Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I also have a new hero.
Donna is a spunky gal who honestly lives to ride. Despite the thousands of miles on her Sportster, she'd never been out of state when she heard about our trip. For the non-bikers reading, 95% of the Harleys you see on the road to an event are purpose-built touring bikes designed for long-haul comfort. And 20% of those are pulled behind a truck (which drives me insane and would be a felony if I were in charge.) The trade off is when you're navigating in town or bombing through the curvy backroads, you're working hard while I'm flicking around my "piglet" without even concentrating.
So when you show up 1,000 miles from home riding a little Sporty, you're always the topic of discussion. "You rode that how far?" I get that all the time. Well, Donna here not only rode a Sportster, but she did it without a windshield, which I would never even consider. Basically she was doing pull-ups and neck excercises for 10 hours, and was still ready for more when we parked. I don't think she's right in the head.
The bummer of leaving Milwaukee was not unanticipated. You get closer and closer to the site, and the bikes begin to multiply, all loaded down and dusty, tags from literally across the globe. It takes over the city, and there is a constant rumble, honestly like thunder in the distance, from bikes in all directions emitting the same frequencies. Bikes are parked everywhere they'll fit, on sidewalks, traffic islands, 4 to a spot. You can fit 10,000 motorcycles where you couldn't put 500 cars. At night, bars are overflowing out into the street where the bikes gleam in the streetlights as traffic streams by. Live music is everywhere, something like 30 acts just on the official card. Here in Milwaukee, people stand on overpasses to wave and hold "Welcome Home" signs. There is always something to do, someone to meet, stories to be shared.
For us and untold thousands more, it all ended at a huge outdoor stage on the lakefront. Sitting in the dirt and grass holding a $6 beer, a warm summer breeze blowing out over the lake, watching Bruce Springsteen pour out his soul while we all sang along. These are the best of times.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Tonight we are in Somerset, PA -our last night on the trail. Just when I thought the weather couldn't get any better, today was the most perfect day God ever created. Crystal blue skies, no humidity, and 82 degrees. Tell you what, if tomorrow is a monsoon from the minute we fire the bikes, this was still the best weather I've ever had on a trip. 10 days and 2,000 miles so far without a drop of rain; the only day that was even overcast was the day we needed to cover a lot of ground heading into the setting sun.
In the interest of conserving fuel and natural resources, Jay and I finished up the Jim Beam and did our best with the beer tonight so we wouldn't have to haul it home. I feel like Hemingway. Wish you were here.
Monday, September 01, 2008
We rode another 125 miles of I-70 afterward, with Columbus about in the middle of that. Mom & Dad were at the hotel here when we pulled up, so we're back to 5 bikes at least for the time being. My mood is considerably improved today, and tomorrow we're off the interstate again so hopefully I'll be back in the swing. I was going to describe the Milwaukee experience in greater detail tonight, but we're out here in the parking lot looking at pictures and emptying out the community cooler so I think my work here is done for now.
We have about 1,800 miles in so far, and are closing in on the home stretch.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
It's Saturday night, and the party's over. Time to pack everything back up and set the alarm.
Not that you need a reason to ride, but to me a great road trip needs a great destination. Not only does it make a logical turning around point, it's a a diversion, a goal, and a few days to relax and not be so efficient. The windshield and T-Bags are off the bike and in the closet. Everything is unpacked and easy to get at, the little day bag carries necessities for the day's jaunt, and the living is free and easy.
When you get good at packing a bike, you can really do a lot with a little space, and everything goes down the road real nice. You have clean socks and drawers rolled in t-shirts so that you can grab a day's worth of clothes without digging. You have some extras of each, and you get what you can out of 3 pair of jeans. When it's all on the bike, the easiest thing to get at are the rainsuits and the flashlight. Tools are at the bottom.
But right now, my heart just isn't in it. We ended up leaving the festival before the Boss was finshed with his show, because I crippled Lisa earlier in the day. Apparently I'm not the communicator I think I am, and she left with me at the crack of dawn all set to ride in the parade wearing boots with heels that are not sutiable for 4 hours of walking the festival grounds, which I evidently didn't tell her we had to do. (The streets are shut down and the bikes can't get back out until they're all in and the streets are reopened.) I barely got her on the bike and down to the show, and we left early. It's probably for the better, but here I am facing reality, saying goodbye, and I don't like it.
I decided to take a picture during the process, and then put everything together on the bed to organize. Pretty much everything you see above except Lisa's helmet goes on the bike.At left is a picture of Annie in party mode, followed by a picture from the road earlier in the week. Nine o'clock tomorrow morning, and we'll be heading down Wisconsin Ave. for the last time.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The parade was quite the experience and really demonstrates the hospitality shown by our hosts. An awesome moment we'll never forget. It was about 7,500 bike total and took nearly 3 hours.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We came into Chicago on Ogden Ave. and down Jackson to Grant Park on the lakefront. Buckingham Fountain there marked the endpoint of the route. We went down to see Soldier Field then ran back uptown through the Loop on Michigan Ave. and up Lake Shore Drive. Katrina would have been jealous of my ride up the Magnificent Mile among all the luxury brand stores.
I was really impressed by the city and have to admit it seemed a lot nicer than New York. The only other time I was here was also on the bike, but it was in via the expressway and right back out. I'm kind of surprised by how much I liked it. Very cool indeed.
At the rest area outside of Chicago, it was a mob scene with bikes. From there it's been all bikes, all the time. We hooked back up with the others at the H-D Museum and checked ourselves in to the swank Hyatt Regency downtown. Quite the contrast to the $80 specials we've been sharing the last 4 nights. Lisa, and Jay's wife Scoop flew in today and we are making plans for tomorrow. Life is good...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Amazing when you think a wagoneer on this road would be thrilled to advance 10-12 miles in a day.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
First, for new visitors, a little background. This blog goes back to 2006, but does little more than document my travels. The origin of its name, "Speedy's World," is detailed in the very first post, but basically it's derived from my e-mail address.
The outbound trip will reprise parts of several previous rides, with some time for new discovery on the way home. The westbound route will include the historic National Road to Indianapolis, and the ghost of Route 66 into Chicago. We were in Milwaukee for the 100th, and it was literally like Woodstock. Harley-Davidson knows how to do two things extremely well; the second is throwing a party. The slate for this year's entertainment is incredible, and I'm already buzzing with anticipation. Our return trip will feature the National Air Force Museum, a day zooming along a twisty hill and valley route, and a ride up the Ohio River.