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szurszewski

Bakery Quest - 2016/17 Hacking the US with the kid and dogs

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szurszewski

Ok- I failed to get an update in, but we are loading up right now to leave for Tequila. I already know where we plan to stay tonight does not have wifi but is within 500 meters of the both the Cuervo and Sauza distilleries, so there will be no update tonight either!

 

 

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szurszewski

Tequila was great, the road from there to Zacatecas was lots of fun but wiped us out completely (well, me anyway) so we took a rest day in Zac and made it to Arteaga earlier today. Tomorrow, if all goes well, will be our last day in Mexico - about 200 miles to the border, and we'll probably hole up just after crossing.

 

Laura's mom is coming down from Oklahoma to meet us in Corpus Christi - she used to live just outside there on North Padre Island, which is also where we got married. We're going to amuse ourselves by seeing if we can find the spot on the beach where Laura walked down the "aisle" (I didn't do that - I was already standing on the beach sweating a lot in my tuxedo and wondering if she was really going to show up...).

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szurszewski

Made it to Texas. Have pics from Mexico uploaded finally a d will post them soon - maybe even tonight!

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Bud
Tequila was great, the road from there to Zacatecas was lots of fun but wiped us out completely (well, me anyway) so we took a rest day in Zac and made it to Arteaga earlier today. Tomorrow, if all goes well, will be our last day in Mexico - about 200 miles to the border, and we'll probably hole up just after crossing.

 

Laura's mom is coming down from Oklahoma to meet us in Corpus Christi - she used to live just outside there on North Padre Island, which is also where we got married. We're going to amuse ourselves by seeing if we can find the spot on the beach where Laura walked down the "aisle" (I didn't do that - I was already standing on the beach sweating a lot in my tuxedo and wondering if she was really going to show up...).

 

She did, lucky for you! :clap:

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szurszewski

Updates long overdue!

 

We - the humans - are currently in WA, here to celebrate my grandmother's 98th birthday on Sunday, while the dogs and rig are lounging luxuriously in Austin.

 

While I'm sitting here enjoying the sound of rain on the roof, how about some pictures?

 

These were taken just after we figured out that "something was wrong" - I was pretty sure the FD was toast again, and - yay me? - I was right. Jeremiah seems unconcerned.

 

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Perhaps he was already looking forward to driving the rental car

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With our planned week (tops) in Barra extended to "10-21" days by UPS (oddly, I was able to ship our drive north via UPS, two business days (shipped on Friday; arrived in Oregon on Tuesday) for about $200; coming south was more than double that in $$ for 10 ish days), we took advantage.

 

We climbed monuments old,

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and new

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We saw a sunset or two (...or three...or...well, lots)

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Some of us even saw some sunrises, or such is the claim - no good pictures though, so....

 

We held tiny crocodiles, and saw really, really big ones -

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We saw but did NOT hold a LOT of iguanas (image search iguana bite wound sometime if you want to see why we didn't hold them...)

 

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All that makes you hungy, so we had to eat - a lot

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(left that one clickable - if you zoom in you can see the grill for the restaurant over Jeremiah's shoulder - it's a BBQ made from a 15" car wheel - and it's my favorite place to eat in Barra)

 

Eating makes you sleepy (tequila too), so we did a lot of napping

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and Jeremiah greatly improved his swimming with daily dips (and by dip I mean, 90-120 minutes most days) in the pool.

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Eventually there were boxes, and the boxes held parts (and tools!) and it was time to dust off the rig and put it back together (actually, it still needs to be dusted....)

 

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With a short test around town and a longer run for supplies, it was time to say our goodbyes. Honestly, after all the biscuits and scraps, I was suprised to find Eddy more than ready to get back in his trailer - I thought for sure he'd want to stay with his new best buddy Steve.

 

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szurszewski

Leaving Barra de Navidad heading toward San Antonio, we had some routing options. I picked the one going through Tequila because...well, yeah.

 

We got a late start, but still managed to get to Tequila early enough to drop the dogs at our Airbnb

 

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and make it to Sauza for a tour. The tour was ok, and - as usual - Jeremiah managed to make some friends

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At this point we had already booked a flight from Austin to Seattle on the 11th, so our schedule was limited - if it hadn't been, we would have stayed in Tequila another day or two as it was a really lovely place with several museums and other things that we thought would be worth a look. As it was, we did take time to pick up something healthy for breakfast,

 

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Jeremiah tried to pick up a souvenir,

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and we got a good agave pic before setting out for Zacatecas.

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Tequila was certainly picked for the name, and then for the history (I don't feel too bad that I didn't know much about it as most everyone we've told we stopped there has said, that's a place?), but our next stop in Zacatecas was purely on the route because it was a biggish looking place (read: would likely have somewhere we could stay with the dogs) about the right number of miles from Tequila.

 

We arrived late and tired, having left tequila closer to lunch than breakfast and then having spent an hour stuck in traffic on the very edge of Guadalajara, so the decision was easily made to rest the next day there and spend an extra night. Great choice.

 

Zacatecas is a large, old city that the Spanish built up because of rich silver deposits. There is still a large mine right in the city; it's open for tours but not mining and apparently still holds quite a bit of silver and other minerals.

 

Of course we started our day with something fried and rolled in sugar,

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and Jeremiah spotted somewhere he wanted to check out.

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The center of the city is situated between two hills and we'd already climbed the smaller hoping to take the cable car to the larger, but that was closed. Jeremiah assured us it would be no problem to walk down the smaller hill and up the larger one. Did I mention that the low point in Zacatecas is around 8000'? Well....

 

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after a lot or walking, we made it up and found some great views

 

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which we blocked with our faces, but we also found a camera obscura! (which we also blocked with our faces for this shot)

 

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In addition to taking ridiculous selfies in front of it, we also went in and got a tour and it was very cool. I find the things fascinating and I'd never seen one of that size (though I later found out there were seveal we missed on the CA coast) and certainly never been inside one before. Very cool.

 

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szurszewski

Eventually we walked back down the big hill, then walked up the other one again (seriously - by this point we assumed our legs would not be functional the next day and were glad we'd be sitting down all day), and then back down to the center of the city where we found a Mediterranean restaurant that was quite good. (I'm sure being quite hungry helped.) Regardless, the view was excellent and got even better as the sun set.

 

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And so ended our time in Zacatecas. It's on the list for future Mexico trips as there were many things to do there in addition to just walking, walking, walking.

 

The riding became less interesting, for the most part, as we headed north and stuck to the toll roads...less interesting and hot... but on the way from Zacatecas to Arteaga we did get to see lots of Joshua Trees (though I still don't know what they're called in Mexico).

 

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And Laura got to feed one last Mexican street dog.

 

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Our last night in Mexico was booked hastily on Airbnb and wasn't ready for us when we arrived. The host apologized profusely and tried to send us for dessert and coffee at a nearby cafe, but we were beat and opted to sit under an amazing tree, alongside a stream running down the middle of the street. That's our lodging to the right in orange and white.

 

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And this is what it looks like inside. By far our most picturesque of our south of the border lodgings.

 

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To mix things up, breakfast the next morning was fried and enrobed in sugar.

 

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And then there was multihour search for a post office in Monterrey, and there was a LOT of hot, straight, relatively fast (for us - 120kph was a speed we hadn't seen in some time) riding, and there was a border crossing. There was NO ONE at the Mexican side - I mean, not in line - there were very bored looking agents, and it took no time to cancel our tourist cards, and little time to cancel our import permit. I think there was some talk on the phone between the booth agent and a supervisor about the trailer for which we had no permit, but I just kept not speaking or understanding much Spanish and eventually it was bien and we rolled on. He almost forgot to remove the import sticker, and I forgot to get a picture of it. Too bad as it looked pretty cool next to our National Parks permit.

 

On the US side there were LOTS of people. Well, many fewer than there could have been waiting, but also only a few lanes open, and we tried hard not to melt sitting on the asphalt in the sun. Jeremiah had shade at least, and lots of folks in nearby cars who wanted to talk to him about our rig and the trip. Eventually we got checked back in and they started with the hard question: where are you coming from? I never know how to answer that. Today? The furthest point in the opposite direction where we turned this way? The place we spent the most time? Or where started eventually. I feel like saying, to this border agent, that we were coming from Oregon would sound smart ass (how I usually sound - but try really hard not to when talking to folks with guns). Once again the border cared not a whit about the dogs, but they did take the oranges we picked that morning from the tree in the yard at our Airbnb. And some Spanish ham.

 

And then we were hot, and tired, and hungry and almost out of gas, but we decided to go another half hour or so and find a motel not quite so close to the border. And we did. And there was a Denny's within walking distance - welcome home :)

 

Oh - funny thing - at Denny's the very friendly host sat us and I said gracias. In Mexico they just assume you don't speak Spanish - or rather it's very obvious that I don't - and when you are seated and say gracias at most you get a de nada. Here though, and this makes sense, the host must have thought - oh, this dude speaks Spanish, and he launched into some long thing about something. I just smiled. And then I drank a lot of water. With ice. Replenished frequently without having to ask. Ah.

 

 

 

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szurszewski

Some years ago, while living in Alaska, we happened to be married in Texas. You know that thing where you keep the top or some part of your cake from the wedding and then eat it a year later? Well, I'm not sure who came up with that idea, but we did it. Or sort of. It went into Laura's mom's freezer on Padre Island, but we didn't get back to Texas for a little over three years. We did eat the cake. It was not terrible, but it was weird. We REALLY liked our wedding cake (fresh!) and I contrived to have the cake top recreated by the same bakery.

 

 

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When I called I requested their smallest round cake. Wow. I'm sure our top section was not that large. I "snuck away" to go pick it up (Josh: I have to go do a thing; I'll be back later. Laura: You're not going to tell me where you're going? Josh: No.) and that thing BARELY fit in the topbox of the LT. Good thing we have a big honkin' bike. I dropped it off where I hoped we'd end up for dinner, and thankfully we did.

 

Fortified with cake, and with Laura's mom's help, and her friend Donna's help, we found the spot where Laura walked down the aisle.

 

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then:

 

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now:

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szurszewski

Ok - one more to catch up:

 

 

After two nights we left Padre and headed to Austin

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where we stayed with some new friends and sorted stuff for a flight back "home"

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where we embarrassed my little brother for his birthday,

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hung out with some "old" friends

 

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went to see our dentist and our doctors

 

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and where Laura found out why she's been feeling pretty lousy since Zacatecas.

 

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Turns out she's been eating for more than one; more than two even. In fact,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

she's been eating for thousands - of these :

 

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Tonight we'll fly back to Austin and ... yeah - something after that. But this morning we're getting ready for a 98th birthday party :)

 

 

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szurszewski

Back in Austin we picked up the rig and headed for Llano, TX. An ADV inmate was kind enough to invite us to his brother's ranch (brothers are fun like that, yeah?) and how could we turn that down.

 

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If you're particularly sharp-eyed you might have noticed that something's not quite right in that picture, and maybe even have made the leap of logic that it must be from later in the timeline. If not, click it and take a look again - yep, Jeremiah's left arm is in a sling.

 

See, Scott, the brother generous enough to play host to some folks his brother ran into on the internet, took us on a grand tour of his property, and while he was getting a horse ready for Jeremiah to ride the boy found this tree...

 

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An excellent climbing tree to be sure, but not a great one to fall out of -

 

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A trip to the excellent local ER and, yep - it's broken. Both long bones (but just a little each).

 

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Though it obviously hurt like crazy, Jeremiah was a trooper. Scott insisted we stay and relax at least until Jeremiah's follow up appointment at the end of the week, and I must say I can't imagine a better place to do a little recuperation.

 

We had this view every morning just outside our window,

 

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we watched a few movies - Culprit really like this one

 

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we did a little fishing

 

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ate some meat

 

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(Laura had bread and corn for dinner that night...poor girl)

 

did a tiny bit of farm work

 

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and took a few rides around the ranch to say hi to the cattle and look for snakes

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Scott was busy on the phone for work and getting ready for a trip of his own most of the week (poor, poor fellow!), but we did get to chat a bit, and his cousin came over to visit one day and check out our rig - some of you may know him as his cousin turned out to be Peter Yeager, former owner of Lone Star BMW. We had a nice chat with Peter and his wife, and did get a chance to sit down for breakfast with Scott our last morning at the ranch. Hopefully we'll be back again someday when Jeremiah's arm is better form for ranch fun.

 

 

Thursday morning it was time to see the Doc -

 

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He confirmed the diagnosis from the ER and said the boy should heal up well with a month or so in cast.

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We spent one more night in Austin with some of our new ADV friends,

 

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and then it was back on the road. But not for long - we found a nice little spot for lunch in Dripping Springs, TX,

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which was about halfway from Austin....to....Whipville :)

 

 

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Indy Dave

Great pictures, even better story! Poor Jeremiah! At least he's got that out of the way, and what a neat place to recover! Being the thoughtful son he is - he obviously timed his gravity test for after Laura excersized the demons!

 

And nice wrenching work, BTW!

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Bud

Kids!

 

 

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Beautiful bride but who is that young guy with a funny look on his face?

 

All I can say is you must be a silver tongued talker to convince her to marry you. :rofl::clap::wave::grin:

 

 

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szurszewski
Kids!

 

 

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Beautiful bride but who is that young guy with a funny look on his face?

 

All I can say is you must be a silver tongued talker to convince her to marry you. :rofl::clap::wave::grin:

 

 

Baxter, the pup at our feet (who was an excellent ring bearer despite all the people who said, you're not actually going to let him carry the real rings, are you???) is the only one looking the "right" way - Laura and I are staring almost straight into the sun ...so that's my excuse. Also, those are post ceremony, and when I took up my position on the beach at 10 that morning it was already 91F!

 

As for your other comment, I won't say how long I had to put into the entire courtship, but I will say it took three years to get from the first ring to the second. There's a lot to be said for perseverance. :)

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szurszewski
Great pictures, even better story! Poor Jeremiah! At least he's got that out of the way, and what a neat place to recover! Being the thoughtful son he is - he obviously timed his gravity test for after Laura excersized the demons!

 

And nice wrenching work, BTW!

 

Thanks - we're having a fantastic time (most of the time ;) ) and if he had to break something, I think he picked good bones to break and a good place to do it. The med staff at the ER and the clinic for the cast were excellent, and it was a great excuse to laze around the ranch few days.

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szurszewski

And then we arrived at Whipville South.

 

We've been abusing the hospitality of Mr. Whip, Mrs. Whip, Whip Dog 1, Whip Dog 2, and Whip Dog 3 for the better part of a week, and they've all take excellent care of us.

 

We've walked the river (took a boat tour as well, but sans Whips and with the least excited tour guide/captain ever),

 

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ate some great meals in town and at home - can you tell which state we're in?

 

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Visited the store and learned about screen printing,

 

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went to the Alamo (a couple of times!),

 

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cleaned the rig, changed the fluid, made some adjustments and replaced the sidecar headlight with a snazzy LED model from Whip's shelf of parts,

 

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added some new bling.

 

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Mostly though, we hung out with the local fauna.

 

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Eddy tried his best to fit in,

 

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a couple of times he even tried to be a lap dog - he really wasn't sure how it worked

 

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Culprit mostly stuck to the MANY dog beds.

 

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Jeremiah's favorite thing was the firepit out back - and maybe specifically the torch he got to use to start it.

 

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The s'mores were pretty good too :)

 

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But now the rig is tuned, cleaned and packed, the dogs are fed and ready, we're geared up and finishing breakfast. Tonight we're hoping to be in Galveston, and then a few days to get to New Orleans (going to do our best to make for all the people who've given up fried dough for lent). After that we're pretty much planless - basic idea being to head north/inland a bit and see what's what before turning toward Key West timed to coincide with a cast removal.

 

If you've got suggestions in the "area" please don't keep them to yourself!

 

 

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szurszewski

Hello! I've been holding out for good wifi to upload some pics to flickr so I can put them on here - the ADV thread is more up to date (again!) because I can just upload those directly from my phone...just sayin'.... ;)

 

It's been a week or two (or something?) since we left San Antonio - we spent a few days down along the gulf coast, then headed up through Mississippi, into Arkansas and into Tennessee where we are currently holed up and trying to stay warm :)

 

Hoping to head up to visit Hannigan in Kentucky tomorrow, but it's supposed to only be 25F here in the morning...at least it's supposed to be sunny...so we'll have to see about that. After that it's either south or east or maybe both!

josh

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Chris K

I have been following your trip here and on ADV. I hope you brought your heated gear.

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szurszewski
I have been following your trip here and on ADV. I hope you brought your heated gear.

 

Well, we brought all the heated gear we own...

 

Surely would be nice - I think if we do make a run up to Hannigan tomorrow (it's either tomorrow, wait until next week or wait until we maybe make it back this way again in maybe several months...) we'll be wishing we had some. Or at least I will, and Laura and Jeremiah will be sharing a sidecar and enjoying the cozy warmth of a sleeping bag to boot.

 

 

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szurszewski

Oh man, oh man, oh man - we are so far behind! Or, rather this is so far behind/we are so far ahead or ... crap. I don't know.

 

We're just going to his fast forward and get the highlights - stop me if you have any questions.

 

What happened after leaving Whipville was... kind of a lot!

 

We went to Galveston to check in on the sea,

 

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Jeremiah took his first ferry ride,

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and then his second.

 

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We stopped in on The Big Easy and learned about the important things - hot drinks and hotter bread

 

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and the mixing of cultures.

 

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From there we went all the way down to Dauphin Island and tried to take another ferry - but we were denied!

 

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Instead we toured Fort Gaines, learned about smith work and caught up on our reading.

 

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The weather started to catch up with us in Mobile,

 

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and met us square on in Jackson, MS.

 

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We spent the afternoon putting ourselves into uncomfortable history,

 

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and took a long walk that helped us appreciate a lot of what we have (or had - like sidewalks!).

 

The next day we headed out of the cities and took Eddy gator fishing.

 

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He prooved to be not such good bait after all, but we did see a couple.

 

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While we were looking we might have got a bit muddy -

 

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maybe even a lot muddy.

 

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Then it was on to Little Rock and Hot Springs AR.

 

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Jeremiah picked up another Jr. Ranger badge, and got a tip from a very nice ranger about where we might find the elusive Night Sky Badge.

