Singers Glen resident Rudy Erb thought his motorcycle-riding days were behind him. Though the now 55-year-old enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson as a teen, he sold the bike after settling down in his 30s.
“After you have kids and a family, you kind of put [motorcycles] aside,” he explained.
However, after retiring in 2010, the former Verizon Cable Supply server purchased a Ural, a Russian sidecar motorcycle, and got back on the bike.
In 2014, while perusing a website for Ural enthusiasts, Erb met Jon Daub, a 69-year-old real estate broker from Houston, and Dave Van Wagoner, a 58-year-old retired Air Force officer from Yorktown. The two men were planning a cross-country trip via US 50. Sensing it could be his last opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream, Erb decided to join in on the journey.
“Every motorcyclist wants to do a cross-country trip,” he remarked.
Spanning just more than 3,000 miles, US 50 cuts across a dozen states, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Dubbed “The Loneliest Road in America,” the highway crosses empty stretches of farm lands, mountains and desert.
The three men met for the first time in Ocean City, Md., where they kicked off their adventure June 14.
With no set schedule or plans, the group took their time exploring the country.
Among Erb’s favorite excursions: visiting historic monuments in Washington, D.C., touring a stone quarry in Indiana, hiking near the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado, exploring The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, and gazing out at the open road in Nevada.
“[In the desert,] you can see thunderstorms 50 miles away,” he recalled. “The big skies are incredible.”
Erb also enjoyed interacting with the people along the way, who he says were often intrigued by the trio of bikers.
Once the travelers reached California, they were greeted by Dennis — a fellow Ural rider they met online — who allowed the group to bunk in his cabins on Bodega Bay.
“We met as strangers but departed as friends,” said Erb. “The Ural community is [friendly] like that.”
With foggy mornings and boulders that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, Erb says the northwestern beach has a surreal beauty.
After leaving Bodega Bay, the group turned back, eventually splitting up in Utah to head towards their respective homes.
Although Erb had bouts of homesickness during the 35-day trip, he has no regrets about exploring America, and encourages others to do the same.
“People were just so friendly to us, we really live in a great country,” he concluded. “It’s huge and it’s full of good people.”
Contact Katie King at (540) 574-6271 or firstname.lastname@example.org