"It's been emotional"
Trip Start Jun 02, 2013
62Trip End Aug 30, 2013
Thanks and thoughts ( I am probably writing this more for me than you so I am sure you have better things to do than read this drivel. Just look at the pictures and get back to work)
Thanks go to Bill of course, for so many reasons. To Dom whose idea this was (I think we got the timing better though Dom, as I write this in a rocking chair in 90f sunshine overlooking the Port of Port Orford.)
To all the guys at work who have made it possible for me to go. Without such a great team how could I have the confidence to leave my business for so long and not worry? (Best wishes to Denise at work and Stephen who have been through hell whilst I have been away but are out the other side now)
To Ali for not worrying and looking after everything at home and as they say at the award ceremonies to everyone else I have forgotten, I hope you enjoyed sharing a bit of our adventure.
The bike has been fantastic and done some amazing things considering the dead weight behind the handlebars. I can't sell it now. No, not for any emotional reasons mainly because it needs a new tank and everything below that is covered in sand!
The route has been wonderful and that is thanks to Kevin Glassett who helped us set this up. We could not have done this without you.
I know not everyone can take off for three months. I have had some hard times at home and at work over the years. Having established a stable and successful business and home life, why would I not take advantage of that hard work?
It isn't easy to let go of your life's work and entrust the business to your staff but is a better alternative not to give good people the responsibility and the opportunity to shine? Should we work all the hours there are, retire, play golf and die?
It was always going to be a tough ride given my limited ability off road
Advice for anyone wanting to ride The TAT. Just be a lot better than me and half my age would help. Research each day and try to find out what challenges the days ride can offer. Don't do it on your own however good you think you are.
My sat nav says that to return to Cape Hatteras is 2641 miles from where I am now. My mileometer reads 6099, so that gives you some idea of the route we have taken and how much we have seen.
Like everywhere in the world, on a one to one level the people are brilliant. We never met anyone who was less than courteous (although that motel owner in Richfield, Utah could do with a refresher course at charm school).
But it was more than that.
As a generalisation I think Mercans are more open, more willing to help, give their time and are simply more friendly than the average Brit on first acquaintance
If you take away the populations of the metropolitan east and west coasts our impression is that by square area of land there is a large amount of poverty. Not crushing homelessness but large areas of the country away from the coast, provide a pretty tough living for a lot of people.
The geography of so much of the US means living there is about survival rather than enrichment.
To give the North Carolina boys a sense of that poverty, we even met people who only had one dirt bike. Now that's tough, eh?
I know very little about politics, here or at home. What I did learn is that the vast majority of people we met feel that the country is not looking after the hard working wealth providers in its society.
The bias has swung to helping those that have no desire to help themselves
Why do political systems the world over appear to let down the majority? This is not a uniquely US problem.
I have to say that in two weeks in Cuba we met more people who are happy with the job their politicians do for them than I have in my whole life living and travelling around the world.
On the face of it with the people we have met and the places we have been there seems to be no sense of class or financial seniority. Of course we are not talking New York City, but there has been no sense of "my car is bigger than yours" (although everyone's car here is actually bigger then mine). Maybe under the surface but not to us. To a certain extent in the UK riding a motorcycle people judge you as you arrive at a restaurant or event. I think that is not the case here.
The informality is disarming and can feel odd on occasions, but I think it goes back to the above
Arrive at a nice restaurant in cut off jeans and a heavy metal tee shirt and no one thinks twice. No judgement is made. Your credit card is as good as the next guy's.
I was pretty rude about parts of the country (to be fair, I wasn't rude enough about Western and Country music, your coffee and your beer).
I was rude about interstate junction towns. However, I was usually tired and the thought of dinner in Maccy D's wasn't doing it for me. However, as I said at the time, they provide a service and perform a function that is a requirement of the clientele. Never have we had a motel room that wasn't clean nor have we had a bad meal. Show me an interstate junction town and I will show you something equally as uninspiring in the UK.
The US is simply huge. It sounds obvious, but travel through this country away from the interstate and you get a real sense of its size and enormous diversity, both economically and geographically.
Travel is so easy and I think you guys forget how big this place is. You can get in a car and do coast to coast in 4 days or in a plane in as many hours I guess.
That does not do the country justice.
I certainly did not appreciate the scale and importance of agriculture. No idea if you import food or not. You certainly don't need to. If you do then you need to eat less!
State Parks. My God. These are an absolute national treasure that you must cherish, support and use. I don't think there is anything like them, in the world, certainly not on the scale and variety that you have. We have National parks of course but our use of them, is limited and strictly controlled.
You can do pretty much what you like, where you like. The trails we have been riding have been through many parks. All the tiniest trails are marked on maps and are mostly well maintained.
If you don't use them at the moment, get out there now
For God's sake get out and use the nature that you all have so close. Crater Lake is wonderful, but you don't need to go to the famous places like that or The Grand Canyon.
Lynn also talked of the world's impression of the US and its people. That is not easy to change. The power of TV means that you cannot control what people see. The same is true in reverse. You guys all think that we go to tea with the Queen ( well or course I am in a couple of weeks, but that is another story).
England isn't all pretty and the US isn't all American Idol. Anyone of any intelligence knows what they see on TV is largely to be ignored, whether it is about the US, UK or The Middle East. There is good and bad everywhere.
The country and the people have made a real impression on us, and isn't that what it is all about?
I hope we have not left any impression on your countryside itself but I know we have made some new friends.
As they say at the end of my favourite film.
"It's been emotional"