Riding the rim to save America's wetlands
Notes From The Rim: Weeks 6-10 ( May 26-June 23, 2007) Back to Current Notes From The Rim
Rim Day 61: June 22, 2007 This is my last full day in Canada and for once I was glad the weatherman was not on his best game when it came to the forecast. Leaving Truro under heavy clouds and a forecast of thunderstorms I headed towards Halifax which is only 82 km away and made my first stop Privateer Harley Davidson to get an ABC picture point. Approaching Halifax the sky offered glimpses of sun and by the mid-day the threat of heavy storms gave way to blue skies and high clouds. Taking advantage of the weather I got on my walking shoes and headed towards the waterfront of the "old city". Halifax has a rich history and due to its position on the Atlantic it was a strategic port. Guarding the city was a huge military structure called the Citadel. Today it is a national museum. Sitting high above the harbor it offers a panoramic view of the city. Walking down to Lower Water Street you can stroll among tall ships, street performers and artisans including glass blowers who fashion fine goblets from molten lumps of glass. After several hours of playing tourist I turned back to the hotel. Passing a local office of the CBC (the Canadian equivalent of the PBS) I stopped in and tried to set up an interview with the one of the reporters in the news office. Unfortunately they were all busy but I did get a promise that someone would check out my site and perhaps call me later ... if you don't play you can't win!
Tomorrow I head south back into the U.S.A.
Rim Day 60: June 21, 2007 Today, the Summer Solstice, turned out to be my first really wet day. Yesterday, June 20th, I left for Moncton, NB and traveled on the Acadian Coastal Highway (NB Rte 117) which hugs the coastline of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Small fishing towns populate this otherwise remote area and I stopped in Baie Ste Anne for a cup of coffee and to shake off the mornings chill the Super Decker Boy restaurant. There I met Roseline, who is owner and a fellow Harley riders. She and her husband are planning on going over to Moncton this weekend for the first annual Atlantacade Motorcycle Rally, additionally they are celebrating the graduation of their daughter from high school this weekend. Roseline told me about the lobster fishing in the area and also the peat moss industry that is a mainstay of the local economy. Later in the day I met up with my friend Dwight who drove in from Bangor Maine and we crossed the Confederate Bridge into Prince Edward Island (PEI). The bridge is an amazing structure spanning the Northumberland Strait rising to a height of almost 200 ft and with an overall length of approximately 9 miles. The view as we reached the crest of the bridge was spectacular but unfortunately taking a picture was not an option. PEI is a beautiful place with green rolling hills dotted with farms and soil with a dark, rich tone to it. Charlottetown was our stopping point for the evening and we enjoyed a great lobster meal at a local restaurant.
Today we departed Charlottetown in the rain and headed for the Woods Island Ferry to cross over to Nova Scotia. Although only moderate in intensity our progress was slowed enough that we did not make the ferry in time for the morning departure and thus has to wait several hours for the next passing. Several other riders showed up at the terminal, all wet as we were, but in high spirits otherwise. This is a part of motorcycle touring that is so enjoyable to me; the camaraderie of riders who meet on the road, the swapping of tips and ideas on gear and bike and the general talk of being on the road. The ferry ride over to NS was uneventful and when we reached the Caribou Island, NS the rain has slowed to a light drizzle. Heading towards Truro to find lodging the sun started to break through the clouds and as I sit here writing this update the day has turned to a cloudy, but pleasant afternoon. We will see what Mother Nature has in store for us tomorrow and set a new course then.
Rim Day 58: June 19, 2007 Today was a make up day for last weekend when due to weather conditions I could not visit the Gaspe Peninsula. I determined that if I left Campbellton by 7:30 AM I could get up into the peninsula and visit some of the areas that fellow travelers had been telling me about. Although the town of Gaspe, which lays at the most eastern point on the peninsula is only 200 miles from Campbellton, I was told to allow 4 to 4.5 hours to make the trip one-way and then of course I needed to turn around and retrace the same route to get back to Miramichi NB for the evening. Once on Rte. 132 steep mountains hug the road's north side and the Chaleur Bay is on the southern shore. Several small towns dot this twisty road and provide for a very scenic and a slow drive as the speed limit often dips to 50 km/h (approximately 42 mph). This combined with frequent picture taking opportunities ate up a lot of my travel time. I stopped in one very nice village, Bonaventure Quebec, to soak up some of the sea breeze and found a church originally constructed in 1760 having it's steeple being repaired. I had originally wanted to make it to Gaspe but after 2.5 hours and only traveling 100 miles I knew that making it there was out of the question. The beauty of the entire peninsula will some day bring me back when I have more time to enjoy it. Leaving Quebec and re-entering NB I decided to take one of the scenic trails put together by the New Brunswick tourism office. I found Hwy 11 and headed south on the Acadian Coastal Drive which follow the Chaleur Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This is a very rugged area but again the frequent small villages and quaint setting made it a very enjoyable drive. Arriving in Miramichi, which is a river town, I found the Rodd Hotel. The Rodd is a signature hotel and their customer service speaks to that moniker. The front desk clerk, Graeme (pronounced as Graham), was very helpful in getting me a room for the evening and making sure that my needs were attended to.
Tomorrow I hook up with a fellow H.O.G. member from my chapter, Northshore H.O.G - Slidell, LA, to ride the roads of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Till then ...
Rim Day 57: June 18, 2007 Sometimes nature throws you a twisted road of fate and that is what happened to me after leaving Quebec City on June 16th. Weather reports for the Gaspe Peninsula indicted high winds and thunderstorms for the weekend. As I headed north on towards Gaspe I thought it best to ride out the weather in New Brunswick and turned south on CA 185 at Riviere -du-Loup, Que and towards Edmundston, NB. Having very little information on Rte 185 I prepared myself for an adventure, and an adventure it was. Soon I was riding along side Lake Temiscouata which is very long like a "Finger Region" lake. The road twisted its way around the lake and the vista was dominated by spruce covered mountains and valleys. What a road and all by chance! At a photo stop I met two riders from New Brunswick and they were the first Canadians I had met in the last two days who began our conversation in English. At a second pit stop I met Bob and Theresa who were returning back to Halifax from the bike rally in Laconia, NY. My thanks to them for the suggestions on sight-seeing while I am in Halifax. After sharing road stories and riding pins they departed for home. I continued on not really knowing where I would spend the night and finally decided on Woodstock, NB which is know as New Brunswick's "First Town". On my way there I went through Hartland, NB which claims to have the longest covered bridge in the world. Woodstock is a river town and on the commendations of Sharon and Amanda, who work at the Woodstock Best Western Hotel, I had dinner at a great pub on the Saint John River.
Father's Day had me traveling a mere 190 miles to Moncton, NB where I called it an early day, returned Father's Day calls from my family and then tracked down a movie theater to see the "Silver Surfer".
Today I am again trying to visit the Gaspe Peninsula and have battled my way up to Campbellton, NB which is just south of the Quebec boarder. I say "battled" because of the 35 km/h gusts that were coming from the NW. Fortunately I was heading in a NNW direction and as most riders know, it is always better to have the wind on your back or a least in your face, but never on your side. The land here is sparse on human inhabitants and I saw more signs warning of Elk crossings than posted speed limits. Hopefully tomorrow will bring calm winds and I can make it up to the peninsula.
Rim Day 54: June 15, 2007
After rewarding the Glide with a well earned 50K service from the Green Mountain Harley Davidson in Essex Junction VT, I headed north towards the Canadian boarder and decided to spend the night in Saint Hyacinthe, Que. After crossing the boarder it quickly became apparent that I was now entering a province where English is secondary to French as the predominate language. From road signs, to restaurant menus, everything is in French and sometimes in English sub-titles. That said, everyone I met was very helpful when I would ask direction and most spoke very good English. Makes you wonder why we in the U.S. are not bilingual!
Today, June 15 I drove east towards Quebec City on secondary country roads. The Quebec country side is a rich farming area and aroma of fresh manure hung on the morning air as I followed the Saint Lawrence River up to Quebec. I found a delightful road side park that several other riders were enjoying and as I approached the city a very helpful gentleman at a McDonalds gave me some great advise on to navigate my way around Quebec. My first impressions of "old Quebec" were not that good. The day's heat combined with heavy traffic and hordes of tourists from the cruise ships moored in the harbor left a less than desirable impression on me. I decided to find lodging for the evening, catch up on some computer work and then give the city another try. And as the old saying goes, "try it again for the first time" so I took a bus ride into the "walled city" and had a great time. Quebec is an old city and will be celebrating her 400 birthday next year. The walled part of the city is the oldest and is the original fortified sector. Small hotel mingled with bistros and restaurants make for a great people watching place. Most impressive is the old Parliament building with its many tiers and turrets. After several hours of walking the area, sharing a table with 2 Canadian soldiers at an outdoor bistro, I headed back to my hotel. I would highly recommend Quebec as a vacation spot, but plan on spending several days here if you want to take the entire city in. Tomorrow has me heading northeast towards upper Quebec and perhaps into New Brunswick.
Rim Day 53: June 13, 2007 I traveled NY Rte 3 through the fabled Adirondack Mountain today after taking the advise from a sales person at HD dealership Adams Center. This is one fine road with sweeping curves that take you up in elevation towards Lake Placid, home of the Winter Olympics several years ago. On my way to the ferry at Port Kent I stopped for coffee in Natural Bridge, NY and met Marie. She shared the history of the cafe with me, a one-time general store and school house, as well as the history of town. On my way towards Port Kent, frequent lakes and streams were my companion as were several deer who I yielded the right of way to when they crossed in front of me on the road. At the ferry landing I made friends with 3 fellows from Quebec who were traveling on their bikes to Laconia for the annual Bike Fest. They made the ride across Lake Champlain quite enjoyable and gave me several good tips for sights to see in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.
Tomorrow the Glide gets a well deserved schedule maintenance (50,000 mile) in Burlington, VT and then we are off to Canada.
Rim Day 51: June 11, 2007 A special entry tonight as I reflect back on the events of yesterday . I was invited to throw out the "first pitch" at the Toledo Mud Hens game on Sunday evening. The Mud Hens are a Triple A baseball team and have been playing on and off in Toledo since the late 1890's. Many of us first heard of the "Hens" from "Max Klinger". Klinger, played by actor Jamie Farr immortalized the Toledo Hens, Packo's Restaurant, the Toledo Blade newspaper on the popular TV show M*A*S*H . Throwing the "first pitch" with me were 7 other individuals and we all were thrilled to walk out on the pitchers mound and throw a pitch across home plate to the Hen's catcher. I was scheduled to throw last and following my pitch Toledo Councilman Mark Sobczak presented America's WETLAND and myself a proclamation from the Mayor of Toledo commending our effort in raising awareness for wetland and coastal restoration. I felt very honored to be recognized along with all the other individuals who have worked on this project with me. Following the introduction the real first pitch was thrown by none other than Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers who was rehabbing a shoulder injury from last season. During the game I met Dan Penny who is the General Sales Manger for Buckeye CableSystems. Buckeye CableSystems set up this entire event for us and through the hard work of Jennifer Ziolkowski it was quite the success. Jennifer arranged a VIP tour of the facility with the Neil Neukam who is the assistant GM for the Fifth Third Field (Mud Hens stadium). I got a behind the scenes look at all the action that goes on during a game as well as an informative history on the Mud Hens. After all this, including a live radio interview by the sports announcer who was calling the game, the Hens won by striking out the last two batters with the bases loaded. What a day!
Today, June 12 I traveled through eastern Ohio and into Pennsylvania, circling Lake Erie, eventually ending up in western New York state. I am still getting used to the increase in population density after those many miles through Montana and North Dakota where I would go hours without seeing another vehicle or town. Now small towns, some dating back to the early 1800's, popping up every 20 miles my pace have slowed down. I will hug the shores Lake Ontario tomorrow, the last of the Great Lakes on my route, and will travel farther north into New York state as I head towards the Canadian boarder.
Rim Day 49: June 9, 2007 After a second day layover in Grand Rapids I headed east towards Toledo. The weather again was not the best and my old friend, the wind, was once again my companion on the road. Knowing that as the day wore on the wind gusts would increase to 30 mph, I set Ann Arbor, MI as my nights destination. Selecting a longer, but less windy route, it took me the better part of 4 hours to go 145 miles. At one stop I took a picture of a flag flying in the 25 mph winds. Approaching Ann Arbor I briefly detoured to American Harley Davidson which is right off of I-94. There I was greeted warmly by the staff and once finding out that I was from out of town I was presented with a free tee shirt. With room at a premium on the Glide I opted for a dealership pin instead. My thanks to Rock for his suggestions on lodging and food nearby.
Saturday, June 10 finds me east of Toledo and attending the Ohio Bike Week festival in Sandusky, OH. While the crowds were somewhat sparse the mood was positive mostly due to the fine weather that had come in behind the storm front. This rally was like most with lots of good food, vendors selling anything from custom bikes to toe rings, and every imaginable piece of clothing in leather. Once vendor from Toledo, P.A. Barney, had some fine wood pieces that he hand fashions using a jig-table saw. After I made the rounds at the rally and the local HD shop I return back to my hotel in Clyde, OH to make my travel plans for next week.
Rim Day46: June 6, 2007 I have been "off the rim" for the last couple of days while getting reacquainted with Madison and the surrounding Wisconsin country side. Rain showers cropped up each day and some were quite strong. While in Madison I visited with some great folks from the Wisconsin Wetland Association and we shared information on each others campaign to promote wetland restoration. They were particularly interested on our restoration projects. I learned that they have a very interesting program in developing informational/marketing information that makes a direct impact in their efforts to inform the general public on the importance of the wetlands in Wisconsin. I want to thank both Beck Abel and her office manager Rachael Carlson for taking time out to visit with me. One of the local newspapers did a nice article on the ride and it was a thrill to see it in the newspaper that I used to delivery as a young boy.
Today finds me in Grand Rapids, MI. Now some of you may be wondering why am I in the middle of Michigan which is nowhere near the "rim". Look at the weather map for the next couple of days and you will understand. The spring storms continue to spin across the upper middle west and I had to deviate from my route to keep on schedule. I took the Lake Express Ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI. This is a high speed ferry that crosses Lake Michigan at a speeds up to 40 mph. While on the ferry I met two other riders; Montana "aka - Terry" and Keller. Montana was on his way to visit his daughter and had been riding almost non-stop from Billing, MT for the last several day. The second rider was actually a guy who I met on Rim Day 3 around Victoria, TX. His name is Keller and he lives in Marfa, TX of the "Marfa Lights" infamy. Our paths crossed briefly in a gas station in a town neither of us can remember but we (mostly Keller) recognized each other while waiting to get on the ferry. Seems Keller was on his way to visit a friend in Grand Rapids, which was also my destination for the evening, so he invited me to ride with him. We had a great time trading road stories on the 2.5 hour ride across the lake and it was great meeting his friend in Grand Rapids. It's encounters like this the make long distance touring an adventure. Road warrior are unique, and the sense of brotherhood and camaraderie are very special. Also on the ferry was a group of 8 bicycle riders from Milwaukee who were going to cycle up to Rochester, NY. Not that unusual you may be thinking but then I should add that they all appeared to be a very healthly + 50 in age and they were camping out while on the road. Now that's dedication!
Rim Day 42: June 2, 2007 They say you can never go home again and I guess that means that home is more about memories than the present. Although this is true, in my case Madison WI remains a place filled with good memories and also a place I still enjoy visiting. After riding through some heavy rain and thunder storms for the last several days it felt good to see my friends Dave and Diane who live in the Madison area.
On Thursday I pulled out of the Budget Host Inn in Houghton, MI and headed south on Hwy 41. Prior to my departure I had a nice visit with one of the Inn's owners, Mark. He is a former professional hockey player who played for several years in Europe. After returning to the states he and his wife Julie decided to get into the hotel industry which was Julie's major in college. They returned to Houghton where they had met in college and acquired the Budget Host Inn. Mark is involved in parks and recreation and in his words is the Julie's "handyman" at the motel. There inn is very biker friendly and I highly recommend it as a place to stay.
I followed US 41 south into Marquette, MI and at Escanaba picked up MI Rte 35 which took me along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Although the road shadowed the lake, I could tell when I would go inland by a mere 200 - 300 yards as the air temperature would increase and then as the road followed the beach the temperature would take a noticeable drop. Lunch time found me in the small town of Cedar River, MI and I stopped at local diner named simply "Butch and Sue's". Filled with locals I ordered a bowl of homemade chicken dumpling soup - some of the best I have ever had. A sign advertised home made pies and ice cream so I finished my meal with a piece of peach pie alamode. This is true "road cafe" Americana style.
