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Old 07-18-2013, 01:33 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooby View Post
I think this guy http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903152
took your claim as a challenge. He won, BTW..

'Scribed

Oh good! I was afraid that I would lose you guys before I even started. I actually skipped a lot of background to get the story rolling. I wanted to tell you about the street I grew up on, my first love in the 3rd grade, Amy Wheeler, and that weird experience I had at Boy Scout camp.

That guy's thread has better quality photos and apparently better quality food - I'm jealous.

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Old 07-18-2013, 01:57 PM   #32
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DAY 2 continued:

I wish I could tell you more about the ride through Toledo and Chicago, but I was quite properly stoned on prescription meds and I have almost zero recollection . I do remember that my EZ Pass wasn't getting picked up by the toll sensors and I kept getting angry messages from the stack lights...call EZ Pass...low balance...no EZ Pass...slow down Jeff Spicoli...Mr. Hand is a dick!

I had no idea what was going on...I just kept driving through and assuming I could sort it out later. At one point, a toll booth attendant told me that my mounting point was no good and I should relocate it. I proceeded to hold it in my teeth during the next few tolls and it worked perfectly. I made a mental note to fix it later in the trip. Those middle states really like their tolls. I got my EZ Pass statement in the mail the other day and I had $100 in tolls. I vaguely remember Mike being along on Day 2, but I can't remember any of our interactions before we stopped for lunch.

Speaking of M!ke, for a guy riding a cruiser with loud-a$$ pipes, forward controls, and not a lot of creature comforts, he plowed through 500+ miles of rain on DAY1 without so much as a complaint; even when his rain suit melted. Had I been sober, I would have been properly impressed. I certainly am now. DAY2 was much of the same, but I was going to put him to the test before the end of this day...

Hondarider screwed with this post 08-06-2013 at 10:55 AM
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:01 PM   #33
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Is Improvement actually possible?

I think you're getting better Jeff!

I'm sitting here on the computer in our local cancer center's lobby waiting for my wife to get off of work laughing my you-know-what off. You rank right up there with Vermin (google him some time if you're not familiar), and Mike has no idea how lucky he is. I too tend towards the anal, so much so in fact that I drug along a spare clutch, rear shock, chain, tires, tubes, handlebars, etc. the past two years on our TAT exploits. Not for me, mind you, but rather my fellow "Oscars" who were too lazy or clueless (not to mention happy-go-lucky) to care. They, like Michael however, were enjoying their vacation, while I was fretting about whatever needed fretting over.
Anyway, keep up the good work, it's much appreciated. If you should write a book I want an autographed copy!

LaDue
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:12 PM   #34
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Quote:
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You rank right up there with Vermin
I concur, he does indeed.
More please.

However, I'd say it's highly unlikely that Hondarider's bike would ever be allowed to rank right up there with Cack. Go Cack!

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Old 07-18-2013, 04:35 PM   #35
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Thumb Laminated packing list??? Awesome!

"I was able to quickly access the tape by referencing my handy-dandy laminated inventory card...left box...blue bag...BAMM!"

Funny stuff.

This is "A Walk In The Woods" meets Motorcycle Travel.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:22 PM   #36
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Quote:
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"I was able to quickly access the tape by referencing my handy-dandy laminated inventory card...left box...blue bag...BAMM!"

Funny stuff.

This is "A Walk In The Woods" meets Motorcycle Travel.
Sweet! A Bill Bryson shout out...I'm beyond happy with that.

Who's Jeff?
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:12 PM   #37
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Sweet! A Bill Bryson shout out...I'm beyond happy with that.

Who's Jeff?

Well deserved, you have some hilarious lines in this thing. And the Ang Lee reference? You've set the bar high brother, we're waiting for more
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:19 AM   #38
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OK...back to DAY2. Once I awoke from comatose state, it turns out that Day2 was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, temperatures were moderate, and the traffic on the interstate was bearable. The goal for today was to make it past Des Moines, IA...roughly 660 miles of beautiful U.S. interstate highway across picturesque Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. I was rocking out to the music in my helmet and anxious to see what was around the next bend. Mike was still hanging in there without complaint. Of course he had no idea that we were trying to cover so many miles today...this would be a record for him.

