Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Epic Ride Reports
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-21-2014, 01:00 PM   #721
Confused and Bemused
DaLunk's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2014
Location: Lancaster County, PA
Oddometer: 988
Anna, you make me feel like an inarticulate wuss, and I mean that in a most complimentary way. Your writing is captivating and your courage inspiring. Whatever path you choose in life, please keep writing. New to ADVrider, I found myself just going through forums to acquaint myself with the forums when "Radian" caught my eye (I lusted for the Radian at a time when I foolishly didn't justify owning a bike) and I opened the thread. I haven't checked out anything else since, but now that I finally reached point of having to wait for the next installment, maybe I can spend a little time doing what I originally intended to do here. I'm on the edge of my seat. Thank you for this amazing tale. I'm proud to make this my first post on this site.
Dave (DaLunk)
DaLunk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2014, 08:03 AM   #722
Joined: Jan 2014
Location: Montana
Oddometer: 43
Great investment

Well done Anna!
Belgradian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 05:30 PM   #723
ruffntuff OP
ruffntuff's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Oddometer: 113
Cloverdale - Oakland, CA

Part 2 – Day 8
July 7th, 2012
Cloverdale – Oakland, CA: 90 miles

There’s something about waking to the call of a rooster that makes me feel at home. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I always wanted to. When I was in high school I spent nearly every weekend at my best friend’s farm in Louisa, just east of Charlottesville. They had a herd of angus cattle, a pot-belly pig named Rosie we liked to wrestle, a tough-ass blue heeler not to mess with, horses to ride, and of course chickens.

I remember the sound of their rooster every morning. I remember the smell of leather and wood. I remember the popping of the fire heating that old farmhouse. We would make a bed on the floor next to it when it was too cold to sleep upstairs.

I remember the creaky steps that made it challenging to sneak out at night and ride horses in the moonlight. We’d gallop bareback wearing ponchos through fields and trails, giggling cold breath from our smiles.

Maybe this is why I feel so at home on Billy’s farm. I hear the rooster and it calls me back to those memories.

We made breakfast with some fresh farm eggs, ripe avocado, and crispy bacon. It was hot outside and we sat on the steps of the front porch bathing in the sun while eating. It was going to be a nice ride to San Francisco.

I took my time before leaving. It was only 90 miles to my friend Lena’s relative’s house in Oakland where I would be staying for the next six weeks while working at the San Francisco Zoo. The farm had me hooked and Billy too. I was not in a hurry and for once felt free of angst.

We walked down to the goat and llama pasture, the goats eager for a pet but the llamas standoffish. We wandered to the river and got our feet wet in the cold but refreshing water while spotting osprey and hawks. As we headed back to the house all I could think was, “I don’t want to leave.”

I packed the bike up slowly and when it finally came time for me to depart I hugged Billy and said, “I think it’s going to be a great summer.” He agreed with a smile and kiss.

The ride to Oakland was warm and easy. I kept my vents open and wore just a tank top and biker shorts under my gear.

I was a little nervous about riding into the big city however. I had heard about “The Maze” between Oakland and San Francisco where every road meets and traffic piles up. Missing your exit can be easy. I thoroughly wrote my directions down with a sharpie on paper displayed on my tank bag; however I found it difficult at times to look down for fear of all the other cars around.

I slowly rolled through traffic baking in the sun with the lack of wind. Occasionally another motorcycle would go whizzing by with no effort between the lanes. I watched them with envy, wishing I had that confidence, not to mention the breeze.

Splitting lanes is illegal on the east coast and rarely seen or done. You’d probably get killed if you tried because the cars aren’t used to it. I was amazed to see how the drivers in California make room for riders when they see them coming. Not only are they watching out for them, but they make room! That’s a level of respect I had never seen on the road for bikers.

Although the thought of splitting lanes makes my butt clench, man was it tempting. I decided to refrain from such a skill I knew I had no experience with but was determined to learn and practice in the next six weeks.

I finally rolled into Oakland and met Lena. We went to the grocery store to stock up for the week and had dinner at a nice vegan restaurant. It’s good to see an old friend from back east and remind me of my roots. Even though I’m happy to be staying with her rent free, it looks like my commute to the Zoo is going to be really far. I may have to figure something else out.

We’ll check out the Bart and bus transportation tomorrow. I don’t think I’m ready to split lanes and ride the bike through San Francisco traffic just yet. Riding through The Maze once was enough for me. I know, I’m a wuss.

I did call Billy though.
“Would you come teach me to split lanes?” (big grin)

“See you next weekend,” he said.
May the road rise up to meet you
And wind be always at your back
ruffntuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 05:43 PM   #724
long time rider
dirtdreamer50's Avatar
Joined: May 2010
Location: texas coast
Oddometer: 1,160
Glad to see that the feel of your report has grown more joyous. Feels like the sadness and despair of the first half of the trip has been overcome by good memories and good friends. Thanks for sharing, and you know we are all still wondering how it came out with you and Billy, but guess we will have to wait for further installments. Best to you, Anna. tomp dd50
Little Fauss: I was going faster than I ever went in my whole life, then I fell off.
dirtdreamer50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2014, 08:05 AM   #725
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Oddometer: 798
Yaaaaayyyy! Another shot in the arm of a favorite RR/soap.

Keep it coming!
"Can't never could."-Grandma Belle Marie Bullock-Shuflin
prsdrat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2014, 08:34 AM   #726
Beastly Adventurer
Proveick's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: CO
Oddometer: 1,932
Originally Posted by ruffntuff View Post
Day 8:
May 28, 2012
Livingston, MT – Cardston, AB: 378mi

“What an amazing day. I feel humbled. So much can happen in one day. So much ground covered. The earth seems so vast, yet the world so small.” (Journal excerpt)

Getting started in the morning didn’t look good. There were winter weather alerts in Livingston and the entire surrounding area. I debated on just taking the interstate into Canada but I really preferred to take a scenic route.

89 goes through the Lewis and Clark National Forest all the way to Great Falls. Then it turns Northwest towards Glacier National Park before hitting the Canadian border. This was the way I wanted to go so I called #511 for road conditions.
Although it was 28 degrees and they were calling for more snow all day, the roads were open and clear. They were only wet. I decided to take the risk and head out while it was only sprinkling with freezing rain in Livingston.

As I was packing up the bike I noticed an older man staying in the room next to mine. He was curiously watching me from the window as I came in and out of my room loading up the bike. He moved to the doorway and stood there staring with a perplexed look on his face.

I was starting to feel uncomfortable. Without my gear on I was only wearing my under-armor. I was starting to think this guy was a creep. Just as I was warming up the bike he finally asked me, “Did you really ride all the way from Virginia?”
When I told him yes he just shook his head dumbfounded. “And you’re doing it alone?” I hesitated to answer that. When I nodded he shook his head again, this time with a smile. He went back into his room watching me from the window with a concerned face and half a smile as I put on my gear and left.

When I got into the Lewis and Clark Forest the rain had turned to snow. Visibility was tough through my visor. I had flurries coming inside my helmet tickling my eyes. The ground was covered and the spruce trees were dusted with white. It was a mental challenge seeing all that snow. But the roads were only wet with just a few areas of slush that were easy to avoid. I went slowly and it was a gorgeous drive.


This was the coldest day of my trip. I was thankful to have my heated gloves. They saved my life. There’s no way I could have ridden without them. However, when I was just 50 miles from Great Falls, I noticed my hands were getting cold and the gloves were no longer warm. Disappointed and concerned my new gloves were already broken, I stopped at a Harley Davidson dealer in Great Falls.

I had a few stares from a group of Harley riders as I rolled in. They were decked out in all their chains and leather. I started unpacking the bike to access the plug for my gloves on the battery that was under the seat. I thought it was the charger to the plug that needed to be replaced. But when a tech came out to help me, he realized it was the blade fuse on the plug that had failed.

Thankfully it was a cheap easy fix and I even had the fuse with me. I think it was a 10amp, which was strong enough for charging my Droid. But the tech suggested if I was using the heated gloves to go with a stronger fuse. I think we put in a 12amp.

Before I left the Harley dealer I was packing up the bike when the manager came out. He had a big grin and said, “I hear you’re on your way to Alaska, and by yourself too!” He was eager to know my story, where I started, where I had been, which way I was going. Just before I left he chuckled, “You’re way braver and tougher than any of those Harley riders that’s for sure.” That put a smile on my face the rest of the day.

“Rode out of Great Falls still on 89. Was AMAZING. It stopped raining. The sky was blue. And Glacier was magnificent. Seeing Glacier was just epic. I felt like I was dreaming. It was humbling, the magnitude of those mountains. The road twisted and turned at the base through aspen forests and streams. Coming through the north side into Alberta all the trees were dead, from beetles I think. It was surreal and eerie seeing all the skeleton trees backed by blue and white tremendous peaks.” (Journal excerpt)

Crossing the border was quick and easy. I was so excited when I got there. When I stopped at the booth I threw my hands up and yelled, “I can’t believe I’m here!” The officer kept a straight face probably thinking I was a stupid kid. All he said was “Take your helmet off.”

My hair was everywhere as if I had climbed out of tumbleweed. He asked me a few questions about why I was coming to Canada and how long I was going to be there. I told him I was just passing through on my way to Alaska and he just handed my passport back with a blank face and said, “Welcome to Canada.” Thanks eh!

I rode to the next town of Cardston through a vast area of green hilly pasture. At this point my Droid was no longer able to search for campgrounds so I pulled out the Milepost and found Lee campground. When I pulled up the camp host was sweeping the porch of the office. I was so excited when I got there I just yelled, “I made it!” He chuckled and said, “You been a long way eh?”

When I was setting up my tent I saw an elderly couple walking by. I could see the man squinting at my license plate. “Where is VA?” he asked me. When I told him Virginia he looked at his wife with big eyes. They were staying there for the summer in their RV and invited me up for hot chocolate.

It was a nice evening sitting around a fire and talking to them about my trip. They were very kind and offered me food. They were comforting to be around and made me feel at home. I was surprised when I went back to my tent it was 10:00 and still light outside. It didn’t get dark until 10:30.

Sleeping in my tent was pleasant. It was only the second time I got to use it so far. There was light rain overnight which made for peaceful sleeping. I hoped the weather I went through in WY and MT was the worst I would see. All I could think of was what an epic first week of riding. After hard rain, strong winds, unpaved roads, and snow I felt as if that was my “bootcamp” for the trip. After all that, how much worse could it really get?

Journal excerpt:

“Saw three hawks today. I can’t help but feel Dan is with me and following me on this journey. I miss him and want him to be proud of me.”
Highway 89 is indeed a great piece of road. Dad and I used to ride it from Lethbridge on our way to Yellowstone. Bringing back warm memories. You go girl. Cheers
My first car was a motorcycle.
Proveick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 09:04 PM   #727
Gadget Man
Out in the Garage...
Gadget Man's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Central Minnesota
Oddometer: 93
I just spent the last 3 days reading this entire story. It was the trip of a lifetime, thanks for sharing it all.
I may never get the opportunity to take a ride of this calibure, so it was fun to travel along with you.
My Kids May Be Smarter Than Me, But I Know More.

