Two Wheels Across America
A Long Rider's Motorcycle Journey

All of my trips are special, but the 2003 West Coast Tour will be one for the record books.  The journal contained in this folder is filled with stories of great riding, awesome scenery, and fine fellowship.  

I took the southern route to California this trip.  Something I hadn't done before.  I traveled all the way to San Francisco, covering over 3,000 miles on the west bound leg alone, all but 300 miles of that, on 2 lane secondary roads.  I was up close and personal with my country the entire trip.  It was great.  I met many fine people along the way, and sampled a thousand small towns that call these back roads home.

I was able to spend a lot of time in 2 areas of the country that had been alluding me.  The Southwest canyons and desert, and Northeast California.

I rendezvoused at the Grand Canyon with good friends Phil "Uncle Phil" Derryberry, Nashville, Tenn.  Denis Ryan, Redwood City, Calif.  Ron Epperly, Orlando, Fla.  John "Coop" Cooper, Nenah, Wisc.  All accomplished long distance and ST riders.  These guys think nothing of jumping on a bike and taking a week long trip.  Together we toured the Southwest Canyons and carved up the Sierras, before going our separate ways out of the Bay area.  I will ride with them anywhere.  I also met new friends in Az, who rode up from the valley to be with us.  Great folks.

In this journal you will read about my visits to the following places- the Texas Hill Country, the Grand Canyon, the Black Hills, Devil's Tower, Lassen Volcanic Park, Yellowstone, the Tetons, Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Sun Valley, and Zion.  Along the way I leaned on the most challenging roads this country has to offer.  This tour will yield several more roads to the favorites list.

I know how fortunate I am to be able to say I've seen virtually everything this country has to offer.  I have criss crossed this vast continent 3 times on mostly forgotten secondary roads, that allow me to see things most will never get to.  As I've said before, it is not something I take for granted.  Each day I thank God for placing me in the situation my life is currently in.  Many good things have happened to me the last several years, and my life is at its pinnacle right NOW.  

This tour was a good mix of solo and social riding.

The return eastbound leg took me north from the Bay Area into Northern California and Idaho, before turning south for home at South Dakota.

I capped the trip with a 922 mile ride home from Topeka in 18 hrs.

I felt very connected to myself while on this ride.  My senses were heightened and each day was an adventure.  A person does not see and do the things I enjoyed for 2 weeks, and not come away changed.  

This tour also reinforced something I think everyone already acknowledges-that the Western United States is home to this planets most amazing scenery.  From towering snow capped mountains, to beautiful coasts, from dry arid deserts, to green rolling farmland, this land has it all.  The vastness of America can humble a individual, it does me.  A thousand miles across the west can only show you a tiny portion of what is out there.  
For those yet to witness such places as the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, the Rocky Mountains or the Utah Canyons, I can only suggest you do so with haste.  For those that love motorcycling, the west is home to truly inspiring riding, there is no place else like it.  Twisty mountain roads, vast open desert run outs, and inspiring farmland vistas await you.  Coming from the east, it is so refreshing to ride places where traffic is non existent. 
Each time I ride across America I am awed at how rich and wealthy we are.  We have a million miles of the finest roads, but yet they take up only a fraction of our economy.  America, home to the richest poor in the world, the bar is so high here, "poor" families have color TVs and 2 cars, and live in a brick home most others would be envious of.  I firmly believe if a guy is unemployed in this country it is by choice (if he's not disabled).  A kid flipping burgers in Detroit, or delivering pizzas in St. Louis is better off then 90% of the world.  Don't believe me?  Take a bike ride across this country and see how hard you have to look to find someone who is truly hungry.

This tour really brought that fact out for me.

America is a friendly place, many people were helpful to me on this ride.  Despite the fact I came from far away with a funny accent, I was treated with respect and kindness, especially in the Heartland.  I always feel safe in America, being with my fellow citizens comforts me in a time when so many in the world want to do us harm, or think us arrogant.

There are dangerous places out there in our country for sure, I am not naive so much to look past that.  I just know how to avoid such places, and did so on this trip.

After fighting a heavy rain on day 2, I was treated to 15 glorious days of excellent weather.  In fact, most days were absolutely perfect for riding.  Cool, sunny, with deep blue skies.  The Phoenix area was hot, but I survived.  I only encountered a few isolated sprinkles after Texas, that I quickly rode out of.

The 2003 issue of the West Coast tour was laced with minor issues that I had to work to overcome.  Things like, closed mountain passes, lost equipment, wrong turns, a ticket, construction, detours, no phone signals, and low gas.  The ST however, performed flawlessly.  In 8000 miles of hard riding, the bike did not burn 1 once of oil.  Not one item required attention on the bike, all I did was put gas in it.

My 200,000 miles of accident free riding was put to the test in Northern California, by a frost heave on a high mountain detour.  Don't worry, my record is still intact.  But it seemed to be the theme of this trip to throw obstacles at me.

I can't speak about the reliability of other bikes or even that of other Honda models.  All I can say is the ST 1100 is a proven long distance mount.  Fast, agile, and dead fast reliable, the ST is the best bike in the Honda stable.  Many riders on STs have accompanied me on rides, and not one has ever needed attention.  This bike will take a Long Rider anywhere he wishes, with minimum fuss.  My bike turned over 80,000 miles on this trip.

I took over 200 pictures, and deciding which to use to help tell this story was difficult.  What you see in this journal, is only a fraction of what I snapped.

So, come take a ride with me across America in the summer of 2003.  If the following pages only captures a portion of my experiences, it will be a fun read. 

The photo above was taken at Lebanon, Kansas-the center of the continental United States.

June 22, 2003