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Author Topic: Gonzos True "X" Blog
gonzo
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Posts: 142
Post Gonzos True "X" Blog
on: June 3, 2013, 22:16

Day 1: Satan’s Furnace Opened
June 3, 2013

Sufferin’ simmerin’ desert mirages!
What an experience today!

I made it to San Ysidro and took the requisite photo proof of visit for SC-MA.com and then tanked up to get a receipt to verify location, date and time. The plan was to then head to Gallup via I-8 to Gila Bend, around Phoenix, and through Flagstaff.

Well, that changed as I needed to make some packing modifications to one of my duffel bags and also to recover my desert riding shirt. This was an extra 90 miles doing the backtrack plus the route would now be on I-10. But in a way this was a good thing in view of what I experienced.

Going through Palm Desert the temperature skied to the 100’s in a heartbeat. This was a huge swing from the 50’s and moisture I experienced riding up the coast. The full leathers were on and by the time I reached the end of the desert communities, just prior to beginning the climb over the mountain, I pulled into a TA station and removed the chaps and leather jacket. Wow! Big difference after that, BUT, it was still very hot. Although I drank water during the TA stop, I made the mistake of not stopping and drinking more until crossing the AZ border. From the border stop it was back on I-10 to Quartsite to tank up. But I didn’t do that, I passed quartzite without checking my mileage, gas levels and available range. 10 miles later, realizing what I had done, I turned back to Quartsite and visited the Chevron station where I drank lots of water and poured water over my shirts to assist cooling my body. I suspected I was on my way to a heat stroke so I stayed put in the airconditioned building and waited ‘til I felt better.

When I left Quartsite I made it about 50 miles when I had to stop and drink more water as well as pour water on my shirts. The heat was overwhelming, sucking the energy out of me and searing my eyes despite wearing goggles and a drop down visor. It took forever to get to the Sun Valley bypass that would take me from I-10 west of Buckeye and Phoenix to SR303 circumventing the greater Phoenix area and depositing me on SR17 well north of the Phoenix area. It took forever to get to Peoria and SR17 because of the many stops that I made attempting to keep my body cool.

Then I went to the other temperature extreme. Climbing towards Flagstaff’s 7000 feet the temp again dropped. I had to wear my rain gear over my leathers to act as a wind breaker and heat retainer. Finally the freezing ordeal ended upon arriving at the reserved motel room in Gallup NM at 0330! Oops, I forgot about the time change…but still, that is way too long to be on the road.

So be forewarned, all you riders that are heading through the desert on your way to Key West or to San Ysidro. Satan is awaiting you!

Drink water excessively and monitor your body’s temperature. Don’t hesitate to take as many breaks as needed to keep yourself out of trouble.

By the way, total mileage for the first leg was 833 miles!
This Four corners stuff is hard work!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveView: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 2: 3June, Colorado Dust Storm
June 4, 2013

Slept well, loaded the bike and rode outa Gallup at a gallop .

Found out from LiveViewGPS that my tracker is indeed working. Family and friends can track my location by clicking the link at the end of this post.

The ride was pretty uneventful. The day warmed up to the point where the leather jacket got stowed and the riding shirt came on over the T.

I-40 took me into Albuquerque where I turned south on I-25. This is my first time on this stretch of rode and once again I’m amazed with the beauty of our America! Having been in the White Sands part of southern NM I was blown away to be riding through forests!

Crossing over the CO state line I could see what looked like a rain burst about 20 miles ahead. As I got closer it became evident that Sophia (my Harley Road King), Snoopy (my flying buddy) and I were not going to beat it. So I pulled onto the side of the road to don the rain gear. Looking up to check the location of the rain I was stunned to see that it was practically upon me! Just as I got the jacket on WHAM! it strucks us with a moving force. But it was odd…..there was no WET! What in the world is this?? Later at the Trinidad Days Inn I found out it was a dust storm. Not sand! All my gear had a fine coat of dust on it.

By the way, if you spend the night in Trinidad CO I highly recommend the DaysInn there. It is a converted Best Western and the owners have gone all out to make it one of the best.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo

Day 3: June 4, Reaching Lebanon
June 5, 2013

After an excellent egg, sausage, biscuit breakfast Sophia, Snoopy and I got on the road. We took US350 to La junta. This was an amazing ride through the Colorado country. There were hills, not Rocky Mountains, as this is the east part of the state. Everything is green, fresh air, farms, ranches, great beauty. But I bet it is hell in the winter .

Along the way we passed the Commanche National Grasslands. Pretty cool looking area….need to stop and visit there next time when I’m not on a schedule.

We then connected to CO71 which took us to I70 heading into KS. At Colby we jumped off I70 and took US24 to US83 then KS383 which hypotenuesed us to US36. many miles later I almost missed the exit for KS181 which takes us into Lebanon. This town is a very small old town. Not much here as there is a very small population.

The gas station is on 181 and while I was tanking up I couldn’t contain my curiosity about some kind of massive farming equipment being towed by a huge tractor sitting at the station. This is when I met Chuck Warner and his daughter Alayna. They own and operate a farm and were getting ready to plant soybean onto 1600 acres well into midnight. They took the time to explain the equipment to me and how they now plant their fields using GPS . To me, these folks are the true Americans, still producing agriculture for the rest of us Americans who I feel often take our food source for granted. But I diverse, as usual…..

When I went to get my receipt, I was too late to hit the “Yes” button so I went to the station door to get a copy when OOPS!, the station was closed!
This is where Chuck and Alayna showed what being a Kansas Farmer is all about. They knew where Bill Befort was (he has the key) and went to get him so he could open the store and get me a needed receipt. How about them apples! Or rather, how about them soybeans!

With receipt in hand, photos taken at the Marker, Blaine WA dialed into the Zumo, it was backtracking on 36 to get onto US183 to connect with I80 west. The only problem was….it got dark real quick. Riding the country road at night with blinking oncoming headlights was not fun. Fortunately we came upon Alma NE and a nice motel to turn in for the night. The day amounted to only 569 miles.
Ahhh, this 4 Corners stuff can get exciting !
C ya mañana,
Gonzo

Day 4: June 5, Almost through WY
June 6, 2013

The morning started off with a light rain. Out on the highway it got very cold, so cold that I pulled onto the side of the road to find my facemask. Local sheriff stopped to tell me it wasn’t that cold! Yeah, well, he’s in a heated SUV…I felt like suggesting that he ride for 50 miles at 65mph with his face sticking out the side window in the rain…then tell me if it is cold enough. Obviously I didn’t make the retort.

By the time we reached I-80 I was definitely cold. Face was warm but gloves were wet and torso was chilled. I pulled into a Pilot gas station for adjustment. An additional heavy long sleeve t-shirt under the leathers and rain gear, and my winter ski gloves that I brought just for this occasion! BTW, the Pilot at 183 and I-80 doesn’t have 91 Octane.

The intermittent light rain finally went away and it was smooth sailing into WY. Skies were totally clear! Only discomfort was the incessant wind buffeting. I called it a night around 8pm when I reached Rock Springs. Rode 622 miles today. Hoping tomorrow is dry and less windy as we head into Utah, Idaho, and into Oregon (if I make it that far).
C ya mañana,
Gonzo

Day 5: June 6, Beautiful WY, CO and UT
June 7, 2013

The ride out of Rock Springs covered previous ridden territory from The Three Flags Classic last year as I passed Green River and Little America. Then, a short distance west of Little America I was greeted with the beautiful expanse of the Wyoming country. Ranch land everywhere, hills, mountains. And then the big joy…..to the south I could see the Colorado Rockies. Absolutely magnificent with their snow capped peaks reaching into the high skies. Nary a cloud in sight obstructed this view for many a mile.

