Jim Coates

Jim Coates

Jim Coates

Profession: Photographer and retired agricultural economist.
Favourite music: Kris Kristofferson, Malena Muyala, Regina Spektor, Schubert's Symphonies, Symphonie Fantastique, Holly Williams.
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay.
Favourite movie: Casablanca, Dr Strangelove, El baño del Papa, The Bourne Ultimatum, Men in Tights.
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French.
Church: Mount Olivet UMC, Arlington, VA
Favourite quote: Play for more than you can afford to lose and you will know the game.
Interests and hobbies: Photography, riding and reading.
One thing I want to do before I die: Bike from Washington to Montevideo, Uruguay. Done that. Now I can go peacefully.
Favourite book: TS Eliot, "Selected Poems", Mario Vargas LLosa "La tia Julia y el escribidor".
My friends describe me as: Quiet.
The most amazing moment in my life so far: The birth of each of my three children.

North America » United States » Virginia » Abingdon June 28th 2020

There are many routes from Arlington to Damascus VA, the starting point of the Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR). Most of them require using I 81, a truck filled artery linking the gritty underbellies of the Mid Atlantic states. This freeway strikes fear into the hearts of ordinary four wheeled motorists -- and panic into two wheelers like myself. So Beth and I chose the most round about option, and started for Highland County, Virginia, where we spent Saturday night (June 27). Sunday I started South, following small roads winding through the valleys of West Virginia. It was a perfect day, and with no one on the roads, the motorcycle was in its element. I eventually came up against the huge I 77 which carves its way through West Virginia, and took that through two ... read more

North America » United States » New York » Syracuse May 28th 2018

The course took us around the bottom of Lake Erie, and up along its southern shore. But we never saw the water. Everything is developed, industrial, and flat. We made it into Syracuse early, wondering what we would find. We arrived at another empty city -- large unused spaces at its heart. This place was really deserted though, it being Memorial Day. We did find some food in the only deli in town that stayed open. Lucky us. By now we were dragging a lot of tiredness around with us, and we collapsed, looking forward to the final run to Burlington.... read more
Large open square downtown
War memorial and 100 year old building at the back.
Incident in 1851, freeing a slave jailed under the Fugitive Slaves Act.

North America » United States » Michigan » Detroit May 27th 2018

Think of it as the world's largest jet ski. Powered by four giant diesel engine driven jet skis (requiring 20,000 horsepower) the ferry scoots across Lake Michigan in a couple of hours. We took it in the early morning to Oskegon MI, and then drove on to Detroit. David came and found us at Dearborn, and took us into the city. It is so close to Canada you can almost touch it. The city is all concrete and steel, not very pedestrian oriented which is perhaps appropriate for what used to be the center of car manufacturing in the country. GM has a prize spot for its headquarters, right on the river separating us from Canada. We walked through a park, and took a train around town, and then had a great BBQ dinner at Slow's ... read more
Land of Harley still with us
Jeep Cherokee boards the ferry
Jet Ski wash destroys the early morning calm at the yacht club

North America » United States » Wisconsin » Milwaukee May 26th 2018

It is pretty much a straight shot, due East, from Worthington to Milwaukee. So, to avoid total boredom and sleeping at the wheel, we detoured down the Great Mississippi valley, turning South at La Crosse WI and going on down to the confluence of the Wisconsin River before turning East again. A lovely ride. The road down the Mississippi goes all the way down to the Gulf Coast. Milwaukee was a surprise. The town is immaculate, and there is a big river running through it, cutting the the city in half. The Eastern edge is a lush green park on a bluff overlooking the Lake. When we arrived there was an impromptu beer garden set up on the grass, with food and music. A great way to end the day.... read more
Wisconsin, land of the Harley
Fishing the Great Mississippi
Downtown Milwaukee

You can go straight East across South Dakota and Southern Minnesota on I - 90 if you want to. Boooring. Or you can take the backwards route to the Badlands, like us. We started down route 44 in the direction of the Badlands, but we never seemed to get there. They were always on the horizon, never getting closer. I know, its to be expected in the Midwest, but this was ridiculous. Until we arrived at the official entrance, and found that we had circled around the southern edge, and would now have to retrace our tracks going West through the Park. No problem. It was early and a lovely day. And the park was pretty empty. The light coming low from the East made a huge difference in how good the Badlands looked. Photos to ... read more
Land looked pretty bad, but not there yet
Not a national park
although pretty interesting

