Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Last Couple Days Before the Trip


 

Today is Monday, 7/14. My trip was originally planned for Tuesday, 7/15, but due to some unforeseen circumstances I will most likely be leaving Wednesday, 7/16 or Thursday 7/17. 2 days will be nothing in relation to the trip at large, and that gives me some time before the trip to hang out with parents, see a few friends before leaving, and making sure everything is in great shape.

The condition of the motorcycle is as follows:

  • Doesn’t need an oil change for another 2000 miles
  • Chain and sprocket is looking good. Chain is clean, freshly oiled. Will need to be changed about halfway into the trip.
  • Everything fits on the bike. I have extra room in my backpack I’ll be wearing and some extra trunk room.
  • Tires are new, but will need to be replaced when I get back home.

 

Currently I’m just helping out at home, organizing my lists of items, relaxing myself for the trip, and finalizing packing everything up. I’ve decided to bring two books with me. One was a gift, it was “It’s Not About the Coffee” by Howard Behar. The second book, as recommended by many many people is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. While this book isn’t a manual, I was told it would be a great read that discusses how people live.

Additional items added to the trip are extra batteries for my phone and external USB charging devices to charge my phone as well. I can be going for as long as an entire week without access to a wall outlet, and having a phone for navigating maps and emergencies is a necessity for this trip. I also plan to utilize my phone to blog about the adventure as often as possible.

My only regret is not having enough room for he cowboy hat.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – The day before the trip, and testing mobile


 

After some serious packing, finalizing tying down everything and visually inspecting the bike, I’m all set to leave! All I’m hoping for is some nice weather tomorrow and I’ll be off!

My first stop is somewhere in Pennsylvania. Not sure where exactly, but I’m aiming for 4-6 hours of riding tomorrow, and I’ll stop wherever I land.

Mobile seems to be working well. Looks like WordPress was a good choice.

So I’m having a difficult time with directly uploading photos. Trying to fix it but we might have to deal with the rotated photos until I get to a computer. I’m trying with a photo resized app right now.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 1: Reservations made, taking a later start


 

Post dedication: Mom and Dad. Without them I wouldn’t be taking this trip. They get the first blog post dedicated to them for being awesome, especially to Mom since she’s the one freaking out about this adventure. Dad seems pretty cool with it.


 

 

My first destination is a campsite in Hesston PA. Its a four and a half hour drive, should be pretty easy. Weather looks great. I took a few photos on the bike in the driveway to symbolize the beginning of the journey.

 

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Won’t be leaving until roughly 10 or 11am.


 

After remembering how exhausting riding a motorcycle can be, I endured over 300 miles today. I arrived at the campsite around 6 and immediately set up the tent. I was beyond exhausted and had to get the tent set up, find food, and get rest. My back hurts, my legs are weak and my eyes hurt. Once setting up the tent, I got a delicious turkey sandwich and came back to the site.

After a well earned meal, I set up the hammock and took it easy. I’m already 6 chapters into Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair. This book is amazing.

Once I ran out of sunlight, it was time to pack up the hammock and get ready for bed. The time is currently 9:13 and I’m ready for sleep. This may be the first time I’ve gone to bed before 10pm in 15 years.

I’ve overcome the fear of the trip already. Up until today I was terrified of taking this trip. Now that I’m a full day in, I can’t wait for the rest of it.

Unfortunately there is some sad news I need to face. There is an emergency in the family and I might need to return home after this weekend. While I’m sad that I might have to abandon the trip, its for a valid reason. I’ll update as things progress. I still plan to make it out to Cincinnati, OH at least to see some family.

 


 

So I was awoken by some serious rustling at around 1am. Seems that I left my garbage bag too low to the ground and some hungry skunks saw it as a feasting opportunity. I tried to snap a quick photo of them with scaring them too much.

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I quickly sealed up the tent after that photo. I’m not risking being sprayed and smelling worse than I already do. Looks like I’ll have an early cleanup job before I hit the road again.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 2: No reservations, just go west!


 

Post dedication: this post is dedicated to my grandparents in Florida. Last year I spent 2 weeks with them for the first time in a couple years(having a pet that cannot travel really dampens the ability to travel, luckily my parents are taking care of him for this trip).

Today is day 2 of the trip. Almost everything is packed, and I have no destination. I plan to simply head towards Cincinnati until I get tired or I arrive at my family there.

I slept decently. It was no bed, but the air mattress does a good job for how compact it can get. The sleeping bag is incredibly warm, to the point of where it became a blanket, then a torso cover, then a pillow because I wanted nothing to do with that heat.

Seven Points camping ground in Hesston , PA gets a 5 star rating from me. This place is gorgeous. Before I leave I’m going to snap a few pictures of the marina.

Here are the pictures:

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I decided to wing it and just go west in back roads. Eventually after going through 2 hours of corn I found this little gem of a view:

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I could use a shower…


 

Wound up at a KOA campground in Buckeye Lake, OH. Clean place, slightly overpriced. Probably could have gotten a hotel for that cheap. However, luxuries distract from the adventure.

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On the way to the campground, I spotted a brewery. They also had a Mexican food truck. It wasn’t even a question if I was going there or not. The brewery is called Buckeye Lake Brewery. Their vanilla porter is really good. Combined with a burrito, I’m in heaven.

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Im loving Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Its a must-read, even for people who don’t read many books like myself.


 

One last post, because campfires are awesome.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 3: Heading to see some family in Milford OH


 

Post dedication: this post is dedicated to my Uncle Russel, Aunt Diane, and cousin Maryanna. They’re hosting me for a couple days and I can’t wait to see them.

I took my first shower today and it felt FANTASTIC. Its hard to appreciate something until you really need it.

Today I’m going to see my aunt, uncle and cousin in Milford, OH. I haven’t seen them in a while, and it would be nice to take it easy for a few days. I’m going to be playing in a Magic: the Gathering tournament tonight, so let’s see if I can sweep first place like I used to.

Looking forward to the rest of the weekend too. We might check out Cedar Point amusement park if time allows!


 

I found a nice little diner in Baltimore, OH. Ma-Maw’s Diner. Such a cute little place, and the ladies working here are so sweet. They say you shouldn’t eat a heavy breakfast but I’m really hungry. Coffee is helping too.

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Also, something to note about people in Ohio; they’re so nice! I’ve had some very pleasant conversation with workers at the campground, locals getting out of the city for a couple nights, the ladies at Ma-Maw’s, and even a person at the gas station asking me how my trip is going.

At some point I saw a sign for Circleville, OH. To my knowledge, there is only a Circleville, NY and a Circleville, OH in existence, so it was cool seeing a city with the same name as my tiny town(technically considered a village its so small).

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Arrived with family. Great to see them! And I finally got to ride in a car without having to drive.

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Hung out at a card shop and played a little Magic the Gathering. We’re heading to my cousin’s friend’s place to hang out and nerd out all day. I need to just take it easy haha.

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 4: No miles today. Exploring Cincinnati with family.


 

Post dedication: this post is dedicated to my grandma back at home. She actually doesn’t know about this trip because, well, shed freak out quite a bit.

Today will be a no-ride day. My back and legs could use the rest. I also want to spend some time with family. Tonight my cousin is taking me out tonight, and I’m meeting up with a friend I met over 10 years ago. Should be fun, I could use a nice cold beer and some social activity.

Probably won’t be updating too much today.


 

My cousin is taking me out to a German beer house, the Hofbrauhause(sp) in Kentucky. Amazing place. Great beer.

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Live band!

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I’ll take delicious beverages I enjoy for 800, Alex.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 5: Extended stay for a proper leave tomorrow


 

I spent a good amount of today relaxing and taking it easy. I still need to do some maintenance on the bike and make sure everything is good to go. Tomorrow, Monday, will be the departing day.

Enjoyed a nice dinner with my cousins Maryanna and Dana, and Dana’s daughter Willow. Delicious guacamole on the border between Kentucky and Ohio.

