2012 Cancer Took Me For The Ride Of My Life

May of 2012 brought with it news of a serious illness, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The cancer won’t let you ever forget

The chemo won’t let you remember 

The lumps I had discovered in October 2011 near my groin were tested by Ultra sound or whatever the device is they use to look at babies in the womb, you know the gel and the slick surface sliding around looking inside you. Any way I was told it was infection in my lymph nodes due to a recent appendectomy and prescribed antibiotics.

In November 2011 I had suffered an injury to my neck and underwent testing to see if there was damage to my discs. Those results noted, in addition to the disc damage a mystery lump in the front of my neck. Noted as not fully viewed, incomplete view as an additional note. A possible goiter of 2.5 cm. I was tested for thyroid levels and prescribed a drug to correct the slightly off levels that may help with the “goiter”.

May of 2012 was my follow-up from my November visit. The look on the doctors face said it all when I complained about the lump on my neck not getting any smaller and actually getting larger. Nurse! called the doctor. Get Rick over to a specialist to look at his throat.

The lump had grown to 9 cm. I was sent for an EKG and other test to see if I could survive a surgery to possibly put in a Traciatmy or and remove the growth. But first a biopsy, fine needle type. while I lay on the table after the biopsy told not to move . I can hear the clink of glass vials and a stirring sound and another doctor that I can’t remember his name came in and while this is all happening I can hear the doctor on a phone call saying medical terms and  decimal point readings, that I have no idea of what  the meaning is. I was not told anything other than my doctor would be in contact with me about my results.

This was a Friday at the end of May and was a long weekend due to Memorial day everything was closed on Monday. By the time I arrived at my home after the biopsy the throat specialist had called my house and left a message on my machine. I listened to the message that said: Rick our office will be closed on Monday but we need to see you on Tuesday first thing in the morning to test for cancer in other parts of your body. That was it I had not been told by anyone that I had cancer and still wasn’t sure but I was pretty sure that this means I have cancer and they want to look further to see the full extent of the cancer but I don’t know if it means that this was not cancer in my neck but they wanted to look in other areas of my body for cancer. I just didn’t know and the doctor’s office had closed for the long weekend. You see this long weekend is kind of big deal here, there is a little race called the Indianapolis 500. This would be one I won’t forget.  Yet I can’t recall what I did this weekend what so ever.

Finding out you have Cancer is bad enough but not knowing for sure may be worse but you still have hope.

Tuesday I walked into the specialist office, that had left the message on Friday. Immediately the doctor started apologizing for the message because he thought I already knew it was cancer in my neck. Sorry we thought that your family doctor would have told you.

After a PET Scan and an introduction to the oncologist I was told what type of cancer I had and that the good news is, that the type I have is very treatable but there is bad news. Whats the bad news, I asked. We have to check your bone marrow to make sure it is not in your marrow. Hop up on this table. Now here? Yes it won’t hurt too much if you hold still. A doctor and two nurses to hold me down. Good job Doc, not as bad as I expected. What are your plans for the rest of the day? asked the oncologist. I don’t have any plans. By this point I was consumed with anxiety about what the future was going to be like for me and my family. Go check yourself into the hospital right now. We need to start treatment as soon as possible.

This was the beginning of the journey of my lifetime.

I can’t begin to tell you how many thoughts run through your head the emotional ones, the rational ones. Why me? how, what could I have done different and making sure all your affairs are in order, then reality of the treatments and the illness itself takes hold of you and you calmly succumb to the drugs and the poison that while it’s killing the cancer it’s slowly killing good cells as well.

I remember family and friends rallying around me. Praying for me and encouraging me to be strong. I remember the strength Carla showed and the sadness she was feeling, even though she always put on a positive front. I remember thinking after the first treatment, this is not so bad I feel ok lets go for a ride. And ride we did. Riding is the best therapy for the mind there is. You become consumed with the clutch, the gears, the curves and the grade of the pavement that for a short time you forget all about the cancer.

If you’re not living you’re dying 

2012 Sturgis1

I don’t know where I read that but it’s the truth. Stay busy living and you won’t think about dying. It’s what we all do every day. Because in reality we are all going to die and during our life we keep busy with life and living that we never think about dying. Having said that: After your told you have a serious life threatening illness you tend to think about death more.

I would have to take 6 treatments of a Chemo called R-CHOP. The side effects included hair loss and all the other usual suspects with many Chemo therapies. Memory or Chemo Brain, nerve damage, Immune system weakness, possible heart damage. Just to name a few. My treatment would be intravenous in the Oncologist office every three weeks with blood test and scans thrown in to check progress and organ function. If the blood test didn’t make the cut for the correct levels I could not get the next treatment until my blood count was back up. I carried a note with me every place I went with instructions for medical personnel to follow incase my fever went over 101.5f I would need a blood transfusion. Infection would be more likely to kill me than the cancer at this point because basically the Chemo was destroying my immune system. I was told to stay out of the sun as much as possible and to avoid eating fruits and things that could not be peeled like blue berries or strawberries and buffet style dining.

Infection was my enemy as much as the cancer at this point. I was not as cautious about the food I ate and the places I would eat as I should have been. But I survived.

While all this was going on Carla would not let me slow down or give in, she would say it’s a nice day you know the doctor said you should stay active. And off we would go riding and sightseeing. Every doctors visit went the same the doctor would ask me how I was feeling tell me about my blood count and ask me if I still planned on going on my Sturgis trip in August. My answer was always the same, I feel fine and yes I plan on going to Sturgis in August. You should rethink your plans, you are going to be to tired to ride that far. You are going to suffer from fatigue and it’s going to be out in the middle of no where then what? the doctor asked me. I am fine I would say. This went on every visit and every treatment session until one day my door told me that if I didn’t change my plans she would make it so I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to go period. Wow she is serious! So we compromised that if I would agree to trailer my bike out to Sturgis I would be ok to ride while I was out there and we could still make the trip as planned.

So trailer we did.

This is the shirt I wore every year on the ride out. Ooopps!

IMG_0223

$100.00 for every 100 miles traveled in fuel when I could do this entire trip and only spend $350. for fuel on the bike. Details of the trip are foggy. It is strange the things I do remember are things I would not normally remember from a trip. I don’t remember concerts or musical acts or places we rode to. I am sure we did all the must see while in Sturgis I have a few pictures from the trip no where near the picture we would normally take. I remember Marco running into the back of a guys Harley and later falling over and sliding down an embankment. I remember meeting the tallest woman I ever met before. I remember driving home and struggling with the fatigue the doctor warned me about.

After returning from Sturgis I was at my 5th treatment and it was starting to get the best of me. This is when I thought: This is what it feels like to die. I could barely get off of the sofa. Eating became a chore. Family and friends would make food for me and bring it by the house. I swear to you that beef stew may have saved my life. I ate the stew and came back from the dead. I was ready to take my last treatment and keep fighting.

The best words I ever heard

Your scan looks beautiful!

When I heard those words it was like the weight was lifted. All in all we hardly slowed down a bit. I think staying active helped a great deal. Riding is the best therapy for me and always has been.

After surviving the cancer and the Chemo we started planing some bucket list trips and thats what we have been doing since. In 2013 we went southwest and in 2014 we went northwest. Those trips will be more interesting and nice to look at with the use of the GoPro and locations other than Sturgis.

Life is made up of peaks and valleys
this time of my life was a valley
Life after Chemo is a peak
We have been riding high every since

 

Advertisements
Categories: cancer, Harley Davidson, Motorcycle, Sturgis, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Evel Knievel’s® Terrifying Failed Jump to be Attempted at Sturgis Buffalo Chip®

This is wild!!

BIKERS BULLSEYE

Circle Logo Black backgroud

Evel’s® broken bones X-rays, skycycle rocket, jump bikes and other curiosities will be part of Evel Knievel Thrill Show

  IMG_1480

Doug Danger on Evel Knievel’s 1972 Harley Davidson XR-750 at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip.

Sturgis, SD (January 6, 2015) – The name Evel Knievel is synonymous with daredevil. He was the undisputed king of stunt showmanship–the man who made motorcycles fly. He enthralled audiences with his nonchalance as he faced death-defying exploits that left him with a record-breaking number of fractured or crushed bones, a permanent limp and the adoration of millions. This August, the spirit of Knievel® will come to life at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip in a spectacular thrill show unlike any organized before. The Evel Knievel Thrill Show will consist of the largest collection of Evel Knievel curiosities ever assembled, including the Skycycle, x-rays of his numerous broken bones, the now famous “Sports Illustrated” leathers and cape, and…

View original post 556 more words

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2011 Sturgis I Finally Found My Photos

2011 would be Carla’s first trip to Sturgis and my second time. The plan was like that of last year. Meet in Indianapolis and leave early on Friday morning and make it to Sioux City, Iowa 740 miles.

408278_239408952797688_619404309_n

This was our group minus two guys from Ohio that are coming in the morning with a trailer pulling their bikes. After some drinks and dinner some went to the hotel and some went to their homes until early in the morning.

This would be Diana’s first ride to Sturgis but she has ridden for almost 20 years and also a subject of one of my earlier posts. https://harleytravelsandtips.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/life-is-to-short/ The year before, I went with Ken and Jon who have been out to Sturgis several times. Dave and Greg I had just met this evening before we left.


The next morning Carla and I are up early and ready to go. Diana has left her house and is on the way to the hotel where the others are preparing and waiting on us. Carla and I meet Diana at the hotel and I can tell by the look on her face the others had over slept. Ken, Jon, Dave and Greg had just started moving while Diana, Carla and I are saddled up and ready to go.

286701_2110742739477_1752190_o

Diana looking like she is ready to go and a little pissed that the others are dragging ass. There is a story about a shower shoe (flip flop) found in the lobby of the hotel, lost by a drunk member of our group. That flip flop made us late thats all I know. We finally had everyone ready to ride except the guys from Ohio with the truck and trailer. They are on the way “about 10 minutes out” Ken shouts. About is the key word here. Thirty to forty five minutes later the truck arrives. This was good to know we had a chase vehicle just in case. The only thing was the truck took off before we did and stayed out front most of the time only a phone call away. Why did we wait for them again? I never have figured that one out.

Finally we get on the road and covered some ground, we did make it to Sioux City, Iowa around 9:00 pm Friday evening. Some where west of Des Moines, Iowa it rained on us and it rained hard. So hard cars and trucks pulled off interstate 80. The rain didn’t last long and we rode it out and regrouped after it had stopped raining.

photo 1

2011-08-05_19-07-41_724

We also had a minor gasoline issue. When you are out in corn country sometimes the best octane you can get is 89. Keep in mind that some of the stretches of road out west of Des Moines has few places to fuel so when you can, you fill up. Only one of us refused to put 89 octane in his bike, Greg! You have to it’s all you can get. Nope I will wait until the next stop I have plenty of gas Greg says. You will never guess what happens next. Yes thats right we had to stop so Greg could get some fuel and it was 8 miles off of the interstate and yes it was 89 octane. This is what makes it a journey and not just a ride.


The second day started off much better and it would be a bitter sweet day because we knew that Diana was going to peel off from our group and make her way down to Custer, South Dakota where she was going to stay. The rest of us would be heading to the Legendary Buffalo Chip.

45949_152077768138698_4990057_n

Closer and closer only 3 or 4 fuel stops until we make it to Sturgis. More bikes than cars on the road the closer you get to Sturgis. Bikes of all shapes and sizes all makes and models. you start seeing grandmothers riding a trike with a Chevy 350 V8 motor, you see a dad on a Ultra then the mom on a Street Glide and the daughter on a Softail and baby brother of this family on a Sporster with a side car, all matching in black, the family rides. We had made good time and started getting thirsty near New Underwood, SD, population 660. Good thing there is a biker bar in New Underwood and it’s only 48 miles from Sturgis.

300561_2241300923350_2083092935_n

It is small but it’s a good one. Cold beer, shirts for sell and a stripper pole, what else can you ask for. If my memory serves me correctly this is where we say goodbye to Diana. We will see her a few times while we are in Sturgis and she will ride back to Indianapolis with us.


 During the week in Sturgis we did plenty of riding and partying!

2011-08-10_13-13-05_68

You can even buy this whole town of Scenic

Scenic SD For Sale

Different strokes for different folks.
We ride a loop out through the corner of Montana and back towards Devils Tower.

2011-08-10_14-49-54_569

Hulett Wyoming on Wednesday serves free ham and beans to everyone who wants it.
By the way it is also no panties Wednesday.

2011-08-10_17-02-42_735

You have to visit Aladdin Population-15 and all 15 sitting outside watching the bikes rumble passed.

2011-08-10_17-39-14_11

2011-08-10_17-42-12_720

On to the Stone House Saloon.
The entire place is covered with autographs from all over the globe.

2011-08-10_18-31-37_703

The girls meet Boner the skeleton.

2011-08-10_19-15-49_330

Out towards Pactola Lake on the way to Iron Mountain and Needles Highway.

2011-08-11_11-48-36_119

2011-08-11_11-46-43_469

Needles and Iron Mountain

Nice View

Friends Patty, Don and Diana from Indiana with Carla and I.

Gang

Needles

Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain 2

Mount Rushmore view

Mt Rushmoore

Now on down the road to Keystone and Deadwood

Main street Deadwood SD

Hoosiers in Deadwood 10 am

2011-08-11_10-50-36_421

End the day at the Buffalo Chip for concerts and a party
My 2011

2011-08-08_22-17-29_823

Yep that’s Rupert of Survivor fame

2011-08-06_23-33-19_530

You see all kinds of people at the Buffalo Chip

2011-08-09_21-49-25_781

2011-08-08_22-20-04_396_edited-2

We survived the festivities to ride again another day


This day we visited the Broken Spoke Saloon to see the Jasmine Cain Band.

Jasmine Cain Band

2011-08-11_21-05-05_698

Get to stepping

Next stop we stumbled into One Eyed Jacks

This place was off the hook with dancing, body painting, body shots and friendly people.

2011-08-12_16-01-06_622

2011-08-12_18-28-17_710

Jerry taking or giving a body shot I don’t know

2011-08-12_18-32-41_223

This is all good clean fun.

As you can see Jerry is cleaning the whipped cream off of this bartenders belly.
I can’t tell who had more fun Jerry or Whip cream girl.


Back to the Buffalo Chip for more concerts and good times with friends

Charlie and I

2011-08-12_22-42-38_903

I finally found my files from Sturgis 2011.
This discovery helped to jog my memories of the trip

2012 trip to Sturgis will be the last one as after we had made reservations and put money down for the trip in August,

I was diagnosed with Lymphoma in May of 2012.

The first thing I asked the doctor was is it going to kill me? Not if you respond to treatment and follow doctors orders, said the doctor. Then I asked if I was going to be able to work, make a living? It’s up to you and how you feel, I was told. Then I asked if I would be able to go to Sturgis in August? How do you plan on getting out there? Asked the doctor. I am riding. You might want to reconsider your plans, I was told. As time went on and the treatment got worse my doctor actually told me if I didn’t change my plan and trailer my bike to Sturgis she would make it so I couldn’t go at all. Well the doctor is always right so I did trailer in 2012. That story is coming soon if I can remember what happened and find my photos. The Chemo made the trip less memorable for me.

I do know this.
Do not put off your dreams until all you can do is look back and say I wish I would have done this when I was younger.

You are never going to be any younger than you are now!

Categories: Buffalo Chip, Harley Davidson, Sturgis | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Foggy Mind

Epiphany

1. the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality

2. any moment of great or sudden revelation

 

The light bulb just came on over my head. I just came to the realization while I was trying to remember my trip to Sturgis in 2011, that my memory is not what it used to be. I have known for years that I had some issues with memory from a head injury and then Chemo didn’t help.

IMG_0089

The revelation is: that when I am planning a trip in the future I can swiftly and certainly develop a plan. Even though the older I get the more relaxed my plans are, less rigid. I am prior military and that’s why my plans used to be more rigid.

As I try to think back and recall my memories the years start to blur together. I only wish I had started recording the trips better back then. I use pictures taken over the years to help me keep the memories intact. The only problem is that after I purchased a new computer my photo files are in different locations and some sorted by type not just date, if they would sort by date I would be golden. During the file transfer process some changed dates to the transfer date not the date taken. I have no idea why this happens or how. What I do know is that in the future I won’t wait for so long before I record my trips!

This explains why I spend more time thinking about tomorrow instead of remembering yesterday, it’s frustrating! So now I scratch my head and try to think back a few years and remember details. Getting old before my time sucks. The most frustrating thing is that my mind keeps trying to trick my body into believing it too is young. The body quickly reminds the mind in the form of aches and pains that you have just done something a 52-year-old should probably not be doing, especially after the abuse my body has taken over the years of military service and motorcycle racing.

IMG_0009

 

The sun sets on us all and you only get so many

Enjoy every one you can.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Would Like to Thank All The Little People!

Dookes nominated me to receive the prestigious Liebster Award!

Thanks goes out to Dookes at https://hogriderdookes.wordpress.com for the nomination. I have just got started and have barely began to walk. Thanks again and surely I will stumble and fall on occasion, Yet I Blog On! Blog On Brothers and Sisters, Blog On! And check out his site. He does wonderful work and great pictures.

liebster-1-e1422620241514

These are the rules that go with the award:

1. Display the Liebster award on your blog. Check

2. Thank and link back to your nominator. Check

3. Answer the nominator’s 11 questions. Check

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers with about 200 or fewer followers and link to them.

5. Draft 11 new questions for your nominees.

6. Notify your nominees via their blogs or social media.


 

Here are my Questions from Dookes.

1. How do you feel about getting nominated for the Liebster Award?

I can actually say I am excited and pleased, let’s get this party started kind of thing.

IMG_1229

2. What made you start blogging?

Facebook dang Facebook. So many friends telling us they love to follow our trips on Facebook year after year, I thought we should start a blog. And here I am, spell check don’t fail me now!

