Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 11 to Monteray

I'm doing better than my bike, was in an accident, oil on the off ramp. a disappointing end to an otherwide awesome trip, don't think I'm hurt bad, pissed tho! Tryin to sleep, gotta get up & push the bike to the dealer to see if I can ride it (hopefully I can still walk in the am?, who cares if I can ride right!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 10 photos

Day 10 & My 2 wheels made it in 2 Tijuana Mexico today!!

Just crossed the border out of TJ, that was an experience, I'm travelling alone, the road signs in Mexico are lacking at best, so you can imagine how I felt when I took my first wrong turn into the REALLY bad part of town, cops with M16's in balaclavas, oh ya I made a good choice, 2 Wheels 2 freakin San Diego sounded pretty good right about then!

Got directions from some cops not modelling the latest in cold weather headgear fashions, I then tried to take a photo of Mr Balaclava but quickly learned he did not allow photos, which was made VERY clear by the quick back & forth movement of the M16's barrel pointing just a wee bit too close to my head for comfort, the message was further reinforced by whatever he was loudly yelling in Spanish…. The other cops, who gave directions spoke a bit of english & told me he said “no pictures” those two were pretty cool dudes & even posed for a pic! I couldn’t get outa there quick enough though & finally navigated to the touristy part where I decided to walk around. Everyone is selling something & the english is quite good there. Most were friendly but everyone there was also SELLING HARD! Barter & negotiation is alive & well in TJ.

It was hot & I was getting tired & was faced with the looooooong nasty border lines, except when I was waiting to merge a Mexican border guy told me to lane split, Oh Ya! & to boot people actually moved to make space! The 2 hour car line took me about 15 minutes & I was across, the US border guard did a serious double take when he looked at my plate & said WTF, you came all the way down here on a bike, by yourself?? Well yes I did & it’s been cool, but to be frank, it was a bit scary down there with the shootings & legendary banditos, but everyone (except balaclava man) was very friendly, thanks for a real experience TJ! Off to El Cajon (san diego).

Got back chilled out, hung with the dogs at the pool, was awesome, just had dinner, packing for tomorrow. I’m heading up the coast to Big Sur & getting back on the interstate around Carmel, got about 2500kms to go, I’m targeting Saturday to be home, how’s the weather up there?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Day 09 photos

Day 09 finally some rest

This'll be a short one, was kinda a battery recharging day for me. Went to the San Diego Wild animal park. As an african photo safari is one on the things I have on my "bucket list" this was the next best thing & it was AMAZING! They're very conservation oriented & it shows.

I've only titled 2 because I think they all speak for themselves. Sadly one of the titled pics is a female Northern white rhino, one of approx 8 left in the world & none in the wild as their territory has been decimated by war. There is only one left of breeding age......

It was REALLY hot here today, over 100, we took a fantastic ride on the backroads thu Wildcat Canyon & it was beautiful. I fell asleep at the pool after. All in all a good day. Mexico tomorrow & then north up the coast & home!

Day 08 photos

Day 08

Thanks Chris Mortano, I appreciate your skill with my f%$#@d up filter on Saturday night!!

Man, the cool ocean breeze feels awesome on my face. It's my first view of the so-cal water & I'm at a rest stop, my last recharge before San Diego.It has been a loooooonnng day. I overslept, guess my German friends kept me up too late, & hot the road 3 hours later than my optimistic take off time.. I left just ahead of the Germans, it was nice, warm but a bit of a breeze & I was keeping my eyes open for the perfect pic for my friend Maureen. She's redecorating & has specific color needs, took a few, hope there's at least one she likes!

