My First L.D.R.
29 August-10 September, 2010
I have had this dream of riding a motorcycle across the United States for much of my adult life, but couldn't pull it off because of job and family commitments. So finally, with the kids grown and no more clocks to punch, I packed up and rode West chasing the sun.
I left East Ky on the 29th of August, and returned on September 10th, two days before my 69th birthday. The trip was a lot of fun, but it wasn't easy on me. I had planned weeks ahead for every contingency. I knew sleeping would be a big issue so I took a large air mattress and an 12 Volt electric air pump to inflate it. I couldn't have had a softer, more comfortable bed. So I slept well. Even with that, the weariness was culumative and by the time I got to Tucson I was pretty much beat.
The four days I spent there with my good friends Joe and Diane Walling worked miracles for me. We laughed and joked and reminised about those "good old days" and before I knew it, it was time to leave. I had been taking a couple of naps a day during my stay so by September the 8th, I was fully rested and loaded (once again) for bear. The trip home was 2100 miles and it proved to be a good trip, except the final 120 miles. Actually, I should have taken another day for the final leg of my journey but I wanted to get home. I learned I had vastly overated my abilities.
I left Weatherford, Oaklahoma the morning of the 9th and was enjoying the ride. The weather was mild, traffic light and as the day progressed, I passed one motel after the other. I was excited about going home and kept putting off stopping for the night.
To make a long story short, I found myself at Johnson City, Tennessee and (foolishly) thought, "heck, I can make it on home now. It's only a hundred twenty miles...."
But I didn't factor in just how tired I was. That was compounded by the fact it was very dark, cold and the soaking rain just wouldn't ease off even for a minute. I had put on all my rain gear and was dry, but visibility was poor and I couldn't make very good time. And did I say I was tired?
Actually to say I was totally exhausted would be an understatement. But somehow I made it home. Twenty four hours of riding had taken it's toll. Cold, tired but much wiser.
I had not planned on the cold weather that I would encounter in the high desert and mountains of Colorado and Utah. But I think 80% of my planning was right on. I took enough underwear and jeans and tee shirts so I could go five days before I had to do laundry. I did have the forethought to take two flannel sheets and another cotton sheet. That helped. But to have taken a quilt would have been too much bulk.
I wouldn't do it again now for anything, but I wouldn't take anything for the experiences I had. Maybe a two or three day ride some time in the future, but I have enough to think about and remember for a long time. This was indeed the trip of my life.
If you'd like to look over some of the pictures I took, click here: