F*ck it... I'm outta here. Or: CJ's Pretirement Trip

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by GhostRiderFC, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Great report, am enjoying it. And to add that I bought and installed a Cruise Control from Tony in 2011 for my wife's '09 Moto Guzzi Norge. The instructions are first rate. The kit's electrical is plug and play and the mechanical parts fit without doing mods to the bike. Its a recommend from me. 18,000 miles since install. Wife loves it.

    Looking forward to the rest of your report.
  2. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,407
    Location:
    San Francisco Peninsula
    Valley floor is 4000' feet; hot in summer.
    Glacier point 7200; Tuolumne Meadows is 8600;Half Dome is 8700
    They are, not surprisingly, cooler.
    You've been to some good places; keep it up!
    As to tourists and traffic, you were there at perhaps the worst possible time.
    -ceej
  3. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Today I woke a little later than usual. I didn't have anywhere to go and had already decided it was going to be a down day for me. I cooked some oatmeal and tea and relaxed as I had breakfast. It was pretty nice out, but I could see the clouds closing in. A few other riders were going out for short (or long?) rides before the sessions started in the afternoon. I sealed up my gear and my tent and got my laptop and went into the lodge. I updated some ride reports and talked with a few other travelers.

    I had a particularly good conversation with rtwpaul. He's currently headed to Ontario for the HU meeting and then will be going to Guatemala sometime in early October for four weeks of Spanish language school. Sounds pretty good! I enjoyed meeting Paul and hope to run into him again. He's been giving me a lot of grief about my packing! He pretty much epitomizes minimalist packing. He fits all his kit into his Jesse panniers and has no top box and only two Rotopax on a rack behind his seat, with no other bag on back. Conversely, I have about ten times more shit than I need!! :lol3

    This photo is a DR650 that one of the attendees brought with him. It's all customized. He bought the forks from a guy online for only $150!! :eek1 It's pretty nicely set up, but that top box looks pretty big... even to me! My buddy Bart had a DR650 similar to this, but not as kitted out. He traded a guy straight across for a DRZ400 that he now uses for off road. I thought he'd like to see this one.

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    The sessions all started in the afternoon. One of the better ones was a panel discussion with four guys who have all been to Central & South America. Discussions revolved around border crossings, trouble spots, medical issues, emergency services, etc. All good stuff.

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    This is Jay. He and his wife, Mercedes, took their 13 year old son out of school in Calgary and went on a one year trip around North, Central, & South America. He was relating all kinds of funny anecdotes about their trip. Pretty exciting stuff, actually!

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    This sessions is all about using GPS outside the US. Peter has been to Central America and Mexico a couple of times.

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    It rained a few times while we were in sessions.

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    Sessions went on into the evening. One of the most interesting and bizarre was from an Australian guy. He and his Filipino wife went on the road with a 9 month old daughter and were out for ten years riding all over the world on a BMW R80GS with a side car. Really amazing stories about sneaking into Tibet, riding through India, being robbed in England, riding into 1980's Afghanistan, being in war torn west Africa during the late 1980s. Crazy stuff. Beyond crazy.

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    Sessions went right to midnight and then I pretty much went to my tent and crashed.
  4. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Paul, it was great to meet you, too! Quit giving me shit! This was always supposed to be my shake down cruise. :evil

    Well, I was just out riding and after a gas stop, I took off down the highway and it just started to quit on me. I noticed the dials on the gauges would sweep just like at start up and the bike would totally cut out. I quickly decided it was something electrical rather than mechanical and then it occurred to me that I'd read about guys on BadWeb having issues with the ECM. When I stopped, I checked under the seat and it was REALLY hot under there. I could see a crack where one of the two connectors joins into the main body of the ECM. Based on it's position under the seat, it could only have happened by flexing when weight is put on the seat. This is in spite of the "special mounting position" that Buell put in there after that became a known issue. I used a zip tie to temporarily fix it and it held pretty good until I got home a few days later. My dealer took care of it even though I was out of warranty, so I got a "new" ECM. I sort of suspect that it's a refurbished unit, though. I don't really care because it works. If it happens again, I'll get an EBR unit. I didn't put it back in it's normal spot, but rather tucked it down further near the battery. This is hopefully going to minimize the likelihood of it happening again.

    No worries, man. I had a good ride and hope you had a good vacation!

    See above! And below! Trying to keep this thing up to date!

    (Spoiler alert: I'm planning on being home in Albuquerque by this coming Friday. :cry )

    Yeah, that's great! I could tell by looking at the gear that it was good. And Tony is really great to talk to about them. Definitely will be getting one. Just gotta scrounge up a few bucks first!

    Thanks for the clarification! I'm surprised that at 4000', it's still that hot. I didn't get up to the top of those points, but would like to go back and camp and hike, perhaps when there's fewer people. If I had known it was going to be mobbed like that, I would have rescheduled my visit to that particular park.
  5. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Today was the end of the Horizons Unlimited program and everyone was packing up. I was surprised how many guys were up before me and were basically already packed to go by the time I rolled out of my tent. I had some breakfast and then started to get my crapola together. It had rained again overnight, so everything was wet. I was nice and dry inside the tent, as was all my stuff in there, but the rain fly was soaked and the bottom of the footprint was soaked. And it was overcast in the mountains, so nothing was going to dry while I packed.

    Lester and Karoly came over to say goodbye and left for Florida. I also bid farewell to Paul and Tony and a few others I'd met. I enjoyed the few days of the event and really recommend it to anyone who's even thinking about traveling.

    I got on the road and made my way to Georgia. The winding mountain roads took some time to navigate. Eventually I got into Georgia and onto the freeway. As I got near Marietta, there was a big wreck on the interstate that had everything backed up.

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    Then I saw this sign:

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    Six lanes?!? :huh I counted. There were only five lanes. :dunno

    This is near the scene:

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    I saw cop cars from at least five different agencies on the highway and fire trucks too. I only saw one regular car, so I thought it might be some sort of police pursuit gone awry. :dunno

    Anyway, once I passed the scene, it opened right up and I zoomed along into Newnan. I met up with my friends and had a nice home cooked steak & potato. Sorry... no pics.

    (Shortest update ever, eh?)
  6. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Today I had to go from Newnan, GA to New Orleans, LA. I didn't get up too early, maybe 0800 or so. Got all cleaned up and packed and had a nice bowl of cereal. I got the bike all packed and was rolling by about 0930 or so, beating my normal two hour prep time! :lol3

    As I was rolling down I-85, I passed by this huge KIA Factory. I had seen it before when I was here last summer. I was always impressed by how many "import" cars & trucks are built here in the USA. My Nissan Frontier was built in Tennessee and Honda has been building Gold Wings here for something like 30 years.

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    And then... into Alabama!

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    I was still interested in getting my book stamped, so I found two spots pretty close to my route. First was the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington and where George Washington Carver worked and did research.

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    This is Booker T. Washington:

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    And some photos of the Institute way back when he was there:

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    This is an enormous typewriter:

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    And this is Dr. Carver:

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    After leaving the Institute, I went to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Site:

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    After spending way more time there than I thought, I got back on the road. I had a somewhat uneventful ride through Alabama. When you get down near Mobile, it's kinda wet!

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    Somewhere in Alabama, I came across this guy on a Harley with a sort of tricycle attachment on his bike. This is what my buddy Frank has been looking at since he has a hard time with nerve damage lately.

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    Anyway, eventually I make it to Mississippi!

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    It's kinda wet here, too.

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    I wasted about 20 minutes going off track because my GPS said it could show me to the visitor center for the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It couldn't. :pissed

    And then, into Louisiana. It did take me slightly longer than I thought it would, but the traffic was light.

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    These are some of the buildings that are still abandoned since Katrina.

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    Eventually, I get to downtown and there is traffic. It's basically rush hour, but up until now, it's all been going the other way.

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    When I got off the highway, there was a huge building that was all twisted up and rubble. Not sure what the story is.

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    There's construction on my route and it takes me about ten or 15 extra minutes to reroute to where I want to go. But I make it to the hotel around 6pm.

    I was here to re-open this hotel last fall. I spent three weeks working 12-18 hours a day with only one day off. In an interesting twist, I get checking into the very same room I had been in last year! :lol3

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    This isn't the suite that I got at some of the other hotels, but it's really great accommodations. And the price is right! :deal

    Here are a couple of the hotel:

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    I went out with my buddies Ben and Pete.

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    After a while, Pete evaporated! One minute he was there, the next he bugged out. I guess he was done! :lol3

    Anyway, Ben and I went out with a couple other folks from the hotel and went to an Oyster bar to have oysters, gumbo, and other NOLA food.

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    While we were out, we saw a cop riding a scooter!! :lol3

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    This hotel is sold out tomorrow so I'm going to have to move, but Pete says he's going to get me moved over to the other Hyatt on Bourbon. We'll see. :dunno
  7. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,094
    Location:
    RGV Texas
    I think he's an inmate, here's the thread: Suzuki DR650 Build - Transformation to an Adventure Bike
  8. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Originally, I was going to spend Tuesday in New Orleans as a down day. But the hotel where I was getting comped was oversold and I had to move out. There was a possibility of moving to another hotel in town, but that didn't happen either. I decided to head out toward Vicksburg, MS. This would give me a chance to get my book stamped in a couple of places and make my Wednesday ride somewhat shorter.

    First stop out of NOLA was to the Jean LaFitte National Historical Park & Preserve. I kinda screwed this up right away because I started out by the Superdome and there is a visitor center somewhere in the French Quarter. That didn't matter to my GPS, which I find I'm trusting too much. The GPS immediately sends me over the bridge and south into the swamps to the Barataria Preserve. :huh Well, I found it. It was... swampy. I didn't take any pics, but you can imagine what it looked like. Imagine a swamp with lots of trees and water and bugs and a really rotten smell. Bingo! That's it. :thumb

    Anyway... on the way back toward the world, I took a few pics of the city.

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    Heading north-ish on I-10, most of the time is spend riding on bridges over the water.

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    Somewhere east of Baton Rouge, there is dry land.

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    And... Finally... Mississippi.

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    After what seemed like an eternity of riding through BFE Mississippi, I finally arrive at Natchez. There is a whole historic district here reviewing the plantation system and history of the agricultural south.

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    I had arrived at the plantation at 1645. The government workers who staff the place locked it up at 1700. Sharp! :deal Uh... ok... I'm ready to go! :dunno

    I only had about 70 miles to go to make Vicksburg. I figured the better way to go would be up the Natchez Trace Parkway. More scenic. Less traffic. I stopped to get a photo at the start of the parkway.

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    Immediately I noticed there was a high school cross country race coming down the parkway.

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    During my ride up the parkway, there were almost no other cars. I saw only five coming the other way and none going my way. It was pretty nice.

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    Before long, I was getting worried about the deer. I saw a very large number of animals along the parkway, very much contrasting the lack of auto traffic. I stopped counting after two dozen deer, four turkeys, ten crows, two hawks, five vultures, and one rabbit. Oh! And the two snakes that someone had run over and the other critters were picking at as I passed. :lol3

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    By the time I got off the parkway, I had covered 60 or so miles and had just a few to go to the hotel. It was pretty much dusk and I was still skiddish of the deer.

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    I got checked into the hotel and walked out for some dinner. The hotel internet was crap, as usual. So I settled in, watched some free HBO and slept pretty good!
  9. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    After spending a relatively comfortable night in Vicksburg, MS, my goal for Wednesday was to get to Fort Worth, TX where I'd be visiting my buddy Erik. We were fraternity brothers at University of New Mexico a really long time ago. He's now got a nice 1200GS but I haven't seen him ride it yet. :evil :deal

    Before setting out, I saw on the news that our ambassador in Libya was killed during attacks on our embassy. I was pretty pissed. :gun2 I managed to see the President's news conference live before departing and that made me more pissed. :asshat

    Upon setting off from Vicksburg, I was very quickly crossing the Mississippi River back into Louisiana.

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    There was a national monument sort of on the way, so I figured I could get my book stamped again. I passed a bunch of cotton fields and some bales of cotton.

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    Eventually, I found the site. I had to go down one of the worst "paved" roads to get there. I don't think it's been paved in something like 50 years. :huh Luckily, the guy working the site gave me directions on a better way out. In looking back now, I guess I didn't get any photos, but the site is called Poverty Point.

    Once back on the highway, I just rolled west through Louisiana. When I got near Shreveport, I noticed this huge casino.

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    I knew that the view was going to be changing, so I took a photo of the green leafy southeastern US.

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    And then... Texas!

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    I discovered that it was "National work on the highway day" in Texas. The backup started pretty quickly.

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    And then I wondered... why fix this road? The lane on the right is the "old" part of the road and it's in great shape! The lane on the left is the brand new pavement they just laid! :dunno

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    Before long, I got rolling again.

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    And as I predicted, the views started to change.

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    Somewhere before the DFW area, I happened upon this truck transporting cars. I noticed a motorcycle on the side. It was a pretty new looking Triumph Scrambler and it was messed up. The front wheel was off and dented like it had hit something. Hard.

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    Finally, I got to the west side of Fort Worth.

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    I met up with my buddy and enjoyed catching up with him. We had dinner at a pretty cool restaurant and then hung out chatting while watching Long Way Round! :lol3 Good times!
  10. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Thursday was a mess. I woke up around 0830 or so and got ready to roll. I had to get to Lubbock today, and that would not take too long, but I knew the weather was rolling in. I expected to get wet.

