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June 30, 2007
Escalon, CA to Grants Pass, OR
This was a beautiful ride up the center of California and into Oregon. For those of you who know it, it's hot and mostly flat until you get north of Redding. Upon our arrival in Grant Pass, my grandparents gave us the royal tour. We checked out downtown and had a picnic dinner on the banks of the Rogue River.
Grants Pass, OR to Port Orchard, WA
Oregon and Washington were beautiful! Tall, tall green trees and roads that seemed to snake onward endlessly. Port Orchard, our destination, is a small town nestled on the banks of Puget Sound. What a beautiful community. We stayed the night with my sister and her family. We were astonished to learn the sun did not set until after 10pm. Bedding down with the sun still up at 9:30 or so struck us as a bit odd...
Port Orchard, WA to Post Falls, ID
After bidding farewell to family, we set the GPS heading toward the Seattle Space Needle. We were shocked when our GPS equipped Gold Wing lead us to the shore of the sound and said something along the lines of "Pay Toll and wait for Ferry!" Well, we did as it suggested and boarded the Ferry for a short jaunt across the sound. The sky was clear and we had a great view of Mt. Ranier. Shortly thereafter we found ourselves at the top of the Seattle Space Needle looking at the world from a bird's-eye perspective. After lunch at a neat diner called the Revolution, we hit the road and headed towards our destination. This was the first day we needed to don our cooling vests! Once we left the green and headed into the high desert the heat increased. We rolled into Post Falls in the evening and had a great time grilling with my best buddy since the age of four. We grilled, drank, and reminisced about the good ol' days.
Wing Ding: Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) rally
Post Falls, ID to Billings, MT
This day began early as we had lots of ground to cover. We rolled quickly trough several mountain ranges and over much desert before reaching Billings. We do not remember much, other than the road ... Our arrival into town was just late enough to be fashionably late, but too late to get us into a restaurant and too late to make the GWRRA VIP dinner (we're a corporate sponsor of Wing Ding). It seems most eateries closed the doors at about 5pm, so we found ourselves at the All American 24 hour place to eat --> Denny's. Back at the hotel, we were graced with microfiber cloths and a bottle of water. Even cooler was the roped off parking stalls labeled "Bike Wash" which was busy the whole week!
Side trip for fireworks
6,000+ Goldwing motorcycles and trikes in the same parking lot was quite an impressive sight! The "individual passion" and personality found when looking at all of the rides was amazing. We came across several theme bikes with murals such as the "Navy" and "NASA". We spent the day visiting all of the Goldwing vendors and spent some time handing out our Goldwing Country Rally T-Shirts. Another Cruiser Customizing employee, Kenny, purchased an Ultimate seat, and Nancy (my girlfriend) and I purchased and AutoLinx trailer-less cargo solution. In the evening, we headed to Laurel, MO for the "biggest and best firework display in the State of Montana." I must say that this was a spectacular sight, and possibly the biggest show I have ever witnessed. Worth the visit, for sure.
Nancy and I hung out at the convention center until it was time to gather the 6,000+ wings together to participate in the GWRRA Grand Parade. The parade snaked through town and ended downtown at the Billings Welcome Party "Alive After Five." There we enjoyed live music, food, and a festival type atmosphere. Good times. Later in the evening we relaxed in / by the pool with other GWRRA members. They are among the greatest motorcycle ride buddies in the world.
We started out the morning handing out Goldwing Country T-shirts to our fellow wingers. We then ventured outside to view the Top Gun Competition and the on bike games. Later that evening we attended an AMAZING Lone Star concert. Got to love "small town" concerts with great entertainers.
