Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Ride

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Ride

What a year this 2014 has been, and It has been, for the most part, a great ride.

Losing Lois to Alzheimer's Disease was certainly the low point for me, but I believe, the high point for her. She is indeed, in a better place.
This insidious illness seemed to go on forever.
It was so good to have so many there that last week, singing gospel and folk songs, reading poetry and most important, holding her hand.
Thanks to Linda and Janice for the hours they spent with her each week and Joni for the weeks and weeks she spent living down stairs while working on her book project and spending hours each day playing, singing and reading with her.
Thanks to Janis and Diana for the great job in organizing things before the family reunion, Roger for the many visits at the Donut Hole and Allen for his every Saturday calls.
The Memorial Service Gospel sing was fantastic and thrilled me and members of the congregation who came to honor Lois with their presence.
Ilidio, Gary, Mike and Pam, thanks for the support you gave us all.
Pastor Miller was right when he said, "Del, you are so fortunate to have such a great family, they have really taken care of you through this trying time."

And ever since.
The two weeks at Diana and Ilidio's in April was a great time to sit in the sun and unwind.
The 3,400 mile ride through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and South Dakota was a great tune up for THE RIDE!

The Iron Butt Association Saddle Sore 1000 miles in 24 hours ride was a fantastic endurance test.
Thanks to Bill Ryder who did a great set up getting the old sidecar on the Yamaha V Star 1100cc Classic.
Thanks to Barry Reddick for meeting me at 3:30 AM on a rainy Saturday morning to be my start witness on the great ride and to Roger for the pictures and support.
What does it mean?
There are 8 million five hundred thousand motorcycles registered in the USA.
Fewer than one half of one percent of these riders have ridden 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours in a sanctioned ride.
Hey, we Iron Butt Riders are not large in numbers, but we are known as:
"The Toughest Motorcycle Riders In The World"
To do the ride as part of my extended 80th Birthday party made it even more fun.

Maybe it was important for me to complete this ride to let kids, grand kids and great grand kids know that there is life after Alzheimer's.
We didn't want to have a life without Lois, but we will do as she wanted us to do, we  will live each minute, each hour, each day to it's fullest.

So this has been a year of change, a year filled with sadness and joy and love.

And now, comes another year. A year filled with some sadness I suppose, but mostly filled with Joy and Love.

I will be sharing Christmas and New Years with Diana, Ilidio, Jenny and Jared.

On January 13th, while waiting for the North to warm up so I can return home to Montana, I will begin a 6,000 mile ride which will take me to Panama City, Pensacola, Houston, San Jose and back to Lake Mary.
It should be a fun filled and exciting ride.
Spring looks like a good time to make the trek North.
 If all goes as planned, the Yamaha will have carried me over 15,000 miles of every kind of road we find in this great country.
What a ride to remember!
Most of all, I will be remembering all of the wonderful Christmas Eve programs and the Christmas morning family radio broadcasts on Time For Listening.
This is indeed, a great family.
Lois and I were the most blessed parents of all.
I am so thankful and so proud.

Thank you family for all that you do and all you have done

Merry Christmas with Love

Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Florida IntraCoastal Waterway - And Points West

The idea was good, a swing down the fabled Intracoastal Waterway highway A1A, then a jog over to the West coast and a run up the highway through Sarasota, St. Petersburg and back to Lake Mary and Orlando.
Should be a great three or four day ride with lots of great places to see.
Started good too.
Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.
 From Lake Mary, Highway 46 to Mims, Highway 1 to Titusville, Meritt Island and then south on a cut off to A1A.
Good ride, lots of sunshine and a bit of North wind on my back.
A1A is a good ride, despite there being a lot of traffic.
Miles and miles of Surf Shops and other tourist related places to visit.
Views of the ocean are few and far between because of the motels, condos and beach front town house construction.
Still a fun and interesting ride.
The KOA Camp at Fort Pierce was the first overnight stop.
Setting up the Mini Mate tent camper took only a few minutes.
This is a new KOA and showed construction still underway.
Didn't care much for the Uni-Sex rest rooms.
The occupied sign was up most of the time. Or so it seemed.
A very noisy highway made sleeping difficult and the many streets crossing the railroad running through Fort Pierce forced engineers to blast their air horns continuously.
That'll wake you up if you do get to sleep.
The beautiful ride the next day made the whole trip worthwhile.
From Fort Pierce, a high traffic tourist town into the real Florida.
I was now riding through miles of orchards, bright orange in color.
Now I was viewing millions of oranges ripening on the trees.
There were also tree farms advertising Palms, Oaks and other trees for sale and several Sod farms with different kinds of grass growing in huge fields.
The road was long and straight with only a few turns and a few small hills.
The scenery was great.
A real picture of rural Florida without the motels, hotels and tourist places that we see throughout the Florida we know best.
This was a great ride.
Sebring was the goal for this days ride and to reach the city where Grandson Pastor Brian Klebig had his first church, I had to head North on Highway 27.
This four laner was heavy with  commercial vehicles, trucks and RV's.
Although Brian and Dawn had moved on, I still wanted to see the church he had been Pastor at.
While shooting the picture the churches current Pastor Luke Willitz came out to see what the old guy on the motorcycle was up to. Nice young man. He had attended Bethany Lutheran college and Seminary in Mankato, Minnesota and knew several more of my Grand children.  Turns out New Life Lutheran Church had been founded many years earlier by his father, so he was back home and living in the same house he had lived in as a boy.

Highland Hammock State Park, just down the road from the church was my stop for the  night. 
I arrived at the park just as the Ranger was leaving with a Tram load of visitors.
They kindly held up the tour while I parked the bike and purchased the required $5.00 ticket..
Great tour through the back country of the park. 

