Virginia to California: 6,500 miles of adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by riderjacob, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    upload_2019-7-6_20-38-7.png
    It was September 2015 and it was my senior year of high school. I had the idea that it would be a cool idea to do a cross country road trip while I still had the freedom to do so before I got a real job. I ended up working all summer and didn’t go on the trip.


    Fast forward to March 2019 and I have made it to my senior year of college and I realized that if I didn’t go on the trip now then I would likely never do it.

    I had just purchased my 09’ BMW F800GS 3 months prior and I was thrilled with the idea of being able to take it across the country.


    After countless of hours of planning and research I felt like I was ready to set a date for the trip. I was to leave on the morning of May 13th rain or shine.


    On May 3rd I did a test pack to see if I’d have enough room for everything in my panniers and after realizing that it all fit reality set in that this trip was really going to happen. So, a few days before the trip I set my sag for the additional weight and washed my bike and parked it until the morning of the 13th.
    #1
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  2. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Rain rain go away!
    Day 1
    Powhatan, VA to Wildersville, TN
    660 miles


    I woke up at 7:30 on May 13th and headed out to my bike to load it up for my trip. When attempting to start my bike it just turned over and did not start. I’ve never had this happen before and I was quite concerned but after it started on the second try, it ran just fine. I turned it off and restarted it a few times before leaving the house and didn’t have any more issues. With that obstacle behind me I got on my bike and headed off towards Tennessee. The forecast said that I would be encountering about 20 min of rain at the start of my trip leaving Powhatan, VA but after that it was supposed to be nice weather after that. The forecast was wrong. I rode through rain for about 4 hours of the first 5 hours leaving Virginia. Even though the weather wasn’t great, the views were amazing riding through the mountains.
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    In southern VA the weather cleared up and it was quite nice out. I realized how the “Smoky Mountains” got their name. I was riding through the valley and thought that there was actual smoke in the air. I’ve never seen fog like that before!


    While leaving Virginia I encountered my first major obstacle of the trip. My K60 scout on the rear was wearing down quickly and I didn’t think I’d be able to even make it all the way to California on it. It was getting so warm from the extended riding at highway speeds (and having inner-tubes didn’t help) that the tread rubber was warm enough that I could rub some of it off with my thumb. I also noticed some small cracks in my tire that I didn’t notice before. Needless to say, I was quite concerned!


    At this point I was only a few hours from Nashville which was my plan B stop for spending the night. I wasn’t feeling tired yet so I decided to push on to my plan A camping spot. It was leaving Nashville on the highway when I had my only “close call” of the entire trip. I was changing lanes and didn’t see one of the vehicles beside me and I got closer than I would’ve liked but all turned out ok.


    After about 11 hours and 660 miles of riding, I arrived at Natchez Trace State Park in Wildersville, TN around 8pm that night. I set up camp and then got in my hammock excited for the next day! I planned out how/where I would get a new tire if the need arose and then I was able to relax a little more.


    That night was the coldest night of my trip with a low of 44°.
    #2
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  3. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Full lean at Ozark
    Day 2
    Wildersville, TN to Hinton, OK
    680 miles


    On the morning of day 2 I woke up early, quite cold and got my day started. I packed up camp and headed off towards Ozark National forest. On my way there I stopped at a rest stop in AK when a man commented “Where ya’ headin’? That looks like a pretty serious rig you got there!”. Little did he know; I was only about 700 miles into the whole trip.


    As I continued towards Ozark, I was really excited to get there and go on some cool hikes to see waterfalls! I was planning on spending the night there too.

    On the way there I experienced the first “flatlands” I’ve seen but I later realized that it gets much flatter than this. I saw some longhorn bulls and then came across a wildlife conservation area and drove down a nice dirt road then got back on the highway.
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    After a few more hours, I began to see some great views across the fields of the mountains and this got me even more excited to see Ozark NF.
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    After entering the forest, I rode up the mountain and went through a bunch of hairpin turns and I even saw an 18 wheeler navigating those same turns (but very slowly).

    There weren’t any hiking spots that I could find so I decided to ride the road through the forest for a while then head on and find somewhere to spend the night.


    After riding for a while, I came across this small river by the road. The water was amazing and I rode down below the bridge and got in the water and relaxed and bathed. This was so cool that at the time I thought that it made the whole trip worth it. (I also accidentally went through a deep puddle and got my bike dirty for the first time on the trip.)


    After this, I got back on the road and headed toward Red Rocks Canyon Adventure Park on the western edge of Oklahoma. Upon getting here I did a quick ride around then setup camp near a few other bikers and some other cagers.

    There I met 3 guys on ADV bikes, 2 triumph tigers and a R1200GS. They were heading from Ohio to Vegas and they were really cool to talk to. There was a couple in a Ford van and the husband worked for Tesla. There was another guy on a cruiser who was heading from San Francisco to New York. He was the only person who was going on a trip that was even longer than mine!


    I set my hammock up right in the canyon and went to sleep comfortably. I was woken up a few times in the night to animals climbing down the canyon.
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    #3
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  4. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Lost all contact
    Day 3
    Hinton, OK to Winslow, AZ
    780 miles


    I woke up a little later than expected at about 7:20 and I packed up and said bye to the guys. The day before I had seen a few wind turbines off in the distance and I really wanted to go find one and see it up close. So, I headed out through town and noticed how small it was. A little gas station and the whole k-12 school in a small building. I headed down a gravel road and met a nice young man who told me how to find one. I took his directions and came upon this sweet turbine after driving some really fun roads for about 10 min.

    I chose to ignore the “No Trespassing” sign when I entered the field where the turbine was. As I was leaving, I saw the land owner coming in his truck on the only road in/out of the field. I was prepared to stop and be yelled at but he and his wife very happily waved at me and gave me a thumbs up.
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    I was very relieved and happy as I continued on towards Texas. Upon entering Texas, I stopped at the first rest stop to take a picture and get a little break. I was ready to get back on the road when I put my helmet on and my contact popped out of my eye! Luckily, I was able to retrieve it from my helmet. I decided that even despite the winds that I would attempt to put it back in while standing in the grass outside. Well, that contact was never seen again... I searched for 30 min before using my backup lens. I was quite flustered in the moment but I kept telling myself that “It’s all part of the adventure”.

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    I got back on the road and quickly arrived at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo TX where I met a college student who was traveling to hang out with her friends and she’s actually from NOVA. Meeting someone so far away who is from the same area was kind of cool. I painted “MOTO VA” on the car, took some pictures. The paint was really caked up on these cars!!
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    The next notable part of my trip was riding through the awesome canyons of New Mexico! I wish I could’ve gotten some pictures but there was nowhere to pull off and take them. These canyons reminded me of the sand scene in Beetlejuice. Before I knew it, I was in city traffic of Albuquerque. I decided to stop at a Wendy’s for dinner. I took a little break there and plotted out the rest of my night. Sometimes I needed a little break to be off of the bike and plan and relax. Even though being on the bike and the awesome views was very relaxing, I would sometimes stress myself out about logistics of meeting my ambitious goals and figuring out where to stay the night. (This was one of my major lessons learned for future trips... Have a set destination for camping in the morning of each day and travel for less hours to leave more time for dillydallying and exploration). At this point I was way off track with where I was spending the night because I was a whole day ahead on my trip. I was just going to ride until the afternoon and then figure out a place to stay based on what was nearby. After eating, relaxing, and planning I set off towards Petrified Forest National Park because all National Parks allow camping, right? Well after pushing on past a great state forest camping stop and a closed rest stop, I arrived at Petrified Forest to learn that it is closed at night and there is NO CAMPING! Needless to say, I was quite disappointed but “it’s all part of the adventure” I told myself.

    I checked the maps and decided to go to Homolovi State Park in Arizona. It was only 30 min from my first stop on the next day so I thought it would be a great place to spend the night. It was an hour away from where I was and, on my way, there, I stopped at a truck stop and bathed in a bathroom stall using my baby wipes. It was hilarious trying to stack everything that I was carrying in my pockets on the little toilet paper dispenser and then pull countless baby wipes out of the package. But let me tell you... after cleaning up and putting on my cold weather gear I was happier than a pig in slop!


    A little while later, I arrived at Homolovi State Park and set up camp in the dark using my headlight to illuminate the 2 trees I was using for my hammock.


