Delaware

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Since I was close I decided to stay the night in York Pennsylvania and visit the Harley Davidson York operations where they assembled my CVO street glide in 2009. What, no cameras or phones allowed inside? Guess they are afraid the competition will learn something. Since no pictures allowed and tours had to be scheduled I elected to take a few pics from the outside and buy the shirt.

york operationsyork operations 1

Now deep into Pennsylvania and when on the back roads I am seeing manure on the roadways, it did not take me long to figure out where it was coming from.

amishWhere is the Amish Mafia? I am in Lancaster County where the TV show was based but no signs of the dickhead Eli. Easy to tell which farms are Amish with the clothes hanging on clothes lines. They also have huge barns and huge gardens with most having a few goats, cows and chickens hanging around. All are very neat in appearance.

tidy farmtidy farms

Have to ride slow on these hills, it will wake you right up coming over the top of a rise and seeing a slow moving horse drawn cart in the middle of the road. I gave them plenty of right of way but the locals seem to enjoy seeing how close they can get to them and how fast they could pass them, kind of like how bikers handle the  pedal heads in and around Boulder where I live.

I better figure out how to do Delaware since I will not be this close again so back into Maryland and some backroads to Delaware when I came across this old church and community.

rock creek preb churchNow that is an old church, yet looks somewhat modern.

rock creek chu rock creek church

Skirting around Philadelphia to Delaware was a trick but I was able to find back roads and a laid back enjoyable ride.

delaware

Found a spot on map that looked interesting and can now mark Delaware off the 48 state list. Really enjoyed the time spent in this area around Delaware City.

central hotel delaware canal harbor delware city streetWell from here, I am not sure where I am headed, but I am on my way.

where im going

Get out of jail free card

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

“Hey Bruce, I think I am close, give me some directions.”

“Just go straight from where you are at about 50 miles and look for the yellow 39 flattie in the front yard and the downed trees.”

Downed trees, wasn’t sure what he meant by that but oh well go with it. I am in central Maryland now and the buildings show architecture from the late 1700’s and early 1800’s mixed with new mini malls all on narrow roads. The roads were built for horse carriages and often the buildings consisting of barns and carriage houses were a foot of the road now trying to carry automobiles.  Following the route through the tidy towns is anything but straight and the route signs show up at the corners where you need to turn and not a block before so I am constantly going around the block to get back on track.

cool building

I know Bruce said I was only 45 minutes away but he doesn’t know me that well and I learn later that 45 minutes to Bruce is an hour and half to most people and 2-3 hours for me. There is a lot to see in this area.

delaware house

Bruce and I met on line through one of the many Motorcycle circles I am involved in. He and a buddy of his were looking for a spare motor for a 1930-36 Harley to use on the 2014 Cannonball Endurance run which is a rally of over a 100 pre 1936 motorcycles going from Daytona Beach Florida to Tacoma Washington. The endurance run now on its 3rd rally is 4300 miles in 17 days and something I would love to do myself but timing,  money  and the limit of 100 riders with many on a waiting list would keep me from doing this year. I had a spare 1930 Harley motor and though this would be a great way to be part of the rally so on line I offered up the motor. One thing lead to another and now here I am in Maryland about to meet Bruce for the first time. Much more on the Cannonball Rally to come in later posts so stay tuned.

A tornado in Maryland? I found the downed trees in Bruce’s yard and the yellow 39 ULH Harley Flattie

1939 ULH HD Flattie

1939 ULH HD Flattie

trees down in bruce yardLuckily for Bruce they blew over away from his house and into the street but you can see the neighbor across the street wasn’t so lucky.

“I got some stuff lined up if you want to do it, I got a friend with some old bikes, too late to go towards DC to my shop or we could go to this place near DC where I got  friend in a band playing or we could go see some other bikes at this bar and then we could go to DC or we could just hang around here. Have you ate yet?”

Wow that was a lot real quick for my mind to comprehend. In the middle of all this conversation Bruce fired up the yellow 37 flattie on one kick and rode around back to the garage and the he rolled out the 58 pan police bike and started it up on two kicks.

” Tomorrow we got this birthday run with about 75 guys going, you won’t be disappointed, it is a real fun time. it a friend of mine’s birthday party and we started going to her house every year to celebrate and it just kind of turned into a annual run, it is a lot of fun.” During all of this Bruce sorted tools on the bench, rolled some more motorcycles around. “I know I got a float for a linkert around here someplace, it’s all I need to finish this 55 panhead, I tested this one and it is bad.”

1955 Panhead

1955 Panhead

By this time my head is rolling trying to keep up. ‘ Hey Bruce slow down, I am game for anything, but no I haven’t ate yet and I need to find a motel.”

“Oh hell no, I got an empty room and I already blew up a couple of air mattresses, it’s only me and my daughter here so you got your own bathroom and everything. It’s up to you.” Bruce showed me the room and the secret combo to the shop and lights in case I wanted to do some maintenance on my bike. How could I turn this down, I get to sleep with motorcycle parts, so I threw my sleeping bag down on the mattresses and said “Let’s go”

“Ok let me call PeeWee and see if he is around, he has some really cool old bikes and he has one I want and been trying to deal on. Here, load up my saddlebags with some beer and see if we can soften him up enough to deal, plus he is just a cool guy.” “Hello PeeWee, hey there this guy who loaned us a motor for the cannonball all the way from Colorado and we’re bring some brew and coming to see you.”

” Follow me” So Bruce fired up his only push button bike as he called it, a 67 shovel head. I could tell as soon as it fired up, it wasn’t just any old 67 shovel, it had spunk and bark and I would soon find out that following Bruce took all my fancy dancy new 110 cubic inch Street Glide could do. Not only did Bruce have a little Hot Rod, he could ride like the wind and ride he did counter steering around every curve of which there were many. We passed everything, broke the speed limit by at least 20 mph on every road. We hauled ass down the interstate then exited into a two lane that wound around the country club neighborhood passing fancy cars when there was the slightest opening and then over a hill, through a valley, through a forest and onto a one lane road but had two lane traffic and all of sudden we pulled into a driveway with a couple of old barns. Would have been nice to have looked around during the ride but if I ever lost sight of the back of Bruce’s bike, I would have been so lost I could have never found my way out.  We were at PeeWee’s.

“Hey PeeWee this is Cole.” Bruce started tossing beers out of his saddle bags, they were good and shook up. They opened theirs with no problem but when I opened mine it was a geyser! I felt so stupid. “Hey is there a trick to this or something!” Then I discovered that mine was not only shook up but was frozen causing the geyser of beer now spewing all over PeeWee’s shop. Showing them it was frozen allowed me to save face, hey the kid from Colorado knows how to open a shook up beer but nobody can open a frozen shook up beer without a geyser. PeeWee was a little cold towards me and I though it was because of the beer spewing episode.

“Hey Cole is riding all 48 states and he has a couple of panheads and some other bikes and some kind of really old….. Hey Cole what is that really old thing you have?” All of a sudden PeeWee warmed up a little. ” It’s a 1910 to 1912 American Imperial, here is a picture of it.’ I soon found out why PeeWee might be a little cold to strangers, he has to be with the stash and quality of the old bikes he has hidden away. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when he opened the barn doors. Pans, knuckles, flatties, from 1909 to 1965 and a couple of in lines and an extremely rare 1909 Excelsior .

very rare 1909

The bullshit was soon flying between Bruce and PeeWee and I was checking out all the bikes, asking dumb questions and listening intently to them and learning.  Somehow the conversation came up of the all original 63 panhead PeeWee’s wife found on Craigslist with only 3600 miles and they were joking that it even still had the original air in the original tires. As I looked around I didn’t see any 63 pan? “Oh it is in this other garage over here.” PeeWee opened the other garage and holy shit more bikes!

low mile panlow mile pan1

It was now dark and time to leave. “Bruce, does PeeWee have a last name?” Bruce thought about it for a few minutes. “You know, I have known PeeWee probably about 25 years and I don’t think he has a last name. Follow me.” Off we went only this time it wasn’t the same way we came in. Bruce was taking me to a bar with a grill so I could eat and the road was curvy, hilly and forested, damn please don’t let there be any deer. We were less than 20 miles from Washington DC and it was the deepest darkest forest I have ever been in. It was bike night at the bar and we rolled right up front and parked, Bruce walked in like he owned the place.  “Hey Bruce when you guys all ride together do they ever let you lead?”

