No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SeanPNW, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    The next morning I said by to Kenny and PJ and hit the road headed North again. I’ll be seeing them in a month or so though, when I come back south for the 2014 Nottarally in Tennessee before heading across on the TAT. Austin (inmae Dolomoto) had put me in contact with his friend Michael who lives up in Blacksburg Virginia, so that’s where I was headed next. On the way I figured I’d jump on the Blue Ridge Parkway to run my motor a bit hoping I’d fixed whatever my issue was, as well as see what all the fuss is about for one of Americas Classic motoring routes.

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    The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 460+ miles in length and stretches from NC up into Virginia. It is considered the longest continual park in the US, and for a period of time, was also the most visited. This statistic makes sense though, as it’s a reasonable thoroughfare for motorists who are also just wanting to get north or south through the region. The road wasn’t packed though, and the turns were plentiful. There were even a few tunnels to crank the throttle through and hear that beautiful sound reverberate off the walls.

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    The weather was clear, warm, and the foliage was dense and green. Quite pleasant if I must say.

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    There were plenty of lookouts and vistas to pull over on and soak in the views. These are what folks call mountains on this side of the US, now although these mountains are quite vertically challenged, it’s important to remember that these are but the remnants of what were once great giants. Like all things, nothing is permanent, not even mountains, and given enough time, all things change. So what we see here is the mountainous remains of much larger peaks that have eroded and crumbled over the years, giving them a special beauty not necessarily founded in awe, but in context.

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    I rode around for a while, weaving through traffic at times, and throwing plenty of moto waves at other bikers as they too got their taste of the parkway.

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    I also found the elusive Gooch Gap along the way. Yes...I am a child.

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    Here’s a video of the morning on the parkway.

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/115934056?color=999999" width="1080" height="608" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

    After being on the parkway for a bit, my bike seemed to be running just fine. I get the feeling that my issue may have been the high heat that I was experiencing the day that I had issues. I’ve heard of carbs getting so hot that the fuel vaporizes (or boils?) and gives you fuel delivery issues...if it actually reaches high enough temperatures. In either case, the bike seemed to be rolling more or less normal, and I wanted to open her up on the backroads. The parkway is lovely, but there are a lot of lovely people on it as well, and so many lovely turns that it’s fairly difficult to pass folks. Knowing that the surrounding B-roads would likely be just as good, I jumped off the parkway and zigged and zagged my way towards Blacksburg. I quickly found way fewer other drivers, and just as pretty roads. Isn’t that just lovely.

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    I rode most of the day just meandering from road to road as I worked north linking up line to line in a general direction of Blacksburg. By around 5pm I’d found myself at my destination and heading out for dinner with my host Michael and his wife. Michael is a Blacksburg local and is fairly involved in the community and the history of it’s surrounding areas. In fact he’s written several books on various topics relating to the area, it’s culture, and it’s people. After dinner he and I take a several mile walk back from town out to where they live. When we start out it’s dusk, and by mid-way it’s now night time and I can track fireflies as they flit about the grass and shrubs. We chat about all kinds of stuff, but it’s the history of Virginia, the appalachians, and it’s people that I find fascinating. Through writing his books, Michael has had great opportunities to meet with and interview some really interesting folks in these areas, and he is very articulate when it comes to telling a story. It’s interesting hearing how much things have changed for a lot of these people over the years, for better or worse, and I can’t help but wonder what the future will bring for a lot of the traditions and talents that the people have clung to here in the hills of Apalachia. We made it back to Michael’s place where he showed me this beauty. Michael as several bikes, each with their own flare, but this is the behemoth that demanded my attention upon entering his garage.

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    This is the Honda CBX1050, and was created during an era when the battle for the coveted ‘super-bike’ title was being faught. Because of the bikes that it produced, I like to call it ‘the era of great japanese dick measuring’. This was a time when the Japanese manufacturing companies were trying to both define, and create bikes that would sit in a class of their own, a class of what was now deemed ‘super-bikes’. The bikes that came from this era were trying pack an extreme level of performance into a road going machine, and several times, each of the main Japanese manufacturers hit it out of the park. Suzuki had the GS1100, Kawasaki had the Z1, Yamaha had the XS1100, and Honda had this killer, the CBX1050. Now it wasn’t the first in-line 6-cylinder bike to hit the market, but at the time, it was the latest and greatest. This version is the sport touring version, and has a great big fairing, and hard luggage to boot. It is a land yacht, and for the era, had time-shifting outputs of power (100+ horsepower). This bike may not be the most beautiful thing to folks, but if you see one in person, it’s worth a second look at the details. I can’t help but appreciate the engineering effort that went into putting this bike on the road, and for a period of time, at the top of it’s pack.

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    I could have easily spent several days here picking Michaels brain, and maybe even tagging along with him on some short ventures out into various communities, but alas, the road was calling, and I was set to be in New York to visit a friend in 3 days time. In the morning, I made sure to go for a spin with Michael through his local stomping grounds. The riding over here has been consistently nice, and very ‘sunday stroll’ esque - if roads can be defined in such a way. The difference that I’ve found, in comparison to other regions say for example on the west coast, is that out here, you really can take almost any road wherever you want, and it’ll be great on a moto. Thanks for the good time Michael and interesting conversation. My camera has been having a hard time lately, so I don’t have very many photos. I did shoot some video though so here is a compilation from the mornings ride.

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    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/116477095?color=999999" width="1080" height="608" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
  2. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    I'm definitely a fan of Cogents' work, and especially their attention to details and the interactions they have with their clients. Any day you roll into a shop and they have other clients there with very well maintained bikes, like that RG500 Gama, you know you are going to a shop where people care about their bikes.

    So would have I:D.

    Hey Al, I got your letter in the mail too the other day. I definitely want one of those photo books. I'll send you a PM about it.

    Right? Oddly enough it's not even that old, and I thought an iridium plug would hold up better. I guess I have been a little rough on her lately. She seems good now though.

    I've been slow, per usual right now it seems. :D
  3. mobie&4c's

    mobie&4c's Adventurer

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    Thanks for the Sean fix, I've been checkin daily. KEEP IT COMING!!!!
  4. Trip Hammer

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

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    Great update Sean! Beautiful country down there!
  5. davidbrundage

    davidbrundage Been here awhile

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    costa mesa, ca
    Have you heard anything from your buddy James lately? Where'd that dude end up?
  6. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish Been here awhile

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    My KLR had the same problem that you seem to have explained. It would sputter and not want to accelerate especially when I got to about 55 MPH. It only ever happened in the summer though and would magically disappear and reappear at random times, but only on the hottest of days here in the Arizona heat (usually around 115 to 120 degrees). Super annoying as my KLR was my only means of transportation at the time and I did not like NOT having reliable transportation to and from work. Oh!....

    :hide

    Am I allowed to say that here... work?....

    :D

    Glad to see you are finding some time to continue this report. Been following along since the summer and have very much enjoyed it.
  7. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    I touched base with him several months ago when we were both still in South America but I haven't heard from him since. Maybe he'll chime in if he's following this report?

    I heard from the Escobars (family from Cali, Colombia) that he's bike gave out on him somewhere in Peru as he was heading back north. Not sure what he ended up doing with the bike but pretty sure he flew back to Canada from Lima.

    I had never heard of bikes doing that before, but exactly what you just described is also what Kenny (ADVrider who I stayed with in Asheville NC) had told me as well. That's two folks now.

    "115 - 120 degrees", you're living in a furnace man!
  8. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish Been here awhile

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    Well it isn't usually that hot for very long. Maybe a month and then it will dip down to somewhere closer to 110. I figured it had to be something with the heat that I wasn't going to be able to fix without spending a bunch of money diagnosing and a lot of trial and error. Just let the weather cool down and all was good. Although, if I were to guess, it might have been the gas line that was starting to collapse with the heat and (isn't there a vacuum system that comes stock with the KLR's to get the gas out of the tank?) that in conjunction with the draw on the rubber tubes from the vacuum system coming out of the tank would be enough to collapse the gas line and then not enough gas would get through to the carb. Long winded run on sentence, but I hope you get the idea.
  9. kennyanc

    kennyanc Long timer

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    I had it happen to me a couple of times. Once riding from PHX to Palm Springs. Temp was about 110. Again dropping down into Lewiston, ID with the temp about 107. After the second time I did some googleing. What I read was that the heat from the exhaust pipe directly beneath the carb could cause the gas in the carb to boil (I don't know if that can even happen) causing the missing/starvation issue. I know it only happened to me when the temps were really high and I slowed after running highway speeds. The heat shield was missing from the exhaust directly under the carb on my bike. :dunno
  10. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    On my KLR it seemed that the vacuum line to the Petcock would heat up, collapse and shut the fuel off causing the bike to surge. I installed a new line and had no more problems!
  11. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish Been here awhile

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    This seems to be consistent with my theory. Glad you found a fix.
  12. fishdawgz

    fishdawgz living the dream

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    I had the same happen to me - definitely vacuum line to petcock collapsing. My easy on the road "Macgiver" fix was to put a small hose clamp around the hardest bend in that vacuum hose (the place it most easily collapsed) which kept the hose round and restricted it's ability to collapse - I knew there was a reason to carry that extra small hose clamp - worked like a champ!

    ANYWAY, THANKS FOR A MOST AWESOME RIDE REPORT SEAN!!!:freaky
  13. infinityjellyd

    infinityjellyd Been here awhile

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    Hey, Sean. Let me be the 1217th person to say, wow, what a truly awesome and inspiring trip. I just got through the whole thread and basically did nothing at work for the last 2-3 days. I will likely be promptly fired Monday morning. Oh well, it was worth it.

    There are many great things that come across in reading this, which others have pointed out, so I will save the space and not list them. But I will note that upon reflection, I don't think I can remember reading any negative thought in your posts. Sure, there were times of problems or frustration, etc. (Honduras, Bolivian border, Machu Picchu) but you managed to choose careful words and really try to give a positive spin on things. Great attitude! :thumb

    I would be curious to know what gear you brought. Your setup looked relatively moderate compared to others', yet you seemed to pull a rabbit out of your hat every few posts with respect to a tool, a pair of shoes, some camping gear, etc. If you ever find the time and inclination, it would be great if you could share your setup.

    Also, I appreciate you taking the time to take so many pictures and write so much. Must have sucked at times to be logging everything, but the end result is robust and detailed. I felt like I was riding along with you at times.

    Congrats! And thanks for sharing.

    :clap
  14. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

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    Knock Knock ...Hey Sean you there ? I am 80 years old I can't wait to long for the finish of this great ride tale....:D
  15. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    Well would you look at that, an issue that I had never heard of before talking with Kennyanc, that would appear to be relatively common. I'll bet a collapsing fuel line was the cause. :1drink
  16. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    Hey infinityjellyd, glad you are liking the RR and the kind words, hopefully you are still employed today. :lol3

    I can definitely write up a thorough gear list, as well as some thoughts on necessities, extras, and valued items.

    Hey Old Codger, I should have the next post up later this evening. :ricky
  17. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    Pssshhhh, well obviously that didn't happen:deal I will have it up in the next few days. :shog My B:D
  18. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hey Sean, I will be in Mercer Island in June for a couple of weeks before I leave for Alaska. I will give you a shout if you are available, I will buy the first round. :freaky Great ride tale and photos....:clap...
  19. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    When I had arrived at Michael’s place My exhaust spark arrestor had blown out it’s bolts (for probably the 3rd time in 14 months?) Not a big deal, but I had been wanting to get the whole unit welded together so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. If you recall back to the first or second post of this ride report, that’s when I first fixed it by replacing the bolts and putting some loctite on them. Before scooting off to work, Michael helped me hunt down someone that may be able to weld aluminum. After a bit of cat and mouse, I was able to find someone out in their one-man shop who could do the job for me. Unfortunately, my camera charger had given up on it’s life’s purpose, so this was the only shot I got of the job.

