RTW the Jamie Z Way: Winter Hiatus in Phoenix

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jamie Z, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Contrarian

    Contrarian Been here awhile Supporter

    Mar 27, 2014
    Ames, IA. SLC, UT.
    This is an awesome and inspiring thread. I can't emphasize enough how much I live through you vicariously. Keep going!
    dano619, liv2day and Jamie Z like this.
  2. Desert John

    Desert John Desert John Supporter

    Jan 6, 2008
    Palm Desert, CA
    I also ran into your couple from Vancouver and we chatted for a while in a small market. I bought ice cream and a banana and they got a small basket and filled it with supplies. The last time I saw them they were hustling across the road for their own picnic — in the rain!

    I don’t remember how far north you’re headed but for sure put McCarthy/Kennicott on your itinerary. The last 65 miles had at least 65,000 potholes, filled with water (it rained the two nights I was up there.). But the road became fun after I finally realized my GS was eating up the road with aplomb and I rode through them rather than dodging them. Interesting side note occurred after I gassed up in Chitina and got back on the Richardson Hwy. I realized that Copper Centre was 20 miles north and since I wasn’t that hungry I’d just head toward Valdez in the opposite direction. Within 25-30 miles I say a tiny sign that read “Russian-American Food” so I pulled in. The food was fantastic and the conversation was even better. Her husband was from Moscow and she was from a smaller city near the Balkins. My maternal grandmother was from Riga, Latvia meaning I ate Russian food almost every meal with her. I spent three days and two nights in Valdez, my favorite location in the state.

    Today I flew home from Anchorage. While there I decided to sell my GS to the local dealer. It’s a ‘19 with 28,000 miles and some quirks that were annoying me. I’m replacing it with a new 2021 GS though my local dealer is charging me the “demo” pricing and other discounts. There are very few GSs around Southern California.
    glittleman, DC950 and liv2day like this.
  3. Shep

    Shep Vagabond Supporter

    Oct 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    I have not commented since the beginning, but I’ve been reading along ever since. Thoroughly enjoying your experiences and living vicariously until I can follow suit in some fashion.

    Your recent thoughts on traveling with a partner resonated with me. I’m always a little jealous when I see people who enjoy traveling together, whether its an actual couple or just a two people who get along well. I’ve never had that. My wife is a wonderful partner but she is not an outdoors person and would never consider riding on a motorcycle. I have ridden and traveled with a few friends in the past, but most of the time I did not enjoy it, as we typically had different ideas of what an enjoyable ride would look like. I have one friend I can travel with on a limited basis. We have an agreement that all we are really sharing is lodging and an experience; each is free of obligation to follow or lead the other when we ride.

    I am, by nature, a quiet person (no one believes that because my work requires the opposite) and I really enjoy solitude. However, to have someone share the experiences with me and simply have the “aura” of another person that you sync with, nearby at your camp or lodging appeals greatly to me.

    Getting my old body fixed up (I think!), retiring in January and hope to cross your path in the future.
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Jan 19, 2016
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Having caught up again after several days of solo backpacking in Indian Heaven wilderness over Labor Day, and reading @Shep's post, I wanted to quote this @Jamie Z.

    To be honest, I have a hard time not quoting multiple sections of each of your updates as I find them both incredibly inspiring and refreshing. Like the story about running into folks who fed you caribou and sent you on your way with homemade cookies, or the local who took your picture with the Hyder AK sign in the background. So much life in each of your posts man.

    In any event, back to the thoughts occupying your mind after meeting James and Vickie. Having been unexpectedly thrust back into single life and now at the ripe age of 50, I've spent countless hours (days!?!) contemplating my future-self and the moto-travel I plan to do once my boys are off to college (or whatever they choose when high school is in the rear view mirror).

    Though I have never undertaken anything akin to what you're doing right now, I do (and have done) lots of solo riding, camping, and backpacking. There were multiple times during my backpacking trip last weekend when I thought of how amazing it'd be to be sharing it with someone special. Like when I scared the hell out of a bear (and it scared the living shit out of me...lol) hiking on a somewhat obscure trail, or laying on the ground outside my tent in the middle of the night soaking in the Milky Way. Those experiences - would they be enhanced if someone was with me? I believe so, but then I question that belief - would I want to have the "burden" (can't think of a better word)?

