Better Late Than Never

I guess it is time to write the conclusion. Prepare for some mind blowing conclusive writing that will surely stimulate all of your wildest dreams! I’m just kidding… but I digress. When I arrived home I was immediately thrown back into the same cycle of unhappiness. Looking back at it all, I know it was completely my fault for not pressing harder to do new and exciting things. I went to a gaming convention just after I got back and saw some friends. It was nice to meet up with people I know from all around the country. It was during that trip that I had an interview with Newegg for a gaming related position. Even though I did the entire phone interview hungover in front of our hotel, I still landed the job. I may be jumping a little bit ahead of myself. Prior to that, Kelly and I decided to give it one last try. We were easing back into it when I got the job offer. Looks like I was heading to California. Much to her displeasure I told her not to join me right away. As you’ll come to find out, everything worked out just fine.

So we packed up my car and off to California I went. I found an apartment in a quiet suburb near the mountains and started to work. Look at how excited I was to be a part of something I thought would be great.

Chezz, the excited Midwesterner with stars in his eyes. He was going to bring Newegg into the age of gaming with all his helpful recommendations.

Reality: The person in charge of the project was taken off of it while I was moving across the country. My start date was pushed back an additional 3 weeks just about. My first week I didn’t even have a boss to meet. I knew right then that this was going to be ‘interesting.’ Eventually I met my boss, who was also new. I figured we would bond together being new to this big company and pave our way for this project. I had a few weeks to gather my ideas about how to launch this thing… all of which were shot down. After that, I knew it was going to be a downward spiral. When you go to work 5 days a week and speak maybe 10 words to your boss in that entire time, something’s not right. We had a running joke while I was there that I was the unwanted stepchild of Newegg. Eventually I got moved to another team but it was the same crap with more reporting. I didn’t sign up for this but I moved across the country for it. So I made the best of it for as long as I could.

Somewhere in this story I flew home and drove Kelly and our new puppy out here. Funny part is that we made better time driving out here with the dog versus us driving here without the dog. I don’t know how that worked out but it did.

Long story short, I got a job that looked like a huge change for the better and it turned out to be complete crap. One cool thing about it was I got to commute on my motorcycle to work. I kid you not when I say that the ride to/from work was the highlight of my day.

So the work front was bad… but I was in California. It was 80 degrees on Christmas. I was surrounded by canyons and mountains so I took advantage of that.

The whole time I was at Newegg, I became interested in Bitcoin. A coworker and myself started trading it and this was when it was booming. You couldn’t really lose because it was just going straight up. This interested me so much that I spent countless hours reading books about how to trade stocks with the idea of applying it to Bitcoin or any other virtual currency. I studied harder during this time than I ever did in college which made me wonder… was this just a fad or was I genuinely interested in something that can be a potentially good paying job? I continued studying and to this date I further my education. By the end of July my time at Newegg was over. I’m taking the plunge trading stocks (stock options in particular) full time.

So there it is. The conclusion. The follow up to an epic adventure. I condensed an entire year down pretty well but if you’re interested to see how I fare trading stocks full time, stick around and check back often. I’m going to be completely transparent with all my victories along with my defeats.

Thanks again to everyone who supported me on my previous journey/continued journey. I am forever in your debt.

Day 53/55: Spokane to Montana to Wyoming to Chicago

I had a teacher in Jr. High School who would always go on rants about how his favorite place in the world was Montana. When the school year would wrap up he would take off and stay there for the entire summer. Even after 10 years I still remember how fondly he talked about it. That was the reason why I decided to venture east through the US instead of Canada.

Absolutely fantastic backroad riding. It hit me like a freight train that while people have been sitting at desks in offices for the past 2 months this has been my office.

Your office chair may be more comfortable than my bike’s but my chair can take me around the country in what felt like the blink of an eye.

I had planned on making it all the way to Mt. Rushmore that day but with the amount of mountainous riding there was no way I was going to make it by sundown. I hopped on the highway for the last 150 miles and arrived at my Airbnb just north of Yellowstone.

I had a small lapse of judgement during that 12 hour ride. One of my gas stops I forgot to fill up my tank. The normal routine entails filling up the gas tank and then using the bathroom. This particular time I drank a ton of water and the bathroom took the lead at this stop. Realizing I hadn’t eaten in 8 hours I bought some gas station snacks and headed back out to the bike where I ate my lunch/dinner. I saw a storm rolling in so I geared up and hit the road. I was wondering why after 85 miles my gas light went on. I really stretched this tank of gas. Good thing this didn’t happen in the more remote stretches of the trip.

