A Travellerspoint blog

Gulf Port, Mississippi to Chipley, Florida

Love the Mexican dinner

semi-overcast 32 °C

Thursday June 7

Daily Miles: 275
Accumulated Miles: 3,750
Day 15

Good day today. Again stopped early because of the mid-afternoon heat. I intended to make Tallahassee, Florida tonight, but the old body was tired.

Great room, it was a suite for the price of standard. Guess it was all they had available. Also had another great Mexican dinner from a little beat-up restaurant (the kind I like). The food was to die for. Had shrimp enchiladas – a meal to remember.

Speaking of meals – I am now down to two per day. Sitting on the bike all day and eating three meals would probably add 10 pounds to me before I get home. I already jiggle enough.

Posted by asmithusa 14:04 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Patterson, Louisiana to Gulf Port, Mississippi

Loved Mobile, Alabama

semi-overcast 33 °C

Daily Miles: 175
Accumulated Miles: 3,475
Day 14

Took several secondary roads. Every time there was something to take a photo of – there was no opportunity to pull off.

I went through New Orleans after leaving Patterson. It is apparent the city, even in its famed Bourbon Street and French Quarter is still in the throws of re-construction from Katrina. Many of the homes outside the tourist area have FEMA trailers parked on their yards while the house is being repaired. In general, it appears that the city has years of repair work ahead of it. The tourist area gave me a feeling it was a high crime rate district. Since much of my gear is simply strapped to the outside of the bike, I did not feel comfortable leaving the bike unattended, so I decided to leave exploring New Orleans for subsequent dedicated trip.

Also went through Mobile, Alabama. Really liked the city. Very old - with a checkered history regarding civil rights before the sixties. But the city is well maintained with thousands of beautiful trees. The photo below is typical of what a person will see on several Mobile streets.

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To learn more about Mobile, Alabama go to:

http://www.cityofmobile.org/visiting.php

Alabama appears to be a state with many beautiful areas, would not mind coming back just to visit this state.

Today I was preoccupied dealing with the heat and humidity. It has been over 90 and very humid. In addition, I was wet from a morning rain. So, with the weather plus the heat from the motorcycle plus wearing the helmet and riding jacket I was “toast” about mid-afternoon. Up to this point I was doing okay. My guess is the accumulation being tired from several days of riding was taking it toll.

At Gulfport the motel sits under the flight path for Keesler Air Force base. When the F-16 fighter planes come in for a landing, a person could almost feel like he could reach out and touch them. The report from those engines is unlike any other sound I have heard. They are so beautiful to watch – it is so incongruent with their purpose. Thank gosh, they stopped the touch and go landings at dusk or there would have been no sleep for me that night.

Posted by asmithusa 13:26 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Austin, Texas to Patterson, Louisiana

It sure is hot and sticky

32 °C

Tuesday June 5

Daily Miles: 475
Accumulated Miles: 3,300
Day 13

IMPORTANT CHANGE: PHOTOS NOW ARE THUMBNAILS. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

Ray was one of my best friends during high school in Ravenna, Ohio. After high school graduation we took different paths. We have not seen each other for over 50 years. He is the reason I went to Patterson, LA. We had a great evening. He introduced me the fine art of eating crawdads, crab legs, onions and potatoes. All of these were boiled in a common pot with seasonings. The crawdads are like tiny lobsters. A person removes the tail and then cracks the tail with their fingers to get at the meal. The tradition is the table is covered with brown shipping paper and the shells are thrown on the table. After the meal, the server simple gathers up the paper and places everything in the trash. What a mess – but very tasty. Wish i had a photo of that table.

He designed and built his home. Since he has been without a spouse for several years, its layout was designed with the man in mind – it has a kitchen, one bathroom, one bedroom and a massive workshop. End of story. There is not even a room with a sofa and television. In the photo of Ray in his workshop, notice the large table in front of him. That was my bed last night. Thank gosh I had my sleeping bag.

