travel Category

Monday 08 October, 2012

Days 104 and 105 – California and the end

Waking up in California felt like another day on the trip, not a return home as I expected. It was very cool to relate to my home state as a visitor. My fresh eyes saw some spectacular scenery as I traveled from Bishop through Mamoth and Yosemite. My friend Scott Nelson rode out to meet [...]

Sunday 30 September, 2012

Day 103 – Utah and Nevada

As I blast through Utah I vow to return soon, it’s just so spectacular. The rock formations are unbelievable, and I’m only seeing a small fraction from the road. Nevada is more subtle but also has a solemn beauty, the rolling hills fading into the distance in gradually lighter shades if blue. Today turns out [...]

Wednesday 26 September, 2012

Day 102 – West Colorado

My first trip through the Colorado Rockies was too short, a blast west on I70 from Denver to the city of Grand Junction. For an interstate it’s entertaining, with plenty of twists and elevation changes and great scenery. The town of Vail reminded me of whistler and other ski resort towns. Super manicured and spotless, [...]

Thursday 20 September, 2012

Days 91 to 101 – Denver

I finally received my first speeding ticket of the trip, surprising that it took this long, all things considered. The state trooper had a british accent and was so polite, i almost didn’t mind the citation. In fact, if he had told me my organs were needed immediately, not after an accident as stated on [...]

Tuesday 18 September, 2012

Days 88 and 90 – New Mexico

New Mexico, like west Texas was a surprise. I was unprepared for the beauty of the vast, open spaces. Something about the stillness and rugged stoicism really captivated me. I was able to dodge rain storms by simply looking at where the dark clouds were headed. The high altitude had a profound effect on the [...]

Friday 14 September, 2012

Days 88 and 89 – Santa Fe

I had almost no knowledge of New Mexico so I decided to visit Santa Fe over Albuquerque. Echo had remarked that it didn’t seem like anything special to her, but Santa Fe might appeal to me. Its a surprisingly small city. No tall buildings, lots of tree lined winding streets and everywhere beautiful adobe buildings. [...]

Monday 10 September, 2012

Days 83 to 87 – El Paso

Looking at El Paso Texas from a certain vantage point over the city, I couldn’t stop thinking of a certain Star Wars quote. First some background. I am here visiting the Perry family. Sally’s cousin Patrick and his wife Marilyn have two boys, Jason and Nico. Jason is in the army, stationed at Fort Bliss [...]

Wednesday 05 September, 2012

Days 81 and 82 – West Texas

Austin is about nine hours from El Paso, fine for a car ride, too long for a motorcycle ride by a few hours. I decided to stop in Fort Stockton for the night, allowing me to take extra time both days for exploring. Whenever I told people I was traveling across Texas they gave me [...]

Monday 03 September, 2012

Days 78 and 79 – Austin

Austin is such a fun, cool place, it makes me wonder why other cities are so lacking. Despite the oppressive heat, I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit here. I found some awesome places to eat, like Mueller’s BBQ, easily the best I’ve ever had. Their record stores, like Waterloo and End of an Ear are [...]

Thursday 30 August, 2012

Days 74 to 77 – Houston

I’m visiting Houston to see Jack and Marilyn Van Hesteren, Sally’s dad and his wife. It’s a huge sprawling metropolis. The lack of zoning gives it an unusual flavor, with industrial areas mixed with subdivisions mixed with retail space. It’s expanding at an astounding rate, with over 500 square miles and growing every day. A [...]

Monday 27 August, 2012

Day 73 – The Gulf Coast

Fleeing the strip mall purgatory of south side Mobile, I vowed to stay off the interstate and see some of the gulf coast. I take 90 west through Pascagoula and see some bits of rural Alabama and Mississippi. The land is even more wild, the swamp in some cases coming right up to the road. [...]

