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Old 09-01-2007, 12:13 PM   #1
funklab OP
high plains drifter
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 319
Wink Charlotte to Canada to South America

...or that's the plan anyway, if you can call what I do planning.


My name is Josh and I am from Charlotte, NC. I ride an old 1996 xr650l, and I am trying my best to ride it to south america. I am 24 years old, and still in the middle of college (best 4 years of my life and counting!) I was lucky enough to find a good job and be able to save some money for the trip, so hopefully I have enough to make it to South America and back.

Step one, Load everything I own into a Uhaul and drag it 100 miles to my parent's house.

Check out the time consuming and delicate packing job notice the xr650l secured against the wall on the right

well it got the job done, but yes the bookshelf in the back did fall over... didnt hurt the bike though.

So I spent a couple of days at my parents house, working on packing the bike, and doing some maintenance on it (it's so nice to have a garage to work in). It was over 100 degrees for every day i was there !

Anyway, got things squared away, and then came back to Charlotte to handle a couple of things before I headed out.

I will do my best to keep you guys updated on my trip, but so far I have been having trouble finding places to upload my pics from. Do you think they would let me upload pics from the library????
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:15 PM   #2
Shut up and RIDE!!
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Joined: May 2005
Location: Northern California
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can't wait to see you in south america
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:17 PM   #3
funklab OP
high plains drifter
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 319
Last day in town

Saturday August 26, 2007

I had one last chance to hang out with my friends, after I got a bolt fixed at the local dealership.

Yeah, that wasnt a whole lotta fun.
Got an inspection too.

After I caught a movie with my friends and played some poker, it was back to my empty apartment to sleep. And I do mean empty, I was living out of my bags, like I will have to for the next 9 or 10 months or until I run out of money.
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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Joined: Nov 2003
Location: San Antonio, Tx
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Originally Posted by funklab
My name is Josh and I am from Charlotte, NC.

Oh. I thought your name was gonna be Charlotte.

Seriously, good luck on this trip. Should be the trip of a lifetime.

Gracie's Gold
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:31 PM   #5
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Gray GA
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Good luck! I'm looking forward to reading your progress.
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:45 PM   #6
funklab OP
high plains drifter
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 319
Day One

Sunday August 26, 2007

After a bit of last minute cleaning, exchanging a broken craftsman ratchet, and dropping off my keys with the landlord I am finally ready to head out.

My bike all loaded up and ready to go in front of my apt.

Looks like a lotta stuff for the little 650... it is. I gotta get rid of some of this stuff.

The bike is ready to go!

am I????

Some parting pics of Charlotte, the best city in the world. I am trying to prove that at least it is the best city in this hemisphere on this trip. I gotta save up some more cash to prove it's the best city in the world .

New brakes new tires. Time to leave the city behind

I did what I usually do when I leave the city on my bike. Time to get high! Well at least as high as you can this side of the Mississippi, so I head for the Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

That morning I had used my phone to google hostels in north carolina, and found one in Asheville. $21 for the night sounded like it was in my budget, so I headed that way.

I dont like to use maps too much, and didnt really have anyplace to go, so I just kept heading west, and it worked out okay.

I went past lake lure. They have some pretty good roads around that way, and I wasnt the only one using them.

Startin to get high, I know you cant read that sign, but it says 2700 feet, and there were cool breezes to prove it. I need something to save me from this god-aweful heat.

I spent the night at Bon Paul and Sharkey's Hostel in Asheville. It was a pretty chill spot. I shoulda taken more pics.

Had a bad ass hamburger at Burgermeister's in Asheville too, once again forgot the pic. I will try to be better about the food pics from now on.

Chatted with a cool couple who were driving there car around the South East. THey were complaining about paying $10 per night to camp behind the Hostel. Apparently what they have been doing is just finding a spot that looks okay or that someone says they can probably camp at, and just setting up shop. They said in Savannah they were sleeping in an alleyway I guess that's one way to stretch your budget I might have to do that on the way back if I run short on cash.
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Old 09-01-2007, 01:16 PM   #7
funklab OP
high plains drifter
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 319
Day Two

Monday August 27th 2007

I got outa the hostel pretty early. It was kinda hard getting any sleep there. All of my roomates were very quiet and respectful, but the bunk beds were homemade and not put together very well, everytime one of us moved, the whole thing would creak and groan and wobble back and forth.

But I was all packed up, showered, shaved and out the door before 8 in the morning.

I hopped on the BRP and headed north, there's gotta be some cooler weather that way right?

There were some wild turkey's crossing the road just north of Asheville. I had never seen wild turkeys on a mountain before, it was pretty cool.

and they werent the last wild animal i would see in the road that morning

About a half mile after the turkeys I enter a tunnel and see a bear at the other end. I had my camera in my right pocket and was trying to get it out with my left had as i got closer, but it wasnt working. I missed the pic, oh well. By the time I got to his end of the tunnel he was gone up the mountain nowhere to be seen.

One of many great overlooks on the BRP

Getting pretty high here, almost 4000 feet

The weather was really awesome here in the mountains in the morning, nice and cool. Mission accomplished, I finally got chilly.

I made my way to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Rockies. But the trail and the observatory were closed for renovation.

