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Old 07-12-2013, 10:52 PM   #1
deucestaley11 OP
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 17
Seattle to Orlando on a GS

I've had the idea in my head for quite some time now to take a motorcycle trip across the US after graduating college. Here I am. Landed a job in Orlando that doesn't start until early August...might was well take the long way!

Day 0: Seattle to Portland
total daily mileage: 189 mi
Net mileage: 189 mi

I set out to Portland from Seattle July 5th on my 92 R100GS. Was a pretty emotional experience leaving behind all that I've found over the last five years at UW (and growing up in Portland). There's no doubt in my mind the connections will remain over time...separation will only make the reunions that much more awesome. Thank goodness for social media I suppose.

Me ceremoniously riding my bike out the frat door. To be honest it wasn't much of a ceremony. More of me filling up the dining room with exhaust and pissing off my buddies who were neglected a hug goodbye because I was too busy trying to look like a badass during my not-so-cool-looking peel-off. I owe you two a beer

The night of the fifth was my sisters 25th birthday. I've never gotten so many dirty/weird/confused looks in a bar before (even in Portland). Here's why...


A fun going away/birthday celebration nonetheless.

My dad (who rides a 2004 R1100S) was able to take enough time off work to accompany me until Las Vegas where his parents/sisters live. Together we had a good time enjoying a beer while planning a scenic route down Oregon, through the Redwoods to hwy 1 down the Cali coastline to San Fran then East through Yosemite and down to Las Vegas...more details to come. I'm hardly a third of the way to Florida and I can safely say I'd be perfectly content traveling on a motorcycle like this for the rest of my life (sorry worried family/friends...just be happy my 92' GS feels like it's gunna explode above 65 mph). It's a good thing my dad and I are on the same page. I'll have to find a way to convince my buddies to follow suit. I think I've already got a few hooked on the lifestyle.

Day 1: Portland, OR to Del Norte Coast Campground, CA
Total daily mileage: 362
Net Mileage: 551 mi

Departed the house I grew up in in Portland around 8am to a mother worried about her son and husband. She definitely didn't need the additional stress after the stork brought her an 8-day-old foster baby a few days prior. Tuff woman I tell ya.

"the horses are ready" as my dad says

No family road trip is complete without candy...and lots of it. My dad managed to lose his reading glasses AT THE FIRST REST STOP. Niceeeeeee

Pulled over for a bathroom break and a pulled pork sandwich at a neat little side-of-the-road eatery just south of Yoncalla, OR on I-5.

Got yelled at for wandering behind the store looking for a bathroom...tried the other side of the joint and got away scot free! Thats what they get for trying to convince me that every routine bathroom trip requires crossing the freeway and walking 2 blocks north to the nearest gas station...TO HELL WITH THAT. We also met a gentlemen who took a keen liking do my dad's beemer "how much does it weight", he asks. My dad couldn't answer the question (who can?). He then showed us images of his torqued-out-wheelie-capable harley, then proceeding to inform us he's a part of a "family biker club". Got a nice chuckle outta that encounter.

Crossed over to US199 headed towards the Cali border in Grants Pass. Obligatory state line photo:

Met and took 101 in Crescent City, CA to begin our search for a grocery store (for camp food) and a campsite. Met a man in the Safeway parking lot who told us to look up "BMW on ice" on Youtube, "it's BANANAS!!!" Sure enough, BANANAS is a pretty damn good way to describe it. Found a quaint spot in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, just North of the Redwoods hwy:

Dinner of hotdogs, chili and fritos

After scarfing the meal we spotted a trail head not far from our campsite...the least we could do to our bodies after 12 hrs on the saddle. Felt mighty accomplished after walking the .9 miles

From then on it became a tradition of ours to take a post-meal hike prior to bed, recapping our day along the way. I was surprised at how easy it was to fall asleep at 9:30 after an average bedtime of 1am the last 5 years.

Day 2: Del Norte Coast, CA to Salt Point State Park, CA
Total daily mileage: 311
Net mileage: 822

Woke up at 6am to a cold, foggy morning had a breakfast of crummy oatmeal and delicious hot chocolate. Rain-geared up and grip heaters blaring we continued down 101S, stopping in Eureka, CA for (another tradition) a brunch of pastries and coffee. The ooing and awing over the giant/magnificent/breathtaking/wonderous redwood trees would soon begin.



The redwoods were my first excuse to strap the FREAKIN AWESOME gopro to my helmet

I bought this thing a few weeks ago and have been nothing but impressed with its all-around performance. If any of you are on the fence about buying one, FK the fence, go buy one. You won't regret it.

There are a few others things worth stopping for upon entering the "Trees of Mystery", my boy Paul Bunyan for one

Here's a head scratcher we found smack in the middle of the redwoods. Thanks sign maker dude.


Dad and I made it goal to find the famous drive thru tree. Later we found out that there's more than one and that driving thru a tree really isn't all that exciting. Off the bucket list nonetheless. (for those who were wondering, there's one in Humboldt State Park).

The gopro edition

We saw a sign for "Avenue of the Giants" and took it without question. 22 mi of jaw dropping up-close views of the redwood trees. I'm very grateful we had and took the time to wind our way through the nooks and crannys of the redwoods. They didn't disappoint.

Ate poor boy sandwiches and peeled layers after exiting the shade of the Redwoods in Garberville, CA. Continued south on 101 until Leggett, CA where the beautiful Hwy 1 begins.

Candy break just before hwy 1 reaches the coast

Various views of the Cali coast along 1 with the iphone and gopro:

Go dawgs

Dad on the edge of the abyss


They deserve their own photo

10 minutes before this came around a corner Dad dropped some knowledge on me about how Russian settlers first inhabited a large portion of the California coast. This is the most Russian looking structure I've ever seen. How he knew this is beyond me.

Funny coincidence

Road winding up in the fog


Hints of blue sky

Found a place to camp in Salt Point State Park near Gerstle Cove.

Burrito dinner. NOTE TO SELF: when buying avocados, check for ripeness. They aren't worth jackdiddlydoda if they're as hard as a watermelon rine. Shouldn't I know this after 23 years?

Is there an aftermarket cruise control for old GS's? Sher could use it...

After dinner we followed a trail near camp that took us to the ocean. On the way down we realized just how lucky we had been the previous 12 hours. Neither of us could recall a single RV or 18 wheeler either in front or behind us. Not one. On a Sunday. No complaints there! There road was also in PERFECT condition. Seems to have been paved not more than a year ago. Couldn't have asked for more.

Interesting growth on the rocks near the water

Yea I where a headlamp from 1988! What of it?!

Zonked by 9:30. Another 12 hour day really took it out of us.

Day 3: Salt Point State Park to Yosemite Lakes Campground
Total Daily mileage: 292
Net mileage: 1,114 mi

Woke up 6am. Burned bagels and hot chocolate for breakfast (at this point we're running out of breakfast ideas...any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind that I'm without a skillet/frying pan. Minimal effort is a plus! Packed up camp then zoomed down 1 to Bodega Bay for pastries and coffee. Man in the parking lot (Mr. DR650 we later called him) filled us in on the primo way to make our grand entrance into San Francisco. "Mt. Tamalpais" he says. More great advice from a fellow enthusiast.

Stunning views

Thanks gopro

That bridge is incredible

Ate chinese with one of my dad's high school buddies then departed San Fran via 580. Terrible traffic on the Bay Bridge and increasing heat made for a stressed out airhead rider. Luckily the bike held up until traffic cleared 25 mi east of SF. Took Hwy 108 to 120 up the hills into Yosemite.

Not sure why I decided to block the cameras view...

We decided to camp just outside of Yosemite in a place called Yosemite Lakes, about 10 mi from the entrance to the national park.

Burritos again for dinner...this time we ditched the avocado altogether and added hot sauce. Made all the difference! Contemplated utilizing the camp showers until we realized neither of us brought towels or soap. No hand soap in the bathrooms either. Showers will have to wait. For $40/night in a campground you think there'd be at least hand soap right? To date we haven't stayed at a campground that provides hand soap. Oh well, we'll have better immune systems by the end of it

Walk around the perimeter of the campground then bed by 9:30.

Day 4: Yosemite Lakes to Bishop, CA
Total daily mileage: 265 mi
Net mileage: 1,379

Wake up at 6 for a breakfast of cocoa and fruit...excited to gawk at the awesomeness that is Yosemite National Park. Before the fun starts I discover the bike is slowly burning oil...good thing I checked or else things could have turned sour real fast. On the look out for an open gas station on the way to the valley. We enter the park to a sign that reads "Pay upon exit"...ever since I bought this $80 "America the Beautiful" annual pass I've been itching to flash the badge and waltz right in...hasn't happened yet.

Hwy 120 down to the Yosemite valley is just a teaser to what awaits at the base.

Just the beginning




I was awestruck at the sight of El Capitan from the bottom of the valley. . Very impressive.



Half Dome in the top right



More pastries and coffee at the Yosemite Village. AND A GARAGE! WE'VE STRUCK MOTOR OIL! I can finally stop worrying about my engine seizing. Topped it off and off we went up the 26 mi Glacier Point Road to even more incredible views of the valley.


Girl on the right adds a nice touch


Finally made it to Glacier Point

Phenomenal view of Half Dome. I couldn't stop imagining the colosssal effect the other half sphere must have had on the ground below when it sheared off...


Peeling layers before the decent back to Yosemite Village

Shade break

Before departing the park dad and I took a dip in the Merced River. The closest thing to a shower since we left Portland. Now I know how Bear Grylls feels when he finds an oasis in the middle of a desert.



Departed Yosemite NP via Tioga Road ("Do not stop, continue through" the sign said), beautiful views of the Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake

I'm still kicking myself for not lighting up the gopro for the rock falls just a few miles prior to Mono Lake. I finally decided to turn it on once Mono Lake came into sight:

A fellow biker at the gas station near Mono Lake filled us in on the June Lake Loop...15 mi loop that "looks like Switzerland". Not exactly sure what that looks like but it was freakin gorgeous nonetheless



SIDE NOTE: are Ford Mustangs cheap in California? This was BY FAR the most popular car in Yosemite. Five years old or newer convertible mustangs. The drivers must have been curious why two dudes on motorcycles were pointing and laughing at their (cheap?) car.

Our goal was to make it all the way to Lone Pine, CA, wake up at 4am before the sunrise then book it across Death Valley before the heat. We only made it as far is Bishop, CA (60 miles short) before it was time to find a campground. We found a nice place called Browns Town Campground and ate a delicious ravioli dinner


It seems Death Valley would have to wait. Just too risky given the time of year, the lack of resources within the park, our limited water supply, and the fact that we were already an hour behind our goal of Lone Pine. Walked to the end of the camp, tried to make friends with the cows (weren't havin it), then hit the sack.

Day 5: Bishop, CA to Las Vegas, NV
Total daily mileage:______
Net mileage:______

Woke up at 5am to beat the desert heat. Breakfast of fruit. Took Hwy 395, to 168 to 95 to 160 to Vegas

Sunrise on the hills

with the gopro

Obligatory state line photo

I'm beginning to wonder how I'm to take these photos once my dad returns home...

Stopped for brunch in Beatty, NV. Dad discovered he's got a slow leak coming from around the final drive seal area (good thing we didn't cross Death Valley . "Where the hell can we find gear oil in Beatty, NV" Sure enough a dinky hardware store down the road had exactly what he needed. This begged the philosophical question, in my dad's words, "How long has that bottle of 80-90 gear oil been waiting for me to pluck it off the shelf?" and "Where was I the day it was first brought into the store?" We'll be waiting a long time for the answers to those of the great things about being on a motorcycle is all you can do is think about whatever comes to your mind.

Big news in Vegas the past couple days has been the Carpenter 1 forrest fire (caused by lightning) that's been raging since early July...quite a site from Hwy 160


Rain that evening brought the containment from about 10% to 40%. And it hardly EVER rains in Vegas this time of year...mother nature apologizing for her wrongdoings I suppose.

Bikes home safe at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Vegas!

Another evening walk to continue the tradition...along for the "walk" are my Aunt and Uncle's "dogs" that are too decrepit to take a walk around the block...good thing it was dark outside

These last few days spent with family provided a much needed change of pace. After two nights in a bed I feel 100% refreshed and ready for the next leg of my trip east. Through Zion, Bryce Canyon, Natural Bridges, Arches, then into CO via I-70. Btw are there any recommendations out there for good west to east adventure riding through CO? I know the state's chalk full of all sorts of terrain, I bet I really couldn't go too wrong with any route I choose. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Cheers all!
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:44 AM   #2
One day at a time!
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
Oddometer: 713
Great photos!

This is really a well written RR and very entertaining. Good luck....stay safe.

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride

Oldone screwed with this post 07-14-2013 at 06:04 PM
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:41 AM   #3
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Ray City, Ga
Oddometer: 954
lookin good! happy to see you had some company for the kick-off.

