|From Behind My Eyes - The Adventures of Tim Stubbe||
Thursday Morning and my last day on the road. Leaving San Simeon headed south down Highway 1, the Pacific Ocean on my right, waves rolling into the beach. A light morning fog covering the coast. I rode down Hwy 1 to Morro Bay then inland to San Luis Obispo. Picking up 101 again and my trek homeward. My head was swimming with images of where I had been and what I had accomplished. I kept hearing my friends voice in my head "You know it will be hard" and he was right. Yeah the first 8 weeks were a breeze with fair weather and following winds making the trip a delight. The last 2 weeks though had their hurdles. Rain, Heat and Cold all usually combined with Wind or Humidity.
Those days tested my metal so to speak. Was I really up for the challenge of the elements coming back west. Those days filled with long miles and lonely spaces, but also filled with magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains and Cascades. I can only imagine what the pioneers felt when they saw these mountain ranges as I did from 100 miles away with there snow capped peaks in the middle of June.
I topped of my tank in Simi California and rode the last 80 miles home. Pulling into my driveway with both relief and regret that the adventure was complete.
I thought about all the people I had met along the way.
Ed Skvor my riding buddy who rode to Blythe the first day and told me "You Know It Will Be Hard" and I could tell it was killing him that he couldn't go along.
My friend Bob Kendall who rode parts of the route with me and showed me a great time in South Carolina who made me laugh more than once,and also kicked me in the ass when the rain started falling in North Carolina and got me to overcome my fears of weather and stop being a fair weather rider.
Johnny Compton and his wife Sharon in Hammond La. The last time I saw Johnny was when I left Vietnam and it was nice to reconnect.
Gary Sanders in Alabama who rode down to Dauphin Island to camp with us and showed me the gulf coast and provided me with much needed info on riding the South.
Mike Marrion in Richmond who drove in the rain to Fredericksburg just to meet up with me. Mike was getting ready to start out on his own adventure.
Bill Jones who took me on some roads in New Jersey and New York along the Delaware River where we got caught in a rain storm.
Jeff Prince who showed me around Massachusetts, including buying me dinner, then rode up to Maine with me.
Ken Gansel who took me on a tour through the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. Sites I could have never found on my own.
All my co-workers in Brecksville Oh, Indianapolis In, Hoffman Estates, Il , St Louis, Mo and San Ramon Ca, that I had talked to for years on the phone but never met face to face. Jeramy Foltz and Robin Lively, Joe Mrotzek who provided a soft bed to sleep in. My N-Laws who put up with me for 10 days in New Jersey where the rain and heat and humidity almost drove me crazy.
The Cousins I met on the road David, Cyndie, Dennis.
My friend Ed Aguilar who I dedicated this ride to.
All the people that sent me email with encouragement and offers of places to stop and ride that I never got to or had to miss because of weather. To those strangers I met along the road at Attractions, Gas Stations, Rest Stops, Campgrounds, Hotels and Restaurants who provided an insight to the area I was in and people in general.
The Weather Channel that was my constant evening companion as I check on the conditions ahead.
To all those people that I passed, most of whom didn't even know I was there, who let me see a little bit of what life was like in the West, South, SouthEast, NorthEast, Midwest and NorthWest.
All those friends on Facebook that gave me encouragement and moral support.
Especially my wife Nancy who understood what this trip was about and supported me, though she wasn't with me.
I know I've missed someone somewhere, there was so many but to all of you that crossed my path and helped me laugh and cry and helped me realize just how great a life I've had and the adventures I am looking forward to having....
Well here I sit in San Simeon California, my last night out before a short 5 hour sprint home. I spent last night with my cousin Dennis and his wife Jane, with some great conversation. After a great breakfast, I headed out to San Fransisco. The weather perfect and for once there was no fog or clouds or nasty weather when I got to the Golden Gate bridge.
After a stop in San Ramon to have lunch with some co-workers at the at&t complex, I turned the bike south again to head down to Monterey and then down the famous Hwy 1. A fitting road to top of my trip with.
Ending my night in San Simeon California I spend my last night at the lcoal Quality Inn and had an excellent Steak Diner before retiring. As I lay there in bed my last night, all I could think about was all the places and people I had met and what a challenge the last 10 days had been. Tomorrow homeward..
After spending a evening in Eureka, having a all to rare on this trip, home cooked meal with my friend Joe and his wife, I headed south again to meet up with my cousin Dennis and his wife Jane. The morning started out pretty overcast with a forecast for rain, so I headed out early to see if I could ride out of it, which I did. Stopping in Garberville, Ca for breakfast at a diner. As I rode down the small streets of this little village the oder of ...errrrr herbal medicines was so strong it was a wonder I didn't get high just passing through the town. I noted that there were several what I call "Local Color" which in the 60's were called "Street People" with clouds of smoke wafting about their heads. Apparently the local authorities have no interest in them. After a nice omelette and small bowl of fruit I again picked up Hwy 101 and headed south through some beautiful redwood forests. I met up with my cousin Dennis in Petaluma (he was riding his Vstar 1100) and after lunch followed him back to his home in Woodacre. We spent a pleasant evening having dinner at a Mexican restaurant and talked of old times, family and our experiences in Vietnam. It was nice seeing Dennis again after so long.
After spending Saturday morning riding over to Medford Oregon to get a new front tire, (the old one was pretty worn), I packed up as I have done over the last eleven weeks and headed out from Keno Oregon. Bidding my farewells to both Edward and His brother Edgar and thanking them for their hospitality, I rode down to the small gas station in town and topped off with fuel. Once set I pointed Big Reg for the Oregon border which was only a few miles away. As I got to the agricultural check point on the California border, the tule fog settled in for the next 20 miles. For those that don't know what "tule fog" is. Its a fog that cover the ground maybe 50 high. For about 18 miles I rode through this fine mist, but clearing a hill and climbing out of the fog I got presented with this site..
Mt Shasta, in California!!!
Now if thats not a "Welcome Back To California" moment I don't know what is.
I progressed from there to Yreka, California and then south and west through the Trinity Forest and Trinity River to Eureka, where I'm spending the evening with a old friend and co-worker.Joe Mrotzek.
Its really good to be back in California. Tomorrow, I'll be riding from here to Woodacre California where my cousin lives and spend the night. It's good to be back in California and nice to know that my adventure is coming to a safe and happy end..
I arrived on Friday afternoon at my friend Ed Aguilar's after a pretty soggy ride from "The Dalles" Oregon. Ed as you might remember suffered a series of strokes a week before I started my adventure. While talking to him, I had told him that I was going to be going to Graceland to visit Elvis and the mansion. I also told him there was a Harley Davidson Dealer there and that I'd pick up a t-shirt for him when I was there. This I did on April 22nd and stowed it away in my saddle bags. 9000 plus miles later, I knocked on the door and when he answered, I said "Special Delivery from Graceland" and handed him the shirt. It was a special moment for both of us and the look on his face was priceless. Its always nice to know that you have made a friend happy.
I listened to it thunder and saw the flash of lightening all night last night. The weather report for the ride today was "rain". So getting up and getting a early start, dressed in my rain gear, I headed south. The clouds threatening and I could see showers ahead sometimes to my left or right as the road took me between the storms. After reaching Bend Oregon without getting wet, I had breakfast and then continued south. About 80 miles from Klamath Falls the rain started.
Now when I stated this trip I was terrified of riding in the rain. Hey I'm from California and we don't get enough rain to worry about it. I dreaded it, feared it and would do anything not to ride in it. Then came the North Carolina ride day, where Bob Kendall and I spent 8 hours slogging though it. Then came Portland Maine when I holed up 2 days because of the rain and finally did 266 miles through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to get out of the perpetual storm.
Today when the rain came, I said "Bring it on", No longer the frightened of the elements, I plowed through the rain for 80 miles and when I got to Klamath Falls I felt a sense of relief that I now knew how to ride in the stuff. I kept thinking about something a friend had told me.."Tim, you know it will be hard", and I laughingly said "If it was easy, everyone would do it" little did I know. Well It was hard, but it changed me for the better. Its made me a better rider because of it. Its always good to learn what your made of.
