Start of Transition Across the United States

Today marked the start of my transition across the US. From Vancouver my goal was to reach the Arctic Ocean. Check.

Then I transitioned by riding to Itasca Park to start my ride of the Great River Road along the Mississippi River. Check.

Now I am transitioning to San Diego where I will start a new phase of riding Mexico for 6 months. Transitions are a time for seeing unplanned or un-thought of things. It should be good.


I left my hostel sick. My lungs were filling with fluid. Hence no pictures today except when I left 🙁 OK … this is my health story that has some effect on my travels.


About 15 years ago I was hospitalized with a rare form of pneumonia and lung disorder called Bronchiolitis Obliterans Organizing Pneumonia, or BOOP for short. At the time, the only cure was high dose prednisone for a year. While this cured my BOOP, it suppressed my adrenal glands from producing cortisol.


Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the stress hormone. It is a life sustaining adrenal hormone essential to the maintenance of homeostasis. It regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body in response to stress including, but not limited to:

  • blood sugar (glucose) levels,
  • fat,
  • protein and carbohydrate metabolism to maintain blood glucose (gluconeogenesis),
  • immune responses,
  • anti-inflammatory actions,
  • blood pressure,
  • heart and blood vessel tone and contraction, and
  • central nervous system activation.

Because my body no longer produces cortisol, I have to replace it orally with prednisone. Prednisone is a wonder drug. But it also has bad side effects such as:

  • aggression,
  • agitation,
  • anxiety,
  • blurred vision,
  • decrease in the amount of urine,
  • dizziness,
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse,
  • headache,
  • irritability,
  • mental depression,
  • mood changes,
  • nervousness,
  • osteoporosis,
  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs,
  • pounding in the ears,
  • acne,
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs,
  • visceral fat,
  • cataracts, and
  • weight gain.

Compounding these problems is that in the body, cortisol levels normally fluctuate throughout the day and night in a circadian rhythm that peaks at about 8 AM and reaches it lowest around 4 AM. Of course you can’t mimic this with medication. So the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency arise throughout the day.

If that wasn’t enough, while my BOOP was cured, my lungs were left a mess. Soooo I have to take asthma medications to keep them operating right.

I rarely feel 100% healthy.

Usually about twice a year my lungs will start to fill with fluid. When this happens, like now, I have to significantly increase my prednisone and then taper down to get rid of it.

These conditions have adversely effected my life. BUT … I know many people suffer from a lot worse than me. I take inspiration from them that I won’t let my ailments get in the way of what I want to accomplish. As a result, I won’t let what I have get in the way of what I want to do. I have traveled extensively in China, lived in Namibia, worked and lived Macedonia, and now riding around the world on a motorcycle.


Ok … back to my trip. It was a short ride today. I took a few back roads just because they are more enjoyable.

Some of the towns were so nice. I especially liked Franklin. The city did a great job fixing up their historic downtown and a lot of the old homes.

What really caught my attention was a sign saying there use to be a WWII Prisoner of War Camp located there.


I looked for it but couldn’t find it. Perhaps it has been built over.

It was early and I made it to the Motel 6 in Lafayette to rest.

My Route for September 6, 2016


Rainy New Orleans

OK, I know things are suppose to be positive, especially in New Orleans. And I have been accused many times of being negative, which makes me sad. I am trying to improve on that. Actually, I planned on doing more personal development on this trip, but there just doesn’t seem to be time. I need to make it a priority. But I digress.


It basically rain from the morning to late afternoon in New Orleans. I spent most of that time sitting around the Sheraton Hotel people watching. My mind wandered to other trips to New Orleans where I stayed at the Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton. Those were different days for sure. It helps when they were business trips and the government was footing the bill.

On those trips I had the money to stay at those places and to eat out at nice places. This time it is different. It isn’t a business trip or a vacation where you save up money to do all those cool things. Instead, this is my lifestyle. Just like normal day to day at home, there isn’t the money to do all those vacation things.

So there I was, people watching at the Sheraton. I have to admit it was a bit depressing. Complicating matters was that I was developing a cough as my lungs were getting fluid in them. I explain more about that in my next daily journal entry.


Occasionally the rain broke for a bit. When it did, I darted out to visit different places. One of them was the New Orleans Riverwalk. This is basically a long indoor mall along the Mississippi River starting at the Hilton Hotel. There is also outdoor patios along the way with great views of the river.


CC Coffee Shop

Another place I managed to make it to was CC Coffee shop on Chartres Street. This is another favorite place of mine in the French Quarter to escape the heat. This time is was to escape the rain. I had a bottle of Swamp Pop.


Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

As the rain let up in the late afternoon I walked up and down Frenchmen Street and Bourbon Street. I was going to eat at a favorite restaurant on Frenchmen Street, but it is now closed 🙁

I passed by Lafitte’s Bar at the end of Bourbon Street.

The building was constructed in the 18th century and is one of the older surviving structures in New Orleans. It has been called the oldest bar in the US.

According to legend, the pirate Jean Lafitte (c.1780–c.1823), aka John Lafitte, owned a business here early in the 19th century. As with many things involving the Lafittes, such as possibly using this place to plot illegal seizures and the sale of contraband, no documentation exists. (It was only after the Lafitte brothers were long gone that Jean’s signature was found on a document, finally ascertaining how their family name was spelled: LAFFITE.)

It is purported to be one of the more haunted venues in the French Quarter. Lafitte’s associates may have operated a smithy here during the days of reliance upon horses, who had to be shod. Jean’s older brother Pierre Lafitte was a blacksmith, and their associate Renato Beluche may have once owned this building.

In the mid-1940s Tom Caplinger turned the old abandoned shop into Café Lafitte. The cafe became a popular night spot that attracted a bohemian clientele, including the gay community and celebrities like Noël Coward and Tennessee Williams. However, Caplinger never held clear title to the property and the building was sold in 1953. He soon opened a second cafe at the other end of the same block named Café Lafitte in Exile, which maintains that it is the oldest gay bar in the U.S.

Anyways … the Lafitte cafe bar was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.



Jefferson Davis Parkway

After an expensive $6 beer in a sit down pub, compared to the cheap $3 beers you can get on the street, I decided to call it quits for the day. I took the Canal Street tram to Jefferson Davis Parkway where I walked back to the hostel.

I found it a bit strange this day and age to have a Jefferson Davis Parkway. On the other hand, it is history.

The Parkway has a big statue of Jefferson Davis.


Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the President of the Confederate States on February 18, 1861. He died in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 6, 1889.

This statue was erected in 1911. It is suppose to be removed at some point and was recently vandalized. a lawsuit blocking the removal is currently underway.

I did feel a bit strange advising the African-American tram driver that I wanted to get off at Jefferson Davis Parkway. I wondered what it must feel like for him to have it there.

Route for September 5, 2016

For some reason I can’t get it to show that I actually walked up and down Jefferson Davis Parkway.


Southern Decadence New Orleans

I didn’t know it, but it was Southern Decadence days in New Orleans.

Cafe du Monde

Cafe du Monde is a New Orleans institution. It is a place you have to go to when in New Orleans. And expect long lines! That was my first stop for the day.



What they are famous for is beignets. That is about all they serve. Love them!


According to the Cafe du Monde website, the Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.

The Original Cafe Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, White and Chocolate Milk, and fresh squeezed Orange Juice. The coffee is served Black or Au Lait. Au Lait means that it is mixed half and half with hot milk. Beignets are square French -style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar.

Southern Decadence

After leaving Cafe du Monde, I took the obligatory picture of Jackson Square which is right outside the coffee shop along with lots of horse drawn carriages.


As I started to walk around the French Quarter I started to notice something – a lot a scantily clad men. Some is normal in this area where sexual freedom is the norm. It isn’t unusual in the French Quarter to see nearly topless women you can take pictures with for tips, women lifting their tops for beads, and men holding hands. I soon learned it was Southern Decadence Labour Day Weekend.

Southern Decadence is the largest gay weekend in New Orleans and was celebrating it 46th annual celebration.


As I had an afternoon coffee, I noticed lots of men and women dressed up walking pass. I followed them to Royal street where a parade was about to start.





During the parade I met Marley and Nicole. They now live in New Orleans and she was trying out her new, but old film camera. They had traveled lots and we exchanged travel stories.

By the evening the police arrived to break up some of the festivities.


I didn’t see what happened, but earlier there was a group of Christian activists protesting against the gay lifestyle. Needless to say, a number of heated arguments were taking place.

I planned on staying out late. But my old body gets tired too quickly. So back to the hostel.

Route for September 4, 2016


The End of the Great River Road

Today was a long day where I reached the anti climatic end to the Great River Road.


I had already ridden, drove, and taken a tour of the Plantations along the Great River Road from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in previous visits to the area. But I couldn’t resist doing it again. Plantaation country is so beautiful. It was difficult to get pictures of many due to walls and signs. However, I did get a good one of the Houmas Plantation. I have it as my featured image, but I will show it again 🙂


Construction on the Mansion was completed in 1828. At the same time, Houmas House began to build its sugar production and continued to increase its land holdings, which ultimately grew to 300,000 acres.
Irishman John Burnside bought the plantation in 1857 for $1 million. Burnside increased production of sugar until Houmas House was the largest producer in the country, actively working the crop on 98,000 acres. During the Civil War, Burnside saved the Mansion from destruction at the hands of advancing Union forces by declaring immunity as a subject of the British Crown.

End of the Great River Road

As you know, I have been following the Great River Road along the Mississippi River from Itasca Park in Minnesota. To date, the road has been well marked with tourist information centers about the road scattered along the way.

However, as I reached the end past New Orleans, the signs died out. According to the map I have, the Great River Road ends somewhere near Venice, Louisiana. A rider I met in Whitehorse told me all there was at the end of the Great River Road was a rusted sign. I could find nothing. There wasn’t even a vantage point to take a picture of the Mississippi River as it ended. Very disappointing.

I would have looked longer but a lighting storm was developing around me. I raced back up the peninsula while going through the odd short shower. The goal was to get to the hostel I booked before getting drenched.


As I reached Terrytown, 10 miles outside of New Orleans, it looked like all hell was going to break loose from the storm. I quickly pulled into a Starbucks I spotted (of course). As soon as i did the storm unleashed. Lightening was all around and nearby as there was no time lapse between the lightening and the thunder. The rain was torrential. All I could do is wait it out.


After a hour or so the storm broke and I was able to continue on to my hostel.

Site 61 Hostel

Strangely, as I got to the Site 61 in New Orleans, the roads were dry. Check in was 4 pm and the doors were locked. Sooooo once again I sat outside waiting for check in.

I was a bit hesitant about this hostel thing. I had one great experience in White Horse, and one crappy experience in Fairbanks. But it was the only way I could afford to stay in New Orleans for a few days. It was either this or spending $100 USD a night – at least. The US exchange rate of 1.35 has been killing me up to this point as far as finances go.

When I was able to check in I was pleasantly surprised. The people were friendly, the place was really clean, and my room was nice. I got a bottom bunk which I repeatedly requested. I settled in to spend the next 2 days in New Orleans.



My Route for September 3, 2016


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