Day 1 (August 17, 2009)

25 06 2011

Wow, I can’t believe we’re actually doing it now. All those months of planning and prep. are finally being put to the test. This morning started like any other, but in reality it was like no other morning I had ever experienced. I got out of bed at 6:30 and had a small breakfast, ready to charge into the rest of the day. Dad and I went out to the shop and threw open the big bay doors to reveal our motorcycles, ready and waiting, loaded with everything we planned on using for the next three weeks: tools, food, tents, sleeping bags, camping equipment; more than those bikes had ever carried before. We pushed our bikes out of the shop, said good-by to Mom, and started off. Somehow, when you know you are going on a huge trip, the first few feet seem so much more symbolic, the start of a grand adventure. For some people this feeling of commencement gives them a complete sense of peace, as if they are at peace with whatever happens next. For me though, that feeling didn’t hit me for at least four more hours. I was a nervous wreak, though I didn’t really show it on the outside, a wave of fear washed over me during those first few miles. But as happens so often when riding a motorcycle, my mind soon cleared and I was able to really eat up the miles.

We started our journey across Iowa along hwy. 3 and soon came to the town of Pocahontas, in which there is a giant statue of the lady herself, so Dad took my picture next to her. This pattern continued for the rest of our three weeks on the road, ride for a while, see something interesting, pull over and take a break and snap some pictures. We continued onto Cherokee, which served as our first lunch stop. Then it was the final push to our campsite in Yankton, SD. When we crossed the border between Iowa and South Dakota, the terrain changed dramatically from flat fields to rolling hills, then to my disappointment back to flat fields again. But after a full day in the saddle the only thing I’m concerned with is rolling into our campsite, which was a pretty good one too. Surrounded by cottonwood trees and less than 100 feet from a beautiful little lake, these are the kind of campgrounds one dreams about, apart from the two-dozen motor-homes jammed around us. The dogs bark as children ride their bikes around the lanes, being watched by grandparents relaxing in their folding lawn chairs. The generators roar to life and the occasional car rolls in from a day of site-seeing. I suppose this is as close to the wild west as some people get, “discover the west from the comfort of an air-conditioned, 30 ft. home away from home”. But for my dad and I, this is not the west. This is just the beginning.