LEG 3 – BUFFALO, NY TO TEXAS – END OF ALL ROADS
Leg 2 ended with Bob, Dan and Glen hopping across the Canada/USA border and storing the bikes at Bobs uncles garage in Buffalo NY. So after finishing another month of work, it was time to pick up where we left off. Bob and Dan hopped a plane from Guam to Hong Kong and spent a day there, because Hong Kong is a place that is hard to pass through without having a little fun. Then Hong Kong to Newark, and finally arrived in Buffalo NY 25 hours later at 4PM. Glen was there waiting because he had arrived the day before. He was not feeling very well and had a terrible cold. None of us wanted to catch whatever it was that he was hacking up and he did a good job of keeping his distance from us for the first couple of days.
When we arrived in Buffalo, Bob’s Uncle picked us up at the airport and took us around town. It was a nice sunny afternoon and we walked around downtown. After seeing some sights, we ended up at an old warehouse that has been converted into a monstrosity of a bar and roller derby rink. We watched some of the roller derby teams practice and it was more fun than I thought it could be. We were both eager to get on the bikes and head towards Canada and eastbound. The following day we met up with Brian in Montreal. Brian had shoulder surgery a month before Leg 1 and he was dying watching us ride on the dream trip we had been planning for a long time. So, needless to say, he was very eager to meet up and hit the road. Brian’s bike was in Burlington, Vermont and he got some solo riding in before meeting us in Montreal.
When we arrived in Montreal it was evening rush hour traffic and it instantly reminded me of why I prefer a countryside, where the road is mine and the view to be enjoyed. As much as I enjoy the amenities of big cities, I was instantly craving our ride to the remote areas of the Trans Labrador Highway. Although we were only in Montreal for a day, it was good for all of us to be together again and there is always a heavy sense of anticipation in the air at the beginning of each leg of the trip. Montreal would be a good launch to whatever may unfold over the next month of riding. We got an AirBnB condo on a hopping street loaded with bars and restaurants and spent the night bar hopping and taking in the local flavors of Montreal. It was a fun night a fun city. The following morning we set out for Quebec City, which originally was not on our route but many people recommended it as a must see spot. That was good advice because I found Quebec City to be one of my favorite cities in Canada. We left Quebec City in the morning and headed 260 miles for Baie-Comeau.
This would be one of our last options for services so we got our bikes serviced with a fresh oil change and new tires in anticipation of the more than 700+ miles of gravel roads that we were about to ride. The weather was beginning to turn to rain and it was mid September and getting chilly. When we got to Baie-Comeau, it was raining pretty hard and was forecast to be the same for the following day. We decided to take a day and go through all of our stuff and ditch a bunch of the extra crap that we thought we would need at the beginning of the trip, but 15,000 miles into it, realized I might not need 25 glow sticks and a bunch of other knickknack stuff that we just didn’t need. Now would be a good time to go through everything and sort out the extra weight and streamline our game.
As advertised, it rained most of the day but we were able to get all of our gear sorted out. The following morning we were all awake and in the parking lot at 6am, which is very unusual for this crew. We normally get out the door no earlier than 10am. This was a welcome surprise to all of us and we were all eager to hit the twists and turns of the road northbound towards Labrador City.We had to make our mandatory morning stop at Tim Horton’s for breakfast. I don’t know what they put in their food, but it must be crack or meth, because we all got addicted to Tim Horton’s, as well as every other Canadian. The lines for the drive thru at Horton’s in every city across Canada is impressive. They do a good job and I look forward to many things about coming back to Canada, but Tim Horton’s is one thing I will really look forward to.While we were eating at Tim Horton’s, a guy next to us sitting in motorcycle gear leaned over and told us about the road we were about to ride. He said there were 125 curves in the first 30 kilometers on the way to Manic 5. Manic 5 is a large hydroelectric plant that provides power to eastern Canada and as far south as New York City.
