Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018 - Tulsa, OK

I was slow this morning.  Kay Kay had the bacon on which was better than an alarm clock.  I had breakfast and we said our goodbyes.  It was strange how my memory had vividly returned and as I rode down the road it seemed to have really made my mind start racing—trying to remember more of what I had thought I had forgotten.  After all high school was 50+ years ago!  I helped it along by dialing the Sirius Satellite radio to 60’s songs.  Now I was rocking!

The ride for 6 hours was hot.  I stopped every hour for either water or an energy drink.  When I got to
I-44 and Rt. 66 the heat became too much so I checked in to a Super 8.  Next door was a steak house so I am off the bike for the night.

June 27 - 28, 2018 - Childress to Dallas

I got up at 4:30 to make the run in to Dallas in the cool of the morning.  I asked the desk clerk if the road was fenced into Dallas from wildlife.  She said there was no need to worry about animals on the roadway.  Apparently she has never driven the road in that direction,  Within 5 miles I encountered 2 deer dead on the side of the road...I was warned!  It was all clear from that point on.  I enjoyed the ride in the early morning.  I had left the motel before the free breakfast so I made a quick stop at a McDonalds for a sandwich.  I had set the GPS to avoid toll roads and since I came into Dallas after 9:00 I had no rush hour traffic.  I arrived at the home of Kay Kay and Denny Mosseller around 11:30.
I hadn’t seen them in 20+ years and they haven’t changed at all.

And in the garage was his MG with a host of memories from college!

Denny is the only person that I know of that has spent his whole working career with one company, Southwest Air in Dallas.  Now he was in the Air Force and moved around some but after that he stayed in Dallas.  We spent hours remembering our youth and amazingly I could remember many of the names that we knew.  It seems my brain was stimulated to wake up and boom I remembered a lot more than I have in 50 years.
The next morning they took me on a tour of Dallas.  I have always wanted to see the area where President Kennedy was shot.  So off we went to the Texas Book Depository.

We did the recorded walking tour of the building then walked the grounds of the grassy knoll where it was speculated that there was another shooter.  The exhibit did nothing to refute the conspiracy idea and it left you hanging. By the way I didn’t take Oswald since I didn’t think he would be welcomed.

After a couple of hours there we went to a beautiful park built over the highway and had a food truck lunch.  A very neat concept in where to build parks in a tightly developed city.  On the way back to their house we stopped at the Frontiers in Flight Museum at Love Field.  It was a very good museum and a nice place to be on a hot summer day.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in a beautiful neighborhood.
And I got the Royal tour.  It was great seeing them and spending time just talking and remembering or catching up on years we missed.   Hopefully it won’t be another 20 years before I see them again!  Maybe a football weekend can be arranged in Chapel Hill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June 26, 2018, near Disaster! S*it!

I got up at 3:30 am pretty awake and had a couple of cups of coffee in the lobby.  No food was available.  At 4:00 I left on I-25 south.  I stayed 5-10 mph below the 70-75 mph speed limit and decided to follow a big loaded truck at some distance so I would have time to react if he hit something and it popped out in front of me.  We started the climb of Rotan Pass and it was in the high 50’s, chilly but not painful.  The truck kept slowing down to about 35 mph so I passed him.  As I approached the top of the pass my speed picked up and I was doing 60 pretty fast on the downhill.  I have always been told that my amber running lights would help me see animals around the road but I hadn’t tested it.  I rounded the curve at the top and a candle was all you needed to see 3 big bucks, 2 in the passing lane and one in the thru lane and I was clearly unable to stop!  I have always been told to aim at their ass since they typically don’t back up....but out of 3 which do I target?  I left the two on the left and aimed just right. (being on the yellow line) left of the single deer.  I pulled in the clutch to let the motor idle quietly, hoping not to spook them and shot past at 55 mph.  I was so close to the one on the right that I could have slapped him on the butt!  To say I was a bit tense is an understatement!  I glanced into my rear view mirror and I don’t know if they knew what happened.   I flashed all my lights on full power hoping to warn the loaded tractor trailer behind me.  I believe he must have hit them because he was 1/10 of a mile behind me and I slowed down but he didn’t follow.  The road was divided so I couldn’t turn around.  Maybe he saw my flickering lights and managed to slow down.  It was a very big tractor trailer with a huge load so I am sure the driver was ok but it would be quite a mess.  Maybe damage the radiator.  Not much I could do at this  point so I proceeded on down the road.

