Oklahoma! Sand, Ruts, Wind, Fast, LONG

 

Oklahoma is a long state on the TAT, probably 600 miles or so. Our first night in OK was at Snowdale State Park, just across the border and probably 45 minutes from Tulsa. We had a great morning ride and stopped for breakfast at this place,

We rode up a place called Rock Mountain (Deby would have loved it) and took a picture here.

As usual Weston and Jon were well ahead of me so I came around a corner and found Weston standing in the road with his shirt up.

First bee sting award goes to Weston.

 

Glad this guy didn’t want to chase us.

The whole day was great riding, fast dirt through hilly wooded country. Had to go around two “Road Closed” gates but the road went through ok. One road said Dead End but we went anyhow and wow, a car couldn’t have made it. We rode about a half mile downhill through what must have been a dried creek bed. Good practice for the Colorado section to come.

Setup a nice campsite at Snowdale State park when we see someone coming in pushing an adventure motorcycle. It’s our friend Bryn from the TAT Shak. He got a flat tire just outside the park and was pushing it in so we camped for a second night together and we helped remove the tire and identified the smallest finishing nail that caused the problem.

Glad to help

The campground had a number of Ducks that lived there and liked to visit.

The black one was a Muscovy duck, interesting.

We shared the food in our pack for a community dinner, nice.

Even had a wonderful sunset.

The next day Ted from the campground (Bubba) told us about “an old guy” down the road that had “some kind of motorcycle shop.” Typical, turn left, turn right, left at old gas station and big brown shed on right. Ha, eventually we found it and met Eldon.

Eldon not only had a tube for Bryn, but had some brand new D606 tires for the KTM’s, wow. This was a deal too good to pass up so I bought his last inventory of these tires and decided to spend the morning getting them on. Eldon’s deal was that he could put tires on and off the rims but I had to take the wheels off the bikes, something about insurance I found out. No worries, he let me in his shop and let me use his tools.

It was an amazing shop, probably one of everything if you could find it.

Although, go figure, he didn’t have an SAE Allen wrench for the wheel weight.

It was about 2:00 when we finally got going with new tires on the KTMs and off we were on fast gravel roads with the temperature climbing into the 90’s we were determined to make up for lost time when.

Jon picks up a nail 50 miles down the road from a new tube and tire. Well, no worries, popped off the wheel for the second time in the day and slapped in a new tube.

So Jon got the first flat award.

I didn’t take any more pictures on Tuesday just blasted on roads like you see above. We found a nice camp site in Copan, OK on Copan lake. We were hot and tired but managed a fire in the fire pit and had a good night. Another day in the books.

Wednesday 8/26/15

Decided to break into the pancake supplies Deby made for us, yum. Light and fluffy brown, the finest in the town.

 

 

Crossed a cool old bridge

The rest of the day was HOT and dusty.

Says “feels like 130″ wow, yes it did. We stopped in the afternoon at a Mexican restaurant just to cool off before recharging our evaporative cooling vests and getting back on the road. We ended up at Alabaster Caverns State Park just outside of Freedom, OK. We were told by the ranger that it was the only Alabaster Cavern in the world. The have daily tours but we wanted to get an early start to beat the heat. I called Deby and she was jealous and asked us to find her some Alabaster. Hmmm.

Thursday 8/27/15

We woke up and were determined to get most of the way through OK. First we had to make a stop along the road…..

Ha, Alabaster just laying about. That Weston, what a good kid Deby.

We were on the road early and it was back to HOT, dusty, long straight roads. I had the poor WR pinned all day (really ALL day) trying to keep up with the 690s. We were flying 50 to 60 MPH all day. There were long stretches of deep sand that we just hit at speed and kept going. There was loose gravel, ruts more sand and lots of dust. It was HOT again so all the dust and dirt stuck to our pores. It was a rough day.

Around noon we needed gas and the nearest place was in here of all places.

Liberal KS! Holy cow. When I was in my early 20’s and toured with a rock band this was one of our stops. Ha. I asked an old timer (someone my age) at a gas station about Naomi’s Lounge and the woman laughed. Yes, she remembered it and used to go there about that time. We told some funny stories and she said it was still there but called The Hitching Post. Well I had to check it out.

Yep, just like I remember it.

Liberal’s #1 Honky Tonk. Well, it sure was back then.

The rest of the day was more HOT, FAST, DUSTY, LONG, Wide Open Throttle riding.

Some of the roads were these two track sandy stretches.

Some sections with ruts.

But mostly long straight loose riding.

We found that campgrounds are not really common so we have been using a campground App to identify campgrounds along our path. According to the APP, there was one in Felt, OK, just 15 miles from the border in the panhandle. We got there as it was starting to get dark and were looking forward to a good nights rest. Felt, OK is really small, I mean really small. Maybe 20 buildings in the middle of nowhere but they have this little park. When we arrive we saw this sign.

Oh Oh. Day Use Only. Ah Hmmm, seriously there was not another campground for maybe 100 miles much less a tree to camp under. Soooooo, what to do.

We setup behind a row of low trees and hoped for the best. Turned out we were ok, the town is so small only about three cars passed the whole time we were there.

Friday, 8/28/15

Finally we exited the OK state, were we glad. As soon as we crossed the state line into the corner of New Mexico the terrain changed and the surroundings changed from agriculture to ranching. The roads and weather improved along with our spirits.

We came across this old prison in Branson, NM

 

We decided to have an early night in Trinidad State Park near Trinidad, CO. The phone app said showers and laundry. This time it was right.

It’s getting dark as I type this at the picnic table and the skiters are getting me so no proof reading today. I hope you enjoy the ride so far.

 

Jon, Weston and Donn

 

TAT MS, TN, AR

August 23, 2015 Sunday

TAT Shak Dover, MS

Today is day 6 on the TAT, it’s rained every day. Not constantly but on and off thunder storms, this might be normal for summer in the south. It’s Sunday and at about 2:00 we arrived at the TAT Shak, a single wide trailer in the hills of Arkansas. I’m not sure but we are either in the Ozark Mountains National Park or nearby. As I write this we haven’t met the owner yet but the place is setup to be a stopping point for TAT travelers. When we arrived nobody was around but the door was unlocked so we decided to have an early day of rest and park for the night.

The TAT Shak has no beds except for a raised plywood platform in one room and cots in another. Jonathan declared that this qualified as camping so tonight we sleep inside, nice. The only problem with the TAT Shak is no cell service or internet connectivity so I typing this up as I sit on the porch and will upload it when I get a chance.

Let’s get caught up.

Thursday morning we awoke at the Cross City RV park with our tents setup on the grass. It was a nice night with no rain and we all slept well. About 8:00 the propitiator, Jim came by to collect his fee. He said he never had campers before and seemed glad to have us and hear about our trip. He was carrying a bag with three biscuit and sausage sandwiches, still warm. Yum. No need to make breakfast.

We rode though the day with off and on showers and threatening clouds overhead. The non-paved sections were muddy and slippery requiring full concentration. The riding was tough and technical but Jon and Weston didn’t let that slow us down, it was full speed ahead all day.

As we neared the end of the day we looked at the map and saw some state parks around Lake Granada so we deviated from the route to check it out. The first place was obviously for RV campers, we pulled in and the camp host read the rules; only two tents per space, $20 per space and we would need two. Oh, and no camping on the grass. Really? The only other choices were the concrete RV slab or gravel driveway into each space. He told us to ride around and pick a space and come back to pay. We jumped on the bikes and bee lined it for the exit.

I noticed another Mississippi state campground on the other side of the lake so we decided to check that out. I wasn’t holding out hope because I figured the same rules would apply but we went anyway. This place was really different, when we got there it seemed abandoned. There were some camp sites near a boat launch but no outhouses or facilities. There were two travel trailer campers parked but they seemed vacant. There were absolutely no people which seemed strange for a Friday night. We picked a camp spot back in the woods near the boat ramp that had a fire pit and dilapidated picnic table. The whole thing was a little odd but it was getting dark and starting to rain a little so we set up camp. Near the picnic table was a telephone pole with a electrical box, we lifted the lid and to our surprise there was an electrical outlet with power. Weird, but we were not complaining.

Had a nice sunset over the lake.

We were wrapping up our evening routine of getting a fire going and cleaning up from our dinner of canned chili when a pickup truck came blasting down the gravel road to the boat launch, then another and another. Eventually about 8 cars and trucks arrived and there was an instant party going on. We figured oh yea, Friday night time to party at the old campground so much for a peaceful evening.

After a while we realized maybe it wasn’t what we thought because there were a number of small children with the group and they weren’t really all that rowdy. I was at the picnic table watching the action through the trees when I saw some kind of full moon looking glowing thing rising through the trees, what? It took a few minutes for us to realize they were launching Chinese Lanterns, these paper thin balloons with small fire sticks underneath that when lit fill the bags and they lift into the sky. Cool, Jon and I walked over to see what it was about. Soon after we arrived one of the guys came over and explained they were having a memorial for a friend that died and the were launching dozens of these in his memory. He handed Jon and I each one and we launched them for Zach and said a little prayer. After an hour or so they wrapped it up and left, the park was back to it’s creepy self and we drifted to sleep.

Launching lanterns.

Jon launching one.

Saturday 8/22/15

Granada MS to Heber Springs MS 309 miles

We managed to get coffee and oatmeal before it started raining at our camp site. We hurriedly packed and were on the road by 8:30AM with full rain gear on. No showers for these boys.

Crazy ivy taking over all the trees along the road.

We came across this honest to goodness Juke joint. Jazz and Blues. Man I wish we could be there at night to check it out.

Of course the boys wouldn’t be able to get in.

It wasn’t long before we crossed into Arkansas and came across signs for TAT riders to stop and sign the log at the TAT Stop in Tranton, AR. Of course we had to stop so we arrived a little after noon to sign the log. As soon as we pulled up we were greeted by Percy Kale, Glenn Kale and Al Faust. I hope I have all the names correct, they were super happy to see us and very welcoming. We went inside the building to sign the log book and there were other family members in the air conditioned building waiting to greet us. The said there is not much to do in Trenton on a Saturday so they all congregate at this old store front to hang out and hope to meet some TAT riders and hear their tales of adventure. I love it. They said they don’t have visitors every day, only a few times a week. Our arrival made everyone’s day so we sat around, sharing stories and having fun.

When we signed the guest book we noticed that a few days ahead of us was Ed March on his C90. Really? Wow, for those of you that don’t know I’ve been following his travels around the world for years. He’s ridden his little 90cc Honda all around the world with incredible tales of adventure. I even bought his DVD and supported his cause online. Now here he is only days ahead of us on the TAT, how cool would that be if I got to meet him?

As we were getting ready to leave the TAT Stop we all posed for pictures. Every year they collect pictures of all the TAT riders that stop and make a book. I’m looking forward to being in the 2015 collection.

Before we left they warned us of a section 13 miles down the trail that could be really hazardous mud if it has been raining, Wait, hasn’t it been raining for days? I asked him, you mean like all this rain? He said yep, I recommend you go around that section. Well, as you know Jon and Weston would have nothing to do with that so we thanked him for is advice anyhow. He laughed and asked me to post in my blog how it went.

Off we went into the mud. When we go there they were correct, mud, water, ruts and slick AR slippery snot. We jumped up on our pegs, picked our lines and gassed it. Before we knew it we were through with some close calls but no tip overs. From what I hear this is good practice for the difficult sections ahead of us.

Deby’s been wondering how we are eating. Don’t worry mom, everything is fine.

Gas station fried chicken and Coke, yum.

The day’s riding was probably 80% non paved which was nice except for more mud, ruts, and miles of deep loose gravel sections. Fournately the loose stuff was fairly straight so we determined that 50mph, on the pegs with weight back worked best and we made good time.

At one point were on a lonely stretch of road and one of the only vehicles, a pickup truck, of course, was ahead of us when we saw a small puppy in the road shivering and totally soaked in the rain. What? Did that truck just dump the puppy? Of course we had to stop and Jon picked up the shivering dog to see what he could do. We noticed the pickup truck stopped and was turning around, we weren’t sure if this was a good sign or not being in the back woods of the Ozarks it could mean anything.

We rode some more and started getting hungry so at one of the gas stations we bought gas station fried chicken, hmmmm, but it was really good! Yum.

When the truck arrived we noticed it was a state wildlife officer and he passed the dog and maybe because he saw us stop decided to turn around to help. We chatted and he said he thought it belonged to one of the houses we passed and volunteered to return it. Nice, I hope.

Nice grassy section of road.

Back to the ride we were continuing Northwest. As it started getting late we looked for places to camp, which evidently is not a common pastime in Arkansas. The map has a place called Ferry Lake and indicates camping in the vicinity. We stopped for gas in the rain and checked our smart phones for campgrounds, they showed a KOA. Ok, good enough, probably hot showers, a club house to escape the rain and WiFi so I could catch up on the blog. We rode through rain and as it was getting dark we arrived at Used to be a KOA campground, now it was an RV park. We pulled in and didn’t see anyone so we followed old signs with duct tape over the letters KOA to the campsites. They sucked. Large rock gravel RV parking spots. With no choice we setup our tents on the rocks, heated up chili for the second night in a row and exhausted after 300 miles of hard riding we fell asleep.

Not the best camp site.

Them’s storm clouds commin’

Sunday August 23, 2015 Heber Springs, AR to the TAT Shak.

We woke up and after some determined searching found a shower house with toilets and hot water, men only, which seemed strange to me but so does a lot of things in the Ozarks. Never one to pass up a hot shower we showered and starting to pack up camp when some guy in a golf cart drives up, the only person we even saw during our stay there, weird. He said, “we don’t allow tents to camp here.” A little perturbed at the whole situation I said, “well that does it, we’re leaving.” He drove off, I’m not sure he had any official capacity so we finished packing and left. For the second night camping was free, nobody asked for money and we couldn’t find a pay station.

We rode south in the rain to Beebe where we would catch the TAT where we left off. We have a rule, evidently, that once we leave the TAT we have to return to the exact same spot to continue on. It was almost 10:00 when we reached our spot and continued in the rain. Along the way we found a family style breakfast spot with 8 or 10 pickup trucks parked out front. Seriously, not a car in sight. I figured this would be a good place so we stopped for breakfast. Jon and I had the Goose Hunter special and Weston had the Rambler Omelet. There was a ton of food including biscuits and gravy, we couldn’t eat it all but it made up for no breakfast and two nights of canned chili.

By 2:00 we arrived at the TAT Shak .

More healthy eating at the TAT Shak.

Ok, the battery is getting low, and the mosquitos are getting me as I type this on the picnic table so I’m going to post this and call it a night.

Still having fun, and we are finally drying out a little. The weather is perfect with a record low forecast for tonight and low temps in the 70s tomorrow for riding. , nice.

FYI, more pictures are here: https://donnh.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/ADV-Dual-Sport-Rides/2015-TAT

Donn and sons

Riding in the Rain

Oh yea. The challenge of riding the Trans American Trail is not just the ride it’s negotiating the weather and the logistics of camping every night which includes finding food, water and camping places. Tonight’s our third night camping and we are hoping it might be the first night without rain. The forecast says we might be dry but my weather app shows a line of thunder storms heading for us. At least it hasn’t been too hot with temps in the 80s but high humidity.

I’ve had good luck uploading pictures right from my phone so let me get caught up.

Day one riding was mostly paved with some gravel sections and four water crossings. There were only supposed to be three but somehow with all the rain we ended up with four. I only seemed to get one good pictures. I have some good video of Weston almost crashing but he pulled it through.

One interesting thing was going over a 5,200 foot pass in fog so thick we could hardly see. I had no idea anything was so high in Tennessee.

Night one Jon and Weston were successful gathering wet wood and managing to get a good fire lit while I prepared dinner. As soon as the fire really took the rains poured down and promptly doused it.

It was a pretty good camp site before the floods started.

We learned a valuable lesson, avoid setting up your tent in the low spots. Jon had a water bed after just one half hour.

The rain let up slightly and we all moved our tents to higher ground.

Wednesday it threatened rain all day so we rode with our rain gear on. It didn’t start raining until we stopped to set up camp. I didn’t take any pictures since it was mostly paved roads but really nice curvy ones. We stopped for lunch but not dinner, it was getting late and huge rain clouds were forming so we went for the nearest campground on google maps. After a 10 mile detour we arrived outside Elkmont, at the Mill Creek Park RV park. Welcoming us were many signs that said, Private Park, No Trespassing, No camping. Basically, not very welcoming. By this time the rain was starting and as far as we could tell it was about 20 miles to the next campground. On each sign was a phone number so we decided to stop in the long driveway and call. “No, we don’t take campers, you have to go to…..” I couldn’t make out what she said so I asked her to repeat. She asked where we were and I told her at the end of her driveway, cold, wet and on motorcycles. “Well….. ok, come on down”. They ended up being nice enough but you could tell they were wary, they sort of apologized and said if we were from the south we would understand. Hmmm, I wanted to have her explain but decided I would rather get our tents setup instead. The directed us far from the RV spots, Weston thought he heard her say so they wouldn’t see us. Didn’t matter we set up our tents as the rain started coming down stronger.

Camping in the back 40.

Notice the shed in the background. We ended up hanging out there during the rain, literally.

We couldn’t find a place to buy any food but managed to find a 6 pack of beer. That, some chewy bars, sunflower seeds and candy was our dinner.

You can’t tell in this picture but it was raining pretty hard. This shed was way better than spending all evening in our tents.

The next morning the rain let up enough to make coffee in the shed and get the bikes packed. We even managed to get hot showers. Once the bikes were packed and we were about to leave the sky opened up in torrents of rain. We took shelter in the club house, wish they would have mentioned this to us the night before.

Waiting out the rain.

We had coffee but no food for breakfast but we were anxious to get going so we decided to try to ride through the storm.

We managed to stay only sort of dry as no rain gear is 100 percent perfect. Even if it was humidity and sweat started soaking us from the inside.

By noon it mostly stopped raining so we stopped at a Stucky’s restaurant and caught the end of their buffet breakfast. The food was horrendous but we were so hungry it didn’t matter even if we were a little ill feeling as we rode off.

The afternoon has some great gravel sections and more water crossings. We successfully navigated three roads with closed signs. I particularly liked this sign.

The bridge wasn’t really out just not ready for cars.

Here is another.

This was a good one.

A typical gravel road. Nice, easy fast.

I’ve read about this in other TAT ride reports but I’m still amazed, there are cemeteries everywhere, it seems like every church has one and there are A LOT of churches. All of the cemeteries are full of bright flowers that look brand new. This picture does not do it justice.

A nice wooden bridge.

Eventually we crossed into Mississippi and are camping tonight at the Cross City RV Park outside of Corinth, MS. We met the owner Jim Wilkinson who recently opened the park. He wasn’t aware it is exactly on the Trans American Trial. Nice place, it looks like we will have warm showers again in the morning. We stopped at a Dollar General to pick up some food, bad idea. Everything was very expired and we just couldn’t find anything so we rode a few more miles and came across a WalMart where we got the fixens for hamburgers.

