A Solo Motorcycle Ride Across America – Part 6
Day 7 Continued
Sunday, June 10, 2001
Somewhere in eastern Kansas
I was in high spirits after my fleeting encounter with the Lone Rider. Kansas’s beauty revealed itself to me, then. Where before I saw flat and featureless plains, I now saw the sprawling Heartland reaching out in all directions to meet the vast blue sky. There is a perfect solitude that can only be experienced in the flat expanses of our planet. Like looking up into a river of stars on a moonless night, standing in (or riding through) vast open spaces heightens our perception of the awesome scale of planet Earth and our own insignificance in the face of Nature. Soaring mountain ranges may inspire awe, but to stand in an empty field while a massive thunderhead approaches is to feel Mother Nature’s raw power and fury.
I crossed the border into Kansas City, Missouri and decided to ride right on through. There are countless small towns in this country, and I would prefer any of them over a big city when on a road trip. My America is defined by those small towns and the folks who inhabit them.
I pulled off of I-70 in Oak Grove to get some gas for my bike and some beef jerky and a soda for me. I pulled a few Advil from my bag and swallowed them with my Diet Mountain Dew. My knees and butt were starting to get a little sore, so I thought it best to nip that pain in the bud. Little did I know then that the pain I was feeling was just the tip of an iceberg of suffering that would almost consume me by the end of the journey.
Yeah yeah, you were in pain. So what? I want to know about the beef jerky and Diet Mountain Dew!
I know, it’s an awkward combination, but having already traversed the country a couple of times by car, I had zeroed in on my body’s optimal diet for long road trips: 2 McDonald’s breakfast burritos with hot sauce in the morning, Jack Link’s beef jerky and Diet Mountain Dew throughout the day (all protein and caffeine – no carbohydrates to make me sleepy) and dinner at a local (or chain) restaurant washed down with a few margaritas. I could ride to the moon and back on that diet. Or at least I could have 15 years ago. My knees, butt and back are not as gung-ho about long rides of any kind anymore. But if I were to try, I’d also have to switch those margaritas to a few dry martinis – that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read my stories 🙂
While I was gassing up my bike and nursing my nascent pains, it struck me that I was wasting the journey riding on I-70. The interstate highway had served its purpose in western Kansas as I fled tornado-spewing thunderstorms, but there was no reason for me to be barreling through the rest of the country. I pulled a Missouri map out of my tank bag (I had bought road maps for every state I’d be riding through. Maps! Remember those?) and had a look at my situation. It appeared that if I just headed south on the road I had exited onto, I would intersect with Route 50 again. It wasn’t the same Route 50 I had taken out of California and across Nevada, Utah and into Colorado, but I took it as a good sign. I plopped my helmet back onto my head and pointed my front wheel south.
The road south to Route 50 was only 10 miles, but I loved the ride. There were farms, fields and trees as far as the eye could see. I could have ridden that road all day. But Route 50 came up quickly and I veered left and was heading east again. The day was getting on, so I decided to stop for the night in the next town I came across.
I pulled off Route 50 in Warrensburg, Missouri and found lodging at a Days Inn. After dumping my bags in the room and showering off the road grime, I headed out for my nightly ritual of dinner and margaritas.
Monday, June 11, 2001
It had been a hot ride since I blasted out of the Rockies, and this day promised more of the same. My front tire was front and center in my mind. I couldn’t put it off much longer. I would have to get it changed that day. I couldn’t risk it any further. But it was Monday, so the BMW cycle shops would be closed. I’d have to find another. These were the days before smart phones and portable internet, so I called my roommate Kevin at work in San Francisco. He was a fellow rider, and he’d be able to help me find a shop to change my tire. I doubted there’d be anything before St. Louis, so I asked him to look there. He gave me some names and numbers, and I started calling around. I found one whose name I can no longer remember. It was on the outskirts of St. Louis, and they had a suitable tire in stock. I told them I would see them later in the day. I hoped the tire would last that long.
My mind was settled and I enjoyed my Missouri morning watching the farms and trees open up before me and slide behind me. I was in a peaceful state of mind, and the first 100 miles passed quickly. I pulled off to refuel in Linn, Missouri, a small speck of a town about 20 miles east of Jefferson City.
