Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You Should Because You Can

In a couple of weeks I am departing on a solo motorcycle trip across America and back again. I'm pointing the front wheel west from Washington DC and turning around in Seattle. I'll be camping out in state and national parks all along the way. That's the 'what' of it. The 'why's' are many.

First, I want to see Montana, Idaho, the Dakotas, The Rockies, and as many of the in-between places that I can. Two, my wife bought me a motorcycle last year and from it I learned that I really enjoy riding motorcycles. Three, it'll be an adventure. In my mind you don't need much more reason than that.
I'm pretty excited about the trip. I've been planning it for weeks, getting the gear, upgrading my motorcycle, finding the best roads, etc. Many of the blogs I read in my research, like, motomaps, and, are written by people that are equally enthusiastic about motorcycle road trips.

The reaction of my friends, family, and acquaintances has been a little less encouraging. Here's some of the reactions I got when told people about my trip:

  • "Your wife is letting you go?"

  • "Are you having a midlife crisis?"

  • "Do you have a death wish?"

  • "why?"

  • "It's gonna suck"

  • "You're doing to be sore and uncomfortable"

  • "You're going to freeze your ass off"

  • "You're going to sweat your ass off"

  • "it's going to be really expensive"

  • "That's very dangerous"

  • "You'll die alone in the middle of the road 100 miles from nowhere."

As you can see the typically reaction falls somewhere between incredulity and promises of pain, suffering, and death. Some even suggested that the trip would be a total waste of time if I was not completely comfortable the entire time.

WTF! I'm a 36 year old man living in America! Are we not the descendants of explorers and adventurers? Are we supposed to stay home and never do anything ever again? I mean seriously, WTF? It's not like I am driving my motorcycle across Iraq and Afghanistan. It's North America, home of Wal-Mart and the world's largest ball of yarn. I'll see Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the Great Plains, The Rockies! Is that not worth sweating once in a while, getting minor back pains, or sleeping on rocky ground?

To anyone else thinking about making a similar trip:
It's not a mid-life crisis. It's just your human DNA. Neil Armstrong was 39 when he walked on the moon.
Also, there's no shame in solo travel explore. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. A 25 year old Charles Lindbergh didn't have a co-pilot when he flew across the Atlantic. Don't wait, do it now. Also, send me a link to your blog about it.


  1. Without adventure, what is there?

    Good luck and safe travels - make sure to camp as often as you can!


  2. Your preaching to the converted. So much of what you say rings true. Well, except for the part about your wife buying you a motorcycle. Mine bought me long underwear.

    There's a certain... I don't know... "authenticity" to travel that doesn't involve air conditioned cabins and hotel room service. When you immerse yourself in the environment -- the pungent smell of a working dairy farm, the cool mist in your face on a mountain morning, the profile of the ground almost connected to you through your foot pegs -- Man. That's what it's all about.

    Of course, it's also nice to have 1200cc of German engineering to get you through all this... :)

  3. Thanks guys! I'm looking forward to my trip with great excitement. I hope it doesn't prove too arduous.