It heated up quick, I went in a long sleeve t-shirt & my small helmet & sunglasses, lathered up in sunscreen & loaded with water. The trip was pretty uneventful, picked a comfortable pace & enjoyed the view, occasionally stopping for a pic or 2. As the day goes on I have to stop more frequently just to stretch out a bit, I stopped at Jawbone canyon again to say hi to Rose & Bobby, they’re the folks I met yesterday. Anyway, long story short, I had a nice visit & on my way out finally had the nature close encounter I'd been waiting for, just not with a creature I wanted to meet, especially so up close & personal....... when you hear the rattle you automatically KNOW what it is..... The rattle sounds just like on TV, Bobby says it spends a lot of time around their shop & has scared the crap outa lots a folks! It’s called a Mojave green & they're quite rare now, people have given them a bad rep that Rose says they don't deserve. Regardless, they can keep them in Jawbone Canyon, if he wants a ride, he needs a helmet get away from my bike!

The heat started to get to me & there's still bumper to bumper traffic thru LA on Sunday afternoon? How freakin Crazy is that!!!!!! I think I'm now about 1/2 hour from San Diego, looking forward to relaxing at Jim's, need the break, THANKS Jim!

An odd observation, Vultures & crows really are the dominant birds down here, no disrespect intended to my wonderful US brothers & sisters who have made my trip so AWESOME, but there are ALOT of them & no eagles, whats up with that??? Met a dude named Paul at rest stop, he gave me advice on locations to check out & shared a recent & particularly gruesome motorcycle accident he viewed, Hey, thanks Paul, I’m already stressed by the crappy drivers on the 405 south, that visual has made me much more alert!!! Gotta wonder about the speeders, they all drive so freaking fasst? I did finally se someone get a ticket so obviously CHP does write them once in awhilr. The other strange thing besides selling booze at gas stations, is the cel phone use, people were flying by me on both sides at better than 90mph & 90% 0f them were holding cel phones to their ears, not even hands free?? Morons, makes me wonder if anyones paying enough attention to see me?!

Was almost to Jim’s place & got “misplaced” I thought I was in a bad part of town & I knew I was lost, I saw a police car & decided to ask directions. I pulled up & he already had a dude in the back of the car, confirming I was indeed in a bad part of town, but officer Meyer, once he & his partner had their prisoner safely in the back seat, offered much appreciated assistance & gave me directions away from the wrong part of town I was in & to where I was going! Thanks Bro!!!

Finally found Jim & Ron's place & getting there was like getting to an oasis after the endless hotels! The steak & hot tub were awesome & I’m gonna sleep like a baby, thanks guys, San Diego zoo & wild animal park tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day 07 more photos

Day 07 photos

Day 07 HOT, did I mention it was HOOOOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!

This is the earliest I've gotten on the road so far! This is awesome, got gas hit the road, passed a sign for LA...... FORK, there goes my automated response, oh well it’s only a mile & I can turn around, no problemo. So, my early leaving actually...... Ummm… Gets me into the heart of Death Valley at 120f.... I mean noon, high noon in Death Valley, that's good planning, shit what I was thinking....... Good thing I'm pretty!

Lotsa bikers on the road, all going the other way? Is that a message? Even though I'm riding alone I enjoy the camaraderie & the secret biker wave, makes you feel like you’re not so alone. Just pulled into Mojave for gas, came down from the mountains, it was a bit brisk at the 70mph legal highway speed cause I'm just wearing my mesh pants (please no purvo ideas, they’re padded motorcycle pants with mesh for the heat!) As I dropped towards the valley I could feel it heating up, feels good now, bet it’s gonna be unbelievable about noon.... Ouch!

Everyone tried to scare me off of going to Death Valley by myself on a bike, the security guard at the hotel made it clear that I would certainly hallucinate & die, pretty much instantly when I arrived. I stocked up on Gatorade & am looking for a long sleeve t-shirt store in Mojave, there's gotta be one open at 8am Saturday morning right?