Retired Ranger Bill talked about the history of the park and the people who dedicated time and money to preserve this part of Florida history.
Despite the warnings of Black bears in the area, the calm and quiet were a welcome relief from the previous nights city noises.
Camp set up time is getting shorter as I gain experience in this new life style.
Dinner was easy.
Bottle of Ensure, WASA crackers and cheese, and a protein bar all washed down with hot coffee. The new electric water heater made it easy for me to master the art of boiling water for coffee.
This was the coldest camping night yet.
Temps dropping in to the mid 40's and a north wind picking up during the night.
The 40 degree below zero sleeping bag held back the cold and the Mini Mate did the same for the wind.
Morning came quickly and my new water boiling talents produced a quick cup of coffee.
The best way to face a cool Florida morning.
That just doesn't sound right does it?
Cool Florida morning?
WiFi brought contact with the outside world and weather reports pointed to winds off the Gulf of Mexico becoming stronger.
The ride up the west coast, along the gulf didn't seem nearly as appealing as it did when I was laying out the ride.
A 200 mile ride up Highway 27 would put me back in Lake Mary by dark, thereby avoiding some of the winds.
Good choice!
I had only ridden a few miles when another biker pulled alongside at a stop sign and shouted, " I'm Iron Butt too! I did the Iron Butt thousand mile ride in New England."
He had seen the "80 year old Iron Butt Rider" sign on the back of my bike.
He turned at the next intersection and I was in the wrong lane to turn so I didn't get to talk to him.
Would have been a fun visit.
I don't meet too many who have earned the title:
Iron Butt Rider - The World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders

It was a smooth ride up 27 to Leesburg, over to Mt. Dora and on 46 back to Lake Mary.
All in all, a nearly 500 mile ride through parts of the state I had not previously visited.
Upon arrival at Diana and Ilidio's I heard the good news that Diana had received company tickets for a performance of the Trans Siberia Orchestra Christmas Program at the Amali Arena in Tampa.                              
  The company has a Suite at the arena which it makes available to employees.

The Suite comes complete with meals and lots of snacks. How cool is that?

The performance was fantastic and capped off a great week.

I'll plan that Florida west coast ride for later.
For now, it was enough to have a nearly 500 mile, 3 day adventure.

Watch for me.
I'll be in the Right Lane America.

Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Orion Launch - Close up (well, Almost close up)

I've traveled from Montana to Key West, Florida and back to Lake Mary, just an hours ride from Titusville, the best place to be when NASA does a rocket launch.
I made my plans.
Leave at Noon the day before the launch, camp in my Mini Mate tent camper that night, set the alarm for 4:00 AM and be in position to view the launch at 5.

Only problem was I programmed the GPS to take me to a KOA in Titusville and the camp was actually 4 miles North in Mims, Florida.
No problem, I discovered my mistake and drove there.
The KOA was A OK.
Clean and comfortable camp site.
 I didn't bother heating water for coffee and settled for a bottle of Ensure and a protein bar.
A few minutes later I found out the local McDonalds opened at 5:30 AM on launch days and since it was only 4:45 AM I went with out coffee. Tough way to begin this momentous day.
As I made the left turn on to Garden Street and drove over the bridge to the area I had been told was the best place to view the launch from traffic was picking up.
Passing over the long, high bridge I saw hundreds of cars, trucks and RV's lined up along the highway.
A narrow space between an RV and a power pole proved to be an easy in parking site and minutes later I was parked and visiting with people from several states who were all there for the same reason.
The sidecar on my rig is always a draw and the tent camper being pulled behind attracted even more attention than usual.
The large RV I parked next to had a large outside TV and kept us alerted to the latest hold.
Photographers with long lenses on their cameras and sturdy tri pods for mounts allowed others to look at the launch site miles away across the bay.
It was then I discovered why there was an open space to park by the power pole.
Hundreds of birds used the power lines above my rig for their roosting place.
For the most part they missed my rig but the heavy set guy who was looking over the sidecar took one on the shoulder of his nice shirt.
As you all know by now, the launch was scrubbed after numerous delays, especially disappointing to a couple from New Orleans who were there on their third attempt to see NASA do a launch.
Alas, all three attempts ended in NASA scrubbing the launch and they missed again.
I was determined to see it and made plans to stay another night at the KOA and return the next morning.
Traffic was heavy but I was soon back on Highway 1 headed for New Smyrna with it's beaches and colorful scenery.
Took I-95 back to Mims.
Should have stayed on Highway 1.
Heavy construction, uneven lanes and lots of traffic.
But Hey! A ride is a ride and the rig is running great.
As I told many students in Motorcycle Safety Classes, the important thing is not getting on your bike and getting from Point A to Point B.
So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
And always remember, the slower you go, the longer the ride.
Well, in principle at any rate.
It was a good ride and I even had time take a long nap after doing the two minute Mini Mate set up.
No kidding, it sets up that fast.
Same routine as the day before.
Set the alarm for 4 AM and go to bed early,
Same breakfast too.
There weren't as many vehicles this morning.
But still some interesting folks from many states who wanted to see a launch as badly as I did.
We all staked out our preferred viewing areas and then commenced the visiting.
The launch window was set to open at 7:05 AM and this time there were no delays.
Someone shouted, "Countdown," and we all ran to our staked out viewing area.

Sure enough, a streak of light rose above the trees and in less time then it took to count backwards from Ten, the light disappeared into the low hanging clouds.
It was an underwhelming sight.
Seconds passed and we heard a low rumbling sound and realized that although the rocket was gone from sight, the noise of the powerful rockets was just now beginning to be heard.
Many of us turned to the exterior TV on the side of the RV and watched as NASA, with it's many cameras, showed us the launch on TV, as we listened to the continuing rumble of the engines live.
It was rather strange, but grand at the same time.
As hundreds of vehicles headed back to Titusville for breakfast and the highway, I turned East toward the coast.
A mile down the road and I saw the first sign for the Merritt Island Wildlfe Refuge.

This is a beautiful refuge for animals and birds and with many signs reminding motorists to give them a brake..
Lush vegetation on all sides.
I tried the road leading in to the John F. Kennedy Space Center, but made a U turn when I came to the gate with the armed guards.
After spending a few hours trying some of the side roads in the Refuge I turned West and made the hour long drive back to Lake Mary.
The Orion Adventure was over, but I was already planning the next ride.
Next week I will head back to Merritt Island for exploring of the wildlife refuge and then head south on Highway A1A which follows the coast all the way to Miami.
I'll jump off and head inland at Fort Pierce.
Lois talked many times about visiting Sebring, Florida where Grandson Brian was Pastor of a church.
The Alzheimer decline had already begun so the trip was never made but I'll do it now and even though Brian and Dawn have moved on, I'll stop in and get a picture.
Then on to Sarasota on the states West coast for a circus museum visit and maybe a side trip to the famous Bak Tower North of  Sebring.
Could be a great four or five day ride.
Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We Made it! KEY WEST - Southernmost Point In The USA!

6,400 miles after leaving Helena, Montana on a SaddleSore 1000 - 1 Iron Butt Ride I am now at the Southernmost point in the USA.
Diana and Ilidio are driving in the Ford Fusion and I am following with the Yamaha V Star 1100 Classic, sidehack and tent trailer in tow.
It's a great morning for a ride to Miami.
The Florida Turnpike is wide open and my new SunPass is paying the tolls as I whiz by under the scanners.
The Tollway Service Plazas make gas stops quick and easy as we try and make Miami before the afternoon rush hour traffic.
Didn't quite make it. We are in the middle of the heavy traffic as I try and stay close to The Fusion.
The 75 MPH hour run down the Tollway was a great ride, and even heavy traffic isn't all bad.
By 4pm we arrive at the home of Angela and Americo where we will spend the night before an early departure for Key West.
What great friends Diana and Ilidio have. They have been preparing a great meal for the hungry travelers.
Lots of laughter and joking with this bunch when they get together.
I retire early. It was a long ride from Lake Mary to Miami.
Saturday morning we are on the road by 10am and heading to a small Cuban style bakery and lunch counter for some Cuban style breakfast treats, then back on the road.
Florida #1 is  great highway across long bridges with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic on the other.
What a fantastic ride!
The water looks bluer on the ocean side and greener in the Gulf. Beautiful.
It's a long slow ride at 35 to 45 MPH most of the way.
Those names we have heard about through the years are passing. Key Largo seems so big as we slowly move through. Palm trees waving in the wind and the waves rolling on to the beaches. They just go on and on.
As we cross the highest, longest bridge I see Diana leaning out with the Go Pro and Flip Cam. She got some great videos.
It's late afternoon when we arrive in Key West and we head for the Harry Truman Little White House for the last tour of the day.
Eric the Docent is full of stories about Truman and his many visits to the 6,000 square foot house.
The U.S. Williamsburg was stationed just off shore and provided radio communication with Washington DC.
Other Presidents also visited the vacation White House Truman had used and which the navy remodeled with rooms for visiting foreign dignitaries and Truman Administration Cabinet officials.
Eisenhower came one time but didn't care for the small golf course so never came for a second visit.
John F. Kennedy was there after the Bay of Pigs disaster and other Presidents who needed a break from Washington followed.
It was a fun and interesting look back in American History.
Following the tour we headed for THE SIGN!

The sign. The southernmost point in the USA.
This is what the ride is all about.
There was a long line of people waiting to have their picture taken by the sign so I opted to just take a picture of it.
As I got ready to snap the picture a pretty girl stepped into view.
Makes a much better picture than it would have been with an 80 year old man standing there.
And besides, Diana had the Flip Cam out for a video of yours truly, slowly riding his rig past the crowd. She even put it up on You Tube for all the world to see.
Del Rides past THE SIGN

As I pulled to the curb following my slow ride past THE SIGN, a young couple came running over. The young man was shouting, "Mister, Mister, I must shake your hand, I must shake your hand!"
Turns out they live in Tampa, originally from Puerto Rico.
I remembered them passing me about half way down the Turnpike.
He on a black Sportster and she on a pink Honda.
He said, "I am so proud that I meet a man who is 80 years old and is still riding a motorcycle. I love riding the bike too!"
They had seen the 80 year old Iron Butt rider sign on the back of the Yamaha and had waved and given a thumbs up for me before racing away down the highway.
How nice of them to come running over to say hello.
People have been so great through the entire 6,400 miles I have ridden since leaving Helena on that  cold rainy morning 6 weeks ago.
But it's getting late so we had to saddle up and head for Bahia Honda State Camp Grounds where we would spend the night.
As the sun dropped out of sight we rode two hours through the night before arriving at the camping spot. Another great ride.
Setting up the Mini Mate tent trailer was quick and easy.
Five minutes at the most.
I was relaxing with a glass of wine as Diana and Ilidio put in the rods and tried to raise their tent.
This  camping thing may turn out to be a lot of fun after all.

Ilidio built a fire but it was mainly for effect as he brought out the gas stove to  cook  chicken on. It was great.
Diana had planned everything down to the last detail and even had a large package of potato chips sitting on the picnic table.
Sitting there until I heard paper rattling and turned to look behind me and at the same time heard Diana shout, "RACOON!"
Sure enough that sneaky little thief had jumped up on the bench, grabbed the potato chip bag and escaped into the underbrush before we could begin a chase.
To rub salt in the wound the cheeky little devil crawled into a large bush and crunched each chip as loudly as he could. Later he emerged from the bush and tried to get in the trunk of their car looking for more goodies.
The morning ride to Miami turned into another adventure as Diana decided she would ride in the sidecar and share the great view.

With Go Pro and Flip Cam she was ready to preserve the the ride over the bridges between the Keys. The longest bridge seemed to go on forever as we stayed at the 45 MPH speed limit and took time to enjoy the fantastic views.,
There were many fishing boats, sailing boats and even people being pulled on their surf boards by large sails which billowed out in the wind.
It was a beautiful ride.
We stopped at a place called the Buzzards Roost in Key Largo for a fantastic Sunday Brunch, topped off with, you guessed it, KEY LIME PIE!

Met some interesting riders along the way and seemed to find people who wanted to visit at every gas stop. One of them, Jimmy Vail from Dallas gave me his card and said if I'm going through Texas he has two RV's on his property and I'm welcome to use them and also he would make his large workshop available if I needed to work on the bike.
Nice folks. He was riding with two friends, and had just been to Key West the night before also.
The ride was pleasant and uneventful, just another really great ride.
The evening was spent with Angela and Americo.
I asked him about his PHD and he explained that it was in Geo Physics, or something like that. He had spent 7 years going to school in Russia. He is working with a group that is trying to develop a new method of detecting oil and mineral deposits deep underground by using something that would not cause environmental problems. Very interesting.
I gave Angela the promised sidecar ride and we then began our Monday ride up the Florida Turnpike to Lake Mary.
Great ride on the tollway with easy gas stops and interesting people to visit with.
The clouds were getting pretty dark and the weather was closing in as we neared Orlando.
As we began the ride through the city we ran in to a real downpour.If this link works you may see the ride and the commentary that goes with it. Soggy Iron Butt Ride indeed!

