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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Michigan to Indiana


Finally, the perfect weather shows up. Unfortunately, it is just as we are leaving Michigan. Overall, this has been a pretty disappointing trip. We missed 3 planned days of riding in Milwaukee due to the threat of thunderstorms, and, the days we have ridden have been filled with rain, wind, clouds or all three. But today, the sun is shining, the air is cool and there is virtually no wind. Perfect.

We head west out of Traverse City, then south, down the east shore of Lake Michigan. We tried to stay off the big highways as much as possible and remain on the tree-lined, scenic roads that hug the shoreline. There were a few delays from road construction, but nothing too crazy. All-in-all, it was a pleasant day of riding through Michigan and into Indiana. There was a noticeable drop in road quality as soon as we crossed the Indiana border. The highway turned from silky smooth to a pothole ridden mess.

We arrived at the Valparaiso Hampton Inn & Suites about 6:00pm. We had not eaten all day, so after we checked in, we immediately rode to King Gyro for dinner before unloading the trailer. King Gyro is a local landmark Greek restaurant that I had read about on Tripadvisor. I had the Gyro plate and Rickee had the fried Perch. Both were excellent! This is a great stop if you ever find yourself in Valparaiso.

Tomorrow is a long day for us, 425 miles from Valparaiso to Jefferson City, MO.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mackinac Island


The weather Gods have not been with us much on this trip. Today's 115 mile ride to Macinaw City was cold, rainy and windy. Of course, the rain comes at a point where there is nowhere to pull off the road and "gear up" with our rain gear. And, to make matters worse, I learn that my grip heaters and seat heaters are not working. Thank you MAXIM Honda! I recently had a hand control unit swapped out on warranty and apparently something did not got re-connected. So, my hands were freezing.

We arrived at the Sheppler's Ferry dock around 10am and took the ferry over to the island. The ferry ride is only about 15 minutes and they run every half hour. When we arrived on the island, the weather was still windy, cool and cloudy. Some people were running around in shorts, obviously expecting warmer weather. The island is very "touristy" with tons of shops and restaurants. There is a fudge shop every 20 feet or so. Apparently, fudge is a big thing here. Ice cream too. Even on a cold (for us) day like today, people are eating ice cream.

We stopped for lunch at Chuckwagon, a local burger joint. The hamburgers were as good as we had been told. This place is definitely worth a visit for lunch. After lunch, we bought tickets for an island tour via horse drawn carriage. There are no cars or vehicles allowed on the island, so everywhere you look are horses, carriages or bicycles. The island tour is pricey at $22 per person, but it is one of those things you have to do. It might have been a stroke of luck that we visited on a cool, breezy day. I can only imagine the horse smell on a hot, humid day with no wind. The island tour takes about an hour and a half and was interesting. We have done so many tours all around the world that I get bored very quickly. However, our tour guide was very clever and funny and did an excellent job.

After the tour, we walked through town one last time before boarding the ferry back to the mainland. The weather was no better when we got back to the bike. My leather gloves were still wet and cold from the ride up from Traverse City. Of course, I had left my larger, warmer Olympia gloves back at the hotel in the trailer. So, we made a stop at a Bass Pro Shops to look for a pair of gloves. All they had were fleece-lined mittens for $45! In my desperation, I bought a pair and we mounted up for the cool, windy ride "home". Fortunately, it was not raining, just cold and windy. In fact, if it had not been windy, the temperature would have been pleasant.

Our route back to Traverse City took us through the Tunnel of Trees (M119). This was probably the nicest stretch of road on the entire trip so far. The narrow, winding road is nearly covered by a canopy of trees for close to 20 miles. We arrived back at Cambria Suites at around 7:30pm, opened a bottle of our Michigan wine and reflected on a crazy day of riding.

Tomorrow we will ride down the east shore of Lake Michigan to Valparaiso, Indiana as we begin our trip back to Texas.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leelanau Peninsula


Our original plan was to ride to Macinaw City this morning and take the ferry over to the island. However, with strong thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon, we decided to go with Plan B. Instead, we head west to Leelanau and the larger of the two peninsulas. Our first stop was at McDonalds so that Rickee could get her biscuit and Dr. Pepper. Just down the road, I pulled into an Ace Hardware to get a can of Plasti-Dip. This is basically like a liquid rubber used primarily for putting a rubber coating on tools, like pliers' handles. I plan to use it on the metal hooks on the bike cover to keep them from damaging the paint.

