BLT – The Final Chapter

5241 on the bike – 1265 on the trailer

It wasn’t supposed to end the way it did. The bike and I came home in the truck and trailer. My own personal “rescue rangers” drove all night to pick me and the Big Red Bike up in Laramie, Wyoming. Four guys started on this crazy adventure and only two finished the entire trip on their bikes. Congrats to GTG (Mike R) and SC (Max). (I still don’t have a biker nickname.) It’s been almost 2 months now and it’s time to close this chapter of Henry’s Ramblings.

After starting the trip on such a bright note with a hopeful eye to the western US, the trip just suddenly stopped. I’m not going to dwell on that here. What I would like to do is try my best to put a cap on the trip itself and share some of my overall feelings about the adventure.

First, I would like to thank Max who put in the bulk of the planning for this trip. He did an amazing job of routing us through some beautiful parts of the country all the while keeping an eye on the status of the pandemic in each area. I also want to say thank you one more time to Max and Mike R. for accompanying me to meet my family once the need to get home came up. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jana, Spencer, and Laura who drove almost non-stop pulling that big trailer to make sure I wasn’t facing the long trek home alone.

Now for the trip itself:

The crude map and route you see at the top of this post shows a total of just about 6,500 miles (including trailering). I always try to look at the good and the do-differently things so that the next adventure will be even better. Here goes:

The daily mileage was really manageable. We set ourselves up to do multiple days of 200 to 250 miles per day. That’s pretty easy riding. I still would have preferred to have a couple of more “zero days” but that’s just the way I am.

The route included more miles than any of us wanted just pounding down the interstate. One of the joys of big trips is meeting the people in the small towns. We didn’t get to do that as much as I would have liked. We did get to meet quite a few restaurant servers as we ate a lot. We did get more disciplined about that as the trip went on.

We didn’t stop at very many “tourist spots”. I prefer the quirky as opposed to the easily recognized, big name spots. A big part of this was driven by the current pandemic going on. We were never quite sure about the status of restaurants, attractions (quirky or not), hotels, etc. before we actually pulled into the parking lot. That made planning a lot harder.

I highly recommend that people who travel on two wheels get some kind of communications between bikes. Hand signals might work for some things but when you’re separated by hundreds of cars across multiple traffic lanes, I was certainly glad we had the Cardo intercom systems. If not for those, I might still be circling Portland, Oregon or Salt Lake City.

Speaking of Portland and Salt Lake, I recommend avoiding big cities at all costs. In these two instances we had to make decisions on the fly due to road closures (Max’ plan did not include going through these places). A couple times, this turned down right scary.

My bike got super gas mileage on the non-ethanol fuel that is more readily available in the west.

I got to see some things that I had never seen before including the Oregon coast, the spruce goose, and central Nevada. I retraced a lot of ground from previous trips. I got to spend time with my friends and for the first time in my life rode with more than one other bike. The area I really wanted to see I didn’t get to because of the circumstances (Colorado and Utah).

I felt like this blog was not as light-hearted as I would have liked. It read like many others, “we turned left, rode 46 miles, and turned right”. To me that just doesn’t hold my interest for very long. A big part of that is due to missing my riding partner, navigator, and sanity checker. (All three are the same person – my wife, Jana who really does keep me sane and focused on having fun.)

Finally, this trip was supposed to help me decide if this big Harley is too much for an almost 70 year old guy to handle. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for that. About day 3 I lost a front wheel bearing which made the bike very unpredictable to ride, especially under braking. So it was unclear how much of my “unsteadiness” was due to me and how much was due to the bike. I think I’m going to try one more time before I turn to the trike. That trip will have to wait until next spring. I did think that a solo trip sounded like just what I need but I’ve changed my mind on that. I enjoyed the “safety in numbers” and the daily conversations with the guys.

Before I bore everyone to tears – including me – I just want to say a big “thank you” again to everyone that helped make this BLT possible. Henry is done rambling for now (temporarily). Hope you enjoyed the ride.

One thought on “BLT – The Final Chapter

  1. I loved reading all your emails and felt between you and Mike I was right along for the ride.

    Looking forward to the next one.

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