Friday, July 27, 2007

Final Thoughts…

Don’t be afraid. As usual, all the advice you really ever need can be found scrawled on the walls in a public restrooms. On my last day of riding I found this quote in a ferry terminal bathroom: “Freedom is my only gospel.” That line summed up my trip in five words.

The best of all freedoms, in my opinion, is freedom from fear. Don’t fear failure, don’t fear risk, don’t be afraid to get out and see the world. What I found on this adventure was that every person I met was friendly, helpful, and kind. It didn’t matter if I was in a dive bar in Connecticut, a lake house near Cleveland, a two-hundred person town in Illinois, a huge city like Minneapolis, an Indian reservation in Montana, or on the back roads of Washington. Total strangers offered me cold drinks, hot meals, bike repairs, or a place to stay for the night, for no other reason than that they liked helping people. On more than one occasion people drove by, stopped their cars, and got out to just to chat, offer snacks or directions, or share some local history.

However, what I did notice is that folks would often say “well we’re nice here in rural Montana, but people aren’t like this everywhere.” Well guess what, people are overwhelmingly nice all across this county, I know it, I just lived it, but don’t take my word for it, step out the door and find out for yourself.

30 Seconds of Hair Removal


The Best:

Characters : The members of the World Explorers Club in Kempton Illinois:

Climb: Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Decent: Down from Rainy Pass in eastern Washington, 15+ miles of wide shoulders and waterfalls

View: Every new angle in Glacier National Park offers another breathtaker

Campsite : Colville Washington National Forrest, Panhandle Campground – beautiful, quiet, and free:

Colville Panhandle

Pasta: Piero's Pasta House, Geneva on the Lake, Ohio – excellent pesto!

Bagel: Pedretti's Bakery, Elkader Iowa

Egg and cheese sandwich: West Glacier

Turkey Sandwich: Big Sky Pantry, Montana, Idaho border – Fresh baked bread

Breakfast Value: The Perkins #12 – as this haiku will explain:

Four cakes and two eggs
Bacon or Sausage, hash browns
Wheat toast, five dollars

By the Numbers

Days on the road: 54

Total Miles: 3804

Average Speed: 12MPH

Average Miles per day: 70.26

High Speed: 42.3 – Endless Hill region of Pennsylvania

People who gave me the Finger: 1, in eastern Washington

Overwhelmingly Kind Strangers: At least 20 who I now have e-mail/mailing addresses for, but truly, many, many more

Cars full of teenagers who blasted air horns at me as they drove by: 2 – where do they learn that trick?

Days it rained a little: 4

Are there other stats you’d like? Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can dig up for you.

Mom and Dad greet me at Logan Airport

Mt. Rainier from the plane

Jazz bar where I celebrated the end of great trip