The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been published. This time we line up for more ferries, experience early morning beer, get carte blanche while road racing and hang out with King Julien. It’s just part of the German and Dutch experience.
If you’d like to come along for the ride CLICK HERE. If this doesn’t work, cut and paste the following link into your web browser:
We hope you join us!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we find a brain opening, get the bikes serviced, rescue a moto “hostage” and find container ships. You can come along with us by clicking HERE or copying and pasting the below link into your web browser:
We hope you will come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we breach an ancient fortress wall, meet faceless and spicy monks, meet 80 year old woman motorcycle riders and visit an Olde Towne Faire. You can travel with us by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the following link into your web browser.
We hope you come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we leave Lithuania, get a pickle pizza, witness pyromania and find two new friends. You can ride along with us by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting the link below into your web browser:
We hope you come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we are treated like royalty by Polish Ducatisti, watch hundreds of runners take over the streets, order dinner from wooden menus and feel the fall of the Soviet Union in Lithuania. If you would like to join us, click HERE or copy and paste the below link into your web browser:
We hope you decide to come along.
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time, Kim crashes a gate, we get fed from a giant silver bowl, visit Dr. Seuss’s secret home in the Czech Republic and run from a paparazzi hating dog. It all happens as we leave Slovakia and travel through the Czech Republic into Poland. You can travel with us by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting this link into your web browser:
We hope you come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we run into mechanical problems, find the meeting place of Black Bison, inadvertently find Harley Heaven in Slovakia and get free Harley Fuel. If you’d like to ride along, click HERE. If this doesn’t work, cut and paste the below link into your web browser:
We hope you come along for the ride!
The latest Episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time, we ride even more mountains, find a motorcycle in a rotary and check out some ancient Roman ruins and attend a party in town. We’re in Slovenia and it is awesome!!!
Click HERE to join us. If the link does not work, copy and paste the below into your web browser.
Come ride with us for the next part of our journey.
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we endure more broiling heat, find pizza with a sex drive and rumble through the Dolomite mountains. If you’d like to ride along, click HERE or cut and paste the below link into your web browser:
Come along and enjoy the ride!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been published. We ride deeper into France and find thunderstorms, Ancient Villages, lots of wine and road construction. Each had their fun elements… If you’d like to come along, click HERE. Or, you can cut and paste this link into your web browser:
We hope you enjoy the ride with us!
We Attend Class At The Historic Le Mans Circuit Lesarth (24 Hours Of Le Mans) And Hang Out With Chickens
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time, we head out to the historic and famous Le Mans Circuit and check out the museum there. Some amazing history with great exhibits from racing over the years. If you like racing (and even if you don’t) you won’t want to miss this episode. To see what we saw, click HERE.
If this link doesn’t work, cut and paste the below in to your web browser:
We hope you enjoy!!!
The next segment of our Planet Ramble has just been published. This time, we ride to Montreal Canada to drop off the bikes for shipment to Europe. We eventually get there and pick up the bikes. You can catch up by clicking HERE or by copying and pasting the below link into your browser.
We hope you enjoy. There’s much, much to come soon.
We’re getting excited to start Phase 2 of our Planet Ramble. Last year we rode across North America from Vermont, USA to Alaska, USA. For Phase 2 will we be shipping our bikes (both Ducati Scramblers) to London to start a large clockwise circular route. Although subject to change depending what we find and see along the way, we should be traveling through England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France. We’ll return to England and fly back to the USA.
We will be storing the bikes in England until March, 2018 when we’ll return to London and complete counter-clockwise journey through Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Once leaving southern Morocco, we will head north and once back into Europe, head east, ultimately spending some time in Italy, before returning ourselves and bikes to London for return to the US. This part of the journey is exciting and we’ll be posting about what we’ve seen and done as we travel.
Once again, we will have a satellite tracking capability so you can see us in real time as we travel. We’ll post link and additional info soon.
The latest episode of Stage 1A to our Planet Ramble has been posted. We ride into the heart of Maine in darkness, but miss hitting any moose. We end up exploring a state park where I walk on water and we hole up in an “old mill”. The following day we ride in rain and very bright sun. Then, in a very small town, we find relics from America’s 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt and Suffolk, England’s red communications technology.
You can find it by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the link below into your browser.
The latest edition of our Planet Ramble has been posted. Instead of heading south to warmer weather, we do the opposite and head north. We prep two brand new machines for this adventure. Kim rides a Ducati Scrambler and Mike rides a Honda Africa Twin. At the beginning of this portion of our journey, we get lost in Maine, ride in the dark in moose country and head for the Canadian border.
You can find the latest by clicking HERE.
Or you can cut and paste the below link into your browser.
Hope you enjoy our latest!
The latest edition of our Planet Ramble has been posted. Today we ride from Glennallen, and Eagle River Alaska and end up at the airport for our flight home to Vermont. On the way, we pass some amazing glaciers, take the time to smell the flowers, ride great twisty roads and have a special guest send us off.
You can find the latest by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the link below:
Long overdue, here is the latest update to our Planet Ramble. In this post, we travel a lot of miles, riding from Idaho, to the top of British Columbia and ending up in the Canadian Yukon. Along the way, we see some awesome sights along the Icefields Parkway with mountains and glaciers surrounding us. We then continue deeper and further north to Iskut, British Columbia and see the most amazing mirror lake we have ever seen. Ultimately we end up at Watson Lake in the Canadian Yukon and find a Signpost Forest. You don’t want to miss this chapter! Join the ride by clicking HERE or clicking on the link below. Safe travels!!!
Well Kim and I have finally reached what has been our goal for over 40 years. On the 4th of July 2015, we retired from the corporate world. No more suits, no more ties, no more deadlines. After spending decades doing what others wanted us to do, it’s finally our turn to go out and play. I’ve even started the beard that I’ve always wanted.
To mark our new found freedom, we’ve decided to try an around the world journey. For now, we’re just going to do a little shakedown run to ease into the retirement waters. We’re heading north from our home and will take a route that will take us from NH, through VT, Quebec via the Gaspe Peninsula, Labrador via the Trans Labrador Highway, Newfoundland via parts of the Trailway, Nova Scotia and ME.
Then we’ll take some time off to sell our home and many belongings so that we can make our way around the rest of the world.
I’ll be on a 2011 KTM 990 Adventure and Kim will be on a 2013 Suzuki DR650.
Although both have been somewhat farkelized I can’t leave good enough alone. Kim’s DR needs something more to make it worthy. So I’ve added some Barkbusters, a 5 gallon Acerbis tank, a swoopy high mount front fender and relocated her well used windshield lower.
For a detailed ride report with pictures, please click here:
We’ll also have a Spot satellite tracker so you can watch us as we make our way and you can find it here:
We’ll update our ride report with pictures and text constantly, so remember to come back often. Please note that there are multiple pages at this ride report, so click on the page number at the bottom or top of the page as the ride report gets longer (you’ll see a block at the top or bottom of the page that says Page X of Y).
Ride2ADV along with their faithful companion Mr. Cotton will soon be riding the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route (CODBR). From the 4 corners of the US where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah merge all the way to the Wyoming border. There are sure to be lots of exciting gravel roads/trails to ride. We will be posting as we travel so if you want a taste of the Colorado Backcountry Discovery route, be sure to follow the R2ADV site for real-time updates and photos.
We’ll be using a Spot satellite tracker so you can watch us travel read time with position updates every 5 minutes. The map will become active Saturday, June 21, 2014.
With the publication of my first book, Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe: Where To Next? I learned my first lesson about being an author. I quickly learned that I needed to grow a thicker skin. As many of you know, for the first five days of the book’s publication, I offered the electronic version free to everyone who would like a copy. A few hundred copies were downloaded and I eagerly awaited the first review. It took a few days, but the first one appeared from Jennifer H-W “allweathers”
As I started to read, I immediately knew that the review was not a good one. In fact, it was a scathing and deeply venomous one. I’ve inserted the entire review below:
“I feel a little bad about this review because the author comes across as a nice man but he cannot write. It is patently obvious from the beginning that he is totally out of his depth. Painful is the only word I can use, I am still completely perplexed as to why I finished it, I wanted to be fair I guess. What is more, he waxes lyrical throughout about the ‘adventure’ he and the saintly Kim are having on their motor cycle trip through Europe but this is NOT an adventure. This is a high end tourist visit, they stay in the very best of accommodation and eat in high end restaurants and barely experience the true nature of the various places they visit. I got this e-book through Amazon for $0.00…..and that was too expensive.”
My heart sank. Could my book really have been that bad? Prior to its publication, it had been read by a few friends and each of them said that they had enjoyed it. So how could several people pre-read the book, and when published, generate such a negative and personal review?
My initial feeling was one of hurt. I had spent much time and effort writing the book and it had taken a significant part of my life. The next feeling was anger, particularly when the commentator personally ridiculed Kim. She doesn’t know Kim and the personal verbal attack was way out-of-bounds. In closing the commentator felt it important to state that the price of the free book was too expensive.
