Up at 6:00 AM and riding at 7:00 AM. We were determined to beat the heat. The morning was cool and we were riding east from Del Rio to Eagle Pass. A 60 mile ride right along the border. Little traffic but several Border Patrol trucks parked on knolls along the way. Maybe keeping a lookout for me and Ricardo.
By 11:00 AM we were stopped at a Love's Truck Stop in Encinal watching the thermometer's steady rise to 100. It seems impossible that less than a month ago we were riding in cold rain in British Columbia.
The past six weeks, almost 11,500 miles through Canada and the United States. Through states and provinces too numerous to count. Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah......and of course Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon. And both new and old friends. That is the best thing about adventure riding--the friends we make. And Ricardo! I simply could not do this type of riding without his company and assistance.
Mid afternoon and we pulled into Riviera Beach, back home beginning to plan our next adventure. But tomorrow will be spent cleaning the bikes and performing some much needed maintenance. First I think I should hop on the "Goose" and take a short ride. After all the Goose remains Number One among my rides.
Cuba...Cuba...I really would like to ride Cuba. This will give Ricardo and me something to discuss the next couple of days.
Friday morning Ricardo and I awoke late. The beautiful Martian lady aliens knocked at our door all night. Finally at 9:00 AM we rode out, heading east on Hwy 380. Running at the speed limit of 65 MPH we rode past green fields and pine trees enjoying the cool morning. Suddenly the speed limit jumped to 75 MPH, a 1972 Cadillac convertible sped past us, the temperature quickly jumped to 99 degrees F, the pine trees were replaced by pumpjacks in every direction. We were back in Texas!
Not only back in Texas, but in the midst of the Permian Basin, one of the richest oil and gas fields in the Americas. The sweet smell of crude oil filled the air. Or was that just a feed lot I was smelling? We were back in familiar country.
On down the road, a stop at DQ, and we were approaching San Angelo. San Angelo, the city where I attended a Conway Twitty concert while Conway was still a rock n roll singer. San Angelo, where I frequented the Roundevous Drive In, with carhops in short shorts and on roller skates. Where the carhops legally could serve a cold Lone Star or Jax, maybe even a Falls City or PBR. San Angelo where a 19 year old GI fell in love with Texas.
But tonight our stop was at a Best Western, there would be no carhops in short shorts and instead of a cold Lone Star, I would have a Coke Zero. But some 50 years later, I still have that same love for Texas.
Saturday morning we were off headed south to Sonoro, down Hwy 189 to Juno and to Comstock, Texas. Comstock, a town with a population of 97 people, almost all of Mexican lineage. Comstock, only a hundred or so yards from the Mexican border. Comstock, bordered on the east by Presa Amistad,and on the west by the Sonoran desert. And why Comstock? Simply because the ladies of Comstock were serving fajita plates with strawberry and banana desserts. Why? To raise money to build a fence around the local cemetary.
Then, after lunch, we were headed east on Hwy 90, skirting the border headed to the La Quinta Inn in Del Rio. The Del Rio La Quinta, I know I stay here six or seven times a year. I simply love to ride this part of Texas. Tonight Ricardo and I had smoked ribs and root beer and are back in the Inn watching the Coke Zero 400.
And Sunday? Temperatures will be over 100 Degrees F and Ricardo and I will be riding east to Eagle Pass, Carrizo Springs, on to Encinal, past Freer, Benevides, finally to Kingsville and home to Baffin Bay. We should be home by 4:00 PM.
And today, the odometer reports we have traved 11,200 miles over the past six weeks.
Finally leaving Santa Fe today, Ricardo and I rode southeast. Down through Madrid, over a 14 mile dirt road shortcut with a stop for fuel at Clines Corner---this is a ride that I have done before and I love it! Catching Hwy 285 South, we were fighting the hot dry desert and fierce winds heading to Roswell, New Mexico. The aliens were calling us!
Roswell, known for UFO sightings and aliens roaming the populace! This began with a local rancher's sighting and report of an object that crashed in the general vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico in June or July 1947, allegedly an extra-terrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants. Since the late 1970s the incident has been the subject of intense publicity and interest among conspiracy believers.. The U.S. Government maintains that what was recovered was debris from an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to a classified project program. However, others maintain that an UFO craft was found, its occupants captured, and that the military then engaged in a cover-up. The incident has turned into a UFO phenomenon, making the name Roswell synonymous with UFOs. It ranks as the most publicized and controversial of alleged UFO incidents.
