MARYSTOWN, N.L. — At the age of 42, Wilf Emberley of Marystown is doing something that his younger self had only dreamed about.
“I was 18 when I got my first motorcycle,” he told The Southern Gazette in a message through Facebook on Wednesday May 16.
“Back then is when I first dreamed up taking a trip around North America on bike.”
Emberley, who works as a professional truck driver, said, “Driving back and forth to St. John's five days a week for the past seven and a half years, I really needed a change of scenery.”
A few months ago he started thinking about touring the west coast of Canada.
After considering several transportation options — including:train, car or bus — he settled on motorcycle.
"The thought of riding over 10,000 kilometres on motorcycle was too good to ignore,” he said.
Emberley’s adventure started when he flew from Newfoundland to Calgary, where he purchased a 2002 Honda VTX 1800 and set out for the Rocky Mountains.
“The first few miles from Calgary was pretty cool,” he said. "The adrenaline of the adventure I was starting was pretty exciting; riding through the Rocky Mountains in British Colombia was just so breathtaking.”
Emberley, who was in New York when he spoke with the Gazette about his trip, said he has had to opportunity to visit several parts of North America.
He’s seen Alberta, British Colombia, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
He tries to keep moving as much as he can to get to see as much as possible, making his home in hotels along the route.
On his travels, there are a few places that stood out for him.
“The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, and Lombard Street was pretty cool.
“Driving the redwood forest was so spectacular; imagine riding around trees that are as tall as the Statue of Liberty, over 300 feet tall.”
Emberley enjoyed the beauty of the California coast, the sights of Las Vegas and was impressed by the Hoover Dam.
He was also amazed at the Grand Canyon.
“I was lucky to be there in the evening to watch a magnificent sunset," he said. "The next day I rode through Monument Valley. I sure loved that, the rock formations are awesome.”
Emberley said he met many friendly people during his time on the road, many of whom asked where is Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Many times, I'd be stopped on side of the road for a break and someone would stop just to check if I needed any help,” he said. “So many good people in the world. It's very encouraging.”
Emberley is on the final part of his adventure.
From New York he will head to Vermont and Maine before crossing the border to New Brunswick.
His aim was to be back on the island by May 19.
“This certainly is a trip of a lifetime for me. I'm so happy I've done it,” he said. “Ya never know what the future holds, so I figured I'd go while the going was good.
“Riding a bike ya get a lot closer to everything,” he added. “The things you smell along the way is wicked. I passed farms in California that smelled like peppermint, some forests were like pine fresheners, here yesterday the highways smelled like driving through a flower shop.”