Sunday, January 26, 2014

Summer Road Trip, 95% diluted

Summer Road Trip; 95% Diluted


Just got back from the ride to Pensacola, and I have to say it was a complete success. I ended up putting in 450 miles to the dot, just as estimated in the previous blog (brushes shoulder off). This trip was about 5% of what the trip will be in the summer but it was a very good indication to what I will run into then. Very glad I took the time to do this, was a huge learning experience. Below are some of the things I learned, I hope they come in handy for those of you that ever want to do something like this.


I ended up leaving at 8 instead of 6:30 and it was 32 degrees when I pulled out. I was wearing a regular pair of socks and will socks over them and leather boots. I had my fitness pants under my jeans, and atop my jeans I have some winter riding pants. That makes 3 layers of clothing on my lower body. Upper body I had a beater, a wool sweater, a hoodie, leather jacket, winter riding jacket, hat, winter riding gloves and a full helmet. All of this came in extremely handy in the morning hours before the sun got a chance to warm everything up. Even when I got to Florida, with the Temperature right around 58 degrees, it was still chilly when riding. With that much air travel against your body it will cool you down. So don't let the conditions fool you, when you are standing around its one thing, but when you ride at 55-65 MPH its a completely different ball game. DRESS IN LAYERS! I was pretty much happy with the 3 saddle bags I had but will probably get another small pouch that mounts on the inside of the handler bars. I will also sew in a clear pocket for my iPhone so I can use its GPS. The boots I had, well they where Steve Madden Troopa boots, which are far from riding boots. I will need to get a good pair. I would recommend not getting laced boots as they let in more air. I will probably get the ones that strap up to the side. 

Cindy has a beautiful voice, with her straight pipe gargle, but several hours of that and its starts to leave the threshold of pleasant. I had a pair of Bose Noise Canceling earbuds that worked AMAZING! I flipped the switch to Noise Cancel and bam! Just silence, added some tunes for the road and I could have kept going for days. Highly recommend them for any purpose not just riding. Except for one little problem, my helmet was jamming my earbuds so deep into my ears I felt it was going to dislocate my jaw. I was able to put up with it all the way there and on the way back I stopped in Mobile AL and pulled them out, I was going to sacrifice the silence for a properly place jaw. I will need to probably get a bigger helmet. 

I am funsize (5'6") and notices that when riding I could lean all the way back against my saddle pack without stretching my arms too far. On the long haul I will probably add another storage compartment in front of the saddle pack and make it padded on the side facing my back. That way I will not have to support myself with my arms and can just lean back against a soft surface. Will also need to make a waterproof cover for it. This poses another problem, if I move up my butt will not fit the seat where it is supposed to. I will probably make a custom seat as well that is off set 2-3" forward and has softer padding to absorb more shock. I would rather the seat takes it than my spine. 

Cindy, road conditions and other

All in all I am pleased with her. I will schedule a visit to the Meridian MS Harley Shop to have her maintenance check up. I noticed a little bit of a leak for the drive cover that I will have them look at. I want to make sure she is in tip top condition. She has 35k miles and I am sure she has plenty more, just need to take good care of her. I took a gallon gas tank just in case she ran out of gas, I am not sure what her exact range is. I got to 70 miles so far without having to turn on reserves. I will need to do this another time. Either way I got a good understanding of how often I should stop to fill up. The more smaller scenic highways also have less gas stations, something to keep in mind. I ended up spending $38.71 on fuel on a 450 mile trip. This gives me a good idea of how much I will need to budget for fuel for the summer ($1 will go 11.62 miles, 9k miles = $774.52). I think this is very reasonable for being able to travel ALL over USA! 

I also have a good idea of how to plan out my timeline. I comfortably did 450 miles in one day. I could have done more had I stayed on interstates. If I need to speed things up I will adjust accordingly to make sure I am hitting all of my scheduled stops. I will plan a very detail itinerary because of the visits to the gyms and training. This means that 20 of the 30 days will be spent strictly riding (9,000 miles/450 miles per day =20 days), I have 10 days to throw around and spend more time where I see fit. 

Beware of the animals! When on smaller scenic highways there are A LOT more birds and they seem to not take bikes seriously. I almost hit a dozen birds on the way down. Dogs will give chase to bikers, just refer to your manual on what to do. Roadkill poses an unpleasant threat, especially at night. I kept a 4-5 second distance and it helped tremendously. I would see the road kill ahead of the car in front of me. The longer distance allowed me to adjust my path of travel and avoid running over a bloody carcass. If you gag easily (which I do not) keep in mind that in the summer roadkill smells potent. You don't really have any control over that, but riding I just remembered a friend that would throw up at horrible smells. Riding a bike over a ballooned carcass would not make his day, having a fully enclosed helmet would make it worse. I ended up doing about 150 night miles and was always scanning for dear. I ended up seeing 3 and Cindy's gargle had them running for the bush. Cindy-3, deer-0, me-happy. 

One more thing, if you see a sign that reads, "End of State Maintenance" your bike will not like what is up ahead and will try several times to buck you off. 

