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Old 03-06-2011, 12:14 PM   #1
SoosCreek OP
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Location: Seattle Ish
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2011 West Coast Swing

This Ride Report (RR) chronicles my spring 2011 trip from the US Northwest to the Southwest and parts in between.

I have enjoyed following many of you over the last year or two as I started having to time to ride once again. I have learned from you all and spent countless hours reading your adventures.

Thought I would try my hand at a ride report, but only if I could add some value to the overall community. That is TBD but I will give it a try.

Come along for the ride!
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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Day 0 - Prologue

RR Caveats

This RR will be an exploration of my trip, my encounters and my thoughts. It will not:

• go to exotic places like Mexico, SA, or Africa, etc.
• have all of the excellent photography like some of you (I am using my Driod phone)
• have the youthful encounters (sometimes implied in other reports)
• have all the adventuresome exploits. Breakdowns, thefts, etc. (Hopefully!)

But it will:
• chronicle my trip and the adventures therein
• include my crazy thoughts, collected while riding for hours on end
• provide some useful information to readers about riding
• represent a portion of my life that will never be retrieved

Who Am I?
• SoosCreek
• Semi-Retired but still young at 53
• Completed trips over the years to places like Jasper, Banff, Yellowstone, Glacier
• Did a trip last summer into eastern Oregon (john Day, Pendleton, and the Oregon coast (Cannon, Lincoln City, etc) on ST1300
• Spent last 2 summers on 12GS in Alaska, lots of highways including Denali
• Road back down the ALCAN last summer
• Plan to ride to Mexico and South America in the fall

What Am I Doing?
• Riding to down the US West Coast and around the Southwest
• Attending and watching the Pac-10 basketball tournament in LA Staples 3/10-3/13
• Playing some golf with some friends in Palm Desert, La Quinta, Scottsdale
• Maybe watching a couple of spring baseball games in Phoenix, et al, if I get there in time
• Enjoying the symbiotic relationship with the bike that comes from riding long distances

Why Am I Riding?
• Riding to where there is actual sunshine and getting out of the rain and snow in Seattle
• Am on a year-long semi-sabbatical from work. Still running things, etc, but not doing client work.

When Am I Going?
• 30-45 days in March and April
• Starting March 4th
• Ending in April

Where Am I Going?
• Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nevada

How Am I Riding?
• 2006 Honda ST1300
• Yes, I left the 12GS at home
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
jimbowie
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OK. I am in for the ride. I will be watching the tournament from afar. Have fun and be safe.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:29 PM   #4
Robert Ford
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Sounds like fun!

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Old 03-06-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
achesley
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You're going to be hitting some beautiful country. Have fun and enjoy.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:00 PM   #6
SoosCreek OP
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Day 1 – 225 miles, Auburn, WA to Salem, OR

I was somewhat reluctant to commit to writing this RR as I am not one who likes to talk on the phone or strike up a conversation with a stranger and I have moved to text messaging for my primary communications. I was also not sure if I had enough to say that was interesting to the ADV community. But, I was inspired by the enjoyment and knowledge I have received from other ADV RRs and decided that the community might benefit from a somewhat different perspective and approach.

The Day’s Ride

I have a client in Oregon and started the trip by heading down to Salem, Oregon in order to attend a key meeting. I was able to leave the Seattle area middle of the day with the hope of skirting the rain showers that were scheduled all day. Just went down Interstate 5 the whole way trying to just get down there without getting soaked. Not much of a trip, but you have to start somewhere and I am anxious to get to the sun and warmth of California.

Packing for the trip was a real challenge. I have been known to fill any and all available space and then some. So today I had everything packed and then looked over and saw that some of my camping supplies were still sitting to the side! Yes, I am planning on doing a little camping to see how it goes. So I hunted for another bag to put on the pillion with my tent and sleeping bag. Not what I planned at all, but I was running out of time.

The other trick was to figure out some clothes to take that would allow me to still seem professional while still being stuffed in a saddle bag. I usually (always) wear suits for my job. Figured it was a Friday meeting and I could get away with some cords and a dress shirt. It did require me to pack additional shoes, shirt, pants and socks, but what you are to do? Maybe I will send them back home via the mail later in the trip.

In Salem at the hotel, I took everything out of my bags and got myself reorganized. Ended up selecting some of my clothes as optional and decided to mail a package back home. Took advantage of the USPS “if it fits, it ships” fixed price boxes, the largest one 12 x 12 x 5 and stuffed it full. $14.95, more than I expected but I now had more room. I was then able to put the sleeping bag in the extra bag and gave myself the best of both worlds as I now had some pockets that can be used.

