Day 11 – Denver … D is for Debauchery E is for ..

Again I awake in Denver with a sore noggin, and an over stuffed stomach. Justin and I went to see Gonzo in the local Landmark theatre and it really was enjoyable. It even seemed like a slightly healthy option as Emily was kind enough to drive us there, and we were going to walk the mile or so home.

I was already a bit rough, as to re-hydrate post massage I popped into Dougherty’s bar for a refreshing cider, alas they only had it in a bottle and I learned that at happy hour you buy one beer, and they give you a second one. Ouch. Just when I was about to leave G-Nome dropped in with her friend, so I had to order one more beer, which of course was two.
The massage was super wonderful, the masseuse was a former professional pole vaulter, I needed some good deep tissue work and I suspect that had I given her a piece of coal she could have made it into a diamond. Really good work.

G-Nome_Brian

After Dougherty’s Harmon fired up the Big Green Egg and rocked out some steaks and onions.

We really enjoyed the HST movie, and when we popped in for a drink in the place across the street we met the first person in Denver who has approved of my idea to go to Casa Bonita. So its on, I am going to stop writing this nonsence, and go be a tourist. I really hope tomorrows entry is better then the past two days. Denver is a rough town 🙂

Only_person_in_town_that_approves_of_going_to_Casa_Bonita

Oooo and our stupid drunken asses had McDonalds after we got home. Yeah us.

Brian

Day 10 – Denver, Emily’s Birthday

 

I really was tired when I got here last night, so I was all set for some sleep when Emily sent me a text message offering me some ass. Turned out it was Pizza and it was not to be had anyway, so some fine homemade quesadillas, and several bottles of wine later it was the wee hours and time to sleep.

This led to a pretty subdued Monday, Justin and I spent most of the day running errands picking up birthday stuff for Emily including us getting quite lost several times down county roads, and dirt roads trying to find the place for her main gift. The good thing about that is we got to see “The Bandit” which somehow reminds me of the “Little Mule” in the movie Romancing the Stone.

Bapper_and_Chez_Harmon

The gentleman we bought the burner from was quite chatty, so we got to meet he Geese, chickens, sheep dogs, parakeets and miscellaneous other interesting creatures on the farm. He also sent us to the Pepper Pod for lunch, which made much of the pain from the previous evening go away.

As we rolled through downtown Denver Justin pointed out many of the sites, and I failed to capture them with my camera 🙂

We had a really nice dinner for Emilys birthday, and after eating camp food for a week or so, it was quite a change. Back to the hours and I got my ass handed to me in wii tennis and a hardcore wii baseball game. I think I was 28-0 down at the end of the first inning, LOL. Some Tiger Woods wrapped out the evening.

Cheese_the_ass_cat

As you can tell from this entry, I have not been on the machine, and really not thinking much. I have been faffing around with the blog adding plugins etc. that Adam suggested, and I suspect tomorrow will be just as idle so not much to report then either.

Right now I am planning to pull out Wednesday night / Thursday morning and make the 800 mile sprint to Aunt NoNo. So should see her Thursday evening.

Brian

Day 9 – Rally ends, Devils Tower and the road to Denver

 

Today was the end of the BMW MOA rally, but before leaving the area I wanted to swing by the Devils Tower as I missed it last time I went across 90. As you can clearly see this is the landing sight from Close Encounters, the piece of rock itself was pretty impressive, but the land around it was just breath taking.

I_guess_no_one_drives_cars_in_gillette

From there I was trying to visit a bar Justin used to serve beer at in Laramie WY, the bar is called something like the Rump Ranger. Everyone was very friendly. Again I wanted to stay off the slab, and rolling along 287 as well as 34 again in WY was just stunning. It is impressive with all the weight on the machine, and my laundry acting as a sail how well she manages in the twisties. I was banked well over in a corner on 34 when I saw a funny looking long eared deer. I grabbed the brakes hard and they stopped me very well, however my reactions and those of the machine were in vein as the deer took off running before I even registered it.

Ranger_and_Bapper

After camping for a few days, not to mention partying late and being woken by the sun, today was the first time I started feeling tired again on the machine. Not to risk last times events I sucked down a redbull, water, sandwich and pulled out my nice silent plugs and went back to music. I suspect after a few nice nights in Denver I will have no such issues on the road to Auntie NoNo.

I am shattered tiered and my brain is not working, so no more for today. I will be relaxing in Denver with Justin and Emily for the next few days, so I will not be pulling serious miles.

I will however be looking at some of the treasures that Denver has to offer, maybe I can do a few buck-wheats hits and find some friends of Jimmy the Saint.

Night

Brian

day_8

Day 8 – More Rally

Myself_and_Tom

 

Today clearly marks a turning point, after today I am no longer on my way to vacation, I am on my way back. This was an odd sort of realization but I am going to have to try and not allow that to detract from all the good that has yet to happen.

