Westward and Beyond - Week 1


Thursday, Aug 15’ 2013

With our visit with my daughter and her family completed my wife, Yong, decided to fly back home to Tennessee yesterday. She no longer wants to ride the open road with me like she used to in years past. Nevertheless, she understands my riding addiction and she was willing to let me head west solo for a few weeks on my own to visit some friends and family out that way.

As I prepared to depart from my daughters house in the Rapid City area I was experiencing a lot of uncertainty about taking this road trip. I’ve done plenty of solo road trips in the past and I always feel a little anxious before a trip but nothing quite like this time. Couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was bothering me but in the end I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and move forward with this road trip west any way and I rolled out of Rapid City around 8:00 am.

Tentative plan was to begin by heading south in hopes of getting over to Grand Junction Colorado this first day. That was a good distance away and I was already leaving late due to some early morning drizzle and heavy fog in the area. Once down to Hot Springs SD and figuring I’d already gone this same way many times in the past I decided to veer off course and explore a new road. South out of Hot Springs is Highway 71 and it heads through the Black Hills National Forest and turns into to Highway 2 once in to Nebraska.
img_6521
First part of this road was exceptional but the road quickly deteriorated once I passed into Nebraska and it turned into highway 2. The only saving grace was the solitude (little traffic) and the nice expansive views of the plains as they begin to butt up agains the Rocky Mountains. Once out on to highway 2 I took 20 back to the Interstate 25 in Wyoming and made short work of getting down to the Fort Collins, Colorado area where I could catch Colorado Highway 14 (Pouder Canyon Road). I had seen this road on the map from a previous trip to the Rockies but hadn’t had time to explore it. My buddy Jim had travelled it before and validated it was a good road and advised me not to miss it.

He was right it was a beautiful road …
img_6531
img_6533

You got to admit any road that follows right along a river is a sweet ride and this was no exceptions. Some times on the left other times on the right but the river, Cache La Poudre River, was always visible and there were plenty of pulls outs to stop and enjoy. To top things off it seems a high pressure area has moved into the state and the rain chances have been significantly reduce and temps were very pleasant for summer time.
img_6538
By the time I got to Walden, Colorado it was around 5:00 and I was beat and no where near Grand Junction. Started checking on the few motels in Walden only to find out none of them had any room and were all full. Then it dawned on me. Hummm maybe I should make reservations … it is right in the middle of their busiest time of the year. Normally I don’t like to make reservations when I travel on a road trip because it commits me to a specific location at the end of a days ride and that subtracts in my opinion from the unplanned adventure of it all. Now the flip side of that … tired and no where to stay and miles from the interstate and other motels. What to do.

Nothing to do but press on. This has happened to me before and many times it means several more hours of riding than I hadn’t planned on in order to find a motel. This is not good news because what I have found out that it is during these times terrible things can and often do happen on the road …. Case in point ….

Near Death Experience!

I know no other way to describe what happen to me around 6:40 p.m. this evening than to use those words. As I pushed on southwest I was traveling on highway 134 in the Routt National Forrest. Twisty curvy road with long sweepers you can take at about 60 miles and hour which was about my speed as I entered a banked gradual left handed sweeper and observed a Jeep in the other lane entering the same turn coming from the opposite direction. There was just one problem …. the driver of the jeep wasn’t paying attention and his jeep instead of turning continued straighten across the double line into my lane. I was heading straight for him and there was no where to go. No time for horn … no time for braking … no time for avoidance … it was basically time for impact in a matter of seconds. The only possible thing I could have done would have been a last minute ditch effort to swerve left into his lane and cut around him. That would have been a very bold and drastic decision to perform a maneuver like that and I’m not even sure I could have pulled it off. The other problem with that maneuver is that if the other driver did snap out of his inattentiveness and yanked the jeep back into his lane I would have met him head on. Instead I held course in my lane and honestly thought this was the end. Then … at what seemed like the last second the jeep driver did just that … he woke up and swerved radically back into his lane and out of my path just in time for me to zoom by him.


I’ve had many close calls on the road on my motorcycle over the years and miles … but that was the closest I’ve ever come to buying it out right. As I passed him and came to the realization I wasn’t going to die after all it had a profound affect on me the rest of this day. I was alive but what a somber scary moment that literally came out of no where to almost end my life. I think I’m going to be haunted by that one for quite awhile. It’s so weird … I feel like I should not be alive.

Finally found a motel with a vacancy in Eagle, Colorado … and am resting and reflecting on life this evening more than I have ever done so in the past. So true … you can be here one minute and gone the next no matter how careful you are. If it’s your time … it’s your time. This was not my time.

Friday, Aug 16’ 2013

Well, after some reflections last night I’ve decided to alter my course and head straight to my buddy Russ’s house in Tracy California instead of continuing south to Arizona as I originally planned. Some time constraints were starting to creep into my non schedule and I didn’t like it. Russ had invited me to go with him and some other riders on a Kayaking trip and I figured I better go ahead and get out there and be in time for that and then hit Arizona on the way back.

Today’s route was mostly interstate with an afternoon hookup with the worlds loneliest highway … highway 50 in Nevada. Still some great views even from the interstate
img_6558
Beautiful Utah
img_6562
Love those blue skies … no worries of rain this day.

Finally made it over to Highway 50 and traversed that Desert wasteland that covers so much of Nevada into Ely, Nevada
img_6572
Boy … sure would hate to break down out here somewhere …. Makes you feel rather insignificant

Made it into Ely, Nevada and almost had the same deal finding a motel with space. Luckily I got the last room at the LaQuinta in town. Seems there were several events going on and all of them were filled up. So glad I got a room tonight … guess I’m going to have to start making some reservations.

Resting in Ely, Nevada tonight

Saturday, Aug 17’ 2013

Was up early trying to get a jump start to make it the rest of the way into Tracy, California today. My childhood buddy, Russ, lives there and we are planning a Motorcycle ride/Kayaking trip together along with a couple of his riding buddies up along the Northern California Coast line Tuesday-Thursday of this coming week. The location is in the city of Little River, California at the Van Damme Beach State Park. You actually get to Kayak in the Ocean and paddle through some of caves there which sounds pretty cool. Here’s the Web Link for the company called Kayak Mendocino.

http://www.kayakmendocino.com/

I’ve only Kayaked once before in my life but it’s a guided tour so it should be fun with Russ as my expert guide :-) One of the guys going has a cabin on the coast at a place called Gualala, California just about 30 miles south so we’ll be staying there. I’ll report back my experience.

I rolled out of Ely, Nevada around 6:30 a.m. and began to traverse the meat of the Nevada wasteland in route to the next blip of humanity 165 miles southwest in Tonopha, Nevada. There isn’t a lot out here and around every turn through the passes it looks pretty much like this as you come out.
img_6581
Another stretch of boring straight away to zoom down.

It is easy to lose focus out here with the heat of the day drinking up your life blood (water) and nothing to navigate around … straight and boring UNTIL …. out of nowhere a small coyote appears on the road in front of me. No problem it seems as he heads across the road and is far enough ahead of me not to be an issue. That is until he sees me … panics and then makes a 90 degree turn away from me and starts scurrying back and forth in my lane in the same direction I’m heading. I was going about 80 mph with the cruise control set and was able to apply some brakes which I did when I first saw him appear but I was still moving about 70 mph when I impacted him on the right side of the Wing knocking him to the side of the road … dead. There was a heavy thud and I slowed and turned around and made my way back to where he landed on the side of the road.
img_6587
Wing 1 … Coyote 0

No damage to the bike that I could see and thankfully I didn’t hit him such that I had to run directly over him or it could have been a different outcome. Hummm is there a black cloud following me around on this road trip? I mounted back up and pressed on.

Approaching the California border and the Eastern Sierra’s the scenery started to change as I climbed in elevation.
img_6597
img_6593

Made my way through Tioga Pass on highway 120 and rolled into my buddies house in Tracy, California around 4:30 p.m. just in time for a great meal.

I am resting in Tracy, California tonight. Will be a two day break here in the journal but will pick it back up once we head out for the Coast on Tuesday for the Kayaking experience. Hope there aren’t any Jeeps or coyote’s out there :-)

Tuesday, Aug 20’ 2013

Russ and I gathered our gear and were ready to depart for Fairfield, California where we were to meet up with Ted and Andrew to do our 3 day ride and Kayaking experience along the northern California coast.
img_6665
Russ and I Ready to Roll …

We met up with Ted and Andrew and hit the scenic route through Napa Valley and up to Calistoga, California. We took our first break in Hopland, California and got a bite to eat for lunch at the Bluebird Cafe.
img_6614
4 some at the Bluebird Cafe in Hopland, California

Ted rides a 2012 Triumph Tiger 800 xc, Andrew rides a 2008 Triumph Tiger 1050 and Russ was on his 2009 Triumph Bonnyville 865. Of course the class of the group was my Goldwing least according to me :-) That was until we crossed over and were coming down towards the coast and Highway 1 and the old girl started to sputter. Sputter … Goldwings don’t sputter.
img_6639
My Goldwing was sputtering along at this point

We only had about another 25 miles to the Andrew’s cabin located in Gualala, California so I limped on in not firing on all cylinders. Once we were setup in the cabin we examined some of the plugs and they didn’t look good. Seems I have been more than negligent in regard to changing out the plugs. Seems my Wing wasn’t the only thing that wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Luckily there was a small motorcycle shop in Point Arena just north of here that we figured we could drop it off tomorrow on the way to the Kayaking and hopefully get some new plugs installed while we kayaked. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very good this night concerned about my ride.

Wednesday, Aug 21’ 2013

We rolled out of our bunks and then we rolled up Highway 1 to Point Arena and got to the Zen Motorcycle House around and hour or so before they were supposed to open. Before we knew it we were greeted by Dave and Kelly who owned the place and they were so friendly and nice opening up early just for us. Even thought Dave said he was swamped with work he agreed to keep the Wing while we made our Kayaking commitment and see if he could get new plugs and replaced them.

We continued on up to Mendocino with me riding in the passenger seat behind Russ. No fun for me at all nor Russ for that matter but there was no other option so we tolerated each other :-) We stopped about half way there at one of the vista overlooks.
img_6651
Panoramic View …

We arrived in Little River, California at Kayak Mendocino around 11:00 and after our safety briefing we were quickly out in the bay paddling away. I debated whether or not to bring my camera for some pictures but thought better of it. I’m not into losing an iPhone 5 to a rouge wave. I figured I’d just take some after the experience.
img_6652
This is the picture on the side of the Van where these two creative guys ran this business and this is exactly what we probably looked like as we dodged in and out of various caves carved in the rock with our guides. Here are some shots after we got back. The entire experience took about and hour and a half.
img_6653
Here is the Van and some of the Kayaks. You can see our bikes in the back ground. We had a group of about 15 people total and we had a great time. It was exciting, wet and amazingly easy once you get a few basic strokes down.

Once we were done we cleaned up and had lunch in Mendocino before heading back down to Point Arena to check on my bike. Of course that has been all that I have been thinking about all day. A quick call had confirmed that Dave had gotten the plugs and replaced them and that it was running fine again. I confirmed this once we arrived back at the Zen Motorcycle Shop. I tell you … there is no better feeling than to know that your bike is back to form and running the way it’s supposed to. What a big big relief for me. Finally we were a 4 some again and we zoomed back down Highway 1 to the cabin and enjoy some pizza and beer for our last night on the coast.
img_6661
This was a shot that captured Russ’s attention and there are several old structures sprinkled along the landscape.

I’m resting very comfortably tonight knowing that the Wing is back to her old self … ready for the ride back to Russ’s house tomorrow

Thursday, Aug 22’ 2013

Rise and shine, clean the cabin, pack the bikes and slide out of Gualala to the South on highway 1. After a few miles we hit Skaggs Spring Road and took it back inland towards Highway 101 and Geyserville. Morning drizzle and a rough road to start made for a slow go until we began to near Sonoma Lake. Then, just as if someone pushed a button the drizzle subsided, the sun shined, roads dried out and the smooth curvy roads soon followed.
img_6668
The very last 10 miles or so of this road just prior to it meeting up with Highway 101 were superb. Running right along the ridge line with long seemingly never ending sweeping turns and smooth asphalt made up for the earlier portion in spades. We raced through it and then hit lunch in Geyserville before traversing along Highway 128 into Calistoga. From there it was the Silverado Trail through the wine country back to our starting point in Fairfield.
img_6679
img_6681
Beautiful vineyards are generously sprinkled along the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley.

Once back at our meeting point from a few days earlier we said our good-byes and headed our separate ways. Russ and I made it back to Tracy, California around 5:00 p.m. Traffic was terrible which is the norm for just about anywhere in the SF Bay area these days.

Friday, Aug 23’ 2013

This morning I packed up the bike and departed my friend Russ’s house and meandered into Berkeley and visited some of my old haunts where I grew up as a kid. Berkeley is still the same wacky place it has always been and probably will always be.

My parents are buried at the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito so I swung by there and paid my respects. Beautiful views of the bay could be seen.
img_6690
img_6698
Ground level view.

You can’t quite make out any of the bridges in the SF bay for the cloud cover but beautiful nevertheless. By earlier afternoon I rolled into my nieces house in Vacaville and will be enjoying some family time for the next couple of days.

Will pick my journal back up then as I plan to head towards southern California to meet up with a few more GL1800riders.com forum board members. Wing is continuing to run good but I think I’m finally coming to the realization that it’s time to trade it in for another one. I plan to hit a few dealerships on the way home and see what I can find.

Sunday, Aug 25’ 2013

After Church this morning I mounted up and said my goodbyes and south I went. With only a half day of riding available to me this day the plan was to just get down to around Fresno area. This was only a 4 hour ride and is where Paul (CAWing) and I were to meet up and share dinner this night. I always like to meet other GL1800riders.com forum members when I’m out on the road and I had missed the opportunity last year to meet Paul. We remedy that this year as we were finally able to hook up and have dinner together at Yukon Jacks just north of Fresno, California around 5:00 p.m. this evening. Paul is a great guy and was even gracious enough to buy my dinner. Funny how steak always seems to taste better when someone else is footing the bill :-) I really appreciated that and told Paul if he was ever out my way I would definitly return the favor. We split up around 6:30 p.m. and I continued on south a little further to Selma, California where I rested this night.

Monday, Aug 26’ 2013

Phoenix, Arizona laid about 575 miles from Selma, California and as I departed in the a.m. I was torn whether to take the more direct and faster route hitting Interstate 5 and then to Interstate 10 (staying near population areas) in to Phoenix or to cut over via Highway 58 and Interstate 40 and come down along highway 95 through Lake Havasu into Phoenix via a less populated and scenic route. I chose to stay on 5 into the top of the LA area because if something were to happen to the bike mechanically I’d be closer to civilization for assistance. WHOA … WHAT ??? … this was some totally new thinking for me that I have never experienced before while on the open road with my trusted Wing in the last 9+ years of riding it. It was the beginning of me not trusting my Wing. This was not a good thing. With so many miles on my Wing (278k now) worry was starting to seep into my consciousness and I didn’t like it one little bit. However, I ended up giving into my fear and took the more safer route to Phoenix arriving at my friend, Jim’s, house safely around 6:00 p.m. Turns out the bike was fine but I still can’t shake the worrisome feeling I have about it.

Glad to be in Phoenix I was hoping to hit a few dealers tomorrow in the area and see about making a deal on getting a new Wing and trade this one in. I figured if I was going to worry about the reliability of the wing while out here on the road and be fearful of it breaking down this was more than enough reason to get a new one. I also figured I deserved a new one and the wife had already given me the green light to pull the trigger when I found what I wanted.

Tuesday, Aug 27’ 2013

What a day! This day started off with two basic options in front of me and both were bouncing around inside my little pea brain at light speed. 1) Either find the new Wing I wanted here and do the trade and finish this road trip with a new Goldwing OR 2) Just buy and put on a new front tire on the old one and ride it home … getting a new one a little later.

I had many suggestions from my friends on the Gl1800riders.com forum and I had my own ideas of what I wanted to do but much of that fell apart as the day developed. Coyote Honda would take my trade in of my 04 Wing granting me $4,500 dollars for it and they had the 2013 models with the right level (3) I wanted (ABS, Navi, Comfort etc.) BUT they didn’t have the color I was wanting BLACK. Red and Silver were my only choices. Western Honda in Scottsdale wouldn’t even consider taking my old wing on trade because of it’s age and miles. So if I was going to get a new Wing it would mean compromising on the color I wanted while still getting everything else I wanted including what I though was a pretty fair deal.

Boy did I struggle with this decision. Finally by early afternoon I decided (sort of) that the color wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it was and that I could live with something other than Black while getting everything else I wanted. The premonition that something bad was going to break on my old Wing was still very strong and I was worried about riding it any further.

What happen next was so weird. I went to the bank and started to withdraw the money I needed to head back to Coyote Honda to do the deal. Then at the last moment I changed my mind (I was actually in the bank lobby) and decided not to and that I would just go get the new tire on the old Wing and ride back to Tennessee and that everything would be fine with the old wing.

Went back to Coyote Honda told Chris (salesman) of my decision bought the front tire and had them mount it on my old Wing and rode off back towards Jim’s house … planning on rolling out of here tomorrow morning and head home to Tennessee on it.

I swear I hadn’t gone more than 9 miles down the road from Coyote Honda on the 101 heading north towards Jim’s house when all of a sudden the bike lost power. I couldn’t believe it. As the bike began to slow down from freeway speed I managed to find an exit and coasted off the freeway coming to a rest on the off ramp. I sat there in disbelief in 106 degree temps with the sun beating down on me and wondering when Rod Sterling from the Twilight Zone was going to pop out and start his monolog about my horrid predicament and that I had entered the Twilight Zone. I was dumbfounded and of course all I could think about was why I hadn’t taken the offer on the new Goldwing that was still on the table for me just and hour or so ago.

An hour and a half later after having the Wing towed back to Coyote Honda I’m once again wondering if I can still make the deal. They don’t know what is wrong with it and plan to do a through diagnosis in the morning. Fuel Pump is suspect. Having lost any leverage now that my trade in wasn’t running I was beside myself and beating myself up pretty good. Chris and I discussed it and he seems to think we can still make a deal but obviously it will have to be adjusted to cover the cost of the repair assuming they still want it. I’m hoping their desire to sell a new Wing will be stronger than their desire to walk away even with my old Wing in it’s current state.

Man … I’m exhausted …. just recounting this day makes me queasy. Stay tuned …. That new Wing may yet be under my butt before I leave Phoenis

Sleepless in Phoenix tonight

Wednesday, Aug 28’ 2013

Out with the old and in with the new and I’m not talking about the New Year … I’m talking new 2013 Goldwing baby! I’m now the proud owner of a new 2013 Honda Goldwing. Houston we have a deal. I’m so happy I can hardly believe it’s true but I did it.
img_6749
I know, I know I said I would only get a black one but you know sometimes circumstance rule the days in our lives and you got to roll with it. My buddy Jim said I can say it is black but with red trim so I’m going with that. Oh yeah … the details …

Another interesting story … I got the call from Coyote Honda this am shortly after they opened … they had found the problem with my old 2004 Wing. It seems it wasn’t the fuel pump after all. Apparently the fuel pump actually needs fuel in the tank to pump. Who would have thought :-) The only issue was that I had simply run out of gas. In my defense the fuel light had never come on and after getting into town on empty but no low fuel light on I had resisted buy gas figuring there was a high probability of trading it in. I had ridden it many times with the fuel light on, sometimes up to 40 miles and never ran out of gas but evidently it had malfunctioned and this time it did not come on and I ran out of gas. Coyote Honda confirmed there seem to be and issue with the light or at least that’s what they told me maybe to make me feel better. I swear there was never a low fuel light and I was watching for it because I knew it was low. Any way … maybe it was a sign to get me back there and that I should make a deal so I pressed forward and after waiting all day for them to add some necessary accessories I was out the door with my brand new Goldwing.

Coyote Honda was great and I felt they treated me very well and gave me a good deal. They even upped the trade in amount for my old Wing to $4,700 dollars since there was nothing wrong with it and I had already purchased a new front tire for it. They installed all of my accessories I purchased and installed them for no charge. They must have worked on the bike all day getting everything set up for me including moving several key electrical and dash mounts over to the new bike. When 4:00 p.m. rolled around I rolled out of there sporting my new Goldwing.

