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Old 07-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
Bodhi14 OP
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U.s.a.

Well, thought I'd give a ride report a try. Off tomorrow on my first long ride. Taking a month to ride from Toronto to California. Going through Pennsylvania, through New York to spend July 4th with a great friend, then down to Virginia, across Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, to San Diego. Detours are a distinct possibility. Haven't decided whether I should detour to the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas.

Bike: 2010 R1200gs. Fairly light on supplies, will probably buy a tent when I get to Virginia. Otherwise, have the clothes I need, and a credit card for anything I figure out I need along the way. Bike has been problem free for 3 years, hopefully that continues to be the case.

Route: got some maps put out by the Adventure Cycling Association; I figure those should help me avoid too many highways and point me to some nicer routes. Otherwise, will be relying on the gps to point the way.

Experience: in my late 30s, but just started riding 3 years ago. It is the best mind clearing activity I know. Lawyer by profession; just finished a three month long trial, and a month on the road after months in a courtroom seems like the perfect way to reconnect with life.

Been through the U.S. here and there, but never for this long a stretch and through this many places- especially through less urban areas and away from the east coast. I'm looking forward to seeing the country and meeting the people. Since I'm a bit of a political junkie, the election year makes it interesting for me to see what the mood is like in the country. Besides that, would like to get a look at the the courthouses in some of the places I pass through. Given that it's July, probably will not get a chance to see any trials in process, but one never knows.

Apart from that, this report may be a little boring while I'm on the road, as I expect I will wait until I return to post the daily photo log. But I will probably keep a daily journal of the route and impressions along the way so as to provide the context for the photos down the road.

As always, any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated. I feel really fortunate to be able to get away on this long ride. I hope all who read this have a chance to take some time for themselves and to do a great ride of their own. Tomorrow, Pennsylvania.

Bodhi14 screwed with this post 07-01-2012 at 07:58 PM Reason: Title should be all caps but keeps reverting to lower case
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:14 PM   #2
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Pennsylvania

Started off from Toronto this morning at 9a.m. It was a quiet day due to the Canada Day holiday. It was a rare opportunity to get out of the city without being trapped on the parking lot that is usually the QEW. The border crossing was quick, and the border guard expressed his envy at the long ride to California.

After a few hours, I finally began to get to some of the nice, rolling land in New York state. I passed through Olean, NY, and then got on the 44 south. As I got to Cloudersport PA, the great ride throuh the state forest began, and I rode for a good 2 hours on rolling, winding, forested roads without a single car in front of me. It was a warm day, but not uncomfortable, beautifully sunny. I got a chance to open up the bike on the twisty roads, although my front tire seemed to get a little squirrly a couple of times. Not sure why that was- the tires have about 5k on them (Tourances) and the road surface looked dry and smooth. I am feeling a little more cautious as a result.

It was nice to pull off and take a break looking out at the endless Pennsylvania hills. I got to Lock Haven by 4p.m. and settled in to a nice bed and breakfast with an idyllic looking lake out behind my room. The family who own the place seem well off and own a fair bit of land in the area. The family partriarch, who told me all about his pending court case, was an Obama voter in '08, but is going Romney this time. His main concern is with Obama's 'redistribution'. Finally, I'm told that Court is sitting here in town tomorrow, so I will try to get a look at the Court House before I hit the road tomorrow. Tomorrow, New York City.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:24 PM   #3
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New York City/ Yorktown, Virginia

I managed to visit the local courthouse in Lock Haven before leaving Pennsylvania. There was supposed to be a hearing that morining, but it was cancelled at the last minute. That was ok, because it allowed me to get a picture of the courtroom. The ride from Pennsylvania to NYC was long and hot, as far as I recall. Already the rides are blending into each other somewhat. It was great to be in NY for a couple of days. Visiting with an old friend and playing tourist at the Met. We celebrated the 4th of July watching the fireworks over the Hudson River 40 stories up on my friend's rooftop terrace. Watching those fireworks over the Hudson, and seeing fireworks going on on the horizon for 360 degrees, inspired me with a sense of what a freedom loving people the Americans are. It is important that there is a country that truly understands the value of political liberty.

Left NY this morning, and had a tough ride, hours of buzzing along the highway in 100+ degree heat. It was challenging. I rode through New Jersey -certainly not pretty from the interstate, then Maryland, and finally to Virginia. Arrived in Yorktown this afternoon. I'm staying at a really 'gracious' old family home that has been converted into a bed and breakfast. Right by the river and the Victory Monument. This is a beautiful and cultured part of the world. I already feel I could stay a week and just sit on the veranda and look at the river. I have 2 days here, to recover from the ride and to get some work done (can't get away from the law entirely). Tomorrow I will take some time to explore the history around here and visit some of the Revolutionary War battlefields. Tomorrow: rest day.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:47 PM   #4
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Glad you are enjoying the ride, hopefully you are getting some pics to post up. Ride safe and stay hydrated, it is hot!
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:13 PM   #5
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Birth of a Nation

Thanks for the reply, Rebel; yes, it's been scorching. I see the heat wave is supposed to let up here and move west. Looks like I will be following it for a while yet. And yes, have been getting a lot of photos.

A great day in the place where the United States was born. I spent the morning touring the Revolutionary War battlefields with a fellow guest; a member of the Coast Guard, training at the nearby Coast Guard base. The battlefields were well marked, and it was easy to imagine the battle Back in October 1781, with the Americans and the French taking on the unprepared and overconfident British. The British prepared their defensive positions after they saw a French regiment land. They dug and built earth battlements stretching around a good part of the city. The long rows of earthworks stretch out over the fields, well preserved after 230 years. The American and French built their own earthworks, 1000 yards across from the British (the limit of the range of the British cannon). After barraging the Brits with cannon and mortar fire, the Americans and French advanced their line and built new earthworks 400 yards directly in front of the Brits, and blasted away at the British, who soon asked for surrender.

It was an impressive coordination of French and American military. Makes one think how useless the mutual French/ American irritation with each other is today. I guess we might have DeGaulle to blame for that somewhat. In any event, the tranquil 'Surrender Field' was a great place to contemplate the birth of a nation and the enormous ramifications of that one battle.

Later in the day, I made it to the local Court House. It was toward the end of the day and the sheriffs on duty at the Court House did not seem to want to be bothered by a tourist; not to mention that a camera was a definite no go. But they seemed curious, we began chatting and, the large sheriff with the impressive goatee, "I ride a Harley, mysel" he said. I pointed to his goatee and said, "I can tell.". He laughs and says he will show me some southern hospitality. The sheriff then took me on a full tour of the Courthouse, unlocked the various court rooms, showed me how all of their video conference systems with the jails worked, their holding cells, the wonderfully well laid out and equipped Circuit Court courtroom, etc. He also invited me to take some photos. Truly a warm and generous fellow. I was jealous of the courthouse by the way; nice to see a well built and apparently well-funded judicial system. It would be nice if we could do something similar back in Ontario.

Virginia is a wonderful place. Nice, easy going people, beautiful countryside, and a general civility that makes being here particularly pleasant. Tomorrow, back to the heat and a 500k ride. Tomorrow, Christiansburg, Virgina, for an overnight stop and then on to the mysterious lands of Kentucky.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:51 PM   #6
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I moved to Virginia about three weeks ago and so far am very pleased with it. Beautiful country and the people are pleasant for the most part. Great riding for sure. Keep posting, I'm reading.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:16 PM   #7
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Christiansburg

Today was a day of getting from one place to another, and doing so in heat that went up to 109 degrees according to the electronic temperature readouts in front of the banks I was passing. I found it impossible to ride with the visor open, because the air was like something out of a furnace, making it difficult to keep my eyes open against the heat.

Although it was a tough day of riding, I seem to be getting used to the conditions. I covered a little under 400 miles. Some of the roads were beautiful, the colonial parkway heading out of Yorktown, as well as the back roads laid out in the Adventure Cycling maps. However, I am still getting the hang of using those maps, and I often find myself back on the interstate. That is not bad in this weather, and saves me some time, but it is a battle out there in the heat and with the large number of trucks and the glare from the traffic. When I did follow the maps, I was rewarded with some first rate scenery and roads all to myself. Hopefully I will have more luck tomorrow following the map routes. Exhausted today. Looking forward to reaching Berea, Kentucky tomorrow, where I will then take 3 days of R and R at a nice farm bed and breakfast. Tomorrow, Kentucky.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:11 AM   #8
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Ride safe and stay hydrated! The best is yet to come.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:33 AM   #9
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Sounds like a great trip lined up. Jealous of you at the moment. Wish I was out riding.

