First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by OsoADV, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. dasrider

    dasrider Been here awhile

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    Just read the first three pages, can't wait for the next installment - subscribed!

    Are you in or near Charlotte now?

    -- nevermind, saw your location, Joplor, NC.

    Making such a long range trip has always been a goal. I've done long weekends alone on the bike, but never 10,000 miles!
    #41
  2. OsoADV

    OsoADV Oso

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    It rained for most of the day and into the envying my extra day in Toronto, and as I said, I spent it preparing for my presentation and lining up places to stay in the future.

    I was up and out on the road the next morning before the sun was up. My boots were still wet but I got the bright idea to put my socked foot into a grocery bag before I put my boots on so the water wouldn't saturate my feet the entire day. The rain had subsided. There was no traffic. The city lights were beautiful and it felt serene to have the road all to myself. There was quite a difference between this and the stressful traffic/torrential downpour on my way out the day prior.

    One I left the city it was the most boring ride so far to the US border. Occasional farms, mostly nothing though, along the countryside. I had a few gas scares when some rest stops I’d counted on ended up being closed or under renovation, but I ended up being fine.

    The border crossing was one experience I will never forget. My path took me through the crossing just north of Detroit. As I approached, I picked a lane and rolled up to the guard station. It was a short woman there to welcome me back to my motherland with open arms. Not! I handed her my passport and was immediately asked for my license plate number in a stern, accusatory voice.

    “What’s your tag number?”
    “Umm, well, I don’t have it memorized, sorry.” Didn't know that was necessary.
    “Sir, turn the bike off and take off your helmet.”

    Uh oh. As I followed her instructions I had a feeling this may not turn out well, even though I had absolutely nothing to hide. She called over another border agent for assistance, which happened to be have an equally abysmal attitude. passport in hand, they began to question me.

    “What were you doing in Canada for such a short time?” the woman asked.
    “I was visiting some friends in Toronto for a few days, now I’m on my way to Lima, Ohio to see some more and continue touring around the country,” I responded.
    “What’s all this stuff on your bike? What’s in all these cases,” she asked.
    “Just clothes and supplies I need for the trip, that’s about it.” I responded. I felt a search coming.
    “What’s the extra helmet for?” she asked suspiciously.
    “Well, I use this one (the full face in my hand I had just removed) for cold day, and the other (half face strapped to the back) for warm days.” I responded.
    “It’s not cold today.” She retorted.
    “Well, it was when I left Toronto this morning.”
    “Do you have a passenger sir?” she asked.

    I was dumbfounded. A passenger? Inside my luggage maybe? I subdued my instinct to give a smart alleck response and simply said, “No ma’am.”

    Then the man she’d asked to come over started in on me.

    “Sir, how many felonies have you been convicted of?” he asked.
    That was the most shocking one so far. Must be the beard. Bearded men on motorcycles must typically be felons.
    “None, sir,” I responded.
    “Really? Alright…. (He sounded surprised) …how many have you been charged with?”
    “I’ve never been charged with a crime, sir.”
    “Alright then.”
    More typing and looking at the computer.
    “Alright sir, go on through.”

    That was the most unexpected interaction I had with other human beings on the trip so far. I fully expected them to search my cases, but they didn't. Just harassed me a bit. Maybe they were bored and just wanted to screw with somebody? Maybe me not knowing my plate number was a red flag? No idea. I've experience some real weird crap in Central America but this is my returning to the U.S. Thought it would be pretty different here but I can't say it was, except for not needing to bribe anyone. I've read on the forum that people have had similar experience returning to their home country, so maybe that’s just how business is done. I kept my cool and was respectful, quite pleasant if I may say so myself, but they continued on. Beats me.

    Nevertheless, I continued on toward Lima. I remember noting how dead Detroit looked as I went by. Maybe it’s just what I saw, but I imagined it was not so great after the economy tanked and what I saw lined up with what I’d imagined.
    I filled up with gas one more time after I’d crossed into Ohio and continued following directions from my Navigation app until I arrived at Rudolph Foods.

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    I gave my presentation about New Song to the Rudolph Foods staff. They were all astounded i'd rode from Toronto before lunch. I felt like a badass, to be honest.

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    After the presentation I got a private tour of the factory with John, the CEO's son I mentored back at NC during the school year, and his cute redhead nanny for the summer. Oh wait, I was engaged, she wasn't cute.

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    Putting sanitary covers over my riding boots.

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    Ever seen a beard net?

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    I spent a couple days in Lima with them. Probably the most expensive house I've ever been inside. We went and shot shotguns at the local gun club one afternoon, and spent another afternoon enjoying Indian Lake CEO-style with their boat and seadoo at their lake house.

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    We went to KewPee, a local legend, apparently the predecessor to Wendy's (identical "frosty").

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    Tried this soda John had always talked about "Big Red". Thought it was awful.

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    We went to a sporting goods store one day to buy a replacement knife and I noticed a pair of Oakley sunglasses sitting out on a rack. I took them to the front desk and they told me to keep them. I said I wanted to turn them in to the lost and found, but they insisted that they'd been there for days and I could just keep them. Sweet.

    After a couple days of life in Lima, I checked the weather closely and left mid-morning for Chicago...
    #42
  3. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Is that your F-Body behind you?

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    Enjoying your report so far.. Look like you had a great time and it is a great memories to cherish for a lifetime! Thanks for bringing back my memories doing 13,000 miles in few weeks riding cross-country when I was 22. :thumb
    #43
  4. OsoADV

    OsoADV Oso

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    Yep, '96 Formula. Had it since high school.

    Thanks for reading along. Definitely great memories. I just hope I never stop making them.
    #44
  5. ramon

    ramon weezin' the juice!

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    Looking good, keep it coming :clap
    #45
  6. NJ-Bill

    NJ-Bill Life is good

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    Excellent ride report. I live in NJ and enjoyed reading your perspective on that part of the trip.
    #46
  7. OsoADV

    OsoADV Oso

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    The ride to Chicago was a drag, I must say. I can't think of anything abou the ride other than remembering the multitudes of corn stalks.

    Chicago, on the other hand, was great.

    Mary from NJ had recently taken a new job and was commuting (via airplane) to Chicago every week. She was living out of a hotel until she found an apartment there. This was partly how she'd racked up all those Hilton Honors points she used to help me out with, and her employer was footing the bill. She was staying in Warrenville, and she got me my own room across the hall from her, which she insisted on even though I told her that I'd be happy to sleep on the floor.

    She took me to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner - that, my friends, is what heaven wil be like. 'Nuff said.

    She toured me all around Chicago the next day. I really loved the city. Probably one of my favorite "cities" I visited on the trip. Below are some photos from our wandering.

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    Of course we hit Lou Malnati's for lunch so I could try chicago-style pizza. Great stuff.

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    Mary knew I loved fish and chips, and she'd found a place the locals appeared to love in Warrenville called Two Brothers Tap House. It was really oddly placed in an industrial building, I remember, but it was great food and great local beer. I didn't get any pics but I did keep a menu.



    I'd leave Chicago the next day and head for Omaha, NE. That next day would be a turning point for me on my trip and I hope I can do the day justice through my attempt at narrating it. More to come shortly.
    #47
  8. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend Long timer

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    Great report so far! I'm along for the ride.


    So, whose '55 are you driving here?

    Check out this pic (it's the best I could find):

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    The picture was taken of me and my son on my first bike. My dad bought that for me back in about 1982. But, if you look in the background, you can see my FIL's '55 convertible. It is even the same colors. I've had the pleasure of driving it and am suprised how nice it rides. Especially for a 60 year old vehicle!

    Looking forward to the next installment.
    #48
  9. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    A good excuse not to get rices thrown at you both? :wink: At my parents' wedding my cousin filled my dad's 66 296 impala with rice all the way up to top of seat and packed the exterior vent with goldfish. It took forever for my parents to get as much of rices out as possible and it did not help the crowd was throwing rices at them too. Eventually the car reek of fish it took a while to disappear. :rofl
    #49
  10. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend Long timer

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    Wow, that's immaculate. Very nice. I'll have to show my FIL the pics next time I see him. Thanks for posting those.

    I know he's been looking for that rear tire carrier for quite awhile.I think that's called a Continental tire kit? From what I understand, it wasn't a very popular option since it made it difficult to get into the trunk. Because of that - there's very few of them out there, and now everyone wants them!

    Brakes? What brakes? I know the first time I drove that '55, I thought they weren't there at all. You really have to push that brake pedal HARD! I'm used to power discs on a 2000lb car - not manual drums on a 4500lb car.

    So, where's the gopro video from the fender?


    Alright, I'll stop hijacking and let you get back to your report!
    #50
  11. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    So, when you were in Chicago, did you go through the Field Museum?
    That is one of my all time favorite museums.

    I had a neighbor who had a 55 drophead with a hotrodded Corvette motor. Sounded great, but it was just a car.:lol3
    #51
  12. OsoADV

    OsoADV Oso

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    Yeah, rice being thrown at the car would not have been considered by her family, I can assure you. They are a little uptight when it comes to vehicles. He owns about 5 or 6 1969 Camaro's, one of which is 1 of 69 ZL1 cars built. One of every 1955 Chevrolet built, also. None get driven more than 10 miles/year, some less than that in a decade.

    Haha I know little or nothing about the car other than the distinguishing traits between it and a '56 or '57. I do know her grandpa has some NOS GM parts, like fenders and chrome kits, that are worth more than I can fathom.

    I'm used to the manual brakes since I drive a 64 C10 regularly with power nothing, but it can be QUITE a surprise for those who aren't accustomed to having to push so hard!

    Unfortunately I don't think the GoPro got turned on by the videographer. He didn't include any of the footage in the final video, at least.

    No, I didn't have the chance. I plan on going back the next chance I get, though, and I will definitely check it out.


    Okay, I'll get back to my report momentarily. Please excuse the commercial break.
    #52
  13. dnj1965

    dnj1965 n00b

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    Sir, you cannot add too many...

    GREAT ride report.
    #53
  14. OsoADV

    OsoADV Oso

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    When I left Chicago that morning it was just like any other departure morning for me. Double check I hadn't forgotten any items, load up the bike, make sure everything was secured. Say goodbye to the host and hit the road. I had no idea this leg of the journey would be a substantial turning point for me.

    After around 2000 miles of riding I knew I had a long way to go to make it to 10,000 miles. I made it out of Chicago and it was almost immediately corn fields and nothingness, as is much of our beloved midwest countryside. I noticed a town called Dixon in Illinois, which is my last name.

    Shortly after I passed Dixon, IL, a strange and uncomfortable feeling came over me. The enormity of the task ahead of me set in, and it began to eat at me and cause my stomach to turn as I clicked over the miles. It got so heavy I pulled off under an overpass to have a moment to get my head right. I think I was experiencing a panic attack, as some would call it, or something darn close.

    This was a critical moment for me. As I understand it now, I truly hadn't become a man yet at that moment in my life. I was still a scared boy, afraid to fail. Afraid to venture out on my own, into a part of the world unknown to me and void of people I knew. Sure, i'd done some crazy things, and taken lots of risks most people I knew would never dream of doing, but unbeknownst to them I always felt I had a safety net to catch me if I fell. I was around people that loved me and cared about me all the time. This was different. This time, I was on my own. Under that overpass I dealt with a seemingly insurmountable amount of fear and doubt. Could I do this? 8000 more miles, all alone? I texted several friends and asked for prayer. I called my fiancee and told her I was headed to Omaha. I didn't let on what a mess I'd been moments before, but I'm sure she could hear it in my voice. I sure missed her and it would be another month before we'd see each other in Vegas.

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    I'm very glad I have this photo of my bike under that overpass. I'm not ashamed to admit the tear streamed down my face as I took it. I had decided I would suck it up and finished what I started. I would complete this journey. This photo marks my entry to manhood. Im humbled to share this experience with you.

    That was the low point of my trip, and in just the few hours following it I would experience drastic improvement.

    I remember a few minutes after crossing the Mississippi and into Iowa the first attitude enhancer appeared. It was a fighter jet on my right. I've loved fighter jets my whole life; drawing them, playing with models of them, learning about them, had pictures on my walls of them, but had never seen one in person. This one was running parallel with the interstate, low to the ground, doing aerobatics. I grinned from ear to ear watching it roll and twist and turn. I could hear it over the wind noise in my helmet. It was awesome.

