3 months to explore the USA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mon the biffy, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Hey everyone

    I'm writing this as I'm lying in my tent on my first night out on my 3 month adventure in the USA.
    The basic story is: I quit my job in England, moved out of my house, sold my bike (Suzuki Bandit), and bought a bike in Norfolk, VA.
    I flew over 4 days ago and I have been staying with a friend while I have been sorting out the paperwork and getting my stuff together.
    I know some people may be interested, so I will add more detail about how I bought, registered and insured the bike later (I'm writing this on my phone and it's running out of battery!)

    I have a couple of friends out here. One who is doing a similar trip, but unfortunately had an accident with the rear of an SUV and is now waiting for his teeth to be fixed. Again more details will follow when I have time and battery power. And another friend who is hopefully coming over in July for one month and joining me.

    The bike i bought is a Yamaha V Star 1300.
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    As a way to get used to the bike and riding in a foreign country, on the wrong side of the road! I took a trip along the colonial parkway through Williamsburg etc.
    What a great trip. Beautiful scenery, great roads, and lots of interesting history and sights. An excellent way to get used to the bike.
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    Anyway, after a very delayed start I set off on my new bike today, all loaded up and headed for Washington DC.
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    I guess I've got far too much stuff for the trip, but I'll trim that down while I go.

    I got to Washington a bit late and didn't have time to find a suitable place to stay, so I have made the first mistake of the trip already. It's my own fault and i should of looked around but I had to pay $45 to stay one night in a campsite! :eek:
    In definitely going to try and use the tent space thread/map for the rest of the trip.

    So I'm going to explore DC tomorrow, and find a cheaper place to stay, before heading onto the skyline drive and then down the blue ridge parkway. Which I have heard much about :)

    I will try to keep this thread up to date as much as possible depending on WiFi availability.

    All the best
    Mon the biffy
    #1
  2. Cafe Racer

    Cafe Racer Calspeed

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    San Francisco, Ca USA
    GOLD!

    Thats awesome.

    Miguel
    #2
  3. jb63

    jb63 n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Portland,OR.
    Welcome to America.
    #3
  4. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Day 2

    Found a much cheaper campsite. Greenbelt Park, just off the I-95, north east of DC. $16 a night and nice and safe. It's right by the local police station. Hot showers and fairly quiet to say it's so close to the 95.

    I left my stuff and went exploring DC. It's a beautiful city, the architecture is amazing and all the outstanding memorials and museums.

    I stopped to take a few pictures
    Nothing amazing as you can't get close to the Whitehouse and some of the other places are undergoing refurbishment.

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    Now onto Front Royal before going down the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway :D
    #4
  5. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Off route, recalculating
    Excellent. More please!
    #5
  6. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,027
    Location:
    Shasta County,Calif
    Im along,can you pass some of that popcorn,lets go!
    #6
  7. wb22rules

    wb22rules Bourbon Tester

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    206
    Location:
    Central VA
    I am glad to see you survived northern virginia and DC, it can get nasty driving up there.

    Have fun on the BRP and keep an eye out for the wildlife, meaning the four legged kind mostly :D
    #7
  8. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,775
    Location:
    north florida
    two of the best motorcycle camping in the east are WILLVILLE at meadows of dan, va and BLUE RIDGE MC campground on 276, north of the parkway. both are on the BRP. plan to say a few days at each as there are many good roads leadinig from each place. I will be at willville june 20 for 4 days, with my wife in the Miata.
    #8
  9. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Cheers kitesurfer
    Willeville is definitely on my list of places to stop by for a night or 2.
    #9
  10. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    *double post.
    Stupid phone!

    Another update to come tomorrow.
    #10
  11. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Day 3

    I took a steady ride over to Front Royal from DC. Trying to avoid the 'severe' thunderstorms that were passing through the area on Thursday. I managed to stay mainly dry, but I got some spray from the roads around DC. Not nice.

    I arranged to stay at fellow ADV rider 5punksdad (Joe's) place in Front Royal. So when I turn up he suggested a place to eat. Spelunkers, with their awesome philly cheese steak sandwich.
    We then went out for a ride in the late evening on some of the local back roads with his sons. We hid the North Eastern Virginia tag o rama he had found the other day.
    Amazing roads around there and right on the doorstep, lucky man!

    He put me up in his spare room for the night.

    Day 4

    In the morning we went for a local breakfast, before heading up the skyline drive with his youngest son. Thanks again Joe. He's a top man with a great family.

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    It's a good road, but quite busy and a low speed limit. I guess it's mainly for the views.

