Today is my last day on the road…

Today is my last day on the road….

I’ve been putting in some long days in the saddle and I’m currently in northern Virginia. To sum up the last few days since leaving the Florida Keys, I met my friends John and Sabine in Miami just before they caught their flight to Brazil…we had a great time! I rode through Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and took the Blue Ridge Parkway which is nothing short of spectacular! Today I’ll be arriving back in NJ to see many the friends I haven’t seen in ten months. Like all good things, this trip too must end…

More posts to follow soon…

Day 308 – Key West to Knight Key, Florida

Day 308 – Key West to Knight Key, Florida        06/25/11        Mileage: 53

I was a little slow out of the chute this morning no thanks to the beer and Jagger last night I’m sure. I lingered in the comfort of my air-conditioned and immaculately clean room that came complete with a flush toilet, hot and cold running water and a TV with English channels….luxury. But soon it was time to pack the bike and hit the road north. I made my way up to Knight Key where I found a nice RV/campground right on the water.

But what sold it was a cool little tiki bar walking distance away. So, after I setup camp I wandered over to the Sunset Grill for dinner and some drinks.

It is a cool place right on the water, the food is great and it’s a good spot to watch the sunset over the water.

This is not going to make my transition back into the “real” world any easier…that’s fro sure…

Day 307 – Miami to Key West, Florida

Day 307 – Miami to Key West, Florida         06/24/11        Mileage: 166

It was only 160 or so miles from Miami down to Key West and the southernmost point in the continental US, so that seemed like something too good to pass up. Or, maybe it was Duval St that beckoned, but either way I packed the bike and hit the road south for one last time. The riding was hot but the scenery was more than making up for it.

I had a great lunch overlooking the water…

Once I arrived in Key West I made my way down to the southernmost point in the US for the requisite photo.

Got the requisite picture at the southernmost point in the continental USA…

….and in front of Capt. Tony’s Saloon!

Even though it was supposedly the off season, there was quite a crowd in town and I had a hell of a time finding a room in Key West, but did eventually track one down for $180…making it the most expensive hotel room on this trip so far…ouch. But, there was no time to dwell on that fact when Duval St. and it’s many famous bars beckon. So after quickly unpacking, I made my way downtown to commence a Duval Crawl.

My first stop was Capt. Tony’s made famous in part by Jimmy Buffett.

Next I stopped into Sloppy Joe’s which had 2 hilarious guys on stage singing songs you knew by heart, but with dirty lyrics…it was hysterical!

Instead of “I Have Friends in Low PLaces” by Garth Brooks…they sang “I Lick Girls in Low PLaces”…and that’s all I can say on the “G” rated blog!

I stayed to the end of their act and then made my way over to the Hogs Breath Saloon for a beer.

Straight to the point. And they did have good pizza…

Next I headed down Duval St. to Fogarty’s and then on the Jimmy Buffett’s Margaretville.

Next up was Willie T’s followed by The Bull and Whistle Bar, but ended up spending most of the rest of the night in Durty Harry’s. 

Inside Durty Harry’s….

For me and my buddy Erik…me an ex-Coastie…and Erik an ex-Naval aviator…

They had a great cover band, ice cold Jagger and PBR’s….nuff said….

Day 51 – San Diego, CA

Day 51 – San Diego, CA     10/11/10     Mileage: Local miles

 Today I had some last minute errands to run before going south of the border into Mexico, so after saying goodbye to Bob and Janet, I was off. First stop was REI to return a cook set that decided against. Next was the bank to get some gringo hundred dollar bills…but it was a bank holiday…crap! Oh well, next stop was Starbucks to get a coffee, send some emails, make some calls and upload some blog posts. As I was sitting there at an outside table, I guy on an F650 pulled up and introduced himself. His name is Philipp and he is from Brazil but living in San Diego. It turns out he made the run from San Diego to Deadhorse last year…pretty cool! He had planned on making the run to Tierra del Fuego this year but had to put it off until next year.

