1951 Rigid Frame 650 Triumph Bonneville bobber in 1967
2005 Road King Custom in 2013
At 18 I was standing in the gas station at Bellflower and Los Coyotes Diagonal in Long Beach with Jim Scrivner when Jerry Cohen’s candy apple red ’49 Chevy fleetline came cruising down the street. Jim told me later my jaw dropped and I had that dreamy look in my eyes. It was love at first sight. Within a few months I found a ’50 Fleetline and my love affair began. It wasn’t long before I had it lowered, shaved, dual pipes with glass packs and bellflowers, Tijuana diamond tuck and roll interior, sanded to metal and primed. It was ready for a gun metal gray pearl paint job when some low life’s tried to steal it and caved in the tail pan under the trunk.
I patched it up and in a fit of madness sold it. I’d been thinking about buying it back when I ran into the guy I had sold it to at a party and asked him about my beloved car. With a bit of hesitation he finally admitted that he’d had it up on lift at a gas station and it fell off. It was totaled and my dream car was in the junkyard never to be seen again. The shock must have been the only thing that kept me from beating him to the ground for his recklessness with my baby. All of that work and all that was left were a few pictures and great memories of cruising Long Beach, Bellflower, Harvey’s Broiler, Whittier, Hawthorne, The Sunset Strip and wild trips to Tijuana.
Not too long later the draft came calling and it was off to Vietnam in the Army for what seemed like a life time of depraved madness. Returning from ‘Nam was tough and a custom car was far from my fractured reality so I moved on.
I never forgot the ’50 and when asked if I’d ever customize another car my response was “only another ’50 Fleetline and that’s not likely to happen”. Over the years I often thought of that car and would dig out my pics of it and wonder what it could have been.
With the advent of the internet I’d occasionally look at fleetlines on-line but they could only be a 2 door ’49 or ’50 with that gorgeous art deco rear not a ’51 or ’52. What I found was either a restoration for more than I could afford or a total piece of junk that was beyond my meager skills to bring back to life.
By chance In Feb. of 2014 I went online and to my surprise there was a ’50 that was within my wheelhouse. So after some soul searching and a reality check with Kathy I flew to Washington and bought it. It was lowered, 350 motor and trans, Nova rear end, Mustang II front end, marginal body work and a home paint job.
I love working on it but as my dad said there’s always time to do it right the second time or in my case its often 3rd time. I’ll keep chipping away at it with hopes of turning it in to a driver with modern touches that I can take down to So Cal for a visit with Jerry Cohen and to thank him for the inspiration so long ago.
A dream come true!
The 2nd 1950 Chevy Fleetline is found in Washington………….in love all over again!
1979 350 w/Edelbrock manifold and Carter AFB Competition Carb
Nova rear end
Mustang II front end
Recap of what was accomplished in 2014
.New exhaust system from headers to tail
.New Master Cylinder, Power Booster, Proportioning Valve, front brake lines
.New Aluminum Radiator, Electronic Fan(s), Water Pump, belt, Hoses and Thermostat
.New Rear Springs and 3” lowering blocks
.New Mustang II Rack and Pinion
.Electric fuel pump
.New Wheel Bearings
.New Motor and Trans Mounts
.New Shocks front and rear
.New Sound System with 12” sub-woofer and two amps
.Remote door locks
.Electronic Trunk Release
.Double Dura Mat on flooring, inner door, firewall
.Rear View Mirror with Map Lights
.Interior Courtesy Lights
And a whole lot of electrical and other stuff.
Met Ben Bright who is a former member of the Chip Foose “Overhaulin’ show at his new shop, Old Soul Speed and Custom, in Morro Bay and reached an agreement to sort out the body of the car.
I stripped off all of the trim, bumpers and emblems then removed the interior and all of the glass in preparation for body work. Next came the scary Dustless Blasting of the body to discover how much damage was hidden under the paint. Turned out to be on the razors edge of overwhelming.
The shock of seeing the car in it’s bare form almost led me to abandoning the project. It looked like a tree limb had fallen on the roof, rust rot in both rear 1/4 panels, both rear wheel openings, both rear wheel tubs, the bottom of the tail pan, the left rear fender, the spare tire tub, the outer rocker panels and the bottom of both doors. In addition to the rot the body was heavily dented and looked like it had been used as a backstop at a ball game. All hidden by a generous amount of bondo and paint.
it is going to be a long slow job to restore this car in a decent manner. Oh and a bunch of money!
After a number of stops and starts the body is finally close to paint after replacing the tail pan, both 1/4 panels, replacing and customizing both rocker panels, the bottom of the driver door, cutting and resizing both doors, shaving the trunk, shaving the hood, shaving the door handles, fitting a new windshield visor, replacing the spare tire tub and expanding it for modern tires, replacing both rear wheel tubs, sorting out dents in every panel and sorting out the rot around both rear wheel wells. With a little luck it will arrive home the 1st week in September for a months worth of work to get it road worthy once again.
Back from the paint shop and ready for the team at Old Soul Speed and Custom to reinstall all of the panels and prep it for delivery.
NEW YORK CITY TO SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
Kissed Kathy goodbye and got on the subway to Long Island city in Queens only to jump off two stops later when I realized I was mistakenly headed towards Brooklyn. A quick trip across the platform and I was back on track. Great way to start the day but it was a start. Picked up my baby and headed north thru Queens, the Bronx, Mt. Vernon and White Plains. Blew the directions (it’s one of those days) and ended up in Stamford,Connecticut where I had to backtrack to White Plains then cross the Tappan Zee Bridge and start up the Hudson River Valley.
Rode hard in the sweltering 90+ heat and humidity and finally called it a day in New Paltz, N.Y. the home of New Paltz State University which is on the edge of the Catskill mountains. Really cool rustic college town.
Heat wave continues!
Left New Platz and made a quick stop in the small town of Hurley before heading on to Woodstock. Took some time to wander the town in the oppressive heat and take a few photo’s. Woodstock wasn’t the actual site of the famed August ‘69 3 day concert but it sure has capitalized on the event. Boutiques, gift shops, etc.
Pushed on to Hunter Mountain in the Catskills and found a near empty ski lodge in Hunter to spend the night. Beautiful peaceful little mountain town.
No relief in the heat tomorrow but I’ll make the best of it as I continue toward northern Pennsylvania.
Left the Catskills behind today and rode on some beautiful two lane roads, often with no cars in sight, thru small townships, villages, hamlets and often just a small grouping of homes all of which had histories dating back to the 1700’s.
The temps were in the mid 90’s with high humidity again today so I pulled in to a newly built Best Western in Towanda, PA late in the afternoon and called it a day.
Towanda sits in a tree lined valley on the banks of the Susquehanna River in northeastern Penn. The downtown looked interesting as I passed thru and I may go back tomorrow to shoot some pictures when it’s not so hot.
They’re predicting cooler weather for tomorrow which will be a welcome relief after the last few days. Hope to increase my mileage as I travel west across Pennsylvania tomorrow.
What a great day! The heat wave broke and the temp dropped to the low 80’s with broken clouds. The weather guy predicted thunder showers but I was blessed with a nearly dry day.
