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Old 05-14-2010, 02:22 PM   #1
243Win OP
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Laugh Slim's 10 Western State Road Trip

Pulled into work one lovely morning to find I no longer had a job with a company that I'd worked for almost 12yrs.

Well, seems I've finally become part of the down economy, I felt many times lucky to be so well off in the current down turn, but all good things come to an end I suppose.

Next time I spoke with my Father I mentioned I had been laid off. His reply?

"Good, 'bout time you got out of that place."

So, with abundant free time on my hands now, obviously a roadtrip is in order. My last day with the company was 4/26 and I left Port Orchard, WA on the afternoon of 5/11. Only one hard date on the trip. Meet the wife in Vegas on 5/23, other than that, just go.

The Blue Pig, loaded (overloaded more likely) for the departure.


Tried to cross the Olympics via Shelton and over Cougar-Smith Rd to Grisdale and Wynoochee, but the road to Wynoochee was closed Tuesday to Thursday for road-work. Figures, start off the trip with a backtrack. Drop down to hwy12 and out to the coast.

First stop, aptly named Grayland, WA. Whole lotta gray alright,...

Tried to ride out onto the sand. Did I mention I've never ridden in sand before? How about I try it out with an overloaded bike. Sorry folks, no I didn't drop it so no drop pics. Was an E-Ticket experience there for a moment or two.

On down 101 heading past Willapa Bay, tide was out, way, way out,...


Pulled into Seaside, WA on the Long Beach Peninsula and crashed that night at the Super8 or something similar. I dropped into a hotel the first night as I was freezing from the ride. Providing balance in the universe, the hotel room was hot as Hell all night long. No fun dragging all that gear into the hotel that night.

Tuesday night, at about nine in the evening in a depressed sea side community means you will have dinner at a locals bar, listening to Bob Seger on the Jukebox all evening (not by choice, but don't rock the boat of the locals -- all four of them).

So ends day 1.
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:53 PM   #2
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Day2

Not a lot of sleep as the room was so hot. Lug all the crap down from the room and load the bike up.

On the road again.

The bridge to Astoria Oregon is really long, never seen it before. I'm impressed.


This was the first day of the trip where things were starting to feel "right". The discomfort and aggravation of the first day is fading. The scenery helps. From a dead end road in Lincoln City. Lincoln City looks like a little place I'll have to bring the wife to once she gets up to speed on her Vespa!


Along the way, one of many, many, many roadside pullouts. I want to stop at them all, but they have me outnumbered.


And another.


Newport is a very nice town, beware the old town section is being repaved. Can I call that being offroad? Anyhow a shot from the marina.


Camp the second night, some where near the Umqua Lighthouse. This wasn't the first spot I stopped at in the park. I had originally picked another spot that I preferred. But once I pulled off my helmet and earplugs, I could hear all the joy that is a young couple in the campsite next to me in their tent.


Since I snore, that might disturb them, so I moved.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:22 PM   #3
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Day3 on the road

Blue Jays.

Ohmigod are they loud and do they get up early. Crack of dawn and those litte monsters are at it.

I figured they were too quick for pepper-spray so I decided crack of dawn was an appropriate time to get up. I see my tent, while warm, is not vented all that well and is somewhat dew-y inside. So I dink around in camp for several hours getting everything dried out before packing it up. Mildew is not something I want to deal with for the duration of the trip.

Ah, from the sounds of it, the young couple are awake too. Not out of their tent yet, but definitely awake,...

Hit the road, first major attraction in the area that I spend no time at are the Oregon Dunes. Crappy shot from 101, just to prove I was there. The Blue Pig is not a sand bike.
Yes, I got the powerlines too, I'm sure they will be popular in future road trip reports

 
Another roadside pull out, I actually blew past it and returned. I recall it is Battle Rock? Something about the locals bothering the new folks around 1855 or thereabouts. Seems there was some further discussion over the issue here at the time.

 
More of the surrounding area. Had in interesting conversation with a gentleman here over politics of the current times. I'll skip the details,... Political conversations are not my deal in general.


 
Camp on the third night. You too can enjoy camping in the old growth redwoods for only $35/night!

 
Despite all the signage to the effect "this is bear country", for my $35 I didn't get to see one. This sign begs the question, "If I feed one, do I get to keep the hide?"

