A year’s planning and preparation has finally come down to a week’s anticipation.
About 8 years ago I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a motorcycle ride that started in Lima, Peru, took me through South and Central America, and ended back in Virginia. We covered 8,000 miles and 8 countries in 5 weeks. People liked to tell me it was “the trip of a lifetime” but I always hoped it wasn’t…I have a lot of years left in this body. So in mid 2014 when the crazy idea of riding dirt bikes coast to coast on the Trans America Trail was tossed around, my sense of adventure was again piqued. I’m not one to shy away from such an idea, especially if adventure and a minor-moderate risk of bodily injury is involved. So it first was discussed in casual conversation and quickly became a serious goal.
The planning process started immediately and the first step was to buy a couple of street legal dirt bikes. After much research, a couple of Yamaha WR250R motorcycles were purchased in December 2014. We spent the next several months buying gear for the bikes and figuring out exactly what their limits were. To find these limits, a few long trips were taken as we sought out off road tracks. One of these trips took us to Burning Rock Adventure Park in West Virginia, which is basically heaven on earth for two-wheeled maniacs. However, it became clear the limitations being tested did not rest with the machines, rather with their operators. A full week thrashing the bikes in the mountains left them begging for more mud and left us begging for ice packs.
The next step was to piece together enough leave from work to cover the 6 week trip and try to work enough overtime to pay down the credit cards. We cashed out a full year’s vacation in one shot and decided the trip will be more about enjoying the experience and less about soaking our toes in the Pacific. Enjoying the journey is always more important than reaching the destination.
The last few days before departure are here and the anticipation is really starting to grow. Last minute details are being ironed out as the bikes are getting loaded up. The plan is to travel light to avoid looking like sherpas, tent camp along the route, and avoid mechanical failures. We are very ambitious.
I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this trip a reality. Thanks to our families who have encouraged and supported all of our adventures, to the Nichols family for welcoming Ace into their house, to the Cremeans family for taking care of the other critters, and to everyone else who has offered help and added to our excitement. We couldn’t do it without you all.
We’ll be pulling out of Bad News on August 4 or 5 and need to be back by September 12 to keep our jobs. I plan to update this blog daily once the trip begins and will update the travel map several times a day. The link for the map is at the bottom of this post. I hope everyone enjoys this…I know I will.