The road was nicely paved up to Manic 5 which was 135 miles, but after that, it was all gravel and dirt. The excitement built! The guy telling us about the ride was from the area and said he had ridden the road countless times and seemed to really know every aspect of the road. We found later, that he really knew what he was talking about. The road was newly paved and it was twisty after twisty! We were in the morning sun and the day really could not have been any better. There were several supply trucks on the road but it was still a near perfect day. We made it to Manic 5 and it was enormous! A massive wall of concrete that has more concrete than the Hoover Dam. We wanted to get a tour but we were a little late in the season and there were no tours being offered. So after a short drone shot, we continued down the road which immediately turned to gravel.
The thought process in this area is very similar to the Alcan Highway in regard to, you never pass up a gas station or supplies. There just aren’t many offerings for supplies and gas, so you take it when you can get it, whether you need it or not.There was one gas station just before Manic 5 and Glen quickly pulled in as he always does. It was such a small station that we missed it. It was covered by some trees with a small sign, but we did notice it just as we were just passing it. We discussed turning around but decided that we would be ok, since we had just filled up and there was another station in Relais-Gabriel, which was about 70 miles. We pulled over about an hour into our ride to take a break and do a drone shot. We all pulled out of our spot on the side of the road and Glen pulled out behind us. The road was dusty and filled with trucks that were going fast. It was their road and they went out of their way to let us know that. The road was full of new gravel and newly grated which put a lot of piles of gravel in spots on the road. We had to be pretty aware of the road because if we hit some of the high gravel spots, it could change our day.
We came over a hill and saw a massive lake, and at the bottom of the hill there was a service station that looked like an oasis of activity. There was no missing it and we could see it for a few miles as we came down the hill. We pulled in and got some gas and were about to eat some lunch when we realized that Glen did not pull in. He is usually just a couple of minutes behind us and we had been there for about 15 minutes. Bob and Brian wanted to eat, so I told them to go inside the restaurant and I would backtrack to look for Glen. The place we pulled over earlier, which was the last place we saw him was about 40 miles back.
I started at a normal pace but he never came down the road. The farther I got, the more worried I got. I ended up going a steady 80 MPH looking to run into Glen, but he never came. I eventually ended up at the place on the side of the road that we had earlier pulled over. There was no explanation! There was nowhere to pull over on the side of the road. There were no other roads to pull off onto. There was only one road and one option. The only other possibility was that he went off the road. The side of the road was a very unforgiving almost tundra looking gobble you up kind of stuff. If he went off the road right in front of me, it would be hard to see him, due to the thick brush and trees. As I started to realize this was a possibility, my heart started to race and my mind started to think about all possibilities. I wont share all of them but I’ll say that I feared the worst. Glen has good days and bad days. Most days are good days, but occasionally he misses a step due to some of his meds that he is on, being 68 years old, and trying to keep up with us can tire anyone.
After a short stop at our previous stopping point, I continued the wrong direction, thinking maybe he went the wrong way after our stop, and I just didn’t see him make the wrong turn. After going about 20 miles I turned around and headed back towards Labrador City and Relais-Gabriel. I was only back in the right direction for about 10 miles before I saw Bob and Brian coming down the road. They said they couldn’t eat while I was out searching for Glen. The 3 of us slowly combed the ditches and looked for Glen. We eventually wound up back at the gas station at Relais-Gabriel and again, there was no Glen. It was now about 4PM and only had about 2 hours of daylight left. We walked in the restaurant and asked if anyone had seen him but no luck. The truckers put it out on the CB radio with a description of the truck and Glen, and we waited for responses. Trucker after trucker all the way to Labrador City, which is 170 miles away, checked in with no sight of Glen. Now we really assumed the worst! There was only one road so someone must have seen him if he was on the road. The police would take more than an hour to reach the area because they were coming from near Manic 5. Our options looked terrible and they weren’t looking to get better.