Bruce had told me that he never out rode his brakes and I already had learned that he spends a lot of time hand fitting his brake shoes with his drums so he had excellent brakes for such old iron that he rode. He took it a little slower going back to the house, I think on my account. I slept like a log amongst the motorcycle engines, frames and tins in the room with me. The smell of cosmoline, motor oil and high test regular gasoline filled my dreams.

“I just got a call from my friend, the birthday run is off. My friend had a friend that got killed o a motorcycle last night and she is destroyed so the run is off.” I let that sink in while Bruce started making phone calls to others letting them know. Since he let his phone get wet the day before it would not come off speaker now so I got to hear all the phone calls. On the last call they were discussing what they were going to do now instead of the birthday run when his friend said he was thinking about going to the antique motorcycle auction in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. That caught my ear and was something I was interested in. “Hey Bruce, how far is Harrisburg?” Bruce thought about it for a bit, looked at his watch and said 90 miles, if we leave now we could get there before the first bike rolled across the block in an hour. I did some quick math in my head….. Bruce pushed in the 58 panhead police bike and pulled out a push button bike. Hey Bruce, I know that is a 58 but why do you have 59-60 tanks? “Cuz I hate the cheap plastic 57 and 58 tank emblems and I like the metal 59-60 emblems better.” I thought about how much money I recently spent on the cheap plastic 58 emblems for my 58 pan.

58 with 59 tanks‘Hey Bruce, didn’t you say it was about 90 miles to Harrisburg and the auction starts in an hour?”

“Yeah, follow me”  Off we went and in nothing flat we were at the Pennsylvania state line where Bruce pulled over.

‘You see them hills over there awhile back where the 3 helicopters were flying? That was Camp David.”

“Is that why we stopped?”

“No we stopped to take these dam helmets off, Pennsylvania is a helmet free state, lets go I know a back way into the auction where we won’t have to pay parking, we just have to ride on the sidewalk for a bit. Follow me.”

I noticed Bruce slowed down since we hit Pennsylvania. We were 10 minutes late and the first two bikes had already rolled across the block. A good thing I had no plan to be here or I would have pre arranged a bidders number, stuff was going cheap!

auction

The best bike there was this 1956 original paint panhead, it wasn’t so cheap but still a good deal for what it was. I later meet the guy who bought it in Davenport.

56 0p panHow about a 1885 daimler motorcycle. It was an exact replica, not sure if the real thing even exists.

1885 daimler

There were so many 50’s and 60’s panheads there it seemed like the money ran out and the later ones went for really fair dollars. Why didn’t I get a bidders number, damn. There was a speciality car auction the day before and the cars that didn’t sell at that auction were still on the floor. I found my favorite, a 1961 Chevrolet Impala, 409 with a four speed. Think “shes so fine my 409”

61 409 61 bubble 61 interior

We stayed until the last bike rolled across the block and had a great time. I had the best time over the last two days and learned so much about the area and motorcycles and gained a life long friend.

“Hey Bruce, did you slow down in Pennsylvania because of me? I noticed we were only going 10 mph over the limit once we hit the state line.”

“Oh I thought I told you? My little brother is head of the Eastern half of Maryland Highway patrol, I kind of have a get out of jail free card in Maryland. He always told me the reason he  became a cop was to keep assholes like me off the highways.”

With that I went east and Bruce went west, both smiling and riding hard.

Never what you think

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Just like work, the blog is soooo far behind and the longer I procrastinate the harder it will be to catch up. Just like work the only way to get ahead is buckle down and get with it. So much has happened since the last post and I want to write about the stuff that is fresh on my mind but the blog doesn’t flow right so I will try to mix the old with the new and catch up quickly.

I am sitting beside the Mississippi river in a roadside park writing this now and paging back through the daily diary and picture folders to write the past when I come across one of my favorite quotes by William Least Heat Moon from the book Blue Highways.

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do-especially in other peoples minds. When your travelling, you are what you are there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”

It is what I love the most about the trip, everyday is a new day and my eyes are opened. Meeting new people everyday who do not know me and I do not know them, no expectations from either side. Sometimes (more often than not) a friendship is struck that will last for years and sometimes I can’t wait to get away from them. My preconceived perceptions of what this world is and what is out there gets blown away everyday. What you see on TV, read in books and hear on the radio is not the real world. The real world has to be touched and felt with all your senses and then you may still never understand it so you must go back again and again. Nothing is ever what you think on the road. Never believe what you hear, half of what you read and believe what you see, touch and feel while understanding there is what you know and what you believe and the two can be totally different.

Another Barn quilt, I still hope this catches on across the west side of the Mississippi, they all catch my eye.

barnquilt

When I left Kentucky I followed the Ohio River and the roads and the small river towns equaled anything I had ridden on the Mississippi. I was aware of a bike rally  called Mountain Fest going on in Morgantown West Virginia so it was kind of my destination. Next thing I know I am crossing a bridge and in West Virginia. Cool another state I have never been to.

west va bridge

As soon as I hit the Morgantown are I felt right at home amongst all the oil field traffic. I knew there was a boom going on here but wasn’t expecting it to be this bad (or good depending on which side of the business you are in) and quickly learned not to follow any trucks which were carrying gravel. It was like it came out of nowhere, one minute a leisure filled ride along the river roads and rolling hills and the next minute shit all over the road, trucks on my ass, trucks in front and trucks coming off the side roads at 90 mph entering the main road without slowing down. I pulled over into the first gas stop to get my bearings and for a minute I thought I was back at work in North Dakota or something.

oil field trashSaw more road alligators in this area than any other state or place I have been in so far. Road alligators are the pieces of tires that lay in a roadway after somebody had a blowout. They are one of a motorcyclists worst nightmares. It is obvious DOT is lax here and I couldn’t wait to get out of the area.

Between the oil boom and the motorcycle rally Morgantown was jammed and I just followed motorcycles until I ended up at Triple S Harley Davidson where a band was playing and lots of rumble from the bikes.

triple s party

A pretty girl was sing country rock on stage and hawking her CD’s in between songs but I did not buy. I was there to see a certain antique bike that I knew was on display inside the store. When I was trying to learn how to pedal start a hundred year old Harley I found a utube video of a 1914 Harley being pedal started and it was on display at Triple S Harley in Morgantown West Virginia. Much to my dismay it was displayed on a ledge about 20 foot in the air so even getting a good picture was a challenge.

d wasserman hd

Out in the parking lot though there was this couple zipping around on a 1959 Harley Panhead which was pretty cool. Since I am building a 1959 Harley now it would have been nice to take some more pictures of it but they zoomed out the lot and never came back. Nice to see those old panheads being ridden.

old pan

I know Harleys are tough and big and mean and built to carry a lot of weight but I felt sorry for this sportster. At first I thought it was a mini bike but no it was a full size motorcycle. I will give the gal riding it credit because she could ride.

poor sportster

I found out that most of the action was at some fairgrounds and Ted Nugent was playing so I went to check it out. The ride was through some pretty good rolling hills and back roads to get there and since my room was a long way from there I decided I would have to forego seeing Ted and then trying to find my motel in the dark. Next time I camp!

The next morning I was ready to get out of the city traffic and also away from the oilfield trash so I took the first backroad I could find leaving town. Great back road and somehow I was in Pennsylvania and then back in West Virginia crossing the Mason Dixon Line twice.

penn historicl signwest va historical sign

A lot of American History in these two old markers. I wanted to get out this way to experience some 1700 American history and wasn’t expecting 1600 American history. So am I in Mason or Dixon now or south of or north of? Love these old historical markers. My mother said I called them hysterical markers when I was little.

mason dixon line sign

I was cruising this neat little town in Pennsylvania called Port Marion when I saw all of these old cars thru a window. Thinking it was a museum I went around the block, parked and tried to get in but the door was locked. The sign said Jordan Auto parts

jordan cars

I am a motorhead and I had never heard of a car called a Jordan. this place had at least 10 of them I could see through the windows. A quick google search said they were made in Cleveland from 1916 until 1931. They were made with an assortment of components from other manufactures and never really caught on. This building was obviously part museum and part supply house for others who restore Jordans.

building full of cars

I was headed for Maryland expecting the whole state to look like Baltimore I guess and was blown away by the views the woods and the hills. This was the view from the first roadside stop.

maryland

And this was the view from the second roadside stop. Not what I was expecting but certainly happy about the discovery.

maryland gap

I fell in love with the towns and riding the main streets through them. The old buildings, little ma and pa storefronts and friendly people at the stops made Maryland one of my favorite places so far.

cool old townscool old towns1

The only drawback was the cost of everything as there was obvious a high tax on things like gas, cigarettes and liquor. Those are the things I bought so I assume the rest of goods are higher also. I am sure it has a lot to do with being right next to DC and the tax tax tax attitude of Washington rubs off on the states closest to it. I had to get more money and could tell I was being watched, maybe it was NSA?

always being watched

The Letter

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

So I wrote a letter to a really good friend of mine last night. It wasn’t really a letter but an email, I just like the sound and feel of “I wrote a letter.” In the letter I told him that I wish time would slow down. While I am having a great time, I feel like I may run out of time and not make all 48 states before it snows or my promised date to go back to work. I may have bitten off more than I can chew and starting to feel like I am not enjoying the journey like I should because I am started to plan out the routes, making decisions on dates of where I need to be when and it is all starting to stress me out.

My friend wrote back. In his response, he said I was reminding him of his dad. A farmer who plans his whole day around dinner which he eats at the same time every evening. He will not start a new task if it may interfere with his dinner time. He will not go somewhere if the travel back will put him past his dinner time and all along he really could eat dinner anytime he wanted but his routine and comfort level has not let him realize it anymore. He told me to quit worrying about it, I had time.

My friends response stung! Me; Mr, Free planning the trip around a schedule, riding hard every day to make a planned stop for the day and missing the journey. Thanks friend, you are right, I have the time.

“Do you know why I stopped you?”

“Uhh no.” I knew I wasn’t speeding, hell I saw him in the medium from the top of the hill and made double damn sure I didn’t speed. I had just hit the main highway after leaving the “the tail of the dragon” and I could tell he was checking me out pretty good when I went by. My feelings were right, he pulled in behind me and then passed me and waved me over.

“I stopped you because it appears you are riding without a helmet and North Carolina requires a proper helmet for all motorcycle riders”

” Uhh, this is a helmet sir and I was wearing it.”

He grabbed my helmet, examined it and said ” it is a novelty helmet and not a proper helmet. Colorado requires helmets, do they let you get by with this?”

“No sir Colorado is not a helmet state.”

He took my license, registration and told me to stand in the ditch away from my bike. At least 50 motorcycles went by with over half wearing novelty helmets. Novelty helmets are light weight, mostly plastic non DOT approved that a lot of bikers wear when in a helmet required state. The popular belief is that you wont be stopped or ticketed for them as long as you are not breaking any other laws.

The officer came back and handed me a ticket for not wearing a helmet. He seemed pissed when he said ” You were right Colorado doesn’t require a helmet, I googled it.  The ticket cost me $161 bucks and I have a feeling if he had been right and I had been wrong he might have just give me a warning but at least he let me ride off and didn’t take my bike. I promise this will be the last helmet story. I rode to Asheville Harley Davidson the next day and bought me a real helmet so between the ticket and the new helmet I am out about $350 bucks. It was hard to let the old one go, after all it was customized with flat black paint and cool stickers, but I left it at the Harley shop in the rain.

At least I had entertainment while I was at the Harley shop. Meet “Tank” the skateboarding bull dog

tank the skateboard dogGoogle the skateboard bulldog and you will find Tank gliding along on the skateboard like a pro and when he is done he grabs it on the side and takes it back up the hill. Note the chewed up sides of his board. According to the owner, Tank doesn’t like skateboarding in the rain so they loaded up and left. I tried to get a good pic of Tank riding in his special built carrier on the back of the Harley but Tank had his ass to me.

tank headed out

Riding downtown Louisville Kentucky in the middle of a workday, don’t know what the hell I was thinking but seemed like a good idea at the time. Was really drawn to the old buildings and I knew it would start raining any minute. At least in town there would be plenty of places to shelter if the rain got really bad instead of out in the country looking for horse ranches where I really wanted to be.

row houses louisville Lots of red brick row houses line the way to the middle of town. Lots of people and cars line the way once you are downtown, but it is one cool downtown.

downtown louisvilleThis hot dog motorcycle I am riding overheats in stop and go city traffic so I looked for a road that I could move on and cool the air cooled motor off. The road I found actually took me to a bridge which crossed the Ohio river and landed in Jeffersonville Indiana which was a pleasant surprise of a town and the view of downtown Louisville looked even better from this side of the river.

louisville from indiana

The old bridge across the river is really neat.

bridge across ohio

I realize now that I am really on a sabbatical as I checked my on line banking today and see my vacation has ran out and they quit paying me at work. Ouch!  I was kind of hoping they would forget and keep paying me, then we could argue about it later on whether I had to give it all back or not.

“Wow, they should see you coming easy enough!”

I am getting that a lot about the bright orange color I recently painted my motorcycle.

“Well that isn’t all bad, it not like I am robbing banks or something.”

The guy laughed and said, no you wouldn’t  want to use that for a getaway vehicle after robbing a bank.

Little does he know I have my eye on the Northfield bank in Minnesota, hell them blockheads up north want even notice will they Bob and Jim.

Kentucky! Horse Ranches! That is what you think of when you think Kentucky isn’t it?

horses in ranch

And Kentucky had some mighty fine ones with huge majestic barns and fences.

horse ranch 2

I especially love the stone fences that go with a lot of them around Lexington.

stone fences

Came across this really old church with a graveyard out back that blew me away. Lots of markers from the 1700’s. The church appeared abandoned and run down as was the cemetery itself. Let the pictures tell the story.

church and old tombstones

bell in church

inside church

I took the picture of the inside through a broken window. See the ghost playing the piano? Outside more gravestones tuned over and broken.

old cemetary

While some of you are still looking for the ghost in the picture would the rest of you look at this car pic and tell me what kind of car it is?

what kind of car

Rolling to West Virginia. “almost heaven” C’mon, you know you singing it!

How did I get here

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Jump ahead; I am writing this blog from Sturgis South Dakota during the 74th annual Sturgis Bike Rally. The blog is still geographically in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. Seems like the first day I have slept in and woke up wondering how the hell did I get here?  I have been gone now for 50 days and have made it through 33 of the 48 states I plan to do this ride. Already the hot summer days of Texas and Louisiana seems like a distant memory as I ride the cool rainy weather I am in now. All I know is I got here mostly by back roads and each one was very different and I wished I had more time to do the ones I regretfully rode past.

back road

WHEELS THROUGH TIME MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM

The last time I was here it was not near as crowded and I was only able to spend a half day. This time, lots of people which is partially due to the popularity of antique motorcycles which is growing thanks to shows like American Pickers and American Iron Magazine. Even Wheels thru Time has their own show on the Velocity channel called “Whats in the Barn”  I spent the night in Maggie Valley and scheduled so I could spend a whole day here this time.

in front of wtt

Getting ready to write this blog I went back and looked at all the pictures and I must have taken 300 or so of antique motorcycles and the details of the bikes. Very hard to just pick a few for this blog or to pick a favorite. Guess we start with this one, a 1930 Harley VL because I have one.

30 v

While I really like the colors on this one, mine is a different shade of blue and I have always wondered how close it was to the original color. Based on this next pic, I would say mine is pretty close because this one is spot on to the color of mine.

my color

My next favorite bike is an unrestored 1958 Panhead. I probably took 50 pics of the details on this bike alone. I have a 58 panhead which at one time was pretty correct and original when I got it. I was younger and a hot rodder so I dolled it up, painted it the color I wanted, added more chrome, ground welds and smoothed the frame. I probably screwed up as far as value, but at same time it has placed in 9 of the 10 shows it has been in and I can ride it when I want to. The current trend is to leave them alone and keep them crusty and rusty like this one.

58 pan

I am not sure how many bikes are in this museum but they all run. The caretakers Dale and Matt Walksler are whizzes and taking a bike that hasn’t seen daylight in 50 years and making it run while leaving all the originality on them. Much of their TV show is about just that, finding a bike hidden for years in a barn and in a few hours making it run again. Unfortunately, and I should have known this they were in Wauseon Ohio at the Antique Motorcycle races and swap meet while I was there so I did not get to visit with them. They were racing antique bikes and turns out Matt did very well. Oh well, see them in Vegas.

I left North Carolina in the rain, did a bit of South Carolina and then headed north still in the rain. Not wanting to ruin my new camera I left it in the saddlebag for the next two days keeping it dry. Gives me a reason to come back just to take pictures since I know I missed some great ones. There were places it was so foggy and raining so hard all I saw was the white lines on the road and then they disappeared. Oh crap road construction, no white lines, seems like I am just going up and up and up and have no clue where the hell I am. Eventually I was at the top, pulled into a closed gas station to dry out and took the camera out to take this pic. No wonder I am chilled.

58 degrees

This house was for sale and I wanted it.

for sale bristol

Probably a little to expensive and fancy for my taste. I could maybe afford this one and it is more my style, just needs a garage to make it complete.

maybe afford this one

According to the sign, Daniel Boone made a road through here in 1775 and in 2014 Cole used this road to get to Kentucky. How cool is that! Thank you Daniel Boone!

monument corner

Okay, so I am on another forested backroad, imagine that.

backroads

I often stop and go hiking in the woods. I don’t know what I am looking for, just like the feel of it and maybe will stumble across a bear, a deer, some old marker. Mostly I just find poison ivy, chiggers and ticks. I wasn’t expecting orange mushrooms!

orange mushrooms

Maybe they were the reason I woke up this morning wondering how the hell I got here, what a strange trip it has been. God Bless America!

flag bike

Smokin the Smokies

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Don’t like the influences from the north corrupting your youth, then build your own college. In this case the southern 10 dioceses’ did just that. History of the school called them dioceses but in reality it was 10 southern states; Al, Ark, Fl, Ga, La, Ms NC, SC, Tn and Tx. The called it University of the South now normally just called Sewanee. It sits on the Cumberland Plateau and is one of the most beautiful college campus’s in the United States. Me being a Westerner I did not have a clue what I stumbled on when I pulled off the main road and entered the campus. I didn’t know if it was a school, a town or a seminary. Turns out it is all three. Oh by the way, during the Civil War the North influenced their young again by blowing up a lot of the newly constructed college.

sewanee

The best places are those found by accident and just like the University of the South was found by just following an interesting looking road, so was the road deep into a canyon where I found a moonshine still. A really large moonshine still operating legally  today. I have never tasted Dickel, but after discovering this beautiful place at the end of the road in Cascade Canyon, a bottle is in my future.

gorge dickel

All of the workers were smiling too, even the gate guard, must be a great place to work. I am sure they wouldn’t be smiling if they still had to work these old mechanical smashers.

smasher

dickel brewery

I am riding through the Cumberland Mountains and now in Georgia and start noticing all these marble buildings. Turns our this area is known for it’s very desirable rose colored marble. The Tate house now used for weddings and other functions was built with this beautiful marble.

marble house

university of south church

Seems like all the old rail road depots have been restored or converted into something else. This one still exists without restoration. You just know it has some stories.

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university of south church Almost forgot, if you want to see the Chattanooga Choo Choo, take money! I fought my way downtown Chattanooga just to see the train and take a pic. Downtown was really cool but the train is hidden from any street views and after checking out a few public parking spots, I could not find one I trusted with all my gear packed on so I gave up. Disgusted, I went to the park on the river instead and changed the name of the Delta Queen to the Chattanooga chug chug paddle boat. Somebody write a song about it.

delta queen

The Rockies are not the only mountains in the United States, yes they are the biggest but you have the same feel down here except instead of pine, aspen and trout you have 100 different kinds of trees and fish.  Event though the highest point in Georgia is less than the elevation where I live in the flatlands, this view feels like on top of the world to me.

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Again the tail of the dragon calls my name. 318 curves in 11 miles and often called the best motorcycle road in America. Somehow I made it to Deals Gap without a map (I just followed all the motorcycles), the official unofficial start point.

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Doesn’t hurt to take a pass by the tree of shame to see all the broken parts gathered from wrecks on the dragon, should keep me slowed down some.

tree of shame

I have friends who should never attempt this road since they can’t stand to be passed. I was passed by many a crotch rockets and I thought I was zipping along pretty good for a bagger! I did test the abs brakes more than once. Once you make it to the end, the reward is this view.

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I was in this area a couple of years ago and so impressed with the Smokies  I just had to come back. It is pretty easy to see where the name came from. This is my home for the next 3-4 days.

smokies smokingAlmost all of the tenants in this motel are on motorcycles. It is just a beautiful area to ride and hang out. If you need me, I will be in this place for the rest of the day and probably tomorrow!

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Nashville Revisited

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Had it not been for a few wrong turns, getting lost I might not have visited downtown Nashville. A few years ago I did not give Nashville very high marks due to the traffic and the heat. The traffic and heat is still prevalent (worst traffic so far other than Austin) but I was able to find shade on Music road otherwise known as Broadway. I give Nashville a high rating this trip.

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I was actually looking for the Harley shop and missed my turn so I took the next exit which happened to be Broadway, pulled into a gas station and took a look down the street. I couldn’t resist this old building which at first I assumed to be a church. No, it was Union Station, a magnificent building first commissioned as the grand rail station in 1900. Through the years and especially during WW II it served as one of the busiest rail stations in the nation. When the trains slowed and were replaced with other forms of transportation it fell into a sad state and at one time was all but abandoned. It is now an upscale hotel.

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Before I knew it I was on Music Row with all the other tourists and wanna be musicians who someday hope their music gets sold here.

earnest tubb records

And in their slow time they can be found playing here which is where I found my shade, Ice Tea and awesome hot wings along with awesome company.

tin roof

Seemed like every other store was a boot store. I did not realize that is where you went to buy boots and after looking at a few, it is not where I would go to buy boots unless you like fancy dancy $1000 dollar handmade boots assembled in Mexico.

1000 dollar boots

I really came to this area again not to go downtown Nashville but to do a little of the Natchez Trace Parkway which did not disappoint. If I had not actually been on this road I would not have believed this picture or a road this smooth and curvy.

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All of the brochures and advertisements for the Natchez Trace Parkway show pictures of a massive double arch bridge so I went in search of it. What a structure and work of art, I have to admit this picture is much better than the picture in the brochures.

dbl arch bridge After riding across it (twice) I had to find the bottom and see what it looked like from there.

dbl arch from under

The parkway is so nice and smooth it just begs you to twist the throttle and weave thru the curves, but you better watch out because it is the south and Buford Justice might just be waiting around the corner. He already has the Dukes pulled over.gen lee and cop car

Pull off the parkway into the towns along the way and experience history. There wasn’t even a building in Colorado when this one was built.

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This next building is actually on the Trace Parkway and was built in 1818 and 1819 and was owned by the ferry operator in the area. It is called the Gordon House.

gordon house

A local biker said Jackson Falls was a must see so I went looking for it. The steep hike down the hill to it had anticipation high but unfortunately Jackson Falls was just a trickle over rocks this time of year. It was still worth the hike though.

jackson falls

Walking back up the trail from the falls this tree jumped out at me. If it had been moon lit dark night and I saw this tree I would have nightmares for weeks. Two arms and a face waiting to grab you.

monster tree

I called it the monster tree. A little further up the trail was another tree that jumped out at me. I called it the naked lovers tree.

lovers tree

Is it any wonder I get lost? I had 5 seconds to read this sign (s) and decide which way to go.

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No problem, I like getting lost especially on this road.

more trace road

Extended Sunday Morning Post

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Mississippi Delta; heard of it, but never really put it together and never expected so much of it to cover Arkansas. A few years ago I crossed the Mississippi during flood stage in Saint Louis Missouri. It was roaring muddy water carrying with it everything in it’s path. Trees rolling down the river that could sink a boat. A few years later I went to the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota so I could say I walked across the Mississippi and I have ridden both sides of the river road from Minnesota to Memphis. This year I crossed the Mississippi the first time where it dumps into the Gulf of Mexico near New Orleans, I only crossed it  and didn’t ride the river road north. My perception of the Mississippi river and the surrounding area was of the upper half and it never crossed my mind how much that would change south of Memphis. A few days ago, I crossed it again in Helena Mississippi on my way to NW Arkansas. I was not prepared for the vast expanse of the Mississippi Delta.

