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Hey guys, I'm new here in this forum but I've got a story to tell! I just got the Stryker in July and must say that I love riding this **** bike! It's my first bike and I have no previous riding experience so I can't compare this bike to any other bike, but I like it enough to say this one feels just right. I was supposed to get this bike about 6 months ago but my 8 month old Dobie got attacked in my backyard during the day while i was at work by either stray dogs or my neighbor's dogs, i never found out. Anyways, the vet/surgery bills got crazy expensive but i finally paid them off 3 months later and luckily Robbie is pretty much back to being a normal dog. My company got bought out during this time and I got a promotion and raise so one day I just said **** it and swung by the Yamaha dealership during lunch and bought her. The new company policy called for employees to use up vacation time before the end of the fiscal year, September, or lose the vacation time accrued without reimbursement. Upon getting this email, I told my manager i was taking off for 2 weeks no matter what because at this point I'd still be losing alot of vacation time by the end of the fiscal year. I was into the first weekend into my vacation while walking my dog that i realized that i had a brand new bike with great MPG so i could go places for cheap. After breaking in the bike for 613 miles here in Houston i went back to Yamaha and did the first 600 mile maintenance service.

Day 1: I got my 2 favorite RUSH shirts, a 311 shirt, IRON MAIDEN shirt, 2 jeans, pair of shorts, 5 pairs of socks/boxers, 1 gal. Camelbak backpack, extra strength aspirin, sunscreen, leather jacket, tennis shoes, and CC/cash money. Packed up everything on my bike and left Htown. First day was from Houston to Dallas. There were a lot of deers on the side of the road looking at you deciding when to **** you over. I counted 5 animals on the side of the road with their carcass split open in this stretch. I rode around the city and finally crashed in Dallas(no pun intended) for the day at this hotel that had a suspicious guy sitting inside his Tacoma, so I was paranoid all night.





Day 2: The stretch between Dallas and Amarillo was the most painful ride I've yet to experience on the bike. It was ridiculously hot! Halfway through it I pulled over on the side of the freeway to get rid of this **** cramp and leather jacket. Five minutes later I was back on the bike and the kickstand had dug itself 2 inches into the tarmac. I stuck it in gear and hauled ass out of there. Checked out Cadillac Ranch. Had dinner at the Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo and rode around to see what this town was all about. Next time I'll order my steak EXTRA WELL DONE. Some drunk fat guy was trying to eat that massive steak that you get for free if you eat the whole serving. He failed, baaaaaaddd. I wound up leaving Amarillo and had to crash in Tucumcari after riding in the rain for 45 minutes. It was my first time riding in the rain and it was extremely stressful/dangerous. Raindrops hurt when you're doing 70mph!










Day 3: Tucumcari to Albuquerque to Holbrook. I checked out this museum in Tucumcari in the morning. I learned about dinosaurs and fossils and stuff, neato. It was my first time visiting these southwestern states and I expected never-ending barren deserts and sand dunes and the stereotypical cacti and deserted roads. I find it hard to believe that it rains a lot more in these deserts than in Houston, which is 45 minutes away from the beach. My front lawn is currently dead dry because of the water restrictions and the nonstop 100+ degree weather. Anyways, the clouds in New Mexico suck. Those friendly white cumulus fluffy clouds will rain down on you out of nowhere. I still didn't have any rain gear with me but it wasn't that big of an issue because the spots of rain weren't like driving through a tropical storm or anything, YET. Arizona was awesome to say the least. It's cool how you can see the difference in terrain/foliage/temperature as you cross state lines, almost as if you're reading a new chapter in a book about each state in America.









Day 4: Holbrook to Petrified National Forest to Meteor Crater to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon. I went through the Petrified Forest and checked out what the Painted Desert has to offer. Listening to Jim's poetry and the Doors while going through this park is awesome! I bought back some rocks with me from this place. Meteor Crater is the next place I checked out and was impressed with the crater. Learned a lot about meteors, bought some souvenirs and sent a postcard to my dog from their trading post LOL. I got a waitress’ number in a restaurant at Flagstaff called Twisters or something. I told her I was from TEXAS and about my trip and what I was planning on doing and to come with me. She was interested, but not enough to drop everything and lose her job and leave everything behind just like that. I’ve since called her back since then to let her know how I got back to Houston. She was hot. Anyhoo, I went up north from Flagstaff towards the Grand Canyon from the East side. I met a lot of Native Americans while going through Arizona, whom for some reason I’ve got nothing but respect for, despite being strangers to me. Don’t know why, I just felt that way. The Grand Canyon is something to see in person, pictures do not capture the depth, contrast, and detail of something as big as this.





















