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Old 05-28-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
GSWayne OP
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NE Motorcycle Trip is Great

GSWayne and Eyes Shut are once again on one of their long lackadaisical trips. This time to the North East US. Our plan is to fill in all of the rest of the states on on side case map except for Iowa. Actually the plan is to see the country and visit with some friends and family along the way. We plan a loop starting in Santa Barbara, CA, visiting some family in NM, heading ENE to the east coast, going up the coast into Canada, then heading W and coming back into the US in MI, then heading SW back home. We are planning to be gone 5 weeks.

Our 1st stop was for lunch


in Ludlow, CA. It is a place in the middle of nowhere that is one morning's ride E of home so we have stopped there many times. It looks like it is heading upscale


There was a garnish on my Chili-Dog, plus check out the presentation with the extra cheese and onions artfully arranged on the plate. Next thing they will be putting little stripes of ketchup on the plate. After our hearty lunch it was on the Kingman, where we checked into the Quality Inn, which is very Route 66 themed.


The pool was very cold, and after a quick dip I hit the spa which was plenty warm. Then I replaced a burned out bulb in one of my little driving lights. The old one didn't apparently burn out, the pin on the back of the bulb just broke. I did experience one other equipment failure today, my pocket comb broke. We went to Walgreens and they had single combs for $2 or an assortment of 20 for $2, and the assortment ones were labeled as unbreakable. I packed away about a half dozen (60 cents worth) and abandoned the rest in our room. We then headed to our standard Kingman dinner spot.


Where we had some beer from the Mohave Brewery, I had Route 66 Ale and Eyes Shut had her favorite Dambar Red.

Shown with our split up salad with their colored corn chip croutons, and excellent biscuits. We followed this with their baby-back ribs


Our daily trip statistics:
404 miles, 6:03 riding time for average speed of 67mph. Longer than our normal days, but it was all slab.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:01 PM   #2
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Old 05-29-2010, 08:19 PM   #3
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Kingman, AZ to Grants, NM

Today was another uneventful 400 miles of freeway. A little construction, a little wind, and a couple of pronghorn antelopes on the roadside, the first time we have seen them along I-40, a trip we have done at least a couple of dozen times.

Lunch was in our standard lunch stop in Holbrook


Joe and Aggie's, where we had our usual Navajo Tacos.





The surprise is that they painted over their old weird motorcycle babe shown in this older photo from December 2005.



We then headed to Grants, NM. Downtown was in bad shape. Most of the old motels were abandoned, a couple converted to monthly rentals, and the Route 66 Motel still alive, but not looking too good. We would have stayed there but we saw only a single restaurant within walking distance and the beer is rarely good in Chinese restaurants. We stooped to going to the cluster of chain motels at the edge of town that were probably responsible for the death of all the old motels. We had a nice swim in the pool, soak in the spa, and a Blue Bunny ice cream cone from the ice cream counter at a nearby gas station. For dinner, we went to the New Mexico Steakhouse in a nearby Best Western motel. It was very empty for awhile, around 6:00PM we were the only diners. The waitress said there was a big Graduation Party in a separate room, which is where all the locals must have been eating. Though in the 8 motels in the area, there was probably a total of only a couple of dozen cars, we were still surprised at the lack of other tourists dinning there. The most exotic beer on tap was




Dos X, I needed a least a sip to get up my strength to take the photo.


For dinner


A Ribeye steak, that was quite good. So our stay in Grants was pleasant enough, but I don't think we will be back for a return engagement.



Daily trip statistics:
403 miles, 5:58 riding time for average speed of 67 mph again.
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Old 05-30-2010, 04:55 AM   #4
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:05 PM   #5
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Grants to Los Lunas, NM

Today was a short riding day, but we took a major detour to the Ice Caves and the Bandera Volcano. This is a tourist attraction for which we have been seeing the signs for over 35 years and finally stopped to see. They are about 25 miles out of Grants, which was originally a coaling station for the RR, and then it was a big uranium mining area in the 1950's and 60's.





We saw this mansion outside of Grants, which apparently belonged to the owner of the mines. The rest of the buildings within miles of the area were trailers, or equivalent sort of structures.



The Ice Caves is a family-run outfit that has owned the land since the 1800ís and built a trading post in the 1930's to service the lumber industry

and in 1946 converted to a tourist business. There are two attractions which you get to experience for your $10. There is the caldera of the volcano, which you hike up to.


And then you walk to the Ice Cave, with the fanciest hand-railing ever welded up.





You climb down to the ice cave, which is in a collapsed lava tube.



There is some arctic algae growing in the ice.




And an ice waterfall.

The temperature never gets above 31F. The cave stays this cold because of the fact that cold air settles into the cave and the lava provides good insulation. After our bit of tourism, we headed to Los Lunas to visit family.




It looks like they knew we were coming.



Besides just drinking beer, which is a worthy endeavor on its own, I also had some repair work to do, while visiting the relatives.



I had a broken zipper pull on my Motoport jacket sleeve.





So I fabricated a replacement pull. Besides that garage being well stocked with beer, it it even better stocked with tools and materials. So



voila, a new zipper pull hopefully good enough to last the next month or so.



I also took advantage of our rest day to take apart my sidestand because it was binding up. I had always thought the sidestand was too loose, so several months ago I made some bushings and shims to give it that precision movement that people think BMW machinery is supposed to have. Looks like I got it too tight, so I took it apart and greased it up and now it works better; but in hindsight, I probably should have taken out my shims while I had it apart and got it back to it original sloppy operation.


Daily trip statistics
135 miles 2:22 riding time for average speed of 57 mph.

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Old 06-01-2010, 06:56 PM   #6
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Los Lunas to Clayton, NM

Today really feels like the start of the trip because we finally got off the Interstate and we are visiting places we have never been. We headed N out of Los Lunas and after Albuquerque we picked up SR14, which is a pleasant change from I-40 and I-25. We went by the Greenside Cafe, owned by fellow advrider, but we had just eaten breakfast, so we couldn't stop for a meal this time. A few hours later we stopped for lunch in Springer.


We ate at the Brown Hotel and Cafe, built in the 1920's. When we sat down we were the only customers, but by the time we left there were at least a dozen locals, who all knew each other, eating there. We had a nice grilled ham and cheese on their home-made bread. Leaving Springer, we came across 3 long distance-looking riders on a Dakar, KLR and a Honda ST??? and followed them until they took a break and we chatted with them. They were from OR, CA and NY. We never figured out how they got together or just what their path had been. We then continued on to Clayton.


We had visions of staying at the historic Eklund Hotel, or at least eating there, but it was closed. Plan B, which had a nice outdoor pool was the Kokopelli Lodge.


As you can see it was good pool weather. After a swim, we wandered around town and ended having dinner at


the Wild Horse Grill and Steakhouse. It turned out to be a funky sort of small town diner (sans beer) rather than a Steakhouse. We had a decent plate of Brisket for $10, which we enjoyed in spite of our sobriety.

For any volleyball players in the audience,

here is the 1st flagstone volleyball court I have ever seen. We also got a dose of wisdom


on the wall of the Show Biz video rental store. The part I noticed was the last category. Treating your adversaries decently seems sort of Obama-esque, for rural NM only a stone's throw from both OK and TX.

Daily Trip Statistics
309 miles, 4:52 riding time, avg speed 64 mph.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:25 PM   #7
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Great ride. Keep having fun. Look forward to more pics along the way.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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June 2nd Clayton, NM to Enid, OK

Today started out with an amazing optical illusion. I looked East out the motel window out at the motorcycle and saw that the headlight was on.


The sun was behind the motorcycle, so I didn't think it could be the sun. It turns out that the sun was making a 2 cushion shot, one bounce off the motel window and then the bounce off of the headlight. The high beam didn't look like it was on; I don't know why.

Today was hardly a classic motorcycle ride; I could count the turns on the fingers of my left hand (editorial comment: But this is Oklahoma - part of the plains states). It started out totally flat for an hour or so, and then the terrain became rolling low hills and trees and oil wells, most of which were no longer pumping. There were lots of roadside flowers, including Yellow Clover, Purple Vetch, Gillardia, Yucca, and probably Yarrow (according to my resident botanist, Eyes Shut). There was a 10-20 mph crosswind, which was from the N (left) which was not so bad until we came to the numerous cattle trucks going the other direction. There we got the one-two punch of the turbulence and a powerful blast of Eau-de-steer shit. As we approached Woodward, I looked for a lunch spot on the GPS and found Wagg's BBQ.


Unlike some other promises made by the GPS, this one came true. We had an excellent pulled pork sandwich. With a shirt wetted to try to keep cool, we proceeded the last 90 miles to Enid, OK. Last night's internet research indicated a brew-pub in Enid called Callahan's, however, the only nearby hotel claimed to be booked up. The other cluster of hotels was about 3 miles away, so we headed to that area to look for a hotel and potential dinner spots. No obvious good eats near the hotels, so we headed back to the allegedly full motel to check it out. We made it to the motel before our body temperatures reached lethal levels. The motel did have a vacancy and even gave us a discount coupon for Callahan's.


The motel had a pool that looked like it was designed by a committee of architects. It was wet and cool, though.


With this temperature, the pool felt good. After our dip we headed to Callahan's.


We saw this sign along the way. It looks more So Cal than OK.