    Erik & I went for breakfast and as soon as we were done, the weather was close. I got suited up in my rain gear and checked the radar to see how long this would last.

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    The first leg was I-20 to Abilene and that would put me right through the middle of the storm. Within a few minutes of leaving Erik, I was getting wet. It did not stop raining this whole time. There were a few parts that were pretty intense, lots of heavy rain, water pooling on the road, etc. Surprisingly, there was very little wind. It was a very slow moving storm and I was riding in it for a long time.

    After gassing up in Abilene, where I didn't even take off my helmet, I checked the radar again.

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    It looked like the worst of it was behind me, but it was still raining. I went to Sweetwater and turned up US-84. Somewhere in there I took this pic with my iPhone.

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    Turns out, you can work your iPhone with a gloved hand if your glove is wet. :evil It did stop raining eventually, not long before I rolled into Lubbock. But it was still very wet. The roads were wet and the trucks were throwing up a lot of water.

    I've come to the conclusion that my rain gear may not be totally water proof anymore. I have had it for about nine years, so I guess I have gotten my money's worth out of it! :deal

    I met up with my friends Patrick & Kendra who graciously put me up in their new apartment. They just moved to Lubbock two weeks ago! They cooked a really nice dinner and we chatted for a while. Good visit!
  11. GhostRiderFC

    GhostRiderFC Just a guy who rides

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Today is my last day. Lubbock to home. I woke around 0800 and saw Patrick off to work. I took a little time getting my stuff squared away and loaded and left around 0930 or so. It was kind of overcast, but obviously not going to rain. Thankfully! My gloves were not really fully dry from the previous day's ride!

    After gassing up, I headed out on US-84 toward Clovis, NM. I only rode about twenty minutes or so before I needed to stop to change gloves. It was REALLY COLD! :vardy I changed into my winter gloves. The up side there is that they have gauntlets. This would keep the wind out of my sleeves. That change alone warmed me up considerably.

    While stopped, I found this guy flying around "crop dusting" the diaries nearby.

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    This was my view across much of west Texas and eastern NM:

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    Rail is huge out here.

    Eventually, I got into New Mexico.

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    For some reason, this is where it started to get windy. I shouldn't be surprised. I've lived in NM most of the last 30 years. It's ALWAYS windy.

    This is pretty typical NM landscape.

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    As I got close to Albuquerque, I could start to see the Sandia Mountains.

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    Once I got this close, things moved pretty quickly. As I descended into Albuquerque, the temperature got much more comfortable. I was able to zip through town pretty quickly and get home.

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    I have been on the road for nine weeks, I covered 40 states, 14,600 miles, and I had seen 88 National Park Service sites. I spent nine nights camping, 19 nights in a hotel, and 35 nights with friends & family. It was a very enjoyable trip and gave me a lot of helmet time to figure things out. Naturally, I didn't really come to definitive conclusions, but it helped. I was really happy to be able to ride to some places I had never been before, see some things I had never seen before, and to catch up with folks I hadn't seen in some time.

    Thanks to everyone who followed along! I was really glad to have you along!
  12. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,384
    Location:
    round the world
    great finish, glad you got home safe
  13. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,019
    Location:
    Sunny Northern Cuba (aka: South Florida)
    Congrats on a successful trip man!! Thanks for taking the time to let us enjoy it with you. :freaky
  14. keithg

    keithg Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    67
    Location:
    SO CAL NUTHOUSE
    Awesum!!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. Bartimus

    Bartimus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    The land of Entrapment
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
  16. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Great ride report, enjoyed the museum and historic places pics!

    dR
  17. k9companion

    k9companion Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Tri-Cities, WA
    Thank you very much GhostRider! I thoroughly enjoyed your RR! Now I need to start planning mine. :deal
  18. Blueshark

    Blueshark Coastal Castaway

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Last small beach town N of LA, S of Pt Conception
    Yes, thanks for the RR. I have a special interest in the National Parks. Sorry that one guy at Cape Canaveral was a dikhead; there's always gotta be one. Thanks again.
  19. LuxoDave

    LuxoDave still nO0b

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Colorado
    Great report CJ. Thanks for writing it up.
  20. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,460
    Location:
    India Wharf
    I am sure you know by now that riding motorcycles is a diversion, not a lifestyle. Working for a living is more fulfilling to most of us I think. I didn't read but the opening column. Maybe I missed stuff.