Ask Danny

Questions and Answers Page

I've gotten tons of questions since I started my trip and, although I love all the emails, I figured that I go ahead and answer all the redundant questions. I also know that there's lots of people out there that might be curious but feel awkward or embarrassed to ask. Some of these questions may seem quite obvious to me but I can understand why others might be curious or confused.

Feel free to ask me more questions and I might put them on here.

 

Why only 49 states? Which one are you not going through?

Don't laugh, this is actually the number one question that I get asked, but usually they figure it out before I even start to answer. For obvious reasons, I will not be driving to Hawaii. Now if somebody flips the bill for a trip I would certainly entertain the thought of going out there. Any takers? I could really get some nice pictures out there. Hook me up!

 

When and where do you sleep?

I don't ever sleep. I'm not human! (Just kidding) Of course I sleep.

This one is pretty easy. When I get tired. Actually its been rather random lately. While driving the bike down long roads it can almost hypnotize me with the vibrations and constant rush of wind. I can find myself getting drowsy at any moment. Several years ago I fell asleep at the handle bars and vowed never to let that happen again. Now, whenever I feel the slightest hint of exhaustion I pull off the road. Maybe even if its on the side of the freeway. Once I get a little break I feel wide awake again and ready to get back on the road.
Other times I may pull off in a rest area and take a short nap or two on a picnic table. Yeah, I can sleep on a rock if I have to. It doesn't bother me. Besides, the flat, hard surface of a picnic table makes for a nice place to stretch my back out. 
Other times I might even get more elaborate and put the tent together. I didn't bring one with me but recently purchased a real small one. Just enough room for me and all my gear. Although I can only fully extend my legs if I lay across diagonally from corner to corner. I have put out the tent on a few occasions just out in the grass of a rest area. Many rest areas don't allow camping but I do it anyway. I refuse to pay some of the prices for a camp ground. They usually want to charge me the same price as an RV and for just a few dollars more I could get a motel room.
Although I didn't plan and don't really plan to stay in very many motels I have done so and most likely will again to get cleaned up, connect to the internet, and escape from the elements.
Other places to stay have been at friend's houses. Some old friends and some new friends. I have also stayed in several motels for free.

 

What and where do you eat?

This is all depending on when and where I am and how hungry I might be.
I do love the fast food restaurants. McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's, etc. They all appeal to me. One, they're usually fast and fairly inexpensive. Two, you don't have to tip. And three, They're usually fast and fairly inexpensive.
To try to save money I have stayed away from some of the larger chains like Friday's, Applebee's, etc. Although, I have met some very generous people there that have flipped the bill for me. Some of the managers have taken the bill off for me as well.
Much like my sleeping habits I have really gotten off of any regular schedule. Now I have never really been all that set on an eating schedule and my sleeping habits have always been rather unordinary over the years. But since I started this trip its really been off. The days and the times seem to all get meshed in together and I constantly find myself wondering what time it is or even where I am. But for now, most of the time, it really doesn't matter.
Also on several occasions I have had some of the people I meet make me a really wonderful dinner.

 

How many miles a day do you travel?

Boy, these are all starting to make it seem like I don't have a clue of what I am doing. Every day is different. Whether I'm hindered by weather, whether or not the landscape is more or less demanding, or whether or not I have a place to stay for a while. It all makes for a variety of situations. Some days I may drive for 200 miles at a stretch and cover more than 500 miles while other days I might take it easy and not do much at all. Sometimes I might feel more exhausted than others and it can make a drastic effect on my driving and motivation.

So far the average miles per day seems to be about 250. Not too good. I better get moving or I'm never going to finish at this rate.

What part of the lane do you usually ride on?

Well, this always varies depending on a lot of different factors.
* Sometimes I like to ride as close to the center of the highway as possible. This leaves more room to maneuver in case of an emergency. Animals can dart out of nowhere. If I'm already close to the side of the highway this does not leave not much room for error.
* Another consideration is other traffic. Many other people don't give a motorcycle as much room as they would another car or truck. I guess they assume that, since the motorcycle is so much smaller, then it must not need as much space. This may be true but again, I must emphasize the importance of keeping as much distance as possible in case of an emergency. When on a two lane highway I would like to ride closer to the right side of the lane to avoid the oncoming traffic and also to give more suppression from large trucks. They can really give you a good blast of wind when they pass by. Sometimes it feels like getting hit in the face by a big pillow.
* The largest consideration when considering which part of the lane I ride in comes from the conditions of the road and pavement. Many places don't maintain their roads and highways very well so there would be a considerable amount of damage to try to avoid. Just a small bump in a truck or a car can be almost devastating to a motorcycle. Over a period of many of the "ruts" in a lane can break up and leave a road scarred and rough. When I experience these conditions I will try to ride in the very center of the lane where there has been less traffic on that particular part of the pavement. It can often times be very smooth. However, there are other times when the "ruts" have pushed the pavement and wrinkled it in the very center of the lane making it very rough and sometimes even dangerous. Much of the repairs tend to be focused on the parts of the lanes where the tires will be, in the "ruts". 

