4200 miles/13 days


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pidjones
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:14 pm
Location: Clinton, Tennessee
Motorcycle: 2006 GL1800A
1978 GL1000 w/'75 engine (project)

4200 miles/13 days

Post by pidjones » Wed May 22, 2019 6:45 pm



I'm goung to copy-and-paste from my Facebook page instead of typing all of this over:

Gonna recount our trip a little at a time (as much as I can remember). Photos will be added if there are any. So:

Day 1 (May 7) we left home around 9 am. Olivia given a ton of instructions for watching after the place (she did great) and Melissa asked to cut the grass when needed (she did great, also).
Went down 27 through Rockwood to pick up US 70 and proceed West. Continued through downtown Nashville (US70 is Broadway there) with little trouble even though it was late lunchtime on a Tuesday. Wound up at our first nights stay in New Johnsonville at the Deerfield Inn - nice place with the managing Indian family out back cooking (which Judy always enjoys watching). No breakfast, but a clean room. Email from Suntrust that my card had been skimmed again (this is getting old) and they turned off my primary card. Luckily, Judy's is still Ok and well as my gas card and MasterCard. Had to stand in the hotel yard to call them as the AT&T coverage is weak here.

Day 2 we rolled West and quickly learned that the GPS was leading me off on its own little adventure. Was able to reload everything and get it back on track after loosing about an hour of off-track riding and finagling with the unit. Wanted to stop before Memphis traffic for lunch, and caught Hot Pit from a sign that turned out to be Bozo's Hot Pit Bar B Q - a GREAT lunch. The place has been here since the 20's and has a solid following. We lucked out and just beat the big lunch rush. Best sauce I've ever tried!
Back on the road through Memphis and led through a strange route due to signage, re-routing, road maintenance, and the obstinate GPS, but made it across the bridge into Arkansas and West Memphis. Continued on through Arkansas happily until about 25 miles from Little Rock the bottom fell out. We had donned our rain jackets (Frogg Toggs) but much more would be necessary - like wet suits. Proceeded at a reduced speed on through rush hour traffic through downtown Little Rock onto I-30 (US-70 co-routed) where it was stop-and-go for about 15 miles in pouring rain. Finally off the slab onto US70 to Hot Springs and stopped for a pit stop and to dry (wring) out and warm up some (hot air hand driers can be GREAT at these times). On to our Hotel at Winner's Circle Best Western were they gave us microfiber towels and a restaurant around the corner delivered some delicious food while we further warmed and cycled the heat/AC to dry gear. We were beat and it was only 2nd day!



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pidjones
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:14 pm
Location: Clinton, Tennessee
Motorcycle: 2006 GL1800A
1978 GL1000 w/'75 engine (project)

Re: 4200 miles/13 days

Post by pidjones » Wed May 22, 2019 6:46 pm

Grand Canyon Trip continued:
Day 3 (May 9) Still drying out. Judy used the guest laundry drier to further dry things. Also a bit cooler today, so we used the rain gear over our mesh armor to keep warm. Arkansas US70 gets rougher as you go Southwest. Not bad, just rough. Into Oklahoma and the wind that comes sweeping off the plains. Need to lean the bike about 5 degrees to keep going straight. Doesn't take a lot of effort but it does require concentration. A long day taking us across the lower part of the state into Texas. Nearing the boarder we see the entire Southern horizon filled with wind turbines along the South bank of the Red River. On to or night's lodging at the Hotel Vernon - I believe it is a previous Best Western motel, but is quite nice and well kept.
Day 4 Even cooler to start, so we start with liners under armor covered with rain gear. I even used my glove three-finger rain covers (that are very awkward). That kept us comfortable and was a good thing as we encountered more rain, wet roads, more wind, and US70 is shot-and-chipped in Texas. Just crossing into NM we encountered a train stopped blocking traffic that didn't appear to be moving any time soon. After getting directions from a DOT crew, we back tracked and bypassed the still stopped train. The loose material, rain, wind, and 75 mph speed limit on a 2 lane made for some white-knuckle riding, and I was quite tense again when we arrived at the hotel In Roswell, NM (a Days Inn) and borrowed a bucket to wash the trailer down before taking it in the room.
Day 5 Took the bike to a car wash to knock one layer of sand and grime off before we headed through New Mexico. Wind was getting less (or we were getting used to it) and rain had stopped. Still using rain jackets for warmth. Geography has changed a lot and we are greeted with such sites as long, flat, scrub desert plains leading to jagged mountain peeks. Then approaching Alamogordo we see in the horizon what appears to be snow on the desert floor - the White Sands National Monument. After a short, fast run on I-10 we split off on US70 by itself again through shifting scenery into Arizona and our night's stay in Stafford. By now the rain jackets have been shed and it is quite warm.

