Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hwy 50: CO, UT & NV the Loneliest Road in America

August 13, 2013:    I left Denver a bit later than usual as Dom prepared a very satisfying breakfast before we headed on the road.  The idea was to wait a bit for the rush hour traffic to clear .   I wrote about it   click here   and I also posted a video  click here2 
    Glenwood Canyon, CO
I made it to Salina, UT for the night after stopping at Grand Junction, CO to exchange a defective chair

I continued Westward on I-70 which is also Hwy 50 and when I entered Utah I was very tempted to head south to Arches NP as I love it there but I was running out of time and had to keep moving.   It was sweating hot in all my gear and after a while the road had very little traffic.   There was also a lack of gas stations and I was running out of fuel and did not know if I had enough to get to Salina.   I only noticed one station at the junction to Arches and after a few miles there was another crude home-made sign which stated, "next gas 100 miles".   I pondered turning back but there was no option to get to the Eastbound lanes

I was on fumes when I reached the station and what luck to find a Motel6 with a a couple of restaurants on each side of the parking lot so I decided to stop for the night

It wasn't a great meal but I got to relax and enjoy the air conditioning, after looking at this

road all day and also lots of sage brush

Mile after mile with nothing else in sight.    The next morning I got an early start and noticed some abandoned buildings in Scipio, UT

so naturally I had to pose for a few photos and this building caught my eye as it looked like a painting so I had to do a U-turn

I thought I would try and get a few different angles and then I was off to a less traveled section of Hwy 50

This is near Holden, UT.    I thought that the light looked great with all the burnt grass.  I was in the middle of nowhere.   I remember thinking that I sure hope my bike starts.   There are no services around here and no cell service

and no one around, just me, my machine and listening to my engine as it was going to take me all day to get to the end of this road and back to civilization

The farther I went the more barren the land looked.  The road was so flat and straight

I wanted you to get the feeling that I had.   I felt so alone and there was hardly any traffic.   Just before the Nevada border I stopped in the middle of a long stretch as I wanted to snap a photo of my bike in the middle of the road

I tried to keep a lookout for on coming traffic

but there wasn't any, so I just kept on snapping photos

I also passed small towns that had seen better days

I can't remember where this was but I fueled up down the street

I have more photos which I posted before  click here   (excuse the duplicates)

I also manged to record some video to show you what it was like

It took me nearly a day and a half but I eventually made it to Fernley, NV for the night for an air conditioned room and a meal in a Casino across the parking lot

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Non Vancouver Motorcycle Show Weekend

What to do when it's the weekend for the Vancouver Motorcycle Show and you don't go.  I just didn't feel like driving 4 hours to Abbotsford, BC by myself when I had nothing to buy

Saturday morning found myself trying to find a way to unlock my Yahoo email account

It started a couple of weeks ago when I started to receive notifications from Yahoo that attempts were being made to access my account from the USA.  As I don't live in the USA, I doubt it was me.  I decided to ignore these messages even though I kept receiving them

I couldn't figure out why I hadn't received any Yahoo emails for a couple of days and then I received notification that my Yahoo account was "locked".   I wanted a way for others to contact me and for that I use either Yahoo or Hotmail.   It took a while but eventually Yahoo sent an ID code to my phone which I used to "unlock" my account and I had to reconfigure my Google Nexus 7 tablet and iPhone as this is what I generally use to read my emails.

Oh, before I forget . . . I found a link for some FREE  software which you may like.   You can either use it as a stand-alone application (Mac or PC), or it interfaces with other programs such as Photoshop.   Here is the  LINK    I am not afflicated with this Company and you can either use it or not use it but their FREE offer expires on January 28th and after that you will have to pay $99. US to try it out.   I follow a few photo forums and that is where I found  Perfect Effects 8  .  If you click on the link you will see what this program does.  It is full featured and takes the guess work out of many functions of Photoshop without knowing how to do them.

