2 weeks in and 2,700+ miles covered, the routine of the trip has begun to settle in.
Wake up, pack, coffee. Ride until we're hungry enough to stop, then get back on the trail. Pick up beers if we can and enjoy one while they're cold, the rest will be warm by the time we reach our campsite for the night. Set up camp, sleep, then repeat.
Some major stories from Mississippi:
Three of us managed to get ourselves into some poison oak, Joe somehow made it out unscathed. We all had slightly different reactions, Collin's being by far the worst as the underside of his right wrist looks like the scene from Fight Club with the chemical burn.
Really good dirt and beautiful roads before our first run-in with the cops for doing wheelies in the parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly. We then got pointed to a brewery in Water Valley and had a good convo with the owner who was stoked on us and Oregon in general.
We were cruising along somewhere in the middle of nowhere waiting for a sign of the eclipse when we noticed the light change. Pulled over just as a light cloud passed over the sun and we were able to look up and see it without glasses, perfect timing. Kind of a strange energy at that moment and for that whole day really.
From there we crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas which was a surreal moment and a major trip milestone. Everyone has really settled into their bikes, the crew has been mobbing!
Stopped at an old shop that had TAT signs, put our names in the guest book and kept rolling into Clarendon, AR to stay at a motel. The people there were hilarious and super interested in what we were up to as we stand out like sore thumbs and all of us are covered in bug bites and rashes.
Our next pitstop was an old gas station next to some barely standing buildings filled with vintage scooters. An old guy named AJ pulled up on his 4-wheeler and proceeded to talk at us for 15 minutes about his days in the Coast Guard. Apparently he's crossed the country 400 times and had gone by multiple names and always been paid in cash. Wish we could have stuck around longer to shoot the shit but the road was calling and we got back on the trail.
The Ozark National Forest is beautiful, stunning ridges and pristine forests and rivers. Stopped at the Oark Cafe for some of the best food & vibes so far. All of our tires at that point were starting to get pretty bare, and Steve locked up his back wheel around a downhill left and high-sided the bike for his first time down of the trip. Got through all of that and mashed to Tulsa for family time and cold beer, covered some 300 miles that day. Restocked on gear and dialed in our packing situations.
Can't help thinking about life and death, the contrast is so apparent every day on this trip as we pass by crushed armadillos, the smell of dead things and vultures circling while we are living to the fullest. To do this trip we missed memorials and weddings, took leave from work and turned down gigs, but there is a general sense that everyone understands – you need to get it while you can, you only have one go at this thing called life.
Oklahoma turned out to be nothing like we expected. We'd pictured endless yellow fields but instead were greeted by green rolling hills and fun, windy roads. The next morning we backtracked to the Tall Grass Prairie to try and get some shots of Bison but they were nowhere to be found. The endless expanse of green was beautiful however.
Continuing on, the roads began to flatten and straighten, and soon we were all covered in dust. To break up the monotony we stopped at the Great Salt Plain which was beautiful but somewhat strange with all the holes from people digging for Selenite crystals. As we were preparing for a drone shot we looked up to see Grant crash trying to surf his bike. He cut his eye pretty good but is otherwise ok outside of some sore ribs.
The passes of Colorado are next. Swapping out tires and we're back on the road! Can't wait to see what's around the next bend.