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New England Bike Trip – July 2016

New England Trip

Last year, I did a trip with Don and Mitzi as part of the Whispering Giants Tour with a stop to explore Niagara Falls. We had planned to ride through the New England states on the way home, but changed our route to avoid a storm. So, this year I went on another trip with them through New England and picked-up some stop for the Tour of Honor.


Don, David, Mitzi, and “Rebel” about to head-out from Manasses, VA.

Pic at meet-up location.


We crossed the Potomac River via historic Whites Ferry.  Its the last ferry still in operation on the Potomac River.


Finding some roadside attractions is always fun on a road trip.  The Haines Shoe House was a nice stop on our way to Newburgh, NY to see Orange County Choppers.  Who would build a shoe house?  A wealth man who made his fortune in the shoe business named Haines.

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Orange County Choppers was a fun stop.  They have some great bikes on display, such as the FBI bike and the Spiderman bike.  There were way too many for me to post them all here.  It’s definitely worth the trip to checkout their bikes.  They also have a good restaurant.

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Don is a former US Navy submariner, so it was fate that we just happened to pull up to a submarine on display in Portmouth, NH – The USS Albacore.    Its was an experimental submarine commission by the US Navy.  We were able to take tour of the sub and buy some cool souvenirs.  That’s one of the great things about a road trip – finding fun things along the way that you didn’t plan.


We stayed in cabins at Moody’s Motel & Cabins near Bar Harbor, ME.  Moody’s has a great diner.  If I lived in Maine, I’d eat there all the time.  The meals and pies was the best diner food ever!


We took a great boat tour in Bar Harbor.  During the boat ride, the Captain threw some food near an Eagle’s nest.  Don was able to snap the picture below just as the eagle grabbed  his meal.  It was an interesting and relaxing boat ride.


Just after we checked into a hotel in Bangor, the fire alarm went off.  We found-out that it was caused by someone smoking in their room.  It was a non-smoking hotel.  We had some great lobster in Bangor.  I ordered lobster rolls twice – they were great.  I have read several Stephen King books and wanted to see his house during the trip.  It did not disappoint.  The iron fence has bats, spiders, and dragons.   There was also a very cool Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor.


While in Bangor, we stopped to see the Cole Land Transportation Museum.  I thought it would to be a small museum, but it was much larger and impressive than I expected.

 


We visited the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Bangor. It is a very large and historic cemetery that has burial plots on hill sides. While many folks would not think of visiting a cemetery unless you have a loved one buried there, they can actually be very fascinating to visit.


I wanted to see a live moose in Maine,  but never did.  So that gives me an excuse to go back one day.  Next time, I’ll also ride into Nova Scotia, Canada.

 


Last fuel stop before we entered Canada.  The scenery near there was really nice, so we had to take a few pics.


Crossing into Canada.  We spent the night in Sherbrooke, Canada so we could enter the US the next day via Derby Line, VT.


We crossed back into the US at Derby Line, VT.  I saw a news story about this border town that really made me want to see it.   While driving into the US through the town, there is a border crossing.  However, there is also a street connecting the two border towns that only has potted plants on it to delineate the line.  Of course, I had to straddle the line.  There is a library/opera house, Haskell Free Library and Opera House, that sits right on the border.  There is a line on the floor of the library delineating the border that we all had to straddle.


Since we were in Vermont, a trip to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory was in order.  It was a fun tour, but be prepared for long lines.


Our last site to see on our way home was Sachs Covered Bridge.  Its a very cool bridge in Gettysburg, PA.  This bridge was built pre-civil war and was used by portions confederate army to withdraw from Gettysburg.

 

It was a great trip  with some great motorcycle friends.  I can’t wait till my next motorcycle tour…

Tour of Honor – 2016

 

I do a motorcycle tTourOfHonorImageour every year.  This year, I’m doing the Tour of Honor.  This tour honors our military personnel and Veterans.   The tour involves getting  a picture of your motorcycle and your rally flag (I have flag # 67) in a picture with a monument specified in the tour web site (www.tourofhonor.com).   In some cases, it is not possible to get your motorcycle in the picture.  In those cases, two pictures have to be submitted.  One with the rally flag and the monument and one of your motorcycle in close proximity to the monument.  Proceeds from the tour go to charities that support Veteran and First Responder non-profit organizations.  This tour is a great way honor Veterans, see some of the great monuments to their sacrifices, and ride to new areas that you haven’t explored yet.

