April 25, 2008 GMT
1. The Beginning

My trip started with an Application for a US Visa as my stay was going to be longer than 3 months. I also applied for an Electronic Australian Passport as it is supposed to make things easier

I followed the very detailed instructions on the US Visa web page, jumped through all the hoops and everything worked out, they finished up giving me a 5 year multiple entry visa. This will save me having to go through this expensive ($350) and time consuming (2 months) process again within the next 5 years.
The only hiccup was with my photograph, it was not exactly 5cm x 5cm. They have a list of Photographers that know the US visa requirements and one was conveniently located right outside the consulate in Perth, it only took a few minutes to get some new pictures taken.
And make sure your fingerprints are in good condition because they get taken about 43 times.
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Next job was to crate my bike. I used a Ducati ST3 crate, its made of steel and looks strong. A crate made of wood would have to be fumigated.
I got the crate from Causeway Ducati in Perth in exchange for a carton of Tooheys Extra Dry. It came complete with all the nuts and bolts and straps needed to secure the bike. Thank you Grant.
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Squeezing it all in, the 2 panniers just fit in front of the headlight.
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On the way to the Airport ($80 by Bike Lifters - 0412 917 959).
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On the scales at Dangerous Goods.
You are allowed to have a quarter tank of fuel and the Battery leads must be disconnected and taped up.
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Total weight was 260kg but it was cheaper to send it at the 300kg rate.
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The Crate was shrink wrapped in black plastic before shipping.
It left Perth on Thursday 24 Apr 08 and arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday 26 Apr 08
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EXPORTAIR did the job. Thank you Phil Drake.
Ph: 08 9477 1080
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Cost $2,331.
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I flew out on Friday at 0105 via Singapore and Tokyo to Los Angeles, arrived the same day at 1255 , 23 hours of misery, you guessed I don't like being cooped up in a tin box.
I amused myself by taking pictures of the flaps.
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Flaps over Singapore.
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More
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Air Brake over Japan, I think the pilot hit the wrong button.
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Japan in neat little squares.
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Rough Landing in Japan, Flaps, Airbrake, Bounce, Swerve, I think the pilot must have been watching the in-flight Fast and Furious movie.
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The N stands for NIPPON, there were hundreds of them.
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First view of the USA, that's the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco in the middle, its my out of focus camera not the smog that's making things blurry
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Enroute to LA
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LA from the air
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Temple to the Automobile
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Downtown LA
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Another Temple to the Great 4 Wheels
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 09:10 PM GMT
April 26, 2008 GMT
2. Los Angeles

City of Angels
Though the city of Los Angeles, California is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States at almost 18 million souls, it is a relatively young city, not founded until the mid nineteenth century.
And there is more here........
Los Angeles History


Arrived totally stuffed at LA after 23 hours cramped up, huge airport with planes, cars and trucks going every which way all on a runway with round-a bouts.
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Took about an hour to get through Immigration, big queues.
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Got the crazy money mixed up, all the notes are the same size and colour, taxi driver must have thought Christmas had come early.
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Rang Qantas and they said my bike would be there tomorrow (Saturday), I was not expecting it until Monday and they were actually open Saturday and I could come and pick it up, even Customs were open on Saturday.
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The Qantas office/warehouse was only about a kilometer away so I walked using my invaluable GPS to guide me.
They processed my paperwork in 5 minutes ($30) and then drove me to Customs
and waited while Customs took their time stamping the documents. I had to fill in an EPA form promising not to add to the pollution (no charge).
Back to the Warehouse where they allowed me to unpack and reassemble my bike while everyone stopped by to chat and wish me luck even if it was in Spanish.
Thank you Qantas.
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What a relief I was mobile again, even if it was on the wrong side of the road and in the LA smog and lunatic drivers.
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No one sticks to the speed limit, what speed limit, is there a speed limit, this is a Drivers city, no speed cameras, Police are too busy trying to stop people from shooting each other.
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Some interesting stats here
LA Crime

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Santa Monica Beach South
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Santa Monica Beach Lifeguard (I think)
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This man is looking for buried corpses
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Santa Monica Pier, The Tip
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Santa Monica Pier Rides
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Santa Monica Pier Sideways
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Santa Monica Beach North
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Santa Monica Pier Looking Back from the Tip
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Santa Monica Pony Rides
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It is not a Stage Prop, it really does exist
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The Metro has a $5 all day Bus and Train Pass, unbeatable value and you get free entertainment from all the crazies
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Long Way Down
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The Train
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Special Earthquake Proof Tracks
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Yes, his siren and lights were flashing, that's more like it
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Not exactly sure what these guys were doing
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The Union Station
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The Post Office
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The oldest house in LA, about 3000 years old, I Think
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Broadway
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Shooting an Episode of Criminal Minds down a Broadway Side street
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Criminal Minds Again
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Broadway Again
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Hill Street - The Diamond street
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Brave men built these Towers
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More Tall Buildings
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Glass and steel
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Stars, everywhere, even down the side streets
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Stars Hands and Feet
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Real Stars hands and feet
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Hollywood Mall
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Hollywood Blvd
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The Chinese Theatre (where all the hand and foot prints are recorded)
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Capitol Records
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Hollywood Subway
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Universal City
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Universal City Shuttle
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The Globe according to Universal
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Universal City Walk, a bunch of shops
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The Entrance where you stand in a queue to buy a ticket, pickup a pamphlet at any Vistors centre for an $8 discount
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Not sure what this is
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The Simpsons
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Too scary for me
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Waterworld
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Lots of Cartoon Characters wandering around, the kids loved them and some adults?
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Another one
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Hollywood Smog
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Studio Tour Queue, 45 minutes and they have a Spanish Language Tour as well
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Stage 25, where they make movies
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Fake Town, there were lots of them, different themes
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The Back of a fake Town
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Special effects
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Fake Boat, these guys can do anything
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Another Town
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Another
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House in Stephen King Movie where the Writer gets his legs chopped off
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The Latest Mouthwash
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Shrek
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Exploring LA's racetracks which become Car Parks during Rush Hour
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In 3D
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LA Bike Shop, as Large as LA itself
I bought some oil from here, time to hit the road.
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 11:59 PM GMT
May 04, 2008 GMT
3. Grand Canyon

After Los Angeles the Grand Canyon and the Mountains of Arizona were a breath of Fresh Air

Left LA early, it took 110 kms to get out of Greater LA and for traffic to become less frantic. After that it was a geat ride becoming colder as the road climbed up from sea level to the stratosphere.
I stayed in Flagstaff, a very nice town and also very cold being at 2,200m this was to be expected. It was -4c (yes that is a minus in front of the 4) the first morning I woke up there.

The Route from LA to Flagstaff
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Flagstaff Mountain is what I called it, if you look closely you can see the flag at the top
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From Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon and back, forrests on the way there and red rock on the way back
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In 3D
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The Grand Canyon, pictures will never do it justice, the scale is so vast it is difficult to comprehend.
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Spot the Lone Pine
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This Path is reserved for people who have committed a great sin, their penance is to walk down and then back up without being rescued
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Take a close look, you do not want to be on that path
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There are people up there
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That little river did all this damage
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One of the locals
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The train to the GC
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Lots of bikes out on the weekend
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I rode back along the Canyon towards Cameron, lots of good lookouts along this road and lots of roadside Navajo stalls selling jewelry and jerky
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That's the Grand Canyon in the background on the other side of the Rock wall
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:38 AM GMT
May 05, 2008 GMT
4. Sedona

This must be the best country in Arizona

Sedona and Cottonwood are small towns south of Flagstaff at a lower elevation and the road descends quite steeply through the hills. Lots of campgrounds alongside the river in this wooded area and some shacks built by the river as well, very picturesque.
Once out of the mountains the landscape turned red with some stark rock formations set against a very blue sky.
Quite a lot of traffic along this road, lots of bikes, all mammoth cruisers which sounded like Harleys and some Goldwings.

The road to Sedona and Cottonwood
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In 3D, note the elevation profile on the right
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On the way down
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Sedona, many, many, many souvenir shops
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Metal Sculpture
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This was Cowboy country
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 04:15 AM GMT
May 06, 2008 GMT
5. Las Vegas

"Las Vegas Blvd" as the sign says or a short stretch of it is what makes LAS VEGAS

Rode along Interstate 40 and then onto Route 93 to Las Vegas via the Hoover Dam. Easy ride with some excitement approaching the Hoover Dam, Police were stopping all vehicles in both directions going over the Dam especially RV's, Vans and Trucks, they waved me through (missed again) so I could not ask what was going on, probably because my bike is not capable of carrying enough fertiliser to be worthy of their attention.

