US 50 -- Travel Anecdotes & Advisories

Copyright 2013 W. Berg Press


'General' rides with me.  Mama stays at home.    
He has over 100,000 miles riding.  He may even be the only dog 
that will ride the whole length of 50 hiway.    Michael Jones


    Do you need a US 50 Patch?

Scott Calabro is always happy to provide advice and suggestions.
Please email questions to

Honor and Remember

Bob Frillman, Sunol California

The marker stands in the parking lot of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.  Facing the building - with the fountain to your back - at 9:00 o'clock (90 degrees left) you will see a glass bus stop enclosure.  The terminus is to the right of that bus stop in a grassy area.

Safety Is Job One!

Welcome to this special page where motorcyclists can talk about their journey.

Please go to Safety Is Job One!

Don't forget that with every trip you take it is essential 
that you take the correct motorcycle accessories!

General in Washington DC taking part in the 2011 Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally


Rolling Thunder 2011 - Motorcycle Rally in Washington, DC

Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle rally that is held in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend to call for the government's recognition and protection of Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs). About 400,000 veterans will roar across Washington, DC on their motorcycles as a tribute to American war heroes.
God Bless America - Sincerely James D Smythe






From: John F. House - September 2007

If you are bored and have time to fill, here is a “trip report” from the ride Susan and I took on our motorcycles to the west coast and back in September 2007.  Reading your book and your website proved very helpful in planning for this, which was out first long ride together.  In preparing for this, we took a number of rides to increasing length through the summer, the longest being a trip in August from Richmond VA to the Strait of Mackinaw at the top of the Great Lakes separating Michigan ’s upper and lower peninsulas.  That was about 1600 miles round trip, and very hot.

On the third page, all days are posted IN REVERSE ORDER, so if you want to read anything chronologically, start at the end and scroll back up to the “top” of the last page.

We traveled east to west from Virginia via Highway 50 until mid-Utah, and then turned south on the interstate system to reach our friends in Palm Desert , California .  The eastern “end” of US 50 was added in the summer as one of our “training rides”, Richmond to D.C. to Maryland ’s Eastern Shore, returning home by circling down to Norfolk and then taking Highway 10 up to Richmond .    

Motorcycle versus Vespa

        The Seed of the Idea. During one of her many trips over the last several years with Rich on his 2002 Harley Davidson Fat Boy, Rich told Piglet he has always wanted to travel the original U.S. Route 50, from its East Coast end point in Ocean City, Maryland to its West Coast end point in Sacramento, California. Now, he wanted to do it on the Harley. They chatted about it and tossed the idea around. They bought books and examined maps. They asked themselves, “Can we really do this on the bike?”

Don Hensic just got back from a trip on Highway 50 from Carson City to Ely, NV.  There was plenty of gas available.  Gas stops in Carson City,  Fallon, Silver Springs, Middlegate, Cold springs (bring octane booster only 87 oct avail), Austin, Eureka, and Ely NV.

We left Ely NV and rode south to Pioche then over into UT to Cedar City UT. up over the mountains and then into Zion National Park.  All I can say about Zion is it is a must see ( WOW).

A word of caution. Certain times of the year the "mormon crickets" migrate on Highway 50 and the highway is literally covered in crickets. We were fortunate to be at the tail end of the migration and it was not quite as bad as normal. The locals warned us that when the highway is covered, braking is very dangerous as riding over them is like riding on black ice and the tires want to skid.  Several riders have "crashed" and have suffered serious injuries because of the "mormon crickets" . Cars to have skidded out of control and crashed.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!  Lord Bless you,  Don

Erika Lockhart has travel many miles on her motorcycle including a coast to cast trip on US 50.  she has been very helpful by providing valuable information and advise.  The following has some good suggestion that come handy when planning a trip.  In the past Here's one photo from my trip.

I have camped all the way west to east except in Moab, Utah, where I stayed in a hostel ( for two days and went climbing and rappelling in Arches National Park. In Sedalia, Missouri, I stayed in the Hotel Bothwell (didn't  like it much).

Most of the times I stayed in KOA campgrounds, which were all really nice.  In Nevada, Indiana and Illinois, I stayed in state campgrounds that were also great. 

