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Evomx971 01-06-2013 01:31 PM

What Next Wander Tour
Unemployed. Between Jobs. On Sabbatical. Temporarily Retired. Whatever I call my exact situation, it means for the first time in my life, I really don't have a time I have to "be someplace".

It's cold and there's snow in Iowa... let's go for a ride.

My name is Kelly and after 18 1/2 years working in IT at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa... I've been presented with the opportunity and decided to take a mid-life retirement. See, I was in the Health insurance area of the company and Principal decided in 2010 to stop selling Health insurance. I hung around to help shut down the business but decided not to take a different job within the company and instead decided to take the parting gifts and try "not working" for awhile. I'm 40... probably a good time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Principal was a fantastic company to work for and handled the closing of the business unit with a very high level of class and compassion for our customers and the impacted employees. If you're looking for financial and insurance products, you would be well served to consider Principal's offerings. Ok, enough of that.

My last day of work was 12/31/12.

I've been riding since around 10 years old. Started out with a 5hp mini-bike, then a Honda Trail 70... so on and so forth. I'm a bit of a motorcyce hoarder (you have to have the right tool for the job you know) but have been trying to thin out here recently. I rode to work pretty much everyday, try to take several trips around the midwest each year, do some dual sporting, and race local hare scrambles and enduros most weekends in the summer. I raced with a team in the 2007 and 2008 Baja 1000 events (finished both races!). We've done a 24-hour hare scramble down in Alabama. I consider myself a mediocre B-level off road rider and competent street rider. Definitely not a pro off road ace or a roadracer on the street... but I can get around.

I've taken some long weekend trips on my own, but never a cross country type ride by myself. Never had a better time than now (other than it being winter in most of the country). I'm in awe of the guys and gals riding through South America, around the world, etc. Maybe someday, but for now I'm going to get out of Iowa and go where it's warmer. There's a lot of the U.S. I haven't had a chance to see up close and personal. I have no specific itinerary other than I need to be in San Diego on 1/28 to meet Pam, The Girlfriend. She's flying in and we're going to spend a week in San Diego together. She rides, has her own bike, and I really wish she could be riding with me... but alas, someone needs to keep working. Health insurance is a bugger.

I'm going to take my trusty 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC. Fantastic bike.

Packing was fairly straight forward. I started here... hopeful thinking I guess!

I'm planning on taking off tomorrow morning (1/7/13) and heading south. Will probably ride more or less straight south until I get to Texas, then start doing some exploring. In a few weeks I'll need to start heading to California across southern New Mexico and Arizona.

I'll be using this report to keep family and friends up-to-date and hopefully entertain a few inmates along the way.

If anyone has ideas for great rides, things to do, and places to see, shoot me a message. Would love to meet up with other inmates along the way!

See you on the road!

c1skout 01-06-2013 02:16 PM

Sounds like a good plan to me...I don't think those shoes offer much ankle protection though.

Eagletalon 01-06-2013 02:31 PM

I'm in!
Good luck out there and keep the rubber down


steveWFL 01-06-2013 02:33 PM

Lucky you

Evomx971 01-07-2013 08:05 PM

WNWT Day 1
I left home this morning at 8:54am. Every time I leave on a trip where I'll be gone for a few weeks, it's always a little emotional. You can't help but wonder if you'll be back. I know I'm more likely to get taken out on the way to get groceries two miles from home, but still.

The Girlfriend and I hugged really tight, kissed hard, and cried a little. Say 'hi' Pam...

Left the house with 13,503 on the Triumph, 30 degrees and sunny...

I ran about 10 miles of local two-lane before jumping on I-35 south, ran through Kansas City, then made my way to Springfield, MO to stay with my cousin and his family (thanks Shawn, Morgan, and Ayla!) Lots of four lane today to get south of the cold and snow. Got up to about 50 degrees this afternoon which felt pretty fantastic. Stiff headwind most of the morning was really killing gas mileage along with the interstate speeds. Overall pretty comfortable ride with the electric jacket liner and glove liners set on Bake. Toes were cold on and off.

I did take a break from the four-lane to run a nice twisty little road through the forest around Truman Lake in south central Missouri. Roads were dry, but there was a pretty heavy stripe of sand/salt residue down the center of each lane you had to be pretty wary of. 398 miles today.