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There is a bayou only a few hundred yards from his house. This contributes to the humidity, which is very high. This time of year, the humidity runs from 40 to 70 percent (that is assuming it is not raining) The photo below is Ray standing in front of his house. Notice the green on the siding – that is algae. Algae is everywhere.

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The photo of the tree – look at the rectangles in the middle of the trunk. Those are bricks. It is an oak tree that is over 150 years old. It was split in half when hurricane Andrew went through the area in the early nineties. In an effort to save the tree, the exposed area was given a coat of concrete and a layer of bricks.

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The photo of the old home is a plantation home next to Ray’s house that was built in 1850. It is incredible the number of old homes (over 100 years old) in the area. I can’t even image that our current house would be standing after so many years.

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The followng photos are images of the bayou near his house.

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After leaving Ray’s house, I stopped at a local cafe for breakfast. Needless to say it was full of local people. I got the impression that they wondered why was this bikers guy was in their restaurant and when was he leaving. Just my paranoia going into overdrive.

Posted by asmithusa 22:47 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Austin Layover Day

Monday June 4, 2007

To give my body a rest, I had a layover day in Austin. I visited the Texas State Capitol building that was built in the late 1880s. Incredible building. It is taller than the US White House (of course). The Capitol Police seemed to be a less than friendly lot. If asked a question, they answered, but never elaborated. The photos below are thumbnailes, click the for a larger image.

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The Texas Senate Floor
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One of many hallways used by the elective officials
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Marble Texas Seal in the main floor
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Confederate Monument to honor the fallen
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After the capitol building I motored to the campus of the University of Austin. What I encounter was all entrances have campus guard stations. There purpose is to limit access to the campus to only people that have a reason to be there. They also have a policy of no motorcycles on campus. To learn more about the campus go to:

http://www.utexas.edu
Soooo -I dealt with my rejection by having a super lunch at a family owned Mexican restaurant. All was good.

Daily Miles: 50
Accumulated Miles: 2,825
Day 12

Posted by asmithusa 21:51 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Lubbock, Texas to Austin, Texas

Wandering through Texas

storm 31 °C

Sunday June 3

The drive to Austin was the same type of terrain as the ride to Lubbock. Nothing special. However, when I arrived in Austin late evening, I was loosing the daylight, plus the sky was telling me a rainstorm was on it way. I could not find the motel. The dang thing was along the interstate, but I could not seem to get to the motel’s location. The layout of Austin’s streets in relation to the interstate was beyond my ability to understand. So visualize this – an interstate highway, which is bracketed on both sides by frontage roads. The hooker is that the interstate is elevated and the frontage roads are one-way and loop either under or over the interstate. In addition, each frontage road is a three-lane highway that also has the same number as the interstate. (Interstate 35) This made it difficult for me to read and understand the signs. Finally got the motel and all was well.

Just after the bike was unloaded, the thunderstorm started. It was incredible. The wind was so strong that the rain was coming down at a 45-degree angle. And then the lighting and thunder started. It was an incredible event. Apparently the area was on a tornado alert because of this storm. Thank gosh, I found the motel.

The types of clouds that are previlent during huricane season
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Daily Miles: 375
Accumulated Miles: 2,775
Day 11

Posted by asmithusa 21:35 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Taos, New Mexico to Lubbock, Texas

Hot Texas Town

sunny 26 °C

Saturday June 2

The last time I drove in Texas was during the sixties. I forgot how big and flat the state is. However, a person has to love the speed limit – 70 mph or 112 km. Some major highways are 75 – yippee. And that is on two lane roads. Colorado was mostly 55 – what a pain.

While driving down the highway a motorcycle pulled in behind me and stayed there for over 100 miles. As we were motoring towards a gas stop, I flagged him forward to invite him for a coffee. He accepted. This was the first time I have met someone at 75 miles per hour. Anyway, Mike lives in Waco, Texas and is a Deputy Sheriff. He has been riding for only 3 years and has almost 60,000 miles on his 2003 motorcycle. Nice guy – we had our coffee, he went east and I went south to Lubbock. Good fun.

