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Riding Dirty - A North American Motorcycle Tour

We got through the border without any problems in the morning. Although the guy gave me some crap cause I told him I went to Purdue. I think he was a Notre Dame fan or something. We only had 100 miles to ride to Cyrus' sister's house. No one was home when we got there, so Cyrus tried to get in through the back door and ended up setting off the alarm. His sister texted him the code and shut it off, then he got some beers out of the garage and we started playing frisbee in the yard.

A few minutes later a cop pulled up. I wonder what was going through his head, responding to a possible burglary to find two dirty bikers standing around, playing frisbee. He seemed relaxed enough, and asked for our IDs. Cyrus explained that it was his sister's place, but the cop couldn't get a hold of her on the phone. Then he gave Cyrus some attitude because he didn't think his IDs looked like him. In one of the pictures he had a shaved head, and in the other he had a mohawk, but now he's got long hair. There wasn't much we could do about that, but he seemed satisfied and left us alone.

His sister Alyssa was married to a guy named Nathan, and they had 4 boys. That was a lot of noise for one house. They were pretty cool though. We spent two nights at their place and got some great home cooked meals. Coeur D'Alene was an interesting town. It had a big lake, with lots of rich people's summer homes. We left on the 4th of July, heading south through Idaho. The wheat fields out there were beautiful; it looked like that old wallpaper that came on Windows XP, with the green, rolling hills.

Highway 97 dropped quickly in elevation and we rode along the Salmon River, which was cluttered with white water rafting companies, though I didn't see much white water from the road. It warmed up quick, and we stopped somewhere near New Meadows for lunch. There were a lot of tourists there for the 4th of July weekend. Things were quieter along the Payette River, which snaked through a gorgeous canyon with steep cliffs. The campsites we saw were all packed, but we found a primitive campground that had lots of space in between sites that worked great. Cyrus caught a few fish, but nothing worth keeping.

The 5th was another beautiful day, so we rode without helmets. We continued east through Idaho, which was consistently beautiful. I could easily live out there. We made it to Wyoming that evening and rode a little past dusk.

I was pulling dead bugs out of my beard for the next couple days.

We pulled off on a random dirt road and followed it until we were out of sight of the highway. We camped among a bunch of sage bushes, near a dry creek bed. It was perfect. There were more stars out that night than I'd seen in a long time. That was the one thing I didn't like about Alaska in the summertime... no stars. The Milky Way stretched right over our heads from one horizon to the other; it was spectacular. I left the rain-fly off my tent that night and watched shooting stars until I fell asleep.

I was woken up during the night by howling coyotes. There seemed to be two packs howling back and forth. One of them sounded really close. I know coyotes don't usually bother humans, but their sound is so awesome and haunting.

The next day was a very hot day as we rode through a bit of Utah, then through Dinosaur, Colorado. We had to go over a mountain pass towards Grand Junction, where there were some rainclouds. Turned out to be hail. I didn't think it would last long, so I didn't bother putting on my helmet. That was probably a mistake. Hail really hurts when it hits your nose, lips and ears. It turned back to rain after a while, but once we got over the mountains the temperature went right back up and we were dry shortly afterwards.

We made it back to Cyrus' place in Montrose that Sunday. Luckily, they had just changed the law, allowing liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays in Colorado, which couldn't have come at a better time. We got some beer and went to his friend Jake's house for a barbeque that night, which was a great time.

In the morning of the 7th we got breakfast with Cyrus' sisters before I hit the road, taking 285 south into New Mexico. It was a nice, hot day. After Santa Fe there was nothing but dry fields, stretching to the horizon. I was looking for a place to pull off and camp but it was all fenced off. I decided to just keep going. After nightfall there were three thunderstorms, complete with lightning in three different directions that seemed to be closing in on me, but I wasn't sure. I finally made it to Roswell very late after 602 miles. I snuck into the same RV camp I stayed at last year, pitched my tent and went to bed. I was out of there at 7am before anyone asked me to pay.

