July 19, 20, 21 & 22nd

July 19th

I MADE IT!!! At 3:45PM I rolled into Madawaska, ME and took the required photo at the Post Office (see attached). I started this trip on May 28th and after a lot miles I have completed my goal.

I thought that the trip from Bangor, ME was going to be easier, however I underestimated the weather and roads. I got a late start and immediately encountered rain. A motorcycle truly can’t get dirty until its been in the rain in the back country. The main road (Rt. 11) is paved, but everything else is dirt or gravel, even the driveways leading into the places of business are dirt. As I had mentioned previously the main industry is timber, which means forests, lots of them! When you have forests you have moose, lots of moose. At the first gas stop the attendant told me to go easy, slow down and keep an eye out for moose and I’d be OK. As I ventured deeper into the forest, the skies turned darker and it was becoming increasingly difficult to see anything beyond the primary road. My eyes continuously scanned both sides of the road to catch a glimpse of any movement whatsoever. An unnatural movement of a branch or flower could signal an animal making an attempt to cross into the roadway. I can’t begin to tell you how many false alarms went off in my head as I made my way north. However, just as it was the darkest part of the afternoon the alarm proved real! There was a full adult moose just 10′ off the main parkway on my left. I jumped on my brakes, but not hard enough to activate the anti-lock braking system. As I slowed to approximately 20 MPH I could see him bound into the forest. I thanked my lucky stars that he decided not to go right vs. left. I know it was the luck of the draw this time. This encounter just confirmed my riding style, never take anything for granted.

Within 1/2 hour of this sighting, the skies cleared and it became sunny and warm. As I approached the northern part of the state I could see signs in both English and French. I recall my second corner, San Ysidro, which is 40 miles south of San Diego. As I got closer to border with Mexico the signs transitioned to Spanish. It’s fun to see how our cultures figure out how to work together and make the transitions.

I pulled up to the Post Office and people immediately recognized me as a Four Corners tourer. They gave me the “thumbs up” and one lady was kind enough to take a picture of me with my camera. A local individual built a park dedicated to the riders of the Four Corners, complete with monument, pavers and a water feature so I took a picture of myself there as well.

July 20th

What I didn’t realize about this area of our country, is that during the summer solstice the sun comes up at 3:45AM. By 4:30AM I was up and getting organized. By 6:30AM I was back at the Post Office to take some final pictures. After looking at a map I realized the most direct route was through Canada vs. doubling back through Maine, NY, VT., etc. At 7AM I was at the border crossing. By 7:15AM two very attractive young female border agents were tearing my bags apart. I told them I wouldn’t touch some of the stuff in those bags without gloves. I guess business was slow or they just wanted to see the bike. As soon as I entered the Quebec Province, which is strictly a French speaking province, all of my French came back to me! The operative question to ask at this point is; How many years of French did you study?…. The answer, None, zero, nada, rien (french). So for the next couple of days I was basically traveling in a foreign country without a translator! I don’t know if you have been to the Quebec province, but they take their French language very seriously. Very few of them will go out of their way to help a traveler understand the signs, etc. All of the signs are in French, no English anywhere! Getting gas was a major undertaking. I had forgotten to notify Visa that I was going into Canada, so my card didn’t work and I didn’t convert any dollars, figuring I would use my credit cards. I created a major commotion at the first gas station when I had to give them US dollars. In addition, my phone’s GPS stopped working, which was the main system I was using to navigate. If you remember, I started this trip with 3 GPS units. The Magellan failed, now the IPhone wasn’t working which left me with the 7 year old Garmin that came with the bike. I guess the moral to that story is, you can never have too many GPS units!

My travels east took me through Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto. All I can say is that riding a motorcycle through three major cities, all in the process of major highway reconstruction is a challenge. Throw in the fact that all the construction signs were in French, just put icing on the proverbial cake. I really don’t know how I made it through the various twist and turns, but somehow I came out unscathed. Interestingly, once I crossed into the Ontario Provence the signage immediately changed to both English and French. I felt like kissing the ground!! I rolled into Brockville, Ontario after putting 475 miles or 791 KM on the bike.

