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Dreaming About the Long Motorcycle Ride

Living and riding with no regrets

By Aimee Alfke, South Lancaster, Massachusetts
3/22/2018

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I was lucky enough to take a cross-country motorcycle trip from my home near Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Oregon, and back. I rode 7,185 miles in 15 days. It was a lot of miles in a short amount of time but I'm so glad I did it.

dreaming about long motorcycle ride toys
Aimee rediscovered motorcycling, skiing, and snowboarding when she became single. She also bought a Jeep Wrangler, kayak, mountain bike, and a long board. Fun toys!

I dream of traveling on my motorcycle, and know that there are more travels in my future. I really don't aspire to much. In fact, I've wondered if I am an underachiever in life, at least my financial life. The only thing I want to live for is to have no regrets. I don't want to regret not doing something I had the chance to do. I want to take every adventure that comes my way.

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I started riding motorcycles when I was 18 years old on a 1984 Yamaha Special 400. I obtained my permit and rode to and from my summer job. The bike’s engine barely lasted the season, and I vowed to get another motorcycle one day.

I forgot about the thrill of motorcycles until I found the freedom of being single again. I enjoyed local adventures, new hobbies, and new passions, all the while I was telling people that I’d get a motorcycle when I’m in my 50s. I didn’t want to worry my mother or family. But I just knew that I would harbor regret if I didn’t act on something I wanted in my life.

So at the age of 35, I took the MSF Beginner RiderCourse and got my license. Half my class were women, which was notable. And I was the only one in my whole class to receive a perfect score on our final road test! I proudly purchased a 2007 Yamaha FZ6 and began commuting to work. It saved me about $80 in gas the first month.

dreaming about long motorcycle ride action
Aimee riding her Yamaha V Star 950, loaded up for adventure.

I was hooked. I became obsessed with motorcycles. So last winter found me on YouTube watching motovlogs and motorcycle adventures. I printed out a giant map of America and put it up on my bedroom wall. I would pursue my dream to take a solo road trip across the country, lasting a month or more. I figured I would have to plan and save to make this trip possible.

As fate would have it, I met a seasoned rider in the early Spring. We became fast friends after meeting at a local pub. He had crossed the country 13 times by motorbike, typically on a Suzuki GS 850, and he was planning to do it again in late August. I ended up joining him on his 14th ride.


dreaming about long motorcycle ride Badlands
Aimee inside Badlands National Park while on her 7,185-mile cross-country adventure.

I traded my FZ6 for a Yamaha V Star 950 before the season began. I was drooling over adventure bikes all winter long, but ended up going with a cruiser. I still want one of everything. I’d like a cruiser, sport bike, and dual-sport to start with. But my pretty little cruiser ended up being super cheap, very good looking, and comfortable enough to ride for a bit. I actually put 14,000 miles on her this past year. Her name is Rosalita.

I didn’t commit to the trip with my friend until three days prior to his departure. When a job interview, four days prior, did not meet my expectations I knew I would regret not taking this motorcycle trip if I didn’t go.

The longest ride I had done before this was about 155 miles in one direction. I didn’t think my butt could handle 500 miles a day. However, I was gradually prepping my bike to make sure it was in tip top condition just in case I took this cross country ride.

dreaming about long motorcycle ride mountain
Even though the cross-country ride was quicker than she would’ve liked, Aimee still found time to take in some epic scenery.

dreaming about long motorcycle ride Pacific
Riding from the Atlantic to the Pacific (shown here) is a dream many motorcycle riders hope to accomplish. Aimee managed to tackle this in her early years of riding motorcycles.

Now, this was not the trip I dreamed about last winter—my romantic notion of a single woman’s voyage across America. We didn’t exactly have time to stop and smell the roses. In fact, at one point I told my partner, “I’m ridin’ like it’s my job!”

So, would I do it again? Well, yes. Though it wasn’t exactly an Iron Butt ride, it was a lot of time in the saddle. I actually ended up duct-taping my camping pillow and towel to my seat after about 4,200 miles. It would be nice to travel 300-mile days and see some sights. On the other hand, time is money. Now that I know how to make mincemeat out of miles, the sky's the limit. I see many different types of motorcycle travels in my future.

dreaming about long motorcycle ride selfie
"Living with no regrets is the only way to live," Aimee declares.

I want to live life with no regrets. And I know that I can look back on this time in my life and say I had an epic riding season. Now, with snow on the ground and a whole new year to look forward to, I’m doing the same thing I did last winter—dreaming of my next big ride. And, maybe I’ll take that big ski trip up north this year, the one I kind of regret not taking last year.

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