|Travelogue -- Dr Bob's US50 Motorcycle Ride|
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Join me on my ride along US50. This idea has been in my mind for more than 10 years; originally I had in mind only riding US50 across Nevada, billed as "the lonliest highway in America." Now the idea has grown to be an Altantic to Pacific ride. US50 runs from Ocean City, Maryland to San Francisco. (Permit me to refer to "Historic US50" when I include the portion from Sacramento to San Francisco. Today the marked US50 ends in Sacramento, but the road still runs to San Francisco under new numbers since 1972 when Interstates were paved over US50 causing the US50 name to be dropped.)
US50 has a lifetime meaning to me -- my grade school and high school were on US50 in Indiana. (Once again I have exagerated a little, not really lifetime, my parents moved from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky to southeastern Indiana when I was three and a half years old.) In addition, I probably have been on US50 once a year since finishing high school -- in San Francisco in 1964 when I had a job interview at Lawrence Radiation Laboratories in Livermore; when I would visit my parents; when I lived in the Washington DC suburbs and crossed US50 every day going to work, when I visit my son Darryl who lives two or three blocks off US50 in Falls Church, Virginia; in 2002 when I toured a salt mine 600 feet below US50 in Kansas for Sony Pictures.
See also this website about US50.
My present plan is to take about a month. I will ride from North Palm Beach to Ocean City, then across US50. It is 1,030 miles from North Palm Beach to Ocean City. It is 3,200 miles from Ocean City to San Francisco.
On the way back to North Palm Beach, I may take a northern route. Some of the spots I am thinking of visiting are Mt. Rainier, Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Devils Tower, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Mt. Rushmore, and the Badlands. I have been in every state except North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Since the spots I mentioned do not pick up North Dakota or Nebraska or Iowa, I must ride through those states just so I can say I have been in all 50 states. If I take this route, it will be more than 5,000 miles to get back home. That means more than 9,200 miles total.
Or, if I decide I cannot take that much time, I may take a southern Interstate route back home. This would most likely be I-5 to Los Angeles, then I-10 to Florida. That would make it 3,040 miles from San Francisco to North Palm Beach. That would mean more than 7,200 miles total.
Nothing is definite yet, including a date. I am thinking of May 2012. I don't want to be too early in the year because there are high mountian passes on US50 in Colorado (Monarch Pass at 12,030 feet) and California (Echo Summit aka Johnson Pass at 7,382 feet), as well as high passes on a return farther north, and I don't want any snow on the road. I don't want to be too late because it starts getting too hot in June, especially on the ride back to Florida.
I would plan to ride about 500 miles a day if I am on Interstates, otherwise 200-300 miles a day.
I will do this ride like I have done others, by posting pictures and text every day of the ride. Once I start the ride, each day of my journey will be a separate page shown on the menu at the left. You can start at the beginning by selecting the first day, or at the end by selecting the last day. Or, you can have the entire trip on a single page (a long page) by selecting "Single Page". I probably won't put together the single page until the ride is complete.
31 March 2012
I have decided that I will not do the northern route for my return. Perhaps I will do another ride in the future, maybe next year, and concentrate on the northwest. The menu item Map on the left shows my planned ride, from North Palm Beach to Ocean City, to San Francisco via US50, to North Palm Beach.
I have picked May 2, 2012 as my departure date from North Palm Beach. My tentative plan is to get back to North Palm Beach before the end of May.
I have a tentative "schedule" for the US50 portion of the ride. It will take about two weeks. This map shows possible locations for each night. I normally do not ride to a schedule. That will continue to be the case for this ride. I do have two specific dates I will observe, however. I will spend the weekend of May 5-6 with my son in Falls Church, Virginia. And I will meet up with my sister and brothers for dinner on May 9 in Seymour, Indiana. The short ride that day will allow me to visit Holton, Indiana, the location of my grade school and high school, and the location of a devastating tornado on March 2, 2012. The school was damaged, and may not be standing when I arrive. Also, I plan to ride past the home I lived in during most of my childhood.
I will probably try to spend nights near an Interstate -- that's where the motels are. As for the rest of the "schedule", I will decide each day where I spend the night. I may run faster than the map shows, or I may run slower.