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Old 05-13-2004, 11:46 PM   #106
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13th May

For the best part of $100, I expect better than a gas-station style Danish and a luke warm cup of coffee for breakfast. I’m destined to be disappointed…

I load the bike and set off east along Highway 20. It’s a well surfaced two lane road, which winds its way south and east towards Sacramento. I stop at Nice (pronounced Niece – as in the French city) for breakfast. As I leave, the waitress tells me to ‘Have a niece day’ – it would’ve been funnier if she could make it sound like she hadn’t said it a million times before…:

The road runs around the north shore of Clear Lake…

…which is highly developed as a leisure area – it seems that every square inch of the shoreline is utilised – there are jetties and little businesses everywhere. It’s still a pretty spot, though.

Traffic here is heavy. There are lots of RVs travelling in both directions and, due to the long sections of double yellow lines, overtaking opportunities are few. Which is just as well, as I have rarely seen so many Police and Highway Patrol cars! No wonder California’s public spending is in a mess – the wages bill for its Law Enforcement Officers must be huge!

The road continues east towards Yuba…

…where I notice another example of classic American advertising

Further on, and I notice another town where it must be difficult to sell real-estate…

After travelling through the outskirts of Auburn, I turn onto the CA49 – an extremely ‘technical’ and challenging road, cut into the side of a hill and running down towards the American River…

…the view from the bottom is spectacular, with an amazing bridge arching hundreds of feet above me…

Soon I’m riding through the town where Cool was invented. They made a major export of it, mostly to surfers on the Californian coast, before the seam paid out in the early 1970s.

In Placerville, I stop at a Starbucks. I buy a cup of their over-priced coffee and fire up my laptop, to take advantage of their ‘free internet connection’. It doesn’t work.

Apparently, you can get a day’s free internet – if you open an account with T-mobile. In order to achieve this, they need a raft of personal details (including your credit card details – even though it’s free) – bollocks to that :mad:. I make my displeasure felt to the manager (who is an 19yr old surfer-dude, with no clue as to what’s happening) and ride on…
US50 climbs high into the Sierras, following the American River…

It reaches over 7200ft before it starts its long descent towards the stunning Lake Tahoe…

Once again, I find that I’m very tired – can’t work out why - :( - so I decide to stop at South Tahoe for the evening. I have a slow ride along the southern shore of the lake…

I get a (very reasonably priced) room at Motel 6, and, in the absence of high speed internet, access the dial-up connection, buy a 6 pack and slowly upload the pics…

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

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Old 05-14-2004, 02:56 PM   #107
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Great ride report/thread. If you get the job working for the sportswear company designing bras, can I be your photographer? With 4 kids I am riding vicariously through you. Keep the reports coming, they are great to read and the pictures are great.

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Old 05-14-2004, 03:47 PM   #108
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You mention being tired. Some of it might be the constant changes in elevation you've been going through. The ad agency I work for is down at Lake Tahoe (Incline Village). Whenever I ride down there, I find myself exhausted for the first day or two from the elevation change.
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Old 05-15-2004, 07:05 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Mulekick
Mike you are my kinda Wanker.
Now there's a comment that's difficult to deal with...

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015
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Old 05-15-2004, 07:06 PM   #110
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14th May

As I left my room to start the familiar task of ramming my possessions into too small a space (if it all fits first time – I’ve definitely left something in the hotel ;)), I see that another bike has pulled up overnight…

…it’s Jay Jobes, who rejoices under the name of ‘Sasquatch’ on ADVRider (a mystifying choice of name :P). He’s on his way back home to Boise, Idaho after taking his Triumph to a business meeting in California. We chat for a while as we load our respective bikes – Jay has made some impressive modifications to his bike, more due to the lack of aftermarket parts available for the Tiger in the USA. I’m particularly impressed with his combined crashbars / highway footpegs / radiator & sump guard…

We go our separate ways, but not before Jay has extended an open invite to me to stay with him & his wife if I find myself in Idaho again. Once again, I’m struck by the generosity and hospitality extended to me in this country…

I ride up the 207 into Nevada. On the far side of the hill, I’m delayed by about 20 minutes at road works. They are using a convoy system, with a ‘pilot’ car guiding, to allow 15-20 vehicles at a time to pass a single lane section of road.

The view’s pretty nice, though…

At the valley floor, I turn right along Highway 88. The ‘phone company has done sterling work here, obeying their prime directive*…

I ride up the 395, heading south and east towards the east entrance to Yosemite, as I’ve heard the Tioga Pass has opened today. As I top the Conway Summit, Lake Mono is laid out before me…

Shortly afterwards, I fill up with fuel at the town of Lee Vining. I rather miss the old days, when bandits had to wear a mask to rob you…:eek:

This means petrol prices have just about doubled since I arrived here at the beginning of February. Although still a relative bargain, when compared to prices in the UK, the economy won’t be able to stand a price increase gradient like this for long…

Never mind, I turn west towards Yosemite, and am immediately rewarded by magnificent views, despite the FAA trying to play noughts & crosses in the sky…

I get to Ellery Lake and stop when I see Kevin (left) and Mike, from Colorado, who are riding the pass on their 1100 & 1150GSes.

I am subjected to an interrogation about everything fitted to my bike (including my expired Tax Disc), before we exchange details and they ride ahead (I overheard Kevin’s brief to Mike “I’m not going to be stopping unless there’s a spectacular view” :P). I follow, slowly taking in the spectacular views

…and there are lots of them…

…in fact, there’s nothing but spectacular views…

…though I never see Kevin & Mike again…

The mountain streams are rushing, full of unbelievably cold melt-water.

But there is still an abundance of snow, and another cold snap could easily close the pass again.

I’m tired (again :mad: ), so I decide to find some accommodation nearby and come and see the main part of the park tomorrow morning. I eventually find fairly austere, but very expensive, accommodation at Lake Yosemite Lodge. I set up my laptop in the public lounge area and, whilst typing my journal, fall into conversation with Pat, a very sprightly 63yr old who, after retiring from the Dept of Homeland Security early last year, spends much of her time travelling around the USA in her small camper van. We chat away for a couple of hours, towards the end of which, one of the middle aged ladies that works in the reception area, asks Pat if she’s staying in the Lodge (where I am). She says no, she’s in their campsite. The woman then tells her that the ‘facilities’ (electric light, presumably) are for residents only. I’m astounded by her rudeness and tell her that, as a resident, I’ve asked Pat in as my guest and that I don’t appreciate our conversation being interrupted. ‘Oh, alright – it’s just I have to obey the rules you see’. Must be a retired Customs officer…

*Extract from AT&T’s Corporate Instruction to Linemen:

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

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Old 05-15-2004, 09:18 PM   #111
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15th May

Saturday - Damn! I didn’t realise what day it was. I decided last night to start early today – it was the right decision. I packed the bike and was on the road for 0645 :eek:! It’s a beautiful day, with high wispy clouds and no wind. I’m refuelled (at what seems a reasonable $2.57 per gallon) and in Yosemite National Park by 0700. I virtually have the place to myself. I start by riding down the valley into Yosemite Village.

I ride through the tunnel and, on the other side of the hill, I’m greeted by a fantastic view…

…it’s like something out of Tolkein, with distant waterfalls crashing down – their sound audible in the still morning air.

I ride slowly on, towards the falls down at the far end of the valley…

…where the car parks are already beginning to fill. This is Bridal Veil Falls.

Everywhere I look there are stunning views…

…with the local wildlife turning up on cue to perfect the picture…

I ride up the road to Glacier Point, which has only recently opened…

…the views on the way up are impressive…

…but nothing prepares you for the view…

…you get from Glacier Point…

I am stunned by how far I can see. For several minutes, I jut stand there, agog – oblivious to the chatter of the recently arrived minibus of oriental tourists. After about ten minutes or so, I take a few pictures, knowing that it will be impossible to capture even a fraction of the impact this place has had on me.

Visiting Glacier Point is something everyone should do before they die…

After a long walk around the point, I get back on the bike and slowly ride out of the Park. It’s getting really crowded and I made the right decision to get up as early as I did. I ride the road out of the western entrance, which follows the course of a fast flowing river…

…eventually exiting the park at 1100, I see a quarter mile queue of traffic waiting to get in. :eek:

I continue down the road to the Triangle Road Café – formerly, according to Betty, Big Dan’s Diner :P.

I have an unmemorable lunch, served by a 15yr old airhead “Yur frum England – wow, that’s rilly, like, abroad!” – she manages to bring me my soup and main course at the same time…

I ride on, feeling tired once again (although with today’s early start, it’s understandable – plus it’s now 83º and humid). I ride a couple of scenic by-ways, but, pretty as they are…

…they pale into insignificance against the impression that Glacier Point has made on me, so I set course for Fresno and treat myself to a night in the Comfort Suites Hotel

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

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Old 05-16-2004, 12:11 AM   #112
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Great photos. We spent some 4 weeks around those parts and missed some of the photo shots you have taken.
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Old 05-16-2004, 12:51 AM   #113
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Nice report MikeO

Very nice report MikeO. I am awaiting your report everyday for my breakfast. It's nice to see a European's view of the US, you seem to sum it up pretty well. I must say you are an excellent photographer as well.
I just wonder how much of your travelling time you spend taking photographs?
I am sorry you are so tired, I hope it has something to do with the constant elevation changes. If you intend to go down to southern california, be sure you spend a couple of days in San Diego and la jolla, it's a very good area to get some rest, and might feel more familiar to you :)
Keep up the very good work.
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Old 05-16-2004, 12:44 PM   #114
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I used 4 hours to read this post. ¡¡¡¡Wow, incredible, fantastic.!!!!!


"Ya veras como quieren en Chile al amigo cuando es forastero"
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Old 05-16-2004, 01:00 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by D�asDePlaya
I used 4 hours to read this post. ¡¡¡¡Wow, incredible, fantastic.!!!!!

