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Old 09-10-2010, 08:28 PM   #1
MeefZah OP
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Stumbleluck '10, a US tour

I've done long rides before, I've headed out sans destination before, I've been solo, I've had partners, I've camped, I've moteled, I've slept under semi trailers; but this story and this trip are gonna be different - for me, for my family, for my psyche and for my mental health.

A little background is needed, first off.

13 months ago my little corner of the world starting falling apart, and it was entirely my own fault. My relationship with my girlfriend of (then) 4 years ended; I began having serious lapses in judgement at work; I put my trust in people I considered to be wonderful friends only to have them betray me and then lie to me about those betrayals; and was ultimately left without a romantic relationship, minus a lot of friends, and minus a job.

Over the past 13 months I've struggled to rebuild my relationship with my girlfriend by taking one day at a time, I've struggled to get back into my chosen profession, and I've tried harder than ever to cling tight to the friends I do have and always remind them of how much they mean to me.

I always have spent a fair amount of saddle time working through things in my head. I don't listen to music while riding, I listen to the voice (singular) in my head. I worry, tackle problems, orchestrate solutions, develop contingencies, and worry some more while the scenery blurs past me. Given the state of my life over this past year, I've spent a lot more seat time than normal trying to work through shit. I finally feel like I've gotten a good handle on my life, but I also feel like I've missed out on an entire season of riding; I derived little pleasure from many of the rides I took since my mind was busy with thoughts of everything but deriving pleasure from the sensory inputs gleaned by riding.

I'm happy to say that I've rebuilt a relationship with my girlfriend, she is now my fiance, and we are getting married on Halloween of this year ('cause it's scary, get it? ). I've finally, after trying and failing repeatedly, secured a full time job at a great place in my chosen career field. I've also thinned my circle of trust, so to speak, and hold tight a handful of solid relationships with family and friends who have always been there for me. Most importantly, I think, I've developed an entirely new attitude about life; and a more relaxed manner that makes me a better person than I was this time last year.

Now that a new job is on the horizon, about a month away; now that a new "life" with Meredith and her two girls is on the horizon, two months away; and now that I feel like things with my life are right, I need to take a motorcycle trip for me, so I can shut the voice in my head up and just enjoy the ride.

And that brings us to this report. Unlike a few other reports I've done in the past, this one will not be told after the fact. I'm taking a cue from some of the better ADV storytellers, and I'm telling it as it happens. For the first time on a trip, I'm packing a laptop (Netbook, actually); and I plan on posting photos and a daily recounting of events...well, daily... or as often as I can given the barren nature of some places I might be visiting. I'm also providing the link to this thread to family and friends, so they can kinda sorta keep tabs on me.

So the plan is this: There is no plan. Well, there's the first part of a plan, but after that, it's all up in the air. I did plot out a route, below (seriously):



It's kinda hard to read. I'll interpret. Basically I start at "X", and then ride around until money runs out, it's time to go to work (that date is still undetermined by my new employer, looks like maybe as late as October 26), or the V-Strom ceases forward motion permanently for reasons other than lack of fuel of lack of rider desire.

The first bit of the trip begins at 0530 hours on Sunday, September 12. I'm meeting Matt (BadTrainDriver), and he and I will do the Blue Ridge Parkway, Smokies, Cherohala, et. al. over about 5 days. He then turns for home, and I'll continue on, most likely riding the Natchez Trace Parkway to it's termination point, and then spending a day or 2 in New Orleans. From there, I'll head to Little Rock, and meet up with Tim (somecallmetim), and we will motor west, ultimately going through Big Bend, Tetons, Yellowstone, and riding as many great roads as we can. Tim will need to turn back a week later, and I'll head north and then west again, riding along the Columbia River and then south along the Pacific Coast Highway. From there, I truly have no idea where I'm going or how long I'm going for. I'll play it as it comes. I am packing a passport, so I wouldn't even rule out Mexico...

Most of the accomodations will consist of camping, to save money; but Matt and I will stay in motels early on in the trip, since he ain't a camper.

Not a lot of planning, eh? I might also add my rear tire, and this is typical of pre-departure on half of my longer trips, is about to expire. I should get it replaced now. But... I'm not gonna bother. I'll wait until cords are showing, ride it another 500 miles, and find a shop somewhere to sling something rubbery on the wheel.

Departure in 36 hours. The V-Strom waits, packed, ready.

I hope to have some of you along for the ride.

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MeefZah screwed with this post 10-01-2010 at 07:02 PM
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:31 PM   #2
a$$hole
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Thats seems like a hell of a route for a month long trip! But hey I hope you have a good time!
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:48 PM   #3
'Flagger
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Subscribed. Bring it, Mark.

Have fun and enjoy the trip. I hope you'll love Big Bend as much as I did.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:52 PM   #4
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I wish I could tag along for the first two days but I have a prior commitment Sunday. Have fun, stay safe, bring it back in ~one piece.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:46 PM   #5
MeefZhette
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That honestly made me cry! I'm very happy for you, but very sad for me that you will be gone for so long! (I worry about you too!)

As for my input in this story....where do I start! It's all because of Mark that I've learned to ride & have fallen in love with riding! Even after my near fatal accident, I continue to ride! We have had some really great times and some really bad times! But, in the end, we are still together! It has been a rough year on all of us...so many changes, so many disappointments & so many memories (both good & bad!). 13+ months ago, my life as I knew it fell apart before my eyes as well. What I once thought was "mine" was no longer mine to be had. I lost much more than just a boyfriend, I lost nearly everything! (Including my damn motorcycle!) It took a lot of work (not just him, but me too) but, we figured it out! I look forward to the next leap in our lives together as "husband & wife" (snicker!!!) And as a "family!"

I wish we could invite our entire ADV family to join us on the biggest event of our lives, but unfortunately, I just don't have the $ to pull that one off! (Hey! Mark's gonna spend it all on this trip!)

I wish I had the ambition, time, and iron ass to tolerate a ride like this! But, I am too much of a girl too! I don't know how well I'd do "showering" in a car wash!

Mark, don't forget to check in with me every once in a while! Don't make me worry!
And...YOU BETTER BE BACK BY HALLOWEEN!!!!
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:02 PM   #6
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Congrats on everything! Be safe Brother.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:29 PM   #7
Deano955
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:42 PM   #8
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Show off!
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:46 PM   #9
xymotic
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When you get to the top left part gimme a shout!

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Old 09-11-2010, 04:13 AM   #10
somecallmetim
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Another last minute adventure...

Where do I start? Mark mentioned this trip to me thursday evening, when I told him I couldn't possibly get vacation until the 20th he said "meet me in New Orleans, well figure out where to go from there.". I have a hard time saying no to this sort of nonsense...
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Old 09-11-2010, 04:54 AM   #11
achesley
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Very interesting plans through some great county. Be sure to stop at the little general stores and cafe's and get local info from the people there. Best way to see the USA.
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:09 AM   #12
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Good luck MeefZah.
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:57 AM   #13
danceswithcages
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Great opening!

I hope you have a great time!

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Old 09-11-2010, 07:06 AM   #14
ohioroadrat
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trip

Have fun Mark. Wish I had known sooner,might have gone but I could have loaned you some good maps ....be sure to spend about 4 days in the Moab area,get maps there and ride some of the "Trails". White Rim is doable on the "V" and you will love it.(Be sure to leave early with full tank of gas and lots of water,take a good 8 hours.)
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:03 AM   #15
MeefZah OP
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Day 0

It's my last day at my current job. I began working for an ambulance company in Columbus after I left my police job in December. When I first started, some of my new co-workers asked me why I had left my cop job. The best description I could give them was that I was kinda like the Harvey Keitel character in the movie "Mother, Jugs, and Speed".

This private ambulance stuff ain't the greatest job in the world, but it has been good to me over these past months. In addition to being a steady paycheck in a turbulent economy, it has humbled me, broadened my horizons, and provided me with new friends. Additionally, since I work 3 - 13 hour shifts a week, I have had a lot of time off to get my personal stuff together.

I'm gonna miss my partner of the last 7 months, Ryan. We are unlikely friends, differing in almost every way imaginable; and yet similar in so many ways. Neither of us really give a shit what anyone else thinks of us.... Funny sub-story, here - we live near each other so we carpool to work. I was lamenting one day that carpooling meant I couldn't ride my motorcycle to work, and Ryan said: "Fuck, man, I'll ride on the back; I don't care". The next day I rode to our meeting point, bringing him a spare helmet and jacket; and we rode to work 2-up, 45 miles. We did that with some regularity over the summer. The other crews gave us hell for a few shifts but then left us alone, and a few even commented how "awesome" it was that two guys could ride together on a bike without a care. Ryan plans on getting a motorcycle at some point. Take care of yourself, buddy, hope to see you on two wheels down the road! That's me on the left, Ryan on the right.



Early this morning, miguez (Fabio) stopped by the station to loan me a Butler Map of Colorado. We had a nice conversation. Fabio is one of many great people I've met through ADV. He just flew to LA and rode back his new KTM, so he had some good advice for me about places to go.



T - minus 20 hours.
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MeefZah screwed with this post 09-11-2010 at 07:35 PM
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