|06-04-2013, 09:58 AM||#16|
I lost my OLD posts!
Joined: Jun 2012
Mexico City to Miami, to NYC, to... Tierra de Fuego!
Day 3 St. Augustine, Fl, to Congaree National Park, SC
After a night of really good and repairing sleep at Chris's place, I headed to the historic area of St. Augustine, which was smaller than I had expected, and because it was Sunday, it was flooded with tourists.
I wandered around town, getting off and on the bike intermittently to read the information plates regarding the history of the place, or to take pictures, or so.
Its small streets, antique houses, the fort, the Spanish "Galeón", and the overall vibe that floats in St. Augustine's air, made the visit to the town really worth. I strongly recommend you guys to go here, at least once in your life (just not on a weekend). The instant shot of history is awesome.
I stopped by a Dunkin' Donuts, and while I was there, some people asked me if I was the owner of "that thing", for which I answered "that little think" is taking me places I had never expected to go otherwise. When I described the plan of my trip, they were surprised, but when I mentioned the tiny size of the bike's engine, an the fact that I am traveling with almost none pennies, their faces froze. That's becoming my new hobby: to see how many people's face I can froze in a day. Lol
At that place, I also met this guy that used to ride his bike, and told me about that time when he rode his bike around Europe, and the police officers tended to stop him because he was riding a bike (Honda 500cc) with an engine almost 10 times the size of the police bike's engines. That guy's was named HAPPY.
When I asked about his name, he said that that was not his original name, he had had it changed some years ago, because 1) he could, and 2) he wanted to have a daily remainder to stay in a happy mood. How awesome is that?
I hit the road again at about 2pm, heading north the US1. I entered Jacksonville to get a glimpse of the city, then continued all the way to Georgia, where I stopped to sleep a little and recharge the gadgetry I carry.
While at there, a group of really nice people, from Nicaragua, stopped to take a look of the bike. They KNEW about the Pulsars and were amazed to see one those here. I shared with them the details of the trip, and that I am looking forward to visit their country, since I have heard so many good things about it. We stood there chatting about road safety, bikes, the Central America do's and don't's. etc. I felt immediate confidence about those guys, they were really fun and easygoing people. Eventually, we said goodbye to each other, and they took off. I finished rearranging the bike's luggage, and at the very moment when I was ready to go, those guys reappeared, approached to my bike, and out of the blue, they handed me some bucks as a donation for my trip. This time MY face froze. I didn't expected that kind gesture from complete strangers. God's ways are mysterious indeed.
It was around 6pm when I hit the road again, and since it was late already, I took the I-95 and didn't stop until the border with South Carolina. Both my bike and I were hungry, so I exit the highway, refueled the bike, and for me I did the McDiet I am starting to like a lot: one hamburger, one coffee, and a lot of free WiFi. :)
While at there, I looked up about the Congaree National Park, at Hopkins, SC. I realized I still was 2 hrs away, so I ate fast, jumped on the bike, and kept going until I got to St Mathews.
What a beautiful town. It reminded me to my home town, just a lot more cleaner and organized, but with that touch of Early-American style, that lies a charm on you. Had it not been raining so hard, I could have taken some amazing shots with the camera.
I finally arrived to the Congaree Natl Pk at around midnight. There were no artificial lights but that was not problem at all, since the Rigid LED lights on the bike performed flawlessly. it was raining even worse than before, the mosquitoes population was compared to the ones I faced at the Everglades, Fl, so I immediately empty the OFF repellent on me, but the insects seemed to be accustomed to the OFF brand, or so it looked, because they kept coming at me! So I had to call the repellent cavalry, and unburied from the panniers, the little bottle of GoReady Insect Repellent (Deet 98.11%)... It was a heaven from there on... The Mosquitoes and flies seemed to have left the park!!
