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Riding Solo Cross-Country
Monday, Mar 5, 2012 4:04 pm
Riding Solo Cross-Country

68 year  young Woman shares Coast-to-Coast Wonders of her Ride!
I’m the woman from the Sun City Carolina Lakes Motorcycle Club who rode cross country solo last summer. My good friends from the club, Robert and Ken, misinformed you; however, I am not in my 70’s. I was 68 when I made the cross-country trip solo. I turned 69 in December and, yes, I'm on that downhill slide to 70, but not until this coming December.

I left Indian Land for San Diego on July 15, then rode north along the coast, heading inland occasionally, then back to the coast, up around the Washington state peninsula, then back on a diagonal returning to South Carolina on August 29, 2011.

I ride a Honda Pacific Coast. I've owned four of these wonderful machines, just having driven my latest, a '98, home from Missouri where I purchased her two weeks ago. In July I'll be meeting other women riders from my club in New Jersey, Spokes-Women MC, Inc., in St. Louis, MO to ride to the AMA's Women and Motorcycling Conference in Carson City, NV.

I love long distance riding. I rode with the Spokes-Women from New Jersey to Missouri, Georgia, South Dakota, other states along the way, Canada, twice, and Nova Scotia. I have now ridden in all 48 continental states of the United States. I rode the AMA's Polar Bear Grand Tour every winter for years until I moved to South Carolina 3 1/2 years ago. But I did ride to see my Polar Bear friends in Lewis, DE in November 2010.

I ran into one of my Polar Bear friends from New Jersey, Leo, at Americade in Lake George, NY a couple of years ago. At age 93, Leo finally gave up his Pacific Coasts for a trike. I hope to ride as long as Leo!

Here's an account of my ride last Summer…..

I left home on July 15 and returned August 29. The first three days it rained. Day 2 was OK because I was sight-seeing in Montgomery, AL. On Day 1 water got in everywhere; I was soaked. On Day 3 visibility was terrible. It was hard to see an exit ramp so I just kept going on Rte 10 through Mississippi and Louisiana. Thank God, breaks in the weather came at opportune times to stop for gas. My next sight-seeing stop was Houston, TX. The sun was shining and the GPS a friend installed on my bike took me right into town. The GPS made only one mistake the whole trip.

On the 7th day out, I toured San Antonio, TX - the Alamo, San Jose Mission and the River Walk. It was now hot! I wore my gel vest soaked in water under my mesh jacket. I started getting bad leg cramps from dehydration. I drank electrolyte drinks and ate salty potato chips and bananas. The speed limit in Texas is 80 so I made time on good roads with gorgeous scenery. I toured the Mission Trail in El Paso. I rode through beautiful pecan tree farms and crossed the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico. Texas Canyon in Arizona was spectacular - huge boulders piled high that looked like a feather would send them tumbling. The cactus looked like Dr. Seuss creatures. I visited the Casa Grande ruins then headed south to Rte 8 and the west. The heat was intense until I hit the California mountains. The temperature dropped 30 degrees. For the next 3 1/2 weeks the temperatures were in the 70's, except for the Olympic Peninsula in Washington where it was long-johns-cool.

San Diego was gorgeous! I spent an entire day at the zoo and the next on a bus and harbor tour. I then headed north along the Pacific Coast Highway on my Honda Pacific Coast motorcycle! In Redondo Beach, CA I visited a friend from grade and high schools. I spent a day at Hearst Castle - opulent - then rode the “Big Sur” up to Monterey Beach and Carmel for Mass at the 240 year old Mission and on to San Francisco for more sight-seeing. I rode across the Golden Gate Bridge north to the Avenue of the Giants where 1500 year old redwoods live. I headed inland to Eugene and Salem, OR. I had my bike serviced and visited a college friend, more sight-seeing, then back over the mountains to the Oregon coast to visit friends from Ft. Benning, GA of some 40 years ago and did a zig-zag to Portland, OR. I rode along the Oregon and Washington sides of the scenic, and very windy, Columbia River then headed back to the coast, and north around the Olympic Peninsula, WA. I had dinner with a friend from high school and saw Washington’s capital lit up at night. Next I was on to beautiful Seattle; then the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Hell’s Canyon, OR; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Arches National Park in the southwest corner of Colorado; the vermillion mountains of Canon Largo in northern New Mexico and into Sante Fe, a unique small city with all adobe and faux adobe two story buildings where the annual Indian art festival was in full swing. I slept in a Motel 6 on Rte 66 in Tucumcari, NM then headed south in the heat to Rte 40, a boring road with high winds, especially through Oklahoma, and headed east for home. Little Rock, AR was a very pretty town. I was a sweaty mess but I had lunch in grand style by the duck pond inside the Peabody Hotel. I crossed the Mississippi to Memphis, TN and visited the original Peabody Hotel, B.B. King’s, Graceland and the capital in Nashville, TN. I rode through the Smokey Mountains into Ashville, NC, then home, 8,144 miles in all!

