I left San Francisco on August 1st with the leather outfit that encased my body and not much else: a camera, my journal, a sleeping bag and a tarp, a few t-shirts, one pair of pants, long underwear, toiletries and first aid, a cell phone with three batteries, a can of Fix-a-Flat, and a few sentimental totems. I didn't bring a tent, and I didn't bring mace or any other weapon. I spent some nights alone, some with friends of friends, and some with complete strangers I met along the way. I rode in formation with Harleys, and shared the road with tractors and Amish buggies. I rode my Vespa into a bar, a coffeeshop, and several stranger's garages. My route took me down back roads, dirt roads, and secondary highways; through a glittering high-speed underwater tunnel and over quaint wooden bridges. I rode through gravel and mud and only eight miles of interstate. I reached elevations of 8,000 feet; survived a record-breaking storm; and endured temperatures that ranged from 109 F to 42 F. I drove through lightning, thunder and some of the most gorgeous landscapes ever seen; was rescued from a budding tornado by an entire community of people; rode a longhorn steer in a Badlands bar and hugged a cheetah in Cincinnati. I ate a lobster on a dock in Maine and fresh cantaloupe in the Dakota dust; made friends I'll keep for the rest of my life and experienced more than I could have imagined.
When I arrived in New York City, I was stunned at how difficult it was to end the ride, how heartbreaking. It had seemed like a life, a lifetime, a lifestyle; I didn't want to give it up. Sitting on the curb in Brooklyn one night, I reflected on my ride - two months, moment by moment. And there, the truth of the trip emerged. We are here to live on this earth in awe, of people, of place, of ourselves.