TG Newsletter: USA - COAST TO COAST
USA - Coast to Coast
(3 - 22 November 2013)
If you travel to the States... they have a lot of different words from what we use. For instance: they say 'elevator', we say 'lift'; they say 'traffic light', we say 'robot'; they say 'president', we say 'seriously deranged idiot.'
I’m not always sure how I get myself into these things, but I guess when the word ‘no’ was invented I skipped the conference…
I know I have more binnegoet than brain cells – AND I have a fok load of brain cells, but I still decided to take on this adventure. I was going on a trip to USA!
I don’t have a long bucket list. I could probably get away with using a cup… actually – make that a shot glass. But I’ve always wanted to have a Gray’s Papaya HOT DOG in New York. I could fly in – hap – fly out, and be content. So… I got the opportunity to not only spend a few days in the Apple, but to take a bike trip over two weeks from the East coast to the West coast. All of a sudden, my little shooter glass was running over!
The closer I got to lift-off date, the more my derms got UN-knotted (…if you know me – you will know how knotted my derms normally are!)
A few months of preparations, bookings, Visa’s, interviews (you should have seen the expression on his face when I explained what I do for a living… pet cremation!). But all was okay-ed and we were heading for Yanki-ville!
(3 to 8 November 2013)
Airplane travel is nature's way of making you look like your passport photo. Especially when the flight is almost a day long! All-in-all, I think I watched ‘Man Of Steel’ six times on the flight. That’s close to my record of watching the original Superman movie…
In the next three days, we did the tourist thing… we went to see what we came to see!
Apparently there’s this lady on an island that stands shouting ‘Amaaaandla’ the whole day??? We took a boat trip to check her out.
We rowed around the island and then went walking through the streets of the city, for a South African minute or two. Popped into one of the bakeries and had a waffle with ice cream and beer. The owner came to say hello and wanted to know if that ‘idiot’ that raped the girl is still our president…? We just nodded.
We stood staring at the lights in time square; went to Ground Zero and even ice-skated in the mid-city at night; took the underground from Grand Central and a walk in Central Park.
Daai pizza gebou, or better known as the Flatiron building.
Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs!
Salma Hayek special-ordered Gray’s Papaya hot dogs for Matthew Perry in Fools Rush In, for a picnic at the Grand Canyon. So, they must be hot and quite doggy… While walking the streets of NY we saw the sign on the other side of the road - shimmering in all its scrap-meated glory. There I was, eating the whole thing standing on a corner - a quintessential New York moment!
(Thursday - 7 November 2013)
I was going to cross a continent on two wheels, but to mathematically CROSS it you have to step from the one end to the other. On a very ys-piepie-koue winters evening I went to dip my chicken-flesh into the Atlantic Ocean.
Bikini - bikini – please note that I own a bikini again!
You see the foam on the water? That was me dissolving like a bruis-tablet…
Day 1 - Myrtle Beach to Asheville
(Friday – 8 November 2013)
Sparky woke us up for the start of our epic trip.
The stuff I packed fitted into two Checkers bags. As I understood, we only had saddles bags on the bikes to keep ALL our kit for 2 weeks on the road.
You know that joke about wearing you undies, then turning them back to front, then turning them inside-out, then turning them back to front again? Not so much a joke anymore…!!!
5 Panties, 5 t-shirts, 5 socks, 2 jeans – I was overcompensating…
To make matters ‘interesting’… when we got to EagleRider, the bikes we received had NO luggage!!! I quickly decided to find a shop, get a back-pack and scale down to 1 of each. Luckily the owner of the shop took a liking to us and offered us two bigger Harley’s – one with saddle bags. So we at least got one bag each. SHOT GUN LA (links agter)!
We got one Fatboy and a Softail. Compared to my DR650, it was like sitting on a couch. It doesn’t start with a key, the gear shift is like rowing ores and I had to keep reminding myself to put my feet up in front next to the front wheel.
This is suppose to be the first of all the first world countries. And guess what? They still haven’t figured out this petrol joggie thing. You need special petrol cards or you have to use cash.
So you first have to take a guess at how much petrol you think you need. Then you go stand in the queue in the shop to buy maybe $20. They then reset the pump and you can start filling. But you actually need more, so you’re back in the queue. You buy $5 more, but back outside, you actually only needed $2. So it’s back in the queue for $3 change…
We took the interstate and tried to make up as much kilos on the first day as we could.
Day 2 - Asheville to Robbinsville
(Saturday – 9 November 2013)
I guess we must have gotten lost the day before, as we woke up in Iceland. The sky was painted with stripes by the airplanes.
