Those that have gone before

I’m not the first to undertake an adventure like this, and I won’t be the last. Nick from Triumph Motorcycle Training has already wished me luck on my About page and mentioned his own adventures crossing America.

A couple of British guys who have ridden across the USA have written books about their experiences. I  had a pleasant surprise one morning in February 2011 when these two books unexpectedly arrived on my doorstep: Tom Cunliffe‘s Good Vibrations: Coast to Coast by Harley and John McKay’s One Brit, One Bike, One Big Country.

Unbeknown to me, Doreen had found them and ordered them as a surprise present for me. I hadn’t known her long at the time, but of course I’d mentioned to her my ambition to ride America, especially as she had spent 10 years living in San Francisco. I’m sure a lot of ladies would have discouraged a prospective partner from such a trip, but not Doreen. To my mind, it just shows what a fantastic woman she is to be so full of encouragement for me to live my dreams even though it would mean that we would be spending months apart. And I’m so pleased she found the books – they both proved to be informative and inspiring.

Of the two books, I’d have to say that Tom’s “Good Vibrations” is probably the most accessible to a non-biker. He has an easier writing style and the book is packed full of interesting and amusing anecdotes. Good Vibrations would be an enjoyable read even for a casual reader with no aspirations for a road trip across the States. It tells the story of Tom shipping his bike, Black Madonna, a Harley Davidson Soft-tail Heritage Classic, into Baltimore, where he and his wife, Ros, follow by plane. Ros hasn’t long had her motorcycle licence, but is determined to ride her own bike across America. They manage to find Ros a ride, Betty Boop, a bright yellow Harley Davidson Sportster 883. Then off they set coast to coast across America, including an unplanned stop at Sturgis during rally week.

John’s “One Brit, One Bike, One Big Country” stays much more focused on his trip and is definitely written more from a biker’s perspective – although it would still be an enjoyable read for a non-biker. It tells the story of John flying into Florida for the Daytona Motorcycle Rally with a mission to find a steel stead and to ride the 4 corners of the USA. After some searching, he finds an ugly orange Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and off he sets, via the Florida Keys, and the books relates his adventures.

Whilst I was planning my trip before Doreen discovered these books, they are certainly the inspiration for this blog.


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