Thursday 23 August, 2012

Day 72 – Alabama

I begin my day just outside Birmingham. I have healthy breakfast of coffee and a bacon donut and hit the road. I’m heading to Montgomery, ground zero for the civil rights movement and the home of Rosa Parks. I meander through towns and open countryside taking it all in. The vegetation seems even more out [...]

Wednesday 22 August, 2012

Day 71 – Barber Motorsports

The Barber Motorsports Park is a world class racetrack and motorcycle museum. When I arrive the California super bike school is in session and the grounds are filled with the sound of dozens of high performance bikes lapping the track. Inside the sound is muffled but still audible. The v-twins and inline fours are harmonizing [...]

Tuesday 21 August, 2012

Days 60 to 70 – Atlanta

The ride through North Carolina to Atlanta was overcast but thankfully not scorching. The dull ache in my lower back from the day before had come back twofold. I was very much looking forward to seeing Donna and her new wife Ashley. They had been married last April and Sally and I chose not to [...]

Wednesday 15 August, 2012

Days 57 to 59 – Blue Ridge Mountains

The Tail of the Dragon is a legendary road among motorcyclists. People come from all over the continent and the world to ride this road and see the countryside. The whole blue ridge mountain area is beautiful, with lush rolling hills, dotted with lakes and snaking through it all some of the best roads in [...]

Saturday 11 August, 2012

Day 56 – Southern Pines

In January I was here in North Carolina for Philip and Rachel’s wedding (a really cool one, see pic below). Philip is Sally’s nephew for those not up on Van Hesteren genealogy. Her family is my family though, so when I refer to them it is always as “my” nephew or niece or cousin. Anywho… [...]

Wednesday 08 August, 2012

Days 53, 54, 55 – Durham, NC

Every once in a while you meet someone that changes the course if your life. They are the lynchpin in the chain of events that make up your life. Melanie is that person for me. She was my first real friend in California. Without our chance encounter at the Center for Attitudinal Healing 20+ years [...]

Friday 03 August, 2012

Day 52 – Air and Space 2: Udvar Hazy

While at the Air and Space museum gift shop I noticed a book called America’s Hangar. It told the story of the Udvar-Hazy center. It’s a massive hangar outside DC that has the bulk of the Smithsonian aerospace collection, including an SR-71 and the space shuttle Discovery! Wednesday morning I braved DC traffic and visited [...]

Friday 03 August, 2012

Day 51 – Mucho Art

Today was a smorgasbord of art galleries and museums. From 10:00 until 7:00 I toured the Renwick, the American Art Museum, the Cocoran, and the National Portrait Gallery. The smaller ones had a few notable pieces housed in beautiful buildings. The larger two (the American and portrait galleries) were both substantial and fabulous collections.The American [...]

Friday 03 August, 2012

Day 50 and 51 – National Gallery of Art

The national gallery is another amazing museum that’s composed of several buildings. The modern, east building covers modern art. The classically styled west building houses art from before the turn of the 20th century. They were also having a retrospective for the American painter George Bellows. Unfortunately no photography was allowed. I loved the modern [...]

Friday 03 August, 2012

Day 50 – The Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian is not one museum (as I assumed), but several. Since I was a child, I have wanted to see the Air and Space Museum. It’s an amazing display of the history of flight, told using the actual craft and artifacts. Walking among these mythical machines was an almost spiritual experience. To see spaceships [...]

Thursday 02 August, 2012

Day 49 – DC

I set aside three days in the nation’s Capitol. The I would try to see as much as possible, but the sheer enormity if the task was daunting. There are about 10 museums for every person living in the DC metro area, so I would have to choose my battles wisely. The greatest concentration is [...]

Wednesday 01 August, 2012

Day 48 – Brandywine River Valley

The Brandywine River Museum is located in Chads Ford, Pennsylvania in a converted mill. It has a nice collection of still life and landscape paintings and some neat illustration art. The highlight of the museum are the three galleries dedicated to N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth.