July 21st

Another long day ahead for me included another border crossing into the US. Absolutely nothing of any consequence happened on today’s ride, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I entered at Port Huron. Crossing over the bridge was a “Oh My God” experience. For some reason the bridge is extremely high and the grade is severe. You look down on the St. Clair river below, which is an extremely long way down! Now I’ve ridden over the Alps, both the American and Canadian Rockies and along the California coast on Rt. 1 and have never had this type of reaction to heights. As I was going through the gears I was hyper aware of my position on the bridge and the consequences of a screw up. I can’t describe how wonderful it was to get back into the USA and have everything back to normal: phone, credit cards, internet, signage, etc. It’s always the little things.

A few things that I really enjoyed about being in Canada:
No McCain/Palin bumper stickers
No anti Obama signage, after riding through the back roads of America. I can’t stress this one enough
Courteous drivers
Both $1 and $2 coins

July 22nd

After 57 days on the road I’m finally heading for home today!!! I took off at the usual time and I got on I-69 South at Lansing, MI. As I merged onto I-94 towards Chicago, my thoughts transitioned from scanning the roadside looking for moose to searching out the Ford F-150 pick up trucks that had its sights set on me. As traffic picked up so did our speed-counter intuitive! Even through I’m quite familiar with the highway system leading into Chicago, it is still an intimidating network of roads. I rolled in around 12:30PM to an empty house, which was a good thing. It gave me the opportunity to get organized, empty everything from the bike and start the first and only load of laundry (remember what I took, which was very little).

I want to thank everyone for following me on my blog these past couple of months. I must say that it helped keep me focused through communicating with friends and family and kept me busy until bedtime each night. It has been a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, except the trip I’m planning for next year!

Now I have a contest for you. Below are the rules:

CONTEST RULES:

AS A THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING ALONG I WOULD LIKE TO CONDUCT A CONTEST. THE CONTEST CONSISTS OF GUESSING MY TOTAL MILEAGE FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP. FOR THE PERSON WHO GETS CLOSEST, JUDI AND I WILL DONATE $100 IN YOUR NAME TO THE CHARITY OF YOUR CHOICE. PLEASE EMAIL YOUR GUESS TO STEVEG1016@GMAIL.COM. I WILL GIVE EVERYONE UNTIL AUGUST 10TH (MY 59TH BIRTHDAY) TO GET THEIR ANSWERS INTO ME. GOOD LUCK!!

Why you don’t have the second Diet Coke, somewhere in Maine

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At the 4th corner and the Park dedicated to the Four Corner Tour

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One of the many “French Only” signs in Quebec

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July 17th & 18th

July 17th

It’s been interesting planning the routes these past few days. As you know, I have tried to stay off the interstates and concentrate on the back roads. However, when I was in Texas, Arizona and South Dakota I opted for the interstates based on the lack of population and the risks associated with being alone on the back roads. What I have found on the East Coast is just the opposite. The additional population creates small towns every few miles with 30 MPH speed limits. With these small towns comes road construction projects, traffic jams and detours. It’s interesting, I am almost being forced to take the interstate for fear that I wouldn’t make it back to Chicago until Christmas.

I left Rochester, NY to head for the Adirondack Mountains. The Adirondacks are a preserve that is 18,702 sq. miles or 6.1 million acres, and is best described as heavily wooded (2.3 million acres) with various mountains, the highest being Mt. Marcy at 5,200′. The southern part of my ride had some homes along the way, but no towns or businesses. At one point I was beginning to worry, since I didn’t pack any food except for some Oat bran bars. After 35 miles of nothing but forests and cabins, a grocery store/gas station/restaurant appeared. Trust me, I didn’t question what type of food they were serving, I was just happy to see them. To give you some idea of how rustic the setting was, their bathrooms were Port-a-Potties in the graveled parking lot, with no running water! Good thing we were in the middle of a magnificent pine forest. I guess there are trade offs in life.