Ride Map



Photos of the Day



ADVer of the Day

As a way of honoring some of the folks I have followed their ride reports and learned something, I am identifying some folks from the ADV community have inspired me to make the effort. Not in any order, just as I think of them. Today’s thumbs up goes to:

Tricepilot

http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=28217

I am interested in riding Mexico and learned from his RRs to add value and provide instruction, not just chrono my trip. I especially liked the pictures of the the legal items required to enter Mexico. Trip Planning for Dummies!

BTW, had to learn how to write one of these and post photos, etc...
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:45 PM   #7
doublen
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Stay tuned for ride reports ... Idaho to Arizona in May and Idaho to The East Coast in September.
-09' Triumph Street Triple R
I am The Stig...
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:07 PM   #8
Radioman
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SUbscribed as well

Well you missed lots of great advr in Portland. But on your return trip if you need a place to crash before heading home. PM me!
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Chapter 3 of my life...... with Faith, Hope and Courage!

Ride of my Lifetime...... Thread started 5/11/2011 http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...0#post15950430
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:59 PM   #9
Jimmy the Heater
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Did portions of the same trip last summer on a Ninja 250....great to see your pics and thanks for taking us along
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:37 PM   #10
Tlaloc
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I'm glad to see your report as I'll ride a similar route starting Friday, March 11. Thanks for the info on Highway 128. I plan to stick to the coast from Crescent City to Sausalito, which makes for a long day. I'm considering 128, which will add some variety to the ride.

Thanks,
Carlos
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:55 PM   #11
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Day 5 – 195 miles, Monterey, CA to Lompoc, CA

My second motorcycle was a brand new black 1981 Suzuki GS1000 that was outfitted with a black Vetter fairing and Krauser saddlebags. It was one of the first Sport Tourer type bikes in this configuration, big and fast enough with pretty good handling. Great for long trips and relatively inexpensive.

I liked the GS1000 because it had a high load capacity, greater than 500 lbs, and the best roll on speed in the market. By that I mean, it would go from 40 to 60 faster in 4th and from 60 to 80 in 5th than any other bike that I knew off. I like top end acceleration because it comes in handy on freeways when you need to move forward quickly. I always liked to escape using acceleration and not the brakes. Safer and you could see in front.

I put about 40,000 miles on the GS1000 over 5 years before a cement truck jumped in front of me on a freeway. I hit the front tire and flew down the road and landed on my head and my hands. I had a good full faced Simpson (black) helmet that saved my face and full gear that limited the damage to broken wrists and lots of bruises. It was tough to open doors for a long while…

My wife took advantage of me in my weakened and defenseless condition and we ended up starting a family. We had been married for about 4 years. She informed me it was my duty to stay alive and be around to raise the kids …so that limited my riding for a long time…. But the kids are grown now!

The Day’s Ride Report

Made-to-order breakfast came with the room so I took my time this morning and actually had a full meal. Checked out the weather and the day was looking pretty good. Packed up the bike once again and then got onto Highway 1 and took off going south. Monterey was nice, Carmel interesting, but a little too “packaged’ for me.

This road definitively lived up to its reputation. Beautiful coastline twistys that go up, down, in and out. I took a few photos, but at some point with a vista stop every mile or so, it just did not seem to be worth it. You all have seen pictures of this coastline and it was truth in advertising for sure. Sunny weather, 55-65 degrees. I even had to start stripping off the layers and took out my light gloves. Free at last!

The one surprise was the Big Sur area. I should have not stopped in Monterey and instead just kept going down to Big Sur. Since it is the off season and middle of the week, every lodging place had a vacancy posted. There were plenty of lodging options right on a cliff overlooking the water or in the trees. Probably less than I paid in Monterey without the view and with a lot more charm and interesting people. Some still looked like they haven’t left since the big concert in ’71.

There was some road construction along the way. Two 1-lane, stoplight controlled sections with up to 5 minute waits. Not really a problem with little or no traffic like today. I do believe they are building a road in thin air at one of the sections, there was just nothing left of the mountainside. Amazing.

I am not sure if this route would be any fun in the summer with any real traffic and/or RVs. I only saw 1 big RV bus with a dingy and with these curves; it would just be a nightmare to have to follow or pass all of these folks. There is limited turnouts and passing zones. Many, many, many 20 mph curves with sheer drop offs…traffic would have made it a long, long painful ride.

The sound end of this ride was surprising and very beautiful in its own right. Once you lose the cliffs you are still in some great stretches of road. This includes San Simenon, the Hearst Castle, Cayucos, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, etc.

I was feeling guilty that I had not changed the oil before I left so I stopped in San Louis Obispo at San Louie Motorsports and asked them if they could do a quick oil change while I got some lunch. Luckily they could and there was a Subway within walking distance. Oil was a little low and I wanted the bike in good condition for the LA freeways.