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You can see Cincinnati in the background. The food was delicious, and the company was awesome

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 6: Pushed myself way too hard


 

Posr dedication: This post is dedicated to my cousin Dana and her daughter Willow. We got to hang out during my trip through Ohio.

Wound up in St. Louis today, camping on the outskirts. I’m tired… Beyond tired. I did 375 miles in the heat. I’ve also experienced being homesick. I crave being home so much at this point. If I’m still feeling this way in a couple days I might head home slowly.

Tomorrow I’m probably going to grab a hotel in the city of St. Louis and visit the City Museum. A friend told me it was absolutely worth seeing, and then I can also take it easy for the rest of the day afterwards, maybe even get a really healthy meal in too. I’ve been eating poorly. Tonight I’m heading to an Applebee’s for something with vegetables and nutrition. Had a small steak, steamed broccoli, and a nice beer.

Camp is set up, and I’m all ready to crash after i get some food. I’m looking forward to it.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 7: Wound up in St. Louis! Gonna keep pushing forward!


 

Post dedication: This post is for everyone that immediately sent me words of encouragement upon reading my update from yesterday, especially Steve and Karissa. Thanks guys, I wasn’t sure what I was thinking. Probably a combination of hunger, heat exhaustion, a sore behind from sitting, and just being tired. I slept well last night. Got a good healthy meal of steak, broccoli and mashed potatoes. It felt so good to eat. Aside from a small breakfast and some granola bars, I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I got a hotel in the city of St Louis. Its a 40 minute walk from there to the City Museum. I figure I’ll get there around 10, set up if my room is ready, and take a nice walk to get some lunch, then check out the attractions.


 

Arrived at the hotel early around 9:30. Check in time is at 3 and I really want to explore the city museum. I was advised to check at noon. I could use a shower and peace of mind that my stuff is safe inside the hotel, but they also said I could leave the stuff with them. If by noon they don’t have the room ready, I’ll leave the stuff there, take the important stuff with me, and explore the city a little bit. My goals for today are:

  • See the city museum
  • See the arch
  • Find a beer

I am not a complex person.


 

So the city museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Its tempting to stay another night just to see this place. Time will tell.

I visited the arch. It was really cool. Definitely a must-see in St Louis.

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I also got to check out the Museum of Westward Expansion. It was a really cool museum showing how the US has expanded out west and how it was done. Very educational.

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After learning a little about the history of Western US, I decided it was time to try some local beer. I found Morgan Street Brewery. Nice little place, quality beers.

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I ended up wandering the city for a few hours. I wound up at a cool place called The Crack Fox, a relaxed bar with minimal lighting and no TVs. It was really cool. I ended up grabbing a calzone from a place called Sauce on the Side and enjoyed it at the bar.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 8: Goodbye St. Louis, its been real. Hello Missouri river!


 

Post dedication: This post is dedicated to the “Bouton Crew”, or people that I lived with in college, and basically everyone who were in my group of friends at SUNY New Paltz. They’ve always been there for me in rough situations, and we’ve had the greatest memories in the world. Thanks guys! See you soon!

Today I had to make a decision between continuing to explore St. Louis, or moving forward. I’m choosing to keep moving forward. While I really want to see the City Museum, the trip is dedicated to travelling, not touristy stuff. There will be other times. I really want to come back here next summer.

My goal for today is to take the scenic route from St. Louis to Katfish Katy campground in Columbia, MO. It got some superb reviews and its right along the Missouri River. 4.5 hour trip using back roads which will partially parallel the Mississippi River. I’m excited!

I’m going to clean up, pack, take a shower, get some stretching in(hopefully this will ease the pain from sitting), and head out after.

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All ready to depart the hotel parking lot. Peace out St Louis!


 

I decided to take side roads the entire way to the campsite. I saw a lot of corn, as usual. Lots of cool farm equipment was scattered in barren fields. I also saw lots of cool power line structures as far as the eye could see. I wanted to grab pictures but there were no real spots to safely pull over.

A quick pit stop in Troy, MO for lunch and gas. Met a guy with a sidecar who was bringing his son and 2 daughters on the trip. The little girls were adorable telling me they know where I’m from, based on my license plate. The father thought it was crazy how I was coming through here and doing this trip alone. Great moment.

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Time to keep pushing forward.


 

 

Thought I’d add a visual to what I’m seeing while traveling to my next destination:

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Wound up at the intended campground. This place is unreal. I have a camping spot right on the Missouri River.

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I’m gonna set up the hammock and sleeping bag for tonight’s camping. No need for a tent.

 


 

 

I’ve had some time to think about life and this trip. According to my plans, I can finish this trip in the next 18 days if I aggressively pace myself. I really just want to drive through the following:

  • Denver, CO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • The Grand Canyon

That’s it. Once I finish those, I’m going to go straight home in the fastest way. I have a somewhat urgent family matter at home and I’d like to spend the rest of my summer with them if I’m needed. It’s unfortunate that I’m going to miss out on touristy things, but family takes priority over a trip. Time will tell.

Here’s my view for tonight on the hammock:

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 9: Pushing west as far as I can go!


 

Post dedication: This post goes to Honda, who makes some great engines. For a 17 year old motorcycle with over 20,000 miles, she’s doing great!

After a great sleep in a hammock on the Missouri River, I’m ready to keep going west. The plan is to arrive at a KOA in Salina, MO, but I wouldn’t mind pushing a little further, especially to make a one-night stop in Denver, CO. We’ll see how far I get today.


 

I stopped by the visitor center to grab this photo:

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Wound up at Leed’s Diner in the east side of Kansas City. I’m going to take the bike through the city and keep pushing west!


 

I stopped in Kansas City to see how cool it looked. Wound up at a diner in the industrial area and fell in love with it. I met some really friendly people and enjoyed conversation with them. They topped me off on water, which was much appreciated. I had a great time eating there and felt at home. We had a little bit of heart-to-heart conversations and I shared a little about home.

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Be sure to check out Leed’s Diner in Kansas City! You won’t regret it. Delicious food and a fantastic staff!

Using a hotel app, I found a place cheaper than my intended place of stay. Coincidentally it is right next to a brewery. The campground didn’t even stand a chance…

On the way to Salina, I snapped this picture:

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I thought it looked cool. The road went on for what seemed like forever.

At one point I’m pretty sure the temperature broke 100. Anything above 100 and the wind feels LIKE A HEATER ON MAX. Luckily the rest stops had water so I could soak my overshirt in it and the evaporation would cool me off. The water evaporated way too fast so I had to keep pulling over and dumping water on my head and body. Luckily I was full on water. The Midwest is brutal if you’re not well prepared! Luckily I was.

Currently eating at a steakhouse. I need some vegetables in my diet… and some steak!

After doing some more reading of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I’m in love. I think reading it in a hammock while overlooking the Missouri River has been my absolute favorite memory from this trip. This book is speaks to me a lot. I’ve always been a deep internal thinker and this book is giving me great topics to process while riding 8 hours a day on the road. I’m purposefully reading this book as slow as possible to make it last the whole trip.


 

I arrived at Big John’s Brewery in Salina, KS after a nice steak dinner. Friendly owners, we had a nice conversation to how they got into brewing. They’re from Colorado where the craft brew market is over saturated. It’s a mom and pop brewery, definitely worth visiting. The honey wheat beer is fantastic. It has just the faintest taste of honey, but the aroma you get every time you’re about to sip justifies the name perfectly.

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Delicious!

 

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 10: Loosely aiming for Denver, CO


 

Post dedication: this post goes out to the /r/motorcycles and /r/motocamping communities on Reddit. They’ve been very helpful in the planning of this trip, along with keeping my motivation.

