Man embarks on cross-country journey

Fredericksburg's Danny Gali left yesterday on a patriotic cross-country motorcycle trip. Along the way, he's snapping pictures and posting them on his Web site. By MARTY MORRISON

The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 7/5/2002

Gali will document his motorcycle trek in photos, entries on Web site

Danny Gali is capturing more than memories on his patriotic venture across the U.S.A.

He's writing and recording songs and snapping photos of memorable sights along the more than 10,000-mile journey.

"I'll take my time and see all I can see," says Gali, a graphic artist who lives in Fredericksburg. He left yesterday on the nation's Independence Day, riding his Yamaha Sega II sport cycle.

He planned his first stop just up the road in Washington, to take in the Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall.

Then, he's headed north to see another symbol of freedom, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

"I've never seen some of these things, but I figure there's no better time," Gali says.

Gali is also sharing his adventures on the road with anyone who visits his Web site: He has posted a map on his home page that will pinpoint his progress each day.

"I've wanted to see the country even more since Sept. 11," Gali says. "I want to share my experience with the rest of the country."

Gali grew up in Texas and Oregon, but moved to Fredericksburg in 1997 to take a job at Virginia Semiconductor. When management changed, Gali was laid off last July, a few weeks before the September terrorist attacks. Other job possibilities stalled with the uncertain economy.

Since then, Gali has been been self-employed. He's an experienced photographer who markets his graphics-manipulated works around the country. He's also a singer and songwriter who performs his own vocals along with background music on drums, guitar, flute and keyboard.

Gali, 39, sings at Ni River Community Church in Spotsylvania County. He's turned his second bedroom at his Summit Belmont apartment into a recording studio.

On the road, he's carrying more high-tech equipment than clothes--a laptop computer, three cameras, a small travel guitar, and a minidisc recorder.

He's packed a few food staples and a sleeping bag for snoozing beneath the stars.

Gali expects his biggest challenge will be finding an Internet hookup. If he can't access one otherwise, he says he may break down and stay at a motel. He might be up for a shower about that time too.

He expects to touch all 49 states on the U.S. mainland. Gali's circuitous route will take him up the East Coast to New England and some of southern Canada. He'll travel from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and westward to Montreal before veering back into the states and zigzagging westward.

Gali has few time constraints, but he hopes to roll into Kalispell, Mont., by July 20. That's when a crew from Skydive Orange plans to meet there for a skydiving "drop," he says. He's a member of the group and would like to join them.

From there, Gali plans to zip again through Canada from Calgary to Alaska. He aims to take a loop from Fairbanks north to Prudho Bay on the Arctic Ocean. By then, he'll travel on a rugged gravel road, but Gali figures he'll go as far north as his bike will take him.

"I want to go as far as possible just to see the edge of the world," he says. "How many people can say they've been that far?"

He will circle back to the Mount McKinley area, where he plans a skydive drop to snap pictures of North America's highest mountain.

From there, Gali will head south to Washington, Oregon and beyond. He'll stop in to visit relatives and friends along the way, but relishes the time on his own.

"When I'm doing my own thing, there's no one saying 'hurry up,'" Gail says. "There's no pressure."

He's not bothered by the weather and knows there will be lonely, monotonous times traveling across vast stretches of undeveloped land. His only concern is the equipment he carries.

"I have garbage bags to wrap anything up when it rains. Otherwise, I figure if I need something, I can always pick it up at the store."

Gali expects his excursion in the Southwest may take him as far as Mexico's Baja peninsula before he moves eastward and zigzags through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and beyond. He figures breathtaking sights--the Grand Canyon, Pikes Peak, Carlsbad Caverns, ancient Indian ruins--await him in each state.

He has lined up sponsors to help pay for the trip; at least one will award him a penny a mile. Any leftover funds will be donated to the Nature Conservancy in Washington.

Gali expects he'll ride at least 10,000 miles, but it could stretch to 30,000, depending on the route he takes. His goal is to touch at least part of most states. He'll spend at least $500 in gas.

Whatever the cost or the timeframe, Gali knows the trip will pay off in rich experiences on the road. He plans on cutting a CD of original songs and writing a book filled with photos of his adventures.

At the very least, he'll better understand the diverse landscape and culture of the country that he cherishes.

Date published: 7/5/2002

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