This may get wordy at first. Either get over it or go read about yet another BMW GS trip. This is a tall tale about a bunch of 23 year olds riding $1000 35 year old bikes cross country on a peanut butter sandwich budget. We cant even afford the jelly. As most great ideas do, it all started over pizza and beer. My friend Nick and I were out having a few, and as it always does, the conversation drifted to motorcycles. Within a pint or so we both decided we wanted to take a long bike trip this summer. Despite a significant lack of long distance motorcycling experience (none at all in fact), what could go wrong? The only problem was Nick was bikeless, having recently relinquished his trusty CM200T back to his uncle, and all I had was a worn out CB360 that puked oil along with some project bikes. We didnt care, we were going to make this happen. We both were itching for another road trip, both of us were ready to quit our jobs, and we really didnt have much in the way of obligations. Why the hell not? So the plan was to sell off all of our stuff, find some bikes, and take off. We dont have a plan for coming back, not sure if we even will. We pretty much plan to ride until we run out of money, find work and make more of it, then take off again. Ive done similar stuff in the past in an MG, but never on a bike, and never without a place to return to. So yeah, were young, dumb, naïve, a little crazy, and its going to be a lot of fun. Nick started looking for a bike, any bike, in the $500-600 range. He must have looked at a dozen bikes all over North Carolina that were total piles of shit, usually with title issues, and would have required untold amounts of time and money to get roadworthy. About a month went by and though his budget was growing, he still didnt have a bike, we hadnt talked about the trip much, and I wasnt sure if it was still going to happen. I sent him an email one night with a couple links to bike videos, and told him straight up that if he watched them and wasnt inspired to sell all of his stuff and hit the road then he was just another wannabe pansy-ass bitch poser. The next day he was in 100%. Nothing like some name calling and peer pressure He kept sending me links to Craigslist ads and one morning I woke up to one with a 1981 Honda GL500 Silverwing for $1100. It was utterly hideous, with a Vetter fairing and a trunk on the back that was the equivalent of a motorcycle hemorrhoid. In other words, it was perfect. He picked me up straight from work that evening and we went to downtown Asheville and checked it out in the middle of a freak late spring snow shower. It was semi-hacked up with the wrong tank on it and a front wiring harness that looked like spaghetti vomit, but it only had 5000 miles on it and fired right up. We didnt even take it on a test ride but I told Nick if he didnt buy it I would. Again, gotta love peer pressure. Nick handed over $1000 and since he didnt have his MC endorsement yet I rode it back to my house for him. It sat in my driveway for about a week and the more I looked at it, the more I convinced myself that it was so ugly it was cool, plus it was cheap. All in all a great buy. I was more than a little envious, as we were hoping to leave in a month or so and I still didnt have a good machine for it. Nick riding his bike for the first time: A friend offered me his 650 Nighthawk, a great bike, but it was more than I wanted to spend and just didnt feel like the right one. I became a Craigslist bike hound, checking it five or six times a day all around the Asheville area. One night as I was scrolling through the thumbnail pictures I saw a familiar shape in the background of an ad for a Harley Sportster. It looked like a Silverwing. I emailed the guy and sure enough it was for sale too, he had to sell one of his two bikes. We played phone tag for a week or so and then one night he called me up desperate to sell a bike that weekend. It was only a couple miles from where I lived so I went and looked at it only to find out it wasnt a Silverwing, but a 1980 CX500 Deluxe with a Vetter Windjammer fairing on it. A similar but still totally different bike. It was love at first sight. It was really clean and just stupidly original, I was able to get the full history of the bike, and it came with a box of new parts, a manual, and some old Bates sidebags. I rode it home in a rainstorm for the princely sum of $1050. Nick came over and we celebrated over a couple beers, both of us realizing that this wasnt a fantasy anymore, this shit was going to really happen. I never thought I would own a bike with a Vetter fairing, but the more I looked at the bike the more it grew on me Nick had been talking to an old friend of his, Ben, up in Boone who was about to graduate from college and was thinking about a trip to South America afterwards. Nick