Left Towanda at 10 am and continued west on Hwy 6 for 250 miles of absolutely excellent riding thru the country over rolling hills with sweeping turns and little to no traffic .
After the car show I saw a lot of other interesting photo opportunities but with it looking like it would rain at any moment I chose to press on. Good that I did because every room was taken in the places that I stopped and I ended up leaving Hwy 6 and putting in an extra 50 miles before I found lodging in Franklin, pa.
Today’s ride was a real morale booster after the never ending 90+ days in New York.
Woke up to fog in Franklin this morning but it had burned off by the time I hit the road. Took some pictures of two churches and one classic house that had been converted to a club before finally heading out of town on my way to Ohio.
Stopped in Jamestown for breakfast and found a truck parked in front of me with a license plate frame that said “My other tractor is my neighbors”. Guess I’m in the heartland.
Found a 1937 Chrysler rusting away next to restoration shop a few miles farther down the road and couldn’t resist taking some pics for Glenn who is a mopar fanatic.
Not feeling a lot of energy today and pulled up in Streetsboro and called it a day.
Don’t know where I’ll land tomorrow due to the mosaic of secondary roads in Ohio. Unlike Pennsylvania it’s difficult to find roads that go east to west for a long stretch so I’ll be shucking and jiving all over the place dodging the big cities.
Got a haircut and headed south to Hwy 30 where I turned west and rode to ft. Wayne, Indiana. It was about 240 miles and 125 miles of that was continuous rain….whooopeeee! That surpasses my previous rain record of 101 miles. I’ll take the rain over extreme heat any time!
At one of my stops I met a guy who was doing a similar ride to mine but in the opposite direction. He started from Florida and went to Seattle and was working his way home. While we were talking a women pulled in on a Harley V-Rod outfitted with touring gear. She’s a member of The Motor Maids, which is the oldest women’s motorcycle club in the U.S and was on her way home. She’d ridden from Ohio to the west coast then on to the Motor Maids annual rally in Bend, Oregon. They both shared a passion for riding and letting the road be your guide.
Clear skies tomorrow!!!!
Rode across Indiana and finished in Pontiac, Illinois under beautiful skies and temps in the 80’s. They say Montana is big sky country but it sure felt like it here. Stopped in the town of Logansport grabbed lunch at Happy Burger and took some pics of churches and mansions.
Miles and miles of corn and bean fields with the occasional farm town every 15 miles or so.
Tomorrow I head north to Milwaukee to visit the Harley museum and visit the galactic headquarters of all things Harley.
Left Pontiac, IL on Hwy 47 and rode this secondary road thru endless corn and bean fields to Wisconsin where they suddenly stopped and where replaced by green fields and trees. Spent a lot of the day going thru slow highway construction zones in Illinois and didn’t stop along the way to take pictures. The temps were in the mid 70’s and for the first time on this trip I had to wear a sweatshirt.
Ended the day in New Berlin which is on the outskirts of Milwaukee. From what little I’ve seen of Wisconsin it is far more scenic than Indiana or Illinois.
Tomorrow is my pilgrimage to the sacred Harley Mecca …..The Harley museum. A sacrifice and thanks will be required to appease the exalted motor company who is all knowing and powerful to gain access to this, the most revered shrine in all of Harleydom.
Hit the Jacuzzi and am fading fast.
July 25th Harley Museum
10 miles out of New Berlin the rain started and it was slow going from there to Beloit, WI where it finally let up. 50 miles east of Dubuque, Iowa a second storm suddenly popped up and the rain came down as hard as I’ve ever seen it. The good news is that it was over in about 10 miles…yuk!
Back in the corn and bean fields again and found aliens on the side of the road. I thought those guys were supposed to be in New Mexico or Nevada or one of those other desolate places. Did get some pictures and anticipate that I’ll soon be appearing on one of those UFO shows on the discovery channel. Need to cook up a good story about being taken to the UFO equivalent of the playboy mansion. Should probably contact Geraldo for an exclusive interview.
Crossed the Mississippi river and called it a day in Dubuque where I found a room that would on it’s best day be described as “rustic”.
Tomorrow its west to Cherokee, IA
First stop was the Mississippi river in Dubuque.
Yet another surprise. Who would expect to find the Nina and Pinta of Columbus fame moored in Dubuque, Iowa on the Mississippi River? This trip is getting more and more like a box of chocolates everyday.
Next stop is the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa The national museum has a much more diverese collection of bikes than the Harley museum and was well worth the extra time and mileage to see it.
For the best part of the day it was cloudy and a cool 70 degrees. Finally had to put my chaps on and would like to have had my leather jacket that was lost on the streets of Tucson. Dragged in to Cherokee, Iowa just as the sun set at 8:45. Long chilly day.
Great day on the road riding thru open plains, corn, sunflowers and more. Crossed the Missouri river and wound my thru some beautiful foothills finally arriving in Winner SD under clear skies with temps in the 70’s and virtually no cars on the roads.
Sat out a rainstorm and was a little late getting out on the road. Temps in the low 80’s with clouds in the morning and clear blue skies in the afternoon. The first half of the day I saw about one car every 15 minutes while motoring down a backroad thru wheat and grazing land nestled in rolling green grassy hills.
At one point I pulled over and it was absolutely quite. There’s something magical about this area and I find myself trying to imagine what it looked like before the arrival of the white guys. In most ways it probably hasn’t changed at all.
Rode thru Badlands National Park which is amazing but the pictures really don’t do it justice. .
Had to stop at Walls Drug after the years of seeing their bumper stickers on cars returning from cross country vacations that passed thru Wall, S.D.. It’s really not a drugstore anymore but instead a tourists emporium with a collection of bizarre stuff.
Made it into Deadwood in the early evening and will be going to Mt. Rushmore tomorrow.
July 30th Deadwood, SD
I’m staying at the Deadwood Gulch Casino resort. Fancy name for a below average motel with a restaurant and slot machines . One of the things that caught my eye was the sign in bathroom informing me that I could get a bio hazard container for disposing of syringes at the front desk. Thank God! You have no idea of how bad I feel when I get done slamming some dope and have to dump my kit in the trash. When you’re hosting bikers coming in for the Sturgis Rally these little touches mean a lot.
Rode down to Mt Rushmore and then to the Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills today. Perfect weather and beautiful roads with motorcycle’s everywhere.
On the way back to Deadwood I found a vendor to replace my rear tire. They were a couple that drives a big rig with a custom trailer that has tires and all of the equipment required to install them. The Sturgis rally is starting next week and they are one of the many vendors setting up in the area to take advantage of the deluge motorcyclist that are already starting to arrive.
Took the trolley from the “Casino” to downtown Deadwood walked about for a bit then had dinner at the Hickok Hotel Casino.
The discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 set off one of the last great gold rushes in the country. In 1876, miners moved into the northern Black Hills. That’s where they came across a gulch full of dead trees and a creek full of gold…and Deadwood was born.
Practically overnight, the tiny gold camp boomed into a town that played by its own rules that attracted outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Wild Bill Hickok was one of those men who came looking for fortune. But just a few short weeks after arriving, he was gunned down while holding a poker hand of aces and eights – forever after known as the Dead Man’s Hand.
