Saturday, April 26, 2014

Portrait of a life about to change

It’s Sunday, July 27, 1986 and I’m on the best road I’ve ever ridden.
I spent the day before hanging out in Burbank, Calif. with my friend Doreen Tracey, one of the original Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers, and was on my way up Calif. Hwy. 1 to Monterey where I would rendezvous with Tim and Linda Balough.
The Baloughs were my mentors on this, my first really long motorcycle journey, and we had parted company Friday morning at Lake Tahoe in the Sierras. They were bound for Yosemite and I was headed down to Burbank to visit Doreen.
We had reservations at an inn in Monterey and my wife (now my ex) Diane was due to fly in from Indianapolis on Tuesday.
To say that this trip and this motorcycle – a 1981 BMW R100RS – changed my life would be an understatement. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of motorcycle travel and the challenges and self-reliance it entailed.
I’ve returned to California and Big Sur several times in the ensuing 28 years and hope to get back to my favorite road soon.
The roads we rode and places we saw are etched so indelibly in my mind that I can still reconstruct the route day-by-day:
July 19, Saturday - Indianapolis to Pontoon Beach, Ill.
July 20, Sunday - Pontoon Beach, Ill, to Russell, Kans. - 496 miles
July 21, Monday - Russell Kans., to Idaho Springs, Colo. - 396 miles
July 22, Tuesday - Idaho Springs, Colo. To Moab, Utah – 322 miles
July 23, Wednesday - Moab, Utah to Salina, Utah – 418 miles
July 24, Thursday - Salina, Utah to Fallon, Nev. - 480 miles
July 25, Friday - Fallon, Nev. To Los Banos, Calif. - 318 miles
July 26, Saturday - Los Banos, Calif. To Burbank, Calif. - 256 miles
July 27, Sunday - Burbank, Calif. To Monterey, Calif. - 311 miles
July 28, Monday – July 30, Wednesday - Monterey
July 31, Thursday – Aug. 3, Sunday – BMW MOA Rally at Laguna Seca
Aug. 3, Sunday – Laguna Seca to Mariposa, Calif. -155 miles
Aug. 4, Monday – Mariposa, Calif. To Elko, Nev. -498 miles
Aug. 5, Tuesday – Elko, Nev. To Vernal, Utah – 399 miles
Aug. 6, Wednesday – Vernal, Utah to Idaho Springs, Colo. - 296 miles
Aug. 7, Thursday – Idaho Springs, Colo. To Belleville, Kans. - 463 miles
Aug. 8, Friday – Belleville, Kans. To Jonesburg, Mo. - 386 miles
Aug. 9, Saturday – Jonesburg, Mo. To Indianapolis – 301 miles

I remember meeting Wayne Garrison at the rally. Wayne had ridden alone from Indianapolis on his R100RS and I was in awe of this bold feat. I wanted to be one of those guys who made epic rides.
I realized a few years ago that I became one of those guys. Just by doing it.

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