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Old 04-29-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
myorangecrayon OP
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Epic First Overnight Trip - MotoGP in Austin

Everything is relative in this world. While my trip doesn't compare to some of the 20,000 mile, 12 month ultra trips that some of the inmates take, it still blew my mind. It was my little AntiHero adventure (thanks for providing some of the inspiration and the perspective to take a little risk in life... for reference, here is his unbelievable thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...ian+supermodel).

Anyways, I planned this trip for a few weeks and could not wait to get on the road. Living in downtown Dallas I can almost feel the outskirts of the city pulling me out, some sort of magnetic pull that the road exerts. The MotoGP event down in Austin gave me the perfect excuse to plan a solo trip to do something I've never done before. There were two rules:

1. Take the long way, regardless of the time. For those of us that are constantly goal focused, it is hard to enjoy the time and effort spent getting somewhere. This is true in the literal sense, like in a trip like this, and in a figurative sense: career, relationships, life events are punctuated by the achievements and waypoints rather than the space/time between those events. I wanted to enjoy the journey, as cliche as that may sound.

2. Come back in one piece. This one is self-explanatory.

My chosen steed is my new 2012 Honda NC700X, my first brand new vehicle. I wrote about this motorcycle in an earlier post. Ready to roll on Friday, April 19th around 2pm.



I was going to head west out of downtown Dallas, toward Fort Worth, then head south in back roads. Sitting in traffic kind of takes the wind out of your sails momentarily, but I was exhilarated once I got to my first stop:





My butt is not quite prepared for sitting on a motorcycle for several hours straight, so the first couple of days I stopped pretty consistently. By the third day I was a steeled and weathered traveler, a highway and backroad king with octane in his veins and a V-twin powered heart. Either that or my butt went numb. I passed lots of small, non-descript rural Texas towns. City Hall at Valley Mills did not impress me:



I hope there's an actual fire truck behind that garage door, not just a drawing of one. The library was quite depressing:



I had made a reservation at Cedar Hill Park to camp, and got quite a good spot





Planning the next day's route with the Butler map, and heating up my soup:



Day 1 was fun... the beginning of any trip tends to be enjoyable, and the expectation of waking up in the morning and the only thing I had to do was get on my motorcycle to ride around made it hard to sleep. The Texas countryside was stretching its legs as the weather warms up for spring, and the bluebonnets were out on the rolling hills. However... nobody bothered to remind nature that I packed as if we were in the middle of spring, and the mercury dropped overnight. I slept with all the clothes I brought on: tshirt, long sleeve tshirt, First Gear Kilimanjaro Jacket with liner in, 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks, First Gear Tex Mesh pants and Alpinestars S-MX5 boots while inside of my sleeping bag and I was still shivering. Only slept a few fitful hours, and since I had nothing else to do I just kept eating and reading... so I ate all the food I brought for the trip that night while I shivered waiting for the sun to come up.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:05 AM   #2
myorangecrayon OP
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Day 2 - As soon as the sun came out I was ready to go... I'd rather be freezing cold on the motorcycle rather than sitting on the floor.



Long shadows



The route I had picked was pretty desolate, and by now I was heading way out of the way to hit some nice roads. At some point I realized I had spent about 45 minutes and not seen any cars, people or homes. I stopped, and somebody with an ADV sticker stopped to see if everything was alright. Managed a tiny picture of the rider!



Rocinante, my noble steed:



I did not take enough pictures of the route, once I reach a nice road I got carried away and could not wait to ride it. The Texas Hill Country did not disappoint, especially this area:



Around 1pm on Saturday I arrived to the promised land... qualifying was that day, and I did not expect many people at the track. I wildly underestimated the interest in this event, the first one at COTA.



There were some awesome classic rides in the parking lot, and it took me forever to get into the track as I wandered through the parking lot:





I was nervous about leaving all my new gear on the bike, and since it was still chilly at this point I kept my riding pants, boots and jacket on. This was a mistake, the weather in Texas changes in a matter of minutes and the heat proceeded to cook me inside the jacket... but no one took my stuff!

I got coveted seat number 923,572



First thing I saw when I walked into the infield was these guys... I wonder if the NC700X will make that jump. New hobby?



I spent quite a bit of time at the Ducati booth... I was impressed by their unbelievable branding, they really play up that italian heritage... their motorcycles seem to be equal parts lust and lunacy which makes whatever price they ask for them a reasonable amount to pay.



Crappy picture of me on a Panigale R





I essentially spent the day walking around the track, trying to find where I could sit for the race and buying $14 hamburgers and $5 dollar Dasanis. I was blown away by the facilities and the size of the track. After qualifying I was exhausted, so I headed to my campground in Bastrop, about 35 minutes east of COTA. My only complaint of my moto is that the fuel filler cap is under the passenger's seat... when said passenger's seat is covered by all the junk you brought on the trip, you have to undo your packing just to pump gas. This could be solved by buying a rear carrier and a top box, but that's an expensive solution.

I made it to the campsite right before the sun went down. Bastrop State Park is beautiful and has some pretty amazing roads... miles and miles of rural mountain roads.



Overlook:



I want to be in the pictures!!



