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:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I sit down in the driveway ready to take the thing apart until I found something wrong. Luckily, it didn’t take too long, when I removed the sprocket cover I noticed that the front sprocket was moving on the shaft.

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    I finally take a picture as I am working on the bike.

    I pulled off the thing that holds it in place to find the teeth are no longer teeth. Thankfully I have an old broken KLR Tengai that I have been using for spare parts and it looks like this sprocket holder is in better condition.

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    Old vs Old

    I am hoping that I just misaligned the chain when I put my tire back on and not that there is something wrong on the engine end.

    I put the ‘new’ one on and made sure the chain was in spec and there is no more noise. It is amazing how much more fun motorcycling is when you'r not worried about strange sounds.
    #21
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  2. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Thanks, I will probably meander south from DC without going to far west, maybe check out a couple of the national parks on the way...
    So, I may well take you up on your offer. Being of reasonably sound mind and body I can figure out a lot between the manual and the internet but you cant beat experience and I am all too lacking on that front.
    #22
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  3. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    508
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Good luck on your grand adventure! Why not seal tubes with Ride On before heading out again? It might save you from aggravation...
    #23
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  4. rokytnji

    rokytnji Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2018
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Pecos Texas
    When I went to the rattle snake bbq and motorcycle rally in Sweetwater TX. Local run for me. Just all day ride to get there.
    My bike repair build thread is over here: http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2067738

    Trip report is here: http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2069635

    Now. Don't trip on breakdowns . It is part of traveling on older used bikes.

    How was I to know water and dry rot electrical insulation don't mix?
    You can't plan for everything. From a dude who has repaired a dragging kicker on the road for a older 4 speed harley in a picnic rest area < no facilities > with no oil loss < bike laying with open cover facing up > , used a trashed 12 pack beer box as gasket material .

    Stuff happens. The measure of a vagabond is how well he deals with motorcycle travel stresses. You have a good start on becoming a shaman on motorcycles . Took me 40 years or so to reach that point. You wiill notice on my trip report I had to turn around and go home like you did.

    But. I made the trip anyways. Just a couple day delay while I adapt and overcome outside stresses.
    #24
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  5. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Day 6, 7, 8

    I spent another day trying to get as much done at home as I could before going back to DC to work my last event for the catering company where I have spent the last two years.

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    The only hiccup going back was the temperature, during my couple days in NY it had dropped from lows around 40 to lows around 30 and highs under 50. I bundled in what felt like all the clothes I had with me, put some hand warmers in my gloves and waddled out the door. My fingers still got pretty cold but it was manageable.

    On my way out, I stopped at the DMV to see if I could transfer the bike to NY, right now it registered in Vermont and I am worried that if I try to go to Mexico I will be difficult because there is no title and the registration looks like I printed it at home.

    I ended up staying in a cheap motel which still seemed absurdly expensive, stinky and bedraggled but at least it had walls and I was warm. Still not something I am in a hurry to repeat.

    As I pulled into DC I feel a slight pop in my clutch, it looks like half the wire strands have snapped. I am so close to home I just tighten it a bit so it will work and drive the last 20 min using the clutch as little as possible.

    Overall it was a good first leg, I am glad that I was able to fix this stuff now rather than be stuck on the side of some unknown road.

    Now I am in DC waiting for a couple things I ordered and plan to leave sometime in the next.
    #25
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  6. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,684
    Location:
    VA
    i am about 30mi south of DC and I might have a new set of heated grips somewhere in my garage...you're welcome to stop on by and I can help you install them.
    #26
  7. ClutchDumpinDan

    ClutchDumpinDan Go do

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,204
    Location:
    Virginia
    Allow me to put this as eloquently as possible...

    THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME! And what makes this place what it is.

    Your first post strikes a lot of familiar chords. And if I kept a journal I'd say you stole a few lines from it. I'm about an hour south of DC in Fredericksburg. If you're in the area and need anything, hit me up. Having taken a trip or two like this in the last couple years, I hope you won't mind me sharing a few things I've learned:

    Everyone is gonna want to talk to you. The locals know the best place to eat, camp for free and things to see. Be sure to ask them.

    Anytime you see something cool or a good photo, pull over and take it in. I've never once wish I'd not stopped for a pic or view. (Well, except that one time I about got bit by a pit bull)

    A Nalgene bottle full of boiling water, stuffed in a sock and tossed in a sleeping bag is the best thing ever when it gets cold out.

    It's better to have too many baby wipes, than too few.

    Things break, it rains when it's not supposed to and shit goes wrong. That's when the real adventure starts!

    Take your time, soak in every detail and enjoy the experience that most people have no idea they're even missing out on.
    #27
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  8. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Having spent two years in DC I still hadn’t taken much advantage of the free museums so, on my second to last day I managed to squeeze in a couple hours. I found pretty much what I was expecting, a whole lot of art and even more gawking tourists.

