Labrador 2014

Labrador 2014

or

The Ride Goes On Forever

And it is a big land, Labrador/Quebec border, Canada In June of 2013 Bobbe and I rode to, among other places, Labrador. Actually the aim of the trip was Newfoundland. However, once there it was just a short ferry ride over to Labrador. So, just to say we had been to Labrador we took the ride over and took a quick look around. One reason it was short is there are not much in the way of paved roads in Labrador and we were on the Goldwing, definitely not a dirt bike. That look around got me curious and further research convinced me that I needed to return with the BMW and ride the Trans-Labrador Highway. After the usual trip prep, lining out the work and all I pulled out on the 4th of July. As I was lacking much in the way of photos of South and North Dakota I decided to go straight, more or less, north into Canada and turn right. I headed north on 81 to Enid and turned west. I wanted to get some photos of a Veteran’s Memorial a little south of Veteran's Memorial, Hwy 58 south of Helena Ok.      Helena, and this is what it looks like. Helena is not a large town and it is out in the middle of nowhere. This is a well cared for memorial. Much better that a lot of the others I have seen. As you can see it has a couple of M-60 tanks, a large artillery piece, a very large ships anchor and a bunch of mortar tubes. After that I picked up 281 and headed north. It was a great riding day, especially for the 4th of July in Oklahoma. There was a light (for Oklahoma) south wind and the temperature was in the 70s when I left and never did get hot. It was very pleasant riding across the prairie watching the landscape change. It is flat, compared with the Rockies, but, it is hardly all flat. There are lots of rolling hills with very wide vistas. This year the rain has been good and there are lots of happy farmers and the cows are walking around in belly deep grass. I stopped for fuel in Great Bend and keep heading north. I did about 20 or so miles of dirt road and rode into Wilson about noon. There is an old hotel in Wilson which is in business and has a restaurant but it does not serve lunch. So I took a photo of the World’s Largest Czech Egg” and rode on my way to Lucas. Bobbe and I had been to Lucas several years ago on one of our first rides. I wanted to return and get some better photos of the concrete work in the Garden of Eden. You can Google the Garden of Eden, Lucas, Kansas (http://www.garden-of-eden-lucas-kansas.com) and read all about it As the sign says: Lucas, Ks. and it is very interesting. The short story is that a guy did a lot of very strange concrete work all around his house.  This is Adam, Eve and the snake. There are many others. Most of the concrete works are biblical, old testament, bloody and all. Some are political. He was not a sculptor but he was a pretty good concrete worker. He built the house, garage, other outbuildings as well as all of the Garden of Eden things. He was a Civil War Veteran. In the early 1900s, when he started on this he was in his 60s. About this time he also married a 20 some year old woman and eventually had two children by her and lived to a ripe old age. The lady working at the house is one of his granddaughters and according to her, the whole family and town considered him to be a little strange. After taking the tour and looking around it was time to get back on the road. I took back roads over to 281 and turned right towards Nebraska. The countryside was rolling green hills and large wheat fields, some harvested, some waiting. A little over one year ago I had come down I-70 heading for Denver. At that time we hit temperatures of 110 and everything was dry and brown. Not so this year, mild temperatures (for Kansas summers) and everything green and growing.   Geographical Center of lower 48 states, NW of Lebanon, NE.You can see how things looked in this photo taken at the geographical center of the Continental United States. In case you are wondering, the center is a little north and west of Lebanon Kansas. I met some folks there who were from Wisconsin and they allowed it was a little breezy. I hated to tell them, but really, it was not. Back on the road I made it to Hastings Nebraska and called it good. After checking in I rode over to Applebee’s where they had a sign setting aside a parking space for Veterans. So, I parked the bike and went in for a good dinner. After a good night’s sleep I was ready to go. It was again around 70 when I left, good riding weather. I went north to Grand Island and turned west on Hwy 2. Highway 2 runs NW-SE through what are called the Sand Hills. According to the sign the Sand Hills cover about ¼ of the state and are the resultBoneyard Creation Museum, Hwy 2, Broken Bow NE. of erosion of the Rockies filling a large depression with sand. It results in a high water table and grows lots of good grass and as a result, a lot of cows. I also stopped in to see the Nebraska National Forest and tried to see the Boneyard Creation Museum in Broken Bow. However, it was closed which is too bad as I