As high as the bike will see till she gets to the rockies

It looked like it might be as high as I could get as well, but the guy at the concessionstand said that there was another peak just a mile down the trail which would get me to within 30 feet or so of Mount Mitchell's elevation. Sounded good to me, so I had him fill up the camelback and I was off.

The trail was really really nice, it started out with a path through the trees that was really other-worldly, I know my lack of photo taking skills, and cheap camera can't do it justice, but here it is.

then the trail got kinda difficult. I can tell that I am outa shape, its only a mile and I had to rest. But the views were great when I got to the top

As high as I will get until the Rockies

just beat the fog that was rolling up the far side of the mountain

So I remember how high it was

I wandered on and off the BRP after that heading north. Got myself lost in the backroads through the mountains, and somehow ended up in Virginia.

I ate at a place called the Log House, I had a hot dog that the waitress was raving about. It was pretty decent, but I've had better. The onion rings were off the hook though.

I remembered the food pic that time!

I finnally stumbled out of the wilderness at a place called Fancy Gap, VA. They had a clean room for $35 so I took it.

The room even came with a refrigerator (of sorts )

mmmm healthy and nutritious dinner .

food pics again, I was on point that day.

Fell asleep that night and didnt wake up till the Harley next door rumbled to life that morning.
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Old 09-01-2007, 01:40 PM   #8
funklab OP
high plains drifter
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 319
Day Three

Tuesday August 28, 2007

Today my tire was really bothering me, I didnt notice it on the BRP so much, b/c I was going at higher speeds, but the bead wasnt completely set, so from 20-35 mph there was a very noticeable bounce up and down coming from the front wheel.

I burned rubber north from Roanoke VA on the interstate, but that got old real quick (thumper without windshield and BRP withdrawl), so I hopped off on some road that I intentionally didnt notice the name of and headed roughly northwest.

There were some really cool roads out here carving through farmland and over the hills.

some nice fun gravel roads

unfortunately this one didnt go anywhere and after 5 miles or so deadended at a hunting lodge.

Then I did a lot of miles on smaller highways, trying to make my way north and west. I guess I eventually made it to WV because that is where I found myself at the National Radio Telescope Center (or some name pretty close to that). Wow that's some big satalite dishes, I guess I'll check that out.

I opted for the self guided tour. I didnt read the little hand out that the lady gave me until I was pretty far into the hike, 2 miles to the big telescope. Doh, I wondered why she looked at me funny when I said I would just walk instead of taking the tour (in airconditioned bus) but the busses (as they passed me) didnt really stop anywhere for the people to get out and take pics, so it was okay with me to walk the whole thing.

this one was the 140 ft wide telescope, on my hike back it was moving, which was pretty cool to see.

This one was the big one. I think it was 300 ft across and the surface area of the dish was a little of 2 acres. That's a pretty massive dish out in the middle of the mountains in WV... I wonder how much money goes into this place.

I burned another 40 miles or so north of the telescope place and ended up near Seneca Rocks, WV. I'm really not sure where I was at, because I just came up out of this one lane broken black top road and saw a motel across the highway. I had been looking for a place to camp, but it had been a long day and I didnt see any camp grounds. The next day I would pass three camp grounds within the first 5 miles I guess thats the way it goes sometimes. The motel was called 4U and it smelled bad. The toilet had blue water in it, not sure what that was about, but it smelled really really bad. I had to open all the doors and windows and air out the room while I was eating dinner, and it still smelled bad when I got back. Oh well, it was only $32.

and it had this cool mural/picture on the wall

well perhaps cool was exagerating it a bit still airing it out.

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Old 09-01-2007, 01:42 PM   #9
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Shielded by the power of my intense disinterest

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Old 09-01-2007, 05:26 PM   #10
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best wishes for a safe journey!

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Old 09-01-2007, 06:19 PM   #11
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Thumb Charlottean!!!

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Old 09-01-2007, 06:26 PM   #12
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The 4-U motel is sad indeed, but the food and the diner is a match for the room. I had a BLT there once but they had no T and tried to cover the missing veggie with loads of mayo. They should nuke that place, or perhaps they already have.

I must edit this to not taint your posting. Although the above mentioned motel/diner is terrible the area your in has some grat riding. I would suggest if your still in WV and near Seneca Rocks you should try to explore the roads surrounding Spruce Knob. These roads are a good mix of pavement and gravel with some rougher gravel roads in the area.

Have a blast.

Marvin the Martian screwed with this post 09-02-2007 at 11:04 AM
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:00 AM   #13
Joined: May 2004
Location: Shelby, NC
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Hey neighbor. Nice report you have here. I'm looking forward to following your latitude changes.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:52 AM   #14
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Location: Charleston, SC and Saluda NC
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ride on!!

Good to find your thread. Have a great time and looking forward to your undates. I let you know more about my trans america trip this fall..
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:38 AM   #15
funklab OP
high plains drifter
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 319
Just an update, I am now in Kitchener, Ontario, hoping to be in Toronto tonight, I know I am almost a week behind in the report, and I am gonna try and fix that in the next couple days.

I leave you with a preview of what is to come, on the way to Louisville from Cincinnati. I think it was the site of some horrible steamship wreck in the 1800s or something, seemed like as good a
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