On Friday, July 30, 2010, at 10:30 PM EST, the sleepy streets of Pittsfield were disturbed by the sound of a certain 40 year old, air-cooled, inline 4 motorcycle that had just carried its two weary passengers and all their camping gear on a 10,000 mile exploration of America. After a 350+ mile day, the Honda was driven into its garage for the first time in 7 weeks, where it was finally able to rest happily indoors for the night.
Its riders, having become accustomed to sleeping in the open air for all but five nights since leaving home, were reluctant to forgo setting up the tent, and to instead sleep indoors. We've found that to sleep in a bed in a bedroom, where things like wallboard, curtains, and glass insulate the sleeper from the sounds of insects and birds, the subtle changes in light that occur as the planet rotates, and, perhaps most importantly, the fresh air, is less to our liking. Despite this drastic and change of lifestyle, we slept well and woke up happy to be home.
The trip is over, complete, and we are settling in to a normal, planted lifestyle. We survived without any major breakdowns, crashes, dangerous encounters with wildlife or humans, or any other incident we were warned about before leaving. The bike suffered a few mechanical ailments, most notably the total loss of the use of first gear, but was nevertheless able to complete the trip in one piece and with little trouble.
For two days in Memphis, I was down with food poisoning the worst case of which I had ever had myself or heard of any person having. Juli nearly came down with heat exhaustion on an eight-mile hike through a canyon in Utah. But we came through unscathed and excited to do more traveling in the future.
Our route was shortened by a few thousand miles about halfway through. By the time we arrived in southern Colorado, we realized that, at the pace we were going, we would not have enough time to get out to California and the Pacific Northwest. But we were having so much fun taking in the sights and not worrying so much about how far we'd have to go that day, that we did not want to speed up our pace. So instead of continuing west from Utah to California and up, we simply went north to Yellowstone to shorten our loop. Hopefully we'll make it to the west coast on another trip, maybe even on a motorcycle!
It wasn't until yesterday that we managed to get all 16GBs of pictures from the camera onto my computer, and I have yet to view and remember each picture. But anyway, we're here, and plan to fulfill our duty to write a thorough and interesting account of it.
Right now, my plan is to write an entry for every two to three days, complete with images and an occasional video. I'll also give explanations about our camping gear, how we packed it, our methods and the route we took. I feel I must apologize to all those prospective readers who were told they could follow along by reading our updates from the road. Over the course of the trip we found ourselves stopping to use a real computer only occasionally. For some reason, there simply was not time for writing. I now wonder how those motorcycle journalists who write those wonderful articles that inspired this trip actually find the time to write enough while on the road to compose the great articles they do.
So while Juli and I get organized and I think about how best to describe to you all the great things we saw, here is a collection of photos from the trip. These range from the first few days in Appalachia to the southwest, to the Rockies and the East. Enjoy them, and please come back to see the rest over the next few weeks!
|Our first weekend out was spent at Rhinebeck, NY, where Juli sold prints at a vintage motorcycle meet|
|Our bike along the Blue Ridge Parkway, America's gift to motorcyclists|
|Julianne learning the Appalachian way of life|
|The Blue Ridge again. Imagine over 450 miles of this.|
Beware of the bad sound on this video. Our little camera does not respond well to air pressure. This is Parson's Bridge Road in Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
|Mississippi delta farm country. The blues was born here.|
|Memphis was hot, I was sick, and the bike suffered a shifting failure, but it's still a neat place!|
|Oklahoma was flat but beautiful|
|Western Oklahoma going into New Mexico was awesome|
|The bike really struggle to get up here!|
|A grand canyon indeed!|
|Arches National Park|
|Our campsite outside of Moab, Utah, along the Colorado River|
|Grand Teton was just amazing|
|Buffalo in Yellowstone. Kind of frightening really|
|Our campsite in the Badlands of South Dakota|
|Bighorn Sheep in the Badlands|
|After a flood in Iowa|
|Buffalo, NY. Man I liked the West.|
|Me fitting a new chain in a parking lot outside Rochester, NY|
|Bennington, VT. Juli was happy to be back in Moose country after booking it across from Chicago|
|And the morning after. The bike is dirty now.|
I hope this is a good introduction and encourages you all to come back and see more.