Adventures in Baja

On Saturday, November eighth The Live It Right Dream Ride went international.  For five weeks before our departure we were stationed in Southern California at Jay's mom's house.  While some of that time was spent enjoying family (and feeling extremely lucky to have such a supportive, generous, and loving mother/mother-in-law), most days were spent agonizing over every detail of our impending adventure south.  Jay worked tirelessly on the bikes - changing the tires, putting on bigger gas tanks, adding tank panniers for expanded storage, hooking up a USB charger, and trying to decide how much perfectionism was too much perfectionism.  I slaved at the computer researching travel warnings in order to assure we take the safest route, getting our documents, copies of our documents, and copies of copies of our documents ready to go, setting up our DeLorme InReach satellite communication device (which we love), purchasing last minute items such as warm gloves and socks so my fingers don't fall off, creating and sharing our emergency and safety plan, purchasing health insurance, and trying to decide how much preparedness was too much preparedness. Several times during those five weeks we questioned whether or not this was worth all the work we were putting in.  The night of November seventh we realized that ready or not, we just needed to take the plunge.  

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Down the Pacific Coast

After 2 ½ weeks riding down the beautiful Pacific Coast we made it to Jay’s mom’s house in Sun City, California on September 23rd.  The jaw dropping magnificence of this portion of our travels cannot be described in words, nor do the multitudes of pictures and videos we took do it justice, but hopefully this gives you a little taste of our journey down the west coast.

 

In our last blog entry we talked about our five week hiatus spent celebrating several life events with family out east.  We flew back west to Portland, Oregon on September 3rd with a heaviness in our hearts, sad to be leaving our families and unsure of the next time we would see them.  The transition was made easier, however by the wonderful hospitality of Jay’s aunt and uncle and their families in Portland.  His uncle Jon drove us around the Portland neighborhoods where Jay’s dad grew up, allowing a peek into a part of his past Jay was too young to be privy to.  His aunt Fern and her partner Pat threw us a send off bbq at their house where Pat presented us with a “survival kit” complete with toilet paper, safety pins, a bungee cord, and maps.  The support and encouragement was just what we needed as we prepared to take off the following day.  We can’t thank you enough Portland Wilgi!!

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Our August Hiatus

(First part written by Jay)

Well…well….it’s been a while since our last update because we’ve been busy visiting family all over the country.  After our last blog post, we spent 3 beautiful days on McKee’s Beach (outside Stanwood, WA) with my Uncle’s family and 2 days in Portland, OR with my other Aunt and Uncle.  On August 5th, we stowed our motorcycles safely in my Uncle’s garage (after a deep cleaning and routine maintenance) and hopped on a plane headed to Boston, MA.  Our plan was to spend the next 3 weeks with Emily’s family celebrating a handful of important events, including her sister’s wedding in Button Bay State Park south of Burlington, VT.  From there we would fly to Chicago to meet my sister’s new baby.  That’s exactly what we did. Here’s more of the story.

On July 31st, we made an important left turn.  After travelling westward from Michigan to Washington over the course of 28 days, we turned left in Burlington, WA on to I-5 South.  We had turned left before, but this particular curve meant more than others because it marked the end of our westward progress and the beginning of our journey south.  We would now be hugging the west coast of North and South America for roughly 12,000 miles.  Our first stop: McKee’s Beach.

Later that day we arrived at my Uncle’s lake house which sits on a private stretch of Puget Sound known as McKee’s Beach.  McKee’s Beach was “founded” in the mid-1950’s (or something like that) when Bill and Fran McKee decided to sell parcels of property to folks seeking a slice of Washington serenity.  My great Uncle was one of them, so parts of my family have been going there ever since.

We spent the next 2 days crabbing, eating, reading, running, skiing, and enjoying marvelous sunsets.  We also had fun looking for wildlife.  While there, we watched four Bald Eagles hunting from perches high above the beach and we waterskied next to a school of dolphins who were kind enough to show themselves to us.  All-in-all, it was absolutely beautiful.  Thanks Uncle M. and Aunt S. for a wonderful visit. 
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Wind, Hail, and Sun

Over the past week or so we have ridden through near freezing temps, over 100 degree heat, winds gusting up to 70 mph, hail, and rain.  The thing about traveling via motorcycles is we get to intimately experience all aspects of these beautiful places we travel through....and holy crap, we've seen some BEAUTIFUL parts of this country! Read on for our latest recap:

July 21- As hard as it was to say goodbye to our friends in Jackson, we were also excited to get back on the road after a four day rest.  We departed around noon, headed into Teton National Park & made our way to Yellowstone. Since we have both been through the park a few times, we enjoyed the geysers in passing.  As we approached West Yellowstone, the drizzling rain we had been riding through suddenly turned to hail.  Who would've guessed that by week 3 we would have experienced two hail storms?  We found refuge and a delicious dinner in the Taco Bus, which is exactly (and as awesome) as it sounds....an old bus with a kitchen in the back and seating in the front.  We made a break for a campground down the road and found ourselves and one other guy vying for the final open site.  I wanted to fight him for it, but Jay being Captain Peace resolved to share the space.  We chatted with our newfound friend Sebastian for a bit and learned that he is a physicist from Germany who works for a research institute studying pyrotechnics. He was in the area for a conference - I guess where they talk about how to best blow stuff up? - and was taking a few days on the back end to travel.  Glad to have met him!
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Onto the Dirt

Since our last blog post, our DR's have had lots of dirt time, allowing us to experience some remote and beautiful parts of Wyoming.  Here's a quick recap of our past week on the road!

July 13th- After spending the morning enjoying the twists, hairpin turns and spirals of Route 16A to Mount Rushmore, we spent some time at the Memorial in awe of the amazing creation.  We then moved down the road to Crazy Horse Memorial where we learned about the man whose dedication to his people and land cost him his life- all because of the greed of the white man. What a horrible blemish in our history. The story of the ongoing construction of the memorial is just as incredible- spearheaded and envisioned by several Native American chiefs with construction led by one man whose family has made it their mission to complete the project utilizing only private dollars.  It's amazing to think about the history we aren't taught in school... We ended our day in Hot Springs, SD where we found a campsite along a small creek.  The campground provided free tubes to float the creek so of course we immediately took on the challenge. Unfortunately that particular endeavor was a fail as we bottomed out more than we floated, but we got some good video footage (coming soon)!
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