Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
- Helen Keller

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
- Robert Frost


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I had planned all along to wrap up the last leg of the trip by riding a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way home.
With a 45mph speed limit, it's a nice way to wind down after hammering Interstate pavement for a day or two.
Where else can you find 469 miles of smooth road with sweeping turns, scenic views, and not a single stop sign, red light, or commercial vehicle?
Now I was wavering... Should I just stay on the 4-lane and get home early, or get on the BRP for 60 miles and then take the 4-lane?

But when I approached the northern end of the BRP, I saw that the weather had made my decision for me. The clouds were hanging low, and some of the mountaintops weren't even visible from below.

There wasn't any use taking the Parkway; there wouldn't be anything to see.
I was OK with that.
Then I got to the intersection of the straight shot home, and the BRP.

It wasn't my fault - the bike just turned onto the BRP!
And sure enough, there wasn't anything to see. I didn't take any pictures, and these two below show what I probably didn't enjoy seeing.

This is my favorite sign on the BRP:

Without words, I can only guess that it is a message to motorcyclists, saying that the turn ahead is so tight, the only way to negotiate it is to throw your hands in the air and stand on the seat.

I'm back home as I write this.
It's been a great trip, and I'll be spending a couple of months trying to put together another DVD from the helmet-cam while I can still remember some of the details.

Trip total:  7738 miles.

3-trip total track is here:  (Alaska, Southwest, Newfoundland)

Total Track for all 3 trips

(You can pull down the title menu from the top of that page, adjust the fill to 30% and click on UPDATE MAP. The green flags show the campgrounds/motels where I spent the nights.)

Thanks to all of you who followed along. I enjoyed seeing comments from people who were checking in on me and providing encouragement.

Now.... where did I put the phone number for the chiropractor?


I forgot to mention - the rate for the night at Hotel Horrid in Ottawa was $89 cdn plus tax.


It doesn't look like the kind of restroom you would find at a campground, but it is:

I left camp this morning for a place to eat breakfast and decided that with the trip winding down, McDonald's just wasn't going to do the job.
I needed to have a grand finale meal to celebrate and reflect on the miles and sights I've experienced. 
Someplace "upscale"; an establishment worthy of an epic adventure. 
Waffle House. 

But I didn't overdo it. 
I only had a couple cups of coffee and 2 slices of toast. 
And 2 eggs and hashbrowns. 
With 2 sausages. 
But only 1 waffle to wrap it up!
I skipped the orange juice; It's just too filling. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I'm in a KOA in Williamsport, MD.
After bragging up the KOA yesterday, they disappointed me a bit tonight.
Last night, I had a beautiful spot under the tall trees, and it cost $31.

This one is a great campground for families, with all the amenities and attractions, but I ended up with basically a gravel parking/tent spot with a picnic table.
For $51.

I need to do some better scheduling.
Today I did it again:
Arrive in camp after dark, set up camp by 9:30, get a shower and cook dinner by 10:00, copy SD cards and update the blog until midnight.

Today I went through Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, where I stayed on my 2008 trip.
I even managed to take a photo of the bike at the same location where I took a photo of my first bike.



In the area around Lake Placid is a ski resort called Whiteface Mountain.
I only got to see it from a distance, but it looked like a lot of double-black-diamonds to me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lake Placid

The bike has new front wheel bearings, and I'm back on the road.
I also got the speedometer cable replaced, but the gearbox at the front axle is shot, and it won't engage the cable enough to work. They said it's only a $10 part to replace, but they didn't have one.

While I was waiting around the showroom, I talked with an interesting guy who rode up on a Russian Ural bike with a sidecar:

On the sidecar he carries his wheelchair.

I’m in a KOA campground near Lake Placid, NY.
It’s a beautiful place, but then I’ve always had good luck with KOA.
There is a log building complex at the center with the convenience store, swimming pool, playground, arcade, snack bar, restaurant, etc.
Great for families.

They have great showers - ceramic tile with a ceiling-mounted rainfall type shower head in each shower bay/changing room.

It felt good to get rid of the grime and smell.

Not from riding - I'm talking about the nastiness from this morning's shower at the Motel from Hell.

Those of you who have followed my blogs on previous trips know that I am a bit of a connoisseur of cheap motels. I have stayed at bare bones establishments that my wife would never enter, and I've even gone back to them on occasion just for the nostalgia.

