Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mile 9,210: Tilting At Windmills

Someone asked Jackson Pollock how he knew when he was finished painting. (He was the guy who some people describe as, "You know, that guy who does splatter painting.) In a colorful way, Pollock basically said that he just knew. It was his creation, and he knew what he wanted it to look like, what it needed to express. And when the painting was done, it was done.

It's done.

Just shy of all 10,000 truths, my Rocinante and I have reached the windmills. And like those great originals Don Quixote and John Steinbeck who have provided some inspiration to my own incarnation of the wandering adventurer, this story ends in the middle. Still plenty of adventures to come, though this is where this particular one finds its conclusion.

I knew the miles were winding down when my brother, Unky, and I rode through a windmill farm out in West Texas a couple of weeks ago. (I guess he was my Sancho Panza at that moment.) Hundreds of windmills lined up like soldiers in formation, though not nearly as neatly since they faced them in different directions to catch all of the wind. And though I only dismounted my iron horse to take a picture rather than to fight with them, in some ways I realized at that moment that my story was closer to the Man of La Mancha than I even knew when I began this adventure.

I imagine that's true for most of us.

Don Quixote's imagination was his strength and his weakness. On the positive side, he loved his horse, Rocinante, even though it was beat up and ragged. When he looked at Rocinante, he saw an amazing creature and companion. He saw the best.

But when Quixote saw something bad, his imagination got the best of him. Windmills became hulking giants with flailing arms; his most threatening enemies were the ones he made up in his mind.

And that's something I have fought for years. The enemies of my mind.

When newcomers to motorcycles ask me for advice, I always start at the same place. If you want to survive, you have to assume the worst of people. Every car you see is a potential danger. Assume that every car on your side is going to pull into your lane and sideswipe you... Assume that every car behind you is going to ram into you... Assume that every car in front of you is about to slam on their brakes.

Assume the worst of people.

The difficulty is turning that off in the same way that you shut down your motor. Once off the bike, not everyone is out to get you. But it's hard to turn that off when the ghosts of Christmas past refuse to be ignored.

Ever since Don Quixote's story was first told, a phrase caught on that describes fighting imaginary enemies: "tilting at windmills."

At our worst, we fill in blanks when people we love speak or behave in ways that leave too much room for mystery. We assume motives for their words and actions without going to the source and asking to talk it out. Rather than the hard work of clarifying conversation, we make things up. We make up things in our minds and slouch to the side of the negative. We begin to fight imaginary enemies.

Tilting at windmills.

But during these almost 10,000 truths, my experience has taught me something just the opposite. Not just to challenge the things we make up in our minds, but to embrace those I love, and give no emotional energy to those who drain life out of you.

A couple of bikers from Ohio talked to me while we were on top of the world. Literally on top of the world. We were at the Alpine Visitors Center above the timberline in Rocky Mountain National Park. We talked of the ride, the beauty of the mountains, the cold air. And while we visited, we were the best of friends.

Another biker at the motor lodge where I stopped for a night in Greybull, Wyoming came over to me while I was sitting with my feet propped up on Rocinante as the sun went down. I was being quiet, even meditative after a wonderful ride. He stumbled up to me, just a shade past tipsy. He started rambling unintelligibly, even touching my bike at one point, but I found myself unafraid to gently let him know that I needed solitude, and to please just leave me alone. He was neither friend nor enemy, and I just left it at that.

Both kinds of people were plentiful on this journey. The miles were great, but the people stand out. That's also true of life itself. Many I loved, and still do. Some best left to the wind.


So just this past Saturday, knowing that I would finish this narrative painting just a few days later, I sat with some of my brothers in my motorcycle club as we held our monthly meeting out on the road following a good ride. The weather was epic. Sunshine. Cool breeze. Perfect October day.

We sat and talked. Laughed. Discussed. I enjoy being with them. When you are with good friends, those are the moments when the enemies of our souls seem farthest away.

Not too many feet away from where we sat was a windmill. And that was it. That's where this story needed to end. Not tilting at it. No imaginary enemies. Nothing to fear. It's all good.

I think I'll go for another ride.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mile 8,901: Seasons Change, Almost Home

Eyes wide open,
Everything speaks all at once.
Long sleeves between you and cool wind,
Rocinante's rumble.
Seasons change,
Tell your story, and then tell another one.
One more ride,
And then the book is done.
Tell your story, and then tell another one.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mile 8,406: My Three Sisters

As this adventure is coming to an end, it could not have gone any better than this penultimate ride. I was certain that this section of my final major ride of these "10,000 Truths" would not be able to compare to Colorado and Wyoming. As usual, my certainty was misplaced.