We got about 2kays down the road when I realized my hands were frozen solid. There was no way I could go any further. SA summer gloves were NOT cutting it…
Luckily we stopped at Walmart on our way out of town. I found a pink pare of kiddies ski gloves – DITSEM! The best buy of the whole trip!
We climbed the Great Smokey Mountains on our way to…
The Tail Of The Dragon
This is a piece of asphalt that puts the Sabie 22 to shame. We took a bit of a detour as we just had to lay some rubber on it’s corners. I had no trouble scraping my rowing ores and with each scrape I could hear the dragon roar. Even though you spiral through a beautiful national forest – there is no time to take your eyes off the road. Every corner is different, with a different angle and embankment - with names like Pearly Gates corner; Brake or Bust Bend and Gravity Cavity.
Day 3 - Robbinsville to Lynchburg
(Sunday – 10 November 2013)
Breakfast was a deep fried chicken burger and hot-choc. We had to prep our bellies for what was to come – JACK DANIELS!
Like a wafferse Setter I pointed the way to the land of delight – Lynchburg. This is the home of Jack Daniels, that of which my veins are filled with. Oh… to be at the birth place of this holy spirit(z)!
We did the Jack tour and sampling. This is a dry-county which means you cannot buy any alcohol here. But Oom Jack delivered a case of his best to the burgermeester and they decided (probably for scientific testing) that Oom Jack can sell his loot on his own premises.
Me – sampling some of the Jack Daniels ice cream, two of my favoritist things in the world. I was in heaven!
Jack sold his first bottle at the age of 12, about half the age I was when I got hooked.
Tong Tippie Toets
South Africa is also the 3rd biggest consumer of Jack. Come on SA… if we strompel together I’m sure we can make it to the top. Elbows UP!
Day 4 - Lynchburg to Bay Springs
(Monday – 11 November 2013)
America was NOT what I expected… Yes, it’s not the land of milk and honey and for sure not flawless – but heck, the land of Jack and honey will do just fine.
The sky was blue-er than I’ve ever seen sky. The grass was greener and I’m not talking metaphorically… It really was greener!
Travel teaches toleration.
We stopped in a town called Meridian and found a pub that was not open to the public yet. But Kaylib, the owner, invited us in and offered us a beer or six. There was another weary traveler at the other door and Ben joined us testing the ‘waters’.
I probably could have grown roots there, but our exhausts needed to let off some more fumes and off we went again.
Day 5 - Bay Springs to New Orleans
(Tuesday – 12 November 2013)
I guess when I travel alone, I’m braver as I have to manage on my own and I’m not so scared of failure. I also UN-knot my derms more regularly…
We managed 300 miles (480 kays) a day, which might not sound so far, but attempting it every day in the freezing cold, took its toll. My arme ou armpies! They were taking strain as the handlebars are higher than on normal street bikes.
Our day ended in New Orleans. I guess it’s a different town in festival season, but we were not impressed…
Day 6 - New Orleans to Beaumont
(Wednesday - 13 November 2013)
As we headed out of New Orleans and stopped at a garage for a hot-choc, we found three truckers also defrosting before hitting the road. We got chatting and this guy said he also want to buy a bike one day. I asked if he would like to do a trip like ours and without making eye contact, he just stared out the window and mumbled, “Black man ain’t stupid…”
We all know what Americans are like – we mos all watch Hollywood movies. But what a surprise to find out that they are the most friendly peeps. They asked a gazillion questions: who we were, where we were from, how we got there???
To travel is to discover how little we know about each other.
Day 7 - Beaumont to Austin
(Thursday – 14 November 2013)
AUSTIN – it felt like we were back home in the Lowveld. This was cowboy country, big bakkies, longhorn cows and Stetson boots. For me, this was the most beautiful lap of land.
We stopped in town for a pint.
Mentioning that we come from SA, a lot of peeps frowned and asked what we’re doing there. They wouldn’t believe that we were born in Africa and have lived there all our lives. Some of the comments:
“Nelson Mandela, the guy that died a few months ago...” Consider that this trip was in November?!?
“Do you still have apartheid there?” Not that I think she knew what apartheid was – just that it was bad.
“The country where they throw the British people out.” That would be Zimbabwe, but close enough…
Day 8 - Austin to Big Spring
(Friday – 15 November 2013)
Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection: Spending kay after kay with only yourself in that helmet, listening to the voices that join you there, thinking of what has been and what will come.
Day 9 - Big Spring to Roswell
(Saturday – 16 November 2013)
…en toe reën dit!
