From: Don Graling
Don's Four Corners Birthday Ride - the official trip report...
Dave Keuch beat me to the punch by writing his trip report from the road, but I've had the advantage of several days rest before writing mine.
First of all, I want to thank the many individuals that helped us during the trip. I know I'll leave someone out but let me try to list them:
Rick Sanford - rode to Daytona Beach in one day on a VMAX
Day 1: 793 miles, 11:50 minutes running
time, 68 mph
Ted Verrill, Brian Horais, Bill Shaw, DC Mike, Larry Fears, Edwina & Terry (they were sleeping) are at the house to wave us off. It was really early especially since our loyal time management expert Terry shows up at 1:30 A.M. to spend the night. I know he was late to his wedding.
Riding down to Daytona Beach were myself (K75S), Bob Ryun (R1100RT), Dave Keuch (R100RT), Richard Bernecker (R1100GS), Rick Sanford (Yamaha VMAX). We met Bill Weiser and Warren at the Motel 6 in Daytona Beach just off the Interstate. The thing we didn't know at the time of the reservations was that the motel was also under the flight path for the Daytona airport. Great having a 727 fly over as you enter your motel room. Wild Bill presented me with my birthday present a $2 Canadian coin and a Florida lottery ticket - still don't know if I won or not?
During the day we also hooked up with Pat Roddy who rode over from Buford for lunch/dinner with us. Poor Pat had to listen to me babble non-stop for almost an hour before the other guys told me to chill and not tell Pat all of the details we had seen in the first ten hours of the trip. Pat even bought me dinner as a birthday present.
We made good time during the day with the ability to use my Passport Solo 4 radar detector. It's taken me almost a year to get the setup just right but between a Slipstreamer Universal radar detector mount and Bass Monster speakers in my helmet this was a combination that kept us from tickets for the entire trip.
Day 2: 570 miles, 10:06 minutes running
time, 57 mph
We met Stephen Karlan near Florida City, Florida (R1100RS). From Daytona to Miami we trailed a Jaguar that was in the 90's. It was amazing at that speed what it did to the Fuel Economy. We had lunch at Holiday Isle in Islamorada, bikes park free, cars cost! What a great place, a sight for sore eyes were some of the bikini clad young ladies trying to catch some rays. On the way back we passed by "Alabama Jacks" on Card Sound Road. A mandatory stop on the next trip down. We played chase me/catch me with a couple of Harley's on Card Sound road.
The road to Key West provided us with our first imponderable of the trip. Why is it that everyone drives along on the two lane sections of the road at 40 mph and then when it goes to two lanes for passing, the same people speed up to 80 and drive like crazy before it goes back to one lane. Everyone ends up in the same positions? Passing two RV's in tandem is like passing a land yacht, it takes forever.
We got lost coming back to Stephen's house, so I find two kids on a minibike and say "Do you know a guy who has a motorcycle just like this one?". Sure enough, they lead me right to his house. I have a note in my journal here that my legs are sore and I'm blaming it on the Corbin saddle.
Day 3: 777 miles, 11:29 minutes running
time, 68 mph
We did all of Florida today, from Miami all the way to Foley, Alabama. We missed Bill Wieser at the Alligator Alley meeting point but it was a great sight to spot him just before getting on the Skyway bridge into Tampa.
Dave already talked about Corky's. Corky was really neat and gave me a "Perdido Bay" t-shirt although he did make me cook - what a mistake! The only problem I had with Corky was that I swear he got up about 3:30 A.M., heated up a hot poker and stuck it in my left eye. I woke up shortly thereafter with the worst headache right above my left eye. Those darn Corona beers did me in!
The ride to the 7-11 to pick up the watermelon was neat. Corky's an interesting character - a true Renaissance man. From flying in World II to riding motocross to being a College professor - he has a wealth of stories that I thoroughly enjoyed. So we get to 7-11 and Corky walks right into the big cooler. I'm standing at the door looking stupid when the cashier says - "What the hell you doing in my freezer?". I just point to Corky and say I'm not in there - he is.
Day 4: 692 miles, 10:04 minutes running
time, 69 mph
This morning we came across our second imponderable of the trip. Why is that these old guys keep leading us to the Interstates on two lane roads at speeds that approach the sound barrier? Stephen leads us to Alligator Alley at warp speeds with Edith on the back. Bill Wieser leads us through Tampa at slightly more than legal speeds. Finally, Corky leads us out of Foley and for a 76 year old man he was hauling ass. Nothing wrong with his riding skills. We laughed about it all day.
Trip into Texas was uneventful except for a neat thunderstorm in Lafayette, Louisiana. I was cruising along past Houston as we entered the really flat parts of Texas and suddenly a Texas state trooper comes hauling across the median strip with dust, dirt and rocks just flying. Nice looking black and white 5.0 liter Mustang but he wasn't after us but another 5.0 liter Mustang with blacked out windows. Glad he'd passed us several miles before at a nice pace.
