2020 Moto Trip - 4,200 Hot August Miles

By: Kevin JohnsonJun 15, 2020

Very little planning has been done yet, but we have a roughly laid out map of the big trip Bob and I will be taking this year!  Said map is even complete with stops, dates, and miles; so maybe we’re a hair further along than I thought.  There are going to be some long days and some short days, some very scenic roads traveled on, family visited, and cities super heavy in the music scene.  So without further adieu, here is the breakdown of sort of where we’re going and why:

Day 1 (8/12): Denver, CO to Burwell, NE – 395 miles – We’re planning on taking a half day and hitting the road after work.  It’ll be a long hot day crossing eastern Colorado and getting into Nebraska but that’s fine, it’ll be good to get a number of miles under our belts on the way to getting where we really want to be.

Day 2 & 3 (8/13-14): Burwell, NE to Cologne, MN – 430 miles – This is another long day that will likely be pretty warm but when we arrive in Cologne we’ll be spending a few days visiting family.  My wife’s aunt and cousins live all around this area so it’s going to be great spending time with them.  Alexa (wife) is even flying out there the same day we leave on the trip and staying a few days longer than us so she can see us and spend a good amount of time with her fam.

Day 4 (8/15): Cologne, MN to Iron Mountain, MI – 355m – Hopefully it’ll be a little cooler up here, although I’m fully anticipating being eaten by mosquitoes the size of pterodactyls so that will be nice.  Should be a decently short day of riding compared to the first two and I am looking forward to cruising through some pretty and lush country.

Day 5 (8/16): Iron Mountain, MI to Grayling, MI – 348m – This day will fun going over the top of Lake Michigan and down the peninsula.  Also we’re going to hit a road called the “Tunnel of Trees” which is apparently quite stunning.  From what I read it’s a super scenic road through, as the name suggests, a tunnel of trees with no lane, so we’ll take our time and watch out for oncoming traffic.  Sounds a bit like when we went over McKenzie Pass in Oregon which was a fantastic ride so I’m really looking forward to this one as well.

Day 6 & 7 (8/17-18): Grayling, MI to Cleveland, OH – 366m – “Why Cleveland?” I hear you asking yourself.  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, my dear friends.  It’s been on our radar to take a ride out here for a while, so now is the time.  I also have a friend from here so he said he’d fly out to meet up with us and show us the best spots to get into trouble.  This will likely be a decently boring day on the interstate and a little heavy in miles but that’s fine.

Day 8 (8/19): Cleveland, OH to Huntington, WV – 289m – Even though we’ll have “relaxed” for a few days and taken a break from the bikes, this is a short day just to enjoy the scenery and ride.  State highways and back roads are in our future.  Although West Virginia is often thought of as a backwoods type place in a negative light, it’s very pretty and full of people who have been exceptionally nice to me in the past, so why not go back.

Day 9 (8/20): Huntington, WV to Knoxville, TN – 282 miles – Another decently short day to kick back and enjoy the ride.  I’ve heard Knoxville is a cool place and it also sets us up nicely for the following day’s ride.

Day 10 & 11 (8/21-22): Knoxville, TN to Nashville, TN – 312 miles – This will be a fun day’s worth of pounding pavement because we’ll be going over a few more epic roads, the Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway.  It’s pretty nice that you can hit both in one big loop and not have to go out of the way to hit one or the other.  Both are considered to be in the top 10 moto rides by a number of people so we’re going to get after them.  I’m kind of anticipating these being similar to when we went over Beartooth Pass which was absolutely something special, only with a different style of scenery I imagine.  Getting into Nashville will be cool too because I have, but Bob has not been there before, so we decided to cut back up and spend a few days and check out the Tennessee music scene.  It’s such a wild and fun city that there is no way we weren’t going to head up there for the weekend!

Day 12 (8/23): Nashville, TN to Jonesboro, AR – 263 miles – This should be another pretty easy day but I’m anticipating a lot of heat and humidity.  Both Bob and I recently purchased some of the Klim Mojave pants (different colors of course, we don’t want to look like sisters!) in preparation for the swamp-ass that is sure to come, even with the extra ventilation.  I don’t really know what to expect in Jonesboro but I’m excited to ride back over the Mississippi River.

Day 13 (8/24): Jonesboro, AR to Fayetteville, AR – 292 miles – I’m expecting more of that hot, wet air, and am just hoping it’s not too unbearable.  This day we’re going to cut through the Ozark National Forest.  Should be nice and green with lots of twisty roads and places to stop to air ourselves out and kick back with a refreshing adult beverage.  I am also looking forward to exploring Fayetteville since it’s often considered one of the best places to live in the US, but still behind Denver of course!

Day 14 (8/25): Fayetteville, AR to Liberal, KS – 434 miles – Ramping back up on the number of miles traveled in one day just to get home a bit quicker and not have to spend an extra day on the road going through tornado alley.  I’m really hoping we don’t get swept away by a category 5 twister, but if we do I hope Helen Hunt is around to be dramatize the event.  I’m also hopeful the heat will start to get less humid, although by this point in the ride it’s pretty much guaranteed our riding gear will be absolutely disgusting.

Day 15 (8/26): Liberal, KS to Denver, CO – 371 miles – The last push to get home, this final day is going to be a bunch of zig-zagging down back roads.  I imagine we’ll stop here and there but not like on the rest of the trip.  After 15 days of riding I know I’ll be quite ready to be home and sleeping in my own bed.

And that’s it folks, that’s the plan for roughly 4,200 miles of the beautiful United States countryside and cityscapes.  There is a lot to do to get ready for this trip…and come to think of it, I should probably seriously consider starting now being about two months out so I’m not rushing and potentially forgetting things.  Stay tuned for the rest of the trip planning and if you’re going to be near us at any point drop us a line, we’d love to have a beer with you!

Kevin Johnson
Kevin was destined to ride motorcycles from a young age since bikes are a family pastime.  Only recently did Kevin become an internet motorcycle influencer and change the lives of no one while blogging about his exploits, both on and off the road.  He is currently (and constantly) thinking about the next places two wheels might take him, much to the dismay of his wife, so stay tuned for what's to come!