How did I get here, to the place where I can go on this epic bucket list adventure?  I was born in 1958 and grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.  I bought my first motorcycle in 1977 on April 17, which is also my father’s birthday.  I plan to ride another 40 years, so check back later.

My father was a life insurance salesman; he was risk averse.  As a kid there were no BB guns, sling shots, fireworks and, especially motorcycles.  Upon occasion we would get a chance to try these things when a friend had them.  My first BB gun experience was in the attic of my brother’s friend.  We were shooting targets and it did not take long before a ricochet hit me in the cheek.  It hurt; maybe I should be more careful.  One of my early encounters with fire crackers resulted in a Black Cat exploding in my hand.  It hurt; maybe I should be more careful.  Once a friend came by with his dirt bike and my attempt to ride behind him resulted in me flying off the back.  I never let my father know about these things.

As I grew up I was interested in aviation history and in 1973 I met a pioneer in hang gliding at the Cleveland Air Show.  His name was Chuck Slazarcheck (I hope I spelled it correctly).  Believe it or not Cleveland was an early mecca of the sport.  His gliders were all the early delta-wing design; most made with aluminum tubing but one or two were bamboo.  Soon after, I sent him a few dollars for the plans to make one and presented my idea to dear old dad.  It did not go well and I never got off the ground.

Fast forward to when I was 18 years old and an enlisted kid in the Air Force.  Dad was not around to prevent me from buying a motorcycle.  I have been hooked ever since and have far more miles logged on two wheels than in cars.  The bike was a 1976 Yamaha XS750D, I loved it.  It was way to much bike for a noob with almost no riding experience; what could possibly go wrong.

It did not take long for me to crash, at Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas.  I was relatively unscathed except for road rash on my hands because I had no gloves.  When my bike got fixed the front fender was new so I had to get a new sticker to get on military bases.  To get the sticker I had to take the Air Force rider safety course.  It opened my eyes and I learned a ton.  It got me serious about practicing and wearing the right protective gear.  It is probably why I am still at it today and more serious than ever.

After the Air Force I worked my way through school, got married and had four sons, you know, typical life.  All of the boys are through college and on their own so now I can take this trip.  I have a very understanding wife, Sandy, that knows I have to do this and supports me fully.

2 thoughts on “Prologue”

  1. Lots of stuff in here that is new to me. You first mentioned wanting to do this trip when I visited in 2010. Thanks for this!

    PS…while signing with my blog handle, I share your middle name.


  2. Good luck Kevin sounds like a great adventure !
    Sandy and I took the train trip from Seward to Fairbanks unbelievable country you are really going to have a great time. We are looking forward to follow you on your trip.
    Larry & Sandy


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