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Old 04-03-2013, 04:57 AM   #46
NJ-Bill
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Excellent ride report. I live in NJ and enjoyed reading your perspective on that part of the trip.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:13 AM   #47
EvanADV OP
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The ride to Chicago was a drag, I must say. I can't think of anything abou the ride other than remembering the multitudes of corn stalks.

Chicago, on the other hand, was great.

Mary from NJ had recently taken a new job and was commuting (via airplane) to Chicago every week. She was living out of a hotel until she found an apartment there. This was partly how she'd racked up all those Hilton Honors points she used to help me out with, and her employer was footing the bill. She was staying in Warrenville, and she got me my own room across the hall from her, which she insisted on even though I told her that I'd be happy to sleep on the floor.

She took me to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner - that, my friends, is what heaven wil be like. 'Nuff said.

She toured me all around Chicago the next day. I really loved the city. Probably one of my favorite "cities" I visited on the trip. Below are some photos from our wandering.























Of course we hit Lou Malnati's for lunch so I could try chicago-style pizza. Great stuff.







Mary knew I loved fish and chips, and she'd found a place the locals appeared to love in Warrenville called Two Brothers Tap House. It was really oddly placed in an industrial building, I remember, but it was great food and great local beer. I didn't get any pics but I did keep a menu.



I'd leave Chicago the next day and head for Omaha, NE. That next day would be a turning point for me on my trip and I hope I can do the day justice through my attempt at narrating it. More to come shortly.
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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 04-03-2013, 07:31 AM   #48
gravityisnotmyfriend
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Great report so far! I'm along for the ride.


So, whose '55 are you driving here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanADV View Post


Check out this pic (it's the best I could find):



The picture was taken of me and my son on my first bike. My dad bought that for me back in about 1982. But, if you look in the background, you can see my FIL's '55 convertible. It is even the same colors. I've had the pleasure of driving it and am suprised how nice it rides. Especially for a 60 year old vehicle!

Looking forward to the next installment.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:03 AM   #49
EvanADV OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravityisnotmyfriend View Post
Great report so far! I'm along for the ride.


So, whose '55 are you driving here?
Thanks!

It's my wife's grandpa's 55. At one time in the 90s it was the most awarded '55 in existence for closeness to original. It is nicer than stock, meaning many things are actually too perfect. Yes, they actually deducted points at some shows for that.

It had been sitting in the showroom of the shop for over 15 years prior to our wedding. My wife wanted to ride off in it, so they got it out. They spent 2 weeks getting it running correctly (had to put new pushrods in and rebuild the carb) and actually never got the brakes 100%. We rode off and took it around the block, then used it for pictures. Thankfully the brakes worked fine, but I was on pins and needles as we pulled up to the stoplight around the corner with my hand on the emergency brake. Good times.














That enough pics for ya? LOL.
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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 04-03-2013, 10:23 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanADV View Post
Thanks!

It's my wife's grandpa's 55. At one time in the 90s it was the most awarded '55 in existence for closeness to original. It is nicer than stock, meaning many things are actually too perfect. Yes, they actually deducted points at some shows for that.

It had been sitting in the showroom of the shop for over 15 years prior to our wedding. My wife wanted to ride off in it, so they got it out. They spent 2 weeks getting it running correctly (had to put new pushrods in and rebuild the carb) and actually never got the brakes 100%. We rode off and took it around the block, then used it for pictures. Thankfully the brakes worked fine, but I was on pins and needles as we pulled up to the stoplight around the corner with my hand on the emergency brake. Good times.
A good excuse not to get rices thrown at you both? At my parents' wedding my cousin filled my dad's 66 296 impala with rice all the way up to top of seat and packed the exterior vent with goldfish. It took forever for my parents to get as much of rices out as possible and it did not help the crowd was throwing rices at them too. Eventually the car reek of fish it took a while to disappear.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:37 AM   #51
gravityisnotmyfriend
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Wow, that's immaculate. Very nice. I'll have to show my FIL the pics next time I see him. Thanks for posting those.

I know he's been looking for that rear tire carrier for quite awhile.I think that's called a Continental tire kit? From what I understand, it wasn't a very popular option since it made it difficult to get into the trunk. Because of that - there's very few of them out there, and now everyone wants them!

Brakes? What brakes? I know the first time I drove that '55, I thought they weren't there at all. You really have to push that brake pedal HARD! I'm used to power discs on a 2000lb car - not manual drums on a 4500lb car.

So, where's the gopro video from the fender?


Alright, I'll stop hijacking and let you get back to your report!
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:17 AM   #52
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So, when you were in Chicago, did you go through the Field Museum?
That is one of my all time favorite museums.

I had a neighbor who had a 55 drophead with a hotrodded Corvette motor. Sounded great, but it was just a car.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:49 AM   #53
EvanADV OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
A good excuse not to get rices thrown at you both? At my parents' wedding my cousin filled my dad's 66 296 impala with rice all the way up to top of seat and packed the exterior vent with goldfish. It took forever for my parents to get as much of rices out as possible and it did not help the crowd was throwing rices at them too. Eventually the car reek of fish it took a while to disappear.
Yeah, rice being thrown at the car would not have been considered by her family, I can assure you. They are a little uptight when it comes to vehicles. He owns about 5 or 6 1969 Camaro's, one of which is 1 of 69 ZL1 cars built. One of every 1955 Chevrolet built, also. None get driven more than 10 miles/year, some less than that in a decade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravityisnotmyfriend View Post
Wow, that's immaculate. Very nice. I'll have to show my FIL the pics next time I see him. Thanks for posting those.

I know he's been looking for that rear tire carrier for quite awhile.I think that's called a Continental tire kit? From what I understand, it wasn't a very popular option since it made it difficult to get into the trunk. Because of that - there's very few of them out there, and now everyone wants them!

Brakes? What brakes? I know the first time I drove that '55, I thought they weren't there at all. You really have to push that brake pedal HARD! I'm used to power discs on a 2000lb car - not manual drums on a 4500lb car.

So, where's the gopro video from the fender?


Alright, I'll stop hijacking and let you get back to your report!
Haha I know little or nothing about the car other than the distinguishing traits between it and a '56 or '57. I do know her grandpa has some NOS GM parts, like fenders and chrome kits, that are worth more than I can fathom.

I'm used to the manual brakes since I drive a 64 C10 regularly with power nothing, but it can be QUITE a surprise for those who aren't accustomed to having to push so hard!

Unfortunately I don't think the GoPro got turned on by the videographer. He didn't include any of the footage in the final video, at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Head View Post
So, when you were in Chicago, did you go through the Field Museum?
That is one of my all time favorite museums.

I had a neighbor who had a 55 drophead with a hotrodded Corvette motor. Sounded great, but it was just a car.
No, I didn't have the chance. I plan on going back the next chance I get, though, and I will definitely check it out.


Okay, I'll get back to my report momentarily. Please excuse the commercial break.
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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 04-03-2013, 02:44 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanADV View Post
That enough pics for ya? LOL.
Sir, you cannot add too many...

GREAT ride report.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:55 PM   #55
EvanADV OP
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When I left Chicago that morning it was just like any other departure morning for me. Double check I hadn't forgotten any items, load up the bike, make sure everything was secured. Say goodbye to the host and hit the road. I had no idea this leg of the journey would be a substantial turning point for me.

After around 2000 miles of riding I knew I had a long way to go to make it to 10,000 miles. I made it out of Chicago and it was almost immediately corn fields and nothingness, as is much of our beloved midwest countryside. I noticed a town called Dixon in Illinois, which is my last name.

Shortly after I passed Dixon, IL, a strange and uncomfortable feeling came over me. The enormity of the task ahead of me set in, and it began to eat at me and cause my stomach to turn as I clicked over the miles. It got so heavy I pulled off under an overpass to have a moment to get my head right. I think I was experiencing a panic attack, as some would call it, or something darn close.

This was a critical moment for me. As I understand it now, I truly hadn't become a man yet at that moment in my life. I was still a scared boy, afraid to fail. Afraid to venture out on my own, into a part of the world unknown to me and void of people I knew. Sure, i'd done some crazy things, and taken lots of risks most people I knew would never dream of doing, but unbeknownst to them I always felt I had a safety net to catch me if I fell. I was around people that loved me and cared about me all the time. This was different. This time, I was on my own. Under that overpass I dealt with a seemingly insurmountable amount of fear and doubt. Could I do this? 8000 more miles, all alone? I texted several friends and asked for prayer. I called my fiancee and told her I was headed to Omaha. I didn't let on what a mess I'd been moments before, but I'm sure she could hear it in my voice. I sure missed her and it would be another month before we'd see each other in Vegas.



I'm very glad I have this photo of my bike under that overpass. I'm not ashamed to admit the tear streamed down my face as I took it. I had decided I would suck it up and finished what I started. I would complete this journey. This photo marks my entry to manhood. Im humbled to share this experience with you.

That was the low point of my trip, and in just the few hours following it I would experience drastic improvement.

I remember a few minutes after crossing the Mississippi and into Iowa the first attitude enhancer appeared. It was a fighter jet on my right. I've loved fighter jets my whole life; drawing them, playing with models of them, learning about them, had pictures on my walls of them, but had never seen one in person. This one was running parallel with the interstate, low to the ground, doing aerobatics. I grinned from ear to ear watching it roll and twist and turn. I could hear it over the wind noise in my helmet. It was awesome.

I had my camera mounted to my right hand pelican case with a remote running into my jacket pocket, and I was able to snap this photo of the jet. The second photo is a crop to show it closer.





Later, at an Iowa gas station, I ran into this big yellow van full of college students. They were apparently big sports fans. Very cool van. Couldn't help but cheer me up to see something like that.



I caught a few pictures of it on the interstate, with my remote triggered camera, when I eventually caught back up with them.



The most incredible moment of the day would come at a rural McDonalds along my route in the mid afternoon. I had stopped for a break from the bike and a cold drink. I sat in a booth near the window and kept an eye on my bike.



I saw a middle aged couple pull up in the lot on a cruiser and walk toward the entry. They stopped to look at my bike, giving it a full 360 degree inspection. I could see them pointing and discussing my tag, likely the fact that I was from NC. They entered and ordered food. I had my back to them. They came and sat down nearby, and stopped over to speak to me.

They asked how I liked my seat (referring to my Airhawk pad), and I explained what a lifesaver it'd been. I told them about what I was doing, and where I was headed. They were astounded, a response i'd become pretty numb to. We talked a bit and they went to finish their meal. Eventually they got up to leave and said goodbye as they headed back out. I watched them walk down the sidewalk back toward their bike.

Then, I saw the lady stop. She said something to her husband and turned to come back inside. I figured she'd forgotten something. Next thing I knew there she was standing next to me, as she put a hand on my shoulder.

"I want to give you this," she said, as she handed me a $20 bill. "I think what you're doing is really great."

"Well thank you, you don't have to do that, but I appreciate it very much," I said, surprised.

"And I wanted to tell you something, and I don't want to sound crazy, but I'm a Christian lady and I just felt like God put it on my heart as we were leaving that I needed to come back and tell you this. I have this friend who always reminds me that it's up to us to choose to have a good day. No matter what happens, it's really up to us whether we decide it is a good day or not. So, whatever that may mean to you, I just felt like I needed to tell you that. Make it a good day."

I was stunned. I was certain I hadn't let on what an emotional roller coaster that day had been. I snapped a photo of them getting on the bike knowing i'd remember that moment forever.



I know this isn't necessarily the "forum" for discussion of God or religion, but this is my ride report and you can deal with it.

That experience was the clearest, most real occasion of God speaking to me that I have had to date. I cannot do the story justice. I know it may seem simple and mostly insignificant to most, but I cannot begin to explain how anointed it felt. It was as if God himself had put his hand on my shoulder and encouraged me. I'm not the sort of person who has a list of experiences like this a mile long, and it really spoke to me. It was clear to me in that moment that I was meant to do this trip and that God would be with me every mile of it. He'd given his stamp of approval, no doubt.

I stopped and took pictures of myself at this big windmill farm I came across. I remember thinking how majestic they looked. After so many miles of flat corn they made an impression.







Anyway, several hundred miles later I made it to Omaha, NE, shortly after sunset, ending a day I'd not soon forget.

More to come...
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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 04-03-2013, 03:42 PM   #56
Eagletalon
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Thanks for sharing this report with us. I'm also a Christian and I'm a believer that God can speak to us in anyway and it is up to us to take it or leave. I'm in as well so keep it coming!

Later
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:05 PM   #57
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Good stuff.
Real good.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:11 PM   #58
Brent T
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Great Story

Enjoying it and looking forward to the next chapter!
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:03 PM   #59
ukturfrocks
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Glad you are enjoying this trip. It is an excellent experience to get up and go. Wish I would have be younger when I started traveling on 2 wheels cross country. be safe enjoy
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:04 PM   #60
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That's a really nice start to what appears to be a great ride report. I'd have to agree with you about God and riding.. without waxing too philosophical I would say that God speaks a lot more clearly when you're in the saddle or nearby one.

I think God likes motorbikes.

Safe travels in your future adventures friend.
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