- Motorcycles, Sports Bikes & Riding
My Motorcycle Adventure; Honda CB 450
A Driving Tour Across Interstate 10
I had planned this motorcycle trip with a week in advance. For this purpose, I bought a U.S. road map and checked which road was going to take me to the Texas coast the shortest distance. Interstate 10 (I-10) was going to be my route. A Honda CB450 with a 444cc dual engine and 45 horsepower was good enough to take me there. For this purpose I packed my jacket, a quart of cycle oil, and a flashlight. I didn´t need anything else, except for the food. “A hamburger and a vanilla milkshake will do” I reflected.
It was a sunny summer day of 1984. The sun was shining with no clouds blotting its rays; meaning, I was going to have to endure the sun rays over my shoulders (I had bought a sunscreen cream just in case). I knew the consequences of exposing the body skin to the sun rays in summer time. I wasn´t going to take any risks. I drove to Santa Monica and got on the Santa Monica Freeway which is the name I-10 takes there.
I turned the accelerator handle bar of my bike and headed west on I-10, noticing the neighborhoods along the sideways of the auto route. A sensation of nostalgia invaded me when the last reminisces of habitable neighborhoods disappeared from my sight. It was getting dark and I stopped at a rest stop. I looked behind and could see the city halo lights of Los Angeles far away in the distance.
Santa Monica Freeway
I continued my journey concentrated in placing my sight on the dividing lines on the highway (at night, wearing a helmet, you´re not able to see but a few meters ahead). This was my first night driving a motorcycle at night, so I diminished the speed of my wary of the big passing trucks which can push you away from the road when they pass by you due to the force that the wind exerts over nearby objects, especially if driving at high speeds.
The next morning I crossed the Arizona New Mexico border. I stopped at a rest area to take a little break while at the same time checking the oil of my motor bike. By the looks of it, my bike was in good condition. The oil level hadn´t been burned much. I let it cool down while I took a fifteen minute nap or maybe more after which I continued on IH 10 going west.
I met a few motorcyclists on the road; some of them driving touring motorcycles with a passenger on the back seat. I learned that when you meet other bikers on the road is customary to greet them by raising your left hand while holding your bike with your right hand. I didn´t greet the first two bikers, being unfamiliar with the custom; I began greeting every biker I met on the road, after the third biker I met.
Motorcycle on The Road
I was driving on the left lane when suddenly I heard a big truck behind me. I looked through the mirror and I noticed that the 18 wheeler was coming too close. I pulled my motor bike to the right lane and immediately, the 18 wheeler passed me by. I felt the pushing force of the wind disturbing the straight forward motion of my motorcycle. I learned that slow driving vehicles are safer driving defensively on the right lane.
I entered the heavy traffic rush time in El Paso just before sunset. It took me 30 minutes to drive from the intersection of IH10 and loop 375 To the Zaragoza crossing. I was wearing the helmet all the time even at night. I knew what a fall from a motorcycle is like when I had my first accident, the very first day I bought my motorcycle days before. I pulled out to a rest area and took a nap. The weather was hot and dry. I checked my bike. It was a good bike! I knew that if I decided to go back to California, I could surely count on it.
The following day just after dark, I was entering the intersection of I-10 and interstate 410 in San Antonio. Two days on the road had given me confidence and motorcycling driving experience. It is good to take into account that driving a motorcycle requires that extra precautions be taken than those of driving a four wheeled vehicle. I´m glad I had this motorcycle adventure experience, so I can share a few tips about motorcycle touring with other motorcyclists.