Anywhereness - Stories

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Anywhereness, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. Anywhereness

    Anywhereness Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Somewhere, Anywhere.
    Hey everyone!


    Sometimes I meet travelers on the road, on two wheels, four or none. The people on motorcycles are always great to meet, and one of the questions I ask is: “Are you on ADV Rider?”, to which a fair share respond they’ve never heard of it.

    “Well, that’s the site that ruined my quiet normal life.”

    Quiet right. In fact, the Ride Reports here single handedly provided the inspiration and gumption to sell all of my things from an upscale highrise in Chicago, take leave from my 9-5 duties, buy a big angry dirt bike, say goodbyes to my friends and just go.

    That was in 2012. After nearly a year of planning. Plans were thrown away and then expanded. Plans agonizingly detailed and nebulous “I’ll figure out later, somehow” plans. I left Chicago in April of 2012 on a rainy day. Now, come 2016 and I’m still a motorcycle vagabond, poking my way around on whatever timetable seems to fly the best for the moment. Sometimes moving fast, sometimes moving slow, for whatever reasons sometimes right and wrong.


    I’m here to tell you some stories. Stories of plans that went right, and stories of plans that went sour.

    It's time to give back, maybe share some inspiration that ruins some other poor sap’s quiet normal life.


    [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. Anywhereness

    Anywhereness Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Somewhere, Anywhere.
    Let's back up the truck a second.

    Some of this ride report will be a post hoc story. As I travel, some of it will be new things, as it occurs. Maybe that will make it more interesting and fun, or maybe it’ll just be a confusing pile of rubbish. You can decide that for me.

    Here’s what my travels from 2012-2015 look like:

    [​IMG]

    Not the amazing world spanning map you expected, was it? Yeah, me either. Hang tight, the reasons will become clear over time.
    #2
    DGarman and levain like this.
  3. Anywhereness

    Anywhereness Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Somewhere, Anywhere.
    #3
    Tejas99 likes this.
  4. Anywhereness

    Anywhereness Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Somewhere, Anywhere.
    Leaving Day
    May 7, 2012


    Rain. Not really what I had hoped for on my inaugural day of homelessness.

    I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe a perfect partially sunny May day with unicorns leaving rainbow contrails high in the sky. At least overcast. But rain?

    After waking up so late, the thought crosses my mind that I could put it off another day, see if the weather improves. My landlady graciously gave me as many days as needed. Besides a few remaining things to throw in the trash, the apartment is already completely empty. It has been purged for two weeks now, carried away by eager Craigslistians and denizens of my apartment complex. Funny how usually you have to pay movers, but when you’re ready for the one way ticket to being homeless, people will gladly come over and pay you move your stuff out, one by one, item by item.

    I’ve been spending most nights recently living with a girl, up on the north side of Chicago. She knows I’m going, has since the day we met, and said our goodbyes privately the other day. Since there isn’t a day job to report to anymore, I’ve been spending my day the past few weeks working on the bike, getting that one last thing done every day.

    That one last thing. Eventually, one comes to realize that there’s always that one last thing, and it’s just a proxy for being shit scared of the unknown. That wasn’t the first time it’s happened to me, and the fool I am, not the last.

    Looking out the window, I start to check my phone to look at the weather, but stopped. It occurs to me, what would I do waking up 50 miles from anyplace at all on a rainy day? I guess I’d just have to shrug it off and deal with it. There’s no point to check the weather, putting the phone away, deciding to stop fretting over the unknown. Gathering up the last bits of trash, that’s exactly what I do.

    The trash all sorted, the luggage packed, and with waking up late it’s now coming around 2pm. I feel like an idiot getting such a late start, but there’s not making any better of it at this point. I don’t even know where I’m going to sleep tonight, but feel oddly confident that I’ll figure it out even though I’ve never been without a place to sleep quite like this before.

    In the pouring rain, I go out and get the bike. She was covered up, and the heavy cover is left as a gift with a neighboring motorcyclist I’ve never happened to met, but seems to not know these things exist. There’s an alcove in the building out of the rain that nobody uses, but has access to the interior of my highrise, that I quietly push the bike into, to load luggage up snug and dry.

    Grabbing the first round of my luggage from the 18th floor takes a few minutes. It took all of my first trip up, and setting it on the ground, for the first grumpy old lady to complain to the front desk security that there’s a motorcycle in the alcove. The security guard, who I’ve known for three years, tells me about the lady’s complaint and that I need to move it right away.

    “Where? Out into the rain?”

    “Yes.”

    “It’s pouring out. Just putting my luggage on, trying to stay dry, then I’ll be off.”

    “I can’t have you do that here.”