Yes! It is to Roswell that Ricardo and I traveled today. Actually, we also visited Roswell two years ago, Ricardo is a believer! Today he and I visited the UFO museum in the heart of Roswell, Surprisingly, the museum was packed with very nice and seemingly intelligent visitors. A family from Chihauhau, MX, a couple from France and a professor from Portugal,,,and yes, a coffee grower from Costa Rica. It is clear that this city and it's UFO history have international appeal.
Tonight we are staying in Roswell. I hope the aliens let me sleep. Tomorrow we will explore more of southeastern New Mexico and then head for San Angelo, Texas. San Angelo, home of Concho Lake, Nasworthy Lake and Goodfellow AFB. San Angelo, my home for several months some 50 or so years ago.
Ricardo and I spent a quiet 4th here in the Santa Fe area. Breakfast at McDonald's and then on the bikes to visit some of the historical sights near Santa Fe. First a 15 mile run to Tusuque Village, a place I have visited many times over the past thirty years.
Then back on the bikes to visit Chimayo , a village some 30 miles north of Santa Fe and the home El Santuario de Chimayo. El Santuario de Chimayo is a very holy church, visited by thousands of pilgrims each year. Ricardo seemed to love the church and spent some 90 minutes touring the church.
Then back to the Plaza in Santa Fe where we joined hundreds of others to rest, listen to live music and "people watch". It was a quiet but nice Independence Day. Tomorrow norning (Thursday) we plan to head south down the mountains then east towards Roswell and Carlsbad, NM. However, how far we will get is uncertain. Forest fires, some burning thousands of acres, are out of control near Carlsbad. We may have to revise our travel plans. We do expect to be back in west Texas by Friday. Then where?
Ricardo and I spent a quiet 4th here in the Santa Fe area. Breakfast at McDonald's and then on the bikes to visit some of the historical sights near Santa Fe. First a 15 mile run to Tusuque Village, a place I have visited many times over the past thirty years.
Then back on the bikes to visit Chimayo
Ricardo and I arrived in Taos Sunday, slightly after lunch. Quickly checking into Days Inn, the same motel we stayed in two years ago, we were on the "plaza" early. Beautiful surroundings, great cafes, and beautiful people. It was a relaxing afternoon. To bed early, we planned a relaxing ride to Santa Fe Monday.
Up early, packed and on the BMW by 9:00 AM, I hit the starter. Nothing! Not even a click. Now what? It seemed apparent that the switch that makes sure the bike will not start with the sidestand down had malfunctioned. What to do? no BMW shop near and no motorcycle shop open. Luckily, I called Richard Pettit, a long time motorcycle enthusiast who seemed to know a lot about BMW GSs. And my luck continued Richard hopped in his truck and within 30 minutes placed a bypass around the faulty switch and had the BMW starting perfectly.
Ninety minutes later, Ricardo and I arrived in Santa Fe. A stroll around the plaza and then on to dinner. My friends Bonnie and Larry Beall drove up from Albuquerque to join us. A delightful dinner at Zia's Diner and a great time renewing old friendship. The evening was perfect.
Today I awoke feeling under the weather! I have had a badly stopped up ear for five weeks now and today, it was worse. I spent the entire morning sitting on a bench in the plaza while Ricardo walked the historic area. By early afternoon I was able to join my friend in enjoying this, the oldest state capitol in the United States.
And tomorrow, the 4th of July? We are not sure. I suspect we will decide in the morning.
Hot? Miserable! over 100 degrees F much of the day. And Moab, the beauty of the red rock mountains also holds the heat. It was so hot Ricardo and I were dizzy. We tried to keep going but finally gave it up and stopped at a nice Super 8 motel in Cortez, Colorado for the night.
Air conditioning and a warm (cool) shower! Can life get any better.
Tomorrow we are riding at 6:30 AM, hoping to beat the heat. Two hundred sixty miles to Taos, we will try to be there by noon. Two days in Taos and then we are off 75 miles to Santa Fe. I am particularly looking forward to Santa Fe, where we will meet my old friends, Bonnie and Larry Beall. It was with Larry that I first traveled to Alaska over twenty years ago.
