I figure the time is right now to begin this thread, my personal account of my first time riding around the country. Solo. This will be the “introduction” post so I expect it to be a lengthy one; just the backstory to this adventure. Im currently 29 years old, been living in Chattanooga since August 2009. Came here from Winston-Salem area for college, graduated, bought myself a home about 5 years ago and I’ve enjoyed it here. Been riding since I was 6 years old when my dad bought me a Manco minibike out of the local classifieds. Granted there were some years there between the dirt bike days and the street days but I’ve got 20 solid years under my belt. I am going to attempt this trip on my 2012 Triumph street triple r. It currently has about 20.500 miles; I blew the original engine right at 12000 so this random eBay ‘12 engine has X miles on it. Still, the bike is phenomenal and far better equipped than my ‘07 SV677 “track bike”. I’ve already spent roughly 1500 on the Kriega 50L combo bags, 3 sea to summit stuff sacks (probably overkill in hindsight), a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, kelty late start 2 tent, Smith and Wesson 40 cal mp shield, lantern, basic cooking/coffee stuff, and a couple other small items. Also got a set of Michelin road 5’s coming in Monday. Can’t think of much else I need, bare minimum speaking. Hoping to spend 5-6 nights a week camping where I can. My goal is to leave Wednesday July 1, around 6 am. My tires should arrive Monday, I’ll get them mounted Tuesday and get the bike sorted, and be done. I expect to take at least 3-4 weeks. Maybe double, who knows. I’m going till the unemployment money runs out or I give up. Leaving from Chattanooga I don’t have a too incredible specific route or agenda. I have never been to the Ozarks so I think I’d like to camp and spend a day there. I don’t want to rush so I expect to take two days to reach the Ozarks in Arkansas, but it doesn’t appear that I can camp at a national park in Mississippi. So I’ll try to make my way to East Arkansas day 1, find a place, then explore the Ozarks day 2. From there I will try to find Route 66 in Oklahoma and camp. Maybe ride Route 66 a day or two (although I wanted to see Austin and Texas), then head north to Colorado where I will ride pikes peak and check out Denver and the surrounding area probably at least a couple days. Maybe Vegas from there, then LA, then spend a few days in California, seeing the redwoods, traveling the Gold Coast up to the Pnw. After that I’ll make my way to the Black Hills. From there, I don’t know. Im lucky enough to be a second generation motorcyclist. My dad rode for 45 years before finally stopping after hitting his 70’s. Mind you at that time he was riding a 500+ rwhp, carbon-fiber wheels, handlebar-raised hayabusa. I grew up looking up to the story of my dad riding his Norton across the country from dc to San Francisco. Now I’m grown and realize how different our journeys will be seeing as he had a friend riding with him and he did it all in 6 days and flew back. Still, I’ve been wanting to do this since about Kindergarten. Now my dad is 72, and was diagnosed with Leukemia last September. He spent over 30 days in the hospital, I used FMLA, we for sure thought he may not survive. Luckily he has done well, he and my mother have just in the last couple of days settled into their hotel room outside Vandy in Nashville, where he will start his bone marrow transplant July 10. My 30th birthday is July 12. I know statistically it’s not really great for 70-somethings with Leukemia to survive bone marrow transplants, but it was enough for him to try, for us as a family. So of course that has me concerned. And at the beginning of the process they bring your immunity down to absolute zero, which is when you’d be most susceptible...which should happen for him right around my birthday. Regardless, I know he’d much rather I be undertaking a journey like this than sitting around at home twiddling my thumbs. So I’m going. To add to the emotional turbulence, I did split with a 4 year, live-in girlfriend in January. Lots of alcoholism and fighting and hardly any riding for years. So this trip has some significance to me. I was laid off in March and have been drawing unemployment and shredding Deals Gap since April. You could say my life has changed a little since this time last year. Regardless, I may never have enough time and money to do this again, so I’m going for it. Attached are some recent photos of me testing my new camping gear out at Deals gap and some other miscellaneous items. My parents with my dad’s old Harley.