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    Large outside sculpture.

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    In Hirshorn Museum

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    Also in the Hirshorn.

    Guess all that art made me feel artsy.

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    I went out for a farewell lunch and ate so much it nearly put me in a food coma, but, since I had made plans to meet phreakingeek and I was already running late I drank some coffee and set off.

    Phreakingeek is an awesome guy that embodies the spirit of generosity and knowledge that makes the adv community amazing. He installed some of extra heated grips he had and so much more, working on my bike until well after dark and then let me camp in his back yard.

    After coffee in the morning I headed for Shenandoah National park / Skyline Drive.
    #28
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  9. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I got on the Skyline Drive at 211 and went south. I had actually done this stretch of the park this spring and it had rained the whole first day soaking me to the bone, the next morning I learned that clothes don’t dry when hung in a cloud... I still loved every minuet and this time was even better. It was a bit cold but thanks to my new heated grips I kept all my fingers.

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    One of the first views I saw.

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    I don’t know where they get their clouds around here, but these are top notch clouds!

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    The park is 105 miles long and has 75 overlooks that’s an average of an overlook every 1.5 miles. I only did about 80 miles and I think that 75 includes ones you have to walk to see which I only did one of and there was a handful or so that I skipped. Still, there was a lot of pullouts that day.

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    I hiked up half a mile of "rock scramble" to get this picture
    #29
  10. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    DSC_3091.jpg
    When I was at this lookout in the spring it was full of blooming Mountain Laurel

    As the afternoon wore on I noticed the sun was approaching the horizon rather quickly I spoke with a ranger that told me there were campsites for $20 or they gave wild camping permits out at visitor centers and entrances, but I needed to know where I would sleep for those. OK sounds good. I head south and see the campsite; closed. Guess I’m not sleeping there even if I did want to spend $20 on a patch of dirt and a gross bathroom.

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    I should be finding someplace to sleep, but look at those sun rays, how can I not take a picture.

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    Or two.



    So, I make my way to the southern entrance at around 5:30 and ask the guard for a permit.
    “Sorry, it’s too late for a wild camping permit, it’s getting dark soon”, “Too dangerous for people trying find a spot and set up camp”.

    Well shit. He was right about one thing the mountains small as they are seem intent on reaching up and stealing the daylight.

    The guard was able to tell me that the Blue Ridge Parkway started half a mile down the road and since that is owned by the National Forest Service it doesn’t require a permit.
    #30
  11. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    A couple minuets down the road I find a little dirt side road that goes deeper into the woods and take that. Pretty soon I find what looks like an atv trail and pull off the road onto that maybe 20 feet and start setting up my hammock. It seems I was not the only one that thought this was a good place to hang, there is remnants of burned wood and a whole lot of beer bottles lying about. What it is it with people and littering is it so hard to have a little respect for your environment or the next person that comes through?

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    The road, in the morning (had a rather different mood at dusk)

    As I am setting up 3 or 4 pickup trucks come through kind of odd for a road that small. Then one pulls over 30ft away from me and sits there and continues to sit there. I am kind of worried that they are a) some kind of park police that want me to move or b) that they are the owners of the beer bottles and I am in their drinking spot. Well, they can probably see me hiding in the trees with my big blue and white bike I should probably go say hi.

    I walk over and the tinted window rolls down showing two big guys that look a little confused and not entirely friendly. Maybe I am better hidden than I thought, oh well too late now. I say hi, explain I am camping in the forest and thought they might be rangers. They say no, they just came to sit here for a while. OK then, they seemed a little old to be pulling their pickup off an old dirt road for some alone time…

    Backwoods Virginia is weird, I don’t think I'm entirely comfortable here. Needless to say, I slept with one eye open.

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    During the night the wind picked up and when I woke in the morning it was quite cold.

    As I was packing up another pickup pulls up and parks. What is it with this spot? Time to go say hi, again. I am about to walk out when he pulls down his pants. Thank god I’m not any closer, I think I will wait until he has finished changing. I continue packing up for a couple minuets and try again, this time he is fully dressed in camo. He recommends a cool place down the road to get breakfast and heads off to go bow hunting for some deer.

    The rest of the day went without a hitch it even warmed up enough that I turned my grips off for a short while.

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    I passed the occasional farm with some cows or sheep.

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    If you look really hard you may even see one or two trees with proper fall colors

    The Blue Ridge Parkway is a really beautiful ride, not nearly as many pullouts as Shenandoah but also not as many tourists, a trade I will make any day.
    #31
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  12. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    A couple more photos:

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    I had decided to try out Airbnb for the night and found a cheap place about an hour south of Roanoke. It was hosted by a very nice couple from Mexico and Russia respectively they had a very cute miniscule dog that probably weighed 10lbs but was surprisingly well behaved for a little yapper (personally I prefer my dogs 10x that size). They even made me supper and breakfast. I felt a little uncomfortable intruding into their home and like I got too much for the $30 I paid, once you figure in food I imagine they don’t make very much.

    The next morning, I left around 11 and headed east for a friend’s house in Durham.

    The scenery quickly got flat and boring and my speed picked up.

    I didn’t want to get to Durham until evening, so I pulled into a little café bakery and did some work for a couple hours. The food was very good, but when I ordered coffee and looked for the creamer the only thing they had was Nestle powder. WTF? That’s not cream. When I spend $3 on a cup of coffee I expect cream that at least remotely looks like it came from a cow. The coffee was actually quite good, so I drank it without cream.

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    The offending Cafe
    #32
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  13. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Just some casual advise, the OLD doesn't have the strongest charging system. Try not to run the grips at low speed for long periods. It will kill the battery.
    #33
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  14. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,684
    Location:
    VA
    We did put on a voltmeter so he can keep an eye on the running voltage and ensure it's not below 12.5v minimum.
    #34
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  15. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Awesome!!
    I figured you hooked him up, just mentioned it because of the been there done that with my own. Not an easy bike to push start.
    #35
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  16. kingofZroad

    kingofZroad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    459
    Location:
    Montrose, CO
    I was just in the Smoky Mountains (not in a pickup truck...) and took a similar photo. Beautiful area, I want to go there on my motorcycle some day!
    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #36
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  17. MississippiJoe

    MississippiJoe n00b

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Central MS
    Early on your luck reminded me of mine. I'm anxious to see where this leads. Safe travels!
    #37
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  18. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I am going to Durham to see Margit. I’ve known Margit for quite a few years, I met her at the children’s camp where I usually work as a counselor. She drives her grandchildren up and then works in the kitchen during camp. Unfortunately, she has decided she is getting too old and won’t be coming back next,understandable I suppose most people would have stopped 10 years earlier. Still,it won’t be the same without her.

    My one night stay quickly turned to 3 as we talked and laughed about the strangeness of American holidays like Halloween. Talking with people that have so much life experience is always amazing, there were stories about rabbit hunts in Austria or moving to the USA with small children and so much more. The time we didn’t spend talking I spent writing, editing pictures and working on a website to put all this on.I even managed to squeeze in an oil change and put Ride On in my tires to balance them and help in the case of a puncture.

    [​IMG]
    Living the fancy garage life

    Margit had to leave to drive up to Ohio for her granddaughter’s birthday and offered to let me stay until she returned but I decided to leave the next morning. It was time I was on the road again and enjoy the mountains for a couple days before it gets too cold.

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    Glad I decided not to head towards the coast.

    I made it back to the mountains a bit below the VA, NC border and was pleasantly surprised by the color of the leaves, at least at certain elevations the muddy brown was replaced with vibrant yellows and reds.

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    Starting to get a bit of color

    It is good to be back in the mountains, I follow the Blue Ridge Parkway south and find a place to camp in Pisgah National Forest just before Asheville. I pay the $2.50 fora spot and get setup before dark even with daylight savings. I try my camp stove out for the first time (I chose a wood burning so I don’t need to carry fuel). I managed to only burn a small hole in the picnic table, turns out it drops coals out the bottom, good to know. I eat my flavorless ramanesk noodles and spend the rest of the night hanging out at the neighbor’s campfire.

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    I’ll be doing that on the ground from now on

    It rains a bit that night, I stay dry, but it slows down the pack out and its 10:30 before I leave. I take some beautiful country roads back to the parkway.

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    Turns out I was camping in the first national forest. 8100 acres purchased in 1911

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    Another absolutely gorgeous day in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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    Taking the backroads back up to the BRP

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    Trading photos like they did before selfies

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    In the late afternoon the parkway got fogy and I decided it was time to find a campsite

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    One of a couple pretty waterfalls on the way down the mountain

    I found a very pretty camp spot next to a river, and then it rained all night. I stay dry,but my hammock gets a bit wet on the ends, I will have to dry it out when I get to my Airbnb tonight.

    [​IMG]
    The Campsite
    #38
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  19. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    If any of you interested here is a link to the website, it is still a work in progress but I wanted someplace I could direct people like family and friends to easier...
    https://themotorcyclevagabond.com/

    PS always welcome feedback but maybe keep it out of this thread.
    PPS Hope I'm not breaking any rules by linking to an external site...
    #39
  20. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Another perfect day in the mountains brings me to the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway and only half an hour from my Hostel in Bryson City.

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    Taking the dirt road back up the mountain in the morning

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    Back on the parkway

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    The elevation is higher here

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    Amazing how vegetation and landscapes change as you climb

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    Reminds me of a layer cake

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    At the very top.

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    The sun is nearing the horizon, time to hurry up and get to my bunk bed
    #40
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