coast to coast motorcycle trip

Coast to Coast Motorcycle Trip – Epic Journey of Transformational Change

In 2018, we changed everything about our lives — retiring from corporate careers, selling our home and all our possessions, starting nomad business ventures and full-time RV travel. We kicked off this huge life transformation with a 26-day coast-to-coast motorcycle trip to reboot our minds and cleanse our spirits. Along the way, we posted our adventures, thoughts, and impressions on Facebook. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of that trip, we’ve pulled together all the posts into a single blog entry here.

June 14

We’ve been spending the last few weeks in the cities of Charlotte and Charleston finalizing closure of our stationary life and getting prepared for nomad life. 

Christina had always wanted to experience life in Uptown Charlotte, and our AirBnB condo right on Tryon and Third fit the bill. We really enjoyed being within walking distance to so many restaurants and parks. We even walked to the movies one day. It feels good to be taking steps toward our goal of being more active throughout our day ! 

We spent the last several days at an AirBnB in the North Central District of Charleston. This area is going through revitalization and has numerous restaurants within walking distance. The historic district is about one mile away as are the Ashley River front and The Citadel. We had some nice walks here saying “Hi” to folks on front porches along the way. All in all, this is a great option if you don’t want to pay downtown prices. We explored further out of the city also and really liked Georgetown and Folly Beach. 

Historic Charleston Fire Station
Historic Charleston Fire Station

The best part of the last few weeks has been catching up with friends. We were able to spend time with many Charlotte friends, and are connecting with friends who live in the Charleston/Coastal NC area this week.

Now it’s time to point the motorcycles west and ride across the country !!

June 15

We are on our way on this coast to coast motorcycle trip. We will be overnighting in Cookesville, TN, Columbia, MO, and Sioux Falls, SD on our way to spend several days roaming around western South Dakota.

June 17

On a coast to coast motorcycle trip, a girl has got to protect her skin as best she can from 8+ hours of highway speed winds.

Can never go wrong riding on Father’s Day!! We made it to Sioux Falls South Dakota. Speed limit on 29N is 80 yes 80 mph. I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day.

June 18

Rode through 3 hours of rain across SD from Sioux Falls to Rapid City. Rain gear a must on a coast to coast motorcycle trip like this. Worked well except for . . .

Motorcycle rain gear

My rain suit pants are a bit too short and let rain in my boots !!

June 19

Rapid City Streetscape

Had a relaxing morning and strolled around downtown Rapid City this afternoon. Wanted to give a special shout out and thanks to Kentucky cousins Jim and Linda Behrman for supporting our coast to coast motorcycle trip by providing us with colorful daily weather forecasts.

June 20

One of the great things about riding is the opportunity to really observe your surroundings and be in the moment. That mindfulness mindset complements the spirit of being on a field trip and using our power of observation to take in and acknowledge what we’re experiencing in the moment. In that spirit, here are a few observations from the last several days of our coast to coast motorcycle trip . . .

Field Trip Observations . . .
– Blue skies all day make for happier riding
– Love that North Carolina plants flowers along the highways
– Not sure if this is funny or sad, but in western North Carolina saw two billboards stacked together – The top one was advertising the great success a local hospital is having with treating heart attacks; the bottom one was advertising the $4 real deal at Hardees. What do you think funny or sad ?!?

Motorcycle Zen

– Getting up before dawn to beat rush hour traffic is worth it because then you’re riding during dawn  :-). (PS – just ’cause I forgot it’s Saturday and there won’t be a rush hour doesn’t take away from the awesomeness of riding at dawn !)
– Love that Tennessee is committed to motorcycle safety – saw numerous “Look Twice” signage throughout our ride.
– Note to self: When overtaking a truck transporting any kind of animals, it’s best to go ahead and get in the passing lane as early as possible. 
– Mid-western drivers are so polite and very considerate to motorcycles – refreshing:-)
– Not one, but two billboards in SD for Dick’s Body Shop with special emphasis on their 24-hour “toe” service. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stop for a pedicure 😉

June 21

Black Hills collage / coast to coast motorcycle trip

Wow – so many Black Hills motorcycle milestones today!! The fun pigtail bridges and tunnels of Iron Mountain Road; the serene open grasslands and pine-speckled hills of Custer State Park’s Wildlife Loop Road; the surreal granite spires of Needles Highway; vistas of Mt. Rushmore; the obligatory visit to Sturgis Harley Davidson; and the outlaw atmosphere of Deadwood. That’s a lot to take in but we have the feeling it’s just scratching the surface and we just know we’ll have to come back to really absorb what this area has to offer. Till next time . . .

