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-   -   The Fool's Progress: Onwards-Upwards-Global on a 650gs (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=973984)

Hunter-Douglas 04-28-2014 10:54 PM

The Fool's Progress: Onwards-Upwards-Global on a 650gs
 
Hi everyone- My name's Hunter, I'm 26 and my bike is a 650gs named Douglas. I lived and worked in Tahoe the last three years since school at a ski resort in the IT department. Last May I bought a bike, started saving all the money I could and planned to quit my job this Novemeber to take off for a few years to see the world. Staring at the computer screen 9-5 was turning into a no-go for a former river guide, so it was time to hit the road, eh? Now I've accepted a job with a guide service out of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska starting at the end of May. Conditions permitting, I'm planning to ride to Prudhoe Bay and back down to Anchorage before staring the season, and should be using that money to head south this Fall. Ideally, this will turn into an extended RTW funded by every summer season's work in the mountains.

Here's where I used to work-
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7066/...0145dee7_c.jpg

Here's my ugly mug-
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7394/...81403688_c.jpg

Here's where I've been and where I'm going in the next month-
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7179/...ceb510a0_c.jpg

Here's a few pictures from the ride up until now-
<a href="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5259/14035674046_1a0fdedff4_c.jpg" title="pyramidBike by Hunter Petersen, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2894/13707115134_9ba8413e4f_b.jpg" width="800" height="554" alt="pyramidBike"></a>

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7239/...7fbd5984_c.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2908/...5dcb7692_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7443/...c0678c1f_c.jpg

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5554/...3570c71c_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7207/...82d3b595_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7429/...e38aea91_c.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2908/...3b5812d2_c.jpg

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2899/...6ab9a281_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7384/...cbca1d60_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7432/...112cf679_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7339/...ee5df9fe_c.jpg

sparkingdogg 04-28-2014 11:20 PM

Hey dude, best wishes on the ride, have fun!

Nice pics too :nod

Sounds better than sitting at a desk all day :freaky

Klay 04-28-2014 11:31 PM

Those are fantastic and alluring images. Thanks for posting them and I'll be following along!

CaseyB 04-29-2014 10:31 AM

What they said - Nice pics to kick this off. I look forward to following along

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7429/...e38aea91_c.jpg
I really like this one. Makes me wonder where the path leads


Best of luck to you.

Hunter-Douglas 04-29-2014 04:12 PM

The Beginning...
 
Thanks everyone.

This trip started off with me heading down the hill to crash at my parent's house in the Bay Area to get some work done on the bike and get all my documents in order. I had a new passport sent out since I hadn't left the country in about 14 years. I also got all the major service work done on my bike to get the steed ready for the ride up to Seattle. I got to spend some nice time with the family, including my older sister who just quit her journalism job in DC to try and make it in the freelance world.

Having folks who let you take over their garage for a week is sure helpful :wink:
Though I did help them clean it out a bunch, so I guess the benefit was mutual?
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5136/...30346e27_c.jpg

All loaded up.
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7394/...4e265123_o.jpg

I packed and unpacked everything a bunch to make it all fit. I wasn't too sure what I needed to take since I wasn't positive where I would be going or what I would be doing for work once I arrived in Seattle. My old roommates, a good buddy and his girlfriend, had just moved up there so at least I had a place to stay and sort things out for a bit.

I needed one last night in town to see some people, so I hit the road back up to Truckee where I met up with with my old roommate Cody for a night in Reno. He's a lifetime enduro rider who can ditch you in a flash in the dirt on his orange 525 and gave me a lot of good instruction the past year for improving my off road skills on the 420lb BMW. We went over to Great Basin Brewery in Sparks to catch one of my old co-workers Justin doing some standup and drink some good beers :dutch:dutch:dutch
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5219/...57816eca_c.jpg

The next day was the real start of the journey. I had planned to make my way out to the coast as it seemed some weather was coming into the Sierras. I didn't really know how to feel about that since the sky was choosing the last week of March to open up after being absent all winter long. Cody suggested I ride through northern Nevada instead, and after hearing stories about Gerlach and the salt flats, I decided to follow his advice and ride up towards Pyramid Lake. I had never been there and was pretty blown away by the desolate beauty of the area.
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7331/...14f4aa36_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7460/...8772cd6f_c.jpg

