Loud pipes might save lives, but they also tell your mother
you are trying to sneak out the back door without saying
goodbye – curses foiled again! Some of the more
observant of you may have noticed we didn’t quite follow
the route planned – I will let Brian fill you in there.
Okay, I forgot a small but fundamental bit for my GPS, so
we had a small change of plans. But it did get us back to
the Similkameen valley and introduced us to Orofino, a
fine new winery near the Nighthawk border crossing. We
are now spending the night with Peter & Jane Powell near
Concunully, WA, which as the picture of the day shows, is
Whoever is parading around doing their little rain dance
can stop now – thanks. Quick restaurant review – if you
ever in Kettle Falls Washington and are looking for a fine
piece of buttered toast (without jam – just buttered), the
Bulldog Inn is highly recommend – other wise keep going
down the road to Colville. I think whoever is in charge of
Montana’s highway department owns a motorcycle (or
two). The roads are great, and any speed limit merely a
suggestion – although the local drivers tend towards
The day began with the bucolic vista of pasture from the
porch of the Powell bunk house. Yes, the weather changes
have been more like climate changes so far, but nothing
that a layer of Gore-Tex can’t handle. I can only echo
Ian‘s enthusiasm for the roads. I’m sure the views are also
terrific, but confirmation will require another trip - on a
Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National Park is, in
a word, spectacular. Always thought you were supposed
to earn views like that by walking. Must be what riding
through the Alps is like – this being a mountain stage and
all, I was expecting Lance Armstrong in his yellow jersey
to blow by going up the hill. Had a bit of a revelation this
morning, if your bald, want to ride around on a motorcycle
without a helmet and smoke a cigar, it probably works
better on a Harley then a Beemer.
Our first FLW building was a modest example. The “Going
to the Sun Highway” is awe-inspiring; just as I
remembered it from the ‘50’s except that it is now the
Going to the Sun Road. I’m sure there is a legal or
bureaucratic explanation for the change. East of the
mountains the light changes as well as the topography.
Tonight we are at Koski’s Motel in Glasgow MT.
If I can just get that damn Talking
Heads song “We’re on the Road to Nowhere”, out of my
head everything would be perfect. Everybody sing:
Well we know where
Not being plugged in to satellite radio, I concentrated on
absorbing the subtle changes in light and landscape of
North Dakota for about 12 hours…. I think I need satellite radio.
Seeing as we are now across the Mississippi River, and the
focus of the trip changes tomorrow from just getting from
A to B… we made it, yah! Now some fun facts from the
GPS: total miles 2202; moving average speed 57.2
miles/hour; IAN’s maximum speed 98 miles/hour. So its
pretty hot out here right now and I truly am hoping that
this Frank Lloyd Wright fellow designed a Dairy Queen or
TCBY because you can really work up a sweat driving
around in circles trying to find his buildings.
We crossed Minnesota today, We found one FLW house,
which is the picture of the day, in fact the only picture
today. Finding it took us into Minneapolis and St Paul,
which was a blessing and a curse. The curse was the heat.
But it allowed us to traverse Lake/Marshall from one end
to the other, and get a taste of these cities. I would like to
come back. Tonight, we are in La Crosse, and another
cultural first; our server at dinner spent her spring break
in Winnipeg because her friends were too young to drink in
Orlando. Is this really the Canadian competitive
So I’m thinking that maybe the Wisconsin Department of
Highways should be renamed the Wisconsin Department of
Harley-Davidson – as those seem to be the only other bikes
on the road and here we are in yet another state that
hasn’t met a twisted bit of pavement it didn’t like – yee-
hah! Taliesen was absolutely remarkable.
A heavy dose of FLW today, with a 4 hour tour of Taliesen.
Not only is each building a beautiful object but they are
placed to enhance each other and the land itself appears
to have been shaped to complete the experience.
What a day…and it ends with the wackiest play in baseball
– the pitcher balks in a running in the bottom of the 10th
inning! Over the next couple of days I will be loading ALL
of the pictures to the server linked from the pictures
page, but consider yourselves warned - some of the files
are 8Mb files (and bigger).
Don’t expect erudition in these journal entries. They are
posted late at night after a celebratory glass of Oban.
With that disclaimer, today was perfect on two of the
three elements of the trip; there were no curvy roads but
the day included a tour of the Johnson Wax Building, and
an outside look at three Racine FLW houses. The last
required a clandestine approach to Wingspread, which
can’t be seen from the road. Finally, a brilliant Brewers’
game from great seats at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Don’t laugh, but if you ever get the chance to go, go to
Milwaukee – especially if its summer time. The place is
literally street party after street party. If anybody finds a
fairly new black Backline belt between Racine and
Milwaukee – it’s mine. I think I have dealt with the picture
resolution in way that should allow for easier downloads,
and the first all of the pictures up to July 14 are up on the
offsite server. And now via email from his Blackberry,
Brian Wallace (guess we are all grown up now as we get
our own rooms here in Chicago).
An easy day. Milwaukee has followed Bilbao's lead
with a spectacular new art museum, this one by
Calatrava. It includes a mechanical brise de soleil
that opens and closes for no apparent practical
purpose, but is dramatic. We had a quiet ride down
Lake Michigan and into Chicago, poking around some
lovely Milwaukee and north Chicago neighborhoods
looking for more FLW work.
Quick note that there likely won’t be much updating while
we are here in Chicago. And just to crank up the spooky
quotient – it seems like all of the books in the lobby of the
hotel are exclusively about Frank Lloyd Wright!
Marilyn arrived and we took the Red Line to Wrigley
Field to see the Cubs trounce the Pirates. I really
Within 2 hours of arriving at O’Hare, I was at Wrigley Field and already completely in love with Chicago. And baseball? Was that amusement or horror on Ian’s face when I asked how many innings made up a game?
Italian food at Coco Pazzo Café ended a wonderful day.
My day to pay homage to Frank. Oak Park and then his brilliant Robie House. Imagine a house that will take 8 million dollars to restore! It will be worth every penny.
“Butter” for dinner. It yelled “martini” upon entering and I can’t remember anything else.
Cardboard Box: $2
Shipping : $15
Socks & Shirts : $90
Sending your dirty laundry home: PRICELESS
A day without any of the Odyssey elements: no FLW, no MC, no MLB, but lots of Chicago and a sale at Marshall Fields on Pink shirts.
Marilyn’s Excellent Adventure: an architectural river cruise, The Museum of Contemporary Art, a fine private gallery and a Brasserie.
There is a moment in “The Book”, where Ewan Macgregor as he is unpacking his kit states that all he can think about at that point in time is packing it all back up and getting back on his bike and riding as soon as possible – pretty much where I was through most of the 4 days in Chicago. It was mighty nice getting back to the road. Drove by the RV and Manufactured Home Hall of Fame somewhere in Indiana (no surprise as that’s all there is to do in Indiana – drive by things), and it got me thinking that there must be enough Hall of Fames in lots of interesting places to route another trip through…hmmmm.
We hadn’t planned to use the interstates much, but today was an exception with 350 miles to cover before a 7:00 ball game at Jacobs Field. (Actually, we managed to miss the start of the game by forgetting that the time changed at the Indiana/Ohio border.) So the day’s diversions were the people and vehicles we shared the road with. I was fascinated by a pristine black closed semi from a Chicago Lamborghini dealer and we rode for a couple of hours and lunched with a delightful Indiana Harley rider, recently back from Iraq, being headhunted by a company in Akron. Another good day but the home team lost.
As we appropriately toasted Norah Wallace (my grandmother), with our nightly scotch in Glasgow Montana (her place of birth – metaphorically), in a hotel room of a certain character and price (her nature – no metaphor needed), it is here in Detroit after seeing the Tigers play that we toast Bob Wallace (my grandfather), and note that the world has been short one Detroit Tigers fan for too long. I have decided to rename Route 6 along the south shore of Lake Erie west of Cleveland the Lost Espresso Highway as we came upon a single “coffee” shop (as pictured), over the course of traveling 60 miles.
