I will share one more of my experiences with the use of the Gold Book
while traveling. These are not big deals, but they are fond memories for me. I hope that others share their experiences as well.
Steve (Wine_r) and I planned a Dec. 2011 trip from the northwest to the middle of Texas, where he was going to head north into Missouri and I was planning on spending a weekend at my brother's snow bird place in Mission Texas.
We committed to camping there and back. Traveling in December, setting and breaking camp each day deminishes an already short day. We could do 400 at most if we were setting and breaking camp. It was hard for us to judge how far we could make it in a day, so setting an itinerary wasn't going to be possible. We both didn't want that anyway. I called a member out of the Gold Book and told him of our plans. He asked when, I said, hell, I don't have an idea. His location was 125 miles dead west of El Paso, Texas and 15 miles north of Columbus. When he was giving me directions, he said to be sure to mark my odometer when I turn and start looking for a drive way at 14.5 miles. Dark, in the middle of the night, it is hard to distinguish a fence post from a drive way in west Texas. There was no nice lamp post and a paved drive way. He lived 1/2 mile off the highway on a cow path. He lived completely off the grid with solar powered everything and had no such thing as even a yard light. As we were traveling north, looking for his place, there wasn't even a yard light for miles around. Had to have been a mistake. Go to 15 miles on the odometer and tried the cell phone. Nothing. Was looking around and there 1/2 mile away was somebody that was waving an LED lantern in a signaling manner. Found the driveway....lol and in we went.
Come to find out the guy had built everything there. Designed his well to run off of a solar panel. His house was 2,000 sq ft, heated with solar, along with his water of course. His electricity was generated from solar and he was completely off the grid. His connection to the world was a satellite receiver to which he had a phone that worked some of the time. Sounds like roughing it. On the contrary, the house had every creature comfort known to mad. All of this cement work was detailed and designed with bricks, shells, and different shades of colored glass. His battery system and control center occupied half of a double sized garage. His water tank held 1,000 gallons of water and it was fed totally by a solar operated well pump. Turns out, he was an engineer, a writer and a designer for off grid installations. All self taught. It was quite a home tour.
We talked motorcycles and adventure. The guy was getting close to 80 years old and confided to me that his riding days were over and that he would probably be selling his motorcycle, a 94 SE with 20,000 miles on it. I loved the Green color and he was the original owner. I wanted to leave mine there and buy his, but I was 2000+ miles from home and I didn't want to delay my trip as this bike would need new tires and a change of fluids before it was road worthy again. He and his wife prepared us a nice breakfast and coffee. It was hard to get away. We wanted to make tracks, but their hospitality was so warm. I am sure out there, they don't get many drop by guests.
When I got home, I contacted a forum member and let him know about the bike. He went and bought it and dragged it home on a trailer. My new friend was so appreciative of getting his bike sold by my referral, he paid my membership for two more years in advance.
It is just a small part of the adventure. But it created a fond memory and the value added of the Gold Book can not be over stated.
West of El Paso....