Preperations, equipment, route, FAQ's and general tomfoolery

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June 12th 2017
Published: June 12th 2017
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Trip Dates: June 19th 2017 - July 10th 2017

Yep, It's me, the Alien and I'm at it again! Last year I took an epic ride across America and a few folks have told name that they enjoyed following along with my misadventures. To kick off this year's trip, this post will contain FAQ's, route information, preparations and equipment.


1. Really? Again? You didn't have enough of this last year?

Yeah. Yeah. No.

2. How can you just leave your wife at home and go off on these trips?

Mrs. Alien is very understanding about these rides. She is always invited to come along but long miles on the bike for weeks at a time is not her idea of fun. This year, she will fly out to meet me in Montana where we will spend a week together.

3. I know where you work. How can you afford to do this?

Motel 6, and selling my organs on the black market. You have to commit to this stuff.

4. What will you do if it rains?

I will get wet. I have the proper gear and experience to ride in the rain.

5. How do you get so much time off of work?

We work 6 day weeks plus nights. I accrue more vacation time than I could ever reasonably use. I have about 6 weeks banked as of this writing.

6. Why do you feel compelled to write about your trips?

Someday, When I am no longer doing this kind of thing, I would like to be able to relive it in as much detail as possible. That's why I write blog entries every day, while the day's events are fresh in my mind. If others enjoy reading it, that's cool too.

7. Do you have any formal writing education?

The best that California public schools and Jr. Colleges have to offer. So... no.

8. I see you ride a Honda. Why don't you get a real bike like a Harley?

I had a Harley and sold it. The Mothership fits me perfectly. My advice to you is to find the bike that fits you and your riding style best and not worry about what name is on the tank. Riding is not about whether other people think you're cool, it's about getting out in the world and getting inside your own head. Plus Harley's have 2 cylinder engines. I have a 6 cylinder engine. Zoom, Zoom.

9. What does your boss think about you riding all over the country?

I have 3 bosses, two of whom used to ride, although probably not these distances. Honestly, as long as my obligations are met and I don't leave without a coverage plan in place, I don't think any of them care. If they did care, it wouldn't matter to me. What I do on my own time is my decision.

10. Why aren't you stopping to see me?

If you're on my route or are willing to come to my route, I'd love to see you. Unfortunately, in order to get where I'm going in the time frame that I have, I need to stick to at least a rudimentary schedule. Please do not take it personally if I don't stop. Do you really want to deal with a sweaty, dirty, tired biker sitting on your nice clean couch anyway?

11. Do you ride a lot during the year to prepare for these long trips?

I wish I could. Due to my particular profession, I am almost always on call. I also spend a lot of time in meetings or on conference calls while I'm driving to meetings. None of that lends itself to much riding. Honestly, I have only had the bike out twice since returning home from the last trip in July, covering a total of less than 100 miles in a year. Shameful.

The Route:

Although I have chosen waypoints for each day, they are always subject to change and are little more than a rough outline. I may stop sooner, later or change my route entirely on a whim. That being said, here's a rough plan:

Day 1 - Los Angeles, CA to Gilroy, CA

Day 2 - Gilroy, CA to Eureka, CA

Day 3 - Eureka, CA to Astoria, OR

Day 4 - Astoria, OR to Seattle, WA

Day 5 - Seattle WA to Pinehurst, ID

Day 6 - Pinehurst ID to Billings, MT

Days 7 through 12 - Billings MT

Day 13 - Billings, MT to Casey, WY

Day 14 - Casey, WY to Denver, CO

Day 15 - Denver, CO to Salina, UT

Day 16 - Salina UT to Las Vegas, NV

Day 17 - Las Vegas, NV

Day, 18 - Las Vegas, NV to Big Bear, CA

Days 19 through 21 - Big Bear, CA

Day 22 - Big Bear, CA to Los Angeles, CA


The Bike

The Mothership is a 1998 Honda Valkyrie Standard, upgraded to Tourer spec. The Valkyrie is a 6 cylinder "power cruiser" based on a hot-rodded version of the Goldwing engine. It is a huge motorcycle, weighing in at over 800lbs empty and close to 1200lbs with myself and all of my gear onboard. In order to make these kind of trips easier and more comfortable, I have fitted a large windshield, saddlebags, two piece tailbag, throttle lock, Ultimate King seat with rider back rest, handlebar bag (for snacks), footboards to replace the pegs, crashbar mounted highway pegs, two 25 ounce insulated bicycle water bottles mounted to the windshield bracket. I've also installed a 12 volt socket inside of one of the saddlebags to charge my phone and power a small compressor. She rolls on Avon Cobra tires. Additionally, I have upgraded the lighting from the stock 55watt bulb to an earth scorching 130 watt one.

Other Equipment

I will be using an HJC modular helmet with a Sena 10 Bluetooth communicator installed. (Gotta have some music.) I'll be wearing the same boots, gloves and armored leather jacket that I've been using for the last 10 years. They have served me well. I will be updating this blog on a Microsoft Surface 2 tablet. Pictures and video will come from my Go Pro Hero2 , helmet or bike mounted, for video, Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR with assorted lenses and filters for stills, DROID Turbo 2 phone for quick shots. I will be carrying a first aid kit, a small Coleman 12 volt compressor, a tire repair kit, a selection of tools, some spare parts, some cleaning supplies, and a Coleman 16 quart ice chest.


Trip planning began in December, but with my work schedule, a lot has been put off for the last minute. I have gone over the bike with a fine tooth comb, checking for loose fasteners, leaks and performing routine maintenance and lubrication. In doing so, I discovered that she will need a new set of tires. They will be installed early this week. I have not made arrangements for nightly stops along my route as I don't want to have to reach a certain destination on any given day. I will ride as far as I want to and stop when I feel like it. Google Maps, AAA Trip-Tik, and Gas Buddy are the tools that I've used to plan my route and calculate costs. Of course, actual costs may vary greatly.

More to come...

Ride Safe,



13th June 2017

Know what it takes
I am leaving from Maryland to get to Billings. Will be leaving on the 21st to head that way, will be a bit more comfortable than you maybe. Have gotten an F6B decked out with cruise control and tour pack for the rear. Yes the Sena blue tooth devices have made things muck easier for trips. Have not used them for anything other than music and talking to the wife when she comes along. Stacy safe and see you there. Shortleg

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