Loc: Sammamish, Washington - USA
Day 7 (the day or rest)
Not so much really. I will say it was nice not to HAVE TO get on the bike today but I did still get on it and ride.
A lot of people know Im not a fan of So Cal even though I grew up here but I did still want to ride to some of the places I used to go to.
I got out to the garage and pulled her out. Man she was dirty! So i took her to a local place to get her all washed up. They made me a pretty good offer to do a detail on her so I left her and walked back to mom an dads place. A few hours later, actually a lot of hours later she was finally done. DAMN! S-H-I-N-Y!!!
With the bike all cleaned up, the sun shining down on her and making all that chrome twinkle like a vegas showgirls sequined bikini bottom I really wanted to get her on the road for a short bit. As soon as I pulled into the driveway (ok, a few minutes later) a line was forming (not really, I called people out) to get a seat and a picture.
My mom (haha, awesome!), no hands.
Tommy - looking all cool with my shades on. He could barely get on... LOL!
Nicholas (he was too cool)... Heck, big enough to actually ride this thing.
My Sis in Law, Pam
And the most shocking of all... my aunt was more than happy to throw a leg over.
One of the neighbors came over with her kid and wanted to get a pic but the kid threw a fit so I fired her up to drown out the kid. I then headed to my aunt to visit with her and got the above picture. Stayed there for a bit then took off on a short ride through the Royal Palms area of Sane Pedro then over to a Starbucks to meet my friends Dave and Mike.
All thats left now is to get her packed up tomorrow and get to riding with Brent.
A bit of bummer news... a section of PCH is closed due to landslides. Of course it happens to be in an area just south of Gorda. What this means is that we will have to detour around the Big Sur portion of PCH missing Hurst Castle, Rocky Creek Bridge (the bridge in every picture or video you see of PCH) and a little known attraction called Nit Witt Ridge.
I guess we can only hope for a miracle in the next 48 hours.
No matter what it has been a fantastic trip so far and if it ended right now I could honestly say it has been a blast... heat, wind, rain, allergies and all!
Day 8 (San Pedro Ca to Cambria Ca)
Oh what a day! We had a late start to the day. I didn't fire the bike up till 11am and that was to go meet Brent who was slightly lost due to some poor directions on my part. Amazing what one mistyped word can do to a person. One we knew where he was I geared up and headed out.
My parents were amazingly calm about the bike and seeing it in person. My dad was talking to everyone that would listen about it and my mom actually liked it. That was actually good and now I don't have to worry about them worrying.
Even though we were finally moving we still had a slow time getting on the road. Fuel stop followed by a food stop and a quick detour to a local Triumph dealer and we were FINALY on the way. Im not complaining, it was actually kind of fun being in my old stomping grounds on my bike.
A quick blast up 110N to 405N with a smooth transition to 10W and we were finally on PCH.
As we rode up PCH we quickly got to Malibu Canyon Rd, tipped em to the right and startup up the canyon. What I can only imagine as a fellow rider in his cage flashed up to let us know that LEO (police) was up ahead so we slowed to the speed limit, the gardening truck in front of us did not and was kind enough to distract the LEO so we could enjoy our ride.
We finally made it to the Rockstore and even though it was closed it was really cool to see it.
Now, I like twisty roads, I reeealy like twisty roads. I love that my cruiser can take a road like that and make short work of it. Mulholland was way above my skill level. My bike was making those turns but my ability to keep proper control at higher speeds was lacking. There was no Zen time on this stretch of highway. All I could do was hope that one of the few sportbikes that was out there was not going to come up on me. I wound want to ruin another bikers ride. We FINALLY made it to the top. I added a few new scrapes to my pipes and pegs and a new realization what I am capable of.
Of course we stood there and watched a Ducati Monster and a R1 repeatedly bomb Mulholland. I swear these guys were like machines, one run up, a u turn and another run down only to repeat again and again.
Notice the dumb cager cross the line…
and barely get things together…
We headed down the other side and headed down CA23 (Decker Rd). This is where things got interesting. I was almost all the way down and realized Brent was not behind me. I pulled over and waited and waited and waited and started back up the canyon to find Brent on his bike, a white truck behind him and a guy on a Honda CB1000 next to him. But why was Brent's front when perpendicular to the guard rail and why was his shifter wrapped around his foot peg and when did his leather jacket get those scrapes on his arm.
As we talk about it still it seems as though one of two situations happened.
1) gravel on painted surface could have been a cause.
2) too slow a speed in a very sharp corner could have cause the bike to succumb to gravity.
Either way we got his bike back to rideable condition and minus a few scrapes and a bent part or two he is fine and very sore this morning.
The rest of the day was pretty much a race to beat the sun going down. We weren't able to stay on PCH the whole way and had to get on to 101 for some of it. We were on some amazing roads through the Lompoc and Vandenburg AFB area. We finally rolled into Cambria about 8:30pm and proceeded to unload and look for some dinner.
Tome to start planning todays route so stay tuned for more this evening.
Heres a shot of Brent, bike and waves ...
and mine …
Day 9 Kamikaze Squirrels (Cambria Ca to Santa Cruz Ca)
Where to start, where to start!
This morning in Cambria was pleasant. I don't remember if it was blue skies but it wasn't chilly and not warm, I guess it was just right. The Palms was a nice little motel with courteous help and clean. We took the locals advice and had breakfast at a nice little cafe a few blocks down. I had a hefty breakfast burrito that has stuck with me all day long (at least till I refilled with yet another breakfast burrito, more on that later).
We hit the road about 10am and headed east on CA46. Now that was a real nice ride. We kept the speeds low as there was some sort of bicycle event happening and LEOs were abundant. Not saying we speed but 5-10 over is real easy and fun when your on two wheels. Heck I have friends that normally ride at 20-30 over so don't judge me :P
Anyway... We rolled into Paso Robles, gassed up and headed back west on County Hwy G14 (G14 for short). Yet another amazing road with some nice high speed sweepers*.
* a high speed sweeper would be a curve in the road with a posted limit of about 40mph. Fun and easy.
As we got closer to Lockwood Ca I started noticing something strange... Kamikaze Squirrles (KS for short).
Brent is following and Im lead. The grass starts to get shorter and browner (no trees, or very few) and as we are trucking along the first KS makes its appearance. It runs out to the middle of my lane and doubles back pretty quick. Not even close to needing to brake or swerve so no harm done.
A few miles later KS #2 makes an appearance. This little bastard was brave. It ran clear across the road, waited for me then ran right in front of me. I grabbed a handful of brakes and to slow and made a nice little swerve. After that I decided no more. I am not going to risk my life to not kill a road rat. Now it was game on!
KS #3 runs out and stopped just short of getting his little peanut eating head smashed by my Metzler (brand of MC tire).
Shortly after this Brent come blasting by me and pulls us into a stopping spot in Lockwood cause he had left his tank bag at the gas stop in Paso Robles (40 miles back, about an hour of riding). OK, ****** happens, no big deal. We take a shorter route back then come back to our stopping location in Lockwood. During this trip back to Lockwood KS #4 through #6 made their appearances. I swear if I didn't know any better Id say one of these little buggers jumped through one of my spokes like a ring of fire and made it. That or it really cut it close (most likely the latter).
So... Im not sure what was the deal with the KS's but my imagination is telling me it was some sort of initiation into a Squirrel gang or maybe they are just thrill seekers. This could be the equivalent to base jumping. I did count a handful that didn't make it though. Not by me thank god!
Lets get back to Lockwood here. Google maps shows a road (or combination of roads) that goes from Lockwood through Fort Hunter and onto PCH. By taking this road we would be back on PCH and not have to bypass the good parts between Cambria and Carmel. Sweet... were taking it. Famous last words here!
G14 to Mission Rd to Nacimiento Fergusson Rd is 34 miles and should only take one hour. Sure, it was all going as planned till we got to about 17 miles in. Then it turned into one of the narrowest twistiest roads I have ever been on. It was like the US equivalent of the Death Road in Bolivia. My speedometer never went over 15mph and every blind corner (and there were a lot) was met with a double blip of my horn in hopes the oncoming motorists would slow enough and move over enough so we could pass each other. The remaining 17 miles took about an hour. Did I mention that once we crested the pass that the temps dropped some 10-15 degrees and we were still riding the same dangerous roads but add fog to the mix? No! Well yeah, there you go!
There was NO joy here except at the end when we knew we could finally release the death grip on our handlebars and our asses could relax enough to pry the seats from within them.
We were rewarded for our bravery with this:
Where Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd and PCH meet. View to the left (S).
Where Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd and PCH meet. View to the right (N).
Once relaxed and moving in a normal fashion we made our way up PCH and stopped for a few photo ops. Enjoy the next few pics...
One of many rest stops along PCH.
Brent coming in over Bixby Bridge
Coastal view at Bixby Bridge
Saw this from the side of the road and had to go back for a pic.
Across the parking lot from the above pic was this...
We finally made it as far as Santa Cruz before we decided to stop for the night. We are tired but in a good way and the scenery is simply amazing.
Throughout the day we feel cold one moment only to round a corner and feel warm again. The skies change from clear blue to overcast at the twist of the throttle. We smell grass, flowers, trees and sea air at any given moment. The sounds we hear range from growling pipes to a mellow burble with crashing waves as backup. Its why we ride!
Day 10 (Santa Cruz Ca to Garberville Ca)
Well... we lost more ground today. Only did 278 miles from Santa Cruz to Garberville. Its not that bad really. Were just not making as much ground as we waned. None the less we had a great day of riding.
We departed Santa Cruz and stopped at the Harbor Cafe for breakfast. Gotta say, it was surprisingly great! From there we headed up PCH and into San Fran. Riding in San Fran was a joy (sarcasm). Ill post a video later of what it looks like from my perspective when an idiot cager doesn't take an opportunity to make the light and I get stuck behind them on a severe incline. Lets just say I didn't know my bike could wheelie!
Anyway... We needed to make a pit stop at a Triumph dealer to get a new shift lever for Brent. Amazingly enough they had one in stock. Got it installed and headed to Fort Point for a photo op with the Golden Gate shrouded with fog.
Brent fixing his shifter in the streets on San Francisco.
Getting all artsy with my bike and the Golden Gate.
Another artsy moment with Brents bike featuring mine in the distance and if you squint you'll see Alcatraz.
We made a stop in Santa Rosa for a quick meal then proceeded to show US 101 who's boss. These were some high speed (50+)mph sweepers that were simply a blast. running down 101 through the redwoods was a thrill and there were plenty of bikes on the road. We had one more picture stop at some odd building.
Odd but cool.
As we were approaching Garberville we came around one of those 65mph sweepers and spotted a deer looking at us as if it was wondering if WE were good enough or if it should wait for something better. That pretty much sealed the deal and we rolled into town with the intent of getting a room.
Seems as though Garberville is full O' Harley's for the Redwood Run this weekend. Thank god they area headed south and we are headed north.
Day 11 (Garberville CA to Coos Bay OR)
As I wake up on Day 11 (Im sitting on the bed typing this with my traveling companion Brent snoring in the bed next to me) Im thinking about this trip. Its almost over but still at least a day maybe two more to go.
I was expecting to be in bad shape by now and I am not. My back has been trouble free even though I have been sleeping on motel beds. My arms are doing fine even though they have been in the same position for days. My neck has not had to support that helmet in months and its holding up just fine. Heck, I even started riding with earplugs instead of earbuds to fill my head with music. Of all things my calfs have been sore, go figure.
Todays goal is to get up into Oregon. We need to get to as far up as we can so that I can try and make it to Garrett's (Karens brother) graduation party on Sat eve. I know I will miss the actual ceremony but Im hoping to make the party.
