Road trip proves ultimate adventure for father-son duo

By Jon Valentine

Imagine road-tripping up to beautiful Lake Tahoe, taking the long way through the winding roadways of northern Arizona, crossing through Utah and eventually stopping in Nevada to spend some time vacationing.

Now imagine doing it aboard a brand new Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle.

In early July, Perry Imes was looking to create the ultimate father-son experience with his son Danny, 14, and did just that.

The final destination was Imes’ father’s house in Genoa, Nev., but in this case, the journey was more important than the destination. The older Imes had wanted to create a unique father-son experience that neither of them would soon forget.

“I thought this was a good opportunity before Danny got too big to do something father-son, and try to establish some good memories,” Imes said.

Perry had ridden motorcycles for long distances before and had always wanted to buy one for a trip like this.

“The bike was something I had wanted for a while, and I thought this would be a great experience for Danny and I,” Perry said.

In preparation for the trip, Perry, owner of an American Family insurance brokerage on Warner Road in Tempe,  spent approximately $500 on gear for himself, his son, and the motorcycle.

“We had to buy full raingear,” Perry said—“things like rain pants, insulated jackets and gloves. We always had helmets on, and we had full-length jeans, jackets, sunglasses and sun gear.””

For three days each way, Perry and Danny braved the wind and varying temperatures and put more than 2,400 miles on their new motorcycle en route to Genoa, stopping often to see every landmark along the way and meet other travelers.

“When you’re on a motorcycle, one thing that people will do is they’ll come up and talk to you a lot more free than if you are in a car,” Perry said. “That was pretty neat.”

The Harley came equipped with a five-gallon gas tank that was capable of about 40 miles to the gallon, so about every 200 miles or three hours the two were forced to stop for fuel. They rode for an average 10 hours a day and then would stop for a meal and a night’s rest.

“We stopped mostly in little mining towns along the highway,” Perry said. “But we always ate well, because when we would eat, we were really hungry. We tried to go to unique places instead of the chains you can get anywhere.”

Father and son spent their nights in motels along the entire route, and took their time in the mornings, rather than rising early every day.

“We were generally very tired at the end of every day,” Perry said. “In the mornings, we would sleep in a bit and have a good breakfast.”

Along the way, the two visited a number of tourist attraction in all three states they rode through, including the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park in Utah, and the Lehlan Caves in Nevada.

“I had never been to the north rim before and neither had Danny, so that was a good stop,” Perry said.

After the trip was all over, only the older Imes says he prefers the motorcycle for road trips, although both would do it again.

“(Riding on the back of the bike) was sometimes fun, and sometimes it was annoying,” Danny said. “I definitely had to get used to the seat and sitting up straight, and then there was the wind in my face.”

“Facing the wind and the rain really makes you think about having a car over a bike,” Danny said.

For the older Imes, the biggest difference riding a motorcycle over driving a car was the level of attention you have to pay to the road.

“The biggest difference is that in a car you can kind of detach yourself from what you’re doing by turning on the air conditioning and stereo,” he said. “With a bike, you can’t forget what it is you’re doing.”

Perry and Danny Imes would both recommend a trip like this to anyone.

“I would absolutely recommend a motorcycle trip,” Perry said. “You stop and you do things more often you wouldn’t otherwise do, and you meet people that will come over and share their experiences with you.”

“When we were stopped, people would come up to us and say ‘I wish we could do this.’”

The younger Imes says that when he is an adult, if he can afford it, he is going to take a trip like this with his son or daughter.

“Who knows, maybe we’ve started something,” Perry said.