Took Highway 1 from Santa Maria to Vandenberg AFB and then to Lompoc. Checked in with some family for a day or two and started trying to figure out where I was going to stay for the Pac-10 Basketball tournament. Seems my alma mater, Washington is seeded 3rd and going against Washington State seeded 6th, for the late game on Thursday.

Ride Map

Photos from the Day











Gear Report

Tank Bag, et al. I have a multiple configuration Cortech tank bag with magnets. It allows me to have about 4 different sizes of bag, but for this trip I have the smaller top bag with the expandable option. It has a map pocket on top and lots of little compartments inside and a waterproof cover. I like to keep my laptop, GPS and other valuable in the tank bag so I like the ease of magnetic attachment as I just grab it and take it with me.

Inside the tank bag I have a fishing tackle container that is subdivided into multiple little areas for tools and all sorts of stuff. See the photos below. I am not sure where I got this idea, but I really like the ease of access to things when you need them.





ADVer of the Day

Today’s thumbs up goes to:

JGBrown, http://advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=179698


I still cannot believe he is travelling so far on a 30 year old bike just like the one I had....
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:10 PM   #12
SoosCreek OP
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Days 28 – 435 miles, Ely, Nv to Ontario, Oregon

What do you think about when are riding along with no traffic and nothing to distract you? I seem to cover the gamut of topics in my head with really no specific theme. I am planning on a South America trip so I did spend some time thinking about the pros and cons of various ways to approach the trip. I seem to have landed where you all tell me to be: that is sketch out a simple plan and just go and do it, things will change anyway.

The Day’s Ride Report

I started the day in 34 degree weather knowing full well that it will not warm up anytime soon. The schedule was to head north from Ely, Nevada on Highway 93 and see how far I wanted to go. There was not much in Ely to keep me around, but I made sure I had a hot breakfast for the road.

It is about 130 miles or so between Ely and Wells and it is a very straight north/south stretch up a high desert valley with snowcapped mountains on both sides. I turned on the heated gear and just went for it. It took about 2 hours or so to get to Wells and the temp never got above 37 degrees. The heated gloves, heated jacket and cruise control got me through this stretch. It was actually quite beautiful as you can see by the pictures, but I was always looking north at snow falling on the hills and wondering if it would affect my plans. I made it to Wells, Nevada and decided to stop for an hour or so after getting some gas to warm me up.

After I was warm, I decided to continue north up to Twin Falls, Idaho via Jackpot, Nevada. I had thoughts of going down I80 to Elko and then up north via eastern Oregon, but the temperature and the threat of snow kept me further east.

I made a straight shot to Twin Falls on highway 93 from Wells with little traffic and nice scenery. It also warmed up to the low 40’s along the way. After going through Twin Falls, I headed out west on I84 toward Boise, still uncertain where I would stop.

I84 was pretty boring but given the weather I was happy to be covering some distance. As I got to Boise I just kept on going until I arrived in Ontario, Oregon and a reasonable hotel. It had started to rain after Boise and I was happy to be done for the day.

Ride Map



Photos from the Day







Gear Report

Throttlemeister Throttle Lock. I bought a TM before this trip for the ST1300 knowing that I would have long stretches of road. It was easy to install, less than 5 minutes, and has worked well for what it is. I tended to turn it on by my right hand and just leave it. I did have to tighten it up one time, but I had not done lock tight yet.

ADVer of the Day

Today’s thumbs up goes to:

Misery Goat, http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=3370

MG has started many forum discussions over the years and seems to always both provide and get good information.

Next

I ride home.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:06 PM   #13
NorCal.matt
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Excellent report! I really like your format, it makes it easy to follow along. Thanks for taking the time to post!
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:19 AM   #14
SoosCreek OP
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Epilogue, 2011 West Coast Swing

One of things I did think about a lot on this trip is my eventual retirement and what that really will mean. I currently have a small management consulting firm, but my plan is to work sparingly this year and see how I like it. I have figured out that retirement is more of a process than it is a target or objective. Many people can retire at different times in their life and it is usually not just about finances. There are lots of other issues to consider such as health, interests, children, etc. All of these are choices that have to be made as you move along the process.

This trip was the first long trip I have taken since I came back from Alaska last summer on the 12GS. I really do like to just ride and see things as they go by. And meet some interesting people. So I guess I will continue on this summer and start planning that trip to Tierra del Fuego for next fall My wife wants to meet up somewhere and ride for a couple of months. But, I will have to see how the work is doing.

The ADV form has been both fun to read and I have learned from many much more experience that I am. Hope to put that to use for my next trip.

Mileage
3,800 miles in total including some minor local trips in La Quinta. Some freeway, but mostly highway with little traffic.

Ride Goals
1. Make it home in 1 piece (Completed!)
2. Don’t get (m)any speeding tickets (Completed! No tickets.)
3. Meet and talk to people along the way (Some folks along the way, could have done more..)
4. Meet up with some ADV riders (Negative. Need to work on how to communicate…)
5. Teach myself to slow down and smell the roses (Some, but could have taken a few more days down and up)
6. Learn to be a more understanding and better person (don’t we all want that?) (Maybe!)

Lessons Learned
1. Always look over your shoulder when changing lanes on the freeway! I got surprised once just north of San Fran by someone going really fast.
2. Don’t take so many clothes! I will never learn and the repacking is a bitch.
3. Create a packing plan and map! It will save you time over the long run and you will know where everything is.
4. Use the boot rain covers! When you know you are going to get wet, they are simple and easy and keep you both dry and warm.
5. Ride reports take a lot of time but are worth the effort! They create a nice history and can be shared with friends, etc.
6. Get connect in regional group! Been on my list and hope to do this summer.

Overall Ride Map



Yours Truly

Taken last summer on my Alaska Trip in famous downtown Chicken, Alaska!
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:04 PM   #15
SoosCreek OP
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Days 29 – 450 miles, Ontario, Oregon to Auburn, Washington

One of things I did think about a lot on this trip is my eventual retirement and what that really will mean. I currently have a small management consulting firm, but my plan is to work sparingly this year and see how I like it. I have figured out that retirement is more of a process than it is a target or objective. Many people can retire at different times in their life and it is usually not just about finances. There are lots of other issues to consider such as health, interests, lifestyle, etc. All of these are choices that have to be made as you move along the process.

Adventure riding is one of the considerations for my retirement. I like to travel and see various parts of the world and experience the cultures. I lived for 5 years in Europe as a child of a military person so I have some experience with foreign countries. I went back to Europe a few years ago and enjoyed it, but I don’t think I can do the standard tourist fare. I have also traveled to many favorite vacation spots such as Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, etc. However, I do suck at foreign language.

One of the thoughts behind this trip was to evaluate how much I enjoyed riding. Even after I rode back from Alaska last summer and then did another trip through Oregon. You learn something each trip.

The Day’s Ride Report

It was not raining in Ontario as I loaded up the bike but it sure looked like it was going to start soon. I figured if I could just skirt the rain, then this last leg of the journey would be fine. I knew I had to make a choice sometime in the day to either go down 84 through the gorge or over the mountains.

So I started off from Ontario and headed out on I84 toward Baker City. Easter Oregon is a mountainous terrain and I had to go over a couple of passes along the way before I got to Washington. I got a little wet, but stopped in Baker City for fuel and then headed to La Grande where I had a nice breakfast at a Denny’s. Service was great and I decided to put on my waterproof boot covers to make sure my feet did not get soaked.

After La Grande and the Blue Mountains the wind I started to hit some wind. And then stronger wind. And then even stronger wind. Gusts of about 30-40 mph, but it was in my face and not from the side. I decided to no go through the Columbia River Gorge as the wind really gets funneled and can be difficult. So it was the mountains then.

I turned north around Hermiston onto highway 395 toward the Tri Cities and crossed the Columbia River into Washington. Then the wind really started, but this time from the side. All the way to Yakima I felt like I was holding on for dear life just waiting for the next gust. I believe it was the worst wind I have ever ridden in. It made me think of the winds in Patagonia on Route 40 toward Tierra del Fuego which I have read are really a pain.
But I made it all the way to Ellensburg and stopped for gas and food. I knew going west on I90 this time of year meant rain, lots of rain and I was not denied. Started raining about 5 miles out of town and picked up as I made up into the mountains. Near the top of the pass it turned into a downpour but what you gonna do? I knew that I was only an hour from home so I pressed on.

The windshield and the fairing protection from the ST1300 combined with the rain gear helped keep me pretty dry as long as I was moving so that is what I did. The heated gear kept me warm and I made it all the way home.

I did have one interesting experience coming down off the pass. I was in the right lane of the 3 lane highway and this car was just following me. I slowed down, they slowed down. I waved them around, they chose to stay put. I decided to move over to the middle lane and then the older lady driving just zipped past me on the right. WTF? So I continue on and eventually I come across her again near North Bend. Seems she got behind someone else and was just following them. I passed on the left and realized that the lady just does not drive anywhere other than the far right lane….This was all in pouring rain with limited visibility, kind of freaked me out as I don’t like tailgaters…

Ride Map



Photos from the Day



Not a good picture but wanted to capture the wind and the upcoming rain...

HOME!


Gear Report

Tourmaster Rain Boot Covers. I have had these for a while and never used them. I took them on this trip as a precaution. They worked great on that last leg of the trip. Cheap, easy to put on, and can go over or under your riding pants.

ADVer of the Day

Today’s thumbs up goes to:

ChiTown, http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=40504

He provides good information and I enjoy his comments on other posts.
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