EVENTS OF THE DAY: easy wake up / Depoe Bay / restaurant – what a find! / Ooops! Lost / Oops – Ooops lost again! / Ooops X 3, you guessed it… Lost again / calling Harvey / finally there / pizza! / the garage / out like a light
Yesterday we stayed at a motel where Chris and Wobble had stayed some years before. It was okay, if sleeping right on the Main Street is okay. We were up at dawn in keeping with the newly developed habit for Chris.
Yes, hit the road right away, looking for a place to get some coffee at this time of day, translate that into McDonalds, which opens by six am everyday, everywhere. Thank you McDonalds!
We headed south on our way to Depoe Bay, “I want to show you this place Alberto, it is something else”.
About an hour south there was “the smallest Bay in the world” – as they call themselves (some places have an overinflated view of their place in the world). I’ll admit.
A very quaint community, at the end of which, to continue south you have to cross a a mini “Bixby Bridge” as the one in Big Sur Califormia.
Depoe Bay, has ha visitor center right on the main Coastal Hwy, a fabulous little facility.
There we met Rachel, a marine biologist working for the state. Her current job is to monitor the Gray Whales the feed in this waters. “There! Look!” She goes, pointing to a half dozen spouts of vapor coming from the recently surfaced whales about 200 yards away from us. She has binoculars and a a video camera trained on them.
It was interesting watching the whales live and s close to shore. “Oh, sure. They are one of the few species of whale that can feed that close to shore where Orca whales that feed on the Gray whales cannot get at them”.
“Holly smokes, That is a lot of sushi!” As I saw Rachel cringe at the word.
She was very dedicated to her craft, and generous with her knowledge spending ten minutes telling us all about Gray Whales.
Okay, enough of the “sushi” and South we headed.
“Hey, Chris, I targeted my GPS and we could be in Roseburg by noon, we are not that far! If we go there efficiently” – “ALberto, we are not interested on any efficient roads”. Interesting reply I said to myself. Chris is leading, so I closed my GPS, and off we went.
Hwy 34. Chris lead us on this fantastic twisty, up-n-down road which had a bonus a restaurant better than Alice’s in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Deb’s Cafe, runner. Y a woman and her son. You could tell of the care and pride they both had, and the food…. Excuse me, ambrosia, was heavenly.
But as good breaks go, they come to an end. Time to keep going. “We’ll just continue on 34, all the way to Monroe”. Informed me Chris. And so we go. About 15 minutes traveling I notice that we have been heading North and West instead of South and East, but Chris is leading and I kept my mouth shut. After a good while Chris stops, announcing…. That’s it Alberto, something is not right. We are are at a state park with gravel in front of us for road surface”.
Hmmm… “My GPS! Is telling us to take a road that is only a circle with no exit”. Hmmm… “Chris, you mean we are lost?”. – “Not really Alberto, I’ll just Re-target the GPS, and off we go”. And so we did, heading back the last 22 miles we had just done. But not all was a waste. The place. The road. Everything about here was magnificent… I can be used to getting lost if it is always like this.
22 miles back we make a right onto road (I have no idea) which seem just as fun. Pretty little road, kind of bumpy for lack of maintenance, no divider line, forested, lots of sun/shadow riding. Hmmm… And Chris is inspired riding at a good clip. I can barely keep up with my “fearless leader”. Thank goodness, soon enough it ended. I shall christen this road as “the Washing Machine Ride In Oregon”. It was fun, were it not for my being a little scared.
At the end of The Washing Machine Ride In Oregon, we turned to what finally would takes us to Roseburg. One of the benefits (?) of being the leader is that you get blamed for anything that goes wrong, and today was Chris’ day for having Murphy’s Law applied full force on him.
We could see the freeway that will take us to Roseburg, and… Wouldn’t you have it? The ramp labeled Roseburg is closed for repairs… RAMP CLOSED – DETOUR. That’s not so hard, we can see the road 500 yards away. “Chris, ignore the sign and just cross the sign. We can make it to the freeway”. Hmmm… I must admire my leader’s sense of law abiding. We made a U-Turn and headed down a little side road which “seem” to point us toward Roseburg. Yep, you are getting the idea. Our leader is not done with Murphy’s Law and down a road hat after three miles, well, it kind of ended. We made a U-turn back to the RAMP-CLOSED sign, but this time we took their suggested detour. Smart leader I’ve got. He had spotted some kind of stand selling ice cream and such. Ahh, great. We needed the refreshment as it is very hot, and with all our detours and frustration, well, a break was well needed. We may still be lost, but refreshed and lost… That is an improvement. Chris took the time to call Harvey, “Harvey, we are very close to you, but we may still be an hour away” . Harvey was very appreciative for the call.
Now, we were far more efficient at getting to to Harvey, though we did get a mini-lost for a final wrap-up of the day. Hooray Chris, you finally got us here! Okay, okay, who cares if it is after 6:00 pm and we could have been here by noon! Imagine that. But, we had enough adventure to NEVER FORGET that getting lost can be much fun.
At Harvey’s, we had a huge home made pizza, one word, Delicious!
By eight pm I was beat and went to sleep in Harvey’s garage where he had set up air mattresses. Truth? As tired as I was, I could have slept hanging from the branch of a tree! I left Chris with the chore of socializing until who knows when.
We had said our goodbyes before closing the day as we intended to GE up much earlier than them and head to Old Station. Harvey and Marlene are family to Chris and they understood Chris’ desire to get to Old Station.
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Thursday, July 27, 2016
Old STation, California
EVENTS OF THE DAY: weather will be hot, so start early / miles and miles / very efficient riding / whoa! Old Station in front of us. / lawn mowing
We left Harvey’s house before our hosts got up themselves. We had said our goodbyes yesterday evening.
Early and cold. We double layered to start well knowing we would have to layer down later.
From Roseburg to Old Station where CHris has his cabin is about 260 miles. Piece of cake! We enter to get there early pas Chris wants to do some chores, so we went steady all the way. It was easy riding.
We got to Old Station early in the afternoon. Chris set himself to his chores, specifically mowing the lawn and fixing sprinklers.
Done by 4:00 pm we went t JJs for diner, not hungry, but we had eat early wanting to close the also very early. You see tomorrow is expected to be very hot, over 100 degrees and we want to have a very early start to beat the heat.
Food was okay, but going early to bed was even better. I was asleep by 8:00 pm leaving Chris to listen to Hillary Clinton running for president off the US get her nomination for the Democratic Party.
By 4:00 am Chris and I were awake and getting ready to get going. At 4,000 feet elevator it was cold enough, ahh, maybe 50° F, cold enough.
On the motorbike, after 70 miles we stopped at som highway casino, what a pig out! Chris sure can find this places!
The Bay Area is only 290 miles away from Old Station and I have every intention of getting home soon.
We stopped by the Nut Tree and Chris said “we have made it here in record time”. I believe it.
We split each of us going our separate ways at highways 80 and 680, he onward t Pacifica. I headed for the South Bay.
EVENTS OF THE DAY: up at five / Mt Saint Helens / Beaverton, OR with Esther / Mile and Linda / hit the road for Astoria / Chinese dinner
Five am. I had ahead of me 300 miles, so I told my son that I would steal out of his house at five am. Surprise! He got up just to say bye, reason why he is my hero, alway doing the correct thing, nothing lazy about my son Spencer. It was a quick bye, but sweet to my heart.
In 20 minutes I was up and headed out. My objective was Mt St Helens. Pat and Pam insisted that it was a great motorcycle ride and very informational to see the “blast area”, so I went for it.
The ride from Seattle to exit 49 to Mt Saint Helens. Highway 5, was easy, the temperature being a little on the cool side and the sky overcast. And then I started climbing up the road.
1,000 feet and then 2,000 feet, and higher I went. The overcast sky becomes a fog. Not sure if fog or the clouds were all around me, but the net effect was that there was no view of anything at all. Visibility was cut to under 500 yards.
The fog was so bad that I was unable to see across a bridge. Short of the top, I decided that it was silly to continue, so 10 miles before the top, I turned around and headed back to highway 5. It was cold, and water droplets forming on my windshield visor made it easy not to go to the top.
Stopped at the bottom of the hill for a coffee to warm up… Yes, McDonalds.
Back on highway 5,I was only about sixty miles from Portland, Oregon.
CHris is visiting his daughter in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland. But, no easy way to get there. You must cross the entire city. First south and then West. Finally got together with Chris.
Esther, his daughter lives in Beaverton. Well, I have everybody know, Esther looks a lot like Chris, pointy nose and all. Talks just like him and has the same attention for detail as Chris does. As with Chris, I became quickly fond of Esther.
We went out for lunch with Mike and Linda Bell, Esther’s in-laws. Mike is a retired Portland police officer, you can guess how the conversation went with him and Chris, yes, non stop yappin’. We had a very animated lunch with Mike having the ability to out-talk Chris, now I have seen (or heard) it all. Lucky Mike that Linda is gentility personified.
We were ready to head down the road, I was concerned wondering if Chris had had enough family time with Esther. He was happy and off we went.
