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There & Back Again
San Diego to San Diego, via America!

My Summer 2012 Cross Country Motorcycle Road Trip
July 30, 2012 - September ??, 2012
(With some edits as of 08/08/2023)

Note: All travel plans are subject to change for any reason, real or imagined.

And so, The Trip Began...

If you reading this, I have finally begun the trip. (or I'm just about to).

As stated on the home page, most of my overnight, or otherwise extended stops will be in motels and/or campsites, but certainly, if I'm going to be anywhere reasonably close to anyone who might know me, (and still wouldn't mind my company) I'd be happy to swing by, grab a bite, swill a beer, or three, and borrow a cot, couch, spare section of floor, etc., etc.

I've broken the trip down into five phases, each of which should cover approximately between 5 days, to a weeks worth of travel time.
(that's assuming 8 to 10 hours of riding per day)

The 5 Phases are:

  1. San Diego, CA, to Sturgis, SD (Via Oregon & Washington State)
  2. Sturgis, SD to Dalton, MA (Through Ontario Province)
  3. Dalton, MA to Key West, FL (With a few stops along the way)
  4. Key West, FL, to Harker Heights, TX (Note: I ended up skipping Harker Heights for Seymour, TX)
  5. Harker Heights, TX to San Diego, CA (With a stop in Vegas)
Additional & Important Note:
None of these maps shown here on this website seem to be very accurate, but if you click on the
"Click Here to View Larger (& Much More Accurate) Map," links below each of the maps, you'll better representations of the maps!

Pre-Trip Updates

Date: 07/28/2012

Pre-packing today to be sure everything fits & final packing tomorrow.

(See pics on photo/video page)

Everything I think I'll need to take along on my adventure, is either getting packed in the luggage, stuffed into the saddle bags, or otherwise strapped on the bike somewhere. I'm also double checking the fluid levels, brakes, tire pressures, etc., and taking a test ride with her fully loaded, to see how well (or poorly) old Jezebel handles the extra load.

This Monday will be an early start. Hopefully on the road by 6:30 am.

The maps below provide a more accurate detail of the actual routes I plan on taking during each of the five phases of the trip.

Map of Phase One
San Diego, CA, to Sturgis, SD

Click Here to View Larger (& Much More Accurate) Map

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Phase 1 Updates

Date: 07/31/2012 (morning)

Started out at 6:30 am Monday morning, 7/30/12. Ran I-15 to I-215, then picked up 138 East, off the Tejon Pass and ran it most of the way into Gorman, CA.

It was a great run between I-5 @ Frasier Park & Maricopa. Then again from McKittrick to Paso Robles on 58. Temps went from the low 70's in San Diego, to up in the 100's most of the afternoon, then low 60's, maybe even upper 50's, around Salinas as the sun got low and the marine layer creeps in.

Stayed at the Best Western in Hollister. (Note to self: Pick a different motel next time.)

Four hours sleep last night & 13 hours riding today.

I've just about given up on the GoPro camera. It just can't handle the Harley Shake. Pics and videos are distorted. Might grab my other camera and try it for a while.

A bit of disheartening news I'm afraid. Old Jezebel seems to have developed a low whine in the motor. I'm heading out to take a walk with Nala, then grab some breakfast, before I look for a shop to see if I can determine what it might be. Hoping it's something minor.

Date: 07/31/2012 (evening)

Hung around Hollister for most of the morning today. Brought Jezebel to Thunder Road Motorcycles ( after breakfast at Johnny's Bar and Grill ( but after Benito, the owner, checked it out, and took it for a ride, he couldn't find anything unusual, or any strange noises, and gave old Jezebel a clean bill of health, so I rode back over to Johnny's for a couple beers before I headed north again.

Right now, I'm in Red Bluff, CA, at the Best Western. I ended up meeting a guy at Johnny's who works for Best Western and after I explained how crappy my room was at the BW in Hollister, he recommended that I call customer service. I decided to do that and they added 4000 points on my rewards account. I wasn't going to, but I guess I'll give them another shot.

After 13 hours, and almost 580 miles of riding yesterday, today was an easy day. I left Hollister at 12:30 PM, and ran for just over 200 miles. Calling it an early night, then I'm going to try to get back on the road early in the morning tomorrow.

Nala doesn't like all the heat we've been riding through, but we stop pretty regularly for drinks and a bit of rest, so she handling it like a trooper. It's been the norm to hit the 100's in mid afternoon on the road for these last two days. Hoping for a little cooler temps as we travel north.

