TBT: Let’s Talk about Historic Highways

Here’s something from the past on Throwback Thursday.

I have a fascination for highways–old and new. They have been my focus for many motorcycle rides.

I had the chance to talk about riding historic highways and trails with Carla King and Tom Lowdermilk on Side Stand Up, that great motorcycle talk show hosted by Tom.

SIDE STAND UP–EPISODE177, 05/25/2010. Episode Notes: Miss Adventuring, Carla King, is back to talk with writer and photographer D. Brent Miller about motorcycle rides that will take you back in time. The Historic Natchez Trace  and the National Pony Express Historic Trail are just a sample of the historical roads he’s chronicling. Listen to the excerpt here:

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Perhaps, we can talk Tom into bringing back Side Stand Up. 🙂

See you on the highway.

Brent

Helping Veterans at the Wheelchair Games

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It is rare to be able to meet, greet, and rub elbows with hundreds of U.S. Veteran wheelchair athletes, but that’s what happened at the 37th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games here in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 17-22. Six hundred athletes were expected to attend.

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For one day only, vendors and sponsors hosted information booths for veterans and their caregivers. As the program leader for the Cincinnati Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, I was honored to be one of those information providers, and grateful to VHA Director of Volunteer Services Sabrina Clark, for asking PHWFF to share a booth with Volunteer Services.

What attracted Veterans to our booth? Fly tying. I tied one quick fly pattern, a Tenkara Kebari that looks like a lot of other flies—just thread and feather on a #12 curved hook. It ties up fast. It catches trout, blue gills and an occasional bass. It’s effective using any fly rod—conventional or Tenkara. It may have seemed simple to me, but I noticed how individuals were in awe about how a fly is actually tied. Many asked questions and indicated interest in learning fly tying. All were surprised that I took the time to tie a fly just for them.

The result was a line of wheelchairs lining up for a “free fly.” They also received information about Project Healing Waters. Several dozen wheelchair veterans rolled away with a smile on their face and a fly in their pockets and backpacks … in a protective cup with lid. I couldn’t tie them fast enough. A few veterans knew about PHWFF, some had participated, but most wanted to know more about this fly fishing program for veterans and how they could participate. Contact information was provided for the nearest program to where they live.

A big thank you goes again to Sabrina Clark, and my booth partners, Traci Washington and Ryan Pleasants chiefs of Volunteer Services of Columbus and Dayton.

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The games are sponsored by the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The 2018 games will be held in Houston. You can learn more about the games at www.WheelchairGames.org.

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Motorcycle Bucket List Item is Completed

Why do humans climb mountains? Why do they sail around the world or learn to fly? We have this innate drive to accomplish. Maybe it’s ego or an adrenaline rush. To go boldly where no one has before.

I’ve been motorcycling for more than 50 years, and early on, I never once thought about riding my motorcycle in all of the United States of America. But when I began to seriously tour on two wheels, I realized I was accomplishing just that.

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It was after I rode the Pony Express Trail to California in 2009, and discovered mapping software that would allow me to track the states I had visited that I became conscious of this goal.

My next tour on the Oregon Trail had me planning to ride through states I had not previously visited. And, future tours began to form. My tour to the southeast to ride through states almost caused me to quit riding. Yes, quit riding. It was the most miserable tour. It was 2,400 miles in six days with five days of rain. Miserable. Miserable. Miserable. Not to mention the bee sting in the face at 70 mph on the Interstate next to a semi-tractor and trailer, or the pit bull that charged me when I was taking a photo of entering the fine state of Georgia. Or the chain-reaction accident that occurred right in front of me as I was attempting to exit the interstate in Augusta, Georgia. Miserable.

What I was left with was the northeast. Ten states that needed some color. After that miserable southeast tour, it took me a while to actually plan the northeast ride—a couple of years in fact. But, the day finally came, and I set off to accomplish something that few motorcyclists do—to ride in all of the lower 48 states. I packed my Suzuki V-Strom 650, and headed out.

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Unlike my southeast tour, I could not have asked for better weather. Blue skies and mild temperatures were abundant as I wound my way through Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and into Connecticut. I managed to take a wrong turn or two. I took the wrong interstate in Connecticut found myself in Massachusetts unexpectedly and had to back track to cut over to Rhode Island. I didn’t want to leave that little state out of this ride. Then back north around Boston into New Hampshire and Maine—the turn towards home point. All good roads.

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Riding back across Maine and New Hampshire, I was in awe of the landscape. Beautiful country with fun twisty roads running along rivers and streams around mountains. I met up with a friend who gave me a guided tour through her part of New Hampshire. Riding a scenic byway, we headed for lunch, and then for the apex of my ride—Vermont, my 48th state.

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What was it like riding across the state line into Vermont? Was it like standing atop the mountain just climbed? Like finishing a marathon? Upon my return home, my wife asked me this: “Was it like the euphoria when you finished the Pony Express Trail or the Oregon Trail?”

In previous rides, there was something more than just the ride. I was following history attempting to imagine the experience of those travelers 150 years ago, travelling by horse and wagon. This ride was … well, just a ride to fill in states. It is an accomplishment that few do, but with a few days to think about this bucket list item being checked off, I can say it has given me some closure.

I’m ready to move on to the next adventure … whatever that might be.

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See you on the highway.

Brent

A Walk on the Little Miami Rec Trail

Spring has arrived. At least the weather finally says so.

Trees are budding out. Wild flowers are popping up. Trillium is nearly ready to bloom, and it’s all along the Little Miami Scenic River and its partner, the Little Miami Recreational Trail.

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See you on the highway.

Brent