Port Solitaire Seeks a Storm
Port Solitaire Seeks a Storm
Name of bike - Jo Jo
Fly and ride a KLR 650 from Richmond Virginia to my residence in Sandia Park New Mexico.
No interstate, back roads and dirt. Routes were decided every morning. I left on October 17th
and returned on November 11. The journey was cold, wet and also most awesome. I was solo.
I had no agenda. 3,013 miles.
My ride will share my thoughts, my feelings, my perspective of life on the road and a KLR, as a
total newbie - first road trip deal. I would appreciate feedback and comments. I hope readers will
relate, feel the road, the weather, the emotions and I hope you will know my bike as well as I do.
I want you to hear the whine, feel the thermoclines, Sidney the rut and the people I meet and
share life with. I hope you will cheer for me, maybe even admire me. The report is completed and
I will submit on a regular basis till the ending. It even has a few videos. Hang on till the end, it has
an epic ending, I promise you won’t predict.
I first have to provide a bit of an introduction. My name is Ateam, AKA Tony. I am a very under
employed consulting geologist. I have now been married for 10 years. I have a step daughter in her
mid 20’s and a step son who is in his first year of local community college. My life has been good,
however maybe with age, drive, ambition, economy; for any cast of reasons life has recently been
difficult at best. As I look into my future I am scared, worried and yet somehow I hope. As economic
conditions deteriorate and marital stresses compounding daily, I looked for an inspiration, a life
changing event, an adventure perhaps on a motorcycle. My plans were based on a visit with my
Mom who lives in the north eastern corner of Kentucky, where Ohio and West Virginia meet. Late
in 2011 I lost a very best friend and neighbor to simply old age and compounding medical issues.
In May 2012 I lost my father to a long battle with heart disease and ultimately due to the removal
of a cancerous kidney. So my situation in middle life have seemed to just go haywire and the recipe
for a perfect personal storm was in development. Things are now so different. I have always related
to this poem below. As if in storms one finds content.
Lermontov, a Russian dissident
A lonely sail is flashing white
Amdist the blue mist of the sea!...
What does it seek in foreign lands?
What did it leave behind at home?..
Waves heave, wind whistles,
The mast, it bends and creaks oe’r the seas...
Alas, it seeks not happiness
Nor happiness does it flee!
Below, a current of azure forms,
Above, a golden ray of sun sent...
Rebellious, it seeks out a storm
As if in storms one finds content!
After lurking for a Honda XR650 on www.advrider.com to purchase near my mother, fly home and
buy the bike to have something in Kentucky when I visited. I almost made a deal with an ADV inmate
near Dayton Ohio but the deal fell through. Then I found LakeRider (Rob) near Richmond Virginia.
The plan quickly fell together and Rob was willing to meet me at the airport and sell me a 2006 KLR 650.
Wow, a KLR? I mailed my boots, helmet and tools to LakeRider’s house in Crossett Virginia. I flew
with my large North Face bag packed with camping gear and basic clothes. I finally arrived after a
flight from hell. I had maps, a GPS. my 25 year old plus MSR Firefly stove as well as my old school
Eureka Timberline tent. What could go wrong?
As the hook is set, I somehow decided to jump into this deal with very little fall protection. I also
received my first motorcycle endorsement 2 days prior to leaving for Richmond. Yikes! After many
emails and phone calls with NMTrailBoss (Curtis) who has been such the ultimate trip and logistic
support guru’ I decided to do a Fly & Ride TrailBoss has more motorcycle riding experience in his
little finger than I have in my whole body and I have been riding moto trials for 25 years. Curtis talked
me off the ledge more than once on this trip, several times actually. So many thanks and props to
TrailBoss, you are so much the bomb. Additionally my best friend for 30 years, since college is Ray
who lives in Garland Texas. Together we have competed in nearly 100 moto trials nationals. During
this trip Ray was my travel and weather logistics support many times. I shared a wild weather rodeo
with Ray on the phone, screaming in competition with raging storm going outside my flimsy 25 year
old tent. Ray knew the kind words and provided the sage advice when I needed it most. My gratitude
to Ray will never end, one of a few that I know would be my pall bearer. I ask people if you were to be
stranded on a deserted island for 3 months, what 4 other friends would you want with you. Ray would
be my first draft pick.
I don’t know how many times I was told in the last three weeks; New Mexico, that’s a long ways.
My fly and ride from Richmond Virginia back home to my Mom’s house and then ultimately back
home to Sandia Park, New Mexico officially begun on October 17 leaving on a SW flight from
Albuquerque to Houston. From there I was to transfer to Air Trans in Atlanta and on into Richmond.
I did not make it out of Atlanta Port Solitaire Airport. The following day my luggage and my weary self made
it onto Richmond where I made the phone call to Rob:
The Ateam has landed.
Thursday October 18, 2012
Ateam Has Landed
As I waited with several large bags dragged down to the passenger pick up area, I realized that I really
needed a cup of coffee. I was not prepared to leave my bags and venture upstairs where coffee could have
So I spotted an older man and lady attending a valet rental car booth. I stepped inside and politely asked if I
could by a cup of coffee? The immediate response was no. Later I found Habib or whatever his name was
and almost pleaded with him for one small cup of coffee. He thought about it for what seemed forever and
finally said yes, like he was giving me a steak dinner or something. This is already some bad karma going
on here, stranded in Atlanta, paid for a room in Richmond that I never got to sleep in and now the locals
are acting like coffee Nazi’s. Rob made his trek in and found me and I was finally on the road to go meet
my new bike. The weather was splendid and soon we were pulling into LakeRider’s quaint old school
neighborhood home in Crossett Virginia riding in style in his family truckster and soccer hauler'; a
VW Micro Bus.
So Rob is giving me the dubious look about the baggage I have and how on earth will you ever get all that
stuff on the bike. I made additional on the fly arrangements to mail to my mothers house extra junk that would
not fit or not be needed, like a cell phone charger.
So after much discussion, a cash pay off for the Kawasaki as well as a refusal to test ride the bike, I got my l
eg over the bike. My manhood was suppressed and I was not comfortable but I also didn't care. I wanted to
hear the sounds of this bike.
<table style="margin: 0px 0px 25px;" id="post19871959" class="dg-post" align="center" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; WHITE-SPACE: nowrap; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class="thead" colspan="2">
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Crozet--west of Charlottesville
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I'll have to get a picture posted of Tony leaving with the KLR as he had it so loaded up with a tiny cockpit to sit in. He almost dumped it before he rode it as it was sinking into the asphalt:eek1 So glad all is well. And that was a decent storm that rolled through I gotta say. Keep the shiny--well its a KLR--side up and out of the ditches. Watch out for deer too Tony.
I am truly an ADV rider in training now. Flights from hell, canceled and stranded in Atlanta, left my cell
phone charger and borrowed a guys car at an Exxon station to make a few calls to worried folks. I only
had a cigarette charger and at the time no way to charge it, borrowed a gallon of gas from 2 guys from
Florida near Cass WVA, was bummed as I thought I lost my Lewisport Trials hat somewhere on the road
but was found later. All this started on Wednesday. I rode about 80 miles of twisties into the Appalachia's
and camped on the Virginia/West Virginia border at 3000 feet last night. Day trippin’ away on my way to
find a camp spot.
Short ride today. Weather should be great?
Found a small little grassy road and got the tent pitched at dark thirty before a real bad rain I was soon in store
for a 3000 foot mountain top storm in western Virginia.
A great head lamp still sucks in the rain and dark. I made an island in the tent and called the steady class II
water running through it: The River KLR. I put my tarp under the tent, this was a mistake. All equipment was
stuffed inside dry bags with other gear like helmet and boots stacked on top of the dry bags. It was a crazy
night of lightning, thunder and rain. I fell asleep with garbage bags on my sleeping bag bottom and my
pillow in a bag, tired and apprehensive.
The bike seems like a nice bike, it’s red so that means it’s fast right? As the rain was pounding on the
tent my mind wandered back to my Dad. His only older brother called my Dad Jo Jo. I always thought
that was cool as a child. Then and there, while the bike stood sentry leaning against a fence post, I
declared that my name I decided on for this bike was appropriate. Jo Jo it is, official.
Bad picture but this is my jacket hanging in the top.
My second day of riding was a large day, over 250 miles.
Great start! Always interested in east to west trips. Looking forward to your updates:lurk
Subscribed to this one Tony! Gonna be an epic journey west on Jo Jo!! :clap
Love this shot! I can't believe you could get on and off the bike with that North Face bag. Not much room left for stretching out on the highway! :huh
October 19, 2012
Virginia - West Virginia – Kentucky
I was told that a better introduction about my background as a rider was necessary. I have been riding moto trials for over 25 years. I have competed in a butt load of nationals and Ute Cups, Central regionals, Texas State Championships and now for @ 15 years in New Mexico riding in the New Mexico Trials Club (I would insert our web site here but I'm ashamed of it). I have also been a supporter and member of Team New Mexico for many years. I owned a street bike for a while but only put about 1,500 miles on it over about 7 years. I did not enjoy a street bike, felt to vulnerable on the street. So I never bothered to obtain a valid operator permit. Then I ran across a XR-250 and was mostly trials lurker on ADV. After a few rides across our land of enchantment, I got the ADV bug bad. I decided that I would not be an ADV poser, I would do something a bit rash and buy a real ADV bike. Yea not a farkle queen, just a basic common 2006 KLR. So with no real road riding experience or ADV camping background, I was the perfect candidate to go seek storms. Now on to page 2.
Good morning Jo Jo, sorry about a bad first night. Wet tent, wet bag, wet stuff, wet and cold bike this morning and no coffee. I kept thinking that a hotel with a shower and cable is so NOT over rated.
I did buy a cheap $4 dollar tripod stool. It was awesome in the tent, securing all my wet gear on top of other wet gear in a vain attempt to keep vital stuff dry. It has been a long time since I was in that “back packing type element” and was not a model of efficiency. I had never started the bike before especially a cold and wet bike. Rob mentioned that the choke doesn’t work but you don’t need it. So I turned on the key and there is the green light. Now or never, come on Jo Jo I know you can start. So the engine is turning over, I give it a bit of throttle, nothing. The gas is on, yea I checked. NuuuNuuNuuu, the electric whine and the motor chugging but not running. Damn I hope the battery doesn’t die. More throttle play and there is a chug and a cough. More throttle twists and more chugging. Come on Jo Jo, I demand you start now you red bitch! Bruuuuaaap. hell yea. All right Jo Jo, you did it girl!
So now where is my billfold, where is my cell phone. I am totally unorganized, everything is wet including the leaves that stick onto everything and the the dripping trees above. I got to be better organized, looking for stuff is maddening. I’m finally ready and the area is muddy. Cool enough, time to stand up on Jo Jo and ride some trials lines out of here. As soon as the front tire hit pavement I realized that the road is wet and also covered in leaves. Now this is crazy slick ass riding.
Way back in there is my tent. The road curved away from me so I was not visible from the highway at night.
Long day ahead, 250+ miles and ends in nasty rain.
I rode over 240 miles on day 2. I made it to my Mom’s house. It was a haul to go that far on small US highways but the majority of the day was just beautiful. 2 lane road travel which takes triple the time of an interstate. I took pictures, I stopped at cool places, I road wet roads in the fog. I passed coal trucks and had to brake hard too many times going down hill into crazy hair pins.
