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Old 05-30-2009, 03:07 PM   #16
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:00 PM   #17
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I looked at your revised route using US50 and then you are goignto use the Interstate up to Denver and then west.

Why not US50 to la Junta, 10 to Walsenburg, 160 to Durango, 550 north to Montrose over the Million Dollar Hwy, 50 to Grand Junction and go see the Colorado National Monument.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:39 PM   #18
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If I were going to be as close to Big Bend National Park as you are, I'd be tempted to check it out.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:17 PM   #19
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??

Where are you now?

Still in San Diego?

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Old 06-06-2009, 08:03 AM   #20
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Hey! Quick update, as I'm trying to GTF out of Abilene and hit the road.

Trip so far...San Diego to Scottsdale, AZ. Then up to Sedona...truly beautiful. I-40 a few miles and camped at Meteor Crater, which I saw the next day. Amazing. Drove east to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. South from there thru Eager andSoccoro to view the Very Large Array. Then on to Roswell. Now I'm in Abilene and headed to Austin this afternoon. Anybody in Austin want to hang out or have a friend there I should meet, PM me your info and I'll check it out this afternoon.

Pics from the trip so far are here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/n8foo/s...15761884214363









Trying to look like i belong in the movie 'Contact'...

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:02 AM   #21
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Looking fun. I too just got laid off. I'm going back to school, but planning to use some of my severance to buy a wee strom, or 650GS and next summer break from school go up through canada/alaska camping.

keep up the pics.
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:28 AM   #22
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If your going to make it to Knoxville Tenesse, you MUST try and make it into West Virginia.. IMO, the best riding on the east coast!
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Old 06-07-2009, 02:10 PM   #23
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PM'd you my contact info
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:34 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disconnected
If your going to make it to Knoxville Tenesse, you MUST try and make it into West Virginia.. IMO, the best riding on the east coast!
+1 on that! Couch and beer available for a trip story! I've some loose plans to point the bike toward the setting sun in July...!
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:27 PM   #25
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Ride reports, inbound!

Day 1: SD to Phoenix




The first day of my 6 week trip. I had originally decided to get on the road at 5AM that day...but after staying up till 2AM packing the night before, I slept in and decided to get out of town at 3PM. And after still more packing and delay, I finally left SD at 4:30. Right in the middle of traffic. D-oh. At least I'd be skipping the hottest part of the day in the desert.

SD to Phoenix was easy. I took the I-8...really the fastest route there from SD. I had a lot of people on the road giving me thumbs up. At one point, a guy in a beat up Toyota truck swerved and nearly hit me while trying to give me the 'rock-n-roll' hand sign. I stopped a few times to stretch and take pics.

Somewhere around 9PM I was getting sleepy so I stopped at a rest area with vending machines. For whatever reason, the soda machine would NOT take my dollar bills. So I ended buying a coffee and burning my tongue while attempting to drink about half of it. Strong stuff, it perked me right up.

I stopped for gas in Gila Bend and ran into a few other people on bikes. I guess I look like I'm going somewhere interesting because I get a lot of people approaching me at the gas station, asking questions. It's good, they're all very friendly, and I usually give them my card. (I had made up cards for the trip.) Then from Gila Bend on up to the I-10 into Phoenix. I got lost looking for my friend Nathan's friends house that he had arranged for me to stay at. My silly GPS kept telling me to turn into Phoenix's city streets instead of taking the 101 bypass around the city. And eventually I gave into it's messages and did. Which meant I got into Scottsdale around 12:45AM. Doh. Very tired, but wide awake from that rest-area coffee/jet fuel. After a beer and some chips, I fell asleep at about 2AM. Ray, my gracious host for the night, has a cool dog named Max that kept me company thru the night.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:29 PM   #26
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Day 2: Sedona to Meteor Crater

Day 2: Sedona to Meteor Crater

I got a late start due to being up so late the night before....so I ended up leaving Scottsdale around 2PM...the hottest part of the day. I'd been outside all of 60 seconds and I was dying...it was 104 out. I remembered at the last second that I had brought an evaporative cooling vest with me...so I dunked it in water and put it on. Wow, what a difference. I love that thing...

Anyway, I got going out of the Phoenix area and headed up the 17 North towards Flagstaff. Met a nice woman named Heidi at a gas station that suggested I meet up with her friend in Austin. The bike and my outfit get a lot of attention and are a really easy way to meet people. Usually they approach me....commonly at a gas station or when I'm stopped for a moment to eat.

I detoured towards Sedona, as I'd been there before (last year) and I knew the roads were beautiful. The couple that took the shot below said I was a "real life adventurer".



Had a great lunch in Sedona and headed north towards Flagstaff. The roads were some of the best I'd ever ridden. So beautiful.




As I proceeded east out of Flagstaff on I-40, the sun was setting behind me. That really is a nice part of I-40...I drove it so much in TN going back and forth to college and to visit family. It's neat to see a part of that same road so far away and so different.




I got into camp just as the sun had gone down...the crater would have to wait till the morning. I stayed at the Meteor Crater RV park...just a few miles down the road from the crater. RV parks are usually pretty nice but are expensive as camping goes. I paid $19 to camp in a tent. But it was on manicured soft grass and I got to take a hot shower.

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Old 06-13-2009, 08:30 PM   #27
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Day 3: Meteor Crater, Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

Day 3: Meteor Crater, Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

I got up early on Wednesday and made myself some breakfast. That SnowPeak stove boiled water in no time flat (thanks Dave) and the freeze-dried scrambled eggs from Mountain House were surprisingly good.


Since I was camped within a few yards of it, I walked down old Route 66 for a ways. Guess it's just dirt in that part of the world. What was it before I-40 came along? Nobody seemed to know at the RV park.

I headed up to the crater. I did the 1 hr hike around the rim, to get the 'best 3D shot' of the crater. All I really ended up with was a bad shot of me from a bad angle (sorry Eduardo) and a sunbunrt nose. D-oh. But the crater is AMAZING. It's something you see in books and never imagine you'll get to see in real life. It's so immense that your eyes play tricks on you. There was an old rusty BBQ stove discarded in the center of the crater...at least that's what it looked like...turns out it was a fuel container 15 feet long. It really is just huge.





I did get to touch a big chunk of what was left of the meteroite...my friend Kevin reminded me that it is amazing you can touch something that came from the asteroid belt.


On the way out, I passed thru Windslow, Arizona. Which my twitter friends had reminded me was famous...so I naturally had to stop and get this shot.



I backtracked a bit so I could see the Petrified Forest. I arrived at the entrance to the park and after a brief chat with a few other bikers about the lack of anything but 85 octane nearby, I felt like I might not make it out of the park. I figured, oh well, maybe I'll spend the night there. ;) Actually, I just drove the speed limit of 45mph...the F800GS will get 75MPG at that speed. The painted desert came first, followed by the stony trees.



There was a pretty neat stone bridge called "Agate Bridge", formed when a petrified tree fell and then a river washed out underneath it.

The Petrified Forest looks like somebody just came in to cut up trees. But they're hundreds of thousands of years old and now made of stone. So neat. Look how the outside looks like tree but the inside looks like rock. All my childhood science books were right!



I headed south down the 180 towards Eager...with the goal of reaching the VLA just at dusk. I had hoped to take some really neat pictures as the sun set. But the 45MPH speeds and stopping so often thru the painted desert slowed me down. I kicked it into high gear as the sun was going down.

The roads seemed to stretch on forever.

It got really pretty as the sun went down.

After an hour or so of driving in dark and passing about 15 signs to watch out for Elk, I decided I would call it a day. I stopped at a little Motel/Cafe in Quemado about 9PM MT. They were supposed to have wifi but I couldn't make it work...weak signal in my room. D-oh. No cell service of any kind either...even the wired phone couldn't dial out. I think that Quemado is the furthest out in the stix I've ever been. And I liked it. :)
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:32 PM   #28
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Day 4 & 5: VLA & Roswell

Day 4 & 5: VLA & Roswell

Woke up that morning in Quemado and after an extended breakfast/rising, I hit the road. Met a rancher named Ed Wheeler who has a 22,000 acre ranch outside of town. He offered for me to come check it out with him, but made sure to comment "I'm not one of those broke back guys". I guess that movie messed it up for friendly rancher types. Hehe.

A few hours later I was at the VLA.


Here I am going for the look from "Contact". Yes, I contact UFO's in my spare time...


After the VLA I met a guy named Pete riding a KLR packed up with ADV gear. He had a friend that did a trip like mine and called it Fragile Expedidion...his name was Lee Klarcher. I bit later, I stopped at some old lava flows for a break.

And an hour or so later I found a guy with a trike broke down on the side of the road. We used my tools to get him running again. Ride on buddy!


Got into Roswell late. I met some fellow bikers, one with an F800GS like mine. I wish I had his corbin seat, my stock seat is like riding a plank. As I got into Roswell my GPS and my electronics for my iPod/Radio went on the fritz. Coincidence? Stayed the night at a motel and looked for aliens.