Early to bed tonight. The heat has "zonked" me!
Skies clear, no rain but hot! And we were complaining about riding in the cold rain of British Columbia. Little did we know that as soon as we crossed the Washington Cascades into Oregon, it would get hotter. Temperatures in the high nineties and zero humidity. Man it was hot inside my riding jacket, full helmet and riding gloves.
But the high mountain plains of Oregon have their own beauty and Ricardo and I were right in the midst of it. Bikes running good, we set a brisk pace of 70 MPH headed to Boise, Idaho and our hotel for the night. Finally reaching our hotel at 8:00 PM, we settled in for the night. Up early, a nice breakfast and we were on the road by 8:30 AM headed for Salt Lake City.
Hot! At one time Ricardo recorded temperatures of 104 degrees F. But that was in Utah in the midst of the desert (actually in the parking lot of a Wendys where I had stopped for a chocolate Frosty).
Finally reaching Salt Lake City by 4:00 PM, we changed into lighter clothing and were off to City Centre and Morman Temple Square. Two hours spent touring the grandeur and history of this grand Mormon community. I am in awe every time I visit. Tonight I hope to post some photographs that Ricardo and I took this afternoon so you too can marvel at this grandeur.
Saturday morning we are off to Moab and then on down to the "Four Corners". Maybe spending the night in Durango, CO. By Sunday we will be in mystical Taos in the "Land of Enchantment". A couple of days in Taos and two in Santa Fe and all will be right with the world.
Ricardo and I had a fantastic ride down through the beautiful mountains of British Columbia. Leaving Vanderhoof early Monday we rode south through mountain passes, over high peaks and through long tunnels to Spences Creek, BC. Spences Creek, an idyllic mountain village right on the banks of the mighty Frazer River. The Frazer, furious and overfilled with snow melt and rain, runs the length of British Columbia. Perhaps the wildest and most fascinating river that I have seen, certainly a beautiful ride.
Sometimes sunny and warm, sometimes cool, but a great ride.
Then Spences Creek--a great village with a large log pubs with good food. Soon we were able to rent a small rustic cabin right on the river. Two Brits had just arrived on their own adventure. Two experienced riders, in their early sixties. Two smart guys who had flown into Seattle and bought two nice Ninja 500s off of Craigslist. Two guys off across Canada and the United States headed for Boston. But first a stop in Calgary to attend and participate in the Calgary Stampede. Great company by the mighty Frazer.
Up Tuesday, after breakfast with out new friends, we were off over the mountains. Three hours to the United States border, Three hours through beautiful scenery. And the weather? Cold and steady rain. I was miserable!
Finally back in the United States, we made our way to Camano Island, Washington, to the home of two of my long time friends, Julie and Pat Maxwell.
The Maxwells graciously extended their hospitality to Ricardo and me. A welcoming meal of fresh salmon, baked tomatoes, pineapple salad and Washington cherries. A nice place to sleep the night and great conversation! Ricardo and I were in good company.
This morning Pat took us on a tour of the Seattle marketplace. Dungeness crab galore. Two pound lobster tails, and all the salmon one can imagine.
But our visit is near it's end. Tomorrow, Thursday morning, we will be off. Headed east through Washington and then southeasterly through Idaho towards Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, But first a stop in Salt Lake City. Ricardo must see the majesty of the Mormon Tabernacle and the other great sights in Salt Lake City.
And over eight thousand miles!
Ricardo and I arrived in Vanderhoof, BC, tonight at 6:30 PM. Over 1100 miles distant from Whitehorse, Yukon. Eleven hundred miles through pristine forests, over hills and mountains, past literally hundreds of beautiful lakes (all filled with fish), past many moose and black bears..............and much of the time riding in the rain.
Friday afternoon Ricardo's bike was ready by 1:00 PM so we departed for Watson Lake' some 298 miles to the east down the Alaska Highway. Over several areas where workers are quickly making repairs to the washed our parts of the Alaska Highway. Temperatures warm and the skies were clear. By 6:00 PM we were back with Mike at the Air Force Lodge.