The west was the best part of the trip.  People were very friendly, especially in Nevada, Utah and Kansas.  After that, as you go east, population gets much more dense and it's a different type of experience.  Much more urban. 

The time of year I traveled was from April 23 through June 4th, and a lot of attractions along the way were still closed before Memorial Day  Traveling from west to east.  You also lose an hour on many days because of time changes, so make sure any plans you make take the time zones into consideration.

I found most of the places I wanted to stop on the internet.  One of the things I wanted to do was to stop in Kansas in the town where the murders in the book "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote happened, but I missed the tour because of a time zone change that took me by surprise - I was on a schedule to meet some people and couldn't stop another day - but you might want to check that out if that sort of thing appeals.  I read the book on the way.

I don't know if you're planning on camping but most of the campsites had laundry facilities, which I thought was great because I couldn't pack too many clothes.  I took only one extra shirt, some shorts, and sandals.  On another cross country trip, during which I stayed in hotels, I found that a lot of the hotels did not have laundry!   In the spring, the campsites were nearly empty and very quiet, but you can expect them to be crowded and noisy in the summer. 

I hope you do take this trip.  The western part of Route 50 is a mind-blowing experience.  I forget exactly how long and in what section it is, but you should definitely check out the section of "loneliest highway" without gas stations and make sure that your bike has the tank capacity to make it through.  Just before that section, though, is the eastern border of Nevada where I went on a cave tour that was  pretty cool. 

If you have any specific questions, feel free to e-mail me.  Best wishes, and keep the rubber side down.


Motor Cycle Tips for U.S. 50:    

1.     GASOLINE:  I was happy to have the 5 gallon gas tank on my Harley Road King rather than the 3.2 gallon tank on my Harley Sportster Custom 1200.  While gas supply will probably not be a problem in most places, I would study the great state of Nevada in terms of distance between towns which should equate with gas stops.    Some long distance riders with inadequate tanks carry extra fuel.  If you do that, be safe about it in terms of type of container and securing the load.  If I got past the area where this was needed, I would empty the extra gas can into the tank and ditch the can or carry it empty.  Some folks actually add an auxiliary tank to their bike.   Do not let me scare you with all of this.  I had no problem with my 5 gallon tank, but I was careful to not pass any crucial gas stations.  I kept a close eye on the map Vs my gas gauge and miles ridden.

2.     U.S. 50 SURVIVOR PROGRAM:  If you are interested, the state of Nevada has a certification program for those who traverse all the way across the state on U.S. 50 in Nevada.  There is a certificate and a pin.  The sponsor is the Chamber of Commerce.  My contact was in Carson City, NV.  If you get more organized than I was you get this little U.S. 50 road map from the sponsor that provides you with various towns stamp or sticker blanks.  Once you have proof of the entire ride, (all blanks are filled) they mail you the nifty stuff that looks good on your garage wall.    

3.     U.S. 50 SURVIVOR SIGN:  A nice motel lady let me talk her out of her U.S. 50 sign that now hangs proudly in my garage.  They may be available from the Chamber of Commerce.     

4.     SLIPPERY BUG INFESTATION:   Somewhere along the line; I think it was right about Eureka, NV I was riding along after a long day.  I had passed up the nice motel in Ely because I did not favor the motorcycle parking.  I thought I would grab a motel in Eureka.  As I was approaching the town I was tired; the sun was in my eyes (I am not complaining about the sun.)  I was following this truck and horse trailer.  It seemed to be whipping up all these small leaves.  I thought they looked like maple leaves.  Hey, wait a minute.  There are no maple trees out here.  On closer inspection I could not believe my eyes.  The leaves were not whipping.  The "Mormon Crickets" were hopping.  They were wall to wall and would jump up as we drove and rode by.   Well, the way I figure it, I was not going to motel up in that town and come out the next morning with a cricket covered motorcycle.  Wow, hot smoldering engine crickets as I go down the road.  No thank you.  So I pushed on to the next town and spent the night in a cricket free zone called Fallon, NV.   The crickets originally came the same year the Mormons settled in the area.  The Mormons have nothing to do with the cricket infestation, but they got the blame.   Well, no worries as long as you are hip to this cricket deal and realize you need to conduct your self accordingly in two main areas: a) Be careful while riding your bike.  The crickets covering the road are like snow or slush.  You could fall down on the slippery cricket road.  I had no trouble, but I backed off the throttle and made no fast emergency moves.  b) Unless you love bugs a lot more than I do, don't sleep, eat or stop where the crickets are.   They are not in town all year long, so timing could be everything.   No problem, but what a surprise for me.  An adventure you know.    

