The Minnesota Boy Heads South (and I'm not talking Alabama)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by cmkaduce, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
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    A little about me. I was born and raised in a rural town in Southern Minnesota about an hour and a half south of Minneapolis. I have great parents who instilled very traditional American values that still serve me well today. Ever since I was little, I had a job doing something. Attending university in Minnesota I carried two jobs and went to school full-time. I graduated and took a job immediately after with a large employer headquartered locally. From there, I accepted a position in Atlanta, GA where I lived from age 23-30, which pretty well brings you up to speed in short order.


    So, we're on a motorcycle forum and you just read two paragraphs with no motorcycles. Let me fix this. I was always the kid in school that was literally terrible at all things athletic. I tried baseball and no good, how about basketball...a little worse, football you can forget about it. Not only was I awful, but I had no interest. One day my parents had this bright idea of buying a motorcycle, and I was just conniving enough to convince them to buy me my first dirt bike at 13. From the first day I threw my leg over the bike, I knew my life had changed. I was connected with the machine and it just felt intuitive and right. From there, I raced a little motocross and graduated to sport bikes at 17. Through my late teens and early 20's I owned a few sport bikes including a stunt bike. I eventually sort of grew out of the stunting thing (although I still enjoy the occasional wheelie here and there) and started doing more track days. I became a track day coach and spent four years coaching until deciding it was too resource-intensive. From there, I began taking longer trips on the road. It was this path that lead me to the intriguing, treacherous, and unassuming world of adventure motorcycling.


    OK, now that we have some background, let's get back to 3:00 AM. This wasn't the first sleepless night. As my 20's were coming to a close, I was starting to reflect more and more on my life, what it was, and what it meant. Was I destined to work for a corporation? Does my life need to be centered around money? Why am I single? Do I want to live in Atlanta anymore? Do I want this job anymore? Do I want this life anymore? If I wasn't doing what I'm doing now, then what would I do?? The questions continue on with no clear answers. A close friend had recently traveled by motorcycle from Nashville, TN up to Alaska then down to Argentina. The experiences he shared with me, the places he has seen, the people he has met filled me with this sort of respectful envy. I soon began to step back and focus on one question; If I wasn't doing what I'm doing now, then what would I do? A clear answer emerges. I would travel by motorcycle.
    What would it take?



    1) Get buy-in from parents
    2) Rent townhouse
    3) Resign from job after 11 years at the same company
    4) Eat into savings
    5) Sell most everything and move what's left to parent's home back in Minnesota
    6) Buy KLR and take a 10 week test trip in North America focusing on the west coast
    7) Take said KLR to South America riding from Minnesota (except Darien Gap of course)


    Well friends, bullets 1-6 are complete. I type this as I sit on the same bed in the same room I grew up in my parent's basement. The nostalgia of the room, the town, the people make me reminisce of younger years gone by. In a little more than a week's time, I will be embarking on a journey that I am incredibly excited about. If you haven't been paying attention, those are pretty big bullet points and I'm not even sure all this change has fully sunk in just yet. A year ago today, I was in an office with my moderately successful life knowing with damn near certainty what today, tomorrow, and next week are going to look like. Now I sit here, uncertain about tomorrow or the following day. This will be my life during this journey. Left tentative...wide open to be fully appreciated. A trip very few have the opportunity to take, or choose to take for that matter. This will not be easy, and while I am ecstatic, I am also fearful. Day 1 of an unforgettable journey is coming at me in short order. Let's hope I'm ready for it, and I hope you follow me along for the ride. :ricky 10/28/13 is D-Day.


    Throughout this trip, you can check photos below:


    http://s1283.photobucket.com/user/cmkaduce/library/?sort=3&page=1


    Check videos here:


    http://www.youtube.com/user/zuma954
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    #1
  2. Miss America

    Miss America Sport Touring FZR

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    The Woods
    Yay Cody!! So excited for you and can't wait to follow you via pics and video on your adventure! Hope we can make it down to see you at some point!! ~Tiff
    #2
  3. enceladus

    enceladus I want off this rock

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    Mazatlan
    I will be watching.
    #3
  4. trapperj

    trapperj Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I have several bikes...ride 20 to 30 thousand miles a year. I look and dream and half ass plan a epic trip like the one your about to do.

    My bro in law passed last night after a short battle with lung cancer. He had no wife and no children. He was 62. Drugs and booze was his downfall. At the end he had few visitors. I was one of them. He loved riding his powered chair out of his Hospice room he shared with another patient, to look at whichever bike I had rode up for that visit.

