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)
The "before" ("after" to follow) milage for posterity (mainly mine)
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...
and the view from the bridge..
My first state sign..it's a proud proud moment for the Goose..
Last pic from day 2 :) waiting for the ferry at Musekgon..
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.