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Old 08-10-2009, 12:16 PM   #1
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To the west coast and beyond....I hope!

Alright, so here I am, the day before taking off on a new adventure. I had planned on leaving this morning, but I had a few setbacks during my test run this weekend: 1) took a small spill and broke off my kill switch , 2) my GPS stopped working ; I spent the rest of the weekend using a screwdriver to jump the points on the solenoid to start the bike. So instead of leaving I used today to get a working starter button once again, and after reloading the software and chipset on my GPS, it is also now back to working.

Back to the story….back in the spring of this year, I decided that I would go back to Grad. School this fall, and got into the program of my choice, but due to circumstances that I wont go into at this time, come the middle of the summer, I decided to put off going back to school until the fall of 2010. I then moved on to plan B, which was to basically take some time off to travel on the “new to me” bike; a 2005 KLR650 that I picked up this past christmas. The route, as of right now, is to get to the west coast, via the Trans-America trail. Once on the west coast, I will regroup at my brother’s place in California, and from there I will then start travelling south, through Mexico and central America, all the way to the Panama canal; atleast that is the current plan. *

*Plans are subject to change at any time, without due warning!

The ride:
When I picked up the bike it was bone stock! Not to mention a wonderful shade of pink!
Have look for yourself.

I have since spent a fair amount of time and money outfiitting the bike to my liking, and in order to make it as off-road worthy as possible. The last 3 weeks have been especially busy in not only getting the bike ready, but taking care of all my personal affairs that need to be addressed prior to taking off for a couple of months! Any way, here is the baby as she now looks!

Much better....don't you think so?

So like I said, I take off tomorrow morning. My starting point is Orange, Virginia; I plan on taking two days to go down to Jellico, TN, where I will pick up the start of the TAT (for those of you who are not avid readers of the advrider.com website, TAT is a comon abreviation for the Trans-America Trail). I then plan on taking about a month, give or take, to traverse the county; I want to give myself plenty of time to enjoy the ride, and take pictures of anything and everything that looks even remotely interesting. I will be taking my new, little netbook pc (an Asus Eee pc) with me, and try to keep this report as up to date as possible. I welcome any feedback or suggestions that anyone has, especially when it comes to additional things that would be worthwile to see along the way. In case I did not make it clear before, time is not that much of an issue. How lucky am I!?

As a final word to end this first post, I need to say a special thank you up front to my family , on whom I know I can always rely, and to my good friend Wallace, who has gone above and beyond in providing me with the assistance necessary to make this personal sabbatical possible!
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:42 PM   #2
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Looks like the KLR is ready.. and so are you!! Let's roll

Safe journey!
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XC Rider
Come the middle of the summer, I decided to put off going back to school until the fall of 2010. I then moved on to plan B, which was to basically take some time off to travel on the “new to me” bike; a 2005 KLR650 that I picked up this past christmas.
You chose ... wisely!

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Old 08-10-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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XC_Rider - Great to ride with you this weekend The Cat Herders & Crew wish you the Best of luck on your journey.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:16 PM   #5
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+1..........Go get em!
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:09 AM   #6
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Glad you got the swtich figured out


Subscribed man! Have a great trip!
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:53 AM   #7
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Day 1

Day 1
A great start to the trip. Started out in sunshine, with heat and humidity, and as the day wore on and I got up onto the Blueridge parkway, I got into a little rain, but that eventually fizilled out before arriving at my friends’ house near Roanoke. Got on the road at about 10:30am, and decided to head southwest to try and pick up the tag for the local tag-o-rama game that I play in virginia, the Shenandoah Valley DS tag. To my amazment, I got the tag! I then had to go find a place to put a new tag before I headed too far south. You should check out their tag game if you live in the area; a great group of guys, and a whole lot of fun!
Link to the Valley DS Tag game.
From there I continued to head south, and back east a little bit, so as to get back on the Blueridge parkway. Eventually made it back to the parkway about 20 miles south of Staunton, and stayed on the parkway for the rest of the day, as my friends (Steve and Tanita) live right off of the parkway. Can I just say that the parkway is just soooooooo much fun! Great pavement, great scenery, great twists and turns and ups and downs; how can it get any better! If you’re ever in the area, you need to check it out. Speed limit is 45mph, but that just about perfect for 95% of the parkway. Saw several deer along the way, and took some nice picture between the rain clouds. When I got to my friends’ house, Steve was waitting for me and we had a nice evening, chatting about motorcycles and other things while sipping a nice scotch!
Here are the pictures for the day:

My gear, the night before leaving:


The view from Little Skyline Drive, about 3 minutes from where I live:

The Train depot at Montpelier, home of James Madison:

The start of the parkway in VA, up on Afton mountain:


Saw this silo while riding down west of Staunton; thought it looked cool.


The lovely, rolling hills of the Virginia country side.

My lunch stop!

Random bridge, but I thought the graffitti looked cool.


An old store front in Vesuvius.

A neat bridge along the parkway. In fact, every bridge along the parkway seems to look just like this one!

Otter lake, along the parkway.



View from the parkway.


This one is for you HBurgninja!

Watch out for these guys!


More views from the parkway.



Stats for the day!
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:01 AM   #8
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I'll have to remember to "KEEP OFF DAN"
Quote:
This one is for you HBurgninja!
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:32 AM   #9
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Praying that it's an epic adventure. Make us proud...and keep the tires side down.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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Your timing is perfect. GreenFlyFarmer just wrapped up his excellent ride report and yours will be good medicine for the touch of sadness that hits when an epic ride report ends. Nice touch grabbing a tag on your way out .

You know you have plenty of support here if you need anything let us know. Good luck to you Dennis and safe travels we will be following you closely.
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:39 PM   #11
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The BRP looks good any time of year!

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Old 08-12-2009, 07:28 PM   #12
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Day 2

First, I want to thank the Floyd public library for their wifi signal which allowed me to post up Day 1 earlier today. Took about an hour to do so, I was having trouble with Picasa, and so had to resort to Photobucket for the pictures. I pulled into Jellico, TN about 1 hour ago, and got a room at the Days Inn; I looked but there was no campground nearby, and this is where the TAT starts tomorrow! So, after getting the bike unloaded, I started to download today's pictures and cook some dinner (it's nothing special, pasta with chicken). Now for the recount of the day.

I attempted to start the day around 7:00am or so, but it was pooring down rain, and so I really had little ambition to get up; after all I had a bed, and a roof over my head, and not too long of a ride today. I finally got up, took a shower and such, then went downstairs to have some breakfast and a cup of coffee with Steve. After some breakfast and good conversation, I helped Steve replace the latch on his front door; it was the least that I could do for his hospitality, and I was in no rush to hit the road as it was still quite cloudy, but atleast looked as though it was starting to move out. I finally loaded up the bike, put on all the gear and hit the road around 11:30am or so. Here are some parting shots of Steve and Tanita's house, and to Steve and Tanita, thanks again for letting me spend the night; y'all have an amazing house and piece of land; I can only imagine what the view would be like on a clear day!

The back side of the house:



The front:



The view:




Just off of the BRP, not a mile from my friends' house.



Once off of the parkway, I got on rt 221, and eventually Hwy 58 which I followed to the VA/TN border. Hwy 58 was simply AMAZING! Some of the absolute best paved riding I've done; very little traffic, and a nice mix of sweeping curves and tight little curves that just never end! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Alright, sorry, I just had to get that out of my system! At the TN border I picked up rt 63 which I followed almost to I-75, but then cut back north, and eventually west to Jellico on rt 25W; another great little road!

Alright, here are the rest of the pictures:

Along Hwy 58; this made me think of you MotoCox and I just had to stop and grab a quick picture. Any relations?




New River Trail State park, in Galax, VA.



Inside the above caboose.



A little Galax history; quite interesting:



Once past Independence, VA, I started to see a lot of Christmas tree farms. Here's an example.



Ain't she a beauty!




Along Hwy 58.




Along Hwy 58, getting close to the TN border.




I'm in Tennessee!






Along rt. 25W, nearing Jellico.





My yummy dinner in my hotel room.




Last but not least, STATS for the day:

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Old 08-12-2009, 10:33 PM   #13
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I'm in!!
I'll be interested to see where in California you enter and where you visit. Hopefully you come in far enough North that you have to decide whether to head South down the coast or down the Sierra Nevada. If you go down the coast you might be tempted to get near LA, you wouldn't do that.....wouldja?

Great pics! Looking forward to the rest of your report..more smilies won't come up..insert popcorn smiley here.
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:06 AM   #14
twohawks
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Thumb photos!!!

...this will be the most prolifically photographed ride report ever!

Looking good...
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #15
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You've lured me out of lurkerdom for this one Denis. Good luck and keep up with the pictures as I will be living vicariously through you.

Gimme a call when you get to California!
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