BrandonoBrien.com

Brandon O'Brien

Travel and Adventure Journal

I wanted a place to journal all my travels and adventures around the world. I always enjoy going back and reflecting on my past travels and getting to relive them through my words and photos.

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Venturing into Canada - Day 5 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Venturing into Canada - Day 5 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in 2012 Epic Motorcycle Ride

I had one of the best nights of sleep I've ever had in a tent last night. Ryan said the same thing about last night as well. For some reason, whether it was because of all the miles we'd already put on, the location, the lack of noise or something, we just slept really really well.

We got up around 7:00am and took our time packing everything up and eating breakfast. Ryan's propane tank for his camping stove finally died and he doesn't have any backup. We set out for the border around 8:30 or so. We fueled up just outside of Birch Bay and then crossed the border on Highway 543 / Canada 15. I went through fine but Ryan ended up getting stopped and needed to be pulled aside to answer more questions. After that short delay we were on our way to North Vancouver. It seems like the entire city of Vancouver is under some kind of construction though. We hit more construction traffic than I care to remember in the span of 30 miles or so.

For some reason my GPS didn't have the point saved where all the hotels were. Instead it just had some random point in North Vancouver. I tried to navigate to where I thought I remembered the hotels but didn't have much luck. We pulled over and decided to go look down by Horseshoe Bay where the ferry terminal is to see if there was a hotel there. We got down there and found some little motel and went to see about the price. It was going to be $130 for the night which sounded a little high for the look of the place. We said we'd wait until they were finished cleaning the rooms and decided to go get lunch.

We ended up eating around the corner at a place called Trolls. They had good burgers and fries and are apparently known for their fish and chips. Our waitress told us to head back to North Vancouver or Squamish and Hotwire a hotel for cheap. We decided to head back to North Vancouver to try to find that row of hotels I had mapped out earlier. Turns out I was just off by one street which is why we didn't find them earlier. We checked into a Comfort Inn but the room was still being cleaned.

We waited around for a good hour and a half while the cleaning service made their way through the hotel. During that time we sat in the lobby and updated our ride reports with photos and checked out some of the other photos and video we took so far.

The plan was to get into our room and change into some lighter gear and head over to Lynn Canyon where we heard there was a nice park to walk around and see a suspension bridge. Originally we were going to head to the Capilano suspension bridge but the same waitress at Trolls told us it's probably not worth paying the $35 since you can get the same experience for free at Lynn Canyon.

Our room eventually opened up and we made our way to Lynn Canyon. We got there and were pretty impressed with the trails. The scenery is definitely stereotypical of what most people think of the Pacific Northwest. Very tall trees covered in moss, etc. We walked around and found some people jumping into huge pools of water from cliff faces then made our way to the suspension bridge. Unfortunately it was pretty packed, but the views were still neat.

We made our way back to the hotel and fueled up once again before heading back. Once inside I uploaded the ride report photos and we started washing all of our clothes. As of 10:00pm as I'm writing this report our clothes are still soaked so we'll see if they dry by the morning. After washing all of the clothes we set out walking around trying to find somewhere to eat. There were a few places that all looked a little too high scale for what we wanted. Eventually we stumbled into a place called The Cactus Club Cafe. I had a cajun chicken sandwich with a beer and Ryan had chicken tenders. Both were pretty good and the servers were very attentive.

After eating we set about trying to find more propane for Ryan. We first went to a sport store and they didn't have any camping equipment. They said to head back a few blocks to Walmart and they should. We got to Walmart and unfortunately the only kind of propane they have is for the big camping stoves you see people bring when they car camp. We'll just have to use my remaining propane tank until we can find another one.

We got back to the hotel, showered and tried to re-pack as much of our stuff as we could without getting all of our clothes packed. The plan for tomorrow is to get up at 6:00am so we can finish packing, eat and then head to the ferry terminal so we can get on the 7:45am ferry to Vancouver Island.

