I’ve taken to dragging along a fistful of maps wherever I go, including our once-a-week date-night dinner. We’re planning the next motorcycle ride.
Though the maps may puzzle a waitress – “Are you guys going somewhere?” – and look odd next to the bread and chianti, it’s a chance to mellow out and just think ahead to where Linda and I want to go and how we’ll get there.
This year, we’re thinking about The Great River Road, a patchwork of scenic state roads that follow the Mississippi River from its source in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
I’m a sucker for historic roads with names, but I hadn’t heard of this one until Ben Abramson, our Travel editor, mentioned it in a morning editorial meeting. Why am I not aware of this? I asked myself, and went to learn more.
It turns out The Great River Road is a 2,400-mile-long series of roads that runs through 10 states, from Minnesota to Louisiana. It’s been around since 1938. You can drive on either the western or eastern banks of the Mississippi.
It looks fascinating and sounds perfect for us. The only problem is getting there.
Logically, we’d like to travel the road north to south. The problem is getting out there: Itasca State Park in Minnesota, where the road begins, is about 1,300 miles from us. New Orleans, close to where it ends, is 1,100 miles away.
That means we’re traveling 2,400 miles just to get to and from the road. Add in the road and it’s 4,800 miles, more than we’ve ever done on two separate bikes. The most we’ve ever done on our separate bikes is 3,300 miles in 19 days.
We’re considering options:
- Taking more time and doing the whole thing on two bikes;
- Doing it two-up on one bike, probably Endurance, my BMW GS (which would also give us the opportunity to revisit the Natchez Trace on the way home);
- Renting a U-Haul or somesuch and transporting the bikes to and from the start/endpoints ourselves.
Mission Logistics is working on it and will report back when they reach consensus. That’s us, of course. And a few waitresses, probably.