USA Four Corners Motorcycle Tour

William Pratt, Rider #99-21

Note: Bill’s ride is finished as of 6/6/99. Here are some of the highlights.

The Southern California Motorcycle Association sponsors the Four Corners Motorcycle Tour. There are many people that complete this ride both solo and in teams. You have twenty-one days to complete the ride making it to all Four Corners of the USA (Blaine, WA - San Ysidro, CA - Key West, FL - Madawaska, ME) in any order you desire. There are simple rules to follow and the reward is simple…a small packet from the Association recognizing the completion of the ride. Here are some of my trip details and some pictures of the ride.

Many thanks to Bryce Ulrich, Lake City Honda/Kawasaki and my friends that helped encourage me to make this ride.

Also, Thanks go to Honda for making an excellent motorcycle - the ST1100. Wow! What a bike...this thing has performed excellent. The ABS brakes are fantastic. If you have not ridden one…you just won't understand.

See you all very soon. (Sorry for typos and spelling)





From - To





Mill Creek, WA - Blaine, WA - Eugene, OR

Ben Timms rode with me to Blaine, WA and took the required picture for the first corner of the ride. It rained all the way. Not to worry, we had the correct clothing and some pancakes and warm coffee at Denny’s hit the spot. After getting the secret phone numbers, gas receipt and Polaroid picture, the first envelope was dropped into the mail at the Blaine Post Office. Since they were closed there was no hand stamp. Hope this works and does not disqualify me. Thanks Ben!

This was also the day I was to find out that Steve Jewett was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident on his first leg of the Four Corners ride in Nevada. Thank you Bryce for contacting me…this gave me the inspiration for adding more caution to my riding style.






Eugene, Or - Sacramento, CA

More rain…but remember the rain does not bother me since I wear a FirstGear Kilimanjaro riding suite. It works perfect. The weather warmed up from the low 40's to the high 70's just about the Medford area. After a quick bite, pealing off the thermals, the ride was very normal. Thanks to a very alert passer-by, they pointed to the fact that I forgot to close one of my hard bags…the one with the laptop. After a quick stop, all was well, closed the bag and continued South. I arrive into Sacramento about dinnertime and visited with my kids and grandson. The ST1100 is running perfect. Life is good. Sorry you can't see Mt. Shasta.






Sacramento, CA - San Diego, CA

Got a late start, but in California when riding I-5 you can make good time. There is not much to look at on this leg of the trip. Since time was important, there was no site seeing. I arrived at my mother's home to find she had a list of things to do. I explained that I was on my Four Corner's ride (for the third time).





San Diego, CA - San Ysidro, CA - Las Cruses, NM

I went to the local Honda dealer in East San Diego. Got in and out in 1.5 hours with a new set of D-205's, and then was off for my second corner in San Ysidro. Did the required documents and mailed it from the Post Office…this time with the hand stamp. I met two characters named Terry and Jerry riding an 1100cc Yamaha with 130,000 miles. They asked about the bike, asked if I knew where they could find a job and then wished me a great ride with "Gods" protection. Thanks guys. I headed East on I-8 and then onto I-10 into the desert of California and Arizona.





Las Cruses, NM - New Braunfels, TX

I pushed hard today to make it to my sister's home in New Braunfels. The weather is very hot and you must drink lots of water. The platypus is working perfect with one liter of water. This is stop gives me a chance to rest and enjoy my family.





Rest Day





New Braunfels, TX - Slidell, LA

I was met by an alien creature, wished a safe trip and told may the "Force" be with you. Now back onto I-10, I had a chance to recollect that the rest was well needed. Spending a day and a half at El Casa Salmon was well needed. I was tired and needed to catch up on sleep and rest some muscles. My body is not in great shape and my ankles were swelling due to the heat. I was getting back into my rhythm and found that a 500-mile day was just right for this trip. The trip out of Texas was very uneventful. This part of Texas is beautiful and not a bad place to live, as contrasted by El Paso, which I would not recommend to anyone.