Arrived in Las Vegas early quite warm, walked around for a couple of days, the Mega Resorts are really MEGA, I have never seen anything like it.
Slot machines by the million, most of them unoccupied, shopping malls within the resorts, rides within the resorts, lots of people everywhere, lots of different languages, an amazing experience but I was glad to be out of there after 2.5 days.

The Route from Flagstaff to Las vegas
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In 3D
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Enroute to Las Vegas
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Hoover Dam
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MGM Grand
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Hooters
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Tropicana
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Free Slots ???
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New York, New York
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Tropicana
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Excalibur
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Mandalay Bay
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Luxor
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Monorail
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That Roller Coaster - A whiplash machine
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The Strip Lights
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:26 AM GMT
May 07, 2008 GMT
6. Las Vegas 2

More Las Vegas and and I did not see all of it....

The MGM lobby, huge.
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Slots a Million
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Real Lion
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I think they change the lions every day
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The Killer Coaster again
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This is Indoors
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Planet Hollywood, 1.6 Km of shops
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And they are building more of these monsters
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Indoors again
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Caesars Palace
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Bellagio
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Paris Las Vegas
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Bally's
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Flamingo
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Harrah's
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The Mirage
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Treasure Island
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Inside the Venetian
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Why are people leaving money for this guy?
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The Venetian
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Palazzo
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Attention to Detail
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Fashion Show
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Treasure Island Skull
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Venetian
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Mr. and Mrs. Greenback
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Gambling while you have a drink at the Bar
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Sports Book means you can bet on anything here
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Lion Habitat inside the MGM Grand
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 06:29 AM GMT
May 08, 2008 GMT
7. Death Valley

Death Valley - Weird and Wonderful and not a blade of grass in sight.

Rode through Death Valley from Las Vegas via Shoshone.
Actually rode through the valley twice because I misjudged my fuel stops and went back for fuel when I did not have to.
Beautiful contrasts, desert below and snow on the mountains above, rocks of many colours, very warm especially in riding gear, I finished the day happy but completely dehydrated.
Great ride winding two lane back roads wth whoops and some in poor condition, up and over mountain passes and back down through the valleys.

Route from Las Vegs through Death Valley, Panamint Valley and China Lake
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In 3D
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Death Valley National Park
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Death Valley, an old Lake Bed
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Surrounded by mountains
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Faint traces of snow on the top
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Below Sea Level
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Death Valley Boardwalk
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Ghost Town in Panamint Valley
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Panamint Valley parallels Death valley but is about 300m higher
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Highest (Mt.Whitney on the left) and Lowest (Death Valley on the right) points in the lower 48 so close to each other.
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Stopped at Ridgecrest near China Lake for the night, surrounded by Military Bases.
Rode over the Sierra Nevada via Isabella Lake on the S155, another great ride through the mountains, up to 2000m and back down again.

Route from Ridgecrest to Porterville over the Sierra Nevada
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In 3D
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Hairy Trees
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There was a whole forest of them
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Isabella lake, very pretty, small towns dotted along its shores
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On the way down
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 06:00 PM GMT
May 10, 2008 GMT
8. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Big Trees, Big Mountains, Rivers, Snow and Ice, warm in the Sun

It is difficult to find words to describe these places, feel good wilderness

Sequoia, Kings Canyon and all the way to Cedar Grove
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In 3D
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Miles of Citrus trees at the base of the mountains
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And it is harvest time
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Lake Kaweah
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Kaweah River
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Lots of flowing water
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Giant trees forest
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Three pic's merged into one to capture this average monster
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These trees have bark that is 600mm (2 feet) thick so forest fires have no effect on the core of the tree.
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Snow below
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Kings Canyon on the way to Cedar Grove
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Kings River
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Spot the car on the road, puts things into perspective
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Kings River close up
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 07:11 PM GMT
May 23, 2008 GMT
9. Yosemite Valley

Misadventure followed by Yosemite Valley

Porterville to Merced
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Merced to Yosemite Valley
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In 3D
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Since Flagstaff I had been hearing a loud ticking from the top of the Bike's engine so I decide to check it out at Merced.
The Inlet Valve clearances had opened up to about 1mm, should be 0.15mm, I knew then that there was wear in the Rocker Arm and/or shaft, it is a known problem with this model.
I rang KTM dealers all over the country for the parts but they all said backordered to the 26 June 2008. Next I called SOMMER KTM in Germany, they had the parts in stock and shipped them out within 4 hours of my calling them, delivery time 6 days.
The temperature was +40c, a heatwave, everyday right until the parts arrived, I spent my time watching repeats on TV.
The day the parts arrived it started blowing a gale 50kph winds all day and night for 3 days, the gusts were strong enough to set off my bike alarm. I pulled the Rocker Cover off with dust flying everywhere, the problem was a worn Roller Bearing on the Inlet Rocker Arm, I replaced the Arm and the Shaft and reassembled everything. Now the fun part, I had to wait 72 hours for the Silicon Sealant I used to seal the Rocker Cover to cure.

The Offending Part
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While waiting I took the bus to Yosemite Valley the most picturesque part of the National Park.
All the Big Rocks, Waterfalls, Rivers and Tree's have names, I don't remember them so you can make your own up.

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There is a road under there
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The Bus
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:34 AM GMT
May 25, 2008 GMT
10. San Francisco

San Francisco Old and the New all mixed up

The weather changed again, rain for the first hour out of Merced towards the coast Salinas and Monterrey.
Stopped at Laguna Seca Raceway, Home of the US MotoGP, rode around the outside, very hilly, lots of ups and downs.
Carried on to Pebble Beach, Private Road, Motorcycles not allowed which at $9.25 for 17 miles may not have been a bad thing.
Back onto Highway 1 and San Francisco, a city of contrasts and many tourists.

Merced to San Francisco
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In 3D
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Laguna Seca Raceway
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Highway 1 - Great ride, lots of bikes on the road and cars for the long weekend (Memorial day)
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City Hall, very impressive
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Art on the streets everywhere
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These guys know what they are doing
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Symbolic Entrance to China Town
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This really is a China Town
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Art on the buildings as well
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All the streets are like this, cars parked uphill are required to turn their wheels to the left and cars parked downhill must turn their wheels to the right to prevent runaways.
And if you plan on walking like me, take the bus or the train or the cable car or the street car
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View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Coit Tower which is on top of a hill I was foolish enough to walk up, take the bus next time.
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Coit Tower Marker
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Coit Tower, there is some history here, google it.
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Fishermans Wharf, Pier 39, Shops, Restaurants and Rides and millions of Tourists
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The Bridge being built
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Seemed to be the speciality here, Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl
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Alcatraz from the Wharf
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Cable Car, slow, noisy, bumpy and packed, a fun ride.
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 04:09 AM GMT
May 27, 2008 GMT
11. Alcatraz

Be Good, this is not a nice place.

Alcatraz Island, I booked a ticket on the ferry in advance by phone, this is the most popular attraction here and booking is recommended.

Its a 15 minute ride on the ferry to the island, cool (13c) and windy.
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Golden Gate Bridge
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San Francisco Skyline
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Someone requested that I put some pictures of me in this blog so now whenever someone asks me to take their pic I ask them to do the same for me.
On the ferry at the Rock
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After it closed as a prison the local Indians took over the Island and lived there for over a year, claiming it as Indian Land
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On the way up the hill
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Outmate and a member of the Bomber squadron
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Me again, as you can see I am an hour older in this one
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Prisnors were searched thoroughly, thoroughly, like I said be Good
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I think these pics give us a better idea of what it was like to live here
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The self-guided Audio tour started here and lasted for 2.5 hours, it was recited by former Prisnors and Guards with sound effects, very well done.

Home Sweet Home 2.7m x 1.5m or 9' x 5'
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Recreation
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D block if you misbehaved, the cells were bigger but you were not let out very often
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And if you really upset the bosses, this was it, steel floor and darkness
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One escape attempt resulted in Prisnors taking Guards hostage and executing them, it did not work
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Prison Art
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A unique view of San Francisco from the Rock enjoyed by the Guards
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The only successful escape, though whether they lived to tell the tale is the debateable. "Escape from Alcatraz" Starring Clint Eastwood
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That is the hole they enlarged with spoons to get into a Uitility corridor where they climbed up the pipes to the roof
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Dummy heads under the blankets to fool the guards
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The Utility Corridor where they climbed 3 floors up the pipes to the roof
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Dining Room, they had the best food in the Prison system and Tear Gas cannisters in the ceiling
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Freedom, water birds skimming the waves
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 04:18 PM GMT
May 28, 2008 GMT
12. Golden Gate Bridge & Cable Cars

Biking the Bridge, what they should really call it is Splitting you in Half on the Bridge

I believed the ad's and decided to Bike the Bridge, the man said "One or two small hills, really small hills on the way, liar.
Two hours uphill and another hour coming back, soaked in sweat, panting, cramps and a near death experience but worth it in the end, great views and I Biked the Bridge (next time I am Tour Bussing the Bridge)

San Francisco from the Bridge
1SFfromBridge.jpg

On the way, no Doughnuts for these guys, its Clam Chowder
2chips.JPG

They look brand new
3chips.JPG

4chips.JPG

Bear with me, I spent three hours on a razor blade getting these pictures for you
5gg.JPG

6gg.JPG

Can you see the suffering on my face and this is only after 15 minutes
7me.JPG

8gg.JPG

9me.JPG

At last on top of the bridge, now only 3.2km's to go across the bridge and 3.2km's back and then its downhill most of the way
10me.JPG

11gg.JPG

12gg.JPG

13boats.JPG

That Rock again
14therock.JPG

15pilot.JPG

16boat.JPG

For the Jumpers
17crisis.JPG

18gg.JPG

19marina.JPG

Coit Tower, the knee breaker
20coit.JPG

At last, the other end of the bridge, now its all/mostly downhill
21gg.JPG


CABLE CARS
San Francisco has the only Cable Car system in the world.
There are 4 huge loops (kilometers long) of cables running around under the streets of the city. They are kept in continuous motion by huge wheels at the Cable Car Depot, a very complex system of wheels and pulleys keeps them from getting tangled up under the streets.
The cars themselves have no engines, they use a huge set of pliers to grab the cable which pulls them along and to stop they let go of the cable and apply the brakes.
The Grip Man must have a strong back, it takes two guys on each car, they take turns as the Grip Man.
$5 a ride but if you have a day or week pass its free

This is where they get turned around manually at the end of the line
cc1.JPG

cc2.JPG

This is where the cables enter the Depot from the street
cc3.JPG

These huge wheels are what keep the cables moving around
cc4.JPG

cc5.JPG

Inside, the Grip Man in Front
cc6cablecarinside.JPG


Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:21 PM GMT
May 29, 2008 GMT
13. San Francisco - Goodbye

Last day in San Francisco, the nicest city so far

I took a street car to Castro, the Gay District, just another street, some same sex couples holding hands. This was fairly common in other areas as well, Gay Marriages are now legal in California.

Colourful Flags mark the area
2castro.JPG

The Castro Theatre, google it for more info
3castro.JPG

The New Wonder Drug
1medical.JPG

I am trying to give you some idea of how steep the hills are, the San Franciscan's must be the fittest people in the US
6uphill.JPG

Even the Cable Cars complain when climbing the hills
7uphill.JPG

The Guide Books call this the Crookedest Street but in the next sentence thay say it isn't and that honour belongs to another street somewhere else, go figure.
Anyway this is the one all the tourists visit and no I did not walk up it, I am now older and wiser, I took the Cable Car to the top and walked down.
8crooked.JPG

19crooked.JPG

20crooked.JPG

If not the Crookedest, it certainly is the prettiest street.
21crooked.JPG

Ghirardelli, I took this picture so I could remember the spelling, famous for their Hot Fudge Sundae and I did have only one
22ghirardelli.JPG

Mermaid Baby
23mermaidbaby.JPG

Street Cars another one of San Francisco's weird Transport devices
4streetcars.JPG

24streetcar.JPG

Street Car Driver, he looks very uncomfortable
25streetcardriver.JPG

The Inside of one
26streetcarinside.JPG

San Francisco in 3D
23.SanFranciscoin3D.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 01:18 AM GMT
May 30, 2008 GMT
14. Lake Tahoe

A lake surrounded by mountains another natural wonder


Lake Tahoe is the result of a basin formed by land sinking between two faults

(according to the FAQ) and it is not a volcanic crater.


About 2 million years ago lava flowing from Mount Pluto formed a barrier across

the basin's outlet.


It is 35km long, 19km wide, 115km around, 501m deep and it is 1897m above

sea level.


Half the lake is in California and the other half in Nevada

San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, I lost my way in the maze of freeways around

Sacremento and kept going on the I80, this was serendipity because the route

(49) I took to get back onto S50 was a geat ride.
24.SanFranciscotoLakeTahoe.JPG

In 3D
25.SanFranciscotoLakeTahoe3D.JPG

I rode around the lake, there are small communities around most of the California

side, the Nevada side only had casino's at both State borders
26.AroundLakeTahoe.JPG

In 3D
27.AroundLakeTahoe3D.JPG

Across a 2300m high mountain pass to get to Lake Tahoe
2approachTahoe.JPG

Does my bottom look big in this outfit, Lake Tahoe in the background
1approachTahoe.JPG

Its pretty all the way around, take your pick

Some of these vista's are very long, scroll sideways to see the rest
1LakeTahoeVista.jpg

2LakeTahoeVista.jpg

3LakeTahoeVista.jpg

4LakeTahoeVista.jpg

5boat.JPG

6vista.JPG

7vista.JPG

8vista.JPG

9island.JPG

100me.JPG

11vista.JPG

12vista.JPG

There was some sort of Bike race or gathering this weekend and there were

thousands of these guys/gals riding around everywhere obstructing and breathing

in the fumes of all the 4 wheelers.

This a winter sports town so the bikes thing must be to keep the local business

from going broke in summer
14bikes.JPG

6bikes.JPG

A fine day 18c with blue skies all round so I decided to walk to the Nevada state

border (another stupid decision) about 7.2km, I did not know this when I started,

it only took a few minutes riding my bike.

This is the Upper or Lower Truckee river
2upperlowertruckee.JPG

Lake Tahoe Beach
1LakeTahoeBeach.jpg

Me at the beach, not in the water
3me.JPG

Big Ducks or they could be Geese or Swans
4ducks.JPG

This is an escapee from the local asylum, he thinks he's a duck, the water is just

above freezing point. They took him away in a padded jacket with a fish in his

mouth.
5lunatic.JPG

Your guess is as good as mine
7flowers.JPG

Local Art
9art.JPG

This is what people come here for in winter
8skirun.JPG

Only in America, taking the Dog's for a walk
10dogwalk.JPG

Vicious man-eating bears everywhere
11bears.JPG

Another local happening, people having fun playing Horses and Wagons
12wagontrain.JPG

13wagontrain.JPG

The state border at last, casinos start right on the border
15harrahs.JPG

16harveys.JPG

I took this while lying down for a rest on the 7km hike back
17jet.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 04:46 AM GMT
June 03, 2008 GMT
15. Lassen Volcanic National Park

A Fairy Tale setting but the reality on a bike was Freezing, Foggy, and Wet,


I left Lake Tahoe early, great ride through the mountains, no traffic, overcast and cold with the altitude between 1200 (4000') and 1800m (6000') until I got to Chester which is at the base of the Lassen Park.
It started to drizzle so I stopped to waterproof myself further and fill up with fuel and give my rear end a break.
The road started to ascend steadily and kept ascending and it got colder and the roads got wetter and more winding and then the fog joined in to add to the excitement.
The whole place looked like something out of a fairy tale, if anyone ever offers you a job in a fairy tale, say No.
My hands started to freeze up so I stopped and took my gloves off a couple of times to take some pictures, clever, as you can imagine these stops lasted about 30 seconds, this was at 2100m (7000') when I did not actually think the road was going to go any higher. It did all the way to 2594m (8512') and the fog got to the point where all I could do was follow the double yellow lines in the middle of the road.
By now my fingers were numb and the GPS said we were descending slowly, nice, after that it was defrost all the way to Redding where I could lie down and enjoy my sore throat and flu.
A new experience that I will not forget in a hurry.

The route from Lake Tahoe to Redding
Lassen NP is the green bit at the top
28.TahoetoRedding.JPG

In 3D
29.TahoetoRedding3D.JPG


1Lassen.JPG

2Lassen.JPG

3Lassen.JPG

A break in the fog
4Lassen.JPG

5Lassen.JPG

I did say there was Fog
6lassenfog.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 03:27 PM GMT
June 08, 2008 GMT
16. Mount St. Helen's

Out of the rain and fog appears Mount St. Helen's

After the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc., I thought this would just be another big rock
but this mountain tops the lot.
I picked up a bug (cough, cold, flu) in San Francisco, it started to make itself felt
at Lake Tahoe and kept getting worse plus the weather after Redding decided to
join in and really make me feel miserable.

Overcast, rain, cold (around 10c) so all my rides finished up with a frozen lump
trying to get off the bike without tripping and falling over myself (this is a very tall
bike).

Redding to Springfield (Eugene) - Long, Cold and Wet
I was initially going to ride through the mountains instead of taking the Interstate
good thing I did not, it was even colder up there and snowing.
30.ReddingtoSpringfield.JPG

Mount Shasta, that cloud looked like a flying saucer when viewed from the back
1Mount Shasta.jpg


Springfield to Kelso (Longview) - Short, Cold and Wet
31.SpringfieldtoKelso.JPG

Ride from Kelso to Mount St. Helen's and back
started off in fog and finished up in sunshine
32.MountStHelens.JPG

In 3D
33.MountStHelens3D.JPG

On the way up to MSH (Mount St. Helen's)
01helenv.jpg

I rode straight into those clouds you see covering the tops
of the mountains in the distance.
It was freezing and I could not see a thing, nearly turned back
but decided to keep going, it was only 120k's each way
and see what happened
02hvalley.jpg

03valley.JPG

Good decision, because the sun came out, first time in 3 days
First glimpse of MSH
04firstglimpse.JPG

05firstglimpse.JPG

Finally at the top and a minor challenge for disabled drivers.
The car park was half covered in snow
06disabledparking.JPG

07sidewalk.JPG

08road.JPG

Spot the orange motorcycle
09carpark.JPG

The visitors centre, really good 16 minute introductory movie.
Actual footage of the mountain blowing up in 1980
10visitor.jpg

The mountain itself
11MtHelen.jpg

28 years later and its still a desert at the base
12helen.JPG

The old man and the mountain
12mee.JPG

12THEhelen.jpg

13THEhelen.jpg

That Lava Dome is growing, it periodically spews out Hot Stuff
14lavadome.JPG

15basehelen.jpg

16base.JPG

The devastation wrought by the blast is still apparent 28 years later
16devastation.JPG

Millions of tree's ripped away from their trunks
17treetrunks.JPG

New lakes were formed when bits of the mountain top blocked rivers
18lakes.JPG

That was a big tree
19treetrunk.JPG

Trees only just starting to appear at a distance
20treesappearing.JPG

The ridge in the background that is covered in trees is behind MSH
and was not affected by the blast, that's what the whole area looked like before,
the bit in the front is after
21beforeandafter.JPG

Must come back one day (check the weather first)
22bike.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 09:35 PM GMT
June 09, 2008 GMT
17. Seattle

Seattle - 55 days of sunshine a year, 310 days of overcast and drizzle
say no more

Short ride 2.5 hours from Kelso to Seattle, cold and wet and dodging trucks
on the Interstate all the way.

Kelso to Seattle
34.KelsotoSeattle.JPG

In 3D
35.KelsotoSeattle3D.JPG

Second day in Seattle overcast and drizzzzzle, cleanest city so far, grey everything
and a Dog Bakery
1threedog.JPG

Marine Hwy
2ferries.JPG

I walked down to the wharf, markets and alley's for the tourists
3alley.JPG

Pike Place Market
4pikeplace.JPG

5docks.JPG

6towers.JPG

Smart Car
7smartcar.JPG

Oh! look a tunnel
8bustunnel.JPG

For Busses? not sure what the tracks are for
9bustunnel.JPG

Boeing Factory Tour (no pictures allowed)
The Boeing Factory, largest building by Volume in the world is that one on the left
with the blue doors, no cameras or cell phones allowed inside where you can fit
about a dozen 747's, its so big it looks small.
To put things into perspective, in the background there is a six lane freeway.
The pregnant plane on the right is a modified 747 used to bring large plane parts to the factory and the building behind it is the Paint Hangar.
30,000 people work here and they have shuttle busses from the car park to the
factory.

1dreamlifter.jpg

Jumbo Tail (these pictures are from the museum)
2jumbotailfin.JPG

Experimental Kitchen Appliance
3experimental.JPG

787 Cockpit
4cockpit.JPG

They put the engines in backwards on this one to see if the pilot would notice
5enginebackward.JPG

Big Jet Engine
6bigjetengine.JPG

Museum of Flight, the sun came out for a few hours today, 1 down 54 to go.
The SR71 Blackbird, it is huge considering it is the fastest plane ever and it was designed in 1976.
1blackbird.jpg

Blackbird Engine
2blackbirdengine.JPG

2blackbirdrear.JPG

2blackbirdtail.jpg

Blackbird Cockpit
2blackbirdcockpit.JPG

Blackbird seat, no ergonomics, they made 'em tough in 1976
2blackbirdseat.JPG

Concorde
3concord.jpg

Concorde Cockpit
3concordcockpit.JPG

Inside Concorde
3concordinside.JPG

Concorde Bald Tyres, no wonder it crashed
3concordbaldtyres.JPG

Lunar Rover, this thing went to the moon
4lunarover.JPG

Wire Mesh Tyres
5rovertyre.JPG

Claustrobia Central, 3 guys had to fit in there
8spacecapsule.JPG

One
6spacecapsule.JPG

Two and Three
7spacecapsule.JPG

Old Antagonists in the Indo-Pak War, they look like toys next to modern fighters
Sabre Jet
10sabrejet.JPG

Mig 15
11mig15.JPG

What is that?
13carplane.JPG

Vietnam War Adversaries
Phantom F4
14f4phantom.JPG

Mig 21
16mig21.JPG

Airforce 1 from a very long time ago
21af1.JPG

Some of the passengers
22af1presidents.JPG

23af1inside.JPG

Don't laugh, some famous rear ends graced this throne
24af1presidentialpot.JPG

Still alive
25me.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 06:41 AM GMT
June 14, 2008 GMT
18. Space Needle & Canada

Canada - Mountains, Trees, Rivers and Wide Open Spaces

My last day in Seattle I visited the Space Needle built in 1962, good views.

And if you use your imagination you can see anything you want.

1spaceneedle.jpg

2snfront.JPG

Downtown Seattle and if you use your imagination you can see Mt. Ranier in the background
3downtownseattle.JPG

The Docks
4thedocks.JPG

Blue skies, white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, use your imagination
5tropicalprardise.JPG

Rides at the base of the Space Needle
6rides.JPG

Weird Roof
7weirdroof.JPG

Seattle International Water Airport
8internationalwaterairport.JPG

Space Needle Clown
9snclown.JPG

Replica super bug
10helicopter.JPG

Monorail
11monorail.JPG

Seattle to Quesnel (silent 's'), long and enjoyable ride.
Went through Canadian Customs at Abbottsford, they asked the usual questions
about Drugs, Weapons, Money, The Bike, then gave me a 6 month visa, no
charge, took about 20 minutes, easy.
Started to head East and the weather improved the further I moved away from
the coast.
Turned North at Hope, winding roads following rivers for the most part, lots of
tunnels at first, then it flattened out, very pretty, mountains, rivers and trees, and
more trees as far as the eye can see, a sea of trees.

Seattle to Quesnel
36.SeattletoQuesnel.JPG


Lots of bikes out for a weekend ride
1canada.JPG

Mountains
2canada.JPG

Rivers
3canada.JPG

Tunnels
4canada.JPG

Blue skies in Quesnel
5blueskies.JPG

Quesnel Casino
1quesnelcasino.JPG

Another River
2river.JPG

Pretty Flowers
3flowers.JPG

Quesnel to Fort Nelson
Another long ride, the first 5 hours through mountains after that it flattened out
on the Alaska Highway
My GPS lost power for a short while while riding and managed to delete most of
the track. I did not ride in a straight line, still waiting for my superpowers for that
to happen, follow the red line for my route via Prince George and Fort St. John
37.QuesneltoFortNelson.JPG

1landscape.jpg

More mountains, trees and rivers
2mountainstreesrivers.JPG

The black stuff on the mountain is a forest (of trees)
3mountaintrees.JPG

Fort Nelson Hotel
1Fortnelsonhotel.jpg


Posted by Chris Desmond at 02:43 AM GMT
June 23, 2008 GMT
19. Whitehorse, Dawson City and Fairbanks

Mountains, Rivers, Trees, Lakes, and last but not least the ever present Rain.

Alaska Highway was built by the US Army, considered one of the
Wonders of the World.

Fort Nelson to Whitehorse blue skies for the first 6 hours and
not so blue for the next 4.

