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Old 08-13-2013, 01:36 AM   #181
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:10 AM   #182
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Ok I'm in, just read the whole thread.
Seeing as I only just returned from my first bike trip, of similar but slightly smaller scale, and at the sligtly older age of 26, I can relate to how you experienced your trip. Keep doing what you're doing
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:08 AM   #183
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Well, I keep forgetting to round up pictures, but for those of you who've been waiting, here's another entry.

Willits, CA - July 9-14 2010

Steve and Kelly were there to great me when I arrived at their home. I hadn't seen them since they'd left Nicaragua ealier that year, and it was great to reunite with one another. They'd made a significant donation toward my trip, too, and been a huge part of encouraging me in this journey.

After catching up breifly I returned to the bike, which they'd had me park under their shelter, to begin unloading. As I walked up behind the bike I happened to glance down at the rear tire and see the wire showing through. It was a strange sight, though, becuase it wasn't worn down the middle, but rather on each side of the tire not too far from the sidewall edge. No pics, didn't think of it at the time.

I thought to myself, "Man! I must have really been carving those corners good through the redwoods!"



I later realized I must have been riding quite some distance with too low pressure in the rear, causing the aforementioned wear pattern. It wasn't my crazy non-existent riding skills.

Thankfully I had planned to be in Willits for a few days so I had time to get tires, assuming I could find them.

Steve and Kelly's grandson Malachi was turning 3 or 4 and they were having a get-together at their daughters house that night. We loaded up and drove to their house in Ukiah and got there right around sunset. I met a whole bunch of people and told them about my trip, had some good burgers and my first Bud Light Lime. Yeah, that beer was the highlight of the trip. Haha. For some reason I remember that.

I spent several days there. I managed to catch a cold (that would later result in damaging my bike - stay tuned for that story), but otherwise it was really great. I was able to share my story and a bit about our organization with their whole church on Sunday. Several hundred people and definitely the largest group of people i'd ever addressed. I later met with a smaller group of people one evening that were interested in travelling to Nicaragua. Many people blessed me with donations completely out of the blue to help pay for travel expenses.

Steve was one of the pastors at the church. He was bivocational, in that he sold copiers for a living and co-pastored their church along with several other bi-vocational pastors. I thought that was cool, and ever since i've thought that was a great model to follow if you're going to do "church" the way most people do. Steve and Kelly are both 20+ years clean from methamphetamine addiction and are experienced addiction counselors - something they were helping us with in Nicaragua. It's pretty incredible to see how someone who has dealt with addiction and escaped from it can related to someone in the muck of it.

One evening we went to see a movie with Steve and Kelly's son Adam, who was my age, and his girlfriend. Can't remember the name of the movie so I guess it wasn't so great, but I remember feeling like this was the most "normal" thing i'd done in a long time.

Another day while there I got a call from the Charlotte Observer, the newspaper in Charlotte, NC, who wanted to write a story about my trip. They ended up publishing it with the photo of me and my Bandit in front of the Mountains on my way to Jackson, WY. They also ran it as a cover story in the more local Lake Norman paper that runs in our area. Not sure how they found out about me, but it was cool to share my story and encourage others to take risks and seek adventure. I ended up hearing from a lot of poeple and got several unexpected donations as a result of the articles.

I also had the chance to catch up with my family and fiancee during some down time. Most days, if i'd been riding, I really didn't feel like talking to anybody at the end of the day, especially after i'd already had to give my life story to the person hosting me. Staying in one spot for a while helped that fade, which was a good thing for my family who really didn't deserve to be shut out.

I found a nearby bike shop in Ukiah called Motosports of Ukiah that had the right size tires for my bike in stock.



Steve followed me there in his Hyundai and took me way off the beaten path to a nearby park to hike down to see the redwoods while they were changing them.

This was the first time i'd been this close to these monster trees. It was just as awesome as the first time I'd laid eyes on them just a few days before. Supposedly one of the biggest trees in the world was in this grove.

That's me at the bottom left...



A little closer...







There's Steve...



Me again, tree dwarfed me...





We headed back to the bike shop and picked up my bike with freshly mounted tires. The tech there suggested I set the air pressure to the "two up" pressure listed in the manual for better longevity, especially in the rear, considering the load and my size. I remember how good those new tires felt riding back to Willits! I felt safe again, knowing my rear tire wasn't running on wires.

After a few days it was time to head out on July 14. It was a great time of rest for me.

Steve and Kelly had lined up a place for me to stay with some friends of theirs in Monterey, CA. They kept saying how beautiful it was, I had no idea though. They made a few suggestions of things I should do when I stopped in San Francisco on the way. I'll share that next.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:39 AM   #184
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Willits, CA to San Francisco, CA
July 12, 2010

It was good to be on the road again. My extended time in Willits had been restful but the reality had set in that I still had a long way to go. A mini-finish-line awaited me in Vegas, soon, where my family would be flying out for vacation and meeting me, along with Kelly my fiancee.

It seemed like I made it to San Francisco in no time. I paid some outrageous toll and crossed the famed Golden Gate Bridge in the fog and could make out the city in the distance on the left. I entered into the city and was soon surrounded by interesting stuff. I remember wishing I had a few days to spend exploring.

Based on reccomendations from Steve and Kelly, I had only a few things I hoped to do in my short visit to SF. First, ride Lomard Street. Second, have lunch at the New Asia Restaurant in Chinatown. And third, get a sundae from the Gharideli factory. It wasn't much, but I didn't have much time. I'll be back again someday to really enjoy the city.

So, first stop was Lomard Street. If you don't know, Lomard Street, specifically the Russian Hill section, is well known for it's eight hairpin turns in an extremely short distance. Aparently they designed it this way for an actual reason and not just to build the crookedest street in the world. It's an extremely steep grade at 27%, so they did this to make it less of a hazard to drivers and pedestrians. I still think they had to be trying to be at least a little bit ridiciulous, too. I took a video of me riding it but I can't seem to find it. I remember there was a VW Thing in front of me. It was one way (down), paved with bricks, and there were flowers growing all around it. It was a cool thing to experience.





Some kids posing with guns...violent Californians...



Next up was the New Asia Restaurant in Chinatown. This is one of the stories I continually tell about my trip and comes to mind immediately anytime I hear "San Francisco", so I hope I can do the experience justice here.

If you didn't already know, San Francisco has the largest Chinatown outside of, well, China. It's huge. It's like stepping into another world. Literally everyting is in other laguages and almost everyone walking around is asian. I say Asian because i'm not certain it was all actually Chinese (the people and signage).



Anyway, my Droid directed me straight to the restaurant without any trouble. When I got there, I was a bit concerned about leaving my bike on the street. There were lots of poeple around and I wasn't sure how safe it was to leave it unattended with all my stuff attached, especially one sidecase full of camera gear and electronics. I ended up squeezing it between two cars and hoping for the best.



I snapped a photo of myself in front before I entered...



Off the bike, in full gear, I entered the retaurant. The place was the size of Wal Mart. The reception area was full of people and the dining area was hustling and bustling at what had to be near capacity. I was clueless as to what to do. Needless to say I was already out of place because of my stature in comparison to the rest of Chinatown, but on top of that I was bearded and in full gear. I finially identified the "check in" table and approached. The receptionist handed me a paper ticket with a number printed on it. 84, I seem to recall.

Okay, guess I wait for my number, I thought to myself. I found a seat and tried to look inconspicuous. No luck. I quickly realized they were calling the numbers in another language - probably chinese. Great. Finally they called a number about 5 times and nobody aswered, so I guessed that was me. I guessed correctly.

The lady motioned for me to follow her, to my table I assumed. We weaved through the multitude of tables and dodged carts of food. I don't recall seeing a single other caucasian and I certainly never heard a word of English. I wish you could have seen the looks on these people's faces as I walked through.

Finally we arrived at an empty table along the back wall and I sat down. The hostess immediately headed back toward the front, no menu, no instructions, no nothing. Alrighty then. I waited. I began to notice people pushing carts of food and delivering it to tables. I assumed the tables had ordered the food, so I continued waiting.

Little did I know this was Dim Sum, where workers cart around prepared food and you stop them when you see something you want. Thankfully, one kind lady noticed i'd been there a while and didn't have any food, so she stopped and offered me whatever it was she was carrying.

She didn't speak in English, so I just nodded. No idea what I was getting, but by this time I didn't much care.

I'm pretty sure I got some shrimp dumplings and lo mein, both a first for me, and both delicious. I also had some hot tea, I seem to recall. This NC redneck was getting some culture that day, by gollie.





As they delivered the items they made note on a slip of paper on my table. When I finished devouring everything I carried the paper to the front to pay, after realizing nobody was coming with a check.

Wow, what an experience. I rememebr sitting at the table thinking how much funnier it would have been to share the experience with someone else. I'm sure we would have been ROLLING.

I exited the restaurant and found my bike undisturbed, much to my relief. I loaded back up and set out to explore the city a bit. I remember deciding to give legal lane splitting a try at one point, a skill that would come in handy the next day heading into LA.

