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The 2005 TeamStrange Grand Tour

Do you think a "day trip" on the motorcycle is 750+ miles?  If so, Team Strange may be just the group for you.  It is not the destination so much that counts, its the ride to get there.  Well, every year this group has a Grand Tour.  The object is/was to visit city limits signs, or post offices, beginning with the letters in TEAMSTRANGE AIRHEADS 21 (kind-of like the God Bless America tour I did in 2004 and seen elsewhere on this website).  The "21" represents the 21 years TeamStrange has been around.  Visit the website for more information and to register yourself.

Listed and shown below are my photos for the Grand Tour.  I had a lot of fun visiting these cities as I had never been to any of the New England states, like Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, etc.  Now, I did not have to visit each state (there are three ways to finish the tour).  But there is a little more fun in visiting one letter city from each state and I received special plaque for doing it.  I am not sure how it all started, but the Dave McQueeney Award sounded like fun.  And, as you can see, the Highway 21 sign is from a different state and Ontario too!  Good thing my addiction is to motorcycle touring.

Final City Signs and Post Offices:

T Talleyville, Delaware     A Adirondack, New York  
E East Thetford, Vermont     I Iselin, New Jersey  
A Angola, Indiana     R Rushford, Minnesota  
M Menominee, Michigan     H Harmony, Rhode Island  
S Stephenson, Virginia     E Exeter, New Hampshire  
T Thompson, Connecticut     A Acton, Massachusetts  
R Ranson, West Virginia     D De Pere, Wisconsin  
A Aliquippa, Pennsylvania     S Smithsburg, Maryland  
N New Albin, Iowa          
G Gurnee, Illinois     21 Ohio 21 (Independence, OH)  
E Elliot, Maine       Miles Traveled 4109

Shown below are the photos taken at each location.  Some of these are scans of Polaroid photos taken.  I take the Polaroid pictures so that when I leave a location, I am sure that I will have one good photo in the bag.  Plus, in most TeamStrange rallies, Polaroid pictures are the only valid proof of being at a location.  That was not a requirement for this tour, but it did not hurt to keep the practice.  Also, I made sure my rally flag, 181, was visible in each photo.  If you read this before I have inserted the GPS coordinates, just hold your horses.  Come back in a couple weeks and I will have them included.

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Talleyville, Delaware

The server crashed at work and I spent an hour at this spot trouble shooting from a thousand miles away.  Not the way I wished to be brought back to reality.

GPS:  N  W

East Thetford, Vermont

My favorite photo.  I saw some very tiny post offices along the way.  A kind postal patron took this photo as I extolled the virtues of TeamStrange.  The lady rode a Harley and departed with a new appreciation for long distance riders.

GPS:  N  W

Angola, Indiana

What can you say about Indiana that has not been said already.

GPS:  N  W

Menominee, Michigan

My boyhood hometown and the last photo taken on the Grand Tour.  Home of the "Lloyd Loom" for making wicker furniture.  You might be able to make it out in a tiny sign in the background.  After I got all packed up, I noticed that sign said "Welcome to Menominee, MI.  Home of the Lloyd Loom".  Would have made a unique, and acceptable photo too.  Last photo taken April 30, 2005.

GPS:  N  W

Stephenson, Virginia

After the sun goes down, the Polaroid Camera needs a little stroking to get good photos.  I will have to find out from the veterans how to get good photos at night.

GPS:  N  W


Thompson, Connecticut

Another tiny post office.

GPS:  N  W


Ranson, West Virginia

I was in West Virginia for about two minutes.  Good thing there was an "R" city along the way.

GPS:  N  W


Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

This was a very difficult photo to get.  The light lettering against similar color brick.  And, shooting against the sun.  It took three polaroids to convince myself it was not going to work.  Fortunately I bring a 35mm SLR film camera as a backup.

GPS:  N  W


New Albin, Iowa

On the last day of the tour.  Light flurries in the air.  Bundled up and electrified.

GPS:  N  W


Gurnee, Illinois

Right out of the box, there it was, a letter I needed.  Right down the street was an "Illinois 21" sign that made the state choice very difficult.  Always ask permission to park on the sidewalk.  I met the nicest people this way and I was never turned down.

GPS:  N  W


Eliot, Maine

You would not know it from this picture, but one hour earlier it was a snow storm.