    Writing all the drivel above is merely a long way of wanting to ask you for more of your thoughts on the subject Jamie. Now that you've traveled so far and done so much, like hanging with @FinTec and others; how do you feel it'd have been with a romantically affiliated female on her bike? Do you think you've had enjoyed staying with that family in Cuba where you helped slaughter dinner? Would the hiker you gave a ride to on the Oregon coast and subsequent sharing a campsite with others been cool? Would stopping to help Annabel with her bent key have been the same experience (obviously not, but hopefully the point comes across)?

    And yes, this is purely academic as you point out. But I'm very intrigued to hear your thoughts if you have time and patience to elaborate given the miles (kms for you Canucks) traveled. Though I sincerely believe in the joy of shared experiences, I'm keenly interested to hear your thoughts.

    Sticky side down amigo.
    rokon140, 9w6vx, advrockrider and 4 others like this.
  5. MrBob

    MrBob Long timer

    Oct 27, 2005

    If my own experience is any help, once I left remote locations and arrived in places with lots people and with lots of activity, I found enough stimulation in daily events to help me stay in the moment. The thing about motorcycle travel, as you well know, is that you spend a lot of time in your head, and that isn't always a good idea, especially during the gray of the autumn. Head for the sun and warmth, I say.
  6. NorskieRider

    NorskieRider Ultracrepidarian

    Mar 19, 2011
    Traveling with a partner - romantic or otherwise - can be complicated. Each of us are different in how we approach compromise and handle conflicts, and what we need in terms of solitude and companionship. There's so much more to it than "good" or "bad".

    Jamie, I suspect if you had a partner with you, your trip would likely turn out very different. Traveling solo invites questions and conversations from strangers. I bet a part of your 'social needs' are met through documenting your travels; instead of telling a partner about what you saw on a day, you're retelling it this RR, for our benefit. It keeps you connected. I guess you can say that you have many "travel partners" in the form of RR readers, and I selfishly appreciate that.
  7. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

    Aug 16, 2004
    CA dez (it's a dry heat)/West Yellowstone,MT
    Nice ride report. I really admire your ability to keep up on the ride report while on the road. I tried to do it once or twice long ago and found it frustrating between dodgy (or no) internet and then spending time writing when I could have been riding. But on long trips like yours, updating while riding may be the only way to document the important parts. I did a 2 month ride in South America that I intended to write up afterwards but found the prospect so daunting on my return that I never did it. So good job.

    I've been around awhile (i.e. I'm old) and as far as riding with others, for me 2 weeks +/- is the dividing line. On trips longer than that with someone else, I find I start to grate on them and they on me. I'm definitely NOT an introvert and that happens with people that I know and chose to ride with. I have grown to prefer riding by myself, meeting others along the way for rides/human interactions, and then riding on by myself. Occasionally alone becomes lonely but that is usually a fleeting feeling. I think the extra isolation due to Covid 19 is exacerbating your and everyone's situation. I hope our interactions via this ride report help get you through those moments so we can keeping enjoying this report for months to come. I'll be in West Yellowstone through the end of the month if you find yourself in the area and want a little interaction with a grumpy old dude that will remind you why you want to be on your own.
    Jamie Z, Mofrid, liv2day and 5 others like this.
  8. MrBob

    MrBob Long timer

    Oct 27, 2005

    I'm looking for a bike cover for my 500X. This looks like a perfect fit. What size is it, and are you satisfied with it? Thanks for a reply.
  9. HandCanonShootr

    HandCanonShootr Been here awhile Supporter

    May 17, 2013
    So. California
    Great updates Jamie, your wanderings are closely followed, your RR/writings/time spent, appreciated.

    Wow Liv2day, how did you get into that part of my mind??

    While I usually travel Solo; in a partner, it would take not only an adventurous soul-mate, but an exceptionally adaptable, and spontanious one. Finding those qualities together in one person, throwing in gender, age, & marilal status, makes for a Unicorn methinks. While I always have an eye open, my spouse checks many boxes strongly. But her back keeps her off the bike...