Philipp and his BMW F650

He’s also planning on starting up a motorcycle touring operation in SoCal aimed at Brazilian tourists. I told him to keep me in mind if he needs a guide in around 6 months! Ha! By the time I got done with everything, it was a bit too late to start into Mexico, so I found a campsite right near the border and packed it in. Tomorrow I’ll be able to cross into Mexico after a quick stop at the bank for some greenbacks…

Day 50 – San Diego, CA

Day 50 – San Diego, CA     10/10/10     Mileage: Local miles

The morning was SoCal spectacular and we had breakfast outside on the patio. Bob and Janet’s neighbor Norma joined us and she is a real character…in addition to being a total cougar! Lol! She happens to be from Bolivia originally and traveled in Baja Mexico quite a bit, so she gave me some great information and contacts for the road(Thanks Norma!).  After breakfast we adjourned to Bob’s man cave, otherwise known as the garage. And what a 3 car garage it is… I’d be proud to call it my living room! The walls are adorned with racing posters and memorabilia and pictures of Bob from his days racing Formula V and Formula Ford race cars.

Me and my Uncle Bob...

Bob's man cave...I love it! One of these days...

Me and Janet...

Me and Norma...

Bob and Janet's house...

 There also happens to be BMW 335i turbo hard-top convertible parked in there also…so that spiffs things up a bit! After that I was off to run some errands and change the KLR’s oil.

The old turkey pan in the parking lot oil change trick...

And no trip to SoCal would be complete without a stop at In-N-Out…so I got that done also!

In-N-Out...a SoCal institution!

This place was hoppin! Look how many they have working behind the counter!

Back at the house, Janet had another nice dinner prepared and Norma joined us for a drink as well. We had some great laughs and good conversation before calling it a night. Tomorrow I’ll be heading for Mexico after taking care of some last minute tasks.

Day 49 – Los Angeles, CA to San Diego, CA

Day 49 – Los Angeles, CA to San Diego, CA     10/09/10     Mileage: 133

After a nice breakfast with Steve and the family, I packed up the bike and hit the road. My destination was my Uncle Bob’s house in San Diego, but I had one stop to make along the way in Lomita to get 2 new tires put on the bike. Once at MC Tireworks in Lomita, I was greeted by Mike who had arranged for my tires to be waiting for me…and sure enough they were! In the interest in saving time and money again, I took the wheels of myself on the side of their shop so they can swap the tires on the rims.

First the front wheel...

While the rear wheel was off, I also took the time to swap out the drive chain and both drive sprockets.

By putting the bike on the center stand and balancing the bike on one of my side boxes...I could pull off both wheels at once...

I’m not carrying a socket and breaker bar large enough to swap the front drive sprocket, but they were happy to lend one to me which was much appreciated! The owner, Paul, is also a nice guy and we chatted about bikes and the trip….and he even bought me a soda. All this took much longer than I hoped, so I got a late start down to my Uncle Bob’s and didn’t pull into his house until 7:30. I hadn’t seen him and his wife Janet for some 15 years, so it was so great to catch up with them! Janet had an excellent dinner of filet mignon and tuna steaks prepared…just a tad nicer than my regular diet of simple road food! They also have a really nice house… between the food, the house and the SoCal weather…I may never want to leave! After catching up on the years gone by and the trip, we all called it a night.

Day 48 – Los Angeles, CA

Day 48 – Los Angeles, CA     10/08/10     Mileage: Local miles

Today was all about getting the KLR serviced, and I had a service appointment at Honda of Hollywood….which is also the local Kawasaki and BMW dealer.

Honda of Hollywood (and Kawasaki and Suzuki and BMW) ...

The valves were due for adjustment, and I had to pick up a few more oil filters and other parts. I was able to save some time and a few bucks by stripping the bike myself in their parking lot.

Stripped naked and ready to be serviced...

While the bike was being serviced I went around the corner to a café to get a bite to eat and catch up on the blog. After returning the bike was ready to go (for you tech heads: intake valves were fine, exhaust valves were slightly loose and needed to be re-shimmed), so I put it back together and they gave it a full cleaning as part of the service….cool! 

Looking good and feeling good after having the valves adjusted and a good cleaning!

If only the owner looked and smelled as nice!

That was the first wash it got…aside from a quick power-wash in Fairbanks…since leaving NJ, so the KLR looked as good as new! After that was dinner with my cousin Steve, his wife Rachel, son Leor and Leor’s girlfriend Maya.

L to R: Me, Steve, Leor, Rachel and Mocha the lovable pit bull.

Steve recently published a book titled “Up in the Bronx”, which I am making my next read.

Here is a link to buy it on Amazon! ebook/dp/B0040GJDDK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286831544&sr=8-1