Monday, August 15, 2011
11,410 miles. The bike ran like a champ, no performance awards (tickets),and home safe and sound.
I road my bike from the tropics of Florida across the deserts of Texas, north across the rocky, Cascades, Tetons, through the rain forests of Alaska and Washington State. I've ridden in heat, cold, rain, and sun. Small towns and big towns. Wide open vistas and closed in dirt roads that you cant see around the next corner 25 feet ahead.
All in all this was one of my best trip I've ever taken. Hard but very rewarding. I'll try to put together some final thoughts about the trip in a few days after it sinks in a bit more. Right now it's several days of napping and soaking a certain part of my body.
I hope everybody enjoyed the posts and thanks for all the comments, I enjoyed them as I was making my way on my trip.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
The long run starts. I pushed hard today and did over 600 miles. On an adventure like this you always want to end strong. It's best to make your big push the day before you arrive at base camp, so you can coast in the next day with a good snap in your step, a straight back and a firm hand shake for you're well wishers. You don't want to come dragging in dirty, tired and needing rest.
So with that said I road like the wind through a hard rain for the first few hours, than cleared some bumps the call the smokey mountains and into the heat. At about 4:00 I set up the hammock at a rest stop and took a nap for an hour. Up, rested and ready to ride I hit the road. The night was cool, the traffic was light and I kept riding. By the time I stopped I only had 289 mile to home.
A nice rest, a good shower, and a hot breakfast and I'm ready to make my stroll for home.
Vacations end to soon, adventures blissfully come to an end.
Tomorrow is my end.
Friday, August 12, 2011
It all started out good. I got out of bed and then I looked out the window. Damm it there's a giant black cloud. So I jumped in the shower and then on the bike. As I left the parking lot it started to rain, but stopped 100 feet down the road. I kept running hard and I kept that black cloud in my mirror. No matter how far or how fast I went the cloud would catch up and be right over head. So every stop was just minuets long and than back on the bike. I made good miles and am now only 960 miles from home. That's the good news, the bad news is I'm sitting in a truck stop waiting for the black cloud of death to pass me by. And the wait continues. I'm going to try to put in a few more miles before I stop for the night, but now this dam cloud looks like it wants to park here at the truck stop to.
The night before last I stopped at a super 8 to redeem my travel points for a free night stay. The clerk told me I had 5500 points and it takes 6000 for a free night stay, but with that nights stay I would be over 6000 so the next time I could get a free night. I stopped last night at another super 8 and was told that they were a level 2 super 8 and it takes 7000 points for a free night, but after last night stay I would be over 7000 so my next night would be free. I think I'm beginning to see a pattern.
So the wait continues.
Man it's nice not having to take down the tent this morning. The bike having taken me a long way from an interstate yesterday I'm enjoying a nice ride through SE SD and NE Nebraska on two lane roads. I'm trying to get a lot of miles today, but well see what the bike has in store for me.
The ride started with corn at my knee and by the end it was above my shoulders, it will be harvest time by tomorrow.
Today every 30 miles or so brought me to a new small town, each one trying hard to keep it's roots. If your looking for white picket fences and drive ins they have them. Lots of them. I stopped at one small town and finally got to use my hammock for the intended purpose I brought it for. This small town on a small two lane road had a little roads side park, so as it was about 2:00 in the afternoon I pulled over and put my hammock up under some shade trees and took a nice nap. I could hear birds and crickets and the occasionally a big truck rumble down the road. What a nice way to take a nap. When I got up I went down to main st and got a cold coffe in a can, wrow does that taste better than it sounds. Brick streets, nice people and a town tring to hang on topi what it once was. The guy at the grocery store told me that most of the small farms sold out years ago and the population of the town has been going down every year. Allot of the smaller towns in the area just closed up and everyone left. Some if them come here, but it's not enough to keep up with their losses. It sad watching a town die, a way of life fade away to make room for big agra farms, but things change, and new things come and old things go, it just sad to watch holding on so hard knowing they will fail, but they will keep holding on anyway.
I finally made it to the interstate and headed for I 29 south to kansas city, but the interstate was closed due to flooding and they sent my down a two lane road across the state of Iowa. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to do some interstate work and make some miles. I'm only 1350 miles out and I feel like I'm getting close. I still have some good riding ahead of me, I'm really looking forward to the smokey mountains
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I got a good start today, I had a nice hot shower, big cup of coffe and off I went. I took the interstate to sturgis and then sat in traffic for an hour. The only hot chicks I saw were selling tee shirts. I bought three, well two, one girl just gave me one. It's a wild place filled with bikes going nowhere and venders selling everything under the sun. It appears to me to be a grown up halloween. Everybody plays dress up and then goes from bar to bar and gets a prize. I'm glad I went but it's not my thing, so after a couple of hours I was off.