San Antonio was hot, it must have been 100 when we arrived. What a contrast from leaving lush green Foley, Alabama in the morning and arriving in hot dry San Antonio in the evening. The time zone change gave us a bonus today and we gained a hour of daylight.
Day 5: 868 miles, 12:09 minutes running
time, 72 mph
A big mileage day and as you can see from the average speed a fast one. The speed limit in New Mexico and Arizona are both 75 mph and that really helps when you want to make time. The temperature at one point was 103.
Another imponderable arose today. Why is Texas canyon located in Arizona?
A personal impression here. I'm a simple suburban kid from the D.C. suburbs and it made quite an impression on me when we passed through El Paso to see the prosperity on one side of the river and the rough environment on the other side of the river. The south side of the river looked like pictures of the slums in South America. Also, when we stopped for lunch at McDonald's in El Paso a recent immigrant talked to one of the cashiers on the side of the counter and she gave the gentleman a coke. It was an act of kindness that made a distinct impression on me.
We passed by Fredericksburg, Texas on the way out of Texas. It's definitely the Hill Country and although different than the Colorado or North Carolina mountains it has a stark sense of beauty that should be enjoyed by BMW rally goers in 1997.
Another imponderable arose on this stretch of the trip. During the trip we did some living room camping and we did some tent camping but in Texas they have "HOSPITAL CAMPING". I'm not kidding you the sign actually says "HOSPITAL CAMPING".
Day 6: I forgot to write down the mileage
We ran through the hottest part of the desert on this leg. We stopped for gas one time when we crossed into California and it looked a like a scene out of a Mad Max movie. Complete and utter desolation. Up the road comes two kids on a old ratty looking Honda. The youngest one had no shoes, no shirt - just shorts. Of course, no helmets. I snapped a picture of them when they weren't looking. After they put one gallon into the tank the driver started the bike just like I start my John Deere sometimes, by putting a screwdriver across the solenoid contacts.
At one point the signs said "Blowing Sand Next 30 miles". This part of the desert was just like I pictured the Sahara with "huge" sand dunes and blowing sand.
At Butch's in San Diego we had a great time and they even had a birthday cake for me. Visitors included Mick and Lonnie Collins, Fulton Martin and Susan Reed. Butch and Esther have a beautiful house and when I returned to Washington, D.C. I told everyone that the most beautiful city in the U.S. was San Diego.
Day 7: Cal BMW stole my bike before I
could write down the numbers
We rode with Richard Bernecker today. It was very hot on I-5 in California. We had a wonderful night in San Francisco. Jodi Lee and Clemens von Campe are great people and did everything possible to make our trip special. Both Joe Denton and Damon had very interesting bikes.
Leaving San Diego, Butch lead us out in the morning. It was very cold at first. Richard mentioned that he had decided to put on a sweater and I'm glad I took his advice. Once we got on I-5 north of Los Angeles it became hot very fast. It was amazing the amount of produce that the San Juaquin valley produces.
We were in at Kari's shop by 2:30 P.M. Within two minutes Eli was writing up service tickets for us. Here's where Dave's preplanning paid off. My bike was actually finished on Friday afternoon. I had seen a picture of Jodi so I knew who she was. She was with another gentleman who had a big grin on his face. I figured he was a sales or service guy, it turned out to be Clemens von Campe. What a great surprise, especially since I had talked to him the night before from Ecuador. Turned out he called from the plane!
I get back to the motel and the guys come back and tell me that Cal BMW discovered a funny noise coming from my transmission. That's certainly nice to hear on a 10,000 mile trip. I talked to Eli about it the next morning and although something was rattling in the transmission we decided that the only alternative was to ride it home and get it checked out upon return. The noise never became more noticeable on the trip and I did make it back.
It was funny how we met people on the trip. I met Damon in San Francisco and he said that we had met before somewhere. At dinner it finally hit me that I had met him at the "RA In The Bay" Rally in Quebec a couple of weeks earlier. We had sat together at the Clyde Romero radar seminar. Damon had painted his bike himself, very artistic. In general I found the West Coast bikes more customized and artistic than East Coast bikes.
Day 8: I forgot to write down the
We left Cal BMW at 12:00 noon after walking over with Richard Bernecker. We were going to stay in Redding but decided to extend to Medford and then couldn't find a motel room so we kept going to Roseburg. We drove 109 miles after 12:00 midnight over the Oregon mountain passes. We drove some beautiful roads out of San Francisco cutting across to I-5 through the lake area which I think is known as Clear Lake.
Over the course of the entire trip we only met a couple of jerks. In Oregon one of them was a gas station attendant that was trying to rush us after we had traveled 200 miles and were really buzzed. After taking my helmet off, I told the guy "to just chill out" and that pissed him off. We should of just driven to another gas station. But then, an hour later, we're sitting in a truck stop eating dinner and the waitress could not have been nicer to us. She knew we'd had it and really went out of her way to help us enjoy our meal.
Dave led the last 109 miles to Roseburg. Dave's an excellent rider and he did a great job leading us when everyone was really spaced. Dave and Bob had been helping me with cornering mechanics and it was fun to follow Dave through the long sweepers at a fairly decent pace.
