Ramping Up

Just over three weeks from now, on July 11, I’ll take off for parts known and unknown on my Honda. The known parts are Round Lake, IL (home of Eve and Rick, my daughter and son-in-law); Oshkosh, WI (location of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual Air Venture Fly-In); and Sturgis, SD (home of the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally).

The unknown parts will be just as interesting, I’m sure. My plan is to take a week to ten days to follow Historic Route 66 from Holbrook, AZ, to Chicago; spend several days exploring IL, WI, MN, SD and maybe ND between Round Lake and Sturgis, and then return home through Colorado – perhaps riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, among other possibilities. I expect to return to Tucson on August 16.

Along the way, I’ll be camping as much as I can, although I won’t rule out staying in a motel on any given travel night. I already have accommodations set up for Round Lake (thank you, Rick and Eve!), Oshkosh, and Sturgis. For the rest, I may make a reservation a day or so in advance, or I might just get somewhere and then see what’s available.

To make all this happen, I have not only to prepare myself and my gear, but also to make sure the Honda is as ready as it can be. To that end, I took it to the shop last week for its scheduled maintenance (8000 miles this time). While I was there, I asked them to please go over it with a fine-toothed comb, as though they were going to ride it on the trip I just outlined. It’s a good thing I did! The front tire was worn down to the wear bars and the back tire wasn’t too far behind – they estimated it had about 1500 miles left in it. Since it’s 1800-plus miles just from here to Round Lake, I opted to replace both tires. While I can’t prevent every bad thing, I see no point in gambling on things that I can do something about. So I learned what to look for as my new tires wear, and can be proactive now about deciding to replace them.

As for my gear, I have all the camping gear I’ll need; all I have to do is dig it out of the mass I’ve accumulated over the past 8 years. Of course, *that* means I have to finish repainting my garage so that I can sort out the piles of … stuff … that are out there. A lot of it belongs on the overhead racks (which I took down to paint the ceiling); some of it is stockpiled for the JeepMonster (see “From the Ground Up” – my blog about that); and some of it is stuff that I know I’ll be putting in this fall’s neighborhood yard sale. But right now it’s ALL one big mess!

You may remember I bought a rainsuit for my trip to Flagstaff last month – well, I totally forgot about rain gloves! My fingers felt like they were going to fall off, so I decided that I should complete my outfit. Guess what? Two of the three motorcycle places in Tucson that I went to didn’t have *anything* that might work as a rain glove, and the third only had water-resistant, Thinsulate-padded winter gloves. I bought a pair. I don’t know if there’s anything better online, or maybe somewhere where it actually *rains* once in a while, but I decided to get what’s available. With luck, I won’t be riding in any snow on this trip, so it *shouldn’t* be as cold as it was last month in Flagstaff.

There are still a couple of things I want to get, like a collapsible cooler for keeping water (etc.) cold/cool and maybe for carrying a prepurchased lunch or dinner. I have all the literature and maps I’ll need for Route 66, and I’m taking my Rand McNally Atlas for the IL-SD and SD-AZ legs of the trip. I also have a campground directory for the US, but it’s huge, so I might leave it home and rely on whatever I can find through my phone’s apps.

So that’s going to be my adventure / expedition for 2015. I will write about it as it happens, but the posts may be erratic in timing, since I don’t know when or where I’ll have access to the Interwebz (other than, of course, Round Lake, Oshkosh and Sturgis).

2 Comments on “Ramping Up

  1. Back in the summer of 1969, I attended the Colorado Outward Bound School branch based at Lake City, and had the opportunity to ride the Denver and Rio Grande Western RR (which is, I believe, the same one you refer to as the Durango-to-Silverton). Of course, as Outward Bound students, we rode in a boxcar and got out along the way at the ghost town of Needleton to head off into the wilderness. We camped at Needleton that night, and the following morning a group of us were bathing in the Animas River when the stupid train came back, filled with Japanese tourists who took lots of pictures of the naked guys freezing in the river. My memories of that experience are not fond. Have a nice trip.

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