About breams

Baby Boomer generation. Integrator of the disconnected. Engineer, BMW motorcycle addict and Iron Butt enthusiast.

R65LS & R80G/S 40th Anniversary Rally

The BWM R80G/S and R65LS rally is in … wait for it … HARLEYSVILLE, PA. Yes, that’s a bit ironic.

Welcome to Harleysville

Welcome to Harleysville

The rally logos are similar in design to the ones used for the RS rally in 2017.Β  I think they are well done.

Rally Central

Rally Central

Rally Logo

Rally Logo

Rally Logo's

Rally Logo’s

After I parked Gonzo, a row of RS bikes gathered around.

Gonzo Resting With RS Friends

Gonzo Resting With RS Friends

RS Row Formed Beside Gonzo

RS Row Formed Beside Gonzo

Gonzo Has a Front Row Seat for the Rally

Gonzo Has a Front Row Seat for the Rally

And, there was a KTM 390 attending, in of all things, the Harley colors of orange and black. πŸ™‚

Renegade KTM 390 in Harley Colors :-)

Renegade KTM 390 in Harley Colors πŸ™‚

There were some very interesting machines there, including a Krauser MKM 1000 with the trellis frame, Dr. Greg Fraiser’s around the world GS “Ugly Helga”, and a nice R75/5.

Krauser MKM1000

Krauser MKM1000

Krauser MKM1000 Frame Detail

Krauser MKM1000 Frame Detail

Krauser MKM1000 Frame Detail

Krauser MKM1000 Frame Detail

Dr. Fraiser's GS Around the World Bike

Dr. Frazier’s GS Around the World Bike

Dr. Frazier's GS Around the World Bike

Dr. Frazier’s GS Around the World Bike

Dr. Frazier's GS Around the World Bike

Dr. Frazier’s GS Around the World Bike

A Cool R75/5

A Cool R75/5

And, a nice collection of GS and R65 bikes ended up parking in front of Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn. I’ll have more to say about the contents of Todd’s barn later.

Todd's Bavarian Bike Barn

Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn

Attendee Bikes

Attendee Bikes

Attendee Bikes

Attendee Bikes

Here is a slide show of general rally site pictures I took. There are later slide shows of Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn, Han’s original design concept for the R80 G/S which was built by George Schorsch Martin, the owner of the largest BMW motorcycle dealership in Germany, some of the very cool bikes attendees brought to the rally and from Han’s R65LS presentation.

And, this slide show has pictures of bikes attendees brought to the rally.

Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn

When Han’s arrived, Todd held a ceremonial dedication of the barn with Hans cutting the ribbon.

Hans Muth

Hans Muth

Hans Muth

Hans Muth

Todd had a ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate his new barn and the collection of bikes inside. Hans cut the ribbon with a pair of scissors made in Germany, and I’m sure Todd will treasure that moment for year’s to come.

George Schorsch Martin, Hans Muth and Todd Trumbor Getting Ready To Dedicate Todd's Bavarian Bike Barn

Schorsch “George” Martin, Hans Muth and Todd Trumbor Getting Ready To Dedicate Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn

Todd Shows Hans The Scissors Were Made in Germany

Todd Shows Hans The Scissors Were Made in Germany

Hans Ready to Cut The Ribbon

Hans Ready to Cut The Ribbon

Todd's Bike Barn Ribbon Cutting By Hans

Todd’s Bike Barn Ribbon Cutting By Hans

And then we all went inside to drool over the marvelous collection of motorcycles Todd has assembled over the years.

Todd's Bavarian Bike Barn Collection Shines In The Sun

Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn Collection Shines In The Sun

View Inside Todd's Bavarian Bike Barn [SOURCE; Andy Mueller]

View Inside Todd’s Bavarian Bike Barn [SOURCE; Andy Mueller]

Here’s a slide show of some of what’s inside.

Presentations

Hans was first and on day 1 talked about how he came to design the R80 G/S bike. The motorcycle division had been spun out on it’s own and then pulled back into the BMW mother ship. The resulting confusion paralyzed the engineering and design teams. Hardy Kruger and Hans decided to come up with a project to get momentum going again.

Hans owned a Land Rover car and felt what BMW should do was design the motorcycle equivalent of a “go anywhere, anytime” vehicle. Due to constraints on BMW, the new design had to make maximum use of an existing bike. So Hans chose the R65 as the basis of the design with the goal of removing what was not needed for a rugged, go anywhere motorcycle. The G and S are forΒ GelΓ€nde/Straße meaning off road/on road. Or, as Hans referred to it, a “Gentlemen’s Scambler”. As it turned out, he had to leave BWM after developing the design concept and was not in control of the final production.

Recently he and George Schorsch Martin, who owns the largest BMW dealership network in Germany, decided to work from Han’s original design concept and build the bike Hans conceived. And, then Schorsch brought it the rally to show us.

IMHO, I always felt the R80G/S was not a crisp design with a clear “vocabulary” as is the case with theΒ  R90S and R100RS. Now I know why I felt that way. Hans wasn’t there to shepherd it to completion.

BUT … the bike we saw today is what BMW should have built, again, IMHO.

Hans Muth's R80 G/S Deign Concept Finally Realized

Hans Muth’s R80 G/S Deign Concept Finally Realized

Red Engine Block Stands For the Heart of the R80

Red Engine Block Stands For the Heart of the R80

Trick Shift Lever Linkage

Trick Shift Lever Linkage

Note "GS800" not "R80" on the Seat

Note “GS800” not “R80” on the Seat

The Choke Lever Got Moved

The Choke Lever Got Moved

Here is a slide show of the finally realized running R80 G/S built from Han’s original design concept.

On day 2, Hans talked about the development of the R65LS bike. The goal was to appeal to the younger rider, a demographic that was a small section of BMW motorcycle riders. The overall visual sense is one of freedom and flight. The front wedge of the headlight housing suggests a wing while the red is signifies power, aggressiveness which had been identified with many Italian cars such as Alpha Romeo and Ferrari. The headlight shell flows upward in a black cylinder for the instruments. The rear tail cowlΒ  had red grap rails integreted into it so the female passenger would feel secure and comfortable.

The white wheels are a different casting pattern. The casting looks less massive compared to the “snowflake” wheels and the white visually minimizes the mass of the wheel accentuating the overall sense of the bike being nimble, light and quick.

The black chrome exhaust visually pulls it into the mass of the frame and tires making the lower parts of the bike appear more cohesive.

Although the R65LS was not a big seller, Hans felt BMW marketing failed to create a strong story about the feeling of riding this bike that would connect with the younger riders.

R65LS Fairing and Headlight-Instrument Cluster Cylinder

R65LS Fairing and Headlight-Instrument Cluster Cylinder

R65LS Black Exhaust and White Wheels Completes the Story-Light, Nimble, Fast, Powerful

R65LS Black Exhaust and White Wheels Completes the Story-Light, Nimble, Fast, Powerful

Here is a slide show of the R65LS on stage and some of the R65LS bikes at the rally.

Tom Cutter did a question and answer session on day 1 and day 2 where anyone with a technical question could ask him for advice. There was a wide range of questions and Tom’s capacity to keep the details straight was in strong evidence.

Tom Cutter, Proprietor of Rubber Chicken Racing Garage

Tom Cutter, Proprietor of Rubber Chicken Racing Garage

Dr. Gregory Frazier talked about long distance motorcycle rides, both his six trips around the world on various motorcycles, including “Ugly Helga” his BMW GS bike and other brands. Dr. Frazier’s desire to roam the world was inspired by reading the Jules Verne novel, “Around the World in 80 Days” at the age of 15. As the saying goes, “Out of little acorns, mighty Oaks grow.”

Dr. Gregory Frazier Who Has Ridden Around The World Six Times On Motorcycles

Dr. Gregory Frazier Who Has Ridden Around The World Six Times On Motorcycles

Dr. Frazier's GS Around the World Bike, Ugly Helga

Dr. Frazier’s GS Around the World Bike, Ugly Helga

Dr. Frazier's GS Around the World Bike, Ugly Helga

Dr. Frazier’s GS Around the World Bike, Ugly Helga

He also talked about the early ones who road around the world, and across the United States in teens of the 20th century. His observation is those riders (and in at least one case, their new bride) were the true risk taking adventure riders. Today, with cell phones and modern roads almost everywhere, the risk is significantly smaller.