OK, with biscuits and hardware behind us, we ride west until we reach M22 North. We ride in and out of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Even though the roads are not filled with twists and turns, the amazing foliage, huge trees and lack of traffic make for a relaxing and beautiful ride. We pass by dozens of amazing lakefront homes and properties, many of which are up for sale. Apparently, the recession has taken its toll here. No signs of recovery. Much of the economy here depends on the evil rich people that many want to tax into oblivion. Most of these are second or third "summer" homes, and the state of Michigan has decided to levy property taxes of 18% to 20% on non-homestead properties. The result? A lot of homes up for sale and few buyers. If it were not for the tax, we might even consider a summer home someplace like this.

We make an early stop at Good Harbor Vineyards to check out their Riesling. We enjoy a nice conversation with the lady working there who recommends a couple of other stops for us in Leland. We purchase a bottle and continue our journey north. The landscape is filled with farmland and groves of cherry trees. We can already see signs of the coming cherry festival next week when 500,000 people will pack this area.

We ride all the way to the very tip of the peninsula where there is a lighthouse. However, we stop short of going into the state park to actually see the lighthouse. After all, it is more about the ride today than the destination. We make a u-turn and head south down M201 and ride down the east side of the peninsula. We make a stop at Leelanau Cellars, our last winery stop, and do another quick tasting. We buy a bottle of their Riesling and continue on to Traverse City. By the time we get back, it is lunch time and we are getting hungry. I make the executive decision to find a local Chinese restaurant that I read about on the Internet. We end up at China Fair in Airport Way road. Big mistake. The food was average, at best.

After lunch it is obvious that rain is on the way. We head back to Cambria Suites to drop off our wine purchases and check on the weather. We decide that instead of riding in the rain, we will cover the bike and walk over to an adjacent museum to check out the Body Human exhibit. Rickee has been wanting to see this for over a year and now is a perfect opportunity. We spend a couple of hours walking through the exhibits which consist of plasticized human bodies that have been dissected so that every muscle and organ is visible.

Tomorrow our goal is Macinaw Island. Pray for good weather!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Old Mission Peninsula

A group of ladies asks me to take their picture

Once again we were blessed with beautiful weather this morning. After unhooking the trailer and securing it to a bike rack at the hotel, we mounted up and headed north to ride the Old Mission Peninsula. From the Cambria Suites to the lighthouse is only 19.4 miles, but there are a dozen or more local wineries along the way. Our first stop was at Peninsula Cellars where, after a tasting, we purchased 2 bottles of their medium-dry Riesling. Rieslings are our favorite wines and Michigan wineries tend to specialize in this sweet, white variety.

After Peninsula Cellars, we rode a couple of miles north to Grand Traverse Cellars and acquired a bottle of their late harvest Riesling. We visited a couple of additional wineries before proceeding to the end of the peninsula where we had the opportunity to check out the Old Mission Lighthouse. The local historical society happened to be hosting some exhibits during our visit, so there were historians and musicians on hand to explain the significance of the lighthouse. This apparently a popular destination as many people were occupying the beach and swimming in the lake. If you are riding in the Traverse City area, you should make the short ride up the peninsula.

Lunchtime was bearing down on us so we rode about 5 miles south of the lighthouse to The Peninsula Grill. The restaurant had been recommended to us by a Harley rider we met while getting gas in town. As it turns out, he lives on the peninsula, so we figured he should know. I ordered the BBQ ribs and Rickee had a Summer Salad. Both were very good. After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to the Peninsula Market to pick up a few snacks to enjoy with our wine later that evening. With the saddlebags bursting from the snacks and wine, we decided to ride back to the hotel, drop everything in the room, and get the wine chillin'.

This afternoon, after unloading the bike, we decided to ride to downtown Traverse City and have a look around. We found a good parking spot and walked up and down the downtown main street. The downtown area is packed with all kinds of interesting shops and restaurants. One shop specialized in everything 'cherry', one of the main products of the area. Everything from cherry BBQ sauce to cherry flavored beer. Our favorite shop was one specializing in olive oils and balsamic vinegars. They had dozens of different infused oils and balsamics. We will definitely be ordering from their online store.

Everywhere we go it seems that people are curious about our bright yellow hi-viz Olympia jackets. They are always a conversation starter. At least three people stopped us to ask us about the jackets and the conversation always turns to motorcycles and riding.

So far we are really enjoying our stay in Michigan. The scenery is amazing and Traverse City seems to be a good place to base out of.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lake Michigan Circle Tour


The weather this morning was spectacular! Finally, the clouds and wind are gone. The sun is shining and it is a cool, but comfortable 60 degrees when we pull out of the parking lot of Country Inn and Suites in Marinette, WI. After filling up with gas and airing up the trailer tires, we head north on US 41. Since Marinette sits right on the border with Michigan, we literally crossed the state line within minutes. Soon, we were riding on M35, part of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour road.

Today we rode just over 300 miles from the Northwest side of Lake Michigan to the Northeast side of the lake. Its a BIG lake! The first couple of hours were very peaceful with only a few other vehicles encountered along the way. After we got to the "top" of the lake, traffic began to pick up. We saw a lot of other riders along the way and we even tagged along behind a small group of Harley riders for about 75 miles.

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge was exciting and technically challenging. The five mile long bridge is the third longest suspension bridge in the world. Today, it was getting pummeled by 35-45 mph crosswinds. The Goldwing acts like a big plastic sail in crosswinds, so keeping her upright takes some finesse and concentration. It cost $5.25 to cross the bridge, and yes, they do charge extra for the trailer!

Once on the other side of the bridge, the roads became much "greener" and the scenery just continued to improve. Quaint little villages and towns dot the highway down the coast into Traverse City. We passed by lots of fresh fruit stands and farm markets that we will no doubt be visiting in the coming days. This area is famous for cherries, so we will definitely be trying to score some of those along the way.

We arrived at the Cambria Suites in Traverse City at 5:30pm (we lost an hour crossing into the Eastern time zone). After unloading the trailer and shedding our riding gear, we decided to take advantage of the hotel's "happy hour" and have a glass of wine in the lobby bar. The hotel looks nice and this should be a good base of operations for the next four nights.

Tomorrow is Sunday so we will most likely get a later-than-usual start. Our plan for now is to ride up the peninsula to see a lighthouse and check out some wineries along the way.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cool ride to Marinette


We are in no real hurry this morning to leave Milwaukee since we have a very short ride to Marinette, WI. Only 188 miles. In my never-ending attempt to avoid Interstate highways, I re-routed us on US 41 North. No Interstate, but a busy, divided highway nonetheless. We prefer smaller, 2-lane back roads, but we are having little luck finding them on this trip so far.

The ride today was uneventful. Our Olympia jacket liners were pulled from the saddlebags and worn under our hi-viz yellow jackets to deal with the 57 degree temps. It never got above 65. The clouds and strong cross winds persisted for the entire ride. High winds make for a very energy-draining ride, at least for me.

Our ride was interrupted with a brief stop at Simon's Cheese Factory Store where we thought it prudent to stock up on some local cheese and wine to enjoy once we arrived at the hotel. One of my favorite Wisconsin delicacies is fried cheese curds, so when asked where they could be found, the lady behind the counter directed us to Tom's drive in just down the street. After loading our wine and cheese into the ice chest, we made a quick run to Tom's for a burger and cheese curds. They were excellent!
We arrived at Country Inn and Suites in Marinette, WI around 3pm. After we checked in and moved everything to our room, we got caught up on computer stuff and phone calls to friends and family. We opened our bottle of Wisconsin wine, broke out the cheese, and had a nice "meal" right in our suite.

Weather.wrong promises that tomorrow will be sunny, warmer and less windy for our ride around Lake Michigan to Traverse City, MI. We shall see!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Day in Milwaukee


What a shame that the weather did not cooperate. We were really hoping to ride around Wisconsin and see the sites. I lost my enthusiasm for riding in the rain with the "exciting" ride into town. No thanks. We spent the day simply walking around town...again. We walked back to the Milwaukee Public Market and walked further down the River Walk, all the way into downtown Milwaukee. We must have walked at least 6 miles today.

After we got back to The Iron Horse hotel we rested for a bit before going down to check out the Thursday "bike night" hosted by the hotel. It was kind of a bummer. The bar was humming with activity, but not with bikers, just a bunch of locals.

Tomorrow we ride to Marinette, WI. Not a long ride at all. Hoping for good weather.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Day In Milwaukee


With three days to relax and enjoy Wisconsin, we decided to spend the day walking around and seeing some sights on foot. Besides, the weather is still questionable with heavy thunderstorms popping up from time to time. So, with umbrella in hand, we head out of The Iron Horse Hotel about 9:30am. Our first destination is the Harley Davidson Museum which is a short walk from the hotel and is actually visible from our 6th floor loft room.

The Harley museum is huge and impressive. In true Motor Company tradition, admission is not cheap at $16 per person. The exhibits cover the entire history of HD with models dating back to the early 1900s. Even though we are no longer "HOG"s, it was an excellent way to spend a couple of hours. There is also an attached cafe and nice HD shop for souvenirs (of course).

Before we knew it, it was Noon and we were both starting to get hungry. Requiring something more substantial than the cafe at the Harley museum, we decided to walk back toward the hotel. In the opposite direction (from the hotel) we walked down to the historic "Third Ward", a popular shopping district in Milwaukee. This area went through a sort of renaissance back in the 90s and consists of early 20th century buildings which have been restored. The centerpiece of the Third Ward is the Milwaukee Public Market which is filled with all manner of culinary "shops" arranged in an open market fashion. We found a little stand selling Middle Eastern dishes and could not resist. An order of Hummus w/pita and a huge Gyro pita wrap and we were set. We took our meal, and our Cokes up to the second floor which is setup with tables for dining. For $13 we both enjoyed an excellent lunch.

After lunch, we walked around the Third Ward checking out the quirky antique shops and eclectic decorator stores. This is a fun place to spend a morning or afternoon. However, there's not enough here to occupy an entire day. A cloud burst had us ducking back into the Public Market to seek refuge until it let up enough for us to start our walk back to The Iron Horse. Right across from the Public Market is access to the River Walk which is a boardwalk along the Milwaukee River. The River Walk also has cafes and restaurants with river front dining. We only saw the "tail end" of the River Walk. If the weather is lousy again tomorrow, we might come back and walk the other end of the River Walk and check out Milwaukee's new art museum.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Antiques and Rain


This morning we left Davenport for Milwaukee. However, our first stop was just 15 miles up the road at LeClaire, Iowa. After some jockeying with the GPS we finally located Antique Archeology just off the main drag in LeClaire. We pulled up about 9am, an hour before they open for business. We had planned to just snap a few photos from outside and be on our way. However, Mike Wolf, owner and "star" of American Pickers (TLC) walked outside to greet us and invite us inside the shop. The place is a lot smaller than I thought it would be and is packed to the rafters with lots of cool things Mike and Frank have acquired, many items we have seen from the TV show. We looked around the shop and Mike was very friendly and took time to answer questions and show us around. Before long, a lot of other fans started showing up and it began to get a little crowded. Mike looked like he was busy trying to get his work done, so we did not want to impose any longer and be "in the way". He was gracious enough to let us take a quick photo with him before we mounted up and rode off to Milwaukee. Unfortunately, we did not get to meet Frank or Danielle. Maybe next time.

After leaving LeClaire we headed East and North on a variety of state and county roads, working our way toward Milwaukee. We were trying to outrun some nasty looking weather to the South and West of us. We stopped for lunch in Edgarton at a "joint" called 2 Brothers right on the main street. The place looks like a real dive bar when you walk in , but a very friendly waitress took our order and extremely pleasant. We ordered onion rings, cheese curds and I had a Gyro. Everything was great! This is good place to stop for lunch if you every find yourself riding through Edgarton, WI.

After lunch, we were greeted by drizzling rain as soon as we walked back to the bike. My hope was that once underway we could outrun the leading edge of the storm. That worked for about 40 miles before we began getting hammered with strong crosswinds and a pouring rain. By the time we got on the freeway into Milwaukee the rain was coming down hard and we were completely soaked! Of course, there was nowhere to pull off an put on our rain gear. Things got pretty dicey on the freeway into Milwaukee with traffic, pouring rain, limited visibility and major lightning! Scary shit to say the least! Even after missing the first exit, we finally pulled up to The Iron Horse Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.


The bike has been unloaded and we are exhausted. It has been a fun, exciting but tiring day. We stopped in the bar for a quick drink and cheese platter, and now we are back in our room for the night. Tomorrow we plan to walk around and explore more of Milwuakee.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Relaxing Day In Davenport

We slept late this morning and basically spent the day relaxing. It was raining when we got up, so not much to do. The rain let up around lunch long enough for us to ride to a local Thai restaurant for lunch. Food was good. After lunch, we decided to walk from the hotel over to the movie theater and watch the new X-Men:First Class movie.

The weather still looks questionable for our ride tomorrow to Milwaukee, but we will be watching things closely before we leave.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Detours, Dairy Queen and Davenport


We got an early start this morning in preparation for the 420 miles from Springfield, MO to Davenport, IA. We were on the road by 7:40am headed East on I-44 out of Springfield. Today's ride was mostly uneventful, and there is not a lot to see along the way, as is evidence by the photos. However, the weather was a perfect 77 degrees and virtually no wind for most of the ride.

We encountered a modest delay in Mexico, MO when we found a road on our route that was closed due to the rising/overflowing rivers in the area. This took us about 5o miles out of our way to allow the GPS to compensate and come up with an alternate route. Thank God for Garmin!

By 1:30 we were both getting hungry and after crossing over the border into Illinois, all we could find was a Dairy Queen, the staple of every motorcycle rider. We stopped and re-fueled for the remaining 100 miles into Davenport. Today, we crossed the Mississippi River twice! Once to get into Illinois and a second time into Iowa.



We are at the Hampton Inn Davenport, a nice, new Hampton that is in a great location next to lots of restaurants that we can walk to. Tomorrow, we plan to explore the Davenport area. Who knows where we might end up, or who we might meet!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Diverted to Springfield


So today we made a last minute change to our ride plan based on weather forecast in Jefferson City. The forecast was for severe thunderstorms all day with a chance of tornadoes. I decided to change the route and go to Springfield, MO so we would at least be farther East with a shorter ride to Jefferson City on Sunday in case the weather is dicey again.

The ride to Springfield was only 200 miles and we arrived by Noon. We stopped for lunch at Houlihans, which was decent. The Hampton here is older and not as nice as the one we were at last night. After checking the weather forecast, our plan for now is to ride all the way to Davenport, IA tomorrow, 415 miles! That's a long ride for us. So, we will try to get an early start in the morning and pray for good weather. To compensate for the long ride tomorrow, we decided to spend 2 nights in Davenport and relax one day before heading into Milwaukee. The Hampton in Davenport appears to be newer and in a good part of town, right next to an 18-screen movie theater!


New Ride Plan Due To Weather


We are getting ready to pack up and leave Tulsa, but not for our original destination of Jefferson City. There are major thunderstorms and possible tornadoes, so, instead of risking it, we are going to inch our way closer and go to Springfield Missouri, south of the bad weather. This will put us closer to Jefferson City so we can hopefully sneak in the following day, or if weather permits, ride all the way to Davenport.

Wish us luck!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day One - Tulsa


We pulled into Tulsa and exited for lunch at Goldies Patio Grill around 12:30pm. Hotter than Hell today and both of us were ready to get something cold to drink. It was too hot for Rickee to eat, but she shared some of my onion rings. This photo is of the original Goldies that my family used to eat at back in the 60s! Fifty friggin years ago, can you believe it! They are still my favorite burgers. I guess you always love what you grew up with.

The ride today was hot and extremely windy. Fortunately, the wind was at our back for most of the trip. We made good time.

After lunch, we mounted up and headed down the road to Catoosa to our Hampton Inn. The new Hampton is right across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. We plan to shower, cool off and catch the shuttle over to the Hard Rock around 6pm tonight. The bike is already parked and put away for the night.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pre-Ride Checklist...DONE!


Ok, I think everything is ready. I have checked the tires, filled up with gas, changed the oil and filter and I just got the trailer hooked up and checked all the lights to make sure they are working. I think we are just about ready!