5.     If you can, starting at Ocean City, MD the beginning point is a hoot.  There is some great U.S. 50 "Sacramento - 3073 miles" signage on the east end.  We took photos.  There is a great fish and chips place on the left just before you cross the U.S. 50 bridge into Ocean City right down on the water.   If you have a weak heart, stay out of Ocean City.  There are a lot of bikinis running around in the sun heading for the beach.  If your wife is with you, wear a helmet to avoid a head injury cause by your wife hitting you in the head for staring at those bikinis.   I really like the idea of doing the entire route, but that is me.    

6.     When I got to the west end, Sacramento, I wanted to see the west end sign, but weakened when I saw the northbound sign for I-5 for back home.  Wulf, you might enlighten us both on what the signage is like on the west end and how easy or difficult it is to find and stop for photos.  It was very congested and freeway like as I got to the west end.  Next time I am in Sacramento, I plan to check it out more carefully.    

7.     The U.S. 50 was historical and gave me a strong feeling of achievement.  I recommend it.    

8.      There are some spots that can get confusing.  Example: Washington D.C.  U.S. 50 runs right through the monuments.  That is nifty.  Spend some quality time with your map instead of thinking you will be guided through with some terrific street sign program.  The nation's capital and they can't put together a decent sign system.  Government "not at work".  I think St Louis, MO was another challenging spot.  The signs just petered out.  Once I turned around the signs picked up again coming from the other direction in an effort to get back on track.   If you are riding a motorcycle, you can't get lost anyway.  It just means more riding and adventure.    

9.      The people were very kind all along the way.  I had people fighting to help me as I sat on the 711 Store curb looking at my map with a hang dog look.  

10.     Get a U.S. 50 trip-tik from AAA if you can.  Membership for mapping is cool.     

11.     If you are smart enough to get the U.S. 50 trip-tik mentioned in number 10 above, be smart enough to not to leave it at your daughter's house 200 miles north of the Ocean City starting point like I did.    

12.     Watch out for deer and bull elk.    

13.     Wear leather or ballistic nylon and / or Draggin jeans and Draggin shirt with Kevlar.  Have fun and ride safely.    

Joe Boyle

More Information on the availability of gasoline in Nevada

There isn't any gas at Middlegate but there is a lonely gas outpost all by itself at around there (or maybe it was called Middlegate, but it wasn't anything but a station). I stopped for gas at Fernley, then filled up at the lonely station 75 miles past Fernley, then again at Austin (142 miles). Then there isn't anything at all till Eureka and again, nothing at all until Ely.

 The longest stretches without gas are:

Baker - Hinckley/Delta (117 miles w/o gas)

Salina - Green River (113 miles w/o gas) even though the map says there are some towns there.

 If your interested, I have some text/pics of my trip on hwy 50 from Ca to Indiana at although I don't have that much detail. You can ask me anything you want and if I can help I will be glad to!

 Mark Butler

King of the Road Everett Applegate has shared his experiences many times and advised future riders that plan to travel US 50.  I have extracted some very informative suggestions from Everett ’s email that may be helpful to others.

Late May and late September are good times of the year to ride across the country.  You may hit some rain occasionally so bring a suite.  I would give myself two weeks for the trip.  I have made several trips back and fourth east to west and west to east.  Riding east, you will have the sun in your eyes for the first few hours of the day and west is just the opposite.  I only have done the route 50 ride once and it was a three-part ride over the course of ten years.  It is a great ride though and you will see parts of America that even Americans never bother to see and experience the true country and people of our wonderful land.  You will come away from this trip a real flag waver, trust me.  

