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See ya on the road!
I am about a month out from departure to Virginia and eventually Michigan & Canada. I just changed the oil and will do so one more time prior to leaving. I am guessing we will be traveling roughly 3,000 on this trip so that last oil change should last until I get home.
RTM has ordered new Avon Tyres for me. I put nearly 8,000 miles on this set and could not be happier. They are just great tires. I love the way they grip when cornering and they gave me about 3,000 more miles than the OEM tires.
Thanks to Sue & Steve at Hudson Valley Motorsports Parts (hvmp.com) for my new bar-end weights. Riding the Blast is, well, a blast. However it is a single cylinder “thumper” and definitely has vibration. The HVMP bar-end weights not only look great, they significantly reduce hand/wrist fatigue.
I have been riding every day to work which means more traffic laden roads (think lots of clutch work). Where my fingers used to get sore, numb and tingly – NO MORE! Thumper is even considering a set for his new FJR 1300. If you ride, you should have a set of HVMP bar-end weights – they will make your ride more comfortable and your hands will thank you.
Hhhmmmm, can’t wait to hit the road!
The plan was to be on the road by early afternoon. Clinic on Thursday is usually
done by 11 or 12.Well, as luck would have it, it was a never ending clinic and I
did not get out until after 2:00.
The luck continued. The drought we had been experiencing decided to take
this afternoon to abate and the rain came on with a vengeance. It figures –
months with no rain and it picks “my afternoon” to let it loose.
I went to check the radar again, thinking the green blob would magically disappear.
It did not. Might as well run some errands.
Thumper decided to check the radar again. He had the special touch. This time
the green blob did magically, well, move. A little. Was enough for me. Off we
were at 6:30. Rain suits on, gassed and ready to go.
Odometer reading: 14, 879
At 109 miles my Buell decided to sputter and I had to switch to reserve. This
was unusual - 150 miles is the mark I look for to hit reserve. Is it the extra weight
from the bag? Wind? 80 MPH constant speed? Or all of the above? Will find
out when we exit the big road and hit the two lane highways we love so much.
By 10:15 we arrived in
prepare for tomorrow. I have a feeling that green blob will be back.
Hi Hapi – here we are in our room at the
Hot Spot or Hot Tub?
When I last left you we had made it up to
From there we picked up 60 north, to GA 5 which becomes TN 68 when it crosses the state line. This is a “green dot” road, which Rand McNally translates to scenic drive. And boy was it ever. Mountain curves, up and down, in and out. It was my first taste of putting the Buell through it’s paces and it was an absolute Blast! Until that green blob showed up. Yep – it happened. The rain reappeared and there was nowhere to go accept onward. Just outside of
We scooted down the mountain with them and when the clouds became a little more ominous, we followed them into the Tellico Plains Café. It was obvious they knew the area well. We took cover while the storm blew overhead. Bill and Chuck were great company and had many cycle tales to tell. (Thanks for the company guys!) When the rain let up to just a sprinkle we continued on our way into Sweetwater.
I would have posted this last night but when we had our choice of a hot spot (internet connection) or hot tub, and you have just ridden over 500 miles, well, the hot tub won out. Had a nice chat with William and Cheryl at the hotel, nice folks from
This morning we continued our northerly trek. I wanted to follow 27 north to 150 west in
Donated my dollar to the fire department in
We stopped for a beverage somewhere around
And finally, we made a little detour to find a hotel in
Tomorrow we head for the Ohio river to cross into
Pics posted in the Michigan Trip Photo Album
We found it! Yep, we hit the road in the cool morning temps. Way cool for The Magster – I was forced to put my cool weather pants on, just not used to 50 degree mornings with no humidity. After roaming the
We headed north on
A few minutes later were here inundated with bikes. We had happened upon a local poker run. After meeting a few locals (among them, Steve & Mary,
Brent & Debbie – wished we had known ahead of time we would be in
As we head into Amish country in northern
My bike clicked over 16,000 today – I added a touch of oil. So far, flawless performance. I am having the time of my life Thanks Erik Buell!!
