“If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” - Solo X Country 2014

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by soph9, May 3, 2014.

  1. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Stony Brook. NY
    Not enough long of a day...only 443 Km's. Will try to make up for a short day tomorrow.

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    The ride from Castelgar to West Glacier National Park initially looked like it was going to be another wet day. Even the motel lady was like you are going to get wet. But to my surprise this is what I was greeted with heading into the Kootenay Pass.

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    Yep, sunny with some showers but only had the heated gear on for the summit and then off all day. Temps up to 19 C.
    Kootenay Pass


    Mountain pass in Canada


    Kootenay Pass, known locally as "the Salmo-Creston" is a mountain pass in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It is utilized by the Crowsnest Highway to transverse the Selkirks, connecting the communities of Salmo and Creston.

    Beautiful ride down Rt 3 with little or no traffic. This so far seems to be a good time of year to travel. Kids still in school and not a ton of people traveling.

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    I had a better day today regarding my domestic issues. Less thinking about home and more obsessed with my damn SPOT eating batteries. But hey, this is a lesson in giving up control isn't it? A ride to heal and learn from my mistakes. I will call SPOT tomorrow and find out if there is a solution but if not I will ask for them to send me a Generation 3 and give back the Connect.

    In any case the good news is I had decent weather and less ruminations. :norton

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    Ah, the sun! I never have good weather on trips perhaps going SOLO my luck will change? The bike seems to be running well...I hate talking about my bike when on the road but I will say that much. I am not that happy with the gas mileage yet. I have noticed on BMW's the mileage gets better around 15,000 KM or more. These twin engines take time to ripen I believe. :D

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    I am setting my GPS route day by day. Don't really have a plan except I need to get moving and start heading towards North Carolina. That is where my brother and his family live and I have never been down there ever to see where they live. He moved when I did in 1998.

    Some views heading towards the summit of Kootenay Pass. All I did was listen to some great tunes and soaked it in.

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    This is where is got chilly but only for a short while. As a matter of fact it's chilly right now near Glacier National Park. Temp has dropped quite a bit since I arrived. Cold enough for pants, fleece and my toque :rofl

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    I am not very organized I have to admit. Cheryl had her stuff to do as I did myself. She was the packer and I was the wisher. I need to get better at the end of the day routine. Find time to shower if I can and eat. Oh, I need to eat better throughout the day. I am a Type II diabetic and today I fell short of almost killing myself getting hypoglycemic. Take those breaks everyone told me and I said I would.

    When I stop for gas I forget to eat. So, this is also on my list of things to get better at being by myself. That is a MUST because having low sugars on two wheels is more deadly then when alert.

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    5.5 C is not that cold but it was with how fast I was going....windchill. There is my nemesis. The dreadful SPOT. Yes...i am letting it go.

    Quite a bit of snow up there still...

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    All left handed on the fly shots. I got so used to doing this with Cheryl I don't even stop myself. Better this way, keeps the flow.

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    As soon as you hit the summit you start the decent rather quickly and the snow turns to...

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    and then this...

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    Not too bad. Again I have gone down this way in 2010. Not Rt 3 but to Glacier and did the Sun Road then..went to Sturgis etc. This ride is more of a power ride. I really believe being on the bike is great therapy for me and missing side gigs isn't my priority this time. I want to push myself a bit and just see how far I can go and try to make time to see family and other adv riders.

    I feel sort of selfish this time but not so guilty.

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    That tube to my left is from my Hydrapack. I am wearing one this road trip and it's great. Just can't fill it up that much because my dry bag is right behind me. At least I am staying hydrated.

    I crossed over the border into the States here

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    The dude at the border asked me what I do for a living. I said Organ Donation. He said, "you are a donor?" I said "NO, not yet at least sheesh". He laughed and said "OKAY, what do you do for a living?" I was like "WHAT?" I said I manage organ donors when they are dead or almost dead, fined homes for their organs and manage and take care of families and ICU staff. He said "OH, tough job." Then, how much money do you have...I said probably none after my newly separation. Off I went. Oh, I asked do they have a bathroom he said yeah the porto-jons. Nice.

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    My biked hit 14,000 KM's today and I actually got a shot.

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    and my Heidenau tires also have over 14,000 KM's on them. I think they will last until I get to Toronto.

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    Love these tires I really do...but anyone who "knows" me knows this.

