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Old 04-15-2009, 02:30 PM   #1
stitchergary OP
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Poor Man Uraling the U.S.A.

Ok, I'm already a day behind schedule but I need to make some attempt to make this official. Here's the plan. I'm going to take off tomorrow with the 2007 Ural Patrol from my home in Northern NY, up near the Canadian border, and travel first to Front Royal Virginia and get on the Skyline Drive and then the Blue Ridge Parkway. This will take me down to Cherokee North Carolina. From there my destination will be the Barber Vintage Museum in Birmingham Alabama and then mosy west to Arkansas and then to my brother's place in Missouri. If I survive that I'll head further west to Utah, checking out the national parks and head north through Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana before heading west again to Washington, Oregon, and California. This will entail staying in a tent almost every night and getting my eats from the grocery store. Why? Because I can't afford to stay in motels and eat in restaurants and do the jouney of a lifetime. How might this be a problem??

This was a picture I took in front of my house 6 days ago

Doesn't look like nice motorcycle and camping weather does it??

So, in the last couple days it's warmed up some from our normal 25F nights to about 55F each day. Been doing some maintenance on the bike including lubing the shaft splines, torquing the head bolts, adjusting the valves, changing the fluids out, installing the windshield, and attempting to get everything sorted and packed away.

I also did this a couple days ago:
**Warning to Mr. Cob: if you might be viewing this report** Please, I don't want to be responsible for your mental well being so please close your eyes and scroll to the bottom of the page!!!!!!!!! This is not a test, it's the real thing!!!

So, with that done I lined up some of my luggage I'll be taking.

Everything from my tent, sleeping bag, self-inflating foam pad, ammo boxes, waterproof bags, laptop, stove, lantern, gas can, and tank bag. I think that's a good start but who knows what's going to be needed on a trip like this??

So, you probably thought I was showing you my starting mileage but no, I was showing you my nice manicure. See??

But, since it shows my starting mileage of 13,515 we'll go ahead and make the official.

In my quest to come into the technological hayday I figured out how to do a time delay picture. Don't laugh, this was a major accomplishment for me. I'm a techno dunce

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Old 04-15-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
stitchergary OP
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So after seeing my self portrait via digital camera I'm having 2nd thoughts about my route. I think I should stop at the Ford Modeling Agency in NYC because I'm sure they have the wisdom to sign me as one of their models for a stupendous salary. I won't be poor any more. Living the rich life hobknobing with the well to do. Ok, I agree. For my fellow ADV riders I'll stick to the original plans of tenting and sandwiches. No big city life for me. Actually, since I live in a small town any big city is intimidating. I like the slow and backcountry life.

So, my next plan of action was to figure out how my tent was erected. I used it last time two years ago on my trip from Northern NY through Vermont, to the top of Mount Washingtin, NH, across to Bar Harbor, Maine, took "The Cat" ferry to Yarmouth, Novia Scotia and stopped to see Lutz and the Halifax Ural dealership. I also met Craig from Prince Edward Island that contributes a lot to the Ural community.
L to R Craig, Lutz, Me, Gary (I think a diet is in order)

I then went north to New Brunswick and then west back home. 2,200 miles and never had a problem for 1 second.

Back to the tent thing. Of course I no longer had the directions. And 2 years is well beyond my memory expiration date so here I am.

So does A connect to B or was that C connects to D or was it the shin bone connects to the ankle bone or, never mind, for once the grey cells won out and the results of my efforts are well documented.

So anyways I'm trying to figure out how the fly attaches over the tent. The wind is blowing it around every time I make an attempt at positioning it. I have it on the ground with one knee holding it down and out of the corner of my eye about 2 inches from the side of my face is this character.

He scared the bejeebes out of me. Never heard the dog come up from behind. Stood there like, "whatcha lookin at?" I jumped back and the dog starts running around like it's play time. I like to be the source of entertainment but I really didn't want to have a heart attack before my big ride. Once I rubbed his back we were now friends and all was well.

After my blood pressure leveled off I completed my task. I should have been an engineer I'm so brilliant. I'm not going admit that the package of tent stakes is somewhere underneath the tent. No, I'll never admit to that stupidity....And there were no witnesses, so it didn't happen..