I woke up early and decided to leave while the air was still late-September cool. Only a few miles south until I jumped on one of three roads that form a hundred-mile-loop called "The Three Sisters." FMs 335, 336, and 337. I heard that this loop was one of the top motorcycling destinations in the country, but my suspicions would not allow me to believe it. Really? The Texas Hill Country is beautiful, but top destination? We'll see.

And see I did.

Just west of Medina, Texas, FM 337 starts climbing hills, dropping back down, and twisting and turning. Climb hundreds of feet in a road hewn right out of the hill. Dive over to the other side into a 30 mph curve. Am I really in Texas?

Don't get me wrong. I love Texas more than anywhere. I'm a thoroughbred Texan, just like my parents before me. But I am used to East Texas pine forests and flat coastal plains. Even West Texas with its rugged hills, and the Central Texas Hill Country had all conditioned my expectations. But when on FM 337 I descended hundreds of feet in a matter of minutes on hairpin curves... well... I was just speechless.

Everything on the sisters was beautiful and fun. But I want to go on record here that FM 337 is the single greatest motorcycling road in the great State of Texas, and perhaps in the entire southern United States.

I could debate that point if forced. I could show you a few pictures to give you an idea. But it would probably be better for you to get on your motorcycle and go see it for yourself. Pictures and words just won't cut it this time. In fact, as I write this second-to-last entry, all I can think about is going back.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mile 7,831: MC

It hangs on the wall in a corner of my bedroom next to one of my guitars. My cut. My colors. I took it down this morning and slung it over me to get on my bike.

Mondays are days off for me most of the time, which means I run errands when they need running. This morning was a nice, cool ride in the clean air to the post office to buy stamps and pay taxes. The last part of the previous sentence is made much more tolerable by the first part.

Other than concentrating on the technical aspects of riding a motorcycle, I thought about my cut. My colors. I worked hard for them. Rode over a thousand miles as a part of a project I had as a prospect. Our particular chapter values long-distance rides. Every patch I wear tells a story, every one of which has something to do with one of those rides.

It is why I sought out a "Motorcycle Club" in the first place. Motorcycles. Others who love motorcycles as much as me. At one time I believed that everyone who wore "MC" was a motorcycle fanatic.

But just like any other human organization, you continually weigh the joys against the frustrations. And thankfully I have reached a point in my life where I have decided to embrace the joys and eschew the frustrations.

I tell my kids all the time to not devote their emotional energy to the negative things around them. Focus on the problems, but with an eye toward solutions. Fix what you can fix; ignore what you cannot. As far as those things impossible to ignore... well... chalk it up to the long list of "Things I Can't Change."

But the joys are worth the frustrations. (At least that's what I tell myself.)

Some close friends I have that I would not have otherwise.
The opportunity to ride to amazing destinations like Germany, Wyoming, and Seguin, Texas.
Certain people in the club who are motorcycle fanatics who love to ride.
Great memories of good times, and many good times to come.

And that's where I place my focus. Good rides and good times. Ride motorcycles and have fun.

Then go back home, take of my cut. My colors. Hang them back on the wall of my bedroom.

That is all.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mile 7,819: The Whole Trip

Rocinante and I spent most of the mornings this week swimming through the ever-present Gulf Coast September humidity. But today, the ride was a little cooler. Just a little. But enough to tell the difference.

It started with a realization as we opened a lonely garage. There she sat, waiting patiently by herself like the last horse in the stable.

My household has shifted into a new phase. The kids now drive themselves to school every day; the wife is fully transitioned into her career that she began training for almost ten years ago when the babies were no longer babies. So that leaves me and Rocinante as daily companions. Sunny humidity or rainy rain. Blazing hot or the bitter Houston winters that get down into the 50s. This new phase has resurrected my old college habit of not having a backup car for those "just in case" days. I now only ride in a car about once a week.

And I love it. But things have changed.

When I began this "10,000 Truths" project back in May, I had no idea what would come. Mainly good things have happened, although there have been a few storms. But moments like this cannot be anticipated. Major life transitions can excite you, while simultaneously they can leave you a little melancholy. They say the only constant is change. True.

I could not see what was ahead when I started the journey. And I can't see what's coming. But as I am fond of quoting E.L. Doctorow: "We can only see as far as the headlights, but we can make the whole trip that way."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mile 7,800: Blood and Motorcycles

The tall buildings and skyscrapers. Artificial mountains we coastal dwellers build to create height and depth. Our hills are the ramps of parking garages. This is the active imagination of a biker with an ancient island in my blood.

Some of my family just went to the Isle of Man off the east coast of Ireland. And up until just recently, I thought that my dad's side of the family came from England, and my mom's side of the family came from Ireland. I had no idea that the English side was actually a tad more specific. The Christians are from The Isle of Man.

On their recent trip, they thumbed through an Isle of Man phonebook to find two whole pages of Christians. (The proper name, not the religion; although I am a bonafide Christian.)

And if you are wondering where this is going, O Faithful Reader, it is going all the way back to 1907 when the first Isle of Man TT motorcycle race was run on public roads at an average speed of just over 38 miles per hour. (The record average is now just over 130 mph.) It is considered by most aficionados to be the most important motorcycle race in the history of motorcycles. And standing there watching on the roads, and working the pits, and maybe even a racer or two, are a bunch of people named Christian.

So when I say I have motorcycles in my blood, up to this point I thought I was just talking about how much I love to ride. But when you make a family discovery like this one, you wake up the next day even more excited to get on your bike and ride to work.

And then your ride on the city streets becomes mixed with the ghosts of past and present on a little island far away where other "Christians" straddled motorcycles, sometimes as simple daily transportation, and other days as the thrill of a lifetime.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mile 7,757: Water on the Road

The comparisons are impossible. Certainly not fair. How could a ride between Houston and Dallas on I-45 compare to the mountains of Wyoming, or even the green hills of Missouri? Why even try to compare? You know better, but you cannot help it.

On my epic journey last month, I almost always had a bottle of water tucked under the bungee net that held down my extra gear. Don't leave home without it. It is amazing what water on the road can do to get you on your feet again.

But last weekend on the dull conveyor belt that is I-45, aside from the similar impulse to always have a bottle of water with me, I experienced another kind of water on the road.

When you have been riding for a long time, you stop thinking about such things as the way condensation from the air conditioner of the car in front of you sprays you gently. Kind of like those misters at amusement parks or sporting events on a hot summer day. That's what it feels like. And unless you are a biker, you have probably never experienced it. But if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Water on the road.

To top it all off, the chance of rain on the ride this past weekend was way up into 70-80 percent. And you know what that means, right? Not a single drop of rain on the way home. Not a one.

For this trip, water on the road came from a plastic bottle, and the cars in front of me. These are the kinds of things cagers never consider. And if I'm not careful, these things may become so ordinary that I forget to stop and enjoy them in all of their simplicity.

I dare not. It's just too wonderful to take for granted.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mile 7,164: Another Day in Paradise

You wake up, have a cup of coffee, and then get on your bike to make a donut run for your kids since school is about to start. Last hurrah of summer.

On your way home to your usual exit, the exit that actually wound up beginning and ending the day, you see the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile next to you, and don't find it the least bit unusual. Big city living, and all that. You honk and yell at a woman in her oversized SUV who drifts over into your lane while playing on her portable electronic device. A freeway, for crying out loud!

You eat donuts with your kids, get back on the bike and head to the northwest side of town to go have lunch with your Gypsy brothers for a couple of hours. Good times with good friends.

You leave to go back down to the medical center to go spend time with a family whose son is on life support. You wish you had just the right words, but you also know that the most important part of the visit is just showing up. Just be present. Show love.

You leave there and ride down to Galveston to meet your family and your family friends who drove down for the weekend. Ride through a little patch of rain in crazy traffic with everyone wanting to go down to the beach. Hold on to that one last bit of summer. It rains on you for a few minutes, just enough to cool you off while rolling down pavement hotter than a cast iron toilet seat in West Texas.

It is a hot day mixed with clouds, and the salty air coming off the Gulf of Mexico is growing more apparent as you get closer. You can almost hear the sound of the waves over the sound of the motor.

On the highway you do a little over the speed limit at a couple of points to get out of the packs of cars that seem to cluster around 18-wheelers like the fish that swim beside Great White Sharks, and then once past, ease back for a nice ride. No hurry. Ease your mind.

You get to the beach, shed your clothes and gear in exchange for your swimsuit, and then sit on the beach for a couple of hours. Ease your mind a little more.

