After months of anticipation/planning, my bike is all packed up and my route set for my cross country trip.
It took me awhile to settle on a route which let me visit some friends and family, and also provide some good riding. I plan on staying off the interstates as much as possible. The exception is the first day. I'm going to ride to Nashville, TN in order to make the rest of the days a little shorter. I figure I can ride back through TN/VA on a long weekend to find good riding, but it'll be harder to get back out west.
I have a camera, video camera, and laptop. I will update as I'm able with pictures and my ride report. It'll just depend on me being able to connect to upload.
Weather for tomorrow looks terrible. Already pulled out the rain gear for the morning. 50-60% chance of showers the entire day. But, looking out across the rest of the country, I should have clear skies the rest of the way.
For those that don't know; bike is a 2009 Kawasaki Concours 14. It's pretty much stock, other than these changes:
Audiovox electronic cruise Givi V46 topcase Bakers hand wings Heated grips Garmin Quest 2 GPS Sirius radio (through Scala Q2 on helmet) Stock tires replaced with Michelin Pilot Road 2's
It's been a great bike so far. 6800 miles currently, which I plan to double by the end of the trip :)
Day 1, 4 Jun 09 - 670 miles
So I got to bed last night at the early hour of 730pm. And since I had been up since 4pm the day before, I had no problem sleeping. Alarm went off at 4am, and I was awake shortly there after. After eating some breakfast, I checked the weather. No rain on the radar, excellent!! Was on the bike, and on the road about 10 til 5. Made my way out to Route 29, and headed south toward Charlottesville. Here is where I figured out I made a mistake with my gear. I had loaded everything up and tested it all out to make sure it was good. However, at the last minute, I decided to bring my camelbak along to stay hydrated. About 5 minutes into my trip, I can already feel the weight on my back. I'm used to riding with it, and didn't think about the weight. Also, I didn't think about how much room was between me and the bag on the passenger seat. When I leaned back, the camelbak hit the bag, and pushed it up on my back. Very uncomfortable. It came off at the first stop, and secured to the top of everything. I tried to take some pictures, but the camera wasn't working well in the dark.
So I headed down and stopped in Charlottesville for some Starbucks. Temps were a little cooler than I expected, so I was a little chilly in my mesh jacket. While I was drinking my coffee I was watching some little birds carry stuff up to a nest in the Radio Shack sign next door. I was amazed at all the stuff they can carry in their beaks. Also, while I was there, I checked the radar on the phone. There was a small cell south of Charlottesville, which didn't matter since I wasn't headed that way. I looked at the sky and decided to go ahead and put on my rain jacket. That turned out to be the right choice. I64 goes over a mountain, and at the top of that mountain was heavy fog. I would have been soaked if I weren't wearing that jacket.
The weather looked threatening all the way until I stopped for gas in Atkins, VA. The sun decided to make an appearance, and I actually got to put on my sunglasses. Also got to take off that rain jacket, which got hot as soon as the sun came out.
My lunch stop was planned to be Ridgewood BBQ in Bluff City, Tn. Came highly recommended by a friend. As I pull up to the address, the first thing I notice is an empty parking lot...not a good sign. I pull into the lot, and see a sign on the window "Closed until June 7th for vacation." Damn...gotta find somewhere else to eat. So I headed back the way I came, and found a Japanese steak house. Food was ok. Shrimp was overcooked a little, but the steak was great. Very tender and I could cut it with a fork.
Still no rain :)
Stopped for gas again in Kingston, Tn. Checked the radar, and saw a line of rain between me and Nashville. Damn, almost made it. Packed up all the camera, and covered all the bags. Decided against the rain jacket as the sun was out, and temps were above 80. About 15 miles down the road, I hit the rain. Big drops, so I knew it wouldn't last long. About 10 miles later, everything was done and the sun came back out, then went away again just before getting to the hotel.
Got checked in to the hotel and all my stuff moved up to the room. The staff here has been very friendly, and the host even helped me figure out why my laptop wouldn't connect to the network.