The ipod is actually helping my sore parts not get sore quite so fast, now let's CLARIFY, I DO NOT dance, previously I only danced when I had to for sex, but as I'm happily married, no more dancing required, but I can jiggle along with the tunes as I'm riding, I'm sure by the expressions on the truckers faces they think I have a rash, or possibly a swarm of bees may have flown up my pants & into my jacket, hey whatever, its keeping the soreness at bay. Since I'm by myself & in the middle of nowhere I pretty much gas up at every station, thanks again Magellan, you jerks!!!!!! The last one was ridiculous, if the lady there wasn't so nice & trying so hard I would have just left! None of the pumps would work, so there's me in full face helmet & black riding jacket in 100f heat pushing my bike from pump to pump & her running out each time to see if it was working, finally it did & I was outa there, just an extra boot in the goodies, it was the most expensive gas yet! 5 more minutes & I was at the turn to death valley...... Du du du daaaaaa.....I took the turn, something caught my eye to my left, shit, it's over, I was hallucinating, crap I'm gonna croak & before I freakin see death valley, I hate you security dude!! It looked like a snow covered field & an ice covered lake, how could I possibly survive, all my Gatorade would go to waste..... Well I'm still here, do not know exactly what it was but I took pics! On to Panamint & the park!

I was a bit indifferent about the hotel, first person I met was quite rude, I asked where to check in & she said “the Shell station” I’m like, “what?” she repeated it & looked at me like I had 2 heads. Their gas price is also insane! By far the most expensive & almost as much as Canadian. Went as far as I could on the gas, fire made it hazy, didn’t realize sand spits up when you get passed, mmmmm delicious, as I took windshield off & most of the bags too, was fun, the road was like a cool roller coaster ride, sadly though no wildlife & photo opps were limited by gas & the fire haze. It really was very cool anyway, REALLY glad I made it! The rest of the hotel staff have been Awesome, friendly & helpful, the room & I have internet!!

Going into Death Valley you first go up to 5000 feet from panamint then down to more than 200 feet below sea level, gets chilly at the top ( on a bike ) & HOTTTTTTTTTTT at the bottom!Sand storms, cool lighting, it’s awesome, wish I had a bigger gas tank & more time! Met some awesome people tonight, some dudes from Paris & some folks from Germany, thanks for the company Guys!!!!! It really was an awesome day ( the hallucination was a naturally toxic lake that’s harvested for the toxins & looks like snow & Ice, HA!!! I’m still ticking!!!) Gotta sleep, got a long day to Tijuana!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 06 photos

Day 06 freak show

around 9pm
Talk About a mostly wasted day I am so behind & getting so broke….. CRAP!!!

First thanks again to the ladies last night at the Radisson, what an awesome room & the “sleep number bed” was COOL! I’m in Palmdale at the motel 6. The manager, Annamarie is a wonderful lady & came to fix my fan, that in the 90 degree weather was blowing hot air on the cold setting, she fixed me up & we had a nice chat. Regardless of the stuff that frustrates me, gets in the way & generally pisses me off, I have met some really fantastic people & those people have made my trip!

My back aches, knees are swollen & took a rock in the left elbow & right ankle & I swallowed a bug that swirled upinto my helmet, a rather large & hairy tasting bug at that…, I think floorboards & highway pegs are in order next time! Finally put my ipod on too, really helped pass the time on an otherwise BORING, windy ride down the interstate towards L.A….. WHAT… L.A. you ask, what the hell happened to death valley??? Well, since you brought it up… I finally was able to contact Magellan re the GPS, after dealing painfully with the call center in the Philippines I finally got transferred to a friendly & trying to be helpful guy named Aaron from the Florida call center, he was empathetic to my situation & to the fact that the call took about 2 hours to get NOWHERE. We tried to find a dealer in Fresno with a crossover in stock, no luck, he suggested I head for San Dimas, just outside L.A. the US head office for Magellan & they’d swap me for a new one, he’d call me on my cel & confirm. Well I was already really late for getting to Death Valley at a reasonable time, it’s about 8 hours from Fresno, so I headed for San Dimas. It was a mostly boring ride, Raider fans kept popping up everywhere & I think we picked up 2 new VI Raider fans too. Met Dennis & Casey Allen at a rest stop (where I was trying AGAIN to get thru to Magellan) they were riding too, awesome people, we chatted for a bit & they had Raiders logos all over their bike, so I snapped a shot for fun & for Coach Snoop. Told them about our Raiders & gave them my web address so hopefully they’ll check out my ride & the team. I rode with them for about an hour, NICE PACE, really enjoyed it & it’s nice to ride with someone, they took their exit & I was solo again.

