Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Touring

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceThe recent death of Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance reminded me of my epic motorcycle trip around the USA and Canada in the summer of 1980. I was travelling light, so it was my only reading matter, read in instalments along the way.

I still remember the parts of the book about motorcycle maintenance reflecting my own limited mechanical experience. Particularly the advice about not rushing any work on the bike. The philosophical sections were a more challenging read, and I really struggled with them.

So this is the perfect excuse for a rather self-indulgent blog post consisting of a selection of slides from my trip across USA and Canada. I have also added a few photos from a family trip to the southern states 37 years later.

Neil - USA and Canada by bike - 1980 (7)
A slightly blurry 1980 version of me, grinning from ear to ear, just before setting off around the USA and Canada on my newly acquired second hand Suzuki GS750
Neil - USA and Canada by bike - 1980 (16)
My first camp site with my trusty one-man tent near Kitty Hawk (the home of powered flight)
Camping in the sultry heat of Charleston South Carolina
Neil - USA and Canada by bike - 1980 (75)
Heading towards the Pacific coast, over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Neil - USA and Canada by bike - 1980 (88c)
In parts of the USA you really need to watch your gas. I think this is somewhere near Durango
Neil - USA and Canada by bike - 1980 (121)
I had no problem getting my big bike through Chandelier Tree in northern California
USA trip Aug 2016 (210)
Looking older, but just as enthusiastic about our Minnie Winnie, which turned out to be quite a handful to drive compared to the Suzuki of 1980
USA trip Aug 2016 (255)
This time we camped in comfort with a shower, two double beds, an oven, a hob, a microwave and widescreen TV. But I still hankered after a tent, which we bought along the way
USA trip Aug 2016 (286b)
The open road circa summer of 2016, heading west towards Las Vegas on route 66. Actually not very different from how it looked in 1980.
USA trip Aug 2016 (102)
I literally rode around Las Vegas to avoid it on my 1980 trip. This time we went twice! And revelled in the absurdity of the place. Especially Old Las Vegas, known as the Fremont Street Experience

Thanks to a frustrating limit in Google My Maps, I have had to create four separate maps to plot my 1980 route.