    That marked the end of an eventful day 3. In reflection... 780 miles is A LOT for one day!
    #4
  5. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    The day of the wind
    Day 4
    Winslow, AZ to Rowland Heights, CA
    650 miles


    Day four was packed full of so much awesomeness! Firstly, I woke up soon after the sunrise to discover the amazing view from my campsite! Since I rolled in at about 11:30pm I couldn’t see the surroundings and I was very pleasantly surprised to see this!
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    I woke up when my body told me to at 6:30. Because of the time change and since I was so ahead from the day before I had a bit of time to kill before being able to enter meteor crater which was only 30 min away and opened at 8am so I took my time at the nearest rest stop to get ready for the day. I relaxed there on top of some rocks with a nice view before heading off to the crater. On the nice road leading up to it, I found a 22 mile primitive road (gravel) and decided to go down it a little to have a little fun. After a minute or so I stopped to take a picture and instead of putting my bike on the side stand, getting off, and then the center stand like usual I decided to skip the side stand. This is when the bike decided to lay on its side and take a nap. I thought this was notable because it was the first time I dropped the bike on the trip and it was because I was being lazy/dumb off road. How about those snowcapped mountains in the background?!
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    After picking up the bike and taking a few photos as planned, I headed to the gate of meteor crater and met this really cool Asian man who was also waiting to get in. He was in his nice red corvette and we talked for about 20 min while waiting. I shared stories about my trip while he told me about his trip around the country in his car and about the beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway. He was super cool to talk to.

    Once 8:00 rolled around we headed on into the viewing area and I was amazed by the massive size of the crater! Its nearly 1 mile wide and 570ft deep and was all caused by a meteor that was “only” 150ft in diameter. From the telescopes I could see small looking boulders that were the size of a house and a wooden cutout of a life-size astronaut that looked like a grain of salt.

    upload_2019-7-6_20-45-34.png

    This place was huge! It was a really cool attraction and I thought that since I was going to the Grand Canyon right after that the Grand Canyon would be a little boring and repetitive but I decided to go anyway.


    The 2 hour trip to the Grand Canyon was very enjoyable! Upon exiting I-40 I went through some cool forests that were underburned to prevent wildfires. Then I drove through some cool national forests. At this point in the day the weather and roads were very nice so I had to be quite careful not to get a handful of throttle in fear of getting a speeding ticket. But not long after the forests thinned out, I experienced high winds across the flatlands approaching the Grand Canyon for about an hour. I have never experienced winds like this before! Sustained winds 25-45mph and FREQUENT gusts above 60mph. The lean angle required just to keep going straight was scary enough but the wind gusts made it even worse! At one point I had to tighten my helmet strap very tight just so the sideways wind wouldn’t pull my helmet up.

    This strenuous journey was worth it however, once I arrived at the canyon. Let me tell you... this place is huge! Photos and words cannot describe how vast the Grand Canyon is, it can only truly be experienced in person! To my delight, it was much cooler than meteor crater!

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    After taking some time to relax and soak in the awesomeness of the canyon I headed back to my bike where I met a dude on a cruiser who was on a long trip as well!


    I got back on the road and filled up with 91 octane at $4.69/gal and took a photo because I thought this was expensive. Little did I know that only 5 hours later I’d be spending $6.04/gal because it was the only gas station within 100 miles.


    Before leaving Arizona, I wanted to stop at Del Taco and try some of their “FR E SH A VOCA DO’. And let me tell you... their service was EXCELLENT! So good that they even made chic-fil-a look like they had sub-par service! The food however, wasn’t any better than Taco Bell and it was 3x the price.

    After having lunch, I got back on the road and 40 minutes later I was in a low land area that got up to 84° and I had to stop and quickly remove all of my cold-weather gear as I was dripping in sweat! The place I stopped to change my clothes had some interesting toilets.
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    Fast forward a few hours while I was on my way to Joshua Tree National Park heading through the barren desert I came across this statue in the middle of nowhere called the “Foo Dog”.
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    Once I left the statue I travel through the desert for a few more hours and I only saw one vehicle. The views were awesome but I was growing increasingly concerned that I would not be able to find any trees to hang my hammock for the night.
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    Later, I arrived at Joshua Tree National Park which was quite a disappointment.
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    I decided not to spend the night there due to the sparseness of trees and I headed off towards Los Angeles with no clue where I would spend the night.


    Leaving Twentynine Palms it was really cool being able to watch the sunset over and over as I drove past the multiple peaks of the mountains.
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    I headed on a few hours to a Taco Bell where I ate and de-stressed while selecting an Airbnb to stay at near LA.

    I found a place and made it there a little before midnight and took a longgggg warm shower and got some nice sleep in a bed!
    #5
  6. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Sky on Fire
    Day 5
    Rowland Heights, CA to Overton, NV
    400 miles


    I slept in at the Airbnb then washed my clothes before getting back on the road. My first stop for the day was going to be the LACMA in LA and then I’d head west to the Santa Monica Pier. On the way to the LACMA I encountered some traffic where I was quickly reminded that motorcycles can lane split in Cali so I filed in behind another rider and slowly began to grow my confidence in lane splitting. Soon enough I was at the LACMA taking my “end goal” picture signifying that I made it all the way to LA!
    upload_2019-7-6_20-50-44.png


    I explored the area little and walked through the La Brea Tar Pits and then I headed to the pier. I was fully expecting to pay for $12 parking at the pier but I accidentally turned into the $17 parking. I told the lady I made a wrong turn and she told me to just go on through and out the other side but since I was already in, I just parked there for free.

    I walked around, relaxed a little, and soaked in the Cali atmosphere.
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    I got back on the bike heading out of LA towards the Hoover Dam and I was getting much more confident with lane splitting. I was going much faster and feeling more comfortable doing it. I was having a grand time but then I heard a horn blaring behind me. I turn my head to see what it was and it was a motorcycle cop who wants to pass me because I’m not splitting fast enough for him. So, I get out of his way and then he zooms past me at almost double the speed differential that I was doing. I thought this was hilarious!


    Leaving CA, I took a fun off road detour up a really steep long hill and remarkably I didn’t fall. I think the fear of not being able to pick it up if I fell on that STEEP terrain helped me make it to the top.

    Later, I took some neat pics and then found this cool art installation of rocks in NV.
    upload_2019-7-6_20-51-18.png upload_2019-7-6_20-51-22.png


    After passing Vegas I was headed right towards the Hoover Dam for a while where I saw massive power lines going in every direction just like a spider web. It was pretty awesome!

    Once I got there, the whole dam experience was quite underwhelming. I mean.. it was kind of cool but nothing really special.
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    I took a nice snack break at the dam before I headed towards my camping destination for the night, Valley of Fire State Park.


    The way to VOF is EXTREMELY beautiful!! It passes through Lake Mead National Recreation Area which probably had the most beautiful views and nicest roads of the trip. For 1.5 hours I drove on a scenic road looking at the sun over the mountains. I didn’t see a single car on the road the whole time. There were so many nice turns that made it very enjoyable for riding a motorcycle and not a single turn had sand or anything in it! It was a very nice ride.
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    Then I arrived at Valley of Fire and was a little concerned that there weren’t any trees. Luckily, I found a nice “day use area” with some metal poles supporting the shade structure that I could hang from. Not long after I arrived, I met two guys traveling from Italy looking for a place to park their camper van for the night. Soon after meeting them, we got all setup and then went to an overlook to hangout and talk. We had a great time together talking about our lives and culture and just hanging out. That marked the end of day 5.
    #6
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  7. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    The longest day
    Day 6
    Overton, NV to Phoenix, AZ
    580 miles


    At the beginning of day 6 I was quite excited to wake up early and watch the sunrise over the beautiful mountains at VOF. The sunrise was amazing and it was really cool seeing wildlife run around down below my overlook point and to see the sunrise over the mountains.
    upload_2019-7-6_20-53-35.png upload_2019-7-6_20-53-39.png


    After watching the sunrise, I said bye to the guys and headed off towards Zion National Park and experienced some awesome views through the canyons leaving VOF and entering Utah. Once I got into Utah I decided to stop for breakfast and get free breakfast from a hotel which was one of the things on my “bucket list” for the trip. First hotel I stopped at I was unable to get free breakfast from but I did meet five ADV riders who were bringing their dirtbikes on trailers to some place nearby. It was really nice talking to them for a few minutes and they made me feel super cool because they told me that they really wish they could be like me and do a cross country trip but since they’re old and have families then they were unable to do such. This left me feeling really happy and excited to take on the day. I rode up the street and got my free breakfast at a different hotel and then headed back on towards Zion National Park.


    The entrance to the park was extremely backed up and there was a very high volume of people in the area. I drove around the parking lot for about 20 minutes searching for a parking spot and then settled for parking in an unauthorized area which only then I was told that there was motorcycle parking available with plenty of space for me.

    It was quite confusing on how to find a trail head for a hike but once I found it, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there!
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    Leaving the park was super cool because I got to drive through a tunnel that was bored through the mountain and I was followed by two Harleys that were so loud I couldn’t even hear my own bike running.

