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Old 11-16-2011, 01:06 PM   #1
MotoVagabond OP
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MotoVagabonding


[Me stacking boxes in the warehouse where I used to work]

How the hell do you start one of these?

Eh, who knows.

When I read the ride reports I always like a little background on the person, so, here that goes.

My name is John. Three years ago, I stumbled across ADVrider while sitting in my office at work and knew I had to do a trip. But, it was always 'someday'. Every 12 months, another year would drift by and I would think to myself, "Maybe next year I can make this happen."

Then, I met this girl at my gym who left home at age 19 with $500 and traveled the country for 4 years.

My hang-up was always money. I never seemed to have enough. But, after that conversation, I realized it was just an excuse.

So, last September I set a date for my departure one year away. I saved what I could and tried to find ways to make money online (so I could support myself from my laptop as I went).

One year has past, and that date is now (ish - I already left). I have $2500 in the bank and make about $300 to $400 a month from my computer.

So, I'm rolling the dice. The loose goal is Chile, but ultimately, I want to be a wanderer. Other than that, there is no goal, no ambition.

I'm 27, I want to take my time back and experience more of life. And, I don't want to waste a minute of it doing something that doesn't inspire me or contribute to the benefit of others. The trip lasts as long as it lasts.

I derived the word 'motovagabonding' from Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding.

~INDEX~
This will be an index of all my posts, to save people time who want to browse through things more quickly. (Assuming I can go back and edit this later. ha ha.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:28 PM   #2
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Bike Prep



[3 weeks before my intended departure I found this 2003 DRZ400s. 7,000 miles on the bike but only 1,500 miles on the engine (guy stripped out a spark plug on the original engine).]

The only bike I had ridden previously was an SV650. This DRZ had a pretty wicked shimmy up over 50mph, but I figured it was just the knobby tires (nope.) I didn't get new tires put on it until a week before I was supposed to leave. But, the shake was still there.

"Shit - bike trouble, and the trip hasn't even started yet.", I thought.

I was stressing a little bit at that point, as every day I spent at home was a lost day of travel on a small budget. Plus, it was getting colder every day.

Took me a week, but I ended up tuning the suspension and then getting the front wheel balanced by the dealership. That did it.

Three days after I got it sorted out my rear spring arrived (I thought maybe a tougher spring might solve the front end trouble).

So, I installed that anyway, as I out-weigh what the original spring was designed for (not to mention the 70 lbs. of gear).



[Rear spring swap. Prior to this I had only changed the oil and air filter. Terrifying to a non-mechanic.]


[Building aluminum mounts for my pelican cases.]



It took me two weeks to prep the bike, get the side panniers attached and receive everything in the mail that I needed (or thought I needed). I kept asking myself, why didn't I do this a month ago? For some reasons I thought I'd just hop on and go.


[The bike. Ready to rock.]
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MotoVagabond screwed with this post 11-17-2011 at 07:22 AM
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
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Departure


[ Me. 5 minutes before leaving home. Feeling a lot of different emotions, happy, sad, scared, unsure, nervous, excited, etc...]





My friends Wayne and Brett decided to see me out of Michigan and into Indiana on day one. It was 33 degrees when we left...

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:42 PM   #4
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Camping in Southern Indiana





[Camping my second night of the trip.]

Honestly, it was really pretty by that lake. But I had this nagging feeling all day. I couldn't pinpoint what the problem was.

Here I was, on this trip that I've been planning for over a year. It was finally happening. But, I felt weird.I had done it. I had put a year of effort into making this happen, but I didn't feel happy.

As roamed about collecting firewood, it hit me. I was experiencing grief. I'm was happy to be doing this, but everything had changed. My whole world was flipped upside down in a matter of 24 hours.

Now it was just me, the motorcycle, and the future. It felt strange.

I've never been homesick in my ENTIRE life, not once. And slowly I started having thoughts about being back in Michigan, with my family and friends. WTF?