Here is a slide show of the BMW GS bike he rode around the world, Ugly Helga

Bob Hening, owner of Bob’s BMW, talked on day 1 about how to care for old bikes.

Bob Henig, Owner of Bob's BMW

Bob Henig, Owner of Bob’s BMW

The key decision to make is whether to preserve, refurbish or restore the bike. The path chosen depends on you, and the provenance of the bike. He advocates preserving the story told by the patina of the bike. For example, Dr. Frazier’s Ugly Helga is a bike that should show all it’s scars and bruises as a testament to where it’s been. Further, what do you want and how you plan to use it can influence which option to choose. If you plan to ride the bike, then preservation maybe a dangerous option as failing rubber and unsound brakes make no sense is that’s you goal.

He pointed out being clear about your goal, or the end state, for the project is what will guide your efforts, so take the time to think that through and write down the goals you have before you spend money or start the work.

On day 2, Armond Ensanian who wrote the book, “Discovering the Motorcycle” spoke about beginnings of the motorcycle in the mid-1800’s moving from steam power eventually to the internal combustion engine powered bikes. He wove this into the beginnings of BMW and how the company evolved into a builder of motorcycles and cars. He traced the influence on BMW design by various early motorcycles including the 1919 ABC Sopwith and the British Douglas company.

[As an aside, Todd has a Douglas Dragonfly, which has an opposed cylinder engine in his collection. It seems they borrowed from the design ideas of the first BMW motorcycle, the R32, and the later post war models that used the Earls fork.]

Todd's Douglas Dragonfly-Strong BMW DNA

Todd’s Douglas Dragonfly-Strong BMW DNA

The final speaker on Day 2 was Karl Meyers who grew up in a family of BMW mechanics. He talked about the lessons learned from fixing airheads over 40 years. The lessons he passed on about proper care, feeding and hygiene of an airhead will help all of us who have these keep them running longer with fewer costly repairs.

After an excellent dinner on Saturday night, I rode back to my hotel to prepare for the ride back to Denver on Sunday morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the rally, the background on the design of the R80G/S and R65LS from Hans. The other presenters made for a well rounded, and information rich two days. And of course, none of the magic at this marvelous gathering could have happened without the generous support of Todd Trumbore and the countless hours of planning over two years that went into this rally.

OTRA Day 5-6 R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

It’s Thursday, Day 6, and I’m at the Holiday Inn in Kulpsville, PA where I’m staying for the rally. Things get started this evening with a fireside meet-and-greet and continues Friday and Saturday.Β  I plan on leaving Sunday for the ride back home.

The weather for the past three days has been perfect for riding; upper 50’s in the morning and barely 80 by late afternoon, low humidity and that rare delight of the East coast, robins’ egg blue skies. It looks like the rally will have perfect weather.

Yesterday was day 5 of the ride. The previous night, after I slapped the Zumo “up side the head” and it started to work again, I plugged it into the laptop to charge it’s battery. When I disconnected it and turned it off, once again, it took a dirt nap and refused to power back on. Oh well, now that I found the option to keep the iPhone in portrait mode and prevent it from rotating the screen, it’s been working reliably. But, being paranoid at times, I wrote down some directions in case the iPhone goes on strike and I need to figure out where I’m going for the day’s ride.

A Cool Morning and a Dead Garmin Zumo After All

A Cool Morning and a Dead Garmin Zumo-Oh Well Steve Jobs to the Rescue πŸ™‚

I wasn’t looking forward to Wednesday’s ride as it’s on I-70 and then I-76, aka, The Pennsylvania Turnpike. Exits are few and far between, but there are gas stations in the rest plaza’s, all Sunoco stations. I wonder how much it cost Sunoco to get that monopoly?

Pennsylvania Turnpike Rest Stop

Pennsylvania Turnpike Rest Stop

And, it’s a toll road.Β  It cost me over $40.00 to ride 200 miles or so. That was a bit of a shock. The good news is I’m not using it on the return ride as I’m going to go more southerly and pick up US-50.