My designation for the evening was Burlington, VT. While at lunch I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I only had 3-4 hours of riding in order to reach Burlington. One of the treats of this leg of the trip was the one hour, 10 mile ferry ride across Lake Champlain. As a biker, I got preferential treatment and was allowed to be the first one into the holding compartment prior to the other cars be loaded (see photos). Once I disembarked, I rode to my hotel, checked in and headed into the town of Burlington, VT for dinner. The best way I can describe Burlington is that it’s a lot like Boulder, CO. but with a New England flair ie. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, etc. There are plenty of “alternative” life styles and some homelessness. The main shopping street is Church Street and it is limited to pedestrian traffic only. The shops and restaurants are quite interesting and as you can imagine the place was packed with younger people mostly in their 20’s and 30’s.

July 18th

I am writing this from the land of Saabs & Subaru’s. If you ever wonder who buys these cars, you just have to come to Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. They must have a great sales incentive program for this area, because these cars are everywhere!

My destination for the evening was Bangor, ME, about 300 miles to the east. On the way to Bangor I went right past Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury, VT. Even through I am lactose intolerant, I had to make the obligatory stop to have a quick taste. I threw caution to the wind (no pun intended) and had the a double scoop of chocolate. What the heck, I’m on a motorcycle all day and by myself! And yes, it was as good as I remember.

The terrain through Vermont and New Hampshire is mild and rolling and there are trees everywhere you turn. At a gas stop I met some bikers from Maine and they gave me some pointers on the best route to take to Madawaska, ME. When I asked about the moose, they said that I should be careful in the early morning and evening. Needless to say, I listened to them, but even in the middle of the day I kept my eyes out for any sign of movement on either side of the roadway.

While on I-95 about 20 miles west of Bangor, ME I had my first encounter. While traveling in the right lane, at the posted speed limit of 65 MPH and keeping an eye out for moose, I believe either a large fox or wolf ran perpendicular across the highway, approximately 100 yards in front of me. If you ever want to get your adrenaline pumping this is a good way to accomplish it. I immediately hit the brakes and fortunately he was far enough in front of me that it wasn’t close. You realize how quickly these animals can move and that they have no knowledge of the impending danger of the highway. The good news is that the beer truck that was following me was far enough back not to become a factor. I have become hyper sensitive to the following distances that others keep, because I can stop a hell of a lot faster than a fully loaded semi-trailer.

Today I just turned 12,000 miles on this trip. Tomorrow I plan on riding to my fourth corner! Can’t wait!!

Entering the Adirondacks

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The ferry ride to Burlington, VT

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At Ben & Jerry’s

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July 14th, 15th & 16th

July 14th

This was a treat, slept in, didn’t have to ride ANYWHERE!! After a little maintenance on the bike, Judi and I met with Mark, Caryn, Matt, Jamie and most importantly Ian, my grandnephew. We spent the afternoon at Ravina Green CC watching Ian, who is 20 months old, show us how to hit a golf ball at the driving range. His favorite club is the Boom Boom (the driver). Once he was confident that we had mastered the driving range, he took us to the putting/chipping green and displayed his short game skills. Judi and I went home where she relaxed and I packed and repacked several times. Overall, a nice relaxing day!

July 15th

I left Deerfield around 8AM for Madawaska, Maine. Round trip it is about 2,500 to 3,000 miles and it is located north and east of Quebec City, Ontario. After riding 10,000+ miles, this leg of the trip seems like a short weekend ride in comparison. It felt like I had just done this same drill, but now without the nervous anticipation of the unknown. The routine had already been established, get up, pack, check the room to make sure nothing is left behind, head out in the general direction (east, west, north or south) that I needed to go. Pretty simple, I just have to figure out which road will take me to where I need to go…sorta like life.

There are no pictures of Chicago, Gary, I-294 or I-80, sorry. I got on I-80 for a short time and quickly decided to get off ASAP and went directly to Rt. 6 East. On paper it was a good plan, travel the back roads thru Indiana and Ohio vs. I-80. What I didn’t count on was the two 20 mile detours that were within the first hour and half of getting onto Rt. 6. This shaved at least one hour off my time and I also lost one hour due to the time change. This wouldn’t have mattered much, but I had arranged to stay at a fellow JMA (Jewish Motorcycle Alliance) member’s home in Cleveland, and I didn’t want to roll in at 10PM. So I made my way to the Interstate in order to get there at a reasonable hour.

