Monday, December 6, 2010

This blog has moved to!

Hi everyone. Just a short note to tell you that this blog has moved to VaVaVroom's website. You'll find new posts there. Eventually, we'll shut this blog location down to avoid confusion. Thank you for reading and sharing the road of life with me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Riding home from Redmond, Oregon - Day 16

Total Miles = 154

Libby, her family, and I all went our separate directions around 7:30 am. I was happy to snap a picture of her youngest on my bike! He looks like he is enjoying it. My trip from Madison to Chicago took longer than expected. It continued to rain the entire time until I reached the Des Plaines Oasis on the outskirts of Chicago. And then the traffic picked up and it got HOT. But do I really want to complain in my last post for my awesome trip. No! Let's sum up how awesome it was.

4, 488 total miles, 11 states (4 of them I had never been to before!), countless smiles and oohs and ahs.

Going home from Redmond, Oregon - Day 15

Total Miles = 353

So I thought today was my last day on the road, but the tornadoes in Southern Wisconsin had other plans for me. I knew I would encounter some rain today and put on rain gear just west of the Minnesota-Illinois border on I-94. The rain became so bad that it was difficult to see so I stopped in about 20 miles to wait out the storm at McDonald's (let's call this McD's #1). By chance, my dad and stepmom were traveling north on I-94 and our timing was just about perfect for meeting for lunch in Osseo, Wisconsin (at McD's #2). After lunch, I was on my way, but encountered black, nasty looking skies and pummeling rain. I exited in DeForest, WI and camped out at the Citgo station for a while - the home of the pink elephant!

I learned at the Citgo station that a tornado had been spotted about a mile away. The word was the tornado warning would lift at 6:00. I traveled down the road to McD's #3 to wait it out. I had also talked with my childhood friend, Libby, who lives in Madison. Being only 30 minutes north of Madison, I thought perhaps I would stay with her if the weather did not let up. Libby later called to tell me to wait until at least 7:30 pm to leave, as more tornado warnings were in effect. At that point, I made the decision to travel to Libby's as soon as the warnings were done. Around 8:30, I arrived at Libby's and caught up with her, her husband and two boys. I had not seen them in over a year and my had the two kids grown. It was great to catch up and I look at it as a blessing to have had this time with them. As I got ready for bed that night (the oldest son volunteered his room to me!), I noticed a map of the United States on the wall. I became curious. Now that I've hit some new states on this trip, how many states have I been to? Well, turns out I have been to 41 - only 9 more to go! It reminded me of a great t-shirt that Bob's BMW carries. It's called Keep Score and you check off the states and provinces you have ridden through as you do so.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going home from Redmond, Oregon - Day 14

Total Miles = 532

I crossed in North Dakota fairly quickly into my ride. In doing so, the landscape changed quickly - going from a combination of rocky and open plains to "lumpy" hills and more green. A nice treat was viewing what I think were the Painted Canyon or North Dakotan Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt Park. Really beautiful. It looked like the Badlands in South Dakota only smaller and greener. Very cool. As I contemplated the sights, I got to thinking how grateful I am to live in a country that has such varied and breathtaking landscapes. Even some states have multiple climates and looks. Traveling by motorcycle allows me to see this first hand. After I crossed into Minnesota, the landscape changed again - more green, more farmland - less ranching, more growing - more trees - as you would expect Minnesota to look like. It was a fairly uneventful day on I-94. No rain, no weirdos (well, not too bad). Met some nice bikers from all over the country. I'm still loving my new windscreen. Stops for has were in Bismarck, ND, Jamestown, ND, Fargo, ND, Fergus Falls, MN and staying in St. Cloud, MN at the Quality Inn. I like Quality Inns. I've found that they are a good value and pretty nice. As a bonus, I arrived early enough to enjoy a beer and some dinner at the attached Old Chicago restaurant.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On the way home from Redmond, Oregon - Day 13

Total Miles = 477

Driving out of Butte, MT on I-90 E this morning was beautiful with more curves, rock formations and green trees. But quickly, the landscape turned to the typical look of Montana.

Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful, but it looked basically the same for 400 miles! Stops were made in Bozeman, Columbus, Custer, Miles City, Glendive, and finally I stayed in Wibaux at the Beaver Creek Inn.

Today consisted of interstate driving and was kind of boring. I spent my stops re-adjusting my new Airhawk seat cover (I had too much air in it) and the windshield. I had to keep raising it. My new ZTechnik windscreen really makes a difference at highway speeds. A nice UPS man in Custer helped me re-attach the windscreen. I realized as I headed down the road that I didn't extend the brackets on the windscreen, so I stopped at the next exit in Bighorn. I watched the UPS guy pass by and then lost a piece of the bracket for 20 minutes! When I arrived in Glendive to rent a hotel room, the hotels were all full. Thankfully, Jonny had called ahead to Wibaux and reserved a room for me there. And good thing too, because I was getting tired!

Monday, July 19, 2010

On the way home from Redmond, Oregon - Day 12

Total Miles = 446 miles

Today, I woke up refreshed and well-rested and was on the road by 8:30. The landscape as I left Walla Walla was breathtaking. Amber waves of grain as far as the eye could see. And when the landscape was green, it was very green. The contrast between different crops was so vivid. I thought it couldn't get any better and then I reached the Idaho border and rode US Rte. 12 across Idaho... 200 miles of winding, curvy roads through national forest. I didn't encounter one stoplight or one stop sign for the entire 200 miles. The road winds along the Lochsa River. The beauty was truly awesome. My pictures do not do them justice, but here they are.

Walla Walla wheat fields with contrasting green fields.

The next town beyond Walla Walla - Yes, that's a camel!

The view along the Lochsa River in Lowell, ID.

Resting by the Lochsa River.

They really do sell cows! - Drummond, MT.

Once into Montana, the speed limit increased and in Missoula, I found 90 E where I buzzed along to Butte, MT. My new windscreen did wonders and I didn't mind the highway speed at all.

Leaving Redmond, Oregon - Day 11

Total Miles = 258

I had planned to sleep in today, but nature called and I needed to use the facilities. I guess I'm up at 5:30 am again today. Turned out to be a good thing because it took me six hours to get out of there between a shower, breaking down camp, packing, Jerry putting my new grips on my bike, losing my keys, saying goodbye to the Bob's BMW crew, saying goodbye to Nancy Foote and Walt Fulton of Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop, saying goodbye to Scott and the Canadians, running to Walgreen's for Jonny, and lastly, getting gas. Whew! I finally got out of there around 11:30. I wasn't feeling all that well, so I took it easy through the windy roads of Oregon. My route was 97 N, 293 E, 218 E, 19 N, 84 E, 730 E, 12 E to Walla Walla, Washington.

It really was beautiful throughout. 293 and 218 were especially fun with some twists and turns. 84 is scenic along the Hood River. On 730, I crossed in to Washington and began to follow the Columbia River. Walla Walla is a nice tourist town with many wineries. The best hotel rate was at La Quinta. A nice place with all of the necessary amenities.

Scott from Neenah, Wi and me - We met Scott last year at the MOA rally in Johnson City, TN.

Jerry putting on my Grab On grip covers. Grip covers extend the life of your expensive grips and reduce vibration. Jerry was proud of me for getting a bunch of free stuff - a new ZTechnik windscreen, ZTechnik headlight cover, ZTechnik GPS mount (I guess I better get a GPS now), microfiber cloth, the grip covers, a book by Mary Lou Dobbs (I will interview her on Side Stand Up); and a great deal on a new Airhawk seat cover and a PIAA headlamp. I also bought new cooling sleeves from LD Comfort. They are dual purpose - cover my wrists so I don't get sunburn due to my too short sleeves on my riding jackets and you can soak them in water and feel cool on your ride.

Mike with his 3rd place ribbon from the GS contest. Go Mikey!

Jerry and Sharon with the medal and 1st place ribbon from the GS contest. They got two extra points because Sharon was wearing a VaVaVroom shirt that matched the yellow bike!