like to see what these folks have to say. It has a website if you are interested. http://www.boneyardcreationmuseum.org At this point I was north of the wheat harvest so it and everything else, including lots and lots of corn was green and growing and all of the bugs were happy, happy. I had to stop a couple of times and clean off the face shield and I had a good collection on the front of the bike and my boots. Indian Veteran's National Cemetery, Rosebud Reservation, SDI crossed over into South Dakota a little north of Valentine and a little north of that I ran across the Tribal Veteran’s Cemetery. It is fairly new. I came this way back when I left Bobbe in Rapid City and it was not here. It looks new and does not have a lot of burials. Once again, the Badlands were the pretty good lands, same as last year. At one point I turned onto what was marked as a State Highway only to find out that it was dirt. As I was on the BMW and it was only 23 miles it was not a problem. They do large fields up here. I saw many that had to be over a section some probable 2 or more. I remember cutting large fields like this down in Nebraska when I was 16, boy, talk about a long time ago. A good large portion of the lands around here are reservations and not heavily populated. Coming across the StandingLemmons SD, Triceratop & Cowboy sculpture. Lots of metal Rock Reservation it looked like I was going to get wet but fortunately I rode between two large nasty looking storm cells. Later reports indicated I was very lucky. After a good days ride I pulled into Lemmon South Dakota and called it a day. It was a little late, and Lemmon is small so dining choices were slim, but across from the restaurant was this sculpture. Bobbe researched this and it was made by the same fellow that made the buffalo down in Rapid City as well as others. I need to find out where the others are and go see them. The two I have seen are made out of scrap metal of all types and sizes. The next morning I discovered another thing about Lemmon, it has the world’s largest, probably only, Petrified Wood Park, and here it is. Lemmon SD, Petrified Wood ParkIt seems that Ole S. Quammen was the creator of this park. It covers pretty much a city block. It was built back in the 20s and 30s and was used to get folks to stop at his gas station, buy gas and pay to see the sculptures. It took a lot of time, petrified wood and money to make these things. See those two egg shaped things to the left and right of the sign? Those are rocks and the shape is not natural and there are other rocks, some large, with unusual shapes. No explanation as to how those came about. After the tour of the park it was time to cross into North Dakota and head on over to Regent and ride the Enchanted Highway. Again, this is an area of large fields, and it turns out North Dakota grows somewhere around 90% of the country’s Canola. It is bright yellow and really stands out especially in contrast with the many shades of green all around. The Enchanted Highway runs from Regent to Gladstone ND. http://www.ndtourism.com/best-places/enchanted-highway Along the way there are several very large sculptures. Sort of like the ones in Vining Min. These were built mainlyPheasant Family, Hwy 2117 N. of Regent ND by one man. His thought was to create some reason for people to come out and see the sites in this area. It must work as it got me to ride quite a bit out of my way to see them. These are sizeable works, I didn’t measure them but the pheasants have to be 20 feet tall and the fishing one taller than that. Check out the link above for more of the photos and a little about the guy who did them. As to why, I like the idea that they have long winters around there and you can’t spend all of that time in the bar. After viewing the sculptures I headed east on the interstate for a bit until I came to Salem. There on the top of a nearby hill was Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein, and she is a big one. Here is a link that will explain things. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2716 It seems that there are a lot of dairies in this area and they thought a large Holstein would be just the thing to honor the industry. After communing a while with Sue I headed north across the wide prairie. I dropped off of the prairie down into the Missouri River Valley and crossed the Missouri near Washburn. The Missouri was not all that impressive here. I was headed for Rugby which bills itself as the geographic center of North America although, according to what I have read, that is questionable. However, they do have the claim and marker and most agree that they are close. I took a break to see what was where. It was afternoon and I didn’t want to cross over into Canada at night. So, I elected to ride to Bottineau and in the morning cross over. I checked into a Motel 8, had a nice Chinese Buffet and called it good. In the morning it was cool, in the 60s. I gassed up at Dunseith and crossed into Canada at the Peace Garden Crossing with no problems. After I crossed the Turtle Mountains (low even by Oklahoma standards) the land flattened out, and stayed that way. There are lots of farms, some pretty good sized. All of the houses have sheltering stands of trees around them. Overall, it looks like the wind blows here and as every house and business has a double door entry it probably gets cold. They had been having a lot of rain recently. In Brandon, where I turned east, the Assiniboine River was almost out of its banks. The road was sandbagged and already below the level of the river. Before I left OKC had my cell phone unlocked. I stopped in Portage La Prairie and picked up a prepaid sim card. Surprise, it worked. I had text and voice but not data. At wifi hotspots (McDonalds etc) I had it all. I took the loop around Winnipeg as I have seen cities. A little east of Winnipeg I ran out of the farm land and into the shield area with the rocks and trees and no agriculture. It was in this area that I started playing tag with the rain. I got sprinkled on but never enough to get into the gear. All along the road were signs saying to watch out for moose after dark. I hadn’t seen a moose but I had seen several deer as well as several obvious stains on the highway. With all that in mind I called it a day in Dryden. With a good night’s sleep I pulled out of Dryden. The temperature was in the low 50s and after a short time I got into the jacket liner, gloves and pants but not the electrics. The highest I saw was in the low 60s. I gassed up in Thunder Bay and it cost over $44.00. That works out to almost $6/gal. Hopefully that is a record that will last for a good long time. By the time I got to Wawa it was cooling down and starting to rain. That made Wawa a good place to call it a day as thereHwy 101 east of Wawa, Ontario Canada was nothing for a long way after. The motel had its own fairly good restaurant and I settled in for the night. It was in the mid 40s and raining when I pulled out. I saw this fellow right on the outskirts of town. Someone put a lot of effort into it. It was not raining heavily and traffic was light so it was not unpleasant riding. After a bit it quit, just spitting and sputtering every now and then. Bobbe and I came this way in 2010 and about all you can say is there is not much traffic and you can see a lot of trees. It is a little over 200 miles from Wawa to Timmins and there are about two small towns along the route. I did run across this sign about the Arctic Hwy 101 east of Hawk Junction, Ontario CanadaWatershed Divide. Cool, I don’t think it was there last time through. I didn’t see any wild life which is pretty much fine with me. For most of the route I was by myself, no moose bumper. I did have a bus for a while, and he was moving but he stopped in Foleyet. I knew that Timmins is a pretty good sized city, lots of big mines all over the place. I had decided that would be a good place to swap out the rear tire. I pulled into a McDonalds and used their wifi to find a bike shop and get directions. I called and, yes, they could do the job. Stepping outside I found that the rain had changed from spit and sputter to serious. I rode to the bike shop, pulled of the rear wheel, waited while they mounted the new tire, put the wheel on and headed into Quebec. It is only 138 or so miles from Timmins Ontario to Rouyn-Noranda Quebec, a ride of only about 2 ½ hours even with Canada’s speed limits. Turns out it took a bit longer. First the rain was really getting serious and as I was getting close to the Quebec border there was a DOT truck and a roadblock. The road was closed, it seems the rain had washed out a couple of culverts and the road would not be open for two or three days at best. Now there are not a lot of roads around here. The DOT fellow was not a local so his suggestion was to turn around and go back, about a 75 mile ride. There were a couple of locals standing in the rain talking. They assured me that if I headed south on this one road and kept bearing left I would eventually run into a road that would take me to where I was going. And, they were pretty sure I could get some fuel in Larder Lake, if the store had not closed due to the weather. Casting a wary eye on my fuel gauge and the sky I headed south on a very rural road in a rain that would have done Houston proud. It was about this time that an unmistakable sensation indicated a leak in my suit pants. Had it not been raining so hard the detour would have been very pleasant, and even so it wasn’t that bad, I have done worse. I found gas in plenty of time in Larder Lake and then made it to Rouyn-Noranda and checked into a motel with an attached restaurant and called it a full day. Thankfully the next morning dawned mostly clear with no rain and temperatures in the 40s. If you look at a map, about 100 miles east of Rouyn (as the locals call it) the roads split. South you get into the populated areas of Toronto and other large cities, I did this way to Quebec City. Go north and there are a lot of miles, trees, mines, lumber mills and not much else so of course I went north. One thing interesting, while I was going through Chapais I noticed that they had a Curling Arena. A little east of Chapais you turn to the south heading back to civilization. I was heading for Tadoussac which is down on the north side of the St. Lawrence Seaway. I started hitting civilization about St. Felicien and by the time I got lost in Saguenay it was like cities everywhere. I stopped for directions and finally got on Hwy 172 to Tadoussac which turned out to be one of the most scenic roads yet. First the highway runs beside a fjord just like the ones they have over in Norway. Then it crosses over into a series of glaciated valleys and follows the rivers, around and up and down. All in all it was a fitting end to a very good riding day. I pulled into Tadoussac, checked into a motel and walked across the road to a restaurant where the entire menu was in French and if anyone in there spoke English they didn’t speak up. I recognized a couple of the words on the menu and did manage to order a decent meal. The next morning was clear, cool and a great day for riding. I was riding down Hwy 138 on the north side of the St. Lawrence Seaway, river, fjord, or flooded glaciated valley, your preference. The road stayed fairly close to the St. Lawrence with good views as it moved closer. The land is pretty much flat so no views from any hills. Forestville, Hwy 138 Quebec, CanadaThis photo was taken in Forestville a little town strung along for about 3 miles along the Highway. The sun was in the east and I couldn’t get another view so they leave something to be desired in the way of quality but I just couldn’t pass it up. In short order I arrived at Baie-Comeau which is where the road turns north and heads for Labrador City. As it is around 350 miles from Baie-Comeau to Labrador City I took the opportunity to gas up on the edge of town. There are two places along this road where you can gas up, providing they are open. Right at the edge of town the road got interesting, lots of up and down and around running through narrow canyons and over the ridges. This is the area where Quebec has a lot of hydroelectric dams and that is about all there is, and the dams are big. At the base of about the third one the pavement went away. I had expected this and all in all, it was not bad. On the hills, up and down, and in the corners there tended to be a little washboard surface, but nothing that slowing down couldn’t fix. There are lots of trees and miles out here and not much else. By this time I had left any settlements a long ways back. You can’t see it in this photo, but there is a front coming in from the west and I am putting on the rain gear. And rain itHwy 389 N. of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Canada did, not as hard as the other day, but good enough. I found that my tires, while good in the thin gravel were not all that good on wet clay and gravel. The tires I used to go to Inuvik were much better on the dirt unfortunately they also wore out very quickly and are not very good on pavement. You can’t have it all. The really fun part was in the thick loose new gravel. In some of that the front end washed out and I stuck out a foot to save it, and did, but I jammed (twisted?) my left knee and hip. Not a lot of fun. So, I slowed even more. There were also a couple of places where they were working on the road but I was already wet and muddy so not much problem there. Eventually I ran out of the rain and kept working north. As I neared Labrador City I started seeing mines, and large ones with all of the equipment and trucks with large dust plumes. Also there was a railroad line for hauling ore and the road crossed that many times which normally is not a problem. However, as they are used to large equipment they did not pay a lot of attention to the condition of those crossings. Some were interesting and I crossed very carefully. Eventually I pulled into Labrador City and settled into a motel and enjoyed a well earned drink. My knee was stiff and sore, but it more or less worked. It did wake me up a few times when I turned wrong. The weather forecast for the next day was for rain in the afternoon. That didn’t interest me so I got an early start. I gassed up before I left and put in 8.4 gallons, that means I had .3 gallons left when I pulled in the night before. On the way out of town it was impossible not to notice all of the mining related equipment and parts all over the place. The only reason Labrador City exists are the mines. Later while waiting for the ferry to Newfoundland I got to talking with a couple of guys who work in the business. According to them, the richest deposit of ore is underneath the town. If that is Trans-Labrador Hwy east of Labrador City, Labrador Canadathe case, the town is pretty much going to move. From Labrador City to Churchill Falls the road is paved and mostly in good condition. The photo above is one of the many lakes all over the place. This area is different that yesterday. Less trees, more tundra looking and empty. After 20 or so miles from Labrador City, no one lives out here, or if they do it is way off of the highway with no access