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Old 07-14-2012, 08:38 AM   #16
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It may be bustling during the day, but it's dead at night in Chinatown:



One of the best views of the bridge that you won't see in tourist guides:




Really angry (though it doesn't look it) Pacific Ocean at the cliff house overlooking the old bath houses:



TriTip Sandwich at Mocca:



Alcatraz (I've never been into the prison, but I did swim to SF from there!):



And one of the final stops I made was to see my bro Byron. Ex NFL Player, one of my best friends ever and all around awesome guy made the bike look tiny in person (lens distorts the front of the bike, but trust me, he could probably toss the Panigale 15 feet):

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:40 AM   #17
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And this was it. Leaving the Bay Area at last. Because I'd lived there for so long, the LA to SF part of the journey didn't feel like a real trip. Felt more like old times or a vacation. But once I packed everything and was ready to roll it started to hit me--this was for real. I was going to go in one direction for a very long time from here on out.

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I have to admit being a little nostalgic and a little sad. And then it hit me why: self-destruction. The entire course of my life up to this point had been traveling in a single direction: achieve financial, occupational, educational, physical and social goals. But this trip represented a hard stop. I was intentionally abandoning the isolated system I'd built around me that guaranteed safety, provided consistency and facilitated the achievement of very specific objectives. The consequence of the kind of exposure I was hurling myself into meant that when I return someone else will be there staring back at me; I was witnessing the death of the guy in the mirror (whom I actually like quite a lot). It was a suicide of sorts.

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:43 AM   #18
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 photo IMG_1224025.jpg

 photo IMG_1219024.jpg

So I load up myself and the bike, get on and just before I hit the starter this dude I'd met who was a neighbor of the guy I was staying with shows up and we have a brief conversation. He's the kind of guy that has this very calm, happy, almost zen-like manner to him. I told him of my plans and he recounted a similar 5 year journey he took. He leaned in and says, "On your journey remember, "Right here, right now, nothing else matters." Great advice and a poignant reminder of what this trip is all about. Incredible that this chance encounter happens literally at the moment I'm leaving.

 photo IMG_1229027.jpg


 photo IMG_1227026.jpg

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:44 AM   #19
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I had picked a great day to head out, too:

 photo IMG_0100.jpg

First stop was to visit my brother up in Auburn, CA. It was HOT! I don't get nosebleeds, but the heat and dryness were a bit much:

 photo IMG_0102.jpg

Got to play with his new Beagle a little:


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Old 07-14-2012, 08:45 AM   #20
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After settling in we had a great fish/shrimp taco lunch, I then crashed out and headed to Reno the next morning.

80 up to Taho/Reno is pretty awesome. Though it's not exactly a tight and technical mountain road, there's lots of smooth, fast sweepers and surprisingly I only saw one CHP all the way up.

 photo IMG_0113.jpg


I've been using the site Airbnb.com to book stays in cities. Basically it's an apartment/condo/room/house rental site and most listings are by the owners themselves, not a rental agency. The result is you get to feel a little what it's like to actually live in a neighborhood vs. just staying at some craptastic hotel off an onramp. Most places are about the same price as a motel, but you get a hell of a lot more (kitchen, laundry, nicer place, no bedbugs).

Being fairly skeptical of most people I went along the lines of breaking out of my normal box and rented just a room instead of my own private place for the night. It was a little odd at first, checking into someone's house, but my 'landlord for the day' turned out to be a pretty damn cool 28 year old chick originally from MN. She's a stand-up comic by night and a web designer by day. Place was awesome and she was a great conversationalist. First new friend of the trip! Also met up with a friend of a friend and visited for a little while with her. In 1 afternoon I had managed to increase my (somewhat, err, limited) social network by a factor of 20%!

And no--that's not moonshine in the Bell Jar.


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Old 07-14-2012, 08:50 AM   #21
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Quite simply, there's no enjoyable way to get to Salt Lake City from Reno by land unless you're in an air conditioned bus traveling at 100mph with a bartender serving mojitos to you and 10 Hawaiian Tropic Bikini girls.

My choices were Hwy 50 or Hwy 80. 50 was appealing because of its reputation for being the 'lonliest road in America', but the gas stations are few and far between and I still wasn't quite sure how much I could get out of the Panigale's tank (avg. fuel consumption up to this point was around 31 x 4.5 gal tank.....). So 80 it was. Also made it easier to get to Bonneville.

First stop was in Fernley. I'd been there a couple times before back when I was a track whore. Incredible track, too. The best course in the Western US IMHO.

Though only a short while out of Reno, I was already baking in the heat. It was a good 100 degrees out--and the sight of firewood made me think that people who live in the desert are really crazy.



