This Guy Really Drove Across the U.S. Hitting National Landmarks
Florida resident Dennis Andreasson just covered the continental United States by motorcycle.
Summer is a time for road trips. And Florida resident Dennis Andreasson just did the ultimate one. He hit every one of the 48 contiguous states on his motorcycle.
He was inspired by the optimized road trip map I helped create last March with the help of Randy Olson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Olson works in the field of bioinformatics and uses state-of-the-art, machine-learning algorithms to solve biomedical problems.
Road-tripping is not a biomedical problem, unless getting out onto the open highway is the only way to scratch your adventure itch. But Olson likes finding creative ways to leverage genetic algorithms and other artificial intelligence technology. Hence the map.
And hence Dennis's two-wheeled trip.
The 70-year-old retired engineer left on Sunday, May 15, 2016, from his home in Hollywood, Fla., and headed up the East Coast astride his Suzuki V Strom 1000cc.
It wasn't the first time he'd ever taken a big road trip on his motorcycle. Originally from Sweden, he'd done Europe before, the Isle of Man and also the extreme four corners of the United States. Those include Key West, Fla., to San Ysidro, Calif., to Blaine, Wash., to Madawaska Me., -- 8,256 miles in 14 continuous days. After that, he rode down to Cape Cod, Mass., to visit family and friends and then rode home for a grand total of 11,180 miles in 18 riding days.
"That got me to want to see America more," Dennis told me.
After an internet search, he came across my blog and Olson's map. "It appealed to me that it was all of the 48 states," Dennis said.
Stopping at national landmarks also piqued his interest. Dennis said he saw this particular adventure as a kind of American history trip. Among the many stops, was a visit to Mark Twain's house.
"He was one of my favorites to read when I was a kid," Dennis said.
Once he was on the road, he received a lot of logistical help from his wife of 32 years, Mary Ann, who stayed behind.
"I'm very much into detail and planning and all of that," Mary Ann told me.
Each afternoon when Dennis would be closing in on his day's destination, he'd give her a call and she would do a quick internet search to set up a hotel reservation. "When he would call in the afternoon, I pretty much would have estimated where he would be. I would have everything up on the computer. We had a system down."
She even helped him find a motorcycle repair shop when he needed a new tire and a new chain.
In fact it was Mary Ann who originally emailed me that Dennis had followed the road trip map. "My hubby and I thank you very much for your big part in his most recent trip," she wrote.
Along the way, Dennis said he met a lot of friendly people.
"You stop and fuel up very often when you have a five-gallon tank," he told. "People would ask me, 'Where are you going? What are you doing?'" When he would tell them, he said, "They would be flabbergasted of what I was doing."
On average, Dennis traveled about 526 miles per day. He was particular interested in seeing Minnesota, where he knew a lot of Swedish people had settled. "It looks very much like the middle of Sweden," he said.
But his favorite part of the journey was riding through Glacier National Park as well as the Rocky Mountains.
He said he had only one problem along the way: getting his phone stolen at the top of Pike's Peak. "Even in the high places, there is low life," he said. Thankfully, he had packed a cheap flip phone as a backup. "I always have back ups," he told me. "I had three cameras, too."
In total, he traveled 15,266 miles, returning to his home in Florida on June 13.
For his next motorcycle adventure, he'd like to ride through Alberta and British Columbia. Good news, Dennis. Randy Olson has already optimized a road trip through Canada. Let us know when you finish it!