3. Where is your favourite place in the world?

Wow this is a hard one we have traveled quite a bit hhhmmm let me think on that one. It could be Yellowstone National Park or it could be Glacier National Park or it could be Southern Bavaria. So many places could make that cut. But I would have to say that as long as my view is framed by my outstretched arms gripping the bars of my Harley Davidson with the wind blowing through my hair, most anyplace is fine with me. But if I have to choose just one it would be in the warmth of my favorite recliner with Carla sitting close by and that recliner could be almost anywhere for this to be true.

4. Bungee jump or surfing? 

Never done either. But I would rather fight a shark than fall to my death.. Worst case scenarios.

Image 4

5. If you could go back in time and do something different in your life, what would that be?

Spend more time with my mom.

6. Where will your next holiday/vacation destination be? 

Southwestern United States, New Mexico, Arizona,Utah.

7. Dogs or Cats? 

Dogs. I have a Jack Russell, she is so smart when I tell her to sit she goes and gets a chair!

8. Tell us about your favourite food!

Wow another tuff one. I like cake, I like steak, I like lasagna. I just like to eat period.

9. What is your perfect day?

Sunny and 75 F. With all my bills paid and no clocks to watch.

10. Who would be your dream dinner companion?

Ashley Judd. I have a public celebrity crush. Not the strange stalker type, I think she is smart and pretty. I am almost positive she loves me, she just doesn’t know it.

11. Do these questions all seem very random to you too?

Not at all, if we met in a bar I would strike up conversation with ya and ask the same things.


 Now Here are some questions for Dookes.

1. Best place you ever found by accident?

2. If you could move any place where would it be?

3. NFL or Premier League?

4. Half a chicken or 10 wings?

5. Change your own oil or take it to the dealer?

6. What do you know about Evil Knievel?

7.What and when-your first computer?

8. What was your worst riding experience?

9. What was your best ridding experience?

10. How did you get two-wheel fever.

11. Can I borrow some cash? (People ask me this all the time because I have a new bike they think I have money). It’s just good credit I say.


 

Now for my nominees. I have spent so much time trying to learn how to navigate WordPress that I don’t know many of you bloggers so SUPRISE! here I am with a nomination. I won’t be offended if you pretend this never happened.

The Ride. We are all on the ride of our life! https://bsakel.wordpress.com

Gypsy’s Travels. A collection of adventures by motorcycle. https://gypsysmototravels.wordpress.com

Ride, Dive and be Murray. The new adventures of Bob and Michelle Murray. http://ridediveandbemurray.com

EXPERIMENTAL GHOST. https://experimentalghost.wordpress.com


Time to go there is a thing on the TV called the Superbowl.. Featuring some pretty great commercials. 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2014 Ultra Limited Review first 20,000 miles

I purchased my 2014 Ultra Limited in August 2013 the week before Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary. I bought the amber whiskey and black Ultra Limited from Southside Harley-Davidson in Indianapolis Indiana. photo We had plans to attend the 110th anniversary in Milwaukee Wisconsin leaving Indianapolis on Friday and I had just purchased the bike on Wednesday. Immediately I put the 4 inch Reinhardt’s on, swapped the seat for my old 2011 street glide seat and put Carla’s adjustable passenger pegs on along with floor board chrome covers and of course my highway pegs up front. photo 2 photo 1 photo 4 Wednesday evening was reserved for reading the manuals that come with the bike and Infotainment center. First thing you notice when riding the bike are the brakes. The linked braking works great. Linked brakes means if you apply the rear the front will come in proportionately until you are under 20-25 MPH and the same if you apply the front the rear comes on. Now add ABS and this bike scrubs speed off really quick and subtle. Acceleration took a little while because I was in the break in period so I was trying to be good. The infotainment center takes a little bit of gadget know how and some practice but worth the effort to learn. Bluetooth worked great playing music from my phone Carla’s phone and our iPad. I also used the USB cable to charge my phone and one of the other guys that went with us. The navigation worked great and was even somewhat impressive after using an old Garmin Nuvi 250 for years. The joystick controls on the handlebars worked great and you get familiar with them pretty quick. Learning the menus and knowing your way around takes a minute. After getting on the road for a while I played with the fairing vent a few times and noticed the calming effect when the vent is open I also noted the day I picked the bike up it started to sprinkle rain and the fairing vent was open and acted like a vacuum sucking the water off the windshield and sending it over my head. The combination of the quality speakers on the bike and the fairing vent leaves you riding down the highway taping your feet and bobbing your head. After going up the gut straight up through Chicago I did notice that I may have to move my highway pegs away from the vents off of the radiators the radiators definitely take some heat out of the motor I could feel it through my boots. When we stopped for lunch on the north side of Chicago I noticed that the other 3 couples where getting off their bikes looking like they had just left a sauna. I didn’t realize it until then that the Twin cooling was working and somewhat cooler experience for Carla and I. Back on the road into Wisconsin and wouldn’t you know it road construction. Hello navigation! The navigation took us right around the mess and straight to Ukes Harley for shopping, refreshments and entertainment courtesy of Bubba Blackwell. Last leg to Milwaukee the navigation took us right to the hotel without fail. After unpacking and a brief storm that just missed our hotel we again asked the navigation to get us to the first event we wanted to see and just as before worked like a champ. One note in the city using the navigation do not go over the speed limit or the warning for a upcoming turn may be to late. Just keep the speed limit and no problem. I had noticed on my 2011 Ultra Limited when loaded for a trip became a little, how do I say rebellious at low speed. Not on the 14 Ultra Limited this thing is on a rail at low speed as well as cruising speed. Occasionally I had to reach back to make sure Carla was still there due to the increase in space with the passenger backrest on the tour pack and the width increase between the rear speakers puts the passenger back enough that she doesn’t need to be right on my back which allows her to move and get comfortable during long rides. Saddlebag latches are the best things since sliced bread. Going through Chicago toll booths and forgot to have change handy, not a problem, reach down and flip the saddlebag open, grab the change, slap it closed and latch it all without stretching or having to get off the bike. One handed mind you. I had no complaints the whole time we were in  Milwaukee mechanically. The bike was outstanding and the navigation was impressive. This bike got a lot of attention from people at the 110th I bet I sold a dozen at least. By the way if you have never been to Milwaukee you are missing out. The city put on a great party and the locals were very friendly and if you enjoy having a cold adult beverage after a long hot day of riding Milwaukee is hard to beat, kind of like Broad Ripple (X 10). Very good food and the city is easy to navigate. CAFE BENELUX!! That’s all I am saying about that. I plan on going back just get a breakfast there! Time to head back home now I feel a little better pushing the new Ultra Limited a little harder. Torque Torque Torque!!! Man did I mention the Torque this thing pulls like a tractor and not just in lower gears get in 5th and twist your wrist and strengthen your neck muscles all in one quick motion. Fuel mileage was not tracked as well as I should have but it appears that I was getting around 40 combined city and highway during the first 1000 miles. What where the chances that my buddy, G, stopped on the side of the highway to take a picture of his odometer at 77777 miles and a few miles down the road I hit 777 on the 2014 Limited. G 777   photo Voluntary recall from Harley for the hydraulic clutch plunger and actuator issued. I never had a problem but took it in for the new parts. Seems as if there is a issue with the filler neck on the coolant tank that causes some bikes to pump coolant out on the ground. Again I have not had this problem but will go have the new parts put on as soon as the glaciers recede from the Indianapolis area, it’s a sweltering 14-Fahrenheit as I type this post. Now at over 3500 miles before the deep freeze set in all was well with the 2014 Ultra Limited and I even purchased a pair of Motocom half helmet or helmet less headsets. I haven’t had much time to try them out but the first try was very promising. In conclusion, I would say for about $2000 more than I paid for the 2011 Ultra Limited the decision to buy the 14 was a no brainier so unless your riding a 110 Screaming Eagle or better do yourself a favor and don’t even try, you might get embarrassed by the new  HO 103. See you in my mirrors. Now that I have ridden this bike to Milwaukee, Wisconsin within the first three days of owning it and a total of nearly 20,000 miles. I rode this bike from Indiana to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and stayed for 14 hours and rode her home. If my memory serves me I have ridden this bike across Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado,Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennesee.

