Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: The Road to the 27th Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™


The Road to the 27th Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™

It's that time of year again where Eleanor and I make the trek to this year's Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™, wherever the heck that is.

This year, it's shifted back west to Billings, MT at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. It's a familiar venue as I had inadvertently spent a night there in July 2011 on the way back to Ohio from that year's Ride-In in San Jose, CA due to volunteer oil spill cleanup workers staying at the more budget-chain hotels.

The return there will be one of accomplishment - this is the first Ride-In™ of which I am serving as an event chair. To have this much of an impact on this storied tradition is quite an honor, and with all that's happened in the last few weeks with my job amid the planning of the details of the Ride-In™, I am relieved to be able to saddle up and get out for a while.

Due to my job's official demise this past Wednesday (yep, I finally got the axe after a number of extensions), I have made the decision to leave several days earlier than I originally planned. This will allow me to visit several friends along the way and take my time on what will become a 2000-mile one-way trip. Also, I will stop at a few points of interest that I had learned about from fellow riders and random readings on the Internet.

Some proposed points of interest:
- Gander Mountain Firearms Super Center (Peoria, IL): This is supposedly the largest gun store in the state of Illinois, which is pretty ironic because Illinois is one of a couple states *cough California cough New Jersey cough New York cough* where gun ownership and carry laws are pretty much damn near Draconian level. It's also pretty awkward to walk into a firearms store where you can't even carry your own concealed weapon in legally. Do I smell a double standard? Thanks a lot, Land of Lincoln.

- World's Largest Ball of Twine Rolled By One Man (Darwin, MN): This is one of several stringy abominations that claim to be the world's biggest ball of twine. This one's just outside of Minneapolis on my direct route and strangely enough, a bucket list item for me as I've always wanted to see it up close. Apparently, Weird Al Yankovic did something in regards to this particular twine ball. And I like Weird Al, so there you go.

- International Peace Garden (Dunseith, ND): This destination that lies right on the 49th Parallel at the top of North Dakota was created to symbolize the peaceful relationship and cooperation between the United States and Canada. This was introduced to me by a good friend that had made the motorcycle trip herself to see it many years ago. There is a cairn of native stone at the border of the two countries with the following inscription to mark this place: “To God in His Glory… We two nations dedicate this garden and pledge ourselves that as long as men shall live we will not take up arms against one another.'' Pretty cool.

Here's a general gist of the route there via Google Maps. Haven't figured out the way back, but I'll make it interesting.

View Larger Map

Here's the current itinerary for the first half of the trip:
7/1 - Depart from Eastlake, OH (Hey, that's today! I better get packing...)
7/1-7/2 - Peoria, IL
7/3 - Minneapolis, MN
7/3- 7/4 - Minneapolis, MN/Minot, ND
7/5-7/6 - Minot, ND/Dunseith, ND (International Peace Garden)/something else
7/7-7/12 - Billings, MT for the WOW International Ride-In™
7/12-? - TBA

More to come as I get on the road! Stay tuned here on or follow my Twitter or Facebook pages for random ramblings amid the full blog posts.