We were planning on camping not far from where we were and we realized that all of our camping gear was in Glens truck. As we were discussing our fears about Glen and now our situation was becoming problematic, the waitress said there was a couple of dorm rooms above the restaurant. We told her we would like to reserve a few beds because it was obvious we weren’t going anywhere that evening.
All the while, I continually was calling Glens phone. He never answered. We decided we would call the police and as we were coming to an agreement about calling the police, I could see on the app that we use to call each other, VIBER, that his phone was online. Finally a sliver of hope!!! I called and called his phone and he eventually picked up the phone, with an aggravated attitude saying, “where the hell are you guys!?” I was instantly relieved, but now I was getting pissed. “Where am I?? Where are you???” There was a collective sigh of relief from the wait staff and the customers, because our situation had drawn a crowd. Everyone was relieved and happy that Glen, a guy nobody knew except for us, was safe! It was a unique moment that I will never forget.
Glen said that he was approaching Labrador City a 170 miles away. I was just happy he was alive and well. Now we had no clothes, camping gear, or toiletries but we had a bed upstairs. We ordered a case of beer and we celebrated Glens new life, or new to us! We invited everyone from the dinner down to the lake and we built a fire. We howled at the moon until 5 am. It was a great night filled with entertaining locals and loads of laughs. We never would have had that experience with the locals into the wee hours of the morning without Glen passing that gas station, which I still don’t know how he missed it. He said he was very into his book on tape and he must have just cruised right by the gas station and restaurant. If you could see this place, you would see how large it is and hard to miss, but he is safe and that’s all I cared about.
The following day, we agreed to meet Glen in Labrador City at the Two Seasons Hotel. The ride was good and we went through the abandoned town of Gagnon. It was kind of eerie and cool at the same time. We also hit a latitude land marker along the way.
There was an easily identifiable big truck on the side of the road and that’s where we made our entry into Labrador City area.
We met up with Glen at the Two Seasons Hotel and it was so good to see him. After the previous day and all of the terrible thoughts I had, it was refreshing to see his smile. We caught up for a while and made our plan to begin the Trans Labrador Highway across Labrador. We are all looking forward to the long dirt/gravel road and the uncertainty of how it may unfold. We had heard so many stories about the ride and were anxious with anticipation to get on the road. As we left town, we were surprised that so much of the road was paved. Outside magazine had called the Trans Labrador Highway, “the most lonely road in the world.” That’s a pretty bold statement and I had to see what that was about. I didn’t expect “the most lonely road in the world” to be paved. We soon learned that the pavement would run out and the ride would be on.
Be careful what you wish for. The weather started to deteriorate and the road did too. The road was actually a pretty nice grated gravel road, but it was raining and the potholes were filling up.
It wasn’t the rain or potholes that were increasing our workload, it was the wind. The wind had increased to more than 60 MPH and high gusts. It was difficult to just stay on the road and we were all sliding all over. We had intended to camp the entire way on the Trans Labrador, but with no options that we saw, and worsening weather, we stayed at a small motel in Port Hope Simpson.
While we were in Port Hope Simpson, we met 3 other riders that were coming from the other direction. They recommended that we go to the most easterly point on mainland Canada, which is a small fishing village of Saint Lewis. We found out later that its not quiet the most eastern point on mainland Canada, but its close.
On our way to Blanc Sablon, we took the Iceberg highway off of our route to go see Saint Lewis. We made a video log of our ride there which is on our website. It was another nice ride and Saint Lewis was a quaint fishing village with character.
The people there don’t get many outsiders so we got a few odd looks as we rumbled through town. They were nice and our stay was only about an hour, before we turned to Blanc Sablon.
