August 2006 News Letter.

                  This months news letter is dedicated to our 30 day cross country motorcycle ride.

How to become a “Motorcycle Moma” in 30 days.

By Lynda and Jim Smith

 

    Hi everyone!  As most of you know I have shared a good number of my solo ride adventures with you over

the last couple of years.  I’ve always loved riding on two wheels, and will frequently be found out riding on a full

weekend ride.  Lynda, on the other hand has always considered my riding to be a misunderstood personal thing 

 – something that I enjoyed enough to leave her enough free time to pursue her own interests. – This, I believe,

changed the last week of June 2006 and the first three weeks of  July 2006.  This period represents my 4th cross

country ride and Lyndas first.   I’m only going to act as a facilitator in this story – what follows is an email string

that Lyn (for the most part) sent out nearly daily to our family and friends, along with what she considered to be

some of the best pictures of the day.  Lets look at our 30 day odyssey though my bride’s eyes (The blue font’s

will be my contributions,  and the red one’s hers…):

 

 

DAY 1:

 

Hi everyone --
 
  Just wanted to drop you all a quick note and let you know that we made pretty good 
time today --  From San Ramon to Eugene, Or. before my azz finally gave out.  Man was 
it HOT -- over 90 the whole way.  Lyndas sleeping as I type this - the heat really 
wipes out folks that are exposed to it all day long.  Heading out for dinner soon.  
Tomorrow Washington, and Monday the Lolo Pass Highway into Kalispell Mt. to do
"Glacier National Park" on Tuesday.  We'll be in touch!
 
Jim and Lynda
 
(No Pics yet – but they are coming).

 

 

 

 DAY 2:

 

Hi everyone.   More boring Motorcycle news :-)  It's kind of like being a captive 
audience because we have all of your email addresses!! Anyway we left this morning 
from Eugene about 7:30. We continued our run up I-5 and stopped in Lake Oswego to see 
my brother Ted and his wife Donna - Imagine our surprise and disappointment when the 
only number I had brought along was Donnas Work Phone for AnotherU....  Oh well Lynda
and I enjoyed a great breakfast at the Millers family resturant before continuing on 
into Downtown Lake Oswego looking for a quilt shop. Which we eventually found - and 
of course it was closed till noon - and we were there at 11:00.  We elected to continue
on up into Portland and look for another shop that Lynda frequents online - "The Fabric
Depot" - Holy Cow -- this shop was HUGE --  Easily the same size as a Costco.  Lyn was
in 7th heaven.  Back on the road again about 12:30 and several stops along the way
including the Multnomah Falls, the Columbia River Gorge,  Mt. Hood City,  a nice long
steel grate bridge crossing into Washington and a ton of HOT HOT HOT Miles again today.
We are in Kennewick, Wa. --  Just on the border between Wa. and Id. Tomorrow we head 
up Highway 12 over the Lolo Pass--- One of the most beautiful and sceinic highways we
have in the US.  The plan is to wind up in Kalispell, Mt. somtime tomorrow afternoon.
I need to get some pictures sized and posted -- soon...
Cheers!!
 

 

DAY 3:

Hi all,

 

Today was another gorgeous day, although it was a long 11 hours on the bike.  Again, hot, hot, hot, but the scenery

was worth it. (Thank goodness for my spray water bottle where I just mist my face and body to keep cool).   We left

Kennewich, Washington, and drove through Clarkston and Lewiston, (Idaho),  down Clearwater River, thru Lolo River

valley, thru Missoula, around Flathead Lake in Montana and landed tonight at Kalispell, Montana.   Today's mileage

was a little more than 500 miles.  The rivers and lake were just gorgeous.  We stopped for water and gas, and saw a

tree being felled (is that the proper term for chain-sawing down a tree?)  We went thru lots of roadwork that was

gravelly and downright dangerous for a motorcycle, but made it thru.  I must admit I'm very tired tonight, but loving it.

 

I'm just now downloading my pics because tomorrow we will go thru Glacier National Park and I need to clear my

card.  So I promise to send pictures shortly.

 

More tomorrow,

 

Love,

Lynda

 

DAY 4:

 

Hi everyone ...
 
   I knew ahead of time 2 things about today. The first and foremost was that we were 
going to see some spectacular scenery and the second was that Lynda was going to get a
taste of a very large state (Montana)(Ha -- wait till we cross Texas!)....
 
   Anyway we were up, breakfasted, loaded and wheels up at 8:00 and were happily pay-
ing for our National Parks Pass and beginning an amazing journey along the "Going to 
the Sun Road".  I heard a lot of "Oh My God's" and "Holy Sh!t look at that" not to 
mention more "Wow's" than I've heard out of Lynda in many many a moon. Glacier National
Park is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world,  and most certainly a 
crown jewel in the US Nat'l Park system.  We exited the park some three hours later
(translate 75 miles per hour times 3 to see how far we might have been able to go 
instead of the 60+ miles through the park in the same amount of time).   We both were
most impressed at the number of Bikes in the park.  I commented that at my last visit
to Glacier some 12 years ago I didn't recall seeing but maybe a half dozen or so the 
entire time I was there.  Today we dang near wore our hands off waving to everyone.  
More Harley riders than anything else,  but there were quite a few Goldwings as well.
 
