Ride the USA-Day 47: Epilogue

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

I’ve always liked this quote. We used it often in the 1990s to remind ourselves of why we redesign business processes…to get the same or better results in a different, more efficient manner. It came to me at the end of Monday’s very long ride through Olympic National Park as I reflected on that day of leaving and returning to the same place, and began to consider what it will feel like to return home after 47 days on the road. The Olympic Park experience was really a microcosm of my ride around the perimeter of the country with its ins and outs and the trials of running out of gas.

2014-10-13 07.09.222014-10-13 07.18.492014-10-13 07.24.26As I wrote yesterday, I’ve enjoyed Lassen Volcanic National Park for decades. (I took the banner and other pictures included in this post on the morning of October 13, 2014, from the peak of Mt Lassen. That strange looking pyramid is the shadow of the mountain in the western atmosphere cast by the sun rising in the east.) Yet, when I returned there Wednesday I experienced it in a new way—influenced by the multitude of inputs I received while riding around the nation. I now have a different, broader context in which to view my surroundings and the people that inhabit them. Lassen Park is even bigger and more magnificent than ever.

I’ve seen the USA from the back roads, from the hearts of people I’ve met along the way. We live in a vast country with a multitude of climates and a very diverse population. I don’t think it’s possible to get a better vision of what and whom we are than by exploring in the open air of a motorcycle, and talking to anyone we meet with abandon. To do the ride solo brings yet another dimension to the experience.

But was I really alone? I don’t think so…

There were simply too many “coincidences” along my journey for me to deny God’s guidance and protection as I meandered along. He gave me strength when I doubted, made me laugh when I needed to, and spoke to me through the people I met along the way.

I will never forget God’s intervention on the morning of Day 7 of Ride the USA, in Sanderson, TX:

“As I rolled southeast towards San Antonio, I noticed a train to my left, sun glistening off its stainless steel roof as it approached the overpass ahead of me. I glanced toward it thinking Bill would have really liked that photo opportunity. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw him wave at me, camera in hand, as he turned around from getting his first photo of the day.”

“Be still, and know that I am God…”

Psalm 43:10

October 13, 2014, 7:26 am

Looking west from 10,422 feet on October 13, 2014, 7:26 am

2015-07-10 09.04.582015-07-10 10.15.402015-07-10 12.42.33

I decided to swing by my cousin, Dianne’s home in Red Bluff this morning on my way home, a little earlier than she was prepared for, to give her a hug and take her picture. I needed to do something today to continue the journey—to connect with family—and I’ve driven by Red Bluff too many times before without stopping. I’m really glad I did so this time.

My granddaughters, Payton and Taylor, were so excited to see me when I rode into the driveway that they had to share in the experience by climbing onto my Harley.

Thanks for being with me these past, nearly seven weeks. The fact that you followed my ride was a constant source of encouragement for which I am grateful.

Special thanks to my wife of 40 years, Lisa, who made sacrifices so I could take this journey and supported me all the way. Thanks also to Dave, my riding buddy/coach who kept tabs on me nearly every day and sent reassurance when I needed it most.

Here are the stats for today, followed by a brief summary of the trip.

God bless you and yours, and God Bless the USA! (Listen to Texas Tenors’ rendition of this great song by Lee Greenwood, forwarded to me by my father-in-law, Lee.)

Route:                   44W, Dersch Rd, Ash Creek Rd, Balls Ferry Rd, I5S, I505S, I80W, 37W
Miles Today:         226
Time Today:          4:15
Total Trip Miles:   12,089
Weather:               Cloudy in high 50s to low 70s
Lunch:                   Roberta’s Taqueria, Williams, CA
Lodging:                Home!
Dinner:                  Lisa’s Taco Salad

Trip Summary:

Days Miles Time (Hours)
Riding:  35
Total:    47
Total:  12,089
Ave/Day: 345
Projected Rolling:     213:32
Ave/Day:                      5:56
On the Road:           300:45
Ave/Day:                      8:07

National Parks Visited/Ranking:

  • Yosemite                   3
  • Petrified Forest        24
  • Carlsbad Caverns    40
  • Big Bend                  42
  • Everglades               20
  • Shenandoah Forest  18
  • Glacier                     10
  • Olympic                     6
  • Lassen Volcanic       37

Best Food:

Breakfast Flo’s Café, Grand Coulee, WA, Thursday, July 2, the “NORM”: 1/2 homemade biscuit & gravy, hashbrowns, 2 links sausage, and 2 eggs
Snack PayDay
Lunch Big D’s Downtown Dive, Roswell, NM, Friday, May 29, “The Tomahawk”: knife and fork style burger on native American fry bread, aged cheddar cheese, red chile, shredded iceberg, tomato and avocado lime mayo
Appetizer Kool Beanz Café, Tallahassee, FL, Wednesday, June 3, buffalo-style alligator tail
Dinner Dish + Drinks at The River Inn, Washington, DC, Friday, June 12, Roasted Pork Chop with sweet potato puree, sautéed haricot verts, almonds, apple demi-reduction
Dessert Shucks!, Abbeville, LA, Monday, June 1, “Sinfully Good Homemade Bread Pudding,”, topped with a hot, white chocolate buttered rum sauce

11 thoughts on “Ride the USA-Day 47: Epilogue

  1. Gordon …as our friend John Wooden used to say ” Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do” I also learned much & enjoyed your trip. Three items :
    (1) Keep paying your insurance premiums with a smile &
    (2) Please be sure my Gordon Lewis poster gets delivered soon !
    (3) Please send my greetings to Lisa too

  2. Welcome Home, Gordon. And thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. I loved the stories and the photos. Is there another trip in your future??? Love to you and Lisa.

  3. Gordon, Jim and I have so enjoyed your travels and stories and God encounters throughout your trip. Just a note of thanks for sharing your journey and sending you hugs, blessings, and love for you and the whole family!

  4. I am so proud of you dad. You are a constant source of inspiration to me. Tears as I read your last post. I can’t wait to see you and hear more in person soon.

    With love,

    PS epic sunset photo !!!

  5. Gordon,
    Meriwether Lewis would be proud to know that the exploratory qualities of the Lewis DNA is as strong as ever. Congratulations on safely completing this portion of your continuing journey.

    Jim Allardyce

  6. Gordon, thank you for letting me follow you on this great journey. Each day I looked forward to your post. Your writings and photos made me feel like I was there. What an enlightening journey. Not only you learned a lot on this ride, all those who had the opportunity to share it with you learned a lot too. Thank you s much! Sharon Steele

  7. What a wonderful experience to share with many. Loved the commentary. And the beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing. Is a book about your travels next? @yahoo.com

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