not all those who wander are lost | two earthlings ride around the world

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Rockwell, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

    Joined:
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    18,254
    Location:
    The Kingdom of Kent
    Just started reading your thread and so sorry to hear of your misfortune. Keep us updated on your plans.
  2. JoDawg

    JoDawg Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    Hamilton Ontario Canada
    Rocky, sorry to hear of your misfortune. If the bike is coming back to Hamilton and we can be of any assistance at the shop, for storage or any repair work please let us know.

    Cheers, The Team at Dual Sport Plus
  3. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Thanks! The bike is still in El Salvador. I'm working with the logistics company to have it shipped back to Canada by sea. I've gotten a quote for just around $1,000, which isn't too bad. We're just awaiting the go-ahead from the shipping company because there was concern about shipping the bike LCL (shared crate) since it's a used bike and has gas and oil. The logistics company offered to drain the fluids if needed, so hopefully there won't be any issue.

    I might need to have some work done on the rear suspension. I'll definitely give you guys a call when I need the work done. Thanks.
  4. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
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    [​IMG] The weather was warm when we had left Moab, Utah, but it got much cooler as we entered into Colorado. It was a drastic change leaving the dry, sandy bedrock for dense fields and valleys that looked painted with autumn colors. The mountains were gorgeous with beautiful red peaks and there were areas where the soil was such a deep yellow that small rivers looked like they were flowing with liquid gold. As we rode through many switchbacks and gawked at USA s little Switzerland, I was afraid that Rocky was paying more attention to the scenery than the road because the view was truly captivating.

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    Darkness approached quickly as the sun set behind the tall mountains but we continued to ride so that we could escape the bitter cold of the high altitude. Once we reached Durango, Colorado, we stopped at McDonald’s to warm ourselves with a hot cup of coffee and to use their notoriously shitty free Internet to search for a public park. We rode up to what seemed to be a perfect spot to set up our tent and I immediately recognized the soft plush grass to be a sign of an irrigation system. I spent a few minutes crawled on all fours feeling for sprinklers but I wasn’t able to find any. Tired and anxious to relax , we unpacked and just as we finally got comfy the damn sprinklers turned on. I panicked at first because we were being sprayed from every direction but luckily none were spraying in our tent. Just as we had mentioned our luck, the cops arrived. It was awkward timing and I wanted to pretend I couldn’t hear him over the sound of splashing but his lights were blinding me. I needed perfect timing as I ran out of the tent to avoid getting soaked and I hoped that that was enough reason for him to allow us to stay. He asked what we were doing and he told me we would have to leave, especially since the motorcycle was prohibited from being in the park. Exhausted and irritated I had no other choice than to batt my eyelashes as I told him about our trip and explained that it was too cold, wet and dark to continue riding. My lady skills worked and he kindly gave us permission to stay for the night.

    Early the next morning it was interesting to wake up to an old fashioned coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive filled with passengers as it choo-choo’d by. The park was busy with people starring at us as they jogged past and I was confused when an older man tried handing me ten dollars for breakfast. Minutes later the police showed up again but it didn’t matter what they had to say because we were leaving anyway.

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    After we packed up, and went to subway for breakfast, it began to rain. We decided to hang out there until the sky cleared but it only began raining harder. Shortly after arriving, the manager stopped to talk to us, he noticed the motorcycle fully loaded and was curious of our travels. We had asked if he minded us hanging out there to use the Internet as we searched for a place to go and he told us to stay as long as we needed. Hours later and with no luck couch surfing, the manager approached us and said that he had phoned his wife and got her approval to invite us to stay with his family for the night. We were very surprised and obviously happy. When we arrived at Mikes house, we were introduced to his wife Stephanie, their son Davis and daughter Stevi, they immediately made us feel very comfortable and welcomed. After a cold rainy day it felt great to have a hot shower and a bowl of stew for dinner. Mike and Stephanie were a very funny, charming couple, and their kids were extra cute. While Mike and Rocky talked about what routes we should take, I got to relax while Stevi played the piano for me. I really enjoyed hanging out with this family and I especially liked the gift and note that Stevi and Davis had made for us. It felt great to spend the night in such a comfortable environment.