    After the park we began the 350+ mile ride down to Bozeman where we are currently 
ensconsed in a new Best Western preparing for tomorrow's ride through Yellowstone and 
the Grand Tetons.  Can you say "Lets follow the Continental Divide?"  We expect to get
a room in Jackson Hole tomorrow night,  then Onwards to Casper, Wy. --- We'll see what
kinda trouble we can get into tomorrow!! Today the temp's were a lot better than the 
first three days were -- neither one of us "melted" too much - ATGATT (all the gear 
all the time) can make for some real hot days. 
    By the way --  Road construction is once again "bad" in Montana and -I'm going to 
guess - in Wyoming too.  Actually got into deep enough gravel late today to make the 
bike want to do anything but go straight --- I won't tell you what I was hearing 
through the intercom....
 
    More later!!

 DAY 5:

 

Hi everyone --  Boy,  we're loving this captive  audience we have. Thought we would go 
ahead and give  you our impressions of today's ride. We left our Best Western in Bozeman,
Montana early enough to swing by a local McDonalds for a not so good  breakfast, wind
our way through an accident scene,  endure even more Montana roadwork (Interstate no-less)
to "Finally" make it the northern entrance to  Yellowstone National Park.  I've waited
for over 20  years to hear Lynda's impressions of our first  National Park.  I wasn't 
dissapointed.  I can't tell  you how many times I've heard "I feel like a Bobble head,
You know - checking right, left, and center for  a new or different animal or vista". 
We saw Bison,  Elk, Fox, all kinds of water fowl, not to mention the amazing Geothermal
features in the park. After Old  faithful fired off Lyn said "That's one more thing I 
can say I've actually seen".   The ride out of the park saw us riding through some 2"
rain as Lyn called it -- for me it was more like a  1/2" rain -- ept splatting against
my eyes.  We made  it out of the park and into the Grand Tetons by 6:00 (ish) and 
finally into Jackson, Wy. by 7:30.  Got a  great room and are thinking about heading 
out for some  steak and Mushrooms....  Grand Tetons -- Spectacular  -- Jim only wishes
there was a motorcycle route  through them.    More tomorrow, from somewhere in "wide
open  Wyoming"...    Jim & Lyn  

DAY 6:

 

Howdy everyone....
 
   Well today we rode a little over 450 miles,  not a huge long day,  but we didn't 
have any "sites" on our list of things to see, but we were very pleasantly surpised by
the spectacular scenery today and some excellent roads.
 
   We left Jackson, Wy. a little before 9:00 this morning after having a pretty good 
hotel supplied continental breakfast and a discussion with some other Goldwingers about
their trailers (I'm getting closer to getting one for our bike!).  Jackson is such a 
great little tourist town -  a place we'd love to have a home in, butis quite expensive
-  one lady put it this way  --  The Billionairs bought out the Millionairs who had 
bought out the locals.  Oh well - We'll have to plan a yearly sojourn there. We picked
up US-287 just past the Grand Teton/Yellowstone turnoff.  287 turned out to be a really
excellent road for riding.  The highway took us over a 9668 foot Topowwithe pass that
was really spectacular.  Near the summit we saw a sign that said "Road Work for 24 
miles ahead".  Luckily the road work didn't start till we were nearly in Dubois ...  
But oh what a mess that 24 miles was!  We then picked up US-20 and road through the 
Wind River Canyon on our way to Worland for our lunch, and our one big stop of the day
in Greybull at the Bighorn Quilt Shop.  --  Lynda paid their rent for the next month !!
:-)  We took US-14 out of Greybull which took us over the Bighorn Mountains and the
9066 foot Granite Pass.  This is truly a spectactular ride, both up to the top and 
down the other side,  but there is a very long 15-20 mile stretch of perfect high 
altitude meadows and forest land that the highway just meanders along.  The downhill 
side into Sheridan is, as far as I'm concerned, a big bike riders dream - high speed 
sweeping curves and technical switcbacks all on really excellent pavement.
 
Today was yet another really hot day although thru the mountain passes, it was cooler.
Lynda still has to "mist" herself, and at one point, she just poured the whole water 
bottle on her.  That kept her a little cooler.  
 
Although we were "scheduled" to run into Casper, Wy. tonight we decided to call it a day
at 6:00 when we hit Sheridan,  and save the high speed 150 mile freeway ride into Casper
till tomorrow... 
 
More later!
 

