Published: June 9th 2012June 9th 2012
Family Search Center
The photo we had taken at the Family Search Center in Salt Lake City.
It's been a week since Dad and I flew home, and unfortunately it's back to reality, which means the insanity of catching up on 3 weeks of missed work. Looking back though, it was completely worth it. Dad and I rode a lot of miles and saw a lot of great things, and overall we both had a fantastic time together. I know having spoken to Dad this week, he's been telling everyone he meets about the trip and Mom has mentioned that his face lights up every time he talks about it. For me it's been the same. I came home to a collage of photos on my office window that a friend of mine at work has been posting for everyone to see, and everyone has stopped by asking me about the trip. It's amazing how much a trip like this brings out the desire in everyone else to want to do this 'once in a lifetime' trip.
A lot of people have asked me, 'what was your favorite part of the trip'? This is a really tough question for me to answer because there were so many amazing things. So I'll try to list some of the
The last leg of the journey
We traded in our motorcycles for a plane. On our way to Denver.
• First, just having the opportunity to spend a lot of time on the motorcycle and overcome some of the challenges associated with it. We were lucky enough to only have 1 day of rain early in the trip, and the rest of the time was sunshine the whole way. We had the clutch issue with my bike where I almost lost the clutch lever on the highway, and the loose kickstand extender, but otherwise we had no major issues. And even though dad will brag about how much better the Honda is, apparently the rough sections on Route 66 took a toll on his CD changer and the silicone shock absorbing packets exploded and possibly ruined the unit. So, at the end of the day we both had our minor issues, but luckily no major mechanical failures that could have derailed the trip.
• The different regions around the country are all beautiful in their own way, and there is so much to see in the various national parks. My favorites were Yosemite and Zion, and I hope to get back to them at some point in the future to spend some time exploring and hiking through them.
Leaving Salt Lake City
Looking north as we took off and circled around to head towards Denver.
• It's always exciting to see wildlife along the roadway (preferably not as roadkill). While we didn't see any bears which is what I was really hoping for, we were really lucky to have seen the lynx cub in California, and it was still one of my favorite sights when I saw the falcon flying along the Colorado River in Utah with a fish in its talons.
• Dad and I both really enjoyed visiting Alexis' parents in LA. Spending the time together for 3 weeks on our own was great, but having people to visit along the way makes a trip like this so much better because you can spend some time off the bikes enjoying a good meal together and having some meaningful conversation. It keeps the trip fresh instead of spending day after day together talking about the weather, the directions, what you just saw along the roadway, and where you're going next. I'm really glad dinner with them worked out while we were in LA for one evening, and I know this is one of Dad's favorite parts of the trip too.
• Finally, just having the opportunity to talk to Dad for 3 weeks was great. We had
our moments where we got on each other's nerves (but who wouldn't after 3 weeks alone together?), but overall I think we grew a little bit closer and have a new found respect for one another. Growing up I never knew too much about his family, and I learned a lot on this trip as he talked about his childhood with his parents and the rest of his family. One of the most memorable experiences for me will be visiting Santa Fe National Cemetery and seeing his father's grave for the first time.
Weren't we just there?
So, along the way there were a few things we both learned in general and about each other, and I think it would be important for us to think about these things if we were going to do a trip like this again:
• 6,500 miles in 3 weeks is a lot of miles no matter how you look at it. I don't know how people do an Iron Butt (1,000 miles each day for 11 days), but I don't have any desire to do one. Averaging over 300 miles a day for our trip was plenty, and I feel like we probably missed
out on seeing things because of the mileage we did. If I were to do a trip like this again, I would want to build in some time to stop and spend some more time at some of the most interesting sights. A day of hiking in Yosemite, a day with friends and family in LA, a county fair or rodeo in Texas; these things would break up the time on the motorcycles and provide more memories than spending a lot of time in the saddle.
The level of the lake was down, and these salt deposits were on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.
• GPS will only take you so far, and it can make you miss some of the best things along the way. While it was nice to be able to plug in an address and go when we had a hotel reservation and it was getting into the late afternoon and we were tired, it's very easy to rely on GPS and blindly follow it. I think we need to get back to a time when we had to find our own way, use a map, and figure out the route to experience more of what the country has to offer and feel a sense of accomplishment. GPS can be a blessing and a curse,
and on a trip like this, sometimes you just need to turn if off and find your own way and see what you come across.
Into the clouds
It was a little bumpy on the way out, but at least we weren't on the motorcycles riding into a storm. Great view of the city and the mountains.
• Even though 2 people can get on each other's nerves sometimes, it doesn't mean you care for that person any less. Like I said, Dad and I had our arguments and got on each other's nerves at times, but we came out of this better for it and worked out some of our differences (and in the end realized we're probably more similar than we thought).
So in the end, would I do another trip like this again? With a few modifications, absolutely. In fact, this week Dad has already been asking me where we're going next. Do we take 2 weeks next summer and ride to Yellowstone since we missed it because of bad weather? Do we take a long weekend in the fall and ride down to North Carolina to visit one of his cousins? Do we try to plan a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway? Or something else?
A lot of people have said this trip is a 'once in a lifetime' trip. I disagree with that. I
We had just ridden through there a few days before!
think back to the words of advice we heard in Seligman, AZ from Angel Delgadillo (http://www.route66giftshop.com/angel.html
), that we're exposed to such a quick pace of life today that we forget sometimes to slow down and smell the roses. I think people need to take their vacation time from work, unwind a bit, and just unplug and slow down. I think many people think this is a 'once in a lifetime' trip because they worry about making the time for it. For me, I know that I'll do this again, whether it's on a bike with my Dad, or in a car with my own family in the future. No matter how busy things get, this trip reminds me to make sure my priorities are straight and I take time for the things and people I care about, and remember to enjoy life, not in front of a computer screen or behind a desk, but out there in the world.
So that's all for this trip, but I'm sure there will be more to come in the future.
There are more photos below