    Thanks Liv2day & Jamie for keeping this real.
    Mike B
    Jamie Z, Mofrid, dano619 and 2 others like this.
  10. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer Supporter

    Jul 19, 2006
    The Bluegrass
    My experience of traveling with others has been uneven to say the least.
    When I was 22 I formed a rough plan of riding west to Oregon the down the coast to San Francisco where I figured my money would be getting low , so turning toward home.
    Then a buddy said he wanted to go to . He didn't even own a bike , so , I figured it was just talk. Then he bought a new KZ 650. I helped him mount a crash bar and when I made a throttle lock , made him one too. And we headed west.
    First deviation of the plan was to Fayetteville , AR. where he knew a nurse , then in Utah he said , "We could go to Las Vegas to see John , a friend stationed there in the Air Force. After a few days in Vegas we turned to San Diego to visit Dale who was in the Navy.
    I didn't object strongly to any of these destinations because I hadn't been there yet.
    We made it north as far as Monterey before turning east.
    One other bump that I've still not gotten over happened at the Bonneville Salt Flats . We pulled in late at night , went up a road to an empty spot and spent the night . The next morning we hit a Greasy Spoon for breakfast and there were LSR cars and motorcycles getting breakfast too. I thought we were lucky in the extreme just randomly showing up for Speed Week !
    But , it was not to be , buddy started whining about getting home to sign up for college , the first I'd heard of that. I pointed east and said "Ride that direction for 4 or 5 days and a little south and you'll get there."
    Of course that didn't work , he kept up the whining until I gave in and to cap it off he quit before the end of the semester.
    So now I go alone. Having a female travel partner on her own bike that's fun to be with and never a drag ? Sounds like a Unicorn to me.
    steved57, jon_l, Centerlane and 5 others like this.
  11. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy Supporter

    Sep 12, 2006
    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    I stopped looking long ago. That unicorn is going to have to find me.
  12. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

    Feb 11, 2007
    Kaslo BC summer, Yuma AZ winter
    "As I rode, I had a lot of time to think about what James and I had talked about, and traveling with a partner."

    This brought back memories of a RTW trip of an Australian dude named Sheldon. He met a girl in Poland, they hit it off and he asked her if she'd like to join him and she said yes. Today, they're happily married (at least I think so).
    His RR:

    Her RR:

    Fate takes some strange twists and turns in this crazy life, and happens most unexpectedly.
    Who knows what your fate is.....
  13. Kinsman

    Kinsman Ribs....for her pleasure

    Feb 11, 2005
    Stevensville, Montana
    I like the cut of your jib.

  14. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

    Oct 17, 2006
    Around Denver
    September 8, 2021

    This is turning into a credit card tour.



    For breakfast I tried one of the cinnamon buns I bought yesterday at Toad Creek.


    Unfortunately it had raisins in it.

    The road goes almost directly south from here. Today there was a lot of truck traffic, and I saw no motorcycles.


    Early on, I pulled over at a picnic area to use the washroom. There’s a pond here.


    Called borrow pits, my understanding is that these pits were formed during the construction of the Alaska Highway. The crews excavated the dirt to build the road.

    While I rode I listened to a podcast series about the 9/11 attacks. It talked about the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center tower, and FBI infiltration of Al Qaeda by an Egyptian immigrant.

    At another borrow pit I found this wacky contraption.


    No, I didn’t.

    I needed fuel and stopped at Buckinghorse River.


    The station consists of two containers, one for diesel, the other for gasoline. There’s a self-pay kiosk. Definitely one of the most unusual fuel stations I’ve been to.

    It was around here I started to think about my plans for the next couple of days. I should make it into Dawson Creek today; I expected there might be some interesting things to see there. I was also cold, and the weather tomorrow wasn’t looking great. I booked a room in Dawson Creek for two nights with full plans to do as little as possible tomorrow.


    I followed “Old Alaska Highway” to a wooden bridge which is no longer open to traffic.


    When I got into Dawson Creek I went first to a grocery store and picked up a few things for dinner. Walking out, a woman called over to me and asked me about my bike.


    Carmen and I chatted for a few minutes; she was keen to suggest routes for me for good roads and places to go in the area.