DSCN0940 DSCN1040 DSCN1204

All I can say is this twin Cooled motor so far has been great and during the trip out west loaded down in full travel and Carla on back we got 50 MPG at times on the road. Other than the factory recall or product improvements program I have zero complaints and have become pretty good with the Navigation and Infotainment system. One of my favorite things about this bike is when its parked and guys gather around and talk about how they would never buy a first year run of a new engine or ever buy a water cooled Harley and they don’t know I am the owner. I just smile and look over at the $50,000 custom sitting alone with no one admiring it and think that guy is probably one of the guys looking at my stock out of the box bagger. Then when I let the cat out of the bag and speak up that this first year production of the twin cooled motor has so many miles in a short time and gets 50 MPG the reaction is priceless.-” Dam you been riding” or “My 2008 only has 12,000 miles” I just start in on the future trip plans and invite “challenge” them to come along. I won’t go run off and leave you as long as you keep up !!! I would say this is when we separate the men from the boys but the problem with that is one of the most hard core riders I know is a woman. Get yourself one of these as soon as you can!!! Thats my review in a nut shell.

Categories: Harley Davidson, reviews | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Day Dreams or Memories.

On a cold January day in Indiana I sit in the warmth of my living room separated from the freezing cold by a sheet of drywall and some brick exterior. I struggle with my thoughts going back and forth between thoughts of next summer and memories of summers past.

No matter what my memories or dreams always take me to a familiar place, my view framed by my outstretched arms gripping the bars of my Harley Davidson. The world flying past me and the horizon ever-changing.

The destination is the biggest difference between my memories and my dreams. In my memories the destination has already been reached and can not change they are recorded as history therefore will never change. In my dreams the destination constantly changes.

As cliché as it sounds it is true. Its not about the destination its all about the journey! Sure I have great memories of the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley, but I also remember with great detail the temperature change as I climbed in elevation. I can remember the time I saw my first pronghorn. I remember arriving at a gas station and realizing it was out of business and abandoned out in the middle of no where, wondering if we would make it to the next gas stop. I remember trying to get a hotel on the road to Monument Valley. It gets dark quick out there! I remember racing a storm out of Colorado and hearing on a local radio station that Colorado 24 had flooded and washed out near Manitou Springs. Where less than 30 minutes before we had been riding through from Green Mountain Falls.

ABC News reported it this way.

“>http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=19933993<”

Sometimes Mother Nature has a way of reminding you that you are small and at her mercy.

This story has a happy ending for us, we did out run the storm for the most part and made a safe return back to Indiana to tell our stories and ride another day. Memories made and dreaming of another journey.

 

 

Categories: Harley Davidson, Trip Planning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

2010 STURGIS, First Time.

Early in the year my friends all talked a good game about taking a road trip out to Sturgis in August for the Rally. This was going to be a kind of scouting expedition the wife wasn’t going she had a commitment to feed the orphans in Nicaragua.

Under the assumption that I could do this “MAN STYLE” i.e.. no comforts just the bike a tent and some beer money. I knew that I would not need a very big budget. So I started researching campground and the route. I figured I would need about $300. for the week at the Legendary Buffalo Chip. http://www.buffalochip.com . I also figured about $60. a day for food and another $50 or so for beer, this was the rough draft in my head and looked very doable.

As time went by and the departure time grew closer the number of friends that couldn’t or wouldn’t go grew larger and my brothers for the road grew smaller and smaller until it was just me. I don’t hold it against them, because I knew I was going no matter what.

I continued to research  about Sturgis and the area because that’s how I roll I educate myself, so I know what I might be getting myself into. As I researched I found a guy from my state (Indiana) that was going with a group he had gone with for years. It turn out hat one of his group had some health issues that would prevent him from going and I would fill his spot.

Never having met this guy before who called himself KenFu, tells me he has a pass for the week at the Buffalo Chip and I can have it for  around $200 and I could ride out with him and a couple from Kentucky and a couple of riders from Ohio. Indianapolis is right in the middle so why don’t we all meet here and hit the road from my house in Indianapolis. Good idea Ken says.

40214_151823414830800_6181151_n

 

Thats me on the left, Jon then Gerry in the back, Jon’s friend in the front, Ken in the orange tank top, PK , Mike and Donna.

The day comes and its Thursday evening waiting for everyone to show up not knowing what to expect I was a little anxious and excited. Ken finally shows up about 9;00pm with a woman on the back of his bike. Donna he tells me is her name and she is not his girlfriend just a friend, ok well the pull out sofa doesn’t matter if you two don’t, but you have to double up on the bed I don’t have extra beds.

No worries we had a couple of beers and talked about the trip and how the other couple would be here in the morning and two guys from Ohio would be running late and would catch us on the road somewhere in Iowa.

I asked Ken a few times how much I owed him for the tickets to the campgrounds he said he would figure it out later. The next morning a little cool for August but while we pack last-minute items Mike and PK show up from Kentucky ready to go.

740 mile later we stopped for the night in Sioux City Iowa. Nice Roadway Inn with a bar in the lobby. After washing the road grime off our faces we all meet in the bar for dinner and drinks. After a couple of pizzas and several rounds of drinks PK is missing “Oh well she must have had her fill and went to the room to sleep” Mike says, She does that. After a couple more drinks Mike remembered he had the room key and Donna would have had to go to the front desk to get a key. he says he better go check on her. A few minutes later he comes back and says she is not in the room. Oh no Patron will do that. So the search begins for PK. There she is creating a puddle in the front entry to the hotel of her pizza and Patron. She is going to be hurting in the morning, I thought.

So every one was up early and ready to go last 400 miles and Sturgis here we come!40545_152078211471987_1269274_n 46185_152078138138661_480508_n

We arrived at the Buffalo Chip got moved into our camper and set up house for the week. Met our neighbor Charlie from North Dakota and decided we should go grocery shopping for supplies. You know how much can we carry on the bikes, Ken did have a trailer that would help. I think we spent about $300. food water and beer! it would be split between the 5 of us, and we ate good and drank plenty of beer. finally half way through the week Ken would tell me what I owed him for my share of the Camper that we had rented and my ticket for the Buffalo Chip and supplies. 

One thing about the Buffalo Chip is that after a good day of riding the Blackhills you can park at your camp and walk to the concerts inside the campground every night. Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Buck Cherry, Ozzy, Toby Keith and on and on. If you have never been to a concert outdoors with motorcycles (Harleys) in the front row you are missing out. In stead of applause its Harley Davidsons Revving to the limit. The sound of hundreds of Harleys is music to my ears!

The rest of the story is best told by seeing it. check out some of the highlights!

What can I say after that trip I went in 2011, 2012 with Cancer while I was on Chemo. things changed a little after that I thought it was time to expand my adventures beyond Sturgis and have been many new and exciting places since. I will share with you here in the future as I catch up to date on our travels I am only a few or at this point 4 years and 50,000 plus miles behind. see you down the road. By the way Carla never went back to Nicaragua.

 

Categories: Harley Davidson, Sturgis | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Life Is To Short

How time fly’s. The older we get the faster time goes by. Except for these long record-breaking winters in Indiana that last forever. Can you remember back in the day when you couldn’t wait for Christmas time? and it took forever to get here. Now you better start thinking about next Christmas early or it sneaks up on you and gone before you know it. This post wasn’t meant to be about Christmas it’s about ” TIME ” and how we all have one thing in common, that is we all have a limited amount no matter your background or status from the unemployed to the most wealthy and powerful you can’t buy it, “time that is” you can’t buy it and none of us know exactly how much we have left. The moral of the story is don’t put off doing the things you would like to do today because there’s no guarantee that you get time to do it later. The only reason that makes it happen is you and your decision to do it, “go for it”. I talk to a lot of people who have convinced themselves that they can’t ride out to Colorado or Sturgis. “Bull!!” I say I am not buying it sell it some place else. I promise if you can ride around here all day you can straighten it out and get somewhere. I will use my friend Diana as the example. She’s the hot blonde in the pictures.Diana  409665_239973176074599_461961214_n     Diana was worried and told me she didn’t think she could ride all the way to Sturgis. I told Diana if you can ride to Brown County then over to Bloomington and back home you can ride for an hour at a time. Diana agreed she could ride for an hour no problem. Do that with us 5 or 6 times and we will be half way to Sturgis. Then do it again and your there. After several of these conversations Diana had developed some faith in my reasoning. August was here before we knew it and it was time to go west. The plan was to meet some friends from out-of-town at the Baymont on Brookville rd. I can’t remember if the plan was to be ready at 7:30 or 8:00 am. There was 3 or 4 bikes not counting Diana and my bike, plus a truck and trailer pulling 2 bikes from Ohio. After a few wake up calls from our cell phones and the front desk, the party animals got up and started looking for the shower shoe that one of them had left in the lobby the night before. Regardless of the lost flip-flop we were late and Diana was getting a little antsy as was I. So off to a late start but all was good and 740 miles and 1 rain storm later at around 9:00 pm we arrived in Sioux City Iowa. It rained so hard cars and trucks pulled off the interstate!photo 1 Day 2 on the road bright and early. If you haven’t been west of Des Moines Iowa you should know that 88 or 87 octane fuel is all you can get so take some octane boost if you need to. What ever you do when the group stops for fuel do not refuse to put 88 octane in your bike, Greg! You have no choice! Or you can refuse so everybody can stop at the next exit and ride 8 miles off the interstate looking for better fuel only to discover that that’s it just like you were told 88 octane. Anyway glad we could satisfy your doubt in our experience, Greg! Off we go let’s get to Sturgis. Diana was riding like a champ and before you know it we are at the Worlds Smallest Biker Bar in New Underwood South Dakota just east of Sturgis. 300561_2241300923350_2083092935_n        409665_239973176074599_461961214_n      378962_239975052741078_642635590_n Soon after that we split off from Diana. She was going to stay in Custer while we stayed at the Buffalo Chip. After a couple of days we met up with Diana. Diana was overwhelmed by the Blackhills scenery and atmosphere in and around Sturgis. Diana told me she had been to many rallies around Daytona and Myrtle Beech and that she would never have to go back that she would come to Sturgis from now on. Diana never worried about riding that far again and when it was time to head back home I could not have had a better riding partner all the way back to Indy. So stop making excuses and let’s ride! 

Stay tuned for my 2010 Sturgis Rally adventure and the people I met.

Categories: Harley Davidson, Sturgis, Trip Planning | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

You never know what is down the road if you don’t keep going.

DSCN0531

photoIMG_0123

Carla and I had always wanted to go out west so in 2009 we planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I guess that automatically makes me the Road Captain.

I had two weeks vacation and Carla was as excited as I was about the adventure. My 2008 Road King Classic was good and broke in. I think I had ridden over 6500 miles before the trip. Some idiot had tried to steal my bike earlier so the ignition and some other cosmetic trim around the fork lock that was replaced along with some paint repair to the tank.

DSCN0114IMG_0020

Two guys that I work with wanted to go along for the ride and they where welcome to join us, they had no idea what they where in for. Paul road a Gold Wing and Marco had limited experience on his new Ultra.

The day we have waited for finally arrived Saturday morning in August and time to mount up and meet the others. The plan was to meet at  a McDonald’s at 8:00am for a quick breakfast then head west. Off to McDonald’s we go Carla and I that is. We ordered some food and started eating, no sign of the other two guys. about the time I finished my breakfast I started to think that Paul and Marco had wimped out and I had better call to see. Paul and Marco wanted to know where I was at because they were waiting on me at McDonald’s. Good way to start a 4000 mile road trip we can’t even coordinate a meeting place 5 miles from home. They went to a different McDonald’s down the road a few blocks. After that first mistake we got our stuff together and pointed the bikes west and headed out.

This would be the first of our annual heading west trips. I wasn’t sure what to expect but if I had learned anything from 14 years in the Army was be ready for anything, so when I packed a small umbrella in the bike my wife thought I was crazy, after all how could you ride and hold an umbrella?

Day two that umbrella would come into use, we had left Des Moines, Iowa that morning and the sky was getting darker and darker. Paul my “Gold Wing buddy” had complained about ridding behind me and hearing my pipes all day the day before so I said: Paul why don’t you get up front and lead just stay on interstate 80 and head west. I forgot to tell him to stop before it started raining otherwise the rain suits don’t really do any good if there in the saddle bag when you ride into the rain. The last sign I saw said next rest area 34 miles, as the lightning flashed and the thunder roared but Paul kept a steady 70 MPH heading directly into the storm. Bam just like that it started raining and with no overpasses in sight and the next rest area at least 30 miles away we found a truck weigh station to pull off and put on rain gear then the wind started and the rain increased we stood next to a semi trailer for shelter and that umbrella did help a little with the sideways rain we stood in.

One thing you have to remember when you take a bike trip like this. You will be outside for the next two weeks with some small intermissions of indoor comforts. You have to understand that to get 500 miles down the road you have to be on the road and rolling. This is when the outdoor part comes in. I know but you would be surprised how some people think, if it rains i will just stop and wait.

That is fine if you want to spend your vacation in a Truck stop.DSCN0099

I prefer to get down the road.

After all isn’t that the point of a road trip.

Nebraska is a long state to travel across from east to west. I recommend that you stop and take in some sights along the way Gothenburg is home to the original Pony Express station.smallbike

the Sam Macchette station, in Ehmen Park, just 2 miles north of I-80. The station in the park was used as a fur trading post / ranch house along the Oregon Trail southwest of Gothenburg before it was used as a Pony Express station in 1860-61. It was moved from its original site and rebuilt in Ehmen Park in 1931. After the Pony Express we ventured N/W on Highway 26 towards Casper for the night. Along the way before leaving Nebraska we had to take a small detour to take in the Historic Chimney Rock National Monument.

DSCN0147DSCN0148DSCN0149

http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/scotts_bluff/chimney_rock.html The link will take you to the National Parks Service website for more information on Chimney Rock.  After quick look around and getting an education about the pioneer travelers that traveled through this are and their way of life it was off to Casper.

While in Casper Carla and I woke up before sunrise so that we could watch a Wyoming sunrise on our first visit to the state of Wyoming. Behind the hotel was a large hill small mountain with a building sitting on top. Looked like a good place to get some pictures and take a look at our surrounding. The building is the Historic Trails Interpretive Center.

road trip0097road trip0099

After a nice breakfast and some map recon. This is what us old military guys call looking at a map. I discovered a place noted on the local Wyoming map I had picked up at the hotel, Called Hells Half Acre.

DSCN0201

DSCN0197Hells Half Acre

Hells Half Acre is a lost and forgotten abandoned restaurant and tourist stop. Wiki says the following

Hell’s Half Acre is a large scarp located about 40 miles (64 km) west of Casper, Wyoming on US 20/26. Encompassing 320 acres (1.3 km2), this geologic oddity is composed of deep ravines, caves, rock formations and hard-packed eroded earth. Hell’s Half Acre was used as the scene for the fictional planet of Klendathu in the movie Starship Troopers.

The place was known as “The Devil’s Kitchen”, “The Pits of Hades”, and “The Baby Grand Canyon” until a cowhand appeared and thought he was at Hell’s Half Acre, an area southwest of Casper full of alkali and bogs.

Native American tribes used the ravines to drive bison to their death during their hunts.

As of December 2005, the roadside restaurant and motel/campground sitting atop the ravine were closed. The motel and the abandoned restaurant have since been torn down.

Continued on our way on 20/26 through Shoshoni Wyoming turning north on 20 up the beautiful Wind River Canyon.

DSCN0236 DSCN0231

Wyoming does a good job of placing road side information signs for you to enjoy and learn about the history and geology of the area.

In Thermopolis we jumped on 120 towards Cody Wyoming. Make sure you get fuel in Thermopolis. Butler Motorcycle Maps list 120 as a Lost Highway. http://www.butlermaps.com the Lost Highway designation from Butler Motorcycle Maps ” Beyond high mountain passes and plunging canyons are roads that reach out to the horizon and the unknown beyond. The faded paint of a center line, the crumbling shoulder is all that remains of these byways that seem lost in time. Void of the trappings of modern life, they provide a motorcycling experience as unique as the untouched landscapes they divide.”

I did not have a Butler Motorcycle Map during this trip in 2009 but I own several now.