The ridge and valley riding with crazy switch backs and then small beautiful and quiet little valley towns was refreshing. Urban Americana represents. I keep forgetting that the bike may be a dirt bike but not with a ton of crap on it. I made a U turn and didn't have enough black top so I went into a small bar ditch and really got squirrely roosting out of the ditch and back on the road. I threw down some trials moves to clean it and ride out. So far the worse experience less the storm on Thursday night was the airport in Richmond, a coffee quest that ultimately I was the victor. The purpose of the U turn was I spotted a small State Park and also noticed a truck pulling a bumper camper with a Suzuki DR 400 in the back. I was not so interested in the bike as I was in the gas they may have. I never bothered to ask Rob how much gas Jo Jo was carrying and was riding on reserve. I soon struck up a conversation with the owner of the DR and his father. They were from Florida and chasing the fall colors south. I was given about a gallon of generator gas and they were just very nice and we enjoyed a chat about Jo Jo and the ride to New Mexico. This is a picture as they left heading south.
I got myself somewhat squared away with a bike packed up. I said good bye and thank you.
Buena Vista and a fully loaded KLR. Needs milk crates. :rofl
Fall colors have just peaked in many areas. New River, the Gaulle River, Green Bank WVA, Pocahontas County is very wild and wonderful.
Radio satellites – Green Bank WVA
From the web:
The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or GBT, is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope operating at meter to millimeter wavelengths. Its enormous 100-meter diameter collecting area, its unblocked aperture, and its excellent surface accuracy provide unprecedented sensitivity across the telescope's full 0.1 - 116 GHz (3.0m - 2.6mm) operating range. The single focal plane is ideal for rapid, wide-field imaging systems – cameras. Because the GBT has access to 85% of the celestial sphere, it serves as the wide-field imaging complement to ALMA and the EVLA. Its operation is highly efficient, and it is used for astronomy about 6500 hours every year, with 2000-3000 hours per year available to high frequency science.
Part of the scientific strength of the GBT is its flexibility and ease of use, allowing for rapid response to new scientific ideas. It is scheduled dynamically to match project needs to the available weather. The GBT is also readily reconfigured with new and experimental hardware, adopting the best technology for any scientific pursuit. Facilities of the Green Bank Observatory are also used for other scientific research, for many programs in education and public outreach, and for training students and teachers.
Cass WVA. There is a narrow gauge railroad that operates. I imagine the ride this day would have been spectacular.
Stop and smell the water. I'm starting feel like an ADV rider now. I know, not really.
The weather went to hell around Charleston WVA and the next 3 hours riding into the tri state area of Ashland/Huntington region was comprised of Friday rush hour traffic, mega wind and rain. The KLR just tractors through it if you can hang on. I am learning the bike and trusting it more and more. How come they don't make wind shield wipers for motorcycle helmets? How are you supposed to see at night in the rain? I also rode wind trials. Cross wind madness really. I had to push my left handle bar and lean 45 degrees over the right side bars to hold my line. I felt like Kenny Roberts and Bernie Schriber riding in serious post storm winds today. I found the wind very rude. Later on I find more winds.
Rain suit time, found a beaver here and his damn home
Made it to my nephew Jesse’s man castle wet and knackered from dark rain & wind riding
From there my Mothers house was about 15 miles and it was so good to see my Mom.
<hr>The next chapter I ride around the back roads of Kentucky.
October 20, 2012
Riding near my Mom's house in Greenup County. I was enjoying the weather, riding to old local areas that I had not been to in a long time. County roads like route 1, route 5, route 7, Schultz Creek, Tygart, and the ride ďUp RockyĒ. I rode a Schwinn Varsity 10 speed up this road as a high schooler to visit a friend and also to see his younger sister. Her name was Renee Dalton, I donít know what happened to her but someone said she married a dentist and got fat? It was maybe 15 miles one way on a bicycle and we considered it an ADV ride. Reneeís father took us on 4 wheeling rides in an old Willie's type Jeep. No window in the front he would just drive over small trees. The father told us a few facts of life. Never stick your finger where you canít stick your thumb. If you get caught, lay low, keep your mouth shut and never admit to anything. Amazing how random people in your life leave impressions. I hope I donít leave to many bad impressions.
Every valley is typically occupied by home sites, the real estate values deteriorate as you progress up the creeks. Locally you would call this a ďhollarĒ. I have friends to this day that still live up on Slash Branch, which sits between Smith Branch and Greyís Branch. Locals would say that Mearl Jean Allen lives up the hollar on Slash Branch. The right hand side hollar when it splits is the republican side and the left hand hollar is the democrat side, or it used to be when I was growing up there over 30 years ago.
The smells are distinct; hay, manure, skunks, water. The air temperatures changes 10 degrees from the open valleys into the twisting creek banks and rivers. Signs proclaiming Jesus is Lord, First Baptist Church, 4H, FFA, reelect Sherriff Joe dot the road sides. Really not a lot of presidential signs. Always small local volunteer fire departments are located in each small community. A lot of used fire equipment ends up at these small rural fire stations. Creeks and farm land continue for miles and miles. I never appreciated these back roads as a kid for what they were really meant to be; riding a motorcycle. Fall colors just kick ass, huba huba!
Stumbled across this ride report a while back. Great stuff here.
Thirteen Bridges Tour (and a few hot chicks) - Kentucky Covered Bridges
So why did they make a roof over bridges? I was told as a kid that horses would not cross open bridges. I found out later it was to preserve the wood and foundation. Many succumbed too floods before they wore out. Iím sure the horses liked though right?
I believe there are three covered bridges in my home county, this one is considered a cat daddy.
Not trying to be a hater here, but why is it when a guy and a girl on Harleys pass another rider standing by a covered bridge in a remote part of the county they will not wave? I would also say that 50% of the time, Harley riders will not wave at you as you ride past? All other riders give me the wave? Just saying.
Oh yea, I got to call him on a one here. He dabbed, which in moto trials is a mark against you for putting your foot down while riding a section. My right hand proudly displayed his one mark, this pansy pathetic right foot dab received the mandatory ADV salute from me as he thundered off. Someday I want to install a diesel type air horn on Jo Jo.
Kentucky pure bred farm horses are always majestic in a rural setting like this. Most of them are pampered pets.
Visit our cemetery. Locals take great pride in maintaining the grave stones, they visit their dead regularly.
Visit my Dad for a bit. Wonder what he would say to me right now? My Mother lives on.
Tomorrow is another day of Kentucky back roads rambling. I visit a friends farm from our past glory days.
Enjoying your ride report. Your trip down "nostalgia lane" is really entertaining. Thanks for posting.
Did you know that Touratech started making accessories for the KLR? For $1300 you can get a titanium milk crate. :lol3
Sorry, I couldn't resist. :D
Under-employed geologist, huh? Me too. We gotta talk! :wink:
I'll be following along. Ride safe Tony!
PM me on the job prospects, got any suggestions.
Back on the Farm Today
October 21, 2012
Went for another spin on Jo Jo. She seems very at home here in Kentucky.
Ha, insert a picture of your farkle queen here. Come here and ride someday, do the covered bridge tour eh?
Spent a bit of child hood here with my neighbor and friend still to this day David. This was his Grandpa's farm. There have been a many groundhogs shot here here eating the soy beans. I bucked hay here as a high schooler.
Place has been abandoned a long time.
Bird nest. This has to be a country club place to live if youíre a farm bird. <table id="ncode_imageresizer_warning_4" class="ncode_imageresizer_warning" width="1024"><tbody><tr><td class="td1" width="20">
Take the KLR for a ride down by the river. 10 seconds for self timer here.
Run Ateam Run.
I sent David an email and asked about his Grandparents?
1. My Grandparents names are Howard and Sena Burke
2. Yes he lived there a short while after my Grandmother died. He mainly lived in Florida but then came back home and stayed with my family and my Uncle's family until he died.
3. My grandmother died on my birthday, Nov. 17, I think 1984. Grandpa didn't live in the house much after that.
4. Grandpa moved into the retirement home in South Shore for a short while before he passed. He had a heart attack with my Dad and Uncle Howard there visiting him. I'm glad they were there.
5. Grandpa died around 1986 or 87.
6. Grandpa worked as a farmer and a Rural Letter Carrier (mailman) during my lifetime. I do know that he worked for the railroad as a security guard during WWII. His job was to guard the RR bridge that crosses the Ohio River at Siloam. His main occupation was farmer.
In a few days I leave for southern climates and maybe a storm or something to boot?
Tony, love the farm photos and the history is way cool! Doesn't look like the farm house is going to be around much longer...cool you got photos of it now. Good report...keep it coming!! :clap
October 22, 2012
My other nephew, the crazy jeweler Josh in his Ė uh studio. It seems to work for him. He makes custom motorcycle charms, let me know if you want a custom made bike charm since holidays are near.
Josh made me what he called a Good Karma Anti Gremlin Charm. A geologist hammer, how raging is that? It may have worked, instead of 4 or 5 gremlin attacks maybe it could have been 10? The first gremlin has yet to strike. Look on the left side, hanging off the non working choke cable.
My sisters house in Flatwoods Kentucky, home of Billy Ray Cyrus. I ran track with Tom T. Hall's son and played football against Bill Ray. Ron Cyrus his Dad was a senator here for many years. He is one of many that have made a good living singing country music.
Out again riding in Kentucky on Jo Jo, very bad weather from Hurricane Andy is expected soon. This means I will be delayed at Momís house longer than planned. My later than planned departure played a critical role later. Could there be more storms in my future?
October 23, 2012
Tree in Momís yard.
My Dadís man castle and a great place to call port and sort out Jo Jo.
This is street I grew up on. A lot has changed in 40 years or so. Used to be a gravel road, farms and just a few homes.
My Dadís 1996 F-250 Power Stroke Ė mint.
Safety Third Ė Thanks Hayduke.
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Working on Jo Jo. Get rid of these OEM POS grips. On with the Renthal trials grip been riding with for 20 years. My nephews cutting, sawing and cursing grip glue. I have been using clear spray paint for a long time. A small dab of paint inside the grip and you got about 10 seconds to shove it on, line it up and position. Then when you remove the grips, use an air compressor and blow it off with elbow grease. Beats that factory devil bitch from hell glue.
Tools. I hope I took too many, I hope I donít need them for my 3K ride about. My hope was futile.
Maybe a little decadent, I know. But I felt like electronics were gonna be important. So I installed a dual outlet plug hard wired to my battery. I will always have the GPS on, it has itís merits but I roll with maps, GPS is just cool to have and plot as well averages, and other trip trivia. I have in my tank bag a hydro pack and a 120 watt inverter. I can charge my phone, iPod, camera battery, laptop, etc. while I ride. The best thing I purchased for @ $20 bucks was a controller for my iPod. With gloves on I can forward or reverse to music, volume control and pause. iPod stays inside my jacket and out of the way, easy to change music. There is a story later that involves this device and a crack whore motel in Arkansas. I just installed a GoPro mount if I want to film a section while I ride. Number plate bag holds lock, cable, flash light, a few basic things & handy tools and seemed to work well. Lastly, I have a very cheap throttle lock that works like a boss. Itís called a Throttle-R-Lock.
Tomorrow I cross the big Ohio River and explore both sides and take a few pictures. I also have my first video, Racing. :huh
Good reading Tony! :thumb
My trip a week or two ahead of you had me fighting some weather in the same area. :freaky
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