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Old 06-07-2009, 02:49 PM   #16
Eyes Shut
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Hi Grad: I've been following your various posts on your trip. If you need a place to stay in Santa Barbara, PM me. GSWayne and I have done several long distance trips 2-up on the GS and are happy to host fellow travelers.

Have a great time!
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Old 06-07-2009, 03:02 PM   #17
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Good luck on your trip! Looks to be the beginning of a great adv. Nice to have the time and great to have a lady as you do to do this with!
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:15 PM   #18
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Good luck you two, have fun. BTW where is this land of fruits and nuts? I'd be a bit careful what I call 'some' State 'out west' having started this trip in Georgia.
"We don't have to run that hard to get where we can't go."
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:03 PM   #19
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Location: Athens, GA and Blairsville, GA
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Originally Posted by Slaniac
Good luck you two, have fun. BTW where is this land of fruits and nuts? I'd be a bit careful what I call 'some' State 'out west' having started this trip in Georgia.
Totally tongue in cheek...I love California and everything it stands for. And we definitely have our share of fruits and nuts in Georgia.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:04 PM   #20
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Day 2 - Hot Springs, AR (225 miles)

We got up a little late this morning and had a nice breakfast with my parents.

By the time we got moving, it was after 9:00...but no big deal because our mileage today would be much lower than the previous. After making one more stop to see Val's mom, we were heading through Memphis towards the Mississippi River and beyond. Today would mark our first true day into uncharted territory, we were escaping our old stomping grounds and the familiar landscape that comprised it.

Crossing into Arkansas, I was struck by the wind, the flatness, and the God awful roads. The pavement was beat to hell and while the GS has ample suspension travel even when fully loaded, the roads were still taxing to the machine as it rolled along at 80 mph. We decided to forego the interstate and hopped off onto Hwy 70, where we would spend much of our day.

This 2 lane road crossed through vast fields that stretched to the horizon, fields that were impossibly large and full of corn/soybeans/various other crops that were certainly shipped all over the country and the world. The landscape was so amazingly flat, and so barren of trees, that the wind became a serious force of reckoning. It wasn't bad when we were heading straight into it, but since it was blowing from the south and we were heading west, much of the day was spent at a decent lean.

Crossing through many small, forgotten towns, with abandoned houses and main streets that had seen better days, we felt like we were experiencing the Arkansas that you don't see from the interstate. To be honest, it got pretty monotonous after a while, with the unchanging landscape and the unwavering wind.

Thinking I had previous day's oil leak taken care of, my stomach dropped when Val's voice came over the Autocom, informing me that her boot was once again getting splattered with oil. We pulled off at a small gas station and I examined the cylinder head, certain that it couldn't be the gasket. After wiping everything down, something grabbed my attention: a hose clamp that had become dislodged (or was not replaced during a previous service). Jiggling the hose, some oil trickled out and I had just found the problem. I didn't have a wrench large enough to tackle the issue, but a zip tie helped to stem the flow of oil for the remainder of the day's ride.

We got on the slab for just a little bit...rolling through Little Rock and, soon thereafter, exiting towards Hot Springs.

Val was hungry, so we stopped downtown for a burger before scoping out a campsite for the evening. Refueled, we motored 2 miles up the road into the National Park, grabbing a very nice spot right on a creek. We unpacked, set up the tent, and then decided to do something about the shower situation. With no showers on site, we needed to do something to feel a bit more clean, so it was a romp in the creek with a bar of soap. It actually did the trick, and we both felt 100% better after getting off the day's sweat.

A couple of riders at the site next to us (Goldwing guy from Tampa, Triumph guy from Dallas) loaned me a wrench and I was able to put the hose clamp back in its original place. I am 99.5% certain that this will fix the issue, but I guess I won't know until the end of tomorrow.

Here are a few shots from around our campsite.

Hot Springs is a nice area, although to call it the mountains would be a stretch. More like some big hills with a lot of green and some decent curves. The downtown area is nice, full of majestic bathhouses that people have come to for decades, due to the supposed healing powers of the springs.

A dinner of Mexican food, followed by a walk in the woods near our campground, helped to cap off a nice and easy second day of riding.

As you can probably tell, today's update is a bit more verbose than the last one, but I was feeling a bit inspired while sitting here on the picnic table and listening to the creek flow by.

Day 3 is next...high mileage into and across Oklahoma.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:34 PM   #21
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:39 PM   #22
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Looks like great fun!

With your permission I will and see where you and Val take us

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Old 06-09-2009, 05:48 AM   #23
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Hope the fix stays on that hose! Ride safe.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:16 AM   #24
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Day 3 - 575 miles to Amarillo, TX

Today was one hell of a day, but we made it safely to Amarillo and are not too worse for the wear, considering it was the highest mileage I have ever done in one sitting (and far beyond anything Val has ever done).

I woke up around 5:45 with the birds chirping and a bit of daylight shining through the mesh roof of our tent. We slowly got moving, had some breakfast, and broke camp. We were on the road at 8:00, planning on heading into Oklahoma to knock out a bit of mileage. The CNN weather guy was talking about a bunch of nasty storms east of Oklahoma City, which made us a bit nervous since that was exactly where we were heading. We ended up having great weather without any thunderclouds at all, just as the Weather Channel had predicted.

I was packed and ready to roll!

The Ozarks stretched across the horizon as we headed north towards I-20.

The curves were pretty good today, there were some nice stretches that really let me lean it over and use something other than the middle of the tire. It definitely got me looking forward to Colorado

Soon we were in Ft. Smith, Arkansas...which had a pretty nice downtown setting with several restaurants and outdoor bars.

Oklahoma lies across the Arkansas River from Ft. Smith, and we crossed into our 6th state of the trip.

It was slab time.

When planning the trip, I had this grand vision of avoiding interstates at all costs and doing nothing but backroads. If we had 2 months then it would probably happen, but there is just so much incredible stuff that we want to see, something has to give. That something is Oklahoma, and we crossed it quickly and cleanly. Oklahoma City was our first big stop of the day.

We stopped for lunch at Taco Cabana, and man it was good. This fast food place was better than many Mexican restaurants I have been to.

During lunch we discussed how far we wanted to go for the day. Val and I were both feeling pretty good, the weather was great, and we still had a lot of daylight left. I thought we could make Amarillo, and Val was a bit hesitant but agreed to give it a go and see how she felt. So we were off.

Western Oklahoma is exactly how I envisioned Oklahoma when planning the trip. It was expansive and had endless fields and crops. The wind turbines were incredibly impressive...we saw hundreds of these dotting the horizon in every direction. They are so tall that you can see one on the horizon and ride for 10 minutes (at 80 mph) before you pass by. They were all spinning quite fast on this breezy day.

This is a common sight in Oklahoma

After a while, we hit up our 7th state of the trip.

It was time to take a break, and Val contemplated exactly why she agreed to such a lengthy day.

Texas somehow knew to be Texas, because I have never been to a place that was so big, so open, and so deserted. I am not sure how far into the horizon you could see, but I was actually intimidated by the size. These fields were quite literally thousands, if not 10s of thousands of acres, with a solitary house and silo dotting the horizon somewhere. We would ride for miles and miles without passing an exit, a business, or even a person.

This is the largest cross in the Western hemisphere. It was quite large.

We were feeling a bit of burn, but we kept on rolling towards a cold shower and a colder beer.

We finally pulled into Amarillo, exhausted but glad to have put so many miles under our belts. We stopped at the Baymont Inn to find that their WiFi was down due to a storm the night before. I called the Holiday Inn down the road, got a quote for $59 and confirmation of Wifi, so we geared back up and headed over. The woman at the desk informed me that they had no more $59 dollar rooms but would give me one for $69. I told her that I had called no more than 5 minutes prior and the man on the phone told me $59. She told me that the employee was still in training and had made a mistake, but refused to honor the stated price. I was pissed. So, back out to the bike, geared back up, and rolled down the road to the Days Inn, where they beat the Holiday Inn price. What a pain in the ass at the end of a long day, but nothing a few Dos XX couldn't take care of.

Tomorrow we head north to Colorado...hopefully we will make Colorado Springs or somewhere nearby.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Eyes Shut
Hi Grad: I've been following your various posts on your trip. If you need a place to stay in Santa Barbara, PM me. GSWayne and I have done several long distance trips 2-up on the GS and are happy to host fellow travelers.

Have a great time!
Thanks for the we get closer we will look at our route and you might get a PM from us!
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:19 PM   #26
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Day 4 - 322 miles to Pueblo, CO

After a nice hot breakfast at the Days Inn, it was time to pack everything up and set off for the Rockies. Val was a little sleepy this morning, but I knew with some food in her it was only a matter of time before she would be bright and cheery. We loaded up and set off around 10...the weather was very nice with temps in the low 70s and partly cloudy skies.

This would change once we picked up HWY 87 towards the New Mexico border. The temps remained great, but the wind came out of the west with a ferocious howl, forcing us to ride at a considerable lean for several hundred miles. This kind of wind will wear you out quickly, so we stopped several times to stay fresh.

Off into the vast emptiness that is north Texas. It was quite beautiful in a lonely kind of way.

Formations such as this one dotted the sky in every direction. They created a nice contrast with the fields that ran to the horizon.

Of course it wouldn't be Texas without the oil.

Never heard of this blend of Bud Light, but I am guessing the close proximity to Mexico has some influence over the offerings in this area.

We gassed up and continued rolling, weary of afternoon thunderstorms that can pop up out of nowhere. Fortunately, they wouldn't be a problem for us today.

Our 8th state in 4 days. Yeah, we aren't messing around

We stopped in the tiny town of Clayton, NM for lunch. I think the entire town eats in this diner each day, and we were quite the sight for these locals. All eyes were on us, but we really enjoyed the very close-knit feel of the place. The food was also excellent.

A bit later, we stopped at a rest area that had an actual corral. Evidently it is used, there was horse poop everywhere and a feeding trough with some leftover food. Do people actually ride their horses down the highway and stop in the rest area? I have no clue...but evidently snakes are a problem.

What a different landscape from the Southeast.

Farms like this one are everywhere, and the views they have are unreal.

After getting the crap beat out of us by the wind for 3 hours, we were rewarded with our first view of the Rocky Mountains. It was surreal that we were sitting in middle Georgia just 4 days ago, and now we have ridden to the beginning of the Rockies. We were giddy with excitement.

State number 9: check.

Tomorrow we will be exploring these peaks, but today we enjoyed them from the lower (and warmer) elevations.

We decided to press on to Pueblo, which would put us very close to many different possibilities for the following day.

And on we went.

We rolled into Pueblo and got hooked up at this Quality Inn for a very reasonable rate. The desk clerk is even keeping watch over my bike as I type this, so I will sleep well tonight. After unpacking, we hopped in the pool and then the hot tub to cap off a long but rewarding day of riding. The wind was brutal, but the destination was all worth it. A dinner of Italian food hit the spot...

and then we had a nightcap.

Tomorrow we head into the Rockies and perhaps conquer Pike's Peak, although the high temp on the summit is supposed to be 38 degrees with scattered snow. I guess we will see what happens!
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:06 PM   #27
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Great report so far, look forward to the rest.
2000 KLR650

There's roads and there's roads and they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit. The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain. One of those is where you'll find me till they drop the big curtain. Bruce Cockburn
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:00 AM   #28
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is that round red thing on top of your topcase a brakelight?



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Old 06-10-2009, 04:07 AM   #29
Lurch II
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I'm in for the ride...

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"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it." - W. Somerset Maugham
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:56 AM   #30
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i need to talk mega-wife into a trip like this
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