 

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On the way across the state, we got spotted - first time on the trip! - at a gas station by an ADV inmate.

 

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We got to Arkansas Post and they did have the Night Sky Badge (very cool!) and Jeremiah had just enough time to do a project there as well. We'd never heard of it, but it's a pretty interesting place - Arkansas's first capitol and now there's just about nothing left behind. Google it - you know you want to!

 

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The next morning we awoke to a lot of damp, but also to a great note someone left on the saddle.

 

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We put on ALL our gear - I think for the first time since leaving NorCal (of all places).

 

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In Memphis we leaned a little more about part of the civil rights movement,

 

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but we also had some Q.

 

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Unsuccessful in earlier attempts to turn us south, mother nature upped her game that night.

 

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The morning was spectacular, and the roads were clear.

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I don't remember where this was taken.

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By afternoon it was warming up a bit - mostly from the brilliant sunshine.

33671746275_b0bfa4c161_z.jpg

 

 

Some inmates had invited us to visit, early on, if we were in the area, so we dropped in on them and made some new friends.

32858483483_3f7c037fdd_z.jpg

 

It was still chilly out, so we holed up for a few days and looked things over. Uh -oh...

32858489923_6340e0164a_z.jpg

 

probably time to replace that...

 

 

Our new friends showed us around and Jeremiah, along with his parents, learned a lot about our Civil War.

33363147621_8121c19245_z.jpg

33363148021_58858092cb_z.jpg

 

The battle of Shiloh was fought just a little later in spring - add to the glad I didn't have to list, marching through Tennessee swamp land in early spring.

 

We put off our departure more than once, but it was finally time to go. A beautiful morning, and warmer than expected (30 instead of 25!).

 

32858506743_6262d2aac9_z.jpg

 

We made it almost to the Kentucky border before stopping at a funky diner to warm our toes,

 

32858511943_37ab29fa62_z.jpg

 

and then stopped in on the good folks at Hannigan.

32677529973_fc9ea74906_z.jpg

 

 

The weather looked to be sort of cold and sort of wet in just about every direction. We couldn't decide if we should head south for Nashville or go a bit further north while we were "in the neighborhood" - in the end, we flipped a coin and wound up at this guy's house.

 

32677531033_3cb9358132_z.jpg

 

Bud's a pretty nice guy, but his wife is fantastic - the two of them spoiled the heck out of us -

33412576721_e17083a5f3_z.jpg

 

and as it turns out, they live in Nashville (IL), so our coin toss was kind of pointless.

 

We did a BUNCH of stuff while we were there - here's some of it:

 

33500303406_68a5908c23_z.jpg

 

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That last shot has me a little worried about the future...

 

 

As it always does, time to move on rolled around and we found our way back to Kentucky and some sort of new friends - we'd never met them, but it turned out they were our ADV Secret Santas a couple of years before -

33630923356_ca5ebb001d_z.jpg

 

We had a great evening gettign to know them a little and even got another gift for the road. Yum.

 

33630924886_3336895431_z.jpg

 

They live just outside Hodgenville, so we spent the next day learning more about Lincoln,

 

33476554661_4598733740_z.jpg

 

and just sort of generally running around.

 

 

Mammoth Cave NP just sort of turned up along the way and we took the chance to get underground again.

 

33476562001_4432fdfbc3_z.jpg

 

They have some adorable cabins there and we considered overnighting...but we ended up here instead.

 

33605520165_6dea72c452_z.jpg

 

I think it was one of our better choices. I'll tell you why later ;)

 

 

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Indy Dave

Thanks for the update, I always enjoy reading about the vast range of changing conditions, circumstances, climate, scenery, terrain, the incidental folks you bump into and the welcoming people who offer accommodation and new friendships.

 

The encounters you share are a reminder to look beyond headlines and 'film at 11' promos that repeatedly highlight a different kind of narrative that can erode and distort one's faith in the goodness of humanity.

 

EDIT: How was the KY "Apple Pie"?

 

 

Edited by workin' them angels

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szurszewski
Thanks for the update, I always enjoy reading about the vast range of changing conditions, circumstances, climate, scenery, terrain, the incidental folks you bump into and the welcoming people who offer accommodation and new friendships.

 

The encounters you share are a reminder to look beyond headlines and 'film at 11' promos that repeatedly highlight a different kind of narrative that can erode and distort one's faith in the goodness of humanity.

 

EDIT: How was the KY "Apple Pie"?

 

 

 

You are very welcome - thanks for reading them!

 

That's one of the - many - reasons for this trip: Laura and I want Jeremiah to get the idea that people are people no matter where they are or what their lives may be like, and that by and large they are kind and generous. I worry that we spend too much time worrying about "them" when them is really just us that's somewhere else with a different set of experiences.

 

edit: it is delicious; it's not a homemade 'shine, but rather store bought real Everclear (we can only get the 151 proof in Oregon, I believe) with apple cider and cinnamon and a bunch of other stuff - tastes not at all like alcohol but is quite strong

Edited by szurszewski

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Bud

 

That's one of the - many - reasons for this trip: Laura and I want Jeremiah to get the idea that people are people no matter where they are or what their lives may be like, and that by and large they are kind and generous. I worry that we spend too much time worrying about "them" when them is really just us that's somewhere else with a different set of experiences.

 

 

Now about this remark: "Bud's a pretty nice guy, but his wife is fantastic" :rofl:

 

Nancy and I both admire you for taking the time to show Jeremiah the basic goodness of people. I would love to be able to talk to him in 15 years and listen to his remembrances of this journey.

 

BTW how does his "hack monkey" like riding in the car?

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szurszewski

 

That's one of the - many - reasons for this trip: Laura and I want Jeremiah to get the idea that people are people no matter where they are or what their lives may be like, and that by and large they are kind and generous. I worry that we spend too much time worrying about "them" when them is really just us that's somewhere else with a different set of experiences.

 

 

Now about this remark: "Bud's a pretty nice guy, but his wife is fantastic" :rofl:

 

Nancy and I both admire you for taking the time to show Jeremiah the basic goodness of people. I would love to be able to talk to him in 15 years and listen to his remembrances of this journey.

 

BTW how does his "hack monkey" like riding in the car?