Last-Minute Tire Drama

I get back from coffee this morning with plans to get the trailer all packed and ready. As I begin to pull the trailer out of the garage, I noticed it was very hard to pull. Lo and behold, the left tire was completely flat. As you may recall, I just had brand new tires and inner tubes installed last week. I assume that the inner tube got pinched during install.

I spend the morning scrambling to see if I can find a replacement tube, but none are to be found. I take the wheel/tire off and drive it to the Honda dealer where I had the new tires installed in hopes that they could patch the inner tube. Miracle of miracles, they actually had a new inner tube to fit the tire and installed it while I waited.

I got back home, put the tire on, greased all the hitch fittings and got the ice chest cleaned out, trailer cleaned up and ready to hook up to the bike this evening. It's getting close!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fresh Oil and Filter

OK, the ride date is getting nearer. Today I put in fresh Mobil 1 10-40 and a new oil filter in preparation for the upcoming trip. Looks like it is going to be a hot one with the first few days forecast highs in the upper 90s.

Our goal is to get an early start each day and be at our destination for the "heat of the day" gets too intense. We make lots of stops along the way for gas and to take a drink. Having the ice chest on the Bushtec loaded with water, lemonade and soft drinks makes it much easier.

This evening I will begin packing the trailer (tools), airing up the tires and starting the pre-ride checklist.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ride Schedule

Below is a schedule of our upcoming Midwest 2011 ride:

Day One - Dallas to Catoosa, Oklahoma
Day Two - Catoosa to Jefferson City, Missouri
Day Three - Jefferson City to Davenport, Iowa
Day Four - Davenport to Tomah, Wisonsin
Day Five - Tomah to Milwaukee, WI
Day Six - Milwaukee
Day Seven - Milwaukee
Day Eight - Milwaukee to Marinette, WI
Day Nine - Marinette to Traverse City, MI
Day Ten - Traverse City
Day Eleven - Traverse City
Day Twelve - Traverse City
Day Thirteen - Traverse City to Grand Rapids, MI

More to come...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ride-On Tire Sealant

So today I bought into the hype and decided I would try out the Ride-On Tire Sealant in my tires for our upcoming trip. I put 8oz in the front tire and 10oz in the rear, per the instructions. "Supposedly" the sealant is supposed to balance the wheels in addition to protect against puncture leaks. So, I removed the wheel weights, per instructions and rode the bike around the block, hoping to distribute the gel-like substance around the interior of the tire. At least up to 35mph the ride feels smooth. I will take it out on the highway later to see how the balance it. We shall see.

The downside to Ride-On is the cost. This will add around $50 to the cost of new tires as it has to be added with each new pair of tires (obviously). The other downside is that it only protects from punctures in the center of the tread, but truthfully, any sidewall puncture cannot be repaired anyway.

The substance was pretty simple to install. Just remove the valve core, let all the air bleed out, squeeze the stuff in and re-install the core. Basic stuff.

Friday, June 10, 2011

New brakes

I decided to take the Wing to Maxim Honda and have them replace the front brake pads and bleed the fluid. I was going to do the pad replacement myself, but got lazy and decided to let them do it. I regret it, I should have sucked it up and done the job myself. I just don't trust letting others work on my bike. Next job for me will be to replace the spark plugs before the trip and a fresh oil and filter change.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One Less In The Stable

Well, I sold my 2010 Kawasaki Versys last night to a couple from Flower Mound. It was to be her 50th birthday present! I just did not ride the bike enough to justify the expense of insurance, registration, inspections, etc. Now there is a big empty spot in the garage. I wonder what I should put there next?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Trailer Tires

Today I decided to replace the tires on the Bushtec trailer. My original plan was to do the entire replacement myself. I removed the wheels from the trailer and started to remove the tires from the rims. I chickened out from fear of cracking one of the cast aluminum rims. Since I was planning to take the wheels to a dealer anyway to have them balanced, I decided to go ahead and let the dealer remove the old tires and install the new tires.

The new Bushtec tires are 6-ply run flat design, making it unnecessary to carry a spare (which I don't do anyway).

Next on the list will be replacing the front disc brake pads.