Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Motorcycle Ride around Lake Superior: Thunder Bay to Merrill Wisconsin.

We conquered the Gitche Gumee.   This is what Longfellow called Lake Superior in Hiawatha; 1200 miles in 4 days an incredible ride.

We leave Thunder Bay on our longest and final day of the trip, but first, a stop for breakfast at Tim Horton's a Canadian institution.  It was a gorgeous trip, again more great scenery.  The road from Thunder Bay to the US border switched back through a set of unnamed mountains. Crossing rivers and passing lakes we soak up the last bit of Canadian beauty before crossing the border.

The border crossing was uneventful with a welcome back we stop at the Grand Portage National Monument.  Grand Portage the site of a trading settlement until it was moved north by the North West Trading Company in 1797.   It was good to walk through the living history site of a recreation of the Trading Post.

Once in Minnesota the route starts to see more traffic, as we get closer to Duluth we encounter traffic lights.   The ride is still incredibly scenic along the North Shore in Minnesota.  We stop for lunch in Twin Harbors the last town before Duluth.   Riding through Duluth starts out on a street through a lakeside neighborhood before turning onto Interstate 35.

Once on Interstate 35, it is a fast trip to Duluth.  We turn onto the Harbor Bridge and ride into Superior Wisconsin.  We head down US Highway 53 for the Highway 2 turnoff for the ride into North Central Wisconsin.   It is a long trip down to Merrill not arriving until 8 PM.  It was a long day of riding to complete our mission of riding the Gitche Gumee.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Motorcycle Ride around Lake Superior - Merrill Wisconsin to Thunder Bay

Well we are finally on our way.   We left Merrill Wisconsin yesterday, staying the night in the upper peninsula of Michigan at Manistique on Lake Michigan. Stopping for a snack of cheese curds and smoked fish along the way which gave us a taste of the north.  Getting up the next morning we then rode for 3 hours crossing the boarder into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie.
There was a long bridge from the US side to the Canadian side. Which goes over the locks between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.  It was an uneventful crossing with a few question about alcohol and Guns we then got a smile and an enjoy your trip.  We then rode for about another 4 hours in a light rain and fog to Wawa, Ontario a small town on the north eastern banks of Lake Superior,  We are bedded down for the night at the Wawa Motor Inn.  The light rain and fog limited the scenery but what we saw was still stunning.

Wawa to Thunder Bay what can I say its all about the scenery; 5 hours of great scenery.   Getting on the road in a heavy fog was not the way I wanted to start, but by noon the fog had burned off and it turned into a incredible ride.  Miles upon miles of lake, mountain, and stream vistas.  At some points it felt like you were going to ride into the Lake.   The way the turns carved and switched back along the lake, it was like you were riding into heaven.

What surprises me about this place is the feeling of remoteness you feel like you are riding on the edge of the world.  The road is filled will motorcyclist, this is part of the trans-Canadian highway so there are a lot of people who are riding across Canada.  We'll have to save that for another trip we first have to get around this massive lake and back into the USA.  Next stop Duluth Minnesota.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Reflections in Travel: New York City

I have been to New York twice in my life.  The first time was in February of 2001.  This was my Army retirement trip.  I had just started working as a contractor in November of 2000 and I needed a break.   So Terri and I flew up there for the weekend.  It was an incredible time, but my most vivid memory of the trip was going to the top of the World Trade Center.  For me, it is still hard to believe that 7 short months later the World Trade Center would cease to exist and the world as we once knew it would be changed forever.

I can remember sitting at Laguardia waiting for our return flight back to Nashville watching the news reports of Dale Earnhardt's death.  It's funny how you can remember exactly where you were at during specific points in history.   Particularly when the oddest of things happen.  Like when they announced the verdict to the first OJ Simpson trial, I was standing in line at the Wendy's in Breckenridge Colorado getting lunch for my family.  It is a crazy life that we all live.

So fast forward to 11 September 2001, I am at home sitting in my basement writing functional descriptions for an Army Logistics Web site.   I get a phone call from my mother telling me to turn on the television.  Well, I really don't need to explain what she was telling me to watch.

Two days later I had to fly to the DC area to give a briefing on the Logistics Program we were working on. Flying a couple days after 911 was very surreal.   Imagine an almost empty airport with military police and working dogs walking around it.  I remember there being less than 10 people on my flight. The shock of what happened had failed to set in completely.   It's like you could feel the world changing and I was pissed off about it.

So back to New York 7 month later teaching a logistics program course for a week.  Seven months after the tragedy the city was still in shock.   I was in Queens at Fort Totten in view of the Throgs Neck Bridge both in a high state of alert and heavily guarded. I can remember in the train and subway stations makeshift memorials to the individual victims.  During my stay, I was treated to a Yankees game free to all military and veterans. The nation was getting used to the new normal whatever we finally decide it to be. I can remember the game sitting in several different sections of the old Yankee Stadium.  Getting a feel for the house that Ruth built.  Of course, it is now dust also being replaced by a new ballpark across the street.

In a lot of ways the nation still hasn't decided what new normal is.  We are continuing to define this American Experience.   As I travel around this great nation I can feel we are better than we once were.  Things are moving in the right direction; of course, we still have a long way to go.  Who can say they would like to go back to how American Life use to be 50 years ago certainly not I.  I am looking forward to my next trip to New York the best city in the world.