Billings, MT to Dubois, WY
On the road again ... going places we have never been... What a day this was! We left Billings and headed up and over Bears Tooth pass and into Yellowstone National Park. We have been over many a pass, but none as spectacular as Bear Tooth which is the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone. Shortly after entering the park, we were greeted by a herd of bison coming down from the mountains. They blocked the road, so we just sat and observed. We saw them scuffle, itch in the dirt, feed, nurse, and perform all sorts of bodily functions. Amazing. Once free, we viewed the sights of the park. Yellowstone blessed us with rain and hail as we walked the boardwalk at the mud pits. As we pulled into the parking lot of Old Faithful, we saw hoards of people running through the parking lot ... and we saw steam rising from behind the trees. Once off the bike, we realized it would be another 90 minutes or so until Old Faithful would again erupt. This gave us time to catch dinner and to tour the visitor center. Old Faithful was a sight to see. After the eruption, we headed south into the Grand Tetons National Park. We hit the Tetons just about sunset and it was gorgeous. As the sunset ended, we once again mounted the bike in search of a place to bed down for the evening. It was during this last leg of the day we encountered the WORST road of the entire trip. Well ... that is if you consider DIRT a "road" while on the interstate. There were two VERY LONG sections of "road" we passed over before we found a small quaint lodge just outside of the badlands in which we bedded down for the night.
Dubois, WY to Fremont, IA
This was by far the LONGEST day of our trip and Nebraska was the reason. Boy what a wide state! We were on the road by 7:30am and rode and rode and rode across Nebraska ... until we were out of Nebraska. We encountered rain most of the day. As soon as we crossed Iowa boarder, we settled in Fremont, IA about 1:45am and soaking wet!
Fremont, IA to Chicago, IL
We rose early and continued to ride through the rain. Luckily, after just two hours of rain, we were free and clear the remainder of the day, or at least until we reached Chicago. We rode to Chicago to see Scott, one of Nancy's childhood friends. We ate at his restaurant and filled the remainder of the day playing Wii and catching up on the past.
Chicago, IL to Cincinnati, OH
We rode all day to get to Cincinnati, Oh so I could spend the evening with my college buddies. What a great time! We met at a stake joint in Kentucky where my buddies, wives, and girlfriends gathered for an evening of reminiscing, laughing, and fun. Wow. Time passed so quickly and before we knew it, we were closing the place down (job requirement of all CC employees).
Cincinnati, OH to Alliance, OH
Less than 400 miles, this was a short day. We spent it visiting Nancy's family and friends. We left Cincinnati and headed to Columbus to visit Nancy's auntie Nia and her family. We then headed north to Alliance where we visited Nancy's Father, her childhood friends, and her grandmother Felipa. We bedded down late at her fathers house.
Alliance, OH to Greenville, VA
We did not hit the road till late as we were still visiting with family. Once on the road, we traveled through Ohio, West Virginia, and bedded down in Virginia. We were astounded at the never ending GREEN hills and valleys we rode through. Not seeing dirt ... that was amazing for one who was born and raised on the west coast!
Greenville, VA to Deals Gap, NC
This was an awesome day. We rolled through the Smoky Mountain Parkway, visited "The Ghost Town In The Sky" and ended up at Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort. We made camp at about 10:45 pm we rode the infamous Tail of the Dragon cautiously before hanging out at the campfire with a group of motorcycle enthusiasts. It was a good time.
Deals Gap, NC to King City, MO
6am we rose and hit the road with an unloaded Wing ready and willing to tame the dragon. We left the resort and flew over some of the coolest roads I have ever ridden. 318 corners / turns in just 11 miles! We finished the first half of the trip in just over 15 minutes. I told Nancy the ride back was to be slow and leisurely ... well ... that did not happen! On the trip back, a photographer (ZeeFoto) caught Nancy and I on film making sparks in one of the killer corners on the Tail of the Dragon. Thanks! Once back at camp, we ate breakfast, hung a Goldwing Country shirt on the ceiling of the lodge, broke camp, and headed out about 11am. On our fully loaded trip out we were driving cautiously and were amazed to see Highway Patrol everywhere! In the turn-out of many of the corners we saw troopers giving tickets to many fellow bikers. Needing to be in SD on the 15th, we hit the road hard.
Gold Rush XX: Goldwing Touring Association rally
King City, MO to Sioux Falls, SD
What a day. We were up early and stayed on the road so as to make it to Sioux Falls in time to set up the Goldwing Country Booth and to participate in the Gold Wing Touring Association (GWTA) dinner. We missed out on dinner, but we were able to get the booth set up and ready for business the next morning.
We handed out T-shirts to the GWTA. When the vendor booths closed, we had dinner with Northern California's Chapter P Director Harry Davis and his wife Karen. Following dinner, we headed to the convention center dance hall for an 80's theme dance and gambling night. What a hoot!
