Thursday, August 30, 2012

AZ has Blue Sky, Chile, and Seligman.

Joe & Aggies Holbrook, AZ.
To complete the Holy Trinity of Chile, we took an early ride to Joe and Aggie's. Most of the 66 alignments dead end or go to dirt, but we got about 20 miles in. Definitely want a Jeep or 50 lbs less luggage for more exploration of this area.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Mexico Sky and Chile

Route 66 / Santa Fe Trail sort of.
We skipped breakfast to take the 1937 Santa Fe Trail alignment, a beautiful ride but sort of a scam if you were trying to get to your new job in the California Cotton Fields.

The road cuts up north 66 miles (really) to

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ghost towns and ghost roads.

The morning air was cool and traffic didn't exist. We wanted breakfast in Texas and the Sportsters got us to Mitchell's in Shamrock before we knew it. Chasing my own shadow in the morning is a strange sensation. With the hills, traffic, and that pesky ocean it can't be done. Not that I ever noticed until today but it was kinda cool!

Anyway breakfast at Mitchell's Family Restaurant was another stellar occasion. I don't know how but we've had the best breakfasts nearly every day of this trip. I'll post links when I get home so you'll know where to eat.

Our plan for today was to ride through all the small Texas towns east of Amarillo, pick up a few alignments, find a mysterious ghost town in New Mexico, and eat lunch or dinner at Joseph's depending on the time.

We picked off Shamrock and groom, maybe Conroy, missed Alan Reed completely. While on old Route 66 looking for Conroy we went straight when we probably should have turned. We continued on a well paved narrow two lane road. About half a mile into it the speed limit jumped to 75 so we nailed the throttles. No sane person could ride or drive this road at it's posted speed and not be afraid of getting a ticket. The only car we saw in 10 miles was a postal vehicle who appeared to share a 150 mph closing speed and maybe 4 feet of air with us.

The problem was when we got to the end of the road Conroy wasn't there. We had 130+ miles on our tanks and iPhone said we were 20 miles from gas either direction and neither of us were on reserve yet. We figured we'd be better off going dry on an interstate than a 75 mph road with no shoulder or traffic to find us if we lost our signal and went for Amarillo.

We made it, Lori went on reserve right before the gas station. We got 56 mpg that leg.

We stayed on the interstate until Tucumcari got gas and started hunting old alignments. We saw a ghost town along the highway on the way out. I'd read about it awhile ago and remembered it being nearly impossible alignment even though it's visible from the interstate. Lori read off a few names and they all sounded familiar. We got on 66 at the Stuckey's east of Tucumcari and followed it east. We crossed the interstate on modern bridges and single lane tunnels finally arriving in Montoya. Pretty cool but the wrong side of the highway and smaller. We continued to Newkirk and crossed the freeway no road east and dead end west so we got on the 40 West...nothing. We rode back 15 miles to explore the dead end. It went 3 or 4 miles and ended at a flooded tunnel.

West again we exited the interstate at Cuervo and crossed a bridge to the south side of the interstate. There it was, Cuervo. The town is named Cuervo and it's clearly marked with it's own easy on easy off ramps. I'm going to have to read the article again.

The real mystery was not another tourist stopped the hour we were there. All the buildings are crumbling except the church. A guy in a pickup stopped to talk and said when they widened the freeway they tore out half the town and left the other half to die. A few locals maintain the church.

We made it to Joseph's for dinner and decided to call it a night.

Breakfast will be good tomorrow too, we're going back to Joseph's!
Montoya, NM
Tunnel under I-40 in New Mexico
Church in Cuervo, NM
I want to live on Bond Street.
Old bar in Montoya, NM.
Great Breakfast at Mitchell's in Shamrock, TX.
Cuervo, NM.
Cuervo, NM.
Lonely road through Cuervo, NM.
Tin sided building in Cuervo, NM.
A bunch of motorcycle riders should each buy a property out here and save it!
Cuervo, NM.
Somebody had a hot-rod!
Cuervo, NM.

Seaba Station, more dirt, less light.

After a nice sendoff from Frank at the Chelsea Motor Inn we followed the storm to Memaw's in Claremore for a homestyle breakfast. We had a nice conversation with the couple at the next table. They've ridden up PCH and are excited about seeing more of California. Memaw's is on my "Highly Recommended" list. The people who work here are why it's fun to travel.

Catoosa and the Blue Whale are just down the road so we had to stop. The Blue Whale was built as a swimming hole and little park. You can't swim there anymore but it's a well maintained little park.

On the ride east we bypassed Tulsa to avoid traffic but this being Sunday we took the old road right on through. Tulsa is hands down the coolest of the larger cities we navigated. It's clearly marked, has lots of restaurants, and it looked like a few good motels.

