For many, it’s one of the most purely American of travel bucket list items – to drive across the country, or even a large portion of it, with your friends surrounding you and nothing but the sky above you.
Sixteen years ago, Randall Godfrey was part of a group that did just that, crossing 16 states on a trip from Sanford to Las Vegas in 11 days and putting more than 5,000 miles on their bikes (a note: 16 years ago, I was in between my junior and senior year in college and working for the summer as an intern at the Sanford Herald, where I wrote a feature about their trip – if you look close enough at the picture to your right, you can see my byline. Great Scott, I could have written that better.).
The cast of characters surrounding Godfrey was different than it was in 2001, and there were significant changes to the itinerary, but he did it again in October – another bike trip, this time traversing much of the southeast, over a period of 10 days.
“This trip was 2,500 miles,” said Godfrey, the owner of Tramway Auto Body in Sanford. “The first one was over 5,000, but we were a lot younger then.”
Starting in the hours before dawn on October 12, the group – consisting of Godfrey, as well as Brian Stafford, Tommy Brinley, Steve Thomas, Dennis Patterson, David Taylor, and Donald Baynes, all of Sanford – headed west to Nashville, and then south to New Orleans. From there, the group hit Orange Beach, Alabama and the Alabama-Florida straddling Flora-Bama Bar, before heading back north to Sanford.
Godfrey said recreating photos from past trips and making pit stops along the way at bars and restaurants was a highlight of the adventure, as well as the opportunity to expose a different cast of friends to the joys of the open road.
“None of the guys from the 2001 trip came this time. Some of them are in their 60s now, so this was a whole new group of guys” he said.
Will there be another one? Godfrey says yes, and hopefully soon – “before we get too old.”
Here are a few photos from the adventure: