My original plan had me headed west from Chicago after seeing the Grateful Dead. Plans changed. I was exhausted and in my haste I realized I had not packed well for a cross country adventure. So, I went back home to NYC.
No worries. Truth be told, I was having fun in NYC hanging with Jillian and friends. We went to a friend’s restaurant to celebrate Bastille Day!
I kept setting dates to get back on the road and for one reason or another I justified a postponement. If it’s not too hot NYC can be a place to hang. Here is a situation of a guy who definitely paints what he sees. There are naked people in the sun all over his painting!
This painter chose a shady setting with a less shady subject matter.
Another cool thing about NYC is the things you run into. Here is a model shoot by Bethesda Fountain.
But here’s my favorite model. Jillian took me to see the new Whitney Museum before I made my way West!
Donald Judd make for a nice frame.
Time was passing quickly. If I was going to get any motorcycle adventure going I had to go. Now it was do or die. The coast to coast ride was out of the question. But I’ve done it 6 times and ridden 48 states already. At this point there was just not enough time for #7. But one thing I’ve always been determined to do was to go to Sturgis 75! Me at 50 and Sturgis at 75. It seemed like two solid numbers that had to be united!
One last kiss and it was time to hit the road!
And he’s off!
So I am on my way. I couldn’t bare to take the same route as I did when going to Chicago, but I had to make time. So I took the Interstate but a different one than I had taken to see the Dead. At Harrisburg I shot north for my first night of camping at Clear Creek State Park. It was good to be back outdoors again!
I heard about a ghost town in Northwestern PA called Pithole City. It was the site of the first commercial oil well in the United States. More oil strikes nearby prompted Pithole’s population to rapidly increase to 20,000. Within 12 years time the oil was tapped. That and some raging fires dwindled Pithole to a ghost town status.
Here is a diorama of how Pithole looked in it’s heyday! Unfortunately for me there is nothing left but a small museum and impressions of some of it’s streets. Any evidence of it’s structures had long disintegrated or burned to ground.
The next day I crossed into Ohio. I took Route 244! I felt I had taken this road before. 244 seemed real familiar to me. The site of this grand old house confirmed it. I zipped passed it a few years ago heading East and neglected to take a photo of it. Not this time.
As I rolled through these old Ohio highways I realized there were no State Parks in the area. The only thing I could find was an off the beaten path private campground. In the past I haven’t done well at these types of places. Most are designed for RV’s. This one however had a great little tent spot right on their lake. It was like I was the only person there. So a thumbs up for Powell Creek Campgrounds.
And here’s it’s namesake, Powell Creek.
Last year I introduced Bonnie to Bonneville Dam in Oregon. This time around I notice a Bonneville Mill on the map. Or so I thought. My eyes aren’t as good as they once were. When I arrived at the mill I saw that it was actually Bonneyville Mill. It was still a nice stop on the journey.
I guess they put these red and white tape strips on the chromed out oil tanks to prevent people from taking selfies. I am not really sure why they do it. Anyone out there know?
On this night I was headed to Johnson Sauk Trail State Park to camp for the night. I had stayed here a few years back. It’s a really nice wooded campsite and only cost $8 for the night. On the way I saw some vintage machines in a nearby town.
I was taking photos of these beauties when a garage door open and a guy rolled out on a Bobcat. His name was Lynn and he invited me inside to see his man cave garage. Super cool! Inside he had it decorated with all sorts of automotive antiques. Also inside was this rare 1957 GMC Suburban. Beautiful!
We hung out and talked for a while. Turns out Lynn is headed to Sturgis too. See ya at the Chip Lynn!
And here is the campsite. Hammock heaven!
Someone didn’t finish their meal.
One of the coolest things at this park is an old round barn stable a farmer had made in 1910 for his Angus Beef herd.
I love riding cross country but for one thing. Storms. Further north there was a monster of a storm. I headed south to try to avoid it as I moved West. Unfortunately I still caught the tail end of it.
I finally crossed the Mississippi River a lot further South than I had planned.
As I entered Burlington Iowa, I figured I would have to change all my plans and set a new route West. It’s strange after leaving NYC I kept seeing the Statue of Liberty. There was one in the middle of a river in Harrisburg PA and here was another in Burlington Iowa.
Also in Burlington is Snake Alley the once recognized crookedest road in the States by Ripleys Believe it or Not.
I decided I could go North and resume my original plan. I was going to ride around this giant storm. On my was along the Mississippi I stopped by an ancient Native American mound site. They can be found up and down the Mississippi River valley.
Then came a genuine treat to my detour. If you’ve read this blog you know I love to visit places of historical significance. But this next stop would take me to a site of significance that wouldn’t come for another 300 plus years! Welcome to Riverside, Iowa, future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.
I moved North through Clinton, Iowa. I passed through this town once before to try some Flava Flav’s Fried Chicken only to find out it had already gone out of business.
I crossed the Mississippi again and headed up it’s East coast for a bit.
After a crazy day of zig zagging in all directions I was wiped out. Tonight I would get a hotel in Dubuque, Iowa. In the morning as I was packing up the bike, I noticed that my kickstand was glistening. Then I noticed a drip stain under the bike. Uh oh, something was leaking. Not cool.
I’d keep riding and hope it was a minor issue. I would then go to a magical place just outside of Dubuque. If you have seen the movie Field of Dreams then you know what I mean.
The movie set is kept in pristine condition just as it was in the movie.
Kids play baseball on the same field where Ray Liota emerged from the cornfields as Shoeless Joe Jackson outfielder for the disgraced 1919 White Sox team.
Also on this day Frank Dardis one of the ghost players from the movie was in attendance.
I continued on up the river but that oil drip was really started to worry me.
On this night I would camp out at Frontenac State Park just outside of Red Wing MN. I bought a quart of oil to keep it topped off as it leaked.
I figured in the morning I would go to a Triumph dealer in Minneapolis, but when I started up the bike that drip was nearly a pour. It was really spewing out and I couldn’t figure out the source. I also couldn’t loosen the cap to put more oil in. Luckily I caught Coach Ken as he was pulling out. Ken is a super nice guy, former teacher and football coach who happened to have a huge screwdriver that helped my pry that thing open. Thanks Ken.
I called a shop in Red Wing knowing I couldn’t make itand they said they could take me right away. It was just 10 miles away but with all that oil dripping I was afraid it might grease my rear tire and take me out. The problem could have been anything from the filter to a crack in the engine block. Lucky me, it was the filter. It ruptured. I was in and out of the shop in 15 minutes. Amazing! A big thanks to John at Red Wing Motorsports!
Then I could resume my real purpose for being in Red Wing. I was there to see the worlds largest boot!
The next stop is a place I’ve wanted to visit for a while. The Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota. The Runestone is a tablet discovered in Kensington that dates back to the 1300’s with Viking writings on it.
In the museum are also some creepy dioramas.
Outside they have some old homes, a school, a church and some cabins that were moved from their original locations.
The creepiest display of all was this one with a stuffed dog on a carpet. But it was good to finally see the Runestone.
I zipped across Minnesota and camped out at Roy Lake in South Dakota.
I got a beautiful spot right on the lake. Very nice.
From here I had one last stop before Sturgis. I wanted to visit Sitting Bull’s grave. So I crossed the Missouri River and paid a visit to one of the greatest Native American leaders of all time.
Sitting Bull’s grave overlooking the Missouri River.
Now it’s Sturgis time!