The gas station had a general store, and an old fellow in faded overalls and a worn-in cap stood out in front. From his attire, his dark skin and the creases around his eyes, I took him for a local farmer. I had seen that same look when I was a kid working on the tobacco farms in my hometown. He watched me as I was gassing up my bike. I walked into the store to pay for the gas and to pick up some beef jerky and Mountain Dew.
“Hello there.” He said. “Looks like you’re goin’ a long ways.” His voice was soft and he spoke slowly, each word measured against the thought in his mind. He asked where I was from and where I was headed. He remarked on my bike and the load I was carrying. As we spoke, he would nod his head, and sometimes his face would light up with a smile. I might have thought him slow or maybe considered him a “hick,” but as I listened to him speak further, I understood that this man was no simpleton. His unhurried cadence came from a life lived by the clock of sun and moon, of planting and harvest. While my days had once been measured by opening and closing bells, by morning and evening rush, his days were defined by the rising and setting sun and his years revolved around the sowing and reaping of crops.
As he spoke, I realized that this was the America that I had been subconsciously seeking, right there in that moment, in that man. It’s hard for me to explain why I felt that way, but I would have liked to spend a lot more time with that old timer, learning about his life, his family, his world. But the road was calling louder than ever, so I extended my hand to him and told him that it had been my great pleasure to meet him. We both went inside, and I shopped for my goods, paid for he gas and walked back outside to my bike.
As I was putting on my helmet, the old man stepped back outside the store, smiled at me and wished me a safe trip. I saw him still waving when I checked my mirror as I pulled out onto the road.
Like the Lone Rider, I will never forget the Old Man of Linn. I wish I got his name. I wish I could go back to Linn and find him so we could talk again.
I took it easy for the next 140 miles until the repair shop. I’d never a seen a bike tire so bald. The steel belt was showing in places. Why had I waited so long?
Luck was with me that trip. I made it to the shop without incident and waited an hour or so while they replaced my tire. Once I was back on a new tire, I felt like my bike was new again. I could ride fast again! St. Louis was just to my east. The side trip to the repair shop had cost me a couple of hours of riding time, so I decided I would splurge and stay in St. Louis that night. As I mentioned earlier, I preferred to avoid cities, but I was relieved I had fixed my tire, and I wanted to pamper myself with a good hotel with room service. I rode into the heart of the city and made my way towards the Gateway Arch. I found a perfect hotel overlooking the arch – The Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Gateway Arch. If you’re gonna splurge – splurge all the way. I parked in the garage under the hotel and hauled my sweaty and stinking carcass into the lobby. They must have been thrilled to see a dirty biker with his filthy saddlebags show up at the front desk. But I had a smile and I had plastic, so they gave me a key and sent me on my merry way.
I’d love to report that I changed my clothes and went outside to see one of America’s greatest monuments, but I didn’t. I showered, ordered a cheeseburger and two margaritas from room service and watched movies until I fell asleep. It was epic.
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
St. Louis, Missouri
The night of pampering in St. Louis was good for my bones, but it took some of the wind out of my sails. I was about to cross the Mississippi River. I would soon be back in eastern America. Even though a vast distance separated me from my childhood home, I was starting to feel like I was there already. And once that feeling hits, it’s hard to keep taking the slower and longer routes. My brain was starting to tell me to end this journey as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, my body was starting to agree. I pulled out the map again.
There it was. I-70. Calling me.
I sighed and let the little war play out in my head, but I already knew which side would win. I would be hopping back on the interstate and hightailing it back to Connecticut.
I remember leaving St. Louis that hazy morning, but I have no memory (and no journal) of the day. I imagine it was an uninspiring slog along I-70 with nothing to see but asphalt and cars, nothing to hear but the roar of wind in my ears and nothing to feel but the growing pain in my knees and butt. I put on a lot of miles that day and called it quits in Dayton, Ohio. The sky was looking threatening, and I wanted to find shelter before the storm. I remember pulling into a McDonald’s for a vanilla ice cream. It was another scorcher, and I needed something cold. Thunderclouds gathered above me as I slurped my icy treat. I gobbled it down, brain freeze be damned, and headed across the street to a Comfort Inn. The first drops started to fall just as I pulled up to the lobby to check in. I quickly got my key and drove around to my room. I unloaded my bags before the main front hit. It amazes me, even after all these years, that the only rain I felt on that entire cross-country trip were those few drops in Dayton before running inside to my room. When I started the journey, there was severe weather all around me in the country, and as I progressed east, the bad weather closed in behind me, as some good weather would break in front of me. I rode for a total of 10 days (including the stopover in Winter Park), and for most of those days, I was in a lone pocket of good weather surrounded on all sides by raging storms.
Wednesday, June 13, 2001 9:00 am
I remember that morning like it was yesterday. The morning was crisp and sunny. The night’s rain had cleared out the heat and humidity and left perfect weather in its wake. But I was tired. I loaded up my bike with my saddlebags, tent, sleeping bag (only used those once) and boots. My knees hurt. My butt felt raw. Everything hurt a little that day. I swung a leg over and mounted my bike. I looked down at the map pouch on top of my tank bag. It was a clear plastic pouch that held a map, so I could see where I was heading while riding. I pulled it out of the pouch. I then fished out my map of the country. I found Dayton. I looked over to Connecticut and found Glastonbury. I did some rough estimating.
About 750 miles.
That’s 50% more my longest day so far and three times as much as my lesser days!
I’m so sore and tired!
That’s one quarter of the entire country!
F@&k it. I’m doing it!
I fired up the engine and lit out for my childhood home.
I had to stop at least every 200 miles for gas. My pain exploded that day. Every time I stopped for gas, I would pop four Advil. My butt was so sore that I had to fish a fleece vest from my pack and tie it down over the bike seat with a bungee cord. My knees popped and groaned every time I got off the bike, and I had to ride for long stretches with one or both of them sticking straight out into the wind.
My bones were falling apart. But I wouldn’t be spending another night in a motel.
I remember the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. I was getting closer. The landscape was familiar.
I passed through the Hudson Valley in New York – so close to Connecticut.
The light was fading as I crossed the border. Couldn’t stop now. Another hour? Hour and a half? That was nothing!
I held on and rode, and every inch of my body shrieked for mercy.
And then it was over. I pulled into my parents’ driveway at 9:30 pm. I had ridden for 12 1/2 hours over a distance of 779 miles. I have never broken that record and don’t expect to.
My parents were shocked. They weren’t expecting me until the next day, and I never told them my plans. I walked around back to the patio, sat down and drank a glass of whiskey. My hands and arms buzzed from the bike’s vibration. I was exhausted, but I was home.
You don’t have an emoji for “What? Are you nuts?!!!!
Thinking back on it, you’re right, Derry! I have no idea how I did it. Being 28 years old helped 🙂
I just happened to find your ‘diary’. I am glad I did.
On June 10, 1979 I came into San Francisco from Salt Lake City in one shot also. 750 miles. After driving a 1979 750 Honda K4 from Calais, Maine, like you Greg, I just did not want to stop. It took me about 12 hours also.
I met people like “The Old man from Linn” also. People like that will make you stop what your doing just to think about them. It’s a wonderful feeling. I hope you never meet him again.
Hi Jim, thanks for writing! There’s nothing like riding alone across the country – it forces you to meet and interact with all sorts of folks you might otherwise overlook. Can’t wait to get out there again someday!
OMG Greg – Ridding for 12 1/2 hours over a distance of 779 miles – Were you trying to set a record or do you plead temporary insanity?
I just wanted to be home and off the road! There’s no way my body would consent to such torture at this age, lol!
You almost made it an Iron Butt challenge!
More like a Crying Butt challenge, lol! 🙂
i am in awe xx
Thanks, Chris! 🙂
You should write a book. Seriously. You have a way of describing things, even when you’re explaining how to make a cutting board with stones!
I’m going to, Cathy. I’ve been tumbling some ideas around in my head, so we’ll see what happens!
Hi, Greg. You are able to put into words the full impact of So many things, from geography to science, from art to empathy, and the connections that are human, imperfect, raw without vulgarity, and top it off with humor and kindness. You are a Rare person. I truly enjoy reading your journals. And to top it off, you stopped in Warrensburg, MO, my fathers home town, a place we visited twice a year through my childhood. Of course, that touched a sentimental memory that put me in a kindly mood to begin with. Summing it up, thank you for your journal.
Pam, thank you! This is such a wonderful comment! I’m happy that you found a personal connection through Warrensburg in the story. I love it when that happens! Thank you so much for reading and sharing!
You’re an artist. A modern minstrel!
definitely get to writing that book!