'Till tomorrow


We got on the road at 6:30 sharp this morning. I was very satisfied with the Best Western in Red Bluff, and stopped at another BW here in Madras, OR, tonight.

The ride today was much more comfortable, with temps in the mid 60's to upper 70's. Nala was definitely happier riding in today's cooler temps.

We rode a good 11-1/2 hours today, and covered about 400 miles. The Crater Lake photos simply cannot do justice to such an amazing vista. With the exception of all the meatball tourists, it was awesome. (Yea, Yea, Yea, I know. I'm a tourist too)

The plan is to head out tomorrow around 7:00 am. Weather looks good, as it has been so far on the trip. I know the rain's going to get us sometime, but the longer that takes the better.

G'nite All!

Date: 08/2/2012

Great riding today!

I'm guessing conservatively when I say, I'll bet that 70% of the ride so far I have been riding alone. Love that!

Once again, the weather was awesome, and the roads were great.
AND, I finally got those last two states under my belt. It feels good knowing I now have ridden the bike in all of the lower 48.

Short update tonight.


Date: 08/03/2012

Today was a 400+ day. Temps were on the cool side in the morning, but warmed up somewhat latter in the day. Still, I only road for about 2 hours without the sweatshirt.

The section of Rte. 12 (the Lewis and Clark Trail) between Kamiah, ID and Missoula, MT was absolutely fantastic. 99 miles of winding road, as the sign says, was all I'd hoped for. I highly recommend it for any rider. You won't be disappointed.

The only issues I had to deal with today were, Leaving Nala's water dish at one of our stops, and having the GoPro Hero 2 camera fall off the bike at 40+ mph. The bowl's gone for good, but the camera survived. Can't use it much because the enclosure it fits in broke, so there's no way to mount it until I replace that. It's now exclusively a hand held device.

It looks like I'll need to bundle up even more tomorrow than I did today, as the temps here in Livingston, MT are suppose to be in the high 40's, and you can bet that when I get to Beartooth Pass, at almost 11,000 feet, that temp will probably be the high for the day.

That's about it for tonight.

Adios Amigos.

Date: 08/04/2012

Yellowstone! Need I say more?

OK, maybe one more thing…

Beartooth Pass!!!

Another day of perfect riding, in perfect weather. (Well, chilly at times, but no rain, and the views more than made up for that.)
It turned out to be an 8 hour day, which is about what I planned. Tomorrow I'll be in Sturgis, probably around noon.

Can't think of anything else to comment on right now so…


Date: 08/12/2012

I had no Internet in Sturgis, other than tethering to my iPhone cell service, so I apologize for not giving you more updates while I was there.

We had great weather, great fun, and really unhealthy food! In other words, I loved it!

I did a lot of drinking & partying, & very little riding. I did get to take a run with my new friend, Willi, from Germany. Willi is he touring the U.S. on his Harley, which he had shipped over from his home. He had already toured the southern US before he got to Sturgis. He's a very cool guy and I enjoyed his company while I was there.

In fact, all the people I met in Sturgis were awesome! They came from the US, Germany, Canada, and even Australia. Thanks to all of these people for helping make my Sturgis experience awesome!!

Now, on to Phase 2…

Map of Phase Two
Sturgis, SD to Dalton, MA

Click Here to View Larger (& Much More Accurate) Map
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Phase 2 Updates

Date: 08/12/2012

We left Sturgis this morning at around 10 am, and did a little zigzagging east and north, ending up in Fargo, ND for the night. The ride was uneventful, with lots of relatively straight, flat roads.

I did catch a little rain, but not enough to get wet. It was the trailing edge of a storm passing by the I-94/Rte. 83 intersection. I had one cell on my left and one on my right. Somehow, I managed to slip in between them relatively unscathed.

I arrived in Fargo, and got a room, at about 9pm. In for the night, and trying to catch up on the website. I'll try to get some photos up in the morning. Need sleep!

Stay tuned…

Date: 08/13/2012

Pleasant and uneventful ride today. Nice cool weather. No rain. Lots of newly paved roads.

Rode about 9 hours. Stopped for the night in Ironwood, MI.

After I get some things here on the website updated, I'll be hitting the sack and trying to get off early tomorrow.

Night All!

Date: 08/15 (AM)

Good morning everybody!

Yesterday's morning run was a carbon copy of the day before. Good roads & weather. Things got a little dicey later in the day, as I approached the Mackinac Bridge in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. As I go closer to the bridge the thunder storms started popping up around, and in front of me. I pulled over just 10 miles from the bridge to put the rain suit on, and sure enough, the rain came. Fortunately, it never got too intense, nor did it last too long.

