Diary & Travel Reports by Simon Milward
New York to New Orleans
10 Dec 2001
From: simon @ millennium-ride.com
To: sponsors @ millennium-ride.com
Milward arrives in Dallas Simon Milward arrives today in Dallas Texas. He will address the local motorcyclists group on Wednesday and make a series of presentations at the International Motorcycle Show next weekend. Texas is his 31st state in the USA.
In this update he tells of his trip from New York to New Orleans. He has been riding round the world for nearly two years on his handmade motorcycle and has raised $47,000 for charity.
Dear sponsors and friends
Riding along the south coast of the US from Florida through southern Alabama, Mississippi and into Louisiana has been lovely. The southern warmth, both weather and people, are a tonic. I've been feeling a bit tired and run down, even to the point of summoning enough motivation to stuff a daily vitamin pill into my mouth (the Japanese ones still knocking around in my luggage), and stopping in at Sunday Church services - the spiritual kind of vitamin! I aim to relax somewhere over Christmas between here (Dallas, just arrived) and California.
Fundraising. We raised $1,000 at the Celtic Motorcycle Club in New York, what a generous bunch. Thanksgiving week in Maryland resulted in another $1,000, with corporate donations coming from TalbotLawnAndCycle.com, abate-of-maryland.org, and Cambridge Motorsports. In Florida I managed just $600, from AdamecsHarley.com, the State HOG Rally and a lakeside event near Orlando.
Carla and Rainman put me up in Maryland. Here I visited the AMA and MRF offices in Washington DC and saw the Capitol building. The valves in my engine were expertly replaced by Mike at J & M Race Products whilst Ron Wood kindly donated the parts.
Rainman is a Vietnam Veteran and invited me to their motorcycle clubhouse in Virginia Beach for a delicious Thanksgiving feast with succulent deep-fried turkey. In the early 1970s, Rainman recruited ten other Vietnam Vets and hijacked the Statue of Liberty in a high-profile stunt against the war.
I've seen miles and miles of southern swampland home to crocodile and alligators, rows and rows of orange trees in Florida, dazzling white sand from ground coral on the Gulf coast.
New Orleans' French Quarter over the last couple of days was amazing. Museums revealed its rich history, the native Indians, the African and Caribbean slaves, the Francophones from Canada, Germans, and Anglo -Americans. The cultures of Creole and Cajun emerged. Colonial rule by the Spanish and French ended when Louisiana, at one time stretching from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Canada, was bought by the US for $15 million. Though its too early for the famous Mardi Gras festival, Bourbon Street pumps out 24 hour rhythm and blues; clowns, psychics and acrobats perform in the squares; and the sound of jazz is never far away. It may come from a band playing to a streetside coffeehouse or a solitary saxophone player busking on the banks of the Mississippi.
Staying off the boring Interstate highways, I through the scenic byways of Louisiana through historic plantation sites with massive mansions and fields of sugar-beet. East Texas is also very green, today I rode through the Davy Crockett National Forest - who else remembers the TV series, 'king of the wild frontier' as he was?!
Now I've got four or five days to prepare for the Dallas International Motorcycle Show. (Right now I should really be on the phone to newspapers.) The organisers have given me a free plot and room to make my presentations. But the audio visual equipment donator fell through (sounds familiar!) I shall despair if we don't raise some serious cash this weekend. That will get me out of the depression for sure!
Some parties haven't come through on their offer to help get events planned and what with the general slowdown on fundraising (we haven't even reached $50,000 yet) we need to shift up a gear. Thanks to Chad in New York we have a selection of video material and we want to get it to TV talent spotters and promoters and people of similar ilk. So, my American friends, can you stimulate some TV interest for us? If we can get on network TV a few times things will be much easier.
Oh well, it's dark again before I've found a campsite. I detest these short days!
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