October 14, 2009
October 8, 2009
The trip accomplished the things I wanted to do - reconnect with some people that have been dear to us both for many years, visit some places in the US that are lesser known and might indicate something about life in the USA today, and fulfill a long-standing personal dream.
Since 1970 I have silently nursed the idea of having a motorcycle and it seemed like a practical way today to visit quite a number of folks scattered all over the central US. Ok, maybe it was more romantic than practical, but it still worked for me.
The bike miles covered were nearly 5000 from Houston to St Paul, then on to Ft Morgan and Denver, Colorado; finally down to Albuqueque, NM, over to Cottonwood, AZ and back (by pickup truck), then the last leg returning me to Houston on the bike. Commercial jet took me from San Juan to Houston via Atlanta for 4000 miles round-trip. Small planes took me from Vieques to San Juan, and from Ft Morgan, Colorado to Worland, Wyoming and back for something like 1100 miles. Auto and truck made up about 1000 miles, give or take a little. All in all, better than 11000...
Posted at: 03:14 PM | Permalink
Back in Vieques
October 7, 2009
returned today via Air Tran and Vieques Air Link. Still frustrated that the company hired to pick up the bike and deliver it to Jackisonville, FL for shipment here to Puerto Rico could not get a driver there yesterdayt NOR today. GRRRRR! We will see if indeed tomorrow somebody shows up at my friend Kevin´s house to pick it up. Worse than the unreliability is the lack of communication - no, LIES - from the company that holds the contract. Another painful learning curve here, it seems.
I will come in to edit this later after I get back connected to my spouse and home and neighborhood. That is tonight´s agenda, in that order.
Posted at: 05:31 PM | Permalink
Houston - finally!
October 4, 2009
Roughly 5000 miles and 2 months ago I departed from here, intending to make a giant circle to visit all kinds of places, people - family and friends.... Well it is done.
I left Albuquerque Saturday morning about 6:45AM just as the balloons were starting to fire up their propane burners over at the balloon park. I had cunningly located myself at friend Jim Fisher's house who lives near the edge of town and this made it possible for me to exit the city without confronting all those thousands of balloon gawkers on their way to watch the mass ascension. "Whew! " says I.
A carefully crafted route took me east on I40 just as far as Clines Corners, about 1/2 hour up the canyon and out onto the plains east of the Sandia Mountains. Turning south from there, I followed US 285 down to Vaughn, NM which looked suspiciously like a ghost town and then after a quick cup of coffee to warm me up - it was 36 degrees when I left the city! - I rode on south towards Roswell.
I nearly ran out of gas before arriving there - carelessly I presumed that there would be...
Posted at: 06:51 PM | Permalink
Back in Albuquerque, departing for Houston tomorrow
October 2, 2009
Wednesday I returned from Cottonwood, AZ and could have sailed smoothly all the way from Flagstaff with 30 MPH winds and gusting. The dirt storms and tumbleweed traffic was interesting to watch. When I reached Abq, my friend Dan put me to work at the Balloon Fiesta grounds where he was erecting signs and banners for a food vendor.
On Thursday I picked up the new valve cover from Sandia BMW and installed it. As I pulled out the 4 bolts to insert into the new valve cover, I noticed a broken rubber gasket around the corner bolt where the crack was located. A dash back to the BMW dealer got me a brand new bolt with gasket to replace it. Now I know the major source for the leak. It gives me great peace of mind to report 0 total leakage out of the new lashup.
Finishing a nice NM style lunch at Sadie's Restaurant in the North Valley (an old favorite of ours), I motored over to the Balloon park to see how Dan was getting along. That took care of my afternoon; but we completed the signage and had everything all set for the start of the...
Posted at: 11:21 AM | Permalink
September 28, 2009
Out walking at sunrise, the horizon has a spectrum of orange-red colors stretching from the hills east of Sedona which lies to the north all the way south and east. The sun itself comes above the low hills to the east like a stroboscope, with a bang!
An hour of walking along the "Old Jail Trail" is rejuvenating as I wound along the river, scaring up a few mourning doves. A cup of coffee in Old Town gives me a sense of the local agenda - 2 guys are bemoaning the fishing situation in AZ and complaining about how the State Game & Fish Dept has wasted their budget not stocking the right fish in the right places.
