After having taken a 10,000 mile motorcycle trip to the western states in the fall of 2002, I decided that I had to do it again.  On the 2002 trip, in Yellowstone, I picked up a copy of Steven Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and devoured it.  The book was fascinating, and made me want to retrace their route and see some of the sites that they saw.  Thus was born the 2003 motorcycle trip.  My plan is to deadhead from my home in Panama City, FL, to St Louis, and visit the Museum of Westward Expansion, which has a lot of Lewis and Clark information.  Then I plan to follow their route west, along the Missouri River, staying on back roads as much as possible.  I hope to cross over most of the passes that they crossed in the Rockies, and then head down the Snake and Columbia rivers to Astoria, Oregon, where they became the first Americans to traverse the continent.  From that point, I plan to ride the Pacific Coast Highway south, with some detours inland to visit some National Parks and try some of the road recommended by  I also hope to visit with some friends in California, and wind my way back through Colorado to visit some other friends. 


I had been to Glacier National Park this past spring, loved it, and wanted to return.  It would be an easy detour, and fits in with the Lewis and Clark theme, since Lewis got close to Glacier during his exploration of the Marias River on the return trip.  I also did not get to spend as much time in Yellowstone as I wanted to last year, so I plan to detour over there as well.

Originally, I had planned for this to be a solo tour.  However, my girlfriend, Lana, loves the West, and had never been to Glacier or Yellowstone, so I decided to fly her out for a week of exploring in that area.  Shortly after that plan was made, my Alaskan friend, Eric, called.  He is the man responsible for getting me back into motorcycling several years ago, after having been off of bikes for about 20 years.  He said he was planning on being “outside” (the Alaskan term for being anywhere other than Alaska) for the fall, and asked what I was doing in September.  He would be visiting family in Alabama, but has his bike stored in Sisters, Oregon, and he wanted to ride.  The timing was just too good to pass up, so we decided to hook up somewhere in the Northwest, and ride together for as long as we could.

 This year’s tour will be made on a new machine.  The Valkyrie performed wonderfully last year, but I found myself wanting more range (important in the West, where gas stations can be a long way apart), and more storage (I always over pack).  So, as a 40th birthday present to myself, I bought a new, 2003 Honda Goldwing ABS.  A wonderful bike…as much power as the Valkyrie, with better handling, integrated and waterproof luggage, and almost DOUBLE the range of the old bike.  No more running out of gas in the boonies!

 Another major change from last year…I intend to camp.  I have not owned a tent or sleeping bag since college, and most of my memories of camping are from my childhood in coastal Georgia.  I remember four things…heat, humidity, sand, and mosquitoes!  However, fall camping in the West is a lot different than summer camping in the South, and my springtime trip to Glacier convinced me.  So I bought a 3-man Eureka tent, a 20-degree mummy bag, and a Therm-A-Rest.  If I hate it, I can always take hotels and sell the gear when I get home…so I will give it a try.

"LC" in the text means "Lewis and Clark".

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