  roflol  roflol 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on October 25, 2011, 03:30:33 AM
Another great report! Not that we would expect anything less!  :icon_thumleft:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on October 25, 2011, 01:48:07 PM
GREAT WRITE-UP and Pics Olive...You did GREAT HONEY


.......... :laughing7:

Another "Picture Tip".....The "Big Picture" You see with Your eyes will never look like that in a Pic...Look for the "Small Pictures" inside the Eye View...Learn to "Grid" each square and try to get the Best One(s)...also "Very Seldom" You want the Main Topic as the very center of the Pic...add some scenery/contrast..... :headbang: :occasion14:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on October 26, 2011, 09:00:51 PM
June 28 (Day 32/48)

Heading away from Houston, I travelled along roads that wound through fields and some grassy treed areas. Rangeland stretched out along the roadway. Cattle huddled together under trees in the shade as a defense against the rising temperatures. Stream and creek beds were brown, with the dried mud at the bottom cracked like badly glazed pottery. The land was parched, hungry for rain or moisture of any type. Wind picked up a bit, kicking up clouds of dust. Grass growing between trees was brown and dry. Occasionally I would pass a green field, and the reasons were obvious. Farmers had large irrigation equipment out spraying water over the precious greenery.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5677)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5678)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5679)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5680)

I stopped for gas, and to my amusement noticed that birds had taken up residence in the “Quick Stop” sign.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5681)

The grass started to become patchy with low scrub replacing trees under brilliant blue skies. I was in Texas where the grass is brown, trees are green and “Lost Creek” appeared to have lost all of its water.

Approaching Brady, Texas it seemed a good time to stop for a bite to eat, and, more importantly, something cold to drink. Gratefully I pulled into the parking lot of a fast food restaurant, finding a patch of shade at the back of the parking lot. A local dog decided that I had the right idea and joined my bike in the shade. The VFR definitely was showing it had appeal for four legged residents everywhere I travelled.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5682)

At the side of the parking lot a sign proudly proclaimed Brady as the “heart of Texas”.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5683)

Leaving the cool airconditioning the heat hit me like an oppressive wall. I was eager to get moving once again so I could get a breeze flowing through my gear to cool things off a bit. The temperature was 109F in the shade, and there wasn't much of that to be found.

The landscape continued to change as I continued travelling northwest, dry brown land with the occasional patch of green extending to the horizon. A hot dry summer. At the side of the road a sign indicated that the bridge I was on crossed a river. Riding across I glanced down, and noticed that the river seemed to be missing. The roads were quiet with a lot of space between vehicles which was a welcome change from traffic.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5684)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5685)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5686)

Conditions were peaceful, and the ride turned into a meditative state.  I was aware of everything, appreciating and accepting it for what it was rather than trying to evaluate it and solve all of the world's problems. 

As the day dwindled, I was ready to get off the bike and take a break.  The heat made the miles seem further than they actually were.  There were still a few days ahead of me before meeting up with the next group of friends.  The plan was to spend the July 4th long weekend with them in Telluride, however people were planning to meet up in Flagstaff to ride up together.  I still hadn't decided if I was going to just meet in Telluride, or perhaps push west for Flagstaff to spend the extra day with the group.  Travelling without solid plans is much less stressful than having a set agenda that dictates the route and miles that must be traversed in a day, and I was OK with not yet knowing what my plans were.  A lot more OK than some of my friends who were starting to get a little anxious trying to figure out where I was and where I was planning to go. 


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: NOMOKRASH (aka CTD aka Charlie) on October 27, 2011, 05:17:35 AM
Louisiana is an interesting state with Napoleonic law (http://www.la-legal.com/history_louisiana_law.htm (http://www.la-legal.com/history_louisiana_law.htm)) and parishes.  I was born in Caddo Parish.

