Steve's Big Adventure
Day 11 - June 3
Start Time: 7:45 a.m.
Finish Time: 4:35 p.m.
Todays Mileage: 386
Accumulated Miles: 6295
Stop for the Night: HARRISBURG, PA.
John and I took off about 7:45 a.m. We stopped in Beacon, New York for breakfast, gassed up and then headed our separate ways. John headed to Raleigh, NC and I'm going to visit my sister in Harrisburg, PA. for the weekend. I'm a day ahead of schedule but decided to hurry to Harrisburg because severe thunderstorms are forcast for later in the day and I've just had it with RAIN! I did decide to stop at Orange County Choppers in Newburgh, New York. If you are unaware of OC Choppers, they build custom motorcycles and are known for the interesting father/son relationship on this cable reality show. Ok, I watch this stuff when I'm bored! Got an OC Choppers T-Shirt. I arrived in Mechanicsburg, P.A. about 5:00 p.m., made arrangements for another oil change and checked into a hotel. As I pulled up to the hotel the sky opened up and it started to rain. Another relatively low mileage day.
I'll stay in Mechanicsburg(outside of Harrisburg) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Any bike movement will be local driving and the bike service at "Velocity Cycles" in Mechanicsburg. I will really start moving fast on Monday morning (June 7) as my plan is to be in Key West on Tuesday and New Orleans by Thursday. Look for a lot of miles and a fast moving bike on Monday.
Day 12 - 14 June 4 - 6
NO TRAVEL THIS WEEKEND. SPEND WEEKEND WITH FAMILY & TAKE BIKE IN FOR SERVICE.
Start Time: NO TRAVEL UNTIL MONDAY, JUNE 7.
Weekend Mileage: 70
Accumulated Mileage: 6365
Stop for the Nights: MECHANICSBURG, PA
Hanging out in Mechanicsburg the next few days so any riding will be local. Headed out to Velocity Cycles for an oil change, and as promised they got me right in and out. They even cleaned some of the bugs the rain didn't remove. I hung out in the show room while the bike was being serviced and talked to Renee Tyson. Initially she ignored me because I was wearing a Harley shirt and she's selling Hondas. When she realized I was on a Honda we started talking. Renee was interested in my USA ride and pulled up the web site. Yep... the GPS showed the bike in their garage...
I took a ride to a Ford Mustang show at the Carlisle fairgrounds. Saw a storm coming so I headed back to the hotel... pouring now.
Rained again in the afternoon and supposed to rain during the weekend. Stephanie flew in for the weekend.
Saturday went to Boiling Spring and walked their Founders Day festival.
Sunday going to the Govenor's mansion to see a botantical display.
Monday it's back on the road to KEY WEST, corner number 4! I should be there in 2 days. I expect to make good time (providing little or no rain) with a 2 hour stop in Summerfield, N.C. area to have dinner with friends.
Day 15 - June 7
Start Time: 6:30 a.m.
Finish Time: 11:45 p.m.
Todays Mileage: 706
Accumulated Miles: 7071
Stop for the Night: WALTERBORO, SOUTH CAROLINA
Got up early and headed to Gettysburg to meet Steve Meadows. He finished his cooking school at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, NY. We met at Battlefield Harley and moved south to Summerfield North Carolina where we were to meet friends who had moved there from California about 4 years ago. We got there about 2:30 p.m. and was only going to spend a few hours. By the time Kevin finished cooking steaks on the BBQ we didn't leave until almost 6:30 p.m. We had fun catching up with Kevin, Dianne, Jessa and Kelly and they have a terrific life in Summerfield. Thanks for the great dinner! We'll miss you guys. Steve and I continued to ride together for a few hours then he headed southwest to New Orleans and I went southeast to Florida toward Key West. I rode to Walterboro, SC and called it a night about 11:46 p.m. It was about 77 degrees at night and very humid.
Day 16 - June 8
Start Time: 6:08 a.m.
Finish Time: 12:30 a.m.
Todays Mileage: 872
Stop for the Night: KEY LARGO, FLA.
Now this was a long and important day. I got up early after going to bed late. I hit the road at about 6:00 a.m. It was 66 degrees and humid. By 8:30 it was in the mid 80's and eventually rose to 91 degrees and VERY humid. I rode the rest of South Carolina and the length of Florida. When I got to Miami I hit heavy traffic and tollrods that only took pre-paid passes. That caused for some interesting manuevering. I went east bound a few miles and picked up a road that led me to the Keys. As I left Miami I hit moderate rain. as I approached the Keys I hit heavy rain I hadn't seen the likes of since Olympia, WA. The only problem was there were K-rails on both side of the road. No stopping here. About 15 minutes later it cleared and I was is Key Largo, the beginning of the 100 mile stretch to Key West. I shed the rain gear since wearing it was like wearing a plastic bag. It keeps you dry, but oh my, the humidity! I got about 25 miles from Key West and ran into another rider at a stop light. The speeds are 45-50 mph so its a 3 hr. drive to Key West. This guy, Dave Allen followed me to the gas station where I found out he lived in Ventura, California and starting the 4 Corners tour in the morning. He just made it to Key West himself but decided to make this his first corner. When he took off his helmet and got off the bike I said to myself, "this guy looks like hell!" Then I realized when I looked in the mirror, I looked worse. I did the obligatory gas fill-up, filled out some paperwork, and headed to the post office. Dave helped me take a few pictures and I mailed my final envelope. The USA 4 Corners is in the history books! Done! What a wonderful trip.
Now just 3000 , miles home!
I probably spoke to soon. It was 3 hours back to Miami and the clouds were rolling in. I had about an hour of sunlight left. I bid Dave good luck and headed out, though I really wanted to stick around, and have something cold to drink with Dave. I started seeing tons of lighteninng in front of me and stopped at a gas station for a snack and drink. This was a fast food/gas station and I chatted with a talkative 375 lb. cook for about 40 minutes. He made me a piece of chicken and I decided to move forward. I drove about 10 miles and it was now dark. I could see the stretches of bridges and land on my GPS. I was a little concerned crossing the bridges during rain, but it hadn't started yet. As I approached a 3 mile bridge a saw large drops hit my windshield and I felt the wind kick up. I decided to turn back to a restaurant/bar I remembered seeing 1/2 mile back. As I made the U-Turn it hit like a wall. Torential wind, rain, lightening, thunder. I rode 1/2 mile back parked under a patio cover and glad I made the right decision. I had to wait about an hour where I an ice cold beer to celebrate common sense. The local patrons turned and looked at my soaked rain gear. I must have looked terrific!. They went back to drinking. I remember watching a little of the Boston/LA game. Lakers were ahead. I headed out for Miami when my PDA showed the worst I would hit was some light rain along the way. The yellow and red weather on the PDA was passing through. Probably the oddest feeling was crossing 3-7 mile bridges between "keys" and seeing lightening all around and no land. I was in the middle of the ocean. Very lonely. I got to Key Largo a few hours later and checked into a hotel. Long day, long night. 4 Corners complete!
Day 17 - June 9
Start Time: 8:50 a.m.
Finish Time: 12:15 a.m.
Todays Mileage: 966
Accumulated Miles: 8037
Stop for the Night: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
This may not have been the lengthiest day on the road but it was one of the more hot and humid days. I started in Key Largo, Florida and drove to New Orleans today... 966 miles. By mid morning it was over 93 degrees and HUMID. I took route 41 through the Everglades because I thought there was a better chance of seeing crocs and alligators. It was a relatively quiet and rural road but I think I may have seen the top of one croc. Not sure... very disappointing! I was on this road for a few hours. I think they hid them or they're all belts, shoes, and purses. The ride was very nice though... pretty clear skies. My friend Steve made it to New Orleans early that day. I decided to make it that night in hopes of having a cold drink before bed. I gained an hour on the ride so technically I arrived at 11:15 p.m. but since that doesn't actually reflect real riding time I don't change times until the next day. When I arrived I checked into a very cool, old style hotel, blocks from Bourbon Street. I met up with Steve and we walked to Bourbon St. We ordered a cold bee, then had a Hurricane and I had a slice of pizza. The streets were crowded. Don't these people have to work tomorrow? Quite the party place. I then ordered a "Hurricane." Kind of a slushy thing with rum. It tasted very good considering the long ride and heat. It was still around 90 degrees. We headed back to the hotel and hit the rack. Tomorrow I would tour New Orleans a little and head out the following day with Steve M.
Day 18 - June 10
Start Time: NO TRAVEL DAY
Todays Mileage: 34
Accumulated Miles: 8071
Stop for the Night: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Steve M. and I got up and had a little breakfast at the very southern hotel. We then roade to New Orleans Harley where I picked up a local shirt. On our way back... about 11 a.m. now and it was already in the 90's and very humid, we found the 9th Ward... the area that got flooded. I took a bunch of pictures but we never stopped as it wasn't the kind of place I felt real safe. It was very run down and lots of locals out walking around. Not far from here was the super dome and snapped a picture of it. From news reports it appeared that all of New Orleans was under water. In realty, very little of New Orleans was devastated like the 9th Ward. It's a very large city. We went back to the hotel, walked around the shops and cooled off in the pool. Had some cajun seafood stuffed in bell peppers and alligator for an appetizer for dinner... Hit the rack for an early start tomorrow. Steve M. and I were headed home. We would ride home together.
