Home Sweet Home and Final Thoughts

image of welcome to harbor beach, mi sign

September 30, 2017

357 miles…

Total Trip Miles 8,169…

19 States Visited…

Total Odometer 25,409…

Great to be back home to sleep in my own bed. The ride from Liz’s to Harbor Beach was uneventful and I arrived home about 5:00. I did stop off at the Iron Pony before departing Columbus and bought a new pair of boots. Also bought a few other do dads. The new boots will be taken to a cobbler to see if he can add a little extra height. Hopefully this will allow me to fully plant both feet on the ground and prevent the incident where I dropped the bike in Durango. If that doesn’t do it, the shocks will be changed to lower the whole bike. It’s expensive, but it’s essential that both feet can be firmly on the ground at the same time when doing slow maneuvers such as backing out of a parking spot. I could go back to the stock seat but the benefits of the new seat far outweigh the fixable seat height problem.

Anyway, now that the trip is over It’s time to list some of the things I’ve learned.

  • The country is blessed with a dramatic diversity in landscape. The difference between the desert mountain ranges in Utah and the Smokey’s in Tennessee is unbelievable. Both are striking and breathtakingly beautiful but the colors and texture of the land couldn’t be more different. Throw in cornfields in Iowa or the shoreline along the Mighty Mississippi or Lake Superior for even more contrast.
  • The best way to see, hear and smell this diversity is on a motorcycle. Maybe a bicycle too but that’s too much work.
  • This country is huge. It takes a long time to see it all. It’s going to take me a view more trips to even see a fraction of what this great country has to offer.
  • People from all over the world travel here to see this beauty we have. Especially the Germans in September. They were everywhere.
  • Apparently we don’t have enough Americans to work here. Many restaurants, motels, and other attractions ship in Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans to work during the summer. This was true everywhere from Michigan’s UP to the Grand Canyon. Maybe this type work is beneath our own students? Don’t know the reason.
  • It’s true, you always pack too much on your first trip. I sent back stuff twice to lighten my load and get rid of stuff I wasn’t using.
  • Get a good camera with a wide angle lens to capture the landscape. I bought a Sony DSC-HX400V half way through the trip and sent my canon rebel home. the Sony has an ultra zoom lens that gets the landscapes and close ups alike. The automatic panorama feature was incredible for those shots of the Smokey’s. Man I wish I had bought it before the Grand Canyon. I also thought about getting a GoPro for the helmet and sure wish it was there for that trip through Hogsback in The Grand Staircase. Well, there’s always next time.
  • Forget the air mattress and buy a good back-packing cot.
  • Colorado beer is all 3.2% unless you buy it in a liquor store. Coors does taste better in Colorado.
  • Rain didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. My gear did it’s job well of protecting me and my belongings.
  • Riding a motorcycle apparently burns some serious calories. Even though I didn’t eat well and had a few beers almost every evening, I didn’t gain any weight. Along similar lines, I found it essential to take a rest after 2 weeks or so. An extra day in a hotel to just rest and relax helped rejuvenate me.
  • My BMW R1200RT preformed flawlessly. It’s a wonderful bike both rolling down the interstate and charging around the mountains following an aggressive Corvette. Besides the tire puncture (certainly not the bike’s fault), the only issue was a burned out low beam which was easily fixed (had one packed). Also learned to plan to do my own oil, filter change and avoid getting ripped off at the dealerships.
  • Finally, I learned that I really, really loved doing the trip. It was such an awesome experience. I learned that riding solo is a great way to go. Never got lonely once. Maybe talked to myself once or twice but always found someone to talk to along the way. I was able to get up in the morning and decide where I was going for the day. There was nobody to debate with about the plans and no waiting impatiently for someone else to hurry up (or slow down). I never made a room reservation more than 2 hours before I arrived. I never would have stumbled unto the covered wagons in Torrey, Utah had I made advanced reservations. I believe that flexibility in the schedule was essential to the success of the trip. I literally, never planned further than the day in front of me. Well, except when I had to be at the Salt Lake City dealer on Tuesday morning for my tire.
  • I constantly reminded myself how fortunate I am to have the health and wherewithal to do such a trip. I’m thankful for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon me.
  • Finally, I learned that I want to do these trips again, and again, and again. I still have the whole west coast and east coast to do yet. And then there’s Alaska…

Thanks for following along. Hope I didn’t bore you too much. Gave me something to do in the hotel each night.

4 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home and Final Thoughts”

  1. So much good information about what you learned tells a whole other side of your story, very interesting and so glad you got to do it the way you wanted. Not sure you’re a tour bus kind of guy?:)

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