T’was a busy day Wednesday, June 16, getting details cleared up at work, running errands for Joanne and then cleaning the bike yesterday afternoon and mounting a new SW-Moto Pro City tank bag. It’s a stiffer tank bag and to keep it from interfering with things (like turn signals and horn buttons, I rotated the handle bars up a bit. I had nearly every thing but toilet articles packed when I went to bed at about 11:30 with my alarm set for 6AM. I slept for a couple of hours, then got up to make a short trip. I went right back to sleep, took another trip at 3:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep till 6. I had set the alarm for 7:30 but slept till 8:30.

I got away at 10, got about 10 miles from the house and realized I didn’t have my Kindle. You know I need my Kindle! So I turned around and got it. I stopped in Laramie and got gas, even though I can usually make it to Rock Springs unless the wind is blowing. Actually, I’ve NEVER made it to Rock Spring because the wind is ALWAYS blowing in Wyoming. For a long time there were warning signs that said “STRONG WINDS LIKELY FOR THE NEXT 5 MILES.” There were 84 signs along I-80. I guess WYDOT decided that they were too discouraging for the average traveler because for the most part they’re not their anymore.

By the time I left Laramie at noon, the temperature at 7500′ ASL, was 98. It stayed that hot and got a little hotter until I stopped to rehydrate and grab a Subway in Wamsutter. I stopped again at Evanston, for gas and personal liquid exchange and by the time I started last leg to Provo it was down to 88F at 7pm. By the time I got off 80 and headed to Heber, it made it down to 72F, but as I came downhill to Provo, it got back up to 94F when I pulled into the Marriot.

In spite of the heat, the ride had been good. But my first couple of hours here at the Marriot weren’t great. The desk clerk took 15 minutes to find my reservation. Then there weren’t any luggage carts. It took an hour to find one. I loaded it and got up to my room on the 8th floor.

And then I was trapped on the 8th floor. The elevators weren’t working! They finally got those fixed, and then I went to park my bike in the garage. They have a gate that you open by using your room card. I was feeling pretty wobbly by then and talked another rider into using my room card to help me get it open without having to get close to the card reader. The lane for the turn up to the next level was real narrow and real steep and the two of those I had to make both had a drivers merging as they came down from higher levels and a driver right on my bumper as I had to stop on the steep, narrow curving ramp — I felt like I had a pretty good opportunity to stall the bike and drop it! But I didn’t drop it, even though I did stall it twice on one ramp and three times on another one. I made it to bed about midnight and had terrible leg cramps all night.

We had “The IBR Last Chance” dinner tonight and tomorrow night will be the Start Banquet. At the end of that the riders will receive their checkpoint packages and be released to their rooms to begin planning their rides for the first leg. We don’t even know how many legs there’ll be yet, but we do know the Rally Theme is “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

I’ll leave here Monday after the Iron Butt Rally folks get out. I’ll probably go to Rawlins and/or Casper and leave for Spearfish early Wednesday. I think I’ll go up through Wright and Gillette. I hope to be in Spearfish by 2 or 3 on Wednesday.

Here’s a link to the new.spotwalla.com map of the ride I took on Thursday, June 17th:  https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/e912-258aa076-4efb/view

I’ll get some pictures added one of these days!

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Ground Hog Day Ride

It was 31F when I went into the garage this morning. If it had been up to me, I would have waited a couple of hours to start the ride. But it wasn’t up to me. Friend Mike, whose skills with computers and motorcycles have saved me on numerous occasions since 2000 when we both rode Kawasaki Concours (his a ’98, mine a ’99) C-10s, needed me to be to his house by 10AM so he could save me once again. By the time I got there, only 21 miles from here, the temperature was up to 50F. Mike was going to help me finally get my Koako throttle lock that I’ve had since October installed on Horse. I hadn’t been able to remove the OEM bar-end weight, but Mike’s impact wrench made short work of that. Then a more difficult job was to remove the part of the Honda bar-end assembly that’s buried in the handlebar. Mike figured out that the way to go was to remove the the throttle/switch assembly. Then we could get at the clip that locked that assembly in place.

Then the issue we faced was that my Oxford heated grips kept the the thrust washer of the Koako from touch the handlebar itself. So, Mike trimmed the ends of the grips and then hit them with a Dremel abrasive to make them smooth. From there, it was easy to install the Koako. I have a cruise control on Horse, my 2nd NT700V, but I’ve learned that there are times when a throttle lock is worth having. I wish I had thought to have the Throttlemeister from Dudley (NT#1 for me) transferred over to Horse, but I didn’t. Throttlemeister is gone now, but the Koako gets good recommendations.

By the time Mike and I finished up, it was 12:30 and I decided to celebrate Ground Hog Day by taking a ride. I got onto I-25 between Loveland and Ft Collins and headed north. In Colorado, it was a beautiful calm day. But Wyoming is rarely calm. Sure enough, about 10 miles south of the border, the wind started blowing and by the time I got to Exit 8D, the turn to I-80 East, it was blowing 40-45mph. I rode through Cheyenne and exited 80 at Campstool Road, passed the Historic Wyoming Hereford Ranch and rode to Carpenter the SE-most Wyoming town. And, by the time I got past Hereford, the NE-most Colorado town, the wind was easing. By Grover, about 15 miles south of the CO/WY border it was down to 10-12mph and the temperature was up to 65F. I took my usual route: Keota, CO-14, Briggsdale, and Lucerne and home. It wasn’t a long ride, but it was the first ride I’ve had in 2021 and it was well worth it.


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Slowly, slowly, I’m getting closer to being farkled out…

At the Iron Butt National Meeting in ’12, I saw a sticker I really liked. It had been created by Bill Thweatt, a long-term IBA rider who had done, I think, 3 Iron Butt Rallies and had completed at least of one of all the big rides the IBA certified. Back then Bill was selling a raft of “My Local Riding Area” stuff: stickers, hats, t-shirts, and more. At that time, my panniers had been painted with satin black and the white local riding area stickers looked really good on them. Or at least I thought they did.

My best friend from high school — the first time we’d seen each other since Christmas of 1960.

Interestingly, Eliot didn’t look that much different than he had 53 years before. We were at his mother-in-law’s “cottage” on Scraggy Neck Road, North Falmouth, MA. She had paid $12,000 for it in 1947. It had three stories and a lot of land. I’d guess it would go for at least $2-3 million today — maybe even a lot more. I have no idea about real estate values on Buzzard’s Bay. It might be better than it is in Greeley, CO.

Eliot’s mother-in-law’s “Cottage”

Eliot has a 25′ inboard and a 16′ Herreshoff 12 sailboat. We got to use both.

The Herreshoff 12 is a 16′ boat. The name came from the waterline length

Back to the “My Local Riding Area” stickers — Bill had quit making new stuff but had a few of his old stickers left. After I bought Horse he sent me 5 when I ordered 2 because, he said, they were really old and he thought I might have trouble separating them from the backing. He was right! I also decided that the white ones weren’t going to look very good on a silver pannier. He gave me permission to have Callie Graphics make some as long as I didn’t sell them.

She made them in black and a little smaller than Bill’s. They got here yesterday and it was (barely) warm enough to put them on today. Here one of them is mounted on top of the big pannier lid:

“My Local Riding Area” sticker in black

I’m getting closer to having the bike (temporarily) finished. I’ve got a fender extender to put on and I decided after the one time I rode in the dark that I wanted brighter driving lights than the Denali DM 2.0 that Frosty had added (he never rode at night and I do at least several times a year). I vacillated between Denali D2 2.0 and Clearwater Darlas. Both lights have dual intensity, so when you’ve got low beams on the driving light has less brightness. Then when you hit high beam, you get full intensity. The deciding factor was the ability to adjust the brightness on low beam. Clearwater lets you adjust the lower brightness between 10-90%. I’ve got those and hope to get them installed next week.