Somehow my bike just won't listen to me. I was all set to start blazing home on the interstate, but when I was supposed to turn left to get on I 90 the bike went straight. It took me down a beautiful road into the black hills. It was out of the way but not way way out of the way. After about an hour it started to rain and after an hour more I was back on the interstate. It was a nice ride and worth the extra time it took, but I need to get heading home. I stopped for gas after about an hour and when I was getting back on the interstate the dam bike went straight. I took me into the bad lands national park. $10 please. When did we turn everything into a cash cow. I gave in and turned over my hard earned cash. Wow what a ride, 24 miles of awesome after awesome after awesome. The gps kept trying to get me to head back to the interstate, but the bike just wouldn't do it. In the end the gps gave up and rerouted using the road I was on, and bam the route home just got 80 miles shorter. Dam that bike is smart. The only problem is it was starting to get dark and I'm in the middle of a state with nothing in it. It's like the Yukon with no trees. Mile after mile of nothing man made.
I finally got to a town called Winner SD. So I guess that means I'm winner-ing.
I doing a little indoors camping tonight, the super 8 isn't much more than camping outside, at least that's what I'm going with.
I hope to make a big push for home tomorrow, I just hope the bike doesn't fight me all day.
On a side note I didn't find any crazy women, well I did find one doing laundry at the campground. She was talking to her brother about how the father of her kid is putting pressure on her to write the judge and say what a good dad he is so he can get out of jail, but she thinks he's a pile of crap and won't do it. She's going to tell the judge she doesn't know who the father is. And the dick head can rot in jail.
Man she was hot. But in the end I just wondered off to my tent to tired for crazy. Man I must be getting old.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I'm working on getting out of Montana. Man this is a big state. I stopped at little big horn national battle field. They wanted $10 to get in. I refuse to pay. Our nations historical treasures should be open, free, and available for all to see, learn and enjoy our history. What's next charging to get into Arlington National Cemetery.
I've stopped in a little town called Brattas Mo. Small, nice, and in the middle of nowhere. I just got out of the cherokee indian reservation and am once again among the white man. The reservation was massive, it went on and on and on. There were a few casinos out in the desert but they looked like they only had indians at them. This white man stayed on his horse. It's 3:45 pm and I'm already tired, so I'm having a coffe and getting recharged. Not sure how far I will get tonight. The way I feel right now not far. But coffe can do wonderful things.
So round up those doggies and off we go.
Up date: 6:30 pm
The girls at the coffe shop took pity on me seeing that I had a blank look on my face as I looked at the map. They asked if they could help. I said I was looking for a place to camp between here and Sturgis. They both laughed and said there is nothing between here and there. They then suggested I take a short cut that will only add 40 miles to my trip. I didn't ask how this qualifies as a short cut, time and distance seems to be lost on the people out here. Anyway they showed me a small road that leads back to I 90 about 100 miles west of Sturgis, they said I would have much better luck there. They said the road is a bit skinny but nice. Boy were they worng, the road was awsome. It went back into this vally and wound around small hills overlooking what looked to me like the movie set of every western I had ever seen. About 45 miles into my ride I came to a school. I hadn't seen a house in 20 miles and looking down the road I couldn't see any for 20 more. I got back on my bike, second wind fully in place and road the last 60 miles. I ended up in some town called Gellit or something like that in Wyoming. I'm found a crappy campsite right in town at "the crazy women campground" sounds like my kind of place. I haven't seen any crazy women yet, but how would I know if I did anyway. My experience leads me to belive they don't look crazy, they are crazy. But I digress.
Tomorrow it's Sturgis and all of it's crazyness, then on home. The google thing says 2100 to go, or there abouts.
Monday, August 8, 2011
I had a late start what with meeting my new bff, or at least he thinks so. I know I'm solidly back in the lower 48. I had coffe and french toast and it only cost $5.00 winning!
The ride was easy today, I think my second wind finally kicked in. The boat trip that was 3 days according to the folks in Alaska, that stated on the 1st and went until the 5th was a nice rest but I think it let all the nerves in my ass that I had killed start to grow back. By the end of the day I was feeling strong.
I missed out on the road to the sun but I think I might now go right by the Sturges bike week in full tilt boggy. So now I'll get to see thousands of tough guy wanna be's drinking and riding motorcycles, just my kind thing. Then again all the half naked biker chicks are my kinda thing.
I camped out in a KOA just outside of the north end of Yellowstone, they aren't getting another $25 from me to see a park that is owned by we the people.
So tomorrow I continue my trek home
Man I'm tired, it felt like I hit a wall yesterday and I'm still tried today. So I'll just take it easy. Not sure of my route but my two gps think each has a better idea on how to get home, so I'll have to figure out what's up with that.the weather is perfect. 75 and sunny. It was cool sleeping last night, just right. I'll be doing my first interstate run today, so that will be easy riding and good miles.
Pictures are becoming a problem, my blog program acts like it doesn't want to send them. Every time I try the thing crashes, very frustrating. But I'll keep trying.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Man that was a long ride to nowhere. I tried to get to the road to the sun, but as luck would have it the few hours it was supposed to take me to get there must have been Alaska hours. When I was on the boat they said it was just over the hills up by the boarder. They were right about that, but the hills are very big here. It's sun down and I'm still not there. So time for a new plan. So I pushed the button on the gps that takes me home. I turned south and went around a lake and tried to find a cheep motel for the night as I was wooped. No dice. So I kept going too the campground. FULL!!!!! Dam it man. After a bit further I found a cheep spot next to a gravel pit.
I went for a ride back towards town after setting up my tent and saw a little road and turned. It lead to this nice little village. Big money, the green money people that travel by land have their own place, you knew.
I went in to one of the bars and had a beer. Nice place after a long day.
So now my plan is to follow the blue line on the gps for home. I have no idea what the route is but that's half the fun.
I got up early and had a nice time packing up in the sunshine, what a difference that makes.
The ride out of eastern Washington state was wonderful, sunshine, warm and smooth roads. I made my way to this giant waste of government money. Some bone head in washington dc thought it would be a good idea to build this massive cement wall out in the middle of the desert. But being that the government can't do anything right they built it right on top of a river. Then the damm thing caused massive flooding on the other side, so much flooding that they had to put pipes in it and pump the water out. Dumb assesses that they are they sprayed it all over the desert and now all these fruits and vegetables grow their and that caused all these mexicans to flood across the boarder to sit out there and east to their harts content. And they did all this just to give a bunch of lazy people something to do instead of pulling themselves up buy the boat straps that they didn't have. Luckily the Enron corporation came in and drilled some holes in it and now sells nice, cheap, clean energy to all the little people in the valley, and there was light.
After my little side trip I was off to Hayden lake. My friend moved there right after high school. I hadn't heard from him in 30 years and nobody else had ether. I stopped at a small gas station and looked in the phone book, and by god there he was. So I headed over to his house and had a wonderful time. I spent the night on the softest bed of my trip. Man that was nice.
In the morning I changed my oil on the bike and being a good friend left my old oil for a little keep sake for him, thanks Norm.
I'm on my way home. Okay I'm acutely heading north, not exactly the way home, but I missed a road that everyone tells me I need to go back and do. It's call the road to the sun, or something like that. It's only a few hours in the wrong direction, up in a national park right, so I'm off. I think this will be the last day of sight seeing, then it's the big push for home.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Finally I'm off the boat. I had to go to two suzuki dealers to find a tire but in the end I'm on new shoes. Man that feels good. I finally got out of town and found a wonderful road wa20 just south of bellingham and headed east. It turned out to be an awesome road. I stopped at a national park and met up with a guy from new york and we road to the top of hart pass. A ranger told me about it earlier in the day and it was impressive. The road up was all dirt, about 20 miles of it. On one side was a sheer rock wall and on the other a sheer rock cliff. We made it to about 1/2 mile from the top and were stopped by snow. It wasn't alot but it covered the road with about a foot for a good 100 yards. There was no way to get through. As a mater of fact when we got there we had to help a guy and his wife get there 4X4 un stuck. She was pissed and already saying I told you so. But we got him out and all was right with their world. After we got down we split up, he was of to canada and I was headed east. As night started to fall every campground I found was full, I finally found a KOA and set up in the dark. It's nice to have dark, but one more hour of daylight would have been nice. It feels good to be on the road again. I'm currently in a town called winthrop, WA. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's big. The place is packed. Tomorrow I head east again, and closer to home every day.
Oh one other thing, I almost don't want to mention, but I was hot for the first time in weeks, it felt great but I can feel the complaining about the heat coming on.
So the end of my birthday and I'm tired, happy and ready for bed.
Thanks to everyone for the birth day wishes. I went to the ships bar last night with two couples I had met on my travels and we celebrated my birthday. It's 5:30am and I'm running just a bit slower than normal. It's pack up day and hit the road. Okay not hit the road right away. I need to find a tire bad, the belts are showing through in more than just one spot.
The boat ride was a good choice, I'm rested, I'm looking board to the ride home and ready to go. The google machine says it's just over 3000 miles, but I'm sure I'll take a longer route.
The weather looks good for the next few days. So I'm off
Thanks again for the birthday wises
It's now day 3 on the boat. After yesterdays stop at kitchican we go straight through to Bellingham, a trip of some 36 hours. A long and somewhat boring trip at that. I woke up to fog, very very thick fog. So now we ride through a tunnel, a long tunnel. It's morning now so I have 24 hours to go.
I have just about finished "the journey" by james michener
It's been very interesting reading about the difficulties the gold seekers had in 1897, and comparing them to my very wimpy issues during my travels. Those men and women had to be made of stone.
I on the other hand am made of flesh and blood, and apparently many bones that tend to creek each morning when I get up. Today was better as my bones seem to be falling back into their traditional location.
So the trip home looks like I will be running across the top of the country before diving down into the heat and and making the final push for home. It always feels good to be on the way home.
The trip so far has been everything I had hoped for. I found small roads that led to small towns that most travelers never see. I can see how anyone that lives their lives in these small towns could have a vastly different understanding of our nation than I do. If you watch tv and see the government spending all this money on roads, healthcare for the poor, subways, trains, food programs for children, aide to other countries, thousands of government workers,
and the list goes on and on, it might be hard to see how all this benefits you and your community. I think the bigger picture might be harder to see from here. The vast majority of Americans live in larger citys, they are the ones that buy the goods these small towns produce. They are also the ones that pay most of the taxes. New york city puts in way more to the federal government than it recives back. On the other hand rural towns get back much more than they put in. They also benefit in ways that they take for granted. The fedral interstate system transformed this nation, but in todays world we won't even collect and spend the money to maintain it. With out this system these small towns would never be able to get their produce to market. The electofication of our nation brought all of our nation together in ways that those that pushed for it never would have imagined.
We have always worked together for the greater good of all, until now. It's is if we have turned into a nation of I got mine so you can get your own. They say the wealthy pay all the taxes, but everyone knows when you ask them that the rich just hide there money off shore or use some tax loop hole to avoid paying anything. We collect taxes on income, so the wealthy call the source of their money something else. The middle class and the working well off pay the taxes. They carry the load. They do the hard work of getting up everyday and not only provide for their family they provide for their nation.
I have met many interesting people on my trip, young and old, rich and poor, and people from all over the world. Crazy Walter from Germany, the two Swedes and few from south america just to name a few.
I road for days in Canada talking first hand to as many as I could. The boarder is just a line on the map, but the difference between one side of that line and the other is easy to see. And you can see it many ways that you might not expect. In Canada you can use US money dollar for dollar, but here in the states their money is no good, even though the shop owner would get 10% more for there goods. The towns are clean and everyone seems to go about their day in a slow but steady pace. Everyone greeted my with a smile and was always happy to help.
So as you can see things have slowed down here on the ship. I will get back to finishing off the call of the wild by jack london. (his mothers maiden name was chaney) and leave you with this. Perspective is important, but the truth is still the truth, changing your perspective may give you a better understanding of it but the truth still remains the truth.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
It's the second day on the boat and I'm getting starting to get board. I went to sitka to get some food to east on the boat but after a $12 buys ride to try to save money I discovered that the food cost so much that I could eat for the same price on the boat. So of I went. My new tent arrangement on the lower deck is working out well. There are 12 tents set up there but it's still much calmer than upstairs. I had lunch with Tom And Mary today. Their a very nice couple from south carolina that came up in a truck camper. They've had the same experience in alaska as far a getting the truth as I did.
So I'm headed to shore for the last time before I reach my final destination in Bellingham WA. THE WEATHER IS SUNNY AND WARM!!!
I've been relaxing and recharging my batteries for the trip home. I feel much stronger already and am looking forward to hitting the road again. I had a nice long shower and did my laundry today so I'm getting ready for the final push.
So I'm off to kitchican AK
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
After wondering around as long as I could I headed to the fairy terminal 3 hours early. The wait wasn't bad, I got to talking to some fellow travelers and time passed quickly. After some confusion we made our way on to the ship. The loading process once underway went well. I headed up to the solarium to try to find a place to put my tent. Once again I was given a different truth than the one I found. The tent camping was outside on the aft deck. It was blowing 40 and the crew said they have seen tents full of gear blow away. So off to the loungers I had heard so much about. These are the same loungers you will find around any low rent public pool. They were under a roof of sorts, and had space heaters in the ceiling. There were about 40 of us all together, very together. I was late getting to the deck due to late loading and the need to tie down the bike so most of the obvious spots were already taken. So with deep thought and insight I was able to find a spot everyone overlooked. It was right next to the wall and had the benefit of having a shelf for my book and coffe, there wasn't room for an another lounger next to me. Sweet.
I was able to get 4 hours of sleep before the captain woke us up to tell us we were making a stop somewhere. Thanks.
Once I was up I went exploring and then headed back the luxury of my lounger, only to find some dick head had pulled up a lounger next to me and when I walked over he said in a nice big voice the we were now bunk mates. He then started talking non stop about how far he had ridden and that he was visiting every capital. He then went on about how his girlfriend had bought him a brand new Harley and that she was footing the bill for his trip, he had a $100.dinner last night only stays in nice hotels, no Billy Bob trailers for him, poor bastard. Time for more exploring. On my travels I found a spot down two floors were you could put up a tent. There was only one other tent there and it was perfect. It was under a roof, completely out of the wind and best of all I could get away from the blow hard. Win win. I also found a movie theater, game room, and big lounge, with real lounge chairs. And all the comforts you would expect on a big ship. I don't know why they kept pushing this camping area when there is so much more room else where on the boat. So all is good. I'm in the front observation room, heated, dry, and a park ranger is giving a talk about whales, all the other campers are up in the wind and cold.
Monday, August 1, 2011
TrEveryday day big boats arrive and discharge thousands of the green dollar people. They come from far and wide and descend and this little town. They walk in circles, taking pictures, buying things and muttering in strange languages. The hawkers stand in doors and try to entice the poor souls in to be fleeced of their green dollars.
Today is a three boat day, some days they can have up to six and this turns the town into a frenzy of shearing the sheep.
I was planning on sleeping late as my ship won't be here until 9:00 pm. That plan was foiled when my mother, who doesn't read my posts apparently called at 4:30 am. So I waited a bit and headed off to find something to east. The coffe shop I saw yesterday said they open at 6, but when I got there at 6:30 they were still closed, so off I went back to the tent. And then I remembered that there was a time chang, so of I went again. After that I headed back to the tenn fore a nap, shortly after falling asleep my sister called. It was nice to hear from my family, but it was clear they were dead set against my nap. So off I went. Back too town for a stroll and see if I could find a coffe house that had wifi. The one I finally had coffe at not only didn't have wifi they had a sign saying no computer work and no filling out post cards at the table. They want to get your money than get you moving. So off I went. Back at the tent I did an inside take down. This is a system I developed during the rain I hard been having and worked well during this cold wind. Basically I get inside and pack everything but the tent, then I get out strap it to the bike and then drop the tent. Fold it up and I'm off.
So I headed out for a ride around a bit to waste some time. That didn't work. The road I was on turned to dirt and wound it's way through some of the best forest I've seen. In no way was this a waste of time.
I'm back in town now, and waiting for my ship to come in, hum I wonder how many off the old timers said that.
Well I'm off
Wow what a ride. Okay it didn't start out so good. After I left White horse it started to rain, gee what a shock. After about 1/2 an hour the sun came back out and wow. Awesome awesome double dunk me in moose shit awesome. The ride to Skagway was beautiful. It took awhile to get there because I had to stop so many times to gawk at my surroundings. The weather was clear but cold, then I climbed back into the mountains and into the clouds. The temps kept dropping and the scenery just kept getting better. When I got to the top 5 miles from the US boarder there was a mounty in short sleeves. I stopped and asked him what he was doing, he said he was looking for drunks. I said it's clear who lives here and who doesn't. He laughed and said it's summer. I don't care what anybody says mountys are bad ass. No back up for days and he's just out there in short sleeves. I keep thinking about the the men and yes women that came here 150 years ago. Amazing. You can tell when you get back into the states. In Canada the small towns are all done up by the park service, they are there to preserve their heritage. The people that work there are grown ups and are happy to help.
In the states they are all staffed by collage kids and done up by corporations for profit. The whole town of Skagway has done away with free wifi, instead they all tell you they think you can get it over here or over there, but when you get there all you get is a page telling you it's $6.95. I'm all for fre enterprise but give me a brake. Campsite is $30 plus $1.50 for a five minute shower. Lucky for me living on a boat I'm good at five minute showers. But enough of the whining. The place is cool. I'm here and all is good.
I get the boat tomorrow and am looking forward to sitting on a nice soft chair for a few days.
I'll try to send this tomorrow from the library (government run)
So keep your fingers crossed.