2020 Autumn Extravaganza!

 

 

This was the route we rode for our 48 states / 10 days attempt. Tracking provided by Spotwalla.com. 

Hello everyone, Greg here - I'm going to reproduce my social media posts here in the order they first appeared so that anyone who is so inclined can relive the experience right along beside us (us being me, Wayne Rasmussen, Moe Conn, Jim Neisel, Mark and Ali Heiser, and a certain snarky motorcycle with a mind of its own). 

 

Pre-ride, last day before departure, October 13th. Thank you Alice Neff for gathering all the protein bars and energy drinks! Packing for the ride.

 

Headed north out of Georgia, 10/14/20.

 *************

I arrived at Wayne and Linda Rasmussen's home in Blairstown NJ on the evening of 10/15. In true LRLR fashion and as a call-back to the dozens of times Cris Dopher was working on his bike Roxie whenever he wasn't riding it, Wayne was still wiring in his heated gear and trying to get his CB to work. I offered to help - "Maybe you swapped polarity on the connectors when you hooked it up." "Wouldn't matter", Wayne replied. "Maybe you could just meter it and see...?"

It was the polarity.

Wayne never did get the CB working. It showed it was transmitting and receiving, but no joy. That turned out to be a real pain for communication on the trip. 

Moe Conn arrived the morning of 10/16, and Wayne buttoned up his new FJ-R and we headed out to Kittery Maine in the pouring rain, which Moe had thoughtfully brought with him from Baltimore. 

Just a few miles from Wayne and Linda's new home in Blairstown. There ARE pretty parts of New Jersey. Who knew???

Wayne's colleagues gave him his own bobblehead for a retirement gift. 

***************

We made a lunch stop in Connecticut. LOTS of liquid sunshine! There was a traffic accident on the interstate in front of us, so we pulled off and enjoyed a long, dry and enormous lunch. Way too much to eat at one sitting, and this was the lunch special! It also was not the first time, and certainly not the last time that we heard someone say "You're doing WHAT???"

I honestly just ordered the lunch special chicken breast with a side of mashed potatoes. The real shame was there was no way to get the remainder to go for later!

Soaked and glad for coffee!

******

10/17/20

Day 1 of the “48 states in 10 days” charity ride is in the books. Four of us started in Kittery Maine at 6:15 this morning with a driving rain and 37 degree temperatures. Between Manchester and Keene NH nature added a significant amount of snow, ice and 33 degree temps to offset the color of the leaves in the morning light. Lots of slippin’ and slidin’ up and over the pass, but thankfully nothing worse. After Keene, the sun came out and it was really nice all day. Jim Neisel had to peel off at Tarrytown NY. Moe, Wayne and I ended the day in Morgantown WV. ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV. 12 states in one day. 860+ miles.

From left: Greg Williams, Moe Conn, Wayne Rasmussen, Jim Neisel. Taken under the hotel entrance canopy before we sailed forth into the rain and snow on 10/17. 


Moe's passenger was a camera-magnet for car passengers, and the recurring comment of "Buy that girl a cheeseburger!" was heard at every. single. fuel. stop. Good fun!


******

10/18/20

Day 2 of the 48 states/10 days charity ride challenge is in the rear view mirror. Just over 690 miles today. Unfortunately Moe was not able to join us on this leg because his shifter had come loose last night, and he had to fix it and then get a clutch adjustment at the local H-D dealer before heading home to Baltimore. Great weather all day, great roads from Morgantown WV to Southpoint OH, Prestonsburg KY, Big Stone Gap VA, all the way through Asheville NC and home to Georgia. LOTS of delays during the worst possible times really slowed us down. Bad wreck on US 23 shut down traffic for over an hour. Repaving interstate in Georgia, standstill. Razz dropping his key down amongst the Tupperware on his bike... Tomorrow we’ll head to Alabama, FL, MS,LA and TX.

