After a great finish and alot of fun in last years Smoke Chasing, (SmokeChasing.com) I decided to give it another try. 2012 brought us a total of 15 BBQ restaurants in 15 states, but this year we a going for 30 BBQ's in 30 states, starting in NM, which is where I was when the contest started this year. After working in Las Cruces for a week we got a chance to pick up TX one afternoon. I didn't need to do it right then, since I will be in TX several times this year, but it looked like a good afternoon ride. These were the only two states I would pick up on this trip, but it was a start.
After working in NM for a while we headed back east. One of the challenges this year is to get 15 BBQ's in 15 states in 15 days. I had a couple weeks to play and a father-in-law to see in SD, so why not give it a go. I packed up my wife and the dog on the bike a took off from Arkansas. We followed a route the long way around headed to Sioux Falls, SD, and then on to Pierre. The route took us through the following states in this order. AR, TN, MO, KY, IL, IN, MI, WI, MN, SD, IO, NE, KS, OK, and back to Arkansas. I needed 1 more so I scooted over to LA to finish up. We were gone 12 days, 4 of which were spent with family in South Dakota.
The next group of states to pick up were while we were seeing of kids in TN. We rode down to MS, AL, GA, and FL in a big swoop and then back to Chattanooga, TN. It was a good day for a long ride, about 900 miles.
We were now at a total of 20 states. The only other trip I had planned was to meet members of the MTF in Gunnison, CO for some Flower Sniffing, which is their idea of just good old riding. We headed out with a route that would let us pick up a few more states, but, being on a time restraint this time, had to miss a couple close ones, which would come back to haunt me. We set a route from NM through CO, UT, WY, ID and MT, staying a day in MT with some family. It was a great trip Flaming Gorge Recreational Area, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone. I really love riding through those places. Of course my wife, dog, and camping gear came along on this trip.
I stopped at this point for a trip to Ireland and rented a BMW GS from Celtic riders out of Dublin. Paul and the guys were great getting me all set up and the trip was fantastic. While I was there I competed in an IBA Ireland sanctioned event called a Phoker Rally. The idea is to ride around Ireland looking for certain landmarks with GPS coordinates, taking a picture of them, and receiving a playing card for the picture. You would get 5 cards and the best poker hand would win the rally. I was entered in the EU section and ended up winning. As the Irish say, Brilliant.
When we returned we headed to Helen, GA for Octoberfest since it was October, with the family. We had a great few days but I still needed 4 more states to hit my mark of 30. I headed down to Daytona Beach for a RTE with the MTF riders and then headed back to SC, one of the states I needed. One of the BBQ
joints that was a "must do" for NC was in Raleigh. We headed up there and then of to some friends house near there for some, you guessed it, BBQ. San and Carrie cooked us some of the best BBQ we had had yet. We left the following morning to catch the last 2 states, VA and WV, then headed to see our kids in Nashville.
Well 30 states were done but I still wanted two more. Still working on getting them with the time ticking down, 10 more days.
I got a weekend off and set out for the last two BBQ's for my list. We set off from Yuma, AZ headed toward CA with our goal of getting BBQ in Blythe, CA and then heading up to Lake Havasu, AZ for lunch. It was a great morning for a ride, blue skies in all direction and perfect temps in the 60's. We took Parker Dam Road on the CA side and crossed over at Parker dam. Gorgeous area complete with Blue raters of the Colorado river and burros along side the road. Continuing onward we rode up to see London Bridge crossing the Colorado river in Lake Havasu city. Next we found lunch and a local brewery, Mudsharks, and had a very tasty burger. Heading south back toward Yuma we decided to catch the town of Quartzite, AZ, a town that booms with snowbirds during the winter, most of them dry camping. Found o little BBQ stand in town that finished up my states.
The counts are tallied and the results from Smoke Chasing 2012 are done. Melanie and I finished in the top category of King/Queen of Q with a total of 295 points. The top winner ended up with a total of 906 points. We travels to 32 states over a 6 month period, had some great BBQ, and had fun traveling around the good old US of A. Till next year...