The ride on Route 66 from Tulsa to Oklahoma City is among the best. It gently curves over rolling hills and small towns and the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum.

There were five or six bike and riders out front when we rode in. Jerry ran out to say "hi" and to see if he saw what he thought he saw. A chrome Sportster. He did.

He invited us in and told us about the place and patiently listened to me babble about the Motor Palace. This place is amazing. They have a real nice collection ranging from common but significant early Moto-X stuff, rare competition models, Trials, Speedway, Flattrack, British, European, a Pope Board Tracker, and even an ABC (I'd never heard of it), be sure you set aside a few hours for a stop here and if you're planning to compare, the 66 Motor Palace will never be this cool!

Oklahoma Route 66 west of Oklahoma City is not quite as dynamic as east but worth cruising through. It's flatter, straighter, and more slow transportation than entertainment.

We did our usual get lost in the late afternoon / dirt adventure thing and ended up running out of light in Elk City instead of McLean TX. I guess that's a dream for another time...We stayed at the Flamingo Inn, a work in progress run by very nice people who seem to be on the right track. Saving an old Motel must be an incredible challenge. Thanks again to all of you who've pulled it off! I'll stay here again if I'm in Elk City, but if the little things bother you go to one of the chains.

Tonight's goal.......Santa Rosa
New Mexico and dinner at Joseph's! The last two weeks may be the longest I've gone without Mexican Food ever.
Really, it was my father's favorite food too. Before he died his favorite restaurant puréed tacos so he could eat them through his feeding tube.

Visit Lori at

I just noticed, this is our 66th post!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Animals, People, and Roads.

In California they change the plants every week so they're fresh and look the same year round. Here they seem to keep the same ones and we got to see some leaves turning red and gold. Small piles formed and whirled in the draft as Lori rode by. It's only been a week and a half and it feels like another place.

We stopped at Shelly's Route 66 Diner after another comfortable stay at the Wagon Wheel. The food is down home and delicious.

We saw a couple cute Pit Bulls running around outside and joked about them being "motorcycle eating dogs." Lori immediately made friends but they liked her so much they didn't want her to leave. When she tried to roll they would lunge and bite her front tire. Shelly and a customer came out and held them 'til we could escape. At the next stop sign she still had slobbery chomp marks!

We pulled up to the Elbow Inn with a German Tour group on their way to Chicago. One of the Germans was walking my way and yelled "De Katze" Lori had met "Boots" and he was climbing on to her shoulder where he stayed the remainder of our visit.

Devil's Elbow is one of those mystic spots where time and space merge. Everyone who's seen it becomes a mystery for the next traveler to solve.

Chelsea OK is the place we need to be and it's 300 miles away so back on the road! We took the 66 By-way southwest, got rained on, and made it to Gay Parita Station to look around and meet the legendary Gary. Gary's another California refugee who has restored an original gas station. He's done a fantastic job and makes his guests feel welcome. Be sure to visit him when you're in the area. Thanks Gary for sheltering us in that crazy storm!

Gary also shared a short cut to avoid the detour that got us going east out of Carthage. We got to see the cool stuff between Carthage and Joplin.

From Miami OK. we picked up the old single lane alignment west which actually smoothed out when we got to the mainly dirt section. The Sportsters thought this was cool stuff.

We were greeted by Frank and checked in to an absolutely spotless room at the Chelsea Motor Inn. The positive reviews are true! Another great Route 66 Motel. It rained hard all night and cleared up in time to leave.

Now to the Seaba Museum!
Add Lori and her Pitpals at Shelly's in Cuba,  MO.
Single lane section south west of Miami, OK. This was cool!
Lori and Boots at the Elbow Inn at Devil's Elbow south of Rolla, MO.
...after the single lane section turned to dirt.
Crappy shot outside the exceptional Chelsea Motor Inn in Chelsea, OK. Thanks for a nice stay Frank. I expect to see that bike done next time we're through.
Gay Parita Filling Station, home of Gary. Stop in for a visit!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Forty miles in first gear = best luck ever!


Another less than fun time in Chicago resulted in a premium experience in Pontiac. This time it was Chicago traffic. We traveled 40 miles in about two hours because of traffic. We don't think it's legal to split lanes in Illinois so we played car. This put a big dent in our 300 mile goal.

Anyway Lori wanted to stay in Pontiac IL. since we passed through last week but it's only 200 miles out. We were beat from the heat and traffic and Pontiac was looking like a good place to rest. As we removed our helmets I spotted a sign for Lydia's loft so we asked if they had a room. We about fainted when we saw the place. It was beyond our wildest dreams. Check out the pictures. We want to live in it.

Pontiac is a great town with friendly people excited about their part of Route 66. They have lot's of cool museums that are just the right size, well organized, and staffed with enthusiastic and knowledgable people.
Thanks Pontiac!

I'll have more details when we get home and I'll post a "links" and summary page.

We got on the bikes and bombed it to the Wagon Wheel. We made it in about 7 hours by blowing through most of the stuff we saw on our 11 hour 200 mile day with a nice repeat of the 50 miles of Route 66 east of Cuba, only stopping for gas and construction traffic in St Louis. We did meet a cool guy named Kenny on a Goldwing near Springfield IL. He'd left Mississippi in the morning and was about 500 miles into his ride to Bloomington. He'd only slowed down for a ticket somewhere in Missouri.

We'll get an early start tomorrow and will spend a little more time at Devil's Elbow and try to catch a few places we missed on the way east.

Lydia's Loft Pontiac, MO. This amazing loft is conveniently located above Lydia's Cup (a great place to eat) in the beautiful town of Pontiac IL.
View out back window at Lydia's Loft.
Kenny between Springfield and Bloomington IL. He left Mississippi that morning.
Willie G. and Nancy Davidson. The only other people in the world as nice as them are their kids Karen and Bill.
Wagon Wheel Cuba, MO.
Wagon Wheel Cuba, MO.
The Gemeni Giant at the Launching Pad in Wilmington, IL.
Court House across from Lydia's Loft in Pontiac, IL.
Cool rig in Pontiac Museum, lots of other cool Pontiac stuff too!
Wagon Wheel Cuba, MO. dry this time!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Milwaukee was fun, but the highway never ends!

This poor building's probably gone now.

We've seen old friends and made some new ones. We've walked miles and gained a couple pounds (walking and great food go hand in hand here in Milwaukee).

Milwaukee is a beautiful city filled with nice people and good food. It has all the amenities that make a city fun without the hassle and stress. An Australian I sat with at breakfast nailed it when he asked, "Is every day Sunday here?"

Anyway as much as we like it we're told it may get cold in this fall so it's "Westward Ho!" for us.

The plan is to return on Route 66 picking up alignments we missed and staggering the stops we made traveling east. We'll catch more in Oklahoma west of Oklahoma City and try to overnight it Texas. Otherwise the road rules!

Now we try and navigate the Illinois toll road system on motorcycles.

Visit Lori at:
Willie G.
New CVO Breakout!
Old Sportster.
The storm we passed through about 1/2 hour before.
Name that Shadow! Hint: Jeff Decker made it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Hours, 66 Miles, 66 Degrees!

Outside Frank's Diner.

We were still kicking ourselves in the butt for not planning our big night in Chicago better and chose to ride Highway 32 along Lake Michigan into Milwaukee to drown our sorrows.

We skipped breakfast 'cause we wanted to get out of our Hotel Room and back on the Sportsters. (They always help us feel better.) The ride through the towns and along the lake is slow and relaxing.

Lori signaled me to pull over, she wanted to see some of the town we were passing and led as we wandered the streets. A few turns later we approached an interesting building. It looked like a very old trolly or train car with tables and people out front. My heart's pounding when Lori pulls over and says, "This looks like something you'd like."

Franks Diner was dragged into Kenosha by horses in 1926 and has been serving great food ever since. The place tiny and crowded. It's loud, it's busy, and if you don't follow the directions of staff and management you are sharply reprimanded. There are signs such as "If you're in a hurry leave now!" and they mean it. We were there nearly two hours and enjoyed every minute.

Believe it or not our Breakfast at Franks Diner more than made up for missing our night in Chicago.

We left Kenosha with about forty miles to go and "Squawls Ahead", big Squawls. We got drenched south of Racine and stopped to put rain gear on. The guy at the gas station said it should pass quickly and we could wait it out. He was right and we were back on the road shortly.

We got about twenty miles when it started again...and this one was bigger. We pulled over again to wait this one out. We weren't going to show up in Milwaukee with wet boots!

I pulled into the Hotel and luckily Rusty was in the driveway. His old football training and having a million kids saved the day. As I looked over my shoulder
Lori passed and was looking the other way! Like a cheetah he sprinted down the street after her, yelling at the top of his lungs! Luckily she heard him at the end of the block. In another twenty yards he'd have tackled her!

We registered, parked the bikes (first ones in), and checked the weather. Guess was 66 degrees.

We walked over to the Safe House with Rusty and Corina and Hung out at the magic bar (called that because the bartender is a magician). If you haven't been to the Safe House you should.

This morning Lori punches our mileage into the calculator and we've traveled 2575 miles so far.

Yesterday, our first day away from the Mother Road, we rode 66 miles.

For Lori's side of the story go to:
Little hosses al alone in the parking lot.
Corina, Rusty, and a cup of coffee.
Lori, XL1200s, and '49 Ford.
Frank's Diner
Today's weather.