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Old 03-29-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
EvanADV OP
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Joplor, NC
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First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.

I took a big long solo trip back in 2010 that really changed my life. 10,017 miles in 62 days across the country and back. I was 21, with no motorcycle travelling experience whatsoever. I wrote a blog periodically, which I've archived and stored, but I actually discovered ADVrider only part way through the journey and never wrote a real ride report. I have very much enjoyed reading the few that I've had the opportunity to read here, and I hope sharing my experiences will be a blessing to someone out there. Also, I have the selfish desire for the “therapy” of documenting my experience again and getting to re-live it. So, here goes nothing.

I purchased my first road bike in the summer of 2008. A 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250 with 4500 miles.



My previous bike had been a 98 XR100R, so it was quite the upgrade. I commuted back and forth to work and school on the Bandit and had taken a day trip out to Western NC with some old timer friends. I was the first in my family to own a motorcycle and the idea of travelling on one was a completely foreign concept to them. That was literally the extent of my travelling experience on two wheels prior to this 10,000 mile journey.

My girlfriend, now wife, and I were in Nicaragua when I got the crazy idea to do the trip. Here we are at some point on the trip.



We were living in this dirt floor poor sugar cane village just outside of Chichigalpa, Chinandega working with a non-profit called New Song. Map below.



We’d both taken a semester off from college to go on this adventure. We’d visited annually for 2 weeks at a time since 2007, and I’d been for 10 weeks the year before, but this was our first time together. We were living in community with 5 or 6 other young people and loving life. Here's a shot of our crew with a few visitors. I'm the big fat bearded guy in the middle.



Here's how we got accounting work done during the 10 weeks we were without power after a transofrmer blew in the village.



Our group always stopped at this “On The Run” gas station just outside of Leon when we would go there. One day I saw a farkled out KLR650 parked out front with Alberta, Canada plates. Sheepskin seat, ammo can panniers. I was totally mesmerized. I knew what a KLR was but that was the end of my familiarity with the ADV world. Didn’t have the courage to introduce myself to the rider, but it got the wheels turning. If someone happens to recognize the bike PLEASE let me know.





On Feb 2, 2010, we were on our way to the beach on, Las Penitas outside of Leon, where we frequented on our days off. We got to our hostel of choice, Playa Roca, and at some point I remember two guys showing up on KLR650s. These had surfboards mounted to the side on home built racks. One had left from Vegas, the other from somewhere in Canada. They met in Guatemala, and continued on together. They had the racks built somewhere in Central America along the way. In-freakin-spiring. Remember, I didn't know people did this sort of thing. I hadn't discovered ADVrider, and certainly hadn't met anyone who had done anything like these guys. Had the guts to talk to them a little. They were really cool guys, long haired surfer types, and that’s about all I remember. Here's a sunset shot at Playa Roca I took that day.



I remember beginning to plan out a trip later that night. I felt this pull in my soul to do something like that. Get out there, see the world. I already had a bike. I’d met people from all over the country while in Nicaragua that I’d love to visit. I’d never been west of Tennessee. I was young. School didn't start back until August. No family of my own, no mortgage or rent. No better time.

I spoke to one of the short term visitors we had who was from northern California about my idea and he immediately started listing off places I needed to go. That's Steve with his wife Kelly on a hike with us near Granada, Nicaragua.



“I've been all through the northwest on Motorcycle, it’s great. Here are some places you definitely shouldn't miss,” I remember him saying.

It started to come together. I was glued to Google Maps for the next several days. I plotted out a trip counter-clockwise around the whole country and it added up to right around 10,000 miles.

I remember walking over to my best friend’s room and telling him what I was going to do. I showed him the map. He knew about radical adventure – he’d moved to Nicaragua right out of college just a year prior. He thought it was awesome, and offered some input for people we’d met recently that I could stay with scattered across the country. It was coming together.





By the time we left Nicaragua and went back to NC in April I had most everything planned out. What gear I needed to buy and the route I would take. I announced to friends and family what I’d be doing. The old guys with Harleys that I knew told me they wished they’d have done something like that. The women and people my age said I was crazy. Truth be told I loved the fact that I was about to do something nobody I knew would ever dream of doing. I had no idea what I was about to do, though.
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Current Steeds: '08 FJR1300 | '02 DR650
Former Steeds: '99 DR650 | '02 DR650 | '09 DL650 | '07 B1250
9 states left to ride: WI, MN, ND, SD, UT, OK, KS, AK, and HI.
First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.
NC to Maine for Lobster Dinner

EvanADV screwed with this post 06-21-2013 at 07:12 AM
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:23 AM   #2
Klay
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Very good.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:30 AM   #3
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Seems really promising, continue please :
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:42 AM   #4
benwiggin2
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Wow! I will be glued to this one. Great start. Can't wait.
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Old 03-29-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
EvanADV OP
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When we got back from Nicaragua a lot happened in my life.

Kelly and I (my girlfriend at the time) had been through a lot together over the years leading up to this trip. Together since our 2006 in our junior year of high school, each others first romantic relationship, and it had it's ups and downs. While I was gone to Nicaragua for 3 months in 2009 by myself we went through a rough time. Being apart for so long obviously took its toll and she decided she wanted to move on. It broke me pretty bad, and I learned a lot about myself in the process. My insecurities especially. It also brought me to a greater dependence on God than I had ever experienced, which had a tremendous impact on how I looked at life. We reunited when I got home in August 2009, resumed our relationship and decided to take the trip I referred to above together. One of the greatest decisions we ever made. As a home-schooled non-risk-taker, I watched her transform into an adventurer during our time there.

Here she is loving every minute of our 7 person taxi ride in a small Kia taxi in Nicaragua.



Here we hitch hiked down the coast in the back of a huge flat bed truck. It's easy to get rides when you're with a beautiful blonde.





We had discussed the prospect of marriage regularly, and finally decided to take the plunge. I requested her Dad's blessing, and proposed to her in May in my own special way. She said yes, of course.



Enough of the ooey gooey stuff. It is relevant, I promise. To me at least.

I didn't have much time to prepare for the trip, since I planned to leave in June and be back before classes started again in August, so I got started right away. After some research, I came across a photo of a Wee with Pelicans.



After browsing through Twisted Throttle, I found they had an SW-Motech universal sidecase kit for my Bandit, so I ordered everything up to put Pelicans on as panniers on my bike. Mind you, this was still prior to my knowledge of ADVrider, so at this point I thought I'd made a very strange choice for panniers. My motorcycle mechanic friend who helped me put them on thought it was the strangest thing ever. Now, it just seems normal.



I also fitted crash bars with highway pegs, which Steve (mentioned above) advised me would be important. They were invaluable for comfort and little did I know would save my bike later in the trip.

I took WAY WAY WAY too much stuff. I wish someone would have stopped me. New to moto travelling I didn't know any better. Oh well. Being a photographer, and not wanting to miss an opportunity for a shot, ever, I took my camera and 3 lenses. That, along with a laptop, a couple external hard drives, and an assortment of cables and chargers filled an entire side case. 2 pairs of jeans, shorts, underwear, and socks filled another. 100 or so handmade bracelets from Nicaragua to sell along the way were pack somewhere. A tank bag packed full of crap. Top box, full. Strapped a tent and thermarest to the seat along with an extra helmet. Oh and don't forget a cooler for drinks. Yes I know, it's ridiculous. Don't think I packed a single tool other than what was in the stock toolkit. All that plus my big butt would punish my bike's stock suspension for thousands of miles to come.



On a beautiful summer day in June I began my journey. Photos are courtesy of my grandpa who was there to see me off. They'd later be printed in our town newspaper in an article chronicling my trip. A depression era retired police officer, he was and is the furthest thing from an adventure rider you can imagine, but he loved me and I think secretly envied what I was doing.

That's me and him on his tractor when I was slightly younger.



Try not to laugh at how loaded the Bandit is. I know I do every time I look back at it.







At this point I was so high on the *idea* of the trip that it really hadn't hit me what I was actually doing. I was venturing off on a journey unlike any other. And I was alone. No fiancee, no family or friends. Just me inside my helmet for 10,000 miles. I had no clue. Off I went toward Washington, DC.

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Current Steeds: '08 FJR1300 | '02 DR650
Former Steeds: '99 DR650 | '02 DR650 | '09 DL650 | '07 B1250
9 states left to ride: WI, MN, ND, SD, UT, OK, KS, AK, and HI.
First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.
NC to Maine for Lobster Dinner

EvanADV screwed with this post 04-15-2014 at 11:24 PM
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
GB
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Enjoying your ride report

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Old 03-29-2013, 03:41 PM   #7
Mr Head
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Very cool trip.

Looking forward to tagging along from my cube.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:13 PM   #8
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Subscribed and loving it!
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:14 PM   #9
TrashCan
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Great start.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:24 PM   #10
Falcon86
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Awesome start, looking forward to it!

The handmade bracelet quote instantly brought me back to Deb trying to sell Napoleon the "boondoggle key chains" to which he replied he already made infinity of those at scout camp lol.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:50 PM   #11
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:20 PM   #12
Oldbutslow
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I'm in!
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:28 AM   #13
slowpoke69
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+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbutslow View Post
I'm in!
Sounds AWESOME, I regret not having done the same when I was younger.

It's a good thing you saw Seaside and that area, Sandy just trashed it when she hit, BITCH!

We'll be back close to full swing before long though, gives you a reason to come back!

What I've read so far sounds like you had a blast!! LUCKY DOG!! LOL!!

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Old 03-29-2013, 07:39 PM   #14
augiedog
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adventure at its best

sounds like a real honest adv ride to me. look forward to reading the rest. is this the bike you were on at the last hawthornes meeting?
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:10 PM   #15
EvanADV OP
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Thanks for all the kind words and subscriptions, folks. If I get too lengthy, well, you'll live.

First day down and only 61 more to go. Fortunately for you many of them were MUCH less action packed. Others more, though. More to come.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon86 View Post
Awesome start, looking forward to it!

The handmade bracelet quote instantly brought me back to Deb trying to sell Napoleon the "boondoggle key chains" to which he replied he already made infinity of those at scout camp lol.
Haha never thought of the connection. Too funny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedog View Post
sounds like a real honest adv ride to me. look forward to reading the rest. is this the bike you were on at the last hawthornes meeting?
Yep, that's the one. We've done a lot of miles together over my few years with her. Sorta like your FZ, but a few less
__________________
Current Steeds: '08 FJR1300 | '02 DR650
Former Steeds: '99 DR650 | '02 DR650 | '09 DL650 | '07 B1250
9 states left to ride: WI, MN, ND, SD, UT, OK, KS, AK, and HI.
First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.
NC to Maine for Lobster Dinner
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