Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Great Bike Ride – Day 28 - End of the Road

Sunday, September 23, 2007 ------------- Day 1 of this log is here

John and I arose just before 7am, got our stuff together, and headed out for our final day on the road. I wanted to get home in time to meet Terry for lunch after church, and John agreed to run the freeways today to make that possible. The weather was beautiful - blue skies, a few clouds and just crisp enough to make riding with the leather jacket comfortable. No hassles at all today. We pulled over just before reaching I-270 at Columbus to shake hands and bring the trip to an official end.

We had clocked just over 8,000 miles in 28 days, and stopped for gas 57 times. I'd guess we spent something like 200 hours in the saddle, and yet rode in only one serious rain (in Yellowstone), and one other drizzle (Austin) that caused us to put rain gear on. Rain followed us in many places, but we rode pretty much the whole trip in the sun. Few bikers will experience a stretch of good weather like this.

As I was taking the bags off the bike upon arriving home, I was reminded how I thought several times during the trip that the daily ritual of uncovering my bike, untethering the security cable, and mounting the bags, which includes cinching up various straps and buckles, is much like the process of getting a horse prepared for a day's ride. In the evening, you reverse the process. This routine connected me in some small way to the pioneers who got up every morning, saddled up their horses, and took off into the unknown. John said I won't know how to act tomorrow when I can get up and go without packing clothes into bags and bags onto the bike. Probably a little like those folks from the past when they said "This place will be our home."

One of the most special aspects of this ride was getting to spend a month with big sister Pat and her husband Buss. Motorcycle riding is an interesting activity in that you spend the entire day together, yet you are alone in your thoughts, as it is all but impossible to communicate while riding. We'd have a flurry of conversation when we stopped for gas, but wouldn't really get a chance to talk until we stopped for meals, and in the evening. This trip wasn't really about talking -- it was about sharing an experience -- one of a kind that very few are lucky enough to have. I'm really glad I got to share it with you, BS.

And special thanks to long-time riding partner, John Bennett. This trip was John's dream and idea. It is the second long trip we've taken together - the other was a 5,500 mile outing in 2001 which included Sturgis, Colorado, New Mexico and back on Route 66. We've also gone to Milwaukee a couple of times, and to Rolling Thunder in DC. And on scores of shorter rides. My guess is that we've probably ridden something like 20,000 miles together. We share many of the same interests (ships, trains, bikes), and can ride together for days without getting on each other's nerves (too much). Such friends are rare. Thanks JB

Terry, my wife. You are a blessing to me every day, and I love you. Thank you for allowing me to be gone for a month, and for taking care of all the stuff here at home. Next time take in a boyfriend who will mow the grass...


Anonymous said...


What a ride! Lots of miles logged in. And almost no mechanical problems. Great reporting too.


Anonymous said...

The pleasure was all mine, it was all mine. BS

microdot said...

Man I just discovered this blog from another link and read your tale.
I am a 60 year old daily bike rider in France and my hat's off to you sir!
The best way to discover your planet and stay young!