Tuesday 31 July, 2012

Days 46 and 47 – Philly

There is so much I want to say, but the words are not coming together, so I’ll keep it simple. Stinson is family, and staying in the home he has made with Mars made me very happy. I’m so glad they found each other. We went to a neat bar called Fume then half staggered [...]

Friday 27 July, 2012

Day 45 – Pennsylvania

Under gloomy skies I depart for Philadelphia. The route I’ve chosen winds through rolling hills that are thickly wooded. The roads don’t offer any place to stop and photograph the scenery so I’ve found a painting by one of my favorite artists ( Eyvind Earle) that approximates the landscape. I stop for a quick bite [...]

Friday 27 July, 2012

Day 44 – Pittsburgh

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but I’ve never given Pittsburgh a first, never mind a second thought. It’s always been one of the many funny sounding eastern cities that I lumped together. I never even bothered to form a mental picture of it. So of course I had to check it [...]

Thursday 26 July, 2012

Days 42 and 43 – Grand Rapids

I first met Sally’s family in Michigan for a family reunion in the mid nineties, just after we were engaged. Her paternal relatives we’re very welcoming and made me feel right at home. We only visited one more time in 2001, but her fond memories of early childhood in Michigan stayed with her. She would [...]

Tuesday 24 July, 2012

Days 39 to 41 – Chicago

I travel through picture perfect Wisconsin countryside – rolling hills dotted with small farms and ranches. Horses and cows grazing by the road stop to watch me pass. Its early morning and the mist rising from the fields adds layers of haze and depth, separating the hills, coloring them pale yellow from the rising sun. [...]

Saturday 21 July, 2012

Days 37 and 38 – Spring Green

I have always wanted to see Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio. I made reservations and rode the 99 minutes to spring green. I stopped in Madison for a really cheap, meh breakfast. The tour wasn’t until the next day so I had an afternoon to spend exploring. The town itself is quite small [...]

Friday 20 July, 2012

Day 36 – Small Town respite

Because Milwaukee is rotting from the inside, many important businesses are relocating or shutting their doors. The motorcycle shop that I found was located a half north of Milwaukee in the town of Port Washington. It’s right on lake Michigan and has a neat little marina. John, the mechanic, offered the use of his bike [...]

Friday 20 July, 2012

Day 35.5 – The Milwaukee Art Museum

The Art Museum is an amazing set of buildings housing a really good art collection. The Veterans Memorial was created by Eero Saarinen 40 years ago. It was pretty cool, but essentially a big empty building. Twenty years later they made an addition below it for the art museum. This is what I remember as [...]

Friday 20 July, 2012

Day 35 – The Milwaukee Public Museum

The Museum is world renowned for its wildlife displays, dioramas and it’s revolutionary depictions of early life on earth. Some of my best memories are of field trips to see the exhibits. I was awed by the life size dinosaurs and fascinated by the meticulously created dioramas that created 3d environments that feel enormous inside [...]

Thursday 19 July, 2012

Day 34 – Milwaukee

I was really looking forward to seeing my old hometown again. Despite leaving it 25 years ago, I still think of it fondly. I budgeted three days here, at least one for bike maintenance. I was time for another oil change, and more. The high number of freeway miles I’ve put on it had caused [...]

Monday 16 July, 2012

Day 33 – Oshkosh

I could have pushed on to Milwaukee, but I spend the night in Appleton so I can see the EAA museum the next morning. It’s home the the Oshkosh Fly In, the annual air show to end all air shows. For one week (next week incidentally) the small field is the busiest airport on the [...]

Sunday 15 July, 2012

Day 32 – The River Keeps Rolling

I should have planned this better. I am searching for my grandparents cabin on Sundog Lake. However, there are a few problems. I last saw it over 30 years ago, they sold it in the early eighties. It’s located on a small lake with no public access and only a few county roads that service [...]

Saturday 14 July, 2012

Day 31 – What State is This Again?

