gualala ca, to San Francisco, to napa, to Anaheim!
hey folks, sorry for the lapse in updates, but here's a biggun with photos, video, and a thrill a minute theme park recap.
someone said I could embed YouTube vids in these posts, unfortunately the iPhone isn't making it easy to find embed codes for video. sorry, but yer gonna have to click over to YouTube :(
Gualala southward was miserable... this fog... well... impenetrable is a good word for it. fucking treacherous is what that day of riding was to get me to SF.
the worst part was how it just stuck to my visor and wouldn't ever bead off.
if that pic doesn't look rough enough for you, here's a vid.
I must admit that I wussed out of the coastal drive after a half day... I cut east toward Petaluma. I headed inland to make some better time and settle my nerves. but no visibility with a misty visor and 15 mph hairpins is just not what I call fun.
i really did need to make time though... I was heading to SF to see a friend and her band play at the great American music hall. one night only!
my friend lilly plays drums in a band called "Grass Widow".
her band mates were super rad and hanging out with them backstage made me feel like a little bit of a rock star by proxy.
oh, and did I mention there was free beer in the green room?! nothing is better for a transient than free beer.
once allowed back in I did my best to finish my 3rd or 4th (free!!!) beer while catching up with lilly a bit more before show time.
that night was a fucking blast! met tons of cool people (shout outs to raven, ringo, melissa, chris, and the half dozen others who's names I can't remember at the moment).
after the show wound down, Lilly's boyfriend, Cody schlepped us back to her place in Oakland. I posted up on the couch and we all said good night.
it was so cool to see her again. we were buds in HS. knowing someone from your home town and visiting them when you're both away makes you feel a little like you're at home again. especially after not seeing each other for about 10 years. it was like picking back up where we left off... just... neat.
waking up on Lilly's couch was weird. I had slept fitfully and did not feel rested. we had coffee and caught up in our pj's. I bid adieu to her as her band was off for Portland Oregon to play their next gig. alone in the house with her roommates at work i left a note of thanks for the hospitality. packed, showered, and got out of west Oakland happy and whole.
before going to bed after the show I made contact with a new friend from napa and arranged a couch surf with him... little did I know what was in store that day...
THE BREAKDOWN DOWNTOWN
my plan was to head to napa to stay with Roberto and his sister, Enid... but I had to wait till the evening before heading over.
roberto was expecting another traveling guest from Sydney australia that same day, and would be busy with picking him up and prepping the house.
no big deal I thought. the sun was finally out! I could toodle around in SF and see some sights.
the day started off well enough. had some good Mexican food and was enjoying the hills of the city. I was just meandering, trying to get to high points to see what I could see!
i decided to stop by the dianese store on van ness and mission street, in the heart of the city.
I realized my suit was 2 sizes too big... oh, anyone have $1,200 for a new proper fitting one? ;)
"I'm sexy and I know it"
with my bike gear nerd satisfied it was time to head out of town to napa. it was rush hour so traffic was going to be a bitch.
I swing my leg over in front of the store. my parking meter had a few minutes left on it. fuck it... time to go... time... to... go..........
the bike won't start... I've been having intermittent battery draining issues, but I thought they were sorted... apparently not.
an embarrassed re-entrance into the store and the folks there had run an extension cord out the door so I could hook up my battery tender.
I sat there for two hours before the battery had taken enough of a charge to start again.
I checked with roberto... let him know I might end up stuck there an extra night... no problem, he said. I was off to napa, and I'd be damned if I let that bike die at any point along the way.
the tolls were the worst. fumbling with cash while keeping a hand on the gas with it in neutral... fun, lol.
but I got there. sure enough as soon as I shut off my bike in Roberto's driveway the fucker wouldn't start again. I clearly had an issue with the charging system, and that's about all my non-mechanical ass knew.
THE AUSTRALITALIAN CONNECTION
Roberto's other visitor was a guy named Ted. straight off the plane, and having only arrived a Half hour before me, he was tired.
he helped me push the bike into Roberto's back yard. I hooked it up to the tender and we went inside to get to know each other. Ted was on something of a walkabout of his own. he had planned to stay with roberto, but spend 3 months in the states traveling around.
roberto lead a quiet life as a college professor, but enjoyed hosting travelers. he and his sister lived together.
his cat also snored...
we traded stories of adventures, and compared the weirdnesses of the American legal system (australia has some things which seem to really exclude lawyers in petty disagreements which leads to individuals getting satisfaction). kinda cool. I also did my best to help ted acclimate to the similar, yet different cultural norms in the states.
a day of googling around in napa lead me to call a motorcycle shop called "cross town cycles". there weren't a ton of options so I gave em a call. a fella named carlo owned the place. yes, he specialized in japanese bikes and he could take a look...
the shop was small, just a single bay door with a sign above it. seemed like he rented the garage as part of a larger commercial complex. pretty unpolished, but inside was a capable and gracious mechanic.
