Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blind Riding

Wednesday, September 5th - Sandusky, OH to NYC - 500+ miles.

Blasted across central Pennsylvania, through the Appalachian Mountains and on into NYC.

When I finally got within 100 miles of NY, I stopped to gas up and write directions down. 20 miles to go, I gassed up one more time and pasted the directions to my tank. Unfortunately, the sun was on its way down when I finally hit the city limits and darkness had settled in. Genius way of finding my way through one of the biggest cities in the world, one with horrible roads as well as one that I had never been to.

Hell, I thought the traffic in L.A. was bad. NYC is way worse, but I still split lanes, legal or not. No option but to keep going, I made it to the Holland Tunnel, paid $12 to get through, and ended up in the crotch of NYC. Pulled over once I got through the tunnel, checked navigation on my smartphone(say what you want, smartphones are a life-saver on the road - direction, weather patterns, whatever...) and got easy directions to the hotel I was staying at just blocks away.

Turns out, an x-girlfriend of mine from Minneapolis was staying in NYC on business the same exact dates I was to be there as well. So, having been in contact with her over the last 9 months, she offered to let me stay with her. Well, she was staying at the Trump SoHo. For those of you who don't have a clue, it's a super fancy hotel to say the least. It's not that I didn't feel comfortable walking into this place, but I definitely didn't feel like I belonged there after four long days on the road. I pulled up to the front door and the valet said, "I can't park that thing". He took my gear, oil still dripping out of my bag, gave me a ticket for their parking facility and sent me on my way. $70/night to park! Whatever, 24 hour security and my bike was parked right outside security's "trailer". Plus, I was staying for free.

Luxurious, posh, extravagant... call it what you want, I was probably the dirtiest son of a bitch to walk through their doors, ever. Everyone in suits, dresses, and decked out apparel - I didn't really blend in too well in an old pendleton, jeans, and cowboy boots. Road-worn, dirty, jeans full of grease and oil, and smelling like a dog, I walked up to the front desk. A weird look on the front desk lady's face, she asked, "Sir, do you have room with us?" I started laughing and said, "Yes, yes I do". Gave her my info, as she punched it into her computer the weird look went away and her ass-kissing customer service attitude came out. To give you an idea of the Trump's clientele, Dwyane Wade walked by me as the lady handed me my room key. Again, I started laughing.

After spending the last three nights sleeping on a picnic table, a couch, then a run-down motel 6, this place was like heaven after a long trip on the road(minus all of the yuppies and rich assholes). This hotel room was bigger than my apartment and was nicer than anywhere I've ever been to. I've stayed in the suites at the Hard Rock in Vegas, but this room put those to shame. With my x still at work, I went to the hotel bar for a drink, $16.50 for a Makers. Again, the laughing ensued. Luckily, the hipster bartender liked me and bought me my second round(pouring doubles-triples). I chatted it up with some jazzed up broads at the bar, watched the rest of the NYG-DAL football game, and threw a bunch of money at the bartender before heading back to the room with a buzz.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day Lost - Hammer Down

Chop fixed, I got back on the road the day after Labor Day and headed East. With the remnants of Hurricane Isaac ahead of me, I stayed one step behind the wall of rain that moved towards the coast.

No plan but to get as far as possible, I-80 Eastbound I went. Across half of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and most of Ohio on a nice, 90+ degree day. Once I hit the east side of Indiana, the sun was going down and the bugs came out. Crossing into Ohio came the fog and constant construction zones. With the speed at which I was traveling, I should have been stopped multiple times by the po-lice. Out of the ordinary, I stopped two state-troopers at separate gas stops in Ohio to ask them questions instead of the other way around.

I needed a place to crash for the night. So, after crossing into Ohio and running into a copper at a gas stop, I figured I'd ask if the service plazas along the toll-road were allowable places for me to pass out for a couple hours? I wasn't gonna set up a tent, just pass out on the concrete next to my bike instead of getting off of the beaten path to find a reasonable place to camp or pay for a hotel. Time was short, needing to get from Des Moines to NYC in less than two days, so a few hours of sleep was all I needed. Well, that was highly frowned upon. Small-talk is the best talk with the boys in blue, so off I went again.

Pulling into Sandusky on fumes that night, I decided to call it a day. Over 600 miles and still a headache from my drinking binge two nights before, I was done.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beer Joint Breakdown

What seemed like the longest day of my life.

9 hungover hours out on a bar patio, fixing my chop.

Tore apart my carb, cleaned it out with a entire can of carb clean, and buttoned it back up - messing up my throttle cable in the process. Took my carb off, and like a dumbass, didn't disconnect the cable. So, after taking my sweet-ass time spit-shining the insides, I had another issue to deal with.

Let me tell you, other than unlimited water, beer, tacos, and good music - a bar ain't no place you wanna fix your bike at. With a handful of guys who annoyed the shit out of me as I got more and more frustrated throughout the day, there were just as many great people I called friends when I finally rode off that night.

As the day went on, the booze kept flowing, along with the foot-traffic at the bar. Had to call Rich a few times for sound advice and a little peace of mind, felt like taking my boot-heel to my bike on more than one occasion. In all, I learned more about my chop and myself I guess. As much of a headache my day was, I would do it all over again if I could. I will, next trip I'm sure. It's always something out on the road. Riding alone, my chop never fails to teach me a thing or two(or ten) every time I leave the Rocky Mountains. If mechanical issues aren't appealing to you, don't attempt long-distance rides...

Thanks to Craig for breakfast and for being a great bartender, Damien for the spark plug run and a couch to crash on(even though your x-wife showed up at midnight, making me feel like I was on an episode of cops), the night bartender for playing outlaw country music, Fatty and Jeff again for allowing me to use their patio as my personal shop, Mike W. for hashing it out with me for hours trying to figure shit out and for making multiple trips home for supplies/tools, old-timer Nick for being one of the coolest guys I've met in quite some time, and Irish Rich for putting up with me from 700 miles away.

Carb, hanging from the throttle cable....moron.
A fraction of my tool kit. I bring everything, except for what I really need on any given trip.
Knox, the bar drunk. Every bar's got one.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First of Many

With issues still plaguing my bike, I rolled over to Rich's before leaving town on Sunday, the 2nd. He had an extra set of spark plugs, so I swapped mine out and the bike fired right up. Rich never thought he was gonna get rid of me. His wife told me there were higher powers that didn't want me going on this trip. After all of the shit I had been through the week leading up to this point(bike problem after bike problem, drama at my job, no money in my pocket, and the fact that I completely totaled my car thirty minutes before my first attempt at leaving two days before), I was starting to believe her.

Like I said, NOTHING was gonna stop me from getting to the East Coast. I bailed half-way to the Gypsy Run last year(Madison, WI), I vowed I wouldn't let that happen again.

Solo, I hit the road a little late that morning with everything running fine. As the day wore on, the more and more my bike seemed to be acting funny. 375 miles into it, in Kearney Nebraska, I was having more trouble with my chop firing up than I'm use to. I kept pushing on. Made it to the Eastern edge of Hell(aka Nebraska) after dark, changed my jets and unloaded all of my gear(the extra quart of oil I brought somehow busted a hole and leaked all over the inside, dripping out of my gear bag). Nothing like smelling like 20/50 Mobile 1 synthetic during an entire two week trip, every stop, women were all over me. Was still having trouble firing the bike up, but if I pulled the enrichener, everything fired fine. I was aiming for Kung Fu Tap and Taco in Des Moines before last call, so, again, kept pushing on.

I ripped into Des Moines after 1am and hit the bar by 1:30. Walked in, ordered a double shot of beam and a beer to get a jump start on a much needed intoxication after a 700 mile day. Generously, Fatty called the bar and informed the bartender Craig(who fucking rocks by the way) that I was a friend and whatever I needed was on the house. Being a bartender myself, I tip generously. We ended up shooting the shit after hours and I drank myself stupid, pulling my bike into the bar by the end of it all. Some carb issues were first priority the following day, so I made the patio picnic table my bed for the night and got some shut-eye.

The next day was gonna be a long one...

Lincoln, NE. Oil, everywhere.

Funk in Kung Fu for the night.

My bed the first night on the road, I've had worse.

*Thanks to Fatty and Jeff for letting me crash at their bar and drink my troubles away, if only temporarily.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pitch It Like It's Hot...and wet.

Stay high, stay dry. My momma didn't raise no dummy.

Unlike some fools who wake up early and like to rev their engines to let everyone know they rode their motorcycle, I like to sleep. If it isn't some idiot starting his bike at 6 am, the sun hitting your tent and scorching the inside to unbearable temperatures is another annoying wake up call. Morning shade while tent camping is priceless after a long night of drinking whiskey and beer. Find a tree and whichever way is east, then set up accordingly...or sweat it out once the sun comes up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The only attraction I visited the short while I was in NYC. Talk about crazy security to get in here, like going through an airport check. A little over the top, cops on edge, paranoia. The man, everywhere.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wandering Gypsies

A few of us got ahead of the pack Friday when there was a crack-up towards the middle of the group. Sat at a shell station waiting for the rest to catch up to us. Here's footage of when they finally did. No stopping for stop signs, no stopping for red lights, only for gas. This is only a small fraction of the 400+ bikes on the Gypsy Run this past weekend.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


With my delay in Des Moines, I had less than three days to get from Denver to NYC. Pulled into Jersey on Wednesday evening, checked mapquest, and wrote directions to downtown New York - pasting them on my gas tank... It helps to attempt this during the day. As I got closer, the sky got darker. Directions are pretty hard to read in the dark, with cars all around you. But, I made it. Shitty streets, people everywhere, and crazy ass taxi drivers. Almost got clipped a couple times, did a lot of lane splitting, and threw the middle finger more times than I can count. I did love NYC though, what a fucking zoo.

On my way back to Colorado now, slowly, through Wisco and Minnesota. The Gypsy Run ruled, Walter puts on one hell of a run. Also caught up with the Cannonball Run last night in Sandusky, Ohio. Those are for a different time and post...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back at It

After passing out on a bar picnic table the night before, I spent my entire labor day fixing my bike on the patio at kung fu tap and taco in Des Moines, hungover. First my carb, then my throttle cable because of the dumbass way I went about fixing my carb. That's for another post....

Raced across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio today. 90+ weather, thick fog rolling at night, and bugs everywhere.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


After a long day of going over my bike on thursday(as well as wednesday) and getting it ready for my trip, Rich and I threw my old 3.5 gallon mustang tank on the backbone for some extra mileage between gas stops. It was sitting around my garage coated in primer, so I had it painted and sealed(supposedly) last summer and haven't used it since my Austin trip back in October of 2010, keeping it covered ever since it was sprayed. It looked good on the backbone and I felt good knowing I'd get further, especially in NYC traffic if needed.

Obviously, my foreplay didn't get her off, cuz my bike started shutting down on me east of Denver yesterday. To make matters worse, I completely smashed up my car thirty minutes before I left Denver. Not a good start to my day, but the ending would be just as bad in my opinion. My car is one thing - I drive a shit-box to support my bike addiction - my motorcycles are everything to me...

My bike started sputtering on me around 80 miles into my trip. So, I pulled onto an off-ramp and checked the bike over, trying to see any obvious signs of what was wrong. Nothing. Got back on the bike and blasted back onto the highway, only to have it start acting up again. Once more, I coasted onto an off-ramp and under an overpass to get in the shade. This time, I rang Rich and went over what was going on. He walked me through it and I fucked with the fuel system for a bit. Headed east again, but another 20 miles down the road, still no luck. Stopped in Limon, CO and went over everything again, cleaning my filter, blowing out my fuel lines to clear any debris, and adding some fuel injector cleaner. Another 45 miles down the highway, sure enough, it started up again. Pulled off in some shit-town, trying it all over again, this time draining the float-bowl and cursing at it(which doesn't help by the way). Finally, I gave up, figuring that I'd get further by heading back to Denver and having the shop to work in than to keep trying to diagnose it on the road. I was getting nowhere but further away from home. Heading back towards Denver, I got approximately ten miles before it shut down as I pulled onto an off-ramp once more. I was over it...

I called Rich and he came 300 miles round-trip to save my ass in the middle of the night. Talk about a friend, a damn good one. We got back to his place at 3am and I passed out on his basement couch. Woke up this morning and got to work on it right away. Checked the ignition, it was good. Checked for loose connections or an electrical problem, nothing. Then the two of us started in on the float-bowl, fuel lines, fuel filter, and that damn mustang tank. First off, tried draining the tank from the pet-cock, a slow trickle and that was that - problem solved. We continued to clean out the lines, filter, float-bowl, and pet-cock. Oh, and I put my narrowed sporty tank back on. That mustang was draining debris down my lines and clogging my shit up, not allowing the carb to get enough gas.

So, early tomorrow, I'm gonna try another attempt at this cross-country trip of mine. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do the Blue Ridge Parkway like I wanted, but, I don't give a shit. I was able to fix my problem and still have time to try again. This time, I'll be rolling 1,800 miles in three and a half days instead of 2,000+ in five and a half. Again, at least I get another shot and with a little luck, I'll be able to get to NY and do this camping/riding/drunken bro-fest known as the Gypsy Run.

If you never try, you'll never know. I may break down, I may hit horrible weather, I may crash? Hell, I may do all three, but that's the chance I take. I'd rather take that chance than sit at home, go to work, and live a normal life.

Here I go -

Thursday, with the 3.5 on the back-bone, ready to rock

Limon, CO - My second(out of three) try at diagnosing the problem. Full moon up above the gas over-hanging.

Flagler, CO - Where I finally gave up and waited for Rich to come save the day. Again, full moon bearing down on me.

Today at the shop, getting the problem fixed correctly

As always, a HUGE thanks to Irish Rich, my brother and best friend. I'll see you in two weeks.