The KOA in Pomona California has a Nice Pool. That is about it.

I left Laughlin for the KOA in Pomona because I knew it had a nice swimming pool to relax around. Having stayed there before, I also knew that the tent sites back onto the Fairplex parking lot where they hold the LA County Fair. What I didn’t know, and I should have checked, was that the LA County Fair was from September 2 to 25!

Laughlin to Pomona

The ride to Pomona was uneventful. I took the freeway again πŸ™ I thought about taking another route but it added too much time to the day. To be truthful, I am getting tired of riding through the US. And I am anxious to get into Mexico. For me, getting into Mexico will be the real start of the adventure.

KOA Pomona

This was likely my last KOA. By staying at KOAs I had accumulated enough points to get $25 US off of a second night. So I booked 2 nights at the KOA in Pomona.

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When I arrived the place was packed and that is when I discovered the LA County fair was on. If you plan on going to the fair this is a perfect place. You can walk right to it. And the KOA sells discounted tickets. I guess that is what a lot of people were doing.

My little tent was sandwiched between 2 big tents. And right behind me was the entrance to the parking lot.

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Until 10 pm the cars were coming into the fair parking lot. And right after that they were leaving until about 1 am! Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep the 2 nights I was there. The close quarters was also irritating.

The only thing I can say positive is that I did enjoy the pool. I spent most of the day there. And in the evening I sat in the hot tub. Since everyone appeared to be at the fair, I was the only one at the pool most of the time.

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My Route on September 23, 2016

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I spent September 24 at the Pomona KOA.

What is Sunday Football like at the Empty Pockets Saloon in Holbrook, Arizona?

Today I spent an fun afternoon at the Empty Pockets Saloon in Holbrook, Arizona, watching Sunday NFL football.

Where to Watch Sunday Football in Holbrook Arizona

Before I left Albuquerque I researched where I could watch Sunday football at my next destination, Holbrook, Arizona. I came up with the Mesa Grill and Sports Bar. Great! Off I went. I took the freeway only because I wanted to get there and watch as much football as I could πŸ™‚

Holbrook Arizona

I got to Holbrook by noon. As I entered the town I got this Deja Vu feeling. I had been here before! In 2013 when doing a 6 month trip I had pulled in here to eat at the Taco Bell and fill up with gas!

I got to the Mesa Grill and Sports Bar. It was closed!!! What?!!! How could it call itself a sports bar on a Sunday during the NFL season?

I drove up and down looking for another place. I didn’t see anything. So I went to the KOA where I was going to stay and asked. The clerk suggested the Empty Pockets Saloon just down the street.

Empty Pockets Saloon

As I arrived I was a bit hesitant. It looked a bit run down.

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I went in anyways. The inside was like the outside. There were a couple of pool tables, a juke box, some old table and a bar. But there was football on! I stayed.

This placed turned out to be awesome! OK … you may not believe this, but draft Bud Light was $1.75! And if you believe that then you may not believe this. They had free food!!! At one end of the saloon was a table with nachos, chili, hot dogs and watermelon. It was all free for as much as you wanted.

There I was, drinking $1.75 beer, eating free nachos and bean dip, and watching Sunday football.

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I sat beside a nice woman from the Navajo Nation, Lana, who was in town visiting. We had a nice conversation and enjoyed the games. Of course everyone was interested in the Arizona Cardinals game. I would have liked to seen Seattle, but it was just as well as the Seattle game looked like it was pretty boring from the highlights.

Later in the afternoon Lana’s friend arrived. He had been competing at the Holbrook Rodeo. While we watched football, he got a call and found out a company wanted to sponsor him. He was ecstatic! I love it when people get what they want and achieve their dreams.

KOA Holbrook

By the evening I settled into my KOA campsite. It was another mostly dirt KOA, but there was grass for tents. I sat and watched the sun set. Really relaxing.

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It turned out to be a great day πŸ™‚

My Route for September 18, 2016

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Hail and Wind damage to vehicles is expected. Seek Shelter Inside Well Built Structure.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning. Hazard 60 mph wind gusts and half dollar size hail. Hail damage to vehicles is expected.Expect wind damage to roofs,sidings and trees. Prepare immediately for large hail and deadly cloud to ground lightening. Seek shelter inside a well-built structure. Stay away from windows.

This was the message on my phone as I stayed in my tent at Carlabad, New Mexico. Yikes!

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Avoiding the Rain

As I mentioned in a previous post, I headed to New Mexico to avoid the rain coming into Texas from the Gulf of Mexico. The forecasts I looked at said Carlsbad New Mexico would be partly cloudy, and Albergurque, New Mexico would be sunny. So that is where I was heading.

KOA Carlsbad

Because the weather forecast was good I decided to tent at the KOA in Carlsbad. It is actually a nice campsite with a great pool and really nice washrooms.