    The following morning we were well rested and ready to visit Mesa Verde National Park. The area features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the Ancestral Puebloan people (sometimes called the Anasazi), and is best known for cliff dwellings, which are structures built within caves and under outcropping in cliffs. It was beautifully well preserved, and before I nearly squashed a tarantula as I was walking, I imagined that it could have been a fantastic place to live. I am not a fan of spiders, I am petrified actually but as soon as I noticed this one, I couldn’t help but stare at it for a few seconds, it was huge. As I was admiring it, a girl, maybe 7 years old, was running backwards laughing and singing. She wasn’t paying attention to where she was stepping and as she came awfully close. I had to stop her and warn her to be careful not step on the spider. She starred at me with a very bratty expression on her face, she was probably wondering what kind of person goes out of their way to protect a spider from getting stepped on. I pointed to the tarantula for her to see it and her reaction was priceless as she screamed in horror and cried hysterically. Maybe I’m mean, but I laughed about it most of the ride back into Utah.


    The beautiful colours of The Colorado Rockies
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    Up in the mountains near Ouray, Colorado
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    Crystal Lake, up in The Colorado Rockies
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    Iron Mountian
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    Davis, Mike, Stephanie, Stevi and Paula
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    Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
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    The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde
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    An underground room in Mesa Verde
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  5. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
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    Ontario
    [​IMG] Update (May 8th, 2012):

    We just finally received our motorcycle back in Canada after almost 4 months of dealing with the shipping agent. Paula and I had to get the El Salvadorian Embassy, in Toronto, involved back in February to get things moving. We've had a great offer from the guys at Dual Sport Plus, my local dual sport motorcycle shop, for some shop space to rebuild the bike and access to their mechanic.

    Our plan is to see if we can rebuild the bike, and, hopefully, hit the road again at the end of the summer to continue our trip.
  6. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
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    2,751
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    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Thanks for the update, glad things are progressing!
  7. paulotex

    paulotex Adventurer

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    Nov 6, 2010
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    Portugal
    Good luck, I'll be waiting here to hear more from you two!
  8. bharath316

    bharath316 Madbull

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Chennai, India / Charlotte, NC
    If you need any help when u r in India, feel free to PM me. I've got my biker brothers all other the country (advantage of being a member in one of the biggest biking clubs in the country).

    Food, accos, beer n laundry should not be a problem. But sourcing spare parts for the 990 will be very tough.

    Subscribed and my best wishes to complete the trip.
  9. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
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    [​IMG] We pulled off to the side of the road where we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere yet in the center of it all and decided it was the perfect place to stay for the night. The scenery was incredibly wondrous and definitely the most memorable place I have ever awoken to. Utah is impressive! Different than what I’m used to seeing, it displays imposing mountains and flat-layered plateaus brightly coloured red, orange, peach and beige sandstone, sculptured from an ongoing process of wind and water. With over two billion years of accumulated rock, climate and erosion have exposed an extraordinary diversity of geologic structures with little vegetation. It was no surprise that the area was named Valley of The Gods.*We awoke, packed up camp early and spent a long moment staring into the calm distance that surrounded us before stopping by Monument Valley for a few pictures.


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    All I could think of on our way to Lake Powell was the grumbling of my empty belly. Even though there was nothing in sight to eat except for some shrubs, I was tempted to cook one up and sprinkle it with salt. Once we arrived to Lake Powell we had planned on taking the Ferry across but we missed the chance and the next Ferry crossing wasn’t until the following morning. Starving, there were no restaurants, just a convenient store. It was shortly after 5pm and luckily we walked through the door just before it was locked for the night. It was a tiny room with only a few brands of chocolate bars, a couple of cans of beans and few bags of potato chips. We bought what seemed like half of the store and sat at a picnic table as I attempted to cook the beans on our camping stove.

    I love to cook but since being on this trip I have had the opportunity to do so only sometimes while couch surfing. Otherwise, we are eating a $5 foot long from subway because it’s affordable and somewhat healthy. Dinner was made! Cool Ranch Doritos, Pork and Beans with a Snickers bar for dessert and Ginger ale to drink. It was gross but I appreciated something other than Subway. Once we were done eating we began to unpack and prepared to set up the tent. Since there was nowhere to really hide, we had no choice but to be exposed. A man walked over to us and then explained that we would be fined if the park ranger caught us, he told us that he was in charge of a nearby camp site and invited us to stay there for free. We obviously agreed and were thankful to sleep in a great location that overlooked the lake.