roads. I stopped for fuel in Churchill Falls and headed for Goose Bay. The road was still paved, all except the 40 or so miles in the middle and it wasn’t too bad. I stopped to take this photo and a fellow in a truck stopped to see ifTrans-Labrador Hwy east of Labrador City, Labrador Canada all was well. We struck up a conversation; he was a rider from Corner Brook Newfoundland doing two week tours up here working on the road. We swapped lies and then both went down the road. Without too much problems I got to Goose Bay and went into town to gas up. From here on to Red Bay the road was not paved. It looked like the rain was going to give me a pass and overall, the road was not bad. Where they had spread fresh gravel was the worst part. The problem was that they seemed to do it at random intervals with no warning. Trans-Labrador Hwy, S. of Goose Bay Labrador, CanadaAs the photo shows, the scenery was something else. Traffic was not a problem, it was a rarity. So with one eye on the road and one on the surroundings I rode on enjoying almost every minute. After 589 miles I arrived in Port Hope-Simpson and decided that if they had a motel I was done for the day. They did have one, and only one. It was the Alexis Hotel and not only did they have a room they had a dining room. I checked in and quickly made it to the dining room before they closed. It was a rather unique Hotel, and considering that it is the only one within 120 miles (not kilometers) I was not complaining. The food was good as was the view, 20 feet from the bay, the room was small but clean, had working internet, I was tired and slept really well, sore knee and all. The next morning was interesting. It seems that this is a prime whale watching site. There was a bus with about 24 German tourists backed up to the motel and at 6:00 they started the thing up. I looked out the window and they were down on the beach looking for whales. So I decided it was time to get up. While eating breakfast the waitress told me that the tour comes every year. They have a special bus with sleeping compartment and rent 3 rooms for showering and sleep on the bus. It seemed a little strange to me, but everyone to their own things. For myself, I had 120 miles to do before I came to a paved road. So I loaded up and got after it. It wasn’t a big problem, just slow. After a bit I came to the road construction area and when you are dealing with granite for road fill, it takes large equipment. I was dodging trucks larger than my house. Interesting to note, anyone who was not moving was wearing a net over their face due to the black flies. Red Bay, Trans-Labrador Hwy, Labrador, CanadaEventually I came to Red Bay where the pavement starts. This photo is of Red Bay. There was a very interesting visitor’s center at Red Bay. It seems that as far back as the early 1500s the Basque had a whaling station at Red Bay. Extensive excavations have shown it was a year round base with several hundred people working here. They have excavated the sites and had raised a ship that was sunk during a storm. Interestingly all of this came to light because of a person looking into old wills and lawsuits over is an old library in Spain. This is on the way down to the Point Amour Lighthouse. As it says, itNear Point Amour, Labrador, Canada is the burial place of a child who died approximately 7500 years ago and it is the oldest one that has been found with grave goods. It also says that people occupied this area at least 9000 years ago. If people came over the Bering Land Bridge 12,000 or so years ago, that only gives them 3,000 years to cross North America. While not a long time in this age, 12,000 years ago that would be a feat. One of these days they are going to revamp that date. On down this road a bit is the Point Amour Lighthouse. Bobbe and I tried to get down here last year but water running under the road stopped that. This year there were no such problems. The lighthouse is interesting and it has a small museum, also interesting. However, the really interesting thing is this is the place where the first trans-oceanic telegraph came ashore. For many years all messages to and from Europe went through here. Just think, the messages about WW I, the Titanic and many others, came through this point. Here is a link. http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/planyourtrip/Detail/212619 From Point Amour it was a hop skip and jump down to Blanc-Sablon where I found out I had a couple of hours wait for the ferry. I rode back to L’Anse-au-Clair for lunch and to kill some time. That done it was back to wait in line for a ticket as I had no reservation. However, I was assured they will always find room for a bike, and they did. With regret I said goodbye to Labrador and had an uneventful ride across the Strait of Belle Isle and landed in Newfoundland. Then it was just a short ride down the coast and I checked in at the Plum Point Motel, had a nice dinner, no cod tongue, did a load of laundry, made reservations for the Nova Scotia Ferry and called it a day. The next morning was cool, windy and