​West Coast Tour 2005

Welcome to the 2005 edition of the West Coast Journal.  A 8,500 mile tour, covering 20 states spread over 21 days.  A fascinating and stellar ride.  The first tour in my new life chapter, and probably my best to date.  

I spent many months planning this tour.  I poured over maps, the internet, and motorcycle magazines, looking for roads I was yet to ride out west.  My style of touring has allowed me to sample hundreds of fantastic roads the last few years, but there are many yet to feel the tires of my sport touring bikes.  It was my goal to sample a few more, and send them to the BamaRider museum of favorite roads.

I knew there had to be highways yet to do, lines on maps that are ignored by the Iron Butt crowd, but anxiously awaiting discovery by some far away Long Rider, like ME.

There are many that ride more miles and distance in a shorter time than I, but I don't think there is anyone that rides more roads.

Formally retired, I now had the time "to do it right," and in that regard I think I succeeded.  I had a plan, but no agenda to carry it out.  If I found a interesting place I stayed awhile, and if I realized I was in a dull one, I left.  
Because I was riding solo, with plenty of time, I was able to take good notes, and many pictures.  I have over 300 photos to help tell this story, and I expect to use at least 100 when this journal is completed.  You will find this journal the most detailed and documented of any so far to date.

This tour was a little more about the riding than those of years past. I sought after and logged many miles on this country's finest motorcycling roads.  It is no exaggeration to say I probably leaned 10,000 curves.  From the Ozarks of Arkansas to the snow capped mountains of Colorado, I steadily moved across the country.  Next came the Utah canyons then on to the sand dunes of the desert.  From Southern California all the way to Oregon in the heart of the Sierras and California Gold Country, the 1300 and I sliced.  I continued north to carve the Oregon and Washington high country, before turning east across the twisty mountain roads of Idaho and Montana.
I came down out of the mountains and blasted across the Great Plains of Montana and the Dakotas, at speeds I could have been arrested for.  When I arrived at the Mississippi River, I headed south along the Great River Road, leaning between the bluffs and this great body of water.  And just for good measure I landed in the Tennessee Hills for a short ride with my brother Long Rider "Uncle" Phil Derryberry.

In between all the leaning I eased through a thousand small towns and villages.  Many times I found myself coming down out of the hills into a sleepy town.  I'd cruise it looking for someone interesting, and if I found a person, I'd stop for a chat.

Once again, the Honda ST 1300 proved to be one of the world's best motorcycles.  Just like the 1100 before it, it transported me cross country without a single issue.  It did not burn one once of oil in almost 9,000 miles of hard riding.  I came through Phoenix in broiling 112 degree heat, and quickly became mired in a long construction zone.  Over one hour of stop and go in such extreme heat could not budge the bike's temp gauge from that of a 45 degree day in New York.  I called on it to carve high mountain passes, and zip through long run outs on the Great Plains.  The 1300 doesn't care what the task before it is.  I never once had to adjust anything, but I did fix a blown fuse, and one flat.  The bike is fast, smooth, and comfortable.  The 13's adjustable wind protection shielded me from cold mountain air, and allowed air to pass in stifling desert heat, she is by definition a Long Rider's bike, versatile and functional.

I was on the road 21 days, and did not get wet in any significant manner outside of a few sprinkles in a couple of high mountain passes in Idaho and Montana.  Remarkable.  It was a great string, and I made sure to enjoy each day of it.
So grab your duffel bag and strap it to your bike, I need a wingman.  Together we will slip past the radar traps, construction zones, lumbering RVs and hapless deer, till we escape the interstates and find ourselves in the warm glow of a stunning sunset in the Utah canyons, or in Big Sur with the waves crashing below us.  A cool morning in the Colorado Rockies awaits us, where we can see our breath in high mountain air.   I will take your back as you lean America's greatest vistas, where one mistake means a 500 foot fall to certain death.  Roads so high and desolate, if you go over it could be weeks before anyone finds you.

I hope this tale encourages you to go out and do whatever it is you want to do.  Whether it is riding motorcycles across America seeking adventure, skydiving, or just relaxing on a beach.  Take time to have some fun, because in the end brothers, it is what you will remember the most.  Not the money you made, or the house you lived in, but the life experience you had, and the lives you touched.

This is a treasure ride for the ages, and I'm happy to share it.

Cover Photo- Sunset at Arches National Park