Saturday morning we were off down the Cassiar Highway, the road I think is the most beautiful of this adventure. The day started with clear skies and moderate temperatures. Beautiful forests and scores of raging rivers....the occasional moose or black bear and even one "golden retriever bear" ( a species known only by Ricardo). Three hundred sixty miles down the Cassiar, we suddenly decided to detour 40 miles down Hwy 37A to Stewart, BC and on into Hyder, Alaska, USA. A beautiful ride, past glaciers and 10 foot high snow banks. Hyder, the southernmost town in Alaska that one can reach by road. Hyder, only dirt roads, a couple of campgrounds, two restaurants and four bars. Home to less than 100 hardy souls for much of the year but literally hundreds in July when the salmon come up the river to spawn. It is then that bears for miles come to feast on the salmon and tourists flock in to photograph the feeding frenzy.
Hyder, a town known for its racous drinking establishments and drunken debauchery. Hyder, where the welcoming sign urges you to "GET HYDERIZED while in Hyder". A town with no police and no governing body. If you haven't been there, don't go!
Finally departing Hyder this morning at 9:30 AM, we rode back 4 KMs to Stewart, BC, Canada. A quiet and neat small town with at least four nice restaurants. Ricardo and I enjoyed a nice breakfast and then headed south towards Prince George. Rain, wet rain and cold but great roads and nice people. Three hundred seventy milkes down the road and we have stopped at Vanderhoof, BC to dry out and to warm up.
Monday morning, we will head south towards the United States. I am not sure when we will arrive at the border but we plan to be in the San Juan Islands of Washington by Tuesday afternoon.
Six thousand six hundred miles thus far! And today? The most beautiful day one can imagine. Temperature 76 degrees F, Skies very clear. No wind. Now let's pray it stays this way.
Ricardo is at a bike shop having a new rear tire and brakes installed on the Kawasaki. H also found new rear brake pads for the Kawasaki. That means Ricardo will not have to ride 1000 miles over narrow mountain roads with no rear brakes. That will certainly make for a more enjoyable ride..
Hopefully, we will be on the road by lunch. The Air Force Lodge and new found friends, await us in Watson Lake. Then, tomorrow morning we will be off down the Cassier, the most exciting mountain road of this adventure. But the weather reports say we will be riding in rain and 50 degree F weather. I suppose that is all part of the adventure.
Eleven hours ride today from Tok, AK, to Whitehorse, Yukon. The same route we took just nine days ago. But this time it was not as cold, but much wetter. The rains seem to come every afternoon here in the mountains, sometimes light and sometimes ferocious. But in any event we end up totally soaked.
Today Ricardo saw a couple of bear and I saw a lynx (maybe bobcat) and a moose. A couple checking into the hotel were traveling just in front of us and sighted twenty one bears, right beside the road. I must have been paying too much attention to the road--I missed them.
At the Canadian border Ricardo mentioned that his rear tire is slick and his rear brake pads are totally shot. Ouch! Just as we are about to head down the Cassier, 1000 miles of mountainous, narrow, curvy wilderness. So, tonight finds us in Whitehorse searching for a rear tire and brake pads for the Kawasaki. We may find the tire but I doubt we will find the brake pads. One thousand miles with just the front brakes. I am glad it is the kawasaki and not the BMW that I am riding.
Four hundred twelve miles from Cooper Landing to Tok Alaska. Beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes, all along the way. And the occasional caribou and moose crossing right in front of the bike keeps one alert. Several sightings today, a few yesterday. But so far very few bear.
And rain, cold blowing rain. Miserable at times, invigorating at other times. A coffee break at Glenallen and we met a most interesting Austrian couple, then as we got up to leave a dozen or so Dutch campers showed up. We are meeting the most interesting people, all very bright and friendly.
Now we are back in Youngs Motel here in Tok. I will spend the remainder of the evening drying my clothes and boots. Then, to bed. We have to ride early tomorrow. It is about 11 hours to Whitehorse in the Yukon and I suspect we will pass many miles of construction as Canada works to repair the badly damaged Yukon.
Monday morning Ricardo and I headed south 120 miles to Homer, AK, a major fishibg port. But first we visited Soldatno and Ninnilchik, two picturesque fishing villages. A beautiful ride, if a bit cool. Temperatures in the low 50s but mostly clear and even occasionally sunny. Then on the way back we hit rain at Sterling but only for about 15 miles.
Back at the Hutch, Shirley surprised us with a great Italian dinner. She doesn't know it but we may just stay. Sleeping late today, we finally got on our way to Seward about 10:00 AM. Sewardo, only 50 miles away, is a beautiful port city with great restaurants and shopping. Ricardo and I had a great time.
