Edit Blog Post
Published: December 9th 2009
++ In DEC 09 I found a bunch of my old Xmas letters so I thought I would post them here in my blog. ++
Merry Christmas to ya’ll.
Its been a pretty busy year. We are busy as beavers at work, lots of new products coming in and lots to do. Its been a good year for us and promises to be pretty good year next year. I spent most of JAN and most of MAR in the Philippines. I really like the people there, they are so eager to please, at least the ones that don’t want to kill you. J
My year has been consumed with the ABC’s of Touring challenge from Harley Davidson. I started planning trips for it in DEC of 05 and took the last trip the 2nd weekend of OCT. This year I have seen the US from top to bottom and side to side. My bike ‘Effie’ and I visited all 48 continental states and 9 Canada provinces. Last year I got 100 pts and I tied for 14th place in the nation, this year I got 141 pts. Last year 3rd place had 123 pts, 1st and 2nd had over 160, but there were 5 people in ties for those 2 places. My goal was to get a plaque, I need to be in the top 10 for a plaque so I am confident I will get my plaque. What a blast. I think I only had 2 weekends from APR to OCT that did not have an ABC trip involved. I need a job that pays me to be off for the 4 months in the summer so I can just ride more. I had told my job in DEC that I would not travel in the summer of 06 and they were really good to count me out of any travel during that time. In SEPT I volunteered to go to NC to work at the customer sites there on some of our equipment, with the condition that I could ride my bike there. The 3 week trip extended a few times and I was happy to be home come the second week in OCT. It was getting a little nippy in the morning. If you think fog can be annoying on the inside of a car windshield, then you should try and deal it on the inside of a helmet.
Through my travels this year I saw some great county and sites. One of the most solemn places I have been to this year was the Little Big Horn National Historic Site. To see the fields littered with white and red tombstones as the dead were originally buried where they were found. White stones mark the soldiers graves and red stones marked the Native American deaths. The presentation of the battle lets you know not only the excitement that was a part of the battlefield but also the reality of impending doom that many of those soldiers surely felt as they continued to fight this loosing battle. Almost the whole battle was fought while Custer and his men tried to get away.
The northern country of Montana and Canada are so pristine. Glacier National Park and its ‘Road to the Sun’ exemplifies this. Did you know we still had ice glaciers in the US? It is amazing how different it is up there. We have become accustomed over time to the increase in pollution in our environment. But when in MT’s ‘Big Sky State’ it’s a wake up call. The rivers there are blue, not brown and green. When looking at the horizon I could not get over the sky being blue all the way down to the earth, there was no shading to grey as it hit the land line. I will be much more tolerant of those that wish to preserve those clear skies and clean rivers. The picture on my Xmas card you received was taken on Beartooth Pass the north east exit of Yellowstone National Park.
Nova Scotia was also amazing. As I traveled toward NS I was informed by most bikers I talked to that I need to go on the Cabot Trail. So the night before I got to NS I found the Cabot Trail on the map and rerouted my planned trip to take that ride. It took all of 1 day to ride the trail but it was awesome. It was like pages out of Moby Dick, in the beginning before he signs on to be on the crew of the soon to me lost ship. As I went around the trail I kept expecting to see the 3 POTs INN. I had the best seafood chowder for lunch the second day I was there. People were spotting whales from the cliffs by the café. The wind that day kicked up was so bad that I could not get off the bike, I was scared it would be blown over. I could barely hold it up when I stopped. When the wind was blowing hard I tried a couple times to stop and take pictures but I could let go of the handlebars, I needed both hands to control the bike so we didn’t get blown over. If it had fallen over I would not have been able to sit the bike back up in that wind.
I spent a few days around Concord MA at a HOG rally. This will stick out as special because of the great sites the rally pointed us to. I visited the North Bridge which was the location of the first shot from organized American militia against the British. We greatly out numbered the unfortunate guards of the bridge and took the battle handily. Again I could see the excitement of the battlefield and the pure desperation on it. The North Bridge is where the Revolutionary War started. Walden’s pond is less than 5 miles from the north bridge. Boston and the site of its Tea Party was less than 20 miles away.
North Carolina has some real gems to see. Mt. Airy was great. It’s the town that the Andy Griffith Show was based on. Andy was born and raised in Mt. Airy. A near by mountain is Mt. Pilot. The barber that Floyd was based on is still giving haircuts but spends more time talking with tourist. He is still good friends with Andy. The Hampton Inn has purchased the house Andy grew up in and rents it out like any other motel room for the night, but you need to get your reservations in way early. Marie and I stayed in Mt Airy as we were working in the adjacent county. So one Saturday we did quite a bit of site seeing there. We even managed to take the Squad Car Tour of the city. The city and the tour was hoot and I recommend it to anyone who wants to go some place different and just relax with some down home people. You have to love the south, I get such a tickle out of ordering sweet or non-sweet tea. NC also holds the ‘Tail of the Dragon’ supposed to be the best ride in the US for motorcycles. The Tail of the Dragon boosts 312 curves in 11 miles. Riders call them ‘twisties’ and if your bike handles well the feel of gliding and swooping through the twisties is exhilarating. There is a tree at one of the stops along the Tail that is called the Tree of Shame, if you crash on the tail, then you are obliged to hang a broken piece of your bike on the tree. If the Tail or Mt Airy doesn’t interest you then there is the Blue Ridge Parkway according to Rand McNally its one of the top 10 driving tours in the US, NC is also the home to the Lost Colony where the first group of European colonist that reached the grand new world disappeared, a couple miles from that is Kitty Hawk where man flew for the first time. Babe Ruth as a professional ball player hit is first homerun in NC, it is from that newspaper account that he was dubbed ‘The Babe’. NC is full of civil war sites and it has some great beaches along its coast. My niece Veronica could tell you that the Biltmore Estate is in NC. I am ashamed to say I went there but was too cheap to pay $40 to get in.
I really appreciated the chance to visit when out on my trips. A trip through CO brought the opportunity to see Kay and Jackie and their car Orange. J The Illinois HOG rally was just a few miles from Posts and I enjoyed visiting my Aunt and Uncle and cousins. Next year promises for stays that are not as rushed.
Being on the road and staying in those quaint little towns and with the little town friendliness and calmness has made me more homesick for life in a small town. I am ready to be out of the city. If I could stop spending all my extra money on motorcycle trips I could buy some land somewhere to build my retirement home on. LOL.
I have started a site on TravelBlog with some of my ramblings and pictures about my trips. I plan to add many more but I have a couple up there now as I am learning how to work the site. If you have internet access you might want to give it a look when you don’t have anything else to do. The address is: www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Harley-Mom
Scout is fine and is trying to get back in the Marines, he has taken the physical but has not been approved yet for reenlistment. He has moved back home and is helping me with little things around the house.
Currently the house is a mess, we have had a leak in the front window for a little while, the carpenter that is doing the work is doing a great job, but its snowballing, rot, termites and exploding water pipes are some of the highlights of the last couple days. Well, he promises to have it done soon so things should get back to normal.
Well I don’t want to go to a 3rd page so I better start signing off. I hope you each have a great holiday and next year.
Tot: 0.134s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 11; qc: 59; dbt: 0.0165s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb