Ride the USA-Day 19: Shenandoah National Park

Friday, June 12— Richmond, VA to Washington, DC

Bruce met me for breakfast at the Best Western. I suspect he arrived much earlier than our planned meeting time of 7:30. We enjoyed conversation about his service to our country in the Pacific Theatre of WWII, how he ended up buying his first Harley in 1947, as I recall, and what it was like to go back to the islands where he fought the Japanese…now twice. He told me a few more stories of his escapades riding his 2007 Harley that now has over 50,000 miles on it. The conversation got a little deeper than the day before, and that made it all the more meaningful. Bruce is perfectly imperfect, like all of us, and he is an honest man who served his country well, a good father and grandfather, a compassionate, servant leader to the University of Richmond, and now he’s my friend. I hope we ride together some day soon. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 18: The Wright Brothers

Thursday, June 11—Kill Devil Hills, NC to Richmond, VA

2015-06-11 07.35.33Normally I would hit the road by 8:00 am. Today my first stop was the Wright Brothers Memorial, which just 5 minutes away but didn’t open until 9:00 am. So I started the morning with a walk on the beach. It was quiet and peaceful, and a refreshing way to begin the day. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 17: Ferry?

Wednesday, June 10—Myrtle Beach, SC to Kill Devil Hills, NC

I didn’t think I’d be writing this any time soon, but it was chilly this morning. The roads were cooled by last night’s rainfall, and the sky was overcast. I considered putting on a jacket, but enjoyed being cold, at least for a little while. By noon any concern about a chill became irrelevant as the humidity rose and the sun came out fiercely. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Days 13-14: The Everglades

Saturday, June 6—Leesburg, FL to Venice, FL

2015-06-06 13.34.14After a good night sleep and a great spinach omelet by Chef Rick, I headed south towards Venice, FL. It was another beautiful morning but with dark skies to the west…the direction in which I was headed initially. I was planning to leave around 1:00, but the threat of rain encouraged me to leave much earlier. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Days 11-12

Thursday, June 4— Crawford, FL to Leesburg, FL

bearcrossing1T2015-06-04 13.25.05he end of the ride yesterday and beginning today followed the route of the Big Bend Scenic Byway. My new friend, Gary, who I met in Navarre, cautioned me about bear and black panther sightings in this area. Surely enough, soon after I passed the lighthouse in Point Saint Joe and the town of Apalachicola, I saw my first bear crossing sign. It seemed out of place for some reason. After thinking about it for a few more miles, it made sense. Given the tall evergreen trees and the high humidity, it’s a natural habitat for these and many other animals. The roads in this part of Florida and continuing east and south along highway 98 look like a giant John Deere tractor scratched them out of the forest/jungle. Except for a few clearings to the right or left, you can’t see anything. It’s more like your riding a chute towards a destination you can’t see for the trees. Another observation I made yesterday and today was that the frequent occurrence of hair salons and personal injury attorneys was being crowded out by an ever-increasing number of pawn & gun shops. People in this part of the country, even the most redneck looking, are very polite. Everywhere I went I was called “Sir.” Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 8: The Bayou

Monday, June 1—San Marcos, TX to Abbeville, LA

I left San Marcos early in an effort to get some miles behind me before the temperature and humidity rose. It was another beautiful morning on the road. About half way from San Marcos to Houston I could smell the effect of the record-setting rain that has fallen over the past week or so. Standing water was everywhere and quickly turning stagnant. It didn’t seem to be very humid in Houston, which surprised me. On the other hand, I think humidity works much like a swamp cooler when riding at a reasonable speed. The evaporation caused by wind actually cools the body. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 7: Be Still

Sunday, May 31—Sanderson, TX to San Marcos, TX

Last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a week. I woke up ready to go, proceeded to the office to check out, rang the bell, and unknowingly woke up Dany. He was very polite and insisted I wait for him to prepare a cup of Chai tea for me. I tried to decline, but had a sense that it would be rude to do so. So I told him I’d hang around for a few minutes. He asked if I wanted the tea sweetened, or with a little milk. I responded, somewhat impatiently, that a little milk would be great. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 4: Coronado Trail Scenic Byway

Thursday, May 28— Eagar, AZ to Las Cruces, NM

Today was another beautiful day with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 50s when I headed south on the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway. I appreciate the weather over the past four days. I know I will likely face several rainy days as I move into Texas tomorrow.

You know it’s going to be a good day riding when the music starts with Feeling Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel followed by Go by MercyMe. Most everyone knows the first song. For those who don’t know the second song, here are its main lyrics: Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park

Wednesday, May 27— Seligman, AZ to Eagar, AZ

I met Jim, a fellow Harley rider from Pennsylvania, this morning. He and his wife had flown to Phoenix and rented a Harley to enjoy a little touring in the warm, dry climate. We had a nice chat about the bike he owns, the one he rented, and mine. As is typical in front of the cheap motels, the discussion ended in a man-hug and good wishes as though we’d know each other for years. Jim was headed back to Phoenix where he will meet up with his son’s family and go Grand Canyon National Park.

Speaking of the Grand Canyon, as I planned the routes for this trip I scheduled a short day today to create space for a much windier ride tomorrow. I thought about going to the Grand Canyon with the extra time I had in the schedule. Bit a new and good friend of mine, Chris, is a pastor in Flagstaff and I decided it would be more meaningful to connect with Chris. Continue reading

Ride the USA-Day 2: Mohave National Preserve

Tuesday, May 26—Lone Pine, CA to Seligman, AZ

We rose to a beautiful morning in Lone Pine. The Sierra Nevada Range is literally across the street, with the East side of Mount Whitney best viewed just south of Lone Pine.

Eric Freeman was staying a few doors down from us. We made the typical, roadside motel morning connection. We learned Eric and Debbie have a fascination with Highway 395, to the extent that he has developed a website, Eat and Drive Highway 395—Travel Guide, to help other learn about and explore this historical stretch of highway. Continue reading