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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by motobiko, Jan 8, 2013.
Enjoying the report Luke.
We all sort of knew what they did...but now you have the photographic evidence...
Thanks for reading! Always good to hear from another Montanan. Does it bring back memories of your trip up north a few years back? Looks like we both went a lot of the same places.
I just couldnt resist putting it in there. My workplace has about 400 employees, and the safety department makes their own calender every year with people's photos in it. Well, lets just say above mentioned picture made the 2013 edition in April.
Day 21 7/27/12 7863 miles on the odometer. Tire Time.
Another night camping offroad for free. My second night with complete darkness. After 2 weeks of not seeing the light completely fade away, seems so strange to have nothing but black again at night. I guess i will just have to get used to it. The Cassiar highway is a great ride, nice scenery and minimal traffic. The actual service of the road is quite rough though, just a basic chip and seal road with more chips than sealing. Didnt have a centerline for a lot of the miles either.
I took off maybe 9am from my campsite near Smithers, and rode for a bit until i found a cafe to eat some breakfast at. Then i stopped a few times to take pics and get gas before rolling into Prince George around 4pm. My back tire was getting pretty bald, so i decided to change it. First, i wanted to buy a few things in Walmart. The skies were partly sunny to mostly sunny throughout the day, but after about 15 minutes in Walmart, it just started to pour cats and dogs. I ran out and threw my tarp over the bike to keep some of the water off, but still had some soggy stuff. I ran over to Subway to grab a bite to eat and stay dry for a while. Ate my sandwich and took a nap while i waited for the rain to subside. About 6:30 it finally quit.
I hadnt changed a bike tire in about 7 years, and never on the road before, especially with proper tools. At home i always ended up using flat screwdrivers to change my tires on my 81 Yamaha 400 special II. Most of the time i could get it without pinching the tube. Anyway, i didnt have a centerstand, so i pushed the bike up to a telephone pole in the far side of the parking lot and tied the luggage rack to the pole with some rope. With the kickstand down and all the bags off, it wasnt too hard to get it to pivot off the ground. I loosened the chain and pulled the brake calipers off before removing the axle bolt. Then i pushed the tire ahead and popped the chain off.
About this time the a guy came out of the motorhome that was parked besides me lengthwise in the parking lot. Im sure he was wondering what in the world i was doing, tearing my bike apart in the parking lot 20 feet in front of his motorhome.
He asked if i needed any help. I told him no, i was just changing a tire. However, after thinking about it for a minute, i asked him if he had any boards i could borrow. He had some fortunately, and i used 2 of them to lay the rim on while i changed the tire. My new tire irons were only about 10 inches long, definitely on the small side. I found that if i worked a quarter of the bead section back and forth i could break the bead. Once it broke i stood on the rest of it and got the whole bead loose. Did pretty much the same on the other side. Getting the tire off was a bit trickier. I had to use a flat screwdriver to hold the bead with 1 of the tire irons, while i worked the bead with the other one. Replacing the new tire was a bit easier. I filled up an empty water bottle with soapy water in the bathroom and used that to lube up the new tire. A screwdriver was needed again to help me hold down the bead while i used one of the irons to work the bead around. After i got it on, i plugged in my Slime air compressor to the cigarette outlet and fired the bike up to keep the battery charged up while i aired up the tire. Took the compressor a good 4-5 minutes to get 30 lbs in the tire. I ran in to Walmart to get a tube of grease to lube the wheel bearings as well when the tire was off. Ran the bolt through the tire and spun it around to check the balance. It was off a little bit. I just had to move the weight over a bit to get it to balance.
Before i got all this back together, the guy from the motorhome invited me in to eat dinner. He had been watching me work most of the time. We talked about life for at least 2 hours. He and his wife were from 70 House, a town over 200 miles south of Prince George. They were retired and had been up to Terrace to see a relative. They had brought back a bucket of ripe cherries from that area as well. I was surprised cherries grew that far north, they were the same as the ones you would buy in the store. I ate a good 2 handfuls. My hands were really greasy from the bike, i didnt have any degreasing soap. They told me to just wash 'em inside in their sink. Good thing they had paper towels. I didnt get it all off, so i tried not to touch any food if i could help it. They were a really nice couple. The guy had a motorcycle, which he had done a few trips across BC and i think one out to Saskatchewan, but none into the USA.
After eating i finished putting the bike back together. The couple walked to some stores. I attempted to get the rope off, but i couldnt, it was too tight. Then i tried to lift the back of the bike up, rotate it so the kickstand was off the ground, then lift it high enough i could scoot it over and loosen the rope. That did not work at all. The bike just wanted to tip over, and i couldnt maneuver it into a position where i could set it down upright. The guy just happened to come back at this time and help me hold it, so i could kick the kickstand up, then scoot it over and set it down. I packed everything back up and prepared to hit the road again. The guy took my tire for me, said he would throw it away at a later date for me. I didnt want to pack the big tube of grease on the bike, so i gave it to him. Said he would find a use for it. I thanked him for his help and generousity and left town. I was going to meet a gal i met in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska that lived here for a beer, however, she wasnt home.
I stopped at a gas station on the way out of town. Talked to the lady at the counter for probably 10 minutes. Told her where i was from and what i was doing. She thought it was pretty cool. Although i said i had rode many miles already and still had many more to go. To which she replied,'' But you're having a good time, aye?" I was having a good time. And i had to laugh, nobody really says 'aye' in the states in their everyday language usage. At least no one I know. So i chuckle when i hear it. Not that its bad or anything, just not something im used to hearing.
I rode another 100 miles that night and pulled off behind some trees near McCleese Lake. There were actually farms and ranches around now instead of just forest wilderness like northern Canada and Alaska. Had to listen to traffic drive by, but thank heavens for earplugs.
Just about to leave the campsite.
A river between Smithers and Prince George.
This was in a bathroom somewhere along the way today. World Dryer Canada! made in usa......
My big mess at walmart.
408 miles today.
Yes, your pics have a familiar look to them. Glad you're taking time to write up the report. -David
This is a great ride report!
Day 22 7/28/12 8271 miles on the odometer. Goodbye Canada.
The spot i camped in was just a patch of ground less than an acre that wasnt fenced in like the adjacent fields surrounding it. Why that was, i have no idea. Unless it was owned by the government. It had a few pine trees i could hide behind, which i did, no one could really see me from the highway even though it was only about 40 yards off the highway. I continued south on highway 97 and stopped at the Red Rock Grill for a $5.99 breakfast, which i think was in 100 House. Then i rode south until i got to the turnoff to go west on highway 99 so i could take the scenic way to Vancouver. The first 30 miles or so reminded me a lot of the Front Range in Colorado. The terrain was very similar to the northern foothills from Denver to Fort Collins(i have rode through there quite a bit).
