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Author Topic: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015  (Read 17067 times)

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Offline Jabus

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Day12: Pierre to Marshall

Route: 14E to Florence the 23 to Lynd and Marshall.  

We will leave South Dakota and enter Minnesota today and looking at the map we can expect lots of twisties today. Well, actually no twisties but plenty of cross winds. :)

It is cold and we stop to fill up, this is clearly a farming community: Ford, Chev  and Dodge RAM trucks everywhere…  

Schumacher Custom Boots and Saddles in Wolsey SD, if only I had more space….

Vaughn locates Bucky’s Restaurant and Lounge in Huron.  I ask him what the speciality is and he replies, “There was only one review and it just said, “OMG””

While we wait for our food Vaughn assists in tracking my FedEx parcel which is (supposedly) on the way to Maryland.  I’m curious about the soundbite that is used as introduction to REO Speedwagon’s “Tough Guys” and ask him about it.  The actual sound bite goes like this:
-Alfalfa, will you swing me before we have lunch?
-Sure, Darla.
-Say, Romeo. What about your promise to the He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club?
-I'm sorry, Spanky. I've got to live my own life.

Now I must confess.  Where I grew up, English was only used for self-defence.  (And when we played rugby against the English speaking schools in our areas, the main aim was not to learn the language; the aim was to inflict as much pain as possible).  So when my sister bought the REO Speedwagon tape in the 80s, this is what I heard when I listened to Tough Guys for the first time (and lets not hold back on the confession….,  what I kept on hearing for the next 30 years.  Until Vaughn corrected me in Huron :))

Aunt Alva, would you swing me before we have lunch?
Sure darling.
Say Romeo. What about your promise to the human-woman haters club?

Human-woman??? Okay, so that is embarrassing, let’s move on….  

Vaughn explains that this is an actual sound bite from the 1930s TV series, Little Rascals.   He rattles off the names of the characters, Darla, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Chu …” I interrupt him: “Buckwheat??!!!”  Yeah, that was the name of the little black boy in the show…..” he stops, thinks for a while and then continues “Yeah, now that I think about it, it probably would not be politically correct these days, wouldn’t it?”.  “Sure as hell it wouldn’t !“. “Buckwheat!!”

We stop in Brookings for a coffee at McDonalds.  A neatly dressed old guy walks past and says:
“I used to ride those bikes when I was younger but I don’t ride anymore”.
“Yes, the correct pronunciation is actually Bee-Em-Vee” (he gives a perfect German pronunciation) and not Beeemdubbleyoo as they pronounce it over here”.
“Yes, but I don’t ride any more.  I am too old now” he says and swiftly walks into the restaurant.  End of conversation. :)

We get ready to get on the bikes when I see a young lad and his mom exiting the restaurant.  The youngster points towards the bikes and drags his mom in our direction.  With his mom’s permission I lift him onto the bike, take a picture and then Vaughn lifts him onto the RT.  He is clearly comfortable sitting on a bike.

I can see that he recognises the Oldsmobile van that pulls up next to us.  “It’s Grandpa”, the young one shouts and points in the direction of the Van.

 An old guy in a red jacket and cap opens up the back door and lifts the blue “Walker” from the trunk.  The right front door opens and his wife starts to slide out to the Van.

But the bikes distract him, and he totally forgets about his wife who is clearly waiting for her walking aid. :)

We start to talk about bikes.  Well, actually he starts telling me about all the bikes he had.  He says that he has two at the moment:  A Honda Gold Wing and a Kawasaki.  He fiddles in his pocket and pulls out his wallet and shows me pictures. He talks uninterrupted and with great enthusiasm. Then he looks at the boxer engine and says that one of his friends had one those.  One day he phoned me and said I must come over and have a look….   When I arrived he took me into the garage where he had opened up the engine.  I had a look at the thing and said jeez that can’t be…. No that can’t work…. Those pistons are moving in the wrong direction :)
Vaughn is suited up and ready to go, the old man’s wife is still waiting for her walker but we talk bikes….

He says that he doesn’t ride that often anymore.  I ask him how old he is.  He looks at me for a while as if I asked him a trick question.  
Then he asks: “What is the date?”  
“It is October 1”, I reply.  
He thinks for a while and then he responds: “October 1 ?”.  
“Yes Sir, the first of October 2015”.  
“Oh yes, then it is my birthday today, I am 80 years old today”.  
His daughter (with the grandson standing next to her) smiles at us and replies:
“Yes, dad that is why we are here today……, to celebrate your birthday”.  :)

I look at his wife, by now she is literally hanging from the doorpost of the Van waiting for her walker….  But she just looks at him sincerely and smiles.  Now that is real love man! :)

On this trip I have met lots of guys wanting to talk bikes:  Thinking back, I can classify them into different categories:

--Those who know nothing about bikes but want to talk about bikes…. (Actually they want to talk about themselves but just use the bike as a segway into the conversation…).

--Those who know nothing about bikes, never owned a bike, but are thinking about getting one.  One day.  Before they die… Maybe…. If the wife or girlfriend says it is okay of course…

--Those who has a bike and want to tell you about THEIR bike… Horsepower, torque, top speed etc etc

--Those who want to know why you are on bike and travelling on your own (just to checking if you are not a serial killer passing through town).  “You know, you can’t really trust a biker”, attitude.  There must be some Freudian character flaw somewhere deep down….

