I’m home. After four months, 20,000 miles, 43 states, 18 National parks, 0 speeding tickets, 6 new lbs. of body fat, 50+ new friends and 1 moustache tattoo, I am finally back in Los Angeles. Thank you to all my friends for the support and words of encouragement.

Second to last day of my trip. 27° in Midland, Texas.
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Extra photos:

Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
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Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.
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I was excited to head to Key West, as it was one of the bigger points of interest on my trip, mainly because it’s the southern most city in the country. I met up with John who gave me a great tour of Key West. Here’s the almighty Seven Mile Bridge:

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We stopped by a place called the Blue Hole and witnessed my first alligator:

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The view from John’s boat of the rain that almost hit us:

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Thank you John, you rock! I hope you make it out to California soon!

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The rest of my time in Florida:

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Aside from going to Key West for a night and Everglades for a day, I have been beaching, partying and sleeping for the past six days. Not much else to say.

Miami Beach:

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Everglades National Park:

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I ended up renting a kayak and paddling out the bay and through an awesome Mangrove canal:

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P.S. Florida’s really hot.


Halloween.

03Nov09

I stopped by BMW of Atlanta to pay back Clay for his sprocket nut, and spent the better part of that night drinking and dancing. I’ll definitely be coming back to Atlanta soon.

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On Halloween day, I decided to leave for Charleston, SC. I was really excited to see the town, but when I got there, I was somewhat disappointed, as it just seemed like a southern Rodeo Drive. It was still fairly early in the day, so I left for Tybee Island, Georgia. I’m really glad too, because Tybee Island is amazing! Tybee Island Lighthouse:

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Although it was quiet for a Halloween night, it was a full moon and it was great to just relax by the water:

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The next morning, I headed to Daytona Beach, FL to visit new friends and surf. It was a fairly uneventful ride, but I managed to sneak in another lighthouse. St. Augustine Lighthouse:

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The waves were less than stellar, but it was still fun to surf a new state:

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Thanks MacKenzie for the surf session, sneaking into the Hilton jacuzzi and homemade cinnamon rolls! I headed for Miami Beach, FL this morning, where I’m currently at now taking another vacation from my vacation:

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Since my friend Shannon was working the next day, I decided to take a trip up to Kentucky to check out Mammoth Cave National Park. Despite all the highway miles taken to get there, Kentucky was actually really pleasant to drive through. Before taking one of the tours through the caves, I took a short hike around the park:

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It never ceases to amaze me how interesting and beautiful our world is. Cheesy, I know, but true. After my hike, I went on the cave tour to explore the longest cave system in the world:

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Next stop, Atlanta.


More Smokies.

28Oct09

The original plan was to wake up the next day, call AAA, get towed to Knoxville BMW, get a locking washer and nut and head straight to Nashville. Only problem was that Knoxville BMW didn’t have the parts in stock, yet alone one single F650GS in stock to swap with. Fortunately, Clay (from ADV) had contacted me and offered to lend me the parts off his Dakar, and even deliver it while out on his ride through the Smokies the next day. So I spent another night in Gatlinburg, TN watching a Law & Order marathon and eating pizza. Best day ever:

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I met Clay the next morning, and within minutes, the washer and nut was on and the bike was ready to go. I thanked him with pancakes, and he was on his way. Thanks again Clay!

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I started heading back into the Smoky Mountains, and had decided to ride to Cade’s Cove, take Parson Branch Road (one of the funnest dirt roads I’ve been on so far) and ride the Tail of the Dragon to Deals Gap. Somewhere in the Smokies:

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While stuck in traffic in Cade’s Cove, I met two fellow ADV riders who were doing the same route as me to Deals Gap. So we rode together, talked stories and ate lunch. Somewhere on Parson Branch Road:

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Deal’s Gap:

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The dam that Harrison Ford jumps off of in The Fugitive:

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We said our goodbyes at the beginning of the Cherohala Skyway, and I continued on my way to Nashville. I can see what all the rage is about with Cherohala Skyway, as it is a beautiful road to ride. While getting gas in Tellico Plains, I ran into Turner (another ADVer) who just happened to be out on a ride of his own. Lots of ADV riders today! I finally arrived in Nashville and met up with my friend Shannon. We went out for some food and drinks and called it an early night. Catfish and hush puppies:

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Leaf Peeping.

27Oct09

After spending the night in Durham, I headed to Charlotte, NC to meet with Mike and his family. We started the day with an awesome meal at Quaker Steak and Lube (quite possibly the best chicken wings I’ve had so far). They had an awesome Norton Commando hanging from the ceiling:

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After lunch, I got a tour of the facilities at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Pretty sweet garage:

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We then headed to Lowe’s Motor Speedway where Mike hooked up a ride-a-long through the Richard Petty Driving Experience in a Nascar style stock car for a few laps around the track. I’ve got to say that this was one of the best thrills I’ve ever experienced, it was so amazing! The car:

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Getting ready:

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On the track:

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Thank you again Mike and family for a wonderful time in Charlotte, and remember, LA is waiting for you!

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I woke up nice and early and was off to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Deal’s Gap and the Cherohala Skyway. The foliage was absolutely gorgeous:

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While in the National Park, my shifter stopped shifting and my instrument cluster had completely shut down. I pulled over and started tinkering with the bike. Turns out that my front sprocket had come loose and it somehow managed to split some wires.

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I jimmy-rigged the wires together with some tape, and took a chance and rode to a nearby motel in Gatlinburg, TN. I tried four different stores to see if they had the missing nut for my sprocket, but no luck. If I wasn’t riding cross-country, I’d probably take my chances and ride the bike as is, but I don’t want to risk shearing anything, so I will be calling AAA and hitching a ride to the nearest BMW dealer in Knoxville tomorrow morning. The fun never ends…