Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Gypsy Journal Rally

I know that over the next week I will be too busy with the rally to blog much. So I thought I'd pass along links to the blogs of some folks already here...maybe you can see what is going on by following theirs...LOL!
Today was much hotter than the last few days have been. I pretty much hibernated and caught up on a few chores. We did take a walk up to the vendor area but things were pretty well under control. I know Nick and Terry don't feel this way but so far things seem pretty laid back as compared to other rallies. In fact I think about 95% of the attendees are already here!

I've been busy listing some spare motorcycle stuff on eBay. Four items sold yesterday and I added three new things today and one has already sold. Guess we'll be taking a trip to the Post Office before the week is out.

Tonight we passed on the Happy Hour and headed out to the movies. We saw Inception....what an amazing movie! If you haven't seen it, we highly recommend it!

Tomorrow we'll help with registration and anything else that needs to be done. The rally begins!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

First few days in Elkhart, IN

Let's see, we've gotten hugs....given hugs. We've eaten out....and eaten out again and again. We told stories and laughed....we've heard stories and laughed a lot more. We've made new friends....we've seen old friends. We rode our bicycles around the campground....we rode our motorcycles through the campground and around town. Yup, definitely having fun!

Okay...dinner Thursday night with Nick & Terry, Mike & Elaine, and Greg. We hadn't seen any of them since the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma last March.

Lunch Saturday with Duane and Louise. Dinner Saturday night was with Ed & Christina, Bill & Jan, and Jim & Sandie.

For our lunch we picked the South Side Diner (and Soda Shop)...we had seen it mentioned in several other blogs and knew we had to try it out. Neat little spot, Guy from Diners, Drive-in & Dives fame has visited there. Duane does wood carving (he is amazing, check out some of his old blog posts) and Louise does quilting. Lots to talk about! It was great (as was the company) and we plan to visit again before we leave. Oh, and we got a diner style mug for our collection.



Dinner last night was at Das Dutchman Essenhaus...talk about good food. The smells as we walked in was heavenly. We all struggled to not eat too much so we could enjoy the made on site pies. YUM!! We first met Ed/Christina & Bill/Jan at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma last March. Ed is a retired firefighter so he and Stu immediately had a lot to talk about. His beautiful wife Christina had treated us to a Korean meal (talk about delicious...and she says she can't cook, can't imagine what it would have been like if she could....LOL!)
Ed and Christina

Bill and Jan

Jim and Sandie

We got back from dinner and saw that Nick & Terry were home so we stopped in to find out what we could do to help. Since most rigs are arriving early, there is no need for a parking crew. There will be little things we can help with as the rally progresses but no pressing need right now. So we sat there for two hours and swapped stories....LOL!

Two days, three great meals with a lot of old friends and a couple of new ones. Life is good!!

Oh, we also got some updated photos of our sweet little Sadie who is three weeks old and has her eyes open.



Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rewind, reload....RECAP

Wow...where does the time go? I used to blog every day....LOL! To rewind the days, reload my brain from my calendar notes, here is a recap of the last almost week.

We left you in Jamestown, ND where we picked up my new motorycle...who now has a name. She is Gypsy....this is the first "girl" bike I have ever had.
  • My first motorcycle was a 2001 HD Sportster Hugger and was named Jeremiah (think "Joy To the World". 
  • My second bike was a 2002 HD Dyna Low Rider named Benni (long story...think West Side Story, Sharks & the Jets and then Elton John with Benny and the Jets). 
  • After two years I moved on to my 2005 HD Softail Deluxe who was named Rex (a combination of Retro and excellence, with Retro in honor of a good friend who died of cancer thanks to Agent Orange as well as the bike's retro stylings).
  • Then along came a 2006 BMW F650GS that never got named...I never bonded with the bike.
  • Last August we added Twister to the household, a 2008 HD Sportster Nightster.
  • Now we have a 2011 HD Sportster SuperLow named Gypsy (and of course our second iteration of Big Red for Stu)
Sorry for the rambling there...thought someone might be interested...figured anyone who isn't will skip over it. LOL!

