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Old 11-01-2009, 07:51 PM   #1
Maniac28 OP
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Meow! Sport-touring CA on the Big Cat

Meow! Sport-touring California on the big yellow cat.

Some people say that God created the earth in 7 days. I always knew that couldn’t be true.

He created it in six days. On the seventh, he created the motorcycle.

So I had some holiday that I needed to use from work, and I decided what better way to spend a few days than riding my new to me Tiger? I have just been using it to commute and the occasional weekend canyon run, and I have been wondering how it would function as a sport-tourer.

So, I loaded up the panniers, strapped on a dry bag, and headed to Northern California to find some roads I’ve always hear about but never ridden. My plan was to spend a couple nights camping, and to ride highways 36, Mattole Road to the lost coast, highway 1, and maybe hit highway 25 on the way back.

The other stimulus for this trip was to prove to myself and to my Jap bike riding and Brit-bashing friends that a bike from the Olde Country could be reliable. And comfortable, and efficient, and fun to ride. No, it doesn’t have any oil leaks, and the electrical system is functioning perfectly! (well…, basically).

The bike setup, for those interested. Factory panniers, factory tank bag (electrified), Iain Palmer windscreen mount, stock windscreen, factory heated grips, factory centerstand, KTM handguards, RAM GPS mount and GPSMAP 478, HID headlights (high and low), stock seat with sheepskin pad, ortlieb duffel on passenger seat, stock suspension, Michelin Pilot Road 2 Tires.

I’ll cut to the chase about my impressions of the Tiger. Engine – amazing. Suspension – so-so. Brakes – amazing. Looks (if that matters) – good. Comfort – good. Fuel economy – very good. Versatility – excellent.

The Palmer windscreen bracket makes the stock windshield tolerable. Otherwise there is just too much wind and buffeting for me. The Triumph heated grips work well. The stock seat is the best I’ve ever had on a bike. Did I mention I love the engine?

The HID headlights are a necessary upgrade if you are going to ride at night – stock lights are garbage. KTM handguards keep your hands warm and look better than the Triumph units.

The Triumph panniers look great but are total junk. They are tiny inside. Also, they popped open twice on my ride, spilling valuable contents all over the road and into the brush. This was a source of endless fury! This occurred when hitting a big bump or pothole. Yes, the panniers were mounted securely and locked properly. They were not overloaded.

Fuel economy is impressive for a bike this size and power. I get 52 mpg in normal riding, 42 mpg at worst, driving 80 mph into a headwind. With a 5.2 gal tank, you are looking for gas around 200 miles. This is acceptable but could be better – I wish for a larger fuel tank.

Ergonomics are good – and long days are no problem. Two of my riding days were over 600 miles with no real complaints.

Enough with all this… let’s get to the ride.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:53 PM   #2
Maniac28 OP
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I rode 600 miles and some change to get from my house to Red Bluff, CA, south of Redding. It was the 5 freeway. It was boring. I nearly slit my wrists. It took about 11 hours. Any motorcyclist that passed me with cruise control (you know who you are!) was the object of my envy.


The next day I awoke and started on one of THE best moto roads in the state, or the country. Highway 36 between Red Bluff and Fortuna, CA.


I've been roaming around always looking down at all I see.
Painted faces fill the places I can't reach.





You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you, And all you know, And how you speak




Off in the night, while you live it up, I'm off to sleep
Waging wars to shape the poet and the beat
I hope it's gonna make you notice

Someone like me



I was so glad I was out here riding in this beautiful country on this amazing road with this amazing view, rather than sitting in my office. Some days are meant to be remembered. That’s what a good day of motorcycle riding does for you. It sticks to your bones. It makes you feel like a human being.


Thought you had
all the answers
to rest your heart upon.
But something happens,
don't see it coming, now
you can't stop yourself.
Now you're out there swimming...
In the deep.



Life keeps tumbling your heart in circles
till you... Let go.
Till you shed your pride, and you climb to heaven,
and you throw yourself off.
Now you're out there spinning...
In the deep.



In the silence,
all your secrets, will
raise their worried heads.
Well, you can pin yourself back together,
to who you thought you were.
Now you're out there livin'...
In the deep.



I encountered hardly any traffic on this road. I almost felt like they paved this ribbon of asphalt just for me, just for this day. The road has hundreds of corners, and rises and falls through mountains and valleys. The road is dry in some spots, wet in others – you need to be careful. The fog rolls in and out. The temperature changes… you pass through several small villages… but no traffic lights, multi story buildings, movie theatres, fast food restaurants, or anything else that makes our world so dull.

Just a first class ride all the way.

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Old 11-01-2009, 09:07 PM   #3
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After riding through the redwoods and eating some delicious tacos in Fortuna (what a neat little town) – I made my way onto Mattole Road which would lead me to the Lost Coast. I know why they call it the Lost Coast. The road to get there is so rough, that no one made it. Their cars broke.

Really, it is a rough road. So rough that my saddlebags flew open twice spilling all my camp gear onto the road and into the grassy shoulder. I was not happy with Triumph at this point! But when I thumbed the started and heard that three cylinder purr once again, things were OK. I forgive you, bike.

Besides being so rough, what an epic road and fantastic area.



Dreamed I was in a desert, without any luck
Storm-grey clouds, hovering above
Silence all around me, I was wandering alone
And I realized, there is nothing, anyone can really own




It's hard to change, and it's hard to lose
It takes years for us, to be made smooth
You can use up our love, yeah, precious energy
To be tossed like a shell, from the hungry sea




Wow. Talk about a view. I could have sat here all day and just soaked this up. But, I didn’t. I was on a schedule like usual. I must have OCD or something. Down the road.

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Old 11-01-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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There is no better way to spend a day than on a great motorcycle on amazing roads like this. It’s like yin and yang. Days like this are a deathbed memory.



What can I say?

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Old 11-01-2009, 09:24 PM   #5
Maniac28 OP
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The rest of the day was spent trying to get as far south as I could. Eventually the fog moved in and the riding became less than ideal. You know, it’s funny, after a trip is over, you tend to remember the good moments, and the less great ones, sort of fade away. But I know I did ride in a lot of fog and drizzle.

There are parts of highway 1 between Fort Bragg and the Bay area that are just stunning. I even got to ride a few of them without fog. I didn’t really take any pictures – too busy having fun.

I think I stayed in Point Arena, or Manchester, or something like that. All I know is the hotel owner was a hippie - you know, the one who talks real slow, says “man” a lot, distrusts “technology”, and has a lot of beads in his office. Kind of like my parents. oh, did I just say that? ;)



I navigated the Bay area the next day even with closed bridges, oil spills, and god knows what other disasters. And thick fog. What’s with this fog? Either rain or clear up, already!

I made my way to Hollister for lunch, and then hit highway 25 south to 198. This is another first class ride – one of the best roads I’ve ever ridden. You just have to ride it to understand. And then highway 198 – wow, that was amazing, too.






Until next time, ride safe. See you out there.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:10 AM   #6
zadok
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Awesome ride and bike looks great. 140m of winding road! Love Tigers.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:15 AM   #7
Thorne
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Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:10 PM   #8
tomatocity
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Nice writeup Ian. Beautiful Triumph. I have yet to ride all of 36 at one time but it is on my list. Did you stop in Wildwood? Wildwood is Hwy 36 Motorcycle Central.
Next time you are up there there is a paved national forest, NF-1, road that connects 36 (Mad River) and 299 (west of Willow Creek).
Hwy 3 from 36 to Yreka, or any portion of it, is a fun road.
Did you ride the Avenue of the Giants?
Another ride is Hwy 1 from Leggett to the coast or the reverse. 22 miles of fun in either direction.
The list is long and so are the miles. Tomorrow I will be riding part of Hwy 1 up to Bridgehaven then east to Santa Rosa to visit Mark B (4).
Check dot net for a multiple day Tech Day, Camping, OnRiding, OffRoading.
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