The Big Ride – Culture and the Arts! (New Mexico)

Two of the States that I have always wanted to visit were Texas and New Mexico, so having the opportunity to visit them back to back was incredibly amazing.  As you know from my last post, Texas surpassed my expectations.  Well, that was also the case with New Mexico!

I was able to spend time in Las Vegas, New Mexico – a small historical town , along with a couple days in Santa Fe.  What a wonderful experience it’s been visiting New Mexico.

My first stop was in Las Vegas, NM, which was established in 1835.  The little town was built around a central plaza in a traditional Spanish style with a plaza surrounded by buildings that would have been used to fortify the city in the event of an attack. With the arrival of the railway in 1880, the town became notorious for it’s reputation of murderers, robbers, thieves, gamblers and  gunmen, including Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Big Nose Kate…I wonder how she got her name…Jesse James, Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp. What’s interesting is that some parts of the town appear to still have a similar “flavour” 🙂

Here’s a few of my favorite photos from Las Vegas, NM.

One of the local
The Plaza Hotel, which apparently is “haunted”

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I could pull this behind my Harley as a spare set of wheels :)
I could pull this behind my Harley as a spare set of wheels 🙂

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From Las Vegas, I headed towards Santa Fe, NM.  The scenery was exceptional!  Here are a few photos from along the way.

One of the many valleys that adorn New Mexico
One of the many valleys that adorn New Mexico


Amazing scenery on the way to Santa Fe, NM
Breathtaking scenery on the way to Santa Fe, NM
There were numerous rock formations like this along the way
There were also a lot of arid dessert like areas along the way
The roadways swept through the mountains and hillsides making for some very nice riding!


My travels included a stop at the historic Nambe Trading Post off Route 503.  It’s one of the last authentic trading posts in the area.  There I met Jennifer Jesse Smith, one of the owners of the shop and a local artist. What a wonderful experience that turned out to be.  Jennifer took the time to show me around the trading post and provided a commentary about the wonderful collection she has at the Trading Post, including numerous authentic native artifacts and an array of fabulous pieces of local art, such as handcrafted jewelry, locally woven native blankets, pottery, paintings and more.  Included in the collection were a number of native costumes made by her mother, Cathy A. Smith, the Emmy award winning designer, made for the movie Dances with Wolves which starred Kevin Costner.  If you are in New Mexico, stopping in at the Nambe Trading Post is a must!  Here are a few photos of what you might find there.

Tee-pee made by Cathy A. Smith for her daughter Jennifer Jesse to play in when she was young girl
Tee-pee made by Cathy A. Smith, Emmy-winning costume designer, for her daughter Jennifer Jesse to play in when she was a little girl
Outside the Nambe Trading Post, NM
The Nambe Trading Post, NM

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Costumes made by Emmy-winning costume designer, Cathy A. Smith for use in the movie, Dances with Wolves
Costumes made by Emmy-winning costume designer, Cathy A. Smith for use in the movie, Dances with Wolves
Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves, wearing one of the costumes designed by Cathy A. Smith, co-owner of the Nambe Trading Post
Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves, wearing one of the costumes designed by Cathy A. Smith, co-owner of the Nambe Trading Post

Here are a few other photos that I found interesting.

A fence crafted from small branches
Historic wagon outside of the Nambe Trading Post



Seen at a local cemetery
Seen at a local cemetery
The fireplace at my hotel in Santa Fe

My time spent touring around Santa Fe is worthy of its own post…stay tuned for Part 2 of “Culture and the Arts!”

The Big Ride – Until we meet again (Texas)

I must say that I’ve enjoyed the past six days in Texas riding through the majestic Yellow Pine forests, through the hill sides and across the grasslands that went on forever until they touched the sky somewhere far off in the distance.  The vast canyons called out to my soul as I traveled over the lands where many a great warrior had gone before me and I was able to share the passion of my dream with numerous locals along the way.

My last stop in Texas was in Amarillo where I visited the notorious Cadillac Ranch that is somewhat immersed after the tumultuous rain falls experienced in Texas a few weeks ago, not to mention a little shopping pleasure and of course being a carnivore at heart what would be a trip through the “cattle state” without enjoying a great steak dinner!

Here are a few final photos for your viewing pleasure:







Cadillac Ranch - the cars are in a pretty big puddle after the horrendous rains in Texas in the past number of weeks.
Cadillac Ranch – the cars are in a pretty big puddle after the horrendous rains in Texas in the past number of weeks.


Yup...they're everywhere and Walmart has a huge selection!

Yup…they’re everywhere and Walmart has a huge selection!

I understand the principle but it scares me!
I understand the principle but it scares me!
I caught one!
I caught one!


A little shopping pleasure before leaving the state:

My new cowgirl boots
My new cowgirl boots
An addition to my collection of belts and buckles
An addition to my collection of belts and buckles
My new friend
A new friend

Go big or go home!


Go big or go home!
Go big or go home!


From here my amigos….I’m New Mexico bound!

The Big Ride – When in Rome (Marlin Texas)

The past few days riding across Texas have been memorable.  After leaving Nacogdoches I had the pleasure of chatting with a couple of locals in Marlin, Texas, a small town that was at one time known for its mineral hot spring and a buzz of activity with many people visiting to benefit from its healing properties.

An exuberant Beth Scruggs and her friend Earnest Cluck provided me with an incredible amount of information about that town and its history.  Beth recounted how her father, now 87 was the owner of one of the largest herds of Texas Long Horns.   She went on to say that the Hilton Hotel chain built its eighth high rise hotel in the town to provide accommodations for the many visitors who once flocked to what was a vibrant bustling little town.  The lavish 110 room facility was built by Conrad Hilton in 1929 with a tunnel that led to a bath house across the street.

Visitors included the New York Giants Team who came to Marlin during their spring training between 1908 to 1918 to take advantage of the healing mineral waters.

4th Hilton 4th hilton2

Wanting to learn more about the mineral springs and the “little town that was”, I rode over to the Chamber of Commerce to check it out.  There I met Dusty Rhodes, a 67 year old local who claimed that from the time he was a young boy he’s been drinking the water as part of his daily regime.  He was there at the spring collecting water to take home for bathing.

Marlin, Texas - The mineral water capital of Texas
Marlin, Texas – The mineral water capital of Texas


Doing as the Romans do
Doing as the Romans do

Being the curious type and wanting to do as the Romans do….literally and figuratively speaking, I took the plunge.  Not only did I experience relief when I soaked my hot tired feet in the mineral water…my feet had been stuck in my hot motorcycle boots all day.  I also drank a full glass of the hot salty water.  I must admit I think it made a difference.  I feel wiser as a result and I think I’m a little taller too.  Oh wait…that’s from those new cowgirl boots I bought…but now I’m getting ahead of myself in my story telling and will have to leave that for another blog 🙂

Stay tuned…there’s more to come!

The Big Ride – When the unexpected turns into the spectacular (Little Grand Canyon – Texas)

Riding through Texas has brought so many amazing experiences and riding into Palo Duro Canyon was one of them.  The magnificence of the Canyon was far more than I had anticipated.  From the research I did when planning my trip I knew it was referred to as the Little Grand Canyon.  What I wasn’t aware of was that I would be able to ride down into the base of the canyon on my motorcycle.  Doing so was nothing short of spectacular!

As I started to descend into the canyon I was in a complete state of awe and wonderment at the beauty that unfolded before me.  The layers of the richly coloured rock that was millions of years old called out to me as I navigated my way through the park.  As I rode deeper into the Canyon I could feel the presence of the Comanche Indians who dwelled there just a little over a century ago.  As I looked up to the ridge, in my minds eye I could see them as they prepared for the battle against the US Army that would result in them being forced out of the 120 mile long expansive paradise.  This was the Comanche’s last stronghold.

Palo Duro Canyon, Mexico
Palo Duro Canyon, Mexico
“The Little Grand Canyon”

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Palo Duro Canyon, Texas The Little Grande Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
The Little Grand Canyon

And for those of you who would like to be a part of the ride, here’s a video clip of some of what I experienced while in the Canyon.

Finally, here are a few additional photos to amuse you

Yup...Texan Armadillo Poo It's a big seller out this way
Yup…Texan Armadillo Poo It’s a big seller out this way
Twist and shout!
Twist and shout!

The Big Ride – Plans…ever changing (Nacogdoches, Texas)

As I made my way west I had the unfortunate experience of being stuck in traffic on the I-10 a few miles outside  of Orange, my first destination in Texas.  I haven’t been using the freeways on this trip but every now and again it’s a necessity, as it was a couple of days ago.  It was Saturday, traffic was heavy and there was a short stretch of construction that resulted in hours…and I mean hours of sitting on the hot pavement idling along and slow riding in first gear.  After an hour I pulled off into a truck weigh station to let my bike cool down and after the second hour I was fortunate enough to be able to pull off at the Texas Travel Center and benefit from their air conditioning and some fresh water.  It was about 40 degrees Celsius that afternoon without taking the humid-ex into consideration or the heat off of my bike.

Lesson learned:  travel during the cooler part of the day by leaving earlier and  check the internet for possible construction delays.

On the other hand, my experience has been that with every challenge comes a blessing and stopping in at the travel center that day and speaking with one of the staff members was just that.  She suggested that I include a visit to Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas to my route.  What an awesome suggestion it turned out to be!

I took Route 87 through the Sabine National Forest which is treed with beautiful Yellow Pine.  The scent of the pine filled my senses as I wound my way through the majestic forest.  When I reached Nacogdoches I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a town that was rich with both history and beauty of every kind.

First of all, the little town wasn’t so little.  It has a thriving University with an established forestry and agriculture program which adds a youthful and vibrant air to the town.  A walk through the university’s arboretum was a delightfully refreshing experience on a sunny hot Sunday afternoon.


University Arboretum
University Arboretum












Initially Nacogdoches was an Indian settlement prior to Spain establishing a mission there in 1716.  In the early 1800’s when Tejas (that isn’t a typo and was the original Spanish name for Texas) was still part of Mexico, Nacogdoches was considered the “Gateway” as settlers moved north during this era when Mexico encouraged migration and colonization to the region which is now the state of Texas.

After the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed in 1836 another significant event took place that changed the face of  Nacogdoches.  In 1866 the first oil field in Texas was discovered in Nacogdoches county. Yup…Black Gold…Texas Tea!

Oil Sprngs - Nacogdoches County 1866
Oil Springs – Nacogdoches County 1866











Here are a few photos of the town, as well as a couple video clips that I’ve put together for your viewing pleasure.















The Nacogdoches Visitor Information Centre
The Nacogdoches Visitor Information Centre













Here’s a two short videos of some incredible architecture in the historic town of Nacogdoches.

If Texas happens to be on your bucket list, I recommend that you add Nacogdoches to your itinerary.  Be sure to stop into the town’s visitor center and while there speak with Mark if he’s around as he has a wealth of knowledge about the local history and is a delight to speak with. The center has a plethora of historical exhibits that you may find interesting as well.

Mark, thank you for all of the information on your beautiful town and for the many travel suggestions you shared!

The Big Ride – Miles and miles and miles (Creole Nature Park – Louisiana)

It’s been a few days since I’ve made a post to the blog.  Although in some respects it feels like only a short time ago, in reality, it’s been miles and miles and miles and on a road trip a lot can happen in three days.  Road trips are like that.  Time passes quickly and upon reflection it’s sometimes difficult to recall all of the interesting details but I’ll do my best…just for you.

The last time I posted I was in Morgan City, LA and I had just toured Oak Alley Plantation after leaving New Orleans.  While heading towards Lake Charles I stopped in the historic town of New Iberia to take a couple of photos.

While there I went into the library…I know it sounds strange but road trips lead you to interesting places.  The truth of the matter was that it was about 38 degrees Celsius with plenty of humidity and the library was air conditioned and had facilities.   There I met Jackie, a woman who works there.  She is formerly from Canada and now lives in New Iberia.  She and her colleague chatted with me about the area and suggested I check out a little town called Beaux Bridge located a few miles north.  Thank you ladies for the suggestion!


Spanish moss adorning a majestic oak tree
Spanish moss adorning a majestic oak tree
Interesting to learn that New Iberia was home to a Prisoner of War camp during the WWII
Interesting to learn that New Iberia was home to a Prisoner of War camp during the WWII
New Iberia close to the library
New Iberia close to the library

New Iberia 2IMG_0028

Beaux Bridge is a quaint little town with interesting shops and cafes, including one called “Joie de Vivre” where I was able to treat myself to a frozen latté while being able to admire some local art.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from there.

Beaux Bridge
Beaux Bridge

Breaux Bridge

Breaux Bridge Art

Walkway at Beaux Bridge
Walkway at Beaux Bridge

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The following day led me south of Lake Charles to the Creole Nature Trail which is a 180 mile long loop that includes Louisiana Highway 27 which runs through a part of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs inland from the Great Lakes at home, along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the US down through the Gulf of Mexico.

I set out with hopes of finding an alligator farm and perhaps taking advantage of being close to the sea to enjoy one last roadside lunch of craw-fish.  The scenic byway surpassed my expectations! The vistas were breathtaking! And visiting with the locals who were parked along the roadside and pull offs to take advantage of the crabbing and fishing was equally as refreshing.

I never did find an alligator farm but to my delight, when I stopped at one of the walkways there was an alligator in the wild that was hanging out there.  Yup…alligators hang out waiting for tourists to show up 🙂  I think that locals fed him despite the warnings not to.  Here’s a couple of short videos from the trip through the Creole Nature Trail.

Oh…and I also found a great place to enjoy a craw-fish lunch.  I love when it all comes together!!


I’ll try to catch up with the blogging over the next day or two.  It’s been a couple of very hot days in Texas…sizzle sizzle sizzle!

sizzle sizzle sizzle!
sizzle sizzle sizzle!

The Big Ride – Memories that live on (Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana)

After leaving New Orleans, LA (Wednesday June 4, 2015) I headed towards Morgan City, LA with a stop at the historic Oak Alley Plantation which is located on River Road (Highway 18) near Vacherie, LA just west of New Orleans.

The history was richly recounted by our guide who told stories about the fate of the handful of owners, including the last one who remained happily on the plantation for over 40 years after her husband passed and is now resting peacefully beneath one of the mighty oaks that adorn this magnificent property.

This palatial house was breathtaking! It was built over a two year period and was completed in 1839. It had fallen into a state of ruin after the Civil War and was restored with impeccable care and attention to detail by the second owners.  The tour was brought to life by our guide Jess, who was dressed in period attire and was exceptional in her story telling.  The tour also included information provided by a Civil War historian, Andre Jacob, who was on site and gave a passionate overview of the impact the war had on the plantation and its owner at that time.

In addition, there were replications of the sparse quarters that would have been used to house the 100+ slaves who worked on the plantation planting and harvesting the sugar cane, maintaining the livestock and the house.

While in New Orleans, I read that when slaves in the north were sold to plantation owners, many chose to take their lives rather than being sent to New Orleans to work on the plantations. After touring the plantation I understood why.  In addition to the risk of contracting malaria  and yellow fever, they were often separated from their families, working conditions were brutal, accommodation sparse and the summer heat unbearable.

Here is a video that will provide you with a glimpse of what it was like.

When I left the plantation I felt a part of the South and closer to those who had lived and worked there…and to those who remain.

The Big Ride – New experiences of every kind! (Gulf Coastal Regional Florida / Biloxi, Mississippi

Over the past few days I’ve ridden through the Gulf Coastal Region of Florida and the word that comes to mind is “breathtaking”.  The beaches are pristine and like no other that I’ve experienced in my time here on this beautiful planet on which we live.  If the Universe is willing I hope to one day return to these parts.  Here is a short video of Navarre Beach located on Santa Rosa Island south east of Pensacola, FL.

My travels also took me to Biloxi, Mississippi which was incredibly historic and filled with new experiences.  Located on the Gulf of Mexico, it was one of the areas devastated by the tropical storm Katrina in 2005.  Some of the buildings were under 30 feet of water, while others were washed away as a result of this powerful hurricane.  As I drove along the shoreline the many empty lots with only the  remains of a foundation or a deserted parking lot reminded me of how lives were dramatically changed as a result of the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States.  Many of the businesses have rebuilt or renovated after the storm and life continues to flourish in this beautiful city.  An example of this is the White House Hotel which was one of the places submerged under 30 feet of water.  It reopened in the past year after extensive renovations.

The White House Hotel, Biloxi MS was submerged under 30 feet of water as a result of Katrina
The White House Hotel, Biloxi MS was submerged under 30 feet of water as a result of Katrina

Whitehouse hotel and bike

The visit to this elegant hotel and restaurant was recommended to me by Ed Miles, a wonderful volunteer I met at the Biloxi Tourist Information Centre.  Another beautiful location in the city!

Biloxi Tourist Information Centre
Biloxi Tourist Information Centre

Here are a few photos of the historic French Quarters.  The area is filled with beautiful little shops, businesses and restaurants, including the Half Shell, a wonderful oyster bar where I had dinner.  Yes I did it!  I tried raw shucked oysters on the half shell.