    I’m dumbfounded and sit there and just stare at him for a minute. Someone I’ve known and been friendly with for so long, suddenly turns face on a man sheltering from the rain. There must be some kind of homeless vagabond aura that rent a cops can pick up.

    “Ok, well I’m leaving it here for now. I’ll be gone gone, leaving Chicago for good in a few minutes. You can push it out into the street if you want.”

    It’s still there after I go back up and get my remaining luggage.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Slipping on my rain gear, at about 4:30pm I remember to take a last minute picture of my odometer, then pull away down Lake Shore Drive. It’s technically still a part of Route 41, which leads to Nashville, the next destination. While not as fast as the expressway, going through the south side of Chicago into Indiana is likely a bit more interesting.

    Getting closer to the Indiana border, I’m caught in rush hour suburban traffic. Who would have thought, leaving so bright and early? Regretting having slept in, I decide to lane split the gridlock in the Illinois suburbs to make up some time.

    You know, I didn’t realize there were so many members there, nor how they found out I was starting off this grand journey, but I did get a lot of ADVRider salutes splitting traffic. Thanks for your support guys!

    Just after getting out of the suburban gridlock and into Indiana, the rain trickles off and I’m rewarded by overcast, but unfortunately the unicorns are still out of sight. Just as the strip malls are becoming a memory, my traffic thwarting instant karma kicks in and the bike stalls on a slow turn. Pulling the clutch to glide in a construction staging area, I wonder; A break down already? Only an hour from home? Is this going to be an every day thing? Maybe those weren’t ADV Rider members and they cursed me!

    I’ve gone over this bike quite a bit recently, so all the last minute work may have done something, and am kicking myself for it. Not to mention the rain cloud, that was just escaped, still loomed large nearby with its threats of more rain for my failure as a mechanic.

    Think. THINK! What is it, what did I change? With no answer from the unhelpful traffic cones, I look around further, and briefly consider that I may need to setup my tent at this roadworks construction site. At least the crew will get me up early. That’s a nice grassy spot over there. Maybe they’ll have donuts in the morning...

    But the bike starts. Why?

    After some finagling, come to find out that in my haste to put my luggage on and go, a flap on my tank bag was positioned so it could get caught up with the decompression cable. Straight bars - all kabooms go good, turning the bars full lock left - venting the engine. Decidedly not a very good feature for a tank bag, and with a pocket knife, cut off the offending flap and continue on my merry way.

    It was a really nice looking patch of grass though.

    [​IMG]


    The traffic outside the suburbs thinned out considerably, and with the threat of becoming a minivan hood ornament reduced, I start to look at my surroundings in a bit more detail. Sure, it’s a bit wet and cold, and this road straight as far as I can see… But I’m free! Finally, completely and utterly free! There’s nothing holding me back, my first official break down was completely conquered (nay, slayed by my pocket knife!) on the first day. I felt like I was on top of the world.

    The rain and traffic forgotten, everything was new, great and interesting. With fresh eyes and enthusiasm, I reminded myself that this trip is in part about photography. Getting out there and taking great pictures!

    Even if it’s dried brown harvested corn stalks on an overcast day.

    So I pull over on the shoulder, take out the camera and snap a few shots of the remnants of ethanol production. Semi-trucks whiz by at 70mph, I’m looking at the camera’s LCD screen with a frown, the shots are decidedly terrible. It’s dead brown corn stalks, horizon and grey skies. What was I thinking? I’m a dumbass.

    [​IMG]

    Amazing, eh?

    Enthusiasm quelched, I stuff the camera back in the tank bag and pull down a cigarette to consider things. I don’t like smoking, even though I do, but still it’s a cathartic process for me. It may kill me in the end, but it seems like I’ll live happier in the mean time from the wisdom that comes from a snuff of the butt. “Look, it’s not so bad.” I tell myself, “Sure that shot sucked, but there’s not much way you could make it better. You can’t expect great shots every day, and you’ll get someplace with better opportunities soon.”

    Not everything you do is going to be grand, I decided, putting my helmet on.

    Then did the all too familiar one legged leap onto a tall dirt bike, transferred by weight to the outer foot and found… Nothing. No ground, nothing firm to set upon, just extremely unhelpful grass and air. The ghosts of SW-Motec’s engineers* stood by and watched as the kickstand auto-retracted as “engineered”, which pinned by leg between by the bike and without being able to shift weight, my outer foot flailed for traction as the bike tipped into a ditch. Down, down into a ditch, where I finally ejected and slid down the rain slick grass into the ditch water, soaking me through. The bike mercifully didn’t chase me down the Indiana Slip and Slide, but was lying up there on the shoulder with the tires reaching towards the clouds and the handlebars doing their best impression of a plow.

