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Old 07-26-2012, 06:14 PM   #1
firebug24k OP
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: San Diego, CA
Oddometer: 124
A KLR goest West

Hi!

I'm Firebug, and I recently got almost three weeks off to do whatever I wanted. So of course... motorcycles!

What follows is a tale of the road. Of snow, of rain, of oil, blood, sweat, and sadly, a few tears. An epic RTW it is not, but settle in, grab a beer or a coffee (I don't judge) and enjoy.



What to expect? Some of this...



A few cute girls:


A lot of miles of these:


Which led to more than a few of these:


Probably because I ignored a lot of these:


I rode one of these:


And drank a lot of this:


Saw a lot of these:


And even climbed a few:

firebug24k screwed with this post 07-26-2012 at 06:43 PM
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
firebug24k OP
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Preparations

I just moved to San Diego back in February. It's my first time on the West coast, so I've not really explored much around here before. Different scenery than I'm used to after living overseas for a bit, in the Midwest, the other coast... But anyway. Three weeks... and the only question was... where to go?

I really wish I spoke Spanish. Living in San Diego, it'd be simple to blitz south, cross the border and see how far I can get before I have to head back North... but really, I'm feeling it's not the greatest idea to try something like that solo until I can say more than hola and taco without consulting a phrase book.

So, my attentions turn north. Alaska? A bit too far, I think. So finally, after playing around with my GPS and google and a few maps, I settle on riding form San Diego up to Canada, and back down. No real itinerary other than that, just ride, camp, and see some cool stuff.

In 2011, I did something similar - same bike, but different set of gear. I learned quite a few things, navigation being the first and most important. When I make a plan, it's only in order to have something to deviate from. I really like having a big purple line on my GPS - that gives me a warm and fuzzy that there's something "interesting" over there that I could see, but I don't feel obligated to follow it.

This time, I'm running a Montana 600 instead of the 60CX I had last time. A lot more capable, and one of the coolest features is I can make transparent maps. So, instead of putting a TON of time and research into stringing together a track from San Diego to Canada, I just collected about fifty GPS track logs, turned them all into purple lines, and dumped them onto my GPS. The tracks covered California, Oregon, and Washington. That way, no matter where I went, there were verified "interesting" routes nearby. I put in a lot of stuff, including Countdown's famous SMTS trail system for California, the original Pacific Crest Quest tracks, a few Mobius tracks, ShastaKLR's NORCAL tracks, and the OBDR and WABDR. Sorry for throwing out so many acronyms - google can hook you up if you're curious.

So was this a good idea? Maybe. Biggest mistake was the Sierra Sidewinder trail near Lake Tahoe, the upper part of which was rated "Difficult" by the USFS. Ran into some two smokers on there, they said I had balls of steel bringing the KLR down it. Balls of steel.... and brains of mush. But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself, here!




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap_Bo...eature=related
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:53 PM   #3
Unstable Rider
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Great routes... neat pics!
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:58 PM   #4
firebug24k OP
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Departure - 1 Week

One week to go before I leave... and I'm not ready AT ALL. Despite having locked in this trip back in March. Of course.

A lot of preparations centered around the bike, of course, so lets start there.



That's my bike, as close to stock as I can ever remember it. I bought it new back in 2011, and sixteen thousand miles later I still haven't stopped wasting money, er..... FARLKING.

For this trip, I knew I'd be spending a lot of time off road, and a lot of time in areas where there isn't a whole lot of water (eastern Oregon, for example). Or, camping not too near to streams to avoid mosquitoes. Rotopax has a pretty cool system for storing water, so I bought one of their 2 gallon water tanks and a cheap ABS black topbox off of Amazon. Took off my nice Givi box, bolted on the junky black box, and bolted the rotopax mount to the top of it. Sealed it up with gasket sealant. No leaks, sweet. So, water... check. Now what?

Toolkit, tiny air compressor, tire irons.... Spare tubes! Check. Hm. I start making a huge pile in my garage. A few dehydrated meals... check. Jetboil stove, sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad... nice. Laptop, phone, check. Cameras - a Canon S90 and a Gopro HD Hero 2, check. A few spares, some batteries, headphones... CLOTHES. Oops. Yeah, make room for spare clothes. Sandals for camp... a Kermit chair! Check.

It sounds like a lot of crap, and in fact, it probably was too much. I'd like to say that I packed it all up on the bike, did a test ride, and was all sorted by time to go (the 4th of July), but no, fate intervened.

Or, I should say... my wife. See, I am fortunate enough to be married to a very supportive woman who normally doesn't mind me running off and disappearing on trips like this, but I started feeling guilty. She's doing the college thing and had the summer off, so why not? There has to be some way to bring her along.

Except, well... it's a KLR. It's not comfortable for her to ride much 2UP when there isn't any camping gear on the bike, let alone enough for two people... so that's out. What to do.....

DING!


(don't worry, I rode it too ;)

firebug24k screwed with this post 07-26-2012 at 07:52 PM
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:19 PM   #5
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Day -1 (July 3)

Day before departure... and now I'm even more unprepared than I was before, because now I've switched to some godawful hybrid truck/camp/wife/bike/something trip, and I'm freaking out a little. It's not simple anymore! My plan of not really having any plan doesn't fly too well with my wife along, and I'm trying to tie up some loose ends at work before I leave, when July 3 finally rolls around, I'm still way behind.

I run down to harbor freight and buy a ramp. My truck is only about a month old - I just bought it after trading in the 1996 car that was falling apart - so I've never put the bike in it before. I'm proud that I've always "ridden it there" and I honestly felt weird passing guys on bikes with the KLR in the back of the trick - almost like I should wave, or they should wave, but nope... now I'm one of the people to avoid... a cager.

But back to the story. I got a ramp, and a bike, and a truck. Should be easy! Just... um... er, oh crap. I've never done this before. So I read some forums, watched some youtube... a lot of really bad things can happen loading a bike, apparently. Well..... hell. No choice! So I just went for it!

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Old 07-26-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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(D)eparture Day - San Diego to Sequoia National Forest

Still feeling weird about trucking the bike around, but it's nice to have the wife along.

I get up at around 0500, finish gathering up all the camping gear, last minute items, and just throw it all in the back seat of the truck. NOTE: I did not pack the bike, nor did I test pack it. This comes back to haunt me a few times throughout the trip. Ah well, another lesson learned. Sometime told me that experience is the thing you get when you don't have any, so I'm picking it up rapidly.

Bike in the truck, and on the road. We start heading up I-5 towards Yosemite. That's the plan that I'm developing on the fly - bring the wife up to Yosemite, camp a few days, and then have her drive back home while I continue north solo. So maybe five days with her, two weeks by myself on the bike.

We head up I-5 to the 15 until I get close to the Angeles Crest Highway. I remember riding the bike here a few months ago, so I hop on this and head west.



It turns out, not surprisingly, that trucking the bike is not NEARLY as fun as riding the bike. I spent a lot of time driving and looking out the window, thinking about how much fun this would've been on a bike instead of the truck.



I try to turn it into a bit of a dirt adventure by heading down Forest Road 3N17, but have to backtrack shortly after sighting a UFO - road closed. Yep, pisses me off just as much in the truck as it does on the bike!




Angeles Crest Highway ate up a bunch of time, longer than I figured. I had to go pretty slow due to having the bike in the back of the truck... carving up the corners I was NOT. Plus, the wife is scared of heights. We push on North.




Just a little northeast of Bakersfield is Breckenridge Road. Wow. I really wish I was on the bike there - 20 miles of curves and bizarre scenery.




We camp at Breckenridge Campground (N35.46900 W118.58400) - not so great, but only one other person there. No flush toilets, which was of great shock to the wife. I didn't win any points in the "camping is fun" war *that* night...

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Old 07-27-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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Day 2 - Sequoia National Forest

After packing it up at Breckenridge Campground, we continued north. We wandered down Hwy 155, which has some pretty nice scenery. Went through the town of Glennville (make sure you spell that right!), population 131.






After that, we quickly went North to Sequoia National Park. The heat going through the area around Fresno was crazy - for the first time so far, I was happy I wasn't on the bike in my one piece stitch.



Sequoia National Park is pretty cool. The trees are impressive, that's for sure. I didn't spend as much time here as I'd need to do it justice. We saw the General Sherman tree then headed back to Fresno to motel camp that night.







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Old 07-27-2012, 04:23 PM   #8
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Day 3 - Yosemite

Yosemite. I loved this place. It's awesome that it's only about an 8 hour trip - I'm definitely heading back up here again. The crowds of people were pretty annoying - crazy drivers all over the place, and pedestrians that almost *wanted* to get run over. But the scenery was worth it. We hiked a short (but steep - about 1000' gain in 2 miles) trail near the entrance to the park called Inspiration Point. We can into only a dad and daughter as they were hiking down - great views and no crowds.







One of the trails was blocked by a fallen tree - luckily my wife was able to karate chop her way through. Two weeks later, I wish she'd been there in Oregon and Washington when massive treefalls blocked my path on both the ODBR and WABDR.... but that's later. Sit tight!





After leaving Yosemite, we drove to a "walk in" campground called Sawmill (N37.95802 W119.26861) - it's off Saddlebag Lake road, which is in turn off HWY 120 that goes East north of Yosemite (nearly to Mono lake). You have to carry all your stuff in from a parking spot about 1/4 mile away. Elevation is 9800ft, and the views are spectacular! Quiet, spread out campsites. If you want a camping spot near Yosemite, this is it. All these photos came from our two nights camping at Sawmill Campground.







The mosquitoes, however.... they were pretty bad.




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Old 05-22-2013, 11:11 AM   #9
straightenarrow
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...and then?

I am coming this way from Wisconsin in July... I dig your style! Especially the planning... not so much the truck, but you have to please where you can! I am sure the rest was great, and your initial photos were good! Can you hack the rest together? Coming from a guy that hasn't finished his RR either!
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:45 PM   #10
sprouty115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straightenarrow View Post
...Can you hack the rest together? Coming from a guy that hasn't finished his RR either!
Uhm, like yeah! Let's hear the rest.
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Old 05-22-2013, 03:09 PM   #11
Roland44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firebug24k View Post
Day before departure... and now I'm even more unprepared than I was before, because now I've switched to some godawful hybrid truck/camp/wife/bike/something trip, and I'm freaking out a little. It's not simple anymore! My plan of not really having any plan doesn't fly too well with my wife along, and I'm trying to tie up some loose ends at work before I leave, when July 3 finally rolls around, I'm still way behind.

I run down to harbor freight and buy a ramp. My truck is only about a month old - I just bought it after trading in the 1996 car that was falling apart - so I've never put the bike in it before. I'm proud that I've always "ridden it there" and I honestly felt weird passing guys on bikes with the KLR in the back of the trick - almost like I should wave, or they should wave, but nope... now I'm one of the people to avoid... a cager.

But back to the story. I got a ramp, and a bike, and a truck. Should be easy! Just... um... er, oh crap. I've never done this before. So I read some forums, watched some youtube... a lot of really bad things can happen loading a bike, apparently. Well..... hell. No choice! So I just went for it!
Amazing! Except from the riding skills you seem to have some cool story telling skills. Congrats and keep it up!!
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