I began to see more and more harleys on the road. The temperatures finally got warm as well. I bet it was pushing 90 out now. I hadnt seen that since i was in Montana 19 days ago. I pulled off the road here and there to take pics on the way to Vancouver. I fueled up in Squamish and used the rest of my Canadian currency. About 10 miles down the road from there the traffic started to back up and went from 2 lanes at 90km/h to 30km/h. After about 1/4 mile of that i saw what was holding up traffic. A man on a crotch rocket had either ran into the concrete divider in the center or hit another vihicle and went down in the left lane. His buddy was parked a few hundred yards down and looked very concerned. The paramedics were there already doing cpr on him. I never checked the paper or anything to see what happened, but i hope he made it. A chilling reminder of what can happen if you are not careful on the road.
I finally got to Vancouver in the late afternoon. I wasnt sure how i wanted to go through town, i had my Tomtom plugged in, but i wasnt sure it would take me the way i wanted to go through town. I picked a random exit to pull off of, and it turned out to be a residential area with no businesses to speak of around. There happened to be a park nearby, so i stopped under a tree and got my atlas out to view all available routes. Wasn't a very busy area, a few kids were plaing in the park, and there were a few adults walking around. Like a minute later, a man walking by startes asking me questions about my bike. His name was Andrew and he was probably in his early 20s. He had a fairly good mohawk haircut. Anyway, he saw i had a dual sport bike and wanted to know more about it. I told him the KLR is a great bike to get. Told him about all the pros and cons of them and what riding was like. He hadnt ridden very much at all before, but wanted to get a bike and start learning more about them. I suggested a dr650 or xr650l because they were lighter and easier to learn on. Plus, he wanted just something to go around town with or take an occasional ride up into the mountains with. I hope he got one by now.
Somehow we ended up talking about controlled substances. Andrew told me that you are better off smoking pot than drinking in canada. I guess if the wrong cop pulls you over after having 1 beer, you can get a dui or whatever the equivalent in Canada is. I thought that sounded a little extreme, because i had seen plenty of people stop for a burger and a beer and continue driving on this trip. He asked me if i needed some pot, and if i did, there were some kids down the street selling it. I dont smoke so i politely declined. Then he told me about 420, which was some type of festival they had, (maybe April 20th?) in Vancouver where everybody was smoking weed in a public arena and the mounties just let it go. We talked for probably 45 minutes before he had to leave. I found out where i needed to go on the map, he recommended swinging through downtown to see the sights, so i rode off after he went home to smoke a bong.
I did end up riding through downtown for a bit. Vancouver seems like a cool place. One thing im not used to in big cities is all the trolley lines all over the place. At first i thought they just had an overabundance of electrical lines, but then i saw a trolley going around with an metal arm going to the wires. That made a lot more sense. I have never been on a trolley, but i would assume they are electric and pull power off the guidelines. I finally made it to the Washington border around 7pm. There were 7 or 8 lines open and a few cars in each line. I had to wait maybe 5-10 minutes to go through. The guy in the booth was about 25 and he was by far the coolest border agent i have ever dealt with. He started asking me the normal 'where are you from?, how long were you in canada for?, what do you do for work?' questions. However, when he got to the 'where are you going?' question i told him my next major destination. Which was Mexico! Told him i'm touring all over America! I had to laugh after that. He was extremely jealous and thought what i was doing was way cool. He waved me on after a few more questions.
When the washington sign came up, i pulled over off the interstate to take a picture. Took a few shots before noticing the ditch was full of blackberries! They were even ripe. What a treat! I must have eaten at least a couple handfuls or more. After that i rode down to Mount Vernon and stopped for fuel. I asked the cashier if she had a ferry schedule, but she didnt know anything about it. There was another customer who knew the general schedule of the ferries, and he told me they ran until 9 or 10 in the evening. So i went down to Oak Harbor and checked the schedule there. This was about 9pm, and the last ferry left for Port Townsend around 10:20pm. Got down to the dock with plenty of time and it was only around $6 for the toll. Not too many people going across. The ferry came back over a little after 10, unloaded, and let me load up.
The ferry ride only lasted 20 minutes. Didnt take very long to unload, i didnt even strap the bike down. When i got to port Townsend i rode around town for a while, looking for campsites. A car followed me for 7 or 8 blocks during several different turns. I had to make a quick turn to get away from him. Must have been a cop. I couldnt find any campsites, so i ended up camping between the buildings at the fairground. The gates were open, i just rode in and found a nice 8 foot gap between two buildings and set up camp around 11:30pm. Even had grass to sleep on.
If you are looking to start a potato farm, Pemberton, BC is most definitely NOT the place for you.
Not to say anything about the distinguished citizens of Canada, but.......
More highway 99 highlights. Great road for riding.
Back in good ol' USA
513 miles today.
Good to hear that you enjoyed hwy 99 (and that you stopped in Squamish). It is a great ride. Unfortunately, each summer there are always a few kids who will ditch their bikes along that stretch of the highway (and a few cars each winter too). The road has been straightened in the last few years, it used to be a classic mountain route...with a few more accidents!
If you ever make it back up here let me know, you will not have to sleep in a field between two buildings...
Looking forward to hearing what happened next...
Yeah I really enjoyed riding on highway 99. Wasn't that gnarly of a road. I've rode mountain passes that are far worst. I'm not sure why that guy went down, he may have hit some rocks or he may have just been going too fast. They undoubtedly rode by me when I was fueling up or stopped to take pics just a few minutes prior. Closest I have ever been to a motorcycle accident. Hopefully it will stay that way too.
Actually I didn't mind camping out. It actually turned into kind of a game for me. How many public places could I secretly camp without getting yelled at or arrested? I must have done it at least 20 times this trip. @ $50/night for hotel rooms, that's a $1000 savings. Paid for my $23 Walmart tent many times over.
Day 23 7/29/12 8784 miles on the odometer. Hello west coast.
I woke up on this sunny sunday morning not too long after sunrise. The fairgrounds werent very large in Port Townsend, it had more of a small town atmosphere. I heard people walking through, talking before 7am. They must have been out for a morning stroll. Also, there was an older gentleman driving around an old Ford 9N tractor pulling a wagon, which he was emptying garbage into from the garbage cans. None of these people saw my bike and tent between the buildings as far as i could tell. Or if they did, they didnt care. Either way i blew out of there free as a bird by 7:30. I got gas at the closest station and asked the cashier if there was a walmart near by. There wasnt one in Port Townsend, but Port Angeles had one further down the road. Headed west on 101 until i got to Port Angeles. I think i ate at Mcdonalds before stopping in at walmart to see if they had any oil for my bike. They didnt carry any bike oil, but a nearby O'Reilly's did. I already had a filter with me. Drained the oil into an empty water jug and dumped in into the used oil barrel in O'reillys and continued west.
