Total States Visited: 24
Total Breweries Visited: 67
2 - 4 October 2014
We woke up and said our goodbyes and hit the road. We decided to meet up with friends in North Carolina instead of heading straight back down to Florida...plus, we would be able to add to our "total states visited" number. We have no plans on where we are going to stop this first night. We will just ride and see how far we get before sunset and then find a campground.
The route took us through West Virginia and we made it to Charleston, West Virginia, just in time for a late lunch. Of course I found a brewery...but not just a brewery. I found a brewery that serves burritos and tacos...BONUS!
While at the brewery I used my phone and found Jefferson National Forest campground just 2 hours south of here. So, after some great beer and burritos we headed out in hopes to make it to the campground before dark. Success...and a great campground at that with a low cost of only $12.
The next morning we woke and were ready to head towards North Carolina when we got a text saying that our friends plans had changed and they wouldn't make it to North Carolina, so we decided to now just head south back to Florida. Just an hour or so later is when we wound up on the side of the interstate being pulled over by a state trooper for speeding. BUMMER...the last 500 miles will now be SLOOOOOOOW.
As we were riding we realized that we wouldn't make it all the way to Valparaiso, Florida before dark, so we started discussing our options. We decided to see if our fellow US Military Vets living in Alabaster, Alabama were around. We called up Little Dog and he agreed to meet us at their clubhouse were a couple of other brothers showed up as well. After a couple of beers and great conversation we headed to a hotel for our last night of this great adventure.
The next morning we headed south and after only 225 miles and 4 hours or so, we made it to our "home" in Valparaiso, Florida.
A final picture of me and a final picture of the speedometer to close out the trip:
The trip is over but all is still good since we come home to this beautiful part of Florida. Here we are the very next day taking a boat to Sunday Brunch.
Total States Visited: 24 (New ones: West Virginia, Virginia)
Total Breweries Visited: 67 (New one: Charleston)
Total Miles Ridden: 11,854
24 September - 1 October 2014
We woke up, broke camp, and went into town for breakfast after which we headed east along the Lake Superior shoreline. We stopped for gas and my bike was slow to start. As a matter of fact, it was slow to start that morning which I didn't really think twice about until now, when it had trouble starting again. Now I am starting to worry a bit. At the next gas stop I did a "hot-refuel" meaning I left the engine running. I thought I knew what the issue was. Something like this has happened before and it was a loose cable. I didn't think I had the tools to take the seat off to get to the battery, so I decided to find a hardware store and turn the engine off there. That way, if it doesn't start, I can buy the tool I need to fix it. 20 miles later we pull in front of a True Value, I turn the engine off, and as expected it didn't start. I take off the seat and unfortunately all the battery cables were tight. After push starting the bike we make it to the closest open Harley shop 60 miles away and up on the lift it went:
Poor motorcycle. It winds up not being the battery after all, but the stator. Since it is a 3 hour or so job, we must spend the night and wait for them to fix it in the morning....thus the stop in West Branch after just over 300 miles are riding this day.
So, on the eve of our 5th wedding anniversary we spent the night at a mom & pop motel in West Branch, Michigan. The next morning we woke, checked out, and went to the Harley shop to hangout and wait for the bike to be done. We hit the road around 1:00 PM and at around 6 PM we finally made it to Mary Lou Mack's house in Collins, Ohio and settled in for a one week stay.
After a great visit with family, it was time to head back to Florida and prepare for our next adventure.
Total States Visited: 22 (New one: Ohio)
Total Breweries Visited: 66 (New ones: NONE)
Total Miles Ridden: 10,651
Des Moines, Iowa to Duluth, Minnesota to Houghton, Michigan to Marquette, Michigan (Miles 9,214 - 10,039)
21 - 23 September 2014
So north we go. As soon as we headed north on I-35 the headwind was awful. 400 miles to Duluth with a headwind was quite taxing, but knowing that we got a hotel downtown that is walking distance to 2 breweries kept our spirits up. We made it to Duluth around 4 PM, checked into our hotel, and headed out for our brewery tour of Duluth, Minnesota:
The next day was exciting. We are headed to Houghton, Michigan where I went to school at Michigan Tech. I couldn't wait to show Tim around the town that I spent 5 years in.
According to Tim's speedometer we hit 10,000 miles somewhere south of Houghton so we pulled off onto the side of the road and got this celebratory shot:
We made it to Houghton around 1PM giving us plenty of time to walk from downtown to campus. Although the campus has changed a lot, it still felt familiar. After walking around the Michigan Tech campus we headed back to downtown to hit some of my old stomping grounds. Here are some pictures of the beautiful downtown Houghton:
And the bars I used to hang out in. Of course I had to get the pickled eggs...I just love them!