The next surprise was Utah. I swear, everytime I ride through this state I am introduced to new beautiful country. Today it was on I-82 as it branched off of I-80 and headed NW towards Ogden.. The highway meandered through the most gorgeous pass with steep green mountains, some capped with snow, guarding the sides of the gently curving road. There was a view site for the Devil’s Slide but I didn’t stop. I did however, glance in passing and caught sight of a dual parallel rock formation funning down the steep mountain with a space between the two….I guess this is where the Devil slides down….freaky! The views of the canyon was beautiful. I stopped in Mt Green for gas and saw a picnic bench under a tree so I enjoyed a relaxing lunch with the sound of the birds in the cool shade.

From Ogden I continued on I-84 heading to Boise. This stretch of road from Brigham to Rupert, about 120 miles or so, is a long hot stretch. Out of Mountain View the winds started picking up but weren’t that bad. Through Idaho and into Oregon it was a good ride. The only challenge on the ride was the setting sun blazing into my eyes. Baker City showed up so I spent the night there. This is the place where Paint your Wagon was filmed with Lee Marvin and a young Clint Eastwood.

Unfortunately it was late and the only food source I could find was a Domino’s Pizza. While waiting for the pizza I went outside and met Mark and Becky from Missoula MT. They were on a BMW and enjoy riding distances, so I introduced them to the SCMA. Back at the motel the pepperoni sausage went down pretty quick when chased by a beer!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 6: June 7, Winds of Yakima
June 8, 2013

In the morning I met the Boyd’s from Minnesota. When they had departed Minnesota the temperature was 36 degrees, so they went and toured the southwest where it reached over 100! Departing Baker City was into beautiful weather, clear skies, cool temps…perfect for a man my age . The Oregon hills and mountains are very different here in the eastern part of the state, they are very rolling, bulging curves. That’s about the best I can do in describing them. I-82 showed up and I headed north on that towards Yakima, and this is where my stress level peaked out! The winds had been slowly picking up in intensity and when arriving in Yakima they were so intense the gusts were moving me from one side of the lane to another. Also, it is not easy to find a name brand gas station there, unless you want Arco or 7-11, they seem to be everywhere. Leaving the town the winds continued to be a discomfort, but at least the gust intensity had lessened somewhat.

I-84 merged onto I-90 and I headed east towards Seattle. It had been getting chilly so I had my rain gear on until coming down west of the Shoqualmie Pass where I stopped in Issaquah to remove the gear. Leaving the station I almost had a collision with a fast moving driver coming around a turn. I slammed both brakes on, as did he, and Sophia’s front wheel twisted on the driveway’s 3 inch drop to the road…..and down I went. Fortunately no collision occurred and drivers help right the bike and I was on my way.

The next frustration occurred transitioning to I-405 North. It is Friday, 5pm, and everyone wants to get to wherever they are going before anyone else gets there. Even the car pool lanes were stop and go..

The Mt. Vernon Bridge outing was pretty simple to navigate. You just ride I-5 to the end and then the detour barrels take you onto the exit, right turn to the light, left at the light to go over the other bridge, left at the next light, then right onto the I-5 ramp. Total distance of the detour may reach 2 miles. I was lucky as there was not a huge wait.

Then off to Blaine, got a gentleman to take a photo for me, got the gas receipt and then back to Mt. Vernon as I wanted to get back over the bridge tonight and not deal with it tomorrow. When I arrived at the detour exit there was not traffic and I sailed through the detour and went over to a Quality Inn for the night.

Tomorrow I head back to Lebanon and hopefully will meet up with Steve for a lunch break.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082


Day 7: June 8, Two SCMAers meet up on the highway

June 9, 2013

Steve and I connected via cell phone and agreed to meet in Issaquah. We arrived within 5 minutes of each other and found a nice place that was serving brunch.

We exchanged info about the roads, had a great lunch and then he went on to Blaine to finish his True X, and I went on to Lebanon to face the dreaded weather of the east (or is that the Wicked Witch of the East??).

The ride thru Yakima was a lot better this time….light winds, so I felt a lot better. Entering Oregon was also more pleasant, the sun was behind me and it was nice to be able to see the country side. Also, I slowed my speed down to about 77mph and that made the ride a lot smoother and easier handling than at 85.

