Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Taking the "Scenic" Route !

As promised, a tour of Parke County, Indiana, the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World".

A pleasant weekend is always an excuse to find somewhere interesting to ride the motorcycle. With the long weekend and a little research, we headed first to the Story Inn for a wonderful (as always) breakfast and then over to Bloomington and on toward Parke County. We've made the first half of this trip several times, but for some reason we made a wrong turn and took the extended "scenic" route! This must have been an omen for the whole weekend! Neighbors D & B accompanied us as far as Story but I'm not sure if they'll follow us again! We had to stop and consult the map and a couple of bicyclists once to get back on track! (no, he didn't set the GPS because we knew where we were going! - I guess we just didn't know how to get there!)

Parke County is home to 31 restored covered bridges. The Covered Bridge festival in the fall would be a great time to visit. The tourism board has created a map with the routes to all of them outlined and the roads are "usually" marked with arrows to follow each route. Following these sometimes proved to be a challenge and since we had already started the weekend off with the "scenic" route omen, there was no way we were going to visit all of them. Some of the roads were pretty rough and not motorcycle friendly. It was sort of like a scavenger hunt where the goal was to see how many bridges we could find. Our score was either six or seven. But we did see a lot of pretty Indiana farm country including some areas of Amish farms. I think during the week and maybe earlier on Saturday there would have been some interesting shops and markets open. The bridges varied in sizes but it seemed like they were all red. Some of them you could drive through, but let me tell you - the plank floors were exciting on a motorcycle! I'll admit I was nervous every time we drove through one. Our worst fear is tipping that big pretty Harley over! Most of the bridges were built back in the late 1800's. They were built covered so that the wooden floors and beams would be protected from the elements. I've read that sometimes they were the largest covered area in the community and often used as gathering places for town meetings, weddings and other social events. See how some of them even had windows to open for ventilation.

We spent Saturday night in the town of Rockville. There are a few small local motels and several bed and breakfasts in the area. We stayed at Miss Anna's. It was very comfortable, decorated nicely and convenient. Although their website says they have eliminated the breakfasts, the innkeeper did have a nice selection of bagels, breads and donuts (we enjoyed those - it has been a while!) along with coffee and juice set out on Sunday morning. I think it is for sale, so if anyone is interested in becoming an innkeeper - here's your chance!

I'm embarrassed to say that this old Kansas farm girl doesn't know what all the fields of yellow flowers were. Maybe someone can help me out? Is it mustard? Certainly were pretty though.
One more wrong turn on our little adventure and we found ourselves on a gravel/rock road. Now, I grew up in the country and normally it doesn't bother me to drive or ride on them - in a car! But on the Harley - it was not fun. I'm sure D would agree but he was more worried about getting the bike dusty than my comfort! We kept thinking the next corner would be the paved road, but ended up traveling two or three miles before escaping the dust and rocks. The GPS wasn't much help in this part of the state but we made it back home safe and sound!

Thanks for taking another scenic journey with us. Sometimes the best routes are the ones least expected!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

Please take a moment to remember those who have served our country in the armed forces and especially the families of those who have sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms. I hope you all are enjoying your long weekend. Of course we've been out on the motorcycle the last couple of days. Back to work on home improvement projects tomorrow. I'll post about our little adventure to the Covered Bridge capital of the world soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Birthday Week Continues !

This is the birthday boy! Do you know who this is? If you do - give him a birthday hug :) I think I will!
Isn't he cute! Same smile, same hair (well almost!)
Maybe this will give you a hint !

He shares a birthday week with his little sister. Happy Birthday to you too, J! Happy Birthday Honey - love ya! Hope I didn't embarrass you too much!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Final Highlights

I'm back with more highlights of our motorcycle adventure to the east. Hopefully you haven't grown too bored with reading about our trip. We actually did see more than just motorcycles!

