I started writing this final entry 9-1/2 years ago!!!! I thought I posted it 4 years ago and just realized today 2/13/18 that I never hit publish. Guess it's time I finish it. At least I beat the second half of Tom's story but it might be another 9-1/2 years to see that!!!!!
It's been nearly 2 months (now over 9 years!!) since I returned and it blew by. First I'll provide some numbers.
On the road for 39 nine days.
Total miles traveled 12,170.
284.5 gallons of gas for an average of 42.74 mpg.
Gas cost $1490 for an average cost of 5.11/gallon.
Food & Hotel costs ran about $2500. Splitting motel/hotel room costs 2 to 5 ways kept the cost down.
I lost count on total wildlife sightings but we saw brown, black (almost to close) and grizzly bears, buffalo/bisons, reindeer/caribou, deer, dahl sheep, eagles & prairie dogs of which I had 2 kills.
2 oil changes and 1 rear tire.
Best overall scenery were the Northern Rockies of British Columbia although Mt. McKinley is very impressive but you don't get to ride through/around and over it. Other then a few trips to Florida I've never taken a long road trip like this. My most memorable impression is just how much country is out there. I've flown many places but it's a completely different experience when you ride it. It becomes a sensory experience because you see it/feel it/touch it/smell it. You feel the change in temps when you go through a mountain pass or ride into the clouds, you inhale the smells of fresh cut hay or of glue & fibreglass when you pass a boat manufacturer, the jarring of bottoming out your shocks on a pothole or flying up from your seat at a frost heave when you miss seeing them. The myriad of different people you meet along the way was also an interesting part of the adventure. My favorite was the fellow on the BMW at the pilot car.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Left the hotel about 7:25 am. The skies were heavily overcast and the air was thick. The weather report was calling for heavy rain later in the day so we knew we had to outrun it. We headed east on 80 and the skies got clearer as we progressed east. Temps started in the 60's and got up to the low 80's with the sun out. I got Sirius radio before I left and they have 24 hour traffic & weather for the major cities. I was listening to New York to find out which way we would go. We had 3 choices. 80/81/84 through Scranton, 80/278/TappanZee or 80/95 GW Bridge which is the quickest if traffic isn't a problem. The report said the GW was clear eastbound so we went for it and it was perfect. Westbound was backed up to past co-op city. Mark & I parted company in Bridgeport for him to go up to Prospect where he lives. I continue on 95 and of course they closed 95 at the Saybrook bridge due to an accident so I had to go up 9 and cross at the Goodspeed and take 82 home. Got home about 4:30 after stopping to visit my mom. I'll put together 1 more post with statistics and thoughts on the trip but it'll take a few days to get to that. It's always nice to be home!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Left the hotel about 7:20 and headed east on route 80. Another nice day for a ride. We took route 480 into Cleveland off 80 and got to the Hall of Fame just before lunch. It is built downtown right on Lake Erie next to the Browns football stadium. The architecture is very unique. It's facade is 5 story glass triangle and parts of the building are cantilevered of the main structure. The steel structure that supports the glass makes an interesting interior. The only pics we have are of the bldg. and lobby as they don't allow cameras in the exhibit area. This is another place that became overwhelming. There's so much to see you get to a point of sensory overload. We spent about 5 hours there. They have large sections devoted to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Doors. It's a 6 story building (floors 3 -6 are smaller as the glass triangle goes up) with the 5 & 6 floors set up as special exhibits that can change periodically. The 3rd is the restaurant with tables inside & out, the 2nd is the entrance lobby, ticket counter and merchandise store and the lower level is the main exhibition hall. They don't allow cameras in the exhibit areas only the lobby so no pics of stuff. Left the Hall about 5 and wanted to get away from Clevland so we wouldn't have to deal with traffic. It was such a nice evening we road til 8:30 and got to Clarion, PA. Should make it home tomorrow no problem.
