SIERRA VISTA — With a love of motorbikes since she was 8 years old, it only made sense that someday Bonnie Gordon would step up to a big-girl motorcycle like a Harley Davidson Deluxe.
But when a friend gave her a book about a trailblazing, 92-year-old female biker, Gordon decided she would take a solo trip. So last August, she jumped on her shiny, 2009 gray and white Harley and embarked on a 9,250-mile, cross-country trip that took her through 21 states and Washington D.C. in 40 days.
Gordon, a northern California native with a quick smile and a sense of humor to match, sat down with the Herald/Review and talked about her love of the open road on her Deluxe and what prompted her to take the bike ride of her life — thus far.
Herald/Review: How did you become interested in riding motorcycles?
Bonnie Gordon: I began riding dirt bikes when I was 8 or 9. My dad taught us. I loved it from the start.
HR: When did you graduate to riding a motorcycle?
BG: I moved to Florida with my husband and he had a motorcycle. I bought my first Roadster. I took a motorcycle riding class and I rode with him. I’ve been riding 15 years.
HR: What do you love about riding a motorcycle?
BG: I love going fast! It’s time spent alone and not talking with your own thoughts. I also love the smells! The different smells of the vegetation, the smell after it rains.
HR: What sparked the idea of going cross-country by yourself?
BG: I’m 52. I said, ‘If I’m going to do something like this, now is the time!’ I had been planning a trip with my husband, but he passed away July 1, 2017. A friend gave me a book about Gloria Tramontin Struck, a woman who is in her 90s and still rides! If she could do it, why couldn’t I?
HR: You visited 21 states and Washington D.C. How did you decide on your route?
BG: The book about Gloria inspired me and my mom and I had made a small dreamboard with a map of the five best road trips in the U.S. I went through Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.
HR: What did you do on this trip besides ride?
BG: I reconnected with so many friends and family. I was even able to visit a dying aunt who actually passed away two hours after I saw her. It was very serendipitous. It was a great trip.
HR: Are you planning another trip, perhaps a dream trip?
BG: Oh yes! I want to do a tour of the Balkans on a motorcycle.