Now we are back at the Hutch and Shirley is grilling fresh sockeyr salmon for dinner. And I know she made a chocolate desert this afternoon. I really hate to leave here. The hospitality has been great!
But the bikes are eager to be back on the trail. Early Wednesday we will depart forTok, some 482 miles through the beautiful forests. Then on to Whitehorse in the Yukon. Friday Night should find us in Watson Lake at the Air Force Inn. Then Saturday morning we will head south down the Cassier Highway through the beautiful British Columbian mountains. Past Jade City, Kitwanga and then on to Hyder Alaska. Not a bad adventure for two old men.
At 6:00 PM Sunday, Ricardo and I arrived at The Hutch Bed and Breakfast here in Cooper Landing, Alaska. This is my third visit to Cooper Landing. The first visit was in about 1988 when I was here fishing with my son, Wayne, and my friend Larry Beall, from Albuquerque. Then, three years ago, when I rode to Peudhoe Bay, I came here to visit my friends Shirley and George. It seemed only right that I bring Ricardo here to meet my friends and to ride the beautiful Kenai Peninsula.
.Saturday morning we rode out of Fairbanks, headed to Denali National Park. A short 119 mile ride in sunny warm weather. And the moose were out. One suddenly strolled out in front of me, causing me to come to a screeching halt. Before the day was over we sighted four moose. Upon arriving at Denali, we checked into The Denali Hotel and by 1:00 PM, I was in bed nursing a stopped up ear and a head cold. But not Ricardo, he was off to tour Denali and to see Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in North America.
Taking a five hour tour Ricardo sighted caribou, moose, bears and mountain goats. Ricardo finally returned to the hotel at 9:00 PM, fully happy with his tour.
Then we were off Sunday morning headed to Cooper Landing and the Kenai Peninsula. But first we stopped in Anchorage and visited with Jeff, the Air Force man that we first met in Virginia last year. Remember, we unexpectedly ran into Jeff while in Watson Lake. Jeff has just assumed new duties at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage. This time we were able to visit with his entire family. And what a great family, Jenny, mother to three year old Jackson and five year old Cheyene. Such a great family. And I have a particular love for Air Force families. And yes, Jeff is a dedicated rider, with both a Harley and a 2007 BMW R1200 Adventure. Now there is a real bike.
Finally arriving at George's and Shirley's Bed and Breakfast (the Hutch 907-595 1270) we were ready to stop for a few days. Monday we plan to visit Soldatno and Homer. Then maybe Sewardo on Tuesday.
Thursday morning Ricardo and I departed Tok in a cold rain. Beautiful and quiet, but wet and cold. Within two hours we were in nice sunny weather, arriving at Delta Junction just in time for a late breakfast. Then back on tne bikes headed for Fairbanks. and suddenly 20 miles out of Fairbanks we arrived at The North Pole, Alaska. Of course we had to stop but Santa and the elves were away in a hidden workshop preparing gifts for Christmas.
Back on the bikes, we were in Fairbanks by 1:00 PM and quickly checked into the same motel where I stayed three years ago. Very convenient, right across from the Harley and BMW dealer.
Up early this morning, we were eager to depart for the Arctic Circle. A beautiful sunny morning and we were on the road by 7:30 AM. Within two hours, we had traveled 90 miles up the Elliott Highway and were on the Dalton Highway, commonly called the Haul Road. another 109 miles up the Haul Road to the Arctic Circle. A winding hilly road through pine forests, past small lakes and across the raging Yukon River.
The Haul Road, mostly packed gravel and the occasional short stretch of broken pavement. numerous stretches where the road is being ripped up and resurfaced (dirt and gravel). Dust! And where the road was not dusty it was wet and often muddy because of the many water trucks spraying water. I suppose the water was to hold the dust down, but maybe it was to see how Ricardo rides on wet dirt.
Arriving at the Arctic Circle at 1:20 PM, we stayed for only 20 minutes for photographs. Then we were off back to Fairbanks. Arrivng back at 6:30 Pm, our first stop was at a car wash to wash the mud off of me and the motorcycles.
Tomorrow we are headed for Denali National Park for Ricardo to take a tour. And me? I think I will take a motorcycle ride.
