Back On The Bike!!!

Finally!  After getting the car delivered and getting my daughter settled, I flew back to Ohio to rest for a few days.

We got the bike from the shop on Thursday night and it was ready to go.  We left Sandusky, Ohio on Friday and headed to my cousin’s house in Pennsylvania for the holiday weekend.  We wanted to make it an easy slow ride, so we spent Friday night in Carlisle, PA just outside of Harrisburg. We got up Saturday morning and hit the road.  We were only about 100 miles from East Greenville, where my cousin, Gisele, and her husband, Tom, live.  The ride was beautiful and relaxing.

 

 

We made it to their house and then we all headed out for a late afternoon ride.

We followed their lead (since this is their town) and ended up at the Riverwalck Saloon in Parryville, Pa.(no, its not misspelled, they added a c for some reason) What a neat place.  It was right along a river.  The patio area was large and inviting.  The inside was uniquely decorated with a mix of chandeliers, motorcycles and dollar bills.  I added my own to mix, of course.

After a relaxing dinner, we rode back to the house to rest up for Sunday’s charity ride. Can’t wait!

Here Comes the Rain

The next morning we got up and actually got on the road early (for us).  We rode over the Sagamore Bridge and into Cape Cod.  Took a few pictures of the beach and headed towards Pennsylvania.

We were riding along the coast as much as we could and then going inland making our way to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.  My cousin lives there and we were going to meet up for dinner and then spend the night at her house.  We left Massachusetts, went through the bottom of Rhode Island and into Connecticut.  The rain clouds were ever present and looming around us.  I was keeping a close eye on them hoping that we would be able to stay out of their reach.

 

We headed into New York  watching the sky very closely.  The roads were very bumpy and full of pot holes, and somehow jarred the mirror loose on the bike. We stopped to fix it and I checked in with my cousin.  All was on track …..and then the storm came!  We saw it in the distance and it looked really ugly.  We stopped at a rest area and put on our rain gear and headed out.  It was way worse than we thought.  We had to go very slow and stop several times.  My “rain” pants ended up not being waterproof.  My boots filled with water, and it was raining so hard that the rain was pouring down my face and running down my neck under the collar of my rain jacket and soaked the front of my shirt.  It was not fun.

We entered Pennsylvania and we finally were able to out run the storm and found blue skies.  We decided to stop at a truck stop and change clothes and socks and shoes and finish the trip.  We only had about 100 miles to go and it was getting late so we were anxious to get to my cousins house.  We were a little nervous because we had some twisty mountain roads to ride in order to get to where she lives and the sun was starting to go down.  Not to mention that with all the rain it became very apparent that we needed a new front tire and soon.

Shortly after getting back on the road, we saw the lightning, the clouds and then the rain started again.  Well, we gave up.  We found the closest hotel and stopped for the night.  It never felt so good to take a hot shower and climb into a warm bed.

The next morning, refreshed, we threw our boots and wet clothes into the dryer at the hotel hoping to get them dry before we left.  The clothes got dry but the boots were still a bit wet.  I tried using the hair dryer for a little bit, but then we just gave up, put on our damp boots and hit the road.  We went through Williamsport, PA and passed the Little League World Series location.

 

It was a beautiful ride through the mountains to Lock Haven, PA with lots of twisty roads.  Nothing better on a bike than seeing that S curve sign, in my opinion.

 

We had a nice rest, lunch and visit with my cousin then it was back on the road and off to Akron, OH where we will be for a little while. (We did see some strange things on the road, like the crazy boat in the picture)

 

Witches, Rocks, and Ships (take 2)

We woke up in York, ME, rode back to the Harley dealer to return the Street Glide (sad face) and got back on the road on our bike.  We rode along the coast through 0730161639b-1-1.jpgNew Hampshire to Salem, MA. We saw this interesting site all throughout New England.  Not sure I would want to try McDonald’s lobster.

 

We also stopped for a little break and I met this lovely tree lady.0730161412.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Of course we had to do a little sight seeing while we were in Salem. We checked out the graveyard.

 

The Salem witch trials memorial.

 

The house of Seven Gables. (We didn’t go on a tour)

and The Witch house.  It was the home of the Witch Trials Judge Jonathon Corwin. It is the only home in Salem with direct ties to the Witch Trials.

 

Kirk says this is me in true form…(just kidding)wp-1470526982212.jpg

We didn’t stay long because it was late, hot, and super crowded.  We headed on down the coast through Boston (awful traffic).  We didn’t explore Boston.  I don’t think it would be fun to drive around that town on the motorcycle.  We will go back sometime just as tourists and see the sights.  We made our way to Plymouth and went straight to see the sights.  We saw Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II ( a replica of the Mayflower), and the Founders Monument.

