Steve McAlphabet Motorcycling Music Across America
30 Days Motorcycling Music Across America

30 Days Motorcycling Music Across America

In the last 30 days, I have ridden my motorcycle through 10 states, 4 of which I have never ridden through before. Currently, I am in Idaho, the 44th state on my list, and this time next month, I will have ridden through Oregon, Washington, Montana, and North Dakota, and will have accomplished my goal of riding my motorcycle through all 48 contiguous states. I’m still not quite sure what I’m going to do next.

After replacing my tire and tube in Denver, I stayed a night in Boulder, and two nights in Fort Collins, where I was able to share some poetry and play at the open mic at The Lyric, a truly one of a kind movie theater that must be experienced to be understood. On Tuesday, I set out on my 450 mile journey to my next host in Jackson, Wyoming. By the time I got to Laramie, winds were blowing at 22mph.

When I first considered strapping a guitar to my motorcycle a few years ago, I did not take aerodynamics into consideration. Now that I have ridden over 40,000 miles with it, I can say with great certainty that it is not very aerodynamic. As a matter of fact, it acts very much like a sail, which can be very dangerous in winds over 20 mph.

I consulted my weather app to see where the winds were blowing, and the northern passage I was going to take was looking at 27 mph winds so I opted for the westbound interstate, where the winds were moderately less. Then I saw the sign warning of 40 mph gusts and decided to pull over to stretch my legs and have some coffee before facing the challenge. When I turned around to head back to the interstate, my tire was flat again.

Of the three tow trucks I have utilized on this trip, this one had the fastest response time, which I didn’t expect considering that I was in the middle of nowhere. But he picked me up and had me to a motorcycle repair shop in about an hour and a half, which is also how long it took to replace the tube.

Apparently, the place in Denver didn’t install the other tubes properly resulting in a pinch in the rubber, which caused a rupture. I’ve reached out to them and asked for remuneration. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Anyway, my tow truck driver suggested I take another road through Medicine Bow National Forest, and when I got back on the road that afternoon, it was only a block from where I was. It was beautiful, and since it went through the mountains, the winds were slightly diminished. I made it to Rawlins where I got a cheap hotel for the night. The next day was a lot more wind.

Wyoming is the least populated state, and all that extra space is filled with wind. It ranged between 20-26 mph throughout the day so I kept my speed around 50-55 mph while cars passed by me at the suggested 65-80 mph. Fortunately, I didn’t cause any major backups. I finally reached the mountains, and though I caught a little bit of rain, the wind subsided, and the ride through Grand Teton National Park was extraordinary. That first glimpse of the ginormous mountains with their peaks in the clouds was amazing. Of all the Tetons I’ve ever seen, these were, by far, the grandest.

My host in Jackson was pretty busy with her own things so for the Fourth of July, I went to the town square, and set up my typewriter to offer poetry and watch the parade. Each corner of the square is decorated with arches made of elk antlers, and the park was filled with people throughout the day. Eventually, I grabbed my guitar from the motorcycle and started playing some music when I ran out of poetry clients, and I was very grateful that a number of people brought me money in appreciation.

After a few hours there, I decided to go explore a little bit, and found a park on the map. Walking along the Flat River with a few hours until people started gathering for the fireworks, I remembered that a song that came to me on the road a few days before called “I’m Free”, and it occurred to me that there was probably no better day to write it than on Independence Day. So I went back to my host’s place and got to writing.

I wrote the last verse first. The chorus had come to me on the motorcycle, and though I couldn’t write it down, I had etched it in my brain. I wrote the second verse before my host dropped by again with one of her friends. I played a few songs for her, and we walked the two blocks to where the fireworks were being set off. She met up with another friend and I eventually had to turn down poetry clients as night set in.

And then there were fireworks. They were very similar to all of the other fireworks if ever seen, but they were on the side of a mountain. I went inside before they were over and finished writing the song.

The next day, I set out in 40 degree weather that heated up to the 70’s when I got to Idaho. I was glad to see that Idaho Falls actually has falls, unlike Grand Rapids, which has no actual rapids, especially grand ones. My host took me to a brewery where some of her friends were playing, and they let me play a few songs between their sets.

I’ve got 4 more states to enjoy for the next month before I reach my goal. I’m looking forward to a nice ride.