I got off the turnpike for awhile to take advantage of an interesting coincidence: Denver, Reamstown, Honey Brook and Stevens are all within a few miles of each other. Since I live in metropolitan Denver, my last name is Reams and my first name is Brook–and I’m such a sweet guy (Quiet Rochelle!!) :-)–and my daughter-in-law is a Stephens (well that spelling is close enough), I wanted to visit them all. It broke up the unpleasant, multi-hundred mile drone of riding the Pennsylvania super-slab with the unrelaxed, constant attention I had to pay to the herds of lumbering 18 wheelers.

Reamstown and Denver

Reamstown and Denver Are Close Together

Reamstown Fire Department

Reamstown Fire Department

Reamstown Fire Department

Reamstown Fire Department

Gonzo and I Just Missed The Reamstown Celebration

Gonzo and I Just Missed The Reamstown Days Celebration

Welcome To Denver

Welcome To Denver, My Home Town Back East πŸ™‚

Welcome to Honey Brook

Welcome to Honey Brook, Brook

Stevens Road in Stevens, PA

Stevens Road in Stevens, PA

I stopped by to meet Randy Long, of Long’s Mechanical Services, who just finished rebuilding the heads for my 1983 RS/RT project. This is the fourth set of airhead heads he has rebuilt for me. When he called to tell me he was shipping the heads back to me a few weeks ago, I let him know I was heading to the rally. He graciously extended an invitation to come by and meet him.

This is an indication of the number of heads he rebuilds: quite a collection of old valve seats from BMW, Harley, Triumph and all the UJM brands.

Have a Few Old Valve Seats

Have a Few Old Valve Seats

I took the back roads to his house and along the way, I spied a horse drawn wagon reminding me I’m in Amish country. And, what a delight to get back on a windy, two-lane road on a sunny 75 degree day with clear blue skies. This ride rejuvenated me from the sour mood my long slog along the Pennsylvania Turnpike had induced. πŸ™‚

I'm In Amish Country

I’m In Amish Country

Now, That's What I'm Talk'en About :-)

Now, That’s What I’m Talk’en About-A Nice Road and A Great Day For A Motorcycle Ride πŸ™‚

After I left Randy’s shop, I swung by to say see Tom Cutter, proprietor of Rubber Chicken Racing Garage, who is going to the rally and will be speaking. He invited me to drop by, spend the night, get some laundry washed, and then we could ride together to the rally on Thursday afternoon. And of course, Tom has a GS. So Gonzo had the opportunity to get to know the kind of airhead bikes he will be surrounded by this weekend. πŸ™‚

Gonzo Getting To Know His New R100GS Friend

Gonzo Getting To Know His New R100GS Friend

Tom and I took the leisurely route through the back roads for an hour and then we parted company as he is staying at the VIP hotel, and I’m in “other hotel”.Β  When I got to the Holiday Inn, I parked Gonzo next to another R100GS, but this time so they could talk to each other πŸ™‚

Gonzo Chatting With R100GS From Detroit

Gonzo Chatting With R100GS From Detroit

OTRA Day-4: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

Today is day 4 of the ride.Β  Often on day 3 or day 4 of my long trips, I get challenged, either physically, mentally or emotionally.Β  My wife, who has ridden with me on almost all of my long distance rides, and I, have come to refer to days that are a bit trying of our patience as “day 3” of our ride.

Since I started out, my new Garmin Zumo 396 LMT has been flashing a number of annoying announcements. The most common has been an alert that it can’t provide fuel mileage estimates if the unit is not in the motorcycle cradle (but of course it is in the cradle) and every now and then, it flashes a message that it has detected that I removed it from the cradle and it will power off in 15 seconds, but, it’s still in the cradle.

After I stopped yesterday in Nobelville, IN, (a suburb of Indianapolis), I opened up the headlight shell to check the new wiring I installed to power the Zumo. I crimped the female spade connectors a bit to ensure they would be tight on the spade terminals, reseated the fuse, and went off to eat dinner and write my blog for the day.

I parked Gonzo in front of my room. Sometimes he wants to sleep with a night light on when he’s in a strange place.

Gonzo Sleeping With The Night Light On

Gonzo Sleeping With The Night Light On

This morning, I woke up about 6:20 am. I had set the alarm for 7:30 anticipating leaving by 8:30 am.Β  But, I was wide awake and at 7:00 I rolled out of bed, got dressed and went down to see how Gonzo was. He was fine, but shivering as he was covered in dew. I forgot how a typical summer morning in the mid-west starts with water all over your bike from the high humidity.

Can You Say Humid?

Can You Say Humid?

Can You Say Humid?

Can You Say Humid?

The good news is all the bug goo and guts come right off on the wash cloth without having to use the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the bug gunk.

As is my usual drill, I checked the tires and the oil. The tires needed a pound or two and the oil was fine. Then, I installed the Zumo in the cradle and … Nothing. Nada. Zip. I tried the ON/OFF button multiple times, but no happiness. Ok. I must have F’ed something up when I crimped the terminals yesterday. So, off with the headlight cover, remove the headlight and check my work. Well, everything is perfect. WTF? Okay, I can plug the Zumo into my laptop USB port to give it power, so let’s see what that does. So, I go back up to the 4th floor into my room and I plug it into the laptop. Repeat performance of plugging it into the power cradle on Gonzo … Zilch, Nada, Zip.

Okay, lets just get breakfast and think things over. By the end of breakfast, no new ideas occur. So, I pull out my iPhone, and figure I can use it for any navigation I need should I get confused. The route today is as simple as 1, 2, 3: (1) Find US-36 East of Nobleville and follow it to Ulrichville, OH; (2) Get on US-250 and follow it to Wheeling, WV; (3) get on I-70 East and get off at the Triadelphia exit where I know I can see the hotel.

So, I put Gonzo back together, get everything packed up and loaded on the bike, and now it’s almost 9:00 am. So much for getting an early start. Ah, yes, this must be “the third day”, even though it’s really the fourth. πŸ™‚

That said, thankfully it was 65 F this morning instead of being in the 80’s at 9:00 am as has been the case on the last three days. And, it stayed below 80 all day, except for the last couple hours when it got up to 82 F. I felt much less tired, sore and weary at the end of the day today. Heat and humidity really sucks a lot of energy out of you even when you stay hydrated.

Although I got turned around getting off I-69 one exit too soon, and then after getting back on and taking the correct exit for Pendleton, IN, again getting turned around by missing the clearly marked turn for I-36 E, I finally get my poop in group with the assistance of Google maps and my iPhone. But, putting the phone in the map pocket of my tank bag makes it almost impossible to see it. I need to find a cell phone mount so I can attach it to my RAM mount on the handlebar. Ok, keep my eyes open for a motorcycle shop as I wander my way through Ohio.

I see a Harley dealership and stop in. But, the cell phone mount they have doesn’t use a RAM ball, so no cigar.Β  Another 100 miles or so and I see a UJM shop, Mid-Ohio Power Sports in Mt. Vernon. They show the corporate logos for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. Bingo, they have a mount that will work. So, I now have iPhone GPS via Google maps. Except, every 15th or 20th bump and the screen decides to rotate 90 degrees due to the orientation sensor getting confused. Then, it gets over the trauma and rotates back to the proper orientation. I now am very practiced at figuring out turns even if the map is rotated 90 degrees to my direction of travel πŸ™‚

And, then Ohio DOT decides to cancel US-36. Yeap, “Road Closed”.

US-36 Is Closed :-(

US-36 Is Closed πŸ™

But, that turns out to be fortuitous. The detour onto a state road, OH-715, is a fantastic motorcycle road. But, this adds more time to my schedule. On the other hand, what else was I planning to do today, but ride Gonzo in Ohio πŸ™‚

I rejoin US-36 and proceed until I get to Ulrichsville, OH, where US-36 unceremoniously ends becoming US-250. And, as was the case in 2017 when I rode on US-250 down to Wheeling, WV, it’s a roller coaster ride with all the corners and sharp turns you would expect in the Colorado mountains. What a HOOT!!! πŸ™‚

I cross into West Virginia at the end of US-250 and pick up I-70 for a few miles until I get to my hotel in Triadelphia.

