Archive | May, 2019


29 May

Nice to be home. Parts of this trip were gruelling. Total distance was about 6,500km. But the last couple of days in cooler temperatures I was able to ride comfortably and enjoy lots of twisted backroads in OH, PA and NY. About noon today I encountered some drizzle for about an hour had to add a layer for warmth and put on insulated rain gloves. Wow, I enjoyed my cold fingers!

About a week ago I saw a simple homemade sign on a lawn but I couldn’t get a picture because there wasn’t a safe place to stop. It was about a metre square and painted in pastel colours. The simple but profound words mabye sum up why I am able to travel and meet such friendly and helpful people all over North America. Everyday I meet someone who goes out of their way to be helpful.


Almost Home

28 May

Monday was a fantastic day of riding, great roads and the most comfortable weather since leaving the Great Smokies a week ago. Sunny but comfortable temperatures so I had the zippered vents in my RoadCrafter suit closed most of the day. I arrived at my friends late in the afternoon, a 530km day that included some Pensylvania gravel roads the my gps choose for me as part of a shortest route setting, even though it was set to avoid gravel. I am a very experienced Garmin GPS user, and I have been very impressed with my new Zumo 396. I still have my model 12 in perfect working order that I bought in 2001, and a deluxe Nuvi 3597LM that we use in the car, but recently I sold my old trusted Zumo 550.

Rich and Carol live in a rural setting in a wonderful ICF home in the Finger Lakes of NY state. From here is an easy half day ride home to Kingston. They have welcomed me many times at the end of a long ride.

I’m sure that my wife appreciates that Carol helps me wind down to near normal before I get home. I’m going to stall a day here to avoid the rainy weather. The chilly teperatures associated with this weather are so nice.


26 May

I had a chance today to ride some of the best narrow twisted pieces of asphalt that I’ve been on since West Virginia. I stopped to have a long afternoon nap on a picnic table in the shade at a museum in Norwich OH funded by the John & Annie Fiundation.

Feeling refreshed I followed some of The National Road and finished my day on back roads, even a few miles of gravel. Technical roads, I couldn’t have survived 475km day with out the nap. Once again the heat sapped me out.

Garmin Zumo 396

25 May

Wow, so much more than my old Zumo 550 so a comparison isn’t fair. Admittedly my old eyes can’t read half of the information unless I’m wearing my reading glasses. My choice for riding is to wear my contact lenses giving me excellent distance and peripheral vision and they don’t get dirty or fog up or drip with perspiration on hot days like I’ve be riding in. And of course my full coverage helmet doesn’t accommodate reading glasses. My best solution is to wear very slightly tinted sunglasses inside my visor, cutting down on reflections and most glare. Darker glasses add some comfort but cause my pupils to dialate slightly which makes close-up reading even worse. Any way I don’t get lost and see well to ride safely. Too bad I don’t look as good as I see (no comments please). I used crazy glue and baking soda, a catalyst, to create a nubbin on my left finger.

It’s my driving finger, and my Adventure Rider Saluting finger and it works great to poke the Garmin screen precisely.

The unit is mounted conveniently close to my left hand and the nubbin works like my fingernail.

The Garmin “shortest distance” route calculating proved to be a powerful tool to route straight through big cites. I went right through the downtown guts of Nashville today at noon easily, and this evening through Lexington was a simple 25 minute ride. Hey Larry, try that with a strip, of your turn-by-turn scribbles, taped to your fuel tank!!

Anyway a productive riding day of 550km. I’ve ridden EFI of the Natchez Trace Parkway, it’s like a narrow green ribbon of sanity hidden inside a spiderweb of interstates, expressways and high speed traffic. It is memorial day holiday weekend, but traffic on backroads and lesser highways is not a problem, allthough my first motel choice was full. Just as the sun was setting, I settled myself safely and comfortably in a Red Roof Inn on the North edge of Lexington Kentucky.

I’ve still got about 1000km or 12 riding hours split over the next 2 days because I would like to visit my friends in the Finger Lakes NY, on Monday night. I will be going thru Pittsburgh tomorrow, Sunday, late in the afternoon. I may easily loose a day with traffic or weather.

WooHoo a limestone rock

24 May

I followed the NTP all day, a 473km, and ended up in Lawrenceburg Tennessee for the night.This afternoon close to mile marker 305 I saw the first outcropping of limestone rock since Georgia a few days ago. Still in Mississippi and just south of the Alabama state line is the Saddleback Ridge.This morning before the temperature rose to stinking hot I took some pics and stopped at a few interesting locations.By late afternoon I was tired, and the air-conditioned short movie at the Parkway Visitor Center / Headquarters was a pleadant break. By the time I rode to the Pharr Mounds I needed a nap.I flopped my crash suit on top of a picnic table in the shade and had a long sleep. I awoke drenched in sweat but felt refreshed.In the morning I will pick up the Trace where I detoured.


