A Little About Us

A Little About Us
INTRODUCTION: First, allow me to introduce the members of this group...I'm Mike riding my 2003 Heritage Softail Springer...my wife Juju is on her 2015 Freewheeler...and Ed and Nancy are on their 2009 Heritage Softail. For the purposes of this trip we are referring to ourselves as H.A.R.P. HARP is a made-up name and it simply stands for Hogs And Retired People...and all that means is that we are members of HOG (Harley Owners Group) and we are...you guessed it...retired! The name came about when seven of us made a trip out west, but just the four of us this time. I've done blogs before, and this one will be for the same reason...to refresh our memories in our "Golden Years" (they say the memory is the second thing to go...and I can't remember what the first thing was). What is different this time is the blog is being shared by THUNDER ROADS PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE...Truly, an honor. This journey will be a round trip from, and to our home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plan is to travel to the Atlantic coast at Ocean City, Maryland for the "Official" start on U.S. Route 50. We will follow U.S. 50 west for over 3,000 miles to its terminus in Sacramento, California. From Sacramento, we will head a bit further west to the Pacific Ocean before we begin to travel south. California Highway 1 and U.S. Route 101, better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, will be the route for about 500 miles to Santa Monica. At the world famous Santa Monica Pier, we hop on Route 66...The "Mother Road". Travelling about 2,500 miles to the north east, we'll arrive at the end of 66 in Chicago, Illinois. The "Official" end of our journey. From Chicago, it's just another 450 miles and we're back in Pittsburgh. We've made very few lodging reservations, thus eliminating the pressure of trying to get somewhere by some deadline. The whole purpose of this ride to see this country and whatever piques our interest along the way...and we will be looking for that giant ball of yarn! So we invite you to ride along with us. We hope you will find it both entertaining and informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share this with anyone you feel would have an interest.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Final Thoughts from Ed

When our friends Mike and Judy suggested riding our motorcycles west on Route 66 and back on Route 50, I was all in.  But I was hoping Nancy would agree to make that long trek.  Fortunately she agreed, and all we had to do was work out the details.  My only suggestion was that we ride west on Route 50 so we could ride the Pacific coast highway south, and have the ocean on our right. Mike agreed, and it was time to set a date.

We decided to leave mid July. Mike suggested going to Ocean City, Maryland first so we could ride Route 50 in it's entirety from Ocean City to Sacramento, California.  Then we would continue to San Francisco to extend the trip from coast to coast...an even better idea as this was something I've had on my bucket list a long time.

The beginning of our trip was somewhat eventful, but once we made it to Colorado, the past problems were forgotten and it was forward ho. Although I've flown over the Rockies many times it was always a dream of mine to ride through those mountain passes and experience them from the bike. It did not disappoint! The ride up to the summit of Pike's Peak was more than I had hoped for. Looking out and down from over 14,000 feet was an incredible experience.  Check off one more item from the bucket list.

When we got to Utah, it was even better than I had expected.  The sights there were just AWESOME!

Although we had done some portions of Route 50 in Nevada before, the vastness of the landscape was truly amazing. Now came California and the Pacific Coast Highway. Even though we had done it in the past by car, it's much different on a motorcycle.

Next came the Santa Monica pier and the end of Route 66, or in our case the beginning of our journey back home.

After getting lost a few times in Los Angeles, we were back on 66 in Pasadena heading east. I don't know exactly at what point the Mother road became the Mother fuc***g road, but it was apparent that California wasn't keen on maintaining Route 66.  Especially with a nice new interstate running parallel to it. So we decided to wait until we got to Arizona to get back on 66.  Here it became much more of what I had hoped for.

The ride into Oatman, AZ was great, but this is one time where the destination was the highlight. After several hours there, it was time to leave and head to our hotel in Kingman, AZ.  Leaving Oatman and getting to the summit...I swear the view was over 100 miles.  

Another highlight for me was the old gas station at the bottom of the mountain. You may be thinking what's so good about that? Well, for me, it was the owner's fantastic collection of Rolling Stones albums; all signed by the Stones. Especially the one singed by Mick Jagger...when his signature was actually legible. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't long after that when the journey for Nancy and I came to an abrupt end. About 10 miles outside of Kingman we went down and ended up at the hospital for a few hours.

I have no regrets, other than not being able to finish the trip by bike. I'd recommend everybody do it just once.

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