As for today it was a good day. The morning started with the rumbling of all the Harley's getting ready for the Redwood Run. Once awake and packed up we headed back to the place we had dinner at (House of Burgess). I don't think I wrote about this place yet but it looks kinda dumpy. The food was freaking amazing. Everything from scratch and delicious. A nice little surprise in this po dunk town for sure! If I ever pass though again I will be stopping!
We headed out and stop #1 was to drive through a tree. We headed north on 101 and took exit 645 to follow Avenue of the Giants to the Shrine Drive Through Tree.
Shrine Drive Through Tree (guarded by Bigfoot)
Me riding through a Redwood.
Brent driving through a Redwood.
After making our little side trip we headed back North on 101. It was cold and overcast till we got north of Eureka. Then it opened up for us for a bit. Blue skies and coastline. As we were making good time up 101 we came upon this little gem. A heard of Roosevelt Elk.
Roosevelt Elk Heard
Of course there was a stop to take a pic in front of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe.
Trees of Mystery, Klamath Ca
Hehe... yes I took a pic... Blue ox balls. hehe
After screwing around and all these stops it was time for some food. We made our way to the Hungry Clam (hehe) for lunch and it was AMAZING! Damn! The food stops on this trip have been awesome!
This place is in Brookings OR.
I had the shrimp and crab melt with a cup of chowder... o yeah! it was good!
The Hungry Clam, Brookings OR
From there we headed north on 101 again. Its a good thing lunch was good cause we needed that energy for the roads. More of awesome 45+mph sweepers, blue skies and warming sun. Still cold but the sun took the edge off. After a scenery stop at Port Orford OR (below) the skies closed up and things got cold and overcast.
Port Orford OR
Brent waiting for me to take my pic in Port Orford …
We finally arrived at a stopping point in Coos Bay OR and as we were checking in the rumble of bikes fell upon us. To our surprise it was a group of lady riders all on some really nice Motor Co bikes (Harleys). They obviously had great senses of humor as you can see below...
NT NUTS, IB NUTS, ME TOO
Tomorrow draws in the close to my trip. It wont be 100% done but I will make it into Vancouver WA in the afternoon/evening where I will check into a hotel, get ready for Garretts party and head to that. Sunday will be the true end of my trip when I arrive home to my garage and my bed and to Karen.
Day 12 The End (Coos Bay OR to Vancouver WA)
Today draws in the end of this trip. Like I mentioned yesterday there is still one leg left on Sun morning from Vancouver to home (Sammamish WA) but that will be all fwy and no scenery stop (maybe). Jut the usual gas stations along the way.
Today was a short day (only 219 miles) and it seemed to fly by. There weren't a lot of stops and that included lunch. Brent was so close to home I think he wanted to see Stella and the wife and I really wanted to make Garrtes grad party, that said I think that helped us power through the day.
We did make one scenery stop that turned out to be a two-fer...
We stopped at the Heceta Head turn out where we had a view of Heceta Head lighthouse and the sea lions. Here are a few pics...
Our bikes with Heceta in the background.
Sea Lions... minus caves
07 Black BA, 39mm FCRs, TPUSA stage 1 head, TPUSA 813 cams, TPUSA 10.8:1 pistons, TTP #3 igniter, Specialty Spares Long Cannons, Tsukayu Hard Bags. 82HP/55tq
Loc: BC, Canada
Gosh darn it, "Tales from the Road" just doesn't get read enough and for some reason seems to sit obscurely in the background of the forum.
Just read your 'dissertation' and pictorial and found it most informative and entertaining. The adventure you had can only be described as enviable... making me hope someday... someday I'll be able to make the trek myself.
Thanks for the write up Z!!
Live to love, love to live.
Loc: venice beach, ca
We started out in los angeles during a sort of heat wave across the region. It was 110 in needles at midnight. We pulled in to the grand canyon at about 3am. The next day we drove through the grandest canyon i've ever laid my eyes on. There was a thunder and lighting storm lingering around the area which made for some ideal lighting situations. The skies were amazing and there is no hdr involved on any of the photos for the whole trip. We hit our first batch of heavy rain while riding in the grand canyon. One second it was nice and sunny and the next we were laughing hysterically at how drenched we were. We left out of the east entrance of the canyon and headed up through navajo territory on the 89 towards kanab. every 1/2 mile or so there are little structures on the side of the road where the navajo sell navajo made items. we stopped at one and i purchased a little bear necklace that's supposed to bring good luck and strength (which just about everything they sell brings.) that night we tried to make it to steve's property by navajo lake which is located just north of zion off hwy 14. we were to camp there and give him an update on the property. after driving up and down a muddy dirt road a few times and nearly missing dozens of elk, we couldn't find his property and ended up staying at a local campground. the next day we headed over to the 15nb and drove all the way up into idaho. i'm sorry if you're from utah but the people we meant there were not friendly. we stopped at the first town in malad, idaho. we decided to stay in a motel and get some drinks. we meant some very nice people at the bar chat and chew. the photo of the motel sign is from malad and the rooms were awesome and the breakfast the next morning was one of the bests i've had. that day we headed up the 15 through idaho and made a stop in pocotello where we needed to buy a charger that could plug into the bike. we went to a harley shop, got some ****** about having a triumph and not a "real bike", and bought what we needed. it was a cigarette type car charger but we needed a usb adapter so we went to radioshack. the harley charger zapped two different usb adapters so we went back to the harley shop to ask what was up and to get heckled for having a triumph again. after a couple hours of the harley guy telling us how it works fine on his bike and it's probably because of a british electrical system (******) we discovered that his harley part had the polarity hooked up wrong. so f.u. harely guy. we left pocotello and entered montana and yellowstone through the west entrance. at the west entrance is the town of yellowstone and we bought some badass hats there, drank beer, ate chicken fried steak, and asked a ranger if it was possible to take down a grizzly with an axe. every time i asked that question on the trip people basically told me a story about how they new someone with a gun who was mauled and killed. i say they didn't want it bad enough. we camped in madison campground the first 3 nights which is a beautiful campground with the madison and firehole rivers connecting right at the door step. the photos of the bench and us sitting river side are here. yellowstone is the most unreal and wild place i've ever seen. the geyser