Key West to Prudhoe Bay on a Triumph Street Scrambler

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SirBones, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Background:

    Ladies, gentleman, and those yet to decide, hello and welcome to my first ride report. This is also the biggest trip I've taken since getting into traveling long distance. I'm super fortunate, because when my fiance and I watched the Long Way series, she said "can we do that?" So this trip is essentially a step towards that, although I went solo because she has a job she needs to be present at. I work remotely, so traveling while working is doable. If we can pull off what we want to, in the future her, my best friend Marek, and I will travel the entire world for 3-4 years Ted Simon style.

    I guess for some, there is an elephant in the room. The motorcycle I've chosen to do the trip on, a Triumph Street Scrambler instead of a cushy adventure bike. For two main reasons. 1.) I love the motorcycle and it's a joy to ride. 2.) It's the only motorcycle I own right now, unless you count Caitlyn's Suzuki S40, but I definitely didn't want to do it on that.

    Other than that, the only other things to know are that I have a remote job in the music industry that I can work from anywhere as long as I have cell service/wifi Monday thru Friday. So I worked up until Seattle, where I took vacation to continue north. Also I live in New Orleans, so I figured I might as well start in Key West so that I could do the Iron Butt Association's Ultimate Coast to Coast.

    For those who are into visuals, I have an instagram @scramblerstories and a YouTube channel, also Scrambler Stories. The whole trip was filmed and will eventually be up on YouTube, but probably not for a few months considering I'm still on the trip currently. If all goes as currently planned, when we do the RTW trip we'll have weekly videos.

    Enough of a backstory? I think so, let's get on with the ride.

    Getting to Key West

    Technically my trip started on Thursday, May 9th. You see, originally I was going to trailer the bike down to Key West and start fresh there. Caitlyn was going to come with me, but unfortunately due to an injury a few weeks earlier, she couldn't afford to miss work. So instead of renting a truck/trailer, I figured I'd save the money and just ride down there. I can push myself quite well, and long mileage days aren't an issue, even if they aren't the most enjoyable. Because of the nature of my job, most of my traveling would have to be on the weekends. Which meant hanging out places to work on the weekdays, and vast miles on the weekend. On that Thursday morning around 8am, with my bike packed and butterflies dancing in my stomach, I departed New Orleans.

    It felt much like Long Way Down, in the sense that I would be back in the Big Easy by Sunday night if everything went as planned. This gave me roughly a 2200 mile test before continuing on. I had fresh Metzeler Tourances on, and I had just changed my oil. I would be replacing the chain once I returned. I think I was somewhere around 23-24,000 miles on my bike. Everything else was in order. I was bringing a three gallon Rotopax strapped to my bench seat, even though I wouldn't need it for the first few days. I wanted to get use to having it.

    Riding Thursday went well. At my first gas stop, I busted out the laptop and worked for a few hours from a Love's Truck Stop. Eventually I gassed up and continued on until I needed gas again. Same drill, busted out the laptop and worked. Eventually my work day ended and I was able to ride into the evening. All day I was constantly on the edge of storms, however I never hit rain. Just some strong winds which do take on a toll on a naked bike.

    I rode into the night until I was pretty tired, and figured I had done well for a first day. Stopped at a Motel 6 in Ocala Fl, 566 miles from my apartment in New Orleans. I stayed at this hotel when I got Caitlyn's bike from Miami so I knew it was clean, and not expensive. The staff let me park the bike outside the lobby so they had an eye on it. Perfect, I could leave my camping gear and the extra gas on the bike.

    I slept, and in the morning I started work from the hotel room. Close to checkout time, I took off. Bound to pass through Orlando, and perhaps see a friend in Miami on the way. I thought about stopping at the Ace Cafe in Orlando, but I didn't have time and wasn't sure how cool it would be anyway. I'd rather go to the original in London. I had decided also to take the risk of not wearing my jacket, and went with a t-shirt and a vest instead. Perhaps not the smartest move for a pale dude. Despite generous helpings of sunblock, I still ended up sunburned. Also, I wasn't aware of Love Bugs in May. 91 south of Orlando was quite populated with the bastards. The giveaway was the car sprayers at the rest stops on 91, which I had never seen before. At one of my stops, I could barely see when I pulled in. So I got gas, food, checked emails, and most importantly cleaned my visor. Yup, I also took advantage of those sprayers because I was covered in Love Bug death.

    Eventually I continued on. Unfortunately a few minutes down the road I came to a stop. Traffic wasn't moving. I sat there like a good boy scout for a good 15-20 minutes, but it was hot. Too hot for an exposed human... Eventually I decided I needed to move or I would get sun stroke. So I made my way to the shoulder and bypassed about a mile of stopped traffic. Eventually I came to a lot of people hanging out and asked them what was up. They didn't know, but they had been waiting for awhile. I engaged with a gentleman about lane splitting because he made mention that I had ridden in the shoulder illegally, when suddenly cars began to start moving. So I obliged myself back into the line and joined in.