I had a pretty nice ride through Texas that day. I went through a really bad storm on my way into Austin with some intense wind that nearly knocked me off the bike a couple times. I stayed with my old marine buddy Lamar for three nights, which was a great time as always. He was going to school during the days, but we were able to hang out afterwards. Austin is a great city; a little too humid though. After that it was a quick ride to Houston where I stayed with my step brother Sean, who'd recently taken a job there.

I had a long way to go the next day, so I stuck to the interstates to make better time, which I usually try to avoid. It was incredibly hot. I got stuck in a couple traffic jams, which sucked; my bike always gets close to overheating when I'm not moving fast enough. I went through one small rain cloud that day, which felt fantastic. Got to Alabama and considered going all the way to Decatur, where my friend Justin lives, but there was a bad thunderstorm to the north. Luckily I'd gotten in touch with a girl on Couchsurfing.com that lives in Tuscaloosa. I found her place pretty easily after my longest day of the trip, 677 miles. She was really cool, like everyone I've met through Couchsurfing. We watched South Park for a while and then I went to bed.

I got a little lost on my way to Decatur the next day cause I wasn't paying attention, but found it eventually. I had more hot weather on the final stretch home the next day, which was a nice ride. I didn't take many pictures after Colorado because I was excited to get home. I made it back after almost 2 months on the road and a mere 14,235 miles.

Overall, the trip went great. It was actually a lot easier than I expected. I'm really happy that I was able to commit to the journey and make it happen. I hope I can inspire someone to go and do something they've been thinking about. If there's something you want to do and you're avoiding it, you better have a damn good reason, because you'll hate yourself down the road.

Thanks for reading.

Never stop wandering.

Comments


Chopperjake says:

Awesome article!!! Very inspiring and sounds like one helluva good time.
Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

DrAlloway says:

Excellent !

June-July 2010 I started on US-50 in Ocean City Maryland. Put my rear tire in the Atlantic Ocean and rode US-50 all the way to San Francisco where I put my front tire in the Pacific Ocean.

Then up the coast into Canada; back into Washington State; and home on US-2 along our northern border.

60 days, camping and cooking, just over 12,000 miles.
Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Puddlejumper says:

Great story telling. It is an adventure you will remember your entire lifetime. My husband and I are both retired Army and from one vet to another, thank you for your service. Not many are willing to risk all as you did. Well done and welcome home. Keep those wheels turning!
Fri Dec 9, 2011 at 9:13 PM

NC_En4cer says:

Awesome story bro. I enjoyed reading about your adventure. That's my kinda riding. Great trip and pictures.
Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:34 PM

tortuga-mike says:

Great trip...Great story!!! I'm leaving Afghanistan in June, will start my trip in Aug...I plan on taking
about two months also, but I'm going all the way up to Prudhoe Bay, and down to Anchorage, threw Fairbanks, and maby a ferry one way there, and drive the other way...THEN, I'm doing the 4 Corners Tour, with the Great American Motorcycle Adventure together, and plan on hitting all 49 states before I'm finished.

Starting at Fort Hood Tx, and Ending in San Diego, Ca. But probably have to go it alone. Should still be fun!
Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 5:35 AM

UtahDave2 says:

Great read - I've ridden from Alabama to Utah via South Dakota and Yellowstone, and need another long trip. You have inspired me. I've been chained to my desk for too many years.
And, most importantly, THANK YOU for your service to our country! We have the freedom to be able to ride because of you and all of those like you. An Air Force vet.
Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 6:35 PM

SoapSuddzin says:

I was at a point where i was debating getting out of the service. ive loved every minute of it but am ready for a change. reading this article was a great influence. to be able to go out whenever without having to take leave. awesomely inspireing. thank you for serving.
Go Boilermakers!
*indiana born and raised
Wed May 19, 2010 at 9:47 AM

jwittner says:

Really great travel log Trevor - truly inspiring. Thank you.
Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:45 AM

trev1300 says:

Thanks for all the comments guys, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Check out the video at: www.trevstravelblog.com

I'm riding the Dragon in TN next week, and might be heading to Mexico this summer; best of luck to everyone taking on their own adventure.
Tue Mar 9, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Nowheels says:

Awsome, reminds me of Redline America
check it out if you haven't yet. Definately worth it.
Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:53 PM

davidtn says:

Excellent, excellent, excellent!'

