​​​West Coast Tour 2004

I spent many miles and hours thinking about the introduction to this journal.  While riding across the vast reaches of North America I wondered in my mind, how one introduces such a tale.  Ideas popped in my head as often as the scenery changed.   I'm sure I thought of many better than one you are reading, but I lost them out on the desert somewhere.  Or maybe they disappeared in the mountains, or perhaps it was out on the Great Plains?  In any case, you will have to settle for what I conjured up while sitting in my study.

This was my most ambitious tour to date, and I planned it accordingly.  In fact, I was fearful I had over planned, but in reality I did just right.  In terms of miles, geography, and days, it was the biggest, most detailed, and the longest.  The trip covered 9,000 miles over 21 days.

I broke the trip down into 4 phases. Each phase was 2-3000 miles. They were:

1st- North through the Midwest to Winnipeg, Canada 

2nd-West through the vast Western Canadian prairies

3rd-Meeting my good friend VJ Rang in Jasper, Alberta for the ride south to San Francisco.

4th- The return trip east, through the Sierras, Nevada desert, and the Great Plains.

Just like all my riding, the tour was void of interstate cruising.  Of the total mileage logged, less than 1000 miles were on the freeway.  My style of touring allows me to seek out North America's most challenging, scenic, interesting, and inspiring riding.  This tour will place several more highways on the Favorite Road Page.

The landscape in Alberta and British Columbia was awe inspiring.  The mountains there are rugged and beautiful and the riding challenging.  Then you have the Hotel California, and its concentration of scenic and sporting roads.  Every year I pick new roads out there to ride, and I chose some really good ones in 04.

I took a day trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur, that was very memorable.  I was at last able to ride the PCH without a touring load and it was wonderful.

U.S. 50 across Nevada is a Long Riders dream.  Hours of quiet solitude with great scenery, and many miles of long uninterrupted run outs of 100 mph or better.

My wife and son flew out to the Hotel California to spend time with me, allowing me to share in a small way, a little of what I do.  It was great, and a good time was had by all.

I was blessed with great weather.  I ran into some rain in Western Canada, and had a wet cool morning leaving Jasper.  I was lucky, because the area was belted in serious weather a day after my departure.  After that, I saw no rain till I was 100 miles from home on the last day.  To my good fortune I had only 1 day of hot weather, and believe it or not that was in MINNESOTA.  I feared the ride back east was going to be warm, but to my relief, a cool front dipped down, and on no day did the temp reach 84.  Even the Nevada desert was nice, topping out at 81.  I had cool, clear, bright sunny skies all the way back to Alabama where I was promptly greeted by 90 humid degrees and a thunderstorm, but I'm not complaining.

This trip was filled with good riding and hesitant emotion.  I was alone most of the time, which allowed the thoughts to flow. I was freed of the concentration when riding in the number 2 spot, and that allowed me to go on auto pilot.  This would be my first trip to the Hotel without Dennis, and I wondered how I was going to handle it when I reached California.  I used the time on the road to think about all the things I have going on, especially my retirement, which I still can't make my mind up on.  I decided to come to peace with it by just working day to day, and not worrying about it.

I had conversations with many locals, many of which you will read about.  I hope you don't mind, because for me it is not just about the riding.
This journal is filled with exciting riding, tales of breathtaking scenery, good fellowship, and even a few surprises you will just have to find out as the trip unfolds.

With the tour completed, it is now time to relive it by writing about it,  and allowing EVERYONE come along for the ride.  I hope you are not disappointed.

June 27th, 2004

Photo above was taken as I crossed the Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California.