Last year’s trip covered 7,000 miles in 27 days, for an average of 259 miles per day.  Our more leisurely trip to New Orleans was about 5,300 miles (5,256) in 21 days – or 250 miles per day of travel.  This does not include the layover in Las Cruces, New Mexico, or the two-day off-road time in New Orleans.
We averaged 240 miles per day going there (short days allowed for rain delay), and 350 miles per day coming home.  The last day was a record for us – 549 miles through Death Valley to home.
One main advantage of traveling by motorcycle should be the lower gas expense.  Last year, it cost about $500 for 7,000 miles’ worth of gas, averaging $3.30 per gallon.  This time, the average went up to $4.41 per gallon, and the total for almost 2,000 fewer miles was $515!
Obviously, our average cost per day increased, but not just because of gas prices.  The daily expense went from $130 to $197, and lodging went from $65 to $97 – a 50% increase.  We also had fewer choices of hotels along the way.  Last summer, we stopped when we wanted to and picked a motel.  If it was unsatisfactory, we went down the road and picked another one.  This time, we often had to reserve a room a day in advance, or end up with no room for the night.  Also, we paid more than we bargained for in some cases – because we had no choice.
Looks like the Harley advantage for long road trips is waning.  We probably would have spent a total of $200 more for gas this trip if we had driven Cathy’s Saturn.  Also, we could have driven further each day, and stayed in fewer (and cheaper) motels.  So, the trip might have cost the same, although it might not have been as much fun!
After we got back from the trip, Ron bought a copy of the movie “Easy Rider” for our collection.  We watched it last night and were surprised how appropriate it was....
Wyatt and Billy are our contemporaries.   The story takes place 40 years ago, when all of us were young.  The characters in the film are “searching for America,” and so were we.  They run across fascinating scenery and people on their way from California to New Orleans, and so did we.
All right, it’s not an exact match!  We weren’t headed to Mardi Gras with drug money in our gas tank.  We hung out in the cemetery in New Orleans in bright sunshine, not after dark -- and we had no hallucinations.  We didn’t have to camp out, but we did get turned away from at least one motel.
It’s fun to think that, if Wyatt and Billy had survived, maybe they would have taken their wives to New Orleans on their choppers....
Thursday, July 17, 2008