Barbara C. Zimmerman, J.D. 2/14/2012

One more picture of me and the '89 pearl white PC 800 in Virginia Beach on way to cross Chaespeake Bay Bridge to see Polar Bear Grand Tour friends in Lewes, DE, November 2010. (1989 was the first year Honda made the PC 800.)

Gary Burgess
January 9th, 2013 11:57 pm
I am planning on traveling to the Arctic Circle and if I can negotiate the Dalton Highway (The Haul Road) to Deadhorse. I will take the Van Tour through the Prudhoe Bay Refinery to the Arctic Ocean. If weather is such that it makes sense to take the Dempster (The Ice Road well not exactly) to Inuvik - I will consider. I am planning on going up through the Dakotas and hopefully returning the longer route from Calgary to Sault Ste. Marie to complete the Trans Canadian Highway along with all provinces and territories that you can drive to. I have been planning the trip and hope to see unique sites - Sturgis, Chop Stick factory, Corvette Factory (my current factory total is 619), capitals, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, etc. I am hoping for another Goldwing Rider as 500+/- miles a day is my target. Negotiating the gravel of the Dalton or Dempster is something I am not sure of and would anticipate 200 mile per day rides with a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. I hope to camp most of the time. I look forward to eating local; Birch Syrup and Partridge Berry Pancakes, Moose, Elk, Halibut Cheeks, Squaw Candy. They say planning is the most fun to such adventures – as such it has been so. The trip will be 200+ hours in the saddle so I am putting together a list of songs to make the trip more enjoyable and Get My (Your) Motor Runnin’. Gary
June 18th, 2012 7:00 pm
Barb, you are my hero! And you write so eloquently, I almost feel like I was there. I hope we get the chance to ride together with the club again!
March 12th, 2012 5:34 pm
I would love to get in touch with Alan who is considering riding RT.66. I have maps of the Old Rt. 66 and might even consider joining him if interested.
March 7th, 2012 10:25 pm
Unpublished is the fact that Barbara is also the Club Safety Officer and provide valuable info to help develope and maintain safe riding practices.
March 6th, 2012 3:57 pm
Barb, you are an inspiration for all who love to ride. And I admire your dedication to be safe and helping us newbees along. Our club sure nuff enjoys your company and talent.
March 6th, 2012 1:49 pm
BZ, since we met, you have become one of the most fasinating people I have ever been aquainted with. "Never say Never" seems to be your motto. Your trip cross country seems to be the icing on your cake of life events.
March 6th, 2012 10:34 am
Thanks for the great article. My friend and I are riding from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada thru the northern States to the west coast and then down to California and back possibly doing Rte. 66 in June 2012. We don't have a real itinery yet but some of the places you visited sound so great I'm sure we'll include them somewhere in our trip. My ride is a Kawasaki 1700 Vulcan Voyager and my friend rides a Honda Goldwing. Alan
March 6th, 2012 9:40 am
Good for you, That is the trip I have always wanted to take....Well maybe someday. Glad you are back safe and sound.
Barney Jones
March 6th, 2012 9:18 am
You are an inspiration. Your independence is electrifying. I am 50 years young and ride often. Looking forward to retirement to travel North America on two wheels as well.
March 6th, 2012 8:20 am
Hi Barbara. Hang in their baby. You’re doing great. I am from Gastonia NC. I ride a 1983 Goldwing Interstate, and 1984 Kawasaki KZ550 LTD. I am 58 years old. I plane on retiring in a little less than eight years. I hope to be able to do the same when I retire. Good Luck Joe.
Dave Smith
March 5th, 2012 11:33 pm
Barbara, thanks for sharing your adventure. I'd love to be able to make that trip. I currently ride a Honda Silver Wing 600cc Twin Scooter. I fell in love with the Pacific Coast the first time I saw it, and if I ever went back to a motorcycle, it would only be for the PC. It was way ahead of it's time.
Karen Rowe
March 5th, 2012 9:51 pm
Wow! What an amazing and interesting story. I sure admire going solo like that. The Honda PC is a beautiful bike & great photos of all the trips. Thanks for a great adventure no matter what age that one is.
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