RTWPaul: Riding 48 States - Utter Ridiculousness With 8hp Part 2 of 2

At the point of turning west, even though I was almost halfway around the country the distance ahead was daunting...

and what made it worse was the weather forecast for the next 1100 miles/ 1700 km was rain.

In the northeast part of the US there is a weather phenomenon called the ‘lake effect’ and when you are on the east side of the Great Lakes there is a very good chance the weather will be worse than on the westside. Right at this point the fact was coming true.

Multiple days of intermittent rain make you want to give up, but the trick we found to make us keep going was to talk about the weather west of Lake Michigan…and it was dramatically better.

Small country roads in the northeast take you through small towns, lots of farmland and corn fields that will seem to last the whole days ride.

There were major cities in our path, but we avoided all of them and the next big City we planned to visit was San Francisco. 

Eventually reaching Lake Michigan, we boarded the ferry as the rain started and the horizon looked like we would sail into the apocalypse. 

Disembarking into the heaviest rain so far, luckily, I had friends that lived only 5 minutes away who offered a place for all of us to stay for the night. In the morning it was a blue sky and we rolled westward…and into more corn fields!

We just clipped the small sections of Minnesota and Nebraska but made a detour to the Badlands in South Dakota before heading to Devils Tower in Wyoming, the location for the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Eastern Montana has a lot of flatlands until we reached the Rocky Mountains, once there I had found a route that used quiet roads and the elevation climbs were as minimal as they could be. 

Eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean in Northern California and getting to ride through the Avenue of the Giants amongst the Redwoods was certainly a highlight.

Riding down the Pacific Coast Highway is a dream trip on any sized motorcycle, and crossing the Golden Giant Bridge just made us realize how tiny we were. Some fun was had on the streets of San Francisco to see how many steep roads we could climb and amazing we made it up all of the steepest ones, albeit very slowly.

Staying in cities wasn’t our thing so we headed out to the desert and at this point I felt like I was nearly home and could see the finish line even though it was still thousands of miles away. The lay of the land had a certain familiarity for me.

Parker and Ken wanted to reroute to Las Vegas and spend a few days there as neither had been, for me there wasn’t any interest having lived there for nearly two decades. 

We decided to split up and they would carry on together back to their home states of Oklahoma for Parker and Louisiana for Ken. They still had almost half the distance of the trip to go, at this point I didn’t envy them that challenge at all.

I decided to jump onto Route 66 a very famous ride for sure but it is surprisingly quiet, with only two to three days riding left taking this was the most direct route home.

It turned out to be the most adventurous section of the whole trip, each place I decided to try and camp was flooded, and then sections of Route 66 were completely closed due to the road collapsing.

The detour would either send me onto a freeway as it got dark and into a very strong headwind, this was a no go with my 8hp, or a 300 mile/ 500km detour which would add a day, I ventured on and luckily with my small lightweight bike I found a way through utilizing some sandy washes and willpower.

I crossed into Nevada my 48th state in the dark and found a hotel leaving me potentially just one day’s ride from home.

The last day, like many others was mostly in the rain, and just like day one getting out of Phoenix, getting back into Phoenix from a different direction is also a tough ride because every road has a speed limit of around 65mph. 

I rode as far as I could on primitive sandy dirt tracks just leaving myself the shortest possible paved section to get home.

I made it as the sun was going down, I arrived with a feeling of fulfilment and accomplishment too, having ridden 56 days, 11 hours, and 12,013 miles/ 19,333km.

Everybody that loves motorcycles should try this at least once in their life, it is a very unique experience for sure, almost like doing a bicycle tour…but without the pedaling, and you get to see so much more at a slower pace.

Over the coming days, as normally happens to me, my mind comes up with idea of where next, that of course is planned as I go to collect my KTM in Chile and ride it back to Arizona.

…but what about this little Postie bike where could I take it, RTW for a quick lap, in 80 days or less, maybe? 

Of course I had to look and I did make a quick calculation with Google Maps on a known route,  20,500 miles/ 33,000km, that includes obviously shipping and a few ferries…now that’s a new challenge to plan when the Russian borders reopen for my passport!

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