On the Road Again…….after years in the planning

The “What and Where” – Impressions of the first Eight Days and 5,300 kms on the road

Familiar roads in Washington State, over the Cascade mountains to the “dry side”; crossing the always impressive Columbia Rive into the majestic plains of Oregon’s interior; endless wheat fields, cattle herds and graceful towering wind-turbines; the heat of the desert; Pendelton, Oregon – a cool “cowboy town” with the most beautiful cowboy saloon and restaurant (Hamleys) in the world; the harsh beauty of Utah’s landscape coupled with the paternalistic moralizing of the Utah government (thou shalt not consume alcohol !); Moab….a red and golden dreamscape drenched in heat…..this is what Mars must be like; Utah highway 6, heading south to Colorado – a motorcyclist’s heaven; Colorado’s south-west high plains emergening from Utah and blending softly into northern New Mexico….7,000 feet above sea level, the southern end of the Rocky Mountains appear as a desert table-top. Heat, heat, heat…..flying through the endless dry hot air on our motorcycles, a feeling of floating; Cuba, New Mexico and the Copper Mug saloon…..we were parched and exhausted so the owner of this cool little tavern opened 4 hours early to quench our thirst and hear about our adventure; NM Highway 96, direction Santa Fe….motorcyclists must ride this beauty; Santa Fe – a truly beautiful city, we must go back; Fiesta Santa Fe…..300 years of tradition….”Viva la Fiesta”…..Evangelo’s bar: music lover’s heaven…..we were enthralled by what must be the best bar band in the world…..the cool voice of Soulman Sam, the guitar of Little Leroy and the amazing pipes of Zenobia…..beautiful people dancing and laughing until the wee hours of the morning…..magical; Texas panhandle – “don’t mess with Texas”……a different world, truly…..but awesome, you can’t help but like the people and the countryside; Route 66 – Texas style…..impressive in it’s artistic style and sad in it’s decline; Arkansas…..birthplace of Bill Clinton, sun low in the sky, flying down a small country road, twisting, turning, dipping, climbing, floating through the hot air, as the wind flows through our hair and caresses our bodies, scent of pine trees…….bliss. Beer, mexican food……exhausted sleep: Louisiana – stately homes, trucks, trucks, trucks everywhere……apparently everyone drives a pickup truck in LA; bayou……swamps all around us; raised highways to get through and over the swamps; the heat….building; the air changes as we move south…..becoming very humid; I feel like I am having a warm bath with my clothes on and the air is so thick it feels like we are slicing through it with our motorcycles instead of floating through the air, as we have been on the ride until now; we cross the mighty Mississippi at Baton Rouge on a massive arching bridge……I cannot stop from smiling as we cross the bridge, pump my fist in the air and howl into my helmet…..my brain-jukebox starts playing “Me and Bobby McGee” in my head (busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train, feeling nearly faded as my jeans, ….); New Orleans, the Big Easy…..I am excited, never been here; we stay in the French Quarter…..beautiful architecture, I love walking through the streets; Bourbon Street is a disapointment to me…….too many drunk louts and too much T&A being hawked like a cheap circus carney show……I had a different idea of what it would be like in my head; No matter, it was good to see it; A 4-state day today……Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida……we made it to a little town in FLA called Carabelle on the Panhandle; we drove the slower coast road along the sand dunes, stopping in funky little restaurants and bars; arrived at sunset just before the rains started; only one motel but they have room for us. The IGA stays open past closing to let us buy beer, and food to make sandwhiches for our dinner……perfect; Tired but happy, we will sleep well.

Personal favourite places so far: Devil’s Garden in National Park at Moab, Utah – a “must see”; Santa Fe, NM – beautiful architecture, friendly people, lots of history and high quality services….I hope to go back; Route 66.

Traffic, Roads and Mechanical Stuff……….Nothing Eventful So Far

We have had good road-karma so far…….hopefully we won’t be called upon to pay this good fortune back anytime soon. No problems with road conditions or weather yet; no “police incidents” as we have been behaving very well and the speed limits have been cooperating wth our plans each day; The Big Easy (Guy, not the city) has been having a bit of trouble with one of his fuel injectors when he accelerates to pass, so we have booked a service for his bike at the BMW Motorrad in Miami….no problem; Traffic has been kind to us, although I am annoyed at a few close calls we had entering and leaving New Orleans……Dogcow is often leading our group in traffic as he is Commander-in-Chief of the Garmin GPS (which has proved invaluable in the highway mazes around US cities….each day we thank the “Great Garmin”. Gratitude, Dogcow) and this creates a bit more risk for him sometimes, as cars will often cut into our lane right in front of him…..so we are talking about reorganizing our defensive driving formation to reduce risk in heavy traffic areas on the freeways around big cities. I think we have a good new strategy to improve safety……we will be able to test it out going into Miami. All good.

In the category of “it’s a small, small world” we were able to have lunch and frosty beer with Dogcow’s brother, Dave “the Salmonbelly Legend” Matheson, in a little town north of Dallas, TX. Dave has just moved to Dallas to start a new company and he drove up to this little town (Sherman, TX) to meet us. It was a real treat. Dave is a great guy, had a lot of fun.

We are making our way to the Florida Keys and will meet with one of the Big Easy’s friends there and have a couple days R&R, before going to Miami on Sunday. We hope to ship the bikes to Bogota, Colombia on Monday or Tuesday next week and then get on a plane ourselves to follow them there. We are all excited to get to South America and have the exotic part of the trip start.

Ride safe,

Space Cowboy (mi nombre espanol es “Julio”)

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3 comments on “On the Road Again…….after years in the planning

  1. Laurie boucher says:

    Hey glad to hear the trip is under way and you navigated the first leg of the journey without incident. Love the pictures and congratulations on already reaching the UNICEF goal. –great charity. Travel safe and take care of each other. I will be contacting the travel gods to watch over you all. L

  2. Julio, you are a wonderful travel writer. Thanks for writing the experiences so beautifully and comprehensively – in your very descriptive words it is great to follow you along the journey, (sans the sore butt and vehicular challenges). Great pictures, too! Hope you are all having a swim somewhere in Florida right now, maybe with Jimmy Buffett, or at the very least, a margarita. Lots of love, S.

  3. Jamie says:

    Love your colourful descriptions of your travels Space Cowboy.

    Please form a big protective bubble around Dogcow when he’s leading!

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