Thursday, August 18, 2016

Up Mt Washington on the Cog

One of the many adventures we had while here in the White Mountains of New Hampshire was taking the cog up to the top of Mount Washington.

If you don't know what a cog is... It's a train of sorts.  It's on a track but the engine pushed the car up the side of the mountain and gravity and brakes is what brings it back down.  The amount Washington Cog has two different types you can ride... The steam engine which only runs once a day and for a shorter season and the diesel/electric train.  We got to ride up on the steam engine with ash in the air and all.  We even got to stop part way up to fill with water.  

Quite fun.  Then you spend about an hour up top and come back down.

Here are some of the many pictures I took that morning.

That's what it looks like... Remeber the engine pushes the car not pulls.

Yes, I cheated but that is the tip top of Mount Washington.

A hiker on the trail as we pass.  The AT goes right by here also.

On the way up it is this steep that Michelle is standing straight up in this picture.

Beautiful views.

On our way up.

On our way down

It was a beautiful morning.  Michelle and I got to go with our friend John!  Thanks John!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

5 Things You Need To Know When Visiting A Seasonal Rural Area

I have worked in small rural towns for the last few years as I travel around the country.  This list are the things I see the most working with tourists of these areas.  Hopefully this will help when traveling thru rural areas for less agrivation and stress during vacation.

1. Bring Cash: Businesses have a charge for every swipe of a credit or debit card. If they are a seasonal business they have a small timeframe to make money for the year and the rates are not any better for those only open seasonally.  That is why most places are cash only or have a minimum to use your card.

Not only bring cash but bring small bills.  These small seasonal businesses are not a bank.  If the last bank you saw was 30 miles ago that means the business has to drive 60 miles round trip for change and other banking needs.  So don't expect to break your $100 bill with a candy bar.  

2. Top Off Your Gas Tank: In rural areas there isn't gas at every corner. There isn't gas in every town.  I have been to places where it is 150 miles to the next gas station.  Don't assume.  Top off if you are leaving a larger town.  It won't hurt to be prepared and you will be thankful when your scenic drive isn't ruined by the worries of running out of gas.

3. Bring An Atlas: A basic atlas should be in every vehicle.  GPS is a nice convienence but it is not reliable.  GPS on your phone is even less reliable.  In rural areas the cell phone coverage can be spotty at best which means the GPS on your phone will be spotty at best.  Bring an atlas and have a basic idea of where you are going.  Pay attention when you drive, the signs will give you a lot of information if you know the basic route.

4. Be Aware Of Waste: In rural areas there will not be a trash can every time you stop.  Rural areas are also not the place to clean out the last 3 weeks of Starbucks cups from the back seat of your car.  A lot of rural areas do not have trash pickup and each business has to bring their trash to the dump themselves.  If there is trash pickup it may only be once a week and can be pricey.  Be courteous and don't make as much waste as you do at home.  Conserve and reuse as much as possible.  Don't expect to be able to throw things away at your convienence. 

5. Bring The Medical Supplies You Need: Remeber in rural areas there will not be a Walgreen/CVS on every corner.  The nearest Walmart or big box store may be 60 plus miles away.  Even a local pharmacy may be in the next town or two towns over.  Be prepared by bringing anything you think you may need from bandaids, pain relievers, medication and other medical needs. 

The moral of the story is to be prepared.  Don't assume there will be any convienences of the city.  Also, don't be upset when there isn't what you need in these areas.  They are seasonal and helping you visit their area for a short time. They do their best with limited resources.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hiking Adventures

I'm not much of a hiker... I keep saying I'll become a hiker but I'm not into the hike just to hike... I want a view of some sort... 

Michelle and I have done two hikes since being here in New Hampshire.  We wanted to hike once a week but there is a lot to do so it is hard to have time to do so.

We did a short wander with Michelle's family to The Basin.  It really isn't a hike and I don't count it as one of the two we have done but thought I would share a picture anyways. :)

Our first real hike was Arethusa Falls.  It is a mile down the road, about a 3 mile round trip hike to the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire.  

Yoska and Michelle went over all the rocks to the waterfall.

Our second hike was to Mt Willard.  A little shorter of a hike than Arethusa, not a very interesting hike but the view was Awesome!  We hiked to the top and had a quick lunch we brought with us and hiked back down.

Michelle showing off. :)

There are a ton of hikes in this area.  The AT is only 3 miles from where we are staying.  There are 52 hikes with a view and 48 hikes that go to the top of the 4000 ft mountains in New Hampshire... Then there are hikes to waterfalls and swimming holes also.  We would never have to hike the same trail twice.  It's a bit hot for me now so we have been kayaking instead... Maybe some more hikes when it cools in the fall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The rest of the way to New Hampshire.