I have fond memories of my grandparents cabin in Upper Michigan and decide to try and find it. Unfortunately, they sold it 30 years ago and I’ve lost touch with my distant relatives. I do remember the lake it was on – Sundog. I find it and set a course. I leave Minnesota through Duluth. [...]

Friday 13 July, 2012

Days 29 and 30 – Minnesota

To add insult to injury, it seems Aberdeen is either in the process of replacing many of its roads, or they’ve decided to just let themselves go and give up on paving altogether. This is what many of the downtown streets looked like, about 3 inches of small gravel. Like riding in a giant ball [...]

Wednesday 11 July, 2012

Day 28 – Badlands

I marvel again at how much can change in just an hour or so of travel. The lush and dynamic black hills give way to the badlands in less than 100 miles. The landscape has an alien, blasted quality. Even the soil has a lifeless, corrupted appearance. It’s no wonder early explorers called it bad [...]

Wednesday 11 July, 2012

Days 26 & 27 – Bedrock City

The small town of Custer is the location of Bedrock City, a Flintstones theme park (sort of) and campground that Sue discovered. My expectations are low, and so the weekend is disappointment free. It’s great to hang out and take in the great scenery of the black hills. The $5 football that Tim picked up [...]

Sunday 08 July, 2012

Day 25 – The Black Hills

I got an early start, wasting no time in leaving Deadwood behind. One of the biggest motorcycle rally’s in the country happens each August in Sturgis South Dakota. Even though I’m a few weeks early, I figured I should at least drive through the town. It’s only twenty minutes from Deadwood and sort of on [...]

Saturday 07 July, 2012

Day 24 – Devils Tower and Deadwood

When I was 11 I saw Close Encounters and it had a profound effect on me. Just six months before, Star Wars had dazzled me with its spectacle of a whole new universe of adventure, now Steven Spielberg showed me a fantasy that took place in my world. It was almost too much for a [...]

Friday 06 July, 2012

Day 23 – Wyoming

Cody left me with very low expectations for Wyoming, but the morning ride turned out to be one of the best of the trip. A peaceful calm pervaded the land well into the afternoon. It was overcast and the many wildfires in the region created a haze that filled the sky for miles. The soft [...]

Thursday 05 July, 2012

Day 22 – Yellowstone

Awesomeness! Wikipedia has this to say about the park – Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest [...]

Wednesday 04 July, 2012

Days 20 & 21 – Montana

With a heavy heart I leave Fernie and Canada, vowing to return soon. The border crossing into Montana is through a small, almost quaint building/drive through. The customs officer asks the usual questions and when I tell home I make games, he asks which ones. Turns out he played the Tony Hawk we made! Small [...]

Tuesday 03 July, 2012

Days 17, 18, &19 – Fernie!

My friends Karina and Marcus live in Fernie, BC. They are originally from the UK and recently emigrated to Canada. I took an indirect route there from Calgary, going thought Banff. At the town entrance I see two elk grazing. If you’ve never seen one in person, it’s an impressive sight. I’m used to seeing [...]

Thursday 28 June, 2012

Days 15 & 16 – Calgary

A three hour rides brings me to Alberta’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, Calgary. I have discovered an even more miserable way to travel by motorcycle than in the rain. Presenting – gusting winds! The 80 mph blasts of intermittent air blow the bike over half a lane every minute or so. It feels like [...]

Monday 25 June, 2012

Days 12, 13 & 14 – Edmonton

Surrounding Edmonton is a landscape that is highly reminiscent of the photo of the Knudsen’s farm in The Big Lebowski. Still, it has a certain pastoral beauty. I’m visiting my friends Brad and Ramona and their two daughters Emma and Abby. (Brad is Melanie’s brother, for those of you keeping score.) Exploring Edmonton was like [...]

