The Gulf Trip
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Last updated 1/16/11

When I hatched this plan I was one month into post-op from a badly broken distal radius.  Without much else to do, I'd been spending way too much time pouring over the ride reports on ADVrider, and the used bikes in the flea market, as well as on craigslist, and ebay.  It didn't help that we were scheduled to leave on our planned epic Blue Ridge Parkway trip three days after my accident.  My wife and I had been planning that trip since the fall of 2008 when we'd ridden the FJ to Mt. Pisgah and Barbie decided that the next time we were on that road she'd be piloting her own bike.  Now the year was winding down and I was seeing my opportunity for a road trip slipping away.

I had always been fascinated with quirky motorcycles, and lately a certain air-cooled v-twin from Yamaha's past had caught my interest, the XV920.  But not the Americanized cruiser version.  The 'R' model, or 'euro' as it was called.  Standard ergos, a comfortable seat, an enclosed chain, and that big lazy lump of a motor.  I'd convinced myself that I had to have one.  It was mid-October, and based on my interpretation of what the doctor and my therapist were telling me, I figured my wrist should be ready for a good long ride by the end of December.  So the search was on for a suitable fly & ride candidate.

I found this one on ebay, a 1982 Yamaha XV920RH, in Jasper, Texas.  It looked clean, but had a repaint, and an after-market exhaust.  Two strikes already, but I spoke with the seller on the phone and satisfied myself that the bike was in good enough shape to ride the 1500 miles home.  He agreed that should I win the auction, he'd store the bike until December when my wrist would be healed enough for the ride.  Then I pulled out the atlas and loosely plotted a course that would take me south from Jasper to the Texas gulf coast, and along it through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and across and down Florida to our home in Christmas.

The XV920 as it appeared in the original ebay ad.

My limit was $1200, but I won the auction at $1125.  Now my planning began in earnest.  The three-times-a-week visits to therapy took on a new meaning now.  I was in training!  Since as you can imagine flights into Jasper, Texas are not easily bought, I at first looked to Greyhound, who I soon found out also didn't have Jasper listed as a stop.  But they did go to nearby Lufkin, a mere 26 hour bus ride from our nearest station in Titusville, Florida.  I'd taken a similar bus trip at 16, but now at 51 years old, I wasn't sure there was another long torturous bus trip left in me.  After some more searching I settled on a 2 1/2 hour flight to Houston, then a short 2 hour bus ride from near the airport to Lufkin, when the seller promised to pick me up for the 1 hour ride back to his shop, where the bike would be waiting for me.  Nothing left to do but plan and wait.

Day One: Planes, Taxis, Buses, Automobiles, and Motorcycles

Day Two: The Ferry, Po-boys, and the Coast

Day Three: La. to AL., and the Ms. Gulf Coast

Day Four: Jumpstarts, Interstates, and Gumbo

Day Five: Around the Bend and the Turn for Home

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