Mark and Grace were very gracious and opened their house to a fellow motorcyclist. It turns out that Mark has a couple of bikes, one of which he races on the track (see picture attached). We spent the evening making connections and talking bikes, what else??

July 16th

Mark took me to a local restaurant in the Pepper Pike area. The ride was breathtaking, and only minutes from his home, what a lucky guy!

He gave me some directions for me to start my ride east, which were wonderful. I was able to experience the beautiful rolling hills of Ohio. He purposely routed me through the Amish community, which was a real treat (see more photos). As I rode through the hills, I really didn’t map anything out for todays ride. Luckily, Bruce Benton called me while I was riding and he was able to route me to some fabulous roads while sitting at his home computer. It was just like he was behind me, the only difference was that I didn’t need to check the mirrors to see where he was. After 4-5 hours of traveling the back roads, I got caught for 30 miles behind a “extra wide” truck that was doing 15 MPH. No one could pass him because he had both chase and lead cars with flashers. Once I was able to free myself of this torture I again made my way to the Interstate, just to get some miles under my belt. I ended up in Rochester, NY for the evening. Tomorrow I head to the Adirondack Park Preserve and then to Burlington, VT.

Somewhere in Iowa, what can I say about this picture.

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Mark and his Ducati

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You don’t see this at the corner of Lake Cook and Waukegan Rd.!!

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July 11, 12 & 13th

July 11th

From Rapid City I decided to visit Wall Drugs, which is an institution along I-90 and only 50 miles east of Rapid City, SD. It began, in 1931, as a local drug store and has grown into an icon. You may have seen bumper stickers stating, “Where the heck is Wall Drugs”? Wall Drugs has signage every 1/2 mile, for 50-60 miles in each direction along I-90. It is literally the only signage you will see as you drive thru this area of the country.

After walking the two block town of Wall, I headed over to the 240,000 acre, 27 mile scenic loop through The Badlands. If you have never been there, The Badlands is one of those physical locations you will never forget, like the Grand Canyon. I have never seen anything like it in my travels. I’ve attached a number of pictures, because they’ll tell the story much better than my words.

Because of my previous experience on the deserted backroads of Montana the other day, I decided that it would probably be safest to travel the Interstate today. I was told that it was going to be in the mid to upper 90’s and I didn’t want to be by myself on a backroad in this heat.

The best way I can describe the ride today is to relay a joke that I heard many years ago. A basketball coach was being interviewed by a sports reporter who asked the coach to describe his team to him. The coach said, “my players can’t jump but we’re slow too”. Today’s ride had excessive heat, but at least I had 20-30 MPH crosswinds to keep things interesting. So, as I was focused on not becoming dehydrated, I also had to contend with keeping the bike going in a straight line. For those of you who have never ridden a motorcycle, you generally try keep it at a 90 degree angle to the road, basically straight up and down. However, with 20-30 MPH crosswinds, you need to create a lean into the wind in order not to be pushed out of your lane. Things become real tricky when you are given a choice of staying behind a semi, that is creating a virtual wind wake and is bouncing you all over the lane, or passing him. Once you decide to pass the semi you’re now on the side of his wake. The truck creates a wind suction, so you need to stay as far away from semi as possible. The real dangerous part is when you finally pass his cab and you get whacked with the backdraft of the wind. If you survive the first couple of these experiences you pretty much understand the drill and plan accordingly.

July 12th

I woke up, figuring I could make it from Sioux Falls, SD to the Prairie du Chein area in Northwest Wisconsin, which would be about a 400 mile day-long, but manageable. The winds didn’t let up from yesterday and after 50 miles or so on the interstate, I gave up and headed to Rt. 9, a two lane back road. I decided that it was better to be on a lonely backroad than to deal with the truckers, etc. I rode through northern Iowa, which contrary to popular belief, is fairly hilly and quite beautiful. There was something quite peaceful about riding in a familiar farm type setting. The architecture of the buildings and the terrain of the land lulled me into thinking I was rolling along on a Wisconsin backroad.

I am glad to be able to give you a farm report (I’m full service). Unlike last year, when I rode out to Colorado to see my son, this year’s crops are doing very well. Last year, I rode for over 5 hours through Iowa and Nebraska and did not see one corn crop that wasn’t totally devastated by last years drought.

As I crossed into Wisconsin, I began looking for a camping site, to no success. I then quickly turned my GPS towards Madison, WI thinking I would find a mom and pop motel along the way. Little did I realize that on a Friday night in the height of summer they were all booked solid. After some consultation with Judi and the promise to be careful, I decided to head for home, another 3 hours. I had already ridden 425 miles and it was now 7PM. I stopped for dinner and a few cups of coffee and turned toward home. As a friend of mine who owns horses once said, “You could smell the barn”. I rolled into Deerfield at 11PM having put 585 miles on the bike today, from Sioux Falls, SD to Deerfield, IL. Not a bad days ride!

PS. I just surpassed 10,000 miles on this trip and I still have to go to Maine!!

July 13th

What a nice feeling, to be sleeping in your own bed and not having to listen to a window air conditioner all night, it’s the little things in life. This is the first dinner in many days that I am not going to dinner wearing my riding pants with knee pads.

I thought I would stay home through the weekend, do laundry, change the engine oil, do some maintenance around the house and head out on Monday morning in the heart of rush hour, just for fun.

The town of Wall, SD

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Pictures from The Badlands

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July 9th & 10th

July 9th

OK, I need to honest with you, I was beginning to think that I was going to have to start making up interesting things/events in order to keep your interest, because you can only write so much about beautiful mountains and streams. That was until I left Helena, MT. on my way east. Helena is a quiet little town set in the vast landscape of Montana. Upon existing Helena, I quickly moved from a town setting with grocery stores, motels, etc. into a farm style residential area with homes spaced out every few hundred yards. They really cherish their space around here. After about 5-6 miles of this style of landscape I crested a ridge and to my utter amazement saw nothing but a butte on the horizon, nothing else in any direction! The land was slightly rolling and totally barren except for prairie grasses. I’m traveling on a narrow two lane road with no shoulder and no pull offs, whatsoever. As I start my travels east I notice that there are no cars in front of me for miles, and looking into my rear view mirrors, there is no one behind me. For the next hour I don’t pass a single car or truck and only six cars pass me going westbound. Having grown up in the Midwest you become accustom to having people and buildings in your world. During the first 10 minutes of this ride I quickly determined that I was going to be totally alone in the middle of nowhere, going 70 MPH for the next 90-100 miles. Realizing that I was going to be the only traveler on the road gave me the chills, and created some anxiety for me. The best way to describe this experience would be a form of sensory deprivation. The one thing I did see were small black dots lining the hillside in the far off distance. I quickly learned that these “black dots” were cattle grazing.

A lot of thoughts crossed my mind as I traveled eastward, not the least of which is for my own safety. The good news is that Judi was tracking my movements with Spot, the GPS locator unit I carry. The other is how difficult it would have been for the early settlers to cross these plains, traveling at 3-5 MPH on foot or horseback. They were one tough group of people. As the road eventually came upon civilization, a gas station and general store, I was thrilled to see people and structures. I ended up in Miles City for the night where I met Josh, a fellow BMW rider from New York, who was heading out to Oregon for the Annual BMW motorcycle rally.

July 10th

I saw Josh at the breakfast bar at the Super 8 and struck up a conversation about bikes, rallies, etc. On a hunch, I asked Josh if he was Jewish. It turns out he is, so I told him about the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance (JMA), which is an organization of over 40 clubs worldwide. At that moment in time I can pretty much be guaranteed that we were the only two Jews riding motorcycles in Montana today!! We parted company and I headed east, while he took off for Oregon.

As I rode toward Sturgis, SD to get my bike serviced I noticed that the cows were on the outside of the fences that were meant to keep them in. It is my understanding that they have “open range” in Montana whereby the cattle are free to roam wherever they wish. This was a little troublesome for me considering they outweigh me at least 3:1 and would ruin my day should I encounter one on the road. At $40 for a 12 oz. steak dinner, you would think that the farmers would keep better tabs on their inventory.

