Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Global Reports => Topic started by: Crab on July 27, 2013, 12:44:29 pm

Title: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 27, 2013, 12:44:29 pm
Brother Les is going to ride across America. I will copy and paste from his Facebook page as he goes along.
Title: Re: Freedo in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 27, 2013, 12:44:49 pm
My USA & UK Trip

 Well it is 17.12 pm on Monday the 22-07-2013, I am sitting at the Johannesburg international airport and I actually cannot quite believe it is really happening, a short while ago while walking to the departure terminal, I wondered how many people actually have a dream like I did when I was 16 years old, and they continue to follow their dream until eventually 39 years later, it finally happens. Perhaps there are more people who realize their dreams than we know, certainly I believe if it is truly a dream and they believe in it, then it will happen. A few years ago I watched a DVD called The Secret and I have subsequently made mention of The Secret on many occasions and more often than not someone will say, OH I know about The Secret but it is too hard to follow, or, yes I know The Secret but I no longer practice it. I have come to believe that it is not something you practice or have to do, you simply just have to know what it is and then make sure you continue to have dreams and a zest for life and enjoy life and the universe will do the rest. Many times people say that they believe that their lives are mapped out for them and that their destiny is pre-determined and that no matter what they do, it will simply be as it is, little do they know that they themselves are the master of their own destiny, there is no single individual sitting alongside the creator frantically drawing up a life plan for every soul who is born, instead it us who are writing our own life story but we seldom realize that the thoughts dreams and wishes we have will often become reality many many years later, and more often than not we are not even aware that it is happening.
 When I was 16 I had a dream to travel across America, to go to the town of Sturgis and to be a part of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, and today that dream is finally happening, 39 years later. I can remember sitting in my bedroom in Queenstown with friends and talking all night about the wonderful things we would do with our lives and our plans to see the world and how we marveled at the wonder of it all and the possibilities were endless. So often the sky would grow pink on the horizon and the new day would start with the morning air fresh and sweet and the birds signing their morning song, and we would still be talking, drinking coffee and dreaming of all the wonderful things yet to come. I wonder if young people still talk all night, have fantastic dreams without boundaries and imagine that they are capable of achieving absolutely anything and everything they can imagine. I so hope they do.
 My plan is to travel from SA to the UK, I will spend two nights in London and some sightseeing and soak up a little of London and then I will leave on Thursday morning for the USA, my friend Dave has offered to fetch me from the airport and I will spend a day or two with Dave while I try to find a bike to buy, and then I will make my way to Sturgis. 30 days in the USA riding bike and hopefully just having much fun. I wonder what bike I will find to buy; I hope it is a nice bike, with good packing space and a comfortable riding position like a Suzuki V-Strom, sometimes before when I have been on a road trip I experience a feeling of total euphoria, I suddenly start to feel so happy I want to burst into song and sing at the top of my voice, but I know I should not because I cannot sing for toffee and would scare man and beast away so I do not, but the feeling is there and it is so strong, I feel like jumping for joy so that the bike bounces up and down, this I also do not do for the fear of coming to a sticky end, but the feeling is there and it is wonderful. Many of my friends often talk about how scary it is to be alone for hours on end in their crash helmets, they have scary thoughts they tell me, this I have never experienced. Many times when on a trip I start to have wonderful fantasies about being on a special quest and there is hidden purpose to the trip and those who ride with me are main players in the imaginary drama which unfolds in my mind, and by the time the journey ends I often have a whole story which I could sit and tell around a camp fire or put down on paper, but for some reason I never do and it is like my own secret imaginary word filled with maidens to be rescued, ladies and knights, castles and tangle-wood forests filled with unknown dangers, secret messages and five hundred year old trees which talk and possess immense wisdom and knowledge. I think I am so lucky to have an imagination which is so powerful it is sometimes almost like another life, exciting and without boundaries and limits.
 I had arrived fairly early at the boarding gate, it is gate A12, a short while ago I sensed someone standing over me as I happily put my thoughts into my lap top, as I looked up the individual instructed me, you must vacate the premises in a voice filled with authority, I cannot I said, feeling irritable and pissed off because I had found a nice spot and made myself comfortable as I knew I had quite a long time to wait. I am boarding at this gate soon, boarding pass, he commands, holding out a hand. Taking it he wonders off to have a social with another employee dressed in the same uniform as he is. Eventually he comes back and from his almost non-existent communication skills I gather that the gate is being used for another flight before the BA flight I am leaving on and consequently only passengers for the flight to leave next must be in the area. I ask him where I should go because there is precious little else out there where these gates are, to the coffee shop I am told. So I have to gather up my possessions and backtrack to find a safe non-gate area. It seems that there is an almost new language with words like sharp sharp and other funny stough which I forget, although the words spoken are English the meaning is different and I find people talking to me in English but I have no clue what they actually want to say. Sitting and thinking about this for a while I eventually conclude that the entire sector of government employees and others such as the SAA employee who speak a secret language which I think they themselves do not even understand are incompetent idiots and I realize that I am growing more and more impatient and intolerant of them as they try to act the first world part but are regressing back to the dark ages. They have no culture or etiquette and are seldom graceful in their attempts to interface with the public. There is nothing which can be done I decide as they follow the example set but out countries leaders, with a conscious effort I let the entire matter go as I know that this is not good to dwell on it.
 Eventually we are herded like cattle into the aircraft and I must say the BA crew were very pleasant and competent, there were a lot of American do-gooders on the plane who had been somewhere in Africa giving aid and trying to make a difference, I refrained from expressing my views and knew that they truly believed that they had made some magnificent contribution to elevating the continent to a higher level and that one day soon Africa would be a magnificent first world place, void of corruption and violence. I hoped silently to myself that they had at least had some fun on the trip and had gained some greater life experience other than solving the problems of Africa.
 I was truly lucky to have two open seats to my left and an Isle on my right, both advantages I put to good use during the long hours of the flight. The lady sitting to my far left was not a youngster, probably forty to mid-forties, she was attractive in her own way, but I was fascinated by her left foot, she slept and sat always with her legs crossed so I never had the opportunity to see her right foot, but her left foot only had four toes, and they were all huge, almost double the length of mine and big in diameter. The angle of her foot was also most unusual and it seemed almost to be straight in line with her leg so that there was no angel at the ankle, rather her foot seemed to almost continue in a straight line along with her leg and her heel seemed to be stuck like a growth onto the middle section of the distance between her toes and ankle. I was most fascinated, it was also very interesting that when we disembarked she walked and looked perfectly normal although I did notice that she wore shoes which were completely closed in front and had high heels. A very interesting insight and something I would have not easily believed if I had not seen it myself, four toes indeed. There was another interesting matter which I also observed, the air hostess on the same side as the four toe lady was I concluded, an ex KGB operative, she had the blond hair cut into a bob , short at the back and longer in the front with the cut following her jaw line. Her jaw was square and pronounced and her face was hard and lined, looking at her I just knew, she glanced in my direction once or twice and I could just sense that she knew that I knew. I kept well clear of her. But I must confess that she was a dammed good operative because she had managed to absolutely perfect her British accent, there was no hint at all of the Russian background. But her KGB haircut and looks gave her away. One thing I must add is that the beef casserole served for supper was really good, nice white wine as well.
 We arrived at Heathrow around 6.30 am and happily left the plane, the landing had been fast and we had slammed hard down onto the runway, it felt to me as though the plane was about to go into a broadslide and I instantly imagined the plane sliding sideways down the runway and then digging in and rolling over at 350 km per hour, my hair stood up and my heart raced but thankfully the pilot managed to pull it straight and then the brakes were slammed on, not a good landing at all. Our approach had also been very rough and it felt as though there was a lot of thunder storm activity and heavy air currents. I later heard on the TV news that there had been a big storm around lunch time and that a house had been struck by lightning, images of the burning house were shown. After leaving the plane we had to catch a train to the baggage reclaim area, first proceeding through customs. When it was my turn to pass through customs the official who interviewed me asked a lot of questions regarding where I was going, what I was going to do, where I had worked prior to my retirement etc., what surprised me was that she was not British and I contemplated to some degree the fact that the gate keeper to the country was actually not an English person, I am not sure if I would give the responsibility of such an important position to a foreigner, she did not even speak English very well. Looking around I then noticed that almost all the employees working at the airport seemed to be from other countries, interesting. Collecting my baggage I made my way to the underground and finally made it onto the train after very nearly getting onto the wrong train once and having been sent back upstairs to the airport terminal once by a young lady who I later realized must have thought that I was leaving and not arriving, I forgave her however as she could hardly understand or speak English. The train was fairly empty but very soon started to fill up and after some time was full to capacity. At some stages it accelerated to a good speed and we made good time, on other occasions we had no sooner started when we had to stop again. I did not check the actual travel time but I imagined it must have been about an hour before we reached Russell square. My hiking bag was almost impossible to manage among all the bustling people as I was carrying it like a suitcase and I struggled to carry my helmet and hand luggage. My hiking bag was exactly 20 kg, all in all I had more than 37 kg of luggage and I very quickly started to realize that this was a big mistake. Arriving at the hotel I was so relieved to finally put my load down and could only think of a nice hot shower and a little rest, alas it was not to be as I was told that my room would only be ready at 2 pm, but happily I could store my luggage until then. I stored most of it and made my way to a post office to post an orthopedic pillow which I had brought with for a friend who had asked of me this favor, it was for her daughter in law and previously she had posted one in South Africa but it had never reached its destination, so by posting it in London she thought it had a better chance of survival. I was delighted to have one luggage item less and after returning to the hotel to put my tog bag into the luggage store I set off to see the sights of London. I first made my way to Russell Square and after sitting and enjoying the wonderful summer weather and watching the children play in the fountain I set off again. I had asked a young foreign girl at the park where would be a good place to visit and she had pointed in the direction of down Southampton Row, and set off in this direction. Quite soon I realized however that I had no clue and I stopped to ask directions again, and then I saw a young girl who was a guide and she was helping visitors to find their way. I waited my turn and she gave me a map and said I should visit Covent Gardens, I asked her where she was from and she said told me she was from central Europe. I made my way down to Covent Garden where I spent a good few hours browsing in the stalls and slowly making my way through all there was to see before heading off to see the Themes, upon arriving there I could see the London eye far off in the distance and also recognized Big Ben standing proudly. I walked down the length of the river for some time in the direction away from the London Eye, looking at the passing barges and pleasure boats, it really was beautiful. At one time I stopped to take some photos and climbed up a short flight of stairs to reach a better vantage point, I was amazed to find small tents similar to my hiking tent and cardboard structures and I very soon realized that I was standing in what had become the home for a number of homeless people, most of whom were sitting around on the benches and one or two were sleeping on the ground, wrapped in blankets. I hurriedly snapped two or three pictures and quickly made my way back to the pavement feeling unsafe and uneasy while I was surrounded by the homeless people who looked hungrily at me. My festive mood was broken and it was almost 1 pm so I decided to make my way back to the hotel to check in as I estimated that it was about an hourís walk back to the hotel.
 The rest of the afternoon was spent checking in, recovering my luggage, buying an adapter plug for my lap-top and basically getting settled down. A nice hot shower was wonderful beyond words and as I have always said, there is not much to compare with a nice hot shower and a good sleep, these two items certainly fall within my top ten list of things which make me happy.
 I waited until the sun had set and evening closed in around London, the lights shone brightly everywhere and looking out from my bedroom window it really was a beautiful sight. Making my way downstairs I again enquired from one of the hotel staff about where I could find a traditional English Pub as I really wanted to experience drinking a beer in a traditional pub, I imagined the four hundred year old wooden beams and steps worn by the thousands and thousands of visitors to the pub over the centuries. No he told me, no more traditional pub in London, only restaurant. I left him wondering where he came from and how it was possible that he was working in London when it was almost impossible to get into the country as a direct British descendent, I was sure I knew more about London than he did. Deciding to simply go with the flow I walked down past the entrance to the underground and then walked a zigzag route from there. After walking around for more than three hours I realized that there were truly no traditional pubs in London, there were also no British in London, I encountered only foreigners, many of whom were what looked like Chinese to me and then many others, perhaps people from Egypt or somewhere in Africa, and a lot of Europeans but speaking a language I did not recognize at all. Feeling cheated and let down I slowly retraced my steps and was almost back at the entrance to the railway station, when suddenly just behind me I heard a wonderful thing, it was an Englishman speaking, without even looking behind me I said, well you are the first English speaking person I have heard in over three hours, and with that he pulled up alongside me and said, no English left in Greater London Iím afraid, definitely they are in the minority now. I know I replied, I am shocked, by now we had reached the entrance to the underground and the lady with him was pulling his hand to draw him into the entrance and urging him to come along. I wanted to ask him who all these other people were, where did they come from and how was it possible that they had managed to become citizens of England, but they walked quickly away, the lady he accompanied glancing back at me with what I thought looked like fear on her face. Had my comments been dangerous I wondered. I walked back slowly and then made my way down a street just to the right of the entrance to the underground where I had earlier noticed a pub, at the time I had not imagined it was typical but now I fancied that it was possibly the most typical English Pub in the entire area. I went inside and the barman recommended a beer after I explained that I did not know the beers they offered on sale. I must admit it was very nice and most certainly hit the spot. I sat thinking about the fact that for so many years I had dreamed of visiting England and connecting with my ancestral heritage, only to find that it was completely gone. I wondered if the Queen knew that she no longer had any loyal subjects left in London, this was after all the richest part of the British heritage as I understood it and looking at the map there were many very old and significant places right within the area where I had been. The invasion of London was complete and now I am sure that the invasion will slowly spread throughout England, the British Empire is falling I thought, and they do not even know it, and not a shot was fired. I have booked to stay at the Royal National hotel on my return from the USA and I am sorry now, had I known I would have rather tried to stay at a place where there were still some English people living, this was after all why I had come to visit
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 27, 2013, 12:53:45 pm
My USA & UK Trip (Day Two)

 The start of day two and I was eager to start the new day and to explore further. I had during the course of the previous evening sat and researched a little and I had decided that I would try to explore some of the more traditional sights and perhaps this would better serve to satisfy my curiosity. I had decided to have a look at the British Museum as a start as it was only a block or two away from the hotel where I was staying. Leaving early after quickly eating my continental breakfast which was part of my room package, but was actually only really a glass of orange juice and a slice of toast and a bun, I set off to find the museum. On the way I stopped once again to take some pictures of the Hotel Russell and also read up a little on its history, it really is a most beautiful building. A quick walk further on and around the corner and I approached the Museum, it was totally impressive with massive columns in the front and a huge big expanse of ground and gardens as the entrance, quite magnificent. Upon entering it was equally magnificent and I marveled at the stone masonís capability of early London and the beauty of the work they had done so long ago. All to soon I was engrossed in the items on display which are so many and so impressive it is absolutely not possible to describe, there were many items from prehistoric times way before the start of the Roman Empire, and then so many things from Roman times, Egypt featured a lot as well and I was fascinated by the fact that they had not only manufactured the pyramids but they were also accomplished carpenters who managed to manufacture massive big coffins, tables and many other items all perfectly preserved. There were actual bodies on display which were found in graves in Egypt and it was quite aerie to look at them and think that once they were real living people. All too soon I suddenly realized that it was after 2 pm and I had another visit on my list, I had decided to visit the Old Square in Holborn. I found it hard to leave the Museum and kept on stopping to look at more interesting items but eventually I managed to leave, it had been an interesting visit and I was very impressed by the artifacts and the general quality of all I had seen. I estimated that there were literally thousands of people who were visiting and as I was leaving they were still streaming into the building. I was also able to see a few typical Englishman and their families in action and I must now concede that it was not good, the one fellow spent all his time shouting at his wife and son in a booming voice and he was truly obnoxious, I was appalled that someone would cause such a big scene., especially in a museum. I later saw two others who were tattooed all over and the one had an item which appeared to be made of silver, pierced through his nose in a similar way to the traditional African Witch Doctor who would have a bone thrust through the bottom of his nose. These guys were huge and looked as though they must spend all day working out, scary. During the course of the day I later came across a woman who was shouting at some poor fellow on her cell phone, but she was so loud I heard her from more than a block away as she approached. I concluded that possibly London is a better place for not having them present in any great numbers as the people who are now living there are mostly polite and courteous. All in all it has been a big experience for me and it is so strange how we perceive things should be, and in reality sometimes it is absolutely not like that at all. The walk down to the Old Square was rewarding and I saw some nice buildings and also found the Old Square very interesting, there was a plaque on the one wall which provided detail of how a German Zeppelin had dropped a bomb which had missed the building but exploded close buy, there was still a lot of evidence where the shrapnel had hit and gouged chunks out from the wall and they had marked the spot where the bomb had impacted by placing a large flat stone on the exact location. The buildings are very close to Lincolns Inn which is also a truly beautiful building. I made my way back to my hotel in the late afternoon feeling physically tired and that my day had been good and interesting. Well time to pack and get ready to leave London for now, my plane departs at 10.15 am tomorrow morning and I am told by the attendant at the Underground that I should leave at 6 am, and so I will make sure I am ready as the last thing I want to do is miss my flight.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Teapot on July 27, 2013, 01:10:51 pm
Wow awesome read so far.
Definitely subscribed, got my  :coffee2: and  :happy1:
Really like your thought process.
Yes with visualisation and strong belief anything can happen.
Read "bring out the magic in your mind" by Al Koran.
Better than the secret.
May the universe guide you on your journey.
Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Sir Rat on July 27, 2013, 01:32:46 pm
I'm in on this ride. Enjoying your writing.

I see what you see through your great descriptions of events as they unfold for you.   ;D

Keep it coming please.    :ricky:
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: alli on July 27, 2013, 02:43:55 pm

This is going to be a good read judging from the first two installments, can't wait for more.

Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Martyn on July 27, 2013, 07:46:15 pm
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: >>ThumpįC on July 28, 2013, 12:33:36 pm
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 29, 2013, 08:18:47 pm
More pictures from London.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 29, 2013, 08:20:17 pm
Sorry about the random order.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 29, 2013, 08:29:23 pm
My USA &UK Trip (26-07-2013)

 I woke up slowly aware that I was in unfamiliar surroundings; the bed felt wonderful, thick duvet covers and the material feels so soft and nice, I lie there for a while, gathering my thoughts and becoming familiar with my surroundings, my thoughts slip back to the events of the past day, and I eventually begin to wonder what time it is, the room is pitch dark and there is only a very slight glimmer of light through the blinds hinting that there must be a street light or some other similar type of light outside. I turn over and find that there is a bedside clock on the stand next to the bed, it is exactly 3 am USA time, not too bad I think remembering that I probably went to sleep at around 11 pm USA time and had managed to get a good solid 4 hours sleep after not having slept at all for a little more than a straight 24 hours. I lie in bed for a while longer and then my watch beeps twice indicating that it is on the hour, it is still set at South African time to I get up and have a look, exactly 2 PM back home. I begin to understand the implications of changing time zones, I also start to remember various mentions of jet lag and exhaustion from friends and family who have traveled on business trips, it seems more real now and I start to understand just how exhausting it can be. I had left the hotel in London at a few minutes before 6 am, caught the underground and arrived at Heathrow after about 50 minutes of travel, and then immediately the madness started, getting a trolley for my luggage, asking directions, landing up on the wrong floor, back tracking, up and down escalators, finding the correct check in area, my ticket was valid but they could not allocate a seat yet for some reason, off to the departure gate, more waiting and wondering if there was a problem, finally getting a new boarding pass and a seat, relief at knowing that all was well, more waiting, onto the plane like cattle and eventually it all becomes an absolute blur of moving from place to place, standing in queue, having to half undress to get through security checks and unpacking and repacking hand luggage over and over again, customs checks and lots of questions. The airport authorities are always polite, very firm and often you can sense the exasperation on their side as they try to explain requirements over and over and people do not understand or will not. It is definitely not glamorous, I think there was a time when if you traveled by air, you felt special and the experience was one of grandeur, like staying in a very expensive hotel or going to the theater all dressed up for the part, now not even first class passengers could surely feel like that as they also get pushed and x-rayed and dragged through queues although I have never been so lucky as to travel first class I think it is not that much better. But having said all of this, there remains an undertone of excitement, people rushing here and there, a buzz of activity wherever you go and most certainly as a traveler you feel as though you get a lot of attention even if it is not specific to only you as an individual, it is still very personal, and so I can understand why so many people just love the thrill of travel, even though it is very hard work and totally exhausting. By the time I reach Seattle it is late afternoon, 6 pm USA time and I have been awake for about 20 hours, after supper and a chat with Dave and Linnea it is almost 25 hours without sleep, but strangely I am tired but not exhausted as I imagined I would be, must be the excitement.