Wayne puzzling how to get that blasted key out of the plastic-y bits. Of course I offered to help, AFTER I took the photo!

 

****

10/19/20

Day 3 of the 48 states / 10 days charity ride has been safely tucked in. 879 miles today, beginning at our home in GA and continuing down through AL, FL, back up through MS, LA, AR and ending in Texarkana TX. We were only in Arkansas for a few miles and didn’t get a receipt to prove we were there, so we’ll “officially” get that state tomorrow. If you’re keeping score, that’s officially 24 states and about 1/3 the total mileage in 3 days. If you know of a live event professional in crisis, please direct them to behindthescenescharity(dot)org. Live events may have gone away with the pandemic, but the needs of those who make those events happen has only grown. Extraordinary challenges call for extraordinary responses. This is our modest contribution to that response. Tomorrow we head north and east, picking off 6 more states and ending the day in Terre Haute if all goes well.

*****

10/20/20

Day 4 of the 48 states/10 days charity ride came to a drenched halt short of our daily goal. We barely cracked 800 miles today, and are in Altamont IL, holed up at the Relax Inn while lightning blasts light up the room through closed curtains and the crashing thunder is shaking the hotel. Absolutely the worst rain I’ve ever ridden in. Great day of riding up until St. Louis, as we officially added AR, then rode north and zipped west to Broken Bow to add OK. Back through fog to AR, added KS then headed northeast across MO. Solid thunderstorms for the last 75 miles. My bike was wheezing and coughing for the last few miles. It has an exposed air intake, guess it was tired of trying to breathe water. Glad to be out of the storm, but this means we will have to pivot our plans for the next couple of days to make up the miles and hours.

That bright light to the left is reflection from lightning. 

*******

10/21/20

Day 5 of the 48 states/10 days charity ride challenge has been successfully wrestled into submission, and sent to its room without supper. We left Altamont IL at 6:15, rolled northeast and picked up Indiana and Michigan before doubling back westward, cutting around Chicago. We enjoyed some great county roads while picking up Wisconsin, then cut into Iowa at Dubuque and headed northwest. We added Minnesota and pushed on to make up for yesterday, landing for the night at Dakota Magic Casino in North Dakota. 1042 miles today. We rode through some slush and saw lots of piles of snow, and it started snowing just as we arrived. Checking the weather and making plans for tomorrow’s run to Cheyenne to meet fellow LRLR member Mark Heiser and his bride Ali.

Picking up the tip of Michigan. 

Chicago Skyline. 

Our route through southern Wisconsin was just beautiful. 2 lanes, undulating hills and very scenic. 

Those wacky Iowans have a sense of irony, fer sure... 

Just as we arrived at exit 1 in North Dakota and checked in to hotel. We were still thinking we'd ride the next day at this point.  

********

10/22/20

Argh. Day 6 was a bust. Overnight it snowed and snowed some more. Wayne and I spent this day resting and watching it snow even more, rerouting and watching the weather apps. I think we have successfully rerouted, only time will tell. If all goes according to plan, our goal of 48 states/10 days is still viable. I can't say enough good things about the staff and management of the Dakota Magic Casino. They really went above and beyond for us, and we greatly appreciated it. The management of the casino allowed us to put our bikes in their convention center. It was strange being back in a convention center, but it was a very welcome change from leaving the bikes out in the snow. The engineering staff cleared as much of a path as possible, and were very grateful for their assistance. I got to learn a new version of the game of hold 'em in the casino, and came out $25 to the good. 

When Wayne and I went downstairs to see if we could stay the 2nd night, I remembered that I hadn't even asked for the rate when we checked in. Wouldn't have mattered, it was the only place available at the end of that 1000+ mile day and we were going to stay there no matter what. The manager said with a straight face "Yes sir, of course. Your rate for last night was $485.00 plus tax..." I don't want to play poker with her, she played it off perfectly. The young man standing next to her, however, his eyes got big as saucers above his mask, so I just grinned and said "That's fine, does that include the very senior discount for my friend here?" She laughed and said that Wayne's advanced age would bring the rate down to $74. 


 Walked downstairs to check on the bikes, and...

The most prized possession of the day!


Seems to be a recurring theme... Snow, slick, cold, must ride bike. 

Right this way sir! Great staff at Dakota Magic, can't brag on them enough. They were all top notch. 

Never mind the fancy apps, it was time to break out the papyrus and quill pens for some alternative planning!

*******

10/23/20

Day 7 of the 48 states / 10 days charity ride has been safely warmed back to room temperature and stored in an upright position. 948 miles today. The first 125 or so were sloooow as we traveled south on I-29. Leaving at 7:15 central time, we quickly realized that the roads were very slick. All the locals had warned us about “the summit”, which was a few miles south of Sisseton SD. It only rises 900’ or so, but there were plenty of tire tracks off into the guardrails or fields lining the highway. Obvious there were many wrecks yesterday and overnight. We made the right choice to burn a day waiting it out. Even so, the scraped and salted roads still had plenty of icy patches. Thankfully they reflected well with the headlights, and we were able to switch tracks to avoid the worst of them. We really paid attention when crossing bridges, and those signs which read “bridge freezes before road” ain’t kidding. Definitely broke traction a time or two crossing bridges. Once we got to dry pavement and headed west, we were able to make good time despite the bitter cold and strong headwinds. The temperature never climbed above 33 degrees and was as low as 23 for many miles when we started out. Glad the heated gear works well! We made it to Colorado Springs after angling down through South Dakota and Nebraska.

Mark Heiser and his much better half Alison Heiser met us at the hotel. Mark is going to join us for part of the day Saturday on his bike, while Ali brings a chase vehicle along.  
 
 
Whole lot of Not Much in that part of South Dakota. 

 
Guaranteed to be the dirtiest this bike has ever been!

 
Mark and Ali even had a salad and soup waiting for us. Might have been the best meal ever. 
 
******
10/24/20

Day 8 of the 48 state/10 day charity ride challenge is in the rear view mirror, along with a lot of roadkill, tumbleweeds and great vistas.

Mark and Ali Heiser joined us from Colorado Springs to Alamosa. We started out at 23 degrees but it warmed quickly as we rode south. The heated jacket liner went into the luggage at Alamosa, and the heavy gloves and balaclava followed soon after. Temps finally reached up to 77 before dropping again after nightfall. We are in Ely NV. Tomorrow we ride America’s Loneliest Highway across Nevada. We have a stop to make along the way. More on that later. Today we picked up NM, AZ, UT and NV. Grand total so far is 42 states. We’re going to try and come in behind the second set of winter storms as we loop up and back eastward. We'll have to make it a long ways across Montana to pick up what will now be state #48, Wyoming. We had to skip Wyoming when we factored in the snow day, in order to leave after the temps got above freezing and still make it to Colorado Springs. Total mileage today was 970.


We said our goodbyes to the Heisers in Alamosa. They headed back to Denver to beat the approaching snowstorm, and we headed south and west to do the same. 



Amazing vistas throughout northern Arizona and southern Utah. 
 
 
Maybe cottonwood trees? Whatever species they are, they were all at peak fall colors and extraordinarily vibrant. 
*******

10/25/20

Day 9 of the #48states10days charity ride challenge has been scientifically proven to possess a half-life of approximately 8 hours. Just as progress seemed within reach, both time and distance stretched themselves out like a fat cat in a patch of sunlight.
 
We started the day running way behind after Wayne discovered issues with his rear tire cupping. He borrowed my compressor and 12v power port to inflate his tires back to where they should be (must have had a slow leak). While he buttoned everything back up, I headed out to a certain spot about 40 miles west of Ely (more on that later), and Wayne caught up there. After our mission in the desert was completed, we rolled across Hwy 50 to Reno. Hwy 50 is called the loneliest road in the US, and it’s one of my favorites. At the Harley dealer in Reno, Wayne made the tough but correct call to call a halt to his ride until he can get his tire replaced. Strangely, it was cracking along with the cupping, like it was a dry rotted barn find instead of a bike with new tires. I hated to leave him and go it alone, but we discussed it and agreed that continuing on in some fashion was the best idea. 
 
I rolled north and notched CA. OR, and finally WA. Hwy 395 through the national forest seemed like such a great idea on paper. I’d like to go back and ride that across Oregon again sometime when it’s warm and in the daylight. The wildlife far outnumbered the cars on the road all the way to the Washington line. Elk in the roadway, in case you’re wondering, will do amazing things to your heart rate! The cold was intense, even with heated gear. I stopped in tiny Dale, OR in front of the general store/post office/only business. Of course they were closed that late at night, but I had the parking lot and the roadway free and clear to first hobble, then walk, and finally jog up and down until the feeling came back in my legs. Note to self: next time, heated socks as well! I looked up the temperature later, and a couple of towns over it was in the single digits. I believe it! I finally arrived in Walla Walla. Tomorrow I strike out for ID, MT and WY, otherwise known as #’s 46, 47, and 48. But for now, sleep.
 
 
 Sunrise in Ely. 

 
Not good news. 
 
 
Highway 50 in the morning sun. 
 
 
Three different weather patterns all in the same vista. 
 
 
One of my favorite roads in the entire United States. This is the turnout east of Austin NV, above the town. 
 
******
10/26/20
 
[Note: The Bike insisted on helping write this one. Turns out The Bike is fairly snarky!]
 
Day 10 of the #48states10days charity ride challenge has come to a close, slightly differently than what I had planned for.
 
So... there I was, sliding on my back in the passing lane of I-90, just inside Montana and looking back into Idaho, and looking at the bike, which was on its right side and sliding along also - and catching up to me far too quickly for my sense of comfort. As traffic slowed and came to a stop, thankfully the bike did also, without careening off the concrete barrier and out into that traffic, which would have made it a 900+ pound pinball and I’d be the extra points bumper... [So now I’m a pinball? After all I’ve done for you? - The Bike]... Anyway - we both slid to a halt relatively quickly although it seemed to take much longer. Time sort of slowed down for me from the moment I saw the unavoidable stretch of ice in my track to the moment I stood up beyond the ice patch.
 
Remembering to try and remain relaxed for the inevitable fall is difficult, made more so by the presence of traffic and the concrete median. As the bike's front end went left and rear tire slid right, I had to remember also to keep my right leg safely inside the protective bubble of the engine and saddlebag guards until I was down and could safely kick away... and it all happened in about 3 seconds from spotting the ice in the corner to kicking away and sliding on my own. I didn't want to stay with the bike in case it did indeed become that pinball off the median. I'll take my chances with a skid on protective armor. 
 
I had already been driving slowly because the road conditions had deteriorated rapidly in the previous 5-10 miles. I was probably only going 25-30 when I hit the ice. I would have taken an exit earlier, but the only ones I’d seen were ice covered.
 
People started asking if I was okay. A guy in a minivan pulled over and asked if he could help stand the bike up. Together we lifted it upright... [You used to be able to do that yourself. There’s a technique you practice for that - The Bike] ... and the guy remarked “Wow this thing is heavy! How do you manage to ride it?” to which I responded “Pretty darn well when I’m not on ice!” which I thought was a fairly solid comeback... [Whatever. You were babbling- The Bike] The gentleman was kind enough to help get the bike pointed back east towards Missoula, and I walked around it and inspected it for damage as traffic started moving again, going around me in the right hand lane. Thankfully the only damage was scrapes on the engine guard and the saddlebag guard. For me, the armor in my riding jacket worked as designed.
 
As I write this I’m a bit sore, but nothing damaged except my dignity, and that will heal. Once traffic cleared, I continued on another 50 miles or so to Missoula, where the bike and I had our next “oh look, more ice!” moments.
 
The day had started early in Walla Walla, my first solo morning. Wayne had a tire issue in Reno yesterday that kept him from continuing. The temperatures were in the low teens as I headed for Spokane in the dawning light. I was definitely thinking ahead to the route homeward, and wondering how far south I’d have to go to get warm again. [I hear the gulf coast-to-Daytona road is nice this time of year -The Bike]
 
There was also plenty of time to reflect on the previous day’s adventure out on Hwy 50. 15 years ago Alice, Matt and I were riding home from an LRLR ride, and they and others had been giving me gentle grief about the state of my lizard skin boots. As we came across Hwy 50, I thought it would be fitting to return the lizards to the desert. I found the perfect spot about 30 miles east of Eureka NV, set them up on a hill overlooking Hwy 50, and took a few photos.
 
I had gone back to school at that point to finish my degree and I was a photo minor. My professor that summer was a great gentleman named John Scarlata. John was a real pro with a discerning eye who had once studied under Ansel Adams. He was not known for giving praise just for encouragement. Under his tutelage, my 35mm B&W (film, even!) photo of those boots in the desert became an 8x12 direct-print cyanotype developed in the sun. As he critiqued the work, John smiled and said “Now that’s nice.” High praise indeed!
 
Flash forward a few short years. John passed away from cancer and I was on another bike ride across the US. I found my boots in the Nevada desert overlooking the loneliest road in America, and I built a rock cairn next to them to honor John.
 
Flash forward a few more short years, to six years ago. I had lost two more friends who had been instrumental in setting me on my professional path. One had passed away far too young from a heart attack, and the other had chosen to step out of this life by his own hand. Once again I rode Hwy 50, and found the boots and John’s cairn. The boots still had a bit of the lizard skin on them, but it was clear I had set them in a spot where both horses and cattle walked and did other things. I relocated the boots and John’s memorial to another knoll, one where I had room to build the two new cairns, and a place where cattle would need safety harnesses to access the area. I filled the boots with sand and rocks to help keep their shape, built cairns to honor Ryan and Mark, and continued on.
 
Flash forward to Sunday. Wayne and I found the boots and built a fresh cairn together, one to honor our friend and fellow “Original 9” LRLR member Cris Dopher. Of course we included a kazoo in the midst of this memorial, and we built it slightly apart from the others. I think Cris would approve. I took a sharpie and wrote the respective names underneath the top rock on each cairn. Maybe someday I’ll return to check and see if the sharpie holds up if shielded from the desert sun. The boots had fallen over, the leather uppers had shrunk down to form tightly around the rocks within them. I set them upright again and propped them up with rocks. Maybe they have a few more years left to look out at the occasional vehicle passing below, with drivers oblivious to their presence. After that, Wayne and I blasted across the desert, up over mountain passes and enjoyed the curves that snake through the canyons along Hwy 50.
 
Where was I? [Uncle Greg’s story time mode evidently-The Bike] Oh yeah, so I made it to Missoula and took exit 101. The temperature was 19 degrees. The interstate had been almost 100% clear after the inescapable patch of ice, and I was still feeling very confident that I could make it to Wyoming with time to spare on my 10-day clock, which would end at 4:15 am Mountain Time. And then... I saw the state of the downhill exit ramp, too late to change my mind and jump back onto the interstate. Luckily I picked the one track which was ice-free almost all the way to the traffic light at the bottom. I stood up on the balls of my feet, pulled in the clutch and coasted/skated across the small patch of ice at the bottom and turned onto the four lane street... which was exceptionally blessed with both patches and long stretches of ice. It was not an option to turn right into the Exxon travel plaza at the bottom of the ramp. Even if I could have crossed the icy median separating the two tire tracks, the travel plaza’s entrance looked like the only machine that had been used on it might have been a zamboni. Solid ice. I drove about two miles in traffic with my feet down as outriggers and the bike threatening to go down again over and over as we hit icy patches. [Those weren’t threats dude. That $&;@ was SLICK! - The Bike] I gingerly ran a red light, honking my horn and flashing my lights. Couldn’t stop. Some lady yelled “You’re an idiot!” I yelled back “Yes ma’am!”.
 
