31 May 2009

Dodging the Storms - 582 miles

Well the first day was sure a lot of fun and sure a lot of riding. Some time ago Jack sent me a file with a route for the day that was better than my pick of interstate highway. So I dutifully loaded it in and started it up. Well, the very first corner he went the opposite way and it never got better. After a while we gave up and just followed. It appeared Jack knew where he was going and if you look at the track you will see it was north out of town then north-west, whereas the original was south out of town then north-west.

However, this way was a lot better as it was not boring interstate. True enough, US550 is quite scenic so we were glad to have the local knowledge. Just my GPS, with it's new-found voice, wasn't.

We certainly were enjoying being at last on the road after such a long time planning. We are slowly getting used to driving on the right, but are still repeating the instructions out load to make sure. It might sound a bit silly but I really have to fight my natural tendencies to pull out to the left side.

Much easier this time is refueling. Having a local banking card is a blessing. All pumps in this country are pay-at-the-pump style. But for security they often require the zipcode from your address. Naturally an Aussie postcode won't work so then it starts to get complicated. No worries for us this time though. All three refuels for the day went smoothly.

Charleen is having a good time with taking photographs, but she is missing the riding part. She took over two hundred pictures for the day but I made her pick out the top five for the blog.

After some great scenery and dodging several storms, some wet, some dry, we eventually got caught in a very wet one, requiring a stop for the wet gear.

We finally pulled in to La Verkin, Utah where we met an old friend of Jack's, Dennis, and went out for a meal at a local restaurant. Great meal and with my excellent pork chop I had a very large mug of Polygamy Porter. I kid you not. Well we are in Utah. How large? Not sure but we reckoned on a quart. Someone convert. At least I can say I only had one beer with the meal.

Then it was off to visit some more friends and after a very social evening, we eventually returned to Dennis's where he kindly put us up for the night.

It is now next morning and we had better be under way soon. But not before I get this uploaded.

As mentioned above, here's Charleen's best five photos for the day. I'll caption them later as she has the bike packed and is rearing to go. CYA.

Ready to go


Note the "Jesus is watching you" sign?

Our first - of many - border crossing

Church Rock

Two monoliths - unnamed - The vendor is selling Navajo jewellery.

Golf Tee?

This dust storm gave us grief for a while

Then rain storms

We got a bit wet along here.  JohnG and Kaz will recognize this area.

Next border crossing

Dennis's smik model A - almost finished.

30 May 2009

Ready ...... Set ..........

Also check out Jack's blog on http://home.comcast.net/~cadshop/site/ (click on Blog)

Apple Pie and Ice Cream

Another busy day in Albuquerque.
We started with a breakfast across town with a group of Goldwing riders. We caught up with Deane who came out to Australia with Jack in 07 and Dennis who rode with us in 07. I passed on hellos from John and Kaz.
Deane interrupted the gathering and introduced us. Everyone was happy to meet and we had a good breakfast anda nice time.
Then back to work. There was shopping to do. First thing was to the Goldwing accessories shop. Headlight protectors and scuff pads. Then on to camping goods stored to compare tents. Ended up with a rather large one for $50. Then a few other odds and ends for camping. Back home and pack up the trailer and do some more work on the bike. Found out the AUX input for the sound system was not operating. Turned out it was a loose plug. Only problem was the plug was under the top cover. That meant a half hour removing the top cover and, of course, an hour to put it back on. All working again. This was quite important to fix as the GPS talks to us through the AUX and driving in a strange country it is not a good idea to be taking eyes off the road too much to look at the GPS screen. Better to get the voice warning of upcoming turnoffs.
So all packed and ready to go in the morning. We'll stop riding around in small circles Davo. Larger ones now. Really large.

The apple pie and ice cream? Well, while we were all beavering away on the bikes and trailers, Linda was keeping us fed. This evening's meal was pure Americana. Hamburgers, hot dogs, home made with all the trimmings and followed up by home made apple pie and ice cream. Not bad at all. And nothing like Maccas I can tell you.

Nite for now - got to get some shut-eye before our big day tomorrow.

Here's a good bunch of Goldwings to look at. Enjoy.

Trikes are very popular here.

Yes I know that is not a Goldwing up there, but it is Deane on his latest acquisition, a 750 Honda Nighthawk - yellow of course.
Lastly, thanks for all the comments and well wishes. It is great to hear from you all. {{{{Hugs all round}}}}

29 May 2009

License Day

Hi All

Well!! What a day!! Spent all day wrangling bureaucrats. But it was a success in the end.

The idea was to get the bike registered and insured in my name. The rego cannot be done without insurance and the insurance cannot be done without a local license.

So it was down to the DMV in Cottonwood Plaza. Front up with a mountain of paperwork that they immediately photocopied into three mountains. Then decided they wanted more info, so we had to go back to the house and get more. Back again and after traipsing up and down the office from window to window - then repeating the whole process because they got my DOB incorrect - they finally issued me a brand new New Mexico drivers license with motorcycle endorsement. Because they felt sorry for me they didn't confiscate my original Qld license.

So by now it was lunchtime and the insurance office in another part of town was closed, we had lunch ourselves. Down to the Insirance and the agent - Tim - a really nice bloke - organised and re-organised the application until he brought it from $427 to $273. Not bad for full comprehensive with $1000 excess on a GoldWing for a year. Couldn't get shorter time, but I'm not complaining.

Then it was back to the good old DMV - this time on the bikes - and once again took a number and waited. And Waited. Hint: if you want anything done in the Albuquerque DMV, get there in the morning. After another two hours we finally got the girl to come out and check the VIN and Eng No. Then back in to complete another mountain or paper and hand over the long-awaited-for plate. And now John G knows why we hang around shopping malls.

We felt great.

Then it was off to a Mexican restaurant for a celebratory dinner.  Boy they like their chili hot in Albuquerque!

So that is all the bureaucratic stuff out of the way.  Now the holiday can begin in earnest.  Tomorrow we have a meetup breakfast with a bunch of Albuquerque Goldwing riders, then spend the rest of the day preparing the bike and trailer.

Saturday we depart Albuquerque for the west coast.

Baxter Court, Albuquerque

BRed with the new plate

Both New mexico bikes

Jack tightens up the bolts

Plate numbers match the bike - we worked all day for this.

Time to suit up and ride

We're off

Do we look proud?

Riding in Albuquerque

For Ulysses Forum people - the translation from spanish is "Go to the Norty Corner" - or something like that.

Crossing the Rio Grande
Check out the sideways traffic lights

28 May 2009


Just a quick note to say we are in Albuquerque. Met the new bike. Goldbear installed on the topbox. We're fed and watered and going to catch some shuteye.  Jack and Linda are looking after us well.  But we've been awake and traveling for 28 hours.

I'll get some photos tomorrow


First Real Trip Post

Hi All

We haven't got there yet, but we did give ourselves a long lead time for the connecting flights in LAX.

The flight over was quite pleasant. Kath dropped us off at the airport and came in to see us off. Thanks everyone for all the farewell calls. Probably best to just SMS us from now on to save costs. Or you could comment on here for free. Just click the little "comment" link at the bottom of each entry.

VAustralia was very nice. As you know we managed to jag a special on Premium economy and boy are we glad we did. Nice seats - nice food - big screen TVs - lots of leg and seat room. We had a window pair to ourselves just in front of the engine. The flight was direct and only 12 hours. The only land we saw was Vanuatu, which we flew right over, and Hawaii off in the distance late at night. We watched a few movies and TV shows and had a catnap or two and we were here. Customs no worries. Nice folk. Had to wait an hour before we could check in for our SouthWest flight to Albuquerque but that is now done. Gate security for the domestic terminal is tight. Remove shoes, belts, jackets, pullovers as well as the normal stuff. Sometimes I think the terrorists have won. But everyone is helpful and it was no problem finding our way around the airport.

Now we just have to wait for a few hours for the next leg.

Kate and Charleen

We're all ready

Sunset under the wing.

26 May 2009

One More Sleep

Well we are all packed and ready. One more sleep to go.

The timing for the three legs of our journey are as follows.

Leg 1 West Loop
Depart Albuquerque on or about 30 May
Arrive Los Angeles on or about 21 June

Leg 2 WingDing Loop (Yellow on map)
Depart Los Angeles 24 June
Depart Carbondale CO 1 July
Arrive Tulsa 3 July
Depart Tulsa 6 July
Depart Albuquerque 8 July
In Las Vegas for 9-12 July (Bob and Ken to visit Grand Canyon)

Leg 3 Eastern Loop
Depart Las Vegas 13 July
Arrive Albuquerque before 24 August

All loops are clockwise. I don't know why that is.