Two brief insights here. First, Mt. Shasta is one of the most beautiful areas we passed through. Shasta Lake had many boaters on it in the early evening hours. It would have been nice to spend a day there. Second, California drivers were the fastest ones we encountered and to this point California also had the most numerous traffic enforcement. I guess it has to do with supply and demand? Californian's supply lots of speeders and the police demand lots of money.
Day 9: 455 miles - I forgot the
We stopped for gas about 11:30 A.M. and after we eat and gassed up Dave was on the phone to his sister. I decided since I had the bike on the center stand I would just ease my feet up on the handlebars and lean back on my rounder bag. Terry Evans had told me once just to relax my hands and you'd be out. The next thing I know Dave's shaking me telling me that it's time to go! I had been completely out. You can see how the repetitive days were wearing us down.
We finished our third picture today in Blaine, Washington. Delf arrived at the KOA campsite in Lynden about 5:30 P.M. The KOA in Lynden is beautiful, it's off the beaten path and has a pool, pond and creek. It will definitely require a return visit someday. At this point, Larry Fears was missing and presumed AWOL. We finally found him but everyone was concerned about his demise at this point.
Day 10: 564 miles, 9:47 minutes running
time, 58 mph
O.K. I know I haven't seen all of Colorado but let me say that the Canadian Rockies put the Colorado Rockies to shame. We had the best scenery day of the entire trip on the way to Banff. If you're ever in Calgary drive the extra hour west to visit Banff.
The morning in the mountains was very cold. We stopped once to load up with the electric vests. I had been working on my cornering throughout the trip and was able to really practice all day. One time I did get a cheap thrill when we ran through a long dark tunnel, my tinted facesheild was down and the road cornered in the tunnel.
Let me share with you our typical diet on the trip. Breakfast after 200 miles was donuts and Gatorade. Lunch was a Mars bar, bag of chips and Gatorade. Dinner - I noted that I needed a salad and that's what I had. This trip was a great weight reduction program.
We spent the night in a KOA next to the Olympic Village in Calgary. This was our second and last night to camp. If we'd known we were only going to camp two nights we would have saved the weight and left the camping stuff at home.
Day 11: 822 miles, 12:32 minutes running
time, 66 mph
I finally eat dinner at 11:00 P.M. with Delf at a Subway sandwich shop. This was the first day that really seemed like a "death march". The fatigue was starting to build and the long days weren't helping. I noted in my journal that I was "tired, hungry and cranky".
One highlight was that I talked to Richard Riegler who was in Calgary from New Jersey. It was too late to hook up but I spent 20 minutes on the phone with him. If you don't know Richard he's one laid back East Coast President. The weekend before he'd been in Labrador on the R1100GS and then went home and started west heading to Calgary. Richard was one of the first Presidents to start the 50 CC craze.
Day 12: 603 miles, 10:19 minutes running
time, 59 mph
The last two hours into Geraldton was in rain. We also lost an hour due to the time change. When you're really tired this hour can really frustrate you. We were finally in to our motel at 10:00 P.M. and for the second night didn't really get a decent dinner but I did have popcorn, root beer and a Nestle crunch bar.
I had my electric vest on most of the afternoon as the temperature dropped and the rains came. We passed by Thunder Bay and caught glimpses of Lake Superior. It did not look inviting under the gray clouds. Most of the roads after Thunder Bay were marked with Moose Warnings noting Moose Crossings especially at night!
During the day - Dave was leading and pointed to the side of the road. I turned and saw the back end of a moose rolling near the side of the road. The front half of the animal was concealed in the grass. This point remains one of contention but I think the moose was rolling on his back like horses do to avoid flies. Dave contends that the moose was dead and rigor mortis was setting in. In my defense, Dave didn't get as good a look as I had and it's my birthday ride so I'm right.
My journal notes - "Tough time today, long, 2 lane roads".
Day 13: 691 miles, 11:49 minutes running
time, 59 mph
I used to spend summers at Blue Sea Lake when I was a kid. Trying to remember how to get somewhere 32 years later is tough. We got lost going in but called Joe Sherwood who found us in five minutes. We ran through torrential rains all day and the trip was miserable. What do you do? We just kept going.
It finally stopped raining as we pulled into Messines and then really let loose as the front caught us with lightning, thunder and heavy rain. We were like wet rags as we pulled into Joe's garage. Everything was soaked. Forget anything Goretex it didn't hold out.
The only thing we could do being so wet was to jump into the lake. Temperature was about 70 degrees and Corky's place was much warmer. As Dave and I are standing there contemplating jumping in - we saw a log floating. We had a non-intelligent discussion of what it was and then figured out it was a beaver pulling a tree across the lake. Jumped in - water was cold - immediately got out. The water wasn't that cold when I was a kid!