It finally cooled off a bit here back home in Ontario, in case you were wondering, but still.... hardly no rain.

Anyways, keep safe and I think I can speak for everyone on here, looking forward to the pics!
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:39 AM   #10
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We have a saying in the US....Pic's or it didn't happen!
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:52 AM   #11
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Ride Safely! Watch that wheel too. Might want to get it checked out just for peace of mind....(ours!)....ha

I'm from Pennsylvania originally, but currenly living in BC....:-). If you get to go to Philadelphia on the way back, you cannot spit without hitting history! It's a great city.

And yeah, if there ain't no pics......wellll........we need evidence!...

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Old 07-11-2012, 05:59 PM   #12
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Anyone heard from Bodhi14 lately?? He was posting everyday then nothing. Hope everything is ok.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:32 AM   #13
Bodhi14 OP
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Back on the road

Spent three days at an isolated farmhouse bed and breakfast in the Kentucky hills. No Internet access, which was a great break from thinking about anything other than the moment. I fell in love with Kentucky, and briefly, fell in love in Kentucky. The B&B is run by a remarkable woman, and she also had a mix of interesting artistic friends who came in and out. We had heated and interesting political discussions into the evening, and were treated to gourmet meals and beautiful scenery. I felt rejuvinated.

I was lucky to meet two smart, compelling (and beautiful) women, who each took me out on long tours of the area. One took me to a Zen Buddhist temple up in the hills, an 800 acre retreat centre with a traditional style temple built on a ridge overlooking a vista of the thickly forested Kentucky hills.

I learned a lot about the local culture, churches and way of life. For a fellow from Ontario, this was truly a cultural experience. The number of churches alone was striking. Kentucky was like a dream. Now back on the road. Got to Willismsborough, Ilinois last night. Mostly rode the 56 west, which was a good ride. The heat is less intense, so the riding is a bit easier.

I should note that I am no longer trying to follow faithfully the adventure cycling maps. The roads that are recommended are just too out of the way and convoluted to follow at motorcycle speed for me. I have been setting the GPS on 'shortest route', and it is giving me great secondary roads (as well as some almost offload detours). For example, took the 52 west a good part of the way in Kentucky, which was the perfect road for me. Two lane, sweeping, deserted, though great countryside and forests. Now, off to get ready, long ride to Fort Scott, Kansas today. A couple of days to cross Kansas, and then Colorado and the west. Thank you all for reading. I have yet to find time and a computer at the same time to download and post pics (but pics there are). I am limited to my iPad right now.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:57 AM   #14
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Glad to hear you enjoyed Kentucky! Like anywhere, it has its highs and lows. Most people associate the state with banjos and 'coon hounds and the like, but not Buddhist retreats, of which there are several. Have a great ride and get some pics up. Everyone loves pics.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #15
Bodhi14 OP
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Big skies

Well, it's been a few days in a row on the road; 8 hours or more per day. I passed through, Murphysborough, Illinois, a somewhat rough looking area, into Missouri, and then into Kansas. I didn't have many impressions of Missouri, except that I noticed that the bible belt stretched into there, and there continued to be a fair number of Baptist churches.

The roads were good, and I continued on the 56 west for the most part. I got into Fort Scott Kansas last night. That part of Kansas was still similar to Missouri, which itself was a less dramatic version of Kentucky's forested and rolling hills. I left Fort Scott this morning and am now in Scott City. The land has changed, and the sky is big and the horizon vast. I love this country around here. I feel as if I can breathe easier, and I notice a serenity from being on the bike and riding through this landscape. It strikes me how long it takes to travel to get nowhere. The riding itself could be said to be boring: at one point my gps indicated next turn 189km, time to turn 1hr 50 min, and displayed a straight pink line across the screen. But I enjoy this riding; it is a meditation. I have breakfast, and head out and do the first 200k of the day, stop for lunch, do 150 more, and then take more frequent breaks to finish up another 200-250k. The roads are deserted for long stretches, and I cruise at 160-180km/hr.

I continue to meet nice people along the way- apart from a strange proposition at a gas stop earlier today. Tomorrow, I head to Pueblo, Colorado, a short ride by comparison to my days of late. Then to Ouray, Colorado, and into Utah. I booked a few days at a retreat center near Santa Cruz, so that will be a nice break.

Bike has been holding up well. It's totally bug spattered, but wow can it just keep eating up those miles day after day. That is all for now.
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