... and yes. i agree on the gopro. i just got one a couple of weeks ago, and i haven't really gotten to play with it much yet. i see many uses in its future.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:03 AM   #4
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: May 2004
Oddometer: 2,478
Sounds like you are headed into Moab, rather than taking 70 through Colorado, head to Paradox and Telluride, Ouray then Million Dollar Hwy to Durango and back...then Gunnison, Monarch Pass and on to Denver....if you have the time, there are many other gorgeous places to see along the route. You won't regret it..don't waste a valuable opportunity on the interstate.
"Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization"
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Ray City, Ga
Oddometer: 954
Originally Posted by KHVol View Post
Sounds like you are headed into Moab, rather than taking 70 through Colorado, head to Paradox and Telluride, Ouray then Million Dollar Hwy to Durango and back...then Gunnison, Monarch Pass and on to Denver....if you have the time, there are many other gorgeous places to see along the route. You won't regret it..don't waste a valuable opportunity on the interstate.
thats an epic run. i've readup on Telluride and Ouray. definitely a must-see if you can do it.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Alberta
Oddometer: 244
Great ride and storytelling! Love that classic Beemer.
2013 ride report:
2012 KLR 650, 2015 FJ 09
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:56 PM   #7
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Maryland U.S.
Oddometer: 71
I'm in, keep the RR going!
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:06 AM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: north florida
Oddometer: 1,688
it's getting cooler in florida...
2012 VSTROM ADV 650
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:37 PM   #9
deucestaley11 OP
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 17
Day 6, 7: Vegas
Total daily mileage: 0
Net mileage: 1,675

These two days were mostly spent eating Krispy Kreme donuts at my grandma and grandpa's house...wouldn't have it any other way. Oh yea, we also ran a few errands to REI and my grandpa's sweet bead shop (Discount Beads). Dad and I parted ways the morning of day 7, he to return to Portland and I to continue to Florida.

Parting ways

I got a call around 9pm that day from dad saying he had just experienced, in his words, the Best Motorcycle Day Ever (BMDE). From his blog: "And then there was CA 190. 35 miles of the most exhilarating sequence of hard lefts and tight rights I've ever tried to keep up with. Remember the first time you heard Free Bird and you couldn't believe how long the guitars kept playing? That's what this road was like. And they draped it around a stunning river canyon like a diamond necklace on a nude model, daring you to take your eyes off the yellow lines. It finally spit me out in Springville to a flaming sunset that burned the hills orange, under a perfect crescent moon, and get this, a squadron of hang gliders overhead. It occurred to me that perhaps I had missed a turn somewhere and I was actually in heaven. But I wouldn't have to settle for a Super 8 in heaven, right?"

He prefaced the conversation by saying he wasn't intentionally trying to make me jealous, and that he was sorry I couldn't be there to enjoy the experience. He reiterated the same before the call ended. Didn't make me feel any better about having missed the BMDE. All good though, he made up for it by saying how I should get a tattoo of the CA 190 sign (after I ride it, of course) and that he'd act as the shield against my mother who would damn near disown me if I ever got ANY sort of tattoo...sorry in advance mom, it's just a matter of time now

Day 8: Las Vegas to Orderville, UT
Total daily mileage: 239
net mileage: 1,914

My last breakfast in Vegas consisted of 4 Krispy Kreme donuts, a glass of OJ, milk, water, and a cup of coffee. I think this was my grandma's subtle way of telling me I should take more breaks while I'm on the road.

Heading for Zion, I set out on I-15. Stopped to change the oil in St. George, UT outside of an O'Reily's

All went well except I dropped the damn crush washer in the hot oil...took me about 15 minutes scraping along the bottom of the pan with an allen wrench to find it. Maybe I should add a magnet to my tool kit.

Crossed over to Hwy 9 in Hurricane and followed it through Zion National Park (FINALLY I get to flash my America the Beautiful card, only $55 more until it pays for itself).

Man is Zion beautiful...arriving a little later in the day I didn't have time for any of the hikes. Just took the 80 min bus tour up and down the canyon. I'll have to make up for that another time because from what I hear the hikes are world class. Snapped a few pics from the base:

From the bus window (I felt like that goofy tourist from Speed)

After the tour I felt it was time to do a little experimenting with the bar mount I bought for the Gopro. I should have tried this from the new favorite way to look at things is through the forks of a motorcycle.

Got lucky with this one. I had the camera set to take a photo once a minute

In the tunnel. Almost looks cartoonish, doesn't it?

I miss my camera man!

After leaving the park I took a paved road called North Fork Road that eventually turned to dirt. Since I bought the bike I've been curious to see how it performs off -road. It did well considering it's size/weight. My only concern was the structural integrity of the BMW panniers, every bump I hit felt and sounded like the bags were seconds away from detaching themselves from the bike. The last thing I want is to have to limp one of those around on my lap. Perhaps I'll look into the Touratech Panniers. By the looks they seem much more sturdy.

Riding on the dirt I realized moving to Florida will put a serious damper on my ability to shred dirt bike gnar in Bend, OR with my dad and uncle . Guess I'll just have to be patient.

Go Dawgs

Transferred to Hwy 89 en route to Bryce Canyon. Camped in a little RV resort called Bauer's Canyon Ranch.

THEY HAD HAND SOAP. I've found that camping is all about the little things.

Day 9: Orderville, UT to Natural Bridges National Monument, UT
Total daily mileage: 375
Net mileage: 2,289

Set out for Bryce Canyon early morning. I personally thought it was more impressive than Zion...but then again I didn't go on any of the hikes . Either way my first impressions of the state of UT are nothing short of spectacular. Got to flash America the Beautiful! $30 more until even.

Face melting views

I met a man from the UK at a gas station who's doing a little touring of his own. His bike of choice back home is a GS but in the states he chose a Harley, "It's slow, heavy, and hard to maneuver...and I LOVE IT." Props for broadening horizons.

Found these babys in the same gas station

Riding along the northern rim of the Grand-Staircase Escalante on Hwy 12 was a bit of a mental roller coaster. It wasn't uncommon for there to be at least 50 miles separating towns and the weather was in the high 90s...cue worrisome thoughts. But man is that drive something else. Plateaus galore.

To quote my dad, "The straighter the road, the more the mind wanders"

Self portrait

New favorite view

Accidental self portrait

Cheese Box butte

I've never been so mesmerized by scenery while on a motorcycle before. UT really blew me away.

I arrived at Natural Bridges NM around 6pm. My initial plan was to take a quick peek at the park then be on my way to find a spot to camp along Hwy 95. I entered the park loop thinking it might be just a mile or two long. I had no intentions of staying any longer than necessary because the clouds above were threatening HEAVY rain. Here's what's going through my head mile by mile:

mile 1: This one-way track is kinda fun with nobody on it but me!

mile 2: How long could this loop possible take? I've got a few minutes to spare to hop off the bike and take a quick hike down to the viewing area...

mile 3: hmmm somethings not right...

mile 4: I wonder how much longer I have before those clouds unleash hell...oh shit lightning!

mile 5: ...

mile 6: I know the general direction of the visitors center, it'll be quicker if I just cut through the middle of the damn park...

mile 7: Terrible idea...

mile 8: I sher would like to give the person responsible for posting signs around here a kick in the balls...
mile 9:

Thank goodness there was a campground very near the visitors center...pretty sure I PR'd my time for setting up camp. All of my belongings made it into the tent literally a minute before hell unleashed...phewwww! Glad that's over. I glance at my phone and its only 7. BALLS! Trapped in a tent with no food and a kindle running low on battery two hours before the sun goes down. Out of no where a man yells over the rain clobbering the tent, "your welcome to join me in my camper if you'd like, avoid this rain". I'm saved! Not only did Mike save me from hours of lonesome boredom, he fed me a delicious quesadilla dinner! And beer! Coming from CO he had tons of recommendations about the good roads to take, some of which were similar to what KHVol had mentioned above. At the end of the night he offered breakfast the next morning. I'll take it!

Day 10: Natural Bridges to Cortez, CO
Total daily mileage: 138
Net mileage: 2427

He was also kind enough to heat up a bucket of water for me to use to clean up a bit. After enjoying a delicious breakfast of eggs, pancakes, milk , and coffee, we exchanged contact information and said our goodbyes. I walk back to my site and happen to glance in the mirror of the bike to find this

Mike, I salute you for keeping a straight face that morning. You must of been wondering how could someone possibly look more ridiculous AFTER cleaning up...
Thanks again Mike for all you did for me in that 12 hour stretch, I'll be sure to pay it forward someday. Enjoy your retirement!

After a great start to the morning I head east toward CO.

While checking my blindspot entering the freeway I spot the "Welcome to UT" sign. I entered Utah on the freeway so I was denied the opportunity before. The state deserves the credit after all it's done for me in the last couple days.

I arrive in Cortez to find dangerous looking rain clouds in the direction I'm heading. The hourly weather report calls for thunder storms in the afternoon so I decide to wait it out in the Cortez public library

Weather command station.I sat in this chair for about 4 hours, checking the weather every 10 minutes.

At about 5pm I say to hell with it. Found a crappy Econo Lodge down the road and proceeded to watch an ungodly string of Game of Thrones episodes (I get a big kick everytime the red head says Jon Snewwwwww!!!). I also managed to rip off the vending of those deals where the one in front is dangling on the edge. I'm sad to say that getting two starbursts for the price of one was the highlight of my day.

Day 11: Cortez, CO to Cimarron, CO
Total daily mileage: 269
Net mileage: 2696

Took Hwy 160 East toward Durango but first stopped off at Mesa Verda NP. I was debating on whether or not I should check it out, I definitely made the right decision. Very interesting to see how the natives lived way back when. Incredible how well preserved it all is, I overheard one of the guides say some of the dwellings are over 95% preserved. $8 off AtheB.

Met Hwy 550 in Durango and followed it north. LOVE this road. Is this the famed "million dollar highway"...Sure seemed like it could be. Enjoyed every bit despite the fog cover.

Overlooking the city of Silverton. Really enjoyed walking the streets of this old mining town.

I'd like to take this thing for a spin

Hooked a right on 50E at Montrose then stopped by Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP. $25 more dollars off America the Beautiful...I'm up on the National Park Service $3 LETS GOOOOOOO! I had no idea what the park was all about going in. The fast moving Gunnison River carved out a pretty impressive canyon. The park also did a nice job of recognizing the engineering brilliance that went into digging a diversion tunnel 5.8 miles long for irrigation, built in 1909 and still in use today.

The road leading to the bottom of the canyon was 3 miles long with a 16% grade . Good thing I had a motor to help me back up.
Continued East on 50 until the dark clouds rolled in the distance were consistent lightning strikes. Flipped a Youy and high tailed it back to the nearest campground (in Cimarron). Right next to the Cimarron River.

Ate canned chile and sunflower seeds for dinner. Went to bed seeing lightning flashes through my eyelids.

Day 12: Cimarron, CO to Denver, CO
Total daily mileage: 320
Net mileage: 3,016

Followed 50E thru Gunnison and up Monarch Pass (GREAT recommendation Mike and KHVol)

Took 285N then 24W to I70. Ate a tasty pulled pork sandwich at this fine establishment in Vail

Booked it east on 70 to try and make it to the BMW of Denver bike shop for new oil/filter and tires. I made it with just enough time for the techs to finish the service before closing.

Cool store they've got there. And nice people. A winning combination. During the service I had a few hours to kill so I decided to make a list of the songs that have gotten/get stuck in my head while I'm riding. In no particular order (with the exception of #1...this one ALWAYS pops up) and off the top of my head:

1. American Pie, Don McLean
2. California Love, 2ac
3. Till I Collapse, Eminem
4. Hotel California, The Eagles
5. I'll Be Home for Christmas (yea i have no idea why)
6. Kokomo, Beach Boys
7. Take Me Home Tonight, Eddie Money
8. We Build this City, Starship
9. Out of Touch, Hall and Oates (Hall and Oates never made a bad song in my mind. Minus Maneater)
10. Get Lucky, Daft Punk (literally ALL DAY on one of the first days of the trip...I blame I-5 between Portland and Eugene)
11. Do you Remember, Jack Johnson

This list should grow in the next couple days...

Met up with one of my sister's friends in Denver. Just so happens I showed up on a Wednesday. Denver Cruiser night. Everyone who owns a bike and has nothing to do the next day bikes to various predetermined bars around the city. The "leader" takes the packs from one bar to the next. At the end of the night all neighborhoods end up at the same location AND ALL BICYCLE HELL BREAKS LOOSE. There had to have been thousands of people (and their bikes) enjoying a disregard for the open container law (which seemed to be perfectly fine with DPD) and delicious food carts. Oh yea, and the "Ring of Death" where no one sober rides their bike (or trike, unicylc, GIANT unicycle, scooter, skateboard...anything with wheels) around in a circle...pushing and shoving encouraged. Combine the flood of people trying to get in and out of the madness, the flashing cameras, and your BAC and what you've got is a GREAT TIME! I REALLY should have brought the gopro and slapped it on my forehead... Props to Denver for putting something like this together. Portland and Seattle I challenge you to follow suite.

The second bar stop. I think us three were the only ones that got the memo about the tourist theme. Damn right we had fanny packs...I probably would have lost wallet and cell phone in the Ring of Death without it.

The adventure continues...
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:38 AM   #10
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Maryland U.S.
Oddometer: 71
It looks like some nice riding in UT, the for fork mounted? photo view is working!
What are you using to update your RR on the road? I'm enjoying this keep it going
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:24 AM   #11
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Oddometer: 733
You are gonna be looking back at this trip for a long time and enjoying the memories. A great way to arrive at a new job.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:23 PM   #12
deucestaley11 OP
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 17
Originally Posted by TarmacSurfer View Post
It looks like some nice riding in UT, the for fork mounted? photo view is working!
What are you using to update your RR on the road? I'm enjoying this keep it going
Thanks for reading! So what I've got with me is an iPhone, Gopro, and Samsung galaxy tablet. The tablet and Gopro both use mini (or micro, not sure which) USDs for memory. Once I'm in a city where I can use a computer with Internet for an extended period of time (so far Vegas and Denver), I tell the story from previous post to present. So far it's worked well. It really helps that both Gopro and tablet have the same memory stick.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:52 PM   #13
deucestaley11 OP
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 17
Day 13: Denver, CO
Total daily mileage: 0
Net mileage: 3,016

Spent all day blogging in Denver. Bounced between the downtown library and my sister’s friend’s place. At the library all that was available was a single one hour max computer. Five minutes before the end of the hour it notified me that “You’re down to your last 5 minutes! Click here for an additional 10”. Why not, right? I got the additional 10 about 10 more times. At this point I’m convinced this pattern will continue indefinitely. The tenth time the damn machine didn’t warn me that this was the ABSOLUTE LAST TIME I could add another ten. I looked up and saw there was 60 seconds left AHHHHHHHHH! I immediately started scrambling to open my email, save the document, and email the doc to myself before the last two hours evaporate into nothing. Luckily I made it in time. Diffusing a bomb with a ticking timer must be INSANE. Martin Riggs sher makes it look easy.

Day 14: Denver, CO to Cedar Bluff State Park, KS
Total daily mileage: 395
Net mileage: 3,411

East of Colorado was planned day to day. Knowing zilch about Kansas I thought a good place to start would be to follow roads on this neat little map I bought made by National Geographic titled “US Scenic Drives”. Followed 36E out of Denver into Kansas until Norton where I turned south on 283. SQUAT! I think Nat Geo was just being polite when they added Hwy 36…or any road in Kansas for that matter. I did, however, enjoy myself plenty at the gas stations I pulled into. An old, frail, farm-worked gentleman confronted me in Hill City as I was readying my bike for fuel. Speaking very slow he asked, “That a two-cylinder engine?”
“Yep, sure is.”
“Is that B-M-W for Bavarian Motor Works or Be My Woman?”

My new favorite pick up line. Very nice and welcoming people in Kansas. Really made up for the lack of scenery. Also, I’m fairly certain people east of CO have no idea what a Camelback is. I feel like Marty McFly and his life preserver every time I fill it at the soda machine.

This image never gets old

Stopped in at a DQ for some frozen treats and to hunt for a spot to camp. Located Cedar Bluff State Park not too far down the road and high-tailed down to beat an impending storm.

Here’s the site

Highest winds I had faced so far. Added the rocks for support and the bike for wind protection and I was still worried about Dorthy-ing in the middle of the night.

Got pretty lucky with this iphone photo…just goes to show the frequency of the lighting strikes

Once I realized I had a much more capable camera in my other pocket I tried to use the photo burst function of the gopro to get more lighting shots…turned out to be too dark .

Just as I thought the storm had passed more wind would hit…then lighting…then heavy rain. Must have happened three different times. In the morning I promised myself I’d write a thank you letter to the makers of the tent (Sierra Designs). That is one fabulously designed piece of camping equipment.

More songs to add to the list:

12. Under the Boardwalk, The Drifters
13. Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers
14. Song of the South, Alabama
15. Chicken Fried, Zac Brown Band
16. Who’ll Stop the Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Day 15: Cedar Bluff State Park, KS, to Fredonia, KS
Total daily mileage: 352
Net mileage: 3,763

I made the decision to stick with interstates for the remainder of Kansas. The rationale being I’d be much closer to civilization if my bike decided to kick the bucket. I also missed seeing other cars. Took I-70E to Salina then turned south on 135. Saw a few wind turbines not too far from the interstate. Since getting a job with Siemens Energy I’ve been curious to see what these things look like up close. Not certain I’d be able to get to the base (but also not a bit afraid of dirt ) I decided to find the road that led to the field. Sure enough not a mile from the exit was a dirt road that winded its way to the grassy field where the things had been staked into the ground.

That tiny red thing at the base is my motorcycle.

Very impressive. Can’t wait to someday climb to the top!

At some point along some road I caught a glimpse of a sign that said something about a motorcycle museum…ABSOLUTELY!!! I was begging for an excuse to leave the monotony that was pretty much every road in KS. Followed the exit to Marquette and found one hidden gem of a museum. First thing I saw upon walking in was a photo of a gentleman by the name of Stanely Engdahl, the co-curator of the museum who passed a few years ago.

The old woman at the front desk informed my that Stanely won each and every one of these trophies over the course of his 40-some-odd years of motorcycle racing. WOA

A few of my favorite bikes:

1929 Indian Scout. 600cc, 3 speed, original paint and condition

Yamaha Gator. Made to haul 3 people! Sounds like a GREAT time.

I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Not sure about the motorcycle though…

Of course this one struck my attention . It’s owner drove “Lucille” across the world. Put an idea or two in my head…

The museum tangent taught me to never judge the small towns based on the roads leading to them. Grateful I took the time.

It started pissing rain right around Fredonia, KS so I quickly seeked shelter in a motel. I was happy to be safe under a roof after last night’s excitement. More of the same nasty weather that evening.

Tent/fly/sleeping bag taking up its fair share of space in the motel room

Day 16: Fredonia, KS to Harrison, AR
Total daily mileage: 266
Net mileage: 4,029

Woke up to pouring rain. Watched the same re-run of the morning weather report about 6 times. Drank about the same number of coffees . The weather service finally convinced me that no, sunshine would not be in the weather report today. Just rain and thunderstorms. Seeing the good in the bad I thought this would be the perfect day to put my rain gear to the test.

Primary point of failure. Gators really would have helped this situation.

My hands also turned purple from the dye in the gloves

The only reason I’ll ever go back is to Kansas is to mount my GS next to Lucille after my Across the Globe.

At my next gas stop I was confronted by a guy who drove a large, luxurious suv. He asked, “Howya like that liquid sunshine?” My reaction was less than stellar.

While buying an Arkansas road map the station attendants tipped me to a small town called Eureka Springs near the Missouri-Arkansas border. Following my nose I checked it out and found it to be cool little town. Pulled over for some cheesecake ice cream and stumbled on some interesting “treehouse” motels.

Due to the weather I did a fair amount of the head-down wrist-twist, so that explains my lack of photos. One pattern I did notice was the large number of dead somethings, upsidown, on the side of the road. Looked kinda like an armadillo? Do armadillos even live on this continent? Whatever they are, they suck at avoiding traffic.

Stopped the bleeding and pulled into a motel in Harrison, AR.

Day 17: Harrison, AR to Wall Doxey State Park, MS
Total daily mileage: 368
Net: 4,397

Rain in the AM…this is getting old. Followed Hwy 12E through most of Arkansas. Somewhere along the road the sun poked its head. Pulled over, shouted HALLELUJAH, and took this picure

Gotta love the small victories after 2 days of rain.

Had a particularly eventful/emotional gas stop somewhere in Arkansas. It started with me eating a delicious deli sandwich…I’ve learned to greatly appreciate good gas station food, as it RARELY occurs. As I was enjoying my meal break I noticed over my shoulder a cat was watching me eat, but at the same time keeping its distance. I tried the hand-down-look-as-unintimidating-as-possible thing but he/she wasn’t going for it. Not thinking much of it I finished my meal, threw my trash away around the corner of the building and returned to the picnic table to find a kitten had appeared and the parent cat digging for food in a pile of trash.

There’s a soft spot in my heart for neglected animals. The foster care safety net can’t catch all I suppose. I quickly looked for another distraction to help me forget about the cats and found a Washington license plate. The first I had seen since California. THANK THE LORD! All I wanted to do was talk about something familiar. Turned out the middle-aged lady driving the mini-van, who would have fit in PERFECTLY in Seattle, was from Switzerland. And the car was a rental. If that sandwich weren’t so damn good I would have turned around and gone back home.

Things were looking up crossing into Tennessee

First stop was Graceland

Waiting in the tour line to take A bus across A street

Hope I’m not spoiling this for anyone

Dude was pretty extravagant

Were mirrors on the ceilings and walls in a stairwell really necessary??? I guess you can do whatever the hell you want when you’re the King.

There was no shortage of self-portraits

After walking by his Jungle Room, fit with classic 70s green shag carpet on the floors AND walls I confirmed that Elvis’s life was just one giant, never ending party. Gokarts in the backyard? Raquetball extension room? Make-shift shooting range next to the office? Dude knew how to have a good time.

Left Graceland to peruse the city of Memphis for a little while, then headed east out of town to find a spot to camp. Eventaully and accidentally made my way to Mississippi where, for the first time in my life, enjoyed getting lost. “So THIS is what the south looks like…” I remember thinking to myself. I’m not even sure if Northern Mississippi is considered the south. Either way I thought some of it was picture worthy

Gross, Mississippi

Around 8pm, with the sun getting low, I found Wall Doxey State Park (near Lake Chewalla). Hot, humid, and FULL of mosquitos. Scrambling to setup camp before dark, my body temperature seemed to peak the instant I zip the tent closed.

At least it wasn’t raining. It was also the first time I had ever seen fire flies…HOW DO THEY PRODUCE THAT LIGHT?! This trip has really helped me lower my dependence on google.

Snapped a pic of the site after packing up the tent in the morning

Day 18: Wall Doxey State Park, MS to Fayetville, TN
Total daily mileage: 227
Net mileage: 4,624

More AM rain. Luckily it didn’t start until just after I had packed up camp. Met an older gentlemen in a McDonald’s who told me all I needed to know about the good riding roads in eastern Tennessee/western North Carolina. Main two on his list: Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway. Boy am I glad I ran into him…more on that later . Once we were done talking I put my hand out to thank him for all the information. As he rose to his feet he shook my hand and said with a big grin, “My friends call me Stick!” By the time he was fully vertical he looked about 3 inches taller than me. I’m 6’4”!

The past few days my left eye had been irritating me. Intermitten blurry vision and redness, I figured mostly due to my lack of personal hygiene over the past two weeks. Went to an eye doctor in Holly Springs, MS to see if they could confirm my self diagnosis. Turns out the doc was out of town that Tuesday, however, two of his lovely assistants were present in his absence.

“So what’s the point of you two being here if the doctor’s not around?”

“Hmmm not much really. We answer phone calls!”

Not too eager to re-enter the pouring rain outside I decided to chat with these two for a little longer. I quickly learned that they were looking for entertainment just as much as I was. I told them about my trip, where I had gone and where I was going. I asked them if they knew of a doctor to the north in Tennessee, as that was the direction I was heading at the time.

“So since you’re heading south, there’s a WONDERFUL eye clinic in Oxford, just 30 miles along 7. Once you leave this building, take a right down the main road and half an hour later you’ll be there.”

“I JUST CAME FROM THAT DIRECTION. Like I said I’m heading NORTH, into Tennessee.” They look at one another and laugh.

“Honey, you’re going south, this is the doctor you should see.” Confused and amused I once again very plainly reiterate the fact that as soon as I leave the building I’ll be taking a left on Hwy 7, north into Tennessee. They FINALLY referred me to a clinic in Bolivar, TN.

They must have been thrown off by how I said Florida was my final destination. I guess some people can only think in straight lines.

Saw the doc in Bolivar. Turned out my intuition was correct. I had neglected my personal hygiene to the point of eye failure!

“Take more showers.” He said

“Give me my money back.” I thought

Better safe than sorry

My anticipation for the roads in Tennessee peaked when I found that the local grocery store only sold road maps of the eastern half of the state.

Followed 7N to 64E and followed it to Fayetville for a night of in a motel. Needed time to mentally prepare for the mapped half of the state.

17. Rockstar, Nickelback
18. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding
19. Down the Line, Gerry Rafferty

Day 19: Fayetville, TN to Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN
Total daily mileage: 203
Net mileage: 4,827

First thing AM headed on 231N to 129E to Lynchburg and the Jack Daniels distillery. En route I gained a small fascination for old, decrepit Tennessee barns.

Tucked away

Interesting name for a town. It felt weird to me to read the name of the town then the word “Welcome” directly after.

Participated in the free tour of the distillery. At just about every pause the tour guide would confirm that “Evvvvery single drop of Jack Daniel’s whiskey passes thru TEN FEET of charcoal!” No joke, either. She walked us to the top of the 15 ft tall container, opened the lid and sure enough the whiskey, after condensing on the pipes, was slowly dripping above 10ft of charcoal. Pretty cool. I also found it amazing that they collect and use water from an underground spring that feeds a natural cave not ¼ mile away from the plant, no processing/filtering after collection. And they make their own barrels. And only use them once. And Jack Daniel’s was 5’1” tall?! And he died from kicking his safe?! And they have something called Good Friday where, along with their paychecks, the employees are handed a fifth of Jack?! And Lincoln County, the same county that produces evvvvery single drop of JD, is dry?! And REO Speedwagon is a car?! And I was reminded of the time I butchered REO Speedwagon’s Keep on Loving You at karaoke one night?! Basically, I’m going to appreciate and savor the next time I pour a shot of Jack back. The first time I’ve ever been upset at the end of a tour.

REO Speedwagon

Killin it on the far right

Headed out of Lynchburg on 82N to Shelbyville, then followed 231N to Murfreesboro. Got lost three separate times. I swear that town lacks traffic signage. By the third time the thought crossed my head, “Maybe they’re doing it on purpose…maybe they want me here…maybe they want my head on a stick!!!” FINALLY I found 96E and booked it to Smithville. I didn’t look back. Hit 56N and crossed the Center Hill Lake

40E to 111S to 30E to 284W later I arrived at Fall Creek Falls State Park. Very cool, quiet and scenic campground

Love birds at the bottom. That was accidental___

It was a small hike to get to the viewpoints of the falls. With me I carried 6 items, 5 of which I was conscious of

1. Cell phone
2. Wallet
3. Gopro
4. Headlamp
5. Sunflower seeds

Can you guess which one I thought I had safely tucked away in the same pocket of my jacket I always put it in?