The winds were so strong the previous day, the ferry from Blanc Sablon to Saint Barbe, Newfoundland was cancelled. We purchased our tickets a day early so we knew that we had a seat but if we didn’t check in an hour early for our 7 am ferry, our tickets would be sold. The booking agent made that point very clear. So we had to be on the dock with our tickets, checked in, by 6 am. That is going to be an early start for this crew, but we cannot be late. We made the ferry at 6am and as we were loading, we parked next to a truck hauling a long trailer that had an old pickup truck on it, along with a bunch of other equipment. The truck was driven by a young guy named Jonathan. Jonathan worked for his father’s refrigeration company and they primarily do big projects such as ice rinks and off shore rig pilings. It was interesting to talk to him and his coworker and we chatted for the next couple of hours. As we were leaving the ferry, Jonathan said if we come to St Johns he would love to show us around. We knew we were headed that way, so we told him we would see him there. Little did I know that our trip had just changed right in that moment.
First, we had to ride along the coast of the island of Newfoundland and it was a spectacular ride. We were told by countless Canadians that Newfoundland should not be missed. That the locals were very different than any other part of Canada and oh how right they were! If you were to pick up almost any community in Newfoundland, and place it in Ireland, the people would fit right in, with their accents and all.
As we made our way down the west coast of Newfoundland, we were instantly hooked. It was more of a feeling of being in Ireland or Scotland, more so than North America. The lay of the land was similar to Europe and so was the demeanor of the locals. We enjoyed every mile down the coast and then we hit Gros Morne National Park. It was very scenic and we pulled over for lunch and to take in the views. While we were there, we met a guy named Rick as we were flying our drone around, and he asked us to make him a video of the things we had shot and of his cabins. Here is that video:
We were heading across Newfoundland towards St Johns and Bob had been having an occasional problem with his throttle and sometimes his throttle would stop working entirely. It had progressively gotten worse and eventually it just stopped. It was an electric throttle and its not like we could just replace the throttle cable. It was a hard fail and we ended up on the side of the road about 200+ miles from St Johns.
BMW has a warranty program that will pick you up anywhere in North America if you are on a paved road. Bob called BMW and they sent a tow truck, which was there in about 2 hours to haul Bobs bike to the only BMW shop in Newfoundland which was in St John’s. We did manage to entertain ourselves with glow in the dark Frisbee while we waited for the tow truck.
Bob was upset. He figured that if he spent the kind of money he spent on new bike, which didn’t come lightly, he shouldn’t already be having these kinds of problems. Thankfully we had Glen following us around and Bob jumped in the truck with Glen to carry on toward St John’s via Gander.
Before coming to Newfoundland, we all new that there was one thing that we really wanted to see and that was the town of Gander. On September 11, 2001 there were many obvious events that unfolded that day. The FAA shut down the skies and all planes had to land. Well, what about the planes over the Atlantic ocean that are en route to the USA? They can’t just land, so as they approached the first bit of land coming from Europe, that land was Newfoundland. There are only 2 options and that is St Johns or Gander. St Johns is a sizable city with hotels and accommodations, but limited parking spots for airplanes. Gander is home to the air traffic control facility that manages all of the Atlantic crossing air traffic. Gander also is a small town of only about 12,000 people and not many hotels/motels. They certainly do not have the accommodations or infrastructure for every airliner coming across the Atlantic ocean that needs a place to land. So what do they do? They put out the need to accommodate loads of people on the radio, and all of the people of Newfoundland answered the call! People came from far and wide and offered up their homes as a place for people to stay. They came to the airport and picked people up. The passengers would line up and just get in cars of strangers and go sometimes as far as 200+ miles away to someone’s home they did not know or knew nothing about. While this may sound weird, the people of Newfoundland know no strangers. They are truly a special bunch of people and have become some of my favorite people on the planet. There is now a very successful Broadway play in New York about these events. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on my list.
