To Milwaukee

Traveling to Milwaukee

8/13/03 09:30

Don't spill your coffee laughing!

Yes, Lindy and I were going to get an early start.  Well, it's still early in some part of the world.  And we will get a start soon.  I think.

We're about to leave on our 38-day, 7000-mile tour, but first we had to get our bags together, our computers ready, the car cleaned out, oh yeah!  And us ready.  We didn't leave everything to the last minute, but a helluva lot more than either of us thought!

Hope you're happy!  Hope you're having a fun day!

8/13/03 13:44

100 miles down the road.  1/70 of the way home?

So far fine - and hot!

8/13/03 16:14

About 250 miles ridden, about 150 left to go today (Berkeley).

This 150 miles passed through farmland.  The stuff they spread on farms is richer than what they feed us programmers.  

Highway 99 is not as flat, not as straight, not as hot as I 5 - kinda tepid recommendation but three good reasons for a preference!

The best!

8/13/03 around 21:00

Lindy arrived here about 1630, my more leisurely route {and getting lost once) got me here around 1900.

How could I get lost on a nearly straight, nearly flat highway?  Dunno.  Did.

Our visit here?  We're having fun, catching up.


Reflections in Berkeley

Riding.  For the first 40-50 miles leaving L.A. the traffic stayed about the same as L.A. streets & freeways.  There was even an undeclared 30-mph stretch for car drivers to huddle up close to each other.

Sometime after I turned onto 99, the traffic began to thin , and I began to notice the road, the sky, the countryside.  The road was so smooth!  The sky bore fluffy clouds, and not too many of them.  The countryside - the San Joaquin Valley! - was huge farm fields, a few bare.  Here and there the ground rolled or dipped, but in a very restrained manner - no bumps or grinds from Lady Earth for these folks!  This is "American Gothic" country!

And so it stayed the rest of the day, gentle swells and lulling dips, until I'd nearly reached Oakland (just south of Berkeley).  Wonderful hill country!  Nothing rugged in their looks, soft hills congregated in pretty nearly north-south lines, and mostly thick with trees.

And I noticed that despite the car drivers!  Yep, about 25 miles out of Oakland, they ganged up into a convoy three lanes wide and maybe 25 miles long.  Sometimes they hummed along near 70 mph, sometimes they slowed down to nearly nothing, usually they behaved well and a few times they could have used a referee.

But besides the hills and the woods welcoming me, the air cooled and moistened!   Perhaps an invisible line separates hot-dry from cool-moist air.  Later, almost into Oakland, that phenomenon repeated itself:  I rode suddenly from cool-moist into lots-cooler-moister air as I took the freeway toward Berkeley.  Bless that phenomenon!  It was sure welcome after a full day of hot-dry!

8/15/03 09:47

Yep.  We're on the road again.  I've gone 130 miles, more or less north from Berkeley.  Beautiful road!  Light traffic.  Cool weather.

What a couple of sillies!  Almost to Berkeley, Lindy remembered that neither of us brought the tickets to the big H-D shindig in Milwaukee!  Urk!  So today she's driving back to L.A. to retrieve them then starting north to catch up with me in Beaverton (near Portland).  Bless her heart!


8/15/03 11:59

Redding, CA, for coffee.  My waitress' dad has finished the Iron Butt 3x, and the California 24 twice, he runs a website called the LD (for Long Distance) riders.  She pooh-poohed my 7000 miles in 38 days.  "Softee" she teased.


8/15/03 14:43

What?  No cell phone service in the mountains?  Apparently not.

"Now" is 1420, and I'm in Yreka.  I've ridden about 300 miles today.

As soon as I left Redding, Mt. Shasta peaked out between two lesser peaks.  For 40 miles or so she played peek-a-boo before she stepped out to show off her glorious form.  For the latest 40 miles or so, she's hung just behind my right shoulder.  Anytime I want inspiration and the road allows, I just look back to the right.  Oh my!

I-5 winds up & down hills & mountains through a national forest, with little traffic accompanying me.  

Grins to you!

8/15/03 16:44


Service again!

400 miles so far, I'm pretty sure.

I'm pushing on so I have fewer than 200 miles to go to reach Beaverton tomorrow early.

All good rides so far.

8/15/03 21:39


I did *not* mean to push on to Eugene, OR, and a little past, but I have.

The ride was beautiful - sometimes through forest, sometimes beside farmlands.

I may have ridden 550 miles today.  Wow!  (After a while it doesn't seem to matter:  my butt, feet, & hands don't care any more.  My tired does - eventually.  