 Dave and Linnea live in a really beautiful area, on the road driving up to their house there are beautiful views of the sea, yachts sailing in the bay and all is green and beautiful. I immediately get the impression that everything is perfect, the gardens look trimmed and seem to have been the focus of immense attention and it all looks immaculate, the same impression I get from the house and the style and my first impressions of the construction of the houses is that they are almost European by design, Dave explains that there is a specific developer who has designed and built the houses in the area, I am very impressed with the style and area. Behind their house they have direct access onto an golf course and from my understanding, it is a part or the area where they live but as home owners directly on the boundary they have no obligation for the upkeep and maintenance. There are no fences and people walk happily with their dogs and golf carts glide silently past in the not too far distance. It all looks so ideal I battle to comprehend the magnitude of what I am seeing.
 This being the first day of my time in the USA I am faced with the prospect of finding a bike, getting maps for my GPS and there was also some discussion of trying to have a go at getting my Canadian Visa which I managed to completely mess up when still at home by believing that it was being handled by an agency, (and also by my spending days fighting with Garmin to try and get maps for my GPS, but that is another story which I will share later) there was a massive misunderstanding on my part regarding the visa and when I followed up they were actually busy with the process of preparing documentation for an application to immigrate to Canada, rather than simply just a visa to visit, they did not assist with an application to visit and so by then there was also too little time left to start the process over, so I have decided to travel along a number of smaller routes which run all along the area just below the Canadian border. I have the feeling it will be just as interesting, but different. Dave has offered me the use of his BMW 1200 GS on more than one occasion, I have always graciously declined because I have lent my own bikes out on a number of occasions and to be honest, when I received them back there were always little scuff marks, small chips and sometimes they were not even clean and I eventually have come to realize that lending my bike out is never a happy event, I am always a little sorry afterwards. So with the thoughts of my own personal experience in mind, I would really not like to have my friend feel like this. I must confess however that Dave told me on the way back from the airport that he intended to trade the bike in a new bike and that he really would not mind. After seeing it standing in the garage, GPS, full luggage system and completely meeting all my needs, I am really having second thoughts and have started to wonder if I am not being silly with my response to his very generous offer; it would after all be a perfect solution. I am in two minds and know that I will again need to have the discussion with Dave in some detail, or perhaps first I should check to see how easily I can get my own bike and if this appears to be problematic, then we will have to find a solution where I can feel as though I am not taking advantage or more importantly, not at risk of disappointing myself and my friend.
 It is the morning of the 28 July 2013, Sunday, I have been awake since 4 am, and I have noticed that my sleep pattern is slowly adapting and that each night I am able to sleep for a half hour longer. I am camping at a place called KOA in the town of Winthrop, Winthrop is a town which when you walk or ride down the main road, looks exactly like the towns used to look in the times of the wild west, all the facades are wooden and there are wooden boardwalks and the shops have verandahs, I was truly delighted when I first rode into town and saw the main street, it looks and feels just like the wild west. But I have skipped a few days so I am going back to Friday morning and start from there.
 On Friday morning I felt truly honored in that both Dave and Linnea had applied for a dayís leave and were going to spend the day with me, it was a really nice surprise and a very nice day. Dave and I had discussed again using his bike, and I realized that truly this was the sensible solution and I suspect that Dave had known this all along, To buy a bike and register it in my name, fit a GPS and do all that is required would have not been impossible I do not think, but certainly pushing the limits. After our discussion I took Daveís BMW GS 1200 for a ride just to be sure I was comfortable as he has had the suspension dropped at the back, and to be honest I felt like the bike had been set up for me specially, I did not even need to adjust the rear view mirrors as they were exactly right. Having settled the matter of the bike, I felt hugely relieved and realized that more than 99% of my needs had suddenly been met and Dave and Linnea also knowing this, suggested they show me a little of Seattle. It was by now mid-morning and we set off to the city center. While driving there it was suggested that I do the underground tour of the city, not knowing what this meant I was keen to try something new and afterwards very pleased that I had had the opportunity to do the tour. During the very early part of the last century there had been a massive fire and almost all of Seattle had been burnt to the ground, for various reasons it was decided that the town would be rebuilt on the same area as where it had previously been but they would raise the height of the town because it was almost below sea level and on occasions parts of the town actually flooded, there were also problems with drainage etc. and in particular the sewage which often pushed back in the system and then resulted in a reverse flow with sewage coming back out of the toilet systems. They then built all the buildings with the new entrances at first floor height, and the old entrances which were originally at ground floor height were then underground as they slowly raised the level of the streets and pavements up to the new level. What is interesting is that it is still possible in many cases to access these now underground rooms and this is what the tour focuses on. There was obviously a lot of other information about the characters involved and businesses concerned and also the gold rush which was a major part of the history of Seattle. All in all it was very interesting and well worth it. After the tour we went to the market and saw a place where they sell fish and the throw the fish and play the fool a lot, I have previously seen a video of the exact same store, sadly during the time we were there they did not throw any fish, but it was very interesting to see all the activity and goings on. The rest of the market was equally interesting with a shop specializing in very old magazines and pin up posters from the 60ís and seventies, there was also another shop with all the Star Wars and other similar stough as well as fruit stalls, art stalls and many times too much stough to mention. My impression however was very positive, there was a lot of fruit and preserves and almost everything which can be imagined, and all the stories I have been told about Americans eating only Mac Donaldís and that they are all grossly fat etc., is absolutely not true. I eventually ended the day with a totally different opinion about the people and just generally everything to do with the USA and it is truly a wonderful place in my opinion and the people are equally as nice and friendly. I have always wondered why we do not have lots of visitors from the USA in South Africa and I always imagined it was because the distance to travel was so much, but in truth hunting is about the only thing we have which they do not have better and more off. Just before we went home there was one last shop we went to visit and I found it fascinating, they had a glass case with a mummified person in it, the person had been shot and had died in the dessert and because of the extreme heat and dryness, and he was perfectly preserved. Mustache, finger nails etc. all still perfect. There was also a type of fish with hands and a head which looked remarkably like a person; in fact there were two of them the second one being a lot smaller. They had three headed animals, and a calf with two bodies but one set of back legs and many other very unusual things, it was truly a fascinating place. I think inspired by the things we had seen and the mysteries of the unknown we later sat around the kitchen table at Dave and Linneaís house talking late into the evening about religion, the unknown and many other things, I went to bed feeling it had been a really wonderful and amazing day, thank you so much Dave and Linnea.

 The next morning I was pleased because I slept for a half hour longer than the night before and I thought that it was good because I was slowly adjusting to the big difference in the times, I awoke feeling excited knowing that my trip was truly about to start, and even though I had said that my departure time would be by lunch time, by 10 am I was packed and heading out onto Interstate 5. Dave was once again a true friend and drove ahead showing me the route out of town even though I had his GPS programmed and working, and I was very grateful because it gave me the chance to become familiar with the traffic and the bike and GPS etc. I continued up the interstate until I reached the turn off to highway 20. After going through the town and making my way out into the country I became really aware of the absolute beauty of the route, the mountains were snow capped and the sun shone brightly onto the snow, the trees and rivers and country side were beautiful beyond what I can describe in words and the pictures I have taken are not even one tenth of how beautiful it really is. Although the speeds were really slow and in some places the speed limit is as low as 30 miles per hour, I very quickly formed a bond with the GS and soon we were riding as one with perfect harmony on absolutely wonderful roads and through some of the best sights I have ever seen. I stopped so many times I had to really rush towards the end to get to my destination before dark and had to force myself not to stop again before getting there. On one stretch I saw a truck in a yard which I immediately recognized as being a 1920ís model and I stopped, asked an old guy working in a garage on the property if I could take a picture, sure he said you just go ahead. While taking my pictures of the truck which turned out to be an International, I was amazed when he suddenly appeared from behind the garage driving a 1927 Ford AAA, it was beautiful. He then went on the show me three amazing wood cutting sawís which had been used at the start of the last century for logging, they had water cooled engines and used a Model T Ford connecting rods, I was fascinated, he then took me into a back room and showed me a 1915 washing machine which was powered by a two stroke engine, he gave it a kick on the starter which was much like a scooter starter and sure enough it fired up and ran like a clock, he told me that he uses it regularly. All in all a truly wonderful and exciting day full of surprises. In fact I can say the same of my entire trip in the US so far, most wonderful.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 29, 2013, 08:32:15 pm
More from Seattle and the first day's ride
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: DRAZIL on July 30, 2013, 10:44:31 am
I want a Twizzy car :thumleft:
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: punisher on July 30, 2013, 11:14:59 am
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 30, 2013, 09:04:22 pm
After leaving KOA In Winthrop, it was my intention to head down Highway 20, after packing up at the camp site and getting the bike packed the last thing I wanted to do was program the GPS, switching on I punched in the security code and it was wrong, I had forgotten the correct code, the day before when at Daveís place I had done the same thing and the only code I could remember was the wrong one. Trying for several minutes with all different combinations I realized it was pointless, so I sent Dave a quick mail and told him what had happened and asked for the correct code, but by now I was ready to leave and had not done any map type preparation, so asking my neighbor in the camp site with whom I had now become friends, I got a general direction and set off. Needless to say the absolute inevitable happened and even though I had received instructions, I went sailing past the turn off and eventually got totally lost, eventually having to turn around and backtrack some 70 odd miles. After a lot of riding and stopping I found myself in a little town called Twisp, which was exactly where I wanted to be, but it had taken me all morning and a whole tank of petrol (Gas) to get there. After refueling the bike I decided that this was ridiculous and that I would stay in Twisp until I got the code for the GPS no matter what it took. There was a pretty young girl with very shiny turquoise blue type color braces sitting on a bench and eating an ice-cream at the gas station, so I decided to ask her where I could find Wi Fi in the town, only place is the diner across the rode she told me. So I rode across, parked the GS and unpacked the computer and stough and made my way into the diner, full of people it was, all eating Sunday lunch, feeling rather conspicuous I made my way to an open table and set up, it felt like the whole room was staring at my back, and feeling even more conspicuous I decided I had better order something so I ambled over to the bar and asked the bar lady for a coke, no coke she replied, only got Pepsi, I really do not like Pepsi I told her, what else can you recommend, we got very nice Root Beer she said. Ah wonderful I thought, have never tried that before in my life so I asked for one. She went into the back and came back with a really big glass of a black drink, we make it ourselves right here she told me. After paying and making my way back to the table I took a big sip, it tasted a bit like a medicine my Mom used to force me to take when I was bunking school by pretending to be sick, but was not that bad but I could see why it was not the biggest seller in the world. By now I had found that the signal for the Wi-Fi was good but there was a problem with the connection, a black haired thin gangly waiter told me that it was off. Oh well, back to the maps I decided and made my way back to the hot sun and the GS outside, standing there beside the bike and trying to make some sense of the map when this huge Harley Rider strides over, the diner had been full of really big cross looking bikers, and he asks, hey fellow, where is you a going, I point at the map and indicate my route, and say to him, I want to follow route 20 but when I came into town I could not see any signposting and could not find the route out. His head whips up and he looks me directly in the eye, steel blue grey eyes piercing through me, where you from he asks. I come from South Africa I tell him. Whaal now, whatís your take on this here Mandela fellow he asks me, thinking quickly and having absolutely no idea where this is going I try to find the most neutral reply I can, well he is really old now I reply. What bout 30 year or so ago he asks, thinking fast again and trying to judge where this is going I decide to go with my instincts and also a little of the truth, well 30 years ago I thought he was a terrorist I reply. Suddenly he relaxes his forward stance and bursts into a huge big grin and says, Whaal fellow you and me is going to get on just fine, and that was that we were mates, the rest of the riders standing around relax as well and start putting on their gear and head for their bikes and my new friend tells them, he gonna ride the 20, and then he proceeded to give me directions and soon I was on my way again. I met up again with them early on Monday morning at a gas station in Kettle Falls, he gave me a weather forecast for the day and then the rest of the week which included a prediction for rain in the afternoon, and sure enough it did rain. They all came from Detroit and I got the feeling they were as tough as nails, also heading for Sturgis and taking the scenic route.
 Since starting on the trip I have seen hundreds of bikes on the road, sometimes riding in groups of four or five, they always greet when you pass going in the opposite direction and I have become so used to having this exchange, I also now just automatically raise my hand when I see a bike coming. The greeting is to drop the hand from the handle bar and hold it out at the 5 oíclock position (this works if you are on a Harley with your feet way out front and lying low, not so natural on a GS). Late yesterday afternoon I stopped at a gas station to buy a map because I had traveled from Washington State, through Idaho and was now riding in Montana and the map I had bought on Saturday was no longer any use. Happily I have got the code from Dave for the GPS and am no longer lost, but I have found that the best method is to program the GPS in short trip stages as it automatically takes the fastest route and I often want to go to places which look interesting and so the only way is to re-program after reaching each destination. This is exactly the reason why I was so very fond of my GPSmap, C 60 CSX, which according to Garmin has now become obsolete, a fact which I can still not believe and I still think that they should be legally obliged to support their product for a time longer than the five years which they claim is the life span of a device. I spent weeks fighting with them before coming on this trip and Garmin have been the single biggest disappointment I have experienced in the entire planning, I also found that they have a really poor attitude and despite many requests to talk to a manager or the MD of the organization, they would never talk to me or reply, the Americans were far more helpful but in the end as they said, the purchase of on-line maps and ordering of software had to be done through the SA office. I think Garmin SA are totally incompetent. Anyhow I could really get all riled up over Garmin and go on for hours, so at the garage a group of Harley riders pull in for fuel and I asked them where they were heading, one of them replied, its summer and so we ride. And from what I have seen they do tours much like we do, but there is a lot of socializing and they have a lot of fun. They are all very friendly and seem to be very happy, which I guess is to be expected because the roads are perfect, the weather is perfect and they live in a really wonderful place from what I have seen.
 Almost as soon as I had turned off Interstate 5 I had a deer run across the road just ahead of my bike, I got a fright and realized that the warning I had received from Dave and Linnea had been very real and that this was surely a big danger, since stating my trip and the first sighting I have seen many many deer, sometimes standing and grazing on the side of the road, lots of dead ones lying on the side of the road and also late yesterday afternoon I was riding behind a big long slap Ford of some description when A deer came flying out from the right hand side brush and I honestly I thought he was a goner, but the driver climbed all over the brakes and somehow the animal was able to make it across the road, it was obvious that the deer had also had a hectic fright and it looked to me as though its hoofs were slipping on the tar as it frantically tried to get across the road. At the next gas stop the driver came over and apologized saying, man I did not mean to get all over the brakes like that but I nearly shit myself. I just love the expressions they come up with and the descriptive way they have. I also spoke to a fellow who had pulled in for gas at the same time with one of their trucks, and he was filling up with diesel, so I said, man I am sure glad I do not have to pay to fill that thing up, how much does it take. He broke into a huge grin and said, dunno, never have had it full, just put $100 in every time, that is the equivalent of more than a R1000,00 at a time and the tank is not full, glad it is not mine I thought. He told me it had a 6.5 Liter Cummings engine. I told him we normally drove Toyota and vehicles like that, what he said, that itty bitty little thing. Last night I was driving along about 20 Km from Kalispell when I saw this Motel sign, and there were a group of fellows standing in the front with drinks and it looked really nice, so I made a U-turn enquired regarding availability of rooms and cost, $ 60 I was told and they had one room free, so I checked in, it was already past 8 pm and I really felt like a shower because the night before I had slept at a lake and there had been only long drop toilets available and a water pump. There was also a bar as part of the Motel and I had a shower and made my way over for a bite to eat and a nice cold beer, actually it turned out to be more than one and I met a fellow called Tim and another couple of his friends and when the whiskey shooters started to line up on the bar I quickly made my way back to the room, it was exactly those same little glasses they always have in the westerns and I felt somehow that I was living the life, they also had two fellows on guitar and singing all country songs and I could have happily stayed there all night, it was really excellent.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 30, 2013, 09:22:36 pm
More random pictures from Les.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on July 30, 2013, 09:23:38 pm
And more.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: dirtyXT on July 31, 2013, 11:11:10 am
nice writing, ok ill follow it here from now.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Knucklhead on July 31, 2013, 12:01:17 pm
looks good  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 04, 2013, 07:44:46 pm
As I was leaving a town there were RV,s and pipe cars on display. had to have a look
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:12:28 pm
Some photos by Freedom on the way to Sturgis
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:14:41 pm
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:24:50 pm
These are random pictures taken while walking through Sturgis town. It is not required to wear a helmet in this county so nobody wears a helmet. Perhaps a cap or a bandana.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:31:38 pm
More in Sturgis
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:37:48 pm
Some pictures, mainly from Deadwood, near to Sturgis
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:39:24 pm
After leaving the motel at Kalispell the terrain became very different, the route followed through rather flat and very similar country to what we have in the Orange Free State, and very much agricultural. There was a lot of farming and it was obviously cattle country because they were stocking feed for as far as the eye could see. There were no cattle to be seen however but I guess it is not likely that they would have the cattle where they are cutting and bailing the feed. The roads were also fairly empty but in very good condition, and the consequence of this was that during the last two days I made very good time and covered a lot of distance and arrived in Sturgis late on Thursday evening. On the road as far back as about 100 miles from Sturgis I started to encounter groups of bikes on the road, some in small groups of four or five and then bigger groups of 20 to 30 bikes. Contrary to the behavior of the Harley riders in SA there are a lot of Harley owners in the US who actually ride their bikes for big distances, some of them are so loaded I can hardly imagine how they ride and then there are a lot who have trailers. Some even open up like fold up caravans, I have loaded some pictures which I hope will give some impression of the ride and event.
 The center of the event is the town of Sturgis, but there are activities and people stay as far as 70 miles away. Some just camp in the forest. There are some camp grounds like the Buffalo Chip which have such a big event with entertainment and all types of facilities which are so good that the people just stay in the camp and do not really venture out to the town. There are also a lot of other saloons and towns which are fully involved and there are hundreds of people who ride out to these places for the day, I have just returned from such a one day out ride and I was in the town of Deadwood, which was really interesting. The feeling of being a part of such a massive event with so much to see and do is beyond description. They have managed to capture the spirit of the Wild West and somehow integrate it into the biking life and a lot of these fellows are so serious about their biking I do not think they do anything else. I have found it to be an amazing experience, today riding the open road with literally hundreds of Harleys thundering all around you is beyond description. At night I lie in my tent and hear the Harleys thundering along the road up past the camp and when the ride in groups it sounds like a squadron of Second World War aircraft flying past.
 All in all, there is so much to see and do, I know I will only manage to touch the tip of the iceberg, but it is just simply amazing to be here. And I will do my very best to have as much fun as is possible in the time I have. Tomorrow I plan to be in Sturgis again, listen to music, see the displays and just sit and watch the passing parade. The day after I will ride out again, there are so many places to see.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:40:20 pm

 It is Sunday morning and an absolutely beautiful sunny day, I have been down to the bathroom and had a really good shower, and those who know me well will know that two of the top ten most important really good things in my life are a good nightís sleep and a really nice hot shower, and so far today I have had both. There was also some interesting talk in the bathroom and it turned out that some fellow had found a big rattle snake in his tent around 9.30 pm the night before, and one thing I soon realized about these fellows is that they do not like no rattler, no siree. I am not sure what had happened to the rattler but it was dead certain it had come to a sticky end. The night before I had been down to the Knuckle Saloon in downtown Sturgis where they had a four piece country and western band singing songs I have never heard before, and after finding a nice ice cold beer I had spent a few hours standing at a small bar on the one side, having a beer or two and just enjoying watching the people dance and listening to the music. One thing I have observed is that these folk really like to dance, and as an outside observer it seems to me that the dancing they do is much like our South African sakkie sakkie, but they have a little extra kick out the back every now and then, but for the most part I find it interesting and entertaining to watch, there are lots of turns and twirls and I just know that any boeramusic and sakki sakki would go down really well with this crowd. Eventually it is well after 1 am in the morning and I make my way back to the camp and fall into a really good sleep almost instantly. Who would ever have believed that sleeping on a mattress which is 25 mm thick in a sleeping bag could be so good? During the night it rained a bit but by morning it was just slightly overcast and the sun soon melted the clouds away to leave a wonderful perfect day. Want to ride on over the hill to the fire brigade to get some breakfast my neighbor and by now friend Rob asks, I think about it for a few seconds and decide, what the hell, sounds like a good idea. I had planned to spend the day in town as per my original idea to ride one day and then spend one day in town, but this sounds good and so I quickly finish dressing and after a short while we are heading out of the camp. Rob stops at the camp gate entrance and asks, have you got your helmet, no I reply do I need it, well you either need a helmet or riding glasses he replies, itís the law. He explains that if you have a really big wind shield you may ride without glasses but he was not sure if the screen on the BMW would qualify. So I headed back to the tent and quickly get my helmet and off we go, I realize that I could have been stopped because I have not had glasses or used my helmet since arriving in Sturgis. I might add that I am probably the only person in the entire Black Hills area wearing a helmet, but in reality I am glad because by now my bald patch is starting to take some strain and my face is also starting to look a little leathery and feel the same way. During the night before I had sat and chatted to a fellow who was removing the cylinder head from his Harley after it had blown a head gasket, anyhow while we were doing this, another fellow came up and also started chatting to us, and he had such bad wind and sun burn the top of his nose had actually cracked open and the flesh was sticking out, it looked like a baked potato after it had been squashed open just before you put the butter on. The rest of his face was so burnt and dried out he looked like he was wearing a mask which was glowing. I contemplated his predicament at some length and decided he must be in absolute agony, but he seemed to not notice at all, at least third degree burns I decided. Some of these fellows look really tough, I think they have some of that residual Wild West blood still flowing in their veins and I would not like to piss any of them off. For the most part they all have at least a moustache and a lot have big beards or side burns and it reminds me a lot of the seventies, also a lot of them have long hair, I think I must look a bit different to the rest. Anyhow, having a beard or side burns is not going to stop the sun and wind from burning and there are a lot of fellows who have ridden more than a thousand miles with no head protection except the compulsory glasses, so when they take their glasses of and sit around talking, they look a bit like a group of raccoons staring at you.

 Rob and I ride up through Vanocker Canyon and eventually pull over at the eating place he intended for breakfast, we park the bikes and there are just bikes and people everywhere, the place is packed, anyhow we amble around to the side of the building and make our way towards the entrance, on the way we pass a really big fellow getting oxygen and the paramedics are checking his vitals and doing the normal rescue thing, looking him over I decide he might have gotten a bit over excited and fainted or something because there is no evidence of a fall or an accident. A bit further on we suddenly see the queue to get into the building and I figure there must be around about a hundred or more people waiting to get in, perhaps the fellow with the medical attention collapsed due to starvation I think. With that Rob suggests that this might not be the answer but he knows a better place a bit further on up the road, so we saddle up and hit the road again. Eventually pulling over at a place called Johnson Siding. Here too, there are just bikes parked everywhere and people all over, but we make our way to the restaurant and it is almost empty and we order a coffee and a bun with some brisket. It is really good and most enjoyable. After our meal and chatting a little with the waitress who was planning to make her way to the Buffalo Chip later on after work to watch ZZ Top who was performing there for the evening show, we saddle up again and set off further down the road, Rob has been riding these roads every year for the last thirty years and so I soon realize he knows every little bump and bend and watering hole there is to know. In the end we spend a very interesting day of just riding and stopping here and there and just having fun, Rob rides an old BMW and he is a really capable rider, the bike runs like a Swiss watch and there is not a rattle in the motor and I immediately recognized that it has been well maintained and is kept in perfect running condition, he handles the bike well on tar and dirt and as we all know, a nice BMW is no match for most Harley riders, so he complains often about the Milwaukee Tractors which keep on holding us up. At first I am confused not remembering having passed any tractors, but eventually I realize he is referring to the Harley riders who thunder and scrape their way up and down the roads. But I must also add that there are some really capable Harley riders as well and I have seen some of them coming around the sharp almost hairpin bends with the pegs down on the tar and the throttle wide open.

 It is eventually starting to get dark as we finally make our way back into camp, we have covered a total distance of 215 miles on some of the best bike roads I have ever ridden and it has been a really wonderful day. This surely must fulfill the purpose of my life; if it does not then it most certainly feels like it does
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:47:19 pm
Sunday Bike ride in the Black Hills
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:51:23 pm
August 11. 
Today is Saturday and there is only one day of the rally left, I have seen many groups of people arrive and stay for a few days and then leave. The truth is that there is no possible way to see all there is to see and to attend all the shows and activities they have. Even if you stay at the rally for a full week as I have done. There has been hill-climb events twice during the past week which I did not see and then there was a special staged burn out contest and many more activities just too much too mention. I must confess that to watch a burn out contest does not really interest me because I see it back home all the time.
 I have heard various numbers from people about the attendance this year, some have told me that there are 500,000 bikes here and others have said 400,000, but one thing is for sure, everybody agrees that there is a much bigger turn out than last year and all I can say is that there are one hell of a lot of people here. Normally I go to McDonald's to use the Wi-Fi and during this past week, they have been so full it is not even possible to get a table and the people are standing five and six deep in queues at the counter, it is just packed full. On one night I had to wait three hours to get a table. They simply serve all meals in packets because they cannot cope with orders for take away or inside, and it is like that all day, I have even been there up to mid-night and it was still just so full. A lot of people stay in camp sites which are as much as 30 miles out of town, and every day people ride into Sturgis to attend whatever interests them or just to mission around. I have spent a lot of time sitting and listening to bands playing, a lot of them in Sturgis itself are heavy rock and roll and so load it is impossible to think, but if you ride just a short distance out of town there are often one man bands or two piece bands signing in bars or in a place especially prepared for the rally. So I have spent most of my time riding around in the Black Hills and enjoying the country side and just enjoying the bikes and the atmosphere and to be honest, I have not spent much time in the actual city center because it is just too crowded and busy and almost impossible to ride any distance because the queues at a stop street or robot are often half a block long. On one day during the week I rode out to a town called Lead, it is an old gold mining town and there is a massive big open cast pit where they mined the gold, it was interesting to see that they used a train which was driven by compressed air to haul the ore out of the mine, (it had to run on compressed air because a steam engine would have made too much smoke in the mine shaft) on another day I rode out to have a look at Devils Tower which was very interesting, it was used to make a movie and I think it was called Close Encounter or something to that effect. Apparently there are rock climbers who climb up the face of the rock outcrop and one of them had just fallen a short time before I got there, so the whole area had been closed off and I was not allowed to walk up the path to the base of the tower, but it was still impressive to see. The ride back was a little hectic because there was a very bad thunder storm and we had to stop and wait for the storm to pass, but there was a lot of evidence of a massive downpour as I got closer to a town called Spear Fish.
 At the start of my ride much earlier that day, I had noticed a really good example of the post boxes which are all set up in the rural areas for the US mail, so I pulled over and took a number of pictures of the post boxes and also a close up of a really nice new one because it had an inscription on it which related to the authority of the US mail and I found it interesting, anyhow I had then carried on riding, later stopping to take a picture of a ranch entrance which had a good example of a graphic illustration, probably of what the ranch had as its core business or possibly just an illustration of what the ranch owner liked, I have seen a number of them at ranch gates and even some towns have them as you enter and exit the town. I think they must be laser cut because they are very intricate and very well done. A little later I saw a big gathering of bikes on the side of the road and decided to investigate and it was a saloon called the Stonehouse Saloon, so I went in and there was a really excellent three piece band playing. Almost all the songs were trucking songs and they were all original, written by the singer. The band was called Peewee Moore & The Awful Dreadful Snakes. They were really excellent and probably the best I had heard so far. Anyhow I eventually finished my drink and sat a while longer enjoying the music and then eventually set off once again on my ride. Sometime later I came across a sign which indicated that there was a historical display ahead and I pulled in to have a look, and it was an old coal mine and the infrastructure which was used to sort the coal and feed it down to the lower level was still standing, after taking some more pictures I saddled up again and set of up the road. Reaching a little town of Aladdin, I noticed that the town name indicated that they only had a population of 15 in the town, so I stopped to take a picture of the town sign and then I took a picture of the town from a distance, and while doing this a State Trooper car came riding slowly past and then made a U-turn and stopped some distance away from me, but the fellow just sat there looking at me. Eventually wondering what on earth he was doing I decided to go over and ask him if he wanted to speak to me or if there was a problem or just plain what was going on, well evidently this was a mistake because he gestured wildly for me to remain exactly where I was. By now I had removed my crash helmet and the sun was giving my bald patch a serious roasting. I had during the last few days heard enough stories about these fellows to know that they were not to be trifled with and that to be stopped for any reason at all was to be avoided at all cost, but I was truly puzzled by this development because I was parked well of the road and had not done anything even remotely wrong. After a long wait he eventually climbed out of his car and came slowly over to me, I truly cannot remember exactly what he said but he basically asked where I had come from and what I was doing, so I gave him the run down about my ride from Sturgis, stopping to take photos here and there and listening to the music at the Stonehouse Saloon, eventually ending at the point where I was currently taking a photo of the sign for Aladdin. Did you stop and take some pictures of some post boxes he asks, yes I did I reply, why he asks, so I go into a long explanation that we do not have a system like that in South Africa and that I have observed the US postal service delivering mail on my travels and I found it interesting that they would deliver mail to very remote locations. At which time he then asks to see all my pictures, by now another State Trooper vehicle has pulled up behind his vehicle but this fellow just sits there waiting in his car. I eventually explain about my trip and that I am writing a journal and that I like to take pictures of things which I find interesting and which I can write about, by now my bald patch has started to throb with the burn of the intense midday sun and I am getting seriously cooked. He takes my drivers license and passport and goes back to the vehicle, there is a lot more talk on the radio and from what I could see they have a big computer in the car, I assume some more checks, he comes back and asks me for my full names, back to the car and eventually I guess after a full check and finding that I am not a secret anything just a fellow on holiday, he comes back and gives me my passport and license back. By now he is a lot more relaxed and we start to chat a little, I am able to retrieve my cap out of the bikes top box and the pain subsides just a little, I am sure the top of my head has by now suffered some mortal damage which will require major reconstructive surgery. He tells me that someone had seen me taking pictures of the post boxes and had phoned in to report that a suspicious person was busy with the post boxes, however I had traveled from South Dakota into Wyoming and the report had been made in South Dakota, so they had to contact the Wyoming office and they had dispatched a car to intercept me. I do not know for sure but I suspected that the second car may have been from South Dakota. So it would appear that I was soon to be boxed in and if I recall correctly I seem to remember that he had said something to this effect. I am immensely grateful that it did not come to this because I am sure that being boxed in or coming over a rise and being confronted by a road block of very serious looking State Troopers would have given me sleepless nights for a month.
 After all was said and done we had a good chat about South Africa and I took his picture and he mine, and I eventually managed to get my helmet on and made my way into the town to have a look at the only shop there. After visiting the shop and taking some more pictures I was getting ready to head out when a stranger comes over and starts to ask me about my bike etc. Now I immediately find this unusual because in all the time I have been in the USA nobody has ever started a conversation with me and even if I talk to someone they will still never ask where I am from or anything personal, I have found it quite amazing how private the general population are. I tell him my story and we chat a little but somehow it does not feel right, he does not look like a typical biker and although he is wearing a t-shirt his jacket looks wrong, anyhow eventually we say our goodbyes and I ride off, wondering if he was not perhaps also involved in my post box photo incident, I would bet that he was if I was a betting man. Later that evening I go down to the Full Throttle Saloon to take some pictures as I figure it would be a good opportunity due to the heavy thunder storm which has passed over town, and I am correct in my assumption, for once it is not packed from wall to wall and I am able to wonder around and get some nice pictures, I notice a really well built fellow standing close by, a little later after climbing some steps and moving to another level I see him again, I walk around past some stalls and start to climb another flight of stairs but stop half way and turn around, and there he is again just behind me. I stop and look at him and eventually he walks off to the left, could he also be involved in the post box photo incident, I must be getting paranoid. At the end of the day the incident left me with a realization of just how geared up the system really is and the extent and depth of their system. Back home your entire home can be stolen and they do not even bother to come out or sometimes it takes three days to respond, I think of the incident where Sue was attacked at an intersection close to the Airport and her car window was smashed and she was stabbed with a knife, and they did not respond, here they activate forces across state because someone looked suspicious. I sit and think about it for a while and realize that I have truly experienced the two ends of the scale, as much as we do not have enough in SA I wonder if the US system is not possibly a little over the top and the stories I have heard from some of the fellows in the camp ground about bikes being carted off in slings swinging behind trucks and being impounded and many other scary stories may not be so greatly exaggerated as I first thought. Fortunately I am a law abiding fellow so there is no need to worry.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Hinksding on August 14, 2013, 09:52:35 pm
Thanks for all the pics, loved it.  One day I'll go there again.  Would like to read his stories when I get some time on hand.
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Crab on August 14, 2013, 09:58:13 pm
Yeah, you are going to need some time, Freedom really can write!!!
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: ZooDog on August 15, 2013, 06:33:04 am
Awesome riders
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Rynet on August 15, 2013, 06:51:17 am
Thanks Crab, very interesting . There is just something about the USA . I hate it but I also love it , can't explain. I was there for 2 years and yes would love to go back and hire a bike and ride across it  , its so big and beautiful and compelling despite everything ....... Keep the lekker RR coming .  :sip:
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: Sir Rat on August 15, 2013, 05:34:46 pm
Wow another great installment. Keep the RR coming please.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Freedom in America!!!!
Post by: 1ougat on August 26, 2013, 07:14:53 am