Thank you so much, Barb! 🙂
Greg, I always feel like you are an old friend, so my first inclination is to give you the hard time that I would if we were face to face. I have to say, everything these folks have said, about your gifts as a writer and storyteller, is absolutely true. And I totally have to thank you, for listening to your heart and running away to marry Handan! Well done all around!
Thank you so much, Derry! This a wonderful comment. We are lucky to have you as a reader!
Great story…you have inspired me to do this trip…from Long Island to California…Tell me this was there snow in the mountains that you had to ride through? How much would you say this trip cost in total? and did you rode the bike back or did you fly back? Considering going crosscountry in late June….Thanks for the inspiration!!! Oh, Im 52…but in decent shape…would swap out the seat on my Road King before considering this journey…not sure I would be so ambitious as far as riding mileage per day 300-400-500 tops for me….all depending on the variables…mainly weather….any info you can provide related to costs would be helpful….God Bless.
Hi Jimmy, that’s great! There’s nothing like taking a bike across America! The only snow I hit was over Independence pass in Colorado. Just a little falling from the sky, but there was still a bunch of snow on the ground. The cost wasn’t too bad. just gas and fast food and cheap motels. Easy enough to calculate gas if you know your bike’s mpg, the national average of gas and your distance. Food you can figure yourself. You may not want the fast food diet like I did back then! Motels through the heartland are still pretty cheap. You should be able to get by nicely under $100/night for lodging – often even cheaper, I’d imagine. My original plan was to ride back, but I was tired and ready to get back home, so I decided to ship the bike and fly. That was expensive! You’ll definitely want to upgrade your seat before the trip. I went with a Sergent, and it made a big difference! I wish you a great trip. Please write again when it’s all done!
Greg, thanks for the reply….So I’ve recruited a good friend to do an abbreviated version of “the original trip”. We have decided to leave on May 1st from NYC, drive down to Front Royal Virginia, day 2 we will ride the Skyline and Blue Ridge Pkwy, eventually winding up someplace close to Asheville NC. Day 3 we ride from Asheville to Memphis Tennessee, day 4 Memphis to Witchita Falls Texas. On day 5 we are headed to Amarillo Texas where we will meet some friends and take the Big texan challenge – 72oz steak….Going to hang around for a couple of days with friends in the Northern Panhandle…Then ride as much of Rte 66 as we can…Day 1 Amarillo to Oklahoma City…Day 2 OKC to Springfield Missouri. Day 3 Springfield to Joliet Illinois…Day 4 Joliet to Cleveland Ohio…Day Cleveland to NYC…..a pretty adventurous trip…Do you have any feedback related to those 2 routes, coming and going..Any suggestions a far as better routes? Dont really want to add too much more time…looking at 12-14 days and hoping for good weather…We all know how that can work out though..I appreciate your blog and respectful of any information you can provide regarding a trip of this distance…Bikes will be serived, new tires, brakes, fluids, adjustments….Insurance company will be called to go over coverage,..God forbid we have a breakdown…Tools and appropriate clothing will be researched….any other thoughts? Many thanks. Jim
Did you make the trip? I too will plan this summer 2019 a cross country and likely make Front Royal first stop blue ridge parkway then head west. Can two weeks suffice to the coast and back?
I did half the trip. Lol…I left NY on a frigid day and arrived in Virginia looking for a swimming pool! Stopped at the Harley factory in York Pa – which was awesome…rode the skyline and BRP down to Cherokee. Stayed in Maggie Valley for a couple of days – great little MC town/city. From there we did some incredible riding. Plan was to hit Texas but ran into a few tornados. Decided to call it a day and started heading North. Rode up through Tennessee and West Virginia into Pennsylvania and home to New York. Spent a week riding…was incredible. Weather to the West looked too unstable to continue,. Ive already booked Maggie Valley for the beginning of May. Am thinking of riding out to Sturgis in late July…not a big rally – plan would be to get there a week or two before the fun starts! lol. Safe travels.
So I have been thinking about doing this for a long time, your writing and tales just goaded me even further to get off my ass before I get any older. I plan to do a reverse route 66 from Santa Monica and then head SE to Florida through backroads when I hit Springfield, MO.
I will be sure to post here when I make this trip and provide a link to my adventures / pictures.
Mike, I’m so glad you’re considering the trip. I hope you decide to make it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and in years to come, you’ll be so happy you did it! Keep me posted.