Slidell, TX - Gainesville, FL

Another great day. This was an easy ride. Bryce told me about the bumpy roads in Mississippi…he was correct. Just stay in the left lanes if you can. This picture was taken at one of the rest stops in Florida. They now have 24 hour on duty armed guards in Mississippi and Florida due to previous violence. One of the guards told me they have had no problems since installing the guards.





Gainesville, FL - Key West, FL

The ride to Key West was very fast. Most of the cars fly about 80-85 MPH or better. The Florida State Troopers seem to tolerate some of the speeders, but on occasion will "nail" a driver. They keep busy cleaning up wrecks, monitoring construction zones, and chatting with each other on the center divider. The weather has really warmed up again. My Platypus one-liter water container has been a lifesaver. My next Kilimanjaro will be Red. The Black soaks up too much heat. Two very heavy rain showers cleaned all the bugs off the ST1100. All the riders pulled over. I just kept riding.

Tonight is my first hotel that is not a Motel-6. It is OK, but I must admit the Motel-6 lower room’s work out great for cross-country travel by motorcycle. If you are using the AARP card you save an extra 10%. But best of all, it is an easy in and out proposition. They have a printed handbook of all their locations and the 800 telephone number works every time. Just make your reservations by noon on the day you arrive.

After a quick clean up, I went into town and took in the Sunset, some dinner and local shopping for my family. Some vacationers where wearing these t-shirts:

"Too many barns…not enough time" and "If you can read this…my bitch fell off". The tourists in this town are fun to watch.






Key West, FL - Cocoa Beach, FL

My mistake was to not first get the required picture, gas receipt, and secret phone numbers when arriving in Key West. Instead, I got them this morning and blew about two hours of riding time. Plus Key West was having a heat wave…record temps for the day. My Radio Shack meter showed 98/99. Ouch.

The ride was fast, as I did not want to ride too late in the evening. Again, the speeds are in the 80's.

Tomorrow will be an early up/early off day. They are shooting a shuttle off from here on Thursday…to bad I will miss it. This marks the halfway point of the trip.





Cocoa Beach, FL - Florence, SC

Cocoa Beach was the first of what seems prevalent in Florida…retirement. Most of the people wandering around this area are senior citizens with not much to do except visit at McDonalds and drink coffee. The weather is still hot and will probably be another record. Sure wish I could have seen the Shuttle launch. Maybe on another trip Sharon and I can do the "Space" thing. I had hoped to bypass SC and stop in NC. But, I have been getting late starts and this does not leave enough time to get good distance for the day.

However, I am back on track and making good mileage. I am looking forward to meeting our old friends the Soland's in Hillsboro, VA. These are very special people.





Florence, SC - Hillsboro, VA

I got an early start today. The weather is still warm, but if you keep moving, you can live with the heat. I have taken off my Kilimanjaro Overpants and just have jeans. The Platypus water pack is working perfect, and lasts me about two hours in the heat. When I stop it is easy to refill. I did take it out of my jacket pocket and keep it in my tank bag, a trick I picked up from Darryll Snow.

Using MapNgo 4.0 has really helped. Although I don't have a printer, writing the "way-points" helps assure that I get from point "A" to point "B" in the fastest route with no mistakes. I never would have arrived on time without this program. I wanted to arrive by 4:00 PM and you guessed it…arrival was 4:00 PM. The visit with the Soland's was the BEST.

Hillsboro is a very old town with lots of history: New homes are built to look like the old Stuff.





Hillsboro, VA - Hartford, CN

WOW…what a day. I worked my ASS of this day to go just 379 miles. I had a full page of waypoints to get this far. Highlights of the day included the New York Manhattan skyline. It was hazy, but within full view. I was on the Jersey side going North. The freeways and turnpikes work very well, but don't miss a turn. Passing cars was an experience. You need to keep a steady line when making turns, approaching tollbooths, and changing lanes. The other drivers in this area have the same attitude as the taxi drivers. I think they all went to the same driving school. By the time I arrived in Hartford, I knew this had to be the end of the day.

I checked into a Motel 6, did laundry, ordered a pizza, which took two hours to arrive, and called it a night.





Hartford, CN - Madawaska, ME

This last leg to Madawaska went very fast. The roads were excellent except for passing through so many small towns that last 80 miles. The architecture is changing as I get closer to Canada. I called the only Motel in town from Hartford and was assured that the restaurant stayed open until 9:00 PM. I arrived at 8:00 PM. I did see two Gold Wings drive by the Motel…could this be the people from Manila? After a quick clean up, I ordered dinner and enjoyed a nice glass of Cabernet. After dinner, as I was going back to my room, I met a lady asking for towels. I asked her if she was with the Gold Wing people and she said "yes". I struck pay dirt. I had just ridden 6,528 miles in 14 days and arrived within one hour of the same group that left Blaine, WA as I did. Again, this is truly a small world. She called her husband (Louie) and her brother (Raul) and asked them to come to the lobby as she had a surprise. They could not believe that they met me almost three weeks ago and now meet me again in Madawaska. We all moved back into the dinning room and ordered a celebration drink. Little was I to know that my trip would take a major change.

I was asked to join "Team Manila" and continue my ride back to Seattle with my new friends. This group was taking the Four Corner's ride very serious. But, now they were going to have a relaxed ride back to Seattle.





Madawaska, ME - Quebec, QN

"Team Manila" agreed to help me with my final picture so I could fulfill the required steps for the trip.

They now want to have a leisurely ride to Quebec…I agreed. We were off to Quebec and a riding in a new country. Things are different up in this part of the county…they speak French…the signs are in French…they eat French food…you have the picture.

We had an excellent stay at the Best Western Motel…and you guessed it…a French dinner.

Here is Raul waiting to enter Canada:





Quebec, QB - Milton, ON

This was a productive day. We covered good miles with Louie leading most of the way. He really likes to move down the freeway…mostly 80-85 MPH.

This was Raul's first motorcycle trip in the US. It was an important milestone in his life.





Milton, ON - Birch Run, MI

This was another not so productive day…but this time it was weather…really bad weather. Louie was leading and we hit some rain. It was so heavy; we stopped under a freeway overpass and waited a couple hours for the storm to pass. We then started moving again, only to hit more rain. Then we stopped at a rest stop. We finally called it "quits" and stopped at Birch Run. Patricia was a real trooper, but her rain gear was not working and she was getting wet.





Birch Run, MI - Manistique, MI

Team Manila did laundry this morning and we got a late start. We did not leave town until noon…my latest start for the trip.

Again rain hit with a vengeance. Again, the team could not handle the cold rain. It was very bad. I had my excellent Kilimanjaro jacket and pants, AlpineStar Gore-Tex boots, and extra lining that was layered. We had only traveled 120 miles when the team wanted to quit due to weather. I don't blame them when you get cold and wet. Steve Taylor can attest to this…right Steve? Remember Glacier Parks? I decided that I must continue on if I am to make it back to Seattle by Monday.

Upper Lake Michigan:





Manistique, MI - Minneapolis, MI

I was off to an early start today. I sighted a Red ST going West as I was packing. The Best Western Motel owners were fabulous. If you pass through this area, make sure you stay overnight. The owners, Jan and Marie-Simone Brzozzowski were most cordial. Their son liked the Honda and I took a Polaroid picture for him to keep. His dad offered me a beer (Old Milwaukee), only in America. The next day the local Chinese Restaurant turns into an American Breakfast Restaurant. The cook's daughter, 4 years old, really got friendly. What a sweet girl. Another Polaroid picture was in order.

The local countryside became most beautiful. What a great ride today. Highway 2 turns into Highway 8. The lakes, trees, clean air are wonderful. As I proceeded West on Highway 8, a Red ST with Don Feyma aboard passed me going East. I did not know it was Don at the time, but he gave me a big "tug" with his arm as we passed. Later that day I called his house as he offered a warm bed for the night. His wife said, "Don, just left for NESTOC". Motel 6, here I come. I called her back to find out it was indeed Don that passed me. Again, what a small world.





Minneapolis, MI - Bismarck, ND

Again, I got an OK start for the day. I wanted to make this a 600-mile day. But, when I hit Bismarck, it was 5:00 PM and there was a theater next to the motel…Star Wars was on my list of things to do. This was a nice stop, but Bismarck had nothing special to offer. One possibility was to see if I could go the balance in one day. Over 1250 miles in less than 24 hours…nope not for me just yet.





Bismarck, ND - Butte, MT

I got an early start today. I made good mileage and the countryside became rather nice. But, the weather started to turn cold and wet. I wanted to make it as far as Missoula, MT, but Butte would do just fine. The motel had room service and I enjoyed a sandwich and a malted milkshake in the room. It was early to bed so I could get an early start.





Butte, MT - Mill Creek, WA

This was my last day and I wanted to keep up with all the safe practices. Stop often, stretch the hamstrings, get lots of water, take a couple Advil, and rest if I get sleepy. I did all these things to prolong the ride with a minimum of discomfort. The bike is running great, and I am confident I can make it home if the weather holds out. There is a report of snow on Snoqualmie Pass. The temperatures are dropping and the clouds are dropping rain as I dodge through the storms. The pace worked out just fine. Sadly however, a bus stopped in Montana with a load of Special Olympic participants. They all had gold medals and seemed to be having a great time. The bus driver was a little to eager to leave and left one of them behind. I jumped on my bike and caught him on the top of the pass. I tried to get him to pull over, but he would not do it. I then caught him again and gave him a couple more signs and hand waving…this did the trick. What a jerk driver. I really felt sorry for the young fellow that was left behind.

At this point there is snow on all the mountains. I stopped in Ellensburg, WA for gas and another LD rider on a R1100 BMW asked if he could join me the balance of the trip. I said great…why not? His name was Bill and he was returning from Ohio where he helped with motocross events. Another retired guy that found riding a great thing to do.


The summary:

The Four Corners Tour was fabulous. My muscles are sore, my wrists hurt a little, and I need some sleep. But, if you asked me to do it again, I would go in a heartbeat. I want to thank everyone that helped make the ride possible. But, special thanks go to SCMA (Southern California Motorcycle Association and Jo Anne Gamble. My package arrived at the house today with the official looking certificate of completion, the pictures and receipts, and all the pages required to certify that I completed the trip, all nicely placed in a folder. I plan on mounting the important items in a frame for my office at home.

And special thoughts go to the family of Steve Jewett, and the inspiration that reminded me each day to ride safely.

Here are some important comments about the trip:

Number is tickets:


Average speed:

5 mph over the limit, unless Louie was leading.

State with the most cops:


State with the best roads:


State with the worst roads:


State with the best weather:

Not many - maybe Virginia

State with the most deer:


State I would visit again:


Best Motel:

Best Western in Manistique, MN and Quebec City

Things to add to the bike:

V1 radar, CB, good earphones in helmet, radio, convex mirrors, Rain-X, and BC-700 odometer (I have most of this stuff, I just to not have it with me or installed correctly.

Things that worked perfect:

The Honda ST1100, the Kilimanjaro Jacket and Pants, the AlpineStar Boots, the Dunlop 205 tires, the Platypus water system, the Shoei RF-800 helmet and Blue Iridium visor, the gel pad and sheepskin seat cover laid on top of my Corbin saddle, and finally the IBM ThinkPad 701. Except for one small software hiccup, it worked fine. This Webpage was written with the ThinkPad using Windows 98 and Office 97. The Delorme MapNgo software really helped.

Things I could not accomplish:

Not enough time for site seeing, visiting with friends. Sorry to have missed NESTOC. Not enough pictures.

For further information on the Four Corners Tour, visit this site:

Here is a suggested map and driving instructions (very close to my schedule):

To send me e-mail:

Last modified:  02/2005