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From Austin, NV I ride to my friend Muni’s house in Carson City, she is a new rider I met on the ADV campout at Lake Pillsbury last spring.

The Hwy 50 Shoe Tree…I thought this was the one that got cut down, but I guess not!

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Looking unsuccessfully for a Loneliest Road in America sticker…

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Muni is very conveniently located, since I can’t ride all the way home in one day, and do not want to stay in another motel, or eat another burger! Plus, I had heard so much about her daughter Shanti and her new KTM that I had to stop.

We had a great visit, I was too tired to do much but relax on the couch, but we made it fun.

The next day Muni makes me check tire pressures and I am low 10lbs on the rear…THANKS! Muni! that made a big difference.

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It was foookin’ nippy going over Donner Summit!, but after I started the descent into California, Hwy 20 showed up and I whacked that throttle. I do so love that road.

I meet Emily West in Nevada City for breakfast, and then tell the GPS to get me home the shortest route…and I find a new road that way! Wow! on my home turf and everything!  It goes off a bit below Smartville over to Beale AFB, and then straight into Marysville. 15 minutes shorter!

So nice to be in the Central Valley!

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Here is the Yuba crossing on the Beale route…

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Dust storm north of Williams….ANOTHER storm missed me!

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I’m on the home run, now…I have done this ride from Nevada City to Mendocino for 40+ years….like familiar shoes, but more like 7 league boots!

Even Clear Lake lets me slip swiftly through…

Pattersons – Traditional ‘I’m Home Safe!’ meal

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Well, I’ll be dipped…..I made it.

I sit idling in the driveway looking at this

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sigh

I am so lucky

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You’re not going anywhere, Buster!

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BuddhaDuck sails on home seas…

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9,782 miles, 54 days, 27 states, 3 time zones

2 flats, 2 hours of rain, 2 warnings from the nice officers.

The Great Basin

Heading west again, yay!

Another day of storm dancing ahead. Hwy 50 is renowned as ‘The Loneliest Highway in America’….but as another long distance rider pointed out, it’s pretty well known now, and not so lonely.

still…the big empty.

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50 mile straights, then up and over a pass, and…another 50 mile straightaway. The RS1100 ate this shit up, I could run about 120mph through this…but the old R80 just rumbles along at 80…..

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I stop for a snack, fruit, water, powerbar…but the storms keep pushing me on…

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Finally, Austin rolls up….very cool town.

The International is a wonderful local bar/restaurant, never a dull moment in there. One year, about 13 years ago, they had a massive outbreak of Mormon Crickets (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_cricket) I mean, so massive they were 3-6″ thick on the roads, they had to plow the passes, and it STOPPED TRAINS. It was a little gross to ride through, all the crunching noises you know, but turned out ok. You had to be sure to check EVERYTHING, bugs all over the beds, bathrooms, roads, everywhere. I tried riding fast through them, but then they took off and flew, which was not desirable. Keep it slow and crunchy, they stayed on the ground.

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I have a nice relaxing afternoon reading on the porch, watching the world drive by my door, and then walk up to the International for a burger. Another burger….it’s gonna be salads and rice for a month when I get home!

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Highway 50!

I went up to Durango for the lovely shopping, Colorado has some nice stores now! 🙂 I got that all taken care of the night I arrived, so I sit on the front porch of the motel and watch the world roll by, sampling different substances….I arise….late.

Today will be a long stint on I-70. Buried beneath it is Hwy 50, one of my fathers favorite roads, as it is mine. I have ridden it many times, mostly from CA to CO, but once from Washington DC to Reno. It feels good being on familiar roads again. However, being boring and with storms all around, I do not stop much…

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I have to slab it west until I angle off at Selina, UT, heading to Delta, UT for the night. I like Delta, I have been here before.

One trip, heading to the Paonia Rally in Colorado on the R1100RS, I had a wonderful experience…

Hot, tired, hungry, trying to make Moms Cafe in Salina, I stop here for gas. Pulling away from the pump, the right cylinder head hits the pump guard posts. Bam! Down!
I pick myself up, check out the bike, and keep going. Part way out of town I look down at me right boot, which is dripping with oil. That’s not supposed to do that! I had noticed an old gas station that said Lott’s Welding on it, so I went back there. In the garage bay I could see motorcycles, so I was hopeful. A guy was in the office cursing at tax documents, I ask if he can weld up a cracked valve cover, as I had smacked and cracked it. He said “how many times have I told you not to do that!?”
He came out and looked, said that’s magnesium, can’t weld it, but we can JB weld it. As we were working, 2 twin blonde girls came running out of the house next door “whatcha doin, grandpa?” “We’re patching up a hole in this fellas engine, he smacked it”
Everything the twins said was in perfect unison…
“We’ve done that!”
Lott would not let me leave, he said the JB weld needed to cure overnight, so he pushed me and the bike down to the Rancher motel/cafe…a long block away, and it was over 100 degrees. That’s where I stayed last night too.