Which brings up another subject: 85mph goes at 25-28mpg and 77mph goes at 35-38mpg. When factoring in # of stops for gas I wonder which is the best speed to operate and more distance in the same amount of time?

At La Grange I picked up a KFC dinner cuz Baker City was 40 miles or so away and everything would be closed when I arrived. It was at nightfall when I reached Baker City and I stayed at the same motel as on my earlier way thru here…the Bridge Street Inn. The owners there are riders and they give me a discount.

There were about 30 bikes parked outside of rooms at the Inn. I met two of the riders, Linda and Beth, from Idaho. They belong to a group of lady riders and they meet once a year and all go riding together.

Will try to meet more of then tomorrow.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 8: June 9, Back to Wyoming
June 10, 2013

In the morning at breakfast I met some of the lady riders, Linda and Beth were there, and met Debbie (the original organizer of the group) and Trina. Trina is also an instructor for accident Scene Training, i.e., how to manage the accident and what to do take care of injured. Also met a couple others but missed their names. Attached is a photo of me with Linda and Beth…they said the caption should be “Helping Gonzo Find His Way”.

Not much to report for this day other than I rode thru that beautiful canyon I-84 in Utah. Then onto I80 and up into WY with the beautiful sights of the CO Rockies in the far distance.

The end of the day had me back in Rock Springs at the Days Inn. They are very generous here and give me the military discount….which is significant. A very nice gesture on their part to help our active duty military. (BTW, not all Days Inns offer this)

Day 9: June 10, Back to Lebanon, 2d time
June 11 2013

The ride through Wyoming from west to east is a long one but very comfortable and enjoyable. Winds were mild and the vistas ever expanding. At days end I made it to the motel in Alma NE where I stayed before.

The weather has been very comfortable until dropping down from the 7500 WY altitude into NE. It was very hot, almost like being in the Phoenix desert! The desert heat just sucks the life outa ya, whereas the NE heat just suffocates ya.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 9: June10th, Back to Lebanon

The ride through Wyoming from west to east is a long one but very comfortable and enjoyable. Winds were mild and the vistas ever expanding. At days end I made it to the motel in Alma NE where I stayed before.

The weather has been very comfortable until dropping down from the 7,500 feet altitude of WY into 2,000 feet of NE. It was very hot, almost like being in the Phoenix desert! The desert heat just sucks the life outa ya, whereas the NE heat just suffocates ya.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 10: June 11th, Heading to Key West

The weather to the south looks like it may be favorable for me. No rain and no Hurricanes!

In the morning I rode the 60 miles or so to Lebanon and upon arrival at the gas station found some local folks repairing a tire on their truck. They were John, Rex and Randy and we got to chat a little. Rex served in the Navy and lived in San Diego for a few years, so he was familiar with the SoCal geography.

Then it was south on 181 to US 24 east to US81 south and onto I-70 towards Salina KS. On US 24 I passed thru a town called Cawker City claiming to have the largest ball of twine. I will have to return thru here and get a photo of the bike with it.

In Salina I got an oil change and realized later I should have had the 60K service performed. We checked the tires and confirmed I have at least 1000 miles left on them so I decided to work with BuzzCap in Boca to arrange a quick tire change at his local Harley Store.

Today’s route took me thru Topeka, Kansas City, and into Kingdom City, just east of Columbia and west of St. Louis.

I called it quits just before it got dark and found a Days Inn at Kingdom. Stopping for the oil change in Salina sucked up some time today. With stopping for the oil change I only got 513 miles logged….a bit shy of the 600 I wanted to do.

Will get a good rest and a good breakfast with an early start tomorrow.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 11: June 12th, I-24 Shut Down

It was an uneventful ride out of Kingdom and thru St. Louis. I was expecting a lot of traffic and possible rush hour jams but that never happened. It was a nice ride through IL and somewhere in the state I emailed Buzz in FL to ask him to arrange with his local H-D store to change my tires.

At the next stop in IL I checked my emails to find that the FL Harley Stores would not give me and Buzz any priority service. So I started calling stores in TN and GA hoping to find one along the route. This didn’t pan out so I texted Buzz to just find any HD store in south FL.