    The view from this park on toward Antelope Canyon was quite cool. I decided to tape some peanut butter crackers to my tank bag and attempt to eat them while riding. It worked out but not very well. Then while zooming through the desert at about 90 miles an hour behind a Chevy suburban they turned on their blue lights and I quickly gave them more space in fear that I was about to be pulled over but he turned off the lights and we proceeded at the same speed with me giving him more space. A few minutes later he turned on the lights again did a u-turn and pulled someone else over who I assume was speeding towards us.

    I drove through some BLM lands on the main road for about an hour before arriving at Antelope Canyon for my tour. The time changes were confusing me the entire trip and when I thought I was going to be arriving at the last minute for my tour, I actually arrived 1.5 hours early. I was able to get into an earlier tour and the views inside the canyon were really cool however, social media makes them seem cooler than they really are. Well worth the $50 fee though.
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    I really enjoyed my hour and 40 minute tour and getting to talk with the Native American boy who was my age.

    After the tour was over, I got back on the road and headed south towards Phoenix where I would stop at a midway point to camp for the night. I was heading south because I changed the route of my trip to remove the northern route home to avoid the unexpectedly cold weather in Colorado.

    On the gas station at about halfway to my camping destination for the night I saw a motorcycle with the Virginia license plate. I said hi to the riders and was really excited to see that they were also from VA. They didn’t really seem to understand what I was saying so I pulled them behind my bike and show them that my plate was from the same state as theirs. It turns out they were a couple from France who rented the bike from San Francisco that happened to have a VA plate. I was quite disappointed but we still had a funny moment together. At this gas station I bought a pack of beef jerky and a pack of very dry oatmeal cookies. This was an important purchase because I felt it was essential to boost my morale.
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    After making this important purchase I continued on towards my destination and took this cool detour that was barely off the highway. I headed towards the volcano and got to see some cool lava fields before getting back on the main road.
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    This is the point in my day where things began to go downhill. After being very cold at dinner, I continued on and saw the moon looking super awesome and big in the sky. Late that night, I arrived at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Arizona which was my camping destination for the night. Upon my arrival, I quickly realized that there were no camping spots available. The one that I found and started to setup at turned out to be reserved and I had to be kicked out. The camp hosts were super nice were trying to help me figure out other options while telling me about the motorcycles they have owned. As they were apologizing for kicking me out, I told them that “it’s all part of the adventure” and that I would go figure something out. I headed up the street to another state park and was greeted by a big “NO CAMPING $300 FINE” sign. Then I searched maps and found a place that could potentially work which was a resort area nearby. While searching for a spot at the resort area I went up what I thought was a service road but it actually headed towards someone’s house and my headlight was shining right in their window at almost midnight. For obvious reasons I stopped and began to turn around from a standstill on a very steep hill. In doing this I dropped my bike hard and fell off. My immediate thought was that I would not be able to pick up my bike on the steep hill but then I grabbed the bars and dragged it so the wheels were pointing down the hill. I picked it up got back on and rode down the road to the open parking lot to assess the damage. Once I got to the parking lot, I saw that everything was fine and I laid down flat on the ground for a few minutes to catch my breath and relax while figuring out what I was going to do for the night.


    I found an Airbnb in Phoenix, AZ and rode 2 more hours to get there. It was EXTREMELY HARD to stay awake at this point because I had been up for 21 hours and did a two hour hike and an hour and 40 minute outdoor tour of the canyon. I made it to the Airbnb at nearly 2 am, unloaded my bike, took a warm shower and quickly went to sleep.
    #7
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  8. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Frontage Fun
    Day 7
    Phoenix, AZ to Midland, TX
    750 miles


    After having such a long day, I did not set an alarm to wake up in the morning because I wanted to get as much sleep as possible. When I woke up in the morning, I felt energized and I took a shower and packed up everything on my bike. When I went out to the driveway to see my bike, I saw a nice little pool of oil on the ground below it. This was quite alarming but there were no signs that made me be even more concerned about it. After checking my oil a few times throughout the day, I was put at ease to know that I had not lost a sizable amount of oil.


    After getting back on the road for only a short period of time I was already feeling very tired. I thought that my long nights rest would have restored me but I now realize that it takes longer than one night sleep to recover after such a long day. I decided that I would stop early for the day and sleep for a while and then maybe figure out something else or just spend the night at that stop.


