Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sept 24th -- A series of unfortunate events leads to exhaustion

I feel like the last two days hanging around Green Bay was like a vacation for me.  Didn't do a whole hell of a lot and just kicked back and relaxed.  Todd and his buddies (Mark, Chris, etc) made me feel their age again as i did the same shit at that age.  god i love to reminisce.

Got up right around 6am for some reason.  if i had known today was going to be as bad as it was, i would have slept more.  Before parting ways, Todd gave me some Green Bay stuff.  awesome.  he's 'The Dude' :)

The wind was pretty brutal by the looks of it... at least it wasn't raining.  I needed my morning coffee so i headed to starbucks to wake up. It was a little scary with all the wind, as it was blowing me all over the road even though i wasn't going faster than 45mph and only went about 2.5 miles.  It was also very exhausting trying to keep the bike from not going out of control.

I tried all day to think of this, even though it was a bitch of a day
I left Green Bay and took the interstate/US41. It was brutal. absolutely brutal.  The handlebars kept kicking out of my hands and the crosswind was constantly pushing me so much that the bike was in a 10-15 degree lean much of the time.  I checked the weather after the fact and seems that the wind was blowing at 45mph and gusting at 70+.  The big rigs were being blown all over the road.  I decided to play it safe(er) and take the smaller highways and country roads to get south and to more stickers i can put on the cases for the bike.
I want one from every state.  Got U.P. from michigan, Packers for Wisconsin, and i hope to have something from every state or place of interest i go to.  The whole trip is about the stickers. hah.

something you'd never see in Canada, alslo a good reason to take the smaller roads
after a few scary moments of either blown off the road, being pushed under a truck or generally almost losing control. I saw a few, but i'd assume at least 20+ times i thought that i was 'lucky' to not have crashed.

I took roads like this all the way to Chicago area.  Nice roads, but still very dangerous with the high winds
I eventually made it to Cabelas and picked up a sweet knife, a hot dog fork and best of all, a waterproof dufflebag.

Display at Cabelas

 I headed out to the parking lot and two bikers seemed to want to chat and i was making my way over... they didn't want to chat... my bike was on the ground, wheels in the air. fuck.

the NERF bars took the hit.  Without them i would have a bashed in cowling and perhaps more damage.
 The side case damage and you can see how the supports are touching the bike.  seems the support got bent out of shape.

I should have put it on the centerstand, even though it was parked properly, up a hill, etc.  It was so windy it knocked the bike over.  A few minor scrapes and scuffles and all seems ok.  The right case is fine, but it pushed in the support for it, so now it's rubbing on the plastic rear cover.  I don't care about the looks, but i want the supports to hold for the whole trip or else i'm screwed.

more of the same roads i travelled.

not impressed with the wind.
I kept going south and the wind eased a little around Chicago.  I was already making bad time, but even trying to go around the city of Chicago was brutal.  Bad traffic, bad drivers. it was just bad.  I hate big cities.  big cities are just mean. 
Somewhere near Chicago, i hit another milestone. kilometerstone i guess you could say
At a starbucks yet again, i was freaking out a little of all the little things going on today, being physically and mentally drained riding in the wind, and generally shit not looking in my favor.I just needed a friendly voice to cheer me up a little. I know these trips are hard on the body and the soul at times, but when it's everyday, it damn near kills you (literally)
I was not pleased to say the least.

so tired and exhausted i took the first motel that came up on the GPS that i though would have a room, be cheap and had Wifi.  The super 8 and 2 out of 3 ain't bad.  it isn't great either when the one thing out of the 3 is price.  $80 they got me for at this one.  Meh.  last super 8 i was at cost me something like $60 for the night. meh.  Then, playing with my new knife, i sliced open a finger tip.  bad enough that even after pressure, and a good bandage on it, it bled through a few hours later.  my hands are becoming ruined.  i'll never be the male handmodel that i've always dreamed of.

I got my earlier wish and heard a friendly voice. odd how that can make many little things just go away...

Feeling a bit better, I blogged a bit but was getting hungry. I figured i might as well go get gas, get fuel and buy some cigarettes while i'm at it.

exhausted, hungry and still slightly grumpy, i went out in search for these. First up, fuel.  Went to oen gas station that wouldn't take my credit card unless i punched in my Zip code.  I don't have a zip code!! It pissed me off enough that i left for another gas station.  I proceeded to fuel up, and the trigger for the gas has the lock on it, so it kept pissing gas.  Worried it would overflow, i tried to take the trigger lock off while in the tank.  Bad move.  Since the nozzle has a rubber sleeve and that i was exhausted today, i proceeded to dump a bunch of fuel all over the bike.  Simeon got hosed with gas.  i was mor htan slightly pissed. 
I rode around to se if there was food nearby.  everything was either closed, or drive through only. meh.

i came back and went to Denny's for a meal. not bad, but i couldn't eat even half of it.

The Denny's Grand Slamwich. Pretty mch a McGriddle, and hence i ate only half.

 after all the shit today, i think i have my head back in the game.  Tomorrow, go to Gardner, IL and see if i can spot and take old Route 66.  almost 3 am and i need sleep, but needed to blog...

Sept 23rd- Playing with a dragon, getting bit by Bud, best pizza EVAR and feeling young again

I've been in a down mood for the last little while.  Maybe not being mentally prepared for the trip is a big factor, maybe the weather has worn me down... maybe it's the little problems with the bike.  Who knows.  The ups and downs are all part of the grand adventure.  Fucking hate the downs.  Normally, this is a non-issue but when you're 1500 miles away from home and 30+ days away and you are isolated from your support group of friends and loved ones... it has a cumulative effect.

I don't want to bring everyone else down, but for anyone that travels like this, you need to be aware of the tricks these trips can play with your head.  You doubt strangers... you doubt friends and family... you doubt yourself.

It's not concerning at the moment.  I just have to get my head into the game.  I am actually enjoying myself on the road. :)

I was up quite late on the 22nd...  I hit the sack at about 4am or so.  I tried in vain to get WiFi working properly at the hotel... sat by the pool and did a bit, but it was all for not.  After getting pretty messed up, I was quite hungry, so Mr. Vending machine was my only hope at 4ish in the morning.
outside of the Stadium View bar. i wonder why it's blurry
de-lish-us chips and BK cheese fries. also had some white no-name Twinkies thing
neat pool area, too bad white buckets were everywhere on the 2nd floor due to rain
there were at least 20 buckets strewn around. sounded like a waterfall in there

I woke up, EXACTLY like every other day.  I opened my eyes. haha.
Today was harsh. more fears today. I thought bad tires in rain would suck. I forgot that NEW tires in the rain is even worse.

rain rain rain, at least the gear on the bike stayed dry, except for the tent

so not impressed
left the hotel at around 10:45 this morning... no motivation after last night. hah. maybe i shouldn't go to bed at 4am.

Went to Lambeau and picked up some Packers souvenirs. Go Packers. I remember watching TV with my dad at a young age (5-6) and the packers were on, they were playing in the snow and they won. that would have been in 1977 or so. odd the things you remember as a kid. I have never been an NFL fan, or a sports fan in general for that matter. I only thought a few things back then. They are tough. i liked that and have favoured the Packers since then. Odd. Now i got some retro-reflective stickers to put on the bike. Gotta love that Golden 'G'.  I wanted a jersey really bad, but this trip was costing me enough as is and didn't feel like shelling out another $200 now, when i may need it to make my way home later, down the road.

sidenote: weather cleared up shortly after and was pretty good all day.  also helped i didn't ride after 4pm.

Todd had said i should check out his dad's store and then we could hang out later as it was his day off. I  made my way over and right next to it there was a Taco John's.  Never had it so i went in for a snack/lunch.

a hell of a lot better than |Taco Bell.  the chipotle salsa is great.
Went to the store to find that Todd was already in and left, and that they had to wake him up for work.  lazy ass. Looked around the store and found something i needed.  Voltage/continuity tester.  The horn not working has been bugging me since day 2 and it's one of those little things that is bringing me down.  I know, why the little things? who knows.

Went for coffee at starbucks (again) and Todd finally got back to me.  Seems he came back from work and fell asleep. lightweight. heh.

We hung out for a bit, and i played with his bearded dragon named Cheesehead. go Packers.
We went out and got some live crickets for Cheesehead and a pizza for us.  it is seriously the best pizza i've had in a long long time.  my favorite so far.

Cheesehead going for the strike
nom nom nom
best pizza evAr. srsly.
After eating we went to his buddy's place to hang out for a bit.  I played with the huge German Sheppard 'Bud'.  absolutely beautiful dog. only 15 months old, but the dog had a massive head.  huge dog.  I played rough so my forearm was most often found in his mouth. heh.  I miss playing with animals like that as i always had dogs and cats growing up.  I'm too lazy to take care of an animal i think.  maybe that's why i like cats. low maintenance.

After much hanging out and not being sober, i crashed at Todd's (thanks dude) which saved me some $$ and felt a hell of a lot more homely than a motel room. 

Tomorrow was an early day for the both of us; Him for work and me to head south in search of some kind of luggage as I'm out of room on the bike. note to self. stop bringing so much shit. He suggested i hit up Cabelas for that.  I'd never heard of it, but seems like it's a ginormous store/chain.

inebriated and exhausted, we crashed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hooked up with a friend, got lubed, went through two rubbers and picked up two new ones.

September 22nd

I currently sit in a starbucks, as the Wifi in my leaky hotel room didn't work in room.  pain in the ass. more on that later. 

The Quality Inn i stayed at was really nice actually. i loved that the hot tub is literally 20 feet from my door.

I woke up and looked online for powersports stores.  Not much online around here. After about an hour searching online I found a Kawasaki dealer 30 miles out of town in Two Rivers.  A 1/2 hour drive won't kill me, and it seems that they have both a front and back tire and an oil change shouldn't be a problem.  Need the oil change pretty bad as I haven't changed it in 6000+ miles and it was a rough start in the morning.
shark fin tires
shark fin traction sucks and hops all over the road (stock @6500 miles)

On a more personal note, I stretched before getting in the shower in the morning and caught a glimpse of something i haven't seen since childhood.  Ribs.  Barely perceptable, but ribs nonetheless. That and a big lump on those ribs.  Time to get that checked out. hah. (no, i don't like looking in the mirror, but when it's pretty much the entire wall in the bathroom, it's hard to avoid)

The shop is called Shambeau and the dudes there are cool.  love small town shops.  they had a few dogs around the shop.  Love that relaxed, yet still professional attitude.  Green bay is like that though...
U.P. bug strikes.  love the lexan additional sheild
my back against the shop, this is what i was looking at.  slow paced indeed. nice.

I bought some Kenda Challengers.  Don't think they are any good, but I gather they are better than my 'Shark Fin' stock tire and my overpriced Shinko piece of crap.
kenda challenger front.  90/100 instead of 90/90.  taller tire but fits.
Kenda rear. also a taller tire 130/90
 While the work was being done on my bike, I shed the spacesuit and sat in the sun outside, writing in my journal.  Odd the things you write in that. Most of the time i don't know what i wrote until i go back and read it.  Already wrote 26 pages, single spaced, small font. heh.  I got a lot of shit in my brain.  Thankfully, i'll save you readers from that quagmire.

It took two hours to complete the work on the bike, meanwhile i sat in the sun, listening to the music coming from the shop and putting pen to paper and scribing my thoughts, aspirations, dreams and thruths.  Let's just say that the journal is 'for my eyes only'. heh.  Shop music is dr feelgood now

Here's the gist of it.  Riding is my therapy.  It's not an 'action' type of thing.  Nothing good willl come out of it, if i don't do anything about it.  Kinda like going to a shrink.  You can spend all kinds of money and time on it, but if you do no action after the fact, it's moot.  shop music is Ironman.
picked up a friend while writing

Riding is hard.  Anyone says it's easy is full of shit.  It's an ardous, testing and it can break you physically and mentally.  Hats off to all adventure riders out there... i'm a chump compared to those guys.

Sitting here in the sun, a little doggy came up to greet me.  It was sniffing around my tank bag beside me looking for a treat. I think it was smelling the Jerky i bought in the U.P., or maybe it was the Tim Horton's cookie i forgot i bought! delicious delicious cookie. shop music is Hells Bells

This is Magpie... Cute little dog.

Molly is a real bitch, and kept hanging around the shop.  She's shy, a little dirty... but we all like dirty bitches, don't we?

Molly is very shy, my camera scared her.

For those who don't know... Green Bay really stands behind their team.  That, and they hate Farve. hah.
all the trucks in town sported the "G" logo. cool.

Felt like coming home even those the weather was great and i'm to meet up with a buddy later.  sometimes it's nice to see a familiar face, a friendly voice... It got me thinking of "Home".  What is home to me these days? is it where my friends and family are? is it where all my possessions are?  I guess home is where you hang your hat.  The only hat i wear is my helmet and my helmet is on my bike.  Essentially, home is where my bike is. hmm.
Memorial.  cool...

Rode around town looking for supplies, stickers and the like.  I'm going to have to buy some bags to strap ontu the top of the bike as i have NO room to pack anything in it. dammit.  I knew i should have planned better, but as I don't know where i'm going, where i'm staying etc, i need to be somewhat preparred for everything.  I may end up shipping stuff home, but what to send back? tire tubes? Tools?  i have only the bare essentials for everything. hah.

Stopped in at a Taco bell @ around 5pm for a snack (and the first thing I ate all day). Mountain Dew berry is pretty freaking great. what's great about Taco Bell? **SPORKS**

I'd love to find a metal Spork!
yo quiro!
Really? srsly?

I was riding around the country roads around Green Bay and saw the Majestic Monarch butterfly cross my path.  Amazing travellers those little buggers.  It's amazing how they can travel long distances from south america to the north, a true traveller.  Trusting it's instincts and it's own nature to move, it does so with instinct.  It doesn't think about turning around and going 'home', it doesn't worry about things it cannot control, it just travels.
Such a majestic and beautiful thing, so much so i wish i could travel that way save for one exception.
If i see something coming 65mph at me, i won't head for it.  The resounding thud off the top of my helmet ended the journey for that ladybird. 

Moral of the story.  Wear a helmet, that bug would have hurt me.

Met up with my online buddy from Xbox, Todd, AKA "Scooby Snax". Went to Lambeau stadium for a pint and burger at Curly's pub.  Good beer, and good burger.  Love that beer cheese topping! delicious. want the recipe.
Lambeau! home of the Packers.  Neat staduim.

Todd Aka "Scooby Snax"  oddly, he looks like Shaggy.
beer cheese burger and slaw at Curlys'. this overlooked the Packer's players parking lot.  cool.  oddly, they aren't flashy up here with their vehicles.  nice...

Got a motel near the stadium which said they had WiFi. Unpacked, got dressed and headed out to the Stadium View bar.  Met up with Todd and his homey Mark... cool dudes...
Needed smokes so they drove me to a gas station which Todd said McLovin might be working. 
It took all i had to NOT laugh my ass off when I bought the smokes.  McLovin was working.  SRSLY!!  he's McLovin's twin.  All i can say is that since Superbad came out, he probably got laid :)

Had some local beers (good) and played pool for a bit. Met Adam who worked the kitchen there.  Cool dude too... hell, most people around here have their head on their shoulders.  Not corrupted like big city people are.

Back at the hotel, the sound of a light waterfall could be heard.  seems the glass ceiling had a few little holes.  The atrium pool room had about 20-30 buckets on the ground from where water was leaking through the glass cieling. hah.  No the best hotel in town... no wifi, leaking, but at least it had a nice comfortable king sized bed in the room.

There are some Mobile pictures on Facebook, I'm too lazy to move them over to here. Just add me to FB you lazy asses. :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

...and it all ended with two sausages and a hot tub.

Day 2



6 am and the damn paparazzi are at it already.  Oh wait.  I'm not a celebrity nor important in any way.  I took a look outside to see a nasty lightning storm outside.  Checked the environment Canada website for lightning strikes and confirmed it.

Crap. thunder rolled in with the lightning and then the rain. The horrible horrible rain.  With the front tire looking like mini shark fins, I started getting really nervous about riding today. Of all the hazards on the road, lightning is one of my worst fears.  It kills bikers. Randomly. Without warning.
Lighting, thunder, rain and heavy winds is all I need with a really bad front tire and a crappy rear.  I felt real fear. Fear is all about 'risk management'.  I figured how risky it would be to ride vs. my riding ability.  I also gauged the Pros vs. Cons.  Pro, i live, Con, i die.  I figured my riding ability and my 'luck' would ensure safe enough passage.
dark. wet. cold. and it's 7:30

I procrastinated for a while and slowly got ready, and packed up. It had stopped raining before packing, so procrastination does work! I left the motel and had a donut and a coffee at Tim's and left town.

Btw, yesterday i wrote i dumped the bike in Blind river, when in fact it was Deep River.  I'm an idiot, i know.  Too many damned rivers.

Shortly after leaving Espanola it started raining, really really hard. I hadn't put on the rain suit I brought as I figured I'd just ride through this as surely it can't continue raining with that intensity.  I was wrong.  I stopped into Blind river and my guts were churning. a lot of stress and strain today.  Yes, coffee and a few cigarettes will surely help. The show must go on...

Lame picture, I know.  Here's why;  I didn't feel like stopping anywhere that could have been picturesque (there wasn't) and didn't feel like going outside for a shot of the crappy rain. meh.  I stopped in at a Husky for some food.  Got off the bike in the pouring rain and noticed one of my helmet ears got unstuck in the rain and was behind me on the seat!  didn't lose it... yay.  I checked to make sure the other wouldn't come off and it snapped off in my hand. crap.  now I'm earless. Unzipped my jacket and sliced my thumb (on the print)

There I am on the Husky location map

Feeling down with things left behind in Ottawa and other inner workings of my own brain, so I decided for some comfort food.  Where my jacket was, there was a growing puddle of water.  Guess the suit works fine!! I know that my feet were wet, but not cold... no big deal..

(picture dedicated to Mark H.)
A delicious bacon grilled cheese, fries and slaw

I keep a diary/journal when I travel.  It helps me think... not that there's much else to do while on the bike, but when i get off the bike, i like to put thoughts to paper.  It's odd, but i only do it on these extended rides.   At least i have something to keep me occupied while i eat of have a coffee break.

Still pissing rain, i got back on the bike and headed for the Sault Ste Marie (aka The Soo)  Went to the Kawasaki dealer and the Yamaha dealer.  Neither had tires at all, and neither shops were too interested in helping me either.  What is it with these shops?  It reminds me of the AWESOME service at the boys in Fairbanks (read inuvik trip, alaska bound) at Northern Power Sports. If you're in fairbanks, give them your business, they were great... as was the custom cruiser shop.   Maybe i just love Fairbanks...

Many things weighed on my mind and other things back home almost made me turn tail, abandon the trip and return home.  Then I remembered a motorcycle doesn't have a reverse, you must keep moving forward.

I crossed the border without incident and landed in the grand USA.  Funny, it looks JUST like Ontario, except the speed limits are higher. Recieved a txt stating the prices for roaming in the USA.
"While travelling in the United States STD roaming rates are $1.45/min $0.75/sent txt msg & $51.20/MB for data"
Srsly? $51/mb for data??  pure assrape, and they give you an STD. nice.  I promptly turned off my Iphone.

I was heading south on I-75 and the wind and rain was brutal.  I was fearing this a little and decided it wasn't worth the risk and wanted to get off the Interstate as fast as i cold.  I ended up staying on it and taking the highway 2 through the forest.  It's just like driving through Northern Ontario.  Boring, nothing to see and  nothing worthy of taking pictures of really except for this!

Woot. 11000.0

I needed a smoke break and stopped somewhere for a drink, a snack and a smoke.

Diet Dew and a couple of sticks of homemade beef jerky.  that chunk is about 1/5th of the stick.  good stuff.
I also scored on some U.P. Stickers for the cases on the bike.  Remember, the cases are not to store stuff... they are there to showcase the places you've been. hah.

i bought it at this place.  

Tons of little shops selling Pasties.  I didn't know what they were and didn't bother asking anyone.  I looked it up... seems i missed out on something. DAMMIT.

Da plane! da plane! i like jets. And tanks. basically anything that can blow shit up.


There really isn't much to See in Michigan.  A lot of trees, a lot of pickup trucks and a lot of bugs.

Saw a ton of these signs. There were other signs stating "DO NOT PASS" which  i wanted to take a pic of and then make a witty LOTR reference, but alas, i got this one;
I ddn't know I had to pass with anyone.

I kept riding for a while, not keeping track of time, lost in my own thoughts.  Funny the things you think about when you thought you had thought of everything. Funny now how i can't remember a1/100th of what i was thinking of.

Supper along some highway/interstate. 


made it to Green bay and had a hard time finding a motel room with Wifi.  wtf. srsly?
Took a room at the Quality Inn.  It's neat how my room door is literally 20 feet from the hot tub.  pics tomorrow. to tired today.

maybe it's time for a dip in the tub, but somehow i think if i do, i'll fall asleep and drown.

Tomorrow;  in search of rubber, oil and my Xbox friend Scooby Snax.