How it came about
In 1976, a man named Joe Usatin had the idea of riding to each of the four corners of the United States of America. He and his nephew undertook the ride he dreamt up with his nephew and they reached the 4th corner after 21 days of riding.
In 1984, when the SCMA began offering the USA Four Corners Tour as an official ride, they used the 21-day standard that Joe and his nephew had set back in the 70s, and that is still the time limit used to this day.
Before signing up, you want to first consider whether to do the Regular Four Corners Tour or the True X Four Corners Tour.
For the Regular Four Corners Tour, you need only travel by motorcycle (or trike) to four US cities (San Ysidro, CA; Blaine, WA; Madawaska, ME; and Key West, FL) within 21 days. You can take any route you like and do the cities in any order. *You do not have to return to the first corner in order to finish the event.
For the True X Four Corners Tour, which didn’t start up until 2011, riders must travel between Lebanon, Kansas and each of the four corner cities mentioned above. Lebanon, Kansas is the geographical center of the United States. Although you’re almost doubling the number of miles you have to ride (by riding back and forth between each of the corners and Lebanon, KA), you’re only given 5 additional days to complete the ride, for a total of 26 days.
Once you decide which of the two rides you’d rather tackle (each has their pros and cons, and each is a behemoth of a challenge in its own right), the next step is to sign up on the SCMA’s website.
The SCMA is the Southern California Motorcycling Association, and to register for the ride, you must first become a member. You can join the SCMA and sign up for the Four Corners ride here.
- It costs $170 to participate ($180 if your shipping address is outside the US).
- You have to complete the ride in 21 days or less (or 26 days or less for True X).
- You have to photograph yourself with the embroidered towel you’ll receive in your starter package and your motorcycle in front of the official USA Four Corner landmarks.
- You must also collect a gas receipt from each of the four corner cities visited (must include date and location). *The time and date on the first receipt will be considered the starting date, and the time and date on the last receipt will then be used to calculate the elapsed time to determine qualification.
- When you return home, you’ll mail all photos and receipts to the SCMA’s mailing address in order to qualify.
Why you should do it
Sure there’s all the swag that the SCMA gives out to riders who successfully complete the challenge (a Finisher’s Patch, Four Corners Decal, and a personalized plaque), but the reasons for undertaking such an incredible ride go far beyond the trinkets you get when you finish.
You get to ride across the entire country and see every literal corner of the United States of America in all of its star-spangled wonder. You get the freedom of spending 3 straight weeks on the road. You get the challenge of it. The thrill. The excitement, even the risk.
The fact that it’s a sanctioned ride and that you’ll be remembered by other riders for having completed such an epic journey is just the cherry on top. It’s the experience and days spent on the road that make up every reason why you should consider doing it.
It’s a test of your character as a motorcyclist and an expression of your love of riding.
Whether you sign up with the SCMA and go the “official route” or not, it’s definitely a ride we recommend doing at least once in your lifetime.