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Old 09-15-2004, 07:30 AM   #781
Phloodpants
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Mike, I'd like to offer you some hospitality if you should head through Wisconsin. I'm in Madison, a place that a lot of magazines keep saying is one of the best places to live in America. We wish they would shut up about it.

We have amazing rolling countryside carved by glaciers about 10,000 years ago. We have millions of cows, so there are farm roads everywhere with virtually no one on them. There's wonderful riding to be had 20 minutes from my house.

I live near this... Devil's Lake


Cheers,
Chris
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Old 09-15-2004, 12:50 PM   #782
MikeO OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fang
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?
I'd go back to the 'Four Corners' for 2 pins right now - not sure I could ever settle outside the UK...

Mike

No missus to consider...
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Old 09-15-2004, 01:23 PM   #783
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phloodpants
Mike, I'd like to offer you some hospitality if you should head through Wisconsin.

*snip*

Cheers,
Chris
Thanks Chris - I've PMed you...

Mike
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Old 09-15-2004, 02:13 PM   #784
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Since other PDXGS'ers are saying Hi, Hi Mike O The Chev is a 52 and Assholes garage is a friggin Gold Mine, I'd love to visit it
Have fun in Wisconsin, you should like it there.
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Old 09-15-2004, 02:16 PM   #785
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Rash
Hi Mike O The Chev is a 52 and Assholes garage is a friggin Gold Mine, I'd love to visit it
Hi RR

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Old 09-15-2004, 02:41 PM   #786
JNRobert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phloodpants
I'm in Madison, a place that a lot of magazines keep saying is one of the best places to live in America. We wish they would shut up about it.

We have amazing rolling countryside carved by glaciers about 10,000 years ago. We have millions of cows, so there are farm roads everywhere with virtually no one on them. There's wonderful riding to be had 20 minutes from my house.
I had the good luck to spend four weeks in Madison on a job not so long ago. Absolutely fantastic town. I was ready to move there. Went back in February for two weeks as follow up on the original job and got a different perspective. Still a beautiful part of the country (oh, you betcha).

Mike, shame you didn't make it there end of July - it was EAA Oshkosh fly in.

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Old 09-15-2004, 02:45 PM   #787
DirtRoadDave
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passin thru Jersey?

If you wind up in NY/NJ be glad to take you to dinner...

All the best and great journal,

Dave
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Old 09-15-2004, 04:34 PM   #788
Chip Seal
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[QUOTE=MikeO]14th September




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?
Top sedan is a 53 Ford, second is a 52 Chevrolet.
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Old 09-15-2004, 04:55 PM   #789
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Seal
Top sedan is a 53 Ford, second is a 52 Chevrolet.
Nah - thanks for playing...

I reckon that we're looking at a...



54 Ford, and...



...a 49 Chevrolet.
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Old 09-15-2004, 07:44 PM   #790
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Hey MikeO,

From what I have read, you are into airplanes. I have never been there, but Strategic Air Command has a museum between Omaha and Lincoln. It's the same exit as Mahoney State Park.
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Old 09-15-2004, 07:50 PM   #791
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plattesquatch
Hey MikeO,

From what I have read, you are into airplanes. I have never been there, but Strategic Air Command has a museum between Omaha and Lincoln. It's the same exit as Mahoney State Park.
That's why I came this way...

Mike
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Old 09-16-2004, 06:24 PM   #792
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16th September

What a good day



I stayed two nights at Lincoln, as I had some admin to take care of. Applying for a job, for instance (gulp) – it really brought me down to earth with a bump and made the end of the journey a reality, rather than an abstract concept (I’ve applied for a job in the UK, in case you were wondering – the miracle of the Internet…).

Anyway, enough of that. I’m on the road just before 1000 and heading north east towards Omaha. I turn off at Ashland, to visit…



…the Strategic Air & Space Museum. The entrance hall has an arresting display…



…the Blackbird is heading straight at you as you pay your entrance fee…

Many years ago, when I was a very young, aeroplane crazy kid, in Filton, my father and I sat down and watched Strategic Air Command – a film starring James Stewart. I remember being fascinated with the bomber that was the ‘star’ of the early part of the film…



…the B-36 Peacemaker. There are only four left in captivity, and I’ve planned this leg of the trip specifically to come and see this one…



…unfortunately, the exhibits in the museum are all a bit crammed in, so you can’t get a full indication of how large it really is – here’s a shot of a scale model they have…



First suggested during WWII, the B36 was designed to be able to bomb Germany from a base in the USA. The war finished before it was built. In 1948, Gen Curtis LeMay, the ‘father’ of Strategic Air Command (SAC), pushed hard to have the B-36 introduced as the USAF’s main strategic bomber. Powered by six piston engines…



…mounted with the propellers pushing rearwards, it also had four jet engines…



…mounted on pylons outboard of the props. It’s the biggest production aircraft ever made, the biggest bomber ever made and never dropped a bomb in anger in its working life. It used to carry a few of these…



…babies, part of the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) arsenal during the 1950s.

