I went for a ride in America and ended up doing 21,475 miles in 4 months.

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Gary France, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts!

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    +1...Although I'm a big fan of ebooks for text-based content like news and novels...I much prefer print for publications that effectively use photographs as an integral component.

    Congratulations on your journey across America. The Southwest is one of my favorite places for motorcycling. I'll be headed that way in June for a multi-state ride up the Rockies.

    BTW, I took a motorcycle to the UK for a three-year work assignment. Lived in Nottingham and greatly enjoyed exploring the Peak District on the weekends.
    #21
  2. murdock84

    murdock84 Been here awhile

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    Very nice journey!
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  3. KLRoger

    KLRoger Adventurer

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    Well Gary I think you are going to have to do a part two on this ride. You still have way to much to see to stop now. You missed the pacific north west and the south. What about Alaska? And how can you say you've seen America when you missed Texas altogether? It's spring time so come on back and meet the rest of us.:freaky

    One question though; do Europeans fear for their safety in the USA? If so why?
    #23
  4. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    CharlestonADV – The Southwest was one of my favourite areas of the USA to ride in. California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada have such great roads and scenery, it is motorcycling heaven! I wish you well for your June ride in the Rockies. A question for you – you say you took a motorcycle to the UK. Was that an American registered bike with a US licence plate? If so, how did you get on with the Police here> Ever get stopped with that plate?
    #24
  5. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    KLRoger – I am afraid you have touched a nerve there. You are so right about part 2, as I would love to be able to complete the map and say that I have ridden in every state. Alas, I have no plans currently for a part 2, but one day.....

    I am however going to be able to cross a few more states off later this year, as I am riding from Daytona in Florida to Galveston in Texas. So, I will have covered the great state of Texas, or at least a pat of it!

    As to your question about Europeans fearing for their safety in the USA. I have real mixed views about this. Before my long journey through America, I gave this a lot of thought. We hear so many news stories about mass-shootings and general gun crime in America that of course, it plays on your mind. It didn’t put me off riding a motorcycle across America at all, but I did worry about it a little before I started. During the trip, I hardly gave it a moment’s thought. I was staying in motels most nights and if I had been camping I probably would have thought about it more. I experienced absolutely no trouble of any kind on my trip and found that away from the big cities, the people were generally all very friendly and welcoming, to the point that I was very relaxed indeed. In the big cities I was much more careful of where I went and was deliberately more aware of my surroundings, but I do that in my own city of London.

    Overall, I didn’t fear for my safety and that would never put me off travelling around America. As an Englishman, I tread very carefully about the current US gun law debate, for I can see it is a complex issue for America. I live in a country where most forms of guns are not allowed (except shotguns for hunting) and shooting incidents are rare. Am I happy about travelling around a country like America with such widespread gun ownership? Yes, I am, but it is only natural to worry about what could happen. I found the key was simply to be careful and not to get into any situations that could lead to confrontation. Having said that though, it is exactly the same approach I take when travelling anywhere in the world, so America is really not a lot different to most places in that respect.
    #25
  6. kreattur

    kreattur Adventurer

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    Hey !

    This thread looks amazing ! I'm actually planning a very similar trip in the US (4 to 6 months), so I'll follow your story carefully :) (and have a look to your book...)
    Thanks for sharing !

    cheers
    #26
  7. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    kreattur, how did you get on planning your own trip?

    Gary
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  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Planning is critical. If you don't have a plan, you can't deviate from it.

    Absolutely - you missed the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast/Appalachains entirely. There are still immense regional differences, but these are rapidly disappearing as mass media homogenizes the country.

    Oddly, I'm seeing a reverse trend in Europe as regional identities and languages are re-emerging - especially in the Alpine regions.