To all those we have met on the road – thanks for helping to make our journey all that more enjoyable.
Sunday June 4 –
Monday June 5, 2006
I love it when something works out the way you want it to. I am learning to work with new tools to help us navigate the countless beautiful back country roads we love to travel. I utilize the traditional old style map/atlas along with the new technology of a GPS. This enables me to plug in a projected route each morning and then ride worry free that you will not get lost. And even if you do, the good old GPS will get you out of any bind you find yourself in. This lets you really get off the main roads and traverse rural roads through farmland and small towns.
We found ourselves riding through northern Indiana Amish country. This was Thumper’s first experience seeing the simple way these people live and he was taken aback by it. Little or no electricity, no cars or motorized farm equipment.
You start seeing farmers in the fields with horses pulling the plows, long bearded men riding bicycles. Women wearing plain dresses with hair tucked neatly under a bonnet hanging clothes up to dry. You have to admire the tenacity to persevere in this uncomplicated way of life in the face of modern day technology.
At the Blue Gate Restaurant & Bakery we had a delicious homemade lunch of beef & noodles, followed by fresh made apple dumplings with vanilla and cinnamon ice-cream. I can’t begin to describe how great this meal was. Served by friendly Amish young men & women eager to please. Fresh bread was served with homemade apple butter and peanut butter mixed with maple syrup, brown sugar and honey – indescribable.
We had made it! The little Buell Blast had travelled over 1,400 miles to haul the Magster all the way back to her
After riding 1,400 to get to
Tomorrow – I think I will go to Hell.
666 – Once in a Lifetime! That would translate to 6/6/2006. The local and national news would do their best to make more of the day than what it most likely deserves. So what to do on this infamous day? Well, go to Hell I suppose. That is where all the media folks were hanging out. So with the help of my Mom – I plug a route into the GPS and off we go. “Have fun in Hell” I hear her call out as we ride off. Hhhmm, that sounded just a bit sarcastic.
The road into Hell is paved, but very rough. As it meanders through small and large farms, the aroma of dairy farms (ya gotta love it!) permeates the air. It weaves back and forth under a canopy of trees before eventually arriving in the city of
Cars line the roads, TV cameras and vans fill the parking lot. Before long hoards of people are gathered all attempting to get their hands on one of the limited edition t-shirts that proclaim “666 – Once in a Lifetime”. They only printed 666 of them. You can buy tons of stuff for just $6.66 all emblazoned with the Hell Fire logo.
The Devil himself was there. Yep, he too is a biker. Saw him myself. Even took of picture of him, I wasn’t scared! He was actually kind of nice. All the reporters clambered for the opportunity to interview him. What a story, interview the Devil, while he sits proudly on his chopper in Hell on 6/6/06.
We met members of the metal band ANIDYNE – they didn’t appear to be afraid of the Devil either. They were just hanging out in the shade (yes, it was hot in Hell) watching the spectacle as people waited in line for hours just to nab a piece of history in Hell.
We made it out of Hell intact (Thank God). Rode to
On to Joe’s Gizzard City Inn in Potterville. This is the town where I grew up and my first apartment was in the next block over from Joe’s. We were fortunate enough to chat with Little Joe Bristol who took over the bar from his dad, Big Joe (of course!). We hope to still be in town next weekend when he plays the host for the annual Gizzard Fest.
Until tomorrow, I am still alive, still riding and still having a blast! Mmm
PS: Thanks to my buddy Phil and sister Tonia for taking care of my two furry little children at home, Bonnie & Clyde. Tonia even helped them post a message to me in the guest book. My love to you both, Mommy will be home soon, be good!.
Wednesday June 7, 2006
It was raining over night.
It was raining in the morning.
It was raining all day long
and then it started storming.
The bikes they did not move
the covers left in place
I'm sitting here unhappy
with a frown upon my face.