Back to the recap...we left Jamestown, ND and headed east. Our first night was spent at the Governer's Inn & Campground in Casselton, ND just outside Fargo. This was the same place I stayed 5 years ago on my motorcycle tour. That day was dark and rainy with hail and severe thunderstorms. For us it was sunny and windy. The park was nice and level and wide open for satellite. We'd definitely stay there again.

On Sunday we stayed at Irvington Campground in Menomonie, MN. A bit off the beaten track, it was a fairly new campground with room for a rig as big as ours. Another, we'd stay again..although we had to use the antenna...too many trees for our satellite dish.

Monday found us outside Milwaukee at the Bark River Campground in Jefferson, WI. Mostly a membership park with long term rentals, they also rent a few other spaces. Since it was a Passport American park we got a site for $15 a nite. The site was pretty unlevel and no sewer (although there was a dump on the way out). But for the price...it was fine.

Tuesday we did some chores and road to a neighboring town to see a movie. We had been wanting to see "The Expendables" and this was our chance. A lot of action and nice to see so many action stars in one movie. A full moon ride back to the campground...nice!

Wednesday was the first time out on my new bike...we rode 50 back road miles into Milwaukee to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum. What a great day! I got my initial 50 mile break-in done, we got to not only see the museum (very nice!!!) but we had the bonus of visiting the Evel Knievel exhibit AND the Wall That Heals - There are several versions of this moving tribute to those who lost their lives in Vietnam...the Moving Wall, the Traveling Wall, The Wall That Heals. They all are very powerful and moving tributes to those who fought and lost their lives.

We took the interstate back...60 miles with a little traffic around the stadium, but not bad. Now have 110 miles on the bike...390 miles left for the next break-in stage. LOL!

This morning we packed up and headed to Elkhart, IN where we will spend the next 9-10 days. We started in WI, moved into IL (and the AWFUL construction in Chicago), then to IN, darted up into MI and then back to IN. What a day...LOL! We arrived at Elkhart Campground around 6:30, got our site (#724, next to Nick & Terry...for those who are here or will be) and got at least a half dozen hugs from friends old and new.

Tomorrow we'll unload the bikes and the bicycles, set up the lawn chairs and then run some errands before coming back to socialize and meet up with more new and old friends. We'll be checking with Nick & Terry to find out what we can help with during the rally. (For those who may have missed it, we are here for the Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally...our #1 favorite RV rally).

So over the next 10 days, I suspect I won't be blogging much...I'll try, but no promises! Oh, the photos from our museum day are here: 2010 Visiting Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee WI

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It was meant to be?

Sometimes the wind blows us in strange directions. Take all this into account:
  • Stu had never been to North Dakota
  • Stu needed a Harley-Davidson t-shirt from North Dakota
  • We were already in South Dakota, ready to head east to Milwaukee
  • We bought land in Jamestown, TN
  • I bought my first Harley in Jamestown, NY
  • Jamestown, ND was due north of where we were in North Dakota
  • We had several days leeway in our time table for getting to Elkhart, IN
See? Everything was conspiring to get us to the Harley dealer in Jamestown. So we routed a slight detour (ended up adding 435 miles to our trip) and headed north. We made it to the Harley dealer about 5:15 (they closed at 6:00).

As soon as I walked in the door I saw it....I heard it calling my name....I was entranced. Ever since I read the review in our H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) magazine about the new, improved Sportster...the SuperLow...I was hoping to get a look at one.

Not only was it a SuperLow, the color combination drew my attention immediately. The colors on the Harley website just hadn't done justice to the two-tone orange and white bike. I had to sit on it. I had to touch it. I had to drool over it.

After Stu dragged me away from the bike, we picked up our t-shirts and asked if we could stay there for the night. They have a huge gravel parking area where we had parked, perfect for an overnight. They said sure and we told them we might be back in the morning.

