So to bring you up to date on my 2022 rides won’t take long – this was our trip to the US, and I’ll share our Australian rides in the second half of the year in the next post.

July: PA to MN

The first, and only multi-day ride for the year was from James and Janet’s place in Pennsylvania to our second family in Minneapolis. We spent a few days being spoilt by the Owens’ delightful hospitality, (see evidence below – including the biggest slice of ice cream cake I’ve ever seen!) and enjoyed a couple of shorter rides around Easton to get used to the bike and the setup.

But eventually we had to get on the road proper and we ventured westwards to meet Dan Simmonds for lunch at Boiling Springs . After a long-overdue catch-up, we headed out on I76 and our first fuel stop on the Turnpike… But not before I lost a glove while checking the distance to the fuel stop on my phone. Somewhere on I76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is a lonely right-handed Rukka motorcycling glove in ladies’ size 6.

Unfortunately the bike was less excited than we were to get going again. A couple of attempts to get it started resulted in a fairly lacklustre turning on and off again of the GPS with some sad whiny noises and not much else. At this point it’s appropriate to share that we should have, but did not, get the gear from the old bike in MN shipped to PA before we started. As a result the sum total of our toolkit on the bike was my toiletries kit.

With no tools and no useful tools for sale at the service centre, we discovered that my mobile phone was not actually working for phone calls, and weren’t sure how we could check the battery without a torxhead screwdriver. Martin got a hold of Jim using trusty Messenger and we found the tools under the rider seat… but everything looked ok with the battery. A couple of hours, a rainstorm and $700 later, the bike was towed back east to the nearest BMW dealer in Carlisle, roughly where we had lunch!! The diagnosis was a very slightly loose battery terminal… dammit!!! At least it was an easy fix, I guess. Lessons for next time: always carry tools, and always try to tighten the battery terminal, even if it feels firm.

Anyway, we were back on the road and heading west again around 5.30pm, making it as far as Somerset before dinner and a couple of beers at Rey’s Azteca Mexican. By morning our gear had dried out and we were ready to crack on again.

Dry and ready to roll!

While Thursday’s progress had not been quite as far as we’d hoped, we were still hoping to get to Muskegon, MI for the 4.30pm ferry ride to Milwaukee, WI on Friday afternoon and avoid having to deal with Chicago traffic. Leaving Somerset at 6.45am, we ‘should’ have had enough time, but it felt like we’d need to keep moving. By the time we hit the outskirts of Toledo, OH around lunchtime I was starting to get concerned, nevertheless Martin insisted it was fine. It wasn’t until I realised I couldn’t buy ‘day of’ tickets to the ferry online, and still didn’t have phone service that I commenced a full blown freak out on the back of the bike and told Kiwi he needed to move if we were going to make it on time.

I will neither confirm nor deny our compliance with all road codes on the way, but we made it to the Muskegon ferry terminal with a whole 10 minutes to spare, where I ran into the divinely air conditioned terminal to buy three tickets – two adult and one motorcycle – and expressed my gratitude to whatever divine intervention meant we got the last motorcycle space on the ferry! Three hours later we were at the overpriced and very dated Milwaukee Hilton, and about 15 minutes after that we had wines in hand!

Saturday morning dawned clear and we were on the road again early, aiming for Apple Valley, MN by afternoon. Overall the day’s ride was uneventful – a little rain but otherwise nice scenery and a delicious lunch at the Taqueria El Sol in Abbotsford. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend it!

On arrival I was very happy to be off the bike, in and out of a shower and into clean non-motorcycling clothes (in true IBR style all our gear from Australia to MN for 3 weeks had to fit on the bike so I only had one set of motorcycling gear with me!).

And that’s it. The bike was washed and inventory taken for next time… then we had quality time with old and new friends and family we’ve missed out on over the past few years!


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