I was so excited to check out the lake up close that I used my subpar sand skills to bury the back wheel on the beach. Some cursing, unloading and heaving got the bike back to more solid ground. I can't even imagine what some of you all with bigger bikes would be going through in this situation. :huh
<a href="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5259/14035674046_1a0fdedff4_c.jpg" title="pyramidBike by Hunter Petersen, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2894/13707115134_9ba8413e4f_b.jpg" width="800" height="554" alt="pyramidBike"></a>

Not a bad place for a break though.
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/...827e7ef1_c.jpg

I rode on from the lake towards Gerlach and took in the Nevada landscape. I remember reading in an article somewhere that if you live in Nevada, you really learn to appreciate the 50 shades of brown. I can see what they mean. It's like a weird, awesome moonscape with not too many people around to enjoy it.
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5174/...7bdfbe50_c.jpg

The locals seemed friendly.
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5485/...73b1b825_c.jpg

Nevada is probably known for its horrendous traffic more than anything else :evil
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/...4e627a89_c.jpg

Eventually I ended up bushwhacking out to a spot near some government geothermal farms at sunset. I celebrated the first night out with a Mammoth 395 IPA, not knowing that the next few days were about to get a whole lot more interesting...
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2910/...b66fbc16_c.jpg

Rutabaga 04-29-2014 04:43 PM

Looking forward to the rest of the story. Wonderful pictures.

Hunter-Douglas 04-29-2014 06:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaseyB (Post 24048086)
What they said - Nice pics to kick this off. I look forward to following along

Best of luck to you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sparkingdogg (Post 24045071)
Hey dude, best wishes on the ride, have fun!

Nice pics too :nod

Sounds better than sitting at a desk all day :freaky

Quote:

Originally Posted by Klay (Post 24045123)
Those are fantastic and alluring images. Thanks for posting them and I'll be following along!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rutabaga (Post 24051030)
Looking forward to the rest of the story. Wonderful pictures.

Thanks again guys! I'm going to try and get everything caught up and posted before I leave for Vancouver tomorrow. I'm liking the idea of doing some riding here while it's not actually raining for once. :rofl

Hunter-Douglas 04-29-2014 08:07 PM

After camping south of Gerlach, I made some jetboiled coffee and headed north to town. I had heard stories of the 15 mile long salt flats and had mapped out a route following state highway 34 to the northern border into Oregon. I wasn't too sure about riding across the flats since it had been raining all morning and I was a little freaked about having to ride across miles of swamped lake beds. I gave the first roadside bit I saw a go and immediately saw the wheels diving in pretty deep. I stopped and put the side stand down to walk around, but the stand sunk in and the bike fell over right away. That was all the information I needed to gun in back onto the highway.

The salt flats look like they go on forever :eek1
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7359/...b57ecf0a_c.jpg

For not having a lot of residents, I think Gerlach's welcome sign was pretty entertaining.
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5091/...bef06f5f_c.jpg

I filled up in town at the only gas station while the attendant questioned my decision making skills. I told him I planned to ride up NV 34 to the border while he mentioned something along the lines of the rain and me being alone. If I had known what he knew I might have been more on the same page, but from the map it just looked like a nice winding paved road went on to the next state. Little did I know :lol3
I headed out of town with a full tank and only made it a few miles before the pavement ran out. At first, I was pretty happy about that. The road was wonderfully graded and not too wet. Even the corners were designed to carry speed and the state of Nevada fairly recommended a nice 45mph limit. Not that there was anyone out there to enforce it.
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2915/...747a6040_c.jpg

The road winded through beautiful hills and I started to see some more greenery as the highway headed West.
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5554/...3570c71c_c.jpg

Soon enough the rain started coming down harder and things started to get a little dicey for a rookie off roader with a heavy bike and worn tires. My speed dropped down to first and second gear and I had a few low speed offs. One of them was kind of sad since it involved me sliding down into the ditch at the inside of a muddy left hander. More than once I thought about how I hadn't seen a house or a single car since the road turned to dirt five hours earlier. "Vast" was becoming an overused word in my head.
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7209/...f63fa2c6_c.jpg

Soon after, the snow started and I did a stretch of about 15 miles in first gear over white covered mud. There's a lot of riding fundamentals out there that I still need to improve on...
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2911/...dd61cd0b_c.jpg

It took about seven hours to ride the 100 miles of dirt. A left turn back into CA led to a nice paved road (right at the border :lol3) into the town of Cedarville. I pulled over in front of a pretty beat up house on main street to check some directions for a moment. Soon after I was approached by a sizable guy stumbling down the sidewalk with a brown bag. The angry shout of "What you doin in front my house boy?" really snapped me out of my daze. He walked right up next to me with an unfriendly look, so I just smiled and showed him the map and where I had come from. He looked a little confused but then smiled and told me he was an alcoholic, accused me of being high, warned me about the town sheriff and invited me inside. I politely declined and rode through the hills to Alturas to snag a motel room. I felt a little bad thinking that if I bailed out of camping every time I was wet and cold, I would blow through some serious cash this time of year. I felt better when I turned on the TV and saw Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. They knew exactly how I was feeling. "We're there..... man."
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7241/...13e1e91d_c.jpg

Blixa 04-29-2014 09:18 PM

As Lloyd Christmas said, "I like it a lot."
Great RR so far and stunning photos. I'm looking forward to the next update.

bhb 04-29-2014 09:27 PM

Following!

Is the bike a sertao? Debadged? Also, are you missing a windshield? :D

Ride safe and can't wait to see more!

CaseyB 04-30-2014 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hunter-Douglas (Post 24052677)
I pulled over in front of a pretty beat up house on main street to check some directions for a moment. Soon after I was approached by a sizable guy stumbling down the sidewalk with a brown bag. The angry shout of "What you doin in front my house boy?" really snapped me out of my daze. He walked right up next to me with an unfriendly look, so I just smiled and showed him the map and where I had come from. He looked a little confused but then smiled and told me he was an alcoholic, accused me of being high, warned me about the town sheriff and invited me inside. I politely declined and rode through the hills to Alturas to snag a motel room.

For the sake of the RR, you should have gone in :lol3 You certainly wouldn't have come out the same, if at all :huh

Hunter-Douglas 04-30-2014 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blixa (Post 24053214)
As Lloyd Christmas said, "I like it a lot."
Great RR so far and stunning photos. I'm looking forward to the next update.

Thanks!! More coming soon.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bhb (Post 24053283)
Following!

Is the bike a sertao? Debadged? Also, are you missing a windshield? :D

Ride safe and can't wait to see more!

Yes it is a debadged sertao. It should be getting a nice fork swap this fall before going South. The windshield was putting the buff right in my face (I'm 6'4). It was either get a really tall and annoying one or take it off, look cool and take the wind on the midsection. It's good motivation not to go too fast on the highway :lol3

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaseyB (Post 24055632)
For the sake of the RR, you should have gone in :lol3 You certainly wouldn't have come out the same, if at all :huh

That's what I was afraid of. I love bluegrass but I was hearing the wrong kind of banjos in my head at that point. That and this guy just would not believe me when I told him I wasn't stoned and my eyes were red from riding through the weather with my visor up. He was getting mad and saying it was BS so eventually I just told him I was :lol3

JustinCase 05-01-2014 12:30 AM

Awesome thread.
You're doing it!! I agree with the others re: the pictures. They are awesome.

rootsy 05-01-2014 12:54 AM

Looks and sounds like fun! What camera are you using to capture these lovely images?

Safe travels!

Tamalerider 05-01-2014 05:33 AM

Sounds sweet! I'm headed up to crater lake on my way to Prudhoe bay leaving May 28th. Going 2 up with my girlfriend to fairbanks and then making final push to prudhoe bay and Dawson gathering with a buddy.


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