North to Alaska
Contributed to F6Rider by the "Connecticut Yankee" Don Hibbard
[Ed. Note, Don has had a accident but is
okay. I will continue to post his adventure
no matter which way his quest leads him]
I’m late getting started this morning. I planned to be up at 5:00 and on the road at 7:00 – up at 5:00 all right – couldn’t sleep anyway – but I didn’t get on the road until 8:30. Things just kept going wrong – but I took it in stride – somehow knowing the reason would be revealed.
She’s a red-tailed hawk – and I think she had a previous engagement – that’s why she kept delaying me. She knows this is my longest adventure to date – North to Alaska – a 37-day love affair with my Valkyrie – America – and the Western Provinces of Canada.
As I approach the Tappan Zee Bridge, I see her waiting for me – circling slowly – looking in every direction – she sees the future and the past – she carves a halo in the sky above my head to tell me that all is well.
This Alaska trip – well the first suggestion came from my son, Jeff when he was deployed in support of the Afghanistan action aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. His e-mail said something on the order of, "Dad, when I get home, I’m going to buy a Valkyrie just like yours and we’re going to Alaska together." He did buy the Valkyrie – actually two of them – the first one was new off of the showroom floor, but was totaled when a soccer mom in a mini-van talking on a cell phone broad sided him on the way home from work. He couldn’t find another new ’99 Red and Black Interstate – but he found a used one – and rides it 100 miles round trip every day to work. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it with me this trip because of Navy business – but one of these days we’ll do this trip together. Meanwhile I carry the squadron decal on my helmet – the "Duty Cat" is always with me and so is Jeff – if not in lead and trail – then in spirit – every mile of the way.
Actually the final idea for the trip came from the Iron Butt Association web site. I was drifting through the different rides and came across the "National Parks Tour – Gold" event. It requires the participant to get a "Passport to Your National Parks" and have it stamped in at least 50 National Parks in 25 different states – and four of the states have to be Maine, Florida, California, and Alaska. Alaska! Now there is a reason to go to Alaska – Denali National Park. But an even better reason to do it – was that according to the web site – it had never been done. Could it be that a Valkyrie would be the first to complete this event?
As it turns out, no! I sent a brief e-mail off to Mike Kneebone telling him that, since no one had done the event, I thought it deserved doing – and told him I planned to do it this year. He replied cordially that it actually had been completed twice – the web site just had not been updated to reflect the accomplishments. However, he commented that it was still a very short list.
First stop today is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. I pull off Exit 1 in New Jersey and stop by the Visitor Center to get my Passport stamped. I wonder if the folks on the water enjoy their time on the water as much as I enjoy my time on the Valkyrie.
It’s back on the road again – I-80 west – as fast as I can until I get past Chicago. One day I’ll find my way across this part of America on the back roads, because, for the most part, the view from the Interstate stinks.
Before I left this morning, my Yellow Lab, Iowa Sioux, gave me a tee shirt for the trip. On the front is a facsimile of the U.S. Flag – but the stars are doggy paws and written on the red stripes are the name, breed, and hometown of some of the over 300 hundred rescue dogs who worked at the World Trade Center site. In addition it says, "They come when called to serve and comfort – our four footed heroes." I treasure the shirt – and will say goodnight to one of the rescue dogs each night of this trip.
So to you and Iowa Sioux and Sunny, Doberman, Palo Alto, CA – I say goodnight from Youngstown, OH.
|"Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area"|
The bike trip meter says 446.7 the Garmin III+ GPS trip meter says 458.1 and I say Goodnight from Stafford, VA.
Index, Day, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 thru 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32&33 34