Naturally, I’m working on this 40-day event all the time. I’ll be tweaking things even as we ride. But the more I look at it, the more excited I get about the entire thing. Yes, there are sections that are less exciting. I look at those as rest periods and we will need them. But end to end, this is going to be a fantastic bucket-list killer.
That first week has so much to offer as we basically take on the east coast. Starting in Cornelia, GA we ride in four states and do the Tail of the Dragon. Kentucky and West Virginia will have great mountains to explore as we head to Washington, DC to spend a day as tourists. Crossing the Frances Scott Key Bridge over the Chesapeake Bay, we do our urban riding to New England with day 6 including the Freedom Trail hike in Boston. We finish out the week by covering the other states in New England.
The second week starts in New York (not the city) and mountain roads into Pennsylvania. Heading to Ohio, we’ll also enjoy the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on a stop. If time permits, we’ll swing over to Notre Dame to see the campus. Then, in successive days we hit the Harley Davidson Museum and the Indian Motorcycles Factory Experience. Winding down the week we finish Minnesota and North Dakota before settling in Pierre, South Dakota. We ride the Badlands and visit The Wall Drug Store before we ride to Sturgis to get our 5,000 mile oil change done.
Week three is among the most exciting as we spend a full day riding the Black Hills, Iron Mountain and visit Mount Rushmore. Heading into Wyoming we stop at Devil’s Tower and pass through Big Horn National Forest on the way to Cody. Pushing it up a notch, we head to Montana to do Beartooth Pass and Yellowstone National Park. After one tiring day of great experiences we move to yet another as we head to Glacier National Park and ride as much of it as is open at the time. This will be one of the most dramatic parts of the entire 40 days. After that long day, we head into the Cascade Mountain to enjoy incredible riding on US Route 2. We’ll stop at the Grand Coulee Dam before heading to Seattle for the Space Needle and then south to Oregon.
Week four will experience natural areas that we have never explored before in Oregon. We cross fantastic mountains and ride the Pacific Coastline to California where we ride the Avenue of the Giants. We’ll ride familiar roads here along the Pacific Coast Highway towards San Francisco, but cut over to Fresno before the Golden Gate. From there we do Kern Canyon to the Mojave to join more riders in Las Vegas. This may be a better option for that last oil change and I’ll need new tires then. After this, we ride to Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff in Arizona all in one day. As if this isn’t enough, we ride north to the Grand Canyon and then to Zion National Park to camp for the night. We end this week with a ride back through Zion and then through Bryce Canyon National Park and Capital Reef National Park on our way to Moab. It’s a great way to spend a birthday!
It’s the fifth week and the excitement continues as we spend a day hiking in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, both near Moab. Riding out to the Four Corners National Monument, we then head into Colorado and ride the Million Dollar Highway and the Rocky Mountain National Park. We leave Colorado through Poudre Canyon the crosses the Continental Divide with dramatic canyons and mountains. Ending this day in Nebraska, we next ride to Kansas with a pass by at Lake McConaughy.
Week six has some peaceful and rest oriented riding as we visit in Norman, OK and Dallas, TX before heading to the Ozark Mountains for some serious riding adventures. After spending 2.5 days in the Ozarks, we head to the south through Mississippi and stop at the French Quarter in New Orleans for lunch at Napoleon House. Heading back across Mississippi and Alabama, our ride ends at the Naval Aeronautics Museum, which is fantastic by itself but we may get a chance to see a 50-minute practice session of the Blue Angels! What a way to finish the ride before having our closing lunch at McGuires Irish Pub in Pensacola.
Even though this is almost six weeks of riding, I think it will go quickly as you can see each week is loaded with excitement. If there has ever been a ride I am looking forward to, this one will be it. Pray for great weather!