basins are kind of like mars meets armageddon. all the colors on those photos are the actual colors. i didn't tweak any of them. the shoshone would actually take the mud from some of the mud pots and use them to paint on there horses. they also rubbed it on their fresh hides to clean the smoke out of them without damaging the hide. We also found out while we were in madison that a man was killed by a grizzly two days before we got there about two miles away from us. the photo of the bear warning sign is where that happened. we spent the next 2 nights in the tower campground which is way smaller and more remote located closer to the north east entrance. the photo of jasmine in the hammock is that campground. there is also a river that runs through it which is the source of tower falls. while in the park we meant a couple biker dudes who told us about this highway called bear tooth highway and it's supposed to be the "best road in america." they said "go check it out one morning it's beautiful. so we decided to take a little trip over bear tooth. we didn't realize it was going to be 3 hours of freezing cold high winds along the edge of an 11,000 ft summit to the other side. when we finally got to the other side we came to the town of redlodge montana. the bartender there told us of a different warmer way to head back on through wyoming so we did. while on this road the bike broke down, we thought. we think it's the ignition pick up coil. the photos of the sunlight spilling onto the base of the mountains is where we broke down. there was nothing around at all but we remembered a small bar we passed a ways back. so the suns setting and jasmine and i are pushing the bike down the road to a downhill where we hop on and coast down to the bar. when we get to the bar an old man, maybe 90, that we can barely understand, says "you guys broken down? you can stay in my trailer tonight if you want." for some reason he had a little trailer parked in the parking lot of the bar, the edeleweiss. Shocked, and not knowing what else to do we say yes. Harry gave us the key and said he'll back in the morning to drive us back into redlodge where we saw a harley shop. so we unload are stuff and go to grab a drink in the bar. at the bar were the gnarliest looking cowboys i had ever seen. spurs and all. and they didn't look pleased to see us. the first thing i thought of us was deliverence. but the bartender tra (cy) was extremely pleasant. she let us use the phone, since both of ours were dead. after talking with adrian my mechanic, we realized the part i needed was a triumph part and i couldn't get it from a harley shop. so we didn't want to stay in harry's trailer and wanted to get back to cody which is a bigger city with motels. this whole time our tent is still set up back in yellowstone with all our ******. aaa tells us it'll be $300 for a tow to cody. so we start freaking out. a couple at the end of the bar see what's going on and tell us they have a trailor and will give us a ride into town. there names are joe and janet and are extremely good people, which we concluded all people in wyoming are, even the scary cowboys. we get a motel in cody that had an african safari theme. fake elephants and crap in the lobby. the next day i walk my bike over to cody's custom cycles. the owner was very nice to let me use his tools for some troubleshooting. so i'm checking resistance on some of the wiring and am going to pull the plugs to check for compression (like adrian told me to do.) while picking up the gas tank i notice that it's way to light. no way. i put the tank back on, switch it to reserve and it starts right up. woops. apparently when we stopped in redlodge for gas i never put it in because my tripometer said i was only at 40 miles. so on my way back to the motel i stop to grab jaz a beer and tell her about the good and bad news. she took it well. i think it was the beer. we went back to yellowstone for another night at our campground and left the next day. we stopped had a few beers and exited the park through the south entrance towards the tetons. on our way out there was a line of traffic held up by a heard of buffalo. we drove right up to the front of the line to get a good look. we were kinda buzzed. as soon as we get up there a giant buffalo stops in the middle of the road and gives us a stare down. a ranger pulls up next to us in her truck and says "what the hell are you guys doing? do you want to die?!!!!" ahhhhh. we drove down through the tetons and into jacksonhole wyoming where there's a bar called the cowboy bar. this place is insane. all the barstools are actually horse saddles. we get a beer and a shot of whiskey and go outside to leave. when we get out front we start talking to a couple guys who's bikes were parked next to mine. as we're talking to them a guy who appears to be wasted, gets up from a bench and stumbles into my bike and knocks it over. i say "w. t. f. duuuuuuuuuuuude!!!" pandemonium breaks out. i yell at the guy to stay where he's at and tell jazz to call the police because he's an old wasted guy. one of the guys we were talking to, tony, helps me pick up my bike. as i'm checking the damage (smashed up headlight) tony holds the drunk guy who's trying to leave. the drunk guy get's up and starts freaking out, swinging at tony, and kicks tony in the nuts!! i run over, tackle the guy to the ground and pin him by his shoulders. as i tackled him a box of cheez-its go flying all over the place! the cops come and discover the guy is not drunk at all but actually insane and homeless. so i write the damage off as bad luck and tony presses charges for assault to get the guy back off the street. there's a photo of the guy in cuffs. when it clears up a lady comes up to me, gives me a 20 and says i don't want you to leave this town thinking badly of it. tony says "here's my number, if you guys break down anywhere i'm coming with my hummer and trailer and i'm driving you back to los angeles!" all the people in wyoming are nice (except the local crazy guy.) we leave to look for a campsite, the only one we find is completely booked and it's 10:30 at night. so we call tony to ask if he's knows of any others orrrrrrr if we can possibly put up our tent in his front yard. He says "come over. you're staying on my living room floor." Tony had the most amazing log cabin i've every seen. the next day we take off towards zion but only make it to wasatch national forrest in northern utah. we camped in a surprisingly pleasant little campground and made it down to zion the next afternoon. zion is ridiculous. i wish we could of stayed there longer but we had to get home the next day so jaz could go to work. on our way home it was slightly rainy out of utah and into nevada which was nice because it kept us cool. we stopped at the orleans and grabbed a drink at the alligator bar and rode though holiday traffic all the way to baker where it became hellishly hot. luckily our friend tony told us about a sweet trick when it gets that hot. we bought a bag of ice and stuck it in between us and just let it melt all the way home to venice. thanks for reading about our trip. now i'll remember all the details forever.
02 bonneville america, only bike i've owned, bought new. tpusa 994 big bore, Carillo rods, stage one head work, fcr 39 carbs, bc bomber pipes
Loc: Timmins, Ontario
My wife and son were in Cambridge Ontario this week checking out apartments (he's moving). From there, they decided to travel to Montreal for some site seeing. My wife suggested a dinner date Friday evening and since I'm always looking for an excuse to ride, I agreed.
Thursday afternoon I left Timmins at 4:30 pm. It was 15C and sunny. Stopped in New Liskeard for gas and made my way to North Bay. Got in at 8:30pm. Temps had dropped to 8C and I had stopped to put on my Froggtoggs to keep warm. Spent the evening with my sister and brother in law. I cut a swath through bug country contributing to the downfall of several millions blackflys.
Friday morning I left early. Temp was 9C and cloudy but promised to be a good day. Headed easy toward Mattawa then south to Ottawa. At one point I went 240km without going to reserve near Cobden. The sky cleared with temps going up with the sunny skies. Made my way to Ottawa and the Goodtime Center (Triumph Dealer) where I purchased some parts (filter, brake pads, cleaner, etc). The salesman tried to get me to take a Thunderbird out for a ride but I was running late for my dinner date. Left for Montreal and missed most of the Friday traffic escaping the city. Got in at 6:00 pm. We went for dinner by 7:00 then spent the evening by the pool relaxing.
Saturday I decided to travel back rather than spend the day shopping in Montreal....aren't I good! Heading westbound on the TransCanada I spotted an America rider. I quickly caught up with him and we road side by side for 40 kms. When we finally parted company we gave each other the thumbs up and I headed south for the 401 and Belleville Ontario. Along the way I had to switch to reserve at the 200km mark (far cry from 240 the day before). Travelling at over 130k really sucks gas. Multi lane interstates aren't my cup of tea. Temps climbed to over 30C. Finally got to Belleville and some twisty 2 lane blacktop. Headed north from there on Highway 62. At Bancroft I stopped for a bite and perused the scenery. Spoke with a trucker who was infatuated with my Triumph. He was impressed with how much the engine looked like the original. Made my way to Algonquin Park, west on Highway 60 stopping along the way to admire the scenery. Saw 1 moose, 2 deer and 3 bears. The bug carnage was horrible. I literally couldn't see out my windshield. Every other protruding part on my bike including my helmet, boots, jeans, jacket and gloves were covered. Made my way to Huntville then caught Highway 11 north to North Bay where I spend a second evening with my sister and brother in law. He owns a 750 Shadow and wants to upgrade to a .....cough Harley. After several sessions on the Triumph website, he might become a convert... We spent the evening having a good laugh watching the movie "The Hangover".
Sunday morning I left early to beat the heat. Headed north on Highway 11 till I got to New Liskard and Tim Hortons. There were at least 20 bikes in the parking lot and guess whose ride became the center of attention? During the whole trip I only saw that one other Triumph along the way. After a half hour talking with the group I headed north and arrived home at 1:30 pm. I bet you I removed at least a pound of bug guts from my bike.
Spent some time in the afternoon cleaning her up, making her purdy then relaxed. The missus wasn't supposed to be home until late that evening.
All in all, it was a great dinner trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Oh, I did have to pay also!
03 Bonneville America
69 BSA Firebird Scrambler
73 Yamaha TX 750
Loc: BC, Canada
Great story, great dinner date, great ride (well,except for the bugs)!
Live to love, love to live.
Loc: Dahlonega Ga.
Submitted by Erle
ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE REVISITED
What a WONDERFUL time !!!
After being a member of the BonnevilleAmerica.com (BA.com) web site for several years, I decided it was time to venture out and meet some of the characters I have interacted with over the years.
It started out as a plan for a four day, twelve hundred plus mile, five hundred dollar trip for one, and quickly morphed into a thirteen day, twenty two hundred mile, fifteen hundred dollar adventure for two that will surely be one of the most cherished, memorable times of my life.
It started with the only destination being Dahlonega, Georgia, a trip for one, for the annual BA.com Georgia Rally. After establishing a "No Highway" route on Google Maps to Dahlonega, a quick tab on the west directional arrow showed that Adairsville, GA. was only a short ride, and it would afford the perfect opportunity to visit with my fathers side of my family for a day.
While contemplating lodging in or around Dahlonega, that little light went off in my head, as I quarried how far away my sister (Laura) and brother-in-laws' (Richard) vacation cabin was. SURPRISE! It's like, fifty eight miles! COOL! And here's where that bright little bulb goes off again. I've always heard of the Tail of the Dragon, and the other six or seven notorious roads in and around North Carolina and Tennessee, and a little twitch of the finger on Google Maps showed about sixty eight miles from the cabin. BAZINGA !!! The trip is now finalized, or so I thought!
I'm going from Orlando to just outside of Hayesville, NC., to the cabin tucked in the woods along the Hiawassee River for some peace and quiet time to reflect on my existence and the last few decades of fatherhood, raising two wonderful and beautiful children, and my beautiful wife sent straight from the Heavens above, into a life that is less than she deserves.
After a few days alone, I would leave Friday morning and ride into Dahlonega, to meet up with the two dozen or so people that I've never met, with the only common thread being an interest in one specific model of one specific brand of motorcycle, the infamous Triumph America (Bonneville America), and it's cousin the Triumph Speedmaster. After a day of traversing the North Georgia Mountains, there would be some social time before retiring, readying myself for a second day of riding, followed by a hour or two travel to get to family in Adairsville, GA., Then the trip home.
While discussing the itinerary with the wife, JUNIOR SPOUTS OFF, "I WANNA GO !"
PERFECT ! Now I truly saw the trip in a different light. What a wonderful thing to look forward to. But, here comes that little light again! What about John, my other son. We could rent another bike for him, and it would be the Three Amigos ! PERFECT ! Well, John couldn't get away from his work in Melbourne on such short notice, so here's how the excursion went down.