Galveston has had to restore their historic buildings because they have been heavily damaged by hurricanes several times.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on October 29, 2011, 10:56:16 PM
June 29 (Day 33/48)
I continued heading West through hot, dry conditions. The roads were long, straight and empty. A roadside turnabout at Llano Estacado provided an opportunity to take a few photos. An endless sea of brown grass under the relentless sun was broken up by the occasional succulent growing green and proud in the arid conditions.  The brief flash of green emphasized the lack of colour in the landscape.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5687)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5688)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5690)

The bike was thirsty and I stopped to top up the tank. As usual at the gas station my Alberta plate gathered a few curious looks and double takes. Someone mistakenly thought they recognized me as I walked inside the gas station to pay. I had just pulled off my helmet and opened the door. To my surprise the woman working the till shrieked and came charging around the counter joyfully shouting a name that didn't sound anything remotely like mine. Indubitably it was the warmest greeting I had ever received at a gas station, She stopped just before throwing herself on me, the joy fading from her eyes as she realized that I wasn't who she thought I was.

Talking to the woman I found out that she was expecting her daughter, who had stationed overseas with the military. She knew that her daughter was coming home and was stopping in to see her. I paused to talk for a few minutes as she told me all about her daughter. She was definitely excited, and I was sure the excited shriek would be repeated again later that day. Bemused I finished filling the tank and continued with the ride.

As normal I rode for a few hours before stopping for a morning coffee and breakfast. Refreshed I continued riding and took a wrong turn. Forces were conspiring to keep me from Roswell. First I turned onto the wrong road. Returning to where the turn ought to have been the sign was concealed and I overshot the intersection. After riding for a short while I did another highway U-turn, finally locating the right turn onto the highway. Actually, it was the left turn that I was looking for, although inadequate signage made it difficult to determine which asphalt ribbon to follow to locate Roswell, rather than a farm road. This time I actually was back on track.

Now that I was on the right road, nature turned her hand in the attempt to keep me from Roswell. Howling strong winds were joined by the relentless sun beating down. Undaunted I continued on. A car travelling towards me made the decision to pass some other vehicles. Obviously the driver had some vision issues. When it became apparent to me that the oncoming driver was oblivious to oncoming traffic I flashed my highs and swerved within my lane hoping to catch his attention. I'm not even sure that he saw me take the shoulder as he roared past me, side by side with the person he was passing in the lane I had been occupying a few moments previously.

The next vehicle that I saw was an uncovered gravel truck. As I was passing him his truck hit a bump and gravel flew into the air peppering me. The hard rocks stung as they impacted my gear – only a few impacted, but those which did left angry raised purple welts as a precursor to technicolour bruises.

Still, I continued towards Roswell even though it seemed that the universe might have some different plans. Orange signs indicated construction ahead. I slowed as signs indicated a dropping speed limit. Workers were busily spraing the road with oil and putting gravel down on top of perfectly good asphalt. Not great riding conditions. After I got past the fresh oil I traveled along the gravel that slid under my tires. It seemed very odd that roads would be putting down oil and gravel because there was no obvious reason why. I had driven through chipseal construction zones in the past, and this definitely wasn't any sort of chipseal that I was familiar with. I chalked it up to one of the mysteries of the universe as I took the final approach for Roswell.

Signage for the UFO museum and other tourist attractions lined the highway. Roswell is well known for the 1947 UFO incident, although I figured that the only UFO in the area was likely to be marked with letters spelling out “VFR”.

My first stop in Roswell was McDonalds for a cold pop and to borrow a bit of air conditioning. After cooling down a bit, I headed out to explore the town.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5691)
I parked at the International UFO Museum. It was located in a building right along the main street of town.  The building architecture reminded me of an old theatre.  The exterior wall was covered with glazed tiles and formed a semi-circular outdoor lobby centered around a sculpture saluting the supernatural western feel.  This was lined with locked poster frames remniscent of movie theatres.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5692)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5693)

I peeked inside the museum but it didn't seem worth the price of admission to go through. The displays reminded me of a school report or science fair project. Poster boards hung along the walls with pasted typewritten sheets and photos mounted on them. Framed photos hung on the painted peg boards that lined the walls. It didn't look like a high budget production, unlike the Hollywood portrayal. More money had gone into the exterior of the building with statues and signage to attract the tourist than had gone into the interior.

I figured that most of the information I would find inside would be easily researchable on the internet in the comfort of my own home. I took a quick tour through the gift shop, noting that it really felt like I had made a return to the 1970s – the decor, round hanging racks and minimal merchandising had an old fashioned feel to it.