Back on the bike to a good restaurant on the seawall with your family and friends. Fried shrimp and all that good stuff.

On the bike one more time for the ride back up into the city. The sky is blue. Everyone with the same goal. Home. Take the proper roads as the sun continues to slide down the dome of the sky toward the horizon.

And before you know it, you are back at the same exit where you started the morning. No wienermobile, no one texting while driving, and the lane opens up for you at just the right time. Same exit, but the world has changed just a little bit.

Just another day in paradise.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mile 6,969: Owner vs. Biker

You know you're a cake snob when your sweet neighbor lady comes out and offers you leftover birthday cake and you respond, "Is it homemade or store bought?" But the one thing I have learned the hard way as an adult is that it is better to be picky. As grandmother put it, "Life is too long to drink bad coffee." Just too many mornings, day after day.

It's like the thought of not riding my bike to work. You know you're a biker when getting in a car makes you frustrated. And I don't use that word "biker" loosely, I assure you. It's a description of daily activity, not a title you win and then decide to get a tattoo.

I have a brother down south who owns an independent motorcycle shop who goes on rides you measure by thousands of miles. He went to Utah earlier this year, and as a like-minded biker, starts dreaming about the next journey while still on the ride home.

This is not something you can purchase at a store.

Another brother who works at NASA opens his garage in the morning and rides to work as a second-nature reflex; it's not even a choice most of the time. You just do it. That's biker.

Up in South Dakota and Wyoming earlier this month, the place was littered with motorcycle owners who had no business going through the mountains in the rain. I apologize to you, O faithful reader, if that sounds a tad judgmental. Because I don't want it to sound a tad judgmental; I want it to sound very judgmental.

You got a Harley last week? Cool. Put it on a trailer and cart it up to Sturgis. Then break it in doing technical riding in the rain. Sheesh. Not good. Although we had a great time, many in the crew I ride with agreed that if we ever go back, it will be at times other than the rally. Those roads are meant to be ridden in peace.

At the risk of this essay sounding self-congratulatory, the main point is inviting others who identify with this impulse to simply say, "Yeah, that describes me."

Because I know plenty who will. And I know plenty who won't. And that's okay. (I guess?) At least it floods the market with barely-ridden Harleys.

Now I'm craving homemade cake, a freshly-ground cup of coffee, and a ride out to Big Bend. All three are good. And not everybody likes such things. And that's okay, too. As my brother, Goldfinger, is fond of quoting his grandfather, "If everyone liked the same thing, they'd all be after your grandmother."

Friday, August 15, 2014

(Later on) Mile 6,901: The Night I Peed on the Bedroom Floor

Pulled over on the side of the road somewhere in eastern South Dakota. I knew I was somewhere east because it was flat, and there was nothing around. Safe to pull over onto the shoulder and take a leak.

My wife was on the bike with me. We felt the rumble strips just to the right of the painted line, placed there evenly to wake up sleeping drivers. Didn't work.

The bike is still running. This won't take long.


My lady raises her voice. She's not yelling, but her voice carries a frantic sense of urgency.

"What are you doing?"

I don't respond.

"You're peeing!"

"I know," I reply calmly and matter-of-fact. This was not a piece of information I lacked.

"Hey! You're peeing."

I don't get it. Why am I being coached on this?

And then I realized that I was not on the road, but standing by the window on my wife's side of the bed right there in our bedroom. Not in South Dakota. But back in the good old United States of Texas.

But wait. I'm on the side of the road.

No, I'm not. I'm peeing on the bedroom floor.

This is what 4,129 miles in two weeks does to the brain. You keep trying to come home from Oz saying, "There's no place like home." And there's not. But there's also no place like the road. The body is back, but the mind is still out there somewhere.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mile 6,901: ... and back again

Dorothy's return from Oz had to have been quite an adjustment. One day you're battling flying monkeys and an evil green woman you defeated with a pail of water, and the next day you are carrying the pail out to the barn to milk the cows. It takes a certain amount of intellectual flexibility to make that big a jump.

This morning as I rode to work, I passed the usual smells of garlic, seafood, and onions wafting out of the dining establishments on my route. The yellow brick road has morphed back into daily asphalt and people in their cages rushing to work ten minutes late. It is a far cry from a path called "7" in Colorado.