Steven and I left Orlando on Monday morning, the 14th day of May, 2012.
We had 545 miles to go (according to Google Maps), and two days to get there. We arrived with 600 miles on the odometer, possibly due to a missed turn or two.
Monday we traveled various sections of US 441, FL 19, US 17, US 1, US 23, GA 121, GA 15, GA-4, with the ONLY common denominator being NORTH !, and rode into HazelHurst, GA., at about 6 PM. The plans to use the pool after a diner in town didn't pan out, as, for SOME UNKNOWN reason, we passed out in our motel room watching some TV before going to the pool. Go figure.
Tuesday, 5/15, we followed some of the afore mentioned routes, along with portions of GA 19, GA 27, US 341, GA 24, US 129, GA 105, GA 385, GA 17, GA 75, GA 2, US 76, GA 515, NC 69, US 64, (I'm NOT making this up!), numerous by-pass routes, and a handful of local roads (trails/paths?) to arrive at the cabin around 6 PM.
We unloaded the gear from our expandable, over stuffed, bulging baggage and made a trip back into town for groceries, only to push the capacities of our bags to the extreme once again. When we got back to the cabin, we were overcome by the freezing (conditioned) air inside the cabin, and again, rendered unconscious. http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp309/Opissant/Bike%20trip/P1010053.jpg
Our plans for Wednesday got canceled by popular consciences, WE WERE SORE ! WE WERE TIRED ! and we WEREN'T leaving the cabin !
We did manage to make short trips into town for more groceries. We made a trip to Bear Cove at Fires Creek http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp309/Opissant/Bike%20trip/P1010032.jpg (a luxury mountain community developed by Richard & Laura), a short trip into the Nantahala National Forest (until I realized that on the way back out, we'd be closer to the cliff into the abyss, instead of the wall of doom on our right as we rode in), and a short resting spell at the Bear Creek Pavilion on the Hiawassee River http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp309/Opissant/Bike%20trip/P1010042.jpg before heading back to paradise for the rest of the evening.
Thursday, 5/17, we planed to ride some of the roads we heard about around NC/TN (the Dragon, etc.), but Steven wasn't feeling well enough to ride. The anxiety from all he read about The Tail of the Dragon MAY have had something to do with that, not to mention his experiences with the forest/mountain roads we traveled over the last two days.
DID I MENTION THE ROADS! ??
MY GOD ! ROADS !?, REALLY !?? http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp309/Opissant/Bike%20trip/P1010030.jpg
Some of these were merely glorious Mountain Goat Trails! Paved, BUT THAT'S IT! Like eight feet wide at the most! The blind, steep grade, 200 degree plus turns provided a white knuckle, squeeze-the-tank-with-your-knees-till-it-pops experience like no other. Most had MAYBE two feet of shoulder before you were off into the top of the trees (river IF you were lucky) on one side, or into the face of the mountain on the other! When you bitched about it to the locals, they responded "they were paved!?" WHAT was MY problem!??
Anyway, I decided to go ride the Dragon myself, and see what it was all about.
Well, in reality, the most dangerous thing about the Dragon was the PEOPLE! The butt holes that thought they were Gary Nixon (DANG! Showin' MY age here, ay!), posers with WAY too much power in they're throttle hand, or in the case of the "Tuners", under they're foot! When I got back to the cabin, after a short twenty minutes caught in the COLD rain, I was able to tell Steven that the Dragon was NOTHING compared to the roads we rode around Hayesville, the cabin, and the Nantahala Forest. I think he's ready to give it a go now.
Friday, 5/18, Steven and I left Hayesville for Dahlonega, to meet everyone (most everyone) for the Rally. I believe there were about 18 bikes, and about 25 people. Due to the slower speeds we traveled, we barely made it to the gathering spot, with about ten minutes to spare. We rode some beautiful, challenging mountain roads into the afternoon,
before heading 18 miles south to Dawsonville, GA., where we had reservations at the Super 8 motel, due to the sole reason that they had an indoor, heated pool and spa. That was very much one of the biggest pleasantries we experienced after twelve hours of travels. Just like a great massage. Man!, was that needed!
Saturday, Steven was having one of his days again, and couldn't get out of the room for the ride. I went alone to meet everyone for the last day of the Rally. We rode a different route through the mountains,
but this time, I was SOOO... much more relaxed. Do you know the stress, fear, and anxiety of riding with a loved one, your CHILD, on technical, challenging, unfamiliar roads, with THREE dimensions when your only used to two !?? It ALMOST negates the joy. Anyway, Steven didn't totally miss out on a vacation day, he went to the theater behind the motel and saw two movies, The Avengers and Dark Shadows. We both enjoyed the spa in the evening and did a little sunglass shopping at the local mall. (which keeps the town on the map)
Sunday, expected to be spent with the family in Adairsville, was a BUST! Talking to a family member revealed a major feud was in full swing amongst the family's. Threats to shoot, sue, maim, harassment, you name it, they were at it. No place to be, even though we haven't seen them in two decades. Dang! Well, anyway, we just took a leisurely ride back to NC., and another trip to the grocers, before just enjoying a slow paced ride along the Hiawassee River,
and an evening with only the fireflies and stars. Very relaxing.
Monday, 5/21, was PICTURE DAY!
We went around Sweetwater Bend Road, Lance Cove Road, along the Hiawassee River, ventured out East and West of Hayesville, and walked around some of Sweetwater Bend snapping off pictures like we were at a wedding reception. Tourists!
