Trip in the USA - mokusbajusz' Tale - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 65 Old 07-13-2007, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Trip in the USA - mokusbajusz' Tale

Once upon a time in a far far country a child was born.
As he was 16 he heard an old BMW running on idle and so immediately infected.
22 years later thanks to this site and its members' activity he bought his first ever new bike a Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom.

And the story begun...
There is a thread here where everything started almost exactly one year ago. I said I want to meet with you. At that time it was just a dream of course but than came an offer from Paper (who BTW disappeared in the meantime) about giving some free flying tickets to me which started to make me thinking more seriously. Also there was growing up a proposal about a large Stromtrooper gathering, so I thought why not to combine it with my trip? Doing so I opened this thread. That quickly became popular (BTW 2nd regarding both posts and views after Stromette's Travel) and a lot of Stromtroopers posted there. You offered your guides not to be lost, your bikes to ride, your money to make it happening easier and your homes to stay. Finally came Howboucha (Brendan) with his fundraiser idea and water warrior (Bob) with a letter that gained me over and I decided to go. Many thanks to you guys, without you my dream would have never came true!

In this thread I will post my notes I wrote in my diary, pictures that I shot and my experiences about the USA and about peoples I met there. Although my english improved a lot during the 17 days I surely will make mistakes. If somebody finds my post offending it is due to the lack of appropriate grammar and/or words.

End of silly intro, Part 1 coming soon, stay tuned!

Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH

Last edited by mokusbajusz; 07-13-2007 at 05:23 PM.
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post #2 of 65 Old 07-13-2007, 04:19 PM
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I'm looking forward to reading about your recent trip.
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post #3 of 65 Old 07-13-2007, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Day #1 Sunday, June 24th

To make the whole thing possible I needed to organize a lot of things on my side as well. That led to a situation which was a bit scary: I purchased already the flight ticket, got the visa, set up a USD bank account with a bank card and a PayPal account. I just forgot to plan and organize the whole route properly. :shock:
Even the last day there was not sure if somebody can meet and greet me at JFK airport in NYC. Moreover I could contact lthrnckpa (aka Iron Mike, my first host) only a few hours before my plane took off! My underpants was full with chocolate... :???:

The aircraft took off from Budapest at 11:55. The duration to NY was about 9 hours although the pilot twisted the "throttle":



My seat neighbor was a kind woman from Kentucky. Surprisingly I felt thirsty immediately. She lives in a farm and she teaches something that I didn't understand 3 times a week. Fortunately I didn't have to speak to her too much 'cause she had a book about some vegetables like "DIY in the garden and that will make you healthy and free" or similar. I rather like meat.



The plain landed at JFK on time and all the passengers applauded. The first knockout I saw was that the signs are written in English and Spanish.
For me this would be understandable in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas, but in New York? :shock:

The second shock hit at the baggage claim. There were nice large displays above the conveyors - high tech. But I could find on none of them our flight. So finally when I picked up my luggage from the belt it was like it came from San Diego...

Already my first contact with an American was a pleasure. I asked an officer (who looked like an officer but now I'm not sure he really was 'cause later realized that almost everybody wear the same pants, shirts and cards hanging on their neck), about how can I get (more on this word later ) to the car rentals. He was very kind, spoke clear, slow and articulated. I traveled 2 stations on the Air Train. Not the Route 66 but as a start it was not so bad.

Before I left Hungary I checked the car rental prices on the Internet and found Hertz (!) the cheapest. The guy at their counter said they are out of cars. Neither luxury nor economy nor in between. :shock: Is that possible in the USA?
National had the closest office next, so I went in and get a Nissan Sentra 1.8.



I spent already 1 hour after the landing so I was late. I tried to wake up my GPS and it failed! Geez, I thought, what will I do without it? I had no map, I didn't know the area, the car is unknown, nobody speaks Hungarian, I didn't even know where the Hell I am. How will I get out from there and find the way to Mike? I tried to call him. Damn, my cell phone said wrong number! Oh no, I wished I have never came here!
Ok, after 2 cigarettes in a row I cooled down. I turned off and on the GPS again and voilá it worked! Yippie! I set it up in the car and jumped in The Traffic. About 20 minutes later Mike called me asking where I am. Well I think after our short conversation he thought that he made a big mistake when invited me... As far as I remember I couldn't tell him any clear sentence. But I said I have my GPS so maybe that made him a bit less nervous.

The next two hours was one of my worst things in my life. From 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM by car through the downtown of New York, finding the right way with a GPS that sometimes (in every 5 minutes) went crazy due to the mixed signals receiving between those high buildings. Did I mention that the software was absolutely new to me?



I drove through Lincoln Tunnel and arrived to a lot of gates (I don't know how they called). Some of them had pink EZ-Pass the rest Cash Only sign.



I wanted to pay with credit card, so I entered in one of the EZ-Pass gates. Oops there was no hole for any card! The gate didn't lift up, and the cars started to form a nice long row behind me... I was swearing, and then came a policeman. Oh no, he will kill me surely! But he was very kind (the 2nd positive surprise) and opened manually the gate and asked me to park over. Then I payed with cash directly to him and he explained to me the way to PA: I-80.



I was late and noticed that almost nobody follows the speed limits (even 18 wheelers not) so I decided to speed up a bit to make up leeway. I was driving with 80-90 indicated. It was quite scary on a road with a lot of potholes like a battlefield after a bomber attack. I stopped for a short break at Stroudsburg to get some refreshment coffee and cigarettes.



Finally at 11:30 PM the GPS successfully guided me right to Mike's house. I was so happy and excited that we were chatting till 1 AM, then went to bed.

Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH

Last edited by mokusbajusz; 07-29-2007 at 04:10 AM.
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post #4 of 65 Old 07-15-2007, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Day #2 Monday, June 25th

Woke up in the morning not too early, about 9 (or 10? ). Anyway Mike's family has already gone to work, so I couldn't meet them but I got to know 3 friendly dogs. Due to the luggage weight limitation on the plane I did not bring my riding gear with myself, so Mike loaned an original HD-jacket and his wife's helmet. Both of them fit perfectly.

Here is my proud friend, Mike



Then we prepared the bikes (a 1K Strom and a FLTHRSPTC Road Softail Custom Electra Glide Street Classic King Harley or something similar) and went to an authentic American restaurant that I have seen only in movies before.



To be honest I'm not kinda a guy who doesn't care what to eat. I'm rather conservative when it comes to food. But I decided to try the local special foods.
The first opportunity greeted me as a breakfast at Harvest Moon Restaurant in Williamsport. Mike ordered me ham, eggs, pancakes with butter and maple syrup and scrapple. First of all that proved to be way too much for me. I couldn't destroy everything from my plate, but tasted very good. I've heard about maple syrup before (Rain Man), but I thought it is something very sweet. It isn't and I liked it very much. When I asked about the scrapple Mike and the waitress tried to explain it to me - without success. My English improved a lot during my trip, but at that time I was at the beginning of my route so I wouldn't be honest if I said I understood everything. Sometimes is better to be ignorant.

But that's not the case when it comes to warnings. Mike said something about a bridge and a strange steering feeling. After I rode through the bridge I understood what he wanted to warn. I was more than happy not to ride the HD...



After we filled up ourselves Mike guided me to this ship 'cause previously I mentioned him that one of my favorite book was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.



Mike rode the big steel mass quite fast in front of me but I became familiar with his 1K soon so I could keep up with him. We headed to Wellsboro to see the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Wonderful roads and a beautiful scenery (not meant on me).



I did not want to have a look on Turkey Path 'cause that would take 2 hours downhill and at least 3 uphill.
In the parking lot we met a guy and they started to discuss about bike's color with Mike. As far as I remember he didn't like what Honda offers for the Gold Wing and he stated he would only buy one in pink (?).

Mike asked me what to do next head to the Finger Lakes or go to see a baseball game. That was a hard decision but finally I chose the game. So we headed back to Mansfield down Route 15 to Williamsport. After relaxing in Mike's pool we went to the Historic Bowman Field Stadium where Crosscutters (the local team) played.



I asked Mike to teach me the rules of the game. He didn't succeed but it was not his fault. I really need a book on it in Hungarian.
In spite of that I didn't have any clue about the spirit of the game I became a fan of Crosscutters. :-D I even bought a cap and after the game Mike asked the players to give me autographs. I got all of them! We won over Jamestown Jammers by 6:1 and led the championship.



After the game Mike bought a ton of donuts and we went home. In the evening we were chatting on the deck of Mike's home with his wife and daughter. Man that was a perfect day!

Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH

Last edited by mokusbajusz; 07-16-2007 at 05:46 PM.
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post #5 of 65 Old 07-17-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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post #6 of 65 Old 07-17-2007, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Day #3 Tuesday, June 26th Part 1

After a short sleep I prepared myself to leave Mike early in the morning.
Mike gave me a Playboy (not for reading but keeping my drink cool :mrgreen: ), a thermocup and some donuts. He told me that this will make my long trip easier. And man, he was right! Besides I could spare some bucks, the hot tee lasted for hours keeping me awake. I thought on him very often on my road to North Carolina!

This is the place where I would like to say THANK YOU MIKE! First of all for the hosting then the guide, your bike, the gear, the ride, the game, the foods and last but not least your warm welcome and words. I knew a very good person and I hope you don't mind if I call you my FRIEND. You get a place in my best memory along many wonderful experiences of Pennsylvania. Also please forward my thanks to your family Cindy, Candy and Jeff and the dogs

Well, it was hard but time to say goodbye so I left at 6:30 and filled up the tank in Williamsport. I turned on the camera and took it on the right seat for easy access so I could make shots while driving. The most interesting were the road signs. I took a bunch of pics on them. In Europe we have almost only symbols instead of written text. My favorite is:



I was searching for the one "You can fart here"... :mrgreen:

In the different states there are different signs for the same warning:
Bridge may be icy
Bridge ices before road
or just a symbol of a sliding car

I tried to have a brake at rest areas that are also welcome centers to get maps in case my GPS dies. Those are very nice, well maintained and clean places.



Cop's food - my lunch, thanks to Mike



Some really big vehicles and some strange towings:







Mike's last words were "ten over maximum!". I was so excited (or still slept?) that I didn't even understand why did he say that. Than on the Interstate I remembered and from that time almost everybody passed me.

Even complete houses!




Should a real Harley rider look like this?




or this?


Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH
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post #7 of 65 Old 07-17-2007, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Day #3 Tuesday, June 26th Part 2

That was a long driving (10 hours) but finally I arrived to NC



This is my GPS setup in the Sentra. No Ram or SW-Motech mount needed :-D



"I'm" here



As I was getting more and more south the temperature raised. I stopped shooting after this shot but the temp went up above 100 F.



At 6:30 PM I arrived to Charlotte National Airport to drop off the car. I was 2 hours late so after the guy checked if the car is OK he suggested to tell a "story" in the office to avoid extra charges. I did so but I had to promise I'll never do it again. Ughh, and another positive experience. :-D

A "cigarette later" Dan, the famous drummer phenomenal (aka MonkeyGrass) picked me up and we drove to his house, my second "US home".




I met with his wife Carla and his daughter. Awesome gals!
After the dinner (Buffalo Wings and Yuenglin) we chatted (spelling?) till midnight.



to be continued

Jeff, relax! :mrgreen:

Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH

Last edited by mokusbajusz; 07-18-2007 at 05:54 PM.
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post #8 of 65 Old 07-18-2007, 03:31 AM
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Awesome report. I wish I could have met with you. If you ever swing through the Southwest, I'll make a point of riding with you.

Guess I should have been wearing pants...

>>>
'86 Suzuki GS450L (redneck-farkled)
'79 Yamaha XS1100 (project bike)
'06 Suzuki DL650 (SW-MOTECH: centerstand, bellypan, crashguards) (3M reflective striping) (Powermadd handguards) (Nelson-Rigg saddlebags and tankbag)
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post #9 of 65 Old 07-21-2007, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Day #4 Wednesday, June 27th

MoneyGrass had some issues with his cell phone, actually almost only every 5th call was successful, by the rest his partners couldn't hear him. He started to always use a sentence even before saying hallo. I named him Mr. Canyouhearme?

MG is a lucky man, believe me guys, this fellow has won the lottery marrying a wife like Carla. She's nice, kind, cooks fantastic, loves his man and let him ride.

When I woke up in the morning the coffee was ready, also there was prepared some croissant etc. After having breakfast (Dan still in the bed...) I logged in our site and posted some news here.

A few hours later Dan appeared in the kitchen, took a coffee and had a look on his PC. That woke him up (actually thanks to Mortaine), so later we could head to Scott (aka Brown74 here), Dan's brother-in-law. Scott has a 03 (I guess) 1K, he bought it with 200 miles just recently. He is also a very good buddy, has a beautiful daughter Madeline, he just speaks a bit fast for my taste...

Usually I'm honest, so I share one of my very few mistakes I have made in the USA. Leaving Scott MG rode Scott's bike and I drove MG's Jeep. It was only a few miles, and everything was OK till we arrived to MG's house. Then I smelled something strange. No you f.. pervs it was not me but the rear brake 'cause I forgot to release it when I left.

We set up the bikes and went to ride. I noticed that even a 1K can have a smooth engine. My experiences can be read here.

MG introduced me to a real roadside BBQ at Black's. Man, I liked that stuff whatever it is made from...



Oh Mike, and I tasted the sweet tee as well! :-D

After we filled up ourselves we shared the bikes and rode around Crowder's Mountain crossing the NC/SC state borders several times. It was a hot day at least I thought so at that time. Later I experienced what is really hot in Florida...

We had a short brake at a very nice and quiet lake.



We rode back home had a shower and chatted with the gals.
Than came the crown on that wonderful day: Carla's awesome salmon



While I was lurking on Stromtrooper.com Dan started to work on Scott's bike. He replaced the old coolant with fresh one.



A bit later I joined to him and Dan showed me how to do a TBS with a special plier.



Here is the result:



After the job was done we chatted till 1:30 AM in Men's Heaven:


Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH

Last edited by mokusbajusz; 07-21-2007 at 05:40 PM.
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post #10 of 65 Old 07-22-2007, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Day #5 Thursday, June 28th

Wow, only 4 days in the USA and I was already filled full with exciting experiences! I've met with excellent peoples and ridden 3 different bikes for more than 300 miles! That must be known by my fellas so after a short breakfast I went on the PC and put some posts with pics to our beloved site.

Due to the weight limits on the plane I did not bring my riding gear with myself. All of my host could loan me helmet and water warrior brought even pants and jackets for me, but I didn't want to destroy my new sport shoes so after we brought back Scott's bike we went to Wal-Mart to get a pair of waterproof boots for 22 bucks.

Scott with his babies:


Suddenly MG caught sight of an underpants with a squirrel printed on it. I fell in love immediately, I thought you will like it when meeting at Tellico Plains. MG bought me a little Gold Bond and that later proved itself as a must have item.

After walmarting ( word (c) by mokusbajusz ) we went to get some sandwiches at Subway, then back home. Before we left we loaded the Jeep with some essential stuff like different drums, drinks, spare parts, tools, manometer, The Plier, brake fluid, different lubing materials, pocket compressor and the ultimate problem-solver duck tape.



In the afternoon after the sandwiches we headed to Brevard, NC. I drove the Jeep. At a traffic lamp Dan asked me to go to fill the tank of the car while he ride back home to pick up his note-case. That was not so easy. I drove around the gas station twice to find a free pump. OK, I parked the Jeep and read: "Follow the instructions on the screen". I was more or less already familiar with the road signs (written text instead of symbols) so I followed the instruction but didn't get gas. :evil: I tried it several times without success, so I gave up and waited for MG. He succeeded but, I think the stupid wasn't me! Namely every instruction was written except one: to pull up a lever. For that step there was a symbol.... Good morning Mr. Engineer!

We found ourselves in heavy traffic soon:



After we survived that, a short rain came. Dan found a quiet place to go under its roof: a funeral house
Once we had to stop for a while he shortly checked the TBS on his 1K. That guy really likes to put tubes on bikes...:-D

Than we had to speed up a bit not to be late:




We arrived to Brevard at 8 PM where G and Mat (Dan's old Polish buddies) were waiting for us with cold beers, two dogs and a rabbit.

Man, those two brothers are really crazy, and I liked them from the first moment!

From left to right: Dan, G and Mat



After some beers we had a little jam session 'cause G was very sad that Argentina won 4:1 over USA in soccer.



I first tried to join with my harmonica, but it turned out that it is in key C major which didn't fit to Mat's style :-D so I finally went on rattles.

Balázs

DL650 K6 matt black
DL 650 info
EX-President VSCH
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