We had a house we rented through Cody Lodging Company http://www.codylodgingcompany.com The house was nice and affordable for the 5 of us and would be our jump off point for the next three days exploring the Yellowstone area and the endless miles of mountain roads. Chief Joseph Highway, Crandell Road, Beartooth Highway. don’t over look Cody itself has a Rodeo and a Gun Fight every night.

IMG_0104IMG_0105

The road from Cody to the East Entrance of Yellowstone is said to be the 50 most beautiful miles in America. There is some amazing scenery and you feel that civilization is behind you and you are a very small part of this huge landscape. Signs warn you of bear activity and remind you not to be careless with food handling and storage in this part of the country.

This is when I realized that the big bag of home-made beef jerky I had in my saddle bag might not be a good idea. I thought what if we break down and a bear comes?

http://Rcartwrightphotography.com/2009

When we stopped at Buffalo Bill Dam and reservoir I asked everyone if they wanted the jerky and I did not get one taker after seeing the warning signs I couldn’t give it away.

Trafic was starting to build as we approached the gate to Yellowstone, so I stayed in line on the bike and let Carla run over for the must have photo.

DSCN0273 Yellowstone can be overwhelming with so many choices of what sights to see, where to go. The vastness of Yellowstone is not just the square miles but the entirety of the landscape so much that the park has its own weather systems develop and dissipate within the park. That means you don’t just look at the local weather forecast that says its going to be 75 and sunny all day and head out in a t-shirt to explore Yellowstone. The weather will change and can change drastically and quickly, be prepared. I had given out a shirt to one of the guys and gloves to the other, lucky for them I was prepared.

We chose to see Old Faithful Geyser. How can you go to Yellowstone and not see Old Faithful?

The lodge and the Huckleberry ice cream are must see and do as well.

Old Faithful itself wasn’t as much of a thrill as I was expecting, but knowing that it goes on a some what regular basis and has been since recorded time it is the most famous of all geysers makes it a must see.

From there head over to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Work your way around Yellowstone Lake. This is a huge lake and is deceiving as to how long it takes to get to the other side, plus stopping to check out the super heated water coming up from beneath the lake to the surface. It is said that you can catch a fish in the lake and swing your pole around and dip the fish back into the water near one of the super heated boils and cook that fish with out ever taking it off your line.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the lower falls are must see spots.

IMG_0191 IMG_0195

 

I can not describe the experience that you take away from Yellowstone, it is humbling to say the least and spiritual. When you hear people over using the word awesome describing their new bike or the new pair of hooker shoes that one chick just bought. You know they have never been to Yellowstone or they would know what awesome truly was about.

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the Beartooth where next on the to do list. Going North West out of Cody on 120 to 296 Chief Joseph is one of my favorite roads I have ever ridden. http://www.wyomingtourism.org/things-to-do/detail/Chief-Joseph-Scenic-Byway/7333 The Beartooth is not to be taking lightly. You will be traveling above the tree line and varying road conditions as well as weather issues. When we started the day it was nice and comfortable by the top of the Beartooth it was freezing rain and cold. Some time the best part of these adventures is after you have survived and can look back and remember the challenges of the adventure. Enjoy the photos. The following link is for the Beartooth. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/states/WY

 

The Yellowstone and Cody area  are great motorcycle destinations and I have and will be back again.

Leaving the Cody Wyoming area we headed east on ALT 14 through Powell and Lovell. Crossing Bighorn Lake in the Bighorn Basin. http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/bighorn-basin-wyoming Up and over the Bighorn Mountains past Medicine Wheel ancient Indian spiritual site. Through Burgess Junction, and down into the vast open north central Wyoming to interstate 90 into Sheridan and on towards Sturgis South Dakota, not for the rally but the week after.

10887149IMG_0237

We had our sites set on seeing Devils Tower on the way into Spearfish, South Dakota for the night.

We arrived at Devils tower late in the afternoon and took time to take some photos and grab a snack and some ice cream. A nice woman at the snack place said “be careful going into Spearfish the deer come out this time of the day” and soon as we left I shifted into 4th gear, out popped a deer in front of me. Not to worry we slowed in time for Bambi to move on and we did too.

After a good pizza buffet and a cold brew we returned to the hotel and sat outside and watched the sun set and enjoyed a couple more cold ones, we had covered a lot of mile for the day. The hotel had some nice rocking chairs to sit in and were to much for Marco to handle. Rolling on the ground and not spilling a drop of beer after being bucked off the rocker. This was not the first time Marco had rolled on the ground during the trip.IMG_0061 IMG_0110

Marco was a trooper and managed to not notice the gun fight in Cody but he noticed a saloon girl.

The Sturgis area is not just a place for a huge party known as The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but for Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and the Black Hills. We would go onto explore Custer National Park, Iron Mountain rd. and the Bad Lands.

IMG_0247 DSCN0366 IMG_0251

After leaving Mount Rushmore and heading back towards Rapid City our luck ran out and the rain came in buckets, Paul and I pulled off at an Applebees to eat and Marco kept rolling towards Spearfish to the hotel. After eating and drying out for a little bit the rain let up and we met Marco back in Spearfish.

It was finally time to head back to Indiana and reality.

Categories: Trip Planning | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Moto Adventurer

Confessions of a Motorcycle-Aholic

My Ride Blog

Motorcycle Rides, Trips, Adventures, Interests, etc...

Dharma Anchor

Life from the road.

A Widow's Ride

Learning to Live After Loss

Zen and the Art of Moto Taxi Survival

Lessons learned while flirting with disaster in Paris traffic

BIKERS BULLSEYE

the bullseye of biker entertainment

I JUST WANT 2 RIDE!!

Our Motorcycle Blog about Motorcycle Stuff

lifebehindbarsmoto

Tales of a two-wheeled world

Gypsy's Moto Travels

A collection of adventures by motorcycle. By Denise Madland

The Ride

We are all on the ride of our life!

Ride, Dive and be Murray

The RV adventures of Bob and Michelle Murray

Life In The Split Lane

Defined By Your Ride.

EXPERIMENTAL GHOST

motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect... I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

Hogrider Dookes

The Thoughts And Travels Of A Geezer On A Harley ……………………………………... Looking at the World Through Teenage Eyes, But With The Cunning, Guile and Wisdom That Comes With Age!

%d bloggers like this: