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


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On the road again

Well, I finally got my lazy self out of San Diego.
I am headed toward Death Valley and made it as far as the Mojave Desert.
Baker CA, to be more precise.
You haven't heard of Baker?
A population of over 700, and of course the home of the World's Tallest thermometer!

I waited too long to start arranging a campground, so I'm staying in another motel tonight.
It's the "Wills Fargo Motel", and it's the finest motel in Baker.

It's also the only motel in Baker.
And I just happen to be the only guest in the only motel in Baker!
Wait - a van just pulled up. So there are two of us.
Notice that tower behind the motel sign in the distance......  Yes, you guessed it.
It's the World's Tallest Thermometer.
Too bad it isn't working any more.

I passed through mile after mile of southern California desert today before getting to the Mojave.

Monday, April 28, 2014


The trip to Jacksonville went as planned except for running out of gas on the first tank, but that was to be expected.
It appears that my tank range has reduced from 280 miles to 220 for some reason. (I'll figure it out when I get home)

After a 5:00am Grand Slam breakfast in Jacksonville, I fueled up and rode to the beach to officially start the Coast-to-Coast trip. Tried to get a photo of the surf, but it was too dark.

The first couple of hours after daybreak in Florida were chilly and foggy.

The 50CC portion (50 hours Cost-to-Coast) of the trip was what you probably think all Iron Butt rides are:

Fill up...... Go 80mph until empty...... repeat.

But I did get to watch the states go by:
East Texas
More Texas
West Texas
More Westerer Texas
..."El Paso - 563 miles"

It occurred to me in the wee hours of the morning that perhaps there was no place called El Paso.
What if the Texas DOT just keeps putting up those signs to see how far Yankees will drive if you keep selling them fuel?
BTW, I did eventually arrive at El Paso.
But it was so far that I remember passing a big planet with rings around it.

Seriously, if you have never ridden through West Texas in the night, you need to do it once.
First of all, it's amazingly dark on a clear night, away from all the cities.
And then...
There is a city in the distance... or even a town... but in this flatness, it appears as a razor-thin line of diamonds strung along the horizon, dazzlingly brilliant, and between you and the string in the distance is just blackness. Above the string - more blackness. It just seems to hover there. Then you expect to ride up and see what it is, only to discover that the shimmering lights are still 40 miles away in the clear night. I've never seen anything like it.

I was wearing my open mesh riding gear, which so far seems to be the right choice.
In the early morning fog in Florida, it was quite damp and cool, but I knew the morning sun would burn it off. And all through Texas it was fine, arriving in El Paso at around 80 degrees F, and still dark.

Then I came to New Mexico.
I didn't notice it happening, but I somehow worked my way to an elevation of 4500 ft.
I started getting cold, then... very cold.
The wind was ferocious, and the temperature was 43 degrees F.
I stopped at a gas station and put on everything I had - long underwear, winter gloves, jacket liner...
Then I just rode west and waited on the dawn (realizing that I was retreating from the sun that I desperately wanted to see).

(Hmm...   I wonder why my wife never wants to ride with me on my little trips?)

It finally warmed a bit, and I got to see places in Arizona that I had seen long ago: Tucson, Picacho Peak... 
Where I-10 enters Arizona is a place that I would like to go back to. The enormous boulders are stacked on both sides of the road like a giant child had been playing. Rocks that you look at and think that it couldn't be naturally balanced - surely someone had to stack them like that...

Before leaving home, I called the banks and notified them that I was traveling across the country, and to expect unusual spending patterns.
So in Texas, I discovered that my debit card had been frozen, and in San Diego, I found that my credit card was locked as well.
Don't you just love great customer service?

Now that I have all the documentation done, here are the stats for the "50CC":
2412 miles
35 hours, 7 minutes elapsed
53,475 dead bugs on the front of the bike.

Hopefully, future days will have more photos to share on the blog.

The weather in San Diego is beautiful. The forecast for the next seven days is the same.

John Sherwood

Hey John - sorry I was on a tight schedule coming through Arizona.
Would you send me your contact info at

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Made it!

OK - I'm in San Diego.
Left JAX at 5:37am EDT Saturday, arrived in SD Sunday at 1:40pm PDT.
That comes out to about 35 hours.
2412 miles.

I'll fill in the details after I get some sleep.
I can't even remember most of it...


Texas is big. If I told you how big, you wouldn't believe me! 
Just stopped for gas at a closed station in Ft Stockton.  Glad they left the pumps on. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

On the road

I woke up a bit earlier than I had planned, so I might as well get started. I probably won't be making many entries on the blog until I get to San Diego.

Friday, April 25, 2014

All packed.

She's loaded and eager to start!


Only a couple hours left before I leave. It looks like some weather is starting to move in. The springtime blossoms are out in full force now – I wonder what it will look like when I get back in a month?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Big Plans

This trip begins by riding to Jacksonville Beach, FL, and getting some sleep before the big ride. I plan to get up early Saturday morning, Apr 26 and start a "50CC" (50 hours Coast-to-Coast).

After resting up in San Diego, I can finally start enjoying my vacation.  :-)
I want to head into the Mojave Desert and Death Valley for a couple days of sightseeing and camping.
After riding through Utah and Nevada, I'll arrive in Oregon and begin a southbound tour of the Pacific Coast Highway, hoping to spend some time among the redwoods.
Somewhere around Monterey, I'll head east toward the desert parks in Utah and Colorado, and if the weather cooperates, a trip up Pikes Peak and then back home before Memorial Day, May 26.

Clearing the slate

From now until time to leave, I'll be able to concentrate on trip preparation.
The last month has been spent mostly in my shop with the latest project.

Rumor has it I'll be a grandpa again in late June :-) , and the new little guy is going to need a place to sleep.
So I volunteered to build another crib and dresser/changing table.
This one is in red oak and will get a mahogany stain.
Now, I'm at a point I can put it on hold and pick up with the staining and finishing when I get back.

That's the second stage in the background - when it becomes a toddler bed.
I still have to make the rails for the full size conversion, as well as the dresser.