Smoke Out 2010


If you have read all of this before the Second on January 2011 then you have 3 options

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    Before you start on these pages realise that there is a lot of Video\Slideshows so depending on your speed it may take a while to fully load. Now let's get to it.....

    The original idea was to do some 6000 miles '9654 Klms' but as things turned out we did 7725 miles or 12431 klms in 24 days and we had a blast. So as I said below is where we intended to go

    And this is where we actually went and we are damn glad we did, because this way we stayed with Harold and we met some of the nicest most hospitable people on the planet, namely Mike from Magnum Cycles from North Carolina and his beautiful wife Karol and Nancy from King City Cyles in Mt Vernon Illinios.

    Below is a list of overnight stops, we did go other places and meet a lot of interesting people but all that will be expanded on in the story

  • Las Vegas - Flagstaff Arizona
  • Flagstaff - Santa Rosa New Mexico
  • Santa Rosa - Oklahoma City Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma City - Ozarks Arizona
  • Ozarks - Memphis Tennessee
  • Memphis - Crossville Tennessee
  • Crossville - Maggie Valley North Carolina
  • Maggie Valley - Rockingham North Carolina
  • Rockingham - Munroe North Carolina
  • Munroe - Charlotte North Carolina
  • Charlotte - Beckley West Virginia
  • Beckley - Evansville Illinios
  • Evansville - Mt Vernon Illinios
  • Mt Vernon - St Louis Missouri
  • St Louis - Stroud Oklahoma
  • Stroud - Santa Rosa New Mexico
  • Santa Rosa - Roswell New Mexico
  • Roswell - Carlsbad New Mexico
  • Carlsbad - Lordsburg New Mexico (it's a big State ok)
  • Lordsburg - Lordsburg New Mexico (Harley died)
  • Lordsburg - Tombstone Arizona
  • Tombstone - Page Arizona
  • Page - Wendover Utah (Bonneville salt flats)
  • Wendover - Reno Nevada
  • Reno - Lone Pine California
  • Lone Pine - Las Vegas (Across Death Valley)
  • So there you have it our trip in a nutshell, Would I do it again? In a heartbeat - well maybe not the same route but there is so much more to see over there and I would most certainly like to see the friends again that I made along the way!

    So here we go

    Well the trip started for us on the 15th of June with a quick 14 hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, can't recommend V Australia highly enough (even in cattle class). Ding and I had a brief stopover in LA while we waited for our flight to Vegas. To kill some time we had a few beers, Samual Adams to be precise and it's a not bad at all but it came in glasses that resembled half yard rather a beer glass. Needless to say after 2 of them each we were pretty mellow which was just as well because our next flight was with

    piloted by 'Earl' and was held together with chewing gum

    We arrived in Vegas at around 11pm and it was bloody hot, well I guess after a morning of 2 degrees 38 at 11pm is a big jump. We did the rock star thing and took a limo over to Harrahs Casino, well for $50 it wasn't a bad deal. First thing we did was unpack and go get a beer, this place is friggin nuts I tell ya. We went into a bottle shop and bought a couple of bottles and used the opener on the counter and off we went beer in hand, you can buy a half yard of Pina Colada for $12 so beer at $2.50 a bottle was a good deal. One thing we noticed is that grog there in the bars is very expensive and you are much better off buying in at the Servo (yeah the Servo) for $6 a six pack or at the myriad of grogshops for around the same price. Anyhow a couple of beers and a dinner of Steak, eggs and chips fo $5.50 at 3.30 in the morning did the trick and it was off to bed. Harrahs is a decent place, if a little dated but hey we were there to ride so 2 queen beds for $55 a night suited just fine.

    I had been talking to a couple of guys on the Smoke Out Forum and at 7am sharp Ziggy rings, I mean who the hell rings at 7am when we have been on the piss till 3.30am, a bloody US Marine that's who. So up we got and the first thing I needed was a throw away mobile so I could keep in touch with home, my suggestion is DO NOT set up Global roaming on your phone from Aus but rather buy a $20 prepaid phone there. I got one from Verizon and I had coverage all over the States, makes Telstra coverage look very amatuerish. Quick call to Ron from Cycle Lease Vegas and he picked us up in his 'little' ute. This guy is the juice, excellent service (you understand why later) and him and Fred are top blokes, if your looking to go Vegas and you want to hire some bikes give him a call on 702-373-4845.

