Home again, home again…

I rode north on 89 to get back to Rt 40.  I started out to be a really nice day as the wind had died down from the day before.   I knew I had the desert ahead of me and by Kingman the wind started to pick up again.   I stopped for gas near Lake Havasu City exit and prepared for the ride through the Mojave.   I fought the boredom through Barstow and Mojave and made it into Bakersfield.  I followed RT 58 until it dead-ended in the middle of the city.   Since I had not really looked at a map I started to dead reckon towards the west and I-5.   I took surface streets and back roads to get over to I-5 and headed north towards home.  Being on I-5 felt like I was really close to home and I decided to push on until I made it all the way to the house.   I had only one gas stop before I hit the I-580.   The Livermore pass was REALLY windy and I was very happy to see the I-680 and turn north towards home.  I arrived home after 7260.7 miles on the bike.   My back tire is bald, my ass is a bit worse for the wear, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.    Here is the route I took for the final leg of the trip.   Here is a link to the route I took for the 6 day ride out to Florida and a link to the route I took for the 6 day ride back to California and a link to the entire trip route.  Now I just need to figure out where to go next.  Bet you can’t wait for the next update 😉

In Prescott Valley for Easter

I really didn’t do anything with my extra day at the hotel other than rest up for the final push.  The weather was so bad that I couldn’t ride around the city so I hung out and watched the tube.  On Sunday the 12th I was packed and on the road by 9:00.  The ride in the morning was extremely cold and I was freezing my tail off by the time I stopped for lunch and gas in Gallup.   After  Holbrook it finally started to warm up and I started to thaw out a bit.  By Flagstaff it turned into a pretty nice day.  I turned south on I-17 and headed towards Prescott Valley and into the Prescott National Forest.   I tried out an iPhone app for panoramic shots I downloaded called Pano –  pretty cool little app.img_0995 I arrived in Prescott Valley and spent a good deal of time alternating between talking to Mary Kay on the phone and riding around trying to find their house.   They had a house full of friends and we had ribs and steak for Easter dinner.  Most of the guests worked with Mary Kay and the VA hospital in Prescott.   Everyone had a great time.   They have a beautiful home and I was given a very comfortable bed in their guest room for the night.  In the morning I did some quick laundry and rode into Prescott to see their store, Trappers Alley.    The town is full of little shops and restaurants.   Here is a shot of Mark behind the counter.img_0007

I have agreed to help them create a web presence for their store.   I will look into creating a simple site for them in the very near future.  I had breakfast at one of the little storefront cafes and was on the road for my final leg into the Bay Area by 10:00.  Here is a link to the route I took to get to Prescott from Albuquerque.

Sheltering in Albuquerque for the day

I woke up early but had to wait until the Harley shop opened for the day.  The latch didn’t get fixed until 11:30.  I got on Hwy 40/Rt 66 and headed west again.  The winds were still pretty strong but I left most of the weather behind.  The sky was clear and the temperature was crisp.  I made it as far as Clinton before I had to gas up.

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I stopped at a Rt 66 museum at 12:00 and did a little shopping, then rode into town for gas and back to a restaurant near the highway for lunch.  I was back on the road by 1:00.

I made it all the way into the Texas panhandle before I needed gas again.  The headwinds were still really strong and it took a lot of energy to fight the gusts. I stopped just past Alanreed at the first Texas rest area west of the boarder for a quick break.  Back in the saddle until Groom where I got gas again with the odometer reading 16301.  A little further down the road in Amarillo I stopped at the local Harley store.  I fought the wind all the way to New Mexico where I stopped at the boarder welcome center just as it closed at 5:00.  I was still able to get a map and take another short break.  I reached Santa Rosa before I needed gas again.  I was getting bitter cold and the wind had not died down at all.  I made it to Albuquerque, ducked in the a La Quinta with free internet, used Price-line to find a deal on a local hotel, and got a nice room here at the Plaza Inn.  Here is the route I took to get here.

The storm front moved in last night.  Thunder storms, hail, driving rain, high winds.  Since I’m two days ahead of schedule I decided to stay put an extra night and let the front blow over.  I really don’t feel like fighting the storm all the way into Arizona.  The forecast calls for clearing by the early AM tomorrow.  I should be fully rested and ready to make the final push by tomorrow morning.  Right now it is raining cats and dogs – not good for a motorcycle ride.  I’m saying put today!

Ride to Oklahoma City

I left Memphis with the odometer reading 15588.  It was overcast but not too threatening when I hit the Arkansas Welcome Center.  I got a map and decided not to put on rain gear just yet.  As I rode west the wind started to pick up and the clouds deepened in color.  By noon I stopped for gas just outside Little Rock.  I then got lunch at a local hole in the wall BBQ spot that was packed with people.  Great ribs!  The clouds were getting darker and the winds more fierce so I got out the rain gear.  Within another 40 miles the rain started.  As I rode toward Fort Smith the wind picked up more and more.  By the time I got gas again the rain had stopped but the wind was not abating at all.  I rode another 30 miles and had to pull over to get the rain gear back on as I was caught in a short squall that lasted no more than 5 minutes but rained down buckets.  I stopped and took off the rain gear again since in the distance the clouds were gone but the sky was filled with smoke.  I gassed up just after Shawnee and the wind was blowing in gusts of 60 mph.  The smoke from the fires was thick.   I was constantly battling the westerly wind into Oklahoma City where I stopped to visit the National Monument.

img_0977I rode past the city and found a hotel on the western edge.  There is a Harley Davidson shop next door.  I need to get a latch to the luggage carrier fixed.  I noticed it was broken in Savannah and am worried that it may cause more damage if not corrected.  It should be a warranty repair.   The weather radar looks clear to the west.  I am still concerned about the wind.  Communities near Oklahoma City are still on fire and tournados have hit near Arkansas.  Glad I am past all that now.  Here is the route I took.  I’ve picked up a couple of days on my return trip so far.  I’m making good time.  Onward towards Albuquerque…

All the way to Memphis…

I got started around 9:30 and rode into Savannah for a quick side trip.  It was a beautiful day and the city was packed with tourists.  I stopped at a visitors center to get my bearings and then took a loop through the historical section of the city.  After riding around looking at restored homes and moss covered trees I stopped down at the river front.

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I gassed up and got on the road a little after 11:00 with the odometer at 14907.   I got about 50 miles down the road when the tent wiggled out of the bungee straps and fell off the bike onto the freeway.  I noted the mileage marker, rode to the next exit which was 3 miles, rode back to the previous exit which was 8 miles, then back to pick up the tent which had slid to the side of the road.  The carrying bag was worn through in several places but only a small hole was worn into the tent itself.  I’m not sure if it is in a place where it will leak in the rain but at least I was able to retrieve it without causing an accident.  It seemed to take forever to get to Macon but my pace picked up after the tent incident.  I continued my ride into Atlanta and decided to see if I could make Memphis.  I made it to Birmingham and rode around the city a bit to check things out.  Some idiot almost smacked into me as he pulled out without looking.  I pull up next to him and feed him a piece of my mind.  He looked like he was going to pee his pants and sped away.  Back on the road into Mississippi and all the way up to Memphis.

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Beal Street was jumping but I had all the stuff on the bike and need to find a place to stay.  I found a flea bag hotel around 11:30 and crashed.  Here is a link to the route I took to get to Memphis from Savannah.

My march to Savannah

I took my time and didn’t get on the road until around noon.   I topped off the tank in Melbourne with the odometer at 14528.  I stopped one last time at the house to look for my sunglasses, bought a cheap pair at the CVS on the corner, and headed up A1A.  I went all the way up to the Cape before I cut over to I95.  I was blowing really hard again and it started to get colder and colder as the day went on.  I cut over again to the coast near Daytona and stopped at an Olive Garden for lunch.  On the road up A1A along the coast.  It was really beautiful and the road ran all the way up along the beach.  I stopped again for gas in Flagler Beach and rode all the way up the coast to St Augustine before cutting over to I95 again.  On the highway through Jacksonville and on to Georgia.  I stopped at the boarder to get a map to all the state parks.  There are two parks near Savannah.  I rode about 30 miles out of my way to find out that Ft McAllister was full.  It was getting late and very cold so once again I decided to find a hotel.  I am in the La Quinta on Gateway Blvd writing this and getting ready to start the next leg.  I am going to go into Savannah this morning to take a few pictures before heading west towards home.  Here is my route from yesterday.

