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Kirkland, WA – August 19, 2018

Yesterday, Sunday, is registration/tech/orientation day. The hotel parking lot is filled with the last arrivals and is buzzing with activity. Friends getting back together for the first time in years. Newbies introducing themselves. The tension is starting to rise.

Jerry gives a welcoming drivers’ meeting. Peter Schneider gives a novice class in the fundamentals of rally. Better late than never. Why would you get some experience before starting a 5,000 mile/10 day rally. I didn’t.

Finally everything is loaded, tightened, oiled, secured and packed. Munchies and snacks are bought at Whole Foods across the street. For the ones that refuse to be extorted by WF/Amazon, there’s an EarthFare next door.

The last parts and spares bought from the O’Reilly’s next to the Cafe. The parts and spares won’t be the ones that the teams will need. That’s not how the rally gods work. But there is an air of completion. Everyone is “prepared.”

Then the last dinner at Cafe Veloce. Tomorrow, the circus moves on.


I’ve been way behind on posting and I promise to catch up. But, in the interim, there are new pictures on the Gallery pages. Click on the Photos/Videos link at the top of the home page.

Later dudes and dudettes,


Today, another long slog. Get on I-90 and stay on I-90. (The route is I-90 to I-405 in Seattle.) The goal tonight is Ken Maynard’s place in Anaconda, MT with an ETA of early evening. The route is South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Like I said, a long slog.

Leave Rapid City and stop in Sturgis, famous for its annual, mid-summer motorcycle rally which fortunately ended last weekend. Back in the day, the rally was a group up of hardcore Harley riders. But over the years, the rally has morphed into an aging boomer Harley group up more like the winter Daytona Bike Fest than a hardcore biker rally. Now, you’re more likely to see an RV hauling a trailer with a chromed-up bio-diesel HD three-wheeler than a tricked out Softtail.

There are a few stragglers, probably those waiting to get bailed out after excessive festivities the previous week, but the town is empty. I stop in a liquor store to get a bottle of Balvenie single malt as a thank you gift for Ken in Anaconda where I’m planning on spending the night. Back on the road. Continue Reading »

It’s overcast, mid-America gray, and raining slightly. Which is good. I would rather overcast days for the boring slogs across the continent. There’s not much to see and driving for 10 to 12 hours per day through the heat and glare of the plains summer really wears me out. Even rain is okay – in moderation that is. A good ole summer gully washer is definitely on the no-no list.

Things go fine until I get closer to Omaha when the occasional shower turns into a serious gully washer. The good news is there isn’t much traffic and the road is 3 and 4 lanes wide. The bad news is most of the traffic is 18 wheelers and the spray that they kick up. Continue Reading »

When you click on the satellite tracker icon  on the top of the blog page, the Inreach tracker screen loads and shows just a mass of location points for trips going back years. In order to de-clutter the screen, turn on filters by clicking on them Filters button and then clicking on the date range dropdown as shown below:

You can use a starting date of August 14, 2018 to see just this trip.




No matter how many times I do this and how many different routes I try, this drive west is still boring. Today, the route is down I-85 to I-26 to I-40 in Asheville. Stay on I-40 to Nashville and then turn right onto I-24 to work up to I-70. Then west to St. Louis.

The Gateway Arch on the horizon and a new, gleaming cable stay bridge over the Mississippi. Plenty of time to admire both of them since traffic is moving very slowly, if moving at all. Otherwise, a boring drive though the rain just after St. Louis is a nice attempt at excitement. I knew I shouldn’t have washed the truck.

After 850 miles, I’ve had enough. There are the usual clutch of hotel billboards for exit 148. I pull off at exit 148, the Ozarkland exit. Don’t ask. I have no idea.

Two truck stops, 4 hotels, a Denny’s and Ozarkland, in the state that brought us Branson, Missouri. But there’s fuel, a not-terrible Caesar salad at Denny’s and a bed. It’s been a long day. Three more long driving days to Kirkland.


The truck is loaded. Bags packed. Couple of last details, like this post, to do before I leave.

Tomorrow AM @ oh-dark-30, I leave in Big Red for Seattle, Kirkland actually, and the start of the Alcan 5000 on Monday the 20th. It’s just a hair over 2,800 miles to Kirkland and it shouldn’t be a problem to do it in 4 days. I have to be there by Saturday so I’ll have a day in hand by leaving tomorrow.

It’s going to be a busy month. The Alcan ends on Tuesday, the 28th in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have a race in Sebring, Florida on Sep 1st so I’m flying out of Fairbanks on the 29th and meeting with the co-owner of my racecar, Ken Maynard, in Tampa on the 30th. Continue Reading »

Cold and overcast again. This is getting to be the standard in Pennsylvania. Moving by 7:00. Drab but at least there’s no traffic.

The rain starts in Virginia about halfway down I-81. The Saturday traffic just makes a miserable day worse. The drive is boring and there are the usual weekend drivers parked in the left lane. (What is the hold up with “Drive Right” traffic laws, anyway?)

I’m ready for this adventure to be over. I generally hate the drive home from these drives. There’s some point where my mind clicks and I go from “driving the adventure” to “driving the trek home.” The switch is probably caused by just being tired. But when it happens, I can’t get home soon enough. The sooner this ends, the better.

Down through Virginia. Then down I-77 through North Carolina. Across the border into South Carolina. Off the Interstate. Up the driveway. Shutdown the truck. Turn off the radios.

It’s been a long, fast trip. A total of 5,993 miles in 15 days. Of those 15 days, 3 of them were non-driving days waiting for the truck to be repaired in Happy Valley/Goose Bay. Doinfg the math, that works out to 500 miles per day, +/-, in 12 days. Not bad but not terribly fast. Probably just right.


We’re up and gone by 7:30. Stop for fuel and then stop at a Timmy’s for breakfast. We’re on the way home. The adventure is over. (We hope.)

The Rabbit 2.0 crew are headed for the airport in Quebec City so than Mark F can fly home to Toronto. Marc G is headed back to Sherbrooke and then down into the States via I-91 in Vermont. I’m headed onto Montreal to enter the States and head south via Canada 15 and I-87, the Northway. Time for goodbyes.

It’s been great traveling with M,M, Jeremiah and Rabbit 2.0. Rabbit 2.0 broke through the ice on Happy Valley/Goose Bay’s only ice road. Big Red Truck took a three day break in Happy Valley/Goose Bay. But, all in all, a pretty good adventure. The winter trek across the Trans Labrador Highway has been a success. Continue Reading »

Last night, it was clear, cold and windy. Pretty good (but pricey) dinner at the Two Seasons Inn where we are staying. An early night.

I was up at 4 AM and checked the weather which was forecasted to be snowy, cold and windy, the remnants of the storm that has pounded Ontario and Quebec. No snow yet.

Up at six and the snow has finally arrived. We’re planning to do the last 350 miles of the Trans Labrador Highway today and we’ll be driving north of the low that is bringing the snow and conditions should improve as we head west and then south. Continue Reading »

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