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    After that I had time to kill before meeting my next ADV rider. So I went for a stroll down one of the tasks of the skyline to check out a waterfall.

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    On my way back up I was confronted by a black bear only 2-3 metres off to the side of the trail! Needles to say I shit myself and just carried on walking as fast as i could. I'm a bit gutted I didn't take a picture, but it's the first one I've ever seen and just thought it best to get out of there.

    I then carried on to Charlottesville to meet Cameron at the BMW bike shop he works at.


    We had some excellent food and beer while watching some live music at a place in town call the Black Market Moto Saloon. I would definitely recommend that place to anyone in the area.

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    More beers were had in town at a local micro brewery before hitting the hay.

    Day 5

    Heading on to the Blue Ridge now :)

    More to come.
    #11
  12. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,941
    Location:
    Oregon Coastline
    WooHoo....IN!!

    Welcome to the USA! Do you have a game plan you could share??
    I'm sure alotta folks would love to add their 2 cents as to helping you get the most outta this trip. (sounds like a ball!!)

    Be careful on that crazy contraption!! :norton
    #12
  13. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
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    Location:
    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    #13
  14. cameron110

    cameron110 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    797
    Location:
    C-ville, VA
    Great to have you and glad we could share a little part of your trip, :freaky let me know when you get close to North Dallas or Hollywood if you need people to meet up with. Safe travels.
    #14
  15. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Thanks again Cameron. And send my thanks to Bess for showing me around the farmers market for my breakfast.
    #15
  16. ddavidv

    ddavidv Thrifty not cheap

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Elizabethtown, PA
    I'm along for this one. Always fun to see what foreigners think about our little slice of the planet.
    #16
  17. Ricky Chuck

    Ricky Chuck Red Green Rulz!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    :rofl Isn't "foreigner" a little harsh? The man's mother tongue is English, after all! :lol3

    Biffy, if you make it out to Oklahoma give us a little lead time and we will try to help you out!
    #17
  18. mon the biffy

    mon the biffy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    So day 5 started at Cameron and Bess' place in Charlottesville, with breakfast from a local farmers market in town. Beautiful fresh crepes and a spicy taco to follow. Don't ask me why those two together, they just looked good.

    Onto the motorcycling. I set off on the blue ridge where I left the skyline the day before. Its another good road although a lot rougher road surface than the skyline. It was surprising quieter than I thought it would be for a Saturday. But it still had people stopping and going very slow. And to be honest once you done a few miles of it, it's pretty much exactly the same for the rest of the way. It still had great views though.

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    I got bored and took Cameron's advice and came down the 56 east. Now that was a fun road. I barely saw anyone else so I may have got a bit liberal with the throttle and ground down the boards on the bike a bit. :D
    Half way down the 56 is Crabtree falls. And is well worth a look, it's an easy 2 minute walk that anyone can do to the bottom of the falls. But worth the extra effort to go a bit further up.

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    I then carried on down to Amherst, where I found my first roundabout in this country. Reminded me a bit of home.
    There are some excellent views back up the mountains from the bottom which are just as spectacular as from the top.

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    I head back up the 60 to the parkway. Again another great road with quite steeply banked corners which meant I could get even more lean out of the bike before it ground out on the tarmac. :thumbup:

    I came back down the mountain one more time on the 501 to Lynchburg. Where I'm staying with nam96zar (Ray) and his family who served me absolutely outstanding home BBQ'd pork and beef, as well as crab, and a pasta salad. :)

    In response to my big plan for the trip. It doesn't really have any definite stops or dates. I'm just heading west along the southern part of the US before going up the pacific coast and then along the northern(ish) part and back down the East coast to Norfolk, VA. Where my flight is back to the UK in early September.
    I have a list of things I want to see, like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, las Vegas, San Francisco, Niagara falls, Manhattan etc but how to connect them is something in trying to figure out as I go and while meeting and chatting to people along the way. Feel free to suggest any ideas. I'm working on getting to the Great Smokey mountains for now. But from there I'm either going due West on the I-40, or going further south to New Orleans and through Houston up to New Mexico? I know it's going to be hot down there, but it's either get across there in the next few weeks or on my way back in late August, which could be even hotter!
    #18
  19. Ricky Chuck

    Ricky Chuck Red Green Rulz!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    It would be a shame to come across I-40 and miss Graceland :)
    #19
  20. swamp

    swamp U lie&yo'breff stank

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Welcome to America :D
    If you need a place to crash in Birmingham Alabama send me a message.
    #20