Saturday, October 27, 2012

ADV Old School Fall Rally

I spent the weekend of October 19-21 in Tellico Plains, TN attending the ADV Old School Fall Rally.  This is usually the last overnight camping trip of my season.  For some reason most of my photos did not come out very well.  This may be because I did not shoot that many at the campground.  I was too busy catching up with old friends that I see only twice a year.  Some of these folks I had not seen in a year because I was in Mexico during the Spring Rally.

On Saturday I did ride to my old home of Maryville and rode the Foothills Parkway.  The fall colors were spectacular.

As I am writing this the weather is turning colder and I think, as I mentioned above, this will probably be my last camping trip of the year.

It has been a great riding season from Mexico, Texas, California, the Overland Expo and the entire southwest!  Ther may be a few posts during the winter if I get in a few "maintenance rides".  I don't really "winterize" my bikes and if I get a warm weekend in the winter I normally take the bikes out for a twenty mile jaunt just to keep the engine internals coated with oil.

So, check back ever so often to see what is up!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend at Cruso

I spent this weekend at Cruso at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground.  On Saturday I rode to Sevierville, TN to go to the Smoky Mountain Knife Works to pick up a few things.  It was a great weekend and the weather was perfect.  Saturday night got down to 44F but I have very good camping equipment and I was quite toasty in my sleeping bag.

My campsite for the weekend

The Pigeon River right behind my tent

This season is slowly coming to a close.  The only other planned motorcycle trip I have for this year is the ADV Old School Rally in Tellico Plains, TN schedule for October 19.  I have a little maintenance to do on my old airhead to get it ready.  I noticed last Friday that the fork seals were leaking.

Remind me again why I like living and riding here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Horizons Unlimited Traveller's Meeting 2012

I spent the weekend of September 7 - 9 at Iron Horse Motorcylce Lodge in Stecoah, NC attending the 9th annual USA East Horizons Unlimited Traveller's Meeting.  I did two presentations.  One on my 2008 trip to the Arctic Circle in Alaska and the second on my recently concluded trip to Mexico and the American southwest.  There many other presentation and a couple done by RTW (Round the World) riders.  There was also some very interesting bikes and packing systems on display.

Of course it's a KLR!
While some chose to stay in nearby hotels and other rented cabins the majority of us chose to camp in a tent city.  The weather was warm on Friday, but a front with rain moved through leaving Saturday night cool at that just right sleeping temperature.

It was an excellent meeting with over 100 travelers.  I saw some old friends, renewed some friendships and met a lot of new friends.  Due to illness Grant and Susan Johnson were not able to attend.  We are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers and look forward to seeing them at next year's meeting!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kickstand Lodge

This past weekend, August 24 - 26, I took my airhead out for a weekend in the Nantahala National Forest.  She had been feeling neglected since I had ridden my hexhead GS on the trip to Mexico and the American west.  Friday afternoon I rode to Kickstand Lodge in Stecoah, NC and set up camp.

On Saturday I took one of those rides to nowhere in particular.  You just ride and when you see a road you have never seen before you take it depending on the GPS to get you back to the campground.

We did have a strange rain event on Saturday evening.  All of a sudden there was a torrential downpour that lasted about thirty minutes, but the sun continued to shine the whole time.  It was the first time I ever worried about getting a sunburn and drowning at the same time!

Next week I am back in Stecoah at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Resort presenting at the Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting.  Check back to see how it went!

Monday, August 13, 2012

35th Dan'l Boone BMW Rally

August 9-13 found me at the 35th annual Dan'l Boone Rally sponsored by the Tarheel Travelers BMW club out of Charlotte, NC.  This is a laid back little affair that I enjoy attending each year.  The location is only two to three hours from my home depending on the route I take.  The most direct way is ride the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Boone.

The first night I spent in my tent reading my Kindle (The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux) and listening to the rain.  There was heavy rain that night, but the NOAA weather reports promised a better day on Friday.  The NOAA weather report lied.  Friday evening we were treated to another round of rain.

My camp during a sunny period

Friends arrived from Athens, GA and we had a good reunion.  On Saturday I led them on a ride that included the original Mast General Store in Valley Cruces, NC, a ride down Highway 421 (the Snake) to Shady Valley, TN, through the shortest tunnel in the world to Damascus, VA, and then back to Boone.

The post office inside the Mast General Store, Valle Cruces, NC

Shady Valley Country Store, Shady Valley, TN

I do not consider myself a "rally rat" by rallies are a good destination to keep up with old friends and meet new ones.  I really don't have have any other rides planned for a while.  My next "appointment" is the Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting (USA East) in Stecoah, NC in September.  There I will be presenting my trip to Mexico and the American West.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guzzis in the Blue Ridge Rally - 2012

No, I don't ride a Guzzi but their rallies are a lot of fun.  Spaghetti, lasagna and Chianti.  This rally is held the first week end August at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground in Cruso, NC.  Usually there are more BMWs at this rally than Moto Guzzis but this year may have been different.  There were more of these Italian steeds than I have ever seen in one place.

There was a little rain Friday and Saturday morning but eventually the weather cleared and the temperatures were perfect for camping.  Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground was crowded.

On Sunday I took the Blue Ridge Parkway back home to Asheville.  The is one of the views I was treated to.

Somebody remind me why I live in these mountains!

Next week I will be heading to Boone, NC for the annual BMW Dan'l Boone Rally.  Check back for a report next week!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekend at Cruso

After completing my trip to Mexico and the American West I let the bike have a well deserved two week rest while the wife and I went to Washington, D.C.  But now it was time to ride again.

I rode to the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground to camp for the weekend of June 29 to July 1 and reacquainted myself with my "home" roads.  All I can say is that it was HOT!  On Saturday I rode to Seneca, SC for lunch and a bank sign said 109 degrees!  I immediately headed back for higher elevations.

I returned home Sunday morning and used my GoPro HD camera to take a shot every minute on the trip home.  I got this amazing shot from that series.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Trip is Done!

I rode on through the mid-west which, as you know, is a lot of flat, straight riding where 500 mile days are easy.

You see a lot of this in Kansas.

Typical downtown in wheat country.

While riding through Dodge City a lady talking on her cell phone almost ran me down.  I was riding in the right lane of a four lane road and she was pulling out of a veterinarian's parking lot.  She was too busy talking on her phone to even check traffic before pulling out into the road.  She never looked in my direction.  Luckily no one was passing me and I swerved into the left lane.  My right pannier missed her front fender by no more than six inches.  I leaned on the horn and looked back at her and she just shrugged her shoulders.  I really hope that call was important. 

About the only stops I made were to get gas.

The next day I made it to Oklahoma.  Northern OK is a lot like Kansas.  I made it into Muskogee and stayed in the Catalina Motel.  The proprietor of this establishment likes motorcyclists.  The room was only $35 and was really pretty good.

The next night I stayed somewhere east of Memphis.  My GPS decided I should experience the wonders of downtown Memphis during rush hour.

The next day I made it home to an empty house.  The frau is away on business in Washington, D.C.

I would like to thank the several thousand bugs that died making this trip possible.

So, that makes eight countries that I have ridden in and I really don't know if I will ever add another.  But...  my frau is trying to get a sabbatical to Germany in the next year or so.  My brother-in-law has offered me his bike if she gets it and I would really like to ride in eastern Europe.   Hmmmmm!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Almost Home!

I rode 515 miles today and did not mean to.  It took me three hours to find a motel after my GPS decided I should experience the wonders of downtown Memphis at rush hour!  I will probably get home tomorrow and on Thursday I will wrap up this ride report.  It's gonna be weird getting up Thursday with no where to go!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm Officially Out of the West

I have ridden from San Diego to Kansas in three days.  It is hard to believe that I have not take a photo since leaving the Sonoran Desert.  I guess I have spent so long out west that I have become jaded to the beauty.  I did figure out how to use the screen shot feature on my GPS.  After leaving New Mexico I entered Colorado and reached elevations of more than 10,000 feet.  It was nice cool riding.  But from there it was down into Eastern Colorado and Kansas.

It is looking like this trip will come to an end on Wednesday or Thursday.  What a great, exhausting, long, wonderful trip it has been!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

With the frau winging it back to Asheville I got back on the bike and started my cross country trip home.  My first stop was Salvation Mountain at Slab City near Niland, CA.  I had first heard of Salvation Mountain while reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.  Christopher McCandless spent time in Slab City before heading for Alaska.

Salvation Mountain is the work of Leonard Knight.  He bagan painting the mountain with Bible verses and religious art in an effort to acquaint people with his beliefs.  The mountain is constructed of adobe and straw and thousands of gallons of paint.

From Salvation I rode on through the Imperial Dunes and the Mojave Desert.  It was HOT!!!!  While riding through Scottsdale, AZ I saw a bank sign telling me it was 113 degrees.  Later while watching the news in my motel room the weatherman announced that it was a record heat day for June 1.

Along Highway 60 I saw this giant dirt devil.

Then on the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the famous Saguaro Cactus.

Right now I am in Bloomfield, New Mexico.  I should be home sometime this week, but I am taking the back roads and US highways.  I also do not know what kind of weather I will have to deal with while riding through the mid-west.

Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

The next day we headed for the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.  I had always thought that Hoover Dam was operated by the Army Corps of Engineers or the National Park Service.  It appears that it is run by a concessionaire.  It is expensive!!!  The tour is $31 and just to see the Visitor Center is $8!  The best view of the dam is from the opposite bridge.

After viewing the Hoover Dam we headed to VEGAS!!  Yeah, baby!  It was my first time in Vegas and I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore!

We found a motel in the Fremont area of town.  The Fremont area is where Vegas began.  The "strip" is relatively new.  There was a great light show on Fremont Street.

And a lot of live bands and entertainment.

On our second day in Vegas we went to the "strip".

The Luxor

The fountains at the Bellagio.

Caesar's Palace

The next day we headed back to San Diego to put the frau on a plane and spend more time with the granddaughter and her family.

Breakfast at Kono's in Pacific Beach.

Grand Canyon

Disregard the previous post.  I am at a motel tonight with a much better Wi-Fi connection so I will try to update you on the happenings of the last week or so.

The frau and I left San Diego to see the Grand Canyon.  Words cannot describe it!  I found myself taking a lot of panoramic shots because of the vastness of the Canyon.

We stayed in Williams, AZ which is a major tourist stop on Historic Route 66.

The next day we went to Sedona.  It was like an upscale hippy kind of place.  Not really our cup of tea.

I did see this sign at a church.  There's a lot of truth there!

The next day we went back to the Grand Canyon and visited the eastern side of the park.  The views there were even more spectacular!

Next up... Hoover Dam and Vegas!