Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mother Goose makes it home

My friend Mike E. graciously agreed to fly out to New York, join us on our grand finale ride and then hop into Mother Goose and drive her back across the country. That was Sunday, June 14.

Seems like ages ago.

But time flies, and on Tuesday, June 22, I received a note from Mike that "Mother Goose has Landed".

He added "The Goose survived but has about 40,000 bugs impaled on her nose....All the equipment behaved nicely in the back seat the whole way home and no one asked are we there yet?" "

I wrote back that I looked forward to retrieving my bike and extra luggage and hearing more about his journey.

I was pleasantly surprised the next day to receive an email recap of his adventure. It was interesting for me to hear that his impressions along his route closely paralleled mine.

Here's Mike's recap:

Thanks Mike for letting me post this!

"People in this country are generally kind, gracious, and generous.  Staying at small hotels, I found proud owners and managers happy to provide not only a room and meal recommendations, but wanting to engage in conversations about my travels.  Same story in the restaurants, especially at breakfast.  Don’t miss breakfast.  Really interesting people get up early for breakfast.

Most interesting place I stayed from a bike-rider’s perspective was Togwotee Mountain Lodge in Wyoming.  I had gotten there mid-afternoon and decided to ride back up to the Continental Divide I had driven across a few miles earlier.  As soon as I left the driveway I caught up with a fellow rider.  Turns out Clark was doing a solo cross-country ride to raise fund for Nepal earthquake relief.  Riding a 33 pound touring bike equipped with steel fenders and a pannier rack on the back (not being used at the time), he struggled up the mountain as we chatted.  He had to stop a couple times “to get a drink of water.”  He never got to the point of gasping, but it was clear he was feeling every bit of the 9000 foot elevation.  His sister was providing SAG, so when we saw her car parked on the side of the road, we knew we were getting close to the top.

The next morning  I found that the Lodge was an unofficial gathering place for riders crossing the country.  Two Norwegians were riding the Divide from Canada to Mexico.  Two other riders were participating in the Race Across America.  I saw a tandem pull up, and as the stoker got off, he was assisted into the Lodge by a helper.  He was blind, but that wasn’t going to stop him from riding.  You can read Thomas’ story at   Check out the page Actual to Dubois to see some of the scenery I enjoyed in the Goose.  Yes, it was that nice!

Note from Dave: here's a photo I uploaded...
Funkiest place I stayed was Dawson’s Lodge in Chemult, Oregon.  So far out of the way that you’ll need a good map to find it.  LuAnn had joined me in Boise, so we got to enjoy this experience together.  As we drove up she looked at me and said, “What…..did….you…”  Built in 1929, it looked like a 5 room hotel out of a western.  Only thing missing was the hitching post for horses.  The rooms had doors that opened to a common veranda furnished with rocking chairs that were as old as the hotel, maybe older.  All the rooms had a door that opened to an inside hallway as well.  The innkeepers kept all the inside room doors open so you could look in the rooms as you pass through the hall, and each had a different theme.  We stayed in the Cowboy Room.  Roy Rogers, Dale Evans,  and the Lone Ranger were in old photos on the wall.  Our bedframe was made up of 9-inch pine posts.  Huge!  A set of Texas longhorns hung above the bed, and a Stetson hat adorned one end.  They did have indoor plumbing, but there was a sign telling us to take quick showers not because of the water shortage, but because they only had 100 gallons of hot water for the whole hotel.  Ma innkeeper had no teeth, Pa innkeeper was rail-thin and talked a mile a minute.  Ma explained that the Chalet Restaurant down the street was the place to eat dinner because they slaughter their own beef.  If you eat at KJ’s across the street, you’ll get gas and won’t be able to sleep.

LuAnn and I headed over to Crater Lake with the intention of riding bikes around the 33-mile Rim Drive.  First of all, let me say that we were stunned at the beauty of Crater Lake.  If you’ve not been there, and we hadn’t, immediately put it on your bucket list.  An absolute must-do.  We had gusty winds at the top, and the road was narrow.  The ranger at the entrance had  warned us to be careful because some of the road had no guard rail and sheer thousand-foot drops.  We saw what he meant, and I’ll tell you the truth, I was terrified.  On a calm day with no traffic, the ride would have been enjoyable.  Gusty winds, sheer drops, traffic with drivers more interested in looking out their window at the lake than in looking at the road… way!  We kept the bikes in the van and put on our hiking shoes.  As we walked the trail, it often came within 2 or 3 feet of the edge of the crater.  I stayed well away from the precipice.  I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of falls.

Travelling across the country, I didn’t stop at all the sights along the way.  I missed Orville Wright’s birthplace, I missed the Corn Palace and the John Deer Tractor Museum in Iowa, I missed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthplace.  I did stop at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and then drove across some of the most beautiful unspoiled prairie in eastern Wyoming.  Speaking of South Dakota, though, my thoughts were that it was too bad that you weren’t allowed to enjoy the beauty of its prairie due to the visual assault coming from endless stands of billboards.  I saw more billboards there than in all the other states combined.  I don’t know what Wall Drug is, but I must have seen over 200 billboards for that alone.  Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Old federal highways and state highways offer a low-stress alternative to Interstate highways.  Often only two-lane, very light traffic, but watch your speed as you travel through old, forgotten towns.  I remember I had to drop my speed from 65 mph to 45 mph for a town which proudly posted its population as 4.  I thought, “That’s not a town.  That’s a house.”

Sections of Ohio and Indiana roads were in pretty sad shape, but far and away, without any question, the worst roads I travelled were CALIFORNIA.  There were sections that I thought were going to shake everything off the walls.  More ruts, more patches, more really bad repair jobs than anywhere.  Just awful.  How do the other states wind up with pool-table smooth roads while we endure this crap?

Surprise along the way:  the nothing-ness of Wyoming, Idaho, and eastern Oregon.  Wyoming was pretty, though, and I did see cowboys on horses rounding up calves.  I thought it must be staged for the travelers.  The Great Northern Basin in Oregon had a desert beauty of its own.  Endless miles of sagebrush and wildflowers in blue, green, yellow and red.  On the downside, I couldn’t get out of Idaho fast enough.

Enough for now.  Catch me on a ride and I can tell you about trying to figure out what all the icons represent on the Nav system in the Goose, what DEF is and how to find it, and having to choose between country/western or Praise God radio stations across much of the country.



  1. What a delightful summary of his journey west! We've been to Mt Rushmore, ridden through Iowa, and marveled at the beauty of Crater Lake in Oregon. Loos like there are a few more places we'll need to visit :) Well written ... thanks for sharing!

  2. Ummm ... "LOOKS" where's spellcheck when you need it!

  3. Thanks for that, Dave. Makes me want to go back to Wyoming and Colorado.