Day Dream Believing
A Boyhood Dream Becomes Reality
In June of 2001, I fulfilled a boyhood dream.  I always wanted to be a Long Rider, and after returning from this trip, I was baptized into the ranks.  For 30 years I had kept the faith.  Through school, family, work, I held to the dream of riding the country, seeking out adventure, and things unknown.  Leaving the drab hum drum of every day life behind.  I wanted to be a boy again, and for 15 gorgeous days that summer, I was.

I rode the Pacific Coast Highway, wishing my 6th grade homeroom teacher could see me.  She would be highly upset, because she scolded me almost everyday for dreaming such things.  I wonder if SHE ever got to live HER dreams?

I was like millions of other boys out of school the summer of 2001.  Free.  I could go where I wanted, when I wanted.  It was an exhilarating experience.  I wanted to see the places I had only seen on TV, or read about in books, and I wanted to do it on a motorcycle.

My son was in his 3rd year of college that summer, I had the vacation days in the book months in advance, I saved my coins all winter and spring.  I collected camping equipment and other items, and my dream motorcycle sat in my garage waiting.  

I prepared physically, for the 2 weeks of 500-1000 mile days in the saddle.  The previous 5 months had been witness to 15,000 miles.  I was riding everyday I was off work, pushing my envelope farther and farther.  I poured over maps, and logged hours on the internet researching routes, and places to see.  

It was the mental part I had to bring under control.

By late May I was nervous and apprehensive.  Could I do this?  What if some horrible accident awaited me, and I never see my family or home again?  I thought about those things, and I told myself I could be taken out in my cage going to the store just as easily.  I reasoned there were too many others out there doing it, for me not be good at it.  I've never lacked confidence in anything.  I asked, "if not now, then when?"  I could not accept failing to do what I loved.  Better to be a soiled Long Rider that knows himself, and what adventure is like, then having to always live with the what ifs and could have beens.  I NEVER want to be heard saying, "hey, I could've been a Long Rider, but I failed to work it in."  Or, "I wished I had done this or that." 

I was riding the peaks of the Colorado Rockies, witnessing the kind of scenery that makes you breathless.  The weather was cool and sunny, and I was enjoying the bike, the road, and the feelings of doing something I'd always wanted to do.  It was then I realized, in a likely certainty, that a day will come when no more rides will be possible.  When feeble bones, and dull reflexes, finally rule the day, and I can no longer ride.  I tossed that thought around my mind as I looked out over the peaks of the Continental Divide rolling past a fresh snow fall, my breath steaming out the vents of the Bieffe.  "Well, when it gets here, I WILL always have this day, and in my mind I can always be the solitary Long Rider crossing Wolf Creek Pass."  

The tour carried me north to Minnesota, and the Dakotas, before turning west for California.  I needed North Dakota and Minnesota to complete the lower 48, that at the time, came from my car and bike.  (I recently completed the 48, bike only).

For some reason, I did not take ANY pictures the first few days.  I was new at Long Riding and just never thought much about it.  I didn't think I needed a camera till California.  Like I said, I was a rookie.  I took pictures in Yosemite, and Four Corners, but can't find them.  Sorry.

I met fellow STers in California, before turning east for home, through Colorado and the Four Corners.  The weather was perfect 14 of 15 days.  The tour was all I ever hoped it would be.  I closed out the ride with a 1000 mile, 17 hour ride, to gain entry in the Iron Butt.  

This is the tour that started it all, and forever changed me.  Please be patient, this was my first attempt at a journal.  It is even more primitive then those of subsequent trips.

It has been almost 2 years and many miles later, as I write this.  I thought it was time to revisit this trip.  As I edited, and rearranged this journal, I could see the beginnings of how I learned to deal with life on the road, far from home.  Many ideas of what I thought Long Riding should be were formed on this tour.  It was fun to see how I thought about stuff back then, to compare to the person I am now. 

This trip served as a template for future trips, and will continue to serve for those yet to come.  A good sign this was a true Long Rider's ride.

November 18th, 2002