8/16/03 07:50 (Salem)

Left Eugene at sunup.  Oops!  Forgot about cold!  Oh damn!  Wish it had forgot about me!

Dozens of hot air balloons hung over Albany, about 35 miles north of Eugene.  Wonderful!

Stopped to warm up & share.


8/17/03 05:52

Arrived yesterday around 0900, maybe 0930, wonderful cold ride into a wonderful warm welcome. (Visiting my older son, his wife, their two darling girls.)

the older the older & the younger the younger

Lindy caught up with me here about 1830 yesterday.  Beth prepared a magnificent feast!  Wow!

Will ride again tomorrow.

later, a picnic later, a picnic


8/18/03 21:50

Whee!  Had a wonderful visit with my older son, his wife, and two daughters.  Then my daughter and her husband met us there, riding his motorcycle, and led us to their home here near Snohomish!  What a great idea & trip!

I'm not sure we ever got out of city from Beaverton OR to Snohomish WA, but my daughter's home is beautifully rural!

deck view 1 deck view 1 deck view 2 deck view 2 the barn the barn

More later,

8/20/03 18:57

Having a wonderful visit with my daughter & her husband.  She and I took a horseback walk for a couple of hours out near Sultan, WA.  I was a very funny rider, at least I kept me laughing.  Fortunately Shauna has trained Decker to forgive riders a lot.  She has taught them natural horsemanship, so nothing I remembered applied, not using the saddlehorn to mount, and not neck-reining.  I did try to neck-rein once.  Poor Decker!  "Where the hell do I go?" he puzzled.  Once I returned to using both reins, Decker was fine.

In case you're wondering:  Shauna is my daughter, Decker is the horse who let me ride him.

Getting ready to leave:

with daughter & her husband with daughter & her husband with daughter & Lindy with daughter & Lindy

8/21/03 20:29

What a poopy day!

We didn't travel 300 miles today and it wasn't for looking at the scenery.

We did have a scenic route planned, we left in plenty of time - 0815.

Then we encountered road work crews!  Darn!

At the 2nd or 3rd crew, as we reached the end of the controlled stretch, I glanced to my left to wave at the flag-person.  (I always do.)

The car driver in front of me, Lindy, came to a full & complete stop.  Urk!  I stomped on my foot brake, crunched my hand-brake, skidded, & lost my balance.

Oh bad words!

I landed on my helmet, left elbow, forearm, & knee, oh, & toe - I didn't record that but the asphalt did.  Glad I was wearing my leather shirt!

Poop!  Poop!  Poop!

Juneve landed on her gas tank, transmission case, left front turn signal, gear shift, windshield, left mirror, left rear turn signal.  (The asphalt recorded that too.)  Oh really bad words!

Am I okay?  Oh, yeah:  scrapes, bruises, tender elbow, achy knee.

Were people nice to me?  You bet!  Lindy most of all, the road work crew, the eventual state cop, other car drivers, Harley riders who waved as they passed.  Even the folks at the Harley dealership in Winatchee.

They were swamped with work already, so they coached me through the repairs.  I rebuilt the left front turn signal, which let me re-attach the windshield.  (Cost me $5.50)  I left the transmission case for Barger's to fix.  I did what they said would fix the handlebars; it seemed to.

But it didn't.  The handlebar slews off at one weird angle, each of the mlrrors at its own, and I can barely use the gear shift.

So I got all poopy for a couple hundred miles, which made the day poopy.

Then I began to ache and owie which kept the day poopy.

But we got here.  Maybe tomorrow the local Harley dealer can unslew the handlebars & mirrors.  Maybe a shower & sleep will soothe my aches & owies.  Maybe tomorrow will be another dandy day.


8/22/03 19:38

"Rain, rain, go away!"  I apparently don't have that power.

It sprinkled on me off and on most of the day.  Oops!  I anticipate myself.  

We got up slowly this morning, or I did.  Lindy just let herself sleep in since I was moving so slowly.

Eventually though we sneaked around car jams - yes, car drivers jam up to sit and wait together even in Spokane, WA! - to the Harley dealer on the other side of town.  Bing bang!  In 30 minutes they replaced the gear shift lever ($58) and reset the handlebars, charged us nuthin for the labor, and gave us directions to the highway!

You should have seen the dealership!  Gleaming reflective sheet metal walls, with mirrors near the clothes, floors so clean you could eat off them without a plate, gobs of space, dozens of Harleys, a coffee room for customers who must wait, employees in the Uniform of the Day (even the pregnant lady who worked in Parts).  Snazzy!

So off we went and pretty soon the sprinkles began and went away while I thought about putting on my rainsuit.  They teased like that for 100 or so miles while we crossed one pass then another, and crept through one road work zone and then another, and another.  We stopped at St. Regis, MT.