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    Not having a camera, I unfortunately don’t have a ton to report on for the next several days. Well, stuff obviously happened, but without the photos it would be a fairly long-winded exercise, and there’s lot’s to get to. I will give a summary though:

    I spent the next two days riding Northeast towards New York.
    I spent the night in Inmate Laoch’s back yard, while he was out on his own camping adventure. Thanks Bruce for being so damn accommodating and offering up your yard space even while you were out of town! Another big shout-out to the Tent Space, what a fantastic group of folks.
    I made it to new york to visit a good friend.

    Now my camera was still not working, and I have no phone, so the only photo that I have of the three days I spent in New York is this one. A screenshot taken off my friends instagram will have to do for now.

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    No worries though, as I had a new battery charger waiting at my next destination, and I would also be returning to New York in a couple weeks to kick it again before heading out on the TAT.

    After three days lounging and sightseeing, my friend needed to get back her masters program, and I needed to hit the road North, as my mother was waiting just a days ride away in New Hampshire, and it wasn’t very ‘sonly’ of me to be lolly-gagging so close to her place. I rolled out of Manhattan and scheduled one last nights rest-over at my aunt and uncles in Rhode Island. Here I got to kick it with some of the best relatives you could ever ask for.

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    I’ve only been to their place a handful of times (as we live quite literally on opposite sides of the country), but there place seems to always feel like a home away from home. Very warm, welcoming, and inviting. Guess it makes sense coming from these folks.

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    This here, is the man, the myth, the legend, my uncle Jim. I feel like I’ve only gotten to really appreciate my relatives as I’ve gotten older, but I guess when you are young adults are more or less adults. For any kids out there, don’t be fooled, spend time with grown-ups, they are way cooler than even you think you are, and it’s a shame to only learn that as you get older. Jim and I click, and I could talk with him for hours and hours about just about anything. Of course, this is what we end up doing all evening, right passed the sun going down, and late into the night.

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    My aunt and uncle’s dog Poppy kicked it too.

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    We cracked beers and the conversations flowed. Inevitably, my aunt Joan brought out the picture books and we got to get into the good stuff. I found this great shot of Jim on his old Triumph, cigar in mouth, and buckets of cool to go around.

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    Found this spectacular shot of the mother-unit from back in the day. I know you won’t want this up on the internet mom, but I love you, and I love this photo.

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    We stayed up late outside around the fire, swapping stories, laughing at embarrassing family memories, and all the while creating new ones. It’s hard to explain how nice it is to spend time with family, and how special it is to be old enough to appreciate that.

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    Eventually it was time to hit the hay. I would only have a night here right now, but I’d be back again in a couple weeks on my way South. I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to sleeping in my tent outdoors, so I opted for the screened in porch. I slept like a rock. In the morning I got to wake up with crisp morning air, and that god damn gorgeous sound of birds singing. You just don’t get that to the same degree when in the city.

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    My aunt and uncle are pretty into eating healthy natural foods, which I must say I am in FULL support of. After a while eating food that hasn’t been super processed or fucked with, it’s really easy to tell the difference between good food and average. Simple food items when prepared right and sourced from healthy animals/gardens, tastes abso-fucking-lutely delicious. They happen to have their own small garden out back, and the difference between this produce easily grown right outside their door and even the best stuff in the store is quite apparent.

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    After a lazy morning chatting away I snagged some killer tunes from my uncles collection. Jim has very good taste in music (in my biased and similarly interested opinion), so he let me bum a bunch of classic jams that we had been listening to the night before. Thanks again Jim!