For me, what made Lubbock interesting were the people I met while at dinner. Went to Dennys (I know, I know and “Yes” I did get sick from the food). The young man serving me asked where I was from and I then asked him how he happened to be working at Dennys. He then started to tell me his life story about how he is living in a halfway house and has been clean and sober for nine months. He was so proud of himself that he is getting his life on track. Nice kid. Hope he has continued success.

Then there was Karen and John, a senior couple from Austin. They saw the motorcycle and approached me. They are past Goldwing riders. Gave me several tips as to what a person can see and do in Austin. They even invited me to stay with them while I was in Austin. I respectfully declined (but it could have been fund) At the end of the conversation, they gave me their business card and said, “if I needed any help while in Austin – give them a call.” A super couple.

Now on to bed. Tomorrow Austin.

Daily Miles: 375
Accumulated Miles: 2,400

Posted by asmithusa 23:24 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Durango, Colorado to Taos, New Mexico

You got to love the desert!!!

sunny 26 °C

Friday June 1

It was a short driving day today. My body was tired from yesterdays the 11-hour day.

On the way to Taos, the highway passes over the Rio Grande Gorge; the first image is the gorge (of course). The second image puts the gorge's size in perspective. Scan the very top of the image find the mesa - now scan down towards the bottom / center of the image and notice the white spot in the on the gorge wall. The white spot is an off road vehicle that took a wrong turn and when off the rim of the mesa. Looooong way down!!!!

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now

North of Taos there is a developer that builds homes from materials that are typically recycled or placed in landfills – tires, aluminum cans, bottles, etc. The homes include technology that recycles wastewater, creates electric and a system that heats and cools the home without the aid of public utilities. It was interesting going through the model.

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To learn more go to:

http://www.earthship.net
Taos is a community focused on tourist. Not my cup of tea. This place must be zoo during the summer months. To learn more go to:

http://www.taosguide.com

Setting is very beautiful, high desert with the mountains in the background. Heavy Mexican influence. I saw several small Mexican cemeteries. The Mexican culture has the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen.

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Had the greatest Mexican dinner tonight. A good reason to return to Taos.

I am now going to pack the bike for tomorrows trip. Still have not decided if I will travel east across to Okalahoma or south through Texas.

Daily Miles: 225
Accumulated Miles: 2,025

Posted by asmithusa 22:24 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Provo, Utah to Durango, Colorado

Long day - road construction and incredible mountain roads

Thursday May 31

Moab, Utah & Telluride Colorado - went there last year with Bob Meyer. Wanted to revisit them. Both are incredible beautiful. To learn more go to:

http://www.discovermoab.com

http://www.town.telluride.co.us/home/index.asp?page=1

Moabx.jpg

While in Moab, a German traveler invited me for lunch in his RV. He just walked up and starting talking. Unfortunately I had just eating and was too tight on time to take him up on his generous offer. I sense it was an opportunity lost for me.

Went to Ouray, Colorado for the first time. Located about 75 miles north of Durango. What an incredible location. The town sits at the end of a box canyon. When heading to Durango from Ouray, there is a series of switchbacks. There are several that have a speed limit of 15 MPH and one that is 10 MPH. I learned quickly that these low speeds were not suggestions - any misstep while in some of these turns and a several hundred-foot drop off waits below. These switchbacks seemed to never end. The town sits at 7,500 feet - the switchbacks take a person the 10,700-foot summit. From the summit it is about 15 miles of driving the mountain ridge until a pronounced decent into the little town of Silverton Colorado. Silverton is a major summer tourist attraction. To learn more about these towns go to:

http://www.ouraycolorado.com/Home

http://www.city-data.com/city/Silverton-Colorado.html

For information about Durango, go to:

http://www.durango.org/index.asp

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Between Ouray and Silverton, I saw 5 deer. All of the were single sightings, and the animals were at or near the edge of the road. There is an electronic deer whistle on my bike. Most people think the whistle is ineffective. In all five cases, the deer moved quickly away from the edge of the road.

On the way to Telluride, road repair caused a major stoppage. My best thinking caused me to take the dirt road I just passed, because the map indicated it connected back up the main road. The dirt road was 15 miles packed dirt with several areas of loose gravel. After going 5 miles i reach the proverbial "fork in the road". Unfortunately there was no sign to indicate which leg completed the loop. Soooo, I decided to go back to the main highway and deal with the road construction. Yikees.

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Daily Miles: 450
Accumulated Miles: 1800

Posted by asmithusa 17:31 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (7)

Mountain View, Utah to Provo, Utah

Wednesday May 30

Left Mountain View on state highway 30. The road is the original Old Oregon Trail Highway. It is very scenic and sure beats driving the Interstate. Reverse, Utah is along this highway. In Reverse, there is a coffee shop with a fish and cross painted on the building. I had to stop. Breakfast was great – homemade bread, jams and jellies. Before leaving I needed to use the washroom and there square on top of the crapper were copies of the Old Testament and New Testament. Placing bibles in motel rooms is one thing, but this…..!!!!

Being a quart on oil I went to KFC for dinner at Provo. There was a fellow, about 50, who worked there to clean the eating area. Every time I got up he would follow me with his eyes. It became uncomfortable for me. After several minutes, he came up to me and said, “I own a scooter”. It then became apparent to me that he was mentally challenged and was simply fascinated with my motorcycle and want to know more about it. We then had a nice conversation. This was a practical lesson for me about not prejudging people.

Daily Miles: 425
Accumulated Miles: 1350

Posted by asmithusa 22:33 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Bend, Oregon to Mountain View, Utah

Eastern Oregon - a moon scape

Tuesday May 29

Went east from Bend through Burns, Oregon. Burns is a small town in the middle of nowhere. About 30 miles out of Bend, there was a sign indicating that there was no gas for the next 130 miles. Not good news for most motorcycle riders with limited fuel capacity. Had a great lunch at little deli in Burns and then motored on to Mountain View.

Very quiet day.

Daily Miles: 375
Accumulated Miles: 925

Posted by asmithusa 22:29 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Visiting in Bend

Great R & R

Friday May 25 through Monday May 28

In Bend, I had a four-day visit with our son Cory, his wife Lisa and their son Owen. Have not seen our 14-month-old grandson since February. He sure is a happy kid.

When this photo was taken, he was asking why am I so old and so fat. He was given an appropriate response.

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Posted by asmithusa 22:23 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Kelowna, BC to Bend, Oregon

First day out

Thursday May 24, 2007

At the boarder crossing, I placed my US Passport into the map pocket on my tank bag. (I thought) As I was motoring down the highway a gust of wind rocked the bike and then I had this image of a flash of blue traveling by my face. For a second, I thought it was debris picked up by the wind, but then for some reason, I stopped to check for my passport – and “yes” it was gone. I parked the bike and starting walking the highway to find it. After walking about 100 yards there it was, laying about twelve feet below the roadbed. I have no idea why it even occurred to me to check if the passport was missing and the second miracle was that it ending up laying in full view. Had it not been found, the trip would certainly have been much shorter because of the problems its loss would have caused at the border. Interesting huh!!

Just after crossing into Oregon there was a head on crash of a car and a pickup truck pulling a trailer. One person was airlifted to the Bend hospital in serious condition. When the road was reopened, traffic was permitted to pass. All of the damaged vehicles were still along the road. What a mess. The one side of the car, truck and trailer were peeled back like a can opener was used on them. Amazing there was only one serious injury.

Daily Miles: 550

Posted by asmithusa 22:19 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

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