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Old 07-08-2014, 12:58 PM   #1
Dr. Greg OP
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The "American Tragedy" Tour...Dr. Greg & Wotan head East

The "American Tragedy Tour"---Dr. Greg & Wotan go EAST again...

This is a "preface" to a trip on which I'll be leaving Wednesday morning, July 9. I've been vacillating whether to write a "live" Ride Report or not...I guess we'll both find out.


American Tragedy? Huh!?

Well, this trip is due to an AUDIOBOOK that I downloaded and listened to early this spring (also have since read the book and several other books about the tragedy). The book in question was a 1925 classic written by Theodore Dreiser called An American Tragedy. The book is kind of a "historical fiction" account of the tragic Murder of Grace Brown, which gripped the entire USA during the fall of 1906.

The "Grace Brown" story takes place in central New York state, as well as in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, specifically Big Moose Lake. From the moment that I became acquainted with this story, I knew I had to visit that country.


So where am I gonna stay?

Mrs. Greg & I are members of this "timeshare" outfit, but I couldn't find any lodging in the Adirondack area (too many rich NYers beat me)...however I DID obtain a week at a resort in the Green Mountains of Vermont. It's not too far over to the Adirondacks, so I expect to take a couple "day rides" over and check out Big Moose Lake, etc.


So what am I gonna ride?

Glad you asked. After nearly KILLING MYSELF on a patch of hoarfrost on my 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200S, I needed something a little milder, especially at age 66. I always thought I needed a GS, but I'd test-ridden 2008 and 2010 GS's, and didn't really like them all that much. Then I made the "mistake" of test-riding a new 2013 GSW, and that was that. Isn't he (Wotan) pretty?...


Isn't Wotan a gorgeous bike?

For what it's worth, the above pic was taken near Taos, New Mexico. With just about 18,000 miles on Wotan (it woulda been more, but I've been sick this spring) he continues to impress me. What a bike!!


So what am I gonna take with me?

I don't travel particularly LIGHT. I plan to stay with a few ADV inmates, plus the odd motel, but I also plan to camp. So I've gotta take everything. The pic below shows everything (except clothes) spread out on my (beautiful epoxy) garage floor:


Dr. Greg doesn't travel particularly light...

And all that stuff fits on the BMW R1200GSW...easy-peasy, as shown below:


Loaded bike...ready to leave Wednesday morning.


Even got a new camera!

Three days before I was gonna leave, my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 decided to go belly-up. Now the thing I like about the Lumix is that I can work it with gloves on, thereby permitting some "in the saddle" shots (Mrs. Greg does not approve, but indulges me). Couldn't get a direct replacement, but upgraded slightly to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS35. Gotta transfer pics from camera to iPad using WiFi (I prefer a cable, being an old guy), and it's got a pushbutton "on/off" (instead of the easier slide switch). Hopefully it'll work. Here's my one attempt from "in the saddle" yesterday:


New camera test picture...I guess it's good enough.

BTW, the above pic is heading W on I-40 approaching Albuquerque, NM via Tijeras Canyon. Nothin' special about the view, it's just my "test pic"...


Caveat Lector---"let the reader beware"...

I'm takin' this little iPad Mini with me, plus an external keyboard. My eyes (and fingers) aren't the best anymore, and I don't honestly know if I'll be up for updating this RR each day. So things might get kinda slow every so often. But I'll do the best that I can.


My Expected Route.

First of all: NO INTERSTATES! Well, except I-25 from Albuquerque to Springer, NM. After that secondary roads all the way. My general itinerary will be: NM - northern OK - southern MO - northern KY - southern OH/northern WV - diagonally thru PA and NY to Vermont. Yeah, it's gonna be hot and humid, especially in the well-worn Klim Latitude suit that I always wear (gear has saved my life in 2003, 2008, and 2010). I'd be dead 3X over if I didn't wear all that stuff...


Finally -- in Praise of NATUROPATHS.

I alluded to the fact earlier that I had been sick this spring. From mid-May to late June I was the vicitm of ACUTE ABDOMINAL PAIN!! Had every test done: ultrasound, blood tests, EGD (upper endoscopy - camera down into the stomach), abdominal CT scan, etc. The docs couldn't find a thing, except they eliminated the bad stuff (e.g. stomach cancer). They finally gave up on me. A friend of Mrs. Greg's said "hey, I know this NATUROPATH..." Yeah, a quack. But I went to him, and he checked my body resistance with his snake-oil machine (I'm an engineer, so I'm suspicious of all these gadgets), and pronounced it a KIDNEY INFECTION and gave me three "elixirs." But danged if I didn't start feeling better FAST. Go figure. Had to cancel the mid-June RawHyde course, but by gosh I'm goin' on this "American Tragedy" trip!! Yowza!


End of the Beginning...

So thanks in advance for following along. Like I said, "caveat lector." I'll do the best job I can on this RR.

--Doc
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:33 PM   #2
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Looking forward to it Dr. Greg. I'm in.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:46 PM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up on this over at the BWB, Doc.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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DR Greg,
I have been following your posts and motorcycle adventures with your ULY till now. Have a great trip. When in the Dacks keep going west down BIG Moose rd to Still water and No4 road into Lowville.

If you have the time whats is the background for the new bikes name?
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:33 PM   #5
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Oh boy here we go again, we can't wait for you to hit the road tomorrow Dr. Greg, rest assured we'll be keeping an eye on you as your ridin' east and look forward to your updates along the way, remember your always welcome to drop by the "Manor" and put your feet up for a while.

Have a safe ride,

JC&KC
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:42 AM   #6
Dr. Greg OP
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Weather, etc.

Folks,

Just finishing breakfast here (Mrs. Greg fixed me pancakes this morning ) prior to the 0830 MDT departure. My goal for the first day is I-25 (yuck, but better than I-40) and US 64 to Guymon, OK. 378 miles, with a likely detour to visit Fort Union Nat'l. Monument (I dig history). Probably the longest day of my trip.

I'll enjoy the luxury of typing this on my laptop: gonna hafta be the iPad Mini (plus external keyboard) on the road. Kind of a pain to manage photos, but I'll do it.

Just read about the storms in central New York (5 dead, and lotsa power outages in NY/PA) with some trepidation. Oh well, it's gonna be a week+ till I'm thru there.

Thanks for the good wishes, see ya along the road

--Doc

P.S. A German bike owned by a Richard Wagner fan...what other name than "Wotan"
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:37 PM   #7
Dr. Greg OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phaneuf View Post
DR Greg,
I have been following your posts and motorcycle adventures with your ULY till now. Have a great trip. When in the Dacks keep going west down BIG Moose rd to Still water and No4 road into Lowville.

If you have the time whats is the background for the new bikes name?
Yeah, the '06 Uly was a GREAT bike...IMHO of course. Thanks for tips re the Adirondacks. Must admit they seem a long ways off (well, they are), but I'll be there eventually, if fate smiles on me

--Doc
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:40 PM   #8
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Weather update

BTW, a FIERCE thunderstorm (by appearances and on Weatherbug) came thru Boise City, Oklahoma JUST AFTER the good Doctor departed on his way to Guymon, OK.

I kept dodging the storms all day, right to the end. Gotta be a good omen

--Doc
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Greg View Post
Yeah, the '06 Uly was a GREAT bike...IMHO of course. Thanks for tips re the Adirondacks. Must admit they seem a long ways off (well, they are), but I'll be there eventually, if fate smiles on me

--Doc
Hey Dr Greg. Enjoying following this adventure. After messing with lots of bikes I've settled on a 2008 Buell Ulysses. I can definitely see what kept you on that bike for what? 50,000 miles.

I'm enjoying the simplicity, the great engineering and totally surprised how smooth the bike is at road speeds. And no chain! Remember reading about your being annoyed with chains, oil and tightening.

However.....that BMW looks tempting.

Anyway, we head back to Australia next few weeks. Keep us in mind next year for a stop over. Deb loves making cooked breakfasts for visitors.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:52 PM   #10
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Tagging along with Dr Greg....


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Old 07-09-2014, 07:58 PM   #11
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If memory serves, Picher was just about wiped out by a tornado 5-6 years ago.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:32 PM   #12
Dr. Greg OP
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Originally Posted by RodeoPhotog View Post
If memory serves, Picher was just about wiped out by a tornado 5-6 years ago.
Yes. An F4 tornado came thru Picher in, um 2008 (?) Finished off what the lead and zinc hadn't.

BTW, if anyone's interested, there was a documentary titled "Tar Creek" that I thought was quite good. Good at documenting the awful mess that Picher and the surrounding became/is.

Can't believe my grandad and my dad avoided brain damage during their years in the lead and zinc mines. But they seemed OK.

One of my distinct childhood memories is sitting on my grandad's knee, looking thru his scrapbook of "mine" pictures (he was a foreman)...all the Ingersoll-Rand pneumatic tools, the grim look (and the occasional smile) of the miners. Man!

So I'd like to at least motor thru the area and take a look.

--Doc
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:39 AM   #13
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Bon Voyage Doc!


Sitting on the Bluff
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:40 PM   #14
Dr. Greg OP
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Originally Posted by luckychucky View Post
(Pic of Dr. Greg & inmate luckychucky) Bon Voyage Doc!

