Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Go East young man!!!

Monday 12th Aug Sturgis to Murdo
Having spent a week camping it took me a while to get my head around packing up and getting on the move again! I took a slow ride out of Sturgis and headed for an air museum, I was looking for the Minuteman missile sites but I couldn’t find them.  Stayed on the interstate just to make up some miles and ended up in a lovely town, found a cheap motel and it was lovely to sleep in a proper bed after a week of using the tent!

Tuesday 13th Aug Murdo to Magnolia
I once again took to the interstate, theres not a great deal to see here so its best just to make up some miles. Found a lovely quiet city campsite, it only had a couple of RV’s and I was the only one camping.

Wednesday 14th Aug Magnolia to Nashua
I came off the interstate and headed out on some smaller roads. Again, theres not a great deal to see around here. I did stay at a city park for $12, which was just on the side of a lake and was a bargain. On the way out of town I stopped to see the Little Brown Church, quite quaint and well worth the stop.

Thursday 15th Aug Nashua to Maquoketa
Taking to the back roads I decided I would nip into Winconsin for about 70 miles to add that state to my ever growing list of states completed.
Once again I ended up camping in a small city park for $5, the days are still quite hot but hardly any cloud cover in the nights mean the nights are getting colder and the tent and bike has condensation on them in the mornings.

Friday 16th Aug Maquoketa to Chicago
I made my way to Chicago to meet up with Pete the Polish guy I had met in Alaska. I was not prepared for city traffic and the temps were close to 30 degrees!
To top it all, one of the roads to Petes house was closed for traffic, so I managed after 20 minutes to work out a detour and finally got to Pete’s house.
A quick beer and lovely Chinese takeaway and we were in his car and heading for downtown Chicago, even at 9 at night the traffic was still a nightmare!

Saturday 17th Aug Chicago
Pete had to go to work but his mother kindly offered me a room for the night. So I just chilled out for most of the day.

Sunday 18th Aug Chicago to Angola
I decided that Sunday was probably the best day to try and escape the city traffic and it was a good decision as the roads were quiet.
Again I took a detour to Michigan to tick off another state, I was going to stay there for the night but all the motels in Michigan are non smoking rooms. So I rode another 90 mile into Indiania and found a smoking motel, however it turns out that in Indiania you cannot buy beer on a Sunday! Luckily I had a couple of cans in my bags.

Monday 19th Aug Angola to Cleveland
I really needed a new rear tyre as the roads in Alaska are so rough and have taken their toll on my rear tyre. I could not find anywhere in Chicago so my search took me to a bike shop in Cleveland.
Also on the repair list was a new chain and sprockets, which after 31,000 miles are still fairly good but the front sprocket is showing signs of wear. I thought while the rear wheel was off I might as well get a new chain and sprocket, The front tyre is still good for another 7,000 miles.
Anyways, the shop couldn’t get the parts till Thursday so I booked into a cheapish motel but the wifi wouldn’t work in my room, so in the morning I went off in search of a cheap motel with working wifi.

Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st Aug Cleveland
Well managed to find a cheap motel with working wifi and booked 2 nights, spent some time doing laundry and sorting out my bags and the just chilling.

Wednesday I had a skype session with my mate Tony and caught up with all the news and gossip from back home.
Later in the afternoon I took a ride to downtown and spent a few hours visiting a submarine, it was really interesting but I don’t think I could have lived on one, I feel too restricted in them.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The clock keeps ticking

Tuesday 30th July Glenns Ferry to Jackson
A long days ride to Jackson just outside the Grand Teton National Park, I managed to persuade the lady at the campsite that my Veterans status was good for the parks and got a half price campsite.

Grand Teton near Yellowstone Park

Wednesday 31st July Jackson to West Yellowstone
I decided I would ride through the grand teton and head to the motel I stayed at last year. I was surprised at the heavy traffic on the roads! Some of the views as I rode along were truly outstanding. The old lady at the motel remembered me from last year and gave me the room at the same price, I was surprised because I was expecting a much higher rate as its high season at the moment. Spent some time in the launderette catching up on some much needed washing!

One of the many spectacular views in Yellowstone Park

Thursday 1st Aug West Yellowstone to Billings
I took the Northern route through Yellowstone Park, there was some construction but the views once again were spectacular. I also got to ride the Beartooth Pass, at 10,994 feet it was a new altitude record for me. Tried to get a motel in Billings but they were all well over a 100 dollars, ended up camping for a staggering $37! But it was late and a storm was brewing. The storm blew in and almost took my tarp away, for 30 minutes I held onto it as it had ripped out the back guy rope! It was the longest 30 minutes of my life!

on top of Beartooth pass, a new altitude record for me

Friday 2nd Aug West Yellowstone to Forsyth
I spent most of the day doing tourist things, first I visited a museum and enjoyed walking around and seeing how life was back in the 1800’s. Then I went on the Last stand hill, where Custer and his men had fallen. Spent most of the afternoon there. Ended up camping in a city park for $12, lovely site but no showers and drop toilets!

Saturday 3rd Aug Forsyth to Buffalo South Dakota
I was hoping to make Sturgis today but ended up chatting to many people on the way, so the progress was slow. I ended up shelling out $60 for a motel room but I was glad I did as big storms have blown in and its raining like mad!

Sunday 4th – Monday 12th Aug Sturgis Rally
Wow what a week, I arrived on Sunday afternoon after riding through Sturgis main street with what appeared to be a thousand bikers! However I later heard it was over 400,000 bikers or almost half a million people in Sturgis, a town of normally 6,600!
I spent the first night on the titty alley, a strip where the girls show off their boobs and some where showing a lot more!

Main Street Stugis, bikes as far as the eye can see!

I stayed at this campground just outside Sturgis, Its a great campground with lots of friendly staff to help you.

Monday morning was quite a sad moment, as Fritz had found me a really quiet spot in the campground I was sitting having a coffee when medics turned up at a tent no more than 100 feet from me. It was apparent when the Sherriff turned up that this was a fatal incident, I watched with sadness as they took the body away. It turns out that it was a 58 year old guy who had passed away in his sleep with a suspected heart attack. RIP unknown brother and ride to heaven.
So it got me thinking, Life is like a clock and no one knows when the clock will stop ticking!

RIP unknown Brother

The rest of the week has been spent taking the bus into town and just soaking up the atmosphere of the rally. The town is totally packed and has hundreds of stalls to look at. I really enjoyed taking to a lady who was running the tourist booth, she had travelled as well and it was great swapping travelling storys.
I also decided to replace my broken but trusty tomtom rider after 8 years it had decided that it had enough. I wanted to get another tomtom but none of the units had an SD slot, so I have turned to the dark side and now own a Garmin! Its not to bad but I am having to get used to the different functions.