Sunday 24 June, 2012

Day 11 – Alberta

Morning in Jasper is beautiful. I explore the park a bit before getting back on 16 east. You could easily spend days here hiking and relaxing. If you do, skip the places on the main drag and find a nice secluded cabin. It will be expensive, but so will a crappy motel in town. Pyramid [...]

Sunday 24 June, 2012

Day 10 – Kamloops to Jasper

The weather again called for rain, and again it was a gorgeous, sunny day until the minute I arrived in Jasper when it began the most halfhearted of drizzles. The clerk at the hotel gave me some good advice on speed traps north of town, all of which proved to be accurate. I had a [...]

Saturday 23 June, 2012

Day 9 – British Columbia

The forecast was rain, and lots of it all over BC. I left early to get as much riding in as I could before the downpour started. I didn’t spend any time in Vancouver, but I want to come back and devote a few days to just the city. Highway 99 from Vancouver to Whistler [...]

Saturday 23 June, 2012

Day 8 – D’oh! Canada.

I highly recommend Geraldines Counter for breakfast in Seattle. Best egg sammich I’ve ever had. Preparing to get underway I accidentally bent the Yamaha key in the luggage. Carefully bending it back made it usable, but I feared it was now ready to break upon using it again. I had two duplicates made at a [...]

Thursday 21 June, 2012

Day Seven – Seattle and Mt. St. Helens

My plans were dashed this morning as a key road was closed due to snow (in June!). Hwy. 25 was my link from the town of cougar to the east side of the two major mountains in Washington. With that avenue closed my only route was to the west, and up I-5. The blessing in [...]

Wednesday 20 June, 2012

Day Six – Central Oregon to Washington

As I packed the bike, Kevin made a great salmon and asparagus scramble (leftovers done right!) and then rode with me into town to make sure I got to Hwy. 97. He was a great host and has inspired me to do the same for other travelers. The ride on 97 and 26 northward was [...]

Tuesday 19 June, 2012

Days Four and Five – Bend, Oregon

The weather forecast was for rain, the first of the trip. The slight mist that was falling didn’t worry me, but the ominous clouds to the east did. My friend Kevin lives in Bend and was flying in that morning. I would start out in Eugene and we would meet there around noon. I battened [...]

Sunday 17 June, 2012

Day Three – Crater Lake

A morning trip past Klamath Lake up 140 brought me to Crater Lake National Park. An enormous and lush forest that stretches for miles around the lake itself. The remains of an ancient exploded caldera, the sight is almost too remarkable to believe. The road that runs around the circumference of the crater was mostly [...]

Saturday 16 June, 2012

Day Two – Klamath!

After a short scoot around Yreka (turns out it was much more charming than previously stated) I followed a whim and headed opposite my destination into the Klamath National Forest. Good thing, as it was the best road with the most amazing scenery I’ve seen in a long time. My motorcycle was made for this [...]

Saturday 16 June, 2012

Motel ennui

Friday 15 June, 2012

Day one – To Yreka!

It seemed like a good idea to put as much distance between myself and the bay area as possible the first day so I chooses the farthest point north in California, Yreka. A town remarkable in northern California in that it seems completely unblessed with natural beauty. On my way out I stopped by Jan [...]

Friday 15 June, 2012

Saying Goodbye

It’s never easy, but having good people in your life helps. The night before departure my neighbors Amy, Peter, Alice and Evan came over to say happy trails and gave me some home made cards. We were waiting for the new owners to come by (Anna and Aram) and the kids tried in vain to [...]

Wednesday 13 June, 2012

T minus 24 hours and counting

It’s real! The house is packed up, waiting for a last minute cleaning. Being here while it has emptied out slowly over the past three months has been a good thing. It’s easier to say goodbye when you have time. I have laid out everything I will need for my cross country trip, now I [...]

Tuesday 05 June, 2012


Beginning to prepare for the trip. Trying out WP publishing software. Photo taken in San rafael seemed to summarize my state of mind.