Calamity Jane also made a name for herself in these parts and is buried next to Hickok in Mount Moriah Cemetery. Other legends, like Potato Creek Johnny, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen, created their legends and legacies in this tiny Black Hills town.
Deadwood has survived three major fires and numerous economic hardships, pushing it to the verge of becoming another Old West ghost town. But in 1989 limited-wage gambling was legalized and Deadwood was reborn.
In Sturgis there are vendors all over town offering everything imaginable for the Harley crowd. Found a pretty decent jacket to replace the one I lost before hitting the Rockies in the very near future. The town should be rockin’ and rollin’ by the weekend with the flood of riders coming in.
Left the black hills of South Dakota and descended to the open grass lands of Wyoming finally coming to a stop in the little town of Lusk. Checked in to my room and 10 minutes later heard something odd outside. Opened the door and discovered we were we being blasted by high winds and hail. it lasted about 30 minutes then slowly tapered off to intermittent drizzle. Once the weather had settled down I went for a bite to eat.
After dinner I gave Kathy a call and told her about my close encounter with the storm. She asked me if I took my umbrella with me to dinner. Umbrella? Still struggling with an image of a bunch of bikers standing around with umbrellas. She’s so sweet.
Tomorrow it’s off to Denver to spend a few days with my best friend Pat and his wife Linda.
Random thoughts. Since this little journey began I’ve lost my leather jacket in Tucson, my watch somewhere on Hwy 10 in Texas, my coffee/water bottle in Virginia, the latch to the travel pack in New York, the rubber end of the stereo ear phones in South Dakota and my mind out on the road.
Left Lusk, WY around 10am and headed South on Hwy 85 towards Denver. The open grass lands of the high plains seem to go on forever and I never tired of looking across those great open expanses. There’s an inexplicable charm to the high plains and big sky that I never anticipated and would love to come back and explore more of it.
After entering Denver the Hwy 85 signs disappeared and I finally had to call Pat to guide me to their house. After more than a few wrong turns I finally made it to their house in Littleton about 4pm.
Now it’s time to recharge my battery before climbing the Rockies and crossing the desert.
August 2nd Denver
A wonderful lazy day doing some minor repairs on the bike, napping, sitting thru 2 thunder storms, buffalo burgers with Pat and Linda and watching the sun set over the Rockies.
Tomorrow Pat’s going to put me to work helping him move a refrigerator which is something we haven’t done together in years. We have a history of mishaps and I’m hoping I don’t end up riding home with a double hernia or worse.
Pray for me…..or something!
Day 52 Aug. 3rd Denver
The evil landlord and I moved a refrigerator weighing about a zillion pounds from the garage to the kitchen. While the ever lovely Linda moved the contents from one fridge to the other we tackled moving an old gazillion pound Seaborg jukebox from the garage down along the side of the house across rocky ground, stairs, lawn and lower patio to the basement. Not having punished ourselves enough we then moved the old refrigerator which by now felt like it weighed a mega zillion pounds from the kitchen to the garage.
Pat had it in his foolish head that we would them move the mega zillion pound refrigerator from the garage to the basement following the same ill conceived path we had used for the jukebox. I had to dig my heels into ground and refuse for humanitarian reasons. This may be the first time in 35 years that the two of us have done something like this where virtually nothing went wrong. Oh…..and did I mention the temperature was in the 90’s with high humidity.
We finished up the afternoon watching an incredible storm system move thru the area with tornado warnings about 30 miles away.
What a day!
Day 53 Aug 4th Denver
My mini holiday in Denver is almost over and I’ll be hitting the road tomorrow. We had a great T-bone dinner out on the deck where we could watch the afternoon rains come in at sunset.
We retold many of the old stories and laughed a lot. It’s bitter sweet leaving Pat and Linda to go home but time waits for no one.
Looking forward to climbing west over the Rockies and the continental divide tomorrow morning. Next stop Grand Junction, co.
If all goes according to plan I should roll in to San Luis Obispo Friday afternoon.
Back on the road again and headed for home. Left the Denver area on Hwy 70 in to the Rockies and it wasn’t long before it started getting cold so I stopped at Georgetown Lake, took some pics and leathered up.
Found a turn off for Hwy 6 just before the Eisenhower tunnel and climbed the famed Loveland pass which tops out at elevation 11990’ and is the continental divide.
Made a rapid 8 mile descent back on to Hwy 70 then climbed over Vail pass at elevation 10,662’. It wasn’t long before some ugly clouds made an appearance and I sought refuge in gas station where I waited out the rain for an hour with 2 couples on Harleys. Said goodbye to my new found friends and continued west on Hwy 70 after the rain backed off and rode thru a mini grand canyon then an area of amazing mesa’s that must have been formed over hundreds if not thousands of years ago.
Arrived in Grand Junction and after a quick look at the menacing clouds decided to kiss off the idea of camping at the KOA and instead checked into the nearest motel with ac and a nice bed.
Taking photos was difficult today with the constant threat of rain and narrow shoulders on the road.
Next stop Beaver, UT in the high desert.
I expected Today’s ride to be boring…..was I in for a surprise! Crossed into Utah rode thru some amazing buttes, canyons and vista’s with partly cloudy skies. The scenic descent to the valley floor was constant with the exception of a few 7500+’ passes. Stopped at a number of scenic outlooks and took as many pictures as I could. The pictures will tell the story better than anything I can write.
My destination for the day was Beaver, Ut which I expected it to be at the intersection of Hwy 70 and Hwy 15 but it didn’t quite work out that way. As I approached the intersection it was obvious that there was no town so I had to guess whether to turn on 15 towards Salt Lake City or Las Vegas. Using applied logic I determined that I was more likely to find Beaver going to Vegas than Salt Lake City .
Before reaching the Beaver ahead sign I saw the Oscar Meyer Wiener mobile coming at me going the other way (I’m not making this up) and I took that as an omen that I was going the right way.
Have to wonder how the guy that founded this town came up with the name. This is high desert and a beaver would starve eating the scraggly bush around here. He could have been a ”Field of Dreams” fan and went for the “build it and they will come” idea…you have to wonder.
Who knew that going down to Beaver from Grand Junction could be such a great ride.
I’m headed to St. George in the morning for a front tire replace and plan on pulling out of Beaver early.
Pulled out of Beaver early and left it and the lovely valley it’s nestled in this morning. After a tire change at the Harley dealership in St George I headed for Vegas on Interstate 15 via a rapid descent to the desert floor thru sandstone canyons and ever increasing temperatures. Once on the desert floor of Nevada I entered Virgin Valley. Didn’t see any signs of life in the 100+ degree heat of that barren landscape and struggled with the idea that virgins could have ever thrived there.
You really have to wonder who comes up with these names….I mean really “Virgin Valley”. It should be named Hells Frying Pan, Valley of No Hope, Tarantula Valley, Burned Valley, or maybe Snakebite Gulch.
The icing on the cake though was the numerous billboards for “The Love Store” which seems like a pretty tough sell with the shortage of eligible or born again virgins in the area. At 70+ mph it’s a challenge to read the fine print so it may have been nothing more than deceptive advertising for the next truck stop which could lead one to some lively speculation.
And why do the have condom and after shave machines in the men’s room of truck stops?
After all of that I finally made it to Vegas/Henderson and am now 1 day from California. YaaaaaHooooo!
Left Henderson NV, at 8:30 a.m. to get out of the desert before the heat got up and made it to Fullerton in So. Cal. early enough to catch up with my high school bud Jim. Stopped to see him when I embarked on this little escapade and here we are 2 months later. It’s so cool to see the return of his wit and twisted sense of humor after the stroke. He’s more and more the Jim I remember.
Jim’s sister Julie put me up for the night in her guest room. We went out for Chinese food at the Panda and caught up on stuff.
One more day!!!!!!!!!!!
Less than a month away from my ride to meet Kathy in New York on my Harley. Where will I go, where will I stay and what will I see is the mystery and the beauty of this adventure.
My plan is to ride across northern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma before turning south towards Florida, then up the eastern seaboard to New York to meet Kathy on July 9th for 8 days of tourista in NYC.
Plan B is to cross the Southwestern states on the most southern, arid, boring and hot route via Hwy 10.
Tornados have ripped through Oklahoma and left a wide path of destruction so it looks like Plan B has just become Plan A. The likelihood of getting caught up in a tornado is pretty slim but Kathy would be on the edge worrying about me so it’s better to play it safe and become one with the cactus.
All of the last minute tasks came together just in time to get me on the road at 11:00 this morning. Trip jitters aside I headed south on Hwy 101 from SLO and went over San Marcos Pass and descended in to Santa Barbara. Had lunch in Summerland then continued south on Hwy 101 thru the San Fernando Valley to the 405 freeway then south to overnight at Julie Scrivner’s house in La Palma in Southern California.
Stopping to see Julie and her big brother Jim, who I’ve known since junior high school, is a must before hitting the road. The stories of the mischief that Jim, Pat Daugherty and I got into are endless and it’s a miracle we never got caught.
Jim is a lifetime biker and led a rough life after being blown to shreds in Vietnam. Eleven years ago he cleaned up his act, with the exception of an affinity for gin, and was doing okay until he suffered a stroke 1 1/2 years ago. He’s battling his way back and becoming the Jim I knew so many years ago.
He is really lucky to have Julie watching over him and giving the doctors hell on a regular basis. She’s a retired Captain from the L.A.P.D. and doesn’t have any problem putting pressure on the medical community to get what’s best for him. She’s a sweetheart and loves her brother dearly in spite of all of his missteps in life.
This is a trip I wish he could be on and really hope that someday we will get a chance to hit the road together. Tomorrow is when this adventure really begins as I start into the first of many days crossing the deserts of the southwest.
Jim Scrivner in Orange County before hitting the road
If anyone can overcome a stroke and ride again it will be him.
Said goodbye to Jim and Julie this morning and headed South on Hwy 5 towards San Diego. Traveling down the coast to San Diego is a venture down memory lane: at 18, going to Tijuana to party in my lowered-to-the-ground ‘50 Chevy fastback, heading down to Ensenada in my ‘58 VW hippie bus after ‘Nam, the infamous “Apartment Bldg.” in Long Beach (party central), my first field engineer job in Irvine, night body surfing at the wedge in Newport Beach, sailing out of Balboa with my cousin, my marriage to Mary and so much more.
Weather along the coast was classic SoCal until I turned east on Hwy 8 out of San Diego. I crossed the range between the coast and the Imperial Valley at 4000’ where the landscape became more and more barren as the temperature steadily increased. By the time I reached the valley floor, the temp was up to 104º and climbing.
Since it’s my first day in the desert, I decided to call it quits when I reached El Centro, where I found a Clarion Inn with everything a typical biker would want: a bar, Denny’s, 7-11 gas station, air conditioned room AND a pool–all in one!
Don’t have to worry about bugs out here. The heat slowly but steadily kills everything except mean spirited people, snakes, scorpions and tarantulas. Riding in the desert when it’s over 100 degrees it’s like riding into a hair dryer. There is no wind chill factor and you just have to suck it up.
Crack of dawn it’s off to Tucson.
Played it smart and hit Hwy 8 east at 6:00 a.m. to beat the heat. The sun was just coming up and the desert was somewhat picturesque (I’m not a desert lover) with very few cars on the road at that hour.
30 miles out of El Centro is Yuma, a town where my parents had to drive to from Long Beach after I’d run away from home at the age of 13. I begged the cops to keep me in jail, send me to a foster home or put me in an orphanage but nooooooo they had to return me to captivity and misery. I It was a long drive home.
One thing I’ve come to realize is that you could take a dozen photos of the desert and never see it change. It’s the same vistas mile after mile.
Stopped for gas in Gila Bend around 10:00 am, 175 miles from where I started, and took a break before heading on to Tucson. Gila Bend is not much of a town but its claim to fame is its location at the intersection of AZ Hwy 85 and Interstate 8 and its proximity to the 90 degree bend in the Gila River. Merged on to Interstate Hwy 10 east at Casa Grande and pushed on towards Tucson.
Spotted the Harley dealership as I came in to Tucson and couldn’t get there fast enough to escape the triple digit heat that was driving me to the edge. After over staying my welcome I left the dealership with a vague idea of where the Doubletree Hotel was and got fairly close before losing my ability to reason in the heat and had to call them for directions. After repeatedly giving me instructions, I finally got that they were only 1/2 a mile away. Did I mention I don’t do well in the heat?
Little known fact to me: Tucson is the 2nd largest city in Arizona.
Tomorrow I head out at the crack of dawn for Las Cruses, NM.
Left Tucson at the crack of dawn headed for Las Cruces, New Mexico. Anyone that knows me must be amazed that I could rise before 8 am…well, so am I. In fact I was so wide awake that I didn’t even realize that the strap holding my leather jacket on the back of the bags broke and my leather jacket was lost somewhere on the streets of Tucson. Can’t imagine anyone wearing it around Tucson this time of year, but whoever found it may get a few bucks at a second hand store. Their luck, my loss.
One of the things different about New Mexico highways for Arizona and Californina is the amazing number of billboards. Aside from the never ending billboards about “The Thing,” were the ones for the “Continental Divide Trading post.”
The continental divide trading post was just too good to pass up.
It was at the Continental Divide Trading Post that I found Dead Eye Dick’s petrified remains behind the wheel with a bottle of booze in his hand. Irrefutable proof that drinking and driving are problematic. Once in the trading post, I discovered that the real continental divide was 5 miles farther down the road. I should have known…damn marketing people! The air conditioning was great so I thought I’d check it out. What a hoot! Coonskin hats, fake guns, knives, tomahawks, bows, arrows, serapes, authentic southwest Indian goods made in Mexico, as well as every trinket a bus load of seniors could ever want for their grandchildren.
The temperature never got out of the 90’s today, which was a relief after 3 days of 100+ degree heat. I mistakenly tried running on the treadmill when I got to the motel in Las Cruces but only lasted 15 minutes in the poorly air conditioned exercise room. Well, there’s always tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I’ll be crossing into Texas …Yipppiieee I eh.