Entering West Virginia

Entering West Virginia

I get checked in, unpacked, take a shower and call Rochelle to tell her I’ve arrived. Then I hang up the laundry to dry.

Light Weight Packing Requires Making A Clothes Line Every Day :-)

Light Weight Packing Requires Making A Clothes Line Every Day πŸ™‚

BTW, did you know you can travel for weeks on end with only two shirts, two briefs, two pair of riding socks, two pair of pants and a credit card? I have acquired light weight, fast drying versions of these. I just wash out the pair I wore that day in the bath tub or shower and hang them up to dry. Usually they are dry by morning, even in high humidity climates like the east coast, but it’s nice to rotate through the pairs and pretend they are fresh out of the dyer. πŸ™‚

After I finish my traditional motorcycle touring, end-of-day Gin & Tonic, I decide to fix the Garmin Zumo the “old fashioned” way … I slam it face down on the top of the desk in my hotel room. I plug it into the USB port of my laptop, and bingo, IT’S ALIVE!!!!

WHAM, BAM, ZAZAM - So, Finally It Starts Working Again ..... GRRRRRR!!!

WHAM, BAM, SHAZAM – So, Finally It Starts Working Again ….. GRRRRRR!!!

Sometimes the old ways work best. πŸ™‚

I’ll give it a try tomorrow and see if all the gremlins have decided to go bother somebody else. If not, I can mount the iPhone and use it.

After I come back from dinner, I see Gonzo is making nice to a slinky, sexy Swedish blonde cousin who just parked beside him. For those who didn’t know, BMW bought Husqvarna in 2007 and then sold it in 2013. Maybe he won’t need a night light tonight after all?

Gonzo Making Nice to a Blonde Cousin, Born in Sweden, He Didn't Know He Had :-)

Gonzo Making Nice to a Blonde Cousin, Born in Sweden, He Didn’t Know He Had πŸ™‚

OTRA Day-3: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

Gonzo and I left Hannibal a bit later this morning than I had planned. I had to wait to fill the gas tank in the morning. I usually fill up before stopping for the night, however, I wanted to adjust the front disk brake as I had installed new pads just before leaving. The front brake lever adjustment is done at the front master cylinder which is under the gas tank so I have to remove the gas tank and I wanted to do that with the tank close to empty.

After gassing up on the way out of Hannibal in the morning it was about two miles to the Mark Twain Memorial bridge over the Mississippi river where the state line of Illinois is about half way over the bridge. I stopped on the bridge in the break down lane to get a picture.

Half-way Across The Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

Half-way Across The Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

As I got back to the bike, I could smell gasoline. Looking down at Gonzo’s left carburetor, I could see he was throwing up his morning gas station breakfast all over the bridge.

Gonzo Threw-up On Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

Gonzo Threw-up On Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

I shut off both petcocks, pulled the left float bowl off and tapped up and down on the float to clear whatever was stuck in the float needle. I installed the bowl and turned the petcock back on, and no more fuel leaking, so Gonzo was feeling better. Then, for some reason, I happened to look just ahead of the front tire and low and behold, there was a 10 penny nail about a foot ahead of the tire and pretty much exactly where I would have ridden right over it. I picked it up and added it to all the other treasures on the bottom of the Mississippi river. Gonzo clearly wanted to make sure I didn’t get a flat, and all he could think of to get my attention was to throw up his breakfast in front of me :-). I gave him a “high three” because Gonzo only has three fingers, and we motored off into Illinois.

Giving Gonzo an "Up Top, High 3" :-)

Giving Gonzo an “Up Top, High 3” πŸ™‚

Right after I crossed the bridge, I exited onto Illinois 106 and wound my way through the country-side on shaded two lane roads that cut a tunnel through stands of still green trees; no signs of fall anywhere even though it’s mid-September. By this time, it was 9:15 am and already 83 F, so today is going to be another summer day ride through the humid mid-west.

I came to the Illinois river and, low and behold, it’s still a draw bridge.

