102 days. 15,400 miles. 1 woman on a motorcycle. Those numbers summarize Liz Funke’s cross-country motorcycle adventure from Key Largo to Alaska and back. The longest solo journey she has undertaken… so far.
Such epic journeys are often spurred by a tragic event or a need to rediscover oneself, but for Liz, it was a celebration of the passion she discovered a decade prior. The trip marked the 10th anniversary of her first motorcycle ride that put her on the fulfilling path she’s been traveling ever since.
Her first solo trip from Richmond, Virginia, to Nova Scotia opened Liz’s eyes to how capable she really is. The trip was filled with challenges and, admittedly, some mistakes, including getting stuck in the snow high in the mountains without the proper gear.
However, she overcame those challenges and chose to learn from her mistakes rather than chastise herself. She relied on her own strength but didn’t hesitate to ask for help from passersby when needed. It showed her the power of self as well as the inherent good in people.
The solo trip changed Liz’s life forever. She had set out on the adventure thinking it would last a couple of weeks, but it turned into a lifelong passion that redefined her lifestyle. Since then, she rides as often and as far as possible from her home base in Key Largo, which accumulated into the big Alaskan adventure.
Liz knew she would face more challenges than ever before by riding a motorcycle across the U.S. through Canada and into Alaska, but she didn’t question whether she could do it. She had already learned that the only question worth asking is will you do it.
Liz decided she would, and she did.
That is the simple yet profound message Liz wants to spread, especially to women. She has delivered that powerful message at speaking events at bike rallies and is now expanding her reach beyond the motorcycle community.
“My message isn’t for people to exchange their life for a life on the road. Motorcycles are my passion, but they aren’t for everyone,” Liz explains. “My message is that everyone can release whatever passion is stirring inside them if they stop asking themselves if they could and start planning how they will.”
Liz purposefully plans and works toward every new adventure. The Alaska trip was years in the making and delayed by the pandemic, but Liz didn’t give up on it. Every delay and obstacle is just part of the process that she takes in stride.
In fact, Liz plans for such challenges. She planned a two-week buffer into her Alaskan itinerary, knowing that things would go wrong. And she was right. Her bike, “Lady Frank,” broke three times on the trip, including a broken driveshaft when she was 28 miles from the Arctic Ocean and 500 miles away from civilization.
Like on previous trips, her can-do attitude and the willingness of others to help prevailed. She successfully completed her journey and made it back home to the Keys to start planning her next adventure.
The ultimate goal (which is steadily becoming a reality) is for Liz to travel the world with Lady Frank, sharing her message at speaking events and inspiring others to push past any fears that restrain their passions.
As a member of the Keys community, Liz’s message starts here. She speaks at local events and hopes to reach more local women’s organizations as she builds her speaking career. To book Liz Funke for a speaking event or see what adventure she goes on next, call (757)343-1739 and follow her on Instagram @whatsnextliz.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.