Saturday morning, July 24, found Ricardo Art and me enjoying the hospitality of Russ Smiley and his family. A great and tasty brunch on Lake Hartwell, life was good. By 10:30 AM, I departed, headed to see my son and grandchildren near Birmingham, Al. Art and Ricardo would depart in the early afternoon.
My ride to Birmingham was uneventful, hot with a few messy shpwers. By 5:00 PM, I was safely housed in the local motel. A quick call and my son's mother volunteered to fix dinner for all of us. My ability to score a free meal is intact.
Sunday with my two grandchildren and by nightfall, I was on the Vulcan headed south towards Texas. Speaking of the Vulcan 900 Classic LT, it has been an excellent mount. Running strong and steady, I am very pleased. I ended up riding a couple of hundred miles before stopping for the night. A Hampton Inn in Laurel, MS was my abode for Sunsay evening.
And Art and Ricardo? I certainly expected that they were near Savannah, but no! Monday, I learned that the 1978 GL1000 had once again let us down. When departing Lake Hartwell, the clutch totally failed and a local shop, upon examing the bike, advised Art that only an installation of a new clutch would get him back on the road. What to do? Art and Ricardo were stranded, staying in a local motel. I offered to ride swiftly back to Texas and to trailer one of the BMWs back to Georgia for Art to ride.
But Art had a Costa Rican friend in Lake City, Fl, who was coming in a pickuo to save Art, Ricardo and the vintage wing. Plus, he knew of another mechanic who could do the needed repairs. Three or four days later, at a cost of $900, the GL 1000 had a new clutch and Art and Ricardo were back on the road, riding the Gulf and bayou counrty back to Texas.
And Chuck? Terrible gulf storm rains made his ride a challenge. Monday night, I gave up early and checked into a LaQuinta east of Houston because it was raing so hard I could barely see. Tuesday morning, the storm was still with me. A scary ride through Houston in pouring rain, and I slowly made my way toward Riveria, TX. Finally, I ran out of the rain and smack into the hot Texas sun! I was back on the Bay by 5:30 PM, totally safe without a scratch on me or the Vulcan. 11,600 miles! Through the USA, Mexico and four provinces of Canada and an a few states (TX, NM, CO, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, MT, SD, MN, WI, MI, NY, VT, MA, NY, NJ, PA, WV, VA, MD, SC, Ga, AL, MS and LA). And Art and Ricardo even rode Florida.
Finally, by Saturday, Art and Ricardo were back on the road, exploring the Gulf areas. Late Tuesday afternoon, August 2, found them riding up to my house on Baffin Bay. A happy reunion and a couple of good meals later found Art chomping at the bit to get back to Costa Rica. On Saturday, August 7, Art was on a Frontier flight flying home.
And Ricardo? I think he was concerned with my well being and health. He remained with me. And what a great time we have had! We are both gaining weight and among other things, had a great trip to Mexico Monday to help the local Mexican economy. Tomorrow, I am taking the Latin Cowboy (in Cowboy Boots, Stetson Hat and a Large Silver Belt Buckle) to San Antonio where Ricardo will catch a flight to New York to visit his daughter, Marcela, for the weekend and by Wednesday evening, he will be back in Costa Rica.
I will miss Ricardo! We are friends. I am already planning to visit him in Costa Rica in a few months. And Art? He and I are already planning our next adventure ride for sometime in February.
And my tent? I gave it to my two grandsons, Brandon and Justin. You can bet that I will never spend another night sleeping on the ground. I will leave that for the real adventure riders, Art and Ricardo!
By 10:00 AM Friday, Art's bike tire was repaired and he was on the road headed to Lake Hartwell, GA. And Ricardo and I were in Brevard, NC revisiting Rivardo's youth. Forty two years ago, at the age of 15, Ricardo spent the summer at Eagle Nest Camp, in the Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard. That summer, at Eagle Nest Camp, was an important time in Ricardo's life, so we are going to revisit it.
Arriving early Friday, the camp leaders were excited to welcome Ricardo and really threw out the "red carpert" for us. Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director, and Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director, dropped everything to take Ricardo on a tour of the Camp. It had greatly changed over the past 42 years but in many ways was still the same. I was terribly impressed and hope some day that I can treat my grandchildren to a few weeks at this camp. Horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, music, hikeing camping, great food--what is not to like?
Just before lunch, we bid our farwell and were off through the Pisgah Forest to the Nantahala River Gorge. A beautiful day's ride, but finally we headed south to reunite with our friend, Art Smiley at his family's beautiful home on Lake Hartwell.
Arriving at dusk, we were greeted by a relaxed and smiling art Smiley. Attired in shorts and sandals, he was at peace with the world. Within an hour his son and daughter in law arrived and we enjoyed a great night. I immediately loved Art's family, such a nice and interesting couple. A peaceful and good nights sleep! Saturday morning, I will be off to Bessemer, Al to visit my son and two grandsons, Brandon and Justin. And then, I will swiftly ride back to Texas to attend to personal responsibilities.
And Art and Ricardo? The will be off to Savanna, Ga and later to Florida and New Orleans! Their adventure continues. And now we have ridden over 10,000 miles, through USA, Mexico and four provinces of Canada and an unknown number of states (TX, NM, CO, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, MT, SD, MN, WI, MI, NY, VT, MA, NY, NJ, PA, WV, VA, MD, SC, Ga and AL).
Ricardo and I departed Allentown Wednesday morning with Ricardo leading us quickly through Pennsylvania, and a small portion of Maryland and West Virginia. Arriving in Stephens City, VA at noon, there sat Art on the Honda GL1000 waiting on us.
Taking the lead, Art led us through Front Royal, the Gateway to the Skyline Drive, and right on up into the national park. A beautiful ride through some of the best riding (35 MPH) in the eastern United States. Stopping periodically for photo ops, we remained on the Skyline Drive for a couple of hours before dropping off and riding the scenic Hwy 11 south. Riding at a conservative pace, Art took us through some of the most beautiful areas of Northern Virginia.
Finally reaching Staunton at about 6:00 PM, we decided to stop for the night. Staunton is the home of the Statler Brothers (Elvira) and Woodrow Wilson (President and leading proponent of the League of Nations). And we spent the evening in a nice inn, plus we slept late, not awaking until 6:30 AM.
On the road Thursday morning, Ricardo elected to keep heading south on Hwy 11. Mid morning, we stopped for an hour at Natural Bridge Park, then off to Roanoke, further south to Christianburg, the birthplace of my two much younger sisters, Yvonne and Deborah. And then, without even a drumroll, past Ferrum, the birtplace of Chuck Weaver.
Finally reaching Hwy 121, Art "peeled off" as planned. He is headed to Lake Hartwell in South Carolina to visit family. Ricardo and I had decided to continue our ride through the Natahala River Gorge before reuniting with Art in a couple of days. Tonight we are in Brevard, stopping to visit a camp where Ricardo spent the summer some forty years ago (sweet memories). And tomorrow, we are off to the Gorge, to visit the swift river that provides exquisite white water rafting (more photographs).
This afternoon, I received a message from Art. Only thirty minutes after leaving Ricardo and me, he sustained a flat tire (center rear) and could not get it repaired today. He is holed up in a motel in Mt. Airy, NC, until the Suzuki dealer opens tomorrow. Hopefully they will have Art back on the road by mid morning Friday.
Ricardo and I departed Adams, MA today headed toward Cumberland, MD where we will reunite with Art to continue our adventure. But first, we had to do some more sight seeing over the beautiful New England area. Ricardo's son, Ricky had recently flown in from Costa Rica and he joined us for a spirited ride to Shelburne Falls, MA, MA and a look at the unique Bridge of Flowers.
Ricky is so much like his father that it is amazing. Of course Ricardo and I were both thrillled to have him join us. By 1:00 PM, we were back in Adams, with a sad Ricardo saying goodbye to his daughter, Prescilla and his grand daughters, Jessica and Emily.
Finally, at 2:00 PM, we were off. Our plan was to reach Allentown, PA by nightfall. Well, we made it but not without some hard riding. Two hundred sixty miles of busy traffic, through Massachuetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Did I mention heavy traffic, especially semi trucks?
Tomorrow morning we will depart early hoping to reach Cumberland by 1:00 PM and meeting up with Art. I can'y wait to hear him insist that we camp out tomorrow night! But tonight, Ricardo and I are in a Comfort Inn and we just treated ourselves to a scrumptious dinner, complete with Apple Crisp for me and Baked Boston Creme Pie for Ricardo!
And the Honda ST1100 and the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT? They are running great! we are averaging 43 miles per gallon on each of these two dependable bikes.
New England is beautiful! And the residents are so friendly! I could spend the entire summer here (as long as I did not have to sleep in a tent). Today, I spent the morning around Glens Falls, Ny and the afternoon near Watertown, MA. At any minute, I expected to see Lee Phillips come over the hill in a 1946 Mercury convertible (only those over 60 years of age will have a clue as to this comment). Hint, the original movie "Payton Place", the second highest grossing movie of 1959.
Around noon, I pulled into an antique shop and met the owner, perhaps curator, Dan Rhoades. A delightful New Englander in his late fifties, Dan personified the New England personality. Friendly, with a bitingly dry humor, Dan "jerked my chain" with his wit. Coming home from Viet Nam in the 70's Dan decided to spend his life in the region he loved, doing what he loved. Restoring, selling and collecting antiques. In faded jeans, smoking a cheap and smelly cigat (driving a 1951 Chevy pickup), Dan was a great ambassador for this fine area of the U.S.
Later, I met Ricardo's family and went with them to Windsor Lake for an afternoon dip. Then, I visited Williams College, the most beautiful campus imaginable. I ended up spending two hours on the campus. Perhaps I can get Jacob to post some of the photographs I took of the campus buildings.
Ricardo had new tires mounted on the Honda ST1100 today. Plus a much needed oil change. Now he is good for another 4000 miles.
Half way into our "North American Tour", we have traved 8800 miles, Visited the USA, Mexico and four provinces of Canada and an unknown number of states (TX, NM, CO, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, MT, SD, MN, WI, MI, NY, VT, MA.......and a few more).
Jacob Peek has posted several folders of pictures that I have taken during this ride. To access them, go to "Pictures", and then open the topic (under pictures) entitled "North American Tour-Summer of 2010".
Departing Sturgeon Falls this morning, our goal was to travel to a point just north of the Canadian/U.S. border. "Twisting hard on the throttle", we surprised ourselves by reaching the border mid afternoon. A beautiful, massive steel bridge, crossing the St. Lawrence Waterway, brought us to the U.S. Customs at Ogdensburg, New York. Clearing Customs quickly (the U.S. Customs are a model in efficiency and politeness), we were back in the U.S.A.
After a quick stop for fuel, Art left Ricardo and me to travel to Cumberland, MD to visit friends and family. Ricardo and I charted a course to run diagonally through the the Adirondacks. About an hour into the "mountains", Ricardo also decided to head directly towards his family's home in Massachuetts. Suddenly, for the first time on this trip I was alone, in a mountain forest with no idea as to where I was going. Life get's no better than this! Remember the adventure rider's creed, "Never lost, always an adventure". Two hours through winding forests, low mountains, raging cold rivers and deep slate blue lakes brought me to the resort town of Lake George. Shops, restaurants and motels all teeming with life. It was in stark contrast to the stark sereniry of the forest.
Finally reaching the village of Queensbury, I have stopped for the night. As I type this, I am in a laundromat doing some laundry. I expect to meet Ricardo's family tomorrow afternoon, so clean jeans are in order. Art, Ricardo and I have rather indefinite plans to meet towards the end of the week, to continue our adventure. But what do I do in the meantime? I had hoped to visit friends in the Philadelphia, Anapolis and Baltimore areas during this trip, but my Costa Rican friends adventure plans simply do not include riding in the Philadelphia or Annapolis areas.
In a day or so. I will finalize my plan for the nest chapter of this adventure. When I do, I will let you know.
Art, Ricardo and I entered Canada this morning at 8:30 AM. We crossed over the massive bridge rhat connects Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan and Saulte Sainte Marie, Ontario (Canada). Canada is a truly neat and prosperous seeming country, but no more prosperous and neat than Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have had a delightful three days of riding. Good roads, great and friendly people and absolutely decadent, but tasty, meals. Ricardo is leading me astray. And Art? He seems to make his meals off of bean dip, crackers and apricots.
Friday night was spent in a small, but adequate "tourist court" just south of the border and tonight we are in a small and adequate (think cheap) motel here in the Srurgeon Falls. Today is Saturday, so we decided to stop early. Art took a two hour nap while Ricardo and I scouted the town for the best place to indulge our passion for "junk food". Our conclusion was to dine at RIV Chips and Burgers, where Ricardo had a Classic Burger Combo (Think 12 ounces of meat) with a pound of hand cut fries. Being more moderate in appetite, I had the Pogo (think corn dog) and helped myself to some of Ricardo's fries. Oh! And for desert, I had A "Beaver Bites". If you have to ask what that is, I feal sorry for you.
Tomorrow morning will find us on the road early headed for Montreal and hopefully to the border by evening. Ricardo is anxious to reach Massachusetts where he will visit Emily and Jessica, his two favorite grand daughters.
And Beaver Bites. That is a healthy desert cinsisting if 6-8 fried donut holes (dipped in chocolate), sitting in the bottom of a bowl that is then filled with ice cream and all then topped with hot caramel. I told you Ricardo is a bad influence.
It is Thursday night and Art, Ricardo and I are spending the night at the St. Croix Lodge about thirty miles into Wisconsin. No cold, wet ground for me tonight but I suspect Art will insist on camping out tomorrow night.
Wednesday morning we departed the Mt. Rushmore KOA early, heading east to Minnesota. But about 110 miles into the ride we stopped at the Badlands National Park. I knew little of this park, but it was beautiful. Tremendous hills of deep erosion looking almost like ancient castle and towers, Some of sans and others of stone, running for miles and miles.
Wednesday, we rode 456 miles, finally stopping at Pipe Stone, Minnesota for the night. Yes, another night sleeping on the ground. Well, not really sleeping but laying there cold and miserable. However, Ricardo and I discovered a world class restaurant in Pipe Stone, Langes, a place that should not be missed. And their famous dish? Sour Cream and Raisin pie! Ricardo was happy.
Today, our plan was to reach Wisconsin and we accomplished that. However we only rode 320 miles since we spent part of the day looking for tires for Ricardo's ST1100. Not having any success, Ricardo call ahead to a Honda shop in Massachusetts alerting them to have tires there for his arrival. Now, we have to figure out how Ricardo can cover 1600 miles on slick tires.
And tomorrow, out goal is to reach Sault St. Marie, MI, the border crossing where we plan to reenter Canada Saturday.
We rode only 180 miles today, but we accomplished much. Leaving Broadus early, we rode the 130 miles to Sturgis in the cool chill of a high desert. Not cold, but chilly. Sturgis is a must do rally for Harley riders. Of course I do not ride a Harley and the rally does not even begin for three weeks, so our visit to Sturgis was predictable--fifty tee shirt shops, 27 saloons (most of which were not even open) and five tattoo parlors. I still have failed in my efforts to get Ricardo to have a nice tattoo engraved on his chest. However both Art and Ricardo spent some dollars on tee shirts.
Shortly after lunch we headed to Rapid City to visit a Honda dealer. Ricardo needed rear brake pads on the ST1100, Art needed a rear tire on the 1978 GL1000 and both Art and I had the oil changed in our bikes. Ricardo rides so slowly, he may never need another oil change.
Then by mid afternoon, i led the three of us to Mount Rushmore and a visit to the magnificent rock (mountain) sculptures of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. This wonder was carved by by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, a well known American artist, and a team of of some 400 local workers.
Beginning work in 1927 Borglum worked some six and one-half years (intermittently) on this masterpiece. After Gutzon's death in 1941, his son, Lincoln, spent another seven months completing his father's dream.
Night was approaching as we departed the Park, so Art led us to a campground where we will sped the night. My tent is already up and I am anticipating another blissful night sleeping on the ground.
A good continental breakfast at the Stagecoach Stop Inn prepared Ricardo, Art and me for a full day. And that was what we had--a full day! We rode 470 miles and also visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument near the Crow Agency 100 miles south of Billings, MT. Tonight we are in Broadus, MT. Tomorrow we plan to ride to Sturgis, SD to visit a motorcycle shop or two and a motorcycle museum.
Art and Ricardo spent an hour or two touring the Battlefield while I sat on a hillside beside tne National Cemetary. By 5:30 PM we departed, picking up Hwy 212 East. The next seventy miles took us through the Crow and Cheyenne Indian Nations. Beautiful scenery, past mesas, arroysand buttes. A high plains (almost mountain) ride that could have been desert except for the green vegetation. Cliffs that shocked me with their vibrant colors. Past towns such as Lame Deer, home of Chief Dull Knife College.
And the horses! beautiful herds of sorrel, black and paint horses, fit only for a Crow or Cheyenne Chief or his bravest warriors. Abundant wildlife, even a deer, fleet of foot, thar ran in front of Art.
Arriving in Broadus late, Ricardo and I dined in a superb cafe, where he enjoyed his first sour cream and raisin pie. Ricardo gave the pie 110 points. As long as Ricardo and I have $20, we will eat well!
A great breakfast in a restaurant in Eureka, MT started us off on another beautiful visit to a national Park. Leaving Eureka, the motorcycles quickly wound their way up the mountains to Glacier National Park. A chilling ride through massive ice and snow covered peaks. Once again, granite peaks chisled by the Gods.
Beautiful large glacier fed lakes, looking all too peaceful. Raging white water rivers that once provided fish and travelways to the noble and fierce Blackfeet tribes that originally, and even today, inhabit this land of grandeur.
And traffic! After all it is a Sunday in July. Guess where the tourists are visiting this year. After some five hiurs in the park, we made our way to the friendly town of Choteau where we have now feasted on a great dinner and will spend the night st the Stage Stop Inn, a luxurious hotel here at the Gateway to the Glaciers.
And tomorrow we will ride to the southeast, past Great Falls and Billings, Mt making our way to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore. Not working does have it's advantages!
Wednesday found the three of us riding north up Vancouver Island in substantially more traffic than we had seen recently. Art located a quaint village with a coffee and pastry shop and we all enjoyed another nutritous breakfast.
Ricardo is riding a 2002 Honda ST1100, fast and nimble, but it was running too hot to suit Ricardo.so we finally found a town with a Honda dealer, but he was backed up three weeks and would not even look at the bike. Finding the same at other shops in the town, we decided to take the ferry back to the mainland. A beautiful, sunny and brisk crossing, two hours later we were off to the town of Squamish, known for it's numerous bike repair shops. Alas, always an excuse to not work on the bike....either the mechanic was off, asleep or he simply did not have time.
Not to be stymied, Ricardo simply borrowed some tools from one shop, dismantled all of the plastic cladding found on an ST1100 and proceeded to repair the bike himself. A man of many talents, this Latin cowboy! Wirh night coming on, Art led us up the mountain to the ski mecca of Whistler, the site 0f the 2010 Winter Olympics. True to his passion, Art soon found us tent sites ($45 for the three of us). A strange facility, the shower charged twenty five cents for each 90 seconds of warm water. The night was cold and even Art failed to enjoy a good night's sleep.
Thursday Art led Ricardo and me down a delightful secondary road through the Canadian Rockies, Snow covered mountains of granite, looking as if they had been chisled by the God of Old. Others, green with lush vegetation and beautiful trees (Fir, maybe?) Beautiful alpine lakes, mosy crystal clear and icy cold. And raging rivers--not one or two but scores. And yes motorcycles. This is a rider's delight!
Finally reaching the city of Kamloops, it was time for me to replace the rear tire on the Vukcan. Rolling into a kawasaki dealer at 4:00 PM, I was pleased that they were eager to mount a rear tire on the Vulcan 900 Classic. After paying $368, I was not as happy!
Riding on another 60 miles, we stopped for the night in Salmon Arm. Finally, a cheap motel, with beds and a hot shower. Today we continued to ride the beautifi Canadian Rockies, finally crossing the border into Montana about 7:00 tonight.
And tomorrow, who knows? Maybe Glacier National Park.
Leaving Red Bluff early Monday morning, we quickly headed out Hwy 299 winding west to US 101. This great road runs north all the was to Port Angeles, Washington. By the beautiful north California coast, through the Redwoods Forest, past Paul Bunyon and Babe and finally to Oregon Winding roads past idyllic coasts. Through Native American lands and villages and yes, even a seafood restaurant every few miles.
Monday morning was chilly, even cold around Eureka but later in the day the temperature reached the 90's. We spent Monday bight in a cheap hotel in southern Oregon. Art on a mattress on the floor and me in a bed. I think Ricardo slept in the tub. Tuesday night in a "no fee" campground on the coast in northern Washington...it was cold and damp. And no, I really do not enjoy camping. I think Ricardo is neutral on the subject but Art seems to thrive on it!
This morning we departed early headed to Port Angeles and the ferry to Vancouver Island. A glorious ride. Through massive forests, around pristine lakes with only an occassional car sharing our bliss. Finally ariving in Port Angeles before lunch, we boarded the ferry along with scores of cars and 20 or so motorcycles. Ninety minutes and $32 later and we were in the astonishingly beautiful city of Victoria. A city of beauty and tranquility. I should have visited this city last year when I traveded so much of British Columbia. I definitely will return!
And tonight, we are back in a Provincial Campground ($45 for the three of us). At least this one has a shower, which is sorely needed by the three of us. And the motorcycles? They are running fine. Art is leading setting a brisk pace.
Physically, I am struggling, but Recardo and Art are constantly jumping to help me I could not make this adventure without two friends like Art and Ricardo.
Tomorrow, we are riding north to Conrad and taking the ferry back to the mainland. I think Art wants to spend one day visiting the city of Vancouver and then we will be off to the Canadian Rockies..
Art, Ricardo and I are in Red Bluff spending the holiday with Art's daughter, Margie and her beautiful family. Today we were joined by thirty of Margie's friends for a festive cookout and celebration. I have gained another 10 pounds. Tonight we will stay here with our hosts.
Tomorrow we will depart early, riding north on I-5 to Redding and then west on Hwy 299 to the Pacific coast. The next couple of days will have Art leading the way north up Hwy 101 to Portland, Seattle and then on into Canada by mid week. We have many miles to cover this week so will ride hard over the next few days.
Ricardo and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening in the cabin in Greenville talking with Allen Gates who invited us to watch him in Team Roping competition at the Golden Buckle Rodeo in Taylorsville, CA. Up early, we enjoyed a great breakfast at Anna's then mounted our bikes for a brisk ride to the rodeo.