Just a sad note on the next pic... I'm kind of a neophyte on the big ride report. Actually this is the only ride report I've ever done. No ADV sticker to prove I'm worthy. Tonight I'll pray to the ADV god for safe passage anyways. I hope, as internet connects allow, to update this ride so anyone interested can take a hack seat with me. It's truely an exciting time to think of doing what will probably be the only time in my life to do such a memorable trip seeing the sights, and more importantly, making friends across our wonderful country.

stitchergary screwed with this post 04-15-2009 at 03:58 PM
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:30 PM   #3
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Outstanding! I guess I came out of "lurk" mode just in time for this.
"You wouldn't be riding a motorcycle if you weren't an optimist."
- Matthew Crawford
2005 Ural Tourist, 2000 Kawasaki W650
IBA #23064
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:20 PM   #5
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:32 PM   #6
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Have a great trip and keep us posted. We all wish we were riding with you. If you make it to Oregon you have a place to stay.
The greatest rewards come with the greatest risks.

2011 Husqvarna SMS630, 1998 Triumph Sprint, 1983 Suzuki GS1100E and retired.
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:50 AM   #7
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Santa Barbara

i got tent space in SB, CA if you make it this far........bruce
A life spent inside a camera: Auto/Motorcycle factories/museums/travels/trains/planes/bikes/cars
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:56 PM   #8
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Thumb Have a great time, I did.........................

Howdy stitchergary,

If you make it to the Great Nor-Wet and need a place to stay please contact me, if I am around and you want I can ride with you for a ways, company makes the miles go faster.

Oh, I just thought I would let you know, I deducted 10,000 ADV points from what ever your final score is for committing the sin of washing your Ural.
Dave, aka "Mr. Cob"

My photos, Join Smugmug, use this coupon ( )

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Old 04-16-2009, 07:45 PM   #9
stitchergary OP
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First day on the road

It seems like a never ending job trying to get everything done including packing, completing things around the house, arranging for last minute requirements, like getting my taxes completed. Uh, they were supposed to be done yesterday, weren't they?? Oh well, can't worry too much about 1 day. Procrastination and I get along quite well.

First things first and this morning I opened the garage door and this is what I find. I prayed to the ADV God last night and he must have rewarded me with an authorized ADV sticker. I'm in the fold now!!!

Next thing after doing my taxes was do clean the winter grime off my car before it get a couple month rest.

It pays to do your spring cleaning. Guess what I found under the seat. A can of Tunafish. That will keep me going another day on the road.

Apparently my eyes are bigger than my stomach, or the Ural's stomach for that matter. I just couldn't fit everything in. Three times I unloaded and tried to reposition things. Finally I had enough of this frustration and started making cuts. It's packed to the gills as you can see.

At 2:00pm I was finally on the road. First stop was at my sister's house to get her new email address. No one home. Next stop was about 15 miles in another direction out of my way to say bye to a friend. He wasn't home. I'm batting .000 at this point. This led me to take a completely different route than I had planned. These are some windmills on a ridge near Lowville, NY. From the Maple Ridge web site:

The towers are 260' high - 320' to the tip of the blade, the turbine spins at 14RPM, each producing 1.6 megawatts of electricity. When finished, the output of the farm will be 324MW, enough to power 98,000 homes.

At the same time I took the pic of the windmills I took this picture of a house on the high ridge. I had noticed this place before driving by. If you look closely you can see completely through the second floor and out the back windows. One huge second floor. I think that's cool looking.

So I'm now sitting in a motel room about 24 miles into Pennsylvania for a whopping total of 204 miles today. I guess not bad since I started so late and went through all those towns and stop lights. I don't think there are any campsites open in this neck of the woods this early in the season. I can't blame them. It was getting pretty cold riding just before and after dark. It's supposed to get down to 32F here tonight. I'd like to get to Front Royal, VA tomorrow which would be the start of the Skyline Drive. We'll see how things go. I came to the realization that it takes me twice as long to do this on this laptop as it does using my regular keyboard at home. Guess I'll have to learn. 10:39pm, I'm heading to bed. Thanks for all the responses and I got a few emails too. I don't want to let you guys down and I hope to get more interesting pics in the days to come.
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:34 AM   #10
stitchergary OP
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Friday 4/17

I just spent an hour on this mornings update and poof, lost everything. This will be much abbreviated over the last one. Went out at 7:00am to see this on the Ural.

How cold is it?? Dang Cold I'd say. Checked out the weather page for New Medford, PA (finally figured out where I was) and found out it was 31F. Guess I won't be getting the early start I'd hoped. Weather page said it would be up to 52F by 11:00am though. Back in the motel for some breakfast. This motel is very accomodating to their potential customers as proven by their sign. They want to cater to both the near sighted people and the far sighted people by having duplicate signs in drastically different sizes. Proof!

The Blue Ridge Motel must be doing something right because I stayed here. It didn't have anything to do with the miles and miles of dark desolate road before reaching this oasis. BTW, one end of my driveway connects to US Route 11 and 204 miles later I'm staying in a motel on US Route 11.
Breakfast of Champions

I'm almost embarrased to explain my recent eating habits after seeing all those meals on other RR, Due to high blood pressure and cholesterol I made an attempt at the first of the year to eat healthier. My main food now is veggies, fruits, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and even things like hummus and tofu and soy milk. Yuk to most of you!
I haven't had one soft drink, whether regular or diet, and haven't had a meal in a fast food restaurant. Don't put any salt on anything, although the canned beans pictured above has too much salt in it. No fried food, no butter or margarine, and only a little fat free salad dressing on my salads.
So far I've lost about 17 pounds on this diet and feel good, which is the most important thing. So my apologies to everyone who thought they were going to see pics of big juicy burgers and bacon.
OK, so I got that nasty business out of the way.
I spent time last night trying to organize the packing mess I made yesterday. I moved things around so much had no idea where anything was. I still need to make improvements, but it's gaining. I have lots of time to get it perfect.

Those blue bags are waterproof and made by Seattle Sports.

I'm going to end this now before I lose everything again. Hope to hit the cold road soon...

stitchergary screwed with this post 04-17-2009 at 05:59 AM
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:23 PM   #11
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I'm Hooked

Looking forward to following your RR. What part of Missouir you riding to? I live in SW Missouri. If you make it this way let me know and I will buy your dinner.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:41 PM   #12
stitchergary OP
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Friday evening 4/17

Total for day: 335 miles and I'm at the destination of my scenic ride at Front Royal, Virginia, the beginning of Skyline Drive. I knew the first two days wouldn't look that great because it's just too early in the season. I just wanted to get out of the cold. I took a total of 2 pictures today and they aren't worth the time of uploading them. Northern PA looks pretty much the same as my home in Northern NY...Boring!!!!!! Not boring by it's nature, it's that this time of year it can be characterized as "dirty brown".

My brilliant plan was to use state and county roads to bypass the traffic of Scranton. Ok, I can't take all the blame for this snafu. I was ok until I was looking for a route 309 south and even though I didn't find it I kept riding and riding and riding knowing that it kept saying I was going west and that was OK.... Finally, I stopped at a lookout and asked a person sitting in his car. I had gone way past the point I was supposed to turn and instead of going west, had gone north-west and was almost as far north as when I started. That's not good!! I backtracked and still couldn't find route 309 so took route 29 south to Wilkes-Barre, PA. After about 10 miles the road had a Y and the left one said route 309. Why didn't those engineers put that number way back at the beginning?? I wouldn't have ridden about 30 for nothing...I worked my way south and finally got on an interstate. Route 81 south. I did my best keeping up with traffic and even tried Mr. Cob's drafting some.
I told you about the boring brown scenery. Once I got south of Harrisburg, PA it was like I entered the valley of green. My whole attitude changed. It was exciting seeing the green everywhere. Green on the side of the road, a carpet of green in the meadows and hillsides, crabapple trees in full bloom, a tinge of green on the bushes and trees. The landscape was transformed and so was my attitude.
So, after Pennsylvania I went through Maryland, then West Virginia, and now in Virginia. Observations about Virginia: I've come to the conclusion that I entered this weeks NASCAR trials to see the weekends starting lineup. Everyone is flying and weaving in and out of traffic. 2nd observation: If you have a desire to attend church, your within 1 mile walking distance of a church. Yes, I'm kidding, but I don't know how they can afford to build so many huge beautiful churches. And so many of the homes are the old mansions from a couple hundred years ago. Just Beautiful!!!!

OK, the last thing I'm going to say tonight. I received emails which I really enjoy and am so humbled by people's generosity offering a spot to put the tent, a night in their home, dinner, and beer. It's greatly appreciated and the number one purpose of this trip is making friends, so thank you. It's going to require a lot more organization on my part to get this information so I can contact those people. I have received a couple offers and questions about my accepting donations or setting up a paypal account. Thanks for the offer, it's appreciated, but I don't want this to ever be about money. I have to do this on the cheap, but I never want to take a penny from anyone. It's just one person enjoying, struggling, frustrasted, worried, anxious, mesmorized, curious, and whatever you might imagine, and your there for the ride. So let's just enjoy!!
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:15 PM   #13
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Good on ya - I hope to take a trip of my own, wandering around in a couple of years...

"Human culture, the antidote to intelligence." Reg Morrison
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Old 04-18-2009, 05:43 PM   #14
stitchergary OP
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Saturday 4/18 - 205 miles today, 744 miles total

Déjà vu, all over again. Take a look at these two photos. I never paid attention until I was ready to leave this morning.

Yes, I stayed in two different motels two nights in a row that happened to have the same name. What are the chances???

Here's a photo I didn't upload from yesterday. I was driving down the road and saw this huge concrete expanse that I assumed was a railroad tresle at one time, but the condition was so bad I was thinking to myself, "I hope this stays standing until I get across to the other side." I ride a few miles down the road and looked up ahead to another of these old tresles, but to my amazement the train was crossing it at the time. Those brave souls.

See the train on the right side?? You didn't see the condition of the crumbling concrete.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:20 PM   #15
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Saturday 4/18 cont'd

As I was putting on my helmet I looked up to see this.

Nothing special, but I just thought the combination of the moon and the jet trail was interesting.

I had high expectations at the entrance of Skyline Drive by the bright colors.

Just to prove I was really there. Doing my Vanna White impression.

Right after this I rode to the toll collection point (They charge $10 for motorcycles) and purchased the National Park Pass for $80. This will allow me entrance to any national park for 1 year. Hope I get my money's worth. I should!!
I'm just going to put a series of pics up as I went down skyline drive and the beginning of Blue Ridge Parkway. When I got up on skyline drive I realized, due to the elevation, that it was too early for the leaves to be out. It was a beautiful day to ride anyways.

There are miles and miles and miles of these handmade stone fences along the 105 mile route. This road was made right after the depression and used the new CCC program to get people back to work.

Little civil war lesson. You will get your test tomorrow.

I filled up on gas just before the Skyline Drive. After completing the 105 miles I figured there would be gas close by. I started down the BRP and at the first visitor center, that was closed, I asked a couple motorcycle riders. They weren't sure but knew there was some 20 miles back. Hmmm, don't like that idea. I looked on a map on the big board and it showed gas near mile marker 30. That would be a total of 137 so figured I'd try that. I passed a turn off and when I got to mile marker 30 I didn't see anything. I drove an additional few miles and then decided maybe I was supposed to turn back there. Turned around and took the exit. This was the most extreme downgrade with hairpin turns. The brakes were heating up so I decided to let them cool. The smell of hot brakes from passingvehicles was wafting through the air as I waited. I decided to have a sandwich will I was waiting. Delicious: German dark wheat bread, spread horseradish, then salsa, then a little feta cheese, then spinach. My masterpiece:

See, I can put food porn on too.
Anyways I drove and drove seeing I went beyond the 189km when I had to switch to reserve while riding on the interstate. At the 222 mark it finally dawned on me that I never switched over from reserve after I filled up the day before. That means I might be using the reserve right now and I don't know it. The panic is setting in. I finally got to the bottom and no gas station. I kept on that road until I came to an intersection where a couple guys were working in front of a house. I stopped and asked where the closest gas station was. He said turn right here and there are three of them. So I turn and go over the hill to find nothing but pastures and cows. How far am I going to be walking??? After about 1/2 mile of this I could see a gas sign. Made it!!!! When I filled up I was amazed how little it took. Apparently riding an average of 35MPH on the Skyline Drive proved that slow driving really does save gas. I got 38.7 MPG on that fillup, way above my average of 28-31.

stitchergary screwed with this post 04-19-2009 at 03:46 AM
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