DAY 7:

 

   Well, today's update is a little less exciting than the last few days have been. 

We did manage to see both Devil's Tower National Monumnent and Mt. Rushmore today.  We

booked nearly 500 miles today – finally giving up in the intense heat of the late

afternoon sun in the South Dakota Badlands. 

   We started the day off in Sheridan, Wy. with a picture of us at the Buffalo Bill

Cody Bar/Resurant/Hotel --  It's a national historic monument,  and very cool!  We had

some really excellent BBQ there on Thursday night.  We were on I-90 heading South East

by 7:50.  We breakfasted in Gillete and continued on down to the US-14 exit - which

took us directly into Devil's Tower National Monument. We spent about an hour exploring

the area and shooting a picture or 20.  This really is an amazing monument,  as it

really is out there in the middle of nowhere and suddenly there is this huge monolith

that dominates the landscape.  Very cool, and worth anyone's time that's traveling

down the I-90 to see.

   We had a brief panic attack after leaving the tower as we were continuing East on

US-14 when a little fawn darted out in front of us and ran across the highway.  There

was a lot of braking and some squealing tires for a second or two,  but both the deer

and we survived without a scratch.

    We crossed the border into South Dakota and were almost immediately innundated

with Sturgis signs.  Not to mention the weather that decided it was the most opportune

time to produce a thunder and lightning storm.   We ducked into a gas station for  a

short while as it passed over us,  then continued on up to Mt. Rushmore.  Boy has that

area ever changed since the last time I was there 20 + years ago...  I could hardly

believe my eyes!!  They actually have concessions there now, and an avenue of flags –

all very cool.  90 minutes of well spent time later we were heading East on I-90 again.

Lyn was soon melting,  and,  by the time we reached Murdo she had melted completely so

we stopped and rejuvinated in our air conditioned Best Western.

   A really good steak dinner at a local restaurant followed by a great conversation

with our motel neighbor who is also riding a bike cross country finds us ready to send

this email off and head off to bed...

   Tomorrow Iowa and Jim's High School Reunion...

   More later.

 

DAY 8:

 

First let me say that if you don't want to receive these updates anymore just let us

know,  and we'll only include you on those "really interesting" ones.

 

Today we started the day with a 7:30 AM Continental breakfast at the Best Western in

Murdo, Sd. Interesting little town in that it only has 650 people,  but is capabale of

supporting numerous eating, fueling, and retail establishments from the I-90 trade

alone.  We were on the road by 8:15 and making full use of the freeway speeds.  My

thought was that there was nothing so important between Murdo and Belmond, Iowa to

necessitate using any back country roads -  well at least until we got into Iowa, 

where we picked up US-169 in Blue Earth, Mn. and headed South into Iowa.  We stopped

for fuel in Elmore, Mn. and the gracious lady suggested that because we were "On tour,

after all" that we might want to take a short 15 mile detour to see a local tractor

pull - We proceeded to Clear Lake instead and got a Motel room for the next two nights!

  We thought it would be a good idea to ride the 20 miles into  Jim's hometown to see

what the schedule of events would be for the next couple of days -- well of course by

the time we got there the whole town was closed up and in anticipation of what ever is

going to be happening tomorrow.  We visited the town cemetary and bid tidings to the

bits and pieces of Jim's past.  It was there that we noticed the Northern sky building

with a huge thunderstorm --  to make a long story short - we got caught in it.  I'll

let Lyn give you the gory details of the 20 mile ride back to the hotel when she talks

to you.  Went out for Mexican after we got dried off and warmed back up... No pics

today -- this is after all the Great Midwest!!

 

Cheers!

 

DAY 9:

 

Today we spent all day in Belmond, looking for the 150th celebration activities.  The weather was warm and

beautiful, which was quite a contrast from yesterday.  Our gloves, boots, and clothes are finally dry.  As it turns out,

we missed Jim's school reunion folks because that was actually held yesterday.  Main Street was beautifully dec-

orated with flags on both sides, and the banner strung across.  Belmond really does have the best 4th of July cele-

bration.

 

So today, we visited with Aunt Ina (who's now almost 91), and her daughter, which is Jim's cousin, Nancy.  She's

doing just great.   Part of Belmond's celebration included a quilt to be raffled off.  This quilt was made by Aunt Ina's

distant relative, and commemorates the Sesquicentennial (150 year) history of Belmond.  Of course I bought tickets,

and tool a picture of the quilt, and with the quilter.   Then inside the church was a huge quilt show, with quilts

draping every pew.   It was fabulous.  Jim was afraid I'd never come out!

 

Then onward to visit Aunt Camilla.  She was so surprised to see her nephew Jim, but very happy.  She just turned

88 and is still going strong.

 

So today was a very relaxing day, and enjoyed visiting Jim's home town. 

More tomorrow...