Taking minor roads from Portland to the coast on our way to Astoria to see the Astoria Column.
Chris is convinced that it is worth visiting. last year we were here but the column was being refurbished and unavailable. This time luck was with us, the the column was in the distance… A magnificent view.
When we got to the column we climbed all 164 steps to the top where the view was, oh surprise, the same as from the bottom of the column. Just a little bit higher. But the experience of climbing 164 steps made it better than seeing it from the bottom.
It is almost the end of the day, and we looked for a motel. Chris found the same motel he and Wobble stayed several years ago which prompted stories of that long ago stay. Chinese dinner completed the day
EVENTS OF THE DAY: up late,very late / breakfast / the ferry boat / Chris gone / catching up with Spencer, my son / Seattle Underground / dinner /
This was one very lazy rising. I was up at my normal time, but Chris did not move an eyeball until I stopped by the garage and holler “hey citizen, it is 8:00 am and breakfast will be ready soon”. “Harrumph , barumpgh “, was all I got for response ehich I interpreted to mean… Okay, okay I am getting up.
Pat and Pam had prepared this breakfast suited for a king. Imagine this, fresh farm eggs (believe me when I tell you that they taste different), bacon thick and meaty, potatoes that Pam grows on her yard along onions, and other goodies. While the food you find at any restaurant, I guarantee you that it would never taste as good as what Pam and Pat made, you see it had a great deal of love and care,. That! You do not get at any restaurant.
To say we took until 10:00 am to finish breakfast amid yapping and celebrating our visit. Pat gave us directions to Bainbridge Island where we are to take the ferry to Seattle.
Chris and I had made different plans for this day. I am staying in Seattle to visit Spencer otherwise known as my hero, and his girlfriend Audrey the circus queen and Chris heading to Portland Oregon to visit Esther, also known as princess (his daughter). We will rendezvous and head onto the Astoria Column which last year was under repairs and unable to see.
Getting off the ferry was a swift affair that precluded saying goodbye to Chris, before I knew it, he was heading on Highway 5 south and I went into the city proper.
Surprisingly,Seattle is very much like SanFrancisco. Same hilly geography, and similar history. But, that is as far as it goes, Seattle people are very proud of their city. If you have not been to Seattle… I assure you to be missing something great.
Spencer and I went to see the Seattle Underground. Famous! Sometimes time in the early days of the city they had a sewer problem that got solved in a bizarre way. A building caught fire and serendipitously all fire related equipment and personnel were no available on that specific day. The population try to put the fire out. But, here come the stinker…the sewer smelled so bad, and it stared overflowing that the citizenry decided, rather than face the sewage, to simply watch the city burn. 33 blocks were reduced to cinder amid the fragrance.
When the fire abated, everyone decided to rebuild. “No, no!” Said the city elders, “you wanna rebuild, it has to be rocks or brick. No more wood”. And they did, but with a twist. The sewer had to be added, and they did, right in the middle of the street. The street had to be elevated to cover the sewer. Now you have buildings lower than the street and you needed a ladder to buy things and get it from the buildings to the wagons which were eight feet above. Several problem came from this arrangement, the drunks were falling from the street to the ground between the street and the buildings… So they elevated the sidewalks. Now you have 33 blocks where the first floor of every building was below the street… Solution, create a new “first floor” on the second floor, with doors to the outside etc… Tada! The underground was the consequence. It served a purpose, the city had 29,000 inhabitants with only 2,300 women. All the women listed their profession as seamstresses… Yeah right!. and they did their sewing, you guessed it, in the underground!
But enough history. Later Spencer, Audrey and I went for dinner Nd yapped for a while until I started fading…. Bed time for gonzo.
EVENTS OF THE DAY: Very early in the morning / Highway 20 / unhappy deer / confidence shaken / Republic Rally w… Coffee / back on 20 / just miles and miles of 20 / Pat and Pam/
It is impossible to do justice to highway 20. You simply have to experience riding this twisty, up-n-down road… mostly up. 70 miles an hour on sweeping turns, and fantastic views that call your eyes away from the road.
Too much for me to choose, road, vistas… Which? We did few stops. The riding of the road was the pleasure, and ride we did.
Eventually this leads to Lake Pend and the Clark Fork River. All miles of low traffic, 70 mph descending, to an amazing lake.
Highway 20, again has to be ridden, it is the experience of the ride and no words would ever do justice to it.
