One man and his Goose in North America
G'day ya'll (I need to practice my Yankee, figured I'd start here),
After months of planning (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=547187), fantasy becomes fact today. It's 06:20 and I'm nearly ready to ride to Munich on leg 0 minus 1.
I've solicited help from ya'll on the forum here, from the Guzzista on the Wild Goose forum, from random yanks that I met in Moscow, from..well, from loads of peeps and now it's time to ride the ride (well, almost).
Leg 0 minus 1 - Vienna to Munich Airport to check the bike in. It's 06:20 and it's..of course, raining but shucks - I'm not gonna melt. In theory it's going to be an easy day today, I hope to be in Munich by about 2pm and back on a train to Vienna by 6 but...many the slip twixt pint of beer and lip. I'll post some pictures when I get back but for now, wish the Goose (that's the bike btw, not me) luck - she's gonna need it.
Oops..the route overview :) thanks for that suggestion Blatant - it's rough but it's ready (if you're intererested in more specific route details check out the planning link).
I should subtitle this thread as "doh! that would have been a cool picture but I just can't be arsed to turn around"...but it'd be a long title. I took 3 pictures...in a day :) and I missed a picture of the Goose at the shipping company. Doh! It seems I didn't learn much from my trip last year, I'm gonna have to be much more self disciplined in NA unless I want to come back with a picture a day of my bike in a gas station :). Anyhoo..moving on..
Leg 0 minus 1 completed. The Goose and I arrived safely at Munich airport about 2pm and after 406km (roughly). I slabbed it almost all the way as I wanted to buy time to cope with problems but, as it turned out, there were none.
I say no problems, I mean the bike - the jaw of my spangly helmet almost fell off (need to get some loctite on that) and my hydro pack kept pissing water all me making it look like I'd..well, pissed myself. I also lost something paper on the slab, fingers crossed it wasn't important :).
I also realise I need to do something with my goatee, it's a tad long (inches not feet) - maybe a split...oh..you don't care :evil )
I'm using Motorcycle Express and they're contracting out the shipping of the Goose to SwissPort. I arrived, they checked the bike (1/8th tank of petrol - good. Taped battery termina - good. Nothing (apart from the obvious) explosive in my pannier - good. The paperwork had said my panniers had to be empty for shipping but on enquiry the guys/gal at Swiss said as long as it wasn't explosive I could pack what I wanted so in went my leathers (that should make my flight a tad easier).
All I had to do then was work my back to Munich Bahnhof and catch a train back to Vienna (direct, but slow, train from the aiport to the main station and a direct, €80, 4 hour, train to Vienna). Mission accomplished.
And now...3 of the most boring pictures you can imagine :)
This is the Goose - Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 which I got last year (The Yanks copied it but made a mistake in manufacturing and twisted the engine around 90% hence the nickname of the American Guzzi - some of you might know it by their more formal name of Hardly Davidson - this is gonna get me beaten up in Milwaukee :D )
Everyone has a thing, I have several..one of my "things" is pictures of the Goose at international borders so...
And....I could be sensible and take the Shoei, it's quieter, it's lighter, has better peripheral vision and is cooler. Nah - I'm gonna go with my egg :) .http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC01854.jpg
Sounds like an awesome trip! Good luck and have fun! By the way, G'day is not "yank speak". Ya'll is "southern speak". Oh, and "Tally ho" may get you beat in some places. But most of the time, people will think you are from Australia anyway....
Hope ya have a wonderful trip and see the best of the USA and her people. When you get close to the West coast of Florida perhaps we can hook up, share a beer and tell lies about our riding adventures. :ear
I see you plan to be in Asheville, NC. About 34 miles from Asheville is Maggie Valley North Carolina, it's a biker freindly town with plenty of inexpensive lodging. I recomment you plan to spend a few hours at The Wheels Through Time Muesum in Maggie Valley.... take a look:
Everything in the museum is in running order and you're sure to see Dale, the founder and curator, riding then thought the museum. He'll usually start any of them if you ask.
I'll be following you USA adventure and as I think of points of interest I'll post them here.
FYI.... If you see an old wanker on a RED Guzzi 1200 Sport on the road in the USA it could be me!!
MotoGP is being held at Indy(Indianapolis, Indiana) on 8/28, not sure how that fits your interest or your schedule.
