Sunday, September 23, 2007

We are Home!

We waited to leave Fernley, NV until almost 10:30 a.m. - any earlier and we would have been wet before got out of town.

As we headed west of I-80 we saw many motorcyclists leaving the Reno area. Street Vibrations lost quite a few participants before the final day began.

Once we were beyond Reno the weather got wetter. On the way up to Donner Pass traffic picked up and the rain became less spotty. One group of Hell's Angels from Oakland roared by just as the rain really started coming down.

As we headed down from Donner Pass there were so many motorcyclists being cautious that they were keeping the car traffic to a SENSIBLE speed. It was the most sane trip along I-80 from Reno I have ever been on and the worst weather!

We turned off of I-80 on to Hwy 20 and encountered fog as well as rain. By the time we got to Marysville the weather had improved dramatically.

A nice lunch at Granzella's and we hurried home in time to pick up Lucie at the kennel.

Over 7,000 miles. What an awesome country. What awesome people we rode with and met along the way. Good to be home....until Wednesday! The map is of the route we took this September.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

On our way home

We left on Friday. Rather chilly ride to Pocatello, Idaho. Wind was bad around Twin Bridges, but became less of an issue as we continued to ride.

This morning we left to warmer temps - but not that warm! At Twin Falls we headed for Nevada. From Wells it was a fast ride to Fernley, Nevada.

Another chilly day, but not much precipitation. We either had awful side winds, or awful head winds. The trike got 20 mpg for the last 100 miles. We also had to deal with a dust storm east of Lovelock.

Can't really complain though, because we got here safely. We ate at the El Guadalajara Mexican restrauant - not too shabby.

When we arrived at the motel there were other motorcyclists who had attended Street Vibrations - glad we didn't try to get a room in Reno.

Tomorrow will be our ride home. We won't be riding out any too early - the weather in the Sierras is supposed to be wet and cold tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


We are having a lovely visit in Billings. Can't say enough about how nice it is to be with Jack & Barbara.

Jack took us out to the old homestead properties. All I can say - those people were far more hearty then we are!

The house photo is of Larry's Aunt Mary's (Jack's mom) former home. The neighborhood has changed quite a bit - there are some very nice "disadvantaged people" homes going in across the street.

Yesterday it was a tad cool, but Larry & Jack braved the cool weather to change the oil in the bikes.

Later on Larry & I cleaned our filthy bikes - I don't think they were this dirty last year!

For dinner we headed to Famous Dave's with Jack, Barbara and Larry's Aunt Ida. Another WOW meal of ribs. (We have GOT to get one of these restaurants closer to home!)

Today we are having breakfast with Aunt Ida and in the p.m. I believe we will do a little sightseeing. Tomorrow we will be headed home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Minnesota to Billings, Montana

We left Park Rapids, Minnesota at 7:30 a.m. We had 84 miles of two-lane roads before making it to Fargo, North Dakota and Interstate 94.

The weather was pleasant - actually made it into the mesh jackets.

So - what is there to say about North Dakota along I-94 ----it is a great road to ride at 75 miles per hour because THERE IS NOTHING.

The original intent was to stay in Glendive but Larry heard it was going to be raining and cool in the a.m. so the decision was made to ride on to Billings.

Thankfully, Larry's Uncle Jack and Aunt Barbara were kind enough to have us stay a day earlier than we had planned. So 685 miles later we are nice and cozy.

It IS a little rainy today - hoping to have a great visit and head out on Thursday.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Michigan and Minnesota

Last evening we stayed at a Budget Host Motel in Marquette, Michigan. Weather was cool leaving Sudbury, but improved somewhat. The scenery is awesome and it would be nice to spend time in the area sometime in the future.

The motel was rated by AAA as one of the lesser accomodations in the area - can't say enough nice things about Brentwood Inn. Very comfortable and clean. Couldn't ask for much more - except a coffeemaker and hair dryer in the room! For $50, it was SUPERB!

We left Marquette at 9 a.m. - in temps under 50 degrees (Larry tried to tell me it was 54, but no way). We were wearing every possible layer and managed quite well. We rode through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota via Hwy 2 --- speed limit 55 and every one drove 65. Again - wow to the scenery. By this afternoon the temperatures were up over 70 degrees, so riding was comfy. So many motorcycles out enjoying the beautiful weather.

Tomorrow's ride should be far better as the low is only supposed to be 59 here in Park Rapid, Minnesota tonight.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sudbury, Canada

We didn't make it far...left Mississauga around 10:30 a.m.

My fearless leader didn't believe the GPS - so it took us nearly an hour to get OUT of Toronto using alternate roads.

Once we got on the road it was nice...the temps were around 75 degrees. Then the further we went the cooler it became. Stopped to put on some jackets and just the other side of Parry Sound we hit some really hard rain. The trike hydroplaned, but I managed to keep it on my side of the road. When the semi going in the opposite direction threw and wave of water over the top of me, I knew I had to stop. Had to back track to a gas station and eatery and wait out as much as we could.

Back on the road with all the rain gear and it never rained again.

Once we arrived in Sudbury it became obvious that IT WAS COLD and WINDY! Staying the night at a Super 8 - not a bad place, just more bucks than the last one and no pool!

Tomorrow we will be riding back to the USA - headed for Wisconsin via Michigan. Not leaving very early because the temperatures aren't supposed to be very high.


Perhaps not the most attractive photo! This was taken at the Blue Jays game last evening. A pitcher's game - ended up being 2-1 Blue Jays. We left at the bottom on the sixth.

It was a chilly game, but as soon as we got on the bikes to ride to the motel we felt warmer. Go figure!

Yesterday was a leisurely day. After getting up late we went to a couple of shopping malls so Dennis could pick up some stuff. He lost a saddle bag in PA as well as having no rain gear.

We lunched at the Pickle Barrel - nice place to eat, just that service was slower than a pedestrian with a walker in a crosswalk during rush hour!

You know how you travel into big cities and the air always smells like traffic? Not so Toronto - we kept smelling COOKIES or PASTRIES. The city is also very clean. The people aren't exactly the smiley kind, but we did get some of them to perk up!

We are heading out this a.m. - not in a major hurry and not sure which direction we will be going, aside from west.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mississauga, Canada

We are staying just outside Toronto.

A rather chilly ride today. We mirrored the ride we took up to Canada last year - just no rain and we made it all the way in one day.

We are at a Super 8 that wasn't rated very good by AAA, but the price was right so we booked. Not sure what the other motels are like but this is very nice - and $89 for the 3 of us (Dennis is with us).

Tomorrow we checkout Toronto and go to an evening Blue Jays game - they are playing the Yankees!

Daily American Newspaper Article


Motorcyclists mark anniversary By DAN DiPAOLO Daily American 30 North ChiefTuesday, September 11, 2007 12:48 AM EDTSOMERSET — The sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2007, is being remembered at Shanksville today by thousands of people. For more than two dozen, the tolling of the bells will mark the end of a 10 day cross-country journey.The Torches Across America motorcycle ride started in Oceanside, Calif., on Sept. 1 and ended here today with the goal of memorializing those who died, those who served and to recognize all of the country’s first responders.
“This country was in a total state of shock,” said organizer Gary Covert of the ride. Responders came out, helped keep the country together, he said.The Branson, Mo., native, has seen 16 communities respond to the ride and declare a recognition day. Additionally, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a resolution naming Sept. 12, “Emergency Responder Day.”“That’s why we ride. We don’t raise money, we’re not a foundation. They go because it is in their heart,” he said.For Covert, the inspiration for the ride came after he and his wife, Marge, explored the World Trade Center in late August 2001 on their way to see a terminally ill friend in Maine.“Eleven days after we left, it happened, so we all wanted to know what we could do,” he said.They chose a motorcycle ride because, according to Covert, there are no more patriotic people than bikers.Bar Porter, 41, of San Diego, is one of those making the trip with Covert. A recently retired Marine gunnery sergeant, he wears a tattoo with the dates Feb. 11, 1986, and June 30, 2007, on the underside of his right forearm. His date in, and then out, of the service.He said that he extended his service for a full year in order to deploy to Iraq with his military police unit. Once he arrived there in early 2006, he was stationed in the northern province Al Anbar and trained local police forces in the city of Rawah.The training had highs and lows, he said. Originally, there were 50 local trainees, and after a local insurgent leader had one of the men brutally beheaded, that number dropped to four, he said. But by the time he left, their numbers had climbed back to 175.“You’re trying to instill in them the idea that it’s about coming together as a country,” he said.This will be Porter’s first visit to Shanksville.(Dan DiPaolo may be contacted at

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sept 11 Evening

After resting for a few hours we joined Gary & Marge, Barry & Connien(PA) and Paul (PA) for dinner at Hoss's (a Sizzler like place). Steak wasn't very good, but the salad bar made up for it.

