Monday 30 July 2007

Pheonix Tango and Shooting!

Well now i am resting up in the Church at La Habra outside Los Angles with my Uncle Justin. Went to the beach today and its looking like Knox Berry theme park tomorrow. But first i must fill in the last few days. After my night ride with Dylan across the desert i checked into a cheap motel for a night. I met these great people Jack and Jen in phoenix and they put my up for the next night, but AZ is just far to hot so i had to bail over to the coast!
My bike clocked 46 degrees C on the way over, that is 117 faranheit! it is like an oven! But Pheonix was fun. I took a dancing class in tango and samba! so now i know a few basic moves for when i get down south! PBH you were so right, it is actually a lot of fun! Also i fired my first gun ever. Went shooting in the Desert with Jack, Jackson, and Killian. We set up some targets, and i got to grips firing a 45 pistol and a rifle, must be beginners look but i hit a few of the targets first time! It was a laugh, but they were so loud, and guns still scare me! think i will stay away for the rest of the trip.
Phoenix doenst really wake up until the evening until it cools down alittle, but i did find another Irish pub to add to my list, this one was called Rula Bula, No great as pubs go, it was lively enough but really i think it tries too hard, certainly did not have the atmosphere and the welcomenss of Hurleys in Montreal!
Not much more to report from AZ so i split over to the coast. After my swim today in the lovely warm Pacific at Huntington Beach I can say i bikes Coast to Coast in the US. In a few days I stride forth to Mexico and beyond!

Friday 27 July 2007

Arches and Night Drive

Well after the heat of Mesa Verde i though i would be immune to more! how wrong!! roll on Arches in Utah, Myself and Dylan after a few pints and night camping in Moab made our way to Arches in the morning, really early .. like 7 am to beat some of the sun. It was quiet hot so you can see me in my Lawrence of Arabia garb from Morroco a few years ago! it really works to keep the sun off.
There are some class hikes in the park and some truely breath taking scenery, miles of sandstone and slickrock. Every thing is petrified! We spent the day in the park and got some great fotos, but wow i got burned, every thing that was not covered is now red, even my nose! Rudolph i think.
We got a cheap (9$) hostel for a few hours and got up at 1.30 am to ride to Phoenix AZ, 10 hours through the desert, (the crazy hour was to avoid the heat). So we arrived in Phoenix this morning and i got the engine bars and a new rear tyre from Victory BMW, so finally i am all set for Mexico! so next stop CA and down though Baja, Sadly Dylan has had to return to New York, so i am once again a lone wolf rider!

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings . In 1891, Swedish scientist Gustaf Nordenskiold studied, explored, and photographed many of Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings. Considered by many to be the first true archeologist at Mesa Verde. We got there in the evening after a ride from Carbondale Colorado with Mike, who left us outside Durango.
After getting the tickets and the camp set up there was some driving on the twisty roads.. peg scraping twisty, and the day was finished with a chicken from Walmart cooked on our campfire and a bottle of wine ! class.
Next day we saw the various dwellings, it seems hard to believe the mesa tops were once farmed by these people who lived in the cliffs below, but the houses were quiet clever in that they normally have a well in the back, as there are interspersed layers of sandstone and shale, sandstone soaks water, shale does not, so when it meets the shale the water bubbles out of the rock.

Once we had seen the sights we made our way to Arches National park in Utah! what a sight!

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Colorado and Agent X

I was really lucky to run into Mike, who was so kind to put me up for a few days, and teach me to change a tire and of course to get my high altitude off road training!
Mike went across the Aussie outback a few years ago on an 1150GS so knows a bit about off road! We also had the intervention of lady luck in finding Dylan, I had originally planned to meet up with Dylan after the wisconsin rally, but things got a bit messed up, in CO we got oil for my bike and decided to go on an off road run! bad idea. the oil fell off the bike and burst, so we had to go back and get more! on our way into the shop and who pulls up only Dylan, who had seen two GS's going in .. CO from NY .. a bit away from Home, and too wierd to pass up, so now he has been initiated as a new agent, and we are going to ride to AZ together. !

My first water crossing was on the way up Hagerman Pass, i also nearly put the bike off the cliff. . valualble lesson, always look where you want to go! especially when off roading! it was quiet comical, and you should have seen my face afterwards, completely brown from sucking in the dust from Mikes tyres!

quick update

Well quick up date for you all, this has been a great few days in Colorado, and i met some great bikers, Chris Beal in Bailey and Mike and Lenka Rand in Carbondale, not to forget Mum and the poodle Loki. I am pressed for time as the batteries are running out so i will have a more detailed update in a few days, but got the service in, some parts, learned some maintenance and or course my first water crossing with some dirt road riding. ¬ then there was Mesa Verde, more detail to follow.

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Buffalo, Camping and Real GS'ing

Hey guys ! next update.. Well i am in a cheap hotel in Gillette Wyoming, .. thought i deserved a bed after 5 days in the the tent! Made it here from the rally in 2 days, 953 miles as the Crow flys.. and i aint no Crow!
Sunday i rode to Patte on the Missouri river, the town is Dead, expected to see tumbe weed blowing across the road and any minute and the sherif to step out for a showdown. But there is a nice camp ground and i set up camp, cooked my stew in a can over the burner and had 5 star Egon Roney feast!! (well dreaming is nice) There were a lovely couple in their 50's also on BMW's next to me. They were tracing the Lewis and Clarke trail back along the Missouri and over to Washington State. We had a few beers in a local bar (Dock 44), again were there till closing. It was a family run place, really nice people even came complete with a Russian bar girl (Ulyana - hope thats spelt right).
One thing that is really making this trip is the wonderful people i am meeting along the way. The other riders, the people in the shops, the other campers, etc, everyone is so friendly and welcoming and really are interested in the trip and where i am going and of course have their 50cent on where I should see next!

So following on from there today was the badlands and the black hills, in 41 degrees no shade no cover!! it was an oven! Man it gets hot here. Load of cowboy films made here, Crazy Horse.. Dances with Wolves etc
There are some fun corners in in Custer State Park, and on the Iron Mountain Road. leeding up to Mt Rushmore, its all been recently resurfaced so grip is super. Speed limit is like 35 mph , but i found most of the corners can be taken at 60 ish.. (once you counter steer into them) only problem is slow cars and buffalo on the road! My excuse was i needed to even up the tire wear !! :) if you take 87 up through the park to 16A you can avoid paying the fees. Up further on advice i had a look at Spearfish Canyon, nice drive with some great scenery, just scenic, however i think i did some scouting out of a new GS ride, I had a shite map and it looked like I could cut across a big area of forrest and save miles across to Sundance on the back roads, problem is the back roads are REAL backward! i took 222 which quickly became gravel, then mud and gravel, (now would be a good time to turn back as i had road tires on) , but thinking this must be tempory and if i drive slow it will be fine, i proceeded to get totally lost, and the roads became rutted cattle tracks complete with wild cattle, which once down i had no way back (just thank God it wasnt raining) SO .. following on, proceeded to bump my way down a rocky gravel path, when the back wheel dropped into a different rut and spun the bike and send me flying! Spill number one in the US, (no fotos... i aint embarrasing myself) this was quickly followed by spill number two, .. so now i am quiet acomplished at picking up a big heavy 1200GS!! even the GPS was giving me roads that didnt exist, finally got out of there, kissed the tarmac when i was done! only damage was a dented ego, smashed indicator, and a few scratches bring on Colorado tomorrow ! just hope i can get used to this blistering heat!

Friday 13 July 2007

Canada to Wisconsin

Well Guys! Canada and the road to the Rally! If in Montreal you really must drive across the Victoria Bridge, The road is a metal mesh, it really is disconcerting when you look down and see the river rushing below as you drive across.

The Drive across Canada was nice, some lovely scenes with lots of mountains, lakes and hills. Once you approach the great lakes its pretty much flat, i can see now why the farmers came out here and its called the great plains! just miles and miles of rolling hills. Border was no problem coming back in, only question i got asked was, "whats your golf handicap" .. so i thought 10 would be respectable number to choose.

We stayed in motels en route, four guys in one room, and what a motly collection, a Quebec'r, one from Maryland, and one from Pennslyvania, all agents of course! and me. Strangest memory must be teaching fencing footwork to a group of strangers in the hotel lobby because there was nothing else to do!

The rally is great, there is around 8000 bikes here, most of them BMW, and most of the gear suppliers, never knew there were so many accessories! wish i had a larger credit card! (sponsorship any one???) I posted a few pics of the rally in the photolink on picasa so take a look. Richard, i think you would be in heaven here!!

The other attraction around here is the great lakes themselves, there are a few fotos of lake superior, its huge, more like a sea. Next stop is Colorado, for some off road riding, some high mountain passes, and some rafting or kayaking in Durango!

Sunday 8 July 2007

Well Montreal was fun! Really cool city. Took a 9 hour drive up through Pennsylvania and New York State, along route 30, then joined Interstate 89 up to Monteal and Spent a few nights sampling the delights of this great city. We arrived at a good time, as the Jazz festival happened to be in town at the same time. As with the other citys had to check out the Irish bars, (there is one pictured in the photos), before finally settling on Hurleys which i think is the best Irish bar in Montreal, with some good people. Hooked up with Matt from Glasglow originally (now living in Wales). There was many a pint downed. The Guinness combined with the live trad music and a lively crowd made for some good laughs. Will have to fill un more detail on the ride later, but our route took us up through the Catskills and the Adirondacks. They really are lovely mountains with some great lakes. We crossed over the Delaware (you could almost dive it on the GS), yet down at Philadephia its difficult to see the other side!! Today we moved from the Hotel over to (Agent R) Bryant's place, did some riding around the area, but you have to check out the garage pic (2 GS's a Ducati, R1150 and Triumph) 5 bikers in the one place! Tomorrow its off across Canada over to Wisconsin.. Going to be a few days of driving.