The next morning we headed out to do a tour of the Keweenaw Peninsula, but first a stop for some pasties and planning the rest of the day:
So onward we went into the beauty that is the Keweenaw Peninsula:
Here is a pretty cool video I made while riding North on US-41 towards the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. One more week and the colors would have been incredible.
After going as far north as the road will allow up we headed south, back into Houghton. We planned on stopping in Calumet to see the site of the "Italian Hall" disaster of 1913 where over 70 people died after a false cry of "fire" at a Christmas party. We actually heard about this story while watching a documentary about copper mining in Michigan U.P.
While riding around Calumet looking for the site we came across a brewery!
Alright...it is time to start heading to Marquette to meet up with Lisa and Mark Balko who I knew from college. I haven't seen them for 9 years and am really looking forward to it. We continued heading south and passed through Houghton and rode past Michigan Tech one last time and continued heading east for 100 miles. We got to our campground in Marquette just in time for sunset:
And finally...Lisa and Mark:
We all went out for dinner and caught up on the last 9 years...plus, this is the first time Tim has met Mark and Lisa. And, it just so happens that Mark loves microbreweries as well...and, it just so happens that there are 3 breweries here in Marquette...so...off we go!
After a great night and we went back to the campground for a great night sleep in the tent. Tomorrow we head south and go as far as we can towards Tim's mom's house in Collins, Ohio.
Total States Visited: 21 (New ones: NONE)
Total Breweries Visited: 66 (New ones: Canal Park, Fitger, Red Jacket, Marquett Harbor, Ore Dock, Black Rocks)
Total Miles Ridden: 10,039
Portland to Ashland, Oregon to Reno, Nevada, to Salt Lake City, Utah to Omaha, Nebraska, to Des Moines, Iowa (Miles 6,857 - 9,214)
14 - 20 September 2014
We had heard that Ashland, Oregon was a cool place to check out, so we packed up our stuff, said our goodbyes to Dan, Sarah, and Nathan and headed out to Ashland. It was an easy ride, just under 4 1/2 hours south on I-5. We rolled into Ashland around 5:30 PM, checked into our hotel, then headed out for dinner and to hit the 3 breweries in town:
After dinner and three breweries we headed back to the room for a great night's sleep.
We woke, packed up our bikes, and headed downtown to see what the town was like in the daylight. We walked up and down the main street, walked through a really nice park, and was making our way back to the bikes when I saw these water fountains in the middle of town. After all that walking I was quite thirsty, so I ran up and took a nice swig only to spit it out all over the sidewalk. What the heck kind of water is this? Then a local woman walked up and guzzled it down like it was the most delicious water she has ever drank. All I know is that this "Natural Lithia Water" must be an acquired taste, that I am far from acquiring.
We then hopped on our bikes and stopped at Dagoba Organic Chocolate Factory (no...Yoda wasn't there) where we got to taste all the flavors that they package. Of course we left with a few chocolate bars to enjoy later.
At this point we just needed to make miles, so we hit the road and made the following stops:
15 September - Yreka, California (forced to stop because the I-5 was closed due to a fire in Weed, CA)
16 September - Reno, Nevada (Nice $35 hotel room)
17 September - Salt Lake City, Utah (Shared hotel room with an old friend, Bill who was there on business....good timing!)
In Salt Lake City we did manage to find a brewery:
I failed to mention that I had another bike issue. Somewhere between Reno and Salt Lake City, the bolt that attaches my rear shocks to the swing arm snapped, so I had to ride 150 miles to Salt Lake City trying to avoid any more bumps and hoping that the other bolt hangs on tight. We went to the Salt Lake City Harley shop hoping that they could fit me in, which they did. After over 4 hours of waiting my bike emerged cleaner than it has been in years. They even washed the rear wheel while it was off the bike. I had to take pictures of the nice clean bike:
Back on the road with stops in:
18 September - Laramie, Wyoming
19 September - Kearney, Nebraska
20 September - Des Moines, Iowa
And along the way we managed to stop at a couple of breweries:
When we woke up in Des Moines, Iowa we had a decision to make. Originally we planned on heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but that was back when we didn't plan on going as far west as we did. We made the decision to let it depend on weather. The weather looked great up north, so we decided to head north instead of heading straight to Ohio.
Oh...did you notice that we have now gone over the 8,000 mile point. Our 8,000 mile motorcycle adventure is now turning into much more.
Total States Visited: 18 (New ones: Nebraska, Iowa)
Total Breweries Visited: 60 (New ones: Caldera, Swing Tree, Standing Stone, Red Rock, Thunderhead, Upstream)
Total Miles Ridden: 9,214
11-13 September 2014
We dropped Tim's bike at the shop and walked to the mall area to waste some time. We had so much time to waste and didn't know what to do so we actually got haircuts! We then wasted the rest of the time playing NTN trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings. When we went to pick up the bikes we were told that we both need new tires for our bikes. Luckily there was a shop just down the road that was willing to squeeze me in for a rear tire tomorrow, so our plan was to drop the bikes off first thing in the morning then take the train into Portland and pick the bikes up the following day before they close. Great! This gives us 2 more days to hang out in Portland.
We went back to Dan's house and of course, went out to a brewery in his neighborhood:
The next day we woke up, rode our bikes to the shop, and took a train into Portland. Dan has a softball game that evening, so the plan is that he is going to meet us downtown after the game. So...another day that we can visit as many breweries as we can handle and not have to drive home. So here we go...but first a stop at some food trucks for lunch:
Followed by some breweries:
As we were walking to the next brewery I saw a line, so I thought that if there is a line then it must be something good, so we got on the line. It wound up being a great taqueria called ¿Por Qué No? We finally got to the front of the line and it was happy hour with discounted tacos and even better, discounted margaritas. The food was awesome! Lesson learned...if there is a line, get in it.
Now...back to the breweries:
Finally Dan met us downtown and had a suggestion for the next place...Hubers Café, where they serve a drink called Spanish Coffee. Now, I don't like coffee and I don't like most liquors besides gin and vodka, but, after 6 breweries today, I was all in. We arrived there after 11PM and ordered their famous Spanish Coffee that was prepared tableside. By the way, the drink consists of Bacardi 151 rum, Bols Triple Sec, Kahlua, coffee, fresh whipped cream and a touch of nutmeg on top. The cool part is they first sugar the rim, pour the 151 in it, then set it on fire. The fire caramelizes the sugar and sets the 151 on fire. They then pour the rest of the ingredients in the glass that eventually puts out the fire. Quite the production, but the drink tasted awful. Since I spent $10 on the drink I tried to choke it down, but in the end, Tim had to finish it for me. It was quite an experience, but never again!
This is where we should have called it a night, but we didn't. What is a late night in Portland without a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts? Even though it is almost 1AM there was still a line!
We finally made it to the front of the line and bought our share of donuts that made it to the car, but didn't make it home.
The next day Dan went to the Oregon football game so we joined Sarah and their son Nathan and went downtown to the Saturday Market, a street fair with food, local artists, and a bunch of junk being sold. We couldn't stay long because the motorcycles had to be picked up, so around 2 we took the train back to the motorcycle shop, picked up our bikes, and rode back to Dan's house to spend our final night in Portland.
Total States Visited: 16 (New one: NONE)
Total Breweries Visited: 54 (New ones: Gigantic, Deschutes, Pints, Storm Breaker, Ecliptic, Hopworks Urban, Lompoc)
Total Miles Ridden: 6,857
10 September 2014
Another great night in the tent. We woke up, ate some granola bars, and hit scenic road that goes through Olympic National Park. Our first stop is the Pacific Ocean on the Washington coast. I wanted to see the famous keyhole "Hole-in-the-Wall" at Rialto Beach. After a long ride through some beautiful scenery we arrived at Rialto Beach and headed for the hike. The keyhole was only a 1.5 mile hike up the beach, but it was a hard 1.5 miles. The tide was coming in so we had to dodge water and climb over rocks, tree trunks, and tree limbs the whole way. But what a beautiful hike. Here are some of the highlights:
After the hike we continued riding down the coast for some more beautiful scenery and made it to Portland, Oregon around 9 PM. We were invited to stay at Dan & Sarah Williams' house. I met Dan during my first assignment at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH when we were both 2nd Lieutenants. Nothing beats all the great friends I met during the 20 years in the Air Force!
Tomorrow is pretty much a down-day. We have to take Tim's bike to the Moto Guzzi shop for its 6,000K service.
Total States Visited: 16 (New one: Oregon)
Total Breweries Visited: 47 (New ones: NONE)
Total Miles Ridden: 6,857
9 September 2014
I guess I forgot to mention that as we approached our hotel in Seattle my rear brake was metal on metal, so before leaving town we had to stop at the Seattle Harley-Davidson shop to hope they can squeeze me in for new rear brakes. Luckily they were able to, so 3 hours later we were back on the road heading to Olympic National Park, Washington.
Even though we got a late start, especially with the delay at the Harley shop, we did manage to find a few breweries on the way:
We also stopped and visited the Pygmy Kayak Company where Tim bought the kit to build our sea kayak. I have also included some older pictures of the kayak in case some of you haven't seen it. Tim built it while I was deployed to Afghanistan a few years ago.
We arrived at Olympic National Park and was easily able to find a campsite. Tomorrow we will do some exploring around this park.
Total States Visited: 15 (New one: NONE)
Total Breweries Visited: 47 (New ones: Silver City, Sound, Port Townsend)
Total Miles Ridden: 6,502
7 - 8 September 2014
Finally...a city to explore. It has been a while since we have been in a significant city. As you all know...I love the mountains and hiking, but I also love the culture and great food that you can only find in major cities.
We staying in a hotel by the airport and used the airport shuttle to take us to the train station for a train that takes you right downtown. This way we could stop at as many breweries as we want and not have to worry about riding. Plus, it saved us at least $100 for a hotel room that is not inside the city limits. Anyway, we got on the shuttle and train and headed straight to the Pike Street Public Market...yeah...the one that they throw the fish.
That whole fish throwing thing is definitely for the tourists, but eating fresh, raw Sea Urchin right out of its shell isn't.
Walking around the market was a rush of smells and colors. I love these kinds of places.
This is kind of cool....just across from the Public Market is the first ever Starbucks coffee shop. Check out the old logo:
Since we don't drink coffee we continued down the street to the famous Pike Place Chowder restaurant where we each did a 4 chowder tasting platter and shared a crab roll.
After a run in with a Sasquatch we found ourselves at the Pike Place Brewing Company:
We left the brewery and unfortunately, not really fortunately, we came across the infamous gum wall. Yes...that is chewed gum that people stick to the wall in an alley by the Public Market. Notice the hanging gum from the windowsill...and no...we didn't add to the collection.
Next we are off to find some breweries:
From the looks on our faces in that last picture it looks like be better head back to the hotel, which we did after a short stop in Chinatown (no pictures for some reason).
We slept in pretty late the next day but did manage to get out and headed back to the Pike Street Public Market for breakfast. We then headed to the old downtown area and took and underground tour. After the Seattle fire of 1889 the city rebuilt and raised the sidewalks one street level to allow for sewage to drain versus filling streets. You can take a tour of the original ground floor which was really pretty cool.
After the tour we were ready to visit a couple of breweries. First stop was Elysian Fields Brewery that had a black wheat called Death Star, a beer to blow Alderaan to kingdom come, which I had to order. Next stop was where I was looking forward to all day, Pyramid Brewery that brews one of my favorite beers, Pyramid Apricot Ale.
After a day of a lot of walking around we stopped in Chinatown again for dinner and ordered quite the feast that included Schezuan Dungeness Crab, Clams with Black Bean Sauce, and Shrimp Chow Fun. I was so happy!! By the way...this picture was taken at almost 11 PM and the restaurant is full.
After the feast we headed back to the hotel for our last nights sleep in Seattle.
Total States Visited: 15 (New one: NONE)
Total Breweries Visited: 44 (New ones: Pike, Peddler, Hiliard's, New Peaks, Stoup, Maritime Pacific, Elysian Fields, Pyramid)
Total Miles Ridden: 6,433
6 September 2014
The plan for the day is to take a hike in Mount Rainier National Park and make it to Seattle tonight. Since Seattle is only 100 miles away we had plenty of time to get there before dark. We headed back into the park, discussed with other people what one hike we should do, and headed out on the Glacier Basin Trail, a 6.2 mile round-trip hike that takes us to Glacier Basin Camp for a wonderful view of Mount Rainier.
What a beautiful hike. It was a lot of up, but well worth it. Here are some pictures to show you the beauty of Washington:
During the hike we saw these 2 women standing around waiting for something. We struck up a conversation and found out that their husbands went down the side to hike to a glacier. Too bad we didn't meet them earlier in the day...I would have definitely gone with them!
We finished the hike around 4:00, left the park and rode down to Puyallup for dinner, and rode the short distance to Seattle. But first, before checking into the hotel, we made a quick stop:
Tim really enjoyed this airplane themed brewery. Some of the names of their beer included Sky Hag IPA, Pre-Flight Pilsner, and Seat Kicker IPA.
We got to the hotel after dark so decided to just stay in for the night and try to get an early start so we can have a full day in Seattle.
Total States Visited: 15 (New one: NONE)
Total Breweries Visited: 36 (New one: Airways)
Total Miles Ridden: 6,433