As I got to my destination for the night I decided to eat something with substance. Belgrade, Montana, has some great places to eat. The Yelp ratings were all extremely high. I’m used to seeing the opposite most places I visit.

Some good conversation with my hosts, a last load of laundry, and then it was time for bed. I replaced stopping at Mt. Rushmore with driving through Yellowstone the next day.

I woke up an hour later than usual… to be fair I went into a different timezone so I actually woke up at the same time I always do.

Yellowstone was breathtaking. I will certainly be taking another trip there to spend some significant time. I wasn’t there to “see the sights” but more so to enjoy the ride and see what I could from the roadside. I’ll touch more on this in my closing discussion.

I had the pleasure of passing minivans the entire day but some things you can’t avoid. Another 1 lane construction road. I sat in this queue for about 25 minutes.

Once I got through that mess I ran into these big guys. They just walk across the road/stop in the road whenever they please. After all, this is their home. I’m the stranger… not the other way around.

After over 6 hours in the park I started making my way out the north entrance.

My entire day was planned around riding Bear Tooth Pass and it was worth the wait a million times over.

Type “Bear Tooth Pass” into Google Maps and zoom in to see the type of road it is. Twisty roads for miles on end winding up and down the mountains.

I once again was overcome with a strange feeling once I finished up that stretch of road. The highway was some miles ahead of me and I knew that my exploration was completed. That was the last place I sought to see before I was willing to go home. It was essentially over at that moment.

I had fun lugging all my gear up the stairs at the Super 8 I stayed at. You get what you pay for but I didn’t care. I wanted to try to join the “Iron Butt Club” the following day. Before you assume it’s some elite homosexual illuminati cult let me correct you. To join the club you need to ride 1,000 miles in a 24 hour period.

I was up at 5:45 and on the road by 6:30. This was the home stretch. If I completed this feat I’ll have proved that I was mentally and physically able to do something I thought I couldn’t and I would also be able to sleep in my own bed when I arrived. Failure would result in another crummy motel stay.

Not much to report. Luckily I had cell phone reception for most of the ride so I had music to enjoy. When I made it through Minnesota I turned off the music and decided to reflect for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I always look forward to gas stops so that I can get off the bike and stretch out. I laughed in the morning when I departed because the thought that ran through my head was, “Yeah, only 11 gas stops and you’re home.” ELEVEN GAS STOPS. That’s more than double any of my long days. I just kept chipping at the miles and it didn’t even seem that bad. The highway is boring as hell but I expected that. There were points when the wind was awful and I was just sideways for a good 250 miles but that passed as I got closer.

And then there it was. Achievement unlocked.



Stopwatch including stops:

I was still 125 miles away from home but had a very large grin for the next 50 miles. I can’t believe I did it.

That grin turned into a lot of cursing and profanity as I ran into 30 miles of 1 lane road due to construction which resulted in an average speed of less than 10 mph. It added an extra hour to my journey. I tried to keep my cool but at about the 16 hour mark of just sitting on a bike that is now over 200 degrees there is not much patience to be had. I’m proud to say that once I got through the bullshit 1 lane section I happily doubled the posted construction zone speed limit. Sue me.

And just like that it was over.

This was my life for 55 days.

And the final time.

Trip total: 2,237 miles (it rolled over at 10,000 so add what you see in the picture to 10,000).

The final odometer reading.

And the final picture.

My next post will be my closing thoughts. That is going to take some time to write up but expect it in the next few days.

Day 50/52: Vancouver to Spokane

Quick photo dump from my time in Seattle and Vancouver:

And of course the food photo dump:

I had such a great time in Canada with my mates Marc and Tegan. I’ve had many preconceived notions prior to arriving at places but California and Vancouver have been the two that have defied my expectations the most. There were parts of my journey in California where I was freezing and then there was my assumption that I would need my cold weather gear when I got to Canada. My mind was then blown when I found out they rarely get snow in Vancouver during winter… just rain and some low temperatures.

It was nice to have 4 days in Canada. We ate some great food, enjoyed many drinks, went to the White Caps vs. Fire game, and I rode to Whistler for a day trip. Had I been more prepared with an international plan on my phone and a willingness to skip Montana I would have continued east through the great white. I’m going to round up a few more riders and do a great white north only trip. I want to really spend some time up there.

This morning I woke up and had the bike loaded by 830AM. This was it. I was leaving my final planned destination for this journey and on my way back home. I know I have accomplished just about everything I sought out to do but I’m going to miss those moments when I just stand in a new place and soak it all in. If you couldn’t tell from my previous posts I tend to have mixed feelings quite often. I think about both sides of the coin. There were pointswhere I tried to plan a way to monetize this trip so I could continually travel and just be that guy on Youtube who is a nomad for everyones entertainment but I didn’t want to change the dynamic of the trip. Who knows what the future holds, right? After 50 days of not sleeping in my own bed I am ready to be home though. I’m excited to unload my bags at my front door, ride an elevator, open the door and have all my comforts once again.

I should have ventured off the highway to cross back into the states similar to how I entered Canada. I spent about 30 minutes idling on my bike watching people get arrested and searched. It was interesting.

It was another day spent mostly following various rivers. Washington is in my top 3 for riding destinations. Mountain passes and extremely scenic routes can not be beat.

All good things have to come to an end though (I don’t believe that really but it fits for this day). After a good amount of time in the mountains I started to get into the flats and this was the first time when the wind gusts actually got pretty scary. When operating a motorcycle in a straight line you are perpendicular to the ground but when cross winds are howling you end up in a permanent lean. Odd feeling. It’s also not the most enjoyable to be thrown all around in your own lane because the wind gusts change.

My original plan was too ambitious. I rode for 10 hours today and it would have taken me another 6 to get to the original destination. After 4 failed Airbnb attempts I had to pony up and get a hotel. To survive for 51 days on the road without having to get a hotel is a win in my book.

I’m planning another 500 mile day tomorrow and staying somewhere in Montana for the night. The following day I’ll attempt to see Mount Rushmore and possibly camp around there. The day after should be my last day on the road. I’m contemplating hopping on the highway and completing the “iron butt challenge.” One thousand miles in a 24 hour period. That is going to be a boring ass ride. See you tomorrow in Montana.

Day 46/49: Portland to Seattle to Vancouver

I never thought I would be able sleep in at a campsite but I proved myself wrong in Oregon. It was just so nice and peaceful I didn’t want to leave. I’m excited that during my future trips I’ll be prepared with locking luggage so I can explore more. The coast has been cold and foggy but I wanted to give Oregon one last chance before I headed inland and north to Portland. I’m glad I did.

After a quick gas up it was time for my nourishment.

Nothing like some gas station food to supply your energy. I have been so fortunate that the routes I have taken have almost always followed a river. I had another day of fantastic riding on 2 lane scenic roads. I try so hard to savor those moments because I know I will miss them so much as I get back to the flatlands.

After a short 300 mile day I had arrived. I only waited until the last hour to line up where I was staying but it worked out just like it always does.

I had the best Airbnb experience of the entire trip in Portland. Karen was the most gracious, knowledgeable, and hospitable host I have encountered over the last two months. I really can’t thank her enough for everything. It amazes me how I went from having no place to stay to meeting someone I can truly call a friend in the span of 2 hours. She also had two cat’s which kept me company. I miss my little guy.

The next day I saw some of the sights and headed off toward Seattle. I will be coming back to Portland to spend more time. It really was a great place and I’m looking forward to exploring it again in the future.

Also, doughnuts.

Another day in riding paradise as I headed to northern Washington.

While traversing the beauty that is Mt. Rainier my right foot slipped off the peg. I paid no attention until I couldn’t seem to located my peg after that. I look down and saw that it had flipped itself upside down and was pretty loose. Nothing like a little roadside maintenance. Good thing I was prepared.

And off I went.

After some spirited riding I arrived in Seattle right on time.

Big thank you’s to my friend Michael for showing me a great dinner spot. I pulled up and was greeted by the Moto3 replay. Awesome biker bar. Thank you also to my host for the evening Mr. Rick Lesley.

The next day I did some exploring of Seattle. This wouldn’t have been possible without a legitimate Mom and Pop breakfast.

I’ll upload those pictures later this weekend since I’m still charging my camera. It was a nice and sunny day which I hear is a rare thing out there. I hung out on Lake Union for a while before I had the chance to tour Zombie Studios. I’d like to send a big thank you to Jared Gerritzen for taking the time to show me around and take me for lunch!

