I am a 70-year-old United Methodist Minister who just retired. For years, I’ve been dreaming about this trip, and now it’s possible. It will begin on July 10, 2013, when I head to Spearfish, SD, for the third annual NT-Owners Club Rally. From there, I’ll be heading north (more or less) on the Ride.
I’m married to Joanne who has one more year to work. My kids are both grown: Chris, married to Tania, and living in Montrose, CO. He is a trail runner who amazes me with his exploits. Kelly lives in Greeley and is Natalie’s mother.
My ride is a 2010 Honda NT700VA with 57,000 miles at the start of the Trip. I bought it when I decided that I was too old to pick up the bike I’d been riding for 11 years previously, a Kawasaki Concours.
My Motorcycle History:
I started riding in 1997, on a friend’s Honda Shadow 600. I assumed I’d be a “cruiser” kind of guy, but when I got serious about buying a bike, the first one to present itself was a “1983 Honda GL-650i — $2500.” I had no idea what that meant, but called the guy, went and looked at it, and, lo and behold, it was baby touring machine. The ’83 Silverwing had the same fairing as the ’83 Goldwing, but much smaller panniers and trunk, and a 650cc transverse V-Twin (I used to pretend it was a Moto Guzzi). I rode it for 20,000 miles in slightly more than a year and then suggested to my fiancée that we ought to buy a new bike for our honeymoon. She said, “OK.” (See why I love Joanne?)
I wanted a BMW R1100RT, but they were way way WAY out of my league. Then I saw a ’98 Kawasaki Concours and decided it was close enough. We bought a ’99, the lovely Candy Amarinth Mica Red that most of us who owned them thought were purple. Joanne and I took our honeymoon on it and then I rode it on at least one long trip a year, usually connected with a Concours Owners Group National Rally or some other COG function.
I put 115,000 on that bike and then wadded it up in the mountains one night, escaping with only bruising of skin and ribs. A couple of months later, I bought another ’99 from a friend who was buying a Goldwing 1800. I rode #2 another 45,000 miles before trading it for my NT.
My longest trip prior to this “Epic Ride” was an 11,000 mile jaunt to Hyder, Alaska, and across much of the American West. I also was privileged to accompany the ’08 Over-the-Pond rider, Dave Owen from Prince George to Europe for the GCE Rally (GCE means GTR Club Europe). I put about 3800 miles on a ’99 GTR (the Euro-equivalent of a Concours 1000) riding in Germany, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Austria, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland. Most of that was by myself, but some was with Dave, a Belgian friend, and a Dutch friend.
The NT meets my needs superbly, although as riding partner Jim says, it would be great if it was 100 pounds lighter, but then we couldn’t afford it.