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    Stopped off in Kalispell to get more batteries and I met a guy named Tyler who knows someone who knows me. Small world. He pulled up to where I was gassing up...wait was this in Kalispell? Tyler if you read this where did we meet? Anyway, he said I past his house and he had to meet someone who was riding with an ADV decal on their bike. He is an iron butt man. He also thought I was a guy. I think the Altitude suit from KLIM makes me look like a chick on a GS, but what do I know.

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    It rained in Kalispell hard at times but once I left the sun came back then I got hit with hail heading into West Glacier National Park. I am at a KOA, got a cabin for cheaper than a tent site because the woman felt badly for me getting creamed by hail. I took it. I noticed though I brought a large MSR bottle for my stove. My stove pump will not screw into the the top. I forgot to check this before I left. Should have taken the smaller canister.

    Lesson learned and I can try yo find a small one so I can use my stove. Here at the KOA I made a fire and boiled water for this...

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    These are not that bad. Could not eat the entire meal but enough to make me feel full. They have smaller portions and these are just left overs from previous trips for two.

    I was trying to get a pic of the hail but was not successful...

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    So, too short of a day but I get to stay here. Not roughing it. Just need a sleeping bag which I have and a pillow. Have that too. It's getting even colder out as I type. I am outside on a picnic table.

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    Cute eh?

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    Tomorrow will be day 3. Have to make up some mileage that I lost today. Think I am heading to Wyoming. Buffalo, Wyoming I hope. Might be too ambitious but if the weather is good I will try and make it. Over 700 KM's.

    Here's to hoping each day I make head way in my own head and on the road. :freaky
  2. BioMedic

    BioMedic Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Enjoy Glacier! If you haven't done it before, it's worth the time to drive the going-to-the-sun road. It'll slow your day down, but it's an amazing road. Plus nows a good time there before too many tourists crowd it (it may be closed still...). Good luck! ...is that a GS or GS adventure? ....doesn't really matter, it's an awesome ride. Have fun.
  3. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    Did the Sun Road in 2010...and I think it's still closed. My bike is the regular GS. The ADV version was not out but if it was I would have gotten that one.
  4. moto74

    moto74 displaced

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    Good stuff Leslie :thumb :1drink
  5. NotAllWhoWanderRLost

    NotAllWhoWanderRLost So Many Roads...

    Joined:
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    723
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    I just checked your spotwalla and it appears your on the road again heading east on Hwy 2 and your battery was listed as good!

    I hope you have another great day enroute to Wyoming. That is a beautiful area and it should be a nice time of year to be rolling through.

    Have fun!
  6. thickwicket

    thickwicket Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    10:10 a.m.

    Seeing you just east of Cut Bank, Montana. Battery reports as good.

    Go Leslie Go!

    thickwicket
    (Gavin)
  7. K7TNT

    K7TNT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    N.E. Wyoming
    Buffalo,Wy is just 70 miles west from me. Weather is good just watch out for the afternoon Thunder storms! I'm working day shift this week. Would have had you stop over here for Starbucks. Ride safe, Richard
  8. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    Might not make it to buffalo got stuck at construction for about an hour. Got hit by a hail storm , cold and rain just got out of it. That hail hurt even through my gloves.


    If you see typos it's my phones fault!
  9. rjmorel

    rjmorel Dual Sporticus

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    Walla Walla, WA
    You forgot your Rotopax Leslie :wink: rj
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    .
  10. K7TNT

    K7TNT Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    577
    Location:
    N.E. Wyoming
    watch out for the thunder storms! My son in Billings last night had pictures of the golf ball size hail and strong winds. Be safe and take your time. Richard
  11. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    My extra gas stayed at home for weight and I knew there are tons of stations in between my destinations. I thought about it though...and as for MT...I got hit with the thunder, lightning and hail today. Rain too but again not very long lived...rode as fast as I could to get out of the one storm. It hurt! But it was the wind that was tough today, those damn cross winds. More later in my post.
  12. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    I need to start off by saying thank you to all the PM's, emails and messages in general to the many out there that think I am "brave" for telling my story and going out on my own. It is what it is....I speak my mind and always have, perhaps too much. But in the end I am not alone going through a devastating and blind sided separation. Seems this happens all too often in my books.

    I listened to the audio version of "Ghost Rider", by Neil Peart and narrated by Brian Sutherlan. I am on Chapter 4. It was so cool to listen to his take not only on his losses but his trip up the Dempster. He kept a great journal one that I would never be able to do and the details, oh the details remind me of my own trip and feelings in 2011.

    I will listen to the rest tomorrow and have to say all those who recommended this book to me I thank you! Now on to today's report.

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    It's funny no one has asked how my ass is doing on the BMW OEM low seat? Well, it's working out just fine actually. The sheep pad helps but I bet I could be doing this without it. For some reason I have grown accustomed to it.

