Friday, 21 June 2013

a catch up on the last few weeks on the road :-)

To try and save some time I have simply copied and pasted bits from my Journal to which I have added a few pictures to this blog.
I really must make a better effort to update my blog

Hung around Doug's till the 3rd of June waiting on my last bits to arrive via the postal service.
Set out on the afternoon of the 3rd only to be caught in a huge storm! After 1 hour I was soaked to the skin and had only ridden about 27 miles, so I returned to Doug's and got all my gear sorted out and dried.
this is how much rain came down in an hour

Tuesday 4th June 440 miles, Punta Gorda to Marianne Florida.
Finally early on the 4th of June I set off. With a constant threat of storms I made my way north west towards the gulf of mexico. It was really hot and I was drinking litres of water. I made it to Marianne and used a motel for the night as it was too hot to camp.

Wednesday 5th June 440 miles Marianne Florida to Lafayette Louisiana
Quite a boring ride using the interstate roads (UK motorways) but I just needed to get some miles under my belt and try and out run this big storm that was due in the area. I did hit a couple of rain showers but because it was so warm it was quite refreshing and I was dry within 10 minutes.

Thursday 6th June 266 miles, Lafayette LO to Sealy TX.
I had promised my friend Nicole that I would like to spend some time with her dad, so I headed out to meet him in Sealy TX.
It was such a pleasure to meet Bob, who had been injured in Korea and was a Purple Heart recipient .we had such a good night, he took me for a proper big feed and then we spent the night on the porch watching the sun go down and chatting to the small hours. In the morning he took me for breakfast and then we went off to meet some veterans. It was such an honour to spend time with Bob.
Bob about to treat to a real belly stuffing meal 
watching the sun go down on Bob's back porch

Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June 134 miles: Sealy TX to Cedar Park Austin TX
A short ride to Lee and Pat’s house, I had met her last year on my RTW trip and was having a 2 day stop over. It was great to see old friends again. I got my laundry done and spent a bit of time at a huge camping store, also chilled out in the pool with her grandson Caleb.
chilling in the pool with Caleb, who kept making me fetch his toys from the bottom of the pool!

Sunday 9th June : 344 miles Cedar Park to Lubbock TX
I am a bit hazy on this part of the trip but I am sure that I used a motel (maybe this is why you should keep journals up to date!).

Monday 10th June : 243 miles, Lubbock TX to Boise City Oklahoma.
This was one of the hottest days I had ridden with the temps well into the 100’s! And the roads where probably the most boring! Just lots of straight roads with farmlands and farmers to look at!
Tuesday 11th June : 460 miles, Boise City to Farmington New Mexico
Another long and hot boring day with lots of straight roads that just seem to go on forever! I stayed at a cheap motel as it was too hot to sleep in a tent.

Straight and boring roads.... you just got to hate em lol

Wednesday 12th June : 300 miles, Farmington to Tuba City.
I was told not to miss Monument valley, the most exciting thing that happened was a 4 x 4 pulled out on me! Thankfully ABS brakes kicked in and I managed to safely go round the back of him. He did slow down and look at me and then sped off faster than a speeding bullet! I think he knew I would have torn him a new asshole!
To be quite honest I found the valley to be quite boring, you can only look at so much rock in one day! I almost forgot, I did Four Corners, I only remembered when I was going through some pictures!

me lying with a limb in all four states
Also found out that there was no drinking on an Indian reservation, so I ended up doing a 70 mile detour to pick up some beer. I only did this because I couldn’t find anywhere to camp so ended back in Tuba city and having refused to take a $140 motel room they allowed me to camp round the back at the cost of $17.

Thursday 13th June : 270 miles. Tuba City to North Rim Grand Canyon.
I was on the road and met up with a fellow Vstrom rider who was 77, his name was Bob and he was telling me of a rally further up the road.