At some point, we caught up with this guy. He was haulin a$$ down the highway and I couldn't get a picture so I had to borrow one from Google.



This thing is awesome! My understanding is that it's a retired amusement park ride that was put on a truck chassis. Whatever it is, it looks like a lot of fun. The driver is way up in the air and there's not a lot of wind protection, but he seemed to be having a good time. Gave us a beep and a wave and then exited the highway.




Somewhere along the way, I remember seeing a stack of combine harvesters...stacked from gigantic to miniature...probably 60' tall...on the lawn of a dealership or factory. It was super cool, but I can't find an image of it anywhere. I'm guessing it was IOWA.

UPDATE: I found it! Turns out they were grain trailers - not combines, but cool nonetheless. I was grateful for the roadside distraction.



Now it was getting late in the day and we were closing in on Des Moines. We were about due for dinner...probably 7:00...when we reached the outskirts of town. After the awesome room that we had at the Hampton Inn, we were planning to find another one tonight. After a 650+ mile day, I could think of nothing better than 3 fluffy pillows, ice cold AC, and a pillow top mattress. I fiddled with the GPS as we rode....looking at our options. There was a Hampton Inn on the east side of the city and we were nearly there, but there was still daylight and I got greedy. GPS showed another one on the west side of the city and thought we should press on. That way when we got started on Day 3, we'd already be through the city and it would be clear sailing to Nebraska. I had it all figured out. I congratulated myself for thinking 2 steps ahead...I'm a damn genius.

Right about then we passed the exit for the Hampton Inn and a few restaurants. The smell from a steak house nearby made me weak in the knees. I so badly wanted to sit down, have a beer or two, and eat an enormous steak. M!ke chimed in on the headset "Why aren't we stopping?"

I assured him that we had even better accommodations down the road and there would be an even better steak house and we would be that much further from the impending storms predicted for Day 3. I could tell that he had been anticipating a stop as soon as we hit Des Moines...not after Des Moines. We were probably at 675 miles at this point...we pressed on.

I was watching the countdown on the GPS and every tenth of a mile seemed like an eternity...the sun was right in my face and not that far above the horizon. We finally hit the exit, made a few turns, and pulled up in front the the Hampton Inn. I swear I heard a chorus of angels. Oddly, there were people EVERYWHERE. M!ke went inside to secure our accommodations for the evening...his gait showing more than a little pain from the day's ride. The lobby was packed so I just hung out by the bikes. A pizza guy, having just made a delivery to the hotel, saw the bikes and came over to talk to me. This seems to happen every time I stop...gas stations, restaurants, rest areas...random people just come over and engage me in conversation...often on the most random topics...but usually about the motorcycle and how far from home I am. This is why I was content with the idea of riding solo cross-country...you're never really alone...and solo motorcyclists are much more approachable than groups...in my experience anyway.

So Pizza Guy and I spend a while discussing the merits of the BMW GSA, seeing the world, and the Boston Marathon Bombing (always comes up when they see Mass plates), when M!ke comes out of the hotel looking dejected. After standing in line at the lobby desk for 10 minutes, he found out that there wasn't a single room to be had. Apparently there was some kind of baseball tournament going on that weekend and there were many teams in town for it. Pizza guy confirmed that all the nearby hotels were packed and suggested that we backtrack east to get a room. I said that we'd probably just keep heading west and find a place in the next town. Pizza guy looked perplexed..."There's nothing out there" he protested..."You really should head back east afew miles on I80".