Many empty store fronts along Main St testify to the recession, but a lot of trinket and souvenir stores look to be still doing business. A real estate office has a large sign, "Free list of repo houses" to make it clear this area is not exempt.
A guy sitting at a sidewalk cafe tells a funny story on himself about his efforts to get rid of a troublesome gopher - exhaust hose from a car, flares in the holes, several poisons,...
Posted at: 10:13 AM | Permalink
Side trip to AZ... the countdown to departure
September 26, 2009
and now for something different... off to AZ finally! What a struggle this has been. Our friends Connie & Michael have been patiently waiting, expecting me to show up since last weekend.
Being now a bit more prudent (after the collision in Colorado), I am borrowing a friend's truck and improving my odds against the semis that stream along I 40 from Albuquerque to Flagstaff, AZ.
When I return from AZ later in the week I will install the new valve cover and finally eliminate the oil leak, then get ready to return to Houston where I started from nearly 2 months ago.
The next stage is shipment of the bike to Jacksonville, FL where she will board a ship bound for San Juan. I meanwhile will fly home on the 7th of October to a happy reunion with my wife and a recovery from the rigors and joys of this trip.
Thanks to all who have offered suggestions and comments on this blog and supported me through my occasionally crazy moments along the way. There will be about 800 miles next weekend to get me back to the starting point, so keep a good thought until the very terminus,...
Posted at: 08:50 PM | Permalink
Abq, NM - recovering from the crash
September 22, 2009
Starting out from Alamosa, CO yesterday morning early in thick fog - 36 degree temperature also - I stopped to check my JB Weld repair just 20 miles down the road and found the leak was about 4 oz of oil in that period - too much! I then decided NOT to take the winding mountain road over to Chama but to continue straight south and head either to Santa Fe and get help or else Albuquerque.
I made good time and enjoyed the morning - although my spirits were dampened by watching the steady drip of oil off the valve cover on the right side. It blew back onto my boots and the pants of my riding suit and covered the right side of the bike from the engine back. Ugh!
At Espanola, NM I called my friend Dan Mowery of Rader Awning and asked to use his shop to repair the bike - intending to take off the valve cover and put on JB Weld on the inside to attempt to seal the crack. He generously offered to make space available and offered to put me up in a 5th wheel trailer parked next to his shop.
Posted at: 01:56 PM | Permalink
The road S through Colorado
September 20, 2009
Denver to Cottonwood, AZ an eventful 2 days.....
Leaving Denver Saturday morning proved to be a struggle. I ate a large breakfast with my friends Don & Nancy. Packing up the bike, getting a lunch together, saying good-bye and getting a few photos taken (more on that later) made it 9:15 before I hit the road out of town. US 285 - the route over the mountains and south, was a steady stream of cars traveling up towards Fairplay and continuing south. Leaf-gawkers, a woman from CO called them.
The aspen have turned in the hills and along the roads. It truly is a spectacular sight. The opportunity for photos taxed my brain - I got a couple but not as many as I would like. Every bend in the road brought a new vista.
The weather after getting up on the high plains was cool but sunny. I paid the highest price yet for gasoline - $3.00/gal in Fairplay and then 40 miles down the road noticed a price drop of about that much. Go figure.
I got nailed in a cunning speed trap. A state trooper pulled out just ahead of me and I followed him sedately of...
Posted at: 07:36 PM | Permalink
Departing Denver bound for?
September 18, 2009
Due to an ugly weather forecast, I am leaving tomorrow heading S. Depending on the weather I see on Sun morning, I may head across the mountains to Durango and then down into AZ or else continue S from Alamosa, where I plan to stop tomorrow night - Saturday.
This abrupt departure means some plans get abandoned here. My good friend and Dharma brother Don Morreale is giving a talk on Sunday at the Colorado Insight Meditation Society. But just as we found cruising on the sailboat, when the weahter takes an ugly turn, you better take notice. A war with the weather is not to be undertaken lightly!
Posted at: 09:34 PM | Permalink