Below are sites that I have visited thus far.  To see a summary of sites I have visited, check flag # 67 at this link.


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WW II Memorial in Franklin, ME (Tour of Honor Site ME1)


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On June 6, 2016 Lt. Col. Duane Carlton (Retired from U.S. Army) struck an elk three miles east of Drummond, Montana and was killed on impact while riding the Tour of Honor.  His rally flag was # 406.  In his honor, the organizers of the Tour of Honor offered to make a donation for each rider that takes a picture with a copy of his rally flag and their bike at any Tour of Honor site on July 2, 2016.  It was my privilege to ride to two sites in his honor.

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LTC Duane Carlton's Honor Flag

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Tour of Honor Site VA5 – Veterans Memorial Wall in Rural Retreat, VA

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Tour of Honor Site WV7 – Vietnam Veterans of America Wall Mural in Princeton, WV


 

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Veterans Memorial in Seaford, DE

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This site is # DE3 – Veterans Memorial.


 

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At the Veterans Memorial at Chincoteague Island, Virginia

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This is site # VA 1 – Veterans Memorial.


 

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At the Vietnam Memorial in Easton, MD

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At the Vietnam War Memorial Easton, MD

This is site # MD4 – Vietnam Memorial


 

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Veterans Memorial in Ocean View, Delaware.

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This is site # DE4 – Veterans Memorial


 

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This is site # VA3 – Halifax County War Memorial.

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2016_Rider#67_WV2This is Tour of Honor site # WV2 – Morgan County Veteran’s Monument


 

2016_Rider#67_WV3.jpgThis is Tour of Honor site # WV3 – Harpers Ferry Veterans Memorial


 

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David Canada’s bike and rally flag.

This is Tour of Honor site # VA6 – Lewis and Clark Memorial


2016_Rider#67_DC2_(pic1of2) Tour of Honor site # DC2 – 1st Division War Memorial.  Pictured from left to right are: # 67 – Dave (me), # 70 – Leon, and # 346 – Don.  It was great finding the sites in Washington DC together.  There was no way to get our bikes in the picture at this monument.  In front of the monument, you will see flowers planted in the shape of “The Big Red One.”  My father served in this Division, so it was a cool that this site was selected as one of the tour’s sites.


 

2016_Rider#67_DC3Tour of Honor site # DC3 – Victims of Communism Memorial.

When we got to this monument, we found this taped to the monument.  A reminder of how lucky I am to be an American.
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Tour of Honor Stop VA4

Tour of Honor site # VA4 – Blue Ridge WWII Memorial 


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This is Tour of Honor site # DC4 – Capital Guardians


 

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Tidewater Veterans Memorial in Virginia Beach, VA

This is Tour of Honor site # VA2 – Tidewater Veterans Memorial

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Click this pic to go to my main page.

 

 

McGee Catfish With The Lone Star Cruisers

I can’t wait to retire (Jan 2018) and move back to Texas. Looks like some great riding and friendly Texans to ride with back home. I miss good catfish too.

Lone Star Rider

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Searching for Giants and Interesting Things (Sep 2015)

Since Sept 7th, 2015 was a holiday (Labor Day), I took the following two days off from work so I could have five straight days of riding time.  That would allow me to find a couple more Whispering Giants and visit the Wheels Through Time museum.  I’m doing the Whispering Giants Grand Tour this year.  To see what other Whispering Giants I have visited, see my Whispering Giants page.

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I took the fast way down to Kingsport, TN via I-81.  One of the roadside attractions I found  was this giant indian stands watch at a restaurant in Kingsport.


Not far from this giant, I found some giant food at a local fast food chain called “Pal’s.”

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In search of a local Muffler Man, I found one at another Pal’s in Kingsport.  

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My next stop was in Johnson City, TN to get a picture of a Whispering Giant there with my bike and rally flag.
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From Johnson City, I headed to the Indian Reservation in Cherokee, NC to find the Whispering Giants down there.  It is located just outside of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  Of course, I had to visit the museum.  It was very interesting.  I’m glad I stopped.

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As I entered the museum, I was greeted by Jerry Wolf.  He was the model for the statue below shown below:IMG_5208  IMG_5217

Here are a few pictures from the museum.