Now, at this point, I admit that I was suffering from target fixation of sorts. I just wanted to get to Colorado and the idea of going backwards was unbearable. Surely there were more hotels just a little ways down the road. Pizza guy, sensing my inner turmoil, added that the only places to the west were real sketchy and filled with pedophiles and drug addicts banished from the city limits. That sounded preposterous...how does one score drugs or under-aged prey out in the middle of nowhere...those interests are best served in more metropolitan locales. Surely we'd find a kindly mom and pop motel out there...maybe even another Hampton Inn...western Iowa must have something.

I thanked Pizza Guy for his advice while silently questioning his work ethic...he'd been standing there with me for 20 minutes...and we hit the road. Mike looked and sounded a bit weary, but he still wasn't complaining. I was starving. The sun must have gone behind some clouds because it was getting dark. Out on I80 west once again, I decided to let the GPS do the work and find us our next available lodging. I hit "FIND HOTEL" and all of the results were pointing East...behind us. I scrolled through page after page of results and still they were all behind us. I didn't mention this to Mike. I think his headset battery had died at this point and he was stuck following me without any indication of how far we had left to go. The only sign on the road said COUNCIL BLUFFS, NE - 120 miles. We had ridden well over 700 miles, it was getting dark, I was starving, and I'm pretty sure that MIke was hating me.

Hondarider screwed with this post 08-06-2013 at 10:56 AM
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:47 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc LaDue View Post
I think you're getting better Jeff!

I'm sitting here on the computer in our local cancer center's lobby waiting for my wife to get off of work laughing my you-know-what off. You rank right up there with Vermin (google him some time if you're not familiar), and Mike has no idea how lucky he is. I too tend towards the anal, so much so in fact that I drug along a spare clutch, rear shock, chain, tires, tubes, handlebars, etc. the past two years on our TAT exploits. Not for me, mind you, but rather my fellow "Oscars" who were too lazy or clueless (not to mention happy-go-lucky) to care. They, like Michael however, were enjoying their vacation, while I was fretting about whatever needed fretting over.
Anyway, keep up the good work, it's much appreciated. If you should write a book I want an autographed copy!

LaDue
I brought numerous items specifically for Mike. The main one was the siphon and hose. It would be quite a challenge for me to outlast the fuel tank on the GSA - I think its good for 300+ miles. Mike's bike runs out anywhere between 120 and 160 miles depending on how fast we're going. This put the pressure on me to make sure he didn't run out. At some point, I think Nebraska, we were about 100 miles into a tank and there was a sign that said "no fuel for 60 miles". We had to double back and fill up or we would have been siphoning gas on the roadside. Mike was blissfully unaware of any impending issue when I told him that we were going back to fill up. In this pairing, riding the GSA is like carrying a jerry can with 5 gallons of spare fuel.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:51 AM   #40
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Great stuff.

From another Nerdish Defense Contractor Engineer in Mass.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:06 AM   #41
Marc LaDue
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Jeff Spicoli

I must have missed something; who's Jeff Spicoli?

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Old 07-19-2013, 10:46 AM   #42
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HAHAHAHAAHHA! Stumped by my own obscure reference! Jeff Spicoli is Sean Penn's pot head character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High...the handbook for my high school experience. I should really cut back on the opiate intake. My name's actually Ro$$...I was merely chanelling my inner-Spicoli when I hit the road in a drug induced haze.




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Old 07-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #43
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When we last saw our two riders, they were headed west out of Des Moines in search of food and loding for the night...it was getting dark and they were riding into a thunderstorm.