Today might be a big travelling day. I washed my clothing but thought I would be fine leaving it to hang to dry. I was wrong, they’re still wet. I might just bring them to the dryer, or I might figure out a way to quickly dry them. There’s no hair dryer here so I might be stuck with the first option. I’ll grab breakfast and dry them. If I can make it to Denver, I’ll be staying in a hotel to explore the city a bit in the evening. If not, I’m just going to cp about half way and grab a hotel upon arrival. I had a fun time explaining my adventure to the people at Big John’s Brewery yesterday, made some cool friends. I gave them the link to this blog and hopefully they’ll read it. One person was telling me that his friends tool bikes from California to Alaska and back. That could be a possibility for next summer if I fly out to Washington state and rent a motorcycle. But for now, the focus is in getting out west!


 

I met a couple from Quebec who were on their way to California via motorcycle. I told them “see you in California!” as I left. I really hope I see them there.

Now for some interesting stuff. I used my waterbag(knockoff camelbak) to hydrate myself in the heat. At some point the tube came unlodged from my backpack and sat on the exhaust pipe.

 

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The exhaust burned a hole in the rubber stopper, so the pressure from my back and the wind drained every drop of water from the bag. It appears just the tip of it was ruined so I can get a replacement. If I can find one on the road, great! If not, I’ll just pack some extra water. I still have a full bottle of water and the next town is 20 miles away. I also saw a truck on the road with HUGE tires being transported.

 

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They were at least 15 feet across. It was awesome.


 

After driving against the wind, doing 75 mph, my tank ran out of gas around mile 80 from my starting point. Usually the bike gets around 125 miles to a tank so I was quite surprised. Good thing I had the reserve tank. The wind was interesting, it decreased my fuel efficiency by 33%. Im currently hiding from the heat at a Dairy Queen. Its 100 degrees out and I’m not okay with being out there.


 

The ride was brutal today. Imagine driving on a hot day with the heat blasting. At one point it was 106 degrees out! I flipped up the face guard to get a good judge on the heat and it felt like a hair dryer was blasting in my face. The gear actually helped keep the heat away from my body, which I thought was very interesting.

While today’s trip was definitely my worst experience so far, I’ve gained an appreciation for it somehow. Rarely do I push myself to endure such harsh experiences. I don’t be forgetting this drive anytime soon.

Around 4pm I arrived in Goodland, KS. Cute town, cheap camping. The bike is still running fantastic, even after all this heat.

I found a neat way to keep myself cool. If I drench my over shirt in water, it will keep my core cold and prevent me from overheating. I did this every time I hit a rest stop, so every 40 or so miles.

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Grabbed a Subway sandwich with tons of spinach. It was delicious. It seems like no restaurants in the area serve anything with decent vegetables. Pretty ironic for a town surrounded by farmland.

Camp is set up, and I just jumped in the pool to stretch and move my body, and also to cool off. It felt awesome. I’ll be going to be early tonight if i don’t get caught up in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I cannot stress how amazing this book is.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 11: Stormed last night, off to Denver, Colorado!



 

Last night was awesome. I was lying down, hoping it would rain so I could cool off. All of a sudden, I start seeing flashes of lightning and hear faint drizzling of rain. Eventually it turned into a storm.

I left a couple items hanging out to dry, and as result, they are soaking wet. The hammock is also soaking wet, so I need to either fire over to Denver as soon as possible and dry things, or try to dry them here. It’s humid out, so I’ll have to make a judgement call when I get out of the tent.

The tent is holding up well against the elements. It was really windy and the rain was hitting hard. I see no water in the tent, and everything seems to be holding up well. When I get home I’ll be sure to review everything in depth.

Time to assess the situation.


 

Everything was fine after some assessment. I waited for some stuff to dry, took a shower, and hit the road. It was a direct route to Denver so it was boring… until…

I spoke with my mom earlier to update her on the trip, and she told me there was a point where the moubtaisn are just… there. It was a really cool experience going from boring farmland to BAM! Gorgeous mountains! You could even see snow on the top of the mountains, which was ironic with the heat I was experiencing.

Upon arriving in Denver I got settled into my hotel and just wandered the streets in the general direction towards the heart of the city. Wound up at Cheeseman Park and walked through an art festival. Very cute. I met some interesting artists and saw some really cool work.

I wound up at a dive bar and had a couple local beers. I’m glad I did, because I met an awesome bar dog named Tyson!

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Got a big trip tomorrow so I need to be asleep by 10. Gonna wander around a little more, then see about getting back early.

Went down the road to grab a Torta. No idea what it is but there’s bread, avocado, onion, and other stuff in it. It was spicy and delicious. The worker there loved my story of how I arrived here.

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Superdeliciousawesome

Went back towards the hotel area at Cheese man park and caught some live music that grabbed my attention. I’ll probably spend the rest of the night here until I need to bead back.

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I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank Daniel and his father Donald for a very generous donation! I’m really glad to hear you guys are enjoying the blog, and I sincerely hope you two can get your trip in! If you do, I’d be more than happy to help you guys set up a blog so you can document your amazing experience! Rock on guys! Thanks again!

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 12: Pushing hard west again!


 

Post dedication: This post is dedicated to Donald and Daniel, a father and son who have been following my blog. They donated a very generous amount of money to give me some gas and food on the trip. Thanks guys! I really appreciate the support! I hope you guys get the opportunity to take a similar trip!

Today’s travels have no guaranteed destination. I’m just going to go as far west as I can. Around 11 or 12 I’ll worry about where to stay. Hopefully I can find a nice campground so I can drop the luxuries. Hotels are nice every few days but aside from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, I’d like to do a lot more camping. Maybe on the way back from the Grand Canyon, I’ll do a zero-hotel run!

Woke up at 6am, I’m gonna run down and see if there’s breakfast. After I’ll pack and get everything together, and depart.

I’m really excited for this ride. For the first time since PA, the road won’t be flat. Apparently I’ll be going over some serious mountains and according to what I researched, it will be amazing. I’ll be sure to stop a lot and get pictures!


 

After some packing, I finally got on the road at 7:45. I immediately felt how hungry I was and had to stop at a diner. I’ll leave after breakfast.


 

Today was the best and worst ride. Lets start why it was bad:

I left denver around 8. Once goig over the mountains, I lost sunlight and as a result, any warmth I could hope for. It was probably 55 on the trip, and at 75mph, that can cause hypothermia. It was brutal. Luckily I was able to stop and rest on the engine and exhaust pipes for heat every 30 minutes or so.

After the sun caught up with me, everything turned hot. Incredibly hot. I went from shivering and almost having hypothermia to sweating profusely. Good times.

Now for the good:

I DROVE A MOTORCYCLE OVER THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND SAW THE MOST GORGEOUS SCENERY IVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE.

Enough said. I’ll let the photos do the talking:

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Through this trip I was able to catch the scent of pine trees, enjoy the amazing scenery, and even experience the thinning of the air. The bike gave me some difficulty at higher elevations. I had to give it more gas to get her at the speed limit. It was an awesome experience that I someday hope to achieve again.

After getting out of the mountainous areas, it was a straight line to the Colorado National Monument. Luckily they had campsites so I’m staying there. The ride up to the campsite was gorgeous! I’ll be adding photos later.

 

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I set up the hammock and im just going to read until it gets too dark out. No intentions of using a tent tonight.

Tomorrow I’ll be getting up early and bringing the bike in to a shop for an oil change and sprocket/chain replacement. I’d do it myself but I don’t have the convenient tools, nor do I want to risk spilling oil in a parking lot. I figure a couple hundred dollars in maintenance won’t break the bank, and I’m also on vacation


 

I decided to be responsible and check the weather. Its going to rain for like an hour. I should have taken the hint when I saw thousands of ants scrambling around. Looking to the northwest I saw this:

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You can actually see the rain falling.

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And here it comes!

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Random thoughts: Things that have tried to stop the adventure(and failed)


 

This post is going to document everything that has suppressed my motivation and desire to push forward on this trip, along with an explanation of how I overcame it.

