First I will start this ride report with a photo I had hung on my wall at work. If there was a theme to this trip I believe it sums it up quite well. So onto the back story. I'm 25 years old, graduated with a degree in materials engineering (don't ask me what that is), and experiencing what some of my coworkers call a "quarter life crisis". They also referred to it with a few other colorful terms IE you're fucking crazy!! but we won't go there. After 3 years or so of working my ass off in the oil patch and on my way to a career of moving dirt for a living, I decided I had enough, was unhappy, learning nothing new, and hating my life. So I quit my job and decided to take time off to travel, grow wise, and empty my proverbial cup of water or whatever it is that one does on a long motorcycle ride. I've never done anything like this before in my life. My longest ride ever was 10 days of backroad blasting in BC, credit card camping for the entirety of it. But like the donkey, I can at least get my pants on by myself. The rest should fall into place naturally right? So onto the route. I would love to ride Africa on some big cool adventure thing with hard cases, but cutting my teeth first on a smaller ride makes a bit more sense. Besides, I've always subscribed to picking the lowest hanging fruit first, so I decided explore a bit of my neighborhood to the south, the USA. At this point I don't really know how long this ride will last, or which routes best to take. So I have a few major must-see stops planned, and a rough idea of the first half of my route. I figure just like that scene in Forest Gump, I'll be riding along one day and just say "well, I'm tired. I think I'll go home now." The goal is to stay in as few hotels as possible (lonely and expensive), and to take in as much of the USA as possible, before the snow forces me back into hibernation. I'm trying to spend as little as possible on places to sleep, so I can spend that money on gas and food instead. Mostly I'll be camping, couch surfing, using the tentspace thread, and hosteling. I really hate the idea of hotel/motels, so those will be for desperate times only. The big things on my bucket list are riding the PCH, wandering in Yosemite and Death Valley, doing a bunch of mountain passes in CO, and seeing what it's like in Texas and New Orleans. Beyond that, I'll pretty much go where I please. Most of all I just want to have a great adventure. I've only been to the states 3 times in total. The first and most memorable was when I was 17 years old. A friend and I scraped together every penny we had to buy a crappy used oldsmobile, which we drove down the west coast and lived out of for a month. I remember the look of disgust when we crossed back into Canada, when the border guard asked us if we had anything to declare. No sir. Open your trunk. Then watching my rearview mirror as he lifted the lid to find pack upon pack of cup ramen and all our dirty underwear. This time will hopefully be a little different. For one, I am packing much less clean underwear. Other than that, I have no idea if this is what one brings to live on the road. Some of the stuff is a no brainer. Heated gear, rain suit, camera, maps, etc. Some of it I think I'll end up using once and tossing, like the shovel I brought to bury my poop, and hopefully the toliet paper.