Not much else happened on our way to New Hampshire.  We wanted to get here before Mother's Day so we had some miles to ride.  The first few days was rain and wind and we finally had a good day for riding so we rode from Maryland to southern New Hampshire... Somewhere around 550 miles.  It was a good riding day until the mountains of Vermont where we hit some thick fog, a bit of rain and it was getting dark.  We took it slow and made it to Michelle's family that night.  We spent a couple days there and then headed to where we are now in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire.

It is beautiful country here in the White Mountains.  I'm having a hard time staying still this long but we are half way done.  We've seen a few things in the area that I'll share with you with plans for many other adventures before leaving here in October.  I can hardly wait and have been working on a few things with my travels to help fund my way so I don't have to sit this long in one place.  Hopefully this will be the last of that.

So if you are in New England keep a look out.  You just might see us around. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The People We Meet

We meet a lot of different people from many different places and backgrounds.  I always enjoy a good conversation and learning something new.

While in Kentucky my dad, Michelle and I went to the auto parts store to get a couple of things for Blue.  While there this guy started talking to me.  I told him we were getting things for my motorcycle and he went on about this car he was rebuilding.  He asked if we wanted to go check it out.  Since my dad was with us we said sure.  So we followed him to a hanger on the outskirts of town.  He had this old car he was rebuilding and showed us all the little parts and what was original and what he had to find to replace with original parts.  It was looking pretty good.  He even started up the motor that was just on the frame.

Also in the hanger was a biplane... The Triple Nickle.  I was in awe.  If you have been following my blog for a while you know that it is my dream to fly in an open cockpit biplane.  I was pretty excited to see one up close.  I didn't ask him for a ride but now I know where he is and hope I run into him again in town.  

This is a picture of the Triple Nickle I got from the Internet.

He was retired but he use to build factory grade mixers.  I guess he invented a new type of mixer that didn't brake where they usually broke... he showed us a picture and told us some of the factories around the country that use his mixer.  It was pretty cool to learn about.

After a few hours of talking to this guy we headed home... We could of spent all day with him learning all types of stuff.

Then the next day Michelle and I went to town to ship a few things to New Hampshire for our summer gig.  We went to this Insurance/UPS place (small town) and the guy who helped us ship started talking to us and I told him we were riding a motorcycle pulling a teardrop and heading to New Hampshire.  Next thing we knew he took us to the garage behind the counter and showed us his old truck he was fixing up and telling us all about what he has done so far.  Michelle and I just laughed... what are the odds??

On our way thru West Virginia we met the mayor of Albright WV who had followed us from Albright to the interstate just to talk to us.  He told us how he had black lung disease and his doctor wrote a note saying riding his motorcycle at 80mph helps him breath... He even showed it to us.  He talked to us for quite some time and while talking he started folding money.  He pulled out what looked to be a check book but it was a book of dollar bills. He ripped one out and folded a shirt for me then he ripped another one out and made Michelle a heart.

He then told me to give Michelle the heart and to confess my love.  Haha... I'm not sure but we may be married in the state of West Virginia.  

I love meeting people and learning about what they love.  These guys were all great. Michelle couldn't believe that people would just stop and talk to us and show us things like they do.  Life is about sharing experiences and I love that I get glimpses from people I may never meet again.  Life is good!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Time with my dad

We spent a few days at my parent's house so my dad and I could do some work on Blue.

First, we took off the primary to get the gasket behind there where the shift lever connects.

The shifter was shaking like crazy and we had decided while I was still in California we were going to take it apart to see why.  Then the mechanic in Arkansas said there was a leak back there.  Changing out the gasket was a cheap, somewhat easy thing to do.  

Funny... Sometime my dad and I get a little occupied in our thoughts and we forgot to unplug the battery...  When my dad was loosening up the primary from the other side he hit the cables that run right there... Here I am on the other side looking in... 

Me: I see smoke, why would there be smoke?... oh crap, I see fire!! 

It was just a little flame and it went out right away.  We cracked up the rest of the day about that one.

We also checked the chain while it was out and there isn't any loose spots so it is good to go for a bit longer.

Then we checked for other oil leaks.  We took off the Oil Bud Oil Cooler because that has been my suspicion.  We pressured washed it since you can't get a good clean from between the top of the Oil Bud and the bottom of the bike... Since there has been an oil leak for quite a while now it was full of gunk so we washed everything off to get a better view...and let it sit while we worked on the forks.

I started to get a fork leak in Nevada... Too many potholes and off roading. Haha.  So we took apart the forks and changed the gaskets and refilled the forks.