Ah Tuesday! Manly man day. Weekend warriors at their best! Out to set new records on some of the most notorious, treacherous technical roads in the world! (or at least to make it look that way in still shots). Yes, Tuesday was the day for the father and his son to tempt fate, test their skills, and hopefully survive to tell the tails from the most coveted roads in the motorcycle kingdom. The Dragon (US-129), Moonshiner 28 (NC 28), and The Mile High Legend - Cherohala Skyway (NC 143 & NC 165)
The Tail of the Dragon. http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp309/Opissant/Bike%20trip/P1010074.jpg
From the cabin it took one hour and 35 minutes to go what is twenty-five miles by way of the Crow. Before entering the Dragon, we passed the Cheoah/Fugitive Dam (used in the television series "The Fugitive"), where Lake Calderwood changes to Cheoah Lake, and stop for reflection at the Crossroads Of Time- Deal's Gap.
The next twenty three miles (out & back) provide some of the most nerve racking, off camber, one hundred and eighty degree (plus) hair-pin turns (in THREE dimensions) we've ever encountered. With names like "The Wall", "The Chicanes", "Gravity Cavity", "Busa Bash", "Brake or Bust Bend", "Copper-Head Corner", "Little Whip", "Triple Apex Corner", "The Whip", "Pearly Gates", ... Well, you get the picture.
Now the adrenalin won't stop. We take the Moonshiner 28, pass Fontana Dam, and some of the Cherohala Skyway, before lunch in Robbinsville.
We agree, we're tired, fatigued, and most ready to kick our feet up and just relax, so it's a "Full-on" run to the cabin. Sleep never came so easily.
Wednesday, 5/23, we didn't want to do anything! Our Fatty Cells squeezed out just enough Testosterone to ride over the Chatuge Dam,
ride to the Boundary Waters Resort & Marina to check things out for a water day tomorrow, NO MOTORCYCLES!
We also checked things out at the public swimming park in Hiawassee, the Resort Marina, as well as a run through Hiawassee, before returning to the cabin for the evening.
Thursday, 5/24, we swore-off the motorcycles, and changed things up for a water day on Lake Chatuge.
We went back to Boundary Waters Resort & Marina and rented the little "Graig-Cat" we checked out yesturday. What a BLAST! I suggest anyone who's going to rent a watercraft consider one of these, even as an accessory to a larger boat or pontoon. It looks like a sheet of plywood with lawn chairs, a outboard motor, and the mandatory bimini top. It's like a go-cart on water (and styroids).
With Steven at the controls, and music blasting from the on board CD/radio, we did some really "stupid dog tricks". Isn't it amazing what you'll allow to be done when on a rental!? Kinda like when I'd rent a Harley for a day, and when I was done, and the "Kids" wanted to ride the bike, I'm like "Sure, take it". How many fathers would say that to their eighteen and twenty year old kids? Anyway, how we got back without assistance (and in one piece) I'm not quite sure. We ran all over Lake Chatuge. From the remote south end to the dam closer to the north end. Steven would throw that thing into a full on power turn, do a "donut" until it's motion stalled, and back off again into what ever direction it was pointed. I believe the dock attendant KNEW something was up when we brought it back, with both of us giggling and smiling like the Cheshire Cat, almost unable to look him straight in the eye. Yes, we got our monies worth (and adrenaline rush) out of that one.
On our way back to the cabin, we stopped at Fun world to rent some go-carts. We were lookin' forward to the smell of tire smoke on asphalt, but they stopped renting the carts a while back, and only had an indoor skating rink, and many, many games.
We left and rode to the Brasstown Valley Resort,
thinkin' we'd enjoy a Hot Dog and a Burger, but when we parked, looked around, and looked at ourselves, we decided we probably wouldn't be welcomed. At least NOT at the front entry. Calling a close to the day, we made one last blast through Hayesville before relaxing with the computer and bedding down early in preparation for an early departure tomorrow for home. Oh yeah, the On-line service or modem was not working properly the other night, so we had an appointment with the service provider for 4:30 (1630 hr's) to get it sorted out. Right! Any thoughts on what service is like that far up in the mountains!?? Anyway, NO, it never happened!
Friday, 5/25, Oh Friday! We were packed and ready at 10:00. I'd be lyin' if I tried to say that we were lookin' forward to the days ride. Have you ever heard the saying "Too much of a good thing"? Steve and I know just what they meant. It was pretty good to get out of the mountains, and get back to two dimensional turf. We planed the whole trip excluding all major highways, so the roads were really good, and basically traffic free. No congestion like we're accustom to in Orlando. Traveling the old school way (Well, NOT by the stars and shadows, but NO GPS either) makes for a, shall I say, different experience, when on motorcycles. No one can study the map while you proceed on down the highway. No sir, when you finally realize you MAY not be going in the right direction, you STOP and pull out the map. This added a great amount of stress to me, and, by the look Steven would give me, a bit of displeasure to him.
We finally got to our pre-determined half way point, and again spent the night at the McDonalds Lodge in Hazelhurst. Man, was the pool a welcome sight! We floated in that pool for over an hour, before heading out to the local Pizza-Hut. I got us lost looking for it, and finally gave in to Stevens insistence that HE knew right where it was. He did.
Back at the lodge we turned on the T.V. for some relaxation, but it wasn't necessary. We were BOTH out like a light, before the screen even lit up!
Saturday, 5/26. THE LAST DAY !
Saturday, 5/26. THE LAST DAY ! The last day!? Oh NO! Such a bitter sweet day. All kinds of thoughts going through my head as we hit the road this morning.
I'm following Steven, watching his every move, reminiscing about the last twenty three years raising that boy. I'm thinking about just how much I love him, how much joy he's brought into my life, the hard knocks and the hard row he's had to hoe. I'm thinking back to the decade in Scouting, the BMX racing, the soccer, shooting sports, bow and arrows, dirt bikes, and how he was always ready and willing to help me work on anything around the house. I'm watching him lean and wiggle the bike down the road, and taking his hands off the handlebars, after I've chastised him for this type of behavior over and over. I'm sure he does it on purpose, JUST to get a rise out of me. Damn kid!