A little over two weeks ago I had just finished my Iron Butt in Castle Rock, Colorado, but still had a couple of hundred miles to go into Estes Park where the first leg of my vacation began. I stood there in the gas station parking lot drinking a much needed bottle of water, but actually looking forward to getting back on the bike. Some of us just cannot get enough.

I pushed my way through Denver, just another busy road in another busy city. As much as I love Colorado, a city is a city. But after breaking through to the other side, with the mountains in the west calling me to come play, I stopped for a quick lunch in Frederick near the Harley dealership. Because after all, when you have been on the road for 1200 miles in 27 hours, the first thing that comes to mind is to go look at motorcycles. It's a quirk I have just learned to embrace.

Back onto I-25 for a few minutes, but now for the western cut-across to Lyons on 66.

Mountains staring you in the face. Cloudy day. Air beginning to cool. A little private lake at the base of the mountain you're about to climb, a harbinger of beauty to come.

My original intent was to wind my way up 36 straight into Estes Park. But with the severe flooding last year, 36 was closed. Great. Now what?

The friendly sign read, "Detour 7." Good enough. Let's go get lost and see what we can see.

When Dorothy's house landed on the water-susceptible witch's sister at the entry to the yellow brick road, little did she know that her detour would become the most memorable road of her life. And while your faithful author will gladly admit that his comparison to Dorothy is both overstated and ridiculous, there is at least a hint of truth when I tell you that the detour up 7 became one of my favorite rides ever. (I told you I would say that a lot in these post-journey essays.)

A thin, two-lane, twisty road beside a white river flowing down through the canyon. A motorcycle that I swear I sensed was smiling as we went against the current on our way up. A couple of stops for pictures.
On one of the stops you put on your rain jacket. It's only sprinkling, but clouds and no sunshine at 7,000 feet welcomes the warmth and comfort.

You get a little lost going through town, stop at the visitor's center just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, get your bearings, and head to the house where the family will stay for the week.

And you know that home is waiting somewhere back where there are cows to milk and porches to sweep. You know it will be a "There and Back Again" journey. They all are. Just depends on how willing you are to be gone, and then come back to the place you know is like no other place.

So we create. And we know that many days are filled with routines, like riding to work through clouds of garlic, and cagers who won't put down their phones no matter how much we beg and plead.

But the detours through Oz remind us how wonderful moments like this can be. Sitting in an office grateful for the day. Images of your bike up on the mountain. And images of your bike in its everyday parking space just outside your window.

One is greater than the other.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Memory of Mile 5,007: To the Devil and Back

Dorothy took the lion, the scarecrow, and the tin man with her to Oz. And when she returned home, they were there waiting for her. But while they had not changed, her eyes to see them had.

I hit the button marked "TRIP" at my left thumb while we were riding out of South Dakota into Wyoming on a beautiful little road outside Belle Fourche where John Wayne once drove fictional cattle. ("Belle Fourche" means "beautiful fork." Deep meaning, indeed.) My trip meter read "5007." Halfway to 10,000. There has to be a truth in there somewhere.

I had already spent the previous two days exploring Wyoming, but not this particular road. Plus, I was riding beside my brother, Goldfinger, along with a host of other Gypsys going out to what would be one of our farthest points from home. (Yes, in our MC that's the proper plural of "Gypsy.")

Devil's Tower is about 1,500 miles from my house, although it was much longer according to the backroads that landed me there gawking at something that truly deserves to be called a "natural wonder." But the number that got my attention was 5007.

This monstrosity of rock that you begin to see from miles away stands where many different lands converge. From Devil's Tower in Wyoming, you are not far from Montana or either of the Dakotas. It feels like a place where things come together, which was certainly true for this adventurer. But little did I know when I began this 10,000 mile project that the halfway point would wind up being an "out-and-back" journey.

It's what Bilbo Baggins experienced on his "there and back again" quest. (The book, by the way; not the awful movie.) And it's what Dorothy experienced when she reached her farthest point in Oz. The simple truth that when you take out on an epic journey, you reach a point when you long for home.

As I rode handlebar-to-handlebar with Goldfinger at the back of the pack out to Devil's Tower, it suddenly occurred to me that I had taken a piece of home with me. Most of us who converged on Sturgis all live within an hour of one another. But there we were on the there-and-back-again journey far from where any of us call home.

That's when everything came together for me. Everything converged. I had reached the farthest point, and now it was time to start making my way back. And when we all finally got home, it was with different eyes.

"Home" means many things. For many of us wayward children, it does not mean the place where you grew up. That's actually the last place I would ever want to return. No, "home" is where you feel safest and most secure.

In some ways, every time I get on Rocinante and start the motor, I'm home. But I also know deep down that the stable where she sleeps most nights is the place where my family also sleeps, where my chair that I'm sitting in now on my typical Monday day off is always waiting, where my grumpy tomcat sleeps by the window when he's not hollering for food. It's where a cup of ice water is readily available. And it's where I can bask in the memory of an epic journey that still has a few more miles to go.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mile 6,883: Wonder How Far It Is to Key West?

I sat at a metal picnic table in Greybull, Wyoming waiting for my burger at an old fashioned A&W drive-in. No fancy intercoms here. You walk up to the sliding screen at the counter where a grown man asks what you want. I told him a small burger, onion rings, and the biggest cup of ice water money could buy.

Earlier that morning I left Estes Park, Colorado. It was 48 degrees, so I bundled up in everything with long sleeves I had with me, only to shed layers as I booked it up I-25 into Wyoming.

Once I made my way up the entrance ramp onto I-25, a group of 12 motorcycles flew before my eyes at what appeared to be breakneck speed. But since the speed limits vary between 75 and 80, I caught up to them sooner than I thought.

This will be the ride to Sturgis. Fast. Lots of bikes. Not really, come to find out. But that's what I pictured.

Going through traffic was easier for a while with the group of bikes. Much respect to the Castle Pines Motorcycle Club for inviting me to ride with them for a while.

Once we went our separate ways, it took hours to get to Casper, Wyoming on the highway. Wyoming is a big state with no shortage of wide-open spaces. This would turn out to be an all-day ride, but it had a few surprises that left me exhilarated and exhausted.

The 100 miles west from Casper to Shoshoni was an ongoing collection of grassy hills and open sky. Big, open sky. You could see rain at times that had to have been 20-30 miles away. A lone cloud with distinct lines where the rain started and finished. Just like a child's drawing. I kept thinking, "Why hasn't one of those clouds found me? They always do."

Just wait.

When I arrived in Shoshoni, I stopped for gas and a bottle of water, what would become a routine combination for the remainder of my trip. I had no idea when I headed north from Shoshoni what I was about to see.

A canyon runs for about ten miles, but it was some of the coolest riding I have ever done. (I will say that a lot in articles to come, by the way.) This canyon that popped up out of nowhere is cut by a fast-running river. And alongside the river is a set of railroad tracks. Just a stunning view.

But right before I made it to the end of the canyon, the sky in front of me transitioned from a powder blue sprinkled with clouds into a solid shade of gunmetal gray.

I have learned my lesson. Stop in a pulloff, put on your rain gear. Done. Get back on, and ride through Thermopolis, Wyoming in a pouring summer shower. Hot rain that makes you sweat and shiver. And then when it stops, you ride back into the sunshine where the world's biggest sauna steams you like overcooked rice.

Stop again. Peel the rainsuit. Get back on. Ride up to Greybull.

Check in to the hotel-cabins. Walk to the grocery store for some Fig Newtons. Walk to the A&W, which brings us full circle to this particular story.

Returning home last night after an epic 4000+ mile journey over two weeks, I could still feel my body moving as my head hit the pillow. Over 1,600 of those miles got covered over my three-day leg all the way across South Dakota, down the length of Iowa and Missouri, across Route 66 through Oklahoma, and then all the way down Texas. Plenty more to write about, but this is enough for the moment. Much more to come.

I woke up this morning still a little buzzed from all that time on the road. But I will admit that one of the first things I thought when I finished making coffee was, "I wonder how far it is to Key West?"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mile 4,947: Bighorn to Sturgis

Rode 341 miles today to get to Sturgis. Riding through the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming was one of the coolest rides I've ever done. And now I'm here. Finally.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mile 4,606: Thank You, Wyoming

I could not get over how big the Wyoming sky is. Rode 475 miles from Estes Park, Colorado to Greybull, Wyoming today. It is obvious that the State of Wyoming knows that thousands of motorcyclists are coming through their state on the way to Sturgis. All the electronic signs on the highway said the same thing: 

Motorcycles Are Everywhere
Look Twice
Save A Life

From this one biker, thank you. I loved your rolling plains. I loved the plateaus, hills, and especially the magnificent canyon just north of Shoshoni. Your state is awesome, and I loved spending the day riding through it.