When choosing a bike, consider a Harley Road King or something good for cruising.  If you don't have a bike, you can just fly to California and pick out a bike that you like from the thousands that are waiting on dealer showrooms.  You can even find used ones at cheap prices compared to what you may see at home.  Even renting is a possibility.  Some places have one-way rentals.  To ship a bike across America it costs about $600.00 to $800.00 U.S.  There is no need to purchase a dozen fancy maps.  Just a standard road atlas from Wal-Mart for $5.95 will do.  That is all I ever use.  The roads are well marked and you'd really have to go out of your way to get lost.

     Some states have helmet laws but many do not.  You can check on line for this too.  Camping is also an option if you want to save money if not there are plenty of cheap places to stay from $25.00 to $50.00 per night.  The food is great in the small towns as well.  Have a great trip.

To learn a little about Everett Applegate or to buy one of his books please go to    "The crow flies" is his first book and is much about a bike ride back from Vegas to New York .  Some of the roads that you will be riding and the people you might meet are in this book.

Thanks Everett for your help.  Stay in touch and ride safe.  God bless you.  Wulf

Jim Skeans and his wife Susan

Phil Raney  (  )
1511 Roundhill Road
Oak Hill, WV 25901
May 18, 1999


Elisa and I just completed our cross-country motorcycle ride arriving Oak Hill Sunday afternoon May 16. We commenced our trip on Monday, May 3, and took 14 days to complete it. We stayed in Blythe, CA, in Boulder City, NV, in Richfield, UT, in Moab, UT, in Delta, CO, in Canon City, CO, in Garden City, KA, in Great Bend, KA, in Council Grove, KA, in Camdenton, MO, in Chester, IL, in Bedford, IN, and in Chillicothe, OH en route to Oak Hill.

We rode over 3,300 miles on our Harleys and indulged ourselves in as many sightseeing diversions as possible. We visited Hoover Dam and Lake Mead in Nevada, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park at Moab, UT, Colorado National Monument, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison  National Park in Colorado.  In eastern Kansas we passed several large, incredibly vile smelling feed lots one of which was billed as a "scenic vista".  We stopped in Dodge City to visit Boot Hill and the Santa Fe Trail ruts before continuing to Old Fort Bent for another sightseeing stop. After staying in Great Bend and surviving a few wandering tornadoes, we continued to Council Grove with a stop at a new national preserve called Prairie Grasslands National Preserve. We experienced the only rain of our trip during the evening in Council Bluff.

From Council Bluff we rode to Camdenton, MO, for the night. The next day it was on to the smallest incorporated town west of the Mississippi. A little place called Caledonia, MO. Then it was on to Chester, IL, the home of Popeye, where we stayed the night. Then it was on to Bedford, IN, (Stone City) for the night. Next day we detoured through Madison, IN, (the second oldest city in Indiana) for lunch at Camille’s Café and then up the Ohio River to Aurora and over into Ohio for an almost 60 mile ride on

I 275 before picking up Route 50 again. We finished the day at Chillicothe, OH, our last overnight stop. Sunday we enjoyed a nice ride down state road 35 to I 64 at Nitro and then on home to Oak Hill.

Our weather was excellent. The first day was very windy heading east on I 8. In the mountains we saw two 18-wheelers on their sides. There was also some heavy fog a few times. Then down on the desert floor we experienced some virtual sandstorms. That first day was a little tough. On our first Sunday, in east Kansas, we had very strong winds making our ride a real challenge for the final few hours of the day.

It was a trip to remember but home looked really great with everything all leafed out and green.  For more exciting trip stories, please read my article 

Phil Raney's Cross Country Trip
Copyright 2000 Phil Raney & W. Berg Press

The article and pictures were published in the
Harley Owners Group magazine "
Hog Tales", September/October 2000

Take care,     Phil

Phil Raney and his daughter

Phil Raney and his daughter, LCDR Elisa A. Raney, who rode with Phil from San Diego to West Virginia.  Elisa is a US Navy helicopter pilot currently stationed in Atsugi, Japan.  The date of the picture is May 7, 1999.

go back to US50, Coast to Coast

Stop sign

My book "US 50, Coast to Coast" guides you on this journey in greater details.
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