Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Here we go!

I am going to set out on Friday and try my best to circumnavigate Lake Huron in 24 hours. You may or may not have heard of the Iron Butt Association. Basically it is group of 50,000 riders who are most likely the "World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders". Over the years I have made many of the qualifying rides, but never documented anything. August 26th will be the day I attempt to ride and document 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) in 24 hours or less. 


Iron Butt 24 Hour Saddle Sore on Roadtrippers

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Blue Ridge Parkway




Shot this video as I entered the Blue Ridge Parkway from the South End at Cherokee, NC. I cannot begin to describe the colours, smells and serenity felt from this ride. Almost 500 miles of this ridge line twisty that I did not expect to be as stunning and fun as it turned out. Most of this was at over 6000 feet with the roads edge looking down thousands of feet. It was a very spiritual experience and the very reason for riding.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Gulf of Mexico

Riverside Walk on Mississippi, New Orleans
Few nights in New Orleans as Laura wrapped up a conference she was attending and we started our full trip together. Two great days strolling around the French Quarter. Based ourselves out of the Dauphine Orleans Hotel as we made our rounds. Morning walking tour with Pay What You Want - Walking Tours which was a great history lesson.  Chicory Coffee, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and jazz filtering out of every doorway you pass are just some of the memories.


Mexico Beach, FL
Packed up the panniers on Saturday morning and headed East across Lake Pontchartrain towards Mississippi Gulf Shore. Got off the interstate for a quick 40 minute thunderstorm which left us with blue sky for the rest of the bike trip around the gulf. 

From Louisiana to Mississippi then Alabama and into Florida. The scenic route on a hot sunny Saturday tried our patience. Highway 98 along the coast was filled with pickup trucks and stop lights. Biloxi, Mobile, Pensacola and every white sand beach town was being overrun by inlanders. Stopped for oysters and iced tea at Flora-Bama on the Alabama/Florida State line and then made haste to get on US 20 to avoid any more traffic.

Arrived in Mexico Beach around 7 pm and quickly found our room and something to eat in a beachside bar. Long hot day that was rewarded with a quick swim in the ocean and a cool soft bed at the Buena Vista Motel. 
Sunset Mexico Beach, FL


Tomorrow we will make our way to Savannah. Back roads through Northern Florida and into Georgia. Perhaps a little BBQ and more iced tea on the way....



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Then it rained...

I crossed back over the Mississippi for the fourth time in the last three days. After spending the night in West Memphis (Arkansas) and having dinner last night in Memphis (Tennessee) at Gus's World Famous Chicken. The goal for the day was to move down the river in the State of Mississippi. Follow the Mississippi Blues Trail from the Northern Delta to Vicksburg. 

Everything looked and felt great as I pulled off Interstate 55 onto Highway US 61 just south of Memphis. Half an hour later as Tunica came up on my right the cloud banks became thick and dark on the horizon. I pulled over on a side road and put away the sunnies, pulled on the rain jacket and pocketed the iPhone and wallet in my cut. 15 minutes later the rain began.

Over the last few years as Laura and I started riding together our bike and gear choices have become very comfortable. My point here is that with the new Sena 20S headsets, heated seats, heated grips and Aether Compass Pant riding in ugly conditions is not a problem.  

US 61 was moving a little too quick for me and I thought that I could find a little slower pace closer to the river. Found Mississippi Highway 1 and followed it patiently as the rain came and went over the next few hours. Corn fields and Historical Mounds became my travel companions as the traffic thinned out and the constant presence of the levee off to my right. 

Parking Lot in Vicksburg, MS
Singing away in my helmet I made the best of what mother nature threw at me. As I neared Vicksburg the storm peaked and water was bouncing off the highway. The motel staff had no problem checking me in a little early and we will get back the sunshine tomorrow.



Bluebird Day!

I was going to call it a Cardinal day and then I googled the Missouri State bird which is the Eastern Bluebird. The ride down the Mississippi was a gentle rollercoaster. Highway 61 South proved to be a perfect day. Rolling turns all the way down to the Missouri delta. Up and down side to side. Small river towns every 15 to 20 miles and a rev settling 55 miles an hour. Weaved in and out of this gorgeous landscape for 250 miles over the next 7 hours. With more than 1000 songs on my current playlist the new Sena 20S gave me a crystal clear soundtrack as I follow the river down to Memphis....

Early Morning on the Mississippi

Looking West from a lookout at Ste Genevieve

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pace

I find that is takes a day or two before I can settle into a rhythm. When I left Toronto on Saturday morning the rain and thunderstorm passed through at 4 in the morning and by the time I brought the bike up at 6:30 the bad weather had passed. Kept the rain gear on but shed it by the time I gassed up in Tilbury. Passport and little bit of cash handy for the border crossing in Windsor/Detroit which was a quick ten minute process, not the hour I had planned.

The next time I stopped for gas it was 12:30 and I was well into Ohio and 2 hours ahead of schedule. I guess this is the point...that word schedule is a problem. I need that shift in perception and quit living in the future, even if it is measured in half days. When I do find that pace and start smelling the fresh cut grass or the chicken farm well before I can see the coops, then I am finally present.

Just outside of West Lafayette, IN
Had the good fortune of being invited to overnight in West Lafayette, Indiana last night. My hosts John and Lisa very graciously prepared a fantastic steak dinner. We ate on their back deck overlooking a pond full of bullfrogs. At dusk the night was capped off by flickering fireflies creating quite a show on the well manicured lawn. 

Today I found that pace as I made my way west towards St. Louis. I managed to stay on secondary highways for more than 6 hours. The last couple hours I got on the interstate and crossed the Mississippi and a new time zone. Rinsed the bugs and road grime off my gear and gave the bike a good scrub as well. Tomorrow I will meander my way down the river towards Memphis. Laura flies out to New Orleans tomorrow where we will connect later in the week!

Indiana heading west towards Illinois



Monday, June 6, 2016

The Preamble

The five days before a big trip are always the hardest for me to sit still. I tend to pace a lot and go find 'things'. I like to clean too. Most of this behavior comes instinctively. These mental quirks are probably habitual to most motorcyclists much the same as shoulder checking. Making sure that everything is in its place and no major surprises in our blind spots.

Saturday morning I hope to have kickstand up at 6:30 and head towards Indiana. Connected with a friend from high school who offered a bed and barbeque. Laura flies down to New Orleans on Monday and I will see her on Wednesday ( or Thursday if the roads are winding ). 

The beginning of 'Things'

In the meantime I need to focus on work and keep moving forward in each day. Try not to get too caught up in the excitement and anticipation that fuels the hamster wheel in my head.