Ride Cross Country with Laura Drake

Ever driven cross country — on a motorcycle? Why not come along today as Laura Drake takes us on the back of her hog to experience small-town America, which she writes about in her latest, Nothing Sweeter. Ready to hit the road? Take it away, Laura!

Laura on her red BMW R100M named Elvis

I ride a motorcycle. A lot. I rode 100,000 miles behind my husband before learning to ride my own. I’ve since logged 100,000 miles on my two: A red BMW R100M named Elvis, and a bumblebee yellow BMW R1100 named, Sting.

Camping in Utah with a motorcycle camping trailer

I’m so grateful for our motorcycles, because through our trips, I’ve gotten to know the small Western towns in my books’ settings. I could have traveled to all these places in a car. But in a car we generally tend to Go Somewhere. On the bike, we didn’t go looking for them; we happened upon most of the above places on our way to somewhere else. And I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything! Like:

  • The awesome vistas of Wyoming, where the land is so open and rolling that from the top of a hill you can see how the glaciers carved the land and how time has softened the harsh effects.
  • In the badlands of Utah, the delicate multicolored striations in the crumbling ledges made me wish I knew how to dye cloth so I could recreate it on fabric. 
  • Panguitch, Utah

  • The vast open sky of the Four Corners, with its dramatic red stone monoliths.
  • The never-ending green prairies of Canada, where the wheat dances with the wind.
  • Small towns in the middle of nowhere that shut down the main highway running through town for their Fourth of July parade, complete with tractors pulling hay wagons, festooned with bunting and carrying the local beauty contest winners. 
  • Volcano, California
  • Real country stores with wooden floors and pot-bellied stoves surrounded by rocking chairs — not to be trendy, but because the old-timers sit there.
  • The howling loneliness of the Canadian Rockies, where the mountains stretch on forever.

- Laura Drake

Yearning for the open road? But still have to, you know, work? Why not pick up Laura’s latest, Nothing Sweeter, which will be available in stores and online this week. And for more contemporary love stories, be sure to visit our Everything Romance page.