Thursday 5 July 2007

Rafting on the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County, Ohiopyle National Park, Thats me in the back "el capitan", Went Rafting yesterday with Laurel Highlands River Tours, where i teamed up with the Maistros family, who were really cool. They invited me around to share in their bbq afterwards, thanks so much! The guys running the trip were totally professional so i recommend Todd, and Emily and the gang if you are looking for a white water trip. Actually wouldnt mind getting to know Emily a little better.. :) your seriously cute if you are reading this. If i wasnt due to hit Montreal i'd of liked to stay around and get more rivers in, but maybe on the way back in a week or two! after all detours seem to be becoming a regular occurance on the trip.

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Sunday 1 July 2007

the story continues

Photos (Hermys BMW dealers, Farm in Amish Country, and Me at Gettysburg)

GRRRRR i did it again !!! typed this massive big long essay and deleted it for the 2nd time !! how stupid am I!!

So lets try again! in Washington DC at the moment chilling and recoving my head from last night. Met up with Darren the South African dude from Philly again here at the hostel, and we recruited a few more and went on a pub crawl. It was a good laugh but got home and crawled into bed only to wake in the morning in my boxers in a dorm full of women.. pinched myslef, and no i wasnt dreaming it really was! seems the hostel made an error, was talking to the lovely Lin from South Korea who was apparantly supposed to be in my bed! The ticket numbers were the same. She saw my stuff in the bed so slept in the bunk below.. just as well or i could have had some screaming if i got in on top of her!!
So back to the pub crawl we had a laugh found this dodgy 80's bar with lots of people in Hawaian shirts and girls dressed as brides maids!! Still my slick dance moves went down great :D strange being drowned in a see of breasts.. .. or was i dreaming.. vodka and redbull, McCarthy i blame your influence!!
Washington itself is nice but its really a city of museums and govenrnment buildings! Someone should tell them they have a severe lack of restaurants! especially when one is starving after walking around all the monuments. Only realised someone had a christian theme in mind in planing the city, the lincon memorial, the needle, capital hill, the whitehouse, and the Jefferson Memorials all line up to form a giant cross.
So back to the last few days, following on from the mine adventure i went to followup on the ghostly hand, and true to form there it was on the wall of the cell in Jim Thorpe. The who story is here and the background to the Molly story mentioned earlier is here . Apparantly the hand was placed by the ghost as a reminder of his innocence. There have been numerous reports of activity and spooky events in the place, event the tour guide claimed to have been scratched by something.
Chris who has been grea putting my up for a few days in Lehman, accompanied me down to Gettysburg the next day. But first i had to stop at Hermys BMW to get the handle bars tightened etc as there were coming loose as i did not thave the correct head to do the job when i unpacked the bike. The guys were cool, did the job for free and gave me a t-shirt after we were discussing the trip. So i have to recommend them if you are in the Port Clinton area.
After the pit stop we went to check out the Amish community around Lancaster. These guys are cool , they still live the same way they did in the 1800's in shirts and neck scarfs and straw hats, driving around in horse and carts. The women wear simple dresses and a bonnet. They are farmer folk, and dont drink alcohol, which I found out from the waitress when i went to order a beer. Still the food was all freshly grown and tasted wonderful.
Then it was onto Gettysburg to see the battle site and the momument to the Irish brigade who charged the confederates and were cut to pieces! Kind of an eriee place, and i swear i could hear bag pipes playing but couldnt see anyone anywhere!! haunted?
Lunch was a simple affair in a lively pub in the town, with the very original name of "the pub". Buffalo wings were a bit spicy (not quiet Harbour Master quality) bring back the IFSC!! We were drinking there later and were chatting to this vietnam vet, who also happend to be the chief of police and was of Irish descent, and in a strange twist of fate one of his great uncles was one of the Mollys hung in Jim Thorpe mentioned earlier.. strange or what? So got kicked out at closing with the chief!! a new experience that. As i was Irish and Catholic i was given a challenge coin for the police department, so i guess i have cart blance now to run riot in Gettysburg!! The history of the coins was in WWII so the airforce could prove they were not german spies to the French Resistance, it developed into a method to stop boasting, if you were spinning yarns in a bar and i challenged you to prove it with the coin and you couldnt, you looked a fool and had to buy me a drink :D