Made a stop at Sol Duc hot springs in Olympia National Park. The springs werent too far off the road. It was a bit warm out to be in the springs, maybe 75-80, but felt good after riding. Next i rode west on 101 until i hit the junction with 113, took that up to 112, and proceeded up to Neah Bay, and went as far out on the peninsula as i could. There was a couple on a bmw and a triumph perhaps? working on one of their bike in a parking lot in town. I didnt stop on the way to the park at the furthest west point you can drive.
There is a little state park at the end of the peninsula you can hike out to the bay. I think there was some type of 'parking fee' there you were suppose to pay, but i didnt see anywhere official to pay, so i just parked and ran down the trail. It was a decent hike to the shore, maybe 3/4 of a mile. The trail started out okay, but became very steep at times, wound around trees, rocks, roots, went across boardwalks, and platforms on the way down to the edge of land. A gentleman probably in his 80s was trying to walk down there. He couldnt see very well, and didnt have particularly good balance. Wanted to get some pictures of the ocean and was determined to get there. I helped him down for a while until he took a break and said he would be okay. There were plenty of people on the trail, so i knew he would be okay. I ran down to the end of the trail. The beach wasnt accessable from where i came out, too many rocks and cliffs. Took a few pictures and headed back for the parking lot. The old man had given up trying to walk down and had given his camera to another hiker. Made me feel a lot better, because the lower part of the trail was rather twisted and slick, he never would have made it down. He was waiting for his camera to get back before he started back.
On the way up i met the biker couple i had seen in Neah Bay earlier. They were from Europe, which country i honestly dont remember. The man had been adjusting his GPS setup in his tankbag, that was all earlier. Talked to the ma few minutes and headed out. Backtracked to highway 101 and headed south. The rest of the day was rather uneventful. Just rode the coast highway down to Oregon. It wa a nice sunny day, cool along the coast. This was my first time along the Washington coast. I rode the Oregon coastal highway in 2006 on my Vulcan 1500, and have been down most of 101/1 in California in a car in 2010. I really liked the Washington part of 101. Seemed to have more trees and beaches that were level with the highway instead of rock cliffs that have a greater likelihood of dominating the topography like the Oregon and California coastline did. Briefly considered stopping to go do some bajaing on the beach, but didnt want to stop and take everything off to do it. I got into Oregon just after dark, tried calling someone i knew in the area, but my cellphone had a dead battery and wouldnt charge up off my outlet on the bike. Kept going south and found a flat spot just off the road around Manzanita, OR to camp at. Took me a while to find the perfect pulloff, but i eventually persevered around midnight. Nice little flat spot on the west side of the road across from a pulloff on the east side. The hillside just barely sloped down for 60 or 70 feet from the road before getting steep and going down to a little bay another 50 yards or so from the highway. I backed my bike in and cut some branches with my machete to cover it up before pitching my tent and retiring for the night.
My 'budget' campground.
Sol Duc hotsprings.
Olympia NP stream.
Pics from my hike to the beach at Neah Bay.
480 miles today.
Day 24 7/30/12 9264 miles on the odometer.
I had an uneventful night camping in the trees right off highway 101. Not too many cars drove by during the night, making it somewhat easy to sleep. I packd up and rode a few miles into Tillamook and had breakfast. I tried charging my phone again off my bike, but it wouldnt charge up. My friends sister and her family lived 8 miles away in Oceanside, and were moving back to South Dakota in a couple weeks. My friend was bringing his truck and trailer out to help them move, so i figured if i could get ahold of them, i could drop my cold weather clothes and a few other things i didnt need anymore on the trip. I eventually had to find a pay phone and cal my frined to get his sister's number, then get the address to find them. Got the info i needed and walked out of the store. Outside i passed a man wearing a Salty Dog Saloon T-shirt. Interesting coincidence, i was just there 10 days earlier.
Rode out to Oceanside, and found her place after stopping to ask directions. The street they lived on wasnt in my GPS. Arrived and talked to her for a bit, then proceeded to take everything off my bike and go through every bag/compartment and get rid off all my trash. Filled a bag of stuff up to send back in addition to my extra gas can. I was just going to take off after that, but she and her daughter were heading into Tillamook to eat lunch with her husband. We ended up eating at the Air Museum cafeteria, he worked right nextdoor. Talked to them for a while before they left. I have been by the Air Museum before, but had never gone through it. Might as well as long as i am there. I spent at least 2 hours going through everything. Lots of unique, vintage old airplanes from every period of aviation. A few barn owls lived there as well.
I continued south on highway 101 after touring the Air Museum. I wanted to eat at the Crazy Norwegian in Port Orford. Sadly, they werent open on mondays or sundays too for that matter. Arrived in California in the dark again. Stopped in Crescent City and got a motel room for around $45. The lady at the desk was nice, i talked to her for a bit while watching the Olympics on the lobby tv. I hadnt really watched any events yet due to my travels. Ran over to Safeway and picked up groceries. Although i have been here before, the row of hard liquor in grocery stores always jumps out at me. In Montana, only bars and liquor stores can sell the hard stuff. Grocery stores ad gas staions just have beer and wine. Then in North Dakota where i grew up, none of the grocery stores could sell alcoholic beverages. Only bars or liquor stores. Oh what how different the states are.
Taco Bell had dinner for me as well, and after getting my groceries i retired by 11pm to get some much needed sleep in a bed. Showered as well for the first time in over a week, with the exception of the hot springs, since leaving Valdez, AK.
Where i camped off 101.
The Air Museum.
Bacon and Pancakes anyone?
Closed! No lutefisk tonight!
348 miles today.
Day 25. 7/31/12 9612 miles on the odometer.
The day started out rainy, then turned foggy as I rode south, and became sunny before reverting back to cloudy, all in the first 15 miles. The redwoods are so beautiful, The experience of riding through the massive trees is like no other. It's almost like another planet, or Jurassic Park. Where are those velociraptors? This was my third time through the redwoods, second on the bike. I finally stopped at Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox to go through the trees on the gondola tour. You pay like $15 to walk through a series of trails up and down the hillside, and can take a 1/2 mile gondola ride up and down through the trees. I walked through to the gondola, took it up, then walked down the trail down. The trail is rather steep and usually slick in spots, so its a good idea to take a walking stick. At the bottom of the lift, there was a humungous redwood, perhaps 15 feet in diameter. I wished i could have climbed to the top, but didnt have any climbing gear. Ill have to bring that next time. Another highlight was the cathedral tree, which was composed of 7 smaller trees growing in a half circle right next to each other. A few weddings take place there yearly.
Drove through the tour through tree near Klamath, CA. No injuries thankfully. Just a few pictures. I had to wait for 4 or 5 other people to go through. Last 2 times i was there, i just pulled in and snapped a few pics. After riding a few more miles south after that i went down Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Thats a nice little road to ride. No real shoulder to speak of on it, just a few pulloffs here and there. It winds up and down and around the giant trees for maybe 8 miles then returns to 101. I continued south on 101. Right after going through Eureka, 101 turned inland, where the temperature shot up to the mid 90s. Not what i wanted. Quite the change after 2.5 weeks of Alaska and the cool coastline, where the high averaged maybe 65. At least i didnt need my longjohns anymore. I dont think i have ever worn them soo much in July. I had to stop and take off my jacket and sweatshirt at a pulloff. Way too warm for those.
I only had to go through the heat for an hour and a half or so. Turned off on highway 1 and headed west again to the coast. It was a slow journey, too many campers on the road. If i remember right, the speed limit was 25-35 mph in most spots, but i ran into a few campers averaging 20. There may or may not have been some illegal passing on that road involving a small, quick accelerating 2-wheeled vehicle going around RVs on double yellow lines. I was overjoyed to get back on the coast highway. Cool temperatures, minimal traffic, slowish speeds 35-55mph on a windy highway, doesnt get much better than this.
Just after dark i pulled into San Francisco, my first big, big city of the excursion. Normally i dont care for the big cities, but this was at least a change of pace from the lonely roads i had been transversing until now. I got fuel and food before heading out to 101 down to Prunedale. Got back on highway 1 and went through Monterrey down to Big Sur, where i found a ditch to camp in for the night.
From the gondola.
Something didnt smell good
Me and Ol Blue
Drove through a tree...on purpose
So tight! Take a motorcycle next time.
How many chops does it take to fall a 10 foot diameter redwood with a 15 inch hatchet?
Had to stop to get rid of some warm clothes inland 101.
Back on the coast,
Back in San Fran after going over the Golden Gate Bridge.
533 miles today.
Day 26 8/1/12 10155 miles on the odometer.
The spot i camped in was in a drop-off where a culvert went under the highway. I parked my bike in the pulloff right next to it. Stopped after 11pm, so hardly any real traffic during the night. I did have to cut the brush down to make a spot for my tent. Threw some of the weeds on the tent to cover it up, only a semi could see me from the highway now! It would have been bad if a flash flood came through, i may have met a 5 foot wall of water coming down off the hills. But it didnt rain so i stayed high and dry all night.
Riding south on 1 i noticed the coastline became more open, with more hills and less trees than Oregon or Washington. I took my time going south, stopping for pictures frequently. Met a man from Bozeman, MT in a late 70s Ford pickup with a box camper. I noticed the plates, in MT each country starts with a particular number, which happened to start with a 6(usually Bozeman), so i stopped, commented on the view before asking if he was from Bozeman. I told him i was from Colstrip, and we talked a bit before i left. In the afternoon i rode by a large group of beached Elephant Seals. I just had to stop for some pics. The parking lot was packed, this particular spot must have been a regular sight for the ugly critters.
I got back on 101 in San Luis and kept going until i got to Santa Barbara. My Tomtom stated there was a NAPA in town. Needed some oil, but the address given was preposterously inaccurate. I gave up trying to find anything and stopped by the library to check my email. I'll have to admit, the scenery in Santa Barbara is rather impressive. The Santa Ynez mountains in the background, all the southwestern architecture, the hobos sleeping on the library lawn, nothing like Montana. Later in LA, i finally found some oil. I bought 20w-50 instead of the 10w-40 i had been running up until this point. The desert just might get warmer than 104 degrees. I jumped back on highway 1 to follow it through the cities along the coast. One stretch of the highway had close to 20 beach volleyball courts on the sand. This was also the first time i had experienced 'lane splitting' California style! Traffic slowed down to 20 mph in a 45 mph zone 4 lanes across. I went with traffic for a while until a Harley went whizzing by betweeb the cars. One glance and i thought to myself, 'Hey! I want to do that too!" So i started whipping through traffic as well. Its quite convenient to be the first one to leave every red light. Haha, even the scooters were doing it in town. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like weaving through cars in stop and go traffic at 45mph!
After going through LA, I got on I-5 and popped down to Imperial beach, the most southwest town in the lower 48. Pulled into a parking lot on the beach around midnight. I sat on a park bench for a while just listening to the water. I had a beer at Ye Olde Plane Inn, the most southwesterly bar in the US evidently. I stayed there a while to relax, then went to look for a campsite. I went around Lower Otay Lake, but there wasnt enough brush to hide in. There was a campground, but i think they were full, at it was like 2:30am, so i couldnt register myself. While i was away from my bike, a border patrol suv drove through the parking lot and shined his spotlight on my bike. I started to walk over to talk to him, but he drove off. Finally when i was going east on highway 94, i found a spot just off the shoulder i could hide my bike and set up my tent below on the other side of the barbwire fence. Probably someone pasture, but surely they would mind me camping a few hours. It was at least 4am before i got to lay down. The ground smelled weird, might have just been the type of vegetation, im not sure. I just hoped there werent any scorpions, spiders, or snakes that would be unhealthy to meet, laying in the thick layer of leaves i threw my tent on.
My fellow montanan.
Squirrel vs Seal
fat tubs of lard
Had some fancier machines park next to me.
Hit some fog.
back on the highway
492 miles today.
Day 27 8/2/12 10647 miles on the odometer. McDonalds in Mexico!
One thing about setting up camp in the dark is that you miss the little things. Like hundreds of ants crawling all over your tent because you set up on their mound. I noticed them after i crawled into my sleeping bag, so after shining the flashlight over every corner of the tent for 5 minutes i had them all elimintated, so finally i could rest. For a few hours anyway, i got up by 9, so less than 5 hours of sleep. The border patrol hadnt seen me so i was okay. The spot i had parked the bike was downhill against a tree. It proved to be good spot to hide, but impossible spot to get out. I couldnt go around the tree, the hill was too steep. I tried to brace myself againsty the tree and grab the handlebars and push it back, but the front tire just slide out and the bike tipped over uphill. Eventually i just had to drag each end of the bike uphill back and forth while it was on the ground to get it high enough up so i could upright it and push it back without tipping over. Probably cost me an extra half hour because i had to take everything off and put it back on again.