So day three is in the bag. We are starting to dry out and are looking for some good riding tomorrow.

Be sure to go to the Follow Us tab above to see where we are in real time.

Thanks for following. Donn, Jon, Weston.

Seattle – Milwaukee – Knoxville

According to the desk person at the Budget rental truck return counter I transported the three motorcycles 2,700 miles including the stop in Milwaukee for my 40th high school reunion. Deby was great help taking turns driving the 16 foot monster across the Great Plains. The reunion was a blast, I even connected with some old friends from the 5th grade! Great to see you Sandra, Betty and Debbie!   While in Milwaukee we stayed with my brother and his wife (thanks guys) and took time for some last minute motorcycle maintenance, adding pre-filters to the KTM and drilling some holes in the air boxes to help the big 690s breathe a little easier.   Now that the bikes were ready to go we had one more bit of preparation to complete. Buzz cuts all around thanks to niece Julie. The kids loved it, quite a spectacle. A little fine tuning. Clean buzz cuts and ready to go. Monday morning we left Milwaukee early to drop Deby off at the airport to fly home and the boys and I headed south to Knoxville, a 700 mile 14 hour drive. We arrived after 9:00 PM and checked into a Holiday Inn. Jon allowed this one night at a hotel because we hadn’t officially started the TAT ride. Hungry and more than a little thirsty the front desk directed to us to a place called Twin Peaks where we could get a beer and some food. It took me a minute after I walked in and saw the servers why they call it Twin Peaks. I had a house beer called a Dirty Blond that actually tasted pretty good. Of course after driving 14 hours anything cold would have been excellent. Tuesday morning after our free gut bomb breakfast we drove the couple of miles to the Budget truck rental place.

It had been raining all night and continued as we unloaded the bikes. Eventually we got everything sorted out and found ourselves riding south on route 129 on our way to Deals Gap and the Dragon’s Tail. For those who don’t know Deal’s Gap is a famous motorcycle road with 318 turns in 11 miles. People come from all over the country to tame the dragon. http://tailofthedragon.com/ We hit the north part of the dragon about 11:00 AM, it was off and on raining so the road was mostly wet. The good news was that it was early on a weekday and with the wet roads we mostly had the route to ourselves. We fell in behind three sport bikes who were ready to burn up the road. I let Jon and Weston get in front of me and off we went. The boys tore off after the sport bikes and easily kept right up. I cranked up the 250cc Yamaha and strangely enough managed to mostly keep up. I will say we managed to keep up a pace much faster than I did riding a Harley Ultra a few years ago with Deby on the back. At the end we had to buy stickers and take the obligatory pictures.

After the Dragon we continued to Tellico Planes, the official start of the Trans American Trail where we had lunch at the TelliCafe and stopped at the grocery store for provisions before leaving the pavement.

The rain continued of and on all day but it was warm and we were prepared so it wasn’t much of a problem. Once the pavement turned to gravel we were warned of three water crossings with the third one being the most difficult. With all the rain we came to the first crossing and the water was running high and fast. We thought about stopping and walking across when Weston just went full speed. Weston made it across just fine even though the water was above his axles but when he got to the other side his bike died. What? “Probably go wet,” I observed. I was beginning to wonder if our air box modifications let in some water. We sat around for a while and eventually it started and it was a reason to ride even faster on the wet gravel than we had been.

We blew through the second crossing  and by the time we got to the dreaded third crossing we didn’t even slow down. After a while we came to a fourth crossing. What? I thought there were only three. The forth looked tough so we actually stopped and walked it, thankful for our waterproof boots. The right side was shallower but full of slippery rock with deep groves. The left side was gravel but deep. Weston went first, full blast of course, and careened through the slippery right side. I thought he might dump it but somehow righted his bike and ended up upright on the other side.

Jon and I took the deep route, and it was deep. I could see Jon’s front wheel totally under water but he managed to get across. I followed right behind and immersed my front wheel as well. The Yamaha started to stall and steam was all about but I made it across without dumping into the fast running water. All the rain had really caused the rivers to run fast and deep.

Tonight we are camping at Hiwasse Ocoee State Park near Delano TN, the rain stopped enough for us to set up camp and the cellular connection seems to be just enough to upload this post from the picnic table. Jon and Weston are making some progress getting a camp fire started with damp wood and spare gasoline.

The internet suddenly is slowing way down so I’ll try to upload the water crossing and camp pictures in the next post. Day one is in the books, no tip overs, crashes, flats or getting lost.

Having fun, Donn, Jon, Weston.

Father and sons on the Trans American Trail!

Time to fire up the blog for another motorcycle adventure tale. If you’ve been following this blog, or as you may presume from the title, the subject is motorcycle adventure rides by Donn and Deby. We’ve rode adventure motorcycles together for the past 5 years including South America in 2013, the Continental Divide Route in 2012, multiple trips to Baja and mainland Mexico and a number of organized rides in the US. Deby’s G650GS, which is her third motorcycle now has over 40,000 miles on it. I don’t really keep track but we ride a lot. This trip is a little different. Our oldest son, Jonathan, had the idea a year ago to ride the Trans American Trail. Over time he thought it would be a great idea if he could talk his brother, Weston and dad, me, into joining him. Of course, this obviously leaves out the most important person of the Donn and Deby motorcycle adventure duo, Deby. Jonathan’s vision of the TAT was “no girls allowed.” Certainly a problem for dirtbikeridergirl (ADVrider.com user name). Deby, ever understanding, recognized this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a father and sons adventure so reluctantly she is staying home and will be “mission control” following us on SPOT and ready to help where needed. Thanks Deby!  What is the TAT? The Trans American Trail is “An Epic 5,000-mile Dual-Sport Motorcycle Adventure Across America,” according to the official website, http://www.transamtrail.com/.The site further explains, “This motorcycle adventure across America on the Trans-America Trail is NOT a single-track tight woods ride. It is a route using dirt roads, gravel roads, jeep roads, forest roads and farm roads. Dropping down into dried-up creek beds. Riding atop abandoned railroad grades. There are sections of mud, sand, snow and rocks… it’s all of the above, but it’s for the Dual-Sport Rider.”  Another recent site about the TAT is run by a guy named GPSKevin. His site is here: https://sites.google.com/site/gpskevin/adventurerides/trans-america-trail. Deby and I rode with Kevin this spring and had a great time on his Red Rocks tour around the Grand Canyon.

