The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sep 10 Day 21 - The Old Spanish Trail - North Platte, NB

This morning was sunny & bright out with only a slight chance of rain predicted, around 25%. Since I'd be riding north for awhile before turning west I had my fingers crossed hoping for a nice dry ride. 

Yesterday I'd checked Google Maps to see what the distance from Mt Vernon, MO to Bandon, OR was. It came up as 1,836 miles, a fair distance. Given my usual rate of travel I'd arrive home somewhere around Halloween or later.

No big deal I thought, I'll just plug along and eventually I'll get there. I figured I wouldn't be doing a lot of meandering unless the mood struck me, instead I'd stick to the freeways and try to get over the Rocky Mountains before the ski season opened.

A few miles into the day's ride I saw a road sign that startled me, Oregon appeared to have been relocated to the Missouri heartland. Not so I thought, it's probably a ruse contrived by local gypsies to lure unsuspecting Oregonian tourists off the beaten path to rob or kill them. I took the following photo as evidence in case it might be called for in the future and continued on my way undaunted..

You Gypsies can't fool me!

No matter how convincing the diversion might be, it's still evident this is NOT Oregon, it's just another one of those gigantic cow pastures people from Missouri seem to be fond of.
Further along, still riding north I had to stop and refuel. The only facility in view was the Sapp Brothers truck stop so I pulled in and did the deed. I have to admit I'd never seen a water tower done up to look like a tea pot.

I'm not so sure if my name was Sapp that I'd keep it. I might change it to something else like Schmuck or Carbuncle for instance. 

A few weeks ago while on one of the Indian reservations in MT I came across a Jr College named Chief Dull Knife. Names can be a bit disconcerting at times and I don't know that I'd keep that one either, especially on an institution of higher learning. 

Anyway the Sapp Brothers were on my mind to the point I left their facility and headed north again, only this time without bothering to consult the GPS and soon found myself in Iowa. Wrong. I performed the obligatory U-turn and headed back, passing the Sapp Brothers one more time so I waved and smiled as I rode by, somehow feeling a sense of familiarity and brotherhood for them. Straying off course never really bothers me, it's as I've said before, doing so presents an opportunity for spontaneous exploration of places you've never seen.

Bye guys, think about the name thing, eh?

For the rest of the day I managed to stay on track, maintaining a lead against the ominous looking dark clouds that were moving south. I saw a few lightning strikes but all were at a comfortable distance so none were worrisome. 

North Platte, NE would be right about the 400 mile mark for the day's ride so I opted to stay there for the night. My first choice for accommodations was the La Quinta, a really nice Inn and there it was, right next to the first off-ramp. Feeling particularly lucky I marched in and presented my newly acquired La Quinta Returns Card, drivers license, AARP card, and for the final touch my AAA platinum card. I even removed my earplugs. 

The reception gal smiled cheerily and after carefully calculating my discounts announced proudly "That will be our lowest price of only $141 plus tax." I smiled cheerily back at her and reinstalled my ear plugs. "Bye bye" I said and marched back out to the Bonnie. 

The Quality Inn was next and not a heck of a lot lower, barely twenty bucks but I took it as I didn't feel like dealing with Motel 6 tonight. It turned out to be just fine, the room is light years better looking than the exterior and quite comfy. 

As soon as I'd settled in I rode over to the nearby Burger King and picked up dinner, then headed back for some surfing on the 'Net and maybe fool around with Google Maps some more. I still don't know how to paste their maps into my blogs. In fact I don' t even know if the following link will work. Maybe the Dead Link Police will hunt me down....

Google Map - North Platte, NB to Bandon, OR

Anyway once again another fun-filled day of riding at screaming speeds on freeways has passed, hopefully tomorrow will be similarly entertaining..



  1. I've been near Oregon, Missouri. I stopped to eat in the next town over (can't remember the name) and someone asked me where I was from. "Oregon." I says. This led to much confusion about high schools and who did I know, etc. I didn't know that town was just down the road until I left the restaurant and saw the sign.

  2. That whole stretch of I-80 follows the Oregon Trail but my maps either don't show the town or I just ain't looking in the right spot. Wouldn't be the first time. If it was earlier in the year I'd spend some time meandering in this area but snow's not long away and I'm on the wrong side of the mountains.

  3. Today is only Sept. 10...I just checked the weather forecast for your area...80's and 90's. The 10-day forecast at Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park in CO calls for no snow and highs in the 50's. So stay off those freeways! You're not going to get caught by snow in the Rockies...well, you could, but it would be a real fluke. Take your time. Meander. Ride safe. xox

    1. Thanks Honey,
      I may do that as freeways have zero entertainment value. Unless you count some of the truckers who have begun to wave at me when I go by. Traffic being what it is I passed the same guys several times so they're almost like buds. Odd....


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