Weather

The weather has been a huge factor in holding me back. Mostly, it is the heat. I’ve been through 106 degree heat, that put me in a horrible mood. Every time I stopped to drench my shirt in water or take a break from the heat, I wanted to turn around that moment and go home. It was really crushing my spirit.

Another factor that I quickly overcame was the cold over the Rocky Mountains. It felt like it was winter at one point. Same story as the heat:

I told myself to shut up and accept it as part of the trip. Nothing can be 100% rainbows and sunshine, and I had to accept he good with the bad. After a milkshake or some cold fresh water, I was back in business, ready to push through it again.

Rain is interesting. It is by far the worst feeling on a motorcycle. Not only is your trip much more dangerous, but it also eats away at your spirit. Every drop is like a painful needle. Then, once it hits, it evaporates and makes you cold. This happens 30-50 times a second. Every single drop is felt and it makes the trip horrible.

After a while, the rain stopped being an issue. It became an obstable to overcome. Can I ignore the pain and cold enough to concentrate on the road? Yes. Yes I can.

 

Fatigue

Let’s be honest. I’m tired. I’m exhausted both physically and mentally. Sitting for 5-6 hours a day on the bike, holding my head and body against 65-75 mph winds is not fun. Camping is enjoyable, hotels make me feel out of place. I miss my bed.

Just like the weather, I tell myself to suck it up and push forward. The more distance I get each day, the easier the next day will be.

 

Friends and Family

I miss friends and family a lot at this point. On the way back I plan to see some friends and celebrate a little with them. I can’t wait to get back and share the stories. I’m sure they’re following my blog, but I want to hang out with them in person.

What’s keeping me going is actually the support from these people. I keep getting messages of encouragement and its really helping a lot. TBA ks everyone! I’ll see you all when I get home.

 

Fear of the unknown

What’s going to happen on this trip? Will my bike break down? Will I get lost? Will I run into trouble? What if one of the above things gets to me?

Well, I can’t really do too much. I’m keeping the bike maintained, I’m using main roads, I’m keeping in touch with people, and I have the support. I think I’ll be just fine

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 13: Getting some repairs done, and off to Utah!


 

Post dedication: this post goes to all of my coworkers who have encouraged me along the way, especially Sien and her husband for giving me a nice donation to fill up my tank. Thanks guys! To all of my coworkers: thank you for the advice and encouragement! See you when I get back! I woke up way too early today. Repair shop doesn’t open until 9am. I’m going to get packed and maybe do a quick local hike, or maybe just end up hanging around the campsite and enjoy nature. I’m not sure yet. Today’s plans are to get the repairs done and push for Castle Rock campground in Sevier, UT. It got great reviews, and it will bring me pretty close to Las Vegas, a place I haven’t been to yet! I’m excited! I’m going to be placing a $10 bet on one number in roulette to the first person to email me which number I should choose: brianfediuk[at]gmail.com. After Vegas, I just want to stop into Los Angeles for the day and camp somewhere at night, then head towards the Grand Canyon. I’m kind of upset that I won’t be able to west anymore after 3 more days of travel, but then I get to repeat the trip back home at an accelerated pace. I’m looking forward to it acgually. There are lots of people I want to see when I return. Anyways, off to get everything packed up!


 

Just checked the weather. Looks like I’m NOT staying anywhere near Sevier, UT. Flash flood and storm warning for the next 2 days. Looks like I get to do some problem solving while my bike is getting worked on!


 

 

Well, there’s no denying it’s going to rain in Utah. I’m just going to keep heading towards Vegas until I can’t go anymore, whether it be due to exhaustion or weather. The bike is currently having an oil change and a tightening of the chain.  Upon closer inspection of the chain and sprocket, I can last a little longer. I have AAA Plus so I should be just fine in case the worst happens and my chain snaps or something. I’ve kept it well oiled every other day so I can’t see any issues arising.

I’m starving, so once my bike is ready I’ll be swinging over to a diner, then on my way out west!


 

The time is 11:15, I’ve been here for 2 hours. Apparently there was a tight spot in my chain that was pretty dangerous, so I’m having it replaced. Not too happy about the price, but I’m a little far from home and can’t be driving with that chain. Sprocket is fine.

Let’s hope I get out of here by lunchtime.


 

I got on the road by noon. Had a nice breakfast and pushed on. I experienced the following things in the following order:

  • Extreme heat
  • Rain
  • Shivering from evaporating water cooling me off
  • More rain
  • Hail(hurts a lot at 75mph, had to slow to 65)
  • More extreme heat
  • Coldness from overcast skies and cool mountains
  • More rain

It was fun now that its over.

I grabbed some great pictures along the way:

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It didn’t look too bad in the last photo, but the dark clouds were shooting lightning and you could see the rain falling. I later hit that rain and it was very unpleasant.  I’m sure every car that saw my NY plate is under the impression that people from New York are crazy, but it might just be me.

This stretch of road was the “danger area” in terms of gas availability. It was a 100 mile stretch to the next gas station on 70W, so I made sure I filled up the tank and the reserve container on the bike. I ended up using the entire tank and about 80% of the reserve tank. Going 75mph against wind and up mountains is a great way to kill fuel efficiency.

I arrived in Salina, UT and had a small snack. I could have stayed at a hotel there, but I had some more drive in me. I made it to Beaver, UT and got a hotel room in a cute little hotel. The DeLano motel is a fantastic place to stay, and the woman at the desk was so sweet. We talked a little while she got paperwork in order. She gave me a homemade cookie and a bottle of water. Good motel choice, Brian. I’m exhausted from the cold, I don’t want to camp tonight, and I’m glad I found this place.

Off to find some food and pass out. I plan on getting up around 6am and to be on the road by 7:30 to get to Las Vegas. A friend, Nicole, send me the roulette number to bet the $10 on, and that number is 8. Let’s see if I get lucky!

 

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 14: Vegas, baby!


 

Post dedication: this post is for my family in the Netherlands. They’ve been following my posts and encouraging me the whole trip! Thanks guys hope to see you soon!

Today I’m going to Vegas! Its like 3 hours away, but its going to be really hot. I’ve taken the precaution of bringing 3 huge water bottles in my bag, and hopefully I’ll get a few rain breaks when the temperature hits 106!

I’m still in bed, I had a great time in Beaver, UT. I walked the town a few times and came back for a relaxing night with some milk and cookies. It was nice to wind down and take it easy.

I also found something interesting in Utah last night. Mountain Dew Livewire! This orange flavored soda is delicious! Unfortunately I’ve been trying to avoid sugar and soda in my diet, so I had to exercise self control and pass on it. New York stopped selling it for whatever reason back in 2003. Since then I had missed it very much. It was nice to see it is still in existence.

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Okay, time to pack and get everything ready!

 


 

Hit the road and after 50 or so miles I decided I needed some food. In Cedar City, UT, I found a cute little diner about 10 minutes into town. It was worth the drive. The All American Diner is amazing. The staff is friendly and their prices are very cheap!

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Pushing onwards, Vegas is next! I’m staying in the Stratosphere as suggested by friends!


 

Made it to Nevada! I briefly passed through Arizona and some gorgeous mountains, but didn’t really have an opportunity to pull over and take photos.

Its about 80 miles to Vegas, which should take a little over an hour to get to. I’m currently just hanging out in the welcome center for Mesquite, NV. Air conditioning feels nice. I already drank half of a large bottle of water, probably going to finish it before heading out. The heat is brutal. At one point my body was tingling from what I can assume is mild dehydration. I’m going to keep pushing forward.


 

I arrived and checked into my hotel. I’m at the Stratosphere! This hotel is really cool. They have some attractions at the top of the tower. If you don’t mind being about 2 miles from the heart of the city, this is the place to stay. They have a rooftop pool as well. I have to check that out.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 15: Vegas, baby! Part 2


 

Vegas has been a lot of fun. Today I plan on doing a few things that don’t involve gambling:

  • Take the motorcycle through the city to get a better feel of it
  • Find some fantastic food
  • See some kind of show(I’m thinking Blue Man Group)
  • Relax at the hotel spa/resort

Yesterday was a lot of fun. I budgeted myself $100 to gamble. On my first 50 cent wager, I won something like $76. I should have quit there, but I was there to gamble, so I saw it as a means to entertainment for the day.

The casinos are awesome. They’re bright, colorful, the games are fun, and they definitely know how to keep you there with free drinks.

I’ll let some of the photos do the talking:

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This was the water show outside of Caesar’s Palace. This show encouraged me to walk into their casino and hand them $100.

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I think this is the Excalibur Casino. I didn’t go there. I gambled my limit for the day. Self control!

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Wait a minute… This isn’t New York!

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Had dinner at Fatburger. So delicious! I think this meal was 1600 calories.

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A glimpse of The Volcano show at The Mirage. There was fire, too, but I was too caught up in the show to keep taking photos.

IMG_2014073024297(When you gamble you don't lose your money... THEY TAKE IT)

Saw some writing on a construction wall, found it highly appropriate.

Alright, time for breakfast and the pool. I could use some low impact exercise. It feels like my body is getting cramped from this trip.


 

I’m currently at Tiffany’s Cafe , which is a 5 minute walk from the stratosphere . I’ve been told this place is a great greasy spoon restaurant, meaning it is unhealthy and delicious. I can’t wait. After this I’ll be going back to the hotel to go swimming and plan out the rest of the day here. Blue Man Group looks promising and affordable.

Huge thanks to Mark for the donation! You rock!


 

I spent the majority of the day today on the rooftop pool. I finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. You need to bring this book if you do a long trip on motorcycle. It was amazing. I loved and hated it at the same time, which is evidence of an amazing book. I will be rereading it at some point since my access was so fragmented over the trip.

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After the trip to the pool, I came back to the room for a power nap. Before said nap, I figured that spending my budgeted $100 on something other than gambling was a good idea. I bought a ticket to see Blue Man Group. I’ve seen it before in Boston twice, and I’d gladly see it a third time. Best part is that each location does a different show so I’m in for quite an experience.

Off to see the show!


 

The show was amazing! They had a small parade and it was really cool!

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The show was awesome. Big variation from the Boston version. Definitely had a Vegas twist.

At the end of the show, I snapped this little picture:

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They had giant volleyballs that the audience hit around for a while. It was awesome.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. This is the end of my Vegas chapter. I’ll be camping in California tomorrow, and seeing the Grand Canyon the day after. From there, its a direct route home. We’ll see how that plays out!

Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with Vegas. It was a lot of fun, but not as a solo trip. Had a few friends been here I would have enjoyed myself a lot more. The city is really cool, but it becomes very obvious that the entire city is after your money as opposed to cultural growth. I definitely need to come back with friends.

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 16: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED


 

Post dedication: this post is dedicated my parents again. They’ve been there from the start and they’ll be there to the end. Its only fitting they get acknowledged in a similar way on this blog.

I made it! I took a motorcycle from NY to the California coast! Its been a touch journey but it was worth it. It was unbelievable seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Everything came together in the end and I am happy. I’ve accomplished something that so many dream of, yet so few accomplish.

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Met a cool local named Dalton at the location pictured above. We exchanged what it was like living in our respective states. He wanted to do a similar trip. Let’s hope I inspired him to do so.

He snapped this photo and emailed it to me:

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My adventure is far from over. Tomorrow I take an 8 hour trip to the Grand Canyon and then start heading home.


 

The drive back was amazing. Having the sun set on your back as you enter the city of Los Angeles is something I’ll never forget. Before coming back all the way, I stopped at the beach. I just sat there for a good 20 minutes and reflected upon my appreciation of life, adventure and loved ones. I feel like everything I’ve accomplished on this journey is with thanks to anyone and everyone who encouraged me on this trip. Thank you to everyone. I’m going to have a drink and some empanadas next door  at the Ebanos Crossing. Can’t wait!


 

Here is victory dinner(or at least what remains):

IMG_2014073131130Empanadas with a Bacon flavored Old Fashion. They were both delicious.

After this, its time to pack up the bags and head out early in the morning. I plan to get up at 5am and be out the door by 5:30 heading towards the Grand Canyon!

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 17: Late start to see a hole in the ground


 

So, I woke up at 7. I thought I would have been able to wake up earlier, but no such luck. I went next door to grab a quick breakfast. Opted for a sanwich that I can nibble on during the trip out. No stopping except for gas and water allowed today. If I get out by 8:30, I should be able to get there be 4. That gives me just enough time to set up camp and take the bike to some viewpoints. I’ll also have tomorrow do briefly do so as well, but today is the designated day.

Wish me luck!


 

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Alright, the desert is definitely winning this fight at the moment. After 200 miles of riding, I get a call from the campground. I am supposed to have livestock for their campground. Luckily I grabbed a cheap motel in Flagstaff, AZ after hearing the voicemail. When I get there, I’ll figure out the best situation for seeing the Grand Canyon. It seems to be an hour and a half away but that’s not too bad in the evening. Its either that, or I go see it tomorrow and deart directly from there. Either way, its the last planned part of this trip, so I have plenty of flexibility.

I’ve drank so much water, yet I still feel dehydrated. I’ll be chugging as much water as I can before departing. I stopped in a Wendy’s and grabbed a frostee and a burger. Delicious.


 

Oh boy. After I left the last pit stop, I hit a HUGE storm. It was brutal. Rain, hail, winds, it was nuts. The hail hurt at 65mph. I might have bruises.

Here’s a photo of the incoming storm:

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It was pretty intimidating. However, nothing, I repeat, NOTHING was going to get between me and the Grand Canyon today. Something about me has changed on this trip. After accomplishing the cross country voyage, nothing has scared or intimidated me at all. I feel like there is nothing that will stop me on this adventure home. Of course I’m still going to be safe on the trip and make good decisions, but weather, intimidation, fear and anxiety will not be a factor at all.

Anyways, here are some photos of the Grand Canyon:

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I’m not very photogenic after hours of driving

 

I stayed way too late at the Grand Canyon. I had to drive home in the dark. It was also very very cold. I was shivering for the entire hour back. I had to keep reaching down and grabbing the exhaust pipes/engine to warm my hands. I would position myself so that the wind blew hot air from the engine on my legs. It was not a pleasant experience. I finally arrived at the hotel, shivering, and in a horrible mood.

Checking in, the host told me about his trip from CA to NY to Alaska. Looks like I know my next destination for summer of 2015.

After checking in, I grabbed food at a diner..I got some spicy chicken penne. Spicy food sounds good when you’ve lost a lot of body heat. I can’t wait. I’ve burned up so much energy riding in the cold.

After food, time for bed. I need to get some tools tomorrow to adjust the chain. It finally stretched out since it was replaced.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 18: Bike maintenance, Petrified Forest, and camping in Grands, NM


 

Today is going to be less eventful than most. I’m tired from the drive yesterday, so I’m not doing much. I need to stop by Walmart to grab two adjustable wrenches to tighten the chain(it FINALLY stretched out), and then I’m camping in Grands, NM. Should be a nice drive if I can get the maintenance done quickly. I barely slept last night. I kept thinking about the Grand Canyon and couldn’t stop looking through my photos. I’ve truly accomplished something great. Now I just need to head home.


 

Adjusting the chain on the bike was really easy. I didn’t need to consult the manual. I did have to do it a second time at the hotel parking lot because the chain was a little too tight. Simple stuff though!


 

Turns out the National Petrified Forest is on the way to my campground. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for somewhere to take a pit stop and see some cool stuff. I adjusted the chain on the bike a third time at the hotel parking lot after a quick test run. It took 3 tries to get it perfect, but now I feel much better about driving it. I also cleaned and thoroughly oiled the chain. Bike looks good! I’m back at the Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff. I loved the meal last night, might as well get some delicious breakfast. I could also use some coffee. Turns out they have 100 flavors of milkshakes. I got chocolate Butterfinger. Unbelievable!

