Wednesday, June 15, 2011

6/15/11: Home. George West TX - Austin - Houston - Dallas, Nacogdoches - Tuscaloosa - Chattanooga - La Plata, MD. 1700 miles, several days.

Back in NYC, a month now since I crossed the border back into the U.S. Still loving the conveniences of the 1st world. Hoping to ride this feeling out as long as I can. Visited good friends in Austin, Houston and Dallas. A 2 day stop in Nacogdoches. Headed east across Louisiana, started seeing all the Harley guys riding to D.C. for Memorial Day. Making fast time in great weather. Smooth roads. Peaceful nighttime riding. Across Louisiana, such a cool state. I start running onto people asking if I rode all the way down here from Maryland, which inevitably turns into a much longer explanation/conversation. Cross the Mississippi River into Mississippi. I realize those aren't riverboat casinos down there, they are waterfront buildings submerged by all the recent flooding. Ride the Natchez Trace Parkway for a couple of hours till dark. Stop for pictures, bugs start tearing me up. A night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The motel has only one room left because of the devastation of a tornado which decimated a good chunk of the city. A visit to the Barber Motorsports Museum, (probably the best motorcycle museum in the world) located outside of Birmingham. Cross into the NW corner of Georgia for 20 minutes before crossing into Tennessee. Stay the night at my friend Amlan's in Chattanooga, his grandma visiting from South Africa makes some kickass and really spicy Indian food. Leave the next day determined to make it to my folks in MD. Its 7-800 miles, since Ive opted to take the scenic route. Im looking at my longest day of riding on the trip. After what I've been through south of the border, it should be a breeze (relatively). Head east through the Great Smoky Mountains and dip into North Carolina, riding some scenic parkways. I ride the Tail of the Dragon before dipping back into Tennessee, a motorcycling mecca which I have been meaning to do for years. The views and the roads in this part of the country are as stunning as anything I've seen on this trip. Sun going down, no time to ride the Blur Ridge Parkway. Hit the Virginia border at nighttime. Virginia is deceptively huge, and I know I have several hours of riding ahead of me. Nighttime on the interstate, Im in the zone. 400 miles till home. Hit the back highways. Have a great chat at a gas station in Fredericksburg with a woman working at the station and a guy in a pickup truck. Where have I been (?), all that stuff. Cross the Harry Nice bridge into Maryland as the sun is rising. At my folks house 30 minute later. a 17 hour/750 mile day. So good to be home. I don't live here, but its home.

Right back in the thick of things here in NYC. Maintaining a chilled out vibe is of utmost priority right now for me, especially here. Slowly going through all of my photos with my Mom who is visiting me up here and reliving the past several months which seem like a lifetime ago already. Ill be processing this for a while I think. I feel good.

Mileage: 16,000 (approx.)

Time: 8 months

Countries: 7

Borders Crossed: 13

Costs: 15-20k

Crashes: 5-6

Stitches: 4 (in lip)

Flat tires: 2

Breakdowns: 7-8

Welding repairs: 12 (approx.)

Tires: 1 rear replaced (!) The front tire is shot though.

Ran out of Gas: 4-5 times.

Easiest Border Crossing: Tecate, Mexico. Just rode over. Paid for that one later though.

Worst Border Crossing: Honduras

Worst Police: Honduras, Mexico (tie).

Best Capital City: Panama City, PA.

Worst Capital City: Tegucigalpa,
Honduras. By far.

Most Memorable Scenery: Baja California, Mexico.

Best Food: Charcoal grilled chicken, Nicaragua.

Most Impressive Sights: Panama Canal, mountains of Guatemala, Islas de Ometepe in Nicaragua, etc. etc.

Best beach: Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Toughest Riding: (Baja desert, Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica).

Nicest People: Everywhere (including the U.S.)

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