overcast off and on. The Ride from Plum Point to Gros Morne is mostly along the coast. It is a very scenic ride with the glaciated highlands to the east and the ocean, more correctly Gulf of St. Lawrence, to the west. But, the wind does blow and would do Oklahoma justice. I stopped for a break at Hawks Bay and got this photo. It seems that it was Atlantic salmon season. I don’t know if theseAtlantic Salmon Fishing, Newfoundland Canada guys got anything, but on the ferry I ran into a guy who taught fly fishing for a living. He says he puts on classes at different places in the Newfoundland/Nova Scotia region and has been doing it for quite some time. If you are into fishing that doesn’t sound like a bad way to make a living. I hit the TCH (Trans Canadian Highway) at Deer Lake and paused for lunch in Jungle Jim’s in Corner Brook. There were two guys from Quebec who were traveling on BMW GSAs and we sort of swapped lies for a bit. I really should try and learn a little French if I am going to be coming back to Canada, at least this part of it. The ride from Corner Brook to Port Aux Basque was interesting. It started spiting rain and the wind got serious about the whole thing. Other than the glorious scenery it was like riding in Oklahoma. I pulled into the Motel Port Aux Basque with no problems there were several other bikes there, all waiting for the ferry. They and several others were talking about how hard the wind was blowing. Oh well, whatever you are used to. I had a nice dinner and settled in. The ferry didn’t leave until 10:45 and it is only about 2 miles to the dock so there was no hurry in the morning. Based on experiences last year I had written my tag number down and wouldn’t you know it, no one ask. But they did want to know if I had any dirt, plants or animals. All I had was on the windshield and they allowed I could take those with me. We loaded in short order with no problems, strapped the bike down and away we went. This is the 7 hour ride and it was uneventful and thankfully smooth. The unloading was just as uneventful and I headed down roads I have covered several times. I made it about 100 miles and noticed a nice restaurant and a nice looking motel so I pulled in, took advantage of both and that was that. As a side note, Nova Scotia is much cheaper than Newfoundland, and for sure Labrador. The next day started out nice enough with breakfast at a local restaurant. It was windy but warm enough that I did not need the jacket. However, shortly after crossing into New Brunswick the clouds announced that I had better get into the rain gear. After that the ride pretty much went down the tubes. As the weather folks had predicted, a large front was coming in from the west and I was riding into it. The rain varied from heavy to light mist all with a strong wind. Originally I had planned on riding to Bangor but after crossing into Calais I decided that was good enough. Hotel pickings were slim but the one I checked into had an onsite restaurant that was not too bad. By morning the front had blown through with a little lingering fog and the promise of a great riding day. I headed north on Hwy 1 until I hit Hwy 6 and then I headed west. I was meeting my daughter and son-in-law in Albany on Sunday so I had plenty of time. I stopped for a coffee break in a little store in Springfield. Walking around looking I realized that a lot of these folks were into trapping. You could buy all sorts of pieces of fur, mink, fox, skunk (really) and others. Most strange, you could buy a coyote mask. What they did was skin a coyote skull and dry the skin. That would be just the thing for a Christmas gift. Old Water Powered Mill, Milo Maine Riding on I found this old water powered mill of some type in Milo. At one time these things were all over the place and they are becoming more valuable. They built these things out of local lumber, quite often hardwoods, and big pieces of it. The trick thing now is to take them apart and sell the seasoned wood for very high prices. A lot of it is Chestnut which you can’t get new cut as a blight killed off most of the Chestnut trees about 100 years ago. The road I was on was now called the Moosehead Trail. It was a nice ride with little traffic. Along about the time I hit Greenville it was getting late enough to call it a day so I did. About the time I pulled in the bike announced that its headlight was out so after an easy repair it was time to eat. Greenville is a tourist town with all sorts of restaurants so I picked an interesting looking one and had a nice salad on the patio. After a good night’s sleep, windows open, no AC, I loaded up and went looking for a good breakfast. I eventually found one, but not in Greenville. I guess tourists in Greenville are not early risers as everything was closed at 8 AM. But, it turned out ok as I was riding through Rockwood I saw a sign about “The Birches” saying they had a restaurant which served breakfast. I rode 3 miles down a dirt road to find it but it was worth it. The Birches sits right on the edge of Moosehead Lake and looks like something from