A lovely evening!

TAA Riders

Dennis, Barr & Mark; Barr, Joe and Steve; Joe and Bruce; Ed.

TAA Riders

Dennis; Barr, Mark, Clark & Kathy; Roger & his wife (American Legion Somerset) Joel and Nancy; Bruce and Dennis; Mike.

TAA Rider photos

The Frank & Lil; Suzanne, Marge & Gary; Mark, Clark, Larry and Kathy; Joel and Gary

TAA Riders

Kathy & Clark-NM
Frank & Lil-PA

Sept 11 - Somerset PA Flight 93 Memorials

We headed toward the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel after 7:30 a.m. - Mike had told us that we needed to be there by 8 a.m. because they would be providing a breakfast.

Well, when we arrived they weren't even set up. We milled around for a while. I helped make the coffee and managed to break a carafe!

There was a very nice service in the chapel. Following the service many riders left to go to the crash site memorial (contrary to what we were told by Mike, there WAS a memorial again this year). Some riders left to go into town to get something to eat.

We stayed long enough to eat at the chapel area and then left to go the crash site. We had been told you had to park as far away as we did last year - not so if you have a trusty GPS - Larry routed us to motorcycle parking directly in front of the memorial. We had missed the official service, but there were still many people there. Larry spoke to two young men who worked at the coffee shop where Nicole Miller purchased her coffee, hence the photo of the men with the photo of Nicole on their shirts. The photo in the center with the lei is an angel memorial with Nicole's name on it.

While there were fewer people at the crash site, there was still a nice turn out and more continued to arrive. Of course, it rained. At least there were no protesters this year. There seemed to be more flags and participation by locals in the area around the crash site than last year.

There was supposed to be a ride in the afternoon, but with all the rain we just headed for the motel.

We are meeting whoever is left in Somerset for dinner.

We have had a VERY enjoyable ride across the United States. Nice group of people to ride with. It really is too bad Gary Covert's trike had issues and he could not ride all the way on it.

This may be the last year Gary organizes the ride, but perhaps there will be a way to make it happen in a slightly different format. The vision Gary started with should be carried on - but not at the expense of one individual.

There is Torches Across America Troy, Inc. They will be raising funds to build a memorial in Troy, Illinois.

The people in Cambridge, Ohio are dedicated to the cause - but any rides need to be on some other day than Friday - interferes with football!

Seems to me, since this is about the First Call Responders THEY could become part of the process in a more direct way.

Perhaps the ride can be a relay with banners containing the important information Gary has been carrying around for the last 6 years. Perhaps there can be a corporate sponsor to assist. Maybe a hotel or motel chain? Don't believe any connection to a particular motorcycle manufacturer is the way to go because some people are so narrow they would not participate if it wasn't the manufacturer of the bike they ride. Definitely should not be connected with CMA if the current spokesperson is involved.

So, to Clark and Kathy, Frank and Lil, Joel and Nancy, Barr, Steve, Mark, Dennis, Michael, Peter and Pam, Gary and Marge, Joe and Mike - A BIG THANK YOU for helping to make the ride a pleasure!

Sept 9 & 10 - VA to NJ to Somerset, PA

A quick note - rode from Vienna, VA to Secaucus, NJ on the 9th.

With the able leadership of Michael (NM) we toured DC - only stopped at the Air Force Memorial because everything else was blocked off due to the rally that day.

LONG HOT DAY to NJ - got stuck in construction traffic on the I-95 outside of Pittsburgh - 6 of us cheated and rode up the shoulder to an exit to cool off ourselves and the motorcycles.

On arriving in NJ we went to the Hoboken MC clubhouse - they hosted a pizza party and carted our butts to the PATH station. We took PATH into Manhattan. Walked down to Battery Park - back up to PATH and the train to NJ.

On the 10th we rode NON-turnpike roads (led by Frank & Lil) to Somerset, PA - with a stop in Hershey, PA. We arrived just in time to attend a dinner at the American Legion.

This a.m. we are off to the Flight 93 chapel and memorial.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sept 8th - OH to Vienna, VA

We departed Cambridge on the edge of a heavy rain. Once again everyone headed out at different times and different routes.

A hot day for a ride. I think we all thought we would be done with HOT weather.

Tomorrow a.m. we ride over to the Pentagon and then we are free to make our way to the motel.