“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
Do you dream of going on an epic adventure? What does your ideal journey look like? Where would you go and how would you get there?
Today’s guest post from Richard Geertson shares how he broke free from his comfort zone to pursue a two-wheeled trip of a lifetime. His story suggests that adventure is the fountain of youth – that overcoming obstacles and gaining new experiences can invigorate us at any age.
Richard lives in Dixon, California with his wife of 26 years, Cheryl, and their son Aric. He attended Del Valle High School (with our very own Matt Gersper) and later attained degrees in Broadcasting and Electronics Engineering Technology. He works for Siemens Healthcare as a Regional Service Manager. In addition to his love for Harley Davidson motorcycles, his interests include radio controlled model aircraft, politics and staying healthy.
Keep reading for Richard’s story and let us know if you think adventure is the fountain of youth!
I’ve flown over these United States many times and gazed down upon the great expanses of land between the coasts – eager to experience those 2 dimensional images up close. Although a cross-country road trip by car was a viable option, the idea of traveling within the comfortable cocoon of a car simply didn’t provide enough motivation or challenge.
Sometimes we need to break out of our comfort zones to truly feel alive and invigorated; to experience the best life has to offer.
Mark, a life-long friend, acquired a Harley Davidson a couple of years ago and in 2013 made the long trek from California to Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual biker bacchanalia. Despite riding motorcycles most of my life, I did not own a Harley at the time. Mark’s adventure was highly intriguing. His experiences, combined with the acquisition of a second Harley, re-piqued my desire. With his urging and my wife’s blessings, I purchased a Harley Davidson CVO Ultra with a goal of making the trip to Sturgis for the 75th anniversary, July 30 – Aug 9, 2015.
I tend to set high, difficult-to-attain expectations and had long romanticized the idea of cross-country motorcycle touring. The trip to Sturgis would be a 9-day affair, covering 7 states and 3,600 miles. We carefully planned our route and packed for the possible weather extremes, from the scorching heat of Death Valley to the summer rains of South Dakota and Idaho.
The first leg was just Mark and I riding from the San Francisco Bay Area up and over Sonora Pass, through central California and Death Valley, arriving in Las Vegas, where we would meet two others riding in from San Diego. Next, we would journey through Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and the final destination in South Dakota. The ride back would wind through northern Wyoming and Idaho, Yellowstone Park and the Grand Teton mountain range, south through Nevada and finally home.
The first day’s ride was both the longest and most challenging; departing at 6:30am and arriving Las Vegas at 9pm, for a total of 675 miles in the saddle. Entering Death Valley we encountered light rains and 82 degrees, but exiting Death Valley the temperature hit 114… the closest I hope to ever come to riding through a convection oven! Getting into Las Vegas after dark, we encountered high winds, blowing sand and rain showers. The remaining legs of our trip averaged 450 miles per day. Simply “surviving’ the first day made the remaining segments seem easy peasy…
Pictures and high-definition programs on the topographies of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, did nothing to prepare me for the magnificence of riding up to, through and past them aboard an iconic American motorcycle! The obstructions inherent in an automobile – the windshield, roof, doors, and even air conditioning – act as barriers to the sights, smells and sounds experienced on a bike. We spotted eagles, coyote, elk, deer and buffalo.
Our ride took us through the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park. Traversing the high desert on two-laners that disappeared into the horizon, passing magnificent bluffs, mountains and plains stretching hundreds of miles, it was a soul-satisfying adventure I will never forget.
In Sturgis there were more motorcycles than I will ever see in a thousand lifetimes… it is estimated that this year’s rally is a record-breaker. We are already making plans to attend the 100th Sturgis anniversary, at which time we’ll be knocking on 80 years young! Hey, you’re as young as you feel – and hauling across these magnificent United States on a Harley Davidson is like climbing aboard a time machine!
Images via Richard Geertson