Peter Hunsdorfer wanted to sell his 2004 BMW RT 1150 Touring motorcycle. After thinking about it, he decided that it would sell more quickly on the west coast due to the motorcycle culture of the area. That thought, along with the idea of visiting his son and daughter-in-law in Washington state evolved into taking a trip he’d always dreamed about; riding across the United States on a motorcycle.
“It’s something I’d always wanted to do, and I had the time off from work,” Hunsdorfer said. “My wife, Sally, could fly out and meet me, and we could visit Todd and Cathy. It just evolved into a exciting plan.” He completed the trip in 10 days in July.
Hunsdorfer took the northern route making his way to New York state, through Ohio, Pennsylvania, into Illinois, over to Wisconsin, up to Minnesota across South Dakota to Wyoming, onto Montana, through Idaho and into Washington. He camped the entire time at state parks, local campgrounds, and RV Campgrounds.
“With a motorcycle, you can almost always find a place at a campground because you don’t take up much space,” explained Hunsdorfer. The bike, along with three storage bags with supplies and clothing, weighed 600 pounds. He also used the passenger seat for storage.
“It’s a big country and a big world and you have to put yourself out there and take risks,” said Hunsdorfer, who is currently looking for a smaller motorcycle. According to Hunsdorfer, the bike he rode to Washington is too big for our local area and was meant for lots of long-distance touring. “I want to go with something smaller now,” he said.
“I work with older people and I see that sometimes there are regrets, so do what you want to do while you can,” he said. Hunsdorfer was a paramedic for the town of Marion for more than 10 years and is now a licensed practical nurse employed at a local sub acute care nursing facility.
The weather cooperated, with only one day of rain on the day he departed. He stopped along the way to see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the Badlands, and explored local towns. He rode from 300 to 500 miles each day. “I got approximately 50 miles to the gallon and had a six gallon tank,” he said.
Prior to leaving, Hunsdorfer bought a National Parks Pass, which costs $10 for those 62 years and older. He used it multiple times, once carefully avoiding buffalo in the road in Yellowstone. “I’d use Google maps on my smart phone to plan the next day and locate a campground. There are many more campsites after you pass Chicago, they seem to have a more outdoorsy attitude and camping and being outside is more of a lifestyle out there than it is here in New England.”
In time, he and his wife plan to sell their home and travel. “There is so much to see, do, and experience, and it would be fun to go into an area and see more of the national parks and explore the country,” he said. For now, he is back at work, and he and Sally are reviewing their bucket lists for future adventures.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry