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Old 09-13-2004, 07:13 PM   #766
MikeO OP
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12th September

I wake, get up & shower fairly early. I come downstairs and see that Sue is sitting in the lounge in her dressing gown. I ask what time Melia got in, only to find she hasn’t. She was due back at 0030 and has not phoned and is not answering her mobile… She and Greg have been up half the night trying to ring her.

We spend a couple of hours phoning numbers from Melia’s phone bill, trying to find if her car’s been towed, trying to find Cathy’s home number (her Dad has just moved and Greg doesn’t have the number). All the time we all try to ignore the dark and ugly possibilities trying to attract our attention from the other side of the room…

Eventually, having exhausted every other avenue available to us, Greg phones the Sheriff, and reports her missing. It’s now 1030. The Deputy arranges to ring back in a few minutes. Ten minutes later, the phone rings – it’s Melia and she’s fine.

She’s run low on gas, near where Cathy lives and spent the night there – she left her mobile phone at another friend’s house. With the careless logic that we all used in our adolescence, she decided not to ring home, as there was no land line connected at the new house and she didn’t want to wake Cathy’s father to use his mobile.

At least Cathy’s dad got a good night’s sleep…:

There is a huge release of tension in the house. Sue decides to stay home and catch up on some sleep (she’s on the late shift again tonight). Greg and I get kitted up and depart for Colorado Springs, nearly 90 minutes late…

We head off towards Golden, home of Coors beer, then cut south to visit the Red Rocks Amphitheatre at Morrison…



…which is a fantastic concert venue, which in the past has accommodated legendary bands like The Beatles, Elvis and Brotherhood of Man…



Greg has seen several big bands here (he went to college in Boulder) – he once camped out for a 3 day Grateful Dead concert. He did, however, ring his parents and tell them he wouldn’t be home that evening…

The seating and stage are built into a natural amphitheatre – at night, the lights of Boulder form a distant backdrop. The place was built between 1936 and 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corps – the CCC was a government programme set up to put the millions of unemployed from the Great Depression back to work…



They wore very bad hats.

We carry on towards Evergreen, along the 74…



…which is a great road, spoiled by the combination of relatively heavy traffic and the speed limits imposed by Colorado. Of all the states I’ve visited, Colorado has the daftest speed limits – it’s not uncommon to have a 35mph limit appear in the middle of a fast road, simply because there are some bends.

However, we put up with these trials and manage to enjoy the ride…



…and the views. We eventually arrive at Tom’s 2 hours late (I knew I should’ve phoned…).



In a flurry of spinning spanners and Torx keys, Tom quickly whips off the front wheel and puts it on his balancing machine. Not only does the wheel seem to be almost perfectly in balance (and, unusually, it needs no balance weights, and none are fitted), but, the tyre is clearly correctly fitted to the rim and is running exactly true. If there’s anything wrong with the tyre, it’s not externally visible. Tom re-fits the front wheel. As he attaches the callipers, he asks me whether I’d like the bolts tightened, or left undone…



After a chat, Greg & I get booted & suited and, after thanking Tom for his help, head back towards Boulder.

It’s getting towards sunset – the sun’s already behind the Flatirons as we approach Boulder, but, due to some strange fluke of the light, the sky to the east is amazing…



…whilst ahead, there is a copybook Cumulo-Nimbus moving towards Greg’s house – we’re going to beat it there, though…



We get home just after sunset, I eat far too many Bratwurst and drink too much beer, then fall into bed and sleep like a log…





Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving the mountains, and heading east towards the plains…
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Old 09-13-2004, 07:41 PM   #767
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeO
11th SeptemberWe’re going to go down to Colorado Springs, where another ADVRider, Tom Vervaeke, has offered to check out my front wheel and tyre, to see if we can work out why it has this minor low speed weave.
yah know... my R1100RS develops a bit of a wobble if I've got too much weight too high and far back, for instance, my camping gear lashed across my rack instead of the back seat when I'm solo. Its distinctly funky feeling on dirt roads in this condition. Now, I know, you're not carrying any camping gear, nor do you have a tail box that I remember.... so who knows?
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Old 09-13-2004, 08:11 PM   #768
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13th September

I’m up fairly early and chat to Greg whilst packing the bike. I’m saying my thanks for their great hospitality, bidding farewell and setting off into the bright sunlit morning by 0915. I notice one of Greg’s neighbours has been playing in the metalwork shop…



I’m heading east and north today, the start of my long trek towards New England. There are a couple of things I want to see in Nebraska – now there’s a sentence you don’t often read…

After a short transit up the I25, I turn east along the 14 towards Sterling, which is marked on my map as a Scenic Route…



…hmmm…



…perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Utah, Colorado and Arizona, but there doesn’t actually seem to be any scenery – a prerequisite for a Scenic Route, you’d think…

I stop for brunch at the Pawnee Station…



…where, over a Denver Omelette, I read about the area. The land I’m riding through is the Pawnee Grasslands. This land was originally the territory of the Pawnee Indians, who grew corn and hunted Buffalo here. When the white settlers arrived, after much conflict, the Pawnee were moved to a reservation in Oklahoma. The US Government allocated farmers 160 acres each. The poor yield of the land, which grows scrubby grass at best, meant that this acreage would not support a family. Worse, the land was struck by a huge drought in the early 20s – the topsoil just dried out and blew away. This led to dust clouds over 20000 ft high, blowing as far as the Atlantic. Dust ‘drifts’ over ten feet thick blocked highways. It was an environmental disaster. The land hereabouts has been allowed to return to its natural state – which is what you see in the pictures above…

Soon, I’m heading north and crossing the state line into Nebraska. I stop at Cabela’s in Sydney…



Cabela’s is a store which specialises in outdoor pursuits – hunting, shooting, fishing etc. It has stores dotted all over the place (I visited one in Houston with Arch, back in April), and are great places for big boy’s toys…



This is the headquarters store, and the mail order building is next door. Cabela’s have a reputation for superb customer service and the staff on duty are extremely helpful. I manage to escape having only spent just over $100…



…on some black silk long johns, long sleeved T shirt, silk glove liners and a new CamelBack…



I’m actually buying these to augment the gear I’ve been wearing for the past few weeks (I mail ordered them when I was at Jorge & Sheila’s). The clothing is first class and makes even the hottest day’s riding bearable – so now I’ve got a spare set.

I manage to drag myself away and head north towards the town of Alliance…



…past acres of tractors and agricultural machinery parts. As I approach Alliance, I notice that my GPS is wobbling about in its mounting. I stop and check it, to find that the screw holding the back has come undone, which means that the unit is loose in its mount. Not having the correct sized screwdriver, I use a cable tie to hold it in place and ride on. I stop at a Napa Autoparts store and get a suitable screwdriver and tighten everything up.

Then I ride 3 miles north and find…



…Carhenge…



…Brilliant! :yelrotflm



Jim Reinders, then 63, suggested, during a family reunion in 1987, that it might be nice to duplicate Stonehenge in Nebraska. During the conversation, the question of where the stones would come from came up. Jim thought about it and then came up with the idea of using cars, as they were readily available and had wheels – a major advantage over rocks…



It took eight days to build – it now attracts 5000 visitors a month…



I ride back into Alliance, passing an escapee from hengedom…



…and get a room in the Days Inn – another good day.



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Old 09-13-2004, 08:23 PM   #769
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mmh tasty!
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Old 09-13-2004, 08:31 PM   #770
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So tell me Mike, what do they taste like ................


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Old 09-13-2004, 09:26 PM   #771
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Yeah! Finally Carhenge!

Your trip is now complete!
Congratulations!

Nice report Mike!


Cheers,
Jorge
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Old 09-13-2004, 09:32 PM   #772
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Yeah! Finally Carhenge!

Your trip is now complete!

Cheers,
Jorge
Yep, might as well set course for home now...

Mike
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Old 09-13-2004, 09:41 PM   #773
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A-HAH! That was YFFs! I was thinkin' that's gotta be MikeO and the other dude kinda looks familiar...
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Old 09-13-2004, 10:32 PM   #774
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Cabela's is consider a Mecca amoung hunters...

I have done business with Cabela's for years, and Mike you are right, their customer service is first class. Thanks again and always for the letting us experience part of your jounrey with you.
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:09 PM   #775
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14th September

After a poor night’s sleep, I open the curtains to be greeted by a grey day. The weather forecast says there’s a 40% chance of rain, but I reckon the glass is half emptier than that…

I pack the bike and set off at 0945, heading east along Highway 2, which diagonally crosses Nebraska. I’m heading towards Lincoln, though I’m unsure whether I’ll get there today.

To my left, the rain clouds are doing their thing over the plains to the north. I’m dry for now, but not confident of remaining that way. Also to my left is a railway line, which follows the road all day. It has a continuous stream of trains travelling in each direction – coal trains, mostly, empty ones heading west towards the mines’ railheads…



…full ones, over a mile long, taking the coal east. The scale of the operation is staggering – I must have seen 15 or 16 trains moving east, each carrying thousands of tons of coal.



The landscapes are bleak and habitation is rare. There seems to be a disproportionately large number of aerial arrays and microwave towers around…



…but I know that Strategic Air Command has many of its ICBM silos buried here in Nebraska, as well as in the surrounding states. Unsurprisingly, they’re not signposted…

Despite the damp climate, some old gentlemen still survive – anyone know what this is?



It gets wetter – not quite rain, more a sort of Scotch mist – and I decide to stop for lunch at Thedford (like Thetford, but with a head cold). I’ve just crossed into Central Time, so it’s now 1230.

I’m back on the road, much refreshed, in 45 minutes and continue down the unremarkable Highway 2. Nothing breaks the monotony except the occasional small village, apparently growing round the grain silos which sporadically line the railway tracks. More aged ironwork occasionally emerges…



…any guesses?

Eventually, I reach York, where I refuel and set course for Lincoln once again – a local entrepreneur has decided to set up in business selling off these old cars – A catchy name for a business…



I get to Lincoln at 1800 and check into the Hampton Inn. A pretty ordinary day, really…



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Old 09-14-2004, 07:24 PM   #776
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Mike,

Try 1 excedrin pm to help you sleep...I never travel without it.

Connie and I are in San Antonio visiting the kids, if you head south we could buy you dinner! Dallas on Sunday through next Wed.

I am not an old car buff, but the first one is a ford like my grandfather had and the other is a Chevy I think.

Deacon
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Old 09-14-2004, 07:29 PM   #777
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Mike,

Try 1 excedrin pm to help you sleep...I never travel without it.

Connie and I are in San Antonio visiting the kids, if you head south we could buy you dinner! Dallas on Sunday through next Wed.

I am not an old car buff, but the first one is a ford like my grandfather had and the other is a Chevy I think.

Deacon
Cheers Greg,

appreciate the offer, but circumstances dictate I keep heading east towards New England, tempting though warmer climes might be (especially after today)...


Mike

ps Hi Connie
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Old 09-14-2004, 07:40 PM   #778
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Hi Mike!
I can't believe that you're not headed to Wahoo Ne. next.

The weather has turned for the wet(ter) here and the days are noticeably shorter and the trees are beginning to show color. I fear that summer is over in the PNW.

Hey, go back and take my sign down from that jerks fence!

Cheers,
Jorge
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Old 09-14-2004, 10:58 PM   #779
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Hi, Hi, Mike!

That Ford appears to be a '52-'53-'54 model year. Newer than '51 and older than '55; I'm certain of that. The GM car - who knows?

Just curious - have you seen anywhere in America that would actually tempt you to pull up your roots and relocate? If so, where? Or would you come to miss the misty, sceptered Isles too much? Would the missus go for it?
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Old 09-15-2004, 01:42 AM   #780
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This is an amazing report. Very entertaining and inspiring.
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