I forgot the best part! The macarena

Sorry if I didn't answer your question, but I think I got to most of them. 11 hours later, my carpal tunnel is killing me and I need to go outside. Thanks for all the questions guys.

Last year, I quit my job in Illinois, put all of my belongings in storage except a backpack, and rode my motorcycle 22,000 miles through all 48 continental U.S. states. Name a major U.S. city, I was probably there. I was inspired to do an AMA by this post.

I stayed with friends and family, camped, and used couchsurfing to find places to stay, only staying in a hotel 5 nights and a hostel 2 nights. I survived a hurricane, an earthquake, and an attempt at getting me to join the creepiest cult I've ever heard of. I occasionally planned out which cities I would be in over the next 2-3 days for lodging purposes, but the route was only ever planned out the morning of (or sometimes the afternoon, depending on how much I drank with whomever I stayed with).

The trip was exactly 100 days of travel from June 2 to September 17, with a few days break at the halfway point where I flew from Vegas back to Illinois to see family for an extended weekend, and then flew back out to Vegas and started up again. Here's a map.

It's the kind of trip that you expect to be pretty cool, but it was way better than I ever could have expected - so many random things just sort of happen to you when you're open to it. Here's a brief photo album with a few things from the trip, including a map of my route for the entire trip.

I have tons of stories from the trip - from the Chicago stock trader who retired to Montana, to watching the Seattle 4th of July fireworks on a yacht with people I'd met the day before, to clinging to a lamppost in New Orleans hoping my friend would find me and lead me back to the hotel - so fire away.

EDIT: Since it's the most asked question: I started the trip with about $10k saved up (I had been an engineer, single, with a roommate, in a low cost-of-living area). I finished with about $1000, and by the time I got a job, had a significant amount of credit card debt.

Gas was probably about $1700 I think. I get about 50mpg, so 22k miles/50mpg = 440 gallons, and gas was between $3.20 (Wyoming) and $4+ (big cities/California), so yeah, around $1700.

I spent most of my money on food and beer.

EDIT2: I was 25 when I started the trip, and single/no kids. That's why I did it now, when I had time and availability.

EDIT3: Here's the major stories that I've posted:

Crazy, Act 1: You Ain't Shittin

Crazy, Act 2: Rooster Guy

Crazy, The Finale: Cult Story

Yacht Story

First to a Car Accident

Drivers in the South

Here's my Packing List

EDIT4 The Bike was a 2007 Honda Shadow Aero. I bought it for $5500 with 2900 miles on it in 2009. It had about 10,000 miles on it when I started the trip.

EDIT5 Why not all 50? Alaska: An extra two weeks, and I had to be in Vegas by a certain date to catch a flight back to the midwest to see family. Hawaii: An extra $1000 to ship my bike over and back and fly over and back, as well as an extra week or more to wait for the bike to be shipped each way. They're on the list, I will get the motorcycle to them in the next year or two.

Comments: 1686 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

[deleted]313 karma

Did you get laid at all?

LookInTheDog178 karma

Of course the post that I ignore is the one that gets upvoted.

The answer I gave to one of the other posts: I'm somewhat of a SAP, so not as often as I could have, but often enough.

devilhorn61 karma

Seriously---I thought maybe the Couchsurfing would aid you getting getting some action....

LookInTheDog117 karma

Yeah, it does.

EDIT: since it got buried below, here's an addendum:

Yeah this is a good point I probably should have clarified.

I'm awkward around people I don't know. I'm much less awkward once I've started a conversation with someone and we're talking. CS gives me that opportunity in an easy way. Therefore, it makes it way easier for me to get to know someone and not be awkward.

That happens to also be conducive to getting some action, but it is by no means the reason I CS nor do I expect to get some when I stay with a girl I met through CS. Just happens that girls find me a lot less creepy once they get to know me.

davidzet32 karma

I CS a lot and I just want to interject that while it's POSSIBLE to hook up on CS, it's NOT EXPECTED. There are a lot of creeps on CS who think they are getting a free bed and blowjob and they fuck things up for the rest of us, so don't be an asshat.

CS is REALLY for meeting people and sharing a little time on the earth. I host young girls all the, often for their own good. That said, I met my (now ex-) GF on CS, so yes -- like every other point in life -- sometimes you meet someone you want to date (or have a one nighter).

LookInTheDog20 karma

Yeah this is a good point I probably should have clarified.

I'm awkward around people I don't know. I'm much less awkward once I've started a conversation with someone and we're talking. CS gives me that opportunity in an easy way. Therefore, it makes it way easier for me to get to know someone and not be awkward.

That happens to also be conducive to getting some action, but it is by no means the reason I CS nor do I expect to get some when I stay with a girl I met through CS. Just happens that girls find me a lot less creepy once they get to know me.

no_smalltalk171 karma

as a Canadian, I have to say that poutine looks all wrong and disgusting

LookInTheDog78 karma

It's "philly cheese steak" poutine. I did try regular poutine too. And while they were both good while I was drunk, I don't know that I'll be trying them again.

mappvohio110 karma


LookInTheDog82 karma

Yeah seriously. At least I got the ticket revoked though. I took like 15 pictures of that sign and the ones down the street that were covered up by branches, and the one the other way where the sign was probably supposed to be there but got pulled down. I went down to the courthouse to complain about the ticket, but then there was an earthquake and they wouldn't let me in.

artofwelding102 karma

LookInTheDog42 karma

Seriously. That's pretty much what happened.

thratty91 karma

48 US states... Including Alaska. But not Kansas. Nobody wants to go to Kansas.

LookInTheDog80 karma

Note how I just brushed the edge of Kansas. And Nebraska, for that matter.

I drove from central Illinois to Denver once, and went through Kansas. Never again.

El_Giganto59 karma

It's hard to ask about your stories, because I have no idea what they're about... What was the most interesting one in your opinion?

Also, I'm interested to hear about that cult...

LookInTheDog193 karma

Alright, the cult story is a long one. I wrote it up somewhere else, so I'm just going to copy and paste it for now, I'll fill in details if needed.

As I pulled into Ft. Bragg, CA I spotted North Coast brewery on the side of the road. I'd stopped at a brewery for lunch, but North Coast makes a few beers that I'm a pretty big fan of, so it's probably worth stopping, even if that means I'm not making it any farther tonight.

After dinner and a sampler of beers, I decided to head to Starbucks to charge my phone for a bit since it was almost dead, and I needed to find a place to camp. I got there at 8:30 - the sign said they closed at 9, but that should be long enough to look up a few places to go, and hopefully keep it going until I make it to a place to camp. I grabbed a hot chocolate, sat down, and started looking up places to camp.

While I was sitting there, a woman walked in. She had blond, greasy hair that didn't reach her shoulders, slicked back over her head. There wasn't much else of note about her, other than the fact that after she got her drink, she did a sort of half-nod at me - you know, the kind where your head just goes up, a sign of acknowledgment or greeting. I did the same back, and went back to my phone.

Apparently she took that as a signal to come talk to me.

Well, crap. She first asks me about my helmet, which was sitting on the ground next to my bike outside: "You don't usually lock up your helmet? Aren't you worried about it getting stolen?" I explained that I pretty much always keep my bike in sight if my stuff is on it, and who's going to steal a helmet anyway? There's no market for used helmets because no one wants to buy one, so anyone who's stealing a helmet is probably using it, and therefore a biker. Biker's tend to stick together - heck, we wave at each other even if we've never met and never will.

She seemed to accept that, but then asked about my saddle bags: "They're just leather saddlebags. I'd be worried someone would cut them open and steal things." Alright, now this is just getting creepy... are you casing my bike for things to steal? I told her that I didn't have anything too valuable in the saddlebags - rain gear and a little food, a few tools, nothing else.

She then started talking about this new business idea that she had, that she's trying to get started with a guy in Ft. Bragg. She wants to take your Honda Accord or similar 4-door sedan, take out the back seats, and put a kitchen in there. Because then, it's a home on the move - you could lean the front seat back and sleep there, and cook anything you want in the back seat with an oven and stove and microwave. I just went along with this whole story and feigned interest. There's no way that would work, and no way I would want to do it to my car, and I've actually lived out of my car before. Not to mention - a sedan? Really? Not a hatchback or a van or something else?

At some point in the conversation, she starts with "Now don't take this the wrong way, but your hair..." My head was shaved at the time, as it was for the entire first half of the trip and for a few weeks before the trip, so I've heard lots of these kinds of comments. I was fully ready for "Are you going bald or something?" or "Isn't it cold?" or "Did you do it to be more aerodynamic on the bike?" Or one of my favorites I've gotten - "You look pretty good with your head shaved. It doesn't even look all that much like a penis."

So I was ready for those, but that's not what I got at all. Instead, she says "Now don't take this the wrong way, but your hair... are you a ritual killer?"

LookInTheDog168 karma



Ha. That's gotta be a joke that I don't get, something about skinheads or something. So I said, with a bit of a smirk on my face, "Not while I'm awake - maybe I sleepwalk."

No smile from her, no laugh. Completely deadpan, "Because around here, people with shaved heads are ritual killers."

"Oh. Um, nope. Not me. I just felt like shaving my head."

(Sidenote: my favorite part of telling this story is watching people's reaction as I say the ritual killer line. Every time - every single person - the reaction takes at least an entire second to process. They just stare at me, face frozen, for a second or two before they even have any facial reactions to what I said.)

She then proceeds to tell me about these ritual killings, and this cult. She told me about how they look for incorruptibles (which she then informed me are "people who can't be corrupted" - thanks, didn't know that), children, or infants for their blood sacrifices. At this point, I'm wondering if I should call the cops and let them know about this lady or something.

Apparently ritual killers are first level of the cult. "Have you ever seen a guy with a ponytail?" "Uhh.. sure." "They're the third level of the cult."

At some point during this conversation, I started thinking about how funny it would be to tell this story later, and was imagining texting my friends about it, and that made me want to laugh. I had to keep from busting out laughing because it was so surreal, which left a smirk on my face. She noticed this, and, with one of the most serious faces I've ever seen, said "You don't seem to be taking this very seriously." "I - uh... I just haven't ever heard anything about this before." She then estimated that about 30% of the population of the United States has witnessed one of these rituals, and that 10% have actually participated. Sure they have, lady, sure they have. I had to spend the rest of the conversation making sure I didn't think about telling the story later, so that I didn't crack up.

Fortunately, Starbucks closed pretty soon after that, and she went her way and I went mine. Though I was somewhat paranoid that she was following me - I was planning on camping, which wasn't very comforting. While I was searching for a campsite however, I circled through a pitch black campground (it ended up being full), so I would have noticed if anyone else was driving through there. I also pulled a few U-turns on my way (because I missed turns), so I'm pretty sure I would have lost someone who was following me, or at least known they were. Which is good, since I camped in an empty lot in a cul-de-sac near the beach, and there weren't many houses nearby.

The next morning I got up early before anybody saw me camping illegally, and headed to McDonald's where I met another crazy guy (I can fill in that story later too). I got some breakfast, but the fog wasn't clearing, so I decided to head to Starbucks and get some work done.

I sat and worked on some routes, dates, and other trip stuff, and was spending some time trying to write some quick javascript to add my map to the blog (didn't find an easy way to do it) while listening to music.

And she walked into Starbucks. Crap.

She had said she was traveling - so I assumed I wouldn't see her in the same place. She came in wearing a hat and sunglasses, got a drink, and when she saw me, gave me a little half wave. I nodded, but kept my headphones in and immediately went back to my computer screen to make it clear I was busy. She sat down at a table near me and started working on something - writing in a small book about the size of a checkbook. I ignored her.

About 10 minutes later, she came over to my table and set down a note. I gave a nod of acknowledgement, but ignored the note and kept working. A few minutes later she set a pamphlet down next to the note, and then walked out, at which point I felt it would be safe to read the note. And here is what I found: Image


When it rains in Ft Bragg it snows. That's Christmas for HUNTS. Stick around. Get any job. Acquire a Honda 4-dr Sedan & contact Chris Perkins & Son to convert it into a "Home On The Move."

Do the Cult 5+ ways. Ritual Killer, Translater, Military, Sanctifier, Tranquilizor. A Justifier justifies "just as if you've never sinned."

They don't respect their babies and children. We don't either. They call on the blood of Christ to save them. We do too. They believe in eternal life like a Vampire. We do, too. Only - we do it better.

[name], M.S. VATIKAN INK


Redeem all of them.

Alright, this stuff is downright crazy. I think that last paragraph is a comparison to Christianity - I believe that's who "they" are. She also left a pamphlet which was relatively normal: Front, Back

This has the same name on it as the note - I'm not sure if she wrote the pamphlet, or if she found it and then decided that was her name.

But the story doesn't end there - a few days later, farther south in California with my friend and her husband, we were inspired to do some googling. And man did that turn up some gems. We'd find one, use a keyword from that to search more, and find more stuff. And it was... well, it makes the note above look completely normal. I mean, we're talking "the best way to get someone to tell the truth is to extract their fingernails, toenails, teeth, and gonads" crazy. "There are truth-finding instruments for sale in any Wal-Mart. Use a tackle box." The parts that are actually coherent (which are rare) are either scary or hilarious. General Ross Perot and his army are mentioned in multiple postings. EDIT: C'mon Reddit, let's see what you can turn up from this lady.

I'm not going to link to them (for googling reasons again), but if you want, I'll send you the links. Or you can do the googling on your own - enjoy yourself.

After reading these things, I was glad that I made it away from her with all my fingernails - she has some serious screwed up stuff going on in her head. I think every single thing we found that she posted online was essentially within a one-month period around May of 2010, so I have a feeling she spent a month alternating between taking some hardcore drugs and sitting down to post something on the internet.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of the cult.

HamzasSister105 karma

I googled her name first link she was arrested in 2010 in san diego... guess where I live . . .

LookInTheDog123 karma

Wait wtf... how did I miss that. I live in SD too...

[deleted]30 karma


LookInTheDog13 karma

Damn... I'm glad I missed that road. That sounds exactly like something I would have taken.

And 240 miles?? Dang. I can do about 135 before I flip to reserve and then I have 40-50 more at most.

[deleted]26 karma


LookInTheDog41 karma

Username relevant

EDIT: deleted post this responds to originally contained her name.

LookInTheDog11 karma

"Subject: Gay Jews conspired with gay Rome to re-write the Bible centuries before Christ."

