I was pretty much convinced that the incredible generosity and kindess that I had seen in much of the world would come to an abrupt end when we arrived in the United States. But I couldn't have been further from the truth. When Simon and I arrived at SEA-TAC airport in early September, we emailed some local motorcyclists to ask about cheap motels and to our disbelief, we sent back something to the effect of;
"Welcome to Washington, sounds like a great trip you've had, and best of luck with the next leg. I have a house near Seattle that I am not using, and you are welcome to stay there. The address is ________, and the security code for the front door is ____. Lets meet up sometime over the next few days and have a meal or something? Yours, Karl"
Incredible! We drive to the address to find the palatial house shown in the photos above. Thank you so very much Karl, it made a huge difference to our arrival in America.
To cut a long story short... The wonderful Charlotte flew in from India and I was reunited with my soul mate. I hatched a plan: rather than sit and wait for our bikes to make the slow shipping journeys from Russia and the UK, we buy bikes here in the States, and ride some kind of tour for six weeks, then sell them when our overland bikes turn up in Seattle.
Simon, who had originally planned to ride only to Magadan, fancied this scheme as well. Within a couple of days he had secured himself an old crusier with a huge V-twin engine, and set off solo for New York.
Simon it was an absolute pleasure to travel with you. Never a dull moment.
I discovered the amazing craiglist. Char and I took a very very long Greyhound
ride down to Tucson, Arizona (which was a story in itself, seems like a very interesting segment of society tends to ride the Greyhound buses), and bought two bikes.
I had always fancied trying the race version of my XR650L, the much more aggresive XR650R. So I went for one of these. A 2006 bike with all kinds of goodies, that had been raced and abused a bit, but still went great.
Char made the more sensible and conservative decision to get a KLR650, Americas most popular dual-sport motorcycle.
It would be very difficult indeed to thank every person that helped us along the way, but in Phoenix Arizona we met a very special couple; Skye and Mary. Once again we were taken into the home of people that were initially little more than strangers. We had a great time together, and made tentative plans to meet again when we were heading back this way with the Honda XRL's.
Eric, a fellow XR650L owner had found this website, very kindly contacted me to offer a place to crash if we were riding near Las Vegas. Which we were, and so started an odd whistlestop visit of this iconic city. Eric is a pastry chef at one of the big hotels, and works some pretty punishing shifts. So it came to be that Char and I arrived late one evening at his home, shortly after his working day came to an end. Despite his state of exhaustion, he insisted on taking the time to give us a proper tour of the strip. Nice one, cheers Eric.
This was a kick ass free camping spot in Lone Pine, California. In England there are authorities to prevent people enjoying the likes of free camping. But here we rocked straight up to the local ranger lady, who pointed us in the right direction with a smile and "Have a great day now"