Eventually the town of Collville. We stopped at the a Comfort Inn… Sold out! What?! The girls there said “hold it, let me call the other motel, and save you having to go there”. Heather by name, but a flower to me. Sure thing she found us a room at the Collvile Inn, an independent motel. “You will like it there, nice people, the grandfather just died and left the motel to the granddaughter. You will like it there”. And she was right.
the Collville Inn, Good price, large rooms, all facilities. Here a bit of data, right behind the Colville Inn is a non-descript bar-restaurant. Go there and order the Prime rib (vegetarians out of luck, I have no tips)! You’ll be glad you did.
The next morning, we left the town of Colville at a pretty fast pace. We were both rested and eager to get to Port Tousand to visit with Pam and Pat, whom we had not see since last year 2015, when we went to the MOA Rally in Billings Montana. But I get ahead of myself.
Somewhere on highway 20 we were following a pick up truck. Good pace, 65 or 70 mph on a twisty, sweeping, road. Pick truck ahead, Chris following and there I was third in line. It is early in the day, ahh, maybe 7:00 am or earlier. Nothing to worry about until…
Right after a curve, I am looking at Chris ride when of a sudden, right after Chris this moving brown thing with a black nose and legs bounding its way across me. Holly cow! Not much to do but brace for impact. I knew there would not be enough time to slow down, not for the animal to fully cross…. WHACK!
Not good. But instantly, not bad either. My bike went sideways for eternity, but remain upward and rolling forward. I know I did not go over the animal, and I could no tell you if he went behind me or in front of me. My mind was on my bike and the brute… Well, we all have problems and the animal was not mine at the moment. Hmm, or maybe the brute no longer has any problems, Done with living.
I did not look back to find out the status of the animal, but kept rolling hoping to regain my wits and figuring out how bad has the bike been hit.
Chris has not seen any of this and has disappeared in the twisty road ahead. I keep rolling a bit longer, but my confidence is shaken. I have to stop and inspect the bike. I expected to see blood, hair, skin and whatnot, but no. None of that was present. The only thing gone was the reflector attached at the front lef fork of the bike… Gone! The guess being that the animal hit the bike very low on the fork reason why I remain balanced and rolling. Had he been any higher, we all would be visiting Alberto at the hospital. I realized my luck.
Back on the bike… No good. My confidence is severely shaken. I can ride full of adrenaline okay, but uncertain of the bike despite my inspection.
As I a riding Chris has noted my not being behind him and is coming back my way. We stopped and I relate the events. All he could say was … “Oh shit”. That summed it up. I started the bike again and onward we went, I requested to lead so as to keep a gentle riding pace. While riding and recovering my wits I noticed that my body temperature was dropping. I was either cold or nervous enough to feel cold. Either way I wanted something warm to drink.
A few miles later, Chris stopped at the town of Republic, where we knew there was a motorcycle rally taking place, “you can get coffee there” Chris had told me before.
Gratefully and happily I got off my bike. Greedily drank the coffee and shot the baloney with the rally people happy to be distracted from my ordeal.
Back on highway 20, this time we consumed miles like melting butter, considering the events of the morning, all the way to Port Tousand, where we took the ferry to cross the bay (or channel I am no certain on our way to Pam and Pat.
It was good to be with friends just gossiping and yapping about everything. Pat and Pam are two peace-loving-hippies from Santa Cruz California, who found Santa Cruz getting to crowded to tolerate. They moved to Port Tousand, a community of barely 9,000 where things happen at a geological pace… Very slow.
After a great dinner, I was wiped out enough to go to bed on the floor of the garage… Ahhh, life can be so good!
EVENTS OF THE DAY: chris up before his time / hit rhe road / breakfast fiasco / Becka/ state trooper / back to Becka / run to St Mary – breakfast / ip the road / accident / logan pass / head down / idaho… Wasington / cut over
Wow! There is hope for Chris yet. On this day he beat me to getting up. I wonder if Chris is in good health, perhaps I should keep an eye.
Soon enough we hit the road, but mainly because I am constantly nagging “hey, shall we go ride? You ready?”.
Chris of course must have a pipe to smoke, coffee, etc, etc, etc. in my eyes the delays are endless, but he’s got a point: “you have to slow down and smell the roses, maybe you should pick up smoking a pipe”
Staying The Ohaire Motel in Shelby was interesting, ever more so because of the enormous sign they have that announces their existence.
The sign was spanning the entire street! This nothing motel, in a nothing town must have a charm of some kind. It was sold out, the no vacancy sign lit up just as Chris and I got the only room left. Wow! Lucky us as the next option was camping (not an option for me) or get on the bikes for the next town, which could also be sold out. I suspect the motel is sold out because we are so close to the Glacier National park. Chinese dinner a block away is as good as it gets.
