Thursday, April 30, 2015

4/30 - Am I Done?

Some days are more exciting than others. Book illustrations are nearing completion!

More table tennis was played tonight, after dumplings, of course.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

4/29 - Uncle and Auntie Being Cute

Pre-birthday birthday dinner with the table tennis friends for my uncle. Chinese dinners, which are already not to be underestimated, seem extra super-sized in Texas. I don't generally seek out Chinese food (spoiled by home cooking), but I wouldn't have guessed Houston would be where I eat so much of it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

4/28 - Leaving My Shell

Back at the Handbuilt show, I met Fritz when he was taking photos of my Vespa. He invited me to dinner with his Tuesday night Euro rider group. It was a chilly night for Houston, but I always feel better after a ride, and had a great night hanging out with these guys!

Monday, April 27, 2015

4/27 - A Yue Clearlake Tradition

As a kid, after dinner we would go for a drive around Clearlake and count how many deer were on campus. Tonight, after all-you-can-eat-shrimp at Bubba's (holy shit, Texas) we counted nearly 30. Before this trip, sighting wildlife at all was a rare and fleeting thing – bears, deer, rabbits. After sharing my campground with coyotes, it feels almost natural.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

California One. Jan 24 - Feb 17, 2015.


Welcome to the last installment of the Bay Area posts. In total, I will have been bouncing around this motorcycle paradise for about five (5!) months.

I recall the locals referring to 'a storm' one evening, in California winter. The air was buzzing with a need to buy milk and bread. Riders hustled to park their scooters in the lee of cars.

In the end, I think it was kind of windy and it rained a bit, but several places throughout the city lost power. How cute, California, I thought in contrast to the nor'easters of uh... the North East. I guess I better go before I get soft, as they say.

4/26 - Crawfish Keeps Giving

It's crawfish season, and our little Houston family had a boil at home. Today being Sunday, the leftovers made for a lovely brunch omelette with some spinach and bell peppers.

My uncle remarked, "It's made with egg whites? So healthy. What happened to the yolks?"

Auntie: "Pudding."

Priorities here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Vespas in Fog City. Jan 4 - 23, 2015.

Day ride to Point Reyes Station on a borrowed Bonneville.

Mostly local riding for this portion again, just bouncing around San Francisco. Actually, this month probably saw the least riding of my own bike – it was in the Vespa SF shop for the shorter end of an eternity. I was riding everyone else's bike, including a branded Boomchickapop Vespa for a few days! Paid to ride, the hours of grinning come free!

4/25 - Larger Than BBQ Appears

There's so much BBQ it won't fit in the frame. It's beefy.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

4/23 - Wonton and Ping Pong Night

In what may be the most Asian thing I've done in a while, I followed my uncle and aunt to play table tennis with their usual Thursday night crew, after a dinner of dumplings. I haven't played since middle school!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

4/22 - Wednesday

Moving along.

I had a Black Books kind of moment, when I decided I needed to leave the house and scoot for a bit (always a mood booster) but didn't know where to go. I ended up at the nearest pub. And kept drawing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

4/21 - Moto Movie Night

The reason the US is either awesome, or like a stoned kid: the mixing of cultures means you get meals along the lines of spaghetti, fried in Chinese noodle style with mushrooms and chicken, combined with some leftover BBQ. Top with Sriracha (optional). Meanwhile, my uncle was dining on Korean ramen with German sausages. Hey, mix it up and see what works.

I've been enjoying a documentary Chris and Mike recommended back in Tuscon, called Somehwere Else Tomorrow - 2 Wheels - 1 World - 0 Money. Daniel's approach to travel resonates with me, from the not-a-phase approach to his general goal in worldwide travel. Also, it included Ted Simon amongst its interviewees, which reminded me I want to read his books. In the search, I found a lovely quote from him:
People who thought of my journey as a physical ordeal or an act of courage... missed the point. Courage and physical endurance were no more than useful items of equipment for me, like facility with languages or immunity to hepatitis. The goal was comprehension, and the only way to comprehend the world was by making myself vulnerable to it so that it could change me. The challenge was to lay myself open to everybody and everything that came my way. The prize was to change and grow big enough to feel one with the whole world.
In a small way, I want to think this is where I start.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Deck The Halls With Gasoline. Dec 7, 2014 - Jan 3, 2015.

I gave up tracking routes because I rode them so much.
The only one here is the group ride with Vespa SF.

Apologies in advance; this post doesn't have much in the way of travel. My holiday months in the Bay would be mostly work, hanging out with family, friends, and food. Not that it's a bad thing, just a warning that there will be food porn close ups.

4/19 - Briny Happy Hour

Growing up, every time I visited my uncle and aunt in Houston we would take a trip to Galveston. Wandering the familiar-yet-not-familiar streets, I'm reminded why I'm so fond of them – they're a laid back couple, active socially and physically, and (like a good Chinese) enjoy a love of food.

Especially my aunt, who has an appetite for spicy food, drinks, and oysters to match my own.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

4/18 - Ultimate Comfort Food

Dinner with Chinese neighborhood friends, and I was greeted with an unexpected joy: the sweetest, smoothest, tastiest homemade congee. A commonplace rice porridge dish, this one was flavored with conch, scallop, abalone, chicken, and memories of a home I don't have. It wrapped me like a hug (and I swear it expands in the stomach). I can't get this at a restaurant, and I can't make it this good myself.

Friday, April 17, 2015

4/17 - Timing is Everything

190 miles.

Farewell hugs with Jake and Dani and new friends over Bacon brunch. This town seems to have 2.2 food trucks, craft cocktail bars, BBQ joints, and fusion restaurants for every city resident. It was hard to leave, but it's only a day's ride away...I'm planning my return already.

Besides, it's great seeing my uncle and aunt in Houston again! I managed to roll in right before a violent storm felled trees and caused flooding. Whew.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

4/16 - Working in Austin

Amazingly, timing worked out as far as word from the editors. It's nose to the grindstone soon, just in time to go to Houston.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

4/15 - Hanging Out

New rear tire (shipped courtesy of Vespa SF, thank you!) went on today while I entertained myself browsing the cool bikes at AF1 Racing. They also topped off the oil, filled the gas tank, and cleaned my bike. Is everyone so friendly around here? So much thanks! So shiny!

Jack is back on the road today, after a farewell luncheon with many Austin friends. Before he took off for cool future places, I followed him to the East Side Trails for crazy flying bikes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

4/14 - Travelers of Mount Bonnell

I followed Jack for a sunset ride to Mount Bonnell and Barton Springs. He's a traveller like me, but has been waylaid in Austin for months healing from a BMX injury. We met two other travelers and watched the sunset together.

I'm a bit sunburnt.

Monday, April 13, 2015

4/13 - Undoing the Wall

I stuck around to lend a hand breaking down the Wall of Death. There were many hands helping, but it was pretty amazing to get to see the whole thing deconstruct and fit onto the bed of a truck.

Jack and I met up later to see the swarming bats of Congress St!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

4/12 - Small Amusements

After the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show wrapped up, new friend Jack and I headed to Revival Cycles' afterparty. It's a veritable playground of machinery, motorcycle art, museum quality pieces, custom work, and bikes bikes and more bikes. Maybe it's my dad's influence as a teacher, but I took special delight in the collection of vintage hands-on demo miniatures and teaching aids.

Also, the cutaway bikes. So cool.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

4/11 - Coffee, Company, and Charger Break with Rebecca

Rebecca is also camped at the Drome, we went for a coffee break and to recharge our devices down the street. We were introduced way back in Mitchell, SD, and she's working in video while living on her bike! We got to talking about things like the specific challenges that come with packing for work on two wheels, assumptions encountered when traveling solo as a woman, and the great people we've met along the way. What an awesome person, I'm so glad to see her again and get to know her better!

Friday, April 10, 2015

4/10 - Quiet & Loud

I was actually a bit glad for the rainy morning, so I could work at the hostel without feeling like going out.

When it passed, I got to see the American Wall of Death again at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Catching Up...Again

Again, sorry for the delay in content. It's been nonstop from New Mexico to Colorado, and I've just landed in Austin, TX. I'm hoping to chill here for a bit, and get caught up on the parts of life the fall by the wayside to grind of miles. It's been unforgettable, I'm only beginning to process it all. Updates soon!

4/9 - Four Days of Wind

263 miles.

Somewhere in Oklahoma, it turned into summer. It got hot and humid, in a way that made me nostalgic for childhood summers in Atlanta. The wildflowers are going crazy.

That being said, Texas is starting to look like the background loop for a run cycle in animation, and I'm pretty tired of this wind.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

4/8 - Lightning Storm

269 miles.

The free campsite I was aiming for ended up being super creepy – hidden behind a disused, bad road. The sun was too low to turn around and head back into town, and the storm that I had been eyeing from a distance was catching up with me. I pitched my tent in the lee of some large bushes, next to what turned out to be a pile of bullet shells. Once rain covers were on everything, I lay in the muggy tent, watching the lightning illuminate my scooter until the rain became too heavy and I zipped the panel closed. Lightning was everywhere. I fell asleep to the periodic glowing around my tent spokes, the sound of thunder, the wind trying to steal my tent, and a few swigs of whiskey in my bloodstream. The safest place for me right now is lying flat on the ground, right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

4/7 - It Starts

371 miles.

A long day that ended with a Motel 6 (splurge!) in Amarillo, TX. I had a platonic meal with Dave, a working traveler I met while exploring the Cadillac Ranch. Things got existential when he started, "Work is work, but what do I have to offer the world? What will I leave behind?"

Back in my fancy motel room, when I was done playing music loud and jumping on the enormous motel bed in my underwear, his questions found me again. I hope these drawings, about this unusual way of travel, is what I have to offer.

Monday, April 6, 2015

4/6 - I Like The Grid

277 miles.

The leftover Thai reminded me of the farewell lunch with Ambra. Also, the Goodland Travel Information Center is a most welcome rest stop with free camping. Forgot to mention 24-hour access to restrooms.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

4/4 - Rally of 3...AM.

It felt like a mini-rally, tearing around town with Jon and Ambra! Of course, it's not a rally until someone's bike breaks or won't start, and you're either freezing, wet, or both.

Friday, April 3, 2015

4/3 - Urbanity (again!)

187 miles.

Beautiful ride along the river with Paul along Rt 50 to Colorado Springs, then I continued onward to Denver. Met up with Ambra, whom I met at Vegas High Rollers, and her friend Jon for art and wine – First Friday!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

4/2 - Salida-ing Around

Paul, the Versys rider I met at the hostel in Santa Fe, also made it to Salida! We were both a bit worn out, but took a quick ride up Spiral Drive for a view of the town.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

4/1 - Unexpected Heights

225 miles.

I've done some difficult things before...but riding over 200 miles leaned into a cross wind, dodging tumbleweed, and then having it turn into a headwind for the last 20 or so miles climbing Poncha Pass (surprise, 9,010 ft!)? The temperatures dropped suddenly to 10 C, hands hurting, wind roaring in my ears but speedo not climbing past 40mph at wide open throttle, cars and 18 wheelers passing with abandon? And did I mention the dust storm earlier and some freezing rain, 'cause why not?

The bar keeps getting higher.

I couldn't have been happier to roll into The Simple Lodge and Hostel in Salida, CO.