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If these three statues look remarkable life-like, its because they are not statutes.  These three were able to stand perfectly still for a very long time.

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I would have like to have had more time to checkout reservation, but had to get back on the road so I could visit another museum that I have wanted to visit for some time.

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I first heard about the Wheels Through Time museum when I saw an episode of the television show “What’s in the Barn.”  I knew from the show that Dale Walksler prides himself on having all the bikes in the museum in working order.  Most of the bikes are very old, some over a century old – and they all run!  Sure enough, Dale started one of the old bikes right there in the museum to show folks that it still runs.  I’ve been to the Harley-Davidson museum and several car museums (I visited the Henry Ford museum last month.), but the Wheels Through Time museum is different.  As soon as you walk in, you will notice that it smell like a working garage.  The bikes in Dale’s museum are not “garage queens.”  Most have not been restored to look like they just rolled off of the showroom floor.  Instead, Dale leaves them with their original paint and allows the character and patina they have gained through the years to be seen.  Its a great museum and a must see stop when in northwestern North Carolina.

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I’m usually not impressed  by “trikes,”  but this one is way cool.


I got rained on in North Carolina a couple of times and wanted to avoid a storm, so I headed north on highways to get away from the storm clouds and spent the night in Charlottesville, VA. I could have kept going and arrived home in a couple of hours,  but I was not ready to end my road trip just yet.   I spent the night in Charlottesville so I could ride the full length of Skyline Drive the next day.  The southern end is near Charlottesville and the northern end terminates in Front Royal, VA.  I have been on Skyline Drive before, but not the southern half  This gave me an opportunity to ride the full length and see what I had been missing.  It was a good decision, as the views were great and the ride was fun.

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It was a great trip.  I can’t wait until I take a few days off from work again to go on another road trip journey.

Trip to North Bay, Canada (Aug 2015)

This trip started-out as just a ride that I was going to do to find the “Whispering Giants” in Sharon, PA and Dunkirk, NY.  I’m doing the Whispering Giant Tour this year. (See my Whispering Giant page for more details about Giants I have found.)

A friend (Mitzi) mentioned to me that she wanted to see Niagara Falls. When I looked-up Dunkirk, NY on the map, I noticed that it was not far from Niagara Falls. So, I asked her if she wanted to go with me on my search for Whispering Giants and to see Niagara Falls. She quickly said she wanted to go. I mentioned the trip to another friend of mine (Don), who is also doing the Whispering Giant Tour. Don is a very experienced at taking long motorcycle touring trips. He quickly stated that he wanted to go. So, we started planning and decided to add a Whispering Giant in Canada (North Bay, Ontario, Canada) and some along the northeastern states.

We made it to North Bay with no problems. Due to a big rainstorm on the east coast, we changed our plans for the return trip and came back to the US via Michigan instead of via the northeastern states.  It was a great trip.

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We met in Manasses, VA on the morning of August 14, 2015 to start our trip.  That’s Don with the yellow Honda and Mitzi on her Honda trike.  My bike is the Harley Street Glide.

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I usually fly an American flag and a Texas flag on my bike.  Since we were on a trip to Canada, I decided to temporarily switch my Texas flag with a Canadian flag,  As you can see, Don carries a “Winnie-the-Pooh” bear on his bike.  That little guy has logged a lot of miles!


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During a gasoline stop (on the way to Sharon, PA), we came across a biker who was delivering a monument he made to the family of Keith Matthew Maupin.  Maupin was a US Army soldier that was captured and executed in Iraq in 2004.  I don’t think there is any group that is more patriotic and supportive of our troops than American bikers.


Don (right) and I (left) got the pictures we needed with our bikes and rally flags for the first Giant on our journey for the 2015 Whispering Giants Grand Tour.  This is a fun and interesting tour for a great cause.

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This Giant is in Sharon, PA.

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August 15, 2015
On day two of our trip, we stopped at the lighthouse in Dunkirk New York.  I enjoy visiting lighthouses and learning about their history.  They all have unique stories.

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IMG_4482 Don is manning a cannon facing Lake Erie –  just in case the Brits try any funny business like they did in the war of 1812…

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Mark Twain dropped by for a reading of his writings to the visitors that day.  He got chummy with Mitzi right away!

Don and I got our picture with our second Whispering Giant of the trip in Dunkirk, NY (just a mile or so from the lighthouse).