And 80 was beautiful, despite being really straight (which made it a great road for exploring the upper limits of the bike).



For the first time I really got to open the Panigale up. If any police are reading this, I'm just going to come out right now and say that every high speed claim I make in this thread is a complete and utter lie simply meant to impress adolescent-minded men who like reading about high speed fairy tales.

With that said, I took advantage of several opportunities to open the Panigale up. I'd wait until there was a big 'hole' in traffic so I didn't have to risk passing anyone with, oh, say, a 100mph delta. With zero cross traffic, no directional traffic and no critters I could just hold on and enjoy. At a certain point, though, the bike would weave back and forth....as if there was a hinge in the center of the bike that allowed the front and the back to be doing different things. Frameless design or suspension setting issue?




This is how you feel when you're 200 miles into 500 mile journey, have a sore ass, a medium well right leg, a Flock of Seagulls hairdo and blood on your lip for no reason at all. Come to think of it, I think this is the"are we there yet" expression I used to have when I was a kid and we'd go on long road trips.



Still very beautiful:


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Old 07-14-2012, 08:52 AM   #22
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Definitely the only Beverly Hills Sign in existence with bullet holes in it:




And the land of Root Beer and Trampolines, finally:



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Old 07-14-2012, 09:07 AM   #23
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Subscribed. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:03 AM   #24
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Enjoying the read. Subscribed.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:14 PM   #25
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Wonderful presentation, please continue!

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Old 07-14-2012, 04:15 PM   #26
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great to see someone using a sportsbike properly, still not convinced on the looks of the 1199 but it's growing on me.

With the weaving issue try checking your tire pressures, the 30 degree change between morning and mid-day can make a massive difference.

That rear tire looks like it'd be lethal in the wet!

What's with Utah, root beer and trampolines?
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:30 PM   #27
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Ok, going to jump ahead of myself a bit....just went through a massive storm between SLC and Grand Junction Colorado and almost didn't make it. OneBall--you're absolutely right about the tires. Almost went down twice (going in a straight line, that's how bad the crosswind and downpour was). I'll get more into it chronologically when I catch up. I've done a lot of rain riding on sportbike tires, but never had such a lack of control. Scary!

Good point on the tire pressures, too. And regarding the looks--in person it's truly a stunning bike. Far moreso than in pictures.

As for Trampolines, Root Beer and Utah--well, I grew up in/around Mormons. Though I wasn't one, a lot of my family was--and because they couldn't drink Coke, they drank Root Beer--which was one of the only non-caffeinated sodas around. As for the trampolines, I don't know why it is, but for some reason Mormons love trampolines.

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Old 07-14-2012, 04:39 PM   #28
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Mecca




Ok, so the road going out to the Salt Flats is straight and smooth. Speed limit is 45mph. But there is literally NOTHING around. I was tempted to just blast away, but on roads like this you never know--there could be a turtle or a giant pothole or whatever. Not wanting to risk an exploding front rim, I just kept my eye on the other side of the road for debris and things to worry about. And good thing, too. Because without warning the road just ends abruptly. No sign, no big yellow warning barrier, the road just ends right into the salt. Had I not been cautious I'd be a limbless dehydrated mummy right now waiting for someone to find me come the next festival of speed.

You can drive on the Salt Flats - and as far as I know it's legal to go as fast as you want. But 1) salt is kryptonite to metal and 2) it's SLIPPERY as all hell. Not quite ice, but definitely ice like. So I gingerly rolled out into the abyss, stripped down (it's like an oven) and took some shots of the supermodel:



v



That speck out there is a dude who'd driven all the way from Louisiana with his girl. Gave me a nice little history Bonneville, too. They sure did look mighty comfortable in their air conditioned truck. I should have asked for some Grey Poupon.



It was around here I hit 177mph, which shattered my pre-Panigale record by a significant amount and will stay in my own personal record book until I do a Mojave Mile or similar....though hitting high speeds requires little skill, it still is a lot of fun.

(BTW, anyone who is anti-ABS has never experienced the exhilaration of grabbing a massive handful of brake, dropping 100mph off terminal velocity in seconds at the threshold of adhesion without having to worry about smashing your face into the ground as the front locks up. The ABS on the Panigale (set to 1) is simply outrageous and maniacal.)

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:17 PM   #29
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Okay, you got me. I'm in, this sounds like a kickass RR.

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:39 PM   #30
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So I've been in Salt Lake City and, well, there's not much to report. The people here seem to be one of three types:

1) Super wholesome LDS types
2) Portland-esque hipsters
3) Meth heads

Oh there's also way more crack than I think I've seen in public since I've been out of SF.



My apparently very bi-curious buddy (Hi Collin!) filling up in the Castro:


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