Bob 77 and still rides everyday

 Anyway I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go and see the Grand Canyon as I had my fill of looking at rocks. He assured me it was worth the ride. So I set off and I am so glad that I have seen the Grand Canyon, it truly is very spectacular. 

spectacular views on the Grand Canyon North Rim

I wanted to camp there but the campgrounds where full (in fact they have a 6 month reservation list) so I ended up wild camping in the forest.
It did take me about 1 hour to make my mind up as when I looked round there was nothing around for miles and I had no service on either my UK or USA phone. Whilst setting up my tent I could swear I could hear banjo’s playing in my head!
I have to say, it was one of the best nights sleep I have had so far in the trip, that good that I even dreamt that night.

Wild camping, scary stuff when you hear banjos in your head playing!

Friday 14th June : 300 miles, Wild camping to Panguitch Utah
I had promised Bob that I would catch up with him at a BMW rally being held, the price for the weekend was steep but I could stay the Friday night for $14, so I put my tent up and they where on the whole a good bunch of people, though a couple did look down their noses at my dirty looking Suzuki Vstrom!

Saturday 15th June : 300 miles, Panguitch to Provo Utah.
I was given plenty of routes to take by the guys at the BMW rally, I chose to take Route 12, a beautiful scenic route through Bryce Canyon and the Grand Staircase. It was a real treat to ride some lovely twisty roads and then the weather changed on me and big black clouds started to show! So I made a detour for the interstate and headed North. I went to a state park campsite which they offered me a pitch on rocks and gravel for $14, so I turned it down and headed further North only to find a RV park campsite charging $20! But by that time I was so tired I bit the bullet and paid. It was a lovely campsite on grass and I met some lovely people and chatted away the evening about travelling.

Sunday 16th June : 333 miles, Provo to Glenns Ferry Idaho
I ended up back on the interstate as I was getting desperate to get to Oregon City where I had new tyres waiting for me. So on a fuel stop I ended up in Glenns Ferry, which was a really quaint old town. I found a small motel and at $40 it was cheap. I was very surprised at how clean and tidy my room was, after some of the cheap fleapit motels I stayed in last year. In fact I went back to tell the owner how nice their motel was and ended up chatting again for hours about travelling.

Monday 17th June : 300 miles, Glenns Ferry to Dayville Oregon
Last year I stayed in Dayville which is a real quaint old looking western village, the owner of the garage Julie made a cracking homemade pizza, so when I turned up she remembered me and then told me “I am out of pizza dough”! so I ended up settling for a can of ravioli, still it was worth the 4,000 mile ride just to get a hug of Julie again!

Tuesday 18th June : 290 miles, Dayville to Corvallis Oregon
 I made my way west to meet up with an old friend Nicole who I had met last year at a HuBB meet in California ( it was also Nicoles Dad Bob that I met in Sealy TX).
For the first time in my trip I had to put on waterproofs as the rain started to come down, about 40 miles down the road I had to stop again to put some fleece top on as the temp’s had really start to drop.
It was a crying shame as the roads were lovely and twisty and the scenery was just mind blowing! But with near bald tyres I just had to slow things right down and take my time.
It was fantastic to meet up with Nicole again, she treated me to a meal down the local pub where some of her friends had gathered to give me a warm welcome. I was given a couple of lovely T-shirts and I cracked a joke about anyone having spare socks and undies!

Meeting some of Nicole's great freinds

The next day Nicole rode up with me almost to Oregon City, it was fantastic to be shown local roads but once again the weather spoilt it a little. I would have loved to throw my Vstrom round some of them lovely twisty roads.

Wednesday 19th June : 100 miles, Corvallis to Tom and Sue’s house in Oregon City.

It was fantastic to meet up with Tom and Sue again (they were the first people I stayed with when I went round the world last year). I just love staying here and it feels like a second home to me.
Tom had arranged for the local bike shop to have new Metzler Tyres waiting for me and Toms good friend Charles helped me take the wheels off and down to the shop to get the new tyres fitted. Charles also took me on a tour of Oregon City and we visited my favourite camp store to pick up a few bits and pieces before heading further north towards the Canadian border.

Charles helping me get the wheels off ready for new tyres
New tyres just waiting to be scrubbed in before I head further North

So I am now having a few days rest at Tom and Sue's house. My new tyres are on and Charles helped me bleed the brakes, also did a mini service and changed the oil and oil filter ready for my next big ride up to Alaska.

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