If you like to be busy for several days with excellet reading material I can recommend the whole report at:
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Old 05-16-2004, 10:17 PM   #116
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16th May

A late start, I’m out of the door by 1045, and it’s hot. I ride along Route 180, which runs east from Fresno towards Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The landscape is flat and the Sierras are almost lost in the heat haze on the horizon…

Where the land has been irrigated, there are huge fruit orchards – they are, like, rilly green

The road gradually climbs into the hills and, as the altitude increases, the temperature drops, which is very welcome…

It’s a great road, roughly surfaced, but twists like a snake as it hugs the contours of the hillside…

…and the views are impressive, despite the heavy heat haze in the valley…

Wise words.

Eventually I reach Kings Canyon and stop for lunch – where the local branch of the BMW Owners Club have also stopped…

…you can tell it’s the BMW Owners Club, rather than the GS Club, because not one of them comes to talk to me

I did like this 900 though…

…after a burger and a Sprite, I ride down towards the Giant Forest. The scenery is beautiful, the temperature perfect and there’s not a breath of wind.

But, as I’ve noticed almost everywhere on this trip, some people just can’t seem to take their litter home, no matter how pretty the surroundings are…

Soon, the road turns into a very narrow & twisty series of switchbacks…

…signs discourage RVs and any vehicle over 22ft in length – I still meet a rented RV trying to get up the road :eek:

Eventually I reach the valley floor, and some, erm, unique advertising…

Tomorrow lunchtime, I’m meeting Ricardo Kuhn from ADVRider in Berkeley, so I get on the 99 and make tracks north and west, before stopping at Turlock for the night. After a farce of room changing, I eventually get to connect to the Internet 2 hours after checking in :P…

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

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Old 05-17-2004, 11:58 AM   #117
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dammmn, you are having some fun!!! keep it up...
I have friends(Shell and Rod) that work at the campground accross from that huge cow...
Very nice locals in that area...
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Old 05-17-2004, 10:48 PM   #118
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17th May

After packing & leaving the comedy hotel(got locked out when my room card failed – TWICE – then the lock failed – it was better than a cabaret ), I get on US99 and make straight for Ricardo’s apartment. As I enter Alameda County, I pass literally hundreds of windmills…

I arrive at Ricky’s place at about 1205, to find he’s not back from the machine shop yet, so I spend some time examining the GS parked outside.

This is not the famous ‘Golem’, but rather, it turns out, Ricky’s previous bike. It’s had a hard life. A bloody hard life…

I mean, what’s this rack all about, eh?
Ricardo soon turns up on his new and shiny KTM…

…don’t be fooled by this display of affection – he’s off-roading it this weekend and it won’t be many years until it looks like its stablemate…

We go to an excellent local Chinese restaurant and Ricky treats me to a splendid lunch. To those of you who are not familiar with Ricardo’s work, he’s a top spec engineer who builds beautiful toys for those afflicted with BMW ownership. I have a set of his handlebar clamps and am desperately trying to fight off the urge to buy a pair of footrests… Better than his engineering prowess, though, is his open, honest and refreshing philosophy on life. Ricardo is a good bloke .

After lunch, we go and do the tourist bit…

The Bay Bridge…

…the unfeasibly steep and winding Lombard Street…


…the Golden Gate…

…which we then crossed…

…to get to see R1150R riding Lori from Formotion, who exchanged my compass for a new one (long story). She and Larissa who is very camera shy, introduce us to Bear, who, at 12½ years old, is the real boss of the outfit…

We then climb up the hills into the Mount Tamalpais State Park. The road is excellent – very twisty and restricted to 35mph, a limit which it’s difficult to break! I’m working very hard keeping up with Ricky – but then he’s not riding a fully laden Adv (that’s the excuse I have selected). Despite the low cloud which blows through now and again, the view from the top is spectacular…

We ride back down and, stopping to take pics of the views as the weather occasionally clears…

…soon arrive at Stinson Beach…

We ride along this twisty and demanding section of Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. The coastline is rugged, and I’m reminded of Cornwall…

Ricky has work to do and, as I bid him farewell (until tomorrow, when we hope to meet up with a few more ADVRiders at Alice’s Restaurant), I set course for the Holiday Inn at Mill Valley – I’m knackered

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

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Old 05-18-2004, 03:57 AM   #119
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Yee Haa

Well done Mike and Ricky!
You've covered the Northern-roads on my list. And Mike, don;t stay around Mill valley too long. You may wind up staying there for the rest of your life. Unfortunately that decision to stay may come at the expense of your soul. I just cant picture you as a Marin-ite. Then again, your character may just throw off the regional affect in a good way!

What happened to the compass did the threads strip out?
"He had that rare weird electricity about him--that extremely wild and heavy presence that you only see in a person who has abandoned all hope of ever behaving"normally"."

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Old 05-18-2004, 04:24 AM   #120
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I mean, what’s this rack all about, eh?

That's Ricky's dual moto bike rack! Ask him if he remembers how to pedal up a hill

MikeO, you are making the most wonderful connection between a virtual community, and a real one. Good onya, and all the "Legends of ADVRider" who are showing their hospitality. The world could use more connections like this!
...its the best paint scheme that has ever been or ever will be on an Adv...-AussieRob
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