So I'll spend some time with my friend and head out on Sunday, most likely taking a couple of days to get there.
This trip is ending its 10th week and the miles and time away from home are starting to take there effeect. The closer I get to the finish the quicker I want to get there. This is no more apparent than my ride from Missoula Montana to "The Dalles Oregon" about 463 miles. Taking the Lewis and Clark Trail Hwy 12 which winds through Idaho and the LoLo National Forest. The same route that Lewis and Clark took in 1803 to get to the Pacific Ocean.
Pressing on from Idaho into Washington (Walla Walla), and then southwest to "The Dalles, Oregon" another 460+ mile day. With rain predicted for Friday, I'm planning to head south to Klamath Falls Oregon in the morning. There I"ll meet up with Ed Aguilar (see dedication tab) and give him the "Graceland Harley Davidson" shirt I picked up for him 9000 miles ago in Memphis Tennessee.
Woke up with a brilliant blue sky and beautiful sunrise in Cody. Packed up the bike (I'm getting pretty good at this now) and headed west up to the west gate of Yellowstone National Park. Just before entering the park I stopped at "Buffalo Bills Historic Hunting Lodge" for breakfast. I had probably the best Ham and Cheese Omelette I've had on this trip and the price was very reasonable.
After a nice breakfast I headed up into the park. Using my National Park Senior Pass which let me in for free, I found myself again amazed by the grandeur of Yellowstone. Unless you've been there its really hard to explain how massive this place is.
Even managed to stumble into a few Buffalo
The Valley Of Fountains was especially nice with the cotton ball clouds that made for some great pictures
After spending the day in Yellowstone, I headed north west out of the park and ended the day in Missoula, Montana. A pretty long day but well worth the time and miles.
After spending a nice day in the Black Hills, and some good rest in Custer, I headed west again. My goal Cody Wyoming. The ride from Custer to Cody was chilly and windy but I've come to the realization that I prefer cold to HOT any day. Taking I90 till I got to Buffalo Wy I then took state route 16 to Cody. This is a really nice road except for a 3 mile piece that is under construction. Not just road work. The entire road has been removed and there is nothing by gravel and dirt in its place while the construction crews completely replace it. I'd like to say here that my Royal Stat Tour Deluxe is a wonderful bike, but Gravel is not its friend and I worked harder to keep it on the road for those 3 miles than I did the entire day of riding. I finished the day in Cody Wyoming which was crowded with large numbers of people. My night ended quietly after a BBQ dinner.
The weather improved significantly and the ride from Valentine NE to Custer SD was much more pleasant. the scenery also improved quite a bit. Not that I don't like cornfields, but, 1000 miles of corn gets a tad boring. The ride through the plains of South Dakota with only minor wind was nice and moving north into the Black Hills improved my temperament and milage. The last 116 miles of Nebraska sucked up gas at a rate of 29 mpg compared to the 40 I'd been averaging.
Riding the Needles Highway was another pleasant change and being a Monday and not a weekend the traffic on the road was tolerable. For those of you that don't know what the needles highway is its a small 2 lane road that winds through Custer State Park. Speed limit never more than 35 and for good reason. The scenery is beautiful.
There are 2 very tight tunnels that keep larger vehicles off the highway, so there was not fighting with RV's and Campers along this road. That being said, even on a Monday the road was loaded with cars and motorcycles.
The most impressive part of the day was Mt Rushmore. Often when you get to a place that you have wanted to see, you seem a little let down because it doesn't quite match up with what you thought it would be like.. Mt Rushmore was in a word "IMPRESSIVE"
As I was leaving the monument, I stopped and got what I thought was one of my better shots of the trip. A profile of George Washington.
Settling in for the night in Custer I enjoyed walking the streets and visited some of the stores and restaurants.
Today I'll head west again towards Cody Wyoming and perhaps Yellowstone.
Despite the greatness of this trip, I am finding myself getting a little weary and starting to look forward to getting home.
The weather forecast for today seems to be even more favorable with mid-70's. The last few days of heat and wind has really taken a lot out of me, so some cooler weather will be welcome.