Day 19 - June 11
Start Time: 6:30 a.m.
Finish Time: 7:45 p.m.
Todays Mileage: 786
Accumulated Miles: 8857
Stop for the Night: OZONA, TEXAS (about 250 miles west of San Antonio)
It was a long, hot, humid ride today. I rode with Steve M. today and planned on riding with him back to California. Temperatures reached 94 degrees with some periodic cloud cover to provide some relief. Texas is a long State and it was a fairly uneventful today, just a LOOONG hot ride. I think I remember seeing a sign that said El Paso, 856 miles. We Hit OZUNA in the early evening and stopped at a Holiday Inn Express. Got a bite to eat, updated this site and going to hit the rack. Early start at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow. Going to make it to Tucson on Saturday and be home for dinner on Sunday. At least that's the plan for now. Looks like this will be very close to a 10,000 mile journey.
Day 20 - June 12
Start Time: 5:40 a.m.
Finish Time: 5:45 p.m.
Todays Mileage: 707
Accumulated Miles: 9564
Stop for the Night: TUCSON, ARIZONA
Steve M. and I got off to an early start knowing we were relatively close to home. We were starting a few hundred miles west of San Antonio. We knew it was going to be a warm and humid day so an early start was important if were were going to knock out 700 miles. We weren't into the ride for more than an hour when the winds started kicking up right after sunrise. The winds were gusty rather than consistent which required paying a great deal of attention to riding. It wasn't long after they started where they got to a critical point of safe or not safe. We later estimated the gusts had to be close to 60 mph. The winds remained with us about 80% of the day, some areas worse than others, but usually 90 degress to the road. In the worst location they had the wind/energy fans spinning in the distance in the middle of Texas. They clearly knew where the wind was. It was sort of eerie as the clouds were passing very low right above us. The winds were 90 degrees to the road. Throughout the day we were surrounded by dust funnels, some in the distance and one crossed in front of us creating zero visibility. There were many signs saying "zero visibility possibility." Absent the dust, visibilty was usually 50 or so miles. I later checked the forecast in Deming, Texas and I found there was the possibility of thunderstorms, hail, and 70 mph winds in central and southern Texas later in the day. Well, they were right about the wind.
We ended the day logging 707 miles in Tucson. We checked into a hotel and went to a great restaurant called Sullivans. Filet, shrinp cocktail, salad... the best part of the day. Steve M. and I celebrated our safe arrival.
Day 21 - June 13
Start Time: 5:45 a.m.
Finish Time: 1:50 p.m.
Todays Mileage: 502
Accumulated Miles: 10,066
Stop for the Night: HOME!
Steve M. and I got an early start knowing we would be home today. The weather was great, started in the mid 60's though Palm Springs got into the mid 90's. Fortunately it was a desert heat unlike the humidity in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. It was an easy 8 hour and comfortable ride home. Pulled in at 1:50 p.m. Good to be home!
Thanks to those of you who helped raise money for Crusin' for a Cure prostate cancer awareness and research. You have helped to bring awareness to many people who otherwise may not have learned of this disease through the efforts of any people at Crusin' for a Cure.
I appreciate the many Guest Comments and numerous e-mails of support before, during, and after the ride.
Below I've listed some statistics associated with the ride you may find interesting...
T O U R F A C T S:
Type of motorcycle used: 2008, Honda Goldwing
Size of motor: 1832 cc
Gas tank size: 6.5 gallons
Weight of motorcycle (unloaded): 865 lbs.
Length of trip: 21 days
Days riding: 17 days (1 day stop Chicago, 2 days stop Harrisburg, PA. 1 day stop New Orleans)
Distance to complete 4 Corners: 7700 miles
Distance traveled to complete tour including travel home from Key West, FL: 10,066 miles
Days taken to complete 4 Corners Tour: 16 days
Riding days to complete Tour: 13 days
Gas stops: 70
Lowest temperature: 41 degrees
Highest temperature: 95 degrees
Longest day of riding: 18 hours, 22 minutes
Longest time riding in rain: 13 hours
Longest distance traveled in 1 day: 966 miles
Highest per gallon cost: 3.799 per gallon (Bakersfield, Ca.)
Number of gallons purchased: 275.7
Average miles per gallon: 36.513
Total cost of fuel: $854.10