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Took a little spin, CA to NY, and back...


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I've had this trip in my head for a long time, just never had the right bike for the job. Well after aquiring the FJ last year, thoughts of this trip just would not subside.... so I did it.
Here is a little trip recap, just going off memory here, some days blended together, haha.  My style of long days,  and moving fast isn't for everyone,  for me this trip was not only about seeing the country, and enjoying the solitude only riding motorcycles can provide,  but it was also a mental and physical test,  to challenge my body,  and mind,  to stay focused longer than I thought I could and to push my limits.  Some will say I didn't spend enough time exploring,  or that "slab" riding is just plain boring,  well I just don't care..... I did the ride my way and just how I wanted to.  :-)
Sorry a lot of these pics are "selfies"... I was face booking and texting the wife along the way.  
Day one, left around 530am from Fresno CA....
Nervous, doubtful I would complete the journey, and feeling like a jerk watching my wife hold back tears as I left on this seemingly reckless and unnecessary journey...
Those thoughts didnt last long, once I got into the grove, and once the miles started ticking away, I started enjoying the solitude, focusing on the ride and just taking it all in.
VEGAS....11:30. (400 miles)
Plan was to stop in Vegas and have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, rolling onto Las Vegas Blvd was quite exciting! But it was hot, 110f.... and as per usual in Vegas, traffic was terrible! Luckily I found parking easy right by Hard Rock, went in and had the best $20 cheeseburger I can remember. Live music playing.... vibe was cool!
Hoover Dam.... 1pm
Second stop was the Hoover Dam, and it was impressive! Im so glad I made time.  It was now 114f so the riding wasn't too much fun.  I shed my riding jacket and put on a white T-shirt.  Riding while absolutely overheating isn't safe,  so while I try to wear as much protective gear as I can,  this scenario felt safer to me.  Rolling up to the Hoover Dam was awesome.  It's just plain stunning that man can do such things.  I took the tour,  enjoying the heck out of the entire experience.  
Great experience!  I recommend it to anyone.  Well..... time to push on.  4pm, Day 1
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My goal for day 1 was to make it into Utah.  I didn't have a hotel reservation and just planned on stopping,  whenever.  I didn't make it as far as I had hoped and that would make day 2's goal even more difficult.  I made it to Cedar City UT.  Nice little town and I was happy to get off the bike after over 100 miles in temps over 110f.  My milage for the day was around 650,  although not all of that was forward progress since I back tracked to the dam from Vegas.  Overall I was pleased with the day.  Bike was running great,  felt pretty comfy (normal ass soreness).  So after finding the cheapest hotel I could, I tried to figure out my "nightly" routine.... pulled my bags off the bike and threw the cover on it.  I was very paranoid about the bike being messed with overnight,  those fears went away after a couple days and luckily i had no issues like that the entire time.  
Day 2,  6am start
Off and running on day two and I was feeling good,  excited about the day to come.  None of the nervousness or anxiety from day 1.  I was still riding very in the zone and focused on safety,  keeping distance,  making other drivers decisions "easier",  and just overall not taking any unnecessary risks on the bike.  I LOVE UTAH,  it's got to be my favorite state to ride,  or drive through.  It's just beautiful from end to end.  Somehow it's also the smoothest road surface in the country!  The bike was just floating along down I70.  I swear I averaged 85mph for hours.... not another car in sight.  
Well it didn't take long to blast through 300 miles or so of Utah.  I thoroughly enjoyed each mile and fought hard not to stop in Moab (I'm and avid 4 wheeler also).  I had other goals for the day though.... Now were rolling through Colorado.... I was having a pretty good time enjoying the twists and turns of I70 through Colorado,  taking it easy,  not wanting to make any mistakes.  I was covering ground quickly though and soon found myself at my destination for the day.... 
Chilly up here.... 
Day 2,  4pm..... Pikes Peak!
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Now keep in mind..... Pikes Peak was about 650 miles from where I started in the morning.... I lost one hour due to time change and was pushing it all day knowing they close the entrance to Pikes Peak 2 hours before the mountain closes at 7.  Anyhow... I made it.  And guess what?  By chance.... the annual race was the NEXT day.  The place was buzzing with excitement,  people,  race cars!,  and just lots of activity.  I lucked out here,  as even the day before the race,  it was a pleasant place to be,  and not to crowded.  
Riding up Pike's Peak..... a little insane.  The first 10-14 miles are just plain ole slow mountain twisties that are just fun to cruise up.  The views are awesome and everything is cool.  Then the trees go away..... and you can fully realize the shear cliff about 4 feet to your right and things get a little creepy!  Now add in that i just did 650 miles,  and I'm now up at around 12k elevation and I wasn't exactly as sharp as I wanted to be.  The turns at the top are hairpin and hairpin up a steep grade..... I was wishing for some deeper gearing,  I was having to use the clutch and some revs to keep forward motion a little more than I wanted.  I waved by a guy on a BMW GS who seemed to have no issues with the task.  Dudes who race up this hill are just NUTS,  and I'm usually the bravest (dumbest) guy in the room.   Anyhow..... made it to the top,  no problem!  HOLY crap what a view... Just stunning.  So I'm hanging out at 14k elevation just taking it all in.  Before long I realize I'm not feeling well..... at all!  Storm clouds are rolling in,  and I have this sort of daunting task of safely navigating a motorcycle down this crazy ass road.  I decided to call it good and head on down the hill.  Everything went fine,  and as soon and I dropped a few thousand feet I started feeling better and had a smile on my face just realizing where I was.  
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Wow, this sounds like a great trip. I love being able to follow along with you, without any of the saddle soreness :)
Keep the updates coming, I can't wait to see what you experience next.
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End of day 2..... as you can imagine any hotels near Pikes Peak,  Colorado springs were pretty insane.  I'm doing this trip on a tight budget so getting the cheapest accommodations each night was key.  So although I was pretty tired,  and it was getting late (7pm).  Hotels 1-10... all either no vacancy or well over $100.  Uhg.... it's getting late now 9:30 and I'm just ready to be off the road.  I finally end up in Limon CO,  back on the I70 and I sweet-talk a nice old lady at the Super 8 and finally have a room for around $80 (still about 2 times my budget,  lol).  
Day 3 Kansas,  6am start.  
Day 3 started off with great weather,  smooth roads,  no traffic and just overall a great day to kill some miles.  Yeah Kansas is straight.... some may say boring.  But I tell you bombing down I70 at 85mph,  over a 1000 miles from home,  jamming out to my tunes was FUN as heck.  I swear I held over 85mph for hours on end that day.  The bike took it just fine.  Then....... sky is getting a little dark!  
So it's starts raining..... I'm not thinking much of it.  I don't have much (any) rain riding experience but I'm moving along just fine.  I don't FEEL like I'm getting that wet actually so I just push on.  Then it starts really coming down.  I pull off to put on my rain gear that I've never used in my life and realize I'm SOAKED.  Should have pulled off many many miles ago and put on my rain gear.  Oh well..... rain gear on and I'm rolling.  Things go pretty good even in the rain.   The bike doesn't care one bit,  and as long as I keep some distance to avoid spray from cars,  visibility isn't to bad.  I had my wife make a hotel reservation to avoid the issues like the night before so I felt like I HAD to push onto my goal..... O'Fallon Missouri
Days end..... thankful for that day to be over and happy,  very happy to be at the Hotel for the night!  I think milage was around 650 that day.  Big day tomorrow...... 
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Day 4,  major travel day.  This day was layed out,  to set me up for Day 5!  850 miles through a bunch of states I can't even remember how many.  I just know each gas stop seemed to be in a different state!  Things were going good and I was moving along nicely.  Running 150 mile intervals.  Stopped and had some White Castle (a big deal, haha).  I was basically just cracking away at the miles........ but there were just so many that needed to happen!  One of my rules was no night riding,  minimal dusk riding..... due to fear of a wildlife strike.  Well I just couldn't get it done in time and found myself on the Pennsylvania turnpike in the dark.  So I have about 200 more miles to cover and I stop for gas.  Routine stop,  get some grub and head out.  What's this..... some kind of engine noise.  Nahhhh.... no way.  YUP,  it's a familiar one though.  The CCT is acting up!  It did it around 500 miles from new and after I adjusted it one click down it behaved just fine ever since.  So now,  it's dark,  I'm on the damn turnpike,  well over 2000 miles from home now and the damn engine is ratting like a son of a bitch.  My mind is saying that it's fine,  it'll adjust itself and don't worry but I am worried and nervous about an animal strike,  the curvy unfamiliar road ahead,  the remoteness of the area,  my fatigue...... just overall pretty stressful!  Oh yeah,  and i get to the end of the turnpike to pay my toll..... CASH ONLY,  what in the actual phuck!  I remember no mention of that entering the road.  I just told the guy,  I have NO cash man,  what now?  He issued me a receipt to mail it in,  $18.50 to drive that road,  I thought that was a little insane and made the cash only requirement even stranger.  
Needless to say..... the bike makes it just fine to Harrison New Jersey but IS rattling like a mofo.  Bummer.... but I'm at my hotel safe and sound.   
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Day 5,  goals met!  Day 5 was probably the day I was most looking forward to and most nervous about.  A few weeks before i left I told a buddy at work that I was thinking about taking a ride.  He said to where..... and I said "Statue of Liberty".  He got a chuckle out of that and then saw that familiar look I get when i'm thinking about doing something stupid and realized I was serious.  I kept the plan a little hush hush since I just wasn't sure if I'd make it.  Lot's of things could come up on a ride like this and you just never know.  So anyways.... before I leave,  I catch wind of some side betting on whether or not I'll follow through.  Haha.... that just motivates me even more.  
I had to push so hard on day 4 to put me in range of Manhattan.  By that I mean within 200 miles.  I landed 150 miles away.  An easy ride to my planned parking area at the Harrison PATH parking structure in New Jersey.  From there it's just a short train ride to the World Trade Center.  Bike will be safe and secure in a covered parking structure and I don't have to worry about navigating in Manhattan.  Win.  
Anyhow.....need to back track!  The day started off at one of my favorite places...
The CCT sounded much better in the morning.  I think the oil viscosity and the shear amount of time the bike was run the day before had something to do with the CCT getting noisy.  Anyhow,  I bought some allen wrenches and manually adjusted the CCT down a bit to quiet it even further.  Luckily..... NO issues from that point on with that.  At this point I notice my OEM rear tire is just about toast.... around 6000 miles on it at this point.  I just need another 600.... 
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Manhattan!  If you've never been..... it's awesome!  I have never been east of Ohio,  so this was all new to me!  I made it to the PATH parking structure in New Jersey around 11am.  Getting there wasn't bad until the very end where my GPS took some sketchy route that I was not so sure of.  In the end I made it and the guys at the garage were very helpful.  They parked me right in front of the office to be able to keep an eye on it and I felt perfectly fine leaving everything for the day.  I walked my west coast,  no public transportation ass up to the train station and had took a few moments to figure out what the hell I was doing.  Ok I need a ticket.... how do I do that... where am I going.... haha.  I was just laughing at my dumb ass for being so totally clueless.  I manage to get it figured and before I know it I'm on a train headed to Manhattan!  I was pumped!  I bet the locals on the train were like "look at this m-fer".  My plan for Manhattan wasn't really a plan,  it was basically walk around and see stuff until 8pm.  And that I did....... I saw a lot!  
The WTC memorial is just stunning.  I had no idea it looked like that and was basically in awe of the entire thing.  Not to mention as much as I love nature and being out in the wide open.  Manhattan is just a sight to behold..... what man can create.  It's just mind blowing.  I can't even put into words just how awesome it is.  The buildings,  the new ones,  the old ones..... the people,  the traffic.... everything just moving in sync.  It was a shock how well it all worked in such tight spaces.  Also how clean the area was and how friendly people were.  It really is something.  Ok....now onto my goal.  To find that tall lady and go there!
Found her......and she's WAY over there.
Let me just hop on this boat and go see her..... I was so freakin happy to be getting on a boat on the EAST Coast,  you have no idea!
Getting closer!
And there she is..... 
I'm fairly used to being somewhat disappointed by seeing something in person that I thought would be more impressive...... but let me just say.  I severely underestimated how BIG and amazing the Statue of Liberty is...... it's really just awesome!  I loved every moment there.  Words like amazing just aren't in my everyday vocabulary and I think words like that are way overused and lose their value.... so when I say it's amazing,  I mean it!
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Walking around Manhattan after getting off the boat was very entertaining.  There is just so much going on everywhere.  The buildings just go on for as far as the eye can see in every direction.  The integration with the old buildings and new ones is so cool.  Some of the old churches and other structures mixed in with the new stuff is just crazy.  I loved it.  
My goal was to make it to Times Square and hang out for bit and make it back to my train station by 7:30.  I didn't want to roll out of Jersey in the dark so I was pretty firm on this timeline.  What I didn't realize was just HOW BIG Manhattan is.  and that its nearly 4 miles from the World Trade Center to Time Square.  I didn't feel like i had the time to figure out the subway so I just started walking it.  It went fast and was FUN,  but my body was starting to get a little fatigued.  After hangin in Times Square for 30 minutes I started back.  I took a different street so I could see different things along the way and it was very cool!  I was getting nervous about my timeline but it all ended up just fine.  I found my train,  hopped on and was off.  Made it back to the bike and headed out of Jersey just trying to make it as far as I could to get a reasonable hotel.  
About 30 miles out...... POURING.  Haha.... ok this is as good a place as any to find a room.  What $189!... no thanks.  Ride another 10 miles and found a reasonable rate..... soaked!  Overall it was a great day,  one I'll never forget.  It couldn't have ended any other way,  haha.  
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Days 6 through 14...... Day 6 was making it to Michigan.  I'm from there and that was my end point for a few days.  It was an easy 500 miles from I stopped in NJ to Michigan and rolled in around 7pm to my moms house.  Rear tire was DONE,  chain was in bad shape,  needed an oil change.  Since this was Thursday before the 4th I decided it all needed to happen that day!  I hooked up with an old friend who had a hook up at Brights Powersports and I had a new tire mounted.  Got some oil and some chain lube and by noon the bike was all fixed up and ready.  I felt good about that.  
I made a special stop to my Grandpa's grave.  He was an avid motorcyclist,  car guy,  and just overall badass.  He rode cross country more times than he could probably remember.  He actually passed to due injuries sustained in an accident on his 2002 GSXR 1000,  he was in his seventies.  
The next few days were spent traveling around seeing family I haven't seen for over 10 years.  It was very fun and everyone was pretty shocked I just rode my motorbike across the country.  At this point so was I...... and the thought of riding it all the way back home was quite daunting.  I had a great time with the fam but on Monday night it was time to get my game face on again.  
The ride home would be just more about getting there and less about any extra's.  I broke it up into 4 days,  around 600 miles each day.  No face booking,  minimal check in's,  just hard core riding and getting the miles done.  I guess I was a little too efficient and found myself in the hotel by 4 each day kind of bored!  Haha.  In retrospect I should have planned some extra curricular activities but the time lounging around the hotel and shooting the breeze with other travelers was cool in it's own way.  I was pretty relaxed.  The bike was running flawlessly,  and the only thing I didn't prepare properly was for the chain care.  It could have definitely used some love.  On the last day I left St.George UT at 5am.  That quickly turned into 4am with a time change,  and I had 500 miles to reach home...... I left early to beat the heat and that worked out well.  The ride was beautiful and smooth.  
I rolled into home around noon to my very much relieved wife.  I must say I also felt a huge sense of relief.  I'm not the type of rider that ever thinks it "can't" happen to me...... I believe it can,  and probably will,  and I try to ride accordingly.  So many things need to go well on a trip like this.  Even the slightest tip over could render the bike inoperable,  let alone and actual incident.  This trip was an amazing experience,  I'm very glad I went through with it and as hard as it was,  mentally and physically I think it was something that I really needed.  Coming home to my beautiful wife and awesome son never felt better.  I guess if you're the type of guy that is always restless and wants to be on the move,  trips like this can bring you balance,  so you can appreciate the calm.  
Total milage..... 6645
I took today to service the bike,  clean all the bugs off it and just thank her for the epic journey..... the Shad E48's along with a small tail bag worked perfect also... for under $300 for all the pieces it can't be beat!
Thanks for reading!!!! It was fun to type out.  
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That would have been cool to have a guide, haha. Well if you ever head out west let me know! Lots to see over here as well.....

Dam dude really impressive this is also a goal of mine one day. I wish I was a member (just joined) and knew you I would have showed you around my city (NYC). 
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This is awesome.. I live in Georgia and a cross country trip is on my bucket list. Great write up.

'15 FJ-09 w/ lots of extras...

Fayetteville, GA, USA

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