    I had my camera mounted to my right hand pelican case with a remote running into my jacket pocket, and I was able to snap this photo of the jet. The second photo is a crop to show it closer.

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    Later, at an Iowa gas station, I ran into this big yellow van full of college students. They were apparently big sports fans. Very cool van. Couldn't help but cheer me up to see something like that.

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    I caught a few pictures of it on the interstate, with my remote triggered camera, when I eventually caught back up with them.

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    The most incredible moment of the day would come at a rural McDonalds along my route in the mid afternoon. I had stopped for a break from the bike and a cold drink. I sat in a booth near the window and kept an eye on my bike.

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    I saw a middle aged couple pull up in the lot on a cruiser and walk toward the entry. They stopped to look at my bike, giving it a full 360 degree inspection. I could see them pointing and discussing my tag, likely the fact that I was from NC. They entered and ordered food. I had my back to them. They came and sat down nearby, and stopped over to speak to me.

    They asked how I liked my seat (referring to my Airhawk pad), and I explained what a lifesaver it'd been. I told them about what I was doing, and where I was headed. They were astounded, a response i'd become pretty numb to. We talked a bit and they went to finish their meal. Eventually they got up to leave and said goodbye as they headed back out. I watched them walk down the sidewalk back toward their bike.

    Then, I saw the lady stop. She said something to her husband and turned to come back inside. I figured she'd forgotten something. Next thing I knew there she was standing next to me, as she put a hand on my shoulder.

    "I want to give you this," she said, as she handed me a $20 bill. "I think what you're doing is really great."

    "Well thank you, you don't have to do that, but I appreciate it very much," I said, surprised.

    "And I wanted to tell you something, and I don't want to sound crazy, but I'm a Christian lady and I just felt like God put it on my heart as we were leaving that I needed to come back and tell you this. I have this friend who always reminds me that it's up to us to choose to have a good day. No matter what happens, it's really up to us whether we decide it is a good day or not. So, whatever that may mean to you, I just felt like I needed to tell you that. Make it a good day."

    I was stunned. I was certain I hadn't let on what an emotional roller coaster that day had been. I snapped a photo of them getting on the bike knowing i'd remember that moment forever.

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    I know this isn't necessarily the "forum" for discussion of God or religion, but this is my ride report and you can deal with it. :deal

    That experience was the clearest, most real occasion of God speaking to me that I have had to date. I cannot do the story justice. I know it may seem simple and mostly insignificant to most, but I cannot begin to explain how anointed it felt. It was as if God himself had put his hand on my shoulder and encouraged me. I'm not the sort of person who has a list of experiences like this a mile long, and it really spoke to me. It was clear to me in that moment that I was meant to do this trip and that God would be with me every mile of it. He'd given his stamp of approval, no doubt.

    I stopped and took pictures of myself at this big windmill farm I came across. I remember thinking how majestic they looked. After so many miles of flat corn they made an impression.

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    Anyway, several hundred miles later I made it to Omaha, NE, shortly after sunset, ending a day I'd not soon forget.

    More to come...
    #54
  15. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

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    Thanks for sharing this report with us. I'm also a Christian and I'm a believer that God can speak to us in anyway and it is up to us to take it or leave. I'm in as well so keep it coming!

    Later
    John
    #55
  16. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    Good stuff.
    Real good.
    #56
  17. Brent T

    Brent T 2014 R1200RT

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    Enjoying it and looking forward to the next chapter!
    #57
  18. ukturfrocks

    ukturfrocks Been here awhile

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    Glad you are enjoying this trip. It is an excellent experience to get up and go. Wish I would have be younger when I started traveling on 2 wheels cross country. be safe enjoy
    #58
  19. Reddane

    Reddane Circling pi

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    That's a really nice start to what appears to be a great ride report. I'd have to agree with you about God and riding.. without waxing too philosophical I would say that God speaks a lot more clearly when you're in the saddle or nearby one.

    I think God likes motorbikes. :clap :lol3

    Safe travels in your future adventures friend. :freaky
    #59
  20. keninpcfl

    keninpcfl Adventurer

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    I'm in!
    #60