My X Country SOLO Trip Slide Show


It’s long but made for me to share with you.  Music included were the tunes I listened to a lot throughout my journey.  Some may sound depressive some may not.  All have meaning to me and I can actually visualize the sights, sounds, smells and weather of course throughout my trip based on songs.  It’s a cool way to correlate all the many places I was fortunate to explore from May 17th – June 15th 2014.  At the end of course is my tribute to me Beagle, Cruizer….I hope some will watch and get a flavor of what it is like to travel 14,107 KM’s.  Leslie

Day 23 & 24 – Taking it down a notch




I camped out on a lake about 15 mins way from the dock where the fast ferry leaves Muskegon, MI to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.I took thisferry back in 2010 when I rode cross-country then. That year I went west to east. Also, I remember arriving in Milwaukee in 2010 the day they got over 7 inches of rain in a few hours and being soaked to the bone when boarding the ferry at that time. Heading east to west this time around it was an over cast sky but not anything like 2010 except the Lake had waves 3-5 feet. They put out an announcement for passengers to be aware that it was going to be a rough crossing and if they felt they might get sick please see an employee about gettingsea sick pills or a patch.
They were very correct that many would get sick. The crossing appeared to make the little kids throw up constantly as well as some adults. I thought I would succumb at first but was able to get my equilibrium back and make it all the way across without even feeling nauseous. It was sort sad to see so many using the barf bags especially the kids. I swear these Great Lakes sure deserve their names. They are HUGE. 2.5 hours to cross Lake Michigan. At $146 for my bike and me I guess it’s an ok deal seeing it cuts out about 2 days riding if I went around.Before I got the dock I rode through Musekgon and found a very cute little place for breakfast.

Love these off beat places. My ferry wasn’t leaving until 1015 so I had time. I also had time to think about the couple sleeping in the tent next to me. All night and including the morning this woman was just abusing her very whipped husband verbally. They fought and then would make up…it was like listening to some sort of “white trash” TV episode. Unbelievable how some forget they are in a tent and I really had no need to hear the details of how he was disappointing her on their tent trip.

Their tent was HUGE with a queen sized blow up mattress but he couldn’t please her enough and I really felt like I wanted to “save” him but I put my ear plugs in and shut them out.

Breakfast was really good as often it is at greasy spoons.


Couldn’t eat all the potatoes. Not very good for me anyway. I noticed a few guys hanging out around my bike and when I got done it appeared they were waiting for the “rider” to make claim to this bike. I have heard this comment almost once day…”Oh crap it’s a chick”. In any case, tons of questions about what was loaded on my bike, how much does it weigh, how far am I am going and then “keep the rubber side down” comments which in the end they were three Harley riders. Impressed by the fact I was wearing gear they also said “don’t you get HOT wearing all that stuff”. Anyway…I quickly explained my theory about gear and off I went.


Muskegon is a very small town and it was empty when I was riding through. There seems to always be one landmark or more that catches my eye in these little towns and this historic house did. Beautifully restored and just stood out.


It was beautiful and I found myself just sitting on my bike looking at it for about 15 mins.

Ended up riding down by the water and this ship, the USS Silversides caught my eye.

Silversides, a national landmark and a museum, at “full dress ship” in Muskegon

How can it not catch an eye it’s huge, very OLD and actually very cool but not open to tour when I got there.I arrived with a 1/2 hour to spare before the Lake Express showed up. Impressive how they unload and quickly re-load this boat. It’s fast and when you get on especially for this ride the crew was warning all the bikes to really tie down. There were about 6 Harley riders from Ohio on their annual ride to somewhere. 6 friends and their bikes.I have never tied down my bike by myself before. When traveling in two there are always roles aren’t there? So, as a soloist now I figured it out, I know not rocket science but the tie downs are a bit tricky. I refused to ask for help from the guys getting their HD’s secured. Stubborn I suppose but I ended up doing ok as the crew inspected my bike and said “well done” it’s not going anywhere.

Of course I was the only female. Come to think of it so far by Day 23 I hardly have seen any female riders on the road except a few HD riders who were out for what appeared to be local rides and a few grrls on sport bikes. Tons of pillion passengers on Goldwings and HD’s were women but not riding their own bikes. I never saw another female on a DS the entire trip.

So off we went, to me it was a quick trip across the lake even though it was over 2 hours. I put my SPOT in one of the rescue boats so my track would keep tracking.

