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Conclusion and a Map (Ryan)

So obviously Beth does a better job at writing posts than I do. I’ve finally given up on writing the last leg of the journey. I just don’t have the time. The short of it is: Texas was hot, Louisiana was just kinda cool, family and friends are awesome (southeast), and the exhaust and luggage rack broke the last day. We made it back safe with just over 9000 miles on the clock. Below is a map showing the entire trip. The red is this trip, the blue is the trial run in April when we went to NY.

Now we are safely overseas and if you have suggestions for what Dual Sport to get in Central Asia, I’m all ears. When we set up a blog here, I’ll post a link.

 

Sincerely,

Ryan

 

Map of our travels. Blue is the trial run from April and red is the main, 9000 mile trip.


Day 47: Corn Hole County Champ (Beth)

We spent  today visiting with my Dad and step-mom, Linda and my sister, Ann, who drove over to hang out.  It was such a nice visit!  We caught up on the current goings-on, reminisced about old times, ate some apple pie my Dad made from scratch and played corn hole.  Oh!  And I should mention, Dad and Linda took a cross country road trip as well several years before we did.  We were looking through their pictures and comparing places we’d all been.  They made it further west than we did: California, Oregon, etc.

Ryan and I each played corn hole with my Dad and both of us failed miserably. I blame it on the heat… and lack of talent.  It was fun though!

Here’s a few pictures from the visit:

My Dad and his favorite coffee mug. He has this thing about running his fingers along the curvature of the handle while he talks. I love that I can remember that from my childhood and he still does it:) Sorry the picture’s dark.

Nice form.

My form didn’t work out for me in this one…

This is my step-mom, Linda. Fun fact: Linda corrected us on how many years we’ve been married, because WE got it wrong during our conversation! IT WAS HILARIOUS. She did it really sweetly too, which made it even funnier!

My sister, Ann. She’s No. 6. I’m No. 7.

Dad, Linda, Ann, Beth, Ryan

In the evening, we headed out from Dad and Linda’s.  Ryan had to run back to Burlington and I met my friend Christy very briefly for dinner.  She and her husband are good friends of ours.

Christy and Madaline

Dad and Linda live pretty close to Raleigh so I jumped over to see my former violin teacher before heading back to Burlington for the night.  She taught me for… 8 years?  My memory’s questionable, but it’s close to that.  I hadn’t seen her since our wedding (which was FOUR years ago, not SIX.  In case you’re wondering;)), so it was great to see her again and catch up! She had an extra violin around that she let me use and we got to play some duets again.  Some of my favorite memories are moments like this, playing beautiful music with someone you’re comfortable playing with.

My teacher.

Once I got back to Burlington, I hung out for a little bit and then exhaustion  set in. I decided I should get myself united with a pillow… and that was that.


Day 46: Pinball Travelers (Beth)

Get ready.  This post won’t be terribly long, but it’ll be a faster pace.

To start off, we left SC at 8am and drove up to see my sister in Burlington, NC.  We arrived at 1pm-ish, hung out for a couple hours, I threw in a load of laundry, and then Ryan and I got spiffed up to go to our friends’ wedding in Chapel Hill, NC.  We left around 5pm.  I took my sister’s car; Ryan took the bike.   He left a few minutes before I did.  I get in the car, punch the address into my phone’s GPS, and realize like a genius, I’d forgotten to charge my phone…and I don’t have a car charger.  Good one, Beth.  Alright.  I’ve at least had the foresight to also bring our actual GPS.  Problem No. 2.  Our GPS is moody and didn’t pick up satellites for 20 minutes.  So, I’m balancing my dying phone on my knee, listening to GPS lady and trying to hold my hard core GPS up with one hand (because that’ll help the signal, of course), WHILE DRIVING IN HEELS.  I know.  Not my best moment.  However!  The GPS managed to pal up with a satellite just before my phone died, and no pedestrians were hurt in the making of this momory.  VICTORY! I even got to Chapel Hill with some breather time for the 7pm wedding.  Whoo!