Teaser photos:

Trolls restaurant with helpful waitress
Trolls restaurant with helpful waitress
Lynn Canyon
Lynn Canyon

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Tags: motorcycle

Posted from: United States

Starting to feel like the Pacific Northwest - Day 4 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Starting to feel like the Pacific Northwest - Day 4 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in 2012 Epic Motorcycle Ride

Moving our tents under the shelter last night paid off. Sometime around 3am it started raining pretty heavily. I got up and moved some of the stuff we had on our picnic table under the shelter as well so it wouldn't be soaked in the morning. It started to get light out and both Ryan and I woke up around 5:30am and laid in our tents until around 6.

We got up, ate (I had the Mountain House Granola w/ Blueberries and Ryan had the Mountain House Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon), and then packed our bikes up. As we were doing all this we heard thunder all around us. We checked the weather and it looked like a huge cell of weather was moving exactly where we were planning on going.

We were on the road by 7:20am and headed out to Spokane via I-90. The rain finally started to hit us just a few minutes after we left our campsite and continued until we crossed into Washington. We jumped on Highway 2 just outside of Spokane and followed that until we split off onto 174 which eventually connected to Highway 97 and eventually Highway 20. We were dodging weather pretty much the entire way there. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant connected to a gas station and were really amazed with how good it was. Once you were inside the place you'd have no idea it was part of a gas station. We both ordered burgers and were blown away with how good they were. It was called the Rivers Restaurant in Pateros, WA.

As soon as we got onto Highway 20 things started changing for the better. The route takes you up to 5400 feet in elevation from about 1300 feet. The rides and views were amazing the entire time. There were some nice waterfalls off the side of the road too. We got to the tallest pass and got out to take some photos of the surrounding area. The ride down was equally as amazing. We made sure to stop at several of the pullouts and get some great photos. Eventually we made it down and fueled up for our final ride into our campsite.

After that fuelup we pushed it the last 70 or so miles to our campsite at Birch Bay, WA. The campsite is extremely cool in the middle of a forest right by the Birch Bay. We pulled in and got our tents set up and then headed back out to get something to mix with our vodka and ended up with some Country Time Lemonaid/Ice Tea mix. We came back and started up some dinner. I had the Backpacker's Pantry Chicken Vindaloo which was really good. Ryan had the Mountain House Rice and Chicken.

Since then we've just been sitting around drinking and thinking about the ride report. We also walked down to the bay and got some photos at sunset. Our original plan for tomorrow was to head up to Whistler and down to Vancouver but after doing as many miles and hours on our bikes as we have our new plan is to cross into Canada tomorrow morning and then head up to NW Vancouver near the ferry station, find a hotel and then go see the Capilano suspension bridge and relax for the day before crossing over into Vancouver Island.

My laptop is about to die and my phone doesn't have great coverage here so uploading this ride report will have to wait until tomorrow when we're at the hotel.

Teaser photos:

Me and Ryan at an overlook
Me and Ryan at an overlook
Our campsite for the night
Our campsite for the night

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Tags: motorcycle

Posted from: United States

Offroad Adventures - Day 3 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Offroad Adventures - Day 3 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Monday, July 16, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in 2012 Epic Motorcycle Ride

We decided to go to bed early last night because we knew today was going to be a long rough day. We were in bed by around 8:30pm and then within the hour some family showed up and were making more noise than I thought possible for about an hour. I finally fell asleep and woke up around 5:45am today.

We ate breakfast and packed up our bikes. I had some oatmeal and Ryan had one of the Mountain House Scrambled Eggs w/ Ham. After we finished up we set out and were on the road by 6:50am. We started out and it was a little chilly and stayed that way for quite a bit of the day. We eventually had to stop and put our rain gear on to try and warm up.

By the time lunch came around, we fueled up in some tiny town and stopped at some locally owned sub and pizza shop. The waitress and owner seemed like they were pissed that we were taking up their time by ordering. We eventually finished and set out on our way to Missoula.