Sleeping late in Whitehorse, Ricardo and I did not actually leave for the Alaska border until 9:20 AM. The morning was brisk, cool and cloudy. The bikes were eager to run. We were off to Haines Junction and then in to Desperation Bay, the border and finally, Alaska.
The ride was over beautiful terrain, with low lying snow covered mountains and many pristine lakes. Once, while passing a large lake, R icardo spotted a moose and it's young .... A local truck driver said he saw two Grizzly bears walking through an area of wild flowers. I never spotted anything other than the grandeur of the Yukon..Except, at the border Ricardo spotted a Vixen, with roof extended and all set up for the night. Ricardo stopped immediately to talk with the Vixen's owner. Running a BMW diesel engine, the RV was like new.
We did go through six or eight areas of highway construction, but none was particularly bad. There was less than 20 miles total miles of well packed gravel. And the afternoon brought steady cold rain. but, still it was a great ride.
And all afternoon, the lyrics from an ald song by Brewer and Shipley ran through my mind...."One Tok over the line sweet Jesus / One Tok over the line / Sittin' downtown in a railway station / One Tok over the line". I may be the only person who still remembers the lyrics to that vsong. And yes, I know it was really "Toke".
By early evening we were in the small town of Tok, Alaska, where I have stayed twice before. A good dinner at "Fast Eddies" in Tok and we will be to bed early. We should be in Fairbanks Thursday and at the Arctic Circle by Friday.
Yes, the Alaska Highway reopened last night for commercial truck traffic and early this morning for cars and bikes. Ricardo and I were up at 5:00 AM and rode out of Watson Lake at 6:06 AM. The weather was clear but cool, 6 degrees celcius (45 F) as we rode rapidly through the mountains. Snow covered mountains and icy cold alpine lakes. Wild, gleaming and fast moving rivers, it was beautiful. Past several stretches of construction, giving truth to the rumors of several mudslides.
Then about 152 kms up the Alaska Highway, we came to a halt. A flag lady stopping traffic so we could travel over the one lane gravel and dirt stretch where the workmen had worked day and night to erect a temporary passage around the 300 meters of the highway that had been totally washed away. A great repair job, very smooth and holding the water at bay. Someone told me today that this is the first time the road had been closed since 1972.
Ricardo in the lead, running between 115 and 135 kph. Certainly too fast but he was freezing. We stopped for breakfast after one hour and his hands were like ice. I gave him a set of silk glove liners and that helped. Three stops along the way and we were pulling into Whitehorse before noon. Not bad! Maybe crazy but not bad!
And tonight we have a nice room in the River View, a hotel that I have visited twice, maybe three times before. Whitehorse, the capital and only city in the Yukon. a great and friendly town of 26,000. The town even has a street car which I always ride when here.
Tomorrow, 645 kms up the road is the Alaskan border. Hopefully we will be in Tok, Alaska for dinner. And if the weather holds we could be in Fairbanks Thursday.
Yes, today we had a birthday party (see "pictures") for Ricardo. And, yes, he loved it! And our travels? The road repairs lacked structural integrity so the crews are back at work? When can we ride? Who knows?
But this evening we were visited by Darrell Pasloski, Premier of the Yukon. He seemed optimistic but that is the nature of politicians. And later today, a young military man walked up and greeted Ricardo and me. "What are you two doing here?" It was one of our friends from "The Spring Fling", the Morton's BMW Rally Ricardo and I attended in Natural Bridge, VA, one year ago. It is indeed a small world.
Beautiful, sunny, warm--and we are surrounded by great people. This is good because we cannot leave due to the mudslides and washed roads. The town of Watson Lake threw a Chili Dinner for us and showed a most interesting movie. The rumor now is that we may be able to proceed by tomorrow afternoon. No one knows for sure.
And Ricardo and I hope to make it to Whitewater tomorrow evening. Maybe, maybe not! But it has been an adventure. And here at the Air Force Lodge, we are in great company. People like Dave and Sue Dean from New Braunfels, TX; Ron, a 65 year old lawyer from California, Fred from Germany who has been riding around the world for eight years, Tom, a retired Rear Admiral from the USN, Craig Shelton, a Command Sergeant Major in the US Army, and of course my close friend Ricardo who always finds the humor in a situation. What a wonderful group of people with which to spend a week!