Dragon Eclipses

Do you know where you’re going to be on August 21st, 2017?  As it happens, at about 6:30 in the evening on that day, a total solar eclipse will be passing over The Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee and North Carolina.


Total eclipses don’t happen very often.  This is complete totality, the moon perfectly covers the sun’s disk, the sky goes dark, birds go to sleep, and a couple of minutes later everything comes back and it’s another normal sunset in the mountains.  It’ll be spectacular.

I got some nice shots of a partial solar eclipse during sunset a couple of years ago, but a chance to see totality is a bucket list item.  If I can time it with another bucket list item (riding the Tail), what a day that’ll be!

I’ve seen a spectacular partial eclipse at sunset, but totality is something else entirely.  If you’re able, try and get into the path of the total eclipse and the moon’s shadow slides across America at over 1000 miles per hour.
Get between the blue lines (and as close to the red one as you can get) and you’ll see a total solar eclipse.On the Portland side you’re looking at a 5:15pm start,  As the shadow slips into the Atlantic around Charleston, it’ll be a 6:46pm event.

 

Around Huron


It’s just past 8am on day one of the ride.  Even this early in the morning it’s already in the mid-twenties and the sun is relentless.  The padding I thought I’d try in my helmet was a bad idea, and by the time I reach Creemore I’m working on a full scale headache.  Thirty seconds after we stop the Roof lid is back to normal and it works like a champ for the rest of the trip.  Motorcycle gear is an ongoing process of fine tuning, especially when you mess around with something that already works.

This trip grew out of a friend’s cross country anniversary ride with his wife on his new-to-him Goldwing.  We were originally going to drop down to the ferry on Manitoulin Island for the ride home after day one, but the ferry is booked solid during the day so I started looking at another way home.  Having never been to Northern Michigan, it seemed like a good idea to wrap around Lake Huron.  It’s just over 1500kms of wilderness riding with few people in between.

The goodbye in Creemore went long as we’d been accompanied by friends out that far, so we got back on the road just as the sun was going fully nuclear.  Day One was the longest of our trip, five hundred kilometres around Georgian Bay up to the small town of Massey, Ontario.  A gas and lunch stop in Perry Sound followed by a couple of road side stops along the way made the heat bearable with lots of consuming of liquids at each stop.  You know it’s hot when you’re sweating freely at highway speeds.

Mohawk Motel: clean, cheap & odd!

We rolled into the Mohawk Motel in Massey just past 4pm.  The grass was brown and crisp, just like us.  The motel was basic but clean with air conditioning.  Everyone cold showered and relaxed for a while before we wandered out into town only to discover that the only restaurant was closed early due to it being hot.  We were told to walk down the street to a variety store that also doubled as the local fast food joint.  Forty five minutes of waiting in forty degree heat later I’d paid forty bucks for a cheeseburger, fries and a couple of slices of pizza.  We staggered back to the hotel and called it a day.

The next morning Massey totally redeemed itself with a fantastic breakfast at the Back Home Bistro.  As we finished up the eggs and bacon, rain moved in.  It was still in the mid-twenties, but humid and wet.  We rode into heavier and heavier rain as we traveled west over the top of Georgian Bay.  A brief stop in Blind River to check on my stoic pillion had us bump into a couple doing a similar route to our Huron circumnavigation; it wasn’t the last time we’d meet them.

The rain came and went before finally relenting as we rode into Sault Ste. Marie.  We parted ways after a surprisingly excellent and cost effective lunch at Pino’s Supermarket where you can get a brick oven baked pizza and amazing sausage on a bun for next to nothing.


Jeff & MA were on their way to Wawa up on Lake Superior, while Max and I were headed over to the border crossing into Northern Michigan.  After a day and half together we’d made good time, covered a lot of ground in all sorts of weather and everyone still had smiles on their faces (a good Italian lunch helped there).


After a quick goodbye we saddled up and headed over to the bridge only to bump into the couple from Blind River again.  We followed them up onto the bridge to discover a massive line up.  Inching a fully loaded two-up bike five feet at a time up the side of a suspension bridge is about as much fun as it gets.  Fortunately we had a great view of the river beneath us.

Sault Ste Marie is one of those places that reminds you just how big the great lakes are.  In the hour plus we were inching our way over that bridge I tried to imagine the tons and tons of water that rushed beneath us out of Superior and into Huron, it feels very powerful and boggles the mind.

A highlight of the interminable wait was getting to the peak of the bridge.  From that point up until the customs gates we were going downhill, so the bikes stayed off and in neutral as we glided forward, inches at a time.  As I said to our doppelgangers, ‘at least it isn’t yesterday!’  That bridge on a forty degree sunny day would be unhealthy.  My magic power kicked in at the split into lines for each gate.  Which ever one I pick will immediately stop, and of course it did.  The couple ahead of us were down the interstate a good fifteen minutes ahead of us while we sat there pondering karma, or just plain old bad luck.

Once finally freed into Michigan we headed south into the tail end of some very violent

thunderstorms. The mist became rain, and then strong winds came up out of west. It was an hour of tacking against the wind down i75 to St. Ignace and The Breaker’s Resort. We got in about 4pm drenched and weary after a long day in the rain broken up by the better part of two hours crossing the border in five foot increments. Java Joes provided a first class milkshake and coffee before we headed over to check in. They weren’t ready for us, but housekeeping did back flips to get us into the room ASAP.


 We enjoyed the hot tub and pool, but Breakers is a family resort, kind of like Disney World but with a great lake instead of mice.  If you like screaming, unmanaged children and drunk, indifferent parents on smartphones, this place is for you.  Max and I vacated the pool in a flurry of OCD after a kid pretended to be vomiting water out over and over again.

Dinner was takeout pizza from Java Joes, and it was exceptional.  With everything scattered around the room in a vain attempt to dry it out, we crashed on the beds and watched Seth Macfarlane cartoons as the fog rolled in outside.  After two days and the better part of a thousand kilometres on the road, we were both pretty knackered.


We woke up early in backwards world to blue skies and the sun rising out of Lake Huron (the sun goes to sleep in Huron where we’re from).  A savoury breakfast of heavily processed meat pucks and bad coffee with large Americans eating all they could while watching Trump speeches on FoxTV (we are far from home my son), had us ready to hit the road.

I wiped down the trusty Tiger and we loaded up for a day that was more about exploring than making distance (though it eventually turned into both – you’re always making distance if you’re trying to get around a great lake).  After a quick fill up and a slow ride around St. Ignace’s lovely harbour, we got onto the interstate and headed for the Mackinac Bridge, it was spectacular:


The Mackinac Bridge is worth the ride!




We took our border-buddies’ advice and headed over to the Tunnel of Trees.  This put us on the shore of yet another Great Lake (Lake Michigan).  The micro-climate on the west shore of Michigan’s northern peninsula produces fast growth.  As you ride onto that side of the peninsula everything is super green and the trees get Pandora big.

The M-119 is a twisty little blacktop that runs through those forests along the shore.  It’s barely two lanes wide with no curbs or runoff.  You need to keep your eyes on the narrow lane, but you’re never moving that quickly.  Surrounded by a sea of green, you quickly get into a meditative mood.  The Tiger can be whisper quiet when it wants to be, and we purred through that green cathedral in near silence.


You can’t help but get that look on your face on the M-119.



We ended up getting redirected off the tunnel road due to construction and never found our way back.  We eventually got to Petoskey, which I was interested in seeing because it was where Earnest Hemingway used to spend his summers as a child.  It’s box stores and hotels bent under the weight of lots of tourists nowadays.  If Hemingway were to return, I’m not sure much of it would ring a bell.


Out of the heat in a McDonalds at lunch we ran into our doppelgangers again.  They suggested an alternate route out of Petoskey and we wished each other a safe trip once again.  A short time later one of the retirees working there walked up to chat about bikes, he had a big old Harley in the lot and couldn’t identify the Tiger.  When I told him it was a Triumph he got the same happy, nostalgic expression that a lot of people did when I told them what we were riding.  There is a lot of good will and nostalgia around the marquee in the States.