Finally I was able to turn left into a Costco parking lot with a gas station. Had to turn across the inside lane to do it, but the driver in that lane was holding back traffic for me and let me seize that opportunity.
 
I once saw a YouTube video of a retired Admiral giving a commencement speech at UT-Austin. He was a highly decorated Navy Seal. He gave the graduates some secrets to success, and one of them was “No matter how bad it gets, never ever ring the bell.” Evidently there is a bell in the middle of the courtyard at Seal school, and if a trainee can’t take it anymore they have to ring the bell to indicate they’re giving up, washing themselves out of the program. To say that this trip has been challenging would be an understatement for sure. I would never compare this experience with the experiences of those brave Seals and others who serve, but I did boost my own morale many times on this journey with the mantra “I will NOT ring that bell!”
 
As I was filling up with gas, I was still trying to figure out how to get back to the relatively clear interstate and finish the trip. I’m pretty sure I was muttering “I will NOT ring that bell!” under my breath. [Ahem. That was not under your breath. Other customers were staring and pointing - The Bike]. A gentleman with a thick German accent and a BMW motorcycle hat came over from another pump a couple of islands over. The lanes were full, he had to go out of his way and hold up other customers to come talk to me. He asked which way I was headed and I told him east, that I needed to get to Wyoming. “Not possible” he told me, shaking his head. He had just come from that direction and two of the passes I would have to cross were completely covered with ice. He had noted that because he’s a biker. Secondary roads are even worse. He told me he felt compelled to leave his car way over there, hold up traffic at the pumps, and come tell me this. He’s a fellow long distance rider, he gets it, and he’s seeking me out to caution me.
 
In what can only be described as one of those “cusp moments” of utter clarity, I felt compelled to listen to his unsolicited advice.
 
I thanked him and went through the motions of taking one last time-stamped receipt next to my odometer, even though now none of that will get submitted for official Iron Butt Association certification.
 
I pulled the bike to a parking spot, used my Marriott app to book a room, found a towing service with a roll-back to take me and the bike to the hotel [Oh the indignity! The inhumanity of the tow truck! - The Bike] and spent my time waiting on the truck by checking in with Alice and updating her.
 
The room is comfortable, and there’s a Harley dealer in town where I’ll see if they can pick up the bike for a service while we wait out the ice.
 
I’m still not ringing that bell, at least not on the 48 state part of this adventure. I woke up this morning at 3:45 Mountain time, and began writing this up as the minutes ticked away to the end of the 10th 24-hour period since we started this escapade in Kittery Maine. I’ll go through Wyoming when I leave here. Just not in the ice. Moe Conn and I have already tossed around the idea of trying again in the future [Pick a warmer month next time! -The Bike]
 
Thank you very much for all the kind words and encouragement and thank you especially to those who have donated to help out live event workers in crisis. I’ll include the link below. Even though I didn’t complete the 48 in 10 days, hopefully I’ve done a bit to raise awareness of the needs of those less fortunate than I. If you’re able, please donate because the need is great.
 
A huge thank you and shout out to the LRLR members who rode with us or tried to meet up along the way. Wayne Rasmussen, Moe Conn, Jim Neisel, JvB, Scott Henkels, Jon Kirchhofer, Mark and Ali Heiser.
 
Finally, some riders name their bikes either upon purchase or soon after. I had never named one until the Queen Anne’s Revenge a few years back. I think a bike has to earn its name over time. Alice and I have thought about names in the past but nothing quite fit this one until it came to me over dinner last night. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce my bike, “Ice Dancer”. [Suh-WEET! And about $)&@ time - Ice Dancer].
 