Cody is a small town in cowboy country. We found it legitimate because its main street is wide enough to allow a cart drawn by a team of oxen to turn around. This was the same rationale for wide streets we heard in Bulawayo. Today we headed East, and South, across Big Horn National Forest and down to the high plains. Lunching in Gillette at the Railroad Restaurant (yes, alongside the tracks) we discovered that Wyoming is the source of 40% of the coal produced in the US, and that almost all of the mines were clustered around us. So we headed South to Wright, ostensibly the top end of the Thunder Basin National Grasslands, to see if we could see any. And we found a few. Large open pit mines with mile long trains carrying ... read more
With a metal statue out front
Downtown Cody
and coffee shop

North America » United States » Wyoming » Jackson Hole May 23rd 2018

The day started off dark and stormy, and stayed that way til after lunch. The snow began about 7 am and stayed with us til early afternoon. After dropping Luke off at the airport, we headed North toward Yellowstone. As we drove up along the Lewis River it started to snow quite hard. At the West Thumb park of Yellowstone Lake, the steam from the hot pools mixed nicely with the falling snow. Nothing had any boundaries. We wandered almost alone in a white, quiet bubbling world. The Canyon of the Yellowstone river disappeared into the fog as we sat listening to the roar of the waterfall. As we drove North we stumbled across odd wildlife -- a scared elk, wet bison, mule deer impervious to the presence of humans and a group of mountain goats. ... read more
Leaving Jackson Airport
Looking across the Lewis River in Yellowstone Park
Gordon looks down at the Lewis River

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » Río Gallegos February 8th 2018

I am lucky enough to have family at the southernmost point of the continent. After saying goodbye to Marty (who would continue his ride up the Argentine coast, back to Santiago to see his son) and Rob (who was flying back to Calgary) I took the bus to Rio Gallegos. My uncle John Blake and aunt Monica have lived in the Falkland Islands and Patagonia for over 50 years, running sheep farms. They eventually bought their own, across the river from Rio Gallegos, and retired there. My cousin Steve now runs the farm after his father passed away in 2014. It covers some 33,000 ha ( 82,000 acres ) with some 12,500 sheep, more or less. The visit was educational, as well as a lot of fun. Steve is coming off a career with the West ... read more
The main house at Killik Aike farm.
Houses and offices at the farm, behind a creek.
Valley with sheep grazing

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 6th 2018

It had been years since Marty had siphoned gas, but he looked pretty good as he bent down beside the BMW and drained fluid from the big tank down into his spare can for use in Ron's machine. By not refueling at our last gas station in Argentina we had cut our supplies very close. And we were off to the Torres del Payne -- an outcropping of amazing granite towers in a Park of the same name in Chile. It had been raining. The river was swollen and the bridges were flooded. We were unable to actually get into the park, but wandered around the Eastern set of mountains and towers, driving up the river to escape the crowds and absorb the wild views. The run South to Punta Arenas was completely paved and delightful. ... read more
The Patagonian plateau at sunrise.
Sunrise from our hotel, where the plateau rises up to become the Andes.
Hotel room windows in morning light.

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 5th 2018

The sky was clear when we left Calafate. We were driving East however, and fast, so it was highly likely we would meet up again with the storm which we had watched go over us earlier that morning. We did. It was cold. We rose up to meet it, climbing onto the high Patagonia plateau. The temperature dropped to 45 degrees F ( 6 degrees C). The fog came down. We plunged on into the mist, all lights blazing, not knowing quite what would come next. After an hour or two of misery, we watched the clouds lift and drift off to the East. We motored on South to Esperanza (Hope), not even considering a wet gravel short cut down Route 40 to the Chilean Border. Been there. Not doing that. The Westerly winds were good ... read more
We come in sight of the mountains again
The gas station we should have visited
Argentine side of the Chile border

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