I'm riding from Key West Florida to Homer Alaska this June and I vicariously already made the trip thanks to your great article.
Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 7:21 PM

kshief50 says:

I had many such adventures thirty+ years ago. Well told on your part, live large. I'm thinkin perhaps I have one more left in me. Don't get chained to the wants of life, it will destroy your best. Ride, Ride, Ride!!
Thu Jan 21, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Doc2nd2 says:

Im glad you got the opportunity to pull off an epic ride like that. I try to do that every couple of years. And now you have fired me up for my next ride! Very well written, I could relate with the different aspects of your ride as I am sure others can too. I often felt as if I were on the road with you guys. Im old Army and want to thank you, from one soldier to another, for your service. It seems vets really can appreciate the freedom of an epic ride for what it REALLY is, a chance to enjoy the freedom that we fought for and our buddies died for. Ride safe, ride long and always remember to ride for those who can't.God's speed brother.
Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 9:08 PM

zgun says:

Again, a great story. As I wait here in Georgia to get thru one of the coldest winters on record, I dream about getting on my new Yamaha vstar 1300 and doing something like this. I am glad you were able to do this after serving time in Iraq. Welcome home!
Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 9:42 AM

mitrocop says:

A buddy of mine and I are in the planning stages of an approx. 6-week trip from Charleston, SC to Denali park in AK and back, with lots of off-road routes through the wild wild West.

Great story - thanks for the insight on good stops through Canada, it gives us food for thought before we head out later this summer. Keep on with the Roads Less Traveled, they're definitely WORTH it!

*BTW, we are leaving my Honda VT800 and his HD Road King at home for this long ride - we're guessing about 10k+ miles roundtrip - and taking our new BMW dual sports bikes instead...F800GS & F1200GSA, respectively. Don't think our road cruisers would handle the trip as well as the Beemers. Also hope to post a good story & pics like yours when we make it back.
Thu Jan 7, 2010 at 6:50 AM

DonutmanBob says:

Just wanted to say what a great read. I've ridden further in one day but the riding conditions were about as perfect as could be. P.S. I hate being cold and wet!
Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 9:14 PM

BDKrivit says:

Nice job, dudes.
Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 3:13 AM

larrykennis says:

Thanks for the ride friend. Felt like I was with you.
Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM

redhogg says:

Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. It's been on my list of trips I want to take but will have to wait until retirement for the time needed but your story rekindled the fire.Great story and pictures, Thanx
Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 7:22 AM

Teehaml says:

Absolutely fantastic journey! Memories for your later years. Keep riding and ride safe!
Sat Sep 12, 2009 at 6:02 AM

DR_STRANGELOVE says:

Dude, thank you so much for the temporary escape from my desk. I am an Army vet and a native Montanian so I didnt have a very hard time relating.
Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 5:28 PM

RoadGlider06 says:

Ride on Marine and great story! Semper Fi!
Mon May 25, 2009 at 8:01 AM

SocialOutcast1313 says:

Looks like fun. Reminds me of what I have been cooking up in my twisted head for after I get out of the Navy in a year....
Sat May 23, 2009 at 4:07 PM

felon says:

Outfrickin'standing!!! great journey, people, scenery, pictures, a brother to do it with and I'm sure lessons learned for the next ride!
Wed Apr 8, 2009 at 11:16 AM

troy30455 says:

Great story, Great trip. That makes me want to pack!!!
The pictures were awesome. Hope to read some more of your adventures.
Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 6:20 PM

Anonymous_Motorcyclist says:

I'm inspired - well done
Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 5:32 PM

biskitdg says:

I hope to get the chance to do a ride similar to this one day, after reading this it might be sooner than I planned! :) Loved the article.
Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 5:43 AM

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