    Glad that you enjoyed your ride. One needs to spend a significant amount of time in another culture to be able to get below the surface gloss/stereotypes and appreciate it.
    #28
  9. Montana Maniac

    Montana Maniac Adventurer

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    Amazing pictures so far!!!
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  10. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Gary,
    I'm not sure how I missed the beginning of your adventure here in the US. You for sure covered some of the best of the US for sure. As for being able to cover everything to be marveled at, just is not going to happen. I've been roaming this country pretty heavy for the last 20 years by motorcycle and have not put a big dent in all the things I want to experience. I still plan on getting to a few places I have not been to yet but, sadly, it will probably be in my truck due to injuries and mainly, as getting older, less tolerant to the extremes of heat and cold. :lol3 Probably have the KLR on the back bumper though. ;-)
    #30
  11. boatpuller

    boatpuller Been here awhile

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    Gary, and also Aidan: Thank you for your very kind comments about America and Americans. They actually brought a tear to my eye. It is a treat to share our country with visitors such as yourselves.


    BTW, I've motorcycled in 46 of our 50 states, and traveled in the other 4 by car or air plane. I've never carried a gun on those trips, nor been in a situation where I've wished for one. Nothing against those who do, just never felt a pull to do so myself, and everywhere I've been has been safe. As you found out, America is not a dangerous country. Glad you were willing to give us a try.
    #31
  12. zagger

    zagger chopped & dirty

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    Although I am 100% on the side of pro-gun advocates, I have never had a single instance in my 60 years living and traveling in the US where I felt so threatened that I would have actually shot someone. I view the gun debate as a "freedom" debate. Cracking down on the entire US population simply because some adults cannot handle the freedoms they are allowed is insanity. Some people drive like maniacs, so should cars be banned? Banning cars is never discussed because virtually everyone has access to one, has driven one, and would regard such a mandate as insanity. It only "makes sense" when the group on the ban list is relatively small and not "mainstream". Outsiders get entirely the wrong impression concerning US violence based on our TV shows and our very public discussions about guns. The reality is that nearly all violence in the cities is caused by, and happens to, groups of people who do the same thing day-after-day. The only people who are affected by new gun laws are the ones who are not the problem!
    zag
    #32
  13. kreattur

    kreattur Adventurer

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    Hey ! Thanks for asking.
    Well I've been hanging on on ADvrider for a while and seen so many amazing things, that I have difficulties to make a decision !
    So, nothing really new from France. I have a bit less than 4 months for my trip, and my first idea is still to do the USA and a bit of Canada.
    But some folks make my look towards Asia, even though it looks harder for a newbie, it looks also very nice... !

    I should start to hurry soon... ! (leaving beginning of march)
    #33
  14. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    Michael J – You are correct, I missed who areas of the US. Darn it, I will just have to go back and ride those! You are so right about the stereotypes, as from my experience, they are the exception, not the rule.
    #34
  15. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej Long timer

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    Gary,
    Thanks for the photos and for your comments on the people and places in the US. Glad you had a great experience.
    -ceej
    #35
  16. doc4216

    doc4216 Chronic High Fiver

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    Gary,

    What a great intro, now I have to go buy your book! So glad things went well and you enjoyed your trip. Though I know your new found love for the Southwest, try the appalachians next time and see what you think. Maybe a detour to Western NC/ Eastern TN is order to compare when you come to Daytona? Just a thought! Great pics and stay safe!
    #36
  17. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    I totally agree Michael, it is very easy to have a distorted view of somewhere and its people until you have spent significant time there. My view of America definately changed as a result of experiencing it for myself over 4 months.
    #37
  18. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    achesley, the USA is so large and diverse, I think it is almost impossible for anyone to see everything they might want to. From mountains to deserts, from busy cities to deserted plains, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from snow to sunshine, the USA has it all. What a country to travel in!

    I was very lucky to be able to see so much crammed into 4 months, but I too only scratched the surface.
    #38
  19. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    Boatpuller, it was a joy to experience how welcoming your fellow Americans were during my trip. Almost everywhere I went people wanted to chat, were very kind and went out of their way to help. I cannot thank them enough. People asked me if I wanted to carry a gun on my trip and my answer was always no. You are right, America is not a dangerous country.
    #39
  20. Gary France

    Gary France Rider and Writer

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    doc4216 - I really must come back to America one day and ride the states I missed on my first tour. I will try to take your advice!
    #40