Because I had already travelled the 95 from Richmond to DC on the way up the eastern seaboard, I decided not to travel by motorcycle back to Richmond for the meeting. I rode, instead, to the Alexandria Amtrak station, a route I had not taken before, and then took the train to Richmond where my host, Gus Lamond, a past Governor of that District and fellow ex-Navy man retrieved me from the station – I left about 6:30 a.m. from the kids’ house in Herndon to catch the 7:50 a.m. train, which got me into Richmond about 9:30 a.m.. So, Gus and I had some time, and when I mentioned that I had to do a bank run to deposit money that I had collected for raffle ticket sales and I had to get an “Easy Pass” to avoid the horrible effort to stop at toll booths to pay these ridiculous tolls. Maybe it is because I had a grandfather who despised tolls, but I see no socially redeeming value to tolls, and that excludes their clear purpose, to raise money – we, the public built the damn roads, but now we are being charged to use them. Anyway, the cost to collect and administer the funds must be huge, not to say anything about the traffic nightmare that collection creates and ultimately costs in lost time, gas consumption, and pure frustration. Having now travelled over 6000 miles of this country, it is clear that the collection of tolls is hugely problematic because it creates such other problems, and the attempt to now make it easier to collect that money just makes it more wrong and devious. But, my choice was to either have to actually stop at the hundreds of toll booths between here and where I am going, or get an Easy Pass so I could just ride right through. For those who live in sensible areas of the country where toll booths are rare, you will appreciate what I am feeling here. The Easy Pass is stuck to your window – yes, even on motorcycles – and is “read” by some type of scanner as you drive through the toll booth area, and the toll is deducted from an account you set up with a credit card – easy-peesy, you barely know it’s happen and certainly it barely affects your life. Conveniently, your credit card is billed automatically when it gets below a certain limit, increasing the amount in the account so you can continue to pay tolls. For a motorcyclist, this is the only way to travel – not stopping, no having to take off your gloves to get the money, no having to then “re-dress” yourself, and start up again. So, I am now an Easy Pass BMW and I have already started skirting through the Easy Pass lanes to avoid having to stop – someone needs to talk to these legislators and have this toll thing abolished!!
The meeting in Richmond is at the Virginia Historical Society Building, a wonderfully majestic building past streets like Monument Avenue which holds monuments of all sorts of historical figures. I don’t have time for a real tour of Richmond, but Gus takes me through some of the city on our effort to get the Easy Pass and find a bank. He also is a fabulous “local” who has many stories of many experiences – a pleasure to have been with for this short visit. I meet the Richmond Club’s administrator, Chrissy and the club’s president, Brad Williamson. I also meet a number of motorcycle riders who share stories of rides in such places as Cuba. This is a large club with a long heritage and firm belief in its path. However, the support for the KURE project, at least at the meeting, is far less than the support we have gotten in much smaller clubs, but this club is part of our “family” and now our project is part of them – hopefully, we will see more effort to make the project one that is supported in all possible ways.
Gus takes me back to the train and I “train-it” back to Alexandria where, because it is the afternoon on the east coast in the summer, it is raining! To my surprise, son Lee is in the Alexandria area and stops by, picks up some of my stuff and we are both onto Herndon. Another wonderful day.
June 25, 2013:
This is Day 30 of the KURE ride. We have successfully visited 19 states and 22 clubs, and I have ridden over 5,500 miles – enough to cross the country almost two times. I now have on the schedule two clubs – a D.C. club – the Kiwanis Club of Sheppard Park – and a Baltimore, Maryland club – the Kiwanis Club of East Baltimore. I rely, heavily, on my bike’s Garmin GPS to successfully navigate to all of the destinations, and since it found John and Terri Wester’s place on the Suwanee River, I think it’s been working pretty well – but it does require a full address – number, street, correct city, and zip code. On my first attempt to visit a club today, that address is somehow incorrect – it does not come up on my GPS and, when I run it on my IPod Google Maps, it does not come up ANYWHERE in the entire nation. Obviously, a problem. Given the traffic and the lack of an address I could rely on, I contacted my “contact person”, Jackie Lowe, and advised her – left a message – that I could not find the club. Unfortunately, did not hear back so I never made it to the DC club.
I left then for the Baltimore Club which was located in East Baltimore. I find the club’s meeting place, a church in East Baltimore, and first meet the church’s pastor, wife and many dogs upon my arrival. My contact, Randy Zeil, is there, but, for the club, it is a disappointing showing – only 6 show for an event that was published – I think this is the first “victim” of this being Kiwanis International convention week, and many club members have travelled to Vancouver for the conference. After my presentation, the club gives me a wonderful bag that holds my record books very well – many thanks – and I make it back, a different route, to my son’s home in Herndon for another night.
June 26, 2013:
I start the day planning to travel to the home of Rick and Barb Boyko in New Hope, Pennsylvania, then ride to Levittown for a Kiwanis meeting. The Boykos are longtime friends who were neighbors of ours for several years until 1989, when Rick, an executive with an international ad agency, was offered a position in NY, and since moving to NY, Rick and Barb moved to Richmond, Virginia where We have kept touch with them all these years – they having three girls and we having three boys [and a girl after they moved from the neighborhood] – had somewhat different house statuses – their’s neat and orderly and wonderful and ours always a complete shambles!! My plans were changed by staying far too long in DC, therefore I had to drive directly to the meeting location. Of course, if began to rain in the last 10+ miles and I hit traffic, so I elected to get off at a Levittown exit, get gas and reprogram the GPS to the meeting, which turned out to be a few short miles from where I was. Arrived early so I got to talk to many of those present – gave my presentation and was pleased that several of the clubs there participated in our raffle project. Enjoyed the remainder of the meeting, which included the induction of a new member [a first on this trip] by a visiting Governor and the awarding of certain accolades to other members. I left the meeting about 8:30 p.m. and, following Ms. GPS, travelled along some dark, small roads, through some very tiny towns for what seemed to be forever, to Castle Boyko, arriving about an hour later. The Boyko home is just a spectacular abode, having been built in 1747 with two additions later, and then completely renovated by Rick and Barb some decade or more ago, it has the personal touch of the Boyko family with each room holding its own unique meaning – from the large cook pot in a fire place, to the renovated barn that now is a room for one of the 3 Boyko girls, the home is simply one of a kind. Our slumber time was way delayed by catching up on the lives of our two families, which each had gone many directions since we last had met, but we finally got to sleep around 1 a.m., only to wake up by 5:30 a.m. for Rick to head into “the City” and I to continue my quest for the record. It was a real special time – thanks Boykos for opening your home to this travelling Kiwanian – it was great to see you two.
June 27, 2013:
Day 32 of the ride begins early – 5:30 a.m., and after enjoying Barb Boyko’s coffee and breakfast, Barb assisted me in getting back on the road by being my observer at the top of her driveway onto a busy road, I am on my way to Wilmington, Delaware for an informal meeting with the Kiwanis group there. I hit heavy traffic going through the Philadelphia area and it takes me about 2 hours to go 55 miles, but the trip is well worth it after meeting the Wilmington Kiwanis Club members at a local public golf course. Pat Bartoshesky, the President Elect of the club, is among the members joining in the meeting – thanks Pat for getting everyone together so that the KURE2013 project can count Delaware as the 22nd state in our ride. I leave Wilmington around noon for my parents’ home in Shelton, Connecticut, a distance of 192 miles, that takes me over 7 hours to traverse – traffic is the worse I have seen on this trip – 13 miles of backup on I95 in CT, and I do not want to even mention the amount of the tolls! I roll into Shelton and put the BMW into the garage for a few days rest and relaxation.
June 28 and 29, 2013:
Day 33 and 34 of the KURE2013 ride are spent in Shelton, Connecticut. I use the time to take the BMW into Max’s BMW in the Danbury area [a ride of about 27 miles one way], where I also get some time to visit with a cousin of mine for breakfast. It is great to be home – I was born in Connecticut and my folks still have a place here. I spend much of the time finishing my log reports and getting ready for the next week of the ride. The final numbers, as of June 29, 2013, the 34th day of the ride – we have now travelled 6,232 miles, and have 4,968 miles to go to break the record – we broken the 5,000 miles mark to go. I have met with 25 Kiwanian functions in 22 states, with 26 states to go plus 2 webcam meetings, and who knows how many more 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”!!