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After hitting the road, I saw a sign for Meteor Crater. I figured I was in no rush, so I checked it out. Apparently it is a privately owned crater that was preserved by the family of a man who wanted to harvest the meteor for profit. I learned some cool stuff about geology while hearing a lecture. Awesome story behind how this crater was found and the history behind it. Definitely worth checking out.IMG_2014080239560


 

After some more driving, I arrived at the Petrified Wood National Park. This place was quite a ways into the desert, but opened up to a major road, so I was fine with that. The guy at the gate was impressed with how far I had come on motorcycle. He also gave me kudos on having spare gas. They have someone arrive with an empty tank at least once a week. It was amazing to see what nature can do to organic material. You could see the rings in the petrified trees, and the entire park was gorgeous. Here are a few snaps from the park:IMG_2014080230666

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The park was definitely worth seeing. Such an amazing experience. Leaving the park, I started getting some weird feedback from the bike. Apparently the chain tightened up after the trip through the desert/park. Had to readjust it. A fellow biker stopped and asked if I needed help. I love the kindness among bikers. After 20 minutes of work, the chain seemed good. I checked again in 50 miles, no issues.

After the park, it was a straight route to my campsite in Grants, NM. The trip was somewhat frightening, there was another huge storm approaching, except from the north, and I was heading east. I could feel the winds and it felt dangerous. I had to go a little faster than I should have to avoid it, but I had to make a decision. I think I made the right one. Once I cleared the storm, I looked back, filled with a sense of a good decision made. It looked pretty brutal.

I stayed at the KOA in Grants, NM. If you want a campsite with amazing hosts and a gorgeous campsite, you should stay here. They also gave me a cookie. Unfortunately the town has limited attractions. Great for a day of recharging!

Camp is set up and I’m tired at 8pm. I did quite a bit today. Gonna end tonight with some Reddit.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 19: Casually going east to Palo Duro Canyon, TX


 

Had a fantastic breakfast at the KOA in Grants, NM. Once again, this place is great for camping. There was a somewhat noisy donkey making noise until about 11pm but it added to the experience for me.

I just need to take a shower, stretch a little, and pack it up. My goal for today is to get to Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, TX. Its about 6 hours of driving, but I’ll take my time and grab a nice healthy lunch along the way.

Leaving the KOA, I was informed of the two most common ways people die in the desert. The first one being obviously dying of thirst. The second? Quire ironically by drowning. When it rains, the water moves fast. Really fast. The desert has hardened and the water rolls on the surface. People in tents get caught by waters up to 40mph. You can’t escape that, especially trapped in a tent. Interesting conversation.


 

Along the way, I stopped to stretch and have some water. Found a huge bug(you know what they say about things from Texas). It was about 3 inches long.

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I went straight for the Palo Duro Canyon. Gorgeous place! It is the second largest canyon in the country. I’ll let the photos do the talking:

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 20: Off to Tulsa, OK


 

After an amazing night in the Palo Duro Canyon, it is time to grab a night of luxury. I’m headed to Owasso, OK. I found a nice hotel next to a brewery, and I wouldn’t mind having a local beer after these past few days. Brick house Brewery is the name of the place.


 

Change of plans. Decided to stop in Tulsa. The hotels in Owassa were more expensive than before. Demand must have increased. Anyways, I got settled in and took a much needed shower. I did 400 miles today. Taking it easy and not doing anything special. I did get my beer today.

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 21: Pushing east towards Missouri (again)


 

Post dedication: This post is dedicated to Patti, Dave and Megan. They gave me a very generous donation that will help get me home. Thanks guys!

Last night was uneventful, but I’m completely fine with that. Met some locals at a dive bar and hung out with them for a little bit. They were interested in NY culture. After a few exchanges of stories and an explanation of my trip, I decided to head back and call it an early night.

Today I’m heading towards a campground in Missouri. I would have loved to go back to Katfish Katy’s on the Missouri River but that would waste time. Unfortunately, my trip is almost over.

Before I head out, I’ll be doing a bit of laundry at a laundromat. I’ve been putting it off, and if I want to have clean clothing for the next 3 days of camping, I’ll need some clean clothing.


 

Got to the laundromat and the woman saw my plates. She gave me a free wash cycle and free soap! It was very kind of her. All I have to do is pay for the dryer in a half hour. I’m going to spend this time filling in details from previous entries. I’m considering trying to write a book that outlines this trip. Time will tell.

A little girl came up to me and talked me into buying a lollipop from her. She’s going far in the business world. According to the worker at the desk, she sells quite a few.


 

Took a pit stop in Springfield, MO. I hung out at Panera for a while to recharge. It was a nice city from what I saw.

I also stopped there to snap this photo:

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Couldn’t pull over again to grab it at exactly 30,000 miles, but you get the idea.

I arrived at the campsite around 4. I basically have the entire tent site to myself!

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I’m not even going to set up the tent tonight. I’m rocking the hammock again.

I also arrived at the campsite to find a very generous donation from family friends, Patti, Dave, and Megan. I’ve known them my whole life. Thank you so much guys!


 

 

I went into town to check out a card shop. Ended up buying some valuable Magic: the Gathering cards for dirt cheap. Then I grabbed dinner. Came back to the campsite to relax by the pool and enjoy a campfire. I’ll be enjoying the fire once the sun sets.

Its been a great day. I can’t wait to hit the road tomorrow.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 22: Blowing past St. Louis towards Eldon Hazlet State Park


 

Post dedication: this post is for my students. They haven’t received a post dedication yet, so they deserve one. They’ve taught me so much, and hopefully I’ve taught them a few great things as well. I’m looking forward to returning to work in September! Woke up late today, due to a really comfortable night’s stay in the hammock. Having a campfire until 1am didn’t help either. I took a quick shower and hung out by the pool for a little while. A woman was interested in my journey, so I talked to her and her daughter about some of my adventures. I love sharing these experiences with people. Today’s goal is to head to Eldon Hazlet State Park in Illinois. I’m really excited to check it out. I got gas, oiled the chain, and stopped at a diner called Frankie D’s in Lebanon, MO. Great place. Food was delicious. I’m just charging my phone and an external battery a little before I head out. I also want to start heading east as the sun gets overhead. It is very annoying to drive with the sun in my face, which is why most of my driving out west stopped after 3pm. Now, its the oppppsite and I need to leave at a later time every day to avoid the sun beating on my face. Even sunblock can’t completely stop the brutality of the sun.


 

Arrived at Eldon Hazlet State Park around 4pm. Beautiful place. Upon arriving I got a waterside camping spot with electricity for $20. Awessome! I set up my tent and hammock. It might rain tonight but I have high hopes for using the hammock. The view is gorgeous.

IMG_2014080619533You can see the hammock in the background.

Currently grabbing dinner at The LuBar and Bistro in Carlyle. This is a really cool town. It has a ‘small town’ feel yet is appealing to tourists and visitors camping. I think i made a good choice staying here.

Im just waiting on a catfish sandwich and sweet potato fries. I can’t wait!


 

It was delicious.IMG_2014080633977I’m going to spend the rest of the evening just hanging around the campsite on the hammock. Its supposed to rain tonight, so we’ll see how it goes from here. I’ve been finding a lot of joy in just losing track of time, replaying the trip in my head.


 

I found a nice little paradise on this manmade lake. I’m sitting on the rocks, which are still emanating heat from being cooked in the sun, admiring the gorgeous view. I can see it getting progressively darker.

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I soon figure out why the loss of light is happening so rapidly… there is a huge, dangerous looking cloud approaching fast.IMG_2014080627533

 

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It looks like a 100-story tsunami wave about to crash over the land. In a way, its very similar. You can see the entire sky light up from lightning. Thunder is loud.

