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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 5 | You Can Find Me in the A...

Nashville >> Chattanooga >> Atlanta

Mileage:  Approx 1,700 total miles ridden since leaving Denver 5 days ago. 

Best moment:  After waking up late, still groggy from the night out in Nashville, I hit the road around 11am. As I set off, I decided that I'd like to at least get a few mountain roads in before ending the trip. However, I knew it was going to be cold, so I couldn't bring myself to get all the way over to Deals Gap (an amazing road in North Carolina that has an 11-mile stretch w/ 300+ curves). I headed east and then south on 56 all the way to Chattanooga. The road was great. It had plenty of curves, tons of beautiful tree farms, and was popping with fall color. MASSIVE thanks to my personal mixtape curators Graciela and Sarah who provided Spotify playlists that really hit the spot along the ride. Hot damn those two have great taste in music! Thanks ladies...  

Crossing into GA - mama I'm coming home!!!
Another highlight was crossing over the border into Georgia. I felt a sense of comfort knowing that I was finally back home. I sped along in an effort to make it to my mother's house, but stopped along the way for some (seriously unhealthy) favorites. A patty melt at Waffle House, a massive cup of steaming boiled peanuts, a chili dog at The Varsity, and free coffee at RaceTrac (why the hell are gas stations so freaking big in the south?). Normally I'm very healthy, or at least try to be, but I'm thinking while I'm here I won't worry about it as much. I'll be sure to keep up my running and training in addition to the junk food, maybe that will help. :/ 

Oh sweet boiled peanuts, how I've missed thee!!! 
Worst moment:  The cold, the cold, the cold!!! I only made it to Chattanooga after leaving Nashville. I was absolutely freezing (temps dropped down to 32°) and hit the wall, so had to pull over and grab a cheap room for the night. You definitely get what you pay for, so I don't really need to explain the conditions at a place called Best Value Inn. Not the best I've stayed in that's for sure. However, certainly not the worst. Today the temps dropped to around the same, but I had planned slightly better and layered up. Still, riding in freezing temps is simply brutal after awhile at 70+mph. 

That's it for now. I've unpacked the bike and bags, and will set up shop here in Loganville (and Atlanta w/ friends) for the next month. The target 'leave date' for the LatAm portion of the trip is December 15th. Talk to everyone then!

~ D 

Terminus City... I made it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Days 3 & 4 | 1,400 Miles & Counting...

Oklahoma City >> Little Rock >> Nashville

Mileage:  Still averaging 350 per day, which is waaay too many in my opinion

Best moment:  A few stand out... 

First, after a long ride to Little Rock (via back roads), I was about 20 miles out and found myself riding past dark. What's rule # 1??? Don't ride past dark! Well, I found myself doing it yet again for the second night in an attempt to get to Little Rock. Just when I was about to give up and grab a horrid motel on the side of the road, a Triumph Bonnie pulled out in front of me with a half-helmeted cool looking dude aboard. We ended up riding faster, faster, and faster together in what turned out to be a quite spirited ride all the way into Little Rock. After switching 'lead' several times we ended up at a red light at the outskirts of the city. We introduced ourselves and thanked each other for the ride, and then Carl offered to lead me to an inexpensive hotel for the evening. Carl if you are reading this, thanks for the ride...  Catch you on the flip! 

Blues City Cafe in Memphis - Amazing!
Second, en route to Memphis I cued up a Spotify classic country playlist and was regaled by vivid stories of music, whiskey, and women by the likes of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and of course Willie & Johnny. It set me up proper for my brief stop in Memphis for a fried catfish lunch on Berle St. Country music, they don't make it like they used to!  

Third, Finally made it to Nashville and met up with Lainie (my beautiful friend and host for the evening). She let me shower and unpack at her place and then after dinner we ended up going to a place called Santa's. It is a triple wide trailer that has hipster karaoke seven nights a week. Really a sight to see and some of the coolest and most real people you can meet. Long story short, I should have left Wild Horses to the Rolling Stones, and also probably shouldn't have bought the entire trailer a round of PBR tall boys, but hey, live and learn right!

Worst Moment:  None really, except that my ass is killing me. I'm a complete pansy and 350 miles per day is waaaay too much for me. I'm really looking forward to the Central and South America portion of this trip where I can set up shop for a few days in a place to rest. This waking up every day to ride thing is for the birds. Then again, a bad day on the motorcycle is better than a good day in an office right? :) 

Anyway, I'm having an amazing trip across America for now, but am looking forward to being at home with my mother and stepfather. I'm tired, need some home cookin', a bed, and a shower...  

I was thinking about taking the scenic route today over to/through Tail of the Dragon, but apparently is is freezing and snowy up there, so I'll save that for another time or another trip.  

That's all for now...  I need to roll out of bed and motivate myself for one more day of riding.

~ D 

PS...  Lainie, thanks again for the hospitality and fun night out in Nashville. Hope to see you at some point in LatAm. Let's practice our Spanish together...  ;)  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Days 1 & 2 | Days Behind Bars, Nights Under Stars...

Days 1 & 2 | Denver >> Lake Meredith Nat'l Recreation Area >> Oklahoma City

Mileage:  A $hitload

Best moment: Leaving the house on first day of trip. Several songs came through my earbuds that made the perfect weather (70 and sunny) seem even more perfect (i.e. Little Dragon Crystalfilm, Rolling Stones Wild Horses, Bill Withers Lovely Day, LCD Soundsystem Home, etc, etc, etc).  

Night 1 @ Lake Meredith Nat'l Recreation Area near Amarillo, TX
Worst moment: Two actually... First, when wind hit incredibly hard and had me riding at an angle of around 20° for approx two hours. Second, when I woke up this morning and the temp was 32.9°F. Even with these, it was one of the most monumental and amazing two days of riding I've ever experienced.  

Most embarrassing moment: This morning, as I'm packing up w/ frost covering everything (warming my hands every two minutes on the moto exhaust) I did something incredibly awesome. Imagine the spring loaded tent legs in the picture to the right. As I'm breaking down one of the legs, it springs up with incredible force and smacks me directly in the middle of my forehead. Seriously?!? I still have a red diagonal line on my freaking forehead. I had to laugh at the time, but damn it hurt! And it still hurts!!! Seriously??!?!?!!!?

The route from days 1 & 2
Summary: So as you can see, I started in Denver and headed south, southeast, then east. A few things stand out from the trip. One of the most notable was the waving. It started right away... as cars would pass I noticed people waving. This wasn't a typical "how are ya?" wave, or a "good day" kind of wave. There was something behind the waves. So much in fact that I started counting them. All-in-all I noticed no less than 22 waves throughout the ride the past two days. The people behind the waves were clearly saying "go for it" and "Godspeed". I even noticed people slowing and smacking their kids to "look, look at the crazy motorcyclist riding from Colorado". There were also the 'tips of the hat' from obvious other motorcyclists who could tell that I was on an adventure. I have to say, I felt pretty damn cool behind my helmet, and it felt great. It was like I had a highway support group of sorts. 
Shot from Middle of Nowhere, New Mexico. My view.

Anyway, I made it to Oklahoma City today. Sorry to cut it so short, but I'm with a really nice CouchSurfing host named Ivey who has cracked a bottle of red wine and is starting a movie for us. I'll try to update this further. If not, I'll fill in the gaps when I get to Little Rock (next stop), or Nashville (next, next stop). 

I can't believe this is happening and I can't wait to share more as the adventure progresses. 

Having a blast. Loving life. Living on two wheels...  

~ D

Historic Route 66...  Chloe and I getting acquainted in preparation for the upcoming BIG journey