Friday, May 8, 2009

Struttin Two Up in the South - The Prologue

Where to begin. I suppose a summary of the trip is in order. MeAsWe (Crystal) and I traveled 5,668 miles in 17 days through 20 states, 16 states had National Parks. I added 20 new shot glasses to my Harley Collection and added 22 NP pins to that collection on my piece of towel, put some new stickers on the trunk of the bike, collected numerous Inks and visited 40+ National Parks. In addition we visited many (still sorting this out) National Historic Landmarks, stayed in 1 hotel that was on the National Register of Historic Places and captured 2 other NRHP. Crossed over water on at least 8 ferries, 1 of which was not planned. The hardest part of the journey was arriving at Dingman Falls in Pennsylvania and pressing that final stamp in our books. It essentially signaled the trip was over. Neither MeAsWe or Me were ready to go home. I began to think of returning to work the next day. Sigh

Dingman Falls is a special place for MeAsWe and Me, since the foundation of our relationship was started by a trip to Delaware Water Gap and a visit to the 2 falls in Dingman. While this trip has come to an end, it is really the beginning of my 2nd National Park tour and MeAsWe’s first. We still have places to go this summer covering at least 9 more states. I see a visit to Washington DC, a trip to Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and maybe we will jump up to Michigan and of course the 6 New England States.

A little about MeAsWe as my traveling romper. SHE WAS AWESOME !! She is truly a long-distance rider. Most days we didn't pull in until 9pm, up on the bike at 7am and many miles of traveled each day. The typical day was 325 miles or so, with some days over 600 and that one day where we only covered 75 miles. Now 325 miles of straight riding is a snap, but throw in visiting 5 to 10 places in between, adds a whole new complexity to the day. No doubt she would be just as good as a partner in a 24/1000+ mile competitive rally. MeAsWe absorbed it all and is looking forward to the next journey.

We incurred some excitement over and above the exhilaration of the travels. There was the fall off in Savannah, GA at Factors Walk, the bird shitting on MeAsWe in New Orleans, the lost day due to a flat tire, the frustration and being taken advantage of in New Orleans, the sight of flashing lights on Route 1 in Oak Hill, Florida, MeAsWe asking me why we pulled over as I watched the Arkansas State Trooper curling his finger at me thru my side view mirror, prompting me to dismount and come have a little heart to hear conversation with him. Even these little incidents gave the trip a well rounded balance between perfect and nirvana.

I learned it is possible to pack 17 days worth of provisions in 2 side bags and 1 top trunk, which included (but necessarily limited to) 1 Acer laptop, an extra Garmin GPS, all the wires that connect this stuff, 2 National Park Passport books, rain gear (Frogg Toggs), various tools that I put in a coffee can, roll of duct tape, 1 journal for collecting INK on top of the passport books, a carton of cigarettes, 2 wire combos for locking the helmets and tank bag on the bike [for those places that just didn’t look right to leave the stuff unguarded], can of Plexus (never used),.bottle of RV Road Wax (for cleaning the shields). Our clothes were limited to each of us having 2 Sport Tshirts from Walmart, washable underwear from Bass Pro Shops, I pair of fisherman pants (the kind you zip the legs off to make them shorts) (also purchased from Bass Pro Shops and socks. These all fit nicely into large ZipLock bags. MeAsWe also brought some nice smelling bath soap in a bottle and that ball meshy thing you put the soap on. She also brought some flip flops too. We also had our meds, mine being fish oil and Aleve, MeAsWe has some of her own stuff, and of course those $1 things of shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. I am sure I am leaving stuff out, but you get the idea. Unpacking the bike took all of 5 minutes, with most of the time me trying to get the locks to open on the bags. Re-packing took a little longer because it was morning and we were sleepy.

The washable T’s and underwear worked out great. Wash them in the sink, apply a little soap, rinse, twist and hang them up to dry when you first walk in the motel and you are good to go the next morning. If they were a little damp, you could use the motel hair dryer to complete the cycle or pack in a separate bag and hang them up again the next night. I brought socks that had holes in them and were generally on their last toes. Once they were dirty, I simply left them on the floor for the next motel guest.

Accommodations were provided by the Wyndham chain of hotels, for the most part, which include Super 8, Knights Inn, Days Inn and Howard Johnson. No reservations were ever made except the last 2 nights (Memorial Day Weekend) and these were made the morning of. Sometimes just find a local motel via the GPS and stay there. These Mom and Pop hotels were generally cheaper, beat the chain places for quaintness and were just a clean and comfortable as the chain places. We should have stayed at these places more often and will try to heed my own advice on our next trip.
This is the Caribbean Motel in Wildwood NJ


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the rest of the report! Very nice so far.


Anonymous said...

That is one monumental ride. My helmet is off to y'all.

Ride on,

PatnWilton said...

Good report. Sounds like an awsome trip. Good packing advice too.

Anonymous said...

Good site.