This is  Jonathan. Jonathan works during the day as a glass artist and has been riding motorcycles offroad since he was 10. He is a better rider than me and is riding a KTM 690 Enduro. Jonathan is insisting we CAMP every night, anything less would be wimping out. His only concession is that we can occasionally camp at a KOA campground in the evidently unlikely event that we might need showers.

 

This is Weston. Weston has a day job as an account manager in the tech industry. He managed to save vacation time and sweet talk his boss into 4 (or 5) weeks off. Like his brother he has been riding offroad since he was about 10 years old and will also be on a KTM 690 Enduro. He supports Jon in his camping fever.

Here are all three of us. I’m the old guy in the middle who likes a nice hotel once in a while but is willing to accept the camping challenge.

 

This is Dean. Dean is a friend who rode the TAT about this time last year. He chronicled his epic adventure on ADVrider, you can read about it HERE. In preparation for us riding the TAT I thought it would be a great idea to pack all three bikes and ride to Dean’s house on the Olympic Peninsula and camp in his back yard. Dean was very gracious and spent most of an evening and morning with us reviewing our packing, bikes, gear and answering a million questions.   Here is what we learned:

  • Try to keep my thumb out of the pictures
  • Remember to bring the food and coffee. We forgot both.
  • Bring a spare stove, my new MSR sprung a gas leak and we almost burned down the campsite.
  • Allow enough time. We arrived at Dean’s well past sunset.
  • Bring flashlights.

Yes, a great shakedown trip. We rode home the next day, re-packed, re-organized and did final preparations. Thanks Dean. Ok. Here is the plan – Rent a truck (check), drive it with Deby and the bikes to Milwaukee, WI to attend my 40th high school reunion (yikes) over the weekend, pickup above mentioned sons from airport in Milwaukee, drive to Knoxville, TN, drop off truck, ride Deal’s Gap, return home to Seattle via the Trans American Trail. What could go wrong? I checked the PO Box one last time before leaving and found this: Really? My bike has a recall? It could catch on fire? Don’t ride it? Great. Ok, maybe something could go wrong. I think I have enough technology with me to keep my blog up to date real time so I hope you can follow along and enjoy the ride. You can track our real time progress by going to the tab on the top that says “Follow Us”.

More to come,

Donn

Saving the best(?) for last

Subtitle: Twisting the days away

We left Durango heading north with a good feeling of conquering one of the longest twistiest most dangerous and highly rated motorcycle roads in the world. It’s hard to ride a motorcycle and not think of all the great roads we’ve been on and how they compare. Deals Gap, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Cascade Highway, Beartooth Pass in Montana and Spearfish Canyon near Sturgis, SD  are some of the more famous roads we’ve traveled. We were content that the best was behind us and the next two days would be a relatively uneventful ride back to the border. Nothing could be more untrue.

The four amigos recommended a route from Durango to Nogalas through the central highlands, they guaranteed it would be fun.  Deby and I spent the night before going over the roads on our maps and GPS units. As usual, two different maps and two different GPS units with different map sets all disagreed on the route or road names. Some maps showed a road, others showed no road and it was unclear if any or some of the roads would be paved. Sounded good to me.

The original plan was to get from Durango to Creel, a small mountain town in  the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Interesting, Google Maps can’t find a way between Durango and Creel.

We never did get to Creel that day. The Mex 45 from Durango north was supposed to be paved but was under construction for many miles, maybe 50? so in typical Mexican fashion we rode on the dirt track along the road dodging semi trucks, dump trucks excavators and bulldozers. Sort of fun but slow going. Finally we escaped the construction and found ourselves in the mountains where the twisty road started. Miles and miles of turn after turn through the mountains. Wow, this was fun. There wasn’t much traffic but every couple of kilometers there was a tourist sign for Cascada de Basaseachi, a waterfalls. For almost 100 miles we kept seeing these signs. It was like driving on I-90 in the US and seeing signs every mile for Wall Drug. The amigo’s said be sure to see the waterfalls which are just outside Hidalgo del Parral so when we finally twisted our way to the cutoff we turned down the narrow access road to the view point.

Well worth the stop, the second highest falls in Mexico at 807 feet.

At the parking area there was a little kid enthralled with our motorcycles. We let him sit on mine, he loved it.

It was a fun stop and it felt good to be off the bikes but we had a way’s to go to Creel and it was getting late in the day so back to the twisty road.

We reached Hidalgo del Parral about 3:30 in the afternoon, a quick check of my GPS showed 200 miles to Creel and nothing but twisty turns on the road the whole way. Not too impressed with Hidalgo we switched from MX 45 North to MX 23 East in hope there would be a small town with a place to stay. The road was fantastic, nothing but turns through the mountains. Fun, yes. Speed, no. We were averaging about 35 MPH around the continuous switchbacks and I was rarely out of third gear.

At 6:00 PM with the sun getting lower we arrived at the small town of Balleza and stopped at the first hotel we saw, maybe the only one in town. Total miles for the day, 347. Average moving speed, 48mph, total moving time, 6:48 hours. Whew, no wonder we were tired. Balleza was a little ways south of the famous Copper Canyon park in Mexico. Our route for the next day would take us through the eastern edge of the park so we were glad to do that section while rested.

We walked into the front door and an older woman who I assumed must be Silva let out a huge gasp when she saw Deby. Silva looked 100% like a German frau and sternly negotiated the habitation details for the night. The room wasn’t much but it only cost about $20 USD so we weren’t complaining. Silva didn’t speak a word of English or German it seemed and made zero attempt at trying. It would be interesting to know her story, something was there.

The hotel had secure parking but I found out they never actually closed the gate or locked the big gate.

It didn’t matter we were just glad for a place to park among the clothes lines.

And a place to sit with a cool beer and review the maps.

Silva’s husband came over to talk. He looked like a rough and tumble Mexican ranch hand, maybe in his later 60’s with leather skin under his big cowboy hat. He spoke just a few words of English so between my faltering Spanish and his English we chatted for a while. I asked if they had many motorcycle travelers at his hotel. He replied – never.

The small room had an even small shower which actually was a shower head sticking out of the wall almost directly above the toilet and aimed at the bathroom sink. A shower meant spraying down the toilet and sink with the water going into the floor drain in front of the toilet. I decided to skip a shower for the first time of the whole trip. Deby, who is more hygienically predisposed braved it and reported it “wasn’t actually that bad”.