Next morning, Chris again gets up early, we are setting a new trend here! “ALberto, lets head on out and get something to eat”. You did not need to ask me twice, that Chinese dinner from last night barely was sufficient.
Well, easier said than done, this town at 5:30 am has nothing open. We passed a gas station were Becka (the attending girl) told us to go to the Casino, they have a good breakfast. So we trouped over. Locked! They do not open until eight am. As we are debating what to do, I see a state trooper parking almost next to us.
I head over to him, in the believe that if anyone will know what is open at this time of the day, it’s gotta be him. “Chris, come over! Trooper here knows where to go!” Well, calling Chris was a mistake… A cop talking to another cop. There we were some 45 minutes later trading cop stories, pension plans, and the pleasures of the job. Yes, sir, Chris can do some serious yapping when it comes to his old job. The trooper suggested heading to Saint Mary at the base of the Road to The Sun. Not much opened otherwise.
“ALberto, do you think that Becka, would have coffee at the gas station?”. Two blocks is nothing so we went back to her.
Becka, was fun. She is an Cree Indian, married to a Blackfoot Indian living on the Backfoot Indian Reservation. “So, how is it living at the reservation?” Whowee, she had lots to tell.
Becka had a great sense of humor telling me of life in the Indian reservation from an outsider’s point of view. The Blackfoot jive the Cree as being a “low quality Indian, (just by not being Blackfoot). Not so bad, they seem to get along just fine.
Onto Saint Mary’s at the base of the Glacier National Park. And we were hungry by now. Right! Chris order a burrito. I kid you not, they should have given him a saddle to ride that enormous contraption of food. But, Chris had no problem, he down that puppy hooves, feathers, and all. Hooves? Yes, it had meat. Feathers? Yes, it had eggs. And who knows what else it had!
Okay, and now for the piece of resistance: we are heading up the Go to the Sun Road (what a stupid name). I admit, what a scenery. To say it is beautiful does not do justice. Took plenty of pictures. When we got to the summit, at Logan Pass, police is diverting traffc… 75 yards away I see a car completely on its side cross the lanes. Ouch! How could he got that way? I was baffled as the road at this spot is straight, no great views for distraction. One thing is certain, the owners of that car or van, imagine the story they will have when they get home. That, they’ll never forget!!
The western side of the road was a parking lot. Between the accident and the number of tourists, holly smokes! It was unreal. Easily 20 miles of 10 mile an hour driving! With people stopping to see the sights which were splendid. Such views! For us, on out motorbikes it was sweet. No traffic in the direction of our travel, and we could easily get around cars that were a bit too slow while checking the views.
Headed for a delicious two apple pies at McDonald and a senior coffee. I repeat for this those not paying attention, McDonalds has great coffee!
Highway 20, again has to be ridden, it is the experience of the ride and no words would ever do justice to it.
Eventually the town of Collville. We stopped at the a comfort Inn… Sold out! What?! The girls there said “hold it, let me call the other motel, and save you having to go there”. Heather by name, but a flower to me. Sure thing she found us a room at the Collvile Inn, an independent motel. “You will like it there, nice people, the grandfather just died and left the motel to the granddaughter. You will like it there”. And she was right.
the Collville Inn, Good price, large rooms, all facilities.
Here a bit of data, right behind the Colville Inn is a non-descript bar-restaurant. Go there and order the Prime rib (vegetarians out of luck, I have no tips)! You’ll be glad you did.
Wednesday – EVENTS OF YESTERDAY: lazy day, did nothing. / shopping / bank credit card / Chinese Buffett / shopping again / back home. / dinner…. Nite-nite
Thursday – EVENT OF TODAY : up at six / hit the road / head waters of the Mississippi / we are heading West. / we can make Killdeer /. Dinner with a beer / oooops not this motel / hit the road again / no gas, getting day, no motel / shall we camp? / Wadford CIty / 11:00 pm we are wired! / finally, set.
At Mavin’s house we got spoiled. Hot showers, great home cooking (and Carol s no slouch!), catch up on the news. You name it.
We went to a store called Mills Fleet Farm.
This the jumbo jet of automotive stores, lumped together with Costco and REI. Simply stated whatever a man wants… They have it. Chris was looking for oil, not just any oil, cheap oil. He changes oil on his motorbike every 1,500 miles.
Wow! Impressive. That means for my trip, so far 14,000 miles he would have changed the oil almost nine times! And I do not even know where is the oil plug! Never seen it. Though in my defense, I did change the oil at the store at the 6,000 mile service as required. Now I am in need of a large service valves, fluids, and all.