Got up the next day (no signs of abduction) and checked out the UFO museum. It was kinda weak and touristy. But fun I suppose.


Stopped in Post, TX for lunch. Met two really nice ranchers named Kenneth and Jody and had a lengthy conversation with them about traveling the world. They told me that Post got it's name from the founder of Post Cereal...he founded that town too.



I also talked to Jack and Carolyn Schultz for a little bit. Jack told me his grandfather walked from Millersburg, TN to Rising Star, TX to buy land..he walked because it was cheaper than the train/carriage and it took 6 months.

The riding in northern TX is very windy and boring. At least that's what I've seen so far. I have tried to take back roads most of the trip but even still it wasn't that great. But I had time to get some nice shots.



Putting the wind to good use.


Tried to stay in the Abilene KOA that night but they were predicting 3 hours of thunderstorms so I found a motel 50 feet away. Turns out it didn't rain at all. Hehe.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Austin. After that, somewhere around the TX/LA border then to New Orleans Monday afternoon. My friend Jason Greathouse is meeting me there and we are going to do part of the trip together. I plan on leaving Tuesday morning and taking 3 days to get to Daytona Beach. That puts us there Thursday night, with Friday to check out the Kennedy Space Center and hopefully Saturday for the shuttle launch. After that is not really planned yet, but I hope to see Key West.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:33 PM   #29
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Day 6 & 7: Abilene, Austin & Galveston

Day 6 & 7: Abilene, Austin & Galveston

I woke up a bit late on day 6 after a late night. I split out of Abilene and headed south on the 84 towards Brownwood. The scenery was a bit better than north western Texas, and the wind wasn't as bad either. After a while it got genuinely pretty.





A gas stop in, Coleman was next and as soon as I pulled up, a nice guy named Conan started talking to me. He and his mother were taking a trip to California from Texas, in a truck, with his motorcycle in the back. He was very interested in my travels and we talked for a while, about the proper ways to walk a bike up in the back of a car. I'll have to do a video-podcast on how to do that after I return home. He mentioned he had a friend named Cale that I'd probably get along with well, that he lived in Austin and would probably even put me up for the night. He gave me his info and told me to go to where he worked (Cypress Valley Canopy Tours) and he'd call them and let them know I was coming. Unexpected, and very cool.

I stopped in Brady for lunch, and ate at the 84 Cafe. It was a small diner, run by a nice Mexican woman. I had chips and salsa served with my hamburger. She even volunteered to mail a few postcards for me.



Continuing south, the flatland turned into rolling hills. I passed thru Llano, which had a great bridge and a little waterfall that a bunch of kids were playing around on and jumping from. Tempted tho I was, to jump in with them, I decided against it in the interest of time.





As I made my way down the 283 towards the meetup place Conan had suggested, Texas became very pretty. It was hot, but real nice. I stopped by the roadside again to stretch.

I turned off onto Paleface Ranch road to head to the the Cypress Valley Canopy Tours to try to find Cale.



I arrived and everybody working there knew about me...since Conan had called ahead. They were all pretty young, between 17 and 22-ish, but real nice guys. I met Cale and he turned out to be a really cool guy...has a Triumph Trophy 4 touring bike. He and his brother Aaron led me back to their place in south Austin. They gave me food, shower, washed my clothes and set up a couch for me to crash on. We talked for hours about all kinds of things, including a cool idea for a social t-shirt company they want to start. What awesome guys.

Woke up the next day, thanked Aaron and Cale for their hospitality and headed out towards Galveston. I took the 71E towards Altair and the 90 to Sugarland. I passed some pretty cool homes on the way into Galveston.



The traffic getting there was pretty bad, lots of stop and go lights and tons of cars. Galveston is neat, it reminds me of Coronado Island, similar homes, beach, surf, long peninsula with an island attached. I was headed to the far end of the peninsula, to take the Port Boliver ferry across to the other side and continue my journey along the coast. I finally made it to the ferry line and was bummed to see that it was really long and moving really slowly. But getting there was bad too so I wasn't going to turn around now. My bike was running pretty hot, and I was happy when I finally was flagged to move into the lanes to get on the ferry, about 45 minutes later. But I found out that was actually a parking lot to wait...it took about another hour and 15 minutes before I actually got on the ferry, and it was scorchingly hot. I took off my gear and sat in the shade of my bike, hoping the hot blacktop wouldn't give way under the weight of my heavy bike and topple it off it's kickstand.



But it was worth the wait. The ferry was really neat, the view was great and it came with a cool ocean breeze.