Rode on for an hour before stopping at a little restraurant to get an iced tea. I only had $100 bills left, the waiter didnt look too thrilled about getting me change. I think he had to go in the back room to get more money because he didnt have enough in the cash register. I inquired about going into Tecate. They told me to park at Payless Shoes and just walk in if i was only going in for a short period of time. The wait at the border can be long, they search you pretty good from what i understand. Another hour on the road i was at the border by Tecate. Got fuel at the gas station and just parked my bike at the edge of the parking lot. I figured it would be okay there for a while in the middle of the day.
This was my first visit ever south of the border. I had previously debated going into Tijuana or Mexicali, but didnt want to deal with all the traffic or the supposed crime there. I had no problems whatsoever getting into Mexico, the border guards just waved me on, no questions asked. I exchanged a $20 bill for like 250 pesos, the exchange rate was between 12 and 13 pesos/dollar. A man ran up and asked for 25 cents, so i gave him 35 cents of my American change I walked 1/2 mile into town before stopping at a nicer place to eat. Knew just enough spanish to identify AND order something off the menu i knew would be good. The meal and a drink was around 130 pesos. Walked a little further into town and bebio dos Tecate cervezas por trece dolares. Stopped by Waldo Mart for some fig newtons. Walked back to McDonalds and bought a oreo ice cream cone for 12 pesos. Mexico had the cheapest gas of the trip so far, about $3.05 a gallon. I spent about 3 or 4 hours in Mexico, mostly walking around, watching people interact. Reminded me a lot of being in Indonesia. Lots of people everywhere, hanging out, working odd jobs, hot temperatures, more two wheeled vehicles than four wheeled vehicles, just a completely different atmosphere than what a person typically finds in the USA. My hunting boots werent very well suited for this type of climate, had to buy some 30 peso sandals to wear. They were cooler, but not particularly comfortable.
Getting back into the US was fairly straightforward, once i found the right exit point. I walked in from the east into the automobile lane, which drew a few reprimands from the guards, found the right one after backtracking a block back into town. There were perhaps 3 people in front of me in line, didnt have to wait very long. The border guard asked me the normal questions as usual, however, raised his eyebrows when i told him i was from Montana. He was like,''Montana? How did you hear about this place??!!" I informed him this was my first visit and i had simply picked a spot on the map to visit. I'm guessing he didnt have people from MT come through everyday.
Got back on the bike and rode to El Centro in 100-110 heat. Not a good thing to do with 10w-40 oil, which is supposedly good to 104. Wasnt too far so i didnt think it would hurt, but after this, the bike did burn more oil, but i was going faster in hotter conditions. I found a filter and some chain wax at the Kawi shop there. Decided to go see a movie and cool down. Batman and Spiderman werent playing for 2 more hours, so i made the unwise decision to see Ted, which turned out to be horrible, i had to leave early. The bike was still warm over an hour later, even with latex gloves on, the oil and plug were too hot to handle for more than a few seconds. The oil went into an old windshield washer fluid jug i cut a hole in. I took it down to Pep boys, they take used oil for free. I went to the toyota dealer first, but the shop was closed and the salesman didnt have a clue what to do with it.
Stopped for a burger on the way out of Imperial. The manhole in the parking lot was bubbling up water, maybe 6 inches deep. Must have been an overflow from somewhere else. Left town on highway 86 northwest along the Salton Sea. I went by a silo of some sort that had sea level on it, which appeared to be about 40, 50 feet off the ground. Wish i would have stopped for a pic, but oh well, i have 4000 others.
Traffic slowed way down about 30 miles out of town, the left lane was coned off. I initially assumed there was an accident of sorts or perhaps some type of construction going on. That was not the case. All traffic was being diverted through a large building off the highway, which turned out to be a check station for suspicion persons heading north from Mexico. Not what i wanted to do, it was still in the 90s and the bike was getting warm in stop and go traffic. The officer asked me when i went through if i was a US citizen, and a couple other questions. I never had seen anything like this in all my travels. Guess they are just trying to keep a lid on illegals.
It was my next stop that i finally, after travelling nearly 10,000 miles, made it too.....MECCA! California thats is, population 8,577 and located at the north end of the Salton Sea in the desert. The culmination of my pilgrimage! Just kidding. the town was okay. I was looking for Box Canyon road. Turned out to be somewhat tricky to find, and was closed according to the sign. I take signs too seriously, so a quick manuever and i was around it. A large storm must have gone through recently, due to the large amounts of sand on the road. Looked like a flash flood of adequate proportions. I took it slow, it was only 15 miles at the most before arriving at I-10. Went right over the interstate and did the Joshua Tree park in the dark by moonlight. Turned out to be an enjoyable ride, only a met a handful of cars going through. The moon lit up the desert to an extent that i could make out a fair amount of scenery in the desert night. A coyote ran out in front of me at one point. I pulled over and shined the headlight on him after turning the motor off. He stopped when i whistled and stared at me for a minute before running off.
I made it to 29 Palms by 11pm. Gassed up and walked around for a few minutes. Left town going east on highway 62, cranked it up to 65mph, thought i could make some good time until i came up to a semi hauling a wind generator across both lanes. He was only going 20 in a 65 mph zone, and was kicking up way more dust than i wanted to breathe. There were a few other cars following him, waiting to go around. After 15-20 minutes i decided enough of this, and popped off the road and rode around him. I didnt speed, only went about 35-40 mph, and the ground wasnt that loose, pulled it off with no problems. With the exception of the California highway patrol, who didnt see it that way. Pulled me over and took my license away, the trooper made me follow the truck until the next turnoff, which was an hour away. I got back behind the semi and after about 5 minutes they left people go around, with the exception of myself. The other state patrol lady made me pull over and wait while the others went around. She wasnt too impressed by my driving, even though i didnt get out of control by any means. I told her i didnt like waiting, and they werent letting anyone go around, so why not? You can lane split in Cali going down the interstate at 70mph, so why not go off the road a wee bit to get around a slow moving vehicle? Ive passed tractors and combines in North Dakota like that before with no problems. Strange rules. Of course, she siad if i did it all the cars would do it, and they would get stuck and whatnot. I mentioned i didnt have any problems, but that only drew a 'dont be a smartass or you'll get a tciket' response. I didnt really want a ticket, so i went and took a nap off the road for 30 min, which was okay to do. Only if you pass someone in a non-designated passing area do you get in trouble.
After my nap, i caught up to them for the last 10 min of the highway 62 ride, before they pulled off the road and let people go around. I rode up to the cop who had my license. He gave it back and said he wouldnt give me a ticket. Didnt seem too bent out of shape about it, so i bs-ed with him for a bit. Turns out he was concerned i might have gone down and could have possibly been thrown under the semi, which would have gone bump bump over my head. Not a very likely possibility, but most people dont ride motorcyles, so cant blame him too much for caring. Jumped on 95, blew up to Needles after that fiasco. I pulled off the road about 2am to take a siesta for a few hours. It was a nice, bright night with the moon out. Didnt hear anything except the occasional 18 wheeler driving by. Just threw my tarp down and slept on the ground. Went over on I-40 a few miles then rode up to Searchlight on 95. I stopped for a picture of the Nevada sign half an hour before dawn. Was still tired, i just laid down with my helmet in the sand on the side of a small hill. Woke up maybe 40 minutes later and walked back to my bike. I took no more than 5 steps when i heard the eerie sound of beads rattling in the desert morning. A rattle snake was curled up a mere 10 feet from my bike, and 15 feet from where i had been laying down. I'm glad he didnt curl up with me. I think it was cool enough the snakes were moving around at night. Shined my flashlight all around before i laid down to ensure there werent any critter hiding nearby before i hit the sand. Anyway, the snake was about 2 feet long with 6 beads i think. He tried to make friends with my machete, but didnt turn out so well.
Rolled into Searchlight around 7am. Got breakfast and brushed my teeth in the parking lot. I was just about to leave when a man stopped by and asked me about my bike. Told him where i wa from and what i was doing. He thought it was cool. He had never owned a dual sport, but owned a number of rockets and motorcross bikes over the years. Told me stories of pulling wheelies at 100mph, laying down on the bike cruising down the interstate, standing up going down the freeway, and a few other things. Once one of his bikes he had tuned up and cranked it up to 230mph on one of the desert roads. The motor was toast of course when he got back. Talked to him for a while, then rode through Vegas! 100 degrees at 8am, im not stopping here. I finally pulled into St George, Utah about 10am. Ate breakfast and washed the bike really good at the carwash. I was really tired, so i got a $36 motel room and went to bed about 11am.
My not so hot parking spot.
Have another barley pop in mexico!
Joshua Tree National Park.
My little friend.
So many ones!!!
623 miles today.
Days 28-29 8/3-4/12 11270 miles on the odometer. The Haul. You ready for this? Cuz im not....
Well, this is it. The Haul. More miles than i have ever rode in a day. And i didnt stop there. To start things off i decided to leave St George at night to avoid the heat(later i found out it was high enough up the next day wouldnt have been that hot, oops). I had slept most of the day and rolled out of bed around 7:30pm. Went down to walmart to get some snacks and grabbed a burger before packing up my things and checking out a little after 8. The clerk gave me a strange look. He must not have many people check out in the evening. Haha, another shock and awe moment. I got on I-15 briefly until the exit for highway 9 came along. Went through Zion National Park at night. Okay ride, but would have been much better if i had gone during the daylight. I got a few glimpses of the scenery in my headlights though. I stayed on 9 until Kanab, where i turned onto highway 89 and didnt stop until i got to Page. There i fueled up and walked around for a few minutes to warm up, i wasnt expecting it to be in the 60s.
Departing from Page on highway 98, i rode down to highway 160 and continued east through Kayenta until i made it to Teec Nos Pos. There i turned to go north to the 4 corners. It had been almost 4 years since i was here. That time on my 05 klr, when it was 100+ degrees out. My only big trip on that bike, 7 days and 2200 miles. Now it was the middle of the night and low 50s perhaps. I took a picture by the sign and was going to swing into the 4 corners monument, but evidently its not open at 3am. I rode back down to Teec Nos Pos and got on highway 64 to go east. Rode into Farmington later and gassed up around 4:30am. I was starting to get tired, so i went on maybe another hour and pulled over to take a nap off the road a ways. About an hour and a half later, 20 harleys rumbled by. I didnt feel too tired then so with the sun coming up, i hit the road again. In Dulce i passed the harley gang at the gas station, but they caught up to me a few miles down when i had to stop for 15 minutes for road construction. I chatted with the lead guy for a few minutes, they were all heading up to Sturgis for the rally. We rode together until Chama, where they went north and i went south.
I was pretty hungry in Chama. Nothing Subway couldnt cure. I kept going south on 64/84 and was going to go east on 64 through Carson National Forest, but missed my turn and went south on 84 instead. Took me a while to realize this mistake and had to wait until i found a cut across highway to take me to highway 68 and then up to Taos. There was road construction going on in downtown Taos, and i got stuck behind a RV. I found the first side road i could and got back on 64 east. The highway soon took me to Santa Fe National Forest. Which was a slower drive, but very scenic. I stopped towards the east end of the forest and took my boots off and let them dangle in the water of a little stream for a while. In the town of Cimarron, i jumped on highway 58 to cut a few miles off on the way to I-25. Went down I-25 to Springer and got on highway 56 to go to Clayton. It was a little warmer now, maybe in the mid 90s, but nothing too unbearable. I was getting gas in Clayton when the man on the other side of the pump asked where i was from. I told him Montana, and he told me he had been in Billings a number of times. I think he was a Hutterite, he was sharply dressed and his wife had a long dress and bonnet on. If that were so, he would have undoubtedly visited the colony near Lodge Grass, which is 80 miles from where i live. There is also a Hutterite colony by Milnor, ND, not too far from where i grew up. I also realized about this time my tent had flown off the back somewhere! There went $23 down the drain.
I didnt make up my mind until the last minute which road i wanted to take. Either go down to Dalhart, TX and then back up to Wichita, or pop down into Texas quick and backtrack to highway 64 and go up to Boise City, OK. I picked the later of the two since it appeared to be 20 miles shorter or so. I rode out of Clayton on 64 by accident instead of 87, and had to take a county road down to Texas and get a pic of the sign. Then i rode up to Oklahoma and took a picture. Rode to Elkhart, KS and took a picture. I needed to stop and use the lavatory, but there were zero gas stations along the highway. I did find a nice patch of koshia along the highway about a mile out of town. It was just after 6pm and i was feeling the effects of the road. The patch of koshia extended a ways off the highway, and it looked so darn soft. I just had to take a nap. After zonking out for 15 minutes, i heard a vehicles coming. A sheriff's deputy drove about 5 feet from me and never saw me down the approach. I got up after he went by and started getting the bike ready. He went over the railroad tracks to a oil well before turning around to come back out. Asked me if everything was okay, and i told him it was, i had just been taking a nap in the weeds. He didnt really say anything about that or give me a weird look. He did tell me however that Wichita was 4 hours away and Kansas City an additional 3 hours after that.
Seven more hours, oh boy. Just what i wanted to hear. Originally i had wanted to be in KC friday night to see my sister, but now its 6:30pm on a saturday night and i still have 7 hours to go after being on the road almost a day. Nothing more for me to do except ride. And ride i did! Until Meade, then i had to stop for fuel and some fixins'. Checked the weather as well and looked like a decent sized storm was rolling through. It appeared to be more towards the north, and thankfully it stayed there. Also had to stop by Alco for a new tent. They had tents on sale for 40% off, so i picked up a 5x7 for around $18. A little bigger than i wanted, but it was the smallest they had.
I continued east towards Wichita, and stopped at a Walmart somewhere to get more oil. My bike was burning a quart about every 700-800 miles now, i was having to keep at least 2 quarts on hand. I couldnt always count on finding motorcycle oil where i needed it, especially the JASO MA protection. I pulled back on the highway behind a guy on a ninja 600 anf stayed behind him on the highway going out of town. He was riding the speed limit fairly closely, and i wanted to push it some, so eventually i went around him. He then sped up to keep right behind me until we got to Pratt. Motioned to a gas station and i stopped to fill up as well. I guess he had taken off from Flagstaff, AZ that morning and was heading up to a town in north central kansas. He was putting in over 1000 miles that day, pretty impressive for a rocket. He had to go north out of Pratt, so i wished him luck and rode into Wichita. Got there about 12am Central time, and pulled off in a parking spot right before the toll booth to get on I-35. I pulled out my tarp and walked down the ditch a ways and took a nap for an hour before making my last run of the day. It rained oh so lightly, but i had all my gear on so i didnt care.
When i got up to go back to my bike, i noticed 2 cop cars there, and one was checking out my bike. He drove away before i got there, so i got on the bike and got my toll ticket and hit the turnpike. For whatever reason my bike got horrible mileage on the part. 36 mpg, thats it. I was expecting at least 40. I pulled off at an exit, and started looking for a gas station, but didnt find any til about 7 miles later. I was not a happy camper. Not the best riding day of my life by any means. I went back to I-35 and continued north. My sister lives south of Kansas City, MO 50 miles or so, and i was going to take some sweet shortcuts, but missed a couple turns, found some roads closed, and just didnt have anything whatsoever go right. I finally got to Drexel, MO about 4am and my sisters at 4:30, 31 hours and 1390 miles later. Such a long day, i was relieved to get there. This was one day for the books, thats for sure. Im taking a plane next time.
I didnt take too many pictures worthy of mention, but here is a few anyway,
cold. so cold.
If only i had an RV!
Nap spot in NM.
Hmmmm,. where to go next?
1390 miles in 31 hours.
Days 30-33 8/5-8/12 Chillin in hot, dry Missouri.
I spent 4 much needed days resting at my sister's house in Missouri south of Kansas City. even drove a 4 wheeled vehicle for the first time in over a month, my brotherinlaw's F350 dually with a hydrabed. Although i only drove about 3 miles, it sure felt different after 11,754 miles on the bike. The whole area was burning up, they were in a bad period of drought. Corn was bone dry, unless it was irrigated. The soybeans were green, but werent flowerings, so they probably werent going to make pods. The grass was all dry as well. People were selling their cows left and right. No grass growing, no hay to be made for winter, the crops drying up prematurely, and all the stock ponds drying up, it just wasnt a good time for farmers. They did get about 6 inches of rain from one of the hurricanes about a month later, which saved a lot of people, they could at least make some hay for their livestock.
I pulled the valve cover off my klr to check the valve lash, they were all within tolerance, but the exhaust were closer to the lower limit. Also pulled out the spark plug to replace it when i noticed a lot of white corrosion on it. The bike had been running way too lean, which i found somewhat perplexing due to the amount of soot in the muffler pipe. I bumped up the pilot jet to a 158 from a 152.5 and shimmed the needle up another washer. Threw away the DPR8EA-9 plug and went with a colder DPR9EA-9 to see if that would help with the buildup. It did seem to run better that way, i could pull the front end off the ground in 1st gear while riding. Only rode about 10 miles during my stay here.
After a while the road began to call once again. I had fun while i was there, but still had so much of the country to see, so thursday morning (8/9) i headed out for more adventure. A few highlights of Missouri-
Hot and dry everywhere! Corn shouldnt be this brown until september.
I almost got a travel buddy.
The bugs were still out in full force though.
Fire on the horizon.
Day 34 8/9/12 12670 miles on the odometer.
I took off going south down to Arkansas. Stopped in Bentonville to eat. Wasnt going to get gas until i hit the interstate, but hit reserve between Fayetteville and I-40. I saw an exit sign for Chester, AR, but they didnt have any gas stations. A guy walking by on the sidewalk had some in a can, so i bought a gallon from him to get me to Alma. Fueled up in Alma, then proceeded east on I-40 until Little Rock. Sweet Home, AR was my next stop for fuel and food. Bought some trickets too there. Went through Pine Bluff, McGehee, Lake Providence on the way down to Tallulah.
Went over the Mississippi in the dark on I-20. I pulled into Riverfront park to take a few pictures as soon as i got into Mississippi. I pulled off the Interstate by Edwards and found a nice ditch that had plenty of trees to hide my tent in off a little 2 lane back road. Set up my tent around midnight and had to wait a while to cool down since it was so muggy out. Almost made me wish i was back in cold Alaska. My 0 degree sleeping bag was a bit too much, i had to just lay on top of it and fan myself with my atlas to get rid of the sweat. Otherwise i wouldnt have been able to even think about falling asleep.
No super exciting pictures today. Just the state signs.
625 miles today.
Day 35 8/10/12 13295 miles on the odometer.
My choice of hideouts proved to be successful, hardly a car drove by the entire time i was camped out a mere 30 feet from the road. Hit the road a little after 8. Later in the afternoon i stopped in Lucedale for fuel. The attendant noticed i had a bike and started telling me about his rebel 250 he had purchased not too terribly long ago for like $500. The bike looked like it cost $500 too, it had different color trim, fenders, tanks, etc. After talking to him for a while, i set out and made my next pit stop at the Alabama border for a quick pic. Next i took a break at the Florida welcome center off I-10. Took a few pictures there and walked around for a bit to stretch my stiff legs. I ran across a van with Alaska plates, so i talked to the family there for a while. They were from Anchorage and were taking a family vacation. I told them i had been there just a few week before.
I continued riding east on I-10. A few hours later i had to slow down to stop and go traffic. After a couple miles it turnes out there was a semi overturned on the westbound side, and they slowed traffic down to 1 lane on the eastbound side. I didnt see anyone hurt, but there were probably 15 or more cop cars, and a few ambulances and fire trucks there. One thing i noticed about the interstate traffic in Florida was that it really wasnt that crowded, at least outside the larger urban areas. Going by the big cities was always a jungle, but get outside those areas 20 miles, and its really not that bad. I've seen busier traffic going through I-90 by Billings than some areas of the Florida Interstate system.
A little ways after Tallahassee, i got off the interstate and took 2 lane roads down close to Homosassa. I ate supper around 10 pm at Castaways Bar and Grill. They had a live band playing, but the majority of the people there were over 40, so i didnt stay long after eating. The bar was located right off highway 98 kind of out of town a ways. There was a large mowed area outside that didnt look like it was being used for much. I parked my bike behind a tree and found a suitable campspot out in the trees. Had to watch where i walked, there were spiderwebs everywhere with some big ol arachnids in them. I heard something running through the leaves, and from the sound and pace of the running, i assumed it was an armadillo. Couldnt be sure, i didnt get close enough and my flashlight was rather puny. I set the tent up perhaps 50 yards off the highway, with enough trees in the way to hide my stuff from the casual observer. Again, i had to wait to cool down from the high humidity before i could fall asleep. Then the armadillos came out in force around 3am, i had to slap the side of the tent repeatedly to scare them off when they got too close. There must have been at least three of them whooping it up on the forest floor.
Traffic backed up on I-10.
So many cherries.
Gotta love Piggly Wiggly.
Stopped by the Castaways for some forest camping.
625 miles today.
Day 36 8/11/12 13920 miles on the odometer. Key West here i come!
Since i was in Prudhoe Bay a mere 4 weeks ago all the way north i could go, so why not go all the way south too? Key West, here i come! I emerged from my temporary forest home to find all the other cars gone from the parking lot. An employee from the bar came out to throw away some garbage, but didnt see me. Had plenty of daylight to see the vast array of spiders all over the place. Some had legs that would have gone to the edges of the palm of my hand. That is, if i would have picked one up. Not being so inclined, i packed up my tent and sleeping bag and headed south again. Rode by Weeki Wachee. I think if i lived there i would shower at least once every 7 days.
The day had gone pretty smooth up until Tampa. Riding through the big city, however, proved to be nearly disastrous. Since it was 90+ degrees out and sunny, i deemed my jacket unnecessary, and sequentially tied it down backwards to my pack, all stretched out. Then of course, when i went over a 6 lane overpass it decided to fly off. Good thing i caught it in my mirror, i always wear earplugs, and wouldnt have heard it otherwise. It took me over a mile to find an exit and turn around and go past the spot and turn around again and stop to pick it up. Thankfully it had blown over to the left shoulder, i had been in the left lane when it flew off. I stopped right up against the concrete wall and waited a few seconds for a lull in traffic to grab it. Didnt appear to be damaged so i tied it down better.
My next stop was in Sarasota to get fuel. I saw a sign for gas, but it was a couple miles off the road. As i was fueling up, a man in his early 50s rode up on his bicycle and asked for 35 cents to buy something to eat. Said he hadnt eaten in a couple days, but he was alaso smoking a cigarette, so who knows for sure. Im not sure what food you can buy for 35 cents that gonna fill you up, but whatever. I gave him a banana and a candy bar too. Asked him if he wanted a burger, but he politely declined. I guess he was out of work and only had a bike to get around on. Originally from New York, he had come down to look for work a few years ago and hadnt found too much as of late.
Popped down to Naples and got on highway 41 to go through the Everglades National Park. Saw an alligator off in the water at one bridge i rode over. I briefly considered going on a hovercraft tour, but they were a few hours long and a bit more money than i wanted to spend. It was just a big open swamp anyway, not my idea of paradise. It had been a nice sunny day until late afternoon, when the typical afternoon downpour happened. I was going down highway 997 towards Homestead when i ran into 30 mph traffic in a 55mph zone. There were a few cars ahead of me, so i couldnt see who was holding traffic up. After about 10 minutes i finally passed this old guy on an Electraglide. Dont know what his deal was, maybe he didnt like rain? He had about 20 cars behind him when i passed, so not a happy caravan.
I fueled up in Homestead. Walked inside to use the bathroom when a homeless man asked for money for food. He was maybe in his early 30s and claimed to be unemployed and so hungry. Knowing better than to give him money, i told him id get him some snacks. I had 3 or 4 bananas left over along with some melted snicker bars in my tailabg, which i gave to him before i left. hope he enjoyed it. Had to eat myself so hit up Dennys on the way out of town. Got on highway 1 and rode the overseas highway all the way into Key West. This was my first trip to southern Florida, i have been through northern Florida from Jacksonville to Pensacola before in a car, but never farther south than that. i'll have to admit i really enjoyed the key highway. So many beaches and bridges, wild drivers and seagulls, divided two lane roads and walkways along the beach. Saw some sweet sunsets over the beach as well. Some areas of the highway, the land is so narrow, the road slopes to a ditch on each side like a normal two lane highway, except here, where the bottom of the ditch would be, is the ocean on each side!
I pulled into key west around 8pm and drove around town for a while to get a feel for things. I stopped at a gas station to fuel when a scooter pulled up to the gas staion with a young woman in a striking white dress and high heels with no helmet on. And there i was with my chaps/jacket/helmet/gloves/ steel toed boots on and other gear. Quite the contrast. Eventually i got ahold of a phone book and called nearly every hotel in town, but could only find one room for $170. Too much for me. Guess saturday night at 9pm isnt a good time to try and get a room in key west. Boyd's campground on the other hand, had plenty of room. Only $55/night for a tent spot. $65/night in the winter. I dont even want to know what a rv full hookup spot costs. After paying $61 total after tax i set up my tent and took a shower and went downtown for lobsterfest. Didnt eat any lobster, had pizza instead. I walked around town for 3 or 4 hours checking the area out. They had a few live bands playing in the streets. After midnight they opened up the streets again to traffic.
I left around 1am and rode down the main drag. There were still tons of people out, some of them giving me disapproving looks due to the loud nature of my bike. Some kid yelled kawasaki and gave a thumbs down, so i gave the bike full throttle for half a second so he could hear a quick little bark. He only said 'whoa' after that as i passed by. I was at a redlight with a couple scooters in front of me. One guy on them was talking to some girls on the sidewalk. I could only shake my head as he told them to check out his 'ride'. They actually did, unfortunately. Rode back to my campground and sweated myself to sleep after that. It was only 80 degrees out.
Looking the other way.
Bridge near tampa
Should i trade in my bike for one of these for a day?
I considered stealth camping on the beach somewhere, but the ratholes scared me away.
Lookout for panthers, they are everywhere.
520 miles today.