When I got off the boat I forgot my SPOT of course. Had to literally run back as they were reloading for the trip back, cruise through security which seemed to really freak the staff out and I was escorted back on to the boat to retrieve my SPOT. I was stopped and asked why I had such a device with me and why on the boat? I said it was just an innocent tracking device so I could see my route and there was no other intent other than recreational. I think the ship’s captain thought I was doing something devious

I posted this picture on my FB page and man did I get a response. The story behind this was there were 6 Harley riders on the boat. They just happened to ride Harley’s and the beer comment I made had nothing to do with their bikes has to do with the riders. I noticed 3 drinking beer as soon as we took off on the ferry. Early morning drinkers I suppose. 2 of them had three beers during the crossing and obviously got on their bikes. I made contact with one guy, their friend and expressed my concerns about the drinking and riding. The man agreed with me he shared my concerns, stated 2 are alcoholics and need to drink. I was told by some FB comments I should have called the police. I didn’t. I spoke to their friend and he said he would “baby sit” and he goes through this struggle with these guys every ride.

Not sure if I should have made a call to 911 or informed the staff but at the time I did what I thought was right. Hope they stayed safely on their bikes and as for me? I have a zero tolerance for drinking and riding period. I do however, have no issues with parking the bike for the day and drinking whatever you want.

I am not an overly spiritual person but there is something about Saint Christopher I believe in. A gift from some friends before I left…the medal, three amethyst stones to represent my three friends and a butterfly for new beginnings. I kiss this every morning just so I know someone is over looking me throughout this trip. My attention to karma and powers bigger than me gets stronger as I head towards to the Badlands, Blackhills and even Yellowstone.

Once off the boat I navigated around the city and construction. The winters sure wreak havoc on many of the roads in this region and construction seems ongoing and does at times pose a challenge for the bike to keep two wheels planted. My Karoo 3 tires absolutely hate the black snakes on the road dry or wet. For those who do not know what a black snake is?

It’s the tar they use to fill the cracks on roads. I found these tires to be FANTASTIC on pavement and off-road but they are showing wear and I got them on in CT.

While heading to my unknown destination for the day it warmed up, sun came out and my first real encounter with getting smacked with bugs. Been sort of lucky this entire trip. No bug swarms, some black flies, mosquitoes but nothing that could not be easily controlled with a little bug spray.

Took some nice scenic back roads towards the Badlands in SD.


This rider was getting blown apart but gave me the thumbs up and seemed to be enjoying himself at about 75 mph. Can’t imagine the vibrations he must have been feeling but cool bike nonetheless.

Spent the night in Rochester, WI and awoke to this…

and it was cold heading west…

I have used my heated gear quite a bit up to this point with the only really HOT and humid days heading to North Carolina and up the coast to DC. After that little warm spell it’s been cool and typical Spring time storms that I have been riding through.

I rather have it cooler, better for my to ride longer and from what I found out better for my diabetes. Found out that HEAT, riding long distances really makes it hard for me to keep my sugar levels up but I worked that out by eating different trail mix and even eating McDonald’s at some points to just get a quick fix of carbs and calories.


Odometer keeps clicking, 23,000 KM’s for today.

I really like the eye protection I have worn for this trip. The lens on these glasses transition and adjust to the light. Very nice to have because I wear them all the time night or day. Here you can see them clear but once the sun comes out of there is brightness they darken up pretty quickly. Anyway, I like them, have good coverage for when I open my shield and work.

I got to South Dakota with my destination being the Badlands. I have never been to this park and on my return trip I decided I need to go. I was also told by many to go there as well to well??? Feel the power of this area. Like I said I am not overly spiritual but after I got to ride the park all by myself because I woke up at 0500 to do so, I can tell you there is something special about this area.

I fast tracked my ride using the interstate to get to the park before it was too late in the day. My ride really didn’t start from Wisconsin until about 1500 hrs.

Weather got so much better which was a nice relief. One thing I really love about my gear is not only is it so comfortable I barely feel like I am wearing a technical suit, but no matter the weather…I am protected without stopping having to put on a rain suit or liners. I just make sure all the vents are closed in rain and open when it gets warm. Add a heated liner and I am all good. Simple.