Lynda and Jimmie

 

DAY 10:

 

Hi from Illinois,

This morning we left the north-central part of Iowa and traveled down to Winterset on I35.  First stop was the

Fons & Porter Love of Quilting shop.  I watch their PBS quilt show regularly, so was very happy to actually go to

the shop.  Neither Fons nor Porter were there, but they were probably upstairs working on their next show.  Then

just down the street, we learned was the birthplace of John Wayne, so had to take the obligatory picture.   All this

was in Madison County, where the movie "The Bridges of Madison County" was filmed.   We drove by one bridge

that was located in the park, as all the other bridges were located 3 miles off the main road, and the Goldwing is

not meant to drive on gravel.  This morning's adventures were great. Then most of the afternoon was spent travel-

ling east, stopping to buy Jimmie a new camera (his was destroyed in the Iowa storm), going thru the Amana

colonies, and crossing the Mississippi River.  It was a long 534 mile day, so we stopped in Galesburg, Illinois

(60 miles west of Peoria). Gotta love the Best Western hotels!

 

(For those counting, the total Honda miles are now 4064.7)

 

Till next,

Lynda & Jimmie

 

DAY 11:

 

Hi all,

Wouldn't you know....the hotel we checked into last night lost it's internet connection from the rain storm, so no

report on the 4th of July. But - hope your celebrations were fun.  We traveled from Galesburg, Ill thru Indiana, and

landed in Findlay, Ohio. Basically a travel day, with pretty country roads, and another heavy rain storm at the end

of the day.  Since the midwest towns had their 4th of July fireworks on the 3rd, we ended up watching TV and saw

the fireworks in DC.

 

Today (the 5th), we traveled on the interstate I90, just to make some time.  We booked it thru Ohio (did you know

Cleveland has the rock 'n roll hall of fame?), a corner of Pennsylvania, and into Niagara Falls, New York.  We got

in early enough to spend some time at the American Falls (on the US side).  What a beautiful park and falls.  My

goodness!  The speed of the falls delivers 750000 gallons per second.  That's pretty darn fast.   Tomorrow we will

be winding our way thru New York state, working our way toward Philadelphia.

 

I must admit after 12 days of between 400-500 miles per day, that I am getting saddle-sore.  Didn't want to admit

it, but I think I actually have "Honda-waddle" as well.  I had my first experience with the pay-as-you-go turnpikes.

It's rather interesting how the traffic clogs up with getting a coupon here, then paying there (which is the distance

you've travelled).  I've learned to keep dollars and coins in my pocket at all times.

  

Lynda and Jimmie

 

DAY 13:

Hi all,

We left Niagara Falls this morning and drove all day thru the Adirondacks.  This was a day of just looking, and no

real on-and-off-the-bike stops to see a monument or vista.  So it seemed like a long day even though it was only

427.5 miles.  Since we are not from this area, I guess we can't really appreciate what the locals see.  The scenery

was basically rolling hills and conifer forests, with one small town right after another.  There were lots of lakes and

rivers, but nothing like the scenery we've scene from previous states.  But I can still appreciate the style of the

"Adirondack chair".

 

We're now in Plattsburg, New York, which is right on the border of Canada and Vermont. We are looking forward

to travelling thru New England and visiting the cities of the Eastern seaboard (DC, Philadelphia, and visiting more

friends and family.)

 

We're so lucky with the weather, as there was very little rain today.   Sure hope it stays clear.  Total miles to date

(drum roll please.....) 5341.4.

 

Lynda & Jimmie

 

DAY 14:

 

Hi again,

 

Another exciting day completing 2 weeks of travel.  Today we started by doing some genealogical research for

Lynda's "Thayer" family history.  We left Plattsburg and drove to Thayers Corners, which was the birthplace of her

great-grandfather, and probably the initial Thayer homestead.   Great fun.

 

Then we drove all day thru Vermont, New Hampsire, Connecut, Massachusetts, and what ever else is stuck up

there in that little corner of the world.  Vermont is just beautiful with its lakes and lush greenery, not mention the

maple syrup!  Again we took mostly U.S. highways, for the scenic twisty roads.  I don't believe we have ever seen

a "moose crossing" warning.  After a total of 426.7 miles, we arrived in Andover, just on the Massachusetts side.

 

Lynda and Jimmie

 

 

 

DAY 15:

 

Hi all,

 

Today is Saturday and our 15th day of travel.  We left Andover, Massachusetts this morning, early enough, but we

actually got delayed because Jim had to perform surgery on his ear-piece on his helmet, as a connector had broken

off.  Hence he could not hear the GPS instructions, and that would have been disastrous as we were going thru the

big cities today.  Luckily he fixed the problem and I was glad he brought along all the tools and parts needed for his

headset. (I am not a good map-reader!)