What can I say? Ian stole all my lines. We detoured through Ann Arbor to find another FLW house. Norah (my mother, see above) sat in the U of Michigan library there on her 50th birthday and wrote letters to her children, musing on her life ‘til then. On another historical note is that this week is the anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riots.
The Black Bike reminded me of it’s 20 Year Vintage today as an electrical glitch will restrict us to day time driving for the next little while. While the field (and I do mean field, grass and all), replacement of the headlight bulb itself was a success the problem persisted. Now it could be that the second-hand headlight won at auction on E-Bay wasn’t such a good deal, or the last remaining original replays have failed and probably should have been replaced before this trip – live and learn.
First a Kinko stop and then another caffeine challenge, this time from Dearborn to Toledo and after 11:00 before finding something meeting our jaded west coast tastes. (Who has a problem?) We ran into several thousand other BMWs convened for the annual Owners Association do at a county fair ground in the middle of Ohio. Very hot and tents everywhere (few rvs here). Interesting as it was I don’t think I will plan my next holiday around this event. On to Mansfield, OH and another posh Super 8, only to find that here, too, motorcycles dominate. It seems to be a major race weekend at the nearby Mid-Ohio Course. After careful consideration, we will stick to our plans for tomorrow – no stop to watch motorcycles going really fast, but on to Canton, OH to search out a bit more of Frank’s work and some windy roads to Pittsburgh, where the Pirates take on Colorado.
One no longer gets lost but makes certain “policy decisions” trying to resolve the conflict between ones current location and the desired destination, rerouting as required…or so I have been told.
Digital navigators have no imagination. Some of us navigate more intuitively, by ever diminishing approximations. For example, we had lunch in West Virginia today, in Newell (rhymes with poll), the home of
Server: “Are you traveling somewhere?” Ian: “We’re going to Boston.” Server: “What are you doing in Newell?” Ian: “It’s between Seattle and Boston.” Server: “That’s really strange.”
The classic pictures of Falling Water consistently have a sense of drama built up around them: at dusk with the lights on; winter time with snow and ice, fall in all its glory, a roaring falls, and always without the presence of the residents. This picture however is a rarity – height of summer, crawling with tourists and barely a trickle over the falls. Very much like the rarest of motorcycles – a bone stock Harley-Davidson.
Pittsburgh was another delightful surprise – clean, interesting, apparently safe and active. Today we didn’t go a long way. We rode through lovely wooded hills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and spent two hours at Falling Water, it seemed a short day, but as we always seem to do, we didn’t arrive at our destination (Baltimore) until 8:00.
<editor> The boys took the day off today so here are a few emails from “The Fans”
Sent: Tue Jul 12 15:54:42 2005
Subject: Where are our updates?!?!
Those of us who have to WORK for a living are relying on you to update your website so we
can live vicariously through you! C'mon fellas, get on it!!!!
I hope you are having a WONDERFUL trip.
Subject: the ride
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 16:52:14 -0400
Wayace & Ian
The posture you take when you ride signifies that you are linking absolute and relative,
sky and ground, heaven and earth, like two wings of a bird, integrating the skylike
deathless nature of mind and the ground of our transient, mortal nature.
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 14:44:10 -0700
Hi Ian, happy to hear that you are on the road with uncle Brian - the dream of every male in the world come true.
What about saddle soreness ... or is that just a myth? I can tell I don't have to wish you a lot of fun .... you are having
it. May the angel of motorbikes of all makes be watching over you both.
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 09:26:37 -0400
Thanks Ian and Brian!
Wish you a great trip! We are looking forward to read about your trip.
You know if you change your route, you are always welcome to stay in our home in Atlanta.
Arne and Anna
Sent: Mon Jul 25 14:36:11 2005
Subject: Re: The Odyssey
Thanks for the email. We have been checking out your blog all along.
Shirley says that you should check out the original home of Buffalo wings.
It's called the Anchor Bar & Grill. Have fun.
PS - I understand Ian's angst over your directional issue!
Sent: Mon Jul 25 08:55:18 2005
Subject: Hi there in Baltimore, Washington, NY . . or somewhere
I am really enjoying your website and its daily posting.
You guys are having WAY too much fun. It will difficult to get back to normal, whatever
See you in a couple of weeks.
D E R E K R E I M E R
Subject: Greetings from the West
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 10:18:50 -0700
As I mentioned to Dad, I visit your website daily. Unfortunately Greg and I have neither the equipment,
nor the patience (OK, Greg might, but I certainly don’t!) to do something similar for our Ireland trip.
Besides, there is too much Guinness to be drunk to have time for tinkering with a website!!!! But I LOVE
yours! I have been showing it to anyone who will allow me to.
Things are a little nutty in the Rose City (remind me again why your route missed this strategic stopping
point? We have a FLW house here too ya know… and a baseball team called The Beavers… ahem… yeah,
OK. I guess I can see why you missed it…)
Back to work for me. I hope you are having a good day and you have found yourself some better coffee
wherever you are!
Love to you both,
Sent: Mon Jul 18 15:32:55 2005
Subject: A Long Way Home
… so I took advantage of the brief hiatus to visit
your site and walk in your steps (ride in your tracks?), metaphorically, through the
journal entries you have penned so far. It sounds (and looks) like you're having a
splendid time. The photos are brilliant, as is the narrative. Your having embarked with
a purpose (baseball plus FLW) gives the narrative an extra dimension of coherence that is
not usually found in the accounts given by others of their more desultory and unfocussed
New York is not that far away and I know that time there is precious. If the Village
Vanguard (Jimmy Greene is playing this week) doesn't work, then you must either go to the
Blue Note (Chris Botti, then Charlie Haden and others) or to Balthazar (the latter, just
for dinner). (Have I directed you to that wonderful restaurant before?)
Here are links to websites for all three:
Ride safely and say hello to Marilyn.
Sent: Fri Jul 15 19:30:23 2005
Subject: Re: The Odyssey
Looks like you are having a good trip and a lot of fun. Deep, deep,
deep down inside do you think you should have paid more for your
motorcycle? Don't worry it is not too late, we can make the arrangements.
Sent: Mon Jul 11 08:57:42 2005
Subject: love the pictures
Now I too can vicariously wend my way across the continent!
Much love from,
your vicarious road warrior,
Subject: Most entertaining
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 13:03:04 -0700
keeping up with your entries. Funny stuff. Summer arrived in Vancouver Saturday afternoon and ....... it's still
here believe it or not
"I spend most of my money on beer and pizza, the rest I just waste"
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 17:52:53 -0700
July 11th and NO JOURNAL no pictures????
Subject: Que pasa with the info??
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 13:47:03 -0700
Cannot see anything in ur webpage
I am beginning to understand all too well the term “CrackBerry”…think we will need some rules for the next trip. Whoever it was that stopped their little rain dance a couple of weeks ago, thanks again but please feel free to start that up again any time.
We picked a heat wave to ride into Manhattan. I had remembered that the Holland Tunnel is unpleasant; on a bike in the heat it was toxic. But dinner at Angelo’s in Little Italy made up for the discomfort of getting here.
Big thanks to my pal Randy Ezratty for giving us the $50 dollar tour of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new digs and the XM production studios in the Time Warner building here in NYC. I would also like to thank him, as I was with family and all, for not bringing up some of the more infamous escapades during my previous life here in New York. Thanks Randy
I echo Ian’s thanks to Randy, except for the discretion part. It was a brilliant way to see this new space. I will be back to hear jazz in one of those two beautiful rooms overlooking Columbus Circle. Battery Park, the new MOMA and a Yankees game rounded out the day. Yankees fans are loud and smug, and it’s charming.