We also saw this concrete abstract sign, for our evening irony. Then on to


where we had


Cedar planked Salmon and a Rogue Dead Guy ale and a Franziskaner Hefeweizen to wash it down. (Note the square plates.) This dinner made up for last night's marginal dining experience. On the way back from dinner, we spotted this at the Garfield County Courthouse


which can save us about 2,000 miles of riding that we were planning to do to get to NYC. It was put up by the Boy Scouts in 1950. We also saw


these long tailed black birds, which have been serenading us with a wide variety of weird sounds for the last couple of days. Apparently Phainopepla. Hear it: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Phainopepla/sounds
Not in its range, but it seems like the right bird from the description and the song. Any birders want to offer a 2nd opinion?

Daily trip statistics:
323 miles, 5:24 riding time avg. speed 60 mph.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:10 PM   #9
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June 3rd Enid, OK to Harrison, AR

Today was our 1st day of some real motorcycle roads, particularly the scenic alternate for US 412. It had trees and curves and almost mountains. Other parts of it were not as pleasant, in particular the dozen or so miles of strip malls through Springdale, AR. Though it was cloudy all morning and we saw a little lightning ahead of us, we never got rained on, just hosed down by the spray kicked up by the 18 wheelers on the wet road. We stopped for lunch in Siloam Springs, AR at a Braum's Dairy Store. It was a combination of a fast food restaurant and a deli-grocery store with meat and produce. We had a great milk-shake, Limeade from real limes, and a burger. Fast food done competently. Then on to Harrison, AR. We stayed at


the 1929 Seville Hotel. It had be completely renovated in 2008. Like other fixed up old places they have a bunch of information about the renovation, but they didn't seem to say much about its history. When I quizzed the staff, it turns out it may have never been a hotel. Its use prior to renovation had been as a nursing home. It seems they actually built a hotel from the concrete shell of an existing building. In spite of the lack of authentic history, it was a very nice place.


With nice mosaics


An elegant lobby


and a room with a skylight (not visible in the picture, but a good trick because were were on the 2nd floor and there is also a third floor, which apparently was not aligned with our wing of rooms).


It even had an indoor motorcycle wash bay, the first we have ever seen. This was lucky because the bike was overdue for its every 15,000 mile wash.


Now even the wheels gleam.


It also gave us a chance to add a couple more state stickers, OK and AR.


A nice bar/restaurant, where we hydrated before a "Historic Walking Tour" of Harrison. After we saw the town, we returned for dinner and had a nice steak, accompanied by a baked sweet potato. The place was pretty busy for a Thursday night; it appears to be the only source of liquor in the county, which may account for some of its popularity.

Daily trip statistics
302 miles 5:22 riding time avg. speed 56 mph
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:53 PM   #10
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great report/photos

Ilook forward to the next instalment
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:49 AM   #11
prometheus rising
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Sweet trip, enjoying the RR

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Old 06-04-2010, 08:25 AM   #12
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Hydration

Nice to see you guys are staying properly hydrated throughout your trip! Wouldn't want that whistle to get dry! All those beer pics making me thirsty though, my boss may not appriciate me as much if I down some brewskies at lunch! Good stuff!
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:29 PM   #13
GSWayne OP
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June 4th Harrison, AR to Paris, TN

Today we had an unusual choice to make, we could head for either Milan, Como, Dresden, or Paris. We had not had any really good fries lately, so we chose Paris. We figured if the people there couldn't understand us we would just shout at them. But 1st, we had about six and a half hours of riding. Our terrain today switched from the rolling hills and forests of AR to more agricultural MO. We started to see rice paddies before we left AR.


We had lunch at Boss Hawg BBQ in Steele, MO.





We then crossed the mighty Miss into TN (another new state for us). Then we had to chose our destination. Though Dresden is famous for BBQ (actually being BBQed), we passed it up for the more glamorous Paris,


where we could work on our language skills.


We stayed at


the exclusive Paris Inn. You could tell their English was marginal by the Rats on the sign, those silent "e"s are tough. Their pool did not have the widest variety of dead creatures floating in it, but


did have the largest.


They also had another creature wandering the grounds. For dinner we walked over to


The Hungry Wolf BBQ, complete with


life-size pig in the front. The Baby Back Ribs were great and they even had an ice cream freezer with at least a dozen flavors of ice cream to choose from for dessert. If they only had beer I might have started looking for property in the neighborhood.

Though we were staring at rain clouds ahead of us most of the day, we still have not been rained on in about 2200 miles and 8 days of riding.

Daily trip statistics:
338 miles, 6:21 riding time for average speed of 53 mph.