I wimped out.  I did.  We had a scenic 250 or so miles planned up into and across Glacier National Park, but it was cold and blustery, and my back was stiff and my butt hurt and I wanted to push on toward Milwaukee instead of away from it.

So off we went toward Missoula, and I probably deserved what happened:  sprinkles toyed a little longer than before.  Grumble grumble I prob'ly oughta put on my rainsuit.  Yeah, I really should.  Just a little farther, though, out of this road work zone.  There'll be a place to sit out of the sprinkles while I work my way into the rainsuit.

Kerflush!  The rain began.  Uh oh!  Well, it'll back off.  Unh-unh!  We drove through passes in some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and rain poured.  There was no point in putting on my rainsuit.  Rain fell, rain gentled, rain hammered, rain sheeted, rain globbed, rain rained.

Finally we got to Missoula.  The Motel 6 was full.  The C'mon Inn was full.  The Days Inn was full.  Matilda's was full.  Ah, but the Ramada had a room for us and another Harley rider too!  And (clearly) an internet connection - although we didn't ask until the room was safely ours.

Lindy said she had to pass me because she couldn't stand to see another truck or SUV pass me and cover me in roadspray.  I claim I hardly noticed, the sky did its work so well they barely made a difference - except for the turbulence.

But we survived in much better humor than yesterday.  I grinned at the road crews, grinned at the roads, grinned at the mountainsides and forests, grinned at the bridges (we crossed the Clark Fork 19 times), I even grinned at the clerks telling us "Sorry, we're full."  The Harley was fine and I was riding it.  Maybe life can be finer, but how would I know?

No poopey day this!  No poopey rider either.

Maybe tomorrow we can get back to 400 miles a day though.  We have a party to get to!


8/23/03 19:28

We rode and drove 400 miles today.  No no no!  Not 200 each!  Tsk!

We rode and drove from Missoula to Hardin in MT.  Maybe tomorrow we can ride and drive out of MT!

Started off under heavy overcast, with still-puddle-y roads, so I wore my rainsuit for the first 150 miles.  Spits and sprinklets made the rainsuit worthwhile, so did staying out of the damp wind.

Oh my!  MT is beautiful country!  No wonder cowboys rode up here and stayed!  No wonder Scots and Irish drifted west and stopped here.  Well, the beautiful country offered them an opportunity to prosper.  But for us riders and drivers now, how beautiful!

We rode through forested mountains, crossed the Continental Divide (the western one) at 6393 feet above sea level, then rode down into a wide, treed, cattle-country valley.  Then back into mountains we rode and out of them into wide rolling hills of grasses, and grass-like farm produce.

Egad!  Suddenly the sun burnt off the clouds and the day turned hot!  (Mistrust the suddenly, probably I didn't notice the gradual change.)

Took off my rainsuit and rode through the dry-hot wearing my Scott-y (gadget) vest over a cotton-knit long-sleeved shirt and jeans.  Eventually the dry-hot overcame the need for the vest, but I didn't notice until we stopped.  Oh gracious!  Off it came while Lindy negotiated with the Super 8 Motel clerk.

Even after the cool-damp turned to dry hot, the rolling hills and grasses stayed beautiful, and the winding road climbed and descended hills - see this motorcyclist grin?  Happy rider!

A dozen or so H-D riders passed us - waving at us - soon after we left Missoula.  We saw them again when we stopped around 1300.  In fact all day long I waved at H-D riders and motorcyclists, some passing us on the way toward Milwaukee, some going the other way.  When we stopped, a trucker was registering for a room too.  He grinned and said "Your ride's gotta be more fun!"

"Yours pays better," I grinned back.

"I hope so!" he laughed.

Well, in money, but not in happies maybe.


8/24/03 19:34

Today I went to a sacred place.  Maybe two, but certainly one.

We left Hardin MT this morning about 0800, after a short conversation with a Harley rider from Iowa who'd gone to Sturgis SD (Bike Week) and was taking a long way home.  He'd gone to Milwaukee for the 90th and 95th celebration, but decided that this year he'd go to Sturgis and not the Centennial.  However he had several recommendations for drill teams and precision riding and unofficial displays.  In fact his main recommendation was "If you can't get to an event, there's plenty happening in the streets.  You'll have a blast!"

Was it this morning or yesterday that Lindy saw a billboard inviting us to the Testicle Festival, "Have a Ball!"

Sorry, got sidetracked.

