The Lead Up - 2008/2009
How it came about, our team and some of the preparations.
Hello and thank you for coming along with us on our ride across the USA. This section will just briefly cover the lead up to the trip, a summary of the three of us and a few of the preparations.
The trip idea was conceived a couple of years ago after watching the wonderful comedy movie "Wild Hogs" with John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy. I thought "what fun and what a challenge to ride across a country that is as big as Australia". Initially, I was going to go on my own.... a lone Aussie crossing the wild frontier of America. While talking to Steve about my thoughts, he said "if you want company, I'd love to come along" So we became two Aussies. The same thing happened while talking to David who said "if I can convince the minister for internal affairs, can I come along too?"
Steve is or rather was, a programmer and now a director for A.C. Nielsen in Sydney Australia and I used to work for him as his network engineer. He is our communications guru for the trip and the one with the brains/common sense.
I am a retired soldier and computer network engineer. These days, I drive for Murrays Coaches out of Canberra. I guess I'm the impetuous one who will dive in and 'just do it' without fully assessing the full implication of it.
We had a 3rd member of the team, a very close friend of mine for many years, David Craig. He is a former Army Major in the Royal Australian Corp of Transport.
In April last year he rang me to say that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer but he was positive that he could beat it and so we planned on him being with us. Sadly, he has been stolen away from his family and friends only a few weeks before leaving on the trip he had been so enthusiastic and positive about. He was only 49. He will still travel with us in our hearts. God bless you and your wonderful family, mate.
Now, I have no idea how we are going to go producing something that is going to be of interest to all of you, but rest assured both Steve and I will try to find something to keep you interested in this, our first trip away together. Keep in mind we are not journalists ;-)
Now to see the route we are travelling in closer detail you will see the map at the top of the home page and below that the words "view larger map". Click on this and you will find that you can actually zoom right in on any point of the map to get a closer view of the area you want to see.
I thought that given that this blog is on a site hosted by motorcycling enthusiasts, I would also include some of things that we've considered along the way in the planning.
Initially, we were going to travel West to East but then after having a conversation with Peter Thoeming aka "The Bear" from Australian Road Rider magazine at the Sydney Motorcycle Show we decided to reverse it because apparently a lot of people land in LA and want to hire bikes there and leave them on the east coast. He suggested it would be easier to find a one way hire on the other side.
Now, given that we were going to arrive in busy New York where everyone drives on the wrong side of the road, I wasn't sure that I wanted to start riding there and then. That's when I came across Bill Kniege from Blue Strada tours in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bill's Website This guy has been unbelievably friendly and very very helpful in everything. From the bike, to comms gear, to even hiring a car for us for Steve. He is even organising a visit to an ex pat Aussie V8 race car driver Marcos Ambrose's team with the possibility of catching up with Marcos himself. He now drives Nascar. So if you need help, this guy is great. I'm sure we'll have a few beers with him.
So, after spending a few days in NY we will travel by train to Washington DC and pick up Steve's car there. He wants a Mustang.... that's cool, as long as his bald head doesn't get sun burnt when the roof is down :-). We decided to only book accommodation in NY, Washington and Charlotte. These are the only places where we know that we are going to be on a given date. We decided to leave the rest of the trip timings flexible just in case we come across a little town like Madrid in Albuquerque and we want to spend some time there. This is the town where Wild Hogs was predominately filmed. The only other date we have organised is Saturday 25th April. That night we have a date with Cher at Ceaser's Palace.
We chose to travel during Spring mainly because we needed to consider that if we left earlier then we would have trouble with the bike gaining traction through the snow in the Rockies and the Apalachian mountains and possibly up around Yosemite. To travel later would have meant crossing the deserts in searing heat. I don't think they've got a decent air conditioning system on the Honda yet. Yeah, I know I'm a sook. lol.
I've been looking at systems that would allow Steve and I to talk while we're travelling but because they don't come with the bike and to spend another $US300 just to say "corr, look at that" might be a bit extravagant.
I mentioned earlier the Australian Road Rider magazine. I wrote an email to The Bear asking for help on planning. He was great with providing some resources for me, but the best thing that happened was that he published my email with my email address and I've had terrific advice from people who have already done similar trips.
So they are just a few things that you may want to consider if you're thinking of doing something similar.
We leave Australia on Saturday 28th March 2009. Steve leaves the journey on 26th April because he doesn't think he can handle 6 weeks leave all in one go and I will arrive back in Sydney on 8th May 2009 after flying in the New Qantas A380 Airbus. I'm looking forward to that.
So for now, I'll sign off and don't forget to hit the subscribe button on the right side of the screen if you want to continue to receive our updates.
Posted by Paul Brealey at February 25, 2009 10:27 AM GMT