Road Trip Roundup

I bought my bike early in 2002, that summer I felt compelled to a trial by fire. How would I ever know what sort of charecter lurked deep inside my bike... or me for that matter, if i never put it to the test. So with out so much a wrench, (but you can be sure I had a computer) I took off across country on a motorcycle I knew nothing about. We shared many thousands of miles while forging a solid bond. A bond so strong that it alone held the bike together in a valiant effort to get home to dallas. This is the tale of how my love for motorcyclcing was born.

Please note this was all written on the road minutes before I collapsed each night, many years ago.

My only map

Day one: 10pm-3am

I woke up at 3am, I don't know why. But for some reason my body was even more excited than I was. I had some fajitas, and hit the road. Getting out of Dallas was a nightmare, and I know the city. I had to every way but the right way in order to reach my destination. I went north, and then I had to go south (for at least 30 miles each) which basically put me right back here I started. Hurray for city planners. After getting on whatever road that was I was treated to a pleasant if sensory deprived ride. Officially, I started at 4am, so I can't complain about lack of sights. Then outta the darkness the bullets fly! Another one bites the dust, WHOO-AHH. Driving through a small bend in an even smaller hill I was hit by a single volley of luminescent javelins. Just one. Then 15 seconds later the next wave came. It was bizarre because it was timed so randomly and the rain drops we not a part of a larger group. That and the fact that my high beam caught them just perfectly for them to light up like Christmas lights. This was right as my first tank of gas was running out so I made a strategic retreat to a local filling station. This station blew my mind. I was dumbfounded, pump then pay? I thought policemen would descend and arrest me for stealing gasoline at any moment. I spent about 15 minutes there repacking my gear, namely, I put my computer in a plastic bag just too doubly insure its safety. Meanwhile a man came up to me in awe. He was impressed that I had made it here; he was forced to pull over 3 times due to an inability to drive in such horrid weather. I said it's only been like this for about 5 minutes, to which he replied that's its three times all the way to Amarillo, which was 200 miles away. Realizing my fate I decided I was on a road trip and not a gas station lounge trip, I steeled my self and ventured forth. The rain wasn't bad. Sure I was wet, but wetness is not a bad thing. Luckily my jacket held up its end of the bargain and kept me dry. My khakis immediately surrendered to the onslaught, and subsequently, my shoes. Water is not a bad thing. I rode into the morning, at 90 miles per hour; the road was long and straight. I think either the man at the gas station either drives like a woman; did I mention he wore a loony tunes tee shirt, Or the brunt of the hellacious weather moved off. Either way it was a long wet ride into Amarillo, once I arrived, the rain, as promised by mister looney tunes, disappeared. From Amarillo I move farther north into Texas, and into several farming communities up there. I hate farmers. I think they are the biggest environmental blight unleashed on the planet earth. They tend to remove all trees (read: windbreaks) 105-0536_IMG.JPG and plant their silly little crops in their place. Not to mention the fertilizers and other unnatural goodness they are responsible for as well. But I am really only concerned with their deforestation and the resulting incessant wind. I spent a good deal of time leaning to the left; the strain on my neck was intense, and long. Beyond constant wind is something far worse, Gusting wind. It attacks like a Colombian communist, unannounced and forceful. My head felt like that plastic guy you punch and him going down then gets up again, cause of the weight in the bottom. Fortunately this type of wind was the exception, not the rule. Once I reached New Mexico the wind stopped and I had a great ride, the sun was out in force, the sky was blue and the temperature was wonderful, even in my jacket. The Rockies snuck up on me. At first I was just cruising with the occasional picturesque hill, then behind that neat hill was two more hills, then beyond those a rocky out cropping, then full fledged mountains. New Mexico is a grand place. I have always been impressed with Colorado and its rugged beauty, but New Mexico is a less flashy version of Colorado. And to me that makes it even more scenic. Colorado clubs you over the head with scenery while New Mexico is more of a classic beauty. At then end of my romp through New Mexico was the town of "Raton" which means, rat. How quaint. Raton lies on the border with Colorado, which is just a few minutes up the valley, entering Colorado was grand, because the interstate winds through the valley that connects it to Raton. It was an awesome experience, I was laid back and just leaning into the curves, its was like traveling in a lazy boy, I hardly had to lift a finger. Upon entering Colorado's core I felt as if I was entering the earth's core. The temperature rose at least 10-15 degrees. Getting deeper into the sweltering inferno that is Colorado I was forced to remove my jacket at the next available gas station. At this same gas station I decided to take off my shoes and let them air out. It seems that my feet had become more saturated than Ted Kennedy's liver, after being in my wet shoes for 10 hours. After a little wringing out I got back on the road, as I was entering traffic I noticed a fellow traveler on his Harley and I gave him a little biker salute. Not more then 1 minute later, as I was rolling up to the road I dropped my bike due to a hill, a full tank of gas and a full load of gear. Whump! Luckily the kind man driving the Harley was waiting at the light and saw this and came over to help me pick my bike up. It was a beast fully loaded. After thanking him I got on my way. I finally reached Denver, and I was greeted by the entire population, as they were all on the freeway, and every one of them stopped dead still. It seems that in Colorado one out of every ten cars is destined to die on the side of the road. And sure enough in addition to the countless abandoned cars lining the road there were THREE stalled cars in the interstate. Bringing all forward movement to a halt. My bike started idling really rough about this time and standing still was doing me more harm than good, so I employed the power of the motorbike, I drove between the cars all the way through Denver. A few folks tried to inform what I was doing was not approved but their screams of rage were not audible as I passed them by. Another group tried to impede my progress by attempting to claim two lanes and block the middle area. How intelligent, never the less I prevailed and was out of Denver post haste. From there it was a short jaunt over to boulder and Petes house which I found after a bit of poking around. After Arriving we sat around in the sweltering heat that pervades Colorado, eventually I passed out, ending day one.