The week in Melbourne Florida

I spent the week staying in the hotel room at night and spending the days over at Kate’s house painting and fixing up various things so that the baby had a clean comfortable environment.  On Thursday night I made arrangements to meet the Loberts in Stuart on Saturday afternoon.  Saturday morning I took off, rode the hour to Stuart, called Al and found out that they thought we had made arrangements for Monday.   Instead of making another trip down on Monday we agreed to meet a little further down the road in Delray Beach.  img_0943We found each other, eat a good meal, and then went over to Mike’s house to say hello.  I had not seen Mike in over 30 years.  He is running a rehab house in Delray Beach and seems to be doing very well.

I am really glad I was able to see the Loberts.  It is still amazing to me that I have kept in touch with my 5th grade football coach after all these years.  It just goes to show what a positive and lasting affect a coach can have on the life of a child.

It was great to be able to spend time with Mary and Colton. img_0940 He is a great baby, not fussy at all.  Mary got lucky in that regard I think.   I feel good that I am leaving Colton with a brand new nursery that will serve him and Mary well.

I am getting ready to check out of the hotel now and hit the road for the trip back home.  I will be twittering my location again which will automatically update the blog.  I hope that the ride home goes as smooth as the ride here.  The weather is a bit cooler today and no rain is in the forecast for a day or two.  It looks like I may run into some weather in the central part of the country sometime during the week.  More to come…

I made it!

I got up in the morning, fixed myself oatmeal and coffee, broke camp, packed up, and got on the road by 8:30.  Here is a shot of the shelter at my camp site as I was getting ready to leave.

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I jumped on Hwy 75 south and headed towards Gainesville.  I stopped at a (open!) Harley store and bought a 1/2 price shirt, filled up on gas at the station next door, and headed towards Orlando.  I hit the 91 near Wildwood and then on to the Bee Line Toll road in Orlando.  I had to stop every 30 miles or so to pay a freaking toll which took a bunch of time.  I made it to Hwy 95, stopped one last time for gas, and headed towards Satellite Beach and the finish line.  I arrived at the house around 12:30 and met Colton for the first time.  I will tell you right now that it was definitely worth the callouses on my ass – what a cute kid!  Nice job Mary.img_0909

I got on priceline.com and found a great deal on a hotel suite for the week I plan to stay.  It has a kitchen, TV sitting area, free internet, pool, gym, and everything else I need for $35/night.  So, 7 days on the road and 3500 miles riden, here I am looking at the trip back already.  Here is the route I am thinking of taking back to California.  I plan on staying here until the morning of the 7th.  All for now.

“Way down upon the Suwanee River…”

I left New Orleans after going down to the 9th ward and some of the other outlying Parishes to see some of the lingering desperation that still exists in parts of the city.  Most of New Orleans proper has recovered and there are tons of tourists, but in the other parts of the city you can still see the affects of Katrina.   I crossed over Lake Pontchartrain towards Slidell and headed east again.  I stopped for gas the first time around Biloxi.  I stuck to Hwy 10 and stopped for a break near Mobile at the USS Alabama park.img_0901

Back in the saddle until after Pensacola for gas.  It felt great to finally be in Florida.  I didn’t realize that being in the Florida pan handle was still like being two states away from my destination.  I made it as far as Tallahassee until I needed gas again.  I spent some time driving around looking for a Harley store for a shirt.  By the time I found it on the other side of town it was 6:15 and the store closed at 6:00,  URGH!  So back through town I went, got on the 10 and started looking for a place to camp.  I was determined not to ride so late in the evening that I would not be able to find a site to camp.  I pulled off near a state parks but after riding 7 mile to get to it I was informed that it was full and no sites were available.  The guy at the gate told me of a county park another 7 miles down the road that might have open sites.  I made it there, found a nice site with a shelter for the bike and settled in for the evening after paying a $5 camping fee.  I set up the tent, fixed myself a nice freeze dried dinner and hit the sack.  Here is a link to my route for the day.