June 5 - June 11
June 5, 2005
Sneaking, or rather quietly leaving DG Drew's conference sometime about 0400, or 4 am, Bob headed headed out of town. Long Distance Rider Ron Smith's Memorial Service was in the afternoon. Arriving in Victoria to catch the early ferry, Bob found out it did not sail until 10:00 am. Big Oops. He rode north to catch the ferry to Vancouver, for the 7am sailing. So much fun......he managed to make it, and then head south to Seattle for the service.
And.....Brendan Ferrer, owner of South Sound BMW was not amused with how the service manager treated Bob and John. So, while Bob was at the Memorial Service, the Black and White was being serviced at Ride West thanks to South Sound. (Are you confused yet? If so, see June 1st.) Thank you Brendan, for making things right with the bike and with BMW riders all over North America. He said that both dealerships take pride in maintenance, and was very apologetic for the mishap earlier. Thank you, Brendan.
"There must have been 250 people at the service, and 200 of them Iron Butt Riders". A very solemn yet inspiring service, with many friends honoring a fellow rider.
Back in gear again, and with the bike purring in tip top form, Bob headed north again. In Bellingham, WA Bob called and said he was pressing on towards Camloops, and maybe further towards Calgary. Communication will be minimal, as our cell service is iffy.
In another moment of direct connect, Bob had crossed over a snowy, icy and cold pass to say he was headed on towards Calgary and would probably stop somewhere about Midnight. Again, the electric gear from Pat Widder allowed Bob to continue on his quest, and keep on track. Bob is thrilled with the gear, and emphasizes that it has been a life saver.
Another life saver is Dr. Butcher, a chiropractor, who managed to manipulate a displaced rib for Bob. Thank you. While Bob may be on the motorcycle, it takes a lot of support to make the Ride happen. Speaking of which, Jim Buntan of the Orangevale Rotary Club, has been a Ride committee member that has quietly worked very hard at a number of enterprises. His company provided bike to bike communicators that Bob has used and is extremely pleased with. Thank you Jim.
It was about midnight at a fuel stop that Bob considered stopping for the night. It was about 2 degrees C (35F) and that's awfully cold. The folks at the service station suggested he stop, as the roads get really treacherous. He was in the town of Chase, B.C. There were no restaurants open, but the motel owner was kind enough to prepare a veggie stir fry and bring to Bob.
.News from Tony: Dennis Johnson hid Tony in the wilds of Idaho in a luxurious mountain retreat for the weekend. Better news is that Tony is no longer limping, and while his shoulder suffered AC damage and dislocation, it is better and he is ready to make his way east to Chicago, via Davenport, Iowa. (I must add that transportation will be via air and auto.)
Some of you
may be wondering about the Green Machine. It is safe in Dennis Johnson's
motorcycle trailer, in a garage in a locked storage facility. It will be
forwarded to it's home in Sacramento, sometime in the future.
Mileage: Day 530 Total 14,172
June 6, 2005
Mileage: Day 398 soggy miles Total 14,570
June 7, 2005
If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium. No that was a movie. This is for real, and he's in Calgary. And it's still raining. There is water everywhere.
Three police officers knocked on Al Kings door this morning. Fortunately, they were there to escort Bob and Al to the Rotary Challenger Park. It is a park designed for disabled folks to enjoy. There were lots of Rotarians on hand as well as a member from the Alberta Legislature to sign Bob's log book. Even though it was raining, everyone was indoors and Bob had an opportunity to speak at length about polio eradication. I'm grateful to the King's for hosting Bob and arranging for a wonderful event. Bob thought the Park was extraordinary.
But the weather was extraordinary in other ways. The route to Edmonton was all freeway. The shoulders were littered with accidents the whole way. The winds were blowing hard and a cold down pouring rain never let up. There was standing water everywhere. Bob said it was the hardest mileage he ever ridden. He was even concerned about it.
At about 3:00 Bob arrived at Gateway Park, a visitors center, at the immediate south end of Edmonton. Waiting for him were about a dozen motorcycle and Officers Eric Theuser, and Ronnie Chiu on their police Harley's. (They wish they were on BMW's though.)
Escorted by the motor officers, they made their way to the Provincial Legislature Grounds in downtown Edmonton. More Rotarians, 3 TV news crews and one newspaper reporter, and legislative representatives were waiting. Even in the nasty wet, it must have been impressive. Maybe more so because of the wet. Denis Ducharme, Government Caucus Whip, and Dr. Raj Tannu, Speaker for the Opposition Party, presented Bob with a proclamation of appreciation for both Bob and Tony. Bob was presented Club Banners from all of the Edmonton clubs. Again, there was time to talk about polio eradication in depth. The past, present and future. While we are celebrating PolioPlus, it's not over yet.
After the hoopla, Colin Shillabeer, who was key organizer, showed Bob to his digs for the night-the Sutton Place Hotel, courtesy of General Manager Richard Wong. Bob was shown to a room (or palace) on the 11th floor with a lovely view of the city. He entered the room to classical music playing softly in the background, a basket of fruit and a hand written letter of welcome. Then back down the elevator to indulge in Alberta beef with Ross and the two Shirleys.
What a day. Bob called it "tremendous". He also said that this Ride has been more difficult that riding the Iron Butt. I asked why. "It's more demanding. If he's late to a Capitol, the media will evaporate. On the Iron Butt, there's a time window of 1-2 hours". I would also surmise that while the IB Riders go all out for eleven days, today is number 42.