Current bike.
2013 V-Strom 650 Adventure
Gadget Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2014, 03:12 AM   #728
slave to gravity
skibum69's Avatar
Joined: May 2006
Location: New Melbourne, Newfoundland
Oddometer: 5,591
Hey Proveick, not to sound too ornery on someone else's thread but it's common practice in the asylum not to quote the whole of large posts to add one sentence of reply. It's easy to just pick the relevant text or pic/s to quote.
skibumsoirée2009 skibumsoiré2010
Riff Raff 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
RIP ITsteve, ride in peace my friend
save $5 on a new smugmug account, use this coupon7frrnSRiTt9Fk
skibum69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2014, 08:55 AM   #729
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Arizona, Alaska, Kalifornia
Oddometer: 434
Originally Posted by skibum69 View Post
hey proveick, not to sound too ornery on someone else's thread but it's common practice in the asylum not to quote the whole of large posts to add one sentence of reply. It's easy to just pick the relevant text or pic/s to quote.

amen !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Salsa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2014, 05:24 PM   #730
St_rydr's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Jnsvl, WI
Oddometer: 5,915
49 pages today. You not just living, you're living right.
"Only a rider knows how much a fellow rider suffers in the winter." - Rob1313

Try Smug Mug!
St_rydr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2014, 07:02 PM   #731
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: May 2010
Oddometer: 220
I have read through the entire thread and greatly enjoyed it! hope we get to hear more about your trip!

I must have misread it but I thought originally billy was married, must have been someone else. Such an amazing way to meet someone, and what a story!
tennyis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2014, 03:09 AM   #732
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Lancaster Pa
Oddometer: 6
Thanks Anna for writing your story! I just read 49 pages in 3 evenings and enjoyed every moment of it.
At 40 years old with family, a job and a mortgage I can only dream of doing something like you did. I want my 20 year old son to read this to help inspire him as to what he is able to do BEFORE his adult responsibilities kick in!
DR650 Suzuki
FE450 husaberg

e85racer screwed with this post 02-09-2014 at 03:15 AM
e85racer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2014, 12:22 PM   #733
ruffntuff OP
ruffntuff's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Oddometer: 113
Lane Splitting San Francisco

Lane Splitting San Francisco

Although I had my “Big City” cherry popped in Vancouver, I was still anxious about commuting in San Francisco. Like Jules in Vancouver, Lena was an excellent guide to help me determine my route from Oakland to the Zoo and back.

From the house up in the hills of Piedmont, the closest BART station was a five minute drive. We parked at MacArthur and rode the train under the bay all the way to Glenn Park. There we hopped on a bus and arrived at the Zoo two hours after leaving the house. I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the commute I was going to be facing the next six weeks.

I better learn to lane split.

My first week commuting to the Zoo, I’d ride the Radian to the BART, and nervously leave it parked for the day. I never felt good about leaving it for long periods in a public area. Luckily nothing ever happened and it was nice I never had to pay to park like the rest of the cars in the lot. Two wheels are better than four.

In contrast to my experience with public transport in Canada, I quickly became depressed spending hours on the Bart and the buses in San Francisco. My commute was twice as long in a city twice as big. I didn’t find the enjoyment in the different mode of transportation like I did in Vancouver. Instead I dreamt of being on the bike for my own sanity.

I watched the majority, plugged into their ear buds, mesmerized by their Smartphones, oblivious to the world passing by around them. It was only the occasional few that made eye contact, only a couple that would say, “Good morning,” or “Excuse me.”

I did not see familiar faces on my route, like I did in Vancouver. I saw a lot of angry people, sad people, and crazy people. It was kind of scary at times and made me just want to keep my head down.

I felt alone, although surrounded, in my own world on my own journey. It reminded of my experience on the bus in Denali. I realized I felt more loneliness in a crowd, being just one of many like an extra in a movie no one notices. It’s not that I wanted to be noticed or seen, but when I was alone I felt more confident and happy with myself.

After a week of commuting to the Zoo, I couldn’t wait to get out of the city. I was looking forward to a warm relaxing weekend on the farm by the Russian River.

Billy picked me up from the Zoo and took me back to Oakland to get the Radian. Doubled up on his GS we split lanes through rush-hour traffic and it only took us 45 minutes to get to my house. It was way more intimidating riding on back of a bike, but I watched and learned and was determined to start riding to the Zoo the following week.

On our way out of Oakland, I got my first go at it. Traffic was still backed up through “The Maze” and I followed right behind Billy at a slow 15-20mph between the cars. My arms were tight, butt clenched and I was tense but the further I went the more I relaxed and the fun began.

“Oh this is going to be dangerous,” I chuckled. I realized I was going to have to set some rules for myself to avoid getting into trouble.

Rule #1: Never lane split over 25 mph…..ok 35 mph.
Rule #2: Never lane split close to on/off ramps.
Rule #3: Only lane split between the far left lanes.
Rule # 4: Only lane split when traffic is bumper to bumper….no gaps!

On my first day riding to the Zoo I sat in traffic, terrified to pull out into the split lane. I felt like I was preparing to jump off a cliff. That paralyzing hesitation before committing to free fall only wound me up more. Stop thinking, stop thinking. Just go!

Another biker whizzed by and woke me from my mind and I instantly wove out behind him. I had a leader to help me take that giant leap of faith. However, as soon as I got behind him I realized I had made a very naive mistake. I didn’t check my mirror before pulling out and there was another biker pissed off behind me riding my ass.

Rule #5: Always check the lane before you pull out. Duh!!

With more practice, lane splitting became easier and easier. I would only do it in short sections of traffic where I could easily see an obvious lane between the cars for me to ride through. Then I’d find an open spot behind a car to give myself a mental and physical break.

I think it was the coming in and out of the split lane that was the most nerve wracking for me. Deciding when to go and where to stop all while controlling the bike was a lot to multi- task. I had to be very determined and committed to my decisions. I had to be confident and there was no time for hesitancy. It was exhausting.

The actual riding in the split lane was the easy part. In general people would make room and there was plenty of space to cruise at 20-30mph between the cars. But occasionally I’d get to narrow spots between wide trucks that made me wince. I tapped several mirrors along the way, but I couldn’t really stop. It happens.

It’s easy after splitting lanes on a regular basis to feel like the entire road is yours and the concept of lanes doesn’t exist at all. You can ride anywhere around any obstacle. The lines between the lanes almost become invisible and I’d have to remind myself when traffic started breaking up to stop ignoring them. It was hard not to forget the rules.

As tempting as it was to weave through traffic at high speeds, I felt smarter sticking to the normal rules of passing. It’s an easy thing to forget on a bike in California. I saw many reckless riders I chose not to follow.

The purpose of lane splitting in my mind is not only to allow riders to be seen in heavy traffic, but to help riders avoid extreme heat when it’s bumper to bumper. Unfortunately the luxury of lane splitting, like anything else, can be abused. That’s why I had to set boundaries for myself.

But I’ll admit, once you lane split, it’s hard not to do it all the time. It becomes a desirable challenge for the thrill. It’s like solving a puzzle or working through a maze to find a way around obstacles executing fast decisions. It’s empowering and it’s fun.
May the road rise up to meet you
And wind be always at your back
ruffntuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2014, 12:27 PM   #734
ruffntuff OP
ruffntuff's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Oddometer: 113
Originally Posted by mtnlvnmelis View Post
Add another local to your followers! I live in Nelson County, but work in Cville at UVa also. I started reading your report about three months ago and was instantly hooked.

I lost my father one month ago today. I've been caught up in his illness, the hospital and subsequent placement of my Mom in assisted living for the past seven weeks or so. I couldn't wait to get back to your story and journey. With the recent losses in my life, and my wanderlust and desire to ride out the pain, your story means all the more to me now.

Thanks for sharing your tale. I'd love to meet you someday and buy you a beer (of course at one of the amazing breweries down in good 'ol Nelson).

Brava! Great writing.
So sorry for loss, I hope you are managing well and I'm happy my story can provide you with some comfort and relief. I'd be happy to meet you and any other reader that may live close by. Just send a PM and let's grab that beer! Take care,

May the road rise up to meet you
And wind be always at your back
ruffntuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2014, 01:48 PM   #735
Forever Noob
AVPU's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: PNW
Oddometer: 188
Thank You!

Another installment!
AVPU is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 01:32 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015