What Next Wander Tour

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Evomx971, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    306
    Location:
    Iowa
    Unemployed. Between Jobs. On Sabbatical. Temporarily Retired. Whatever I call my exact situation, it means for the first time in my life, I really don't have a time I have to "be someplace".


    It's cold and there's snow in Iowa... let's go for a ride.


    My name is Kelly and after 18 1/2 years working in IT at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa... I've been presented with the opportunity and decided to take a mid-life retirement. See, I was in the Health insurance area of the company and Principal decided in 2010 to stop selling Health insurance. I hung around to help shut down the business but decided not to take a different job within the company and instead decided to take the parting gifts and try "not working" for awhile. I'm 40... probably a good time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Principal was a fantastic company to work for and handled the closing of the business unit with a very high level of class and compassion for our customers and the impacted employees. If you're looking for financial and insurance products, you would be well served to consider Principal's offerings. www.principal.com Ok, enough of that.


    My last day of work was 12/31/12.
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    I've been riding since around 10 years old. Started out with a 5hp mini-bike, then a Honda Trail 70... so on and so forth. I'm a bit of a motorcyce hoarder (you have to have the right tool for the job you know) but have been trying to thin out here recently. I rode to work pretty much everyday, try to take several trips around the midwest each year, do some dual sporting, and race local hare scrambles and enduros most weekends in the summer. I raced with a team in the 2007 and 2008 Baja 1000 events (finished both races!). We've done a 24-hour hare scramble down in Alabama. I consider myself a mediocre B-level off road rider and competent street rider. Definitely not a pro off road ace or a roadracer on the street... but I can get around.


    I've taken some long weekend trips on my own, but never a cross country type ride by myself. Never had a better time than now (other than it being winter in most of the country). I'm in awe of the guys and gals riding through South America, around the world, etc. Maybe someday, but for now I'm going to get out of Iowa and go where it's warmer. There's a lot of the U.S. I haven't had a chance to see up close and personal. I have no specific itinerary other than I need to be in San Diego on 1/28 to meet Pam, The Girlfriend. She's flying in and we're going to spend a week in San Diego together. She rides, has her own bike, and I really wish she could be riding with me... but alas, someone needs to keep working. Health insurance is a bugger.


    I'm going to take my trusty 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC. Fantastic bike.
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    Packing was fairly straight forward. I started here... hopeful thinking I guess!
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    I'm planning on taking off tomorrow morning (1/7/13) and heading south. Will probably ride more or less straight south until I get to Texas, then start doing some exploring. In a few weeks I'll need to start heading to California across southern New Mexico and Arizona.


    I'll be using this report to keep family and friends up-to-date and hopefully entertain a few inmates along the way.


    If anyone has ideas for great rides, things to do, and places to see, shoot me a message. Would love to meet up with other inmates along the way!


    See you on the road!
    Kelly
    #1
  2. c1skout

    c1skout Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Western PA
    Sounds like a good plan to me...I don't think those shoes offer much ankle protection though.
    #2
  3. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Good luck out there and keep the rubber down

    Later
    John
    #3
  4. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,397
    Location:
    Tampa
    Lucky you [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    306
    Location:
    Iowa
    I left home this morning at 8:54am. Every time I leave on a trip where I'll be gone for a few weeks, it's always a little emotional. You can't help but wonder if you'll be back. I know I'm more likely to get taken out on the way to get groceries two miles from home, but still.

    The Girlfriend and I hugged really tight, kissed hard, and cried a little. Say 'hi' Pam...
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    Left the house with 13,503 on the Triumph, 30 degrees and sunny...
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    I ran about 10 miles of local two-lane before jumping on I-35 south, ran through Kansas City, then made my way to Springfield, MO to stay with my cousin and his family (thanks Shawn, Morgan, and Ayla!) Lots of four lane today to get south of the cold and snow. Got up to about 50 degrees this afternoon which felt pretty fantastic. Stiff headwind most of the morning was really killing gas mileage along with the interstate speeds. Overall pretty comfortable ride with the electric jacket liner and glove liners set on Bake. Toes were cold on and off.

    I did take a break from the four-lane to run a nice twisty little road through the forest around Truman Lake in south central Missouri. Roads were dry, but there was a pretty heavy stripe of sand/salt residue down the center of each lane you had to be pretty wary of. 398 miles today.

    Not sure my plan for tomorrow yet. Looks like Texas is going to be getting some heavy rain the next couple of days so I might head west into Oklahoma and check some things out while that system moves through.
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,309
    Location:
    Toronto
    Enjoy your sabbatical and thanks for taking us along, safe ride :thumb
    #6
  7. Chappymx828

    Chappymx828 Hold my beer...

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Iowa
    As I sit at work staring at my cubicle walls and wishing I was riding, I found a list of stuff for you to check out in Texas. I expect to see some pics!

    http://www.texastwisted.com/attr/

    Ride safe.
    #7
  8. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    306
    Location:
    Iowa
    Great night's sleep at my cousin's in Springfield, MO. Hung around this morning and visited a bit before taking off. Pretty certain this is probably Ayla's first time on a motorcycle. What can I say, Triumph's attract cute gals...

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    I noticed last night on my GPS that there is an American Civil War battlefield just southwest of Springfield so checked it out as I left town. It's the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield park. First battle west of the Mississippi, one of the bloodiest of the war and had the first general to die in battle. I'm an American history nut so this stuff is interesting to me. There is a real eerie feeling knowing how many men were killed and injured right where you're standing.

    Wilson Creek... pretty Ozark creek other than all the bloodshed in 1861...
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    The only structure left from the day of the battle. The family that lived there and some others all hid in the cellar during the battle. 17 people in the cellar. After the battle the house was filled with dead and wounded as a makeshift hospital. Running in front of the house is the old "Wire Road" they used to deliver mail. Mostly still there and used for hiking and horses now.
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    Stuck to the lettered roads and had some fun getting from Springfield over to the Oklahoma state line... sun was shining, about 60 degrees out, roads were clean. Took a little shortcut that got pretty rustic... one lane bridge that made all the fun banging and snapping noises when you cross. "Rebel Pride" graffiti on the bridge pilings and ropes hanging underneath for swinging into the water (I assume...:huh)
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    Really wanted to get west in Oklahoma to try and miss all the heavy rain Texas and Oklahoma is getting. Pretty sure I haven't ridden in OK before. Sure get's flat and straight once you get out of Missouri... at least the northern part of OK. Thought I was taking a shortcut... looked like it on the map and ended up on about 30 miles of gravel. Looks just like Iowa gravel but with much less houses.
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    Ended the day in Ponca City, OK along with what would appear to be every oil rig worker in the state. Decent hotel with a bar and grill attached was just what I needed. Pretty sure I convinced an oil guy from Arkansas at the bar that if he had a more practical bike than his Iron Horse chopper (i.e. something with a normal rake, rear tire smaller than 200mm, luggage, and a passenger seat that doesn't mount with suctions cups) he and his wife would ride more than 4 or 5 times a year. Earned my merit badge for the day. Improved the world.

    Pretty slow morning so just 293 miles today.
    #8
  9. TheGirlfriend

    TheGirlfriend Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Oddometer:
    11
    Taking the garbage down was my adventure this week! I almost forgot!!! It made me miss you even more :) can't wait to see more pictures!! Stay dry in all the TX rain tomorrow.

    Ok, what is this ridiculous amount of 'smiley faces' !?!? :crash


    What the?? Is this beaut? :dllama

    LU - Ride Safe!
    #9
  10. nickgindy

    nickgindy Doing it Wrong

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,599
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    I'll be following. Anytime a post has unemployed and going riding I know it's going to be worthwhile.
    #10
  11. edstoll

    edstoll OPD-2019

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    274
    Location:
    Iowa
    subscribed!! Murrah Federal Building in OKC. You won't be disappointed. Also the good riding in Oklahoma is south of you.
    #11
  12. dudzadventure

    dudzadventure n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    cold, cold Iowa
    Great start Kelly! Have fun and be safe. Keep the posts and pics coming.
    #12
  13. iowawoodsracer

    iowawoodsracer n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Carroll, Iowa
    Don't see much camping gear on board the Tiger - must have some pretty high tech/compact gear! :huh

    Download the song Ben McCullough by Steve Earle to your iPod - great tune about the battle of Wilson's Creek!

