Tuesday, July 12, 2011

O'neill, NE and Wray, CO

Spent Sunday night in O'neill, NE were it looked like we maybe stuck for another day when we looked at the weather. Yet the morning dawned bright and sunny despite the storms of the night. We plotted a route that would take us around the bad weather hoping to make at least a couple hundred miles before getting into bad weather.

Turns out, we had a rain free day. saw some interesting parts of Nebraska. Funny thing is that it seems almost every town has a museum of some sort, one place had a clown doll museum but it was closed. Another town proclaimed itself the windmill capital only the wasn't a windmill in sight. We stopped in one little town for lunch with a pioneer museum. We walked through the public area to get to the restaurant and took some pictures I will post when we get home.

Outside of corn fields and road construction there wasn't much to see in Nebraska however, I have to say the folks are really friendly.

Landed in Wray,CO Monday night after getting in about 400 miles. Only 2 hotels in the town, we chose the one with the restaurant attached. At first we weren't even sure the place was open since it was so dead. The whole place is so dark and dreary it could be in a horror movie. At least we were fed and had a roof over our heads for the night.

Soon to be on the road again.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Anamosa, IA

This morning we left El Paso, IL to head to the motorcycle history museum in Anamosa. I didn't even know about it until some of the ladies at convention mentioned it. So we decided to add it to our agenda on the way home. Definitely worth the trip, took a bunch of pictures I'll post when I get home. Lots of really cool stuff on all brands of motorcycles.

After feasting our eyes on the beauties of motorcycle history, we putted up the road to visit J P Cycles. I swear, I can't remember the last time I saw so many bikers hanging out at a shop. We looked around picked up some new gloves before we realized that we were hungry and tired. So we checked into the hotel next door.

Not much else to report today.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Highlights of Our Trip So Far

Since we have been on the road most days I haven't had time or energy for writing so I thought this would be a good time to catch up on some of the memorable moments along the way.

As I said previously, coming out of Blanco, NM we had a cool day with high winds through the mountains, tiring but still beautiful. We stayed in La Hunta after going a nerve wracking 174 miles without gas. After touching base with our friends, Clara and Pigpen, we agreed to meet in Jefferson City, MO the next night.

The next morning we are off to Jefferson City. It was for the most part an uneventful day, doing about 325 miles. Well, uneventful until we tried to find the hotel we were meeting in Jefferson City. We were following the GPS which works well if you pay attention but this was a long hot day so we weren't exactly at our best. The GPS says exit at highway 51 so we exit. The traffic light has a sign saying hwy 51 and pointing right, disregarding the GPS, we turn right. The GPS pomptly tells us to turn left, we do and we are back on the interstate and the GPS says exit, we do. Same traffic light, same right turn, same on ramp. I'm sure you get the picture. The third time around, I point out that there is a second sign that says Business 51 going straight. The right turn was further down. Still we felt as if we were going in circles. The GPS was taking us through a residential area, we didn't see the hotel anywhere. We finally find the hotel and aren't there 30 minutes when Clara and Pigpen pull in even though they had a hundred miles more to go.

Lesson learned - either follow the GPS or turn it off.

Over dinner, the four of us decide to get as close to Grand Rapids as we can the next day so our final day would be short and maybe we could detour along the lakefront for a bit. In Remingtin, IN we stop at a Super 8 thinking we could get our laundry done while there. Wrong! No laundry facilities but the did have pool tables, ping pong and video games. The desk clerk was more interested in trying to mooch a ride when she got off at 11 PM than trying to help us find a decent place to eat.

The next morning is cool, nice riding weather as we start off on the last 200 miles to Grand Rapids. At our first gas stop we decided to try too see some of the lake and stop for lunch before getting into Grand Rapids. Along the highway we saw some billboards for The Chocolate Factory restaurant, so Clara took us off at the exit. Little did we know that their July 4th parade had just ended. We were stuck in this 2mph crawl through this charming little village. The road went down alongside the marina down to the beach. By now Pigpen and I had gotten separated from Clara and Deb by a few cars. Deb is telling me where they are and what is ahead as I am sure Clara is doing with Pigpen. We have to circle the parking lot at the shoreline, which, of course is covered with sand. Then I hear Deb in my ear "we are at the stop sign at the top of the hill." When I make the turn and see the hill I groan, thinking Pigpen will get to the top ahead of me. If he goes I can slide right behind him. Unfortunately, Pigpen and I both have to stop. Traffic clears and Pigpen powers through the intersection and I am frozen. The load on the bike is weighing the bike down, I just know that I am not going to get the right combination of throttle, rear brake and clutch to pull away from the stop sign without stalling. In my helmet, I'm cussing, I not going to make this, I can't do it. Deb is right there talking me through it until I was finally able to get through the intersection. So no Chocolate Factory for us. Instead it was Wendy's where Deb had some communication issues but she can tell you about that.

That's all for tonight. Tomorrow it's the motorcycle museum then on the road once more.

I've Been a Real Slacker

We have been so busy riding and meeting and visiting that I haven't been writing much although I did manage to get a few pictures up.

Last night was the closing of the Motor Maid convention. Betty Falls and Gloria Struck were recognized for 65 years of continuous riding membership. Gloria is 86 years old and going strong. Betty is the daughter of Dot Robinson, one of the founders of Motor Maids.

Margaret Wilson, our oldest member was also recognized. She shared a story about her husband, Bill, teaching her to ride on a "machine" when her feet were several inches from the ground on each side. Bill would ride on the back with Margaret up front working the controls. What a great role model they are!

Business meeting yesterday where new officers were elected for the next 3 years. We also voted on a potential change to the bylaws which did not pass. Lots of information given on lots of topics and upcoming events.

On Wednesday, I was a checker for the Dot Robinson Road Run which was a lot of fun,especially since I was at the last check point where the riders finished. One cloud over the vent was a rider who was intentionally run off the road by a SUV. Good news is that she wasn't seriously injured and her bike is rideable. Police are stll looking for the driver.

Our traditional parade was on Tuesday evening, unfortunately the city council determined the parade route and time. As a result, the parade was through a small residential ares behind the hotel and was only 2 miles long. We had so many bikes that the front of the parade had to stop briefly while the waited for the end of the parade cleared an intersection.

Next year convention is in Spaertenburg and in 2013 it will be Bend,OR. Should be lots of fun, this year we blew the attendance record out of the water with over 300 member attending. Here is to breaking even more records in the future.

Thanks for a grat time Michigan Motor Maids.

More later