A Travellerspoint blog


Meeting people

in new places

Okay, so right after we left Bob Evin’s we saw a car parked next to our bike at the closed coffee/ tanning shop.
At first we thought it was the police, but then we noticed it was a truck. Well, crap… it was probably the owner wondering who broke into his shop. He was checking the register when he noticed us walking over to the bike.

So, I go up and I give the guy a timid smile and I say I’m sorry, but I had to get the bike under an awning since it is about to rain. He seemed ok and relieved that no one was robbing him. He continued talking to me and I apologized again and said that I hope he didn’t mind too much. He interrupted, “Of course I mind!” Now he was getting some attitude. “I mean, Jesus! You've got some balls. Parking here and walking over there to eat; you’ve got a whole parking lot over there. . ." (He’s pacing a bit and Vanessa starts backing away slowly.) "Man, I’ve never seen anything like this. Your balls must be longer than your hair. I mean, I’ve got nothing against long hairs. I’ve been riding too, for 15 years and I’ve never pulled this kinda crap.” I apologize again and I start pulling the bike out.

We went and saw District 9, my new all-time favorite action movie. Then went back to Pokagon Park and I did a Jedi mind trick. I handed the guy our receipt from yesterday and willed him to believe that it was for today. He looked confused over to his calender, but then he handed us back the receipt and let us through.

I didn’t want to waste the fire wood we bought, so I tried to make fire at midnight... for 3 hours (stupid teepee). Vanessa tripped getting back into the tent and hurt her hand, and we stayed up till 4am crying/ cursing at the fire pit/ arguing (logically) -> Vanessa edits. Then we got up at 9:30 to get out of the camp before people noticed that we were staying at the camp site w/o paying.

Let’s get a friggin hotel! My arm really hurt, I was tired of camping in the cold and wet, and I was really fed up with trying to not really help Joe make/ tear down our camp site everyday and fit it all onto the motorcycle; so we called my mom and asked her to find us a cheap motel (since half the AAA camp sites are almost as expensive as one anyways). So then, for the next few hours, we drove.

My mom called us back with one for $30 including tax in South Bend Indiana, and we told her to look a little further west. Then, a few hours later she came up with several other hotels. But, as luck would have it, Joe wanted to get off the bike and stretch, and the next exit was South Bend. After getting one egg and one piece of toast for myself, and a tea for Joe at the free WiFi Perkins, we decided to tour Noter Dame.

And we found a cool Korea/ Vietnam/ WWII memorial fountain on the campus...


This was where Joe started to practice his Dragon Ba Gua form, and he got a bit of an audience...

They were super cool, and we talked to them a bit about Kung Fu in general, and the guy mentioned how it looked more like a dance than fighting, and Joe explained his philosophy about how advanced Kung Fu does look like a dance, and only true masters can keep that quality in an actual fight. The guy liked what Joe had to say, and he gave us an impromptu performance of his version of Ba Gua.

They seemed to think we were students there who might become future friends, or who might try and sell their studio, and a few years ago, yeah, that would have been true. But this time, we were the anti social loners with no home... and man was it nice. No, "you should come buy and try out our club" or nothing, just simple "that was cool' and a "right back at ya."

Then it was onto the 'Smoke and Mirrors Magic Switch Motel!
Now, just to be clear, I have no photos of the first room we were given... I was that thrown. First of all, it smelled like a chain smoker had just vacated the premises, and I've been to bars and concerts with smoking and it has never bothered me like this. My eyes were falling out of their sockets, and when I went to wash them off I had to open a door (that someone had seemingly punched a hole through) to a shower room that had, I shit you not, blood stains on the shower floor. There was only one bed, and it seemed a bit shady too. Then Joe came up with the brilliant idea to call the front desk (run by either the brother or sister who's father owns the motel) and ask for a different room. It turned out that there was a smoking and non-smoking side to this motel, and she automatically gave us smoking. So the brother moved us to the non-smoking side... and I herd Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
It even came with a mini fridge.
It still was the world's smallest shower, but atleast nobody died in it.
Then Joe went out and got ice cream and we played Myst IV to liven mood from our stressful few first days of rain, cold, Vanessa being moody, and Joe reciprocating. Then we made up. . .

We got up at 10 check out at 11, and of course we checked out at 11:20, and didn't end up getting the bike packed until about an hour after that. We called Moser (my friend from High School) and Allina (my friend from skating) to try and see if we could meet up with them in Chicago, and we did end up getting a hold of Moser. He said he was having a cookout anyways, and we should come, so that was set. We failed to drive up Lake Michigan (not due to lack of trying, meaning driving an extra 20 min or so, but the GPS was deceiving about the proximity of roads to the lake). Then we got caught in rush hour going into the city at 4:30, and Joe was loosing it a bit with having to put his feet down every few seconds. We finally made it to their place, and they weren't there... it ended up they were swimming, but we finally met up at their place, ate dinner, and tripped balls off acid (not really, that's just Joe's favorite quote from Moser, neither of us have ever done acid).

We left Moser's rather late, and we were just hoping to find a place outside the city were we could just pull off the side of the road and camp. We saw a fairly nice forest, and so we decided to pull off at the next exit, and then we found a lit up medieval castle.
We parked in back of lot of the Medieval Times (one of only 8 in the country) and took pics and set up camp in adjoining field of super high weeds.
us inside tent trying to keep warm by wearing our helmets ->

Then, just as we were laying down to go to bed, flashlights and talking. Yeap, someone found our bike, and didn't like that it was there. Joe's ideas: 1.) Security 2.) Cops 3.) Drug deal. About 15 min later, and much stress, Joe jumping out of the tent to take out some of the poles to make it shorter, and a few more people with flashlights... the cops came and got us out of the tent. They took us out of the field and up to the parking lot to get our information, and they were really nice and they even told us to illegally camp in a public park.

When we finally got all packed again, the security guard apologized for making us leave, and offered to drive to the park so we could follow him. We told him that we had a GPS, so it wasn't necessary, and then he got called to do another sweep of the castle, so we just left to try and find this park. All park entrances were closed off with gates, and we were thinking we would have to get a motel because it was midnight, cold, and we were exhausted. But we finally found one we could go around, and Joe had me jump off as he maneuvered around a pole and a ditch about 5 feet from the pole. He almost took off the tent, but he fit through. Then we pushed the bike to a point where it was away from the main road, and then he drove it into the forest and we hid it behind some trees. Then we camped light with just the tent and sleeping bag off the bike, and then we went to bed.

At first light (6:45am) we got up and got out of the park before the rangers came to open the gates. Then we went to Denny’s to kill time because Joe wanted to go back to the Medieval Times for lunch since we didn't let him go to the one we passed in Baltimore for Otakon. Then we went to a hardware store could open so Joe could fix the trunk (it was loosing its water seal b/c of the weight). There we met Michal who drive's this Italian crotch rocket. He was working at the time, but he still talked to us for a while about our trip and where we should go and stuff. Then he left, but then came right back and offered us his place for the night and a shower in the morning. I said sure (to Joe's surprise). We told him about Medieval Times, and he said he lives in this city just over from it. Then he asked if he could ride with us through Wisconsin b/c he was planning to do some riding tomorrow there since it was his day off. We said sure, and exchanged numbers.

Then we went to Panera to get free WiFi and buy our tickets and... the Medieval Times didn't have any show's on Tuesdays or Wednesdays all September... it was Tuesday. Joe then decided that we could go to the one just south of LA (totally out of our way), and I compromised that if we were skipping Death Valley, then we were going to Mexico. This guy John was at the table next to us, and he started asking about our trip. He said he was jealous, and he gave us a different rout to take through Wisconsin that he uses on his bike (not a motorized one, but a real bicycle that he rides 7-9 hours a day on his trips!) So we had our plans, and we decided to go to a park before driving off to Galena where John said we can pick up a scenic road up the Mississippi.

At the park we called Mike back, and it turned out he had to go into work the next day anyways, and he wished us well and told us some other roads to take through Wisconsin that never stop winding.

Posted by - Rain 19:01 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (9)

Hitting the Road


We are on the road! on Monday my mom got me a doctor in Denver to take my cast off and my pins out. We have until Sep. 24 to get there. My sister's b-day was Tue the 25th, and we planned to leave the next day. We wanted to leave Wednessday after catching breakfast at Perkins with Laura, Claire, and Corey, but we ended up having to go back home and continue packing. Then we ended up packing into the rainy evening, so we didn't leave until Thursday. But, we should still have plenty of time to see the Badlands, Devil's Tower, Little Big Horn, Yellowstone, Canyon of the Crescent Moon, and Dinosaur National Park before hitting Denver.

We camped at Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio the first night. We didn't get there until dark, and we lost the backpack tied to our saddlebag (which I caught and held onto until we pulled into BP), and we thought the mirror was on fire, but it got brighter in rhythm with the left turn signal, and it turned out to be an orange thread flapping in the wind... not sparks.

The next morning we rushed out of the park and still ended up getting caught in the rain. We were in farm country since Joe wanted to avoid toll roads for the sights, so there really wasn't anywhere to pull off and get the laptop and stuff inside. Then there was a random ice cream shop, and we parked under their awning until the rain stopped.

The second night we stayed at Pokagon State Park, Angola Indiana. We were pretty tired from having to pack and unpack the motorcycle every morning and night, so we are staying a second day, hence why I can blog. We are at Bob Evin's drinking coffee and hot chocolate because its freaking cold! In an hour we are going to see District 9 (b/c the only other movie at the little theater we are going to Joe and I saw with my family... by the way, do not go and see the new Quintin Tarintino movie with your mom... its intense).

Posted by - Rain 19:33 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (3)

Last min. Fixes

So, the night before we were to leave on our trip, I kinda tripped and fell over backwards and broke my wrist. I was actually skating around my mom's neighborhood with 2 of my sisters and Joe. We were heading back home down a long windy street that is all down hill when Brittany and I noticed that we had lost Joe and Jessica. Brittany turned around on her bicycle after I spun around on my inline skates to look up the hill for them. Then I saw Joe start to come around the corner and I hit a pothole. I tried to catch myself I guess, and ended up on the ground cradling my arm. Brittany came over to ask me if I was ok, but then she let out a little grumble when she saw the offset of my wrist. Joe quickly caught up to us and helped me to my feet as Brittany accepted a cell phone from a couple walking their dog. My mom wasn't answering, and so I took the iniciative to start skating home again.

I was only 2 streets away, and when I got there someone had already beaten Joe and I home and informed my mom about what happened. Jessica ended up driving me to Southwest General's ER where they took x-rays and quite a long time with the vicodin. Eventually they told me that I broke my wrist and would have to come back and get a cast. They sent me home that night with just a splint wrapped with an ace bandage and a prescription for percocet. That was Monday night. I called Kaiser on the way home, and after some hoops I met with an orthopedic Dr. on Thursday at Metro Health that said I needed surgery. I ended up getting 3 rather long pins in my arm Friday afternoon after waiting almost 4 hours due to complications with the previous patient.

We hoped to leave this week, but now I have to get these pins removed before getting the full cast. I also need to be off percocet before I ride on the back of the motorcycle. Today is my first trial of that, and I have to say that it is nice to be off drugs for the first time in almost a week. On a better note, this gave Joe time to rig up a rack on the back of the bike for our sleeping bag, backpack and laptop. The plan now is to call my Dr. and ask if the pins can be removed by another facility down the road. If not, then its two more weeks of waiting, and I don't think that would be healthy for either of us.


Posted by - Rain 12:55 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (1)

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