    In 2010 I rode the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National park. It took us over 4 hours to ride the 48-50 mile road. The traffic and construction in early July 2010 was insane. Well worth it. Was a nice day but 4 hours???

    Today it was closed and closed until late June.

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    Today started out sunny and no wind until I got through the mountains. Again in 2010 I remember what it was like to ride through Montana and Wyoming. HOLY cross winds. But for the beginning of today I saw this...

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    It drizzled a bit but I have to be honest it was nothing compared to later in the day. The KLIM Altitude suit being Gore Tex is handling all this rain no problem. The only issue I have is the light colour. It's showing up everything and something weird is happening to the leather on the pants. I took some pics but perhaps I will take better ones at another time. But here are the ones from today.

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    both pants legs have these marks or stains? Dunno. I will see what happens when I wash them eventually. Other than the dirt and I have always had an issue with the collar. hey need to make it about 2 cm wider for heated liners. I can not zip up the jacket with my liner in to make it really water tight.

    My bike turned 15,000 today. I think yesterday it was 14,000?

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    it was still really nice out after I got through the park. Had to take this photo op shot with a back ground like that? It's really beautiful here, even the plains did not bore me this time. In 2010 they seem to be annoying a bit, but this time around being with me?

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    I like the rolling hills and the surprise curve in the road. Soothing I guess as I listened to Ghost Rider.

    Not sure if anyone out there who rides long distances have ever thought about audio books. If you haven't highly recommend getting some on your phone, use the Audible App and you are good to go.

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    My SPOT has died by this point. I called SPOT and they said it must be defective using so many batteries. Doesn't really matter I know it's defective because now it won't boot on. It DEAD.

    I am going to go to Cabelas here in Billings tomorrow and see about getting a Gen 3 Spot. The next time I can set it up online and call SPOT to activate the new device when I get one, tracking will be back on. I like to have it for me and my family.

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    The Spring time weather out here is definitely not boring. One minute you have sun and warmth, the next it drops 10 degrees C and it's thundering out, lightning and hailing with down pours.

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    Doesn't look that bad but when I turned a bend in the road I hit a black wall of hail. About 2 hours outside Billings, MT.

    I love cargo trains when riding. We have them back in Vancouver but while riding out in the middle of no where...these things are so cool.

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    So, I have to admit...riding solo can be scary at times. If you are reading this post to this point I will confess it is taking a little more time getting used to being on my own. Like parking. I have almost dumped the bike more times than I care to admit because I never judge parking surfaces well. Cheryl did. I find myself at times looking in the rear view mirrors only to see no one is back there. Scary to me since I always had a back.

    I respect solo riders a whole lot more now. We are on our own for sure. But on the other hand I am liking my own pace and not even really having anyone to talk to but strangers.

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    I have to give a kudos to Shoei helmets. I love this new RF1200 but I have always LOVED how easy it is to take the shield off these helmets to get a good cleaning of the mechanisms and the shield itself. Brilliant.

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    This 2013 Beemer is making a really decent touring bike. I like it!

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    Navigating for me is new. I never had a GPS on my bike until last year. Maybe that was a foreshadow because something prompted me to get one and learn how to use it. Coming in handy I have to say. I am using a Montana 600.

    When I got to a road construction area that says wait until your pilot car arrives, this can mean minutes or hours. I waited an hour. So, listened to my book and watched cows graze. A little annoying because I lost an hour yesterday time wise due to Mountain time and today due to waiting.

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    Started out sunny and cool while waiting but look what happened.

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    It was kind of funny. I was loving the gravel and dirt and was cruising right along while the cars and trucks behind me seemed more tentative. it was slippery but I have done the Dempster and Dalton in the piss down rain and this was nothing but maybe 10 KM's long?

    There is where the cross winds almost blew me off my bike a few times. I trust my bike and trust me to relax in such powerful gusts. Felt like a football player leaning into the wind to keep myself low. My body actually aches from today. The wind for me acts like I am a punching bag. Truthfully? I rather ride in crappy rainy weather than HIGH cross winds. it made for a great work out.

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    The another storm came up. In Montana you can see for miles so you can also see your destiny. I watched the skies and pulled over at a gas station to get my heated gear on. The temperature was about 18 C then dropped to 6. I spoke to an army young man moving to Texas from Fairbanks who said he heard it's really bad going the direction we were heading. Well? it was...huge hail, wind, thunder, lightning, pouring rain that bounced off the road up my pants leg. Also, it rained so hard that it was bouncing off my bike up my helmet until I put my chin down.