Silva told us breakfast was at 7:00, we were in the lobby/kitchen/restaurant at 6:45 AM ready for coffee. Coffee of the day was Nestle instant, yum.

On the road, the day rewarded us with fantastic riding through the mountains. Turn after turn after turn after turn….We skirted through Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre) and the riding was fantastic. Definitely somewhere we want to go back and explore.

We ended up riding 330 miles in 8 hours, all twisty turns through the mountains. It was crazy, we were so punch drunk with turns that we were actually laughing in our helmet communicators, not believing that we could go over 300 miles without a straight section for more than a few feet and almost never getting out of third gear.

We rode a solid day of turns, and the day before at least another 150 miles of turns and didn’t know what the next day would bring.

Eventually we had enough and had to stop. There were very few towns in this section of Mexico and we found ourselves in Yecora, There were three hotels in town but only one advertised WiFi on the sign so we round ourselves at the El Durango hotel, $20 USD for the night.

Not as small as the last hotel with walls made of some kind of varnished flagstone, no windows. It did come complete with a bano and dangerously scary lighting above the shower that flickered trying to stay illuminated.

Tired and hungry we walked a short distance to the only restaurant in town. They didn’t serve beer, bummer. Our disappointment transcended the language barrier and after a few minutes the server came back with 4 Tecate Light beers from a nearby tienda. Nice. Not our favorite beer but it didn’t really matter.

We cheerfully downed the light beer and reflected on the day starting with instant Nestle coffee and ending with Tecate light and the hotel rooms meant for the road workers and not tourists. A big change from the JW Marriot resort in Tucson only a few weeks ago.

We were cold in our room that had no heat source, typical for the price range hotel. The next morning frost on our bikes confirmed that it was indeed cold.

Breakfast back at the same restaurant was great, our last Mexican breakfast with beans and rice. On the road we were back in the mountains with laughingly twisty roads for another 100 miles before we dropped into the lower elevations of Hermosillo where we jumped on the Quota for the blast across the border.

So, I haven’t put together all my GPS tracks but according to Google Maps we rode over 500 miles of nothing but twisty roads. 500 miles!!!!  So for now, in my book, the best motorcycle route anywhere is the  814 KM (505 miles) between Parral and Hermosillo Mexico. Wow.

Crossing the border was easy and we stayed at a Holiday Inn along the interstate just south of Tucson. It was a fantastic three weeks in Mexico, exploring the central highlands and discovering some of the best places. We felt safe everywhere and eventually forgot that this was supposed to be a dangerous place which added to our enjoyment of the trip.

For the second half of the trip the weather was wonderful, the bikes ran fine and everything was a lot smoother than the beginning. We covered around 4,000 miles.

We are ending the journey with a short stay with our Seattle friends Ted and Megan who recently relocated to the Phoenix area. This weekend we’re meeting my sister and dad who are here for spring training and have tickets for a Mariners game tonight, fun.

What’s next???

Sunday we are meeting GPS Kevin for a week long offroad ride to see the sights of  the Grand Canyon and Red Rocks (LINK HERE). Should be fun. I’m ending the Mexico part of the blog here and won’t be bringing the laptop on the offroad ride so probably (maybe?) no blog posts about it.

If you really want to know were we are click on the FOLLOW US link above for my SPOT tracker.

Thanks for following, it was really fun. We both appreciate all the comments and words of encouragement.

Donn and Deby

 

 

Espinazo del diablo

Our stay in Zacatecas was too short. Someday it would be fun to return and explore the city and surrounding areas. We were starting to get down to our last days available in Mexico and I was determined to check out one of the best motorcycle roads in the Americas, Espinazo del diablo or in English, the devil’s spine. I’ve heard about this road from many people over the years and always wanted to check it out.

Our launching point for the spine ride would be the city of Durango, the capital of the state of Durango. Our new four amigos on the BMWs recommended we stay at Hotel Pasada San Jorge. The hotel was right in the heart of Durango and the street in front had been converted into a pedestrian mall. We were told that the process was to double park on a nearby cross street, ignore any complaints by police and walk to the hotel to inquire about a room. We arrived in the early afternoon and the hotel staff instructed us to ride the motorcycles into the front door of the hotel and park in the Brasilian steakhouse restaurant. For those of you who haven’t traveled out of the US on motorcycles this is actually not that unusual. I made a short video of the ride into the hotel.

We had time to explore the city a little on foot before getting back to the hotel when the four amigos arrived.

Sorry all the good parking spots were taken, they unloaded in front of the hotel and parked around the corner.

Amigo Steve bought a guitar and was transporting it home on the back of his bike……

We ended the day together eating at the hotel’s Brasilian steakhouse, it was fantastic. In true Brasilian steakhouse style the servers came around with various cuts of meat and slice some onto our plates. Someone said they have over 20 selections and they kept coming and slicing until we couldn’t take it anymore. Content with one of the best meals on the trip and another fantastic night of motorcycle and travel talk we made it to our room to rest up for tackling Esainazo the next day.

RIDING THE SPINE

According to dangerousroads.org this 180 mile long road has over 2,000 curves. I believe it. Nowadays, there are actually two roads, one is the old road winding through the mountains between Durango and Mazatlan and the other is the newer Quota, or toll road that roughly parallels the old road. The original plan was to ride to Mazatlan and spend an extra day on the beach but after some research and talking to people I was told the old road is all about the twisty roads and the new road is an engineering marvel. Wow, engineering marvel? As an engineer myself, I had to check that out, so which road to take? We decided to skip the wimpy beach stop and embrace the Adventure Riders we were and ride both roads. That would be 180 miles and 2,000 turns down to Mazatlan and then 180 miles of engineering marvel back. We couldn’t think of a better thing to do on what turned out to be the day of our 35th wedding anniversary.

For the first leg we rode with the four amigos. Out of the plaza in the morning with all six bikes.

Through town trying to keep all six bikes together. It brought back fond memories of the MotoRaid trip….

Finally onto the open road.

The roads and scenery were fantastic, turn after turn with light traffic and beautiful weather made for a memorable day.

Here is the track from my GPS.

With the elevation plot.

Almost 9,000 feet max elevation on the way down and then somewhat less on the improved road on the way back.

Here are a few more pictures I gleaned from the internet. My camera and photography skills were woefully inadequate to capture this road.

Google Earth view of the old road.

One of the engineering marvels, suspension bridge on the new road.

Typical road section.

We stopped for lunch about halfway down at this typical roadside restaurant.

All in all one of the best days on the trip. Every motorcycle rider should endeavor to check this fantastic road off their to-do list. I’m really glad we rode it both ways to experience four hours of twisty fantastic turns and the return trip with the views, bridges and tunnels. This is one trip I’ll do again one day.

More to come.

Donn and Deby

 

The People We Meet

You may remember when we were stuck in the city of Patzcuaro waiting for the rain to reside that I mentioned we meet a couple from California. We were sitting at a sidewalk cafe and they were walking by. We exchanged a few words and didn’t think much of it. A few days later Deby and I were at an out of the way restaurant in Guanajuato when the same couple sat at the table next to us. Amazed at seeing each other again we talked and found out we were staying in the same hotel,…. small world. The next day was Deby’s birthday so I told them we would be having a bottle of wine on the rooftop deck if they wanted to join us so Thursday night our new friends Jeanie and Bo (hope I spelled that right) joined us with wine and a small birthday cake. We had a blast drinking and laughing until at about midnight when the security guy came up and told us we were too loud and someone complained. Ha! Busted for partying too late and loud, how about that for old age!

Bo and Jeannie were travelling Mexico by bus which sounded like a great way to travel.

We ended the day wrapping up a fantastic birthday, thanks guys.

The next morning it was time to leave Guanajuato, we had a fantastic time and the city is on my list of places to visit again. Did I mention that I counted the stairs to our room? Did I mention that there was exactly 100 stairs? Do you remember that since we have a rule not to leave anything on the bikes we haul around a bunch of luggage?

Here is our pile of stuff that needed to get dragged up and down 100 stairs.

Do you know how heavy bags of rocks and copper can be?

Here is a short video of the trip up and down the stairs at the El Meson de Poetas hotel. I think it’s worth watching, the place was like a Hogwarts maze with hallways and stairs everywhere, there were at least three ways to get to our room. Needless to say we had the doorman help us with our bags and we were very generous with our tipping.

 

The motorcycles ended up being parked about a half mile away in a secure(?) parking lot. Here is a picture.

We decided it was easier to take a cab with all our stuff than negotiating the tight streets back to the hotel. When we got back to the bikes everything seemed ok but we soon found that when I (my fault) locked the forks on Deby’s bike I inadvertently set the locking ignition switch on the position that locks the forks and leaves the tail light on…. the battery was dead.

Good thing I now carry one of these things to jump a battery, it worked great. Microstart XP1.

Eventually, on our way we wanted to visit a giant art deco Christo Rey statue built in 1944 on the top of a road a ways outside of town. The cobblestone road weaved up this hillside for about 10 miles.

We were not disappointed, it was pretty cool and worth the detour.

There was a slight commercial aspect to the place but mostly it was a church and convent on top of this remote mountain.

You can read a little more about it HERE.

After spending some time walking about we walked back to the bikes and there was a car with the hood up and the guy was walking around with jumper cables looking for someone to help him out. Ah Ha! Microstart to the rescue. The shaggy, smelly gringo whipped out this little magic box and performed a miracle on his car at this holy site.  A small crowd gathered to witness the feat and were suitably impressed. Good deed for the day…. done.

With that we bumped back down the hill and continued our 212 mile trek to Zacatecas a historic mining and colonial town in the hills. We didn’t really have an exact plan or place to stay so in our usual fashion we programmed my GPS for El Central and then we would look for a hotel. We were wandering the confusing, twisty, cobblestone roads working our way into the city when a guy on a scooter catches us and yells to Deby in English, “…are you lost? Do you need help?” Huh? Well, we were sort of lost and I suppose we could use some help so we pulled to the side of the road to see what this was about. That is when we met Fredrico (sorry again if I have the spelling wrong). He said he knew of a hotel and if we followed him he would lead us there but first he would take us on a tour of his town which he was very proud of. After wandering the streets of Zacateca for a while he guided us to the Hotel Meson de la Merced. A great place with underground parking. We were just getting checked in when four additional guys pulled in on BMW 650 GS bikes. They were from California and every year spend a few weeks in Mexico exploring the back roads. Fredrico who himself owned a big dual sport, a Honda African Twin, was excited to get to know us all and talk about motorcycles and motorcycle travel. He knew a restaurant we just had to go to so we arranged the time and and met for the long trek in the rain to his favorite place.

I have to say Zacateca is a beautiful city. Many of the buildings are built with a pink color stone and at night they are all illuminated. Here are a couple of pictures walking to the restaurant.

We had a fantastic meal and over beers and food the seven of us made quite a spectacle of ourselves carrying on in boisterous English in the crowded establishment.

Eventually we made our way back to the hotel on the crowded streets, it was late which made for another night without a blog post, sleep seemed more important. The next day we were headed for Durango, in preparation to ride Espinazo del diablo (Devil’s Spine) which is listed as one of the most dangerous roads in the world. You can read about it here on dangerousroads.org (Espinazo del diablo)

More to come.

Donn and Deby

 

Fixed moto, sunshine and Deby’s Birthday

So what’s so bad about being forced to hang out for a few days and read books? The hotel had a covered walkway to the restaurant that had great food and beer so we made the best of it. By Sunday we were a little stir crazy so we braved the elements and rode the collectivo (small city bus) into El Centro for  a day of walking in the rain. Patzcauro is not really a tourist destination and was mostly filled with locals. We did talk briefly to a couple from California.

We came across a market covered in tarps.

Always fun to wander through these places.

Especially looking for “Popular” Art.

Had fun looking in all the nooks.

Stopped in one place and saw this…. They’re everywhere!

Finally settled in for some coffee, cake and people watching on the main square. A little kid about 9? stopped to sell us this pot. 70 pesos, we paid full price…..

View of the square from our table.

Why driving gets a little crazy when you need to follow the signs.

Monday we were determined to go, rain or shine…. It was raining.

If the weather was better we would have rode all the way around Lago Tzintzuntzan to visit the artisans around the lake but we decided to stop only in the city of Tzintzuntzan (try to say that even one time fast…) to view the pottery.

The destination for the day? Back to San Miguel. My fuel filter was supposed to arrive Tuesday at the nearby KTM dealer so we decided to spend another couple of days in San Miguel. We ended up at this rooftop spot for beers above the main square.