So with all that in mind you can see that it always varies as to which part of he lane I ride in. The condition of the roads vary from state to state and the traffic varies with every type of highway.

How do you get people to give you money or pay for your food and motels?

Well, I surely don't go running around begging for anything. It usually happens when people look at the bike and make comments or ask me where I'm from or where I'm going. When I tell them and hand them one of my handouts their eyes usually get very wide and they start asking me all kinds of questions. Usually impressed by the fact that I've already been to Newfoundland they realize that I'm serious about my quest and they end up asking what they could do to help or they just hand me money.
I usually drag my laptop into establishments with me so I can get a few things ready for the next time I log on again. People always seem to have to make a comment or two about the fact that I can't even relax at dinner without having to do work. Then I have to explain to them that I'm not really working and they get enthused. Sometimes I end up with a table full of people cramming together to look at the pictures on my laptop.

 

What do you do about clothes and laundry?

I've been pretty fortunate and been able to do laundry at a few friend's houses but have also hit a few laundry mats and done a load or two.

 

Dude! Have you met any chicks on your trip?

This was a question that I hadn't anticipated but gets asked quite a bit. Although I have met so very many wonderful people during my trip so far, I don't really have enough time to get to know anybody well enough to fall in love or even consider any kind of relationship. Since I'm just passing through I feel it would be cruel to anybody else or even myself for that matter, to even consider spending enough time to get involved. I do have a really nice story about an hour in Central Park that I plan to share soon. Keep looking for that.

 

How much money is this costing you and how can you afford it without a job?

This was a question that I had been asking myself for quite some time even before my trip. The trip was something that I really wanted to do and since I don't have a job, I have the flexible time to do this. Unfortunately financial survival definitely comes into play. A remarkable turn of events took place just prior to my trip. I received a check in the mail for $2200, from a 401K plan, from a job I had over ten years ago.  hadn't had the job long enough for the 401K plan to accumulate any money worth getting back. After quitting that job and moving on I inquired about the fund which they replied didn't have enough to worry about so they were going to close the account. For some reason they didn't and over the years the account drew all that interest and they finally found me and sent me the check. I don't see how it had grown so big but I wasn't going to complain.
The largest part about the finances is that fact that everything always seems to work out for me. I realize that this trip will eat up that money as I do still have al my normal bills to pay. I have put my faith in people like you and others that you all will help support this endeavor while hopefully, at the same time, get to enjoy all the pictures and stories that I am posting.
I have not had very much faith in people for so very long and taken care of myself and only myself for so many years that I have lost my faith in people. I am now regaining this through this trip as I find people donating in so very many ways that I never expected. I truly thanks you all.

 

What about maintaining your motorcycle?

I do have some mechanical skills and have been taking care of the bike myself. However, I do have minimal tools with me and will have to rely on the assistance of others if something major happens. I will have to get a set of tires fairly soon. I have had the oil changed twice now. Once before I left and once about 3,000 miles ago. I am due for another change and will have the bike looked at more thoroughly to see why its starting to use more gas. Maybe I'm just gaining more weight from all these people feeding me.

 

What do you do when it rains?

Well, I usually get wet. I don't mind the water so much myself but I do have to be very concerned about my gear. With several cameras, the laptop, guitar, cell phone, etc, I have to be very careful to keep everything dry. This has been on of my main concerns on this trip. I anticipated some type of rain, I'd be an idiot if I thought it wouldn't happen. So about half way through Newfoundland I finally stopped into a hardware store to acquire a small tarp to put over the bike during the rain. As soon as I exited the building I felt it starting to sprinkle. I think I jinxed myself because I have been through quite a few rain storms since then. I wrapped everything up for quite a bit of the trip in the upper northeast. Hopefully most of that is over. We'll see.

 

How many emails do you get a day?

This varies. I think that one day I got over 40, just to me, while some other days I don't get but a few.

 

Danny, we don't care about you. Tell us about Karla.

Okay, there's more information about Karla on my web site and I will hopefully be posting more soon. I will keep up with her and her progress and plan to walk with her for the final portion of her trip to Washington DC. I encourage everybody else in the area to do the same. So keep posted on when and where she is. As soon as I finished posting it you will be able to see her projected schedule and route.

 

Danny, how does your butt feel?

Sore!

 

Aren't you scared out there all alone?

No, I've met so many wonderful people out here that I realize that no matter where I go, I'm not alone. As a matter of fact, I wish some of them would get out of my way. (Just kidding)

 

Isn't it dangerous to sleep out in the open and on picnic tables?

I don't think so. Maybe if I were somebody else. I look at it from another perspective. Who's going to mess with a guy riding a bike, sleeping on a picnic table. I certainly wouldn't bother somebody that crazy!

 

Where did you start and where will you finish?

My trip officially began on July 4th taking pictures of the fireworks display in our nation's capital, Washington DC. Taking a huge counter-clockwise venture around the country will finish back in Virginia and Washington DC again, sometime in late September.

 

Danny, how do I find my way around this stupid web site? This thing is a mess!

Sorry, I don't have a clue. I'm just as lost as you. I'm making this all up as I go. I didn't plan far enough ahead of time for the web site and all my other responsibilities. I really wanted to contact more publications and media throughout the country but ran out of time as July 4th approached and the peak of summer finally came. I had to go, ready or not.

Assistance from all of you would be great. Please connect me with more newspapers and TV stations around the country. I would like to get more media coverage. I have been in the Fredericksburg's Freelance Star and on the news in St. John's,  Newfoundland. 

 

What is the neatest thing you've seen and/or taken a picture of.

I would have to say that looking off into the distance in St. John's, Newfoundland at the lighthouse. The most eastern point of North America.
There was also the boy at the Liberty Bell.
Then, of course, meeting Steven Spielberg was a pretty good highlight.
But the most amazing thing that has happened so far was running into my friend Karla Brown out on a small highway out in the middle of Maine. The odds of that happening was less likely than getting struck by lightning, which made me quite nervous at the next thunderstorm.

 

Are you traveling alone or in a group?

All alone. I have found a few people that wanted to ride along with me but they soon get discouraged as I want to stop and take pictures of everything and then start looking for a Kinko's or somewhere to link up.

 

Are you crazy?

Yes! I didn't think so at first but now I've convinced myself.

 

What kind of bike do you have?

A black one.

 

No seriously! What kind of bike do you have?

Okay, a black one with purple and blue stripes! 

Its a Yamaha Seca II. Check out my gear and equipment pages for more info on the Bat Cycle and accessories..

 

Danny, are you a superhero?

Yes, but I really stink at it.

 

And finally;

Why made you decide to take this trip?

There are quite a few reasons why I decided to take this trip and several reasons why I decided to do it now.

For one reason was that I decided to take this trip to try to raise money and awareness for the preservation and conservation of our wildlife and natural resources. Whether that happens or not I am dedicated to making this trip anyway. I did some research and really liked the Nature Conservancy. You can see why I chose to try to raise money for nature by clicking here;  WhyNature.htm

Also Riding across the country was something I've always wanted to do but never had the time or money to do it. Skydiving was also something I'd always wanted to do but never had the time or money. Sometimes we just have to take the time and do what we can to make the money to do the things that we dream of. Otherwise they may never happen. Then some day when we get old we can sit back and look upon our lives, fulfilled or not.

About a year ago I lost my job as a facilities manager due to changes in management and several stupid reasons that I won't go into right now. I immediately began to look for another job and found several when Sept. 11 came and everybody put a freeze on their hiring. I did what I could and found enough work to keep me afloat and survive. With a pile of bills hanging over my head I immediately put a freeze on all my spending and changed my lifestyle dramatically. It was then, with a totally different perspective and outlook, that I decided not to get a job in the same profession and dumped my career of 20 years in the semiconductor industry. I had been slapped in the face too many times by an industry that I feel I had given so much of my life. I need to focus on the things that truly make me happy inside. Photography, music, art, travel, writing. All these things had been piling up in my head and knocking at the door for so long and I kept ignoring them because of my job. Because of my relationship. I was always too busy. The pressure had come to a boil. Well now, I'm cutting loose and going to focus on these things. Taking this trip to do many of these things and clear my slate to make room for these passions.

I plan to write, compose, take picture after picture and truly find my new identity with all my new experiences. No, its not a soul searching mission but more a cleansing. To clear my head and dump the weight off. To see and enjoy and get closer to this country of ours. Just to look around for a bit.

After Sept. 11 I've had a more compelling urge to make this trip and now, well, here I am. What an amazing place this is.

 Just look around.

 

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