Getting close to the park you can see such a change in the horizon and terrain. From flat to rugged in the middle of what felt like no where. When I traversed South Dakota in 2010 I felt like it was boring. I look back and no know we were BORING. Took the wrong route, by passed the best park of this state. I love being my own navigator. I know I have missed a lot of this trip, will need to go back and hit other roads and attractions but for my first time out, I don’t even have a paper map at this point it fell apart, I think my route day to day planning worked. Using my GPS to help find everything from parks to lodging etc…seemed to work out well enough without really having a plan.

I arrived to the Badlands late in the day and there were cars and tourists all over the place. Me being one of them. I tried to get camping and not ride the park at this time but everything was full to my surprise. I ended up at little motel outside the park in the town Interior for the night.

I found out the park is open 24 hours a day and made the decision to wake up early, not hard for me to do as I don’t sleep well…and ride the park at dawn with hopes no one would be up. Later I found my plan worked out perfectly.

The beginning of the park was a neat foreshadow of what I would see on Day 25 but nothing prepared me for what I was going to hear halfway through this spiritual land.

I got settled into my room, tried to relax a bit and started to plan my route for the next day which was supposed to be more slowing it down a bit. The last report I got about my beagle Cruizer after being diagnosed with a late onset of Addison’s Disease was that he was doing well. I was sort of trying to rush home because I felt he needed me but did find some peace knowing he was in great loving hands and at this time felt a sense of relief knowing he seemed to be getting “better”. Went to bed early for my hope to be lone ride through the Badlands the next day. To be continued.

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Day 5 – I don’t like being a Carnivore


761.2 KM’s

I have to say this…after riding today and seeing so MANY cattle pens where I know they are being raised just for their meat, I hate the fact I like meat. I am not a left-wing nut about being vegetarian or anything but when I see hundreds if not thousands of cows living like this is kills me.

I Love all animals and wild life….not sure why I eat them?OK, that was my rant for the day.

I left Casper, Wyoming at about 0700 only to be warned of the impending dome I might face out of the roads today in all directions. One thing for sure you can see where to ride or not because you can see the weather ahead clearly.

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Day 3 – X Winds, Hail & GHOST Rider (711.4 KM’s)


I need to start off by saying thank you to all the PM’s, emails and messages in general to the many out there that think I am “brave” for telling my story and going out on my own. It is what it is….I speak my mind and always have, perhaps too much. But in the end I am not alone going through a devastating and blind sided separation. Seems this happens all too often in my books.I listened to the audio version of “Ghost Rider”, by Neil Peart and narrated by BrianSutherlan. I am on Chapter 4. It was so cool to listen to his take not only on his losses but his trip up the Dempster. He kept a great journal one that I would never be able to do and the details, oh the details remind me of my own trip and feelings in 2011.I will listen to the rest tomorrow and have to say all those who recommended this book to me I thank you! Now on to today’s report.

It’s funny no one has asked how my ass is doing on the BMW OEM low seat? Well, it’s working out just fine actually. The sheep pad helps but I bet I could be doing this without it. For some reason I have grown accustomed to it.

In 2010 I rode the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National park. It took us over 4 hours to ride the 48-50 mile road. The traffic and construction in early July 2010 was insane. Well worth it. Was a nice day but 4 hours???

Today it was closed and closed until late June.

Today started out sunny and no wind until I got through the mountains. Again in 2010 I remember what it was like to ride through Montana and Wyoming. HOLY cross winds. But for the beginning of today I saw this…

It drizzled a bit but I have to be honest it was nothing compared to later in the day. The KLIM Altitude suit being Gore Tex is handling all this rain no problem. The only issue I have is the light colour. It’s showing up everything and something weird is happening to the leather on the pants. I took some pics but perhaps I will take better ones at another time. But here are the ones from today.

both pants legs have these marks or stains? Dunno. I will see what happens when I wash them eventually. Other than the dirt and I have always had an issue with the collar. hey need to make it about 2 cm wider for heated liners. I can not zip up the jacket with my liner in to make it really water tight.

My bike turned 15,000 today. I think yesterday it was 14,000?

it was still really nice out after I got through the park. Had to take this photo op shot with a back ground like that? It’s really beautiful here, even the plains did not bore me this time. In 2010 they seem to be annoying a bit, but this time around being with me?

I like the rolling hills and the surprise curve in the road. Soothing I guess as I listened to Ghost Rider.