After reading the comment, I spent a couple of days being quite down. I felt like the review was inaccurate, as well as personal assault on Kim and me. I wasted a fair amount of time dwelling on the topic but then it dawned on me. I was indeed wasting my time worrying about the first review.
I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion and this person was entitled to hers. But as I re-read the review, I could see that she was writing not about the book, but about herself. She seemed like a jealous, angry person who was attempting to prove their worth to the reading community. But in leaving a review such as the one she left, she made it clear that she hadn’t really comprehended the book and was more intent in leaving a negative review than in providing the community with a helpful summary.
Some of her stated facts were wrong “they stay in the very best of accommodations” is an incorrect statement as we spent several nights places that were far from the very best. For example, our night outside of Rodez in a third floor, 6 X 8 un-air-conditioned 90 degree room with music blaring until 2:00 AM was certainly not the very best of accommodation. But it certainly was a safe place to lay our heads for the evening.
Accordingly, what I took from this part of her review was that my story telling attempts to relay the best about the particular person, place or thing had been accomplished. She apparently keyed on these descriptions and transposed her dislike of these good things. In her mind, clearly you can not have an adventure if you are not feeling pain or discomfort. Suddenly she seemed to be a very sad person.
Her verbal attack on Kim, referring to her as “saintly” once again seemed to point to her sadness. To take the time to distinctly single out Kim as “saintly” seemed to me to indicate that someone special was missing from her life and her lashing out was an indication of jealousy.
It also seemed she knew that she was going to be over the top with her review and felt it necessary to point out that she was trying to be fair. Her words were. “Painful is the only word I can use, I am still completely perplexed as to why I finished it, I wanted to be fair I guess.” If she really wanted to be fair, she would have been factual and left out the barbs. But no, she felt it important to include them to prove her own superiority. Sorry Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers”, writing a “review” and filling it with personal barbs does not make you a superior commentator, it just makes you seem lonely and angry.
Lastly, she felt it important enough to indicate, “I got this e-book through Amazon for $0.00…..and that was too expensive.” Well Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers”, I am sorry that you apparently feel that way, and that you spent $0.00 for the book. That was the lowest price I could offer. Now that you’ve read Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe: Where To Next? you will not have to endure such misery again.
In closing, I sincerely wish Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers” a happier and less angry life. I also want to thank you for teaching me a lesson. Going forward I promise to have a thicker skin, and take each review for its true worth.
Forgive me everyone, but I’ve got to tell it like it is and at the same time make a confession. Each month I receive several opportunities to take a brief vacation from the day to day grind. This short diversion arrives in the form of bound and stapled glossy paper, complete with photos delivered come rain, snow or gloom of night by the United States Postal Service. Yes, each month I am filled with the anticipation of the arrival of a pile of freshly printed motorcycle magazines. Like a kid waiting for his/her once a year present from a distant family member, the anticipation builds with each passing week until the next edition of the magazine arrives.
First days, then weeks, pass and suddenly it happens. With a rattling stop of a blue and white beat up right side drive delivery truck and the squeak of the mailbox door, the excitement is repeated. Upon the opening of the mailbox door, smooth glossy paper and sexy bright colors assault my senses and stimulate my mind. It’s like a paper version of the anticipation of an overnight date with that supermodel you’ve been dreaming about for years.
You quickly glance at the cover and there she is. That new bike you’ve been lusting after, wrapped in silky paint and sporting voluptuous curves. It’s a feast for your eyes and food for your motorcycle soul. That cover photo freshly seared into the frontal lobe of your brain, you can’t wait to open the magazine and get to know her even better.
But then it happens. You open to the page where your dream girl is supposed to be waiting. There’s another picture, not quite as large and glossy as the cover, but still sufficient to send another rush of adrenaline surging through you. You gaze upon her and she seems hotter and more exciting than ever.
Your eyes move from the glossy photo to the accompanying text. It can’t be, no it can’t be! Beside the glossy photo and smaller randomly placed and tilted snapshots are a couple of captions and two little paragraphs of text. To make things even worse, most of the text comes straight out of the manufacturers brochure!
Where’s the review? Where are the opinions, the comparisons and the road test? Where is the evaluation and the conclusion on how good or bad she is? There’s nothing; nothing at all for your brain. This can’t be! So close and yet so far, they’ve pulled a fast one on me. They’ve pulled a bait and switch and I’ve fallen for it hook line and sinker. Again!