Greeted by the distinctive smell of fresh horse manure, there was little doubt that we had arrived at the right place. Wonderful friendly rodeo performers made us welcome. Horses everywhere! I suddenly looked around and there was the Costa Rican cowboy, Ricardo, on the back of a beautiful horse. I think he was really wanting to compete.
After watching for a couple of hours, we said our goodbyes and began a ride through the California mountains. Past alpine lakes, virgin forests and snow covered mountains, we swiftly rode to the volcanic national park of Mount Lassen. Arriving at the park, we were greeted by snow covered hills. In fact, the road through the park was closed due to snow.
After enjoying the park for an hour or so, Ricardo and I made our way to Red Bluff Yamaha, where we were pleased to find a welcome fit for any adventure rider. Despite the fact tha neither Ricardo nor I were riding a Yamaha, the Service manager dropped what he was doing to change oil in Ricardo's Honda ST1100 and my Kawasaki Vulcan Classic 900 LT. The service manager also arranged for us to get a great room in the Comfort Inn here in Red Bluff (with a 25% discount).
As I update this blog, Ricardo is enjoying the Inn pool. Tonight we will once again overeat in a nearby Chinese restaurant. And our friend Art? He is with his family here in Red Bluff. Mid morninng tomorrow Ricardo and I will join them for a 4th of July cookout.
Last year I rode Mexico, Central America and South America and had internet access virtually every day. In Nevada, I simply did not have internet access a single day. That is the reason I have failed to update this blog for several days.
I rode out of Cortez, CO, Tuesday morning on the Honda. Runningi like new, we quickly were in beautiful Moab, Utah, and then sailed a couple of hundred miles across Utah's majestic high mountain desert. Spectacular landscape with colors taken from an artist's palate. Then after five hours, I suddenly rode on Highway U.S. 50. Known in Nevada as "The Lonliest Road in America", this has long been my favorite ride in the U.S. Beautiful, small picturesque towns like Ely, Eureka and Austin. Towns that now are mostly "goast towns" but 140 years ago were huge silver mining cities. Such proud history. At the Nevada border, I met a fellow rider, Fred Carlson, DDS, who also was on an adventure. For the next three days, Fred and I rode and dined together. Fred has a Harley that is simply beautiful and he rides it with skill and daring.
Arriving in Reno on Wednesday night, I rejoined Art and Ricardo. Thursday was spent exploring Lake Tahoe and Virginia City. This morning (Friday) Art departed for Red Bluff to visit family and Ricardo and I decided to explore the mountain roads north of Downieville. Two hundred fifty miles of beautiful mountain roads with spectacular vistas. Ricardo says it is the best day's ride in this adventure.
We had planned to visit the Bay area and call upon old and valued friends but regrettably, I have found that my recent physical challenge has seriously impaired my ability to ride in heavy traffic. The Bay area visit will come later when my recovery is more complete.
Tonight finds Ricardo and me sharing a quaint cabin (seperate beds!) near Greenville, CA. Tomorrow morning will find us at a rodeo (Ricardo's first) nearby. I am uncertain where we will spend Saturday night. But on Sunday we will once again join Art and his family in Red Bluff to celebrate the 4th of July. As a proud member of the USMC, the 4th is an important day for Art and I know he is looking forward to spending it with family and friends,
And my friend Ricardo, he is looking after me like a brother and simply is having a ball riding through this country that is his second home.
Up a canyon road four miles, take a left until you see Speedway Salvage sign and then go up the gravel road until you smell the rich aroma of MJ. That was Tim's instructions to where I would find two motorcycle genius(s). Two 1960 hippies, Tim and Knucklehead, who have carved out their own piece of paradise here in the mountains of southwest Colorado. Beards down to their chests, long hair, Cold Buds in their left hands and a wrench in their right hands.