a movie. Anyway, the food was good, the coffee hot, and the view from the restaurant exceedingly pleasant. I lingered over coffee but eventually it was time to go. I picked up Hwy 201 at Jackman and turned south. Hwy 201 is called “The Old Quebec Highway” as it runs through aHwy 201 in Maine, Canada in the background valley and has been used forever as a route to and from Quebec. This is a shot I took at a road pull out. That ridge in the distance is the Canadian Border. As you can see, it was a little cloudy but nothing serious, just enough to make riding pleasant. Heading on south, enjoying just cruising along I eventually came to highway 2 and turned west. I was heading for Gorham and on the following day, a ride up Mt. Washington, weather permitting. Along the way I followed a dirt road to the top of Quill Mountain for an unparalleled view of the surrounding countryside.  By the time I pulled into Gorham it was getting a bit warm and crowded as it was a Friday and there were lots of folks out and about. With that in mind, I checked into a nice motel and did a load of laundry. The next day began with a slow start and a nice breakfast and then I headed south to Mt. Washington. Years ago I rode the black Goldwing to the top of Mt. Washington but by the time I got to the top it was so foggy you couldn’t see a thing. Last year I tried again, but they were having a race. This year there should be no problems, the sky was clear with no storms on the horizon. First off, these guys are making a fortune. To ride a bike solo costs $18, extra for a passenger. More for a car and extra for each passenger and there was no shortage of takers. There is nothing especially difficult about the ride up or down. The views are great. Most of it is paved and there are pull outs, part of it is gravel but it is not deep and Mt. Washington New Hampshirewell graded. There is a cog railway you can take but it comes up from the other side from where I was. There are the usual gift shops and such at the top. I would gather that the folks who put up this sign were not taking everything into consideration. It says highest storm winds. Well, one of the tornados (which are storms) that came through Moore Oklahoma and had winds that were clocked in excess of 300 mph and those, according to what I have read, are the highest ever recorded. I looked around a bit and then headed down. Again, no problems I just let the bike roll against the engine with an occasional dab of the brakes and pretty soon, there we were. After having a coffee at the motel at the bottom I got after the rest of the day. I was only going as far as Burlington Vermont and that was not a great distance. It was a great day for riding. The weather was warm, not hot, the scenery and roads fine and the traffic not heavy. And, for we plains riders, there was no wind to speak of. As I rode through Lancaster it was obvious that everyone had decided to come to town. I didn’t see a fair going on but there were farmers markets, fleThey Have Long Winters Herea markets and best of all, a car show going on.  This is what happens when you have long winters and a lot of spare time. I talked with the one of the guys who made this. It now looks like an industrial strength pick-up complete with semi sized duals in the rear. It started out as a fire truck that saw little use. The guy said they bought it at auction and it only had 1700 miles on it. Then they got to work. He says they actually drive it. From Lancaster it was only a short hop to Burlington and as I got closer I climbed on the interstate. This is the only place I had problems getting a room. There was a Lacrosse tournament and a Craft Brewer festival going on. I did get a room, not one to write home about but it did the job. I have mentioned about the leaking rain suit. I figured the odds of me making it home without getting rained on were slim to none. With that in mind I looked around, found a Harley shop and bought a set of rain pants. Of course they were orange and black, stamped with Harley and cost $90 (the name costs extra) but I figured that was better than getting wet. With that done I rode over to the Shanty and had a nice seafood dinner on the shores of Lake Champlain. The Shanty is right by where you catch the ferry across the lake so before I went back to the motel I stopped off and picked up a schedule. I was in no rush the next morning and made it to the ferry in time for a coffee sitting outside watching the waves and birds. It is truly a hard life. We loaded with no trouble and I went up on deck by the wheel house to enjoy the ride when the Captain struck up a conversation. He had seen me come aboard and he was a rider. He had a BMW so we talked most Ausable Chasm, Hwy 9 New Yorkof the way across the lake. Landing in Port Kent was not a problem nor was finding the correct road. Shortly after getting off the boat I saw a sign about Au Sable Chasm, and that is what this is. It is going to take this some time to drain Lake Champlain. I headed down the back roads for a bit until all I was doing was riding under the interstate and having to contend with traffic so I jumped on the big road and got it done. I had no problems hooking up with the daughter and son-in-law and we had a couple of days of nice visiting. We also took a hike on what is called the Indian Ladder Trail which is a nice scenic hike close to Albany. The next day I did a bit of interstate until I got to a place where I could make something approaching time on the back roads. This is a very scenic area. The area is essentially the remains of the very old Appalachian Mountains. The remains are a bunch of ridges that have been bent, folder, faulted and eroded. What are left are ridges that form arcs running mostly north south. They run the roads in the valleys and don’t figure on making a lot of time. I rode across New York into Pennsylvania, did a bit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and just a little south of Cumberland Maryland I turned right on Highway 50, the very same one that I have ridden across Nevada, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. When I hit Hwy 50 things changed. Instead of running with the valleys this road cuts across the ridges. This part of 50 is a great motorcycle road. It goes up down, around and everything else fun plus it doesn’t carry much traffic. And there I was with dirt tires on the BMW and it was late in the evening when all of the little critters start to come out. Mailbox art, Hwy 50, West VirginiaThis little critter was sitting out beside the road. He was not in any danger from the traffic. As with many of this type of thing, there was no explanation, he was just there. I called it good in Grafton WV. and checked into an interesting (and the only) motel in town. I was directed to a decent restaurant where I scored my first actual honest to God glass of ice tea since I had left Nebraska and they came around asking about refills. That made up for a lot. I almost started believing John Denver about it being almost heaven. Back at the motel I found out that I had new, never been used, sheets and I made it through the night with no  problems. Learning how to  sleep on the back deck of a tank in the monsoon while they fired the main gun has served me well throughout my life. The next morning there was no coffee in the room or lobby, but then there was no lobby. I stopped on the way out of town at a restaurant with a bunch of trucks parked around it. It was decent. The weather was looking nasty and I climbed into the rain gear, Harley pants and all. It sprinkled just enough to get the road slick and after about an hour cleared up and I got out of the gear. Highway 50 turned into a 4 lane by Athens and I headed south on back roads, slow but nice riding. Everything was green and growing the corn looked good and the cows happy. I crossed into Kentucky at Maysville and picked up Hwy 62 which is the same highway that goes through 23rd and Penn in OKC.Tobacco in Bloom and storm coming in, Hwy 62 Kentucky Initially 62 was very much a back road, narrow, up, down and around. I stopped by a blooming tobacco field to climb into the rain gear. Again, it sprinkled, nothing serious but it was warm in all that gear. Around about Lexington things changed. I was in horse country, very well cared for horse country with lots of big farms, neat field, fences, long drives. Might as well be dollar signs on the mailboxes. Eventually I ran out of that and it just got boring. I dropped a bit south and picked up the Kentucky Parkway and rode that over to Beaver Dam Kentucky and called it good. Ferry Across the Mississippi, Hickman Ky to Dorenna Mo. I wanted to get to the house today so I hit the road early. I was heading for Hickman to catch the ferry across the Mississippi.  This ferry runs from Hickman Kentucky to Dorena Missouri. I have taken this ferry several times and as far as ferries go this is not much but it is a good way to cross the river. After getting off the ferry it was 20 or so miles to where I picked up Hwy 62 and headed across Missouri and Arkansas. Hwy 62 is a road that is suffering from success. In years past it was a nice two lane road across the top of Arkansas with lots of twists turns ups and downs. Not so much anymore. The economy is and has been booming along its route. A lot of it is now four lane and it carries a bunch of traffic. So I rode on and gave up 62 in favor of Tulsa and the turnpike and eventually wound up in OKC. And so this ride is over. Start to finish is was a little over 8000 miles of mostly great riding. South and North Dakota and the sweeping fields were a sight. The highlight without a doubt was the ride across Labrador. Some parts were better than others, but they were all good. There were a couple of days where the weather did not cooperate but that always happens. Other than a headlight bulb there were no mechanical issues which is always good. The bike was happy to see its stable mates and was rewarded with a through going over with valve adjustments, oil and filter changes and it ready to go somewhere else.   Those Who Ride Are Consider Crazy By Those Who Cannot Feel The Wind