Sunday, September 30, 2012

Photos from Back Roads, USA - Part 1 of 3

   During the summer of 1988 – one of the hottest summers on record, Bud Peck and I took a 40-day, back-road tour of the USA. We covered more than fifteen thousand miles on almost all two-lane country roads and through only the tiniest of towns. During the trip we visited 29 states, 17 national parks and countless national forests, national monuments and Indian reservations. We saw this beautiful country from sea to shining sea. We climbed some of the highest mountains and we experienced weather extremes from 34 degrees and snowing in Mt. Rainier National Park on the fifth of July to 112 degrees in southern Arizona twelve days later. One of the many highlights of this once-in-a-lifetime trip was crossing the Mississippi River on a tiny ferryboat, where our two motorcycles were the only fares aboard.

   Almost every day Bud or I would say enthusiastically, "Something different every day," as every new day seemed even more interesting than the day before. What a great and beautiful land we live in!  From the hustle and bustle of the east to down-home Americana of the Ohio River Valley, through the rugged cow country of the west to the giant trees of the far west – God bless America! I wish everyone could see it firsthand the way that we did. It was the trip of a lifetime for which I had studied the maps and planned for 2½ years. A major heat wave was already in full swing as we prepared to leave on the 23rd of June. People would ask, "Why now? Why not wait until it's a little cooler?" My answer would usually be that this was our window of opportunity – and if we waited, who knows what would happen next to delay it. Some of the key places we planned to visit like the high peaks in the northern Rocky Mountains and the northern Cascades would be inaccessible later in the year, due to snow. I made motel reservations for almost every night of the trip and guaranteed them in advance. I planned to meet my wife Lillian at the San Francisco Airport on our sixteenth day and see her off ten days later at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Her primary interests were to ride with us for a few days and to visit several ghost towns of the west. Since we had to cancel her reservations the previous year when I lost confidence in the bike I had chosen for the trip, we made contingency plans for all sorts of things that could possibly arise this time; but nothing did. The full story of this trip is chronicled in my book, “Motorcycling Stories – Adventure Touring from the Northwest Territories to the Yucatan Peninsula.” The almost 400 photos that I took during the trip are shown in chronological order on this blog in three parts. Below is the first of those three. The rest are on two other separate posts that follow.

Clicking on a photo will enlarge it. 

Delaware River from NY 97

Bridge over the Ohio River near Pomeroy

A barge on the Ohio River

Locks on the Ohio River

Ohio River near its confluence with the Mississippi River

Combine working in a wheat field, Mexico, MO

 Livestock feeder pen, eastern Nebraska

 Corn and wheat fields on a farm in eastern Nebraska

A harvested wheat field, Nebraska

 Central Nebraska

 Western Nebraska

Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Nebraska

Near Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Scotts Bluff

 Near the city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Along Rte 71 north of Scottsbluff

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

 Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

Model of proposed Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial in 1988

Needles Highway in Custer State Park, South Dakota
Scenes of Needles Highway follow:

Northeastern Wyoming

 Devil's Tower National Monument, northeastern Wyoming

Gravel road near Alzada, Montana, being prepared for paving

Site of Custer's Last Stand at top of hill

 Custer's Last Stand - Battle of the Little Big Horn

Individual monuments where each of Custer's men died

 Looking south toward the Little Big Horn River from battlefield

A National Cemetery at Custer Battlefield

 Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Lame Deer, Montana

Beartooth Highway, near Red Lodge, Montana

 Elk along the Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway - scenes along the 10,000-ft level follow

Clay Butte Lookout - just off the Beartooth Highway

Inside Yellowstone National Park

Herd of buffalo grazing, Blacktail Deer Plateau, Yellowstone Park

Antelope in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone River, Montana


Wheat field, Montana

Heading into Glacier National Park, northern Montana

Several scenes follow from Glacier National Park

Northeastern Washington State

Near Wauconda, Washington

Ross Dam, Washington

Northern Cascades National Park, Washington

Mount Baker National Forest, Washington

Port Townsend Ferry to Olympic Peninsula, Wahington

Sekiu, Olympic Peninsula

Neah Bay, Olympic Peninsula

Juan de Fuca Strait, Olympic Peninsula

Rain forest on Olympic Peninsula - several photos

Giant red cedar tree - 12" diameter trunk

Pacific Ocean, Olympic Peninsula

Tree trunks washed up on beach

Olympia, Washington - the only day we started in rain

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Columbia River near Maryhill, Washington

Wind surfers on the Columbia River

Crater Lake National Park, California

Crater Lake

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

The remainder of the photos taken on this trip will be posted on "Photos from Back Roads, USA - Part 2 of 3" and “Photos from Back Roads, USA – Part 3 of 3”

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