Adventure with the Texas Morleys

Accounts of our experiences and adventures

Celebrating Bernices’s 97th

One of the main reasons for our visit to Canada was to celebrate Kathy’s Mother Bernice’s 97th Birthday.

Michelle and Jeff did a wonderful job in hosting a birthday for all the family and many of Bernice’s friends.

Bernice’s 97th Birthday Party, Rosenort, Manitoba, Canada, August 2021

Colleen and Carmen flew in from Calgary, while Morgan, Grant and Cooper drove.

Bernice’s 97th Birthday Party, Rosenort, Manitoba, Canada, August 2021

A Visit in Manitoba

After successfully crossing the Canadian Border at Emerson, we drove the short distance north to stay with Michelle and Jeff in Rosenort, Manitoba. It was great to be able to enjoy visiting with them without having to quarantine.

I helped Jeff to complete the wheat harvesting with his new combine harvester.

Jeff allowed me to drive the combine back to the yard. Definitely the most expensive vehicle I have ever driven!

Driving the Combine
Driving the combine

Visiting the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach

With Michelle, Kathy and I enjoyed visiting the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. Steinbach was one of the first settlements established in Canada by Mennonites emigrating from persecution in Russian Ukraine. The Mennonite Heritage Village is a collection of old buildings, farm equipment and techniques, and other artifacts that celebrate this community.

North to Canada

In late July, Kathy and I travelled north to Canada to celebrate Bernice’s 97th birthday.

We drove north across Texas and Oklahoma to Springfield, Missouri on the first day. We continued north west across Missouri to St. Louis where we enjoyed visiting the Gateway Arch for the first time.

The traffic and road construction south of Chicago was terrible but we eventually made it to Portage, Indiana. Stayed at a very grotty motel so we were glad to leave the next morning. Enjoyed the drive north up through the forest and farmlands of the Michigan Peninsular but it became crowded with tourists. Crossed the Mackinac Bridge to stay two nights in St. Ignace, Michigan.

Kathy had wanted to return to visit Mackinac Island so we took the ferry the next day. It was raining hard when we arrived but it gradually cleared up. We enjoyed a great walk past the fort to Arch Rock and then back round the coast to the main town. The horses, houses and gardens were wonderful but it was all a bit touristy.

Kathy decided she did not need to return to Mackinac Island for another 50 years!

We drive on east across the upper peninsula of Michigan to Duluth, Minnesota where we had the required COVID PCR test to cross the border into Canada. We had decided to stay two nights in Duluth to await the results of the COVID PCR test.

Duluth was an interesting surprise. We enjoyed driving the Skyline Parkway above the city an then visiting the Glenshee Mansion

From Duluth we headed west and then north to the Canadian border at Pembina/Emerson. Our first attempt at crossing the border was unsuccessful as we still did no have the results of the test from Duluth. We stayed another night in Grand Forks, received the results of our tests and successfully crossed into Canada!

Return from Great Falls, MT

Sunday 27th June

I left Great Falls, MT at 4:30am to try and ride as much as possible before the sun came up and the heat made it uncomfortable to ride. However it was quite cool, dropping as low as 42 degF until I was south of Yellowstone when it warmed up into the high 70s.

I rode south on MT 89 to Livingstone and then into Yellowstone at Mammoth Springs. There was only one traffic pile up south of Norris Junction where a Grizzly Bear was walking along the side of the road. I just rode on past the gawking tourists.

Riding through the east side of the Grand Tetons was awesome as always. I left all the Jackson traffic behind as I took US 191 south to Pinedale and on to Rock Springs, WY. I stayed on US 191 through the Flaming Gorge to Vernal, UT.

Grand Tetons, Wyoming, June 2021

After 670 miles in 11 hours, I checked in at the Best Western in Vernal, Utah.

669 mile ride from Great falls to Vernal Utah, June 2021

Monday 28th June

I had a quick breakfast at the motel in Vernal so did not leave until 6:15am. I rode east to Dinosaur, Rangely and then south to join I-70 at Rifle, CO. Rode the slab east to Gelenwood Springs and then south on CO 82 to Aspen. Traffic was awful as I crawled through Aspen,. KBiK again went into the red with the flasshing warning indicator on for at least an hour as we crawled along through the trendy town.

It was great to ride over Independence Pass and enjoy the natural beauty of the awesome scenery.

Started to heat up as I went south through Buena Vista and Salida. As I approached Walsenberg, CO on CO 69 I ran through a heavy rainstorm but stayed dry in my Aerostich Suit and lobster Claw rain gloves.

