Changing my profession to vagabond

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by NoHorizons, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    It is now three days before I depart on my first longer motorcycle trip. And I am feeling a good mix of I can’t wait to finally get out of here, I have been dreaming of traveling for the last 4 years and oh crap I am totally unprepared, my panniers and boots haven’t even arrived yet. Well I suppose that’s the difference between an adventure and a vacation, right? A good adventure should have a good solid shake of uncertainty and I have at least decided on the general direction I am heading as for the rest there is no time like the present for making decisions, the future present that is.

    At 22 years old the expected path, the one that most of my friends and acquaintances have taken has them graduating from a good college with a fancy piece of paper and embarking on their careers. Despite actually enjoying learning I simply couldn’t justify the price of a private school and found community college to be painfully lacking in intellectual stimulation. So, when a friend offered me a place to live and a job at her small catering company in DC I jumped at the opportunity and have spent the last 2 years working my ass off.

    IMG_20180923_103744730_HDR~2.jpg
    I generally frown on selfies... but, here's one from a 1 week cross country trip delivering a friends car to Portland

    As long as I can remember I have longed to travel and travel in a way that I actually can experience the land and its people, so that when I am done I have more than a stack of selfies that prove I was there. I don’t know how I decided I wanted to travel on a motorcycle but somehow the idea showed up and wouldn’t leave. So, I did a two-day motorcycle course and started watching craigslist for adventure suited motorcycles, it took a while but I did eventually find something I liked. A 1992 KLR 650 with just under 10k on it yes, its older than I am and yes I am told the paint would better fit a jet ski from the 80's personally I like to think that it gives it a bit of character.

    IMG_20170430_181333881-2.jpg
    From the very first ride I took.

    I have decided to write this down partly because I want to give back to a community that has taken me across the world and truly stoked the flames of my inner vagabond with their words and pictures, and with any luck I would like to do the same for someone else. The other part is that I am doing it for myself, for days in the future when it has become a distant muddled memory reading this might bring back a bit of definition. In reality it has been a couple years since I have written anything longer than a short email and I have never really written something longer of my own volition, so, we will see how long this lasts. Also, bear with my on the grammar, I am working on it but its by no means a forte.

    Well that should be enough of a rambling introduction, I have to get back to wrapping up work. Hopefully I will have more interesting posts soon.

    DSC_2372_02.jpg
    #1
  2. Romero

    Romero At Cinépolis or OXXO

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Oddometer:
    479
    Location:
    Morelia
    I'm in! That was the exact first bike I ever owned. Heading south?
    #2
  3. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Yes I figure I might run up to NY to see family and then wander south as weather and interest dictate. In the long run I hope to end up in Mexico or further but I want to spend at least a month getting used to living off a motorcycle before adding in a language I dont speak. I figure I have maybe 5 months of money if I'm super frugal unless I find a way to work en route, so we'll see where I end up.
    #3
    MYUMPH and Romero like this.
  4. Romero

    Romero At Cinépolis or OXXO

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Oddometer:
    479
    Location:
    Morelia
    #4
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  5. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,426
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I’m in! Good luck and get south soon—the weather’s changing fast.
    #5
    NoHorizons likes this.
  6. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    251
    Location:
    Island in the Salish Sea
    You are off to a good start...keep your nose clean...I'll be watching, ha ha.
    Ride like they are out to get you, 'cause they are!
    Safe and interesting journeys.
    #6
    NoHorizons likes this.
  7. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,266
    Location:
    Central Mn
    Subbed.
    I'm thinking some great photography is coming from this lad :queenie
    #7
    NoHorizons likes this.
  8. rokytnji

    rokytnji Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2018
    Oddometer:
    130
    Location:
    Pecos Texas
    PM me here, if tired on I20 and in the West Texas area and need to recharge body and scooter.
    I got room for scooter vagabonds. Being a scooter tramp myself since the 70's.
    #8
  9. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Not fast enough its been in the 80s and humid in DC, not exactly fall weather.
    Thanks!
    #9
  10. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Day 1

    Well, the beginning of the trip was definitely not what I was hoping it would be. I left at 4pm hoping to squeeze out before the worst of rush hour hits. I am heading home to upstate NY for a couple of days before going south.

    20 min later I pop a tire, I pull over and take a deep breath. Ok. Not the best start but I am prepared for this I have my toolkit with some tire patches. Nope its not going to be that easy, I get the tire off and pull out the inner tube to find that it is torn around the valve. There is no patching it, luckily, I am still in civilization, there has to be somebody in the area who has a tube that will fit but it is now almost 5pm on a Friday. After calling maybe ten places I finally find a Cycle Gear 20min away and call a Lyft.

    I didn’t look at the exact time but given how much I know about my driver’s history, sports interests, career and family I am guessing it was a bit longer than 20 min. I got the tube and called another Lyft, this time it was much longer and I sit in silence watching the sun sink to the horizon. By the time I got back to the bike its around 7 and getting dark. I hate DC traffic.

    Naturally as I am putting the tire back on the rim I pinch the new inner tube. Guess I get to use those patches after all. I pull out my headlight and get to work the rest went slowly but without incident. Eventually I get the tire back on and head out of the city. Still in heavy traffic.

    I don’t like driving in the dark but under no circumstances am turning around that would feel too much like admitting defeat before I even started.

    I got something to eat despite not having much of an appetite and started to look for someplace to hang my hammock. I usually go for a campsite or at least someplace remote where its unlikely I will be seen. I start getting seriously tired and cold and eventually give up looking for remote and find a corner of a parking lot behind a strip mall, I am setup shortly before it starts to rain and continues to rain throughout the night.

    Sorry, no pictures I was a little preoccupied.
    #10
    rubline, MrKiwi, Lopburi and 8 others like this.
  11. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Day 2

    I wake up early and it is still raining, I stick my head out, I am still pretty much alone and it looks cold and dreary at least there still aren’t any people around, I stick my head back in and go to sleep again. The weather app says it will stop raining at 9 and it does what it says for a change. Speaking of weather, the unnaturally warm dry weather heard me complaining and ditched me, leaving the me riding in the cold and wet. 40 degrees is really pushing what my gear (both motorcycle and camping) can do.

    DSC_2859.jpg

    I have a few uneventful hours before I hear a grinding noise, sounds like the chain, maybe I messed up the adjustment when I fixed the tire. I pull over and inspect the chain, it seems to be straight, maybe a little loose I tighten it a bit and the noise seems to quiet. After an hour or so its back, this time adjusting doesn’t seem to do much, I ride a ways and try again. I repeat this process to varying degrees of success throughout the day.

    DSC_2862.jpg

    As the sun is setting I am relatively close to the PA, NY border. I decide to make an exception and get a cheap motel room, its cold and I am getting more and more stressed about the noise. I call a couple places and find one with a vacancy about 45 min away.

    As I start driving again a couple cars flash their lights at me, I think, huh maybe there’s a cop ahead and slow down, there’s no cop. Another car flashes their lights I make sure my high beam isn’t on, by this time its dark enough I should really be able to see my headlight bad as it is. Ooohhh… It finally dawns on me what the cars were trying to say…

    I am still half an hour from the motel. I pull to the side and try the fuses, no such luck its probably the headlight. Guess I am not sleeping inside after all. I quickly find someplace I can pull off and be somewhat concealed and set up my hammock. I put on most of the warm clothes I had with me, ate a quick supper of beef jerky and chocolate and went to sleep.
    #11
  12. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    577
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Damn man, at least you're getting the bugs worked out before you're away from civilization
    #12
    NoHorizons likes this.
  13. kingofZroad

    kingofZroad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    460
    Location:
    Montrose, CO
    I’m in. Safe travels!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #13
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  14. pointerDixie214

    pointerDixie214 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    PA
    In.

    Sounds like the bike is just working out the kinks while it is still (relatively) convenient to fix them.
    #14
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  15. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    286
    Location:
    Beautiful NC
    Check your wheel bearings?
    #15
  16. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,509
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    Already following too many ride reports, eh, in anyway.
    #16
    phreakingeek and NoHorizons like this.
  17. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,805
    When you get to Hudson be sure to stop at the coffee shop/motorcycle shop "Moto". On the main drag. Anthony is good people and can probably help you sort any tech issues with the bike. Iain's great too, if he's there.
    #17
    Maniaxe and NoHorizons like this.
  18. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Really, I live 15 min away from Hudson and never noticed it, though I did start riding after I left the area. I might have to stop by on the way out of town tomorrow.
    #18
  19. Spicciani2

    Spicciani2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2015
    Oddometer:
    239
    Location:
    mobile AL USA
    My god that klr is a beaut! I really cant believe how pretty the paint is... But ummm seriously carry an extra tube and perhaps find a member with a well sorted garage to check the rest of the bike over? If for some crazy reason you head straight south instead of west first hit me up
    #19
  20. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Day 3

    I pack up and head into NY. I can’t quit say I shook that nagging worried feeling but the chain grinding sound seemed to have gone away overnight and there is no point worrying about something you can’t change. I put on an audio book and focused on enjoying the crisp fall weather and winding country roads.

    IMG_20181014_141542729_HDR.jpg
    I find a cool little diner called The Roost and have some apple pie with coffee as I let my fingers warm.

    DSC_2866.jpg
    Its good to be back in familiar territory.

    I make it home in the early afternoon. I unload the bike and decide to give it the silent treatment for 24 hours. Its good to be home, I rather miss my dog, I don’t get to see him very often. Yeah, yeah, I suppose I miss my family too.

    It will also be good when I can stop writing about mechanical issues, I really thought I had it all fixed up.


    Day 5

    I suppose it’s a good thing to have these issues now rather than later maybe the bike is wise in her old age and not just cranky.

    I get and install the headlight with no issues.

    DSC_2874.jpg

    I decide to go on a ride around some of the back roads with my camera. The leaves don’t seem to be doing much this year, too wet.

    DSC_2886.jpg

    After about an hour the grinding noise is back with a vengeance, I fiddle with the chain and get it the mile home cringing the whole way. Not so gone after all.
    #20