To take advantage of this FREE offer you have to click "add to cart" but the price will be Zero $0.00  You then fill out your email address and they will email you the activation code.  In their email there will be two download links to either download the MAC or PC versions

I wanted to do down to False Creek and snap a few panorama photos

    Canoe Bridge,  False Creek, Vancouver BC

I have always been drawn to this footbridge.  It is so photogenic

It seemed like a warm day.  It was about 11°c  (51.8°F)  and nearly shirt sleeve weather when in the sun, but it was cold in the shade

That's  BC Place  Stadium in the background and we are on the South Shore of False Creek

We also have very big birds in the area

and that's Science World in the background

and this is my first attempt at a full 360° spherical panorama.   Feel free to use the navigation tools to move around and zoom in and out

I'm having problems embeding the image so click    THIS LINK

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mississipi River, RedLegs & Glenwood Canyon

August 2013:     After my excursion through the backroads of Indiana it was time to make time.   I had a long brunch with Biker Baby (read here)  and got a late start to my day so I had to make up for lost time.   It was a pedal to the metal kind of day and I ended up in Avoca, IA where I got an early start the next morning.   Little did I know that this was to be my highest mileage day of my trip.

There was nothing really to see except the straight ribbon of road dead ahead.   A few days earlier I was in Toronto contemplating riding home via the Canadian route and now I was deep in the south riding along I-80 and heading towards Colorado

I knew that I had a long ride ahead when I left Chicago so when I received an email inviting me to spend a night in Centennial,  I jumped at the chance.   About half a day later I diverted south to I-76 where I soon came to the Colorado border

Here I am at the visitor's centre where you have to give your email address to obtain the official State Map.   This section of highway doe not seem very well maintained and there are virtually no services

and I was physically in the middle of storms.  I could see menacing clouds all around me and I was just waiting for a deluge of rain, but luckily I outran the clouds

I left Avoca, IA around 7am and arrived in Dom's garage around 6:15pm,   11 hours on the road and 603 miles later stopping only for gas and quick snacks.   read  here1

I can't thank Dom enough for hosting me.  I had a great time and stayed two days.  One was a non-riding day for me as I played monkey   read here2     and he took me to Red Rock Canyon

 it was hot and we were walking around in our riding boots and getting tired watching all these people exercising up and down the steps/chairs

We even managed to spot some wild life

And snap a few photos of Valencia

Eventually all good things come to an end and I had to move on   read here3     Dom took the lead and led me out of town.   He just wanted to make sure I was safely on my way

Along the way I  went through the Eisenhower Tunnel    read here4  

Most of those links (above)  have video and I am just recaping some of my highlights so you can understand the sequence in my video below and also to thank my hosts Dom and Martha for inviting me into their home and and putting up with me for a couple of days.    I can't thank you enough for being thoughtful and kind to a lonely traveler.   I am honoured to be part of your extended family

And also a very big thank you for taking a day from your schedule to show me around as I relaxed in your Hack watching the scenery go by at Ural speed.   All I can say is those tires on those big rigs are sure big as they go barreling by

 Oh, another thing.  I am not one to wash my bike.  My windshield was plastered with bugs and I could barely see through it.  Remember that I am now on the return leg of my trip and this was the first time that my windshield had been cleaned.   Dom took one look, shook his head and grabbed his windex bottle and went to work

It wasn't long before I had the cleanest windshield in town.   Thanks again Dom

After I left Denver  I took I-70 and headed West and found myself in Glenwood Canyon.  I decided to record longer video than usual and add some video from the day before I arrived at Dom's .  My normal practice is to keep my videos on the shorter side and certainly less than 5 minutes, but the Glenwood section alone was over 8 minutes so sorry if it may be a bit too long but I didn't mean for it to be boring.

Glenwood Canyon is an engineering marvel,  read more here.    They tried to preserve the natural landscape and built the freeway "in the air" so as not to disturb the environment and more facts here.   I wanted so much to stop and look over the edge to get a better view but thought it to be too unsafe.  As you are riding on the roadway you don't even realize you are on an elevated road . . .

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lost in Indiana

August 8th, 2013

Being a guest at Ed & Dianne's for a couple of days had made me spoiled but I had to start my trek home.  I still had a long way to go but which route should I take.  We looked at some maps and I considered the Canadian route but when Ed mentioned he had to return his riding boots and I also wanted to visit some cousins in London, so we headed East on Hwy 401 where we parted ways at this rest stop

and as I had arranged the day before I headed out on my own to see my Aunt & cousins whom I had not seen since 1988 at the last family reunion that I attended

You know how it goes.  You plan to stay an hour but you keep talking and soon it's over 2 hours.   Cousin Sarah is into photography too and belongs to the local camera club.   She snapped a few of me and I snapped back.    I was soon back on the road

and decided to re-enter the USA through Sarnia,  Over the Blue Water Bridge.    I had been over this bridge before but many years ago in our rented car back around 1973 when we visited my Uncle in Detroit

Soon I am riding on the Blue Water bridge which is the no-man's land between the USA and Canada

Welcome to Michigan coming up and I have to turn my cameras off before I hit the customs booth.  They actually asked me about it when I was being questioned

After I crossed the border the highway splits South and West and I was not familiar with the names of the towns so I kept to the left which was a big mistake.   I didn't know it but I was heading straight into Detroit and my plan was to go around.  I got lost and exited the freeway and tried to find my bearings.   I couldn't figure it out because the road atlas I brought wasn't detailed enough and my GPS was too detailed and I couldn't find the names of the places on my paper map so I continued to ride in circles.   I thought that I could go into the McDonalds to use their WiFi on my phone but they didn't have WiFi.   Then I realized that the reason was they didn't want the wrong people hanging around so it was a warning to me to get out of there

I decided to make this an early day so I ended up in Columbia City, IN for a sit down dinner at a Chinese Restaurant

It wasn't so bad.  Broccoli & Beef with fried rice topped off with a fortune cookie.   With a full tummy now I had to find a home for the night.   I rode around and didn't see much.  Mostly run down motels so I decided to grap a marginal one right along side of the highway.   It was a seedy looking place where I had to talk through plexi-class and pay cash before I could get the key.

I prefer places where you can park in front of your door and I put my bike cover on

It was a hot day and the A/C was very cold and it had FAST  internet too.   It was clean enough and I would stay there again if I were by myself.

Notice that I was just West of Fort Wayne on the Lincoln Highway.   The next morning I headed south towards Kokomo, IN and got myself lost

You don't get a good feeling when everything around you looks run down and you are staring at the County Jail.   I kept on the backroads in exploration mode watching the farmlands roll by.   Soon I found myself in Marion, IN and after a few wrong turns ended up in Kokomo where I entered another depressing area

This Motel looked cleaner than the one I stayed and the rates were cheaper.  In fact the surrounding Motels had similar rates and even so, it would appear that all of them had no customers

I wandered around for a while getting a feel for the town and had lunch before I headed on my way.   I tried to find my way out of town but again I took the wrong turn and ended up riding through miles and miles of corn fields  (video at the end)

I used my intuition to find a Northward route and try to get back to I-80 but also to avoid the toll roads near Chicago but the traffic was gridlocked and now I was on secondary roads riding through small towns

Eventually I made it to Ottawa, Illinois which was my new home for the night.  I spent hours trying to find my way out of the corn fields and trying to follow my GPS as you will see . . .

Saturday, January 18, 2014

GIF: Test One, Faces & Exercise

Winter is a time to experiment and learn new projects.  I have always wanted to make my own GIFs

and I needed a subject to animate, so excuse the OOF:  Out of Focus photos as it's only a procedural test to make sure I could do it

I couldn't think of any other ideas . . .

and I'm also trying to keep in shape after all that food during Christmas

Whew !   I'm getting tired just looking at this

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

BMW Triumphant: Meet Ed & Dianne

I'm still a bit behind with stories from my long distant ride last summer where I rode my BMW R1200R across the Continent to PEI and back. I wanted to thank those that hosted me along the way. When I first budgeted for this trip I allowed sufficient funds to be able to hotel it all the way and back. I am also on the threshold of Retirement and I wasn't sure how much touring I would be able to do when my paycheque stopped, so last year I thought that I would buy some camping equipment and learn how to live with less. It was a daunting thought to think that I had to travel 8 days and 3,000 miles before I would meet up with my two riding buddies in State College, PA

I made a determined effort to "Camp" for the first few days until I reached bad weather in Belle Fourche, SD where I had planned to camp at Wyatts Hideaway but it was not to be. It was not easy for me to ride by myself for so many miles and soon I was getting starved for Company. It just happened that Dom was going to be in Holmen, WI so he invited me there for the night (read here) A big thank you to Sue and Fred for the cool room (air conditioned) and free, fast internet. I really appreciated seeing familiar faces

We motelled it for a few days and when we reached Portland, Maine, Mike and BRW opened up their home to us. I wrote about it here .

We were also hosted in Shediac, NB (read here) and on the way back through Montreal, David also offered a warm place to stay for a few days. There are several posts back in my archives and also here and here

So far I have posted more hyperlinks than photos but I am trying to bring you up to date in chronological order. After Montreal I spent a couple of days in Kingston with V*Star Lady more here

August 6th, 2013:    I left Kingston early in the morning and headed for Toronto. I got lost as they changed the freeway. I remembered that there was an exit at Jane but it was no longer there and I overshot past Islington and I had to backtrack as I had an important errand to do before I arrived at my home for the night.   I spent one summer in the Weston/Shepard area and things looked different after all these years

     Ed & Dianne

Eventually I arrived with my Hosts anxiously waiting outside for me.  Ed and Rodney were keeping track of my GPS Spot tracker.   It was a hot day and after I got out of my riding gear and cooling down in air conditioned comfort I was treated to these delicious cup cakes

Dianne knows the way to my heart.  She made these specially for my arrival

I wanted to grab one out of the container but she made me wait and put some on a plate.  They were both so kind to me.    And after a most excellent dinner

we soon settled into a most decadent dessert

You probably realized by now that she is a most excellent cook with lots of supplies on hand.  As was arranged ahead of time I was going to spend the next day just relaxing with Ed.  It was to be one of the few non-riding days of my trip.   He was in the middle of constructing his Theatre Room  (read here) .  His friend Rodney was the contractor and we were sent out to get parts.  In fact, Rodney also rides and a couple of years ago Ed & Rodney rode to Vancouver Island to visit a friend

I had another reason for taking a non-riding day as I wanted to spend a few hours with my Aunt and Uncle who live in St Catherines and whom I had not seen for a long time.  Ed & Dianne volunteered to spend the day with me and drive me there.   I am so grateful for their generosity and for going out of their way to welcome me as part of their family  (well, maybe not go that far) .   It turned out that my Uncle has a condition and had a Doctor's appointment close to a nearby mall where we arranged to meet in the mall near the Starbucks.  We were going to visit for an hour or so at the Mall but then Dianne thought that it would be better if she just invited them to their home for a home cooked dinner, and we would have a private place to just talk and get to know each other after so many years.   As I think back,  I can't thank them enough for opening up their home for me and my extended family

Soon it was time for my Aunt and Uncle to leave.  They prefer to drive during the daylight hours.  To Ed & Dianne, I can't thank you enough for all you have done to make me feel like I was home.  You have gone far above and beyond what I would have ever expected.  I am humbled

Recently Ed completed his 2nd reno project.   (read here) .    He had remodelled the washroom in the room I was using during my visit.   It appears that he did an excellent job except he forgot to insert the "before" photos which I conveniently have

Here is what it looked like before he ripped it all out.   I mean it looked good to me.   I can't wait to see the real thing (the new remodel)

and here is the rest of the Guest Room.   This was my home for two nights and it was very comfortable .   He wrote about my visit  here  and   here 

After the 2nd morning it was time for me to start heading home and Ed wanted to follow me to London, Ontario so he could return a pair of boots at the Motorcycle Superstore

Ed hadn't been riding much during the past year but this was his first ride since his Doctor gave him the green light.  I followed while Ed led the way onto the freeway

Yep,  that's him in the lead.   Here's a short video of our ride together

Ed & Dianne.    I can't thank you enough for all your hospitality.  It warms my heart to know that I have friends in  Toronto  (actually  Mississauga)     Till we meet again . . .