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pidjones
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:14 pm
Location: Clinton, Tennessee
Motorcycle: 2006 GL1800A
1978 GL1000 w/'75 engine (project)

Re: 4200 miles/13 days

Post by pidjones » Wed May 22, 2019 6:47 pm

Day 6 Today we make the first destination goal of the trip - the end of US70 in Globe, Arizona. It is pretty anti-climatic as there is just an added END label above the standard US70 shield on the signpost. We continue on now on various roads the GPS software chose (with my guidance to minimize interstate travel) through what appears to be mountain resort communities and many beautiful landscape changes. Of course, I'm paying attention to highway and traffic so I hope Judy is getting full enjoyment. What I do catch is beautiful. Finally we pull in to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ. The train depot is directly behind the hotel as is the restaurant that we have our meals at on a package lodging+meals+train fare deal.
Day 7 Today is for the Grand Canyon tour. Really, you only get about three hours at the canyon rim. most of the time is taken by the train trip to and from the rim. The operators realize that this is not really attractive, so they have employed entertainment including musicians, characters, and coach tour directors (ours was Amber Rose - claims it is her real given name - who did her best to distract us with stories, conversations, etc, for the trip. Now, the canyon.... you just have to go see it yourself. In a day of digital effects, it is hard to embrace that this is real. Only having time for walking less than a percent of the rim, it still overwhelms. A full day, and no riding!

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pidjones
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:14 pm
Location: Clinton, Tennessee
Motorcycle: 2006 GL1800A
1978 GL1000 w/'75 engine (project)

Re: 4200 miles/13 days

Post by pidjones » Wed May 22, 2019 6:47 pm

Need to get on with this while I can still remember what we did when.
Day 8 (May 14): Eased out of Williams on our way to the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Park. Most of this part was on (yech) I-40. We stopped off on the way to get photos in Winslow standing on the corner.




Internet reports are that 100,000 people visit there each years due to the Glen Frey/Jackson Brown song "Take It Easy". Back on the road to the park, we just flashed our senior lifetime natonal park passes and were waved on in. The first part of the park is the Painted Desert and is North of I-40. It is quite beautiful and my photos don't do it justice. After crossing over I-40, you travel a few miles of rather unremarkable desert and then go to a pull-off to see some of the petrified trees. They are unremarkable until you notice that there are no live trees that size around, and these although looking like rounds of large trees are indeed rock. There is also an area of ancient petroglyphs. I think one loosely translated was something that Donald Trump once said. I'm sure the NYT will report it as a "new revelation" someday. All-in-all the road through the park is 28 miles and enjoyable, fairly smooth and solid pavement. 180 back to Holbrook is a wild ride, however! I think a motocross track designer had a hand in this. Finally back at the hotel, we learn that they have (against my request in our online booking) been placed on the 2nd floor of an old motel with no elevator. After about a dozen trips up and down the stairs to get bike and trailer unpacked, we walked down the street to a sketchy looking building that held a GREAT Italian restaurant!
Day 9: Rolling back down the mogles of HWY 180 which thankfully smoothed South of the park, we connect up to US60, which will be our primary route back toward home. The scenery is similar but different from the US70 corridor, and the weather dry (YEAH!) and warm. We rolled into Clovis, NM Days Inn and ended up eating take-out from the Sonic next-door as we were saddle-weary. The highway runs nearby and parallel to a major BNSF railway, but the hotel was oriented so that the noise from it was minimal in the rooms.
Day 10: On to Texas, Oklahoma, and resumption of leaning hard against the wind. It gets your neck tired after a while trying to hold it against the gusts. Otherwise, it is dry and different from East Tennessee enough to be interesting. MANY LARGE wind farms interspersed with oil wells and gas fracking plants. This place is pumping out energy! We wound up at a fairly new Best Western in Fairview, OK with a Dollar General (I needed contact solution) on one side and a bowling alley with good take-out food on the other. I have been praying for this area as the past two days have seen rather nasty weather there, and the locals were so friendly. Judy spent a lot of time doing laundry in the hotel guest laundry while I worked on a plan for the final route home.
Last edited by pidjones on Wed May 22, 2019 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
pidjones
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:14 pm
Location: Clinton, Tennessee
Motorcycle: 2006 GL1800A
1978 GL1000 w/'75 engine (project)