Back on the road, as I-24 continued out of IL it ran thru KY! I completely forgot about KY….I had lived in Louisville years back and last year had ridden from Nashville to Sturgis thru Paducah KY so you think I would’ve remembered. There’s a H-D store there and I went to their service dept asking for help. Wow, did they ever help! 2.5 hours later I rolled outa there with new tires, new rear brakes, and a 60K service completed! But I goofed….didn’t get photos of Tracie, Missy and Archie for the blog. Wonder if I can get back there and catch a photo of them?

It was getting late so I wanted to press for as much distance that I could get. However, south of Nashville, traffic jammed to a stop then a snail crawl. Two things were occurring: the Bonnaroo Festival was schedule to start on Friday and people were pouring into the area. But that wasn’t the culprit for the traffic jam. A big rig and had flipped over on the interstate causing a complete detour. Two hours later I was finally back on I-24 but totally exhausted, so I got a motel room in Manchester TN and called it a day! Only 495 miles ridden today….gotta make up for it somehow.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 12: June 13th, Kissimmee FL

A fresh day to start a ride! I was in Manchester TN and rode I-24 into GA picking up I-75 that took me to the FL Turnpike.

It was a big surprise to ride right thru Atlanta downtown and get into the car pool lane. In no time Atlanta was in the rear view mirror!

I was hoping to make it to Boca Raton where BuzzCap7 lives. But the ride was too long to make and I called it quits in Kissimmee, a hop skip and jump outside of Orlando.

The ride tomorrow may be a long one….200 miles to Boca Raton to meet up with Buzz, then 400 miles round trip from Boca, to Key West, and then back to Boca.

C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 13: June 14th, Key West!

My riding buddy, BuzzCap7 was waiting for me in Boca Raton and once we tagged up we headed straight for the Keys. I remembered last year’s ride to the Keys; going there was in the dark with an arrival at the motel around 11:30 pm. The morning ride was better, daytime, and I was able to see what it was like to ride into the Keys.

We rode non-stop to the Key West gas station….somethin like 3.5 hours in the saddle….ouch! Got our gas, made an attempt for a photo at the Post Office front sign but there were too many folks sitting on the wall waiting for a bus. So we opted to just to the Buoy and get a bunch of clicks. Then in short order it was back on the road heading to Boca Raton.

I led back on this leg to Key Largo. It was a fun ride for me because I didn’t wear the helmet and no bandana. So the wind was definitely blowing in the hair! Lotsa fun.

Buzz and his lovely wife Ann Marie hosted me for the night. It was great to sit down to dinner with them and have a wonderful home cooked meal. Buzz had gotten Modelo, my favorite beer, for us to have a brewski after the long day’s ride to and back from Key West. After dinner I got two loads of laundry started and then hit the sack.

This was a long hard day riding about 650 miles over slow Key roads….but the SE corner is done….AND NO RAIN OR TROPICAL STORMS!!!!

Although it was a long day it was made easy with the warmth of friendship.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Blog: http://www.GonzoCrossUSA.blogspot.com
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 14: June 15th, Orlando Lightning

Had a great night’s sleep! Told Buzz that the mattress felt like the one I have at home, so we turned it over and, sonofagun, it was the same! Sealy posturepedic!

We had breakfast while the last of the laundry finished up and then I packed the bags, loaded the bike, got a goodbye hug from Anne Marie and then Buzz escorted me onto the Turnpike to make sure I was heading the right way…..I think he wanted to make sure I get outa FL for sure!

The ride was going pretty good but about 10 miles southeast of Orlando I could see the dark clouds building up so I pulled into a Turnpike Service Area to tank up and to evaluate.

After refueling it seemed that the clouds were not going to be in my path so I jumped on the bike and headed down the service road towards the on ramp. Looking ahead I could see traffic and suddenly they disappeared into a wall of rain! I quickly did a U turn onto the Truck access road (one way but no trucks were coming) and scooted back under the station’s overhead.