I rode around for quite a bit, with my GPS off, just exploring anf checking out the roads. The slopes of the roads were really crazy. Hope you have good brakes ifyou plan to drvie or ride here.



I rememebr seeing Alkatraz out in the Bay and wishing I had time to go out and explore it a bit. A year or two later I'd see Book of Eli and make the connection, sorry for the spoiler.

Here's a photo I took in front of what I think/thought was the Bay Bridge.






After a while I decided to check off the third item on my list before heading to Monterey: a Ghirardelli sundae. I plugged the address into my Droid and followed the directions. Again, found a spot right out front to squeeze between two cars.



I went in and ordered up something that sounded normal and went outside to enjoy it in the perfect weather. I think that was the most expensive sundae i'd ever eaten - at least $8 to $10. It was good, though, even if i'm not a big fan of sweets.



Now that i'd accomplished my 3 tasks in SF, it was time to head to Monterey.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:55 AM   #185
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Nice RR. Sounds like it was quite the adventure.
My son made several mission trips to Nicaragua with our local church.
If this was real time, I’d tell you to try some of the clam chowder in a bread bowl at the fish hopper in Monterey (your next stop).
PS. That bridge in your picture is the bay bridge. Just to the south should have been the baseball stadium (called PAC Bell Park when I lived in the bay area).
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:58 AM   #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager II View Post
Nice RR. Sounds like it was quite the adventure.
My son made several mission trips to Nicaragua with our local church.
If this was real time, I’d tell you to try some of the clam chowder in a bread bowl at the fish hopper in Monterey (your next stop).
PS. That bridge in your picture is the bay bridge. Just to the south should have been the baseball stadium (called PAC Bell Park when I lived in the bay area).

Thanks man. Where'd your son go?

I was hoping that was the Bay Bridge. Wish I had one of the Golden Gate but I couldn't find a decent place to pull over at the moment.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:36 AM   #187
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I’ll send him a note to ask him where they went (might take him a while to respond…he just went back to college).
The Williamsburg Community Chapel been going to the same place in Nicaragua for many years now.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:23 PM   #188
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Laugh

Ride On!
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:26 PM   #189
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Laugh

Just stumbled upon this RR this afternoon - you know you started this in March right? I was hoping to read this ride report all the way to the end but I guess I'll be patiently waiting.

I love your writing and narration - keep this RR going!
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:46 AM   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshive View Post
Just stumbled upon this RR this afternoon - you know you started this in March right? I was hoping to read this ride report all the way to the end but I guess I'll be patiently waiting.

I love your writing and narration - keep this RR going!
Wow, March, yeah, sorry about that. I started writing this when I had more down time, I guess. Life happens.

I'll do my best to get it finished up soon.

Next time i'll be writing it in real time. Thanks for following along.
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:00 AM   #191
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San Francisco to Monterey, CA
July 12, 2012

I left San Francisco mid-afternoon after finishing my sundae and headed for Monterey.

The ride was short and pretty nice. Traffic was a bit more than I’d seen thus far in California, probably because of the time of day. I got behind some pretty lady in a BMW convertible who was booking it through traffic pretty good. Figured she could plow through and I’d follow like a running back through a hole in the line. I could occasionally get a peek at the ocean to my right as I continued south. I was there in no time.

My hosts were old friends of Steve and Kelly (from Willits, CA). Pam was a teacher, I want to say, and had been battling cancer. Rick was her husband. He rode a Kawasaki cruiser and was intrigued with my trip. They had a great little place right in town and were great people.

Pam offered to give me a tour of the area, and I of course was up for it. We hoped in her Prius and started the tour. First time in a Prius for me, neat little vehicle. This was beginning to be more what I expected California to be, in the most cliché sense – Priuses and beautiful beaches.














Prius cockpit...



Carmel by the Sea











I remember thinking this had to be one of th emost beautiful places in the world.

Later that night, we headed out for dinner. They asked if I liked seafood, to which I replied, "Absolutely."

We went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Cannery Row.







Food was good, as was the conversation we had. I really enjoyed talkeing to that couple. They were a rare sort that seemed to "get it".

Looking back, I guess Bubba Gump Shrimp wasn't the most authentic Monterey cuisine (at the time I hadn't ever heard of it, now I know they're everywhere), but who cares.

We headed back to their place and continued our conversations about life and faith. After a while we headed to bed and I spent some time editing photos and updating the blog. Then got a great night's sleep.

The next morning Pam insisted on packing me a lunch for the road. She made me a sandwich and gave me a bottle of green tea, which I packed in the cooler I'd been carrying.

We discussed my plan for the day's route to Orange, CA just past Los Angeles. She encouraged me to take CA-1 through Big Sur and continuing along the coast, though it would take longer, it would be beautiful. I was thankful for the advice and proceeded to load up and head on my way mid-morning.

Almost immediately I was extremely grateful for the advice to follow the road along the coast. It was one of the most beautiful rides I've ever been on. I pulled off often for photos. Here's some north of Big Sur.







Then, the moment you've all been waiing for. The moment I went down.

When you get near Big Sur, the road goes inland a bit and the scenery changes as you enter a more ferrested area. Still, very pretty. Along the road are lots of cabins and hotels. Well, as I mentioned in passing a few posts back, I managed to catch a cold. This is one of those colds where your nose just constantly runs. Which really sucks when you're trying to ride a motorcycle. I was stopping often not onlyy for pictures, but to drain a couple gallons of snot out of my face regularly. Anyway, this all relates, I promise.

As I was coming through Big Sur I felt the urge to sneeze coming on. I noticed a little cabin parking lot, so decided to pull off. As I went to put my foot down to come to a stop, the sneeze came, and in all its glory, managed to blow me and the bike on our side.



Oh. Crap.

I cut the engine off and just laid there a second laughing at myself. You've got to be kidding me. I hope nothing's broke.

Of course step one was to take a picture. Once that was out of the way I turned the key off and began trying to lift the bike. I now know a better technique for such a feat, but it was a real struggle. I remember wanting to punch people in the face as they drove by watching me struggling to get the bike up. I finally did, and proceeded to evaluate the damage.



My pelican case had fallen off and the bar end mirror had broken off. That was all that was immediately apparent.

Minor nick on the pelican:



Mirror mount and broken brake lever:



Highway peg. The SW motech crash bars they were mounted to did their job - no engine damage.



The bike was otherwise unharmed. I was astonished, and relieved. I was imagining fairings busted off and who knows what else.

So, then came the repacking process. I unloaded everything I had strapped onto the back and attempted to reattach the pelican. It wasn't going on. I had my hands on the top handle and was pushing with all my might. Then, of course, the handle folded down as I was pushing and jammed the living crap out of my right forefinger.

And it hurt. I mean, bad. If my pride wasn't already hurt from tipping the bike over from a sneeze, this was the kicker. This day was getting worse by the minute. Snot pouring out my face like a fauctet and now a busted finger.

I quit being a baby about my finger after a few seconds of pity party and realized the lock mechanism had broken on the pelican case attachment, which was why it wasn't going on. I decided to bungee cord it on for now. I'd later find out that SW Motech designed it so the locks would fail in the event of a tipover, I guess so it didn't break somewhere else. Thanks, SW Motech.

Here she is loaded back up:



Alright, carry on.

I continued south on CA-1 and got back to the coastline. It continued being beautiful as ever. My finger was throbbing, I couldn't bend it, so i was riding down the road with my right forefinger out as if I was pointing to something with the rest of my fingers around the throttle. That combined with the annoyingly runny nose had me distracted. I decided to pull off and eat the lunch Pam had packed me.

I was in some state park south of Big Sur. Looking at the map doesn't ring any bells, but I suppose it was probably Limekiln State Park.

I pulled off and parked the bike, this time with sure footing. Grabbed my cooler and took a seat on the asphalt leaning up against my bike.

As I was sitting there a big rental RV pulled in and out jumped a bunch of young Europeans who I thought were speaking German. I had fun watching them. I assumed they'd flew out here to the US and rented an RV, which sounded really awesome.

Later, as I was eating my lunch, I had a few friends come visit.











Guess he could sense I was too crippled by a hurt finger to bother him.







Okay, fun is over, time to get back on the road. I popped a couple Ibuprofen, something I rarely do because I'm so stubbornly opposed to medication, in hopes it would make the throbbing go away and let me get my mind off it.

Not too much further I was peering off to the right at the coast wehn I saw a monstrous creature on the beach. Then I realized there were a whole bunch of them. Then, I saw there was a parking lot, so I pulled off. The area was "closed" but a bunch of people had jumped the fence and were there checking out the creatures. So, of course, so did I.

This was Point Peidras Blancas, home to a huge elephant seal population. By huge, I mean both individually and quantity.











Who knew you could just be riding along and stumble across sucha marvelous thing? My mood was improving and my finger was becoming less of a distraction.

I continued south and the temperature began to get hotter. I got onto the 101 and stopped off at a Wal Mart in Arroyo Grande. I picked up some more bungee straps and an ATV mirror I stumbled across so I could see behind me on the right, since my mirror had been broken off in the tipover. I managed to mount it in the parking lot using the few tools I had. Spotted a VW Rabbit convertible similar to one i'd had.



The landscape changed from green, lush, and cliffy to more desert like.

As I got to about Sanat Barbara the traffic began to get a bit crazy.

I pulled off the highway and stopped to get a drink at Jack in The Box.





So happy.



Back on the road and into the traffic. I saw a big bagger harley lane splitting, and I figured if he could fit, I could fit, so I followed along. I took some video of it but can't seem to find it. It was a surreal experience for me to be moving through those cars, so close to them, yet feeling perfectly okay. Hard to explain. I continued like that for about 30 miles. It would have taken me at least 2 or 3 more hours to get there had I not lane split.

I finally asrrived at my contact's house in Orange. My host was the sister of my fiancee's neighbor. Yes, another strange and distant connection. She was married with a few kids. Having never met her, we talked for a while and I told them about my trip. They seemed intrigued as most did. They showed my to my spot, the couch in their den. They were planning to head to Disneyland the next day, so I would have the house to myself. I told them I had plans to meet some friends and maybe do some exploring. Everyone headed to bed soon and I spent some time uploading pictures of the day's events before dozing off.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:50 PM   #192
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Heh, first sneeze fall I've ever heard of...

I grew up in Orange CA. Where abouts were you? Or maybe that's for the next installment.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:52 PM   #193
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Ha, yeah, not my finest moment.

Orange is the next installment but not much to share really. The family I stayed with lived on Anchor St. according to my records.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:29 PM   #194
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Great to hear from you again. Take the time you need to upload your episodes, as much as I hate waiting they are worth it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:51 AM   #195
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A day in SoCal
July 13, 2010

The next day I slept late and the family had already left for the day. I unpacked my bike and tried to reorganize a bit since I’d repacked in such a hurry after the tipover. I spent some time trying to get the ATV mirror I’d bought at Wal Mart on correctly but ultimately ended up trashing it. It vibrated way too much to the point that it wasn’t usable, plus the mounting options weren’t really working. Was worth a try. Didn’t do much else for the rest of the day.

I met some friends I made in Nicaragua who lived nearby later that day. Kimi and Tiffany were on a World Race team back in 2009 and we hosted them on our base in Chichigalpa while I was there.

From the offical website:
[The World Race] is a journey to 11 countries in 11 months to serve "the least of these" while amongst real and raw community.

These folks pack up everything they need for the next year in a backpack and do this all on a budget that would make a KLR rider squirm. We were their second stop, and that month was probably one of the most transformative times of my life, and some of the best people I’ve ever been around. It also was one of the first experiences I’d had with real community, which I referred to in some of my opening posts, and something I’ve yearned for ever since.

Anyway, it’d been quite some time since we’d seen each other and lots had changed since then. Kimi was working a regular job now – last time I saw her she’d been covered in mosquito bites that eventually landed her in the hospital. Tiffany was still wandering a bit, as I recall, visiting friends all over CA. Last time I saw her she hadn’t washed her hair in 2 months. It was strange seeing the girls in their “normal” environments, showered and dressed normally. You live out of a backpack in third world countries with limited access to plumbing and electricity a little differently than you do here in a comfortable stateside life. As for me, well, I looked about the same I’m pretty sure.

Kimi (right)


Tiffany (left)



Some of their team, while riding on the back of a truck we hitch hiked through the mountains of Matagalpa on (i'm on the left safely seated)


Whole team



It was awesome to reunite, hear about each other’s lives, and catch up. We talked for several hours about what had been going on in. We talked about the people we missed and I heard stories about the 9 more months of their travels after they left Nicaragua.

They took me to Wahoo’s, a popular fish taco chain from CA, which was pretty great. I’ve since started to see fish tacos everywhere, even here in NC, but that was my first time having them. Very nice.

Late that night I headed home. Traffic wasn’t bad, and the lights of the city lit up the streets. It was pretty in its own way. I remember feeling pretty at peace and content on that ride for some reason, can’t quite put my finger on why. Probably the reminiscent taste of that previous summer.

Everyone was in bed already by the time I got back. Tomorrow I’d ride to Las Vegas to see my family and wife-to-be, something I’d been anxiously anticipating for weeks.
__________________
Current Steeds: '08 FJR1300 | '02 DR650
Former Steeds: '99 DR650 | '02 DR650 | '09 DL650 | '07 B1250
9 states left to ride: WI, MN, ND, SD, UT, OK, KS, AK, and HI.
First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.
NC to Maine for Lobster Dinner
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