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MC Dispatch

Reader-submitted rides, reviews and stories

Riding through the Rockies with the SOHC4 Forum Ride Across America

(Ed. Note: In 2011 the Single Overhead Cam Four/Forum, an online community devoted to Honda SOHC/4 bikes of the late 1960’s and 1970’s, loosely organized a relay/rally ride that will triple-transect the lower 48 states and all Canadian Provinces. The ride began in mid-March and continues into the early Fall. Learn more and join the ride when it passes your area . ) 

So many miles, so little time. And in the wide-open spaces of the great American West , the scenery, distances and weather can all be awesomely dramatic. New ride “heroes” seem to pop up weekly on this 3X transcontinental tour, which this week surpasses 7,800 miles in the log book since leaving Daytona Beach, FL back in mid-March.

What follows is as much as a photo tour or travel log capturing just some of the drama that’s unfolded in the past few days. We end this blog entry with the ride due to arrive in Topeka, Kan., for a much anticipated meet-up at the home of Motorcycle Classics and editor Richard Backus. A meeting that will include the originator of this crazy ride concept, Jerry Griffin. It will be a meeting of the minds.

But getting to Kansas has been a touch and go operation this May. Check out the conditions when Greg, known as Ofreen on the SOHC/4 Forum, was scheduled to leave home near the Idaho/Oregon border. Not an auspicious beginning.

US 95 at Jordan Valley 
US 95 at Jordan Valley near where Ofreen would be starting his is 1,500 trip.   

Yeah, his round-trip ride covered some 1,500 miles as he traveled south to Fernley, Nev., to take the handoff from Team California. From there he traveled east through Nevada and much of Utah before handing off to Team Central Rockies at Spanish Fork, Utah, south of Salt Lake City. Along the way, Ofreen, traveling solo, crossed those legendary wide-open spaces.   

Straight shot 
No twisties here, just straight shots for miles and miles.  

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Rockies, forum member riders Apex_seeking, cb650 and Jerry RXman Griffin were ready to head west to meet up with Greg, but what lay ahead was altitude and weather at Vail Pass.

Apex and son 
Apex_seeking with is young son at home in Denver just before heading west.  

Now unlike Jerry and cb650, young Apex was not a road-hardened rider. Yup, those clothes you see him in are what took him through the snow and over the pass. Good thing he was riding with some veteran cruisers to see him through. According to Jerry, they traveled some distances through slush on the road with both feet down just to keep upright. Check out this blurry but telling shot of conditions at Vail Pass. 

Team Central Rockies 
Is this crazy? Maybe, but Team Central Rockies made it through extremely challenging
conditions crossing the Rockies

It's May 2011, and spring had not yet arrived in these parts. Check out the snow pack along the road near Vail Pass after the snow showers and slushy conditions abated.  

Colorado Snow Pack 
Snow pack that’s four bikes high!   

But after that it was “all down hill” said Jerry and the riders over-nighted in Grand Junction, Colo., before the meet-up the next day with Ofreen near Spanish Forks.   

Team Central Rockies Handoff 
Ofreen, Jerry and Terry handoff at Spanish Forks, Utah.   

Back over the pass and home to the Denver and Colorado Springs areas was, fortunately, not so eventful, save for the petcock issues Jerry developed on his ride, a loner for this trip. Over the next few days the forum heard “Petcock Tales” from Jerry, which could be a separate blog entry in itself.  

After their grueling road trip, this relay ride took a couple days hiatus in Colorado. But that didn’t mean operations stood still. Godzilla, the pesky little monster mascot for the ride, was taken on some very scenic tours of Colorado’s eastern slopes. Forum member TheOfram was in the driver’s seat now escorting both petcock parts to Jerry and “G” around the state.  

Part of that tour included a visit to one of the forum’s highly respected members Hondaman, aka Mark Paris, who escorted them to Lookout Mountain outside Golden, Colo. 

Lookout Mountain
At Lookout Mountain, Co., forum members theOfram and Hondaman, Mark Paris.  

On Monday, May 8, Jerry led the crew off the eastern slopes and on to the Great Plains for the visit and lunch on Tuesday, May 10, with the magazine crew of Motorcycle Classics.  

Just think, at 7,800 miles and this ride now past the mid-point of its planned 14,000 total miles. 

Check back soon for new updates. Crossing the Plains, the ride heads into Chi town the weekend of May 14 and Indianapolis May 15, the rain gods willing. But who can complain after the cold and snow others have endured? Next up after Indy is my hometown, Cincinnati, and my turn to ride a circuitous route through Ohio. You’re totally welcome to join me along the way.  

See you down the road! – Steve Shanesy 

Steve Shanesy is a Forum Member who is making last minute preparations for his leg in this incredible journey.