Some quick numbers: 7599 total miles since Maine accounts for some unexpected weather-related detours. 9 days of actual riding (plus one snow day in ND) equals 844+ miles average each day.
 


 
The boots continue their vigil above Highway 50. Cairns from left for Ryan Morton, Mark Wilson, John Scarlata. Cris' is in the back right. 
 
 
Of course there's a kazoo in Cris'!
 
 
 
 
This is Interstate 90 east of Spokane, headed into Idaho. 
 
 
This was immediately after my mishap and after traffic had mostly cleared. As you can see, I was in what was the clearest track, but when it too closed up with ice, there's just nowhere to go. 
 
 
Just a beauty mark is all... Thankfully the guards did their job. 

 
This is Reserve Street, exit 101 in Missoula. Yes, I rode in that. 
 
 
Never again will I complain about how uncomfortable that back armor is in my jacket.
 
******
10/29/20
 
After what can only be described as two very bland and boring days spent in Missoula (nothing personal Missoula, I'm sure if I could have made it out of the parking lot you would have been grand!) I set sail from Grizzly H-D on a freshly washed and serviced Ice Dancer. The service writer pointed out one “beauty mark” delivered by the interstate ice/pavement adventure. I had missed it amongst all the grime on the bike.
 
I rolled east about 11:45, after the temperature was above freezing. There was still ice to be dodged getting from the dealership onto the interstate, but the icy spots were fewer and further apart at least. The first 100 miles were tough, as the fog and low temperature and winds combined to keep me ultra vigilant. Once the sun came out and the air temperature got above 45, I was able to relax a bit, except for when the sunlight would reflect off the wet pavement and shine like a patch of ice.
 
The high pass near Butte that I’d been warned about lived up to its reputation as the temperature dropped and there were again slushy patches trying to infringe on the driving lanes. Thankfully that didn’t last long. The presence of the ice and slush after two days of warming temperatures reinforced my decision to not try this pass on day 10. 
 
I was able to clock right at 475 miles before dark. I made it to Wyoming to notch my 48th state just as the sun was setting and the moon was rising. Stopped in Sheridan for the night.
 
 
 
Adios Missoula, it's been... interesting.

 
#48!

 
Moonrise over Wyoming.  


*********
10/30/20
 
Day 14 of 48states/10days... well... 12.5 days... Started in Sheridan Wyoming around 9:45 after the temperature got well above freezing (color me skittish). While the temperature cooperated throughout the day, the National Weather Service issued a high-wind warning for my route south. There was a warning of 40-50 mph gusts starting 2 counties above Casper, and a deputy I saw there at a gas stop warned me it would get worse further down near Cheyenne. He wasn’t kidding. Overhead LED signs were blinking “Warning! 60+mph winds detected!” I tried to pass one semi and the lexan windshield began pulsing. Passed another one and as I came around the nose I was moved all at once from inside track to outside track! Once I got down into Colorado it wasn’t terrible but I did run into a lot of construction from Denver south. Of course the gps thought it would be quicker to get off I-25 south and drive through part of Denver on a Friday afternoon. Made it to Pueblo and will turn east/southeast tomorrow. 540 windy miles today.
 
As bad as the wind was today, I'm thankful I wasn't on a batwing ElectraGlide. The fixed fairing of the Road Glide makes the ride and dealing with the wind so much better. That wind would have taken control of the front end of an E-Glide I do believe. 
 
Even though Wayne and I didn’t make the 48 states in 10 days, hopefully we raised awareness of the mission of Behind the Scenes and all the good work they do.
 
 
Wind. That is all. 
 
******
10/31/20
 
What day is it? Oh yeah - " Just another Windday". The ride home after the 48 state charity ride challenge is nearly over. 650+ miles today, from Pueblo CO to Ft. Worth TX. More snow and lots more crosswinds from southern Colorado through northern New Mexico, but that was replaced soon enough by the great empty (and warm!) expanse of Texas. A major milestone was accomplished in Claude, TX. The heated gear came off for the first time in well over a week.
 