The last farkle to add (for now) may seem superfluous since Horse has an electronic cruise control. But I’ve had my fancy cruise controls fail on long trips before and get a sore hand because of my arthritis if I have to hold the throttle constantly. I want a back up cruise assistance device. I liked the Throttlemeister that was on Dudley, but they’ve gone out of business. The reviews on Adventure Rider say that the Kaoka throttle lock I bought from Twisted Throttle is a bit easier to use, needing only a little finger to spin it on. I never had too much trouble using the Throttlemeister, but the Kaoka looks and sounds like it will be as good.

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A Ride to Medieval Times…sorta’

In the middle of October, we were having magnificent weather only a week after getting 9″ of snow. I left home on Thursday afternoon and rode down to Colorado Springs for a short visit with my son and his wife. They had just moved to the Springs from Montrose and I hadn’t seen their new home (or them!) since last year. The ride down was fairly easy except for a stretch of construction on I-25. Between Castle Rock and Monument, it’s called the Gap and is crowded and dangerous. But I was ahead of southbound rush hour traffic and didn’t have to stop.

The next morning I was joining a group of Motorcycle Sport Touring Association riders at Apex Sports, one of the best motorcycle dealerships in Colorado for a group ride.

It was still cold at Apex Sports at 9:30, but starting to warm up.

The ride leader was a bit late getting there because of how cold it had been during the night. It was 21F when he and another rider left Loveland (20 miles west of me on the west side of I-25) at 7AM. By the time they got Apex, it was up to 35 and by the time we passed Ft. Carson’s main gate, it was up 42.

The Wet Mountains from north of Penrose

You can click on this link to see a map of the ride on Spotwalla: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=24b6e5f8b5a312baf8

The Arkansas River bottoms north of Florence
USPS Supermax Prison
The Wet Mountains west of CO-67

We rode south on CO-119 to Penrose and Florence, the home of the Federal Supermax prison. From there we climbed toward Wetmore and then climbed into Hardscrabble Canyon on CO-96. The first time I had ridden Hardscrabble, I was on a bicycle. I’m here to tell you that it’s easier on a motorcycle. Hardscrabble has nice turns — no real hairpins, but a few turns barely over 30-35mph, and most 40-45.

Hardscrabble Canyon

10 miles from Wetmore at McKenzie Junction, we turned south on CO-165, an even better road than Hardscrabble Canyon. It’s a beautiful combination of sweepers, hairpins, elevation changes, and on this day in October, the best color we saw. 13 mile from the Junction, we arrived at our primary destination: Bishop Castle.

Bishop Castle
Our MSTA Ride Leader, Doug Logston

Bishop Castle is an eccentric monument, still being built by an eccentric man. Jim Bishop bought 2.5 acres of land for $450 when he was 15 years old 60 years ago. After a few years of clearing some parts of the heavy forest and getting married, Jim decided to build a cabin. Since there was so much stone, he decided to build his cabin out of stone. Then he started the Castle. In his travels around the state as an ornamental iron worker, he’d pick up stones. Since most of the places he got his stones were in National Forests, the government wanted him to pay for them. Bishop felt they were his for the taking; the government want him to pay for them by the truckload. That argument has been settled.

Then, as the castle started attracting tourists, Bishop put home-made signs along the road, directing people to the castle. Local and state government challenged his right to do that. The disagreement was settled by the state placing official signs.

Bishop and his wife were both diagnosed with cancer in ’14 and he made a friend the “Trustee” of the Castle. The “friend” immediately turned the Castle into “Castle Church of the Redemption.” The Bishops got into litigation with the friend and now their son is in charge of the Bishop Castle Foundation. Construction has slowed, but continues.

Just a trace of color still left along CO-165 north of Bishop Castle

From there we headed west on 96, climbing to the summit of Hardscrabble Pass at 9,085 feet. As we started down out of the Wet Mountains, a view of the Wet Mountain Valley about 2,000 feet below and the wall of Sangre de Christos Mountains just a few miles west of our destination in Westcliffe.