I motored onto Rapid City, SD to check into my motel. With blue skies in every direction, except for one large, very dark cloud over my section of Rapid City I made it to within six blocks of my motel when the skies opened up and it started a combination of heavy rain and hail. I draw the line at hail, so I quickly decided I needed gas and pulled into the first service station with a canopy. I waited the proverbial five minutes, and sure enough the skies cleared and the rain had moved on. Now for a well deserved dinner and time with my IPad.

Miles and miles of nothing

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Pictures of Rapid City, SD

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July 6,7 & 8th

July 6th

Today was a “fun”, no riding day. We were staying with John and Andrea, so we packed up and drove 15 minutes to their home. John lives on a funky little street, that really isn’t a street, more like a one lane road. The street is the access point for about 15-20 homes. What I failed to ask John was, is the road level. Once I arrived, which was no easy feat, I realized quickly that the access road was virtually straight uphill, probably an 8%+ grade. Not tough in a car, but on a bike fully loaded, two up, creates a MAJOR issue. As soon as I made the turn, I realized I was in trouble. I couldn’t stop the bike, for fear it would tip over, so I rode it to the top of the hill, where it sort of leveled off, but not really. With the kick stand down, the bike was leaning so much I thought it was going to either break the kick stand or fall over. I yelled to Judi to “jump off”, which she gladly did. We then had to empty the bike of all its contents, and Judi had to help me push the bike upright. I then continued my ride up the connecting street in search of a level area to turn the bike around, which turned out to be about 40 yards up the road. With the bike now going downhill, I was able to slowly creep back down the street. Since I knew which driveway I was aiming for, I maneuvered the bike onto John’s driveway, which also had a pitch to it! Once I got it stable, we were able to get the bike into the garage, which was FLAT!! So much for a nice easy day of riding.

The plan was to drive, in their car, into Seattle to go to the Chihuly museum. The museum is devoted to Dale Chihuly, an artist that specializes in blown glass (see attached pictures). It is indescribable what this man has put together during the past 40 years. If you are in Seattle, this is a must see exhibit.

John gave us a first hand tour of the city and then we went back to their home for a fabulous dinner. We ate outside on their deck and watched the boats pass by, on their way to port or out to sea.

July 7th

Today Judi is flying back to Chicago. With this last little issue on the hill yesterday, I think she’s ready to say goodbye to the motorcycle trip. John took her to the airport and I took off for the mountains, and all points east. I routed myself through the Wenatchee Mountain range directly east of Seattle. John told me about a little town on my route called Leavenworth, who’s architecture is reflective of a small German town. He was spot on, all the way down to the brats, which I sampled for lunch.

What I have noticed in today’s riding, is how varied Washington’s landscape is. In the morning, I was riding through some of the most spectacular mountain roads you can imagine. Once I exited the mountains, just after lunch, I was greeted to a landscape that was arid and void of trees or any other large plant life. It had its own special beauty, but strikingly different from a few minutes ago. It reminded me of a moonscape type of appearance, but with some grasslands thrown in just to add some color. What I have also come to realize is that just because their is a name of a town on the map doesn’t mean that their is a real town there. I can’t tell you how many towns I ridden through that are towns in name only, with no services. So my new rule is, get gas pretty much whenever I have the opportunity.

I ended my day in Lewiston, Idaho, which I can only assume is named for the explorers Lewis and Clark, since the adjacent town was named Clarkston (duh!!).

July 8th

I wanted to ride a famous motorcycle road, Rt. 12, through the Lola Pass, which just so happened to be a few miles from Lewiston. While riding to Rt. 12, I was struck by a large bug that managed to hit my left cheek and get between my sunglasses and my eye. Thank goodness I was on a straight road, because I immediately went into self preservation mode and started to rip at my glasses in order to get him out, which I eventually managed to do. (I really should ride with the face shield down). When I arrived at the start of Rt. 12 the sign read, “Curves Next 99 Miles”. This is a bikers dream, and it was. The road followed the river for the next 80+ miles and provided breathtaking views of both river and mountains. Some of the homes, or should I say mansions, that overlooked the river were beyond belief. It took special concentration on my part not to spend too much time looking up at some of these homes. Even though I was at least 1/2 mile away from the houses I could get a real feel for their massive size and scope.