 

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Day 5: Grand Canyon to Vegas. After completing the Bright Angel Trail back and forth I don't think I'm ready to hike for another year or so. It was brutal coming back up. I left the Grand Canyon late in the day and made it to the Hoover **** just in time while the sun was still out. The dam was pretty cool and there was a wild mountain goat was perched on one of the cliffs. I got to Vegas and it was starting to get dark so I cruised the strip while looking for the nearest hotel room available cause I had to get out there and get my drink on. I woke up the next day about 200 dollars poorer and with a mean hangover. To this day I still don't know how I made it back to the hotel room.









Day 6: Sober up. Vegas to Death Valley NP to Bishop to Yosemite NP to San Francisco. I woke up later than planned in Vegas but I hit up this Vietnamese place and got some Bahn Mi or something to that effect and that got me up and running. I also left my credit card at Harras the night before so I went back for that. I can see where Death Valley gets its name. Still nowhere compared to the big Texas Heat. Got to Bishop and I was looking forward to visiting that store where they sell beef jerky but it was closed by the time I got there. I was totally unprepared to go through Yosemite. There was snow and ice on the side of the road and I found that place where all those computer screensavers of the guy fly-fishing in the bubblin' brook surrounded by green trees is at. It took me 3 hours to get through the park because it was cold, twisty, and I was just stopping everywhere to check out the waterfalls. Definitely flying back there in the future to camp there for sure, I found a really cool spot. I didn't make it to San Francisco, it got dark on me and I got scared once I ran over a black brick or something cause I bounced and landed on the gas tank. I always told myself that I wouldn't ride in the rain or at night and this just sealed the deal for me. I had an awesome Slamburger that night at the Denny's next to the hotel.









Day 7: Stockton to San Francisco to L.A. via Pacific HWY 1. I remember walking back to my bike after checking out of the hotel to see 2 different guys changing out their flat tires in the parking lot. I didn't think anything of it, I just hopped on my bike and rode out. I got to San Francisco and had lunch at the Fisherman's Wharf and rode up and back through the Golden Gate Bridge. Driving in SF is hard on clutches in anything with a manual tranny since you get to stop at streetlights at an 8%+ incline. Time to slip that clutch, haha! I stopped at at gas station to gas up and I checked the air in the tires for the **** of it and I had 20PSI on the rear. I rolled the bike until I saw the nail in the tire so I started looking for a shop on my Iphone but unfortunately everyone was booked up to **** and back. I went ahead and bought the Stop-and-Go kit at the gas station and decided to learn how to plug the leak so I could limp it back to Oakland to get to the hotel. Another biker helped me out in plugging the leak because getting that serrated tool to make the hole bigger just sounded stupid to me at the time and I was hesitant to cut into the tire even more than the nail had already done so. Well, we plugged that tire and I crashed in Oakland for the night. There are a lot of Asians up there.










Day 8: I got the tire parched up from the inside the following morning at KC Engineering while I walked around downtown SF. I checked out the fisherman's wharf again and had an awesome breakfast in Chinatown. I don't know what I ate but I'm sure they were hardboiled pigeon eggs and some duck/chicken dumplings. I checked out the "Full House" house and I gotta say it must suck to live in that house with all those tourists running up and down the stairs to pose for pictures. The streets in San Francisco are insane. On a lot of main streets, left turns are illegal at intersections, so you have to pass up the street you want to make a left into, make a right on the next light, another right, another right and bam, you're set. Don't even get me started on taking the wrong exit on the freeways. Anyways, riding down the Pacific Highway 1 was out of this world. You're practically going through plantation farms and ocean fronts so you experience the fragrance and temperatures of the terrain. You can tell when you're going past a strawberry field or the beach! The roads are twisty too, and it doesn't help that there are pebbles and rocks littered all over the place. Nevertheless, carving through the twisties in those cliffs while seeing the ocean waves 100ft below crashing 20 ft in the air will keep you entertained and ALERT! It got dark on me so I crashed in Santa Barbara for the night.














