It sounded like a crazy idea because it was. To celebrate my college and brother’s graduation from high school in 2009, we hit the road for a 9-month trip across the United States, which also included parts of Canada and as far south as Honduras— thanks to a free, below deck and windowless room on a cruise ship.
We had no direction home, very little experience riding long distances, basic mechanic skills and some money from pouring cement and cutting pine logs all summer long for an uncle’s cabin remodel in northern Wisconsin. Plus, all that glorious graduation money that is supposed to be spent on traditional things like education, or the debt from education.
And of course, we had blessings from our parents who knew responsibility and adulthood had its own time and place and was best eased into. Really, the only preparation we did was gathering some maps and camping outside for a month to get acclimated to the ground. Also, we decided to get our motorcycle licenses at the last minute as I scrambled to hunt down a fake I.D. for my brother.
So we set off on our Japanese cruisers – what else could we afford – and traveled first above the Great Lakes before turning south, chasing the burning fall leaves for months until we reached Charleston, South Carolina in hopes to score some quick employment. But America was still struggling through the 2008 economic collapse and opportunities were non-existent, besides some hard landscaping jobs that paid well under the table. Then we went to Florida before making the long march out west, which was the best part of the trip because this country really is filled with endless inspiration.
When we weren’t slumming it on the ground or getting booted off private land for trespassing or taking naps at laundromats or boiling rice on the roadside, we had a solid group of friends and family to crash with spread out across the country.
We sure got to know a lot of people and their stories, being largely welcomed everywhere we went. We also luckily got out of numerous tight situations, despite our youthful naivety, or maybe because of it.
We set out for an adventure and over 280 days in the saddle and 24,000 miles later, we largely accomplished that. I would like to say we learned something profound from the adventure, but really, we just learned how to be self-reliant and optimistic, which is knowledge more valuable then I ever imagined.
But what does this story have to do with anything? Well, first off it was what got me the job with Thunder Press in the first place, one that continues to be a great adventure. Second, the core of this magazine, which has undergone many amazing and exciting changes over the last 18 months, remains fully rooted in adventure and storytelling.
We have expanded our coverage not only from covering motorcycles and events, but by telling the stories of those behind the industry and those that love it. From entertaining Sturgis coverage to a deep dive into Vance & Hines, from the beaches of Normandy to inspiring young female builders, from racers to the crews behind the magic, we try to cover it all. The talented writers at Thunder Press are passionate about telling stories because a magazine is really about people and those who read it. To inform, educate and entertain!
For this issue, we cover a story about a son who inherited a rusty 1951 Harley-Davidson from his father, Mitch Boehm’s journey to owning an XR1200X and an exciting profile about a broadcast journalist who brings us the action of American Flat Track.
We hope you enjoy the stories, and if you have a great adventure you would like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.