June 2, 2018

Ah, Port Angeles. Washington. The state. The United States.

April 6, 2018

I missed that two years ago, Barrow, AK, changed its name back to its native Utqiagvik. I remember my trip up there pretty vividly.

July 29, 2017

We hiked up Mount Constitution.

July 28, 2017

We stopped at Lopez Island.

We are finally on the ferry.

June 20, 2017

I think that this most recent motorcycle trip will be my last long distance trip on a motorcycle. I'm getting too old for this. My rear hurts after riding for hours, even with a custom seat. I'm worried about hearing loss, even while wearing hearing protection. Maybe I'm not literally too old but I am increasingly finding it uncomfortable as I get older.

But more importantly I think that I am outgrowing the desire to explore in this way. I'd like to spend more time in specific areas without spending weeks just getting to those areas. For example, I skipped New Orleans on this trip not just because of the rain but because I figure that I'll enjoy it more if I fly there for a week, rent a car, and see the things that I want to see before flying home. I'd like like to do more of the tourist things in places like Key West without feeling the pressure to turn around because who knows how long it will take to get to literally the other corner of the country. (My aversion to flying may hamper this idea. That remains to be seen.)

I further think it would be healthier for me if I took off of work for one or two weeks at a time rather than three or four. After one week, I was still thinking about work. After two, I had finally stopped. After three, I started to think about all the things that I wasn't there to do at work. After four, I began putting some hours in even while on vacation. Plus, by taking a few weeks at a time I can take more vacations throughout the year.

Finally, something that I mentioned last August after the last time I took a long motorcycle trip, I'd like to do these trips with a partner to share the experience. Key West would have been a lot more fun had the original plans not been scrapped. I need to get on that in some way or another.

June 12, 2017

It is now really possible for me to say that I've visited large portions of the country. While the vast majority of this country, indeed this pale blue dot, is beautiful in general, I have opinions now about this country that I live in. A warning: I'm going to complain a lot but this is my opinion and impression, not a report from a fact finding mission. A spoiler: I like Seattle.

I have to attest that large portions of the east coast -- Florida all the way north to Maine and all the way west to Ohio -- look largely the same to me. My impression of the east coast is crowded and flat and the features are all the same -- the trees, the rocks, the hills, the structures, the roads. The east coast is also where I have, to this point, spent the majority of my life. I grew up in New England and spent my summers driving up and down the roads from Maine to Florida with my family on our summer vacations. Maybe that familiarity from the first twenty-seven years of my life makes my impression jaded and generally biases me against it. But deep inside me, my reaction is strong and visceral and I can't ignore it. Sure, there are regional differences; I think the roads in New England meander more than elsewhere, having been laid down by cows hundreds of years ago, and a New England coastal town is very different in character from a Floridian coastal town. But I challenge someone to stand a few miles inland and look around and try to enumerate the differences. To me, there are very few.

When I first visited the "west" in 2009, I took myself across South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and California. The unpopulated areas -- well, underpopulated areas -- of these states were something I had never seen or experienced before. The views from just the side roads, or the US highways, or even the interstates, are something to behold. There are often large swathes of just nothing but nature. Sure, it's not untouched and raw nature but it is undeveloped and it is lonely. It is very hard for me to describe how in awe I was when I first started seeing this whole country for the first time. (I think that I wrote more extensively about what I was seeing at that time on this here blog.)

If you know me, you'll often hear me pine to move to a home in the woods, away from everyone, alone. I watch shows like Midsomer Murders to immerse myself in small villages in the countryside and to imagine that I am not surrounded by teeming masses. But I do not truly wish for that. I really just desire to be left alone and for the stupid people to stop being stupid. I also desire to not attract attention to myself, negative or positive, and cringe when I realize that I have. But I do not wish to be away from everyone. I would be unhappy if I lived farther than three blocks from Trader Joes and ten blocks from Safeway. I would be stressed if I had to commute more than a fifteen minute bus ride to work.

What proved that last point to me was driving on the backroads of this country and seeing these small towns that are just like those that I think that I want to move to. Seeing them in person is believing that I would be unhappy. I would be unhappy if I needed to get in my car and drive everywhere. I would be stressed if I weren't able to walk around anonymously. It is without a doubt that I would be ecstatic to have an acre or more that my dog could frolic through and I would relax and enjoy sitting on a patio in front of a large expanse of rolling greenery. But that would not make up for me not being able to be within a short distance from my friends or close to lots of culture, activities, and events.

It is an absolute pleasure to take these journeys around the country and to take in what our country is all about and how people live and what natural beauty we have. When I took my original trip around the country in 2009 a clearly stated reason was to see where I would prefer to be, if not northern Virginia where I lived at the time.

Now, having been around the country six or so times, I think that the only place I feel the best is in Seattle. (Portland is a very, very close second.) (Sadly, it's a shame that I can't afford to truly settle down in Seattle with a home and whatnot but that's another story.) It's the one place where everything that I need, spiritually, is close to me. I can walk to the amenities of life without ever using my car. I can see the beauty of nature from my back porch. The woods are an hour away -- and by "woods" I mean vast tracts of undeveloped natural habitat with thousands of miles of trails where I can go and not see a soul or hear traffic in the distance. The water is ten minutes away. There is culture and there are events of importance happening at my doorstep. (Oftentimes that is literal such as when the Black Lives Matter protest went down the street on which I live on its way to downtown Seattle.) And if I want to be left alone here, I can usually get that.

This has been longwinded. I don't expect any one to have read all of it. If you're the type to read down to the bottom for the "TL;DR" version then that is that I'm happy where I am. Another long road trip once again proves that to me. I expect that I'll be here in Seattle for some time to come now. I couldn't be happier anywhere else than in my adopted home town.

Yet again, detailing how much fuel I used to get my dumb ass across the country. I filled up my motorcycle forty-one times. I spent a total of $236.47 on 100.872 gallons. I waited an average of 135.98 miles before filling up the tank and put in an average of 2.460 gallons. The tank holds 3.7 gallons. I got a best of 67.11 miles per gallon traveling from Marathon, Florida, to Miami, Florida, and a worst of 42.89 miles per gallon traveling from Landers, WY, to Dubois, WY. Over the course of the whole trip, I averaged of 55.50 miles per gallon. The most I paid per gallon was $3.20 in Rawlins, WY. (It was way, way north of the actual city.) The least I paid was $1.89 in Spartanburg, SC. If you want to, you can see how this compared to my trip to the east coast last summer.

This is an update to the previous complete map of my cross country road trips. I think the only place really left is New England, where I grew up, and the southwest, where I really am not sure if I care.

Here is a complete map of my trip for the Voyage Home vacation.

June 11, 2017

The Voyage Home: Day 14 - Hamilton, MT, to Seattle, WA

This, the last day, the longest day. It was thirty-eight degrees when I woke up. In the sun, it said that it was in the high forties. I started thirty minutes away from the turn to US-12 and I spent that entire thirty minutes waffling between whether I should take US-12 and try to enjoy the ride back or should I take I-90 and just get home. After stopping twice to warm my hands up, I decided that I would definitely regret it if I did not take US-12, so I took it. It ominously started with a message warning motorcycles about road conditions. But this is the road that motorcyclists look for: a winding road for the next one hundred miles. I'm glad that I took it. The weather warmed up enough that I wasn't stopping every thirty minutes to warm my hands up after three or four times, though I still wore literally five layers of clothes to stay comfortable. It was a good ride.

After leaving Idaho, I had planned to go through Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington, and see Washington State University for the first time. Unfortunately, that would cause me to just have painful memories so I decided to go south to Walla Walla and think about onions instead. While southeastern Washington is nothing to write home about, I'm glad that I know what it is like. (Spoiler alert: it's a hilly desert with periodic oases in the form of small but adorable communities, just like eastern Oregon.)

After Walla Walla, I hopped on I-82 to I-90 to book it home. On the way home, I stopped at the Double R Diner for dinner. I figured what better way to end this trip than with a slice of pie and some damn fine coffee. Except I don't like coffee so I just had the pie. And the pie was overpriced for what it was. But the Greek burger was killer! This was the best way for me to end this trip.

Let alone compost, I was disappointed in how few places had recycling. Hell, New Hampshire did that in the 90s so why can't Texas do that 20 years later?

US-12 across Idaho is a beautiful ride. It's even better on a motorcycle if you enjoy long smooth curves for literally 100 miles.

A mirror picture to show you how many layers I have on. It's 40 degrees here in Montana and I got frostbite yesterday in two fingers.


Location Seattle, WA
First post September 6, 2004
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