 

We drove from Massachusetts, thru Connecticut, thru New York City, (crossed the George Washington bridge),

into New Jersey, then into Philadelphia.  We stopped to have a nice lunch with Jayne's Mom and her sister in

Piscataway, New Jersey, then 2 hours later we arrived in Philly.  Can't even begin to describe the confusion with the

tolls, turnpikes, road work, pot holes, etc.   We were throwing money all day at the toll takers, and can't understand

why the roads aren't in better condition!

 

We parked the bike in Independence square at 5:30 pm, and wanted to see the Liberty Bell.  But to our disappoint-

ment, the building in which it is housed was closed.  So all we could see was a glimpse thru the glass window.  We

did however, just take a walking tour of the area, and realized just how important this area was in our American

history.  We heard a tour director mention that is was exactly 230 years ago today that the declaration of independ-

ence was drafted - not the 4th of July as is tradtionally celebrated.

 

Tomorrow is Washington DC where we hope to do more walking around the Washington mall.  All this tells me

that my recollection of American history is a little fuzzy.  This tour is a great education.. We were both so tired when

we arrived at our hotel, that we didn't capture today's mileage.  So for you folks that are keeping track, you'll have

to stay tuned for tomorrow's report.

 

Lynda & Jimmie

 

DAY 16:

Hi everyone --

 

   Lynda informed me that tonight it was my turn to tell today's story - she's tired

of being the "color commentator!" --

 

   Today's whole intent was to spend as much time as possible seeing the sights of

Washington DC.  What I remembered from 20 + years ago and today's reality are something

quite different,  both in the getting into the town center and with the mobility around

the Capital Mall.

 

   We left the hotel in Ft. Washington, Pa. this morning on an empty tank of gas,  and

a malfunctioning GPS - the only gas station it could find was a little over 19 miles

away back in Philadelphia -- we didn't follow its recommendation - instead we asked a

couple of locals (joggers etc),  and eventually found a full service station with all

of .02 Gallons of gas left in the tank.  The attendant was very helpful in getting us

a route into DC.

 

   The ride into Washington was basically un-eventfull - if you don't count getting

lost (aka missing turns) at least 3 times,  going through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel,

and missing the Beltway entrance --  oh well -  the GPS finally started working about

this time and I have to tell you all (for those of you that own a GPS - you'll know

what this means --- I got real tired of Henrietta saying "Off Route Recalculating"

--  )  The routes - exits - roads have changed since the mapset I have for my GPS was

produced,  causing both it and us a great deal of frustration the last couple of days.

BUT,  we did finally make it into our Nation's Capital.  It's still as beautiful as

ever,  and the new monuments (Vietnam and Korean,  and the WWII) all brought a very

solid message home to those of us that either lived through the period,  or,  served

during it. 

 

   Lynda was quite surpised at the size of the city and the scope of the Mall.  After

3 hours of walking, we were both very leg sore and weary by the time we made it back

to the bike and headed out of town toward Richmond, Va., where we are now  -  looking

forward to a short ride into Virginia Beach tomorrow and spending some time with our

long time friend Linda K. before continuing on South through the Smokey Mountains, Blue

Ridge Parkway,  and onwards to Florida before turning right and heading back home.

 

Enjoy the pictures - we found the new mode of transportation (I'll call them

"people-pushers") very interesting.  They are manuevered by pushing forward, and you

just stand and ride.  Top speed is close to 12 miles per hour!

 

Total Honda miles to date = 6483.9

 

     More tomorrow!!

 

 

DAY 17:

 

Good Tuesday Evening to everyone....
Well,  we've spent a very enjoyable last couple of days.  We left Washington DC on Sunday,  spent the night in

Mechanicsville (near Richmond) in Virginia that night,  and then proceeded on into Virginia Beach (with a rather

major detour to "Colonial Williamsburg") to see our friend Linda K. and her daughter Lindsey.  We left

Mechanicsville and headed Southeast on I-64.  About 45 miles into the ride we saw the highway sign saying

"Colonial Willamsburg 4 miles",  well we have both seen television shows aboutWilliamsburg,  and decided to make

a stop there . We really didn't know what to expect,  and were very surprised to see the huge volume of cars parked

in the visitor center parking lot.  Once after we got into the center we learned that it was the gateway to some of

amazing American history.  We only had an hour to stroll around the historic - restored colonial village - and we

tried to make the best of it,  but there was / is just too much to see.  It's definitely on our "Must do" list the next time

we make it back into this neck of the woods.   We continued on down I-64 and soon found ourselves traveling

under the Chesapeake Bay via the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel --  what a trip that was!  Anyway we followed some

excellent instructions and were soon enjoying the company of Linda and Lindsey.  Linda was very kind and helpful in

getting our laundry done (much needed and OH SO appreciated), letting us wash the bike, and showing us around

town.  We spent the evening at the beach -- really a beautiful place,  and a real tourist destination. They are trying

to keep the beach a "family friendly" place, so you will chuckle at the "no swearing" sign.  We were able to get

ourselves packed up and headedout of town by 10:00 this morning.   The goal today was to get to  Roanoake,Va.

via the Blue Ridge Parkway - running through the Smokey Mountains.  All I can say is WOW - this is one of God's

little corners in the world.  Really beautiful.  The road is perfectly kept, the sights are postcard perfect at every

viewpoint and in truth can only be appreciated via a personal visit. We only road the BRP about 50 miles today, 

tomorrow we will spend most of the day on it heading South toward our youngest (Chris and Kim,  and the new

Grandbaby - Levi).  So far its been a most excellent adventure.

