This is for you, Bart!

This blog, and the adventure it describes, are dedicated to my friend, co-worker and fellow adventure lover, Bart.
Bart would prefer to be riding his Moto Guzzi down a scenic road,
but unfortunately he is limited by health issues.

My hat (helmet) is off to you, my friend, and I hope you will get some enjoyment from
reading about my little adventure until you are well enough to get back to planning your own.



Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.

- Helen Keller

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep.

- Robert Frost


Monday, January 26, 2015

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The greatest news!

I heard from my buddy Bart today.
After a year-long wait, he is scheduled for September to receive a new kidney!!

You go, BartMan!
Get back to your peak and then proceed to wear out that Moto Guzzi that's been patiently waiting for you!

Wishing you the best,

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Home Sweet Home

After a last dash from Amarillo, TX  >  Jackson, TN  >  Raleigh, NC, I'm home.

Now I've got a lot of work to do on the photos and video clips to put together a trip video.
It seems strange to have such a long event suddenly come to a screeching halt.
But it was sweet that Jared and Christie and Anna were here to greet me.
It actually took Anna a few minutes to warm up to me - she was very quiet at first.
Maybe it was the helmet and bright green jacket.
But after a while, she didn't want me to put her down. :-)

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking,
"Hmm. Sandy is here. How did she get way out here to this motel?"

I'll probably have some more entries as memories pop into my mind.

Like this: Oregon doesn't have self-service gas stations. They have to fuel your vehicle for you. For motorcycles, they put your card in the reader, select the grade, and hand you the nozzle.

Pet peeve:
I hate it when I put my card in the pump, it asks "Debit or Credit?",
I press "Debit", and it says "Debit not available". 
Then I start over, choosing Credit, and it works fine. With the same card!

Thanks to all for keeping up with the trip!

Tripmeter: 9028 miles.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Interstate Trivia

Riding east from Amarillo this morning, it quickly warmed up to 70F and stayed there all the way through Oklahoma.

It couldn't have been a more beautiful day for riding.
Surely there's no way that a day starting out that gorgeous could end in misery...
After spending all day on I-40, I think I need to share some of my wisdom and advice with others who may be planning a trip west.
Lesson #1:
If you ever in your life decide to drive across Texas, DO NOT use I-10.
I took I-10 on the way west, and it was endless.
By all means, take I-40.
I took I-40 on the way east, and went all the way across Texas in under 3 hours.
Weird - it must have something to do with a space/time warp.

Lesson #2:
DO NOT get on I-40 anywhere within 75 miles of Memphis.
Everything is under construction, and you will spend 3 hours sitting in a long line of 18-wheelers.
This includes I-40 west in Arkansas, and I-40 east in Tennessee.
Move 20 feet. Wait. Turn off engine. Wait. Turn on engine. Etc....
Google Maps lists some of the construction sites when you choose a route:
When I passed through Mayflower, Arkansas, I saw a path of devastation from a tornado that must have come right across I-40.
There was evidence of former houses on both sides of the road, but all that was left was splinters.
I remember hearing about tornadoes shortly after I left home, but I haven't kept up with the news.

I hit some rain around Little Rock, but it didn't really get serious until just after the Memphis nightmare.
Then it came on strong. I was determined to make it to Nashville tonight,
but after losing all the time in traffic and having trouble seeing the lines in the rain at night,
I called it quits when I saw the motel billboards in Jackson, TN.
I didn't even go for the cheap motels like before.
I'm at the Days Inn - $32.99 including a hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, microwave, fridge, coffee maker, and TWO little bottles of shampoo!
It even has an iron, ironing board, and hair dryer.
(OK, the hair dryer doesn't work, but it's a nice gesture.)
It's one of those fancy places where you ring the doorbell, and they buzz you in to the lobby.
A wise guy might ask, "Yeah, cheapskate, but would your wife stay there?"
Hah!   No.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I left Farmington, NM this morning with clear skies and crisp air. Most of the riding this morning was in temperatures in the 40’s.
I remembered almost buying an evaporative cooling vest before leaving home. I thought that it might help protect me from the searing heat of the southwestern deserts.
Ha Ha Ha.
I don’t think I’ve been uncomfortably warm since the one day in Death Valley. I’ve learned to never plan ahead for a campground until I’ve checked the elevation there. I’ll worry about the price later.
Less than 50 miles out of Farmington, in the northwestern corner of New Mexico, I saw a billboard advertising "The Big Texan Steak Ranch" in Amarillo. I checked the GPS - it was still 454 miles to Amarillo.

Amarillo is on Route 66 which has some of the strange attractions that I’ve read about over the years.
What do you do when you want to buy another Cadillac, but hate to trade in the old one? You bury it!