Day 2, 5 Jun 09- 390 miles
After getting a great night of sleep (thanks in part to a 6 pack of Magic Hat #9), I woke up this morning about 6am. I'm on a roll with waking up early. Had a little breakfast at the hotel, checked out, and loaded up the bike. I had been talking to Amy via text message, and she informed me it was raining in Ashburn.
After a quick self portrait, I was off. I caught the end of what I guess was rush hour for Nashville. Trip was pretty uneventful, I got off the interstate for awhile, and went through some small towns and TN-70, a very scenic road. Ran into a lot of construction on the road, and an accident where a SUV (Trailblazer maybe) took on a semi truck. Guess who won.
Stopped for gas in Lakeland, Tn, just outside of Memphis. Asked the attendant about a good BBQ place, since I didn't get my fix on day 1. She wasn't sure, but someone in line directed me to Corky's BBQ. Everyone was very friendly at the restaurant, and the hostess practically molested me checking out my jacket. When she found out I was headed to San Diego, I thought she was going to throw my camping gear off the seat, and jump on the back. The food was excellent. These are definitely the best ribs I have ever had.
Rest of the day was uneventful. Just slabbed it all the way to Little Rock. Crossed over the Mississippi River, and into Arkansas. The only other time I've crossed that river was in 1990 when I moved from San Diego to Herndon.
Got to my planned campground, and told the lady I need a tent sight. When she asked if I had a reservation, I said no. She went inside and talked to her husband (who it seems she runs the campground with) and I was told there was a site with no electricity. I said that was fine, and set up camp. Went back to pay for my spot (the sites are normally $14, but I was told $7 for the lack of electricity), and was told that I didn't need to pay anything. She didn't feel right giving me a spot with no electricity. Gonna go make some food, and gather some fire wood for light.
Slabbing it to Dallas tomorrow (I know, I need to try to stay off it) and staying with family. Will have internet and another update tomorrow.
Day 3, 6 Jun 09- 340ish miles (I cleared the trip before writing down the miles)
Woke up this morning about 6 when some squirrel and bird were arguing outside of the tent. Shortly after, the alarm goes off telling me it's time to wake up anyway. Temps were cool, mid 50's. Debated which shirt to wear, and went with the UA heat gear. Turned out to be the right choice, since the temps hit the low 90's by the end of the day.
Today was another beautiful day. Mostly clear skies, not much traffic. I tried to hurry today to get to Dallas, since I was going to be spending time with the family. Stayed on I30 pretty much the entire way. Saw a car with packing tape for a door. Didn't get the camera out until I had passed him, so I got a picture in the mirror. Pretty uneventful day, until I was almost to the Texas border.
I was riding along, minding my business, taking in the sights, cruising about 75. I saw this blur from the left and instantly recognized it as a deer of the kamakazi variety. Grabbed as much brake as I could, and then swerved left as far as I could without hitting the car passing on my left. Felt a slight thud as my mirror clipped the very back end of the deer. I looked over at the car next to me and the driver just looked astonished. Very lucky to just be able to push my mirror forward, back into place.
Stopped shortly after for some lunch...mmmm, Sonic. I think one of my next rides will be to eat at a Sonic in every state. Back on the road, and arrived in Dallas. Traffic was backed up from an accident and construction. Traffic cleared and then I missed my exit because it came up fast, and I wasn't paying attention. Quick u-turn and I was back on course.
I arrived at my grandparents house. Dinner is more BBQ, followed by a much needed shower.
Day 4, 7 Jun 09- 370 miles
Today was pretty uneventful. I knew I was going to be off the interstate up to Amarillo, and was excited. The road may as well have been an interstate. Speed limit was 70, and it dropped down to 35 through some of the towns it passed through. Very scenic though. Got to see some cattle, horses, and even some camels. Thought I was going to hit some rain, but it seemed like it ended up going around me, and I was good to go.
What I learned today is that Texas is very, very flat. I could see for miles and miles in each direction. Also, Texas is a lot greener than I envisioned. I expected to see lots of basically prairie land...lots of grass and short bushes. I was surprised to see forests and tall trees.
Stopped for gas in one of the towns I passed through. I'm not sure if it's the economy, or just the area, but there were lots of abandoned buildings, businesses for sale, etc. One of the towns had a gas station, and that was it.