Your trek was fantastic! I really enjoyed reading your story. I have taken 4 long trips myself ranging from 1400 miles to 2200 miles. My longest day was 759 miles, which included riding through a snowstorm in the Rockies, looking down over the edge of the road at an over 12,000 foot drop. It was quite an experience. Also rode through Leadville (nice). I perfectly understand your need to ride alone, as this is my preferred mode for riding, except that my husband is usually with me. We don’t like to ride in packs. My husband has a Triumph Nightstorm and I currently have a Spyder, although most of my trips were taken on a 1982 Triumph Bonneville. We hope to take another trip soon before we get too old to enjoy ourselves. Once again, great adventure and nice to read another person’s recount of a motorcycle trip.
Hi Jane, thank you for writing! It sounds like you’ve had some wonderful trips on your bike – I imagine that trek through the Rockies in the snow was equal parts thrilling and terrifying! Isn’t it cool? We’ve both traveled some of the same roads on two wheels! It’s an experience like no other.
As an Australian I understand the concept of the long, lonely road intimately. In the outback some roads are so long and monotonous the government puts up billboards of trivia questions to keep people entertained and hopefully more alert. Sometimes the only traffic for hours is a road train which is exactly how it sounds – a huge, multicarriaged monstrosity barrelling down the highway at speeds you think it wouldn’t be able to do. Passing them is a terrifying experience as you’re on the wrong side of the road for so long with no way back until you’ve passed.
I’ve always wanted to do the long haul solo trip. My plan was to backpack through Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. But the cost was always prohibitive and now my health just wouldn’t allow anything of the kind.
So I love stories like this. And, once again, your evocative way of writing sucked me right in and made me long for an America I’ve never known. I could clearly see the mountains, the scrublands, the storm front looming overhead. I’m sure I was even feeling that pain in my butt by the end in commiseration!
Your writing always conjure up such emotions and we are lucky and privileged to share in your tales.
I’ve seen those road trains in movies. They are unlike anything we have here in the states. I’d love to visit the outback someday – that’s my kind of terrain. Hell, I’d love to visit anywhere in Australia (and NZ and Taz). One of these years Handan and I will make the trek. That backpack trip you describe would be awesome. I wish we got out more when we lived in Vietnam. We thought we’d be there longer, so we missed out on a lot.
Amazing story!! I am planning on doing a ride to NY from SF and back. This just solidified all my desires. Thanks Greg!
If you are still in SF would love to pick your brain.
Awesome! You’re going to love the journey, Ben. There’s nothing like it! I’m actually living back in CT now. Moved out of SF in 2010 to live abroad with my wife for a few years, and now we’re back east.
I just read this whole story over the course of an hour and a half. It’s been a life long dream of mine do this. Even before my interest in motorcycles I’ve always wanted to travel across the country. I’m getting ready the buy my first street bike in a few weeks time. After I have a good amount of experience I plan on doing this same thing. Though I’m cheap and don’t see myself stopping at Hotels
What an amazing journey, and I agree with all who said that you are a very talented writer. I just turned 62 and am planning a 3-4 month, 12k mile ride this summer all around the US and Canada on a 2014 R1200 GSA. I took a 2-week adventure all through California a number of months ago and fell in love with motorcycle adventuring. You have inspired me, and I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and keep my journal going.
Oh wow, that sounds incredible, John! I’d love to do a long trip again with the camera skills I now have and an actual blog to share my stories in. Someday…
Somedays have a habit of becoming never. Start planning it now. The planning is a lot of fun as well. Take your lady with you this time.
Safe travels always,
I just finished reading your story. I found it while searching for others doing cross country trips. I’ve been planning another one but the current virus situation may delay it. My last trip was from Las Vegas to the Honda Hoot several years ago in eastern Tennessee taking 5 days. That was on a GoldWing but with the stereo, cruise control, saddle bags and trailer it was good buy didn’t quite hit the spot. My next ride (routes change constantly) is leaving Las Vegas and heading towards Oregon/Washington with no set destination, then up into Canada east to somewhere around the great lakes, then back across Michigan, Wisconsin, through the Dakotas, Montana and starting south in Idaho, through Colorado (used to live there) and eventually back to Las Vegas avoiding as many interstates as possible with no schedule to meet. I’m traveling light this time, just me and my Honda Fury, a backpack and whatever I can attach to the rear of the seat on my sissy bar. Maybe two changes of clothes. No sleeping bags or tent, too old for that. Did I mention I’m celebrating 55 years of riding motorcycles? My longest one day ride? Moline (Quad-Cities) to the Jersey shore. I think it was around 1100 miles. Not going to do that again. Anyway, it was nice to read about your trip. Thanks.