    After we loaded up we took off toward Hoover Dam and buggered if we didn't run into a traffic jam that spread out over 20miles but a quick jaunt up the shoulder and it was up the front for us and heading into Nevada for real. Photos cannot do justice to the scenery we saw, but you will find lots of happy scenery snaps in the galleries so knock yourselves out. Our first stop was Flagstaff Arizona, nice little town and a big feed of Buffalo wings, now 'IF' Buffalo did indeed have wings you would expect them to be huge right? wrong they're these horrible little rubber lumps of chicken flavoured (almost) stuff about the size of my left nut. Now some people do luv em, that's Buffalo wings not me landing gear, anyhow Harold ordered 50 of em but they didn't do it for me sorry but I swear he chubbied up hahahaha. Next morning it was breakfast at IHop that's the International House of Pancakes for the uniniated and let's just say it was an eye opener. Off we went towards Winslow and stopped at the Cruz-N-66 gas station on Route 66, yeah we called it petrol for a while but when in Rome as they say you tend to go with the flow.


    Now I have to say that if any of you a religious types please do not look at the slideshow presentation below, this was taken at a place called Groom in Texas at the largest cross in the Northern Hemisphere and surrounding the cross they have some amazing statues made of Christs last days. Well here goes and I did warn you

    And no before you ask I am not the Antichrist nor do I aspire to be, but I do have an interesting sense of humour that some may not exactly appreciate. But as I used to say back whan I was with the Boody Tourists (Band), if I say anything here that offends you your in the wrong fucking place.
    Now in talking about Harold I have to tell you that if you ever travel anywhere in world IF you ever meet a 'Harold' you will be indeed be a lucky man, Harold if you read this my friend, always walk with your head high a big smile onya dial and if they give you shit GIVE EM one for me. Halrold's riding wardrobe generally comprised of Boots, Shorts, a tshirt, cigar in the gob a German helmet on his bollard and a friggin shit eating grin. Here he is:
    Now the guy working at the Cruz was a very interesting guy indeed, when I asked him how far it was to Winslow he said it was around 120 miles and he had heard it was a nice place and he hoped to get there one day, now this guy was about 25 yrs old and he had NEVER been out of his County. I dunno about you but I find it hard to imagine that you would have no interest in travelling even 120 miles to check out what was out there. But Harold mentioned that everything he was seeing now was a first for him because he had never traveled before and some people are just happy with where they are in life and that's that and you know after a while I could start to see where these people were at. I traveled a long way and never met a one single bad tempered unhappy person, I am sure they exist somewhere but something about bikes draws us together and makes us instantly...friends. I took people at face value and found in every case they did the same. I admit my interaction didn't really expand past the biker fraternity but you know what? THAT suited me just fine I like real people just having fun.
    Now I think it only fair to advise that I wasn't always entirely sober, oh I know that will come as a shock to some of you but I confess it is true. I shall regale of one event and probably one event only if I wish to remain married (poor woman) but I do kinda like the old duck so I'd like her to stick around for a while. It was the first night we got into Santa Rosa New Mexico, we had just run down from Las Vegas which is some 750 miles Nth West and let me tell you in Summer, in the Nevada desert and then into the New Mexican desert it was bloody hot so we did the only sensible thing and went on over to the closest bar. We had great beer, great pizza, great company and interesting music. When we thought we better make our way to the camp site everyone started up and buggered off, leaving me press the big black button and no fire. We pulled the spark plugs, check the fuel tank and pump, all seemed good but still no go it'd kick over but refusd to start anyhow we pulled the fuel line off checked for fuel and put it back on and one click and she was running so off to the campsite we went. Oh ALL the boys came back when they realised that I wasn't with them. Anyhow we got to the campground which is next to the Baseball Diamond and thought we would have a nice quiet night but just as we were starting to relax the roar of half a dozen Shovels certainly enlivened the lads. The first guy I met was Pound Pound and we became friends the second he put a crystal bottle containing some beautiful scotch in my hand and said 'Try this' well needless to say that bottle didn't last real long. We passed it around whilst Beirdo and I discussed the relative merits of varying degrees of mechanical aptitude (can ya fix yer bike yourself) in the end we never reached a conclussion because quite frankly Beirdo was drunk this section has been censored to protect the stupid I tried to be sensible see, but they made me, those bad, dirty bikies hahahahahaha anyhow upshot is they went nuts so we drank all the beer and 2 bottles of Black Sambucca---GOD HELP US.
    Two things you need to know right now is that when you drink heaps you need sleep and engine oil is not an accellerant. Now to talk about explosives would you believe that you can buy fireworks everywhere and I'm not talking about the pissfarty ones we have at home but real ball tearers, including a personal favourite the Roman Candle. God I love the way the beautiful balls fly out the end of the tube and how they can make people run if they're aimed right LOL. How could anyone not enjoy themselves, excessive alcohol, fireworks, explosives of all kinds and no drama with anyone, it was so great (the previous comments may or may not be true and correct, they may just be for entertainment value) . The next day though I, to put it frankly felt like shit so we went into town for a breakfast burrito and horrible coffee. Then on over to the Blue Hole, it is an amazing place, the water looks enticing but don't be fooled cause when you jump in your nads will instantly shrink to the size of frozen peas and someone will place a bag over your head and smash your brains in with a shovel. Ok I may have exagerated the bit about the shovel but................... the rest of the day was spent relaxing (see hiding in a dark room) then the night came and all well made plans went to shit. You know the routine beer pizza more beer more beer than the spirits at around one in the morning arggh what a blast.
    Well it's another night and maybe another story or two (only the names are changed to protect the guilty. We all got up and registered for the Poker Run, the run was pretty cool, having to turn up at places like The Billy The Kid Musuem and the Hot Rod Musuem down on Route 66 New Mexico anyhow great day. The big stand out moments like Harold running out of juice in the middle of a desert and then him realising that he had lost the rear guard, somewhere!!! and also the Rego plate was gone and he had no brake lights. We knew right about that time that riding with Harold was going to be fun and certainly never dull. As great as the run was we were very interested to find out who won what and I thought that ending up with 2 pair wasn't that bad - but as it turns out, unfortunately it wasn't that good either but we'd had a great day so who cares. When we got back to Santa Rosa we went downtown to the bike show and so we didn't miss the minibike races, now to run in one of these you must have your own minibike (not pocket bike) and you must wear a costume the more out there the better. The race went to Julius Ceasar from the Lost Souls MC. We went round to get something to eat and decided to get a Turkey drumstick, let me tell you they were more the size of a bloody Emu and then round to the prizegiving for the show. Before they got fully underway they said they had a Special Recognition Award for me & Ding for coming to the States and ridng the Long road but for us the Long Road was just 20% of our trip.
    After injesting some chili and beans, christ I'm gunna stink later hahaha. I tell you I really do miss home cooking, the food here can best be described as 'colourful' anyhow it was back to the Bar, once again the beer was nice and cold and until quite late the music was great. We were listening to reasonbly solid rock when the music changes to Mariachi music and the place changes it demographic very quickly. So we wondered outside and jumped on the bikes, I must say that not having to wear a helmet was great. Got back to the Hotel and the carpark which had 6 bikes in it when we got there now had a few hundred, wondered through and had a chat with one or two riders on the way. Got waylayed and forced, yes forced to drink a fiendish mix of varying corn products thank god I was off to bed.
    Earlier, I believe I mentioned 'mad indians' so here goes, now before I start I must mention that I am not referring to native Americans here but Indians...from India. We pulled into Gallup, which is on the way to Oklahoma City and decided we needed a beer. Walked into the bottle shop and asked where the bar was and got 'next door next door' in a decidely Indian manner complete with obligitory head bobbling, to which I responded "You are not the sort of Indian I expected to find here". I found that there are in fact many Indians (non-native) running businesses such as Hotels whilst Indians of the Native variety are lucky if they get to work in those Hotels. It is kinda weird to go into a Hotel in Lone Pine California, which really is in the middle of absolutely no-where well actually it's on the edge of Death Valley but if you think about it Death Valley is pretty much no-where...oh and on a quick side point...Never saw one bloody pine tree in Lone Pine so what's the story there? the guy running the Hotel in Lone Pine was a serious curry muncher but friendly and helpful hell he even did our laundry and returned it to our room. Anyhow back to beautiful Gallup, we found a bar that was open amongst the ruins of this 'once town' the Mexican bar-maid was selling beer from the sinks full of ice behind the bar I think the power to the fridges was down because they were all off. After a quick beer "I wanted more but the lads wanted to hit the road" (booooo) it's not that I don't love ridin but hell it was hot outside and although it wasn't a great deal cooler inside, inside was were the beer was so I thought it would be an easy argument to win but alas I was outvoted by the 'let's ride' brigade so it was with much sadness I walked back outside into the desert heat to once again ride off into the sunset.
    From Gallup it was a quick trot over to Albuquerque for a quick fuel stop, got asked by 2 lots of junkies if we could give them money for gas. Guy that ran the Servo told us that there is a real problem there with drugs 'der ya think?' and that Albuquerque had a 76% unemployment rate. Apparently there is another of these mystical lines on the road that deliniates the city and if you live on one side you'll do alright but if you live on the 'bad' side your life will be not quite so rosey. I guess we all have experienced places with issues similar to these no matter where we live, but having said that I have never seen so many apparently hopeless people in one place before. Most everything around Alburquerque looks rundown and sad, at least in the parts I saw. We travelled through to Oklahoma City for a party at Brass Balls Bobbers not a bad night but the music was a bit lame, nice guys runnin it though. Stayed in a flash hotel overlooking the Major League Baseball diamond which was very nice indeed and then stayed out late and drank beer, nice beer too found it at a bar that had a two for one sale on. Next morning we took off for the Ozarks, Harold's bike played up (many bits had already fallen off - rear guard, seat bolts, exhaust system, Number plate to name a few) but you know what? the damn thing ran like a Timex watch "Took a lickin but kept on ticken" Ziggy was getting a little flustered with Harold's bikes ability to remain mobile in a forward type motion. 60 miles between fuel stops is ok as long as your not in a hurry, but when Ziggy got a flat Harold found it amusing but said nothing and we all chipped in to fix the problem there in the Ozarks.

    This video of RoadSide Marty coming accross the river in the Ozarks

    Jackin the bike up with a log and a rock, pulling and replacing the tube on the picnic table we had a blast oh and we did some drinking. Ding misplaced his camera and for a while got pretty pissed off but all was good when someone found the camera on the ground 'seems it fell out of Ding's pocket when he moved his bike'. Spent the night drinking corn squeezings in the shower block whilst Rat Man fixed his 63 Triumph Hardtail then got seriously bitten by Chiggers (horrible little ticks).
    Next stop Memphis Tennessee, ate a Rendesvous ribs joint, great food here. They have been making ribs to the same recipes since 1948 and you could tell, although the place certainly had old world charm and great food but by you paid for it. We went down to Beale Street to register (which we had to do at each stop) Beale Street is where all the bars and music joints are, we had a pretty wild night and had to carry Ding back to the Hotel at around 1AM as he was compeltely and utterly legless. Harold and I bumped into Jack Shit (Yeah that's his name) and went back to the bar. By about 3am we had to leave, damn place was closing. All was not lost, however as we got back near the Hotel a woman came across the road and said "If you don't give me a cigarette I'm going to kill myself" which bought forth questions like, How and exactly why? anyhow eventually she wore us down and she got her smoke. Jack did advise her that nothing was free so she flashed her tits for a smoke in Memphis at 3am, Jack did the only decent and filmed it on his phone no doubt to put it on the Net somewhere.
    It's kinda weird doing this a bit at a time but in a way it's great because I keep revisiting the States 'at least in my head' and it is mighty fine. Anyway back to business, we packed up and moved out of Memphis before it got too damn ----you guessed it---- HOT! We headed for Dear Run today (326 miles) and a night of Beer and Pizza or at least that's what we expected, instead we got to order our own Pizza and open the bar. Here comes the only criticism of the the Long Road, moreover how it was organised. Here were a group of like minded individuals all going to the same place but when we everyone gets there, there is no attempt to create a feeling of comraderie amongst the Long Roaders. We had all seen heaps and obviously had the same interests so why not organise events for the crew along the way. Dear Run was a waste, the pizza all gone and the Movies ending up being 'Z' Grade biker flicks one depicting Bikers as pack rapists and morons (now we may be stupid but.....). Everyone had the shits but the dude packed up the blow up screen at around 11pm and pissed off. Off to Maggie Valley tomorrow.
    Well its tomorrow, amazing how that happens isn't it, just like the movies but no admission ticket. On the way to Maggie valley we stopped in at Jackson Tennessee and the Casey Jones Musuem (told youse i was edjifucated) ate at a rather large chow house and offended a waitress because we didn't think her Southern accent was real broad. On to our real destination "Wheels Through Time", we passed through either Buck Snort or Elk Snort (can't remember which) the good thing about not remembering is that I suspect the people in the abovementioned 'Snort' can't use new fangled computers and all, probably can't read and quite possibly eat their young, needless to say even in you need to stop NEVER stop alone hahahahaha (I am sure the people there are real nice and I'm only messing with ya - is that Banjo's I can hear? Where was I? ah yes WTT, this place is without a doubt the closest you can get to biker heaven alive or dead. I will put up photos here but for those that want more I will provide a link to a large library (100s of photos) Parked up checked out WTT an then met the owner Dale and his son John and crew out in the shop. Harolds shifter lever had come adrift and for the last 50 miles he had been changing gears witha pair of vice grips. We wheeled his bike up the ramp to the shop, couldn't ride it because it was raining and the bike was not real well insulated. "we should have spent more time attending to that little detail" you'll see why later on. John welded the shifter in place and we were good to go, Dale showed me what a local vegetable could do and then it dawned on me how the non-mechanical guy fitted into the equation :). Below are a few shots taken at the musuem and below them is a slideshow of all of em.