Now for the good part!  We got to celebrate our friends’ (Hadeel and Mahmoud) wedding with them!  Mahmoud looked sharp in his tux and Hadeel was needless to say, GORGEOUS.  Some other mutual friends of ours came down from Michigan for the wedding too, so that was really cool to see some Michiganders down in the South.  They had their 6 month old son in a gray, pin-stripped suit for the occasion that would make any woman turn to mush.  It was so cute!  We ended up eating with a really cool couple that had just gotten back from a vacation to Paris, so we were all swapping odd traveling stories, having a great time.  Hadeel danced with Mahmoud and her Dad and then the dance floor opened up.  It stayed pretty crowded with people until we had to leave.

The Newlyweds!

Our friends from MI with the bride and groom.

Paris travelers. We really enjoyed talking with them.

Unfortunately, we had to say our goodbyes earlier than we wanted to because we had to drive an hour away to stay at my Dad’s for the night.  What a beautiful wedding though!

We got in at my Dad’s around 11ish, visited for a while and called it quits around midnight.  It had been a long day, but a good one!


Day 28: The Trek to Corpus Christi (Beth)

As we sat down to eat our continental breakfast this morning, we discovered that the hotel owner used to live in Michigan!  He came in asking about our bike and where we were from in Michigan and I think 20 minutes later we finished bonding over our mutually known State.  It’s nice to find people that will just start talking with you out of the blue because of a common interest.

Today was the ride from Del Rio to Corpus Christi.  Now comes the grueling part.  Today was HOT.  Not only was it hot, but travel was slow.  There was a leg of the trip where we were stuck behind five semi trucks!  We have no windshield and at this temperature, we definitely do NOT have on any of our leather gear, so the gravel spitting out the back of these trucks is smacking us frequently, with conviction.  And we felt it. Ryan got the worst of it, being the driver.  After a while, I had to ask him to pull off to take a break.  I think I was getting mildly dehydrated, so he pulled off no problem.  We ate some subway, sat in the AC and drank loads of ice water.  While this did feel good at the time, I realized it was a huge mistake.

When we got on the road again, it was blazing hot and my body had adjusted to the cooler indoor temperatures.  The first 20 minutes of the ride, it literally felt like my skin was on fire.  After that, my body got used to the heat again and it was tolerable, but I had certainly learned my lesson.  When we stopped for gas next, I just sat outside in the shade and Ryan took care of filling our water bottle inside the gas station.

As the day progressed, the temperature decreased and the humidity increased.   We got to Corpus Christi and crashed in our room while we ran the ever necessary load of laundry.  Once we again had clean clothes in our possession, we scouted out some nearby restaurants and settled on some place with “Blackbeard” in the name.  I can’t remember exactly.  What I DO remember was a delectable white chocolate raspberry cheesecake slice that I enjoyed profusely.

There is a section of coast that is really pretty to drive along at night, so that’s where we headed after dinner.  There were kids playing in fountains near the water, couples taking strolls, and lights off a more distant piece of land suspended out in the water.  It was very, very pleasant.  A nice way to end a long day.


Day 27: Snow White and Some Bikers (Beth)

Today we rode from Carlsbad to Del Rio, TX.  We left early in the morning to start off the day, picked up some nutritious McD’s breakfast and headed out of town.  As I recall, we were warned by some gentlemen at McDonald’s to watch out for these wild hogs that roam out here.  At first glance, their size makes them appear more harmless than you would think, but if you hit them, they’re about as harmless as a runaway semi.  Thankfully, we never even spotted one.

The intensity of the sun has wiped out most of my memory of today’s ride.  It must have been fairly standard.

When we arrived in Del Rio (early evening), it had reached the low hundreds outside.  When we asked the lady at the hotel desk if it is always this hot, she said this was mild.  Yikes.  After recuperating in the AC for a bit, the temperature had cooled down a little outside, so we rode around town.  We met another pro-bike couple and we all decided to do dinner together.  Really fun!  The husband had a 1984 Shadow that was currently under repair, so he and Ryan got along great.  The wife was as sweet as could be, so I loved talking to her.  After hanging out for a couple hours, it turned out to be hard to tear ourselves away from them, but they needed to get going, so we did, sadly.

After leaving the restaurant, we got back to the hotel parking lot, but then immediately left because we realized neither of us was tired even though it was pretty late.  We searched for a movie theater nearby and managed to slip into the last showing of Snow White and the Huntsman.

Okay, here’s my review in case you are debating about seeing it:

Eh. The evil witch (Theron) carried the entire movie.  SHE was worth watching.  There was a scene where she’s screaming her head off at someone that had me mesmerized.  The quality of acting was superb. As far as everyone else, the acting didn’t capture or inspire.  The girl who played Snow White seemed to have the same expression on her face through the entire movie.  I will say that the special effects were quite good and the general aesthetics, very pleasing, but I would wait to see it in a cheap theater or on Netflix.


Day 26 – Everyone needs some ukulele (Beth)

We love Albuquerque!  This morning, we thought we were just going to drive through Old Town, but we ended up staying and exploring for at least 2 hours!  There was a group playing music in the park, vendors lined up around it and lots of unique little shops.

Old Town

Live music in Old Town!

This guy was making copper bracelets right in front of us. Awesome.

I was engrossed by the vendors selling jewelry and spent a while walking up and down hunting for a gift for a friend.  After talking to most of the vendors, there was one lady I liked a lot more than the others.  She was genuinely friendly and not pushy, so I decided that of everyone, I wanted to buy something from her.   What a great time!  I think we talked with her for 30+ minutes about anything and everything.  She spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best gift for our friend and after we made our purchase, she even gave us a hug.

Jessica

We walked through several of the shops and found several really cool items.  There was one I wish we had actually bought:

Taste buds? We don’t need no stinking taste buds!

After lounging around Old Town, we got on the bike with every intention of hitting the road for the day, but got sidetracked again by a farmer’s market.  We didn’t buy anything too exciting, just a little bit of food for lunch, but it was a fun atmosphere!  The cherry on top of the whole experience was a store I spotted that advertised ukulele lessons!  What city affords you such fantastic options like this?  If we had stayed there just one more day, I guarantee I would have found a way to take a lesson before leaving.

I never would have guessed it, but both Ryan and I decided that we could EASILY live here.  What a great city!  There are a lot of places that you could love visiting, but would never move to.  It wouldn’t take much convincing to get us to make a permanent move here.  All this from a 24 hour visit, you say?  It’s crazy and hard to explain, but yes.  So if you’re out there looking for a change of scenery: consider Albuquerque!

We did eventually pry ourselves away and started riding to our destination: Carlsbad.

On the way, we drove through Roswell and had to stop to check it out.  We really wanted to visit the actual “crash site,” but was informed that it was basically just a sign in the middle of nowhere to identify it and that even that had recently been removed.   After we abandoned that option, we decided to check out the alien museum in town… to find it closed.  Oh well.  We took some pictures of the outside of the museum and headed on our way.  We did get an awesome sticker for the bike though!

UFO Museum

Love this picture.

Roswell, NM Sticker: “Resistance is futile.”

When we reached Carlsbad, we had some trouble getting a place to stay.  Other than a couple PRICEY hotels, there were only really questionable places to stay for the night.  After searching for a while, checking out some different options, discarding them and searching for others, we did find a room that was at least reasonably clean and settled in.  We grabbed some dinner at a decent restaurant, which was nice, but overall, neither Ryan or myself liked Carlsbad much at all.  Because of this, we didn’t do much exploring.   We used the night to work on a couple things on our “to do” list and then turned in.


Day 25 – Albekerkie… I’ll be quirky?… (Beth)

(Albuquerque has got to be the most difficult US city name to spell.)

We loved the restaurant we ate at last night so much, we waited for them to open and ate there again for lunch before we left town.  After brunch, we left and traveled the 200+ miles to Albuquerque.  Not much to mention except that it was hot, but I have a feeling that’s going to describe every day of the trip from here on out, so no surprise there.

When we reached our hotel, we immediately loved it.  Sandia Peak.  It was very affordable, nice and clean.  The owners are Indian (not Native American, Indian Indian) and their accents made us so happy because they reminded us of our good friends Nathan and Jen. (Yes Jen, their accents reminded us of you too!)  Very friendly owners.  Their natural hospitality was evident to us even as we checked in.

After settling in, we grabbed some dinner, came back for the mandatory laundry cycle, then headed out to see MIB3.  (Not a huge fan of the MIB series, but the guy who plays the young Tommy Lee Jones in this one deserves mentioning.  Excellent TLJ impersonator.  Uncanny, actually.)

After the movie, it was late… so we came back, worked on a few blog posts and then slept!