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I’ve had a near-fatal heart attack, and five years later underwent quadruple bypass surgery. Recently I had a total knee replacement. My traveling partner, Tom, is 72 years old and has a bad hip. So we decided the time was right to scratch a big item off of our bucket list. We wanted to ride our motorcycles from Buffalo to California and back. No trailering the bikes, no support vehicle – just the two of us and our motorcycles.

About a week before we departed, we decided to make it a true coast-to-coast adventure. The Golden Gate Bridge in the West and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the East were the extreme boundaries. No hotel reservations; just a flexible list of sights that needed to be seen and roads that needed to be ridden.

So the day after Labor Day, we headed north through Ontario to catch the MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry at Tobermory, and continued on to re-enter the states at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. We tried whenever possible to find a hotel with a hot tub. Sore butts and hot tubs were simply meant to be together. After a few days on the road, we decided to call our adventure, “The Coast to Coast Hot Tub Tour.” Facebook made it possible for our friends and families to know where we were and to share in the fun.

Tom and I rode on side roads and back roads through small towns and big cities. Great interstates got us through the desert and some mountains. A big plus to motorcycling is that you can’t ride too long. You have to get off and rest, stretch and top off the bellies and gas tanks. That’s when you meet the people who make this country great.

We saw the Grand Tetons, American bison, elk, antelope, bald eagles and much more. Did you now Yellowstone National Park is more than 130 miles long, north to south?

Our motorcycles took us to the Great Plains of South Dakota, the Grand Canyon, the redwoods of California and so much more. Wow, what a country.

San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the sea lions off of the Pacific Coast Highway need to be experienced. No picture can do them justice.

In Gettysburg, S.D., we had homegrown steak and sang happy birthday to an 85-year-old rancher who was celebrating with his extended family.

In the California high desert, we saw mile after mile of almond trees, grapes and flowers. It is a desert turned into the most remarkable example of modern agriculture I have ever seen.

New Mexico is truly enchanting, especially as the sun sets in the west and turns the clouds in the eastern sky on fire.

On a motorcycle, you get to experience being on the road from a different perspective. Did you know that the soil in Idaho smells like potatoes? You smell the giant redwoods in California and the cows of Wisconsin. You also feel the heat and the cold. We experienced the 109-degree temperature of the Mojave Desert and the 40-degree temps at the top of Beartooth Pass.

America – with its purple mountains, Las Vegas lights, spacious skies and, more importantly, its people – is awesome in all its grandeur. The size and beauty of this country should not be taken for granted. Go see it, feel it, touch it; it’s yours to experience.

Get out of the car and stand on the corner in Winslow, Ariz. We did. Trust us – it’s great.