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USA

I have been asked by a few people to post some highlights of our trip across USA – so here it is.

This was a great way to finish our journey, we thoroughly enjoyed it.  We have travelled through the States on several occasions, this time we avoided the big cities as much as possible – this was just about the ride.

 

After picking up our bikes in Montreal, we headed for the Atlantic Ocean coast for “the” photo of us and the Atlantic Ocean and of course for clam chowder.

With Hurricane Maria in the vicinity, we were warned about strong winds and heavy rains that night so we took off west – picked up the scenic Mohawk Trail which is a popular ride for bikers with its sweeping corners and expansive views.

This year the colours of autumn were running a little late on this side of the States, but we still enjoyed what we saw.  The effects of the hurricane meant that warm air was being dragged up from Florida area, so we had great weather – in fact it was the best all summer apparently.  Sweeping bends, rolling hills, forest, sun on our backs – perfect.

Halloween is coming soon – houses are decorated with webs and creepy things, as are shop windows, very gruesome, can’t say I like any of it. There are also lots of pumpkins for sale, a change from watermelons.

We rode to Buffalo to catch up with Charlie’s relations – Shirley (86) and Don (89) – its always good to spend time with them.

From there it was down through Amish country to Columbus Ohio where we caught up with some pastor friends of ours and enjoyed a Saturday night service in their church.

We then dropped down to Rt50 which was our chosen route to cross this nation.

You can’t get away from the miles of flat land through the middle of this country, but that means it’s big sky country.

When we stop our number plates and accents give us away, so we soon have people starting up conversations to find out where we are from and are very impressed to learn of our journey.  One diner gave us a free t-shirt each just because they were so delighted that we had chosen to eat at their place on our travels.  At another place one guy came out to quiz us while the rest of the shop staff stood inside the shop window just watching and waiting for him to come back with the info – so funny 🙂

The Mississippi

Its always good to eventually get back to the mountains.  The weather is definitely changing, we woke up in Pueblo to 8 deg, drizzle, and visibility of maybe 400m, also it had snowed down to 11,000ft in Denver just north of us and we had to go over a pass of that height, so we considered our options – stay a day (weather was worse tomorrow), head south (motorway all the way), or keep with the plan, so we layered up and decided to take our chances with the latter.  So glad we did, this was a fabulous ride to Montrose, very scenic with a long gorge, autumn colours of bright yellow, alongside a lake, and over two mountain passes.

They had snow here a few days ago 5.5″ which was earlier than they usually get it, most of it had gone but it still looked very pretty.  They were expecting more snow that day and the sky was so heavy and very black!  When we took this photo at the pass there were a few snow flurries so we took off quickly.

We got caught in this rainstorm big time!  The sky was so black we put our wet weather gear on over our waterproof riding gear and just as well we did.  Very heavy rain and and also fork lightening flashing all around us and booming thunder!!  It was pretty crazy/exciting.  The storm was coming towards us and there was nowhere to shelter, not even a bridge so we just had to keep going.  We have the right gear so stayed warm and dry.

Utah never disappoints with its wild country.

In Levy we woke up to -6 and had to ride down to the local mechanics.  Would you believe that with only 4-5 days riding left, my bike developed a rattle which was quite noisy by the end of the day.  The guy thought I could make it to LA if we went direct where it was flatter and so not put too much stress on the motor – also we  would be able to get assistance if we needed it as there was more traffic and towns.  So we ditched our  planned Rt50 over the mountains and along  “the loneliest road in America” for another time.  It was a no-brainer really as I wanted to finish the ride on my bike and not with it on the back of a truck – which we did, yay!!

Here we are on the Pacific Coast.

The end of the road

We had some hiccups with the Customs paperwork.  When we entered from Canada we asked the Customs Officer if we needed to do any paperwork for our bikes, he said no because we were just passing through and shipping out of LA.  However when we got to the Customs in LA they said we needed a stamp because there was nothing to say that our bikes were in the country (they were parked outside by the pavement and we could prove we brought them into the country by other means but it had to be “the stamp”).  His suggestion was that we track down the Customs Officer and send him the carnet so that he could search through the footage for that day, stamp the papers, and send them back – really???  So…next day we tried another guy through our shipping agent.  His comment was that we had to go back to Canada.  So…we tried someone else.  They sent us over to another Customs Office.  We get there and the guy said that he only deals with flying not shipping, that we shouldn’t have been sent there.  However, when he heard our story he said that it was ridiculous.  We were exempt.  So he got on the phone and sorted it all out for us and then sincerely apologised for all that we had been put through – 98km of running around.  He was such a nice guy, and we were very grateful to him for his help.

So a few days for shopping, catching up with more distant relations, and generally chilling – also allowing time to ensure that all was accepted by the first Customs Office for the bikes.  With that sorted, it was time to head home.

We were delighted to finally meet our grandson, Anker, who was born while we were away, and have since welcomed another grandson, William, since we have been home.

We have so many wonderful memories of our incredible journey, so many experiences.  It was fun, we loved it though at times it had its challenges.  It feels good to have completed such a journey on my own bike too.  If you are thinking about it, my advice to you is just set a date.  Many people say the hardest part is just making the decision happen and actually set off – the rest just follows.

So many people have asked “where to next” but for now we have no plans – we will just have to wait and see.

Russels

1 Comment

  • Tina

    Thank you so much for completing this chapter. I enjoy your ride.
    Where to next? If it’s Mangawhai or somewhere North, please let us know. We’d love to catch up. 🙂

    November 20, 2017 at 10:54 pm
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