Presidents Washington and Jefferson were afraid and for good reason. Fearful the citizens of a young and fragile nation would fall prey to regionalism, economic self-interest, politics and the sway of more powerful nations, they saw a "national road" as necessary to "cement the nation together" and bind east to west economically, politically and socially. Approved by Congress in 1806, construction of the National Road started in 1811 at Cumberland, Md. In 1852 it would terminate in Vandalia, Ill. The road would have many names: "the National Road," "the Cumberland Road," "the National Pike," "America's Main Street." But what became of Washington's and Jefferson's dream? I concluded, the only logical thing to do was traverse it by motorcycle -- preferably an old-school motorcycle designed in the late 1930s. I would travel it, documenting what I found along the way. At the time of my inspiration, that seemed to make perfect sense.