So I remembered why the ride out of Des Moines was so troublesome. We had already rode a ton of miles, the lodging situation looked bleak, and there was lightning out on the horizon with some black skies that had swallowed the setting sun. GPS was coming up empty...it just kept insisting that we turn back...I was wondering if we would have to ride all the way to Nebraska in the storm. At that point I saw an exit and a few buildings up on the right side of the road. As we neared this little oasis, it looked a bit sketchy...like maybe Pizza Guy knew exactly what he was talking about. I opted to ride right past the exit; I imagine much to M!ke's abject disappointment. Just as we passed the exit, I saw a really big bolt of lightning out on the horizon and I immediately regretted my decision. A dive motel has got to be better than being caught out here on the highway in the dark, in a storm, tired, and hungry. Just as I was contemplating a quick jump across the median and a reverse in direction, an exit sign popped up. There were no services, but the map on the GPS indicated that I could circle around on some local roads and get back to the sketchy motel I saw. We made the turn and rode a mile or two back to the Bates Motel. We had just arrived in beautiful Adair, Iowa. As in "Ay-dare you to spend the night here".

M!ke seemed to have mixed emotions as he pulled off his helmet. Sure, he had ridden 725 miles today and there was a storm about to engulf us, but this place had a vibe like the movie Wrong Turn; like the cars in the parking lots had once belonged to victims instead of current patrons. It was my turn to pay so I hurried inside to secure a room before the storm hit.

The gentleman behind the desk was very polite and the rate was pretty cheap so I figured we'd be OK...I was in the Army after all...I have encountered some less than posh accomodations. The most curious part about my interaction with the proprietor was just how many times he assured me that this was a "safe location". Now, aside from my neon yellow suit, I am a 6' tall / 210 lb guy travelling by motorcycle with another guy who's not exactly a twink. I don't generally give off a nervous vibe, but this guy made it a point to assure me of my safety 3 times in a 5 minute transaction. That seemed odd.

He gave us a room on the backside of the motel where he assured me we'd be able to see the motorcycles from our room. I wasn't really concerned about standing guard over the bikes all night...this was a "safe place" after all, but the way he said it gave me pause. I was reconsidering my decision not to carry a sidearm on the trip...not really, but the whole situation made me laugh a bit.

So back out to the bikes...wind is really picking up...storm is moving in...we sadlle up and ride around back...park the bikes and go inside to survey the accomodations. The vibe in the hallway immediately confirmed Pizza Guy's credibility. The carpets are stained, half the lights are out, the vending machine is completely empty, and some of the doors look like they had been mauled by bears. I'd recommend Pizza Guy as a trip advisor if you're ever in the Des Moines area - he knows some things. So we go into the room and its a dump as you might expect, but I've slept in far worse and its only one night. Besides, there's a restaurant within walking distance...more on that later.

So M!ke decides to take care of some business in the bathroom and I head out to start unloading my bike. I grab a couple bags and as I'm headed for the door, this sketchy looking guy with no shirt and more tattoos than teeth comes rushing towards me. My arms are full so all I can do is stop and see what he wants. What he says now if a first for me...at least the first time I've heard it behind a sketchy motel in Adair, Iowa with a storm just minutes from hitting...

"Hey man, can I take some pictures of your bike?"

This was not what I was expecting, but I said "Sure man, knock yourself out" and cruised inside; confident that my motorcycle would be sold on Iowa Craigslist before morning. I went back to the room and started unpacking. Mike came out of the bathroom and headed outside to start unpacking his bike. A few minutes later he comes in and says there's some sketchy looking dude taking pictures of our motorcycles. WTF?!

I said "No man, he's cool, I told him he could. He's got a Craigslist thing going on.

M!ke was beside himself. I was cracking myself up. By the time I got back to the bikes, Craig from Craigslist was done taking photos and had disappeared into the warren of the basement level of the Bates Motel. I got the sneaking suspiscion that many of the "guests" on this level of the motel were actually "residents"...like "long term, cooking dinner on an iron wedged between two sneakers" kinda residents.

(Don't laugh, I routinely prepared food in the Army on an iron wedged between a pair of boots and facing up. "Would you like your grilled cheese permanent press or linen?")

So M!ke and I had a system when it came time to unpack at night. It seemed to work out that one of us would always be at the bikes unpacking and one at the room dropping stuff off. This allowed us to leave our bikes with the panniers wide open and the room unlocked without too much worry about security. It worked well for the entire trip.