Here’s a picture of me goofing around with 3 of the 6 items. All of which began the hike in my pockets. I wish I could go back and punch myself in the face at this very moment.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:25 PM   #14
deucestaley11 OP
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 17
Day 20: Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN to Indian Boundary Campground, TN
Total daily mileage: 262
Net mileage: 5,089

Rewind to Day 7. I forgot to mention this fairly important bit of information. That morning I stumbled over something on the bike I didn’t know was there…a handlebar lock! Great! Down low on the steering stem and inconveniently placed but there nonetheless. Now I don’t have to worry about someone slipping my bike into neutral and rolling it away. I stuck the key in, tried giving it a twist…wouldn’t turn. I removed my right hand from key but left the key still in the lock then removed my left hand from the bars and SMASH! Now I have a bent and unusable key. Carefully removed it from the lock and tried it in the ignition, all six pannier locks, and the gas tank. Wouldn’t go as far as halfway in any. Good thing I brought a spare! I really should have listened to my uncle when he told me (more than once) that it’d be a good idea to replace the one I had just bent, “No, no it’s fine. I’ll just be really careful with this next one.”

Woke up. No key. Panic. I retrace my every step from the night before and came up empty. Thoughts of losing an entire day to this BULL SHIT surfaced. But I was determined. Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway were on the agenda. Like hell I’m not making it. Broke out the surgical tool kit aka my trusty leatherman and began gingerly flattening my old key with the pliers. Turns out it wasn’t just bent, the impact had caused a tear where the blade meets the bow…brought back memories of engineering courses on the topic of “stress concentrators”. Too much in the wrong direction would guarantee the end of my day. Tried the ignition…all the way in! But still wouldn’t turn. Applied a little more force on the next squeeze and tried again. Sure as sugar, dash lights came on. Obscenities of joy were heard round the camp that morning. This time I’d REALLY have to be careful with the key.

From Fall Creek Falls I followed 30E then turned north on 302 in Old Washington. Crossed over the Watts Bar Dam along 68E then caught 411N in Madisonville.

Watts Bar Dam

Paused for a breather at a Wendy’s. In case you were wondering, a Frosty in a waffle cone is delicious.

I began this monster that boasts 318 curves in 11 miles at the north end and went south

The holy grail. My guess is the dudes that take these pictures make an absolute killing. How could you possibly resist? It was $6!

Thought I’d let the reader relish in the above picture before telling them the real truth. Not ten feet to the right of this picture is a middle aged woman on a Harley taking her sweet time rounding every corner. Wasn’t going above 10 mph. Very bad and regrettable things were coming out of my mouth. I Honestly thought this picture would turn out complete trash. Now I KNOW these photographers are making a killing.

The Dragon ends pretty near the NC border at the south end. Thumbs up for still having a heart beat

Can’t come up with a more badass way for a bee to die

A little unnecessary but ok

After a delicious blue Gatorade I headed on 165W to see what all the hubbub was about the Cherohala Skyway.

HUBBUB INDEED!!! Looking back on all of this I really should have paid more attention to the For Sale signs hugging the TN-NC border. I WANT BACK!

Thoroughly enjoyed this road. Enough to go back the other direction in the morning. 15 miles before it ends (in Tellico Plains) I found a spot to camp in Indian Boundary Campground.

Not much for primitive campers there but I made do.

Just before bed the neighbor to my left greeted the bike and I. Tomorrow I’d ride the Blue Ridge Parkway…

20. Keep on Loving You, REO Speedwagon
21. Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey
22. On the Road Again, Willie Nelson
23. Sweet Talkin’ Woman, ELO

Day 21: Indian Boundary Campground, TN to Shelby, NC
Total mileage: 247
Net mileage: 5,336

In order to reach the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Cherokee, NC I had to backtrack a little ways on the Cherohala Skyway. No complaints there. I was literally the only one on the road that Friday morning. Changed the oil in Robbinsville, NC thanks to the kind owner of a used bike shop that let me borrow an oil pan and funnel. This time I used some Castrol part synthetic. I still haven’t figured out this whole oil thing. For how important this substance is to an engine I’m blown away by how inconsistent and convoluted the opinions are regarding what type of oil should be used. Or should I be amazed at the German engineers who designed such a versatile engine? I think next time I change it I’ll throw two quarts of 3-in-1 down the funnel and see what happens.

Picked up the BRP in Cherokee…

Not sure what these were. Would have stopped to take a closer look but lets be honest I had better things to do

The Appalachian Mountains were stunning


Said my prayers that morning…the wheels kept turning! Check the trip meter. God is such a jokester.

Photo credit to my right front turn signal

After riding the BRP for 50 miles I realized I had made a huge mistake. Thirty years from now THIS will be the road I remember. The two-lane highway that continues for 400 miles, restricts commercial traffic, and protects its scenery from eye sores like gas stations. Has a consistent 45 mph speed limit, over 100 pull offs, and longgggg sweeping and predictable curves. But by this date there was no more time for me to continue north, as my Orlando arrival date was fast approaching. I’d have to cut east for the coast early and leave the one road that I should have had my eyes on long before I left my frat door.

I WILL be back.

Cut east off of BRP on 26 then 76E. Found a motel in Shelby, NC. After an incredible day of riding things went downhill pretty quickly.

I’ve never in my life ran anything but clothes in a washing machine. Not sure why I started now.

I woke up feeling just a tad under the weather. Runny nose and scratchy throat. Didn’t think much of it but was a little curious as to why. I couldn’t remember the last time I was sick during the summer. Ready to see something that will probably make you second-guess ever using a Camelback again?

HOW LONG HAD THIS SHIT BEEN GROWING?!!!! AND WHY?!!! I never let the bladder run dry and had always filled up using reliable sources of water (spigot from a gas station soda machine). The hose was pretty caked too. Looked on the camelback website and they said to clean with bleach or baking soda. I was too scared of potentially poisoning myself with bleach so I used baking soda. Might have killed all of the bacteria? I’m really not sure how potent that stuff is. I know damn well it didn’t remove the visible evidence. I hardly used the Camelback the rest of the trip. Let this be a lesson learned.

Day 22: Shelby, NC to Francis Marion NF, SC
Total daily mileage: 414
Net mileage: 5,750

Followed 74E all the way to Wilmington, NC where I picked up 17S to start along the coast. Rode my longest stretch without pause between Shelby and Wilmington. 110 miles. All thanks to shoulder shrugs. That’s the give. The take is you look like a complete loser while doing it. Gotta do whatcha gotta do, right?