It seemed like the entire day was split in half with Missoula at the center. The first half of the day was nice and relaxing with some good views of far off mountains. The second half of the day is what we were looking forward to. It took us by the St. Joe's River where we were planning on getting our first taste of off road riding.

We got onto St. Joe's road and turned on our GoPro cameras to record the upcoming adventures. Based on Google Maps we were supposed to stay on St. Joe for the duration of the ride until we hit Highway 3 again. Before setting out on this ride I had disabled the "avoid gravel roads" option in my Garmin and it had produced a slightly different route. We figured we'd just take that and see where it would lead us.

After a few miles we made it off of the gravel and onto a Jeep trail that was really nice and maintained. We followed that for several miles having a blast riding along. We crossed another gravel road and continued on our jeep trail, which is where things started to go bad. We noticed the trail wasn't as groomed as it previously had been. There were trees blocking the way and you could definitely tell it wasn't used very much. We kept pushing through thinking it would eventually clear out a bit more.

Things didn't quite end up that way unfortunately. We had a few tough spots to get through and eventually hit a spot where I almost fell off a huge cliff and then proceeded to get stuck in a giant tree that had started to grow up through the trail. Ryan was behind me and was in a spot where he couldn't actually put his kickstand down because of the angle of the trail at that point. We were both looking at each other like "what do we do now?" Eventually Ryan was able to get his bike adjusted enough to put the kickstand down and we spent about 20 minutes just trying to maneuver my bike around so we could turn around and head back to the last nice road we saw. It's hard to put into words how crazy this part of the trail was. Imagine a 2 foot wide trail angled pretty steeply downhill with a 60 degree incline up or down on either side of you. Fortunately I had stopped in an area that was wide enough to turn around the bike (after knocking down a few trees).

After each of us got extremely tired and sweaty during that ordeal we finally hit a paved road which turned out to be the road we were originally supposed to stay on, which seemed to have been renamed to the St. Joe Scenic Parkway. We followed this road next to the St. Joe river and through some very nice mountains for about 60 miles when we realized we were about to be in trouble. We still had about 40 miles to go before we got out of the park and Ryan was running on fumes. I wasn't doing much better so we pulled over and had the first opportunity of the trip so far to use our RotoPax. Imagine being in the middle of absolute nowhere, stranded with a huge thunderstorm getting ready to plow through. That's exactly what we didn't want to happen which is why we brought some extra fuel.

The only issue is that the "eco-whatever" spouts that come with the rotopax are absolute crap. Neither Ryan nor I could figure out how to get these things to open up. We twisted, pushed, pulled, yanked, etc for a few minutes but nothing we would do to either of our units would get any gas to come through. Absolute shit engineering there. Anyway, we ended up just pouring the gas directly from the can into our bikes while trying our best not to spill too much fuel everywhere. We finally got that taken care of just as the first of the rain started falling.

Fortunately not too much later the road opened up a bit and the speed limit increased so we could try to outrun the rain. Somewhere along the way a small bird flew into my chest and scared the crap out of me. We made it to ID-3 and started to make our way up to the Beauty Creek campground near Coeur d'Alene. The roads were very nice, although we probably didn't enjoy them as much as we should have since we'd been on the road for 13 hours already. We noticed the refueling we did about 90 miles earlier was starting to reach its limits and once again there were no gas stations in sight (nor had we seen any since the time we fueled up). After getting rained on and having deer jump in front of us for another half hour we finally spotted a gas station. It was a single pump outside of a bar and grill. Unfortunately their network was down so we had to pre-pay with cash only. Ryan and I both gave $20 which was enough to fill up our bikes and add some back to the rotopax. It was only another 30 miles or so to the campground but we had to continually ride through rain and I had another deer jump in the road in front of me not 30 feet away.

As we rode into the campground we could hear thunder and see lightning so we worked as hard as we could to set up camp as quickly as possible. It was about 9:30pm (MST) when we rolled in which made for another extremely long day. We noticed there's a shelter at our campsite with a picnic table under it so we quickly moved the table out of the way so we could try and get our tents under it. By the time that was done the sky had started to clear up a bit, even though there are storms all around us.

We washed up a bit and got dinner going. As my dinner was rehydrating (I had the Beef Stroganoff w/ Noodles), I decided to wash my clothes at the water pump since they were starting to smell really bad, especially from all that extra exertion trying to get the bikes off of that trail.

The rain hasn't hit yet and I'm siting here typing up this ride report before heading to bed. All in all today was a blast. The whole trail ordeal is the kind of stuff that we weren't really planning for and was a pain at the time but was still a ton of fun. Be sure to stay tuned for photos of that. We'll be in a hotel in Vancouver in two nights where we'll hopefully have some internet we can use.

Off to bed now since we've got a 400 mile day ahead of us tomorrow that will see us crossing into Washington and camping near Bellingham at Birch Bay.

Teaser photos:

Stopping to put on rain gear. It was pretty cold and we needed to warm up.
Stopping to put on rain gear. It was pretty cold and we needed to warm up.
Rolled through some pretty cool looking small towns in Montana
Rolled through some pretty cool looking small towns in Montana
After getting stuck in the trails
After getting stuck in the trails
We both ran out of gas after the adventure getting stuck in the woods.  Good thing we had extra with us!
We both ran out of gas after the adventure getting stuck in the woods. Good thing we had extra with us!

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Tags: motorcycle

Posted from: United States

Riding Yellowstone - Day 2 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Riding Yellowstone - Day 2 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in 2012 Epic Motorcycle Ride

It rained off and on throughout the night last night. I actually slept pretty well with my new Yellowstone fleece jacket on. I only remember waking up being a little cold once. The first time I woke up it was around 5:45am but I convinced myself to fall back to sleep for a little while longer since we weren't really in a hurry today. I finally ended up getting out of the tent around 7 and Ryan followed soon there after.

For breakfast I tried the Mountain House Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon and it was pretty good. I was a bit shocked that the serving had 113% of your daily intake of cholesterol though. Ryan had the Mountain House Granola w/ Milk and Bananas and said it was also good and filling.

We were camped next to a couple other older bikers who were from out east and were completing a rather large trip through many of the northern states.

The plan for today was to take a tour through Yellowstone making sure we saw Yellowstone Canyon and Old Faithful. Today was looking to be much nicer than yesterday which was great. We could actually see our surroundings today and wouldn't be freezing.

We packed up our tents and got everything loaded back onto our bikes and were on our way to explore around 9:00. We made sure to turn our GoPro cameras on today so we could get some good footage of the park. Our first destination was Yellowstone Canyon. This is a very cool canyon that has a giant waterfall and river running through it. The canyon itself is very colorful. We took some photos there and then made our way around to Old Faithful, stopping at several geysers and hot springs along the way to soak in the views.

The only animals we saw today were some bison that were causing quite the backups. We were both hoping to see some bears or moose but weren't lucky enough this time around. By the time we reached Old Faithful, I was extremely hungry. It was around noon and my breakfast had worn off after a couple hours.

Our first order of business was to go into the visitor center to try and find out more information about getting me a new park pass issued since I had lost mine yesterday. They said there was nothing they could do and told me to head over to one of the entrances and they might be able to help more. I was a little discouraged but then saw that Old Faithful was set to erupt very soon so Ryan and I went outside to get a closer view. Old Faithful itself is cool to see, but after it blows water up a few times that's about all it's going to do. We decided to beat the rush and went into the Old Faithful lodge to eat lunch. We were seated and I noticed our server mentioned he was from Indiana on his name tag. He ended up being from Fort Wayne and went to IPFW (a Purdue extension in Fort Wayne). I went to Purdue in West Lafayette and knew some people who went to IPFW.

After lunch we went back into the Visitor Center so I could get my National Parks passport stamped and Ryan bought a Yellowstone sticker for his panniers. We fueled up and set off for our campground at Henry's Lake, ID.

The rest of the ride through Yellowstone was nice as we had some nice scenery and little traffic. There was one small spot we got rained on a bit, but it only lasted a few minutes and wasn't very heavy. We got to the West Entrance so I pulled over to ask about the national park pass. The guy said unfortunately there wasn't anything they could do since the park pass doesn't actually have any personal information associated with it and there was no way to look me up in any kind of system. Since the lady who sold it to me didn't give me a receipt it left me with even fewer options. He gave me the phone number for the gas station I thought I left it at, but then when I called it said the number is no longer in service. I'm still not sure what to do because being out 80 bucks really sucks.

We quickly made it to our campground at Henry's Lake around 3:00pm where we were greeted with some awesome views. Apparently that same storm that hit Yellowstone last night also hit here and caused some severe winds to blow through along with extremely heavy rains. as of 7:30pm when I'm writing this we haven't had any bad weather yet so we're hoping it holds out. We immediately set about putting up our tents so we could get that out of the way.

We mixed some gatorade with vodka and relaxed for a bit, knowing that tomorrow is going to be a very long day. After a few drinks we decided it was time for dinner. I had the Mountain House Lasagna w/ Meat Sauce and Ryan had the Mountain House Chili Mac w/ Cheese. We also had the Backpacker's Pantry Mocha Moose Pie for dessert which was good.

We tried starting a little fire but everything was too wet from the rains the previous night. Ryan then decided to go test out the free showers and said the water was nice and hot. I'll be doing that shortly and then we'll be heading off to bed. As I said earlier, we've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow where we'll be covering quite a distance.

Teaser photos:

Our camp site in the morning
Our camp site in the morning
Yellowstone Canyon. Thanks to an advrider for telling us about this in our ride prep thread! The view from here was amazing.
Yellowstone Canyon. Thanks to an advrider for telling us about this in our ride prep thread! The view from here was amazing.
We had to stop and see Old Faithful erupt. We watched it for about a minute then ran inside to get some lunch before the mass crowd did the same thing.
We had to stop and see Old Faithful erupt. We watched it for about a minute then ran inside to get some lunch before the mass crowd did the same thing.
We got to our campsite pretty early and had a chance to set up in the sun and relax for a bit.
We got to our campsite pretty early and had a chance to set up in the sun and relax for a bit.

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Tags: motorcycle

Posted from: United States

Tetons and Yellowstone - Day 1 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Tetons and Yellowstone - Day 1 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in 2012 Epic Motorcycle Ride

Today started with us waking up around 5:30am and getting ready. We packed up all of our cloths and other miscellaneous items we had out the night before. We left Ryan's house around 7:00am and he needed to fuel up. By the time he was finished with that and I had given my chain a good lubing, we set out around 7:15. We made our way toward Fort Collins where the GPS had us take HWY 287 instead of the interstate. We were glad we did since the roads were empty and we passed through some awesome terrain. We continued on to Rawlins, WY where we stopped for lunch at Subway. The weather looked like it was going to rain soon so we put on our rain gear. It ended up not raining so we ended up sweating like crazy. We eventually stopped and took the rain gear off again in an effort to cool down. After another couple hours of riding, the sky started looking very ominous as we entered the Shoshoni National Forest. We made it another half hour before we had to stop and put the rain gear back on. Fortunately we got the rain gear on when we did because it started raining immediately afterwards. We would be in rain from around 2:00 until 9:00.

When we entered the Grand Teton National Park we both bought a national park pass so we could come and go as we please through the national parks without having to pay entry each time. After entering the park we drove around through the rain without being able to see anything more than a couple hundred feet around us. We eventually stopped for gas just before entering Yellowstone. We went inside a service center there to dry off a bit and figure out what we wanted to do. If it kept pouring like this, setting up our tents and staying dry at night would be extremely difficult. We eventually decided to keep going and we'd pull over in Yellowstone and see if there were any cabins or lodges available.

We found another reservation center in Yellowstone and asked about availability but the only room available was 2.5 hours north. We hesitated for a bit and then she told us someone else had just booked the room. Before heading back out into the rain we decided we would head to the campground and hope it stopped raining for long enough to set up camp and eat.

We missed our turn to the campsite and ended up heading over to Old Faithful. As we stopped the rain finally let up. We walked around the geysers for a bit and checked out some of the old lodges there. I went into one of the gift shops to buy a fleece for the night so I wouldn't be so cold. Afterwards I realized that my park pass wasn't in my pocket where eI had hastily put it in the rain after purchasing it. It hadn't fallen out when I bought the fleece so my only thought is that it fell out when I was fueling up just before Yellowstone. By now all the service centers were closed and I'll have to figure out what to do about this tomorrow when they open up again.

We eventually made it to our campground around 9:30pm and had to set up our tents in the dark. There was some water falling from the trees but nothing too bad. We ate dinner (I had the Santa Fe Chicken from Backpackers Pantry and Ryan had the Spaghetti w/ Meat sauce from Mountain House). They were both good and it was nice to have some warm food in us. We packed up all of our food and put it in the bear box and then both headed off to bed before the rain was supposed to hit again.

I already posted a brief description about day one earlier. Here are some photos from our first day riding from Denver to Yellowstone.

Teaser photos:

Leaving Ryan's house in the morning. Bikes both look nice and clean at this point.
Leaving Ryan's house in the morning. Bikes both look nice and clean at this point.
Outside of Fort Collins heading up to Wyoming
Outside of Fort Collins heading up to Wyoming
The sky is starting to look really bad. Soon after this we pull over and put on our rain gear...
The sky is starting to look really bad. Soon after this we pull over and put on our rain gear...
All of our gear was completely soaked after 4 or 5 hours in the rain
All of our gear was completely soaked after 4 or 5 hours in the rain

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Tags: motorcycle

Posted from: United States

Albuquerque to Denver - Day 0 - Epic Motorcycle Ride

Friday, July 13, 2012 @ 5:00 PM in 2012 Epic Motorcycle Ride

Today started with me, Brandon, riding from Albuquerque, NM to Denver, CO to meet up with Ryan. I left my house at 6:30am and arrived up here in Denver around 2:00pm. The ride was pretty uneventful and the weather was nice. There was a little construction traffic along the way but nothing too terrible.

After I got up here we did a few last minute preps for our ride. We synced up our new Cardo Scala Rider G9's, got a few extra tools and got an external hard drive to backup our photos and video for the upcoming trip. Today's ride didn't really feel like the start of the journey since I've made this ride several times before. Tomorrow morning will see us heading up to Yellowstone. We have 575 miles ahead of us so we're planning on a very early start tomorrow.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's report!

Tags: motorcycle

Posted from: United States

Wichita to Albuquerque - Day 8 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Wichita to Albuquerque - Day 8 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in General Travel

I had a good sleep last night and woke up feeling pretty refreshed. My body was still pretty sore from putting on 700+ miles yesterday but it wasn't too bad. I got all of my gear packed up and started running it down to my bike and loading it up. Before leaving I decided to go down to the breakfast area and had a waffle and apple before hitting the road.

I wanted to top off the tank before leaving and luckily there was a gas station just around the corner where I fueled up. I was out of the gas station by 6:30am and fortunately beat the morning rush hour out of the city. I was back on US-54 before too long and continued my journey westward.

Unfortunately I was back into boring riding areas pretty quickly. Straight, flat and boring made up the majority of the day. I passed some cool clouds in western Kansas and a bunch of huge cattle ranches in Texas. During one of my fuelups I decided to buy a pre-made sandwich at a gas station so I could stop along the side of the road to eat. I figured this would be a lot quicker and cheaper than fast food.

I can't remember exactly where it was, but I stopped at some picnic tables along the side of the road and had some lunch next to three cops waiting for cars to come flying into town where the speed limit dropped from 65 to 35 in the matter of 1/4 of a mile or so.