When I got to the bridge, I pulled in to the Bridge View Park. The weather cleared and I removed my rain gear for the remainder of the day.

I stopped for the night in Traverse City, MI and was happy to finally meet the man that introduced to the AMSOIL business, Dave Mann, and pick his mind a bit. I found him to be a good guy, and thoroughly enjoyed our brief time together. I only wish I had more time to check out the area. It's a beautiful area.

My room at the Best Western had a hot tub, which was heaven for my last night. I slept like a baby after that.

Well, back to loading the bike for today's run.

Headed to Canada today, eh?

'Til the next time…

Date: 08/15/2012 (PM)

Started out in fog & drizzle in Traverse City this morning, but it cleared up and turned nice for the remainder of the days ride. Otherwise, it was a pretty boring ride. The only difference between riding in the US, and riding in Canada, is the invisible line separating the two countries.

I'm staying the night just outside of Buffalo, NY. I should be back in Mass. tomorrow.

I'll decide tomorrow which route to take back to Dalton. Considering a couple different ones.

That's it for tonight. Bed time!


Date: 08/20/2012

Sorry I haven't been very diligent on the updates of late. Little time and spotty Internet are my only excuses.

Everything is going well. I've been able to meet up with several friends from here in the Berkshires. Eating too much good food, but otherwise just enjoying my time and riding some of my favorite roads in the area.

I still have a few friends I'm trying to get together with but since I'm not planning on leaving until this coming Friday or Saturday, I'm still hoping that will come to pass.

Well, I've got a few things planned for today so I guess I'll sign off for a while.

Thanks to everyone checking out this website, for traveling along with me, and for all your patience with my failure to keep you all as updated as I'd like. (I will get more photos up. Honest!)

Ciao for now!

Date: 08/24/2012

Once again I've been derelict in my duties. I've been so busy having fun here in my hometown of Dalton that I've failed to post timely updates.

Since arriving back here I've been having a great time with so many friends I'm hard pressed to give a detailed account of everything I've been doing. I've definitely done much more riding here than I did in Sturgis. (And quite a bit of partying too)

Had a good long ride with my buddies Steve & George Sunday, Kevin, Debbie & Jessica Thursday, and several other shorter runs in between. The best ride however, was today, with my step son Matt. We had not spoken more than a handful of words with each other in several years before this. It was definitely a highlight of the trip so far.

Right now I'm pre-packing for an early start tomorrow. Hope to make Virginia by evening.

Onward and Upward!

Phase three, here I come...

Map of Phase Three
Dalton, MA to Key West, FL

Click Here to View Larger (& Much More Accurate) Map
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Phase 3 Updates

Date: 08/29/2012

I guess it's time to update Phase 3 on the website, huh? OK, here ya go…

After leaving Berkshire County and heading south, I made good time to Joe & Katie Cahills home in Lovettesville VA. I couldn't have asked for better hosts. Joe and Katie really made me feel at home. Katie even had dinner waiting when I got there. Then, the next day we went to the Air & Space museum where the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Enola Gay, and tons of other cool aircraft are on display. Even the rain showers couldn't spoil that awesome day. To top things off I was invited to Sunday dinner at Katie's parents' house.

Good Food & Good Folks!

Sadly, I left there Monday morning and continued south, for a run along Skyline Dr. in the Shenandoah National Forest, then onto the Blue Ridge Pkwy. As I expected, it was awesome riding, and my no-rain (while riding) streak continued for the days ride.

After an overnighter in Reidsville, NC, I continued on to Myrtle Beach, SC to my friend & former neighbor, Maureen Viners' house on Tuesday, where I was once again welcomed in to her home, made to feel like family, and, even though my no-rain (while riding) streak ended, got to visit, and avoid some rather nasty storms on Wednesday.

Thank you Maureen, for an excellent Italian dinner at Scatori's, with your family too!

As I write this, my plan is to continue the trip south tomorrow morning. Hoping to be in Key West by the weekend.

There you have it. (Added a few new photos too)

Tah, Tah for now…

Date: 09/01/2012

The trip from Myrtle Beach, SC to Daytona, FL was a rainy one. I did however; manage to get the rain suit on before I was completely drenched this time around.

Other than the above mentioned wet weather, the trip was rather uneventful, with no real excitement, or calamities.

The only thing I was truly concerned about was the fact that Jezebel had, somewhere between San Diego & here, developed a small oil leak, and a slight "clacking" noise when restarted after being shut down for any amount of time. I thought the oil leak was mostly from when I stripped out the primary drain plug, but that wasn't the case.