We rode about 70 miles - the last 15 with my teeth clenched - to Ranchester WY.  I had to switch over to my gasoline reserve, and didn't know whether it would last until Sheridan WY.  Uh, no.  I loaded 5.16 gallons of gasoline into a 5.25 gallon tank.

But the ride!  Cool enough that I wore my leather shirt over my long-sleeved cotton-knit shirt, the ride took me along a highway that swooped and swerved alongside hills and sometimes just for the fun of it.  The road climbed some hills and dropped down the other side of them, and ran between others to provide a relaxing straight stretch here and there.

We rode into Sheridan for a quick breakfastlet, then rode 105 miles of curves and climbs and descents and sweeps without a town or a gasoline station!  Wow!  Gorgeous gold and green and golden-green hills, dotted with pine and spruce and occasionally brush, but never a town or a gasoline station or a traffic jam!  Aiee.  And just about as many technical jobs.  

Oh well.  Lindy wouldn't let me live up here anyway.  She left NYC for LA to leave winter behind for good, and MT, WY, and the Dakotas are blessed with mighty winters.

Wisely I doffed my leather shirt in Gillette WY (put it in my T-Bag) because the cool had finished.  Warm and hot and warm again accompanied us the rest of the day.  We rode through more of the gold and green hills but with towns sprinkled along the roadside to some nice little cafe at the WY-SD stateline, then on to Spearfish SD and finally to Rapid City by 1430.

Hurray!  Only 300 miles today, but into RC early enough to take a room, unload the Harley and the car, and then visit Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Hm.  Mt Rushmore is wonderful, but like patriotism gone corporate.  At least they still let you in if you're not wearing a suit!  Those four heroes - and not many of our presidents were - facing us and the future so calmly, TR with a defiant grin.  Wonderful!  Washington - serene and aloof; Jefferson - idealist and pragmatist, such a strange combination; Lincoln - empathy and sorrow and determination.  Wow!

So on to Crazy Horse.  Oh my.  That's what Mt. Rushmore would be if I were king.  A place of reverence and joy, confidence and optimism, park for a dollar and watch a video of the sculpting, hear a respectful reminder of how those men are heroes despite their detractors.

But Mt. Rushmore is Mt. Rushmore and some CEO pays a huge contribution to George II's election campaign fund and all is well.

But at Crazy Horse, the Oglala Lakota invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to carve a mountain into a likeness of Crazy Horse, and he came back with an inspired idea of Crazy Horse still mounted, pointing at "My lands are where my dead lie buried."  Then Korczak dedicated the rest of his life to carving that mountain, and seven of his ten children now carry on the work, led by his widow, a joyful and delighted woman, inspired by magnificent work.  The work is financed by us visitors, and by contributors; no government participates.

The Oglala picked a sacred mountain, a hero of their own, and invited a sculptor who took on a lifetime creation, and inspired his wife and children to continue that work - not out of regard for him, but for the work and all it celebrates.

Thank you Lindy.  I might've made it to both on my own, someday.  I wouldn't have missed either now that I've gone there.


8/25/03 18:29

We left Rapid City SD this morning on L.A. time.  Oops!  I heard the first H-D roll out at 0515 and every few minutes thereafter.  "Wow!  How eager!" I thought & didn't get up.  Not until we left at 0800 with the sun high in the sky and the morning already warm did I realize, "Oh!  It's really 0900 Mountain time!"  Duh.

And now it's 1830 CST!  We rode 350 miles in 7 hours (and stopped only 4 times).

So how come we didn't ride another 100 miles like we'd planned?

Excuses:  rain, heat, competition.

While we readied to leave this ayem, the telly warned direly of gullywashers and near-oceans all across the Dakotas & Minnesota.  All day the clouds collected & blued, then dissipated & whitened, then repeated.  During the last 70-mile run today, they collected & blued right over our path, darker & darker.  They even spit at me a few times.

No, now that we're covered, no storms have arrived.  Do they wait for tomorrow morning?  Telly sez so.  Does it know any better than this morning?  Of course!

Heat?  Boy howdy!  My leather shirt lasted for the 1st 70 miles but oof!  Off it came when we stopped!  No need for it the rest of the day either!  Lindy saw 103 on a public thermometer, around 1600 some time. 

Style?  Safety-consciousness?  We saw shirtless H-D riders & H-D riders in leathers!  Oofa!  I copied neither!

Competition:  And we must've seen 100+ H-D riders headed toward Milwaukee today.  Some we passed (a few more than once), many passed us - at least four groups did!  At one place, the geography let me see 30+ pairs of riders leading me!

So at our 3rd stop I asked Lindy to reserve us a room in Sioux Falls.  My butt had communicated that it might cooperate for another 150 miles, but it was going to make trouble if I tried another 250.