A Draw Bridge Over the Illinois River

There aren’t many of these left. I prepared myself for the fun to come and when I got to the section that gets raised, sure enough it was surfaces in “smooth as a baby’s butt” polished steel with all the limited traction that offers. A loose grip on the handlebars and light acceleration is the recipe for success and although Gonzo squirmed around a bit as he looked for traction, we got over that section without much drama. These can be a lot more exciting when it’s raining and there is cross-wind blowing, DAMHIK πŸ™‚

I leisurely rode through a number of small towns and found one in particular had put American flags on every light pole. This scene captures the heart of middle America where people remember to be grateful for the privilege to live in this country despite the mistakes we have made and will continue to make in the future.

Small Town America Street-scape

It’s now in the upper 80’s and as I ride through the middle of a mid-west canyon carved between corn fields by US-36, I come to the Indiana border and loose an hour as I enter the Eastern time zone.

The altitude is about 650 feet, so Gonzo and I are now about 5,000 feet down hill from our home in Colorado. I can see and feel the difference as the sky is more grey-white than blue due to the humidity and 5,000 feet of additional atmosphere on top of us. I always feel like I’m getting too much air when I get down this low, and so does Gonzo as his idle is about 200 RPM too high. I’ll fix that tomorrow morning when I check the oil and the tires before we head out.

I see a couple signs with Ernie Pyle’s name including on a sign for a roadside park.Β It made me wonder if he was born nearby in Indiana. It turns out he was born in Dana, Indiana, just a bit North of US-36. I knew he also lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1940, as the first branch library in Albuquerque is named after him. I passed it often when I lived in Albuquerque, and stopped in to look at the exhibits.

Who was Ernie Pyle you might ask?Β  The Albuquerque library has a good biography about him.

One observation about this trip that I want to share is that Dollar Store is now America’s small town retailer. I have seen them in towns as small as 500 population. They seem to have a successful formula of opening modest sized general stores in all the small to mid-size American towns. Wal-mart on the other hand, which started as a small general store in Bentonville, Arkansas, is nowhere to be found in the smaller towns.

Small Town America's Store

Gonzo has been making friends along the way. On the first day, when we were getting gas, an older fellow on a Harley came over to find out what kind of bike I had. He thought it was a distinctive machine and waited for me to start it because “I want to hear what it sounds like.” And the other day in the hotel parking lot, a fellow came over to look at Gonzo and to reminisce about his Yamaha that he sold several years ago. He was curious about the air tubes from the air box and wondered if they got in the way of my legs. I told him they don’t, but they do look as if they would bump into your shins.

Tomorrow we I end the day at the border of West Virginia and Pennsylvania just outside Wheeling, West Virginia in a town with an unusual name, Tridelphia. So far, Gonzo is running well and we both are looking forward to wandering our way across the rest of Indiana and Ohio on US-36 and various state highways until we come to the end of US-36 in Uhrichsville, Ohio.

OTRA Day-2: R80 G/S & R65LS 40th Anniversary Rally

Today is a shorter day, which is a good thing as yesterday was a bit long due to the time spent visiting the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum.Β  I stayed at the Super 8 in Belleville KS, which was pretty deserted. Nonetheless, a number of guests thought it was acceptable to turn up the volume on their truck radio in the parking lot at 12:30 am and stage a parking lot dance while singing along with the tunes.Β  What ever happened to being considerate and aware of your surroundings?Β  Any how, I have ear plugs for just such idiots.

On Sunday morning, I started for Hannibal, MO about 9:00 am. But before I left I got to use the wash cloth I packed to wipe the water off the seat.Β  Yes, I’m officially in the mid-west where a dry day is 60% humidity. πŸ™‚

[BTW, I pack a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a wash cloth. I spray the windscreen and fairing with the peroxide and in 60 seconds or so, all the bug guts and goo dissolve and are easy to wipe right off. It doesn’t affect the paint or the plastic, so this is now in my “On The Road Again (OTRA)” kit.]

US-36 becomes the “Pony Express Highway” in the Eastern part of Kansas. In Marysville, there is a pony express stable, but being Sunday, it was closed. I got a picture of my “express horse”, Gonzo, in front.

A Pony Express Station From 1860 in Marysville, KS

A Pony Express Station From 1860 in Marysville, KS

I crossed over the border into Missouri. By this point, US-36 becomes a 4-lane divided highway with county roads cutting across it via the median.

Crossing Into Missouri at St. Joseph

Crossing Into Missouri at St. Joseph

Along the way, I rode through a large wind turbine farm among the Missouri corn fields. This reminds me of the eastern Colorado farmers who first let oil wells sprout among the corn and wheat in their fields and now are planting large numbers of wind turbines.

Wind Turbines Let Missouri Farms Harvest Wind & Corn

Wind Turbines Let Missouri Farms Harvest Wind & Corn

Then, I unexpectedly came upon the hometown of the great WW1 General, John “Black Jack” Pershing in Laclede, MO.Β  I was vaguely familiar with some of his story as I lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a young boy, not far from Columbus, New Mexico. Poncho Villa raided Columbus in 1916 shortly after New Mexico became a state in 1912. I believe this is the only foreign invasion of the United States. Pershing, who was based at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, went after him chasing him in Mexico (and it turns out Patton, who was a Lt. under Pershing, participated too) , but were not able to find him. So, now I know where he was born.

John "Black Jack" Pershing Home Town in Laclede, MO

John “Black Jack” Pershing Home Town in Laclede, MO

The next surprise was seeing the Missouri highway department harvesting hay in the median of US-36. Now that’s a cool idea IMHO.Β  Why waste that land when you can harvest feed for horses and cattle.

US-36 Median Grass Is Harvested by The Highway Department for Hay

US-36 Median Grass Is Harvested by The Highway Department for Hay

Hannibal, Missouri-Home of Mark Twain

I got to Hannibal about 3:00 pm and it was about 92 F, so I’m still riding in summer weather. I again stayed at the Dubach Inn and ended up in the same room I stayed in in 2017.

When I stayed here on the 2017 ride, I spent a lot of time visiting the Mark Twain Museum and wrote about that in my blog about that trip. This time, I decided to hike around town and see some of the sights I missed last time.

Gonzo Resting In Front of the Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Gonzo Resting In Front of the Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

Dubach Inn, Hannibal MO

After getting a shower and having my traditional end-of-ride libation (Gin & Tonic) I headed out to explore. I found out that 2019 is the bi-centennial of the founding of Hannibal in 1818. Another unexpected discovery.

2019 is 200th Anniversary of the Founding of Hannibal, MO

2019 is 200th Anniversary of the Founding of Hannibal, MO

Hannibal also added pennants on the lampposts commemorating citizens who served in the military. I saw the same thing when I visited Omaha Beach in France where Allied soldiers were commemorated.

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

Similar to Solider Remembrance I Saw At Omaha Beach in France

I found a lighthouse that is dedicated to Mark Twain and climbed up to it. I needed another shower after that. πŸ™‚

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

On my way back from walking along the bluff above the Mississippi river, I saw something along the side of the path. It was just my good luck to come along when I did I guess.

Hmm ... What's That?

Hmm … What’s That?

I guess this shows money really does grow on trees. πŸ™‚

My Reward For Climbing Mark Twain Lighthouse Hill :-)

My Reward For Climbing Mark Twain Lighthouse Hill πŸ™‚

And I came across this fellow. Some days are like that, but not this one for me. πŸ™‚

Some Days, You Feel Like This

Some Days, You Feel Like This

At the bottom of the stairway to the lighthouse I stumbled upon two plaques commemorating the building of the first Mark Twain memorial bridge in 1935 and the replacement of it by the current one in 2000.

Original Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

Original Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

Replacement Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

Replacement Mark Twain Bridge Plaque

The Replacement Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

The Replacement Mark Twain Memorial Bridge

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

Mississippi River View From Lighthouse Hill

Downtown Hannibal From Lighthouse Hill

Downtown Hannibal From Lighthouse Hill

Another block or two brought me to the Mark Twain Brewing Company. I stopped in and sampled a couple of their excellent beers and had my supper.

Mark Twain Brewing Company-Good Beer and Food

Mark Twain Brewing Company-Good Beer and Food

Tomorrow I cross the Mississippi and cross Illinois on my way to the east side of Indianapolis.

Here is a slide show of today’s ride pictures.