With all of the curiosity of Gander from September 11th, and considering that all of us had talked to Gander on the radio countless times for work, we were all looking forward to seeing what Gander was like. So that morning during our breakfast at Tim Hortons we called the ATC facility and told them that we worked in the aviation industry and would like to tour the facility if possible. After many phone calls up their chain of command, we were told to bring our company IDs and be there at 10am. As we approached the gate, it was like a fortress. There were multiple gates and they took security seriously. In the interest of security I am going to skip the details of getting into the facility but you should know it wasn’t’ fast and they don’t take security lightly.
As we approached the door, a guy was waiting for us. As it turns out, he was the supervisor on duty on September 11th and I recognized him from some of the TV shows that I had seen about how the skies were shut down on that day. He had been working at the facility for more than 40 years and he was always smiling and laughing with everyone he came in contact with. I instantly felt like we lucked out with our guide and that is exactly how the day turned out.
We were passed off from one group of controllers to another, to learn the different ways that they do their job. It was fascinating to see and hear them as they did their work. They all seem to be a tight group of people that have a very serious job to do and do it with ease. I personally found it most interesting of how they create the routes over the Atlantic and manage them systematically along the way.After a few hours at the Air Traffic Control facility, we made our way to St Johns. Jonathan was there waiting for us and proved to be an incredible host. He was ready to show us his town and the first place we had to go see was Cape Spear, which is the most eastern point in North America.
Bob’s girlfriend, Nami, joined us from Japan and arrived in St John’s to join us with the tour of Jonathan’s town.Cape Spear was a neat place. It was cool to look out at the water and think that the next bit of land is Ireland. There was a couple of cool lighthouses. This was the location of the very first international telegraph. The telegraph is still there in the lighthouse and it gives the sense of how far technology has come in a relatively short period of time. To send a signal from Cape Spear that was received in Ireland was a huge accomplishment for its time. One of the stops was Quidi Vidi. It was a great little village with a brewery where we spent a little time. It was a good day of touring a history filled town that I easily could have spent more time in. We were still waiting to hear the results back on Bobs bike so we took an extra day and explored St Johns.
Eventually we had to keep making some progress and decided to go to Halifax where Bob and Nami would fly down to meet us. We had hoped to hear news of Bob’s bike sometime while we were still in the St John’s area, and Bob could hopefully still join us. We said a long goodbye to Jonathan and thanked him for letting us stay at his house and being our tour guide.
Brian, Glen and I rode to the other side of Newfoundland to Port Aux Basques, which was almost 200 miles. Jonathan said that his company had a chalet a couple of hours from Port Aux Basques and we could stay there. He made it sound like it was a dump and as we found out, it was not a dump. It was a nice house on a golf course with room for Brian, Glen and I. We visited with some of the workers that use the house as their home away from home and we left the following afternoon to head to Port Aux Basques to catch a 6 hours ferry to Nova Scotia. The ferry left at midnight and we would get into North Sydney at 6am. This was perfect because we would have an early start with a little bit of time to spare. Along the way, there was one town that we could not pass up, and that was the town of Dildo. I don’t know, the town just kind of had a funny ring to it and we figured we had to see what a town named Dildo looked like and if they embraced their unique name.
As it turns out, the town is named after a guy named Dildo. It was a little less juicy than our teenage minds had laughed about the whole ride there. Nonetheless worth a stop.
As if the town of Dildo wasn’t enough, when we got off the ferry in North Sydney, we saw a restaurant with a unique name. I was falling in love with the sense of humor that is spread out all across Canada. We had wanted to do another well known ride, The Cabot Trail. This trail would take us to the northern tip of Nova Scotia to Meat Cove. It was a picturesque campground and they were closing in a couple of days, so we were a few of the last campers for the season.
As we made our south from Meat Cove toward Halifax to meet up with Bob and Nami, there was a place Glen HAD to stop at…
We all met up in Halifax at an Air BnB that Bob had reserved and it was a short walk to downtown. We spent the first night just catching up at a restaurant over the past couple of days and filling Bob in on what he had missed. It was still weird not having him on the ride with us. I could tell he was putting his best face on, but he was bummed to be missing any part of the trip.