 

Funny story about that. We noticed the monkey was not just socks, but it didn't seem to make noise or anything else like that, and we didn't think much of it. He looks sort of like this:

 

33650604466_52131b9d28_z.jpg

 

The second morning after leaving your place, Jeremiah says, when we stop, did you hear those birds right after we got into the park? They sounded like gulls or something. Nope - we didn't hear them.

 

Next morning, same thing - I heard those birds again; maybe just before or just after we got on the highway.

 

At this point, I'm thinking that he's hearing some sort of noise the bike is making and I'm wondering what is about to break, as it seems he's hearing it the first time we get up to speed.

 

Then, getting ready to leave a motel somewhere, I text Laura from the rig I'm loading, and I ask her to toss down the last of the stuff - which is basically a few stuffed animals and a pillow. She drops the monkey, I catch it...

 

And this :

 

Edited by szurszewski

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Bud

Well, I read that in the waiting room at the oncologists office before my morning treatment.

 

The rest of the people there looked at me when I laughed out loud (and not a quiet way) hearing the monkey making noises! :rofl:

 

Good one Jeremiah! :clap::wave:

 

Looking forward to more monkey adventures.

Edited by Bud

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tallman

Awesome.

A trip for a lifetime of memories.

Hope the weather cooperates and keep us up to date.

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greiffster

Happy B-Day Laura!

 

I understand it might be a big one. ;)

 

Try not to screw it up, Josh. :grin:

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tallman

Happy Birthday!

I'm sure it will be a fantastic, memorable event.

:clap:

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szurszewski

I'll pass those on to Laura - thanks gentlemen :)

 

She's had a good time reading the ones over on ADV as well.

 

I'll probably not get an update on here tonight, but maybe tomorrow - we're in Alabama currently - ate a bunch and went to a movie to celebrate today, and are staying in a better than our usual hotel tonight (though it's got nothing on the view from our campsite overlooking Huntsville that last two nights!) - tomorrow we're going to head over to Barber probably in the late morning and maybe make it down to Auburn for the evening so we can hit the Tuskeegee National Memorial the next day.

 

And then... on to Florida!

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Bud

Look out for the Q Tips in FL. :rofl:

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Marty Hill

Tuskeegee is not to be missed. Those pilots and their crews did an outstanding job. Any B-17 pilot from WW2 would vouch for them! I've visited twice and will go again in the hopes of meeting one of the guys who flew the 51's.

 

Have fun.

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szurszewski

Well, I guess it's time to put an update here ... since it's been a month!

 

Greiffster and Mrs. G were kind enough to put us up in their well-decorated guest quarters (got to love any room with pup portraits on the wall!),

 

33605521405_25c37c02ef_z.jpg

 

feed us and even lend us Carlos to make a run into Nashville without having to worry about raingear (and the dogs enjoyed having a little more headroom in back vs their trailer home).

 

33710570140_b16de8e024_z.jpg

 

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What does one do in Nashville? Well, there's music,

 

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food of course,

 

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uh, music,

 

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and, as it turns out, hockey!

 

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We were duly spoiled and had a great time. I even got to get this picture

 

33710572110_6ac6be9487_z.jpg

 

which reminds me of MANY pictures in our old road trip albums - though she's singing in this one and not eating potato chips.... I guess we're old now or something.

 

Mike and Nicol sent us off with freshly stuck stickers and an escort to the highway. Truly a great visit :)

 

33710572570_4bee2442cc_z.jpg

 

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szurszewski

Since then, we've done a couple of things -

 

Since we were in Tennessee we had to go have a look at where all Jack Daniel's whiskey comes bubbling out of the earth,

 

33252888354_6388c8043c_z.jpg

 

tried to catch a train,

 

33252889774_6a34595308_z.jpg

 

ran into a fellow sidecar traveler (Ural rig with an R100 engine in it) over breakfast pastries,

 

33252890564_d9d5b4365a_z.jpg

 

spent some time out under the stars,

 

32935183363_fff252b97c_z.jpg

 

and put the pups in doggie jail

 

33707553136_7fb8c1dcb6_z.jpg

 

while we checked out some things made to travel to the stars (well, ok - *toward* the stars...) in a place my grandfather used to work.

 

33707556816_b0f16c8b07_z.jpg

 

 

 

 

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szurszewski

While all that was happening, some of us were getting older, so....

 

we celebrated a birthday,

 

33619172451_9b4df9d67e_z.jpg

 

made a trip to the vet,

 

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saw some old bikes (and maybe one of us teared up a little when they said we couldn't go down and see Jacqueline's bike...and maybe that still wasn't enough to persuade them, but at least they didn't call security and toss us out)

 

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and learned a little about some older planes and a lot about the men who flew them and the men and women who supported them.

 

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We brushed up on our ATGATT in Troy, GA,

 

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sawed the cast of the boy's arm (well - had it done professionally, though I volunteered to do it at the campground),

 

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and celebrated the newly naked arm by swimming with some manatee,

 

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which we all enjoyed but maybe not quite so much as Jeremiah.

 

33153542753_0dd0fde46b_z.jpg

 

We took a day to meet with some friends who live in an RV and just celebrated the first birthday of their youngest family member (that kid has FOUR older sisters to watch out for him - can you imagine?!)

33153544773_e01c548c80_z.jpg

 

 

and finally started to see some wear, after about 17,000 miles, on our front tire.

33581730280_ecceffcb44_z.jpg

 

 

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szurszewski

Let's see what else we've seen in the last month.

 

There was Haitian/Jamaican food and Laura driving in the Everglades,

 

33836495081_239ea435e3_z.jpg

33808943592_9eda64d9bf_z.jpg

 

wandering around Key West we spotted a local restaurant we ate in on our honeymoon,

 

33808948892_cca99f3af9_z.jpg

 

Laura got a very nice birthday present from my stepmom and dad (and was nice enough to take us along)

 

33808953132_81e70b3416_z.jpg

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33966824165_128e5064bd_z.jpg

 

We ate a bunch of Cuban food

33808993532_591f5061d9_z.jpg

 

hung out with the locals at the swimming hole,

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picked up some badges and patches and what not,

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Lost, again, and then found, again one of the pups

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A bit north of the Dry Tortugas we got to visit a bunch of wet tortugas

33708402540_2a3aced094_z.jpg

 

and spotted a sailing vessel that was a good ways away from home.

 

33708403860_02152a5ecf_z.jpg

 

We (probably over-)imposed on some gracious ADVers in Orlando and did a little work on the rig,

 

33708406760_a6b6810ea2_z.jpg

 

chatted up our new friends,

 

34052430646_f0863d12a3_z.jpg

 

ate a *few* pastries,

 

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finished up the record book for the first six months,

 

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chatted some more,

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did a little riding,

 

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a little walking,

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and celebrated another birthday.

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After Orlando we ran into this guy,

 

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who introduced us to a couple of his good friends - this one,

 

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and the one who brought this beauty back to life -

 

34128531386_ce91e6bdfe_z.jpg

 

along with a few others.

 

34128534006_d7f980a732_z.jpg

 

And that was the end of Florida.

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Chris K

Wow, it has been a great adventure so far! I look forward to meeting you all this weekend in Maggie Valley.

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Indy Dave
Wow, it has been a great adventure so far! I look forward to meeting you all this weekend in Maggie Valley.

 

In the immortal words of Taggart in Blazing Saddles:

 

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greiffster

Holy smokes, you guys have been on the move since leaving Clarksville. Can't wait to catch up in Maggie Valley!!

 

MAuEfVL-M1Byve1L53LEjVsHaUMjMMSheOFgt_Mall_Q-lWZCj7ArpgviLeVGjYrBuMxdLslLo0ilw=w600?=.jpg

 

S9GtZFNeIu8DxBIBhyGB5dhSF3XGDxkVZN_GFOUW6rcDAtf3NTqs7UcAIBtZRb_Acn4zwo1GYABkBg=w400?=.jpg

 

 

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szurszewski
Holy smokes, you guys have been on the move since leaving Clarksville. Can't wait to catch up in Maggie Valley!!

 

MAuEfVL-M1Byve1L53LEjVsHaUMjMMSheOFgt_Mall_Q-lWZCj7ArpgviLeVGjYrBuMxdLslLo0ilw=w600?=.jpg

 

S9GtZFNeIu8DxBIBhyGB5dhSF3XGDxkVZN_GFOUW6rcDAtf3NTqs7UcAIBtZRb_Acn4zwo1GYABkBg=w400?=.jpg

 

 

Thanks for posting those - that's one fuzzy looking guy there...

 

We've done a bit since then - one more post should get us caught up, and it won't be as long as the previous two. We're in Charlotte - or just outside it really - today, going to do an oil change tonight and maybe a tire swap if I can find something I like in town - and then try to get to Maggie somewhat early in the day tomorrow.

 

Looking forward to seeing/meeting everyone :)

 

josh

 

 

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szurszewski

We drove a lot of coastal roads moving up through Georgia and South Carolina but really only made a few stops.

 

Had to stop in Savannah and it really is beautiful.

 

34011717442_82d0f5016f_z.jpg

 

In fact, Laura even found a quaint little space that she might be able to shoehorn a bakery into (as soon as we win the lottery - and a BIG one at that!).

 

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If the winnings are big enough, maybe we can get a package deal with this house we found for sale.

 

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While we waited for them to draw the numbers we headed north, found another fort,

 

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some more beautiful trees (do folks down here get tired of Spanish moss and oak trees? I can't imagine...),

 

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and we finally found some cold and some damp. The rig takes on a little water standing still in heavy rain, so I tried tarping it with our tent's ground cloth and it worked really well.

 

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Which was good because we woke up to some heavy rains in Jacksonville, NC. So heavy in fact that we called it a day before even setting out and only made it as far away from our room as this fine dining establishment,

 

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before turning tail back to our room.

 

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The skies cleared up enough yesterday to make it to the Charlotte area where we tucked in for the night - going to do a little sightseeing, some chores and maybe a bit of maintenance today; heading to START tomorrow morning :) :) :)

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tallman

Awesome.

It was terrific to meet, finally, after following the

Journey vicariously.

There's a book waiting to be written about this adventure.

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szurszewski

Awesome.

It was terrific to meet, finally, after following the

Journey vicariously.

There's a book waiting to be written about this adventure.

 

Great to meet you as well; we've assigned authorship to Jeremiah - we'll post it up here as soon as it's done!

 

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szurszewski

For the first time, I *think*, since setting out, we found a place to stay through ADV's Tent Space thread (we'd looked before and never been flat turned down - schedules just hadn't quite lined up on one end or the other), and that made Charlotte something of an adventure in itself. In a way it was reminiscent of the first time we'd used CouchSurfing, except then we were following hand written directions to a house in a foreign country with people we know almost nothing about - at least now we had GPS navigation and I'd thread-stalked our very gracious hosts :)

 

33527852754_bc6b4d3a57_z.jpg

 

As it happened, we were very lucky to find such gracious hosts and got along quite well. In addition to a couple of great dinners and lively conversation, we took some time to tour a few bakeries and just wander downtown Charlotte (a place I'd really never thought much about, and I have to confess until very recently {like, a week ago} I'd thought it was on the coast!)...and to do a little maintenance on the bike. Front and rear tires are about done, so we'll have some meet us in the (on the?) Outer Banks.

 

33985388420_f2d0a0f0ce_z.jpg

 

I also changed the engine and final drive oils (not with each other, I mean...sheesh), figured out I did indeed have the correct pads for the sidecar brake and replaced those. Also figured out that when I'd checked the pads in Orlando I'd forgot to put the circlip back on the guide pin, and very fortunately figured out the trunk latch pin uses the same size circlip (though, since it made it from Miami without one, the guide pin probably didn't really *need* one anyway...), and I think I only broke one thing. This thing.

 

33985393760_345787836e_z.jpg

 

There's a little guessing game on ADV to see what it is - no one's close yet, but I want to let them go awhile so I shant post the answer here. You all are my favorites though, so I'll at least give you a hint that it's a bike part and not a sidecar part. Oh - second hint: that bolt is NOT a BMW bolt as I had to go to a shorter length when we did a little modification back in AZ... And the other hint that ADV got is that I'm not going to fix it, and I think we'll be just fine.