We talked a lot last night, checked out the HD accessory book, talked some more and left it that we would see what they might do for a trade-in on my bike.

Fast forward to 4 pm today....and Stu loading my brand new 2011 Birch White & Sedona Orange Harley-Davidson SuperLow motorcycle. I got a fair trade-in and a discount on all the accessories I wanted...unfortunately they didn't have any of the bigger accessories in stock so those will come later.


So why a new bike? I'd only had my Nightster for a year (7000 miles worth). Well, we want to ride Route 66 next spring. My old bike had a 3.2 gallon gas tank, the new bike has a 4.5 gallon. That means we can ride close to 200 miles before stopping for gas instead of the current 100 or so miles. (Some of the difference is the new bike has a smaller engine.) The other is a completely redesigned motorcycle...all lowered bikes have rougher rides. Harley made some major improvements in this area and from all the reviews, I think my back is really going to appreciate the softer ride. Add in a better seat and a brand new 24 month, unlimited mile warranty...just makes sense.

I'm looking forward to many miles on my new ride....

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Full-time living...

....and traveling on a motorcycle. You think we full-timers have trouble figuring out what to carry with us? Check out the latest blog from my friend, Ara and his pup, Spirit. How to live on the road...

Makes me really wonder how much of my "stuff" I truly need....

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sturgis Roundup.....

Hard to believe that we have been here two weeks....almost hate to leave. LOL! Of course there are only a couple dozen other rigs here in the campground so it looks very different.

Here is a short recap....
  • Made many new friends
  • Connected with old friend as well
  • Viewed body parts that shouldn't be seen in public
  • Viewed body parts that we wish we had
  • Viewed body parts that we are glad we don't have
  • Ate too much good food
  • Ate too much not-so-good food
  • Drank too much good beer
  • Drank too much good beer (Stu doesn't think there is not-so-good beer)
  • Saw clothing outfits and had to wonder if these folks have mirrors
  • Bought too many shirts (most on sale)
  • Saw unbelievable motorcycles - all brands, ages, sizes and prices
  • Listened to some great music (thanks to Dave & Mike's dualing MP3s)
  • Listened to some not-so-great music (thanks to loud stage performances)
  • Rode a few golf cart miles
  • Walked a lot of miles
  • Rode a lot more miles
  • Both took falls (Stu hurt his knee, I hurt my face...LOL!)
  • Got some nice accessories for both bikes
  • Danced in a car wash while waiting out a storm
  • Took hundreds of photos...more bike and people shots than riding shots
  • Missed a photo of the Dog-Cat-Rat man but was amazed to see them
  • Saw the first trike ever made by John Lehman, a 1981 Honda CB900 converted in his garage
  • Saw the trike I wish Victory had chosen from two prototypes
  • Learned about Lehman's "Good Turn" bike project
  • Visited Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, Hill City, Keystone, Custer, Rapid City, Aladdin, Nemo, Sturgis (of course), Wall Drug, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, Spearfish, Belle Fouche, Mt Rushmore & Crazy Horse (both from a distance...we'd both seen them in the last couple of years, same as Devil's Tower)
  • Saw buffalo, deer, prong horn antelope, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, eagles, hawks, mountain goats...I'm sure I forgot something...LOL!
Here are links to our photo albums:
Phew! What a wonderful couple of weeks this has been... We are now on the road heading east. We'll stop in Madison, SD to pick up our mail, make a Sam's Club and Super Wally stop in Sioux Falls, SD before heading to our final destination, Elkhart, IN for the Gypsy Journal Rally.

I am looking forward to seeing Nick & Terry as well as Greg & Jan...we plan to help with parking duties (or wherever Nick needs us). Then we'll enjoy the rally, meet up with friends, old and new, spend too much money, eat out too much and definitely LAUGH too much. Hope to see some of you there!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Miscellaneous items....