    Here's a slideshow of all the photos I took at the Wheels Through Time Museum, enjoy.
    Now where the hell was I, hang on I'll just check up the page......Ah right Next stop Rockingham but before I get to the Rally let me tell you I have never seen so many churchs and so few bars in my life ever. It was damn scarey, they all pray AND carry guns, but I am sure they are nice people as long as you wern't a BLASPHEMER!!!!!! then my son you are royally screwed. Highways are tricky sometimes and we took a wrong turn and ended up in Sth Carolina the up side was the fuel was cheap $2.49 a gallon (3.8 litres) and the people had the most amazing accents ever. Anyhow Lo-Raine yep that was her name was real friendly and pointed us in the right direction, we didn't feel too bad though becasue apparently a lot of other guys had done the same thing. we also made a bad decision outside of Charlotte and zigged when we should have zagged and ended up smack bang in the middle peak hour, finally hit Rockingham,pulled in around 5pm set up the tent and relaxed. We were a bit concerned because security was checking all trikes and trailors for contraband 'Explosives and Alcohol' and as we had roughly $300 worth of bungers in there not to mention to grog I was thinking we were going to loose it. Now I dunno If I told you but as we were going across from New Mexico to Nth Carolina everyone commented on Harolds bike and rightly so. Harold rode that rigid Yamaha 650 with NO front brakes whilst towing a trailor that weighed roughly the same as the bike 'On a sheet steel seat' Well he goes to the gate to get a ticket, security are so impressed they let him through the Trade and NO check. After we ste the tent up we cracked the esky, Harold and I had bought these 600ml cans of LOKO which is 12% Lemonade and only $2.75 so we were shit faced pretty quick that night let me tell ya which was just as well because the storm that came to drown us later was... I'll let the photos tell the story threatened to wash us away. Hell we were drunk it was warm and we were having a blast, we all should have realised at around 11pm when the burn outs started that it would all end badly but as I said earlier we were drunk etc.
    Before I go any further I point out that although somewhat smashed I had the presence of mind to leave my camera back in the tent so I wouldn't stuff it by falling into a ditch somewhere. So I have no photos of the nighttime entertainment, got few random shots so I'll stick em in. At about midnight I got into a Roman Candle fight and was dancing very well thankyou until Iturned around to return fire and noticed a headlight coming straight at me I jumped to my right and the handlebars just brushed my ribs. I landed in the gravel, of course it has to be gravel doesn't it can't be nice soft grass. The guys came back to apologise but Tick Tock advised him that it would be a good idea if he left about now and park his bike like a good little boy and didn't argue, Tick Tock can be very persuasive you know.
    Well some time has passed and I am once again behind the keyboard, plodding along with a nice glass of red and real nice buzz on, so who knows how long I will stay on tonight. Anyhoo back to Rockingham just in time to see this

    The next day was really really horrible it was hot and bloody humid and as Harold had made me drink that friggin lemonade and then anything else that came to hand the night before I was sick and unlike Harold I couldn't sleep under the truck. I did the only honourable thing I jumped on the bike, rode into town,stopped at the first hotel, asked on simple question - "Do you have air conditioning? he said "Yes" and I said "Done" and for the next three hours I took it in turn to shower then sit in the room without drying myself and letting the cool breeze chill me down "Hey I said I was sick OK" must have been something I ate. Anyway I got better as the day went on (not a lot) but I was very sensible and did not drink much at all. The next morning I got back to the campsite to find that Ziggy had gone back to Base (he's a Marine) before I got there, shame I missed him, nice bloke and I wish him safety and health.