Oh!  (What a convoluted report!)  This morning we breakfasted in the Badlands!

What a landscape!  Want your dreams haunted?  Use this!

Sandstone?  Maybe.  Couldn't tell.

Wind-whipped but no froth.

Gothic shapes, child-mountain shapes, edges, gouges, curls, polished surfaces, rough, rippled.

The kind of place you'd pack back into if you wanted to stay so far away from people you had to bring in your own water and didn't care what you dreamed.

But people would come anyway, to stare awe at the unlikely shqpes.

Worth a visit?  Oh yes!  No other way to appreciate them!  Do come, if only for breakfast!  

at Badlands at Badlands

We rode across cow country and wheat farm country the rest of the day.  Swells, rolls, dips, gathers, rises, and wide flat areas.  We haven't seen mountains since we left the Badlands!

Oh!  We crossed the Missouri River!  We're so far north that it looks tame.

On one of our stops, one of those highway signs with icons for food & gasoline sent us to Decker, pop. 123 - no kidding!  And it *did* have a gasoline station that useta sell food.

I just went outside and stuck my tongue out at the sky.  It still looks like a rainstorm but it still isn't even spitting.


8/26/03 18:45

part of Minnesota on I 90.  Despite yesterday's warnings of evil weather, and last night's impending gloom, we had bright sunlight, clear skies with fluffy and strung-out white clouds, strong winds, and heat.  We took a longer break than usual around midday and got haircuts in an air conditioned mall.    We crossed the Mississippi into WI and started down the diagonal toward Milwaukee.  Altogether we rode 360 miles today.  Only 150 more?  Sorry.

In our first 90 miles before b

Only 150 miles from Milwaukee, at Richland Center WI.  Sorebutt stopped us, mine of course.

Richland is about 60 miles SE along a diagonal from La Crosse to Milwaukee WI.

Today we rolled across the southernreakfast, about 100 H-D riders passed us.  I could've sworn Juneve rolled at the speed limit!  Maybe not.  For the next 80 miles we must've ridden between groups of riders, or maybe everyone else took a meal break; I didn't see but about a dozen H-D riders.

We rode through miles and miles of rolling plains.  No, they're not flat.  The ground swells and cups and saucers and climbs steeply then levels off for a few miles.  We saw no hills in Minnesota, or I don't remember them.  Corn?  Gazillions of whatever measure you want.  (No, you can't measure corn in light years or parsecs.)

After that first 170 miles, I was never far from one or more groups of H-D riders, at least until La Crosse.  We saw another Aussie (did I tell you about yesterday's?) and four Alaskans and gobs of plates I didn't recognize.  Lindy worries that I'll wear out my left elbow (the injured one) waving at every rider that passes going either way.  Not so far.

We got separated in La Crosse.  Oops!  Traffic lights and traffic and road work and other extranea came between us.  I hardly dared stop and wait with inches between me and cars, pickups, SUVs, and trucks.  So, outside La Crosse, I rode for about an hour hoping she'd catch up (she did) through hills with real forests and hills terraced for farming.  (Please note:  that is *not* George II's "terrists", it's the real word.)

I rode past two Amish horse-carts carefully.  I watched car drivers do wonderful and awe-inspiring tricks at entrances and exits to the highway and gave them gobs of room for their performances.  I also saw crosswalks across a highway - a first for me.

So tomorrow we'll ride on to Milwaukee and the party.


8/28/03 02:31

Gotta get back to sleep soon, but as long as I'm awake, Hi!

We rode 200 of the last 150 miles to TJ's today.  A short study of the map might've translated MapQuest's instructions, but I was literal & precise & on my way to the North Pole.  Good luck & nice people saved us.

We rode/drove 100+ miles on highways & streets half-filled with Harleys.  The car drivers didn't quite know what to do, I think.

Every overpass from at least 25 miles out of Milwaukee had people waving welcome at us H-D riders!  It was wonderful!  It really felt like "The Ride Home" as H-D calls it.

TJ & Dennis welcomed us too.  "You must be!" she said & hugged me.  (We'd never met although she & I worked closely & laughingly for about 6 years.)

Last night Lindy & I had supper with them & 3 other "old friends" we'd never met before:  Gertrude, Cheryl, & Alyson.  It was wonderful again!  What a kick getting to meet them & catch up!

wonderful friends I had never met wonderful friends I had never met

Well, tomorrow (later today) the official party begins.  H-D is 100 years old!  For 4 days anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 of my fellow enthusiasts will help H-D celebrate & commemorate.

And I'm here to represent the unsocial, non-gregarious riders.