Thursday, July 31, 2014

7/31 - Morning on the Porch

276 miles, from Fargo, ND to Mitchell, SD, for the Klock Werks pre-Sturgis party (great time, great folks!).

Thank you goes to Nate for lunch, removing the sheared bolt from my mirror, kindness and stories of South American motorcycle adventure. It was a beautiful morning to sit on the porch and catch up on drawing, protected from the wind by the trees in his neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

7/30 - Angle Advice

315 miles, to the northernmost point in the contiguous United States!

I loved chatting with this lady at J&M store (the only store there!), what a riot. She rode everywhere with her husband before retiring in the Angle, including Alaska and Sturgis. She was on the back, and I liked how she referred to 'we' and 'us' with her husband. She would hand him drinks and snacks on the rides, and take photos. I don't think I'd like riding on the back for so long, but the way she told stories of their travels I can see why many spouses travel together.

52 miles of dirt and gravel. The Angle is wonderfully peaceful, and they get their fair share of 'adventure types' as the bartender told me. Thank you to Rick for lunch after hearing about my ride!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7/29 - Afternoon Stop

338 miles to Warroad, MN.

I got to walk through some Mississippi and meet another guy living off his bike. There's nothing like the empty of northern Minnesota... I rode for miles without seeing another human, another car, or even another home for humans. Just hundreds of perfectly straight miles of homes for food and crop, and hundreds of miles to go.

Warroad City Campground tonight. Unfurled the tent after over a month in hibernation, next to a phalanx of trailers. For an urbanite, I sure do seem to like to take the scoot to remote places.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28 - Scar Stories

337 miles to Duluth, MN.

Tonight I stayed with Soko Loco, my first derby connection! Lake Superior is like an ocean. I spent some time gazing at the huge ships in the distance, my head still buzzing from the wind from a long ride.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Plan: Angle or Bust

Just in case you were wondering if the trip has prematurely ended and I've settled here in Madison, have no fear. Tomorrow, I set off for the northernmost point in the 48 contiguous states.

The proposed route for the coming week:

Northwest Angle is the little piece of Minnesota that sticks up into Canada. It can be reached by boat, air, driving over the ice in the winter, or by a 20-40 mile stretch of dirt road that crosses into Canada (I've heard different reports on the distance that is unpaved). Guess which way I'm planning to tackle?

The miles will go on fast, 331 miles to Duluth, MN, tomorrow (28th state for scoot). 310 miles via Itasca Lake (Mississippi headwaters!) to Warroads, MN, just south of the border. Then... a 20mph crawl through Canada to a remote town that survives entirely on fishing tourism. It has the last one-room public school in the state. Remote is the least you could say.

Turn south again for a short stay in Fargo, ND, Mitchell, SD, and it's on to the Sturgis party.

7/27 - Happy 27th, Seester

It's good to be with my sister for a birthday, it's been a long time. Hope she has a happy new apartment, I'm going to miss her a lot but tomorrow I press on!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

7/26 - Young at Heart

Birthday party for my sister today, happy 27th! I'm so proud of my little sister, she can throw a good party. The evening ended with Robot Alchemic Drive, and so much leftover cheese.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Parkersburg WV, Some Ohio, and All The Bourbon Time. June 22-26.

As the song lyric goes, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. The time had come again: everyone else goes home, but I keep on going. If there was one thing that would keep me in place, it would be so I could stop saying quite so many goodbyes.

I said a heartfelt thanks to Davide for riding with me, and felt a pang as he punched Virginia into his GPS. Forget hangovers, rally withdrawal was setting in. Thankfully, Matt and Ali had graciously invited me to stay with them a night in Parkersburg, VW (Ali, CORSette winner of past, and yes, the very same Matt who owned the Stella... incredible depths of graciousness reside within).

7/25 - Spinach Egg Pizzas

The first meal I cooked since I left. Getting domestic here in Madison...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/23 - Coffee Shop Thoughts

298 miles back to Madison. There's a lot of time to think when riding throughout the Midwest.

Also, a lot of bugs. Today's ride was particularly juicy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/22 - Self-guided City Tour

My hosts in Des Moines were truly excellent. I stopped by Mars Cafe, the sculpture park, Raygun, the post office to send off postcards from Raygun, Gray Lake, and Smokey Row. Host had a craving for s'mores, so a campfire was made in their backyard. It was transcendent.

Monday, July 21, 2014

7/21 - Iowa

285 miles, to Des Moines. I feel like something like this could be looped like a background in animation. Figured I'd try to get back into the rhythm of riding, and besides, when will I be in Iowa again?

My CS hosts, Monkey and Heather, are awesome! They took me to El Bait Shop, and our very enthusiastic server held an impromptu beer tasting. It was a nice cap to the day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

7/20 - Different Challenges

Looks so small, and yet still so heavy. Minimalism is appealing to me (goes hand in hand with motorcycle touring), but moving the sum of my stuff alongside my sister's household... really highlighted how far I went. I don't want to think of the day I have to move my things in storage to a new place.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7/19 - Can't Stop Moving

I always thought I was a slow healer, but maybe this has something to do with it. Must... stay off... injuries...

The Road to Bandcamp, June 16-22

Oh boy, this is going to be a long one.

Monday had arrived, my week of New Orleans was up and I couldn't put off the decision any more. Do I keep going west to cross Texas and tool around the southwest in summer heat, or turn north, backtracking to mountains and tolerable temperatures? I'd discussed traveling with Davide before, who was heading to Bandcamp the next weekend in Toronto, OH - about 1,400 miles. I liked the idea; it would be something new to have a riding partner for so many miles, and I was ready to leave the swamp. But I had lurking concerns about how each of us would face the challenges of traveling closely with someone new.

My apprehension was quickly allayed. I knew everything would be okay when Davide showed up Monday morning outside my AirBnb like this...

Friday, July 18, 2014

7/18 - Lake Michigan is like an ocean

107 miles. I took a scenic route back to Madison. There are a number of clock towers in the city that remind me of something that would be built in China in the 70s. Then, a block later, an enormous ornate basilica would rise from the industrial buildings, very incongruent.

But the thing that struck me most was looking out over Lake Michigan. It was like a calm ocean. I could never do it justice in a drawing.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

7/17 - The Shed

89 miles, to Milwaukee to hang out with Mikey from the Wall of Death. He lives down the street from an industrial space shared with several motorcyclists, The Shed, and invited me to their Thirsty Thursday. What a blast, it was great to meet everyone! I'm jealous, it's like the kind of clubhouse I'd love as a kid, I can't imagine being so lucky as to have mini-rallies every week here with buddies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7/16 - Concerts on the Square

A pleasant evening picnicking and having a delicious conversation around the Bruce effect in humans, while Top 40s of Classical blasted live in the background. "The king is dead, long live the king."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7/15 - Good luck in Beijing

I just met Dan and Katie at the Couchcrash, and they're already off to Beijing for 2 years. It's a great town, explorers, enjoy!

Also, the name of the student memorial union just makes me think, "Derp Rathskeller."

Monday, July 14, 2014

7/14 - "Doing it my way"

Almost done with work-work. Health insurance systems in this country aren't designed to help someone like me, nor do I expect them to be for a long time.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

7/13 - Madison tour from the air

Another airplane tour, thanks to Gary from the Couch Crash! What a thrill to see such different landscape from the last time I was in a small aircraft. I want to pilot all the things now.

I managed to grab most of the flight on GPS, including a fly-by of Sauk-Prairie Airport, some loops around Devil's Lake, lake Wisconsin, and Madison city tour. Roughly an hour of inflight awesome.

Start and finish at same point, B, I just forgot to turn on GPS until we were already in the air.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

7/12 - Taking a cue from Hotpot

Remember when this used to be a travel blog?

Actually, I was feeling unwell today. I believe hidden dairy, a boatload of booze, and over-socializing added up, so I just rested and recovered with Hotpot, Moni's cat. She loves me because I share the tuna.

Friday, July 11, 2014

7/11 - Devils Doorway

It's probably a good thing I still have a sprained ankle holding me back.

I decided to try something new, and joined up with the Madison Couchcrash trip to Devils Lake. It's an odd transition to give up personal freedom and explore with a group (sitting passenger in a car, even!), but in exchange I met lots of fun people. Actually, it was Stefon back in Kentucky who suggested the Couchcrash, and we all hiked around the lake.

Okay, I hiked the steep, fun, climbing half of it, and then needed to rest and elevate my not-so-healed ankle while waiting for a car pickup. I've probably delayed healing a few more days...but it's worth it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

7/10 - Road Haircut

Having a haircut has traditionally been associated with change and transition. For the same reasons, it felt a bit momentous when I realized my hair was long enough to be a nuisance in my face. I guess I hadn't noticed while I was on the road, because I'd tuck it into the helmet and the the combination of sweat and pressure held it in place. Now that I'm stationary for a while, it was time.

Someone familiar with Asian hair can be tricky to find depending on where you are. Fortunately, my sister had the intel and was also due for a trim, so we made an appointment with her hairdresser. I wouldn't be surprised if she cuts all the Asian hair within a 20 mile radius. Hairdressers are well-connected people, never mess with your hairdresser.

Ahh, that feels much better short.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

7/9 - Werk is werk

I'm here for your entertainment.

Also, I can't help but hear this in my head a bit as I work...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7/8 - Working and Working Out

Taking the opportunity of having easy shower access to flex what's left of overlooked muscles. For those curious, I've been favoring Neil Arey for quick workouts without equipment. More about working out (or not) on the road below.

New Orleans and Amerivespa, June 9-16

The one on the right tracks the Amerivespa long ride, around 150 miles.

Destination: New Orleans. Target: Amerivespa. I liked the gulf coast of Florida, but I was riding with a goal. The Big Apple is a familiar comfort, now I wanted to explore the neon-lit nighttime streets of the Big Easy, all new to me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

7/7 - We Have Traditions

I ran out of room to write the location, but safe to assume we're in Madison, WI.

At the risk of reinforcing stereotypes, nearly every time I visit my sister we watch kungfu movies. They run the gamut of modern, classic, MST3K-worthy awful, only released in Hong Kong, or just some (questionably violent) movies our parents watched when we were kids. Tonight's pick: Police Story, the original, a classic, 80s era Jackie Chan at his best. This explains so much about our childhood.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

7/6 - Canoeing on Lake Mendota

First time canoeing! Actually, it was fun once I got used to such a small craft, and the idiot Giraffe behind me stopped deliberately messing with the boat.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

7/5 - Wheel Fever is Catching in Adults

Check out my fixie! Trendsetting in Old World Wisconsin.

Parents were watching their kids ride the reproduction bikes, until I hopped on one. Then, all the parents started lining up. Patient zero for Wheel Fever in adults, right here!

Friday, July 4, 2014

7/4 - Dueling Fireworks on Mendota Lake

Had a lovely evening watching competing lakeside neighborhood's fireworks displays, over a couple pitchers of beer with my sister, Ben, and the Giraffe (flew in for the weekend).

Also, caught up with Joe, whom I met in Maggie Valley. He was working at the Klock Werks booth at Wing Ding. He had suggested checking out the show, and it was great to meet the other Klock Werks people.

On the way to the Alliant Center, I spotted a train of three baggers and a trike off to the side of the road, asking for directions. I pulled up and asked if they were going to the show, which they were. I said I was just there yesterday and know the way. The back guy honked to his buddies and waved me forward, and the little blue scoot lead the way to the convention center.

The guy in front had a fat cigar pinched between his lips as he rode. At a light, he took it out to ask, "So, ready to get you a Goldwing?" I laughed and took off at the light change. It was a nice little impromptu ride over the lake.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

7/3 - A Bit of Gear Upgrade

Had a nice time poking around Wing Ding, at the Alliant Energy Center. Those things are like livingrooms on two wheels, but actually I found quite a bit in common for touring. Also, thanks goes to Nick, for hooking me up with gear from!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

7/2 - Beer o'clock Break

It's Wisconsin!

Also, my seester, the most thoughtful person in the world, had already cleared a desk space for me to work while in town (and she's at lab all day). D'aww.

Bonus drawing of Hotpot the cat:

Florida Part 2, Return From The Keys! June 4-8

I have to admit something up front... Maybe it was the rain, but I was more than happy to turn back north.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

7/1 - July Checklists

129 miles. Dave helped me maintain/check several things on the scoot (much thanks!), and the skies cleared for a smooth ride to Madison, WI. I'll be staying with my seester here for the next few weeks, catching up on work and resting.