Tomorrow will be a long day- an 858 mile jaunt across I-20. 
 
Wayne made it home to New Jersey today.
 
 
Riding in the morning sun. 
 
 
 
The yin and yang of riding out west. Stark beauty and no time to relax and enjoy it. 
 
 
Ahhhhh... Texas. 
 
 
 
And I'll be riding when the evening comes... 
 
*******
11/1/20
 
Day 19 of 48 states charity ride - It's the final day of riding for me. Wayne Rasmussen made it safely home yesterday to New Jersey.
 
It's been 19 days since I left Georgia headed north to Maine to begin the 48 states ride - October 14th to be exact. The 48 states/10 days challenge began in earnest in Kittery Maine on 10/17, and if you've read my other posts you know how that turned out. 48 states, yes. 10 days, not so much thank-you-not-at-all-freak-ice-storm.
 
*So* close to the 48/10. Icy roads however are definitely the go/no-go gauge for motorcycles. If (when!) I attempt this again it will be in warmer months, and I have learned a few tricks to make another attempt easier. I also think I could route it a little bit more efficiently.
 
Several IF's ... If we could have pushed harder and picked up Wyoming after our snow day in North Dakota, then I would have been checking off #48 as I slid on my back across the pass west of Missoula. If I hadn't routed us towards Terre Haute for personal reasons (to see Cris' grave), we could have possibly bypassed the torrential storm and been safely north, nearer MI which would have allowed us to get farther the next day before the snow came... so many if's. I'll take them all as learning opportunities and file them away for next time.
 
All in all an excellent adventure.
 
I rolled out of Fort Worth TX this morning at 6 am local time, 7 am eastern standard. Gained an hour of sleep, lost it back to the time zone change.
 
13 hours and 876 miles later, I'm happy to report that the trip has ended successfully. I pulled Ice Dancer into the garage right at 8 pm, after one final challenge in the form of insane Atlanta drivers (but I repeat myself...) clogging my exit lane and preventing me from getting onto I-85 from I-20. The alternative was US 78, which my GPS was determined to route me to through various neighborhoods, bless its heart. Yeah I mean that in the most southern of ways.
 
Thank you VERY much to everyone who donated to Behind the Scenes in honor of this undertaking. We all know the live event industry has tanked, and the need for support is greater than ever. I'll make one final appeal here for any last minute donations. Anything and everything helps, thank you in advance!
 
Some numbers to crunch:
Total days: 19
Total days riding: 15.5 (counting the ride to Maine and the ride home)
Weather (or not) days: 3.5 - further broken down as Snow Days: 1, Ice Days: 2.5
Total mileage: 11,405 (includes home to home, not just 48 state trip)
Total states ridden, including repeats: 55
Donations: $5200 + so far!
 
Special thanks to:
Alice Neff, Lori Rubinstein, Bill Sapsis, Moe Conn, Mark Heiser, Alison Heiser, Jim Niesel, Scott Henkels, Jim VanBergen, Jon Kirchhofer, Karen Warm Dopher and Wayne Rasmussen. Also thanks to Linda Rasmussen for letting Wayne come out to play and miss her birthday!
 
Thanks to Carlos Ortega and Rebecca Dopher for the offers of "real meals". Raincheck, please, when I have time to slow down and enjoy them.
 
Thanks to Tony Quinn for offering to come pick me up (from NC!) several times. Glad I didn't have to take you up on that offer!
 
Thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement along the way. It kept me going.
 
Someone asked me the secret to long distance riding, and I thought I'd share it here. Please keep this between us, but the secret to successful long distance riding is... Earplugs first, THEN the helmet!
 
Safe travels everyone, I'll see you down the road a ways.
 
-=Chrome=-
 
 
Atlanta in striking distance!


A great welcome home!