turned out carlo owned an SV one year newer than mine. he understood I was travelling and time was a factor. he promised me to diagnose the issue (a volt meter read 11.5 volts off the battery, even at revs). he figured it was either the alternator or rectifier. and if he could, he would cannibalize his own bike for parts if he could make it work to save time on ordering.
turned out it was indeed the rectifier on mine that had gone bad. the alternator was putting out a healthy 60 volts, but the rectifier (which reduces and regulates voltage back into the battery) had gone bad, not letting any charge trickle back into the system while underway.
he pulls the part off his own SV, has to do a bit of soldering to get it right, and sends me on my way for a very reasonable amount. oh, and a 2 day turnaround! sweeeeet, thanks carlo!
of course I spent some time test riding before planning my departure the next day...
listen to this carefully at about :22. ill explain what you're hearing...
after a couple wonderful days playing tourist (thanks roberto), eating home made breakfasts and cookies (thanks Enid) and making new international friends (g'day ted) it was time to leave the beautiful rolling hills of wine country.
SEACLIFF AND THE FRIENDLY SURFERS
it took me a long time to get out of San Francisco. I tend to take random roads that sound like they could be fun, and run in roughly the correct compass direction... "valley" and "canyon" roads in particular :)
SF traffic was also a bear and I just stuck to 101, not really knowing the best routes to take otherwise.
in Santa Cruz I started looking for camp sites. oh... apparently it's spring break... there are shit tons of people camping, everywhere!
after a long day of going nowhere in particular, while stuck in traffic I just wanted to be done!
the first few spots I checked were full, until I came to the seacliff campground. I did one loop of the place trying to pick my spot. on the second drive thru I got waved down by some fellow campers.
mind you it was already dark out, I had prepared for camping to be a utilitarian experience that night. pitch tent, sleep.
the person waving me down was a guy named AJ. he was there with his wife, randi, and would be sleeping in their van, so a tent was no big deal on their spot. I was grateful for the offer and the opportunity to socialize a bit. I parked behind their rig. randi offered me a beer and some snacks. and their dog, Bert seemed to like me just fine (he's a good judge of character).
I had suddenly found myself at home with some totally rad and hospitable surfer kids.
AJ and randi had some friends coming that night still too, I would soon meet Shawn and Kim...
it was a great night. beer flowed. stories and pictures of huge waves they've ridden were shown, and I share some of my story so far as well. it was just good vibes man... good vibes.
the neighboring camp asked if we had a hatchet, just so happened I did (thanks Chris). I loaned it to them and my new friends made some jokes about the transient with a hatchet... I said it might come in handy if I found myself camping under a bridge or something. chuckles all around.
before leaving camp the next morning AJ (a user of adv rider as well) recommended I ride on foxen canyon road down by Santa Barbara. I would be doing big sur that day, hoping to make it to Anaheim... this road would save me a bit of time and be a fun ride. oh, and it was...
I don't know about the time savings though...
but before that bit, here's some pics of big sur...
a good lunch at the coast gallery cafe on 1 in big sur.
outside of Hearst castle. I buzzed the parking lot and stopped for this pic... FYI, I don't think you can see anything but the visitors center from The main lot.
finally done with big sur, here's my getting lost moment for the day in foxen canyon.
with just 120 miles between me and LA, I got a hotel in buellton. took a hot hot shower, ordered a pizza, and hit the sack.
HOLY SHIT, TRAFFIC
I got a late start. the days inn mattress was comfy, and I only had 120 miles to do today... I just wanted to avoid rush hour getting into my cousins place in LA. no biggie. if I hit the road at 11 I should have plenty of time... should have plenty of time...
then Lompoc happened...
I was trying to stay on 1, and must've missed some turn off in town. I ended up on beach avenue and a hour long detour which lead me to a sandy dead-end, hemmed in by a military base and rail road tracks.
if you've been paying close attention, you may notice a theme here with my sense of direction. it's fucking awesome...(!)
Anyway, LA traffic was horrendous. I hit Malibu at about 3pm (27 miles of scenic beauty... no one can afford). and it all just went downhill from there.
beautiful beaches... lots of nice cars... sexy people everywhere... and then it just doesn't stop... for like... 50 miles. oh... and you're going 5-10mph if you're not stopped.
my forearms on fire, my knee beginning to tweak out a bit from two days of twisties, not being able to stretch while riding, and old hockey injuries flaring up... I arrived in Anaheim, with family for the first time since grants pass Oregon...
a break down, and about a dozen new friends made along the way. not a bad way of doing it.
kara had made ribs, and from scratch beans along with potatoes and garlic bread. I ate until i was about to burst... it's so good to be with family again.
today I slept in again. then we went and spent the day at knotts berry farm riding roller coasters and such. it was a total blast, I felt like I was 12 again, all excited and giddy with the safe thrills (not needing to concern myself with any spills).
and that brings me to now... 2 am... and just finally caught up with my log... ill try not to let it go for 5 days again... or maybe... fuck it ;)
ill upload photos and post this report tomorrow. I'm gonna dream of slingshot rides and high speed inversions :)