23 May

After an awesome luxurious breakfast at the Terrell House we left New Orleans about 9:00 am. I’m going to miss Cooper; he is one of those genuine people whom I’ve met on my trips that I wish we had more time together. Wow, riding northwesterly to get out of town there is water everywhere. I had to see it to believe it. The city is only about 20ft above sea level and connected with a spiderweb of aging concrete expressways through miles and miles of swamp. It’s an oasis of great people and wonderful food held togethet by nothing but its history and very worn infrastructure. We both can’t imagine it’s sustainable. We were stunned to see most of the businesses with huge wide open front entrances and all the air conditioning working to cope with the 95degree heat. We can’t comprehend how small coffee shops, with floor to ceiling full width front entrances, are able to afford the energy to waste so grossly. But I must say everyone is friendly and helpful. All Canadian public transit drivers should take lessons in courtesy from the New Orleans bus and streetcar drivers. We had a riot just wandering around and going in random directions on our $3 day passes!!!

We got to Matchez Mississippi in time for lunch

and I finally got my feast of cornbread.

We rode together from the very south end of the Natchez Trace Parkway ( NTP ) terminus. About 3:00 we parted, Larry preparing to setup his tent at Ricky Springs campground on the Parkway. I rode north past about another 100 mile markers and finally detoured way off to get a motel near Carthage. I spent about $12 in Walmart for salad for dinner and stocked up on real juices, fresh fruit and of course my emergency can of beans. On most trips I haul a big can of brown beans and a plastic spoon, sometimes it just ends up at home. But seems like good insurance against starvation. Either I’m just really lucky or I have developed a secial skill to find great eateries on my travel. The best places get stored in my GPS for future trips and sharing with friends. I dream someday of getting rich publishing this list and my blog.

Tonight I found a cheap motel, maybe my best ever $50 special, clean, owner friendly & helpful and with a pool!!! An the entire large room with 2 big beds to spread out my gear and my maps. I still haven’t planned a route from Nashville to my friends Rich ans Carol in NY state.

I sure hope Larry enjoys his rustic campsite and the clouds of blackflies that will be swarming around his tent. He is heading to Oklahoma to join a tornado hunting crew and then adventures into the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. His memory data-banks will be overloaded by the time he gets home about the end of June. I’m not geleous, I’m simply homebound. Considering the sweltering temperatures I’m rather looking forward to our new house, a first for us with air conditioning. Each day cooking in my Road Crafter suit and hauling all my cold weather gear that I wore the first 2 days we began the trip, I wish I had my lightweight summer suit and boots. It’s so hot I’m not stopping for many pictures and certainly no walkabouts to explore. No one will believe that I haven’t even stopped to collect any rocks!! I just rode past 3 historic mound sites this afternoon wanting to explore, believing the real true history of the mounds is the Minoan people. Their exploration, civilization and shipment of copper from Isle Royale in Lake Superior via Lake Michigan, Missouri River, Mississippi River to New Orleans and then by ship home, to supply the material for the Bronze Age.

I do enjoy riding the Parkway, the leisurely ride, speed restricted to 50mph and no comercial vehicles. Putzing in this temperature sure beats flogging the interstates, cruising steadily at 70 to 75mph in heavy traffic. My Vstrom runs perfectly, so I’ve no concerns except my ignition key is sticky. I swapped my old worn key for my spare which is virtually unused and that helps but even it sticks sometimes.

New Orleans

22 May

We were treated to a delicious breakfast and coffee and enjoyed conversation with some other guests.

No riding for us today, we’re giving the bikes some quiet time alone in the courtyard. So instead we spent the wad today on the special $3 day pass for the Gord & Larry tour on busses and streetcars. WhoHoo what a deal. Wonderful coffee and lunch and a beer later on Burbon St complete with a live band.

New Orleans

21 May

Another grueling hot riding day of 533km but we made it to New Orleans. We are staying at the Terrell House B&B, an overwhelming beautiful historic home. Linda and Cooper have made us feel very welcome and comfortable.My Suzuki Vstrom is parked in a locked courtyard, a fitting location to rest after reliably hauling me and all my gear to all 48 of the lower 48 states. No a bad accomplishment, that began in 2008, for a motorcycle and an old grey haired Canadian, including 10 provinces, twice to both coasts and twice to Newfoundland. I have so many amazing memories of riding friends who I’ve learned so much from and people who have helped me along way. Mostly I know how specially privileged I am to able to follow my dreams; thank you so much Sammy.

Just 2 more to touch

20 May

This afternoon I put my riding boots in the Gulf of Mexico at Port St Joe, Florida.A crazy day that went sideways even before I started the Vstrom, but ended well about 350km later. Once again the best memories of my travels are often the people that I meet along the way. We enjoyed lunch in Wewahitchja FL at the Corner Cafe. The owner Mitchell and his staff run a nice small cafe for breakfast and lunch. Just the kind of place I love. The conversation and laughter made my day!My morning started with a stuck steering lock, my ignition key wouldn’t turn to unlock the handle bars. My CAA Plus membership isn’t honoured in some states. AAA wouldn’t come to a motorcycle, and I found a local private towing but the motorcycle shop is closed until tomorrow. By the time I was becoming adequately frustrated, the large amount of WD40, that we sprayed into the key slot, solved the problem enough to unlock the switch. So until I get home, I just won’t lock it.We are staying in Panama City Florida at the Ramada Inn; deskclerk Vanessa was very helpful, a true professional in the hospitality industry.

The missing three

19 May

It’s the middle of the night and I’m a bit restless and excited. Larry and I leave in the morning heading southerly so that I can touch FL, LA & MS, the missing states of the lower 48. When I bought the Vstrom in September 2007 I never dreamed that I would ride all over North America!

Today it’s hot riding in Georgia, 566km.