Sitting on the Bluff
You guys should have witnessed how luckychucky greeted me when I rode up to his place---I'll write about it in the installment for "Saturday, July 12." I'll say this much: he knew I was a Richard Wagner fan!

--Doc

P.S. I think your picture of my departure came out a lot better than mine. And my camera is fancier...NO FAIR!
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:46 PM   #15
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Saturday, July 12: Joplin, Missouri --> Poplar Bluff, Missouri.


Leaving Joplin...hard to avoid I-44...

Although my intent on this trip was "shunpiking" (avoiding interstates for you young folks), there really wasn't much reason NOT to take I-44 from Joplin to Springfield, Missouri. So I girded my loins, and hit the on-ramp:


I-44 in Southwest Missouri.

I skirted the southern edge of Springfield, Missouri, and turned south, bound for Ozark, Missouri. At least the name is suggestive. I knew from prior experience in NW Arkansas that the Ozarks have some of the best riding around. I had no experience with the Missouri Ozarks, but surely they should be enjoyable...

My inital taste of the town of Ozark was not good. I stopped at your typical gas station/convenience store to refuel (this was about 0930 on Saturday morning) and the place was a "zoo" of people loading up their bass boats with ice and beer for a big party weekend. For some reason that just rubbed me the wrong way. I'm sure they were all good people (they always are), but somehow...

At least I was back on a 2-lane road (AR hwy 14 thru Sparta, Bruner, Dogwood (!), and Ava...


At least I was back on 2-track...

There were rather dense woods on both sides (this pic doesn't do them justice) with a fairly narrow "corridor" down the middle. I had no fear that a DEER might jump out at me---it was too friggin' hot for the forest rats to be out and about...


Just keep Wotan between the trees...

If you can ZOOM IN on the sign below, you'll see that this is "Eleven Point River." I have this thing for taking fotos of running water. Tried to get the second one from the bridge...didn't come out too well.




"Eleven Point River" --- Missouri Ozarks.


Where O where have my other "Saturday" photos gone?

Leaving Ava, one soon enters the Mark Twain National Forest, and AR 14 becomes DELIGHTFUL!! Nice curves, beautiful woodlands, a little "roller coaster" action, and---best of all---NO TRAFFIC!!! In the villages there were plenty of pickups and bass boats, but a few miles out of town and NUTHIN'!! A perfect riding situation.

Now in the best curves you just can't take pictures, but I SWEAR I took at least a few on AR 14. But for the love of Pete I can't find 'em...what a bummer.

I stopped for lunch in "West Plains, AR" and enjoyed a little air-conditioning (it WAS still plenty toasty, with humidity that made my New Mexico toes curl...). After lunch, the segment from Alton to Doniphan was again just wonderful. In fact, I began to LONG for some straight roads, just so I could relax! And the steering on the GSW is not at all heavy.

Oh yeah, recall that I had left the suspension setting on "RIDER ONLY" even though I was carrying about 90 lb of luggage (incl. cases). I theorized that my light body weight (well...) would work to my advantage. And I'm happy to say that the GSW handled PERFECTLY. Very neutral, confidence-inspiring, and entirely, well...just a joy to ride!! I love that bike more and more. SOOOO glad I took the test-ride of die wasserboxer.


Arrival at the domicile of inmate "luckychucky"...

I had previously contacted "luckychucky" about staying with him in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Shortly before 1700 hours I zig-zagged thru the backstreets of Poplar Bluff...courthouse on this corner, police station on that corner...AHA here I was. As I approached his driveway, he trotted out and waved me in to an, um, rather "tilted" slot in his driveway. At 145 lbs, I'm not the greates at manhandling the GSW, so I visibly showed some apprehension. "Aw, c'mon" said Chucky, so I went for it. Piece of Cake!

Lurking in the shadows was his lovely wife Melissa with a camcorder, videoing my arrival. After I got inside their house, they played back the video---the accompanying soundtrack to my arrival was none other than Richard Wagner's RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES!! If Chucky ever gets his camcorder to talk to his MBP, he'll send me the video, and I'll post it here (or maybe he'll post it). I couldn't believe that somebody actually READ my ride report, and identified my interests.

Since somebody actually READS these things, I'll have to think before I write...not my usual style.

Anyway, got to Chuck & Melissa's place, and we later went out for dinner. Don't they make a lovely couple?


Chuck & Melissa --- what an excellent pair of hosts!


The Plan for Sunday, July 13.

Chuck volunteered to take me kayaking in the Black River, but I declined...gotta be more adventuresome, Dr. Greg! But we ended up driving around the area, so I could see some of the beautiful Southeast Missouri backcountry...those will appear in the next installment.

Till then, thanks for following, and I'm still on the road.

--Doc
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