Incredibly, it also (experimentally) carried this…



…attached to a hook inside the bomb bay – it was envisaged that the pilot of the fighter, the XF85 Goblin, would launch and engage enemy fighters if the bomber formation was threatened, then re-attach to get home…:eek

The bomb bays are immense



…the wide tube you can see running alongside the bomb bay, down the length of the fuselage, is how the crew would move from the cockpit area to the tail section, both of which were pressurised, through the unpressurised bomb bay. There was a small trolley mounted in the tunnel – a bit like ‘The Great Escape’. I’m clearly the wrong calibre to fly in a B-36…

The rest of the museum has a wide selection of aircraft but, to be honest, they’re all a bit run down, although, to be fair, many (including the B-36) are under restoration. The nature of a museum specialising in large aircraft is that they’ll all be jammed in, but the SAC museum is poorly designed, even with this in mind.



Jet engines are lying all over the place, getting in the way of getting a good view, or picture, of some of the very interesting and elegant aircraft they have on display. It’s not helped by the lack of any natural light…



…all the same, I’m glad I made the trip – the B-47, above, was the other aircraft type to ‘star’ in the movie. In the other hangar, there’s even a British presence…



…this old Vulcan is a long way from home.

It’s time to go – the air conditioning is off in the building, after a thunderstorm yesterday, and the temperature is stifling, especially for someone wearing Cordura trousers…

I have no idea where I’m going next, other than generally heading east. I literally close my eyes and jab my finger at the touch screen map on the GPS and find myself heading for Corning, a little way over the border, in Iowa. I set off along the 66 towards Plattsmouth – a long and straight road. I follow a local Police car for what seems like half an hour, although in truth was only 28 minutes. 55mph through here is purgatory…



Eventually the LEO turns off and I continue at a more acceptable (to me ) speed. I’m soon crossing the Missouri, the river that forms the boundary between Nebraska and Iowa, after donating a dollar to the toll keeper.



I ride down the laser-straight 34, heading due east. As I approach Corning, the fuel light comes on – it’s time to refuel me, too. As I ride through the small town I am greeted by an odd sight – so odd that I follow the vehicle until it stops…



This is Carl Johnston, an ex-fire-fighter who , twenty years ago, had the chimney of a house he was fighting a fire in collapse on top of him. He’s been unable to walk since. He’s had this Honda 750 combination adapted to allow him to continue riding. It’s a great piece of Heath-Robinson style engineering…



…and Carl’s a great character. He demonstrates how everything works…



…the steering linkage looks to be simply a car track rod…



…allowing Carl to ride from the ‘wrong’ side – which is what caught my attention in the first place. The bike’s a 2 speed automatic (marketed here in the 70s) - the only snag is that there’s no reverse gear, but the chap that built it is considering arranging some kind of electric motor on the 3rd wheel to facilitate this.



Brilliant bit of engineering. As Carl is talking to me, he suddenly stands up…



…in as smooth and effortless an action as someone getting up off a chair. Carl’s wheelchair is designed and built by the French (which should please my American readers) and is a top bit of kit.

We exchange Email addresses, say our goodbyes and I ride on into town, to find a dreadful caf and a gas station – I should’ve eaten at the gas station…

I look at the map whilst trying to digest my lunch (actually, I think I’m still trying to do that…), and see that Des Moines seems to be a reasonable place to stop for the day. I ride north east, along the grid-line of roads typical of the plains, when I notice I’m entering Madison County. Best go and look for a bridge then…



…this is Roseman Bridge, built in 1883 and, according to the sign nearby, under electronic surveillance…



…not sure why..



I reach the Hampton Inn at just after 1600. A cool shower beckons…



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Old 09-16-2004, 07:01 PM   #793
Free Radical
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MikeO

I'll add my enthusiastic vote of appreciation and enjoyment of your ride report. Thanks for the outstanding photos and for sharing your perspective of America.

Regarding the electronic surveillance of the bridge in Madison County, my guess is that it is to ward off arsonists, who, I believe, burned the bridge featured in the Clint and Meryl film.

It's a shame that you're starting to see the end of the ride in sight. I'd like to continue to vicariously follow you for as long as you care to ride and report.

All the best!
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Old 09-16-2004, 07:13 PM   #794
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Mike, Tomorrow, you might want to stop by here: and visit the National Motorcycle Museum. I've never been, but it looks interesting.
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Old 09-16-2004, 08:08 PM   #795
Free Radical
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You also might check out Baxter Cycles in Marne, Iowa. This dealer specializes in Triumph, Norton, BSA and Moto Guzzie bikes.

www.baxtercycle.com

All the best!
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