Rebuilt Harleys, Indians and Hondas filled the lot. An immaculate shop, filled with tools, beer and maybe even a little pot. Two incredible men's self carved sanctuary in a world gone mad.
Tim loved the looks of the Honda (even the fat Betty Boop tatooed on the right side cover). He informed me that a quick look at the points and plugs would tell him what was wrong. Within 45 minutes he had the bike running like new. Another hour was spent fine tuning the carbs, brakes and clutch.
Then Tim took the bike out for a seven mile jaunt and announced it ready for me to ride. I was very pleased and found myself really liking Tim and Knucklehead. After declining their invitation to stay with them in "Delirious, CO" I was off back to Cortez.
Tuesday morning will find me up early, headed 400 miles to Ely, NV and Hwy 50, "The Lonliest Road in America". Someplace along Hwy 50, in Ely, Eureka or Austin, NV I will once again join Ricardo and Art. With luck and safe riding, I expect to be in Reno by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest.
Leaving Taos early Friday morning we headed north towards Durango, CO. But first, a stop at the Rio Grande River Gorge to see the beautiful gorge and the magnificent bridge that spans this majestic sight. After Ricardo and Art had taken photographs and walked the bridge, we were off to Durango.
By now I was riding the Honda GL1000 and it was running worse and worse. Finally reaching Durango, CO, we visited a Kawasaki shop where they diagnosed the problem as carb problems due to altitude. Their remedy (not) was to change the spark plugs and to suggest we go to Handlebar Honda in Durango where someone would surely know to repair the bike.
Arriving at the Honda late, we were forced to spend the night in Durango.Friday night included dinner in a nice Chinese restaurant beside a beautiful mountain stream. To bed early, we were at Handlebar Honda when they opened. The service manager was sure our problem was fuel related and said the would have us on the road by noon.
Art and Ricardo decided to take a 250 scenic loop ride through Telluride and Ouray, so I stayed with Art's ride to try to obtain the right repairs. Not to be. The shop did $100 in useless service and finally suggested that I stay until the following Thursday, when the hoped they would have the right kits to rebuild the carbs.
Declining this offer I waited until Art and Ricardo returned and then we were of to Cortez, CO to seek out more expert service. The ride, some 50 miles through the beautiful mountains, was beautiful but I could not enjoy it. The bike was running on two cylinders, sputtering and backfiring badly, often slowing to 10 MPH when climbing the mountains.
Reaching Cortez before dark, we pitched our tents in a KOA, had a dinner of Beenee Weenees and Diet Pepsi and then retired to a fitful night's sleep. Arising early Sunday morning, we decided that Art and Ricardo would continue their adventure and that I would stay (perhaps forever) in Cortez in an attempt to get the Honda properly repaired. The local Honda shop will not open until Tuesday so I am not sure when I can rejoin my Tico friends.
When I talked with Art today, he said they rode the north Rim of Yellowstone yesterday and planned to visit the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas today. And Chuck? I am safely in a Super 8 Motel hoping to find someone who can repair Art's ride.
Why did I even think about leaving two 1995 BMW Airheads at home and instead bringing a 1978 Honda GL1000 Particularly one that I know needs the carbs rebuilt. By 8:30 AM we were headed to Santa Fe and then on to Bandelier. Twice Art stopped to tell my that the Honda was sputtering and he thought it was running poorly. I decided to ride it and by keeping it at high RPMs we made it to Bandelier National Monument.
Ricardo and Art took the self guided tour and spent an hour or so learning about the ancient cliff dwellers. Due to some physical limitations, I waited in the Visitor's Center. By 2:00 PM we were off to beautiful Taos, despite the poorly running Honda. The Carbs have to be rebuilt and I have no idea where we can get that done.
This evening we enjoyed a concert in the Plaza and a Beanee Weenee dinner in a convenience store. Tomorrow, we plan to enjoy the Colorado roads but first, the GL1000 needs help.