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 baƱo 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 » Arlington November 12th 2021

The ride is over. I have now completed the daily entries, and am sending the completed blog of the trip out to friends who might be interested. To start at the beginning, go to the following link. One can then scroll through the days and the pictures. You may have to copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.travelblog.org/North-America/United-States/West-Virginia/Parkersburg/blog-1062394.html The overall tour took a month, from Sept 7, 2021 when I left for Parkersburg WV, through Oct 7, 2021 when I flew back to Arlington VA. The first leg of the journey, across the country to Boise ID following US 50 for most of the way, took me 8 days and 2,700 miles (4,300 km). I then rested and returned to Durham NC for a family wedding celebration. Back in Idaho for the second leg I ... read more
The Magruder Corridor in the Nez Perce / Clearwater National Forests

North America » United States » Idaho » Boise October 2nd 2021

I was so proud of arriving at the Canada Border by midday, I figured I could get back to Boise in 24 hours. After all, the roads were paved. So checked in at a truck stop in Bonners Ferry and adjusted the bike for road riding: lower the handlebars to sitting position, pump up the tires to road pressure, reset the GPS from off-road mode, and eat. Then I set off South down state route 95 through Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Lewiston and Grangeville -- through a different country. Its still Idaho, but here I was riding through rolling wheat and barley fields, under harvest. Combines, tractors and trucks were making clouds of dust across the half naked fields. What a spectacle. The fields were enourmous, rolling over the hills in huge waves. What a rich country ... read more
Strapped for transport.

North America » United States » Idaho » Bonners Ferry October 1st 2021

Today at midday I reached the border with Canada. It felt so good. I had started in Jarbidge NV and finished at the Canada border -- clocking 1,462 miles on my bike -- without deviating from the trail or taking a fall. I had chosen to avoid the few optional highly technical sections. I consider myself lucky just to be able to ride the regular track -- and for a 70 year old man riding alone, a fall or injury can create some problems. Unfortunately, there is little at the Canada border to support a celebration. The restaurant was closed, as was the border. The ride up through the valley of the Kootenai river was a delight. The flat green farms alternated with wetlands and lakes. All gleaming in the morning sun. The Kaniksu National Forest ... read more
Lake along the Kootenai valley
Geese in the lake.
The Canada border

North America » United States » Idaho September 30th 2021

The ride up the middle of the Idaho panhandle through the Coeur D'Alene National Forest was very pleasant. The day was clear and blue. It had rained the day before, and the road was soft, but not bad. As I drove I felt lucky to have chosen this late date for the ride. The fires up here had been fierce. All along the road were patches of burned forest. Some areas along the road had been cleared by the Forest Service but were still black and brown from the devastation. The road itself was clear. One could see the trees that had indeed fallen across the road, now sawed into submission. Met a pickup with road surveyors assessing the damage. I felt comfortable with anything this road did -- it was well built and maintained -- ... read more
Clouds in the valley, rock on on the ridge lines
Strange stone mark on the hillside
Fires were over and the road cleared

North America » United States » Idaho » Wallace September 29th 2021

The road from Pierce to Wallace is one of the best known sections of the Idaho route. Everyone does it. Access is easy from either end. It is very beautiful, with creeks and forest and old railway lines and mountain villages. North of Pierce I faced the usual mix of gravel and track, ridge and climb, drop and turn, getting closer to the North Fork of the Clearwater and the Dworshak reservoir. The best part was the signs for the bridge over the river -- known as the Grandad bridge -- pointing for Grandad to go here, or there. I instinctively obeyed. As with previous reservoirs, this one seemed over half gone, with multiple sand rings circling the lake from the line of forest down to the water. All of the reservoirs were affected by the ... read more
Sign for Grandad bridge
On the bridge, overlooking the reservoir.
Levels are down.

North America » United States » Idaho September 28th 2021

The report called for rain all day. I needed a break. The town had a good coffee shop. So I declared a 'rest day' (as we used to when climbing with Marshall), and slept in, washed clothes and took a walk in the afternoon when the rain let up. The photos of Pierce are from that walk. I found the buildings interesting and easy to take pictures of. The humans, not so much. With time on my hands, I started to think more generally about my trip. Here's an essay on "The Nature of the Trail". Each section of road has its own spirit. On leaving town one is usually on an even, smooth dirt surface, usually two track, winding through tall pine with carefully banked turns that follow the folds in the mountainside. Thoughts can ... read more
The main hotel in Pierce
It rained all day
Pierce town administration

North America » United States » Idaho » Orofino September 27th 2021

This portion of the BDR through the Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forest is well known as the most difficult, the most scenic, the most historic -- and the route most prone to fires. It follows an old Nez Perce trail through the Clearwater mountains from the valley of the Bitterroot River to their lands in what is now Western Idaho. Lewis and Clark took advantage of the trail in September 1805, two hundred and sixteen years ago. They walked the ridge in September, the same time of year as I was there, The journey through the Clearwater mountains is referred to as one of the most difficult sections of Lewis and Clark's entire journey, mainly because it was all on foot. Recently, signs have been erected along the Motorway, commemorating events from the Lewis and ... read more
History Panels at the Start
The trail through the Bitterroot Mountains is the same
The Forests

North America » United States » Idaho September 26th 2021

An iconic section of the Backcountry Discovery Route, this 100 mile ridge road showcases the Forest and Wilderness areas in Central Idaho. The route starts in the Nez Perce National Forest, and ends up in the Bitterroot passing through the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness area. No services along the way. Inquiries at my 7am breakfast at the Elk City gas station revealed that the Corridor was open for travel, fires out and downed trees removed. The weather was cool and clear. There had been fires in the region a few weeks ago -- now all was calm. The quality of the gravel track was much better than expected, and I made good time. There was little traffic, and most of the vehicles I crossed were ferrying horses to trail heads. The views ... read more
The Magruder Corridor (or the road to Darby MT)
Typical section of the ridge road
Signage for the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness

North America » United States » Idaho September 25th 2021

The route has a series of "must see" points along the way. One of them is an old school bus abandoned in the middle of the forest, and then shot full of holes for good measure. I reached this soon after leaving Burgdorf. Can't wait for the next one, the "Blue Cabin", a hut with kitchen and beds left open for riders to camp in, on the trail between Pierce and Avery. Kind of the opposite in intent and visual attractiveness. The Salmon River cuts Idaho in half. Today's route took me down to the river, and straight up the other side to Elk City. The road down to the Salmon, called the French Creek road, is a 3,000 foot drop of continuous switchbacks. The hillside has been cleared, unlike climbs earlier in the ride, so ... read more
Old School Bus
Old School Bus suffering from lead poisoning.
Rider -- going in opposite direction, but still good to see.

North America » United States » Idaho September 24th 2021

It takes some getting used to, to go fast on gravel roads. Slow is a cinch. But fast, the wheels start to track on their own, pushed by ridges of small stones. The weight on the machine makes it wobble and the only way to correct is slow down. The road North of Deadwood is like this. Straight, gravel surface, it incites you to speed. After a few unexpected swerves, I accepted my slow-moving fate, and trundled on up to Yellow Pine. This is a famous spot on the Idaho BDR. There's gas, good food, a store, and its in the middle of nowhere. Met riders going South, including a guy who had ridden in from New Hampshire on the Trans America Trail. Outrageous. Heading North, the route climbs to its highest passes, including Elk Summit ... read more
Some actual deadwood.
Crabtree below my campsite
Boots are made for riding.

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