Saturday, November 15, 2014

Henderson to Reno

10 NOV - After a 05:30 pancake breakfast at Kathy and Coleman's I was on the road for home at 06:30 under a typical Nevada blue sky day and a balmy 60 degrees.

No real traffic crossing Las Vegas at the early hour and then on the familiar route toward home. No snow on Tonopah Pass thanks to the warm weather. Stopped for gas in Tonopah and up walks Monte, a friend from Reno, a true 'Iron Butt' rider. (He was heading to Las Vegas for a pistol match. My kind of guy.)

Just north of Tonopah I ran in to a terrible dust storm with some of the most extreme cross winds I've ever experienced, even in Patagonia. Especially bad around Walker Lake.

Arrived home at 15:40 for a 473 mile  day and completing a 96 day, 15,819 Adventure.

Great to be home and ready to hit the hiking trail with Sara. (We plan to hike the 'Coast to Coast' [C2C] in the U.K. next May, a 190 mile trek from Robin Hood's Bay to St. Bee's Bay. In '96 we hiked it west to east, so this time will reverse it. Anyhow, after 96 days on the moto it's time to get the hiking legs back in shape. One advantage of living in the Sierra Nevada.)

PS - I was so excited to be home that I forgot to post the last day. Thanks to Fred for asking me if I'd taken residence in Henderson.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Scottsdale to Henderson

9 NOV - Started the day with an apple pancake at the Original Pancake House. Same great pancake as in Minneapolis. Loved the condo going up across the street from the OPH.

Came up from Kingman and over the new bridge next to the Hoover dam. Didn't stop as I've been there three or four times, but did take a picture of the bike with the Colorado River in the background, and then of the approach to the bridge.

Left this morning and it was sixty. Got to Henderson and it was 80.

It was a 296 mile day with very little traffic, even in Las Vegas.

Tomorrow I'll complete the Adventure when I ride up to Reno. Looks like good weather.

Scottsdale - Rest Day

8 NOV - Had the 36,000 mile service done on the bike (actual mileage 37,994, but all highway miles). Go AZ Motorcycles sells all makes of motorcycles except Harley-Davidson. HD is just nextdoor. There was a fund raiser memorial ride for a guy killed on his Harley. Hundreds of bikes at both locations, signing up and buying shirts etc. The amazing thing is that 90% of the folks don't wear helmets, and those that do have the 'brain buckets'. Tells you something. Also, no protective gear other than glooves. I even sae a guy on his Harley riding barefoot.

There were a handful of BMW riders, all wearing full face helmets and proper gear.

Anyhow, while the bike was being serviced I met Lenore and Barb for breakfast. It's dry here so the outside areas have the misters.

Wes and Judy were kind enough to put me up once again and even had me park the moto in the garage.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Van Horn to Flagstaff

7 NOV - Mt. Rose in Reno opened today. That's where we ski and board, and I missed it.

Left Van Horn, TX at 06:00. It was 37 degrees so I started with my 'electrics', jacket and gloves. A clear sky at Sunrise. The highway photo was taken just west of Van Horn. Amazing the Sun reflecting on the various highway signs and markers.

Stopped for lunch at Apple Annie's in Wilcox, AZ. Apple pie of course.

Arrived in Scottsdale at 16:45 for a 561 mile day. 87 degrees. That's quite a range for the day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Marion to Van Horn

6 NOV - Enjoyed breakfast at iHop with Pete & Edie and son Tony. Always difficult to leave friends but hope to see them at Rundle Ride XII in September 2015 in WDC to celebrate the USSS 150th year.

Left at 09:00, no rain but threatening, and a comfortable 60 degrees.

Being Texas the are BBQ restaurants everywhere. All good.

Enjoy the 80mph speedlimit but generally cruise at 70 to 75. Anything faster and the mpg gets really bad.

This morning there was light rain west of San Antonio but I rode out of it. Then much to my surprise, and against the weathercast, heavy rain for the last 90 minutes of the ride.

Arrived at Van Horn at 16:30 just as the rain ended.

As of today I've logged 14,288 miles. 1,332 to go and I'll be home. Put another way, the Adventure is 91% completed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Baytown to Marion

5 NOV - Left this morning at 09:30. 73 degrees and not raining. Wanted some time for the rush-hour traffic in Houstin to clear a bit. Sailed right through Houston, no traffic at all. Maybe all the predictions for rain and flash flooding kept folks at home.

Hit two rain squalls in the 197 miles but not heavy enough to even slow down. Got to Edie and Pete's at 12:30. At 73 degrees departing Baytown I didn't put on my electric jacket. By the time I reached Marion it was 54. A couple of cups of hot coffee and a hot shower did the trick.

Pete's garage is large enough to house an auto repair shop and uncludes a 'bunk house' where I'm staying.

Edie fixed a great dinner and we enjoyed sitting around swapping 'cop' stories. I know Pete from our days in the USSS and Edie is a retired police officer. (As Sara would say, 'the stories' get better every year. Maybe it's age.

It started raining just after I got here and is predicted to last until tomorrow afternoon. My goal tomorrow will be Van Horn, TX, so I should ride out of the rain as I get further west.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mobile to Baytown, TX

4 NOV - Started the day with another Waffle House treat. (We don't have them out west so I have to enjoy them while I can.) Was on the road at 07:30 and stopped in Opelousas, LA to visit Lee (Sara's cousin) and wife Millie. Then on to Baytown, TX, arriving at 16:30 for a 490 mile day.

My destination tomorrow is Marion, TX where I'll stay with Pete (a USSS buddy) and his wife Edie. Heavy rain and possible flash flooding predicted in the San Antonio area tomorrow so it could be an intetesting day. At least it's not ice and snow.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mobile, AL

3 NOV - A rest day in Mobile visiting with my Son. No frost this morning and a 70 degree blue sky day.

Head west for Texas tomorrow first crossing Mississippi and then Louisiana.

Gas here is $2.79 a gallon. Not long ago I was paying just under $9 a gallon in the U.K.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Whitehouse to Mobile

2 NOV - Went off DST last night. Went out to pack the bike at 06:30 and it was 24 degrees. The coldest morning yet on the trip. The bike was covered with thick frost but I noted that a puddle in the parking lot had not frozen and the pavement was dry.

Enjoyed a waffle at the Waffle House and hit the road at 07:50, under a blue sky. Hit an iHop for lunch in Montgomery, AL and then on to Mobile. Interstate all the way, moderate Sunday traffic through Birmingham and Montgomery but made good time, arriving in Mobile at 15:50, for a 471 mile day.

The last photos are of the Alabama Delta region and the Mobile River.

Rest day tomorrow visiting my Son in Mobile.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ostrander to White House, TN

1 NOV - Woke up at 04:00 and noted that it had stopped raining and although it was 34 degrees at Ostrander there was no sign of snow.  A good sign.

After breakfast with Sara, Susan and Leon, I gave Sara an extra hug before taking off because she is going to stay for a visit with Susan, a friend from grade school days, then fly home Sunday. Thankfully she agreed to take some of my stuff that I won't need for the ride to Reno.

I was on the road at first light, 08:10, and it was still 34 degrees, and not raining. It was about nine miles of winding country roads before I reached I-71. No sign of black ice, I guess because the pavement is still warm. Got on I-71 and battled strong, gusty cross winds all the way to Cincinnati where I stopped for gas. There just happened to be a Waffle House next to the Pilot gas station. Couldn't let the opportunity slip by. Came out after enjoying a waffle, good as ever, and it was snowing. Still 34 degrees, but the snow was melting on the highway. Once I got to Louisville the snow stopped, the Sun appeared and it warmed up to 42 degrees. Thank you for 'electrics', in my case a jacket and gloves. (Heat from the engine keeps my legs warm.)

Saw signs for the Lincoln Memorial Museum so slipped over to Hodgenville, KY, Lincoln's birthplace, as I'd never been there. Couldn't be so close and not ride an extra 20 miles to see it.

Just nearing Bowling Green I spotted the Corvette Factory so stopped there too. Missed the last tour of the day by 45 minutes.

Arrived at White House, TN at 15:00 and checjed into a Motel 6. First thing I did was take a long, hot shower to warm up.

It was a 407 mile day and it felt to get off the bike and warm up.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ancaster to Ostrander

31 OCT - A 370 mile jaunt in the rain. Started out at 07:30 so of course it started raining at 07:00. 42 degrees, so no snow.

Crossed into Detroit over the Ambassador Bridge at Windsor, ON. Took all of eleven minutes to clear U. S. Customs.

Stopped at a Starbuck's in Lincoln Park, MI to meet with Ed and Kathy. Fun catching up on news.

Arrived at Susan's in Ostrander, OH at 16:00. Felt great to sit in front of the fire and enjoy a coffee while warming up after a day in the rain - my first real rain if the entire trip.

