Across America by Motorcycle


May 4, 2024

As I wrote in my last newsletter, I asked Willie, Glen, and Lloyd to send me their reflections. I have included them below. I cannot fully describe the breadth and depth of my appreciation for the contributions that each of these men made toward the ultimate success of this project!

From Willie Fernandez:

I first saw Mark’s motorcycle in my friend’s motorcycle shop.  Mark had engaged my friend Chris to make his lights and signals work in preparation for his 2019 ride. I was intrigued about the motorcycle and the journey, and quickly offered to help Mark get his dream project underway.

When we started out, it was a nightmare. I had signed on to help someone get their motorcycle to where it needed to be because it seemed like he really needed the help. Right away, I got to see just how much help he really needed.

When we met up with Loring Hill (safety rider and mechanic) in New York, everything was okay. There were a lot of challenges to coordinate everything. We all pitched in to help Mark complete his dream trip. At some point along the way, I realized I had also been bit by the bug. I had become highly motivated to see Mark finish such a cool journey.

For me, one of the most memorable moments occurred in New Jersey, when we picked up the trailer in its new “wrapper.” Although I had helped with the electrical wiring on the bike in Chris’ shop, Loring just dove in to “simplify” it. But Loring suddenly seemed to understand that, while he had unique knowledge and skills, I also had some useful knowledge and skills. So we divided the work. He sheepishly handed me the wire cutters. I finished the electrical wiring while he adjusted the valves and prepared the bike for the next long day of riding. Thus began a bond of mutual respect that followed us the rest of the trip.

After a few days, we settled into a low-stress routine. By the time we got to Kansas, I felt we had fully meshed and were working well with each other.  But then the crankshaft broke and everything kind of fell apart. Without a bike to maintain, Loring headed home and we continued west “on tour” where we got to see a lot of really cool stuff like the top of the old Raton Pass Road.

When Mark wanted to put the band back together to “reset” the trip to begin in Kansas in 2022, I signed on early. Loring could not make it, so I asked a friend of mine, Glen Pyle, if he was up for the challenge of keeping Mark safe on the road while I would put to use my experience maintaining the motorcycle. After a few test rides in Ohio, we headed west and put the bike back on the road at the last gas station in Kansas we’d stopped at before breaking in 2019. It took the new team a couple days to mesh in 2022, but by sunset in Pueblo, it was fantastic from there on out. Mark’s friend Lloyd showed up on his BMW adventure motorcycle to scout any sporty routes and help Glen keep Mark safe.

We had a great time and saw a lot of interesting stuff including the back roads in California that I’d never seen, Magdalena, New Mexico and the nearby Very Large Array radio telescope, Meteor Crater, and even had lunch on the rim of the Grand Canyon with an amazing view. We enjoyed being reunited with Lloyd and his friend Andy through New Mexico and Arizona.

This was an unforgettable journey. I started out offering some logistical support. Looking back, I was proud to have become such an important part of this team.

Willie at the top of La Bajada Hill

Willie at the top of La Bajada Hill, New Mexico

From Glen Pyle:

Mark’s journey began a couple of years before I was brought in. Willie was involved and expressed how excited he was.  As Willie talked, I became envious and wanted to go too.  Unfortunately, I was not in a place where I was able to participate and take time away from work to experience what became the adventure of a lifetime for me!

When Willie approached me for help with “take two” of the journey, the world was coming back together from the COVID pandemic. I eagerly said “yes” and was able to join the group as a safety rider.

We had a couple of practice rides through Yellow Springs and Xenia, Ohio and I finally earned Mark’s trust with my decision-making guiding him through intersections and other road features. Of course, he got the picture when he saw me in the middle of the road halting traffic. I think Mark quickly observed that I wasn’t going to put him in harm’s way!  Once we worked out the kinks of the interoperability of the Garmin navigation and Sena Mesh communications systems, we departed for Kansas to begin Mark’s second attempt to complete his tribute ride.

The journey proved to be spectacular, a group of guys coming together to help Mark fulfill his dreams and his passion for getting the “Red One” across the United States. 

Mark’s passion was contagious.  We stopped from town to town. I watched and saw Mark’s face light up as we encountered curious onlookers and he told his story. It became my story too, so when people would talk to me about what we were doing, I often started with the story of Mark’s Dad having the parts in his garage and how it took him several decades to bring the “Red One” back to life.  We traveled to places and small towns I would have never experienced if it hadn’t been for the “Red One” and Mark’s dreams!

There are not enough words available to express the gratitude I have for being involved.

Glen and Mark in front of the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.

From Lloyd Hill:

While I have known Mark for years in our professional capacity, I never knew he had the makings of a 1919 Henderson motorcycle in his garage, let alone a zeal to replicate the cross-country journey of another motorcyclist on the same type of bike when it was purchased brand new a hundred years earlier. But then again, Mark likely didn’t know I had been racing and riding motorcycles since I was a kid. Once these unknowns became connected and Mark told me about C.K. Shepherd’s book, I read it and I was hooked. I was going to be a part of this journey!

Since I typically trailer my motorcycles out to New Mexico in September for riding with friends, I started incorporating off-road scouting missions for Mark in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. I would ride, film, and provide feedback to assist Mark with his planning. Once Mark’s ride commenced, I was there for all riding in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona (which is where the challenging off-road sections were), scouting, filming, narrating, performing the role of “safety rider,” and riding each and every off-road section to help Mark replicate with exacting precision C.K.’s route of 100 years earlier. It was an epic experience that I’m quite proud to have been a part of, and I’m glad that Mark is taking the time and effort to share his journey just as C.K. did.

Thanks for letting me play in your sandbox Mark!

Lloyd at the East Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park

Lloyd at the East Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park

If you have not already seen the short video, I recorded a few words reflecting my own sentiments at the conclusion of the journey in San Francisco. You can view that video here:

Best wishes and thanks again to all who made this dream come true.


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Captain Mark Hunnibell

AABMC Publications LLC, PO Box 843, Yellow Springs, OH 45387