Woke up late and discovered my phone alarm hadn’t gone off. This led to the discovery that after setting the alarm last night I had later turned my phone off to save energy. Brilliant!
Got a message from Kathy wanting to know why I wasn’t on the road yet. There’s a GPS tracking device on the bike so Kathy can go online and see where I am at any time. This makes sleeping in and side trips to Hooters a bit of a challenge …………………….
Finally dragged myself out on to the road and continued on Interstate 10 to the Harley dealership in El Paso which ironically didn’t open until 10 am. So IF I’d gotten up on time and hit the road at 8 am I’d have been stuck sitting around El Paso waiting for the dealership to open. Funny how things work out that way.
With the temperature back to 100+ I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a Harley hydration vest which is made of a quilted material that absorbs water. You just soak it in a sink and put it on under a shirt to keep your torso cool on the road. Since HD translates into Hundred Dollars it was a shock to discover the vest was only $45.
Reluctantly left the air conditioned dealership and got back on the highway. My new vest is working great! It keeps the torso nice and cool for about 100 miles at 103 degrees. The next stop I soaked the liner of my helmet and the vest….so so nice!
The landscape hasn’t changed since I entered Yuma, AZ but what has changed is the speed limit. 80 mph on the interstate! The roadway temp is probably 110 but the heat induced delirium helps.
Finished out the day in Ft. Stockton. Never heard of it? Neither had I, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.
Fort Stockton was garrisoned by companies of the 9th Cavalry, known as “Buffalo Soldiers” in July 1867. The 9th was one of the new regiments organized after the Civil War staffed with Black enlisted men. Surmounting obstacles of harsh living conditions, low pay, and racial prejudice, they gained a reputation for tenacity and bravery. Stationed continuously on the frontier during the years of Indian hostility, Black regiments played a major role in the settlement and development of America’s western frontier.
Tomorrow should land me somewhere around Austin.
Left Ft. Stockton under partly cloudy skies and started in to the Rolling Hills of Texas with increasingly greener foliage. Decided to skip Austin and stay on Hwy 10. Pretty pleasant day overall with the temperature up to 93 degrees and increasing humidity. Momentarily thought about going to the Alamo and the river walk while passing thru San Antonio but opted out for a pool and air conditioning instead. Called it a day in the little town of Sequin east of San Antonio.
It’s now the monsoon season so it won’t be long before I start hitting showers, rain and thunderstorms. So far things are going my way.
Tomorrow will be a day off for R&R.
June 18th Sequin, Tx
Took the day off after 6 days in the saddle. Slept in, worked on the bike, laid around the pool and contemplated the meaning of life.
Have yet to see two of the things Texas is famous for, longhorn steers and armadillos. Go figure. Speaking of armadillos, are they a possum with batmobile armor, cousin to the javalina (whatever that is), vermin or what? Maybe they’re related to “The Thing” in New Mexico……so so many questions.
Tomorrow I leave Texas, enter Louisiana, cross the Mississippi river and stop near Lake Charles, La.
Here comes the humidity, bugs and other strange creatures.
Finally I’m out of Texas and stopped for the night in Sulfur, Loooziana. Great day on the road with partly clouded skies and ever increasing humidity. The ever increasing humidity has become a theme but it’s cooler on the bike than the dry heat of the arid wastelands of Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas.
Had a big smile on my face when I saw the Welcome to Louisiana sign after what seemed like an endless journey across Texas. Although, I must admit, that after San Antonio it was a much nicer ride.
For some reason I had it in my head that I’d cross the Mississippi river today…..Really should pay closer attention to the maps. Getting lost and finding your way is part of the adventure, so no GPS or SmartPhone for me, It’s navigation the old-fashioned way with maps.
Tomorrow I really will cross the river on my way to Biloxi, MS. Haven’t been in Biloxi Since the late 70’s and am curious to see how much It’s changed.
By sheer luck I arrived in Sulfur just after a downpour and didn’t have to go through the suiting up in the rain gear thing. Sooner or later it will happen but today wasn’t one of those.
Can’t thank Kathy enough for letting me off the leash to pursue this once in a life time ride…Thanks, Babe!
Found this in Texas before I got to the Louisiana Border.
Left Sulfur this morning and continued my eastern migration on Hwy 10. Saw kudzu climbing in the trees and knew I was in the south. The land is flat and lush with trees and rice fields. East of Layfayette, I crossed Lake Bigeux, which looks more like swamp land than a lake, for what seemed like 10 miles on a elevated highway. Kept waiting for The Swamp Thing or The Creature from the Dark Lagoon to emerge but no such luck. Crossed the mighty Mississippi River and detoured down to the levy in Baton Rouge and took a tour of the USS Kidd, a WWII destroyer. Took some pics of it and the floating river boat casinos. Exercised great restraint and didn’t gamble my life away.
About 20 miles out of Baton Rouge a black cloud let loose and rain gear was pulled on at the side of the road. That lasted for about 15 miles but wasn’t that big of deal so I pulled over and took the rain gear off. Fourteen miles short of Biloxi the innocent looking grey sky let loose with some of the hardest rain, lightning and thunder you could ever imagine. Visibility dropped to about 30 feet on the Interstate and luck came to my rescue as 2 miles later an exit appeared. Took me 15 minutes to stop shaking and dry out enough to take a picture at the gas station where I sought shelter. By then the rain had backed off to what would be a hard rain in California.
Sat out the storm for over an hour at a gas station before venturing back out on to the highway. What a day!
Went through downtown Biloxi on the Gulf Coast where there’s been a lot of change since I was here in the late 70’s. Two things that haven’t changed are that both Mary Mahoney’s restaurant and the home of Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy, have survived. Mahoney’s is known for its fabulous southern meals, which is why I remember it so well. Jefferson Davis didn’t survive but his house did. There’s a message here and it’s something about good versus evil.
Be careful what you ask for! Been looking forward to getting off of Hwy 10 and hitting some of the smaller local highways. Great idea in theory but it didn’t work so well in practice. The stretch of road from Biloxi to Mobile, AL, although scenic is slow with numerous traffic signals and a big drag when it’s hot and muggy.
Reached Mobile, AL. and got on to 98e headed toward Pensacola, FL. Scenic, lightly populated area with speed limits that never get over 50 mph. Traffic through Pensacola was slow going but I thought there was good chance of things speeding up but that isn’t how it played out. Hwy 98e led me thru a series of beautiful beach-side resort towns that I’d love to vacation in were it not for the Friday afternoon bumper-to-bumper traffic. By the time I reached Destin, I was hot, tired and frustrated so I turned north and took the mid-way bridge across Chocwhatchee Bay and picked up Hwy 20 east. Stopped for gas in the middle of nowhere and felt like I’d ridden into an episode of the Twilight Zone. Dentistry appeared to be a dark art and the concept of driving anything that wasn’t covered with mud and less than 20 years old hadn’t caught on. With dueling banjo’s playing in my head, I continued east to Hwy 79 north and went back to Hwy 10. Pushed on east at a time when traffic was light, it wasn’t too hot, windy or raining……..perfect! Stopped in Chipley and got a room at 7:30.
