Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wisconsin to South Dakota

Straight after visiting Indiana, I make my way up to Wisconsin.  I found a place online that has my favorite tires, and lucky that they specialize in custom design KTM parts!

I just went there for my tires as they are not available in Indiana. You know I've always had issues with my side stand, and Craig from CJ Designs http://www.cjdesignsllc.com/LC8parts.html has created an adjustable side stand for his 950 that might just do the trick for mine too.

 Good looking, isn't it?

Craig thought I should give his KTM 950 Adventure a try, it's so BIG and heavy!! Noooooo.. I feel better not to destroy his creation today..and stick to my little one. ;-)

A most interesting day, where I managed that night to spill the slightest amount of beer on my new laptop.  It spazzed out and died, that quick. I bought it in Indiana, but I took it to the shop in Wisconsin to see what I can do to fix it.  They immediately tell me that liquid spillage is not covered under warranty or insurance.  I totally understand, but I still need to get it fixed regardless.  The guys goes out the back room and returns and says they are going to send it away and fix it for free..!  What?  I can't believe it, but the guy looks at me and says, "this computer is only 7 days old".. I know. I was gutted and embarrassed, but so lucky to meet this guy.

So, bigger longer story short, I went back down to Indiana only a few hours away, got my old computer to travel with while the new one is sent away for a couple weeks.  And then make a b-line to South Dakota to try to get back on schedule.

I was totally diggin' that cloud! I watched it for the remainder of the day.. seems so out of place! Never really moved, just stretched.  I must study meteorology, have always wanted to..

First most interesting stop was the Badlands..  I had no idea there was a place in America with that name.  What's the story, why that name? Is it safe to go there??

This is what I eventually learn from Wikipedia:

A badlands (also badland) is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often difficult to navigate by foot. Badlands often have a spectacular color display that alternates from dark black/blue coal stria to bright clays to red scoria.

I'm in the land of the prairie dog!!  Local residents..rodents..I want to shake their little hands!

Nobody around, I spot another local..

He seems friendly enough, but still chooses to make a little more distance between us.. don't jump!

My Badlands National Park campsite and my continuously failing Nemo Morpho tent!


From the Badlands I move on to a camp outside Custer State Park.. where along the way,  I spot this!

Mt. Rushmore

I just realized George Washington and I could be related... we have the same nose! ;-)

I heard a rumor that Sturgis is on this weekend, right up the road from my camp. Didn't plan to be here for that, but since it's happening, might as well check out one of the largest bike meetings on the planet!

I met this fun couple at the wolf camp I was staying, Killer and Dee, who invited me to come and tour around the event with them.

Excuse me, Ma'am.. what is that you're ridin'?

I had to stare at that sign for a while.. was thinking, no colors?  Does that mean you can only wear black in this bar?   Until somebody explains to me that colors is slang for "gang" wear, which seems to cause trouble, shooting and killings at past Sturgis events... okey dokey then!

He calls himself "Snuff Man"... here from Germany

There's a BMW here! 

Here's the board in a bar so you can mark where you came from.. Adelaide was looking pretty healthy, I was surprised!

So, tell us how you really feel...!!

My favorite side stand..

My bike is down there if you can spot it.

These guys did.. who seem to have known a bit about my trip..and gave me a huge congratulations once I got to the bike, I was embarrassed and surprised ;-)

After riding around a large part of this planet, I finally find where I belong!!!

I'm home!
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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Welcome to Indiana!!

Who'da thought many years ago when I moved from Indiana to South Australia, that I would actually ride all the way back on a motorcycle!!??  I sure didn't!!!

Wasn't even a blip on my radar..  Now that I have, it will probably be something I will remember in to my old age... ha!

The last few months have been go go go..  so much riding, so many great countries, so many people.. so many goals to meet. I have absolutely loved it!!

But I can tell you I'm darn tired.  Ready for a break.. a break from trying to find a place to sleep at night.. a chance to wear something different (and be able to wash it anytime I want), play with nieces and nephews, not have to ride a motorcycle for a few days, but drive on four wheels, replace gear, get gear I have been wishing for (so much easier to do these things when you know your way around to the shops and don't have to ask and get lost all day in a foreign language!)

One of the first things that hits me when coming back into the United States, is a trip to the grocery store.  Where you have an ENTIRE AISLE dedicated to the "chip".

And another ENTIRE AISLE dedicated to "cola".

It's just a clear definition of American culture.. While in Italy, they had an entire aisle dedicated to pasta!  (and not the sauce, very little pasta sauce can be bought in Italy, you make it yourself!)

