Rel’s Nomadic Adventure Begins: San Antonio to Monument Valley, UT

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Rel’s epic spring adventure has begun

Hello, brothers.

I’ve been away from The New Modern Man for a couple of weeks getting myself mentally and physically prepared for a solo, nomadic journey around the sparsely populated Western states of the U.S. I’m happy to report my spring motorcycle camping adventure intended to put into practice and expand the core TNMM philosophies of minimalism and ghosting has begun, and the first leg of the trip from San Antonio, TX through West Texas into the sands of New Mexico and the heart of the American West is complete.

My first destination was Monument Valley, UT. It’s a place that has long captured the imagination of the adventurous man. Monument Valley exceeded expectations, and the ride up to this famous Western landscape was cleansing for the soul to say the least. The weather was nearly perfect with temperatures in the 60s and 70s for most of the day. Of course, as you can see I photographed some stunning vistas.

While most people got their selfie and scurried away, I sat there staring in awe of this epic landscape long after I had taken some photos.

I prefer to stay in free campsites, however I found some bargains with pay campsites in both Red Rock State Park, NM and Gooseneck State Park, UT. Both featured camping for only around $10-15 a night. It feels good to stay off the grid and go “primitive” camping with just a tent, some very basic camping gear, and a steel horse (my bike) joining me for the journey. I have intentionally distanced myself from the raging dumpster fire that is America’s political, social, and cultural landscape. I only check headlines for a maximum of 30 seconds each day and avoid all social media.

I’ve noticed my mentality improves drastically when I disconnect from that alternate reality created by media spinmeisters and social engineers. I wrote in my travel journal: I wonder how long it will be before these idiots become totally irrelevant as the rest of us go about our business and stop giving a shit what they have to say about how we should live our lives?

One thing you learn quickly is how unforgiving these majestic landscapes and lonesome stretches of highway can be. Luckily, I learned logistics quite well in my time as a “professional driver” managing an 18-wheeler for a year. There have been some long distances where there’s nothing but a road and tumbleweeds around, which can be challenging with a 4-gallon gas tank. My 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650 has been performing spectacularly, and averaging around 50 to 55 miles per gallon. I haven’t run out of gas on the side of the road. Good news, there.

Along the way I picked up a National Parks pass for $80, which gives me access to all national parks in the U.S. for a year. With free camping, my only expenses will hopefully be fuel and food.

Come along with me as I begin this nomadic journey. There will be updates from the road as I explore the great American West alone. As always, your contributions to help fund this pioneering journey are appreciated. You can help me by donating through PayPal or GoFundMe. See you soon, from the road and the uncivilized parts of the world.

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19 comments

  • Like

  • MarkyMark

    I started on a Ninja 300 to learn to ride, then moved up to a Vulcan S to ease my creaky old mid-life bones. The Vulcan S 650cc (Ninja) engine is a smooth baby on the highway. Now I’m too damn spoiled…wish I’d gotten the windshield, though.

    Like

    • I ride scooters now, because you can step through them; you don’t have to throw your leg over the seat like you do on a motorcycle. Anyway, both of them came with windshields. The windshield on my Helix is fine; it offers great protection. The one on my Burgman needs to be replaced though, because it directs the slipstream straight at your head. At least it protects your upper body, so you won’t get fatigued.

      That said, why can’t you get a windshield for the Vulcan S?

      Like

  • If you find yourself around San Bernardino, we could ride together for a few miles. Ride safe!

    Like

  • The Angry Outernationalist

    Should you choose to cut down to 40 and ride via Flagstaff over toward Needles and Barstow, keep an eye on your fuel …

    It’s not that there aren’t enough petrol stations close to 40, it’s that they’re stupidly pricey to fuel up at.

    Needles isn’t too bad if you like vegetarian food and you don’t mind Seventh Day Adventists.

    About the “news”: I don’t check the “news” for the sentiments that are the headlines. Instead, I check to see whether there were any major shootings or other crap going on near where I’m headed, and that takes about thirty seconds as you’ve mentioned. If I glance at something that looks like it’ll develop into a major change, I’ll check someone’s detailed analysis later on, but usually the headlines are attention-wasting crap that’s the result of an “Ain’t It Awful” journalist club game being played on everyone else.

    Of course, since you were also in the business, you know this as well: if you really want to know the story on Country A or Region B, you’ll read analysis coming out of Countries C, D, and E as well as Regions F and G, just because you can’t expect honest reporting close to the source.

    Any local news source I pretty much just check for whether was any crap that would cause the locals to be totally skeered of visitors.

    Like

    • Out of a thousand analyses; that was the best, as well as the best possible, and, earns 1,000% on batting average right off the bat. No pun intended, of course. Of course, pun intended.
      That was out of the park.
      Of course, again, 1st day Sunday sappers are insane but don’t neglect seventh day which is sane. That is, consistent and contingent with evidence, testimony and text of at least 2 millennium.
      And, at $8.00 a gallon in CA we are not talking tacos, we are talking brisket at least.

      Like

    • You forgot to mention that you should carry at least an extra gallon of gas in cans designed for a motorcycle. (Gas in re-purposed quart oil bottles is B.S.) Ditto carrying at least a gallon or so of water. Plus don’t forget the flat-fix in a can.

      There no heat like dry desert heat, and dehydration and/or heat stroke can hit you faster than you imagine. (Speaking from experience here.) And when you’re in the middle of nowhere, it’s a come-as-you are proposition, so some preparation for the worst is vital. Remember, it’s called Death Valley for a reason.

      Oh, and don’t forget microwave tower sites in the mountains make the best free campsites.

      Hope this helps!

      Just a thought.

      VicB3

      P.S. Said the same thing below in much greater detail, and it’s still “Awaiting Moderation.” Anybody know what gives

      Like

      • Roger that.
        I have seen dozens of people dehydrated in the Southern US and even some in Canada.
        Physiologically speaking you only need 2-3% dehydration from baseline to become confused and disoriented and subsequently dead.
        Dead Valley is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to die there.

        Like

  • Sebastian Hawks

    Shows how hard it is to hit the MPG goals dictated by the environmental wacko little girls Obama put in the EPA if basically a small engine with just two wheels can only get 50-55mpg per gallon how are cars supposed to do this?

    Like

  • fuzziewuzziebear

    Good to hear from you! You had me a little worried. May all go well with your trip.

    Like

  • Enjoy your ride! Just out of curiosity, why didn’t you choose a Kawasaki Versys or KLR650 instead? Wouldn’t they be better suited for your trip? Not that there’s anything wrong with the 650 Ninja; it’s a great bike. That said, it’s not an optimal match for your mission.

    Like

    • Relampago Furioso

      The Ninja 650 is comfy, versatile and affordable. In a perfect world I’d have an adventure bike and a sport bike. I’m just glad to have any bike at all.

      Like

      • Being thankful is one of the greatest attributes a man can have or exhibit.
        If you are truly thankful for your one bike then you may certainly have another.

        I just gave away two, I have another active, one in reserve, and, another to rebuild. And, I’m always shopping.

        Watch out for crosswinds, windshears and idiots.

        Like

      • Glad you like the Ninja 650. Kawasaki must be doing something right, because it’s been a HUGE HIT since it hit the market years ago. The engine is so good that they also use it on the Versys and Vulcan S, but’s it tuned more for torque down low vs. top end power. With my arthritic knees, I’d choose either the Versys or Vulcan S. Any bike using that outstanding engine is a good choice though… 🙂

        Like

  • Good to have you back Rel. I thought maybe the state deep sixed you for being a positive influence on men. The pics look awesome, enjoy the rest of your trip man.

    Like

  • Glad to see you’re not dead. Evidently from other comments earlier, everybody was worried that something had happened to you.

    A serious suggestion: When you’re out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, having a little extra gas and water on hand never hurts. You’d be surprised just how fast dehydration and heat-exhaustion will hit you. No joke, I mean it’s seriously lethal. (It’s called Death Valley for a reason.) Extra water is relatively easy; a couple of canteens will do, Gasoline not so much. (And carrying extra gas around in pint oil bottles is B.S.) Fortunately, Reda and others have a solution:

    http://www.reda-innovations.com/reda-gas-can

    http://www.coyotetrips.com/fuelcan.html (Water cans too.)

    Also, don’t forget the tire puncture sealant/flat-fix in a can. (Really!)

    Likewise refer to my previous suggestions about camping under the microwave towers in the hills for free, private and stress-free outdoor living.

    Enjoy the trip!

    Just a thought.

    VicB3

    Like

    • P.S. Earplugs. Wear Earplugs, the foam kind you can pick up at any drug or hardware store. Just stick them in your mouth for a minute to get them covered with spit – sounds gross but it works best – and slide them right in. You very quickly become used to them, forgetting that you even have them on.

      Hour after hour with loud bass noises on a motorcycle (or in a convertible) can result in some serious noise exhaustion. (It will also plain old ruin your hearing for life.) The plugs will block all the blaring bass noises from the wind, your bike, the two-semi next to you, etc. However, you *will* still be able to hear all the high frequency stuff around you, i.e. your not deaf. You can easily have a conversation with them on. You can still listen to music or books on tape. Plus you will hear things you’ve never heard before because they were blocked by the low frequency bass noises, e.g. the little mechanical ticks and creaks on your bike.

      Speaking from experience.Hope this helps!

      Like

  • Back in the saddle again. Hop along, ride along, giddy up go.
    I’ve been from San Antonio to Odessa with a long stay in Abilene,
    It gets too dry, and hot, from there west.
    You don’t wanna be out there in the summertime.

    Like

  • Excellent. Enjoy the ride!

    Like

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