Day 21 – Back Home

In the morning, Sandy made a wonderful breakfast for me before I left to go to the bike dealer.

I arrived at the dealer at 9:00 am and they finished the 18K checkup by 3 pm.   I went out for a snack and lunch and answered a few emails whenever I had access to WiFi.

We inspected the tires and the mechanic suggested that we postpone the tire replacement because they looked like they would still be good for a few thousand miles.

After paying for the bill, I left Cleveland and headed home.   I only took a few short breaks and I was home by 7:15 pm.   I unpacked, cleaned up the bags and the bike, sorted things out, checked my mail, had supper from the food that my sister left me ( thanks Sis ) and then took a much needed shower.  All I have to do tomorrow is trim my hair (both of them) and shave and I will almost be presentable again.

After 8536 km (5335 miles), 414 liters (110 US gal) of gas costing $445 Dollars (US) at a gas mileage of 4.82 l/100km (48.8 mpg) my trip has finally come to and end.

I want to take the time to thank everyone again for helping me make this a very enjoyable and memorable trip.   I saw a lot of interesting sights, did a lot of different things and met a lot of wonderful people along the way but what made the trip special for me, was the fact that I was able to visit with some great friends along the way and I had the support of an awesome family and wonderful friends back home.    Thank you to all.

I read a saying in the ” Panera Bread ” diner in Columbus that more or less describes my adventure and it goes like this :

” Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail ” which is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Where one adventure ends, another one begins.

To be continued.

Day 20 – Louisville to Cleveland

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I didn’t have very far to ride in order to get to Cleveland, so I took my time in the morning and finally left La Grange, Kentucky ( ~ 30 miles east of Louisville ) and continued my northeasterly trek.

I rode through Cincinnati, before stopping for lunch on my way through Columbus, Ohio at one of my favourite places to eat, Panera Bread.

I resumed my journey to Cleveland, while observing the landscapes, dead critters and ‘ of course ‘ tire debris along the way and considered what I would do when I reached Cleveland. My thoughts were to find a place to stay about 60 minutes from the BMW dealer and then leave at about 8 am the following morning to get there for my 9 am appointment. I realized that I would arrive there by 4 pm and it would give me time to visit some more unsuspecting friends, impose myself on them, trash there house and then leave before they kicked me out. Pete and Kathy were warned well in advance that I would be in the area and they had some flimsy excuse that they would be in Haiti, helping to rebuild houses from hurricane damage, so that I couldn’t visit with them. All of the other unsuspecting people I visited weren’t given enough time to vacate! With this in mind, I decided to make some calls when I reached the rest stop on I71 just before it connects to the I271. When I called Rob Swim’s cell number, there was no answer, so I tried the home number, before Rob had a chance to tell Sandy not to answer, but being the wonderful, caring ( and unsuspecting ) person that she is, she answered in her normal cheery voice and invited me to stop by. An hour later I reached there house and I had a wonderful time visiting with them and getting to know Lauren, Eric and Connor, as well as their ‘ sucky ‘ dog ( Sandy’s description, not mine! ), Bailey. They had planned to go see a movie, which is something I haven’t done in a long time, so after we had supper, I went with them. Lauren saw the new ‘ Monsters Inc ‘ movie and the rest of us went to see ‘ World War Z ‘ starring Brad Pit. After the movie we, visited a little longer before going to bed.

Ron & Sandy with Bailey.

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Day 19 – Cabot to Louisville

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This trip has reinforced the fact that I am fortunate to be blessed by a wonderful family and friends.

I just found out that my family and my neighbour, who is nice enough to mow my lawn while I’m gone ( and it’s a big lawn), took it upon themselves to replace the mower belt that had broken on my lawn tractor while I have been gone. I had neglected the replacement of the belt because I had ‘ assumed ‘ that it would last for quite some time yet, or at least until I get back. But we all know what happens when you ‘ assume ‘. Oops! Sorry guys ( and gals ) ! I owe you big time!

Also, all of the friends that I have visited, have humbled me with their hospitality and generosity. Although the bar has been set very high, hopefully some day I can return the favours ( notice that my phone automatically corrects to the Canadian spelling of words ). I have been wined and dined to the max! Last night and this morning were excellent examples of the top notch treatment I have received. Don and Carey made me feel ‘ at home ‘ by showing me ‘ good ole ‘ southern hospitality. They are excellent ambassadors for Arkansas.

After a relaxing sleep, I got up early, had a good breakfast, a short visit, we said our goodbyes and I left refreshed and ready for the upcoming ride.

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I headed northeast through Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Bowling Green and Louisville, before stopping for the night, 30 miles east of Louisville, Kentucky. I have driven this route several times before and I enjoy the scenery of the rolling hills covered with trees.

The temperature reached 32 C ( 90 F ) before I reached Memphis and stayed there until I reached Louisville, where I was refreshed by a little bit if rain which cooled down the temperature significantly but it was short- lived and I was completely dry 10 minutes later.

There were more dead animals on the road….an armadillo, a fox, deer and some unrecognizable animals, but the most common one was the dead tire. They’re everywhere. I’m going to have to invest in tires because there are a lot to be replaced. Even my bike tires that I have only had for a year, need to be replaced.

I passed into the eastern time zone about 50 miles southwest of Louisville, so I lost an hour of daylight travel time. However, I covered a lot of distance even though Charlotte, my GPS, ‘ recalculated ‘ my route several times. According to her, it is 320 miles and will take 5 hours of driving time to get to the Cleveland BMW dealer for my appointment on Monday morning to replace the tires and give the bike its scheduled tuneup.

Day 18 – Wichita to Cabot

Friday, June 21, 2013

I left Wichita at 7 am and headed east. The flat terrain gradually gave way to rolling hills and larger trees.

There were several small dead critters on the road including armadillos and truck tires. I have see lots of dead animals on the road before but never armadillos.

I also noticed that many of the farmers were harvesting their Spring wheat and I saw two wild turkeys in one of the fields…2 more than I saw during the entire turkey hunting season back home!

I arrived in Joplin Missouri, around lunchtime and grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading south towards Little Rock, Arkansas.

The temperature climbed quickly and it had reached 32 C ( 90 F ), so it was best to keep moving although I was still very warm at 75 mph.

The Ozark mountains are are not as high as some mountains but they are still impressive. I never tire of riding through the mountains. The are mostly covered with large trees and the areas that have no trees are covered with lush grass.

I reached Cabot, Arkansas at 4:30 pm and stopped at my friends, Don at Carey Woods’ house for a visit. Don gave me the option of salmon, pork tenderloin or chicken for supper. That’s better than most restaurants. I chose the salmon and Don prepared it for us on his BBQ smoker, together with tossed salad, steamed vegetables, corn and strawberry shortcake for desert. It was absolutely delicious. Don and I make a good team. He likes to cook and I like to eat!

After supper, we spent a relaxing evening, comparing our latest trips and catching up on the latest news, until late into the evening. When I did go to bed, I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Day 17 – Wichita

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No travelling today. I spent the day in meetings at the Oxy plant in Wichita, to review the safety of large storage vessels for flammable materials, in this case, horizontal tanks ( aka bullets ) containing Methyl Chloride.
The people were very nice and the review went well.

I am impressed with Wichita. The people were all very friendly. The terrain is still relatively flat but there are more trees than West Kansas. There are no tall buildings blocking the view of the landscape and the homes and office buildings all were well maintained and manicured.

We had a wonderful meal at a very nice restaurant and we went to bed early because Don & Ron needed to catch the 6 am flight back to Buffalo ( via Atlanta ) and I wanted to get an early start for my 7 hr ride to Cabot Arkansas.

Day 16 – Hays to Wichita

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I left Hays after breakfast and headed further west to Salina and then south to Wichita. I stopped for brunch shortly before arriving at the hotel. I checked in, cleaned up the bike from all of the bug carcasses and road film and then went for a much needed workout before taking a shower and waiting for the other team members to arrive for our meeting tomorrow.

There are a few things that I wasn’t aware of before this trip. There were a number of oil pumping units along the interstate highways in most of the states I drove through, especially Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas. I didn’t realize there was so much oil in these states. There was a Suncor refinery on I270 in Denver that Sauro ( who retired from the company ) hadn’t told me about. There were a lot of windmills in most of the states but nowhere as many as in Kansas, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering the amount of wind they have. There were thousands ( or at least it seemed that way ) in the area between Hays and Salina. The windmill farms stretched for many miles.

The weather here is warm and sunny with little wind and the forecast indicates that it will stay that way for the next few days.

Day 15 – Hays, Kansas

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More flat terrain greeted me as I left Limon Colorado. It was so flat that I could almost see South Dakota to the north, Missouri to the east and Texas to the south.

I lost an hour as I crossed into Kansas and entered the Central Time Zone. I rode for several hours before stopping in Hays, Kansas for gas and something to eat. At the gas station, I noticed the Ramada Inn, next to it, advertising $49.99/ room/night, so I decided to stay there. I only have a 3 hour ride left to get to Wichita and the weather prediction for tomorrow is warm and sunny.

In viewing the vast crop fields along the highway, they are green but the stunted crop growth would suggest that they could use some water. I haven’t seen many trees in Kansas, just miles of field crops.

Wednesday, I will be going to Wichita to attend a meeting on Thursday, before heading home.