Yes indeed Bob, it's been too long!
The album (https://goo.gl/photos/GRwQMzJemz6cYC3N7
) has been updated with new photos which I'll annotate.
I arrived here in SF Friday evening, after a pleasant ride from Winnemucca, NV. The trip over the Sierras was beautiful, as was my first sight of Lake Tahoe. I did see someone going the other way on an airhead hack--was it Snowbum? Hard to say, but there aren't many airhead hacks anywhere!
The ride to Winnemucca, NV from Salt Lake City (more precisely Park City), UT was uneventful and had its fair share of beauty. Both of those rides were about 6h of actual riding--which I've learned will take me 8h or so.
The ride from Cheyenne, WY to Park City was my longest day by a wide margin. Google had it at about 10.5h of riding. I went south to Longmont, CO and picked up 34 over the Rockies. 34 hits about 12,000 feet elevation, but you won't notice the power difference because you'll be going 20mph behind a string of RVs for hours! Even on a Wednesday! However, 34 is striking and the snow came right up to the edge of the road. Even coming out of the mountains and picking up 40 towards Salt lake is quite beautiful. I arrived in Park City around 10:30pm, unfortunately an hour or so after dark--that last hour on 40 was pretty nerve-wracking because of the deer. I spied three live ones and one dead one by the side of the road. And one skunk!
The day before I started in Longmont, CO and ended in Cheyenne--not a long drive. But I did stop and see the helpful, friendly folks at Euromotoelectrics. I discussed my intermittent, unbalanced power loss at speed and ended up buying a new pair of plug wires as well as an uprated charging system. Since fully disassembling and cleaning the carbs it hasn't recurred, but having the full replacement system along makes me feel much better about the SF-> Boston trip, should I decide to make it.
Rewinding to Monday, I went Santa Fe --> Longmont, CO. Santa Fe was nice, but obviously well-touristed in the way that many nice, old city centers are: the city center is no longer really a city center, and it's easy to tell because all the shops sell nothing but kitschy tourist goods and the like. Southern Colorado was unexpected and very cool--good Mexican food and very big plains.
Before Santa Fe I stopped in Grulla National Wildlife reserve to camp (I didn't camp much, but this place was in the right location--and also in the middle of nowhere). The reserve was beautiful and has as its centerpiece a salt lake that, when it has water, is important for migrating birds. I was on a small rise in the land, and could see for miles in every direction; I was alone.
I have been using a hammock tent, and there aren't any trees in Grulla. Hmmmm...well, I found a stout steel fence that served okay. However, that evening thunderstorms rolled in (pretty bad ones!). I could see lightning strikes not too far off, so during the night (maybe 3am) I left my little shelter for lower ground and waited it out (recall I was camped on the highest piece of land around and tied to a metal fence!).
Abilene, TX to Grulla was pretty in parts but the real spectacular vistas were to come. Austin to Abilene was highlighted by a stop in Llano, TX which has a lovely old courthouse. The highlight in Austin, aside from seeing an old friend, was a ride with our own Matt Chapter! Thanks again for taking the time Matt, it was a blast. You can't really avoid the twisties back East if you're on secondary roads, but out West, well--avoiding twisties is easy! My back tire now has a pronounced flat spot.
The drive from Virginia to Tennessee along Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway was pretty sublime, and from a riding perspective probably my favorite stretch. It's nice and long and beautiful and fun.
I'll try to add some commentary to the photos this evening so they all fit together better! I'll also try to post a map of the route. I've been doing a lot more sleeping than usual, and all the aches and pains still haven't subsided. Two and a half weeks on the road will do that to you, I guess. I'm certainly getting both wheels and tires balanced and checked for concentricity before another long ride. Any reduction in buzz is worth it!