And what have I learnt from the trip? Well –
1. The best-run establishments (restaurants, motels) in America are those run by Indians or Pakistanis.
2. If you’re getting on in years, carry your AARP card – free donut at Dunkin’ Donuts.
3. Best fast food in America: Dunkin’ Donuts.
4. When seeking a motel discount, always say you have served in the Australian Military Police.
5. If necessary make a card to denote this.
6. Bring a pillow. (I brought one but it caught fire in Asheville, North Carolina – see Untold Tales, below.)
7. Buy a cheap electric toothbrush. (I did. I love them now!)
8. Everyone vacations in RVs now. Camping in tents went out with disco.
9. If you insist on camping, be absolutely meticulous in researching campsites, especially with regard to proximity of highway noise.
10. A good Motel 6 is the best value, among motels. A bad Motel 6 is terrible. Be prepared to pay $40 a night in the East, and in the West 80$, $160 or even $200. (Thanks, Rick, of the Western Motel in Cody, who charged half of what everyone else in Cody charges.)
11. Motorbiking (cue song) is still the greatest way to travel yet invented by man. Fast, aromatic, acrobatic, artistic. And the reliability of our Harleys deserves special mention. Speak gently to your bike; from time to time pat it on the tank like an old horse. You’ll both feel the better for it.
Untold Tales. Oh God, the pillow. Joe and I had paused to confer, with motors running. Suddenly flames rose up my leg in spectacular fashion. (Luckily I was wearing the Kevlar-lined jeans – Draggin Jeans manufacturers, please note.) I was sitting on the pillow and it touched the exhaust. Somewhere in Asheville the roadside corpse of a pillow was collected by garbagemen. Untold Tales 2 – near misses. The dog near Elk City, in the middle of the road, unable to make up its mind. staring at me as I approached at 70. It ambled across the road & to safety for both of us. The young deer north of Missoula, who shot across the road at 40 mph without warning. Had it left this 2, possibly 2 and a half seconds later…. But these were actually all of the very small number of dangerous moments. None involving other drivers. Good fortune attended us, I have to say.
Thank you for reading, if you have been! I’m now hooked on blogging and, the Bike Odyssey done, I plane to begin a new one, ‘The City and the Country,’ addressing the polarity of my daily life, bouncing from the Catskills to New York City. Two Americas. A meditation in itself.