Just as I got in a flash of lightening cracked and thundered all at the same time! Wow! This cell is close to the ground! Two ladies screamed….so what the hell, I screamed too…it scared the kwap outta me for sure!

The cell just stayed over the area with constant lightening flashing all around. Even motorists were pulling in and hunkering down waiting it out. Finally, after about an hour, the cells moved on but the rain continued. I needed to get going so I suited up and headed into the downpour. About 10 miles later, in the middle of Orlando, the rain lightened up to a drizzle. A few miles east of I-75 the FL Sun was once again shining upon me as I headed for GA.

But the “no riding time” spent waiting for the lightning to pass cost me some distance and I had to call it a night in Lake City FL after only 348 miles! I’m not happy about this….my goal to finish the True X in 18 days (equal to my Four Corners Ride last year) is not going to happen. Now I am concerned to make the True X ride in 21 days or less!
It’s gonna be close!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 15: June 16th, In Kentucky Again

With an early start I passed through Atlanta in no time….well, not quite true, but close enough. It was a Sunday so that made it easier to ride through the big city. However, there was a nasty accident on the south bound side and that slowed traffic for awhile.

Other than that my ride was a quick one flowing over the hills of northern GA and south central TN through Chattanooga and then Nashville. During lunch in Nashville I called my USMC flying buddy but he was in NE for his business.

Back out on the road again I kept going as long as possible trying to add miles and make up for previous light mileage days. Reached 20 miles south of Paducah and pulled into an America Best Value motel for the night. Rode 658 miles….
…..that should help a little!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 16: June 17th, Salina KS

Departure out of Paducah was around 8am. My goal was to reach motels somewhere along KS24 on my way to Lebanon. This would position me close to Lebanon for an easy ride on the country roads 24 and 181.

Once again the ride through Illinois along I-24, 57 and 64 went pretty quick and was uneventful. St. Louis was reached and I seemed to hit a time when traffic was building up. On one of the interchanges a car almost ran into me as it merged from lane 5 to lane 1. I saw it merging and knew the driver wasn’t looking and was going too fast for the traffic. I started merging left into the fast lane to avoid the car and was honking my horn and still had to hit the brakes so he or she wouldn’t hit me. Driver was totally oblivious!

The clouds had been building up all day and somewhere between Kansas City and Topeka the skies finally released their rain. By the time I reached Salina it was late and I decided to get a motel instead of risking the ride in the dark along KS24 searching for a motel.

This will make tomorrow’s ride a little harder. A full 105 miles to Lebanon, pics, stops and then 110 miles back to Salina and then heading northeast towards Maine.
Although riding distance today was 635 miles, I am still concerned reaching Madawaska in under 21 days.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 17: June 18th, Largest Ball of Twine; Lebanon 3rd/Final Time

There’s a coupla ways to Lebanon from Salina: 81N to 24W to 181N or 81N to 36W and 181 at Lebanon. I decided to ride 24 to see the Ball of Twine but 36 coming back to Salina.

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine is located in Cawger City KS on US24. I saw noticed this last time on my run from Lebanon to Key West and decided to stop and take a pic on my way back from Key West to Lebanon. It definitely is a large ball of twine. While there Kim and Tammy from Shingle Springs were visiting and were kind enough to take the photo’s for me.

When I reached Lebanon I went straight to the Post Office and got the requisite photo proof of visit. Mary, who grew up next to Chuck Warner, who I met on my first visit, kindly took the photo for me. Next stop was the gas station for refueling and I found Rex, Randy and Bill working there. Then off to the Geographical Center Marker once more so I could take some photo’s with Snoopy.

Back on the road I decided to take US36 to US81 thinking it would be faster. US24 had a lot of construction. It was indeed faster….longer, but faster as there were only a few towns to slow down for and no construction. Interestingly, I discovered an Amerca’s Best Value motel at the intersection of 36 and 81. Had I known this I could have ridden at night on 81 to the motel without any problems and would have been better positioned for the ride to Lebanon. Oh well.

Approaching Topeka the skies once again were getting dark. Clouds were packed solid and the winds were gusting. My weather birddog, GlideRider in Ohio was keeping me informed of the weather activity ahead of me. The frequency of my stops have been increasing as I seem to be getting a little tired, and during these stops I was collecting the weather intelligence. At one of the gas stations a fella checked his radar and said it the road to the east was relatively clear of cell activity but had rain and strong winds. Buoyed with that news I rode ahead suited up in rain gear and did encounter only a little rain but not the strong lightning or thunderstorms.

It would have been nice if I could have reached the east side of St. Louis, but it got dark as I braved it through Columbia and pulled into Kingdom City once again to stay at the Days Inn where I previously stayed. Tho late, I was fortunate to get a single at a good rate.

It was good to dry out, warm up in a shower and hit the sack!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 18: June 19th, Ohio Hospitality

Skies were still cloudy in the morning but no rain and no lightning. Today’s objective is to reach GlideRider’s place in Ohio. With good weather and no traffic I should be able to travel the 600+ miles.

The route for today took me north around St. Louis so no heavy traffic was encountered. It was I-70 all the way to Columbus OH where I connected to I-71 heading to east of Mansfield where GlideRider was going to meet me and we’d then ride to his place in the country.

We connected and reached his place at around 8:30pm….a long day and 642 miles. I met Carol, his lovely wife, and we all had a wonderful dinner and a glass of wine. I was pretty tuckered out by then so it was a shower and bed. GR has a very interesting house. The original structure of the kitchen and dining room was built in 1875 and Bob added on to it. He and Carol have pretty much designed all the remodels and add-ons, and Bob also built a huge “barn” where he keeps the two cars and two bikes. The upstairs barn area is for him and his buddies when they break out their guitars and drums and start jammin’.

I should make up some stories about my two buddies, Buzz and Bob, or Swamp Buzz and Country Bob…..yep, think I will, should be fun.

I have three days to reach Madawaska….Bob thinks I can make it in two. I’m beginning to feel better about it….hope I can do it in two. That would be a total of 20 days and makes it easier to divide into the total mileage to come up with a good average of daily miles.
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 19: June 20th, Apple Pie and Country Roads

Slept in a little this morning. It was so quiet, the bed so comfy, the air from the open windows was so fresh, and I was having a great dream when I heard my hosts calling me to wake up! Wow, yesterday really tired me!

We had a wonderful breakfast then it was loading the bike and a goodbye hug from Carol and Bob and I were on our way down the road. We were riding to another town to meet up with Paul, Bob’s riding buddy, and then Bob took us out on a country ride (OH172) leading me to US-11 that would take me to I-80 East. While riding to meet Paul I kept reflecting on how fortunate I am that two friends hosted me in style for a night, recharged my batteries with warm friendship, and got me safely on my way towards my final destination!

Bob’s country ride was hwy 172 through the beautiful Ohio countryside. The road was in excellent shape for being a farm road and gently followed the undulating and curving hills. We rode through a few small towns, past farms, country homes, dairy farms…..an absolute thrill for me after so many days of riding the interstate slabs.

We passed through a small town, I think it was Lisbon, and Bob pointed out a diner called Steel Trolley Diner, a 50’s style diner. We stopped there to get some pie and coffee and to chat a bit because 2 miles out of town they would be sending me on US11.

I’m so glad we stopped at the Steel Trolley! We had a great time chatting, laughing and joking with patrons and waitresses, and thoroughly enjoyed our Apple Dumpling Pie and coffee. Before leaving, our waitress Chris took a photo for us and then posed with me for a pic. It was a great way to end our ride through the country side!

US 11 quickly got me to I-80 and then I settled down for the long, beautiful ride through PA. I-80 is a wonderful scenic ride not often found on Interstates. I put it in the category of Utah’s I-84 and the west side of WY’s I-80. It travels through some of the most beautiful countryside and mountain views in the country!

On the East side of PA I picked up I-81 towards Scranton and then cut over east on I-84 through NY between Albany and NYC and into CT.

