Wandering the US on a V-Strom

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SuttoFL, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. SuttoFL

    SuttoFL Fueled and ready

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    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.

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    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:

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    Every night the sunsets seemed to get better

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    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

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    (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!
    #1
  2. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    935
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Prepare for blastoff!! What a great start.

    I, for one, will be following along.

    If not for motorcycles I might be lost on a sailboat.
    #2
  3. Crusier Dude

    Crusier Dude pavement inspecter

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    314
    Location:
    Southern Idaho
    Hello Sutto,
    You picked a great bike for sure. I have owned two Wee Stroms and really enjoy riding them. If your travels happen to bring you to Boise Idaho I have room for you to lay low for awhile. Big garage with tools. You are LIVIN YOUR DREAM.

    Take care and ride SAFE. I am signed in for your ride wherever it may take you.

    Les in Boise
    #3
  4. _Magoo_

    _Magoo_ master of disaster....

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,206
    Location:
    nuevo mexico
    :thumb subcsribed! I'm planning a ride on my Wee-Strom up to Portland/Seattle, and back down the pacific coast later this summer---am looking forward to following along on your ride----:ricky
    #4
  5. Allroads

    Allroads Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    28
    You're living the dream. Good luck.
    #5
  6. HPTuner

    HPTuner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    347
    Location:
    Southeast Ga.
    I'm all 'scribed up! Safe travels, brother. We'll be following you!
    #6
  7. MWValley

    MWValley Pro Motorcycle Gadget Guy (ret.)

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    889
    Location:
    NH Seacoast Region
    Ride on. If your travels bring you to the mountains of northern New England, let me know. I've got two Wee Stroms in the garage, plenty of tools, space, and some of the best riding in the NE USA right outside my door. White Mountain National Forest gravel roads were made for maximum V-Strom enjoyment.


    Of course you wouldn't want to be here now. Several feet of snow on the ground right now. Another foot or two is coming today.
    #7
  8. SuttoFL

    SuttoFL Fueled and ready

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    Thanks everyone! I spent most of the day at Johnson Space Center in Houston today. I'll post up a few pictures later. The ride out of town was TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC and it wasn't even rush hour. Once I got out of town the wind kicked in like I've never experienced before. After about an hour I figured why put myself through that when I'm not on any kind of deadline and high-tailed it into the first hotel I saw. I'm about to walk down to a Mexican joint nearby and see how many margaritas it takes to not notice the hairs on the wash cloths in the hotel room bathroom. :puke1

    I saw the most hilarious thing today...on that windy ride I passed a truck pulling a trailer and in the trailer was this tiny little horse, probably the size of a big Labrador, and the horse was having a hell of a time staying on his feet because of the wind. And YES, I pulled over, whipped out the Drift camera and caught back up to him to get video of it. I'll post it up as soon as I can.

    Thinking about heading to Austin tomorrow to see what's up with SXSW. Unfortunately I doubt I'll be able to secure a hotel room or campsite within 100 miles of it so it will probably just be a few hours of exploring and then time to move on.

    If anyone has recommendations for good places to camp in this general area of Texas...anywhere within a few hundred miles really...I'd love to hear them!
    #8
  9. SuttoFL

    SuttoFL Fueled and ready

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    Last night's humble abode. Tonight I'm in San Antonio. Video with lots of campfire goodness is uploading now..youtube: GoSutto

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    For now..it's whiskey time. :freaky
    #9
  10. SuttoFL

    SuttoFL Fueled and ready

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    #10
  11. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    770
    Location:
    Lake Havasu City, AZ.
    Great RR so far. I watched this last video all the way through, not something i normally do. :clap How long do you plan to stay out?
    Phillip
    #11
  12. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    108,932
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #12
  13. NaturalDamRider

    NaturalDamRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Natural Dam, AR
    I'm in. Enjoy your adventure.
    #13
  14. Haywood

    Haywood Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    431
    Location:
    Chula Vista,CA (spittin' distance from Baja)
    :lurk
    #14
  15. duckman44

    duckman44 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Western NY
    Lets go!:thumbup:thumbup In for the duration!
    #15
  16. Prime Mover

    Prime Mover Anything Can Happen

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,470
    Location:
    NorEast Ohio
    I'm in!!

    Nice bike there that Suzuki V-Strom DL650 is ...... (yeah, I got one)

    Thanks for sharing.
    #16
  17. SuttoFL

    SuttoFL Fueled and ready

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    San Antonio was great. All of the hotels were booked but I got lucky and slid into this awesome little boutique hotel called Hotel Havana right after someone had cancelled their reservation so I scored a room.

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    I had to kill a couple of hours before my room would be ready so I walked down to the Riverwalk to see what that's all about. I really liked it..very nice place to just wander along the river and occasionally stop somewhere for lunch or a beer.

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    I also went to The Alamo. Truth be told, I wasn't all that into it. I find the story to be fascinating but for some reason I just wasn't "feeling" the history there. That could be because there were a bazillion tourists all over the place and tons of souvenir and food carts selling cheesy trinkets and cotton candy.

    I took exactly one picture at The Alamo.

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    Anyway, after a bit the room was ready so I went back, got my key (an actual KEY!) and went upstairs to grab a shower, do a little laundry in the sink and take a nap.

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    Very cool room with antique furniture and an old-school (looking) refrigerator. I love unique places like this.

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    After getting cleaned up and taking a nap I headed out, wandered the city a bit, had a "Cuban sandwich" (I'm from Tampa..this was not a Cuban sandwich but it was good) and some whiskey and then just hung out at the hotel bar for a bit talking to the bartender before I called it a night.

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    Sunday morning I rolled out of town, not really sure where I was going to go next. I stopped for breakfast just outside San Antonio and managed to find a campground with one vacancy, which I quickly reserved. From there it was about a two hour ride to Black Rock Park, just outside Kingsland, TX where I would camp alongside the Colorado River.

    The scenery began to change...

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    I set up my campsite in crazy wind, which is always fun, and settled in for a nice night camping with NO CAMPFIRE! Fire ban was in effect. :baldy Turned out not to matter. I met this really nice couple staying nearby and they invited me to join them for dinner and margaritas at the local Mexican joint. We hung out at the bar for a few hours and then went back to my campsite where we sat around the table drinking wine and just enjoying the beautiful weather.

    The next morning I packed up camp in HOWLING wind.

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    Then I turned toward Austin, where I still am. This place is awesome. I had planned on heading out of town today but last night I met a couple of lovely young ladies and tonight we are going to catch the Albert Hammond, Jr. show at Stubb's BBQ here in downtown Austin.

    #17
  18. SuttoFL

    SuttoFL Fueled and ready

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    #18
  19. whatsgnu

    whatsgnu Scheissekopf

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    S. VT / W. MA
    Looks like a great trip and a great bike !! :clap
    #19
  20. Haywood

    Haywood Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    431
    Location:
    Chula Vista,CA (spittin' distance from Baja)
    Ah, yes, Austin. Not the worse place to have a travel delay. I spent four years there in the early eighties when the airport was an air force base. Running around the hill country (and sixth street :evil) on my '82 GPz550. Too much fun.

    Oh, and happy B-day! It was mine also yesterday. You turned 35, I turned 53.
    #20
    kojack06 likes this.