Saturday, 23 August 2014

80 Days around the USA

On 5 May 2014 we rode from San Francisco on Flower Power, a BMW GTLe, to Fresno.

This was the beginning of an outstanding adventure. We have learned a great deal about life in America.

In eighty days we rode 27,500km (17,000miles) an average distance 343km/day 212miles/day.

The longest days were 730 Km from Dingwall in Nova Scotia, the furthest east point on our journey, and Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and the next day from Fredericton to Montreal 850km.

We visited 32 states in the USA and 5 provinces in Canada, 24 National Parks and National Monuments, Kennedy Space Centre and places of historical significance in civil rights and civil war history.

We visited mostly small towns. People were kind everywhere.

We especially enjoyed the hospitality of Jim and Bernie at Cocoa Beach, Pete and Danielle at Lexington VA and Vergennes VT, Chantal et Jean in Montreal, Anne and Joe at McCall ID and Mark in Portland OR and Sandy Hook, Whidbey Island WA.

The weather was kind. The sun shone most days. In eighty days we encountered snow on two occasions in May and rain for brief periods on three days.

We think that road behaviour was considerate. Road conditions were excellent.

Here are maps of the general route we followed for each section of the journey.

East ward bound: San Francisco to Key West
States we visited
California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida
National parks and National monuments
California: Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park
Arizona: Grand Canyon - South Rim
New Mexico: Santa Fe, White Sands, Carlsbad caverns, Taos Puebla, Bandelier,
Florida: Everglades, Canaveral,
Historical places: Selma and Montgomery AB, Eureka Springs AR,

South east to North east: Key West Fl to Nova Scotia, Canada
States: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine
National Parks and historical sites: Great Smoky Mountains NC, Shenandoah VA, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Fredericksburg Military Park, Antietam, Gettysburg PA, Potomac heritage, Harpers Ferry world heritage site, Acadia National Park ME.
Special visit: Kennedy Space centre. Atlantis space shuttle.
Special routes: Blue Ridge parkway SC, NC, Tail of the Dragon TE
Canada: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia
Canadian National parks: Cape Breton Highlands, Fundy National Park, Prince Edward Island national Park.
About the bike(s)
Flower Power brought us to Orlando.
During her 10,000km service Dick decided to replace her with a white BMW GSA. Thus Orlanda joined us on our adventure. Dick was much happier riding on a GS. I missed Flower Power's comfortable pillion seat but was glad that Dick was happy with his new stead.
North east to North west: Nova Scotia, Canada to Whidbey Island WA.

Provinces and States we visited: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario:

Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington.

National parks: Badlands SD, Yellowstone National Park. Mt Ranier National Park, North Cascades National Park.
Mt Rushmore SD, Crazy Horse SD, Wall Drugstore, Mt Hood OR
Special motorcyle routes: Cabot Trail NS, Canada; Chief Joseph Pass WY, Beartooth Pass

North west to South west:

States we visited: Washington, Oregon, California.

National parks: Redwood national park Avenue of the Giants, Olympic National Park.

We followed the Pacific Coast: Highway 101 and CA 1

We encountered the Lewis and Clark Trail. in these places:
Harpers Ferry WV, Gettysburg PA, Pierre SD, Salmon ID, Bitterroot mountains Lolo Pass ID, Columbia River OR, Astoria OR Cape Disappointment OR.

The photos.
Most of the photos were taken with an Olympus Tough camera or an iPhone.

Departing San. Francisco 5 May, 2014.

Dick at White Sands National Park.

Sequoia National Park.
Roads stretching for ever.
Snow at Taos.
Dick with Sam at the Voting Rights Museum, Selma, Alabama.
Birthday girl at Key West, Florida.
Jim at the Kennedy Space Centre
With astronaut, Charlie Walker, Bernie and Jim Kennedy, and Carol and Rich at the NASA lunch.
Orlanda joins the ride.
Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee.
With Pete and Danielle in Lexington.
Badlands National Park.
Mt. Rushmore.
With Ellie, Anne and Joe in McCAll.
James and Drew at Tillamook.
Mt. Ranier
Radioman jumps.
Return to the beginning in San Francisco.
In the words of our friend, John Chapman.

This trip has been the stuff of dreams.



Friday, 15 August 2014

Day 80: San Simeon CA to Long Beach CA 476km

We set off from San Simeon early.

It is cool 59degF/15degC and the skies are blue.

We ride South and leave CA1 and head east through the Cuyana Valley then to Ventura on HWY33. This route takes us off the busy highway from Obispo into farmland and mountains.

A day of arid scenes, dry stream and river beds, irrigated fields, pistachio orchards, people harvesting strawberries, mountain passes and wonderful winding roads.

We reach the hwy101 near Ventura and are on the freeway for about two hours. It is warm here 95degF/35degC. Traffic ebbs and flows. One of the ebbs is caused by a motorcycle crash. Traffic police, an ambulance and firemen are on the scene. A very sobering site.

Dick as always provides a good gap between us and the car in front - vehicles in the lane behind us seem to mirror this. When we get near to Santa Monica we accept the welcome arms of a car pool lane on the inside of the freeway. This gives us a fairly free run for the 55miles to the Long Beach off ramp.

We arrive at the Queen Mary. A night for pearls and bubbles to celebrate.

80 days around the USA.

We have been blessed by...

...each other

...the hospitality of friends,

...the people we have met along the way,

... the marvellous weather, and..

...the opportunity to see wonders of creation

As we rode into Los Angeles-the city of the angels-I listen to Abba sing

" I believe in angels,

Something good in everything I see".

I believe in angels.
I have prayed at the start of every day that angels will surround us on the bike and protect us.

A plaque at New Cuyana commemorates Nancy Kelsey the sole woman on the earliest organised overland immigrant party to California in 1841.
Pockets of irrigated green in the valley below the Los Padres.

Up and over Los Padres mountain range - 5000' and snow signs down to 1000'.
The last petrol stop for the trip.
I have donned my fluoro pink best for added visibility on the freeways.
Vehicles behind, beside and ahead of us.

Sometimes in 8 lanes.

Destination, The Queen Mary at Long Beach.

Pearls and bubbles and a thankful prayer.
A love-filled journey.

Praise The Lord.