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On our way to Niagara Falls, we came across
a giant waitress. So, I had to get a picture.


This is a pic of Don and Pooh Bear about to cross the border into Canada.  I took a selfie of Mitzi and myself as we were about to cross the border and one of Mitzi crossing over from the Canadian side.  Even though my name is Canada and folks have asked me all life if I was from Canada, this was my first trip north of the border.  We had a great time in Canada and I learned some things about Canada that I’ll share in this blog.
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We finally checked into the Embassy Suites on the Canadian site of the border.  We had heard that the view of the falls is better on the Canadian side.  It is true!  This is the view from our hotel.  IMG_4531 IMG_4533

We took a guided tour of the attractions the next day.  There were only five of us in a tour bus that normally holds 16 people, so we had plenty of room to stretch-out. We got to by-pass some of the lines and our tour guide was great at giving us details.


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At Niagara River.  To control the flow of water, gates are opened and closed.  Don and I hiked a bit to tour the river.  We got to see the water level rise and fall due to the opening and closing of the hydro control dam gates.    The water moves incredibly fast.


The beauty and power of the falls is incredible.  Seeing the falls in person is definitely a bucket-list worthy location.

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I think the biggest highlight of the trip has to be our boat ride on the Hornblower.  We got very close to the falls.  You could really hear and feel the power of the falls.  IMG_4661

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I bought a coffee at the Starbucks in our hotel.  I gave them US money and they gave me this funny money in exchange.  Their money really is funny.  It looks funny and feels funny.  They don’t use pennies or one dollar bills.  They use one dollar and two dollar coins.

For the best exchange rate, exchange your US currency for Canadian currency at a casino – just don’t blow your new Canadian $ in the casino!

Our hotel was only a couple of blocks from a casino.  I learned that one can loose Canadian money in a casino just a quickly as in an American casino!  Oh well, they had a very good buffet.

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Here is one of the few pics with all three of us together.  Our tour guide took this pic at the Floral Garden Clock at a park on the Niagara Parkway.  It was actually very interesting.  The clock works and even has a second that sweeps.  Our guide took us inside of the clock so we could see the mechanism.

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After spending a full day exploring Niagara Falls, it was time for us to get back on the road to find the Whispering Giant in North Bay, Ontario, Canada.

I had to stop on the way at a Harley dealer to get a poker chip (I collect Harley poker chips).  This dealer is in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.  All three of us bought more souvenirs there.  Don even started collecting poker chips!


We arrived!

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This is the Whispering Giant in North Bay, Canada.

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We visited the Dionne Quints Museum in North Bay.  They were born on May 28, 1934.  At that time, quintuplets were extremely rare.  In fact, they are thought to be the first quintuplets to survive infancy.  They were born to french speaking parents.  The english speaking doctor who delivered them got the government to give him custody and raised them speaking english. He then charged admission for tourists to see them.  It took their parents nine years to regain custody of their daughters, who did not speak french.

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After doing our laundry at laundromat near our hotel, we headed to the shore of Lake Nipissing to watch the sunset.  We were surprised to see people walking way out into the lake.  It has sandbars that enable walking far into the lake.


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The sunset was amazing.
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Time to start heading home.

Since a big rain storm was heading to the east coast, we changed our plans to ride back via the east coast states.  Instead, we decided to cross back into the U.S. in Michigan.  On our way to Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant thats in the same building
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As usual, Mitzi parked her trike in a handicapped parking spot. After lunch, we discovered that a $200 parking ticket was on Mitzi’s trike for parking in a handicapped space.
The strange thing is that she has a handicapped license plate (hip problems) and the local parking enforcement person still issued the ticket!

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We rode down to the municipal building to challenge the ticket.  By coincidence, the senior enforcement officer was coming IMG_4792out of the IMG_4790 building just as we pulled-up.  When Mitzi showed him her license plate, he said that the young enforcement officer must have issued it because a permit was not displayed on the trike.  They don’t have license plates in Canada with the handicapped symbol.  He quickly dismissed the ticket.  This officer, and everyone else we met in Canada, was very friendly.


We crossed back into the U.S. at Port Huron, MI

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Once we crossed over, we noticed a lighthouse that we had to explore.

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View from the top of the lighthouse, looking across to the Canadian side.