Day 9: A day in L.A. and Venice Beach. First thing I did as soon as I got into L.A. is to check out Mulholland Drive. It is extremely fun to drive through on a motorcycle, so many turns and elevation changes. Those neighborhoods in those hills are crazy, they've got streets that are uphill and narrow like you wouldn't believe so you have to stay in 1st gear all the way up and down. After conquering Mulholland, I rode straight to Venice Beach. I'm a huge Doors fan so being there was a milestone in this trip for me. I spent the rest of the day there walking about and sightseeing. I made friends with two beach bums who turned out to be recent college graduates from Berkeley. One of them got me to play wingman and **** California girls are cool! It got dark on me when we got back to the beach and we had been drinking so I decided to just crash at the beach hobo-style and not ride the bike to look for a hotel. Well later on I found myself at the beach included into a group circle of beach bums who were sharing philosophy and smoking weed. A hot topic was whether RUSH the band was eligible to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame since they were Canadians and what not. That was epic. Two of them almost got into a fight! I don't do drugs, but I got in touch with my inner Jim Morrison that night. Let's just leave it at that.







Day 10: A call from my best friend woke me up this morning. After that call I just hopped on I-10 and headed east. I came across boatloads of rain in New Mexico again, this time I actually stopped at a Walmart in Benson before crossing the state line to buy some raingear because I really needed to get going if I wanted to make it to the 311 concert in Houston on time. I rode in the rain for an eternity until I got to a Motel 6 in Deming. I think I was just in there for like 4-5 hours.





Day 11: Deming to Houston to Woodlands. This stretch was not that bad actually, it went by real quick. I got a chance to see the border patrol in action. Somebody ran an explorer into a ranch’s fence and everyone decided leave the doors open. Don’t know what happened there. State Troopers were pulling speeders over left and right all throughout the stretch. I stuck to 75MPH since that’s the sweet spot for long distance riding on my bike. I got to Houston and it was so weird to pull into my driveway. After being on the road and going through a lot I couldn’t believe I got to come home to 2 cars, a house, and a Doberman. I checked the odometer when I parked her in my garage and it read 5,189 miles. Huge difference from the 710 miles when I left Houston.


 

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great post.. see that's value.. a nice long trip with the Stryker. btw.. when you passed thru Amarillo.. i live 35 miles from there. HOT and nothing out here. Nice set of pics.
 

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Wow... That is one epic tale. Good story, and great pics to show off! That sounds like a blast, Ill have to try that some time. Also, nice way to jump start the miles on you bike. Ten days put you miles (Hah! Double entendre!) ahead of others here, myself included! ;D
 

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Wow. Good writeup.
I feel like I just took a vaca with you.
I was riding ***** on back...but I never wrapped my arms around you...lol
thx for the post
 

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Fantastic write up Celiblue. I think most of us wish that we could just pack a bag and hit the road like you did. I especially liked the overall commentary about the people and other things you experienced. I felt like I was there dude.

Thanks.
 

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StrykenShane said:
very impressive, I'm trying to put together a group ride from Atlanta to Vegas next spring, any takers?
I'm in the Tulsa area. Keep me posted on this.
 

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Will do, I plan to map my route over the next few months and start a thread. I'm in the tax business so January-April I'm balls to the wall but after that I have 8 months of piddling.
 

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Wow..I enjoyed reading about your adventure. Very well written! I have always wanted to explore that part of the country. You convinced me that I gotta make it happen.
 

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SHANE, I may be interested in making that trip, too. COALJACK, you and I could hook up in Western TN or KY and drop down the Mississippi. Keep us updated on this. And for the original poster, awesome trip, thanks for sharing. I bet alot of readers, including me, are green with envy right about now!!
 

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hey Shane.. if your trip happens to pass through Amarillo by way of I-40.. count me in .. give us a time frame. Sounds like a real Stryker ride.
 
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