More Later.

Jim and Lynda.

 

DAY 19:

 

Hi all,

 

The Blue Ridge Parkway was so beautiful, that we decided to go back and continue south for more scenic and

calm vistas.  We stopped at Mabry's Mill, which is still a functional original mill dating from early 1900's.  We were

completely impressed with the inventiveness of Ed Mabry (the founder), of his use of the water wheel that powered

his sawmill, jigsaw, and gristmill.  After our walk around the mill, we continued to Blowing Rock, which took us off

the parkway to get gas, and then onto I40 into Asheville, NC.   After 10 hours of riding, we are now in Newport,

Tennessee, (which is close to Knoxville).  The last hour of riding was spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic as there

was a dead deer accident followed by a flat bed 18-wheeler that lost his lumber load.  What a (stinky) mess, but

we got an opportunity to talk to a trucker next to us on the CB for quite some time.

 

I must say that my backend is now fully conditioned to withstand long periods of sitting.  Jimmie and I have also both

perfected the Honda-waddle.  Although we take a stretch break now and again, these have been long riding days.

Today's mileage was a mere 367.8, bringing the total to 7278.5 Honda miles.

 

Tomorrow we will continue southward thru the Smoky Mtn National Park, and on into Georgia.   Can't believe our

trip is nearly 2/3rds over.

 

Enjoy,

Jim & Lynda

 

DAY 20:

 

Hi all,

 

Another beautiful day which was spent riding thru the Smoky Mtn National Park, (which is part of the Appalach-

ians) from Tennessee,  back into North Carolina, then directly  South on US441.

 

We drove thru the park in the morning, and the way the sun filtered thru the leaves on the trees gave the scenery the

most gorgeous variations of green.

 

We have also noticed that a few of the south-eastern states are infected with the Kudzu.  It is a vine that was

introduced early in the century to the area from Japan to stop erosion, as it grows a foot a day.  However it is now

out of control and climbs trees, power poles, anything.  It's sort of like the Little Shop of Horrors plant that you

have to keep your windows  closed at night, or it will grow into your house!  Anyway, since it completely

encompasses the trees, it forms weird shapes, and you'll see that in the  picture attached.

 

We are now ˝ way thru Georgia.  We are in Perry, which is close to Macon. The weather all day was very hot and

humid, and we found ourselves in one of the typical 5 minute down-pours, complete with lightening and  crackling

thunder.  We pulled over to put on our rain gear, and just as soon as we put it on, the rain stopped, the clouds

parted, and left us in an instant  sweltering 102 degrees.

 

Georgia boasts “boiled peanuts”.   What the heck is that?   I thought peanuts were roasted.  We’ve seen lots of

signs for the famous Georgia peaches, and of course the Vidalia onions.

 

Tomorrow we’ll arrive in Florida to see our youngest son and his family. It will be good to get off the bike for a day

and just enjoy Disney World on foot.

 

Till next,

Lynda and Jimmie

 

DAYS 21, 22 & 23:

 

Hi all,

Long time, no write -

 

Friday was a long ride from Georgia into Leesburg, Florida, where Chris, Kim, and baby Levi live.  We left our

hotel and started the day with the bike not feeling just right.  According to Jim, it was either an unbalanced front tire,

or something wrong with the back tire that was causing the front wheel to vibrate.  Jim thought it was good enough

to ride for a while, and that we would stop at the Honda dealership in Leesburg.   Good thing we headed straight

there, as the back tire had an 8 inch tread separation gap.  And YES we needed a new tire.  Luckily they had a

Bridgestone and the time to change it.  I was horrified that we rode on that tire, and you probably will be too when

you see the attached picture.    (All part of the riding experience???  Yikes!)

 

So after piece of mind that the bike was now OK, Jimmie took me to the local quilt shop as we had about an hour

before Chris was to pick us up for dinner.  We had a nice Italian dinner with everyone, including Kim's parents, and

it was nice to have the family together.  After dinner we spent some time at Kim's parents house watching a terrific

lightening storm, the geckos climb the screen door, and listening to squeaky frogs.  That's the life!