I got to thinking about it the following day on my bike, and I realized these feelings are a result of a very complex mixture of circumstances.

First, I haven't gone anywhere or done anything cool yet. Camping by yourself in Indiana is about as cool as it sounds. Secondly, and more importantly...

I'm in the empty space.

I don't know what this trip is yet. My old life, in a way, is over. But, the new one hasn't started yet. So, I'm in limbo. And I have a lot of questions.

Will this be cool? How long will I be able to keep the ball rolling? What happens after it's over? What if I fail? What does that even mean? Will I run out of money? Where to I sleep tonight? Why did I pack that so far away in this bag? Why am I doing this?

I didn't start this trip to find myself. I started it to do something cool and challenging.

I started it to grow as a person.

But, I don't know what that growth will be yet. So, for a while, I guess I will accept the empty space that lies between where I've been and where I'm going. Its uncomfortable, but change always is. Somehow, I know it will be worth while.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:46 PM   #5
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Pee Bottle



Ok, here's the deal. Every good tent camper knows you have two bottles in the tent. One for peeing and one for drinking. However, there are two things to note.

1. DIFFERENT COLORS. Don't want to mistake those.

2. DIFFERENT SIZED LIDS. Again, don't want to take a drink at night of anything other than H2O

3. Yes, that is real pee. Sorry.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Days Three and Four



Day three and four were DRAMATIC improvements for me both mentally and emotionally.

So, after getting up from my first camp I packed up and headed out. There was this group of kids (maybe high school or college age) camping a few spots over from me in an otherwise empty campground. They waved to me as I headed out and I felt like a duche because I was too obsessed with my own little world to even talk to them the night before.

Lesson: Talk to strangers at every opportunity, and don’t make your “mood(s)” an excuse to isolate yourself.

Rode 45miles then my GPS died (didn’t have an Indiana map). But, I ended up finding a Panera.

“GREAT! I have a gift card here. And, now I can charge my GPS.”, I thought.

WRONG. Three, count them... THREE entire teams of 12 year old girls’ soccer teams and their parents were inhabiting said Panera. And by inhabiting, I mean consuming every bread-bowl, seat, and ounce of tranquility in the place.

*sigh*

No seats. Line out the door.

Oh well, I just waited in line and hoped I’d find a seat after I had my food. I did, after some tricky negotiating of my two bags, gear and helmet through the pre-teen masses.

Now, imagine with me (for a moment) what a restaurant full of 50 girls sounds like.

Now, picture me putting my headphones in my ear, cause that was the only logical decision at that point.

Anyway, ate my food and then thought about my predicament.

It was almost 2pm. I didn’t have time to make my next campsite and I can’t afford $100 hotel rooms on this trip. I’ve slept in my truck on the streets, but never ON the streets. So, not wanting to have that experience I went to McDonalds to try and sort things out. (Free Wifi.)

This involved a 15 min re-pack of my bike, a (literally) 15 second drive around the corner, and then another 5 minute unpack. Ha ha ha... Gonna have to figure out the luggage situation. I hadn't really anticipated that problem as I've never traveled extensively by bike before.

So, once on the net I did some searching. I concluded that a hotel or motel was likely appropriate in this situation, in spite of the cost.

No go. All the places I found were expensive. Except one dive that also had reviews indicating that most of the patrons were, how do you say, “by the hour” customers.

Cool.

What’s a guy to do?

Meh, just ride.

Eff it.

15 minutes later I find the motel above.

$32.95

I got the last room.

I realized that night that I needed to stop freaking out and just roll with the punches. Things are going to work out fine.
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:00 PM   #7
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In.

Congrats on making the goal and finally making it happen! The rest is pure gravy, enjoy
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:03 PM   #8
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Alex, From Russia



I got up in the morning on Monday and made the push for Memphis. I was ready to be warm.

Most of Kentucky was still in the 50s and 60s. I had my windbreakers and all my liners in my pants and jacket for most of the trip.

Somewhere in Arkansas, and in the space of about 20 minutes, I went from cold to sweating. And, as I pulled into a gas station to fill up and take some of my warm gear off I really felt a little sense of accomplishment.

I hate winter, and I'm always cold and miserable for most of it Michigan. I put on a happy face (sorta), but I've never liked it.

And, here I am, SOUTH. I finally made it happen. And it feels good.

Nothing else eventful happened on the trip.

But, as I pulled into the hostel the pic above is what I saw! Another motorcycle Adventurer!

Sweet, maybe we'll be best friends forever.




A few hours after being inside and unloading my gear, I met Alex.

This guy (Alex) is from Russia. He's ridden his motorcycle all through Eastern Europe and Africa. He just got it shipped into New York and is headed basically the same way I am, to South America.

He'll probably be quite a ways ahead of me though, as I prefer to travel slow.

Anyway, his English was pretty good so we had a chat and swapped stories about home. (Which made me feel a little silly because mine is 700 miles from here. His is on the other side of the planet.)

I asked him what his mom thought of his adventures, and he said, "She does not like this, this travel by motorcycle. But, she know this is what I want."

I guess moms are all the same everywhere. Anyway, he's been all over, got Malaria in Africa and done all kinds of crazy stuff.

He was an engineer in Russia. When I asked him if he liked college, his response (in broken English):

"University is eh, it is good for some thing. Still, travel by motorcycle is education in life. You can not get this in University."

I agree.

Oh, and the Russian guy's bike had 99,876 kilometers on it. This model didn't appear to have another digit for the the 100,000 place value (at least that's what I think he pointed out). So, as he puts his kickstand up and backs out he says, "Today I will get new bike, fresh start, all zeros."
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobw View Post
In.

Congrats on making the goal and finally making it happen! The rest is pure gravy, enjoy
Thanks man! Been AMAZING so far. Running out of light and need to get back to camp right now (bummer headlight) but I'll have more updates soon. This report is about a week behind me right now. :-) Cheers!
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:22 PM   #10
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Subscribed.

I can relate. Left home for the first time in '80 at age 22. Moved to California for a job (I interviewed over the telephone. No internet at that time to research anything...had to use paper books, for cryin' out loud!). Got to the town I would live in, and in my hotel room the first night, had similar feelings about what I was doing. Still have some of them today, but I know I will survive and what ever is going on, it can be solved.

You too will find your rhythm. Enjoy the ride and keep posting...
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:20 PM   #11
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:51 AM   #12
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I'm in......


look forward to seeing whats around the next bend in the road...
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:08 AM   #13
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Subscribed.

I can relate. Left home for the first time in '80 at age 22. Moved to California for a job (I interviewed over the telephone. No internet at that time to research anything...had to use paper books, for cryin' out loud!). Got to the town I would live in, and in my hotel room the first night, had similar feelings about what I was doing. Still have some of them today, but I know I will survive and what ever is going on, it can be solved.

You too will find your rhythm. Enjoy the ride and keep posting...
Thanks RAGBrian,

I can imagine we felt very similar. I was only about 14 when we started using the Internet regularly, so I never had to negotiate any 'real' life before having that tool. Sometimes I wonder how people got the ballz to sail across oceans, fight wars, and go on adventures before the net. I've had the advantage of reading about all of you for years. I wonder where I'd be without that.

Anyhow, I'm definitely getting into a bit of a groove now. It's amazing. I'll try and get some more posted today! :-)
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jarhead 17 View Post
I'm in......


look forward to seeing whats around the next bend in the road...
Thanks Jarhead,

I'll do my best to keep you all entertained!
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:22 AM   #15
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Absolutely great report so far!

Can't wait for the adventure to unfold. You seem to have a nice concise writing style while conveying the emotions, your personality, and the story. Well done.

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