It was 7 a.m. the morning of the proposed departure and nothing was packed. Without much of a plan, motivation was hard to find, but there were two brand-new motorcycles sitting at American Honda HQ in Torrance, California, with our names on them, and that would prove to be motivation enough. “So why the hell not?” we thought. And so, as is often the case, an opportunity was seized and an adventure begun.
With little more than a sleeping bag and a change of underwear, I hit the road for Las Vegas with my good friend Monti Smith. As a desert racer, I have spent many miles on Honda dirt bikes, but my team over there wanted me to experience some of the higher-end, road-fairing-equipped motorcycles. I was happy to oblige. We showed up in Torrance to find a 2020 Gold Wing and an Africa Twin waiting for us—two of Honda’s most mile-hungry steeds. It seemed as though no highway would be too long as we headed out on our journey.
A few unexpected pit stops had us on the highway several hours later than we had planned. So now, at 9 p.m., we were finally covering decent ground en route to our first destination. Six hours later, as we pulled into Sin City, the late-night hour provided no relief from the heat. At 103 degrees, we spent a quick night there before escaping back on the road to find some better weather, as well as some riding buddies out in Utah. And so the next leg began—off to Salt Lake. Sleep deprived, exhausted from the heat, and tackling another 500-mile day in the saddle, we were doing it! And the Hondas were holding up well, the Gold Wing proving to be a far cry from the CRF450 I’m used to piloting. A wide, comfortable seat and tall fairing made the long miles easy.
After a couple of hours on the I-15 highway, we grew tired of the flat straights and wanted to get into some more twisty roads, so we headed through Zion National Park. As we crossed 40-something miles of some of the US’s most brilliant roads, the big bikes cruised along effortlessly, allowing us to really soak in the beauty of our surroundings, making the early mornings and long miles worth it. This is the sort of thing that makes us want to leave city life behind—trade in the 405 freeway for a dusty ranch road. Trade LA traffic for a cattle crossing. The miles toward home seemed infinite and I was glad we didn’t have to head that way yet.
We pulled into Salt Lake City, once more tired from the long miles, but happy. Our friends were there waiting for us, so after another night of short sleep, we all got together and headed out to the “Freedom Frontier,” a cabin in the middle of nowhere, far from cellphone service, where a couple of the boys had built a full-blown skate park. We would also be meeting a handful of buddies from Denver on their choppers, planning to join in on the good vibes at the cabin—turns out this is an annual party we were crashing.
After the antics of riding out to the cabin with the crew, half the group went to relax and drink a bit while the others hit the skate park and shot some skeet off of the deck. Shadows grew longer and the campfire grew taller as we all sat around draining beer cans and telling stories. It was exactly the way you want days of long miles and good friends to end—with a cold beer and good conversation.
As we woke up to leave the Freedom Frontier, the morning fog cleared more quickly than our hungover haze. We hit the road with the homies—us on our Hondas, the SLC group on a mixture of bikes, and the chopper crew from Denver on their, well, choppers. Hitting a swimming hole with some rock jumps along the way, we were heading for Idaho now. For the next few days, we hit a nice stride of “ride, camp, repeat,” before the crew had to eventually split up. From the highways to the trails, to each river and swimming hole—all of this stemmed from a simple “Why not?”
We bid farewell to the other riders as they split off, heading home or to continue their own journeys. Making our way back to the traffic-heavy gridlock of Southern California, the early morning with no plan seemed like a distant memory. Another amazing adventure in the books, and now I am wishing my CRF had a stereo.