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May 10, 2016

By meriwether, May 15 2016 02:25AM

On Saturday afternoon, 5/7, around 5:00 pm I did board Amtrak’s Empire Builder and commenced my two day journey by rail back to the Midwest. When I left Portland it was sunny and around 80, and when I arrived here in Chicago yesterday it was in the low 50’s, the wind was blowing, and the rain was just starting to fall which it continues to do today. Luckily it was only about a mile ride to the Hosteling International Youth Hostel in the Chicago Loop where I am sheltering from the lovely Midwest weather.

I had a lot of 2nd thoughts about my decision as the Empire Builder traversed the Rocky Mountains along the southern border of Glacier National Park and then the Great Plains of Montana and North Dakota. But those 2nd thoughts were tempered by the knowledge that I rode this route 11 years ago when I followed the Lewis and Clark Trail westward from St. Louis to Astoria, OR. And . . . there were a number of other earlier tours back in the 80’s and 90’s that had taken me across the high Rockies a number of times.

Considering a couple of options now: one is to ride directly to Toledo around the south end of Lake Michigan, and the other is to head northward to Manitowoc, WI, and take the ferry across Lake Michigan to Ludington and then down Michigan’s West Coast and home to the Glass City. The first would put me at my front door within a week or so, and the second would more likely be two to three weeks. When I wake up tomorrow, perhaps I will flip a coin!

Haven’t taken many photos this past week, but I will include two that I meant to include in the last post. One phtoto is a wonderful statue of Lewis and Clark that is in the Visitor Center at Fort Clatsop. It is entitled “Arrival” and captures the moment of the Expedition’s arrival on the West Coast. Lewis stands with arms outstretched beholding the Pacific, a Clatsop Indian in the middle is holding a fish, and Clark is kneeling with quill penn and paper taking notes in his journal. Also at lower left is Lewis’s big, black Newfoundland dog, Seaman, who accompanied the Corps of Discovery through the entire two and half year journey.

The other photo is a wonderful rendering of Sacagawea (Sakakawea) - there are many along the Lewis and Clark Trail - and her infant son, Jean Baptiste, that can be seen on the path leading to Fort Clatsop from the visitor center. It is most likely that Sacagawea died in 1812 (six years after the Expedition) at the age 24 or 25 at a trading outpost on the Missouri River - possibly of “putrid” or typhoid fever. Sacagawea had just given birth to a baby girl, Lizette. Both children would be adopted by William Clark. It is thought that Lizette died in infancy, but Baptiste would go on to become a rather famous frontiersman.

As always, I would like to acknowledge some recent donations in support of my ride for Habitat For Humanity and Save The Children. One is from repeat donors Kathie and Joe Myers. And I just received word today about a donation that U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur made to Maumee Valley Habitat For Humanity through the Kaptur Community Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation in support of my ride. As you may recall, I was honored to meet with Ms. Kaptur back in October when I passed through the Nation’s Capital. Thank you so much to my recent and all donors who have have helped bring the total for both causes for which I’ve been riding to over $17,000.

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