    He knew I had thought about taking a long trip on my bike. His passing has made it clear to me that time is something you can't control....you can't stop or reverse it.

    I will do a trip this coming year somewhere...I simply must. Not for my bro in law. He's gone. But for me. Sounds stingy but it's not. I'm 52...if not now....when?

    Good lucK cm kaduce
    #4
  5. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Sorry to hear about your loss. No matter where you decide to go, you simply can't go wrong on a bike.
    #5
  6. amangia

    amangia n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Sherman, IL
    I envy your opportunity. I wish I had jumped in long ago, but I wasn't bitten by the wander lust bug til later in life. I hope to do some catching up as it hit me like a ton of bricks not long ago that time has no element of control. You can stop the clock from ticking, but time keeps on passing. "Seize the day" is one of the simplest, shortest, most profound and potentially powerful statements ever.

    I'm in!
    #6
  7. KLR 41B

    KLR 41B Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    262
    Location:
    Northeast Iowa
    Looking forward to a good KLR Ride Report.
    #7
  8. Cmnthead

    Cmnthead Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Teeswater Ontario Canada/ Playa Uverito Panama
    Good for you!
    My son and I are leaving about a week after you, November 7th. We are going to shoot thru the States fairly quick then take our time in Mexico and C.A.
    If you are interested, you have a place to hang your helmet in Panama when you get there :norton or maybe we will see you along the way before then.
    Keep in touch!
    #8
  9. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Sounds great! I'm planning to catch the Baja 1000 so let me know if you and your son are planning to be in Encenada mid-Nov. If not, then maybe I'll take you up on Panama!
    #9
  10. kwb210