I-25 took me south to Raton, NM under dark threatening clouds which stayed with me the 70 miles east on US 87 to Clayton, NM

After 556 miles and 10.5 hours, I checked in to the Best Western in Clayton, New Mexico.

Tuesday 29th June

The forecast was for heavy thunderstorms and flash flood alerts across Texas. As I knew I would lose an hour immediately crossing into Texas, I left at 4:30am.

It was a long, boring ride south to Amarillo and then down US287 to Wichita Falls, I-35S through Fort Worth and then onto Waco before taking Hwy 6 to US 290 and home in Houston. Average speed was 76 mph.

It rained on and off all day but even then the temperatures rose into the high 80s. The rain was really bad on the last section of US 290 into Houston from Hempstead. Two accidents slowed me down as I rode past the Grand Parkway.

After 720 miles in 10 hours, I arrived home soggy but safe at 3:15 pm.

2021 BMW MOA Rally, Great Falls, MT

I attended the 2021 BMW MOA Rally in Great Falls, Montana. This was my second MOA Rally after attending the 2019 Rally in Lebanon, TN.

It was good to see the K1600 forum flag up at the canopy setup in the Chartered Club camping area. I was just setting up my tent when Jim Elliot arrived. He and his brother had ridden from Prescott, AZ and Kansas City, KS.

It was great to see old friends and meet some new riders but the rally itself was a disappointment. The location at Great Falls Expo Park was very noisy as it was on the approach to Malstrom Airforce Base and seemed to have railway lines on all sides. The noise of the aircraft, train horns and traffic was considerable, even late into the night.

The camping area was very crowded with tents pitched close together. It would have been intolerable if there had been more attendees. The number of vendors at the exhibition hall was considerably less than 2019 and the food trucks were limited and expensive. I did enjoy the Beerfest but even that was limited as some of the breweries ran out an hour before the event ended.

It was good to visit the famous Great Falls on the Missouri. The dam above the falls reduces to falls but it is easy to imagine how it must have been when first seen by Merriwether Lewis.

I also enjoyed the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Center on the south banks of the Missouri. It is an excellent exhibit of the expedition and the challenges it faced crossing to the Pacific and returning from August 31, 1803, to September 25, 1806.

Lewis and Clark Museum, BMW MOA Rally, Great Falls, Montana, June 2021

We also visited the Charles M Russell Museum and enjoyed seeing some of his paintings and a few of his sculptures. There was more western art by other contemporary and also modern artist which was interesting to see. The Museum also includes a great exhibit on the American Bison.

I left on Sunday 27th June for the three day ride home.

Ride up to Great Falls, MT

At the end of June, I rode up to attend the 2021 BMW MOA Rally in Great Falls, Montana. It is just under 2,000 miles but because we were looking after Flynn and Georgie over the prior weekend I had only three days to do the ride.

This was my planned ride. You can follow my actual ride here.

Monday 21st June.

On June 21st, I left home at 4:45am to try and beat the heat in South Texas.

KBiK packed and ready to ride

It was 80 deg leaving the house so I was worried that it would get hot very quickly as soon as the sun came up. It had obviously rained as I went north past Navasota on Hwy 6 to Waco so it was quite pleasant in the 70s. Riding North on I-35 into Dallas, the sun came out and it heated back up into the mid-80s. Past Decatur on 287 it was overcast again and started raining hard in Wichita Falls so I pulled over to zip up my Aerostich and put on my lobster claw rain mitts.

By the time I reached Amarillo the sun was out again so the rain mitts came off. But the temperature stayed in the mid-60s all the way to the border with New Mexico.

I enjoyed listening to Dan Carlin’s “Supernova in the East” podcast and started listening to Andrew Weir’s new book “Hail Mary”.

After a 10 hour, 712 mile ride, I stayed overnight at a Best Western in Clayton, NM

720 mile ride from Houston to Clayton, New Mexico, June 2021

Tuesday, June 22nd

Made it to Cody, WY after a very long day and 800 miles. Started off at 5.45 am and at 51 deg so I was glad I always carry my Warm n’ Safe gear! Nice view of Capulin Volcano as the sun came up. Did not realize this corner of New Mexico is so high up. Nearly reached 7,000 feet on the pass north of Raton.

Sunrise, Capulin Volcano, New Mexico, June 2021

I-25 was horrible. They closed it south of Colorado Springs becasue of a major accident. I sat or crawled along for over an hour around the diversion that included a dirt road and a one lane low bridge where the tall semis were scrapping their roofs. 89 deg so bike went into the red and flashed for over an hour. We were hot! Traffic through Denver was awful. I am glad I am not going home that way.

Traffic disappeared as I came into Wyoming and it warmed up into the 90s so became a bit uncomfortable. Glad I had my 1 gallon hydration system to keep me reasonably comfortable. Why Wyoming has a 70 mph limit on its two lane roads is ridiculous! 80-85 mph most of the time.

After a 12 hour, 796 mile ride, I stayed overnight at a Best Western in Cody, WY

Chief Joseph and Beartooth tomorrow!

797 mile ride from Clayton to Cody, Wyoming, June 2021

Wednesday, June 23rd

Left Cody at 6:30am after enjoying the Best Western Breakfast. It was in the low 60s and partly overcast. Just a few vehicles going over Chief Joseph Pass plus one small Black Bear that ran across the road 50 yards in front of me.

Almost no traffic over Beartooth Pass but I did pass a slow group of five GSAs before the summit. I was attacked by a swarm of hungry mosquitos while changing batteries on my video cameras. The Montana side was a bit wet at the top after a recent rain shower but the lower section and the ride into Red Lodge was dry.

KBiK at the start of the Beartooth Pass in Wyoming

I enjoyed the ride through the rolling green foothills from Red Lodge to Columbus on MT 78 before heading west on I-90 to Big Timber. US 191 took me north to Harlowton where I took MT 12 west to White Sulphur Springs. I enjoyed MT 89 north to the highway into Great Falls.

400 mile ride from Cody to Great Falls, Montana, June 2021

I’ll enjoy the BMW MOA Rally for the next few days before heading home.

No more Lemoncello!

We enjoyed making a large batch of Lemoncello again this year but unfortunately this was the last batch we’ll be making.

Our Mayer Lemon tree produced a great crop every year it did not survive the “snowmageddon” winter storm that came through Texas in February. It was killed by the frost. Our Orange tree was also severely damaged but the roots seem to have survived. It will take at least five years before we might see any new Oranges.

Birthday in Fredericksburg, TX

Kathy and I enjoyed a mid-week break in Fredericksburg, TX to celebrate my birthday. This was the first time we have been away since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year ago. Now that we are fully vaccinated, we felt more comfortable about traveling even though we followed the other CDC guidelines to wear our masks, and socially distance when in public.

we stayed at the Lodge above the Creek. Although it has changed ownership, we have stayed at this hotel on previous visits to Fredericksburg. On our first day, we enjoyed hiking at Enchanted Rock and a dinner at Otto’s German Bistro which is close to the hotel. On our second day, we visited the National Museum of the Pacific War, walked around the shops on main street, and in the evening had dinner at August E’s.

Kathy and I enjoyed a morning hiking around and up to the top of Enchanted Rock in the State Park north of Fredericksburg. It was a perfect day for hiking, a bit windy but otherwise overcast and cool. The wild flowers were just starting to come out in the park.

2021 Limoncello

So we can all admit for many different reasons 2020 was a bad year, primarily because of a microscopic virus that does not care about how tired we are, but for many other reasons.

So we are no ready to move on. No, not because we have the result of an election, but because we have Lemons!

The harvest from our Lemon and Orange trees is looking good. The fruit is a bit smaller this year. We had a a very hot summer, and I was lazy about fertilizing the trees, but we’ll still be giving away more than a half of what we harvest.

Harvesting our lemons, Houston, Texas, November 2020

This year, our granddaughter, Evie helped with the harvest

Harvesting lemons from our tree, Houston, Texas, November 2020
Harvesting lemons from our tree, Houston, Texas, November 2020
Harvesting lemons from our tree, Houston, Texas, November 2020

About 300 Lemons picked in the first harvest. Now to the Limoncello production

Lemoncello production, Houston, Texas, November 2020

This year we are going to try 95% alcohol!

Lemoncello production, Houston, Texas, November 2020

Zest from 20 lemons for every 1.5 L of Everclear (95% grain alcohol)

Lemoncello production, Houston, Texas, November 2020

80 lemons zested, now time to add the alcohol

Lemoncello production, Houston, Texas, November 2020

We’ll now hide this away for four weeks to allow the lemon zest to infuse the alcohol. Patience!

Juicing the lemons, Houston, Texas, November 2020

But all those lemons don’t go to waste. Peeled and juiced they produce 5 litres of fresh lemon juice.

… but the Lemon tree still has loads of lemons to harvest!

… and we have not started with the Orange tree!

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