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In Search of America

June 20, 2011

Chris Garlasco - "Biker Dude"

The late spring is upon us and it’s been a full year since my last week off and I am overdue for a well deserved break from the insurance business. Every year, beginning in February when the daily sunshine begins to creep past dinner, the excitement of a late spring journey begins to smolder within me. I find myself longing for America’s byways. This longing, which has not diminished with age, reaches its crescendo by the first of June.

Through the years, there have been incredible challenges accompanying each journey. I have been rained on more times than I could possibly ever recall. I have been snowed on in the mountains, journeyed though hundreds of miles of mud, scared to death in the worst lightning storms I have ever seen in Arizona, I have baked in the Mojave and White Sands Deserts leaving my lips cracked under the intense heat of the sun. I have been caught between tornadoes in the Plains and have hung on for dear life in the midst of a massive dust storm. I have been pounded with hail so hard that my bike’s headlights were smashed and destroyed. I even managed hypothermia in Hawaii!

It sounds like fun doesn’t it? To those that have never seen America this way, a comfortable spot on the shore with a good book, a cool drink and feet in the warm sand sounds like a much better option. To the small, subset of long distance motorcyclists, this sounds like a piece of Heaven, and it is!

Riding at dusk along the Outer Banks of North Carolina past the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or through the Texas Hill Country brings about calm like no other. From the coastline of Florida Keys to the northern coast of Maine and Canada I have seen the Atlantic with a view like no other. Riding the twisting mountain tops of the Blue Ridge, Smokey, Shenandoah, Sierra Nevada, Big Horn and Rocky Mountains is enough to restore one’s soul. I have watched the sun set into the Pacific at Big Sur and watched the seals bask in the sun. I have seen sunsets all over North America, and been to where the sun barely sets at all. Zion, Rushmore, Yellowstone, Acadia, Glacier, Badlands, and Grand Canyon are just a few of America’s outstanding national parks in which I have parked my motorcycle. From the National Grasslands to Graceland, Austin to Boston, Key Largo to San Francisco, Dodge City to Carson City, I have ridden to them all. I haven’t restricted myself to just rural America, covering nearly all of America’s big cities from New York to Los Angeles,

From the Road June 2011!

New Orleans to Chicago and smaller cities from Texarkana to Twin Falls. I have witnessed America’s history from Washington to Gettysburg, Kitty Hawk to Tombstone. My fellow riders would be interested in roads like Beartooth, The Dragon, Blue Ridge, Million Dollar and Burr Trail just to name a few.

I have eaten in more little greasy spoons, clam shacks and barbeque joints than I could possibly count. Most importantly, I have spent time with my fellow Americans from every corner of the country, each with their own story and point of view. It is one of the most fascinating and exciting things about being on the road. Equally exciting is waking up in the morning with no idea where I will lay my head when the day draws to an end. It’s the conversations over an ice cold beer, a pipe full of my favorite tobacco, and a long hot shower before crawling into bed with an amazing sense of peace and accomplishment that finish off each and every day as a drift into a peaceful sleep. And those difficult days that I mentioned, romantically drift into the memories that will sustain me in the twilight of my life.

I too love a good book and a seat on the sand, but the call of the road is a call that I will continue to answer as long as I am able. When I am no longer able, maybe I’ll take up sailing!

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

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