Wet Ride Video

The most exciting part of the ride was at the top of a large overpass when I tapped the front wheel brake and went into a slide out.
Slid sideways past Diana and Ilidio, into the next lane, all the time worrying that I was going to scratch Diana's new Ford Fusion.
I missed her and went sliding right past them.
Ilidio quickly zipped past, pulled in front of me and away we went.
One more small adventure on what was truly an amazing four days.
A hot shower, warm dry clothes and I was ready for action.
THANKS to Diana and Ilidio for a great four day adventure and another one off the bucket list.
Key West and the Southernmost point in the USA.
after the holidays I will  be heading for Houston, Roswell NM, Phoenix, San Diego and San Jose.
The Yamaha has logged 6,400 miles and it looks like another 6,400 miles will carry me back to Helena.
It's a grand adventure.
Look for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America. 
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Holiday Season and the Long Ride Back To Montana

Hi Everybody, it's been busy the past few weeks so the blog entries have slowed down.
Now begins the busy season and the 6,000 mile ride back to Helena, Montana.
Granddaughter Lorna and her husband Rosario took son-in-law Ilidio and I on a cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy Cruise ship, where Rosario works as a ship officer.
Great Cruise.
Mexico, Grand Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Castaway Cay, the Disney Island.
A never to be forgotten experience.
Friday November 14th, the Yamaha will carry me to Miami where Diana and Ilidio have friends. They will make the trip in the car while I have a fun ride.
We may find time for a run down the highway to Key West as well.
The Holiday Season will keep us close to the Sacramento Shangri La in Lake Mary, Florida.
Mid January the ride back home to Helena, Montana will begin with a ride over to Panama City and Pensacola, and on to Mobile Alabama and New Orleans.
A visit with Joni & Gary in Houston will also include  a couple of days with brother-in-law Stan Smith and a possible visit with his son, Major General Len Smith in Austin, Texas.
Dale Coyner in his book Motorcycle Journeys through North America, 
has one ride called the Lone Star Loop. I'll be using part of that ride as a I journey across Texas.
Roswell, New Mexico has been high on my list of "someday places," ever since I installed a satellite dish at the home of Dr. Jesse Marcell whose father was an air force Major and had been at the reported UFO landing site.
Dr. Marcell was a true believer in what he saw of the material his father had brought to there home and talked about it as as I worked on his dish. Now I will have an opportunity to see Roswell in person.
The 6,000 mile ride will carry me through New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Idaho and ultimately back to Montana in March or April.
Several of the journeys Coyner discusses in his book will be used for side trips along the way, including The Natchez Trace north of New Orleans. So, Thanks Dale for helping make this a great spring ride.
I'll have more on this as the ride gets underway, in the meantime, watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Be Fantastic
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Planning The Next Leg Of The Cross Country Tour

The ride from Montana to Maryland and then to Florida was great.
I appreciate all the help I got on the Saddlesore 1000-1 from Barry Reddick the Certified Iron Butt witness and coach.
Sidecar Bill Ryder made sure the rig was ready and my twin brother Dean made a great End of Ride witness.
It was great being in Minneapolis for his 80th birthday party.
The visit with Jason and Allison in Baltimore and the visit to Fort Mc Henry was great.
Next is a possible cruise on the Disney Fantasy and then back on the Yamaha for the cross country ride to Houston.
Although Google maps has it at 964 miles, I expect it will be many more by the time I visit old stomping grounds in Panama City and Pensacola, Florida.

I'll be looking for some state camping sites to make use of the Mini Mate camper.
I remember that drive along the Gulf with it's white sands and resorts, and the night Lois and I and all six kids pulled a tent camper acrtoss that area and were awed by the sight of the big ship with all the lights in Mobile, Alabama.
Great moments to remember. I'm looking forward to that part of the trip.
Then Houston where I will see Joni, Gary and Jerusha.
Lois' brother Stan lives there too, we may get to take that hot air balloon ride yet.
I can't decide which way I'll go after that, but it will likely be toward Arizona, New Mexico and then up to San Jose, CA via Highway 101. That is supposed to be a great ride.
Got the oil changed today.
The Yamaha Superstore in Sanford, Florida is the largest I have seen.
An added bonus today was the Can Am factory team was there to offer free rides on the new Spyder.
They had quite a line up of bikers waiting for a ride so I loaded Ilidio into the sidecar and headed off to a Thai restaurant for lunch without taking them up on their offer.
The Can Am with two wheels in front makes an unusual trike, but I won't be making any changes in my rig any time soon.
The Yamaha V Star 1100 Classic is a great Long Distance road bike and the Velorex sidecar and Mini Mate camper makes it a real Iron Butt LD rig.
Enjoying my visit with Diana and Ilidio, and getting a good rest.
Looking forward to a great ride across the south, but sure hate to leave their pool.
Watch for me in your area.
I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vast Scenic Vistas and Multitudes Of Fantastic Fellow Travelers

I had planned to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway, but after driving the sidehack rig down the Skyline Drive, I turned East on I-64 and headed for I-95 South.
Travel was smooth, not like the winding twisting roads of the Skyline.
It was a great drive, but the Interstate made for an easy ride.
The sign on the back of the Yamaha from Helena to Minneapolis read:
80 Year  Old Iron  Butt Challenge Rider - 1000 miles in 24 hours.
I had made good use of the sign when I missed the 270 cut off around Columbus, Ohio.
I drove through the evening rush hour traffic on I-70 and on several occasions when I got into the wrong lane, people would see the sign and wave me back into the right lane.
I  tried to maintain a 65 mile per hour pace and as I cruised down the interstate where  most traffic was moving at 70 MPH or more, people in passing cars would read the sign and give me a thumbs up, wave, or in many cases slow down long enough to shoot a picture with their cell phone camera. The sign must certainly have been the most photographed sign on the highway.
In Iowa a young father with three sons in his car whizzed up along side then slowed quickly and pulled in behind so they could take pictures. Pulling alongside they all smiled, waved and gave the thumbs up.
This became a familior sight as people young and old laughed, waved, smiled and gave the thumbs up salute.
The old drivers safety adage that you go where you are looking proved true on several occasions as people intent on reading the sign slowly drifted over the line in to my lane. In South Carolina a young lady was so intent on getting a good picture that I was forced to cross the rumble strip and on to the shoulder of the road. She was shocked and embaressed when she discovered what she had done, but a smile and a wave from me brought a similar response from her.
At gas stations, rest areas and food stops fellow travelers would go out of their way and take the time to say how good it was to see an older person doing something special like the Saddled Sore 1000-1 of the Iron Butt Association. What would seem a joke at first took on a more serious note when I explained that the Iron Butt Association was an organization that promoted safe long distance motorcycle touring.
It began to dawn on me that age, race, ethnicity and belief didn't matter.
Americans really do love, honor and respect older people and show those feelings in many ways.
Since leaving Helena, Montana on September 27th, I have traveled 3,667  miles across the United States. Through the evening rush hour traffic in Columbus, Ohio to the Monday morning rush hour traffic around Washington DC, people were kind and courteous.
What a great experience.
Through Montana, Idaho, North and South Dakota, Washington state,  Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida people have been fantastic .
Thank You America for your scenic beauty and for your multitudes of great people.
People who wave, smile and support an 80  year old man on a motorcycle on his quest to ride across the country.
From bikers to truck drivers American travelers have expressed their support for this ride in  many ways.
The word I have heard the most at truck stops and rest areas is "Inspiration."
As if to say other older citizens might be prompted to live out their dreams and take another look at the proverbial Bucket List.
The most frequent question I have received is, "Are you really traveling all by yourself.
I got the feeling the deeper question they were asking was: "You mean your kids are letting you do this on your own?"
I know this has not been easy for kids and grand kids, but frequent updates on the Face Book group Where In The World Is Grandpa kept them up to date on the latest travels.
Another question heard frequently was, "Don't you have a radio to keep from getting bored?"
My response is always the same, "As I travel I have a lifetime of memories which I can play back at will with  no need for a navigation screen, Sirius XM, Bluetooth or GPS.
The memories are as bright and real today as when they were lived all of those years ago.
3,667 miles so far and thousands more coming up as I look West from Lake Mary Florida to Houston, Texas, Denver, Colorado and San Jose, California.
Watch for me in your area.
I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WOW! That Was Some Kind Of Storm