I continued east after the ferry ride while the sun started to set. This part of Galveston had been destroyed by hurricane Ike last year and it showed. It looked like an nuclear bomb had been dropped, it was wiped almost clean, with rubble piles all around and a few houses still standing with warped frames and wall and windows knocked out. There would be a sign for a business and nothing left but a foundation. Very much like a ghost town, a bit lonely and freaky. I can't imagine what it must have been like to live through that storm.







After the 'sceneic' route thru Galveston, I hit up the I-10 east. I wanted to try to make it to Lafayette, LA that night, in the hopes I could potentially meet up with Cale and Aaron's uncle, Donny. I phoned him and he offered me a bed too! But it was 3 hours away and I wouldn't get in till nearly midnight, so it'd be hard. 30 minutes into my trip on the I-10 towards Louisiana, I hit mega traffic. It was inching forward with no stops, and after an hour of it, my left arm was killing me from all the clutch use. Pulling over for a bit gave my hand a much needed break. It cleared up soon and I slabbed it East. Unfortunately, after the additional 1.5 hour traffic delay, I was too tired to make it to Uncle Donny's house. Some German students were in a car in front of me and by coincidence, we kept seeing each other as we both were hitting up hotels along the interstate asking room prices. I stopped at 3 before I settled for a motel in Crowley around 11:45pm.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:37 PM   #30
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Day 8 & 9: New Orleans to Mobile

Day 8 & 9: New Orleans to Mobile

In the hotel in Crowley, I hit up the free continental breakfast and then quickly got on the road. I continued thru Lafayette on the I-10 and into Baton Rouge. I was amazed to find that the highways were actually really long bridges across the swamps.



That part of Louisiana was really green and smelled like a handful of rich fertile dirt. It brought back memories of looking for nightcrawlers on the farm in Tennessee.



I was headed to New Orleans to meet up with Brent, who I had met on ADVRider. A few hours after I posted about my trip on that site, he had offered me a stay on his couch and a beer. Jason, a buddy of mine from Tennessee, was also meeting up at Brent's house. Jason is joining me for part of the trip, out to see the shuttle, some time in FL and back to Nashville. He has a blog too, at http://jgreat-moto.blogspot.com. I put Brent's address into my GPS/iPhone and it brought me into town and right to his front door. Well, actually, a few feet past it.



He had made up a welcome sign but I passed it right up. After a tour of his great place and pulling the bike into his garage, unpacking, etc, we ran out to a bike store to pick up a few things. But it was closed, I forgot it was Monday. D-oh. So we hit an athletic store and I grabbed a few new pair of socks for the trip. My feet have been pretty hot in those new Sidi waterproof boots I have, and I think the humid air and 7 days on the road were taking a toll on them. So some new thin socks were in order. We headed back home just in time to get the call from Jason that he was 20 minutes away. We made the welcome sign more visible so he wouldn't miss it like I did.




But he missed it anyway. So funny! After Jason met Brent and his lovely lady Nicole and we crammed all the bikes into the garage, it started to rain pretty hard. We busted out some beer and sat on the front porch and waited for it to stop.




The rain finally did stop and we decided to go out. Their house is in a great neighborhood, down town New Orleans, and about a block from the trolley linen. So we jumped on a trolley and headed down to the French Quarter.

We hit up the River Walk, and checked out the mouth of the mighty Mississippi. And then headed over to get some real cajun food at the Gumbo Shop. I had crawfish etufee, one of my favorite meals, and something I hadn't eaten in over 6 years. After that, we went to check out some of the sights on Burbon Street, and grabbedd a beer. Brent and Nicole were excellent hosts, shared their home, the garage & tools, took us to great food and showed us around town. I'm so greatfull to have met them and can't express enough how awesome they were. I hope they can make it to San Diego one day so I can return the favor.


After killing a giant 2" Louisiana cockroach (that just wouldn't die), I hit the sack for some much needed rest.

The next day, Jason, Brent and I headed out for a spin on the bikes. We rode across lake Pontchartrain on the Causeway, which later we found out is the longest bridge in the world. Pretty cool! Brent took us to see a statue of Ronald Reagan in Covington, where we also grabbed some coffee and lunch.



He rode with us around the north shore and split off when we got back to the I-10. Jason and I continued on the scenic route 90, on the beach thru Biloxi, Long Beach, Gulfport, Pascagoula and Mobile.



There was a neato tunnel thru Mobile, under the water I believe.



We stopped on east side of Mobile in Daphine, for dinner at Banini Bob's. Since we both had a long day and were pretty sore, we opted for a hotel instead of tents and found our way to the hot tub for an hour or so before heading off to bed.

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