    Eventually we passed a wrecked Harley, and now the stopped traffic made sense. The rider wasn't around so I don't know the condition, but since traffic was completely halted, it may have been a fatality. Not a good feeling to know we may have just lost one, especially on such a big trip with it's own dangers. I hoped for the best, but at best looked like some serious injuries... It wasn't the last wrecked Harley I would see in Florida.

    After that accident, there was another not far down the road. Eventually I would get up to speed and continue on to Miami. I got to the outskirts of Miami Friday evening, so I'll allow your imagination to picture the traffic I experienced. Miami has terrible traffic to begin with, but Friday evening heading towards Key West was probably the exact wrong direction to be heading. I stayed legal and didn't lane split. Again, I'm hardly a badass. Also, my bike wasn't legally registered. I had an expired Tennessee registration, and I was struggling to get my bike registered in Louisiana. When I went to do it, I was informed that my financing company was purchased by a new one. My attempts at getting a copy of the title for the DMV in New Orleans was futile. The 24-48 hours the title department would get back to me was a lie. They wouldn't get back to me after multiple attempts, but I decided to continue and hope I would get it sorted by the next week.

    At some point the gods of traffic took pity on me, and it thinned out as I got on route 1 heading for Key West. I was behind schedule, and since I was camping (way cheaper than hotels in Key West) I was hoping to be there while there was still some light. I also badly needed a cold beer, as I was starting to notice how sunburnt I was. The plus side is I was riding through the Keys as the sun was setting. Suddenly it felt like the traffic had done me a favor, because damn that was beautiful. Sunrise/sunset might be the best time to be riding through the Keys. I was awestruck, and naturally wishing I could share that with every soul currently in existence. Figured I would record it, I was filming this trip after all.

    Turned out to not be a good idea. For one, I put the GoPro in picture mode, not video. The Sena 10c on my helmet isn't the best quality, thus why I wanted the GoPro on my handlebar on. In the process, whether I didn't mount it properly or I hit it just right going for the GoPro, I ejected my phone from the Quad lock mount I had just added to my handlebars. There went my phone at 50mph. I went back for it and recovered my iPhone 8 plus, but whether it fell on the screen or got run over by one of the vehicles behind me, it no longer had a useable screen. The phone still worked, but I'd have to answer incoming calls via the Sena headset, cause I couldn't do a thing with that cracked screen.

    I missed my turn for the campsite (Boyd's Campground) and ended up stopping at a hotel. I saw a Starbucks and was hoping I could use their wifi to lookup a map on my laptop, but they just closed. So I walked over and asked a girl who appeared to have a smart phone. She honored my request, and I as surveyed her friends came over. They were playing a scavenger hunt and asked to kiss my head since I shave it bald. Fair trade off so I allowed it. Hopped back on the Triumph and made my way to the campsite. Checked in, and I had a spot on the water that faced east. Perfect for the sunrise so I was happy. Ground was too rocky for my stakes, so I threw in gear to weigh the tent down. It was already night, but I had a headlamp on, turned out to be a useful purchase. Didn't think I'd need it unless working on the bike at night.

    Once setup I went over to the game room area to use the wifi. Wanted Caitlyn to know I was alive, but now without a working phone. I charged it anyway, so I could answer if she called (provided my helmet was on). I do have a replacement plan through Apple but once looking at their Miami locations, I figured I was better off getting the new phone in Naples. Easier to find my way there without GPS. I really wanted that beer, but it had been a 460 mile day while also stopping to work, plus some sun abuse, so I decided I just wanted to get some sleep. I'd get a beer as soon as I could, it was time to prepare for the beginning of the 30 days I had to get to Deadhorse.

    Day 1 (officially) Saturday May 11th

    I woke pretty early since I didn't bother with my flysheet. Weather looked favorable and it was. The thought of waking up to a sunrise was appealing. I did have some work to do even though it was a Saturday. I also had to print some forms for the challenge, as I would need the signature of a police officer in Key West. There also was a few other riders around that I got into conversations with. Including a couple on a BMW K1600 that looked super comfortable...

    I got a later start than planned, but eventually I was fully packed and started riding around Key West. I got gas which gave me my official start time, then I made my way to the "Southern Most Point" for a photo. I meant to do this around dawn so there wasn't a line, but whatever. I waited in line for 30 minutes and a couple helped with my photo/video. Then I rode around looking for a police officer, which proved to be harder than expected so early in the day. They're everywhere at night, naturally combatting the night scene. After riding around for awhile, I stopped at a liquor store. I wanted to buy something and bring it all the way to Deadhorse to celebrate with. They didn't have anything "top shelf" in a small bottle, so I went with some Jameson. It is one of my typical choices anyway. Asked the guy where the police department was, and he pointed me in the right direction. It's slightly off a main road, so I had ridden past it a few times.