    On my way to the next stop I decided to go to Dairy Queen for some ice cream and then have a little bit of fun on the dirt frontage road next to the highway. I was planning on just going 60 miles an hour on the road but my throttle hand was a little strong and I ended up going 85 mph on a dirt road next to the highway and I was going so fast that I was even passing vehicles on the paved highway.
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    I decided to stop at Franklin Mountains State Park in Canutillo, Texas. Upon my arrival I met the very nice security guard who had me pay the fee for day use and warned me of the possible repercussions from other security guards if I did choose to spend the night. He was a very nice guy but the way he warned me about the security there and the rules at Texas state parks was a little alarming. This really stressed me out because it ruined my plans for spending the night there. The stress of not knowing what I was going to do for the night and knowing how tired I was really got to my head! I laid in my hammock and tried to take a short nap but was unable to escape the thoughts. I was trying to be very rational but it was difficult for me to not be overly stressed. I did what I always do in these situations and I told myself that I need to take action or get over it. So, I attempted to book an Airbnb in Midland Texas which was about four hours away. The request was accepted so I got back on the road and headed off towards Midland.
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    After riding for a little while longer the sun had set and I was riding in the dark through oil fields for a few hours. This area was so desolate and it was very rare to see a gas station. I was going down the highway with other traffic at about 95 mph for extended periods of time because it was night time and because the speed limit was 80 mph. I passed through a security checkpoint on the highway where the drug dog was sitting at attention waiting for an alert which I thought was cool to see. Just like the previous two times these checkpoints they allowed me through quite quickly because I was on a motorcycle. After continuing on I saw that I needed fuel in the next 45miles so I planned on stopping at the next gas station. The only problem was that there wasn’t a gas station for about 40 minutes which really scared me. I went to the closest gas station and it was completely closed which scared me even more. Luckily the pumps were still running late at night.

    Once I got back on the road, I saw that the moon looks so big I thought it was one of those illuminated highway signs for a gas station. As I continued on, I realized that it was actually the moon and I was really amazed by the way the moon looked on this side of the country. I wasn’t sure if it was a west coast thing or something special was just going on with the moon at this time of the year.

    After this I quickly arrived at my destination where I was greeted by an awkward living situation and then took a shower and went to sleep.
    #8
    Amphib likes this.
  9. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    There She Blows
    Day 8
    Midland, TX to Irving, TX
    355 miles


    When I woke up, I was planning on doing a 12 hour day to make it home in two days because I was quite flustered after these past two rough days. But after seeing the forecast of predicted high winds at 25 miles an hour I decided to make it a short day and that morning. I booked an Airbnb which was only four hours away.


    On my travels for the day I got to go up close to an oil derrick and then eat an awesome fajita at a local gas station. After this I was really craving some sweet tea so I stopped at a McDonald’s order a small drink and then filled my 1 L water bottle full of sweet tea to make it through the day. While riding towards Irving I saw a total of 3 big highway signs that were planted in the ground blown flat to be parallel with the earth because the winds were so strong.


    I got to the Airbnb in midafternoon and was able to take a shower relax and hang out with the other people staying there for a little while. It was really cool talking to one of the girls who is staying there and getting to know her and her situation. She recommended that I go to Deep Ellum Texas that night to explore and look at the art. Since it was only a 30 minute ride, I decided to ride without full gear for the first time and go in the clothes that I would be wearing around town which was a polo shirt, regular shoes, and shorts. I kept my riding gloves on because it feels so weird without them! It felt very weird riding a motorcycle in that attire but it was fine. At least I still had my helmet on, unlike many others I had seen on my travels.


    It was cool to explore downtown and I even saw an illuminated street sign warning people that there were police bait cars in the area and to lock your vehicles. I had the best pizza I’ve ever had there and then I went back to the Airbnb and hung out with the people staying there some more.

    upload_2019-7-6_20-58-6.png upload_2019-7-6_20-58-10.png
    #9
    Amphib likes this.
  10. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Crossing The Mississippi
    Day 9
    Irving, TX to Wildersville, TN
    580 miles


    Day nine was pretty uneventful. I left Irving in light rain and I saw a Mercedes CLK that had hydroplaned and spun out on the highway into a concrete divider so I pulled over to offer help and I found out that the guy was paralyzed! But he was paralyzed from a previous incident and he was fine from that accident. So, I continued on my way and nothing interesting really happened until I got to Arkansas where I was reminded of home when I was the only non-white person in the Wendy’s and people are looking at me odd. After that, I took a quick little detour down a cool bridge in Tennessee and then stopped at McDonald’s near my campsite to get my final meal of the day. The young Latina girl that served me had a major Texas accent and she sounded like she was from Texas and had been raising bulls her whole life. Soon after this I arrived at Natchez Trace State Park and I decided to explore a little bit because I still had a few hours of daylight left and I found a small lake and I got in the lake to bathe in and relax. Then I went and set up camp near where I set up my first night of the trip and was charged $30 to spend the night there.

    upload_2019-7-6_20-58-33.png upload_2019-7-6_20-58-38.png
    #10
    Amphib likes this.
  11. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    The Home Stretch
    Day 10
    Wildersville, TN to Powhatan, VA
    680 miles


    For the last day of my trip I was excited to be getting home at the end of the day. I woke up not long after sunrise and headed off through Nashville back towards Virginia. When I was passing through Nashville at about 8 AM it was already 90° which was very hard since my body was not used to those temps after this past week of the trip being typically colder weather. When I was passing through Bristol, we experienced dense traffic that was almost at a standstill. I saw many motorcyclists pulled over on the side of the road in the shade to catch a break from the scorching heat. I thought that I would be able to push through and that soon enough I would get through the traffic and be in the breeze again. I was wrong. I decided that it would be best for me to just stop under an overpass and have my lunch break while enjoying some shade for a little. Soon after this the traffic subsided and I was entering Virginia.
    upload_2019-7-6_20-59-21.png


    Since I was going to be passing through Roanoke, I decided that I would make a stop at the BMW Motorrad in that area since there aren’t any near where I live. I stopped in there and met one of the really cool guys who works there. He told me about the BDR routes which I will hopefully go on for a future trip.

    Few hours later I had to make one of many gas stops and I wanted to stop at a Sheetz so I could get some food and gas. This took me through the VMI Campus in Lexington, VA. Which was quite a cool area to ride through. This detour took me a little bit off of my initial route back home. Ended up taking I-64 and experienced some great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a refreshing change in my trip to be able to experience the beautiful greenery and mountains of the East Coast after getting back from experiencing the dry desert on the West Coast. I got to stop at an overlook and I gained a new appreciation for the greenery and mountains of the East Coast. A few hours after this I was arriving back in Powhatan at the sheets gas station which was my official start and end point of the trip.

    upload_2019-7-6_20-59-36.png
    #11
    wwm66, ssgmiddleton, rjnutt and 3 others like this.
  12. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    In ten days, I had traveled 6,500 miles across the country from Powhatan, Virginia to Santa Monica, California and back on two wheels. This was an amazing experience and I have gained memories that I will keep with me for the rest of my life! This story is a short memoir and a glimpse into the experiences and memories that were had on this trip but none of it can ever be retold in full detail it has to be experienced for oneself.
    #12
    CowboyRR, RiverView, Romet and 4 others like this.
  13. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,030
    Great trip, glad you had the time to take this trip, now get to work!
    #13
    riderjacob likes this.
  14. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Haha, I do freelance lighting for concerts and special events and it was very hard getting offers to work and having to turn them down for this trip. I can say with confidence that this trip was worth much more than the financial cost!
    #14
    DCrider, boristhebold and Amphib like this.
  15. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,923
    Location:
    Wnc
    Thanks for taking us along for the ride with you. Hats off to you for making this happen now.
    #15
    riderjacob likes this.
  16. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,457
    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    Fun trip.
    STOP riding at night.
    Start early, Stop early.
    #16
    riderjacob likes this.
  17. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    You'll do well in life with this mantra. A great introduction to a lifetime of bike trips
    #17
    riderjacob likes this.
  18. CowboyRR

    CowboyRR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Powhatan, Va
    Very impressed to read about your solo journey across the US. That was a lot of long days of riding. Hope you have more time on future travels to slow the pace and get to see even more sites. Congratulations Jacob!
    #18
    riderjacob likes this.
  19. davidaid

    davidaid Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    40
    Fantastic report. I need to do this. Maybe with shorter days, though.
    #19
    riderjacob likes this.
  20. riderjacob

    riderjacob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Powhatan
    Definitely with shorter days! That was the main thing I learned reflecting on the trip.
    #20