    I didn’t take a picture of the bike on the ground. I was dejected, yet again, quite wet and pissed. Pissed at myself for crashing before the engine was running and irate with the lump of metal I had paid to bolt onto my bike. That day I found out exactly how hard it is to upright a down angle bike in wet grass, and if the ditch hadn’t soaked me through first, the sweat getting the bike oriented the way the gods intended would have.

    The bike, finally upright.
    [​IMG]

    That night, I don’t remember where I slept. I think it was an overpriced motel room. As dark quickly came on after righting the bike, couldn’t be bothered to hunt for a cheaper room being cold, wet and feeling miserable about myself.

    I do remember wondering: “Is this what ‘adventure’ is like? What in the hell did I just get myself into?”

    * I’m assuming they’re ghosts, having been hunted down and bludgeoned with their own kick stands by hordes of KTM LC4 640 owners screaming “AUTO RETRACT THIS!”
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    65,348
    What a great introduction! Time to enjoy life while you're young and healthy enough to do it. We put a lot of effort into transforming Ride Reports into ADV's marquee forum.. I'm glad to see we have ruined your quiet life :lol3 time to be living large :thumb

    :lurk
    #5
    Anywhereness likes this.
  6. Dr. Pinetree

    Dr. Pinetree Michael Motorcycle

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    614
    Location:
    NWPA
    Subscribed!
    #6
  7. Anywhereness

    Anywhereness Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Somewhere, Anywhere.
    Funny, as you mentioned that, I was thinking of writing an article about Peter Pan...

    But that's a story for another day. :*sip*
    #7
  8. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,786
    Location:
    In my natural state
    :lurk
    #8
  9. acidman1968

    acidman1968 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Utah, Great Basin / Intermountain West
    This sounds like it's going to be a great read! I'm totally enjoying your writing style - and I'm sure your posts will help make the long shifts go by faster while I'm at work...

    :lurk
    #9
  10. Runswithscizzors

    Runswithscizzors Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Oddometer:
    136
    I'm in.
    #10
  11. SNOMED

    SNOMED Adv'rized

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Sweden
    :dukegirl
    #11
  12. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,648
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    :lurk
    #12
  13. Dataman

    Dataman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Belton, TX
    In.
    #13
  14. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    vancouver island
    great ride report so far,good luck!
    #14
  15. Bugzy

    Bugzy 2014 VStrom DL1000a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    149
    Location:
    Delta BC Canada
    Brilliant writing style, full of emotion and entertainment. Looking forward to more.
    #15
  16. DGarman

    DGarman What could go wrong?

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    639
    Location:
    Near Route 66
    I like this!..............
    #16
  17. Gasman_ADV

    Gasman_ADV Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    655
    We need a pic of the girl you are leaving behind


    Just sayin


    On behalf of the thousands of others to polite to ask :)
    #17
  18. MitchG

    MitchG Iron Collector

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    606
    Location:
    Fort Simpson, NT
    No life in this northern winter, so I'm in as well.....
    #18
  19. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,617
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    Wot? No more? Drat.
    #19
  20. Anywhereness

    Anywhereness Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Somewhere, Anywhere.
    Weddings and Dragons
    May 9-10, 2012


    After spending some time with family in Nashville, I headed east towards the West Virginia border, on route to my best friend’s wedding the following week, to seek out the rumored Dragon. At an overnight stop at a cheap motel room in Noplace That Matters, Tennessee near the border, all I wanted was beer, sleep for an early morning and to tackle laundry. Washing clothes was neglected even though my cousin has the usual machines that can tackle those chores, I hadn’t learned how precious such machines are to a vagabond yet.

    But, if I’m an “adventure rider” now, don’t I just wash the laundry in the sink of El Crappo Motel and go about my merry way with fresh clean clothes?

    [​IMG]

    Well, the following morning with the undies and t-shirts all dry (well, honestly a kind of damp mostly dry), I realized that a quick motel sink wash isn’t sufficient, and maybe nothing short of a nuclear warhead will get the stink out of synthetic clothes. I’ve since switched to merino wool everything, and am happier for it, not to mention perfected the dark art of doing laundry in ziploc bags.

    Still smelling like a gym tote bag that was forgotten in the trunk, I sheepishly grabbed a forgettable breakfast, then headed towards my destination in the mountains. If I couldn’t slay a dragon with my bike, at the very least maybe I could raise up my arms and best it with my pit stink.

    I determined that the undersprung stock springs were crap with luggage on Worse than crap, they were an outright liability. Pulling over at the aptly named “129 Pit Stop”, I asked to borrow a mallet and big screwdriver. With a promise to care for the tools as my own, the proprietor graciously let me borrow them, and I proceeded to ruthlessly bang away at the rear preload adjustment rings. With the rings appropriately butchered, I bought a sticker and continued on.

    [​IMG]

    Entering the place where Route 129 starts to become interesting, I was nervous. Warned beforehand that police keep close tabs on speeding, and I spotted a squad car just before entering the hills.

    Not like I was going to get a speeding ticket anyways.

    Being inexperienced with mountain roads at the time, the sheer drop to my right kept my speed in check.One can’t help but to picture at least once yourself rolling down that hill, with a few hundred pounds of metal crashing down after you with the grating promise to finish off what trees couldn’t. I pictured that particular montage a dozen more times, wondering when discover I went missing that day and if they could find me on the hillside. Maybe they’d see pictures from one of the photo booth locations, my final moments as a black and silver blur flying off a cliff. Too bad it’d be unlikely to burst in flames at the same time, that’d make a great photo tombstone.

    Further along, there was a rider down at a corner. She was sitting down in a ditch, smiling while being treated by her friends and an officer. Likely the bottom of that particular ditch wasn’t full of water. Darkly, I wondered if she’d be smiling now if she went down on the other side of the road. This unwelcome thought further put me on edge.

    So yes, admittedly my nerves were high, but after a little while I calmed down a bit. Stopped thinking about how much of an inexperienced rider I was, how I that might just lead to demise, and instead just started doing.

    With that clearer mindset, a thought suddenly coalesced. The type of roads we enjoy on our bikes have an intrinsic musical quality. Somewhere between the yellow and white lines, we aren’t just passive listeners jamming out on the living room floor with low lights and bulbous headphones, we’re part of the song. No, more than that that we’re actually the ones playing the song, with a motorcycle as the instrument and the road singing to the rhythm in her sinuous voice. This revelation was a turning point for me as a rider.

    In retrospect, maybe that’s why the coveted riding roads such as the Deals Gap and Pacific Coast Highway call to us so. They have a timeless musical quality of that will forever make us feel good as we pop the track in, each with it’s own unique cadence, and we insatiably want more with similar qualities.

    The following video is my slow poke ride through the Dragon to Deals Gap. It’s not an amazing speed run, nor skilful in any fashion, and there’s quite a few obvious mistakes. If you’ve seen the road before, you’re welcome to skip it. Sorry I don’t have any pictures. Sometime I need to get the actual photos. Like a chump I kept forgetting to buy them and are unlisted now.




    The dragon didn’t sing of heartbreak with a sad sultry voice, or wax poetic about her bitches and hoes, but to me she sings questions.

    There were some issues with the bike’s handling. In retrospect, the tires were likely underinflated for luggage and the small sidewall knobbies on the Kenda K270 just weren’t up to the task. That pushed me to explore other tires, which I’m glad for that, and keep a better outlook on tire pressure than before. The bike wobbled a bit in an odd way, which made me question the cause. That lead to learning how even small amounts of dynamic weight can greatly affect stability and handling, and have rectified that with how I mount my luggage.

    To sum it up, it that afternoon the dragon asked of me: “Could I be a more skilled rider, in all ways?” Since then, I’ve pushed myself to be, and in more than just putting the lean angle down. I’ve also learned to listen for the questions other roads ask of me.

    No, seriously, it’s true. I don’t smoke enough pot to make up dragons singing zen shit like that.


    I desperately wanted to stay at the Deals Gap at least for another day, maybe two, to ride the mountain roads and improve my skills in corners I’d never experienced the like of before on a motorcycle. In Chicago where I learned to ride, sweeping corners are few and far between. Hills and sweeping corners combined are rare. With distracting scenic vistas, too? Unheard of! I was prepared to sleep on the side of the road, to get more riding time in before the wedding.

    Standing at the Deal’s Gap, while watching gangs of three wheeled sports cars and all shapes of motorcycles cruise by, I was considering what kind of ditch might not be grassy and wet but still fit my tent when my phone chimed. People were arriving for the wedding in Raleigh already, when was I coming in?

    [​IMG]

    Not only was I one of the groomsmen, this wedding was a reunion of sorts for friends spread far and wide. The decision was easy. The dragon will be there in the future, my friends may not.

    “I’ll be there tonight.”

    From the Deals Gap, I busted hump to Raleigh, NC, getting turned around once. Not a terrible thing to get lost up there, as mountain roads are amazing, but the time lost forced me to the expressway for the rest of the ride. Definitely not amazing.

    Arriving well past dark and exhausted from the soul-sucking ride on the slab, my friend’s garage was already open and waiting. I pulled in beside his car, to be greeted by a few long lost friends and a freshly opened cold beer.

    Sometimes I make the right decision.
    #20
    SNOMED likes this.