I’ve been writing about motorcycles for over 20 years, and while riding the bikes we test is a huge part of my job, there have only been a handful of times that I’ve been given the opportunity to put together extended multi-day rides. Even rarer are the chances to spend that time riding solo – an activity I find good for the moto-soul. So, you can imagine my surprise when both Honda and my boss gave me the okay on my long-shot pitch to ride the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour from Austin, TX, back to Los Angeles. They called my bluff, and I suddenly found myself with a Gold Wing Tour, four days, and as many miles as I could cram into the adventure. A direct path home would be around 1,400 miles of freeway droning – not a recipe for much fun. And riding motorcycles is all about fun, right?

The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 1
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 2
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 3
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 4

I had a few goals for the trip. First, if I could swing it, I’d stop off at the Very Large Array. If I managed that, it would be my fifth time. Clearly it speaks to my space geek side. This stop would also place some really fun motorcycle roads between me and my second goal, a brief visit with some college friends who live in Tucson, AZ.

The planned route hits five states, avoids interstate highways as much as possible and will total about 2,000 miles.

After several false starts, current events ultimately provided the inspiration for this trip’s route. Weeks of Dear Leaders Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump comparing the size of their missiles had recently prompted me to go back and reread (for the first time in decades) a few sections of Jonathan Schell’s seminal book, The Fate of the Earth. With this warning freshly renewed in my mind, the January 13th false missile in Hawaii clinched the topic for me. I’d go visit sites associated with the development of our nuclear defenses. The structure of the trip then fell into place.

Join me right here for daily updates, while I meander my way through the American Southwest as a nuclear tourist aboard my ICBTM (Intra-Continental Ballistic Touring Motorcycle). If you are so inclined, you can watch my route develop via the Spot Gen 3 satellite tracker I rented for this trip in an effort to alleviate my wife’s worry and let my boss know how hard I’m “working”. (Click here for live route.)

The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 1
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 2
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 3

Free Insurance Quote

Enter your ZIP code below to get a free insurance quote.

Honda Dealer Price Quote

Get price quotes for Honda from local motorcycle dealers.

Honda Communities