    Got my signature from a rather cute police officer (she's married and carries a gun, don't bother) and I was on my way. I had planned to stop and get external shots with cameras for the Youtube, but I was not far enough along as I had wanted to be. Instead I flew on, with the trumpet not breaking a sweat. I got to the mainland and had semi memorized the roads I had to take. Pulled over at a McDonalds and used the wifi from the parking lot (woot woot, technology!). Ah, I missed a turn because it wasn't labeled. Memorized my next few turns and continued on without needed to eat anything from there.

    Since I had already taken 75 through the Everglades when I did a fly and ride for Caitlyn's bike, I wanted to take route 41 instead. Stopped to get gas and asked the cashier but she had no idea. Probably hasn't left that area. She's young, I hope she explores the world one day, because as many of you probably know, she's missing out. I was right, and found 41 west without issue. It was a nice ride, though not exciting. Hoped to stop at Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe (learned about it on Ride with Norman Reedus) but it appeared to be closed. No worries, I was starving since I hadn't ate yet, but I also wanted to get to the Naples Apple store before they closed. Continued on and discovered that the Naples Apple store was closed for renovations anyway. Damnit...

    There was a Chipotle near by, so that would suffice since I didn't get what I wanted. I got my semi healthy taco bowl, used nearby wifi to contact Caitlyn, and finally got that beer I needed. I'm a bit of a craft beer snob, and yes New Orleans has some amazing beers despite being known as a cocktail city. However that Bud light I had certainly tasted amazing at the time. After eating I continued on, my goal being Oscala at the same Motel 6 I knew was cheap, but clean.

    After riding through the night, I did stop at that Motel 6. 526 miles on that Saturday. Again, the same place I had stopped when getting Caitlyn's bike. I knew at that point although it was later in the night, it was also May, so I shouldn't have an issue getting back to New Orleans by a reasonable time to catch Game of Thrones. That's right, total nerd here, did you think I was cool or something?

    The massacre of Love Bugs...
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    Riding through the Keys during sunset. Photo at the expense of my phone...
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    The camp site on the water.
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    As per the challenge rules, took my photo with the southern most point.
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    A fire road in the Everglades.
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    #1
  2. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 2 Sunday May 12th

    I slept in since I had arrived around 2am. The bike hadn't been touched, and I preceded to clean and lube the chain. Got on the road and continued on. Shouldn't be a bad day. New Orleans had been hit with some bad storms and Caitlyn said our street had flooded. Those storms were heading east, so it was a matter of time until I hit them. Ridding in the rain isn't that big of a deal to me, so I pulled over when it was necessary and put my waterproof gear on.

    Got through the storm without issue and kept making good time heading west. No time for pictures, weather was bad and I had a hot date. Made it to New Orleans in time to catch Game of Thrones. Just had to walk to a store to buy some delicious New Orleans craft beer. It was a 566 mile day so my ass was sore. Probably should have looked over the bike when I got home. I didn't, and it would turn out to be a bad idea. My rear tire found a nail it was attracted to once I was back in New Orleans....
    #2
  3. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 3 thru 8 May 13th thru 18th

    It wasn't until Monday evening that I noticed the nail. I worked all day from the comfort of home, and it wasn't until around 7pm that I figured I should take the bike to the car wash to clean it. My chain/sprockets were going to be getting replaced at the local Triumph/BMW/Ducati dealer the next morning. Was trying to be thoughtful by removing the road grime/oodles of bugs. Not noticing the flat tire earlier was unfortunate, because I wouldn't have the sun/warm weather to soften the tire up, and those Metzeler Tourances are stiff as all hell. Removed the punctured tube that night, but couldn't get the tire fully onto the wheel for the life of me. Not without letting it sit outside in the sun for awhile.

    Brought the half finished wheel to The Transportation Revolution where I had my appointment for the chain and sprockets. Max there took care of the tire for me, then I went back home to mount it, and road the bike back to the dealer for the chain and sprockets. All was well after that.

    One of Caitlyn's coworkers was going to be moving in, so I had to break down the studio and set it up in the living room. I had intended to leave around Thursday or Friday, but also got to late start because Caitlyn and I went out too much. Plus besides needing to get in some time with me, I also had to take her on some rides. Being on the back of my motorcycle puts her in a good mood, how can I not oblige. The downside is I didn't leave New Orleans until Sunday the 19th...

    My biggest supporter, trying out her new wax cotton jacket we got her for a future trip.
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    Riding around town without all the luggage!
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    A California sunset, in the Big Easy.
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    My Arai XD4, looking like it should be in an ad. Come on Arai, use this photo in exchange for a helmet in Caitlyn's size! IMG_7866.jpg
    #3
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  4. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 9 & 10 May 19th thru 20th

    I awoke Sunday morning to severe thunderstorms and a bad headache. I already knew I'd probably be riding through the night, so I took some medicine and went back to sleep. Eventually I got up, finished putting the last bag on the bike as the sky dumped rain, and hung out with Caitlyn for a little longer. By 12:30pm, I had pushed it back far enough, and I hit the road with my rain gear on. I rode through the storm and it was done by the time I hit Baton Rouge.

    Once past Lafayette, I stopped for gas, took off the rain gear, and also bought a "Travel seat" to help with the butt for the long night I would be experiencing. Not much father down I-10, I hit bad traffic for about an hour. Stop and go, barely got a few miles. Even had some rain appear now that I was no longer wearing waterproofs...

    Eventually I would be moving at the proper speed again. I rode till the sun was setting and stopped to get some food/have a break. Then it was time to grind the best I could. Hit some serious wind storms throughout the night, but no rain fortunately. At one point, I flew by a large javelina that nearly gave me heart failure. I'm talking two feet from me at the most. Damn I was being foolish by pushing through the night in such a remote area. Around 2am I stopped in the middle of nowhere Texas, and considered throwing in the towel for a hotel room. One problem, no cell service. Which meant I couldn't work from there. So instead, I bought an energy drink, took a ten minute break, and continued on. By dawn I was in Fort Stockton.

    Throughout the day I would bounce between riding and stopping to do work. While going through El Paso, I dodged a satellite dish that was in the highway, but then hit a chunk of metal from it. I spent the next few minutes prepping for the handling of the front to change. There was no change, therefor no puncture, and I continued on. By the time I was 100 miles from the Arizona border the dust storms were getting bad. Also it was cold, way too cold to be the Southwest in May. I rode on, the dust storms occasionally getting worst, and offering a little rain at times.

    I was hoping Arizona would get warmer, but it wasn't meant to be. Oh well, wasn't far from Marek's house in Tucson and a break from the motorcycle. I think by 6-7pm Arizona time I was at his place. Spent the next few hours having some beer and talking with my best bud, until my eyes were getting heavy and it was finally time for sleep. 1400+ miles straight. I was tired, but boy that travel seat did wonders for $14.99!!

    Dawn in Fort Stockton.
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    Taking a break from the dust storms for a photo op. 7A2B4E45-3EE7-4251-A423-E43EB6E643DB.JPG

    Back in Arizona, a state I lived in for four years and love. A8B6BFD3-E5DD-43BC-9EC9-B08A5434F03B.JPG
    #4
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  5. kjames

    kjames Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    looks like it'll be an awesome trip, and loving the bike.
    #5
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  6. Gham

    Gham What's for lunch? Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,574
    Location:
    Auburn Hills,MI.
    Good stuff,I'm in :thumb
    #6
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  7. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    813
    Location:
    East Texas
    I'm in - looks like a heck of a trip
    #7
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  8. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 11 - 14: May 21st thru 24th

    Same deal for the weekdays. Working my job during the day, though now that I was essentially in PST, my job ends at 4pm. The other best part of Arizona, besides being Arizona, is that I am staying with Marek. See we've known each other since the 5th grade in Massachusetts, and we moved to Arizona together. He's a big motorcycle guy, and the one who insisted I post a ride report on here. So if you're enjoying it, he's to thank. Unfortunately I didn't have a motorcycle while we lived together, so we haven't had much time to ride together except my last visit to Tucson in 2017.

    Marek's had many bikes over the years, unfortunately he is down to one at the moment. A DR650 he bought from a fellow advrider on this forum. Video on it below.

    Anyhow, we got a few days of hanging out, catching up, and riding together. Marek isn't just a friend, he's a brother, and I think the visit was great for both of us. So much, that I am planning on heading through Tucson on the way home for some more quality time, instead of the original planned return. Also because I want to ride around the desert with him some more, but was robbed of that due to an injury.

    Insert another friend, Aaron. See Aaron got interested in motorcycles when I was getting my Triumph in Nashville. He didn't pass the MSF course due to his inexperience with shifting, but that didn't stop his interest. He bought a used TUX250, and I spent a few days in parking lots teaching him. He really dug my motorcycle though, and not long after moving back to Tucson, he sold his TUX when he was ready for a bigger bike, and got a Scrambler of his own. Unfortunately he had been dealing with some bad depression over the year, and succumbed to staying in and getting stoned. The downside being he didn't ride much, and quickly seemed to lose the skills and confidence he had once built.