I headed back up the street to see what else Roswell had to offer, figuring that there was likely more to be seen. I parked in front of one of the local gift shops to shoot a few of the lightpoles and murals that gave Roswell such a unique feel. Inside the gift shop had put a lot of effort and ingenuity into the decor. It also was a tribute to aliens, but more speculate. Someone had put a lot of time and effort into some of the models.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5694)

Earlier in the day someone had mistaken me for a relative, however in Roswell I discovered a stunning resemblence to one of the local residences. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5695)

Throwing my leg over my own silver UFO, I headed north out of town. Once again the roads were empty, long and straight. I continued to travel very glad that I had topped up the tank in Roswell. They do say that there is something strange about Roswell, and I think it might be in their gas. The bike certainly liked this tank of jet fuel, and the road was all mine. Occasionally a tumbleweed crossed the road, but apart from that there wasn't even opposing traffic.

My speed crept up a little. And then a little more. I continued to put the miles behind me. It felt like I was traveling a little fast, although the bike was feeling comfortable, confident and that it had more power available at my slightest whim. I glanced down at the speedometer. 140. Not bad, but perhaps a little faster than I ought to be travelling.  Realizing that my speed could result in an unwanted of souvenier from one of New Mexico's finest, I started to slow a bit. Although I hadn't seen a speed sign in a while I reasoned that this particular stretch of road likely was posted 100 to 110 km/hr so I was at least 30 km over.

As this thought crossed my mind so did the realization that I was in the States and my guages were set in Imperial.  My speedometer wasn't reading 140km/hr, it was reading 140 mph. A bit of quick math yielded 225 km/hr. My eyes widened like flying saucers at the realization.  Slowing down to a proper road it felt like I was barely crawling along.

Later in the afternoon some clouds started blowing in, and it started to rain. I stopped to fill up with gas as I reached the junction of Route 66 and waited for a while to see what the weather was planning. The winds continued to climb, driving the rain at a sharp angle. Zipping up my gear I returned to the road.

I travelled through the driving rain and high winds 50 miles to Albuquerque before deciding it was a good place to stop for the night. I was careful not to take the wrong left hand turn in Albuquerque, the reference from childhood cartoons bringing a smile to my face. Since the weather was getting nasty I decided to pull into a Motel 6 when I spotted a sign advertising rooms from $36 per night. Since I spotted the sign as I passed the motel on the freeway, I had to double back around and ride through part of Albuqureque to locate the motel. It had been a long day, and the mix of heat, rain and wind had proved exhausting. I was ready for a shower.

After showering I pulled out my Blackberry and tried to figure out what my plan was for the following day. Emailing back and forth with Aussie I found out that everyone else was meeting up in Flagstaff the following day, and indicated that I might decide to do the same. To Aussie's amusement I was only a couple of days from BBB and still wasn't making firm plans on where I would spend the following night.

Leaving my bike and gear at the motel I walked over to a nearby restaurant for a quick inexpensive dinner. Parked in a lot behind one of the restaurants I spotted a collection of police cars. They were standard issue cars with lights, mirrors, and something a little out of the ordinary. Each car had a bicycle rack mounted on the rear fender. Carried in the rack was a mountain bike.  One of the cars was carrying a matched pair of bikes.

Apparently local Albuquerque police have a fitness program in place, where they park their cars and use some old fashioned pedal power to fight crime. It actually makes a lot of sense because bikes can get many places that cars can not, and in the right hands a bike can be a very efficient means of transport. I was a little disappointed that my camera was back in the room, but really hadn't expected to find any more photo opportunities that evening.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Pawpaw Bandit on November 15, 2011, 03:57:52 PM
Patiently awaiting the next installment.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on November 30, 2011, 10:53:46 PM
Patiently awaiting the next installment.

"YEP"..... :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Dutchy on December 04, 2011, 09:22:23 AM
Patience my a$$..............




WHERE IS THE REST?????