We were about half way through USA and my tyre was almost done. I was skiing past the trucks in the rain. There was no choice – we had to get a new back on the Softail.
At a small town called Hobbs, we met Oom Ron and Tannie Brenda from Roadrunner Custom Cycles. Oom Ron loaded the Tail on the table and re-rubbered the back wheel. He also did a quick check on the brakes and wouldn’t let us go before he replaced those too. Tannie Brenda sorted everything out with EagleRider, and without a coin leaving our pockets, they slapped us on the back and sent us on our merry way.
The aliens greeted us in Roswell. Asked if we needed a lift back home…
Day 10 - Roswell to Springerville
(Sunday – 17 November 2013)
I always try and get a kiekie of a donkey and a windpump on my travels. It seemed like I was going to miss out on both these, when we went trough a small place called Pie Town. On the other side I saw windpumps… in geruig! It was the DanCyn' Windmill Museum. Oh, how you get rewarded when you least expect it!
That night we stayed in Springerville, and as per usual… I ended up on the bar counter. But this time it was to give their mascot a hug.
Day 11 - Springerville to Seligman
(Monday – 18 November 2013)
On the other side of Springerville was the iced tops of the White Mountains. It was the first snow we saw!
Tonto National Forrest
At the garage we met some Apache Indians. The lady behind the counter was also an Apache and could translate for us as they didn’t speak any English. I wanted to introduce myself as Pocahontas, which means "the naughty one", but I thought it was too close to home.
Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything. We decided to rather take The Mother Road!
We pulled into The Stagecoach 66 Motel at Seligman. This motel is owned by Tannie Anne-Lise. I was waiting for the camera crew to shout ‘CUT’ as it felt like we were in a movie with a dark and dingy pub, the cowboys downing beer. Anne booked us into the Marilyn Monroe room and we sat till the wee hours chatting to the locals.
Day 12 - Seligman to Las Vegas
(Tuesday – 19 November 2013)
We woke up and stretched our legs to hit the first piece of this historic road – Route 66!!!
On our way to Oatman we rode one of the oldest pieces. It was a narrow ‘un-lined’ road kronkeling through the red and yellow mountains. At Oatman I got a kiekie of my DONKEY! This is a town owned by the donkeys. They held up traffic, ate peoples food out of their hands and trampled on the stoeps of the shops.
Day 13 - Las Vegas
(Wednesday – 20 November 2013)
We spent the day in Vegas and started it with a breakfast at the Harley Davidson Café. While you slurp your coffee, the Harley’s float past on a funicular system. I was hoping for a ride…
They also have the heaviest chain link curtain of the American flag.
We wined and dined and also went to see the Vegas showgirls.
We took a different kind of tjopper to view the Grand Canyon. The helicopter is a fine way to travel, but it induces a view of the world that only God and CEOs share on a regular basis.
Our funny man pilot told the other insittendes that the water of the lake was green due to dead bodies at the bottom. He was very surprised when I knew it was due to copper in the stone. He also explained that the mountain tops were flat due to the aliens that landed there years ago. I explained to the other tourists that is was because of a more weather resistant rock layer. I think our pilot wanted to chuck me overboard… I was spoiling his fun.
Day 14 - Las Vegas to Los Angeles
(Thursday –21 Nov 2013)
…and I crossed the finish line!
We went straight to the beach, where I stripped next to the bike. If we stopped anywhere else first, I might have chickened-out – IT WAS FREEZING COLD!!! A man walking the beach stopped, frowned and looked at me… asked me what I was doing. Told him I had to take a dip in the ocean to complete my mission. He just shook his head, mumbling something about the coldest day of the year.
We parked off at EagleRider to hand back our steeds. The clocks tripped at 3 668 miles – that’s 5 869 for you metric okies.
Blood may become exhausted, flesh may decay, bones may fall apart, but the spirit never faded!
(Friday – 22 Nov 2013)
We rocked out the last night of our tour with the Broadway show, Rock of Ages; sundowners at a pub in Times Square; and dancing the night through to the rhythm of the city. I have no idea when we left the pub, but we almost overslept our flight back home!
To be a trainer of elephants, one must possess five qualifications: good health, confidence, diligence, sincerity of purpose, and wisdom. To be a biker, you have to have the same… with a good dollop of courage.
Thanks for making this trip possible – I would have never had the opportunity.
I loved America, and as I sit here planning my outfit for the Bruce Springsteen concert – the Stars and Stripes in hand - I know I have a little bit of American spirit tucked behind the left chamber of my heart.
…O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
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