    kwb210 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Washington, the state
    My son did this trip last year. He has some good info on travel in Mex, Central Am and Columbia. He had planned on 2 weeks in Columbia but it was so beautiful and entertaining he stayed for quite some time. I was lucky enough to ride my 1977 BMW R100 to meet him in Mexico for a short ride, then later flew to Columbia and rented a bike for 10 days. Columbia was a very friendly and exciting place to ride.
    His ADV report:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=770001
    So maybe you can talk your dad into meeting you somewhere!
    Enjoy your time.
    Kurt
    #10
  11. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thanks -- I'm checking your son's ride report now!
    #11
  12. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Saying goodbye to my parents and brother was harder than anticipated. Not sure when I’m coming back or when I’ll see them again. Boarding the KLR an incredible feeling of truly liberating freedom runs deep through me lacerated with anxiety and fear of the unknown territory I will encounter on this journey. It is a balmy 45 degrees in MN when I hit the road. I decide to stay the night in Nebraska. The town is small and pretty unmemorable so I don’t recall the name of the place I stayed. What I do recall is making the decision to camp knowing full well that the temperature will drop below freezing that night with winds at 15-20 mph, but hey, its $15 to camp or $60 for a shitty motel. Camping it is. I setup camp just before dark and crawl in for an early night’s rest. I’m awakened by this bone-chilling scream at around 11:00. Literally, shouting “aghh aghh aghh” as loud as he could and I could hear it plain as day even though he was probably a ¼ mile away. Sad I’m thinking the man is mentally challenged as this continued on almost like clockwork on the hour. Take this and couple it with 25 degree temps and high wind results in little to no good sleep.
    #12
  13. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    On day 2 it is freaking cold. I’m trying to stay cozy using my heated gear but at below freezing temps I’m still cold. I also found out the hard way that my stator will not let me run heated gear without gradually draining the battery. Trying to start the bike and no go at the gas station I ask a younger guy in front of me to give me a push. I’m able to bump start the bike and ride over to the nearest motel for the night. I don’t care if it’s $50. I’m cold and the battery is dead. I let the bike idle for a half hour and pray to the motorcycle gods that it starts in the morning.
    I’m up early and try starting the bike first thing in the morning. Crank, crank, crank and vroom. Success! Enough battery to start the bike. This turns out to be the coldest day of riding yet. Temps are below freezing and now it is starting to flurry. I ride cautiously and slow WAY down for all bridge crossings. My windshield is one sheet of ice and icicles are forming around my handguards. Yep, I should have went further south even though it means a lot more miles. Too late for that. I continue plugging along as semis pass me and spray me on their way by finally arriving safely in Salt Lake City.
    A good buddy of mine Michael lives in Salt Lake but is out of town riding the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA. He is nice enough to leave me a key and I feel right at home as I walk through the front door to see an R1 and a GSXR 750 in the living room. The living room is also a shrine for Arai helmets with more than a dozen on display. Making my way to the garage, there are motorcycles everywhere. This just keeps getting better. My favorite of his collection….a toss up between the ’98 R1 tricked out with carbon fiber and Ohlins goodies or the old 500cc two-stroke Gamma. As I look around the house, I find a room with vinyl records from the 70s and 80s covering the walls. Michael’s place is a full-on man cave and I’m thinking I might just move in.
    I stay in SLC for a couple days and tour around a bit. I take in a movie and pop in to Squatters microbrewery for a delicious pint of stout. I pickup Michael from the airport and we get an opportunity to catch up over a couple beers. I tell him about how I toured the Morman temple square and asked if it was wrong to flirt with the sisters in the tabernacle. We get a few good laughs in as we are both like-minded and have similar religious (or lack of religious) views.
    My next stop is Reno, NV. I have good weather the entire way. It’s between 45 and 50 degrees most of the ride and I’m enjoying myself even though I’m on the I-80 slab. I score a hotel room at the Sands Casino for $20…sweet! After getting checked in, I find out one of my favorite bands is in town playing a show…and it’s Halloween night, so yeah, I’m going out. I start at the bar downstairs in the hotel and chat with a local and the bartender. The bartender ordered too much Spaten on the last run and wants to get rid of it, so that means $1 Spatens for me…score! 5 beers later and I’m off to the Knitting Factory to see the band Cut Copy. It is packed and damn near everyone is in costume except me. I really like dressing up for Halloween but had NO room at all on the bike for a costume, so I guess I’ll have to wait until next year. I talk to a few folks inside and jam out to the tunes until close. I then made my way to a little jazz club for one last pint before wrapping it up.
    #13
  14. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Friday morning arrives in Reno and I’m off like a prom dress to Sacramento. I meet up with Janelle, or The Nelly Nel, as some call her for appetizers. It’s great seeing her and turns out she was a bit inspired by my travels and is planning to head to Germany next summer for 3 months. She is 1 cool chick. Leaving Sacramento, I arrive in San Francisco at a hostel for the next 3 nights.
    It’s Saturday and there is a local film festival happening at the Castro Theater. Watching movies all afternoon and getting to vote on which project gets to receive funding is fun fun. I get there early and get myself seated. There is plenty of open seating, but a really nice woman decides to sit right next to me. Her name is Claudia and she is from Italy. We have really good conversation and turns out she is there to support one of her friends that created one of the films in the festival. During intermission, Claudia invites me to have dinner with her and her friends and I take her up on the offer. I meet some really nice folks at the table and we eventually make our way back to the theater for the rest of the short films. After voting, I say goodbye to Claudia and we agree to stay in touch. What a wonderful person she is. It is now 10:00 PM and I am on my way to my friend Rebecca, or Rebz, birthday party at The Mint Karaoke bar. I met Rebz and Eseop when I did my trial run on the KLR across North America earlier this year. These two people are some of the best I have met on the road thus far and it is really great seeing them. I’m lucky I have gotten to know them and fortunate to be able to spend some time with them on this trip. The bar is crowded as hell. The waiting list to sing is +2 hours. I’m introduced to Cahir, an Irishman that is sure to get me into some trouble. Cahir and I get along pretty well and hang out a bit between snapping a few photos of folks in our group singing. It is past 1:00 AM and everyone is ready to start heading home, except of course for Cahir and me. I hear about an after-hours party that goes until 6. Cahir is game so we stop into a bar for a quick shot of tequila and off to the hostel to rally troups. The night is young.
