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Although I am writing this article on December 19, 2012, I actually returned home from my epic around the nation RV trip on September 6, 2012. Being gone almost two months, driving approximately 8600 miles not including the hundreds of miles I rode on the motorcycle while on the trip, almost going over a cliff when we lost the brakes in the RV in Wyoming, etc., required a lot of my time when I got home. It was all worth it. This is the final article I will write about my epic trip. Later I will post pictures and videos from the trip.
When we left off, Liz and I were dry camped in Greybull, Wyoming waiting for the brakes to be fixed on my motorhome. My front bumper was destroyed in the accident, and the back bumper was cracked in two places when the trailer fishtailed into it.
The guys at the shop where we were camped out and who repaired the brakes on my RV were amongst the most reputable and nicest people I have ever dealt with. They could have totally screwed me and told me that I needed a $3,000 brake repair. Instead they told me that my rotors were good, that the pads were totally gone, and the fluid had completely boiled out of the system due to overheating, but that there were no leaks. The total repair bill was $600.00. Another interesting thing about being dry camped at the repair shop in Greybull was that our cell phone service did not work at all, nor did my internet Wi-Fi. We were basically totally out of touch with civilization while we were there.
The total time we were in Greybull Wyoming was approximately 2 nights and 3 days. It was a very small town full of great people. It is the kind of town where I could see myself setting up a cattle ranch someday.
We had a choice to make; should we just count our blessings and drive our damaged RV home or should we continue north to Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park? There really was no question, we had come this far and we were not turning around now; Cody, Wyoming would be our next stop on the way to Yellowstone.
We left Greybull, WY for Cody, WY in the afternoon. It was a cloudy day. The total drive from Greybull to Cody was around 54 miles. It was really good to be back on the road in our motorhome. You must understand, this was essentially our last week of vacation, and after the accident we had no clue whether we would have to leave our RV and all of our possessions in Greybull and rent a car to get home, or what would happen. We were geared up for a two month trip and you can carry lots of stuff in and underneath a Class A motorhome. Had the RV not been drivable there would have been no way to carry everything home in a rental car or even a rental van.
Being back on the road at this point felt fantastic.
When we got to Cody the first thing we did was go to Wal-Mart and get a throwaway cell phone that worked in the area because our carrier did not work in Wyoming. We called our relatives and I checked in with my office to let them know what had happened. Afterwards we stopped and got some Chinese buffet food.
Turns out Cody is a really cool western town, the gateway to Yellowstone. I really fell in love with Wyoming and its people.
We found a really cool RV park and camped out for the night with the intent of riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide to Yellowstone in the morning.
In the morning we woke up and there were ominous clouds in the sky but it did not look like it was going to rain.
As soon as we got on the road just north of Cody, the clouds got much worse and the sky opened up. I was only wearing a soft flannel jacket, Liz had on a leather jacket, we both had jeans on, and of course, no rain gear. Plus it was damm cold. We decided that we were not going to stop now, Yellowstone, here we come.
It literally rained during the entire ride to Yellowstone from Cody, it was cold and it was miserable, but it was also one of the most beautiful rides I have ever taken. The grand mountains, the rocks, the sites all were too much to take in on one ride; however, I tried the best I could.
This is one ride that everyone must take at least once in their lives.
When we got to the gate of Yellowstone, I got off the motorcycle, paid the entrance fee, got back on, and rode into the park. It was very cold at this point, and we were soaking wet from head to toes, but nothing was going to stop us.
Yellowstone is much bigger than I expected, plus it is at a very high elevation. The riding in this park was excellent. The sites were breathtaking.
I am sure the ride in Yellowstone would have been much better if we were not soaking wet and freezing cold but hey, you cannot have everything.
While riding in the park there were several places where Buffalo roamed, literally, right on the road. All the cars stopped to observe. Hell they walked right next to us. On a motorcycle it is a bit different having huge Buffalo walking in front of you and next to you, than if you are in a car. Any one of these huge animals could have taken us out.
We rode the loop to one of the boiling water sites. Yellowstone itself sits atop the largest Caldera (volcano) in the world. If the volcano underneath it ever erupted it would take out much of our nation.
Yellowstone was a great ride. I will definitely go back to Cody, WY and Yellowstone soon.
The ride back to Cody was a cold and cloudy ride. The rain had stopped, but it was still cloudy. When we got near Cody it got dark and a bit warmer. We decided to cruise the main drag in Cody and find a place to eat, we chose an Italian place and had a good meal. After dinner we went back to the RV because we knew we would have a long ride the next day.
Upon waking up the next day, I put the motorcycle on the trailer and strapped her on, struck camp, and we were off.
After a month and a half, we were finally heading south towards our home in Southern California.
When we left Cody, we were not sure where we would spend the night. Usually on the trip we would look for RV resorts in several of the books we had with us or the GPS. We really were not sure how far we would drive.
I was nervous due to the fact that we had lost the brakes in the mountains, our RV was damaged, and I did not want a repeat performance of losing the brakes.
Sure enough we ended up driving through some major mountains on the ride south out of Wyoming. Let me tell you, it was a beautiful drive. The mountains were awesome. When we hit the Continental Divide, the mountains were awe inspiring.
After the Continental Divide, southern Wyoming turned out to be mostly a desert type of environment. It was a stark contrast to northern Wyoming.