While in Myrtle Beach we took a day trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I wish we could have spent a little more time in this interesting city. We spent a few days here several years ago and have always said we'd like to go back. Riding along on the motorcycle gives me a chance to take photos that I couldn't get riding in a car. This shot is looking up as we drove across the Ravenel Bridge. I love these beautiful homes along the Battery. The iron fences and gates that surround them are all quite unique.
Every time I see one of these ladies with her sweetgrass baskets, I think I should buy one for a souveneir. But I haven't, yet! This time our space was limited so that was my excuse.
We didn't get to do a plantation tour but did drive out to Magnolia Plantation and walk through the Audobon Swamp Garden. It was nice to get off of the Harley and stretch our legs.
This guy really wasn't sunning himself this close to the path. Just looks that way with the zoom and a little creative cropping!Can you spot the long necked birds in the tree amongst the spanish moss? Does anyone know what they are?
When we left Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, we headed across South Carolina and up through North Carolina to Boone. This was one of the longest days of riding but we managed to find our way despite a GPS that has East and West and Left and Right mixed up some of the time! Some times you just can't beat a good map! We spent the night in Boone, NC so we could head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway the next morning. We made a quick tour through Blowing Rock, NC. This is another little mountain town that would be a great place to spend a day or two. It looked like there were lots of interesting shops and bed and breakfasts . Bob Timberlake has a gallery there, but "someone" wouldn't let me stop to shop!
The Northern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway is quite a nice ride but not as high and winding as the Southern section. The skies were overcast for much of our drive but we were still able to enjoy the scenery. This must be where a good portion of the Christmas tree crop is grown. There were many tree farms of evergreens and other landscape shrubery.
One of the higher vistas. Up above the clouds but that's why they call these the Smokies!
Pretty trees in bloom ( a dogwood, I think) against the split rail fences.
As we traveled into Virginia, we passed one of the most photographed locations on the Parkway, Mabry Mill. This kind of looks like the photos you find on those free calendars we used to get from the bank! I made my driver stop for this one - no photography on the move here!
A short side trip off of the Parkway is the town of Mt. Airy, NC. This is the home of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for Mayberry. We didn't spend a lot of time here, but did have lunch at Aunt Bea's Restaurant (see food photo below!) and stop to take my dorky picture next to dorky Barney Fife!

Roanoke, VA was our destination for Thursday night. We left the Parkway and headed up to I-64 through Clifton Forge where we found a wonderful local art and craft gallery and were given directions to another much photographed spot. This is the Hump Backed Bridge on the old Midland Trail.
We saw our fair share of logging trucks on this trip. Many in SC but this one was in VA.
Our wettest day of travel was Friday as we approached our last overnight stop in Charleston, West Virginia. I didn't take any photos since I was trying to keep my camera dry. We stopped in Lewiston at a cute little cafe downtown for lunch (see food photo below!) then decided we should don our Frog Toggs before going further. Good thing we did, but at least it was only a light rain and no downpour. We stayed dry in our rain suits, but riding in the rain on the interstate highway, passing semi trucks was my least favorite part of the trip!

Our last day on the road we made a only a couple of stops. Blenko Glass in Milton, VA wasn't giving tours on Saturday but we did stop at their store and display area. (He did let me buy something here- guess I should have taken a photo of the water jug I bought! - but I had to hold my purse the rest of the way home so we'd have room!)

So, we made it home safe and sound as you know! Now we're trying to figure out where the next trip will take us!

As I promised some of you, here are the food photos! One of D's favorite italian dishes is fruta del mar and if it's available, he'll always order it. While in Myrtle Beach, we found a small Italian restaurant out in the suburbs away from all the hectic activity. We all had a nice relaxing meal.

This is Aunt B's Restaurant's barbeque. It doesn't look like much, but probably one of our favorite meals of the trip. Those are hush puppies along with the fries and cole slaw. The slaw was good and really different from anything I've ever had before. It had some type of red vinegar dressing. If anyone knows a similar recipe, let me know.
The little coffeeshop/cafe in Lewiston had the BEST coconut cream cake! Wish I could remember the name of the place! Lewiston looks like it could be a fun place to spend some time too. Especially for antique lovers.
Our last meal on the road was at this busy little local eatery near Midland, KY. I didn't get a photo of the wonderful real hamburgers we enjoyed - I was afraid the locals would give us more suspicous looks. Well, that's that! I've still got more photos, but unless I'm in need of some blogging material this will be all for this trip! I hope you enjoyed riding along, come by again!

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Myrtle Beach

As promised here's a few more highlights of our trip to Myrtle Beach, beyond and back.

