New York to Ohio, Via Montana and Canada: 4 Weeks On The Road 19th June 2010 Every journey begins with a few simple words: Once Upon A Time Well, I dont know that this will be an epic, fairy tale-esque journey, but its mine, and its something Ive wanted to do for a while. A little Background: I had a bike years ago, in the 1990s when I was in my mid 20s. My first trip, once I got my license, was Key West on a new Yamaha Seca II (I actually drove down on the temporary license). Why Key West? Well, it was far away (having never driven myself, it was also my first real road trip) and the bridge over the water looked really cool in the movie True Lies (this was back before YouTube meant you could search pretty much any video of any place on earth you wanted). I liked the ride, I liked the adventure, I liked the new scenery (being from Michigan and New York, the northeast scenery all tends to look the same to me). Flash forward a bit, and I go cross-country and really love Nevada and Utah with the scenery being so very different than the northeast. Due to youthful indiscretion (yes, thinking with the wrong head), a minor accident totaled my bike in 1996 and fractured my collar bone (no scars, but some bragging rights I went from the hospital to the Tuesday hang at Ear Inn THAT VERY NIGHT). Foolishly, for personal and financial reasons, I didnt get another bike, put it off, forgot about it, and time moved on a bit. Due to a variety of gods little challenges, I have limited depth perception so while a car was basically a self-imposed no no, bikes (powered and pedaled) really felt fine. Its boring, but in a nutshell, my right eye is rubbish so trying to judge distance from the front right edge of the hood of a car was never pretty). Motorcycle, its basically front to whatever's in front, so much like walking (only faster). But in the back of my mind, nibbling away: BMW GS BMW GS BMW GS . Ive always liked the look of the GS, and remembered vaguely sitting on one in the 90s when they were the new R1100, and had ridden and R1100RT and liked that too. It was different than the Japanese bikes and Harleys Id ridden. Back to the Present: I was turning 40, had gotten way too sedentary, and now had a sort of relatively stressful job that made me appreciate the attraction of a vacation in ways I never previously have. After the usual kvetching about a GS being tall (Im 56, 29 inseam) including driving my co-workers crazy talking about it, and going to a dealer to sit on the big beast GS-Adventure (which I later found out was taller than the non-Adventure) the verdict was still on. The dealer bike was really tall and disturbingly heavy for me, who hadnt sat on a bike for more than 10 years. After more kvetching, approaching my 40th, a GS and a road trip(s) seemed a perfectly reasonable start/ending of a midlife crisis. In September 2009 I bought a 1999 R1100GS from a guy in Massachusetts who did a great job enabling my desire by telling me youll be fine with one foot on the ground being enough to hold up the beast (Ive ridden big bikes, 1500cc GoldWings, Harley tourers.. they all had the weight down low) . From his house in Mass. on a weeks trip around the sound, and it was love. I really loved this bike. It was big, it was a pig, at slow speeds it felt like it was looking for an excuse to fall over, but it was just still so amazingly odd yet confident yet oddly lovable. Trip Planning: Alaska seemed attractive, googling that brought me to advrider.com and also made me realize I wasnt ready for that trip in terms of money, experience on the beast, or time off. February 4th, 2010 I turned 40, and it was important for me to make the trip BEFORE I turned 41. Not entirely arbitrary, also to serve as motivation to DO IT to get the bike and take the trip. Plan B evolved around visiting the northern US states Id missed on my last cross-country trip, Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas, Minnesota. Checking schedules, I found Vintage Days in Ohio would be happening July 10/11 and the following weekend Honda Superbike races, with a natural break of week to shoot up to Traverse City, Michigan to see my mother and visit the grave of my father whod recently passed away. Having been to Ohio many times, driving west thru Ohio and the I states seemed like covering the same ground Id already covered, so up thru Canada then back in thru Montana. So there we are: rough outline, with 4 weeks on the road. Loaded and ready to roll. The blue Sealine bag has tent, sleeping bag, Thermarest, VERY compact cooking kit. Bagster tank cover and bag, Kermit chair tucked under Sealine. What I WONT need for the next 4 weeks. What I WILL need for the next 4 weeks. First day nothing fancy, slabbing north, 350-ish miles. Cheap hotel in Thousand Islands New York area, the driveway is uniquely bad. I saw other motels and businesses around, this driveway was the wildist. Entering Canada toward the evening of a Saturday seemed like a bad idea. The room: its clean, I can park in front, and its cheap. Im travelling solo, so nobody around to complain. Ive stayed in a lot of cheap motels, first time Ive seen this. Also a nice touch, keep it simple (and cheap).