After my last trip, I decided it was time to get a real luggage system before the next trip. The home-made version worked for the time being but it wouldn’t last a year on the road. I looked at a couple of luggage systems and I really like the Giant Loop bag but it was WAY out of my price range. I even tried to make my own version of the Giant Loop bag using fireman pants but did not have a sewing machine that can handle the thick materials that is made of.
So I decided to purchase the Nelson-Rigg USA Adventure Dry Bag and saddlebag Survivor Edition for a couple of reason. One is the price; the total combined cost me around $250.00 for both. Secondly, it designed like a dry sack bag used in backpacking. This way I didn’t have to put everything in a dry sack bag before putting it in a luggage. Thirdly, the saddle bag is a soft pack. I was worried about getting a hard case panniers system in case I drop the bike and it would crush my legs.
So far, I haven’t regretted purchasing it, it was easy to put it on the bike and hook it together. Also, it is holding all of my stuff needed for this trip to Horizon Unlimited event in Yosemite. Here is what it looks like set up on my TW200 bike.
I will post when I get back as to how it handled on the road.
Whoo-hoo…next week is the annual Horizon Unlimited Travelers Meeting http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/events/california-2014 which is the premier overland adventure travel event for motorcyclists. This year it will be held at Mariposa Fairground in Yosemite, CA starting on Thursday, September 25th through Sunday, September 28th. At the event, we hear inspiring stories of travel around the world; get tips and tricks on preparing for our own journey, navigation, first-aid and photography. I’m so excited I can’t wait to go.
The first time my late husband and I went was last year which was held in Cambria, CA. Yep, we rode our little TW200 bike to the event and proudly assumed our rightful place amongst the 251 or so assembled adventure bikes in attendance. Probably 75% of the bikes present were of large displacement, high-priced variety but there wasn’t a trace of elitism at the event.
It was at this event where I first met Carla King www.carlaking.com, an amazing women motorcycle rider and travel writer who wrote a book about riding around the USA as a test rider for Ural America, “American Borders”. She interviewed us about our little cult bikes and the homemade accessories we use as tools and gears for them. She was the one who hinted that we should start a blog about our bikes and our frugality of traveling. If it wasn’t her faith and constant encouragement, I would have never have had the nerve to begin this blog. Writing for this blog has been a blessing in disguise in multiple ways, it has given me confidence in my writing and it has also been therapeutic to release all of my bottled up emotion onto paper.
We also met the Borden family; Terry, Sandy and Jack www.adventuretrio.com at this event as well. An amazing family, it’s a husband and wife team along with their teenage son who has been traveling all over for the last seven years. Now they’re getting ready to go another adventure down to South America for 18 months. I’m looking forward to meeting up with them again and wishing them a safe journey. Wishing that I was starting my journey as well but I still have probate to deal with so in due time, I will eventually get to begin mine soon.
There are many other inspiring travelers, too many to mention here that will be presenting or just hanging out at the event. I’m looking forward to rub elbow the among the elite riders and hopefully learn many tips and tricks for my future travel.
This post is taking me awhile to write, in the beginning I was so excited to share about the event that I am going to next week but I kept writing and rewriting the same thing over and over again. After stepping back for a while, I just realized why, this event was the last vacation that we took together. My late husband was reluctant at first about going but in the end he was so happy that we got to go. At first he seemed so rejuvenated when we got back from the trip but in the end he kept getting sicker and sicker as the days went on. So once again this will be a bittersweet event for me. It will be a reminder of the last good time we had together and the stepping stone toward the next chapters in my life without him at the same time.
Last Sunday, I had to go for a ride on the bike to get away from all of the stress and unwind. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind frenzy with dealing the house being in escrow and trying to sell everything on the property such as 27 motorcycles, 4 cars, 5 trailers and 2 acres of junk or as my brother-in-law would call it “merchandise”.
It’s hard to be parting with all of the stuff we had. Each little piece brings back memories of the good times and the bad that we once shared. A part of me doesn’t want to let them go but the other part of me know that I need to move on. As the more I pack of what I’m going to keep, the more I realize that the door is closing on this chapter of my life, the more it scares me. I don’t want to say that I have been in denial of his death but this process of moving on without him makes it a reality that I don’t truly want to happen. Sometime I wish that I can turn back the clock but I can’t. I can only move forward from here on out with memories of the past to carry with me.
