US & Canada Trip
Sept & Oct 2005

News Archive
(listed in chronological order)

09-05 Monday AM:
 I spent last night in Grand Forks, ND.  The Check Inn hotel had wireless Internet access.  Having a table, controlled light (no glare on the screen), power (battery only lasted about 3 hours) lead to an evening to process the first three days of maps, pictures, video.  The process took some time - hopefully future posts will be faster - about 2 hours per day to process.  I started about 9pm and went to bed about 3am.  I certainly slept in until just before check out time.

Now, I've checked out but am sitting at their breakfast table having some OJ and beagle - finishing the intro page and readying it for posting (their wireless I-Net still available).  I might be here for an hour or so cleaning things up and sending out an initial mass e-mail notice.   Minot ND a possible destination - or perhaps up into Canada - but not before I pass by one of the "center of the U.S." locations.

09-05 Monday PM, Kenmare ND: Today was a general "process some miles" type of day.  Nothing in particular I had on the task list - though I did see one blurb on a map regarding a geo point.  Lunch at Hardee's was spent with another rider who invited me to his table (nice chatting!).  Another gent also came out asking about the cameras.  Having "contact cards" handy makes it easy to give others the website address (though for some reason just about everyone always turns it over to also read the back).  At Rugby I easily saw the marker as I was told I would.  Leaving town I saw some rain falling in the distance - so for the first time I pulled the electronics and stowed them and put on the rain jacket.  Twenty or thirty miles later, and not more than one or two small drops to hit me, I stopped at the town of Granville looking for something to drink as well as to resume "dry mode" riding.  Turning around at the north end of town I noticed a vehicle with the hood up - over to see what's up I go.  Jerry and Steve are dealing with a motor that wants to die at its choice.  With the hood up and the air cleaner off the carb it died and a nice fire started.  I tried to cover it / put it out by placing my gloved hands over it - but I wasn't able to snuff it.  This is where I sat back and smiled  -  Jerry just pulls off his T-shirt and calmly balls it up and snuffs out the flame - then sticks it back on - LOL - I've been schooled.

2005-09-09 Friday AM, Hinton, AB: OYE, not much to put down for accomplishment on the website these past two days.  It was the plan for the evening - but that changed for a refreshing alternative.  At the hotel check-in counter (OUCH - last room available - $130 [rooms in Minot, ND were unusually low - about $26 - decent with I-Net too - the Tunnel Mountain Campground at Banff was $24 IIRC) another guest was talking to the receptionist about setting up the wireless connection - seems he had some issues in the past.  I offered assistance to which he said - sure - come on up.  After an unpack and shower I went up.  Brian, the Newfie, and Ryan, the Albertan, were there - and issues with the USB Wireless adapter (NetGear) existed.  Driver issues fixed, correct wireless network selected, proxy server addressed it was able to get out.  For the help we sat back, had some beers and enjoyed a good evening talking.  Nice to meet you two!!  Thanks!

2005-09-13 Whitehorse, YT: I'm taking a day or two off.  Nice hotel in Whitehorse, less expensive than others I've stayed at - plus they have Internet access.  I'm working to track down a water pump for the bike.  I found one in San Diego but working via e-mail with the person is tedious (need to get a phone number...).  I also called a salvage house near Edmonton - they are checking to see if they have one (Yes!  It's on the way).  Whitehorse is a decent sized place, pop 23272, (which is why I pushed to get here before the pump change) but it really shuts down at night.  The streets clear off and lights go out.  It's a rainy drizzly day.  There's a Canadian Tire store a block or two away - I think I'll see about going through it.  The bike doesn't need an oil change just yet - perhaps in Anchorage or Fairbanks.  

2005-09-14 Whitehorse, YT: Well, the pump will finally be on the way.  They couldn't ship it yesterday and shipping was odd - they typically ship COD and not the "included on the sale ticket" that I'm used to.  They didn't know what the shipping cost would be.  UPS also does not have next day to here but rather two day.  That'll add one more day to the stay.  With changes to the main trip page complete I think I'll go wash the bike and do some sightseeing around the area - should be a dry day as there is a bit of blue sky now.