We handed out T-shirts to the GWTA again. Upon completion of the vendor events, we headed to the Bird Cage ballpark to watch the all star game of the Sioux Falls, Canaries. All of the players were brought onto the field on the back of a TRIKE driven by a member of the Bow Wow Girls. That must have been a once in a lifetime sight! Following the game was another great fireworks display. Once the fireworks were over we headed to the parking lot to see the parade of lights which was canceled due to an approaching storm.
Three State Ride SD-->MN-->IA
We were invited to join a three state ride by our Chapter P, Northern California friends, and we accepted (can you ever ride enough?). We got up and rode from SD to MN to IA and then back to SD. In the afternoon / evening we headed downtown to Hot Summer Nights where all sorts of muscle cars, Harley's, etc were on display. We watched the GWTA Drill Team perform and partook in the festivities. We then headed to the Sioux Falls park where we learned the history of the city by watching a laser and light show. What a neat event! Immediately following the light and laser show, the dressed up Gold Wings had a light show of their own!
Sioux Falls, SD to Chugwater, WY
This was one of our most adventure-packed days of the trip. Our first stop was the Pioneer Auto Show and Antique Town. This "town" was comprised of 38 buildings of which 19 were big barns which housed antique cars, muscle cars, motorcycles, jeeps, tractors, trucks, and much, much more! This place was awesome! We then headed to the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse. Our goal was to make Colorado ... but we ended up stopping north of Cheyenne.
Chugwater, WY to
Our first stop was Pikes Peak, which was closed when we arrived due to a "race." That was a bummer. After leaving Pikes Peak we dogged rain storms all afternoon until we were caught in a torrential hail storm. We waited out the storm in a small gas station diner until making our way to Durango where we set up out tent in the pouring rain. Fun Fun!
Durango, CO to Grand Canyon, AZ
Within three hours of our start we found ourselves at Four Corners National Monument. After partaking in the Indian sweet bread, we mounted the Wing and headed toward the Grand Canyon. We arrived to the Grand Canyon in plenty of time to get dinner before the sunset which was extraordinarily beautiful. As the sun was setting, we witnessed a Condor soaring in the canyon - what a massive bird and what an elegant glider. After the sun went down we attended a fireside at an outdoor amphitheater where we learned the history of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon, AZ to Mayer, AZ
4:30am we rose and headed to the look-out in hopes of seeing a breathtaking sunrise. Not to be disappointed, it was awesome! The west side of the canyon was experiencing a rain and thunder storm, while the eastern side was dry and beautiful as the sun rose over the horizon and into the sky. After breakfast and a short nap, we headed to the stables for our two hour horseback ride (can you ever ride too much?). The first 45 minutes were dry but the majority of the ride was wet wet wet. But as Nancy pointed out, this made for more of an adventure. Once back at camp, our Wing was sitting at almost 45 degree angle as the side stand had sunk the kickstand disk several inches into the mud. The ride out of camp on the muddy road was a good time. We rode in the rain until we were warned by a trucker that monsoons had roads closed ahead. This being the case, we bedded down in Mayer, AZ for the evening.
Mayer, AZ to Buckeye, AZ
A hundred miles ... is that it? Yes, one hundred miles put us at my brother Scott's house where we stayed the night. We watched our trip photos over his Big Screen TV - killer. Our 1400 photos on a 5 second slide show sure took a long time! Scott is also a CruiserCustomizing member (pektusb).
Buckeye, AZ to Big Pine, CA
We headed north over the Hoover damn and swam in Lake Mead until the approaching monsoon drove us out of the water and chased us to Las Vegas. After passing through Vegas we rode through Death Valley and ended up in Big Pine, CA.
Big Pine, CA to Escalon, CA
Our last day of travel was an eventful one. We headed north through Mammoth Lakes, stopping at Mono lake. We then headed up and over Tioga Pass into Yosemite National park. We reached HOME about 4:30pm but did not stay long! Just 30 minutes later we jumped back onto the bike and headed to Livermore California, the home of Cruiser Customizing for the Cruiser Customizing 6 year anniversary party. Livermore was the 10033 mile mark.
Kyle (manybikes) (wingplus4)