Friday, 7 August 2009


Now that we're all safely back in Ipswich, it's time to reflect on our adventure in the form of an epilogue. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines epilogue as "n. Concluding part, appendix, of literary work; speech or short poem addressed to spectators by actor at end of play. Gk EPI (logos speech)." Which is an appropriate way to end the blog. This has been quite a trip. I don't think any of us realised just how demanding it was going to be. July and August are normally hot months in California and Nevada, but this year those temperatures have been even higher due to an unusual heat wave. Then there's the distances we've travelled. None of us normally ride for 300 miles a day on three or four consecutive days. Having said all that, we all feel a real sense of achievement at having done it and we have covered a large number of wonderful areas of the USA from the glitz of Las Vegas to the splendour of Bryce Canyon and the desolation of Death Valley. Each of these places deserve a longer stay to get the most out of them, but we got a fabulous sample of some of the greatest natural wonders in the World.

Some people wonder what the attraction of doing all this on a motorcycle is. Why not do it in the comfort of an air conditioned car? The answer can be found in Robert M. Persig's book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

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In that book, published in the same year as I got married (1974), the narrator is travelling across the Central Plains of the USA on a motorbike. In the very first chapter he sums up beautifully the appeal of travelling by motorbike.

"You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realise that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness."

So there's your answer. I've also seen a T-shirt that sums it up in just a few words - "If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand the answer!"

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