A first that turned out well!
A first that turned out well!
Biloxi French Quarter
Biloxi French Quarter
Biloxi French Quarter
Biloxi French Quarter
Biloxi French Quarter
Biloxi French Quarter

In  addition to having a wonderful restaurant district, the city has a number of casinos…another first for me.  I’ve lived a sheltered life and not played the slots before which resulted in another favourable experience.  I walked away $33 richer after a few minutes…Ben & Jerry’s were the next to benefit…a win-win experience from my perspective 🙂

Hard Rock Casino
Hard Rock Casino

Biloxi also has a working marina and is home to a large fishing fleet.  The sky is reflective of the heat which reached 38 degrees Celsius earlier in the day.  Yup…it was a little warm riding into the city.  Earlier that day I managed to miss two major showers as I rode towards Biloxi.  You have to love that!

Biloxi marina
Biloxi marina

Biloxi Pier2Biloxi Pier

Biloxi Lighthouse
Biloxi Lighthouse

This was seen on the back of a state police vehicle…a great investment strategy 🙂


From here my journey has taken me to New Orleans, Louisiana – It’s an amazing fun filled city that is worthy of a blog of its own!  I’ll get back to you when the music stops 🙂

The Big Ride – All good things come to an end….but only to get better! (Florida)

Yesterday, May 29, 2015, marked the end of my visit to Daytona Beach, FL as I started to make my way west.  Initially I felt disappointed about leaving the Atlantic seaboard as I always enjoy being close to the ocean.  Here is a short video of the “Daytona Beach Strip”.  I hope you enjoy it.

The ride to Perry, FL was relatively sedate with an awesome breakfast stop in Astor at a little locally owned establishment located close to the Ocala National Forest. I had the feeling that it was going to be one the best when the little parking lot was full of pickup trucks.  I had an egg served with “corned beef hash” along with a warm biscuit fresh from the oven.  It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had since leaving home.  I sure enjoy “doing as the Romans do!”

Sparky's Restaurant located in Astor, FL, just east of Ocala National Forest
Sparky’s Restaurant located in Astor, FL, just east of Ocala National Forest


After breakfast I continued through the Ocala / Marion country which is termed as the horse capital of the world with more 70,000 acres of thoroughbred breeding and training farms.  The sprawling horse ranches consisted of some very impressive properties.  The video can hardly do it justice.

After my stay in Perry, FL, I headed out this morning towards Panama City, FL on Highway 98 which is the coastal route along the Gulf of Mexico also known as the Emerald Gulf.  The ride was breathtaking!  The route wound gracefully along miles and miles of pure white sandy beaches and the aqua marine colored water as it sparkled under the sunny skies. The warm salty breeze was welcomed as temperatures soared to a high of 33 degrees Celsius.  What was most impressive were the expansive bridges that linked the many islands and gulfs that in some cases went on for miles!  The Gulf is known for its oyster and bay scallop industry.

Here is a clip of the ride to the historic St George Island.  The bridge is an impressive 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) long!

Here is another short film of some of the shoreline from today’s ride,  Tomorrow will be much the same – lucky me!

The Big Ride – Timing is everything! (Daytona Beach Florida – Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Dealership)

It’s interesting how things work out.  Over the past few days I was experiencing some problems with my bike when trying to shift up into second gear.  I know…I know…it’s a Harley 🙂

When I rolled into Daytona Beach at the end of the day I stopped at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley Davidson Dealership and arranged to stop back this morning thinking it was a minor clutch adjustment.  Later in the afternoon I happened to be by a Yamaha dealership and asked if they could adjust my clutch cable.  When looking at it the mechanic thought that there might be a problem with the inner primary and suggested I have it looked at.  Thank you Daytona Fun Machines for the excellent diagnositcs!

This morning when I returned to the Harley Davidson Dealership I was impressed not only with the service experience but also with their efficiency and the hospitality that was extended.  The Service Advisor, Jacob Snyder, ensured that  my bike was looked at as soon as I arrived, while the Customer Relations Manager, Jean Abeling took the time to tell me about their impressive dealership, one of the largest in North America.  She also introduced me to one of the principles, Mandy Rossmeyer Campbell who was interested in learning more about the epic motorcycle trip that I was on.

Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Harley Davidson Dealership where Highway 1 meets the I-95
Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley Davidson Dealership where Highway 1 meets the I-95

I must say that the Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Dealership is like none-other that I’ve been in.  First of all I rode my bike into the dealership when I checked it in.  From there it is placed on a ramp that took it up to the second floor where there were 42 bays.  The dealership has a coffee shop, smartphone charging stations, merchandise and parts, chroming and detailing as well as the the late Mr. Rossmeyer’s bike collection on display.  Here are a few photos from the dealership.

Checking my bike into the Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Harley Davidson Dealership
Checking my bike into the Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Harley Davidson Dealership

Smartphone stations

Lounge area and coffee shop inside dealership
Lounge area and coffee shop inside dealership


collection2 collection3

Working on my tan in sunny Daytona Beach
Working on my tan in sunny Daytona Beach

My repairs were covered under my extended warranty so while my baby was in having the sprocket replaced  in the inner primary, along with a new shifter, I was enjoying another day in sunny Daytona Beach.  This included some much needed beach time and an opportunity for my legs to see a little sun.  If you know me well, my legs are always white at the end of riding season so the odd day of sun is always welcomed 🙂

As well, I had the opportunity to check out some local favorites and enjoyed dinner at a great BBQ spot called the Daytona Pig Stand.  It was a carnivours delight! I ordered a combination plate of BBQed ribs, brisket and smoked chicken.  Hmmmm

A carnivour's delight!
A carnivour’s delight!


pig stand2

Pig Stand decor
Pig Stand decor

The decor was a little on the wild side as well 🙂


After dinner I stopped off at the Iron Horse Salon and Kyla, one of the employees provided me with a personal tour of their establishment which was interesting.  I can only imagine how interesting this place must be during Daytona Bike Week when there are about 100,000 bikers in the area.

Iron horse saloon
Iron Horse Saloon


Iron horse saloon2Iron horse saloon3

The Tree House
The Tree House

Now that my baby is back on the road I’ll be heading out in the morning to see more of Florida.  Stay tuned…there’s more to come!

The Big Ride – Heavenly Sunshine (Florida)

My ride on Welcome to FloridaWednesday, May 27, 2015 took me from Savannah, Georgia to Daytona Beach, Florida with a stop in St Augustine, Florida.  Not having visited Florida before, I took advantage of stopping at the Tourist Centre when I crossed the state line.  It was an impressive centre offering numerous free publications, informative staff and “fresh Florida orange juice”.

Enjoying fresh Florida orange juice at the State Information Centre
Enjoying fresh Florida orange juice at the State Information Centre

The stop in St Augustine was very pleasant.  What a beautiful little town. The weather was warm…okay it was darn right hot out yesterday and by the time I left I was riding without my motorcycle jacket in an effort to keep me from melting into the pavement.

You know you are south when all you can see in the distance are palm trees
You know you are south when all you can see in the distance are palm trees

St Augustine is one of the oldest cities in the US and was founded in 1565 by the Spanish and served as the capital city of Florida for a couple hundred years during the the Spanish rein.  The Spanish influence is evident in the architecture which was impressive and left me with the impression that I was transported back in time.

Cathedral1 Cathedral

St Augustine

Here’s a great “tip jar” I saw while picking up an iced coffee before heading back out on the road to Dayton Beach, Florida.

I love the establishments sense of humour :)
Money the root of all evil – Cleanse yourself here 🙂

My arrival in Daytona Beach was finished off with a fresh seafood dinner on the patio of my hotel which over looked the ocean, followed by a walk on the beach as the sun started to set.  Nothing beats kicking off your motorcycle boots and feeling the warmth of the ocean lapping against your feet.  The ride in the heat to get here was oh so worth it!!

A walk on the beach
A walk on the beach

The Big Ride – It keeps getting better and better (Virginia / North Carolina)

On Thursday, after rolling into Wytheville, Virginia I put my culinary skills to good use and prepared dinner with a little help from a local grocery store where I picked up a rotisserie chicken and supplies for a tasty spinach salad.

Here’s a shot of what Chef Bonnie-r-dee whipped up for dinner:


Friday (May 22, 2015) was filled with some awesome riding on Route 221 from Wytheville, Virginia to Hickory, North Carolina.  I know I’ve said this before but this was some of the best riding yet.  The roads swept gracefully through the countryside winding over the lush green hills.  The pavement was some of the best making my riding smooth as my bike and I found oneness in the rhythm.  It was beyond belief.