Tomorrow it should clear
with the sun all warm and bright
Then off I'll go down the street
smiling with delight!
Happy Trails :)
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
You will see the pictures of the old bridge just outside of Eaton Rapids,
I had another animal encounter with a dog when we stopped to check out the map/GPS near
We came across a HD/Buell dealership in Tecumseh along a lonely stretch of road and could not resist pulling in to have a look around. The store was awesome. They had several old/classic bikes on display which made the stop completely worthwhile. Met Bill (see pic) in the parking lot who was nice enough to tell us about Pete’s Garage – the local bike hangout.
We found our way to
Later we took full advantage of the sauna, hot tub and pool and then fell into bed exhausted. Tomorrow was another day.
When we awoke in the morning and looked out the window I could not believe what I was seeing. There was a white car parked in the lot and it was covered nearly black. So too the truck and trailer parked nearby. I prayed my bike’s cover would not hold the same surprise for me. My prayers did not work. The bugs were on everything. Everywhere. Even the ground. They crunched under our feet as we made our way to the bikes. They were easy enough to shake off but they still gave me chills. I was told they are fish flies. As they get worse. This was just beginning. I will take love bugs any time over this – I could not imagine having to try and get into a car that is covered. Eeeewww
Venturerider.org is the place (internet) to meet great folks, mostly Yamaha Venture riders but not exclusively. These people not only love to ride but also love to share in the camaraderie that brings motorcyclists together. So it goes without saying that once they knew we would be in
Personally I was just a bit afraid. The last time we hooked up with the folks from
So naturally I thought they would want to get even. Instead they took us on a wonderful tour of the Ford Motor Company grounds & through
We meandered through the Irish Hills and saw Michigan International Speedway in
The ride ended in
I hated to see the day end. Al, Diane, Eddy, Denny & Daren - Thanks for a great day. See you in August at the Tail of the Dragon ride at
Spent the last couple of days riding around south central Michigan. Saturday we visited Grand Ledge and went to see The Ledges. These are rock formations that history says used to be part of a huge underwater cavern system.
Met Billy & Marty there. These two guys have a passion and dream themselves. Just as it was my destiny to ride from Florida to Michigan on my little 500cc bike, they are on a quest to play all the "Disc Golf" courses in Michigan. In case you have never heard of this sport, we hadn’t, it is golf by way of a Frisbee. The rules are the same as golf, each hole has a par and you score just like in golf. They are serious players – even used different discs of varying weights, just as you would choose a club. Hey Phil – wanna change your game around a little? Thumper said he would go disc golfing with ya!! You will see photos of Billy & Marty in the photo album.
Then it was off to Ron & Val Clewley’s for rest and relaxation. They have a beautiful home that is situated at the edge of a cornfield. This is my definition of heaven. Peaceful and beautiful – we truly enjoyed the company. Ron, the Master Griller, cooked up burgers and dogs and everybody brought a dish. Unfortunately the photographer was too busy doing other things and she neglected to do her job. I am sorry gang – we had a great time, but I have no photos to prove it. Thanks for your hospitality - and for having us over.
Sunday we met up with my sister Sherrie her husband Eric again. Eric and fellow riders from The Bloodbrothers, Bob & Melissa, Chris & Carry took us on a great ride through the country and then on to lunch.
Later we were privileged to have my niece and nephew along for a ride. John boarded Thumpers ride and Elainnie jumped on back with me (brave girl) and off we went to Thornapple Lake. It was a great way to end the evening.
Monday we head north to see my older brother Mike and catch up with his better half Karen and son Ryan and his girlfriend Ashley. Then off to Mackinac Bridge and the U.P.
Wednesday June 14, 2006 8:50 PM
We have had a couple of very busy days. Spent Monday morning just meandering north towards Clare and Farwell, where my brother Mike lives. Made it to Clare and was lucky enough to get my nephew Ryan on the phone and hook up for pizza.
Ryan was very knowledgeable about local history and when we asked about a good hotel he was quick to suggest the Motel Dougherty. Rumor has it that during the days of the Purple Gang they used to hang out at the Motel Dougherty and that there are tunnels under the motel used as escape routes. Ryan even had a friend in school who lived in a house which had one of these tunnels that connected to the Dougherty.
After relaxing in the hot tub we rode out to Mike’s house. He lives in a beautiful home in Farwell. While deciding on dinner the conversation turned to deer and wouldn’t you know it, just then a little doe walked right into the street in front of the house. I decided it was time to go back to the motel and park the bike.
Mike & Karen picked us up and we met up with Ryan & Ashley for a great dinner at Yackies Riverside Grill.
Tuesday we got an early start – we were both excited about our destination –
It was awesome! First we stopped for a pre-crossing photo-op and then it was off to ride the bridge. I had always dreamed of riding a motorcycle across the
Odometer: 17,303, just about 2,424 miles since leaving Wesley Chapel.
Back across the river we stopped at the Dixie Saloon in
At the local IGA we ran into Phillip & Paul who where riding to Milwaukee. In a most interesting journey – they were going to put their bikes on a ferry which goes across Lake Michigan and lands them right in Milwaukee – how cool!
At JR’s Tailgate we met Ruth and Calvin. They are there on his custom made motorcycle, which he gladly allowed me to sit on for a photo-op.
Wednesday we headed down the coast on M119 and M22 – through
Tomorrow we head back to
Special hello, hugs and kiss to Gaynell McKenzie - Thumps Mom & Hapi
We miss all our buddies back home – Trent, Marisol, Ben, Amy, Phil, Tonia, Kevin, Toshia, Clayton, Bobby, Dale, Ralph, Amanda, Shea, Shelly & all the Bloated Goat Gang, Glenn & Kelly & all our friends at Hog Pen – we will be home soon!
Saturday June 17
Friday we rode all day. We made it from
The last part of the day was on
Today we will be heading generally south on
66 ends in
Plan is to be home by Monday or Tuesday.
Sending a hello out to Wanda, Allen and to Crystal and Scarlett at Bloated Goat Saloon!
Hi Hi Seka & Bob Elliott
Hi Mom, Hi Dad
Hello to Eric, Brian & Tom at RTM - will need to see you when I return!
Monday June 19, 2005
Yeah – I know here it is just two o’clock and we have already called it a day. Many reasons. We rode about 250 miles, the rains were catching up to us and heck, we just wanted to spend one last night pampering ourselves in the hot tub.
It was a great journey. The ride down
Sunday found us among some of the most congested areas we have traversed so far due to the tourist factor. Cherokee, NC is beautiful, but very crowded. We decided against hanging out and continued on down the road.
By late afternoon we had made it half way through
This morning we headed south on 129. This road, heading north is the same road that Trent & Marisol will be riding come Tuesday – Deals Gap – where 129 crosses from North Carolina into Tennessee, The Dragon – 318 curves in 11 miles – have fun guys!
Tomorrow this trip ends but the memories of the journey live on in our minds continuously as we plan and prepare for our next adventure.
When it is all said and done….
The Buell performed magnificently. The only problem, a minor one, was when the carb boot came off and needed to have the clamp tightened down.
Departing odometer reading: 14,879
Final odometer reading: 19,100
Total trip mileage: 4,221
And I am ready to do it all over again.
To all those we met on the road – thanks for the memories, meeting new friends like you is what makes motorcycle travel so much fun.
Thanks for hanging with me. Keep a watch on the site, you never know where I’ll be next,
On every trip there is a guardian angel - on this trip it was
Terry & his Wife!
We met Terry two and a half weeks ago as we were preparing to
depart for Michigan. Tonight Terry & his Wife informed the desk
clerk I had inadvertently switched my ignition too far and left the
running lights on. Thanks you two for your thoughtfulness