The following morning we rode down to Peggy’s Cove, which is the site of a tragic Swiss Air flight #111 crash, which was flying from New York to Geneva. The doomed flight had an electrical fire that the crew could not contain and they hit the water near Peggy’s Cove. There is a monument there that we wanted to go see. So Bob hopped in his new ride and tried to figure out how to park it.
We hopped on our bikes and headed to Peggy’s Cove. There was a cool lighthouse there and it was gorgeous day, so we took a few pics.
On our way, we saw a sign that deserved a stop….
We stayed a couple of hours and enjoyed a rare 70+ degree day in October in Nova Scotia. The owner of this place was a very nice guy that loaded us up with shirts and stickers that we are gonna take around the world. Some places leave a mark in a very short period of time, and this is one of those places. Shaw’s Landing is the place to check out if you happen to find yourself in Nova Scotia. As we killed a couple of days waiting for news on Bob’s bike, the news came. It was not good news. The “throttle brain” of his computer system that drives the throttle, has failed and there are no units anywhere in North America. The part would have to be shipped directly from Germany and it would take 2 weeks to get there. Bob was very upset and this completely changed his trip. He was also upset with the lack of communication from BMW. They didn’t seem to be very good about relaying information and Bob was constantly on the phone being jockeyed from one person to the next. It was a very frustrating process and I think we all lost a little respect for BMW along the way through the process. We understood that things break and that sometimes stuff happens, but it was the lack of communication, coupled to Bobs trip is very disrupted and he is going to be missing a significant section of our trip around the world. Brian and I decided to continue on since there was no hope of getting Bobs bike back on the road. Bob and Nami stayed in St Johns for a couple of days and would eventually just fly home to Guam. It felt weird leaving Bob and Nami behind and the disappointment was written all over Bobs face which added to disappointment that everyone felt. In the end, it took 6 WEEKS to get Bobs bike fixed and again, no communication. Bob had to do all of the leg work. BMW said they would ship his bike anywhere in Canada, which didn’t help Bob since we were headed to Texas via the east coast of the USA. So now Bob is stuck trying to figure out how to get a bike from Canada to Texas, in November, and we planned our route based off trying to avoid winter time. Bob may have to fight winter and get his bike to Texas from Canada. He is still trying to figure out a route based off of the weather. He should be leaving around November 20th. But for now we said our goodbyes…
The following day Brian, Glen and I headed from Halifax Nova Scotia toward the USA. Earlier on the trip, on the ferry from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, we had met another motorcycle rider named Jay. We planned to meet Jay a short distance outside of Halifax and he was going to ride with us for 2 days into Maine. We randomly pulled over at a gas station to call him, because we had not coordinated very well, and he happen to be sitting at the same gas station getting ready to call us. It was uncanny how we happen to run into him on a stretch of road about 100 miles long that we had talked about meeting up.Jay was a retired cop from Cape Breton Nova Scotia and he was freshly divorced. He was setting out for a long adventure on his motorcycle and we enjoyed our short time with him.We camped for our last time of the trip in the Bay of Fundy and our last time of camping in Canada. Since we were pretty late in the season, our description is the same, that we were the last people to stay there for the season. The campground was closing the next day. The Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal range of the world, with a range of up to 53 feet. It is incredible!! We had a campsite just across from the water and it was a starlit night with a raging fire. I couldn’t think of a better topper for the end of our trip in Canada. The following morning we walked down to the water to see the extreme change in the tidal change. There was a lot more beach than the previous evening.
We rode out of Canada and into USA via a small crossing in Maine. As we got to the border we were surprised that there was no sign for Canada or the USA. After looking around for a while we found a tiny sign that Brian is pointing at here.
Then we were back in the USA.A short ride into Maine and Jay peeled off and headed westbound. It was good to have another rider and always nice to encounter other motorcycle travelers and get some stories and insights.