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The only problem was that the tent site was just a field with a couple small trees around the outside. When I arrived I pitched my tent right under one of the trees for the shade.

The campsite is in the middle of no where so I ordered food from the campsite. As I did the woman mentioned that Roswell up the road was getting hail.

The Storm – Round 1

As I ate my dinner I could see storm clouds in the distance. I sat on the swings and watched as the storm appeared to be sliding past Carlsbad.

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I sat in the Laundry room and watched some NFL Football before calling it quits and going to bed.

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The Storm – Round 2

Before going to sleep I like to watch a couple of TV shows I downloaded from Itunes before leaving for my adventure. As I was watching Rules of Engagement, I could hear rain start to fall on my tent. Then it started to get windy. Then the wind gusts started. This is when I began to worry. I sat up and held onto the aluminum frame of my tent. It was getting bad. In a brief lull I quickly packed up everything of value into my backpack and made a break from the tent. I headed to the overhang of the KOA main building.

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The lightening and thunder was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was like bombs going off all around me. You couldn’t see the lightening all the time but you could certainly hear the explosions. I need to google this. This must be a specific phenomenon.

When there was another lull I went and gathered my dry bag and helmet that I had put under the picnic table. The place was covered in water. Luckily, my tent was not in it as it was right under the tree.

Bang, bang, bang. The hail came.

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Then wind gust brought rain into the overhang. I moved my belongings to an alcove going into the washroom.

It looked like it had finally ended.

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Campers began to emerge from their trailers and motorhomes to inspect for damage. I was the only crazy one in a tent.

A camp worker approached me and asked if I was ok. He told me a 5th wheel had been turned around by the wind gusts.

I went and inspected my poor tent.

Amazingly it was still standing. Some pegs were pulled out of the ground, and the tarp had blown off and that was it. Inside it was damp but not wet. I put everything back together and placed rocks on the tarp to secure it more.

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I waited a bit longer before crawling back into the tent. Everything was damp so I just laid down in my clothes and partially pulled over my damp sleeping bag for whatever warmth it could provide.

The Storm – Round 3

As I lay in bed I could hear the thunder explosions happening again. They were loud and constant and coming from behind me. That meant I was in for round 3.

As the rain and wind gusts started, I once again evacuated my tent and hid out under the overhang.

For the next hour I watched as the storm once again battered my tent with rain.

As the storm ended again it was 1 am. Eventually I made it back to my tent and went to sleep.

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Big Agnes Tent

I have to mention my Big Agnes tent. It stood up through the whole storm. I am very impressed with it. People have their favorite tents. Hilleberg tents are very popular amongst adventure motorcyclists, as are MSR tents. But I like my Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1. It weights only 2 lbs and packs up to the size of a large thermos. And Big Agnes Service is amazing. On my last trip I clumsily broke the zipper on the inner tent component. Big Agnes mailed one out a new inner tent to me for free! They now have a loyal customer.

My Route for September 15, 2016

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To Greenville – the Heart of the Mississippi Delta

It was finally time to leave Memphis for Greenville, Mississippi, the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

Graceland

Before I left though I visited Graceland. I had been there once before, but it is a place you just have to go to. Last time the guard allowed me to go visit Elvis Presley’s grave. This time no such luck without paying for a tour. So just a few pictures before heading on.

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There was one noticeable difference from the last time I was there. Next to Graceland was not a massive building still under construction. I asked around and a person told me it was the new Heartbreak Hotel.

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Weather

It didn’t take long for the weather to heat up. For most of my ride today it hovered around 36 degrees C. My Klim riding suit is cooler than I expected. It has lots of vents. But at 36 it is still very hot. It doesn’t take long before you feel weak from the heat.

Great River Road

Of course I was following the Great River Road into Mississippi. I wasn’t seeing the river though. I even went up onto the levee to see if I could see a glimpse.

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Finally I got to see her πŸ™‚

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Greenville

I made it to Greenville and I was exhausted. In fact I felt a bit disorientated. I am sure the heat had something to do with it. However, I also felt like I was in a different land. There was the obvious that basically everyone in Greenville is black. But there was also a distinct language barrier too!

When I was checking into the Warfield Campground, a prison inmate worker was trying to ask me something and I had no idea what he was saying. We finally got together and he was asking me if I had a tent. Then the Ranger came and I was sure he was asking me for my “land line.” Nope, he was asking me for my last name! A really nice guy. I just couldn’t understand him. Then people are saying my bike is a lot of “grip.” I am guessing that means money. I haven’t seen a Rosetta Stone course for southern English!

Doe’s Eat Place

One of the main reasons I chose to do the Great River Road and to go to Greenville was because of Anthony Bourdain’s show on eating in the Mississippi Delta. When I watched it I thought there is something so different and unique about the Delta. One of the places featured on the show was Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville.

To be truthful I almost didn’t go. I was hot and disorientated. I just wanted to go to a place I knew. I am glad I didn’t.

Doe’s Eat Place is very unique. To start with, the entrance is through the kitchen! The building itself is very old and held together by knives – literally. Where I sat there was a knife holding the door closed.

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The other unique thing? After I sat down the server came up to me and asked what I’ll have. I said, “what about a menu.” “We don’t have menus here,” was the response. No menus!?!

Luckily, from the Anthony Bourdain show I knew tamales, salad and steak were the specialties. So that is what I had. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, this is going to cost me ha ha. But with no menu I had no idea.

The steak was awesome. Yes, I know it is well done. I like it that way.

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Warfield Park Campground

The Warfiled Park Campground is really nice. Very spacious. Green grass. And a great view of the Mississippi River.

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At night as the sun set it was magical. They had a tower there you could climb up on. At the top I felt the cool breeze from the river, and watched the sun as it set. SOOOOOO nice.

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Humidity

After the sun set I had a shower to wash off the day’s grime so I could get to sleep. Minutes after crawling into my tent I was sweating again.

I pulled back my rain cover hoping that would help. It did a bit. I couldn’t open the entrance to let more air in due to the bugs. As it was these little creatures were making it into the tent and biting me or something.

I finally just took a sleeping pill and called it a night.

My Route for August 31, 2016

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If you are liking what you are reading, please share it πŸ™‚

Great River Road to Memphis

From one awesome city to another, I followed the Great River Road to Memphis from St. Louis.

It was suppose to be a partly cloudy day. No such luck. When I woke up it was cloudy and about to rain. Luckily, I managed to pack up just before the rain started. It was nothing serious though. But enough that the drops stung my face and had to put my visor down.

Antigravity Battery

I stopped for my usual McDonald’s breakfast.

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A large coffee and cinnamon melt.

I needed to charge my cell phone but couldn’t find a plugin in the entire restaurant! I guess they don’t want me hanging around. No problem though. I pulled out my Antigravity Battery and charged my phone.

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This battery is great. It does everything from charging my phone to charging my motorcycled batter should it go dead. And I can charge it through my motorcycle as I travel.

Mississippi River

I really didn’t see much of the Mississippi River today as I rode the Great River road through Missouri, over to Kentucky, into Tennessee and finally into Arkansas. But I did see some of it.

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Lost

Somewhere between Clinton and Hickman Kentucky I got lost. I thought I was following the Great River Road signs, but suddenly they disappeared on me. As luck would have it I was running out of gas as well. It is nice having a GPS though. You are never really lost. I set it for the nearest gas station.

It took me through a series of gravel and partially paved roads through fields of corn and soybean. At one point I misjudged a corner. I had to lean hard to make it. The tires started to come out from underneath me. I thought for sure I was going to end up in a field. I was turning and braking at the same time. Not a good thing to do, but I needed to slow down fast. After a couple expletives under my breath I managed to make the corner thanks to my ABS. I was quite amazed how it transitioned from the paved to gravel portions of the corner in the wet.

I made it to the gas station where, of course, it started to rain harder.

Weather Shift

At this point I just wanted to get to Memphis and was thinking about getting a cabin at the KOA I booked. I rode through the rain on the interstate.

Now, I am not sure where the north ends and the south begins in the US, but I think I found it. All of a sudden I rode out of the swath of cloud the had engulfed me, and into blue sky and stifling heat. I watched as the temperature got up to 34 C. I got into Memphis and it was HOT and HUMID.

That is one think ab out riding a motorcycle, you feel all the different weather. Not like sitting in a car not feeling anything.

It was time for a cold drink and settle in my tent for the night.

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Route for August 23, 2016

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Great River Road Iowa Illinois Missouri

YAY! Blue sky as I ride the Great River Road through Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

It was SOOOOO nice to wake up to blue sky. I packed my bike anticipating a long day as it was just over 500 km to St. Louis from Davenport.

The Great River Road today was a mixture of freeway away from the Mississippi River and meandering asphalt along side it.

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I didn’t really mind the freeway as I had time to make in a long day.

Burlington

My first stop of the day was McDonald’s in Burlington, Iowa, for some breakfast.

As I went to get something to eat, three older gentleman (my age ha ha ha) struck up a conversation with me. When they found out I was off to Argentina, I got a question I get often – isn’t it dangerous “over there?” “What about the bandits in Mexico?”

The question came again when they learned that I had lived in Namibia and had traveled throughout Africa. “Aren’t you worried about the cannibal tribes?”

I have found that no matter where you go, the danger is always, “over there.” This is quite natural, I think, to fear the unknown or the other competing “tribe” from our ancestral days. I remember being in Africa and being asked about the danger in the United States due to all the guns.