    I checked into my room. It’s another fully-furnished apartment-style room with a kitchenette and separate bedroom. For dinner, a deli-store wrap.

  15. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

    Oct 17, 2006
    Around Denver
    September 9, 2021

    "What do we do now?" "Nothin"


    I had to go to the front desk last night to ask how to turn on the heat. The room had one small base heater in the main room with a tiny temperature knob, but nothing in the bedroom or bathroom, so it stayed a bit chilly, but I slept well.

    Because I booked the room for two nights, I didn’t have to get up and check out today, so I stayed in bed past 9am. It felt good to do nothing, and have no need to go anywhere today.

    But I did have a few tasks I wanted to take care of. I checked Google for clothing repair and found one shop not far away.

    I rode over there, but I wasn’t sure I was in the right spot. Didn’t look like a place to get my riding pants fixed.


    So I walked into the door on the right and saw a woman sitting behind a sewing machine. I told her I was looking to have my riding pants fixed and she asked to see them. She had a look, told me it probably wouldn’t be too hard and asked me when I needed them back. I told her I was traveling and planning to leave tomorrow.

    She laughed out loud. “No way. Not going to happen.” She pointed at a pile of clothes and materials on the chair behind her.

    I understood completely. I was half expecting this… so I started to thank her. And then she says, “Wait… I’ll do it. It’s a quick job.” And she went to work removing the stitching for the liner so she could access both sides of the shell.


    She told me to come back in a couple hours and my pants would be ready.

    So in the meantime I went to get my iconic photo.


    Nearby is a reminder of the indigenious children being mourned by the country.


    The forecast today had been cold and rainy, but the day was warm and mostly sunny.

    When I went back to the seamstress, she had my pants ready and showed me, “You can’t even tell.” She’s right. Looks just like the factory stitching.

    “What do I owe you for that?”

    I thought I misheard her reply. $5. I thought she was joking. I was expecting to pay quite a bit more than that, so I gave her $10 and told her to keep it. Wow.

    Across the parking lot from my hotel is a dive bar, and I thought I’d go over there tonight and try to be social, but when I went inside, the place was almost entirely empty.

    I got a beer and wings.


    A few days ago I took the Myers-Briggs personality test, based in part because it’s come up in one of my podcast feeds. I scored a ISTP. So I sat at the bar eating my wings and drinking my beer without saying a word to anyone. Not that there was anyone to talk to...

    And then walked back to my room, where I caught the end of Dallas playing Tom Brady. I didn’t realize it was a regular season game until it was almost over.

    TomTrek, jon_l, Dracula and 47 others like this.
  16. Yeagar

    Yeagar Adventurer Supporter

    Feb 16, 2019
    Great pictures, I’m bad about taking the time to stop and take photos. I’ll have to stop and see your seamstress the next time through there, been trying to get my wife to sew up a ripped out pocket on my riding pants but she keeps forgetting! By the way, just because Gronk is catching passes from Brady doesn’t mean it’s New England! Maybe you’ve been riding longer than you think??? Safe travels
  17. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

    Oct 17, 2006
    Around Denver
    Ha! Corrected.

    I'm not actually a big football fan, but I like watching sports.
    Animo, Bapeter11, gpfan and 1 other person like this.

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

    Jun 3, 2007
    Steamboat Springs, COLORADO
    I think that curved bridge is over the Kiskatinaw (sp?) River?
    I remember crossing that thing and thinking that it was one of the most interesting bridges I've ever been on.

    You should've hit Carmen up to be your local tour guide. :brow
    She's adorable ...................... you know, in a sassy kind of way.

    Continued Safe Travels!
    And as always, THANKS for taking us along. :thumb

    HandCanonShootr and Animo like this.
  19. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

    Apr 10, 2011
    Clark Co, Wa
    Right, so what's Carmen doing that she can't put off for awhile? :-)

    ISTP-T, ISTJ-T here. I can relate.
    Centerlane, 9w6vx and advrockrider like this.
  20. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

    Jan 4, 2014
    Redding, CA
    Lol, read this and promptly informed my wife “Hey! You are a Unicorn!” She was appropriately confused, and yes, I am lucky.