I am new to this forum and thought I would say hello and share my story.
Many dream of riding across the USA on a motorcycle. A few actually get to do it. Not many are able to take four months to ride over 21,000 miles in one long road trip and achieve their lifelong dream. But, that is what I did.
I am an Englishman living in London, so I shipped my own Harley-Davidson Road King across the Atlantic and set out on a remarkable journey of discovery in America. My ride took me to twenty-seven states in New England, the Midwest, the Rockies, the deserts of the south west and along the Californian coast. I was lucky to be able to plan my tour of the USA to include such iconic places as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, New England, the Great Lakes, the Rocky Mountains, Death Valley and many more. I experienced the hectic pace of life of the big cities, visiting many, such as New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but preferred seeing the wide-open plains, mountains, back roads and the small towns of rural America. Wherever I stopped, I enjoyed talking to the locals. America is amazingly diverse, with so many things to see and people to meet. Almost everywhere I went, people greeted me warmly and wanted to hear my story about travelling across their country. They were genuinely interested in understanding what an outsider thought about where they lived.
Finding great roads to ride was a must. My pre-trip research meant I would get to ride some of America’s most stunning roads. The Million Dollar Highway in near Ouray in Colorado is spectacular, but the Beartooth Pass, on the border of Wyoming and Montana, is just breathtaking. I also took my Harley-Davidson to the top of the highest road in America, at Mount Evans on the outskirts of Denver. Like most bikers, I like to stay away from long straight roads and seek out those that twist and turn, and inevitably this meant I spend a great deal of time in the Rocky Mountain states. The map of the route that I took (http://www.garysfrance.com/france-in-america
) certainly bears this out and explains why I was able to ride over 21,000 miles crossing a country that is a little over 3,000 miles at its widest point.
I am often asked what are the most memorable places I visited on the trip. There were so many, but Monument Valley, with its rock buttes sticking out of the red sandy ground was very impressive. Being at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with half-a-million bikers was a blast. I made many on-board videos of the places I visited and these can be seen on my website.
My Road King proved to be an ideal motorcycle for the trip and other than needing the occasional oil change and replacement tyres, performed exceptionally well. Before leaving London, I had the bike repainted with portraits of 1940’s and 1950’s actresses and the motorcycle became known as ‘The Leading Ladies’.
The road trip was such a huge success that I wanted to record it in some way. My coffee-table sized book ‘France In America’ is my record of what I did and where I went. It is a 400-page volume offering a unique mix of Americana, travel, motorcycling and a useful guide to anyone thinking of taking a US road trip. Full of my own photographs, I hope it is both entertaining and as a reference point for anyone wishing to discover more about life on the road in America. The book is only available from my website.
My recommendation for anyone thinking about riding across the USA? Don’t hesitate – do it as soon as you can!