Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 20 Tifton, GA to HOME 296 Miles
I’m a few days late in posting this last entry, needed to rest up and completed some stats. The laundry has been done; Big Red has been washed and polished so now lets complete the Blog.

The finale day on the road was sunny, warm and dry. No rain covers on my travel bags, no Gore-Tex rain gear required. It was a simple route I-75 south to I-275 to Roosevelt and I’m home.

Pulled into the car port and checked the odometer, 4,429 miles in 20 days. Not to bad for an old guy on a Trike. This was the motorcycle tour of my lifetime. I rode through 15 States and absorbed the sights, sounds and smells of all of them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “What a beautiful country this America is.”

Statistics: Total miles 4,429 – MPG Average 31 – Cost to travel per day $150

Would I do it again? I think there’s at least one more Grand Tour left in me and Big Red.

Thanks to all that followed the Tour, I appreciate your interest and support.

Till next time,
Dick (Tonto) Pritchard

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 19 Chattanooga, TN to Tifton, GA 313 Miles
Awoke this morning to clear skies and 78 degrees, my only challenge was going through Atlanta. Here is a bit of advice, if you have to go through Atlanta, don’t. Take the by-pass, I-258. I should have known better but I landed in downtown Atlanta right in the middle of morning rush hour.

As I said my only challenge was getting through Atlanta. The rest of the day was a piece of cake. Just keep Big Red pointed south and every hundred miles or so fill the tank up.

It did get warm today, in the nineties. Just 10 days ago I was riding in snow flakes; it is a magnificent country, so vast, so diverse.

I wish there was some way to plug a cable into a USB port in my head and down load all the images I have stored away and project them on a screen and while I’m at it an IMAX screen. What a show it would be. I’d play, what I believe should be our national anthem “America The Beautiful”, for the background music. This is truly how I feel about my experiences of the past 19 days.

I’m home tomorrow and to quote my favorite Dorothy, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 18 Paducah, KY to Chattanooga, TN 266 Miles
A day without wearing rain paints and a rain jacket is …even better and that’s what today was like. The Weather Channel indicated some storms west of Paducah that where moving southeast. As Chattanooga is southeast of Paducah I could see that my job for today was to stay ahead of the rain and that I managed to do.

I rode through Nashville listening to an NPR station playing classical music. Well, I’ve always followed a different drummer. Not to say I don’t like Country music. In fact I picked up a couple of new favorites on this trip, “My Butts Too Big for One Pair of Jeans” and “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”. There’s not much else to listen to in Montana.

Anyway, I beat the rain to Chattanooga by an hour. It’s now about 6pm, the weather has cleared and I’m heading out for dinner. Tomorrow it’s I-75 to Tifton, GA and by Friday night I’ll be home. I miss my Judy like I never thought I would. It’s been truly the ride of my lifetime and I wish she could have been with me. I do miss her.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 17 Columbia, MO to Paducah, KY 295 Miles
A day without wearing rain paints is like a …good day!

This is a most amazing country that we live in. In the past 17 days I have seen Hill Country in Texas, Red Rock landscapes in New Mexico, Snow capped Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Wide open spaces in Montana, the rolling Plaines of Nebraska and Iowa. I’ve crossed the Mississippi River twice, The Missouri River twice. The Rio Grand, the Pearl, the Santa Fe, the Crow and the Lodge Pole rivers. I’ve seen shuttered towns that time has past by. I’ve seen thriving small towns where people are born, grow up, marry, raise families and die without ever traveling 100 miles from home. I’ve seen cities like Santa Fe where everyone is from some where else except the natives and I mean the natives, Native Americans who have taken on the American entrepreneurial spirit with gusto. I’ve been in 12 states and I’m not home yet.

Today it was farm lands of Missouri, St. Louis and the Great Arch and the farm lands of Illinois. It was a good day.

Tomorrow I’m off the Nashville and Chattanooga.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 16 Des Moines IA to Columbia, MO 315 Miles
It rain through the night but by morning the rain had stopped and the day looked promising. I took I-35 S out of Des Moines and headed for Kansas City, MO. Here’s an observation regarding Interstate Highways; East and West routes are heavily traveled by 18 wheelers and auto traffic. North and South routs are, for some reason, almost vacant of trucks and appear to be the less traveled routes. Just an observation.

Rode in and out of a few showers until I was just north of Kansas City, there the sky cleared and except for one huge traffic jam crossing the Missouri River again in downtown KC. The other side of the river I picked up I-70 and cruised under blue skies into Columbia, MO and a 5 story Hampton Inn and had dinner at a Cracker Barrel next door.

Tomorrow I head for St. Louis and Paducah, KY.

Still have not been able to solve the link problem with Flickr.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 15 Kearney, NE to Des Moines IA 308 Miles

"Oh What A Wet Sloppy Morning"... same tune as yesterday but a very different feeling. I awoke to rain and fog. Well so much for fair weather. My close companion, The Weather Channel, did not give me much hope. The green (rain) blotch covered I-80 from Kearney to Des Moines and beyond. So I pressed on. Actually, I’m getting very good and waterproofing my gear and myself and call me crazy, but I still believe that I’d rather spend a day on my Harley in the rain then a day sitting in front of a TV watching ESPN.

The highway was foggy and misty with light rain until I crossed the Missouri River. There was an unearthly glow in the clouds that I soon determined was the sun. The further east I rode the better it looked. 50 miles west of Des Moines I stopped and took of my rain suit and rode into the West Des Moines Hampton Inn looking cool.

Oh, here's some news, I just got back to my room after being evacuated to the main floor lobby due to a Tornado warning. I have not missed much weather wise.

Forgive the lack of pictures the last few days. I’m having a problem with the link with Flickr. I’ll try to solve that ASAP.

Tomorrow I’m off to Columbia, MO. I plan on making it home by Friday June 12.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 14 Cheyenne, WY to Kearney, NE 334 Miles

“Oh What a Beautiful Morning”…I’m on the road again and singing show tunes! It was a beautiful day on Interstate 80. American business truly does run on 18 wheels. Today I saw convoys of up to 15 semis in a row carrying the life’s blood of the country, commerce.

I stopped in North Platte, NE and visited the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park. Well worth the time. My Father use to tell me about seeing the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show when he was seven years old in 1902. At the Ranch they show some old film footage of the show in New York at about the same time that my Dad was there. What a treat. Just down the road in Gothenburg I visited an original Pony Express station. I’m right on track with the cowboy part of my trip.

Checked into the Hampton Inn in Kearney about 5pm, was greeted at the front desk like my name was Hilton and was told they had upgraded my reservation at no charge. I have a room almost as large as my living room at home with a Jacuzzi in the bath and a couch and lazy boy in the sitting room. The Venue Restaurant & Lounge was recommended for dinner. When I walked in I was greeted by name and received a 10% discount off an excellent steak dinner. The 2 Jack and Waters were on me.

I’m off in the morning for Des Moines, IA. There is a storm warning posted here until midnight. Hopefully it will be clear in the morning.

Click here for some photos