Monday, March 30, 2009

NPT Part Deux - The Plan

Since completing the Iron Butt National Park Tour last October, I have been anxiously waiting for winter to pass and spring 2009 to arrive, to begin NPT Part Deux.. During the winter I have had my finger to the mouse, planning the next journey. On May 9th, we head south to as far south as Sebastian FL, head over to Tampa FL to ride up the coast into the Montgomery AL area, back down to the coast around Pensacola, then over to New Orleans. This will be the most southern and western point of the journey. From New Orleans, we head north thru Mississippi following the GRR (Great River Road) to Memphis with a stop at Arkansas Post National Memorial. From Memphis we head east to Shiloh National Park turning north to Mammouth Cave in Kentucky, weeve our way to Cincinnati to pick up William Howard Taft National Historic Site. From there we head toward Athens, OH my alma mater and a possible visit with a very very good friend of mine, Harold. Everyone else calls him Butch, I just never could bring myself to call him that. I met Harold in Room 339 Washington Hall at OU. Harold was my roommate and best man at my first wedding. In Athens, we will pick up a pic of Cutler Hall ( a National Landmark ) and then off to West Virginia for some more ink. From there we head to Flight 99 crash site to pay our respects and then meander across Pennsylvania thru Scranton and back home. All in all, this will be a 17 day journey, with very limited super slab miles ( major interstates ) covering 70 National Parks, numerous National Landmarks, lighthouses, local unusual sites, a couple of HD dealers to add to my shot glass collection, archeological sites, diners, dives and drive-ins (even some of the places that we all have seen on TV), ferry crossings in its 5800+ mile wanderings.

Here's a global view of the journey.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Something for Nothing

It’s Saturday and my partner in crime, Crystal and I, are romping all over the Connecticut country side hunting down National Landmarks. Our first stop was Henry Bowen’s place called Roseland located in Woodstock. We were then off to Lebanon to pickup John Trumball’s Birthplace and William Williams House. Lebanon is chocked full of historic places with many other locations on the National Register of Historic Places, but today it was all about National Landmarks. As we finished up at the Trumball location, I mounted the bike and got ready for Crystal to hop on back I then saw this rock with a plaque on it. I just couldn’t let it go, so I asked Crystal to go over and see what it said. I was too lazy to get off the bike. She walked over, stood there for a second and then I saw her shoulders moving in an up and down motion. She came back to the bike and I said, “Is this something I need to take a picture of”.

So kickstand down, dismount, get the camera out and walk over to the monument.

The dismount view

Getting closer

And the Plaque

For those who are looking for this, it is right next to John Trumball's Birthplace in Lebanon, CT.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ferries Flow a French into the Forks or Connie's Can't Swim

What that really means is ferry boat crossings have thrown a wrench into the works. I have been merrily connecting the waypoints (kinda of like connect the dots )in MapSource, creating the route(s) for NPT Part Deux in May. From MapSource I retrieve the data (read copy) and interface it into Excel (read paste) to a special MODEL ( read spreadsheet ) for calculating time for each segment, time of arrival, etc, etc between each stop and other statistics that I might deem meaniful at the time. This model accomodates adding time for gas stops, rest and spending time at each location and adjusts the arrival and depart times for each subsequent stop.

Some stops are time sensitive, such as National Parks. The rangers do have a life outside of the parks and actually go home at night, hence there is no point planning on hitting a park if you are going to arrive at 8pm to get INK (cancellation stamp). The VC (visitor center) will be closed and you will be slapping your head going DOH ! I wish I thought of that when I was planning the trip.

Ferry's are not on demand type services and one must accomodate their schedule into your schedule. You don't have control over the throttle like you do on your bike, so twisting the wrist will not make the ferry go faster.

While I knew all along (in the back of my brain someplace) that I was going to be on a ferry going down the coast from time to time, it just didn't hit me, until I started looking at the planning model. MapSource showed one segment of the trip was going to take over 2 1/2 hours to go some ridicously low miles. As I was gazing at the monitor with a tilted head (you know that puzzled WTF tilt of the head)I knew something was out-of-whack. It stilled didn't dawn on me, so I started to look at the preferences in MapSource for speeds based on the type of road. They didn't look screwed up. Then I started to scan down the little yellow line to see if I was doubling back someplace to create such a low MPH. I reached the conclusion that it is just something I am not seeing so, I re-did the route from scratch, to arrive at the exact same answer as the one I didn't think looked right. I never concentrated on the yellow line against that blue background. (blue represents water).

Then the epiphany {(noun)appearance of a supernatural being; sudden idea or thought} [actually both definitions fit the bill] and thats the rest of the story.

What did I learn; A> it is a good habit to plan on arriving at the dock before the ferry departs B> the realization Connies'(Kawasaki Concours) can't swim C> time is not relative, it is a constant.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Please Don’t Let be Misunderstood

This morning I got up at 4:30 because...because...because..well I just did. Went thru the usual routines. Took the coffee ground cup and stem out of the percolator so I could reheat the leftover coffee from yesterday, washed a couple of dishes, settled down in my chair at the computer, looked up a bunch of landmarks, transferring them to the GPS via Google Maps, [so that I can eventually transfer them to MapSource], did some other stuff, and finished 2nd in a poker tournament at Poka After finishing lookin up the Landmarks for the states of Connecticut and New Hampshire, I read my usual forums (NER and NPS Motorcycle Touring).

At the NER forum I had 2 links indicating the “[2 to Me]”. The first one was about how I am going to have to get a new nickname (NomadWillie), since I am selling the Nomad. The other was a response from someone that had posted about doing all the New England capitols in one day which would be around 750 miles. I responded to him that he might as well add 250 miles and get his SS1000 from the IBA

His response to me was

"Being of Scottish descent I have an aversion to paying someone else to ride a ride. I do them for me and dont need a paper on the wall."

This irked me and I was just about to hit the keys and make the keys flutter like stinging bumble bees, but I took another sip of coffee and simply said, some things ya just gotta let go.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get Ready Get Set Get LANDMARKS

Someplace, somewhere among my blog writings I said I would write about National Landmarks, so not to disappoint myself I offer the following. Landmarks are located in all states plus you will find them in places such as the Federated States of Micronesia, which has 2. The National Park Service not only administers our beautiful parks and monuments, but handles those places that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. National Landmarks are a subset of the NRHP. They are defined as

National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of National Park Service staff who work to nominate new landmarks and provide assistance to existing landmarks.

In New England alone there are 350+ locations. Examples of National Landmarks are the normal places you would think like Bunker Hill Monument or the Old North Church in Boston; however there are some unusual spots, such as Goddard Rocket Launching Site in Auburn, MA or the USS Lion Fish in Fall River, MA.

With this in mind, what better way to see New England than by motorcycling across the byways and byroads visiting these sites, maybe learning something in the process?

The Old Manse

P1040639 P1040640 P1040655 P1040654

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Certified

IB NPT Certificate

IB NPT Finishers

Stay tuned for NPT Part Deux, coming soon to a byroad near you