I took care of the credit card problem. Went to Wells Fargo bank and got … Cash. Lots of it. While at the bank I discovered that I had another credit card with me. So, now I am fully equipped…. As WWWobble had caution me: “you do not need to know how to fix the bike, just carry a credit card with a lot of head room”, and I did until I lost the credit card and closed the account. But I am back in the game!
Chinese buffet for all of us… Chris at the wallet department treated everyone, “thank you Chris, it was a massive pig out”.
Back home a real lazy time. little Moto maintenance for Chris and a little of nothing for me. Until dinner time. I think I am gaining weight. Too much good food.
We watched the Republican Convention for president, a bit of planning for the next day… And early to bed, if 10:00 pm is early. (Not in my book!)
Thursday – EVENT OF TODAY : up at six / hit the road / head waters of the Mississippi / we are heading West. / we can make Killdeer /. Dinner with a beer / oooops not this motel / hit the road again / no gas, getting day, no motel / shall we camp? / Wadford CIty / 11:00 pm we are wired! / finally, set.
We left Marvin’s house at a relaxed pace. Having breakfast with Carol and Marvin was in my heart a bit mandatory. I will not let see them anytime soon for which I am unite sad. These two sure have a way of wining your hear and soul, and hat is beautiful, without trying!
“Alberto, would you be interested in seeing the head waters of the Mississippi? This is at Itasca Lake.” – Sure Chris! Is it much of a detour? “Hardly any, we have to head north anyway” – great!, let’s go!
In this manner we got started. Last night there had been quite a storm, but I heard none of it, yet the results could be seen everywhere. Fallen trees and signs everywhere warning of road repairs.
Late Itasca greeted us by charging $5 per person for a day use. “But warden we will be here hardly a half hour, see the headwaters and get going”. Despite the motorbike loaded for touring, the warden had no issue… Five bucks! We paid, and to me worth every penny.
Back on the road. Highway 200. Chris’ favorite road to cross the US. And I must admit , far better than a four lane highway. You get to go thru a town pretty much every fifty miles, which is the point of touring and seeing the US. I wondered if there is a similar road on the southern part of the US, I sure could have used on my way East. But this is water under a bridge… Maybe next time. Huh? Next time?! Am I thinking like this already? Stop me! Stop me please!
During the day not much happens. We rode west eating miles in a hurry on highway 200. Fast forward to the end of the day. We had made an aggressive plan to make it all the way to Killdeer, Chris had suggested “Alberto they have a good motel there. I stayed there before, also, they have a restaurant with the best steaks!” “Great Chris, let us make the effort, this means we will be riding over 400 miles”
And so we did. Chris was hungry, and contrary to my habit, we ate BEFORE we had the accommodations. But not a problem, Chris had seen the motel on the way into town… All is well… Or is it?
North Dakota has gone thru an oil boom and thru an oil bust, or really in the process of a bust. Not clear what exactly hat will happen, but that is not for this story.
A the Buckhorn Restaurant the steaks, while I admit excellent, a bit price. But you gotta pay for good stuff.
Chris complained about a $16 charge for his Seven-Up Highball. Even for me who knows little about the cost of booze it sounded like a lot. I had a Fat Tire beer King that the motel as just a block or two away.
So, to the motel we go. “Hmm… Goes Chris, I think this is the motel, but under a different name, maybe ownership as well. He goes in, and comes out as fast as he went in. “Think I want to explore a little”. Uh, oh! This does not sound good to me, remember I have had a beer, one and I am done! Right there and then I stared getting my wits about me.
There are several things that cross my mind all at the same timed 1) we both are low in gas 2) the sun is setting and 3) we do not yet have accommodations.
Chris, takes off rather quickly on his way As he said “exploring for a motel”. 75 yards to the our left there is a gas station, Chris ignores it and heads on the road. I presume that he know where he is going. More than that, I presumed that we are going just a block or two to another motel.
One block, two blocks, and the road which is under repairs turns into a gravel road. Half a mile turns into a mile and there is no sign of possibility to exit the under repairs, area. This does not look good. (Quiet Alberto, just follow Chris). We catch up to a car that is in the same repaid area and he is going not fast but not slow, but that car is making a lot of dust from the gravel road. Chris is in front of taking all that dust. I am much slower as I have less experience with gravel/dirt roads. We must have done three or four miles, which to me were an interminable million miles!
Soon, we turn right onto a paved road. I don’t think Chris has any idea where we are. But, onward he goes. Soon we are doing eighty miles an hour on a paved road heading west. What!? Not a few blocks. What is going on?! We have no gas!! A few miles down the road, Chris stops, “Alberto, I owe you a big apology, I think I have messed up”. – no time for that now Chris, let us just concentrate on our predicament. Chris further explains, “I just saw a sign for a state park, we can turn here and go camping. I will not make it to town, I will run out of gas three miles before we get to the next town. Do you want to try camping? How much gas do you have?”. – CHris, I have 45 miles left on the tank, but no. No camping. Let us just head into town whatever happens.
He gets on his bike and aims for the town with “whatever happens in his mind”? After a hike we see the lights of the town ahead… Phew! I relax. I know from here is a piece of cake.
We can walk it if it comes to that. It did not. We actually made it to a gas station. Again, Phew!!
It was eleven pm before we got all settle. Tense, stressed but relieved, I am ready to call the day off… And bit did I. I hardly recall falling asleep.
Yesterday we sure got up early. 4:15 am, and for the sake of productivity we were on the road by 5:00 am. More than that, we opted for breakfast until clear off Escanaba. Sixty miles later we sat at a MacDonalds for a break and a well deserved No 1 meal (egg McMuffin, hash down and coffee).
“Marvin, whatever happened to follow the leader?” Chris, had made a left turn on the road, Marvin went right straight! It actually was interesting, almost as if Marvin saw but not registered the disappearance of Chris. The amusing part is that Marvin was right next to Chris. A few minutes later he rejoins us, with his happy face, somewhat sheepish.
The rest of the day was uneventful… ExceptThe closer we got to Marvin’s house, the more excited he took over the lead, first at pace,
later, well, he got going. Up went the throttle. Funny guy. He does not talk a whole heck of a lot, he simply does!
Soon enough we got to his house where Carol greeted us. What a sweet lady! “Carol, nice to meet you, now give me a bug and a kiss or I will have to ask Marvin for one”. I hope you can understand that I do not want to do that. Got myself a hug and a kiss and a common in! Settle yourself and have something to drink. AHhh!
Simple dinner and we all went to bed early, after all we had been up since four am. A long day.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Mackinac Bridge – Michigan Upper Peninsula
No point identifying the EVENTS OF THE DAY, there aren’t any. All we have done is ride, ride and ride.
However, for the sake of a story, a few things did happen.
Crossing the Mackinac Straights, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
A steel bridge which makes your motorcycle dance left and right. A bit wobbly riding.
The scenery is great, at the crown of the bridge you realize that these two lakes are like a ocean. You cannot see the opposite shore.
Marvin and Chris are truly great company. Never upset. Always ready with a positive comment. And flexible enough t settle for anything anywhere… My kind of guys!
We took Highway 2 on the way to Escanaba, Michigan. 60 miles West of the Mackinac bridge. We are camping at the county fairgrounds. “The best part, it is only $20 bucks which divided by three is nickels and dimes! Cheap!” Goes Chris.
Latvnight we concluded, Chris’ tent-is-toast. It just won’t do anymore. Duly, we went to Walmart with every intent. $27 dollars later Chris got this great tent. It should be good for a while!
Am using for the first time my one-man-tent, it is netting only. Yep… Looks like open sky minus the mosquitoes and other bugs that may want to dine on me. I am concerned about waking up all wet from the morning dew. We shall see how that goes.
We heard from Buel. He made some 480 miles before having to take shelter due to rains. No loss though… Did the laundry while sheltering. And I bet that clothing needed the washing! You should be at the rally Top Of The Rockies… Have a great time, see you some time.
EVENTS OF THE DAY: wake up… Up again… One more time, up again / packing / US border / QEW 3 / lunch / the US Border again! / Follow the leader? / Motel and dinner.
We arranged that the first one up wakes up the others. Read that as “Alberto why don’t you wake us up.” Last night I was way too wired. I woke up no less than three times… Mother Nature making demands. The net effect is that I could not, would not or whatever, but I did not fall asleep in a prompt manner. 5:30 am. The least likely person to get up, Chris, well, he was up. Holly smokes! Yep, he woke me up from deep, very deep sleep.
All three of us energetically took to the task of packing the bikes. We decamped so fast that by 5:30 am we were ready to go. But, the last little bit, by the time Chris and Marvin have “their smoke” (what a nuisance!) it was 6:00 am, and we hit the road by 6:30 am.
Chris took the lead, nothing new on that. He always wants to be the leader (more on this later). Onward to the US border via Buffalo. It should be a straight run, particularly once the data is entered Into The GPS? Good luck on that!
Our esteemed leader, while he wants to be leader, at times has no idea where in this world he is. WORSE! He covers up by continuing without saying diddley. There we were, making circles, looking at a park by the river for the second time, far from the Highway to the Peace Bridge where we cross the US/Canada border. He?… Mum. Not a word, like “hey fellows, we are lost!”
Though, to his credit, by trial and error, he does eventually gets us to the Peace Bridge. Way to go, hound!
Once on Canada we take highway 3 west. I am beside myself. We are finally “on the way” West. We intend to stick to highway 3, believing it to be the more picturesque and not a freeway. Highway 3 however is not a straight road. You kinda have to detour and catch it a bit later. Hmmm… I think you are commencing to get the picture. To make a story short (if only I could do that!). Our leader got lost. Lost big time. There is a saying making the rounds among motorcycle riders: “I took the less traveled road, now I have no idea where in hell I am!”. Well, we surely took the less traveled road, and indeed, no idea!
At around noon, we all went to a restaurant that had a buffet. In my eyes, not cheap, but not expensive. I check my wallet to make sure how much cash I had. Not enough. Looked for the credit card…. Looked for the credit card… And looked again. No credit card! What! I get to looking in earnest all over my motorbike. No card. Aww man! I am toast! How am I going to get back without money? “Chris, I think I have lost my credit card, how much cash do you have? And may I borrow some of it?” “Don’t worry Alberto, your credit is good enough for me”.
Thinking, I now worry, about strangers using the credit card. Called Capital One Visa, at least half dozen times, and every time I request to be answered to a human, the “new and improved menu” disconnects me. Computers are great bust also useless. The fast way to the ” wrong answer” – but it does not take long to get the wrong answer. Grrr! At the third disconnect I was angry, by the fourth I am cursing, and by the fifth… Get away from me!! To anyone coming close to me.
Eventually and with the help of my buddy Naren, from the Bay Area, he manages to round up a live human and closes the account. Yeah! For Naren, this is the cheering gallery.
Once closed, I regain my happy self, and I am as ready to finish my journey without a credit card. No problem.
AaUuMmmmmmm. Reaching nirvana, in hapiness at overcoming adversity. Again, Aummmm. (Try it! – close your mouth and let the “M” rattle your brain cage).
I mentioned our appreciated leader’s hidden talent: his now famous “trial and error”. Yep, we did get there. But blamed was properly passed… “ALberto, why don’t you take the lead for a while, my GPS does not cover Canada all that well”. Sure thing Chris. You see, Alberto’s GPS has no problem… Its bi-national! (If there such a term?)
Alberto got us to the US border in Michigan, near Port Huron. The crossing was semi uneventful. When it was Chris’ time to be interviewed by the border guard, it took forever. They made him take off his helmet. Probably, Marvin ventured, he is telling the guard a joke! Next is Marvin. In less than a half a minute. Helmet on. Finally myself, luckily the border guard had processed these two derelicts, he asked me : “you went with those two?” Yes, I am sorry. “MOA Rally – did you have a good time?” Yes sir! “Okay, you are cleared”. Not even 15 seconds. No helmet off. I know why… It must be my charisma, good looks, excellent personality, great bearing, superb sty…. All right. I get it, enough! ALberto, shut up!!
Hate to go to a next topic when I was doing so well.
Crossing the border we are to follow the leader. Chris, Marvin, Alberto. Then of a sudden. Chris takes the highway to the left and Marvin follows some other motorcycle on a ramp to the right. O MY GRACIOUS! How are going to rejoin Marvin? He is going altogether who knows where!
I catch up with Chris to relate the developments. We pull off the freeway onto some kind of service stop. “Ouch! Let us figure this out” Chris goes. Not five minutes into our discussion on Marvin-recovery… Honk!! Honk! There goes Marvin on the correct freeway and going like a champ full speed. letting us know he has found a way. He stops at the end of the service road. We happily recollect Marvin and continue toward our night’s destination, a motel. Any motel. Phew! We dodged a difficult one. I would have hated to loose Marvin.
We found a place in A small town (no name) – sold out. The owner tell us to go to Sandusky. About half hour north, but with an admonition: “better hurry, there is a storm heading this way. Rains for sure!”
We peeled off like the wind, well knowing of storms. The wind was already picking up. There! There is the motel! Quickly we negotiated the three of us in one room (cutting the cost) and requested “can we have a roll-away-bed?” Much. Much to my surprise the hotelier said… “Sure”. Ha! $75 divided three ways…. $25 for each of us. You cannot beat that! Do not know why, but Chris volunteered to take the roll-away bed. He must be atoning his getting us lost so many times. Aww, Chris, you do not have to do that…. But I kept mum!
at this minute, Chris and Marvin are outside smoking their pipes and drinking booze. Ahh, the healthy lives they live.
Tomorrow, we continue westward and with every mile closer to home.