We are still here in Sturgis, watching as the campground occupants disappear rapidly around us. Today was gorgeous...staying in the 70's for a high, dipping into the 60's as the sun set.

We spent the day downtown, checking out the sales where we picked up more shirts on sale as well as two sweatshirts. We also lucked into a good buy on a trailer hitch for Big Red. We found a few miscellaneous items...Buffalo Nickle vest extenders for Stu (and then he found some great ones with the fire department logo so had to grab them as well), a custom Red Knights MC derby cover for Big Red, two flags for my bike (Stu plans to make me a custom sissy bar flag holder for one or both of them, and some beeswax product to treat and waterproof leather (of course Stu had the "girls" treat his boots with it first...LOL!)


When we stopped for lunch, I spotted some good friends from Florida. I knew they were visiting in Deadwood but hadn't made contact yet. I ran out of the restaurant and managed to snag them for several hours of chatting. It was great to see them and catch up. We hope to meet up with them this winter while in Florida where they now live.


After leaving them we wandered some more, took a bunch more bike and people photos, stopped in One Eyed Jack's for a drink, took more photos, then stopped for a great dinner of Fish and Chips (Cod and Curly Fries....yum!).

You can check out the photos in our SmugMug album, 2010 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the companion album, 2010 Sturgis for Adults (this one requires a password...sturgis...if you are easily offended by nudity then do NOT view this album).

Now on to some more miscellaneous....

I forgot one other lady rider blog...I think I follow too many. Check out our good friend Sharon's blog as she rides from GA to WA to meet up with her son. She is now on her way back home. She is a full-time RVer and fairly new rider. Strong and independent....she rocks!

Recently there seems to have been a spate of RVing friends with personal or family illnesses. We are fortunate that in our lifestyles we can change plans as needed...like having plans set in Jell-O. But I know some of these folks really wish they could let the Jell-O set up a little more. Sigh....our heart and best wishes go out to all of them!

We think we have picked out our puppy...she's a little female pit-boxer from the second litter of Stu's daughter's household (Didi, the best little pit bull I have ever known and Pickles, a rescue Boxer with the sweetest personality). We were fortunate to not have been in the area when the first litter was born. Now with the unexpected arrival of the second litter (yes, she IS getting SOMEONE fixed), we are hooked.


She doesn't have a name yet but some are under consideration.
  • BB for Betty Boop
  • PB for Peanut Butter (her color) and her heritage (Pit-Boxer)
  • Pebbles which kind of goes with the PB
  • Seadhna which is Gaelic for wayfarer or traveler (pronounced SHAY-na)
  • DG for Daddy's Girl and Donna's Girl (LOL!)
Stu also liked Roadie since she will be traveling Route 66 with us. I liked Sturgis and Dakota since that is where we were when we decided to get her. While here we found a trailer that will really work well for us (and her). It's a cargo trailer built especially for travel with pets. Made by Road Dog, it's sturdy and well made with provisions to keep the pet safe, comfortable and cool. The top can be open, barred or covered with a screen.


Not sure when we will leave here but probably Monday or Tuesday. Tomorrow we are thinking about riding Needles Highway and I still hope to ride the Badlands. Then we head east to Goshen, IN where we will be until Labor Day weekend. As we travel from IN back to MD we hope to visit my son in OH and my step-daughter in NY and maybe even some friends in PA....time will tell. We have doctor appointments starting Sept 13th so that is the drop dead date to be there. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Friday, August 13, 2010

Traveling the USA....by motorcycle

While we are here enjoying the festivities here in Sturgis, I'd thought I'd pass along links to a couple of blogs I follow. Some folks are on short term trips. Some are on longer ones.
 
USA Tour on a Harley-Davidson

One on a longer trip is a fellow that Stu and I had the pleasure to meet today here in Sturgis. Gary shipped his Harley-Davidson from England to NYC and has been touring the country here ever since.