Originally, our plan was to hit, Salem, Plymouth, Cape Cod, and then ride up to Providence, RI to stop for the night.  When we reached Plymouth we were so tired and the sun was starting to go down, so we decided to stay the night there.  After a bit of a search, we found a hotel to spend the night in.  This was a challenge because not only was it a Saturday night, but it was last minute.  Many of the hotels were either booked solid or had a two night minimum, not to mention that they all were well over 200 bucks a night.  We contemplated just moving on but we were very tired so we sucked it up and overpaid by a lot to stay at a Comfort Inn (not a great one either).

We found a good local seafood restaurant to have dinner at.  It was very good and the atmosphere was nice.  It was right on the water at the marina.

With full bellies, we headed off to bed.

Up Next:  Here Comes The Rain Again!

 

Let’s take a “little” detour…NOT!

The day started out well enough.  Just an ordinary day on the road.  HA!  Again I say HA!  We left our hotel around 9:30 am, which is pretty good for us.  The new bag was super easy to attach to the sissy bar, saving so much time.  We went a little out of our way so that we could ride along the coast of Lake Ontario.  We have now been to all 5 Great Lakes.

Ok, so back to the ordinary day on the road….We went by Lake Ontario and then headed back along the route the GPS had set for us.  We put in the map to avoid highways, but it was a really bad path.  I was having to constantly be navigator because it seemed that every few miles I was having to watch for another turn. NO FUN. We stopped for gas and decided to look at the paper map (see Tip #6) to find a better route.  While looking at it, we realized that we were right there by the Adirondack mountains, SO, and here is where it all went wrong, we decided that we would plot a route that took us just out of the way through the Adirondacks.  Just a little detour, nothing big.  HA!  That little detour added 100  miles to our journey.  100 miles isn’t too much in a car, but it is a long time on a bike through mountains. As pretty as it was, it was eating up our day and we needed to get to Maine.  We stopped for lunch.  Kirk had to borrow my reading glasses to see the menu…..I shouldn’t laugh, after all, they are mine so I do need them myself, but it was funny.  After our bellies were full we got back on the road.

We needed to get back to civilization and were tired and still about 200 miles from Maine, so we took the fastest route to a highway and decided to take the interstate the rest of the way through New York.  We hate taking the interstate but we had already wasted enough time. We rode through Vermont.

Most of the little towns we went into had really neat looking houses and buildings…Then there was this one.  I think that if I were ever to make a horror movie, it would have to include this place. 0716161857.jpg

We got through Vermont and into New Hampshire.  I was able to get a few pictures before the sun went down.  I am hoping that we can get back there to explore those states some more.  I tried to get a picture of the “Welcome to New Hampshire” sign, but it came out blurry. Sorry.

We made it to Concord, NH and stopped for gas.  We were about 60 miles away finally…Yay!  Kirk went to get back on the highway, and didn’t look at the signs (again) and we ended up going the wrong way and having to turn around in a little town called Bow. As we turned onto the onramp, blue lights began flashing behind us.  Kirk was super confused.  He kept saying, I didn’t do anything wrong and I kept saying, well pull over. We stopped. The cop came up and told us that all of the tail lights on the motorcycle were out. Sure enough, the running lights and brake light didn’t work.  The flashers and turn signals did though. He was very nice, but still ran Kirk’s drivers license and asked us a ton of questions about where we were going and why were were riding the motorcycle across country and was a little bit weary of Kirk at first I think (I mean, who wouldn’t be, he does look a little intimidating especially in his leathers).  He let us go, but was concerned with our safety since you couldn’t see us at all from behind, so he suggested that we ride with the flashers on the rest of the way.  This was very annoying but we needed to be safe.

We finally made it to York, Maine and found our friends house.  We were exhausted but so very glad to see Chris and Jenn, and to get a glass of wine before we headed to bed to get some rest before we started a new day.

Day 5 – Exploring the Black Hills

I came upon the realization, as I was lying awake unable to sleep on a super hard bed with the flattest pillow known to man, that I had miscalculated the days we had left to make it to St. Joseph.  Somehow the days of the week were all running together.  We actually had an extra day in there.  So once again, we recalculated the trip and since we knew that we wanted to spend some extra time in the Black Hills, we decided that we would only go to Dickinson, ND that day (only 285 miles).  With this short day in mind, we got up, mapped out the best route through the Black Hills to be able to see as much as possible and explored a few things in Hot Springs.

