Modern Trip Thoughts -
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Charging

As our trip will be on a Zero electric motorcycle (most likely a Zero DS or DSR), there are going to be a few nuances that are different from the original. Fundamentally there will be no maintenance on the bike itself, unless something actually breaks. But "fueling up" won't take place in the same fashion as on the original trip, preferring to charge at night and quick charge once or twice a day at rest stops or meal stops. This will make the stealth camping excursions more difficult - unless I can find a quick charge locally before stopping we may plan for campgrounds where power is available.

I will stay as true to the original timeline and path as possible. But given that five decades have passed unfortunately many of the businesses mentioned in the book no longer exist. As necessary, I'll do my best to find suitable modern replacements in location and style. This is always a moving target, and as such nobody will ever be able to do a perfect recreation of the trip. So I'm going to fill in the gaps with a bit of my own flavor.

Knowing Pirsig's bike was the CB77, which has a 3.6 gallon fuel capacity, and estimating 45-50 mpg (which is realistic or probably optimistic given the load they were carrying) gives us a target range per tank of gas of around 140-150 miles, leaving some overhead for reserve. The shortest day (day 6) may have been possible on a single tank, but most days would have taken one or two fill-ups to complete. On a modern Zero, the range per charge will likely be similar if speeds are kept low (55 mph or below should yield 120-150 miles of range). While mid-day charging will take longer than a gas stop, ones combined with a meal shouldn't impact the day's timing. Also we'll try to stay overnight where power will be available to start each day with a full charge.

Obviously I don't have Pirsig's history regarding Bozeman, MT. For the 5 days they spent around Bozeman, I plan to spend our time instead exploring Yellowstone Park in greater detail. We will visit Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, and hike - appropriately - to Electric Peak. Any remaining time we may visit some of the old ghost towns near Bozeman.

General Guidelines: Of course rules/guidelines are meant to be broken, so there will be some exceptions.

Greg & Julia on Zero

Average July Temperatures
Location Avg Low Avg High
Minneapolis, MN 65° 84°
Oakes, ND 60° 83°
Lemmon, SD 55° 84°
Miles City, MT 59° 87°
Laurel, MT 59° 87°
Beartooth Pass 51° 80°
Gardiner, MT 45° 79°
Bozeman, MT 49° 86°
Lolo, MT 51° 86°
Brownlee Camp, ID 60° 94°
Bend, OR 47° 86°
Grant's Pass, OR 58° 92°
Fortuna, CA 50° 63°
San Francisco, CA 55° 71°

Zero Dealers Along Route
Minneapolis, MNCities Edge Motorsports
Eureka, CAPacific Motorsports
Santa Rosa, CARevolution Moto
San Francisco, CASF Moto

National Parks Along Route