After checking into the hotel, I donned some jeans, and headed out to explore the city and get some food. Most everything was closed since it was Sunday. I did have dinner at The Big Texan Ranch. Even the beers were huge. The small draft beer was 32oz. At the Big Texan, you can order a 72oz steak. If you eat the entire steak, sides, and bread in under an hour, you eat free. A couple of guys attempted to eat it, one guy failed. The other ate it in 40 minutes. I had a nice steak, and then headed back to the hotel.
Day 5, 8 Jun 09 - 531 miles
I woke up this morning about 645, after feeling like I didn't get any sleep at all. Felt like I put my head down, and the alarm went off. I'm not used to waking up this early, and I've been doing it the last few days.
Anyway, weather was great this morning and the sun was shining. After loading up the bike, I was taking some pictures. Another hotel guest saw I was taking pictures, and offered to take a picture of me on the bike. I took him up on the offer. He wished me luck once he found out I was from Va, and was on his way. After gearing up, I was off.
Headed west on I 40. No other options I could find for today. Almost all interstate, unless I wanted to add a hundred miles and 4 hours to the day. Stayed mostly on 40, and only jumped off a few times to follow some of Route 66 through the small towns. Made it to Albuquerque, NM in pretty good time. Not much to see headed on 40. There were a few towns here and there, but for the most part there was nothing. Scenery went from flat to mountains today. Altitude was up to over 7000 feet. It was actually a little chilly, and I even turned on the heated grips.
I stopped at the Route 66 Diner, right in downtown Albuquerque. Food was good, and the service was great. Switched up from BBQ, and went with a burger this time. Decided I needed some dessert, so had some blueberry crisp pie and coffee....yum.
Jumped back on I 40 with the intention of stopping in Gallup, NM for the night. By the time I got there, it was only 2pm, and I was feeling great. So I kept on going into AZ. After crossing into AZ, I stopped at the Petrified Forest. Got a couple of pictures there. According to my clock, it was after 4, so I opted not to do the driving tour of the park, which takes about 2 hours. I still wasn't sure where I was going to stop, and knew I was going to try to camp.
Headed back out on 40, and ended up in Holbrook, Az. Went to the KOA campground to get a campsite. I was told the site would be $29 for the night. I asked if that was the best rate, since the hotel up the street was $39 for a night. He replied "That is the rate." So, I headed back up to the hotel and asked for a room. The hostess was very nice, and I ended up getting a discount on the room, which brought the total to $34 after tax. $5 is worth being able to take a shower. Not to mention being in the AC, out of the weather, and not dealing with any bugs.
Went out and got some gas, and finally found a Route 66 marker I was able to stop and get a picture with.
Will be in Goodyear, Az tomorrow, visiting a friend. Also on the agenda is Meteor Crater, and more Route 66.
Day 6, 9 Jun 09- 317 miles
Woke up to another beautiful day. Quick shower, and checked out of the hotel. When I got back to the motorcycle, there was a guy looking at it. Talked to him a short while. He was moving to Arkansas with his wife. Had some crazy contraption of a motorcycle. Kinda like a car with a motorcycle front end. I meant to take a picture of it, but then forgot.
First stop was at Meteor Crater. Spent some time walking around and visiting the museum. Pretty cool how something150' across can make a hole almost 1 mile across. I even got me a little piece of the meteorite which was dug out of the ground.
Back on 40, and headed towards Flagstaff. I planned on driving through downtown, but decided to head south since it looked like it was going to rain by the time I was in Flagstaff. I got off the interstate onto AZ-89a. This has got to be one of the best motorcycle roads in the country. Going through Sedona was absolutely gorgeous. I can't even describe the scenery, so I'll just post some pictures.
Continued south on 89 and hit some more twisty roads.
Arrived at my friends place in Goodyear, AZ. We went out to dinner, and then to a couple of bars. I drank entirely too much, so I'm glad that I wasn't on the bike today :lol:
Gonna try to get the bike washed, and look over the it to make sure everything looks good. I need to address a slight leak the final drive has developed, and will take care of that when I get to San Diego tomorrow.
