Monday, August 1, 2016

A Tour of Routes des Grandes Alpes and More - June and July 2016

Route des Grandes Alpes is a trip we started to think about last year. Klaus, one of our good friends made the trip three years ago and after we saw his pictures we decided we should make this trip as well.

Klaus and his wife, Angelika, agreed they would join, as did another good friend Christian.

The plan was to leave late in June and take two weeks. This would give us the best chance to be ahead of the Summer vacation tourists and have good weather. The first week would be the Routes des Grandes Alpes and the second week used for working our way over more Alpes Passes and back to Nürnberg.

Klaus and I left late afternoon on Friday June 24th and spent the nigh in with his friends Alex and Babsi in Ulm.

Judith, Angelika and Christian left Saturday morning to meet us in Evian France, where the real journey was to begin.

As it turns out our timing was perfect - both for avoiding traffic and tourists, as well as good weather. We had very little of the former and lots of the latter.

Here is a tiny sample of what we saw traveling through the Alps.

I posted lots of pictures with more information about the trip Here. Please take a look.

Our trip was absolutely wonderful in every way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gettin' Our Kicks: Barber Motorsports Museum Photos

I finally finished editing all of the pictures I took while we were at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, AL.

Here are three samples...

You can see them all here: Gettin' Our Kicks at Barber

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gettin' Our Kicks: Judith’s Diary Entries #6

July 22 to July 26


Highlight for each State:
California   Bluest sky
Arizona   nicest clouds
New Mexico   pass with care
Texas   I can see for miles or bugs eat you
Louisiana   Bridges and bayous
Mississippi   ? Many trees, less Dodge Rams
Alabama   They are cheating - the liberty statue should not be here
Georgia   Tar snakes
Tennessee   Beat-up cars
North Carolina   Great roads
Virginia   Wonderful riding
Maryland  Red traffic lights
Delaware   Zipped through too fast to come up with something
Pennsylvania   Potholes

July 22, Middleburg to Gaithersburg
We had a snort ride including an old ferry to Dennis' cousin's, who he hadn't met since he was little. The afternoon was a lot of catching up, later we had a great dinner in a brewery restaurant and concluded the evening on their magnificent deck.


July 23, Gaithersburg
This was a rest day I mostly spent on the deck. I saw foxes in the morning, watched the birds, and saw a raccoon in the evening. Dennis spend the day going over the family tree with Laurna and catching up on his blog. Dinner was in a nice Moroccan restaurant.

July 24, Gaithersburg to Annapolis
Another rather short ride, but slow (red traffic lights) to Annapolis. This is a very picturesque town with a nice yacht harbor and a lot of marine stuff going on.


July 25, Annapolis
We had a slow start in the morning. We went down to the Naval Academy and did a walking tour. We were lucky to get to see a parade. After the tour we spent some time in their swimming hall and watched the young soldiers' swimming training. Three of them were not participating, but read their "bible" in a very funny way. The rest of the day was more or less "hanging out".

July 26, Annapolis to Philadelphia
After breakfast in this crazy deli we got on our bikes again heading to our last station. We had to cross Bay Bridge (toll, of course), spend 30 mins in traffic in front of the toll booths, to have an amazing view of the Chesapeake Bay. The rest of the ride was not that exciting. We finally arrived Dave and Mary Ellen's, where we are going to stay for the rest of the time. We spent a wonderful evening on their deck talking.


So, finally, we did 6133 miles (9870 km) from west to east - amazing
[Editor's note: there is a small difference in mileage between Judith's and mine because we did a few rides two up on my bike, thus a few extra miles for my bike]

Hi lights
Best place we stayed at: Oak Park Inn, Waynesville & Pine Tavern Lodge, Floyd
Best road: Angeles Crest Highway, Cherohala Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway
Most spectacular/memorable people: performers of the jam session at Oak Park Inn, redneck Steward
Most interesting place: Barber Motorsports Museum
Most spectacular location: Monument Valley
Best dinner: Bess Bistro, Austin
Best hotel: La Posada, Winslow
Most inspiring person: Sam at El Trovatore Motel, Kingman
Most impressive views: Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Blue Ridge Parkway
Most boring stretch: Amarillo to Plainview, TX
Biggest cockroach: Fredericksburg, Texas
Greatest cultural experience: Library in Austin
Best thing: wine GLASSES instead of plastic cups
Biggest lie: free WiFi at various hotels
Most true saying: it's all about the people
Most relaxing: rocking chairs on the porch
Weirdest thing: man against food
Biggest milk shake: Chick & Ruth's deli, Annapolis

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 47 – Day 52 Annapolis, MD to Norristown, PA

July 26, 2015

Well… this is it. The last day!