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    Before I knew it was past noon-o-clock and I needed to beat feet if I was going to make it to New Hampshire by a reasonable hour. I said my temporary goodbyes, loaded up, and spinned down the road towards the little ol’ town of Piermont NH. I stuck to secondary roads and a bit of super-slab, but even the highways were empty and pleasant.

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    Hey pretty lady. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of looking at your disheveled, bent, and beautiful bits.

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    I came through some small towns here, a few more there, but for the most part I just cruised on north. The mother unit would be quite unimpressed if I didn’t arrive the day I said I would.

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    Evening time rolled around, and darkness came before I made it to Piermont.

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    I did make it eventually though, and it sure was nice to pick my Mom up and shake her around in a big ol’ bear hug. She and my sister kindly ignored the equally powerful odor of my unwashed and very lived-in gear. I had arrived fairly late at night and the house all needed to get up in the morning for work so we shot the shit for a bit then called it a night. My sister and I stayed up for a while gabbing but even we needed to hit the hay eventually as well. The next morning everyone was off to work and my sister and I had the run of the roost.

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    My sister (Kristen) and I couldn’t be more different than one another, yet couldn’t be more similar either. We are like two crazy-pees in a pod, but we don’t normally get to spend a ton of time together as for the last few years we’ve lived in separate regions. She’s only my elder by only 14 months, but she’ll always be my big sister and I look up to her crazy ways greatly. When we are together we tend to feed off eachothers wild side and can be a bit of a hurricane if you find yourself caught up in it. We love it, and my mom puts up with it :-D

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    Out here in the country-side it’s easy to keep life relaxed and simple. A nice walk with her pooch is all the trouble we are looking for out here.

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    My sister and I grew up in a small town on an island, so we are familiar with the laid-back ways of rural New Hampshire. I’m definitely drawn to the hustle, bustle, and constant stimulation of cities when I’m stationary and living in one spot, but I really appreciate the tranquility, ease of life, and quality of days spent enjoying nothing more than the changing smells of the seasons on the winds, and the shifting colors of the trees and pastures. There are no car engines in the distance, no planes flying overhead, just the sound of wind rustling through tall grass, and the occasional distant moo’s of grazing cattle. When walking around places like this, it’s impossible to not slow your mental state down, and be present in the moment and nothing more.

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    We don’t walk far, but out here you don’t need to. All the good stuff is right outside your doorstep.

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    We stop by one of the neighbors farms, and introduce my sisters dog Todd to the pigs.

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    We walk some more and find ourselves at (what to me) is a very old cemetery. Everything on this side of the country is old though, and this cemetery is no different.

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    We walk down a short lane letting Todd lead to wherever he wants.

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    The trail leads down to a nice calm river, where we hang out for a bit and enjoy the beautiful fall day.

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    I’ll be staying here in Piermont for the better part of 2 weeks, and today is the first day in quite a while where I know I’ll be stationary for a few days and in a place where my family is. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten homesick over the past 13 months, but it sure is nice to kick it with family and be in such a laid-back place to do so.

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    Todd appreciates the comfort of being around ‘his tribe’, and expresses so by pooping openly in front of us. All good Todd, I feel comfortable around you too little buddy.

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    We stayed for a while catching up, shooting the shit, and swapping stories about anything and everything. Eventually Todd ate some stuff he shouldn’t have and spat it up and we kept walking.

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    On the way back we introduced Todd to some other 4-legged species in addition to the earlier pigs.

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    Damn, what a majestically simple place.

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    It may be majestic, but people still work hard here. This farm is lovingly called “Never Done Farm”.

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    Kris and I spend the rest of the work-day lounging outside and watching the intermittent cars go by. I could get used to this. Maybe that’s why old people sit out on their porch all day. If you ever have the opportunity, I implore you, take a day, and do nothing but sit out with a nice view and someone else for pleasant conversation. It’s really quite nice, how doing absolutely nothing, can be so refreshing.

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  20. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    Deal, that sounds great, just let me know when you are around :freaky