Then I got to again consider How do these people get away with driving cars so fast, idiots. They're regularly over 100 mph! I got stuck between some trucks & it was keep up or get run over..... Interestingly enough my chaps flap really hard over 90mph & it’s like a magical leg massage...... oooh! OK, enough of that, I got out of the trucks & down to a pedestrian 75mph, man it’s tiring to drive like that in the wind & with all the loony’s around you! Oh well they sell booze at gas stations here & that doesn't seem like a real good idea either? Gas station means driving booze means drinking, hummmm no wonder there’s so many “report drunk drivers” signs & billboards asking people not to drink & drive.

Back to the trip, it’s about 4 ½ hours to L.A. so I was about ½ hour out at 4:30pm when I received “the” text message from Magellan, “no crossover gps units in san dimas, sorry we’ll mail you one in about 2 weeks” I was at a gas station, I tried to stay calm, I called, got the Philippines again, no help, on hold, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Terry Dollar & decent dude from Asplundh came to my rescue with directions & a plastic coated map to replace my still soaked ones, THANKS Terry!! I then Begged the Magellan guy for the san dimas phone number & finally… 10 more minutes of hold & he gives me the number…. I call it, it’s forwarded to the philippines office… OK, those who know me well will not be surprised about what happened next & will be able to close their eyes & really clearly visualize it ( it’s in a “76” gas station parking lot to help with the “atmosphere” ) I began beating the payphone with the handset & screaming %*@# at the top of my lungs, then with veins bursting in my forehead advised anyone who hadn’t already run for cover, that I did not suggest the purchase of a Magellan gps……I called for sympathy from my lovely wife, who suggested I didn’t need a gps & was doing great without it, not realizing my frame of mind & that all day I was under the impression I’d be picking up a brand new gps that would easily navigate me through L.A. traffic to find my cousin's house on the San Diego side of L.A., that I’d never been to… obviously despite her best intentions that conversation was short… salt in the wound short… A CHP officer came by "to see if I was OK" or perhaps see if had any concealed weapons?, he chuckled when I told him the story & suggested the phone was not the villain & I should consider skipping L.A. in the 5pm Friday insanity traffic & instead head towards Death Valley perhaps staying in Palmdale (see how well I take advice!) So I’m here, few pics today cause nothing to see, I’m only 4.5 hours to Death Valley & I’m hanging out in the motel 6 by the highway on this warm Friday night, gonna get to sleep early, really looking forward to death valley, I may try to go into Mexico at Tecate on Sunday & coming back thru Tijuana. We’ll see, we’ll see……

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 06 update

Scott has been dealing with Magellan all morning about his broken GPS. He said their customer service dept has been awesome so far, the problem is there are no local dealers who can swap out the model he has. It sounds like there's one in Simi Valley so he's heading there today, then plans to hit Death Valley tomorrow. I'm sure he'll post an update later!

Day 05 photos - Yosemite to Fresno

There are more photos in the facebook group ( - I can only post a few here at a time. -Lara

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 05 - to Yosemite

Hey guys, thanks for the comments & thanks for checking the trip out! There was a big snow storm in the sierras, just got off the phone with the hotel, I was worried I couldn't get thru but it looks OK & I'm on the road to Yosemite, can't wait!!! should be there about 3:30pm!!!!