A long day with great country and beaches but not as much forward progress as I hoped for. Tomorrow may make it to Tampa.
Left Chipley under clear blue skies and headed east on Hwy 10 for 75 miles to Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, where I finally said goodbye to Hwy 10 and connected to the smaller Hwy 27. Traveled south for 125 miles on a lightly trafficked, gently rolling road interspersed with small towns to Perry. There I picked up Hwy 98 (Ponce de Leon Blvd) and continued south under broken skies thru rural countryside for 145 miles on the western side of the state within 50 miles of the gulf coast to North Weeki Wachee (I don’t make this up). Turned east to connect with interstate Hwy 75, which is about 70 miles from Tampa, then had to hold up for an hour+ at a gas station while a late afternoon storm (monsoon) with the usual lightning and thunder show blew through.
Called my friend Bonnie, whose house I was staying at in Riverview in eastern Tampa, to let her know I was near and get directions to her house. Got into Tampa after sunset in light rains, which played havoc with my vision as the car lights reflected off of my rain beaded glasses, and finally found the turn off to Riverview.
I was so burned out that Bonnie had to meet me at the freeway exit to guide me to her house. I’d fought with a sore back all afternoon and was oh so glad to get off of the bike.
Finally a few days off to recover before hitting the road again.
Tomorrow……the beach and lounge chair:-)
June 23 Tampa, FL
Bonnie took me to her favorite spot on the beach in St. Petersburg and loved it. Beverage service and umbrella’s, white sands, and bathtub warm clear water….what’s not to like! Told Kathy we should look for a timeshare week down here.
Note: Before a lot of speculation starts, let me explain who Bonnie Shannon is. I hired Bonnie at Rancho Santa Fe Technology where we worked, fought and laughed for a number years. I retired in 2008 and moved to San Luis Obispo . We kept in touch then two years ago, after a family tragedy, she pulled up roots in San Diego and moved to Florida. She’s a great friend with a huge heart. We had some catching up to do for sure!
June 24 Tampa
Worked on Bonnie’s Harley and cleaned mine then went online and ordered a new set of Performance Suspension springs and shocks for the forks to replace the stock units that I had modified before leaving California. I had shortened the stock fork springs thinking I could lower the bike a bit and take some of the softness out of the front end. Really should have test rode the bike fully packed before I left on the trip but I was in a hurry. Another failed shortcut. The frontend of the bike was bottoming out on every bump in the road resulting in a harsh ride and one hell of a beating from California to Florida.
June 25 Tampa
The parts arrived for my front forks and Bonnie jumped on the phone and went hunting for a dealer in the Tampa area to install the new springs and shocks (I think she was motivated to get this freeloader out of her house). The nearest dealership that could take me on short notice was in New Port Richie which is an hour drive Northwest from Casa Bonnie in Riverview. Bonnie followed me down there to drop the bike off and it was then that we discovered that they needed to order a part and the bike wouldn’t be ready until the following day. I elected to find a room in New Port Richie to spare her the two-hour round trip drive from Riverview the next day.
June 26 New Port Richie
Sat around the hotel lobby all day waiting for a call from the dealer and finally heard from them late in the afternoon. On the final test ride at the end of the day the mechanic found that the shift arm had worked it’s way loose and predicted that it wouldn’t hang together to the end of my journey home. He pointed out that he had already replaced the bolt on the shift arm so the problem had to be a worn spline. It was too late to work on it that day so I elected deal with it in the morning and rode back to Bonnie’s for one more night.
Decided to take my chances on getting the bike repaired at another dealership on my route instead of going back to New Port Richie which was a little out of the way. Gave Bonnie a big hug and headed east towards Orlando.
Stopped at Lakeland Harley and got lucky. The mechanic was able to resolve the problem by simply tightening the bolt holding the shift arm on the shaft. They got me out the door in less than an hour.
So what the heck was going on with the mechanic and service writer in New Port Richie who told me they’d replaced that bolt and it wouldn’t stay tight and that the only solution was to pull the primary case off and replace the shift arm which would have cost a significant amount of money and cost me another day? Scam????
Left Lakeland and decided to skip Orlando and instead go south to Hwy 60 and head east to Vero Beach on the Atlantic coast. Passed through miles of orange groves and at one point came upon cattle grazing under palm trees …wish I could have found a place to pull over and take a picture of that.
Made it to Vero Beach and had to stop for a pic of the Atlantic. I had really ridden from coast to coast…..wow!
Started riding north on the coastal road and found a beautiful boardwalk that I couldn’t pass up. Stopped to enjoy the view and try to absorb it all.
Left Vero Beach and started the northern trek on Hwy A1A. The weather was perfect and I felt like I could ride forever. Finally stopped at the Tuckaway Shores motel on the beach in Melbourne. Couldn’t wait to put on some shorts and get some pictures of the sunset.
And a glorious sunset it was.
The beaches here seem to go on forever. It’s legal to drive on beach and the sand compacts so well that cars don’t get stuck. So haul out the station wagon, pack up the kids, the dog, the BBQ, the umbrella and sunscreen and head for the beach. Nice way to live.
Stopped at the Kennedy Space Center and took a tour of all things space. Left there in time to miss the afternoon storm and find a beachfront motel in New Smyrna which is just south of Daytona.
Took a walk and It’s easy to see why they once raced cars on the beach here back in the day. Flat beaches that consist of amazingly fine sand that after the tide goes out is so compacted that your foot prints barely leave a mark. Wish Kathy was here to enjoy the beauty of it all.
My first stop of the day was Rossmeyer Harley in Daytona Beach and it’s a good thing it was because the sky let loose with some intense rain for over an hour as soon as I arrived. Aside from being one of the largest dealers in the U.S., it’s in a plaza surrounded by a motel, restaurant, a bar and many biker-oriented shops, including my number one aftermarket shop, JP cycle. In other words, it’s biker heaven!
Reluctantly left Daytona Beach and continued north on the coastal road where much to my surprise I found an armadillo 100 yards from the Atlantic ocean. Rode thru all those desert states where these darn things are supposed be and never saw a one. Go figure.
Pulled in to St. Augustine late in the afternoon and found a room. After a shower and change to shorts a walking tour was in order. St. Augustine is the oldest city in America and it is quite a sight. An amazing number of shops and eating establishments are in buildings that date back to god knows when. This is also where the Spanish built Castillo de San Marcos there first fort and mission in the 1672.
Something that’s becoming more evident is my lack of interaction with other people. Being an introvert and not going to bars has really limited my conversations to folks at gas stations and hotels. It’s like I’m traveling and living in a bubble. Takes some getting used to.
Next stop will be somewhere in Georgia
Left St. Augustine on the a1a coastal road headed towards Jacksonville and saw a multitude of road cyclist riding this long straight flat road along the sand dunes and wished I could join them.
About 10 miles south of Jacksonville there was a transition from clapboard beach houses to modern beach mansions then private communities with private golf courses and tennis clubs. A Harley rider stuck out like a sore thumb and created a disturbance in the force. I liked it!
