Article By: Chopper Charlie
Originally Published In The June 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Chronic wanderlust, A selfdiagnosed, not-so-bad sickness. I find myself constantly searching for something bigger. Last year I rode all 48 states, 3 coasts and 32,000 miles. I’ve completed multiple saddle sore rides, ridden through freezing temps and blistering heat. The majority of these rides solo. This year I stepped it up a notch and have a partner in crime, a dynamic duo we would be. My compadre goes by Kayla, who also suffers from chronic wanderlust. It didn’t take long to create this plan. On the couch we started a casual conversation about riding Europe. The following day I bought a European road map, I may jump the gun on things. From there I did some research on how to get ourselves and our motorcycles onto a container ship to cross the Atlantic. Three weeks later, on the same couch, I looked at Kayla and said “I booked us a boat to Europe”. Suddenly this grand idea became reality but with plenty of work ahead of us. My bike, with 135,000 miles, was in serious need of a motor rebuild. Kayla’s wasn’t in much better shape. The bikes, along with my left leg, got dropped off for engine work, repairs and improvements. Next, it was time to iron out details. Can we get our bikes on the same boat as us? What about customs? Are special driving permits needed? The list goes on.
We worked it out and set the dates. The boat left April 3rd from Wilmington, NC and our ride east from Boulder, CO would begin on March 20th. This was happening! Bikes are packed, fueled up and our smiles were as big as the world we are going to explore. Kickstands up! We’re off! The first morning was brisk but the sun was shining. With the exception of losing an hour…or two (let’s be honest) due to an immediate breakdown, the ride went smooth. In fact, we had multiple minor breakdowns, but let’s not focus on that. Rainbows and butterflies, right? We headed to Kansas to see my folks to share an amazing meal prepared by my mother. We then hopped to Kansas City to visit Wes, meandered our way through Missouri to camp, enjoyed fine southern grub and music at BB Kings in Memphis, dipped south to Lacy Springs, AL for an evening with Kayla’s uncle, laid back in Lawrencville with “Mailman”, and toured Charleston, SC with Kayla’s firefighting brother. The road finally took us north through Myrtle Beach to our destination of Wilmington, NC, with time to spare!
That was a quick overview, I know. A few highlights worth mentioning! That park in Missouri? Meramec State Park, well worth a stay! We found it along state road 19, which is a damn nice stretch of tarmac. State road 61 was a beautiful ride into the great town of Charleston. If you find yourself in downtown Memphis, use caution around the trolley tracks running parallel with the road. Kayla found out the hard way what happens when you try merging over them. Leading us to find a Charleston local shop, North Ridge Custom Cycles, where we did minor repairs to her bike. Worst damage? A bruised ego. Finally, I owe Kathy at Earth X batteries a big thank you. I’ve been using one of their incredibly light, small batteries and have loved it. Unfortunately, it died in Arkansas where I was forced to replace this normally reliable product with an undersized battery. I called Earth X and they offered to replace it, at no charge. She even mailed it to meet me in Wilmington. If that isn’t quality customer service I don’t know what is. So there you have it. In two days we board the ship and sail to the European coast, where more adventures await. Until then, signing out.