I love America. I have been fortunate enough to visit that great country on five occasions, covering several thousands of miles around the East Coast (in a car) and seeing some beautiful sights and meeting wonderful people. It has been my ambition for some years to travel across the continent on a motorbike and now I am fairly advanced in the planning of that adventure. The air tickets for my wife and I to Los Angeles are booked and paid for and the deposit for shipping the bike (2012 BMW R1200GS Adventure) has also been paid. The salient date, DV, is Friday 26 July, 2013. The ride report is, at this point, a prologue. It sketches out the intended route around America and when that is done, will relate how the bike is being set up (I have learned that there is such a thing as a cigarette lighter powered hairdryer) and other observations from our preparations. The bike is being shipped to Portland Oregon and we will make our way to Cannon Beach in order to validate the name of our trip Perhaps there will be a photo of us with our feet in the Pacific Ocean. We will head inland along the Columbia River Gorge, up into Washington, across Montana into Wyoming where we start heading south. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are on the list as we head towards Utah and Arizona. We will try and include all the obvious sights, but as we progress we hope folk will volunteer destinations from their own experience which we can consider. Up again through Utah (Arches) and then into Colorado (Rocky Mountain National Park) where we will observe how well a fully loaded bike performs at 12,000'! Quickly across Nebraska to something that I have wanted to see all my sapient life: Mt Rushmore. That is one of the world's truly great monuments to Democracy. We will have a look at the South Dakota Badlands and then head due East with Poynette Wisconsin on our radar, where Liz has family. From there we will hit Milwaukee to catch the ferry across Lake Michigan. We have been encouraged to visit Frankenmuth, because one of Liz's great-something-grandfathers pastored a church there in the 1850's. Liz's Lutheran missionary pedigree runs very deep! There is also a very large Christmas store there (the Germans know how to celebrate Christmas!) which worries me a little as Liz, being of German parents, loves Christmas shops! We might have to find a post office. We are then heading into Ontario, where we will visit one of my oldest friends just outside Toronto; and also another distant relative of Liz's (thanks, Facebook). The route from Toronto has not yet been finalised. Depending on how we are for time, it may be through Ottawa and Montreal and then into New Hampshire to make the coast at say, Cape Cod; or down through Niagara Falls, Finger Lakes and some place in New York or New Jersey. Liz will fly from New York in late August to spend a week in South Africa visiting her family before returning to Melbourne. That is what one does when vacation time is limited. But someone has to take the bike back to Portland; and that would be me I have a number of friends to visit in Pennsylvania, Northern and Southern Virginia and North Carolina. That will allow me to visit a number of battlefields from the War Between the States and also once again the Outer Banks of NC. I hope Ocracoke is as I remember it. Heading across NC is the time the bike will be serviced, and perhaps a new tyre. That would be in Charlotte. After that, the Blue Ridge/Smokies is the aiming point. I look forward to their great natural beauty. I stop by in Northern Georgia to say hello to friends and then it is Alabama, Louisiana (perhaps another visit) Mississippi (I had to retype that several times) Arkansas, Oklahoma (another couple whom I haven't seen for thirty years), Texas, New Mexico, Colorado (properly), Wyoming, Idaho and finally Oregon, concluding the ride 'officially' at Florence for the obligatory photo. That will take me in very late September or early October. I have to be back at work October 14th. So, if you have lasted this long, thank you for reading and I congratulate you on your endurance! My next post will be about choosing a bike for the trip; and then on how it is being set up.