We're biking across the United States to raise money for Gallaudet University's Personal Discovery Program, a 501(c)3 charity. If this is your first visit, please read our welcome page and how you can help page.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Riding a Motorcycle Across the Country

I rode my motorcycle 500 miles in the rain today. A few years ago I
sold my old bike, not because I did not want to ride it, but because
it was damaged by some neighborhood kids and I gave up trying to fix
it. I missed that bike and have wated to replace it since the day I
sold it. I finally decided to buy a new one (well new to me, 2005
Honda VTX1300c candy red). I have had it a few weeks and it is just as
exhilarating as I remember it being. Now that I got the hang of riding
again, I began my journey of 2,690 miles from Los Angels to
Washington, DC.

I'd like to say this an epic journey of a lifetime but actually this
is the second time I've done this. I remember only feelings from my
last trip along with a few details. Today, several details came
rushing back into my head, like the wind rushing to chill my bones,
finding every seem and gap in my armor as I careened down the highway
at 89 miles per hour. Thankfully my subconscious mind forced me to
make some wise choices on gear. As I was outfitting this trip with
things like floor boards, throttle locks, and snow board pants I was
wondering if it was all really necessary. I spent three hours in the
pouring rain, then a few in the blistering sun, all the time fighting
high winds, all on the first day and all endured with only mild
discomfort. I'm glad at least one of my minds remembered the important

I wear a red skull mask and black worn leathers, honestly I'm a bit
scary and I'm not very approachable. I guess at one of my gas stops I
looked pretty friendly though. Another biker dude came over to ask
about my bike and tell me about his VTX1800 at home. Today he was
riding his Honda goldwing, the yupy gold standard of motorcycle
touring. Dude was all decked out in gadgets and gizmos and tech
clothing. Translation, totally not threatening, but, he was a nice
guy. I warned him about the rain in LA. He told me to look out for
floods Midwest. It was like something out of a fantasy novel. Two
strangers meet on the road and trade news before they move on. So cool
that this tradition is still alive with today's hightec Internet

I went in to pay for my gas and there was a group of French tourists
inside talking to each other. I overheard the clercs complaining
because, they had no idea what the group wanted and one clerc wished
she spoke French. I tuned I to the tourists to pickup on what they
wanted. Just as I got it, the dude clerc makes some stupid comment
like they should just learn English or stay home. Thankfully the
tourists did not fully understand him.

Thankfully also he did not understand me when I called him an A-Hole
in French. I showed them what they were looking for and chatted a few
minutes. My French production is not great but my reception is pretty
good. They were a group of friends touring the USA together. They were
from some town I. Southern France.

The girl clerc was amazed this random dirty biker guy just buste out
with French. She asked where I learned French. The dude clerc replied
"in school DUH". He said it with a bad attitude too. Just to be mean,
I looked at her and said "actually I learned it by going to France and
finding people without attitudes to talk with me". That shut him up. I
left her with a suggestion to buy Rosetta stone.

Before and after that stop I had no other human interaction. Unless
you count the bikers salute. If you have ever ridden on a cruiser for
a long distance, then you know what I mean by bikers salute. I'm not
sure it has a name but that's the name I'm giving it. Interesting
phenomena is that the same thing happens on road bicycles. Maybe
that's why I'm drawn to these two activites. There must be a similar
thread that differentiates cruisers and road bikes from other two
wheel adventures.

I'm in Flagstaff, AZ now. I whimped out and got a hotel. I'll be up
early tomorrow to hit the road again. Perhaps tomorrow I can push past
the 500 mile mark.


No comments: