|Travelogue -- Dr Bob's Wrap-Up Motorcycle Ride|
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25 May 2018
I had called this ride my "Capitol Wrap-Up Motorcycle Ride", but I have decided to give it a different name. I now call it my "Wrap-Up Motorcycle Ride". I will explain that in detail later. But first, I would like to do a wrap up of this ride, plus talk about my other rides.
My Wrap-Up Ride was planned in 2015 immediately after my Northwest Territory Ride, to be done in 2016. As I have explained already, I was unable to do it in 2016 and then again I was unable to do it in 2017. Now I have done it. I had been taking pictures of all the Lower 48 US State Capitols on motorcycle rides, there were three remaining, and I got them on this ride, Phoenix Arizona, Boise Idaho, and Denver Colorado. You can see my collection at http://rhopkins.us/uscaps/index.htm.
I started taking pictures of state Capitols on my Route 66 Ride, ten years ago. I did not know at the time that I would extend it to all of the Lower 48. It was two or three rides later that it occurred to me that I should do that. My earlier goal was to ride through all the Lower 48 states. I completed that with my US Northeast Ride in 2014
Let me explain the history of my motorcycle ride travelogues. They began by my simply putting pictures that I took on a ride on my web site so my family could see what I was doing. On my Route 66 Ride, it blossomed into a real travelogue. The Route 66 travelogue was done, also, for my family. But as the ride progressed, other riders on the AMA Route 66 tour learned what I was doing, and told their families to check my travelogue so they could see what was happening. It grew from that. People could find my Route 66 travelogue by doing a Google search for "Route 66". Over time, many others have followed me on my rides, and I have written the travelogues for the public, not just my family.
Let me compare my rides. Here's a list of the rides, and some comparisons. They are listed by date, and keep in mind that the first rides are mostly just pictures. Most of the rides were solo. Route 66 was an exception, I signed up for an AMA ride, there were about 15 other bikes. The Natchez Trace Ride was with Hanna and Doris and Bentley and three dogs, they were in a van. We did not ride/drive together most of the time, but we did meet up for dinner every day. On my US Northeast ride, I met up with Kurt, one of the Route 66 bikers, for seven days of riding, from Maine through Canada to Pennsylvania.
|Ride||Miles||Days||Miles Per Day||Gallons||MPG|
|Lake Tahoe Ride||1,000||5||200||-||-|
|Death Valley Ride||650||2||325||-||-|
|US Southwest Ride||2,734||6||456||-||-|
|Route 66 Ride||9,266||35||265||222.9||41.6|
|Blue Ridge Ride||3,140||17||185||72.7||43.3|
|Natchez Trace Ride||2,910||11||265||70.0||41.6|
|US Northwest Ride||11,016||31||355||252.1||43.7|
|US Northeast Ride||6,410||25||256||147.9||43.3|
|Northwest Territory Ride||6,117||23||266||146.4||41.8|
|Total||59,722||201||Ave = 297|
That's a total of 201 days, almost 29 weeks, more than half a year. And a total mileage of almost 60,000 miles. I am surprised how consistent my fuel mileage has been, 41.6 mpg was the lowest and 43.7 mpg was the highest. I am surprised how high my daily mileage average was on the US Southwest Ride, 456 miles per day! With that one exception, my daily mileage on my Wrap-Up Ride was the highest of all the rides. That shows I have still have stamina! I estimate my total motorcycle mileage to be more than 125,000 miles.
Here's a map showing all my rides. Click on the map for a full resolution copy.
There were some other rides in California that I do not have enough information today to put together a travelogue. They are included in the map, though. Hanna and I visited all 21 of the California Missions, all but a couple were on the motorcycle. One of the rides was to several Missions and lasted a few days. Again, at that time I was not keeping sufficient records to make a travelogue today.
My Wrap-Up Ride was planned to take 21 days, an aggressive schedule, and to be about 8,000 miles. I did it in 21 days, and it was 8,137 miles. This was not my shortest or longest ride in total days. It was not the shortest or longest ride in total miles.
Here are some of my thoughts from my Wrap-Up Ride. Texas is big. I spent 5 nights in Texas, that's exactly 1/4 of my nights on the road. There were 4 days where I was in the desert. The first part was low elevation desert, that's where I had the dust storm. The second part was higher elevation desert, that's where I had my first rain, and it was a cold rain. Montana was pretty, as I reported on my US Northwest Ride, but this time I encountered a lot of road work in Montana. I think it rained most of the time I was in Wyoming and I never saw the sun in Colorado if I remember correctly. The ride home from Denver was just that, a ride home. While these are memories from the ride, I cannot say they are fond memories.
It took me a while to decide on a name for the ride, it was planned in detail before I named it. I considered naming it my "Last Ride", I even wrote that to Dean in an email on the 4th of April. I said, "I do not want to call it "Last Ride". That sounds a bit morbid." I thought about "Wrap-Up Ride" but ended up calling it "Capitol Wrap-Up Ride". But, as you read above, I have renamed it my "Wrap-Up Ride".
On the first day of this ride, I wrote: "Because I anticipate it will be difficult in the future to do such a big ride, I am treating this ride as if it is my last Transcontinental Ride. If I can do another in the future, Great. If it does not work out, so be it."
I thought it might be my last ride, and that has been confirmed during the ride. The days in Montana and Wyoming were especially difficult and frustrating for me. The road construction. The never-ending rain. That's when I fully accepted that this was my last ride. That's basically the reason I decided to go east from Denver after taking pictures of the Colorado Capitol instead of south through the mountains in Colorado and the deserts of New Mexico and Texas. It was over. I was ready to go home.
I have felt this way for a couple of years. I was unable to do a ride in 2016 and 2017. There were reasons, but I did not push to find a solution. I was slow to decide to do the ride this year, but I kept thinking if I don't do it now, I might never do it. I am aware that some of my riding skills are not what they used to be. I am fine on the highway. I am fine in the rain on the highway. In fact, I rode in more rain on this ride than ever before. It is starting and stopping that have become more difficult for me. I don't have the standing still balance I used to have. The bike is heavy, about 900 pounds, and it is mandatory to keep it straight up when standing still. It is not as easy for me as it used to be, I don't know why. Maybe my muscle mass had decreased such that I notice the difference, it used to be easy, now it is not. It's like I have to keep it even more straight up than ever before. My knees are not what they used to be. Maybe that is part of it. My own balance is not as good as it used to be. Maybe that is part of it. I am 75 now. Maybe that is part of it. My slow riding has gotten worse. You will see me walking my bike into a parking space now, not riding it into the parking space. I have become much more cautious. I believe this is not unusual, and perhaps that is part of the reason you see riders transition to a trike. I am not interested in a trike. If I cannot ride a bike with the skills I expect of myself, it is time for me to stop riding.
And so, my dear Readers, I have decided it is time for me to
take off my spurs, hang up my helmet, and put my horse out to pasture.
Dr Bob out