Originally published May 30, 2013.
Gary Lewis and Steve Bryan, both of Huntington County, have accompanied one another on motorcycle trips before.
But they've never attempted anything like this.
On Sunday, May 26, the duo departed from The Country Post, in Huntington, determined to complete the "Four Corners" ride, one of the most ambitious tours in United States motorcycling.
The Four Corners ride involves traveling to Madawaska, ME, Key West, FL, San Ysidro, CA, and Blaine, WA - the four corners of the contiguous United States.
The trip is around 10,000 miles, says Lewis. It has been sponsored by the Southern California Motorcycle Association (SCMA) for 29 years, during which time only 1,300 people have completed it - or roughly 45 bikers a year, Lewis notes.
The trip must be completed in 21 days or less.
Bryan has been riding motorcycles for over a dozen years; Lewis has been doing so since he was 14. The two have known each other for the last 17 years, striking up a friendship over a shared love of boating.
The pair's motorcycle trips have taken them to New York, Florida, Texas, Colorado and Wyoming.
The idea to do the Four Corners ride came to Lewis in the aftermath of another ride.
"Steve and I went to El Paso and New Mexico and Colorado and all around, and when I came home, then I started thinking, ‘What's next?,'" he says.
"So, I got on the Internet and started playing and found the Four Corners tour."
This was in 2008. Life conspired to keep Lewis and Bryan from taking the trip until this year, but they both say they're OK with it.
"It's kind of one of those things you have to have all your ducks in a row," Lewis says, "Because you've got to be able to get off of work, have the time, the energy, the money, whatever and the motorcycle."
Both men ride Harley-Davidsons; Lewis' is a 2009 Ultra Classic and Bryan's is a 2003 Road King.
Lewis says his bike is "stock and standard," but Bryan has made modifications to his.
"Just for this trip, I added a cell phone holder, so it'll keep it charged up right in front of me," he says.
Bryan also installed a stereo for the trip and notes that a large luggage rack he mounted on the bike two years ago has come in handy with carrying the larger-than-usual amount of baggage he's bringing with him on the trip.
One item that Lewis and Bryan are both happy to have with them is a GPS.
"You feel so much safer with a GPS," Lewis says. "Lets you know that if you're running low on fuel, then you know where that gas station's at. Takes the suspense out of it."
Also, Bryan says, "You can't really be looking at a map while you're riding."
Lewis used an online map service to plot out their trip and then uploaded that data to his GPS. Lewis and Bryan's route will take them to Maine, Florida, California, Washington and then back to Huntington.
In order for their ride to be official in the eyes of the SCMA, Lewis and Bryan are being mindful to take certain steps.
"We're actually riding post office to post office in each one of these four states and then when we get to the post office, we get a stamp and then we get a gas receipt and a food receipt that kind of match the time and then we take a picture of the motorcycle," says Lewis.
"Then you have a hand towel that they gave us that has a number and a logo on it, so we'll lay that on our bike to show that we were really part of this," he continues. "Then when we come home we'll mail all of our information in. I bought a little packet thing that we can put all of our receipts and stuff in, kind of keep us organized."
The trip certainly won't be all work, though, as there are points along the way, namely in California, that Lewis and Bryan are looking forward to.
For Bryan, it's Redwood National Park, a place he visited when he was 12 and will now finally get a chance to see again.
"The Golden Gate Bridge is a spot for me," Lewis says, "and then there's a Harley-Davidson shop right at the bottom of the bridge, so I've got that address all plugged in."
In addition to the sights, they're also looking forward to the camaraderie of being on the road and the often-humorous stories that come along with that.
"We had adjoining rooms and it was a little motel," says Bryan, remembering a trip he and his ex-wife took with Lewis and his wife. "They had their TV on and they were doing their thing over there and the door was open of course. I walked up to turn our TV on. The remote was on top of our TV. And I turned and looked into their room and I thought, ‘Hmmm... I wonder if this one would run their (TV)?' So, I started changing channels on him. He couldn't see me from where I was standing. It went on for several minutes."
"Oh, yeah," chuckles Lewis.
"I would change it; he'd change it back. I would change it. And finally he decided just to leave it on that station, whatever I'd set it to," Bryan says. "Then I started running the volume up and down.
"I realized I could see him in the mirror and he was there, looking at this remote, getting this ****** look on his face."
"That's what I have to put up with," states Lewis.
Adds Bryan, "We're just always picking on each other."
The pair agrees that they'll try to ride around 600 miles a day, but admits that that figure could fluctuate depending on road, weather and traffic conditions.
Either way, they'll do whatever it takes to reach all four corners and hit that 10,000-mile mark.
"According to Yahoo! Maps, it's 9,993 (miles)," confesses Lewis. "We're at least going to go around the block until we get 10,000."
Complete caption: Gary Lewis (left) and Steve Bryan, both of Huntington County, stand with their motorcycles outside The Country Post, in Huntington, on Sunday, May 26, before departing to attempt the Four Corners ride. One of the most ambitious motorcycle rides in the United States, it challenges riders to travel to Maine, Florida, California and Washington in 21 days or less.