Re: 4200 miles/13 days

Post by pidjones » Wed May 22, 2019 6:48 pm

Day 11 (May 17): Leaving Fairview we continue still on US60 through mega-farming country and wind farms. Also plenty of wind! Along the way, US60 goes through Pawhuska, OK, which happens to be the hometown of the Drummond family - the Pioneer Woman! I didn't even know, but Judy did of course and we stopped for her to go to the Mercantile and take pictures. While she was taking that in, I stood by the rig and a gentleman stopped to ask questions about it as he has a GL1500 trike. Judy returned and learned that this is the Drummond boy's kickboxing instructor! On in to Missouri and the wind has not subsided, but is from the South and we are now headed Northeast so it is not as bad as far as bike control. US60 joins old route 66 South of Springfield, and runs along next to the interstate for quite a piece. We finally ease in to Republic, Missouri and the Americinn we stay at for the night. The room has a hot tub, but we are too worn out to take advantage. We have barbecue at Heady BBQ about a block away and settle in for the night.
Day 12: Across Southern Missouri, I was expecting the wind to be less but learn that Missouri farmers have stripped their fence rows of trees (Oklahoma and Texas just didn't have trees in the plains) which permits the wind to howl right through. I think that they are paying for it as there was a cloud of dust from each farming operation in progress - they are loosing topsoil. Finally we reach the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers (and I think we go through about a mile of Illinois) and into Kentucky. Almost immediately the wind dies and things feel more "normal". Trees line the highway and fields have trees in their fence lines restricting wind-blown soil loss. I'm home. We continued across Kentucky Lake, Land Between the Lakes, and Lake Barkley. BTW, I grew up in the state and had never heard of "KENLAKE". Anyway, we stopped near I-24 for some good barbecue at Triplets BBQ and then on to Best Western Hopkinsville.
Day 13: We awoke to a dry parking lot, but that wouldn't last. The storm front came in and I moved the bike to their drive-through for final load-out and connecting up the trailer. We donned rain jackets over our armor and headed out in light but steady rain. Luckily, we ran South out of the weather before we even got out of Kentucky, and remained dry the rest of the ride home. We took back roads from Hopkinsville crossing into Tennessee between Keysburg (Ky) and Barren Plain (Tn). On to Lebanon to pick up US70 again for the leg back to Rockwood then through Harriman and Oliver Springs and on home.
Rolling in behind the house we had Olivia, Melissa, Lyssa and Rocky there to welcome us home.
13 days, about 4200 miles, 9 states (if you count Illinois) and three national parks (although we didn't send long at White Sands).

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landisr
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Re: 4200 miles/13 days

Post by landisr » Fri May 24, 2019 9:45 am

Sounds like a great ride. I have been on a number of those roads. Thanks for sharing.

PS. I have a good friend that lives in Caryville. Small world.

Ron in AZ


I'm not so sure about an inner child, but I have an inner idiot that surfaces every now and then.. :mrgreen:

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