August 5, 2013:
On the 73rd day of the KURE2013 ride, I start the day by being driven by Senator Dwight Cook to the KNDR radio station in Mandan. KNDR is a Christian radio station which has support from literally every church in the Mandan area – it is a well-balanced, interesting, and broadly popular radio station, having been in business for almost 20 years. One of my hosts, Darlene Vander Vorst and her husband, have been involved in the creation and running of the station for many years. I participate in an interview about the KURE2013 ride which I thoroughly enjoy – the interview is on our web site, www.KURE2013.com, so check it out.
Darlene then takes me to a meeting with one of the Bismarck Kiwanis Club’s officers, Riva, at a retirement home, and we discuss whether or not the KURE2013 project is scheduled to speak at the club’s meeting the next day, as I had been told. It appears, as does happen on this somewhat complicated scheduling project that we have a miscommunication, and we are not scheduled. This puts some substantial relief in my schedule in that I have 900 miles to go to get to Missoula, Montana by Wednesday night, so that I can attend a Kiwanis meeting at the 4H Fair in Missoula on Thursday, which I am very excited to do. So, I now can depart Mandan in the morning tomorrow, rather than as late as 2 p.m. – while I never want to pass up a speech at any Kiwanis Club on the KURE2013 project, I am relieved that I am not on the schedule and can get on the road. A side note, the guest speaker that day in the Bismarck Club is a North Dakota Supreme Court Justice, so I certainly am glad the Bismarck Kiwanis Club has a speaker that is far far above my qualifications – I think they are in good hands even if the KURE2013 project does not speak!!
We then go to a luncheon of a number of Kiwanians, including Eliminate Coordinators, including my hosts, and a member of the North Dakota Attorney General’s office – Keith. Keith runs, among other things, the “Charitable Gaming” section of the AG’s office – what is that, you say – well, let me tell you. That is when charities, like Kiwanis I assume, want to participate in some type of “gambling event” [possibly a “raffle” of a BMW GT650 – I sure hope not, and that is why we call our project an “opportunity drawing” – Keith clears us from any ND laws, so we are good to go!!]. North Dakota has an incredibly diverse social, economic, and political structure – with substantial American Indian presence, and with what is now the largest, or near the largest, oil production [from shale of all things] in America [800,000 barrels a day on a site that they say is bigger than the reserves in Saudi Arabia], things are hopping in North Dakota, which, by the way, has America’s lowest unemployment at around 3%. It was no less than thrilling to be with such Kiwanians as Keith and Dwight, and many others, to learn about and discuss the many issues and solutions in this marvelous state.
After lunch, we head to a number of publicity events, set up my host, Dwight Cook. All are at the Capital, which itself is very unique – no dome. The building burned in the 1930s and insufficient funds during that tumultuous financial time were available, so the capital is a sky scrapper. I have a Deja Vu when I ride up to the capital – I am sure I have seen this before, but apparently there are several other states with “no dome” capital building, and one is in Louisiana, in Baton Rouge, where, when visiting my son, Robert, while he was stationed at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana, we visited, so that must be the other place I have seen this. Gorgeous building on very expansive and beautiful grounds. I have three lovely ladies, from two local affiliates of NBC and CBS, recording my moves and interviewing me for their programs – I get to ride the KUREmobile not less than 10 times around a huge circle in front of the capital – probably put on 5 miles just doing that! The interview is punctuated by an appearance by the Attorney General of North Dakota, Wayne Stenehjem, who is kind enough to sign my Guinness World Book Record log. Our conversation quickly turns to California and the Golden State’s previous governor, or, as we call him, governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger – the issue is his height, and I, all too quickly, rely on information my kids have given me about him being “small”, and offer a friendly bet to Wayne – little did I know that the AG has met Arnold and has a picture of him in his office. In what is clear proof of my incorrect assessment, Dwight and I visit Wayne’s office after the publicity event is over, and, sure enough, Wayne brings out the picture of he and Arnold, and, sure enough, Wayne, at 6’2” is just a little taller than Arnold – we also Google this height, and sure enough, Arnold is 6’1”. So, I now owe Wayne something for the bet and, in order to keep up Iowa/California relations, I tell Wayne the “check is in the mail”!! Dwight then gives me much more than the 25 cent tour of the capital – everywhere we go, Dwight is greeted, and we get to meet the state’s Secretary of State. The highlight is to sit in the Senate chamber and get the story of Dwight’s ascension in the Senate – he now, after 17 years, is a senior Legislator, so he gets to pick his own seat, and he picks one “in the rear” of the chamber. Confused, I ask why the back, thinking that the front is always better – Dwight explains to me that the seats in the back are “closest to the bathroom” – this man has it all together!! Dwight is the “tax expert” of North Dakota and has some of the most common sense ideas about how to lead and how to govern – he has all the qualities to straighten out the mess in Washington, and so I offer to give him a motorcycle ride to D.C. and “be his wing man”, figuring that we, in 6 months, could clean up the entire Washington D.C. mess. Dwight, ever the practical man, thinks we may need a few more months, and declines the ride!!
After the tour, the publicity event, and the great discussion with Dwight, we head back to the homestead, where co-host, Shirley Cook, leads me to the Kiwanis picnic a few miles away at a very nice park [with 2 corral like looking things that I am told are ice skating rings during the winter]. I set up and think we are going to have 20 or so, but over 50 show up, from all parts of the state, including Minot, about 2 hours away and where lots of oil issues are “flowing” – some great conversations with some very dedicated Kiwanians about some very interesting issues. The meeting allows me to present my power point and I think I get a few thinking about the good things about being a Kiwanian, plus there are no Harley guys there, so I don’t have to wear my hat [given to me by Chuck Seifert of Conway, Arkansas]. The fun part of the meeting is the questions and comments, and the pure support for our KURE2013 project – many thanks to North Dakota for such a wonderful time.
August 6, 2013:
After the now all too familiar packing process, and after one more breakfast at a local place with Dwight, I thank and bid goodbye to Dwight and Shirley Cook for hosting me for several nights, and begin what is to be the longest miles of the ride. Up to this point, the portion of the ride from St. George, Utah, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, was the longest at just over 800 miles, but now I am heading to Missoula, Montana, which is some 900 miles. On the journey, I take a moment to stop at what is called the “Painted Canyon”, which is a part of the Teddy Roosevelt National Park – it is adjacent to a very nice rest area, and to get off the KUREmobile for a moment to rest the buns and, at the same time, take in the beautiful sights of the Painted Canyon, was a real treat – I got a GoPro video of a walk along the Painted Canyon – it is really something to see. Also, while in route to Missoula, I get a call from Don Seaton, my host in Ames, Iowa, and, turns out, they are heading to Missoula also, for the 40th birthday of one of their sons – we are travelling the same way and same road, and I am invited to join them in a sort of “car pool”. I plan to try to make it to Billings, where I again think about camping, but the Seatons text me and invite me to the Travelwell Motel in Fortsyth, North Dakota – a 5 star motel in the middle of a railroad town about 90 miles east of Billings. Don says he has beer, so I cannot resist the invite – as I locate the motel and turn into the driveway, I see it is a ranch style motel with little porches, and there sits Don and Sue Seaton – not an Embassy Suites, but their smiling faces are a welcome to this weary traveler. The Seatons have their son, David, with them – David is a special Kiwanian and a wonderful man. He has some disabilities, but has been in a Kiwanian Action Club in Nevada, Iowa, for some 7 years and is the program chairman – if you have anything to do with baseball, and are in Iowa, believe me, David will call you and ask that you be a speaker at his club!! There is nothing that David is not interested in nor does not [everyone catch those double negatives – so long since I have used them because I haven’t been in court for several months!!] know, and he is so willing to express – loudly – what he thinks. His wonderful parents are so patient and accommodating of David, and I got to interview him while staying with the Seatons in Missoula [see below]. The Action clubs of Kiwanis are yet another area where service to the children of the world can be developed, and David Seaton is one marvelous example of what it means to serve. The dinner that night is at Fitzgeralds, a local bar and grill in Fortsyth. A word to the wise, however, if you are ever in Fortsyth, North Dakota, and you happen to find yourself at Fitzgeralds, stay away from the beef stroganoff special – it’s not something that should be called “a special”, and there are many more delectable items on the menu. The Travelwell motel is packed for the night – no vacancies – and we have a restful night as our journey continues.
