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Old 02-26-2013, 12:26 PM   #106
dean10 OP
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
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Nashville, Wednesday, 5 September 2012 to Friday, 7 September 2012, Day 93 to Day 95

Nashville[/caption]

As I am playing catch up this entry covers Wednesday 5th September to Friday 7th September.

Wow 4 nights in a row in the same bed that is the longest I have stayed anywhere on this trip and a very comfortable bed it was to compared to some I have slept in so I was glad that Alyssa is away at college and I get her bedroom thanks Alyssa for the use of your bedroom much appreciated I think this old fellow been on the road to long and it was great just to stop for while with a great friendly family who looked after me like a king for the past 4 days if Supriya dad had not been turning up and needed the bed I would probably still be there :-)

Luckily for me Supriya was not working so we spent the first day looking around Nashville and later that day we went to watch her daughter who is 12 years old play volleyball at her school. Cripes they take their sport seriously never seen so many nervous kids playing sport and the coaches from both teams giving them hell from the sidelines. Maya team unfortunately lost and as a punishment the coach made them do star jumps, just to remind you they are only 12 they should be having a laugh and not taking it all to seriously but guess that’s the way things are these day which is a shame as I did not see much joie de vive out there today.



That evening was taken to Swett’s a Southern Restaurant drove down with Rajiv Supriya son in his cool old Jeep Cherokee there was a hell of storm and at one stage we could hardly see where we going because the rain was so hard but it did not last long. As well as the rain there was one hell of an electrical storm never seen anything quite like it the bolts of lightning where thicker than I had ever seen. When we got to the restaurant Supriya asked us if we had stopped when it was really started chucking it down. Me an Rajiv just looked at each other as neither one of us had thought of that as an option all we had done was slow down and moved to the central lane away from the standing water but kept on going never crossed our minds that stopping for a while was probably the most sensible thing to do must be a boy thing! Neal Supriya husband was working the night shift so had a pleasant Meal with just the 4 of us with the kids explaining the various stuff they had on the menu. Lekker eten :-)

Day 2 did not quite work as planned Maya needed to be taken to ER with a Migraine an issue she has been struggling with for a while and she needed a procedure doing that could only be done in the ER we did not know what time this was so me and Supriya did a short trip up the Natchez Trace Parkway while waiting for the appointment for the ER we also had lunch at the famous Loveless Motel and I experienced grits and biscuits for the first time. Biscuits where nice bit like our scones embarrassing situation at the end when the waitress asked me how I like my grits I was very politically correct and said they where interesting but to be honest I was to enamoured by them.

Natchez Trace with Supriya[/caption]

 



That afternoon I was left to my own devices which was nice caught up with me admin booked a flight home and a Skype call with John to sort out Houston part of my trip. Also was left in charge of Max and Riley Supriya’s dogs and at one stage I thought I had lost one as I had let them out into the back garden for a pee when I saw the fence was open and one was missing just as the others where getting back from the ER. Bollocks that all they need missing dog to add to everything else happening today fortunately the dog was in the front garden and there is an audio fence that they will not pass. Phew wish I had known this earlier. It was late and everyone had had a tough day so Neal came home with pizza and we watched Obama speech to the Democratic Convention.( I kept objecting every time the called the US the greatest country in the world :-) )

Day 3 I had been talked into staying another night to experience Friday night High School Football as Rajiv was playing. Did not take too much persuading as I was living the life of Riley at the Patel’s. Maya was feeling a lot better and was back at School so Supriya and me spent the day wandering around Downtown Nashville looking at the cowboy boots (Buy 1 get 2 free! Wish I had more luggage space) and cowboy hats shop and just wondering around also went to a place called Franklin as well.



Downtown Nashville[/caption]



Franklin[/caption]

 

Just weird[/caption]

A very relaxing day and then that evening off to the football match with Neal. Well remember I said they take their sport very seriously here well Friday night football took this to a whole other level. This is school football (American) their stadium is full the team is huge two cheerleader teams a huge television screen yes the whole thing is being filmed. Walking round in a daze never seen anything like this before. Great evening Rajiv team slaughtered the opposition I had no clue what was going on but very social able in the stands being introduced to all of Neal’s football mates as well as trying to explain what was going on the field as well.



At the end one of Neal’s friend asked us back to his place for a drink and that really blew my poor brain. I was just trying to get my head around all I had seen that evening so we followed his mate back to his. Pulled up at a gated community so I am guessing most be a bit of a posh house but then we pulled up to what looked like a castle through a gate that was like a portcullis and into the kitchen. Now most kitchens have a single island well this one had 2 it was huge. After saying hello we to Neal’s friend wife (forget both there names :-( god I am crap with names) we went down the Den which had another kitchen with a fridge stocked with only drinks and a pool table as well as an air hockey table and a large television. At first I thought for the size of the house that the television where rather on the small size (probably they where quite large only dwarfed by the size of the rooms) when Neal pointed to a large door with Theatre written above the door. The piece de resistance went in and there was a large home cinema with about 10 huge leather seats that where recline able by the touch of a button so we adjourned to the comfy seats and Neal’s mate put on the huge screen and we ended up chilling and watching one of the Rambo films. I just sat there in awe as Neal and his mate talked shop, which was also fascinating as Neal is paediatric Doctor in charge of the ICU at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and his mate who told me did something in IT seemingly writes very sophistical software programs for the operating theatres hence the big house me thinks.

Me and Neal living the life[/caption]

Quite a late night and hitting the road again tomorrow of to see Elvis

Thank you very much you been a wonderful audience and good night!

Sure I missed loads here but that was happens when you do not do this blog ASAP rather than a couple of days later especially with my memory that is not being fully utilised at the moment.



The Patels
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:28 PM   #107
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Nashville to Memphis, Saturday, 8 September 2012, Day 96

Natchez Trace Parkway[/caption]

Time to say goodbye to my wonderful hosts the Patel Family. I have had a great time with you guys and you made me feel most welcome and part of your family while I was there. Supriya great to reconnect after more than 30 years lets see if we can touch base again sometime soon as in 30 years I will be 78 and would be great if we could do something before then.

Back in the saddle and it has been raining and the weather is dull and overcast. Fortunately it stays dry and it is a nice change that it is somewhat cooler as to be honest I am getting tired of the heat I know I should not be complaining about the weather but when you are in full motorcycle clobber it tends to be a bit hot and sweaty and also for me the heat sucks the energy out of me making progress hard work (I will be complaining about being cold an wet in a couple of months time so watch this space so at least I am constant in my whinging and not biased in shape or form :-))

Natchez Trace Parkway[/caption]





The plan is to drive the Natchez Trace Parkway a 480-mile road similar to the Blue Ridge built in the great depression to create work and only reason for it is for the scenery. Unlike the Blue Ridge this is an old trade route so a lot more history. Additionally doing a short ish detour to go and Visit Elvis and Graceland.

So 120 miles on the Parkway with very little to none traffic and then back on the normal roads for my quick sortie to Memphis.

I passed a huge house fire today the worrying part was that it was very close to a petrol station but looks like they had it under control but some unfortunate soul has lost there home, as it looked completely destroyed.

Mississippi Burning![/caption]



The other disgusting thing that happened to me today was I was following this truck which was carrying some hay that was loose so I was getting covered by it so I decided to pass it. As I was passing the truck I noticed a snake crossing the road and it did not look like it was going to make it. This was all in slow motion so I saw the snake being squished under the wheels of the truck just as I was passing and then I felt the splatters all down my leg. Yuk I cannot believe I have just been splattered by snake guts and insides I feel quite queasy :-(

Got into Memphis quite late and then the usual ritual of trying to find somewhere to sleep started, I found a dive of a motel outside by the airport the cost of beds in town and around Graceland a bit to steep for my budget so this would have to do. Was planning on doing two nights in Memphis but soon changed my mind as for some reason I really did not like the place I was staying at. I have stayed in some holes and this was no worse than some of them but for some reason did not feel comfortable there so that evening I just holed up in the room no energy to go out and get some dinner I and I was glad to leave the following morning. The only other time I had planned to stay more than one night in a place and moved on to somewhere else was in a Hostel In Fairbanks cannot explain what it is about these 2 places only to say I just did not like them or had a bad feeling about staying there.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:30 PM   #108
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Memphis to Tupelo, Sunday, 9 September 2012, Day 97

Elvis and Fan[/caption]

I have a new morning ritual I plug-in Subway into my GPS and head to the nearest one as they are all over the place so never more than a couple of miles away. I then order a 6-inch flatbread black forest ham cheese and egg sandwich to which I add tomatoes, onions, pickle, green peppers, and black olive and topped of with a Honey Mustard sauce. If I am lucky they still have coffee on the go if not I have a chocolate milk. So a fine replacement has been found for my Tim Horton’s breakfast cheddar bagel but I guess not the most slimming! But this normally doubles up for lunch so 2 meals a day in theory (we shall ignore all the little snack in between) I am curious to see if I have lost any weight in the last 4 months probably not as I have done very little in the way of exercise other than walking so I am also interested on how fit I am actually am. I have ridden about 30,000km so I am hoping that counts for something on the scale and fitness front.

Why the sudden interest in breakfast and health well today I am visiting Graceland and Elvis Presley famous for his breakfast of peanut butter and banana-toasted sandwich and for dyeing of unknown causes allegedly he could also sing a bit as well.

So after my breakfast I rode into Graceland car park where there was sign saying cars USD 10 big cars and RV USD 15 so following that logic a start the patter well a bike must be 5 USD or even better free. So after a bit of banter with lady at the kiosk trying to blag my way into free parking. When she leans forwards and says “Honey you did not hear this from me but if you go to the lot next door at the Harley Davidson shop you can park there free” I love it when they call me honey love it even more when I hear the words free. So thank you lovely lady at the kiosk parked my bike practically in the Graceland Car Park but it cost me nothing. Must something about this place as I had a great banter with another lady at the tickets office as well they seem to be very happy employees at this place and up for a laugh and a giggle which is nice.



So the next couple of hours spent wandering around Graceland. To be honest not much to see but they have organised it so that it seem like there is a lot and what little they have to show is presented very well so an enjoyable way to spend a good 3 to 4 hours. If I was a hard-core fan could have spent longer I most confess that evening I listened to all the Elvis stuff I have on my iPod not much must think about getting some more downloaded as I quite like the King or maybe it was just the setting.



As I mentioned earlier I was planning on staying 2 nights in Memphis but not liking the place I stayed at last night I was going to head back to the Natchez Trace Parkway and I reckoned Tupelo birthplace of Elvis would be a nice place to whole up for the night but before that I had to at least have a look at downtown Memphis. It actually look quite a nice place wish I had been bothered to take a look last night but when you’re not in the mood you’re are just not in the mood. This time it was the heat that made me not hang around it was getting hotter by the minute so time to get moving shame as I think Memphis deserved another night but onwards and forwards.

Sun Studio Memphis[/caption]

That night found a motel in Tupelo on the quality stakes identical to place I stayed in Memphis however I quite liked this place had a totally different vibe so still trying to figure out what my aversion to last night place was. Spent the evening trying to get this up to date and like the last couple of weeks failed miserably keep getting distracted :-) by what I have no idea.

New Albany[/caption]
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:32 PM   #109
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Tupelo to Jackson, Monday, 10 September 2012, Day 98

Natchez Trace Parkway[/caption]

Had a slow start to day bit of a lie in some minor maintenance on the bike Subway for breakfast at about 11. Why the slow start well had planned a reasonably short day with regards to riding as the heat was exhausting me and I was not in hurry to get anywhere. Last night I had also seen a sign or a leaflet or a website for the Tupelo Automobile Museum so that was added on my list of things to do that day so after breakfast plugged that into my GPS as it was just round the corner.

Huge place full of all sort of cars American and European and to top it all totally empty looks like I was only visitor that morning. So did a quick whizz around the whole place to get a feel of it and see what was there and then repeated the exercise at a slower pace taking more time to look at the exhibits. Fascinating place thoroughly enjoyed myself.





Back on to the Natchez Trace Parkway heading for Jackson.

Elvis Birthplace[/caption]

Pleasant enough ride however I prefer my roads to have more corners this one was very straight and even though the scenery was stunning in place found myself getting bored (Wow is there no pleasing this fella :-) ) Could not found any cheap motels so headed for a Motel 6 which are usually reasonably priced and went to look for some food. There was a mall within walking distance put only had posh restaurants and was I not really in the mood for posh so ended up at pizza hut express in Target having pasta with chicken and bread sticks which was all I really fancied so that worked out well.



Natchez Trace Parkway[/caption]

 
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:34 PM   #110
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Jackson to New Orleans, Tuesday, 11 September 2012, Day 99

Natchez Trace Parkway[/caption]

Final stretch of the Natchez Trace into Natchez took me a while to find my way back on it. Todays highlight was a couple of dear and I saw a fox which I spent a while watching (from a distance).

Natchez Trace Parkway[/caption]







Plan was to reach New Orleans that evening but it was much further than anticipated (Where have you heard that before) so spent the last couple of hours riding in the dark which I keep saying I will not do but end doing it anyhow. So another long day in the saddle but I had already had a couple of addresses for the night so one less thing to worry about. Arrived at Hostel number 1 after being directed through some seriously dodgy neighbourhoods by my GPS and it turned out to be a place I had stayed on my last trip to New Orleans called India House Hostel. So that was about 15 years ago. It had grown somewhat since I was there and luckily they had a bed available as I really did not have the energy to go and look at the next place on my list and it was about 9 ish. Walked to the supermarket for my supper and was surprised at how much I remembered from last time and spent the rest of the evening chatting with the folks at the hostel.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:35 PM   #111
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New Orleans, Wednesday, 12 September 2012, Day 100

New Orleans[/caption]

Today is my century so that is 100 days on the road so another milestone achieved. Plan today is wander round New Orleans so that is what I did. Since the last time I was there, there was now a tram that stopped by the hostel as I think I walked into town last time I was here. To be honest cannot say I was overly impressed with the place pleasant enough but by midday I had seen most of it and it was getting very déjà vu and it was also quite hot. So I needed a plan and that was I had brought a one day travel card so spent the rest of the day on the trams seeing different parts of the city and then back to the hostel via the supermarket to get dinner.









Decided I needed to see the city by night so back on the Tram to Bourbon Street again not to impressed but kept on wondering and found a more interesting part of town on Frenchman Street away from the tourist bars on Bourbon street which had a more interesting vibe about them. Back to the Hostels and again late evening chatting to an interesting chap who was a musician and he was doing recordings in 10 cities across the US as a project for a radio program did not catch his name or forgot to ask but seemingly he had had a hit single a couple of years ago in the UK.

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Old 02-26-2013, 12:36 PM   #112
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New Orleans to Houston, Thursday, 12 September 2012, Day 101

Louisiana Swamps[/caption]

I was checking the maps and was a bit confused on the distance between New Orleans and Houston as I wanted to do a scenic route out the bottom through the swamps and along the gulf coast so I was thinking of doing this in two days as it was more than 600km and the idea I had in my mind was a route that went off through the fascinating swamplands and a gorgeous run along the gulf of Mexico finding a nice B&B in Port Arthur before my final push to John and Angela’s in Houston. Reality was something completely different I did not find the fascinating swamps and the coast run was not that interesting and as for Port Arthur it was a huge industrial refinery town. And to add to this it decided to rain on me as well so very rapid change of plan was called for and I am heading for the home comforts of Houston.

Just because the day did not turn out how I had imagined it to be does not mean it was all bad it was actually quite eventual and interesting. I saw some dolphins whilst on a ferry crossing in Cameron and later a strange thing in the water which when I got closer turned out to be a crocodile or alligator buggered if I know the difference swimming along a cannel next to the road.





Had a hairy experience on the bike when it started to rain I finally found a place to pull of the road to put my waterproof's on (As I said before in the US very difficult to stop as there is no sides on the road in most places) and where I stopped it was on bit of a slant so when I put the side stand down the bike was not well-balanced as the angle was all wrong so after a bit of faffing trying to move the bike around so that I could get the stand down so that is was stable enough for me to get off (This has been an issue all trip as I had put a large metal foot on the bottom of the stand which is great when muddy or sandy and stops it sinking to far into the ground the conditions need to be perfect for it to work on tarmac or in other words perfectly level road which in reality you rarely get) So this in combination with my inadequate length of legs (me a serious short arse) somehow today I managed to get the stand down but as mention not yet stable however to get the stand up I needed to lean the bike over the other way which you can imagine is difficult with my little short legs and a fully loaded bike and to add my issue bloody it was hot and pissing down with rain. So I did not have the strength to do what was needed so I tried manoeuvring the bike and this dug the stand further into the tarmac making the situation even trickier. So you would think all I needed to do was start the engine and use that to move me to a better position but Suzuki in their wisdom had built a kill switch that turned the engine off if you tried to ride with the side stand down so it was left to tired Philly to manhandle the bike to a place that I could get of without dropping the bike. More than 30,000km and last day of riding of part 1 of my trip and I was going to end up on my arse in an ungainly mess. After what seems like ages of man handling the bike I managed to get the side stand up so that could move the bike to a place where I could get off safely without dropping the bike. Nice little workout Not! So after regaining my composure waterproof's*on and that’s it I am heading straight to Houston.

So long and challenging day in the saddle strange feeling as I knew this would be last day doing this for a while as I am heading back to the Netherlands to sort out my redundancy which comes final on the 1st October and I am not sure I can trust them to do this without me hovering in the background and being on hand to smooth the path if things go wrong (I was right as got a note saying that they had not yet received my choices form which I put in the internal post in June so expecting them to screw things up as that is all they are good at!)

After tackling Houston Rush hour on crap roads and in the rain I got to John and Angela and as I had promised myself it is time to fall of the wagon again so after a French shower (Douse yourself with deodorant) me John and Angela Rowley headed to a nice little local pub called the Petrol Station for some beer and food.

Nice end to a long day in the saddle I must admit I was dreaming about my first beer in a month for the last 200km or so well if I am honest longer than that :-)

Lekker beer, Lekker food and Good Company looking forward to the next couple of days :-)

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Old 02-26-2013, 12:38 PM   #113
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Houston, Friday, 14 September 2012 to Monday, 17 September, Day 102 to Day 105

Behind the scene at the Hay market in Houston[/caption]

As I am playing catch up this entry covers Friday 14th September to Monday 17th September.

So on Friday slept in and then the idea was to go and check out some local motorcycle dealers and organise some serious TLC for my bike making sure that it would be ready for the rest my journey as I am expecting things to get tougher as I head further South. I had the addresses of 2 so*I headed to the one closet to Johns to check it out. When I got there I could not locate the service department and when I did the guy I spoke to was so laxidasical and not interested I did feel like doing business with these guys so headed to other address I had for Stubbs Motorcycle and the difference between this and my first one was enormous the guy I spoke to Nef could not have been more helpful totally professional so it looks like this where my bike is heading when I get back to Houston. We ordered all the consumables that we thought we would need so that is a set tyres (4th set so far) a chain and sprocket kit not sure if required but after 33,000km thought it prudent as then in theory will not have worry about this for a while same story on the front brake pads they have still got some life in them but this is probably the best place to get the work done ready for the big push South in October.



So with the above sorted back to Johns and to put the Bike in his garage strange feeling as I have been riding it for miles everyday for the last 4 months and was my companion through rain and sunshine and now it was being mothballed for a month I could get all sentimental here instead me and John went to the pub to drink lashing of beer at the Haymarket the place where Angela was working. The Haymarket is a beer focused bar having a choice of 80 plus different beers on tap and I think we got to sample a fair few that evening so looks like I am officially off the wagon again and its great. Got the grand tour of the keg and cool rooms which was fascinating beer barrels and pipes everywhere organised chaos and was like being a kid who has been given the keys to a sweetie shop. Later that evening we tried find a suitable location to take some night shots of the Houston skyline by night. Mine all turned out crap could it be because I had too much to drink or bad light I blame the latter.

Next couple of days was made up of good food, good food supermarkets, good beer and good company. We ate and drank well and visited some supermarkets one was an Asian, which was huge spent hours just wandering around and being amazed at the weird and wonderful collection of different foods on offer. Also did the same in a middle eastern and a world supermarkets on different days.

The Ginger Man[/caption]



Houston is not the first place one thinks about when visiting the US and I doubt many tourist go there but the restaurants and bar scene and the ethic mix of the population making that every conceivable food preference was available either at or a restaurant and or shops making this a foodies heaven. I can see why John has been here so long and still enjoying it as I think from what I saw not a fantastic pretty place but has some great hidden gems.

So in short an excellent couple of days great finale for the first part of my trip and also will be the opening act for the 2nd part of my trip and I think its living up to its billing.

1 month R&R in JR Garage[/caption]
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:39 PM   #114
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Houston to Den Haag, Tuesday, 18 September 2012, Day 106

onward and forward[/caption]

Well folks that it for while. Angela took me to the airport and I am now sitting on my couch back at home in the Netherlands trying to digest what I have just achieved.

Canada so that’s Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia and The Yukon

United States of America so that’s Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana

+-32,00km so that is about 300km a day for 106 days

Coldest 2 degrees centigrade

Hottest 47 degrees centigrade

Loads of other statistics to many to list here, I am a number geek but for me it was not about the numbers what it was it all about well that is the question? People ask me why I am doing this and to be honest the best response I can come with is because I can. It will take a better wordsmith than me to put into words the real reason and what I am really get out of doing this so the response because I can will have to do for now who knows all may be revealed in part 2 of Phillys big trip coming soon in a Cinema near you in October 2012 this time the star a yellow Suzuki DL650A Registration MZ-XZ-03 will be attempting to complete this epic Journey featuring;

Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cost Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Oh yes and there will be a chubby fellow on the back hanging on for dear life wondering what he is doing there!

But first some serious R & R to recharge me batteries and then as per my motto onward and forward!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:41 PM   #115
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Because

[QUOTE People ask me why I am doing this and to be honest the best response I can come with is because I can. It will take a better wordsmith than me to put into words the real reason and what I am really get out of doing this so the response because I can will have to do for now[/QUOTE]

"because I can" is very succinctly stated, perfectly appropriate, and comes from the owner of the experience. I can not imagine a better wordsmith more qualified to provide an explanation, if indeed one is required. I find reading your account provides insight into the reasons, my love of travel explains all else.
Please, continue just "because you can". And thanks because you have.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:19 PM   #116
dean10 OP
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Route So Far

30,888km[/caption]

Above is the Zig Zag I did across North America 33,888km Central and and South Americas still to come

dean10 screwed with this post 02-28-2013 at 05:36 PM
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:22 PM   #117
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Den Haag Tuesday, 19 September 2012 to Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bit of Culture in Den Haag[/caption]

So I have been back in the Netherlands for month. When I arrived I had a load of good intentions and plans to do loads of stuff and see loads of people. Well we all know about plans and how fickle they can be :-) so spent the first couple of weeks back sleeping guess I am more tired than I thought I was truth be told I was absolutely cream crackered so those hours spent catching up with my sleep absolutely a most. The last couple of weeks slightly more active but not by much and a mad rush during the last week as I had put everything of that needed to do until then and they where turning out to take up more time than I originally intended oh well I can do some of these activities on the road thanks to the wonder that is the internet.

Couple of things that I did during the last month

  • Closed things out with my old employer Shell think this is all done and dusted and the redundancy monies all in my account so let the slagging of Shell commence :-) I will no longer be defending there honour.

  • Went to the Koln Motorcycle show 4 hours there and 4 hours back on the train slightly disappointed with the whole thing as I have been wanted to go for years but either missed or was working no excuses this time so of I went but what I did not realise was that it was a Trades show where the public where allowed to visit but there was nobody selling anything and on the whole very sterile with loads of Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese factories stands selling widgets and very specific motorcycle components which I did not find in the least bit interesting oh well I can at least cross this one of my bucket list.

  • Day out with the VVE* (Flat where I live home owners association) to the old town hall in The Hague and nice lunch afterwards

  • Leiden Ontzet (3 October festival in a town near me) lashing of alcohol and catching up with folks I only ever seem to meet up with once a year at this festival as well meeting up with the usual suspects.

  • Couple of good nights round my parents putting a serious dent in my old mans good wine collection hic!

  • Many a good night out catching up with friends over a beer or two.

  • Sorting out my finances can I really afford Phillys Big Trip part 2 just dawned on me I have no money coming in any more, which is scary!

  • Loads of work on my computer filing and sorting photos, maps, new operating system and creating a complete interactive new blog.

  • Day at the US embassy sorting out visas to get back into the States now have a 10 year visa! In a passport that only has 2 years left on it.

  • Promised myself that I would seriously work on my condition and fitness levels while I was back as I had let this slide during while I was on the road. Well I did bugger all so guess I am going to suffer when I hit the road again as it’s a lot easier doing what I am doing when you have a reasonable level of fitness which I did before I left last time so it is going to hurt for the first couple of days.



And loads more that I cannot readily recall all in all glad I went back needed the break and opportunity to recharge my batteries and the fact that is was cold and wet for 4 weeks was just an added bonus as I was getting bit sick and tired of being hot and sweaty all of the time and do enjoy the cold and wet for change.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:24 PM   #118
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
Oddometer: 258
Den Haag to Houston, Thursday, 18 October 2012, Day 107

Large Steak mmmm lekker[/caption]

Up at 5am to catch plane back to US trains not running between Leiden and Schiphol due to maintenance so a bit of detour round Harlem to get to the Airport. Bit of hassle checking in which I was expecting as I did not have a return ticket and airlines get a bit nervous if they think they will have to pay if I am refused entry in the US but flash me new 10 year visa and everyone happy so that day spent at the embassy defiantly worth it.

John was there to meet me in Houston so back to his ASAP pulled the bike out of the garage and then straight of to http://www.stubbscycles.com as the plan was to get it serviced there and to change a whole lot of the consumables such as new tyres front and back, new disc pads front, new chain and sprockets and full service.

The bike had been sitting for a month so had a bit of a moment when it did not want to start straight away and was a bit rough once it did get started so some serious TLC needed me thinks and that what she was going to get.

Was good to be back on the bike again crossing Houston was starting to flag a bit as it had already been a long day. We got their well before they had to shut so we went through the list of things that needed doing with Nef added all the discounts which we missed last time and then with that sorted me and John headed to the Ginger Man pub for a couple of beers.

Then back to Johns via the butchers where we brought 3 huge steaks which was going to be tonight suppers and as they where so large breakfast as well. These where barbequed on tricky barbeque/oven thingy that John and Angela have in the garden so an excellent meal catching up with John and Angela and finally called it quits at about 11ish Houston time as for me it was a lot later and I had been going since 5am NL time so was a tired little bear.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:26 PM   #119
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Houston, Friday, 19 October 2012 to Sunday, 21 October 2012, Day 108 to Day 110

Battleship Texas[/caption]

Already falling behind with this blog so a grouped these days together to help me get back up to date :-)

So what did I get up to in Houston except drink lashing of beer and eat extremely well.

  • On the Friday went for a day trip with John first to check out his sailing club as some ropes needed to be changed on his dingy. Chilled out on the deck of the clubhouse enjoying the view over the gulf. Was invited to a party tomorrow which was nice only problem was it was a 4 year girl who asked me so not sure I will be able to make it!


On the way back we stopped of at San Jacinto Battleground where there is huge monument and an old WW1 battleship called Texas. Wandered around there for a bit before being eaten alive by mosquitoes so of to the Hay Merchant to see Angela and some beers then back to the house to chill out in front the goggle box

No Comment[/caption]

  • On Saturday was to pick up the bike from http://www.stubbscycles.com . All the work had been done and they even gave me a goodie bag which had 2 t-shirts and 2 cup coolers in them which was a nice surprise. I must give a special thank you to Nef Delgado who looked after me sorted out everything answered all my dumb question and was very good on the pricing and discounts it was a pleasure doing business with you sir. I would recommend anyone needing work doing in the Houston area to pop by and ask for Nef a great lad and great fun to deal with.


So back to Johns and straight out as we had a party to go to at some friends of John called Steve and Leigh Ellen. Reason for the party was that there was a barrel of beer that needed finishing off so looks like something I could help with.

After emptying the barrel I had promised to take John and Angela for a meal for looking after me so well so we headed to the Big Red Cock yes the place is actually called that. Unfortunately fully booked so we ended across the road at another place having loads of different appetisers as none of us was that hungry as we had been well fed and full of beer at Steve and Leigh’s but we did manage to order quite a lot of interesting stuff. Had my first taste of oysters that surprisingly I actually liked as not being a big fan of fishy tasty food. Will be trying these again in the future icky but nice.

No rest for the wicked as to end the evening we had arranged to meet some other friends of John at the Ginger Man Pub so onward and forward of there for more beer. Was another late night but all in all a very productive and enjoyable day, time for bed hic!

  • Bit rough after yesterday’s session slow start to the day headed to a Vietnamese café for brunch noodle soup an excellent hangover cure. Then back to the Hay Merchant to pick up Angela who was working there after getting John Mini MOT or state tested as they call it here. I do like the fact that Sunday here is same as any other day and you can get thing done as everything is open suits me a 24/7 world as long as its not me working the weird shifts. Talking of shifts we picked up Angela up who had just finished and we walked down the street to another bar called the Anvil which specialised in cocktails so you guessed it we had to sample a few!

    The Anvil afternoon Cocktails[/caption]


Later friends of John and Angela turned up same gang as last night and so we headed to another bar called Catbirds and eventually as it was a school night John and me called it quits and headed home. He had to work tomorrow and I was hitting the road again.

Well another great couple of days in Houston this mainly due to my great hosts Angela and John. Thanks for everything picking me up chauffeuring me around feeding me with excellent food and filling me full of multitudes of different types of alcohol not sure if I can keep this up but sure was fun trying. I really like Houston I think this is because the Houston you guys shared with me excellent fun. I will most definitely be back thank you for making me so welcome :-)
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:28 PM   #120
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Joined: Jun 2012
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Houston to Austin, Monday, 22 October 2012, Day 111

Austin Public Art[/caption]

Back on the road again feeling a bit rough which is not really surprising seen as I have been burning the candle at both ends for the last couple of days. Packed the bike, which was easy as I have a system now and everything has a place. Did some tweaking on layout which when thinking about seemed obvious and a big improvement why it taking me 111 days to figure this out amazes me its that embarrassing I am not going to tell you what it is I did.

where the tears I am leaving![/caption]

After a tearful goodbye with my Houston Hosts, (I was tearful they where just glad to be shot of me :-)) it was time to hit the road again. Short day planned as I had not been on the bike for a month so thought I break myself in slowly. Destination Austin and Texas Hill Country. Not very inspiring run but nice to be back in the saddle. Arrived in Austin at about 4 made tracks for a Hostel just outside of town booked in there and headed into town on the bus to see the sights. Austin is the state capitol of Texas so first port of calls the Capitol building wander around there for a bit. In the house of senates there was a senator giving a show and tell to a group of cub scouts who was very interesting and I actually learned something. I wandered around town for a while it was hot and I had a hangover so was not to impressed with Austin could be the state I was in or maybe as a place not that appealing. Had enough so headed back to the hostel via a supermarket to get some supper and spent the rest of the evening procrastinating. Should be updating this but did not get round to it.

Austin Texas State Capital[/caption]

Quite a late night doing what I have no idea back to my dorm room sharing with 14 others and sleeping in a bunk bed which even a short arse like me is to big for! Woke up in the middle of the night wondering what John was doing in my room turned out to be somebody rolling back from the pub but when I woke I was certain I was back in John and Angela’s spare bedroom. Missing Houston and the home comforts already :-(

Cool Bike[/caption]
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