Family day today as we saw off my folks on their way home and where Keir and Kate most graciously went out of their way to get us up to to meet their new son. And as you can see the world balance has been restored with respect to the number of Tigers fans.
With the best weather of the trip, we cruised up the venerable Sawmill and Merritt Parkways into New England. Lunch with Barb & Ross followed by supper with Kate, Keir & Eagan. All in all, a delight, but if you don’t get up in New York until 8:00, you will be late for lunch in Boston.
I have one last polite Canadian thank-you, to Duncan of Duncan’s Beemers for fixing my headlight. I was going to save this until I got out of Massachusetts (being a persona non grata here), but I can’t keep it in anymore. The drivers here are by far the worst drivers I have ever seen, ever, anywhere, bar none! And the driver information systems (road signs, etc), are even worse.
Ian found excellent bike service. I found an excellent neighbourhood pub – O’Leary’s on Beacon St. Fenway Park for our 8th and final game:
Scorecard & pencil $4.00
Sausages for 3 $16.00
Red Sox tickets Free (thanks Ross)
Watching Ian watching John Olerud hit a grand slam
for the Red Sox Priceless
With these two you can't keep up if you don't know where you are going.
Not only are the sites where old Frank’s buildings are still to be seen are hallowed ground, but apparently to be held in even more reverence (judging by the number of genuflecting circles ridden around the various approaches until the right one was identified), are those sites of fallen ruins! Nice little bit of Karma unearthed at our LAST Frank stop – on good authority, Babe Ruth, while still a Yankee, was known to play tennis on the grounds of a residence designed by FLW up in Buffalo.
Apparently, based on a docent’s questionable anecdote, to make another Frank stop would risk fate. So, I’m putting my dog-eared green book away.
We dined in Erie, PA:
Server: So what are you guys doing, hiking? Fishing?
Ian: We’re riding motorcycles.
Server: From where?
Server: I’d love to have a motorcycle. My uncle has one.
Ian: So does mine.
At last, back in the West. I could feel the hairs on the back of neck returning to the “at ease” position from hackles raised as soon as we crossed back over the Mississippi River (the 3rd coast). Not that there’s anything bad about the rest of the continent but there is a lot of Flat Earth between here and here. Must be something going on in Sturgis as there is a definite flow of Motorcycles, Motorcycle Riders, and Motorcycle Paraphernalia headed that way .
Sorry for the hiatus in our reports, but all you missed were two long hot days – which took us from Pennsylvania to the edge of Wyoming. The northwest corner of Nebraska is spectacular, but it takes a long time to get there. Today was Wyoming, punctuated by a hamburger and a shake at the Yellowstone Drugstore in Shoshoni. Apparently its been there since 1909, and the blackboard told us that they had served some 29,000 shakes so far this year.
Day 27, and our last as the odd couple. Our celebratory dinner was chicken burgers and sodas: that’s what there is in Clarkston, WA after 9:00 PM. Today we crossed Idaho on some wonderful roads - starting at about 4500 ft., we reached 8100 ft. and had several more ups and downs before ending up here at 750 ft. Tomorrow I plan to cross Washington from corner to corner and sleep in Victoria.
It’s been too much fun. Thanks for following along and for the e-mails.
Traditionally the most scenic roads on a map are indicted by green dots (to quote the Turtle – “the green ones make me horny”). The caveat here is that the scenic routes in a state like Idaho are significantly more scenic than those found in a state like, say North Dakota – actually that goes for pretty much any road in Idaho. I am going to miss my Yellow/ Ochre wearing-GPS using-MAC addled-Scotch drinking-BMW Boxer riding brother of the road…sure you don’t want to continue onto Sturgis Brian?
There are thousands of Harleys heading east. Most
wave. The exceptions are those riding in packs of 6
or more and those on pastels.
Highways 260 & 261 west from Clarkston debunk the
myth that there are no interesting roads in
southeastern WA. There is, however, a speed limit of
50, of which the deputy sheriff reminded me.
I managed to find my way back to the coast - the long