The Nuclear Tourist: Day 4

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

The day my plan finally goes off the rails

There’s something about waking up face down in a strange motel room in yesterday’s clothes that gives one pause. Or at least it should. No, I hadn’t been on a bender the night before, but after 11 hours of unconsciousness, I could no longer deny how sick I was. I had to accept that my (overly?) ambitious route for this extended Honda Gold Wing Tour ride was simply not going to happen. Still, I was determined to visit the Titan Missile Museum as part of my newly shortened trip home.

Riding the 2018 Honda Gold Wing On The Nuclear Tourist Tour
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 1
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 2
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 3

If I’d taken the tour, I’d have seen a control room that looks something like this. Photo by Manuela Durson/

The only drug store in Wilcox, AZ, has a motorcyclist as its pharmacist, and he set me up with the right over-the-counter meds to prevent me from coughing up a lung while not getting drowsy in the process. When I arrived at the museum 90 minutes later, I felt a little better, but I was by no means a picture of health. Still, when I looked at the group of mostly retired military types waiting to take the silo tour, I knew that I couldn’t force them to spend an hour in the enclosed space of the facility with me and my flu. The tour would have to wait for another time.

The Titan Missile Museum is the only remaining Titan missile silo. All others were destroyed in a manner that could be verified by satellite from Russia. Photo by Manuela Durson/

For the long slog home, I decided that I would spend the day using CarPlay and Apple Maps. I wanted to see how well Honda had adapted Apple’s touch interface to the controls on the left grip. The short answer is: quite well. On my first couple days, I had intermittent issues with CarPlay not starting and requiring that I re-pair my Sena 30K to the Wing. After some thought, I decided to delete the pairing between my iPhone and the Sena. After that the Gold Wing’s CarPlay integration worked flawlessly. If I owned a Gold Wing, I’d use the navigation systems in the following way. For long trips that I could plan in advance, I’d use the Wing’s GPS and its ability to read routes from a USB drive. For daily trips, I’d use CarPlay and Siri’s ability to take voice commands. Since Apple’s Maps App requires a cellular connection, it isn’t ideal for long trips that might go off the grid. This is where the Honda GPS shines.

Proof that I did make the stop. Everything else is hidden underground.

The rest of the apps on CarPlay worked well, too. I spent my last day on the road listening to mostly Pandora and the Overcast podcast app.

The ride itself was long and uneventful. However, there was one section of highway where I encountered an approximately 20 mph cross-wind for about an hour. During that time, I felt none of the interaction between the wind and the windshield that is sometimes encountered on bikes with large fairings.

Finally, there is the issue of the Gold Wing Tour’s range. Over the course of my 1,900 miles aboard the Gold Wing Tour, I averaged 39.5 mpg (Low: 37.3 mpg, High: 42.1 mpg). This yields a mathematical range of 217 miles which is significantly less than the 255 mile range Honda has mentioned. I know this will be an issue for some riders, but for me, I’m ready to stretch my legs after 200 miles.

According to Google Maps, my final day’s ride was 604 miles. The thermometer in my bathroom says I had a 102.1° fever when I arrived home late Friday evening after approximately nine hours in the saddle. While this wasn’t exactly the conclusion of the Nuclear Tourist ride that I planned. I had a tremendous trip aboard the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour. Look for me to sum up my experience in the near future.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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3 of 45 comments
  • Gabriel Owens Gabriel Owens on Jan 30, 2018

    Evans, get well. The flu is widespread in Texas right now. I remain curious about the reverse gear. Is it really useful or unnecessary?

  • Dario Iglesias Dario Iglesias on Jan 31, 2018

    Pity you did not talk too much about the motorcycle, most of it about tourism....