I was quite hungry by then, and since I had eaten all the food I brought for the trip the prior night, I had to make a short trip to where dreams go to die: KFC. It was the only place close! A hardcore guy on a well-ridden KTM came up to me to talk about the Honda while I strapped my box of chicken to the back of the bike. I'm sure it's difficult to take someone seriously when this is dinner:



I ate and promptly passed out. What an awesome day... the weather was perfect for camping. And the next day I'd wake up and just get on my bike again! What an awesome weekend!

Day 3 and actual pictures of the track coming up.

myorangecrayon screwed with this post 05-02-2013 at 07:00 PM
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:57 AM   #3
Rutabaga
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Sounds like a great start; being able to wear everything you have packed and eat everything you have packed during the first night proves you did not overpack. Well done.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
DADODIRT
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Are any of those guys Hermano?
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:59 PM   #5
Against The Wind
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Nice ride! thanks for the pics... any babe pics from the track?
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:36 PM   #6
myorangecrayon OP
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DADODIRT - I'm not sure what you mean... I love inside jokes, I'd like to be part of one someday (name that tv show!)

Against The Wind - Coming right up.

Day 3 - I was finally getting in the swing of spending time out on the road... incidentally this coincided with the last day of the trip. Next time I should spend an extra day out...



It's almost calling to me... Ready to go! Let's go! What's the hold up!!!! THE ROAD IS WAITING!!



Back to the track, this time I got to measure up against some serious adventure bikes and my little NC700X didn't look completely out of place! Need to add some farkles to be taken seriously by the road warriors.





Visited the Ducati booth... again. Bought a tshirt on sale from last season (it still has Rossi's number on it... fortunately no one in Dallas is going to know the difference). They're also keeping my bikes safe while I save up money to get them:



As you can see, I was smart this time and used the FREE gear valet service. Left my helmet, jacket and boots there.

This has to be the most boring job available in the track... these girls stood there for hours on end, taking pictures. I suppose if I was more photogenic this would not seem like such a poor proposition:



Against The Wind, an extra for you:



I noticed the process of putting pictures into PhotoBucket seems to wash out the colors, so a lot of them appear much more vivid in my computer than they seem in the posts. This is not true for this next picture, as I managed to smudge the lens with my fried chicken greasy fingers before handing it to a stranger to take a picture in front of Turn 20:



The races were amazing... especially the Moto3 event. Lots of passing a close racing (including a restart to add to the drama). It's great fun to see those skinny dudes on top of those snarling beasts try to wrestle them, with the rear wheel squirming under hard braking and sliding through turns. These guys have balls of steel, no matter how many CCs we're talking about. Moto3:



The MotoGP race was actually kind of boring... both the Repsol Honda bikes started at the front, stayed at the front, and pulled away throughout the race. It's great to see humans push the boundaries of endurance, concentration and skill, but that gets kind of boring after 20 minutes of not passing. Still... just the sound these things make is enough to keep me entertained. Hondas way out in front:



ROSSI! I promise that's him... that tiny dot hanging on for dear life. I think he finished 6th... started 7th.



Panorama of my spot:



I had a blast on the trip, but the next part kind of sucked. I encapsulated this feeling with my last picture:



I suppose it wasn't surprising that the free gear valet was also crazy overcrowded and understaffed. It took about an hour to get my stuff... I rode the highway straight back to Dallas, which under normal circumstances would take roughly 3 hours... it took 7. I did come back with a triumphant feeling, as though I could do anything and go anywhere on my motorbike. I can't wait to go on the next one, tentatively planned for the Ozarks. I can see why folks equate riding to psychotherapy... very few activities command total focus like being on a motorcycle does. The only thing you have to think about is what you're doing right then, and nothing else. That type of clarity is priceless. I'd rather ride that Honda than meditate to reach that kind of Zen. Thanks for reading!
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:26 AM   #7
jmcg
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Thanks for your report + pics.

The Honda looks like a fun bike.

Cheers,

JM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:00 AM   #8
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Great story and pics. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:22 AM   #9
FJRCraig
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Nice report

I'm off to the Catalunya MotoGP in June. Haven't been to one before either so was good to get an idea of what to expect.

Will try to post some photos when I get back.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:59 AM   #10
myorangecrayon OP
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You'll have a great time, FJR. If you're going general admission make sure to sit in several places around the track during qualifying to figure out where you'd like to sit for the races. Post some pics if you can!
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:17 AM   #11
FJRCraig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myorangecrayon View Post
You'll have a great time, FJR. If you're going general admission make sure to sit in several places around the track during qualifying to figure out where you'd like to sit for the races. Post some pics if you can!
Thanks for the advice! Can't wait
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
AntiHero
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Looks like a great experience at COTA! Happy you could make the trip to MotoGP--and I think that R should be your next bike! :)

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:34 PM   #13
Vinbowie
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Well done my friend.
I know those great feelings.
It's....... Freedom.
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They just stand back and let it all be." Springsteen
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:36 PM   #14
RAAD
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Enjoyed the report! Got a kick out of how you ate all your food. I've been under-prepared for cold weather camping too, and it can be brutal. Nice report.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:02 PM   #15
shoot870p
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very good

well done.
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