2007-08-03 / Community

Diary Of A Transcontinental Motorcycle Ride Continues

Shevlin Nears His Destination - Rockaway, Oregon
By Howard Schwach

Ed Shevlin at Glacier National Park, one of the many parks he visited on his epic motorcycle trip from Rockaway Beach (New York) to Rockaway Beach (Oregon). Ed Shevlin at Glacier National Park, one of the many parks he visited on his epic motorcycle trip from Rockaway Beach (New York) to Rockaway Beach (Oregon). Department of Sanitation Worker Ed Shevlin is on his way across America, riding his Harley from Rockaway Beach (New York) to Rockaway Beach (Oregon) to raise funds for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. He is also doing it for Anthony Smith, a baby with the disease, whose father, Erick, will soon begin his second deployment to Iraq.

Shevlin promised Rockaway that he would keep in touch, providing something of a travel diary as he went. Last week, we published the first days of the ride. Today, we pick up Shevy in Montana.

Wednesday 7/25: Since I began this trip, literally thousands of insects have flattened themselves against my windscreen. Insects of all colors and consistencies have made my bike their final resting place. Some resemble scrambled eggs, others blueberry pie and still others assume the appearance of inkblots on a shrink's flashcards. While contemplating the dizzying variety of insect road kill I had been collecting a big juicy whatchamacallit hit the bridge of my glasses at 80mph. At that moment I knew that I had accomplished something .that approached perfection. I had perfectly bisected an insect!!! I know this to be true because the innards of this most juicy morsel were equally distributed on either side of my nose and into my eyes. Nirvana? I think not. Instant Karma? Possibly. I had to laugh though; here I am enjoying the misfortunes of these poor little creatures, when one of their kamikaze brethren splatters me right between the eyes! Chalk up one for the bugs. To this point we have ridden about 3,100 miles and crossed many different states. We are in our third time zone and will shortly enter into our fourth. The most beautiful state that I have seen so far is Montana. The winding roads and grand vistas of the Big Sky Country are something that everybody should experience at least once. We are in the town of Missoula, nestled in the foothills of the mighty Rocky Mountains. The topography here is nothing short of amazing. For someone who was born and raised in the pancake-like environs of Rockaway, I find these mountains to be most awe-inspiring. Tomorrow we're riding around Flathead Lake, or was it Shovelhead Lake? I don't know. The mountains are making me dizzy. Till next time.........Happy Trails, Shevy. Finishing Mileage- 39,708

Shevlin tries to lure a mountain goat to join him in the ride. Shevlin tries to lure a mountain goat to join him in the ride. Thursday, July 26: Today was a day for the books. We started out by making our way to Seely Lake Airport for a group photo. The airport is up in the mountains about 60 miles from Missoula. Now, when we think of airports, we Rockawayites tend to think of JFK or LaGuardia. Seely Lake Airport is just a little different. It's a single grass runway, which is overseen by a control tower on the second floor of a small garage. All very quaint! After leaving the airport we began our trek to Glacier National Park. The journey to the park found us riding 120 miles through the most pristine wilderness that I have ever seen. The sights and smells of the forest have the effect of elevating one's consciousness and bringing one to a higher state of awareness. Freerange ponies and cattle can be seen drinking from mountain streams, while birds of prey circle overhead riding the alpine updrafts. Upon our arrival at the park's gate we paid the entrance fee of $12, and began our ascent to the Logan Pass. The winding road brought us ever skyward as we passed waterfalls, tall pines and shaggy mountain goats. As we climbed higher and higher up the mountain, I was very thankful that my Harley Davidson "Roadglide" is a fuel injected bike. For as the air grew thinner the bike's fuel computer made the necessary adjustments to insure a smooth ride throughout our ascent. Upon our arrival at the summit [6,600 feet] we were greeted by a vision of alpine beauty that was unmatched in all of my travels. Deep crevasses covered in tall pines and mountain grasses were nourished by waterfalls and fresh streams teeming with trout. Mountain goats roamed freely about the parking lot at the summit's visitor center, as the snow-capped peaks obscured the presence of their shaggy brethren. After taking in this heavenly experience we began our descent back to earth. There are no guardrails on the road, just a two- foot-high wall. This is not a road on which to test your board scraping skills! We began the trip back to Missoula in the twilight. This is the time of day when all the critters of the forest become most active. Today would be no exception. White tail deer were in abundance, scurrying to and fro on the road. Thankfully, this had the effect of making me quite observant and cautious. My caution would pay off as a monstrous moose bounded out onto the road immediately in front of me! I hit my brakes and passed a mere three feet from the beast's hindquarters! She was a cow and as big as a fully-grown horse! I could hear the clip-clop of her hooves on the pavement! What a fright. Anyway, we made it back to Missoula safely and with five minutes of daylight to spare. Finishing mileage today was 40,122, so we've come some 4,598 miles since we left Rockaway.

The Great Plains made a distinct impression on the riders, especially those from large cities. The Great Plains made a distinct impression on the riders, especially those from large cities. Friday, July 27: After yesterdays beautiful ride on the "Going to the Sun Road" and my near-death encounter with that God-awful ugly moose, I was quite content with hanging out around Missoula and running some errands. I went to the post office, UPS store, photo shop and lunch. We also had another dealer party at Montana Harley Davidson. The atmosphere was electric as everyone was well rested and supercharged by the previous day's ride. The dealer had arranged cheap helicopter rides- $25 for 10 minutes over Missoula- so I availed myself of the opportunity. Tomorrow we're heading through the LoLo Pass into Idaho and onwards to Kennewick, Washington. Should be another great day. I don't want to lose sight of my fundraising goal, though. Please help me in my fight against cystic fibrosis. If you've been enjoying my journal entries here in the Wave, please take a few minutes and make a donation. Anything that you can contribute is greatly appreciated. You may call Teresa Gaudio at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by dialing 914-993-1462. She will be happy to give you any info that you require in order to make a donation. Thank you for your generosity and your prayers. Happy Trails.

A self-portrait taken on the open road. A self-portrait taken on the open road. Saturday, July 28: - The morning started out with a welcome chill in the air. Donning our leather jackets, we bade goodbye to Missoula and began our ride towards the fabled LoLo Pass. The LoLo pass leads the rider out of Montana and into Idaho along the beautiful Clearwater River. The road through LoLo parallels the river for about 150 miles, winding and banking at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Such roads are the stuff of biker legend and considered a world-class ride. As we pressed our Harleys ever forward, we passed countless historical markers denoting significant events of many years gone by. You see, the pass is part of the Northwest Passage, which was pioneered by Lewis and Clark on their Corps of Discovery expedition in the early 19th century. Another interesting part of the day's journey was our passing through the Nez Perce reservation. After fighting a tactical retreat against the US Army for a very long time, Chief Joseph and his tribe could fight no more. He had with him not only his warriors, but also his women, children and old folks. Calling a halt to his retreat, he declared " From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more". He was put on the reservation and that is where we traveled through today. While the bulk of today's ride was done in Idaho, later in the day we crossed the Snake River and entered the state of Washington. This part of the state is considered the high desert. The day's temperatures surely backed up that description of the region. Tomorrow's ride will bring us into Portland, Oregon. This will be the last city on the HOG Posse Ride. Following which, Mike and I will be traveling on our own. So watch out for a few surprises!!! We ended today's ride at 40,523 miles.

Sunday, July 29: We left Kennewick, Washington this morning at 9am. Personally, I did so with mixed feelings because the ride from Kennewick to Portland, Oregon was the last leg of the Posse Ride. We have made many friends along the way, and shared an epic journey with each other. This ride has been one that will survive in my memory for a long, long time. But on with the ride! We continued to follow the Northwest Passage that was originally pioneered by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. As we rode along the banks of the Columbia River, my thoughts turned to those of the original explorers as their rafts brought them closer and closer to the Pacific Ocean. Soon the road descended into Blalock Canyon, bringing us closer to the rivers edge. 40mph wind gusts began to buffet us from seemingly all angles, tossing us to and fro on our heavily laden Harleys. And then we saw it. Rounding a left hand curve by the rivers edge, the almighty Mount Hood stood before us! This massive colossus dominated the landscape, acting as a beacon, its gravity drawing us ever westward to the sea. How wide the eyes of those early pioneers must have been as they bore witness to this majestic sight and began to realize that their enterprise had been successful! I am so appreciative that I have been blessed with the health, strength and the resources to make a trip such as this. Tomorrow morning we attend the closing ceremonies and say goodbye to our new friends. At that point Mike and I are on our own.

We will take a day to run some errands and possibly visit Mount St. Helens. The following day we're off to Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach, Oregon, that is!

Monday, July 30: Apparently, our arrival in Rockaway Beach is being viewed with much excitement. While shopping in a sporting goods store in downtown Portland today, a young employee of the store asked if we were the New York bikers who were heading for Rockaway Beach tomorrow. When we answered in the affirmative he told us of all the preparations being made for our visit. His dad is regarded as the towns BBQ King and will be doing his best to fatten us up (a little late for that). Several street closures will be in effect to insure our smooth ride to the designated party place. Local and national media will be there to cover our arrival, two transcontinental bikers who have come a long way. And the executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations Portland Chapter, Janeen Olsen, will also be there to greet us. What an agenda! I am tired already just thinking about it. But I'm sure that all the excitement of the day will carry us through. After tomorrow's festivities we will begin our journey home. Upon giving it some thought I realized that while heading west we had the sun at our backs the whole way. Our trip home will find us riding into the rising sun. At times it may backlight road signs, obscuring our view of the signs message. While westward bound the sun moved from behind us to our left hand side. When we proceed eastward it shall move from our front around to our right hand side, thereby insuring an even tan! Seriously though, the trip home will be a different kettle of fish. We'll be doing a bit of camping and staying in hotels when we're too tired to ride anymore. Well, it's time to do a load of laundry so I'll just say, finishing mileage is 40,802- we have put 4,177 miles on our bikes thus far and we are not yet at our western destination of Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

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