I made it to Amarillo and had intended to look for a KOA campground here until I began to see the motel billboards. Amarillo must be the king of “cheap motel” cities. I found a room for $29 (Rats – I later saw one down a couple of exits for only $28). This one is called the “Relax Inn”, and I was in luck – they had TONS of vacancies!! 
You’ve heard of the Comfort Inn, right? It’s probably something like that. Vaguely.
And look at what was next door...
Hmm... What if I went over and looked around... and what if they had a big sale going on... and what if they had a Burgundy Metallic Electra-Glide Ultra Classic Limited... and what if they offered me a great trade...  WOULDN'T MY WIFE BE EXCITED WHEN I GOT HOME!!
Just to be safe, I didn't go over. But I did peek through the drapes at the sign.
After getting a shower (actually a combination shower/bath, since the tub doesn’t drain at all), I made my way over to The Big Texan for a snack.

There’s no doubt about what state you’re in when you walk through the door here.
I checked the menu and decided to play it cool and just order the 21 ounce boneless sirloin steak with salad and baked potato. Delicious!
I skipped desert.

While I was there, a large group from New Zealand came in and one of their more easily influenced members decided to accept the famous Big Texan challenge:
Order the 72 ounce top sirloin with salad, roll, baked potato and 3 large shrimp for $75. If you can eat it all in one hour, you get it free. And you get to be famous since there is a webcam focused on the “Challenge” table for all the world to watch you eat to death. I stayed until his hour was up. His comrades were cheering him on, but he couldn’t finish.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monument Valley

The snow storm did as was predicted - it snowed all day.
But by the end of the day, the temperature had risen to the high 30's, and the snow began to thaw faster than it was falling. By Monday morning, the skies were clear again, and the roads were dry.
My next stop was Capitol Reef N.P. while working my way south toward Monument Valley on the Arizona border.
After passing through Capitol Reef, I came to Glen Canyon. An awesome overlook.
In the lower left is the bridge I’ll be crossing after the descent:
I planned to camp for the night at Mexican Hat, Utah – the last town before Monument Valley. When I stopped for fuel and asked a few questions, the friendly local folks told me of a place that most people never find called Muley Point overlook. He said it was just before the “Moki Dugway”.
What in the world is a Moki Dugway? Or any other “Dugway”?
Utah Rt 261 heads south to Mexican Hat, but in order to get from the high mesa to the valley floor 1200 feet below, it drops you quickly with steep grades and sharp switchbacks.
On gravel.
So first, I took the road to Muley Point to see what was ahead. Five miles of rough dirt each way, but the views were breathtaking. You can see the huge difference from the mesa where I’m standing to the valley floor, but look at the drop from the floor into the canyon below that!
Yes, that’s a road far below.  J
Here are a few shots of the descent on the Moki dugway.
Once I got off the mesa, I went to Gooseneck State Park to camp. It sits on the valley floor at the rim of the river canyon in the photos above.
If you can zoom in on this photo, you can see the RV’s camping along the rim, as well as the rafters camping in the bottom of the canyon on the San Juan River.
This is why it’s called Gooseneck:
I was finally able to get a campsite away from everybody else. I had this part of the rim all to myself!
Unfortunately, places with a view usually have plenty of wind, and this was no exception. I wasn’t sure if I was pitching a tent or flying a kite. I was glad I was far enough from the RV’s that they couldn’t watch and laugh at the idiot with the streamer…
Monument Valley at last!

They told me this is the spot where Forrest Gump stopped running. It’s actually a bit crowded there now. Everybody wants to pull off the road and take this photo. People were standing in the middle of the road with telephoto lenses trying to capture the view.
There was a busload of Japanese tourists there as I was setting up my camera on a tripod for a drive-by video. They seemed very interested in the GoPro camera on my helmet, and what I was doing. Once I got the camera all set up and running, I went back a quarter mile and rode by it toward the valley.
But when I got back to the camera spot, there was a crowd of Japanese tourists grinning wildly, photographing ME as I rode by!   ROFL!
I rode to the bottom of the valley and then came back to pick up the camera, and they were still photographing me! They were talking and smiling, and then wanted to pose next to me and the bike while the others took photos. You can hear their excitement as one of them tells the others that I’m coming…
There is a dirt road that winds through Monument Valley, but it was in poor condition with ruts and deep sand, and they had warnings posted that it was unsuitable for RV’s and motorcycles.
I can take a hint. I don’t want to have to pick up this bike again.
These are called “The Mittens”.
I’m in New Mexico now, with a route planned to a meeting with a ‘Big Texan’ in Amarillo tomorrow evening.
When I was younger, I had the misfortune of riding a horse that had a… defect.
He was all gentle and obedient while you rode away from the farm, but once you turned him around to go back, he went totally bonkers and stampeded for the barn. Well, I’m starting to get that feeling. Now that I’ve seen what I came to see, and checked off the western states on my bucket list, I’m starting to get “Barn Fever”. After a stop in Amarillo, I may start pounding I-40, and try to be home sometime this weekend. I have a grandson coming soon (Benjamin Cade Fox), and I haven’t finished the bedroom suite. I’m itching to get back on that project.