Friday, December 21, 2012

Gateway to the West

Looks like I'm gonna try my luck down in ole St. Louie here soon. After returning from the road in October, after 5 months of riding through 26 of our 50 states, I've been having a little trouble getting back into to the swing of things. The plan came about to return to IL (from CA) and work for the winter, fix up the scoot, and head back out on the road when the weather and fundage were right. However I can't seem to find steady work here in Champaign and I was beginning to feel a little restless.

A few weeks ago a friend offered me a place to stay in St. Louis after she had just accepted a new utility job in the city. Jen rode along for the majority of the 26 state trip this summer after a few others that had planned  to join the adventure were forced to back out due to circumstance. Jen herself was forced back east early due to a motor that crapped out on her that we couldn't get fixed.

Oregon was a tough state. I had blown a hole in my lower engine case when I popped my drive chain at 70 mph in the middle of nowhere while entering the southeastern part of the state. We managed to fix that only due to a dear friend about 350 miles away that came to our rescue. But I digress...Jen's motor crapped out on the way back down through the state after we spent about a week-ish up in the Seattle area of WA.

She first started having troubles in Astoria, OR with the bike cutting out and not reaching full power. We limped along until we finally found a motel with a vacancy sign lit up. It was Labor Day weekend and everything was booked. I cleaned carbs, we both checked electrical, we swapped coils, set timing, cleaned points and did about everything we could think of before we started calling our friends across the country asking their advice. We finally procured a ride from the same friend, Duncan, that had helped me when my bike was DOA. He hauled us to our mutual friend Scott's garage in Portland where we thought we had the problem licked. So the next day we headed on down the coast.

Unfortunately we did not fix the issue and continued having problems for the next few hundred miles until after spending a week bouncing from motel to motel she decided to rent a U-Haul from Crescent City, CA, about 40 miles from where we had made it to in OR. It was the closest rental.

We took turns leading the way down the coast, her in the box truck and I on my chop. We made a stop in Santa Rosa where I had an old high school friend. While there we picked up another chop that Jen had stashed in Sonoma at one of her friends compounds before heading down to our friend Dick and Diana's place, between Oakland and Stockton. There we spent some more time trying to get one of these 2 freedom machines back on the road.

We did get the bike that we obtained in Sonoma up and running and made a few little trips during the 2 weeks we were there. We rode to Sacramento to see Cam and Chico to visit the Eubanks family, as well as a day jaunt to Yosemite. However that bike was leaking oil like a sieve and really wasn't worthy of a cross country battle, one that she'd be making alone. After much struggle with the two bikes she decided to haul the fuggers back east at the end of September. She had a job waiting in Chicago.

I continued my trek down the coast via Route 1, camping in Big Sur and staying with a good friend, Pete, just north of L.A. I'd tried to secure work while staying with him but didn't have much luck finding anything steady that would allow me to rent a pad, buy some groceries, what have you. He did hook me up with a gig doing Emmy Award tear down, dismantling sets and such, for the better part of a week and it paid excellent. The Bill Ferrell Company was interested in keeping my number but they could only offer me work as an "on call" basis.

While I was staying with Pete in Piru I took a few solo rides to Hollywood, San Diego to see Randy & Adria, with a few little day jaunts here and there to Ventura Pier and Ojai to see my friend Dawn. I was really hellbent on wintering over on the west coast but after spending a few weeks scraping my pipes while chasing Pete through the hills and canyons of the Malibu/Hollywood area I decided I needed to make a decision because my funds were depleting.

I headed back to IL in the middle of October, stopping to see my "sis" in Vegas and some friends in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Missouri on the way. I returned to my old stomping grounds in Champaign, IL and have been living with some friends and fellow Flatlanders but I haven't had much luck finding a steady gig here either. I've been fortunate to have some contractor buddies that threw me some work as they could and I've also been selling chopper parts from my stash to make ends meet.

With that in mind I have decided to move to River City for the time being. I'm hoping that my chance for employment there is greater and the move will satisfy some of this restlessness, or wanderlust, that I'm burdened with.


  1. Really enjoy reading your stuff man, a natural flair for story telling and a clear love of language and communication . . . all the best for this time of the year and I sincerely hope you can find what you're chasing . . . don't ever lose the Wanderlust though, as tough as it can be to regulate. Cheers.

  2. Hey Dude, 50 miles north of The Cardinal capitol. Shout out for whatever.