All of this is pretty simple once you realize exactly what the service manual and YouTube videos are showing you.   With the forks you obviously have to take off the front tire, fender, front of the faring and the fork lock.  The fork lock took a bit but once we got it it wasn't an issue.  Same with getting out the gasket in the fork.  The first one took some time but then we figured out what was going on and now we will be able to do it quickly.

The frustrating thing about this "American Made" motorcycle is that it is more "Assemblesd in America".  Gotta love it when you pull off a factory part to see "Made in China" or have to find a metric tool to take off a part.  Luckily, my grandpa was a Honda and Kawasaki rider and when he passed away my dad got his tools.  It saved us a few times from having to buy a new tool.  There were a couple of tools my dad still had to buy to finish the job.  He started working on his own Harley after playing with mine so the tools will be used... It is quite addicting.

Once the forks were done we started putting everything back together.  We put some lock tight on the front connection of the Oil Bud as it gets loose and I believe that is where the leak is coming from.  Then we put everything back together and my dad took her for a ride and so did I.  No leaks!  She was good for a couple of days on the trip to New Hampshire and then a leak again from the front... The Oil Bud connection, I believe... I need to find something better to lock that connection tight.

So in my mechanic journey so far I have changed oils and other fluids, brake pads, spark plugs, changed out the fuel lines in the tank, fuel filter, primary chain tensioner, completely taken apart the primary, taken off the front tire, changed the front fork oil, done a little bit of electrical work... Where it concerns the trailer, and who knows what else... Pretty good start.  I can a least give her a good tune up.  :)

My dad and I have a good time and this time neither one of us swore... Which is quite the miracle. Haha

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Update: Goings on in New Hampshire

Before going on about our trip across country I wanted to share a few things happening while here in New Hampshire.

One thing I do like about having time in one place is it allows me to get some other things going for my BlueRoad project.  So here are a couple things I have been working on.

1. This might be obvious but I changed the layout just a little on the blog. If you check out the right sidebar ----> you will see a list of pages and links to visit.  

2. I updated my artist website with more information about the BlueRoad Project and other projects I have worked on... There is even a page dedicated to Yoska!  You can check that out at or the "website" link on the sidebar --->

3. I finally got it together to get business cards.  Michelle designed them for me and I LOVE them. Even Vistaprints wants to showcase my business card.  If you see me on the road be sure to tell me you want one.  I will also be sending them out with donations and sponsorship packages.

4.  I am refining my ideas about sponsorship and public speaking.  The more followers I have on my blog and Facebook and other social media helps me be able to get sponsors for my journey and hopefully some speaking engagements about my project around the country.  My goal is to live off of living.  So, hopefully by the time we leave New Hampshire I will be on a roll with this.  I will keep you updated!!

5.  I am completely excited that I will have about a ten minute segment on Wild Ride Radio that should be aired this coming Saturday.  Check out their website for affiliated stations and we will also be able to get it off of iTunes.  This is an awesome step towards number 4 and had a fun time speaking with Dallas.

If you have any ideas that might help me towards my goals please let me know.  I'm feeling hopeful that my dream will come true.  Being on the road like I have for almost 4 years... I think I have put in the research time with many more things to learn and share.  I thank you all for your support!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Graceland and heading to my parent's

We got up nice and early to be at Graceland when it opened.  Rain was in the forcast so we were hoping to be in and out and on the road before the storms.  We got there right at the time it opened and they already had the first tour on the bus heading across the street. Quite the efficient place.

I have been to Graceland three times.  I do love Elvis.  I have been to his birthplace in Tupelo and drove by his home in Palm Springs... They don't do tours at the house in Palm Springs anymore because it is now privately owned. I have watched most of his movies... My favorite being Change of Habit... Mainly because I do love Mary Tyler Moore and I worked with people with Autism and I shake my head every time I watch those scenes.  Of course, I have listened to a good chunk of his music.

My first time at Graceland was with my dad the summer before heading to Nashville for college, 1996.  We made a trip from Nebraska to Nashville to get everything sqared away for the fall semester and made the detour to Memphis on the way home.

The second time was in 2000 when my roommate from college came down to Nashville and we spent a few days in Memphis... It happened to be a couple weeks before going inpatient for my Eating Disorder.

Here we all are in another part of Memphis.  (I'm the 2nd from the right with the overalls)

Michelle had never been to Graceland so we had to stop.  When I went before it was an audio tour with a tape deck... Now it is all on iPads.

It is really a lot of information and I wasn't much of a fan.  Too many things on the iPad to see while going thru the house and trying to see the actual stuff right in front of you.  It was busy but no waiting on people so not much time to stare at the screen.

We did the tour with all the little museums and the airplanes.  My favorite is the airplanes.  You can easily spend an entire day at Graceland alone... Then you have Sun studios, and all the other cool places to visit in Memphis.  We spent the entire morning and the beginning of the afternoon seeing everything.  We didn't have time this Memphis visit to see anything else but we do want to come back.

Of course we didn't beat the storms... While wandering around the sky opened up and rain came down... Flooded streets and the whole thing.  We hung around checking everything out hoping it would pass but no such luck.  We headed out when the rain calmed a bit but was still riding thru flooded streets and rain.  I wanted to take all back roads to Kentucky because of the weather and I accidentally picked the right one.  We missed the turn to the road I thought we were going to take but the road Graceland is on goes north out of Memphis all the way to Kentucky.   After getting north of Memphis the rain finally stopped and we were just to the other side of the storms for the rest of the ride.  It was another long day but we made it to my parent's house right after dark.  

It always feels like it takes forever to get to my parent's house because coming from the west there isn't an interstate or a direct route to their house but it is a pretty ride on the back highways.  After the rain we had pretty good weather and didn't get wet again.  

Now time for my dad and I to work on Blue...

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Did I just do that?!

We headed out towards Memphis... Beautiful day and I was excited to get off the Oklahoma roads.  We stopped at the last rest area in Oklahoma and Blue was leaking like I had never seen.  Not sure what the mechanic did in Elk City.  I checked all the bolts on the primary and one of them broke off.  Yikes!

I luckily had cell phone service so I googled the closest motorcycle shop which was the Harley dealer in Fort Smith Arkansas... About 30 miles away.  I called and told them the situation and they said to come and they will take a look but had a rally they were preparing for so they most likely couldn't do anything until the following week.  They said all will be good to get there... Don't add any oil, just come.

So we headed off and made it there no problem.  The service manager came out and took a look.  He said the primary wasn't leaking and put a plug where the bolt broke and said I would be good to make it to my parent's house in Kentucky.  He said there was a definite leak behind the primary where the oring is from the back of the shifter lever and there is something obviously leaking from the front but he wasn't sure where.  My dad and I were going to take a look behind the primary when I got to their house because the shifter lever has quite a wiggle so that and the leak at the front wasn't a surprise.

I was really impressed by the ease of help and it brought back a bit of what Harley dealerships use to be like.  The service manager was awesome and we chatted a bit about traveling and he didn't charge me for his time and the plug. A big shout out to them!

That made me feel much better about Blue and the rest of the way to my parent's house.  It was a long riding day and we made it all the way to West Memphis.  One more stop before getting to my parent's house for a few days in Kentucky... Graceland. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Oklahoma is that state I try to spend as least amount of time as possible... It may be that I'm a Nebraska girl... Cornhuskers forever. Haha... Or it could be they always seem to have intense storms.

Michelle hadn't spent any time in Oklahoma so we planned to spend at least one night in Oklahoma.  We stopped in Elk City to get a rear tire change.  Another... Should of taken an hour but took 3 hours thing.  The mechanic said he had to put a whole quart of oil in the primary... then started lecturing me on how horrible that is for the bike and I had a major leak in my primary.  I told him how I just worked on the primary and maybe the bolts came loose.  After finally being done and now being completely paranoid that the primary is leaking... A quart of oil low in the primary is all the oil in the primary... I checked all of the bolts when we stopped for the night.

Elk City has a city park with 5 sites with electric and water... And free.  So we got a spot there for the night.

We met some nice RVers who let us fill up our water bottles since the water spicket is under ground.  We relaxed and Michelle made some cornbread on the hiker burner.  Then the storms came.  We stopped at the perfect spot.  Not much further down the road they had tornados.  We just had a few sprinkles and some cool clouds.

Some locals walking the park told us where the local shelter is in town if the weather got bad... I couldn't imagine riding Blue thru a storm to shelter.  All ended up being good for us.

The next day we headed out and the wind was a little harsh so I wanted to take back roads... We ended up on this detour to no where, stopped in a town and almost got run over by a car who didn't stop at a stop sign while we were walking around and the roads in Oklahoma are atrocious.  I was not a happy camper and ended up making a short day of it and wandered around El Reno OK which was on the list of cute downtowns.  

We ended up eating at SID's Diner which was on Man vs Food or one of those shows.  We had their special burger... Wasn't bad.  We enjoyed the burger with a milk shake and then spent the night at the Walmart in town. 

I, of course, checked all the bolts and the oil in the primary.  All seemed good so I was still confused as to what this guy was talking about.  After much thought I realize the guy meant the engine oil not the primary oil, which is always close to a quart low... Blue spits out that last quart as soon as I put it in the engine oil.  So it wasn't new to me but it took days for me to realize what the mechanic was talking about... More on that later...