I then embarked toward the great white. When I reached the border I was met with a million questions about why I’m traveling here, how I have afforded this trip, what I used to do for work, and so on and so forth. Once I left the red, white, and blue, I was met with no cellphone service, speeds in km/h, and distances in meters. I also realized I only had America funny money. I hope my cell phone bill isn’t too large from the roaming I needed to use for the GPS. I should probably figure out how to change my speedometer to km/h. My friend’s Marc and Tegan then took me out for some drinks and dinner which eventually made me fall asleep with the company of this little guy. Vancouver is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains. I’ll write more about it as I stay here the next few days.

edit: I’ll proofread this later. I need to go to Tim Horton’s.

Day 42/45: NorCal to Oregon

Before I go into detail about what I’ve been up to the past few days I want to talk about something. I applied for over 30 jobs while in the state of California. I have dreamed about living here for quite a long time and I was honestly sad today when I departed John’s house. Legitimately sad. During my 375 mile day with much “No Service” (a.k.a. no music) I had a good amount of time to reflect. I realized that while I love California as a whole (south and north) without completing this trip I would be in a situation where I didn’t actually know what else was out there. I was hopeful of lining something up during my 3 weeks here, flying home to pack my car up and drive west. Now that I think about it that really is a pipe dream. I don’t think it’s very common to get a job you want that quickly. We press on.

John and Nick took me out to some very scenic areas on the 4th and even with the fog the scenes are unbelievable. A common theme of this trip has been food and considering it was America day, John fired up the grill.

Turkey burgers and turkey bacon and italian sausage and so much that it wasn’t even possible for 4 people to finish. After a short walk we were right on the bay and watched both San Francisco and Oakland’s fireworks.

The next day John and Adah took me down into the city. I was fortunate enough to visit the office and what an impressive operation they have there. A super solid work environment… one I can only dream of working in someday.

I have a confession to make. I never learned how to eat with chopsticks. I was taken to a place known for their Ramen and my worry began to set in. My first thought was, “how on earth can a place be known for their Ramen?” Most people immediately default to thinking ‘the cheapest food known to man that comes in a little bag or bowl.’ I now understand that it is actually an extremely tasty meal when made correctly. That meal still holds one of the top spots for best food I’ve had this entire trip. And to top it off, I learned how to use chopsticks and ate my noodles like emperor himself.

After that they took me down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We had an intense game of bubble hockey (look it up if you don’t know what it is. It’s like foosball but with hockey and also intense as hell.) and then celebrated with a bucket of doughnuts that came straight out of the fryer. As I’m writing this I realize how badly I need to go back to the gym. Come on now… how often do I ride my motorcycle to San Francisco though?!

While we’re on the topic of food, here are some of the other great meals I enjoyed.

The following day John, Nick, and myself went to Pyramid Alehouse. I enjoyed many of their beers on the 4th and it was amazing to see how they actually operate. Fantastic food and great beverages.

My last day John and Adah took me to Point Richmond which is very close to their place. A recurring theme about my west coast companions is that they have so much amazing geography and landscapes so close. I can see why this is any outdoor enthusiasts coast of choice.

I’m mad that I didn’t take a picture of my best friend, Chloe (John and Adah’s dog). She was easily the best behaved dog I have ever encountered.

My tethering is a bit sketchy here at the campsite so I’m not even going to attempt to upload photos from my digital camera but today could be summed up as drastic temperature changes. I went between valley and coast all day. Temperatures fluctuated 28 degrees but I wouldn’t doubt if it was more than that. Redwood Highway was an absolute treat to ride. Besides the fact that the trees are enormous I can’t get over how old some of them really are.

I arrived at the campground around 5PM. I need to plan my days similar to today. It is nice to arrive and relax instead of arrive, pass out, and start the next day. Camp got set up quick since I’m obviously a professional now and then came the task of acquiring firewood. I could have hoisted many logs on my big strong shoulders but I was feeling a bit lazy. Behold, motorcycle firewood delivery.

After getting everything all setup I was almost at a loss about what to do. I’m so used to having to get things completed because before you know it I fall asleep. With all this extra time I decided to hop into my tent and just relax. Thirty minutes of blissful sleep later I awoke to this. I really do enjoy camping and appreciate the fact that at any moment on this trip I have an entire campsite on my backseat.

I really can’t thank John, Adah, and Nick enough for their generosity and hospitality. Seriously, thank you so much. Everyone really is making this my trip of a lifetime.

It’s almost 9PM here and there is still plenty of light but I better start burning these logs. I don’t have anyone to stay with from here until Vancouver so I guess I’ll do what I always do… wing it.

EDIT: It only took me 30 minutes but I started the fire myself. I am a man.