The Wet Valley and the Sangre de Christos. We could see mountains in the Collegiate Range, 80 miles away. Amazing visibility compared to what I’d have by the time I got to Denver!

We rode to a park on the south side of Westcliffe and had lunch. Even though we were at 7,000′, the sun and the very light winds let the temperature get up to 70F before we decided it was time to begin heading back towards our homes.

The Sangre de Christos SW of Westcliffe

I’d ridden from Westcliffe toward home several times. I’d never really checked for the shortest route, but had gone with my gut instinct that riding north out of Westcliffe on CO-69 to US-50 at Texas Creek, then 50 to Penrod, 119 to the Springs was the shortest and quickest way to go. The MSTA ride leader had planned on taking that route, too. But a 3rd rider who was heading back to the Springs told us we needed to go back the way we’d come from — Wetmore, Florence, Penrose. I didn’t mind that, because it was a magnificent ride either way and I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you have, that the same scenery from the opposite direction.

Back toward Colorado Springs on CO-119

Naturally, we got to Colorado Springs just as the afternoon rush hour started. But once we were a few miles north of downtown on I-25, things loosened up and we made good time home.

Topping the rise south of Denver was shocking! We’d been dealing with fires, but the smoke we could see then made it look like there must have been a huge fire about to sweep down onto the Denver Metro area. When I got home, learned that there was a new fire, aptly named the Troublesome Fire that had erupted 75 miles away. When I crossed I-70 on E-470 (the toll loop around Denver), I rode into thick, low-hanging smoke. The smoke got thicker until I reached I-25 again and then it eased some, giving me a sense of relief. That came because I’d been afraid that the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest in state history and only about 55 miles from our house had exploded again. I’m writing this 6 weeks later and the fires have finally been reduced to just isolated hot spots. I wish I had still had my camera available when I saw that smoke over Denver. It was incredible and frightening. Smoke had been the theme of many of my summer rides.

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Back to Writing About Riding

The last writing I did on this Blog was the day after I finished my “Epic Post-Retirement Ride to Alaska, the Four Corners of the US, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador” on September 19, 2013. At the finish of the Epic Ride, my NT had had 78,949 miles on it.

I kept riding it and had figured that I’d ride it till either I died or it did…or until one of the other of us either couldn’t ride or be ridden any more.

We had several adventures since then. I finally did an Iron Butt Association Bun Burner Gold during the Rachel Insanity Days Rally in Nevada. The ride was in the middle of May of ’16. The organizers told us that the average high temperature in Nevada on the weekend of the 16th was 70F, the average low was 48F, and the average rainfall for the whole month of May was less than a half inch. Wrong! The high might have been 51, the low was 13, and I rode about 300 mile in rain. But I rode 1524 miles in 23 hours and 48 minutes!

I rode two of the Southern California Motorcycle Association’s Three Flags rides. I had a deer hit me at high noon on my way to a third Three Flags ride. That shattered my left hand and did $2700 damage to the bike. Then later in ’16, I had knee replacement # 6.

After that I lowered the bike an inch. For another year or so after that, I had trouble getting on and off the bike without dropping it until a friend shortened the sidestand some more.

I had a few mechanical issues that could have ended my bike’s useful life, but they ended up being fixed and as we got the spring of 2020, it was running like new and still not using any oil. With new tires I was ready to keep riding for a long time!

“Dudley” in February, 2020″

Lookin’ good … if you don’t look too close! But still running almost as good as new. I did a few short rides in the spring and then attended the ’20 ST/NT-Owners Rally in Spearfish.

And it wasn’t long after that when things changed suddenly. Joe Forstie, a friend from the NT-Owners forum posted about his new bike. He’d bought a Triumph 900 Tiger GT Pro and traded his ’10 NT for it. I’ve known Joe since ’12 and knew he maintained his NT the way the USAF used to maintain his KC-135s when he was driving them. I checked with Joe to see if he had lowered the bike. Since he has short, stubby little legs like I do, I was pretty sure he had. He confirmed that and I got on the phone with Empire Cycle in Spokane Valley, WA. Before I called, I knew that they were asking $4999 and that the bike was equipped the way I wanted it to be. Big lids – check. OEM undercowl – check. Topbox – check! A real cruise control – CHECK!!

I had decided before I called that I’d ask for new tires and that I would hope they’d give me something for my old bike as a trade-in. The sales manager instantly agreed to the tires. We talked about my bike and I told him the truth about some of its issues: non-working Rostra cruise control, barely-working pannier latches, high mileage. I sent him some pictures and an hour later he was back with an offer of $1500 trade-in to go with the tires.

I jumped on that offer and we decided that I’d be there to make the deal on July 20. On the night of the 18th, I went to bed early, went right to sleep, and then woke up an hour and a half later. Just like a little kid on Christmas Eve. I never went back to sleep, so finally got up and out of town at 7AM. I had two days to ride the 1050 miles, so I figured maybe I could get to Billings before I needed to stop. But I made it 877 miles without ever getting sleepy. A night in Missoula put me only 192 miles from the dealer. That gave me time to eat breakfast with a new NT owner and member of NT-Owners.org.

Here’s a link to my ride to Spokane and back: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=23e3c5f448eea7eedb

This is “Dudley,” my old bike after we got to Empire Cycles in Spokane Valley, WA

My “old” bike was actually built after the new bike. Dudley’s SN is #00079; the “new bike’s SN is #00063. They might have been built on the same day.

I got to Empire at 2PM and by 3, we’d done most of the paperwork and their service department was at work changing tires and swapping a few of my “keeper” items from the old to the new bike. Saddle, windscreen, GPS. Joe had ridden down to the dealership and by 5 we were ready to ride back to his house and then meet a couple of other NT owners for dinner. I learned very quickly that the new bike was barely possible for me to ride because the shift lever was too low for me to get my toes under. Empire’s owner said they’d get me back in after lunch. And that ended up with me buying a set of heated grips.

This is the new bike in Butte, MT

I got out of Spokane at 4PM and rode to Lewiston, ID, through the Palouse. This is a beautiful area of steep rolling hills that is the most productive wheat growing area in the country. Just a a couple of weeks later two little towns that had been within a few miles of my route were completely destroyed by fires.

A fuzzy look at the Palouse

My night in Lewiston turned out to be a mistake. I ate at the hotel’s restaurant and woke up in extreme “intestinal distress” that lasted all night. I finally got out of Lewiston and rode over Lolo Pass, along Lewis and Clark’s route to the Pacific. Shortly after going past the famous “Winding Road Next 99 Miles” sign, I passed one truck. About 30 miles later, I was passed by a Highway Patrolman on his way to a wreck. I rode 107 miles without passing or being passed by another vehicle!

The Clearwater River on the way to Lolo Pass.

I stopped in Hamilton and ate a light late afternoon meal and then headed on south on my way to Wisdom, passing the Big Hole National Battlefield where the Nez Perce tribe were attacked by US Calvary troops. The Nez Perce were trying to escape to Canada after their treaty rights had been violated. At the Big Hole, their small group of warriors held off the Calvary while their women and children escaped. They made it to the Bear Paw in Montana before finally surrendering.

All afternoon, the smoke got thicker and thicker. I wondered where it was coming from. Turned out to be California smoke.

Smoke from California south of Butte, MT

I spent the night in Butte without eating, but at 3:30 I was sick again. I had planned to ride to Red Lodge and spend the night there before riding Beartooth Pass and the Chief Joseph Highway and then US-14, 14A, and 16 in the Big Horns in Wyoming. The sickness caused me to cancel that. I finally started feeling pretty good east of Billings. I stopped in Buffalo, WY, and since I hadn’t eaten and was feeling decent, I ate a light meal…only to be sick again at 3AM. I got out of Buffalo at noon and rode home. I got here at 6:30. All the way from Buffalo, I kept playing one song over and over in my head: “Horse With No Name” by America. I think the bike was trying to give me a hint about his name.

“Horse” in August…getting used to his new home!

After I’d been home a bit, I started getting its disguises in place — the HMW stickers and the ST700 stickers — and some other stickers. I had it out in the driveway taking some pictures. I finished and put it back in the garage. Then I got in the car to move it back into the garage and SiriusXM was playing…you guessed it…”Horse With No Name” by America. That settled it!

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Around My Local Riding Area in 80 Days…

Epic Ride, Day 80:

The “Local Riding Area” reference is to a set of decals I’ve got on my panniers.  Bill Thweatt, a member of the Iron Butt Association, came up with the decals and I liked them enough to put them on my panniers after I painted then rattle-can satin black:


Home!  It was exciting to ride into Colorado, then it was even more exciting to ride into Morgan County, and then to ride into Fort Morgan and onto my street!

Home… my cats even act glad to see me.  My wife even acts glad to see me.  I’m guessing that all the cats want is food, but Joanne is really glad to have me here!

Today’s ride from Lincoln to Fort Morgan was only a little over 400 miles, but it was tiring.  It was 77 when I went out to leave and I thought I was going to be hot, but by the time I got just west of Crete, it was raining.  I was in and out of the edge of a cold front for about 150 miles and kept getting light rain and jogs up and down in the temperature.  It did get up to 70 once, but also got down to about 53 a couple of times — and this was the first day in a while that I didn’t at least have a long-sleeved shirt on.  I started to put on the heated jacket, but kept getting lured farther west by sunshine.

It was also very windy until after my last rainy stretch which was about 25 miles into Colorado.  Then the wind slacked way off and was probably only 10-15 mph.  Before then, from Crete to Wray, CO, I’d guess that it was never less than 25 and sometimes up into the 40-mph range.

A member of the NT-Owners Forum asked me why I was doing this Epic Ride and he said that saying “Just because it was there,” wouldn’t count as an answer for very long.  So here’s my answer to him:

Since I started riding in ’97, I’ve enjoyed long rides.  I’ve made a long trip nearly every year since then, ranging from 1-11,000 miles.  On every one of those rides, I’ve enjoyed the riding itself.  I didn’t have a list of places I wanted to see or things I wanted to do, but I did have a list of roads I wanted to ride.  That’s been growing and when I first heard about the Four Corners Tour seven or eight years ago, it went onto my “bucket list.”

I’d been to Alaska once, but only as far as Hyder, which is just across the border from Stuart, BC, and is about 1300 miles from the next closest place you can ride to in Alaska.  I really wanted to ride to Alaska.  Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador were places I’ve flown over coming back from Europe on my two trips there and I wanted to see them from the ground.

So, I started thinking about the Epic Ride about 5 or 6 years ago.  As Jim and Rick, the two friends who rode with me for more than a few miles can tell you, I didn’t plan it obsessively.  In fact, I barely planned it at all.  A friend loaned me “Mileposts,” the huge and detailed guide to the Alaskan Highway and I never even opened.  I looked at Streets and Trips and outlined a couple of routes, but most days the planning consisted of looking out in front of me (or us, whichever the case might have been on a given day), punching a destination into my GPS and then, when I got around to it, getting on the bike and riding.  I never had a reservation more than a couple or three hours in advance of arrival and usually didn’t have any reservation.  And it all worked pretty darned well.

People kept telling me I needed to see this or that or that I needed to eat at one place or another, and I appreciated all those suggestions, but I didn’t act on very many of them.  Mostly I just rode.  I’ve got a strange kind of memory.  I remember roads I’ve been on years ago in fairly vivid detail.  I have gone back to a road where I was a passenger in a car when I was 12 or 13 and remembered every turn (not every curve, but every time I needed to choose which way to turn) and navigated it to get where I wanted to go.  This ride gave me a whole bunch of new material for those memories.  I don’t know if that qualifies as an answer that will count for more than a little while, but that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it.  🙂

I rode all but five of the 80 days and every day was a really good day.  I didn’t have any days (or hours either) when I regretted being where I was and doing what I was doing.  I was amazingly lucky with weather.  I think the worst weather were the days in Canada when Jim and I were riding on roads that were under construction.  The hardest rains were in Florida and Georgia, but they didn’t last very long.  The coldest I got was in Newfoundland the night I was riding in the rain from Deer Lake to Port-aux-Basques to catch the ferry back to North Sidney, Nova Scotia.  The hottest was in the desert of south Arizona when it got to 112F.

The best places?  The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper; the ride into Valdez; the Cabot Trail; crossing Vermont; Newfoundland’s Gros Marne National Park; Lunenburg; Labrador — and I could go on and on.  There are an incredible number of beautiful places and roads in the US and Canada and all of them are worth visiting.

People were great everywhere I went, too.  Motorcyclists were always fun to talk to, no matter what they were riding or what they were wearing, they were friendly and helpful.

Would I do it again?  Well, probably not, but I went to lots of places I’d be willing to back to and visit again in a more leisurely fashion.  There are several I’ll be taking Joanne to in the next few years.

My average day was only 264 miles.  The average of the 75 days I was on the bike was 281 miles.  The average during the Four Corners Tour was 364 miles.

The bike was practically flawless.  A headlight bulb burned out and both brake lights burned out.  One of my Denali D1 driving lights got water inside it and shorted out the driving light circuit.  I replaced both tires, the rear at Gainesville, FL, had 13,560 miles and would have lasted another 2-3,000 miles.  The front had 19,982 miles and would have gotten me home.  Tim Wilkes changed the oil and filter for me in Baton Rouge, LA,, when I had 9,800 miles since the previous change.  Since then, I’ve put another 9246 miles on and will probably get an oil and filter change in the next week or so before I got up to Thermopolis, WY, for a meeting there

I’ll be posting a few more additions to the blog as I have some time to reflect on things in a more organized way.

Day 80 Stats:  Day, 419 miles; Trip, 21,090 miles; Year, 27,091 miles; Total, 78,949 miles.

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Long Day, Short Post…

Epic Ride, Day 79:

I’m in Lincoln, Nebraska, after my longest day of the whole trip:  612 miles.

I’ll be home tomorrow after 409 miles and almost 6 hours (according to MS Streets and Trips).

Today was cool when I left South Bend, rainy in western Illinois and hot and windy in Iowa.

I rode for an unknown distance with my right pannier open until a Good Samaritan pulled alongside, pointed at the bike and mouthed “BAG!”

More later!

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Epic Ride, Day 68 (with a look back at Days 64-67):

My title isn’t very melodic, but it reminds me of some of the names I’ve seen for towns and rivers up here in the northeast, as well as in the Maritime Provinces of Canada.  A lot of them, most of them I’d guess, come from Native American languages and have been transliterated into some words that I can’t even begin to pronounce.  I’ll probably do a post on the blog just listing my favorites.

On Sunday, Day 66, Elliot and I took out the family’s Herreshoff 12 1/2, a boat designed by Nathaneal G. Herreshoff.  It was designed for safe family sailing and racing in it’s own one-design class.  It’s called a 12 1/2 even though it’s nearly 16′ long because of its waterline length, 12′ 6″.  It’s got a 735-pond lead keel which makes it stable and gives it some mass to push through swells.




Except for the few minutes at the helm of the 48′ ketch in Lunenburg Harbor, I hadn’t sailed since the mid-70s.  But I was pleased to learn that sailing is like riding a bicycle — it comes back!  I was impressed with myself as well as the H-class boat.

