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Old 02-24-2008, 03:30 PM   #1
ElGringo OP
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Ride For Peace Of Mind - The First Attempt

7/21/2007

After countless delays, the day finally arrived and I hit the road. The plan for this first inaugural trip of my new state of the art Bavarian machine was to make it all the way up to Canada and visit the Banff and Jasper National Parks. I live in LA, so I figured a good month.

Iíve been on long road trips before, but never on a motorcycle. In the past, the rule was to take everything you could think of from tools to camping supplies to music to coolers full of beer, everything. Space and weight just werenít relevant. Of course, on a bike that just wonít jive, so a lot of preparation was done to turn my kit into a lean one. Fortunately, I love backpacking and have a lot of light weight camping gear, so roughing it was covered. Prepping the bike and getting my riding gear together was a whole other story.

Never before have I found it so hard to give money to vendors. Everything was always either out of stock, the wrong parts got shipped, or didnít fit. Getting a good deal became irrelevant, getting on the road in my life time was. So what I figured would be a good month of prep, took a half year. In the end, summer was half over before the tires even hit the asphalt.

But there was one other issue that had to be handled prior to departure, my work. Most people consider being self-employed a blessing. You can make your own hours, you come and go as you please, you work on what you want. Well nothing it farther from the truth. The reality is you are always working, you are always on call, and the very thought of taking an unbothered vacation is a pipe dream. Itís just not possible. Understand that my company is only a one and half man operation. It falls right between where it can easily support me and a part timer, but can not afford to hire additional full time labor. So this means, Iím taking the company with me.

Now before all the business owners attack. Yes, I completely acknowledge that what I have is not a company at all, but a private job. But lets keep the illusion alive.

So the plan was to do the business nonsense in the morning and then ride in the afternoon. It would be slow going, but whoís in a rush. Running the company meant dealing with software sales, support, licensing, development and (most importantly) never letting my clients know Iím not in LA. Fortunately, I already have all the business web servers and a VPN in place for getting secure access to the systems from anywhere. All I needed to do was stuff everything on a laptop, and find internet access from the road. Couldn't be simpler.

With everything in place, I was good to go.

Now some pics:

My first stop after getting out of LA, was some where in Los Padres Natíl forest outside Frazier park.



I immediately realized I was on the heavy side. Made some adjustments and went looking for dirt.



Sure the road was pretty tame, but it was good test for a fully loaded bike. I have taken the bike off road before, but never this loaded up. Gotta start easy I figured.

This was in the middle of July, so the temps were up. I decided to head to the coast for cooler conditions.











I made it all the way to Monterey, and in the afternoon, decided it was time to start looking for a place to camp. Having been on road trips up the California coast before, I know that finding a good remote camping spot is easier said than done. So I decided to head inland, find a dirt road, and camp.

I started seeing a ton of bikes going in the opposite direction. Every make and model, and huge groups of them. So many, that waving to them all became ridiculous. I wondered what this was all about, and then it struck me. Could this be Laguna Seca? Iíve never been to the MotoGP races, and wasnít sure where Laguna Seca was located. But then all of a sudden there it was. The entrance. Well Iíll be damned.

Now I knew a dude that was going. In fact, he even invited me a month or so back, but I was so desperate at the time to get on the road, I decided to pass. I made a few phone calls, got the guys number, and gave him a ring. To make a short story even shorter, ten minutes later I was following him and his friendís golf cart in to the fair grounds. They had a big trailer, there were showers, motorcycles everywhere, and plenty of beer. I had no passes or tickets for anything, but some how they got me in every where: the races, the paddock. The golf cart made traveling around the fairgrounds easy too. Needless to say, I spent the next couple days partying.

Could this trip have started out any better!

H















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Old 02-24-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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great start....lets go!
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:09 AM   #3
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Yeah!

Nice ride so far. Good timing on the Moto GP race too.

Let's hope you don't get caught playing when you should be working.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:38 AM   #4
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Day At The Races

7/22/2007

Today was race day. Never got on my bike, and don't recall not having a beer in my hand. So all work out very well. It was sunny but cool, motorcycles everywhere, and lots of speed. Good times.

I wish I had one of those giant sports/paparazzi lenses for my camera.

More Laguna Seca Pics:











After the races, we went in to the paddock and pit area to go see what we could.



















I guess you can't have too many spare wheels.









After a day of excess, I was looking forward to getting back on the road and heading north.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:41 AM   #5
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Nice

this looks like a great start
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElGringo
After the races, we went in to the paddock and pit area to go see what we could.


Is that Rossi ?
Great pics...thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:01 AM   #7
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I like it so far! All the access and those great Moto GP photos with no passes....the force is with you.
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:06 AM   #8
ElGringo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanderjeet
Is that Rossi ?
Great pics...thanks for sharing.
[EDIT] This is Ben Bostrom. Please correct if this is wrong.

Here are some more pics:









Rossi must have a serious following, because later on in the afternoon, a mob formed around his trailer, and tore down the green privacy tarp.



And then these two hard core fans started chanting:



I caught a glimpse of him looking out of his trailer. He looked a bit horrified.

H

ElGringo screwed with this post 02-26-2008 at 10:11 AM
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:10 AM   #9
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The Beginning Of The End

7/23/2007


After the races, I continued up north along the coast. Ideal riding weather.

The Golden Gate Bridge:



Here's Alcatraz.



And San Francisco.



More beautiful California coast line:





Met a lot of racer bikes on PCH and it was a joy trying to keep up with them. Life was good.

Then I started seeing some business activity on the old crackberry. (It was now a Monday and the work week started) This would be the first test of the system on the road. I had tried many dry runs in the city and was fairly confident that all would work well. One of my bigger clients found a bug in the software, and it needed to be fixed. No problem. I setup the machine, got on to the web, and tried to access the VPN. Multiple attempts, and nothing. Could just be the web. Why else would it just suddenly stop working? Perhaps tomorrow it will be better. Donít things magically fix themselves over night?

I decided to get a hotel room so I could get a controlled environment to help diagnose the problem and higher speed access. Wasnít too concerned about the technology break down at this point. This stuff happens. I figured Id get this to work before morning. Was more pissed that here I was now in a hotel after spending a couple of nights in a trailer, and had yet to do a single night of camping. I was getting soft.

H
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:37 AM   #10
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Reading this is therapeutic! Keep the therapy coming

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Old 02-26-2008, 09:47 AM   #11
Kamala
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanderjeet
Is that Rossi ?
Great pics...thanks for sharing.
Looks like its Ben Bostrom!
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:26 AM   #12
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Melt Down

7/24/2007

The next morning the VPN issue continued. Something was seriously wrong. I called my man back in LA to try to figure out what the problem was, but he was at a loss as well. And then the calls started. Problems always come in waves. The bug was holding up production, and this issue needed to be fixed immediately. Shit! License and sales problems starting coming in from across the globe as well. Double shit! Without access to the system, I was effectively shut down. The reliance on technology here is huge, and when one thing goes wrongÖyou're screwed!

I went to a library to try another connection and still nothing. Realizing that I was in a middle of a serious system melt down, I decided there was only one option, I needed to abort! And only 3 days in! [Expletives deleted]

Spent the rest of the day on the South 101 high tailing myself back to LA. Hereís the sad bike as we rest for a moment.



So my first big bike trip ends in a total disaster. Did not even make it out of the state. Perhaps things were going too well. Laguna Seca was the best, and to have something like that just fall into your lap, well there just had to be repercussions.

The end of round one.

H
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:54 AM   #13
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Round 2?

There will be a round 2 though, right?
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:07 AM   #14
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Ride For Peace Of Mind - Canada Or Bust

7/29/2007

Round 2 Begins.

After the disaster that derailed my first ride, I was determined that this time around nothing would be left to chance. Redundancy was the key here. Every system had a redundant counterpart. In one case, triple redundancy.

I felt that perhaps the 'three time rule' applied to bike trips as well. That something unforeseen was bound to happen, and that there may be a very good chance that I would need to rush back to LA again. I decided to replace the TKCs with the Tourances. I figured this would allow for a bit more speed on the road when the time came. I was also able to strip the bike of ten pounds of weight making the machine a bit leaner.

With everything in place, I was good to go, and off for my second attempt to make Canada.

Here is the machine all loaded up and ready for the road:



This time around I decided to go through downtown LA, and take the Angeles Crest and Forest Highways to Palmdale. Then take the 14 North through Mojave and up the 395, a most spectacular road that runs along the eastern side of Sierra Nevada. But it now being late July, it was going to be hot.

Once past Mojave you hit Red Rock Canyon, a state park:





I had lunch in Onion Valley. A place I frequent a lot when I go backpacking. It’s around 9000 feet and a good place to spend the night if you want to get a bit acclimated before doing the high altitude hikes over the Eastern passes. I grabbed some sandwiches in Independence, and made my way up. There’s a nice cold stream that runs down the valley and a perfect place to take a dip to cool off. Something I needed bad.

Onion Valley is up in there somewhere.



And looking back down toward Independence.



Getting closer.



Should have taken a few more pics after this, but I was too preoccupied with lunch and cooling off. Oh well.

Later, I continued up the 395 and stopped in Mammoth Lakes for the night. Found a campground and made camp.









Enjoyed some nice soup and some wine.



Made a little fire.



It was good to be out in the country again. I ended up staying up really late just marveling at how dark and quiet it gets in the wilderness. Something I hope I never get tired of. This then reminded me of a story:

After the Loma Prieta earthquake of '89, I was in College taking a course in astronomy. We had a guest lecturer from the Griffith Park Observatory who told us about something interesting that occurred for about a month after the quake. They got calls from people asking what was wrong with the sky that caused the quake that afternoon. They told him that the sky looked very strange that night and wondered what it was. Puzzled he told them there was nothing wrong with sky, and definitely nothing that would have caused the quake. The calls seemed to come from the inner cities, and their descriptions were typical of a night sky. And then it hit him, there was a total black out in some areas following the quake and with no city lights to hide them, people were seeing the stars for the first time.

H

ElGringo screwed with this post 03-02-2008 at 09:48 AM
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyCatcher
There will be a round 2 though, right?
Absolutely.

H

ElGringo screwed with this post 04-06-2008 at 11:34 AM
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