Its too hot to sit in the tent. I’m going to sit outside until the rain, or at least some cold air, arrives.

Within 30 seconds I’m soaked. Time to hide in the tent all night. Every minute or so the entire tent illuminates from the lightning. The walls of the tent flashing from a dull yellow to a full illuminated tent are really cool.

The rain gets heavier and heavier. Wind hasn’t been crazy yet. The thunder and lightning has calmed down. A huge flash every five or so minutes arrives with a delayed and muffled crash of thunder. Sounds like the storm is moving away.

At least the motorcycle will be clean in the morning.

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 23: Rain, rain, go away


 

Last night was fun. The rain was calming and enjoyable. However, cleanup was not fun. There is so much dirt everywhere. At least the motorcycle looks clean. It took a lot of time to pack up. I basically had to put everything together inside of the tiny tent. It was still raining as I got up. After what felt like an hour, everything was packed. I stupidly left my jeans outside. I’m going to take a ride into town and grab breakfast, and take the side roads to my next destination until my jeans dry off. They’re soaked. Worst part is that it is probably going to rain throughout the ride, so they will keep getting wet. I’m tempted to just wear them wet and hope for the best. I’ll make that decision after breakfast.


 

I stopped at Walmart to grab a second pair of jeans. They ended up being ‘skinny’ jeans. How do people wear these? They’re so restricting… On my way out an older guy noticed my NY plate. He gave me a quick history lesson on southern Illinois with organized crime and how the state formed politically. It was really cool. I found a breakfast cafe on route 50 that seemed cool. I made an awesome decision coming here. I struck up some conversation with two gentlemen, Herman and Bernie, about my motorcycle trip. They admired my courage for this trip. We talked about how a motorcycle can be a stress reliever and how amazing it is to ride one. Bernie was telling me how his wife made him get rid of his motorcycle at 65. He actually brought it over to his son’s house and sometimes takes a break from work during the day to squeeze in a ride. Such an awesome dude. They ended up buying me breakfast. I love small towns with a tight knit community.IMG_2014080751345These are the kinds of stories I will remember most; the kindness of strangers.


 

Note: I have dial-up speeds on my phone. I’ll be adding pictures tomorrow when I get into town for breakfast. Taking the advice of Herman and Bernie, I took route 50 east to my camping area. When I merged onto 150 east, things got interesting. That road is so curvy and gorgeous, it was hard to balance control of the bike over distraction of the ride. I haven’t driven through a forest in a while, so it was refreshing.

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Wound up at Hoosier National Park around 5. Got the tent set up and ready to go. Such a gorgeous place. It is completely silent except for one bird chirping. I haven’t experienced this level of silence in years. There is one other person camping here, but they aren’t here. They probably went into town for food. I hope they invite me to their campfire tonight if they have one. If not, I’ll just call it an early night.

I’ve almost finished the second book I brought along, ‘Its Not About the Coffee’ by Howard Behar. I briefly met him when he was a guest speaker at my job. Very cool guy. He’s got life figured out. He gave everyone a copy of his book during his visit. I just hadn’t found the time to read it until now. I’ll probably spend the rest of my daylight reading it in the hammock.

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 24: Heading to Cincinnati again!


 

I think I’m heading to hang out with family in Cincinnati again. I really want to play some Magic: the Gathering competitively and I’m pretty sure there’s a tournament tonight at the card shop I previously visited. Wouldn’t mind playing. Today is rainy. Very rainy. My jeans are soaked, gear is sopping wet, and roads are dangerous. I’ve grown to like it  I stopped at the first diner I saw. The Ritz Restaurant in Paoli, IN. I love when everyone knows everyone as they walk in, but then a stranger like me comes in and tells his story. I hope it brings some good town discussion. I had grits for the first time. They are delicious, but you can taste how unhealthy they are. They are definitely a ‘never again’ type of food. Other such foods include fried oreos and scorpion.IMG_20140808_100549

IMG_2014080852502Look how gorgeous the weather is…After some brutal riding in the rain for about 200 miles, I made it to my destination. This ride was horrible. Every time water evaporated from my body (and took precious heat), more water took its place. I was shivering, and visibility was limited as well. I had to pull over to grab the exhaust pipes with my gloves to keep my fingers warm.

Although this sounds unpleasant and even discouraging to those wanting to take this type of adventure, you take the bad with the good. It was a privilege to drive through that hell, and arriving at my destination made it all the better. The thing to learn from these experiences is to constantly challenge yourself.


 

I spent the day hanging out with my two cousins, Dana and Russ, and Russ’s son Corbin at chuck e cheeses. Interesting place, very loud.

After, Dana and I went to play pool at a bar. Had so,e local beer and enjoyed ourselves. It was a good night to catch up with family.

Today I’m heading to Salt Fork Lake Park in Lore City, OH if they have availability. Otherwise I’ll just find something as I get out there. Worst case scenario I find a hotel, although I would prefer to not do that for the rest of the trip.

I’ve also planned out how my trip will be ending. I’ll be staying in Queens with some friends Pat and Claire, to celebrate the birthday of another friend, Liz. Hoping to see a lot of friends and share some great stories.

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 25: You guessed it, pushing east!


 

Today is a late start kind of day. My cousin and I stayed up hanging out last night and had a blast. As a result, I slept in. I’m just heading out towards Salt Fork Lake Park. It seems that their campsite is booked but I should be fine just searching in the area. Having a NY plate becomes less interesting as you get closer to home. I miss people randomly approaching me and asking about my adventure. I should have made a sign to hang from the license plate. Oh well, lesson learned. I’m enjoying a nice breakfast with family, then hitting the road. Gotta do what I’ve been doing for a while; push west!


 

After a fantastic breakfast with family, I hit the road. It’s strange how this trip has enabled me to be less dependent on GPS technology. I just knew to head towards Wheeler, OH. Following the signs was simple. Not sure why I always had issues with this. Anyways, between day 23 and today, I lost the large pole for my tent. Great realization as you’ve finished driving for the day. I’m going to try for the hammock tonight anyways, and see if I can find a similar sized pole. Otherwise, I’ll just improvise like I did today:IMG_2014080930692

It will probably work…

Salt Fork State Park is gorgeous! I’m probably going to the beach to hang out for the evening, then coming back to my campsite once it gets dark. Looking forward to relaxing!

As my trip comes to an end, I’m finding that being on the road feels more and more natural. I can’t wait to start planning future destinations. I have tonight, tomorrow night, Monday night, and Tuesday night left for camping, followed by a friend’s birthday in new York City. Unless I get a crazy good deal on a hotel in Pittsburgh, I hope to camp the rest of the trip. It is so peaceful sleeping outside, and the smell of campfires aloneake it worth it. I’m currently at the lodge at Salt Fork State Park. I’ve decided to eat here so I don’t waste time running into town to get food. I’m starving. I haven’t eaten since breakfast. I’ve also decided what I’m going to do with this blog. I’m going to scrap the old blog on my website and make this the main blog(old blog will still be kept, but not updated anymore). WordPress is a lot easier than the older blogging system, Joomla. Joomla has its uses, but WordPress is so much easier on mobile. I’ll be dedicating the blog to tech reviews, motorcycle adventures, life experiences, and anything else that crosses my mind that warrants writing.


 

I decided to check out the beach, but didn’t go swimming. I just wasn’t feeling it. I instead kicked my feet up on the bike and read a good church of ‘Its Not About the Coffee’. Amazing book that teaches you how to respect people above all else.

IMG_2014080932176When I got back I started a campfire and I’m currently laying around, enjoying it. Love these nights.

Ending the night with a campfire and going to bed early. I’m going to try and a replacement pole for the tent, or I I’ll need to figure out something. I’m in a pretty bad predicament if it rains!

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 26: No planned stopping point, let’s wind up somewhere in PA! Side note: almost died today.


 

I slept in today. Couldn’t sleep well. The tent, now missing the main support arch, kept trapping heat in the tent. I also didn’t want to sleep in the hammock, it was raining slightly outside.

I packed everything up and went into Cambridge, OH to get some food. Turns out no one likes eating in that town on a Sunday. Everywhere that served food either wasn’t open until noon or were simply closed. I tried 6 places. I decided to grab a small snack cake at a gas station and just hit the road.

Wound up in a Eat N Park in Triadelphia, WV. I’ve never been to one before so I figure I’d try it out.

Not sure where I’ll head today, all I know is that I am staying in Philadelphia on Tuesday night to enjoy a Philly Cheesesteak or three.


 

 

On the way east, I almost was involved in a pretty serious accident. A jeep tried to avoid a fallen water tank in the road, hit a truck carrying a trailer, and both vehicles crashed through the median into oncoming traffic. This happened about 20 feet in front of me, so I was a little shooken up after having s front row seat to the accident. I pulled over and ran across the median to see if everyone was alright. Thankfully they were, and we had to then off the guy’s truck because gas and other fluids were pouring into the road. Scary stuff.

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After about an hour of helping move debris from the road and making sure everything is alright, I was instructed to go on my way.

I think seeing that happened triggered my body to be done with riding for the day. Next gas stop, I stopped in Somerset and I’m calling it a night. Way too much stress to keep pushing forward, and I’ve got plenty of time to get home.

Tomorrow I will be camping, and the day after, my goal is to get a philly cheesesteak. After that, a night in NYC and then I’ll be home the next day.


 

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 27: Last night camping


 

Tonight will be my last night camping. Tomorrow will be either in Philadelphia or NYC, depending on how everything plays out. I grabbed breakfast at a local diner, loved the ‘small town’ feel. Then hit the road. PA roads are gorgeous when the weather is nice. I got through 3 tunnels and got to see some beautiful wooded mountains. I stopped at a rest stop since I was making such good time, and was able to enjoy a nice coffee and de-stress from yesterday. I’m not shaken up, but more reflective on the whole thing. I’m staying at French Creek State Park tonight. Google Maps reviews spoke highly of it. I can’t wait.


 

Arriving at the site, I fell in love with the campground. So gorgeous and quiet. I tried fixing up the tent situation by using a 50 foot nylon rope. It works quite well and should hold up against the rain.

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Also got to ride up and down this road a few times:

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Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 28: Gonna get some NYC exposure


 

Today, I technically complete my mission of going from NY to CA and back to NY. I will be staying with friends for the next two nights. One night in Brooklyn, one night in Queens. From there, I’ll be heading home for the first time in a month.

It rained heavily last night. My tenth engineering paid off, not a drop got in the tent! I still want to replace the pole though. This is incredibly inconvenient and annoying to disassemble.

My goal for today is to pop into Philadelphia for a cheesesteak, then find my way to Brooklyn around 5, so I can take my sweet time. Checkout time here is also at 3 so I have all the time in the world.


 

On my way out, I was offered a coffee by my neighboring campsite. They wished me luck in the rain.

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Its the little things like this that make me appreciative of camping.

Moving onwards, I hit some torrential downpours. I was soaked in seconds.

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Not fun. I took shelter under a bridge to put on the rainguard, but it was too late. At least it stopped some evaporation if water.

After the weather let up, I got to my favorite food place of all time, Pat’s King of Steaks and got this beauty:

IMG_2014081249512Suddenly, things aren’t so bad anymore.

Since I want to arrive in Brooklyn around 5, I’m going to zip around in the city for an hour or so, then hit the road to New York.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 29: Last stop before home, doing it the right way!


 

Last night was fun, got to tell my story to a few people I just met. Good people, one of them wants to take a road bicycle across the US. Crazy dude.

Today I move the bike to a friend’s driveway in Brooklyn, then finally to Astoria to a friend’s apartment complex, and we will be celebrating the birthday of a friend.  After that, it’s a straight trip home in the morning.

That’s the only update I’ll be making. Today, nothing too important. Possibly some pictures will be added at the end of the trip.


 

Tiny update:

We ended up eating at Phebe’s restaurant and eventually headed to the Barcade, a bar that had quarter machines from the 80s and 90s. Truly amazing place. I spent so much money on retro games. I wish my local town had one of these, I would be there strictly for throwing away quarters.

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Horribly quality, the camera had a hard time in low light.

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This arcade game was such a huge influence on my life in the 90s. Good to still see them running.

 

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Day 30: I’m coming home, I’m coming home. tell the blog that I’m coming home


 

Today marks the very last day of my journey. I will be taking the motorcycle from Queens to home in Circleville today, completing the month-long journey.

It is bittersweet. I would love to keep staying on the road, but I need to take care of things at home. I’m sure friends and family also miss me a lot.

HUGE thanks to anyone and everyone who has read about, helped fund, encouraged, and influenced my trip. I am truly grateful for your support. Time to finish this journey!

Motorcycle Trip Across America 2014 – Days after – Reflecting on the journey


 

On July 15th, I departed for a crazy adventure, quite possibly the greatest adventure of my life. I was scared, but excited for the challenge. What could I expect as I pulled out of the driveway? Well, only the motorcycle could show me.

Throughout this trip, I experienced a lot of awesome things that I hope I’ll never forget. I had a healthy mix of city and nature, family and strangers,  planned and unplanned experiences.

Being home felt weird the first couple days. I already missed being the road, excited to see what my sleeping arrangement would be for the night, who I would meet along the way, what I would do when I got to my destinatiom, etc. At home things are predictable and routine, which is nice. I definitely missed having order in my life.

The weirdest thing was getting into a car and driving it for the first time in a month. It took me a few minutes to realize how weird it is being in a vehicle with such restricting views. It felt safer, but at the time frustrating to drive.

The bike needs some work, a lot of work actually. The front sprocket is worn down beyond the point of suggested replacement, I’ll need new tires soon, the underside needs to be cleaned thoroughly, and I need to do another oil change. I have to say how impressed I am that the bike made it through 110 degree weather, over the Rocky Mountains, through LA traffic, back through 110 degree weather, and even made it through some NYC driving without any issues. At 17 years old, Honda sure has made a good engine.

I feel very accomplished from this trip. I’ve definitely sparked a desire for travel and adventure that may prove to be a little too ambitious, but I’m okay with that.

Here is a list of some of the notable memories I’ve had on motorcycle:

  • Camped in Pennsylvania woods
  •  Checked out Buckeye Brewery in Ohio
  • Saw family in Ohio
  • Experienced Kentucky nightlife
  • Camped on the outskirts of St. Louis
  • Experienced St. Louis culture, including seeing the arch, hanging out with locals, and rode around the city for a while
  • Camped on the Missouri river
  • Checked out Kansas City for the day
  • Camped in Kansas
  • Explored Denver
  • Drove over the Rocky Mountains on motorcycle
  • Drove through Utah heat
  • Spent two nights in Las Vegas
  • Saw the Blue Man Group
  • Reached the Pacific Coast in California
  • ‘Split lanes’ in Los Angeles (if you’ve driven a motorcycle you get how cool this sounds)
  • Reached the Grand Canyon on motorcycle
  • Saw Meteor Crater
  • Saw the Petrified Forest National Park
  • Outran a western storm that could have been horrible
  • Camped in Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, the second largest canyon in the country
  • Camped in the Eldon Hazlet State Park in Illinois
  • Camped in Hoosier National Forest in Indiana
  • Drove through 6 hours of a thunderstorm
  • Hung out with family again in Ohio
  • Camped in Salt Fork Lake Park in Ohio, the largest state park in the state
  • Narrowly avoided a major car accident
  • Camped in French Creek State Park
  • Visited friends in New York City
  • Experienced driving through 110 degree weather in full gear
  • Experienced early signs of hypothermia in rainstorms and mountain areas
  • Made awesome friends along the way
  • Drove over 6500 miles in total

It has been quite the adventure.

 

Here is the location history according to Google Maps: