Skip over this part if you just want to see the pretty pictures. A little background on the who, what, why and how of the trip.
My name is Ian. I'm 25 and single...I like long walks on the beach and....oh sorry, wrong profile. Anyway, I started riding about a year and a half ago with my 05 SV650 and I've been having a blast every day since.
Around March of 2012 I started browsing a web forum called ADVRider.com. I'd been aware of the site for a while, but it wasn't till I was bored at work one day that I decided to read through some of the ride reports. After reading a few tales of people's experiences traveling the world by bike, I was hooked. I knew that at some point this year I had to do a long trip. I didn't know where yet or how long, but I knew I just had to pack it up and leave home for a while. Part of it was a craving for the adventure, but honestly part of it was my feeling that I had something to prove.
I know the idea of riding and especially the spirit behind ADVRider is the simple fact that if you're having fun, then any ride, short or long qualifies as an adventure. Unfortunately, I still was always bothered talking to other biker friends and always having to sit silent while they recounted stories of riding the tail of the dragon, the pacific coast highway or some multi day trip to some far reach of the US. I honestly felt bad knowing that even 90% of the poser Harley riders still had taken longer trips than I had. My mind was made up. It was go big or go home.
The idea of where to go was still a blur. Due to a hectic work year I hadn't used any vacation and knew I wouldn't be able to until late August at the earliest. I figured I might as burn up most of the 2 weeks I still had available. Now the only question was, were should I go? If you've grown up in the US, then no doubt you've heard of the great American road trip on RT66. Before Eisenhower's Interstate system was really up and running, RT66 was "the road" you took if you wanted to head out west. Ask anyone over the age of 50 and you'll most likely get an hourís worth of stories of a RT66 road trip.
The original plan was to run Chicago to LA on RT66, then head north on the Pacific Coast Highway to Seattle and then back across the country on I90. After the first day that plan already went out the windowÖbut I guess thatís why they call this an adventure.
Thursday morning 9-13:
My plan was to leave on Wed. night, but between packing and finishing maintenance on the FJR, it would have been near 9:00 before Iíd be on the road. I decided to get in a good sleep and leave at 5:00 AM so I could slip through Chicago before the morning rush got too bad. Well like I said, right from the start, my plan went bye-bye. My alarm didnít go off at the right time and I didnít wake up till 8AM. CrapÖ I loaded up and took off. Chicago traffic was rough, but I got through it quick and got on I55 to start the trip. I wasnít too interested in taking pics in Illinois because I wanted to make up for lost time and letís be honest. Itís flat and full of corn fields just like Indiana. Nothing new to see here.
I came into St Louis around 4 or 5 and jumped off the interstate to find the base of the Arch. It was easy to find, but parking not so much. I thought parking by the river was a good idea as it was cheap and close by. Well for those on bikes, a word of warningÖ.its steep and very rocky. I barely managed to find a spot flat enough for the FJR.
The arch itself is awe inspiring. This was my first taste many of the massive landmarks that would come to define this trip for me. Standing at the base and looking up was just dizzying.
On the banks of the Mississippi there is a monument to Lewis and Clark. At the base there was this quote. I think it sums up quite nicely a lot of why we take the adventures that we do.
That night I pushed on and stopped in Fort Lenard Wood for dinner. I really enjoyed the hill country in Missouri. Unfortunately, I didnít get any pics. I ended up staying in Springfield, MO for the night.
Most of Friday was spent riding in 55 degrees and rain. In my infinite wisdom I hadnít bought a rain suit as I stupidly trusted the weather report. Luckily after the rain stopped around Oklahoma city, I dried out pretty quick. I suddenly wasnít minding all the heat issues the FJR has.
Took this in western OK. I came over a couple hills and this expanse just lay in front of me. It was the first moment I really got a sense of how extremely open the land in the Midwest is.
Finished the day early in Amarillo, TX. After some advice from friends I wound up grabbing dinner and a couple beers at The Golden Light. They had a pretty good live band that night and a decent crowd. I called it an early night because in the morning I was told I should go see Palo Duro Canyon.