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    Lake Powell is a very pretty, large lake but the short ferry ride across it made it seem much smaller. As soon as we were on the other side, we began our day with a delicious breakfast omelette, I was very pleased to eat something wholesome. We traveled on a gravel road named The Bird Trail for some time until we reached a paved road. I remember being surrounded by smooth stoned mountains but as we slightly rode higher in altitude, the sky suddenly opened up and both sides of the narrow road dropped down significantly shocking us with an intense change of scenery. It was simply beautiful. As we continued, we expressed to each other how wonderful it would be to have a nice cup of coffee but knew that we wouldn’t be approaching a busy area for a while. Or not. Out of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere was a Kiva Koffee house overlooking the entire area. Sweet! We stopped to enjoy the scenery and our yummy cup of ridiculously-priced coffee.

    After a nice short rest we continued riding and just as I thought to myself that Utah couldn’t possibly be any prettier, we arrived at Bryce Canyon. I was speechless as my jaw hit the ground. The scenery was incredible, oddly, the only thing my mind could think of that related to what I was looking at was Orange Creamsicles. We took a long hike through the slot canyons and then rode through the park to visit other areas but it became extremely cold and there was snow, clearly a sign that we should make our way south towards Arizona.


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    I had contacted a family in Colorado City at the Utah/Arizona state line and they welcomed us into their home. As we approached the city, Rocky suggested that we take a shortcut through some back roads and mentioned that we were running low on gas. We eventually found ourselves on a dirt path encompassed by beautiful pink sand dunes. It was slippery and unstable to ride on and I began to fear that we would crash and/or run out of gas. Of course, Rocky was much more confident than I.

    Finally arriving, Colorado City seemed unfinished. There were only a few paved roads and houses were partially built. We found Lori’s house and once we met she explained that her husband and daughter were currently away but we were introduced to most of her eight sweet children named Kimmy, Jasper, Jamie, Alma, Rosa, Vera, Charles and Carol. Immediately upon getting there we were offered a bite to eat and a hot shower. While I was washing up, Rocky hung out with Carol while Lori left to drive one of her other daughters to a party. I walked in to Rocky and Carol’s conversation as Carol was describing life in Colorado City. We listened ignorantly, about the history of polygamy and were surprised to discover that Warren Jeff’s compound was located in their neighbourhood.

    For those who don’t know of Warren Jeff’s, it is rumoured that he had 70 wives and he 31 daughters. He belonged to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and held the official title in the FLDS Church as the “President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator”. Not only does he believe that a*devoted church member is to have at least three wives in order to get into heaven, and the more wives a man has, the closer he is to heaven but he was*the sole individual in the church who possessed the authority to perform its marriages and was responsible for assigning wives to husbands. Jeff’s also held the authority to discipline wayward male believers by reassigning their wives, children and homes to another man. Personally, if I had many children to care for, I would definitely consider one or maybe even a few wives, but to have to ask for permission from anyone other than my husband, is redonkulous.

    The next morning, we were spoiled with a delicious breakfast before going to Zion national park. For many reasons, I wish I had spent more time with Lori and her family. It would have been interesting to know how she manages being such a positive, spiritual mother, living in the midst of a complicated community. With such a large family, it was nice to spend time in a home that was filled with a lot of heart and bright personalities.

    Zion National Park was a lot of fun. We were able to ride through parts of it on the motorcycle, that took us through tunnels inside of a mountain but there was also a shuttle bus that took us to some walking trails where we were able to hike through one of nature’s finest sceneries. After a long day of site seeing, we got back on the road and witnessed a perfect sunset as we approached Page, Arizona. Hungry, we pulled up to a McDonald’s because it bribes us with free Internet. A guy named Rex noticed us with the bike and had begun a conversation with Rocky. He mentioned that he was picking up his girlfriend Kayla, she worked there at McDonald’s. Rex later described himself to us as “hillbilly”, I disagree, Rex looked BADASS. He resembled a typical biker with his shaved head, goatee, crocked nose and many tattoos. But then again what does a biker look like? Me? After exchanging many words, he invited us to pitch our tent at the trailer park where they lived, we gratefully accepted. A while later, we met them there and, after preparing for our night stay, we were invited into their trailer for some laughs.

    Somewhere along our travels, we were thoughtfully handed a nice bag of herbs, so I asked if it was OK to share. Seconds later, we smoke filled the trailer with a lovely scent. Many people would probably shy away from the looks of Rex and his extremely obedient Pit Bull. And, they probably would have run when he grabbed for his gun that was resting beside me. But I was only afraid for a second because I was high. I quickly came to my senses and knew that he just wanted to put it in a safe place. Rex, his dog and his sweet girlfriend, Kayla, were really kind, friendly and interesting. We had a great night getting to know and laughing with them. After a short sleep, we packed up and said our goodbyes.


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    Our plan was to spend the day at Antelope Canyon. We had seen pictures of it on the Internet and were excited to visit. Antelope canyon is on native land belonging to The Navajo Nation. It was formed by erosion primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to rainwater, especially during monsoon season. Although, rain does not even have to fall on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for flash floods to whip through, as rain falling dozens of miles away ‘upstream’ of the canyons can funnel into them with little prior notice. Over time the passageways are eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic “flowing” shapes in the rock. It was definitely worth visiting but I was a little annoyed when we first arrived. We rode down a driveway that led us to a hut where we were asked for $6 admission each before entering. We were given tickets and once parked, we walked towards the crowd of people on the other side of the field. We were than told that we were not allowed to go without a tour guide and that would cost us an additional $25 each (if we changed our mind, the $6 admission we each paid would NOT be reimbursed). It was worth seeing, yes, but very deceiving to not be forewarned that we would be paying over $60 between the both of us. I thought it was ridiculously priced, especially after paying approximately $100 for us both to enter into all of the national parks in the US for the entire year.


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    After a couple of hours and many pictures, we left Antelope Canyon and tried to make it to our next destination before the sun set. We were planning to visit a high school friend who had moved to Flagstaff, Arizona a few years back. It had been a beautiful warm day but by the time we reached Flagstaff, the sun quickly hid behind the large, gorgeous mountains and left our bones chilled with the night’s air and high altitude. Ok, chilled isn’t the proper word, I was frozen and my teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. I hate not being prepared for climate change, had it been a bit cooler during the day in Page, Arizona, I would have worn the liners in my Rev-it gear because they work great to keep me warm. However, I was wearing my rev-it gloves and if I haven’t mentioned before, they suck! Rev-it *H20 claim to be waterproof no matter what the weather, they lie. They are constantly cold and wet (soaking wet) from either sweat or weather and they take days to dry. I love Rev-it gear but paying almost $200 for them is a rip off. Just saying.


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  10. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Thanks guys.

    Paula and I have recently broken up. I am currently rebuilding the motorcycle, but the future of the trip is uncertain.
  11. paulotex

    paulotex Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Portugal
    Sorry to hear that. I hope everything goes for the best for each of you. And the best of luck for rebuilding the bike!
  12. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    [​IMG]

    The sun had retreated for the night leaving none of its warmth behind. When we arrived at Rob and Christina’s doorstep, we were immediately welcomed to sit by the fireplace to thaw our bodies from the chill we had just endured during our ride there. Brrr. I was frozen cold and extremely happy that we wouldn’t have to set up the tent in Flagstaff, Arizona that night. Although camping is a lot of fun, I was looking forward to sleeping on a bed and relaxing at Rob and Christina’s for the week. It seemed that I had finally gotten used to being on the road, it took a long time to find comfort with all of the change I had gone through but I also felt as though I was ready to take a moment away from traveling to enjoy a nice vacation.

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    Christina and Rob lived in a large home that was shared with roommates mike and Martin, and a miniature Doberman named Pony-Boy. It was a home filled with active athletes who were either competing for the Olympics, running races, finishing marathons or simply leading an active healthy life style. Rocky and Rob were close friends from high school and that is how I first knew Robbie, more than 15 years ago. I remember him from track and field but I don’t remember ever having a conversation with him. That didn’t matter though, because the moment I walked through his door I was treated life a life long friend.