I’m going to take extra good care of this one and see if I can beat my 278,000 miles and 9+ year record on this one over the next 10 years.

Breathing a sigh of relief tonight and eager to hit the road home to Tennessee tomorrow with my new ride. I’m almost tempted to head to Alaska but maybe I’ll wait a little while before I take that epic road trip but now I have my confidence back and ready for another 10+ years on the open road with the finest bike ever built.

Sleeping like a baby with a new toy tonight in Phoenix

Thursday, Aug 29’ 2013

My friend, Jim, decided to escort me out of Phoenix this morning since in all the excitement of the past few days we had not had an opportunity to ride together. We took the scenic route up Highway 87 to Payson, Pine & Strawberry before saying our good bye’s where Highway 87 meets 260. We shook hands and he departed west along 260 over to Camp Verde and back home as I continued on up highway 87 towards Winslow to meet up with Interstate 40 east. Once I was by myself I pulled over and had some quite time and reflected on my journey, in particular the last few days.

My very first thought in the quite of the morning as I walked around and gazed at my fresh steed in front of me was “How blessed am I?” Can’t help but be thankful at all times in life but in particular for the resources to buy, the time to ride and the health to enjoy such a fine motorcycle. I’m so thankful and blessed.
img_6753
Here’s the new Rookie in the Wild … Time for me to teach it the ropes of the road.

I love what the new owners manual says about the bike as far as breaking it in. It says only “avoid full-throttle starts and rapid acceleration for the first 300 miles” ….. ah yeah … I can do that … but after that odometer ticks 300 miles off all bets are off :-) I had the special pleasure today of not only breaking in new tires but a new engine as well. Even thought I rode slab most of the day, to speed my progress east towards home, it was an exquisite day on so many levels.

As anyone who has ever had anything brand new knows there is a special protective feeling one has that typically takes either a few months or the first boo boo scratch to happen before it wears off. I park in the shade away from everyone and every thing. I take extra caution not to overfill the tank and spill even the smallest drop of gas on the new paint and when I change lanes I’m extra cautious not to hit the divot between the dotted white lines so as not to jar my precious. Silly things I know … but don’t tell me you’ve never done that. Don’t worry … I’m sure I’ll be fine soon :-) Heck, I’m already over my first Bug Hit …
img_6750
Less noticeable on the color red as opposed to black.

I zipped along interstate 40 today with a renewed confidence that I could go anywhere on the open road that my little heart desired on this beauty. If you’ve never experience that feeling of freedom and confidence to explore this great land on two wheels I suggest you turn off the TV, get off the couch and get on two wheels. Look at the beauty you’re missing on the road … not to mention the adventure of it all.
img_6763
img_6779
img_6801
The rain missed me today but it sure was exciting to see it storming just south of me and not on me.

4 wheels moves the body and 2 wheels move the soul it’s been said and worth repeating here.

Resting in Albuquerque, New Mexico tonight. All is finally right with the world and in perfect balance once more.

Life is very very good.

Friday, Aug 30’ 2013

Closer to home tonight as I ate up slab this day like it was going out of style. I keep pressing the new Wing more and more each day and the speed and the power are sooooo addicting. Pulled up early and just short of Oklahoma, City today as the temps and heat were stating to get to me. Oh so important while on the road to know your limitations no matter what you have in your head as to where you think you should be at the end of days ride.

Not much can be said about today’s ride on the slab … we all know how boring that can be at times. It was smoking hot today and temps ranged well over a 100 degrees as I came across the Texas Pan Handle and into Oklahoma. Plan is to detour into some Arkansas roads and swing up towards Eureka Springs Saturday night positioning myself for the final leg home on Sunday

Closer one gets to home the more careful one has to be!

Saturday, Aug 31’ 2013

Early to bed and early to rise and ride affords the opportunity to see the Sun clock in
img_6852
I tell ya … anytime your morning starts like this you’re bound to have a great day.

By 10:00 a.m. I’d completed the trek over the slab to the curvy landscape of Arkansas. I’d been up the Pigs Trail (Hwy 23) many times so I thought I’d explore Highway 215 as on the map it appeared to eventually hook back up with 23. Encouraging sign to start with but it turns to dirt right pass this one lane bridge.
img_6866
No worries and no hurries … I save the dirt roads for my little Suzuki Vstrom 650 to tackle. No way I’m taking the Wing down a dirt road I don’t have to. I scurried back to the freeway and on down to the Pig Trail Highway. Refueled and hit the explore button one more time. Where’s Monk (Bob) when you need him? He showed us some fine roads in Arkansas when we were over here for the Roger’s Ride In earlier in the year. He’s busy getting ready for his own big trip to Glacier National Park.
img_6894
Found the perfect spot to stop for a break along Highway 21 just up a little from the Buffalo River.

Funny how some times when you’re looking for a place to stop you always seem to only notice the really good ones once you ride by them. Then you say to yourself man that would have been a good spot to stop but now it’s too late. I say turn around. It’s not often in our lives we can undo something once it’s done but this is one of them. Take advantage of it and enjoy that perfect spot for you to stop.

I squeezed down a treat with plans to skip lunch … I was having to much fun riding and didn’t want to stop for lunch. Figured I’d head up to Eureka Springs and check in early to a motel and then cool down some and ride some more around late afternoon evening. Made it there around 2:00 pm, checked in, rested up, got an early dinner and then did a ride around Beaver Lake over to Roger’s, Ar and back. Lots of Labor Day traffic and tourist but making the best of it just enjoying the smoothness of the Wing.
img_6881
Looks like a painting you’d see hanging on a wall … only this is real!!!
img_6902
My favorite part of this picture? The Road of course :-)

Back to the motel and resting in Eureka Springs tonight.

Today was just some plain fun riding. The road home will be sweet tomorrow.

Sunday, Sept 1’ 2013 - Home Safe - Final Thoughts

Let me rephrase that. The ride home will be “wet”. Yeah … that’s better. After two weeks of avoiding the wet stuff I got a dose of it today as I skirted east along the top of Arkansas towards home. Over all not to bad but enough to be reminded of who is in charge out here. Most of the worst of it had cleared some as I entered Tennessee and rode the last leg to the nest. The “Red” Eagle had landed and the Red Rider was weary. Always a blessing to be home safe so I kneeled and gave thanks.

Especially thankful when you gaze back at the 6,000 mile journey I just lived through and realize what an awesome adventure it was. Filled with excitement, surprise and sheer wonderment which all translates to the “Unknown” which is why I think all of us riders go out there in the first place. We are all explorers at heart. We push many buttons in our busy lives that do and give us many things so why not push one that let’s you explore a world that is unknown to most. For me the Goldwing’s “Explorer” button …. is the throttle. Every twist of it while on the open road on two wheels brings me just a little closer to red lining life’s experiences and unlocking the unknown.
pasted-graphic
Covered 4,000 miles on my old 2004 Goldwing and then traded in for 2013 Goldwing in Phoenix and put 2,000 on it coming home.

As I close out this Road Trip Journal my memories flood back to the two close calls I had early in this road trip with the Jeep and the Coyote. The joy of a life experienced to the fullest on the open road but not without risk that we all accept when we throw our legs over a motorcycle. More calm and gentler times to remember were times with family, friends (both old and new) … not to mention 2 new experiences that Russ introduced me to …

Kayaking off the coast of California in the Pacific Ocean paddling through rocky caves along the seashore and the other I forgot to include earlier in my journal was how to use a Compound Bow and arrow to shoot a target.
img_6611img_6612
My first and only good shot and Russ the expert from twice the distance with an excellent grouping.
Yes … we were aiming for the small piece of yellow paper and not the traditional target above :-)

It’s good to sprinkle in some new experiences into our lives every once in a while to give it flavor … between riding days of course :-)

As Neal Young wrote …
“Better to burn out than to fade away” “Better to burn out than it is to rust”

Let’s be careful out there on the open road … but for crying out loud … Let’s get out there and ride to explore!

Donnie

Back to Road Trips
HomePage