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Old 10-23-2009, 07:47 AM   #1
GypsyWriter OP
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A N00b's Guide to ADVenture

Have you ever wanted to do something everyone else thought was crazy? Something that, when you told your family, they gave you alternating looks of pity and incredulity, because you MUST be insane or have a death wish. Nevertheless, you felt you needed to do it, not to prove anything but just 'cause it looked fun.

Am I alone in this?

*looks around at the people here*

... ... wait, never mind. Forgot who I was talking to.

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Old 10-23-2009, 08:14 AM   #2
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:28 AM   #3
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Day 0: Scrambling around like MAD

So, let's give some brief introductions.

This is Betty:


She is a 1981 Honda GL500 Silverwing. AKA, Da Seksay Beast. (but I think that name embarrasses her)

And, The Dork:

(not to give anyone the wrong idea of The Dork, she does not condone any Towelie-related activities or, er, something)

Back in April, The Dork got it into her head she wanted to ride a motorcycle. Hairbrained notion, according to her family - you're going to kill yourself!



Riding around on what felt like a ginormous bike, unsteady as a newborn learning to walk, she decided that she needed more experience. Thus, this "spontaneous" trip was born. (kinda inside joke....)

Anyway.

Day 0: Scrambling around like a MADWOMAN

A teensy bit of backstory: I've added several things to my bike (most importantly IMHO - hard bags!) and have a color scheme in mind for the entire package. (...does that make me sound like a GIRL? Oh noes!!) Then, in the middle of the bags getting repaired, I come up with the idea of a trip and all monies, of course, have to go to that. Therefore:





... *ahem*

So, me being the scatterbrained twit that I am, I leave most of my major purchases to the end. Well, okay so technically I was waiting on my paycheck, but that's no excuse right?! Day 0 consisted of me running around trying to buy a tent, backpack, Camelbak, and assorted other things I figured I'd need for this trip, as well as trying to find what I already had like a sleeping bag, pad, and laundry. OH $#!& LAUNDRY!!!!



The Pup wanted to come too. Didn't know how to break it to her...



After much angsting and flailing of hands (I do that a lot) things finally began to come together. At last, everything was packed. Now to just figure how to attach it to the bike.



Took a while to get everything on (first time I ever used tie-downs, yes folks I'm a sheltered little butterfly) but finally...



Whereupon I collapsed and slept the sleep of, well, the eagerly-anticipational-can't-sleep-a-wink-except-snoozes. And thus ended the excitement () of Day 0.

GypsyWriter screwed with this post 12-22-2009 at 01:48 PM
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:43 AM   #4
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Are you CRAZY??? Don't you know that motorcycle riding is addictive and that taking a trip like this could ruin your ability to ever enjoy a "normal" vacation in the future?
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:11 AM   #5
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Day 1: About frickin' time

Day 1

Beginning Odometer: 35,198

WOOHOO!!! After all the planning and packing and (kinda) sleeping, I awake remarkably refreshed and ready to go. ...two hours late. No worries though, more than enough time for and




Ghetto!Dork can haz ride!

So the plan, such as it was, consisted of riding to the coast, down to Ventura, then cutting around LA towards Temecula for dinner with some family friends before visiting my sister and co. in San Diego. So, west I go!


Love this house, just east of Paso Robles.

First stop along the way: Pismo Beach.





I love Pismo. Heck, I love the OCEAN!!



I'd intended on hitting Splash Cafe for some of their legendary clam chowder in a bread bowl, but I was on a bit of a time crunch so passed this time. MUCH recommended however, best chowder in the entire universe!!


An interesting diner I passed, too fun not to take pics of it.

From 101 I got onto the 1 and meandered south. It wasn't quite the ocean view I was hoping for but still a very nice ride. The perfect (for me) kinds of curves, lazy and easy to do without needing track experience.




(first attempts at on the road pictures; definitely need some practice)
(Thing #1 Learned: There's a reason you always keep at least one hand on the handlebars. Can we say Tankslapper Near Miss?)

I reconnected to 101 in Santa Barbara, and at long last got the coastal view I had been waiting for. Seriously, the stretch between SB and Ventura has GOT to be some of the prettiest I've seen (and I've been told NorCal/Big Sur is prettier!).



And folks, I was so busy admiring it that I completely forgot to SNAP ANY PICS!!! Bad Dork! (that and I was still a bit freaked by the last time I tried snapping pics on the fly)

Once I hit Ventura I turned east, and thus began the less fun point of my trip. By now it was after 1pm, and I'd made plans to meet friends in Temecula for dinner at 5:15. I was beginning to notice the LA-ish congestion and fears of hitting rush hour traffic was creeping up and I had no recourse except to slab it. This wasn't a quarter as fun as the rest of my day had been; the next 4 hours heading north around LA on 210 then south on 15 were painful and boring.

However, I did pick up a new trick: lane-splitting!!!















... and if you're expecting pictures you're loonier than me.

After all my angsting and rushing, I managed to make it to Temecula only 30 mins late. Had a nice dinner with friends, then got back on the road to San Diego. By now I was tired and ready to be done with the day already so was happy to drive up to my sister's house. She and my bro-in-law welcomed me to their house and we went out for a quick dinner, then I slept the sleep of the truly dead on their couch. Thus ended day 1.

Highways: 198-41-46-101-1-101-126-118-210-15-163-5
Odometer: 35,706
Miles: 508
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:12 AM   #6
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Keep the rubber on the road (hope you have good rubber and mebbe a can of fix-a-flat if you're planning on any riding off the too-beaten path). Sounds like an adventure!
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:25 AM   #7
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Day 2: Let's bring things down a notch (or six)

Day 2: Let's bring things down a notch (or six)

Beginning Odometer: 35,706

After all that riding yesterday, I really wanted a day of rest. I'd planned for a pretty simple day today which, as it happened, was for the best. I spent most of the morning with my sister and bro-in-law just lazing about. I think we were both putting off the inevitable (they were going to work on their condo, getting it ready for new occupants). My sister, bless her heart, was running around asking if I wanted to bring this and that, setting out food and various other items that would be good. I took as much as I could but was soon packed to the gills and couldn't take it all.


The bro-in-law enjoying the morning

Before long I had to get on the road, but I figured I'd head through SD a bit before I left. A favorite place in the city for me is Balboa Park, which is right where I headed.





By now it was almost noon so I bid San Diego adieu and headed north on 15 to 78 east. I'd completely forgotten that the San Diego Wild Animal Park was up that way!



I was so so SO tempted to go, even though I really couldn't afford it. In my not-so-humble opinion the WAP is better even than the SD Zoo; the animals here are free-roaming in as close to their native habitats as they can get. In some instances you can get within feet of these amazing animals; if you take the right tour you can even touch or feed them!! But alas, I ultimately passed on that particular treat. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED however!!!!!!

I did, however, go into the SD Archeological Museum just a mile or so down 78. First small museum I've seen, I love these. :)





It doesn't take long at all before I was in the dry foothills. It was heating up a bit but nowhere near what it would be if it was the middle of summer.



As I was passing through Ramona I passed something I wanted to visit so decided to turn around. Then suddenly:



Egads!! Thing I Learned #2: Never try to turn around on a steep driveway, especially when your front brake SUCKS. There was no way I could have picked this up myself; she was over on her side with the rear wheel up in the air. Thank goodness for some passing riders pulling over and helping me pick it up, or else I'd probably still be there! I wanted to take pics of them but alas, they were cute and I was shy. Whoever you were, THANK YOU GUYS!!!!

What was it I was turning around for, you ask?





Yes, a Pumpkin Patch. Was cute, but I'm not sure it was worth the spill. ;)

Getting back on the road, I made my way into Julian.





Very cute little mountain town!


Mom's Pies Etc.


Good stuff.

And I was definitely not the only one out on a bike (it's too perfect out to keep even the shiniest Harley in the garage)!



From Julian I continued east on 78 into the true SoCal desert. Really, there's beauty everywhere; traveling really helps that hit home.








Border Patrol station (sorry for the poor pic quality, the road sucked and it was hard to keep the bike straight). I got waved right through, guess there was no place to hide illegals on my bike? ;)

Finally I managed to find someplace to camp.



Fortunately, it had exactly what I wanted.



(made me happy that I have a poor sense of smell)



Dinner time!!!


Or, um, NOT. Much thanks to my sister who saved me from my bad choices in travel food. (Lesson Learned #3: NEVER buy your travel food from the Dollar Store. Bad things can ensue.)

Set up camp to the sound of 4-wheelers, dirt bikes and buggies all around me but not a soul in sight.



Home sweet home. :)

-=-=-=-=-

Into day 3 now, here's a preview of my morning:

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Old 10-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #8
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Looks like you're having fun. I love Julian, the Wild Animal Park, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:52 AM   #9
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ad·ven·ture n.
1. Participation in exciting or hazardous experiences.
2. An undertaking of a questionable nature.
3. An undertaking of a hazardous nature.

'83 GL650swi "My Little Grey Lady"
'86 LS650 Milady's bike
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:12 PM   #10
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no pic of the damage? how am i suppose to know what i have to fix when you get back :P
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ludo410
no pic of the damage? how am i suppose to know what i have to fix when you get back :P
Well, you can't work on it until it's back anyway, right?
And Murphy had his day. Landed on the Painted one.
Might as well drop buttered toast.
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ad·ven·ture n.
1. Participation in exciting or hazardous experiences.
2. An undertaking of a questionable nature.
3. An undertaking of a hazardous nature.

'83 GL650swi "My Little Grey Lady"
'86 LS650 Milady's bike
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:13 PM   #12
roswellj
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Great RR so far, look forward to the rest of it
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:06 PM   #13
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Very cool bike, looks like fun. How'd you manage to leave WoW behind? :)
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:13 AM   #14
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Day 3: Back in the saddle

Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave
That is absolutely beautiful! Good form on grabbing the shot
LOL! I felt silly taking a picture of it but felt it needed to be documented. Plus had to give the family SOMETHING to use as fuel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFla
Very cool bike, looks like fun. How'd you manage to leave WoW behind? :)
Hey, I brought my laptop. Give me a WiFi connection and I can grind out a few levels!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Day 3

Starting odometer: 35,848

For someone not used to camping alone, the night went well. It's amazing the things wind on a tent sounds like; several times I woke up absolutely sure something was shufflin about and sniffing the tent outside! No coyotes or bears, just the sounds of revelers over one rise and the occasional two-stroke engine firing up and letting it rip.

The morning was beautiful. Woke up early (pitfalls of going to bed around 7pm) and enjoyed the stars above until the faintest light began poking over the horizon.


Peek-a-boo tent!



I loaded everything up and headed southeast on 78/86. I lived in Brawley for a little over a year, enough to endure two summers and swear off desert living. However, I did love the winters and see why all the northerners come down here for winter time. You can't get more perfect weather than this.



Spent a while at The Rock Cafe in Brawley getting online and letting my various implements charge up. Perhaps spent a bit too much time there as I didn't get out again until just after 11pm.



Decided to take the route I'd been told towards Vegas so headed north on 111 along the Salton Sea. I've seen some interesting pictures along the shores of this body of water but had never managed to find my way close to it. I suppose I could have gone over land but my bike is ill-equipped for anything other than road travel, and finding anyone to help me right it in the middle of the flats is downright impossible.









The southern tip of the Salton Sea is a very run down area. Usually when I think of lake front property I think log cabins and such, but most of what I saw here was trailer homes, shacks, and boarded up businesses. Heading north however I began to find thick groves of palm and date trees, a much more agricultural setting. The Imperial Valley, much like the San Joaquin valley in central California, is known for it's agriculture and farming. Obviously the crops have to be hardier and more hot-weather resistant, but the mild winters allow for year round planting without fear of frost ruining a crop.

I hit I-10 and headed east a few miles, then jetted off north to Joshua Tree National Park. I had never been there before even though several acquaintances swear it's the coolest place on earth.





I tend to agree. Folks, if you ever picture the "Wild West", this is what it would be. Pictures fail to do this justice, you'd need a panoramic view to get the full splendor (and something better than a point-and-click camera).





Despite my intentions on heading into Vegas, I looked around to see if there was any camping availability. Coming in on a Friday, however, during the beginning of peak season, I was SOL on that one. It was getting late, already after 3 when I (reluctantly) left the park. My goal had been Vegas and, once again, I was behind schedule so it was time to book it. Headed north along Amboy road, gassing up in Amboy on Route 66.




Really cool lady I came across on a roadtrip with her husband.

I thought I had a riding companion for part of the way but he took off before me and I couldn't catch up. He did however give me a better/faster route to take than what I'd been intending and I headed north into Kelso. The sun was rapidly beginning to set and I was a bit nervous I'd end up riding in the dark along these narrow, not-so-beautifully paved roads. However I managed to eke out just enough light to reach Hwy 15 and the Nevada border.

Reaching Primm was amusing. The demarcation between the dark desert and the OMGBRIGHT town, filled with casinos and neon lights, is abrupt, and also ends abruptly past the one main exit. Beyond the one exit I re-entered the Dark Desert(TM) heading north on 15 towards Vegas. By now I'm beginning to get tired, so it was with relief I find the exit my host had told me about. I called Panther and he let me follow him to he and his wife's house. They fed me some to-die-for southwestern chili, we talked shop for a while (he too is a GL/CX fan) before my brain shut off and I headed up to bed.

Odometer: 36,210
Miles ridden: 362

Today (day 4) will consist of me seeing the strip of Vegas and experiencing (as much as a limited budget will allow) what someone of legal age can do in the city of lights. Should be fun, I haven't been here since I was a teenager!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The original plan of attack for this trip was to go from Vegas up to Provo UT to see some friends, but I've been looking at the weather reports and am not sure that will work for me (which sucks, but there you go). I have another week to go and am thinkin of heading to Zion NP for a day/night camping, then down around the Grand Canyon. I've been told though that the northern rim of Grand Canyon is often closed for winter. Anyone have any idea what shape that area is, or maybe another route to go? If GC won't work then maybe Sedona, but I don't want to go too much farther east as I need to be back at work by Nov. 2. Thanks for any thouhts!
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Old 10-24-2009, 10:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp
I have another week to go and am thinkin of heading to Zion NP for a day/night camping, then down around the Grand Canyon. I've been told though that the northern rim of Grand Canyon is often closed for winter. Anyone have any idea what shape that area is, or maybe another route to go? If GC won't work then maybe Sedona, but I don't want to go too much farther east as I need to be back at work by Nov. 2. Thanks for any thouhts!
Zion NP (town of Springdale) will be warm enough to camp, and plenty of tent spaces this time of year.

The GC north rim and camp sites at Jacob Lake will be chilly now -like down to 20's or 30's at night. Roads will be clear, but the elevation may have you feeling cold no matter what time of day. It's a temporary cold, though.

Flagstaff might be worth a stop on your way to Sedona. Find your way to the 'historical' area downtown, park the bike and rifle through shops, galleries, eateries, etc. Some unique and funky delis offer up good eats without charging too much.

BTW...Love the mismatched panniers, no wind screen and no GPS travel style. Less crap = more adventure!
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