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Old 07-14-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
GhostRiderFC OP
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F*ck it... I'm outta here. Or: CJ's Pretirement Trip

Some Background:

I'm 42 years old, been riding for over thirty years, am married with one 19 year old son. For the past 20 or so years, I've been a security manager in both contract and proprietary settings, over half of that in the hospitality sector. I would say that sometime in the last five years, the adventure bug has bitten me. However, having a full time job and lots of responsibilities at home does not make it easy to get away on an adventure. And my budget is not large. But, there are advantages to being on a job a long time: lots of vacation, seniority, flexibility. So, I had pretty much decided to just adventure in short bursts, using vacation strategically and eating up long miles to get to someplace cool.

To that end, last summer, I did a pretty cool nine days touring the south, visiting friends and family, and banging out an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 along the way. Then, this winter, I started on the Iron Butt National Parks tour. I figured I could hit a lot of the parks in the west and then make one or two week long road trips through the south or midwest to get the state count up. That started January 4th as I took a VERY chilly ride from my home in Albuquerque to visit my brother in Las Vegas, NV.



Then, about a month later, I did a weekend trip that took me through southern New Mexico, West Texas, and Southern Arizona. That trip was cold AND wet. In one particularly adventurous moment, I found myself mid-way between the Ft. Bowie National Historic Site and the Chiricahua National Monument like so:



Needless to say... it was a real adventure!!

I then started planning a ride for early May that would see me ride from my home in New Mexico to Florida. The "real reason" for the trip was to see my sister graduate college in Tampa. But my reason was to get to Key West. I mean, who doesn't want to go there? I also had put together a trip to Alaska for June to attend the Dusk 2 Dawson event and just see everything in Alaska. That was my plan. Things were progressing...

Then, things changed. The main change was that after 11 years, I changed jobs. It seemed like a really great opportunity and you know they just don't come along everyday. That, unfortunately, forced me to change my ride plans. I would not be able to take time off the new job until late July at the earliest. Oh, well... I'm sure Alaska and Key West will still be there next year (unless those damn Mayans foul it all up).

And then, after only 8 weeks of work, I couldn't take it anymore. It turned out to be the worst job EVER! It's a long, sad story that I won't bore you with, but the end result is that I now find myself among the unemployed. First time I've ever been unemployed. And then there's the damn economy making me wonder if I'll find something meaningful anytime soon. Time will tell on that one. And I've been kinda thinking lately that as things are going, I'll be lucky to be able to retire by the time I'm 70 or 75. I was too stupid to get one of those jobs with a pension after 20 years, so I think I'm just screwed in terms of retirement. And by then, I'll be too old to do anything fun, right?

So, fuck it... I'm going to PREtire. I'll be retired now for a while and then go back to work whenever and just see how that goes. To that end, I got some new panniers for my 2009 Buell Ulysses XB12XT from Muffintop to replace the stock Hepco Becker clamshell cases that I broke in Arizona. I FINALLY got them and mounted them last week. Also got a new Garmin Zumo 660 with a Touratech lockable mount. And, at the suggestion of a friend, I got the Lifeproof case for my iphone and mounted all that in the cockpit along with my Spot tracker. Starting to look a little crowded now!



So... where the hell am I going to go? Well, I am going EVERYWHERE!

I'm going to start out for Utah, then down to San Diego to visit friends, then up the coast to... ya know... see the coast. And then probably Yosemite National Park, then something in the Silicon Valley area since I have some friends there. Then further north... Golden Gate, Redwood National Park, Crater Lake, Portland, Seattle. From there, maybe Vancouver or other places in BC. Might be nice to at least run up and touch Alaska at Hyder. Then turn east, visiting family and friends in Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, etc. I'm seriously thinking about doing the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and then dropping down to Ohio and then turning east to visit again with family in PA, NJ, VA, etc. I'd like to see all of New England while I'm there. I do want to get down to Florida and see Key West.

The only thing I have on the schedule between now and sometime is a trip to Ireland with my father in late September. I could be back home by then but after Ireland, if I still have any money and haven't killed the Buell, then I'm looking at riding south of the border and just keep on going until the credit union calls me to tell me I'm broke.

So... who's in? Day one and day two reports to follow!
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:23 PM   #2
Scooterchick
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Wow....

I'm in. Wow... and I thought I was doing something when I had my first case of "Monkey butt"!

Sorry you dropped your bike, but glad you are ok. Sorry about your job situation too. That really sucks dirt. Hopefully the road will help you clear your head of all of this stuff and give you a break.

I've been to the Petrified Forest before there in Arizona, but it's been several years now..
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:31 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great ride is coming. Please keep us updated. I just test drove a 2007 Ulysses this afternoon. Still on the fence but I think I really want one. I is kind of funny that the first ride report I go to read tonight is yours. Ride safe.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:40 PM   #4
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Day One: July 13, 2012

So, my original plan was to get to bed early, get up sort of early, and be already packed to go, maybe hit the road by seven or so. Sounds good, right? Too bad it didn't turn out that way. I was going crazy packing all kinds of stuff. I mean, I know everyone does "minimalist" camping and touring. But I'm planning on being out for WEEKS. And I'm planning on being, you know, social. I'm planning to stop and visit people. Hang out. Do things. So, I'm going to need stuff. Clothes. Computer. Camping gear. Cameras. How do I fit all this crapola on there?

So, after trimming the fat until like 1am the night before departure, I got up later than hoped and eventually got moving. Here is my grossly overpacked steed.



Eventually, I got on the road. I wanted to get into Southern Utah the first day and camp at a national park. I was shooting for Capitol Reef, but if it got too late, I could stop at any number of other campsites. So, to make a few miles, I shot out US550 towards the Four Corners.





I haven't quite worked out getting crystal clear images while riding. I've been using the "Radioman camera arm" with some success, but find that the vibrations of the Uly make the images blurry. So, because I have a throttle lock, I'll sometimes take my hands off and hold the arm with one hand and snap the photo with the other one. I get a little more than half of what I'm going for with that.

On the way to Farmington, I stopped to take these photos. I have passed this mesa several times and always find it interesting. Not sure why...



And this is also near that area;



There was construction on the way, too, but no photos of that. Anyway, since I was going to be in the area, I figured I should see the Four Corners Monument. On the way there, I passed Shiprock, which is this huge thing sticking up in the middle of nowhere.



Apparently, you cannot simply [ride] into Mordor!





Anyway... in order to get to the Four Corners Monument, you need to cross into Arizona:



Finally, I get there. In order to get this shot, I had to wait for a family of Vietnamese teenage girls to finish taking their nine million glamour shots. I was starting to get annoyed.



Then, after roasting in the sun, I continued on. About five feet after the monument, I crossed into Colorado.



And finally, into Utah.



Funny side story: That ground around the Utah sign looks dry, doesn't it? It's not all dry. The surface is dry, but apparently just under the surface, there are spots that are just gushy mud waiting to ambush unsuspecting ADVers. After my experience in Arizona in February, I was kinda sensitive about mud. And I really didn't want to drop the bike! Luckily, I didn't. Just had a momentary scare.

So... continue on. I make it into Blanding, Utah around 5pm or so and figure that pushing on to Capitol Reef is going to be overkill. After all, I'm not on a deadline. So, I decide that Glen Canyon looks promising and after fueling up, I head for that. But it's been getting more and more cloudy all afternoon, and it's looking dark and ominous to the west, so I get the rain gear out and suit up. Along the way, I took this with the point & shoot:





It was overcast when I arrived at the Hite campsite on the shore of Lake Powell. They have a cool automated pay station and since I have an annual parks pass, I don't have to pay admission, but do have to pay to camp: $6. Score!





I settled in and cooked my dinner. I have a new MSR Isopro pocket stove. It boils water FAST! After eating and tidying up, I tried to get to sleep right at dark. Didn't quite go that way. One of the other camp sites was having a minor party and it was a little loud. And it was HOT. When I arrived, it was threatening to rain, and it did have some slight spitting type rain on and off throughout the night, but it never did really rain. But the breeze died down after dark so it was just hot and still all night. Being near the water, it was muggy. Kind of uncomfortable. I'd already been sweating all day, too, so I was kinda stinkin myself out!

Anyhow... on to day two!!
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:53 PM   #5
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Same deal

Retired about year & half ago Planned the ultimate trip to Alaska, built a KTM990 special for the trip, Damn thing was to big

& to much bike for me, sold it & am now prepping a BMW F series to try again. I have figured out one thing for sure.

"When you die, all your dreams die with you" (me)

So git out there and make it happen, don't look back, live your dream. Life's too damn short not to.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:56 PM   #6
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If you need a place to crash out in Southern Oregon off of 199 let me know. Glad to help out.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:02 AM   #7
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Laugh

So IN When and if you get to B.C. we have space. Just PM us to make sure we're home. Will be following your ride with interest!
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:21 AM   #8
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I awoke a few times today... first at five or so. It was finally cool and I found that I had finally gotten under the sleeping bag. I was too hot to use it earlier in the night, so just laid on the pad. I was now using it as a cover. I heard some commotion at the other campsites, but decided I was not interested in getting up just yet. I awoke again at six when my phone went off alerting me that it was time to get up and meet the running group. (I guess I should disable those alarms since I'm not there to run!) Then, around seven or so, I'd milked it long enough and got up.

After a nice camp breakfast of oatmeal and nutrigrain bar with earl grey tea, I started packing things up. Since I had camped out in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, I decided that I needed to get my National Parks Passport stamped to count it on my Iron Butt tour. Problem was the visitor center is something like fifty miles away. But what else am I doing? So, I set off...

First thing I see after leaving the camp area is this cool looking bridge over the Colorado River as it feeds Lake Powell.



Then, up the hill and around the corner is a really great scenic overlook where I could see all kinds of amazing scenery:



Including the ramp area and campsite I was in overnight:



And a self portrait, just because:



As I rode down UT276 toward Bullfrog to get my book stamped, it looked pretty dark and ominous ahead of me. I kept thinking that I might get lucky and make it to the visitor center before the rain and then hightail it back up this road keeping just ahead of it. As it turned out, I ran into the rain about two minutes before I got to the visitor center. So, I went in, got my book stamped, looked around for a minute, and bugged out. It was only a really light rain, so I figured my "outrun the rain" plan could still work. I did not put on my rain gear because that would take a bunch of time. And I'd been really hot for the past 24 hours and figured a nice cooling rain would be a nice change. As I hit the road, the rain was keeping up with me pretty good. There were a few areas where it was kind of heavy, too. Some minutes into that ride, I was really regretting not gearing up for the rain. No pictures from this section because of the rain.

I did eventually get ahead of the rain and then air dried myself all the way to Hanksville. I gassed up and by the time I was done, the rain clouds were all around, threatening. This was especially true to the southwest and I was heading that way to check in at Capitol Reef National Park. So, I suited up with my rain gear and set out.

It turned out that there was only a few spots with rain between Hanksville and Capitol Reef. I stopped in one really neat looking valley along the road to take this photo:





See that window of blue sky? Well, it eluded me just about all day.

At Capitol Reef, I got a couple nice shots:



But I guess that's the only one I uploaded?

At Capitol Reef, I saw a sign for a picnic area and decided to cook my lunch and eat there. Problem was, the tables, etc were all REALLY far from the parking area. So, I just set up shop in the parking lot and cooked and ate there. No pictures. I guess I was distracted by hunger.

Upon departure from Capitol Reef, I decided to head down UT12 along the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. After turning onto 12 at Torrey, I got about ten miles, tops, before I tried shifting and discovered that there was no shifter next to my toe! WTH? I look down and the linkage is all disconnected and just hanging there. Obviously, something was amok. I slow down, pull in the clutch, and park at the next pull out. This is what I see:



Well, that's not cool! Problem is, I just got it back from service. I know they had that cover off and so seems to me they didn't tighten up all the bolts. And that stuff looks kinda moist, too, doesn't it? I'm going to have to check for leaks. It didn't mark any parking spots, so...

As I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do, I notice several motorcycles passing by the other direction. Lots of vintage stuff and a few Harleys. None of them stopped or slowed or looked at me in that "do you need help" kinda way, so I knew I was on my own. I tried a zip tie, but it broke that quick. I didn't have any spare bolts that would fit the hole, so I was having to improvise. I started looking all around the bike trying to figure out what bolt would fit in there, would not be horribly missed in it's current location, etc. I settled on the left handlebar switch housing. The threads were slightly finer than the coarse thread of the linkage, but it fit, and it would hold nicely until I could get to civilization and replace them. (Note, it's late on Saturday, so it'll be Tuesday before any HD shops are open to get bolts, if they have them at all.)

So, while I'm working on this, I notice the weather is catching up with me again.



The bolt worked and I got going. It got wet again, but not for too long. The road to Cannonville is LONG, and is actually pretty nice. The pavement is not great in some areas, but it's a nice curvy road, lots of scenery. And lots of DEER! I saw several along the road side on the way down. Luckily, they bugged out instead of trying to get better acquainted.

Somewhere south of Escalante, I ran into some relatively clear skies and so stopped to take some photos:















Behind me, to the north, the weather was hanging out:



Eventually, I found the sign:



By this time, with the weather, the breakdown, the photo stops, etc, it was getting late. The visitor center for Grand Staircase was closed and the weather started to roll in again. I was in Cannonville and decided that rather than be uncomfortable again (still), I'd grab a hotel and get a shower. So, the Grand Staircase Inn has graciously provided their internet for me to compose all this greatness.

Tomorrow: Grand Staircase stamp, Bryce Canyon, and the rest is TBD. Hopefully it's not raining.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:45 AM   #9
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Worth it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aloysius View Post
Sounds like a great ride is coming. Please keep us updated. I just test drove a 2007 Ulysses this afternoon. Still on the fence but I think I really want one. I is kind of funny that the first ride report I go to read tonight is yours. Ride safe.
You know, if you're interested, just do it. The Uly is a fun bike and so inexpensive compared to all the other ADV bikes out there. That year had one or two quirks, but most of those should have been addressed by the previous owner. Head over to BadWeb to find out all about them. Big Bad & Dirty is the Uly specific section and the Knowledge Vault has good stuff on quirks and other issues.

Enjoy!
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:52 AM   #10
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooterchick
Wow....

I'm in. Wow... and I thought I was doing something when I had my first case of "Monkey butt"!

Sorry you dropped your bike, but glad you are ok. Sorry about your job situation too. That really sucks dirt. Hopefully the road will help you clear your head of all of this stuff and give you a break.

I've been to the Petrified Forest before there in Arizona, but it's been several years now..
Yeah, I'm looking forward to clearing my head. And fending off Monkey Butt!

[QUOTE=hansi]If you need a place to crash out in Southern Oregon off of 199 let me know. Glad to help out.[QUOTE]

Thanks! That's a possibility. There is a void in my couch surfing between San Francisco and Portland!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scootard
So IN When and if you get to B.C. we have space. Just PM us to make sure we're home. Will be following your ride with interest!
That would be cool. I've never been to Canada, so I'd like to check it out, eh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BELSTAFF
"When you die, all your dreams die with you"
Interesting. I've been wrestling with that very thought. Well said.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:45 AM   #11
Scooterchick
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Wow,

those pics look like another planet! I remember riding through Arizona and some parts of California in a friend's RV and thinking....."my gosh, now THIS is a whole new way of life!"....What a landscape!

No coyotes out there- eh?.....haha


Geeze......
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:50 PM   #12
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I'm following ya. Just remember to hit me up if you are in DFW, PM on facebook if you're rolling throught this area, you know who I am, think Frat days if you are confused. :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostRiderFC View Post
Some Background:

I'm 42 years old, been riding for over thirty years, am married with one 19 year old son. For the past 20 or so years, I've been a security manager in both contract and proprietary settings, over half of that in the hospitality sector. I would say that sometime in the last five years, the adventure bug has bitten me. However, having a full time job and lots of responsibilities at home does not make it easy to get away on an adventure. And my budget is not large. But, there are advantages to being on a job a long time: lots of vacation, seniority, flexibility. So, I had pretty much decided to just adventure in short bursts, using vacation strategically and eating up long miles to get to someplace cool.

To that end, last summer, I did a pretty cool nine days touring the south, visiting friends and family, and banging out an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 along the way. Then, this winter, I started on the Iron Butt National Parks tour. I figured I could hit a lot of the parks in the west and then make one or two week long road trips through the south or midwest to get the state count up. That started January 4th as I took a VERY chilly ride from my home in Albuquerque to visit my brother in Las Vegas, NV.



Then, about a month later, I did a weekend trip that took me through southern New Mexico, West Texas, and Southern Arizona. That trip was cold AND wet. In one particularly adventurous moment, I found myself mid-way between the Ft. Bowie National Historic Site and the Chiricahua National Monument like so:



Needless to say... it was a real adventure!!

I then started planning a ride for early May that would see me ride from my home in New Mexico to Florida. The "real reason" for the trip was to see my sister graduate college in Tampa. But my reason was to get to Key West. I mean, who doesn't want to go there? I also had put together a trip to Alaska for June to attend the Dusk 2 Dawson event and just see everything in Alaska. That was my plan. Things were progressing...

Then, things changed. The main change was that after 11 years, I changed jobs. It seemed like a really great opportunity and you know they just don't come along everyday. That, unfortunately, forced me to change my ride plans. I would not be able to take time off the new job until late July at the earliest. Oh, well... I'm sure Alaska and Key West will still be there next year (unless those damn Mayans foul it all up).

And then, after only 8 weeks of work, I couldn't take it anymore. It turned out to be the worst job EVER! It's a long, sad story that I won't bore you with, but the end result is that I now find myself among the unemployed. First time I've ever been unemployed. And then there's the damn economy making me wonder if I'll find something meaningful anytime soon. Time will tell on that one. And I've been kinda thinking lately that as things are going, I'll be lucky to be able to retire by the time I'm 70 or 75. I was too stupid to get one of those jobs with a pension after 20 years, so I think I'm just screwed in terms of retirement. And by then, I'll be too old to do anything fun, right?

So, fuck it... I'm going to PREtire. I'll be retired now for a while and then go back to work whenever and just see how that goes. To that end, I got some new panniers for my 2009 Buell Ulysses XB12XT from Muffintop to replace the stock Hepco Becker clamshell cases that I broke in Arizona. I FINALLY got them and mounted them last week. Also got a new Garmin Zumo 660 with a Touratech lockable mount. And, at the suggestion of a friend, I got the Lifeproof case for my iphone and mounted all that in the cockpit along with my Spot tracker. Starting to look a little crowded now!



So... where the hell am I going to go? Well, I am going EVERYWHERE!

I'm going to start out for Utah, then down to San Diego to visit friends, then up the coast to... ya know... see the coast. And then probably Yosemite National Park, then something in the Silicon Valley area since I have some friends there. Then further north... Golden Gate, Redwood National Park, Crater Lake, Portland, Seattle. From there, maybe Vancouver or other places in BC. Might be nice to at least run up and touch Alaska at Hyder. Then turn east, visiting family and friends in Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, etc. I'm seriously thinking about doing the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and then dropping down to Ohio and then turning east to visit again with family in PA, NJ, VA, etc. I'd like to see all of New England while I'm there. I do want to get down to Florida and see Key West.

The only thing I have on the schedule between now and sometime is a trip to Ireland with my father in late September. I could be back home by then but after Ireland, if I still have any money and haven't killed the Buell, then I'm looking at riding south of the border and just keep on going until the credit union calls me to tell me I'm broke.

So... who's in? Day one and day two reports to follow!
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:23 PM   #13
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Laugh

Enjoying your RR from B.C. where today it's cloudy and 68F.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:48 PM   #14
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great RR, really looking forward to following along!
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:34 PM   #15
JoeyBones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostRiderFC View Post
The main change was that after 11 years, I changed jobs. It seemed like a really great opportunity and you know they just don't come along everyday......... And then, after only 8 weeks of work, I couldn't take it anymore. It turned out to be the worst job EVER!
I hear ya bro.

Ride safe. Subscribed...
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