I danced with rainstorms all day, lightning to the right, left, and ahead. Fortunately the road threads through the storms and I only get a drop. After I unpack I walk over to the restaurant and have a burger and the storms let loose.

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Next stop, Austin, NV!

New Mexico

Northern New Mexico is just lovely, not just Santa Fe

this is an irrigation flume, two logs hollowed out

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the Rio Grande, just north of Taos. Taos was lovely looking, too….but the traffic was horrendous, downtown was under construction, road blocks everywhere, and I had miles to go…so I rode on.

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10,000′ lake

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after taking this pass photo, I start gearing up to ride on, and a car arrives, out climbs Bill and Karen from Kansas…Bill has my same hat!

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Zen Moto, in Pt. Arena, CA!

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Very stinky steam engine, narrow gauge railway

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In Durango, the BuddhaDuck awaits me

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I meet some guy on an R1200 from Sacramento, I tell him I have an R80G/S…”Does it run?” he asks….punk!

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on to Utah, and Hwy 50, a wonderful way home.

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Santa Fe!

now this is a sweet town…

Janice and Tom get home about dark, she from her nursing job, him from working on their house after his regular job. I feel right at home with tank bags, riding gear, and helmets lying about. Tom designs and builds very nice homes in the area, Janice does her massage and nursing. Santa Fe is a wonderful, colorful, and interesting town, a haven of money in a state of poverty. They both take the next day off, as much as they can, and show me around, both Santa Fe and their new home they are working on.

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Janice and I take Luna, the white Shepard, for a walk along the river

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and then drive up to their home in the hills, where I see a fantastic sunset while throwing a stick for Luna

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the next day Tom returns to his construction job, and Janice takes me for a walk in the mountains, and I get a hot rock massage, woo hooo! Janice is a massage magician!

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Beautiful, peaceful, tranquil….it is not easy to ride away…

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but I do…heading up the High Road to Taos and on to Durango

 

On The Road

aaaaaannnnnd, I am off!

Declan and Missy both get up to say goodbye, and I hit the road early, 7am, to try to beat the heat.

not a half hour later….fortunately on a wide 4 lane, I have a rear flat. Dammit! I was uneasy already, the rear tire is now an enduro tire, with knobs, these feel a bit squirrely just driving along…but no, this is a flat.

Just a second after this photo two wild pigs, Javelina’s? come trotting across the freeway and right behind me through a fence. One gives me a little piggy stare, and I stare back…”mmmm, you look tasty!”

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Not sure what happened here, I suspect a pinched tube from my mounting job…combined with road heat. Can’t patch that! I have a spare tube, but it is a front tube, 21″, not 18″. This will work, in a pinch, but not for long.

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about 75 miles later, with no motorcycle shops in sight, the rear goes flat again. Dammit! I take all my gear off and start idling the bike along the emergency lane, no patching this one, either. Fortunately, Justin, a pump technician, pulls over in his truck and helps me out. I sling all my shit in the back, including the rear wheel, and we head 5 miles down the road where he says there is a Harley shop. I purchase three tubes, one for the rear, and one of each size for spares, and the lovely mechanic slaps the new tube into the rear wheel with his tire machine for only $10! Thanks, James! Justin gives me a ride back to the bike and I am on the road again. Thanks, Justin!

I am still uneasy with the squirrely feel of the different rear tire, but we motor on….FAST!

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I stay in a dive in Childress, TX, and get an AM selfie

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Rain ahead! Just gotta punch through…

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Self Serve!

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Finally, Tucumcari, NM. No more interstate for now!

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nice desert rat rods

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crumbling adobe farm

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BBB break outside of Santa Fe

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I finally pull into Santa Fe…what a wonderful town!

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Janice and Tom are both working, so I relax in this spot for a few hours until they arrive.

Athens Oasis

I stay with Declan and Missy for several days, they wine and dine me, I get some maintenance done on the Beast, and sleep!

The Beast gets an oil change and new tires, both Metzler Sahara 3 enduro tires.

They take me to a Food, Beverage, and Entertainment committee meeting at the Club one evening, and another afternoon we go to a movie, “Sully”, in a theater that is also a bar and restaurant. This is quite civilized, I tell Declan!

The Estate

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Baby in her garage bay

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totally awesome outdoor shower….aahhhhhhh

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Finally some sizzling good Mexican food!

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Pearl

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Honey!

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my messed up room…

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Declans Den

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Declan and I go sample his pistols and shotguns

Perforate some Plastic!

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Blondie and the Beast

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Thank you two for a very lovely and well needed interlude. You two have done wonders with this place! I finally decide to head to Santa Fe, skipping Oklahoma and Big Bend. It’s long enough just driving home without adding new routes.

The Natchez Trace

The Trace is 440 miles long! I had no idea these roads were so long, From the top of the Shenandoah Skyline to the bottom of the Natchez Trace is over 1000 miles.

Better git to it, then!

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It’s just gets hotter, and hotter, and hotter.

the Old Trace

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Cotton shows up in Alabama

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Indian Burial mounds. A Harley rider says “The Trace gets pretty boring” I think not.

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Old Trace,

New Steed

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Grab breakfast with the Good Old Boys

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This was lunch, an Amish market. Nice. I had a ham sammich. The ladies liked my stickers! I read the little sayings posted everywhere…over the hand made spices..”Our customers say they’re even better than WalMart!”, and my favorite “The undeveloped property with the greatest potential is that which resides between your ears”

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I am not in California, am I? Glad I didn’t tag this little fella…

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GPS weather shows storms ahead, Natchez is only 40 more miles, and getting pounded for days now with lightning storms. I decline to attend, and exit the Trace, heading to Vicksburg, MS.

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bugs everywhere at this stop, couldn’t sit long.

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Vicksburg Battlefield

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Ironclad

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I am finding battlefields to be depressing. This one started it, 18 years ago, when I last came through on the K75s. Lots of ghosts at Vicksburg….Here is the Mississippi at Vicksburg. It was an exciting place to be in July, 1863. Look it up on Wikipedia. Look up the Natchez Trace too. The Mississippi was a hot ticket item back then.

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aaaaaannnnd…..dodging storms, I blast across Louisianna via Interstate 20, but drop south when the GPS shows trouble, only 15 minutes or so of hard rain, not bad.

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I went south of one batch and north of these…love that radar!

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I am comfortably ensconced at Declan and Missy’s place in Athens, TX. Route out of here undecided, but I am leaning towards GTF outa this heat! 100 degrees right now, 52% humidity. No, I am not outside on the deck writing this! My ass is on the AC, bubba!

The Tail of the Dragon

The Dragon is a world famous section of a highway, Hwy 129, starts in North Carolina. Very hyped. Of course, I needed the sticker.

Mad Dog said “don’t go out of your way for it”

good advice, Dave! But it isn’t out of my way, it is right on the way from the bottom of the Blue Ridge to the top of the Natchez Trace, so I go get the sticker(s)…but some photos of the ride there…

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really pretty, but getting gahdamn warm…

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Yeah, it’s got some curves, but so did that babe from DC…oh wait, where did she come from? 😉

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I guess the chain represents the rider taming the turns? huh?

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lots of bikes, and bits of old bikes

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It was curvy, alright. There was one nasty drop-twist turn, if y’all have ever done Laguna Seca you know what I mean. That is where most of these were found, I bet. I damn near got air on the Beast, and I was not going fast. I let a squid wiggle by, but passed 5 Harley’s. Not going slow, either!

Still, Hwy 1 is curvy, Leggett road is curvy, etc.

I got two badass reflective red dragons that now reside on my hand guards, and a Dragon Hwy sticker.

Next!

 

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Ever heard of it? Yeah, me too.

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469 miles long. I guess I didn’t do much of it last time, joined north of Atlanta, I think near New Switzerland, and got off here to go to Baltimore.

That’s a long road. The limit on the Ridge (BRP) is 45mph, much better. I plonk it at about 50, as are most others, and it is a good speed, lots of corners!

There are some fall colors appearing. I am wondering if these are first due to drought stress, or is this normal?

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A gorgeous apparition appears at a pull out, a BMW GS800, the new twin, parked with a BeeeUtiful woman walking to the edge. Gosh, says I…nice clouds, I need a photo. I did not see the gentleman taking her photo. Dammit. They are from Washington D.C. She apparently does not speak English. I get their photo, they get mine. I wish I got a better photo of her, wow.

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Stickers are accumulating…

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A lot of the fall colors I skipped photos of, bad traffic, telephone/power lines or other obstructions, etc. This was pretty good.

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Blue Ridge Morning

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Cool fences everywhere

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and graveyards

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AcckkkkkkKK!

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another day on the ridge…bummer.

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these are everywhere…as are butterflies and caterpillars…coincidence?

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Mabry Mill. Mabry was a blacksmith, wheelwright, and ran a sawmill and gristmill out of his place. Nice. I would have fit in perfectly…with a fat internet connection for those long winters. oh, and that babe from DC.

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Gorgeous.

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Blacksmith shop

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Ma Mabry’s loom

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Beer ‘n’ bud butt break

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sidetracked to try to find a motorcycle campground, found it, but nobody home.

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Sunset on the Ridge. I barely made it here, Roanoke, VA. Coasting down the hills, 378 miles on the clock, both reserves wide open, I don’t want to push this beeyatch. whew!

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Tupelo Honey Cafe

yummy grits!

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And that basically was the Blue Ridge Parkway. VERY nice, not too much traffic, Maxfield Parrish clouds, no rain, win-win!

Miles of Smiles