On the road again we struck east across the peninsula aiming for Alpena on the Huron coast, but between the heat, increasing traffic and the strong westerly winds, we were both losing the will to get there.  We turned south on 65 and wound our way through Huron National Forest, stopping for an ice cream in Glennie.  The lovely young lady who served us told of her hours spent horseback riding the day before, then three local farmers came in for a cone and were curious about the Triumph.  It was all very nice.  When we left she came out to her car that had a big ‘Vote Trump’ bumper sticker on it.  I found it hard to reconcile how nice Americans were with the insane politics they practice.

Old Detroit charm – built back in
the day when the motor city was
a world traveller destination,
the Bay Valley Resort reminds
of the golden years.

When we finally turned onto 23 heading back out to the interstate I gave a barbaric yawp in my helmet, as it felt like we’d never get there.  The final blast down the interstate in 60km/hr cross winds was performed using shear will power.  We staggered in to the Bay Valley Resort after nine hours and over 450kms on the road in strong winds and relentless heat.

Bay Valley Resort was a real treat.  Cheaper than Breakers, but better in every way.  If you like modern hotels, this isn’t for you, but if you like character, Bay Valley has oodles.  The doors are made out of wood (!), and the entire resort is situated in the middle of a golf course.  It’s much more adult orientated, but it had all the accoutrements my son loves.  The pool is an indoor/outdoor design with a river between them, and the spa was a hard hitting jet affair with strong bubbles perfect for loosening up sore muscles after a long day in the wind.  The whole thing was set into patterned concrete.  The on-site restaurant was swathed in dark wood and was both classy and dated, I loved it!  The food was chef prepared but priced very reasonably.  We fell asleep feeling well cared for in the silence of a golf course at night – no sounds of screaming children anywhere.

We woke up the next morning and hit the pool one last time.  Max wasn’t keen to mount up for yet another day on the road.  Day one had been a high mileage sweat box, day 2 a rainy, windy ride with an interminable border wait, and day 3 was a high mileage meander across the peninsula in heat and high winds.  We were both tired, and having to get my pillion in motion made it even heavier.  After a late breakfast we finally got on the road just before 11am and I made a command decision to take the Interstate rather than head over to the coast on another back road ride.  No wind and less heat made our interstate jaunt through poor, old Flint, Michigan a relatively painless affair.  Flint feels like a ghost town at the best of times, but this year it felt abandoned.  We stopped at a rest stop on the i69 on the way to the Canadian border when Max got a leg cramp, but otherwise high-tailed it home.

Distracted Stratford drivers put that look on my face.

It took all of five minutes to line up and cross the border back into Sarnia.  Heading into The States was misery, coming home was a dream.  We stopped in Sarnia for lunch and then hit the bricks for the final ride home.  We thundered up the 402 on the long legged Tiger before angling off toward Stratford on back roads.  After over sixteen hundred kilometres of riding, much of it through wilderness, it was the ride through Stratford and its dithering, well dressed theatre patrons that was the most dangerous.  We were cut off and almost run over by people less worried about killing us than they were making their curtain call.  It was the only moment on the trip that I was tempted to chase someone down in order to thump them.

Back in the stable after a flawless
1600+kms ride, what a champ!

We finally pulled into the driveway just before 6pm, sore but elated.  The ride had its challenges, but the memories made were keepers.  The road into Sault Ste. Marie is lovely and surprisingly mountainous.  The Mackinac Bridge is a must-do experience, and riding down the tunnel of trees is like attending the best church ever.  Java Joes makes a good food stop and Bay Valley Resort is a forgotten gem worth staying at if you’re in the area.

All in all it was a great adventure, albeit a trying one.  Sometimes, usually when it’s least comfortable, I wonder why I’m doing this to myself, but the memories sort out the discomfort from the awesome, and the awesome always wins.



Riding the Tunnel of Trees road in northern Michigan www.motorcycleroads.com/75/309/Michigan/Tunnel-of-Trees-Road.html#sthash.BxFBBpqw.dpbsSpherical Image – RICOH THETA


Rainbow connection sung by Alanna



Chasing Virginia Waterfalls


My cousin in law shared this and I thought it would make for a nice, twisty ride.  It got to double digits yesterday and my throttle hand is getting itchy event though we’re still knee deep in snow.



It’s a 271 mile ride through the Virginia Appalachian Mountains connecting nine waterfalls.  It might be a bit much to try and manage in a day, but over a couple of days it’d be a two nearly 300km days of twisty road riding with a lot of waterfall watching in between.  If two days of mountain roads and waterfalls don’t cure what ails you, nothing will.




I’d previously thought about doing a ride down the Appalachians to Deal’s Gap as the full solar eclipse is passing over there in mid-August this year.  This is about two thirds of the way down from Ontario.  It’d make a nice break from the drive back north to spend a couple of days chasing waterfalls along winding mountain roads.

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Motorcycle Media: short films, documentaries & time travel on a Friday night

Friday night had me home alone in the first time in forever.  After a rough week at work I was wiped and on the verge of a cold, so it was a low impact night.  I went looking for some escapist media and stumbled upon EXIF’s Top 6 Best Motorcycle Films.  I’d seen Shinya Kimura in The Greasy Hands Preachers, but I’d never seen the film that set him out as a motorcycle media icon, it’s just shy of three minutes of perfection:

Shinya Kimura: Chabott Engineering


Another one I hadn’t seen before that does a great job of capturing a northern motorcyclist’s winter dilemma is Waiting out the Winter.  It’s a short video, but it sets the mood of tinkering while we wait for the snow to recede in the frozen north wonderfully:

Waiting Out The Winter

WAITING OUT WINTER from Andrew David Watson on Vimeo.

Those short films made a great appetizer, but I was looking for something a bit more long form.  If you’re ever looking to pass a lazy hour or two in another time and place, Cycles South will take you to the early 1970s.  Like the ’70s themselves, Cycles South looses the plot half way through, but discovers itself again before the end.  If you’re delicate and can’t handle the very non-politically correct sensibilities of the early 1970s, don’t watch this, but if you can let it all go and are willing to exist in another time, Cycles South makes for a psychedelic road trip (man).  The whole thing is on Youtube in 15 minute segments, they connected together automatically with a few seconds of delay between, mercifully commercial free.


Google/Youtube lost its mind after I watched the series in order and started shooting motorcycle themed video at me from all directions.  Next up was Fifty Years of Kicks, a twenty minute documentary about two off road motorcyclists well into their seventies.  I wasn’t initially hooked, but the quality of filming and the narrative they were building had me after a few minutes.  There is something about watching old guys fight the clock that is heroic.  It makes me want to celebrate any small victories they have before the inevitable happens.


Looking for something on the history of motorcycles I came across The History Channel’s documentary on Youtube.  It’s a bit wiz-bang flashy and over edited, but you get some Jay Leno, and the jet powered Y2K.  When they went from that to some Dodge Viper powered thing I began to think this was less about motorcycles and more about bored rich people.  I didn’t get to the end of this one.


Have you ever wished you had an old, British uncle with an encyclopedic knowledge of motorbikes who would natter on about them indefinitely?  I was afraid Classic British Motorbikes: 100 Years of Motorcycling was going to be an advertisement for a dealership in England, but the big green Triumph Tiger in the opening moments kept me playing it.  This video takes place sometime in the early two thousands (hence my model of Tiger sitting in front of the dealership).  The idea was to invite in classic bikes and celebrate 100 years of motorbiking in Britain.  The camera work is amateur, as is the interviewing, but you’ll still pick up a lot of history from the owners and the knowledgeable interviewer.

I watched until he interviewed the owner of the dealership who seemed entirely disinterested in the whole thing and was apparently running the family business because of his dad’s love of bikes.  He made a stark contrast to the enthusiasm of every previous interview.  If you’re interested in British bikes and especially their history, you’ll enjoy this one (with a bit of fast forwarding).

It’s amazing what motorcycle media you can dig up on the internet with a bit of luck.

Welcome to my insanity!

I’m back in the classroom again and teaching English for the first time in more than a year.  I took a senior essentials English class mainly because few people want to teach it (teachers like to teach people like themselves), and it fit my schedule.  Essentials English is just as it sounds.  These are weak English students who are getting what they need to graduate and get out into the workplace, they aren’t post-secondary bound and tend to find school pointless.

