I’ve been riding motorcycles for nearly 25 years. Ironically, I started when I moved to (rainy) Seattle because my parents in New Jersey always said, “Not while you’re living in this house.” The first thing I did when I moved to the Pacific Northwest was sell my Jeep Wrangler and buy a 450 Honda Rebel.
With the exception of one solo trip from Seattle to Panama (the country, not the city in Florida), my motorcyle experiences have been pretty much limited to the West Coast. But I have a dream. And it involves a lot of time. So tune in to my road trip playlist and get ready for my dream road trip.
My dream road trip is to take three months and ride my BMW 650 (a newer bike) around the United States with the hubby, Jon.
Beth and Jon with motorcycles
I’ve done this sort of thing before but it was by car; I took a semester off from college and traveled from New Jersey to California and back. That’s when I became addicted to travel. I saw many of the major sights in the United States – the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean (where I wanted to clap the first time I saw the sun set), Bryce and Zion national parks, Devil’s Tower, the Gateway Arch, and more.
On that trip, I discovered youth hostels as options for cheap overnight accommodations. These not only provided an affordable way to see these beautiful sights, but they also exposed me to people from all over the world. I was changed forever.
But there are things you don’t experience when you’re 20. Or when you’re in a car.
Viewfinder Tip: Get inspired for an epic road trip by reading good road trip books, such as Travels with Charley.
That’s why my adult self longs to do a deeper dive with a different kind of road trip. Instead of stopping at all of the big sights, I want to hit the little spots, the nooks and crannies that fewer people know and talk about. I envision something like Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (but without the dog).
The trip would start in early spring (after the last of Seattle’s cold weather) and we’d travel across Washington State and the upper part of the country, stopping in small towns in Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas. Traveling by bike, we’d be closer to the elements, enjoying the fresh air of rural America. And when camping and dining in small towns, we’d strike up conversations with locals.
My preference is to camp but I know Jon well enough that every few days we’d need the comfort of a hotel. Especially if this road trip is going to take three months!
Beth with BMW motorcycle
As we zoomed along, we’d zig-zag through the country’s heartland – Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. We’d meet the farmers who grow our corn, the waitresses at greasy spoons, and the shopkeepers at local hardware stores. There’d be stops in Michigan to visit friends, and stops in Ohio, New Jersey, and upstate New York to visit family. We also would explore small towns in New England. I know how pretty it is in Vermont and Maine, and I long to get to know both states better.
Heading south, I envision stops in Tennessee and Mississippi, where we’d explore small music clubs to “discover” blues musicians on the cusp of hitting it big. We’d travel through the deep south (again more stops to see family in Georgia and Alabama) and onward through Texas on back roads, in search of the best pie in the Lone Star State.
Heading up through Colorado and onward to Utah and Nevada, we’d then travel west to the coast for the trip north on Highway 1 in California and Oregon. Finally, we’d finish the trip along Washington’s Pacific Coast to Seattle.
A long and strange trip I hope it to be.