Greetings, everyone. My friends call me Sutto. I am a few days into a long trip across the US on my trusty V-Strom 650. I guess I should back up a bit. I discovered motorcycles about three years ago. One of my best friends had been riding for years and I finally decided to see what it was all about. From that first day at the Basic Riders Course I was absolutely hooked. My dad and I took the course together and within a week of completing it I forked over $3,500 for a 2004 Harley Davidson Sportster Custom. I rode the absolute hell out of that bike. Within a couple of months I had taken it on several overnight trips and even a "long" trip up to Atlanta with just a dry bag strapped to the back seat and a backpack on my back. I quickly realized that what I truly loved about riding was traveling. I've always loved traveling but had never considered doing it on a motorcycle. Well, solo travel and motorcycles go very well together. Fast forward about a year later and another friend and I were planning a trip to Chicago to see Roger Waters perform "The Wall" at Wrigley Field. I had started looking at different types of bikes, ones that may suit my desired method of travel a little better, and the V-Strom had continually popped up near the top of the list. I happened to find one listed in the "For Sale" section of advrider...in Chicago. So I shipped my riding gear ahead of me, flew up for the show and when my buddy flew back to Tampa I hitched a ride to the seller's house, bought the bike and hit the road! Three days of riding and camping were all it took for me to know I had found the right bike for me. I started fantasizing about dropping everything and just taking off across the country. Seeing all of the places I've dreamed of seeing, discovering places I'd have never even thought to check out and meeting all sorts of people along the way. At the time I had a condo in Tampa, a job, a dog and a million other reasons it would never work. When my dog died last September (I'd had him since college..he was the most amazing friend but after 13 and a half years his body gave up on him long before his spirit did) I decided now was the time. I started saving my money, acquiring the best camping gear I could afford and doing all the little things one must do to prepare for a trip like this. My lease expired at the end of this past February, I took a leave of absence from work and now...well here I am... Fast forward to now. I'm writing this from a hotel in Houston on night 6 of my trip. I'm guessing the trip will end up running anywhere from 6-8 weeks, although I'm not really committed to any timeline at all. It will really just come down to how long the money holds out. I left Tampa last Thursday evening and hauled ass to Jacksonville, where I had to exchange a few things and pick up a few things at the REI there. Friday morning I handled the REI trip and set out for a long, cold ride along that most boring of roads known as Interstate 10 across the entire length of the panhandle of Florida. My uncle has a sailboat that he keeps down in Orange Beach, AL and he offered to let me stay there for as long as I wanted before I continued on. I'd never stayed on a sailboat so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new. So this was my home from Friday to Monday: Every night the sunsets seemed to get better I spent the entire weekend hanging around the marina, drinking wine, eating amazing seafood and making quick day trips out to the local art festival and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola (that's Navy One) Anyway..after a really fantastic weekend it was time to move on. I headed west and stayed just outside Baton Rouge, LA last night and tonight I'm in Houston. So there's the back story. I had hoped to get this Ride Report up and running earlier but it's been kinda hectic and I haven't had much access to internet since I got going. I'm also posting updates to my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/GoSutto) For a while now I've been "motovlogging"...for those not familiar, essentially I have a helmet camera with a microphone installed inside my helmet so I can ride around and talk. Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvPX5hmWaeg <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zvPX5hmWaeg" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>) Tomorrow I'm going to hit the Johnson Space Center here in Houston and then make my way toward Austin while South by Southwest is going on. You're all invited to come along for the ride!