Hi Paul, I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Your trip sounds awesome, and that is the way to do it! If you’re not camping, just travel light, enjoy the road, and then enjoy a good dinner and a beer when you lay off for the night. Once we return to normal, I think you’ll have a fine trip for yourself! Congrats on 55 years on two wheels – I hope they were all incident free! Safe travels, friend.
Summer is a few days away…the world has changed and all that my heart desires is to get on the bike and go….Its been a few years since Ive contributed to this post, but my desire to make this journey increases every time I re-read it! Last time we embarked on this journey we ran into tornadoes in the West and traveled back North…Next week I am headed back to Maggie Valley NC, a place my riding buddy and I have made an annual trip to…its usually on a deck in MV that we devise our strategy for riding cross country…I hope next June we will finally make the journey! Until then I will ride, North, South, West and East….all within a couple days range! Stay safe – get out and ride!
Hi James, I really hope you get that cross-country trip in, either this year or next. I think this year would be perfect. Life has slowed for many, hotel rooms are plentiful, and the traffic can’t be beat. It’s a distance-rider’s paradise!
I was searching for cross-country motorcycle tips and I came across this! I’m not going cross-country, only from PA to Sturgis and back. I will be solo out and back so I am researching. I’m only riding about 5-6 hours a day, and I have some cool stops planned (HD Museum, Oregon Trail, Pres. Lincoln’s home). I am having two new tires put on before I leave when the bike is being serviced. I am really looking forward to this adventure! Thank you for sharing yours! Your story has given me even more inspiration and the reminder to take Ibuprofen with me. =)
Hi Erika, that sounds like a great trip! I never made it to Sturgis. Maybe one of these years, I’ll convince my wife to join me, and we’ll make the trek 🙂 Best of luck on your ride, and yes, ibuprofen is a life-saver, lol!
Great read! Spend an hour or so to finish as I didn’t want to stop. Thank you very much for sharing your adventure!
My pleasure, Dennis – thank you for reading!
Looking for the Christmas gnome pattern and saw your story. Just finished it. Wanted more! My trip next year will be small as I have just finished 3 years of breast cancer and reconstruction (many surgeries). I am 72 and have been riding off and on. I Love my heritage softail an old one 2005 but it gets me where I would love to go. I felt like I was riding next to you. You descriptions told a awesome story about your travels. I can’t wait for your book. Will be checking back so I can buy one.
Patty in CA.
Hi Patty, I’m so happy you found my story! Congratulations to you on your victory, and I wish you all the best on the road. There is so much beauty in this country – both places and people. It’s just a shame it’s often lost in the noise of current events. You’ll love seeing the real America, and there’s no better place to see it from than the saddle of a motorcycle!
Greg, loved your story. My husband and I have been riding together for over twenty years. He has been riding for over sixty five years. We celebrated our fifty anniversary on January 5. Our first trip was from Austin, TX to California to Oregon. Back thru Yellowstone to Colorado. Then after two weeks we headed back to Texas. You talking about scary night. You should go see the Marfa Lights. Between Alpine, TX and Marfa, TX. I was born and raised in Alpine. I was 12 years old when I went with my best friend and her older two sisters. You would go to the old air force base. Which you can’t do now. Watch the light go across the top of the mountain and with in seconds the whole place was lite up in front of you. Thanks for your articles and your love stories.
Thank you, Jill! I’m so glad you liked and could relate to my story. I haven’t ridden in a couple of years now, and unfortunately my bike is sitting (dead) in my father’s garage in CT. Someday, I’ll get back to it when we have more time! 🙂
Greg, that was the best read I’ve had in a long long time! I so enjoyed it. You really need to write a book, I think. I honestly felt like I was right there with you and experiencing the same feelings as you. Even got a little teary eyed at some points. One thing I did take note of, was a few mentions of “one day I need to take Hayden back there”…and all I could think of was, don’t wait too long too do that. Obviously, “now” isn’t the time because of Covid, but soon. Sometimes if you wait too long for things, that day will never come and you’ll end up kicking yourself. Time passes very quickly and the older you get, the faster it goes. And as you get older, there are always more ailments and aches and pains and various health problems. So, go while you can. And ..just to make it more fun, take the maps. Thanks so much for sharing that life experience with me…It made my day!