Motorcycle magazine publishers, I’ve long been an admirer. You’ve been like family to me, at times bringing me closer and tighter into the fold. But I can’t deal with the continuing heartache. Propelled to a zenith by a big glossy cover photo of excitement and suddenly, unceremoniously dropped from the heavens into the pits of hell by the lack of data and the failure to opine. I can’t put up with this forever.
Please, please don’t torture me any more. Your loyal readers and I are getting restless. We understand that publishing is a business, and that you have to sell magazines. But you do your readers and yourselves a huge disservice when you print little more than a photo and a byline just to sell a couple more copies.
Leave the ill-gotten sales to the other guys and you’ll gain the respect and loyalty of a bonded community. Take the easy way out, and you’ll alienate us from your pages. Sorry to come across so hard, but when you care about something, we’re driven to tell you like it is and let you know that there’s a problem to be fixed. So step it up folks, there’s a line of faithful readers lining up by the door… and it’s not the entrance.
So what do you think?
When morning came, we were in no rush to get out of bed. We both knew that our little adventure would end today. All we had to do was to ride back to Barcelona and drop off the bikes. Much of the riding would be on larger and more traveled roads, particularly as we got closer to Barcelona. Neither of us rushed to get ready for the day, it was like without saying anything to each other, we were both trying to avoid the inevitable. Our wandering adventure would soon be over.
“It’s almost over Kim. I can’t believe we’ve used up two weeks already. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been traveling two weeks, but I know we have. Soon we’ll be back to the grind, doing our workday things and dreaming of another adventure. I can’t wait until the next one.”, I said sullenly.
Kim, as always was more upbeat than me. “We’ll be on another adventure soon, don’t worry. We’ve ridden all over the world so far and there’s nothing stopping us from doing another adventure. Don’t feel bad, we’ll be riding somewhere else in the world in no time.”
I paused and thought for a while.
“Thank you Princess, you always make me feel wonderful. You are so positive about everything, you always encourage me to look at the bright side. I love you so much.”
I don’t know what was getting into me, but it seemed each day on this trip, I loved Kim more and more. I thought I couldn’t love her any more, but each day on this trip, the depths of my love for her became deeper and more vast. I didn’t know how she did it, but she made me feel more in love with each day that passed. I had to ask myself, “How lucky could a man get? To be able to ride all over the world with someone who shared your love for out of the way places and have that travel be accomplished on a motorcycle.
I had to break myself out of my thoughts and get us onto the road. We had a light casual breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant and made arrangements to have our bikes freed from the hotel’s garage. Fifteen minutes later, we met the hotel receptionist in front of the garage and she opened the doors for us. It didn’t take us long to load up the bikes and we were quickly underway for the last time on this adventure.
The ride back to Barcelona was very quiet over the communicators. Neither of us said much of anything to each other. I think we were both lost in our thoughts about where we’d been and what we’d seen.
As we rode, I was truly re-living our wandering adventure of Europe. Even with an open visor, I barely heard the wind noise as it rushed through my helmet. We’d been to new places and met new people. The bikes had faithfully carried us wherever we’d asked them to never skipping a beat. They hadn’t only been our transportation, they’d been our partners on this journey. They’d introduced us to new places and even new people as the locals often came to us to chat about the bikes.
The miles melted away as we rode and before we knew it, we were approaching Barcelona. But we wouldn’t arrive without one last adventure. Less than an hour outside Barcelona, the winds began to rise. They were not insignificant and they were not steady. Heavy gusts pelted us from various directions, causing the bikes to shimmy and weave. The problem for Kim was worse for Kim since she only had a little over her 100 body holding her bike in place. Even with my 200 pounds on the bike, it was moving considerably.
It was actually better to have our speed up to make maximum use of the gyroscopic effect of the wheels to stabilize the bikes. On a different trip, we’d ridden though the Chile and Argentina and faced the Patagonian winds on our way to Ushuaia. Those winds were far more intense, but they were constant and on barely traveled gravel roads. Here we were in four lanes of traffic with wind battering us from all directions.
But we soldiered on and soon found ourselves on the outskirts of Barcelona. Now the traffic was heavy and we trundled along in the right two lanes. As a sort of last challenge, we rode across a long high bridge. Totally out in the open, we got the maximum impact of the winds.
The winds blew from all points of the compass. In fact it blew so strongly that my head was involuntarily shaken left to right by the swirling wind. This was getting a bit intense. We knew that we did not have much farther to go and pointed ourselves towards the center of the city. The closer we got, the weaker the winds became. Finally, we were able to relax and enjoy the end of the ride.
