Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Night Out - Tomorrow is Last Day Ride




We came down from Mackinaw City to Traverse City today. As we ate dinner we realized the last six years of vacation took us through TC. We really do like the city. But, today, since this is the last night out we decided to reward the success of the trip (completely without rain ... Praise Him!!) and to celebrate that the book is done, we got a room at the Park Place Hotel. One of the most expensive we stayed in and actually a small room. But, the view was absolutely great, looking over Grand Traverse Bay. What an inspiration for David for proofing and finishing the book. So, the pictures are of David writing and looking out of our room at the bay. However, there is one more picture. David's real source of inspiration. You can decide which of these he is referring to ...

Home tomorrow. Grandma can't wait to get hugs from the kids and grandpa can't wait to lick a few foreheads.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Over the bridge



Great ride today up highway two from Escanaba to Mackinaw City. Not much scenery but just great to be back in Michigan. By the way, when you have been out of state for 30 days how do you know when you are back in Michigan? 1). All the clocks you look at say the same thing (the bike, the GPS, the iPod, the phones, the computer and the hotels). The only clock off when you are back in Michigan is the one in your head. 2). You have to stop for road construction. We went 6,100 miles before getting back in Michigan. We didn't have to stop once for any road construction. In the last two days we had to stop long enough to turn off the bike and once we could get off to stretch. 3). (this really applies just to the u.p.) The hotels signs don't say HBO and Internet. The hotels signs say phone, tv, and shower. 4). The roads are full of pot holes (hence the reason for the construction). 5). You still get a warm feeling that you're home.

The pictures for today are just of Lake Superior and a partial video going over The Bridge. The video would have been more but the wind was so bad Robin decided to hang on rather than film (Can you believe that? We we at 11,000 feet in the Baretooth pass and we can't handle the wind on The Bridge?). Tomorrow is Traverse City and then home on Thursday. video

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go Lions .... Return to Michigan and finish manuscript




We left Green Bay today and David decided to try out the aspect of shouting as loud as you can in Green Bay, "Go Lions and Packers suck." So, here is where the challenge began, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Today just happened to be the first day of practice for the Packers and we just happened to get gas at a station right next to their practice field. David was ready to yell out his wise words but Robin said no because there a lot of little baby Packer fans (little boys) and she thought it unkind to hurt their dreams. Isn't that just like Robin. She was really protecting David from getting his head bashed in but covered it with her concern for little kids. What a gal!! ON A MORE IMPORTANT NOTE, DAVID FINISHED THE MANUSCRIPT AT 6:40 P.M. MICHIGAN TIME. 168 pages and 31 days later and he is done. We had to get back to Michigan to finish what was started in Michigan. Now he has two days to read through it and change it all before we get home either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the weather. Time to go. We usually have desert by now and David is in a celebratory mood. That means two pieces of cake. The sail boat was in Escanaba Harbor.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Detour to discover David's Jester side

We were supposed to go from Wausau, WI to Escanaba, MI today. About 185 miles of back road riding. However, two things changed our plans. First, after attending a church in Wausau it was really late and we didn't like the idea of arriving in Escanaba so late (Robin wouldn't be able to swim and David would be late to write). But, the second reason is David hit a hard spot transition from the previous chapter of the book to the last one on Jester. So, the solution was to find a place close that could give David some inspiration about what it was like to be a Jester (after all he is not that funny and his son-in-law Dan is too far away). So, we headed to Green Bay where we knew there would be a nice hotel and a large cinema ... one large enough that they would be showing The Black Night (where Batman fights the Joker ... who is really the very dark side of the Jester). So, that is where we are. We just got back from the movie and it is TERRIFIC. We are going to leave for Escanaba tomorrow and will either do some extra miles or will be back a day later. We have been one day early anyhow. Plus, the up-side is that David got to go into a restaurant in Green Bay and say, "The Packers Suck." But, he didn't say it very loud and it was Sunday night and only the waitress and the cook were there (and, David could have taken the cook if he needed to). The good news is that we can see Lake Michigan. Getting close to home.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The last week of four

We are on the last week of our vacation. It is turning out to be our vacation from vacation. This is the third day we have seen nothing that compares to the scenery in the mountains, lakes and oceans of the west. Today we rode from Rochester, MN to Wausau, WI. Nothing but the Mississippi River. Listening to that, we said "nothing" but the mighty Mississippi. You get that way after seeing the Serria-Nevadas and the Rockies. But, being together continues to make this the best 15 year anniversary gift ever. We are truly relaxing. We found a great little restaurant in Wausau. This is thanks to Robin's endless pursuit of reading the little folders in the hotel room. If David were in charge of gathering data we would never know a thing about the city we are in. He would just look out the window for the first pretty sign and then eat there. We did that once in one of the cities and ended up eating something we couldn't recognize. We are down to just four or five days left, but no rain forecast for until the day we are supposed to actually arrive home. Tomorrow we arrive back in Michigan at Escanaba. Thanks for all your prayers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Off the path again ... best city in America

We have no pictures again today. We still have the camera, we just have had nothing to take a picture of. However, we did decide to go off road for awhile. We were supposed to go to Minneapolis, MN for today. But, half way up the road we changed our mind and went off the map we had worked months to prepare. We headed for Rochester, MN (think Mayo Clinic). There was no reason to do so, but we did anyhow. However, when we arrived (we are actually in the Mayo Clinic hotel) we discovered Rochester was voted the number one city in America to live in. The reason for their number one selection is their emphasis on nutrition and healthy living (think Mayo Clinic again). So, if you are in the best city in America for healthy living where do you go for dinner and what do you order. Well, we went to Newts, a small pub-bar upstairs and above another restaurant. Newts was selected as the best burger for the past four years in the best city in America. Nothing nutritious about it. It was big, greasy and good. And it came complete with a bunch of fries. So, what does that say about the rest of America if this is the healthiest place to live? Of course, we could have ordered a salad. But, what fun is that? We are, after all, on vacation. Maybe tomorrow we will get the camera out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Jester Kind of Day

Today we had a boring ride from Murdo, SD to Sioux Falls, SD. Straight prairie land and not one picture. But, David finished another chapter of the book and only has one left. The last one is on the "Jester." So, to get started we thought we would make this a Jester kinda blog. Today we passed a bull who, in front of the other cattle, had climbed up a small mound of ground (think something a little bigger than a pitcher's mound on a baseball field). Now both Robin and David thought the bull was probably saying something to the rest of the cows. Was it 1). I thought the grass would have been greener on the other side. Or, 2) Well, girls, how do I look?

When we got to Sioux Falls we went to a Barnes and Noble so David could write and Robin could read. Robin sat down a couple of chairs away from David with an old guy (think 70 plus) between them. When David started to make lustful eyes at Robin did the old guy think: 1) I can't believe this punk is making eyes at that nice lady. Or, 2) I wish that punk would leave so I can make a move on this chick next to me?

The last thing we did was find a Texas Roadhouse for a good franchise meal. When the waitress (Becca) came up to the table and found out we traveled 5,000 miles on a motorcycle did she: 1) Ask Robin, how's your butt? Or, 2) ask David, do you want more buns?

Just another boring vacation day. Sleep late, ride the Harley, get a frappacino from Starbucks, write a little, eat much, etc. The bad news is we knew when we got to the end of the book it would be sad because we also would be done with the trip. No pictures today (unless we went back to Barnes and Noble for a picture of the old guy).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rush to the Badlands





We left Sturgis this morning and drove through the Blackhills of South Dakota. We have no pictures of the Blackhills because it is so dark you can't see anything. That's not true, but we thought we would run it by you all. We don't know why they are called the Blackhills. Looked a lot like the pine trees back home. From there we headed to Mount Rushmore. So, here is a question to see if your smarter than a fifth grader: Which one of the following is not carved into some rock on the cliff face of South Dakota, Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt or Bush? (We assume you got the right answer). Once we left Mt. Rushmore (very nice by the way) we headed to the Badlands of South Dakota. They look a little like the Petrified Forest in New Mexico. You know when you have been on a great vacation when you aren't overly taken aback by the Badlands. We are so full of sites we just can't take any more. It is a good thing we are headed for Minnesota (sorry to all you Minnesota blog readers but we need some plain jane sites). We are in Murdo, SD tonight - think Nunica with a six hotels. We leave for Sioux Falls, SD tomorrow. We have a Barnes and Noble, a Starbucks and a Texas Roadhouse set into our GPS. We need a big city. video

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How do you know you are in a bike town?




We are in Sturgis. Famous Sturgis, SD. In less than two weeks there will be over 300,000 motorcycles. Today there are about 30. But, you still know that you are in a bike town when the following takes place: 1). You have rags outside your hotel room door to wipe off your bike. 2). You have more t-shirts shops than gas stations. 3). You have more bars than t-shirts shops. 4). You get 10% off your room because you ride a Harley. 5). You get to your room and there is a picture over the King size bed of the Sturgis Rally. 6). Some guy pulls up in a pick-up truck from Texas to admire your bike, holding up traffic for three other cars, and no one honks their horn at him to move on. 7). The guy admiring your bike sternly warns you not to show his wife the cushy seat you bought for your wife ... and, you heed his warnings because he looks mean. 8). The Harley store in town has a check out system larger than Walmart. 9). Everyone in town looks at you like you belong there. 10). At the center of town instead of a memorial to some dead guy(s) is a motorcycle museum. The ride from Buffalo to Sturgis was pretty boring. We did see a lot of antelope and for the first time we got hit with rain. David thinks it was 12 drops but Robin insists it was 15 (she is usually right on this trip). Tomorrow we leave for Mount Rushmore and then to a little town called Murdo (not sure about that). The pictures we have are of the Welcome to Sturgis sign, the downtown minus the 300,000 bikes and the picture over our bed (It is very personal to share such pictures but we thought we would reveal our darker side).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Big Horn Pass Little Cattle Drive ..





When we left today we were thinking a boring ride from Cody, Wyoming to Buffalo, Wyoming. It was supposed to be 185 miles of routine riding. After all, what more could we take. We have traversed the sharp drop offs of the Pacific Coast Highway; climbed the heights and depths of Lake Tahoe (9,600 feet); taken a breathtaking ride via Yellowstone National Park; and, went up and over the almost 11,000 foot Beartooth Pass. Nothing can get better (maybe the Dragon in the Smokie Mountains, but we are too far away to go there). So, today we left and took in about 70 miles pure Wyoming nature (a few heads of cattle and a single antelope). Then we saw the sign - it said, "when lights are flashing road closed 14 miles ahead." How many times do you see a sign like that in Michigan. Well, 14 miles ahead was the Big Horn pass. Simply picturesque ... think John Wayne movie where he rides through a tight pass on a big horse. Then we saw the second sign, "open range, loose stock." We saw it twice. Robin was thinking "oven" and David was thinking "investment." Then it happened: Right in front of us was a cattle drive. A small one but a cattle drive non-the-less: horses, cattle and a herding dog. And, just so you know we finally got out of the mountains after a 9 mile drop at from the top of Big Horn pass, Robin actually feel asleep the last 30 miles. Yes, asleep on the back of the Harley. David is such a smooth operator. We are having trouble uploading pictures and video but we will keep trying. We are 4,600 miles down and only five more states to go. David has two chapters left in the book and a week to get them done. Life is good. Robin, I said life is good ... Robin? Robin? I think she's sleeping. video

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beartooth bites ...

What a great ride! If you have a chance to go over the Pacific Coast Highway and see the ocean over the edge or Highway 50 into Lake Tahoe or the Beartooth Pass you should pick ... (We couldn't choose if you forced us). If you are into riding a motorcycle this is the pass to ride. It is only open 4 1/2 months a year. Look at the video and notice the snow poles as we pass them. No we weren't skiing. These are to mark the side of the highway when there is snow. You can still see the snow on the ground in mid July. It snowed three days ago. We found our way over the pass (65 miles) and reached almost 11,000 feet. That is almost two miles. The road is so twisting that you can get dizzy just riding it. We final got the videos up. Enjoy!! We are heading to Buffalo, Wyoming tomorrow. We found out to today they are not really Buffalo, they are Bison. So, we guess we are going to Bison, Wyoming tomorrow. But, don't look for it on the map that way. video video

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Our Wish List after today's ride through Yellowstone





1) We wish we could take our kids here to see it all. 2) Since we can't take all of our kids we wish we could take all of our grandkids here ... and might 3) We wish there were enough words in the English, Spanish, Greek, Latin (you get the point) language to describe what we saw. 4). We wish Robin would have charged the camera the night before like she usually does. 5) We wish Robin wasn't afraid to look over the edge because we would have a lot more rockin pictures (get it ... Rockin ... the Rockies). 6) We wish the camera could actually capture the real things we saw. 7) We wish David would slow down so when we see a herd of wild moose(s) (?) we could actually get the shot on film (we saw 10 ... a heard of them). 8) We wish David could turn the Harley around faster so we could go back and take the picture of the moose before they get into the woods ... he can't and didn't, so no picture. Take our word for it ... 10 MOOSE! 9). We wish we would have saw a bear, but a big buck; 10 MOOSE; a buffalo, the buffalo's brother, the buffalo's full herd; a antelope; and a partridge in a pear tree. (Okay, one of those we didn't see!). 10). We wish when we got to Cooke City and found a bike rally (see picture) that they would have cleaner streets. There is so much Montana dust the Harley even asked for rain (21 full days with no rain!!). 11). We wish anyone who doesn't believe that there is a God would take a day pass (we would pay for it) through Yellowstone. If you still don't believe there is a God we would introduce you to a bear. Then you would believe, really quickly. What a great day going from Jackson through Teton and Yellowstone and then showing up at Cooke Montana and finding 400 bikers to welcome us. What a parade .... just for us. We are going through Beartooth Pass tomorrow. It is only open 4 1/2 months a year (it snowed on it two days ago). It takes up to 11,000 feet. We are at 7800 now. Muskegon is about 650 feet. Do a google map search on Beartooth Pass. Robin will not be the same when (if) we get down, oops, I mean through it (I don't want to use the word "down" when Robin is reading this).

Friday, July 18, 2008

2nd Post Friday ... Twin Falls to Jackson Hole



No, there is no hole. But, we are in Jackson Hole at the Painted Buffalo Inn. We went 260 miles and we were thinking it wasn't going to look good. We went about two miles and ran into a Harley dealership. It was named Snake Harley Davidson. So, David had to ask, what is the "snake" for? Well apparently we are right next to the Snake River. That didn't mean much to two Fruitportians, however. But then ... the pictures you see are five miles down the road and are of the Snake River. How long is the Snake River? We have no idea. We went 260 miles today and are in another state (Wyoming) and the river is just down the road. Pretty big river. Pretty clean river, too. It looks like Lake Charlevoix, but on the move. Then we road into the Rockies. We think we went up for about five miles. The drop off wasn't as bad as the Pacific Coast Highway but for some reason it just felt more dangerous. We had a great day. 20 days in a row with no rain. And, it looks good for tomorrow when we stop and see Old Faithful and then through Yellowstone and then onto Cody, Wyoming for a rodeo. To get ready for the rodeo David is actually watching a rodeo on television tonight.

First Post Friday ... Things you hear



We thought we would give you some insight on what you might hear from either David or Robin if you were traveling with us. These phrases have been said numerous times (sometimes in one day). #11: (When we are getting on a ramp for the highway) Oh, look a truck is in front of us! #10: I think I'll wear these jeans today (Inside joke, we each only brought one pair). #9: "I think I'll swim while you write!" Or, "I think I'll write while you swim!" #8: Could you tell us if there is a Starbucks in this town? #7: "Yes, we rode it all the way from Michigan!" #6: Did the GPS tell us to turn back there? #5: (When David is driving 80 m.p.h. and sees something you might hear this:) Robin, take a picture of that!! #4: "Do you have a pool? Is it clean?" #3: "I love you!" #2: "I miss the kids!" #1: wow. Wow. WOW! Look at THAT! Praise God! (The picture is of us trying to take a picture of ourselves with the Snake River in the background)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who vacations in Idaho?





At the risk of insulting some great people in Idaho and realizing we hale from Fruitport, MI, who really vacations in Idaho? We ask, seriously. Have you ever heard anyone say they were looking forward to their long vacation to IDAHO? Well, here we are. We left Winnemucca, NV early this morning and traveled 298 miles (one of our longest trips) on very boring I-80 then up NV93 to Twin Falls. The scenery was similar to Arizona , but we are about 700 miles directly north of that state. We actually traveled 67 miles through Nevada and only saw 3 houses. Where in Michigan can you travel that far without seeing a house? Oh, yes, that's right the U.P. (we'll be there in a week and check it out). We did come across Salmon Falls Creek. We saw no salmon and no falls (they have a lot of names like that around these parts). We did see some horses grazing nearby. And the rock face had all kinds of initials and messages that people painted on them. But, since we didn't have our nutty son-in-law Dan to climb up there with some spray paint we simply left with no message for those who follow us. Tomorrow we leave for Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Like always the night before we look for hotels in the place we are going the next day. Did you know that no one vacations in Idaho (hotels are good and cheap) but everyone vacations in Jackson Hole, WY? (Hotels start at $180 and up). Tomorrow we may sleep on the ground ... just kidding; we are staying at the Painted Buffalo Inn (there will be no paint or buffalo, but hopefully an inn). We miss you all. Another chapter of the book almost done today and Robin was able to swim in a full size pool ... Let's see, cheap hotels, full size pool, hot cookies served at 5:00, Idaho Joes Restaurant right up the road ... maybe we should vacation in Idaho!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not everyday can be a good one ... but, ...



