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!!!!!!!!!!!