Day 14: 822
We made it to our fourth corner today. In Ottawa we picked up Gary Harris who had been forced to change his plans and couldn't go the whole way with us. This was a long day. We made it to Madawaska and took our final pictures. We ran through rain again for about six hours. At one point in Quebec I was leading and we were passing a Miller Brewing truck. To show you the stupid things you think about on a trip like this I was trying to figure out how many wheels the truck had, it wasn't a standard 18 wheeler. As we're passing in the left lane, all of a sudden I hear what sounded like a shotgun going off. The truck blew an inside tire and tire scraps were coming out behind him. I accelerated in front of him and since we'd been on the side no one was hit with any debris.
We arrived at Dave's sisters house about 12:00 Midnight. Everyone came out to see us, Dave's sister - Lynda, her husband Jeff, and one of there daughters Jessica. We sat down to steak and lobster at 1:00 A.M. Great meal although the time was weird. I was in bed by 2:00 A.M.
Day 15: 694 miles, 11:29 minutes running
time, 61 mph
Total trip distance was 48918 to 58902 for total distance of 9984.
We finally started on the road from Waterville about 9:00 A.M. Gary broke off in New York and headed home. Gary's going to be doing the Iron Butt next year and I think he saw our condition after twelve days and realizes how grueling this event can be especially in wet weather.
So we're tooling along somewhere in Connecticut and this K-bike comes screaming by me blowing his horn. I immediately noticed that puke green Aerostitch suit and it's Ted Verrill. We pulled off at the next interchange and pulled on to the gravel shoulder. What a great thrill to see Ted. It made the whole trip worthwhile to know that he'd been traveling to Maine and had doubled back when he saw us. We talked for several minutes until a Connecticut state trooper pulled up. He couldn't have been more helpful just checking to make sure one of us hadn't broken down. He even took a picture of the gang of us.
I arrived back in Northern Virginia around 9:00 P.M. and went to my sister's in Reston where my family was having a birthday party for my Mom. My sister from California - who thought I was going to be killed on this trip - was really glad to see me alive.
General impressions of the trip
If I had to do it over again I would choose a different route. Our decision to go the Northern route in Canada was a bad one. Fatigue and bad weather worked against us. Of course I could have used a couple of extra days but we were really time constrained by vacation schedules. The partial day off in San Francisco really helped us recover at that point in the trip. A day off at Blue Sea Lake would have been very enjoyable.
I'm glad I did the trip with Bob and Dave - they were excellent riding companions as were all of the riders that rode with us. Blasting the trip out to the Internet added another dimension to the trip and turned what could have been a long solo ride into a social event. Thanks to all!
Will I do it again? Good question - one I don't have to answer until I'm 50!
From: Dave Keuch
You know about the send off at Don's. Needless to say you would never have lived it down had you not arrived!
We're doing pretty good but by the end of the day the heat has us pretty beat. We fall into our beds wherever they are and sleep comes quickly.
Don and Bob are snoring as I write this..
Sat. was a long day with little sleep the night before (thanks Larry!!) and the limited range of the VMAX Richard was riding. But we made our meeting with Pat R. in Savanna and had a great time at the Cracker Barrel. Pat bought Don's dinner to which he replied he should have ordered the steak.
From there we went to the Super 8 in Daytona Beach where we met up with Wild Bill and his Friend Warren (sp?) We sat around talking till around 11pm I was laying around as had ice on my back to help with the pain.. Next morning we headed out at 6am with Will Bill in tow. Less than 10 miles later Bill motioned us over as he wasn't sure of his rear tire and making the trip without incident. We agreed that it wouldn't be smart and a couple miles later we split. Bill heading for home and a new rear tire Don, Bob and I for Key West..
At Florida City we stoped for gas and called our host for the evening Stephen ? ( Sorry Stephen I'm real tired and can't remember your last name) Steve met us at the station and took us to his place to drop off our bags. He then lead us down to the Keys where we stoped at Islemorda (sp?) for Lunch. Was great place !! After lunch we split and he headed home we went to Key West. After a little tour of the city we took our needed pictures and found the secret #'s and mailed the first of 4 envelopes for the 4 corners.
Coming back up the Keys I lead the way and we made great time passing many cars and campers in quick shots... One of these found us trying to extend hust a couple more cars before pulling in. Unfortunately the car coming the other way was a state trooper that was looking at us like we were crazy... Couldn't think of anything else to do so I just waved at him like he was a long lost friend...The look on his face was one of disbelief. For what ever reason he didn't turn around nor call ahead.
Steve ahad given us a short cut home up Card Sound road (somenthing like that - did I say I was tired) which we took. Great road no traffic and we flew.. At one point we come up on 3 guys riding harley's taking their time. We were patient but then decided to pass. they gave us a look of what do you think you're doing?" and one of them tried to race with us we managed to get by him only minutes later on a straight stretch to have two of the three fly by us. Well not wanting to be out done we took off and were right behind them when we hit the main land. they smiled and waved and turned around (I guess they had to go back and find their friend)
Steve and Edith (his girlfriend) made a good meal for us and the next morning and led us on a hair raising ride to the east side of Alligator alley where we parted company. They're real good people and made us feel at home. (Steve, Don still has your key and wll mail it to you)
We were to meet Wild Bill at the East side of the Alley but after 30 mins figured something had happen so took off. We were making our way to the Sky bridge in Tampa. Fl. Just before we get to the bridge we see a guy jump on a K bike and follow.. Wild Bill found us and lead us thru Tampa taking numerous photo's of the gang in route.