Didn’t spend any time in Jacksonville and continued on a1a north. After a few miles the road abruptly stopped at a ferry crossing. Never one to miss a chance to get on the water I was stoked. The guy pictured on the yellow bike on the ferry was one odd fellow. He’s a American but I could only catch about one out of every five words he spoke. never did figure out where he was from or where he was going.
After my short ferry ride it was time to hit the interstate and high tail it to Savannah before the rain hit. Crossed into Georgia and had my fingers crossed that I’d dodge rain but sadly it didn’t work out that way. Hit moderate to heavy rain about 10 miles south of Savannah and found myself crossing in to South Carolina before I could find a place to turn around and back track 25 miles to the exit for my motel. Riding in warm rain isn’t as bad as you might think and I’d take it over 90 plus temps with high humidity.
Staying 2 nights in Savannah to play tourista soggy boots and all.
July 1st Savannah
Rode to the visitor center in downtown Savannah today and took a 90 min. trolley tour of this famous city and all I can say is WOW! There is so much to do and see that we could easily spend a week here and not scratch the surface. Taking pics from the trolley was nearly impossible so I gave up on that idea but will go back tomorrow and give it a shot.
There are an endless number of amazing Victorian and other period homes and buildings which date back as far as the 1600’s. Fine dining, shopping, bars, river walk and so much more. Saw the park where they shot Forrest Gump sitting on the bench eating chocolates, the home of the founder of the girl scouts, the house that was the center piece of the book “Garden of Good and Evil”, and so so much more. Oh, and while we were at the Forrest Gump park the guide told us there was a Forrest Gump impersonator with the clothes, briefcase and speech that hung around the park and had the act down. Too bad we didn’t get to see him.
The rain came in sooner than expected after the tour ended so I had leave downtown and return to the casa.
St. Petersburg, FL, Melbourne, FL, New Smyrna, FL and Savannah, GA are on my list of places I’d love to come back to for a vacation.
After a stop in downtown Savannah tomorrow I’ll be heading into South Carolina stopping in Myrtle Beach for the night. This trip continues to amaze at every stop.
Well so much for good intentions. Got to downtown Savannah this morning and it started raining. That combined with tour buses, tourists in cars and limited parking defeated my efforts to take any pictures. Headed north on hwy 17 towards Charleston and rode the next 100 miles in a moderate rain. The good news is that hwy 17 is lightly travelled and it was easy to maintain good spacing between the cars and occasional truck. All went well until I was 10 miles from Charleston when the traffic started build up and the rain went from moderate to heavy to severe in the span of about 5 minutes. Found a gas station and waited for it to blow over.
Once out of Charleston the rain stopped and it was clear sailing to Conway which is 17 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. In the last mile before reaching the motel the sky opened up and I got another blessing from the rain god. This seems be a daily event and it would be nice to arrive at a motel at the end of the day not looking like a drowned rat once in a while.
Next stop Hampton, VA for a two night stay. Hoping for a good fireworks show and no surprise visits from my arch enemy the rain god.
I came across a roadside fireworks stand that was selling m80 cherry bombs and TNT. Really TNT that’s a serious explosive …..where’s homeland security? Later I found an advertisement for a shooting range where you could pay some serious money to fire fully automatic weapons which is just crazy since you could buy one from a gangbanger for the same price. No doubt about it, things are different here
Sleep is calling ….
Stayed at the hotel until 11:30 am while a storm blew thru the area. Used my down time to make a hotel reservation in Hampton, Va. that would come back to bite me later. Did a drive-by of Myrtle Beach. It’s much like any of the big seaside communities with multi story hotels and condo’s stacked side by side all along the strand. There’s an amusement park much like the one in Santa Cruz, curio shops, dining, beach equipment rentals, and the usual retailers you’d find in a town like this.
Made the mistake of heading north on hwy 17-business and had the pleasure of what seemed like 10 mi. of slow traffic and an endless line of retail stores, tire shops, fast food places etc.
Once back on hwy 17n I thought it would be fun to detour out Hwy 20 to Cedar Island and take the ferry to the North Carolina Outer Banks which run all the way up to Kitty Hawk. It was farther than I expected with multiple lights in every township and speed limits of 30-45 mph . How long did it take? Long enough for me to arrive at 6:30 an hour after the last ferry left.
A ferry worker told me about an alternate route back to hwy 17 that was much faster and would eliminate all of the little townships. Brilliant idea so off I went. Things were going great at 50-55 mph out on the country roads until I rounded a curve and found a long line of cars stopped and no traffic coming in the opposite direction. No one seemed to know what was going on so I decided to investigate. Rode to the front of the line and found two fire engines blocking the road in both directions so I asked the lady sitting in her car at the front of the line what happened. Apparently a guy who was parked behind her had walked up to the scene and discovered that someone had died. No other details. So I walked up there and didn’t find a car accident but instead a house with crime scene tape around it and a lot of cops looking serious. My conclusion was that it was a huge drug bust or murder and the cops would be at it all night.
Drove 20 miles back to where I had turned off and started back on hwy 20 and had the rare pleasure of getting another opportunity to travel at the frightening speed of 30-45 mph back to hwy 17 with a cop checking me out in every township I went thru.
The world is full of surprises and this one came compliments of the state. It seems in their infinite wisdom they elected to save precious state dollars by not putting any street lamps on this road creating a narrow pitch black 2 lane hwy. It was there that I discovered my headlight was out of adjustment and pointed to low to give me a good view of the road. It took 20+ miles to find a well-lit safe place to pull over and readjust it. By now it was starting to feel like I was in the twilight zone but I pushed on.
South of Hamilton I stopped in at a convenient store at 2 a.m. and asked them how to get back to Hampton….I thought I’d over shot it. One of the clerks was clueless but the other one was pretty sharp but kept trying to give me directions that didn’t make sense. Finally after 20 minutes of going round and round I gave up and took her word for it even though I knew she was wrong….maybe. As it turned out she was right and I was out of it from being on the road for so long and wired on Red Bull energy drinks. Finally arrived at the hotel at 3:00 a.m. The upside was for the first time in many nights I wasn’t walking up to the front desk sloshing around in wet boots and leaving a puddle everywhere I went.
July 4th Hampton/Newport News, VA
Took an easy day and went out to Virginia Beach after a quick visit to Dismal Swamp to see what it was all about. It was a larger version of Myrtle Beach swarming with tourist and all of the usual stuff. The high heat and humidity didn’t help and I was still tired from last night I decided to go back to the hotel and get some quality time in the hot tub. After a good soaking I spent an hour trying to get a posting up on the blog and check e-mail. The Wi-Fi signal was so marginal that I gave up and went downstairs and got on the house computer and did the deed. Skipped fighting the traffic to view the July 4th fireworks and called it a night.
Tomorrow I leave Hampton and ride across the Chesapeake Bay bridge, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Destination Salisbury, Delaware.
No rain in the forecast….just more sweltering heat and humidity!
Waited for the rush hour traffic to subside before departing Hampton and venturing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the eastern shore. There is no picture other than one taken from a plane that can capture the immensity of this body of water. Wow!