I decided to bring old Jezebel in to Bruce Rossmeyers H-D, in Ormand Beach to have these things checked out. They discovered that there were a couple of bad seals on the shifter shaft causing one oil leak. The stater was also leaking and replaced.

With regards to the clacking noise, they also noticed that the compensating sprocket assembly was a little loose, so they replaced the belt sprocket spacer and tightened everything up. Thanks to Ralph Suriner for suggesting this as a possible cause.

So, $850 later, I think they fixed all my concerns. Since I was originally quoted $1000, I was pleasantly surprised that it came in under what they expected. And, I will be heading south once again tomorrow morning with a little more peace of mind.

I'm about to take a test ride to see how everything feels.

The adventure continues…

Date: 09/04/2012

Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, in the Florida Keys…

The trip from Daytona area was nice and sunny most of the way to Palm Beach Gardens, where I stopped for the night at Ray Watson & Jane St. Palley's house. Once again, my Datonian friends were the epitome of graciousness. We enjoyed a lot of social time, and several beers, then Jane made up a Key Lime shrimp & rice dish for dinner that was to die for. I also got some laundry done between beers. Wooo Hooo!!!

My deepest thank you to Ray & Jane. I really enjoyed my visit. (And, so did Nala, once she stopped being such a bitch to Max)

On the other hand, the run from PBG to the Keys, was wrought with sun & rain, not quite in equal measure. I sat in a service plaza near Miami, for about a half hour, waiting for a nasty looking thunder storm to pass, but even though it looked like blue shy was beginning to peak through, I barely got to the end of the on ramp, and into traffic, when the deluge hit. (I don't need no stinking rain suit!!!) And, it hit hard, for about 15 minutes. It soaked me down pretty good. Had a few other rain events before I got to the Keys, but nothing near what that one storm was like.

I got to Marathon Key and started looking for a room that was pet friendly. I prefer using one of the hotel chains that I get rewards points for, but none in the area were pet friendly. I ended up stopping at a Burger King for lunch, and asked the manager, who gave me some suggestions. Ended up at the Coconut Cay resort. Very pet friendly place and they basically waved the pet fee for me.

Then Bridget Brown contacted me to let me know that her sister Erin was living in Key West. We called each other and ended up hanging out for the evening in downtown Key West, where we ran into another of the Brown Clan, Molly. We had a drink together at the GREEN Parrot, the Erin & I went to eat. The food was awesome, and then Erin gave me the $5 tour. We had a blast!

As it was getting late, and we'd had more than just a couple drinks, Erin invited me to stay at her house rather than drive the 45+ minutes back to Marathon. I gratefully accepted.

Now, I'm back at Coconut Cay, relaxin', writin', & snoozin' a bit, before having dinner with Erin again tonight, here in Marathon.

Time for the snoozing' part…

L8R Folks!!

Map of Phase Four
Key West, FL, to Harker Heights, TX

Click Here to View Larger (& Much More Accurate) Map
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Phase 4 Updates

Date: 09/08/2012

Well, after getting stood up on a dinner date, by my Key West hostess, (Just kidding, Erin.) I decided to get my ass back on the road before I started apartment hunting in the Keys.

Honestly, I totally understand why Erin wasn't up for dinner after working hard all day with a hangover, courtesy of our night on the town. Then, after a 2 hour drive to pick up the plants needed for her landscaping business, working in the fields all day in the hot muggy weather, and then another 2 hours back to Key West, it's no wonder the last think she would want was to rush around getting ready for dinner. My bad for not suggesting that you bring a change of clothes, stop in at the motel on the way home and clean up at my place. As stated above, I had a great time hanging with both Erin & Molly Brown, while I was in Key West.

Thank you gals!!!

The early part of my run north was dotted with the occasional rain shower, but nothing too heavy. I did stop at Harley Davidson of Naples to get a new rear tire. Basically, there was no tread left in the center by the time it was swapped out in Naples, but with slightly over 8100 miles on it, I'm happy to report that it lasted about 2000 miles longer than I expected it to last. Good news because now I'm pretty sure I won't need to change either the rear, or the front tire, for the rest of the trip.

After leaving Naples HD, the weather still looked good until I go near the Florida/Georgia state line, then the sky got dark and I knew I was in for a good down pour. Luckily I came up on an overpass just as it hit. After waiting about a half an hour for the worst of the storm to pass, I decided to make it a short day. I stopped and got a room in Valdosta, GA, which was the next exit.

Once I was settled in, I walked over to the local IHOP and had a little breakfast for dinner. Not surprisingly, my waitress looked like a crack addict, with no upper teeth. And, for some additional entertainment, the local and State cops were detaining a gentleman, next door at the Waffle House. Gotta love it!

Continuing on the next day, I had some awesome weather. I started out early, before it got hot again, and only hit a few hours of real hot stuff before getting into the mountains. The temps were much more pleasant once I was in the mountains.

Now, I'm in Blue Ridge, GA and since the weather forecast calls for thunder showers today, I'm going to stay here one more night.

Tomorrow, Sunday, 9/9/12, I will be running the Tail of the Dragon!!! So, I've ridden almost 9000 miles, just to ride in a section of road 11 miles in length, with 318 curves. How crazy is that?

That's all Folks


I rode I-40 & Rt. 70 for the majority of the run across Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Nice riding, good weather and decent scenery, albeit a little boring at times.

I decided to skip Harker Heights as I thought it was a little more out of the way than I wanted to go at this point in my trip. Because of this, I didn't get to see my cousin Mark, but I'll put him on the list for the next trip.

My stay in Seymour, TX was, as it always is, awesome. My niece Carrie, nephew Chip, and the kids, Chad, Lucinda and Claire are always a joy to spend time with. Temps were in the upper 90's when I got there, but during my stay it dropped into the 70's with much needed rain showers. I got to see my great nephew Chad play football, and to watch both my great nieces cheerleading. It was just a great visit, and it's always difficult making the decision to leave.

But leave I did.

More to follow in Phase 5.


Map of Phase Five
Harker Heights, TX to San Diego, CA

Click Here to View Larger (& Much More Accurate) Map
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Phase 5 Updates


I ended up following Rt. 114 out of Seymour, TX toward Lubbock, then dropped down to 380. In Socorro, NM, I picked up rt. 60, then 260, through New Mexico into Arizona, stopping in Camp Verde for the night. Both of these are nice roads, but rt. 260 was under construction, being widened, It was a very different road than the last time I was on it. At that time it was a very narrow and winding two lane road. I was a little disappointed that this huge construction project had all but completely eliminated the road I remembered. I was looking forward to running it.

From Camp Verde I rode over to Sedona, AZ, running north on 89A. This was yet another absolutely awesome road. Do it if you ever get the chance. The plan was to stop over in Flagstaff at a friends house, but he had to go out of town for a few days, so that fell through.

The rest of the days run was partly on I-40, but I did get to run part of Historic Old Route 66 for about 100 miles or so. In Kingman, AZ I picked up rt. 93 into Vegas, stopping for several days at my friends, Paula & Gary's house. We had a blast partying in Sin City before I made the last 350+ mile run back home.

So, here I am, back in Sunny San Diego trying to get you all updated. I hope those of you who kept tabs on my whereabouts during the trip got some entertainment value out of my musings along the way.

Thanks for following.

Joe Tatro



I will be using this page, along with my Facebook Page, ( to post my location, and activities, at various points, and times, during the journey, along with lots of photos, video updates.

I hope you will follow my travels and interact with me, by posting, texting, emailing, or calling, with your own thoughts, comments or moral support.

Thank you for checking out the webpage. I hope to see, and/or hear from you, when/if I'm on the road.

With L & R,
Joe Tatro


My Independent AMSOIL Dealer Website
Member & Former Website Admin.: ABATE of CA, Local 6
Past Berkshire County Rep. & Website Admin.:, Mass. Motorcycle Assn.
Member: Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Member: American Motorcyclist Association

... & Self Proclaimed "Die Hard Biker."

Contact Info

(844) 227-6457


(413) 446-9484
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Me, Nala Biker-Dog, & Jezebel
Joe Tatro & Nala in San Diego, CA
Joe Tatro, AMSOIL Independent Dealer, San Diego, CA.


Links to Some Useful AMSOIL's Links:

My AMSOIL Garage. Free engine maintenance tool. Track  all your vehicles.

This website is always under construction. I have created it to provide those of you who might be interested, with some background information, personal history, basic routes plans, maps & other information regarding a cross country motorcycle trip I'm undertaking during the summer of 2012. This page is accessible via I hope you find it interesting, and will use the links included here to learn about, and follow my journey. You are also welcome to use the contact information listed below to contact me as I wander around America. (If you so desire)

Thanks for stopping by!

Note: All travel plans are tentative, and subject to change, for any number of reasons, real or imagined.

Copyright 2012, 2023 - Joe Tatro [Die Hard Biker] San Diego, CA