Lots of wildlife, I saw a deer first, then some Moose, then Mountain Goats (twice),
Rabbit, Squirrel, Beaver, Black Bear, Buffalo and calves (twice), only managed to
get picís of the goats and buffalo the others were too shy

Fort Nelson to Whitehorse
38.FortNelsontoWhitehorse.JPG

1mountains.jpg

Stone Mountain
2stonemountain.jpg

3valley.jpg

4moremountains.jpg

Buffalo going bald
5bufallo.JPG

6mountains.JPG

7blueskymountains.JPG

Summit Lake
8summitlake.JPG

9mountaingoats.JPG

Downtown Whitehorse, a Metropolis
1downtownwhitehorse.JPG

Hotel with Dancing Girl and Internet
2hotel.JPG

The Man and his Dog
3mananddog.JPG

The Aliens have landed
4strangecreatures.JPG

My Bike started leaking Oil and I had to make a temporary repair
that may have to last permanently
5seal.JPG

Whitehorse to Dawson City
Ignore the straight line it came from another GPS power connection glitch
39.WhitehorsetoDawsonCity.JPG

Dawson City, all the buildings look like they are from a movie set
I was told buildings that do not conform are not allowed
Very touristy, dirt roads with boardwalks and sunshine

On the way there
1island.JPG

2goldminer.JPG

Yukon River Ferry and its free
3yukonriverferry.JPG

4church.JPG

The Governor's Mansion
5mansion.JPG

The Leaning Tower of Dawson
6leaningtowerofdawson.JPG

7hotel.JPG

This time it was the Rear Brake Master Cylinder.
I was lucky the dealer in Seattle had a kit in stock
1carparkrepairs.JPG

The outskirts of the town are covered in mining rubble from years gone by
2miningrubble.JPG

Puller and Jeff, rescued Huskies
3huskies.JPG

New breed of Genetically Modified Husky
8orangehusky.JPG

4hotel.JPG

Like I said Boardwalks and Dirt streets, all that's missing is JW and his six gun
5boardwalks.JPG

6gambling.JPG

Dawson City, Yukon, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
40.DawsonCitytoFairbanks.JPG

Crossing the Yukon from Dawson on the way to the Alaska
2yukonferry.JPG

Top of the World Highway, 200 k's of dirt, best ride so far.
This is where the KTM came into its own
1topoftheworldhwy.jpg

Canada / USA border
The sign says Most Northerly Land Border in the USA or World?
Anyway its out in the sticks
3mostnortherlylandborder.JPG

Fairbanks, Alaska, overcast, wet and a little dilapidated
1fairbanks.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:18 AM GMT
June 28, 2008 GMT
20. Fairbanks, Alaska to Great Falls, Montana


Fairbanks, Alaska - freezing, overcast and raining, the forecast was for more of
the same so I decided to make a non-stop run for warmer latitudes and some
sunshine.

I left Fairbanks in a drizzle which lasted most of the day, the road was like a roller
coaster and roadworks delayed me at least an hour with numerous dirt sections.
The sun came out when I arrived in Haines Junction, a one street town with a
million dollar view and a really good Village Bakery.

Fairbanks to Haines Junction
41.FairbankstoHainesJunction.JPG

Big Lake
1lake.jpg

Some of Canada's Tallest Mountains are in there somewhere
2TallestMountains.JPG

4TallestMountains.JPG

The view from Haines Junction, the mountains are right in your lap
3hainesjctview.jpg

Haines Junction to Dease Lake an uneventful ride, still mainly wet with 50-60 k's
dirt roads once I turned off the Alaska Hwy onto Route 37, unmarked, narrow
and bumpy, a fun ride.
Dease Lake a one street fishing and hunting town.

Haines Junction to Dease Lake
42.HainesJunctiontoDeaseLake.JPG

Dease Lake to Smithers via Stewart and Hyder, Alaska, freezing, my heated
gloves were on full blast and only just did the job of keeping my hands warm.
Again narrow winding unmarked road upto the Stewart turnoff after that its called
the Glacier Highway, amazing riding alongside the ice covered mountains.

Dease Lake to Smithers via Stewart, Hyder, Alaska
The straight line is another GPS power glitch
43.DeaseLaketoSmithers.JPG

This route is variously called the Cassiar, Stewart or Glacier Highway, its lined
with these crazy lumps of rock and ice.
1cassiarhwy.jpg

2glacierhwy.jpg

The most common bridge used to cross the numerous rivers is this steel
construction with a steel grid roadway which makes a bikes front wheel do funny
things following the grid.
3steelbridge.JPG

The Roadway, do not drop your car keys here.
4steelbridge.JPG

More Roadworks, the winter frosts destroy the roads and they spend all summer
rebuilding them.
5perennialroadworks.JPG

Big Chunk of Ice
6glacier.JPG

Another one
7ice.JPG

Bear Glacier with Bear Lake beneath which is the source for Bear River
8bearglacier.JPG

The tip of the Glacier, pretty colours
9bearglacier.JPG

Stewart, Canada - This contraption has something to do with Logging
10stewart.JPG

See, lots of Logs
11stewartlogging.JPG

Hyder, Alaska - end of the line, not really sure why it exists right at the tip of the
Alaska pan-handle.
I rode from Canada into the USA and back in 15 minutes.
Its the only place I have been where there is no US Customs presence only Canadian.
13HyderAlaska.JPG

Time for a peanut butter roll
12lunchbreak.JPG

Smithers to Jasper - back in civilization again, lots of small towns, prices back to
normal and the sun is shining again.

Smithers to Jasper
44.SmitherstoJasper.JPG

Marcel a crazy French Canadian from Quebec could only speak 3 words of English
which is more than you can say of my French.
Riding a Yamaha Majesty 400 scooter, a long way from home ran out of fuel and
was stranded.
I stopped and we found an empty can of Budweiser in a ditch which I filled twice
from my tank after disconnecting the fuel hose, next stop 24km, he was confident
it would make it, I followed and he ran out again so another two cans later we
arrived in Fort Macleod.
He was embarrissingly grateful and insisted on filling my tank (10 litres) even
though I did not need fuel and wanted to buy me lunch, I had an ice cream instead

1roadsiderefuel.JPG

The man himself with that life saving can of Bud, litterbugs hhhmmmm
2marcelandhiscanofbud.JPG

And just so you don't forget, some more mountains, they are everywhere
3mountains.JPG

4bigmountain.JPG

Jasper, Canada to Great Falls, Montana - Jasper and Banff National Parks, the
road runs right through the Rockies with amazing views.

Jasper to Great Falls
45.JaspertoGreatFalls.JPG

Look at those Blue Skies
1jaspernp.jpg

You guessed it, more mountains
2jasperNP.jpg

3jasper.jpg

4jasper.jpg

There were lots more 230k's like this
5jasper.jpg

Athabasca Glacier is on the left and xyz on the right, scroll sideways to see the rest.
To give you an idea of how big it is, the green stuff in the middle is a forrest of trees.
6athabascaglacier.jpg

7jasper.jpg

8jasper.jpg

9mountain.JPG

10mountain.JPG

11mountain.JPG

Icing on the cake
12icing.JPG

The Weeping Wall, that's what the sign said, not me
13weepingwall.JPG

Another lake
14lake.JPG

15mountainandlake.JPG

Calgary Downtown, a Big City, took a while to get through
16calgary.JPG

The High Plains, 1000m up, farms with the Rockies in the background
17highplains.JPG

US Border, I got stuck in the line with the grouchy Customs Officer who was
checking everyone and everything while the other line zipped past.
For the first time I was asked to open my panniers and he wasn't even looking,
just wasting time.
18USborder.JPG

The view from the border, one of those Western Movie mountains
19usborder.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 01:15 AM GMT
June 29, 2008 GMT
21. Great Falls

Great Falls, Montana - Where the Lewis and Clark expedition had a major
headache and some very small Casino's

The Missouri river has 5 falls in this area and the Lewis and Clark expedition
(google it) had to drag their boats around them.

http://www.lewis-clark.org/

It took them 2 years to cross the continent with some help from the natives only
to find that there was no water route across the country, a monumental
achievement and then they had to go back.

The largest of the Falls, now dammed with a hydro-electric generator alongside
1falls.JPG

Before they were dammed
2fallsbefore.JPG

Hauling a home made boat uphill
3haulingbaot.JPG

The locals lending a hand
4natives.JPG

There are two falls here one on the left and one on the right
2twofalls.jpg

A sample of the many Casino's, Las Vegas weep.
1casino.JPG

2casino.JPG

3casino.JPG

4casino.JPG

5casino.JPG

I arrived here on Saturday at 7pm with a bald rear tyre, all the Bike Shops are
closed Sunday and Monday so I had to wait until Tuesday to get a tyre that while
not exactly the right size was close enough.
When I arrived here the bike was still covered in Mud from the ride to and from
Alaska, $10 at a car wash later and it sparkles.

Fitting the wheel back into the bike
3tyrechange.JPG


Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:06 PM GMT
July 03, 2008 GMT
22. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is a big volcano, it has erupted three times in the past.
2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago and
it might erupt again tomorrow.

This being the 4th of July long weekend everything around Yellowstone
was booked and I had to stay in Bozeman about 130k's away.