From my experience living for a bit in Namibia and Macedonia, and traveling a lot through Africa and China, everyday people like you and I just want to fall in love, provide for their family, be productive, and enjoy some laughs with friends. We are more alike than dislike. We find this out when we get to know each other. It is only spoiled by some criminals and despot leaders.

I explained this and suggested I was in just as much danger from bandits in the bad parts of nearby St. Louis.

I have had stuff stolen in Calgary, Venice, Nairobi and Windhoek. Who knows if bandits will get me in St. Louis or Rio.

Anyways … we had a good conversation and I appreciated their support and enthusiasm for my adventure. They were even attempting to contact the local paper to do an article about me. A bit embarrassing since I really haven’t done anything.

On the way out a women approached me with the same questions. She also wanted to go for a ride as she has always enjoyed motorcycles. Sorry, my luggage takes up my passenger seat.

Taco Bell

My next stop was Taco Bell. Now, Meal Deal D at Taco Time is one of my staples ha ha ha. All this for $2.79! On a limited budget in the expensive United States, meals like this are a go to.

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KOA St. Louis

After a long day I made it to the KOA.

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Dinner at Denny’s for a better meal. A swim. Watch Rules of Engagement on my computer. Bed.

Route for August 21, 2016

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Great River Road

I decided that I wanted to ride the Great River Road from the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, to where it end in New Orleans. This would require a loop up to Itasca State Park and the start of the Mississippi River.

As I left I was crabby πŸ™ The main reason was because I had to pack up a wet tent and gear. Just not a fun way to start the day.

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The day did get better as it got hotter and hotter as I made my way to Itasca State Park.

Mississippi Headwaters

The Mississippi River meanders south from Itasca State Park for for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at New Orleans before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the world’s great rivers, and especially so in North America.

The Mississippi Headwaters is located in Itasca State Park. It cost $5 for the day to enter the park. But I had to do it. The headwaters was a milestone for the start of my Great River Road ride.

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Also it would be pretty cool to see. I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The place was packed with people walking across the stones that mark the start of the great river.

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The Mississippi starts it path to the Gulf of Mexico.

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And I start my ride following it along the Great River Road.

Great River Road

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns.

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The Great River Road is arguably the longest and most important scenic byway in America. The drive takes about 36 hours of straight driving to travel from north to south along the byway. Most people take four to 10 days to make the journey. Me? I will take as long as it takes ha ha. I also want to take a few detours to visit things along the way.

But the first step along the way is to go to the KOA at Bemidji for the night.

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Route for August 17, 2016

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Minneapolis

The main reason I was in Minneapolis was to change my rear tire. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened in the two days I spent there.

Engagement

August 15 was a day at the KOA Northwest Minneapolis to relax. Β I had a list of things to do.

There was the usual laundry to do.

I set up a Timelapse film video on my YouTube channel about me, given to me by my kids! Β Thanks!! It turned out awesome! I did have some problems setting it up though. Thanks JUHLi SELBy for the help!

I also decided to start to re-read the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

But most importantly was a Skype call with my daughter Carllee and Ian. The day before they got engaged! Congratulations!

Moon Motorsports

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On August 16 I was off to Moon Motorsports to finally get a new rear tire.

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I arrived at about 9 am and stood in line at the service desk. I didn’t have to stand in line for long. Right away the window of the Service Manager opened and he offered to help me. I explained I was traveling and needed a new tire. No problem he said.

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A hour and a half later I was out of there with a new rear tire for a fraction of the cost that I paid in Fairbanks, Alaska. Awesome!

As for the tire, I got a Heidenau K60 again. While I wasn’t happy with how long the previous rear tire had lasted, I didn’t want to mix front and rear tires. I could still get more miles out of the front Heidenau K60 tire. So we will see how this one lasts.

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Mall of America

I had expected to spend most of the day at Moon Motorsports as I had at other BMW dealerships to get work done. To my surprise I was out in less than 2 hours. So I had time to spare. What to do? I have heard lots of about the Mall of America in the past. It is the largest mall in the United States. So off I went.

While I am not a shopper, and I certainly don’t have the money or space to purchase anything, the Mall was actually quite fun.

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An amusement park is at the centre of the mall.

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The four floors around it contains a shop for every brand and product imaginable. I swear there are more than one Victoria Secrets store in the mall. At least I seemed to pass it lots πŸ™‚

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Storms

A good day was interrupted at the end by a torrential downpour and lightening.

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I hid out in the KOA laundry room until it ended. When it did, I went to inspect my Big Agnes tent. It was dry inside! Even though is was in a pool of water. I moved it to higher ground and went to bed.

Route for August 16, 2016

To Moon Motorsports

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To Mall of America

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And back “home”

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