One more bit of trivia, our average gas mileage has been 40.1 mpg over 19 fill-ups. It gets better on days when we are not traveling 75 mph for most of the day. We have had 4 tank averages as low as 36 and as high as 43
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:40 PM   #14
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June 5th Paris, TN to Mammoth Caves, KY

Today was an easy riding day, but it was heavy on stair climbing. We rode from Paris to Mammoth Caves, KY, where we had booked a cabin a couple of days ago. We had also booked a cave tour ahead of time, being that we were arriving on a summer weekend. The ride was uneventful, except we entered another state we had never been to before, KY. There we saw lots of corn fields, some grain fields, but, much to our disappointment, no tobacco fields or race horses. We didnít even see the famous KY jelly factory. We arrived at Mammoth Park at 11:00 and amazingly we could check into


our cabin, as it had not been used the day before. This was great: we could unpack, take a quick shower, and walk over to the visitorís center to pick up our tour tickets. We were even able to book another tour that started at 12:45 and finished 15 minutes before our other tour. We even had time for a leisurely lunch



of 3 Sloppy Joe Sliders and a bowl of their touted Black Cherry Ice Cream for dessert.



The cabins are in a little row that is away from the visitorís center and parking lot and are very peaceful; they look out into dense woods.

We first took the Historic Tour that goes through the 1st discovered cave entrance. A preserved body was found in the cave from about 4,000 years ago and other evidence of human use until about 2,000 years ago has been found; the next use of the cave was in 1812 for a saltpeter mine; and then as a tourist attraction starting in 1816. The cave system is over 300 miles long. Our 2nd cave tour was the New Entrance tour based on an opening that was blasted in the 1920ís by someone competing for the tourist business. Several operators were battling each other (including vandalizing competitorís caves) until the people of KY got very civic minded in the 1930ís and bought out the 600 land owners in the region and turned it all over to the federal government to turn into a National Park in 1941. One stipulation in giving the Feds the Park is that the Park admission would always be free. It is now one of only a handful of National Parks without an admission charge.





Compared to other caves we have visited, this cave has less dramatic formations; in fact, on the Historic Tour there were none.


It was fun to tour, and the 54 degree temperature felt good and the hundreds of feet of climbing was good exercise. The CCC built the trails inside the caves as well as many surface trails that we didnít have time to make use of. They also built the cabin we are staying in.




You can see signs of the earlier visitors as either scratched initials and dates on the walls, or similar things written with the soot from candles on the ceilings. The Ranger had a good description of these markings: ďIf they are before 1941, they are cultural artifacts;, if they are after that, they are a federal offense and the ranger that will visit you will not be as nice as me and will have lots more stuff on his belt.Ē The other good story we heard from the Rangers was the naming of the cave. In the 1800ís, some Eastern newspaper writer visited and forgot the original name of the caves (which was the Flat Cave, named after the owner). He just called it the Mammoth Cave and that name stuck.

We dined at the Park restaurant, and though woefully lacking in beer, we had a good meal including some Derby Pie (made from less successful horses, I guess) for dessert. We even had time for laundry after dinner. We also saw fireflies (we don't have any in Santa Barbara, so they are neat to see), and heard a Hermit's Thrush in the forest.


Daily trip statistics
160 miles 2:56 riding time for average speed of 54 mph
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:28 PM   #15
GSWayne OP
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June 6th Mammoth Cave, KY to Kingsport, TN

After our Caveman Breakfast at the Hotel Restaurant (which we couldn't finish), we headed down the road on a cloudy day. The clouds kept the temperature in the 70's for comfortable riding. We mostly rode on the Cumberland Parkway. After several painful attempts to find a place for lunch in Pineville, KY, we finally ended up at the King Buffet and Grill in what we think was Jonesville, VA. It was the hugest selection of any buffet I have ever seen: there were over 50 choices for $9.00, including lots of fresh fruit. After lunch, it started raining and we found some shelter to wait out the 1st heavy burst and then Eyes Shut put on her rain jacket, while I decided to use this as an opportunity to get some of the bugs washed off my gear. We rode the next couple of hours in intermittent rain, but with temperatures in the lower 70's it was comfortable. We ended up in a generic motel in Kingsport that was near a few restaurants. There was a plethora for chain places and one


non-chain place that we selected. It seems their specialty was


hush puppies. This is how many were left after I ate all I could. They first brought out a bowl, like chips in a Mexican restaurant, then another mighty mound on the plate with the food. We had their Salmon special. It was quite a deal for $8, but not nearly as good as our Callahan's Salmon (in Enid). Our next bargain was at O'Charleys were we went for our beer for dessert, 2 pints of Shocktop for $3.82. Our last stop was K-mart,


with the cleanest, shiniest, floors I have ever seen. There we found a replacement for Eyes Shut's dead watch. Now our trip trinket count is up to 2,


a hat with a properly cryptic logo that I got at Mammoth Caves, and the new watch.

Trip daily statistics:
282 miles in 5:16 riding time for average speed of 53 mph.
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