--And then you get the real bike lovers like the guys mentioned above.  These moments are priceless….  

I had two similar experiences later on in the trip which I will post later.

We head out and the cross winds are hammering us.  I notice the wind turbines ahead and can confirm that it is now the ugliest site (apart from sand and mud) that you can see on a bike in this part of the world.  It is living proof that there will be cross winds.  Always!  Guaranteed!!

Entering Marshall I see an innovative way of warning tourists about wild animals crossing.  It looks to me as if there are motion sensors that pick up any movement next to the road.  These are powered by solar panels and will turn on the warning signals when they detect any movement wanting to enter the road.

We were once again battered by strong cross winds go in different directions to our hotels.  I can once again conveniently park in front of my room.  Tomorrow would be our last ride together and Vaughn says we must go to a certain restaurant in Minneapolis where Lea would join us for dinner.  Listening to his description of the menu I immediately start a 24hr fast to prepare my body for the gastronomic overload that was to come. :)

I take an early evening stroll through the neighbourhood and everything looks neat and well maintained.  

An old Cadillac….

I’m not going to say, what I found behind the green door :)

As I walk back to the hotel I wonder what the economic engine behind Marshall is.  I make a mental note to have a look on Google….
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 11:59:14 am by Jabus »

Offline Jabus

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Day13: Marshall to Minneapolis

Route: 23 to Granite Falls/Wilmar/Spicer/Paynesville/Cold Spring.  Interstate 94 to Rogers 101/169 to Elk River, 94 to 494 to Minneapolis.

Today will be our last day of riding together.  We will drop Vaughn’s bike at EagleRider in Elk River where his wife will meet us.  We agreed to meet at McDonalds for a coffee before we start the day.  We are in no hurry and I ask him about the Schwan Food Company.  From what I could see on the internet, their head office is in Marshall and they seem to have a very interesting business model of only doing home deliveries of frozen foods.  For a while we talk about the complex logistics  of the business etc and then he gets side tracked.  He tells me about a friend of his that walked in on the Schwan delivery guy doing a “special delivery” for his wife.  Well naturally they split up but the guy later reflected on the incident and his only complaint was that “he didn't even get any free pork steaks out of the deal”.

Magnificent farming area!  Busy harvesting Soya Beans.

Vaughn stops at Cabelas in Rogers.

It is a massive outdoor and adventure shop and he has to drag me out the door one hour later…

The collection of guns and ammunition is just massive.

They even have a collection of Kudus.

And two lions attacking an African Buffalo…

We drop Vaughn’s bike at the Zylstra EagleRider and I follow them to the hotel.

It feels weird to ride in a car again after almost two weeks on a bike.  Manny’s Steakhouse is a hive of activity (meaning it is loud, not uncivilized, but loud nonetheless).  The portions on display is HUGE.  Manny clearly did not participate in Dr Ancel Keys’ “Minnesota Starvation Experiment” which was conducted in the 1940s.  Or perhaps this is Manny’s revenge on Dr Keys :)

The main course arrives on a trolley and the steak is excellent! As per usual Vaughn ponders on this perhaps being “The best steak ever”.  He always does this calibration check when he finds something exquisite.  We get side tracked by the “Kudu-Wellington steak” we had at Rhebokskloof a couple of years ago.  He remembers every detail of that dish…

We wash it down with a 2013 “The Prisoner” Napa Red wine.  Perhaps our own revenge on Dr Keys.:)

Across the room a guy with long hair, black T-Shirt, and jacket and, wait for it….., sunglasses attracts a lot of attention.  People stop at his table, shake hands, make small talk etc etc. We have no clue who this person might be.  When our waiter takes our desert order I ask him who the guy is.  He looks over his shoulder and says “I don’t know, but yeah with the T-shirt and sunglasses he does look famous”.  And then as an afterthought he adds, “Oh yeah, and he has an accent…..”  We burst out laughing while Vaughn repeats “Oh yeah, having an accent, that surely must make him famous.”

The three of us share the chocolate brownie for desert.  Well let’s be more specific: Chocolate brownie with whipped cream, ice cream, caramel  and chocolate sauce.  All this is of course finished off with a helping of “healthy fresh strawberries”.  

It would be a sin not to elaborate a bit on the chocolate and caramel sauce. Our waiter placed the brownie with cream and ice cream topping on the table.  Then he pulls out two big silver mugs (“nagmaalbekers manne!”), one filled with steaming hot caramel sauce and the other with chocolate. He holds them in both hands almost like a John Wayne “double draw” and starts to twirl-pour them simultaneously over the brownie.  The cream and ice cream melts as the sauce runs over the plate…..  That show is enough to give the man a huge tip! :)

Yes, just in case you wondered, that is a steak knife standing uptight in the brownie….

Well if the waitress at the Knuckle Saloon Bar thought the Patty Melt Sandwich was an “Experience”, this really was! With or without an accent :)  
This really was a sweet end to the days of riding together...

Back at the hotel I have a look at CNNs weather forecast and notice Hurricane Joaquin making his way up the East coast.  I may have to alter my route a bit as I head towards Baltimore…

We say our goodbye’s before we head off to our rooms.  My plan is to do about 650km tomorrow and sleep over at Pat and Rosie’s place in Chicago.  I would prefer to take the scenic route and stay off the Interstate as far as possible.  That implies an early start….

« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 09:22:50 pm by Jabus »

Offline Jabus

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Day 14: Minneapolis to Chicago

Route:  South on 52 to Rochester and the following 14 to Chicago

Staying on 14 and crossing the Mississippi River at La Crosse and the Wisconsin at Helena.

Continuing on 14 and then taking a detour through downtown Madison (bad idea) before linking up with 14 again.

At Evansville I leave 14 and take 59/213 to Beloit.

From Beloit I get onto I-90 (Jane Adams Memorial Toll way) to Randall Rd through Geneva to Batavia

I am tempted to just take the Interstate all the way to Chicago, but decide to get up early and take the scenic route.  Vaughn’s last “suggestment” was to head south to Rochester and then east to Winona and then staying on 14 which will be scenic all the way to Madison and Chicago.  At 6:30 I’m ready to leave the parking area of the hotel.
I cross the Mississippi River at La Crosse.  The City Brewing Company is prominent and was formed in 1999 when the Heileman Brewing Company was bought out.  

La Crosse makes a bold statement but unfortunately the state of the signage does not reflect the quality statement…  

Some households take Halloween seriously….

And the local markets get ready to supply the pumpkins…

The European influence is clearly visible.  Westby has a strong Norwegian influence

Even the shops show a strong Scandinavian influence with names like Hansens, Knudsens etc

The fall colours are becoming more prominent…

A pretty memorial at Stafford…

I decide to take a detour through the centre of Madison.  It is Saturday afternoon and there shouldn’t be much traffic…  big mistake!  The streets are lined with a sea of red sweaters.  Badger(?) supporters making their way to the game?  And for those who do not know, lane splitting is not allowed.  So I sit in traffic.  Stand up occasionally.  A badger starts to remind me of a Bison but the vibe is terrific and I try to soak it in as much as possible. Rain clouds are building and I have to look for a McDonalds where I can change into my bright-yellow-blow-up-doll-rain-suit.

I just love the openness of the countryside…

At Beloit I cross the Wisconsin-Illinois boundary.  Putin is starting to predict an arrival time after sunset and I decide to choose the fastest route to Chicago.  I take out some cash for toll fees and secure it to the magnets on the handlebars.
Arriving at Pat and Rosie’s place in Batavia.  It is just after dark with light rain all around.  

Pat uncorks a bottle of red wine while Rosie prepares dinner.  We haven’t seen each other for a number of years but the sign of good friends is that you can pick up the discussion as if you saw each other yesterday.  They have spent a number of years in Cape Town and still keep themselves informed about the SA politics etc.   Rosie is a real matchmaker and they still have a lot of friends in SA.

On the menu tonight is “The Shine’s Spaghetti Sauce”.  This is part of Rosie’s family heritage!  She shows me the original handwritten recipe July 23, 1968! Here’s Rosie’s description:

“My uncles Shine, Plu, Bee (and for a time youngest brother, Willy) owned and operated “Shines Tap” originally known as “Shine’s Hillbilly Club” in Jonesville, IL (unincorporated suburb of Oglesby, IL) for more than 60 years. Oglesby is about the size of Loxton so you get the humor.

But here is the real secret behind the secret taste…..

The note from my cousin stated some interesting facts that contributed to the exceptional taste of our uncle’s sauce:  
“Uncle Shine told me a long time ago that you need to use Contadina Tomato paste as it has the best quality and flavor. The last thing that might affect things somewhat is that you need a large stainless steel pan made out of an old wash machine tub, that Bud Miller (neighbor, talented entrepreneur and frequent customer in the tavern) probably welded up for them, and a homemade wooden paddle to cook with. While i am sure Uncle Shine may be a little forgiving on this, however, remember things might not turn out exactly as intended without everything in place. Let me know if you have any problems receiving this top secret information.”

Rosie adds "Cousin Mark reiterated the specialness of the recipe and the instructions to keep it in my safe."
I am indeed honoured to have access to the family secret!

Uncle Shine’s handwritten recipe….  Just briefly making its appearance and then back in the safe as per Cousin Mark’s instructions. :)

And the taste is….. “Mamma Mia”….

This has been an exceptionally tough day.  Not only because of the long hours on the road but also mentally the toughest.  

When I get to my room I can’t help but notice Rosie’s special touch.  She made the quilts and the chocolate is waiting on my pillow, just as she promised 12months ago when I mentioned the possibility of the trip…
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 05:35:27 pm by Jabus »

Offline Big-G

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Thanks for this report, it's awesome!!
Keep it coming 👍👍👍👍
I used to have Superpowers but my therapist took them away from me!!!!

Offline Jabus

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Thanks Big-G, a couple of days still to report on...

Offline Sir Rat

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Thanks Big-G, a couple of days still to report on...

Kewl. Waiting  :happy1:

Offline Jabus

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Day 15: Chicago to Fort Wayne

Route: I aim straight for Joliet via Plainfield on 30. At Joliet I link up with 80 then take 65 to 30 which takes me all the way Fort Wayne.

My plan is to leave Chicago at around lunchtime in order to miss the traffic on Monday morning. Pat suggests that I aim for Fort Wayne which is about 300km east of Chicago.  From there he suggests I take the historic Lincoln Highway. This gives us some more time to catch up and explore the neighborhood.

Pat and Rosie bought the property in 2011 and started to refurbish the home making a conscious decision to “to live more softly on the earth”.  Rosie is a very keen gardener and during her time in SA she volunteered at Kirstenbosch as well as Stellenbosch’s Botanical Gardens.  She designed a Labyrinth in the front garden which Pat and I walk for fun in the early morning.  As we walk to the back garden Pat points out several dead trees in the neighbourhood.  These massive trees all died as a result of the infestation by Asian Long-Horned beetles.  The beetles most likely hitched a free ride in wooden pallets and crates.  (These buggers look a lot like the ones that destroyed my dad’s willow tree … he called them “Boktorre”).

The garden behind the home is where the fun really starts.  Rosie has flower beds, a vegetable garden, an apple orchard and even hops on one of the pergolas. 

Another very creative idea…

Pat designed a water feature that harvests and cleans rain water which also doubles as a fish pond (part of the cleaning and filtration process). The big water tanks are underground and the water is used to irrigate the garden.

He also designed a porch covered in solar panels which feed into the home and local grid for which they get credits.  Pat tracks their energy consumption and compares it to the average in the neighborhood.  Pat’s savings is in the order of 35%.  Now this is sustainability in action!

Rosie even has an aloe in the garden that she brought back from SA.  She confirms that the poor fella sleeps inside during winter times…

We head out for breakfast at Pat and Rosie’s favorite Diner in Geneva.

The next stop is at Fabyan Windmills next to the Fox River. The park has a Dutch style windmill which was restored in a couple of years to a condition where it can actually grind wheat into flour.

Fermilab is a short drive from Pat and Rosie’s home.  Notice the two accelerators on the Google earth image below.

The entrance to Fermilabs is an impressive non-symmetrical piece of architecture which was designed by Robert Wilson.  Wilson was a renowned physicist who worked on the Manhattan project.  He was the director of the National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and was also a keen sculptor and architect.  His influence on the design and layout of the facility is visible everywhere on the premises.

The inside of Wilson Hall.

This is an interesting control room: It is from this control room that Fermilab takes over control of CERN in Geneva Switzerland when the Swiss go to sleep.

A week ago we rode through Lead (near Deadwood).  This is the control room at Fermilab from where neutrinos will be sent to the Stanford Underground Facilty in Lead as part of the big neutrino experiment.  It is a small world indeed :)

While I get ready to ride Pat and Rosie give me a short lecture about Lewis and Clark…  They have the transcripts of the L&C diaries and I learn about Sacagawea, the Shoshone Woman that traveled with them up the Missouri River and over the mountains and all the way to Astoria (Cape Disappointment).  Pat says that an interesting fact is that Sacagawea was the sister of one of the Native American Chiefs that they encountered on the route and in that way assisted keeping them safe while at the same time handling the translations for them.

It is an emotional goodbye for me.  I remind Pat that he is partly to “blame” for this trip.  (I will explain the detail later…).  I get on the bike and as Lewis and Clark said “We proceeded on….”


Offline Roulof

Dankie Mnr Jabus, ek geniet die storie en stories tussen deur.

Maak my lus om daai wereld te verken.

Offline Jabus

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"Mnr" Jabus ???!!!

Offline Jabus

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“Filter of Plain?”

Dit maak nie saak waar jy jou Café Latte bestel nie.  Of dit nou by Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds of hier in die Hoodsport Coffee Company is.  Die bestelling is nooit net ‘n “Café Latte” nie.  Dit is maar net die begin.  Dan volg die vrae. Watse tipe koffie? Katjieng. Watse tipe melk? Katjieng. Hoe groot of klein ens., ens. Katjieng, katjieng, katjieng.  

Waar ek langs die kaggel in die Hoodsport Coffee Company sit sien ek die antieke koffiemasjien amper eensaam in die hoekie staan.  Ek staan op en bekyk hom van naderby.  Eerstens is ek verbaas dat daar so lank gelede al outomatiese koffiemasjiene bestaan het.  Tweedens is ek verbaas oor die beprekte keuse:
-Swart met melk.
-Swart met suiker.
-Swart met melk en suiker.

Dit is moeilik om vir iemand wat nog nie in Amerika was nie te verduidelik watter verskeidenheid verbruikers daar is.  Veral as dit by kos kom.  As jy voor die tamatiesous rak staan is die keuse nie net beperk tot “All Gold” en “Heinz” nie.   Die tamatiesous beslaan ‘n rak of twee op sy eie.  Net so vir hondekos…..

Eiers in alle groottes…

En bakmengsels vir Afrika (by wyse van spreuke natuurlik….)

Hoe nader ek aan die ooskus beweeg hoe meer volop is die “SHEETZ” motorhawens.  Die ekwivalent van ons Engen One Stops of Shell Ultracities.  Hier kan ek pertrol ingooi, bietjie rus, vir die mense sit en kyk en ‘n koffie drink.  Hier sien ek ‘n mooi illustrasie van die “Amerikaanse-verbruikerskeuse” in aksie.

As jy by SHEETZ” will koffie koop is daar twee opsies:

Jy kan vir jou ‘n beker vat (verskillende groottes natuurlik) en vir jouself skink uit die volgende keuses wat “on tap” beskikbaar is: Decaf, Breakfast, Classic, Sumatra, French.  (En soos klokslag is daar altyd 'n Yank wat vra of hulle nie sy spesiale"Suid-Soebanse-groen-geroosterde-koffiebone" brousel het nie....  En dan nog afgehaal klink as dit nie beskikbaar is nie...:))

Maar ‘n mens doen die “on tap” ding net as jy baie haastig is.  As jy bietjie meer tyd het dan gebruik jy die Expresso bar…..  Hier kies jy op ‘n “touch screen” jou gunsteling brousel en dan maak iemand agter die toonbank dit vir jou.  Blitsvinning.  Katjieng.

Nou hier volg die proses om ‘n Café Latte in die VSA te bestel. In TIEN maklike stappe…

Eerste skerm: Made to Order Food óf Made to order Speciality Coffeez (sic) & Smoothies…  
Ek kies “Speciality Coffeez (sic) & Smoothies.”  

Tweede skerm: Ek kies “Latte & Cuppachino”....

Derde skerm: Ek kies “Lattes”…..

Vierde skerm: Ek kies “Hot”…

Ek begin wonder of hierdie ding op SAP loop…

Vyfde skerm: Ek kies "Made to Order"…

Sesde skerm: Ek kies “Large”…

Sewende skerm: Terwyl ek nou die tyd en die geld het kies ek “Ethiopian”….

Goed nou weet ek dit is nie SAP nie, die ding laat jou heeltemal te veel keuses toe.  Jy kan selfs “Back” of “Cancel” kies! :)

Agste skerm: Ek kies ”No Flavor”…

Negende skerm: Ek kies “Whole”…

Tiende skerm: Net vir die effek kies ek “Whipped cream”….

You ask. You get. You pay…

Terwyl ek die Late sit en drink kan ek nie anders as om aan Tolla se Hasie-grappie van “Filter of Plain?” te dink nie :)

« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 08:46:48 pm by Jabus »

Offline Jabus

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“God’s Business”

Ek ry vandag tussen Pittsburgh en Staunton.  In een van die voorstede vang my oog die elektroniese advertensiebord wat lees” “Go  Steelers”.  Die Steelers is Pittburgh se NFL span so dit is per se nie snaaks nie.  Wat wel vir my snaaks is, is waar die advertensie geplaas word.  Ek stop, draai om en neem ‘n paar fotos.

Die bord adverteer onder andere die “Bucs” ook….

Maar as jy dit dalk nog nie raakgesien het nie…. Die advertensiebord is voor die St Hilary Katolieke Kerk! :) Ek wonder by myself hoe sal die “Go Bulls” teken voor die Waterkloofrif NG Kerk lyk?  Met ‘n Bulls vlag natuurlik… (Wel die Ford Rangers staan in elk geval Sondae daar met hulle blou klote wat  aan die hak hang …)


Hierdie advertensiebord laat my onwillekeurig terugdink aan ‘n eks-kollega wat saam met sy vrou (wat in daardie stadium ‘n predikant in Stellenbosch was) op besoek in die VSA was.  Haar kerk het die besoek gereël (‘n “studietoer” het hulle dit nogal genoem!).  Met sy terugkoms het ek hom uitgevra oor die besoek.  Hy was in vervoering oor die dienslewering van die Amerikaners.  “Alles daar word as ‘n besigheid bedryf” sê hy.  Ek vra hom uit oor die Kerk.  Hy gooi sy hande in die lug en sê: “Die Kerk……”, aarsel ‘n oomblik en gaan dan voort, “In America, the Church is God’s business!”

Ek dink terug aan ‘n spesifieke insident  paar dae gelede.  Terwyl ek in McDonalds sit en op die gratis WiFi na ‘n plek soek om te slaap, luister ek na die groep ouerige boere wat by die tafel agter my sit en gesels.  Een van die boere sê skielik: “Hide your wallet Jim, here are those people from the Church again…..”.  Ek kyk by die venster uit en sien die twee mans en hulle vrouens aangestap kom.  (Wel ek neem maar aan dit is hulle vrouens….). Die manne is geklee in netjiese swart pakke. (Skilfers duidelik of die skouers sigbaar). Hare netjies agteroor gekam en “ge-gel”.  Hulle loop met groot glimlagte.  Tande spierwit gebleik. Groet almal.  Skud blad met almal wat binne ‘n 10 meter radius van hulle kom. Pastor Ray op sy beste….
‘n Paar treë agter hulle loop die dames.  Deftig. Roomkleurige snyerspakkies aan.  Pienk lippies. Serpies styf om hulle nekkies gebind. Donkerbrille met goue insetsels op die skarniere.  Hare styf “ge-perm”.  Groot diamante aan hulle benerige vingers…. (Botox kon nog nooit ‘n vrou se ouderdom op haar hande wegsteek nie….)

Ek dink aan Herbert Raubenheimer se liedjie “Manne met Tanne”:
“Die Vingerswaaier
Preek dis gratis
Net ‘n kollekte nou
As dringend die behoefte

Manne met tanne
Kollekteer glimlaggend
Die note in vol vet sakke
Manne met tanne
Kollekteer so vriendelik
Die note in propvol sakke”

Later vandag sou ek die Amish in hulle perdekarretjies op die pad kry, en selfs hier en daar waarskuwingsborde oor hulle sien.  By Hansens se supermark sou ek hulle raakloop.  Net mooi die teenoorgestelde van Pastor Ray…

Later op my toer sien ek ‘n groepie Mennonites in die Michaux staatsbos.  Hierdie groep kom oospronklik uit ‘n Friesland (‘n provinsie van Nederland as ek dit nou reg het…).   Kate wat vir my in ‘n skinderstem vertel wie die eienaardige groepie is wat so deur die bos stap voeg by, “And they have a strange accents….”

Ek kyk deur my notas en sien dat ek ‘n hele paar “geloofs-aantekeninge” gemaak het:
In  South Dakota het ek ‘n dubbelle advertensiebord gesien.  Die boonste gedeelte van die bord het gelees:
Die onderste gedeelte….
“Jesus is the answer!”

Dan het ‘n hele paar kerke gesien wat die internet as tema gebruik in hulle advertensies:
“Prayer, the fastest wireless connection in the world”
“Prayer: Wireless link to heaven”
(Het hulle Pinksterweek dalk nou vervang met Internetweek, wonder ek….?)

En ander weer:
“Please come in and get FREE eternal life”
“This Sunday: How should I handle criticism”
“We love you Pastor + Sarah”

“Valley Church presents: JESUS” (Jesus is met gloeilampe gespel in tipiese Hollywood styl)
“Churville Lutherian Church: Come in… no experience needed”

Tussen Staunton en Cumberland sien ek ‘n pragtige kerk.  Die Woodland Union Church.

Met my sin vir humor kan ek  nie help om te wonder of “denominations” verwys na Rande, Roebels, Dollars en Euros nie…

Maar dan is daar natuurlik ander gelowe in die VSA ook. Wel ek sou dink dit is die GROOT geloof in die VSA…..

Ek kan Pastor Ray al hoor bulder: “Do you FEEL the Love Brother?”

« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 11:35:28 am by Jabus »

Offline MellowJo

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As the others said, this is now becoming another bucket list item ......

Thanks Jabus, enjoying the ride ......  :ricky:
Don't worry, be happy ! Don't take yourself so seriously !!
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Offline Jabus

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Thanks MellowJo.  Struggling with internet speed at the moment which make uploading the pics a pain.  Please be patient  :)

Offline Jabus

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Day 16: Fort Wayne to Pittsburgh

Route: 30 East from Fort Wayne to Pittsburgh.  Crossing from Ohio into West Virginia (at the Ohio River near East Liverpool) and then Crossing into Pennsylvania within a space of 10kms.

Today’s ride on Lincoln Highway passes through the small historic towns which is tourist friendly but not overly “touristy”.   I think it is also the first day that I don’t get an “Are you not tired of riding the bike yet?” WhatsApp message from Elmarie. Maybe she has finally accepted my wanderlust or she has started taking the Rivotril…..  When our GP gave me a long list of medication that I could take with me on the trip I asked her as a joke to prescribe something for Elmarie.  The Pharmacist had a puzzled look when I explained that the “Checkers bag full of medication” was for my trip and the small bag with Rivotril was for Elmarie who has to stay at home for three weeks…. 

I leave early and take it slow in the thick morning mist.  (Note the route numbers and see my comment on this further down).  The weather forecast is predicting rain for the rest of the week on my imaginary route towards Baltimore.  I know that at some point I will have to make a diversion, to avoid the rain that is brought about by Hurricane Joaquin that is causing havoc along the coast.

There are many reminders along the road to be careful.

I spend much of the day reflecting on the joys of riding alone.   It is simple: If you want to meet the locals ride alone.  People will naturally approach you and come and chat to you when you are alone.  They will join you when you are sitting alone drinking a coffee and even invite you over for dinner.  When two people are together I think people keep their distance more and do not want to intrude.  At one of the cafes where I stopped today I guy joins me at the table.  He is a big Yamaha fan and an even bigger Valentino Rossi fan.  We talk about the WLF (Viva la Figa) on Valentino’s leathers. (Ag Mamma moet tog net nie uitvinne van Google Translate nie!).  He asks whether South Africa also has any good bike riders.  I explain that we have quite a few and explain that Valentino’s hero was actually the South African, Mike Hailwood (a.k.a. “Mike the Bike”).  From what I've read, Mike could ride (both bikes and cars) and was as tough as nails.  And legend has it that he was the one that taught James Hunt how to party!  ;D

As Pat suggested I stick to the Lincoln Highway that passes through lots of small towns and historical landmarks such as the first gas station in Minerva…

The other realisation that I have today is that if you spend so much time in the saddle you become one with the bike.  The bike becomes an extension of your body.  And you start to believe that you can ride like Mike the Bike…. :)Ou Grootbeer sit en wag geduldig daar vir ons, fluit net af en toe saggies sodat ons met ons jakkalsdraaie nie die pad byster moet raak nie- ons hou ons hoeka partykeer aspris dom!”

Kopvrot? (Of gebruik hulle ook Tik?)

Coming back to my reference to the earlier on route markings in the US:  Okay, this might be common knowledge to the average 6-year-old American….. But man, was I chuffed with myself when I figured out that even numbered routes run East-West and uneven numbered routes North-South!  Putin was not that clever after all :)

As you cross the Ohio River you are greeted by a big sign that exclaims “West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful”.

Pittsburgh is a surprise to me.  For some reason I was expected a dirty city with heavy industries.  It is actually quite pleasant.


Offline Mr Zog

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And highways that have 3 numbers, like 358 etc, are ring-roads around the cities  ;D

I'm loving your RR, even more so since I arrived here in the USA 2 weeks ago.  :ricky:
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Offline Jabus

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We've got Bears......

Hierdie woorde het ek 'n hele paar keer al op hierdie trip van my gehoor.  Maar dit word nie net gesê nie.  Dit gaan met 'n hele ritueel gepaard.

Ek staan en gesels met Steve en Kate langs ' n pragtige meer in die Michaux-bos in Pennsylvania. Op die klein skermpie van haar digitale kamera wys Kate vir my een van haar fotos.  Die foto is uit fokus maar ek kan die die ratelslang sien. Sy vertel dat dié slange trek oor lang afstande saam in een nes om te oorwinter. Ek "hmmm" soos sy vertel maar is skepties oor hierdie gedagte en besluit om dit later te gaan opsoek...

"In the colder winter months, some rattlesnake species enter a period of brumation, which is similar to hibernation. They often gather together for brumation in large numbers (sometimes over 1000 snakes), huddling together inside rattlesnake dens or hibernacula".
En dan...
"Rattlesnakes often return to the same den year after year, sometimes travelling several miles to get there"
Nou ja, daar het jy dit Thomas!

Ek verduidelik vir Kate en Steve dat die enigste gevaar op hierdie trippie was bokkies (en ek verwys nie na Susanna met haar pienk mini rokkie daar in Ashford nie...) want ek het heelparty dooie bokkies langs die pad gekry. Steve val my in die rede met "That should only be a problem at night and early mornings and evenings. But in this forest you should be careful....." Kate val hóm weer in die rede. "Yes..." Sy los 'n pouse en maak seker dat ek vir haar kyk voor sy voortgaan.  (En hier begin die ritueel…)
-   Sy trek albei haar wenkbroue op,
-   maak haar oë groot (amper soos wanneer Ouma vir jou 'n bangmaakstorie gaan vertel), en sê "We've got Bears".
-   Sy los weer 'n pouse
-   terwyl sy haar lippe styf teen mekaar druk
-   en haar kop op en af beweeg.

'n Paar dae later ontmoet ek vir Alan by die ingangsportaal van die Best Western Holtel. Alan is een van die aangenaamste mense wat ek op die trip ontmoet het. Hy was al voorheen in Suid Afrika en vertel entosiasties van hulle avontuur. Hy praat vinnig en gee baie detail: van die eerste aand se oorslaap op 'n indrukwekkend gastehuis buite Ermelo op 'n plaas sowel as sy besoek aan Hluhluwe Nasionale Park. (Hy gee spesifiek aandag aan sy uitspraak van Hluhluwe en kry die "shh" mooi reg)

Anders as Kate is Alan se ritueel as volg:
-    lig net een van sy wenkbroue
-    trek sy ogies op skrefies wanneer hy vir my die "We've got Bears" bangmaak storie vertel.
-   beweeg sy kop stadig op en af.

Ek het nou genoeg gehad van hierdie stories, val hom in die rede en trek weg met "Oh Alan you know what?" Ek gee hom kans om vir my te kyk "OUR Kalahari Lions will eat your Bears for breakfast. They will rip off their furry little coats and use it as rugs to lie on when they take their midday nap under a Camelthorn tree... Alan kyk verbaas aan maar ek is "on a roll" en gaan voort "And OUR Black Mambas will destroy your measly Rattlesnakes........" ek kyk hom stip in die die oë en net toe hy wil antwoord gaan ek voort "And OUR Buffalos will humiliate your top heavy Bisons......." " And OUR Gemsbok will make espetadas of your Moose....."  "And OUR Crocodiles will eat your Alligators....." Alan kyk verbaas na my, maar ek rol voort...... "And OUR Rugby Team will.... " Ek bedink myself vinnig en ek glimlag. Alan sien vinnig my humour en begin lag en antwoord "Yes, yes I know, I have the seen the size of you Elephants and Rhinos as well....." .  "And don't forget OUR Giraffes.....!" Voeg ek by....  Ons lag lekker......

Gelukkig wen ons daardie aand 64-0.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 09:35:39 pm by Jabus »

Offline Mr Zog

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En hier in Florida het ons Nutria. Sulke verskriklike rot-agtige oukies... kry hulle orals dood langs, en in, die pad. Vandag self n dooie raccoon hier gesien...  :peepwall:
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Offline Jabus

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Day 17: Pittsburgh to Staunton

Route: 19 South onto 40 and Alt 40 to Cumberland.  At Cumberland I decide to swing south on 220 to link up with 50 East.

50 to Winchester and then Interstate 81 south to Staunton.

I keep on checking yr.no and the possibility rain is on the increase.  I decide to make a detour to the south because I see a number of green shaded areas which is indicative of national forests.  The largest is the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests which flows into one another.  This of course brings with it the possibility of seeing West Virginia’s early Fall colour palette.

My diversion loop is clearly shown on the tracked GPS route plotted onto Google Earth…

Before I leave the Super 8 motel I decide to check on my FedEx parcel and phone the hotel in Baltimore.  According to the lady at reception it is not there yet. “This can’t be!” I think to myself and check the FedEx website and note that it was indeed delivered the previous day.  Armed with the exact delivery time and the name of the person that signed for it I phone the hotel again.  I get the “Okay, no wait I will go and look for it…..” response form the same lady.  After a while she reverts nonchalantly with “Oh yes the big black bag is here….”. Her lame response made me think of a bumper sticker that I saw yesterday: “It is such a nice day, please don’t fuck it up!

A nursery next to the road……

The closer I get to the East coast the more Harley riders I meet on the road. I greet them but they don’t greet back.  When I stop greeting, they start again.  What’s going on with these guys?  Is a rider on a “lesser motorcycle” (according to them) not allowed to greet first? 

A Harley driver comes from the front and I can see that one of his pannier bags is open.  I point to the bag.  He gives me the middle finger…..  I couple of miles later I start seeing the contents of the open pannier scattered along the highway… I wonder how his finger is doing…?

Real men chew tobacco…

Taking a break next to the road I notice an insect on my luggage bag.  I think I know these little guys, they look just like our “stinkgoggas” and decide the keep my visor closed…… (See comment towards the end of this post).

Driving through the forest I get the smell of “pensmis” and slow down and then see the evidence.  I pull over and after the third truck drives over the carcass I cannot stand it anymore.  I walk into the road and start gathering all the different pieces, drag it out of the road and and pack it together under a tree.  I realize that my bright green bib is causing the traffic to come to a complete halt.  Yeah it is not the coolest thing to wear but a green or orange bib gets real respect in the US! :)

And another selfie… :)

The Fall colours is amazing…..





Cheese and water for lunch (served by the Farmer’s daughter of course)…. :)

Driving on I-81 I put “Da-Olda-Fait-a-fool” on cruise control.  Despite my constant speed I’m passed several times by a blue Mercury.  The first time I notice that the spelling on his personalized number plate is quite odd.  It reads “RICHERD”.  That is quite an odd spelling of “Richard” I think to myself. It’s only on about his 3rd “fly-by” that I am able to make a connection between the Stetson hat and the wannabee cowboy’s number plate…..

Checking into the hotel in Staunton I notice the sign on the counter….  Ja wragtig dit is Stinkgoggas!

I could have added to Allen “Yes and OUR “stinkgoaggas” smell a lot worse that your stink bugs”  ;D



Offline Sir Rat

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 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Next please.  :)

Offline Jabus

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Gomgatte.  Jy kry hulle oral.

Ek stop in Bartow en gooi petrol in. 
Ek betaal en ry net oor die pad en stop in die koelte voor die plaaslike hardeware/ drank/laundromat/video-winkel. Een van daai alles-in-een-winkels wat mens op die platteland kry.  Daar waar jy nog 'n Okapi knipmes sal kan kry.....
Die blou Ford Taurus SE stop in 'n stofwolk langs my.
Die vrou klim uit.
Sy bliksem die kar se deur toe.
Die man bly sit.
Hy laat die Ford luier.
Sy stap na die ingang en trek haar T-hemp oor haar groterige boude.
Haar denimbroek se soom is uitgerafel.
Ek kry die reuk.
Dit kom uit die Taurus.
Ek kén daai soet reuk.
Die Ford is verniel en "idle" oneweredig. 
Elke nou en dan "rev" die ou hom as dit klink of die dink wil vrek.
Ek tik my volgende bestemming op die GPS in.
Ek hoor 'n kind hoes.
So tipiese toebors-asmahoesie.
Ek sien die twee klein dogterjies op die agtersitplek.
Ek kyk na die man.
Hy vat 'n land trêk aan sy zol.
Sy groen oë is waserig.
Dit lyk soos die oë van 'n mofhammel.
Sy lang hare is olierig.
Sy kom uit die winkel gestap.
Trek weer aan die T- hemp.
Hierdie keer oor haar groterige maag.
Sy klim in en bliksem weer die deur toe.
"Did ya geddit?" Blaf hy vir haar. 
Dan weer die asmahoesie.
Let's check across the road. Sê sy.
Hy spin die wiele op die stukkie grond voor hy met 'n "tjeeeet" geluid die teer vat. 
Die fanbelt skreeu soos 'n honger jakkals.
Die stofwolk hang in die lug.
Arme kinders dink ek. 
"Rôbbies" sou my Ouma Bettie sê.
"Gomgatte" sou my broer sê.
"Bokslagters" sou my Ma sê.
"Ducktail" sou my Pa sê.
"Takhaar" sou my Oupa sê.
Miskien is die groenoogmofhammel familie van die Wes-Transvaal se Tarre ?