One of the best drives or rides can be found in South West Colorado. So as I sit here on a chilly December day and homebound for the Christmas Holiday I reminisce of this drive to the ghost town of ANIMAS FORKS. Just outside Silverton., Colorado. Easy drive or ride; but as stated in this blog before, I wouldn't do it in anything other then a 4x4 because you will need the clearence as the road can be rough in many places. Photos below don't realy show how rough it can be.
Above is the William Duncan House. The finest home built in Animas.
The season now is over this year. The passes are closed by the snow. Next Summer, if you can, plan a trip to Durango, Colorado and ride the train. Drive up to Silverton and go see Animas Forks Ghost Town. There are many more sights to see - Drive up and over Ophir Pass and have lunch in Telluride. Drive the "Million Dollar Highway" If you have "big ones" try Black Bear Pass and so many more!
See You Down The Road
The Nor'Easter hit us around 8AM this morning. We will see about 5 inches of snow. Earliest snow in years.
Here are a few of past "snow play". Even though I don't ski anymore. I still love Winter; although not thrilled with shoveling the driveway and stuff - do like to play in the snow!
Above Top: Amish sunrise Above: Rockford Plantation, Lancaster, PA
In and around Durango, Colorado
Left: His Eminance the Cardinal Right: Claudia Cardinal
Fire and Snow:
I have ridden BMW's for years - 42 years. As a reader of this blog you have known this. If new to the blog, you can see a few of the many rides from my first, BMW a 1976 R90s to this current ride. R90S was a sweet and fast ride. Saw many "centuries" on sections of Highway One riding up to Carmel from San Luis Obispo. Then went on to other Bemers. All fun. The best though was my R1200GS. Bought that in 2007. It went everywhere slabs at high speed to crawling in the dirt. Few years later hung the FREEDOM SIDECAR on it. Spent many days out in Silverton, Durango, Ouray. Colorado. In my opinion some of the best riding anywhere! Both slabing the Million Dollar Hwy to the trails of the "outback".
Have sat in the saddle for well over 300,000 miles.
Collected a few "IRON BUTT" certs. Lots of off rode too.
Riding the "new" BMW R1200GS in Death Valley and Alabama Hills, off Hwy 395 - one of my favorite places. Also have done a couple of Jim Hyde's RAWHYDE ADVENTURES. If you get the chance, Jim does a fabulous job; and the food is almost gourmet!
Above: More photos of Jim Hyde ride in Death Valley.
Ride dirt and you will go down; but hey, put a sidecar on and you won't!
Sold the 12 GS due to an unanticpated problem and needed some quick cash. Recovered two years later and bought the Indian and hung the HANNIGAN sidecar on it. No more off road with this "PRINCESS OF THE PAVEMENT" but is a wonderful ride and looks great at fine hotels and dinning!
OVERLAND EXPO is a great event. Been there three times with the 12GS and the 4Runner. It is held twice a year in Flagstaff, AZ and in Ashville, NC. Great to attend and see the rigs and hone your skills in off road driving or riding. The vendors offer up everything you could possibly want for your rig or for camping.
So here it is a week before the judging at OVERLAND EXPO and I have to ride down for the judging. Planning on it; however we are dealing with a family medical issue that may not allow me to attend. Hope to be able to go. Just think it a hoot to take the "Princess" and win an off road event! Hey, adventure comes in many forms. You don't always have to be in the dust or the rain or the snow in the outback. Sleeping on the hard ground and eating beans. An adventure can also be seeking out the fine hotels and resturants and finding out just what is Foie Gras, or Escargot!
| || |
WWII Statistics Army Aircorps.
"Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations.
But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.
In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England .. In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe .
Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed.. The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas..
On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded. Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned. More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.
US manpower made up the deficit. The AAF's peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.
The losses were huge---but so were production totals. From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China and Russia. In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined. And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.
However, our enemies took massive losses. Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month. And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours. The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.
Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.
The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s. The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.
A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type. Many had fewer than five hours. Some had one hour.
With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat. The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a throttle. Go fly "em." When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition.
The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, "You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.
A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die." He was not alone.
Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft. Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade: of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941.
All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school..
In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat. The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours.
Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139. All were Allison powered.
Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive. The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively-- a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate was less than 2.
The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons.. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.
The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion. Only ten percent had overseas experience. Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month "safety pause" rather than declare a "stand down", let alone grounding.
The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.
Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators.
The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War. And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone. Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel --- a stirring tribute to the AAF's educational establishments
Cadet To Colonel:
It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders. That was the record of John D Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941. He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 2 in P-40s. He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group --- at age 24.
As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions.
By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training. At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.
At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.
Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.
The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.
Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq .
But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless."
See You Down The Road
"Once upon a time there were three bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was a little, small, wee bear; one was a middle-sized bear, and the other was a great, huge bear."
Ok, not the same but let us look here and now and Goldilocks is searching for an RV; to venture into the woods. How far into the woods depends largely on the size of the RV and the capibilities. For instance to go deep into the woods, or desert, you need a 4x4 and not to high so as to clear overhangs. Another is to tow something to get you into the woods while the RV is left at a base camp. For years this is what I did
In the early days as a child we camped all over the West. Those were the days! Often touring in a 1957 Chevy Nomad - new at the time. Father had a big and heavy canvas tent. Sometimes we would just go hunting and shooting trips,; mostly to Bear Mountain in Tehachapi about two hours East of Los Angles. Sleep under thes stars and wake to the aroma of Italian sausage and scrambled egges grilling over a wood fire. Thanks Dad, those were the best of days!
Like Goldilocks, you have to sample all the possibilities of RVs out there. And boy are there a bunch!
Recently was at what is billed as the largest RV show in the Country; it may be too. Over 1,500 on display. From the small to the "estate" on wheels.
My solution since 2016 was to buy a Toyota 4 Runner and turn it into an RV. Video below:
Now two years later and feeling the effects of aging; once again looking at perhaps buying an RV. This time, should I do it, would be a Class C with slide outs. Still tow the motorcycle. Of course one must weigh the reality of RV ownership. In the case of the above, with a purchase price somewhere north of $115,000.00 you can buy many a night in 5 Star hotels!
Have fun and do your research, Rv's range from Tear Drop trailers and the small "Adventure " trailers to multi-million dollar Class As.
At some point - Roof
RVs will give you the freedom to roam. It will also cost you in depreciation.
Goldilocks has some thinkin' to do. Stay home and venture out once in awhile, or buy an RV.
See You Down The Road
This past weekend and the weekend before. Great rides and then rain. All good. Love the Indian and the 4Runner.
If you have young children or grand children then Thomas the Tank is a familiar face. Although there are other "Thomas's" around; I believe the one located in Strasburg, PA is the only "live steam". Should you find yourself close to Lancaster County, PA, do take a ride on Thomas, or one of the other trains.
While there don't miss the wonderful Train Museum too.
Since 1880 Liederkranz, a German singing society and cultural club, has celebrated the German Heritage. Always a good time when there, and been there several times. Great Food. Great "Volk". Great Music!
Early Saturday, rode out on the bike. Encounted just a few rain drops. The sky was threatening so left about 3:30. What a shock to try to return about 6PM. The moderate attendence in the afternoon had exploded to well over 3,000! No place to park and in the overflow parking the bus line was way to long for this cowboy. I'll return Sunday. And did.
Below are the sights and sounds of the Munich Oktoberfest. Enjoy!
Wir sehen uns auf der Strasse - See You Down The Road
| || |
The good folks at POLARIS/INDIAN comped me to the race with VIP credentials that gave me access to the pits, but I didn't have access to the restricted areas where the best photo opportuninty was. I did my best.
Put me up in a nice hotel. Only five miles from the track. Very comfortable with kitchen, living room and king bed.
walkable without issue, however trying to get to the edge to shoot required a muddy sticky trek.
Walking was like having ten pound ankle weights. Should have had "muck boots". Who knew? Definitely not a Louboutin or Ferragamo day - save these for a F1 race, perhaps Monaco!
See You Down The Road
Following are some of the adventures in the West over the years; by motorcycle, RV and 4Runner.
Fine hotels and sleeping under the stars. Great memories of my life in the Wild and Open West. The majestic Rockies and Sierras. The deserts. Miles upon miles of open travel with hardly a structure in sight! Unlike the East where it is dificult to escape mans footprint.
Drove the Alcan. Hint, drive/ride one way and take the Alaska Ferry Inside Passage one way. Either by car, RV, or motorcycle however you do it - go West. Motorcycles alone have logged well over 300,000 miles in the saddle. I do love the West. Perhaps I will find my way back to live out there again.
Been living in the Mid-Atlantic for fifteen years and can't tell you much of the rides in the East. Moved here because my son got orders to USNA. Have been to AMERICADE a couple of times. Seen the beautiful Fall Colors in New York, Vermont, New Hapshrie and the Blue Ridge. Maybe later this month will return. May drive the northern half of the Blue Ridge too. We will see. I have become rather satisfied at home with Lynn and the fuzzes. Do miss my cats when gone. Yes, dear, miss you too.
Custer and the Badlands of South Dakota.
Wherever you are: "Go West Young Man" Just avoid the cities. Wonder the outback. Occassionally ride a train or shoot the Snake RIver in a raft or kayak! Go horseback riding on a packtrip. Throw yourself off a mountain - LIVE life while you can and are healty. Don't get old and wish you had done stuff! Now at 72, still in pursuit of the next adventure.
Now "New" Horizons and the new Ride
SIDECAR. Sweet ride! Sad to give up the off road capabilities of the BMW R12; but this will be a great scoot to the fine hotels and dinning. After all think I am done with sleeping on the cold hard ground and eating beans over a campfire....maybe. Still have the 4Runner for the "outback" and for camping.
Again as a reader you have seen in the previous posts that there were issues with both the Indain and with Hannigan Motorsports. All was made good. Kudos to Dave Hannigan and the fine folks at Polaris
There have been many trips here in the East. In the next post we can explore some and introduce you to places you may wish to go; be it by motorcycle, car or RV. Come back to this blog and enjoy the rides!
Oh and if you wish to purchase one of the photos here in the blog. please see them in the blog store or find them at my photography website: http://www.karlhjohnsonphotography.com.
Purchases help buy gas and cat food. Thanks for your patronage.
See You Down The Road
Unfortunately I did not take into consideration the dates of travel - July 4th weekend. Lodging was not a problem, traffic was not a problem; but I was under orders to be home not later then the 3rd!
Maggie Valley and the riding in the area is wonderful. If you are into the twisties continue through town and pop up and over the mountain to Cherokee. Be advised this is somewhat trecherous and often there are acciedents. Still a fun ride. Below is a video of the Chambers site. You can see lots of activities in the area no matter the season.
Lots of motels in the area. I choose a delightful one on the south of the town, JOHNATHAN CREEK INN & VILLAS Very pleasent. My upstairs room had a private deck and view of the creek. Do to the temperature still a bit warm and humid - it was raining. I did not leave the door open at the back of the room. Had I, could have had a lulliby of the creek to put me to sleep.
Unfortueate that I had the restraints of time and the weather. This would be a great place to stay.
After the ride relax on the deck.
Oh, I should mention the INN has a box of cleaning rags to wipe down your bike.
At the left is the TUSCAN OMELETTE, Italian Sausage, Chesse, Mushrooms, Red and Green Peppers and their special Hashbrowns - Chesse and Onion. That and a good cup of coffee I was ready to take on The Blue Ridge Parkway.
Oh, but if you have the time to drive another "must do" is the ALCAN HIGHWAY. If you d this I would recommend drive it one direction and take the ALASKAN INSIDE PASSAGE the other.
But back to this ride. I have done Northern part of The Blue Ridge and was looking forward to this section; however the weather was not to coopororate. Most of the ride was in light rain or low clouds. Still a great ride.
So, as of this writting all the problems with Indian and Hannigan have been addressed. Both have
stepped up and are, or will shortly fix the issues. My love for the rig is slowing returning
See You Down The Road
Indian. Always been a BMW rider. I guess in honor of my father, who rode Indians back in the 1920's; thought I'd give one a try.
Next morning picked the bike up at around 7AM and hit the road for a trip back via the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was the worst week for a road trip due to extreme heat and humidity.
Was I in for a surprise! The photo at left is the morning departure forecast. I was at the 106 degree area.
There was no BANG or BOOM - NOTHING! In the middle of the road the bike just stopped! Dead!
Guess you can say it was a monumental WTF moment. Wouldn't start.
I pushed it to the side of the road. At about 8:00 in the morning it was already HOT the HUMIDITY
stiffling! It was to get worse. After trying to assess the problem to no avail. I called Indian Roadside Assistance. The cell phone connection was sketchy; but was able to make contact. Was told they would try to find a tow truck; had to be a roll off since it was a sidecar rig.
There are good people in the world. Just so happened a lady that lived in the area was driving by and was kind to stop when I flagged her. At this point I was already feeling the effects of the heat. Indeed
the beginning stage of Heat Exhautstion was setting in. She turned around and went back to her home
and within several minutes returned with chilled bottles of water and let me sit in her car - air conditioning! I honestly think if it was not for her, I may have had a medical issue due to the exposure to the heat and the humidity. Thank you Deb for your kindness!
I waited for "Indian Roadside Assistance" to get back to me and found out through my own searching for a tow truck that a company named S&S Towing had indeed been contacted BUT Indian was shopping his rate! Leaving me to sweat in the heat! I told S&S that I'd pay for the tow. POLARIS/INDIAN a four billion dollar company and they are shopping to save a couple of bucks! Really?! Hey Polaris - I could have died out there! Five long hours later the tow truck arrived and $350.00 later was dropped at JPM PERORMANCE POWERSPORTS in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I had called these folks with updated arrival time and they assured me they would stay open to fix the problem. What a great company! Thank you!
Unbelievable the problem that left me stranded in the heat and humidity was due to a known problem
and yet Indian did nothing to elert the owners/dealers of the issue. The part was the Volt Regulator.
As of this writing POLARIS INDIAN has yet to assume responsibility! They are passing the buck to Hannigan. This inexcusable! The FAILURE IS AN INDIAN ISSUE! If they don't step up and do what is right, well guess will have to litigate.
The honorable company is HANNIGAN. In a conversation with Dave Haningan he has taken complete responsibility for the damages suffered while in their shop. It is unfortunate that there were issues, but they are making it right. Life (ride) goes on.
I was so tired and worn out, only got down the road about eight miles from JPM. Checked into a hotel around 6PM. Took a cold shower and crashed. To beat the heat of the next day, left at 2:38 AM CST.
See You Down The Road
this Blog by making
any size donation.
Thank you for your
Vist the E Store
4 Runner. Watch the video below.
Plans in the E Store