Lewis & Clark Condensed
5,682 miles

We were both ready for a major street trip as we had been on the dirt the previous two years. I worked to get everything prepared for a re-visit to Newfoundland that we last visited in 2005. I had a complete package researched and ready in the can, and only waiting the motel details when Steve decided he would go to the Northeast on a couples ride. So after a very brief discussion we decided to head west. It doesn’t take much to persuade either of us to ride out west as the scenery and the roads are without comparison, I think, the best anywhere in the world. As a part of our evaluation we realized in the past ten years we had only been on two street trips to the West; 2003 in Wyoming and 2009 in Utah. This is all we needed to make new plans. I figure the work done for the Newfoundland trip will pay off at some point in the future. I happened to be reading a book about Lewis & Clark and thought this would be a good theme for our trip. Although we have been in southeast Idaho, much of the state had been unexplored by us, and we had never ridden in Washington or Oregon. So it was set, now we only needed to convince our wives we needed to leave a day early to make up for the extra distance. When they heard of our plan to ride from home to Scottsbluff in one day covering 1200 miles they thought we were crazy. They suggested we leave the night before and cover some of the mileage to reduce the overall one day requirement. Having previously completed an official Ironbutt we didn’t see the need to ride an additional 300 miles in one day just to say we did it. We left on Tuesday late afternoon, got some miles under our belt making the next day a manageable 897 miles. As we have done in all of our recent trips we routed the trip using Garmin Road Trip software and then using Steve’s Zumo GPS unit. This year we added a new twist which was to add waypoints of potential stops. It had become pretty easy for us to look at a route on Google Earth and know where the best stops would be. Having them in the Garmin allows us to manage our time most effectively and we just focus on riding. We take a lot of grief for this level of planning but it works for us and maximizes the time we have in the saddle and allows just enjoy the ride.

Despite the mishap in Missoula we both think this was our best trip to date. We basically rode from Cincinnati to Ogallala NE on the interstate on the way out and from Des Moines IA to Cincinnati on the way home thus avoiding as much as possible. It also meant that we never spent an entire day on the interstate. We will continue this tactic in the future of riding on the secondary roads across the plain states. The other unique feature this year was the number of micro breweries we visited. When I was first setting up the trip this was not a goal, but as I began to look around it became obvious we needed to take advantage. There were seven nights when we stayed within walking distance of a micro brewery. In my preparation I found the web site Beermapping.com and this helped a great deal.