 
The food locker, doubles as a handy gear locker. I also note it is big enough that in a pinch, you could hide in it yourself. It does open from the inside. So if you are a little spooked and can't sleep in your tent that night, the food locker is cozy.
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Excellent, our country is now run by folks that would allow you to smoke pot in Washington State, but not buy a Big-Gulp in New York.

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2011, $1000 in the pocket, how far can we go
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Old 05-14-2010, 04:23 PM   #4
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I guess I'm the first to enjoy your story and incredible photos. I was laid off from a company that I helped start. I'm going back into teaching(Special Education) this fall. Make sure you apply for unemployment. It could be a lot of help during the down time. I look forward to seeing more photos and hearing about your adventures. Best of luck.
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Old 05-14-2010, 04:42 PM   #5
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Enjoying your RR and I'm glad to see that your taking the opportunity to get a ride in.

I was laid off last November, and as winter was approaching ignored what my instinct said I should do - ie go south, seek sun and enjoy the ride, I opted to seek out and do some contract work while waiting for the job market to turn around.

Bad idea - should have done the ride instead as the job market still sucks.

Anyhoo - good luck with your ride and with finding a new job when the time is right for you.
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:32 AM   #6
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Talking As a side note

After getting the lay off notice, and after the month of documenting all I knew to pass on to my replacement -- I spent a lot of time watching John Wayne -- John Ford movies as the weather was poor.

All those pictures of Monument Valley planted a seed. Originally the plan was ride down and back, but that has grown into this ride.

Solo, spouse endorsed and encouraged. Open ended, with only the Vegas date as a hard target, the rest is just to wander and explore. Right now I'm spending some extra time in the Redwoods and will back track some to hit some scenic rides recommended to me by folks I met by chance.

More tomorrow, day four report is almost done, just need a couple more pics to post it all. Pic quality is inverse to scenery sadly,... Just can't do it justice.

Job? Worry about that later,... Much later,... Time to ride and explore.
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Excellent, our country is now run by folks that would allow you to smoke pot in Washington State, but not buy a Big-Gulp in New York.

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2011, $1000 in the pocket, how far can we go
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:28 AM   #7
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:29 AM   #8
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Day 4

Day 4.
No Blue-Jays today. The Redwoods, like first growth forests Iíve been in before are sort of lifeless apart from very large trees. Surprising amount of underbrush in them thoí. Iíve walked into old growth in the Olympics where once you crashed through the underbrush along the edge, there was nothing but large trees and dirt Ė nothing to support animals other than what lived in the trees. Somewhat different here.

Tent is dew-y again. Despite getting up at 8, I donít leave until 11:00 Ė packing up is taking too long. No more "do it in the morning", put it away in the evening as much as possible.

So far, Iím two for two on campgrounds, both had showers, very nice.

Friends are wondering if all Iím going to post of the trip is my Spot page showing my location so it was time to find a Starbuckís and do a ride report. Somehow I was under the mistaken idea that Starbuckís has free WiFi, nay oh simple one.

At Starbuckís, after posting the first three dayís adventure, I mosey out to the parking lot and meet these wonderful folks parked next to my bike. Jim & Starr.

We speak of Mexico, Hawaii, bikes and land speed records Ė Jim is a bundle of energy and Starr I suspect has the patience of a Saint. If I meet folks like this on every day of the trip, that alone will make it worth it. So far on the trip, Iíve met great folks everyday. Jim squats down next to my bike and says I have an exhaust valve ticking Ė he got me, I messed with them before I left and adjusted them to the loose side. Turns out he is a retired mechanical engineer. Apparently engineers naturally flock together,Ö

At this point, it is late, about three and Iíve not accomplished any riding, only posting Ė not necessarily the point of the trip. Crescent City and the Redwoods require more than a day, and Iím willing to spend some more time in this region.

With that said. What is better than riding on the HWY in the Redwoods?


Why riding on single lane paved roads in the Redwoods of course.


But that pales in comparison to riding on single lane dirt in the Redwoods. This is Hill Road through some old growth. Make sure to stop in Crescent City and get maps of the region!

Here are some random pics taken on the same route back to HWY199 (which is a nice ride in itself)




BTW, as always, pics donít do the region justice, especially with my limited photography skills Ė not an artist, engineer Ė míkay?

Itís getting later and Iíve got a lot of things I want to see today, the weather is starting to turn sour on me. Sunny, it is not. Down 101 I go but Iíve got a map with side roads, the first is the Coastal Trail Ė after Hill Road, anything that is labeled on the map as "not for trailers or RVís" is for ME!