It was a great feeling, climbing on the Yamaha and looking back to see my new Mini Mate Tent Trailer following up the street.
It hadn't taken Dale Coyner long to hook up the trailer hitch and lighting harness.
As I was getting ready to leave Dale handed me a signed copy of his book Motorcycle Journeys Through North America .
Thanks Dale, it will be well used.
Using the GPS coordinates Dale gave me Verizon Navigator took me to Front Royal, Virginia and on to the Skyline Drive.
Skyline Drive winds through The Shenandoah National Park and ends at the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I stopped at Mathews Arm Camping Site and used my National Park Golden Passport to save 50% on the $15.00 camping fee. The Golden Passport had been a purchase Lois and I made many years ago for future National Park and Historic site use. It has paid for itself over and over again through the years.
It was just beginning to rain as I tried following the directions for setting up the Mini Mate Tent. It was easy and took only slightly longer that the two minutes I had previewed on-line.
It was only 5:30pm, but already getting dark as the storm clouds moved in.
By 6:3opm, the wind was howling and it continue unabated until near dawn.
The rain fell very hard and the wind seemed to roll over the camp in waves. Slacking off for a few minutes and then coming back with renewed fury. The storm which had rolled through Maine dropping trees and power lines, now, in the mountains, lashed out at a novice camper, while he wondered if his newly purchased Mini Mate was up the  challenge.
It Was!
Although the tent sides billowed inward slightly, the trailer itself didn't budge.
The legs held it firmly in place.
Opening the tent flaps at dawn showed the rain and wind were gone.
Now only a cold breeze brought a chill to the morning and breaking down the camp site was a short job, completed with sweater, coat, hat and gloves on.
The day warmed quickly and by early afternoon I had reached the end of Skyline Drive.
I looked at the map of the Blue Ridge Parkway and wondered if I was up for two hundred more miles of the twisting and turning roadway.
My arms and shoulders were definitely showing the effects of driving a sidecar rig through the rugged country. It was not the same as riding a two wheeler through the twisties.
As I was debating whether to head for I-95 and Florida, a text from Diana set my course.
She told of an air show at Daytona Beach this weekend and how we could camp on the beach.
Sure sounded better than another cold night in the mountains.
I turned on to I-64 and headed for I-95 and Florida.
The Mini Mate, the all night wind and rain storm, and the Skyline Drive made for a great adventure.
This trailer followed smoothly with little or no effect on the Yamaha.
From 35 MPH to 75 MPH it was flawless.
Great ride today and should be a great ride tomorrow.
If you're riding I-95 tomorrow, look for me.
I'll be in the Right Lane America.
See you there
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Meet the Mini Mate!

Stopped by the cycle shop where they replaced a nut and bolt which vibrated off on the ride. Probably laying in a corn field in Illinois. 

Then it was off to the Mini Mate Shop, hoping to be on the way South by noon. Jason and I set the tent camper up for practice. It worked great. Should be easy to pull and easy to set up. 

Looking forward to getting out on the road with it. The trip has been fantastic so far. Some rain and wind but mostly good. 
(Here are a couple videos that show how easy it is to set up.)

Ready for the Skyline Trail which connects to with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Camping tonight!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blow Out! Forty Miles From Town And The Rear Tire Blew

It was all going so well.
I completed the Saddle Sore 1,000-1, and made the run through North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and into Maryland.
Less then 100 miles from the home of Grandson Jason and Allison Darelius.
Cruising up I-68 at 65 MPH when I heard a loud bang, followed by a loud whistling sound.
The rear tire had blown out.
The Yamaha didn't wobble, shake or swerve.
It stayed as solid as a rock.
A tribute to the great job  Sidecar Bill Ryder did in setting it up.
I quickly moved to the edge of this very busy freeway and pulled as far off onto the shoulder as I could.
I  have Triple A Premium which covers motorcycle and RV tows, thanks to my son Roger telling me about it.
I got the Triple A card out, but before I could make the call, a sharp looking Harley Sportster pulled over and it's rider sporting a beard, leather jacket and denim vest covered with patches from Biker get-togethers around the country got off and asked if I needed help.
"Blew the rear tire" I said.
Without waiting Sportster guy, Dave Brode said " that's not good let me make a couple of calls."
With a couple of  calls he had located a tire at Twigg Cycles in Hagerstown, some forty  miles away.
I got the Triple A card out and tried to call for a tow truck.
With all of the trucks roaring past I couldn't hear well enough to get a truck.
Just then one of Daves friends pulled up in his SUV.
Seeing that I was having trouble with my call he told me to get in his car, away from the highway noise.
Sadly I neglected to get his name so I could thank him in this report.
Triple A did a great job in getting the information and lining up a towing service to haul me the forty miles in to town.
They said it would be about an hour to get a truck out to pick me up.
Much to my surprise, in less that five minutes I received a call from Scott Carbough owner/operator of Jaz's Towing and Recovery service of Hancock, Maryland.
He wanted to confirm the location I was at.
I told him I was on I-68 East near Exit number 68.
Dave had pinpointed the location for me when he first arrived on he scene.
To my surprise Scott said he was already at Exit 68  but in the West bound lane.
When he received the call from Triple A, he had been on the way to a relatives house to check on some needed repairs on his truck.
His Uncle lived close to the spot where I was stranded.
Instead of an hour long wait for the truck, he was there in a matter of minutes.
In a short time he had my rig loaded on to his truck and 45 minutes later he was backing up to the loading dock at Twigg Cycles in Hagerstown, the largest motorcycle shop in the area.
Service Advisor Andy Horowitz quickly had the bike moved into the shop and the crew went to work.
As Harley Sportster Dave put it, " I think God was working overtime to get you taken care of today, if your tire had blown a half mile further down the road you would have had no cell phone service, it's a dead space for cell phones."
 Yeah, I think he got it right.
On this day, all the good came together for me.
Life is good.
I had a great ride today and a very interesting afternoon.
Met new friends and have another good story to share at side car rallies and other get togethers.
I'm looking forward to meeting many more good folks like the ones I met today.
I'll be coming your way, look for me.
I'll be in the Right Lane America
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Arrived at 11am West Branch, Iowa. Rain all the way from Des Moines. Visited the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and headed for Davenport and I 74.