    Travel safe! We'll be watching.
    #13
  14. mxjudge

    mxjudge Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    25
    You're living the dream. Look forward to reading this blog to get through the winter.
    #14
  15. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,022
    Location:
    Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
    Yo Kelly we're all watching with anticipation! Hope you are west of all the rain by now and enjoying some warmer climes! Travel safely and enjoy the well deserved break from the rat race! Subscribed! :freaky
    #15
  16. garybarber

    garybarber n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2
    Wow, after reading just two days worth of your articles I really hate being in Iowa. I sure wish I and could have gone on the ride with you. Stay safe!
    #16
  17. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    306
    Location:
    Iowa
    The duffel on the passenger seat is my camping gear... compact, but not necessarily high tech. Gonna have to be much warmer before I do any camping.
    #17
  18. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    306
    Location:
    Iowa
    In a word, today was dreary... but can't say it was bad.

    A common question I've gotten from family and friends is "what do you do with all your clothes"? Here they are... 3 compression sacks and a shaving bag. And yes Mom, I'm wearing clean underwear in case of an accident and in spite of one.
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    Originally I thought I'd ride west to check out the Little Sahara State Park... but then my buddy Ed mentioned the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It looked like I could possibly get to OK City before the rain really started there so decided to head that way instead.

    Pulled out of Ponca City at 33 degrees. Cruised up to the north side of town to check out the Ponca City Motocross track. They have some big-time national level amateur races there. Cool track, no real elevation changes but really wide and looked very well groomed. Gate was open but no one was there for me to sign a waiver to cut laps on the Triumph...
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    Ended up riding by the Miller 101 Ranch... apparently the Miller's were big time ranchers, oil men, had a Wild West show and a bunch of other stuff. Not much left now, this is the foundation of the 17 room mansion. Had 9 bedrooms and each had it's own bathroom... and this was the late 1800's.
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    Here's what the ranch looked like 'back in the day'... the mansion I was standing in front of is on the right end.
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    The Miller boys had this really big ranch... turns out they also had really big... hats.
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    The ride to OK City was really cloudy, spit rain on and off, mostly straight roads running through ranches. I did get on a really nice curvy stretch that flirted with the Cimarron River for a bit.

    As I approached the north side of OK City the rain started. My jacket, pants, and boots are relatively waterproof so unless it's a major downpour I usually don't have to put on a rain suit. Of course it did start to really come down right when I got near downtown and was trying to read exit signs and navigate downtown to find the National Memorial. Parked in a little dingy ramp across the street for $5 which was nice so I could be out of the rain to stow my pants and stuff before going in. You had to fold and stuff your $5 into these little slots... thought it was kinda weird...
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    I was just 1 year out of college when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred. I don't exactly remember where I was or what I was doing. The Memorial is one of the most moving collections I've ever walked through. Thanks for suggesting it Ed. 168 people, 19 of them younger than 6, woke up the morning of April 19th, 1995 and never got to go home again. Another 680 were injured. At one point, you sit in a room and listen to a recording of a conference call that was going on in the building next door that morning and hear the explosion and the reaction of the people on the call. Gripping.

    Here I'm standing next to part of the foundation that's still there.
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    Reflecting pool. The 'empty chairs' represent those that lost there lives. They are arranged based on what floor they were on.
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    If you remember, they ended up catching Timothy McVeigh in the Perry, OK jail where he'd been arrested two hours after the bombing by a trooper along I-35 for not having license plate on his car and an unregistered gun in the car. I rode through Perry on the way down to OK City.

    Took several hours to get through the Memorial. Still raining as I made it out of downtown. Headed west a little since the radar looked a little lighter that direction. It was 4:30 and I really hadn't had lunch so decided to call it a day. Found a hotel on the west side of town that met my criteria... it was off the exit I took, it was cheap-ish, and it was across the street from a nice bar and grill.

    Looks like I'll finally make it into Texas tomorrow! Yee-haw!
    #18
  19. lsrdecker

    lsrdecker n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2
    Hey, awesome stuff so far so keep up the good blogging but I have one request. I am most interested in the people you meet along the way. I can only imagine you are going to meet some characters and would be shocked if you didn't see them in OK. Pictures are great too.

    Safe riding
    #19
  20. bootsnasmile

    bootsnasmile n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1
    #20