June 22

Montana muddy road

Montana what the heck?? This picture is of US Highway 212 between Broadus and I-90 heading to Bozeman Montana. As if riding in the rain isn’t bad enough we see a sign that reads Pavement Ends!!! On a US Highway?? Reminded me of the Long Way Around, Long Way Down series with Ewen McGregor and Charlie Boorman. Only they had dual sport motorcycles not touring bikes. The mud road went on for miles with 18 wheelers coming at us splashing mud everywhere. Why didn’t we turn around you might ask? Because it would have taken us 4 hours out of our way.  Christina and I made it to Bozeman safe and sound but we are definitely tired of the rain. Can anybody help with that??

June 23

I (Scott) wake up this morning really tired of riding in the rain, and look at our options of rerouting our coast to coast motorcycle trip westward away from the rain. After about 10-20 minutes I say to myself. If Going to the Sun road is closed, we will reroute and come back and ride it another time. Lo and behold it’s open. WOW – here’s your sign. We will be riding in the cold rain again today so probably not many beautiful scenic pictures again today. Hopefully, all the roads will stay paved and open. 

Going to the Sun Road

After yesterday, today was a silver lining kind of day. I (Christina) admit, last night I had thoughts of buying a plane ticket home. But with the morning came blue skies and the announcement that Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park was opening today. I couldn’t ignore the Universe (and Scott’s excitement, encouraging me to keep going on our coast to coast motorcycle trip. Sure enough, our first hour out of Bozeman was very fine, dry riding. Rain did make several appearances over the next four hours, but it was easily tolerable after yesterday’ terror. I was able to take some time to appreciate the grandeur that is Montana.

While we have been challenged with the rain, it also graced us with vistas of deep green rangeland which was freckled occasionally with cattle every shade of ocher. To the east the horizon was endless, and to the west the mighty Rocky Mountains watched over us as we rode north. A couple of black-billed magpies decided to get Scott’s attention with high-speed flyby’s just a few feet in front of him, and we witnessed a high noon confrontation between a ranch dog and a badger in the middle of the road. The last 30 minutes of riding capped our day with curvy road and spectacular scenery on the approach to Glacier National Park. We wrapped up the day in Saint Mary with dinner anticipating tomorrow’s ride on Going to the Sun Road. All in all, a stark contrast to yesterday. I wish it was easier to remember to look for silver linings when you’re in the midst of a storm. It definitely helps to have a partner that helps you see the light, and I’ve got the best !

June 24

Glacier National Park collage / coast to coast motorcycle trip

Hooray – today we had mostly sunny skies! Glacier National Park offers so many activities, but since we’re focused on motorcycle experiences this trip, we spent our time riding the Going to the Sun Road, starting at the eastern end in Saint Mary. This road takes you through meadows of wildflowers and around pristine lakes then climbs up into the burly Rocky Mountains. The fresh scent of pine was in the air as we ascended into a blanket of clouds to the higher elevations. It reminded us of how the mist rises up out of the Smoky Mountains and forms clouds that take their time lifting off the peaks. The mists limited our long range views, but that didn’t take away from the mystical majesty of numerous waterfalls flowing down the mountainsides so close to us we felt the spray. Rolling down through the mist, the western forests were full of moss draped pines and ferns, almost like a rain forest. We followed the river and finished up at the Lake McDonald Lodge with a much needed coffee and lakeside stroll. Glacier NP is a real treasure – we highly recommend adding this to your list of must see parks !

June 25

Super stellar day of riding today. As a matter of fact, I told Scott the first two hours’ ride through the Flathead region of Montana are now at the very top of my all-time favorite rides in my lifetime !!! We started heading south following the shoreline of Flathead Lake and climbing back into the mountains for 45 minutes. We turned west and left the lake for the rolling valleys and towering peaks of the Flathead Reservation, home to the Salish and Kootenai tribes.

We followed the banks of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River for the last 30 minutes of the 2-lane portion of today’s ride. The journey through the Flathead Region was very sparsely populated, and we had the road to ourselves for much of the ride – really fantastic experience !! The remainder of the day to Spokane was quite nice as well. We followed the endless snakelike curves of I-90 through the primal pine forests of the Idaho panhandle, passing the beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene and then descended into Washington along with a boisterous crosswind. Wrapped up the day sauntering around Spokane and dinner with a view of Spokane Falls. 

June 26

We made it to the Pacific Ocean !!! After yesterday’s ride through purple mountain majesty, today we were treated to amber waves of grain as we traversed the Columbia Plateau. The skies were a pale blue with wispy, horse-tail clouds as we transitioned through dessert-like scrub up into to the Cascade Range.

We caught glimpses of Mt. Rainier in the distance, and the steep slopes were blanketed with many varieties of deep green, towering evergreen trees. Dropping down from Snoqualmie Pass, we navigated through the Tacoma metro area to the peaceful wide curves of the Pacific Coastal Highway and arrived here in Long Beach, WA, completing the first half of our coast to coast motorcycle trip and where we’ll have some R&R till Thursday.

pacific coast sunset

June 27

I am feeling very grateful for birthday blessings today. So many good wishes from family and friends; spending the day on the Pacific Coast relaxing with my honey; having this amazing coast to coast motorcycle trip experience. We learned today that this is the location that the Lewis and Clark expedition met the Pacific AND there were two brothers with the last name “Field” in that expedition. It certainly made us think of the hardships faced 200 years ago in order to explore the continent. 

Long Beach Washington collage / coast to coast motorcycle trip

The picture in the lower left here is a good expression of how humbling, yet empowering, this experience has been. Our bikes are in the bottom left corner; they look so tiny, yet they carried us across this vast country ! That’s amazing!! 

June 28

Today we traveled down the Oregon coastline on the Pacific Coast Highway with skies that started cloudy grey but cleared up before lunch to clear blue. Speaking of lunch, we lucked into an outstanding spot with great seafood and a dramatic view overlooking a rocky inlet where whales were hanging out. We passed through the iconic scenery of rugged shoreline with dramatic rock formations, tidal pools, lighthouses, and prehistoric conifer forests, and we were surprised by a vast area of impressive and monumental coastal sand dunes. Tomorrow, we leave the left coast and start heading back east.

June 29

We’ve started our return to the east coast by heading mostly south out of Oregon and just into northern California. This morning’s ride started bright and early at 6:30 so we could get here to Redding, CA, in time to have the bikes serviced this afternoon. Man, was it a very brisk 49 degrees, but we geared up and headed out for what turned out to be a magical ride through misty coastal mountains on gorgeous twisty country roads. We narrowly got around a trailer house that was being towed but had gotten pretty much stuck diagonally across all of both lanes. Luckily, we had a bit of shoulder to work with, and we got through with just inches to spare. We then rolled for a couple of hours through old-fashioned, picturesque family farms tucked between the peaks of the southern coastal range. The mountains continued through countless interstate passes as we motored south on I-5. 

The massive Mount Shasta was a prominent feature for much of the ride on I-5, and we were awestruck – it’s truly one of the most beautiful mountains we’ve ever seen !! We had very cool temperatures for most of the ride, but the temps escalated quickly as we dropped down into Redding with a high of 100 degrees for today – that’s a 51 degree swing in one day !! After an afternoon of getting the bike’s refreshed and evening of getting laundry done, we’ll head out in the morning for a couple of days in Reno / Lake Tahoe.

June 30

Today we escaped the blistering heat of California’s Central Valley to the cool highlands of the Sierra Nevada under clear blue skies. The rolling curvy road eastward took us through stands of pine giants which opened up into alpine meadows. The transition to high desert plateaus was accompanied by the smell of alkaline desert dust as we rolled past Honey Lake Basin. Will be hanging out in Reno this evening.

Out and about after dark in Reno !!

July 1

Lake Tahoe Overlook

We went for a relaxing ride today from Reno to Lake Tahoe, but the riding gods and the holiday weekend had a different plan. Let’s just say every parking lot and pull off opportunity for beautiful vista views was PACKED. We got lucky with the one with the bikes below. Traffic was out of control busy, and in my opinion these California drivers are very stressed, and always in a hurry.

Pulling out in front of us, cutting us off, tailgating. Hey – it’s Lake Tahoe; relax and slow down; GEEZ!! I digress. Weather at 7,000 feet was awesome 77 degrees with 20% humidity. We had lunch with a great view, and food was amazing. Christina’s bike had an electrical issue after lunch, but we worked together and got it started and home safely. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Lake Tahoe Marina

July 2

We traveled 518 miles today through alien and inhospitable territory from Reno to Salt Lake City. The brown corduroy hills led us up and away from Reno into the chenille textured sage scrub lands and white sheets of salt flats. The horizon was framed with a crisp ruffle of dark grey mountains against a pale blue sky.

This desert fabric was trimmed with two ribbons of black highway, ripped with occasional shallow canyons, and stitched with power lines, train tracks, and fencing. At random intervals, roadside messages in the salt crust formed by unknown beings with black fill stones teased us with mysterious intent. As the unbroken sun shined all day, our strained eyes were grateful for the muted palette of desert colors. The temperatures stayed below 100 degrees, thankfully, and now this long, surreal day is behind us. Looking forward to seeing more grand landscapes tomorrow on our way to Cheyenne.

July 3

Oh my, the winds of Wyoming put in a robust performance for us today !! The day started calmly as we climbed out of Salt Lake east into the mountains. After yesterday’s spare desert scenery, our eyes feasted on the lovely green slopes covered in a ragged stubble of low-growing trees and shrubs. After passing through verdant pastures complete with grazing horses and cows, we marveled at the ribbed rosy walls of the Red Cliff Preserve. The landscape opened up into scenes right out of a cowboy western movie with buttes that looked like weathered sandcastles made by giants and the distant horizon laced with snowcapped mountains.

Moving into central Wyoming, it started to become clear that most of the plant life stays so low to the ground to avoid the bullying wind ! The gusts started in early afternoon and continued to strengthen throughout the day with the official highway warning signs advising us to be prepared for 45+ mph gusts. These were mostly cross-wind gusts coming up from the south and were enough to blow you into the next lane — or blow an 18-wheel truck into your lane !! We also started to see rain storms forming, and radar indicated what looked like several soaking rain blobs moving across our line of travel. Thankfully, between the dry air and the wind, none of the rain actually seemed to hit the ground  :-), and we arrived dry and safe to Cheyenne. Tomorrow is another long ride, continuing on I-80 across Nebraska.

July 4

On our trip across the serene and soothing wide open spaces of Nebraska today, on our nation’s birthday, it seemed fitting that we passed less than 90 miles from the geographic center of the U.S. As we rolled through the country’s heartland, it was good to reflect on the many privileges we enjoy and be tremendously grateful for the sacrifices of many that made it so. Scott proudly flew the flag past hundreds of miles of cornfields today, as he does every time he rides. I hope you all have had a wonderful Independence Day Holiday!

July 5

Phew – we have officially completed the endurance portion of this motorcycle adventure . . . 4 days, 2,000 miles, 28 hours in the saddle, all but the last two hours on I-80, mostly at 70-80 mph, and truck stop pit stops. The scenery as we passed through Iowa was dominated by the inland sea of corn occasionally studded by silos rising like periscopes through the rolling waves and flocks of turbines riding the wind. Biplane crop dusters grabbed our attention as they performed their graceful barnstorming maneuvers. 

Bloomington IL collage / coast to coast motorcycle trip

We spent the last hour of the ride racing storms and arrived to our stop for the night only slightly damp. For the next week we will make several leisurely stops to visit family and friends – Hooray !!

July 8

We haven’t had a lot of opportunity to get scenic pics or video the last few days, but we’ve had some wonderful visits with family in northern Indiana and north-central Ohio. We had a nice Sunday morning ride along sleepy two lane roads through rolling woodlands and farmland where the cornfields gradually yielded to soybean fields. Strips of Black-eyed Susans winked at us from the edge of the road as we dodged the Amish buggies into western Ohio.

After lunch, we rejoined the eastern U.S. interstate raceway system and got readjusted to road congestion and continuous construction zones. It was nice to see the high hilltops of West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania after so much flat terrain, but we’ll be leaving that behind tomorrow when we cross the Chesapeake for more family and friends visits on the Delmarva Peninsula. Hope you like this video from two weeks ago of Spokane Falls in Spokane, Washington.

July 14

After a great week visiting with family and friends in Delaware, we officially made it to the Atlantic coast today as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. It was a perfectly sunny day and traffic was kind which gave us plenty of opportunity to reflect on this amazing journey as we gazed at the Atlantic on our left and the Chesapeake Bay on our right. 

After riding 8,030 miles across 24 states, we are humbled by how vast and diverse this country is, how powerful and magnificent Mother Nature can be, and how much more there is to see. Every day we were reminded of how small we were in this big world, yet there we were making our way across the continent . . . and back ! It’s a testament to the idea that even though we are tiny in the grand scheme of things, we can do large epic things in our life. This experience has fueled our curiosity to see as much of the world as we possibly can and is just the prologue to a much bigger epic field trip to come. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be working on what that looks like and will share with all of you as it comes together — stay tuned !!

Coast to Coast Motorcycle Trip – Epilogue

The end of this journey was bittersweet as we had decided to sell our bikes in order to create the type of RV nomad life we envisioned. We are forever grateful to have made this journey and will treasure these memories all our lives.

This epic adventure was truly the perfect way to kick-off our new life. It created space for us to see the world and our lives differently and generated the vision and energy we needed to make this transformational change in our lives.

Now — What adventure are you dreaming of ?

What are you waiting for ?

Read the story here of how we were inspired to make this transformational change.

Read about our RV Nomad entrepreneurial ventures here.

2 thoughts on “Coast to Coast Motorcycle Trip – Epic Journey of Transformational Change

  1. Love it!!! Wish I would have documented my cross country trip as well. Great job capturing all there was to offer. As it was for you 2, my XC trip was the birth of our nomadic life as well. Had I not completed the ride, we may never have hit the road full time. Thanks for the story! Love you guys!!!

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