With threatening clouds I continued to my nights destination, Green Bay, Wisconsin. With only 10 miles left to go the sky opened up with heavy rains, high winds and lightening. The combination of these three drove me to find shelter and wait the storm out. Finally I found a motel, had dinner with my nephew Eric and called it a day.
Friday, June 1 - Hurricane Season starts. While in Green Bay it only seemed fitting that I visit Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. Outside this newly renovated stadium are two towering statues of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau. After a brief visit to the "Pro Shop" I headed over to the Packer's Hall of Fame. First came a short but very entertaining movie on the history of the Packers and then a self guided tour of the museum. Here I found pictures of the original 1919 team, examples of their uniforms and several displays of Green Bay players from the past up to the present. Most interesting was the re-creation of Vince Lombardi's office and also the display case of Super Bowl trophies. As I left the stadium area I couldn't help think about the all the Packer games I watched as a youth on TV and how even now as a loyal Saints fan how much I am still awed by the mystique of the Green Bay Packers. The sky continued to threaten rain and the forecast included heavy thunderstorms for southern Wisconsin. I continued now on familiar roads that I traveled as a youth and headed into the Madison area. After arriving at the home of my friends it wasn't more than 30 minutes before the sky once again opened up with rain and high winds. Ah! timing is everything.
Rim Day 39: May 30, 2007 For once I was glad the weatherman was not on his game. The forecast for my entire route today was 40-50% chance of rain, which I am sure happened somewhere, it just didn't rain on me. I left Superior in a dense, cold fog created by the close proximity of the Lake Superior. However once I was 10 miles inland the fog cleared and temperature easily rose by 10 degrees requiring me to shed a couple layers of clothing in a gas station men's room (now I know how Superman feels). I was back on my old friend U.S. Hwy 2 that I traveled on through most of Montana. I stopped in Maple, WI to watch a craftsman cut statues of bears and other animals from huge sections of trees using a chainsaw! The Wisconsin country side was a delight to ride in; with rich farm lands, neat red barns and matching silos surrounded by well maintained pastures populated with dairy cattle. This was the WI that I remembered from years back when I traveled the state with a carnival and also on my first motorcycle. I stopped in Bay View, WI which is a small town across the bay from the Apostle Islands. This town has several restored homes from the 1850's and you can take a ferry from Bay View over to Madeline Island. I left Rte 2 and went north into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here the farms were replaced with forested lands, dotted with lakes and the ever present Lake Superior. My goal was to spend the evening in Houghton, MI home to Michigan Tech University. My lodging is a small motel sitting directly across from a lake formed by the Keweenaw Bay. They have a "rails to trails" and nature path that went from my motel to great restaurant about a mile away. Bon apatite!
Rim Day 38: May 29, 2007 "... back in the
Tuesday, May 29 brought a strong threat of rain so I hit the road early and started south towards Duluth, MN on Hwy 61. This stretch of road was on my "must ride" list in that it shadows Lake Superior for 140 miles. The road is lined with quaint towns and resorts. I stopped at a roadside wayside and walked the beach which is completely covered with stones and pebbles. Also, this is the end point of US Hwy 61 that actually begins at the foot of Tulane Avenue in New Orleans. Theoretically you could start in New Orleans and ride all the way north to Grand Portage, MN, staying on Rte 61 the entire time. Once in Duluth I made my way over to the Aerostich factory. For those of you who are not familiar with Aerostich their Roadcrafter and Darien suits are known world wide and are the preferred gear that serious adventure sport and long distance touring riders use. In addition to riding suits, Aerostich carries a large inventory of just about anything you would want for motorcycling touring. A side note, Aerostich is one of RTR's sponsors. While at the factory, Lynn gave me a complete tour of the facility and I thank both her and Andy for their support. I met two riders from Belgium who had ordered their gear on-line and came all the way here to pick it up. Also I made friends with Don, a rider from the Kenosha WI area and we had a great time swapping road stories. Tomorrow brings me again to US Hwy 2 as I continue east on the rim.
Rim Day 36: May 27, 2007 Finally a clear day of riding is what was going through my mind as I headed out of Malta on Saturday. The temperature was a chilly 37 degrees but with a clear sky, bright sun and my heated gear I was ready to hit the road. It was not long before that blue sky disappeared behind a fog bank that lasted for the next 60 miles as I headed east on Hwy 20. As the fog started to burn off I noticed that the flat plains were starting to roll and pitch, with more farms and cultivated fields replacing the open grazing land that I had traveled through in western MT. Once into ND I turned north and then eventually connected with ND Rte. 5 which I would ride on for the next two days. Although the land is quite barren it has it's own beauty and I was struck by the number of small lakes and wetland areas that abounded in water fowl, prairie dogs and even a fox or two. I eventually found lodging in the town of Kenmare for the evening and called it a day.