Got out of the hotel about 8 am and went to wash the bikes because the HD museum doesn’t open until 9. Got to the museum a little after 9. Of course motorcycles get to park front and center so we are early enough to park near the door. It’s also Sturgis time so I think that helped to keep the crowd down. The building just opened 3 weeks ago on July 12. It’s 130,000 square feet on 2 floors, so think about it as equal to a typical Home Depot or Lowes in size. They used all galvanized exposed steel for the frame of the building to signify the frame of a bike holding it’s components. They also suspended the second floor from the roof so that they didn’t have to deal with columns getting in the way for setting up displays on the ground floor! It’s on a 20 acre site in downtown Milwaukee along a river which is where one of the restaurants and the bar are facing along with outdoor seating. They also have a river walk as part of the Milwaukee renaissance. In addition to the museum there are 2 other buildings. One is the archives from which they pull the artifacts kept in storage for the exhibits and the other is the restaurants, bar and of course museum store for Harley memorabilia and clothing! It’s quite a story of how the company has evolved over the last 105 years. Admission is $16 and I highly recommend the extra $5 for the self guided MP3 player. We spent over 6 hours there (could of spent more time but you get to the point of overload) which included a quick lunch. A large portion of the bikes are unrestored with almost no miles on them which was surprising. The founders had the foresight to put aside many bikes they built as well as the engineering work and some extra parts as well. These bikes are not pristine as they obviously were not stored carefully as they have scratches and dents but they are complete and original. I've attached a few pics. The first is the outside of the bldg., the next 2 are what they call bike #1 and the last is a shot of the group of bikes from 1906 to 1948. This is all upstairs along with the engine room and a room about racing. The main floor has bikes from 1950 to present, an area about the AMF years and how the company was bought back, an area about R & D and some bikes like Evil Knevils jump bike, replica bikes from the Easy Rider movie along with a few odd bikes people have personally customized. We left about 3:30 and wanted to get east of Chicago so we didn't have to deal with Monday rush hour traffic. Well it didn't matter much as due to construction and half the lanes being closed we had traffic anyway but I'm sure it was less then tomorrow mornings rush hour. We made it to South Bend, IN at what we thought was 8pm but found out we just crossed another time zone and it was 9pm. We decided to skip dinner as it was to late to eat and had a couple Fig Newtons instead. We are thinking of swinging up through Cleveland tomorrow to check out the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before our final push home.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
On the road at 7:35 going east on 94. Weather was sunny and about 60 when we left and warmed to the mid/upper 80's. Fargo, ND is only a few miles from the Minnesota border so we cross in a few minutes and notice that the speed limit is down to 65 from 75 so we set our speed to about 70. Both MN & Wisconson are farm country but the major crop here is corn not wheat and there seemed to be less livestock. The road here has gently rolling hills and curves and as we are now an interstate that has exits we don't have to have any stop & go through town. We're not in the rural west any more so we won't see tractors, sprayers, cultivators or combines on the road any more! Mark actually heard a commercial on the radio for the new CASE combine! We stopped for lunch in St. Cloud, MN and stopped by the Harley dealer. This is a large dealership with a ton of people working and lots of customers. They had 16 techs working in service. Every Saturday they do a cookout which is probably why it was so busy. They had a huge inventory of new bikes in the showroom and outside as well as the biggest motorclothes display I've seen. They also do internet based sales on Ebay. After lunch we put a bunch of miles on heading east on 94 into Milwaukee where we had a reserved a hotel. It was a 600+ mile day. Tomorrow we're going to the new Harley museum that just opened July 12th. Our plan is to get east of Chicago tomorrow afternoon so we don't have to deal with that traffic Monday morning.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
After yesterdays late start, getting in late and losing an hour on the time change we don’t get on the road this morning until 8:15. We continue on 2 east which is a good road. About 20 miles out of Williston it becomes a 4 lane divided highway. Why, I don’t know because it doesn’t have very much traffic and it's still just farms. There are sections under construction and they just move the traffic over to the opposite pair of lanes and make them 2 way. They have added a new crop in this area and that is sunflowers. We are told they use it in bird food and it pays more then wheat for the farmers. We have lunch in Devil’s Lake and call the Harley shop in Great Falls an make a 3 pm appointment for oil changes as we’ve put on another 5K since reaching Alaska. This is a small shop but a busy one with 5 full time techs and in the summer they have an oil change guy. We get in and out in a little over an hour. The tech noticed a bolt missing on the bracket that supports my Y-pipe and put one in. From Great Falls we head south on 29 to Fargo and pick up 94 east and go a couple of exits and pull off and get a hotel room. Tomorrow we are shooting for Milwaukee as we are planning on going to the new Harley Museum on Sunday.
Old Red can't answer the bell today. We determined last night that it's not the compensator that's making noise. It's most likely a main bearing. It's running but the noise continues to get worse after we put on a new compensatoreliminator so rather then possily destroy the bike, Tom's elected to use his HOG benefits and call Road America for a tow (see pic) to the closest Harley dealer which is Great Falls, MT. From there they'll ship it home and Tom will fly. Mark & I will stick around until the arrangements are complete and then we'll head east for the ride home. Tom starts making calls and by noon he's in the tow truck heading to Great Falls and Mark & I head east. We decide to ride for a while and then stop for lunch. We get to Havre which was where we intended to stop yesterday and have lunch. The weather is in the low 80's and sunny and it's great riding as is the road. From the pic you can see the road just goes straight for miles at a time. It's either wheat, hay fields or cattle/horses grazing as far as you can see in all directions. We notice that sometimes some wheat fields are barren. We learn that these are the fields the farmers get paid by the government not to plant. We're told they make more on these then if they were planted. The speed limit is 70 and most folks do more then that but traffic is very light. We settle on a cruising speed of 75. After a couple tanks of gas Mark and I realize we are getting better mileage at this higher speed. 50 mpg vs. 42! We end the day in Williston, ND and we've gained back another hour so we're only 1 hour behind now!. We hope to be in Minnesota tomorrow. Stay tuned as the adventure continues.