After a couple more hours I was really starting to get fatigued and tired. I was extremely sore by now and just wanted to get home. I was getting so worn out from the heat and monotonous riding that I finally pulled over after I crossed into New Mexico and had a 5 hour energy to keep me going.

I made it through Tucumcari and was hoping I wouldn't have to fill up again to make it home. Unfortunately I had a rough headwind heading west on I-40 which kinda killed my mileage. My fuel light came on with about 40 miles to go in my ride. Rather than risk it I stopped in Moriarty and got some gas.

I finally made it home, unpacked some of the essentials and set about answering a ton of emails I had built up. Some friends invited me over for a fajitas dinner so I went over and had some fajitas and drinks. I was completely exhausted by like 9:30pm so I headed home to finish writing this report.

Overall the trip was a blast. The riding was a little more than I would have liked each day but now it's something I can cross off my list and say I did.

Teaser photos:

Some cool looking clouds
Some cool looking clouds
My lunch spot for the day
My lunch spot for the day
I was fading hard, so this was a much needed boost
I was fading hard, so this was a much needed boost
Gigantic cattle ranches in Texas
Gigantic cattle ranches in Texas

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Tags: motorcycle, indy 500

Posted from: United States

Indy to Wichita - Day 7 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Indy to Wichita - Day 7 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in General Travel

Today I awoke to the sound of thunder rather than my alarm. I saw yesterday that there was a chance for some early morning thunderstorms rolling through Indianapolis but figured they'd all be done by the time I was ready to set out. I got up around 5:30am and got dressed and finished packing up my stuff. I finished eating breakfast a little after 6 and the storms weren't letting up yet. Fortunately they were heading east pretty quickly so it was only a matter of time. I finally decided that i should be safe leaving a little after 7am which is what I did.

I left in some rain and had to deal with steady rain and traffic for the first 45 minutes or so while I was riding west out of Indianapolis. Soon enough the dark clouds turned into white puffy clouds and then they eventually broke into sun. I hit a couple more small patches of light drizzle but was able to take my rain gear off by the time I stopped for lunch.

For lunch I had packed a smoked turkey sandwich, some carrots, apple, cookie and brownie. I ended up at a TA where I went inside and sat at one of the restaurant tables to eat. Things were really starting to warm up now and all the rain gear was getting even more uncomfortable. I took off the jacket's rain lining but left the pants rain lining on.

On the way home I decided not to take the bypass around St. Louis and instead wanted to continue on I-70 through the city so I could see the arch. There was a little bit of traffic due to construction but it wasn't enough to make me regret taking that route.

The riding was pretty uneventful interstate riding for most of the day. By the time I got to Kansas City I was really starting to feel tired. I took a little side route down US 169 in order to avoid toll roads and ended up back on 54 which I took into Wichita.

About 20 miles from Wichita I noticed several cars swerving all over the road like they were being driven by drunks. As I got a better look I realized it was just people on cell phones who had no idea how to drive. It must have been some kind of requirement that to operate a car or truck in Wichita that you must talk on your phone and swerve at least 2 feet over the line both directions a minimum of twice every minute.

Rather than camping this time around, I figured I'd stop at a hotel so I could get a proper shower and also make a little more distance on day one. I looked online and found the Wichita Inn which had the lowest price of $58 while still looking fairly reputable. I made my way here and got a room. After hauling up all of my gear I set about eating, showering and getting ready for bed.

In total today was just over 700 miles and I'm definitely feeling it. Tomorrow is going to be just under 600 miles so I should be back to Albuquerque in the early afternoon. I'm planning on getting up at 5:30am again tomorrow morning so it will give me a nice early start.

Teaser photos:

Leaving Carmel in a storm
Leaving Carmel in a storm
Screenshot of the storm I'm about to ride through
Screenshot of the storm I'm about to ride through
Past the construction and back on the road
Past the construction and back on the road
Taking over a hotel room. Not a bad choice for $58 for the night. I could also see my bike if I looked out my window which was nice.
Taking over a hotel room. Not a bad choice for $58 for the night. I could also see my bike if I looked out my window which was nice.

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Tags: motorcycle, indy 500

Posted from: United States

Memorial Day with the family - Day 6 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Monday, May 28, 2012 @ 7:00 PM in General Travel

Since the race didn't get as wild yesterday as we were expecting, I was able to get to bed by a semi-reasonable time last night. I got a decent amount of sleep and woke up feeling a little groggy. I'm pretty sure that grogginess came from sitting in the sun for 8 hours yesterday, but I can't be totally sure.

After getting up and having breakfast, I relaxed for a little bit while waiting for my grandparents, uncle and his wife and his wife's sister and husband to show up. They all arrived and we broke out quite the feast. We had some filipino food, burgers, all kinds of side dishes and some good frozen mango margaritas.

We all hung out for several hours before people started heading home. I started to pay attention to the weather as they were calling for some severe thunderstorms rolling through that night. Since I was leaving bright and early in the morning I was anxious to see if I'd get rained on or not.

Since my parents and I were still fairly full from the big lunch I started to get some laundry and packing done so I wouldn't have to do it all in the morning. We ordered a pizza for dinner which was really good. I still wasn't feeling 100% so I wanted to make sure I got a good night's sleep so I decided to head upstairs around 8:30pm to finish this report and get ready for bed.

Tomorrow starts my journey back home!

Tags: motorcycle, indy 500

Posted from: United States

Indianapolis 500 Race Day - Day 5 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Indianapolis 500 Race Day - Day 5 - 2012 Indy 500 Motorcycle Trip

Sunday, May 27, 2012 @ 5:00 PM in General Travel

I woke up this morning at 5:00am in order to be at my friends house by 6:00 so we could leave for the track. There were 19 of us in total so we rented a big 12 seater van and then took a Tahoe so we could carry all the coolers and the remaining people.

We got to the track around 7:00 by taking our secret route in and bypassing all the traffic. We saw some people who must have been sitting in traffic for at least a couple of hours. The news shows in the morning were showing lines of traffic that had been sitting there since about 4:00am.

After unloading all the coolers from the cars and cracking some beers we headed into the track. In total we had four coolers full of beer and two full cases of water. We zigzagged around until we finally made it to the 3rd turn and set up our chairs and coolers. It was still a little on the cool side which felt nice and made it easy to drink beer. With all of our empty beer cans we started to build out an "Indy 500" in the fence in front of us.

Part of entry to the track was free entrance to the Snake Pit where Krewella and Benny Benassi were set to put on a show. We brought a cooler in there with some beers and got to enjoy the concerts. Around 10:30 the sun finally broke above the haze and it started to warm up drastically. Benny Benassi finished his set just before noon when the race was set to start. Before we left for the concert our beer can "Indy 500" was at "IN" and when we got back people had started adding to it and were starting to spell out Indianapolis and had made it all the way to "INDIA". We quickly started adding to it to continue spelling it out.

At our seats we were all starting to feel a little miserable due to the heat. As the day drew on we all stopped drinking beers and switched to water because it was so outrageously hot. They came on the loudspeakers eventually and said we set the record for the hottest race on history for the 500 at 93 degrees.

The race itself also had broken the record for most number of leader changes which helped to make the race exciting. We made our way back to the vehicles and started our journey home. The ride back was uneventful since most of us were extremely tired from the sun.

When we got back to my friends house we grilled out some chicken, burgers and brats and had some other munchies. I came back to my parents place to shower then went back over to jump in their hot tub. It ended up being a really long day but it was worth it.

Teaser photos:

My attire for the race
My attire for the race
Loading up the coolers. 4 coolers filled with beer, 2 coolers filled with water, 1 cooler filled with sandwiches
Loading up the coolers. 4 coolers filled with beer, 2 coolers filled with water, 1 cooler filled with sandwiches
Benny Benassi spinning on stage
Benny Benassi spinning on stage
Beer can Indianapolis 500 mural
Beer can Indianapolis 500 mural

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Tags: motorcycle, indy 500

Posted from: United States

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