2005-09-17 am, Whitehorse, YT:  UGH.  The pump was supposed to arrive by Friday aft - it didn't.  I checked back in and I'm now sitting here for the weekend.  I enjoyed the downtime for the past few days as it really made it "vacation" by having nothing to do - but my mind was set on getting moving when the pump arrived on Friday - to which I'm not.  I'm going to put the old pump back in (20 minutes) and go for a day ride or two.  Right now it's not raining but it might at some point this weekend.  I really hope the package arrives Monday - UPS Canada's package tracking lacks detail that I'm used to with U.S. tracking detail.  Web detail showed it as leaving Edmonton and being in Calgary (this appears to be correct) but the telephone based tracking service listed it as being "Out for delivery."

Hmmm - how far away is Haines / Skagway??  Skagway - the train tour town - is only about 2 hours away.  Check for train reservations - done deal - 12:45p for Sunday made.  I'll take a train ride.  It looked interesting from weeks back thumbing through "The Milpost" but I didn't think I'd make it down to those towns (or at least one of them).  Looking into the distance from Haines to Whitehorse - about a 4 hour drive - possible to take a ferry between the two towns and do the "other half" of the loop.  The Alaska Marine Highway website hass issues processing bookings and their phone number is not available on the weekend (sheesh) so a ferry trip is possibly out of the question.  If by chance another operator is available, at a time I'm available, I might do a ferry ride otherwise I'll just backtrack up to Whitehorse.

2005-09-25 1:32pm, Anchorage, AK:
 Well, I'm in Anchorage.  I stayed about an hours drive north last night.  I need to process the decision for a rear tire - have a spare shipped in from Rockford, buy one locally, or take the ferry down to Victoria Island (and then a shortish ride and ferry) to Seattle (where a shipped tire will await).  Aside from that the general plan is to ride about the Keni Penn (Kenai, Homer, Seward, Whittier).  This should take a couple, maybe three, days.  Temps are in the mid 50's (F) but yesterday I had temps in the 30's - no issue - just turn up the jacket a bit (so long as the roads are good).  I did go through just a tad bit of snow crossing a low summit north of Fairbanks but it wasn't cold enough to stick to the road.  I'm sitting in a cafe using the Internet from a couple business away - final uploads nearing completion.  I'm looking at staying at the Spenard International Hostel tonight then Monday finish the tire issue and trek down to Homer.  Stay in Homer then make my way back up with side jaunts to Kenai, Whittier, Seward.  By then the tire should be in and I'll get it installed and be on my way.  If you see my writing has changed - I've decided to not take the ferry ($500 to $650 from Whittier, AK  to Bellingham WA).  Battery is running low - all for now.

If some items on the recent upload batch do not work - I'll see to tending them later - the connection I'm on has been spotty and some items might not have processed correctly.

2005-09-26 10:06p, Homer, AK:  The tire is to be shipped from home (UPS Tracking # 1Z 8TF 848 02 9908 8673 so you can head over to and see where it is) so I certainly am not taking the ferry.  Anchorage Honda has 'typical bike store hours' of Tuesday through Saturday.  Today's Monday - typical to not find some bike stores open.  Several were though but none had a tire my size. Anchorage Suzuki / Arctic Cat was helpful so I called them back to see if I could ship a tire to them (they didn't have any my size in stock and estimated a multi-week wait) - sure thing.  Won't cost much to get the change taken care of.  I'll get an oil change too.

2005-09-29 2:13p, Anchorage, AK (Wendy's for Inet [primarily] and a salad):
 The tire is changed!!!  The oil is changed.  Thanks to both Suzuki / Arctic Cat and Honda.  Suzuki was open last Monday (Honda wasn't) so I spoke with them for the service work.  Both seem like good companies to work with.  I'll head to Seattle as quick as possible but, if not too far out of the way, I will make a stop at the Liard Hot Springs [Google search] (just looking - it's right about 135 miles east of Watson Lake (where I might spend a night)  Two hours over, a couple hours there, two hours back - I'm thinking it's likely.  It's in a park (so it's not commercialized) and way too many people say it is the best and I have to stop.  So, if it's not too far out of the way I will stop.  I'm going to upload some posts shortly and be off to Tok, AK and then to Whitehorse, YT (get the waiting water pump).

2005-10-01 8:23a, Whitehorse, YT - BeezKneez Backpackers Hostel:
 I'm heading out today for at least Watson Lake / Cassiar Hwy.  Most likely I'll head two hours east of Watson to visit the Liard hotsprings.  I'll either camp at the springs or will head back to Watson for a hotel.  After that I'll head down the Cassiar Hwy and make way to Seattle - Dan & Carolina's house for a couple days.  The Cassiar Hwy trip may take two or three days.

I also noticed last evening that the video link for 09-18 was incorrect.  I went to view the train trip and did not get it.  The 09-22 was played instead.  So - if you have not seen the 09-18 video (Skagway train ride) you can either get to it from that days page or just click this link:  2005-09-18.mpg (17 MB, 4 min)

2005-10-06 11:03am, Evertt, WA - Dan & Carolina's house:
 Just a quick note - I'm in Seattle!  Laundry and web updates are the task of the day.  Check in later and I should have some updates processed.  Tomorrow perhaps for the complete set to date.

2005-10-07 11:56pm, Evertt (Edmonds??) WA: I spent the morning washing the bike.  It is cleaner but there are marks of mud still about.  Upon removing the aux fuel tank and inspecting the tail supports I found one cracked tube and one fully broken tube.  Off to the yellow pages - Welders.  The first I called (Glenn's Welding) said they could take care of my job at 1p.  I said I'd be there at 12:30 to start the disassembly process.  The place was close and today was a nice riding day.  I was out of Glenn's - Brian taking care of the welding along with a touch up of gloss black paint - cha ching.  I have pictures of the welding progress but am out of date on getting things posted.  Dialup here - wireless high speed is just out of range.  I'll be helping Dan (at least a little) on a bathroom flooring project (wonderboard and tile) in the morning and it sounds as if a lunch gathering with some folks.  Perhaps Sat eve I'll process more of the pictures and video (then taking a trip to a cafe for a fat pipe to send updates out). I'd like to get everything up to date but I don't want to overstay my welcome from these fine hosts.  The updates I said I'd have up probably went to broken links - sorry - access dropped / slowed to a crawl near the start of the upload and I didn't make time to re-process the batch until now.

2005-10-16  6:57pm, Sequim WA:  Wow - what a time!  I spent two days out near Neah Bay.  The first day since leaving the Keenan Home I took a ferry out to Bainbridge Island and headed out to Cape Flattery.  It was a rainy day which dulled the views.  Heading back I debated heading to Sequim or Port Angeles (larger towns) - about 2 hours east of Neah Bay.  As I passed a hotel between Clallum Bay and Sekiu a voice told me to turn back and get a room - I listed - and boy am I glad I did!  The next day was glorious!  Since I was only 16 (wonderful, smooth, along the shore curvy asphalt) miles out I headed back.  The day went long, I explored, met several folks, and thouroughly enjoyed life.  I then debated a spot to park myself - tent it I would (though rain was probable for the next AM).  After not doing much today I headed back to Sequim for some supplies (more mini-DV tapes needed) and a hotel - Internet access is a must.  My goal is to take a day and simply work on pictures and video.  FWIW - AOL IM ID: JamesWmson - I should have it up and running if you want to IM me.

2005-10-22 7:30p - Kelso WA: A stop for a shower and battery charge.  Heading west tomorrow then down to Florence OR to meet up with another ST.n'er.  From there I'll see about Crater Lake.  All for now.

2005-10-23 8:10p - Seaside OR: Just a short day today.  Mass at 10:30. Checkout at Noon. Laundry and head out of town. Seaside's hostel (link) was the destination. Nice place. My plan is to stay here an extra day and work on content for the website. WhooHoo!
2005-10-30 12:30p - Eureka CA: Staying with Dr. Gil and BeckZuki at the ST.N Hotspot. Taking some time to sit back and chat as well as to tickle some keys / config some PC's.
2005-10-31 9:00a - Eureka CA: Leaving the Eureka ST.N Hotspot. Will take CA299 East towards Redding CA. Drop down to near Cottonwood CA then take CA36 west back to the coast. From there I'll follow the "Avenue of the Giants" road (right next to Hwy 101 - Shivley to Redway CA). At Leggett I'll head west to Route 1 along the coast and take it down to Sea Ranch CA taking the road east to Annapolis CA and Geyserville only to turn around and ride it back out to the coast. Down the coast to San Francisco where I'll look into some bike maint - oil change, tires - and some riding pants (the zippers are gone on the JR's). The ride from Eureka to SanFran will probably take two days (to maybe three if lots of scenery stops take place)  as it is just about 700 miles.