    The three of us rode up Mount Lemmon, with Marek leading and me in the rear. Aaron hadn't touched his Sena in sometime, and his mic (probably not connected) wasn't working. He could hear us though, so I took the rear so I could keep an eye on him. We encouraged him to ride at his own pace, which he did. No issues other than that meant going slower than I wanted, but all is fine. I'd rather share great experiences with friends.

    After heading back down the mountain, Marek started piloting us to Reddington road, a nice dirt section. Unbeknownst to us, Aaron had been panicking a little on Mount Lemmon. He felt in over his head doing such a twisty road on a mountain. Having ridden with him in Tennessee last, a land of curvy roads, it hadn't even occurred to me that what riding he had been doing here was only around town. Tucson is flat grid if you don't get out of it. His riding although not fast enough for an experienced rider, had been fine from my perspective.

    Enter the 5mph switchback before we hit the dirt. The road had a bunch of dirt thrown across it, and Aaron, who badly needs to work on his low speed moves apparently, didn't take a tight enough turn. In the moment he panicked. He straightened out, looked at a ditch, and put himself into it. Had he kept turning, or just stopped once straightened out, he would have been fine. But he panicked, and succumbed to object fixation. Luckily no damaged as he ended up in a ditch between the road and a large boulder. I got his bike out and we continued on. Enter the dirt...

    Another thing I hadn't realized, he had lost connection with my comm unit after the ditch. I thought I was doing a pretty good job coaching him, but apparently my words fell into a void. It wasn't his first time on dirt, but it was with the Scrambler. Those of you with adventure bikes know the issues with weight. It seemed he was doing fairly well for about a mile. I was occasionally standing and letting the back end getting loose on turns, you know having fun. Marek, well Marek was just crushing it on the DR of course. Then it happened. Aaron low sided in a turn right in front of me. Looks like he was leaning a little into it, and the back end slid a little, and then he went down. I suspect he either grabbed the front brake once he felt the rear come loose, or he throttled off hard. Video below.

    I pulled over as Marek started making his return to us. Went to pick up Aaron's bike, and yes the proper way, and my rib went POP, followed by a sharp pain! Dammit... I pulled a rib out of the cartilage when I was younger, and have re-aggravated it before. Seems I had done it again. Marek helped me pick the bike up and we pulled it over to check it out. The engine dresser bars had some scratches, as did the rear heat shield on the exhaust, but all was good. Aaron ripped up his last pair of jeans, but other than some scraped knees he was fine. Jacket and helmet did their duty.

    Aaron was naturally shook up, and that was it for him. He did not want to continue, and I agreed he shouldn't. Unfortunately he'd have to ride a mile of dirt to get back to the pavement, and he was worried about that 5mph turn. We took a break so he'd relaxed, laid on some coaching, and then I escorted him back to the street and past the turn while Marek indulged in a cancer stick. Aaron stopped about halfway freaking out that he couldn't do it, but that wasn't true. He was doing just fine and we were going nice and slow. He was just losing the battle with his mind that many of us have had to face before. A little encouragement and we got to the asphalt and passed the dread 5mph turn.

    All was fine, I told to ride home safely, text me when he got home, and then his only job was to relax for the night. For a regular stoner, it wasn't going to be an issue. In fact, he had a girl come over. Guess he was trying to milk his new wounds/story! I on the other hand, made my way to where I left Marek and we continued. Unfortunately after a few more miles we had to cut the ride short. It got very bumpy, and with a hurt rib the pain was too much. I was so worried about hitting the potholes/bumps/rocks that I was not looking far enough ahead, and therefor hitting too many of them. Hurt ribs + lack of suspension travel did not make a good combination. Marek insisted we switch bikes, but I stubbornly wanted to stick with what was familiar to me.

    Eventually we found our way back to the city, dropped off some gear, and then made our way to a buddies place to have some beers. I would say I slept good that night, but that would be a lie. I'm a side sleeper you see, and I definitely prefer my right side. Exactly where I hurt my rib. Truth be told, every slight movement hurts with a rib injury, and no position was that great. This would be the start of only sleeping a few short hours a night at best.

    The rest of my time in Tucson was great. Met up with some friends, got some eats I had missed, especially the Taco Shop more than once. Marek and I did some more riding, and swapped bikes. I really liked the height of his bike. Naturally I'm thinking of the next bike during long rides. A dual sport is an option, but there isn't much off-roading near New Orleans, and what there is I've already conquered on the Scrambler. I did miss the power of my bike while on the DR650. A Tiger 800 or Scrambler 1200 may be in my future. Probably the latter in the XE variant.

    Friday night we just hung out at Marek's place and I packed the bike. It would be time to continue on in the morning.

    Triumph Street Scrambler vs Suzuki DR650, which would you choose?
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    Marek's choice is obvious!
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    Riding on Mount Lemmon.
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    Enjoying the view.
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    Marek thinks he's cool because he has hair, and he is. Dammit I need a wig.
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    Aaron's first mistake.
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    Yikes, he makes his second mistake.
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    That's it for Aaron, but we continue on.
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    A beer between friends should never be taken for granted.
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    Wonderful view. The mountain range is nice too!
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    Marek's DR650 overview
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    Aaron's crash
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    #8
  9. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 15 May 25th - 637 miles

    I woke up nice and early, finished packing, ate a little, and was leaving Marek's by 8:00am. I had to go over to Gate's Pass, a favorite of mine for sunsets, but today I was going to get a photo of the bike with a saguaro cactus. An hour of time well spent. Afterwards I was cruising along on I-10, heading west. I-8 to bypass the BS that is Phoenix traffic, yup, sounds great. Have had my fair share of dumb drivers in Phoenix and I don't mind lessening the risk. Still got a long way to go till Deadhorse.

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    Hours of riding through the desert and zero complaints from me. Tucson was chilly the entire week, so I didn't mind as it warmed up. We'll see if my opinion changes come July during my return trip. I hadn't really expected it to be cold until Canada, boy was I wrong. As I was approaching LA the temperature was dropping, much to my surprise/disappointment. 210 took me through the mountains and around the city. I will say riding through the mountains was quite nice.

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    Eventually the mountains would give way to the valley, I would give in to exhaustion and cold. Thought I would be farther down the road, instead I was just past Bakersfield. On the other hand I got a room at a Motel 6 that was fine. They gave me a handicap room so I could park outside, and gave me a traveler's discount, sweet deal. Time to charge the electronics, take a warm shower, and get some good sleep. Spoiler alert, the rib injury wouldn't let me get that much sleep, so perhaps rest is the better word.
    #9
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  10. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,082
    Location:
    On the cut
    Fab. More please! :clap
    #10
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  11. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    614
    Location:
    Atlanta OTP - Acworth/Kennesaw
    great looking bike and fun report!
    #11
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  12. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 16 May 26th 426(ish) miles

    Woke up in Buttonwillow California, but not to the typical sunny California weather. Instead it was dark, raining, and rather cold. California chose a bad time to "mix it up" and I didn't appreciate it. Eventually I'd pack the bike, throw on the rain gear, and hit the road. I decided to cut west and hit the 101. Followed the 101 till Salinas, then I hopped off and went father west to meet up with the PCH at Monterey. Rain was spotty, so not too bad. Traffic was memorial day weekend, so not too good. Temperature was not warm enough but ok, bouncing around the 50s.

    The PCH was cool. Certainly got better around Santa Cruz. I would prefer around Crescent City the next day, but I better not get ahead of myself. Mostly the PCH was scenic, although slow going. I passed through San Francisco and if it hadn't been for the obvious (hills, buildings, and traffic) I might not have realized it until I was suddenly on the Golden Gate bridge. Great photo opportunity, but too many people and I wanted to get further north before stopping. Braaaaappppp, I'll stop by on the return stop.

    Stopped in Santa Rosa at Third Street AleWorks for dinner and some beer. Talked to another biker while there, had a good burger, tried a new beer that was great, awesome. However, someone knocked over my bike while I was eating and then left, not so awesome. Manager came over to me to ask if that was my bike on it's side. "I hope not..." But it was unfortunately. The manager and another guy were kind enough to help me upright the trumpet, which was good since my rib was still in sharp pain whenever I did anything. Front end alignment was off but not bad. Bracket for my fly screen was bent, mostly just annoying to look at.

    Still it dampened my spirits, and the riding through the cold mountains on the 101 at night wasn't lifting them. By Ukiah I would stop to sleep for the night. Motel felt a little dodgy, so better put the bike cover on. I don't like advertising, and I wanted to leave my Wolfman roll bag (camping) and the Rotopax on. The expensive camera gear comes with me.

    Good o'le sunny California
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    A beach near Santa Cruz
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    Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge
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    #12
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  13. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,210
    Location:
    Seattle
    Good stuff, SirBones! Following right along.
    #13
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  14. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 17 May 27th 463 miles

    Since it was now a Monday, it was time to work. So I woke up and got to it from the hotel room. It was Memorial day, but that's never been communicated to me as a holiday. Plus the phones were on, so I took that as a day I'm working. After a few hours of emails, the owner sent me a request to do something "when I was back in the chair." I took that as we are closed for the day, packed up and left.

    Cruising up the 101 all I saw was adventure bikes everywhere. They looked so damn comfortable. Wind protection, great for luggage, and I'm sure many had cruise control and heated grips. Something that would have been useful since the weather was still in the 50s and overcast. I'll probably get something one day, but I'm doing this trip like Ted Simon. Retro suffering.