Once over the bridges and thru the tunnels that make up this crossing I headed north on hwy 13 and was so happy to be in the country again. Farms carved out of the forest, moderate traffic and clear weather. Not one to be satisfied with just traveling hour after hour on one road I took a couple of excursions into small quiet rural towns. After seeing the sign for Chincoteague Island I decided to check it out. It’s a quaint seaside resort and couldn’t resist taking a couple of pics after lunch.
Went back to the highway and continued up the shore to Salisbury, Md where I held up for the night.
With the slower speeds limits the miles traveled are less than I had been riding but I’m still on the saddle the same number of hours. No rain is a blessing with one significant catch…..it’s hotter.
Tomorrow I’ll cross over to New Jersey on the Cape May ferry and continue north on the shoreline.
After a readjustment of my rear shocks I rode over to the dollar store before getting on the road. Some #$%&*:; lifted my sunglasses off of the dash of the bike when I went in to a 7-11 a couple of days ago so I picked a replacement pair for $1.00 which will probably never be stolen.
Note to self “always check to see if the ferry takes reservations”.
Arrived in Lewes, Dl to hop on the Cape May ferry to the Southern tip of the Jersey shore and to my dismay discovered that if you don’t have a reservation they put you on standby. There’s a deli in the ferry bldg. and as I was searching for a soda a young solder walked up and ordered a lunch. Brought back a lot of memories of being in the army and feeling so alone and isolated so I interrupted the cashier and bought his lunch and thanked him for his service. Finally got on the boat at 5:30 and rolled off at 6:30. Now this may sound bad but in its own way it was a blessing in disguise. I had sat out the hottest hours of the day in the air conditioned terminal and could ride in better conditions with less traffic in the early evening.
And a beautiful evening it was! Cruising the Jersey Shore on tree lined streets, the smell of BBQ’s in the backyard, old clapboard houses in immaculate condition. Nice way to finish the day as the sun slowly set.
Started the day is Asbury Park and headed north towards New York. After a few wrong turns I go on the Veranzano Narrows Bridge heading to Long Island. Paid a princely sum of $13. for the right of passage and oh what a passage it was. The expansion joints are the worst I’ve ever encountered and it took all my skills to keep the bike from going airborne over the rail. The pounding was so severe that I’m now 2”shorter from the compression of my spine.
Opposite of the toll plaza on the far end of the bridge there was construction which turned out not be a bad thing. When I neared it the driver on my left started honking his horn (they seem to do that a lot here) and franticly pointing at the rear of the bike. It only took a quick look to see that the left saddle bag was dragging on the ground. Swerved in to the construction area just as the bag fell off. While struggling to bolt it back on a biker pulled over and asked if I needed help. He left and next came a woman from the toll plaza wanting to know if I was ok. These 3 people were certainly different from the New Yorkers I’d been told to expect which was rude, impatient and indifferent. Did these three just move to town or are New Yorkers actually nice caring people?
Once fixed I got off of the bridge at the first available exit, drove past Coney island and continued on towards my final stop in Hauppauge.
Along the way I stopped at a gas station and asked the newly arrived immigrant behind the counter if they had maps of the area. His face went blank then said “I not be here” ……not quite the response I was expecting so I said thanks and slipped out the door. Life here must be tough for him.
Kathy will be here in 2 days. Yaaaaaaahooooooo
Feeling pretty beat up but decided I couldn’t come this far without riding to the end of long island….so I did. Passed through the Hamptons along the way and wondered what Gatsby would think of it now. Met some nice folks on my stops and once again was impressed by how beautiful long island is. Cooler weather than inland, polite drivers, lovely homes and some really cool Ferrari’s.
There was one photo I regret not taking in the Hamptons of a sign that said “No limousine Parking during services” at the church. I guess that’s the common mode of transportation to church on Sunday when you live in the Hamptons. Such a hardship.
Arrived at the Montauk Lighthouse at the eastern tip of Long Island and was able to catch some pictures. While there I met a group of Italians that were taking pictures of themselves in a variety of crazy poses with the lighthouse in the background. I asked them if the they took my photo and they insisted I strike a pose for a second picture……….being the gracious American that I am how could I refuse.
Kathy arrives tomorrow.
Dropped the bike off at New York Harley which is in Long Island City, Queens
Kathy picked me up in her limo on the way in from JFK. Not going to tell you what happened in the back of that limo……….but we eventually made it to the Jade hotel in Greenwich Village.
July 10 New York City
Try to pick Kathy out of this photo. Hint…..she’s the only one with an umbrella
From the ashes the new World Trade Center Rises
Got on a tour bus and went from Battery Park up to Central Park, Times Square, before heading back to the village for a nice Italian dinner.
July 11th New York City
Took the subway uptown to the museum of modern art and gave it a whirl but didn’t really connect with the exhibits. After the museum we headed off to Central Park where it started to rain so we opted for a tour of the park in a horse drawn carriage.
Next stop Times Square which we discovered yesterday isn’t a big square but the people watching more than made up for it. Hit the three story M&M store, which is like happy land on steroids, and…..well got some M&M’s.
Finally made it back to the Jade hotel in the village for a power nap and…………….
Went for a late dinner at the Kingswood in the village for an outstanding meal.
July 13 New York City
Slept in then took the subway uptown for the matinee showing of Kinky Boots the musical with music written by Cyndi Lauper. New York continues to amaze me and this time it was the subway. We were expecting dirty and crowded and instead got clean and nice.
Loved the show and afterwards we took a stroll up to central park.
and stopped at the Dakota where John and Oko lived. Sadly Oko wasn’t there to greet us…….if she’d only known
Took a cab back to the hotel for a little r and r before going down to No Ho (north of Houston St.) where we didn’t see no ho’s. After a great dinner we strolled thru Washington square where we found a musician playing a grand piano on a warm night to a romantic crowd.
July 14th New York City
Went uptown to the Metropolitan Museum today for an afternoon of touring about a third of this amazing site.
Took a break for a snack on the roof of the Museum
After a leisurely meal in the shadow of the golden sculpture of Prometheus in Rockefeller Plaza we continued our walk an stopped at Grand Central Station before heading home
July 15th New York City
Today were taking the boat cruise around Manhattan and on the way to the boat we found this amazing children’s slide.
There has been an almost unbearable heat wave while we’ve been here and we shouldn’t have been surprised when the captain announced that we couldn’t complete the circumnavigation of Manhattan Island due to a problem with one of the bridges. Apparently the steel deck of the bridge ahead had gotten hot enough to expand to the point where it wouldn’t open and allow us underneath. We turned around backtracked around the southern end of Manhattan and returned to the dock travelling up the Hudson River.
After almost 3 hours on the boat we decided to walk back to the hotel. Along the way we found Hi Line Park which is built on an abandoned elevated train track. One of the many things that’s impressive about New York is how they’ve managed to create people friendly spaces regardless of size or shape of the plot.
July 16th New York City
Kathy had lunch with a work friend and I had a leisurely day of people watching in Manhattan. Temps were in the 90’s with significant humidity so we took it easy in the afternoon and had an early dinner in the meat packing district.
Tomorrow morning we check out of the Jade hotel and won’t see each other again for 3-4 weeks……..ouch
The return trip NEW YORK TO SAN LUIS OBISPO