Finally rode out of the rain. 2:15pm, Galesburg, Il. I'll get a motel here and dry off. 

Great ride today. The rain is no problem. Just makes it interesting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Saddle Sore 1000 -1 and Iron Butt Certification!

I had wanted to do the Iron Butt ride for a long time, but the time never seemed just right.

Now it did.

The Iron Butt Association had the required forms on line and I printed them out. A Helena, Montana Certified Iron Butt Rider, Barry Reddick, agreed to serve as my Start Witness and my twin brother who lives 1,040 miles away in Monticello, MN would be the End Ride Witness.
Sidecar Bill Ryder gave the Yamaha and sidecar a final check and the ride was about to get underway.

We meet at 3:30am  on Saturday morning September 27, 2014 at High Country Travel on highway 12 east of Helena. It was raining. The temperature was 51 degrees with an east wind. Barry signed the Start Ride form, Bill did a final check, my son Roger took pictures and with their shouts of Good Luck ringing in my ears, I roared off into the moonless night.

The first sixty rain slowed miles were two lane highway and as expected 55 MPH was what I was able to run. Pulling into Three Forks I filled the tank and rolled over the steel rails of the cattle guard and on to the interstate. Now what I expected to be the easy ride was beginning.

Interstate highways would take me the 1,041 miles to Monticello, MN. and the coveted membership in the Iron Butt Association. The Euphoric feeling lasted all of thirty minutes. That's when I reached the base of Bozeman Pass.

As I began the run up the pass the wind began swirling around me from all directions. Rain began falling again and I was beginning to feel cold and wet. Half way up a misty fog began drifting with the wind. Near the top snow began slapping the wind screen. More like hard crystals of frozen rain than flakes.

Around that last long bend at the top and the rain was gone, the wind slowly died down and the road was clear. It was then that I realized why I was feeling cold and wet. When I filled the gas tank at Three Forks, I had failed to zip my rain coat up all the way and the leathers under it were soaked.

In the east I saw what appeared to be light filtering through the clouds and I knew I would soon be out of the inclement weather and might even have some sunshine to help dry things out. And that's what happened.

The ride through the early morning to Billings was relatively uneventful. By then the sun was up, I was drying off and it felt good to be warm again. I seemed to be having a problem with mileage which I attributed to the ENE head winds I was running into. I was stopping for gas every 75 miles. This continued as I made the run across North Dakota.

Gas stops were meant to be short, but the inevitable visits with people who wanted to learn all there was to know about sidecars made them longer then planned. I can sometimes make these visits shorter by giving them an old copy of The SideCarist, the official magazine of the United Sidecar Association. Alas, my few copies were soon gone and I was loath to give up the latest issue. So I visited and met new friends.

It was a great ride across the rolling hills of North Dakota. It was I dark by the time I rode past Bismarck, the state capital and past 11pm by the time I crossed the state line into Minnesota. Now I was facing a new challenge.

I had invested $240.00 in a new LED headlight for just this eventuality. This was Minnesota deer country and this new headlight would shine far down the road giving me a clear view of any animals joining me on the highway. Unfortunately, thousands of Dakotans had attended a huge entertainment event in Minneapolis and were now on the way home. An endless line of cars traveling the other way kept me from taking advantage of this modern miracle of headlights.


That's what I felt like shouting as I pulled in to the Holiday gas station in Monticello. It was 1:50am Sunday morning. I had left Helena at 4am MDT Saturday morning and now, some 21 and a half hours later I had completed my FIRST Iron Butt Ride.

Despite the late hour and the lack of sleep I was elated.

For over two and a half years my wife Lois and I, with the help of our six children, had journeyed through a terrible disease called Alzheimer's. The journey had ended in March and now this remarkable family and I were proving that there was indeed, life after Alzheimer's Disease.

The Iron Butt Ride then, was an expression of faith. Faith in a life rich and full. It was a great ride, one that I might just try again.

Look for me America, I'll be in the right lane.

Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The National Long Distance Motorcycle Tour continues

Hi Everybody,
I'm sorry to be so slow with updates. New Tablet computer and much too high tech.

The National Long Distance Motorcycle Tour continues, following the adventure called The Saddlesore 1000 -1. The Iron Butt Association web page had all the forms I needed to qualify for the Iron Butt ride. Sidecar Bill Ryder had the Yamaha and sidecar tuned up and ready to go. Barry Reddick of Collision Pro Auto Body service in Helena, MT  agreed to be my official Start Witness and my twin brother Dean Lonnquist  agreed to be my End witness in Monticello, MN. Monticello is 1,041 miles from Helena.

The 1,000 mile ride begaN AT 4am,m Sept. 27th at the High Country Travel Center on Highway 12 on Helena,s east side. A cold rain was falling. It was 51 degrees.

I filled the gas tank, received the required computer generated Time & Date stamped receipt and Barry signed the IBA form. Bill did a final check of the bike, my son Roger took pictures and I rode off into the cold, rainy night. I was well equipped and had read the suggestions for a successful ride on the IBA web page.