Thank you so much, Colleen! You are so right – there are always excuses…there is always some work to do that prevents us. But I will show her this comment, and we will make a pledge to get on a bike one summer (just not this one – it’s Baris’s last summer before college!) – and we will make it back West! 🙂
I enjoyed this story so much! My first husband owned a Ducati. A few years later he purchased a Harley from a police sale in Alabama. It was a big bike (FLH Tourglide). We did a little short riding together on that bike but most of the time he was solo. I always yearned for a trip (maybe not as long) as yours. We had horrible weather luck anytime we rode. It would pour down rain! I worked for the state and we could use one personal day a year for anything and I would use it to go riding with him. It got to be a joke at work that if Karen was taking a personal day we were going to get rain. ha ha I have just started a book called Ghost Rider by Neil Peart. It’s a story of a man who lost his wife and child and went on a solo ride on his BMW R1100GS for 14 months covering 55,000 miles. I’m not very far into it yet but when you mentioned your encounter with someone riding a BMW on your travels I had to wonder if it could have been him but on further investigation I found his trip started in 1998. Wouldn’t that have been ironic, though?
Thank you for sharing your journey. I enjoyed reading it very much!
Hi Karen, oh what rotten luck with your days off, lol! So this book…is this the same Neil Peart who played drums for Rush? Sounds like a great book!
Greg, it is the SAME Neil Peart (of the band Rush)!! Can I tell you a little secret though? You are a much better story teller! 😉
Yeah, but he’s a better drummer. RIP. 🙂
Thoroughly enjoyed your story, Greg. My ex husband and I had a Honda 750, then a Harley Sportster, and finally a Harley Heritage Softail (which our border collie was named after – “Harley Softail”). After a serous car accident in 1996, which resulted in 7 fractures of my pelvis; it took years before I could ride more than a few miles without excruciating pain. I could relate to your discomfort. Following my divorce (after 35 years of marriage) I started dating a great guy with a Harley Electra Glide Classic. He was very patient with me & my post accident injuries. Having a bike with a big cushy seat didn’t hurt either! We have taken many day trips, but my days of riding hundreds of miles at a crack are behind me. Hopefully you and Handan will get to make a trip after Covid and Baris is off to college. Just reading the comments from all the various bike enthusiasts has been inspiring.
I sort of stumbled on your blog (maybe on Pinterest) and following it about a year ago, so I hadn’t read any of your adventures until recently. You really should write that book, as should my dear friend, Carl. He has a way of telling a story that makes the most mundane thing sound so interesting that you want to learn more. That is a great gift and should be shared with the world! Of all the blogs I’ve followed, yours is the one I really look forward to reading. Even if the subject is something I’m not particularly interested in, I always enjoy your distinct way of telling your story. I look forward to more of your family’s adventures and progress on the new Navage Patch,
Thank you for your kind words, Gail! Though your long-riding days may be in the past, I think it’s awesome that you’re still getting out there for as long as the pain will allow. There really is nothing like seeing the country (or even just the county) from the seat of a motorcycle!
Hey Greg , I really enjoyed your story about your trip. I’m seriously thinking of riding my 2020 Road Glide from Michigan to California and back here in the next few wks . Bucket list type of thing . I’m 54 and I figure I better get on it ..lol I’ve done across country trips several times solo in a couple different corvettes of mine and enjoyed it immensely. You’re a good story teller thank you . You’ve made me think about keeping a little journal myself . I’m in the middle of your journeys in Afghanistan.
Thanks Steve 🙂
Hey Steve, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! I do hope you make that trip. There’s nothing like seeing this country from the saddle of a motorcycle. I’ll bet those Corvette trips were a blast! Good luck in your travels, and enjoy our oversea adventures. -Greg
Really good read. I especially found the part about the smaller towns interesting. About ten years ago a friend and I did a coast to coast ride across the States, and back again, but we spent a lot of time on the interstates, seeing some interesting sights, but missing a lot of the quaint, quintessential American towns. I am planning a longer ride next year or the year after, anywhere up to six months, solo, exploring these interesting little jewels.
Hope to see you on the open road!
Hi Richard, thank you so much! You’re going to love your next trip off the beaten path. Our interstate system is great for cars, but we belong on the back roads! Best of luck with you and safe travels!