Great Falls to Bozeman, rained most of the way but was not cold, easy ride
through the backroads.
46.GreatFallstoBozeman.JPG

In 3D, note the Rocky Mountains on the left and the Plains on the right
47.GreatFallstoBozeman3D.JPG

The roads around the Park
48.YellowstoneNP.JPG

In 3D, note the flatter area in the green bit which is the volcano crater and the
surrounding mountains.
49.YellowstoneNP3D.JPG

Lots of wildlife, forrests, rivers, sub-alpine meadows and the Hot stuff.
Oh! and about a million other tourists all driving around and around.

This is an Elk looking slightly worried.
6elk.JPG

This is a bear looking even more worried because he can't run as fast as
the Elk he is chasing and he chased it right across the road between all the
gawking tourists scrambling for cover into their cars. That was funny.
And why did I not drop my bike and try and squeeze into one of the cars
because a Grizzly ran away from me once before when I blipped the throttle.
7bearchasingelk.JPG

Steaming Rocks
1Steamingrocks.jpg

8fumaroles.JPG

Dead Trees everywhere
9deadtrees.JPG

A little pond steaming away by itself
10steamingpond.JPG

Boiling Water, would not take long to make a cup of tea in this place
But it would stink
11boilingwater.JPG

Buffalo and Elk
12buffaloandelk.JPG

Buffalo cooling off
13buffalotakingadip.JPG

More Boiling Water
14boilingwater.JPG

Lots of Waterfalls
15waterfall.JPG

And Rivers and Canyons
16river.JPG

And people fishing
17fishing.JPG

Alien Landscape, scroll sideways to see it all.
2alienlandscape.jpg

Pretty Colours
18colours.JPG

The Continental Divide runs through the Park.
All Rivers East of the Divide run East and all Rivers West of the Divide run West
into the Pacific
20continentaldivide.JPG

Watch your step
21thermalarea.JPG

Yellowstone Lake
22yellowstonelake.JPG

Buffalo on the Roadside
23roadsidebuffallo.JPG

Closeup
24buffallohead.JPG

Buffalo Traffic Jam, the Mothers waited on the road for the Babies to catch up
25trafficjam.JPG

There were hundreds of them
26buffallo.JPG

27river.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:24 PM GMT
23. Old Faithful

Old Faithful - the main reason for my visit to Yellowstone

The Old Faithful area is a village in itself with its own Post Office,
huge car parks and millions of people.

Old Faithful erupts every 40 to 126 minutes
(give or take 8 hours, Park Ranger Joke)

This is what I saw when I arrived, scroll sideways
3oldfaithfullspectators.jpg

It must have been my lucky day because as soon as I finished
taking the above picture, I heard the ooohhs and aaahhs
so I just kept clicking.

The eruption went on for over 3 minutes
of1.JPG

of2.JPG

of3.JPG

of4.JPG

of5.JPG

of6.JPG

of7.JPG

of8.JPG

of9.JPG

of10.JPG

of11.JPG

The End
of12.JPG

This Guy was keeping an eye on me
19crow.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 06:11 PM GMT
July 05, 2008 GMT
24. Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore and The Massacre at Wounded Knee


War of the Worlds except this time the Aliens and the Viruses killed the Natives.


Lots of early American History in this region, some good, some not so good.

Bozeman to Moorcroft
50. BozemantoMoorcroft.JPG

In 3D
51. BozemantoMoorcroft3D.JPG

Bozeman Church
1bozemanchurch.JPG

Custer's Last Stand at Little Big Horn, the Indians Won for a change.
This site is a National Park
1laststand.JPG

The short story
2laststand.JPG

US Cavalry, the hunter
3uscavalry.JPG

A melting pot
4uscavalry.JPG

Native Cavalry, the hunted
5nativewarrior.JPG

6battle.JPG

Cavalry markers where they fell
7cavalrymarkers.JPG

Crazy Horse says
8crazyhorse.JPG

Native Memorial
9nativememorial.JPG

US Cavalry Memorial
11cavalrymemorial.JPG

An Explanation
10treaty.JPG

Moorcroft to Valentine
52. MoorcrofttoValentine.JPG

In 3D, heading away from the Mountains
53. MoorcrofttoValentine3D.JPG

Crazy Horse Memorial, carved out of a mountain in the Black Hills
of South Dakota. Only the face has been completed and that has taken 60 years,
it was started in 1948 and at the rate they are going will probably take another
100 years. The original sculptor is dead, his wife and 10 children carry on the work.
The carving is done with dynamite, it is absolutely Huge, Massive, BIG.
1ch.JPG

The face at the un-veiling
2ch.JPG

3ch.JPG

When its finished
4chfinal.JPG

Look for the Yellow Bus
5ch.JPG

Straight after Crazy Horse I went to Mt. Rushmore which is nearby and it was an
anti-climax because all four heads are only as big as Crazy Horseís head, still
very impressive and many more visitors
6mr.JPG

10mr.JPG

7mr.JPG

1rushmore.jpg

8mr.JPG

9mr.JPG

11mr.JPG

12mr.JPG

After that I rode to the Wounded Knee Massacre site where Native men, women
and children were killed by the army, it was sad because there is only a Rusty
Sign and a Mass grave compared to Custerís Last Stand which is a National Park.

The story
13mwk.JPG

14mwk.JPG

The Mass grave
15mwkgrave.JPG

The Cannon were up here and the Natives at the bottom of the hill
16mwkhill.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 02:34 AM GMT
July 09, 2008 GMT
25. Chicago

Chicago - Big Steel City


Definitely a BIG city, steel canyons with every tall building trying to look different,
clean, organized and impersonal.

Valentine to Cedar Falls
Flat and boring, many small towns flying the flag
54. ValentinetoCedarFalls.JPG

In 3D
55. ValentinetoCedarFalls3D.JPG

Cedar Falls to Chicago
Illinois Toll roads start around Chicago about 80 cents every 5km
56. Cedar Falls to Chicago.JPG

In 3D
57. Cedar Falls to Chicago 3D.JPG

Chicago Street, where the sun don't shine
1wherethesundontshine.jpg

Sears Tower, 3rd tallest building in the World ?
2searstower.jpg

Train Tracks
3trainoverhead.JPG

4tb.JPG

Planetarium, Aquarium, Field Museum Complex
5planetarium.JPG

Lake Michigan, it should be called a Sea
6lakemichigan.JPG

7river.JPG

8tb.JPG

9tb.JPG

Trains flying over head
10train.JPG

Steel Art
11art.JPG

Lunch Break
12lunch.JPG

The Fire Department also runs the Ambulance Service and the fastest way to
get around is on a bike
13firedept.JPG

14tb.JPG

15tourboat.JPG

16bridge.JPG

17tb.JPG

18front.JPG

19bike.JPG

20bike.JPG

21art.JPG

22art.JPG

23trainart.JPG

1chicagoskyline.jpg

1art.JPG

Michigan Street, The Magnificent Mile
2michiganst.JPG

Ambulance Sirens Non-stop, giving everyone a heart attack
3ambulance.JPG

4tree.JPG

Navy Pier, food, drink and some rides
5navypier.JPG

6np.JPG

7np.JPG

111art.JPG

112art.JPG

113art.JPG

114art.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 01:09 PM GMT
July 15, 2008 GMT
26. Toronto, Niagara Falls and Ann Arbor


Toronto or Trono as the locals say, Niagara Falls lots of water and Ann Arbor
University Town. Time to catch up with Family and Friends.

Rode from Chicago to Toronto via Port Huron, uneventful border crossing, got
stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway for 2 hours just out of Toronto, very warm.

Chicago to Toronto
58. Chicago to Toronto.JPG

I stayed with my Uncle and Aunt here, they made me very welcome, thank you
for your hospitality.

Canada Geese, millions everywhere
1canadageese.JPG

CN tower through the Trono smog
1cntower.JPG

City Hall Clock Tower
2cityhall.JPG

City Hall
3cityhall.JPG

Another City Hall
4cityhall.JPG

City Hall Art
5cityhallart.JPG

Casa Loma, Rich Man's Dream Home
Lots of Tourists
1casaloma.JPG

CN Tower from Casa Loma
2cntower.JPG

Inside Casa Loma
3insidecl.JPG

4insidecl.JPG

CN Tower very tall concrete structure.
Stood in queues all day to get to the top and then queued up again to get back
down.
01cntower.JPG

02cntower.JPG

That Trono smog again
3cntowersmog.JPG

Looking Down
4cntowerdown.JPG

Glass Building
5glassbuilding.JPG

Gold Building
6goldbuilding.JPG

Trono Botanical Gardens
gardens.JPG

Trono City Square
1tronosquare.JPG

Covered Street's for Winter
2indoormalls.JPG

The Blue Lines represent Trono's Underground City
underground city.JPG

Art
3art.JPG

Toronto to Niagara Falls and back
59. Niagara Falls.JPG

In 3D
60. Niagara Falls 3D.JPG


Niagara Falls, Lake Erie pouring into Lake Ontario
Absolutely astounding
This is looking at them from the Canadian Side
1NiagaraF.jpg

2horseshoe.jpg

3straight.jpg

4straight.jpg

Maid's of the Mist, that's what the boats are called
1maidsofthemist.JPG

Bridge to the USA
2usa.JPG

Still alive
3meagain.JPG

They have one here as well and yes, I did go up, I just love heights
5niagaratower.JPG

Viewing Platform on the USA side
6platform.JPG

The Hotels
7theotherside.JPG

8theotherside.JPG

I rode to Ann Arbor from Toronto with a friend riding a BMW, following the
backroads along Lake Erie part of the way
61. Toronto to Ann Arbor.JPG

In 3D
62. Toronto to Ann Arbor 3D.JPG

We stopped at Port Dover, Lake Erie for lunch, that beach could be anywhere,
it is real.
1portdover.JPG

Look at the Beach Toys
BMW and KTM.JPG

Border crossing had a queue took an hour to get through
and coming the other way were the millions that cross the border to work
every day. After that road works through Detroit delayed things further.

I stayed with an old Friend and his Family in Ann Arbor, they made me very
welcome, thank you for your hospitality.
While there I serviced my bike and fitted a new tyre, the old one still had tread
but had developed a split or cut, nasty.

1tyresplit.JPG

I also organised my ticket back to Perth and shipping for my bike as well,
a story in itself.

Ann Arbor Lake
1aalake.JPG

I think that's a Duck
2aalake.JPG

and those two are Superman and Superwoman on Patrol
2abovethelake.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 11:15 PM GMT
August 18, 2008 GMT
27. New York - 1


New York, New York

I rode from Ann Arbor to New York using back roads through Ohio,
Pennsylavania and New Jersey stopping over at Ebensberg for a night.

I stayed with a friend who made me very welcome, thank you
for your Hospitality

Ann Arbor to New York
63. Ann Arbor to New York.JPG

In 3D
64. Ann Arbor to Ebensberg 3D.JPG

65. Ebensberg to New York 3D.JPG

Times Square is not a square in the traditional sense - a flat open space,
it is instead a square made up of several blocks of buildings with
its heart at the intersection of 7th Ave, Broadway and 44/45th street
Looking North
1ts.JPG

Looking South
2ts.JPG

The Naked Cowboy, Times Square celebrity
3nc.JPG

4nc.JPG

Policeman and his Cell phone
5horsecopcell.JPG

Believe it or Not
1ripleys.JPG

Battery Park War Memorial at the tip of Manhattan
2bpeagle.JPG

Ground Zero is now a Construction Site
3groundzero.JPG

Cop Scooter
4nypdscooter.JPG

Art
5art.JPG

Where the Stock Brokers go to Pray
Trinity Church at the end of Wall Street
6wallstreetchurch.JPG

NY Stock Exchange - The Home of Money
7nystockexchange.JPG

Art?
8art.JPG

Courthouse (Supreme?), seen frequently on Law and Order
9supremecourt.JPG

Statue of Liberty, security is tight and queues are long, come early
1sol.JPG

NY skyline seen from the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan is in the middle
nyskyline.jpg

Bridges between Long Island and Manhattan
2nybridges.JPG

Older and Wiser
3iwasthere.JPG

On the Inside
4solinside.JPG

Another angle
5solanotherangle.JPG

Ellis Island, Immigration Central a long time ago
24ellisisland.JPG

Ellis Island on the Inside
6ellisisland.JPG

If you want to get anywhere quickly, this is it
1helicopters.JPG

Golf addicts come here for a fix
2nydrivingrange.JPG

Another Skyline, Downtown, Westside
3skyline.JPG

If you don't like flying and are in no hurry
Water Taxi
4watertaxi.JPG

Twins Obsession
5njbuildings.JPG

6njbuildings.JPG

16twintowers.JPG

Somewhere in NY
7globe.JPG

Uptown Apartments
8uptownapartments.JPG

John Lennon's apartment building and also where he was shot
9lennon.JPG

Hmmm
10art.JPG

Harlem Mosque
11harlemosque.JPG

Harlem Church
12harlemchurch.JPG

Harlem and The Duke
13harlemusic.JPG

NY Rickshaw wallah
14nyrickshaw.JPG

Or if you prefer to give the horse a hard time hauling your Lazy A around
15nyhorsecarriage.JPG

Another Times Square Celebrity
17ts.JPG

This one has a brain and can prove it
18brain.JPG

The clock you see on TV every New Year's
19tsclock.JPG

Little Italy
20littleitaly.JPG

The Brand New New York Times building
21nytimes.JPG

Art
23art.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 07:49 PM GMT
August 31, 2008 GMT
28. New York - 2 and Philadelphia


Philadelphia - Birthplace of the US of A

New York, my second favourite city after San Francisco

The famous Times Square MacDonalds
timesquare1.jpg

This used to be the Garment district recently relocated to Shanghai
1button.JPG

The Flat Iron building, Spiderman movie,
the most photographed building some say
2flatiron.JPG

The Original DKNY
3dkny.JPG

The patented New York way to stop a building from falling down
4construction.JPG

China Town, largest in the USA
5chinatown.JPG

Chinese War Memorial
7chinesewarmemorial.JPG

If you don't have a Waterfall, you make one (or three)
6waterfall.JPG

A few of these in Bombay or Bangkok would not go astray
8donthonk.JPG

or these
10blockbox.JPG

The signs don't work so they have lots of these
11trafpolice.JPG

Block of Chocolate
9trump.JPG

The Empire State Building, built like a Brick SH
(planes have crashed into it)
and it only took 13.5 months to build in 1931
12empirestate.JPG

The Top half
22empirestate.JPG

Central Park and Uptown in the distance
es1.jpg

Looking West - New Jersey
es2.jpg

Downtown
es3.jpg

Queen's and Brooklyn
es4.jpg

Central Park
1centralpark.JPG

Look for the backyard
2view.JPG

Crowded at the top
3thetourists.JPG

Flat Iron from the Top
4flatiron.JPG

Statue of Liberty
5sol.JPG

Times Square through the gap
6ts.JPG

I wonder who that is?
1target.JPG

An Architect who likes triangles
14triangleb.JPG

The Post Office, never closes
13Postoffice.JPG

Grand Central Station, never closes
2grandcentral.JPG

Big rat in front of Grand Central
3bigrat.JPG

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
I was told this is a "must see"
8metfront.JPG

Some interesting stuff in there if you have a week or two to spare
4met.JPG

5met.JPG

6met.JPG

7met.JPG

Outside the Met
7metoutside.JPG

Only in NY, a Sabbath elevator that stops at every floor
so you don't have to PUSH a button, just walk on and off
9sabbathelevator.JPG

I made a day trip to Philadelphia and visited the Historic District
66. Philadelphia.JPG

67. Philadelphia 3D.JPG

A reconstruction of the room where Thomas Jefferson drafted the
Declaration of Independence
1tjroom.JPG

Independence Hall where the states met to sign the declaration
4independancehall.JPG

5ihall.JPG

The room where it all happened, there were only 13 states at the time
independance hall.jpg

The signed declaration, note John Hancock's signature large and prominent
in the middle at the bottom
2declaration.JPG

The Liberty Bell, a Symbol
3libertybell.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 09:31 PM GMT
September 04, 2008 GMT
29. Lancaster, Hershey and Gettysburg

After New York I needed a rest

After 2 weeks in New York I needed a rest so I rode to Lancaster and stayed just
out of the town in Ronks among the Amish farms for a week. Very peaceful.

New York to Lancaster
68. NY to Lancaster.JPG

In 3D
69. NY to Lancaster 3D.JPG

I went on a day trip to the town of Hershey created by Hershey around his
Chocolate factory.
They had a tour of a simulated factory and lots of chocolate, I left with a few.

Lancaster to Hershey
70. Lancaster to Hershey.JPG

In 3D
71. Lancaster to Hershey 3D.JPG


1hersheys.JPG

2hersheys.JPG

Another day trip to Gettysburg, a historic town, a very warm day, rode around
the battlefield, many monuments to the various military units that were involved.

Lancaster to Gettysburg
72. Lancaster to Gettysburg.JPG

In 3D
73. Lancaster to Gettysburg 3D.JPG

Day One according to Gilbert Gaul
1gettysburg.JPG

Roads lined with monuments
2gettysburg.JPG

3gettysburg.JPG

4gettysburg.JPG

Another day trip to a tourist town called Intercourse (you can imagine what the
Tourist T-shirts had on them).
The Amish don't like having their pictures taken so I took a couple of their
transport.

The Ute
1intercourse.JPG

The Convertible
2intercourse.JPG

The kids were getting around on Roller Blades and Bicycles without pedals,
you paddled with your feet.

.

Posted by Chris Desmond at 08:20 AM GMT
September 10, 2008 GMT
30. Washington, DC - 1

Monuments, Memorials and Museums

From Lancaster it was a short ride to Washington, I took the back roads through
some very pretty farms and small country towns, the Amish inhabit quite a large
area.

Lancaster o Washington
75. Lancaster to Washington.JPG

In 3D
74. Lancaster to Washington 3D.JPG

The last part of the ride it rained and I arrived in Washington wet.
I stayed with some long lost relatives here, they made me very welcome,
thank you for your hospitality.

The first thing I noticed about Washington was there were no tall buildings at all.
I got around as I usually do in the cities using the trains.

First stop "The Mall" it is absolutely amazing how many really impressive
Monuments, Memorials and Museums are clustered around this small area.
They are all free which in the USA is amazing in itself and to enter most you
have to go through a security check, sometimes queue up and for the
Washington Memorial and The Capitol a ticket (free) is required.

Washington Monument
2washingtonmonumentstones.JPG

This thing is huge, there is a lift to the top first get your ticket, then join the queue
and security check to go up.
2washingtonmonument.JPG

The lift has windows and the insde of the monument is decorated with extracts
and information about its history and construction.
I wonder what the man would have to say about the present state of affairs.
2washingtonmonumentwords.JPG

View from the top, Jefferson Memorial
3jeffersonmemorial.JPG

World War II Memorial
4ww2memorial.JPG

The White House (I never imagined it to be so crowded)
6whitehouse.JPG

Zoom
7whitehouse.JPG

Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool
5lincolnmemorial.JPG

The Capitol and the grassy bit, the buildings on either side are the Smithsonian
8themall.JPG

Zoom
9thecapitol.JPG

Another view from the Lincoln Memorial
1washingtonmonument.JPG

Geese and Ducks, lots of them
10geeseonthemall.JPG

Inside the WW II Memorial
11ww2memorial.JPG

Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial
12lincolnmemorial.JPG

Lincoln Memorial
13lincolnmemorial.JPG

The people in the foreground give some idea of the size of Lincoln in the
background
14lincolnmemorial.JPG

Police Girl
15lincolnmemorialpolice.JPG

Inside Lincoln Memorial
16lincolnmemorialinside.JPG

17lincolnmemorialtheman.JPG

Who is this?
18squirrel.JPG

Welcome to the White House
19whitehouse.JPG

20whitehouse.JPG

Older and Fatter
21whitehouseme.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 08:44 AM GMT
September 12, 2008 GMT
31. Washington, DC - 2

More of Washington

The Smithsonian is a collection of Museums housed in seperate buildings.

This is the one that explains how it all started.
1thesmithsonian.JPG

Rockets at the Air and Space Museum
2rockets.jpg

2spaceship1.JPG

They even have rides, I went on this one, simulated Aircraft Carrier Takeoff and Landing
3rides.JPG

Unmanned Aircraft, the Future
4unmannedaircraft.JPG

Me, in infrared
5meinfrared.JPG

The Subway, clean and organised
6washingtonsubway.JPG

Declaration of Independence Memorial
There is one stone for each Signer
1decofindependancememorial.JPG

Vietnam Womens Memorial
2vietnamwomensmemorial.JPG

3vietnammemorial.JPG

4vietnambookofthedead.JPG

The Wall, scroll sideways
1vietnammemorial.jpg

The pictures make you realise there is a family behind each one of those names.
5thewall.JPG

Korean War Memorial
6koreanwarmemorial.JPG

There was a whole wall of this stuff, fascinating.
7koreanwarmemorial.JPG

F.D.Roosevelt Memorial, one of the better known Presidents,
some say he was a socialist.
9fdrmemorial.JPG

Jefferson Memorial, I like it.
8jeffersonmemorial.JPG

Jefferson
10jeffersonmemorial.JPG

11jeffersonmemorialme.JPG

Washington Monument as seen from the Jefferson Memorial
12washingtonmonument.JPG

The Capitol
1thecapitol.JPG

Inside the Capitol, as you can imagine passing through Security
to get in there was a nightmare
2capitoldome.JPG

3capitol.JPG

2insidethecapitol.JPG

The Figure on top of the Capitol
1figureontopofcapitol.JPG

Library of Congress
3libraryofcongress.JPG

Inside the Library of Congress
3libraryofcongressinside.JPG

The Supreme Court
5supremecourt.JPG


The Judges in Minature
6supremecourtminature.JPG

Must be a Riot somewhere
7bikepolice.JPG

Arlington Cemetery, Huge, Immaculate, Moving and a graphic reminder
of Man's Inhumanity to Man
1arlingtoncemetary.JPG

JFK
2jfk.JPG

3graves.JPG

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
5tombofunknownsoldier.JPG

Changing of the Guard
4tombofunknownchangingofguard.JPG

Arlington Amphitheatre
2arlingtonamphitheatre.jpg

Flowers
6flowers.JPG

The Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima).
This was my favourite, words cannot describe the effect it had on me.
7iwojimamcmemorial.JPG

8iwojimamcmemorial.JPG

9iwojimamcmemorial.JPG

The Sculptor (shows you how big it is).
10iwojimamcmemorial.JPG

The Pentagon Memorial (Plane Crash)
3pentagonmemorial.jpg

11pentagonmemorial.JPG

12pentagonmemorial.JPG

The lighter coloured stone shows where the plane hit, right in the middle.
13pentagon.JPG

Posted by Chris Desmond at 03:40 AM GMT
October 13, 2008 GMT
32. Louisville, Detroit and the Journey Home

Louisville = Kentucky Derby
Detroit = Stay home after dark

After 2 weeks in Washington I rode to Louisville using backroads, good ride,
stopped at Huntington for the night and from there it was a short ride to Louisville.

Washington to Huntington
76. Washington to Huntington.JPG

In 3D
76. Washington to Huntington 3D.JPG

Huntington to Louisville
77. Huntington to Louisville.JPG

In 3D
78. Huntington to Louisville 3D.JPG

I stayed with friends in Louisville, they made me very welcome, thank you for your hospitality.

This place is in Kentucky, some say the Horse Racing/Breeding Capital of the US/World?

Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is held every year.
The interesting thing about this race is that the horse has to be 3 years old.
1churchilldowns.JPG

Not sure what this has to do with Horse Racing, Derby Hats?
2derbthats.JPG

Derby Silks or Jockey Tops
3derbysilks.JPG

The Finish
4thefinish.JPG

The Stands
5thestands.JPG

Louisville to Detroit
79. Louisville to Detroit.JPG

After a week in Louisville I headed back to Ann Arbor to organise shipping my
bike back, my 6 month visa was about to run out.
I stayed with my old buddy and his family again, without their help and support this trip would have been a lot harder.

Detroit Skyline, Canada on the left and Detroit on the right
1detroitskyline.jpg

Detroit Car makers
1detroittowers.JPG

Detroit Fountain
2detroitfountain.JPG

Football?
3detroitfootball.JPG

I'm leaving on a jet plane
2detroitairport.JPG

Fall Colours
1blurryfallcolours.JPG

Ann Arbor from the air
3annarbor.JPG

Cloud Mountain
4cloudmountain.JPG

Snow in the Rockies
5snowintherockies.JPG

California Farms
6californiafarms.JPG

California Hills
7californiahills.JPG

San Francisco Airport
8sfairport.JPG

9sfairport.JPG

10sfairport.JPG

Hong Kong Airport
1hongkongairport.jpg

Hong Kong, the Best airport, I spent nearly 12 hours there.
2hkairport.JPG

hkairportart.JPG

Take-off from Hong Kong
1leavinghk.JPG

I landed in Perth nearly 2 days after leaving Detroit, was I glad to be back home.
My bike took 2 months to arrive, I sold it soon after and its now heading for the
Canning Stock Route
1ktm.JPG

2ktmodo.JPG

Start to Finish GPS Tracks 23,187 km's, 1,186 litres of fuel
80. StarttoFinishLeg1.JPG

I am going back to the US, this time buying a bike there, leaving Perth on May 23 and stopping for 2 weeks in Hong Kong on the way.

.



Posted by Chris Desmond at 05:08 AM GMT
May 22, 2009 GMT
33. Part 2 - 2009

I left Perth on 22nd May 2009 for 2 weeks in Hong Kong and then on to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I bought a Suzuki DL650 Vstrom.
Blogging is too much like hard work and I stopped doing that some time ago, so I am just going to post pictures online.

My Trip Pictures

Click the link above to view them.


Posted by Chris Desmond at 12:00 AM GMT
 


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"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

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Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

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