    Eventually a beast emerged in my view! It must have been eight feet wide, and who knows how tall. Then another one, and another one... It was the start of the Redwoods and it was amazing. I was on the phone with Caitlyn at the time, so she was catching my reaction of pure amazement. Damn, they're really cool to see in person. I had realized the day before, that this was the first time on this trip I was in a location I had never been before. Previous to this, I had never been North of Burbank California, or south of Seattle. It finally was feeling like an adventure, so I couldn't wait for Canada and Alaska.

    I met back up with the PCH in Eureka California, where I decided to take a break from the cold and the rain by grabbing some food at a Taco Bell. I know, a risky move, but luckily I didn't have any issues once I was back on the road. A Dorito taco proved to be surprisingly delicious. Soon I hit Crescent City, and boy did it not disappoint. The coast on one side, the redwood trees on the other. At times the trees would cover both sides of the road, and then give way on the left to cliffs overlooking the ocean, or at other times, rocky beaches. Ok, I need to pull over to soak this in and take some photos.

    After I was done being awestruck, it was time to make my way back inland to I-5. Riding the coast was fun, but now I needed to get as close to Seattle as possible, since I would be working the next day for sure. 199 cut through the Redwoods and it was great. Aaron killing curves for sure. Windy roads with huge trees immediately off the pavement, there wasn't any room for errors. I had a blast, though eventually I hit some bad fog. Eventually I made it through, and stopped to get some gas now that I was in Oregon. The clerk has to run my card, but I have to pump it because it's a motorcycle? I thought Oregon changed that? Pumping gas too difficult for some people?

    I took I-5 as north as I could. I was stopped in Eugene for some food and gas when I decided to call it a night. It was already 10pm, and I was pretty cold. Thought about pushing on to get to Salem, or past Portland, but I was content with my progress. Plus I was tired. Still not sleeping well because of the hurt rib. On top of that, work start at 7am.

    The first Redwoods I saw on 101.
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    The coast in Crescent City California. Side note, a nickname for New Orleans is the Crescent City!
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    It was awesome, I approve.
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    Hitting some Fog.
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    #14
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  15. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 18 May 28th - 227 Miles

    I woke up before 7am and started attacking work emails. When I was caught up, and before I started other projects, I decided to soak in the bath tub to alleviate some soreness. That's right, I'm a grown man and taking a bubble bath... What are you going to do about it!

    Around check out time, I took my gear outside and decided to time myself on how long it takes to strap all of this gear onto my bike. Hey, seven minutes. I feel accomplished, that's not bad right? Hopped on the bike and started chugging north. Passed through Portland. Looked cool, but wouldn't know. I'm working and trying to get to my Dad's house in Lacey Washington.

    Stopped in some small town in Washington to get some food, and continue working. Other than the job, easy day for me considering some of the long miles I've had to do thus far. Also weather was pretty good. Getting warmer the more North I went. Thought that was kind of strange, but I'll take it. Beautiful weather on the Dalton highway perhaps? Anyhow, got to Lacey in the late afternoon, so it was some father and son time.

    Packing the Scrambler in Eugene.
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    My dad pretending to be a hooligan on the Triumph.
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    #15
    Frey Bentos, Oznay, B10Dave and 12 others like this.
  16. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 19 - 21 May 29th thru May 31st

    The next few days I worked from my Dad's place in Lacy Washington, about an hour south of Seattle if it isn't rush hour. Other than working the next few days, I decided to get my bike serviced at Triumph of Seattle. A fresh oil change since I had put a lot of miles on quickly, and I discovered I didn't bring the wrench to loosen the upper yoke, so I wanted the front end realigned. So after a day off the Scrambler, I took it on Thursday to the dealer in Seattle.

    Cool dealership. Had Ugly Bros jeans, Rev'It stuff, all the things up my alley. I worked from the wifi and met a few people, including a 75 year old man who was riding a Tiger to Alaska from Alabama. His wife and two others were already on their way to Canada but he had blown a fork seal. Badass guy, hope he posts a ride here. I also spent considerable time staring at a Scrambler 1200...

    When talking to one of the guys that worked there, I asked about having the registration being checked at the border. If you recall, I was struggling before the trip started to get my title sorted so that I could register my motorcycle in Louisiana. Well, after more attempts between Key West and leaving for Tucson, I was still unsuccessful. At this point I had ridden entirely across country on an expired registration/license plate. Unfortunately the employee told me he goes through the border once a month, and that they don't check registrations because they have cameras for that...

    My face may have gone as white as a ghost. Crap, what if I went all this way to get turned around at the border. Previously I had one of my Canadian friends tell me they never ask for his registration. He lives in Toronto, his fiance is in Pennsylvania. They both go through the border all the time and never get asked for it. This may have given me a blanket of false confidence to wrap around myself. Now that blanket was ripped off and I started panicking. Did I mess this trip up? Should I have delayed the adventure until the title was straightened out? Would I now be spending my first vacation in almost five years just riding back to New Orleans?

    I was stressed, and super low. The service charge was more than expected, although they did fix my horn that had stopped working. I needed Caitlyn, she makes everything better, but she was all the way in New Orleans. I didn't know what to do. Around the same time, my back got a lot worst. My rib was feeling better, but my back felt like my spine was pushing out of my skin and causing a burning sensation in the process. Laying on my stomach with ice on my back made it feel better. Anything else, it hurt pretty bad. I've always had a notoriously bad back. Born with osteoporosis, developed osteoarthritis, and multiple fractures over my lifetime. This however was something different, related to the rib perhaps, but I hoped it would get better.

    I had planned on leaving late Friday afternoon to see if I could get into Canada. I had to give it a shot, for better or worst. But I was going to have to wait till Saturday to leave. I decided I had to rest and hope my back would be better in the morning. Plus, Seattle traffic is so bad that I would be adding an unnecessarily amount of time just to sit in traffic if I left Friday. Saturday morning I'd make a go for the border and see what happened. I struggled to fall asleep that night, but as my back needed the rest, I laid there anyway until exhaustion finally set in during the morning hours.

    Two english creations, my Triumph Street Scrambler and my Dad's 1974 MG.
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    Resting my back. I've broken a few times in the past by the way...
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    #16
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  17. 08StangGT_CS

    08StangGT_CS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX and Beyond
    Great looking bike and great trip!
    #17
    SirBones likes this.
  18. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 22 June 1st - 612 miles

    The big gamble, or so that's how it felt. It's not like they'd arrest me. Worst case I get turned around, and what, maybe a ticket/fine? I had to try, I had already come all this way. So in the morning I said my goodbyes to my Dad and step mom, hopped on the bike, and started heading north, passing through Seattle while it was hiding in fog. A bit on the cold side, but that's because the sun hadn't been emerging till the afternoon all week. Figured once I get past Seattle it wouldn't be an issue, and I was right.

    My goal was to cross south of Abbotsford BC, avoiding any traffic in Vancouver. Also hopefully the less busy border crossing would be easier. Along the way I stopped at Taco Bell again. Was craving a Dorito taco again. So weird, as it hadn't been that long since I had real tacos at the Taco Shop in Tucson. But hey, I had to eat something. After the meal I headed for the border.

    I wasn't even in Canada yet, but the views were getting better and better. I could see the distant mountains teasing what I would have in store for me if Canada welcomed me in. I filled up on gas down the street, and headed for the crossing. I had a lot of butterflies flying around my stomach while sitting in line to go through. Only a few cars in front of me when I remembered they'll probably ask me about my license plate number, so I jumped off to give it an eye and memorize it. Most cars were held for about a minute or two, but that wouldn't be the case for me...

    I pulled up, turned the trumpet off, and took off my sunglasses. Handed the customs agent my passport and was instructed to take my helmet off. He asked what my license plate number was and I told him. Good thing I just had checked it. The usual gab about what I was going to be doing. He proceeded to talk to me for about ten minutes or so. I was getting a little nervous, he didn't talk to anyone else this long. But I think it was just general interest and a pleasant conversation. He was Canadian after all, of course he would be friendly! Eventually he let me pass.

    WOOOOOOOOOOHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I made it into Canada, what a relief! Now hopefully I wouldn't run into issues getting into Alaska, cause that would be unfortunate. At least I was in Canada for the first time, and the next few days I'd be riding through British Columbia and the Yukon. It didn't take long for the scenery to start getting good too. The occasional snow covered mountain, rivers, lakes, etc. My first day in Canada did not disappoint. I rode all day and made it to Prince George by the time I was getting too tired and cold. I didn't feel bad about the Taco Bell anymore, because other than some beef jerky I had with me, that was all I ate for the day. My resting place for the night was a Super 8 that had a tropical designed interior. Weird it was!

    And I made it to Canada!
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    Pretty happy that the adventure gets to continue!
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    Getting Scenic too!
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    The interior of the Super 8 in Prince George
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    #18
  19. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,669
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    Hell of a start , it could be made into a Monster !
    I like Tucson too , have a couple of buddies living there. Here's a little video I made of a ride on Reddington Road. Maybe it will be of help to Aaron.

    #19
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  20. luftkoph

    luftkoph Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    821
    Location:
    U.P. mich
    looking forward to the rest of this trip.
    #20
    SirBones likes this.