Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SoloMoto By The Numbers

  • 0: Speeding tickets
  • 44: average miles per gallon
  • 19: states travelled through
  • 5: National parks visited
  • 2: Number of tires purchased
  • 100: pounds of gear and equipment carried
  • 749: Pictures taken (keepers)
  • 1: Number of times rained on.
  • 3: duration of rainfall in minutes
  • 12073: Highest elevation in feet
  • 4: Number of nights in a Motel
  • 9: Number of nights tent camping
  • 14: Number of 32oz gatorades consumed
  • 96: inches of Subway sandwiches consumed
  • 105.8: degrees highest temperature measured on the road, Green River, UT 4:40pm July 23rd
  • 59.3: degrees lowest temperature measured on the road, Glacier National Park, MT 9:00Am
  • $369.75: amount of money spent on fuel
  • 110: Number of Twitter/facebook status updates

Friday, July 24, 2009

Arches National Park

After a 200 mile hot dash across the desert I made it to Arches
National Park. My plan was to blow right past it in favor of Monument
Valley 150 miles further down the road. However when the temp hits 106
degrees you tend to re-evaluate. The cost benefit equation becomes

So I pulled into the Arches National Park visitor center and marveled
at it's rock models, interactive displays, and air conditioning. The
ranger told me the campsites were sold out so I thought I would just
tour the park, take pictures, and camp outside the park on the
Colorado river.

I saw the sites and took tons of pictures of red rock formations. I
even got lost briefly on a hike to an arch.
Late that evening I came to the campground. They appeared to be full
but the "reserved" area had some openings. Sure enough the nice park
rangers let me camp for the night in the reserved area. I didn't have
the $20 cash so I had to use an old check I keep in my wallet. I was
pleasantly surprised when I unfolded the check and saw the image of
Arches National Park on it.

Thankfully the temp dropped steadily as the sun went down. It fell
through the 90's, mid 80's by nightfall, mid 70's by midnight when I
woke up to star gaze.

Arches offered the best star gazing of my trip. Hopefully the pics
come out. You could see the milky way from horizon to horizon. If you
look straight up in such a way that the surrounding countryside is not
in your field of vision you could almost convince yourself that you're
in space
The pics will be posted to

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bonneville Salt Flats

I wish I had a better mount for the camera.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some Like It Hot

Who knew eastern Washington and Oregon get so damn hot? The picture
shows me soaking my riding jacket in cold water. It was bone dry again
after about 30 minutes on the road but it kept me cool. Being wet at
70 mph WILL keep you cool even in 100 degree heat.

After a great weekend in Seattle I am heading SE to the Bonneville
Salt Flats.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time Is Not on My Side

I made it all the way to Wyoming with some help from the gentleman in this picture. His name is Denny.
He noticed I was having tire trouble and offered to lead to the bike shop. While my bike was being worked on he took me to his shed, about a block away, and showed me some of his projects. Some really beauties here. I think my favorite is the Olds 88. The detail work on the grill and in the steering wheel is amazing. That's real brass in the globe in the grill. After my bike was done Billy even led me to the freeway so I could be on my way. Great guy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Full of Stars

Camping at Badlands National Park was perfect. That wind out the north
that forced to ride on a 20 degree tilt on I90 made for a very
pleasant camping experience.
I rode up to the automated camping teller at about 730pm. It allows
you to pick your campsite by number but doesn't show you a
corresponding map to match the number with a location. I picked 76.
I set up camp, had a cup o noodles and jerky for dinner, and prepared
to do some star gazing. There wasn't a single cloud from horizon to
horizon. I wasn't dissapointed. I took some great photos with my best
low light lens set to the slowest shutter speed. Some photos, which
only capture a small portion if the sky, have hundreds of stars in
them. I havn't seen that many stars since I was at sea 13 years ago.

I have no idea where I am heading today other than west. I know I'm
running out of time if I want to be in Seattle on Friday.

Yellowstone and Glacier NP's are the only must see spots left on my
agenda. There's a lot more sites I want to see but I gotta start
making cuts on the list.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Nail Cost $500 in S.Dakota

I woke up this morning and made a fresh cup of coffee. That's been the
highlight of my day so far.
Right when I got on the bike I noticed that it wasn't handling right.
Even though I was only riding 5 mph through the park I could tell
something was wrong.
My rear tire only had 5psi in it. So I went to a car shop a mile away
and filled her up. That got me to Sioux Falls.
From there I searched 'motorcycle repair' on Google Maps and started
calling places. Apparently NOBODY will patch a tire due to liability
So here I am at a bike shop trading $500 for two new tires.
I had planned to replace both in Seattle in 4 days but I had not
planned on spending $500.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hello from Iowa

Best Pack Yet

I came up with a new system to give me more room in the saddle.
Basically I crammed mire stuff into the hard cases to make the duffel

Last evening I was racing the sun and the campground was the finish
line. The sun won. My concilation prize was a night at the motel 6 in
Davenport IA.

I hope to make Sioux Falls by night fall.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Louisiana Mark the Gas Line Worker

Helping Hand

Mark ( that's his hand) strolled over to chat while I was packing up. We talked a lot of things including bikes( he rides a Harley ).  Mark is in town working on a 42" long distance gas line. He thinks it starts in Canada, runs through Wyoming, and ends up in Chicago. It's one of those things most people don't know exists but makes modern life possible. Mike Roe should do a Dirty Jobs episode with Mark.

He helped me pack my gear and even gave me the best invention ever: a net made of bunjie cord. This thing will change my whole trip. You just stack things up and stretch the net over it. Poof! Done.

Marc since I gave you web address hopefully you're reading this. Thanks again and be careful working those gas lines. Maybe we will meet again on the flip side of my trip.



Saturday, July 11, 2009

SoloMoto: Day 1

By all accounts it was a good first day. As I type this blog entry on
my iPhone I am laying in a tent at a campground in Baltimore Ohio. So
I made about 400 miles today. Not a bad start but I need to do better

Today was intended to be a shakedown day when I could learn the
easiest and most efficient way to do things to make the trip go much
I learned that The Weather Channel app for the iPhone is a critical
piece of software. I noticed some dark clouds on the horizon so I
pulled over and checked out the forcast. The app is location aware so
I didn't have to bother looking up the local zipcode. I could see on
the radar that the rain band would not cross my path. I didn't have
to worry about putting on rain gear.
The phone was also very helpful in finding a campground. You simple
click on google maps, current location, then search for 'campground'.
Little puns drop on the map where the local campgrounds are. By the
way, KOA wanted $40 for a tent site. Seriously.

I met a guy at a valley overlook in Virginia that at one time rode his
bicycle from California to Pennsylvania. THAT'S a road trip. I also
met a woman that named her gps Myrtle.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Working the Shaft

I'm at the BMW store getting a once over on the bike prior to
embarking on solomoto ( I'm just going to call it that. 'my solo cross
county motorcycle road trip' takes too long).

There are a lot of nice bikes here including a BMW HP2 with a $27k tag
hanging on the handlebar.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Found a GPS Tracker iPhone App

Instamapper is an iPhone app that tracks your position and puts it on
google maps so that you can share it with the world. I'll use this for
my trip. Check out my embedded map at

The good: it's free which is $100 cheaper than the Spot tracker.

The bad: Like all iPhone apps it does not run in the background so
you have to leave it on to allow it to log and upload your coordinates.

I just tested it out today and it works well. Looking forward to using
it on the solomoto trip.

NYTimes: BMW’s Boxer: A Classic Design Is Updated and Refined

From The New York Times:

HANDLEBARS: BMW's Boxer: A Classic Design Is Updated and Refined

The flat-twin engine has been a distinctive BMW attribute for decades,
but a devoted following does not mean the company has lost interest in


My Route is Set in Pixels

Can't change it now.

View Cross Country Via Motorcycle in a larger map

I'll travel through 16 states, stopping at a bunch of parks. The highlights:

  • Yellowstone NP, WY
  • Grand Teton NP, WY
  • Glacier NP, MT
  • Monument Valley NP, UT
  • Devils Tower, WY
  • Badlands NP, SD
  • Mount Rushmore NP
  • Little Big Horn, MT
  • Rocky Mountain NP
  • Mt Ranier NP, WA
  • Bonneville Salt Flats SP, UT

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This is a test...

...of the mobile blogging system.

I am typing this post on my iPhone. If all goes according to plan this
email will end up on

I'm attaching a picture to see how it handles that.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Treat Her Like a Lady

Yesterday I gathered up all my gear, packed it into my bikes luggage system and a giant duffel bag and loaded it onto the bike. My two objectives were to see if I could get everything onto the bike and to see if I could do it safely.
All this stuff....

Packed into this:

The side bags will hold 22lbs each. The top case holds 11lbs. I was able to put most the heavy stuff (read expensive) in the saddle bags. Best to keep the heavy stuff low. This includes the laptop, camera, etc. The giant duffel holds my tent pegs, chair, and some other knick knacks.

The test ride was successful. You gotta treat bikes like a lady. In this case it means not laying her down, mindful of the extra 70+lbs of baggage she is carrying.

6 Days until I head west.
~MB Is Up and Running

I just finished the site for my cross country motorcycle website, Since hopefully my Mom will be visiting the site to see what I'm up to let me take a minute to pretend that she cares how it works and explain it to her in laymans terms.

Soooo...all the data I create on the road will be automagically uploaded to the big internet cloud in the sky via my iPhone and MacBook. What I cannot upload cellularly I will use the nation's libraries and McDonalds free wifi for. The cloud analogy is not mine but I'll stick to it for this post.

So now all this data is swirling around in the cloud. That's where comes in. If you don't mind we'll keep the cloud analogy going. This internet cloud is made up of everyone's data. Data = rain. is my rain collector.

The cloud is actually a bunch of sites scattered across many servers all over the internet.

  • host my pictures

  • YouTube and Vimeo have my videos

  • this site (Blogger) hosts my blog

  • Loopt shows my geo-position

  • Google maps is storing my route information

  • Amazon has all my gear listed with convenient links so you can buy stuff and I will get kicks-backs from Jeff Bezos

  • and my tweet of course, come from Twitter.

Michaelb1 gathers up all the data from those myriad sites and sticks them on one page for your convenience. So Mom, it's like having your own personal rain cloud above your new garden.

Road Trip Website

I just set up an aggregator page for the RSS feeds I will be using on my trip. has a feed for my road trip flickr set, my Google Maps route, my "Tweets" from the road, as well as the blog posts on this site. There's even a flickr slide show to watch.

I hope it passes the mom test. It has to be simple and informative. Anything less and she doesn't want to see it.