Less Whim, More Plan

Buy a motorcycle: check. I bought a 1985 Honda Shadow 500cc cruiser (a.k.a. VT 500c, VT500C) with about 3,400 miles. It’s perfectly smooth at 80mph with me, a backpack, and a large bag fastened to the tank with magnets.

Sell my furniture and move in with my grandparents: not so fast. We decided one week would be a good amount of time to spend together.

WordCamp 2007 is in San Francisco in July so I’m planning a 7,000-mile road trip (calendar, map). The map shows stops approximately 500 miles apart. I will ride each of those intervals in 1-2 days, taking detours through state/national parks when possible and stopping frequently to stretch and get online. I will be photographing and blogging the trip.

The bike runs very well and gets 55mpg but it needs a few things before a cross-country ride: clean the gas tank and carburetors, replace the fork seals, change the oil.

Lodging is up in the air; motels and couch-surfing are my main options as I’m not going to buy camping gear. If you live near the route and would like to host me for a night and/or join me for part of the ride, please leave a comment. It would be wonderful to ride into San Francisco with a WordCamp posse! The route on the map linked above is tentative; I’ll change it if it makes lodging or touring more convenient.

11 thoughts on “Less Whim, More Plan

  1. Wow! That sounds like fun. I once drove from Savannah to San Francisco and it was great. But I was in a car – you know to preserve the hair. ;) Good luck!

  2. I did about the same distance last year, with a lot of side trips, so it was probably 8,000 or more miles. You’re going to have the time of your life, though it would be slick if you camped, but the weight of the gear is a pain. Still, all you need is a sheet and a towel…if you travel as many did years ago. hee hee

    One very important piece of advice though. Having done this too many times in my life, your schedule has 500+ mile days. That’s just stupid. Seriously stupid. The wear and tear on the body vibrating in a car or RV makes 400 days exhausting and 500 days horrid. You’ll be traveling in the heat, too, which saps all your energy.

    On a motorcycle, that “feel of the road under you” will bruise and batter your body. You’ll lose fillings in your teeth and shake your hair out along with your brain. You really might want to consider finding some part way points, especially into day 5-7 when your bones can’t take the rattle any more.

    Been there, done that, have the back pain to remember I will never do it again. Unless we’re running from hurricanes, tornadoes, or way, way behind a deadline schedule, we rarely ever go past 400 miles and that’s in the comfort of a vehicle with protection from bugs and gravel flying into your face, music cranked up, padded seats, and shocks. :D

  3. Wow. That look like a lot of fun, too bad you will be nowhere near MT. I hope you have a great time, I expect many posts as you travel. Stay in touch, Andy.

  4. that sounds awesome! i wanted to get a motorcycle but had trouble balancing my friend’s vespa

    i really want to drive on the salt flats in utah
    it has the highest recorded land speed with a combustion engine
    497mph or something

  5. You are more than welcome to stay with me Andy, let me know when you will be in and I will let The Goat know.

    D

  6. Andy, let me know when you are planning to ride through Ohio. If at all possible, I might drive up and meet you somewhere. I am in Toledo, so about 100 miles off your planned route.

  7. So how did the trip go??? I had a VT500C myself, actually I had 3 of them. Great bikes for touring, but you must hang on to the bars when going past 50mph or they shake all over! That’s due to their extreme rake.
    Also the front wheel throws up tons of mud to clog the already small radiator, but if you catch it early you can fit a mudflap. I have had 65mpg on one of these!

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