The Longest Journey
Danell Lynn broke the Guinness World Record for Longest Motorcycle Journey in a Single Country. Here’s her story…
I left home in 2014 to ride solo through all 50 States and Canada. One year later and at 34 years old, I had the Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest Journey by Motorcycle in a Single Country’ and became the first solo-female rider to hold the record.
Ready for adventure
Armed with tank of gas and a case of maps, I was ready to take on the back roads across North America. Amelia, my 2006 Triumph Bonneville, was fully loaded. All my belongings for a year were packed into waterproof luggage, my home (a tent) was strapped to the back, I suited up and left…
I didn’t know my exact route, but I had personal goals to achieve and parks I wanted to see. One of those was to camp in every state – box checked! Much of my route was guided by visiting National Parks, both in the US and Canada. I grew up camping at many of these as a child and it was amazing to experience them again 20 years later on my motorbike.
Kindness of strangers
I loved the camping life on the road and pitched up everywhere including, wild camping in my own tent, yurts in Pennsylvania and Colorado, KOA Kamp Kabins (graciously donated to me in a handful of states along the journey), State Parks and privately owned sites.
Everyone I met along the way was kind, although some stand out more than others like the couples who shared breakfast at campsites, or gave me extra firewood. And then there are the gas-station gentlemen who would always venture in with admiration as they thought I was riding a vintage Triumph like the ones they used to ride. These guys were usually in their 60s and 70s and we would chat about bikes and adventure. One guy even gave me a couple bucks to have a coffee on him after I removed my helmet and he gasped, “You’re a woman!” I laughed and said, “Yep!” We talked of travel, weather and the beauty of taking life on full-throttle and living out adventure!
Crashes and challenges
From camping among the giant redwoods in California to swimming with the manatees in Florida, from crashing on ice in New Mexico to out-running severe storms in Missouri, from the Dalton highway in Alaska to Deals Gap in North Carolina… boredom never found its way into my journey – not once.
Even things like bad weather led me in the direction of a new location and incredible memory. I can honestly say there was not one horrible event in my entire journey because when things went wrong it challenged me and led to amazing opportunities or meetings with wonderful people.
When the weather was bad and re-routed me it always led to a unique experience I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Even when I crashed at slow speed on ice, it gave me a chance to meet a driver coming around the corner who warned me about a blind curve ahead that hits a steep downward hill with no guard rail and was covered in sheet ice. I’d take my mini-crash over that hill any day!
Never alone with a motorcycle
This was a solo journey but at times I did plan rides with others along the way. Some planned weeks in advance and some by happenstance. But all were cherished. I rode through Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona with my mom and dad, I rode many eastern states and deals gap with my uncle, I rode with new friends and motorcycle groups I met along the way. I enjoyed the community rides as there is a creative flow when surrounded by others who get the spirit of flight without leaving the ground. But I loved the times I rode alone (80% of my trip). I have traveled solo throughout the world and part of this experience was challenging myself and taking time each day to just be alone with my thoughts and the silence of nature – or the loudness depending on where I ventured, like falling asleep to the sound of insects in the south and waking up to birds chirping in the north.
Trip in numbers
- Days on the road: 373 (Sep,19 2014 – Sep, 27 2015)
- Crashes: 1 (slow speed on ice)
- Punctures: 2 (both rear)
- New tyres: 4 front, 8 rear
- States visited: All 50 and Canada
- Miles: 53,800 on my Triumph. I used a rental Bonneville in Hawaii and covered an extra 250 miles there.
- Guinness World Record Miles: 48,600 (continental US states)
Beating the previous Guinness World Record
Danell broke (doubled) the previous record by almost 25,000 miles and became the first solo woman motorcyclist to ever hold the record (featured in the 2018 record book).
From the GWR official record: “The longest journey by motorcycle in a single country is 78,214.118 km (48,600 miles) and was achieved by Danell Lynn (USA), who rode throughout the United States of America from 19 September 2014 to 29 August 2015. During this journey, Danell rode through all 48 of the continental United States.”
Previous Record: “The longest journey by motorcycle in a single country is 38,239 km (23761 miles) and was achieved by Manigandan Manjunathan (India), who rode throughout India from 9 November 2014 to 15 February 2015. Manigandan rode through India on a Royal Enfield Classic 500.”
The route and tracking for the GWR
I rode through all 50 United States and 3 Provinces in Canada. During my journey of the Continental US, I tracked and submitted for the Guinness World Record, then ventured into Canada through Montana. The GWR part of my ride ended on Aug. 29th as I crossed into Canada, but I still wanted to ride through all 50 states, so I crossed into Canada and rode to Alaska, then flew to Hawaii and rode a Triumph Bonneville throughout Honolulu.
I was guided throughout my trip by National Parks and scenic routes, I didn’t use a GPS for mapping, I completed the entire journey with paper maps. My SPOT tracker was attached to the bike for GPX tracks to turn into GWR and also for people to follow live as the trip progress. It always brought joy and accomplishment to end my day with a map review and highlighting that day’s ride.
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