Here’s a short clip of the ride and the beautiful countryside:

Today, Saturday May 23, 2015  included a stop at a roadside market where I experienced fresh picked peaches, luscious juicy sweet watermelon, freshly made pecan rolls and fried peanuts. This kept me occupied so I was able to avoid the ice cream 🙂


Enjoying a  juicy fresh picked peach in South Carolina
Enjoying a juicy fresh picked peach in South Carolina

Gourd….I mean Gord….this one is for you 🙂


From here the route took me to Chester State Park for an enjoyable afternoon stop by the lake which was surrounded by majestic pine trees that stretched to the sky.

Chester State Park, South Carolina
Chester State Park, South Carolina

Here is a video of part of the park for your viewing pleasure.

Tomorrow I’m Savannah bound…I can hardly wait!

The Big Ride – When the Universe hands you a little rain (West Virginia)

On Thursday, May 20, 2015, I woke to the inevitable…it was a dreary rainy wet day. So what do you do when it rains? 

This was part of it:

Along with a little of this:

Today the sun is back with a high of 26 degrees celsius so “I’m walking on sunshine”

The Big Ride – Riding on a cloud (West Virginia)

Thursday, May 20, 2015 was a spectacular day for a number of reasons.  The first was spending two nights in Charleston, WV which meant a day that did not involve having to load up my bike.  I know, life is tough but I’m a woman and I brought a lot of stuff with me so the break was really appreciated 🙂

The second thing that made the day spectacular was the ride.  When I was doing the route planning I contacted the West Virginia Harley Owners Group and they forwarded me a great brochure, which included what ended up being an incredible ride.  In fact it may well have been the best so far. The route started out with a few miles on Highway 3, also known as Coal Miners Road.  The ride which was one sweeping curve after another was made even more pleasant by the sweet smell of wild white roses growing along the roadside.

Wild white roses growing long the roadside in West Virginia - Route 3
Wild white roses growing long the roadside in West Virginia – Route 3

In the past few days I’ve learned a great deal about West Virginia heritage, along with the impact the coal industry is having on the local economy.  A young coal miner that I met on the way told me that many of the mines are being closed in favour of finding a cleaner energy source…the problem however is that another energy source hasn’t been established despite 40% of the State still relying on coal as it’s main energy source.  Some of the towns I rode through were literally boarded up as a result of mine closures.  A dreadful place to be for many.

The route continued to Highway 41 which was a quiet secondary road that wound through the countryside and into Babcock State National Park.  What a delight that was.  The park was quiet as many campers and travelers are holding out for Memorial Day weekend which is just around the corner.  The park was made up of a series of one way routes that wandered through the beautiful green forest.

Babcock National State Park, West Virginia
Babcock National State Park, West Virginia



The ride also included a stop in Hawks Nest State Park which is very picturesque and pristine.  This provided an opportunity for a little stroll in the woods.  I hope you enjoy the walk with me:

And of course, what would a ride be without some awesome twisties.  Hawks Nest State Park on Route 60 was spectacular and this loop turned into some of the best riding yet. This is not a route for the faint of heart.  It was a series of hairpin corners that required some fancy work with the shifter.  Much of the ride was in second and third gear with several opportunities to get down to the nitty gritty of first gear.  Gotta say it was challenging…especially with a number of 18 wheelers on the road and those big shiny chrome grills heading for you as you’re navigating hairpin turns.  Yup…I loved every minute of it!!

Here’s a video that incorporates both Babcock Park and a little of Route 60:

The Big Ride – Such a Sweet Treat of a Day! (Hersey, Pennsylvania)

Today’s ride took me through much of Pennsylvania, including the Delaware Water Cap National Recreation Area.  The route consisted of sweeping curves through lush forests accompanied with the sweet fragrance of an abundance of wild flowers and shrubs in full bloom.  Despite a forecast that suggested rain gear would likely be inevitable, the skies remained clear, with temperatures reaching almost 30 degrees Celsius.

Here is a short clip of today’s ride.

The ride just kept getting sweeter with an unplanned stop at none other than Hershey Pennsylvania to visit Chocolate World!

Chocolate World Rocks!
Chocolate World Rocks!



This one's for you :)
This one’s for you 🙂









Could it possibly get any sweeter than this?

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