This road gets right to the edge and is old, busted up pavement and a lot of easy dirt.





At this point, it is almost 7PM, Iím still nowhere and it is beginning to drizzle. I start to ramp it up, Iím running 50-60 on the road now as Iím tired, cold and very soon, Iím going to be wet unless I find shelter. Then I fly by a bachelor herd of bull elk, all in velvet and all trophies. Since they are RIGHT on the EDGE of the road, Iím not going to slow down and be the Yosemite Tourist that gets out of his car to get a picture of himself with the buffalo or bear in the same frame Ė I am on a bike after all and somewhat exposed. But a little further down the road I find the cow and calf herd.


Yeah, crappy pic, down load it yourself and zoom to see the elk better. I was tired and looking for shelter at this point. That said, I will be doubling back tomorrow to ride a road and Iíll probably swing through to get more pics of the elk. The place is called Elk Meadow for a reason I suspect. Much more truth in advertising vs that "This is bear country" stuff I saw the night before.

Crashed in the lovely burg of Orick tonight. Itís raining and/or threatening to rain and almost nine when I pulled in so hotel it is. Tomorrow, if I pass a hardware store, I think I will get a small bubble level and glue it to this camera Ė it is tough to get the horizon correct on this camera for some reason. 3x optical zoom is not enough either, need at least 5x.

And since I was traveling on 101, through the Redwoods, you had to expect the money shot.

Oh yeah, The Trees of Mystery,Ö Iíll pass on the number of folks that must point out the fact the ox is anatomically correct.
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Excellent, our country is now run by folks that would allow you to smoke pot in Washington State, but not buy a Big-Gulp in New York.

10 State Trip 2010
2011, $1000 in the pocket, how far can we go
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:57 AM   #9
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Highway 101 is spectacular. I look forward to riding through the Redwoods. Great photos!
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:48 PM   #10
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I am enjoying this laid-back RR. I and a couple of friends rode highway 1 and 101 through about 2/3's of California and most of Oregon about 5 years ago. L.O.L. I have basically the same picture that I took of Paul and Blue. Wow, I had a great time. Thanks for posting. .....
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Old 05-15-2010, 03:53 PM   #11
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Great report. Love that northern Calif coast. Have not been there in a long long time. Need to correct that soon.
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:26 PM   #12
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Day 5

I awake at the clean, but well worn Palms Hotel in Orick.



Most of what I see in the really small towns along 101 is well worn to include the owner of the hotel. And I mean no offense when I say that. In the restuarant attached to the hotel I sit at a table near to the owner as she eats breakfast as well with some relatives in from back east. They were there for her husband's funeral. As others come in, the conversation generally runs to whom they have each seen recently at the funeral parlor. As goes the town, so it seems the residents,...

Breakfast finished it is time to move on and move inland. I see another road marked not for trailers or RV's and run for it. It is called Bald Hills Rd and rises from 101 to 96 at Weitchpec.

On 101, it is cloudy and cold as I start to climb. The ascent is steep and almost immediately, I'm in the clouds too and it is foggy. Both outside and inside my helmet -- I have no choice but to open the visor and run teary eyed through it.

Then I bust through the clouds and suddenly it feels like 80F out!.


The road looks like it is going to be a lot of fun, so far it is decent pavement and easy running.


The view from the road is nice as well. That is the marine layer I rode through on the way up.


The road just keeps getting better and I spy what looks like a look-out tower in the distance and I'm hoping I can make it up to it, but the turn off to it was blocked. Bummed at that. My parents lived for a summer in a look-out tower when they were first married. I guess I did too, but the memory is dim since I was a newborn at the time. Bonus, the road turns to well groomed gravel at this point too.


Just past the blocked access point to the look-out tower the road turns on me. Bless the county worker that covered the road with nice, fresh gravel. Looks to be 1.5-2 inch crush with no minus, so it is like riding on marbles. The front end of the overloaded Blue Pig is drifting all over the place and disaster to this newbie offroad rider seems imminent.

In a tight, downhill hairpin with an extra helping of nice deep gravel, I lose the front end. I'm going down to my left, I dab and goose the throttle, the foot peg catches my left foot and kicks it up into the air, but I'm up still, then immediately it washes out again and I'm headed for the dirt on the right side now. I stay on the pegs and goose it again and I'm ok.

If it wasn't for wearing a good pair of boots, SIDI's in this case, that swat on the ankle from the peg would have been bad news.