I was pretty quick to check out what Atlantic Ocean sand looked like. Sunset Beach, NC was the first to draw my attention. Parked out of site of the water and slowly came into it’s view. It was a weird feeling having this in front of me after seeing the Pacific Ocean only 20 days earlier. The country, and the world for that matter, will always seem like a smaller place.

Beach tradition of mine

My high hopes for Myrtle Beach being a cool, reserved golf/beach town were completely on. Vespa rentals, fast food restaurants, and mini golf courses are all I remember seeing. Drove through as quickly as possible A) to get the hell out of that town and B) to find camping somewhere along Hwy 17 before sundown. Myrtle Beach State Park…no vancany. Huntington Beach State Park…no vacancy. It’s about 8pm and I’m getting desperate. The closest patch of green on the map (I assume green patches are places I can pitch a tent without being harassed by locals whose southern accents are so thick it might as well be another language) is Francis Marion National Forrest. In between here and there was this fine establishment

I took Hwy 45 into the park. 10 miles in and its REALLY getting dark. Just prior to flippin a youy and finding a motel I come across a campground (don’t remember the name). Shortly after, I get ear-mauled by mosquitos. Normally I don’t have too big of an issue with the things. If they buzz near my ears, shit becomes personal. I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and seek out the fuer until him AND all his buddies are all smears on my carhartts. Blood for blood. After 414 miles on the saddle and a war with the mosquitos, lying horizontally had NEVER felt better.

Day 23: Francis Marion National Forrest to Skidaway Island State Park, GA
Total daily mileage: 230
Net mileage: 5,980

Took 17S the entire way. Stopped off at The Citadel in Charleston, SC just to check out what the setting of the book Lords of Discipline looked like in real life . Turned out to be a very neat place

This rang a bell

I bet this rang quite a few bells once upon a time

Stopped for donuts and coffee at a Dunkin Donuts. WHY ARE THERE NO MAPLE BARS ON THE EAST COAST?! I asked the cashier and she looked as though no one had ever asked her such a stupid question. Yall are seriously missing out.

Just for kicks I rode out to Hunting State park. Unfortunately the lighthouse was closed to the public. But the hotdog was delicious!

Can you spot the alligator eye?

Continued south to Savannah, GA (another town I enjoyed passing through)

Forgot to do it on the way in

I was still beat from the previous day’s 400 miler so I decided to call it quits a little early. Thought it would be nice to spend some quality time at a campsite for once, instead of wage war on the natives and cowardly retreat into a tent. Skidaway Island State Park, GA is what I stumbled upon.

Ate it all and felt like shit! Yes, that’s a real Georgia peach.

For the first time since Day 1 I decided to make a campfire. I knew before ever striking a match that there was a chance my fire would do nothing but smolder and smoke. This chance always existed when fire and I starting messing with one another. I know damn well what every fire needs (oxygen, fuel, heat) and I’ve seen my dad do it dozens of times but for whatever reason I suck at making campfires. This time was no different. After huffing and puffing for 30 minutes I was on the brink of insanity. The worst part was I was only making it for the novelty. IT WAS 95 FUCKIN DEGREES!! I was drenched in sweat head to toe by the time I finally gave up. Somewhere in the middle I heaved a bamboo stick (that I had specially pre-selected as my fire poker) out into the woods and the damn thing sliced my finger. Five minutes after giving up I did as I always do and blamed it on wet wood.

I decided a walk might help subside the anger so I snagged my toiletries and headed for the nearest restroom. Brushed my teeth, returned to camp, and sat down in my camp chair directly in front of the smoldering pile of failure. No way I’m making another attempt at revival.

Fifteen minutes pass when all of a sudden a flicker of light appears. How could this be? Puzzled, I look over my left and right shoulder to see if anyone else is witnessing this miracle that is materializing in front of me. The flicker quickly turned into a flame, and after adding a log or two the flame turned to fire. Man did I need a friend. Did ANYONE witness my progression from sweaty pathetic loser that can’t start his own fire to BAMF who can start a fire by sitting on his ass?!!! After replaying the previous hour to myself all I could do was laugh. Had I just experienced divine intervention? That fire burned long and hot. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Somewhere in the midst of that fire, John Lennon’s rendition of Stand By Me, and the thought of the trip’s success until that moment, I become emotionally attached to my motorcycle.

Day 24: Skidaway Island State Park, GA to Little Talbot Island State Park, FL
Total daily mileage: 204
Net mileage: 6,220

This was the first morning I made Starbucks instant coffee. And read the previous day’s USA Today. My new favorite way to start a day of camping.

Continued on 17S until the Florida border. Florida…Florida…Florida. I had been thinking about this border crossing for some time now. I arrived 1 mile before Georgia turns to Florida to “ROAD CLOSED” and “BRIDGE WORK AHEAD” signs. Like hell I’ve come all this way to not get a pic of the Florida welcome sign. And I sure wasn’t going to pull over on the side of a freeway. I detoured west on 40 until Folkston, GA then headed south on 301.

The Beemer deserved every bit of this picture.

Caught A1A in Callahan, FL then followed it south all the way to Little Talbot Island State Park.

One of my first impressions of the state of Florida

The coolest campsite of the trip.

Did a little body surfing in the warm Atlantic then lounged on the beach until the sun began to set behind me.

This guy’s got it figured out

Went to bed committed to seeing my first ever over-the-horizon sunrise in the morning.

Day 25: Little Talbot Island State Park to ORLANDO, FL!!!!!
Total daily mileage: 187
Net mileage: 6,407

To walk from camp to the beach took about 20 minutes so I woke up at 6 to give myself plenty of time for a 6:48 sunrise. Brought the iphone, gopro, and camp chair so I could sit and enjoy the scenery, taking pictures until my heart was content. The sand fleas had other plans. The INSTANT I sat my butt down in that chair I was covered in those damn things. NOOOOOOOO the one thing that could ruin this incredibly scenic morning. Relocating to wet sand did nothing. Standing did nothing. 100m from the sand did nothing. Where were these things last night?! I only managed to capture one or two keepers.

Decided to rain check my first ever “over-the-horizon sunrise”

Followed A1A until I4 where I turned west in the direction of Orlando. The home stretch. Mapped out a bee-line to the place I’ll be working for the next year. The center of the circle whose radius I now live within biking distance of. Happy as hell to have arrived safely. Here is where the road ended.

In the lifestyle I lived over the past 25 days I never exactly knew where I was going, what I’d see along the way, or where I’d end up. The uncertainty was the best part.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:56 PM   #15
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Maryland U.S.
Oddometer: 71
Congratulations on making it cross country!

This was a cool RR, thanks for posting and good luck in Florida.
If you are ever riding through MD and need a wingman hit me up.
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