If I weren't at this campground tonight, I would definitely check in at the Faust motel down the road at Tupper Lake. I stayed there in 2008, and it's like stepping back into the 1950's. Very clean, but nothing has been upgraded, down to the squeaky wood floors. It still has the old neon VACANCY/NO VACANCY sign out front.

But I don't think I've properly presented the epic fail of the dump that I stayed at last night.
It definitely tops (bottoms?) the list of dives that I've been the unfortunate victim of.
Keep in mind that I was somewhat stranded, and dropped off by the truck driver at this location.

If you ever were to entertain the notion of creating 'Hotel Horrible' that would haunt the memories of your guests forever, you would do well to take a few lessons from the owner of the Highway Inn Motel in Ottawa. He has mastered the art, and here is a sample of what would be required for you to succeed as he has:

Have custom-made draperies designed to NOT match the windows, so that they will not close, allowing the streetlight outside to shine straight into the guest's eyes while they lie in the bed.
For maximum ambiance, use flexible PVC plumbing pipes as curtain rods to save money. Where the gap is too large to provide adequate privacy, simply fasten curtains together with a large safety pin.

Mount a cheap non-commercial window-unit air conditioner in such a way that it leaks condensation onto the floor and keeps the drapes constantly wet, creating a wonderful musty fragrance. Seal with random bits of cardboard and various colors of duct tape if necessary to complete the effect.

Ensure that there is a supply of creepy-crawlies and large webs with old, dead bugs that have been hanging there since Opie was a little kid with a fishing pole. This conveys the proper message to guests that no cleaning has been done since... EVER.

Contain any leaks at the back window by wadding up an old towel and jamming it into the opening. Use the window where the TV Cable comes in and crosses the room.

Ensure that your guests do not waste our precious resources by using too much paper. Never leave a spare roll in the room. Save the planet, for crying out loud!

Remember that the size of the mattress has absolutely nothing to do with the size of the sheets.
If at any time they happen to be the same length, it is pure coincidence. 
Simply start at the head of the bed, tuck in the sheet as far as it goes, and then stop when you run out.
The bedspread will conceal it, so who cares?
This also allows your guests to experience a brief, pleasant surprise when they put their feet under the sheets and wonder “AARGHH!! WHAT IS THAT I FEEL??!!”. 

Always provide linens that were used by the previous guest to change the oil in his diesel pickup truck. 
You may wash them first, but it is not required. Avoid using soap. Remember that 'planet' thing...

Since there are two shower curtains, there is no need for both of them to be intact. Avoid replacing either of them as long as half of it is still attached to the PVC rod.

Show your guests how much you care by providing hand-engraved faucet labels. Use a Sharpie whenever possible. Rust stains also add a nice touch.

Whenever there is a gaping hole in the wall bigger than, say, a pie plate, cover it with a style of duct tape that can be painted to match the wall. This type of fix becomes almost invisible to the casual observer, unless they happen to lean on it and fall though.

Create another surprise for your guests: Have the bathroom ceiling quietly leak all night onto the floor next to the bedroom. Just wait until they walk to the bathroom in their bare feet!  This also allows the guest to be dripped upon every time they enter or leave the bathroom. Excess water flowing into the bedroom will be absorbed by the bedspread where it touches the floor. (Sorry - no photo here.)

In the bathroom, remember to remove the faucet aerator. These encourage guests to waste water by unnecessarily washing their hands and brushing their teeth. As long as the faucet performs like a fire hose and splashes out of the sink, guests will avoid using it.

Avoid cleaning the fake ceiling grid in the bathroom. 
Remember - dust not only creates tons of feng shui, but it is also a great insulator and absorbs moisture.

The most difficult step: Install an automatic thermo-variator device in the shower that constantly cycles the water temperature from cold to hot to cold every 10 seconds. I have no idea where to find such a thing, but those in the garbage motel industry must have their sources.

I would like to remind the reader that none of the above conditions were made up or staged.

I still remember leaving the room this morning and thinking, 
"Wow - look how clean this sidewalk is!"

The cost?  $89 CDN plus tax.     :-(

Sorry for all the non-riding stuff. Nothing big happened today, except I resisted buying a brand new Can-Am Spyder RT Limited at the bike dealership for only $35,000. 
I was going to go for it, but then I saw that the speedometer was in kilometers instead of miles.

On the road again

The bike is fixed and I'm leaving Ottawa 

In the shop

The folks here at GoodTimes Ottawa moved me to the front of the line and they have the bike in the shop now. Great people here who want to help me get back on the road.

And plenty to drool over while I wait...