    We, me, Harold and Ding had decided we had had enough of the heat and would head North towards the Great Lakes. Only one probelm though, Harold's trailor hitch had completely fractured and dropped a piece out so he had to decide whether to leave the trailor behind or try to find a welder.
    Harold being Harold mentioned he had met this guy the night before who built Custom Frames in Munroe Nth Carolina, enter Mike. Now this was a guy I liked straight away he was friendly helpful and could get us back on the road. We moved out to go to his place which apparently was 60 miles away or thereabouts but as we came out of the gate instead of turning right toward the servo's he turned left because there were less stops so Harold wouldn't be putting to much strain on what was left of the frame with continual braking. Hmmm problem I need juice, if I go right they might not notice as I am at the back, if I speed up to tell them i will waste juice or I go left, surely there will be a servo up there..............NO. So I ran out of juice on the highway. Mike sorted it and we all got his place, a nice setup. We had been there for a couple of hours and you could see that we were going to be there a few more. Mike's wife Karol turns up with chicken burgers and beer and mate didn't we appreciate that, anyhow back into it Harold and Mike working to get all the issues sorted. Frame, fuel, brakes were just a few but hey who's keeping score and it kept on running.
    I have to admit here that one thing that happened in the shop was particularly funny and that was Harold patching the tyre, I swear he patched it in one spot and it would pop a leak elsewhere, well after about 10 patches he reckoned it was gunna hold when Karol came out and tells us to wash up as dinner is ready inside with the family 'true I swear it' but on one condition and that was that Harold had to have a shower well to be honest he looked like shit (hey but nice shit you understand) and then Karol asked if he "sweated for a living" I mean I have never seen that much water come out of one person. The long and the short is we didn't finish to near midnight and the to finish the night off Karol told us we were staying and they had rooms for us but of course harold had to have another shower. I hope Mike and Karol read this because you guys are quite simply the best.
    Above is Mike's Thruxton motored rigid bloody beautiful. Mike had it for sale for $5000 if I could register it here I would buy it.
    Well, best laid plans and all that, Harolds tyre made it to Charlotte and then we had to wait for 3 hours to the shop to put the new tyre on - 3 'F-ing' hours but it did give me and Ding the chance to have a close look at the bikes in the attached showroom. The up side here is I learned a valuable point there and that is I can buy a bike from a dealer in Charlotte, ride it for 4 weeks, put 8-9,000 miles on it, take it back to the same dealer and providing I haven't stuffed it he'll give me my buy price less 20% and can make for a cheap bike hire. $5,000 will get you pretty much any form of Jap cruiser up to the 1000cc mark or a 3-4 yr old Sportster or a myriad of crutch rockets and Jap Tourers, one GTR1000 Kwaka was very nice with only 15,000 miles on it for $4,900. We fially got onto the right highway and made it into Virginia and this place is beautiful in some parts and breathtaking in others, unfortunately we also headed into a storm a BIG storm.
    Now I'm not sure if I have mentioned that Harold's bike isn't real keen on getting wet and to show it's dissatisfaction with the current state of the weather it bloody well stopped, in the middle of the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel. Now here's the video (be patient as I have no idea how to edit out the bit at the start ok! shit I'm a biker not a producer) Gotta admit though 28 seconds seems a bloody long time.