 :laughing4:

 :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on December 04, 2011, 03:37:32 PM
(http://icanhascheezburger.wordpress.com/files/2008/10/funny-pictures-cat-waits-outside-of-mousehole.jpg)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on December 04, 2011, 03:39:00 PM
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rBp847nCiro/S9bl0Q4y5BI/AAAAAAAACDI/pKUqEpGjvYI/s1600/Patience.jpg)


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on December 04, 2011, 05:50:38 PM
  roflol  roflol  roflol  roflol  roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on December 04, 2011, 09:28:38 PM
I take it that you are encouraging me to upload a couple of pictures and throw some text on the screen?   :goofy:

Ok... Ok.... tomorrow.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on December 05, 2011, 08:23:37 AM
Tomorrow ya say????????? That reminds me of this sign..............



(https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSHTSDlTClcJ2viqRbMZHAXqTj3POp66gpalU55Qv_ivZQDCTcm)



Is it kinda like...I'll see you in a "bit"  (forreal) (forreal) roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: fknflyn@73 on December 05, 2011, 09:36:41 AM
I got that very same poster hangin' on my den wall  ----  along with "Ice Cold Beer Sold Here" ...  although I never touch the stuff myself  ! !   ......    :dig:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: G-Spot on December 05, 2011, 01:14:27 PM
its to cold to type. freakin weather man can kiss my Sidi boots.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Cruz on December 05, 2011, 05:35:43 PM
its to cold to type. freakin weather man can kiss my Sidi boots.
No chit..its cold as hell here too..ya ya not like it is there but trust me a 90 degree swing sux....I would rather sweat. I had FROST on the truck this morning..27 damn degrees for a low  :BangHead: :BangHead: and its gonna be that cold almost allllll week  :BangHead: :BangHead: mid week we get the heat wave....mid 30's for the lows  :angry4:



Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on December 05, 2011, 09:03:03 PM
Is it kinda like...I'll see you in a "bit"  (forreal) (forreal) roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol roflol

Yeah Kent, it is kinda like that.....  grumblegrumblegettinglostinflagstaffgrumblegrumblegrumble   :laughing7:


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: Olive on December 05, 2011, 09:26:31 PM
June 29 (Day 34/48)

Heading out of Albuquerque I headed west, careful not to “take the wrong turn at Albuquerque” Warner Brothers style. I had exchanged emails the previous night with Aussie and knew the travel plans for the rest of the group meeting up for BBB.

Wheatie and Gerrys02800 were already in Vegas with Aussie and Mudderduc. Road Rash Reid, RocketMonkey and his better half RocketD would be joining them in the morning and the group would ride out to Flagstaff. Nobody is quite sure what everyone was doing in Vegas – but as the saying goes, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. Probably for the best. 

Cruz and Backdraft were heading up from Tuscon with plans to arrive in Flagstaff mid-afternoon. RRW and his better half Tuscan Girl were trailering up late in the day. I was the only variable because I had yet to decide if I was going to meet everyone in Flagstaff, or join up the following day in Telluride. It was almost equal distance for me from Albuquerque and I was still debating routes and where I would meet up with the rest of the crew.

Since Florida I had definitely found the warmer weather. It was interesting seeing how the land changes in relatively short distance as I have traversed the lower states. For a person who has spent their entire life living in Calgary, it seems decidedly odd to see alligators, turtles, snakes and armadillos make up the road-kill, or to see roads raised over the swamps of Louisiana as if the roadway was one continuous bridge, or to see the long expanses of brown and dead Texas, where the only sign of life is a tumbleweed crossing the road in front of you or the occasional green tree with a group of cattle clustered desperately underneath in a search for some shade.

The dryness caused fire departments across multiple states to put out fire bans because of tinder dry conditions. In Georgia I rode through the thick smoke of some well established forest fires, and while riding in Florida I saw quite a few signs warning of possible smoke from fires ahead. In Louisiana I noticed the trees clustered together in the median of the highway were very brown, and even the ground around them looked burnt. Ahead a bit of smoke was evident, but I didn't take note of it until I got closer and realized that the trees to my left were actually burning. It was neat to see the flames flickering around the trees, dancing yellow, orange and red seemingly innocuous. There was very little smoke, although the narrow tract of forest bordering the road was definitely aflame. Sadly I couldn't pull over to take a picture or to watch the fascinating spectacle. As the miles passed new sights and sounds continued to unroll in front of me as New Mexico gave way to Arizona.

For a while I traveled along the original Route 66, as it joined alongside the highway and meandered through the hills. When I was running along the main highway I encountered a lot of road signs advertising businesses that were trying to ride on the coat-tails of the legend of Route 66.  Of course I had picked up a "Route 66" motorcycling shirt in New Mexico as a souvenir of the ride.  Having little room on the bike my souvenirs to date had been limited to a T-shirt from a bike shop in Thunder Bay (courtesy of the manager of the bike shop in Thunder Bay that replaced my rear tire),a couple of small shells I had found on a Florida beach and a T-shirt from Roswell that amused me.

While traveling along Route 66 I encountered a few road signs put up by enterprising businesses that read “Root 66”. I cringed when I saw the butchered spelling.  The sad part is that I think this was a simple spelling error on their part... it says a lot about literacy rate. I mused on this as I rode. Misuse of words is equally prolific on my side of the border, and I still cringe every time that someone butchers a perfectly good language blissfully unaware of the damage they are perpetrating. It is really prevalent in social media – Awe instead of Aww or Ahh, the classic mix-ups of witch/which, then/than, sight/site, misplaced apostrophes... my inner “Grammar Nazi” (extra points if you catch the reference) could easily step up to the soapbox, but I sense some of my readers shuffling awkwardly and beginning to back away slowly maintaining eye contact as I segue into a discussion of language. Thus I will return to writing about the bike, rather than a diatribe about the misuse of a perfectly servicable language.

I stopped at a roadside pullout beside an Indian reservation.  The shacks were on reservation land, and the fence separating public land from the reserve ran along the front of the booths.  Signage indicated that it was not permissible to sell anything on public land. 

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5697)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5698)

This sign gave me a few options of where to head... Decisions, decisions...

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5699)

Some beautiful countryside around there!

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5700)

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5701)

Of course I had to stop to capture the Continental Divide on camera.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5702)

The landscape was dry and arid. The weather seemed a lot cooler in Arizona than the dry burning heat of Texas, or the moist humidity of Florida or Louisiana, although it was still significantly warmer than I was accustomed to.I passed a number of State Parks including Petrified Forest State Park and Homolovi Ruins. Along the route were a few other attractions including Meteor Crater, which were exploited as tourist traps. I bypassed Meteor Crater after discovering that $15 admission included the visitor center, access to a gift shop, a movie and three look-out points around the rim of the crater. That didn't seem like a very good deal, and on this trip I was watching my finances.

(http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/MGalleryItem.php?id=5703)

Arriving in Flagstaff, I stopped for gas made a brief phone call to figure out where to meet people. Cruz and Backdraft were at the Ramada Inn waiting for people to arrive, and everyone else was still on the road. From the emails I had exchanged with Aussie the previous night I knew that there were two Ramadas in Flagstaff, and I was looking for the Ramada Inn Grand Canyon West. Since I didn't have an address and there were only two options, I set up my GPS for the Ramada Inn on the west side of town. It was fairly easy to locate the hotel using the instructions from the GPS.

Arriving in the parking lot I noticed what was obviously a staff member, judging from the uniform. I thought my query was clear and straight forward leaving little room for misinterpretation. “Is this the Ramada Inn Grand Canyon West?”. The answer I received back was equally clear leaving little room for interpretation. “No.”. Obviously I had chosen the wrong Ramada.

I rode through the parking lot which didn't appear to have any bikes parked in it and doubled back, reprogramming my GPS for the other Ramada on the east side of town. I followed directions, up to the point that the GPS asked me to turn on roads that clearly didn't exist.  Unlike some users of GPS technology I am simply not willing to drive through a building no matter how insistent the prompts sound.

Despite being close to the planned location I didn't spot a hotel bearing the sign “Ramada”. There were quite a few other hotels, but clearly I had missed my target. I tried to circle around again with the same type of results. The GPS seemed convinced that McDonalds was actually the Ramada Inn in disguise by the way that it kept circling me around that restaurant.

Putting away the GPS, I pulled out my Blackberry and pulled up Google Maps. Tucking the phone into the plastic map pocket on top of my tank bag I attempted to locate the hotel, but the display kept on turning off and it was impossible to wake it back up through the plastic cover wearing gloves. I wasn't even fortunate enough to locate “East Lucky Lane” despite cruising roads that the map insisted it intersected. At one point I managed to cross the railroad tracks and take an extracurricular tour of Flagstaff, finally finding my way back to the general area where I expected to find the Ramada Inn.

By this point in time I was getting a little aggravated. I was hot, had been riding in circles within Flagstaff and knew that Cruz and Backdraft were probably beginning to wonder what had happened to me.  It was beginning to feel like Atlanta was repeating on me.

Finally circling further south than I expected the hotel, I spotted the sign Ramada as I passed it heading east on the wrong side of the road. I wasn't happy to realize that I had driven past the back of the hotel multiple times, however there was no signage on that side of the building. Pulling into the parking lot I looked for Cruz and Backdraft's bikes. I circled the building – still no bikes.

Pulling up in front of the lobby I walked in and verified that I had the right Ramada, although I had to wait for a while as the desk clerk shared the all important news about her new matching purse and shoes with the person on the other end of the phone.  While I waited I mused on the thought of the new form of customer service where the desk clerk treats everyone like an old friend, discussing haircuts, manicures and dispensing fashion advice about the best way to coordinate handbags and footwear.  Perhaps it was just that I was interrupting her coffee break, standing in the lobby wearing the latest hi-viz fashion. 

Finally she had a moment to spare for me.  I asked “Is this the Ramada Inn Grand Canyon West?” fully expecting an answer in the affirmative. The answer I received back didn't follow the expected script. “No. You want the other Ramada.”.

A little baffled I asked “How many Ramada Inns are there in Flagstaff.” The response was “two”. I was really not impressed realizing that I had been at the intended destination three quarters of an hour previous, and I had been crawling along in the oppressive heat at speeds where I couldn't get a breeze flowing through my gear for almost an hour for absolutely no reason. I started rethinking my assertion earlier in the day that the heat wasn't as oppressive as Texas as the sweat beaded on my brow and rolled down the sides of my face.

I doubled back across town and relocated the other Ramada. Riding through the same parking lot I didn't see any bikes, but as soon as I rode behind the hotel I spotted Cruz's RWB Anniversary and Backdraft's CBR sporting a distinctive sticker “no deer”. Parking beside them I realized that there was no easy way to determine which room they were in. I headed to the lobby where the clerk was unable to either tell me what room they were in nor phone the room because of privacy concerns. I thanked the clerk, perhaps with a touch of sarcasm, and walked back to the bikes.

I knocked on a few doors of units next to the parking stall, but nobody answered. I called Cruz's cell, and nobody answered. There was a certain symmetry to be found in this, but the humour was lost on me. My phone rang, startling me. It was Cruz – he and Backdraft had walked across the street to a sports bar, and were waiting for me there. They wanted to know if I had gotten lost, or simply taken a detour to Sonoita on the way down.  I hiked across the street and across the supermarket sized parking lot to finally meet up with the guys.

The guys were glad to see that I had made it, and we sat down for a bite to eat and caught up the way old friends do. After dinner we headed back to the hotel, gathering in Cruz's room until Aussie and the Vegas crew rolled in. A lot of familiar faces from BBB on previous years. It had been a long ride for the guys from Vegas, and an even longer ride for GSpot from Edmonton.  They were ready for a bite to eat so as a group we returned to the sports bar across the road.

As the evening began to dwindle there was still no sign of RRW or his better half. Rumour had it that he was still planning a late night arrival. We sorted ourselves out into shared rooms eager for the trip to Telluride the following morning.


Title: Re: Six weeks, a tent and a VFR
Post by: skuuter on December 06, 2011, 08:22:33 AM
I take it that you are encouraging me to upload a couple of pictures and throw some text on the screen?   :goofy:

Ok... Ok.... tomorrow.

YES WE ARE...!!!


.......... :laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:


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