Not sure my plan for tomorrow yet. Looks like Texas is going to be getting some heavy rain the next couple of days so I might head west into Oklahoma and check some things out while that system moves through.

GB 01-08-2013 03:54 AM

Enjoy your sabbatical and thanks for taking us along, safe ride :thumb

Chappymx828 01-08-2013 08:14 PM

Say hello to the Griswold's
As I sit at work staring at my cubicle walls and wishing I was riding, I found a list of stuff for you to check out in Texas. I expect to see some pics!

Ride safe.

Evomx971 01-08-2013 08:21 PM

WNWT Day 2
Great night's sleep at my cousin's in Springfield, MO. Hung around this morning and visited a bit before taking off. Pretty certain this is probably Ayla's first time on a motorcycle. What can I say, Triumph's attract cute gals...

I noticed last night on my GPS that there is an American Civil War battlefield just southwest of Springfield so checked it out as I left town. It's the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield park. First battle west of the Mississippi, one of the bloodiest of the war and had the first general to die in battle. I'm an American history nut so this stuff is interesting to me. There is a real eerie feeling knowing how many men were killed and injured right where you're standing.

Wilson Creek... pretty Ozark creek other than all the bloodshed in 1861...

The only structure left from the day of the battle. The family that lived there and some others all hid in the cellar during the battle. 17 people in the cellar. After the battle the house was filled with dead and wounded as a makeshift hospital. Running in front of the house is the old "Wire Road" they used to deliver mail. Mostly still there and used for hiking and horses now.

Stuck to the lettered roads and had some fun getting from Springfield over to the Oklahoma state line... sun was shining, about 60 degrees out, roads were clean. Took a little shortcut that got pretty rustic... one lane bridge that made all the fun banging and snapping noises when you cross. "Rebel Pride" graffiti on the bridge pilings and ropes hanging underneath for swinging into the water (I assume...:huh)

Really wanted to get west in Oklahoma to try and miss all the heavy rain Texas and Oklahoma is getting. Pretty sure I haven't ridden in OK before. Sure get's flat and straight once you get out of Missouri... at least the northern part of OK. Thought I was taking a shortcut... looked like it on the map and ended up on about 30 miles of gravel. Looks just like Iowa gravel but with much less houses.

Ended the day in Ponca City, OK along with what would appear to be every oil rig worker in the state. Decent hotel with a bar and grill attached was just what I needed. Pretty sure I convinced an oil guy from Arkansas at the bar that if he had a more practical bike than his Iron Horse chopper (i.e. something with a normal rake, rear tire smaller than 200mm, luggage, and a passenger seat that doesn't mount with suctions cups) he and his wife would ride more than 4 or 5 times a year. Earned my merit badge for the day. Improved the world.

Pretty slow morning so just 293 miles today.

TheGirlfriend 01-08-2013 08:22 PM

Missing You
Taking the garbage down was my adventure this week! I almost forgot!!! It made me miss you even more :) can't wait to see more pictures!! Stay dry in all the TX rain tomorrow.

Ok, what is this ridiculous amount of 'smiley faces' !?!? :crash

What the?? Is this beaut? :dllama

LU - Ride Safe!

nickgindy 01-08-2013 08:41 PM

I'll be following. Anytime a post has unemployed and going riding I know it's going to be worthwhile.

edstoll 01-09-2013 05:23 AM

subscribed!! Murrah Federal Building in OKC. You won't be disappointed. Also the good riding in Oklahoma is south of you.

dudzadventure 01-09-2013 05:39 AM

Great start Kelly! Have fun and be safe. Keep the posts and pics coming.

iowawoodsracer 01-09-2013 08:12 AM

Don't see much camping gear on board the Tiger - must have some pretty high tech/compact gear! :huh

Download the song Ben McCullough by Steve Earle to your iPod - great tune about the battle of Wilson's Creek!

Travel safe! We'll be watching.

mxjudge 01-09-2013 09:58 AM

You're living the dream. Look forward to reading this blog to get through the winter.

woodly1069 01-09-2013 01:06 PM

Yo Kelly we're all watching with anticipation! Hope you are west of all the rain by now and enjoying some warmer climes! Travel safely and enjoy the well deserved break from the rat race! Subscribed! :freaky

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