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Old 07-09-2013, 09:41 AM   #106
Dranrab Luap
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Originally Posted by kitesurfer View Post
i can't believe someone sent you to new orleans this time of year! humid and hot!!!
He got lucky and caught it comparatively mild.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:47 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by kitesurfer View Post
i can't believe someone sent you to new orleans this time of year! humid and hot!!!
Hell he came to see as much of the US as he can in 3 months and since he's already been to Florida on previous trip meant NO was on the hit list along with Austin before he got back into the higher country
Heat, humidity, or not, he did happen to luck into at least a week of unseasonable cool temperatures for the time of year he passed through my place, it was unusually cool weather to be hauling hay in, almost enjoyable

He's not made of sugar or he would have died in the hay field
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:53 AM   #108
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I visited NO at 4th of july 10 years or so ago. They were having a Queer convention! and..it was fun :) my wife loved all the beautiful women..with big hands.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:43 AM   #109
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Hey New Orleans is an American Treasure! Hot or not, it's a treat. Hell- it's SUPPOSED to be hot in NO- call it ambiance! Adds to the flavor of the local cuisine.
Ian, I, to, am completely enjoying your RR!
Thanks for posting.
Ride ON dude.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:01 PM   #110
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It's getting harder and harder to write these. Since getting into Texas and now the south west the distances between places is huge. I'm therefore spending more time on the bike and unable to write up my days. Plus the data connection and WiFi availability is patchy at best!

I'm currently in Zion national park having done a days hiking. (Angels landing is epic!)
I'm heading to Vegas tomorrow, before hitting the west coast :)


Day 22

For the first time since I have been here I had to set my alarm :(
It was about 600 miles to New Orleans from Talimena. So I needed to be up and off early to make it there for a reasonable time.

Getting up this early was a bit of a shock, but I managed it. I was packed up and off, right for when I wanted to be.
As some of you may have guessed. I was heading for the Talimena skyway, before using the interstates to get me to NO.

It was early so I didn't see another person for the vast majority of the always 50 mile length :)

I did see lots of massive spiders on the road though. They were tarantulas that were coming out in the morning to warm themselves up on the hot tarmac. I wanted to stop for a picture but it was too dangerous to just be pulling up on a road like this.
I did however stop at one of the overlooks that was recommended to me by the park staff. It was called Panorama Vista for obvious reasons.

It had a 270 view of the surrounding area.

Just over half way down the skyway there is Queen Wilomena campground. It looks very nice and has a cool old steam train by the entrance.


I reached the end at Mena. Filled up with fuel, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed straight down the highways and interstates.

I arranged to stay with dranrab luap for my first night in New Orleans.
Dean, who I'd stayed with in Atlanta, was coming down the day after, so I arranged to stay with him again for a night.

I was making really good time until, just above Alexandria when I ran into a huge thunderstorm!
It was plain dangerous to be on the road. Lightning was hitting very close and rivers were forming across the interstate.
I pulled off at the next available junction and happened to stubbled along a very little shop. I walked in to get out of the rain and the owner looked at me with shock. After speaking to him he had never had an actual customer before. He only ran the shop for his neighbours and friends. So when a British guy walked in, I can understand his bewilderment.

The rain died off so I carried on down the intestate. But as soon as I joined, I could see I was going to run into it again! It was moving south down there interstate, right in the direction i needed to be!
As soon as i joined I was looking for the next junction. However it wasn't for miles! So i had to ride through the storm again. I was sensible enough to put my waterproofs on, but the rain was so heavy I got wet anyway!
The next junction finally appeared. The interstate went over a small road so I just sat under the bridge drying my stuff, waiting for the weather to die down, while watching the weather radar on my phone.


The storm finally passed over, but it had lost be a good hour or more, meaning I didn't get into New Orleans till about 10pm.
Where I had kept dranrab waiting.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:25 PM   #111
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The photo with bike under the overpass looks quite wet and lonely. Have been enjoying the trip reports so far. Please let me know if you are traveling up the west coast and passing through NW Oregon.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:39 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mon the biffy View Post
It's getting harder and harder to write these. Since getting into Texas and now the south west the distances between places is huge. I'm therefore spending more time on the bike and unable to write up my days. Plus the data connection and WiFi availability is patchy at best!

I'm currently in Zion national park having done a days hiking. (Angels landing is epic!)
.
They say the sun rises and sets on Texas. I think it's because it's almost impossible to cross it from east to west in a day (unless you cheat and cross at the panhandle).

I love Zion; so glad you were able to see such a treasure and enjoy so many of the other lovely areas here!

Post when you can, we are enjoying your reports, but certainly understand the amount of riding and unexpected delays you may encounter!
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:40 AM   #113
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Zion was beautiful, and getting to the top of Angels Landing and seeing that view. Wow! Possibly my favourite thing on this trip so far.

Day 23

Dranrab had to be up and off to work early. So unfortunately we didn't get much time to chat. I would of loved to spend more time there. The offer of fishing from kayaks will definitely be taken up next time.

(After the long ride down here, I'm starting to realise just how big this country is! I've already decided I'll be back, but that I will just stick to one area at a time. Not try and do the whole thing in one go!) :o

I saw myself out not long after dranrab had left, and off I went to explore New Orleans.
Parking wasn't easy. And as I had all my stuff on the bike still, I was very apprehensive about leaving it anywhere too open.
I ended up stopping by the tour bus carpark and speaking to the guy there. He let me leave my bike in the main secure-ish car park there, as long as I took the tour.
I wasn't up for walking around New Orleans too much. Even though it was cooler than usual, it was still hot and humid. So the option of seeing the town on the back of a tour bus was quite appealing.
The first stop for me was the World War 2 museum.

I should be using this bike for my trip. I could even carry my rifle!



The museum was excellent. It gave a very American perspective to the war. Not a bad thing per se. However there was very little mention of the other allied nations.
The 4D movie was absolutely outstanding. Well worth the extra $5 on the usual price.

I then did take a short walk to and around the French quarter. It is a very interesting part of town, with the architecture, buskers, and Bourbon Street!
I've been to France a few times and it definitely didn't look like the towns over there. It had a cool mix of American and French style.




The previous day, Dean, who I stayed with in Atlanta, got in touch with me and said he was down in New Orleans, and that he had a place for me to stay. We had a great time in Atlanta, so with us both down in NO. It was going to be another good night.

He gave me an address and I met him at his friends place.
After the introductions, Rick, Dean and I went out of dinner. After making us walk in and out of about 3 different places! Dean finally settled on a place that he was happy to eat at! :p

After food we had a couple of beers at the bar, before planning on moving to Bourbon Street. Unfortunately Dean started to feel unwell though so he had to go back early.
Rick and I still went out for a beer or 2. It was Rick's last proper night of freedom before his wedding at the weekend, and my only night down there.
We walked down Bourbon street, and to be honest, it was too much! You couldn't move for drunk loud people, and unless you are one of those people it just isn't fun.


We went a bit further off the street to a cool bar though. As we were about to leave this bar some girl walked in wearing nothing but a small pair of pants and some body paint! Shame we were just leaving for the night :(
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:46 AM   #114
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You weren't abducted and held captive by one of those girls you saw in New Orleans were you?

Anxiously awaiting more reports!

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Old 07-18-2013, 09:40 AM   #115
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No, not held captive. I made it out of NO alive.
I'm on the west coast now heading north.
I've just found out that the motoGP is in Laguna seca this weekend, so I'm trying to get a ticket and a place to stay. It would be an awesome addition to my trip :)

Day 24

Today was July 4th
Dean and I were rudely woken by the neighbours at 6am when they started to mow their lawn with a weed wacker ::mad:

Dean was feeling better though so we went for breakfast with Rick.
I had never tried biscuits and gravy before, so today was the day.
What is that!? It tasted quite nice. But gravy for breakfast! It's just strange.
After breakfast we said our goodbyes and I was on my way again.

The one good thing about being woken up at 6am was that it meant I had an early start to get somewhere for the evening.

Over the past couple of days I've realised that I'm closing in on my first month here, and that I need to get a move on if I wanted to do the majority of the things, on my every increasing list. Added to that is the fact that I was so far south now, I need to cover even more distance ghead:

I had been putting off crossing the middle of this country. So today, I decided, was to be the day to push another big mile day and make a good dent into Texas.
I arranged to stay with Roni (another ADV guy) in Austin.
New Orleans to Austin wasn't quite as many miles as the previous day, but would still be an all day ride.

I was on the I-10 all day :( so the ride wasn't very interesting.
I did see a very strange set of rims on a car when I filled up for gas though. Maybe he was planning on dismembering some pedestrians on his way home!


To add to the discomfort, while on the way over I started to feel pretty rough. I had a sore throat and it felt like I was coming down with a cold :(

Arriving in Austin was a blessing. The directions to Roni's house sent me up to the hills, which after being on the interstate for the past 5-6 hours, it felt so good to finally lean the bike over and move about the a bit more. Sitting in the same position for hours is very painful to the backside!

Roni greeted me at his house with a Newcastle ale, and a wonderfully cooked meal. It turns out he is a chef and owns a really nice organic food bistro around the corner.