Man I gotta go back and read some of this stuff. This stuff is gold, man.

Gil_V38 karma

Did you listen to Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild on any part of your trip?

LookInTheDog54 karma

...dangit. I missed an opportunity, didn't I? I didn't even have that in my music library. That problem has now been resolved.

I listened to a ton of music, but eventually even got sick of listening to music and started listening to podcasts instead.

Paranatural8 karma

What podcasts?

LookInTheDog18 karma

Let's see.. My favorite was Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I also listened to This American Life, Radiolab, Freakonomics, The Moth... and some others that I listened to for a while and then gave up on. Those were the regulars though.

Im_a_redditor_AMA33 karma

Did you go to bars by y ourself or was it mostly going to bars with the couch surfing / friends?

I would be interested in something like this, but if you are a SAP and was able to get that many friends to let you crash on their couch, I would think I'm 50 million times more SAP than you. I would estimate being able to get 3 friends to let me crash at their place. 3 of them live in the city I'm currently in...

How many hours of travelling did you do a day?

Besides having some awesome stories, how do you think this has changed you? Are you more social now? Are you able to command attention because you have so many stories? Does the fact that you biked through the country come up alot now-a-days?

How much did the whole trip cost?

LookInTheDog42 karma

I went by myself if I was by myself, or with CSers if they wanted to go. I actually kind of like going to bars by myself because it forces me to meet new people. If I'm with someone else, I only talk to them because it's more comfortable. But I met some pretty cool people by just sitting at the bar and talking to the bartender or the people next to me.

I guess I'm a SAP until I really get to know people, and then I tend to be really social. It's when I'm around people I don't know that I have major issues. So all the people I stayed with (who weren't couchsurfers) were friends from high school/college/post college who at one point I had hung out with regularly. And a lot of family members too.

I traveled 6-8 hours a day usually. If I was staying with someone, I'd travel morning, eat lunch, travel afternoon, and arrive around dinner. If I was camping, I'd usually travel in the morning, find a chair in Panera and sit on the computer for hours, and then travel in the evening before finding a place to camp.

I don't know that I command attention any more than before... I mean it's not something you can just bring up randomly without sounding a little douchey. Sometimes it comes up, sometimes it doesn't, but I did it more for me than to have stories.

I had about $10,000 saved up, and I think I ended up with about $1000 at the end of the trip. I ate out a lot and drank a lot of beers though, so it could definitely be done cheaper.

ZeCliffHanger27 karma

Im from Portland, OR. How weird was our city?

LookInTheDog167 karma

My favorite part of Portland: playing "Hipster or Homeless." Hardest city ever for that game.

OregonDucks2 karma

How did you like Eugene Oregon?

LookInTheDog6 karma

It was pretty sweet, I went to Voodoo Donuts and got a fruit loops donut.

Dojobra25 karma

Michigan has the best beaches! Did you make it to the sleeping bear dunes?

thechitowncubs9 karma


LookInTheDog18 karma

Yup, that's the picture of the Michigan beaches I put in. That was pretty cool, I gotta say.

frostbotz24 karma

did you ever get pulled over? did anyone ever have road rage? did you see any accidents happen right before your eyes? BTW I finally got my motorcycle license and saving up for a Harley Forty Eight _^

LookInTheDog72 karma

Didn't get pulled over - I don't really speed on the motorcycle. Didn't have road rage - I try not to piss people off when they can kill me.

I did see an accident, sort of. This one's kind of a long story, so I'll copy and paste it.

After I left Austin in the morning around 11, I headed down towards Shiner, TX to check out the Spoetzl brewery, which is where Shiner Bock and other beers are made. I got there just before 2:00, and they had a tour starting at 2:30, so I decided to wait around. It was pretty crowded in their gift shop, especially after the 1:30 tour got done and they all came in to get their beer samples, so I sat in the side room where they were showing a 10-minute video on Shiner that was produced in 1998. I know it was 10 minutes, because after it got back to where I started watching it, I looked at my phone and was bummed that I still had 20 minutes to kill until the tour. And then my phone died, so I couldn't even use that to distract me.

Finally, a few minutes before the tour was supposed to start (I assume), I just decided I didn't really want to go on it. I was tired, I just wanted to get to a coffeeshop and get a cold drink and relax and charge my phone. So I left the brewery, went and got some gas, and then headed east out of town on a road that I hoped would take me where I wanted to go - I didn't know because I couldn't check the directions on my phone.

I think I'd gone less than 20 miles, when I noticed a white pickup truck on the side of the road. At first I thought they were just parked there, next to the field. Then I noticed that it looked a little smashed up - the drivers side doors looked like they weren't lined up quite right, and I thought I could see the windshield shattered. It seemed weird, because there didn't appear to be anyone in the car, there wasn't anyone else around, and it looked like someone had just abandoned the truck there, all smashed up. That didn't seem like something that the cops would do. As I went by, I looked more closely, and when I got over to the other side of the truck, I saw just how badly it was smashed up - the entire passenger side was crumpled in, wrapped around the telephone pole. And -

No way. There was what looked like a hand sticking out of the passenger side of the car.

From the look of the truck... there was no way someone on the passenger side could have survived. Maybe the driver side, but I hadn't seen anyone in it when I went by. I didn't look all that closely though.. it was possible. I pulled a quick U-turn and headed back to the truck. As I was pulling up, I could see the airbag fluttering in the wind inside the truck. I pulled over on the side of the road and put the kickstand down, and then ran over to the driver side of the truck, helmet still on.

There was someone in there.

A woman, probably in her 70's or 80's. Gray curly hair. Blood on her face, mostly coming from her nose and dripping down over her lips and down her chin, and some on her eyebrow as well. Her face was already somewhat discolored from bruising, making it look grayish or greenish... almost like she was already dead.

But she wasn't. As I came up to the car I heard her saying something, and when I got closer I realized she was saying "Help me, help me." Over and over. When I came into her view, she looked at me and her cries for help turned into begging me for help. Her eyes were grayish and cloudy, and filled with panic. It was hard to look at them.

She was the only one in the car, fortunately. I realized that it had been her arm reaching out the passenger side of the car - the passenger door was now closer to her than the driver door, the car had smashed into the pole so hard.

I smelled gasoline, and something else. Blood maybe? I don't know. It smelled horrible.

The gasoline was really not good - this part of Texas has gotten rain maybe two days this summer, and the grass is extremely dry. Every county has a burn ban in effect, and it's obvious why. The truck was out in the middle of a field of dry grass that would go up in a second if there was any fire.

Her window was up and her door was jammed so I couldn't open it. I did a quick check to see if there was anything I could do immediately, and asked if she was okay. I asked if she thought anything was broken, or if she was bleeding badly. The only response I got from her was more pleas of "Help me." I guessed that she was in shock.

I ran back to the road to flag someone down. As I left the car, I could hear her cries of "Help me" become more desperate.

My cellphone had just died back in Shiner, so I couldn't even call 911. Fortunately a car was coming by right then, so I waved frantically for them to stop. For a second I thought they weren't going to - they seemed to be going faster than they should have if they were stopping. But they did, and I ran to their window and told them that someone was in the car, that they were alive but hurt but hopefully not horribly, and that they should call 911. The wife started calling immediately, and the husband got out and followed me as I ran back to the car.

When I got back to the car, I could hear her still saying "help me" over and over. I told her that help was on the way, that the paramedics were coming. Then her eyelids dropped... and her chin went to her chest. I tried to get her to talk to me again - "Ma'am, are you okay? Ma'am, look at me. Ma'am?" She didn't respond, but her chest was still moving - she was still breathing.

The guy from the car came over and looked over the car and the woman, and confirmed what I had thought - we probably shouldn't move her, it smelled like gasoline, and holy cow she must have hit that telephone pole hard. Then he said something I hadn't thought of - "If it starts on fire, we're just going to have to try to get that door open and get her out of there anyway."

It's hard to express how helpless I felt right then. I couldn't help her. If she had been bleeding badly or needed medical attention, there wasn't much I could do. I couldn't get the door open, and even if I could, what would I have done? Until the paramedics showed up, all I could do was stand there and talk to her.

More people stopped. The sheriff got there after what felt like forever, but was probably a few minutes. He tried the door, and then called in for the jaws of life to open it. A little later, though, and with the help of a hammer that someone else brought over, he was able to break out the window of the back door on the driver side and get the driver door unlocked and then pry it open with the hammer.

They were also able to get her purse out of the back of the truck so that they could find out her name. They pulled her cellphone out, and one of the guys handed it to me and asked if I could look up the last person she called and call them. So I found her recent call list, and called the last one on the list... and this guy's phone started ringing. The guy who had handed me the phone. Who had pulled up in a truck towing a trailer with a backhoe. I'm not sure if it was coming from me dialing, or if it was coincidence, and I didn't get to find out. Right about then, the paramedics showed up, and I had to move my bike so they could park down in the grass next to her car.

The paramedics eventually got her onto a stretcher, and right about then, the two other guys who had stopped about the same time as me decided to leave, so I did too. As I pulled away I kept picturing her bloody face, yellowing from the bruising, the panic in her glassy eyes pleading with me as she kept repeating "help me" over and over again.

Even now, I can still taste that horrible smell in the back of my throat. When I stopped a bit ago to fill up my gas tank, the smell of the gas reminded me of being back there.

I wondered as I pulled away what had happened. It took at least five minutes before any of us figured out how the car had gotten to the pole. The truck was on the west side of the telephone pole (I had originally approached from the west), so I thought she'd been going east like me when she hit it, but there weren't any obvious tire tracks from that direction - though there were a few parts from her car strewn out that way.

Eventually, I saw the tracks on the other side of the pole - she had been traveling west, and hit the pole so hard that the car spun 180 degrees around it. The tracks were strange too - they were in the grass for a pretty long distance, which made it seem like she hadn't reacted for quite some time after getting into the grass. Maybe she'd been asleep or something. And the tracks went pretty straight right up to the pole, yet the side of her car was completely smashed in, so maybe she had tried to react at the last second and that had caused the car to slide sideways into the pole.

I'm not sure what happened. I'm not sure how badly she was hurt. I was too scared to ask the paramedics. But I want to know if she's okay - I'm just not sure how to do that. Maybe call the police department or closest hospital?

LookInTheDog33 karma

Goddamn. Even just re-reading this is tough for me. Brings back the smell and the way her face looked.

irvinestrangler24 karma

How much sex did you have on the trip? Stories.

havocjewel13 karma

This. Sex and/or masturbation. Go.

LookInTheDog104 karma

I have masturbated in every state, AMA.

capgetsreal18 karma

Which state was best?

LookInTheDog27 karma

North Korea

ElGoddamnDorado23 karma

Sounds amazing! How was Texas? Flat? Hot as hell? Wasn't this around when part of the state is was literally on fire?

What stood out most to you between the D/FW, Austin, and Houston area?

How did you react when your bike suddenly turned into a horse upon crossing state lines?

LookInTheDog42 karma

Texas was flat and hot as hell, yes. It was during the drought - I don't know how many times I saw patches of grass on that were charred black on the side of the road from a random wildfire that started up. When I was in Austin, there were actually boats that were usually parked in the lake... that were just sitting on dry ground because the water level had gotten so low.

The thing about riding in that heat is that no matter how fast you go, the air doesn't cool you off - when it's 110, the air's hotter than you. But it does dry you off from the evaporation. Except for the parts that don't get air... a.k.a your butt and crotch. So every day I got off the bike, I'd be hot but dry, except my butt would just be drenched to the point of a large, visible wet patch on the back of my pants. It was miserable.

Favorite parts... well, I didn't spend much time in Houston, I stayed in Katy with a couchsurfer. It was interesting because the Rick Perry rally was the next day, and he was also hosting some people on their way to that. So they were... interesting.

D/FW I was out in Denton mostly with a 2nd cousin who bartends. That was an absolutely amazing night, because he knows all the bartenders from other bars, so we drank almost for free the entire night.

Austin is amazing, I would definitely live there. I went to.. Music on the Lawn? I forget what it's called, but the Old 97's played and I got to see it for free while everyone toked up in this giant field. It was pretty sweet.

I was not surprised at all when Roxanne (my bike) turned into a horse, as she's always had that spirit in her. I think she was disappointed when she had to go back to being a bike in Oklahoma though.

dynohack10 karma

Blues on the Green at Zilker Park in Austin?

LookInTheDog7 karma

Zilker park, yeah. I googled it, and actually found the performance from last August.

manghorst23 karma

Was there ever a point where you thought of quitting and just going home?

LookInTheDog33 karma

Not really. Maybe one of the first few nights? Once I got into the swing of things it was pretty smooth sailing.

Although to be fair, I did fly back home in the middle of the trip and saw family and friends for an extended weekend, so it's not like I got homesick or anything.

Gyang19322 karma

Are you the modern Forrest Gump? and What cities did you go through in Oklahoma and what did you do there?? i hoped you loved it, its been my home for 10 years.

LookInTheDog35 karma

In Oklahoma I just kinda cut through back roads. I didn't find someone to couchsurf with in Oklahoma City, so I went to motorcycleroads.us and found some good roads and took them.

Actually, Oklahoma was the absolute worst camping experience of my trip. I'd been riding through curvy roads all day, and it was starting to get dark, but still blazing hot. I was looking for a place to camp, when suddenly a deer ran out right in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and didn't hit him, but it scared the crap out of me (the only motorcycle accident was from hitting a deer at 60 mph - I hate those fucking forest rats). So I ended up just finding some grass on the side of the road, pulling over, and setting up camp.

Except it was still about 92 degrees, even at 10pm. And zero breeze. I opened up both sides of my tent to try to get air moving through, but I still had sweat literally pooling up on my chest.

I finally got to sleep, only to be woken up about a few hours later by the wind trying to blow my tent away. I then spent the next few hours trying to continually re-stake my tent and keep the pouring rain out of the tent. It went from no wind at all, to 40-50mph gusts and raindrops so big they slap you upside the face on their way to the ground.

I survived the night, but didn't really sleep much until about 2am. And since I was sort of camping in someone's front yard, every engine or set of headlights woke me up, and I finally just got up at 6am and started riding again.

Omvega17 karma

I definitely like to hear the yacht story.

LookInTheDog46 karma

This is kind of a long one, so I'm going to copy/paste from when I've told it before.

So on the 3rd of July (a Sunday) after leaving an Ultimate Frisbee tournament I'd spent Saturday at, I went over to a friend's place. I played frisbee with him in college, and he grew up in Seattle and is back there, so I was excited to see him and had planned on hanging out a bit while I was here, and maybe crashing at his place for a night or two. When I called him up to see what he was up to, he told me he happened to be having a barbecue at his place on the 3rd, so the timing worked out perfectly for me to stop by.

We spent the afternoon hanging out and eating hot dogs and some amazing marinated steak, kicking a soccer ball around, and watching the sunset with a bunch of people, and then once the sun was down, had a dance party and stayed up til the wee hours of the morning. Even though Dave was the only one I knew at the start of the party, I had an awesome time and met a whole bunch of people.

At one point in the party, one of the girls asked what I was doing for the Fourth, and I said that I didn't know - I'd probably find some place to watch the Seattle fireworks show. "Why don't you come over to our place and watch them from the dock? We're having a house party, and our place is just over a dock on the lake." Well, I'm not going about to turn down an offer like that.

So the next day after wandering around downtown Seattle for about six hours, I headed over to their place. When I got there I learned that plans had changed (not that I knew what the plans were in the first place). It turned out, instead of hanging out at her house, we were going to head out to her friend's boat to watch the fireworks from the lake. So we packed up some stuff in a waterproof bag, hopped on a little dinghy, motored our way out to the boat and climbed up onto this yacht. There was a ton of food on the boat, and a bunch of people to talk to and hang out with.

At some point, some of the people I came with decided to go into the lake. Despite being just next to the ocean, Lake Washington is freshwater, though a bit chilly still. So they hopped up on the roof of the boat - about 25 feet up - and jumped in. Well, I don't have swim trunks with me on this trip, and what I've been using the few times I needed them is some mesh shorts with compression shorts underneath. Unfortunately, I hadn't grabbed them when we left the dock, so they weren't on the boat with me. I really wanted to go swimming though - more accurately, I really wanted to jump off the roof of the boat.

So after a (very brief - no pun intended) internal discussion, I stripped down to my underwear, climbed on top of the boat, and jumped in. We spent a while in the water tossing a water polo ball back and forth - a few of the people play on a team, so I got the type of instruction I'd probably give someone if we were tossing a frisbee around and they'd never thrown before (make sure you cup the ball when you catch it, don't catch it with a flat palm, etc.). It was interesting to learn a little about a sport I've never gotten into at all before.

It was pretty cold climbing out, but worth it to get back to the top of the boat and jump in again. And after some more swimming, some more hanging out on the boat, and some awesome grilled chicken, we all sat up on the front of the boat and watched the fireworks - which were being shot off a barge a couple hundred yards away from us.

After that, we were going to head back to shore on the dinghy. Unfortunately, the dinghy had other ideas, and was apparently tired out from trips back and forth between the dock and the boats all day, and wasn't going to start no matter what. So we waited while a friend who had a boat found us and pulled up next to us, and we all hopped over and transferred our stuff over, and headed back.

While we were on that boat, I overheard a guy say that he was an electrical engineer, so I jumped into the conversation and started talking to him a bit - turns out he works for a Swiss company named Toradex that just opened an office in Seattle. We chatted a bit, and it seemed like something I'd really be interested in doing, so he gave me a card, and I'm definitely going to check it out once I'm looking for a job. That would possibly one of the weirdest networking stories ever - "How'd you get this job?" "I went to a party with a friend, met some other people there who invited me to their place the next day, ended up going out on their friend's boat instead, on the way back the dinghy broke when we were going to head out, so their other friend took us back on his boat, and he happened to have a guy on the boat who worked for the company and I overheard him say he was an electrical engineer, and got his card."

Once we got back, there was still the issue of getting the (non-operational) dinghy from the dock of the boat we took back, to the girls' dock. So we went all Navy Seal on that dinghy and hauled it up on our shoulders all the way back to the slip where it belonged. Other than someone almost falling in, the only hold up was a skeptical woman on the dock:

"What are you guys doing??" "Hahaha, we're carrying a dinghy." "No. Seriously, tell me what the hell are you guys doing?!?" "... uh, we're carrying a dinghy. From the place where it got towed to, to the slip it belongs in. Because the engine's broken." "Oh. Well... you better not wake up my husband, or he'll be pissed!"

Once we got that taken care of, we went upstairs and sat in the hot tub for about hour, and then ate a bunch of the leftover food from the day. Everybody crashed on a couch, a bed, or the trampoline, and we called it a day around 2am.

billy61-22717 karma

I think you spent fewer miles in my state than any other one :(

How did you like Fargo?

How did you like the Dakotas in general? I've lived in SD and ND my whole life, and I'm always curious how they compare to the rest of the nation - because they get a bad rep but I like them.

LookInTheDog9 karma

My favorite part of Fargo: I was about an hour away in MN and stopped for dinner. I asked the waitress how far it was to Fargo.

"Um, prolly about an hour. Or an hour fifteen if you're going to West Fargo, because Fargo's pretty big."

I like Western South Dakota. I haven't been to much of North Dakota, and I find Eastern South Dakota to be boring as hell.

[deleted]14 karma

What's it like not having kids?

LookInTheDog25 karma

I want kids a lot. I really will love having kids, I'm sure. But right now... it's fucking amazing. That's why I did this now.

[deleted]5 karma

Thanks for answering, you have my envy.

I get tingles in my spine just thinking about quitting my job and bailing out for some "real living". Good on you.

LookInTheDog7 karma

So... why haven't you done it?

[deleted]14 karma

I think the 2 kids and wife might not like it. As much as I sometimes would like to be, I'm no "deadbeat" dad.

To answer your question, the reason I don't do it is because my life is no longer my own. Many people depend on me, and I'm not the type to let them down.

Either way, you, and what you did are still fucking awesome.

LookInTheDog12 karma

Ah. Yeah, kids'll do it.

Though, random story. When I was waiting for Old Faithful to go off in Yellowstone, I started talking to a family nearby. Parents, two kids probably 2 years old and 6 months old. Started talking to them, and it turned out he was on Paternity leave from his job, and she works from home, so they'd just taken off and traveled down the West Coast of the U.S. and were coming back up through national parks. 5 month trip. With two kids.

So, maybe it's still doable.

drusteeby12 karma

What motorcycle did you take on your trip? From your pictures it looks like you're pretty passionate about them. I plan on buying one as soon as I can afford it!

LookInTheDog19 karma

2007 Honda Shadow Aero, bought it in 2009 with 2900 miles on it. I love it, but I'm probably going to get something new soon (still keeping the old one though).

somedude45611 karma

Sounds like an amazing adventure. Shame you missed out on driving through Yosemite National Park in CA. That place is amazing.

LookInTheDog13 karma

I live in California now, which was the plan, so I didn't worry too much about missing things out here. I knew I'd have a chance to come back and see them.

garyy11 karma

What kind of items did you make sure you took with you that you thought were essential? Tent, sleeping bag, food items? Toiletries?

LookInTheDog21 karma

That's pretty much it. Didn't even have much food, just enough in case I couldn't find a restaurant.

I guess you'll be the lucky guy who gets the packing list as a reply. This is copied and pasted from something that had pictures and links, but I'm sure you guys can find that if you want.

I have with one backpack, two saddlebags, and a luggage rack with a few things on it. That doesn't leave me much room for packing, but I've made do with what I have. Now that I'm almost done with the trip, I'm finally getting around to listing what I packed for this trip (I actually started this post in Portland, OR, and I've worked on it multiple times over the trip). Here's what I put in the backpack - I'll cover the other stuff later.

Backpack: Ortlieb Flight 27

The big benefit of this backpack is that it's waterproof (and dustproof), so I can strap it on the back of my motorcycle and not worry if it's wet or muddy. I can tuck my electronic chargers in the front pocket, and the back pocket is big enough for everything else I have. The backpack is about the same width as my laptop, so that fits perfectly in the back of the pack, and I can pack everything else in front of it, which allows me to slide it in and out without unpacking or repacking the rest of it most of the time.

It has one organizer pocket with three sleeves which I tuck a few important things into, and everything else goes in the main pocket. The main downsides are the lack of organization, and the zippers are tough to pull because they're waterproof (and they require lubrication every once in a while to keep them moving well).

Laptop: Lenovo T420

A pretty even balance of power, small size, and low cost, the biggest benefit of this laptop is the battery life - I've got a 9-cell battery and an additional 9-cell slice battery. With the screen brightness low I can keep it running for 20 hours or more without a charge, which is nice when I'm camping out a few days in a row. The long battery life also means that it can serve as my phone charger when I'm camping without worrying too much about the laptop dying, which is useful.

I'd prefer if it were a little lighter - it's the heaviest thing in my backpack by a pretty big margin, and the spare battery contributes quite a bit to that. If I was camping less, I'd probably ditch the spare battery. I'd also prefer a solid state drive and then replace the CD drive with a larger hard drive - that way it would be faster while still having plenty of space. I already filled up about two-thirds of the drive, mostly with music and TV shows, so a little more room would be nice.

I keep it in a sleeve I won from a contest on ScienceBlogs, which lets me not worry so much about tossing my backpack around a little bit.

Camera: Sony NEX-5

I got this camera just before leaving on the trip, and I've loved it. It's hardly bigger than a point-and-shoot, but produces much higher quality pictures, and is upgradable - at some point I'll probably get the zoom lens for it, and there are adapters to allow you to use most DSLR lenses.

The one downside of the base model is that the lens doesn't have any zoom at all. There is digital zoom on the camera, but it makes focusing much more difficult and produces lower-quality pictures. But in a pinch it can work just fine.

It connects through mini-USB, but I don't ever hook it up to my laptop - I have an SD card slot on the side of the laptop, so I transfer pictures that way. I also have a spare battery, and a plug-in battery charger

Shirts: Icebreaker rules the day here. I have four t-shirts, one long-sleeve base layer, and a sweater. Tech T Lite - This is my oldest Icebreaker shirt, and I rarely wear it - it has a small hole in the back, so I mainly wear it when I'm doing other laundry, or when I'm doing something that might damage the shirt (like when I went mountain biking. Hopper - I have two of these, different colors. Probably my favorite Icebreaker shirts. I have one other one that's similar feel/fit to the Hopper, but is black with gray around the neck and sleeves. It doesn't appear to be on the Icebreaker website anymore, but it's labeled as "Superfine Lite" Oasis Crewe - This is the base layer. Used it a ton up by Yellowstone/Glacier/Rockies, then went from Seattle until Toronto without using it. The last week or so I've used it a few times, and it's a life-saver on cold days. Icebreaker Sport 320 (can't find it on their site) - This plus the base layer has been enough for all but the coldest of days, even when riding. The only times I've been cold have been in Yellowstone, when it was 33 degrees when I woke up, and when I got snowed on in the Rockies.

Underwear/Socks: This is all Icebreaker as well. I have two pairs of underwear and two pairs of socks, and frequently when I shower, I take my underwear and socks in the shower with me and wash them with my soap (listed below). This keeps them fresh, since they're usually the first thing to start smelling, so I can go a little longer without doing actual laundry.

Bodyfit 150 Boxers - At the risk of giving too much info, these are a perfect fit. I had Icebreaker briefs for a while, and they were uncomfortably tight. The boxers aren't loose like most boxers, so they actually still work well for athletic stuff. Lite Crew Socks - Two pairs of these. These actually do end up smelling pretty quickly if I don't wash them in the shower, one of the few Icebreaker things that do. Pants: Gander Mountain Convertible Pants

This is the color my pants started out as. Now they're much lighter.

This is my only pair of pants. I would prefer nylon pants for traveling, but that's not so good for the motorcycle. These are the thing that most frequently dictates my laundry schedule, especially after a few hot days where (sorry, probably TMI) my butt sweats a ton since it doesn't get any breeze while I'm on the bike. The convertible part is nice - it means I can get off the motorcycle and be in shorts quickly, without needing to really change. So I'm pretty much ready to hike in a few seconds.

The cargo pockets are also nice, especially since they're above the break, so whether I'm in shorts or pants, I don't have to switch things between pockets. The only time things come out of my pockets are when I do laundry.

Other Clothes: Starter Loose-Fit Compression Shorts and Starter Dri-Star Compression Shorts These are both just cheap things from Walmart, but the shorts are some of the most comfortable ones I've ever owned. The shorts are what I sleep in, and the combo of the two serves as athletic gear and my swimming suit, as well as being what I wear when I'm doing laundry. They dry out pretty quickly, and I haven't had any problems with them smelling except after some extremely vigorous frisbee in hot weather.

LookInTheDog10 karma


Dr. Bronner's I'm packing relatively light for toiletries. The main thing is the soap - I'm using Dr. Bronner's soap for everything. It's my soap, shampoo, laundry detergent for when I wash stuff in the shower, dish soap, and anything else that needs soap.

GoToob I carry two 3oz containers of the soap in GoToobs. These things rock - they're easily squeezable, the opening is designed so stuff won't come out until you squeeze them even if the lid is off, and when the lid is closed they will not leak no matter how hard you squeeze the bottle (unless the lid is loose - learned that the hard way). You can even get them with a suction cup on the side, so you can just stick them to the side of the shower and leave the lid open, and then just squeeze out soap when you need it.

The bulk of my toiletries is for shaving - for the first half of the trip I was shaving my head every few days. I have a Merkur Travel Razor, which is a safety razor. That means I usually just pick up some double sided razor blades from a drugstore or something, no cartridges or special blades necessary. There's usually only one kind at any given drugstore, so whatever they have is what I get. The downside is that airport security doesn't like them - I had a couple packs confiscated when flying from O'Hare back to Las Vegas.

I also keep with me a shaving brush - with the shaving cream I started the trip with (in a GoToob, of course) it wasn't strictly necessary, but lately I've switched and started using a bar of shaving soap, which does require a brush. I tried the soap when I first started shaving with a safety razor, but I think my skin was extra sensitive because I hadn't used the safety razor for long, so I didn't like it. But once I ran out of the shaving cream (and couldn't find a similar one that I liked at the store), I switched back to the soap - and it's been working fine.

I use an MSR packtowel - this thing is starting to get ratty, because it doubles as the towel I use to wipe the dew off my bike. This towel is also one of the driving laundry pieces, as it's synthetic and smells bad much sooner than any of the Icebreaker stuff. On the plus side, it packs small and dries quickly. Often I end up not even using it if the people I'm staying with provide a towel, but it has definitely come in handy quite a bit. I definitely wouldn't travel without a towel.

The rest of the toiletries are pretty standard. I use a pretty simple travel toothbrush, nothing special there, and a regular travel tube of whatever toothpaste I found at the store when I ran out. For deodorant I use Tom's Natural Unscented. It works, but I'm not passionate about it or anything. I also carry a cheap pair of nail clippers and toenail clippers.

Other Electronics

Cooler Master 95W laptop brick - This is nice for two reasons: (1) the cord from the brick to the laptop is long, and (2) there's a USB charger on it, which I use to charge my phone anytime my laptop is plugged in. It's a small brick too, which is nice.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse - I don't use a mouse often, but this one is nice because it packs so light. It lays flat when it's off, and then to turn it on you simply bend it. The USB dongle is extremely small and I wouldn't feel worried that it would break off if I left it in the laptop while packing the laptop back in the backpack. Otherwise, the bottom of the mouse is slightly magnetic which lets you stick the dongle to the mouse when you're not using it, so it doesn't get lost. The scroll wheel on the mouse is a touchpad, and I don't really like the "throw" on it - when you flick your finger down to scroll, it holds too much momentum, far more than a normal mousewheel. There might be a setting to change that, but I haven't taken the time to find it.

Belkin Micro Power Kit - I have this whole kit with me, including the car charger despite not having a 12V jack on my bike (I was planning on adding it at some point, but ran out of time). The AC/DC wall charger is what I use anytime I need to charge the phone but not the laptop.

I also have a standard USB to iPod connector, the original USB to micro-USB cable from my first Droid (which is nice because it's short), and a micro-USB to mini-USB adapter to charge my camera - which I never use. I have a spare battery which I charge in a standard plug-in charger whenever one of them is low.

Droid Charge Dock - I got this for free from Verizon when I bought my new phone (a Droid Charge), and while it's big, I keep it around for the benefit of the spare battery charger. I can use it to charge a spare battery separately from the phone, which is a HUGE benefit for me. With my old phone I always kept a spare battery, but if I ever used it, I had to first charge it back to full, then switch to the dead battery and start charging it. This way I can just plug in the spare battery and continue using my phone, and then once the spare battery is charged, start charging my phone.

I say "and then" because I've tried charging both at once before, with sub-optimal results. An overnight charge of both resulted in a half-full spare battery (but a full main battery at least). That's a downside, but one I'm willing to put up with for the benefit of a charger that lets me charge a battery out of the phone.

I think that's pretty much it for the backpack. I try to keep it as light as possible so that it's not uncomfortable to carry around if I'm going to be away from the motorcycle for a while. Let me know if you think there's a place I can improve my packing list.

Wilbur_Cobb9 karma

How much money did you have when you quit your job? Did you live off of savings or did you have to have to find other ways to make money?

LookInTheDog12 karma

Lived off savings. I would love to find a way to make money that I could do while traveling like that, but I don't know if that's an option for me. I have a hard time motivating myself to work unless I'm actually in an office working with other people.

isamyuncle9 karma

what was the best place you drove throught? and what was the best food you had and where did you get it?

LookInTheDog31 karma

Best place how? Best people? Best scenery? Best sightseeing? Best road for a motorcycle?

If you're just looking for best overall.. I'd have to say Highway 1 in California. I had been looking forward to taking my motorcycle on that road since I got a motorcycle, and it was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. Amazing view, fun curves and hills, and a nice cool breeze blowing in off the ocean. Those were definitely some of my favorite days of riding.

Mines_of_Moria11 karma

Did you go inland at all, or just ride highway 1 south the entire way? I ended up going inland and back to highway 1 between the top of california and SF and found the roads to be unbelievably windy (lots of turns, not gusts of air). I couldn't get out of 3rd gear in my civic si driving as hard as possible and was in 2nd for the majority of the time.

LookInTheDog20 karma

I wanted to ride the entire coastline, so that's what I did. I went inland in Oregon to hit Portland and Eugene, and I stayed in Stockton with a friend, but that's about it.

And windy roads are exactly what I like. I don't care if I'm going 20mph, if I'm scraping my pegs on the ground, I'm a happy guy.

teeski088 karma

What was your favorite city of all?

LookInTheDog22 karma

Seattle. Not necessarily because of the city, but just because I went in with zero plans, and had three of the best, most randomly awesome days of the trip. Though honestly, there were a lot of really cool cities.

One of the things I was kind of surprised by was how much I really wouldn't mind living in any city in the U.S. Granted, I was couchsurfing, which means I ended up meeting a skewed cross-section of the population - couchsurfers are very different, but have many things in common across the world. But almost every city I went to, I enjoyed and could see myself potentially living in.

atwoheadedcat8 karma

What did you do when you came to New Hampshire?

LookInTheDog8 karma

Honestly, not much. I mostly just passed through on my way from Portland, Maine up to the Ben and Jerry's headquarters. It was right after Hurricane Irene came through, so a lot of things were closed, there was a lot of cleanup going on, etc.

amnesiatits7 karma

What are you doing now that the trip is over? (Did you get a new job, start planning another road trip, etc.)

That is an awful lot of riding. I'm not really good at calculating driving times, but did you spend most of the trip on the road, or did you have a decent amount of down time to do sight seeing and exploring and stuff? And if you did, what was the most fun touristy things you did, and were there any that you would say aren't worth people's time?

LookInTheDog16 karma

My plan was to get back, chill with friends and family for a few weeks, and then find a job. I ended up chilling for about 7 months, but found a job out in San Diego that I'm loving now. I am already planning the next roadtrip.

The trip was 22,000 miles, so for 100 days = 220 miles a day average. That's heavily weighted towards the beginning of the trip when I was out west, though. From D.C. to Philly to New York to Boston was about 11 days, 443 miles. Out west, 11 days would have been around 3500 miles.

300 miles a day was about my average out west - the longest day was 420 miles (from Memphis to New Orleans actually). But 300 miles is still pretty long on back-roads, with gas and food stops thrown in. It was usually 6-8 hours of riding each day, and I picked routes in a way that let the riding be the sightseeing a lot of times.

Touristy things... I rented a mountain bike when I was in Whistler up in B.C., which was awesome. In the summer they change every other ski-lift chair into a bike rack, so you put your bike on and then ride the chair that comes after it, and then at the top get your bike off and ride down the hill. No uphill riding at all.

Actually, the best tourist thing by far was the EMP museum in Seattle. That museum is absolutely amazing, especially if you're into music or sci-fi stuff.

As for things that aren't worth people's time... there's a lot. I mean honestly, I mostly avoided tourist stuff. When you're by yourself, what do you do? Hey, there's a famous building. I'll take a picture. Now what?

When I travel, I'll see the tourist stuff, but I'll usually leave pretty quick afterwards. Then I'll go find something to do instead of something to see.

[deleted]7 karma


LookInTheDog25 karma

  • Drivers sucked in the south in general

  • Nope, I don't really speed on the motorcycle.

  • Either Rooster Guy or "You Ain't shittin' " guy. (Note: this happened in between the two experiences with the crazy cult lady, and rooster guy was the next day. It was a weird few days.)

Allow me to present some theater.

Act 1

McDonald's in Fort Bragg, CA, early - about 6am. The employees bustle around behind the counter preparing for the day, but the restaurant is mostly empy. Our hero waits near the counter for his order, and a lone Old Man waits at a nearby table with a cup of coffee, staring out the window. He has thinning white hair, glassy eyes, and a dirty white mustache that hangs down his chin. The hairs just above his lip are stained yellow.

Old Man: (With a nod towards the parking lot) Is that your bike out there?

LookInTheDog: Yeah. (A confused look. Who else's would it be?)

Old Man: Where ya comin' from?

LookInTheDog: I camped just down the street a little way. It's a little too early for any serious riding, it's pretty chilly outside this morning.

Old Man: You ain't shittin'. I been thinkin' about gettin' myself a bike.

LookInTheDog: Yeah? What kind are you thinking about?

Old Man: I'd be gettin' one of them crotch rockets. I need me some power.

LookInTheDog: I wouldn't mind one, but you can't exactly take a trip around the country on one. At least not if you want to be able to stand up straight when you're done.

Old Man: You ain't shittin'. How big's your bike?

LookInTheDog: It's a midsize, 750cc. It's not huge, but it's enough for cruising.

Old Man: You ain't shittin'. Where you headin?

LookInTheDog: Well, I'm taking my motorcycle through all 48 lower states this summer, so right now I'm heading down the coast.

Old Man: Damn, you ain't shittin', that's a long ride.

LookInTheDogfood arrives. He grabs his tray, but as he's walking over to sit down, the man continues. LookInTheDogstands awkwardly with tray in hand.

Old Man: Is that all the stuff you got? (Gestures at backpack near LookInTheDog's table)

LookInTheDog: Yeah, I pack pretty light.

Old Man: You ain't shittin'. You got shit in those saddlebags too?

LookInTheDog: Just some food on one side, and rain gear in the other. It's hard to get anywhere if you can't ever ride in the rain.

Old Man: You ain't shittin'.

The conversation contiues similarly for a little longer. Eventually, the Old Man stares out the window and says no more, and LookInTheDog drifts slowly towards his table, sitting down and eating.

[deleted]8 karma


LookInTheDog7 karma

I ain't shittin. I did that earlier.

Foot_Fetish_Fred6 karma


LookInTheDog8 karma

Is there anything interesting to do in Delaware?

I went to Dogfish Head Brewery, I think that's about it.

Wide_Ocean6 karma

What's your best piece of advice to someone who wants to embark on a similar trip, perhaps just in a different vehicle?

LookInTheDog18 karma

Leave your plans open. Always be willing to say yes (that's from one of my favorite blogs, and was a big part of my inspiration to do this trip). And couchsurf - you'll meet so many cool people and see so many things you otherwise would never know about.

Sovietcafe6 karma

What time of year did you come through Montana? And what did you think of it here? From your map, it doesn't look like you took the I90 pass to Idaho, which is good, because it would have been terrifying on a motorcycle.

LookInTheDog4 karma

I didn't, but I do remember I-90 from Butte to Missoula being somewhat terrifying anyway. That was the only time I've ever been on an Interstate where I felt unsafe going the speed limit.

I was there at the end of June. I actually tried to go up to Going To The Sun Road, but they were still plowing it - some parts still had 14 feet of snow at the end of June.

And I loved Montana. It was gorgeous, and it was one of the more interesting couchsurfing experiences staying here with a retired stockbroker from Chicago. He made dinner with venison from a deer he'd killed himself, told me stories about the mob and corrupt cops in Chicago (I grew up a few hours west of Chicago), and let me use his hot tub and sleep on his hammock for the night.

Gorgeous motorcycle riding too. A little too much wildlife on the roads for my tastes though.

RamRam_5 karma

Do you still talk to some of the people you met during your trip?

LookInTheDog12 karma

Definitely. I'm facebook friends with a bunch of them, and I stopped and saw a few when I moved from Illinois to California. If I'm ever traveling through one of their cities or they come to mine, I guarantee we'll hang out again.

Some people I didn't bond with all that much, but there were a good number of them who, after one night, I would consider a friend.

ilemi5 karma

How did you afford it / what was your biggest expenditure after fuel?

LookInTheDog8 karma

Saved up. I was a single engineer in a low cost-of-living area with a roommate and no debt.

Biggest expenditure: beer. Actually, probably food, but I ate expensive food because I ate at places that served good beer. I spent more on beer/food than on gas.

Here's a few of the beer samplers I had on the trip.

EDIT: I think the album may be screwed up, imgur's been giving me problems lately. You get the idea though.

fawky_4 karma

Did anything on the bike brake? Chain, Tyres?

LookInTheDog24 karma

No mechanical failures at all. Honda FTW. And shaft drive is nice too.

I did have to get new tires, but that's to be expected. Rear tires are supposed to last about 5,000 miles - I went 14,000 on my rear tire before remembering that, noticing that the rubber was completely gone in one spot, and getting a new rear/front tire at the same time.

I did 5 regular maintenance/oil change stops throughout the trip too, about every 4k miles.

KeepDiscoEvil4 karma

This is a pretty fantastic post/story - thanks for sharing!

Can you tell us more about the motorcycle you used for your trip? And did you plan to stop at various mechanic shops around the country on your trip, or was it something that you took it as it went in regards to making sure your bike was running well and good?

LookInTheDog4 karma

It was a Honda Shadow Aero, 750 cc, 2007 model. I got it in 2009 with 2900 miles, and when I started the trip it had about 10,000 on it. I had a windshield, sissy bar, and luggage rack, as well as saddlebags.

I didn't plan out maintenance - I didn't plan out anything on the trip, except that halfway through I'd be in Vegas. Basically, when I got around 4000 miles, I'd look a city or two ahead for a bike shop, and call them up until I found one that could get me in for an oil change/maintenance on short notice. The Shadow is shaft drive, so that's nice for a little less to worry about - no chain to keep lubed.

wtighe024 karma

How did you wash clothing and how many pairs did you bring considering you only had one backpack?

LookInTheDog12 karma

I wore Icebreaker shirts, socks, and underwear. Their stuff almost never smells, doesn't wrinkle much, and dries quickly. It's absolutely amazing stuff. One time I wore one of their shirts to work out, sweat through it, and let it dry. Then I had my roommate try to decide between that shirt and a clean one which one I'd wore, and he couldn't tell.

So I did laundry about once every 3 weeks or so. Now, socks and underwear I washed daily, especially when it was blazing hot like it was in Texas. I would just take off my socks and underwear when I got into the shower and take them in with me, wash them in there, and then let them dry while I was wearing the other pair.

I had 3 t-shirts, one long-sleeve base layer, one light sweater, two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and one pair of "convertible" pants that zipped off at the knee. I had my motorcycle boots and a pair of invisible shoes sandals.

sf73 karma

How badly did your right hand hurt after it had a few days off from all that riding?

I went out to Sturgis last year and after that week I took a day or two off from the bike and my thumb wouldn't work.

LookInTheDog6 karma

Not at all. I was certain it was going to be bad, but it wasn't. I don't know if I'm just really good at resting in ergonomic positions or what.

My wrist hurt for the first couple days, but then I remembered I'd had the same problem when I started riding - it was from tipping the bike off the kickstand by pushing with my hand. Once I started using my legs to tip the bike up, that cleared up right away.

How was Sturgis? I kinda want to go sometime, but it sounds pretty crazy. The Black Hills was one of my absolute favorite riding areas though.