 

Saturday was spent at Epcot Center in Orlando, and it was my first time there.  One word - WOW.  It was so

fabulous, although expensive.  The food selections are enormous, and they even had a mickey-shaped ice cream

sandwich.  Levi was such a great baby, as he let us tour the whole park and attractions in the heat and humidity with-

out any fuss.  But by the end of a long day of walking, we were all ready to head home.

 

This morning (Sunday) we knew we had a full day of riding, so we left at 7:15 am from Leesburg and drove the

I75 north, then picked up I10 to start our westward trek home.  We once again were delayed by 2 severe

accidents, caused by thunder storms.  And we were caught in the downpour, so we pulled off the freeway and took

cover in a Waffle House for a hour waiting for the rain to stop.  Then we continued onward, and are now in Mobile,

Alabama for the night.  We gained back an hour today, which was good, because we lost an hour waiting for the

storm to stop.  Several lightening storms, and microwaved popcorn, are keeping us entertained for now, because we

are inside.

 

For those tracking our mileage, we are now at 8470.4.  We plan to be in Austin Texas by Tuesday.

Till next report,

Lynda and Jimmie

 

DAY 24:

 

Hi all...

 

The task of journaling today's ride falls to me this 24th night on the road - It will

be a short journal entry, as there is not too much to say - other than "Can someone

please find the Off switch to the "Hot" button??"  Don't know who's in charge of that

particular device,  but I'd be willing to contribute to it's demise.  We left Mobile

Alabama this morning after being entertained a good part of the night with some pretty

intense thunder and lightening storms. Last night the humidity outside was really

unbelievable!!  We walked from the hotel to our diner of choice (Hooters!!!!,  which

was just across the street) and by the time we arrived we both could have used a

change of clothes.  I spent about an hour trying to replace a headlight bulb before

dinner, but it was so hot an miserable that I finally decided that a cold beer and a

light show was more fun.  Anyway, we left this morning (still with one burnt out

headlight) at 8:15 and made very good use if the Interstate sytems most all day long. 

The I-10 out of Mobile quickly took us into Mississippi followed shortly by a border

crossing into Louisiana where we enjoyed a very Cajun lunch at "Frog City"  before

finally crossing the border into Texas.  Whew!!! Hot - I'm telling you it was so Hot

that you could see the droplets of humidity sweating.

 

   We avoided both New Orleans (took the I-12 Bypass)and most of the Houston traffic

(by using the US-90 Bypass).  We are currently in North Houston heading toward some

friends and another quilt shop tomorrow in Austin before beginning some very grueling

days across the Southwest on the final leg of our 30 day Odyssey.

 

   More tomorrow!!

 

Jim and Lynda

 

P.S.

How many hours DOES it take to change a GL1800's

Headlight??

 

Finally got the headlight fixed tonight -- two hours

in total to do a 5 minute job -- humm,  someting is

wrong with this picture (I'm going to have to work on

it....)

 

DAYS 25 & 26:

 

Hi all,

 

Will we ever get out of Texas???  How is it possible that you can go thru 3 states in one day, but it takes 3 days to

drive thru Texas?  Just gives you a perspective on how big Texas really is.

 

Yesterday was a short ride (about 200 miles), from Houston to Austin, as we wanted to visit friends in Austin

Another trememdously hot day, but we really enjoyed seeing our friends, and Jimmie found another quilt shop for

me.

 

Today (Wednesday) was the longest and hottest day so far.  We left Austin at 7:15am and drove north on I35 thru

Ft. Worth, then because Jimmie couldn't do the interstate anymore, we picked up US281 still heading north.  Then

we blasted thru Oklahoma, just to say we've been there.  There was alot of gravel roadwork that was not fun to

maneuver in.  The temps hit 106, but I'm sure it was actually more.  We had to stop 3 times just to soak our shirts

and jackets with water.  We literally hosed ourselves down, which felt good for the next 15 minutes of riding, then

it all evaporated.  We headed west on I40 and and arrived in Amarillo at 5:30.  It was a 10 hour day of riding

573.5 miles.   I think a shower and a beer are in order...

 

Tomorrow will be another long day, heading thru New Mexico, Colorado, and stopping in Durango.  We are really

looking forward to a spectular Rocky Mtn ride on Friday, ending in Flagstaff.  We find we don't care much for the

flat plains of Texas, but really enjoy the mountain scenery.

 

Can't imagine what the temps are back in California, but hope it's cooler that what we've been through!

 

Lynda & Jimmie

 

DAYS 27 & 28:

 

Hi all,

 

Here’s the summary for days 27 and 28.  Believe it or not, we did not have internet access in the mountain lodge

we stayed in Durango, Colorado.  So hopefully tonight we can send this.