We exited the highway, and quickly found the hotel. We pulled up onto the sidewalk and parked the bikes. I slowly got off the bike and pulled off my helmet. I walked over to Kim. As soon as she had her helmet off, I gave her a gigantic hug.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. What a wonderful ride.” was all I could muster. “Thank you for coming along with me. It’s been a wonderful ride.” Kim just smiled at me and I could see that she was getting a little emotional. Truth be told so was I. We hugged again and started to unload the bikes.
As I unloaded my bike, I looked at Mr. Cotton. He was still there, none the worse for wear. He wore the same smile and accumulation of stubbly beard. His left hand still had its homemade hook fastened with tie wraps. He’d lost his first hook somewhere in Patagonia (but that’s another story) and he had gotten a new one while we slept. He stared back at me as if to say, “That’s it? We’re done already?”
We’d carried all we needed for the two week wandering of Europe, and now it was time to bring it back home. Arms filled, we walked into the hotel with our gear and checked in for the last time.
After freshening up, we decided to grab a quick dinner in the hotel, pack our gear into our luggage and turn in early. We had to return the bikes early the following morning so we could catch our flight back home.
When morning came, we put on our helmets and rode the short distance to where we had rented the bikes. As I got off, I looked at Mr. Cotton. He was still there, none the worse for wear. He stared back at me as if to say, “That’s it? We’re done already?”
I looked back at him, grabbed my little wire cutters and freed him from his place on my handlebars. “Yes, we’re done for now Mr. Cotton, but we’re going to have many more adventures until you retire. So you should rest up because this was an easy trip. I know you yearn to be back on the gravel roads of the world and I’ll make sure that you have more adventures in more remote places next time. I wouldn’t want you to jump ship like you did at that other cold place.”
I stuffed Mr. Cotton in my pocket and went inside to complete the final paperwork on the bikes. Our hosts were very accommodating and had us underway in no time. As we walked back to the hotel, our wandering adventure was truly over. But as I told Mr. Cotton, there were many more places to go and ride.
All we had to do was to figure out; where to next?
Over the years, things in my life have changed; a lot. I’d like to think that as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned quite a bit, hopefully become somewhat wiser, experienced life’s ups and downs and generally lived the life that I wanted, to the fullest. However, what is important to me now may not have been so important to me years ago and vice versa.
This came to me a little while ago as I passed through a small space where we keep the bikes and much of our motorcycle gear. A part of the garage that we lovingly call “The Shrine”. While there, I was hit with a revelation (pun intended) of sorts that over the years, perhaps my motorcycle helmets said something about me. For some reason that resides deep in my subconscious, I’ve kept almost all of my motorcycle helmets as well as many of Kim’s. Seeing them all sitting there lined up on the shelf, they spoke to me. You’ve changed, you’ve abandoned us!
They may be right. What was the single most important thing to me when I was younger was high speed performance. My fear of death or injury was practically nil. I can recall pavement escapades that today seem like insanity. Nowadays, high speed performance is not nearly as important to me. I now know when I fall off, it takes longer to heal and it really hurts! My focus is more on the ride itself and what happens during it, than going from point A to B as quickly as possible. Pavement riding, once the sole realm of my motorcycle riding is now secondary, and riding the gravel or woods is what really burns in me.
So as I stared at the helmets on the shelf, they spoke to me without speaking. Sleek, solid black Simpson Bandits in different versions cloaked with dark visors reminiscent of Darth Vader glared back at me. Several Arai RX series helmets adorned with factory racer replica colors practically screamed high RPM. The ones with the deep scratches from falling off during the years that I was competing in road racing told a story of excitement and falls. Then there were the helmets painted to my specs based upon my somewhat bizarre sense of humor; including one with an attached 18″ black braid of hair which contrasted with my bald head. Finally there were the visor-less dirt bike helmets and helmets designed specifically for adventure riding.
As I stared at them, I think they had a story to tell. They told me that my life had changed and my priorities were different. Perhaps they also reflected the importance I’ve assigned to taking things as they come instead of trying to catch a glimpse of life fueled with adrenalin at warp speed.
So do our helmets say something about us, or was that shrine driven revelation merely a dream?
Oh, yeah; one other thing. My current helmet is a fluorescent “Don’t Run Me Over” yellow. What does that say?
Ride2Adventure – Shrink the planet one ride at a time.
I couldn’t have captured the essence of motorcycling any better. The end of the video just reaches to my soul.