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Summer 2011

Adventures on a Motorcycle

by Carolyn Johnson

We all know Kansas has 105 counties, but do you know anyone whose visited every county, seated on a motorcycle? Well let me introduce you to Lane and Mary Bartholomew of Dodge City.

After graduating from Ford High School in 1959, Lane began riding on his first bike, a 1959 German made Zundap. He drove over 8,000 miles on that bike. Little did he know that would be the beginning of a hobby he would enjoy for years to come and accumulate more than 586,262 miles riding motorcycles.

During the years Lane has owned and rode: 1960-Indian Chief/4,000 miles, 1959-Harley Davidson FLH/20,000 miles, 1962-Harley Davidson Sportster XLCH/14,000 miles, 1969-Suzuki 500cc/20,000 miles, 1972-Harley Davidson FLH/62,000 miles, 1970-two 50cc Harley Davidson M50/3,000 miles each, 1970 Harley Davidson Sportster H/20,000 miles, 1976 Honda Goldwing 1,000cc/125,000miles in 48 states, 1970 Honda 185cc/4,000 miles, 1970-two Honda automatic400/2,500 miles each, 1984-Honda Goldwing 1,200cc/115,000 miles in 49 states, 1986-Honda Goldwing 1,200cc/150,000 miles in 48 states, 2001-Buehl 500cc/2,000 miles, and the current bike a 2003-Honda Goldwing 1,800cc/261,032 miles in 49 states.

Mary said her most memorable trip was after they were married in 1979. They rode for nine days and went 2,100 miles. Riding thru Wolf Creek Pass in the snow was something she'll never forget.

Mary keeps very detailed records of each trip. Not only journal entries and stories about the trips but an atlas where all the roads they have ridden on are marked with different color highlighter pens indicating which bike they were riding. That is a colorful atlas!

There are 3,070 counties in the 50 US States. In 2001 they rode thru the city of Broomfield located in Boulder County, Colorado. Boulder County was the last county they needed to ride thru to reach their goal. That leaves 7 counties they haven't ridden thru. Hawaii has 4 counties and there are 2 off the coast in Massachusetts and 1 off the coast of Washington where no roads are available.

They've even toured in Canada where the southeast provinces were a challenge. They circled Nova Scotia, located off the shore of New Brunswick in the Atlantic Ocean, riding on the Cabot Trail. In New Brunswick they toured the world's longest covered bridge. To get to Prince Edward Island their bike was put on a ferry. They rode back on the Confederation Bridge which has the world's longest marine span of 12.9 kilometers.

When their youngest son toured with them he rode in front of Lane on the gas tank. They designed a harness for him to wear and attached it to Lane with a utility belt. He visited 36 states and rode 34,500 miles that way. His toy box was an old cigar box with small toys and stuffed animals complete with strings attached just in case he dropped one it could be pulled back with the string.

In 2009 they rode from Santa Monica, to Chicago on the old Route 66. Restoration is ongoing on landmarks along 66. Things like the Wigwam Motel, a leaning water tower, a town owned by one man that was sold in 1998 for $700,000, Route 66 signs, and wild burros that can be hand fed to name a few of the interesting sights to see.

They have ridden all but 35 calendar days on the motorcycle they are currently riding. They even get the bike out for the Polar Bear Ride on January 1st. On a trip with their son he said, "Dad, let's go back and get the car". It was 19 degrees.

They belong to the American Motorcycle Association. Poker Runs for benefits such as cancer are a great way to meet new people and see old biker friends.

Some goals they have set are to ride in 49 states in 45 days. Also, to ride from Dodge City to Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida to Houston, Texas to Raton, New Mexico and back home to Dodge City all on one trip.

Mary's wonderful meticulous accounts of all their adventures make a great record of all the time enjoyed touring on their motorcycles. If you want to know some great places to visit they can recommend them.


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