I settle self-registered as instructed on the Park website at the entrance of the park. Then I looked for a place to settle my tent, did so, put all the wet stuff outside, the dry ones inside, closed the lid, and slept as a baby.... Until the Park Ranger called me out the tent, to let me know that's prohibited to have the bike near the camping ground, so I had to take it away to the parking area. He warned me: if I did the same again, I will be issued a ticket . Oops!
I got back to sleep until around 1pm, when a really heavy rain waked me up. I pulled inside the tent the Now-dry stuff, to avoid to have them wet again, and started to write this review.
After the rain stopped (paused?) I was feeling kind of hungry, so I eat the most exquisite food in the world...at lead to me, today:
Now that I have eaten, I move the tent closer to the parking area, and I prepare myself to enjoy the rest of sunlight reading some chapters of "Shoot the Damn Dog" by Sally Brampton.
Sent from crappy iPhone
Nttra screwed with this post 06-04-2013 at 04:40 PM
|06-04-2013, 11:41 AM||#17|
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Los Angeles, California
Two weeks seems a little tight to travel from Key West to Niagra Falls if you plan on really soaking in the Appalachians in the summer. You can defnitely make it in that time, but you will be pushing through some beautiful landscape.
You probably already know this, but you have to take the "Blue Ridge Parkway" from Smokey Mtn National Park up to the Shenandoah. It is simply incredible. Excellent quality highway, plenty of places to stop and eat along the way, and the views are second to none.
Have a great trip!!
|06-04-2013, 03:43 PM||#18|
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Welcome to your Northern neighbor. What a wonderful tale you tell of your adventure so far, I hope the hospitality I experienced in your country over a period of almost twenty years is matched by what you recieve here. Thank you for taking the time and effort to keep us informed of your travels.
2009 BeeMWhua G650
Family, Friends, and Felons in Florida
|06-10-2013, 01:28 PM||#20|
I lost my OLD posts!
Joined: Jun 2012
Day.. I kind of lost track of the days! Let's call it, other day of my sorry adventure
I woke up around 7 am with the bird's chirps. Thankfully there was no bear , panther, nor another long-pawed mammal near my campground during the night, so I did rest peacefully, and my meals were intact right were I left them.
As I was doing my way trough the morning, the manager's wife approached to me, and we started chatting about this crazy trip I am doing. She insisted to know the motives in doing such an adventure. I felt bad, because to be really honest, there are not deep or fascinating motives in doing the trip I am doing.
One thing I have realized along the way is that several people tend to believe we all travelers are beings with an ulterior and unique, motivation to travel. Sadly I have no unique answer for that question. I started traveling in a "Forrest Gump- king of way": just because I felt like doing so.
I could argue in my behalf, that the failures of character I had last year, could back up my decision to jump on my bike and go away. But now I know that I am a result of a lot of previous experiences, even dating back to my infant years. The alone time been having while riding the bike, or while camping, or walking through the woods, has been really helpful to get a glimpse about, let's call it, my "core and unbiased" personality.
I will come back to this point later on.
---- end of commercial pause, back to regular programming---
Both the manager and his wife said they had been in Mexico, once, in the 80's, and they flew all the way from here to Puerto Vallarta. When they knew I was camping, sleeping wherever I felt tired (rest areas, urban parks, behind Gas stations, etc) they didn't understand why didn't I take a plane, or stay in hotels, I would be more comfortable, they argued. I didn't want to discuss that topic any further, as I have realized that trying to explain the whole idea of that kinds of trips is just like speaking in a whole different language (leaving aside my horrible English pronunciation :( )
I left the Park before noon, with my camera at hand, to capture the most possible beautiful sights during the ride of the BR pkwy. Well, it only lasted a couple of miles, since the more north I was going, the worst the weather turned. I had to stop, put the camera back in its case, and myself back into the stinky rain suit. The rain became even harder, and combined with cold air, and fog, reduced my visibility to almost none.
I am not kidding about this. I only could see as far as 3 meters away from my nose, tops. The cars appeared I instantly out of nowhere, scaring the heck out of me... So did the road.