While in some eastern countries, they have entire aisles dedicated to beer and vodka, something you won't see in an American grocery store.. We're all different, that's for sure.

I quite liked the Italian "wine aisle".. easy to buy wine at $2 per litre, which was cheaper than coke! And healthier if not too much intake.. ;-)

It's summertime in Indiana and good to be home with family and friends.. my first trip home without my Dad being around...

Here's a little run-down of the family..

My sister Kim and her dog George are very happy!

My niece Julia is also.. happy!

Nephew Jack and his puppy..

My brother Joe and daughter Molley

Nephew Sam..

Nephew Joey.. (who I think is channeling James Dean today.. another Indiana native!)

Daryn, my brother's wife.

It's.... Summer time!!!

And friends!

The arrival of Clare, my good friend from Adelaide!

It will be quite an American experience for her here in the Midwest!  Very cool to come so far out of her way to visit...

My wonderful sponsor Pasi from Innotesco and Rukka have sent me a brand new complete riding suit!!  After wearing the first one every single day for the last 15 months, I feel honored they wanted to get me updated and looking sprucey!  Thanks a million Rukka!!!  http://www.innotesco.com.au/ in Australia and New Zealand.  www.rukka.com for the rest of the world. ;-)

Clare was handy as photographer as we take some photos of the new gear in a pretend professional photo session.. love love love my Rukka gear ;-))

We all went to my favorite place on the planet.. the Exotic Feline Rescue Center!

This is Joey, one kitty cat I helped raise a few years ago.. she is such a good girl..

with lots of gossip and love to catch up on..

 Herman tells Joey to move over, he wants to visit.. much to her disapproval..

Herman wins.. she moves and he contently lays down for his baby boy attention.. which I'm happy to give..

This is a painting another friend from Adelaide, Marie did for me of these guys when they were babies..  not in the painting is Joey who was on my leg.. Herman is the baby boy who always wants to be close, even now!  And Sumara sucking on my finger..

 I spy... two little eyes!

And Stephen McCloud, signing his new book for me.  Amazing photographer and book with photos and stories about all our resident cats.. Have a look and order one at www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org  I guarantee you will love it!  I hate it when I sound like such a saleswoman.. but honestly, every person I've ever shown his books to have oooed and ahhhhed, loving the cats..

Joe Taft, Founder and Director

That boy needs a talkin' to!!

Jean Herrberg..Assistant Director  Huge job, lots to do when looking after more than 230 big cats!!  and still has time for me! ;-)

Even lions are tree huggers...

Lauren, Jasmine and King

Today a new enclosure is finished and we are here to witness the lucky release of Leopald into his new home!

You know I love showing off these cats.. but I must mention that to have so many cats here is not a good thing.. They've all been rescued from wrong situations... illegal breeders, abusive owners, etc.  We have some horrendous stories of abuse to these animals before they were rescued.. you can read some of them at www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org

They shouldn't be living in peoples homes across America in the first place if you want my opinion.  There are more large cats living in America than in the wild.  There are countless cats still in peoples basements or far too small cages with concrete and gravel.. used as prop's in a nightclub or being bred for parts to the Asian market..(why does a culture with such a massive overflowing population need aphrodisiacs in the first place!  I'm getting myself in trouble here, but had to say it..)  I always feel honored to volunteer my time and money to Joe and Jean and their huge undertaking of giving so many cats loving homes, large enclosures and plenty to eat.. they are truly the lucky cats to end up here..  EFRC has to turn away far more too many requests to take on more cats every day. I hope America wakes up and puts a stop to the madness of not only these exotic cats, but all exotic animals that don't belong in your neighbors basement!!  'Nuf said...  sorry....

Clare prepares to go.. we all enjoyed so much having our true "Aussie" in the house!  What a treat!

Last but not least, Steve.. good friend and accountant, came by to see the bike.. keeping my American taxes and details in line! God knows I couldn't!

And Brandon.. who's fault it is that I started riding a Harley many years ago in America.. haven't seen him in that long, so he was a bit shocked I was back in Indiana via my alternate motorcycle.. ha!

So this is my Indiana family and friends post.. ! And a great goal to meet that "sort of" marks my 1/2 way around the world... Not to mention the many milkshakes I managed during my time here.. I can certainly vouch that there is no other country that makes a better milkshake!

Lots of great home cooked meals by my family... a very very full three weeks.  I'm exhausted!! There was no rest about it as much as I was needing one.. This was more fun, I can do that later.. ;-)