Not sure if anyone out there who rides long distances have ever thought about audio books. If you haven’t highly recommend getting some on your phone, use the Audible App and you are good to go.

My SPOT has died by this point. I called SPOT and they said it must be defective using so many batteries. Doesn’t really matter I know it’s defective because now it won’t boot on. It DEAD.

I am going to go to Cabelas here in Billings tomorrow and see about getting a Gen 3 Spot. The next time I can set it up online and call SPOT to activate the new device when I get one, tracking will be back on. I like to have it for me and my family.

The Spring time weather out here is definitely not boring. One minute you have sun and warmth, the next it drops 10 degrees C and it’s thundering out, lightning and hailing with down pours.

Doesn’t look that bad but when I turned a bend in the road I hit a black wall of hail. About 2 hours outside Billings, MT.

I love cargo trains when riding. We have them back in Vancouver but while riding out in the middle of no where…these things are so cool.

So, I have to admit…riding solo can be scary at times. If you are reading this post to this point I will confess it is taking a little more time getting used to being on my own. Like parking. I have almost dumped the bike more times than I care to admit because I never judge parking surfaces well. Cheryl did. I find myself at times looking in the rear view mirrors only to see no one is back there. Scary to me since I always had a back.

I respect solo riders a whole lot more now. We are on our own for sure. But on the other hand I am liking my own pace and not even really having anyone to talk to but strangers.

I have to give kudos to Shoei helmets. I love this new RF1200 but I have always LOVED how easy it is to take the shield off these helmets to get a good cleaning of the mechanisms and the shield itself. Brilliant.

This 2013 Beemer is making a really decent touring bike. I like it!

Navigating for me is new. I never had a GPS on my bike until last year. Maybe that was a foreshadow because something prompted me to get one and learn how to use it. Coming in handy I have to say. I am using a Montana 600.

When I got to a road construction area that says wait until your pilot car arrives, this can mean minutes or hours. I waited an hour. So, listened to my book and watched cows graze. A little annoying because I lost an hour yesterday time wise due to Mountain time and today due to waiting.

Started out sunny and cool while waiting but look what happened.

It was kind of funny. I was loving the gravel and dirt and was cruising right along while the cars and trucks behind me seemed more tentative. it was slippery but I have done the Dempster and Dalton in the piss down rain and this was nothing but maybe 10 KM’s long?

There is where the cross winds almost blew me off my bike a few times. I trust my bike and trust me to relax in such powerful gusts. Felt like a football player leaning into the wind to keep myself low. My body actually aches from today. The wind for me acts like I am a punching bag. Truthfully? I rather ride in crappy rainy weather than HIGH cross winds. it made for a great work out.

The another storm came up. In Montana you can see for miles so you can also see your destiny. I watched the skies and pulled over at a gas station to get my heated gear on. The temperature was about 18 C then dropped to 6. I spoke to an army young man moving to Texas from Fairbanks who said he heard it’s really bad going the direction we were heading. Well? it was…huge hail, wind, thunder, lightning, pouring rain that bounced off the road up my pants leg. Also, it rained so hard that it was bouncing off my bike up my helmet until I put my chin down.

The hail hurt my hands through my gloves and to kicker was the wind challenge as well. This lasted for about an hour. KLIM gear kept me dry as a bone as well as my Gore Tex KLIM gloves.

Gas station where I changed.

Came out of it and again nothing but blue skies but windy.

I did not take pictures in the middle of the storm…I thought that would be just dumb if I did. I needed both hands on the handle bar. Wyoming is having funnel clouds and also bad storms. So, what lies ahead?

I decided to head to Billings, instead of Buffalo, WY due to time. After 711 KM’s and the cross winds I was done. So, stopped in Billings which is sort of good. I am going to go to Cabelas outdoor store tomorrow and see about getting that new Gen 3 SPOT. Maybe I can have tracking back up sooner than later if they have one in stock. They open at 0900 so my start time will be later than I want.

That is Billings down below and the weather was perfect. I got another KOA cabin for the price of a tent site. It pays to show up late and a little off-season.

As the diabetic that I am it’s important I check my sugars at times. Mine seems to be doing OK except yesterday I dropped to 3.6. Hypoglycemic which is not good but today I was better.

I am paying more attention to my diabetes than any other trip. I need to so I can stay alert. I have no one telling me I am acting weirdly.

And finally a nice sunset to end the day. Oh, and some really really ANNOYING loud young man who just went to bed, made for a great day. Which is actually what I had a great day. One thing I hope this distraction of a trip does some healing so when I go back I am not a complete disaster as I was before I left. I need to be able to be functioning again on a more consistent basis. That is my wish for this trip. Safety, enjoyment and finding myself somewhat whole again.

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Day 2 – Castelgar to West Glacier National Park


Not enough long of a day…only 443 Km’s. Will try to make up for a short day tomorrow.

The ride from Castelgar to West Glacier National Park initially looked like it was going to be another wet day. Even the motel lady was like you are going to get wet. But to my surprise this is what I was greeted with heading into the Kootenay Pass. Continue reading

Day 1 – Cold, rainy and full of ruminating



Let’s talk about my pet peeve from day one real quickly. My SPOT Connect is sucking up batteries like there is no tomorrow. I have emailed them about this because it’s not acceptable when you use lithium batteries to power a device that they last only a few hours. Went through 6 yesterday and had to replace them after I stopped for the day to start fresh. OK, rant done!My neighbours came over to my garage before I left in their PJ’s to say good bye and good luck. I thought that was sweet. One of their hubbies on his way of work caught this pic of me heading east right after I left my house.

The weather started out great. Perfect for me to ride. Cool, over cast and no rain until I hit the interior of BC. Changed to cold, rain and that lasted all the way to Castlegar, BC through the mountain passes. Was too lazy to get the heated gear out but today I am prepared for T Storms, rain and cold into Montana.

Today mark a big day for me. Not only heading out SOLO for the first time but again to protect some of my privacy I will reveal that while I left, there was a moving truck at my house and when I return there will be big holes inside my home missing “things” so Cheryl can have a something for her “new” start in life.

My day in my head was full of ruminating thoughts, questions, feelings and emotions. I played a lot of music to try and drown out any negatives and it partly worked. I just could not get completely away from that gnawing gut wrenching feeling. Even seeing an active Osprey nest with chicks did not allow me to escape my thoughts.

I knew this would be a difficult day on levels I can’t even explain….and it was. But for the sake of my personal saga I will not cloud this entire report using it as my therapist. Instead I will take all the PM messages, emails and posting of support as comfort and try to focus on the glass being half full. Not easy for a type A control freak like me.

My ride from Maple Ridge to Castlegar was uneventful in the sense that things went OK despite the weather of course.

I got a good view from Anarchist mountain outside Osoyoos, BC

This is a familiar route. Did it in 2010 going X Country as well. I decided to stay in Canada for the first day just because. My views like this would have been plenty if it wasn’t for the low cloud cover.

My selfie and the flash went off it was that gray out after I left this vista.

Oh, need to sneak in a pic of my beauty. Need to rethink some packing. Maybe relocate items etc. Will work on this day to day.

I ended up doing about 628 KM’s day 1, and was hoping to try to get in over 700 today. But we will see how the weather turns out. They are a warning of T storms, rain, and cold. I am prepared today with heated liner and gloves for anything. My new KLIM Altitude did as expected in the rain. I stayed dried but the light colour is getting really dirty fast. Not a big deal but I rather have the suit a little darker colour, not black but something that will not show every piece of crud that hits you.

Saw this cemetery along the road. It’s a Aboriginal cemetery. Just tons of simple crosses. Eery sort of.

Staying on the pavement for a while…not going to deviate too much on the way east but coming home I might explore some more. So, this was it…rain for the rest of my day. I don’t set up camp in the rain. I will if it starts out dry and rains…no biggie. But I ended up a motel in Castlegar for the night with bad WiFi. ;-)

I am off to Montana today via Creston. Will head South from there and try to find pockets of drier weather but I think I am out of luck until Tuesday who knows. Maybe there will be a break.

Solo day 2 will commence in a few hours. Need to shower and eat of course. If I miss comments my apologies. I just a many things on the go and if there is a question or something in particular you want to know…PM or email. Thanks. Here’s to a day with better thoughts, clearer mind and embracing my trip.

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Slowly but Surely


I am making progress in packing. I know doesn’t seem to be such a huge task and it’s not when all you have to do is focus on a trip. I look forward to the end of this week..many issues will have at least some answers, again personally and then I can figure out what I am coming back too. In the meanwhile after today I will just not care about the personal and focus on myself being fortunate to explore the great continent of North America yet again in 2014.

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