I tried to keep my faith up, and continued going through the BRP for some more miles, at about 10 mph, until it became really stressful, so I call it quits. I went out on the first opportunity I had, under the hope that the weather would be better by the vicinity area of the Shenandoah National Park. So I could "cheat" the way if I go by highways.
So, I took the 75 to Virginia, and while reposting gas in my bike... And food for my stomach, I guy approached to me, interested abut my trip. He was Mexican as well, and he talked for about 95% of the conversation. He told me how he got in the USA about 16 years ago, and the adventures and misadventures he had while doing so. He eventually became a truck driver, but he has worked in pretty much everything, and he had such a funny way to tell his story, it became almost impossible to cut the conversation, which lasted almost 5 hrs!
It was almost 10pm when we said goodbye to each other, and I was dubious if I should continue, or find a place to stay nearby and continue next day.
Because almost the 1 liter of coca cola I drank while I was talking with Refugio, the Truck driver, I was kind of "hyper" on sugar at that point, and to try to sleep would be kind of useless, so I decided to continue riding north.
Thanks of the Dually LED lights I installed on the bike, it was possible to see the road. It was like a "wolf's mouth", no light at all, and no traffic going my way. The only traffic I saw, was in the opposite direction from me, which repeatedly blinded me with their high beam light.
When I was near the Natural Bridge, I started to feel the bike different, and it was making weird noises. I reduced speed, and opened the helmet lid, to try to identify the problem. It seemed to be related the chain, so I went out the freeway to take a closer look of the problem.
Even though I tried to adjust the chain, it was already damaged, beyond the point of achieving a good adjustment. So I did what I could with my limited knowledge and tools available, and tried to find a place to camp, but the search was unsuccessful, so I jumped on the freeway again, and headed to the Shenandoah, where I arrived to by almost 5am, with the first rays of the sun showing in the sky.
There was no one at the camping registration boot, just some indications of how to self-register for camping and pay, if late arrived. After some serious thinking, I decided to wait until 9pm to register, so I wouldn't pay an extra night if I self register.
So I took the camera out, and took some nice shots (at least nice for me), but I started to feel really exhausted... No wonder! At that moment, I had been awake consecutively for almost 24 hrs, and had driven a decent mileage. So I rest my head on the grass at the picnic area (South River) but Mother Nature had apparently a schedule for me. It started raining, and blowing some strong and cold winds almost instantly. I had just enough time to jump into my rain suit again, and take cover under a tree with the hope of the rain would pass soon. It didn't.
Not only not stopped, but worsened, and the weather conditions were at best, the same as the ones I found at the beginning of the BRP. I felt really disappointed at having chosen to go there. I had spent 3 days on that decision, and now that was a complete waste of time.
Under a mix of fury and sadness, I decided to go to a local town nearby to try to find a place where to buy a new chain for the bike, but I didn't find any. So I texted a good friend living in Woodbridge, VA, to ask him if it was OK if I arrived earlier than expected to his place. Not only he agreed, but he told me to go directly to the mechanic shop he works at, and offer me help to fix, in the best way possible, the issues of my bike.
On my way there, I started reflecting of how things had happened, but didn't reach to any conclusion there, it came a day later.
The route was wonderful. I crossed several towns with constructions beyond my imagination, or what I had seen on movies or tv. Most of the town were apparently agricultural based economies, and there were some sort of specialized farm machinery. Really cool!
I finally arrived to my friend's shop. It had been almost 4 year since I hadn't seen him, and we had too much to catch up. He put on hold all he was doing, to take me to a couple of motorcycle shops to find the chain I needed to my bike. He even took me to a place to have something to eat... Apparently my face was not looking really healthy :)
Then we returned to his place, he allowed me to help him with the thighs he was doing on the cars, and was very patient while explaining me the step-by-step about what the parts were, and how they worked.
