Sunday, August 24, 2008

Random Thoughts from the Yellow Brick Road

The yellow brick road is really a purple line in a Garmin 2610 and that is exactly what I did for 5704 miles. It is going to take me a while to sort through the 1500+ photos I took, and recollect the 61 National Parks in 13 states and 1 province and 101 INKs. With this trip I completed the IBA Master Travel Award ( see here ). While this is what I originally set out to accomplish, I have reaped much much more than that. I came, I saw, I experienced and I learned. This might be an addiction of the good kind. There are 391 national parks out there so there is so much more to see. (you should be able to click any photo and see if full size)

Before leaving, I contemplated whether or not, I would enjoy traveling alone for 16 days. I rationalized saying I should not be lonely because once you are on your bike you are essentially alone. It is only at those stops that you would miss talking about a sight you may have seen, a sensation you felt on the road, or a particular aroma you may have smelled. Conclusion, I just didn’t mine riding alone. I spoke with people at the stops like they were my long lost friends, spoke with the bar tenders at dinner (it is much cozier to sit at the bar versus a table for 4 by yourself), and the folks at the national parks are just some of the friendliest and most helpful people on earth.

It is a formiable task to update your blog with an overwhelming amount of information. Note to myself get a wireless card for laptop and make sure you stay in places with wireless. 2nd note to myself once you do that, will you really feel like writing or just chillin watchin the local news on TV. 3rd note to myself don't worry about the wireless NIC card.

Iowa has cornered the market on corn. There sure is a lot of it. They have soy beans as well.

The Yellow Brick Road connection. How could I have forgotten this pic.


The dirt in the midwest is black. Must account for why so much farming happens out there.

Riding in Illinois and Indiana is very very boring

St Louis Missouri is a very very busy city. It is has that old time dirty look of a very industrial city. The arches are truly amazing and they do appear to be a gateway to the west

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial ceiling in St Louis is a work of art.

Gettin your kicks on Route 66 is still possible but the road has been replaced with the interstate system. Rt 66 was officially designated as irrelevant.

There a ton of windmills being erected in the mid west. You may have to click the second one to see all the windmills.

Once you hit Arkansas the roads South to North (the direction I was traveling) were made with a straight edge and do not vary more than an 1/8th of an inch over the 400+ miles to Omaha, Nebraska no matter what road you select. The roads don’t get remotely twisty again until you hit the Adirondacks in NY. Wisconsin might have roads with a few bends in on second thought.

Missouri names many of their roads AZ, ZZ, QA, which I can not figure out why and forgot to ask. They use numbered routes too, but a lot of the roads are lettered routes. I looked up Wikipedia and found the following link if you are interested.

The walk from the free parking lot at Fort Snelling is a much longer and harder walk than the park ranger at Science Museum in St Paul, MN indicated. It is at least a mile versus a football field in length and the small hill is not bad going down, but the mountain to go back up is a bitch.

Fort Scott, Kansas looks like an old wild west town I use to see on TV.

The state capital building in Des Moines, Iowa is an awesome building

I just like this picture it is on RT 62 just east of Tahlequah Oklahoma. It is also right around here that I figured out why the state of Kansas was a lighter shade of yellow than Missouri on the 2610. I had not loaded the detail maps west of Missouri into the unit. Now I know why I packed my laptop and a card reader. There are just some things more important than underwear. {g} It took quite awhile to load the detail maps into the unit at the motel that night.

The sand dunes in Michigan are huge

The sunset on Lake Michigan is every bit as good as the sunset in Key West

How could you not want to see this once in your life time. Better hurray since it is going the way of the Old Man in the Mountain and the Arches in Utah through nature's doing. Nope we aren't the ones destroying these.

It is easy to go fast on the roads in the Midwest. 90 mph is nothing.

I think the Great Lakes has as many if not more lighthouses than New England

When you tell a park ranger that you will find a place to stay in Ontonagon, Michigan and they smile at you, you might want to ask them why they smiled. They just might know something, but are being polite and don't want to ruin your plans.

This historic just makes you think of the Wild West. Yup this is the place where the riders took the mail west.

The least populated place I have been too. I think it might be the fastest growing or the fastest shrinking town in the US.


I might chase all the old US Routes after I have finished visiting all the National Parks, so I started taking pictures of them to document the ones I have been to.

P1020668 P1020695 P1020961

These guys are all over the place causing trouble.


I passed this sign and just had to turn around and see what this place was all about. Very effective advertising.


There some unbelievable water falls out there.



How could I not resist stopping for this.


For you car nuts out there, the Walter P Chrysler Museum is a great place. GM has a pitiful display of their heritage and Ford Museum is huge and I will return to Detroit. Observation, in Detroit there are many many new office building with huge parking lots. Many of the parking lots have only the front rows filled up with cars. A sign of the times in Detroit, but I am convinced Detroit will have a come back, but the Lions will still suck .

The GM Renaissance building is pretty impressive


My trip was international. I got my passport at the beginning of the season and I was just dying to use (so that I think I got some value out of the money I dropped) so I headed over the top of Lake Ontario to New York


Niagara Falls are impressive but...


the hydroelectric plant down stream is even more impressive. It controls the water over the falls, which can be shut off the falls if they want.


Outside of Buffalo I had trash for dinner and slop for breakfast. Trash was much better than slop, but slop is pretty good too.

This is trash


This is slop


And of course I found a diner, which served the slop


Last stop was Saratoga Springs, NY picking up the last of the INK


Stay tuned for more pictures of those special places that I visited



Tavana said...

Well i'm glad you had fun on your trip Dad!! :) Johnny definitely wants to join you next summer on one of your crazy adventures... Maybe just maybe you'll get jeff and i to come on a SHORT one ;) love ya!

bill said...

great stuff will, i'm impressed with your good memory, a month after the trip!