The forecast is that it'll clear overnight and that means the temperature will drop.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Toronto to Ancaster

30 OCT - A short day today, only fifty miles. Stopped on the way to visit with Shaan Shah's folks Sudha and Hemant regarding hiking the C2C in the U.K. Then  spent the afternoon and evening with Holly Ralph catching up on news, then a tour of the RCAF Museum.

Keeping fingers crossed that we get out of 'dodge' before snow hits.

Toronto - Sightseeing

29 OCT - Visited the Science Museum in the morning then had lunch at the St. Lawrence Market. What a selection of ethnic foods.

Greg and his bride Liz took us to dinner at the 360 restaurant on the 146 floor CN Tower. The last photo I'm standing on glass looking down 146 floors.

We'll be back on the road tomorrow, all the way to Ancaster, ON.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


28 OCT - Liz drove us out to the Toronto Airport (YYZ) this morning so I could clear the bike through Canadian Customs. Paid $80 to the freight forwarder for handling the bike and processing the paperwork. Then went to Customs. All they asked, 'Is the bike clean?' Told them that I'd pressure washed it in Manchester and he 'stamped' the Airway Bill clearing the bike. Took all of one minute. They never looked at the bike.

Went back to the freight forwarder and they brought out the bike. Much to my surprise, and relief, it was in a container. My understanding was that it would be on a pallet and shrink-wrapped.

Tomorrow is a day for sightseeing in downtown Toronto and then dinner with Greg and Liz. I met Greg in the Yukon three years ago when we were both on our trips from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.

Thursday we'll be back on the road and on the planned itinerary.

Manchester to Toronto

27 OCT - We were concerned about the Air Transat flight because about 50% of the reviews trash TS. No problem at all getting the checked luggage checked in and they didn't give us a hassle with our carry on.

Got to the gate and asked about the bike. Turns out the TS guy doing the weight and balance was doing his paperwork at the gate. The gate agent asked him via radio and we got the thumbs up through the glass.

Brand new A330 Airbus. The problem with traveling on a 'bargin' airline is that every fourth passenger is an infant or three year old. Thank God for ear-buds.

We took an hour delay so didn't pushback until 14:30. First the paramedics had to come aboard and remove a passenger, then a passenger didn't board the flight. In both cases they are mandated to remove the passenger's checked luggage. I can understand the medical situation, but the second one was a passenger they tracked down in a terminal bar with a gal he met so decided to not fly that day. A true case of terminal STUPID.

So, the eight hour flight was a nine hour flight. We got to YYZ an hour later than expected, as did another flight, putting an overload on Canadian Customs. Took us one hour in line to get processed into Canada.

Greg and Liz met us and took us to their downtown condo where we're staying the buildings guest apartment.

Feels great to be back in North America.

Tomorrow will be the Adventure of claiming the moto from Canadian Customs.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Manchester Airport - Day 3

26 OCT - Mike at TQ Express told us about the 'Cat & Fiddle' a bikers' pub on what is the U.K. Tail of the Dragon. We'd already turned in the bike for shipping so we took the bus over to see it.

Fun seeing all the bikes, mostly Triumphs, but a good assortment. The Cat & Fiddle Road is a meca for riders. Too many over-ride their skill level and about 25 per year manage to kill themselves. Wish we'd had the moto but some of the guys said the roads we rode last Thursday were a lot more diffucult than the Cat & Fiddle.

Tomorrow, Monday, our flight to Toronto departs at 13:30 and we should arrive at 16:50. We'll be crossing a time zone about every hour. Speaking of time, this part of the world went off DST last night.

The next entry should be from Toronto, Canada. It'll be great to be back in North America.

Manchester Airport - Day 2

25 OCT - We're without the moto as it was turned over to the freight forwarder yesterday, so we're traveling by bus. They have a great system of public transport here in the U.K.For example both the bus and train stations are right at the airport terminal.

Took the bus back up to the 'Peak District' to hike a bit. Stopped in Buxton to change to a bus that would take us to Bakewell, so had a coffee while waiting. No Starbuck's in these villages.

The bus drivers are anazing on these narrow two-lane highways and even narrower village streets. Clearance in some places is about six inches on each side of the bus and they hardley slow down.

Had a nice walk in the hills above Bakewell. Only makes us more anxious to get to the Lake District next May for another Coast-to-Coast  (C2C) Trek.