At this point I pull off to a landing and drop the air pressure in my trusty Trailwings to 12PSI (like it should have been the moment I hit the deep gravel). Brace myself and continue on. Looking way, way down the road, riding in the gravel ruts left by others and staying on the throttle gets me the rest of the way.

I stop at Weitchpec to grab something to drink. From here I can see the confluence of the Trinity and Klamath Rivers.


In the parking lot of the little store with the view, I watch a guy go from car, ask "How much money ya got?" Money and something small is exchanged. I decide to move on at that point. I air up in Willow Creek on 299 after a great run down 96 and examine my chicken-strips, almost gone.


The rest of the ride down 299 to Whiskeytown Res is the best riding I've ever done. Not my personal performance, but the ride itself. The road is wonderful and the scenery incredible. Having so much fun, I don't stop but for once to take a pic or two -- the road is just too fun and almost no traffic at all.



Note my jacket has now become part of the load. It is hot out. I'm running with just a silk shirt under my Rock Gardn pressure suit. I'm wishing I'd upgraded to the newer, more stormtrooper looking white version as it would be cooler.

Next quick stop is Weaverville, an old town of some character and charm. I would definitely like to spend some time here and poke around, but I need to keep moving (in my mind, but not really) I should have stayed for the Gypsy music show that night in the coffee/sandwich shop where I got a fantastic sandiwich for camp that night. I notice the little rubber feelers on the back tire are gone now as well. It is tempting to run that road again.


Camp that night is at Whiskeytown Res.


I have misgivings about the place the moment I do a loop around the place. But it is getting late again and so this is the place for the night. Parking spots are not in the actualy camping spot, you park in a lot nearby and pack your stuff to your campsite. I grab a spot, unload some gear and put it in the bear locker and sprint to town for ice and mixer for the evening. I get back and that gut feeling was correct. Some f***-stain was in the locker going through mystuff. Nothing is missing, but I'm steamed at this point. Despite the no motor vehicles in camp I move the bike into camp. I don't care about the "rules" at this point.

A young couple moves into a nearby site and the fellow tells me the ticket for parking a bike in camp is $200. I care about the rules again now and move the bike back to the parking lot. Then I track down a security guard (yes, this place has security that patrols all night, speaks volumes about the place). I tell him my sob-story and get the okay to keep the bike in camp. All good.

Here are some pics from the supply run to town of Whiskeytown Res.



Walking back arcross the parking lot I hear someone shout "Hey STEVE!"

It is this couple, Mark and Pam.


I met them camping in the Redwoods and passed some pleasantries with them and parted ways. Tonight I spent some time with them between our two camps. Turns out, any adventure I'm on here pales in comparison to theirs. They have been on the road since last November, camping the whole way. They are from the east coast and came this way via points north as Mark is a back country skier. When telling his wife Pam that he would like to camp up high in to get some more skiing in he was heard to say, "But I'll make a wonderful snowcave for us,..."

I believe the conversation on that subject ended when she declared they were getting a hotel the next night and doing laundry.

They made the evening much better as everything else about it went downhill, the campground is party central until all hours of the morning and security patrols in a truck and on foot all night, "Don't worry if you see a flashlight shine on your tent at night, it's just me, Mr. Mall-Cop."
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Excellent, our country is now run by folks that would allow you to smoke pot in Washington State, but not buy a Big-Gulp in New York.

10 State Trip 2010
2011, $1000 in the pocket, how far can we go

243Win screwed with this post 05-17-2010 at 07:06 PM
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:27 PM   #13
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Day 6, putting on the miles

Coffee in the morning with Mark and Pam, they initially set up camp some distance from me, but as I sat enjoying my Gin&Tonic just after sunset the evening before, they pulled up and announced I had neighbors. A huge party was going on next to their original site.

Anyhow, the coffee, turns out their son is a coffee roaster in a small town in Canada and they are mighty proud of his work and happy to share. I'm more the fortunate for it.

We part ways, they are headed for Incline Village at Tahoe, Mark is set on some high country skiing. I load up Blue Pig with the intention of running 44 to Susanville and camping at Eagle Lake.

Just a couple of miles from starting out I have to stop for some quick pics at the Shasta park, the ruins of the original mining town are here and demand a quick look.




Past Redding CA and headed up 44 now. Despite being listed as a scenic road, it pales in comparison to 299. It's a nice ride, but nothing like 99. At about 6000ft there is snow beside the road and it is really getting cold now so I pull over to grab my jacket off the back of Blue Pig. Almost immediately a truck coming the opposite direction stops and asks if I'm ok. I give him the thumbs up, "All is well, thanks for checking on me, I really appreciate it."

I wanted to ride into Lassen Volcanic Park, but since I was already in snow at 6000ft, the pass at almost if not 9000ft was not to be. Yup, the pass was closed. Continue on down 44 and I spot a side road to a scenic point. I'm ready for a break anyhow. I chat for a moment with the only other soul there, an older gentleman and his wienerdog. I sorta see my future already have a couple myself plus chihuahuas.

The view point is in the middle of what was a huge forest fire, three of them actually in recent history.



I stop at the Ranger Station for Eagle Lake, since it is Sunday, it is closed of course, but I see there are two campgrounds at the lake and they list a store at the marina. Perfect. I make the 14 mile run up to the campgrounds, wow, I'll have them all to myself.

Then I ride to the marina. The store, the laundry, the showers, everything is closed, awaiting new owners. I ask a gentleman about a local resort that is somewhere on the lake -- he knows nothing about anything I ask -- thanks big guy.

I sit down and pull the iPhone, first I look for the resort, it just points to the Lake. I think fine, I'll ride to Susanville, do some laundry, get ice for the evening and something to eat and come back.

In town, the laundry is closed, as I drink a pop, I check the weather -- a storm warning is following me. Depsite being in agony at this point from Monkey-Butt, I decide to run for Reno. As I grimly sit on the bike I look up and there is an attractive woman walking across the parking lot grinning like mad. I do a cursory "who me?" look about and then she is in front of me jabbering away about wanting to get a bike herself. She said she hadn't ridden one before, but was really interested in getting one someday and then she said, that I looked like a beginner myself and she just had to talk to me.

I'd hoped I'd projected a slightly different image.

Apparently not,...

On to Reno, I get there and I just can't bear the thought of staying there. I push on to South Lake Tahoe to hide from the weather that the Weather Channel keeps telling me is on its way. It's been just shy of 300 miles today and I can barely stand to touch the seat on the bike. I get to Tahoe and feeling cheap I get a room for $39/night. I open the door and it is not a motel room, it is a vomitorium, kid you not, it has literally been puked in

Not normally a sceemish type, I decide to move on to a better place for the evening.

A former co-worker was wondering why there were no pics of me in the thread. One, I'm solo on this trip, two I'm sorta gruesome looking to begin with and usually a sweaty mess in my gear anyhow -- note the pic taken of my reflection at the Ranger Station.



Yep, pretty gruesome all right. Love the three peaked mohawk the XD3 helmet gives me.
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Excellent, our country is now run by folks that would allow you to smoke pot in Washington State, but not buy a Big-Gulp in New York.

10 State Trip 2010
2011, $1000 in the pocket, how far can we go

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Old 05-17-2010, 06:56 PM   #14
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Eek Day 7, Somebody kick me

This isn't my first trip to Tahoe, I've stayed here before. It is a wonderful place where the owners absolutely bend over backwards to make you feel at home and this time is no different.

This is just outside my room at Deerfield Lodge where I've ducked into to hide from the bad weather that has yet to materialize.



Wife and stepdaughter are jealous I'm here. It really is the lap of luxury, no corners cut here. Aside from the weather, I need to get laundry done and deal with the aforementioned case of M-B.

I head out to a bike shop to get real bike shorts, silk longjohns or worse yet, UnderArmour shorts with the chainsaw seams are killing me.

Here my turn at the "over-confident, second year, middle aged rider" is dealt, a bit late as this is year three I believe. I pull into a parking lot to turn around, I fail to head-check left and start to make the turn.

All I can see is Ford Truck. He swerves and stops, I swerve and dump it.

It's a typical slow dump where you just step off the bike as it goes over. Immediately a driver of another truck jumps out, asks if I'm alright and helps me lift the bike. The driver I almost ran into is out of his truck. I'm apologizing profusely to him and he is only concerned to see that I'm alright and so is my bike.

It's all good, an easy, but serious lesson to keep my wits about me and pay attention.

Hence, I'm quietly back at the hotel, typing up ride reports and doing laundry. I'll have dinner delivered tonight.

One idiot move could have ended this trip way too prematurely.
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Excellent, our country is now run by folks that would allow you to smoke pot in Washington State, but not buy a Big-Gulp in New York.

10 State Trip 2010
2011, $1000 in the pocket, how far can we go
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:38 PM   #15
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