2005-11-04 9p - Sausalito CA:
This is goofy - I'm sitting on the bike, down by the bay at a parking lot in Sausalito CA. Tennis courts in front of me - office buildings (with open wireless access) behind. I'm processing some e-mail and posting some web updates. Will spend the next day or few processing updates.  All for now.

2005-11-07 6p - Midpines CA (25 miles from Yosemite):
Headed out of Santa Cruz late morning for the Yosemite Bug hostel / hotel / campground. Nice place! Wireless Internet with an onsite cafe are two big factors. I spent a couple down days at the Marin Headlands hostel - many web pages are just about ready. I'll stay here, with the net access, until I have a bunch of days posted (10/15 thru 10/22 perhaps). No cell phone coverage here - send an e-mail or IM me (AOL JamesWmson).

2005-11-09 7:50p - Midpines, CA (Yosemite):
A blue sky day. Head to the park. Saw the sights. Walked the short walk to the Yosemite falls and ate lunch. Glacier Point & Tioga roads are listed as closed but they might open up today. Glacier Point did - so I went - good scenery (the whole place is). I'll head to the coast tomorrow (Kings Canyon and Sequoia will be another trip).

2005-11-12 7:30a - Cambria, CA:
Jumped down US 1 most of the day yesterday. A side shot in the morning at Monterey to see the Laguna Seca Raceway. Another stop, near the end of the day, for the Hearst Castle. Will scoot south again today - no stops planned with a possible destination of Santa Monica (hostel).

2005-11-20 2:52p - Show Low, AZ:  Heading to the Safford AZ area - looking at a campground tonight (depending on the temps). Will ride up US 191 in AZ tomorrow and head for a hostel in Alb, NM tomorrow eve. Denver (family) the night after that. All is running well on the bike - starting to make some headway.

2005-11-27: Staying with family for a bit - doing some chores on the bike (oil change and check valve clearances) and helping with some tasks about the house (network, CATV, phone cable runs from basement to second floor attic - oh joy - in addition to other misc stuff - good things to tackle). When I leave here I'll head straight south to TX - Big Bend and Brownsville areas.  All for now. Another web day (11-09) has been posted. More in a few days.

Noon - Highlands Ranch (Denver), CO: Planning to leave town and head south to Tucumcari NM (a hostel). It will be good to get rolling again - but it was fun spending time with family. The plan is to stay tonight in Tucumcari NM and perhaps the next evening in Big Bend National Park (Texas). From there it looks to be maybe a days ride down to Brownsville TX (southern tip of TX). Once there I'll start the jaunt up, over, and down to Key West FL.

2005-12-15 - Thursday - Key West Florida: Whoo Hoo - I made it. One of the "destination" places for this trip. Temps are nice - t-shirt and shorts at 8pm (sunset was 5:40pm). I plan to stay here two nights - maybe three - before heading up the east coast. How far up the east coast before getting back home (Illinois) is up for grabs. I figure somewhere about North Carolina I'll have to make a decision - direct to Illinois or a little chance of getting up to Maine for a picture.

2005-12-23 - Friday - Philadelphia, PA:
Well, the only note here is to say - check out the entry for 12-23. I'm posting it ahead of the prior days that have not been processed - just because...

2005-12-26 - Monday - Bar Harbor, ME: Kicking back at the Bar Harbor Hostel - nice place. Three others in the house - fairly quiet. Relaxing. I'm timing the weather - it looks like a few windows will be available so I won't be sitting hostage to the snow long. This would be a good place to sit though. Tomorrow looks to be a snow day but the next couple look to be open. I'll head to the Quoddy State Park - the easternmost portion of the "lower 48." From there I'll drop back to New York and start heading west to home. The trip is winding to a close.

2005-12-27 - Tuesday - Bar Harbor, ME: I'm pretty well decided to extend by another day here. Tomorrow could either be a LONG day - head up to the Quoddy Head State Park and other sights and then head down as far as possible - hitting a hotel most likely instead of a hostel. The alternative, since weather looks to be cooperating, would be to do the sights and come right back to Bar Harbor - heading out the NEXT day to head south. Weather for Wednesday looks to be dry / party cloudy. Weather for Thursday - down the coast - near the coast (not inland) - looks to be warmer but rainy. I can deal with the rain - so long as it's warm enough to not freeze - which looks to be the case. It would make for a more relaxing - not pushed - ride (a good thing). Some good pictures are sure to follow - Some coastline images, possibly the big whirlpool (in the transition time from high to low tide), Quoddy Head S.P. w/ lighthouse.

2005-12-29, 7:10am  - Thursday - Bar Harbor, ME: I'm heading home. I tried to see the whirlpool in Eastport Maine yesterday but I didn't see it (it was low tide at the time - I tried to time the tide.....).  Here is a good website. Read the whole page and then go back and click the "Don Dunbar's Photos" link in the first paragraph. Quoddy Head State Park (lighthouse) was nice. Pictures to follow. Today I'll head south - destination a hostel in New Paltz NY. Doesn't the opening picture remind you of a horror movie shot? If I have time, and the job easy (I _think_ it is but the book says to remove the fuel tank - I don't think that is required - it'll be easy dig right at the t-stat - if I can R&R it easily and have the part I will). I'll replace the thermostat on the bike. I'd like to see if the fuel economy chnges for the rest of the trip. I've seen 31 to 39 - not terrible but it should be better..Peop

2005-12-31 - Saturday - Indianapolis, IN: I'm getting close to home. Weather looks decent for the final pushes. I might stop by Champaign IL - Jeff, a V4 rider, e-mailed some time back is there. The next overnight is planned for Streamwood IL - Ken's place. From there it's a rock skip to home - four months to the day since the start.

2006-01-02 - Monday - Rockford, IL: I AM HOME. I took the day off yesterday and didn't post anything - sorry for the hanging on (about 815 "unique" web visitors listed for December 05). "The 1208" is a good place to be. "Home" now is my parent's place - affectionately called "The 1208" as that is the street number and has been since they built the place in 1958. Nice to have a "set" address to fall back on.

The next step in the process will be for me to finish the ride report entries for the last few days - I should have those up later today. After that, you may have noticed some new link items at the bottom. I'll work on a "Stats" page along with a detailed (many pictures) "Gear Review" [a few have asked and I want to provide for my own record]. So, sit tight, the trip reports should fill in later today with the other links filling in a day or so later.

One last item would be overview maps. Either a static map (or perhaps a clickable map) of the whole trip. If I do that I may as well upload live maps for download - DeLorme's Street Atlas (v7 or 2005) and/or Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005. If anyone wants a MapSource version I might do that too (email if there is any interest in either of the formats). I have Street Atlas maps of each day - as that is where the map images come from.

2006-01-06 - Friday - Rockford, IL: Stats page fairly complete - uploaded. Waypoint & map files organized. A few large map screen shots created (work still needed before maps are uploaded). The table of trip reports will change a bit too - I'll add some columns to help list content - if a video is available, trains, airplanes, parks/scenery, curvy roads, straight roads, end of day sleeping spot (tent/motel/hostel).

2006-01-10 - Tuesday - Rockford, IL:
I'm getting fairly close to posting the Gear Review page. Perhaps in a day or so.

2006-01-11 - Wednesday - Rockford, IL:
OK, the Gear Review page is up. It's a crazy long page - somewhat unorganized. If you are interested in what went along - what worked - what didn't - improvements desired - this might be up your alley.  If not - and you're on dial-up - skip it. The initial page load is 5.6 MB with a complete load (if you click all of the PDF links) of just under 10 MB. Enjoy!

2006-01-16 - Monday - Rockford, IL: The "Maps" page is almost complete. I expect to have it finalized tomorrow.

2006-01-17 - Tuesday - Rockford, IL: The "Maps" page is up!

2006-01-18 - Wednesday - Rockford, IL: The website for this trip is DONE. The "Best Pictures" page is up. 167 Pictures listed - a bit large but I want to keep it all in one page - wait for it to load than have fun scrolling down.