Today Alfie left on his motorcycle for Salt Lake City. He'll be covering roughly 1600 miles (800 miles each way) across three states (California, Nevada, Utah) over the course of five days (three days to get there, two days to get back). He's staying two days in Salt Lake City to watch the FIM Superbike World Championship -- one of the top three motorcycle racing series in the world -- at Miller Motorsports Park. Along the way, he'll be breaking the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, tasting baccalao and other Basque food at Winnemucca, and trying his luck (oops, it's not luck, it's skill) at the poker tables in Reno.
Alfie has spent almost a year planning this trip -- and over four years dreaming about it. He first contracted motorcycle wanderlust when we watched Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman ride 20,000 miles around the world in the documentary Long Way Round. Even if you're not into motorcycles, you should watch it; the places that Ewan and Charlie visit are amazing, and the people they meet along the way, are absolutely fascinating. It's sure to inspire some kind of wanderlust in any couch potato, and for someone who loves to travel and loves motorcycles like Alfie does, it was a wake-up call.
Needless to say, riding a motorcycle through 12 time zones and 19 countries requires the kind of money, connections and time (they did the journey in 115 days and dedicated a year before that for planning and training) that we just do not have. But the USA is a land of open road and sky, perfect for a motorcycle trip. Ride across the US? Ride down to Mexico? Ride to Vegas? Yellowstone? Death Valley? The possibilities are endless. He picked Salt Lake City to start, and the rest is history.
I have to admit, I'm more than a little bit nervous at the thought of him riding all those miles, all by himself. Riding a bike for 3 or 4 hours straight takes a lot more out of you than sitting in a car. There will be long stretches of nothingness. Anything could happen.
But Alfie isn't one to embark on a journey like this one unprepared. He's got one of the best (and safest) adventure bikes money can buy. He has all the safety gear. He has gone on several "practice runs", day trips where he rode up to 350 miles. He's planned the trip down to every last detail, from which gas stations to stop at to making sure he has change for bridge tolls handy in his motorcycle pocket so he doesn't have to take his gloves off and fumble with his wallet. He will be making scheduled rest stops every 100 miles or so. He has promised me he will text me at every stop, just to let me know he's okay. And thank God for smartphones, GPS and Google Maps; surely all three combined will be enough to overcome even his abysmal sense of direction. He's ready.
I'll miss him while he's gone, and I'll probably have my phone at my hip for all seven days, waiting for the buzz that tells me he has arrived safely somewhere. But I'm so happy for him, happy that he's out on the road on his beloved bike, living his dream. I'm so proud of him!