Had more time to leisurely explore the city.

Tuesday I got a call that the part was in and I should be there at 4:00. Here are some pictures of the old filter (this IS a motorcycle blog after all).

Fuel pump assembly

You have to disassemble the whole thing to get at the two filters.

Here is the pre-filter that was pretty black.

Anyhow…. after about three hours it was all back together and I was riding back to San Miguel well after dark. I always wondered exactly why motorcycle travelers are always told never ride after dark especially alone. To be honest I was enjoying the ride, it was warm and dry and once I was out of town the traffic was pretty light. My biggest fear was that I would hit one of the huge potholes that would easily swallow up my front tire and probably flip me off the bike onto the side of the road. When oncoming traffic permitted I had the LED aux lights blazing bright to watch the road and made it back with no problems. Deby and I had a relaxing dinner and the next day it was off to Guanajuato, someplace I really wanted to visit.

In the morning we were really glad for these guys with cart for all our baggage, jeesh, do we really need all that stuff? Actually I think we travel relatively light but we have a rule that nothing stays on the bikes at night so we end up lugging all our extra riding gear and now bags of art treasures into our room every night.

Here was our first view of Guanajuato, it’s nestled into sort of a ravine surrounded by higher peaks, almost like the center of a volcano.

One of the things about this city is they have tunnels that were built to protect the city from flooding, as people started using cars instead of tearing up the city to make wide enough streets they widened the tunnels under the city for vehicular traffic. Smart move. Here is a short video I made with my GoPro trying to navigate to our hotel using my GPS. Never mind that GPS’s don’t work under ground…..

Today is Thursday, Deby’s birthday. We started the day on our hotel patio with a great  view of the city.

We visited the Diego Rivera museum, Contemporary Art Museum, Museum of Natural History and others including Museo de las Momias. As you might expect we couldn’t take pictures at most of the museums except for the museum of mummies. I only took a few since it was pretty creepy… ok just one here….

This inscription was by one of the other mummies….

On that cheery note, I need to wrap up, birthday dinner tonight and wine on the patio….

Donn and Deby

 

 

Mexico Monsoon

Has it rained every day we’ve been in Mexico? No, there was one dry day. I wanted to get this post out yesterday but the power was out at the hotel due to the storm, eventually the power came back but it took some time for the internet to start working. Where to start……..

Last Wednesday I got a call from Fabian from the KTM dealer, there are no fuel filters for a KTM in all of Mexico and it might take weeks to get one from Europe. The “good” news was that they removed the fuel pump and cleaned the filters so, according to them, I should be able to make it home. Deby and I doubled up on her trusty BMW and rode the 30 miles to pick up the bike. We rode back to San Miguel in a complete downpour, heavy rain with hail and parked the bikes securely in the Bat Cave.

Here is a picture Deby took from the back of her bike one day when we rode two up into El Centro of San Miguel. Nice typical street scene.

Below is a picture from Facebook a friend posted (thanks Kim) of a nearby street with all the rain.

Thursday morning it was time to say good bye to San Miguel and ride towards Santa Clara del Cobre in the state of Michoacan. Deby had been wanting to go there for years as it is the mecca for copper artisans. We decided to stay at the slightly larger town of Patzcuaro Thursday night and then ride to Santa Clara early Friday morning. Sure enough after about 80 miles the mighty KTM lost power, worse than before. Almost zero acceleration which made passing challenging, hill climbing slow and passing on a hill impossible. Riding a motorcycle in Mexico is challenging enough without lacking a grip full of power to get out of a bind. We limped into Patzcuaro and checked into Posada de Don Vasco.

Friday we were excited to get an early start to Santa Clara del Cobre where we spent most of the day walking around and exploring the copper art. My bike ran ok since it was less than 80 miles and we were riding relatively slowly.

Here is a video I made of our day in Santa Clara

We met some BMW riders in San Miguel and they thought we might like a place called Lago Zirahuen, when we were at the Copper Museum in Santa Clara they recommended the same place and gave us the name and brochure of a place called Cabanas del Bosque. I checked out the map and it wasn’t too far from Santa Clara so I thought we would ride over and check it out. The road around Lago Zirahuen was high up on a cliff with drop offs down to the water. When we got to the Cabanas the narrow road zig zagged steeply down the side of the cliffs. By this time it was raining harder and the cobblestone track was getting pretty slippery so we slowly made our way down the slippery rocky road with sharp switchbacks until we saw the sign for Officina. I was maneuvering into a parking spot when my bike died with the computer flashing “Fuel Pump Failure”, great……

This picture is of the road from the cabana website, it doesn’t show how steep it was or how slippery it was when wet.

Unfazed at the possibility that I might have to leave the KTM, and ride with Deby to Patzcuaro I went to the office to see about renting a cabana for a few days. She spoke zero English and so in my limited but improving Spanish I determined they were full for the upcoming weekend. Dejected, I walked back to my bike in the rain and amazingly it started. That was a good sign but there was almost no power to make it up the slippery road. Clutch slipping and good karma eventually got us to the top and the 10 mile cobblestone ride back to the main road.

By this time the rain was coming down steadily so we opted for the libre, (not toll road) back to Patz. It would have been a wonderful ride on a dry day but in the increasing downpour the smooth very twisty blacktop through the mountains was challenging to negotiate.

Before dark on Friday, in what had become a deluge we parked the bikes at the hotel. Little did we know they wouldn’t move for days as the storm seem to sit over us like a black cloud following someone in a children’s cartoon.

Having plenty of time on our hands I made this little video about our stay in Patzcauro so far.

I took this picture of one of the hotel staff doing a little roof repair in the rain.

It’s Sunday afternoon and still raining, we’re getting antsy to leave so we may ride in the rain tomorrow, perhaps back to San Miguel.

With the continued problems with the KTM I called the dealer again and asked about getting a fuel filter. They recommended I call a US dealer and try to get one shipped to us. I called my friends at I-90 Motorsports in Issaquah and Brent recommend AZmotocity in Arizona. I talked to Mark and he was very helpful, we made arrangements to get a filter sent to my friend Fabian Tostado at Motopremium KTM. I’m told it should be there on Tuesday…. we’ll see.

So as usual, an adventure is never what you might expect. It could be worse, we are at a relatively nice hotel, we are getting to be friends with all the staff, we are having forced down time to read, relax, plan and wait for the rain to dissipate. I hope you like this post and the videos.

Donn and Deby