I owned a motorcycle well before motorcycles were OK for anyone except outlaws. People crossed the street when they saw a biker coming and tried to run them off the road from their cars. I am not sure that has changed all that much.
Anyway, drove big bikes. Often I didn’t even own a car. Living in the French Quarter of New Orleans didn’t necessitate a car and most of the time, my work was in my house, a tiny apartment on the corner of Esplanade and Royal.
When I first got the idea of taking a long trip on a bike, I was in my early 30’s. If anyone out there is planning one, start at least 2 years before your departure date. You won’t be ready to leave when you do leave, because lots of the learning is along the way.
So somewhere in the very early 70s, I decided to visit every national park in the country and take a year to do it. And do it on my bike.
I figured the first thing I needed to have, besides a bike, was money. Being self employed, I didn’t get paid if I didn’t work. Especially for the year I planned on being gone.
I figured the price of gas - it was really cheap then maybe 39 cents a gallon, figured I would be driving at least 10,000 miles, mostly on back roads. This was before the gas shortages and gas station lines. Remember those. I knew than that there never was a shortage of gas, just a shortage of cheap gas. I was already a cynical curmudgeon.
It would be hot, cold, raining, snowing and everything in between. I would carry a sleeping bag and tent and would not have to pay for any lodging. I also would never be eating in a restaurant, so cooking over a campfire would be the order of the day.
Remember this was 1971, so I soon figured I could live on $300.00 a month. I started saving money as best I could. I never bought anything I didn’t absolutely need. And I mean anything.
I made arrangements with a local bank to wire me $300.00 each month to a Western Union in a city where I was going to be. I would call them and let them know where to wire it. This was years before there was anything called an internet.
I already had a motorcycle, a Kawasaki 500 cc. It really was a speed bike, not a road bike, but I loved that bike and trusted it. That bike gave me one day of trouble. I did need a bit of work in Butte, Montana and had to be towed from Missoula because Butte had a bike shop, but that was a long time later. Had I been carrying an impact wrench, I could have fixed it myself, but that never made my take-with-me list.
I set June 1st 1973 as my leaving date. And leave I did.
More travels as writing days progress.