    Imagine that truck coming up behind you in the dark so now you've see the Big Walker for yourself 'live' because no matter how well versed I may seem the fact is I was shitting myself in that tunnel I mean chuck yer jocks away kiss yer arse goodbye shitting myself and yet without you being there you cant fully appreciate what it's like riding in a dark tunnel at about 5 kph with the hazards on (ah I love hazard lights) with semi's roaring through at 80 miles an hour. We lived so I guess it's all good, we then dawdled into Beckley West Virginia found the Super 8 booked in and went to Hooters had a couple of beers and off to bed. Ding gave the waitress in Hooters a hard time because he just wanted was steak and chips and he got the fourth degree about what sauce, how do you want blah blah blah but I thought she was pretty good. After all when I ordered the crab legs I thought it would be meat but no it was crab legs, in the shell for f-sss sake and I hate peeling shit. So the waitress sat there and peeled every one and put the meat on my plate so you know I tipped her pretty well.
    Next morning it was up early and with no hangover which is always a bonus we headed over to Walmart so Harold could get some sockets to adjust his clutch as at the moment he really didn't have one. Quick workshop session in the car park and Harold got to feel what gear changes should be like and let me tell you he loved it. Ding and I headed over to the local ATM to get some cash (yeah when the Aussie dollar was at 78 cents) and Ding took off but without his card so I pulled it out, stuck it in my wallet and waited to see how long before he realised he didn't have it. Beautiful day today so off to Huntington Kentucky where we stopped for lunch at the Central Cafe, great food and the Triple Berry pie was the ducks guts. After lunch we headed off to Lexington and then on to Louisville "damn nice place" stopped for the night in Evansville nothing of note there, next morning we were just getting to Mt Vernon Illinios when Harolds bike finally up and completely shit itself. Seems when harold lent his battery to one of the boys on the Long Road he fried his electrical system and so 'terminal' it was. We met the great people from King City Cycles in Mt Vernon Illinois, need to point out here that Nancy (the owner) kept correct Harold about the way he said 'Illinoise' was damn funny. These people did so much, organised a trailor to pick up Harolds bike, let us use the phones, computer and told us where to get a good lunch in town. Then they completely dismantled Harolds bike so he could fit it in the boot of a hire car (that was my idea hahaha) and you know what they charged Harold ZERO this just would not happen in Australia no matter what unless I guess you were great friends of the owner and even then..... So if you are ever near Mt Vernon drop in and say g'day and tell the Aussies sent you I gaurantee you will not be dissappointed they are just great folk.
    Funny how sometimes adversity can have some great side effects and this was to be one of those times. The following are just a few random photos of my friend Harold
    You know I ride bikes, drink beer and have some bad habits and one of them is I hate to sit down and sort stuff out, takes too much time and all that. So although I will come back with more of the story when I remove the digit I have set up a nice slideshow for you to watch. There are 100 photos in here so it will take a while to see them all, but hey it's quicker for me so i don't have to code every bloody one hahahahaha.
    Well we took Harold over to St Loius had one last night on the piss with him and the next morning bid a very sad goodbye. Ding and I rode on to Wilsons Creek Missouri to the site of the first battle of the American Civil War, very peacefull place now but not so on August 10, 1861. At this site Nathaniel Lyon became the first Union general killed in combat, the house where he was carried to and the bed he was laid to rest in are still there.
    Rode into Stroad that night and stopped ove, very uneventful but 450 miles today was a pretty long one I guess. Next day we set off back toward New Mexico and Santa Rosa, Ding ran out of juice on the border and I had to ride off into the great unknown to find a servo. i then proceeded to run out just as i rolled up to the petrol pump lucky or what? Got into Santa Rosa and went straight to the bar to eat pizza and drink tequila yehaa, next morning realised that last night was not such a great idea but hey ya get that and after another 450 nile day we deserved a drink or 10. Next day saw us head in Roswell New Mexico just in time for the Annual Alien Convention so the town was packed full of nutters.
    After leaving Roswell we headed down to Carlsbad to have a squiz at trhe caverns, this place was huge. The main cavern is the size of 14 US Football fields, I've put a few photos here but 1 in particular took my fancy due to it looking like a giant tit. The birds by the way are Vultures and they were everywhere but these roosted in the phone tower across from our hotel, a hotel run by another Indian (of the curry munching variety)and the buildings is actually a hotal at the caverns. Next morning we were on the way to Phoenix Arizona and decided to stop for the night at Lordsburg, we stopped for juice and thought I would check the oil, I near shit. The dipstick said nothing I put a pint in and it started to register and another half and she was hot/level so off we went to Lordsburg.

    I have made an executive decision, this story is too big for 1 page so if and I do mean "if" you feel you simply must read on then go
    to Part 2
    and for those of you that have had enough "piss off I never liked you anyway" hahahahahaha. Either way cheers

    Sons of Aus - PROUD to Associate