Posts Tagged Travel

Road Trip Roadkill Count

So here is is, my road kill count… These are based on what I am able to identify it as when I ride by it.

Deer: 23

Raccoon: 17(5 were in one spot, mom and 4 babies)

Skunk: 8

Woodchuck: 2

Rabbit: 82 – it was insane riding through Wyoming, they were everywhere, at one point it was like a slalom course.

Opossum: 14

Large bird(some type of hawk or similar bird of prey): 11

Seagull: 4

Beaver: 2

Cat: 5

Small Dog: 1

Large Dog: 1

Cow: 1

Elk: 1

Large animal unable to be identified: 9

Small animal unable to be identified: 29

Large pavement marks but no body: 45

Small pavement marks but no body: 32

Skunk smell but not see: 9


, , ,

No Comments

Road Trip Day Three

So, this was the first REAL day of my road trip, the first two  were the weekend before and their goal was just to get me to Indianapolis where I would spend 3 days working, and then kick off the real road trip from almost halfway across the country for the stuff I actually care about seeing more than just “wasting” my time driving past stuff instead of experiencing it.

So, my day started off early, I got packed up and out on the road. Most of this day was also just busy travel, I headed out from Indy on the main highway to hit up Chicago to see Kelly for lunch. Traffic was pretty smooth for the most part right up until I got on Rt. 90 to go into Chicago to meet her at her work, such is life.

I went to college with Kelly and she is from MA originally but moved out to Chicago a few years ago, so I don’t see her as much as I used to, so I take the opportunity when it presents itself. I met her at work and we went for lunch at a burger place she recently found and it was pretty awesome. I had a bacon wrapped burger that was also  served with 4 strips of bacon on top of it with the lettuce, tomato and onion, ON A PRETZEL BUN. AWESOME. I do love me giant soft pretzels!

So I left her back to work and headed out on my way. I shouldn’t have set the GPS to avoid highways yet on my trip, because of that setting, it took me the worst possible way out of Chicago I think, anyway, it took me over 2 hours to go 19 miles before I was out of traffic. Thankfully my bike isn’t air cooled otherwise I probably would have over heated. I definitely saw some sketchy parts of Chicago on the way.

I then cruised through the Illinois countryside and into the Iowa countryside, crossed the Missisippi River and got to Cedar Rapids that night, where I stayed with a nice woman, her husband and their son via I stayed on an air mattress in their computer room because they had another couchsurfer who was staying in their guest room. They were super nice and I was unfortunately super tired so I wasn’t super sociable with them as I normally would have been, but I spent some time in the morning talking and chatting about things prior to leaving. I really like the site, just wish most people were a little less flaky and it worked better for super short notice, but oh well.

This is about the route that I took to get from start to finish, just for personal privacy I didn’t put the exact addresses of where I stayed, but you can click on the picture to bring you to an interactive map at Google Maps.

, , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Road Trip Day Two

Well, I woke up and most stuff was dry, so that was good and it wasn’t raining!

I packed up and was ready to go by about 8:15, which was really good. I had a good amount of distance to travel today, so I need to get going early.

Since there was no rain, I put the fullface under the seat and put on the half helmet instead, much more comfortable to begin with and I skipped the rain pants because they aren’t the most comfortable and the legs ride up a little because the inseam isn’t long enough and my lower legs and boots get SOAKED.

Well, I got soaked anyway, the rain started lightly about 5 minutes after I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the highway. I knew there was some light rain in the area, so when it was light I was expecting it, and I was traveling west, which was going to have me drive out of the rain more quickly since I was going in the opposite direction the storm was moving. It didn’t matter, I was soaked to the bone in about 30 minutes or so. Initially just my lower legs and then it started to creep up and eventually every bit of my jeans were completely and utterly soaked, you could tell by the change in color of them, but you could tell they were completely saturated when they wouldn’t absorb any more water and it was just puddling up and running off my legs.

Fortunately, around 10:30 or 11, the rain tapered off and while the sun didn’t really come out, there were some small breaks in the clouds and it thinned out to let more light through, which warmed thing up and when I put my feet up on the highway pegs I was able to get mostly dried off.

Then when I was mostly dry, it rained again, but only a quick one for about 20 minutes, but it was enough to get me plenty went again, although it did lead to more sun and more warmth to dry me off more.

Then it rained again for about 20 minutes, and the cycle repeated itself.

Finally, around 1pm it stopped raining for me and the sun came out. It was wonderful! Warm sun, cool breeze, and dry roads that I could just cruise on. I did come to a realization while I was riding both on the dry and on the wet roads, it’s not my riding skill that I have any doubts about. I am confident in every aspect of my skill and abilities while riding. Do you know what I don’t have confidence in? My equipment, aka the bike and the tires more than anything.

My confidence is definitely rising in the equipment. At first, I was hesitant with turns because I still have flashbacks from the Europe trip when my front tire kicked out and the bike went down and I hit a car, with my leg pinned between the muffler and bumper of the car. However, after a significant amount of time riding, I became much better with dealing the wet pavement, counter steering and leaning with the turns at speed versus slowing down.

I traveled 725 miles on this day, it was almost an 11 hour day riding, I stopped for gas 5 times versus only once on the trip the day before.

I was almost annoyed when there was a mild spitting of rain when I had about 15 minutes left in my trip, but it was only quick and I didn’t show up completely soaking wet.

A few other things I realized, saw, or thought of on this day…

  • While I did not buy them because of the OCC branding on them, the orange tinted safety glasses I got are possibly one of the best riding glasses I have owned, not too much tint, but enough to cut glare and clear up sight. They also have no leakage, no bright color spots where there are gaps because they fit close to the face, like proper safety glasses should. They also stand up to small bits of sand and such that get kicked up by other vehicles.
  • Too many people don’t realize how much water is kicked up off the road when they are wet by their cars, even when not raining and they need to not pull back into a lane in front of a motorcycle as closely as they do, I am wet enough already, I don’t need you adding more to it!
  • It was really weird seeing a “Baltimore Orioles, AL East Champions” billboard in the middle of nowhere in Western PA.
  • That awkward moment when you are completely trusting of your GPS to be guiding you when all of a sudden you enter West Virginia when you think your next state in Ohio. Then you remember about that weird little shoot of WV that sticks up the western side of PA.
  • Irony of being cut off and almost hit by a vehicle with multiple “Check Twice for Motorcycles” stickers on it.
  • While I dislike grooved pavement being prepped for paving, I hate it when it’s wet even more.
  • I am not sure if there are more porn and adult toy “dens” along the highway in Ohio or fireworks stores.
  • I giggled all 3 times I saw the sign “Entering Licking County”
  • I saw 3 completely closed and shuttered Harley Davidson dealerships on the trip off the side of the highway.

, ,

No Comments

Road Trip Day One

Well, I got out a little later on day one than I wanted to, my initial plan was to leave between 8 and 9 in the morning, but I was realistic in my expectations to leave between 8 and 11 in the morning, however, in my traditional family style, I left about 11:30. Why be on time?

So things didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped. First, I had to stop in Shrewsbury at my baseball team’s manager’s house to drop him off an iPad and charger that we use for scoring the games. While we keep a book, the iPad just makes the stats easier to see and thus easier for him to not have to calculate them, and he can get them uploaded to the website a little quicker. Plus, while I am gone I think one of my teammate’s 8 year old son is going to be doing a lot of the score keeping, and he is much better on the ipad than he is with the actual book keeping score.

So, got that dropped but it wasn’t a stop totally out of the way, only added about 15-20 minutes to the trip, the real problem was the traffic on the mass pike. It was brutal, way worse than I was expecting for a Saturday, if it had been Friday I could have understood, but was rather annoying, although it did help me get used to managing the weight of the bike with all the gear at slower speeds. Much easier to manage when traveling quickly and you have the help of the bike to keep things on the level.

Then, a little over halfway through CT the rain started, it was light at first but I pulled over under a bridge and suited up. My raincoat, my bright orange rain pants, and my full face helmet. Fortunately, I chose not to attach the full face to the spot under the seat because I would have had to completely unpack almost everything to get it off the bike, and that would be no fun on the side of the highway.

Boy did it really start to rain though, I charged on though, pushed and pushed, got wetter and wetter. I actually ended up stopping a little bit early in the rain because I realized it wasn’t going to let up, and my gear wasn’t actually waterproofed, so I spent $20 at a truck stop to buy a 4’x8′ tarp that I then folded in half and bungy cord tied it around my gear, there was a small opening on the top of the back, but I figured physics would help me out given that it wouldn’t be able to have much water fall into it with me traveling at speed, which is the same reason why even though my GPS is not technically covered, it’s within an inch or two of the windshield which means any water that falls behind it will end up hitting my tank instead because the GPS moves too far horizontally while the water is falling vertically, so there is a small triangle of space that never gets hit with water.

So, after a total of 6 hours or traffic, stops and rain I realized it was time to stop for the night, sadly I had only gone about 250 miles, a tad off from the 400-450 I was hoping to make the first day. So I vowed to make it into PA and then to just stop at the first Hilton brand hotel I came across since I could use points an it wouldn’t cost me anything.

There it was, Hampton Inn, my savior, but on top of being hard to get to because there were no signs and the roads were annoying, I had another problem. While I was pretty sure I knew the answer, I asked the front desk anyway; “Can I book with points through you, or do I need to do it online?” She responds, “you need to either call Hilton or o it online.” “No problem” I say as I pull out my phone and start to look for my Hilton app, which I apparently don’t have on my new phone, and then she interrupts me and says “but that won’t do you any good, we are completely booked up for the night.”

Say WHAT?!?!?

I was truly shocked that a Hampton Inn in this area would be sold out, any Hampton Inn really, but apparently there were 2 large weddings in the area, and many of the people going were staying there. Well shoot… alright… internet save me now!

I went to Priceline and did a local search to see what I could find for a place to stay, found a place that looked a little sketchy, but the price was a little higher than I wanted, but given the scarcity of rooms in the area, I just took the opportunity to get a place to sleep and dry out for the night.

Got there, got myself unloaded and then instead of using my bike cover, I just used the tarp I had to cover the bike and tied it down with those tiny little bungees with the ball on them I never think I would use, but can’t not put in my bag of stuff because they are so small they aren’t a hassle.

Then came the drying out of everything.

I cranked the heat and put the ironing board at a low level to help dry out my jeans while I hung out in shorts, and then I put the hair dryer into my boot to get that all dried out.

Then I just laid down for awhile to dry out my brain and my body.

Then I decided to repack everything to alter where things were based on what I would need to access during the trip and what I would need at night.

Then I slept… I slept really well!

, , ,

No Comments

Road Trip 2015 – PreTrip

So, I am taking my summer vacation time and I am taking a nice long road trip and I will be taking it on my motorcycle, all packed up and heading out.

I am making the best use of my vacation time and the locations of offices my company has.

So in order to maximize my enjoyment time while riding and being able to spend the most time in places I want to see, I am eliminating some of what I call my “beat feet” time into non-vacation time. “Beat-feet” time is time where I just need to get from point A to point B and I don’t care about sight-seeing or anything like that in the middle. For example, on a trip where you are flying by airplane to get there, the “beat-feet” would be everything from home, to the airport and then the flight itself usually.

So, my company has an office in Indianapolis, and I don’t really care about seeing anything between home and Indy, so I just need to get there as quick as I can and not worry about seeing anything since I have seen most of it before and it is just not what interests me. So, I will take a weekend and travel from home to Indy and then I will crash with a co-worker who was nice enough to offer to let me stay there. This is key because it take finances into account, and keeping costs low is what will enable me to take this trip.

So now, I will be halfway(a third?) across the country and I will stay here for 4 nights, Sunday through Thursday morning and work at our office there for a few days before I head out on what is going to be the real part of my vacation.

I am taking 10 days off, which is 10 days Mon through Fri for vacation. I realized that I could give myself an extra 2 days if I was able to break up my vacation with a week of work in the middle. So I have 2 groups of 2 weekends and 2 weeks of workdays put together, for 2 sets of 9 days instead of just 1 long stretch of 16 days, 3 weekends and 2 weeks of workdays.

So how exactly do I make that work? Well my company also has an office located in Southern CA in Orange County just south of Los Angeles, so if I stay in that area for a week and work, I get my bonus 2 days thrown in there. Fortunately for me, I happen to have an aunt and uncle who live not too far from my company’s office in SoCal, so I spoke to them, and they are nice enough to let me stay with them while I am there. Win! Since again, no outright cost for a place to stay which is key. I then travel from SoCal on the way home, and will stay in Indy again for the week and work there, and then spend another Sat/Sun to travel home from Indy.

On top of this I am making my trip coincide with the weekend of July 4th, but July 4th is a Saturday, however, we are granted the 3rd of July as a day off in recognition of the July 4th holiday. So I can tack on an extra day for a stretch of 10 days instead of 9. Then, I worked Memorial Day weekend for an upgrade, which grants me a bonus free day off on the year in payment for taking away my holiday time by working. Well, let’s tack on another day to that 4th of July weekend, so I will leave on July 2nd instead of 3rd from Indy.

Now the trip, what is it I want to see? I have a list of things, this is mostly in order of what is planned to see, this may change and I will add or subtract things as fitting for the trip, all depends on time. This will be similar to my trip a couple years ago in Europe where I don’t have an exact plan of what I am doing each day, I just have a general idea of things I want to see and try to fit them in.

Week 1(11 days): Leave Indy and head towards SoCal and see the following

  • Chicago for lunch with K
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Wall Drug
  • Badlands
  • Grand Teton NP
  • Yellowstone NP
  • Lolo Pass
  • Walla Walla
  • Crater Lake
  • Redwoods
  • Lassen Volcanic NP
  • San Francisco for dinner with J&G
  • PCH/Big Sur

Week 2(9 Days): Leave SoCal and head back to Indy

  • Death Valley
  • Vegas
  • Hoover Dam
  • Grand Canyon South
  • Grand Canyon North
  • Zion NP
  • Bryce Canyon NP
  • Monument Valley
  • Four Corners

So that’s the overall trip, a lot of these things I have wanted to see, and I know I am not going to see everything in them, I mean, you can spend a week in Yellowstone, Crater Lake, or Grand Tetons by themselves, but I am going to see the highlights, and take notes for later trips when I want to spend a week somewhere. However, a lot of these places aren’t places you are going to spend a whole week of vacation going to see, they are meant to be tiny small pieces of a much larger road trip, so I am making them exactly that.

Aweosme right?


, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

All Uploaded

So they are all there, all the video from my Europe trip has been uploaded to the video sub-blog, a lot of them are kind of boring, but they are what they are, a view of some of the things I saw while riding around.

This is not yet totally complete, I am going to go back through them and adjust the dates and times of the posts the best I can to put them in some semblance of order so you know what I saw first, or saw last, and hopefully it will make some sense, although probably just to me.


**update, all the dates have been updated to pretty much when they happened, the camera’s date and time was off, but it was consistently off, so I think I got em all right now.**


No Comments

Talk About Impatience…

So i am here at the airport and it is ridiculously early. I have a 7:30 flight and it is just past 6:00am.

So there is a guy who definitely wants to be the first one on the plane for some reason. He is obviously flying first class since that’s the lane he is standing in, but thats the thing, he’s standing in line already.

The flight isn’t even scheduled to start boarding for another 45 minutes at least, and yet there he is, standing in line already and playing with his iPhone as he stands there.

I really just don’t understand why…


, ,

No Comments

495 Gets Crazy!

So, it was a Tuesday and I was swinging by my moms house to pick up here computer which is having some trouble, so I am going to fix it for her. Pretty normal stuff there, but where the interesting part comes into play is with my ride home from there.

The strange and crazy came on the way home, I cut down Allen, hit Rockland and road to Mansfield Center where I then jumped on 140 and then to 95 to 495 for the long stretch home…

So I am cruising along and going through the Milford area between exits 18 and 19. I noticed 2 cars that looked like they had spun off the road, one was facing me on the side and another had spun off and was way on the grass, so I figured I would pull over to make sure they were ok, but my brain says to pull over after then instead of before them, so I went to go wide left and then will pull over to the right.

So as I come up on them, I realized why they were over there. There was, for a lack of a better phrase, a complete shit ton of garbage all over the highway. I hit the brakes, swerved left and right and got through the obstacle course of shit all over the road and then pulled over to the right side and put on my flashers. The jetta handled beautifully though, no skidding, and the steering was nice and tight.

I open up my car door and get out to check on the other 2 cars, as I am walking back towards them, I see more cars coming up on the debris, along with a couple large trucks, lots of swerving, tire screeching and it looking like a tractor trailer was going to jackknife and roll over, I realized this was not a good thing to be going on. I grabbed my phone and called the state police to report  it, then went back to my car and grabbed the two maglights I always carry with me in the car, cuz you know, be prepared right? Seeing a truck swerving, skidding and looking like it’s going to roll over is pretty damn scary experience.

So I stayed in the breakdown lane and just was waving the flashlights in an up & down and back & forth motion at all the cars coming towards us in hopes that they would understand that to mean stop or slow down, and fortunately, they did, they all started to slow down and there was less screeching breaks and swerving to get around the stuff, although one person chose to mostly ignore me and almost rear-ended someone who slowed down to go through it all. That’s on them, pay attention to brake lights dumbass. Meanwhile I get down to the 2 cars who were on the side of the road and both of the guys from the cars were ok.

So there was some spots where there were no cars coming, so when those breaks happened, I went out to grab some of the large stuff off the roadway… the massive tarps, the dual tank air compressor, the 2×8’s, the mangled fiberglass and aluminum ladders.

I got a few of these things cleared off a statie finally showed up and parked in the middle lane to block things, and then got out and started clearing the big stuff off with me and one of the guys who was there when I pulled over. Then another statie showed up and completely blocked the whole rest of the road, so no cars were going by. I then asked the one who was cleaning off the road if we should just clear everything out of the left lane so some traffic could pass and no one would end up with a flat tire, he thought it was a good idea so we policed the lane and cleared everything out of it, the debris went for about 200-250 feet or so.

So we got the lane cleared and they opened it up to traffic in one lane.

So the stuff that was all over the road was pretty impressive. It certainly was apparent that it was from a truck that probably belonged to a contractor or carpenter of some kind. There were a couple metal ladders that were all kinds of mangled, and a fiberglass ladder that was mostly shredded but still holding together. An air compressor,  screw drivers, hammers, chisels, tool belts and bags, giant tarps, shovels, tin snips, wire cutters, pliers, staplers, drills, batteries, 10 foot 2×8’s, ladder jacks, staples, nails, screws, circular saw blades, extension cords, plywood, levels, tubes of tar and silicon, shingles and at least a half dozen home depot buckets that probably held all the stuff. The inner hoarder in me wanted to spend some time and look for anything that wasn’t totally fucked up by being dumped out onto the highway at 65mph and just keep it. I did keep a triangle square and a hammer that I picked up though, just cuz those are good to have and I can’t find any of my hammers since I moved, I think they are all over in the storage unit, plus really, who doesn’t need an extra hammer?

So got the lane clear, I was headed back to my car and was walking with one of the staties who then said something close to “This is bullshit, I don’t mind Tuesday night road duty because shit like this doesn’t happen on a Tuesday night, what a shit show.”

Checked out my car and everything appeared to be fine, so I got ready to head out. I was luckier than some of the others who ended up with flat tires, or the one guy who had the head of a shovel wedged under his car with some mystery liquid leaking out. It wasn’t oil, it wasn’t anti-freeze, it wasn’t washer fluid, and it wasn’t transmission or brake fluid… I was a bit puzzled, but not my issue…

So I drive off and about a mile or so up the road, there’s a car off to the side, so I pulled over to see if they needed anything, it was two girls just hanging out and smoking while they were waiting for AAA to come change their flat tire for them… I have an opinion on this, and I am sure you can figure out it, but I’ll just let you go with it.

