Lane Darnton's USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour

Yep, that's me and Lynn on our new 2008 Honda Gold Wing
Taken on Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica Mountains

Lane's contact info
Phone:  310-462-7931


I started retirement by leaving
my last day work in an ambulance headed to the nearest ER, and after six months looking for the right drug combo to keep my heart pumping long enough to let me lose some weight and get my blood pressure down, it occured to me that if I was ever going to do a marathon motorcycle tour it had better be soon, because there might not be a later. So I did what Lynn and I have done several times in the past:

First you say you're going to go.
Then you go.

I said I would go on April 24th, 2009, and I would circumnavigate the country counterclockwise. I laid out an itinerary that evolved through several iterations to 13,287 miles and 99 days long, leaving a day early. And today, as I write this in a hotel room in Blythe, CA, it is 3:40 pm on April 23rd, 2009, and I rode the Gold Wing pictured above 245 miles through 96 degree heat to get here. 98 days to go. At least. I have 7.5 days to get to Mobile, AL (more on that below).

To make this possible I carry enough pharmaceuticals to qualify as luggage for a third person -- third because I have to leave room for Lynn, who'll be meeting me on the road on several occasions lugging luggage -- and more drugs. This makes the usual daunting task of packing a motorcycle that much worse. But hey, I'm alive, I've lost 20 lbs, my blood pressure is 110/70, and if that requires a gym bag full of pill bottles, so be it. I'll just strap it on with shock cord!
Forty five pills a day. I haven't figured out if the pills or my meals will be the larger daily expense. Life costs money -- more when you're older.

Here's what the trip is going to look like:

Leave El Segundo, ride the bike to Mobile, AL, and pick Lynn up at the airport there on Day 9

Drive the length of the Florida coast, west to east including Key West, and drop Lynn at Jacksonville airport on Day 18

Drive to Pasadena, MD (near Annapolis), where Lynn will meet me (four days later) and:
a)  We'll stay in an unoccupied waterfront home belonging to two good friends of ours,
b)  We'll attend the 30th birthday party of our former cruising boat Wind Song,
c)  We'll attend our daughter's commencement from St. John's College, and
d)  Lynn will fly home again (Day 26)

Spend five days nerdling around the Delaware and New Jersey shorelines and arrive at JFK Airport the morning of Saturday May 23rd (Day 31), where I will board a plane for Phoenix, AZ. Once there I will:
a)  Pick up Lynn at PHX airport,
b)  Attend the wedding of Jeff, the son of my cousin Becky and her husband Larry, and
c)  Fly back to JFK (and Lynn to El Segundo), and drive 125 miles to visit my
uncle Gregor and aunt Nancy, my mother's brother and his wife, in Groton, CT.

That will be May 26th, Day 34. I am due next in Sutton's Bay, MI (northern Michigan) on July 9th, so I'll have time to spend a couple lay days in Groton, a couple more in Acadadia National Park, Maine, and a few days to get past Lakes Ontario and Erie -- north (through Canada) or south (through the US), I haven't decided yet. Or something in the middle. There are pros and cons both ways.

I have planned four lay days in Sutton's Bay (on the waters of Grand Traverse Bay, MI) with my uncle Donald and aunt Joyce, my father's brother and his wife (and Becky's parents), and I hope to relax and catch my breath. You may wonder how I imagine I might want to "relax and catch my breath" when I'm retired, but here's the thing Lynn and I have learned after much adventuring: you NEVER really *see* a place the first time you visit. You ALWAYS have to "go back later, when you have more time", because you're ALWAYS on a schedule, and you NEVER know ahead of time what will grab your heart and demand more of your attention. You just have to plan to go back later.

After Michigan I will go around (north or south, don't know yet) Lakes Huron and Superior, coming eventually to Sagle, ID, on Lake Pend d'Oreille, where I will stay with friends Warren & Jean for a few days awaiting Lynn, who will arrive at Spokane Airport on June 26th, Day 65.  We will then:
a)  Visit Larry and Maryann in Clarksville, WA (they who own the house on the water in Pasadena, MD),
b)  Spend two nights in Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park,
c)  Spend two more in the Many Glaciers Lodge (also GNP),
d)  Yet another two in the Prince of Wales Hotel on Waterton Lake in Waterton National Park, Canada,
e)  Hit a few other sights along the way,
f)   Get back to Sagle in time for a
family conference (Lynn's side) regarding their property on Lake Pend d'Oreille, and
g)  Drop Lynn off at Spokane to fly home.

I will then spend a week toodling around Idaho and Montana before arriving in Bozeman, MT on July 17th, Day 86, to pick up Lynn, because yet another son-of-a-cousin is getting marred (Aaron, son of Randy, whose sister is Becky in Phoenix and whose parents are Don and Joyce in Sutton's Bay. Have you got that? Are you following? Are you so bored your head's making clunking noises on the keyboard?)

Shoot, let's move on then. All I'm doing from there is heading over to the Pacific coast at the Olympic Peninsula, turning left, and riding south until I hit El Segundo. The whole thing's in an Excel spreadsheet (for those who crave more detail) -- HERE.

I'll  try to do an update each week or so, with pictures. No pictures today (you don't really want a picture of this Super 8 hotel -- which is at least as photogenic as anything else I saw today). I'll send out email alerts when new updates are uploaded. If you're reading this, want to be included, and have not already received the first alert, please email me.

Here are the reports:

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #1 - El Segundo, CA to Alpine, TX

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #2 - Alpine, TX to Fairhope, AL

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #3 - Fairhope, AL to Spring Hill, FL

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #4 - Spring Hill, FL to Vero Beach, FL

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #5 - Vero Beach, FL to Morehead City, NC

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #6 - Morehead City, NC to Rehoboth Beach, DE

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #7 - Rehoboth Beach, DE, to JFK Airport, NY

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #8 - JFK Airport, NY to Acadia National Park, ME

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #9 - JFK Airport, NY to Acadia National Park, ME

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #10 - Acadia National Park, ME to St Johnsbury, VT

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #11 - in Niagara Falls, NY

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #12 - St Johnsbury, VT to Imlay City, MI

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #13 - Imlay City, M to Suttons Bay, MI

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #14 - Suttons Bay area adventures

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #15 - Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #16 - Libby, MT to Sagle, MT to Clarkston, WA to Many Glacier, Glacier Nat'l Park, MT

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #17 - Waterton Lake and the Prince of Wales Hotel, Canada

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #18 - Waterton Lake, Canada to Missoula, MT

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #19 - Missoula, MT to Bozeman, MT

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #20 - Bozeman, MT to Omak, WA

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #21 - Omak, WA to Reedsport, OR

USA 2009 Motorcycle Tour update #22 - Reedsport, OR to El Segundo, CA