If you’ve read the whole blog, you’ll remember that one of the high points of my trip had been meeting Margaret and Fred in Bay St. Lawrence on Cape Breton Island and getting to go on board Double Crows, their replica of Captain Joshua Slocum’s Spray.  As I’d ridden to Cataumet, I saw a sign pointing to Fairhaven, where Slocum had built/rebuilt Spray, and then while Elliot and I were sailing, we saw what I’m pretty sure was another Spray-replica:



On Monday, I left Cataumet and rode into rain on my way to Sturbridge to meet Karl Roth, an NT-Owners Forum member:


Karl and I enjoyed a visit at the McDonalds in Sturbridge and then we bought me some gas and he hopped onto I-84 with me and led me to Hartford before he had to split off and go to work.  😦


After Karl left me, I rode on into Pennsylvania, passing Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.  At Scranton, as I looked down the long hill leading into town, I couldn’t help but sing Harry Chapin’s classic ballad, “30,000 Pounds of Bananas.”  “30,000 pounds of mashed bananas…”

I got Millinville where the Comfort Inn’s WiFi wouldn’t connect me to the internet last night, but did this morning…probably because the day clerk was willing to go upstairs to the 2nd floor and reset the router.

Epic Ride, Day 68 Stats: Day, 399 miles; Trip, 19,489 miles; Year, 25,490 miles; Total, 77,348 miles.

Today I left Millinville and spent half my day getting across Pennsylvania.  Once again, I was surprised at the lack of urban sprawl.  Pennsylvania was a beautiful ride on a clear, chilly day.  The high didn’t come till western Ohio and then the 69F only lasted for about 30 minutes.

As pretty as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana were, today’s ride was not much more than a slog.  Tomorrow will be even worse as I need to make 600+ miles to get to my Concours Owners Group friend Chris Baum’s house.  I don’t have much of Indiana left, but Illinois and Iowa stretch a long way before I get into Nebraska and ride to Lincoln where Chris lives.

Tonight I ate at a Ponderosa Steakhouse across the street from the Motel 6 and my charming waitress was a young woman who rides a Harley-Davidson Nightster and a Honda 230 dirt-bike.  She was very interested in the Epic Ride.  If she reads the blog, I need to apologize for not even getting her name.  if you’re out there, darling, make a comment so I’ll know who you were!

Epic Ride, Day 69 StatsDay, 570 miles; Trip, 20,059 miles; Year, 26,060 miles; Total, 77,918 miles.

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Heading Home…

I would have posted an update last night, but the night guy at the Comfort Inn  here in Mifflinville, PA, was baffled by the task of resetting the router and I couldn’t get online.  This morning I can, but I need to get on the road.

I’ll do a bit wrap-up tonight if I stop early enough.  I’m thinking I’ll get somewhere near South Bend, Indiana today and then hopefully to my old Concours Owners Group friend Chris Baum’s Wednesday.

It sounds as if my route home along I-80 might not work due to the big bolus of water going down the Platte after the flooding in Colorado.

It’s past Fort Morgan, but the Weather Channel just said that it would probably close 80 in Nebraska by Thursday.

Oh, well…  My routing issues are nothing compared to what the people along the streams in Colorado (and the people in Mexico) are enduring.

Oh, I just realized that today’s ride let me color in all but one of the states on my “States Ridden In” map.  I still lack Hawaii and probably won’t ride to get there, but the day may come when I manage to ride while I’m there.  We’ll just have to see on that one!

states visited large ….and here are the provinces I’ve visitedprovinces visited large

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The Shortest Post…

I’ve been at my old high-school friend’s house since Thursday night, having a wonderful time reconnecting with him and enjoying being on the water in his boats.

I’m leaving in a bit to head west.  I’ll meet Karl from the NT-Owners Forum at about 10:30, then get towards home as rapidly as weather and energy level will allow.

Fort Morgan has had some flooding, several friends and colleagues in other parts of the Colorado have been forced from their homes, but Joanne and our place is well above the water level.  I shouldn’t have any trouble getting home, but I’ll be monitoring the condition of I-80.

More later!

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