Sunday, May 28 brought another chilly but sunny start as I continued on an easterly course with my first destination being the International Peace Gardens near the town of Dunseith, ND. This is joint venture between the U.S. and Canada between the boarders of Manitoba and North Dakota. While it was too early in the year to see the gardens in their full bloom I did walk the grounds and soaked in the serenity of the park. Most interesting was the Peace Towers. These four, 120 ft tall columns, symbolize the four corners of the earth, with two columns in ND and the other two in Manitoba. There was also a Peace Chapel were one can sit and mediate, a 911 memorial with actual girders from the WTC and a wonderful bell tower that chimed every 15 minutes. I once again crossed into Canada to get an ABC of Touring point picture (my H.O.G. brothers and sisters can appreciate this) and then continued towards my nights destination in MN. Once entering MN I noticed the neatly maintained farm lands with well kept fields and small organized farming communities. I thought about how hard the early settlers, probably of Scandinavian or Germanic heritage, must have struggled to cultivate this one-time frontier land. The best surprise of day was still to be had. I located a wonderful hotel, The American Inn - Lodge and Suites on Hwy 11 in Roseau, MN and upon checking in was informed by the helpful desk clerk that there were a group of people having a "south Louisiana" style picnic at the hotel this very evening. Well say no more to this Louisiana boy as I made my way over to their gathering to say hello. Now this is were things get very interesting. I learned that these folks were all part of a group from several local churches who had recently come back from doing a post-Katrina volunteer construction project to rebuild a house in Phoenix, LA (down the river in Plaquemines Parish). The trip was affiliated with Covenant World Relief Organization and many of the 29 volunteers are members of the Roseau Evangelical Covenant Church. At the helm of the seafood cooker was Londa who had received Cajun cooking lesson from a local Louisianan. She cooked up a great pot of shrimp, sausage, turkey necks and potatoes. In addition to the seafood they also had burgers and some mouth watering brats! This wonderful group of people invited me to join them in their feast and partake in some fellowship. What a lovely way to end a day. They will be coming back to the New Orleans area in late December and I have volunteered to swing a hammer with them on their return. We talked about the ride and the importance of the wetlands to the city. They immediately understood why I was doing the project after having a first hand experience with the aftermath of Katrina. As a special note several members of the group are riders and each received a RTR event pin from me. Again many thanks to everyone for the wonderful evening.
Notes From The Rim: Weeks 1-5 ( April 21 - May 25, 2007) Back to Current Notes From The Rim
Rim Day 34: May 25, 2007 Today I am in Malta, MT and have taken a day off from the road, but more about that later. My original plan for Thursday, May 24 was to ride through Glacier National Park on the "Going To The Sun Highway". I had been reading and hearing stories about this spectacular road for years and had made it a "must see" point on my route. As I pulled into Kalispell MT on Wednesday evening, which is the gateway to the park, the weather reports turned ugly. The forecast for Thursday included heavy rains, temperatures in the low 30's and 6-8 inches of snow. Keeping my options opened I waited until morning to make my final decision and after listening to the local weather reluctantly decided to drive through Glacier National Park at the lower elevations, thus missing the "Sun Highway". To those who are long distance riders this is an all too often situation: Mother Nature always rules the way of the road. Once making the decision to outrun the weather I headed east on Hwy US 2. Even with the harsh weather, rain and temperatures in the mid 30's, I could not help being struck once again by the natural beauty of this region (sorry but it was just too cold to take pictures). I once again crossed the Continental Divide, this time at Marisa Pass - elevation 5216, and then began my descent to the wide open plains of Montana - The Big Sky Country. It was as if I had entered a different country, now having only grass plains opening in front of me as far as the eye could see. Still riding at 3900 plus feet the rain continued and my old emesis the wind returned in full force. At one point, around Shelby MT, road construction begin and the one of the most dreaded road signs that a rider can see appeared - "Pavement Ends in One Mile". With no other options I gingerly picked my way on a gravel - loose pavement road for 8 miles. I am sure there were many frustrated motorist behind me as I sometimes slowed to 10 mph. Eventually I reached Malta, MT where I pulled off the road for the evening.
My motel is a delightful establishment called the Sportsman Motel. I have a room with a full kitchen, cable TV and high speed internet. I am sharing this information with you so you can appreciate my decision to spend a second night here. Once in the room I put on the Weather Channel and was dismayed to learn that the weather I had been running from was catching up to me. Friday's forecast for my current location, and that of the next 200 miles, included flash flood warnings, winds up 25 mph with a 80% chance of rain. Old Man Nature was telling me "you can run from me but you can't hide". It was time to lay low and let the storm pass, which is exactly what I did. So today, May 25 finds me exploring Malta now that the worst of the weather has passed; visiting a dinosaur museum (this is a very famous dinosaur fossil area), seeing one of the few mummified example of a 74 million year old dinosaur, and getting a feel for what this area was like during the late 1880's. My many thanks to Nicole at the Dinosaur Field Station in Malta for her excellent tour and explanation of the Leonardo - "the mummy dinosaur". The Field Station is a wet lab as well as a museum and I was able to observe one of the paleontologist actually working on a dinosaur fossil. I also stopped by the local newspaper and was interviewed for an upcoming article in the Phillips County News and then dropped by a local radio station to let them know about the project. All in all, a very exciting and adventurous 2 days!
Reflection after 5 weeks on the Rim:
To some my travels over these last 5 weeks may appear to more about sightseeing than a quest, and that I may have strayed from my course. I too have at times felt more of a tourist than a crusader but let me assure you that in the course of any one day I engage those who I meet in a discussion on the plight of our wetlands and coastline. I continue to stress the economic importance of both to not only Louisiana, but that of the entire nation. While many of these encounters are with ordinary citizens, like you and me, I have been interviewed by radio stations and newspapers in Eureka CA, Eugene OR, Seattle WA, Malta MT and have several more engagements lined up as I continue my quest to the east. Additionally, I have given formal and informal presentations in Galveston TX, Portland OR, Ventura CA and to H.O.G. chapters in many cities. The media attention is of course important, but just as potent is the message that I carry; that each of us as individuals can make a difference in a cause that we are passionate about - in my case making a difference one mile at a time! I challenge those who I meet to help me spread the message that together we, the people of this great country, can restore our wetlands. This is what I am bringing to all of those wonderful people I have and will meet as I Ride the Rim to help save America's WETLAND. Also I must say that this trip has a personnel element to it . There are some opportunities in life that may only come around once, and this trip is one of those for me. An opportunity to feel the wind on my back, the sun in my face and to know who I am. So I gladly take on the role of the observer, casual tourist - the sightseer. By becoming enmeshed with the people that I meet and the roads that I travel, I have the greatest chance of becoming an agent for change.
Thank you all for your comments and support. Your input is valued and please continue to help me, help make a difference. - Terry
Rim Day 32, May 23, 2007 Tonight finds me in Kalispell, MT which is at the entrance to Glacier National Park. Yesterday after leaving Burlington, WA I took a delightful drive on WA 20 which is also know as the Cascades Highway. Weaving my way east with the Skagit River running along side my path, I gradually climbed into the Cascade Mountains. On today's route I would pass through (1) National Park, (4) National Forest, (2) National Recreation Areas and cross over two mountain passes at elevations exceeding 5,000 ft. After leaving the Cascades and descending from Washington Pass ( 5477 ft) I drove into the town of Winthrop which is a part a reconstructed and part recreated frontier town from the late 1890's. Very quaint and they serve a dynamite cup of coffee. Leaving the Cascade on Rt. 20 I headed towards my nights destination, Kettle Falls, MT. I would travel through another mountain range and make my way through Sherman's Pass (5575 ft) and then finally descend towards the Columbia River and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake. Kettle Falls is on the east side of the river and using my trusty GPS unit I found a great motel in town.
Today, May 23, I once again found my way on WA 20 going east, but not for long as I turned north towards Canada. I crossed into British Columbia, Canada above Metaline Falls and headed east on Canada Hwy 3. This is grand road, with broad turns that follow a river that I was not able to identify. At its highest point Hwy rises up to 5900 ft. Although the road was clear, snow was piled several feet thick on the ground. I had decided to visit a 17,000 acre wetland area in Creston, BC. This wildlife area is open to the public and had a wonderful visitor's center and several hiking trails/boardwalks through the preserve. There I met two local residents, Kasha and Farakf who were very active in wetland and global warming activities. Leaving Canada I headed towards my nights destination in Kalispell and encountered my first significant rain. The weather turned colder as the day wore on and I was once again thankful for my heated gear. Arriving in Kalispell, cold but dry, I quickly found lodging and decided to call it a day.
For those of you who responded to my inquiry about the flowering
tree thank you very much. My of my fellow HOG members, Dwight Bradbury was the
first one to correctly identify it. Here is his response:
For his time and efforts in correctly identifying this plant Dwight is hereby made a honorary "Rim Rider" with all the privileges and responsibilities that come with this title. Congratulations Dwight!
Rim Day 30, May 21, 2007 I have been off the rim attending the graduation of my son at LA Tech in Ruston, LA. It was a wonderful time, especially getting together with the boys and seeing my wife Linda. Prior to flying back to Dallas I dropped the Glide off at Downtown Harley Davidson, in Tukwila, WA which is very close to the SEA-TAC airport. I stayed at a motel just across the street which was very convenient and they had some large tree like shrubs that were in full bloom (see pictures), can anyone identify these?
I arrived back to the Seattle area on Monday and the Glide was ready and waiting. Many thanks to Brian Burnham for all of his help. In that it was already 1:00 PM (PT) and I was operating on CST with an early morning wake up call, I had decided previously to make today a short riding day up to Burlington, WA. This is the beginning of US 20 which is also called the Cascade Highway. After a quick stop at Skagit HD dealership to get lodging information I headed over to the Cocusa Motel. Take a look at the pictures of this lovely hotel where a room, with high-speed internet, can be had for under $60.00. Who said there aren't any bargains anymore?
Tomorrow, the road takes me East as I begin the next leg of my journey around the rim.
Rim Day 25, May 16, 2007 After traveling to Portland from Eugene I once again returned to Hwy 101. Prior to leaving Portland I was interviewed by Nancy Steele with KFLY radio in Eugene. Many thanks Nancy for taking time to talk with me about the wetlands and my trip.
The road to the coast, Hwy 26, was lovely with gradually increasing hill and turns and there was also a noticeable drop in temperature. After reaching the coast I once again united with my old friend Hwy 101 at Sea Side, OR. It was just around noon time and I pulled into the Big Foot Pub (see picture) which was decorated as you may guess in an all Big Foot motif. My goal was to cross the Columbia River at Astoria and enter into Washington State however, prior to that I decided to detour over to the Lewis and Clark National Park. This is the location of their winter quarters in 1805, Fort Clatsop. The entire fort has been recreated and it was interesting to see the living quarters and canoe landing. I had to cross a very high and long bridge over the Columbia River and with side gusts of 18 mph it was somewhat treacherous, but I made it over and continued up 101 to my nights destination at Aberdeen, WA.
Today, May 16th I am in Seattle and preparing for an interview with a radio show and possible spot on one of the local TV stations. The Glide goes in for a much needed scheduled maintenance on Thursday while I fly back to Louisiana to attend my son's graduation.
Rim Day 23, May 13, 2007 Happy Mother's (Wife's) Day to my wife Linda. I entered the State of Oregon yesterday and started on a cold, wet drive towards Newport, OR which was my planned stop for the evening. The farther I drove into Oregon the heavier the drizzle and the lower the temperature forcing me to put on my heated gear. The OR coast highway, once again Hwy 101, is very similar to that of Northern California. Sweeping turns with rapid ascents and steep grades as the roads twists around the coast. Small towns appear every 25 mile, some little more than a general store and post office while others advertise sea-side cottages and the "best" seafood in Oregon. One of the larger towns is Coos Bay. I stopped at the Highway 101 Harley Davidson dealership and stumbled into a barbeque put on by the dealership for customers and the Coos Bay HOG Chapter. After a warm invitation to join them I shared road stories, information on the wetlands, and some very tasty dogs. Leaving Coos Bay I decided to end my travels for the day in the town of Florence, OR.
Mother's Day brought out the sun and a lot of smiling faces as I packed up to leave Florence. However before heading inland towards Eugene, I stopped by the Dunes State Park to check out the large sand dunes that boarder this part of coast. Leaving Florence I headed up Hwy 126 and followed the Siuslaw River inland eventually breaking off on to Rte. 36. Both of these roads were pure delight, with the singing river to my right and steep heavily wooded lands on the left. The Siuslaw eventually becomes a very fast river with fish ladders and natural stone rapids. Arriving in Eugene, after getting a suggestion for lodging, I set my Zumo GPS for the Valley River Inn. This is comfortable lodge type of inn and my thanks go out to Jessica who provided me with a great room facing the Willamette River. Another great day in the saddle.
Rim Day 21, May 11, 2007 I have continued my trek up the Northern California coast these last two days and now am writing from Crescent City, CA which is just south of the Oregon State line.
Although it was overcast most of the day as I made my way to Leggett which is the official end of Hwy 1 (PCH), yesterday was another fantastic day of riding. Leggett is know for the "Drive thru Tree" which is a huge living Redwood that you can drive thru. Past Leggett I picked up Hwy 101, also called the Redwood Highway, and headed north towards the "Avenue of the Giants", a valley of giant Redwood trees. This scenic route was most impressive with giant redwoods that were arms length from the highway, as were the roads themselves which are canopied by a wonderfully scented tree called a Madrone. Later that day I arrived in Eureka only to find that the local college was having their graduation this weekend and all rooms were booked. Eureka is build around Humboldt Bay and has a very large and extensive wetland area that was a model project for waste water treatment.
Due to the graduation and several other events going on during this very busy weekend in Eureka, I had to change my plans. I headed north to Crescent City on Friday but was able to conduct a phone interview with the local newspaper about the ride and America's WETLAND. A big thanks goes out to Carol Harrison for her patience with us. The road to Crescent City was laced with coastal highways and wetlands that wound through the National Redwood Park. Here I saw wild elk grazing, massive redwood trees "The Big Tree" and breath taking scenery (see pictures). The clouds hung so close to the ground that at times it seemed that I was actually riding through them. What a way to spend a day!
Rim Day 19, May 9, 2007 It felt good getting back on the road after my two days off in the Bay area. Heading north on Hwy 101 I avoided the coastal fog that had rolled in overnight. Eventually I did turn west towards the coast and Hwy 1 (PCH). While the fog continued to settle in during the day it never posed a driving problem and actually added to the drive This is a much more rugged portion of the coast than the southern route, with high cliffs, hairpin turns and breathtaking scenery. I would go from elevations of 700 ft down to 100 ft in as little as a quarter mile. These deep hollows were lined with birch trees that gave off the most wonderful fragrance which was complemented by the scent of California pines. I continued on towards Fort Ross, Mendocino and finally Fort Bragg. Although I was on the road for approximately 7 hours, my total miles today were 175 miles, which either means I had a painstaking slow journey or I had a very pleasurable and leisurely ride. You decide!
Rim Day 18, May 8, 2007 Two days in the Bay Area, San Francisco and Sausalito, are not nearly enough to see and do everything; but I tried my best. First stop was Muir Woods just west of my hotel in Sausalito. This National Monument is a valley filled with giant Redwood trees. It is named after John Muir who was instrumental in developing our National Park Service and also the first president of the Sierra Club. This is an awe experiencing place, one that I first visited several years ago, and I was once again touched by the magic of these giants. Next day was tourist day in San Francisco and it started with a ferry trip across the bay followed by a cable car ride up some very steep hills. Lunch at Fisherman's Wharf and then another ferry trip back to Sausalito.
Tomorrow is a travel day and I am anxious to get back on the road. I'll turn the bike north towards the wine country and the rugged northern section of the PCH as I head towards the next media stop in Eureka, CA.
Rim Day 16, May 6, 2007 On the road there are some good days and then there are some GREAT DAYS. Today was one of the great days. Leaving out of San Luis Obispo on a chilly morning, Rob and headed north on Hwy 101 towards Salinas. With little to no wind, the first time in 4 days, it was great just feeling the cold morning chill, hearing the rumble of the bike and having a feeling that today was going to be special. At our first pit stop we met a group of local riders who were assembling for a day ride (see picture). As we chatted I found that they had recently formed a club, the Salinas Valley Road Saints, as means to do some local charity work and also to have a venue to enjoy each others company. They gave us some good advise on which roads to take and wished us well. Our next stop of was Carmel-By-The-Sea on the fabled PCH. Using our trusty Garmin Zumo GPS units, we located the Hog's Breath Restaurant which is owned by Clint Eastwood. Following a very good lunch the road took us north on Hwy 1. Although busy for a Sunday I found a great pull-off area and both Rob and I got several good pictures of the ocean and beaches. The PCH ( Pacific Coast Highway - Hwy 1) is picture perfect of what one expects to see. Winding roads, high cliffs and crashing waves filled our eyes as did the scent of pine and rosemary from the heavy vegetation on either side of the road. After a full day of riding we arrived in Half Moon Beach for a good nights rest.