We packed up and headed to our good friends Dave and Mary Ellen’s in Norristown, PA.

Dave and Mary Ellen are kindly putting us up for the last week in the U.S. Dave is also going the extra mile and will sell our two trusty motorcycles.

After an uneventful ride, we arrived at Dave and Mary Ellen’s about 4:30.

Arrival - safe and sound

My GPS showed 10,082 Kilometers or 6,265 miles.

It’s hard to believe that we have been on the road for two months. It really does seem like we just started a few days ago.

We will spend the week catching up with friends in the area, doing a minimal amount of shopping and laundry.

Looking back – 52 days on the road:

We saw so many wonderful sights along the way it is difficult to recount them all.

We endured temperatures up to 105 degrees and humidity ranging from near 0% to over 90%, and fortunately a minimal amount of rain.

No real mechanical breakdowns and no crashes.

Judith and I have been a fantastic team throughout the adventure.

Most important however, this trip has been a tremendous reward for both Judith and me.

It fulfills a dream of a lifetime for Judith and it has allowed me to help her to fulfill that dream. We have met countless wonderful people along the way, made several new friends, reconnected with old friends and my cousin Lorna and I finally reunited after more than 60 years.

As Sam, the proprietor of the El Trovatore Motel in Kingman, AZ, told us very early on in the trip, “It’s all about the people!” He is a wise man.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 46 – Day 51 Annapolis, MD

July 25, 2015

After a super breakfast in the Delly we walked over to the U.S. Naval Academy for a walking tour.

We happened to be there just before the Noon Meal Formation of the Plebes. Plebes are first year students at the USNA, and they arrive six weeks before the school year starts for Plebe Summer (their orientation to the USNA - i.e., Boot Camp). After the first year the Plebes become Midshipmen.

The Noon Meal Formation is a military formation with pomp and circumstance that leads to a march to the chow hall. You cannot just go to the chow hall to eat – you must do so with a military precession. Fun to watch, but probably not so much so if you are hungry.

The Formation is underway, but not ready to go to lunch just yet.

Bancroft Hall is in the background. That is where all of the Brigade sleep.


After the formation left we were taken around to some of the other interesting spots on the Academy grounds and then left on our own to wander. The grounds are beautiful and, as you would imagine spotless.

The tomb of John Paul Jones

Replica of the first Naval aircraft built by the Wright Brothers

Joseph Bellino and Roger Staubach Heisman Trophies

Later we were back into the Main Street and harbor areas to wander further, have a little to drink and then a nap.

We found a nice Sushi place for dinner, followed by a nightcap and bed.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 45 – Day 50 Gaithersberg to Annapolis, MD

July 24, 2015

Off to Annapolis for two days… This is a short ride from Gaithersburg.

We had reservations at the  Scotlaur Inn B&B, which is over the famous Chick & Ruth's Delly.

Neither Judith nor I had ever been to Annapolis before and when we pulled into the center of the old town section we were pretty amazed at how busy it was.

We could not for the life of us find the B&B, but we knew we were close. We parked and Judith went on a scouting expedition. She returned successfully and we now knew where the B&B was located and why we couldn’t find it. We were looking for the Scotlaur Inn, but the predominate sign is for Chick & Ruth’s.

Turns out that Chick & Ruth’s is a very well known and extremely popular Delly (this is how Chick & Ruth spell Deli, so I will too) – it is a sort of a destination deli. The B&B is lesser known, but nevertheless a popular and quaint old place. The check in process for the B&B is completed in the Delly at the cash register – in between customers paying for their Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and pastrami sandwiches. The Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes are very good by the way.

The Delly has a line to get in from opening to closing everyday. It is super busy. Teddy, the son of Chick & Ruth runs the show in the Delly and the B&B with the precision of a seasoned Navy boatswain's mate supervising the docking of a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier – but no swearing and with a smile.

We had a seat up above all the action. This gives you a little idea of the organized chaos.
Teddy is a very nice guy. He took us to our room to get us settled and even carried some of our bags.

He is a real patriotic guy as well. Every morning at 8:30, Mon – Fri and 9:30 on Sat and Sun, he leads everyone in the Delly in the Pledge of Allegiance. He also has a number of fund raising activities on going for wounded warriors.


The temperature had dropped down to a pleasant low 80’s and there was a nice bar and restaurant next to the Delly with outside seating, so naturally we sat down and had a beer or two and an early dinner. Afterwards, we strolled around Main Street and down to the harbor to look at the big boats and crowds of people having a good time – so were we.