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The Mississippi Delta

Instead of bluffs overlooking the river  and roads right next to the river that I had been on, this area was one gigantic flood plain. Fields of cotton and what looked like rice? There was no river road even close and the demographics were totally different. The recent flooding from the north around Minneapolis I have been hearing about on the radio must have finally made it’s way down river because most all the crops were under water and farmers were pumping their fields off using tractors and portable pumps.

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flooded

When I hear the words Mississippi Delta now, it will have a whole different meaning and I am singing about “when those cotton balls get a rotten, you can’t pick very much cotton” I even stopped and looked over some cotton gins, one of the first biographies I have read was about Eli Whitney and I wanted to be an inventor after reading it.

cotton fields

‘Hey, isn’t that how they mark shell casings after a shooting?”

markers

I thought about telling these two guys to slow the hell down! Tennessee patrolman still ride Harleys and I swear their exhaust was modified and louder than mine.

patrol on hogs

At one time the front half of this train car was a radio station, but is now a library. The back half is still in the same condition it was left in 1948.

train car

While I was going through the inside there were some girls in the old radio room taking voice lessons. The acoustics were pretty incredible. They sounded like angels as I walked through the library portion of the train.

Enter 1948 and travel by train. I can’t imagine sitting there or perhaps eating dinner at the table while someone was using the commode. Surely there was a curtain or something.

 

inside train car

I bet Casey Jones had his own private commode.

casey jones

Damn I love old trains but don’t think I can fit one in my garage, but look at the art in the whistle, bell and stack on this beauty ol 382 of Casey Jones fame.

train bell

And speaking of art, it is almost like the drips on this graffiti was placed strategically on purpose. Got a new camera and this was a test photo after I charged it up. I was gong to delete it but after looking at again, I like it enough to post it. Hopefully the blog pics are a lot better starting with todays post. The old camera was letting me down and I was so pissed yesterday when none of the 4th of July pics turned out.

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While the graffiti art is kinda cool, I really enjoy art like this old repurposed lamp. Yeah I learned that word from American Pickers.

old light

So much history in the south east part of the United States. I took a wrong turn and ended up in the parking lot of this Civil War Park. I was the only one there and even though it was hot hot, and I only intended to take a couple of pics of the cannon and leave, I was drawn by a magnet and walked the whole mile long walking tour.

parkers crossroadsThe place was called Parkers Crossroads and it was a battle the Confederates won. Worth the walk and just fuels the fire to read and learn more about the Civil war and it’s battlefields. I read the brochure while sitting on this stump stool. Going to have to make a few of these!

stump stool

 

While sitting there reading I kept hearing this bird sing an incredible song so I went looking for it. Thank you new camera because he really wasn’t that close. We don’t have these where I am from so quite a thrill for me. (and I am sure my friends from Missouri are shaking their heads.)

cardinal

Next to a cabin at the civil war site was this rose bush. A sign informed me that it was a Living Civil War -era relic. Many a soldier would plant a rose or take a cutting from their mothers rose bush to remind them of home and their mother. It is  cabbage rose and a was grown from  cutting off the original bush planted during the civil war. Old roses do not have the qualities of modern roses like shape, color or long blooming flowers but they do have a sweet perfume. I know the pic is not that great but the story is good.

rose bush

I’m lost and tired of the 4 lane so I get off on the next exit to figure out where I am and find a new road. There is an exotic sex store on the left with people in the parking lot and a dozen semi trucks parked. On the right is an abandoned gas station with an unmarked  Tahoe and a cop dressed in a swat uniform standing beside it. Guess which side I pull into?

The cop is standing on the passenger side of the Tahoe, I can’t really see him very well as I pull in on  the drivers side. I shut the bike off and dig in the saddle bag for my phone and a map. I expected him to walk around and check me out but as I look up I don’t see him at all. Oh well, maybe he is on the phone or something, it did look like he had something sitting on a concrete block, maybe a laptop or surveillance equipment checking out the action across the street. The windows on the Tahoe are tinted but my eyes focus and I can now see him and I also see him slowly pull the strap back on his holster, oh shit!

“Hey, I m just sharing your shade and looking at my map” I show my hands. That is when I heard the unmistakable whine of a puppy dog.

borador

The cop raised Boradors, half Border Collie and half Labrador and was meeting the new owner there to take this 7 week old cutie. For a minute, I was figuring out how to unload some stuff and make room for him on my bike, it was a long minute. He wanted to go with me too, I could tell!! I looked up the breed later and talk about a handful!

So we have  a geography lesson, trains, civil war history, antiques, birds, flowers and puppy dogs, is it any wonder I don’t make good time. You might not even know I was on a motorcycle ride reading this. Have no doubt, I am and I’m smiling!

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The people you meet on the road, not Elvis.

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

“Where you headed?”

“Just going, no where in particular, on sabbatical.”

In a motel parking lot in Alabama, the guy was loading up a mini van with the kids stuff. I didn’t pay much attention at first while I was loading my bike but after he asked the question I noticed the Arkansas tag on his mini van said “Persian Gulf Veteran” and then his wife chimed in.

“Yeah he did that once for a year.”

Now I was interested and the conversation began. Gary returned from the gulf wars, went through a divorce, cashed it all in, bought a new Harley and took off for a year. He was really in tune with what I was doing. Later in life he ended up in Oak Grove Arkansas and became a business man.

“I never grew up wanting to be a trash man, but that’s what I am.”

Gary owns a trash business that services Eureka Springs Arkansas a very lucrative market. We laughed about the trash man comment, but I think he appreciated that I understood it was a big deal and he was really a business man. Then he springs on me that he also owns a bar.

“It’s not really a bar, people just come there and drink, we have vet night often and you can’t miss it. It is at the 4 way stop in Oak Grove. If I am not there my wife usually is.” So if any of you happen to go through Oak Grove, tell Gary hi for me and I am sure you will be treated right. Oh yeah, he was on his way to Florida for a wedding but promised the wife and kids a short vacation with it since he will be taking off on his motorcycle later for a little trip up north. See you in Sturgis Gary!

Mushrooms in a tree stump, never saw this before!

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“You been to the museum yet?”

“Naw, I was going to go and then got turned around the other direction so didn’t go, maybe I go back. Is it crowded, I saw a lot of people go that direction.”

“Well. it can be crowded, but not usually, they got some really nice cars in there.”

“Yeah I imagine a few Cadillac’s huh, any old motorcycles?”

‘Might be some motorcycles, but mostly old cars.”

“Oh okay, I wouldn’t mind seeing Elvis’s panhead motorcycle..”

“Oh hell no, I’m not talking about Elvis house, I am talking about the car museum. I don’t promote Elvis cuz I don’t promote drug use and Elvis was a junkie!”

I was at Starbucks in Tupelo Mississippi, I thought I was hidden well enough behind by the dumpsters and under a shade tree, but here comes this old man driving up in a beat up truck. He was driving real slow and then once he spied me he stopped, blocking me off from getting out. At first I thought maybe he was a cop checking me out, hell maybe an undercover cop driving that old beater truck. Turns out he was just a lonely old man that used to ride motorcycles,  saw me and my packed up motorcycle and decided to stop and visit while being my personal tour guide. After he turned me away from going to Elvis birthplace he tried to get me to go see where Daniel Boone kept his horses. It is a parking lot now and there are no signs or anything but “By God I know for a fact that is where Daniel Boones horse corral was!”

So, how the hell did I end up back in Mississippi? Headed to Arkansas again, my favorite state to ride in and I need some cooler Ozark weather for awhile. This place is just begging for a picture!

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This abandoned gas station at Leslie Arkansas had no parking signs all over it but I didn’t see anyone around so I trespassed!

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I though that was just the neatest damn place to take a picture yet and then I came across this gas station!

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Those gas pumps are actually paintings.

I found my cooler weather for sure in Arkansas and I found a spot marked on the map with the highest elevation in Arkansas. Mt Magazine.

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I also found some stuff in Arkansas I would have rather not seen, but this is what trees look like after a tornado!

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And then an RV park

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This is the second trip to Arkansas where I cam across tornado damage right next to the road and I never viewed Arkansas as being in tornado alley.

Eventually I reach a destination in Arkansas where I know some people and decide to spend a few days with them on Beaver Lake. While there I insisted I name the hill that is on the land they recently acquired. It is a beautiful place and hills down here are called knobs.

“Chuck, does that knob show up with a name on any government maps or anything?”

“No, I don’t think so, I looked.”