Click on map to embiggen.

20 May 2009

FarRide #10

Last weekend we rode to Albury for lunch.

As part of the FarRiders group, this is the ninth FarRide we have attended. The idea is to do 1000km in a 24 hour period and be at a certain place and time. This time it was the Thurgoona Golf Club at Albury. Calculating distance was not going to be a problem as it is over 1300 km to get there from here. On previous FarRides we have had to pick a long way round to put in the kays.
Target time was 12:00 - 12:30pm on Saturday. Miss out checking in during this window and you miss out on certification for the FarRide.Charleen couldn't ride this time as she needed to work on Friday and without sufficient sleep it would be dangerous to attempt an overnight ride. However I don't have that worry and so caught a few zeds Friday afternoon. Charleen could catnap on the bike as we went if necessary.

We departed Rocklea at 7:10pm with a docket showing our time and location tucked away. This was necessary as proof we did do the 1000 km minimum.

We headed out towards Goondiwindi. The ride plan was pretty simple for getting there. straight out to Goondi then down the Newell to Wyalong, turn left on to the Olympic Hwy which comes out just north of Albury.

I took a bit of film testing out one camera setup we plan to use overseas.

All in all it went well with few problems. It was a little cold during the night with the gauge getting down to 2ÂșC.  But we were fairly well rugged up with only the hands feeling it. Dawn saw us at Dubbo and we breakfasted at Forbes. We still had plenty of time up our sleeves so we traveled at a leisurely pace to Wyalong and made the turn.
Only a few hours later we were at Albury with about an hour to spare. In to the car park where all the bikes were starting to turn up. 67 in all from all over the country.

Click the photo for larger (1.5MB download)

We had a good lunch with our organizer Davo giving his speech welcoming all the new and old FarRiders. It was also great to catch up with friends we only see on the FarRides - though we do keep in touch on the internet.

After lunch we headed north again, but were not planning to go too far as I was getting quite tired. We opted to go a slightly different way home and take our time. So we pulled up at Junee where we climbed in to bed and I slept a good 12 hours.

Up bright and early, we headed mostly north-east stopping first at Cootamundra for brekky, then through Young and Cowra. Across to Bathurst and over the Sofala road to Mudgee.
Then it was up the middle. My favourite way to travel between Brisbane and the South, avoiding the over-busy Newell or New England highways, but staying in between them.

When we got to Gunnedah at about 4pm and still 680km from home, we decided to call it quits for the day. Charleen had the Monday off work so we were in no hurry. We found an excellent motel - Maynestay - and settled in.

On the road again next morning and it was quite chilly with high cloud almost obscuring the sun. We travelled up our "middle" route, eventually coming out at Stanthorpe where we had a bite of lunch and a final refuel before the last couple of hours in to Brissie and home.

A total of 2853 kilometres for the weekend and a very nice ride.

Some photos:-

18 May 2009

Slow Loading Problems

A couple of people have commented that this page takes too long to load or hangs up their machine. It appears the cause is the embedded location maps I have been putting on the pages.

So in future I will only put links to the map page so readers can make up their own mind to go look at the map. Our overall map is viewable by clicking the link up in the title section. This will tell where we are at any time.

Don't forget to leave your comments in the link at the bottom of each article. Love to hear from you.

Getting excited now, only just over a week to go.


13 May 2009

Final Plans for Tour 2009

I have been updating my MapSource plans to include daily destinations for uploading to the GPS.

The final layout of our expected routes looks like this:

Route Map

The trip consists of three legs.

Leg 1: Beginning at Albuquerque NM, we head to the west coast and do the purple loop up into Canada and Back down to LA. (4 weeks)
Leg 2: In LA we meet up with Bob and Kerry and Ken and Christine and we all do the yellow loop out to Tulsa and return to Las Vegas. (3 weeks)
Leg 3: Then the large loop right around the country across to the east coast then down through the eastern ranges and back across the South to Albuquerque. (6 weeks)

That's the plan - we'll see what happens.

03 May 2009

Latest BRed Pics

BRed - our bike for USA is coming along nicely.

Today Jack completed matching up the hitches and wiring of the trailer. So with new tyres, new rear spoiler and flashy brake light and trailer all ready, all it needs is rego and us. Rego will have to wait until we get there.

Here's a picture Jack took today of the pretty much ready-to-go setup.