I spent a good chunk of today volunteering, four hours or so in the morning signing people up to help out, and then maybe four hours in the evening slinging beers. Doing both I had the chance to meet a lot of good people, the crowd at this rally really was good.

In the breaks I had further excellent chats with Tom, picked up some deer skin gloves and signed up for a motorcycle consumer magazine. Hell I even checked in with the home office:)

No storms today and the moon is once again incredible hanging in the sky huge, not as red as it was last night, but still wonderful to look upon.

I did get to thinking however that the current economic conditions really are hurting people out of the cities. When driving through the back roads it seemed hard to go much more then a mile without seeing a car, snow-mobile, bike etc. up for sale. People seem to be selling their toys so they can keep juice in their cars so they can get to work.
Its been a long time since the U.S. saw anything like this, I guess in some way this could be good for the country, reminding people to save for a rainy day etc. I hope some day to learn that lesson myself.

Martin_Hobbs_in_Volunteer_booth

Tomorrow I make the run to “The Devils tower” then turn back south towards Cheyenne and/or Denver depending on where Dan and family are at. I can see myself attending more of these rally’s in the future. I do seem to have changed from my old, run out to meet everyone self, I have been enjoying much of the time to just relax, listen to my iPod or just slouch. I guess I really needed it.

Anyway, enough of this, the sun will be waking me in my tent pretty soon, so I should head to it and try and get as much sleep as I can.

My_tent_and_laundry

Be Safe.

Brian


Day 7 – A Day of zero miles

 

The storm raged on for most of the evening, suffice to say each time I woke up with the need to use the facilities I was trying to stay under my tent as much as I could. The weather was a bit more then some tents, and some people could manage so of our little group of five tents one went to a motel based on all being wet, and one moved as we are close to a road. I figured I can sleep through most anything, including my own snoring, so some traffic didn’t scare me, and I opted for good ground over good location.

Sky_turning_grey

I spent a good chunk of time chatting with Tom again today, he is a fellow ST owner, that is my ugly duckling bike for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, who welcomed me with some Scotch last night. He has been a bike guy for longer then I have been alive as well as a witch-doctor, I mean chiropractor as well as just general good people. I suspect he is one of the good chiropractors as he is no nonsense and seems to have a very good understanding of physiology.

Camp_Cycles

I will try not to be too boring on the bike front, suffice to say there are a lot of cool bikes, and a lot of cool toys for bikes here. Some of the vintage machines are really nice, and I included the picture of a war era bike including a rather dangerous looking sidecar gun, as well as towing a canon. I ordered a set of custom earplugs, it’s pretty cool, they make a mould of the inside of your ear and 6-8 weeks later you get plugs that keep all road noise out, as well as keeping music in. So I can keep my music volume lower, and protect my hearing. I call that a two-fer 🙂 Technically a three-fer I guess as when I popped back to get some regular plugs I can use on the road without music, he decided to give them to me for free 🙂

Having kept to my plan of not getting on the machine today, I am looking forward to riding down town tomorrow and getting something better to eat. I suspect I can do a lot better on the stove then the stuff on sale here.

KTM_good_enough_for 100K_Miles_just_not_for_a_couple_of_actors

Not much more to report, a very nice day with lots of friendly people. Tomorrow I am doing some volunteering for a couple of hours, so I suspect I will meet some more characters 🙂

The beer tent is calling, so I am off that direction.

Brian

Chillin with the family Dougherty

Waking up this morning in Cheyenne, I had the chance to hang with the Dougherty’s again. Things turned a bit ugly when we found out that some friend of humanity had been through the car and taken Karin’s purse, luckily they discarded many of the things of value and she still has an expired driving license so she should be able to fly back home. Still not how you want your day to begin:(

We got to see some of the beauty of Wyoming; we went to a nice remote place for our lunch and then got to see a stone pyramid I didn’t quite understand and finally the huge Abe Lincoln head.

I could tell I was in Wyoming when at the Abe Head I say a sign in the urinal that said “Please do not spit gum or chew in the urinals it plugs them up”, I am not in DC anymore:)

From there it was a fast 250 miles or so cross country to the rally, taking Dan’s fathers advice I took hwy 287 to 30, 34 out of Laramie and the ride was just incredible. It started off with arrow straight roads which lead to the cliché photo I had to take, sprinting over that at speed then led into some beautiful mountains and fantastic twists and turns. Karma was even on my side as I had been rolling through a few of the corners around 110 and came upon a car, while waiting for a safe place to pass I went by a sheriff coming the other way, at which point we were doing a civilized 65.