 

Thursday we traveled 570.6 miles from Amarillo, Texas, thru New Mexico, to Durango, Colorado.  We took I40

west to Albuquerque, I25, US550 thru Cuba, and Aztec, which is part of the million-dollar highway.  (What we

saw on Friday as part of the million-dollar highway was even more spectacular).  As the backseat photographer,

around each curve was another new and beautiful vista.  The camera just cannot capture the awe-inspiring and

jaw-dropping beauty of the jutting mountains, and scenery.  I took over 200 pictures the last 2 days, and we just

loved the fact that we were able to experience the byways and highways of these most scenic states.   Incredible

roads…

 

Today (Friday), we left our condo at the resort, and headed north to the small town of Silverton for the best

chicken-fried steak breakfast.  Our route took us thru US550 to 62, 145, to 491, to 191, to 160, to 89, ending in

Flagstaff, Arizona.  Jim told me this morning that we were going to play in the mountains today, and that’s exactly

what we did.  We loved Colorado, caught a corner of Utah, then into Arizona.  Up until noon, the mountain air was

fabulous for a motorcycle ride, but thru Utah and “arid-zona”, it hit 108 degrees, but it was a “dry heat.”   Who

ever invented that statement??  It was just plain frigging HOT.   The rock formations are just incredible and seem

to pop up from no where.  Again today’s scenery was worth the 477.4 mile ride.

 

For those keeping track, the total miles as of today are 10,875.9.   With 2 more days to go, at about 500 per day,

we will expect to top 12,000 miles.  Whoo-hoo !

 

Lynda and Jimmie

 

 

DAYS 29 & 30:

 

Hi all,

 

Again, the Motel 6 did not have any internet at all, so we'll combine yesterday's and today's trip report.

 

Yesterday we left Flagstaff at 7:15am and headed for the Grand Canyon.  This national park is yet another

absolute wonder and beauty.  The pictures just can't capture what the eye really sees.  We spent a couple of hours

walking and driving thru the vistas until we hit the road for another long day of riding to the night's final destination,

Ely Nevada.  The route we chose was to leave the Grand Canyon, heading east to Cameron, then northwest past

the north rim.  Then we picked up US89 which took us northwest thru more spectacular sites in Utah.  Continuing

west, and it was a really long ride, we finally made it to Ely, Nevada, which is just crossing the Nevada border. 

Total miles for the day was 595.3 (a 12 hour day).  Only to find that all the hotel rooms were taken, as there was a

rodeo in town.  After riding almost 600 miles, we just had to stop.  Luckily we got the last room at the Motel 6,

and we so happy to have a bed, without driving for another 2 hours.

 

Today (Sunday, day 30), was basically a scenic travel day, from eastern Nevada to home.  We left Ely Nevada

and took highway 6 west into Benton, via Tonopah.  Then meandered thru the ultimate "whoop-dee-doo" road

(Ca 120).  It is so called, as it really is a roller coaster ride, complete with big dips, catching air at each crest.  We

circled Mono Lake, then took US89 thru monitor pass, then caught hiway 4 towards Ebbett's pass and Stockton.  

The ride was cool in the morning as we were mostly in the high elevations of the mountains.  But as we drove thru

Sonora, Arnold, Murphy's, the temperatures kept climbing from 100 to 106 to 111, to 115 from Tracy till home. 

You just cannot understand hot, till you've motorcycled thru it.  We heard over the CB radio from other

motorcyclists that the heat was like the space shuttle on re-entry, and that we couldn't stop for fear of our shoes

melting into the pavement!

 

But after 588.8 miles today, we made it home safely, and immediately jumped in the pool!  Ahh - home, sweet,

home.

 

On this final day, I would like to give a standing ovation to Jim for planning AND driving the entire route of 12,060

miles, and taking us thru not only the beautiful sites, but manuevering the bike thru some pretty hairy weather and

gravelly roads. 

 

Both Jim and I would like to thank our coworkers who filled-in for us at work to make this incredible vacation

possible.  And we would like to thank you, the reader, for letting us share each day of our travels.  We have just

loved keeping in touch and hearing from all of you, even though we were miles away.

 

For those who like statistics:

-we covered over 12000 miles in 30 days,

-consumed 316.2 gallons of gas (which is about 38 miles per gallon), not bad for a 2-up, fully loaded bike!

-checked into and out of 26 hotel rooms

-saw 6 national parks (Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Niagara Falls, Smoky Mtns, Grand Canyon)

-journeyed thru the magnificent Blue Ridge mountains, the Lolo River Valley, and the Adirondacks.

-saw several national monuments (Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Liberty Bell, DC's monuments)

-brief tour thru historic Williamsburg, and all day thru Epcot Center in DisneyWorld.

-saw the country Lewis and Clark explored, and Buffalo Bill's home.

-visited family and friends along the way

-visited 4 quilt shops

-drank countless bottles of water!

 

Of the "lower 48 states" we actually touched 38 of them.  Which means the 10 that we missed will have to be

"Part II, the Sequel of Jim and Lynda's motorcycle vacation, coming soon to a PC near you!"

 

So Jim and Lynda signing off - over and out.