It was basically open road with small towns sprinkled in vast distances.
We finally hit Utah in the late afternoon and continued driving south. We ended up in ski country by nightfall. Unfortunately, it became real dark, and we could not find any RV resorts anywhere nearby on any of our resources. We decided to try to find a Wal-Mart where we could park and dry camp for the evening.
We were both exhausted and very tired by this point. Hell I had been driving all day and well into the night. We had no luck finding any place to camp for the night so we kept on driving.
We finally found a Wal-Mart in Salt Lake City, UT to camp in for the night. When we got there our generator would not start and I had no clue why. We had to rough it for the night without TV, just on our battery power and internal water supply. I was so tired that I did not really care. We fell asleep almost immediately.
The next morning we stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast, and got on the road with our destination being Las Vegas, NV. This would be the last major stop before home.
The ride from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas was an excellent ride as well. I had no clue how cool the mountains north of Las Vegas were because I had never traveled this route before.
We found a great RV resort a block from the Las Vegas strip, but a few miles south of the main casinos on the strip. The normal rate there was $60-$80 a day, with my RV membership, we paid less than $30 per day.
We must have looked like ragamuffins when we pulled in. My RV was coated with bugs from an over 8,000 mile trip at this point, the front bumper was basically gone from our accident, the back bumper was cracked, and everything was dirty. All of the other RV’s looked new and pristine in the park. No problem, hell thinking about how far we had come was a mind trip in of itself.
The RV resort in Las Vegas was off the hook, every amenity you could possibly want. However, this was Las Vegas. We waxed the motorcycle to clean her up, got her off of the trailer and took off into town for a great evening. By this time Liz had become adept at helping me was the motorcycle, it was actually nice to have her help.
Our plan was to stay in Las Vegas for two nights, then head home.
The next day Liz and I rode to Hoover Dam. This was her first time there. It was as usual hotter than hell in Las Vegas and Boulder City. But it was OK.
Both Liz and I at this point did not want to go home. We both wanted to stay on the road forever. For both of us, going home would mean going back to work and responsibility. This had been the best and longest vacation of both of our lives, a trip that maybe less than 1% of all Americans would ever get to make.
The fact that we would head home the next day kind of made us both sad and excited. I must admit that I kind of missed just being in a house without having to drive!
On our last night in Las Vegas after the ride to Hoover Dam we had another good time. We both lost money in the casinos, and then we headed back to the RV Park knowing we were going home the next day.
The last day of our trip saw us waking up with a mission, to get home. I put the motorcycle on the trailer for the last time on this trip, strapped her up, struck camp, and we were off again.
I could tell Liz was not happy about having to go home, but since her aunt was house and dog sitting for us, and we were about 3 weeks over the time we were supposed to be gone, she knew we had to go home.
The ride home was a decent trip. Compared to the 8600 miles we had driven, the ride from Las Vegas to our home in Acton was nothing. A little 200 mile or so jaunt compared to where we had driven on the trip.
When we got home on the evening of September 6, 2012, and I walked in my home, I was shocked at how big it seemed compared to the RV which was our home for the last approx. two months. It took me a while to get used to it.
The epic two month 8600 mile trip we took around the circumference of the United States was probably a trip that can never really be repeated although I have every intention of doing it again. The gas alone was almost $10,000 for the RV.
The memories Liz and I shared during the trip will last for a lifetime. It was that kind of a trip, something you could write a book about.
Here it is December 20, 2012, and in a way I am still recovering from the trip.
Two weeks later Liz and I took the RV back to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Bikerfest and had a great time.
** This article was written on August 30, 2012, 2012, but it is being published on December 18, 2012. There will be one final article to be published soon about the rest of my epic vacation. There will also be a post of many videos from the vacation. Again, this article was written on August 30, 2012.
First off, before I get started, let me follow-up with my status on August 27, 2012.
Liz and I toured all over the Black Hills of South Dakota. We visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Sturgis, and Rapid City. We had a good time in South Dakota especially on the motorcycle. The Black Hills offer some great riding in what I consider to be intermediate twisties. I think the twisties we have where I live in the Angeles National Forest or in some places in the Santa Monica Mountains are much more difficult to ride than the Black Hills.
All in All though, the Black Hills are beautiful and I will be back next year.
We left South Dakota on August 29, 2012 for Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
When we reached the mountains off of US 14, I knew we were in for some exciting views. These are the steepest mountains I have taken my RV on since getting the RV. We went up to an altitude of 8,900 feet.
On the downside of the mountain, there was a sign showing a truck on a downgrade stating that it was for the next 17 miles. Another sign stated for trucks to switch into lower gears. I shifted into 2nd gear.
The downgrade was extreme. I pumped my brakes rather just holding them down. I cannot describe what it is like to try to slow down a very large 35’ RV with an Electra Glide and trailer in tow, on declines such as the one we were on. It was scary.
On the way down, we both heard a noise that we could not identify. Later on, I felt the brakes get a bit mushy but they still worked. We came to a visitor’s area where there were waterfalls and a viewing area. I told Liz that I was going to stop to check out the brakes.
