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Showing posts from November, 2008

The End?

I'm sitting at home typing on a real keyboard and using one of those nifty new Microsoft Arc mice that I bought yesterday. My giant coffee pot is happily dripping away, creating my very own cups of coffee. I spent hours last night catching up on my tv shows. Today, I have no plans other than to completely chill out - tomorrow, who knows? The day after, back to work. Over the last 17 days, I've ridden just over 4,200 miles on my motorcycle. I've ridden through ten types of desert, forest, hills, plains, mountains, and fields. I've been through pristine blue skies, horrid rain, light drizzle, blasting snow, and watched evil lightning. I've camped on sand, rock, grass, and snow, hundreds of miles from civilization and across the street from a major highway - not to mention twelve types of seedy motels. I've seen miles of empty road stretched out before me, and driven miles without being able to see the road more than a hundred yards ahead due to all the corn
My first groceries wee!
Augh I am just killing time already driven all over exploring but am so ready to unpack and CHILL!
Geared up and leaving a campsite for the last time in awhile I hope!
Pete's iron fire kitchen brings you kabobs!
Camped for the night at Carlsbad Beach - been here before but its still cool. Got groceries and gonna make kabobs!
Coast to coast! Hello Pacific Ocean!
Classic California - so many things blended together.
Haha cleaning up my phone memory and think I forgot to send this victory shot as I rolled down from the north rim in the snow.
Plan made for today! I am getting excited almost "home!" Today will be so chill only 40 or so miles and lots of sitting around on non moving seats!
Fuel in Julian - this town is so weird. A old fashioned small town and historic landmark yet surrounded by rich upper class houses and people. All the "old timers" in here are talking about board meetings, stocks and how Jobs runs Apple. Bizarre.
Camp ready for the night near Julian CA, gonna unwind for a bit after 300 miles of crazy desert and a really cool stretch of forest. Cool thing - as I was riding towards Julian it sounded familiar but its a common name so... as I rode up turns out I have been there before! Got groceries there last time I was camping in CA. So I am definitely coming to an end of the new on this journey!
Fueled up and took off extra fleece and switched gloves! SO WARM HERE! Happy happy.
Grabbing brunch in Blythe - riding 95 through the Mojave was profound.

Day 14: Ho Hum, Ho Hum

Today was great. Really chill. Exactly what I needed after all the stress of the Grand Canyon. Basically, I left Hurricane on the interstate for a bit then hit 169 South. This was an unexpected surprise - the road and views were fantastic. Pure Nevada desert, with crazy mountains and rocks and red sand and cliffs everywhere. Rode right through the Valley of Fire and was really impressed. It was a great riding road too, got to really nail it on some sweeping corners and whatnot. Got to the Hoover Dam in the early afternoon, and I'm not really sure what I felt about it. I mean, mentally I know it's an amazing feat of engineering (especially for the 1930's), but it seemed so much smaller in real life than I expected from movies/photos/etc. I kinda had this image of it being like a quarter mile long or something insane like that. Instead it seemed like a Mini Hoover Dam. Oh well. So riding through the Utah/Nevada/Arizona desert was awesome and seeing the Hoover Dam wa
Dinner and motel in Needles California!
Nevada scenery.
Hoover dam is cool but a bit underwhelming to be honest.


I am officially done with mountains and cold. Anything I can do to avoid them from here on out, it's done. Sorry, bye bye mountains. You are pretty but not for me anymore! The last couple days have been pretty weird. No data connection (hence no GPS signal) on my Blackberry so far in most of AZ, so no GPS updates for awhile now. My Verizon phone has been spotty, but at least had consistent connectivity (including digital!) in most medium size towns. In any case, I'm sure you don't care too much about that... Yesterday and this morning were sick[ening]. Sunday morning I left the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with the intent of driving around to just north of the North Rim, camping for the night, then hitting the North Rim in the morning and eventually riding out. I had almost cancelled these plans on Saturday morning when I heard that it was supposed to snow Sunday on the North Rim (as I believe I may have mentioned). Um. Oops. I made my decision Sunday morning bas
Movie time! Chillin in Hurricane Utah for the rest of the day/night.
Where I ate lunch yesterday - navajo hot beef.
Heading towards the Evil North Rim...

Day Eleven: This Must Be Done

I'm trying to stand still for thirty seconds, and it's possibly the scariest thing I have ever done. Seems simple, right? That's how long I set the exposure on the camera, all I have to do is stand in front of it and try not to be blurry. I do it all the time... Except this time it's very dark and I'm standing a few inches away from the edge of a triangular rock. On three sides of me is an inky black pit, thousands of feet of emptiness. I know there's nothing beneath me but death because I stood here in the light without a second thought. In the dark, everything is different. As I slowly count, a gibbering starts in the back of my mind. The light breeze isn't so light, it might blow me off! My knee, my knee, it doesn't feel right standing still, what if it gives out? There's nothing around for me to grab, I will fall in the dark and they will find my tripod in the morning and review a long exposure of me slipping to my death... Is that sand
This is more people than I have been around at once for fourteen days. Feels weird.
Night photos on hermits point literally inches from a couple thousand foot drop. This is the the most scary thing I have ever done.
Hehe wee!
As far as crazy places for a snack go I think this takes the cake! If I stretch out my feet they dangle over a thousand feet or so.
This is SICK!
I am about thirty miles from the Grand Canyon and stopped for food and gas. I am pretty excited! New gear is working great too, much more bearable at speed. Shaping up to be a good day!

The Grand Canyon... Day 1!

It's upper 30's outside and I'm waiting for it to warm up a bit. implies it should be bearable by 11AM. Maybe I will leave then - might work out about right. I've been doing more digging and looking around and I think this is the route I will take today (Google Maps). I get two solid views of the South Rim as well as a nice 26 mile ride along the canyon itself. Should be wicked. Unfortunately it will be in the 40's during the day and 20's at night, so camping is definitely out (almost bought a cold weather bag at that place last night but I don't have room for it - they are really bulky).

Day Ten: Have You Seen the Desert Anywhere?

Arizona has been good to me so far. Today was a simple, easy day. Left Show Low not too early, not too late and had a nice leisurely drive to the Painted Desert National Park. I had a vague inkling of what I was getting into from my research, but the reality more than matched the expectation... Basically, there's a huge beautiful desert. Some of it used to be a forest and has tons of petrified trees. Other parts are very sandy. Other parts are very rocky. Other parts used to have a river and a prehistoric town. Other parts have rocks with petroglyphs on them. Other parts have volcanic rock. Other parts are rock and sand from red mud... it's boggling! You basically ride down this road in the middle of nowhere (yep been there a few times lately) and every couple miles there is a little side road for a mile or two that takes you to an overlook where you get to see something completely different. At every stop you're overwhelmed by the sheer amazing nature of it.
My big bro used to make french silk pie on special occasions and I took the mantle after he left. Always kinda cool to have it as a result even though I rarely get to since its so bad for me!
What does it mean when I bring the average age level in a restaurant down by forty years? Then again it is a fifty year old place. The Village Inn Restaurant - seems like the original Dennys.
Thanks to these guys and two hundred bucks I have some new gear - wind proof cold weather pants and a fleece inner layer top.
Meteor Crater is huge! The pile of rubble around it is pretty wild too. Not sure if it is worth fifteen bucks but still pretty neat.
Decisions decisions! Sunset in two and a half hours, how far can I go? After yesterday I am NOT going to ride in the cold after dark...
Lunch at a historic diner and deciding where to go next.
The Painted Desert.
What a view!
Jasper Forest.
Mega petrified tree says hello! Only visited a part so far but the sheer quantity of petrified trees lying in pieces here is pretty neat.
Loading up for the day - gonna be cold again. Wearing so many layers I feel like the michelin man!

Day Nine Recap: Death on a Stick!

70MPH on a white line. On the left side of the road, a mountain face. On the right side, a sheer drop. If I twitch six inches to the right, I'm falling... falling... falling... A left turn coming up, sharp. I can see it curving back around to the right, see a few hundred yards of road - it's clear. I back off the throttle, run a perfect apex through the turn, crossing the double yellow into the other side, spinning back to mine to make the right turn under full throttle, back off again for a blind left - gotta stay on my side, might be traffic coming... got six feet of leeway to work with between the yellow line and the white line, then six inches and the drop... The road straightens out for twenty yards, another turn coming up, hard on the throttle from 30 to 70, back off and roll into the turn again... watch out for that drop! Part of me still wonders how I'm still alive - then again, I *was* really careful in general. We enthusiasts like to call it in degrees
Time to get warm I reckon!
Demolished those carnitas and four cups of coffee but my legs are still numb from the cold! I hate this part...
At 8000ft in freezing weather the joy of warm coffee is self explanatory. That road blew my mind (yet again)
Had to fix my mirror which got mucked up when I dropped the bike. This road is SICK btw.
Just had my first accident of my trip! So stupid - I was pulled over on a steep incline taking pictures and when I got on the bike again I tipped it right over! thankfully I got my leg out from under and was able to get it back up okay. Minor damage to the front brake lever which is now bent funny but everything else is okay. Ugh that was not cool. I am a bit upset at the stupidity of it.
Now it is 90 miles of nothing up the coronado trail aka the devils highway!
Haha I am riding on this road neener!
oh yeah.
Caught signal coming off the mountain! This is where I stayed last night and ate, yum.

On the road again soon!

Just finished an amazing breakfast of home-made multi-grain pancakes and sausage! Next I'm grabbing a quick shower and packing my gear on the bike and should be on the road within about an hour. Here's my planned route for the day via Google Maps (yes I am back tracking slightly). According to the locals we're due for some of the coldest weather ever this time of year, so next couple nights will be in motels rather than tents (I'm not geared for below freezing temps - already done that twice this trip and it was not fun, these upcoming nights will be worse!). Show Low should hit the spot. Also, apparently it's unlikely to see cell service until Clifton AZ. We'll see how the GPS updates come...

Flickr updates + tomorrow...

(btw if you're wondering, no cell service = no GPS updates = "track pete" is not accurate and is out of date currently!) Still feels really weird to be "on the internet" but have no cell service. I talked to one of the neighbours and apparently there is a town around 20 miles away that just had a tower put up but you have to be within a half mile or so to get service from it.. hah. Anyway I took the opportunity to update my flickr with photos from the last couple days. Here are some links to the sets: DC to San Diego Collection City of Rocks State Park Gila National Forest Mogollon Mining Ghost Town Now, as to tomorrow, looks like I will be heading back down 180 to 78 west, then up 191 aka The Devil's Highway (used to be hwy 666) and over to Show Low, a cool old town with a neat story (google it!). I'll spend the night in a motel there because it will be below freezing at night (no thanks for camping), then head up to the Petrified National Forest in

Day 7.5 Recap: Live Life, Taste Death (or: Corner Karma)

Ever taken a blind curve with a sheer drop on both sides and nothing but a few shrubs to block your view and maybe stop your slide before you fall hundreds of feet into nothing? 50+ miles from the closest town? When it's been 15+ minutes since the last car went by in the other direction? FOR HOURS?! Well, now I have. Over and over. And over. And over... I'm sitting in a little cafe/restaurant in the middle of nowhere, hijacking some power and hey - they have wifi! How sweet, considering I haven't had a data signal on either cell since leaving Silver City. And as you no doubt noticed from the lack of tracking info, I had zero signal pretty much all day yesterday too. Yep, the dead zones are still out there! So, let's recap. Yesterday I left City of Rock State Park and headed toward the Gila National Monument thingies. It was a relatively short trip however it took 3-4+ hours since it was a ton of climbing up and down mountains on very curvy dangerous roads (a
Figuring out where to go next - think I an going to go up 180 to Arizona