John has left our house, and is living in Melbourne. Steven is the last tangible link I have to my life as I've known it for the last twenty plus years. When he leaves, there will be a large void in my house, and in my heart, and selfishly, I'm NOT looking forward to that. As he meanders blissfully down the road, I think of just how nice this trip has been. Next year I hope John will be able to go. There's something about traveling to unknown places, without others, no distracting electronics, and being together all day, every motel and meal together, relaxing evenings with no distractions to wedge their way between good conversation, conversations about the future wishes, wants, and desires.
Our last photo is at the "Welcome to Florida" sign as we cross the river between Georgia and Florida on Hwy 441.
At this point, for the first time since we left twelve days ago, I can truly relax and enjoy the sights. I know the way home from here, and no longer must I fret over where to turn, which road to take, and the thought of the time involved in making a wrong turn. No, from here the trip takes on a whole different feeling.
For the first time, time is no longer a concern. We'll be home today, sometime today, and it just doesn't matter when.
It's late in the afternoon, close to evening, and we finally make the last turn onto our street. Everything is the same, yet everything seems just a little different. One intersection, two, three, four, and there it is. Our house! Yep, "Our house, what a very very very fine house..." is running through my brain. We stop in the drive, and a minute passes before we put a foot down and remove ourselves from the saddle that has become one with our behinds. We struggle to climb the steps of the porch. We enter through the front door, and collapse in the living room. Donna's happy to see us, and has many questions she wants to know about the trip. It takes a few minutes to decompress, but we begin to relive the experience to her.
Now, it's less than three hundred and sixty days...
I had the week off, leading up to the North Texas Norton Owner's Association's 26th? Annual Lake O' The Pines Rallye, out of Jefferson, Tx (far North East Texas, just south of Texarkana).
After getting caught up around the house I left Tuesday about noon, and rode every crooked road I could find between here and Natchitoches, La., where my youngest son attends Northwestern State University. I went east to Dayton, Tx, then up through Tarkington, to Rye, then over to Dallardsville, then up and around the Indian Reservation to Camden, then Chester, the over to Colmeniel, then east on 255 to the Lake Sam Rayburn Dam, then up Hwy. 87 to Hemphill, then up to Milam over to Many, La., then into Natchitoches. Not the shortest, quickest, or most-direct route.
I spent the night there, then Wednesday morning, I got up, made a room rer serration at an EconoLodge in Mountain Home, Ar., and I took every crooked road between Winfield, La., and Mountain Home. Perfect weather, just me and my SM. I could not believe how nice Arkansas is, from the Louisianna state line all the way up into Buffalo River Territory. Without a Garmin, I did miss a turn or two along the way, but even the detours to get back on track I would gladly re-ride again! I got to Mountain Home before dark, ready for a shower and a good meal.
Thursday morning, I woke up to a changing weather forecast, hit the road, an headed up into Missouri, turning west again just south of Branson, cutting across Table Rock Lake on Hwy. 86, following that across Missouri to State Hwy. P, then back south into Arkansas, to the Pea Ridge Civil War Battlefield, where I stopped for a couple of hours to take it all in, then, things got a little screwy, and I really do think now I want a Garmin.
The plan was to cut due West across the Oklahoma state line, hit Hwy. 59, then South down 59 to Hwy. 259, which would take me back to Texas, and right to the Rally. I missed a turn after Pea Ridge, and wound up scooting down I-540 to Springdale, then I cut west on 412 to pickup 59 finally at Siloam Springs, Ok., and everything was great until I got into Van Buren. Van Buren, Ar.? (my intent was to stay in Oklahoma...). Next thing I know, I've wasted a couple of hours trying to find my way out of Van Buren/Ft. Smith, Ar., I lost track of 59, finally just headed west on Hwy. 64, and when it intersected I-40 again, I through my hands up and called it a day. I was in Sallisaw, Ok., and in the parking lot of the Sallisaw Inn, when I pulled my phone out and realized I was still just west of Ft. Smith....and it was about 7:00, getting dark....time for another shower and something to eat.
Friday morning the thunderstorms rolled through about 6:00, and the radar looked to be clear behind them, and I had figured out hat Hwy. 59 runs right through Sallisaw...so after a good breakfast, I headed south, into the Ouachitas....and soon, it looked like I was headed straight into a heavy thunderstorm. But it was only the clouds, sitting right down on the mountains.
All I had on, was all I had - a leather short over a cotton shirt worn over a wool base layer, and my Triumph Kevlar Jeans...it looked like I was about to get wet!
I pulled over at the pull-out for the scenic Talimena Drive cut-off. It was such a heavy fog, you could see the mist falling. Just shy of being actual rain, but the roads were sloggy wet, and visibility was very, very limited. I had been listening to a great new playlist I titled "Heading to California"( Led Zepelin), which had Joe Walsh, Stones, a good smattering of Lynard Skynard and Allman Brothers, Traffic, Blind Faith, Niel Young.....I was so stoked I just had to stop in the rain and walk around a bit....of course taking my helmet off did allow my head to get wet.....then down the wet mountain again....one of the best stretches of road I had been on yet. My leather shirt was soaked for the first time even getting wet, but, it never soaked through to my shirt worn underneath. Jeans wet from boots down, and I knew I would soon be in Texas, warmer weather, and with enough miles to cover yet to blow-dry getting there.
And I did.
And the rally was great, though a little cooler than most of us had prepared for, but campfires aplenty, along with good company, and some very fine old motorcycles.
Saturday, I never started my bike, just hanging out at the rally all day.
Today, I cut back down through the woods to Livingston, Tx., fora short visit with Mom & Dad, then back down though the woods to Huston, again.
A man can not pinch himself any more than I have the last 6 days. Just too good to be true. I can't believe I just did all that, solo, and I'm ready to do it all over again, too!
AI removed, Pingle, UNI Filter, 1 shim, straight-through slash-cut TORs, 45 slow jets, 140 mains, 2.0 turns, 16/42 final drive, Nology Coils
Loc: NW Wisconsin, USA
Posted this story on Facebook as it was easier to include photo's.
Adventures On The Road - Greece 2013