Day 7, 10 Jun 09-
Hung out in Phoenix. Didn't do a whole lot, but did have dinner which was a 14oz porkchop stuffed the chorizo, topped with a mango chutney sauce. Delicious.
Day 8, 11 Jun 09 - 337 miles
Not too much fun stuff today. Woke up to great riding weather. I know I'm gonna get rained on when I head back east. Just the way things work out.
Today was just about getting to dealer to have the bike checked out. Took I-8 the entire way, which was pretty boring, except for the part where it went through some mountains. Also got to see the border with Mexico. Went through several Border Patrol checkpoints, but each time they just waved me through.
Got to the dealer, and dropped the bike off. Got talking to one of the sales guys. Told him about my trip, and he dragged me over to a computer. I was showing him my pictures and spot tracker. He was very excited about the trip, and gave me some roads to check out when I head north.
They replaced an o-ring on the final drive filler cap, which they thought was causing the leak. Rode it back to my buddies house, and found out it was still leaking. I will take it back to the dealer tomorrow and leave it with them so they can tear it apart and find out what's going on.
Amy flies in tomorrow morning also, and we'll be headed up to Escondido for the week. No riding is planned, but I'll post some pictures of whatever we end up doing.
Day 9, 12 Jun 09-
Amy arrived at the airport around 1045. Went and pocked her up, and
headed back to my buddies house and sat around. Talked with his
roommate, him, I showed Amy the rest of the videos I took. Around 3, we
headed up to the resort and checked into the timeshare. Very nice
resort and people, even though they wanted to take a tour of their new
location on the resort.
We met a friend of Amy's for dinner, and found a brewery in San Marcos.
I had some very good sirloin and beer battered shrimp. I bought a 4
pack of the pale ale to take back to the condo. Very good if anyone has
an urge to check it out.
My friend Rob arrived from Phoenix after we had dinner. ****** Drank the beer, and headed off to bed.
Day 10, 13 Jun 09-
Spent the day doing some tourist stuff in San Diego. Visited the USS
Midway museum in the harbor, and then headed into the gaslamp quarter
for some dinner and booze.
Day 11, 14 Jun 09-
Pretty lazy yesterday. We pretty much just woke up, ate some food, and
walked around the resort. We visited the pool, and I did some laundry.
Day 12, 15 Jun 09-
Went to the San Diego Zoo today. I haven't been there since '95 maybe?
They've added quite a bit, and I still enjoyed the trip
Day 13, 16 Jun 09-
Headed into San Diego again today. We had seen an advertisement for the
Body Worlds exhibit at the natural history museum. It was a very cool
exhibit. If you haven't seen it, I think it's worth seeing. I find
anatomy and biology very cool (even if I didn't understand it in
college). More info here. ******
After the exhibit, we walked around Balboa Park. ****** Took lots of pictures and enjoyed the sunshine.
On a side note, I just wanted to mention how awesome the energizer
lithium batteries are. I changed the batteries in the camera on the
first day of the trip, and just now had to change them again. Probably
about 800 plus pictures over 12 days, with me leaving the camera on for
several hours each day.
Day 14, 17 Jun 09-
Spent today at the Wild Animal Park. Got a little bit of a late start,
so we didn't get to the park until after 11. We walked around and got
some animal pictures, and visited the petting corral and pet some deer.
We then went on the "Journey into Africa" tram ride. While we were on
that ride, we saw the photo caravan rides going through the main animal
habitat. Once we got finished with the tram ride, we signed up for one
of the caravan rides.
Part of the caravan ride that we signed up for was getting to feed the
giraffes at the park. I'm not sure if it's because they're now used to
people or if the behavior is natural, but they were very docile, and it
was like feeding a cow.
After the park, we met up with my friend Rick who showed us a
steakhouse outside Escondido, CA. I had a ribeye that was just
incredible. I've been very happy with all the food on this trip, and
with the scenery and weather. Makes me not want to go home
Day 15, 18 Jun 09-
We didn't have anything scheduled today, so we just drove around the
San Diego area. We went and visited my old house, which used to be
brown/tan when I lived in it.
We then went back to Rick's place. We hung out there for awhile before
taking him to the airport. We check out of the condo tomorrow morning,
and then we'll be staying at Rick's for the weekend.
Went by the dealer and talked to them about the bike. They've ordered a
seal for the final drive, but still haven't gotten it in. They did take
care of the brake lever recall, which was cool of them. Wandered around
the showroom for awhile and looked at all the bikes. They had a little
Honda cafe racer stuck in the corner which was very cool.
Days 16, 17, 18, (19-21 Jun 09)-
Not too much to report here. Amy and I pretty much lounged around Ricks
place, and watched some movies. Went out to eat a couple of times at
some good restaurants, but left the camera at home.
I picked up the bike from the dealer yesterday. The final drive is
still leaking a little bit. The parts weren't going to be in for
another 4-5 days. I'll just keep an eye on the leak, and take care of
everything when I get home. Someone here works in service at Loudoun
Amy flies out this evening, and I will be back on the road tomorrow
morning. Planning on heading up the coast, hopefully getting to Santa
Cruz. I'll be meeting up with a local rider, who's going to show me
some nice roads in the area . ******
Depending on where I stay tomorrow, I will update again when I stop for the night.
Day 19, 22 Jun 09- 575 miles
Back on the road today. It was a long day. I was awake, dressed, and
kickstand up at 0505. Weather looked so-so, but turned out to be great
later in the day. Traffic was pretty light headed north, and stayed
that way until I was almost through LA. Hit a little bit of traffic,
and got my first experience with lane splitting. Let me just say that I
want to shake the had of the person who decided that could be legal.
Even with traffic stopped, I was able to continue. It was wonderful.
I met up with member from another forum, who also rides a C14. We met
up in (enter city name), and I followed him through some great
twisties. We continued north for a bit on PCH-1, eventually heading
north on CA-33. We attempted to stop for food at Wendy's, only to find
out they did not open until 1030. So, we went down the road a little
farther and ate at a place called Eggs 'n Things. Once we had some food
in us, we grabbed some gas at the station across the street, and headed
into the mountains. While we were getting ready to pull out of the gas
station, a loaded up FJR pulled in at parked next to the store. We
waved, and the FJR-er took a picture of us as we were leaving.
We wove our way up 33, and then turned onto 58. About an hour of some
twisties, fast sweepers, and fast straights. Came out to where 58 meets
the 101, where I said "Thank you" and "Goodbye" to John.
I continued north on 1. I stopped for gas a short while later, near San
Simeon. While in the gas station, the FJR from earlier pulled in also.
I introduced myself, and found out he was from TX, also doing a trip.
He was headed north on 1, and I suggested riding together. We headed
north on 1 together until he pulled into his campsite in the area of
I continued north to Santa Cruz and met a friend from high school who I
hadn't seen in probably about 3 years. He found me on facebook maybe a
week ago. He let me stay at his place for the night. He showed me a
great little Mexican place called Los Pinos. My carne asada burrito was
delicious. We went back to his house, and I showed him a bunch of
pictures from the trip, along with the video I've taken along the way.
He was pretty amazed at the trip, and also at some of the pictures
along the way.
Day 20, 23 June 09- 293 miles
Woke up this morning to some pretty dreary looking skies. Got loaded
up, and headed back out to 1 north, and headed toward San Francisco.
Sun came out after an hour or so, and everything cleared right up.
Got to the Golden Gate bridge, and stopped to take some pictures and
video, since I had never seen it in person before. There were lots of
people there for a Tuesday morning...I couldn't imagine what it would
be like on a weekend.
Once I crossed the Golden Gate, I turned east and went over the
Richmond brige into Richmond. I met up with one a of Ricks friends,
Brandon, from when he was stationed in Alameda, Ca. Brandon offered to
show me some roads in the area and some good views of the bay. We first
went and had lunch at Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe. I had a great BBQ pork
After eating, Brandon showed me to a road, and then let me lead the way
up the mountain. We stopped near the top and I was greeted with this:
Not many views like that in VA. I was recording the ride up the
mountain, but forgot to turn the camera of when we stopped. The video
runs for about 15 seconds of silence, and then you can hear me in the
background say "Wow."