Well, it had to happen. You can't go this many days and have every day perfect when you are on vacation. We left Lake Tahoe and headed to Winnemucca, Nevada. It is a 218 mile ride. Other than a lot of traffic coming out of Lake Tahoe (what would you expect?) the day seemed like all the rest. Great weather. No rain ... 18 days in a row. But, David set the GPS wrong and it took us up a side road we didn't need to go on. So, what is this horse looking at? He is not looking at Robin. He is not looking for an apple. He is not looking for a piece of sugar. He is looking at two Nevada Sheriff officers with David, the Harley (Robin was standing off to the side). For what reason. Well, when we turned off the main road the GPS was going to take us to "City Center" of Silver Springs, NV. Why? Because David set it for "City Center." What does that have to do with anything. Well, when the GPS took us "off road" we weren't paying attention. And, when you sit on top of that big of engine on this type of bike and don't pay attention you go too, too fast. But, the good news is the older officer felt sorry for David (the younger one looked like he wanted to put David and the Harley in jail). So, no ticket or written warning. Just a friendly here is how you get back on the highway speech. So, we took the rest of the long ride to Winnemucca at the exact speed. It was long and flat and very much the opposite of the last three days of riding. But, a bad day on a Harley beats a good day at work any day. So, we survived and head to Twin Falls, Idaho tomorrow. Also, another chapter done on the book and only four left with 13 days to go. Not every day can be as good as the one before but every day has a great spot ... if you can find it. The second picture was David taking a picture of us while he was driving ... did we say while he was driving? Forget that last part if you are sheriff in Nevada.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lake Tahoe ... not what we thought





Okay, forget that when we described Lake Tahoe yesterday we said "think of Silver Lake on steroids in a cereal bowl surrounded by the mountains." Today we took a 75 mile ride around it. Now we would say think "Charlevoix, Traverse City and Mackinaw Island on steroids in a cereal bowl surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains." And, the only thing that amazed us more than the ride and scenery was that Glen and Mary Bo rode their peddle bikes around it (watch the video and note there are no rails and we are above the pine trees). Robin didn't know she was afraid of heights until these last three days of riding. Going for a ride in Michigan is not going to be the same. We had a relaxing day. David finished off what he hopes was his hardest chapter (on the Destroyer Archetype) and was able to get the next chapter half done. We leave for a place called Winnemucca, NV tomorrow (215 miles). Not sure why we picked that place, but it is on the map. The pictures are: 1) the Bo home; 2) the road with no guard rail (can you believe Robin shot that perfect picture with her eyes closed?) 3) the the only island on Lake Tahoe 4) the mountains (note the snow in the peaks).
video

Monday, July 14, 2008

South Lake Tahoe





We arrived this morning in South Lake Tahoe (think Silver Lake on lots of steroids, placed in a cereal bowl and surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains). The ride was great as the curves through the Eldorado's Pine Forest was more than amazing (think yesterday's PCH only replace the ocean with a river and the mountain walls with very big pine trees). We followed two guys on Hondas (I know, it's not good for a Harley to follow Hondas) because they looked like they knew what they were doing. But, they were empty with no one on the back. David is not sure if Robin will ever go back through there at that speed with him again. We took a little short cut but have no pictures. The two Hondas kept going but the GPS said turn. So, David turned. It took us down a road that eventually connected back with the two Honda riders. Did we say "road?" (think goat path on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan). It was 5 hours later and Robin still hadn't opened her eyes.
We are staying at a friends house in Tahoe and it is really, really, really wonderful. Glen and Mary Bo are letting us use it. Well, actually, Glen's dad is letting us use it but he is in Alaska. Tomorrow is a full day of just writing and relaxing in Tahoe. So, probably no blog for tomorrow ... unless David can get Robin to open her eyes and take some pictures ... he's thinking of going back up the goat path. (3,300 miles and seven chapters in the book done with five to go).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand words #6


(Start below with #1) With the Hearst Castle to our west and plenty of turns to the north to roam, we still made the right decision and headed east ready for home! Lake Tahoe on Monday and Tuesday!!

video

A Picture is Worth a Thousand words #5




videoThen we came upon a motorcycle crash that happened, according to the driver, in a quick, blunt, smash ...

A Picture is Worth a Thousand words #4









videoWith smoke from the California fires just up ahead we weren't sure if we could see around the curve, but as you can see, it more than enough to test our nerve ...