D actually let me visit a quilt shop at our first stop in Hendersonville, NC. It was called My Quilt Shoppe and I found a some fat quarters to match a (secret) project in the works and a few others, just because they were different. I'm sure I could have found more, but limitations of our luggage space I controlled my shopping here! A really cute shop though. Near Columbia, SC we stopped at Thunder Valley Harley-Davidson. I'm not sure how many dealerships we stopped at during the entire trip, but there were several. But I have to say, most of them are very traveler friendly. Clean restrooms, cold drinks and often free coffee. Some of them even have a lounge with a tv and a comfy sofa to rest weary bums! That was the question everyone has asked - "did your bottom get tired?" No, not really. I think the most tired of sitting on the motorcycle I got was on the last day about 40 miles from home. My neck and shoulders did get tired though and I think it was from the weight of the helmet and a few rough roads. But we would never think of not wearing the helmets!
Our view from our hotel room in Myrtle Beach was very nice. But this is about as close to the beach as I got. The sunrises were pretty, but I never got motivated enough to go out and walk on the beach at that hour. I'm kind of kicking myself now because it was awful to get this close to the ocean and not even get in the water! It actually was pretty chilly in the mornings though.
One morning we ate breakfast at a pancake house across from the hotel. As I was leaving, this funny fellow had to tell me "hello". Cute, huh? Wonder what Beamer would have had to say to him!
For all of you RV folks out there - we found a really nice toy hauler motorhome on display at one of the venues. It was a Newmar mid-engine diesel with plenty of room for a couple of motorcycles. I bet the price of fuel has put a dent in the sales of these units now.

One last photo for today. This is the custom paint on our friend John's Harley. Everywhere we parked, there would be several folks stop by to admire it. Believe it or not, he's from Canada ! (Of course they admired our bike too - but we did see three or four Harleys like ours)

I promise to post scenery photos tomorrow! Maybe even a food photo! Not too many more motorcycles though!

Happy Birthday Post !

This is birthday week for our family. And after going on vacation, you'd think I'd have some neat gifts to give these people - think again. I'm a terrible mother-in-law, aunt and sister-in-law! The birthday police should come arrest me or at least sling a dried up cupcake my way!! So this is the best I can do for right now. Happy Birthday to you - you know who you are!

Sending a big hug to this mom-to-be! No baby photo of her - but this is one of my favorites! Lots of big accomplishments for her in the last couple of years - but the biggest is still on the way.

Another birthday wish goes to the author of this blog. Pop on over and leave a comment and say "hey" to someone joining the ranks of "maturity" :-) I might be searching the old box of photos later for a pic of her. While in there I might as well see if I can find one of D's little sis!

Happy Birthday to All!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nine days, Two Hundred Sixty One Photos and Twenty Two Hundred Miles!

Yes, we are home! We survived our longest motorcycle trip ever - a total of 2200 miles and 261 photos in nine days. Where do I begin? There's probably too much to post at one time so today it will just have to be the highlights.

We loaded up and headed out with camera in hand (can you find the reflection in the mirror?) and GPS's (yes both of them) programmed for the road. Our 105th anniversary Ultra Classic Harley came equipped with a GPS that would guide us wherever we want to go - even the nearest H-D dealership. Provided that dealership hasn't moved within the last year! The first few miles were wet and misty but the skies gradually cleared and we made it to our first stop in Hendersonville, NC with plenty of daylight left. Our second day on the road was great. The weather was much better and we made it to our destination of Myrtle Beach with no problems! Yes, we were there for Bike Week at Myrtle Beach! We found out later that the main action began about the time we left but we found plenty to look at. Lots and lots of motorcycles and every kind of motorcycle accessory you could imagine.

We met up with some friends from Canada. We enjoyed browsing all the booths and cruising the streets with them for a couple of days. The gals were riders too and I think D was afraid I would get the bug to want my own motorcycle. Kind of like when I used to watch him trapshoot then he got me my own gun and I started out-shooting him! No chance of that this time but I do admire those women who can ride - not just ride along like me!

The boys admiring the toys!

The girls enjoyed some shopping !
With our travel tested two wheels!

Just a taste of the crowds of motorcycles parked in the lots around the vendor booths - and this was the early part of Bike Week! It seems like most of the bikes were Harleys - probably because this was originally started as a Harley - Davidson event. Though we saw lots of different makes and styles of motorcycles. Lots of "choppers" and many "trikes" .

Here's Linda trying out a "trike". Lookin' good! There were many custom motorcycle companies displaying their most unusual creations. This one was kind of cute!

How about a Louis Vuitton leather seat for your motorcycle!Someone had to buy chaps!

We stayed at the Landmark Resort at Myrtle Beach. Many attempts have been made to remodel and update this hotel. But it's still kind of "tired".

Check back later for more details of our trip to Bike Week and trip home through the Smokey Mtns., the Blue Ridge Parkway and portions of the Allegheny Mtns. I've got a few more photos for you to see (but I promise not to post all 261 !).