We went back to Brandon's house to hang out and talked for a bit. I
then headed up to Cameron Park to stay with Rick's dad, who I used to
visit a lot when he lived in VA. We caught up on our lives, and I
shared all the pictures and video with him. Couldn't get anything
uploaded, so I just headed off to bed after going through all the
pictures from the day.
Lake Tahoe tomorrow.
Day 21, 24 Jun 09- 212 miles
Today was a pretty short day. I used the day for a short ride to Lake
Tahoe, then came back and did some maintenance on the bike.
First was a trip out to Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast. Came
back to the house, checked the weather for Tahoe, and headed out. Got
to ride on the western end of Route 50 the entire way to Tahoe. It
weaves its way through The El Dorado Forest, which was an awesome ride.
Lots of very fast sweepers, combined with lots of altitude changes,
tree cover, rivers, and great views.
I arrived at Lake Tahoe, and began making my way around the lake. The
Spot seems to have lost the satellites, so it doesn't show me having
gone the whole way around, but I in fact did. Lots of tourists and
people driving way too slow. The speed limit around the lake varies
from 25 to 55mph, only really dropping down inside the cities along the
lake. In the 55 mph zone, most people were doing 30-40 mph. It was
annoying, but I dealt with it. The road would have been extremely fun,
had it not been for the other cars.
Weather was great the entire day, and got a little hot coming back to
Cameron Park. High temp was 99 degrees. When I went through Yuma, Az a
couple of weeks ago, the temp was only about 90. I was actually a
little surprised by the heat.
Got back to the house in Cameron Park, and pulled right into the
garage. Stripped the fairings off the bike so I could get to all the
parts for the cruise control, and started some troubleshooting. Even
went as far as running the bike on the centerstand. Cruise will attempt
to engage, but will overrev since there's no load on the wheel. Not
sure why it won't engage when there's a load on the wheel. I'll do some
more thorough troubleshooting when I get back to VA.
Camping tomorrow night in Ely, NV. Didn't check the weather before
making the reservations, and there's a 50% chance of thunderstorms over
night. Of course, the one day I don't check the weather it turns on me.
Oh well, guess I had to get rained on sometime during the trip.
Day 22, 25 Jun 09- 433 Miles
Left Cameron Park this morning to bright, sunny skies. Rode the same
section of 50 back through Lake Tahoe. It was a little chilly around
the lake, but the temps soon started rising.
I continued to follow route 50 through Nevada. Started getting a little
hungry, so I stopped at an IHOP in Carson City. While it's only maybe
20 miles from Tahoe, it's pretty much desert. Lots of sand and rocks,
and was hot. The rest of the day was spent entirely on route 50. I soon
learned why it's called "The loneliest road in America." Lots of
straight sections, without seeing a car for 15-20 minutes at a time.
During one section I was cruising around 110-115 for about an hour.
I ended up meeting one of Nevada's finest on one stretch. ****** No performance award though
Spent a couple minutes talking, and I was on my way. I forgot to ask
him if I could take a picture of the stop. Would have been a good
addition to the album.
Also today for the first time since Virginia, I got rained on. I went
through two thunderstorms. One was pretty stressful for me, since there
was lightning strikes in front of me..one every 8-10 minutes. There was
no where on the road to pull off and wait for it blow over, I was 90
miles from my destination, and 75 miles from the last town I passed. So
I pushed through the storm with my head low to avoid the strikes. When
I got through I was greeted by blue skies and sunshine.
A little while later I was approaching Ely, Nv. I planned on camping
for the night, but I began to change my plans as I was getting closer.
My destination was under another rainstorm. When I got to Ely, I
stopped to fill up for the next day, and was greeted with rain and 30
mph winds. I instead went to the Motel 6 next to the gas station, and
got a room for the night.
Will be somewhere in Colorado tomorrow.