    I could compare staying with Rob and Christina to the best resort in the world but it was better. It all began with simple things such as labels left throughout the house to guide us to anything we may need. There was a constant supply of delicious wheat beer that became my favorite kind, and a fridge filled with yumminess. They were vegetarian and all of their produce was organic or picked from their garden. Christina was such an incredible cook and was constantly preparing the most amazing meals and desserts. Mmm Christina’s homemade peanut butter ice cream will forever remain on my mind. I probably put on a few pounds during our visit. I always imagined that meat was a necessary part of a meal but heck no, I was wrong. She had so many ideas of how to prepare vegetables that I now believe that I am a carnivore only for selfish reasons.

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    Our first few days there were spent repairing the bike. She was in need of an oil change and valve clearance check. Rocky does most of the work but I’m a fine little helper. It was also a good time to wash our riding gear. It reeked and was covered in dead bugs. I regret buying the grey Rev’It! gear instead of the black because it looks filthy quickly.

    Flagstaff is a great place and I can certainly understand why Rob had moved there. It was surrounded by mountains and an active community. Rocky and I went riding through some trails that lead us to ski lifts where we took a long peak at our surroundings from the top of a mountain. Being on this adventure and constantly on the go is great but taking a moment to stop and stare at the beauty of this planet is the most rewarding gift that I could offer my soul.

    Mid week into our visit, Rocky and I were invited on a hike that would lead us to a cliff edge. The plan was to go rock climbing. I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated. I am so scared of heights that climbing stairs is a challenge for me. We put on some climbing shoes, harnessed ourselves and I took a long minute to gather my thoughts to conquer my fear. Rob went first so that he could hook up the ropes to support us, he made it look effortless. Christina went next and easily climbed the 90 feet to the top. I began to feel more comfortable. When it was my turn to go, I caked my hands with talc to absorb all the sweat and I began climbing. I concentrated on either looking up, forward or at my next move but I knew not to look down. I caught myself repeating the thought in my mind ‘don’t look down, you’re almost there, whatever you do, don’t look down!’. Almost half way to the top my little chicken arms were burning and I began to struggle with my next move. Flexibility was key because there wasn’t anything close to latch on to. I could hear everyone trying to help me from the bottom but I was unable to make sense of the direction. I looked down to read Christina’s lips as she tried to direct and encourage me… Oh shit! I looked down! Suddenly my knees began to convulse and my heart began to race. If nobody stood beneath me I would’ve peed my pants. I was petrified. It took what seemed like a lifetime to regain a normal breathing pattern and calm my heart back into my chest. It took a lot to convince myself that I was going to be fine and I finally mustered up the confidence to stretch my leg up and wide to pull myself high enough to reach my arm. I did it! Holy sheep shit, I actually did it and the relief brought me to the top with a better sense of confidence. I was proud to have climbed a 90-foot cliff and happy to have conquered my fear, even though I am still afraid of heights!

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    A couple of days later, Rob planned a fishing trip with us and his friend, Stephan. We packed a lunch and headed a couple of hours away towards the Colorado River. I had never been fly-fishing and assumed that it meant catching fish with actual flies. I was wrong. In fly-fishing, fish are caught by using artificial flies that are cast with a fly rod and a fly line. The fly line is heavy enough to send the fly to the target. The main difference between fly fishing and spin or bait fishing is that in fly fishing the weight of the line carries the hook through the air, whereas in spin and bait fishing the weight of the lure or sinker at the end of the monofilament or braided line gives casting distance (did that make any sense? If not, blame Wikipedia). I put on a waterproof pair of pants that covered my toes and came up to my chest that were held up by suspenders and put on boats that were wore over it. I looked extra sexy. I walked in slow motion through thick mud that pulled me into the earth and carefully walked out into the middle of the river. It was fun as I walked over slippery rocks with the river rushing past my legs as I tried to keep my balance while holding on to my fishing rod. Once I reached the center of the river, I cast my rod far through the air. Apparently, I was good at it but I wasn’t sure if Rob was just telling me that for encouragement. Between catching a few fish and relaxing on the shore as the sun began to rise beautifully over the cliff that hugged the river, it was an incredible day!

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    Our stay in Flagstaff was coming to an end and with the motorcycle back together, Rocky and I decided to take a road trip to visit the Grand Canyon before we left. It was a warm day and it felt nice to be riding the bike bare without all of our luggage. The Grand Canyon was awesome! I saw it in pictures many times before but they could never describe the view as I had felt it, being there. We spent the day exploring but mainly just simply starring into the distance. When we finally headed back towards Flagstaff, the temperature dropped and night fell quickly. I hate riding at night. Especially on dark roads that hide large animals as they cross. It surprises me that we have never hit one and I was glad to have arrived back safely.

    It was time to move on and although I secretly wanted to be adopted into Rob and Christina’s home, we had much more to see and experience. It was nice to be spoiled and great to have had so much fun but the road was waiting for us. I loved Flagstaff! Stay golden, Pony-Boy!

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    We finally just got the new frame for the motorcycle last month, and I'm trying to find the time between work and the effort to start the rebuild.
  13. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,751
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Thanks for the update, could you post some pics of the frame replacement as you put it back together?
  14. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    Nov 11, 2008
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    670
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    Ontario
    Yes. I will also probably start a new thread on that in the OC forum, too. I need to work up my courage and motivation before I tackle the rebuild.
  15. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
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    2,751
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    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Link it here if you don't mind?
  16. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,201
    Hi guys! I've been following your trip from the beginning, first at the HUBB and now over here. Your ride reports are really great--and the affection you share is palpable. I was sad to here about the bike being damaged but happy that you were not hurt. Looking forward to following the rest of your story. Your photos are super, as well. :clap:clap
  17. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Ontario
    Yes. No problem. I hope to finally be starting work on the bike next weekend.

    Thanks! We're hoping to head out again next spring/summer.
  18. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    [​IMG] It was a good day to get back on the road. The weather was beautiful, we had reorganized our belongings, gathered our thoughts and our riding gear was feeling fresh. It was a relaxed ride through Arizona, the sun was warm as the earth became flat and the sound inside my helmet was pure bliss. Oh, I miss that sound. If peace and calm made a noise, I am certain it is this.

    Our general direction for the day was towards New Mexico. There were a few interesting stops on the way and the first would be Meteor Crater. The story is that 50,000 years ago a nickel/iron meteorite crashed into the Earth and the damage created is supposedly the most well known, best preserved meteorite crater on Earth. I know this only because it was written in the description at the entrance beside the admission fees. We decided not to go see it once we discovered that it would cost us over $30 to view this large space of nothingness. I would have paid something to see it but $16 each is a bit much when you’re on a tight budget. Maybe I’ll regret that someday but I certainly don’t yet.

    Our next stop was Petrified Forest National Park. Back when we were riding through Yellowstone National Park, we rode past a gated area that held a sign reading ‘Petrified Tree’. I didn’t understand. There was a tree stump in the center of the fence but it was too far away to notice anything special about it. It seemed odd that it was called a petrified tree, and I laughed at my own thoughts when I imagined that perhaps it had encountered the Texas Chainsaw massacrer. Arriving at Petrified National Park, it began to make sense as I read the definitions posted throughout. The word petrified comes from the Greek root petro, meaning rock or stone, not scared. Petrified literally means wood turned into stone. This park had many fallen trees from the late Triassic period (approximately 230 million years ago), when I looked at them up close I was shocked to see that the wood was solid rock, sparkling with colorful stones and crystals. If I weren’t concerned with preserving this awesomeness, I would’ve stolen a few chunks to make myself some lovely jewelry.

    As one example, I understand the process to be as follows… We start out with a tree, on a much warmer tropical earth million of years ago. As time goes by the tree gets old, or the weather changes, and it dies and falls into mud. As the tree decays the cells become hollow and the water seeps into the tree and into the cells. The water is filled with minerals like calcite and silicone and as the water evaporates it leaves the minerals behind filling up the cells and creating a petrified tree. Since Opals are silicon and water, that is the exact same ingredients that make petrified wood. So most silicon based petrified wood is really Opals, of various forms and qualities.

    Unfortunately, we have no pictures to show because ——-*SPOILER ALERT* my point and shoot camera was stolen before I got the chance to copy my pictures to a hard drive. ——- Rocky didn’t take any pictures, he was feeling too lazy to push a damn button. Ok, I can only honestly partially blame him. We kept the camera, lenses, flash, battery chargers, cords, and all that kind of stuff in the tank bag. Although the bag was easy to get to, it was perfectly packed in order for everything to fit in it, so, removing anything from it meant constantly reorganizing. Packing and unpacking was annoying at times, this was one of those times.

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    After leaving the Park, we rode until we got hungry and stopped at Subway in Springerville, Arizona. Uhgg, I was getting real sick of eating Subway. We decided to spend the night nearby and asked the girl behind the counter if she had any suggestions of where to camp. She recommended a park and gave us directions but we ended up behind a police station, and when we rode a bit further we ended up at a grave yard. I wasn’t about to sleep at either place so I was excited once we finally found the park. It was a great place to camp, there was a large overhang with a few picnic tables and BBQ pits. We set up the tent in the corner and got ready for a comfortable night sleep.

    We awoke the next morning and prepared to enter New Mexico. Our first stop was to check out a Very Large Array. (VLA) is a radio astronomy observatory consisting of 27 independent antennas that serve multiple purposes, but it is not, despite rumours, used to assist in the search for E.T. or any of his alien friends. After gawking at all of this amazing machinery for a while, we continued our journey until we finally reached Roswell, and found most of E.T.’s friends.

    Roswell, New Mexico has been a popular conversation since 1947 when an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants crashed in the area. The U.S. Armed Forces say that what was recovered was debris from an experimental high-altitude weather and surveillance balloon. But, many have refused to believe that, and Roswell continues to attract attention and tourists interested in UFOs, science fiction, and aliens. It was kinda weird to see green Martians displayed throughout the streets, in the shops and pretty much everywhere. It was dark when we had arrived and after using McDonald’s for their wifi, we found a park to sleep in, I’m surprised that I didn’t have creepy dreams that night.

    It would be our last day in New Mexico but we he had one more stop to make before entering the state of Texas. Carlsbad Cavern is one of the most incredible places I have visited. We took an elevator 750 feet below ground that led us to a few different chambers made of natural limestone. This cave was insanely huge (4,000 feet (1,220 m) long, 625 feet (191 m) wide, and 255 feet (78 m) high at the highest point) and it took a few hours for us to walk around. I have no words to describe the intense beauty of theses caves, we got a few awesome pictures but they don’t show how amazing it was in three demential form. We spent the rest of our day in the cavern but still had a lot of road to cover before reaching Texas. The weather had been increasingly warmer as we traveled south and I was excited for all the warm days ahead.

    To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled about going to Texas and I’m going to blame that on politics. If I were asked to describe Texas with 5 words, they would be Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, guns and oil. I’m not a fan of any of that and I could tell that Rocky wasn’t either as he flipper the bird to a Halliburton vehicle we rode past.

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    The land was flat in comparison to all of the small volcanos we rode past in New Mexico. There were oil rigs, pickup trucks and cowboy hats everywhere. As the day came to an end we finally stopped for a bite to eat and to search for a place to sleep. We came across a small town and decided to sleep at a truck stop with an Ihop near by. Mmm I was craving bacon, eggs and pancakes. Even since the maple syrup was not real maple syrup, it was only a little disappointing. Anything but subway was delicious at this point.

    We packed up the next morning and headed to San Antonio, Texas. Back when we were in Boise, Idaho, staying with Kent, we met his employee Jeff. Jeff had mentioned that he was moving to San Antonio right around the same time we would be in the area, and he kindly invited us to stay with him. Before arriving at his house, we were hungry and stopped at a BBQ restaurant named Rudy’s. It was a picnic table kind of place with a large sign that read ‘Rudy’s, the worst bar-b-q in Texas’. The sign lies, the food was ridiculous deliciousness I will never forget! Shortly after eating we rode to Jeff’s house, he lives with his son Arden and his dog Sadie, and we were warm welcomed when we arrived. It was easy to be comfortable in their home, we were immediately treated as if we lived there as well. Literally, he gave us our own set of keys. Jeff has got to be one of the most thoughtful men I have ever met. He went well out of his way to be sure that we were comfortable. The day after we arrived he told me that I probably missed a nice bubble bath and that there was a deep tub he scrubbed clean and purchased a few different products for me in the case that I have missed being a girl while on this trip. It meant a lot to me that he was so kind and that i was able to soak in a nice hot bath.

    During the first few days of our stay, we were able to change a tire and find a store that sold PacSafe. PacSafe is an adjustable high-tensile stainless steel locking device, designed to cover and protect a variety of bags and packs from thieves. Since most of our belongings are accessible to anybody, it is a good idea to purchase another PacSafe so that we can lock up our riding gear and helmets as we leave our bike to wander around. Very convenient and I highly recommended it to most travelers.

    With all of our errands taken care of, Rocky and I were able to wander around town. San Antonio is a very large city. We explored the city center and took a stroll through Riverwalk, where the San Antonio river winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks are lined with restaurants, shops and hotels, and there are river boats that carry passengers from one end to the other. As the day turned to night we found ourselves wandering throughout the city and stopping to see the Alamo. The Alamo, originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, is a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound and was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. It is now a museum in Downtown San Antonio. We enjoyed discovering San Antonio, it is a really nice city to visit.

    Over the weekend, Jeff and Arden planned a day trip to take us to Corpus Christi, a coastal city in southern Texas. Jeff, Arden, Rocky and I packed a picnic and got into the SUV for a nice road trip to the beach. Once we finally arrived, the road lead us to a booth before entering the beach area. We were greeted by a park ranger and we became a bit confused by his demeanor and ascent, “Enter if that’s what you want to do. Go ahead, at your own risk of course.” What kind of a greeting is that? We all joked about him as we drove away. Suddenly, our throats got itchy, our eyes burned, we were feeling symptoms of something. The beach was vacant. We entered the tourist building and the park ranger was very helpful and explained to us that there was a Red Tide. Red Tides are caused by tiny, single-celled marine organisms that are normally present in the Gulf of Mexico as resting cysts or ‘seeds’ on the ocean bottom. When certain conditions are right (salinity, temperature and upwelling) a dense concentration also called a ‘bloom’ exposes these organisms to the surface and when hit by light the ocean appears as a brownish red colour. Certain species are toxic and kill fish, contaminate shellfish and cause an irritating aerosol in the air. It was horrible, I felt bad for the park rangers that had to be exposed to this all day/week/month? We ran back to the SUV and headed away from the beach for plan B. Hungry, we decided it would be nice to find a good place to have a picnic and we conveniently found a man selling some tamales to eat with our lunch. Rocky and I had never tried tamales, they turned out to be tasty. After having lunch and walking around the coast, we stopped to check out a museum before heading back to San Antonio. It would be our last night at Jeff’s house and we decided to relax for the night and watch movies on the big screen.

    Visiting with Jeff, Arden and their pet Sadie, became another amazing moment and memory of our journey. Texas will now mean a little more to me than just corrupt policies and politics. We packed our belongings the following day and prepared to approach the Mexican border but not without stopping at Rudy’s BBQ one last time.

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    Very Large Array, in New Mexico
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    Paula at Very Large Array
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    Carlsbad Caverns - Carlsbad, New Mexico
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    Carlsbad Caversns
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    Paula at The Alamo
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    The Alamo
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    Downtown San Antonio
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    San Antonio's Venice
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    Paula, Arden & Jeff
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  19. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,201
    Paula and Rocky, it's great to see an update from you guys!! :D:DBeen following from the start and was sorry to hear the bike got crunched in the accident, but glad that the two of you were OK. Hoping you'll have the time to keep updating, tho I'm sure you're working on getting back on the trip again! Here's a story a friend of mine told me about Texas. In the late 60's he was a college student in Texas, though he was from North Carolina. This was during the height of the war in Vietnam and I think he was involved in some protests. So this one time he gets stopped by the police who demand to see his military draft card (it was a law that you had to carry it with you). He had one but they were suspicious it wasn't really him so they wanted more ID. After rummaging around in his backpack he handed them his US passport. They asked him why he was carrying a passport. He said "doesn't everyone going from America to Texas bring a passport?"

    Jes' havin' fun! Some of my nearest and dearest chums are Lone Star Staters.

    Keep the RR going!! :clap:clap
  20. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Ha. Oh, yes. We stayed with really great people in Texas. We both just think that the politics and religion need a bit of a change. :p

    A new blog post will come as soon as I can get Paula to finish writing. I've pretty much given up on the writing since I don't like doing it, I'm not very good at it, and I don't really have the time and energy.

    A little update - just finished the motorcycle rebuild! It sounds and feels better than before. I removed the SAS stuff from the bike so I needed to use TuneECU to access and disable the settings in the ECU for that equipment. When I did, I realized that, the one time I took my motorcycle to a KTM mechanic, they loaded it with the wrong fuel map. I flashed the ECU with the correct map, and it is sweeter than ever.

    Pics of the rebuild:

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