Up I-75 to I-10 west. It takes forever to get out of Florida and this day was noo exception. We were so happy to see the Alabama state line cause we knew Corky and his dinner were waiting.
I'm really beginning to fade and the guy's snoring is making me jealous so I'll pickup my next post with arriving at Corky's.
To those that have sent us notes and messages on the 800--moa # thanks we get a kick out of them and it adds to the adventure. Tomorrow we've extended our day to give us more time in Ca. We're going to hit Tucson, AZ probably real late. Hope to write more soon!!
OLSON'S OBSERVATION: IT'S TOUGH TO JUGGLE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AVALANCHE
From: Dave Keuch
After a couple wrong turns... we finally made it to Corkys place. Once I walked around back and saw the dock and sailboat I knew why Pink slept on the dock. A great place..After introductions Corky pulled out the shrimp and beers. We jumpedout of our riding suits and into our bathing suits. An hour of jumping of the dock swimming and drinking and we were ready for the main event. I was busy downing beers and shrimp whileDon and Corky did the fish and hush puppies... add a salad and more beer and and great company and you've got a perfect evening. Corky wasn't quite done and said he had to go get another surprise for Don. They drove off and Bob and I did KP. 2o minutes later and they returned with a huge chilled watermelon that we cut up and ate till we could eat no more!
Dinner and desert were followed by more beer and a couple Salty Dogs for Corky and I.
We finally got to bed around mid nite and the morning came way to early. Especially for Don, he was hurting from the "3" beers he said he had.. Yeah right..
A half hour later and we were once again flying down back roads in a semiconscious state. Corky led us to the I10 interchange where we waved good-bye and sped onto the on ramp. In no time we were speeding down I-10 and leaving Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and heading into Texas Crossing the Mississippi we saw a couple paddle wheelers heading up the river and a number of barges coming down. The next thing we knew we were into San Antonio and getting our room at the Motel 6. After a long ride in that heat and humidity sleep came quickly to Bob and Don.
Up at 6am and we were off again. This time for Tucson Az. We had decided we wanted to have more free time with Butch H. so we opted to extend our ride from Demings NM. to Tucson. a total run of 865 miles via my Automap.
The day started out hot and humid at 6am and got better when Don missed the ramp for the I-10 turn off and we got an unplanned tour of Ft. Kelly. A couple u turns and we were back on track and into our cruising zone as we call it. Texas east of San Antonio is pretty dull in my mind at least on I-10 but west of the city the scenery is quite pretty and the vistas are out of this world. One thing to watch thou is the distance between fillups. At one point I managed to put 5.6 gals into my 5.7 tank. I had heard that the stations were far apart for Terry Evans but this was making it interesting. Once Don almost decided to pass on a fillup opting for the next station. Even with our extra carried fuel we would have been short a bunch of miles had we not stopped.
The day went by rather fast as did the miles under our tires. It does that when you do between 80-95 mph. At one point Don made a move to the left lane to pass a truck then swung back to the right.. I didn't and was looking at a pile of retreads all over the road in front of me. Luckily I managed to miss all the debris and got my heart out of my throat a few minutes later. The next interesting event was near Tucson. A truck up the road was smoking like a K-bike that's been left on it's side stand. Only this was so thick you couldn't see thru it. We put our 4 way flashers on and slowly worked our way into the smoke and around the truck. Didn't see anyone behind us for sometime after that!! The rest of the day was just dealing with the heat, anywhere from 102-107 degrees. Every stop we filled our camelbacks with ice and drink and had bottles of water to pour over us when our shirts dried out from the heat. By the end of the day we had made great time but were exhausted from the heat.
Don and Bob are once again sleeping and snoring while I write this with and occasional burst of chatter from Don.. he talks in his sleep. Mumbling something about being sorry he thought he was in the way of somebody... who knows.. we certainly weren't today.
Tomorrow we'll head for San Ysidro do the requirements for the 4 Corners Tour and head to Butch's place. The up real early on Friday to ride to CalBMW where we'll have the oil changed and new tread put on. Later.
OLSON'S OBSERVATION: IT'S TOUGH TO JUGGLE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AVALANCHE
From: Dave Keuch
The phones at the motel didn't work so couldn't get this out in the U.S. then couldn't get a link while in Canada.
Let's see where did I leave off??? Tucson right?
Since we had extended yesterdays run we gave ourselves an extra half hours sleep, we left at 6:30am instead of 6am. When we had left San Antonio the day before we had about 2 hrs. of nice cool weather early in the morning. Not today! It was hot from the start and just got worse. By 9am I was beginning to wonder why I was doing this ride in the first place. This part of the country has a certain appeal from all the westerns I used to watch as a kid. Funny it just never looked that hot when Roy Rogers and Tonto were thwarting thebad guys.