Day 23, 26 Jun 09- 492 miles
Woke up this morning to partly cloudy skies, but no wind. Storm came
through last with a lot of wind, but not much rain. It was actually
pretty much cleared up when I went to bed around 1130.
Started heading east again on Route 50. The road is almost as deserted
in Utah as it is in Nevada. I stopped for lunch in Delta, which didn't
seem to have much on the main street. I had a choice of snacks from the
gas station, or McDonalds. I don't particularly like McDonalds, but at
least I would get to sit down.
These guys were right on the side of the road. Route 50 goes through a
lot of open range, so I'm glad they were off the road and not on it.
After a short meal, I was back on 50. 50 met up with 15 north for about
8 miles, then turned south and met up with I-70. Right as I'm about to
get on 70, I see a sign which says "No Services on I-70 for 109 miles."
I had about 95 miles on the tank already, and the fuel light will come
on between 205-215. I went ahead and got gas, since I would be cutting
it too close for my comfort.
I-70 going through Utah and Colorado has got to be some of the most
scenic interstate in the country. Lots of canyons, cliffs, huge rock
formations, etc, etc. It was very beautiful. I stopped at one of the
View areas to take a few pictures. There were some Navajo indians
selling some items in the parking lot, so I picked up a gift for the
As I was getting ready to leave, I was watching the rain clouds which
had been looming right behind me all day. I decided to continue without
the rain gear for a few miles and assess the situation later. Well, as
I was mounting the bike to leave, it started sprinkling on me. So I
donned the rain gear, and headed off. Good move on my part as I hit
some torrential rains about 15 miles later. It was raining so hard and
fast there was actually standing water on the road. The Pilot Road 2's
held without even flinching. I'm continually impressed with these
tires, and will definitely get another set once these wear out.
I broke through the rain, and was back into the sun again. I stopped at
a gas station to fill up, and take off the rain suit, then continued to
Montrose, Co where I planned on stopping. When I got to Montrose, I
felt pretty good and was considering continuing onto Gunnison. I was
stopped at a light, and began watching the clouds. A rather large storm
cell was moving into Montrose, so I decided to called it a night.
About an hour after I stopped, the skies opened up and began soaking
everything. It's still raining as I type this, but will probably be
gone by 8 or 9 local time.
Day 24, 27 Jun 09- 474 miles
Woke up this morning to bright sunny skies. ****** I checked out of the hotel, and was on my way. ******
It was quite chilly this morning, only 50 or so. I was pretty chilly
all morning since I decided not to put the liner in my jacket, and was
then too stubborn to stop and put it in. I did however get some great
pictures of Colorado. Montrose was about 5400 feet, and the elevation
quickly rose to 8500 feet. I got ride through a cloud (or fog, who
knows), and that was pretty special. I climbed a couple of summits, and
topped out about 11300 feet. I took a picture, but it ended up all
blurry which was disappointing. I headed down the mountain and ended up
getting some breakfast at Sonic which was right in Salida, Co.
After Sonic, I continued on route 50 to Pueblo. Route 50 follows the
Arkansas (I think) River for quite a ways. Not a tight road, but lots
of fast sweepers. Road was kinda busy. Lots of motorcycles and people
getting out for a day of fishing or rafting on the river.
Once I got to Pueblo, the scenery pretty much just stopped. Followed
I-25 up to Colorado Springs, then then took US 24 to I-70. As soon as I
started east, I could tell I was on the plains. Everything became
rolling hills, and then flat. Not much different from Texas, only
I ended up in Colby, KS. There are no campgrounds here, so I ended up
at the hotel again. On 70, I kept seeing signs for Mikes Montana Grill,
which ended up being about half a mile from the motel. I took a short
ride down there and ordered up a steak. Food was ok. I'd give them a
Back at the hotel, and will try to get somewhere into Missouri tomorrow.
Day 25, 28 Jun 09- 692 Miles
Woke up this morning a little later than I wanted to. Set the alarm for
6, but wasn't out of bed until about 730. I think my body is protesting
the trip now
Not too many options about how to head west, so I just jumped on I-70
and headed east. Scenery doesn't change much in Kansas. Pretty flat,
occasionally there'd be a slight curve in the road, and you might go up
or down a little hill.
As I got into eastern Kansas, the land began to change to some more
trees, but still pretty flat. I saw a sign on I-70 at mile marker 343,
saying that the next 8 miles was the first section of interstate opened
in the United States. I crossed into Missouri in Kansas City, and
stopped for gas a short time later. I was making good time, and have
been in a "ok, time to get home" state of mind the last couple of days.
I miss Amy, my dog, cats, friends, and being at home. So, I decided to
just knock out as many miles as I could today, and knock out the rest
I made it into St. Louis, and saw the Gateway Arch. Most things always
look smaller in person than they do on TV or in pictures, but the arch
was still pretty impressive in person. I went across the Mississippi
River for the second time, and continued on to Salem, Il. Grabbed a
hotel for the night, and will try to get on the road early tomorrow in
order to make it home by dinner. 725 miles to go. Should be a piece of
Day 26, 29 Jun 09 - 733 Miles
Set the alarm for 0500 so I could get a move on and make it back home
for dinner. Was loaded up and checked out of the hotel about 0530.
Weather was great, not too chilly, but was on the humid side. I
continued my way on 50. I went through some very cool small towns. I
need to plan another ride so I can go visit all of the towns.
I did ride over this one part of pavement that sucked. You know in the
movie "Cars" when McQueen destroys the road, and the first time he
fixes it, it sucks? This was that road.
I pretty much just continued down 50 through Kentucky, Ohio, West Va,
Maryland, and into Va. Got to ride some last bit of twisties before I
got to Winchester, Va. Route 50 is a very nice road going through WVA,
and I'm surprised that I've never ridden it before today.
I got into Ashburn just after 8, and met up with Amy and some of the
.net peeps. I went home, and uploaded the pictures. Then I went to bed
and crashed for about 12 hours. Guess the last couple of days really
There is something very special about traveling on a motorcycle.
I had a great time enjoying the country. It was really amazing seeing
the difference between the east and west coasts. Everything on the east
is very packed and close together. There are lots of towns within a
short distance of each other. On the west coast, and through the
plains, there is nothing for miles and miles, and then there's a town.
Then miles and miles before you see anything else.
The scenery changing was also very cool. It went from lots of trees and
mountains on the east coast, to wetlands and shorter trees through the
Mississippi River area, then slowly changing to smaller bushes to
grasslands, then desert, and then mountains and forests on the west
I really enjoyed the route that I picked...except for Kansas. I decided
to cut out the Grand Canyon, but I'll just have to take another trip to
see it ****** I'm glad I decided to head up the coast of California. ****** Those were some of the best views I've ever had from a motorcycle.
The bike performed wonderfully, despite the slight leak from the final
drive. It didn't cause any problems, was more of an annoyance. It threw
lube on the wheel, which the dirt and dust just stuck to. It was a big
mess by the time I got home. I dropped the bike off at the dealer
yesterday to have it worked on, so I should have it back in about a
week. The riding position was great for my upper body, but my knees
would start to hurt after about 2.5-3 hours. The tires squared off a
little bit, but still have plenty of life left in them. I did start to
get a pulsing sensation in the front brake on the last day. Pads seemed
fine, and other owners have had issues with the rotors warping.
I can't wait to plan another trip like this. May be a little while
though with a baby on the way. The only thing I would have done
differently would be to get someone to go with me. It would get pretty
lonely when I stopped at night. It was nice to stop and see friends I
haven't seen for a while, but once I was out on my own I would get
board. If I hadn't been able to load pictures on the computer and type
something to post up, I would have gone nuts.
Stats from the trip:
Total mileage was:
7006 on ODO
7048 on GPS
109 hours total riding time, 64 mph average moving speed. ****** 16 days of actual riding, 440 miles average per day.
Gas mileage according to the on board computer was 43.7 mpg, 43.9 mpg
according to my gas receipts/mileage. Best tank was 48.74 MPG going
through Illinois, worst was 34.18 going through Nevada.
Thanks for everyone following my trip, and I hope you've enjoyed the
report. Also thanks to everyone who showed me around places, and gave
me advice for roads.