Rim Day 14, May 4, 2007 I am writing from Ventura, CA which is just of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). I entered Hwy 1 at Santa Monica and hugged the coastline on my way north. Last night I gave a presentation in Santa Barbara at a Ducks Unlimited meeting. DU is very active in wetland preservation and the audience was very interested in the reconstruction process of our wetlands following Katrina.
Prior to leaving for Ventura I spend some time in San Diego visiting with friends. San Diego, like much of California, has multiple wetland areas (see photo) and is very active in wetland preservation. This is one beautiful city, with gardens full in bloom accented by a rugged coastline.
After leaving San Diego, I drove up to the Huntington Beach area to meet with Lisa Noble, the project manager for Riding The Rim. Lisa has been instrumental in coordinating the details for the ride, lining up speaking engagements and just being there when I need her.
Rim Day 12, May 2, 2007 "Which way are ya headed? North I say. Which way did ya come from? From the South I respond" and so goes the conversation as I finally turn from my westward path and head north on the California coast.
After leaving Flagstaff on Tuesday morning I fulfilled a long time dream of mine to ride part of the "Mother Road" Route 66. One of most pristine parts of the old route is between Seligman and Kingman, AZ. On this 80 plus mile stretch of Hwy 66 several 1950 era motels and restaurants have been preserved much as they were prior to the construction of Interstate 40 which runs parallel to the route. I did the obligatory souvenir shopping in Seligman but had a nice time chatting with a couple of riders at a roadside cafe in Truxton (see pictures below). Onward to Kingman and eventually to Parker, AZ was my original plan, but after passing through Kingman and heading south the wind started to gust up to 40 mph with accompanying rain. After few moments of reflection I made a command decision and turned back to find lodging in Kingman.
Today, May 2, finds me in San Deigo. Not much can be said for the ride today, other than the Mojave Desert is large, brown and very windy.
Rim Day 10 - April 30, 2007 Over the last 3 days I have traveled through El Paso, TX and up to Tucson, AZ and tonight finds me in Flagstaff, AZ.
After spending a much needed 2 days off the road in El Paso, I headed west towards Tucson, hugging the boarder with Mexico. Several times I was within 50 yards of the boarder with the only barrier between the two being desert scrub brush. It was Sunday and as I neared Columbus, NM I started to look for gas. Finding the one and only station still closed I stopped at a local (again the only one) cafe - see picture below. The road to Tucson was mostly desert with sweeping vistas of the mountains. I stopped briefly in Tombstone, AZ and visited the site of the famous gun fight at the OK Coral.
Today I headed north into the mountain above Phoenix and into some very beautiful areas around Sedona, AZ. I have included a few pictures of the famous Senora cactus and Sedona. The road takes you from 6000 ft down to 3000 and then back up again all within a 5 mile stretch. Just as I was pulling into Flagstaff it started to rain, the first of my trip - hopefully this is not a sign of things to come.
I have been without internet for the last two days. Here is what has been happening
Rim Day 6 - April 26, 2007: I am in Marfa, TX which has it's claim to fame as the place of strange lights appearing in the northern sky at night, appropriately called the "Marfa Lights". I spent the day in Big Bend National Park and have included a few pictures at the end of this post.
On Tuesday, April 24, I ended my day in Eagle Pass, TX as I continued west on my trip. That evening the storm warning sirens went off and a tornado came through town. Unfortunately 6 people died as result of the storm. My motel was hit with quarter sized pieces of hail but no damage to the bike.
I made it over to Marathon, TX the next day. Marathon is one of the entrance points to Big Bend National Park. The ride over there was not very interesting until I crossed the Pecos River, where the elevation started to climb and the buttes replaced the scrub desert that I had been riding through for last 2 days.
Pictures from Big Bend National Park
After a great day touring Big Bend it is time to hit the road once again. Tomorrow I head towards El Paso. Check back soon for more updates.
Rim Day 3 - April 23, 2007: I traveled through Cameron Parish on my way over to Galveston yesterday. The aftermath of Rita was very evident, especially in the Holly Beach area. As I was riding down LA 82, passing through the vast areas of open wetlands, I started to realize why wetland and coastal restoration is not on everyone's radar screen. It is so easy to believe that with all the wetland areas left in this region and those across America's WETLAND, that there is not an eminent need to be concerned. The same can be said for the defoliation of the rain forests and melting of the polar caps. As I often said, my wife Linda and I both were blind to the loss in our area. Let's hope that hindsight becomes foresight.
I attended an Earth Day event at Moody Gardens in Galveston on Sunday and was asked to present a short talk on America's WETLAND and this project. The audience, although small, was very enthusiastic and we had a great time together.
Today was a ride day, ending up on the west side of Brownsville, TX.
Rim Day 1 - April 21st, 2007 : We kicked off the ride today with an event at Audubon Park in New Orleans, LA. Present were representatives of the Coast Guardians, America's WETLAND, Northshore H.O.G. Chapter, and District K Gold Wing Road Rider Associations. It was a great day for me, with many friends coming out to see me off. After getting a police escort and crossing the Mississippi River, my Riding The Rim adventure begin as I headed west on US 90 towards Morgan City, LA. With me were several members of the Northshore HOG chapter and the District K GWRRA group. We parted ways after a great lunch at Ryans in Morgan City and I continued west to Jennings, LA to spend the first of what will be many nights on the road.
Here a few pictures from today's activities.
P.O. Box 81 Mandeville, LA 70470 Call: 504-722-3739 firstname.lastname@example.org