July 14: About an hour from Madawaska (and their first corner) Steve had mechanical problems and had to be towed (always good to have that Honda Riders Club towing benefit) to a local bike shop for some quick service. Thanks go out to K & K Honda of Caribou, Maine for having the bike ready to go by 6 p.m! The guys also had dinner with the Madawaska Fire Chief on Friday eveing at a restaurant over the border into Canada. So the four-corners tribute is truly an international event!
July 15: Checked in for corner #1 in Madawaska, Maine and on the road at 6:45 a.m. for a 641 mile, 11 hour 15 minute day to Fishkill, NY. "Had a great start until the Massachusetts Turnpike. Light rain there and then heavy, heavy, really heavy rain outside of Danbury, CT."(DAY #1)
July 16: Cool and Cloudy in Fishkill, NY when the guys hit the road at 6:45 a.m. Ran into a little rain and the temperature made it to 85 degrees before they made their destination of Jonesville, NC some 10-1/2 hours and 630 miles later. Ed said that "we started in the morning with rain gear -- took it off a ways down the road (no rain). Shortly after that it started to rain again -- so out came the rain gear again!" That was the end of the rain as the sun came out and heated up our rain suit cladded riders. Filled up the tanks with 5.8 gallons of gas at one point... doesn't leave a lot of "reserve!"(DAY #2)
July 17: Up before dawn and on the road by 4:00 a.m. Nice weather during the morning but HOT-HOT-HOT as they crossed into Florida (101 degrees on the highway). Had a little surprise as an F-17 buzzed I-95 where they were riding. Monday's milage was 563 in a little over 9 hours before they stopped in Daytona for some spicy wings at Hooters.(DAY #3)
July 18: A short day on the road, just 254 miles from Daytona Beach to Davie, Florida and a visit with Florida State Rep Jack Downs and his wife Judy. Started off with a sunny morning but ran into some thunder storms -- not a big deal because they landed in Davie by 11:30 a.m. (I received a message from Ed on this particular afternoon that said he couldn't fax me the day's details becasue he was busy with a cold beer!)(DAY #4)
July 19: Rode from Davie to Key West (with some bikes from RK Florida-1 along for the ride) and back to Davie again for corner #2! Miles for the day were 363 in 11-1/2 hours total (must have had some sight-seeing mixed in there) with temperatures between 94 and 100 degrees. The Southern Cal motorcycle club gives 4-corners' participants certain land marks to have pictures taken at when they're at a "corner." In Key West, Ed said the Howard Johnsons was closed for renovations, and the Ramada was now a Mariott but they took the pictures anyways!(DAY #5)
July 20: Tried to beat the heat by leaving Davie early in the a.m. (4:30 a.m. to be exact). But it didn't work, it was already 82 degrees then and while on the road the temperature ranged from 97 to 110 degrees! Did an extra 200 miles beyond our planned run for the day and traveled beyond Tallahassee all the way into Pensacola, Florida for a total of 667 miles in a little under 11 hours. Hopefully this extra 200 miles will help tomorrow be a shorter day on the road.(DAY #6)
July 21: Out of the hotel room early (4:00 a.m.) and on the road for Lafayette, LA. Ed and Steve met up with representatives from the Red Knights Chapter out of New Orleans for breakfast and hospitality. The day's ride was 324 miles long and the guys were off the road around noon. They had some time for oil changes in both the Wings and Steve had to have a new speedometer cable installed at Honda of Lafayette. (Ed informed Steve, that Steve's bike was not to have any further problems unless there is prior approval from Ed.) Special thanks go out to the Lafayette Fire Department and to Harry and Brenda Waterman. The members of LFD welcomed the guys into the city with presentations of patches and hats and had arranged a television news crew from their Channel 3 for some P.R. for our wandering troubadours as well as a donation from the Firefighters for the Memorial Fund. Harry and Brenda were the hosts of the evening and accompanied the guys to a local watering hole for some great Cajun food at Prejeans Restaurant. (Steve had the alligator).(DAY #7)
July 22: Another early rise (4:30 a.m.) to get ahead of the heat (almost 100 degrees when they pulled off the road for the day). Put on 435 miles from Louisiana to San Antonio, Texas in 8 hours. I'm told that our riders make stops nearly every 100 miles to get fuel, stretch their legs, and take care of other bodily necessities. Ed told me that he knows there are six guardian angels that are riding with them (and thoughts and prayers from many Red Knights members and friends as well). He said they came through Houston and San Antonio without any traffic, no wrong turns, and no problems on the myriad of highway interchanges and confusion through these two large cities. While relaxing in their air-conditioned hotel room in San Antonio they had an interview via telephone with the Bangor Daily News, way back in Maine!(DAY #8)
From Westminster, Massachusetts to San Antonio the trip has taken 4,449 miles
They are just about 1/2 way to Blaine, Washington in 8 days on the road so far.
July 23: Up and on the road at 4:00 a.m. Temperature at the start in San Antonio was 71 degrees (pretty good!). Riding was O.K. until about 11:00 a.m. when the temperatures started rising. 99 degrees when they pulled off for the day at 1:00 p.m. Put on some extra miles today for a total of 548 and made it to El Pasa, Texas -- this should make tomorrow's planned ride into Tucson a little lighter for the day. The guys say that I-10 is one stretch of long, lonely road with nothing for miles. They say the heat has been the hardest part of their trip, (well aside from being away from their wives, families, and friends is what they actually said). They have been watching the weather reports for Las Vegas with 110-120 degree heat -- so they may change their route to avoid this if the weather pattern doesn't change in Nevada.(DAY #9)
A story from the road goes... as Ed and Steve were riding along the highway in Texas a car started following them, and even followed them off the highway and into the parking lot at the hotel. The driver and his wife got out and said, "you're those two firefighters that are riding around the country! We've read about you." Seems this guy is a retired firefighter from El Paso and a motorcyclist as well (soon to be a new M.A.L.) and when they saw our two comrades they figured out who they were (of course, two red goldwings from Massachusetts driving through Texas -- who else could it be?!?) and they had to talk to them. Before Ed and Steve left the hotel this jake and his wife had left them some patches from the area fire department.
The hospitality and friendship shared by firefighters throughout our country has been fantastic.
July 24: Today's ride was from El Paso, TX into Casa Grande, AZ. The weather forecast for the area was sunny with temperatures between 109 and 114 degrees. They rode from 4:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (which was actually 7-1/2 hours on the road because of the time change). The temperature at 10:30 in the morning was 108 degrees. Ed said he went out to his bike around 2:30 p.m. to see if it was melting and the parking lot temperature read 136 degrees! Tomorrow's plans are for California and corner #3!(DAY #10)
July 25: Jack Rabbits on the highway - ZERO, Steve - ONE (You'll have to ask him yourself, but I think since he is Groton's animal control officer he was probably trying to tenderize it with his trailer wheels.) At 4:00 a.m. in Arizona it was already 89 degrees. When they hit the last mountain heading west (Vallecito Mountain ??) Ed says the air temperature was 112 degrees and it felt like a blast furnace climbing the mountain. When they went down the other side is was completely different weather. They said at one point today they were on the top of a mountain range and could see down into the valley and all the way across into the next mountain range some 40 miles away.