I don’t think they care about speeding during daylight hours much in this state

Check in at the rally went very smoothly, my camping neighbors are all very friendly, I was making a mess of putting together my tent and they jumped in to help. Joined one for some scotch he had brought, and the night was started. As things were getting rolling a nasty storm blew in, it was rough enough that they shut down the rodeo a half mile down the street. We hung out speculating on the path of the storm, and finally when the rain got heavy we jumped into out tents. When the storm got rough, we hopped into our tents and once it was past, it was time to go get a beer.

As you would imagine there are some odd ducks at the rally, and all are friendly. No riding is the plan for tomorrow, just relax and allow my ass to go back to its own shape, not the shape of the saddle.

Brian

 

Day 5 – Nebraska, it aint that bad

Day 6 – Super Slab

By getting onto the super-slab today I was going to be able to chew up some serious mileage, after the hot tub and a full nights rest the 550 miles from Walnut Iowa to Cheyenne Wyoming was not too bad at all.

With the fantastic 75MPH speed limits it did not take too long at all to get to the SAC museum. They had a lot of great stuff, but it was so crammed into the hangers it was hard to get good photos. Most of what they had was fairly standard fair B1A, B52, SR71, U2 etc. but they also had a B-36J which was one of the oddest planes I had ever seen with its six props and four jet engines. Really odd.


As I got deeper into Nebraska the terrain lost most of its feature and it was just flat in all directions, most people had warned me that Nebraska was a boring state, but I didn’t find it too bad at all. At speed it went by pretty quickly. It was also sort of cool seeing the combine harvesters (I am not sure what the US name is) out working the fields, the entire machines were just covered in layers of dust they were kicking up while doing their jobs. Funny that my allergies have not been a problem on this trip, must be something in Virginia.

To help blend with Nebraska I had selected to listen to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance as an audiobook. Last time I read that book I came away with an opinion that is quite different to me this time, of course I am not at the end yet, but it seems different. I suspect it is not the text that has changed in the past ten years.
The blending of iPod with trip had come up a few times naturally on this trip, when riding in Canada when “Blame Canada” came on from the SouthPark Movie I felt like a fugitive, on the big line “When Canada is dead and gone, there will be no more Celine Dion” I cheered even louder then usual. The played the song again and responded equally well.
Earlier in Nebraska I was listening to the Moth Podcast and the speech was talking about a fifth generation Nebraskan trying desperately to get out.

On my last gas stop I performed my routing inspection of the bike, after some 27K miles and plenty of fruitless inspections I noticed something this time. One of the bolts holding the rear brake caliper in place had worked itself loose with the vibrations. Thankfully it is a really long bolt so it had not quite fallen out. Loosing this bolt would not have caused things to stop working, but who knows where a bolt dropping into a wheel at 90MPH would have ended up.
I tightened the bolt, and then performed a second more thorough inspection but found nothing else. I had rolled the tires at the gas stop before and made sure they were good all the way round, as the miles continue to rack up on the Bapper it will be key that I keep looking at these things, and now I have a reminder of why it is important.

Finally arrival in Cheyenne gave me the chance to see the Dougherty’s, the whole clan seem to be doing very well, the night ended with Karin doing a cross word, Dan and I playing on the Internets (you don’t think this blog writes itself), and since I am deprived of an iPhone, damn Apple, I have to geotag by hand while I still remember where I have been.
Tomorrow we are going to do some tourist stuff around here, so should have more photos from that, then the actually trip is just 245 miles up to Gillette for the rally. I knew there was a reason I was riding for the past five days.

I am not sure how connectivity will be there, so if I go offline for a while, please don’t be concerned. Sunday I leave and come back to Cheyenne or Denver depending on the timing, so I would suspect programming to restart then or Monday.

Brian

Day 5 Route

Day 4 – Its Life Jim …

Waking up in Sun Prairie Wisconsin this morning my concerns from yesterday about heat catching up with me soon came to pass. Its been between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit about 30 Celsius all day, and that is taking its toll on me. I think tomorrow I will soak my cooling vest and try and take my core down a few degrees.

I did have the pleasure of again encountering one of the things that I still find odd about US culture. I believe the Irish are much more a private people then our cousins on this side of the pond, and in some ways I am more private then most. Around Cedar Rapids as I was finally going to make the move from lovely back roads, in this case 151 onto Interstate 380 a guy working at the gas station I was fueling up at struck up a conversation. He told me that he had lost his bike in ‘the flood’ as well as having two homes destroyed and since all FEMA gave him was $24K to fix the homes, he and his wife decided the only option was to declare bankruptcy and start again.
How horrible the flooding has been around here makes my whining about the heat today all the more ridiculous, but along with my heart going out to this guy, I was also shocked that he would pour that much information out to a complete stranger.
It is something I have noticed before in the US and I suspect may be healthier then keeping things wrapped up to yourself, or just family, but it is certainly not my way.

From there I moved to one of the stops I have been most looking forward which is in Riverside Iowa where I got to see the future birthplace of Captain James T Kirk. The U.S.S. Riverside looked suitable cheesy, and even has a sister now, Shuttle No. 1. From there it was a short walk into town to see the stone marking Kirk, I was touched with a reverence I have not felt since seeing the tombstones at Graceland.
I was so high on life that I decided to cross the road to the icehouse bar and have my first beer of the trip. Given the temperature outside I was very please with the froth and not so happy with the walk back to the bike.

Brian_Meets_History

I now am at the point that I can tell how bad I am smelling, not a good sign. My wicking under-layer are doing their job, but I need to get my armor into a washing machine.

Combing the heat right now, with drinking and riding being such a horrible combo I am writing this posting early today. When the temperature drops, and the beer drops from my system it is onto Des Moines and tasty tacos for dinner per Carin’s advice, and then when it is cooler I will roll as much further as I can. As I am within two days of the rally now, and going to be on Interstates for much of them, it is time to just pin back my ears and pile on the miles. Just a shame my body is sore and tired, apart from that the plan is perfect

Brian

The last couple of hours from my posting made for beautiful riding, there was a beautiful sunset for almost an hour, and then to add to the fun I could see an electrical storm for about 60 miles. As it started to rain I was approaching a motel that had been up on billboards, for once I made the right decision and pulled rather then do an extra hour and get soaked. I also splurged the extra $40 for a room with a Whirlpool tub, so I will be going there in a few minutes to try and ease my muscles. I even have laundry going, it seems checking in at 22:30 instead of midnight or later gives you more options 🙂 A short day, 422 miles.

Night!!


Day 3 – Enjoying the two lanes

This mornings ride in Canada started off a bit grey again but I got a great nights sleep last night, and felt ready to face the world. When reentering the U.S. they wanted to know if I had any weapons on me, I could see them being so precise going into Canada but I thought the US liked that sort of thing. When entering Canada I was asked about four different ways if I had any weapons, weapons even for personal protection, knives, guns, pepper spray, mace etc. Both sides were concerned about booze and smokes, and the question of food came up just the once.

The sun had come out by the time I hit Manistique, Michigan and it was proving to be a wonderful day, I fired up the grill (a gift for Christmas) which worked very well, and I actually spent some time hanging out at a lake and relaxing just across from a “Big Boy”.

As I continued south I began to notice that a grain silo in the distance was a warning to hold your breath, I guess they must be used for animal feed now as the reek of manure follows very closely behind seeing one. The big surprise was one of the times in the middle of the smell beside a silo was a BMW Motorcycle dealership. Not quite the same feeling as Bobs or Morton’s.

I always suspected that fire trucks were made somewhere, but a little after seeing Lambeau field I rolled by the headquarters of Pierce Manufacturing. That in itself was pretty cool with all the firetrucks out front, but I chuckled to myself for some time given the sound fire tucks made that they are made just outside a place called Nee-Nah. … Ouch, sorry.

I also had the ABS make my life much easier today, I was rolling along and saw the field in the image above, I didn’t have much room to pull over and get the shot, so I yanked on the breaks and rolled over to the shoulder. What I learned was that more then half the shoulder was gravel, I noticed this when I was already committed and the ABS did a nice smooth job of wiping off the speed. Without ABS that would have been a lot uglier I suspect.

Today will be my last day of proper 2-3 lane roads, tomorrow morning I hit the super-slab which is great from a mileage consumption standpoint, but I will loose much of the character. I think it will be good as the usual pains are setting in , knees, right wrist etc. so a day of easy high speed cruising should be good.

Today was a short travel day totaling only about 407 miles. I suspect tomorrow will be another story.

Cheers

Brian

Bad start to the morning

I was a little nervous starting off Sunday, I had gotten pretty soaked Satuday night, but the weather forecast called for a lovel morning. When I looked out the window however this is what I saw.

I went from there to the Falls, I did not see any evidence of Superman there, but Batman was all setup, they had his car and bike from the new Dark Knight movie, pretty cool. Allegedly they are the actual ones from the movie, the bar does look bad ass.
Ooo and did I mention some water was going off a cliff, very impressive.

From there into Canada, I stopped at an Esso, I thought they were just called that in Europe, and they had cadbury’s chocolate, what a wonderful place 🙂

The road to Sudbury was incredible, a lovely 2 – 3 lane road with beautiful forest, lakes etc. Sudbury itself was really ugly with the biggest chimney stacks I have seen. My friend rain returned, so after an hour in that, I was ready to rest when I got to Sault Ste Marie.

Sault Ste. Marie does seem to thave some of the gutsiest bugs I have ever seen, I could not see through my visor after about an hour of hitting these in the rain, it was just a mess.

The road covered on day 2