The greatest trip of my life! Background The three of us, pictured here, ride with the ABR Riders (Alfs Bar Run Riders). This is a great group of riders with a great motto, Shut up and RIDE! I originally met one of the club members, Tony, on NC 80 one day a couple of years ago heading toward the Blue Ridge Parkway and he invited me to ride with the club. I must say riding with these guys is an honor and a blast! So, at the last ABR ride Tony happened to mention to me that Cecil wanted to take a trip and head out west and immediately I thought Oh Wow! So have I. Tony had been out West many times and after some discussion he quickly put together a basic plan for us to think about. After we talked about the different possible routes, Tony took the basic plan home and created a great route based on his past rides and planned the destinations so that we would get the most out of our trip. This is a pic that Cecil emailed me about a month before, I think he was ready! The Plan We were to ride eleven days (that is all the vacation I had) and visit the Badlands, Sturgis, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Pikes Peak and spend some time in Colorado. To be honest, when I first read the plan I was a little freaked out. I had never been outside of the southeast on a motorcycle and I have never spent more than five days straight on a bike before. You will soon find out that not only did we visit all of those destinations that we had discussed, but Tony had failed to mention that we would also be visiting The Moab, Four Corners, The Million Dollar Highway, Chief Joseph Highway, The Smoky Mountain National Park, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, not to mention a few yet unnamed mountain passes. Lets just say that Cecil and I were in for a few surprises! My Bike, the Buell XB12XT I love my bike but I knew it was not setup for a trip like this. Fortunately, I had already been experimenting with the new Michelin Road Pilot Three tires and I was getting some great millage out of them. So a new set was ordered and filled with tire sealant. Next, I ordered a $20 throttle lock and setup my IPhone with a Ram mount. Five thousand miles before this the Buell received a new belt, new wheel bearings and new brakes and the bike was already outfitted with an adjustable windshield, GPS and wiring for my electric gear. I also had a Scala Rider G4 that would be supplying music for those long stretches. Day 1 818 miles Temp 65-85 degrees On day one of the trip, I was up at 5am and on the road by 5:30am and the goal was to meet up with Cecil and Tony in Forest City, NC by 7am. Forest City is about 50 miles from Charlotte. It was a cool morning and I had my liners in and I am not going to lie, I was a little nervous that morning. The goal was to ride to Kansas City Missouri by that night and that was ~1000 miles! The most I had ever done in one day was 500 miles from Charlotte NC to WV riding nothing but back roads. Well, it was a nice surprise to pull up and eat breakfast with the guys and their families before setting out. I think I calmed down a little after that. That first day went quick and the states were rolling by fast. Of course our adrenaline was pretty high, it being the first day of this great trip. Tonys Goldwing was definitely the bike of that day. That bike can put down the miles. However, Cecils GS and my Buell were doing great and by the end of that day, I had discovered how nice it was to have a throttle lock! This was also a trial run for me to see if I could do a Saddle Sore 1000 and I have no doubt I could easily do it. As we traveled west and the sun started to set it was a great end to a great day of riding! I had never seen that part of the country and riding into the sunset was a great way to end the day. We did not make it to Kansas City because we ran out of daylight, but that was fine with me. I was feeling great and that Saddle Sore 1000 could definitely have been done. We finished the night outside Columbia, Missouri at a Motel 6.