RTWPaul: Riding 48 States - Utter Ridiculousness With 8hp Part 1 of 2

Having never owned a scooter or a small bike when I was a kid, only borrowing friends, maybe just maybe when I bought my Honda Ct125 Postie bike I allowed myself to relive my youth.

I would take it out locally and a 15-minute ride always turned into an hour or more, an hour ride would take half a day, it was so much fun I didn’t want to go home…just like a kid!

I’d left it in the garage while I was riding some of the Motorcycle Diaries routes around Europe but when the summer ended, I headed back to the US. I put my RTW bike in storage before shipping it from Europe to South America to arrive for the summer season there. 

I got back home and in front of me was the Postie bike, where could I take it that would be fun and not have to come home at the end of the day? I slept on the idea and when I woke, crazily I thought why not ride around America and see if I can touch its wheels in each of the lower 48 states?

I never questioned the thought of being crazy, but it needed a serious plan, I sat down to plot a route using as many small backroads with low-speed limits as I could find, not an easy task in high-speed America, but they are there if you look hard enough. 

It wasn’t a ride to prove a point, or break a record, I just wanted to do something totally new to me on a motorcycle and this would be it!

It took over a month to plan and pack and before I knew it leaving day was approaching fast. I put out a vague question on a motorcycle forum stating my intentions and whether would anyone like to join me for the 48-state ride…thinking no one would.

Well, 2 riders said yes and arranged to meet me en route in Colorado and Texas respectively as I headed counterclockwise around the country.

The first day out of Phoenix was easily one of the toughest days of the whole trip. In the desert southwest there are minimal roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or below, keeping in mind the Postie bike has a top speed is 50mph on flat ground. 

…because of this I left as early as possible to avoid traffic but still found myself with no choice having to ride on a four-lane highway for over two hours to escape the city's traffic finally.

To make it worse it was uphill the whole way!

Eventually turning off the busy highway onto the Mogollon Rim Dirt Road was where I felt the ride had begun.

Ahead of me were 48 states and an estimated 12,500 miles (20,000km) to get me back home, would I make it, was it even possible and was this the craziest idea I had ever had?

That first day was fun, reasonably uneventful and I rode for over 8 hours and still hadn’t managed to leave Arizona! I camped in my tent the first night and woke in the morning aching from what I can only think was a different style of riding my body needed to get used to.

The next couple of days I finally left Arizona, in the area known as Four Corners, and quickly marked off four states touched, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.

It would take a full three days to cross New Mexico, picking up my first riding companion Ken in the small town of Taos. We entered Oklahoma and it was empty in the small communities we rode through in no time were in Texas where Parker joined and now we were three riders strong.

Parker had an older 1983 CT110, it had minimal miles from the new and we decided to head to his hometown just to be sure the bike was running well before taking on more states. It wasn’t and began to fail at around the 1000-mile mark.

He called his family to let them know we were headed back and that he may have to end his journey because of bike failure.

His brother-in-law heard this and searched the internet for a new CT125, like the one Ken and I were riding, and found one. The big problem was it wasn’t close so it meant Parker and his father had to drive 16 hours to collect, but on the return, his smile was ear to ear.

We left Oklahoma and covered the southern states in a haphazard random style, but also being effective collect states and photos by the signs as we went.

Georgia was our easternmost point, then we turned our wheels north and would have a major directional change until Maine, thousands of miles further north.

As we rolled into each small town on the now rarely used back roads people couldn’t help but smile and ask questions;

“Where are you headed?”

“We’re riding around the country, the lower 48 states!”

…this question was asked of us hundreds of times on this trip, and the response was ALWAYS the same.

“On that!!!”

We smiled every time.

Up the eastern seaboard, through the Carolinas, and torrential rain for days, to Washington DC and on to New York City where people thought we were crazy, but traffic is so busy and slow we fit in well.

Eventually making it to Maine and the International Travelers Signpost and this was where I reached almost my halfway point of the trip, but Ken and Parker were a few states in arrears.

We looked at the Atlantic Ocean along the way, and now it was time to ride back across the country to the Pacific Ocean, a mere 3000 miles/ 4800km, but it is nearly double that on the tiny backroads we will ride.

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