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Since we changed our route due to the rain storm, we decided to go to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI on the ride home.  That turned-out to be a great decision.  The museum is awesome.  I is worth a return trip.  Here are a few pics from the museum:
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There are no “restrooms” in Canada.  They always call them “washrooms.”

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They still have pay phones in Canada.   I can’t remember the last time I saw a pay phone in the U.S.

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I had to sample some foods from Canada.  Poutine is very popular.  It’s french fries with cheese curds and gravy.  They even have it at the American fast food chains in Canada.  It’s pretty good. I’m sure I gained a few pounds during the trip.
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The Moose Droppings candy was good.  I didn’t try the smoked salmon candy – that’s too weird!


The gasoline pumps in Canada only work with credit/debit cards that have a chip.  I couldn’t even use my Shell card at the Shell pumps in Canada, as it doesn’t have a chip.  I only have one card with a chip (AmEx), so it got well used during the trip.

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It was a great trip.  I’m already planning my next trip (Tennessee and North Carolina).

Whispering Giants – My Tour

I’m doing the Whispering Giant Tour this year.  This tour involves getting your bike and a rally flag in a picture with the Whiwhisperinggiants_300spering Giants.  They are located in almost every state and in Canada.  The sculptures honor Native Americans and native peoples of other countries.  This link provides the locations.  This link is to a newspaper article about the tour.  I have posted pics below of the Giants I have visited thus far.  

Clicking the pictures will enlarge them on your screen.  This will allow the rally flag numbers to be seen.


March 2015
Peter Wolf Toth’s Gallery in Edgewater, FL

I had the honor of meeting with the artist, Peter Wolf Toth, when I went down to Florida for the 2015 Daytona Bike Week rally.  Meeting him and seeing his gallery was one of the highlights of the trip.  I didn’t get my bike in the pic because there was nowhere to park where I could get the gallery sign in the pic.

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May 2015
This is giant # 21 in Ocean City, MD.

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I’m in the yellow rain jacket.  My buddy Don is in the green jacket (with vest over it).


May 2015
This is Giant # 22 in Bethany Beach, DE.  This giant didn’t have a plaque.

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July 2015
This is Giant # 19 in Virginia Beach, VA.

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The Giant is by my left arm in the background.  As it was July 4th, there were a lot of folks in the park.  Riding up on the sidewalk was not an option that day.
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July 2015
This is Giant # 51 in Akron, OH.

I couldn’t get my bike in the picture from the street, so I had to ride up on the sidewalk.
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August 2015
Giant # 6 in Sharon, PA.
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August 2015
Giant # 7 in Dunkirk, NY.
Click on pictures to see rally flag numbers.
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I’m on the right side and Don is on the left (wearing helmet),


August 2015
Giant # 60 in North Bay, Ontario, Canada

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September 2015
Giant # 55 in Johnson City, TN

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September 2015
Giant # 63 in Cherokee, NC

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September 2015 – Signs at the Cherokee Indian Reservation in NC

One sign indicates that I was leaving the reservation.  The other sign is a welcome sign at the reservation’s visitor center.

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This is my last bonus point achievement. According to the rules,
“A Massachusetts state flag hung from any flagpole where the flag is clearly discernible.”  Okay, I wasn’t able to make it to Massachusetts, so I bought a little state flag and a little flag pole.  The flag, pole, and my rally flag are clearly in the picture with my bike.  So, I believe I earned the 5 points…

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Points achieved:  110 points

  1. 5 bonus points for Peter Wolf Toth’s Studio in Edgewater, FL
  2. 10 points for Giant # 21 in Ocean City, MD
  3. 10 points for Giant #22 in Bethany Beach, DE
  4. 10 points for Giant #19 in Virginia Beach, VA
  5. 10 points for Giant # 51 in Akron, OH
  6. 10 points for Giant # 6 in Sharon, PA
  7. 10 points for Giant # 7 in Dunkirk, NY
  8. 10 points for Giant # 60 in North Bay, Ontario, Canada
  9. 10 points for Giant # 55 in Johnson City, TN
  10. 10 points for Giant # 63 in Cherokee, NC
  11. 10 bonus points for indian reservation signage in NC.
  12. 5 bonus points for the pic with the Massachusetts state flag.

This tour was a lot of fun.  I wish I had more free time to find more of the giants.