Six children offered all of the suggestions and support that an 80 year old rider would need.
The rain eased off after 30 miles or  so, but began in earnest as I left the sixty miles of two lane highway behind and rode across the steel Cattle Guards and onto Interstate 94.

Now, I thought the real ride begins.

The next 1,000 miles would be all Interstate and should be a great, long, but easy fun-filled ride. That thought left me as I passed Bozeman, MT and began the climb up the Bozeman Pass. A lot of traffic was already on the road, despite the early hour. As the Yamaha smoothly climbed the pass, the wind whistling through the mountain seemed like it was coming at me from all directions.

Half way up light fog started drifting across the four lanes of the Interstate. The intensity of the rain increased and soon it was a downpour. It was then that I realized that when I stopped for gas in Three Forks I had failed to zip the rain coat up all the way and the leathers underneath it were getting soaked.

Too late to do anything about that. I was not about to stop on the edge of the road and start rearranging rain gear. Near the top the first snow flakes hit the winbd screen.

Not flakes really. More like hard frozen rain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two Days To The Ride

And it looks like I could get wet through the first couple of hundred miles.
From Helena to Billings I could see a few raindrops but from there to Minneapolis it looks sunny and warm with little or no wind.
The Yamaha is ready. The Hack is open and ready to load.
Do I sound excited?
Well I am.
What a great ride this should be with clear skies and sunshine most of the way to Monticello, Minnesota and fair weather through the flatlands to Baltimore.
SideHack cruisin' is about to begin.
I'll try and post a couple of times per day on this BLOG and also on the FaceBook group Where In The World Is Grandpa.
Watch for me.
I'll be in the Right Lane America
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Check for information on the 1,000 miles in 24 hours SaddleSore 1000

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ultimate Motorcycle Endurance Challenge.

In three weeks I will be launching my fall trip.
From Helena, Montana to Minneapolis, Minnesota where my brother and sister live.
Then to Maryland to visit Jason and Allison,  Orlando to visit Diana and family, Houston to see Joni and family and to go on a hot air balloon ride with Lois’ brother Stan. Next I will hopefully make it to Denver to see Malachi, Ashley and Jared, over to San Diego and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and up the coast to San Jose to see Janis and family.

On September 27th at 4am MDT I will be leaving Helena on the fabled Saddle Sore 1000.

The Iron Butt Association will give me the prestigious Iron Butt Rider Award if I can ride my motorcycle 1,000 miles in 24 hours or less! As I was planning my trip to Maryland I discovered that it is 1,041 miles from Helena, MT to Monticello, MN where my twin brother lives. Exactly the number of miles I need to win this coveted award.

Think of it! Of all the millions of motorcycle riders in the WORLD, only 50,000 have been certified by the IBA as a certified Iron Butt Rider. Can a soon to be 80 year old man complete the endurance test required to win this award? We will have the answer by 5am CDT on the 28th.

I will leave Helena at 4am MDT on September 27th and must arrive in Monticello by 5am CDT the next morning. According to my figures I should have 15 or 16 hours riding time and another 8 or 9 hours for gas, food and rest stops. 1,000 miles in 24 hours to start my fall national motorcycle tour. I will keep you all up to date on my progress preparing and completing this epic Motorcycle Endurance Challenge.

Barry Reddick, owner of Collison Pro Auto Body in Helena has completed the 1000 mile ride and is a certified Iron Butt Rider. He has agreed to be my Start Point Witness. He will sign a statement noting the time, date and starting point and is prepared to answer the phone call from IBA to certify the start was in compliance with their rules. From there I save every gas receipt with computer generated date and time and will have my brother as the witness at the end of the ride.

I’ll be in the Right Lane America!
See you on the other end of the ride.

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Peoples Buffalo Jump

I would bet there are a lot of folks, maybe even you, who have never visited a buffalo jump.
Pull off I-15 at Ulm, Montana about ten miles south of Great Falls and follow the sign that says First Peoples Buffalo Jump three and a half miles (on paved road).

There you'll find an Interpretive Center staffed by some neighborly Rangers and staff who will guide you through an interesting part of Montana History.
Look at the cliff behind the sign. That's it. The Buffalo Jump.
It took great courage to be the Indian who dressed in a a buffalo calfs hide and ran out in front of the herd, drawing the Mother and the rest of the buffalo closer and closer to the cliff.
The Ranger will remind you as he leads you up the trail to the top of the jump to watch where you step, since the hillside has Rattlesnakes. Lots of rattlesnakes.
A few years ago I volunteered to lead a group on a walking tour  up the trail to the top of the jump. As the Ranger was outlining for us what we would see he said: "Now remember, you may see a rattlesnake along the trail and when you do don't jump and startle it, just stay calm and it will leave. The main thing is to remember that there snakes, and OHHH look there's one now!"
Sure enough, a big fat rattler was slithering across the concrete patio and heading right for us.
One of my elderly walkers was only a few feet away when the snake first appeared.
"Jim" failed to follow the rangers instructions and jumped at least three feet. He was quite agile, when the moment demanded agility.
It gave all of us, except Jim, something to talk about on our way back to Helena.

The story of the buffalo hunt is interesting and quite exciting. The Indians had a need for food, clothing and shelter and the buffalo provided it, until white hunters decimated the herd.
There is always lots of wildlife in the hills and you will learn more about it when you visit The First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park.
Oh, one last thing before we leave. 
If you look south from the parking lot you'll see a famous landmark.
Charlies Butte.
If you are a Charlie Russel fan you will have seen this butte in some of his paintings.
It's easily visible from I-15 as you leave the park and head south toward Helena.
Look closely and see if you recognize it from one of his paintings.

Heading for home the Sleeping Giant appears over your shoulder one more time.

Topping the North Hill is always a thrill as you see Helena and the valley spread out before you.
It's like a Welcome Home.
A great day for a ride and a little history lesson, and good to be home.

I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Come ride with me.


Wolf Creek Canyon

75 degrees for a high, wind calm, perfect for a quick Day Ride through Wolf Creek Canyon to Great Falls, Montana for lunch.
Riding the canyon is always a thrill, but especially on a day as perfect as this one.
The scenery is always spectacular, but this mornings sun brought great shadows to add to the color of every cliff, boulder and hillside.
Back in the day a ride through Wolf Creek on a two wheeler meant flying between the Missouri River and the mountain passes at full highway speed (and maybe a little more) and leaning the bike into every curve and bend the canyon has to offer.
I do have to say that doing the canyon with a SideHack at 50 MPH showed me a side of Wolf Creek Canyon I had not seen in the past. Every bend in the road brought boulders, rock slides, deep cuts and gorges that I really hadn't noticed when I was flying into each curve and maybe polishing the pegs as I went.
As Lois and I did a Sunday drive she would often comment on the power it must have taken to cause these deep rifts in the mountains and how the stone seemed to face every direction. I guess I failed to notice those things then, but they stood out for me today.
The new ride is smooth as silk with a throaty rumble from the pipes and a good solid feel to it.
I've ridden the canyon many times, but today I saw it all.

Saw a lot of Gold Wings heading south, and a couple passed me heading north.
If you're riding through Montana just get on I-15 at Helena and head north for Great Falls.
You'll have a great ride.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Visiting family

June 28th through July 6th I went traveling through North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Montana.
What a great trip.
Three Thousand Two Hundred Miles.
I visited in Fargo, North Dakota with Grands Katrina and Justin and Great Grand Vian.
That Vian, he is something else. Always smiling and making everyone around him laugh. Good one K & J.
Then on to Minneapolis, first stop at Twin Brother Dean & Bev's Garden and Vinyard in Monticello.
Here's Dean at Perkins for breakfast.
Had a great time at the graduation party at Vivian and Dave's, but it was raining and I didn't get any pictures. Under the canopy(s) everyone enjoyed the party and another of Viv & Dave's Grandkids has been graduated from High School.
We went to a wedding reception in North Minneapolis and saw Krystal Lonnquist and Adam Harvey. It was a great time at the reception while visiting with many Lonnquists.
Krystal & Adam. They are off to a great start. Thanks Krystal for the great pictures you sent.

I hadn't visited Tomah, Wisconsin for several decades. It was fun visiting some of the houses Lois and I and the kids occupied during the Tomah years.
This one was the first house we ever owned. It was on North Glendale Ave.
While living here the kids went to Kindergarten at the Lemonweir School.
 We built a house in 1967 on the other end of town. On the corner of Madison and Madison, the kids used to say.
It was a good visit when I had lunch with an old co worker from WTMB, Patrick J. Adler
He was Patrick J on the air.
Early the next morning I made the run through Fort McCoy on the Interstate. I remember well the morning I hit a deer with the motorcycle a few miles out of Sparta, Wisconsin. Sure glad I had that helmet on. Of course, it wasn't much good after that. The whole side was mashed in. I had lots of Asphalt Rash that morning, along with a broken collar bone.
Stopped in LaCrosse for a visit with old friends Jack & Ethel Sobotta. I remember them as The Country Caravan, a great country band in the 70's.
They sure don't look like they are in their 80's, do they?
Of course I don't either. Do I?
Had a good ride through the rolling hills of southern Minnesota and saw mile after mile of wind turbines spinning in the wind and making lots of electrical energy.
I had a good ride up I-29 to Dawson, MN for a visit with Allen and family. Well, good except for the rain and wind. That was a cold wet ride and I was glad to finally arrive in Dawson, more than ready for a hot cup of coffee and a great lunch with Allen, Pam, Laura and Lydia.
Good Grief, how did those two kids grow up so fast?
The sun was shining the next morning and I was ready for a nice long ride over to Sturgis and Deadwood, South Dakota. First their was a Lonnquist Farewell.
I-90 across Southern Minnesota and into South Dakota was an awesome ride.
I went to through Sturgis, SD with only a short stop at the Motorcycle Museum. It was great with over two hundred old motorcycles, some with sidecars. I told the kids they had motorcycle here that were even older than me.
Following the museum tour I headed a few miles down a great winding, twisting road to Deadwood. A couple of years ago when Lois and I went through here with Diana, Jared and Linda, Jenny found us a neat motel on the edge of Deadwood for just $35.00 a night. It was clean, neat and had plenty of room. I pulled in for another stay. The front clerk said, "Well I will have to charge you $45.00 since this is Thursday and the Fourth of July weekend is starting."
I told her my daughter Diana had stayed there a few weeks earlier and told me to be sure and ask for the specual $35.00 rate.
The lady replied, "Well, I guess it's not really the Fourth of July yet, so you can have the room for $35."
Nice lady. I'll stay there again.
Breakfast in Sturgis the next morning and of course it had to be at the Sidehack Saloon.
If you ever visit Sturgis you should try the Big Breakfast.
That is, if you dare to order The Garbage Omelet. It was actually very good and very, very filling.

Even if Dale Coyner in his book Motorcycle Travel does caution you to eat light to enjoy the ride.

I had planned to visit the Lehman Trike factory in Spearfish, but pushed on through on Sunday morning when it was closed.
Visit to see what my friend Dan Herstein does with the Lehman trike kits.
Wyoming came up fast once I made the run through Spearfish.
It was in the 90's and I stopped often for water.

Really nice Visitor Center just over the Wyoming line.
Nice folks and free coffee for visitors during the Holiday Weekend.
Pulling out of the visitors center I had to make a quick stop.
I had never seen a full size airplane mounted on a pole and being used for a weather vane.
You don't see that every day. But there it was. Turning in the breeze. Pretty neat.
This was a long days ride through 90 degree weather.
I planned on going all the way from Sturgis to Billings, Montana, just over four hundred miles.
Too far for an old guy to ride in one day.
A lot of hills in Wyoming can slow you down, but on a couple I was behind a truck and they sort of pulled me over the top. That was easy.
Worked good until I somehow got behind a semi that was trying out the new 80 MPH speed limit that the state of Wyoming put in to effect that very weekend.
Well I used the brakes and got back down to a sensible speed.
After a good nights sleep at the Billings Comfort Inn I had a nice relaxing ride through the Montana mountains to Helena and home.
Three Thousand Two Hundred miles.
A great ride.
It is true you know.
After being married for sixty years, learning to live alone is a lot easier if you have a sidecar.
I'm heading for Washington DC to visit Grands Jason and Allison in late September, and then, with my new Mini Mate tent camper secured by a sturdy trailer hitch, the Yamaha 1100cc Classic, the sidecar and the tent camper will head on down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Destination, Lake Mary, Florida and a visit with Diana, Ilidio and Jenny.
Maybe a cruise on the Disney Fantasy if Lorna and Rosario have their way.

I'll be in the Right Lane America.
How about you?
May your ride be long and may your Love Song never end.