Our next destination was Portland Maine. We were going to see Brian’s mom. Brian had only seen his mom a couple of times in recent years and our route took us very near her house. As usual, we were running late and getting behind schedule. We were getting worried about making it to Texas by the time we needed to be there. Therefore, we weren’t going to have as much time as we would like to visit with Brian’s mom or any of the other stops from her until the end of the trip in Texas. We were in hustle mode. We knew that if we were going to see some of the sights in Canada, we were going to have to hurry through America, and since we have all seen a lot of the east coast and done the ride across the south before, we were going to sacrifice this part of the trip, in order to spend more time in Canada. The part that stinks, is now we only have a limited time to see Brian’s mom. As we pulled into her lake home, she was anxiously waiting on the porch. I was just an observer and I could feel her anticipation. It was very sweet! As we pulled in and took our gear off, she and her husband Chuck greeted us and had a spread of food and beer inside waiting for us. The house was immaculately cleaned and looked like a realtor had put it on display. It was a warm and lovely house with a lakefront view!It wasn’t until I’m writing this that I realize that I took a lot of video of this time with Brian’s mom, but not many pics. Videos coming soon on our YouTube channel. It was a short visit of only a couple of hours, eating some of the best lobster roll sandwiches I’ve ever had and enjoying a few local Maine beers. Everyone enjoyed the stop and off we went just after dark trying to make our way toward Boston.
Just prior to Boston, Brian decided to go to a BMW riding program that he had been reading about. He is still pretty new to riding and not a lot of off road experience, so he is gonna go take some lessons from the pros for a few days with Bob. He is going to go ride The Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina and Tennessee and then go to South Carolina to BMW riding school. Therefore, we said our goodbyes shortly before Boston. We plan to take the holidays off of riding and all meet up in Texas before riding southbound to the southern tip of South America and Antarctica. Brian and Bob are going to be able to come back to the states in December but I cannot, so I have to get my bike all the way to Texas in the next week.There was someone I was looking very forward to seeing in Boston. My friend Heather was a dear friend from childhood. We were best of friends all through high school, college, and well after. Somehow, time had taken over and we had lost touch. I never thought that would happen to us, because we talked daily for years. She was someone who’s friendship I held dear, and I was disappointed with myself for letting time get the best of us.
Heather is married to a great guy named Jon and they have 3 kids. They live about an hour outside of Boston. We arrived and Glen and I were eager to offload our road funk and get cleaned up to head into the city. We went into Boston and Jon gave us a full lap tour around downtown Boston. Glen had never been there before so it was a good intro to the city for Glen. I lived in Boston for 3 years and it was good for me to be reminded of all the things I loved and miss about Boston. It is one of Americas oldest and unique cities.
We ended our tour in the North End neighborhood of Boston. It is loaded with fantastic Italian restaurants and sprinkled with historic spots like Paul Reveres home. We only had one night in Boston, so it was good to cram so much into a short time. Boston is a small enough big town that you can see a lot in a short period of time.
This ride is about many things to each of us, and I’ve found that reconnecting with people that I haven’t seen in a long time, has become an important part of this trip. There are few things in life better than old friends, and visiting this old friend warmed my soul. It was a good reunion!
It was a fantastic short visit and Glen and I were off the next day in the pouring rain headed south. We were nearing the end of our time with Glen. We were going to ride together for the next couple of hours and then he was going to head home toward Iowa and I was going to make my way south to Texas as fast as possible. We pulled over on the side of the toll road at a McDonalds and sat for a while. I tried to express my gratitude for having him come along but I felt like it just wasn’t coming out right. We are all on this trip for selfish reasons and I think Glen has his own selfish reasons and didn’t need a thank you from me. He was thankful to be along on the trip.We said our goodbyes, followed each other about 20 more miles until our roads went different directions. It was pretty sad watching him fade over the hill. As I rolled down the road, I looked in my mirror and nobody was there. I was suddenly all by myself. As much of a social hound as I am, I’m also a bit of a loner and I really enjoy being alone. Now the road is all mine and there is only one person to answer to! The weather was clearing up and my music got a lot louder!I was eager to get out of the northeast corridor and out of the hustle and bustle of the east coast. The leaves were starting to change and I really wished I had more time to take in some mountain rides but I had a deadline of getting to Texas.
When I got to Virginia, I pulled off the highway to get some gas. I heard a hiss of my engine as I tried to accelerate and nothing happened. I pulled over and my chain had slipped off the sprocket. I started to unload my gear and get my tools out to put it back on, but before I did I sat in the shade for a minute. As I was sitting there, I thought “I wonder if there is a BMW dealer nearby, because I need several things done to my bike.” It turns out there was a BMW dealer only 3 miles away and they said they would come pick me up for free if I got my oil changed with them. Heck ya! That meant I don’t have to change my chain and they can do it. They were there within 10 minutes and off to the shop we went.
As I spent some time in the shop, they found that my bike needed some attention on a number of things to the tune of about $3000. As I scratched my head trying to figure out what I was going to do and what I could fix myself and what I wanted them to fix, I asked what they would give me for a trade in if I were to trade my bike in on another used bike of the same year 2014 with less miles. They gave me a fair trade in value and it was about the same out of pocket to get into a similar bike with less miles. I was having a hard time thinking that I was even considering trading in my bike. I was attached to it! We had just covered the entire west coast from San Diego to Alaska, around Alaska, across Canada and into some tough terrain in Labrador Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and now down the east coast! I loved this bike and it never let me down. I had tricked it out with all of the accessories that now I was used to. What do I do? The sales guy, a sharp guy named Joe Dudak from Frontline Eurosports talked me into a brand new 2017 BMW F800GSA. For only a little more than I was going to pay for a 2014 model and with my trade in, I could roll out with a brand new bike and a warranty. To my surprise, that’s exactly what I did. The next morning we signed the paperwork and I was on the road again on a new set of wheels. It felt weird having to figure a few things out again.I had 1100 miles to go to Dallas and I knew I had to get my bike serviced at the 600 mile mark. I’m a believer that the first service is one of the most important in the life of the bike. I mapped out that there was a BMW dealer in Memphis that is right at 600 miles. I got right in and they serviced the bike in Memphis and I was on my way within 2 hours.
The ride through Tennessee and Arkansas were gorgeous. It was killing me to be on a tight timeline and not be able to really stop and check out some of the areas that I’m riding through. Although, when I got into Texas and first laid eyes on the Dallas skyline, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, as my North American warm up lap of 18,000 miles were coming to an end.I was planning on going to visit my daughter at the end of this leg but because I got so far behind schedule, she came to Dallas for my arrival and we spent a couple of days there with my brother and his wife. It was a good way to finish a long leg and certainly a long couple of days to get to Dallas.
One of the most scary parts of this trip was leaving my bike with my brother, who has not been on a bike for 30 years. Of course, I’m joking and I know its in good hands and I hope he has a chance to stretch his legs on the chariot that is going to carry me around the globe to 80 more countries!We have learned a lot on these 18,000 miles. Aside from some of the maintenance and all things associated with the bike, we have learned a ton about the media aspect of the trip. We’ve found there is a process that needs to be streamlined for the Blog, videos on YouTube, pics for the website and trying to journal as much of the trip as possible. It’s way more work on the media front than any of us thought it might be. To be honest, there are times that it takes away from the riding experience, so if at times, we are not putting out stuff as fast you may think we should, it’s because we are riding and we do all of our media in groups. None the less, we will keep up with it and we are getting better at it. I thank you for reading and following along. Please feel free to drop us a comment on our website www.EndOfAllRoads.com and let us know what you think!Now we go home to Guam until mid January and head to Mexico and beyond!Thanks Again for following!