 

The morning we left Matthews, just south of Charlotte, and headed for START, the weather (in the garage anyway - no, seriously - it was gorgeous outside as well) looked like this

 

33985396500_b25066b456_z.jpg

 

By the time we'd ridden up to Blowing Rock, had a quick lunch and jumped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, it looked like this -

 

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and then it got harder to see, so no more pictures until Maggie Valley, and by then it looked like this again.

 

33559210893_499a66450a_z.jpg

 

Since they wouldn't let even our adorable pups stay at Creekside with the rest of the bunch, we ended up in a cabin at one of the RV parks. I think it actually worked out pretty well - we missed out on being right in the center of things with everyone else, but the pups had their own porch

 

33985495900_85e1e1ebb7_z.jpg

 

and Jeremiah had his own loft from which to take pictures,

 

33559215523_61b03d86e9_z.jpg

 

and we weren't but ten or fifteen walking minutes away.

 

As you may know, we were in Maggie Valley for START - our first time attending one of them, and only our third BMWST event (Un in 2016 and ... 14? ...something like that - the last one to be in Moscow, ID). I put some pics up in that thread here:

 

http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=986225#Post986214

 

so you can check those out if you didn't see them already.

 

Apart from those, we also spotted a little bit of property for sale in town

 

34211587192_4850959315_z.jpg

 

Jeremiah and I checked out the old iron and marked the map at Wheels Through Time

 

34369994095_8f7612684d_z.jpg

 

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We got to the really exciting bits of The Prisoner of Azkaban

 

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and then it was already time to go!

 

33985502200_4b97c71438_z.jpg

 

We rode the parkway from Waynesville toward Asheville (y'all really like your villes around here, don't you?) and beyond, enjoying weather from the 80s to the 50s and back again, and drawing a crowd at almost every stop.

 

33985508390_03a0af8737_z.jpg

 

Tomorrow we're going to try to make it to the coast and maybe the following moring catch a ferry out to the lower end of the Outer Banks.

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tallman

Safe travels, and keep the smiles flowing.

:wave:

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szurszewski

Greetings from Laura's homeland! (That's, uh, let me check Maps on my phone...Virginia!)

 

After a great time at START we bee-lined back to the coast and hopped an early (1030am is early, right?) ferry to the bottom of the Outer Banks.

34564880335_2ee8b21a6a_z.jpg

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We met a few new friends on board,

33722113424_212c976db4_z.jpg

 

and soon reached Hatteras Island -

34434680421_e9e1b3dc0d_z.jpg

 

we couldn't resist climbing the lighthouse (twice, in fact).

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Once again we had an offer, this time through ADV, to stay with some very generous folks we'd never even communicated with online let alone met in person, so we cruised up the islands to meet them on Roanoke. We managed to have an excellent time in and around Manteo - we picked up a couple of badges,

33754660743_d2c356ce68_z.jpg

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and slapped some new rubber on the front and loaded a spare rear tire into the trailer - to be used later.

34403152662_2f9bbdffbe_z.jpg

 

We learned about the birth of human controlled, powered flight,

34179216890_b8a2664391_z.jpg

 

climbed the dunes and enjoyed the wind that brought the Wright Brothers here in the first place,

34523885836_9e613f97f6_z.jpg

 

and even got to put some theory and history to practical use!

34564863215_a13a4d0dee_z.jpg

 

(Jeremiah opted for level flight, Laura tried a single roll, but I had a little more fun - check the vid for a taste of my ride!

)

 

 

Life may be a beach, but I guess you can't spend EVERY day there, so in time we turned inland for different waters - like Dismal Swamp.

33722128734_12c5ed2ea1_z.jpg

 

Not all that dismal, I thought, but LOTS of bugs...

 

Another ADV invite brought us to Martinsville where we got to meet a sidecar pilot named Bill who happens to hang out with another sidecar piloting Bill who hangs out around here sometimes (here being bmwst, in case that wasn't clear). Bill was busy that day so we only got to ride with one Bill, but we had a good time seeing the hills and valleys of western Virginia, and only one of us lost a phone (and Bill found it for me...erm... I mean, whoever it was that lost it...later that day with only about an hour of back-tracking).

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We also got to relax a little,

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and watch a little Overhaulin'

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before it was time to move on.

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Laura had big plans of seeing two National Park sites today as well as Monticello, but we gabbed so long this morning it only left time for one - Booker T. Washington Memorial. We got to Appomattox around dinner time, planning to find a room and see the Memorial in the morning, but we found that we couldn't find any dog friendly lodging. Camping and leaving the dogs in the trailer for the night were both our as thunderstorms were brewing, so we back tracked about half an hour to Lynchburg and got tucked into the only dog friendly room we could find just before this started.

 

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Even with rain jackets on we got soaked walking across the street for dinner (you can see our hotel in the upper background), but it was worth it - mmm milkshakes!

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Tomorrow we might hit the sites we missed today, or we might just high tail to the coast where we're going to spend the weekend with one of Laura's college friends and her family - we'll have to see how much water is coming down before we decide....

 

After that we're finally headed up toward DC!

 

 

 

 

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greiffster

Nice update! So, how's the bakery find coming along the east coast?

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szurszewski

Well, there's a place in Maine I like that seems unlikely to be profitable, that tiny motel in Maggie Valley with attached restaurant that looks like fun, and a few buildings for sale here and there. Nothing "just right" so far though.

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tallman

Nice, nice, very nice.

 

Hopeful that the "right" place is found.

Best wishes.

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szurszewski

Looks like it's monthly update time! We are currently on Long Island in NY - we arrived here from Philly quite some time ago intending to stay maybe a week and visit a few friends...but it hasn't worked out quite like that.

 

After our time in the western part of Virginia, we headed east to visit some friends in the Norfolk area. Our friends, being always on the move, weren't home when we arrived, but their vicious guard dog allowed us far in as the living room - but only on the stipulation that we join him on the couch and help him watch his favorite YouTube channels.

 

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Our friends have three kids, the youngest being just about Jeremiah's age, and we took advantage of any time they had away from school to get some kid time in for Jeremiah.

 

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The boys and I got up early to make some Mother's Day breakfast,

 

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and cards.

 

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We spent some time in the wild enjoying the local fauna,

 

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and the local cuisine (turns out we like snoballs - kind of like snowcones but with an exceptional amount of syrup).

 

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EVERYONE got to go for a ride on/in the rig,

 

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but only Laura got a makeover.

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When it was time to roll on we set out to cross Chesapeake Bay via the very cool bridge-tunnel. Thanks to a tip from our Virginian friends, we stopped at the rest area/restaurant on the first tunnel entrance island. It's a cool spot that is about to fall in wake of progress as enlarging the tunnel system is taking priority over the space for the restaurant, and it will be permanently closed this year.

 

 

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Here's a pic of the place, stolen from the 'net - the fishing pier will reopen at some point in the future.

 

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Heading up the coast Jeremiah picked up a few more badges,

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and Laura picked up another parasite.

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We'd been planning to spend some time in D.C. but the timing didn't work out for a few reasons, and we put that off. Instead we found ourselves in Philadelphia

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near its Italian Market area. We all really enjoyed Philly, and particularly that part of town, and Laura even tried to take over a tiny bakery - here she is shortly before being kicked out of the back of the house.

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Laura had an old college friend whose basement we were happily welcomed to camp out in,

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and whose dog we provided some amusement to.34825130822_5598ca8a9f_z.jpg

 

 

Of course you can't got to Philadelphia and not see some history. Political:

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Aesthetic:

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(in case you can't tell, that's the park ranger who created the Jr. Ranger curriculum for hte Poe memorial, as well as some other parks)

 

We also happened upon this place in the north-of-philly neighborhood where our friends live.

 

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They mostly do cream cakes and other holiday goodies, and all the ladies working behind the counter (there were four of them and we were the only customers that morning) were strictly counter help, but while we were sitting outside enjoying our morning treats one of the bakers came out. While we were talking about bikes and bread, his brother and father also came out - so we got to talk to two of the four generations that have built that business. Very cool way to spend the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

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szurszewski

Laura went to college on Long Island, so while it's not high on the list of places we'd want to have a bakery, we had to have it on the route to visit friends and see some sights. We arrived in the evening of the Friday of Memorial Day weekend,

 

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and we spent Saturday and Sunday hanging out on the island with some friends and their family. Jeremiah got to shoot a real gun (even if it is really pink) for the first time,

 

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and I got to drive something a little out of the ordinary.

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Ok, yeah - that's not me in the driver's seat, but I promise I got to take it around the block. I didn't manage any selfies as I was too busy remembering how to shift and steer at the same time without power steering - don't worry, I didn't hit anything (but I think I did make one mailbox jump back a little bit in fright).

 

Our friend's dog, Jet, wasn't too interested in the sidecar, but she did really like the trailer.

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Our friends both had to work on Memorial day (they are both union carpenters - primarily working on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show - not a bad gig if you think about it), and we took the opportunity to commute into the city to hang out while they slaved away.

 

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We tried a few small bakeshops, walked Times Square (they work at 30 Rock, so it was just a few blocks over - Jeremiah thought it was great), walked all the way down to Central Park, took the subway to Battery Park hoping to get out to the Statue of Liberty only to find out tickets are now booked months in advance even to just go into the pedestal let alone up into the statue, stopped at some smaller national park sites, had a great ramen lunch, and eventually found our way back to where we started (only getting on the subway going the wrong way one time - and I'm not going to say whose fault that was because I don't want Laura to get mad at me).

 

A great day in the city, but maybe not so great for our immune systems because a couple of days later we all looked, and felt, like this:

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Our friends had to fly down to Florida for a family thing and we spent four days in their place with the windows closed watching Netflix (need to know anything about any episode in the first five seasons of Undercover Boss? Just ask!).

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What I guess I didn't mention earlier was that something was "up" with the bike between Philly and Long Island, and it became really apparent crossing the Verrazano Narrows. After a couple of times pulling over to "check and adjust" it seemed likely it was a familiar feeling after all. So while we were getting rested up from our illness, this was going on with our "spare" FD back in Oregon:

 

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After a rather fruitless trip the local Dr. ("You seem to be sick - probably a virus - should go away eventually. Should you be worried about getting your friends' small child sick? Well, I guess we're all somewhat contagious..." - thanks for your help...) we decided to move on to avoid getting our frineds 18 month old son sick upon their return, and so are now lodged with another friend who happens to be a Dr. (should have just gone to see her in the first place) and also has a separate apartment in her attic - so we can just breathe sickness on each other.

 

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Jayme is a DO, so in addition to immediately putting us on pretty serious antibiotics ("As soon as I heard you coughing at the door, I knew I you needed them."), she gave us a each a manipulative treatment to get the fluids in our bodies flowing properly. Both seem to be helping :)

 

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Hooch didn't get a treatment that day, but he looks happy none the less.

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Having arrived on Friday, by Monday I was feeling well enough to sort out the garage a bit and wade into the maintenance and repairs for which we were due.

 

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stripped:

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In addition to oils, filters (including air and fuel) and getting ready to pull and replace the final drive, I also replaced this little relay

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in hopes that our brake lights will now go off, and stay off, EVERY time you release the lever/pedal, and I replaced the two primary throttle cables as they were getting a bit "sticky".

 

This little pile of take-offs represents about $400 worth of BMW bits (though thanks to Beemer Boneyard we spend a bit less than that). Yikes.

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The final drive should be here by the end of the day today (UPS's end of the day - so I'm guessing late), and by then I should have all the rest of the bike back together. I've already got the back end jacked up, and I've put my hands on a torch, so hopefully by lunch tomorrow we should be road ready again.

 

Oh hey - I don't think I ever answerd the quiz question from back up a bit. As you may recall, I asked you to guess what this was:

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Well, here's where it goes:

 

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In case that's not clear, it's one of the four center/sidestand mounting lugs. I think some moisture got in and corroded the top to the point where the bolt pulled the top threads down until it was too much force and split. Currently it only holds our impromptu skidplate on, so no worries, but we'll probably want to fix that if we ever put the stands back on.

 

 

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tallman

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

 

Just keeps getting better and better, even with the ilnness (will pass) ;)

and the repairs

:eek:

looking back

all will seem minor and the memories will grow,

and grow.

 

Good luck when New England beckons, perhaps a bakery awaits...

:Cool:

:wave:

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