This is the main page for the documentation of an exciting trip by motorcycle into the upper reaches of the northwest portion of our beautiful country. In some places we travelled the route taken by Lews and Clark in 1804 thus the name of this journey.
On August 15, 1997, a parcel of land I own near Spokane, Washington, was dead center in a forest fire that, at the time, had consumed over 1,250 acres of forest land. I have owned the land for about forty years and have visited it only a few times in that period. It was a nice parcel of land with mostly pine trees of moderate size in the semi-arid area 200 or so miles east of the Cascades. I know what it looks like now ten years after the fire only from a fuzzy satellite image. What I can see indicates that nearly all the trees once abundant on this land are now gone. The image is not in color and is difficult to decipher. I want to find out first hand. Thus the Northwest Passage trip was born.
I started thinking about this trip soon after my Footsteps Trip I took with Bill Hart last year (). It has formed many shapes in my imagination since then until it has become a quest to see more of what this great country of mine has to offer. As I worked on the routes of travel, I discovered that I could not visit all I wanted to visit. The United States of America has so much to offer it's own citizens that I often wonder why anyone would want to go elsewhere until they have exhausted the sights in their own backyard.
This aversion to foreign travel has been growing for some time but has become stronger as more Americans seem to abandon their pride in this great country. As more and more Americans become apologists for the greatness their forbears bequeathed to them, I have become more and more disenchanted. Their disingenuous political correctness has begun to both anger and sadden me. Their apparent rush to appear sorry for what this country is, for what it stands for, for all the good we have done for the world, bewilders me.
You can list all of the reasons to leave this country and visit foreign places and experience their culture. I will have used those reasons myself when I visited and lived in many of those places and cultures. I can not claim to be a world traveler; but, I can say I have been to the places and seen the sights of many worldly locales that seem without peer when you are immersed in their uniqueness.
I have also traveled in all of the 50 individual United States States and have not even scratched the surface of what is available to see and experience. Because of this, and in a mild reproach to the apologists, I have chosen to remain in the land that engenders my pride. I have been proud all my life to live here and be a part of this great country's legacy. I did not just become proud because of some singular event. I became proud when I came to understand what this country stood for and have not wavered since. I have chosen not to apologize for who I am or what my country is - the last best hope for freedom's expansion.
My Northwest Passage trip then begins my quest to determine if what I read in the news papers and hear on the television and radios is really true. Have we, the people of America, really turned against all we have held dear for over two hundred years? Is it true that we should all feel guilty for the sins of the few greedy and arrogant individuals among us? Is 'America' really the demon our apologists would have you and me believe? Is there a change in the visceral element of this country that will eventually change who and what we are?
The United States is the greatest country to have ever existed in the history of man. This is in spite of its serious warts and deficiencies. A friend once asked me why I was proud to be an American when there were so many critics out there telling this friend that we were not so wonderful. The question puzzled me and burrowed into my country love - if you will - in a way that worries me to this day. The questions I pose above are related to that query
To my friend I state: I am proud to be a citizen of a country that has placed human freedom above all else; a country that has helped probably every nation in the world try to have the same freedoms; a country that has survived every attack against it from those who would lose their powers if freedom reigned; a country that has given more good to the future of the world than all other countries combined; a country that survives in spite of even those from inside who would change it TO something the founding fathers fought to change it FROM. Yes. I am proud to be an American. And for a very basic reason. The American way is based on freedom and wants all others to have that freedom as well. All we have done to preserve our own freedom and try to export it to others is something we should rightly take pride in. It is a noble effort. Freedom, in itself, is a noble thing.
Join me, if you will, as I travel over a portion of this great land. I will travel with friends along my path without any hesitation, concern, passport or apology because none of these is needed. The proud but humble generations that came before me gave me this birthright. And I am proud to carry it on for both those who do and do not understand the basis of my pride.