“Well good then! I hereby declare the name of that thar hill, I mean knob and damnit the word knob is important here; Reverse Cowgirl Knob!”

And with a high five, a clash of the bottles it was done!

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So with a glass of fine whiskey, a fine cigar and sitting on his fine boat dock in Hoot Owl Holler, my best friend contemplates the naming of his knob.

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All is well in the world tonight with or without Elvis.

 

The Difference between Mississippi and Alabama

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

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” Hey Mister, this is a helmet state, just saying.”

Did that dog just talk to me?

Second time I have done this in last 3 days. I am wiped out by the sun, the heat and humidity by the time I am ready to quit for the day. Way to hot for camping out so I check in motel, unload the bike, throw everything on the bed, strip down and stand naked in front of the air conditioner. Eventually I cool off enough to realize I am hungry, throw the same stinky dirty clothes on, hop on the bike and head out in search for some local culinary sample. I have been riding Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana; all free states, no helmet required so I don’t wear it. Now I am in a part of the country that is almost all helmet required states, but I keep forgetting. This time, I was only a couple of blocks before the dog pulled up beside me and warned me. Yesterday I made it about 6 miles and had to sneak back to the motel to get it. I rode by 2 cops that either didn’t notice or were late for donuts because they both ignored me.

Forgot to mention yesterday about all the stuff on the road in Louisiana. At first I thought it was pieces of rubber tires until I saw them moving. I think they are cicadas and I killed a bunch which after I stopped to take this picture I learned they eat the dead ones.

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I have never been to an all Confederate Cemetery before so I follow the signs that lead me to one. When you live in the West as I have all my life you don’t really have any reminders of the Civil War like you do in the east and especially the south. I see something related to the Civil War now about every 30 or so miles and if I stop at all of them it will take 2 years to do 48 states.

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The difference between Louisiana and Mississippi is Mississippi has places to pull over and rest stops but not near as many as Texas. In Louisiana it doesn’t seem there is any state land and few city parks open to the public. Seems that every dry spot in Louisiana is private. The difference between Mississippi and Alabama; none that I notice from the road.

“Looks like you all packed up to go somewhere.”

I had heard him coming down the road, the clippity clop of horse hooves was unmistakable.

“Yep I am travelling.”

“Where to mister.”

“Everywhere.”

“Why.”

“Well that is a good question, and I reckon the answer is because I can and I want to see what is out there.”

“Out where?”

“America, you know the USA, I want to see all the states. You ever ride a motorcycle?”

“No sir, but I been riding horses since I was two. You ever ride a horse mister?”

“Hey ride that horse over here so I can take a picture.”

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Pretty sure this kid hadn’t been out of the county but in his own way, he really had his stuff together. He made a point to tell me he was going to the lake tomorrow! Today though he was Grand Marshall guarding the covered bridge hat just happened to be around corner from his home.

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I could see them eyeing me as I stood under the shade at a place called Peach Park. There were four of them and they all stood in front of the stone peach monument which must have been the center piece for the park. I was thinking how good some peaches would taste that were being sold in the parking lot, but I knew what the four lasses wanted when one of them finally got the courage to walk towards me.

“You want me to take your picture in front of the peach?”

“Would you please mister?”

“Why sure I would.”

Each one handed me their phone and promptly took pose in front of the peach statue. The first phone was like mine so I knew how to use it. The second was an I phone so I needed instruction which she gladly showed me all up personal and stuff. The third was another I phone and was already set up. They all smiled and chatted up like little school girls as I told them to say cheese, I mean peach. I took the first three and then picked up the fourth phone and to my surprise it had a picture of me on it!

” Hey I am not sure how to use this phone, it’s taking pictures of me!” I fumbled with it and there were a lot of pictures of me. “Hey there are a lot of pictures of me on here, I don’t know what is going on with it.”

“They all giggled some more and Mabel finally told the others she was taking pictures of me while I was taking pictures of them. “He’s cute she told the others.”

She straightened the camera out, I took the last pic and they started to leave.

“Oh no you don’t, not yet. Somebody has to use my camera now so I can get a pic of me with the Alabama Peaches!”

They fought a little about who would be in the pic and who had to take the pic, but guaranteed Mable was going to be in the pic.

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Gulf Ride

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

I should have studied more before I ended up here. I have only heard the names of some of these places along the gulf but never really knew anything about them. Maybe it is better this way, I am not prepared for the burning sun, the humidity and combined theory of the wet bulb or what they call the “real feel” on accuweather. I am not prepared for the geography or the demographics either, TV does not tell all.

I’ve heard of Port Arthur, seems like I know some people who said they worked around here in the gulf cost refineries but don’t remember them saying anything about a dying city. It all happened because some how I ended up on  US highway 287 which happens to also go by my house in Colorado so I thought it would be cool to see where it ends. I merged with US Highway 69 another highway I am fond of and both end in the Gulf of Mexico at Port Arthur Texas. I took a right and thought I had just entered a war zone. You could tell it was once a great city, but what the hell happened? Hurricanes, fires, explosions what? I rode down what was the main street in town and I was the only one there. Massive empty buildings with windows blown out, crumbling brick lots of barricades, very reminiscent of Cairo Illinois a few years back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALater that night I had to research and see what the hell happened. I found out the Hotel Sabine in this next picture has looked like this for 30 years and even the now mayor can’t really say why.

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It was once a great seaport city and rebuilt after early hurricanes so that wasn’t the cause of it demise. It has two of the largest refineries in the US on it’s back door and even with all the money being spent and made at the refineries none flows into the city. The once prosperous Port Arthur Savings building with its massive stone entrance is now locked. Notice the busted out and rusted windows above the entrance.

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The refineries and the people with the good paying jobs who work at them moved away to the suburbs. Why breath the fumes from the refineries everyday and then at night too. Why worry about the explosions and plant upsets that send toxic dust over Port Arthur, just move to the burbs, let the damn city die. For whatever reason there is still a mostly black small population that still calls Port Arthur home. Most don’t work at the refineries, in fact most don’t work at all. They bitch about the refineries, but apathy has set in and it ends there. The refineries make a half assed attempt at good will but my take is they really just wish people would move away so they didn’t have to worry about them.

It is what it is, but I was glad I stumbled into this in the middle of the day and not late evening because I would stay around here at night. Only one way to go now and I cross the causeway into Louisiana and head for Baton Rouge. I made Baton Rouge but like normal it wasn’t a direct route. It appears there are roads closer to the gulf than the interstate route to Baton Rouge so guess which one I take?

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Miles along the gulf sometimes almost next to the water where sand often covered the road, everything here is built on stilts, schools, public buildings and homes. White beaches for the most part and very little in the way of life moving including humans. A small town appeared and even the convenience store and bank was elevated with an offshore platform being built across the street.

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Wonder if it is for BP. Forgot to get gas in that little town and soon there was swamps on both sides of the road. Now and then there would be a break in the road and I would see a water way; the roads for the swamps. Getting a little worried now about gas and wondered if I should turn around, it sure doesn’t look like anything ahead that looks like civilization. I kept going.

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I stood out, I was the only one who wasn’t wearing shorts, muddy shoes, a camo hat with a fish hook in it. I did have the matching sleeveless sweaty dirty shirt.

” Man dat a pretty sickle, I see one just like dat in Baton Rouge, same color. Man I gonna get me a Dodge Challenger dat same color.”  I had to get out my coon ass interpreter I keep hidden in my pack that I use for work.

” Why don’t you get that sickle, it a hell of a lot more fun than a Dodge Challenger.”

” O man, I don’t know how to ride not sickle.”

” I am sure they would teach you at that Harley dealer”

“O man, I would kill myself, I can’t even drive ma boat, I flipped it the other day and damn near killed myself.” Everybody in the room laughed as if they knew the story.  “What you doing down here?”

“Just riding around, I am from Colorado.”

“O man, dat sound cool, how you like it?”

“I like it just fine.”

“No man, I said how you like it.?”

I suddenly realized they could understand me no better than I could understand them. It was also the first time on this trip I used a gas pump with no card reader, a sign these days you are in the woods; or swamps in this case.

Somehow the road ended up back to the elevated highways that are used down here. Everything is water so the roads are elevated for miles and miles. The only shade or pull off is usually just a small road that leads to a boat ramp under the highways and I take advantage when one comes along. It was at one of these that I saw my first gator in the wild. I was as excited about this as the first time I saw a bear in the wild. Eventually there were two and both seemed curious about me but never did get close enough for me to get a really good pic.

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Louisiana needs to work on their road signs, maybe it is on purpose so people do get lost but the only way I know where I am at is to follow the hurricane evacuation route signs which I assume to be going all north.  I go north and then hang a right, how the hell did I end up here in New Orleans!

I am a Bohemian and Carson Classic Motors

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

My parent, especially my mom often referred to me as a Bohemian. Being young and impressionable I learned to like it even though I had no idea at the time what it meant, all I knew was when used on me, there was a certain tone in their voice that told me it was good. Now I am in the Czech populated part of Texas and my grandmother would always say” I am a Bohemian from Czechoslovakia.” “I like to dance and sing”  and that was usually followed with a polka dance while she sang “In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here.” Loved those trips to grandmas house in Temple Texas so I return once again for those memories.

grandmas

Bohemian: Czech people and Czech language before the word “Czech” became prevalent. \

Okay that makes sense now, I am getting it. Grandma used to speak Bohemian all the time, especially when me and little brother were in trouble, but why did they refer to me as Bohemian?

Bohemian; may also denote “a socially unconventional  person, a person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.”

How did they know at such an early age? My boss (s) will certainly confirm the second definition. I found a Mockingbird feather on the porch of what was once Grandma’s house to confirm.

Here is a 48Biker approved tip when travelling. Car washes make excellent shelter when raining!

car wash shelter

Have been lucky so far this trip and haven’t had to use them much. Wanted to ride the hill country of Texas and have been dreading the Austin Texas traffic. It didn’t disappoint and thought my motorcycle was going to burn up with the stop and go traffic mixed with intense heat. Hell, I thought I might burn up with the stop and go traffic and intense heat, drank the last of my water 5 miles back and there is no good way to exit until I get through some of this. Finally can exit and this is my reward!

Slurp

Of course I fight off the dreadful “Head Freeze” although very unsuccessfully. After riding some of the Hill Country and fighting the traffic and high cost of everything related to Austin my mind keeps wandering back to last year when I never quite made the Texas coast. This time I am determined, heat or no heat and find out quickly that ground central for the Texas Oil Boom in the Eagleford Shale is Victoria. It reminds me of North Dakota Bakken and while I am comfortable in this environment, I am trying to get away from it. No doubt if I stop, odds are I will see somebody I know so I push on.

finally the gulfFinally the gulf and feel that salty gulf breeze. Even though it is nearing 100 degrees, I would never know it here.

feel thzt gulf breezeNot exactly the prettiest place of Texas coast but will do for now and I enjoy the fishing village at Port Lavaca and stay the night.

“Hey Cole, I am back from Brazil, come on up.” That was the message from the senior person of the duo known as Carson Classic Motors in Livingston Texas. Mike and Buck Carson who I met in Vegas last year and stay in touch with on line own a private motorcycle museum better known as CCM. I missed going there last year and thought I would miss again this year. I had contacted Buck last week and he said his dad Mike was in Brazil and he was up in New England picking up another antique motorcycle, but now Mike was letting me know he was back early. Mike would have nothing of me bypassing again this year and opened his door with Texas Hospitality like we were brothers.

The museum contains approximately 80 motorcycles, I think Mike and Buck have even lost count of the exact number. A great mix of European and American motorcycles of all years and types. Most all run (more on that later) and most are ridden. Did I mention ridden, they ride the hell out of these old things! It all started with Mike’s service to the country and being stationed on bases in England where motorcycles were passed between servicemen as they rotated in and out of the country. Eventually Mike ended up with an old Shovelhead but always wanted some of those British bikes he remembered riding in the service. Next came and old Triumph and then a BSA and before you know it 80 plus bikes and a museum.

Two of my favorites, a 1916 BSA with 1911 Triumph behind it.

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If you saw last issue of Easyriders then you would have seen this cool bobber in it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpeaking of magazines, keep looking at American Iron Magazine, I have a spy who indicates more CCM bikes in upcoming issues. Speaking of running, there is one bike not currently running and here is a spy photo of it. Rumor has it this bike will soon be attempting the 2014 Cannonball Endurance Race from Daytona Beach Florida to Tacoma Washington in September. First Buck needs to get it running.

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Have no doubt he will though, Buck competed in the 2010 and 2012 Cannonball as the youngest rider in both events and looks like at 25 he will be the youngest in the 2014 event.  Here is a photo of his 1927 BSA ridden in the 2012 Cannonball.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore I left (which was hard to do), Mike had to make some noise with something so he fired up the bikes with push button start.  We were waiting on Buck to start all the kick start bikes but he never showed.

Thank Mike for the Texas Hospitality and see you again on the road soon!

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Dallas from a DC9 at night

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

“Have you ever seen Dallas from a DC9 at night. Well Dallas is a jewel oh Dallas is a beautiful sight.”

Every time I go to Dallas that song by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Flatlanders plays in my head.

I needed to go see my  web master, who also happens to be my sound board for ideas and also my best friend. I visit him and his lovely wife enough that I even have my own room, know the combination to get in the garage, and have my own spot at the table to set up my portable office.  I set up on one end of the table and Mrchuckles (my friend) sets up on the other end and we commence to work on the web site and blog page set up. The conversation centers around the trip, but drifts off into the old days growing up as farmers, politics ( we argue about politics and I usually lose), cars, motorcycles, porn, sex, drinking, boating, motorhomes, and work. Mrchuckles was amazed I didn’t have much to say about my work this trip, I admitted to him I was struggling a bit with not working and it has only been a week. Somehow, even with all the conversation distractions the web site was finished and the blog ready for me to use. Mrchuckles is such a nerd and a whiz at this stuff. We did bet big on whether the auto maker Tesla survives, I say no and he says yes. We had to put a date on it and I think we ended up with 2 years Tesla is either surviving or broke and I think we bet a million dollars, but by this time I had exceeded my alcohol quota so memory is a little fuzzy.

This trip, my schedule ( wtf, I have no schedule) allowed for meeting with more than just Chuckles while in Dallas so we lined up dinner with another friend from our hometown in Kansas who also happens to now live near Dallas. We will just call her Blue Moon and we had a great time together at dinner.

trio

This trip  also had time to see another old friend who I used to work with 25 years ago and hadn’t seen in 23 years even though we have stayed in touch via facebook. Jeffro Van Halen hasn’t changed much in all those years. He did cut all his long straight hair off but is still the crazy fun Jeffro he was back then. He has quite the house painting business going so had to schedule lunch between coats of paint. After lunch (Whataburger) he took me up the road to his place where his wife runs the “BIG DOG HOUSE” full service kennel equipped with AC/ Heat and even it’s own swimming pool!

THE BIG DOG HOUSE

THE BIG DOG HOUSE

Jeffro rides a new gold wing and his hobby is getting on Harley foruns and facebook pages so he can post something about what a POS Harleys are. I just sit back and smile when I see him do that knowing he is laughing his ass off at all the RUB’S (Rich Urban Bikers) taking him serious. It is rather entertaining to see the comments fly back at him and some even threaten him which only makes Jeffro throw another zinger into the fire.

Creating Chaos isn’t is only hobby though, he also has been restoring this premo 82 Corvette and I have been following his progress on Facebook so it was good to see it in person.

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Did I mention he is also a huge Van Halen fan. I remember going to Salt Lake to see VH and Jeffro damn near killed the steering wheel using it as his air guitar all the way home.

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Another required stop while in Dallas and I had to pee and this is painted on the men’s bathroom wall.

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I had dreams of interviewing Rick Fairless as one of the bikers for my 48Bikers book but he was not there so he loses. I just always liked the TV show when it was on and have always respected him after reading his bio and learning of his work ethic. I think his bike builds are a little over the top, but he does ride the damn blingy things even though they are more works of art that practical motorcycles.

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It was to early in the day for going into Ma’s bar and besides, the last time I was in there she hit on me.

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Dallas is a beautiful sight!

Tulsa Time in Texas

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

US Highway 160 east, not a bad way to go with very little traffic and goes through some cool Kansas towns. I thought I might head to Tulsa and meet up with some people I met on the road last year but then again I was thinking Dallas to meet up with my best friend who is also the person that keeps this blog and website going which needed some help. Eventually I had to make a decision but for now I could screw off and just go east and south alternating until I had to either go one or the other.

