A Fork in the Road

I awoke today to hit the road to Horizon Unlimited California and as I was getting ready, I was watching the morning news and sadden to hear that the baseball legend, Yogi Berra has passed away last night at the age of 90.  Yogi is not just known for baseball but he was also known for his paradoxical or redundant quotes also known as Yogism’s.  Ironically, one of his quote is fitting for this blog post.

Keep trying. Stay humble, Trust your instincts.

Most importantly, act.  When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

(Yogi Berra)

When I set out to do this journey, I set out to be out on the road for a year.  However, like I mentioned in my previous blog post is that I did not expect that I would not be able to do it physically.  Midway through the trip, the arthritis in my hands have been flaring up pretty bad to the point where I was popping Ibuprofen like candy.  After my post, I got a lot of suggestions from friends and family for remedy from homeopathic cure such as take Turmeric daily or wearing compression gloves.  The best one that worked was to take Aleve instead of Ibuprofen. It doesn’t take the pain away completely but it lasted longer.  This solution made the ride more bearable but I knew that I could not keep going like this.  So when I reach the end of Route 6, I knew that it was time to go back home and seek professional help.

Unfortunately, getting doctor appointment quickly is not easy.  So knowing that it will take time to get to the root of the issue with my hands, I will have some idle time.  So when I visited Ron Grace of Lost for a Reason and he mentioned that he was unable to attend the Horizon Unlimited (HU) event in California, I knew that I would have plenty of time on my hand so I offered my assistance to his charity organization.  As it turned out, they still needed speakers for HU, so I offered to do a presentation and submitted two suggestions for topic; Life Lesson from the Road and Roadside America.  Well, they picked both topics so I spent the last week and half working on both slideshow.

While working on the presentation, my mind kept wandering back to the time I was on the road.  I’m starting to get withdrawal being cooped up in a house.  I miss the freedom and the carefree lifestyle that the road had shown me.  At the same time, I do not like being in constant pain either.  While taking a break from the presentations, I started googling for alternative ideas.

One idea is to take shorter trips, I still want to finish my bucket list of traveling on the remaining eight U.S. old routes.  So maybe, I can just do one route then come home for a while and then do another one later in the year.

Another idea is to invest in a touring van such as a Sportsmobile or a VW Rialta as my main mode of transportation and haul Purple on a hitch on back of the van.  This is sounding like a better idea more and more every day.  While on the road, the one thing I miss the most is exploring on the dirt road but with a fully loaded bike, it was not enjoyable to do.  With having a touring van, I could camp on BLM land and spend days exploring the nearby area on Purple.  Another thing that make the touring van more appealing is when bad weather hits, I would have a better shelter than a tent can provide.  Also, I could carry a lot more gears in the touring van than I could on a bike.  The list of Pro is growing longer than the list of Con.

Okay, I was getting a little bit distracted by this research to figure out other alternative ways to satisfy my wanderlust.  For now, I need to focus on what I can do today while I wait for my medical appointments. Meanwhile, I found a couple of side jobs to hold me over financially since the estate still haven’t closed yet. Until then, I just need to remember to take it one day at a time.

Today’s Reminder:

“When I catch myself feeling overwhelmed, or not being able to get anything done because there is so much to do that I don’t know where to start, I’ll stop for a moment and remind myself to take it one step, one task, one day at a time.”

Grand Army of the Republic Highway

U.S. Route 6 also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. It is the oldest continuous highway in United States. Prior to 1964, it ran east-northeast from Long Beach, California to Provincetown, Massachusetts with a total miles of 3,652 but now it starts from Bishop, California with only total miles of 3,205.

According to Wikipedia, US 6 does not serve a major transcontinental corridor, unlike other highways and quoted George R. Stewart of U.S. 40: Cross Section of the United States of America, realized that Route 6 runs uncertainly from nowhere to nowhere, scarcely to be followed from one end to the other, except by some devoted eccentric”

I guess, I’m one of those devoted eccentric geek who had to say that she rode the U.S. Route 6 from one end of the US to the other!

Below is a list of the top five places I visited from the East Coast to the West Coast.
1. French Azilum – I discovered this place when I stopped at the Pennsylvania’s visitor center to get my free map of the state. There isn’t much to this place, you’ll have to use a lot of imagination to see how it was supposed to be. However, it was the curator that made the place magical for me. I was the last visitor of the day and she gave me a private tour of the house that once belonged to the son of one of the founder of the colony. The story about the French Azilum is that several Philadelphians were sympathetic to the flight of the exile due to the French Revolution so they purchased 1,600 acres to develop a town for them. About 30 rough long houses were built. One long house was called the La Grand Mansion which was rumored to house Queen Antoinette during her exile. However, she was killed before she left the country.

2. Pine Creek Gorge – This place is known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It’s almost fifty (50) miles long and 1,000 feet deep. I took a covered wagon ride through the gorge. It was beautiful but it still nothing compared to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. However, it is still a must see place to visit.

3. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – This museum is located in Cleveland, Ohio and is dedicated to archiving the history of all of those involved in producing music. It was five stories and my favorite part was the Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits exhibit. He was part of the first movement of still photographers who became directors of music videos and television commercials. His photographs were stunning and whimsical. You can tell from the photographs that it looked like he and the subjects had fun doing the photo shoot.

4. Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum – I like classic cars but I do not go gaga over them. However, this museum was the exception! As soon as I walked in, my mouth dropped big time. First of all, when you walk into the building which was the International Headquarters of the Auburn Automobile Company from 1930 to 1936. The architecture of the building and inside was designed in the art deco style. It felt like you step back in time. The collection includes the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg and others automobile dating from 1890’s to the 21st century.

5. Nevada Northern Railway Museum – This museum is located in Ely, Nevada and the site of the best-preserved, least altered, and most complete main yard remaining from the steam railroad era. It is definitely the least altered because when I joined the tour of the yard, the first thing the engineer said before the start of the tour is that the area is not ADA compliance nor does it meet the safety requirements for the general public. In another word, you’re taking this tour at your own risks. My favorite kind of place, I want to see it as if I was walking the area back in time of the 1900’s. I got watch two young adult learning how to operate the steam-powered Wrecking Crane ‘A’ as a way to pass down the history and tradition to the younger generation of engineers. For those who are trains fanatic then this is a must see place on your bucket list.

Three down and eight more of the old back roads of the United States to go. For more information about the eleven back roads, you can go to https://roadtripusa.com

The Smallest Act of Kindess!

                                           “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone”                                                                               – Ronald Reagan

The definition of philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money or time for a good cause.

The only thing I disagree with the definition above is the word “generous”. For a long time, I could not donate money to any charity organization but I always volunteer my time. Whether it is for an hour or for eight, it is something more than they had before.
For me, it started sixteen years ago, the bank I worked for always donated toys for the holiday to a local organizations in the community. One day, the bank sent out a memo asking for volunteer to help out with the Rubber Duck Race fundraiser for one of the local organization called McKinley’s Children Center. 
McKinley’s was founded in the 1900’s providing cares for orphaned, homeless and abused boys. As the organization grew so did the needs of the children in the community. Now, they provide the following services for boys and girls in the community such as Foster Care and Adoptions, Mental Health services and Residential Care with a Special Education school.
I was so impressed with the organization, now I volunteer one day every year for the Rubber Duck Race fundraiser. I even planned my trip so I would be in area at the time of the event so I could continue my tradition of volunteering at this event. My annual duty is collecting the rubber ducks out of the water (over 10,000 of them). I wear the proud badge as the “Duck Collectors”.
That has been the only charity organization that I volunteered for so while on my trip, I made a pit stop to meet with Ron Grace and his family to learn more about his charity organization, Lost for a Reason. Lost for a Reason started over fifteen years ago when he and his wife were broken down on the Navajo Reservation and met with Officer Darryl Curley of the Navajo Police Department. While they waited for help with the motorcycle, Darryl told them the problem and the culture of the Navajo. This planted the seed of how they can help by providing personal items, playground and repairing shelter homes.  

While chatting at the dining table, I asked Ron if they’re going to be at the Horizon Unlimited California event and he said that unfortunately due to budget constraint that they’re unable to make it. I told him that I would be happy to volunteer my time for his organization on his behalf since I am heading back to California and will be there in time for the event. He was elated and will check with the organizer to see if he still can set up a booth at the event and let me know.

Well, I heard from him a couple of days later advising that the organizers are excited that I will be able to continue the promotion of Lost for a Reason cause. So if you’re attending the Horizon Unlimited event in Yosemite, California on Sept. 24th through the 27th, be sure to stop by the booth and say hi.


the Great Northern

The next part of my journey took me on U.S. Route 2 which has been dubbed as the Great Northern. It was named in memory of the pioneer railroad that parallels the western half of the route. It start in Everett, Washington and cross into Canada at the Michigan border. Then it cross back into the U.S. in Vermont and end in Bangor, Maine. Once again, I did not do the entire route due to a personal reason when it meets up with the Canadian border. So below are the list of my six favorite places of the western half of U.S. Route 2.
Going to the Sun Road – It is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park in Montana and going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. The two lane road is quite narrow and winding, especially west of Logan Pass. I camped nearby and decided to head up quite early. Even early in the morning was full of traffic and after talking to some of the local on the other side, they suggested that I should have done it in the early evening when everyone is heading out for dinner. So here is my recommendation and maybe do the tour buses instead of driving so you can take pictures. There were not many pull off stops to get off the bike to take the pictures.

Kootenai Falls – Kootenai Falls is the largest undammed falls in the state. The hike offers an unforgettable and breathtaking view of the Kootenai River. Also at the falls is a swinging bridge that provides access to the opposite side of the Kootenai River. This area has been known as a sacred site to the Kootenai tribe. They view it as the center of the world, a place where tribal members can commune with the spiritual forces that give direction to the tribe and to individual members. 

Old Forts Trail – I only visited a couple of these forts (Fort Assinniboine and Fort Benton are located in the Russell Country Region of Montana) at the end of the trail. I wished I knew about it sooner and would have traveled the same route that were traversed over 100 years ago by wagon by the U.S. Cavalry. In addition the previous two forts, I visited several others in North Dakota as well. Some were elaborate and other you could only envision what it might have looked like back in the day.

Charles Lindberg’s childhood home – The home tour was simple but it was the story of Charles Lindberg that fascinated me the most. His bedroom was a screened-in porch which he slept in all year around. Something that Russ would have done since he loved sleeping outside in our yard all the time. Also, Charles was quite the innovator in anything mechanical such as a water heater and incubator for the chickens.

Gooseberry Falls State Park – This state park is in Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior. It is known for its spectacular waterfalls and river gorge. It has three falls fittingly called Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. Another beautiful hike to visit the falls, a day ride off the U.S. Route 2.   

Niagara Falls – The world-famous set of three large waterfalls on the Niagara River. Both the American and Horseshoe falls can be best seen from the Canadian side of the river (which I highly recommend to see it from the Canadian side). The natural spectacle attracts millions of tourists yearly so it can be a bit hectic trying to visit but it is sure worth it.

Many have told me to bypass the North Dakota section and head south to the South Dakota since there were not much to see. I’m glad that I stuck to my guns and got to enjoy seeing some of the forts. I only wished that I planned it better to visit all of them. This brings up many possibilities for road trips in North America that could be based on themes. I also noticed that I not a tree person so I don’t care for traveling in forest but rather be riding out in the open plains such as North Dakota. I guess everyone has their own preference of where to travel and what to see.

Two down and nine more of the old back roads of the United States to go. For more information about the eleven back roads, you can go to https://roadtripusa.com