As M!ke was coming out to the bikes and I was going in with a load of stuff, I ran into a peculiar fellow in the hall. He was just standing there...looking at me...kinda stooped over. As I neared him, I gave him my customary "Hey, how's it goin'?" and he just kinda grunted and said something I couldn't understand. He had this smell about him...a really strong, smokey, chemical kinda smell that I've never smelled before...not cigarettes or weed...something completely foreign to me...maybe it was meth...I've never smelled meth. Anyhow, as I passed, he immediately started following me up the hall. I laughed to myself about the proprietor's redundant assertions of safety. As I approached my door, he was right on my heels. I stopped and he stopped. I turned to look at him and he was standing in front of the door right next to me. I pretended to fumble for my key card (even though I knew my door was unlocked) just to see what he was up to. He never made eye contact even though we were standing 3 feet apart and he went into his room. When the door swung open, the smell came rolling out to greet us. God knows what he had going on in there.

After that, M!ke showed up and I let him know that there was a meth lab next door, our bikes were already up on Craigslist, and we would likely be killed while we slept. In typical M!ke fashion, he said "That's cool, let's go get some dinner." The bikes were covered up and we headed across the parking lot to the Happy Chef...the rain was coming down now.



Home Sweet Home - we'll come back to this in a bit

Hondarider screwed with this post 08-06-2013 at 10:59 AM
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:41 PM   #44
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I am just LOVING this ride report. The comparison to Bill Bryson is right on target.

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Old 07-19-2013, 04:12 PM   #45
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DAY 2...still...can you believe it?

So we wander through the motel looking for the stairs up to the first floor. It's raining pretty good right now and we're looking to minimize our exposure by exiting the front of the building. We see doors with big holes from someone kicking them and then we see a door marked "spa". We both laugh and try to look inside...LOCKED...I'm pretty sure there's no spa in there. We exit out the front, having encountered exactly zero guests despite a full parking lot (I'm pretty sure they're all dead) and we run across the parking lot to the Happy Chef. The building looks like it was once a chain restaurant of some sort that had fallen into private hands. A little run down and a bit depressing. It's got to be 9:00 by now so all I care about is whether or not its open. The waitress/hostess/short order cook/janitor received us with the warmth and charm one expects from a girl working next door to a community of amateur chemists, pedophiles, drug addicts, and homicidal maniacs. She was professional enough, but there clearly would be no small talk or playful flirtation here. Only a few folks in the place...mostly locals...and we got down to the business of ordering some food. Bacon cheeseburger and fries seemed like a safe enough choice and I figured it wouldn't put anyone out at this late hour. Clearly the staff was counting the minutes 'til closing time.

So, while we're waiting for our food, drinking some Cokes and discussing the things we'd seen during the day, a cheery couple comes strolling in. I'm not sure how to categorize them...white...50s...upper-middle-class...maybe Southern...super polite...kinda bright and cheerful...probably driving a huge RV with marble floors and multiple slide outs...travelers to be sure. Suffice to say that they didn't blend in. They sat down at a table next to us and were talking up a storm about the state of the union or some such stuff. The waitress approaches them for their order on 3 seperate occassions, but they're not ready to order yet...I sense a little frustration from our cheerful server. She tries again and is faced with questions about specials and AAA discounts and God knows what else. Staff is watching the clock, locals are headed home, and I'm tearing through a decent enough burger when I hear the funniest thing I heard all day. The woman, who still has not committed to an order despite 15 minutes of pondering the menu and questioning the staff, asks to see the wine list! What?!!??! We're out in the middle of nowhere...in a run down little prefab diner...with a staff that surely gives far more thought to suicide than can be considered healthy...dirty silverware...paper placemats...Christmas decoratiions still up in June...and you just asked to see the wine list at 9:30?

M!ke and I had a good laugh, tipped excessively, and cruised back to our new home away from home...half expecting that Craig had already lined up a buyer for our bikes and delivered them to their new owners.

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