I'm leaving next Tuesday and wandering up that way for the race.
dude, what is your route, where are you going? (mostly yank)
Quit screwing around with the details (yank)
y'all, (sorta works, us but as mentioned southern us and eastern southern)
Western southern would me "mang" rather than "y'all, lol.
So really though, what's the scoop? If you end up in AZ, need a place to crash, wrench, beer or what not, pm me.
EDIT: This monkey ass yank just looked at the other thread. copy that map in to here. good luck see you in az
so.."doh" and a "wey hey!!" from Balaton in Minnesota.
"Doh" was me sitting in a restaurent in Toronto and deleting my first post. As I'd been up for about 23 hours by that point I said "bugger it", drank my beer and went to bed.
Wednesday morning I was awake at sparrow's fart o'clock. At Vienna (Austria) airport between me checking in (and finding out that Austria airlines only allow one piece of check in luggage - €50 for a second bag!!) and arriving at the gate, I went from having an aisle seat to having no seat at all (they'd overbooked...grrr). Luckily they found volunteers to take the later (and indirect) flight and I WAS off. The silver lining is the rather attractive young lady I was sat next too was also a good conversationalist.
I wrote the above in Balaton (saved to a local file) and then moved on to another "doh"..more later...Ahh!!! remind me to talk about metrics...and I am now in a laundromat (sadly..it was either pack 30 t-shirts etc or launder...) in Miller, South Dakota.
Landed in Toronto, headed to Swissport (one of the guys there says "hey" to whoever it was that last shipped through them on his way to Prudero (sp?) Bay) where the bike had, they told me, just arrived. Had to pay another $70 Canadian and visit customs (about $40 in taxis) to get it cleared through (and I'll be talking with Motorcycleexpress about that)..Finally picked up the bike after about 3 hours and headed to the pre=boooked (a condition of shipping) hotel. Unpacked..repacked..headed off for a meal (and that's where I deleted my first post attempt) before hitting the sack some 23 hours after starting.
Piccie interlude, farewell to Vienna
life on the plane...ack!! bad posture = moobage
and picking up the Goose at the shippers (Swissport) http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC02775.jpg
The "before" ("after" to follow) milage for posterity (mainly mine) http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC02778.jpg
Day 2 - Tuesday the 25th August. I've accepted the uber kind offer of a fellow Guzzista (alas...at present I am only Guzzista in bike alone..my general knowledge of Guzzi's being limted to "twist that to go, pull that to stop"). 8am ish and I'm off. I decided to slab it to the US border at Sarnia so the trip to the border was fairly uneventful other than once again being reminded of the hospitality and genunine interest of the North Americans (to the guys that I met near the border who were on their way to as race...heya..hope you had a good time). If you recall from my planning thread one of the reasons for coming to the US was to be able to a) fulfill a lifetime ambition of coast to coast but also b) understand the menu, the language etc...ahhh! washing done..time to load the dryer, brb.
OK..where was I? ahh yes, the US border. Well...the bridge that crosses umm....Lake Thingie and seperates the US and Canada offers a fantastic view of Lake Thingie which is good because the queue to get to border control took about an hour. Minor set back there as the USA border guards/officals said that as I had no address for the first night they were probably not going to let me in (make note fellow inmates...make sure you have a destination address...)...oh..and the ESTA visa waiver programme only applies if you fly in, it has no value if you make a land crossing. Anyway, I digress...the long and the short of it was that, once again Luap, the aforementioned Guzzista, stepped up and vouched for me (the guard phoned him) and I was through. Clearing the US border, if you include the queue, took about 2 and a half hours which made it impossible to catch the 4pm ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee - luckily there's an 11pm sailing. I used the time to bimble around Walmart, chat to the staff there about "people at walmart" (3rd day in every month and after 9pm). The ferry takes 2 and a half hours but thanks to the time zone changes I was able to claw back an hour. Rolled off the boat at 00:30 (the 26th) and Luap was right there, ready to lead me to a beer and bed. Finally hit the sack about 3am having travelled through one Canadian province and...I think, 2 US states (Wisconsin and...ummm...what ever state Muskegon is in...Michegan).
close to the border now...excitement mounts...http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC02789.jpg
and the view from the bridge..http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC02797.jpg
My first state sign..it's a proud proud moment for the Goose..http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC02805.jpg
Last pic from day 2 :) waiting for the ferry at Musekgon..http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/...0/DSC02810.jpg
Day 3 - another long day...Luap and his lovely wife took me to the HD museum in Milwaukee and I got the obligatory t-shirt. Interesting place, the old Harley's are sexy...old as in...1950s and before. After the museum we went for a quick snack before I headed off to Wyalusing State Park (I've skipped over a lot of non bike content here but, in all seriousness, without the kindness of Luap - I'd still be in Canada...and then there's his hospitality...and his garage full of Geese...and his basement!!). No interstate for me though, I came to America to see people, towns, history...not motorways..and I have the luxury of time on my side.
Anyway - laundry finished - beer o'clock. If I can find a bar with wifi I'll post this.
Day 4 - am writing this (again to a local file) from the Iron Horse bar in Deadwood. It's Sunday afternoon which explains why it's quiet (I guess). I skipped the beers last night and hit the sack early (11pm) and had a pretty solid nights rest. Left Miller at about 8 and headed to the Badlands...incredible rock formations, riding through it cost $10 but it worth it I reckon. Also...bloody hot..knocking on 30c and no shade for miles around. Another box ticked - you'll come to realie I am a cultural, geographical and something else ending in "...al". Next box to tick was Mt.Rushmore and then Deadwood. The ride to Badlands Was ...straight....flat....highway. After Badlands it picked up some, throwing as few gentle curves at me until the road brought me to this bar where I sit, typing, sipping a sprite and noshing down some chow.
(it's now the 31st - time to retrospect) - From Deadwood I headed off to Sturgis which, to be honest, was a bit of a let down..I realise that during the festival they get between 500 and 700 thousand but as I missed that..Sturgis was back down to it's more normal population of 6,500 ish. I moved on..but not far as it started to rain and it was pushing 6pm (I've decided that come 6pm ish I start looking to stop) so I hit Whitewood (just outside Sturgis) and found a motel where I was ripped off or so I thought. I paid $90 which is pretty over the top but I am glad I didn't move on as, in the only bar, I met Shawn (chick) and Damian (cool guy) and Kat (crazy lady). Much beer, taco pizza and conversation was had and I rolled back in to my room about 2am ish so all in all, even with the expensive room, a good night.
Day something....hell of a wet day, will update later but, for now, hey from Billings, Montana.
States 7 - Michegan,Wisconsin, Iowa, Minesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana
Distance covered - 1141 miles (Toronto to Billings, Montana).
Encounters with "the man" - 1 - speeding ticket ((78mph in a 65) in South Dakota - cost $125.
sorry for the long wait to get into the states - hopefully we are worth it. It's not quite like your photo going into Germany. Then again they don't have the Canookistanians threatening their border with with powerful beer, hockey and socialized health care. Come to think of it if they wouldn't need the health care if they laid off the beer and hockey. Anyway, what do the Germans have to fear; freedom from taxes, fine chocolate and imported bikes with their heads pointing the wrong way? Well at least the prop shaft doesn't come out the side... but I digress. For staying away from the slab, sounds like you are flying. Enjoy your romp through the west.
Day 5 28th August 2010 - Whitewood to Billings - rain defined today (or 2 days ago...I'm writing this on the 1st September). Rain and cold (or so I thought). I'd been umming and erring about whether or not I should bring my large one piece oversuit but in the end I packed it. Thank god! That suit carried me through the next day...but I was blissfully unaware. Not every day in a 30 day trip is going to be "action packed" and aside from a wee worry about me, the empty highway, driving rain and what would happen if I crashed (morbid thought time!) the highlight of the day was spending my evening drying socks and gloves and watching Transformers 2. Did I say "hightlight"? doh!! Devils Tower was by far the best thing I've seen on the trip. Totally amazing to see it leap out of the countryside and remain such a dominent feature for so many miles. Incredible and it's a tick in a box I didn't even know I had.
Day 6 Sunday the 29th August 2010 - Billings to Island Park - If anyone has checked out the planning thread they'll have already realised that I'm deviating from tentative plan. The end of this day should have seen me (by plan) in Twin Falls, Idaho but as mentioned above, I'm using the planned routes as guides - not to be set in stone. I'm probably going to take an extra day to make the westward crossing and whilst I would have cared about this during day 1 or 2 now I'm (almost) in vacation mode and not caring anymore. Anyway - today's route carried me over Beartooth highway and on through Yellowstone before stopping in Island Park. So..Beartooth pass - 10,000 feet, -3c, driving wind, snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain - today I was Frododalf - battling the elements against Caradhas (hope most of you get that...). It was...well...it was demanding and, at times, felt never ending. Thank god I have two hand warmers in the shape of my Goose's jugs. Once you're down off Beartooth you enter a small town (can't recall the name at present - it was Cooke) and I had some well deserved chow and several cups of coffee before pushing on, through the rain, to Yellowstone - this park has to be Scottish. Did you yanks buy the Highlands? Weather was bloody aweful but still the riding was enjoyable, from Bison meandering across the road to the Grizzly bear I never saw (but I saw people who saw one...so that counts) to anti climax that is Ol' Faithful and, of course, another state line and the continental divide. All of this left me grinning from ear to ear inside my egg.
coffee saves me from the snow of Beartoooth Pass
and I make my way, damply, into....
The Incontinent (we (Kimberly Clark) make products for that) Divide..
new state baebh!!
States 7 - Michegan,Wisconsin, Iowa, Minesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho.
Distance covered - 2133 miles (Toronto to Island Falls).
Encounters with "the man" - 1 - speeding ticket ((78mph in a 65) in South Dakota - cost $125.
but on enquiry the guys/gal at Swiss said as long as it wasn't explosive I could pack what I wanted.
I'm glad to see we are keeping those standards high fore homeland security.
good thing they didn't ask about your stash
Good stuff so far. :freaky I just returned to North Carolina after making an around the country ride on my Stelvio. Idaho has such beautiful roads and in general the whole region of Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California is so incredibly diverse. With so many unique sights to see, the hardest part is all the enjoyable riding you have to endure :D trying to connect as many dots on the map as possible. Hope you and Mother Nature work things out and you have many more miles in good weather to maximize your enjoyment.
Not sure of your bike service needs, but Moto International in Seattle, WA is one of the best Guzzi shops in the country and they took care of my bike on my trip. I called ahead and they put my bike in the shop even before normal business hours to keep me on the road and not impact their regular customers. They provided outstanding work, gave me great route information and treated me in a first class fashion:deal
pics to follow...
And now I am in a very cool Idaho country bar in Island Park, 23:30, people are dancing, there is a gremlin dog, several hot chickies, one of who claims to want to be a burlesque dancer..and I am drinking Moosedrool :)
Day 7 (30th August 2010) aka week 2 aka Island Park to Ely. Today started cold (7c) and slowly, very slowly warmed up, to a balmy 26c. 7am and I crawled out of bed, packed, showered, did morning things and was on the road by 8am. 7th day (or is it the 8th?) of heading west...of following the afternoon sun and being chased by the morning. Another cool day and another day of much grinning. I should add that I am not alone on my "epic" journey. I am accompanied by Johnny Cash, AC/DC, ZZ Top and all points in between. AnywaY, at 8am it's 7c and drizzling so kind of unpleasant but, as I headed west I was pointed at the blue sky and so it warmed, one degree at a time until I left Idaho and then it rocketed up to 26c as I crossed the incredible (I use that word a lot) basin area. Sure the world, my world, the road...is flat..is straight but it's bordered by mountainous walls, it's the high plains and I'm drifting. It's also the first time I have been warm in three days and the first time I have seen the sun in two and as I cross another 20 mile horizon I ponder and flex and reflect and bask. Life is good. I camped tonight, first time in umm..since crossing the Misshippy. I'm in Ely...I was born in Ely (England) and now I find myself in Ely again,
watching kareoke. I'm liking the local bars in the small towns. For now good reader, I bid thee a ummm...seeya. Tomorrow I ride highway 50...west. Only two more days of westness.
States 7 - Michegan,Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada + Ontario
Distance covered - 2624 miles (Toronto to Ely).
Encounters with "the man" - 1 - speeding ticket ((78mph in a 65) in South Dakota - cost $125.
Welcome to Cali ! Looks like all is well.......
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