Day Two: 11pm-6am

I woke up insanely early considering what I went through the day before. After some kibitzing I proceeded to imitate a college student at CU. checking my email and speaking with some friends. Returned to the house to clean up and take care of some duties. My phone wasn't taking a charge so I thought to borrow Pete's minidisc charger, which has the same connector but not the same voltage rating. Going to radio shack I thought to put together my own cell phone charger. They sell connectors and ac power converters that WHEN THEIR POWERS COMBINE, make a fine cell phone charger for 10 bucks. Unfortunately it too had the wrong voltage rating. So I was forced to go to the sprint store in Westminster. Unfortunately in my back and forth to the radio shack I was becoming more aware of the problem that led to my traffic infraction in Denver yesterday, my bike was falling apart at low rpms. I was horrified. Here I am in Colorado without a working cell phone or a mode of transport. I thought it must be the full lines since the full supply was obviously impeded. Mister Radio shack was nice enough to return my money and he even gave me enough of charge off a demo unit so that I could call my folks and let them know what was up. Back on the ponderosa I was discovering just how awful Pete's roomies really are. Aaron decided to tell me how great of an artist he was, and how he was the keyboard player Pete told me about. He was crushed to find out Pete had not mentioned him to me. He then proceeded to tell me how he could not be defined by a genre. Someone needs to tell him that "new age" is a genre that defines him. As for Petes other roommate, Jeff, I can't say much, because he failed to say a single word. Pete was gone to speak to a girl named Laura about an apartment he might move into. This was a good thing since he was getting evicted in a few days. While he was gone, his roomies had finished their cursory cleaning. I was left alone and took a badly needed nap. I was awoken from my slumber by a strange man calling to see if anyone was in the house. I responded in the affirmative. Ascending the stairs to meet my assailant I was greeting by a furtive Middle Eastern man. Who promptly proclaimed himself Eddie. I stated my name. And he restated his as if I should know it. Why does everyone in Colorado assume you should have heard of them before? It turns out this is EDDIE and he Owns this place. Grand. After assuring him I wasn't a squatter he informed me that the residents were to be gone "tomorrow" and not "in a few days" after he left, I returned to sleepy land. Only to be awoken shortly by peters return. Peter was in hysterics, that is to say, an infliction of the ovaries. This Laura character he met was willing to take Pete on as a roommate and none to soon. That very night we moved in. And all the next morning. I napped while Pete packed and woke up in between to help carry things out. After arriving we passed out in the middle of Petes possessions, strewn about his new apartment.

Day three: 5am-9am

Waking up at 9pm we immediately ran off to the library I was eager to see about getting a charger for my phone and seeing if anyone may know what was wrong with my bike. After arriving at aforementioned library we found out it was closed for some odd reason. So I had to search for some web only computers without Ssh capabilities. It was rough but I was able to find out what was causing my bikes problems, altitude. It wasn't getting enough oxygen on idle. How do I fix this? Leave the mountains, or just use the throttle, which has an auto sensing air intake. After this we ran to the sprint store again, and they still didn't have a phone charger. They have them for every phone but mine, I will try back tomorrow.

Day Four: 1am-9am

Woke up and started gearing up for my ride throughout the rocky mountain national park. I needed to clean out my backpack, and repack it with a reduced load. While cleaning it out I came across something magical, a cell phone charger. Huzzah! At the last moment I was advised by my father to bring a jacket, since it might get colder up in the mountains. I was originally planning to just wear a long sleeve shirt, but this proved to be inadequate. As soon as I left the house I realized I would need the jacket, it was roughly 18 degrees Celsius. Taking 36 west was neat unto itself, with windy mountain passes and canyons it was a great ride. At the end of this nice stretch of road was Estes Park. This little town makes it self look like a theme park. After passing through it was onto the national park. The attendant grew a little impatient as I went about paying/receiving my materials, stowing things on a bike is not instantaneous. Once I was in it was really just like any other scenic route I have taken, super cool. At some points I would burst out laughing, either because I was having so much fun, or because I am crazier than the mad hatter . The real fun began when I saw a turn off for old Fall River road, which I had been advised to take. This road was great I went zooming along, having a ball. But then I was struck by a scenic valley view. So I stopped to take a photo, but when I did this some folks in four wheeled road hoggers drove by. Ripping through the lower alpine levels I passed the quickly and then once more had the road to myself. At the top I was scared out of my wits, driving right on the edge, I just focus my eyes forward and moved along rather rapidly. Even though I basically rode the roads center line down I was still scared. I coasted most of the way down, in neutral. Once I got to the bottom it was some more generic Colorado scenery, damn this place for jading me. Once I got back into Estes park I decided I wanted to find my old summer camp, it seems I zeroed right in on it, it was about 15-20 miles out from downtown Estes, and was real easy to find, I took some random road, to a "lake" cause I remembered a lake, then I drove around it as we had done so many times at camp, and entered the main gates as if on auto pilot. Took some pictures and left. Wasn't all that great of an accomplishment, it was just something fun to do; the fun was in the questing. On the way back through Estes full of nostalgia I recognized the location that me and my family had inhabited many years before hand, and at this location was a hologram shop which they bought me. I was ever so pleased I committed the place to memory. Riding back to boulder was just as grand. Almost better than parts of the park itself.

Day Five: 9pm-6am

I went to visit Lieutenant Pip Shamson today. I noticed a loose/torn tube on my bikes rear wheel section, I compared it to some previous photos, and it defiantly shouldn't be there, but upon closer inspection it may of just been a vent tube casually placed along the back, and it just came loose after my offloading the day before. I rode down there to say hay and to alleviate his dialup woes; we transferred 28 gigs or something like it. Pips a good guy he pretended to be normal. If just for one day. I didn't get home until late. I forgot to bring my clear visor for night riding so I had to ride bike in the dark. I also discovered that my dash light behind my speedometer was out and that my right turn signal, which I have removed, makes an odd clicking noise when I activate it. Its dash light is out as well, but the left signal and respective dash light, work very well.

Day Six:Today is Jesses Birthday.