The trick with students this bullied and indifferent to the school system is getting them to read and write at all.  Rather than drag them into a text book or make them watch the department copy of Dead Poets Society in order to prompt some writing, I thought I’d introduce them to my insanity.  In a week where we’re all getting to know each other it helps if students see what you’re into.  Showing your hobbies and interests is a good way to have them get to know you.  If they get excited about the idea of planning a trip and it prompts them to write, it’s a many birds with one stone situation.

With some support, students quickly
got into planning a trip.  28 days,
unlimited budget!

The plan was pretty straightforward: you’ve got four weeks (28 days) starting next Monday.  Assume you’ve got an unlimited budget for a road trip (gotta travel on the ground).  Where would you go?  What would you do?  On the second day I gave them some pointers on Google Maps and some planning tools like a calendar and how to make notes online and they were off.  At the moment it looks like I’ve got pages of writing from students who generally don’t.  The research they’ve been doing also lets me diagnose their reading level.

Needless to say, I bravely volunteered to present first.  It doesn’t feel like homework when you enjoy doing it, and mine was obviously going to be a motorcycle trip.  I probably could have gone more bonkers on bike choice, but I have a sentimental attachment and some practical necessities that prompted my choice.  Rather than go for the South American adventure, I decided to focus on The States, which has tons to offer, especially if you aren’t sweating the budget.

Norman Reedus’ RIDE gave me an idea of where I’d like to go, the question was, could I get to the locations in the show and back home in 28 days?

Here’s what I’m presenting:

I presented this to the class two days before it was due.  Seeing an example helps and gave me a chance to explain my own process in putting together the trip (deciding on a vehicle, breaking the trip into sections, etc).

That photo I doctored of a VFR800 a
couple of years ago came in handy!

Another side benefit of something like this rather than a boiler plate reading and writing diagnostic is that is gives students a lot of control over the direction of their writing, which means I get to learn what they’re into, which helps me remember who each person is as well as offering me relevant subjects I can insert into future projects.

I’m hoping they surprise themselves with the results.  If I catch some of them in the future staring wistfully at Google Maps instead of playing pointless FLASH games I’ll know that they’ve been bitten by the travel bug too!

It’s a lot to try and pull off in 28 days, but when the budget is unlimited, I want more miles!
Into the Rockies ASAP, then down the coast, across the mountains again, and then up the Appalachians home.

Yellowstone!  Riding over a mega-volcano.

Death Valley and across the South West to the Twisted Sisters on the way to the Big Easy.
Back north in the Smokey Mountains and Appalachians.
I was thinking maybe an H2R or RC213 in a trailer, but then that meant driving a truck and trailer all over the place.
Better to be on two wheels all the time, and on the descendant of my first bike crush.


Superior Ride

Just over three thousand kilometres around Huron and Superior…
I saw the Tiger in the
parking lot at work today
& was sorely tempted to
jump  aboard and disappear

I did Georgian Bay last year and I’m already thinking about Great Lake circumnavigation again.  With the Tiger cleaned up and ready to go, it’s time to lob one over the horizon.  Huron & Superior would be the single longest trip in the Great Lakes series.

Day 1:  Elora to Tawas City, Michigan (~604kms) North Star Motel
Day 2:  Tawas City, MI to Marquette, MI (~545kms)  Marquette Day’s Inn
Day 3:  Marquette to Duluth Minesota (510kms) Radisson Duluth Harbourview
Day 4:  Duluth to Thunderbay Ontario (305kms)  Days Inn Thunderbay
Day 5:  Thunderbay to Wawa (487kms)  Wawa Motor Inn
Day 6:  Wawa to Little Current (513kms)  Anchor Inn Hotel
Day 7:  Little Current to Elora (334kms) 1:30pm-3:15pm Ferry to Tobermory
~3200kms

I could be done in a week with no extreme days and enough time in there to wander off the route if the mood struck us.  Max and I are already trying to work out a week we could do it on.

Motorcycle Reading: Red Tape & White Knuckles by Lois Pryce

I read Lois on the Loose a couple of months back so I put Red Tape and White Knuckles on Kindle for a read over the Christmas holidays.  Lois’s ride through the Americas was a great read, so Red Tape had a lot to live up to.

If you enjoy well edited, lean writing that is almost pathological in its honesty you’ll love Lois’s writing style.  She holds nothing back as she describes her long and arduous route from England to Cape Town.  Her vulnerability riding a motorbike colours the entire trip, making this very much a motorcycle focused read.

Now that I’ve read both books I often find myself wondering how the people she ends up travelling with find her depictions of them.  She is relentless in her assessment of how people deal with the challenges of adventure travel, and it isn’t always (usually?) flattering.

Lois is equally honest with her own fears and abilities while navigating Africa’s byzantine politics and sometime apocalyptic landscape.  Her doubts creep in throughout this difficult ride, but she also explains how she recovers which is a wonderful insight into resiliency.

You’d think that the physical aspects of trying to cross Africa on a motorcycle would be what slows her down, but just when you think that the Sahara Desert will be the ultimate challenge you’re scared to death of what will happen next in the Congo.  People are, by far, the most dangerous thing Lois encounters, though they are also often the saving grace.

Like Lois on the Loose before it, Red Tape & White Knuckles has some can’t-put-it-down moments (especially awkward when you’re supposed to be getting off a plane).  And like her previous trip this one leaves you feeling like you’ve been on an epic journey where the beginning feels like a distant memory as you finish.  Like the best journeys, this one feels like it changes you.

It’s better if it’s a tiger…


Toward the end of the novel Lois has an interesting talk with her husband Austin.  Lois’s atheism comes up a number of times during her trip through religion soaked Africa, and her discussion at the end about Austin (also an atheist) praying for her safety was enlightening.  It got me thinking about what being an atheist means.

I’d also describe myself as an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I’m lacking in imagination or meaning in my life.  If Life of Pi teaches you anything, it’s that you shouldn’t miss the better story or the resiliency offered by an empowered emotional approach to challenging circumstances.

Lois contrasts the dead eyes and mercantile nature of the Congolese with the gentle kindness she finds elsewhere. There is such a thing as being too much of a realist, of allowing the world around you to dictate your reaction to it.  We’re powerful creatures able to create our own responses to the circumstances we find ourselves in.

On our recent trip south I found myself putting on my lucky socks before I loaded up my son and all our gear to go for a ride in the Superstition Mountains (I know, right?).  Do I really believe these socks are lucky?  No, not if I dwell on it, but I like these socks, they make me feel like I’ve got my best kit on, they put my mind at ease, make me feel like I’m ready to do a difficult thing well.  That confidence has real world value.  Same with that lucky hockey stick, or my lovely motorcycle.  Am I superstitious?  No, I wouldn’t say I am because I spent most of my young adult life learning that things like fate or luck don’t exist, but I recognize the value of empowering myself with positive thinking.

If Austin found some peace in fraught times worrying about Lois in Africa then this isn’t a repudiation of atheism and reason, it’s an acceptance of the power of hope.  These tentative forays into the psychology of adventure riding suggest an untapped opportunity.  Lois’s honesty allows her unpack the complex psychology around dealing with fear, nurturing resiliency and developing an effective mental approach to the challenges of travelling off the beaten path.  I get the sense that she shies away from this kind of philosophizing, but I hope she doesn’t in the future.  If her purpose is to get more people out and about, this would aid in that.

Unfortunately this brings me to the end of Lois’s current works.  Fortunately she’s working on another novel due out soon about her riding around Iran

Honda Getaway

This lovely little Honda CB500x popped up on Kijiij.  As an icestorm approaches I’m dreaming of being elsewhere, as I often do during the off-season.


Two grand looks like it’ll get the bike air freighted from Toronto to Ecuador.  The South American tour would take me south down the Andes and then finally to Ushuaia before working my way up the Atlantic side to Rio de Janeiro.

By the time I worked my way back up to Rio on the little Honda, it would have done tens of thousands of kilometres across some pretty rough terrain on not the greatest gas.  I’m sure I could find a happy rider in Rio to hand it off to.

Just over 16,000 kms – a nice 3 month jaunt.


Averaging 250kms per day, it’s a 60 day trek.  With some wiggle room, this would be a nice three month jaunt, mid-February to mid-May.  The MotoGP circus passes through Argentina in April, so that’d be a nice thing to be able to ride to as well.

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Appalachia

What a ride down the Appalachians would look like next summer (for the solar eclipse!)

goo.gl/maps/6h2J4cJoXhz

Elora, ON

4 h 19 min (286 km)
Entering the United States of America (New York)
4 h 19 min (286 km)
Entering Pennsylvania
3 h 11 min (224 km)
State College, PA
37 min (40.0 km)
Entering Maryland
Entering West Virginia
Entering Virginia
Passing through West Virginia
Entering Virginia
2 h 59 min (233 km)
Entering Tennessee
1 h 15 min (82.9 km)
Deals Gap
Cherokee, NC
54 min (51.1 km)
Entering Virginia
8 h 6 min (553 km)
Lexington, VA
Entering West Virginia
Entering Virginia
Passing through West Virginia
7 h 3 min (539 km)
Entering Pennsylvania
Williamsport, PA
3 h 38 min (274 km)
Entering New York
3 h 38 min (274 km)
Batavia, NY
Entering Canada (Ontario)
3 h 44 min (243 km)
Elora, ON

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachia


goo.gl/maps/JeeomohGEPv

with hotel stops

www.blueridgemotorcycling.com/destinations/#interactive-map

ironhorsenc.com/
might be good for a couple of days in the Smokey Mountains.

home

6 h 29 min (447 km)
1.  Clearfield, PA
5 h 27 min (390 km)
2.  Inn at Mountain Quest
6 h 41 min (518 km)
3.  Knoxville, TN
1 h 34 min (94.2 km)
3.5   Deal’s Gap – Tail of the Dragon
2 h 25 min (162 km)
4.  Ashville, NC
8 h 26 min (581 km)
5.  Harrisburg, VA
5 h 39 min (437 km)
6.  South Williamsport, PA
7 h 3 min (496 km)
home

A Week After New Years

Norman makes the PCH look pretty magical.
At nearly a thousand bucks a day for this Canadian,
it would have to be.

Strange timing means I’ve got the week off after New Year’s Day this year.  That means flying is a less expensive possibility, so what motorcycling trip might I do with that time?  Norman Reedus did the PCH last year, that’d be nice.  If my son and I were to go what would that cost?

1)  Drive to Detroit would be a bit of gas, border & hotel money, pack only bike gear and a single change of clothes.  Parking in Detroit would cost about $170 for the week including a night in a hotel (the flight leaves at 6am).

$250 for the first day and night (trip, hotel & parking).  And that’s just to stay in Detroit!

2) Flights from Detroit to LAX are going for about $675.  Throw in another $50 to eat bad airport food.

Land in LAX, cab over to EagleRider (10 miles) $30.  EagleRider renting a BMW sport tourer for a week costs over $1400US ($1900 Canadian) if you want decent insurance coverage in the liability driven US.

Figure $300US a day in food, gas and hotels (travelling fairly minimally), and our eight days and nine nights on ground should run us about $2400US ($3250 Canadian).

The flight back is another $574 plus expenses…

Once back it’s another four hour slog over the bridge and back into Ontario through potentially lousy winter weather.  Figure in an extra $100 for gas, tolls and eating to get home.

A thousand miles up and down the Pacific Coast Highway
would be a nice way to end the holiday break, but
at seven grand it’s a salty trip.


I might have the time free, but this cheap-as-I’ll-go trip to California for just seven days (plus one in Detroit) would run to almost seven grand.  It’s a nice bike, but the price difference between that and a smaller, less able bike to carry us and our stuff around isn’t that much (maybe thirty bucks a day less).  This is assuming $100 a night-ish hotels, so nothing special and nothing near anything good.  Other than the riding there isn’t much left to visit anything with either.

Renting a bike is expensive.  Flying is expensive even if it isn’t a peak times and even if you drive to Detroit first.  Hotels aren’t cheap, and the whole thing jumps up by 32% when I pay for it with the Canadian money I earn.

I guess I won’t be doing that the week after New Years.