It was corner number 3 at San Ysidro, California at about 2:30 p.m. eastern time! 359 Miles. After stopping at corner number 3 they located the nearest fire house and found out that San Ysidro is covered by San Diego. The jakes on duty directed them to the Union Hall where the guys showed the clippings and pictures from Worcester and shared their travels with Captain Fiero who was at the hall. At 5:30 p.m. west coast time the guys were just heading out for some dinner -- and the temperature was 78 degrees and "just beautiful" in Chula Vista, California, about 25 miles south of San Diego. A far cry from some of the temperatures they've been hammering over the last few days. Tomorrow's forecast for them is overcast skies, but they said they really don't mind. (DAY #11)
July 26: Better riding today temperature-wise, only got up to 91 degrees! Left early again to get through San Diego before the commuter traffic started. Put on 411 miles into Oakhurst, California (about 30 miles south of Yosemite). Steve hit another speed bump, but this time the road kill was a pre-deceased raccoon. It's odd though that it's Ed that had to stop along the way and get new tires for his trailer as one went bad and he hasn't had any animal encounters! The guys have decided not to go into Las Vegas because of the heat there. Plans for tomorrow are to get back on the planned route and head for a nice ride through the mountains to Lake Tahoe -- looks like a little R&R for the guys as they are planning two days there before continuing.(DAY #12)
July 27: On the road for 6:30 a.m. --- must feel like sleeping in half the day compared to the 4 a.m. starts they did throughout the hot weather of the southwest! Started off wearing jackets because it was 61 degrees when they started and it dropped down to 47 degrees when they were in the mountains. What a difference a day and a few hundred miles make! We should call this "Steve's Wild Life Encounter Ride." Today, minding his own business, Steve and his bike were dive-bombed by an unhappy momma-bird. These animals must know about the non-bovine frozen steaks in his freezer back home! Put on 265 miles today and went to Yosemite National Park. Took several excursions to look out points in the park. Description from the guys is "unbelievable," "gorgeous," "most beautiful scenery so far." Took lots of pictures and videos -- still snow on the mountains at 9,000 feet. Pulled off into the hotel at 4:45 p.m. in Lake Tahoe had some dinner and then relaxed playing the one armed bandits for six hours. Rumor is that Steve recouped a little of his gaming expenditures -- just about the same figure that Ed lost. Tomorrow is a pseudo R & R day. They are going to ride the scenic route (Route 89 North) and when they get tired they will stop -- no strict plan, just to enjoy the ride. It's a much-deserved break for the guys. Rest well our weary travelers you'll be on the road again soon headed for your fourth corner goal -- and it's just a few days ahead. (DAY #13)
July 28: On the road at 7:00 a.m. for a day total of 330 miles. Took a beautiful scenic ride around Lake Tahoe -- pleasant temperatures in the 60's and 70's until they descended from the mountains back into 105 degree heat! Worked their way north and stopped for the night in Weed, California. No animal or bird stories today. Plans for Saturday are to cross into Oregon and take a ride to Crater Lake National Park. They are ahead of schedule and may spend a day or so there enjoying the area before moving on to Washington State and corner number four. (DAY #14)
July 29: On the road for about 6 hours beginning at 7:30 a.m. 231 miles for the day -- stopped about 150 miles shy of the Oregon/Washington border in Oakridge, OR. Rode the north rim of Crater Lake (a fantastic ride!). Temperatures ranged from 78 degrees in the mountains to 90 degrees elsewhere. Ed had a close call with the wild life today as a deer ran to the edge of the road as they were coming by but it decided not to venture across in the bikes' path and ran back into the woods. Still snow in the mountains and Steve had to do a little body surfing on his backside in the snow (still clothed I hope). Sunday's plans are for another leisurely day riding into Mount St. Helen's National Park. (DAY #15)
July 30: The last few days are leisurely rides and soaking up some of the sites -- but they are in Washington State now! Did 231 miles today and pulled off the road at the Timberland Motel near Castle Rock, Washington. Ed says that they will be here for two nights. They even took in a movie. Must be kind of funny feeling to sit still in a movie theater for two hours after all the miles they've put on over the last few weeks. (DAY #16)
July 31: Put on 110 miles (round trip) to Mount St. Helens today. WOW what a view! The guys are back for a second night relaxing at the Timberland Motel. Tomorrow's plans are for Olympia, Washington which puts them right on schedule and will arrive at the fourth corner in Blaine on Wednesday, August 2 with two days to spare. (DAY #17)
August 1: Getting real close! Only rode 61 miles today so they can end the fourth corner on the day they said they would. Stopped in Olympia, Washingotn for the night. Both the Goldwings and their riders must not know what to do with only 61 miles for the day! Received some cryptic e-mail messages today from the two of them. Seems they went out for some Mexican Food and now they are arguing over who is contributing to the methane level in their hotel room the most. I bet that it is pretty well an even match. (DAY #18)
August 2: TODAY'S THE DAY! At 6:15 p.m. EST (3:15 PST) the post card to the Southern California Motorcycle Association was dropped in the mail at the Blaine, Washington post office to complete the requirements of the Four Corners Tour by our Red Knights representatives! Take a breather guys, you deserve a break and a big pat on the back. From the start it has been 18 days, 10 hours and over 7,500 miles. (DAY #19)
Ed and Steve may have completed the four geographical corners, but their trip continues.