The Black Hills area is beautiful and there is so much to see.  We decided, since there was no breakfast at the hotel, to ride to Custer City first and have brunch. We stopped at the Wind Caves to check them out since they were on our way.  We didn’t take the tour because it would have taken too long, 0615161138-1.jpgut we did look around the information center and have a few laughs.  Then we started through Custer State Park headed to Custer City.  One cool thing to note is that in Custer State Park, there are buffalo that roam freely.  Lots of them.  They put up signs everywhere saying “Buffalo are dangerous. Do not approach.” But you know that some stupid idiot is going to some day and then wonder why he got hurt.  0615161121_hdr.jpg

Along the road they had parking areas where you can stop out of traffic and take pictures and video, but the buffalo can wander wherever they want.  There was this one that decided to stand right on the edge of the road next to where this little bridge was.  So people, being dumb, just stopped in the middle of the street to get out and take pictures.  In both directions, they didn’t pull off the road so people could get around. Nope, they just stopped right in the middle, because of course everyone traveling that road thinks this is worth stopping for, no one would possibly want to keep driving.  And, you know that they probably had 100 other photos of buffalo just like that one already.  I already had pictures of buffalo, and we were hungry.  We certainly didn’t want to be stuck here for an indefinite amount of time.  This is where riding a motorcycle comes in handy.  We were able to squeeze through the stopped cars and keep going. (A little ways down the road, we saw a park ranger on his way to the traffic jam.  I’m sure he got it cleared up.)

Scenery along the way.

Still heading to Custer City to eat what will now be considered lunch for sure (its too late for brunch) and starving, we come across a cool campsite with cabins, Blue Bell Lodge and Cabins.  It is a really neat place and I hope to go back and stay there sometime.  We stopped to check it out because we saw a restaurant with patio seating, overlooking a ravine, and since we were so hungry, decided to just eat here.  I had normal food, but Kirk had buffalo meatloaf.  He was very excited about that.

After a relaxing lunch we got back on the road and made it to Custer City.  (Nothing there worth noting, don’t know why my husband insisted on going through there) We headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial.  It is pretty cool to see how it is coming along.  They said that they hope to have it 2 or 3 generations.  It is a big project and they have to go slow.  It will be an amazing thing for my great grand-kids to go visit someday.  I recommend checking out the link and learning more about it.  It really is interesting. There are a lot of things to see there, including a custom motorcycle.

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This is what the mountain will eventually look like when it is all done.

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This is the model of the monument with the actual behind it.  You can see where they have finished the finger and have drawn an outline of the horses head on the rock.

We continued on our journey through the Black Hills, cutting back through the national forest and retracing a few of our steps so that we could go up through some more winding roads on the way to Mt. Rushmore.  It was very cool.  I know that isn’t very descriptive, but it just was a very unique experience.  The views were beautiful and the rock formations were amazing.  We rode through some really interesting rock tunnels, and some cool twisty roads.  We just had a nice relaxing time. (when Kirk wasn’t yelling at cars for going way too slow and being stupid….haha) Here are some highlights.


We finally made it to Mount Rushmore parked and stretched our legs.  Honestly, I was tired by this point and had been to Mt. Rushmore before, so I didn’t feel like walking all the way down to the actual site.  Not even for ice cream (it looked good), maybe for water (I was so dehydrated by this point), but we found a vending machine with water near the bathrooms.  With that in mind, this is the only picture of us at Mount Rushmore you will see.

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zoom in and you can see Mt. Rushmore in the back

Sitting there drinking our water we slowly realized that it was after 5pm.  Where did the day go?  We had so much more to see and so much farther to ride.  We quickly got back on the road and headed to Sturgis.  

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By the time we got there, the Harley store was closed, but I got a picture of the sign…Haha……..(the building on the top left pic, is a bar that is only open one week a year, sturgis.  They make enough money that week to keep them going the entire year.  The bar in the pic on the top left took up an entire city block)…….we regrouped at this point and decided to stay in Deadwood, SD instead of Dickinson, ND.  We made a reservation at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Deadwood.  (I had no idea there were so many casinos in Deadwood) We arrived tired and hungry, so we hit a Mexican fast food place on the way to hotel and just took the food to the room to eat.  When Kirk checked in, the guy told him that they gave him an upgrade to the best room in the house. It was a nice suite with a living room area, but it was nothing super special and at the complete opposite end of the hallway as the elevator and the ice machine. Kirk did find the recliner very comfy though.

Did I mention that we were in desperate need of laundry?  The last place we stayed (Hot Springs) didn’t have laundry, and we had no clean clothes left.  We eyed the laundry room as we waited for the elevator. (One washer and dryer for the whole casino hotel..dumb) and this old lady (who was clearly headed for the pool) comes hurrying to us and says that she has laundry in there and it will be about an hour and a half before she is done.  I think she was scared of us…she sat in the laundry room for the entire time waiting for her clothes. I would never just take people clothes out, but like I said, I think we scared her. We hit the hot tub while doing our laundry, then went up to the room to assess the day.  Turns out,  we rode for 9 hours that day and ended up only 86 miles from where we started.  At this point it was a really good thing that we had extra time because we had just used it up.  It was totally worth it though.  We hit the bed exhausted knowing that the next day would be extra long and boring. (We would be riding through North Dakota)

Day 3 and 4 – Winter is Coming

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Before we went to bed the night before, we re-worked our route to accommodate the slow start we had.  We decided to cut out the trip to the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee in order to have a smoother trip.  We can always go there another time.  

We woke up in Telluride with great expectations.  I was excited to ride the gondola over the mountain and see everything from up there, but no such luck.  I looked at the forecast on my phone and immediately saw a storm coming.  We found the local weather channel and watched the radar to see how bad it was going to be and which direction it was moving.  It was coming in at an angle in our direction, but didn’t look like it would get to us until around noon.  We ate a quick breakfast, drove through the town.  It is a nice little town with many boutique stores and cafes (being that it is Colorado, there were several Marijuana stores too).  The people seemed to be a mix of rich yuppy types and young bohemian types. (just my observation, don’t get mad at me)

The rain started earlier than expected so we had to cut the visit short.  We quickly pulled over and began putting on our rain gear and the waterproof bag over the luggage pack. Once we were done, we quickly hit the road in the hopes of outrunning the storm.  We had to go slow because the roads were wet and you never knew when a deer or an elk would jump out of the woods, but this just gave me time to see the beauty and take more pictures. It didn’t take us long to get to a patch of blue sky, but we could see the rain in front of us and did not look forward to getting into it.  We did stop for a stretch (or by the looks of Kirk’s picture, a dance..haha) and I got some more pictures. 

Just as quickly as the rain went away it came back.  We rode through a little town called Meeker (shout out for Ron, who hunts Elk there every year), and then got into more rain.  It was not a nice day for a ride.

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Because we altered our route, we were now spending the third night in a little town called Steamboat Springs in Colorado.  Let me tell you, it is the cutest little town.  Kirk said that he picked there to live.  He loved that place.  It is definitely somewhere that I will go back to again.  I think I would pick it for a return visit over Telluride for sure.  The people there are super sweet and we stayed at this little off the wall hotel.  It was family owned and they were the nicest people.  It is called the Nordic Lodge of Steamboat Springs.

They have old fashion keys for the rooms (you know like normal keys, not cards), and when we checked in, we were walked to our room and showed around.  She even asked right away if we wanted more pillows and ran and got some for us.  The furniture is made by hand by the owners and their family and is really rustic and cabin like.  They had an amazing continental breakfast spread with pastries and things fresh from the local bakery.  We ate dinner that night at one of Kirk’s new favorite restaurants, Steamboat Smokehouse (Kirk calls it the pink pig because they have a big pink pig statue outside).  The bar-b-que was really good, but their baked beans were amazing.  Oh, and they have bacon wrapped smokies on their menu as an appetizer.  What more could you ask for?  We enjoyed the indoor hot tub after dinner then went to bed.

The next morning the forecast was sunny and nice.  It was a little chilly because we were so high up in the mountains, so we bundled up and headed out.  We were on our way to Hot Springs, South Dakota. We traveled up through the mountains and hit some snow before we got into Wyoming.  So we went from rain to snow.  Luckily it was just on the ground and not actually snowing on us, but it sure was cold.

As we came down the mountain into Wyoming, it warmed up nicely.  The countryside was very pretty as we made our way towards South Dakota.

We took a slight detour and rode through Guernsey State Park.  It was beautiful.  It was a nice break in the day.

It wasn’t long after, that we made it to South Dakota and into Hot Springs. 0614161832-1.jpg Wanting to stay at hotels that aren’t big chains if we can when in these small towns, we opted for the Red Rock River Resort (it was the only one that advertised a hot tub).  It was a bit of a disappointment.  The owners were friendly but there was no elevator so we had to carry our heavy bags up the stairs.  The room was nice and big with a couch and table, but the bed was hard as a rock and the pillow might as well have been non-existent.  I mean so flat that you can’t really call them pillows.  There was no ice machine, no coffee maker, no breakfast or coffee downstairs in the morning. On the plus side (we thought) we did get a bottle of wine that was made locally and had a commemorative label for Sturgis 75th anniversary.

Unfortunately it was awful.  The hot tub was another disappointment.  It was so over filled that Kirk and I were afraid to both get into it.  It was on the second floor, we couldn’t see a drain of any kind and when one of us got in it started to overflow.  I knew both of us would cause a ton of water to come out. We sat in it for a few minutes (one at a time) and then went to bed.

Here are a few videos from the ride in Guernsey State Park.