I get one really epic ride a year. We're three weeks away from the start of a whole new journey - and I can't wait to ride. For those new to our crazy riding habit, a bit of history is in order.
- In 2012, we embraced a challenge to ride all 48 contiguous states. We nailed it, riding the Southwest in '12, the Northeast in '13, and the Northwest in '14. We stopped to get a quick pic just over the Kentucky state line as we covered the 48th and final state. And then we said, "Now what?"
- In 2015, we revisited the southwestern United States, which happens to be my favorite part of the country so far.
- In '16, we thought we'd stay close to home, exploring the Ozarks, and then decided we needed more adventure and went north to Pennsylvania to visit the Harley-Davidson factory.
- Last year, our destination was eastern Canada and the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.
And that brings us to the 2018 adventure. This year, we're going big - just under 10,000 miles - riding to the Canadian Rockies to explore the Columbia Icefields Parkway that runs north from Banff, Alberta up to Jasper. The pictures we've seen are simply stunning. Along the way, we'll ride Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain Park, spend a day-and-a-half in Yellowstone National Park, and then ride through Lolo Pass. From there, we'll tackle some great roads on our way to Seattle, then head north into British Columbia. After several days exploring this region of western Canada, we'll end up in Banff, where we'll spend three days on the Icefields Parkway - one night in Banff, then a night in Calgary as we pick up our wives, a night in Jasper, and then another night in Banff. Finally starting home, we'll visit Glacier National Park and ride Going to the Sun Road. Finally, as we start the long ride home, we'll visit the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Monument, and Badlands National Park.
Whew! That makes me tired just typing it all!! But if God grants favor in the way of safety and absence of serious mechanical challenges, I believe this ride will be the most epic of all. Did I say I can't wait? We're weeks away from blastoff and I'm already packed!
Here are a few things about our trips:
- We don't camp. The closest we come to "roughing it" is staying in a hotel that is not part of a national chain. We stay in Hampon Inns most nights, but we'll find an IHG or something in the Marriott family if we can't locate a Hilton property. We'll grab a Best Western reservation when necessary - and only stay in a local mom-and-pop hotel if necessary. No camping for us! We like a hot shower, a clean bed, a hot (and free) breakfast, and, in a perfect world, a hotel staff that understands we like to clean our bikes up a bit.
- We eat pretty well. Breakfast in the hotel... a break at lunch... a nice dinner that lets us enjoy the depth of our friendships as much as we enjoy the food. We try to avoid national franchises, choosing instead to research the best local fare in the towns we frequent. We don't camp and we don't cook over an open fire. Nope! That's fine for many - but not for us.
- We ride hard. Pretty much every day is a 12-hour (or more) day. We're typically in the saddle by 7 AM, and are often rolling into our hotel close to 7 PM. We don't always ride for 12 hours, though. Our day in Yellowstone, for example, is less than 300 miles - but we're off of the bikes a lot, celebrating the wonder of God's creation. Conversely, our longest day this year is 820 miles. No, that's not a typo. We maximize our time away, then push hard when it's time to head for home.
- We visit a lot of national parks. Each park is a treasure of creation and history that has been preserved by our government in a wonderfully wise move. More on that soapbox of mine later...
- Our trips are more about relationship than riding. I'll address this more later - but suffice it to say that my life and riding experience is enhanced in an indescribable way by the friendship of our little band of brothers.
That's enough for now. I'll be blogging throughout the trip, posting more details and more pics than I can post here - but I'll try to keep some updates here. Get the full story at and follow along with us if you want to at The Road Less Traveled
C'mon June 14. I'm ready to ride!