This has been an almost life-long dream of his...a time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of years of hard work. His supportive wife is back in England while Gary lives out his dream. I hope you will take time to check out his blog and follow along in his travels. We really enjoyed chatting with him and hope to meet up someday in the future.


The Oasis of My Soul
 

Another on a longer trip...actually a full-time RVer who is traveling this summer and staying in a tent is my good friend Ara and his pup, Spirit. I have mentioned Ara's blog before but it's always good to pass it along once more. I first met Ara in December of 2007 when I was in Texas. We did a little riding together on a trip into San Antonio. Then Stu got to meet him this past winter at Ara's land outside Big Bend, TX. We look forward to meeting him as we all travel. Oh, and be prepared to be amazed by the photos in his blog!

Ribbon of Highway

A shorter trip is the one taken by our friend, Brian. Brian is fulfilling an old promise, riding his motorcycle from the US into Alaska. He's on his return leg now but I think you'll enjoy his writings. I had followed his regular blog for some time, have bought a couple of books he's published and finally got to meet him and his wife Heidi in Colorado this past spring. Hoping we can share some highway with them

Great Motorcycle Adventure

I have two lady rider friends who are off on an extended vacation, Donna and Mary. I've been friends with these two for eight years...wherever they are, there will be a good time. LOL!


My EPIC Journey 2010

Helen, aka ScubaPiggy, took off on her grand adventure earlier this year. She's back home and getting a new engine put in her bike.

Bee in the Wind

Kate is normally busy running her own business back in New England, but she took time off to tour the country this year. Back home, I think she'll be on the road again before long.

I hope you enjoy this little introduction to our riding friends and their adventures! We're still having a blast here in Sturgis...you can check out the photos at SmugMug. 2010 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally We'll keep adding to this album until we leave and head east towards Elkhart, IN where we will be attending the Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Having a blast at Sturgis.

Just a quick note. We've ridden the last five days so we are taking a break today. Sitting outside reading, drinking coffee, listening to some tunes while Stu cleans Big Red. Nice breeze but supposed to hit 96 this afternoon. We are blessed. Life us good!!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Arrived in Sturgis, SD

We had a pleasant drive from Casper, WY east to Sturgis, SD. Sunny although hot with temps in the 90's. We found the repair company, Mid States Campers, and got set up for the night. Nice to have a nice level spot with 30 amp power for the night!!

We got the A/C fixed first thing in the morning (same as last year in FL, a capacitor and the motor starter) and headed the 25 miles to our campground in Sturgis. This was our first time here but we had no problem finding our campground, Glencoe. Two of the other RVing friends from Escapees were already here and welcomed us.

As we got settled into our spot, our new friends headed out for a ride. Once we were settled in and grabbed some lunch, we did the same. We had planned to head to Rapid City to visit the Firehouse Brewing Company. But as we headed south the skies got darker...then the rain started. Since we have two weeks to visit here, we opted to turn around. LOL!

We did stop at the infamous Full Throttle Saloon across the street from our campground. Interesting spot. Can't imagine the craziness that will be there next week...it is billed as the world's biggest biker bar. Stu wondered how they got this semi in there.....


After we returned the third couple from Escapees arrived and got set up. They invited us all over to visit, swap stories and have some beers. I think we sat there for about four hours before everyone realized they needed to eat. The guys did take one sojourn out on the golf cart to see what they could see...seems as though they did see some sights, but most were ones they wished they hadn't. But I suspect there will be many more evening forays through the campground to see the sights.

This morning we all jumped on our bikes and headed to a breakfast spot in Nemo, SD (yes, we found Nemo...). They weren't busy (the main event starts on Monday so the crowds will really move in this week) and we enjoyed more good chatter.


By the time we were ready to leave the forecast was calling for severe thunderstorms, road flooding, hail...we opted to not go on our ride and headed back to the campground. We almost made it...we actually might have made it if we hadn't gotten stopped by a slow RV going down the hill on the twisting road. But our fearless leader Mike spotted a car wash and lead us in.....just in time. We hadn't been there 5 minutes when the sky really let loose.