I woke up and lounged around. Today I continue my trip northward, if only for an hour, it's still an hour closer to the finish line. Today I am going to move to Jesse's place in Fort Collins. I did a shoddy packing job, employing trash bags as the core of my packing effort. Pete was kind enough to accompany me to Fort Collins which made my packing a lot easier. on the road we encountered the worst kind of rubber necking, Colorado rubber necking, I swear these people live such remote and sterile lives apart from society at large, that when something remotely bad/interesting/human happens they are on it like fleas on a dog. Arriving in Ft. Collins we were greeted by a large group of people, it was turning out to be somewhat of a party, befitting for a birthday, don't you think? At around nine Pete left and the older crowd went downtown for "two drinks". I never knew how powerful in ID card was, until tonight, Jesse's card earned him over 50 dollars in free booze. Amazing. It was fun, Jesse has some nice friends. We left around midnight. Jesse of course was no where near his previously stated "two drinks".

Day Seven: 1am-7am

Woke up, I was all alone, so I did some laundry. Jesse came home shortly. It was a rough night for the birthday boy. With friends like his, he doesn't need enemies. We sat around and had the best day yet, Empire Earth and War3 galore. Invariably people descended on the house of Jesse and a large gathering of people developed. Foosball was played, and I enjoyed it.

Day Eight: On the road again.

I dropped my bike. I dropped my bike while packing. I dropped my bike while packing, on a hill. After that, it was onto a bout with morning dew. It had coated my seat and I wasn't eager to sit on it. I hit the road long before my hosts did. Hitting the road I discovered the only caveat to my dropping the bike was the loosening of my right hand side rear view mirror. So I thought id pull over at the nearest bike shop and borrow a wrench instead of unpacking all my gear to get at my tool kit. The nearest place happened to be a Harley shop. It was a little bit before opening time and the men where moving the bikes from storage, and placing them out in the lot. I went back there looking to borrow a wrench. I first asked a man resting on a fork lift if he could direct me to the back or someone who might lend me a wrench, and he informed me that they won't lend tools, since it is Sturgis week. But if I wanted to try I could go ask the mechanics. I went to ask the mechanics. They gave me the same line, but they added if I wanted too I could ask the man in the yellow hat, the manager, if he would "bend the rules" for me. So I did. He was extremely helpful, he went out to my bike sized the wrench then realizing it was metric, which is the equivalent of the devil in a harley/buell shop. He procured one of those adjustable wrenches and sent me on my way. Mission accomplished, wrench return promptly and gratitude expressed profusely. I get on my bike get all suited up, and head out. One snag, the bike didn't start. I sat there pushing the electric start button for a minute. There was no sound, at all. So it wasn't even trying to start. I figure it was electronic and not mechanical, so I tried to push start it, to a mild success. It was a lot of work in this small section of parking lot. I realized this would not do, so I started looking around for the cause of this problem. After a few minutes of poking about the bike a man came up to me and asked me to move my bike, since it WAS Sturgis week and all. I told him of my problem and explained my hypothesis. He told me that a bmw shop would have been a better place to break down, and that if I wanted I could use their phone to call a tow over to the bmw shop. Grand. I know that the bmw isn't open yet, but I decide to go over there since it might take me some time since I will have to push start my bike. Fortunately I knew where it was since I tried to go over there yesterday. Arriving there just as they opened, the bmw guy helped me immensely; I told him I though it was the fuse, since on the ride over I discovered none of my indicator light was working. He quickly confirmed my suspicion and sent me on my way with 4 new fuses (68 cents each) in case it happened again. Well it's now 10am from my 6am start. On the road to Cheyenne, this trip was interstate and kind of plain, I was on Cheyenne before I even knew it, and then I was through it. I sort of forgot my directions, but I was plenty comfortable with my whereabouts. Until I saw a sign that read, next gas 80 miles. I looked at my mileage, I could make that easily. No worries. After 60 miles, I saw a sign that would take me west, it was some local road through some nice scenery, so I though I would take it. Heading west I realized that 80 mile sign no longer applied to me and that I would need a gas station in the next 20 miles in order to stay in motion. Next 10 miles. Next 5. Eeep! I entered a construction zone for what I thought were my last five miles, the low rpms and low speed kept the gas in my tank. At the end of the construction area I pulled off to seek some assistance. it was a one lane road with a flagger and lead car situation, so I stopped after passing through, and struck up a conversation with the flagger and told him about my situation, he was a Harley man himself, and he felt my pain, since he cant drive his Harley where he lives, since its 100 miles to the next gas station, and his bike cant go that far on one tank. He called the boss over and she took me up to the base camp. Where I filled up out of a questionable red gas tank that was sitting there when we rolled up. With a little more go juice I rolled off down the road, opening it up I sputter stall surge stall surge stall ... stop. About 3 miles down the road from the last bastions of the construction crew and with nothing on the horizon. The bike won't start. So I start pushing it. I decide to switch back to reserve and give it another go, it starts and I get my self back to the construction base ASAP. It's empty. I look at the fuel tank that had the gas can out front of it, it is locked up. I sit there disassembling the tanks fuel filter in my head as I go to look around for tools to start this process I see my construction guardian pull up again, seems she had forgotten the rain coats. She comes over and unlocks the fuel tank for me and we put real fuel on top of what ever had been in the red jug. Hopefully it will be enough to get me to Laramie which is only 20 miles away at this point. once again on the road I open it up much like last time surge stall sputter surge stall sputter surge stall surge sputter ... I let off the throttle and it comes back under control and I ride into Laramie at a much slower speed than I had planned, but one that necessity dictated. I was stopped three more times for one lane construction zones, but it was a pleasant journey. After reacting Laramie and getting some 91 octane to balance out the 85.5 I went back up the road I took to get here, past the three construction zones, and further northward. Onward to Helena. I stopped in a touristy town For some petrol, and was talking with local Joe and I thought this town was on Yellowstone's border. Iinformed him of how I hoped to reach Helena by nightfall. He sort of shrugged. As if he had no clue what lay outside his towns limits. On the road again I found much grandeur but no parks. Hrm. 4 hours later I got the the park, and realized I would never make it through under the suns proctection, for it was falling fast behind the mountains. I went for the nearest town, which happened to be Jackson, Of Jackson hole. When I got into town every dive motel hotel and holiday inn read "no vacancy" or just plain "no" after crawling through some alleys I found a place that had a room to spare and I hunkered down there. Watched the weather channel, took a shower and went right to bed.

Day Nine: 10pm-7am

I was aiming for 6am, but I awoke at 7am, on the dot. Go figure. I headed out for Montana, knowing I wanted to be there last night. I got into the park right as they opened and 4-5 hours later I got out. I covered about 200 miles in the park. It was full of grand views and other niceties, even full service only gas stations; the national park had more gas stations than the entire state of Wyoming. my motorcycle really excelled here bypassing all the lookyloo's I love it when two camper trailers stop right next to each other blocking both lanes of traffic in order to look at a marmot; cant they just go to a pet store? I was able to squeeze by them but I caught nasty looks from a variety of park rangers. Speeding down the road taking the scenic turns at great speed was awesome, but on the straight away sometimes they forgot to paint the dotted lines indicating the ability to pass. 60 mph through the park was a bit slow for some of their roads, especially on a motorcycle, but on the up side they don't have policemen of a traffic enforcement team. I cannot begin to describe all the beautiful scenery, so I won't, it was magnificent. The most interesting part was the scorched earth left after the fire; it was by far the most intriguing. After passing through the park I came out in Montana via the north exit. Montana's highways have signs at the beginning of each stretch and no where in between. Montana started off being rather windy and uncomfortable. Once I reached the interstate I turned on heading east. The wind was unbearable it was immensely uncomfortable. After hiding behind my little windscreen for 5 miles I realized I was going east, and not west. U turn across the median, they don't have exits, and I was back in business, wind was at my back it was smooth sailing all the way until butte. In butte I met a man who was traveling with his nephew. He was riding a BMW 1200LT we discussed our bikes and our travel plans. We headed out of the gas station together, and I quickly over took his limo on wheels through sheer youth and insanity. Not more than a minute later I was forced to pull off due to hurricane-esque winds and a dark future looming over my path to Missoula. I got suited up the best I had ever been, every piece of protective gear I had was brought out. I changed fleeces/jackets switched to a lighter visor to deal with the lowlight I put on a rain coat/pants unpacked the bike to get at my secret foul weather gear (under the seat) and went the whole nine yards. Totally armored I got onto his bike just as the first rain fell; I laughed it off like the terminator shrugs off bullets. I hammered the accelerator and rode into the beast. Then the beast rode into me with hail and wind cutting me to the core with an icy edge. Frozen and beaten by hail I had top pull my second intermedian u turn and retire. Exiting At the first motel I encountered I slid into the intersection, hooray fro rain and speed. At this motel there were no less than 10 bikes all pulled up under the awning/carport? One of them was the man on the 1200 LT. we grabbed a bite to eat at the truck stop across the street and within 30 minutes the ravenous beast of a storm had passed on. I spent the evening with my bmw riding buddy. Turning in around 9pm.

Day 10: 9pm-3am

I called the front desk twice last night, once at midnight and once more at 3am(to determine the time). I awoke at three in order to get a jump on the weather; I hear it never rains before 6. I was slow to get moving, but I eventually go going and got packed up. I bumped into Mister 1200 LT while I was packing. It was dark and wet so we decided to stick together. We drove through some cold wet Montana. Arriving in Missoula things had cleared up a bit. Had a nice breakfast there, thanks to mister Microsoft, he works there you know. Then we got right back on the road headed for Idaho. The hills turned into canyons and become coated in trees as we passed into Idaho. There were plenty of twisties. We rode hard through Idaho in a blink of an eye, and then we got to Washington. Washington reminded me a lot of Idaho, but once we got outside of Spokane Washington turned into the worst thing you can possibly imagine, Yes worse than Nebraska. It was like farmland just without the farms; we drove 150 miles straight and didn't see a gas station until the end of the horrid trek. We had lunch a little after this once again my sugar daddy paid for me, he a grand fellow. Not just for the food but the company made the ride fly by. And it was always nice to let out some of those thoughts bouncing around inside my head for the past tank full of miles. I headed off through the back roads and the 1200 LT went on through on the interstate. Without much adieu the national park system once again jumped out at my unexpectedly. I found myself driving through more scenic beauty, and I didn't even try too. Unfortunately like every other national park there was a spot with one lane closure. Once again cheating by with my motorcycle I had the park to myself. It was a nice drive, more trees in one day than I had seen in my entire life. It was nice until I arrived in Everett, where traffic hit hard. They had some construction as well. But in the city I try to hold off on the blatant disregard for the law, until I try regular people traffic for a few minutes, hoping it will dissipate. It didn't. So as I was cautiously passing cars I rolled by some fellow who was lowering his window, and he addressed me. So I stopped next to him to converse, since traffic wouldn't be bad if you had idle banter to help pass the time. So he informs me what I was doing was illegal, I told him that going below 45 on an interstate is also illegal. Then he asked me if I was always this rude or if I was from Texas. I proudly responded that I was from Texas. I think he was just jealous that my motorcycle was the opposite of his minivan. And I was not bound by traffic while he was stuck in it. He is also the kind of guy that that thrashes his arms about when in traffic as if his expression of anger will make it go away. I observed this as I waited behind him. Passing through Seattle Everett traffic was not fun, but it got me to my destination with some sunlight still on the horizon. I pull up to the house after some island exploration (they made it tricky). I threw kids around and all was well.

Day 11: 11pm-7am

Woke up bright and early with Sean dragging t he covers off of me. I was awake before hand but its fun to make then work. Bruce cooked some omelets$@*&@. I need to learn that skill. We played with the kids and had some fun. We went out to lunch with the kids, it was an adventure. I have no clued how they do it. But it was great to be a part of it. Today there was a garage sale down the street which held the kids interest well enough. Bruce also snuck a ride on my motorcycle while Laurie was away. About 2 minutes after he left I heard a "skiiid ... whump" and immediately though of my bi...Bruce. It was ok but there was a fender bender about 3 blocks down. Today I got a chance to work on the bike, we tightened the chain and Bruce actually got my cruise control working. It seems there was an extra "shim" in there that didn't need to be, upon removing that the throttle lock was much tighter and effective. Thanks Bruce! Friends of theirs from Galveston came up that after noon. I spent all day wearing myself out with the kids. It was nice to have Cindy (of Galveston fame) to help with this later on that evening.

Day 12: 11pm-7am

Whale Watching. We all went out whale watching today. Before we started off we dropped some crab "pots" out in the harbor. It was a beautiful day. Bruce has it all worked out. You hang around in the harbor for the whale watching boats to come out, and then he piggy backs on them for guidance. It turned out He piggy backs for another reason too. Once we got a little off the coast we ran into a huge fog bank. The visibility was horrid. And without the larger whale watcher guiding our path we could of easily hit another vessel. All the kids stayed asleep in the bow of the boat the boat kept them totally zonked. I myself succumbed to the motion of the ocean and took a little nap. When we got back to port we drew up our "pots" they were stacked with crabs. Unfortunately most of them had to be thrown back. We had enough to eat so all was well. Tonight was my first crab eating experiment. It went well; it tasted fine, good even. It just seemed like a bit too much work for such a little reward, cracking and all that jazz. Goodnight.

Day 13: 10pm-6am

We went exploring around the island a bit today, we went to a lake and engaged in a rock throwing contest, for about an hour. Then within 5 minutes of joining us, Laurie nailed the log. They really have some great scenery up there. We went to see deception pass on the way home, yesterday everyone was squawking about deception pass and how the fog was affecting its, blah blah; seadogs talk about some funny stuff. But it really was something totally different to anything you would find in Texas. When we got home we goofed around a bit, picked some blackberries etc. Cindy and her beau came over and we went out to eat. They should make a movie about going out to dinner with kids, it's great, Claire threw Bruce's wallet off the deck while we weren't looking. After it was recovered all was well, and at least I get to chuckle about it. I opted for the less risqué "fish and chips" and it came out fine. After my previous adventure with crab I was ready for some old reliable.

Day 14:

All the Washington Keckley's were busy today with work and school so I was left with a free day. Why is it that no motorcycle dealer is open on Monday? Every day I need one, they are always closed. I wanted to swing by and pick up a battery for the seadoo, and to get some motor oil for my bike, plus I was a little shaken by my Montana adventure and though I would get some better gear. No luck. But I did go into Seattle to meet an online friend of mine "BloodHawk" I had a good time. He was a serial murderer or anything; he just got mixed up that one time. It was an accident. Really. I got back real late and used the secret code to gain entry (fart). but alas, the inside door was locked, so I panicked for about 2 seconds as I realized it really was quite nice in the garage, and there were plenty of clothes ... then I saw the camping gear. Oh man, two thermarests and a sleeping bag later I was in heaven.

Day 15: 2am-7am

Today was another relaxed day. Melissa was off at school so I spent some time with the other kids. Once I exhausted myself I went into Seattle to visit the bike shop, and get some more gear, I bought pants boots and a new helmet. I'm sure once I've bought these items the weather will be perfect and I will have wasted all my money. I found great deals on the pants and boots. I spent some time browsing around the dealer looking at bikes and discussing stuff. I went home and took care of some errands. I mailed off my old helmet, while I was on this particular mission a policeman stopped me and informed me I was to wear a helmet at all times in his fine state of Washington. So I dutifully put it on for the one block till I got to the post office, and then shipped it home. Then I rode home utilizing my VAST knowledge of Anacortes' side streets. Getting lost in strange lands is a lot of fun. Mission Accomplished, I had to go find some motor oil, just to be safe. It seems that the island is devoid of small engine/motorcycle oil, none of the boat stores/ auto parts stores had the good stuff in stock. Well I take that back, the fifth one I visited had some that would work. That night I we went to go see the "tall ships" which are the old sailing ships from days of yore.

Day 16: 10pm-7am

Today was just a slow day with the kids and Laurie, we hung out did stuff. Threw kids around. I got packed up and ready to head up the next morning. Laurie made dinner that had separate mushrooms, meaning that she cooked the mushrooms separate from the sauce in order to please Melissa(and me), now that's a good mommy, I wish my mom loved me that much. After dinner we got some dessert and took it to the beach. We goofed around then I took some photos from a hill on the beach, over looking town. I had a great time in Washington and I eagerly await the chance to return.

Day 17: 11pm-6am

I didn't get up and go as early as I thought I would. Bruce gave me some sage advice the night before. He pointed out that the ferry system would aide me greatly in my quest; I would save 3 hours travel time, and get to skip Seattle rush hour traffic. It was a great drive through the islands of Washington getting to the ferry. Then once I got there I was immediately bumped to the front of the line and boarded. Motorcycles rock your socks. After a scenic ferry ride I was deposited in the secret land of the Olympic peninsula. It's the only place in the United States that has "rain forests". They were huge. This place also answered my question; of "where do they get trees for the lumber industry?" it was an interesting drive. I tore through the forest for many hours. Then through the air I could smell the faint scent of the salty sea air. I knew the pacific lay less than on e mile away, on mile west. They hung the ocean over my head like a carrot to a donkey. Until finally near Oregon the road came so close that it broke through the tunnel in the trees, and I was exposed to the Pacific Ocean for the first time, it was magical. It was everything I imagined it would be. It was beautiful and also threatening, exactly what I want to see in a coast. R ight after corssing into Oregon I found myself in Astoria, the city that "The Goonies" was filmed in. I was on a mision to find the house, charged by my good buddy, Cory Fujimori (_scrapper) I drove on through many small, and a few not so small Indian reservations. Towards the end of my journey, with the sun hanging over the pacific I came out of the trees and was presented with numerous little fishing hamlets that lived off the coast and the coastal waterways. It was very interesting to see these people and their towns, you can see what they have let decay, and what they keep in good condition. I pulled in at one of these towns around 9pm. its interesting to note this is the second time I encountered the motel phenomenon, making it a rule and not a coincidence. Coming up though the mid west, I saw no shortage of cheap motels. All of which had vacancies. But now, at 9pm all the motels in this place were ridiculously priced and full. Severely limiting my dormitory choices.

Day 18: 10pm-6am

Jumped right back on the road for some more of the same, today is the day where the trees and towns really gave way to some beautiful coastlines. I had a nice breakfast in Oregon at a local shop. I spent an hour or two just yakking it up with the loggers and locals. It really was a fun time. I guess there is at least one good reason why Oregon won't let you touch the gasoline pumps. At least you get some body to ask where they like to east breakfast. Oh yea, did you know that you are not allowed to touch a gas pump in Oregon? I found out. I was accosted for doing so and was made to feel like I was putting someone out of a job for filling my tank. Poor Oregon, if they can't survive people pumping their own gas then they really can't hack it in our world. Actually, the last time someone pumped my gas for me, was in Venezuela. And at least there had stores where it wasn't mandatory. Oregon is worse than a third world country. Rock out Oregon. Back to the story. Getting out of Oregon was nice. Unfortunately it appears I rolled into California with fog. Now is a good time to note that while not bad, the lack of sunlight and coastal winds would have really done me in if it weren't for the fine gear I procured while I was in Washington. The clouds really bummed me out I would of loved to take some great pictures of the marvelous acts of nature I was witnessing, but alas, it was not to be. Rolling down the north California coast the coastal highway was really giving my bike a work out; I began to feel the slack in the chain. Slowing down for the hairpin curves and the cars that take them at 20 miles per hour was really working my bike over. I decided to get a little more interpretive with the law of passing and things quickly got a lot better, ahead of the pack is the place for a motorcycle. Its so easy to get there too, and the view is a super gazillion time better, additionally you don't have to worry about the silly man in his cage of death slowing down to a crawl as he the corner takes him. (Not as he takes the corner).one major difference about the California coast, which I was unprepared for was the lack of people. For many parts of this trip I once more fell into the Wyoming mindset, "where is my next gas station"? at one of these gas stations I saw something funny as I was paying for my gas, behind the counter lay the cigarettes, and for a mere seven dollars and fifty cents you too could own a pack. Rolling off the coast and into the valleys my path took me into the redwood national (AND STATE! as Californians wont let you forget) park. I really enjoyed this part of my trip. But then again I think I am a sucker for "tree tunnels" any time the trees bridge over the road obscure the sunlight I am in happy. Along the coast they started this; zooming from coastal overlook to deep heart of the forest and spitting me back out on the coast. Its was magnificent. Then we moved farther inland. And the trees began to dominate. Then they disappeared, and I was presented with some crummy city. I filled up and back on the road, just outside the city the forest picked up, gee funny how that works. This time they created a parallel road for people sight seeing, called the avenue of the giants. I jumped at the opportunity. This was awesome. I rode in the shade of these monstrous trees. And I even drove right down the middle of a couple of them. The roads were curvy and cool; it's a great motorcycle ride. Emerging from the forests I realized the sun had peaked and it was bearing right down on us, something I hadn't noticed in the trees. I took a nice rest break at the drive through Tree Park. Changed my gear and skedaddled onward to San Francisco, which by the look on the signs would be my stopping point for the night. I was able to ride through the surrounding valleys and their wineries, it was really odd, it's not like farmland where it's done for function, this place puts form over function, and wine is all about the image it seems. Fancy Palladio's and other fancy schmancy designs sitting out in what should be called "the sticks". As I got closer to San Francisco the air got a bit cooler, so I figured I was coming up on the coast. weaving my way through some hills I found myself in the burbs, and before I knew it I was crossing the golden gate bridge, it was on the other side of a hill and around a bend, so it hit me like a ton of bricks, that and the fog was rough. But there I was on the bridge. I was having a blast I had my camera out taking a movie I was weaving through the traffic. Watching the sights, Alcatraz etc, San Francisco in general, it was a trip unto itself. I looked down and saw my camera was full. Ooops. I looked up and saw that that the golden gate bridge is a toll bridge, double ooops. Since I didn't have any cash or any coins pulled over to the closet thing I could find to a "full-service" booth, hoping for a credit card machine. Toll booth Willy informed me that I was committing a crime and called an officer over to discuss it with me. I decided (after reading the literature willy provided me) that it was best if I just went along my way, breaking my play date with one of san Fran's finest. Off into the city I ran. The golden gate TOLL bridge as it should from here after be called, dumps you into the heart of San Francisco. It is like no other city I have seen. It has more hills and houses in the smallest density than anywhere I have seen before. I love the wall to wall, or corner to corner house/apartment thing it has going on, add in the sidewalk shops and you have a truly magical city. I got a chance to ride through some of the historic/scenic roads while I was lost too. While I was meandering around SF I was on the lookout for a place to crash I was noticing that only rich folk live in San Francisco. Meaning there would be no room at the inn for us price conscious youngsters. Which brings me to another point about San Francisco, it is also a wonderful city for another reason, and it has no interstates, no zooming cars and no means of escape. After bumbling about, (this is after I was meandering) I managed to find the golden gate bridge again, because everything here seems to face it. As I approached the bridge I became more and more horrified that I would be forced to exit again, and this time I would be strictly punished for breaking my play date with an officer of the law. Luckily for me I was able to veer of at the last second and take hwy 1 back through town, yey, once more into the heart of san Fran. After zipping through on hwy1 it spit me back out along the coast by this time it was dark out and I was eagerly looking for a place to crash. Unfortunately there was not a single room to be had, at a reasonable price, for 200 miles. So, 100 miles later, I found a room at an unreasonable price. My first time to ever pay more than 100 dollars for a room was in Santa Cruz California, where I slept that night.

Day 19: 12pm-9am

I slept in and got a slow start. It was a nice change from the go go go feeling I had been under previously. I was about half a day away from LA so there was no reason to rush. Unfortunately this hotel had horrible outlets and my cell phone charger would not stay in one, as they were too big etc. which allowed the charger to fall on the floor damaging it, and rendering it inoperable. I informed the management of their faulty wire outlets and was told by the janitor/handy man that it was my fault and its not his job etc, he then informed me that his outlets were fine and the fact that my phone charger doesn't work in them doesn't mean his outlets are bad it means my phone charger is the problem. Oh well, nothing is his fault apparently. Oh well no phone. I shouldn't run into any problems in the future, and it's not like any of the roads I ride on have cell coverage anyway. I get on the bike and ride into the clouds around noon. People tell me Santa Cruz is lovely, but I wouldn't know. I think the highlight of my day was when I saw some migrant workers in a field picking something. This is mainly because us 101 turns from a nice two lane into a metroplex expressway. 8 lanes of doom if you will. As you can tell it was uneventful, but it was also quite short. I got into Los Angeles about 4pm, I was greatly aiding by my motorcycles ability to split lanes, and it really makes traffic bearable. I pulled off in the valley to see if I had the forethought to store Daniels number in my phone, or to call some folks I knew because I figured they lived around where I was, and there was no need to go farther into the city if they were suburbanites. Unfortunately I failed to store Daniels phone number in my phone; I also failed to get directions to his place. So I called up a friend of mine I met online to see what he was up to, and if I could use his computer to find Daniels information. Luckily he was there, but too bad, he was heading out. Such is the life of the one who doesn't plan ahead. So here I am sitting in LA without a place to go. I cruise around a bit and find an internet cafe where I tap into the net with my machine. Pull up my e-mail and dutifully enter Daniels information. Destination found. There was a discrepancy over the bill; it was only 2.50 for an hour of online time, of which I used 5 minutes. But it seems they did not accept credit cards. Or at least they wouldn't accept credit cards for such a small purchase. I idly remember Bruce telling me about the legalities of that very act of discrimination just the other day ... out loud. The guy kind of gets a panicked look on his face and informs me that next time I am in town; I should bring him some cash. I apologize for "threatening" him since I did it by accident really. I thanked him profusely and left. Zipping over to Daniels pad was a breeze utilizing HOV lanes and lane splitting I don't know why any one would ever voluntarily enter traffic in a four wheeled steel cage of lethargy. Daniel met me on the road and took me to his secret apartment type place, it would have been tricky to find alone. Wow. Daniel. Rocking my socks. We talked for an hour or two just catching up. Salim was scheduled to appear that night; he was coming up from San Diego, what a coincidence. Salim. Wow. he is a regular rock em sock em robot. It was like an elementary school reunion, we had a blast that night. Once we got into stride it was almost like no time had passed. You would have never imagined we hardly spoke during high school. It was really surreal. In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves, "Whoa!"

Day 20: 4am-12pm

We awoke and hunted down some dim sum. Salim gave me an abbreviated tour of LA on the way to dim sum. Deep in the heart of china town we found our restaurant. I am having flashbacks to the last time I ate Chinese food with Daniel. The meal was totally unique. Their were roving salesmen each trying to sell you on his or her particular type of food. Through the leadership of our man Dan we acquired a decent meal. My favorite thing was the barbecue meat in a puff of starch. We went home and just chilled until it was time for Salim to take his marine buddy back to base. He was still feeling the after effects of last night. Why any one would voluntarily submit themselves to self torture is beyond me. Later that day Dan the tour guide man took me over to Venice beach and I got to see some really nifty keen stuff. Stuff that doesn't exist anywhere outside of Venice beach. Harry Perry? Roller skating dancers? Unfunny comedians? And the Venice beach drum circle. It was a trip, not to mention the star of the entire show was the beach itself. Too bad the ever-present clouds were in effect. We went home made an attempt at some fajitas. Watched some really old Jackie Chan movie. I fell asleep right after the intro/exciting part.

Day 21: 9pm-10am

Daniel went to go see his doctor this morning so I went to see a friend of mine from IRC. He took me to lunch and we sat around and talked. Transferred some movies etc. He took me to the falafel House which rocked my socks. No body will take me to the ghetto. Bummer. After hanging out with Zanshin for the day I went back over to Daniels place. I got to give proper congratulations to the folks who live opposite of the way traffic goes; you folks out there are good people. I promise not to kill you, ever. At Danyos place we caught up some more, looked at each others lives, via photos. We went about west wood looking for dinner. I had a Turkish falafel for dinner, as opposed to my Greek one for lunch. Both were yumtastic. Sitting around back at the flat a small gathering of people took place, but I had to get some sleep since I would be heading out the next day.

Day 22: 12am-8am

My chain is shot. I had been eyeing it all weekend long, it seems that my chains lifespan is 12k miles and I have ridden 12k mile. Only problem is that I have 2k more to go. After tightening my chain as far back as it would allow. I packed up and headed out. I got a slow start because I really wanted Daniel to wake up so I could tell him thanks and what not. LA was Defiantly the best addition to my trip I could of made. And to think I originally was planning to skip it. Pete talked me into going to LA while I was underway in Colorado, so it, even more so than the rest of the trip was totally unplanned. I had not spoken to Daniel in four years, except for a few e-mails. He was a great host. Especially on such short notice. So I couldn't just leave him without saying thanks. But as luck would have it, he woke up right as I was about to right him a note thanking him. So we were able to say our good byes. I got on the road about noon. Feeling good now that my chain was fixed up nice and tight. I headed down i-5 towards San Diego. I got to see our military going through some exercises on the freeway. It was kind of neat to see. At San Diego I turned towards home. A few hours into my ride and I was missing the coast something fierce. The wonderful ocean scenery was replaced by equally wonderful and exotic rock formations/desert but it was the temperate ocean winds/climate that I missed the most. Oh I guess I was wrong about California, the sun did show, on my last day, as I rode across the desert out there. I was flagged over by boarder patrol just inside Arizona. This is the second time I went through one of these little things, the other was when I entered California in the north, and they checked my bike for bo-wevils or something. All those farm motorcycles. Since they found I didn't have any illegal aliens in my trunk they let me go. Cruising through the desert got mighty hot so I told my self I would change gear at the next gas station. The next gas station came sooner than my tank dictated. I spent about 30 minutes getting my gear off and cooling down. In this time a nice couple managed to get them locked out of their mobile home. I offered my services and was able to shimmy through an unlocked window in the rear. Since this place is defiantly "the middle of no where" so I was glad to help out. Plus it looked like they had room in there for a motorbike when my chain decides to get up and go. On the road again. The interstate was a refreshing change from hwy 1. It was nice to able to look around at the exotic landscape relax and just go straight ahead. I didn't have my hands on the bars most of the time. I was making some killer miles too, I was going about 95-100 all the way. I even passed a cop at this speed. I picked the cherries on top out along ways off in the distance. I realized I wasn't really going much faster than him. I looked around; the few other cars there were going roughly the same speed. I knocked my speed back a few mph just to be safe. After I slowed down I noticed he was moving about the same speed I was. So I resumed my original speed, I figured if he wanted me, he would had me by now, I kept right along throttle pegged around 100 until I was right up next to him. I looked over and waved, he waved back. Passing the police at ~100 mph. A little farther down this very same road I saw I motorcyclist on the side of the road, so I get over in order to stop to make sure he was ok. My bike had other plans it seems. After I got over into the right lane the engine immediately cuts off. I roll up to the man w ith a silent engine. I ask if he is ok, he then asks if I am ok. To which I don't know the answer. we talk as I go over my bike. He was riding a pure rice rocket, coast to coast. He mentioned it was a little rough. I knew he was playing macho. Bent over like that for days upon days? Poor guys. Turns out riding at such high speed burns gas a lot quicker and I really should have stuck to conservative gas stops like I had been doing, I ran outta gas in 120 miles instead of my normal 150. I should have known that, since that was what happened up in Wyoming, but since this is the second time, I had a little more information to go on. No big deal, I said good bye to the other motorcyclist and flipped in onto reserve and went in search of a petrol stand. It was about dark and Tucson was within striking distance so I went for it. I arrived shortly there after. Debated the difference between a motel and an inn. And settled on an inn, why not splurge that and it was a lot less costly than other "motels" I had stayed at in the past.

Day 22: 10pm-6am

Up and at 'em, I tried to hang around for the continental breakfast, but I couldn't justify waiting 20 minutes, and then eating. Zoom, it was a slow start, meaning, I took a large amount of breaks early on. Whenever the day starts to drag on and on I take a break to freshen up. But here I was doing after just an hour on the road. Oh well, once the sun got up higher my mood went away and I was happy as a lark on the bike. Took more time than I would have liked to take to get to El Paso, I really don't know what time it was since I was fighting time zones and one thousand miles that day. Texas wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It defiantly wasn't the farmland hell I thought it would be. Although, today, I was little tired of the straight away, and I was missing the mountain turns. Oh well, I was on the last stretch, I was coming home. Just like a horse picks up the pace when he turns towards home, I was racing for the finish line with fire in my eyes. Every time I thought of sitting idly not worrying about the road, I cracked open the throttle and was refreshed and renewed. Branched off to i-20 without a hitch. Along 20 I raced a storm for about a hundred miles. I pulled off to break and grab some food. And the lil bugger caught up with me, so again I raced away with it raining on my rear tire. unfortunately 20 banked east from its north east path and the storm moved in. but I managed to split the storm, after buckling in and zipping up, I managed to out distance its eastwardly movement and I was free, with maybe 5 minutes of rain on me. Midland and Odessa came and went. Outside of Abilene I stopped for another break, the day was getting long. I peeked in on my chain. And it looked as if my chain were longer than this ever could be. It was well near touching the ground on one side, and frozen solid on the other. I couldn't have taken it any farther back if I had wanted to, I was at the end of the swing arm; my tire was as back as far as it would go. Not that it mattered since the extra distance would snap the chain when the frozen/shorter part passed it. I decided to actually move the tire up so as to reduce the pulling on the locked/frozen parts. Not to mention put a bunch of lube on the chain. I put my key in the seat/trunk lock and it wouldn't budge. The tumbler had locked up. I couldn't get at my tools. This might be a hint, or it could mean my hand was already dealt. A carton of ice-cream later, for me, not the bike lock, and the lock worked. I expect it was the heat expanding the locking mechanism preventing it from turning. Did I a little tune up on the chain checked the looseness, made sure it was ok and not too far off the teeth. This was really impossibility. So I just left it as far back as I could and lubed the chain real well. This was the first time I really looked at the chain, today. I lubed it last night outside the motel and it wasn't like this, so this was a new development, and who knew how long it would last in this state. Repacked all my gear, after doctoring the chain, and hit the road. Things went real well up around 70-80 any higher or lower and I would feel the bike shake as the chain would go from long to short. So I kept it in that zone. Through Abilene and on into forth worth. Unfortunately the traffic in Fort Worth wasn't aware of my situation. Incessantly the truckers would block my lane as they passed their buddies, who were going 60, at the remarkable speed of 61. In cases like this I just used the clutch, disengaged, coasted, and then reengaged. Any other method would jerk the bike/chain, and then scare the living daylights outta me. I made it through Forth Worth, and that was my goal, I figured my cell phone would work now, and I could call a tow truck, and life would be good, I was safe. But my bike kept going. It went all the way to Dallas. It even dealt with construction on the bridge over the trinity. Even though I kept it in one gear and worked my clutch like a mad man. I was beyond ecstatic, I was in Dallas, now I wouldn't even need to be towed that far, wow. Then, it happened. The moment I had been waiting for with dreaded anticipation. I was home. My trip was over. I got in at 2am CST. I noticed my car had a tow sticker on it, since it was considered abandoned or it didn't have a sticker. I brought my bike inside, took a shower, sprayed it down with cleaner, and went to bed. I'll wipe the cleaner off tomorrow. And then my bike can rest for the entire winter, its earned a little down time.

Day 23: 2am-2pm

My car was towed today. Once more into the breach dear friend. I am of course referring to my newfound love, my motorcycle.

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