    The hail hurt my hands through my gloves and to kicker was the wind challenge as well. This lasted for about an hour. KLIM gear kept me dry as a bone as well as my Gore Tex KLIM gloves.

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    Gas station where I changed.

    Came out of it and again nothing but blue skies but windy.

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    I did not take pictures in the middle of the storm...I thought that would be just dumb if I did. I needed both hands on the handle bar. Wyoming is having funnel clouds and also bad storms. So, what lies ahead?

    I decided to head to Billings, instead of Buffalo, WY due to time. After 711 KM's and the cross winds I was done. So, stopped in Billings which is sort of good. I am going to go to Cabelas outdoor store tomorrow and see about getting that new Gen 3 SPOT. Maybe I can have tracking back up sooner than later if they have one in stock. They open at 0900 so my start time will be later than I want.

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    That is Billings down below and the weather was perfect. I got another KOA cabin for the price of a tent site. It pays to show up late and a little off season.

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    As the diabetic that I am it's important I check my sugars at times. Mine seem to be doing OK except yesterday I dropped to 3.6. Hypoglycemic which is not good but today I was better.

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    I am paying more attention to my diabetes than any other trip. I need to so I can stay alert. I have no one telling me I am acting weirdly. :D

    And finally a nice sunset to end the day. Oh, and some really really ANNOYING loud young man who just went to bed, made for a great day. Which is actually what I had a great day. One thing I hope this distraction of a trip does some healing so when I go back I am not a complete disaster as I was before I left. I need to be able to be functioning again on a more consistent basis. That is my wish for this trip. Safety, enjoyment and finding myself somewhat whole again.

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  13. moto74

    moto74 displaced

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    BOP, NZ
    Strong cross-winds suck big time, any other condition is better. Good to hear you had a great day. Solo riding is a different head-space for sure.
  14. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike EricV

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    Tupelo, MS
    Glad you're on the road and finding your rhythm. Listen to your body, it knows what you need, (on many levels, both physical and metaphysical).

    Wind sucks, and blows! :D By the time you get across the country you'll have new names for the entire Wind family. The twins, (Cross Winds), Mr. Wind, (head wind), that cute little hottie that keeps telling you to go faster, (tail wind), and the evil one that sneaks up on you, (gusts!).

    Remember, you are part of the environment, so take the time to enjoy the ebb and flow, and though I understand wanting to make your benchmarks in mileage, (LD Rider here), take the time to wander when you see a road or sign and wonder what's there. It's worth it, more often than not.

    We leave for 4-5 weeks on our own trip, (I'm Queenb's SO), and are counting the days to departure. Trips are wonderful tools for healing, as well as wonderful escapes from our angst and routines that don't always allow us to de-stress.

    Be well, ride safe and may you return home a new woman, ready to live your life, what ever it may bring, but with happiness.

    EricV
  15. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    I love your description of the types of wind. Good advise and have a great time on your trip. Wyoming has funnel clouds lol where I'm heading . Here we go again.


    If you see typos it's my phones fault!
  16. motoracer51

    motoracer51 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Western Colorado
    Thanks for sharing your travels with us. I wish I were able to do such a trip - lord knows I need something.

    I might have missed it, but what is bringing you to Long Island? I spend the first 20 or so years of my life there and have fond memories of the Long Island I grew up in. It is nice to go back and visit occasionally.

    Enjoy the solitude, sights & people you'll meet, ride safe, and thanks again!
  17. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    My sisters and parents live on LI. I'm originally from there.


    If you see typos it's my phones fault!
  18. CloudSplitter

    CloudSplitter Putterer

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    Northern West Virginia
    So, what's the deal with that Spot. Just checked SpotWalla for the first time, and it shows you starting in Glacier NP, and ending a short way east of there. Hope that new one works out better.

    Trying to decide whether to get one, but afraid that loss of signal may worry family more than having nothing.

    If you decide to head a little farther east and/or north, on your way home, you're welcome to overnight at our place in SE CT. It's all grrls, but me (wife, one daughter, and 2 grand-daughters).

    CT might not be too exciting, but VT and NH would be worth a look, if you haven't done that.
  19. motoracer51

    motoracer51 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    809
    Location:
    Western Colorado

    Ah, so you know the Island well then. What part?

    ETA: Are you considering moving back there? I recall in the your OP you mentioned the possibility of leaving Canada
  20. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

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    Location:
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    Stony brook and dunno...heading Down Rt 12 now be back later lol


    If you see typos it's my phones fault!