GPS:  N  W

Adirondack, New York

Not recognizing my limitations has been a strong or weak point of mine (depending on how you see it).  I decided to cross the Adirondack Mountains as the sun went down.  It's like crossing the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or Northern Minnesota at night...  only one or two towns in 150 miles, and everything closes at 5 pm.

GPS:  N  W


Iselin, New Jersey

Night falls and I still have not figured out how to shoot a night picture with the Polaroid.  This one is from my Pocket PC that I use as a backup digital camera.  I also use my Pocket PC as an MP3 player, WiFi connector, and more.

GPS:  N  W


Rushford, Minnesota

Last day of the tour.

GPS:  N  W


Harmony, Rhode Island

I met some of the nicest people in Rhode Island.  A lady offered to help me out by taking my picture.  In turn I spread the good word on TeamStrange.

GPS:  N  W


Exeter, New Hampshire

Another extremely difficult shot.  The sign is too far from the street to get the bike, sign, and flag all in focus and legible.

GPS:  N  W


Acton, Massachusetts

I could not get the Polaroid to focus on the lettering here.  So, I am glad print film is accepted on this tour.

GPS:  N  W


De Pere, Wisconsin

Another fine grained lettering on the post office door.  Reminds me of Elliot City, Maryland.  I could only get the bike in the photo as a reflection in the window.  I did not use that "E" as I thought it was pushing the rules about the bike being "in the photo".

GPS:  N  W


Smithsburg, Maryland

One of the few city signs I found.  Here the temperature was 70F and sunny skies.  Now that makes the trip worthwhile!  By the way, for those looking for "21" signs, Maryland has the state name at the top of the sign, in a box, kind of like Minnesota.  I predicted Maryland 21 to be in the vicinity of GPS N39 11.691 W76 11.161, and that was a little too far out of my way.

GPS:  N  W


Ohio 21 (Independence, OH)

I really did not want to use the Ohio sign for my "21", but it worked out this way in the end.  The shape of the state on the sign is kind-of blob like.  No offense intended to Ohio-ans.

GPS:  N  W



Other sights of note:

"21 for Fun" Ontario, Canada

The photos were to be of "state" highway signs.  But, I figured "What the heck?"  This sign was a few miles east of Port Huron, Michigan.  That's only 555 miles from home.  (Remember the "day trip" question above?)

GPS:  N  W


"21 for Fun" Gurnee, Illinois

On my way to the Gurnee Post Office, I happened across this "21" sign and snapped a photo, just in case....

GPS:  N  W


Serenity Calls

The General Store/Post Office/Meetin' Place is alive and well in Thetford Center, Vermont.  This place was a delight to visit and a refreshing change from the Wal-Mart and Home Depots of the rest of the country.  Visiting Thetford Center, Thetford Town, Thetford Hill, East Thetford, North Thetford, and places like these gave me a much needed dose of serenity.   Vermont, don't change a thing and I'll keep coming back!

GPS:  N  W


St. Georges, Delaware

This little village is lined with National Historic Places.  Included on the list is the building currently housing the Post Office (built in the 1850s).  The building made the list in 1982, but the post master has been making sure the mail has been delivered since 1801, only seven years after the postal service began.  I took a break to chat with the post master.  She filled me in on the storied history of the postal service in St. Georges.  Of course I filled her in on TeamStrange and she thought it was an appropriately named group.  Plus, she let me park the bike on the walkway for a close up.  This wide view is much more interesting than the close up photo.

GPS:  N  W


Dakota, Minnesota

Minnesota calls me off the Interstate for a quick stop.


Diamond Point, New York

Another tiny post office.


Eitzen, Minnesota

A quaint little town with a quaint little post office.  And a big @#% mail truck.  Only in the north woods?  A 4x4 mail truck.


New Carlisle, Indiana

A neat welcome sign.  The rally flag is "in the photo" and I could not find anything in the rules about "legible".  But, I did not want to push it as this is my first Grand Tour with TeamStrange.


Rohrsville-Gapland, Maryland

A double winner in a one street town.  I wonder if there is a kitchen and living room in this post office?


Dorchester, Iowa

This is a half of one street town.  Come in from the west and you will be on five miles of gravel to get here.  Looks like it was converted from something else.  I got there after business hours so I could not get the story.



This site was last updated 03/07/09

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