    #14
  15. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I have two passions in my life. 1 is obviously motorcycling. 2 is house music. House music if you are not familiar is more than a genre of music. It is a vibe, it is a feeling, it is being a part of something, it is a community, it is special. Through connections with people that understand and appreciate this movement like I do and social media I happened across an underground party going from 11 pm to 6 am. Location announced day of the event. I check messages and have a new one in my inbox with the address. It is around 2:00 AM as we make our way to the hostel to meet up with the Irishman’s buddy. We have a couple pints at the hostel and convince one of the girls to come join us too. :freaky We now have a cab full of party-goers anxiously waiting to see what the morning will bring. We arrive at the party around 3. The subtle sound of bass is pervasive as we make our way to the front door. Once inside we are led into the basement where there are two rooms setup with sound and lighting along with a full bar. :dj It is a fun crowd with the right amount of people where it isn’t crowded but you also don’t feel like you’re alone on the dancefloor. The Irishman is making rounds and probably knows everyone in the place within the hour. People are coming out of the restroom in pairs. :stoned The crowd is primarily people in their mid-20s to late-30s. The music is solid. Everyone is getting down. What a great party. I gravitate toward one of the ladies on the dancefloor. :rilla We dance and share a drink. She is wearing this white sort of bridal looking thing on her head and she puts it on me. We get down as the morning goes by and these moments are fleeting. In what feels like 15 minutes, we spend the early morning hours under San Francisco. The music comes to a close. The Irishman and I step outside to see that the sun has already risen. A sketchy cab ride back to the hostel and I enter to the smell of pancakes and a room filled with busy people waiting to start the day as I end mine. Good night San Francisco.
    #15
  16. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
  17. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Sunday was a much needed day of recovery. I grab dinner at a thai place with two other travelers I’m sharing a room with at the hostel. One is an 18 year-old dude from the Netherlands exploring the Western United States. The other is a graduate student from Atlanta of all places. I lived in Atlanta 7 years. It was fun to meet someone that literally lived down the road about 2 miles from me when I lived in ATL. It’s so interesting the diversity of the people you meet on the road. Everyone writing their own story as they go along.
    I say goodbye to the hostel dudes and I’m on the road again Monday morning. I quickly realize my Garmin is damn near as useless as a rubber at a sausage fest with all the interference from the San Francisco buildings. I eventually find my way to highway 1 and begin making my way south. Outside of high winds, the day is gorgeous. The sun is shining, I’m recovered, the KLR is still slow but is running well, all is A-OK in my little bubble. I jam to some tunes and practice a little Spanish through my earbuds while enjoying the utterly breathtaking views along PCH. I make it to Big Sur and stay at the Plaskett Creek campground. After setting up camp, I make my way to the very edge of the rocky shore. At least a 40 foot drop below, I sit perched on a rock that has existed longer than my simple mind can comprehend. I stay in this place for more than an hour listening, observing, and thinking. Pondering life and appreciating nature’s pure unfiltered beauty, I realize what a magnificent place this is. This is a place you can get lost in and find yourself at the same time. As the cool pacific salt water crashes continuously in the background, I watch as the sun gradually moves over the water. I take in a deep breath without knowing when I will have the opportunity to experience this place again. Putting yourself in the middle of these truly remarkable places is in my opinion the best reminder of how important it is to respect our environment and make conscious decisions to move in the direction of sustainability. When my travels are complete, I have a strong desire to give back to the environment I have relentlessly plundered for so long.
    #17
  18. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    It was a cold night at Big Sur but the morning sunshine brought almost immediate warmth. I was able to meet up with Bob who is a semi-retired campground manager for the parks system. I met Bob on my previous expedition on the KLR across North America. Bob sold his KLR and bought a new V-Strom leaving all sorts of KLR parts left lying around. We talked a bit about the ethanol in fuel and how it was more than likely the culprit for my diaphragm failure during this past trip. Turns out Bob had already fabricated his own solution to this problem by bypassing the diaphragm altogether. Bob gave me this part along with a spare petcock just in case I run into trouble on this trip. Thanks Bob!!:thumb
    #18
  19. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I continue along Highway 1 taking in the views of coastline, Elephant Seals, Zebras, and farmland as I make my way from Big Sur to Santa Barbara. I plan on staying with friends living in Hermosa Beach so I find I have a couple hours to kill before they will be around. I decide to stop in to the Brewhouse in Santa Barbara and end up striking up a conversation with a guy in his early to mid-50s named Glenn. Glenn kind of has the “most interesting man in the world” look going for him and I’m guessing it works pretty well. Before you know it, Glenn’s buddy Rob shows up on a Duc so we end up talking about everything from bikes to evil corporations. Instead of having 1 beer for an hour, I consume 3 in 3 hours and have dinner in that time as well. I’m having a great time but realize I need to be on my way to Hermosa Beach. I swap the tinted visor for the clear one and attempt to mount the bike. Failure! As I grab the handlebar, throw my leg over, and yell “adios” to my newly found friends the bike begins to topple towards me and I can’t save it. Crash, the bike is on the ground and the mirror is broken off. :muutt Damn, haven’t left the states yet and already the bike is down. This is why Cody can’t have nice things. So, Glenn helps me pickup the bike and while I’m a bit embarrassed I can’t help but smile a bit in spite of this turn of events. This very thing almost happened to me a couple other times on the trip. The bike is pretty unbalanced with all the weight in the rear. So, if you take this and add to the fact that I’m short at 5-8 leads to a bit of a challenging mount (the half a beer still in my system probably didn’t help with reaction times either).

    After making attempt 2 at mounting the KLR…this time successful, I had a 100 mile trip ahead of me from Santa Barbara to Hermosa Beach (with one rear view mirror). During these 100 miles, I began to look at what had just transpired. I have close to 150,000 miles on motorcycles of which +100,000 are on sport bikes. No matter the level of experience, skill, aptitude, knowledge, etc. this little mishap really started to put things into perspective. You are not invincible. You are embarking on something that is incredibly dangerous. The slightest miscalculation can result in devastating consequences, either caused by myself or someone else. For the first time, a flood of anxiety and concern flows through me as the true inherent danger of this trip begins to settle in. I’m sure we all have these moments. We have planned something, though about it, think we’re ready, and then something comes over you that makes you feel in a way you hadn’t quite anticipated. While I am still very much looking forward to leaving North America, a part of me is certainly shouting warning signs. The bottom line is, I need to be more cautious, especially as I leave the states. Take risks, but take them calculated and in moderation. When there is no woman around helping call the shots, often times moderation isn’t in a single man’s vocabulary. Seems I may need to expand my vocabulary to include the word.
    #19
  20. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Back in my college days, there was a guy so into sport bikes that he created “Mankato Sportbike Association” to connect a local riding group of sport bike enthusiasts. I still remember the flyer that appeared on my motorcycle after class. I called the number and was connected with this fellow named Jeff. From that point forward, Jeff and I became friends, rode together often, and stayed in touch over the years. Jeff also introduced me to this guy Lupe that I was really unsure about at first. Lupe, like any fungus, gradually begins to grow on you. Lupe and Jeff were old roommates and now live together in Hermosa Beach. Jeff landed a job in Torrance and relocated from MN to Hermosa Beach several years ago. Another MN boy, Brandon, also flew in for the weekend to hang out. I had a great time staying with these guys. We took a stroll down Venice Beach. It was good to see Venice Beach once, but is probably not a place I will go again. It is insanely crowded and touristy although I did think the “medical marijuana doctors” with their white overcoats were pretty funny offering evaluations on the cheap. We also went north of LA to the Gorman OHV area to have some good fun in Lupe’s jeep. There are some great trails out there and seeing all the dirt bikes really made me want my moto for the weekend. Oh well, I’m sure I will get my fill of dirt throughout my trip. I was glad I also had the opportunity to meet up with a friend I met along the way on my previous trip out west. Her name is Roop and she is way cool. We had lunch together at a local Mexican place known for fish/seafood tacos. Maybe someday I’ll take her for a ride on the KLR but my few days in LA are pretty well spoken for this time around. On Saturday night, Brandon, Lupe, and I caught a concert in Costa Mesa at Detroit Bar. We saw Goldroom out of LA play live with a band and the show was excellent. The crowd was fun and energetic. It was pretty cool to see everyone around you really getting into the music that is rather obscure when speaking in terms of the general US population’s taste in music. On Sunday, Lupe thought it would be a good idea for us all to relax and unwind. What better way to do this than with a “non-therapeutic” massage. :wink: None of us have ever had one of these massages before and I was a bit uneasy about it; however, I certainly wasn’t adverse to trying it. So, we search online and end up at Craigslist…yeah Craigslist. Lupe calls an ad and it sounds like the real deal so we are on our way to get…well to get the kinks worked out I suppose you might say. We arrive at the place and all four of us walk inside. It was dimly lit with a curtain in the hallway leading to the back. There is a window where you pay and an older Asian woman slides the window open letting us know there is only one masseuse on staff. We have a quick huddle and Lupe decides to journey in while the rest of us grab a cup of joe. 25 minutes go by and we hear back from Lupe. Let’s just say he is very relaxed but the price was a bit more than expected. After careful thought and deliberation I decided it probably isn’t the best idea to be spending money on that sort of thing at this point knowing I have a long journey ahead of me that I’m sure will be fraught with unanticipated expenses.
    #20