We were moving down the road at a good speed and passing what few cars were on the road. We had just passed a Blazer when Don motions to me we need to pull over. So he hits the brakes and start pulling over. Of course the guy in the blazer was real happy with us but Don didn't care he was on a mission. We hadn't gotten to a full stop when Don leaps off his bike and takes off into the desert yelling "I gotta go!!" A few minutes later and out he walks looking a little run down. Motel Bob as we've come to call Bob Ryan digs into his assorted goodies and comes out with some Imodium AD.
A couple minutes rest and we were once again on our way. As we rode along F15's would soar overhead. It brought back visions of Tom Cruise and the movie Top Gun. Needing gas, ice and water we pulled into Gila Bend. Basically an intersection in the desert with a gas station. While we played mother hen to Don making sure he was taking plenty of liquids we got into a discussion with the manager about bikes and distance riding. He was amazed that we would ride this distance this time of the year.
With Don feeling better we bid our farewells and took off. We eventually crossed over into California and stopped for gas at what looked like something out of a Mad Max movie Man, what a nasty place. I felt sorry for the girl working there. When asked how hot it was she said it was a cool 111 degrees.
We made it to San Ysidro did the picture thing and found the secret #'s got our gas receipts and mailed off the 2nd corner package. A quick stop at Jack in the Box (Don's favorite place) and we were off to Butch's house.
We arrived at Butch's at 4pm and pulled up to our assigned parking places. (Butch had sawhorses with IBMWR flyers. As we pulled up Butch came out with his Video camera and taped the arrival. Don parked his bike and fell onto the grass and lay there yelling NO MORE!! At this time Richard Bernecker walked out and surprised Don. He had done the 50cc to meet us there. Butch has documented our arrival and stay at his house so I'll just say that we had a great time there and an excellent meal. Tho I'm still trying to understand the "H U G E" , Butch used to describe me. Granted I'm 6'5" but ....
Friday morning came and with Jodi's insistence that we arrive on time we blew out of Butch's place with Richard in tow. Up I-5 to San Fran. Only interesting thing was the truck that lost most of it's load of cantaloupes and caused a huge backup. Luckily we were near the front of it.
Once at San Fran we headed to CalBMW. As we pulled in a lovely young lady (Jodi Lee) and a stranger walk up to us. Don introduces himself to Jodi and then asks the stranger his name. To Don's surprise it was Clemens who had flown up just for the weekend to surprise him. He did!!!! Eli and Pat quickly came out to get the paperwork done for the bikes and get the work started. Kari came out and introduced himself and gave us a tour of the shop.
Jodi, being watchful of the time finally got the gear, Don and Bob into her cage and took them to the motel. A few minutes later she was back to pick up Clemens, Richard and me. A quick shower and shave and we were all off to the dinner in town. I'm assuming Jodi or one of the folks have written a thread regarding the dinner so I won't go into great detail. The food was GREAT and the company as well. After dinner.we all stood around outside discussing various bikes and watched one by one as most of the folks headed off for home.
Jodi took us to the nightclub "Blues" where we had a number of beers and listened to a pretty good band. The evening ended with Jodi driving us back our motel with Don and Clemens passed out from the evenings festivities. Bob, Jodi and I were having fun, mostly at Don's expense and laughed all the way to the motel. (Hope the picture came out!!)
Sat. morning Richard, Don, Bob and I walked to breakfast then over to CalBMW to pickup the bikes and buy more stuff we couldn't live without. Brian Curry who was at dinner and BLUES with us the night before was there to bid us a farewell.. A quick pack of the bikes and we were off.
From: Dave Keuch
We headed out across the Golden Gate Bridge up Rt. 101 to Rt. 20 then up I-5. It was hot, almost as hot as the desert... by the time we reached I-5 we were low on gas and pulled off only to find major lines at all the stations. We found that while we were in the mountains there was a power hit that affected a large area of Ca. We had planned on going to Redding but before we knew it we were in Oregon. We stopped to get gas and found the attendant a real pain in the @#$. We had forgot that you couldn't pump your own gas in Oregon. I thought he was going to have a fit...complained about going to jail and the likes..
We went to a Motel 6 only to find they had no rooms. In fact there were no rooms within a hundred miles. The nice lady at the desk called around for us and found us a place just north Rosenberg. It was now 11:30pm, since the ride would be about an hour and a half we went over to a truck stop and had dinner. After a good cheap meal we loaded up and made the run to the motel. Passing numerous deer along the way we arrived at 2am and were unloaded and asleep by 2:30am.
The next morning we were up at 6am and on the road by 7. A straight shot up I-5 to Blaine, Wa. for the pictures and stuff and we then headed off to the KOA in Lynden. As we finished setting up our tents we noticed another BMW rider coming in. It was "Delf" Robert Del Favero. He was going to ride with us thru Canada for a while. After setting up and making the necessary calls we rode out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.
The next morning the four of us mounted up and crossed into Canada. Once across the border we jumped on to Trans. Canada Hwy. and up into the mountains. We hadn't gone 75 miles before we pulled over for the guys to plug in their electric vests. I added the insulation to my jacket and we were off. It's pretty wild being in mid August and standing on the side of the road and seeing your breath. Something I'm not used to living in the Washington D.C. area.
The ride to Calgary thru the mountains was incredible. Around every turn was another beautiful view, mountains covered with snow and ice. Waterfalls on every mountain from the melting snow. (Pink you'd love it). We stopped for gas at Banff, A real nice place I'd like to spend more time in. On the way to Calgary we hit traffic as everyone was stopping to see the large elk gracing on the side of the road. They were oblivious to the cars and trucks slowing to watch them eat. Pretty wild to see something that large that close and not have bars around it. The best part of this was trying to take pictures and running the roads at the same time. I was constantly going down the road camera in hand getting ready for the next shot.
At Calgary we stayed at another KOA. We were right next to the Olympic village and had the lighted ski jumps as our backdrop. We registered and with it being late headed of to dinner. At dinner I noticed a group of folks watching us and talking (something new!!?? not) Well finally the little boy walks up to me and starts speaking German. I took German for 4 years and used to be fairly fluent. That was a number of years and 7,000 miles of nonstop riding ago. I could barely make a sentence much less understand him so finally got him to speak in English. They had thought we were German since we had all the BMW stuff on. They later followed us to our bikes and waved as we took off for the campground.
The next morning we work to cool damp day, or should I say..start of the day, the sun was just making light in the east. We were packed and on the road by 7am. We had planed on hitting Brandon but decided on getting to Winnipeg instead. While British Columbia and Alberta are mountainous, Saskatchewan is flat... real flat. With the miles and lack of sleep starting to catch up with us this part of the trip was difficult. I'd find myself wondering in a daydream only to realize I wasn't looking at the road and starting to drift into another lane. I bought some sweet tarts at the next rest stop and would pop a couple every time I felt myself starting to wonder.
We made it to Winnipeg around 10:30pm and after a couple unplanned detours made it our hotel where I promptly hit the floor and fell asleep.
In Blaine, Wa. Turn signals decided not to work...In Winnipeg I noticed I was getting a lot of vibration from the bumps in town. Found right front fork was leaking enough to drain from the fork boot.
Don's 4 Corner Report, 5 of 5
Between the long days riding and lack of sleep it's starting to wear us down somewhat.... Left Winnipeg around 8am. We were too tired to get up early and since we had extended the previous day, figured we could sleep in. Much to Delf's delight!! He's not a morning person but has been dutifully getting up with us and on the road without so much as a complaint. We figured to head to Thunder Bay and where I could hopefully grab some fork oil and do a quick add then shoot up to Geraldton.
The trip to Thunder Bay wasn't fun as every bump I cringed as the shock in the handle bars seemed to get worse. By the time we made it I was sure the forks were toast. I spied a snowmobile shop that had a couple ATV's outside and figured they might have fork oil so after gassing up ran over and they did have one left.... 15 weight.... Well I figured with the leak and all give it a shot. They only had on bottle left so I got it and a siphon type thing to add it too the fork.
We drove to a Walmart and as Don went in looking for stuff for his kids I did a quick change. It wasn't perfect but the front end felt better and handled the bumps much better. Once on the road to Geraldton I ws sure glad I had taken the time to change it. The road, if you can call it that was more off road than on. They do things a little different up there. When they resurface the road they take up the whole road and leave only dirt and gravel. Not something I wanted to with a bad front end but.. what you gonna do..?
After riding for a while we pulled into a gas station/resturant/bar to fill up for the last 130 miles to Geraldton. We knew there was nothing between this town and Geraldton so we had to fillup. By this time we were getting pretty tired and Bob and I got into a laughing fit doing the McKinsey (sp?) brothers impersonation. We were laughing so hard we could barely stand. We headed out with me in the lead. It had started raining about 45 mins ago and wasn't letting up. With the sun down it was getting interesting. Every few miles were signs warning of the dangers of Moose at night. I'd look into my mirrors and figured if hitting the moose didn't get me then 3 other motorcycles running into me from behind surely would.
Bob and I had said earlier in the day "I like to see a moose"..Now I kept saying to myself please .... I don't want to see a moose right now....We made it to Geraldton, a town the show Northern Exspoures must have been thought up from. We found our motel and hit the sack. The rain finally stopped once we arrived... go figure. Don said before nodding off that while riding on the way up he had taken a look behind him into the black of night and had seen the Grim Reaper (not sure if he was serious) but towards the end of the trip he was right on the saddle bag of Bob's RT.
We got up early and were at the town gas station when it opened up at 6am. The guy thought we were crazy... we've heard that alot this trip!! As we were leaving the guy says the road is really rough so be careful... Great I thought!!
The rain started as we pulled out of town and was pretty light. Within an hour we were in a downpour that lasted all day. Delf had split off from us and was heading back to the U.S. as we were headed towards Messine, a childhood haunt of Don's. Totally soaked we pulled into Val Doir and got gas and stopped at McDonald's. The folks there stared at us in disbelief as we slowly got off the bikes and walked in. Don kept saying it's only a shower and will pass soon. That is until I explained to him the weather pattern usually goes in a southeasterly heading and so were we....
We rode in heavy rain the rest od the day including a nice fun stretch of unpaved interstate. 20 miles of mud and gravel at 60+ mph with cars and trucks passing us spraying the mud on us. We finally reached the end of the front and had 20 minutes of no rain when we hit Rt. 105 and turned south.. right back into the storm. At Messine we spent 45 minutes trying to find the home Don had spent his 8th? birthday at. (It was the last time he was there... ) We had lightning crashing all around us and it was pouring buckets.. since we were traveling only 10-15 mph. the wind didn't clear our faceshields I kept asking Bob as Don would say I think this road might be it... Are we having fun yet?
We finally gave up and called to have Joe Sherman come get us and lead us back to the house. Wouldn't you know it but once we got back to the house the rain stopped.. Thankfully Joe had a washer and dryer that we used immediately.. On inspection I found that my saddle bags had leaked (surprise!!) and the water had entered my laptop :( as well as everything else I owned. Don said he was going to go down to the lake and jump in just like when he was a kid. I figured what the heck I'm already wet might as well join in so he and I go down to the dock and discuss the potential temps of the water.
I said he couldn't test the water, that would be cheating and if we did we wouldn't go in and promptly took a running jump into the water. Well it sure wasn't close to Corky's... not even. We're talking cold here... but we did it and felt some form of morbid accomplishment. Joe fixed us a nice dinner and we gave the dryer a hell of a workout. The next morning we were off once again, to Ottawa to pickup Gary Harris who had ridden up to ride the final legs with us then on to the final corner.
Our original plan had us doing 631 miles this day.. by staying in Messine we figured we might have another 50-75 more. Not!! By the time we had picked up Gary and gotten to the 4th corner we had done nearly 600 miles and we still had another 235 to get to my sisters farm. Madawaska was kinda neat in that everyone seemed to know what we were doing as they honked their horns, waved and gave us the thumbs up as we parked in front of the Post Office for the final picture. A bunch of pictures, some high 5's and we were off for Waterville, Me. (by the way we spent half the day in the storm front that had passed us the night before...)
This was without a doubt the longest part of the ride for me. It seemed to take forever, the roads were dark and damp with lots of deer on the sides. Bob was leading with me just to the left up close with our high beams on so we could see the deer early. I noticed a rather large animal on the left side of the road and as we got closer realized that it was a cougar on the shoulder. As I got closer I could see it's teeth showing.... a major adrenaline rush!! At the next gas stop Bob asked what was that thing on the side of the road?? I said a cougar looking for dinner...
We made it to my sisters farm around midnight and were served Surf and Turf. Nothing's better than Maine lobster and steak. We ate and talked, Sis gave Don and Gary the barn tour and they headed to bed around 2am. I finally went out by 3:30am totally stuffed and exhausted. 6:30am Mom showed up to say hi before we left and I got the guys up at 7am. After pictures and good-byes we were on our way home.
We hit I-84 west and were moving along at a high rate of speed.. I think.. and I hear a motorcycle horn... I look to my right and there's Ted Verrill. We pull off at an exit and stop the bikes. Ted had seen us going west as he was heading east and had turned around and decided to catch us. (Breaking many laws in doing so) We talked and joked , Ted took our picture then a State Trooper pulled up and put his lights on. Well everyone starts getting a little nervous.. The trooper asks how we're doing and nobody wants to answer so I say fine and explain that we had just finished the 4 corners and that Ted had seen us and was WAITING at the exit for us. Well he sez " I thought maybe one of ya might have had a problem ...hey .. do you want me to take your picture?"
To that Ted nearly yells "WOW... COOL!!!" The trooper takes Ted's camera steps out onto the ramp and takes our picture. It was a classic!!! Rest of the ride home was noneventful Gary split off as we got close to his home and we flew down thru Harrisburg past Gettysburg and into Thurmont for the Last gas stop. We decided Don and Bob would split off at Rt. 15 and I would continue down 270 south. We all shook hands, couldn't believe it was over and thanked each other for their friendship and for making it such a great trip.
At the 270 and 15 split we hit our horns and gave the thumbs up, it was a sad time for me. Over the last 2 weeks we had had some great times together, done and seen things few people get to, an experience we'll be able to relive and talk about till we're old and gone.
Thanks Don and Bob for doing this crazy ride... and for being such good friends. During the last days when we were tired and sore and didn't want to get out of bed, it's the friendship and caring that kept our spirits high and enabled us to work as a team to complete the tour.
And thanks to the folks that helped us along the way Steve, Corky, Butch, Jodi, Delf, and many more that left notes of encouragement on the MOA #. We hope to be able to do the same for you someday..
In Messine my speedo and odometer died...On last leg home from Waterville clutch cable started to bind and become sticky.
Sure glad the bikes still under warranty!!!
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