Full Throttle: "Ray on the Road"
The "Real" Four-Corners Ride ... Part II of III ... from Blaine to Maine
Part I of this series introduced you to the USA Four Corner Ride. It is three weeks of riding the perimeter and touching the four extremes of the 48 United States.
Why would anyone want to do this? Well, for me, this ride has a dual purpose;
... to see whole lot of North America, and
... to visit as many family & friends as can be found.
This leg - from Blaine on the Bay at the Canadian border in Washington State, to Madawaska, Maine where it touches New Brunswick, Canada - is the long part of the ride. Coast to coast across the top of America. You can do this many different ways. Gene and I decide to begin on US #2 across Washington to Spokane. Up and over and through the mountains.
Let's talk a bit about the US highway systems. The interstates give you coast-to-coast and border-to-border service. Allowing you to get from one point to another ... without seeing anything.
The US National Highway System is different. It is much older - and takes you places you forgot where there. To small towns. And out of the way sites you can't get to any other way.
That is what US#2 is all about. The first time I rode it was on the Harley Owners Group Posse Ride - from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. Much of that ride was west to east on #2.
So, about 5:30 on a Monday morning Gene and I hop on this famous stretch - and it is wonderful. Immediately you begin a climb from nearly sea level at Everett to the 4000+ foot Stevens Pass. Not high - yet this day it is under 40 degrees - and C O L D !
We really don't mind. As it is also beautiful. We enjoy the 'Denmark' village of Leavenworth. And the look of Christmas Tree Lane - there are so many trees lining both sides of this two-lane black-top. We ride through the national forest, past a number of state parks - and then to 'amber waves of grain'. For the 100 minutes leading into Spokane on the eastern side of the State, it is rolling hills of farmland.
'Wet' is a word that describes our northwest and the scenery. In Oregon, Washington, Idaho and western Montana it is either rain, fog, mist or dew in the air. On the ground there is always a stream, pond, lake, bay, inlet, creek, river, water fall or sound. Something about water in the northwest that makes it what it is.
Back to the ride. Next it's interstate I-90. Along with countless others, we're heading to Sturgis. For the biggest summer rally in the world. This is the fastest way to get to the party.
First through the panhandle of Idaho. Then Big Sky Country - Montana. With the Crazy, Yellowstone and Big Horn Mountains, and hill sides of wild flowers. The rolling grass lands of Wyoming, where the deer and the antelope roam (they really do!) and the ever present wind come next. And then the Black Hills of South Dakota. Sandwiched between Devil's Tower on the west and the Badlands in the east.
Play day begins with a ride through Spearfish Canyon, into Lead and Deadwood and down into Sturgis. A late breakfast with friends in the heart of the action. And people watching; both the male and the female variety are the scenery. We tour the new motorcycle museum. And buy the necessary 'T' shirt. Then to Rapid City for a look at the Harley-Davidson display at the Convention Center.
It's time to move on. First, eastward to the other side of South Dakota. Then a sprint across Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes ... it seems we see half of them. Next is Wisconsin, 'American's Dairyland'. Which is interesting - we see not a single cow. Guess the Cheese Heads in Green Bay host them all.
Up to this point Smokey Bear signs told us of extreme fire danger. Not so in the mid-west ... it is 'low' here. Which is a good sign - and another reason the ride is truly delightful. Zillions of trees and everything is very green.
US Highway #2 is back with us. The road we took earlier in this run east. We're back on it for a short ride ... this time it ties Wisconsin to Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Michigan #28 gives us a very nice late in the day view ... as the sun sets in our rear-view mirror. At the end we're in Sault Ste Marie, where we cross into Ontario, Canada.
The north country has two seasons; winter, and construction. We chose late summertime to avoid winter. And it worked. For the most part we missed construction ... until Wisconsin and then Ontario. No big hang-ups ... many slow downs. That's just how it is.
Gene and I are surprised at the huge amount of week-day traffic along the two-lane black-top Canada #17. Both long and short haul trucks, motor homes and cars and cars and cars. Seems most of Ontario is on the road.
We divide our Canada link into halfs - the second being Saturday, mostly in Quebec. Where we experience less traffic, and enjoy the scenery. Along the waterway past Montreal and Quebec City, into New Brunswick and the cross over back to the States and Madawaska, Maine. Our third check-in point for the 4 Corner ride.
At the post office we meet Otis - a nice guy from Perris, California, also doing USA 4 Corners. In the opposite direction - Otis began in Key West. We take each others pictures - and head off.
For Gene and me it's been 3422 non-straight and very enjoyable miles from Blaine. It's a wrap for the second leg.
Ray Jutkins is a "new" rider. Been on bikes only since 1989. Yet, he does ride his Road King; 76,000+ miles in two years.
Twice he's been to "The Wall" for Memorial Day. To Daytona, Laconia, the 90th & 95th Harley reunions in Milwaukee, half the Laughlin River Runs, State & Regional HOG Rallies in California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada & Utah, the Portland to Portland Posse Ride, plus countless special biker events. And, 9 times to Sturgis.
A number of all bike events, too; a Rider Rally in Wyoming, the Retreads National Rally, a couple of GWRRA Wing Dings, the International Drill Team Competition, the Golden Aspen Rally in New Mexico, all where he did web cast radio & television.
He's also done Iron Butt cruises ... like Coast-to-Coast in 50 hours (Ray took 46, including a 2+ hour maintenance fix in Louisiana). Always he rides - never trailers!
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