A few miles into CT I pulled into the Bethel/Danbury Days Inn I stayed at last year and called it a night The day’s ride was only 543 miles but it put me 620 away from Madawaska…..I can make that!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

Day 20: June 21st, Madawaska, True X Completed!

On the road at 8AM I was excited to be within reach of finishing the True X. This has been a long hard ride!

I-84 took me through Waterbury and Hartford to MA’s I-90. Traffic was light all the way and I was clipping along pretty well. Taking the very first exit on I-90 I took 295 north to I-495 that runs around Bahstan. Actually, I think I joined onto I-95 somewhere very close to the NH border. And of course, I’m in that part of the USA where the states charge tolls to ride the interstates!

My spirits were buoyed by the great time I was making and the thought of successfully completing the event in 20 days. Oh, I did have one little goof up. Just south of Portland ME one can continue on I-95 (longer route) or take 295 (Toll road but shorter and faster). I elected to take 295 and, with the traffic at the time, managed to get into the EZPass lane by mistake. I stopped at the Toll Booth expecting to see a person to collect my $1 but no one was there….sure confused me. Then cars behind me started honking their horns (for a supposedly laid back state these commuters are sure impatient!). That’s when I realized I was in the wrong lane so I continued through and pulled off to the side of the road to park the bike. I walked back to the manned toll booth and the fella there gave me a card with a phone number to call to make an on-phone payment thereby avoiding a fine….Whew! Am glad I went back to clear things up!

The rest of the ride was uneventful until exit 276 where the interstate is closed. Traffic was detoured through the countryside to Dyer Brook on ramp back onto I-95. Houlton was finally reached and I ate a quick sandwich, refueled and was on US-1 north to the final destination!

I was a little anxious however, as it was already 6:15 and I know that this road can be a very slow one. But not today….it traveled well, even through the towns including Presque Isle. Many sights from my prior rides through here were recognized and soon Madawaska showed up over the handle bars!

Yaaayyyy! I made it just before sunset!

First priority was to refuel and obtain my gas receipt to close out the ride in 20 days. Second priority was to get a tall beer, chips, hot sauce and then scoot over to Martin’s Motel where I sat on the porch rewarding myself with Bourbon Boiler Makers while eating chips and sauce and talking to my buddies who were so instrumental in helping me finish this ride.

Ahhh, now I can go back to riding “Gonzo Style”, low mileage days, taking photos, meeting Americans, smelling the roses!!
C ya mañana,
Gonzo
Twitter: @GonzoCrossUSA
Email: GonzoCrossUSA@gmail.com
Cell: 949-433-0761
LiveViewGPS: 70.169.216.3/specialevent.aspx?cid=liveviewgps&login=gonzo.ronald@live.com&pwd=7082

jknorst
Administrator
Posts: 92
Post Re: Gonzos True "X" Tour
on: June 3, 2013, 22:33

Gonzo,

For the hotter dryer climate I would also recommend a Hydration Vest (evaporative cooling) such as
http://www.harley-davidson.com/shop/mens-hydration-vests
Wear it under a perforated jacket or vest that will allow air to pass through.
They work pretty well. Even in the hot/humid areas they do provide "some" relief.
And Gatorade, Gatorade, and and did I mention Gatorade (Now sold as "G").

Jack

mitcho
Newbie
Posts: 8
Post Re: Gonzos True "X" Tour
on: June 4, 2013, 19:19

I had my camel back on and topped it off at each fuel stop best thing ever and I always had water. My first day was1,025 miles Van Horn Texas from Sylmar Ca to San Ysidro to Van Horn.

1badassdad
Newbie
Posts: 4
Post Re: Gonzos True "X" Tour
on: June 22, 2013, 22:20

Go, go Gonzo! Glad you survived the fall. Keep us posted.

gonzo
Administrator
Posts: 142
Post Re: Gonzos True "X" Tour
on: June 28, 2013, 11:00

Thanks!
Finally finished the True X
and posted the blogs

gelliott
Advanced
Posts: 78
Post Re: Gonzos True "X" Tour
on: June 28, 2013, 15:43

Congratulations Gonzo! What a trip.

Safe Riding
Elliot

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