Monday, September 23, 2013

PART 3 - Motorcycling the USA - 4,823 MILES FROM OREGON TO FLORIDA - WE DID IT!!!

After leaving Harrisonburg, Virginia, we decided to head south and ride along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway  and ditch the idea of joining the "Two Million Bikers to DC" rally in Washington, DC.  It was a perfect decision.  The weather was fabulous and the scenery along the way more than we hoped for.

Because of precious time left, we made the difficult decision not to go to New York (where we are both from) or to tour the New England states (to celebrate our anniversary).  Instead we headed for Charleston, South Carolina and relaxed at our dear friends' home.  Every stop to stay with family and special friends has been such a resting haven.
Our special friends - Arch, Caroline, and Sophie.  To know them is to love them !! Thank you dear friends for a true rest haven before the final leg of our cross-country USA journey. 
Our friends' neighbor twins were thrilled to try out the Valkyrie.  Future biker babes, perhaps?
We traveled a total of 4,823 miles and were on the road 31 days by the time we reached Largo, Florida on September 16th.  Yes, we were both so tired and ready for this long journey to be over!  Near the end, some days were particularly hot, humid and grueling, and it's made us long for the perfect Cuenca weather we've come to appreciate and miss.

Though we endeavored always to see the beauty along the way, our ending route was not scenic at all (there's nothing like the Pacific Northwest when it comes to breathtaking scenic beauty).  At one point in the trip, on the way to Charleston, to break up the monotony we were both experiencing, Bo headed down a side road that said, "Hampton Historic Plantation - 2 miles."  There's where we tipped the bike AGAIN!
Not Again!!
No injuries!  Now, to lift the bike and continue on - AND WE DID!!  We were determined to finish our USA adventure from Oregon to Florida - AND WE DID!!
Bo is one of the best of riders.  I rode behind him in complete confidence from beginning to end, even after two minor mishaps.  I can call them minor because no one was hurt, nor was the bike.  Just Bo's ego!  How did this happen AGAIN? Road turns to sand.  Biker Bo keeps going - slowly.  Sandy road suddenly changes and gets deeper.  Biker Bo loses control.  Hey, it happens!  I did get Bo laughing, and we took a few pics just for the blog!

One of the sweetest memories of our USA journey was our stop to see my brother who lives in Savannah, Georgia.  It had been nine years since our last visit.  Our hours together were a sweet and long-due reunion.  I cried for miles after we said goodbye.  Yet, I know we will see each other again.  We also stopped in Gainsville, Florida to visit my sister whom we haven't seen in several years.  This cross-country trip gave us such opportunity for family reconciliation and reunion. 

So, here we are in Largo, Florida settled in and relaxing with dear friends.  We have one week left in the USA before leaving for Ecuador.  It was our pleasure to meet blog friends who are here in Florida and will be leaving for their new home in Cuenca the same week we are leaving.  It's a small world!  We went to a wonderful seafood restaurant together with Guy and Jvonna to celebrate her birthday on Sunday. 
Our "Blog" and future Cuenca friends meet us in Florida!
Happy Birthday Jvonna!
We also recently heard from our Sandpoint, Idaho friends whom we visited on our cross-country trip, and they just sold their house and will be arriving in Cuenca in February.  Our family of special friends in Cuenca is growing! 

East Coast Skies
On September 30th, we leave Florida and the USA to return to Ecuador with several suitcases and glad hearts, ready to be "home."  There, I said it!  Home!  After being back in the states for almost two months, we both are looking forward to settling back into our apartment and continuing our simplified life in beautiful Cuenca.

Home sweet Home - soon we'll be back!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Part 2 - Motorcycling the USA - We're EAST of CHICAGO!!

We've Come A Long Way From Oregon!!
Today ends our visit with Bo's sister, Amy, and our time in Pennsylvania.  We have been here five days, resting from our 3-1/2 day journey from Tamarack, Minnesota.  Already, we miss our people in Minnesota.  Our time in Tamarack, Minnesota with our adopted family was sweet and too short, but we're thankful they were a convenient stop heading south after leaving Bemidji.   

Tamarack, MN - Population 93!  What a "small town" visit!  Old farm houses, collector cars, country homes, and small town folks!   

Great Grandma Ruth served us delicious homemade cookies!  The Finnish sign on her door means "Welcome."
Our grandbabe "Isaiah" and "Eddie" the dog enjoy a perfect blue-sky day at Great Grandma Ruth's farm.
"Kountry Kids" Grandbabe Isaiah, their cousin JB, and Grandbabe Lilly show off their garden carrots. 
All dressed up for Grandpa Bo and Grandma Linda!!!  I wish Jen was in this picture - then it would be complete!
Mid-West Farmland and Wild Flowers
Running and....
jumping!  That's what country kids do!!!! 
(Top & Bottom Photos)

We didn't want to leave, but it was time to say "Adios" and head for Pennsylvania.  We miss you already, Jeff and Ginny.
As we journeyed on to Washington, PA, we saw early signs of a new season - Fall.  Perennials and annuals were on sale, and Fall Mums and colorful pumpkins, squashes, and dried corn were abundant.
Motorcycling through Ohio - we shared the road with automobiles and horse and buggy.
An Amish family shopping
No room in my motorcycle bag to bring back to Cuenca one of these colorful baskets.

Ahhhh, Pennsylvania, at last!  I can't believe we're here and we've come this far from Oregon.  Bo's sister lives outside of Pittsburg, a charming medium-sized city.  It's no longer a smoggy steel factory or glass making town, but a center of medical and technical excellence.  It has some of the oldest steel bridges in existence.
Brother and Sister Reunion.  Lots of laughing, crying, sharing, and making up for several years of not seeing each other.
Amy's classy consignment boutique was fun to browse - unfortunately, I can't fit another thing in our bags (darn it!  I'm a used clothes junkie!!)
If I could, I would have bought Bo this outfit.  Doesn't it suit him? 
Another special visit has come to an end.  It's time to leave Amy and this east coast city and journey onward.
Today is September 10th, We woke up early, prayed together and then parted ways.  It's been extremely hot and humid this day's ride.  We're now in our luxury hotel room in Harrisonburg, Virginia - resting and planning our route for tomorrow.

Will we ride through the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway  or head for the 9/11 "Two Million Bikers To DC" motorcycle rally in Washington DC?  We'll know in the morning.  Our next visit and resting stop will be in Charleston, South Carolina to see my dear friend (and ex-boss), Caroline and her family.  We're almost there Caroline!

From Charleston, we'll be inching our way down to Tampa, Florida.  That's where I'll finally be able to shout, "WE DID IT!!!!"