It was around 6-6:30pm or so and starting to get a bit dark in the mountains. Since the sun was going down Liz did not want to stop or possible or get stuck in this desolate place. I told her we had to stop. I got the rig slowed down and turned right into the area, I downshifted to 1st gear to slow down more without using the brakes, when I pushed down on the brakes to stop, the pedal went to the floor and to my horror were gone. We were not slowing down and we were not stopping.
In my 49 years heretofore, I have driven or ridden many cars, trucks, motorcycles, you name it, nothing that I have driven or ridden has lost all brake power before, nothing.
Here I was heading for a sheer cliff straight ahead, literally a sheer cliff, and I had no brakes. I yelled to Liz that we had no brakes. I tried shifting the rig into park; it just made a click click sound but did not slow down.
I told Liz that we were going to crash.
I intentionally steered the rig sharply to the left so that we would hit the side of the road which were rocks rather than go off of the cliff. I could not believe that when I made the sharp turn to the left that we did not tip over on our side.
I told Liz to brace herself. Literally from the time I realized I had no brakes until the time we crashed was just a few seconds.
I noticed a white thing where we were headed, I steered to avoid it.
We jumped up onto a curb, crashed through a wood fence, and by the grace of god were finally stopped by two beefy barriers that the National Park Service has planted along the sides of the road.
After the initial impact we kept going until we hit these barriers. We did not stop right away.
After the impact we just sat there. I was freaked out about the damage to the rig, Liz said “Norman don’t worry, we are alive.”
Let me tell you, had I steered wrong or stayed on the road that day, I have no doubt we would no longer be here on this earth. What if I would have lost the brakes on the road? I would have gone 35-40 mph or faster right over the edge. If anyone has ridden the US 14 in Wyoming, you know what I mean.
Two days ago I lost my brakes on a severe downgrade on US 14 in the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming. I had to intentionally crash my RV in order to get the rig stopped.
Thanks to the fine people of Greybull, Wyoming, we were towed off of the mountain into a KOA RV Park last night, and the same guy came this morning to pick up the rig to repair the brakes. The parts won’t be in until tomorrow, so the repair guy is allowing us to bunk down in the RV on his property.
I have fallen in love with Greybull, Wyoming and so has Liz. The town has about 1100 people who all seem to know each other. Went to dinner tonight and ended up meeting some of the town folk. I was invited to attend a shooting event on a private ranch. The people here leave their keys in the car, and will bend over backwards to help you.
I rode up to the crash site twice today, from Greybull, Wyoming east on US 14 up into Big Horn Forest, once by myself, once with Liz. This ride is the most beautiful and awe inspiring ride I’ve ever taken in my life. No words can describe the wide vistas, the ancient canyons, the trees, and the waterfalls. It was as if I was in the most beautiful place on earth on my Harley.
Getting back to the accident; had I not turned the way I did Liz and I would not be here. There was a sheer cliff in front of us when I lost the brakes. It was a scary experience. The RV sustained damage to the lower front where it hit, and the back where the trailer fish tailed. We are not injured. I was told that many RV’ers lose their brakes up here every month; live and learn. I lost my lower lights in the front and some fiberglass. It can be repaired.
If the parts come in tomorrow and the RV is otherwise safe to drive we will be heading to Cody, Wyoming, where I will set up camp. Saturday we will ride the Harley through Yellowstone from the east entrance. Until then….
We arrived a few hours ago in our home for the next few days and nights, an excellent RV resort in Deadwood, South Dakota, within the Black Hills. We are about 12 miles from Sturgis, South Dakota and about an hour away from Mount Rushmore.
Deadwood is a happening town when the Sturgis motorcycle rally is not happening. There are many casinos and bars and an actual nightlife. It is a historic place high in the Black Hills, whereas Sturgis is a small town except during the rally.
The Black Hills happen to be the oldest mountains on the North American Continent.
My last update had us staying at an RV park in Illinois. Last night we spent the night in what was basically a muddy mess in Minnesota.
Since my last update we have driven through or stayed in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
All of the States we have driven through have been beautiful.
South Dakota is probably the most desolate state by far with respect to places to stop, traffic, etc. It is truly a plains state. We went through hundreds of miles of corn fields before South Dakota. Once in South Dakota it switched to endless grasslands. To be frank South Dakota reminds me of the drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a way, but it is still unique.
The Sturgis motorcycle rally was August 6 – 12, 2012 this year. The rally ended two weeks ago. It is amazing to me that there are still a bunch of die-hard bikers here. I saw many bikers on I-90 as I was driving in.
I guess I will still have much fun riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide amongst other bikers while I am here.
Tomorrow before I do anything, I will have to wash my motorcycle in place on the trailer before taking her off. She picked up a thick coat of white paste in Iowa, and rinsing it with water, nor rain in Iowa and Minnesota did not wash it off. So I will be delayed for at least an hour washing her. Once she is washed I will be off.
I plan on getting GoPro helmet footage of my ride as well as standard HD footage when stopped. I will post it on the blog when I get home.
That is it for now. Time to relax; it was a long 500 mile plus drive in the RV today.
Yesterday, August 23, 2012 and today, August 24, 2012 found me cruising my RV through and camping in Indiana and Illinois. I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful these States are.
First off, all of the states I have driven through since New Jersey have toll turnpikes which are basically freeways that you have to pay to have the privilege to drive on.
I decided that I do not like paying these tolls for my RV and motorcycle trailer since I am sometimes having to pay 75% more than a car. It is not that I cannot afford the tolls; it is that I think they are bullshit. Therefore, I set my GPS to avoid the toll roads.
Avoiding the toll roads is the best thing I have done on this trip. The reason being is that instead of driving on freeways, I am not driving on state highways off the beaten track.
In Indiana we drove all day through the most beautiful farm and tree laced land you could imagine. The landscape was like in a movie. We stayed in an excellent RV park right smack dab next to a huge corn field.
When I went outside just at sunset, all I could see for miles around was corn. I would love to live in a place such as this. I enjoyed an O’Doul’s and a cigar.
Today on August 24, 2012, we again drove off the beaten track from Indiana to Rockford, IL. We made sure to drive through Chicago, IL, but since we could not find an RV park near Chicago, we decided to head for Rockford with our next main stop being Sturgis, SD.
I am from Southern California where I was born and raised. I have traveled the world but I have always come back to California.
My trip all over the nation these past 38 days or so have made me question why I stay in California. The east coast is beautiful.
Indiana is truly a beautiful State; so is Illinois. However, I really liked Indiana. Heck we saw our first genuine Amish buggy with family in Indiana.
The people are nice, the entire State reminds me of Mayberry.
The next time I take a trip such as the one I am on right now, I may take 6 months to a year to travel around, so that instead of taking freeways, I can take roads off of the beaten track and really see the countryside.
So there it is, tomorrow I will be on the road again headed for Sturgis, SD which should take two days if all goes well.
Once in Sturgis, I will take the Harley Davidson Electra Glide off of the trailer, and ride all over the Black Hills and more.
I have been on a RV vacation and trip of a lifetime for the past 36 days. I am presently sitting at the table in my RV in a campground somewhere near Cleveland, OH typing this update for all of you. It is now day 36 of my trip.
My last real update was on August 4, 2012 from the Washington DC area. I am giving another update now.
So far we have driven through or stayed in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. We have many more places to stay and drive through before we get home.
We ended up staying in the Washington D.C, College Park, Maryland area for about 11 days. Washington D.C. was an important stop for us, and with so many things to see, and such a great RV resort, we were in no rush to leave. We toured the Smithsonian museums’ and major monuments, among other things. I have tons of video that I will process when I get home and upload onto here.
The only negative part of the Washington D.C. trip was the hot balmy weather on some days, coupled with thunder storms and rain on other days, and the horrendous drivers in the Washington D.C. area.
My Harley Electra Glide enabled me to park near monuments and areas where people in cars just cannot go. On a few days Liz and I used the bus and train due to the weather. We also took the double decker tour bus for 48 hours as well.
The RV resort in College Park, MA was off of the charts. I went swimming every night with all of the other tourist. Hell on one night I found myself alone in the pool with 20 or so bikini clad coed girls from Europe. I could not decipher what language they were speaking, but my god it was a very nice sight.
I did not want to leave Washington D.C.; it was almost as if I needed to stay there longer. Maybe I should run for Congress?
When we finally left Washington D.C., we drove through Maryland and New Jersey. Maryland and most of New Jersey are truly beautiful states.
I found myself getting pinched for tolls every few miles. It turns out I was on a toll turnpike. My GPS was not set up to avoid tolls. By the time the day was over I had paid almost $100 in tolls because my RV and motorcycle trailer have 3 total axels. They were charging me like I was a bus. It really sucked.
When we got to New York we were led to an expensive KOA campground north of Newburgh, New York that was billed as the New York City KOA campground; talk about fraud, we were about 70 miles northwest of New York City in the middle of a forest.
Upstate New York is a truly beautiful state let me tell you, I had no clue. When we got to the campground it was kind of late and almost dark because of the trees. When we hooked up I discovered that the trees prevented my Satellite TV from working, my cell phone did not work, nor did I have Wi-Fi. Then it started raining as well. I had to rough it with DVD’s from Redbox for the night. Further, we only had a 30amp hookup, so I could not run both air conditioners and my microwave at the same time :]
Anyway, we got the hell out of there first thing in the morning, opting to go to the Liberty Park RV resort in Jersey City, New Jersey instead where we would have to dry camp for $50 a day. The Liberty Park RV resort was billed as the closest RV Park to New York City just 15 minutes away from Manhattan, and with a local water taxi that takes you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. All of this turned out to be true.
On the way in to the campground I noticed that we were in Orange County New York, so I figured I would check and see if Orange County Choppers was nearby. As it turns out, Orange County Choppers was on the way to Liberty Park in Jersey City, so I figured I would stop in and check it out.
All I can say about Orange County Choppers is that it was a huge disappointment. It is the only motorcycle operation I have ever seen that does not sell motorcycle stuff. They have all sorts of shirts and other crap with OCC all over it, but no motorcycle stuff. They don’t even have examples of their production motorcycles in the showroom; all they have is motorcycles that they built in the past. I did not even like those. It is what it is. I got some video and got the hell out of there. It is nothing more than a tourist trap. The bikes on display seem un-ride able and not practical to me.
It was a very interesting trip through narrow streets in New Jersey to the Liberty Park RV resort in Jersey City, New Jersey. My rig is 35’ long with an attached 10’ motorcycle trailer. Some of the streets and turns I had to make near the Holland Tunnel on the Jersey side were monumental, but I finally made it to the RV Park. The RV Park was a combo Liberty Park Marina and RV park. There were ocean going boats, sailboats and the like dry docked on the other side of the park, with an actual marina and a bar and restaurant there.
Since the RV Park was totally full, we had to dry camp which basically means that we had no external electrical, water, or sewer hookups. We had to rely on our RV, and our generator. There was a dump and water site in the park that we could use as needed.
Since we wanted to run our generator past 10pm they basically put us in an area that was by itself in the middle of a field next to a bunch of boats. On the other side of the fence was a construction site in Jersey City. The setup was kind of like in New Orleans where we were 3 blocks away from Bourbon Street but smack dab in the middle of a bad neighborhood.
The Liberty Park RV area of Jersey City was kind of like a small island of a good area in a real bad area if you know what I mean.
We were so close to NY City in the Liberty RV Park that we could see the World Trade Center and Wall Street just across the Hudson River, and I could see the Statue of Liberty from my RV.
Due to a breaker on my generator, I did not get full power until just at dark on our first day in NY City, so we decided to wait until the next day to hit the city.
The next day we immediately went to the World Trade Center site and the 911 memorial. It was a very rainy day.
We did so much in New York over the next week that it is too much to write about here. Like Washington D.C., I felt attracted to the city; as a matter of fact I fell in love with the city. We rode the subway and went all over the place.
Three days before I left New York I ended up partially tearing my calf muscle walking down the subway steps. The reason I know it is partially torn is because three nights ago I spent most of the evening at Jersey Medical Center ER where they confirmed the tear with an ultra sound.
My years of sports and injuries have made me kind of tough when it comes to injuries like this. I tooled around New York City for three days in severe pain because I did not want to miss anything.
We finally left New York City two days ago on August 20, 2012. It took a while getting out of the city, we did not really want to leave, but we had to so we could finish the 3rd and final leg of this great trip that we are on.
We ended up driving to Northumberland, PA where we found a killer RV resort right on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. We got there just before dark. I swear I could live in this place. Pennsylvania is one of the most beautiful and big states in the United States.
The locals there upon seeing my Harley Davison in tow assumed I was there for “PA Rally on the River” which was set to begin on August 23, 2012, or the day after we were set to leave the campground.
Unfortunately the campground was booked and full months in advance for the rally. I was told that if I paid $50 a night, I could dry camp there with my RV. Had they gave me a regular camp site, I would have stayed for the rally. I think if they knew who I was, that they would have accommodated me. Liz called even after we left asking if there were cancellations; there were none.
Based on what I was told 2k people would fill up the camp grounds for the event which is adults only. I knew that if I stayed for the event, I would be stuck in the campgrounds until it was over due to the number of people. Further, there would be no way to dump the brown water tank or refill the fresh water tanks for the next week.
I decided to not stay for the rally but to instead spend the time tooling around Sturgis, SD when I get there. We left today on August 22, 2012. We drove all the way to near Cleveland, Ohio where I now sit writing this update.
We still have a long way to go on our trip and further updates will come soon.
I have been on an RV trip of a lifetime for the past month. I am presently in an RV Resort at the Jersey City Marina with a view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from my RV.
During the trip I have filmed hours of video which I will not be able to edit until I get home. I therefore have been spoon feeding here on the Biker Law Blog, small unedited raw video clips of interest when I have the time.
Here is another small video clip of Liz and I visiting Orange County Chopper aka OCC in Newburgh, NY on August 13, 2012. I will do a complete write-up when I return home from my vacation at the end of August.
I have a ton of video and pictures that will be posted of my around the USA trip that started on July 18, 2012 and still continues. Unfortunatlly my laptop is unable to process the vast quantities of HD video I have taken so until I get back home, I will post small raw video clips of my trip.
Here is a video I took of Times Square this evening. The clouds opened up and it started pouring. I bought Liz and I an umbrealla right away since our other umbrella’s were in the RV.
Suffice is to say, Liz and I owned Times Square for about 5 minutes until the rain let up, then the crowds came back in force. Here is a little raw video clip.
I am presently on vacation and in New York City. I thought I would give you a little glimpse of how busy their subways are. I took this short video while traveling from Manhattan 33rd Street Station to the Grove Street Station in Jersey City where my RV park is on August 16, 2012. Enjoy……
I wrote an article before this one about my visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield on August 7, 2012. Here is a raw unedited portion of video I shot at the Bloody Angle. I will post more video as I am able to process it.
On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, Liz and I rode from College Park, Maryland to the Gettysburg Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
To put what this ride meant to me into perspective, when I was a teenager, I read the Civil War Almanac. I have been an amateur civil war buff ever since. To me the Battle of Gettysburg signifies the point where the South lost the war.
If you read the historical as well as firsthand accounts of those who fought the battle you will come to realize that this battle, the bloodiest in American history with over 50,000 casualties in 3 days, was a great and horrific event in American history.
Now I can say that I walked the ground where all of the great fighting took place between July 1 – July 3, 1863.
I walked Little Round Top, Big Round Top, The Peach Orchard, Devils Den, Slaughter Pen, The Wheat Field, Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill, The Bloody Angle, The High Watermark, the Place where Pickett’s Charge began, and the field not only where Pickett’s Charge happened, but also the ground beyond the breastworks at the Bloody Angle where the Southerners advanced toward certain death. I stood where General Armistead fell, and where General Reynolds fell.
I now know the ground of Gettysburg. When I stood at the Bloody Angle I could look at the field and imagine what the bloody and vicious hand to hand combat between Americans must have been like.
The ride from College Park, MA to Gettysburg, PA was to be frank, a nightmare on the Maryland side. Let me tell you, I have been around half of the circumference of the United States now. We have seen road construction going on in every single state. I suppose those are our stimulus dollars in action, I do not know. What I do know is so far, Floridians, and Marylanders are the worst drivers I have seen for motorcyclist so far in my travels.
Maryland drivers are by far the most aggressive drivers I have ever seen. Where there was a speed limit of 55 due to construction, these idiots were doing 70 and passing me half way in my lane. I can honestly say that after riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide thousands of miles with no fear, I felt fear on Tuesday. It was almost as if the cagers in Maryland did not see me, it was if I was invisible. If was a ride of terror on the Maryland side. The Pennsylvania side was great except on the way to Confederate Blvd. a Doe (female Deer) ran out in front of us about 50 yards ahead, then on the way back, a young Deer ran out in front of us as well. I will tell a Deer story in a future article.
I highly recommend that if anyone wants to tour the Gettysburg Battlefield that you only do it on a motorcycle. We owned the battlefield on Tuesday. In many places, Liz and I were the only ones there. Imagine being at a historic part of the battlefield with no one there with you to interfere. On the motorcycle, we could stop at will and park at will.
Unfortunatly it appears I will not be able to post any video while on the road. My laptop cannot handle the huge HD video I took at the battlefiled, and the unedited file takes too long to upload to Youtube. Therefore I will not upload any video until I get back
Well here I sit at 3am on what is actually day 6 and ½, 3 blocks away from the French Quarter in the nicest RV park yet, right smack dab 3 blocks from the French Quarter, within walking distance, after having had a great evening of riding my Electra Glide and walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Let me first start off by telling you that I spent last night in an RV park that was basically in swamp land in Kinder, Louisiana. When it got dark and I shined a flash light on my RV, and what seemed like hundreds of small black bugs went for the light. Many of them got into the RV. I got rid of them within 10 minutes with a piece of paper. Last night was basically spent hunkered down in the RV resting and watching Satellite TV.
Today we left Kinder and drove to New Orleans. On the ride from Kinder to New Orleans I saw the most unique part of Interstate 10 I have ever seen and what is probably one of the top human engineering marvels of all time. The Interstate is literally raised over many miles of water logged swamp land. I have never seen anything like it.
The state of Louisiana is beautiful; it is a green state with millions of trees lining Interstate 10. The foliage is so dense that you cannot even see through it. I can only imagine what it was like when Europeans first found this place.
Another huge part of the ride today was crossing some big rivers including the mighty Mississippi River. Let me tell you something, I experienced fear driving my RV over the river bridges. My rig is as high as a regular truck. At that height the guard rails do not seem like they will do much good if you crash, and in a Class A motor home, there is no room for error on a bridge like the ones I crossed today. It was an experience I will tell you that.
I have to say that the New Orleans part of our trip has been the best so far. It was hotter than hell today with humidity that I have heretofore only read about, but it was a great day.
This is my first time in the big easy. I did not expect much except the French Quarter. Boy was I wrong. There is much to see and do here. The French Quarter was off of the charts. It is something you have to experience in person. Pictures do not do it justice.
After driving all through the French Quarter and New Orleans on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide, we parked and walked the French Quarter. We found a very nice Seafood Restaurant. Now anyone that knows me knows I hate seafood except for tuna fish sandwiches and breaded fish sticks and shrimp. Last night I decided to throw caution out with the wind and have a bowl of Gumbo. Gumbo has shrimp and Crab along with other ingredients. It tasted OK. We had a very good meal after that. We were seated literally right in the window of the café, so we could see all of the traffic walking Bourbon Street as we dined.
Across the street I noticed a cigar place, and went there after our meal to get $50 worth of hand rolled Cuban cigars. (The guy rolling the cigars was Cuban) $50 worth turned out to be 5 cigars. The guy gave me a catalog so I could order when I get back home.
As we walked Bourbon Street I smoked a big cigar that cost $10. It was the best dam cigar I have ever had. As I was walking and almost finished with the cigar some guy tried to talk me into going into his bar. I explained to him that I do not drink. He told me that he did not drink either. As we shook hands the dam cigar fell out of my mouth. Anyway…………………………
All I can say is that anyone who has not been to New Orleans needs to come here. No pictures can ever do how great this town is, justice. Everyone was friendly as hell.
The only bummer is that I noticed I have a bunch of mosquito like bites on my ankles and on my arm. I just put some deet on, hopefully that will prevent any more bites.
Well I am going to get some shut eye in a few minutes. Later today I will load the Harley back on the trailer, strike camp, and head through Mississippi and Alabama into Florida. Key West here we come.
I am typing the this short blog post from the dining room table of my RV in a RV park in Tuscon, Arizona. Yes, my trip around the USA has begun.
My trip was supposed to start on July 15, 2012, but due to unforseen circumstances and a last minute repair that needed to be made to my RV, I did not depart my home in Acton, CA until around 9:30pm on Wenesday night, July 18, 2012, 3 days and about 13 hours later than my original plan.
I contemplated just starting out on the morning of July 19, 2012, but I knew that if I did not leave, I would never leave, so I left. When I got to Blythe, CA, I was wiped out, so I decided to pull my rig into a truck stop with all of the other trucks, fire up the generator, and crash out in my rig parked in line with all of the truckers.
I woke up in the morning and got back on the road around 10:30am. Another glitch arose while on the road, this time I discovered that my generator which ran all night in Blythe, would not start up. It was cranking, but not starting. I decided to stop at the Camping World in Pheonix, AZ to see if there was somthing that they could do. What a mistake that was.
First off when I got to the Camping World parking lot, I discovered that my generator started. I figured that I have either some heat problem, a clogged air filter, or maybe a clog in the fuel system. I figured I would have them check it out and I would be back on the road; wrong…………..
At Camping World it was probably over 100 degrees yesterday in Phoenix, and the humidity was off the charts. It felt like I was in a Sauna. Second, when the tech came out to check the generator from Camping World, it started like 4 times in a row with no problem. I should have told him to just forget it and that everything was ok. Finally after having this guy mess with my generator a bunch of times, he got it to fail. Great………. I sat in the friggen heat for hours waiting for this guy to fix the generator. The generator runs the central air so I could not run the air the whole time he was working on it. Since I have all of my possessions in the RV I was not about to let him stay in it by himself.
The tech from Camping World finally shows up with his manager to tell me that they thought the problem with the generator was a coil or a circuit board, and that I should call the local Koeler generator factory authorized dealer and service rep. After the guys from Camping World played with my generator, I could not start it all all. I was freaking out in the Arizona heat and contemplating returning home before I got too far away.
I called the Koeler dealer and at first got a voicemail, and then after trying multiple times, I finally spoke to someone who told me that their service guy had left for the day, it was only 4pm, and that the service guy said he was booked for the next day. I told them my situation but they did not seem to care. Talk about shitty customer service, I decided to move on.
Suffice is to say, I decided to head to Tucson and take my chances there. After stopping at Walmart in Phoenix to stock up on water which I drank in great quantities due to the heat, I decided to try the generator again; thank god it started.
I know I have some kind of heat problem with the generator, but it is not going to ruin my trip. As long as I can get it to start after it cools off, I am ok with that, especially since I will stay at RV parks like the one I am at right now, and they provide me with the 50 amp service my RV requires.
Let me tell you about the RV park I am at right now, it is awesome. The front office closed at around 8pm. I called them from the Walmart parking lot at around 7pm to tell them that I was a member of a certain RV club and that I was on my way. My RV club membership gives me 50% off on all member RV parks. I was told my fee for the nights stay was $18…….. awesome!
They kept the office open for me. They knew I was in a 35 foot class A with a 10 foot motorcycle trailer. They set me up in a drive through space with easy hookups in a class operation.
The manager gave me a bag of apples and told me he would keep the pool open for me. Once I hooked up to electrical, water, and sewer, I threw on my bathing suit and went to the pool and jumped in. All I can say is ahhhhh what a relief. There is nothing like floating in a pool looking at the Tuscon, Arizona sky, knowing that an epic journey is ahead.
There is no way in hell you will ever meet nicer people while traveling, then the ones you meet doing the RV thing. I used to think bikers were the best, well RV’ers are right up there on top.
So even though my trip got off to a rocky start, I will jump into bed in a few, wake up early, have some breakfast, and get back on the road in the morning. I anticipate spending the night either in New Mexico or possibly Texas depending on how far I go.
For me this trip is not about rushing, it is about quality, just like my motorcycle trips.
Good night for now folks. look for another update soon.
Being able to take off for a one month vacation, from a super busy law practice, for an around the nation RV vacation has always been a dream of mine. My dream is about to come true, my trip starts this Sunday, July 15, 2012.
My clients will be able to reach me on the road by dialing my number and extension, it will forward to my cell phone on the road. If I do not answer leave a message, and I will call you back as soon as I can.
I have a full mobile law office set up in my RV, with full computer access to my office. I will also do new client consultations from the road.
An Attorney never really takes a 100% off work vacation; if they do, they must not really have a lot of cases!
You may also dial my Paralegal Kathy at extension 420.
My partners, associates, support staff, and investigators will all still be available at their respective extensions. Nothing will change at the office.
At 6am on July 15, 2012, I will depart in my 35’ Class A Georgie Boy for my first destination, Key West, Florida by way of Interstate 10. My Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Custom will be my dingy in tow on a new Trinity 3 motorcycle trailer.
I also got a couple of folding 12 speed bikes to pedal around the various campgrounds I will be staying in.
Many of my friends have been following my updates about the trip on Facebook; you can find me on Facebook by clicking here.
I literally have dinner, ride, and social invitations from my many friends all over the nation. Unfortunately I cannot really commit to anything right now; the nature of my trip is that I will take each day as it comes with no pressure to do any one thing.
I am a member of various RV clubs and my plans on this trip are to play it by ear. Under no circumstances do I want to make this trip about having to reach a certain destination every day.
Instead, I will play it like the Tortoise and take it easy. I want to enjoy the drive, and enjoy each destination along the way. I want to explore our nation like I have never done, meet new people, and have a blast.
Some of the Class A only campgrounds that I have seen are unreal.
There is only one destination that I have to make it too by a certain date and that is the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The actual motorcycle rally is August 6-12, 2012. My plan is to get there for the last 2-3 days, and then spend a day or two extra exploring without all of the crowds.
Let me tell you, making my dream come true was not easy. I have worked my ass off for the past month to get my cases in order so I could take this trip.
I also had to take my RV in for some customization for the trip. It is now outfitted with state of the art in-motion satellite, Wi-Fi internet, multiple HD flat panel TV’s, multiple color and infra-red cameras, the works.
Outfitting a 35’ RV for a trip like this is almost like furnishing a new home. I had 3 shopping carts full at Wal-Mart yesterday, and there is still more to get including food.
I plan on blogging all about this trip either every day or almost every day. I will have pictures, video, helmet cam footage, the works. I want to take you all on the trip with me.
I will write short articles while on the trip because this trip is about having fun.
So there it is, I may be coming to a town near you very soon.
I for the most part have worked my tail off since the age of 14 when I got my first job as a Bus Boy at a pizza joint in Canoga Park, CA called “Mancini’s Pizza Boy.”
I have taken time off here and there for short vacations, but I have never really had what I call a long vacation.
Well that is about to change.
I just celebrated my 49th birthday two days ago.
It has always been my dream to travel this great nation, The United States of America, on the ground where I can really enjoy it.
Yes, I have flown all over the nation, and to various other countries, but that is not the same as traveling on the ground. Yes, I have ridden my motorcycle near and far, but I have not traveled the entire nation for an extended period of time let alone one month.
That is about to change.
I am about to embark in my trusted class A, 35′ Georgie Boy” on a one month exploration of this great nation.
My dingy will be my Electra Glide Ultra Classic which will be towed behind on a Trinity 3 motorcycle trailer from theusatrailerstore.com.
This will be the first time I take a vacation where I am actually trailering my motorcycle. Secondly, I am not ashamed to say that I will be trailering my motorcycle on this trip. This is an RV trip where I will be living in the RV while I travel cross country, not a motorcycle trip where I sleep in a tent or motel.
I could always travel on the motorcycle and then stay in hotels or motels, but that would not be the same as traveling the nation in my RV. My plan is to park each late afternoon at an RV park, hookup the RV to everything, unhook the motorcycle, and off we go.
If all goes well we will be off the road by 3 or 4 each afternoon so we can take the Harley out and explore.
I call the Georgie Boy my mobile law office because it will be impossible for me to get away from the office for a month without working, hell I have a trial starting up in Fresno County on September 9, 2012. I will do consultations, and work cases while in the RV via wireless internet, and one hell of an office phone system.
For my many clients do not worry, our office will still operate at full capacity, and I will still be available at 800-816-1529 ext. 3. If I don’t pick up right away, do not fear, I will be returning calls from the road. My paralegal Kathy Serpas will be available at x. 420, as well as the rest of my staff.
As for the trip, the plan at the present time is to travel from Southern California, through Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and then up through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and then Washington DC. If there is time we will try to make NY City. If not we will go to Pennsylvania, and then back west through South Dakota and Sturgis, and from there we will probably do the direct route back through Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and then back to Southern California.
This will be a one month trip but the plan is not to rush to each destination from day to day, which would be no fun. I plan on taking it easy because I want to see the sites and enjoy the trip. I may stay a couple of days at a particular location like the sunny beaches of Florida, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, (I cannot wait to walk the fields of Gettysburg; I am a civil war buff) and South Dakota.
I plan on writing Blog articles each night from whatever destination I am at so each of my Biker Law Blog readers can take the trip with me. There will be pictures and video as well.
I will be writing more articles before I leave on the trip. I already have open invites for lunch and dinner from at least 100 of my Facebook friends in the various States I will be traveling in. Maybe I will meet some of you along the way as well.
The title of this story is “Planning the trip of a lifetime.” However, I have decided that this will be the first of my “trips of a lifetime.” I will try to do a similar trip every year to two years from here on out, or at the worst case, to truncate my trips to two weeks. For me this is a beginning of something new.
See you all on the road.
If you had a motorcycle anywhere in California or you were a passenger in a motorcycle accident, you may call us for a free consultation 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1526 x. 1.
Our Motorcycle Accident Law Firm, The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates, are real bikers helping other bikers. Unlike some other so called "fake" motorcycle accident attorney's who do not ride motorcycles, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. actually rides a motorcycle.
We are experts in dealing with motorcycle accident cases.
We handle motorcycle accident cases, motorcycle passenger injury accidents, and other personal injury cases all over the State of California. We are real bikers and motorcycle riders who represent bikers and motorcycle riders who have suffered injuries due to motorcycle accidents and crashes. We handle Motorcycle Accidents, Motorcycle Passenger Accidents, Dangerous Conditions on public roads which cause motorcycle accidents, defective motorcycle cases, Cruiser Motorcycle Accidents, biker rights, criminal law, Car Accidents, Uninsured Motorist Claims, Wrongful Death, Torts, Cager and/or Car negligence, personal injury and Other Injury Cases. We have locations in Southern California and Northern California. We handle personal injury, and motorcycle accident cases in all over California including: Southern California, Central California, and Northern California.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or any other motor vehicle accident, you may call us 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 x. 1, or submit your case online here.