Help Me Vandalize This Map!

I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler, I’m a long way from home

And if you don’t like me, well, leave me alone

I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry

An’ the moonshine don’t kill me, I’ll live ’til I die!

–“The Moonshiner,” a traditional Celtic lay


Just a quick hello here; my name is Jack and I’m a– “HI, JACK!”

Last riding season started with a lot of promise, but promise snapped with the dry rustle of a crushed roach when a Subaru driven by an addict drove straight through my spine. Because I’m lucky more than I’m good, I’m up and walking around now. I can ride motorcycles again, and now I get to go find out how far, and for how long.

The answer won’t be the same as last year, but who in their right mind ever asks for that? With apologies to poet John Masefield:

I must ride out on the road again, up the mountains toward the sky,

And all I ask is a fine, slim bike and a star to steer her by;

And the bar’s shake and the wind’s roar and the guardrail’s snaking;

And a grey mist on the storm’s face, and a grey dawn breaking…

Which is to say that it’s time to go again, and pins in the map are due.

We’re thinking of running back east to the real west, mostly Colorado but maybe fringing into Utah or the Big Sky of Wyoming. Hoping to leave for a week or two (or…), sometime in the late spring, depending on what’s available.


We may not confine our travels to the Mountain States. Other regions — e.g. up east, California, down south — are also possibilities. Before we plan our peregrinations around dogs and kids and budget and my flinching, flopping spine, I’d like to populate my calendar with possibilities.

Want to help out? This is like a Kickstarter, except no money is asked. I’d like to crowd-source intelligence (which I’m chronically short of) instead of money (which I’m thoroughly accustomed to being chronically short of). Our budget is driven by opportunities to hawk copies of Head Check along the way (got to pay the gas tab somehow), so we’d like to concentrate on venues that have room for a reading, book signing, tent sales, or what-have-you.

So I’m asking you: got any favorite roads, events, rallies, or bike shops that you’d recommend around the Rockies? Elsewhere…?

If you’re associated with an event and you’d like to see some grubby writing rider (or vice-versa) show up, go ahead and drop me a message with relevant details to If you’re not an organizer but you know of some terrific event that must be seen, done, or shouted at, leave a comment below this post so we can discuss it together.

Oh, and one more thing: my publisher has set aside 20 signed copies of Head Check to donate as door prizes or raffle giveaways for riding-related charities, with veterans’ assistance groups prioritized. Hit me up by email if your group would like to be considered.

G-d willin’ and a tailwind, I’ll see you on the road.


  1. Carl Lincoln says

    From Beautiful Wallowa County; Really liked Head Check; you want to pass thru here, I’ll get our local indie bookstore [or maybe Josephy Arts Center] for a reading. We have a guest room. Check out hwy 39 aka the loop road aka the back way out of here; it usually opens the middle of May

  2. IF you stray north and east into that gods forsaken land known as Montana do seek out sage advice if you can’t find that. Call me, I might be able to find some truly boring roads.

  3. Jack, so sorry to hear about your accident. I am out in Missouri, so won’t make any riding location suggestions, but the hills of the Ozarks do contain some might fine roads if you ever get out this direction. Prettywife and I have a couple of extra bedrooms if needed. I am glad to read that you are recovering. G-d speed.

  4. Howard Crangle says


    I’m halfway through Head Check and loving it.

    Here is my idea for you. Join the BMW MOA and shamelessly promote yourself through their local groups. Those MOA people could get a group to show up and listen to someone read an owners manual. Imagine how fast they could fill a bookstore that featured a reading by the best motorcycle writer in the world? If you don’t do this I bet Neil Peart will.

    I live 25 miles north of Toronto so I don’t expect to see you any time soon. My hope for you is that this coming book tour brings you excitement and adventure without collision.

  5. Gary Blomstrom says


    Perfect timing would see you at one of our SEAT luncheons around southern AZ. The sched is @ If not the opportunities abound. After 8 spine surgeries & the odd implant here and there I’ve pretty much sworn off the ‘cafe’ position. My GS does pretty well anyhow. The MacPac further north crowd would dribble themselves over a visit w/ you and Jack Riepe (author of “Conversations with a motorcycle”. But of course you knew this.)

    We used to chant “FAC, TAC, and Napalm” until we finally got to see our work.


  6. Gary Blomstrom says

    Forgot to add; free room & board…


  7. Utah is chuck full of gorgeous rides. I’ll send you some recommendations if you like, but you could throw a dart at a map. Utah is pretty motorcycle-friendly. Hwy 12 in the south is renowned for its beautiful scenery, and that part of the state has a crowd of national parks to see. But even in the areas surrounding Salt Lake City and Provo, there are roads people come halfway across the country to ride.

    We’re author-friendly, too: I’ve been to readings and talks by the likes of Stephan Pastis and Cary Elwes at local venues (libraries, book shops) that sell out. You might be able to do an event at Timpanogos Harley, the coolest motorcycle shop I’ve ever seen, made from steel salvaged when they demolished a local steel mill.

    And my new home has a guest room! Details on that under separate cover.

  8. Jerry King says

    Jack, for a “healing ride”, maintaining your home latitude I would suggest a visit to the three Saints. St. Maries, Idaho, then head up the St. Joe River like a spawning Kokanee, 89 miles pavement to get a person’s head right and then an easy 14 miles of beautifully graded gravel down the Montana side to St. Regis. The summit is around 6K so snow isn’t unheard of into May. Concur with the BMW MOA suggestion. Well organized ride/rally calendar there and a receptive audience. My copy of Head Check has been placed with an Amazon Gift card. Looking forward to it.

  9. Eddie Frowiss says

    If you end up in CA anywhere in your journeys, I’d be happy to suggest some goat roads. I seem to recall a juvenile grin associated with a few of those.

    Of course, I’d love to see you here in San Diego – and yes, there’s ample room – but if you can’t make it that far south, I’ve still got some fantastic routes that will get you close enough to the CA/OR border that you’ll be able to smell home.

  10. Dave krise says

    If in WY you’ve got a friend

  11. Dave Gomes says

    I’m completely ignorant of the logistics, but if we can find a way, I’d like to see you upstairs at the Buckhorn Exchange in Denver. Do a gig ahead of when Roz and Bill start up. Do that on a Friday and Saturday afternoon/evening, catch folks waiting for their dinner table reservations. Dinner’s on me.

    Morrison CO has a few dozen bikes lining main street any night of the week and the Red Rocks Grill there has a nice sitting area off to the side that might work well on a Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon.

    My favorite bike shop is Erico Motorsports in Denver. They put on a bunch of events so might know how to help you set up in that area. On a smaller scale, the folks I hang with most are “Let It Ride” and their neighboring wrenches “Peak Performance Powersports” Great people.

    Things are plenty humble and low key out here in Bailey but it would be our honor to have you for a stay as long as you like. It’s about an hour’s nice mountain ride to Denver from here.

    In any case, I’d be happy to help any way I can. If you have an idea I can help research with boots on the ground here in the front range, just say the word. Oh yeah, and the map is ready, but you’ll have to pick it up in person.

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