told him about our plans and forwarded him the same email I had originally sent. Ben didnt want to be a wannabe pansy-ass bitch poser either, and all it took was watching a couple videos and he was in too. Not a week after I bought my bike he had located a 1979 CX500 Standard about an hour away. Nick and him went and looked at it. Cosmetically it was a bit of a pig and it needed some work, but it ran great. Ben picked up his diamond in the rough for just $650. Not excited at all: Dig that King & Queen! A month before none of us even knew what a CX/GL 500 was, we never planned on having similar bikes either. It all just sort of happened. We were just cheap bastards and these happened to be the best bikes we could find in our $1000 budgets. First time getting all three bikes together for a work day: Where the bikes lived in my driveway for a couple months: A little more background before we get to the actual trip. Heres the three of us, from left to right, Ben, Nick, and Me: Nick and I lived on the same floor freshman year at Appalachian State up in Boone, and a few years later we both found ourselves in Asheville and would hang out sporadically. Though Ben and Nick were friends in Boone, I never knew Ben, and only met him once before this whole trip started, on the day he brought his bike down for us to work on it. Now while Nick and I have been riding for the past few years, Ben had basically no motorcycle experience at all. In fact, he didnt ride his bike for the first time until a week before we left on the trip, and put more miles on it the first day on the road than he had in all the time before that. Dude has balls. During the month of June, Nick and I quit our jobs and started saving up. He moved out of his house, and in a weird twist of fate, started hanging out at the house across the street from me, where his friend Megan had moved into. At this point we knew we werent going to be ready to go until the end of July. Not wanting to go out and spend money, we started porching it hard, spending hours upon hours hanging out and scheming about where to go and what to do. This is where Megan entered the picture. Our nonstop chatter and excitement must have been contagious because one day she pulled him aside and simply said, I want to go. And just like that our group grew to four people on three bikes. The month of July flew by, dialing in the bikes, selling off our stuff, moving out of houses. I loaded up my precious BSA M20 and put it in the back of my spacevan to be stored at my uncles place a few hours away. Nick, Megan, and I each sold a car too. Living across the street from each other, we basically woke up in the morning, walked outside, and starting hanging out getting stuff done during the day, then drinking a few beers at night. It was a nice routine, and if we werent sick of each other by the time the trip rolled around, well surely we could spend even more time together... For the final few weeks before we left we turned Megans basement garage into an impromptu bike shop, doing everything from carb and igntion work to new tires. Ben finally showed up a week before we left, and we really hit high gear. I was Craigslisting my stuff and junk and things away every day, Nick was taking care of last minute side work, Ben was dialing in his bike, and Megan was packing up her stuff. At this point we had all been hanging out nonstop for about 3 weeks. Megan and Nicks friend Anna had been there all along, and she was starting to catch the road trip fever. Only three days before we were going to leave, she decided to come along for a few weeks too. And just like that we had a full on motorcycle gang. Five people on three bikes. The last week is still a blur. This is pretty much how things went down: Notice that sweet sissy bar? Nick and I ran a load of scrap for some spare cash and while there found an old stepladder. A little drilling, hammering and chin-scratching later it was the most badass sissy bar of all time. We did roll in to the Wedges Wednesday bike night and got to finally show off all three of the bikes that we had been talking about for weeks. (Speaking of which if anyone in Asheville reads this, can you make sure Earl gets a link to this ride report, hes the man, and we didnt get to see him off). 2 days before we left we tore the bikes down. Nick did the steering head bearings on Bens bike and I did the front forks on all three of the bikes, then we all worked until midnight getting them back together. The last day before we left was spent clearing out of our houses and figuring out how to pack our junk on the bikes. Ben picked up a last minute tank bag and windshield for his bike. He had picked up a cheap Vetter fairing but we didnt have time or tools to engineer mounting brackets for it. We never even had time for a practice ride together.