So whenever I go for a ride, I always bring a camera with me just in case I see something that I want to remember or to share with others. However, in my rush to get out and ride, I forgot the camera. As usual, I didn’t have a destination in mind and just headed out on Highway 138. I ended up taking the same journey that I took about a month ago on the other bike. Instead of taking the side street, I actually jumped onto Highway 14 to get to Tehachapi, CA. This highway takes you to the west of Edwards Air Force Base which it is known as the backup runway for the Space Shuttle landing in case the weather is bad in Florida. While heading north, two of the B-52 like planes flew overhead and it was so low that it felt like that I could reach up and touch it with my hands. I felt so small and insignificant like an ant on the ground compared to these magnificent and enormous steel birds in the sky. At that point, I wished that I had Go Pro camera mounted onto the helmet to capture the image.
Also in my need for a ride on Sunday took me on a longer ride than I anticipated which cause me not to plan for the thunder store that was brewing with a warning of a flash flood in the area. So on my way home on heading south on Highway 395, I could see the wall of the storm up ahead which mean that I knew that I would be riding through a down pour. Mind you, I have ridden in the rain on the dual sport bike but not on the street bike so I was a little apprehensive about it. Surprisingly, the bike and I handled it very well. I just took my time riding through it at a safe pace. However, it was the lightning that had me more jumpy than the rain itself. A couple of time the lightning struck in the desert landscape to the left of me. It was frightening and mesmerizing at the same time. The image was like a “Kodak” moment and once again I wished that I had the camera with me to capture it.
It just dawned on me after re-reading what I have written here the irony of my ride on Sunday. Seeing the beauty of the two huge military airplanes that were created by us that glide through the air gracefully and then seeing Mother Nature bringing on her fury with the lightning and the rain which make life seem treacherous to waddle through at times. However, with rain, it brings new growth to nourish one’s life.
Maybe I wasn’t meant to bring a camera to capture the moments but to rely on the memory to see the metaphor of what’s around me as it is in life as well.
After posting my story on the Stand Up to Cancer, many supporters and well wishers were asking for a map of my trip. I don’t have a set route yet but I do have a general plan of roads that I do want to travel on in no particular order.
Pacific Coast – This is also known as Highway 1. I have done some of this road in the past but I have not been on any part of it north of San Francisco. I do particularly want to visit the Lost Coast area in Northern California. I have seen beautiful pictures of that area
Border to Border – This is also known as Highway 93. It runs from the Canadian border at Jasper National Park and into south of the border of Mexico.
The Road to Nowhere – This is also known as US-83. It was once the only entirely paved route from Canada to Mexico until modern history.
The Great River Road – This route is just a series of roads that was created in 1938. It is designed to show off the 10 states bordering the Mississippi river.
Appalachian Trail – There is actually a parkway that parallels the pedestrian route of the Appalachian Trail. It winds from the north woods of Maine all the way south to Georgia.
Atlantic Coast – This is almost a 2,000 miles of two-lane country roads that run along side of the Atlantic Ocean almost the entire way.
The Great Northern – This is also known as US-2. It was dubbed the Great Northern in memory of the pioneer railroad that parallels the western half of the route. It is the longest east-west US Highway (2,571 miles) across the northern continental United States.
The Oregon Trail – This is also known US-20. This is another east-west US Highway. It starts in Oregon and run the most of the way through to Massachusetts. There is a break at the entrance of Yellowstone Park since this road was not a planned coast to coast route. It was extended in 1940.
Loneliest Road – This is also known as US-50. This is another east-west highway that runs through the heart of America. It has been dubbed the “Loneliest Road” since it passes through desolate, remote areas with few inhabitants and few communities with minimal services.
Southern Pacific – This route follows the old US-80 on the southern part of the US from California to Georgia. It was once known as the Dixie Overland Highway.
Route 66 – The most famous route of all time is Route 66 that runs from California to Illinois. I have done half of this route and want to finish it. My late husband and I did it on our honeymoon but we got hailed, snowed and rained on most of this trip so when we got to Albuquerque, New Mexico we decided to head south to warmer pasture. This is where we ended up on US-60 and encountered people, places and things that we did not knew about.
These roads will be just a starting point but ultimately it will be my heart and the bike that will be the compass in this journey. The thought brings up memory of the best of times my late husband and I had been him always saying “let’s see where that road goes”. I want to continue that spontaneous sense of adventures that we once shared.