August 7, 2013:
The day starts at odometer reading 12,371, which, when my starting mileage of 1,029 is deducted, puts me at 10,897 miles travelled, and, with the Guinness World Record being at 11,372, I have 476 miles to go to break the record. It appears that the record will be broken somewhere after Missoula, since Missoula is about 440 miles from Fortsyth. I do a sort of caravan with the Seatons, asking Don to get a shot on the GoPro of me going by the car – little did I know that he was reluctant to hold the GoPro camera outside the window, so the shot turns out to be a shot from inside the car, of the car window, mostly, with this motorcycle speeding by in the blink of an eye – realizing what he is doing, I make a second pass, but this time at a much slower speed, and gives the thumbs up. Have to talk to Don when we get to Missoula about his video technique!! We arrive in Missoula late afternoon, and Don, as he has done each time, helps me to unload the bike – a real process, including lugging in about 10 items, including my Navy duffle bag, which weighs about 50 pounds. The Seaton’s have rented a wonderful home on the outskirts of the downtown of Missoula and David, the kind wonderful person he is, gives up his room to the Eliminator, knowing that age always comes before beauty!! I stay with the Seaton, again, for two nights, as I continue to be amazed at the “unity” part of the KURE ride – all I hear from these wonderful Kiwanians is, “how can we help” – boy, that is a theme we need to continue to pursue and allow to flourish.
Dinner that night is at a local restaurant that is a “hang out” of another Seaton child, Jeff Seaton and his lovely wife, Jillian from the Boston area. Jeff and Jillian and what I would call consummate perfectionists, and they should be – they are immensely interesting in all that they have done, extensively educated, and experienced in many “ways of life”, including Jeff working for an exclusive school in New Hampshire for ski enthusiasts, and now working for the local governmental agency running a health clinic. Jeff also is a graduate of Montana University in Missoula, and has been a resident there for many years. Jillian works for a “land trust” company that services people who want to preserve their land from development, and she is apparently the “girl Friday” of the company’s biggest contributor, which makes her a very valuable asset to the Directors of the trust. We have splendid wine – all carefully chosen by Jeff Seaton – and some wonderful culinary dishes. Also, since Jeff and Jillian are regulars, we get visited at the table by the owner and pretty much everyone else at the restaurant who is a local. Fun time. Thanks, again, to all the Seatons for making this ever increasingly homesick wayfarer feel right at home.
Oh, and by the way, the odometer reading at Missoula is now 12,371, so follow the calculation outlined above to figure out how far to go to break the Guinness World Book record, then take a guess at what mileage marker outside of Missoula the record will be broken at, and put your guess on www.facebook.com/KURE2013 - you could win a KURE2013 opportunity drawing ticket.
August 8, 2013:
This, the 76th day of the KURE2013 ride, finds me at the Seaton home in Missoula, arising early to get ready for my 52nd Kiwanis meeting in my 45th state visited, the Sentinel Kiwanis Club of Missoula. It is located at the most unique venue to date I have visited – a County fair, in the 4H Club room, which is located inside the gate, through a very large enclosure/barn, with many many many many animals and all sorts of intentful and dedicated mostly young people caring for these many animals. Also present, as we make our way through gates and walkways around all these animals, is a pretty much the largest amount of manure I have ever seen or been navigating through. This is the first Kiwanis meeting I have had to step through manure to enter – a real experience for me. The 4H “shack” is packed with people – all types, and all wanting coffee and a donut, which we get very quickly, then retreat to an ante-room where some 30+ members of the club are gathering. President, Alan Tronson, along with Glen Wheeler, our KURE2013 contact, and Gary Hughes, the club’s president elect, are all very accommodating in allowing me to present the virtues of the KURE2013 project. Once done, we hear from some 4H kids – nothing short of delightful how they describe their “animal” that they are “showing” at the fair, and what being a 4H Club member means to them. I have no experience with 4H, but after this meeting, I am certain that these kids are having an incredible experience. I decide to donate one of the KURE2013 opportunity tickets to the 4H Club – several members of the club step up to assist with this and the club ends up supporting the KURE2013 project with enough tickets bought to be second most of any state. The state with the most KURE2013 tickets bought gets 5 more tickets donated to the “pot” on their behalf – so far, West Virginia leads, with some 30 tickets, Montana is in second with 25 tickets, and Nevada third with 26 tickets. Keep it up on the web site where tickets can be purchased to support the effort, with many thanks.
I get some “me time” to catch up on log and blog preparation, and to see how things are on the home front. I also get to discuss military history with Don Seaton – fascinating subject when you are talking to someone who has, one, actually been to Vietnam in, of all things, the Cavalry, and how knows his facts. Thanks, Don, for the time to become more proficient in history. Dinner is brought home with Sue and Jeff and Jillian, and we enjoy wonderful pizza and salad and, of course, wine. Great time. Tomorrow I move onto Idaho, the 46th state and have a momentous accomplishment to celebrate.
August 9, 2013:
I run some errands in the morning and pack the KUREmobile – for about the millionth time – and then the Seatons and I confer and agree on a plan – we are breaking the Guinness World Book record today for the “longest continuous motorcycle ride all within one country”. I have the cigar out and ready, we know that when the odometer of the KUREmobile hits 12402, we are one mile past the current record of 11,372 miles – the Seatons agree to drive in their vehicle the necessary miles to witness, record, and be a part of what certainly is somewhat significant history, or at least that’s what we think it is!! As we head down the I90 interstate, the miles click off and at 12402, I look for the next mile marker, and when I see it, I pull over. I90 at this point has massive construction, so the east bound side is completely closed down and lanes going both ways are open on one side, the west bound side – we have a lot of traffic to deal with. I hop off the bike, get out the cigar, and try to light it, but to no avail due to the wind and speeding trucks and other vehicle by us. I also notice that there is very dry brush in the area and so as I strike matches and discard them to the ground when they go out, I wonder if that is really a very good idea, and I stop doing it. With no other way to light the cigar, I hold it in my mouth for the many pictures we take, recording the moment. After my millionth thank you to the wonderful Seatons, and with this milestone recorded, I am back on the bike, heading to Coeur d’Alene, some 100+ miles down the road. Each mile I go from now on, all the way to LA, extends the amount of miles that the record has been broken by, and I am estimating that I will be some 2,000+ miles past Mr. Hag’s record – bring me that horizon.
I arrive in Post Falls, a small town a few miles past Coeur d’Alene, where I have a nephew on my wife’s side, Michael Altizer, and an uncle, Buster Altizer. I find both of them at Michael’s home, working on a camper, along with Michael’s new partner in a vehicle restoration business he has started just 3 weeks earlier. I unload my stuff and get “changed” for the next meeting, which, it turns out, is ½ mile from Michael’s home at a park named Kiwanis Park, right on the Coeur d’Alene river. About 20+ Kiwanians, from several local Kiwanis clubs including Kiwanis Club or Coeur d’Alene and Kiwanis Club of West Valley Spokane, are there for a BBQ and picnic at their park right along a gorgeous river – it is a pristine venue that rates up there with the best. Pat Freeman, the club’s president and a fellow rider, welcomes me and allows me to speak to the group, after which we receive several efforts of support for our project. Once again, a very productive and interesting Kiwanis meeting – only 2 more states, plus a meeting at the district convention with the Alaska and Hawaii delegations, to go. I now have 46 states visited, and my 53rd club “in the books”.
August 10, 2013:
I am able to spend much of this day catching up on my “homework”, as I have been inclined to call it. Michael has a car rally event to attend, so I have the house to myself to sift through all that has to be recorded, accounted for, and blogged. Part of this ride is also making contact with the some 10 dedicated Kiwanians from my club, the La Canada AM Kiwanis Club, and the multiple of other Kiwanians along the route who have volunteered to help me in my effort to complete this ride, including, but not limited to:
– Ron and Joanne Smith in Phoenix, Arizona; Chris Steadman of Las Vegas, Nevada; Randy Covington in Orem, Utah; Dave and Kathy Neiman of Cheyanne, Wyoming; George Kinzer in Denver, Colorado; Bino Martinez of Taos, New Mexico; Don and Maple Levine in Corvalus, New Mexico; Debby Bippus of Amarillo, Texas; Carolyn Dwire amd Ken Springer of Wichita, Kansas; Chuck and Netta Seifert of Conway, Arkansas; Stephanie and Rebecca Huff of Shreveport, Louisiana; Steve and Patty Jackson of Collierville, Tennessee; George Aiken of Pell City, Alabama; Jimmy McCorlew of Columbus, Georgia; John and Terri Wester of Live Oak, Florida; Keith and Mary Bone of Monroe, North Carolina [not Kiwanians, but willing to help out a weary traveler]; Courtney Taylor Allen of Raleigh, North Carolina; Gus Lamond of Richmond, Virginia; past neighbors in California, Rick and Barb Boyko of New Hope, Pennsylvania and Gary and Sherry Richards of Wilton, Connecticut; classmates from Holy Cross, Paul and Peggy May of Mineola, New York; Jim Roehm and Dave Carena of Newport, Rhode Island; cousins Danny and Donna Pompei of Unionville, Connecticut; John Mahios and Dan Bennett and Kiwanis Governor Frank Dennett of Beverly, Massachusetts; Dusty Drew of Standish, Maine; Elliott Curtin and Kathy Fenoff of Montpelier, Vermont; the Rosche family, including Dave and Dick Rosche and sister Barb of Buffalo, New York; Charlotte Creel of North Holmstead, Ohio; Roger Lemley and Barbara Ott of Parkersburg, West Virginia; Anette and Manual Eades of Georgetown, Kentucky; Sam Sakaskaki of Lexington, Kentucky; Neil Huddelston of Kiwanis International, Mauri and Ruth Mangas and Taylor Carlos of Southgate, Michigan; Ted and Juanita Sigg of Park Ridge, Illinois and Cousins Lynda and Ralph DiGregor; Stacy Ondov in Crystal, Minnesota; Jody and Joe Melcher, and Don and Sue Seaton and Marion Kresse of Ames and Nevada, Iowa; Karen Jones, Deb Jones and Kiwanis Governor Gary Goebel of Liberty and Independence, Missouri, brave rider Caitlin Aray and Cousins, Toni and Randy Kip; Lenora and Milford Hanna of Lincoln, Nebraska; Randy and Diane Hohn, John Kramer and John Lewis of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Ben Orshon from Pierre, South Dakota; Darlene Vander Vorst and Senator Dwight and Shirley Cook of Mandan, North Dakota; Alan Tronson, Glen Wheeler, and Gary Hughes of Missoula, Montana, and Pat Freeman and Kiwanis Lt. Governor Taylor Jenson of Post Falls, Idaho as well as Cousin and Uncle, Mike Altizer and Buster Altizer; and Versie Meyer from Portland, Oregon; and Gail Spurrel of Seattle, Washington.
We don’t call it the Kiwanis UNITY Ride to Eliminate for nothing – it takes a village, or in this case, a service club with one clear attitude – to always ask first, “How can I help”. Semper Fi.
August 11, 2013:
I am off on my 79th day of the KURE2013 ride for another somewhat sizeable day of riding – almost 400 miles from Post Falls, Idaho, to Portland Oregon. On the way, I stop to visit a classmate who I have known since 3rd grade at Franklin Elementary School in Glendale, California – Dave Kulisch, aka, Kulaid! Still have a picture of Dave and a bunch of us in a 60’s football uniform with helmets with no faceguard that didn’t fit worth a damn – what a motley crew we were, but here we are, some 50 years later, lawyers and doctors and police officers all coming from that same experience. Dave is a defense attorney in Spokane, Washington, so not sure if I can trust him not to somehow figure out how to bill for the time he and I spend together in my visit, but we will see. It is simply wonderful to see him again, and catch up on all those things we so long ago had in common – thanks, Dave, for the time to visit.
I leave from Spokane after a wonderful visit with the Kurlisches, and head to Portland, Oregon. Having been in mountainous areas for some time, west of Spokane is completely different – lots and lots and lots of flat lands, some with agriculture, much with nothing, until the route turns into the Columbia River Gorge, then it becomes some of the most beautiful landscape I have seen – the road following this huge and active river, up and down rolling hills, with several dams and many small towns and other activities. I have left a bit later than I had planned, so I am still driving when dusk sets – I arrive at the Benson hotel in downtown Portland around 9:30 p.m., check in and call my contact to tell her I am in town, and then collapse after a very active and productive week for the KURE2013 project.
The final numbers, as of August 11, 2013, the 79th day of the ride – we have now travelled 11,900 miles, and are now past the Guinness World Book record by 528 miles. I have met with 53 Kiwanian functions in 46 states, with 2 states to go plus 2 meetings with our far away states Kiwanians, and who knows how many more Kiwanian meetings. Thanks to all for continuing to share this experience on Facebook at “facebook.com/KURE2013” and on the web at “KURE2013.com”, and for supporting the effort with your contributions. It is truly a humbling experience as “The Eliminator”!!