After his shift ended, he took me to take a look of the city, and he let me know he couldn't allow me to stay at his place, nor camp, because he lives in a tiny place, but he really surprised me when he sponsor me, paying for a night of hotel in his town, so we could catch up with events the day later.
So I went to sleep, and took a well deserved shower. Babies do not sleep that well.
Next day, he picked me up about 8am, and we went to his shop. He continued teaching me about cars, tools, how-to's, and that sort of thing, while he helped me replace the chain of my bike. He also helped me to grease the axels of the wheels, and checked the overall condition of my bike. He found out the front disk rotor is slightly bent, and that is the cause the handlebar vibrates like a wet dog while in movement. It needs to be replaced anywhere soon.
Here is when I started to get the idea that, as grandma used to say "things DO happen for a reason". Maybe it was supposed to rain that hard over the BRP, so I could get earlier to my fiend's, so we could have more time to hang out, talk, and learn the thinks he taught me. I usually find it really hard to believe in a Greater Power, and things alike, but sometimes I just do not know what to think at all.
I expected to leave early to visit Washington, DC, but the weather got really nasty in Woodbridge, and according to google, in DC it wasn't that different, so I decided to stay a little later, so I could head up directly to NYC, instead of visiting DC.
So my friend and I went to a Mexican style restaurant, with karaoke night, and was a really fun night.
At about 11pm, the rain suddenly stopped, and the sky opened clear, also the cold wind disappeared. So we said goodbye to each other, and I jumped on the bike again.
When I was on my way to NYC, I passed besides the Pentagon, and I saw the Washington obelisk monument at the distance, and it was almost impossible to NOT to visit that city, so I got out the freeway, and headed up to the White House. Maybe my vast knowledge could be of use to some politicians down there. :Rofl But at that time, the only signs of living forms, were youngsters all dressed up, in cocktail clothes, with levels of alcohol intoxication above the permitted custom. :)
I left DC, and kept going to NYC, but the piled up exhaustion, the bad eating habits I have keeping during the trip, the rains and the colds, and the deprivation of sleep, were taking their toll on me and my old and crappy body. So I stopped to rest for a couple of minutes behind a BP gas station, but I ended up falling asleep for almost 4 hrs. The sprinklers woke me up.
I bought a cup of coffee to boost the startup cycle, and resume my way to the big apple.
I stopped at a Service Area, and while pumping gas into the bike, a family of Porto Ricans (who by the way, were heading up to NYC to participate in the portorican event to take place the next day at the city), approached to me and told me I looked like a re-maked version of the Che Guevara, and his Motorcycle Diaries. They almost made me cry with that comparison.
I am not going to deep on the good and bad about the Che, but only want to emphasize that his trips are a source of inspiration for me, and the fact that family compared my silly and humble trip with ones I have in great esteem, was a honor for me. They also gathered around me, grab each others hands, mine included, and made a prayer for me, and for the good adventures during my journey. My throat closed, I became speechless right there.
I arrived by noon to Manhattan, as expected, in order to attend to a very important event happening tonight.
The weather was awesome! Warm, and without a cloud in the sky. Although I had been a couple of times in Manhattan,this is my first time driving on the city. What an experience: Everybody is nuts!!
Pedestrians cross street at any place or moment. Cars, specially the yellow killing machines, invade lanes at will. Everybody tailgates, and honk for no special reason, Gas prices are even higher than the ones in Florida, and there are homeless people at every other corner. I felt like at home!
One funny think was that while in traffic, I noticed some tourist taking pictures of me on the bike... I guess I qualify now as a big apple attraction with all the luggage and silly looking outfit.
|06-16-2013, 05:56 AM||#22|
jonesing for a ride
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Wildwood, MO
I am subscribed! This is a great ride report Ed! Cannot wait to read the next report. It's been fun to read your story so far. Your english is fine - better than some of the other posts on ADVrider.
Tapatalk 4 beta.
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