The Definition of a “Cruise”

I call my bike Cruiser. Keep in mind that my definition of cruising does not involve repeatedly traveling the same 14 blocks of road with the adolescents of the community.

That begs elaboration. . . .

A Cruise (capitalized out of respect) is an escape. It can be 30 minutes or 30 days and absolutely, positively, requires no destination. It is an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and commune with a well-tuned mass of metallic kinetic energy and perhaps a beloved warm body as well. A Cruise is an expression of independence, staking everything on the durability of the machine and quality of your wits. It’s a quest for adventure, daring fate to put something interesting around the next bend. A Cruise is never boring; it’s a raw undiluted experience with no roof, no airbag, and no climate control. A Cruise is isolation, without visiting a deserted island. It’s meditation, with the drone of the motor serving as a mantra. It gives us the energy to endure our day-to-day lives . . . until the next Cruise . . .

This was originally posted to the Harley Digest sometime in 1997.

Posted from Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States.

Memphis Cruise: Map, Stats, and Photos


Here is the map for the Memphis Cruise. Click on the routes on the map to navigate to the trip report for that day.


Retrospective Note (2016): Back in 1997, Apple Maps and Google Maps didn’t exist yet. Consequently, the map is tiny and based on a screen shot of a MapQuest map.



Total number of days: 6
Total miles: 1,807
Shortest Day: 62.9 miles (Day 4 – Around Memphis)
Longest Day: 400 miles (Day 6 – Corydon, IN to Ann Arbor, MI)
Average Miles/Day: 301.2/day
Number of States/Provinces visited: 5 (MI, OH, KY, TN, IN)
Average Miles per Gallon: 43.12


Memphis Cruise Preview

Earlier today, I accepted a full-time position; a “real” job that will mark the demise of the consulting business that I’ve been operating for the last four years.

As fate would have it, my new employer won’t be ready for me to start until the morning of May 28th, so I have some time to waste. Seeing as next weekend is the Memorial Day holiday, I know that tons of riders will be moving on Washington D.C. (Rolling Thunder), and crowds are something I want to avoid.

After some consideration, I decided to visit a museum exhibit of R.M.S. Titanic artifacts in Memphis, TN. Sound weird? Hell, it’s something worth doing and it gets me out on the road. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Author’s Retrospective (2016)

This trip marked a significant nexus in my life. I was getting divorced. To keep the house, I had to shut down my technical communications business and (as noted in the text above) get a job that provided a steady, predictable paycheck. The plan was that my soon-to-be-ex wife would move the first set of stuff out of the house while I was away and move in with her folks. 

At the time, I would have never guessed that this trip would be the watershed moment that released a serious passion for crossing the country on two wheels. At the beginning of this trip, the Cruiser had a mere 19,444 miles on it. I still have this bike, and the odometer reads 148,116 miles. Between that and the 84,000+ on the Vector, I found one of my life’s primary sources of joy.

About the Trip Report Format

The trip reports that follow for this cruise are in letter form, as there were several individuals (e.g., Mother, wife, etc.) who were sure that I was going to die on the road. Consequently, I would write a daily email message and send it to those who needed to know that I was still alive and kicking. That’s why you may see side notes to my mother, father, wife, etc.

It’s worth noting that these trip reports were written on an Apple Newton and sent as email over not-always-convenient phone lines. For more details on this process, see the retrospective post Road Blogging Before the Internet was Ubiquitous.

Posted from Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States.