However, the Ride is very rewarding. Especially when he is able to talk to people about the program, and the lights go on and people understand just how important and necessary it is to finish immunizing the world's children.
One last word from Bob today: "New tires do not break-in on wet pavement." (I just write what I'm told.)
Mileage: Day 330 miles Total 14,900
June 8, 2005
Colin and his wife Luca joined Bob for breakfast and then sent him on his way. It was sunny and pleasant for about 125 miles. The remainder of the day was windy and, you know, rainy. The directions he was given to Doug and Leslie Mortin's home were easy to follow. He was right on time, for the next time zone. He was actually and hour early. No worries, that gave Doug and Bob some time to fuss with the bike. Bikers are like that. Soon the house was filled with Rotarians. The bar-b-que was fired up and dinner followed shortly there after. It was a casual opportunity to meet folks and talk.
The black and white was brown, until the rains washed most of it off. For some reason, today's stretch was really dirty. Bob even had mud on his helmet visor.
No news from Tony.
I'm embarrassed to share the story of the two huge elks. On the way to Edmonton, traffic came to total standstill. Along the shoulder were two very large elks with full racks. People had stopped to take photos. Then one certifiable dummy jumped out of his car, ran up to one of the elk, held on to the antler while his wife took pictures. Not wanting to see what the animal might do, Bob rode past the idiot and caught a glimpse of the license plate. Do you really want to know what west coast state this fool was from?
Lastly, Larry Dimmit from Topeka, Kansas sent me a copy of the news broadcast of Bob and Tony. It was great and thank you. If anyone else has copies of TV broadcasts, or newspaper articles, please send us a copy; Bob Mutchler, P.O. Box 1331, Folsom, Ca 95763.
Mileage : Day 525 Total 15,425
June 10, 2005
A very busy morning. PDG Peter Peters, a friend from the 1999 TransCanada Ride, and Doug Mortin arranged for Bob to speak at a Rotary meeting, meet with both TV and newspaper reporters, and generally take advantage of every minute Bob had available.
Amazingly, the weather was nice, all day. At every fuel stop people recognized Bob and many asked how they could contribute to PolioPlus. It is heartwarming to know that this awareness effort is working.
Bob ended the day in Minot, ND and it started sprinkling. That seems to be the protocol for this ride.
Mileage: Day 230 Total 15,655
June 10, 2005
Before Bob could fire up the motorcycle, he had a phone call from a radio station in Pierre, SD requesting an interview. Then, he was on his way in search of Bismarck. Somewhere along the way, he stopped for a meal at an Appleby's. They were showing the jump rope championships on the TVs. Now that's different.
On to Bismarck and to the Capitol, where NBC TV videotaped an interview they said would air on the late news. The local paper did an interview for the morning paper. PDG Al Watrel who organized the event, welcomed Bob, and introduced him to his hosts for the night, Circuit Court Judge Bert and Margo. A cozy group enjoyed dinner and engaging conversation.
Then they watched the news, and there was Motorcycle Bob talking about PolioPlus and Rotary.
A perfect ending for day of perfect riding weather.
Day 100 Total 15,755
Saturday June 11, 2005
I am writing this personally because Patti is in San Louis Obispo, CA attending her son, Joshua's, graduation and hasn't had time to do much else for several days. Perhaps she will be back online next week and the great journalism will continue.
I left Bismarck at 9:00 a.m. from the home of Bert and Margo after a great breakfast. We were joined by PDG Al Watrel and his wife. Bert washed my bike and kept several items to mail home that I had accumulated over the past week or so.
The weather when I left Bismarck was cloudy, but it wasn't raining. Ten miles down the road it started pouring. It would have seemed a bit odd if it hadn't rained since it has rained most of the days since leaving Sacramento.
Since it was raining so hard and the wind started up, I felt that no one in their right mind would be out on the roads on a motorcycle. Consequently, I missed my three riders who rode out to meet me on the way into Pierre. We made contact via phone (I had no cell phone service so had to use the hotel's) and the guys, including Dennis Rounds, the brother of the State Governor, finally caught up with me at the capitol building. There was quite a crowd, including Mayor Dennis Eisnach to meet and greet. Lots of conversation about PolioPlus for the benefit of the local news reporter who took copious notes.
At the hotel (which was hosted by the Rotary club) people kept asking me if I was the rider they had heard on the local radio two days earlier. I said yes, it was me and that the interview had been done from Minot, ND from my cell phone.
After taking a couple of hours drying out, my host, Ed, picked me up to take me to a Rotary dinner where 14 members and spouses showed up to hear me speak about PolioPlus. Mayor Dennis again welcomed me and we had a somewhat informal discussion about Rotary, the Foundation and PolioPlus. It was a very enjoyable evening that was finalized when I discovered that there was a piano in the restaurant with a pianist who graciously allowed me to sit in for a few musical numbers. It felt good to limber up my fingers.
I am very tired and ready to finish the ride so I can rest for awhile. It has been the people I meet along the way that keeps me going for the next day and the one after that. Tomorrow is St. Paul, then Madison, then Davenport where I will be a speaker at another District Conference. Finally, Chicago and a few days of rest before the 2,100 mile trek back home to start my year as the president of the Rotary club of North Sacramento.
Milage: Day 230 Total 15,985