Subject: Wanderlust, Number 0 - Preparations
Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 22:38:39 -0700
To: Internet BMW Riders <email@example.com>,
Long Distance Riders <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wanderlust, Number 0 - Preparations
The ride is the reason.
This is a story about a tour across America - as it happens.
With this email, I am removing myself from the various mailing lists to which I subscribe, and I am beginning a carefully unplanned trip. I know I am heading East because, after all, I am starting in San Francisco (where I live). I know I will head South when I get to Maine ... after that who knows. You are invited to come with me, electronically that is.
You are receiving this because either you asked to be on the copylist or I decided you might be interested in a slice of life on the road as it happens. Alone. On a motorcycle. Not knowing where today or tomorrow will end. If you decide you do not want to come along ... speak up. Although, I might not hear you for a couple of days, because, remember, I *am* on the road.
(Cue background music: Willie Nelson - On The Road Again ...)
Just so you know, this is not a mid-life crisis thing. My mid life is over. That crisis came way early. This is about enjoyment and not about escape or searching. You will hear me say this often - the ride is the reason. There is no "destination", other than I intend to attend the BMW Motorcycle Owners Of America (once a year) national gathering which this year happens to be in Texas during the last week of June. San Francisco to Texas - by way of Maine? Yes, I have a map. No thank you, I don't intend to look at it much.
Having already been to all 48 of the 'lower US', there are no more 'must see' spots. But there are many 'must ride' roads left. That's where I'm going. Oh, yeah, and maybe a few visits with friends along the way.
This series of email reports is primarily being written for two motorcycle communities - the Internet BMW Riders and the Long Distance Rider mailing lists. There are some crazy people among us ... but we all are driven by the "need" to ride. One of the participants on these lists has a signature that says something like 'only motorcycle riders truly understand why dogs HAVE to hang their head out a moving car window'. The ride is the reason. Don't ask why.
So, what about the 'wanderlust'. It seems to be the closest one word description for what I am about to do. One of the more (in)famous writers among our group did a similar trip during a summer and wrote about it every day. I was communicating with him through email recently and said to him he is the vanguard of our mindset. Wither he leadeth, however, I hope not to follow. Neither in the philosophy and angst he sought to resolve, nor in the uneven pavement edge he recently found with his front tire. (Heal quickly, Bob.)
This is a trip to enjoy without pressure. Those who may remember my story of a week long trip to Mexico in January (The Permanent Vacation) recall I am no longer encumbered by having to work. Now I am going to use some of that most valuable resource - time - just to see what is happening 'out there'. This is the trip to nowhere for no reason. The ride is the reason.
I have two BMW motorcycles. One an "airhead" R100RT, now with over 110,000 miles on it, and a water-cooled K75RTA. For this trip, the K is my choice because it is the more comfortable long distance bike. (IBMWR and LDR readers, pardon me. There are many on the copylist who do not know ...) The K has a 750 cc 3 cylinder engine that can run all day at speeds fast enough to get a ticket even in Montana (where the speed limit is only 'safe and reasonable' during the day), but at normal highway speed is as smooth as a sewing machine ... and kind of sounds like one (thanks, Tom! :) It has a full fairing, an adjustable windshield, and a custom (Russell) seat that 'grabba-la-bunza' like a masseuse. The K "only" has 20,500 miles so far, and is now just barely broken in. These BMW bikes are amazing. I expect it to perform flawlessly. (Some say BMW stands for Best Motorcycle in the World.)
For personal fare, I am traveling quite light. Two changes of clothes (jeans and flannel -yes- flannel shirts), leather (half high) work boots, camelback, rain suit, tent, sleeping bag, toiletries, and pc. That's about it. I will pack a medium weight jacket and an electric vest for the high country, but (although this will incite the righteous) I don't wear a riding suit or leathers. (I do wear a helmet even in the states that do not require it.)
I will try to write a report every day, but I may not be able to send it if I camp out. Each night that I stay in a motel I will upload whatever notes I have collected. So this is going to be an uncertain thing. Don't plan your morning constitutional around me :)
OK, now. While I want to keep this open and free in style, I don't want to get too long. So I'll stop now and pack the pc on the bike.
I leave at 10 am, Sunday June 1. The first day will be one of the longest stretches (have YOU ever ridden across Nevada?). I am aiming for Wells, Nevada, because that's where the two-lane road leaves the Interstate heading for Promontory Point. I'm going to see the golden spike that completed the transcontinental railroad ... and is starting my transcontinental road.
I'll be in touch.
Sam Lepore, San Francisco, 1988 R100RT and 1995 K75RTA