I then saw a pickup truck over on the side about 3/4 of a mile up from them, so I pulled over the same to make sure they were ok… that’s when I found it… pretty sure it was the truck that lost all it’s shit out on the highway a couple miles back. Holy shit, this truck was fucked up! There are a couple pictures below that I took with my phone, so the quality is kinda crappy, but it will show you the damage to the truck. The tailgate was hanging off, front right tire was completely shredded up, but still there and there was damage to the front on both sides, the hood, the windshield and roof, but there didn’t appear to be any damage to the racks and rack supports on the back of the truck. I don’t think that the truck actually rolled over, and if it did roll over, how did it end up 3 miles down the road? Aliens maybe?

Click on the image to enlarge it.

, ,

No Comments

For the First Time… In a Long Time…

Here I am, sitting at the airport waiting for my flight. I have not been on a plane in almost a year and a half at this point, which seems weird considering I used to be on a flight 2-3 times a week at a minimum. The last time I was on a plane it was on my trip to Fantasy Camp for a vacation, so if we skip that trip it would be almost a full 2 years since I have been on a plane for work.

Logan airport hasn’t changed much, although the construction that was going on in Central Parking for over 2 years appears to be finally completed so the whole garage is now accessible for parking, and surprisingly, the cost to park a car has only increased by $2 a day in the past 2 years.

The ads are new and there is a Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Terminal C, but the kiosks and everything are still the same, and the same escalator is still not working to get down from the skyway to the concourse to check in. I still think it’s a conspiracy by the repair companies to keep them busy, same as with the T, fix them just enough to work for a bit and then break again.

Same carpets, same white rocking chairs, same vinyl rows of seats. It feels good to be back. Only trouble is that I have lost my frequent flyer status, so no free upgrade and I needed to wait in the standard security line, unlike in the past where I was able to take the super special speedy line.

I did notice one change though, what used to be the candy and nut stand halfway down the ramp to the gates is now some kind of health food stand with dried fruits and fruit juices. Yay?

I think the shoeshine guy was the same guy, although he was falling asleep and kept doing the head bob. You know the one, head resting on a hand and then you fall asleep so it slips off and then you wake up because of the jerking motion of your head falling, then you look around suspiciously to see if anyone noticed and then go back to snoozing, then repeat over and over again.

I have missed this, and while there is not much currently scheduled, I certainly hope that there is a lot more of this to come. The job looks very promising and I think this is going to end up leading to a whole lot of good things in terms of travel, professional life and personal life.

, , ,

No Comments

Ahhh, Arrived at Last!

Well, I was up nice and early this morning to finish packing and get to the airport….

That went off with no problem, the problem came when the plane I was supposed to be getting on decided to have it’s left engine stop working, in Washington DC at Dulles. SO, what was supposed to be a 11:55 flight, turned into a 2:15 flight, which meant that I could not make my connection in Chicago at 3:30…. so I ended up scheduled for a 5:05 flight instead….

On a positive note, I decided to skip taking up the option to jump onto the 1:35 flight to Chicago which was getting quite full and I would lose my window seat…. Plus, what is a half hour anyway? I will still make the connection to my flight in Chicago either way…..

It was a very unique experience when the 2:15 flight actually ended up leaving, IT WAS PACKED! 11 people on the flight! They felt bad about the delay so we got a free meal, a turkey wrap which was pretty tasty actually, and hit the spot just right.

It was nice to have an entire row to myself for the flight, the only trouble were the 2 dinks sitting in the row in front of me, 2 wise ass wannabe power execs talking to each other how they were god’s gifts to their company, the exact type where you want to just slap them across the back of the head and tell them to shut the fuck up and stop masturbating their own egos.

So I arrive in Chicago, make it over to my connection with no problem, only had to wait 5 minutes to board 🙂 perfect timing! AND I got an exit row so I had like 10 feet to stretch out in my row, and no one in the seat directly next to me!

Well, 10:15 here, so I am heading to bed since it is 1:15 my body time.

55 and raining here, people here drive worse in rain than people in MA drive in the snow! and I was just listening to the news and they had some woman who was complaining about how cold it is, it is 55!! talk about wimps! This is T Shirt weather as far as I am concerned, and wow, a 50 lb meth bust out here… that’s some crazy shit… meth is some fucked up shit, blows my mind when I think about the ingredients to make it….


No Comments