Motorcycle Ride from San Diego to Tampa

Posted on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 by Ryan

By Ryan Clements

A few weeks ago I rode my motorcycle from Tampa to San Diego to attend ASR. I then flew home and left my bike all by itself out in CA, returning a couple of weeks later to pick it up and ride it home. It worked out perfectly actually, with the Vans Downtown Showdown taking place two weeks after ASR. That allowed me the ideal amount of time to make it all happen.

From the wind to the cold to the long-ass hours out in the middle of nowhere, please check out the pictures below to get an idea of the epic journey that I took.

Miles on Sunday – 804.4
Miles on Monday – 734.1
Miles on Tuesday – 783.3
Miles on Wednesday – 341.1

Want to join me on the next trip? I’m down. Are you?

Ryan

So I pick my bike up from my pal Jesse Fritsch’s house in Carlsbad and he happens to live right next door to Jeff King from Built to Shred. We saw him in the yard and it was like, “What’s up?!?!”
I know you’ve seen this on TV, but it’s pretty gnar in person
King has pretty much every tool and trinket that you could ever need or want. Check out that wood lathe…it’s from the early 1900’s
I couldn’t hang out all day, so I said my goodbyes to my friends and made my way from Carlsbad to LA on what they call “the five”
Riding around Hollywood on my bike was pretty cool. I went to dinner with some friends and we walked by one of those stores that sells marijuana to people with prescription cards
The next morning, the morning of the Downtown Showdown, I rode the Harley up into the hills for a far-away view of the Hollywood sign
You’ve already seen all of our Showdown coverage on skateparkoftampa.com, so I don’t need to tell you what happened there. The morning after the Showdown I was on the Hollywood Freeway and then onto I-10, heading out of town. Check out that smog
About an hour or so outside of LA the landscape becomes very scenic
This was the beginning of very many stops at gas stations and this one happened to be in Needles, CA
Who took the time to stack all of these rocks up like this?
Damn it was a tough decision. Ride about 2,500 more miles or just hang out in Vegas for the next few days? I chose not to test my luck
When you see a sign like this you’d better be up for the challenge
“For Sale – Needs Work” It didn’t really say that, but there are so many run down homes, warehouses, and industrial spaces along I-40 that it’s crazy. It makes me wonder what happened…
A few hours into the ride on I-40 outside of LA pretty much had me in the middle of nowhere
Not to mention, it was hot as Hades. Check out the thermometer. Yes, that’s over 100
Ah, finally…water. That’s the Colorado. I rode over it prior to entering Arizona
Self explanatory
This sign was at a gas station just into Arizona. My goal was Albuquerque for the day
A bit farther into Arizona it turned from desert to forest
What’s wrong with this picture? Well, I was going about 75mph and the bike kept popping out of cruise control and the indicator said that it was in neutral, but it was still actually in gear. That only lasted about an hour and then it stopped
Who approved this sign? All us older guys have been down this road a few times. Young boys, if you don’t get it, you will someday
So I was back into pretty much desert and then all of a sudden there’s this gigantic factory in the middle of nowhere. They must make nuclear warheads there
It was getting to be early evening on day one and the scenery was getting better and better
What’s up with the gigantic ant hill?
Oh hell yeah…finally made it to NM as it was getting a bit chilly
Like I said, it was getting a bit chilly. Only in the desert can you get a sunburn when it’s cold out. No more pictures came out for the rest of the night
Okay, so the next morning, day two, I started out in Albuquerque. It was cold and really windy, which is why this is the only picture. Albuquerque is at the bottom of a big valley. I rode in at sundown and out at sunrise and it was beautiful
I was so hyped to get out of New Mexico and into Texas because I was getting blown all over the road. There was a family shooting photos of the same sign and the mom was definitely freaked out when I asked her to take a picture of me
You are looking at the biggest cross in the Northern Hemisphere, or so they claim
The road I took, I-40, is basically built on top of the historic Route 66 and there are markers everywhere letting you know what’s up
I didn’t see the official Welcome to Oklahoma sign and barely caught this as I passed the rest stop
They be mad farmin’ in the Midwest
This is how I was feeling right about then
Well you know they’ve got mad American pride in the middle of Oklahoma
It was early afternoon on day two and I was passing through Oklahoma City
As the evening approached, I-40 came to a dead stop for about half an hour
When I finally crept by what was holding us up, this is what I saw. I didn’t get a picture of the hearse, but you get the point
So I was behind this group of bikers and saw their “club” wording on the back of their jackets. From far away I thought, “This is sick…these dudes look like real Hells Angels or another similar club. I need to catch up to them.” As I got closer I realized that their club was RIDING FOR JESUS or something to that effect. Very friendly group though
If the sun is setting behind you and your shadow is leaning east, that means you’re homeward bound if you live in Tampa
The sun was setting behind me in Oklahoma on day two, so I caught this lucky pic of it by randomly pointing and shooting behind me
Day three I got up as usual before the sun, but DAMN it was cold at a chilly 45 degrees as I entered Arkansas
I kept saying to myself, “Sun please rise. Sun please rise,” as my limbs froze. 45 degrees on a motorcycle feels like negative 10
You know they spend all kinds of money on big churches in the south
So I stop at this random convenient store outside of Little Rock and can’t resist taking a photo of the bong and pipe display. The 25-year-old Asian chick that could barely speak Engrish behind the counter called me “rude” for taking a photo. I was like, “Looks like you and I are from different cultures.”
I’m pretty sure this is Little Rock, but it might be Memphis, too. Not really sure because I lost track out there
I drove through Tennessee and into Memphis very briefly on I-40, but completely blew it on the picture of the Welcome to Tennessee sign
There were plenty of rolling hills in Mississippi. At this point I don’t even know what Interstate I was on for sure, but I think it was 78, which come to think about it, puts me either in Mississippi or Alabama
It was mid-late afternoon and I drove right by the Welcome to Alabama sign, but ended up in Birmingham in no time
Montgomery, AL was next, and at this point I was just going south and east with no definite plan, knowing that I needed to find 231. Right before downtown Montgomery I saw a sign for my road and made a quick decision
The sun was setting on day three of my journey as I entered into Florida in the middle of freakin’ nowhere on 231
I ended up at a hotel in Marianna, Florida, about 50 miles west of Tallahassee. These are the directions that I was trying to read while driving through Alabama and Mississippi, so you can see why I was just winging it by going south and east on a whim
The next morning, day four, I rode about 50 miles before daybreak and then the sun exposed itself as I drove through Florida’s capital
By mid morning I was coming up on Gainesville and was definitely ready to be back in my comfort zone at Skatepark of Tampa
At around noon on day four I started seeing very familiar sites, hence the pic of the Hard Rock which is only one exit away from Skatepark of Tampa
Now that’s a site for sore, bloodshot, and dry eyes
Just after 12pm on day four outside one of my most favorite places in the world. Made it!

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