Left a bit late to let it warm up & beat the traffic just got thru Oakland and holy fork, that was scary! Leaving san fran was rushed but orderly traffic, it’s a beautiful city wish I wasn't on such a tight budget & timeline. No gps really sucks, can't look at the map on my tank bag while I'm riding so I gotta try to remember a few directions & go again. San fran looked amazing from the bay bridge, it’s a no stopping zone but I got lucky & zapped in behind a construction crew, to a serenade of car horns, lol, got a shot & jammed myself back into traffic. Coming out on the Oakland side was like a new world, everyone had skulls & cross bones everywhere & everything’s painted silver & black?!?! ......just kidding but it is insanity as soon as you cross the bridge! I was doing 140 trying to keep up & still see the road signs & they were ALL passing me on both sides, swerving in & around each other like a cone drill!!!! I pulled in with the trucks in the "55 mph max for trucks lane" & only had to do 85 to keep up? Passed a couple of chp radar checks too, gotta assume the signs mean you can go 65 mph above the speed limit cause no one got pulled over? Maybe they were like the guy in super troopers & it was just mannequins & the cops were fishing? Can vultures be considered guardian angels? Hope so cause they always seem to be overhead when I get in any type of uncomfortable situation...Man people play their music loud here? A guy my age just gassed up & I thought his rear window was going to pop.... & this other freak waiting in the carwash line must have his freaking repeat button stuck, omg gotta get outa here! Gassing up & back on the road, hope I'm going the right way? Thanks Steve, sales guy I met at jack in the box, for the awesome directions!

Got gas & stripped down some more, its H O T. Thermometer reads over 30 in the shade! Met some bikers who just got back from Mexico, said its hotter south, glad I can still peel more stuff off & got my extra helmet!

Stopped in Groveland for gas oldest saloon, 20 min on hwy after awesome twisties re road work, the sweats pouring off me!

Trip was good I'm obviously a born navigator, doing fine (so far gps-less) except one minor missed turn that I'll blame on the HUGE (think green crap on Tim Allen’s face in wild hogs) bug splattered dead centre on my facemask, slightly distracting me, so I missed my turn, was back on track in 5 min! Met a nice family from the Netherlands at a view stop, this was their 2nd time, I think first for their kids, they're checking this out at the next starbucks, hi guys, nice meeting you! Started to cool off at about 4000 feet, not cold, but no longer boiling! I thought my bike was getting kinda quiet too, then my ears popped, lol. I'm just past the gate into the park, a robins been sitting watching me so I took his pic. On with the trip! This has been an awesome day to be alive & be on a bike (once I got past Oakland!) Met Gail & Tina at Yosemite they are from St Louis we had a nice chat, lovely ladies, & they pointed out the insano’s climbing the rock….

Amazing day Yosemite is spectacular! I saw all I could & decided to make a run for Fresno.... Just couldn’t not stop take a few more shots! Then when I promised myself no more pics, I looked to my right, 6000 feet up heading south out of Yosemite...... What a sunset, crap, slammed on my brakes, took the shot & hopped back on my bike, now the suns almost gone, I'm stuck with a tinted visor & I discover SAND on the road from the snow removal trucks, crap, that sucked finding that out leaning thru a serious corner, my tail wagged, my heart skipped one & now I knew what to look for! Getting gas, think I'll be around Fresno by 9pm ish? It gets freakin cold fast above 6000 ft, I came zipping down the mountain, freezing (no where to stop) running in low gear & beeping my horn for wild life, musta looked insane, but it was fun & the deer got the hell out of the way!!. Stopped at the first McD's to eat & put warm stuff back on!Was making good time to Fresno, did not enjoy the rest of the road though, bad visibility. I was pretty tired when I saw the Fresno signs, but no hotel signs or visible hotels at the side of the highway?? So, the genius that I am decided there surely would be on just a little way down the highway… so I kept going & kept going & kept going, getting more & more pissed off that I didn’t just stop & finally, when I knew I’d never get back if I didn’t turn around, I did & hammered it back to Fresno, cursing (out loud btw & now also hating garmin very much for the faulty gps) the whole way, sore back, sore ass, sore knees tired & now quite cranky!! Stopped at the first hotel I could find, it was a Radisson so I was concerned about my budget, but exhausted, then Nancy & Lynn came to my rescue, gave me an AWESOME deal & put a smile back on my face they were awesome, friendly & helpful, thanks ladies!I’m drained, need sleep, Death Valley might be a stretch tomorrow, I’ll think about my plan when my head clears! G-night!

Day 04 con't


went for food & a walk met Evie at the Jones bar, food was great & she's a Canuck too! Walked & walked & walked & walked & walked & finally found fishermans wharf or market or whatever the hell it is, got some pics & cabbed it home, time for sleep!!! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008