2300 safe miles. Enjoyed riding with another Shadow ACE Tourer. Joined
Dave Fisher on Monday, July 19 at I 30 exit 46. We made great time taking i
30 to Little Rock, then 67 north past Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge, Corning to
Poplar Bluff. Then 60 across to Cairo, Illinois. We stopped at Defiance
Park at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, then camped a few
miles down the MIss. at Columbus-Belmont State Park on the KY side. Dave had
never been to KY. Well he can't say that now.
Columbus-Belmont is the site of a Civil War fort. It occupied a high
bluff which afforded an excellent view of the river in both directions. A
section of the mile long chain which stretched across the M. River at that
point to catch union boats was worth seeing. Each link was about a foot long
and weighed 15 lbs. The chain was supported by rafts. Very effective.
Tuesday we meandered from Cairo through Paducah on Hwy 60. At Smithland,
we stopped at Buzzard's Roost at the confluence of the Cumberland and Ohio
Rivers watched the river and talked with the same two guys I met at the same
spot last year. At Marion, we turned north on Hwy 91 toward Illinois. We
took the Ferry provided by the states of Illinois and Kentucky across the
Ohio R. into Illinois. While crossing, we took pictures of Cave In Rock.
This was a famous cave located after a bend in the river where pirates robbed
boats going downriver. The cave was featured in the movie, "How The West Was
Won". Pirates robbed farmers going from the Ohio Valley to New Orleans to
The day was wearing on so we jumped onto I 64 and headed for Louisville
to have dinner with Franklin and Gail Wechsler. We were warmly welcomed and
ate like kings. After 3 years, Frank and Gail finally met a Roadhouse member
in person. Frank and Gail, thank you. We wore the evening away talking
bikes and solving the world's problems thankful for a roof to keep the rain
off our backs. (Frank, the hotel room was great and a very convenient spot
for a hearty breakfast.)
Wednesday, we had an easy 200 mile jaunt from Lousville to Marysville,
Ohio, about 20 miles northwest of Columbus. Just as we entered Marysville,
it started to sprinkle. Well, I thought, we're just 10 minutes away from the
factory. Surely we can make it. We didn't. 1 mile before the plant, the
clouds burst. We found shelter under an overpass, but we were already
drenched. A half hour wait brought blue sky. Of course, when we got to the
registration parking area, everybody else was in a rain suit. Not us. Oh
The "Camp Free" signs weren't up, but I knew where to find it. Last year
I used up all my camping money on a hotel to get out of the rain my second
night out and followed a "camp free" sign to the home of Russ and Doris
Watson. Russ and Dori live a scant 2 miles from the motorcycle factory and
Russ works 10 miles away at the East Liberty Homda automobile factory in the
new paint department. They met some Honda Homecomers two years ago, opened
their yard to anyone who wanted to camp last year, and repeated it this year.
I counted 15 tents and one motor home and one porta-potty provided by our
hosts. Russ and Dori are the kind of people you meet and feel like you've
known them all your life. You feel that way because Dori runs to you the
first time she meets you, gives you a hug, feeds you and acts like she's
known you all her life. She gets a charge out of anybody following her signs
and finding her house. "Another camper!!!!!!!!" Dave kept asking me, "Where
do you find these people?" "I jsut follow signs and know the Roadhouse."
We set up our tents and visited inside and ate a meal of cold cuts,
potato chips, potato salad and soda provided by our hosts. Every body who
was here last year brought somebody else with them this year. About twice as
many as last year. Still we're only talking 25 campers, but reminded us
that's that's how Sturgis got started. 13 guys met there because it was
convenient for a few days of riding in the Black Hills. They enjoyed it so
much they came back the next year and brought friends. Through the family
room window I also got to see my tent endure the next storm. The wind blew
fiercely, bent my fiberglass poles, but the tent stayed up, and everything
was dry inside when I tucked in for the night. But before we called it a
night, we all had to work on the sign project, "Camp Free" with an arrow
pointing to the next turn.
Thursday found us taking advantage of the showers at the Honda fitness
center. I signed up to demo ride a Helix and Magna. The Helix was a kick.
If you think this is some wimpy motorcycle that take an hour to get up to 70,
you're wrong. I easily kept up with the leader's Nighthawk. Great first
bike. I kept trying to pull a nonexistent clutch lever. Loved the digital
dash. And how about that trunk. It was also pretty cool being in front of a
bunch of sport bikes who were not allowed to pass me. They grouped similar
bikes together for each demo. The Helix didn't fit the Wing/Valkyrie group.
It didn't fit in the cruiser group. So what's left? Sport bikes.
The Magna demo was a power trip. Instant throttle. Great brakes. Sport
bike power and handling in a cruiser set up. Hey isn't that what the Polaris
Victory is supposed to be? If you wanted to make the Magna your all day
bike, you'd probably want a different seat. This one would be good for 50
On Friday, we got our free breakfast for HRCA members in downtown
Marysville and then headed 60 miles out to the Anna Engine plant. I was a
little disappointed to find out they only make Civic and GoldWing/Valkyrie
engines, but it was still interesting. All other engines are imported.
The big event of the day was the pig roast provided by the Watsons for
all campers. 110 lbs of pork roast. This time, a basket was passed to take
up a donation for our hosts. They can't keep doing this or they will go
broke. Guests of honor were Charles Keller and other staff from the HRCA.
Look for pictures in Red Rider.
The Light Parade was fun, but it's theh kind fo thing that wears on your
clutch. I bailed out of the parade close to the end and headed for the
laundromat. Closed. Closed. Closed. All three of them. I got back to
camp just in time for another storm. Watching lightning through your tent is
pretty awesome. But again, my tent stayed dry where it counted.
Saturday we participated in the 'Ride for Kids", fundraiser for the
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The 75 mile ride took us around Columbus
to the new A.M.A. headquarters and motorcycle museum. $103,571 raised for
this charity. Participatin included a box lunch and free admission to the
museum. You've got to see Daimler's first attempt at a motorcycle. A wooden
frame held an engine that generated 1/2 horsepower. That's probably why the
outrigger training wheels were needed. Very interesting and bizarre. How
far the motorcycle has come!!!
The closing banquet with the drawing for some prizes and the Valkyrie
Interstate was well attended. The tents were set up on the infield of the
test track. One major glitch was the drink line. 16 food lines and two
drink lines? Somebody goofed. First aid brought in water. We were
entertained while we ate by the classic rock tunes of Phil Dirt and the
Dozers. And after some undeserving soul won the motorcycle, Dave and I left
with about 10,000 other disappointeds.
We jumped on our bikes, set a course for home and got as far as
Indianapolis before calling it a night. Sunday, we slogged 700 miles through
heat. by midafternoon, we were only making 50 miles between stops because of the heat.
We needed water. But during this whole time, not one glitch from a
motorcycle. Dave returned home with 25,000 on the clock and i came back with
17,400 showing. Both bikes still running like Hondas should.
Oh yeah, as I promised before I lefrt, I wuz kind to all God's creatures,
except those durn insects.
Roadkill Rich _I__---\
Texarkana, AR O+++O
'98 Shadow ACE Tour (Jade/Ivory)
Sun above me, Shadow around me, Roadkill beneath me.