Adventurous proposition

A Quebec couple challenges themselves on a new adventure … on two bikes

Photos submitted by Claude Gravel

Claude Gravel and his wife, Denise, have been riding together since the beginning of their relationship, on the same bike.

They love to explore and have had adventures all over North America, such as the Gaspésie, the Maritimes, the Eastern United States and Western Canada – all “unforgettable experiences.”

It was on their return from a trip on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia that Claude asked his wife if she had the ambition to ride her own bike. Her response was immediate, and positive, and the couple from Rosemère, Quebec, set the wheels in motion to make it happen. First they would register her for motorcycle classes, then purchase a bike and set out on the road, as riders on two bikes.

Their goal was to ride often when the road conditions allowed and to develop her riding skills gradually before tackling long rides.

She followed through with the plan: theory classes in the winter, followed by practical riding classes in the spring. The couple mixed in a few rides, a few of them longer to develop and refine their ability to ride efficiently together.

They were ready for a big trip. The best way to tackle a big ride, they determined, was to go in two stages. The first would see them ride through the northern United States and west to San Diego in the fall. They’d fly home, leaving their bikes in storage in California for the winter, and tackle the return ride from southern California the following spring. Of course, all of this was dependent on holidays and negotiations with their respective employers to take this much time off work. Each portion of the trip would take five weeks.

So, on August 15, the couple left for Chicago, followed by the Midwest and the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, the Bighorn Mountains, Yellowstone and Grand Teton before travelling south for Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Muir Woods, San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge and Big Sur via Los Angeles to San Diego.

In San Diego, they contacted San Diego Harley-Davidson at Morena Plaza for bike maintenance and storage. They flew home for a long winter of work and waiting for spring.

On May 15, they flew from Montreal back to San Diego. They picked up the bikes and rode through the southern U.S.: Mount Laguna, the Soronan Desert, Tucson, El Paso, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Fort Worth, Dallas, New Orleans, Apalachicola, Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, the Everglades, the Florida Keys, Miami and along the coast to Daytona Beach, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge and Philadelphia. They headed north for home on June 22.

They travelled 18,000 kilometres in 70 days through countless cities and sites, each with its own history. It was a trip of pure happiness, all thanks to one adventurous proposition. Next up? Alaska in the spring of 2020.