Around 9:00 it was 72 degrees and at 10:00 up to 85.  It felt great with the sun up and better vision of the surrounding area.  My good friend, Ray Hunting, let me know that I was passing by the Cadillac Ranch so I put it in the GPS and made the stop.  After all I had been to Carhenge, why not?

I was sorry they left all the empty spray cans all around but the artist that created this felt that it was also part of the art!  I don’t think so!

I rolled into Childress at noon as I planned and checked into the Quality Inn.  The temperature was 93 degrees and I need to rest.  What a day!

June 25, 2018 - Pattie goes home

It had been a fun week and as the luck of the Lamb would have it no rain!  We could sleep late since checkout was at 1:00.  We went to Le Peep in Boulder for breakfast then back to the hotel for packing. Pattie left for the airport via Lyft and I took off to Trinidad, CO to start my trek to Dallas to see Denny & Kay Kay.  I needed to take 4 hours out of the trip because the highs were going to be near 100 the next few days.  It was all I-25 south and not an exciting trip but I got in by 5:30.
Pattie had her flight delayed from 5:30 to 7:30, meaning that she wouldn’t get in until 1:30 am.  But they gave her a $100 voucher for the delay.  I was long asleep since I planned on getting up at 4:00 to drive 400 miles to Childress, TX before noon when it was expected to be in the low 90’s.  In bed by 9:00!  Pattie got home at 1:30 am.

June 23-25, 2018 Louisville, CO

What a wonderful area to live, close to Denver and Boulder.  The area is beautiful!  On Saturday we did the primo thing in Boulder, that is walk Pearl Street!
This is where it is happening at all hours of the day.  All kinds of shops and restaurants.  We also had dinner at one of the restaurants.  We stopped in at a Virtual Reality store and split 30 minutes 4 ways.  It really was eye opening.  I did a VR tour of storm ravaged Puerto Rico and what the chefs did to feed the people.  It was amazing.  I think Alex  and Ryan did combat games and Pattie saw scenic videos.

Since Ryan works for a craft beer distributor he knows where all the good food and craft beer can be found!  So we ate and drank well.  The most fun was the

This was a huge German beer brewery in Denver.  We had lunch there and played a game of Hammerslagen(?) a game where each person gets a nail and you take turns hitting your opponents nail and whoever has the last nail still not driven in flush with the stump, wins!
They had other giant games that weren’t open yet.

For dinner Sunday Alex & Ryan fixed dinner and Jamie and David joined us.  A great meal of pork tenderloin, string beans and salt boiled potatoes.  Yummy!  Pattie and I were totally pooped.  
We also got to do a drive by of the house that Ryan and Alex hope to buy.  This will be decided very soon.  Off to bed.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

June 22, 2018 - Ride back to Denver

I got up at my usual time of 5:30 and started the packing process.  Had to lug the gear a ways to get to the bike but I checked the tire pressure and all was good.  Pattie and I decided that a good breakfast was needed so we got a recommendation for Freshies just a mile from us and it was super!  I had the homemade granola and Pattie had the Quinoa cake with butternut squash and 2 eggs.  She loved it and I loved the granola but chewing granola makes my jaw hurt!  We assessed the weather and since it was 54 degrees and we were going down to a town at 80 degrees so we stayed light for the ride.  Our first mistake on weather.  We had to climb 2 passes to get to Denver and one was 11,500 ft with the temperature staying near 54 degrees.  It maybe rose to 60 in the dips but that was it.  We stopped in Silverthorne on Rt. 40 where we connected to I-70 and had to warm up.  This called for a clothing adjustment.  We zipped up all the air vents and proceeded to climb Loveland Pass.  Most of the traffic was out of Denver since it was Friday so other than dodging slow climbing tractor trailers it was a smooth ride into Denver.  3 1/2 hrs on our last ride together on this trip.  Pattie would fly out on Monday and we would visit with our son and daughter-in-law for the weekend.
No pictures today and I will be back on the road to Dallas on Monday after seeing Pattie off.

June 21, 2018 - Steamboat, CO

Another beautiful day and another short day.  The pack and go travel was starting to tire both of us and a multiple day stay would have been a good idea but Steamboat was the last on our list so we packed and left at 10:00.  The hotel staff was fun and they enjoyed our method of travel.
We were on I-70 for maybe 12 miles then turned north on Rt. 131.  It was a stunning ride with terrain that varied continual.  The altitude changed constantly but continued to rise with stunning mountains and valleys.  The "towns" that we passed through may have had 3 building and not much else.  We had a full tank of gas with a range of 300 miles so problems.

The town didn't resemble much of what I remembered for 39 years ago.  More modern, more traffic, and restaurants.  We wandered the streets then I saw something that I remembered from my ski vacation in 1979.
The old town ski area and jumps were still there.  I don't know if they still operate but I guess it's a great area for the kids to learn.  We spent a few hours in town then went back to what was our low point for lodging, a timeshare vacation place that rented their unused units.  They were dated and clearly worn out!  The unit looked like a ski condo with scrapes and scratches on everything, but reasonably clean.  We would rise early and head for Louisville for 3 days before Pattie flies back to Cary.

June 20, 2018- Into the mountains

Another beautiful day in CO!  It was 45 degrees when we got up.  I get up around 5:30 and let Pattie sleep to around 7:00.  We wandered down the street in Buena Vista and found Jen's, a family run breakfast/lunch restaurant.  After eating motel breakfasts for many days it was great to have a fresh cooked meal.

We only had 90 miles to cover to get to Vail so a lazy day it was.  We packed up and waited until 10:00 and the temps had risen to 56 degrees which is a very comfortable temperature to ride knowing that as the day progressed it would rise quickly.  So far we had seen little in the way of traffic and today was no exception.  We had been in the valley which I have to mention is huge , many miles across surrounded by mountains and today we would climb up to Leadville, an old mining town.
Leadville was what you would expect to see.  Very old structures with a charming main street but little else.  We met a bicyclist loaded with probably 50 lbs of gear taking the same route through the mountains.  We saw a number of these people on the road and many were single riders either women or men.  The route was the Top of the Mountains Byway or Rt. 24.  It was beautiful reaching elevations of 10,500.  The canyons were equally as beautiful.  The only problem was a lack of ability to stop anywhere to take pictures.  I had the video cam on but the battery died quickly and I am having trouble getting the pictures out of it.  The few pullouts that we came to had deep pea gravel which the bike doesn't handle very paved pullouts.

We arrived at the Doubletree in Vail and it was a welcomed surprise.  The town was packed with a lacrosse tournament and we were lucky to get this.  Pattie was shocked at the town.  It looked more like a Disney designed town for adults, spotless with no sign of age!  We had lunch at one of the many restaurants outside then took the gondola to the top. WOW!

What a beautiful view.  I skied Vail many years ago and I think the landscape is prettier in the summer.  We wandered around the top of the mountain for an hour watching the many people doing zip lines, some kind of obstacle course and a little sit down slider on tracks.  We didn't even consider walking down....on to the gondola!

The people at the hotel were very nice and Pattie asked why we weren't staying multiple days there.  We arranged massages for both of us and enjoyed the day.  Dinner was at the attached restaurant violating my traveling rule of never eating at the hotel restaurant.  Excellent meal and it was not part of the hotel.  This would have been a great place to spend a few days but we wanted to get to Steamboat for our last night on the road.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

June 19, 2018 - North to Vail

It was going to start out a cool morning but warm up into the 70’s by 10.  We were going to the Great Sand Dunes National Park then with a late checkout we would go back to the hotel to change into our riding gear.  We only covered 35 miles and had few people out.  The road in route went through pretty barren countryside.  We could see them off in the distance and they grew and grew, huge sand dunes.
The ranger suggested that we do our walk quickly because the sand heats up to 150 degrees by noon. We walked maybe 1/2 a mile and turned around to head back.  We made it half way there but with late checkout we had to get packed.  We also were tired from walking in the deep sand.  Could easily spend 3 hours there.
Bike loaded and we were headed to Buena Vista an old mining town.   The road was a 2 lane easy ride with some gusting winds.  We stopped every 60 miles to keep up with water due to the dry air and heat arriving around 2:00.we wandered the streets of the old town, very cute and ate dinner in a local restaurant.  Once again my lovely wife pointed out that I was the oldest person in town.  The wind had been very tiring so it was off to bed early but before that I had to do laundry.  In order to keep the packing down due to limited space, I carried 4 days of cloths and enough pods to do 8 loads.  Most motels have laundromats so it’s easy

In the morning we were off to Vail via Leadville and Rt 24, the Top of the Rockies Byway.

June 18, 2018 - Pattie arrives

I packed up and it was still drizzling so I left a little early for the Airport.  Pattie arrived about 30 minutes early.  I had left all my excess road gear with Ryan so I would have room for Pattie’s Gear.  She changed into her riding clothes and we were off to lunch at Ruby Tuesday on Pena Blvd.  The ride to Alamosa was planned to go down a fast 2 lane but I lost the route on the GPS so the leisurely ride turned into a hot, gusting windy ride down I-25.  This would be our longest day ride at 250 miles.  We stopped every 60 miles for air conditioning and water, being afraid of dehydration at this altitude and Temperature.  We got to Alamosa around 5:00 and changed.  We found this town to be really active.  There was a college and we had a great dinner in a local brew pub.  My dear lovely wife then pointed out that we were the oldest people in town😬  information I could live without.  It was very pretty countryside very different from anything we had seen before.

Ryan called at 7:30 leading off the conversation with “we are alright!”  Now I know this is bad news. I suspected a car wreck or a climbing accident.  It was a good thing we bolted from Denver!  A significant storm moved in after we left and did damage all around his apartment complex.
Both cars damaged, windows broken and bodies dimpled.  Luckily they were inside when it happened.  I can’t tell you how bad that would have been on the motorcycle.  There are very few overpasses out here where you can seek shelter..  We were very fortunate to have been a few hours ahead of this, riding in heat and wind.  Ryan and Alex are in the middle of buying a house and now both cars are damaged.
Pattie has spent 20 days on the bike all around the Canadian Maritimes and has never had to ride in rain...unbelievable.  When she arrived at the airport the clouds lifted and the sun came out.  Now in Alamosa and the forecast for our 5 days in the mountains is crystal clear with cool mornings and high 70’s in the afternoon.  The day will come but maybe not this time.

June 17, 2018 -Colorado

packed up early this morning.  Waking around 5:00, I had coffee with a couple of Harley riders going into the mountains on a 6 week ride through the mid-west.  They decided to stay in Kindall another day due to the risk of hail in the mountains.  I had a 3 hour ride to stay with my son’s in-laws. No pictures since the first half would be in fog and rain.  The road mess into Cheyenne, WY was only one hour with limited visibility and fairly light traffic.  I knew that the weather was going to turn ugly after 1:00 so the plan was to get to there house by 12:00.  In WY I connected with I-25 to Denver, wow what a race track.  It took a few miles before I slipped into NYC driver mode.  It was Sunday and what were all of these trucks doing on the road on Sunday, Father’s Day?  They should be home with their families!
I arrived at Jamie and David’s on plan at 12:00.  It was great seeing friends after 1 1/2 weeks traveling.  On schedule the rains came at 2:00!  Ryan and Alex arrived from COMICON at 5:00.
Ryan over the years has done enough with his hair so nothing surprises me any more...but Alex?  Two peas in a pod!  We had a great Father’s Day and Jamie fixed a meal fit for a king!  The beef out here sure is better than back east!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

June 16, 2018 - Nebraska comes to an end!

I am sad seeing the changes in Nebraska along Rt. 20 but it is the same experienced in eastern North Carolina.  The morning started with fog but not dense enough to delay my start.  I had already decided to skip the minuteman missile museum.  Just 120 miles north of Valentine, NE it was 60 degrees and heavy rain.  I have seen that before on this trip so when I went online to see if I could get a tour and found them all booked that was it.  This change made my last 2 days much easier.  Rather than two 400 mile days I had two 250 mile days into Denver.

Time to head west.  It was another 60 miles until my first turn in two days!  I was heading for Alliance, NE.  There was nothing but a few deserted towns so there was no reason to stop.  Then I saw the perfect stop!

Wow that was good for grins!  As a friend said “at least people in NE have a sense of humor”!  Then on to my next art appreciation stop.  Carhenge!

Friday, June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018 - long hard road!

I think Iowa should do a commercial with the catch phrase “Iowa , where pool tables don’t need to be leveled”

Rt. 20 crosses both Iowa and Nebraska but is a very different experience in each.  In Iowa Rt. 20 is a very well maintained 4 lane highway.  It by-passes all the towns.  You see nothing but fields.  If you see a sign for food or gas, when you exit you will then be treated to either turn left or right 5 miles.  When you get there it may be gone or closed.  I don’t like Iowa, it’s just a nice straight road with a multitude of farms that all look the same.

Nebraska wants you to see their towns.  Rt. 20 goes through all of them so you get a feeling about the health of the community.  I traveled this road in 2014 on my G650 and it looked very healthy.  Many of those same towns are now closed up.  A gentleman joined me for coffee this morning.  He explained that in the past 5 years big companies bought up the farms and leveled the houses and barns so they could plant more.  They sweep in with enough equipment to till, plant, spray or harvest in one day then they are gone.  They don’t live in the towns or have lunch there.  The people that sold packed up and left.  This has all happened very quickly.  I asked why he was still there and he said his farm has streams and is relatively small.  The buyers only want big flat farms.  He and his brother live in the same house that they were born in.  He was probable in his 70's.

The beautiful road in Nebraska has been destroyed by the trucking industry. I had numerous detours, single lane with escort cars, single lane bridges and at one town the road stopped and I had to find my way back to a detour that I missed.

It was kind of sad to see where progress is taking us.  Pattie asked me tonight if I was going to turn tomorrow....Rt. 20 is a straight line across Iowa and Nebraska.  Yep, I am going north.

June 14, 2018 - Iowa

I left the hotel around 9:30 heading south after 2 hours of waiting for a storm to pass.  It was still hanging around.  When I crossed the Mississippi it started sprinkling.  I pulled over and put on the full rain gear which was a relief since the temperature had fallen to 60 degrees and I was chilly.  As I approached my first stop it really began to rain.  But I have arrived.

I get chills because that is one of my favorite movies!  I only spent a few minutes there due to the rain but I am glad I stopped.  I went into town for lunch and had a wonderful chicken Pot pie and a salad.

It continued to rain.  It was time to move on or I would end up way behind schedule getting to Denver.   The next stop was only 46 miles away.  The rains came down harder and now gusting winds were beating me to death.  The evening news said the area I was in got 3-6” of rain with 40-50 mph gusts.  I believe it.  I finally got there!  The National Motorcycle Museum with over 400 bikes and dry shelter from the storm.

After hours of looking around for a place to stay I saw a sign with an "H" on it meaning hospital but also meaning hospitality like hotels and restaurants.  The town was Iowa Falls ( the place is flat so how can there be falls).  They have Super 8's everywhere in the midwest and this one was across from the hospital.  The town was maybe 6,000 people and had a number of fast foods but I wanted to try a local non-chain.

Not a good idea!  The town had 4 pizza places and a McDonalds.  I picked the wrong one.  Pizza was never invented to be served in a buffet.  The fried chicken was good though.  I then rode around the town to see what small town america has to offer.  Beautiful old homes and in the center of town was a nicely cared for park.
Small town got it right, a popcorn kiosk in the park.  We could all learn from this!  But time for bed since tomorrow will be a 400 mile ride in mid-90's temperatures.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June 13, 2018 - the last day of the rally

What a beautiful day to end the rally!  The sky is clear and the temperature is approaching 80 degrees.  The first thing on the list is to wash the bike and clean all the crud off so the significant reflectors can do there job, making me visible.  The hotel was good enough to provide multiple garden hoses, car washing soap and plenty of towels.  This task is a labor of love and the bikes were lined up so we can all be prepped for departure tomorrow.  I was done in 30 minutes and moved the bike back into the lot to dry.

At 11:00 I left for S&S Motors, the company that built their reputation of after-market parts for Harley-Davidson.  The tour would begin at 1:00 so I would have  time after the 50 mile ride for a little lunch before the tour.
They originally made parts to enhance performance but by the 1990's they were building motors that were setting land speed records.  Clearly, powerful motors.  For many years they held numerous land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Their motors are made to slip into the HD frames with no adjustments needed.  They are making a number of things for the Indian Motorcycles like the Flat Track Racing bikes under the name of Indian and have won many events.  I got my hand slapped for trying to take a picture of the bikes being assembled....NO PICTURES!

The museum did allow pictures!

Mrs. Smith's motorcycle

After the death of Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith ran the company for 11 years and was the heart and sole of it, an avid rider!

They were frequently at the Salt Flats setting records with the various types of motorcycles.

All the above held land speed records.  It was a 1 hour tour and very interesting.

We returned to La Crosse after a spirited ride in time for the evening banquet.  Raffle tickets were drawn and the motorcycle prize winner was a woman and avid rider that everyone knew.  Great ending to the Rally.

Now for the packing and after breakfast I am off in the direction of Denver to pick Pattie up at the airport on Monday.  The weather looks promising to cross the plains and I have some flexibility with the scheduling so I will make a number of stops.  Must get packing.