The Sights

70 miles in I stopped by Bladon Springs State Park in MS. A little out of season but I am sure in the summer it would be a cool pitstop. They have natural springs that they have built pools around and have campsites and R.V. parking. I try not to take the same road twice but if I am in the area during the summer I may just swing by to check it out. Here is a picture I snapped with the GoPRo;

Further along there is a Wartime Memorial and USS Alabama. What a site. She is so majestic and powerful. She was the ultimate maritime fighting vessel of her time. I got to the Memorial, which is located in Mobile, around lunchtime. She caught my eye from afar and I needed to go an pay my respects. I left her as she stood poised, looking out to sea, as if she was waiting for those still lost to return. I came back the same way, and it was already dusk. She was still right there, in an eternal salute with her turrets raised, patiently waiting, sights on the horizon. She was beautiful, eternally so. 100 years from now she will be be severely weathered but her fighting shape will remain, and with it her soul. 

I am a construction nut, and always marvel at human feats of engineering. Mobile is home to the Cochran Bridge. 

It was 3 pm by the time I reached Pesacola, all I had time for was snack at Surf Burger and I was off. I order what can only be described as a heart attack, my one cheat meal this week (though the caloric value would probably hold my hunger at bay for a month). This is the description from the menu;

"Six (NO JOKE)1/4 Lb. patties, swiss & american cheese, bacon, chili, lettuce, tomato, onion, & pickle. Served with sticks or hula fries all topped with chili and cheese. Finish everything in less than 15 minutes and receive a $25 Surf Burger Gift Certificate."

Wasn't going to do it in 15 minutes but was about 3 patties short of completely finishing it. I was a little hungry, just a little. Glad Cindy and I got to see the beach though a perfect way to end the day and ride back off into the sunset;

Until next time...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pensacola Test run

Pensacola Test Run

Looked at the weather today and tomorrow looks like a clear day so I decided to wing it and take a ride to Pensacola FL from Meridian MS. This will be my longest ride to date (I am a beginner) totaling about 450 miles. I want to ride several hours to get a feel for the bike and look for things that will affect my comfort level on a long haul. Looked up a route that pretty much stays off the interstates and passes through a few scenic areas. I hope to add to my map of traveled roads and find more hidden gems. I have already replayed in my mind several times the moment I approach the ocean beaches. I imagine the salty air filling my lungs and my heart start to skip beats out of excitement of feeling the warm southern sun in the middle of January. The sound of the crashing waves and the hum of the ocean breeze against my ears will be exactly what I need to clear my mind and rest for a day. I will lay my hands and feet atop the warm dry sand and let them sink in deeper to feel the cool damp sand just beneath the surface. Getting there will be the easy part, getting up and off the beach to leave will be difficult. A beach in your rearview mirror is not a pleasant sight. This too shall pass, I will return for the family reunion and the beginning of my adventure in June.

I also got to buy a few things for Cindy, I named the Harley, I think i may have mentioned that in a previous blog. Nonetheless I got a neck warmer, some bandanas, a handle bar mount for my go-pro camera, waterproof glove covers, fingerless bikers gloves, and a phone charger all for under $100 from Ebay. I still need a good leather jacket, rain gear, and chaps and I will have pretty much all the gear I need for this summer's trip. 

Took Cindy out for a ride today and noticed that my cruise control was missing. I highly doubt it fell of, most likely got yanked in the parking lot somewhere. So I need to buy a new one, a must on a long trip if you ask me. Looked it up on Ebay and they are around $25. 

I look forward to tomorrow and will head out around 6:30 AM, going to be about 30 degrees so will need to head out in full gear. As soon as that sun comes up it will warm up real quick. Want as much beach time as possible. Will take my bible with me, perfect church service if you ask me. You, your creator, and his ocean, what an amazing setting to seek guidance and wisdom. 
Photo complements of Ozara Photgraphy I.E. Nick Ozerkov my cousin. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Phase 1

Phase 1

Family Reunion 

June 7th I would like to Leave Atlanta and drive to Destin Florida. Several relatives of mine are planning a first ever out of state family reunion. We had been so close in the past, everything we did we did together. We lived no more than a few blocks away from each other and it was a pleasant downhill bike ride that was sped up by a potential dog chase about 3/4's of the way through to my uncles house to see my cousins. We would speed up every time out of the expectation of it coming after us, but more often than not it was lazily warming itself under the rare Minnesotan summer sun. We had a monetarily modest childhood but had a billionaire imagination. Our little neighborhood was like a galaxy of its own, with so much to explore, so much trouble to stir. I am so eager to get together and would love for our children to have the same opportunity for adventure amongst themselves. 

On the drive down I want to swing by a place recommended to me by a cast member from a time when I was an extra on VH1's "Single Ladies". Between scenes, her and I discussed our similar passion to explore and she told me of Providence Canyon. She mentioned to me that is was like a mini Grand Canyon in Georgia. That sparked my imagination and I quickly asked for coordinates to save them, not knowing when they will come in handy (32.066429,-84.912815). Here is an image I pulled from Google.

By night fall I will make it to Destin to meet with family and I plan to stay here several 2-3 days before hitting the road again. Destin was not in the general direction of travel but I could not turn down seeing my family all together under one roof, actually more like on the beach. I presume the beach will be where I will spend most of my time. Below is one of those cousins, Nick, taken in Destin last year when he and his family came down. As you can see the imagination is strong in this one! Cant wait to see them.



In any task you undertake planning is of utmost importance. This trip has several facets that will require forethought. I will need to plan a route, plan attractions along the route, find Muay Thai gyms, and plan on what I will need to make the journey. 

The route

The above picture is the initial path of travel that I created. It has since been revised and changed and I am sure there are plenty more changes to come. I have also purchased a map of the US and have marked routes that I have already traveled. Below is what I came up with;

The darker black lines are where my travels have already taken me.The routes that I have previously traveled are the ones that I want to stay off of. I will be cross-referencing my intended path of travel with this map to make sure I am exploring uncharted territory. A very useful tool in all of this is You can plan your visit and it will make an itinerary with up to 30 stops. I will be using this website heavily as I continue to draw out my course. 


Once I have a general understanding of the route that I will be taking I will start to reference it with places to see that will be along that route. As I find more attractions I will adjust the path of travel to make sure it flows in the right direction. The site has given me an abundance of ideas. I am also using I went on a waterfall road trip last year and referenced this site a lot. It has some very unique swimming holes, hot springs,  waterfalls, and cliff jumping locations, will come in handy especially in the summer heat. I will be posting sections of the trip and the attractions that I plan on visiting in future posts. 

Muay Thai Gyms

I am having a blast training, teaching, and competing within the Muay Thai ranks. I have had the opportunity to do a lot of my training basically out of 3 gyms so far. Bonafyde MMA & Sidthilaw Muay Thai is what I consider a home gym and they are out of Nashville TN. Bangkok Boxing and Fitness was my first and introduced me to Muay Thai and started me off with some solid traditional technique, they are out of Atlanta GA. Relson Gracie Jui-Jitsu 601 has been a gym that I have been attending while working out in Meridian MS. If you are ever in those areas I would recommend you swing by for a session, some amazing people in all 3 of these gyms. 

I have asked for help from my coaches, Muay Thai Guy (, Muay Thai in America ( and they all have helped me compile a nice list of top gyms in the US. I have also reached out to fellow fighters that have sent suggestions to me. This adds another factor in planning the route and stops. I keep moving waypoints and adjust the map as I get closer to making a final map draft. 


I am very low maintenance, that being said it will still be extremely difficult to get everything I need for this adventure into 3 saddle bags. The first saddle bag will be filled with riding gear. I will need rain gear, chaps, boots, helmet, jacket, gloves, bandana, and glasses. The second saddle bag will be with my Muay Thai gear, boxing gloves, shin pads, mouth piece, thai shorts, "teep shirt", towel, muscle cream, and supplements. That leaves me with one more bag for personal items. I will have tooth paste, tooth brush, a hammock, sleeping bag, laptop, clothes and a bible. Simple living at its best. I wish I can take my Hugo Boss shoes and my "Bond" tux but this is not that kind of trip. Just a moment ago I was struggling with what to bring with and now it makes perfect sense. No need for luxury, this trip has a deeper purpose. Below is my companion, a 1994 Harley Davidson XLH Sportser 883. I have officially named her Cindy, I think my friend Ty will know why. 


Chasing the Horizon

This is a first for me, blogging, but I thought it would be a good way to solidify plans and hold myself accountable to fallow through on what I have set out to do. 

First a little background on myself. I am a 26 year old Self Employed General Contractor, I have an amazing 7 year old daughter (who lives with her mom in Oregon) and my passions are travel and Muay Thai. 

I have always been in the construction industry and travel a lot for work, generally around the Southeast U.S.. I am currently "living" in Atlanta, reason for the parentheses is that my living there consists of 4-7 days a month and all of which are not necessarily consecutive. In the travels that I am required to do for my career, I always have a tendency to take a different route whenever the opportunity presents itself. I have traced my travels on a map and have created somewhat of a spiders web. Most of the gems end up being caught in the smaller strands just off the beaten path. I am always in search of them, the places that take your breath away, the ones that evoke in you a silent awe at God's majesty. He either created something amazing or inspired humanity to create on his behalf. My search is far from over, there are plenty of trails that my feet have not walked, and abundance of roads that I have not rode across, and when that runs out I will have the open seas. 

And so to the reason behind this blog, I am in the planning stages of a road trip that I hope to take this summer. I am at a position in my life where conditions are prime to do something like this. I am hoping to undertake an around the U.S. road trip that will last about a month, span 2 countries, 32 states, and net about 9,000 miles. While on the road I would like to accomplish several things; see America off the main highways, visit and train at Muay Thai gyms all across the country, and get a deeper understanding of myself and my faith. Did I mention that I will be doing it off of an iconic american symbol, a Harley Davidson? 

So tune in as I plan, execute, and learn about this amazing country and myself. I will be posting pictures, thoughts, and locations of amazing places that I will come across. I encourage any feedback and dialog so feel free to comment, share and interact with me.

Keep fighting the good fight