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Old 03-29-2013, 11:51 PM   #16
ahwarm
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Great report so far. Excited to read more.

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Old 03-30-2013, 05:06 AM   #17
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Looks like you have a good grip on the theory of travel. Let 'er rip.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:23 AM   #18
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Totally in.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:55 AM   #19
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I left DC mid morning on June 17. I stopped and filled up at an Exxon on the outskirts of the city and headed north. DC was the furthest north I'd ever been prior to this trip. All new territory from here.

I was headed to Garfield, NJ. One of the many towns not too far form NYC. We had friends that lived there, and my Mom and sister were actually there visiting.

I decided to stop in Philly on the way and have an authentic Philly Cheesesteak.

I passed the Staples Center so I pulled off the road for a Kodak moment. Well, a Canon moment, I guess.



I'd done my research and knew it was between Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's for a "real" philly cheesesteak. They were across from each other, conveniently. I decided to do Pat's, for some reason. I got there and the place was swamped. Plenty of people staring at me, munching on their sandwiches as I got parked. I was quite self-conscious in these situations early on in the trip, feeling like my every move was being analyzed as I parked.

I got in line and ordered up a cheesesteak. It was good, but nothing extraordinary. Cool thing to say you've done, I guess. I met a nice couple with their Pomeranian dog that was traveling from somewhere in the Northeast I think. They were fascinated in my trip, as would be pretty much every person i'd tell about it along the way. Took a few photos and headed up toward NJ.







You can barely see my bike covered up behind the sign post to my left.



The competition. Funny how it was a totally different vibe than Pat's.





The rest stops on the Turnpike were cool. Everything you need right there in its own little area. Gas, food, etc. Not something I'd ever seen before. Here's a shot of the bike at one.



The tolls proved interesting for me. I always felt rushed and fumbled around trying to get out my wallet with my gloves on. I learned to keep it in my tank bag for easy access.

The traffic was insane as I approached my destination. It was like 5 o'clock traffic in Charlotte, cars tightly spaced only feet apart, but at 85mph. I was very uncomfortable and on edge. I was tense, knowing my reaction time to a quick stop in front of me would be critical. The last 50 miles or so were awful. Thankfully I had no issues.

The "jug handles" were new to me - you almost never make a left hand turn in NJ. Always get off to the right and go over/under the road. Strange.

I was relieved to arrive in Garfield. My Navigation app took me right to the house. It was a quaint little town, houses close enough to easily spit on one from the other out the window, but nevertheless it wasn't what i'd pictured.

It's a funny story how our family came to know this family in NJ. My parents and sister were vacationing in Orlando, FL at the time I was alone in Nicaragua in 2009. My sister baked cookies one night, and her and my parents mentioned the cookies in conversation while down in the hot tub the next evening. A lady overheard them, and she couldn't help but mention she must be in a nearby room because she had smelled the cookies. Funny stuff. They ended up getting to know each other, have dinner together, and she actually gave my sister and her boyfriend a ticket to Universal to use one day. The lady was an executive with McDonalds there on business. SHe had a son my sisters age, and was close in age to my parents, so they had plenty to talk about. THey spent the rest of their time together on that trip, kept in touch, and she is now my mom's best friend. All from a hot tub conversation.

So, fast forward to June 2010, she had invited us to come stay with her and give us a tour of NYC. I met her sons, both of which thought I was the strangest thing they'd ever seen, being big and bearded with a southern accent. I was in their territory so I didn't have much defense for how weird they seemed to me at first. We ended up having a great time while I spent a few days there, though.

One thing I love about NJ - diners. Open 24hrs, amazing variety of food, and its all pretty good. Here are a few pics from the first diner I ever went to, the Saddlebrook Diner. I got Fish n Chips, my favorite food. Good stuff.







We went into NYC one day. It was very cool. Was nice to be toured around by a local. I took a video of us going through the tunnel into the city. Plenty of pics in the city at the usual attractions. Unfortunately I can't find the majority of my pics from that day and I can't get my smugmug videos to embed.





We ate at an authentic italian place in Little Italy. Great stuff.



I had NY style pizza several times from the local favorites arounf Garfield. Once from Lodi Pizza (Lodi, NJ) and once from Pizza Town (Elmwood Park, NJ). Pretty great stuff. They had these fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar called zeppoles that were fantastic. Can you tell I like food? Yeah.





We went "down the shore" as they say one afternoon. Cost $5 to get onto the beach. THey give you a little wristband. I just wanted to put my feet in the Atlantic, since this was a "coast to coast" trip. I didn't put the bracelet on, just came back to the boardwalk after i'd seen the water and gave mine to a family of four about to pay to save them the $5.









I stayed there for several days, and eventually made plans for heading to Toronto. Mary, who we were staying with, was insistent that I couldn't ride all the way there without stopping, so she booked me a hotel room in Victor, NY, just outside of Rochester. She had tons of reward points with Hilton (and their subsidaries) from traveling so often for business. I remember thinking how generous she was and how amazing it was that we'd made a connection with her how we did. I love those sorts of stories. Mary ended up being a tremendous blessing to me later on in my travels. Probably one of the kindest people i've ever met.

More to come.
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First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.
NC to Maine for Lobster Dinner
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:59 PM   #20
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:13 PM   #21
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Way cool, man!
Leaving the dream!
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:16 PM   #22
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Looking forward to more of your post about this trip. Looks like a great time and learning experience.

Subscribed.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:51 PM   #23
EvanADV OP
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Found my NYC pics so I will be posting them up shortly after I get them uploaded. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and your participation in my babbling. It has been great to relive those first few days so far.

Next few stops include:
  • Victor, NY
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Lima, OH
  • Chicago, IL
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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
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:21 PM   #24
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I'm in ...good stuff
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:45 AM   #25
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Sounds good, I was reading your report to my wife as she was fixing Easter dinner and she said you sound like me. Live to ride, ride to eat.

Happy Easter,

Bob
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:28 AM   #26
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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 03-31-2013, 10:49 AM   #27
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IN!
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:10 AM   #28
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Nice writing style. Can't wait for the rest of the story. Already some cliffhangers! Good work.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:07 PM   #29
EvanADV OP
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While in Garfield I ordered myself an Airhawk seat pad, some Frog Toggs, and a Camelbak. Unfortunately they sent me a men's size medium Toggs, which meant I could get the pants halfway up my calves and my head halfway through the collar of the jacket. The Airhawk and Camelback fit the bill just right, though.

Leaving from here was monumental because it was the last time i'd see my family for quite some time. They were planning a trip to Vegas in July, and I planned to meet them there. I'd be a different man by then, little did I know. Until then, it was me and the road.

My original plan was to cruise straight to Toronto from Garfield, but as I said, our generous friend Mary insisted on getting me a hotel room in Victor in order to shorten the travel time. At this point I'd only ridden two full days in my entire motorcycling travelling career, so that was probably a blessing in disguise.

I stopped for gas off NY-17 near Monroe, NY. Won't ever forget that stop. I remember noticing a lot of men with beards coming in and out of the store. Then I realized I was surrounded by Hasidic Jews. I assumed it was a largely Jewish town, but after researching just now, I see that it was called Hatzloch Gas and according to google maps it's a great spot to stop for kosher cuisine in the area.

I didn't expect what I came across that day in regard to scenery. It got beautiful fast. Thinking back it was probably some of the most beautiful riding I've seen on the east coast. The Castskills provided roads with long swooping curves. Not tight stuff, but curve after curve for miles. The riding along the Appalachains is beautiful in a different way, but this seemed so different because the mountains were shorter, almost like huge hills, and the road meandered between them. Often times alongside a stream. I remember setting up my camera to record a little bit of the ride because it impacted me so much. Can't help but laugh when you see a bug splat on the lens only a few seconds in. This was my Canon 7d with 10-22 mounted - the lens has a 77mm diameter filter size so it was quite the target, apparently.



Here's me at a rest stop in the Catskills.


Once I got to Binghamton things got a lot less interesting. The miles seemed to click by more slowly. I remember recognizing the city of Syracuse when I passed by it. I eventually made it to my hotel outside if Rochester in Victor, NY.

I could feel the ladies at the desk's surprise as they saw me approach. I was a bit apprehensive about how I would get a room someone else had reserved, but everything was in order and I had no trouble. I covered the bike up and took in only my essentials which I'd now packed in my tank bag. I ordered some food off a menu in my room from a nearby eatery and they delivered to my room. Hadn't ever done that before. I remember feeling a little strange being in a hotel room all by myself for the first time. My first taste of the solitude I'd find frequently throughout the trip that I would find to be both haunting and exhilarating at different times to come.

In retrospect, it probably would have been more interesting to hop on the bike and find somewhere interesting in town to eat, maybe meet some people, but for some reason I just didn't have the desire.

I awoke the next morning and ate some free breakfast at the hotel before heading to Toronto. I got a reasonably early start this day, probably because I was so bored alone in my room that I got plenty of sleep earlier than usual.

I had originally planned to see Niagara Falls on my way through, but I decided to skip it and get to Toronto earlier and see my contacts there. I knew I'd eventually be back again some day. I snapped a photo as I crossed the river and that was good enough, I guess.



Yes, I promise I learned to wear my full face helmet after this jaunt. For some reason I thought the half helmet would helmet me beat the summer heat.

Crossing into Canada was painless. I'd brought my passport but I'm not sure if they looked at it. They asked me how long I'd be staying and what is be doing and that was about it. Friendly and pleasant interaction.

I remember feeling strange when I realized the speed limit was now in Kilometers per hour. I saw a lot of Tim Hortons, which I would later find out were a Canadian staple.

I did have a near death experience coming into Toronto that I remember vividly. I was cruising along in traffic when a tractor trailer decided to merge to the left, into the lane I was in. He was coming over on top of me, as I was running about even with the trailer tires at the moment, and he just kept coming and coming. Thankfully there was a paved shoulder and I managed to get over to it. I accelerated around him and escaped unscathed. It probably doesn't sound like too big of a deal to you reading my account of it, but it was one of those reality check moments where I realized how close to death I could be within a split second. Definitely reminded me to stay aware and pretend I was invisible to everyone else when out on the road. Catastrophe avoided.

I was headed to Toronto to connect with my childhood youth pastor, Tim, and his family. My senior year of high school, in 2007, Tim and his family moved to Toronto so that he could work for Baptist Canada. It rocked us pretty hard whn they left because they were such a big part of our lives and had just always been there. It definitely had left a void that was difficult to fill.

I made it to their house without issue and Tim and his wife were there to greet me. They welcomed me in and then Tim and I left in the jeep to go pick up his son from school. On the way he caught me up on how things were with the family and gave me the Canada introduction.

He showed me the church he now attends, which was quite beautiful.



We went by a local eatery called Tom's Dairy Freeze for an introduction to a Canadian specialty called poutine. Fries with cheese and gravy. Quite strange, but delicious.










Later that night we went to CN Tower and saw a beautiful view of the city from the top. I had two knives on me, just out of habit, and I remember being extremely apprehensive when I realized there were police in riot gear around. Thankfully it wasn't a problem. Got plenty of cool pictures around sunset from the top of the tower. We spent a lot of time talking about my experiences since high school, living in Nicaragua, getting engaged, etc. I think he was proud to see the man I'd turned out to be.











I spent the next day with Tim, touring around town. I really liked how diverse the area was. He showed me an apartment complex that housed a ton of different nationalities of immigrants. I want to say almost a hundred, maybe more. Probably the most diverse apartment building anywhere. He introduced to the people he worked with and I told them about some of my experiences in Nicaragua. Overall a pretty chill day.

I had planned to leave the next morning and head for Lima, Ohio. I had a presentation there in two days to Rudolph Foods, one of the leading manufacturers of pork rinds in the US. The CEO had a daughter who was friends with my sister. He and his wife were divorced. Their son and daughter lived with their mother (in our town) during the school year and spent the summer with him in Lima. When I got home from Nicaragua I was asked to mentor and tutor their son, who was having a really hard time in school and beginning to have behavior problems. They paid me really well to pick him up from school every day, keep him out of trouble, and do guy stuff with him like shoot skeet and ride dirt bikes. Dream job.

Anyway, he had invited me to come speak about our non-profit (New Song) to their staff, and I wanted o get there the day before so I could get settled and prepare. I woke up the next morning in Toronto to a driving rain. I had no experience riding in the rain, and didn't have any rain gear because the Frogg Toggs they sent me were too small. Just levi's and my joe rocket jacket.

I set off with the hope of it clearing up soon. It wasn't too bad at first. On the side roads it was little more than annoying. Sure, I was soaked, but it wasn't too challenging to ride in. Then I got to the interstate.
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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

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Old 03-31-2013, 06:26 PM   #30
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Frogg Toggs are the best, not expensive yet effective. Its much easier to ride in the rain when you are comfortable. The helmet thing is a bit surprising as open face can get tiring, but it does put you in the forefront of the action. Feel the wind! (and don't fall off).

Aerostich will be your friend when your wife-to-be pulls out her catalogs and starts contemplating her purchases, you will do the same. Only your stuff will be better than hers.
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