Lunch was at the Lochsa River Resort, which is just off the main road. It has a few brand new, really cute log cabins for the overnight guests.

Just to give you some idea of the scope of Montana, there are 1,000,000 people living in the state, which is 147,000 sq. miles. It ranks 4th in size and 44th in population. When riding through the backroads you notice mail boxes, which means a home is within 5-6 miles!!

I motored onto Helena, which is the state capital, and got a room. Tomorrow I may be riding through Indian Reservations, depending on the route. Will keep you posted.

View from John’s deck and Chihuly Art

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Riding in the mountains, raging river just below my bike!!

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Leavenworth, WA AKA Germantown

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I’m in Montana, can you tell? Saw the sign first then 200 yards later!!!

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July 4th & 5th

July 4th (Update from July 3rd)

In Portland, we connected with one of my Jewish motorcycle friends, Barry and Harriet NewDelman, who recently moved to Portland. We went out to dinner in a beautiful area of town, similar in style to Chicago’s Lincoln Park. All I can say is, if you are in your 20’s or early 30’s this is the place to be, lots of people and action. Barry and Harriet then took us up to Council Crest Park, which is the highest location in Portland at 1,073′ above sea level. It overlooks 5 mountain peaks in the Cascade Range including Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainer. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the park was filled with people taking in the magnificent sunset.

On July 4th we decided that we didn’t want to take the back roads, so we rode directly to Seattle via Interstate 5. It’s about 180 miles and is one of the more beautiful interstates roads I’ve ridden. Interesting fact, Portland and Seattle both have around 600,000 people in each city.

We booked a hotel room in the heart of the city because we wanted to be within easy walking distance to Seattle’s waterfront. It is extremely hilly and we didn’t want to have to find parking on what could be “challenging” locations for a motorcycle. Did you know that “Skid Row” got its name here in Seattle. In the downtown area, at the top of the hill, they used to send the logs skidding down the hill into the bay, thereby coining the name “Skid Row”.

A good friend of mine and fellow co-worker at Corporate Realty Advisors moved out here 20 years ago. For the past two years I’ve been telling him about this proposed trip. He gave me bits and pieces of advise based upon his own travels. Twenty one years ago, he and his wife, Andrea, rented out their Wilmette house, packed up an RV and spent 18 months and 36,000 miles on the road touring all over the United States. Their plan was to find a location that both captured their interests and their hearts. They landed in Seattle and now have a home overlooking the mountains and Puget Sound. Not bad!! We went out for dinner at Elliott’s on the wharf. The wharf is an interesting place, to say the least. It is an eclectic mixture of street people, vacationeers, and people on the fringe.

July 5th

Today is the day to “touch” the 3rd corner! Judi and I hopped on the bike and drove straight north for 130 miles to arrive at Blaine, WA. Blaine is a very cute, small town that literally sits on the border of Canada. To quote a not so famous person, “I could see Canada from my lunch table”. One of the obligatory things to do on this four corner tour is to take your picture in front of the town’s Post Office. As we were driving through town, I saw another bike, just like mine, fully loaded and driving slowly. I told Judi, that guy is probably doing a four corners tour. About two minutes after we pulled up to the Post Office and took off our helmets, this guy pulls up and asks if he could park next to us. It turns out, he was in fact doing the four corners tour, with his dog! (see picture) I think if I tried that with my dog, Zoe, (a 50 lb. golden retriever), she’d have a heart attack. He was from Temecula, CA and this was his 3rd corner, his fourth corner is San Ysidro, CA. We had a great conversation about our bikes, the tour, and of course his dog. We wished one another well and he rode south to see his son and we went back to Seattle for dinner.

Barry, Harriett, Judi and I

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Judi and I at the Seattle Wharf

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The third corner – Blaine, WA.

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The dog, notice the shades!!

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Lastly, Judi and I at the Blaine Post Office

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John, Andrea, Judi and I

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