The guys worked to close the garage bay door behind the motorcycles, the wind was whipping. Dave fired up the music on his bike and we all rocked out to oldies while we waited out the storm. We were there for at least an hour, watching the water come in from both directions, listening to the wind and hail and just generally being glad that we were out of the weather.


As soon as there was a break we boogied back to the campground. Stu rolled Big Red into the trailer (Twister was already up under the fifth wheel). We dried off and warmed up. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing laundry, napping and just generally relaxing.

Tomorrow? Who knows...we are really enjoying our time with these folks and know we will get in some good riding!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Sunday, August 1, 2010

No news....means having fun!!

We had an uneventful but beautiful drive from White Sulphur Springs, MT down to our boondocking spot in Moran, WY. Perfect weather and gorgeous scenery. We stopped for lunch overlooking the Snake River where we watched the rafters and kayakers go by. Life is good!


We found our boondocking spot, a place the locals call "Freebie Hill" and got set up in time to head out for a local drive followed by a stop for dinner at a little cafe we passed just down the road from us. The local drive ended up on an unpaved National Forest Service Road before looping us back to the main highway and back to our camp site.


The cafe was part of a little resort with cabins to rent as well as horse trail rides, fly fishing and snowmobile trips. The food was good and priced right, the service was excellent. We knew we'd be back.


Over the next five days we took multiple trips into the Grand Teton National Park and the town of Jackson, WY. We spent a full day in Yellowstone National Park as well. The weather continued to be perfect and we really hated to leave.

Oh, we did our random act of kindness while riding up Signal Mountain in the Grand Tetons. A long ride upwards, beautiful views, tons of wildflowers and then the long ride down. We pulled over so I could snap some wildflower photos and a young guy on roller blades pulled in, too. Seems he had nothing to do for two hours....LOL! He looked hot (it WAS hot but still in the mid-80's) and we offered him some water. We gave him the bottle, he thanked us and took on off up the hill!


We saw buffalo in the parks, elk (on the river right below our campsite), elk in the parks, buffalo on the outskirts of Jackson and moose on the outskirts of Jackson (a bull and later a mama moose with her baby). Toss ins lots of birds and our first marmot wandering in the thermal areas of Yellowstone.


Early Saturday morning (okay, so 9 am isn't early for the rest of the world but it is for us...LOL!) we headed east towards Casper, WY where we planned to spend the night. Originally we planned to Wally World it but temps in the 90's changed our minds and we booked one night at Ft. Casper Campground, a Passport America park.

While staying in Moran we had to deal with a lot of road construction...right in front of our access road. In the parks there was construction as well, including a long wait where they were building a new bridge.

But nothing compared to what we hit on US 26 heading towards Dubois, WY. Oh my...first time I've ever seen multiple pilot cars running both directions....and on a dirt road. So much dirt that it looked like they were re-engineering the highway for miles. One hill gave us pause...but we managed to not get stuck. LOL!

Dubois looked to be an interesting little town but unfortunately we didn't have time to stop and visit....maybe next time. The scenery just got prettier. After we entered the Wind River Indian Reservation we pulled over for lunch at a scenic photo stop. Oh my....was it ever!


Unfortunately the scenery soon passed into flatter lands, not many houses, nor cattle, nor horses...but we did see quite a few Pronghorn Antelope. LOL! We arrived at Sam's Club (next door to a Super Wally World) around 3 pm. We restocked our pantry, filled up Freddie with diesel at Flying J and then headed to the campground.

Wouldn't you know it....the road into the campground was....yup, you guessed it....under construction! LOL! We got settled into a nice long and wide 50 amp spot, fired up the bedroom A/C and I got started on laundry. Phew!

Tomorrow we have another 300 miles to Blackhawk, SD and once again, the temps are going to be HOT!!! Hope they can fix our main A/C unit quickly on Monday.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Here are our photo albums from the last week:

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