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Old 03-11-2014, 08:29 PM   #1
SuttoFL OP
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Joined: Jul 2011
Oddometer: 67
Wandering the US on a V-Strom

Greetings, everyone.

My friends call me Sutto. I am a few days into a long trip across the US on my trusty V-Strom 650.

I guess I should back up a bit. I discovered motorcycles about three years ago. One of my best friends had been riding for years and I finally decided to see what it was all about. From that first day at the Basic Riders Course I was absolutely hooked. My dad and I took the course together and within a week of completing it I forked over $3,500 for a 2004 Harley Davidson Sportster Custom. I rode the absolute hell out of that bike. Within a couple of months I had taken it on several overnight trips and even a "long" trip up to Atlanta with just a dry bag strapped to the back seat and a backpack on my back. I quickly realized that what I truly loved about riding was traveling. I've always loved traveling but had never considered doing it on a motorcycle. Well, solo travel and motorcycles go very well together.

Fast forward about a year later and another friend and I were planning a trip to Chicago to see Roger Waters perform "The Wall" at Wrigley Field. I had started looking at different types of bikes, ones that may suit my desired method of travel a little better, and the V-Strom had continually popped up near the top of the list. I happened to find one listed in the "For Sale" section of Chicago. So I shipped my riding gear ahead of me, flew up for the show and when my buddy flew back to Tampa I hitched a ride to the seller's house, bought the bike and hit the road! Three days of riding and camping were all it took for me to know I had found the right bike for me.

I started fantasizing about dropping everything and just taking off across the country. Seeing all of the places I've dreamed of seeing, discovering places I'd have never even thought to check out and meeting all sorts of people along the way. At the time I had a condo in Tampa, a job, a dog and a million other reasons it would never work. When my dog died last September (I'd had him since college..he was the most amazing friend but after 13 and a half years his body gave up on him long before his spirit did) I decided now was the time. I started saving my money, acquiring the best camping gear I could afford and doing all the little things one must do to prepare for a trip like this. My lease expired at the end of this past February, I took a leave of absence from work and now...well here I am...

Fast forward to now. I'm writing this from a hotel in Houston on night 6 of my trip. I'm guessing the trip will end up running anywhere from 6-8 weeks, although I'm not really committed to any timeline at all. It will really just come down to how long the money holds out.

I left Tampa last Thursday evening and hauled ass to Jacksonville, where I had to exchange a few things and pick up a few things at the REI there. Friday morning I handled the REI trip and set out for a long, cold ride along that most boring of roads known as Interstate 10 across the entire length of the panhandle of Florida. My uncle has a sailboat that he keeps down in Orange Beach, AL and he offered to let me stay there for as long as I wanted before I continued on. I'd never stayed on a sailboat so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new. So this was my home from Friday to Monday:

Every night the sunsets seemed to get better

I spent the entire weekend hanging around the marina, drinking wine, eating amazing seafood and making quick day trips out to the local art festival and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola

(that's Navy One)

Anyway..after a really fantastic weekend it was time to move on. I headed west and stayed just outside Baton Rouge, LA last night and tonight I'm in Houston.

So there's the back story. I had hoped to get this Ride Report up and running earlier but it's been kinda hectic and I haven't had much access to internet since I got going.

I'm also posting updates to my YouTube channel ( For a while now I've been "motovlogging"...for those not familiar, essentially I have a helmet camera with a microphone installed inside my helmet so I can ride around and talk. Here is an example:

Tomorrow I'm going to hit the Johnson Space Center here in Houston and then make my way toward Austin while South by Southwest is going on.

You're all invited to come along for the ride!
My MotoVlog Channel:
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:46 PM   #2
Studly Adventurer
Joined: May 2009
Location: where elephants roam
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Prepare for blastoff!! What a great start.

I, for one, will be following along.

If not for motorcycles I might be lost on a sailboat.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:46 AM   #3
Crusier Dude
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Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Southern Idaho
Oddometer: 307
Hi Sutto

Hello Sutto,
You picked a great bike for sure. I have owned two Wee Stroms and really enjoy riding them. If your travels happen to bring you to Boise Idaho I have room for you to lay low for awhile. Big garage with tools. You are LIVIN YOUR DREAM.

Take care and ride SAFE. I am signed in for your ride wherever it may take you.

Les in Boise
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:59 AM   #4
master of disaster....
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: nuevo mexico
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subcsribed! I'm planning a ride on my Wee-Strom up to Portland/Seattle, and back down the pacific coast later this summer---am looking forward to following along on your ride----
I'm not a Gynecologist... But I'll have a Look...
2007 Suzuki WeeStrom/2006 KTM450EXC/2001 Honda XR650L/2001 Sherco 290

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Old 03-12-2014, 05:11 AM   #5
Joined: Dec 2012
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You're living the dream. Good luck.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:47 AM   #6
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Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Southeast Ga.
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I'm all 'scribed up! Safe travels, brother. We'll be following you!
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:57 AM   #7
Gadget Guy (ret.)
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Location: White Mountain National Forest
Oddometer: 810
Ride on. If your travels bring you to the mountains of northern New England, let me know. I've got two Wee Stroms in the garage, plenty of tools, space, and some of the best riding in the NE USA right outside my door. White Mountain National Forest gravel roads were made for maximum V-Strom enjoyment.

Of course you wouldn't want to be here now. Several feet of snow on the ground right now. Another foot or two is coming today.
Streets still unseen, we'll find somehow. No time is better than now.
-Steely Dan 1972

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Old 03-12-2014, 05:27 PM   #8
SuttoFL OP
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Thanks everyone! I spent most of the day at Johnson Space Center in Houston today. I'll post up a few pictures later. The ride out of town was TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC and it wasn't even rush hour. Once I got out of town the wind kicked in like I've never experienced before. After about an hour I figured why put myself through that when I'm not on any kind of deadline and high-tailed it into the first hotel I saw. I'm about to walk down to a Mexican joint nearby and see how many margaritas it takes to not notice the hairs on the wash cloths in the hotel room bathroom.

I saw the most hilarious thing today...on that windy ride I passed a truck pulling a trailer and in the trailer was this tiny little horse, probably the size of a big Labrador, and the horse was having a hell of a time staying on his feet because of the wind. And YES, I pulled over, whipped out the Drift camera and caught back up to him to get video of it. I'll post it up as soon as I can.

Thinking about heading to Austin tomorrow to see what's up with SXSW. Unfortunately I doubt I'll be able to secure a hotel room or campsite within 100 miles of it so it will probably just be a few hours of exploring and then time to move on.

If anyone has recommendations for good places to camp in this general area of Texas...anywhere within a few hundred miles really...I'd love to hear them!
My MotoVlog Channel:
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
SuttoFL OP
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Last night's humble abode. Tonight I'm in San Antonio. Video with lots of campfire goodness is uploading GoSutto

For's whiskey time.
My MotoVlog Channel:
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:29 AM   #10
SuttoFL OP
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:51 AM   #11
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Lake Havasu City, AZ.
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Great RR so far. I watched this last video all the way through, not something i normally do. How long do you plan to stay out?
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:17 AM   #12
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:29 PM   #13
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Natural Dam, AR
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I'm in. Enjoy your adventure.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:15 PM   #14
Gnarly Adventurer
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Location: Chula Vista,CA (spittin' distance from Baja)
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:07 PM   #15
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Western NY
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Lets go! In for the duration!
"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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