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North Then East

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For those who weren't here 

last time, allow me to add a link 

to my original page. Just click on the bike.

For the 2001 trip click here.

finally, if you like to hear a good story guaranteed to have a happy ending try this

I can't believe that I spent so much time in San Diego, though it did make for nice timing when I decided to go to Hollister for the motorcycle rally. If you don't know Hollister was the birthplace of the tough guy motorcycle image. Way back when a bunch of bikers were outside the town limits doing some hill climbing. At night they would come into town, drink too much and terrorize the locals. One night one of the boys got so drunk he couldn't stand so the locals put him on his bike and placed a bunch of empty bottles around and took a picture. They then sent the picture to Life magazine and it ended up on the cover. Later Marlin Brando starred in a movie about the takeover of the town. And thus the motorcycle image was born. 

Enough of the History lesson. 

After leaving Hollister, and my new friend, I raced through San Francisco and back to Highway 1 and the mist. This of course took me right over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Golden Gate state park, which had some cool Cypress trees. I followed the coast and it's mist for a few hours until I finally made it to the Redwood forest. The first thing I did was drive my bike through a tree, I've got the picture to prove it. Now the Redwood forest is the dream ride for every motorcyclist. The road is smooth and well banked around the curves. While the day was blistering hot away from the coast, the forest canopy kept the road nice and cool. While twisting and turning around trees and up a mountain I think I saw a total of 5 cars. I had so much fun that when the forest ended I decided to skip the Oregon coast to travel a few extra miles in the forest. (I also saw why it is much safer to stay off the busy highways.. I don't know how they people are doing in this picture, but I would just have been in the way if I tried to help.) Eventually though the forest ended and I was near Interstate 5. I screamed up the freeway and was out of Oregon before I knew it. On Tuesday I was in Seattle with my Aunt Joan and Uncle Tim.

I began my exploration of the city underground. You see Seattle was a logging town on a very steep hill. It would seem that a long time ago the city of Seattle decided to raise the street level to keep from flooding every twelve hours with the tide. (This was a very bad thing especially if you tried to use an old fashioned gravity powered Crapper, Invented by Thomas Crapper in England. It seemed that if the tide was in and you flushed because you were below the water line the water would go the wrong way, often very forcefully.) Unfortunately they didn't raise the sidewalks. This left the first and sometimes the second and third floors of buildings under street level. For many years the city and businesses fought about who would raise the sidewalks. Meanwhile the residents had to use ladders to get to street level. Eventually the city convinced the businesses that they should build raised sidewalks. Conveniently leaving the ground floor levels of buildings underground. Of course this underground became a haven for the homeless, prostitutes, gambling halls, and speakeasies. That is until the many rats who also lived down there brought the plague. The underground was closed for many years and almost condemned until someone had the bright idea of charging tourists money to see the underside of the city. The underground may not be as impressive as Paris, but the tour guides are quite funny, especially my tour guide Penny. I highly recommend the tour to anyone in the area. 

And you thought I was done with the history lessons.

After the underground tour I took a trip to Mount Rainier. The one of the highest mountains in the continental US. I rode the bike up 6400 feet. (and me afraid of heights) There I found some great trails to walk and a whole bunch of people having snowball fights in the middle of summer. It was about 80 degrees out, but they get so much snow in the winter they still have piles of the stuff just laying around. I saw a cool lake at the bottom of a valley and walked the path down. It got a bit treacherous at times, especially with the snow, but when I got there it was worth the time. It was a very shallow lake so it reflected the scenery above just like a mirror. After that I continued up to Sunrise and walked some more paths. It's strange walking along a path covered in snow and seeing a guy walking around with shorts and no shirt. 

After Mount Rainier I hooked up with an old friend of my dad's, Dennis Cunneen. he took me for a nice flight around the Puget Sound area. It was pretty cool seeing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. You may remember that bridge that collapsed due to erroneous engineering. You can see it everyone once in a while on the Discovery Channel. We flew at about 2500 feet (there's that height thing again, what am I stupid) in a big circle around the Seattle area then back home. It was a beautiful day and you could see pretty much all the way to Canada. Plus all the mountains were visible. The hot dry weather I've been riding through may have sucked in Colorado, but for Seattle it really made things look good. The Cunneen's are great people, they love to fly and drive fast cars, but they didn't want to get a bike because that would be dangerous. Judy did want to pose on it to make her friends jealous.

Of course that wasn't all I did in Seattle. After dinner with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins my cousin Maureen and I found some guys Practicing their swordsmanship. They were members of a group called the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA for short. Basically these are people who bring the Medieval & Renaissance world back to life. I also went to a museum and wandered around the harbor area. Oh yeah and some trucking company was paying 3 million or so to fix a pavilion that a lost trucker knocked over. 

I had a great time in Seattle and my relatives were great, but I'd been hearing so much about this Banff place in Canada I had to go see it. The only problem was that I was due for a 10,000 mile service and I couldn't get it done in Seattle. So I bought a book and the fluids and junk and did most of it myself. I really meant to learn how to do this stuff during the school year or next summer, but it seems that I had to learn quick on the road. I eventually got the job done right in St. Paul, but I must have done a credible job because the bike ran great in Canada. I had also noticed that my bike wasn't running very well in the mountains. It didn't seem to be getting enough air. So I drilled a big hole in the back of my air cleaner cover. It actually worked great, at least at first. Until the extra air dirtied the filter and destroyed my gas mileage. Actually for the first 600 miles the gas mileage was better. It probably wasn't a good time to go experimenting with the carburetion, but at least I made it home. Just before getting to Canada I saw the strangest sight. I kept hearing the noise but thought at first it was some weird noise maker.

Banff Canada was a beautiful place, I was expecting absolute perfection from what everyone was telling me. To tell the truth it was pretty close. Western Canada, in the Rockies is a very beautiful place to visit. I don't think I would like to live there though, they tell me they had snow in July a few years ago. I spent a day going to the top of two different mountains. The first had an old weather station at the top. I decided not to make the 5 mile hike to the top, rather I took the gondola for $20 Canadian. the view was tremendous, but I couldn't believe that some crazy Canadian spent 30 years climbing the mountain to run the weather station. While some chipmunk I'm sure has only been there a year or so. The other mountain had a ski lodge, closed of course. It's kind of eerie walking the deserted ski slopes in the summer. I could just imagine the teeming hordes of people who would be there in the winter. I did take the opportunity to climb one of the ski lift machines to take a picture. 

Then of course riding around Canada and such I saw all kinds of animals. Like goats and big horned sheep, also a bird or two. They didn't even seem to care that I was riding around in a big loud Harley. There was even a campground along the way that had a herd of elk wandering around. I also found a pretty cool skate park in Banff and sat to watch the kids practicing there tricks

But probably the most interesting thing about Banff was the hoodoos. It seems that as the river wore away it's banks slowly over thousands of years some of the sides baked really well and turned as hard as concrete. Leaving these spires jutting into the sky. You could walk right up and touch them, but I think they are going to fall sometime soon. The tops may be hard as concrete but you can see in some of the pictures that many of the bottoms aren't as solid. I think wind and rain will eventually wear the bottom away and these hoodoos will fall.

Pretty much all of Canada is beautiful, (even the rest stops) but the people can be a bit strange. don't get me wrong, almost everyone I met in Canada were great. A simple hello often led to a twenty minute conversation and I don't really like to talk a lot. When I ran out of gas on the highway the 5th car to pass stopped. Then ran home got a can of gas and was back in less than 20 minutes. He would barely take a thanks much less a few bucks for the gas. The strange thing was when I went into a bars where you would think people would be more friendly it was the opposite. Most of the people I met in the three bars I went to were pretty rude. All except the French speaking fold from Quebec, and they are suppose to be the Canadians that dislike Americans the most. 

In Banff I felt my back brakes were feeling kind of funny. I was hanging out with an older couple drinking a cup of coffee when I mentioned this. (They had just bought a new bike this year and were enjoying it) The guy, Phil, gave me directions to the nearest Harley shop, in Calgary. He also gave me his cell phone number and told me to call if I had trouble, he work some magic and get me in. I didn't actually get in there, but we called another shop in Medicine Hat and they could fix what ever problem I had. See no one believed I have a problem because the pads were still good. When I got there I insisted that they take the pads off and bleed the system. It turns out that not only was I low on fluid, the pads were glazed and not working right. Its my bike and I know when it isn't working right. 

After Calgary Southern Canada is pretty flat and boring so I raced on through actually reaching speeds of almost 170. 

(That's Kilometers silly)

I turned South in Winnipeg so I could say I rode through North Dakota. Not that there was much there to see but a hail storm. I raced out of there quick before the golf ball size hail could find me. I even put the rain suit on for all of about 5 minutes. Then the rain ended and the temp went up to about 95. I made it to my Aunt Bev's house in Rochester just in time for dinner. I had called some shops in St. Paul and Rochester while in Winnipeg and had an appointment to service my bike for Saturday. On Sunday I registered for the Aids ride and Monday we left for Chicago, but you can read about that on the next page. Just click here.

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