The smell of fresh clover is so good I almost feel clover drunk and mixed with fresh cut alfalfa and occasional sagebrush my senses are on high alert. While all of this makes the ride great, it also means deer and every river bottom I roll through shows signs of them. It is okay as long as they stay there and don’t get spooked and run across the road. They seem to hardly notice me when I ride by so I honk the horn just to make sure they are real.

My first choice rest stop in the Gypsum Hill country of Kansas to check emails. Sounds like my brother Bob is racing NHRA in Tulsa so I text back and forth and tell him to keep me updated on the race car, that might make me decide to go to Tulsa first. The a few text with my friends in Tulsa and find out they decided to ride to Texas for no reason other than to have a drink and a ride.  Maybe I can intercept them someplace.

“Where you guys going?”

” Paris Texas and Loose Wheels was the response”

“Where is that?”

” It is near Denison Texas and behind the hospital”

I look at the map on my phone and decide I could intercept then someplace in Oklahoma before they hit the Texas line if I can make Oklahoma City tonight so I roll the throttle on and hit I 35 South. Yuk, interstate. I do make OKC late worn out from the interstate ride. The next morning, up early and headed out when I am buzzed by this monster low flying aircraft.

air show

What the hell! Over the next rise and traffic is coming to a stop and jammed up and then I see the sign. “Air Show parking next exit.” Now I couldn’t pass up an air show! The air show was at Tinker Air Force Base and the closer I got the more people and traffic, somehow instinct took me to a side road and next thing I know I am at a hill where other people are setting up in lawn chairs so I pull over for my “Free air show” parking.

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Doesn’t look like I will intercept the Lee’s in Oklahoma now but I couldn’t pass up an air show and ended up spending 4 hours there. Would have liked to stayed for the Blue Angels but the road called and I finally left to hopefully meet up with them in Paris Texas. Here I go crossing the Red River again!

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According to that pic, I must still be in Oklahoma.

“Hey Bob, where you guys at, I am in Paris?”

” We are at Loose Wheels, it behind the hospital in Denison.”

“Are you staying there?”

” No, we aren’t staying at the hospital hopefully.”

“No shit, I hope not. Are you staying in Denison?”

“Oh, yeah. I will text you directions.”

A quick check of the map and the clock. “Hey, I will see you in the morning for coffee.”

I didn’t want to tell the that I went through  Denison to get to Paris and then got turned around and damn near ended up back in Oklahoma.

“Damn it is good to see you guys again!”

the lee's

Bob and Tracy Lee from Tulsa Oklahoma. I first met them on the road outside of Pueblo Colorado last year, I was just starting my trip and they were on the down side of theirs. We had both pulled into an abandoned gas station  we thought was open for business and hit it off immediately. I wrote about their wild adventure in Denver in last years blog and we have stayed in touch ever since. They ride every weekend and almost every day. I have received text from Bob like this; “Hey, 40 degrees here, rode to work”

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There is so much more to tell about them but saving that for my 48 biker website in the near future. Bob was pretty proud of his new electronic deer whistle and I thought about the Gypsum Hills in Kansas where I had seen all the deer.

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We went to breakfast at the Gourmet Waffle House in Denison where the waitress was top notch and the food matched. Good company with Heather Lynn who was a real hottie and Rick Skyberg who had one of the baddest ass Street Glides I’ve ever seen.

breakfast

I then made them take me to Loose Wheels for an after breakfast cocktail so I could get a pic on that bike out front that is all over the internet.

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Time spent with them was all too short, they still had to ride back to Tulsa and I promised my bud in Dallas I would be there later in the afternoon so we shook, hugged and went our way.

Hey Chuck, hope you don’t mind, but I parked on your door step.

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The Road Goes On Forever

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

Like many other trips in the past I started this trip with a visit to my folks in Kansas. I had to visit them this time at the cemetery but it was good to see them and tell them what I was about to do. My Mom couldn’t believe it and my Dad just smiled. After our visit I went to the last place I remember taking my mom on a ride. The trees are getting bigger and the lake is looking good even with all the recent droughts and dust bowl day reminder winds earlier in the month.

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I can be happy on any road and always find stuff to look at and enjoy. The simple stuff is often the best.

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I am not sure where I will be going or the routes I will take but I always will remember I am from Kansas. Even though I plan to stay on pavement, occasionally I will somehow get off on a dirt road and I find my first one in Kansas. It all started with seeing a bunch of rusted iron and falling down barn and I wanted to get closer.

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Turns out it wasn’t abandoned after all but some cowboy was living his dream there. I remember when I was about 17 all I wanted out life was a pickup, a horse, a double wide trailer and a satellite. Not sure where that all changed but could have been when I found out about robbing banks. Okay, I didn’t really rob banks but I was named after Cole Younger and the guys that lived here robbed banks and they were from Kansas. The Dalton Brothers hideout in Meade Kansas, check out my friends website www. Legendsofamerica.com for the real story on Kansas outlaws including the Dalton Gang.

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My view of the world starts here for the next few months.

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And from my view the road goes on forever and I must see where that is.

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A True Sabbatical

Written by admin. Posted in 2014 A True Sabbatical

 

Webster defines as: Sabbatical,; A period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research etc.

They left off; must be able to exist without regular income and piss a whole lot of people off for being gone.

My goal; travel all 48 states, get lost and get healthy. I purposely have no other goals which only get in the way of the first three. I do have this idea that I will meet an interesting biker from all 48 states and write a book about them so I started another website called www.48bikers.com and will occasionally post interesting stuff on there. I have been gone almost 4 weeks already and after 9 states I can already tell finding 48 bikers to write about will be a challenge and may take longer than I thought. Nobody seems to be riding where I have been unless it is near a rally or on the weekends so we will see. So how long you ask (everybody does), I can’t say, I don’t know, as long as it takes I guess.

So you think you can have an idea today and then take off tomorrow? Good luck with that. The more I thought about it the more I realized I wasn’t ready. Oh, I know what I need on the bike and what I need to take but I don’t even have my own phone and email, I have been using my work stuff for the last 15 years. I pay my bills by hard checks and am afraid of on line banking stuff, I rely on monthly statements for accounting. Looks like I have the idea but it is going to take awhile to get all my personal life stuff in order. One of the things I needed to do was teach the son in law how to run the tractor and mow the pasture to keep the fire danger down come July and August and might as well teach the grandkid how to mow.

teaching to mow

It is not all work and no play though, the kid gets to go for a ride, son in law; well its a big damn pasture so he needs to stay after it. Me and D will be back later.

reward for mowing

Same motorcycle as I took on the 2013 trip only a repaint was in order. I always wanted an orange and black motorcycle.

“It’s a special edition Harley, only 1000 made, see here is the serial number 269 0f 1000′

That was a friend of mine telling me about his then, special edition Screaming Eagle Harley with special paint. My friends and I were impressed. He paid a lot of money for that Harley because it was rare and nothing worse than spending all that money and having 10 just like it pull up beside you on the first day so the extra money was rationalized and seemed worth it.

Fast forward same year only in Sturgis. It may have been 1 of a 100 made but I am sure we saw all other 999 in Sturgis that year. My friend was pissed. So I painted my special edition bike my own special colors and added old style trim. It a hell of a lot of orange so had my adopted son Derek add some stripes.

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Finally got all the little details worked out and am only days away now from leaving. Once I figured out how to check my credit cards on line I found out if you don’t use your rewards points they start expiring (bastards) so I decided to use some and see if it would come in time and it did. I have a go pro but it isn’t all that user friendly when riding so decided to try a new video camera. It is a Garmin and I wanted it mainly because of the edit features which I didn’t have with the Go Pro.

new toy garmin

I plan to do all of the lower 48 States but looking at the map I am thinking some of Canada too. I haven’t had a passport since I lost mine in 1975. Did you know you can actually get one in less than 10 days if you want to pay for it. I paid for it and it also came the day before I left. Only thing left to do now is pack and man does a packed up bike look good to me. “Look Mom, no bungee cords!” At least none yet.

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Damn that looks like a lot of shit on there! I have seen worse, or is that better? I have seen bikes with trash bags, suit cases all held together with bungee cords and duct tape, its great!

Okay we’re ready , we won’t talk about the brakes and what it took to fix them because it really was not the brakes and was self inflicted fork leak. I guess the only thing left to do is go!

WE ARE OFF!

and we are off