Being the 4th of July it would be rude not to do something. However after the early start, the long ride, and not feeling 100%. I was glad when Roni said he had to be in work early and had no plans to do anything special. After we chatted for a while, and had the delicious dinner, it was getting quite late. We opted to go to a local restaurant/bar that overlooked Lake Travis to view the fireworks and have a local beer.

You can't really see, but I swear some of those lights are fireworks.

Another good local brew :)

The bed was calling though and we went back for a relatively early night.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:05 PM   #116
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A belated welcome to the US.

Mind if I ask why you chose the United States to spend 3 months and significant money exploring? Even though I am proud of our little part of the world, I realize there are many other parts of the world that are also beautiful and interesting to ride through.

Oh, and I think you are doing a better job seeing our country than most folks born and raised here do.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:10 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpuller View Post
A belated welcome to the US.

Mind if I ask why you chose the United States to spend 3 months and significant money exploring? Even though I am proud of our little part of the world, I realize there are many other parts of the world that are also beautiful and interesting to ride through.

Oh, and I think you are doing a better job seeing our country than most folks born and raised here do.
Most folks born and raised here (myself included) get so used to their part of the US that they get bored and forget that it isn't all like that. For example, I have never been to the Southwest, which is probably as different from the Mid-Atlantic as Tierra del Fuego.

I made a promise to myself once that I was going to keep my vacations domestic for a while just to fix this. Then I went to Panama. Something about using a passport that makes a trip feel more like a trip.

I really enjoy reading travel reports in the US written by foreigners. They tend to help one see the whole country, including the sublime and the ridiculous.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:24 PM   #118
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There are many reasons why I chose the USA.

The main reason is the diversity and abundance of amazing places in terms of topography, geology, and nature. It's what I love. I could spend all my time outdoors, exploring the countryside, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, anything to get out there.

Coasts, deserts, mountains, forests, waterfalls. This country has them all, and some of the best in the world. Plus with the national park system they are all so easily accessible.
Not sure who it was, but someone said the national parks are America's best ever idea.
I would definitely agree!

The cheap cost of petrol, accommodation, and the bike itself is obviously a big appeal, as well sr fact that this is the synonymous road trip country.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:55 PM   #119
Dranrab Luap
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It is VERY hard keeping up with ride reports. Just ride and enjoy it brother. Keep us posted when you can but don't stress over it or feel obligated.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:12 PM   #120
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I am enjoying writing this down. It just takes longer than I hope it would do. Here's another day.

Day 25

With my cold developing. I struggled to get out of bed. Roni was out at work early in his bistro for the breakfast crowd, so I was more than happy to turn over and go back to sleep a few times.
I finally woke up properly when I heard Roni was back in the house.
He told me to take my time, and when I was ready, go down to his place for some breakfast.
With breakfast as motivation, I finally got myself together, packed my bags, and went down to meet Roni.
The food at his place was delicious. I had an outstanding, vegetable omelette with fresh fruit. Just what I had been craving the past few days :)

If anyone is passing by the area for breakfast/lunch, i would definitely recommend stopping by and checking it out.



I then took a quick ride to the place where we were last night, when viewing the fireworks.
As it was dark when we arrived there, so i couldn't see the view. Roni had told me that the area had experienced very low rainfall for a number of years, and that the lake was very low. He wasn't lying, that whole area below the tree line was originally underwater.


The night before, Roni showed me a map of all the motorcycle roads in Texas. When i saw his own pictures of Big Bend and Texas 170, I was sold on the idea of going to ride twisted sister (Texas 336) and then onto Big Bend and Texas 170.
Yes, I know this is even further out of the way than I planned to go, but it looked well worth it and the weather was still relatively cool.

My first destination was to be Hamilton pool, a natural pool and waterfall, just to the north west of Austin. However, when I got there, there was a 2 hour queue just to get in!

I carried on and made my first stop, Fredericksburg. An old German town.

I had a quick look around and sat down for some lunch of a couple of huge, traditional German pancakes :)

My final destination for the evening was to be Garner State park. Conveniently located at the southern end of twisted sister (Texas 336).
That road was another amazing experience. It was the first time really going into the Texas countryside. And the first time for me seeing the semi arid brush type environment.

Oh, and the road itself. Was great fun

It had some great open curves, and some tight stuff over the hills.


I arrived at Gartner State park. As was greeted by a campground full sign. It was the 4th July weekend so that, and evey other campsite in the close vicinity was full!

Luckily Roni had suggested another place to go. Lost Maples.
This was another state park, about 20 miles away over a few hills.
It turned out to be the best decision ever. It took me on an even better road (Texas 337), away from the crowds and to a nice quiet campground where I spent the evening chatting to a very friendly, self confessed redneck, about his biking and fighting youth! Who now spends, his time, as the campground host!
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