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Old 12-01-2010, 12:47 PM   #46
JGBrown OP
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Day 6.
It was a dark and stormy night, near freezing to boot. The perfect time to start riding a new bike, on brand new tires on the interstate. According to the developing trend in my motorcycle travels, every journey, like every story must start that way. I'm now three for three, riding from Saskatchewan to BC? Leave in torrential rain, harder than I've ever seen, late in the afternoon, then ride long days staying ahead of a storm.
First leg of this trip It wasn't raining at first, although late at night and dark, but it made up for it quickly by opening up once I couldn't do anything about it.
Second leg of the trip I started early for once, but made up for it by riding through the night in freezing cold again to stay ahead of a storm.
And now, after almost a solid month in Sacramento California, we're back on the road, and the weather is the same. I wish I'd bought a lighter helmet though, my neck is getting really sore, but the lighter one was 90$ more, mine was on sale for 100$, now I think I know why.

Always get nice weather after a couple days stopped when I won't need to ride for a while.
Not much to say about the interstate, it was fast with enough lanes for even the worst driver to have space, which of course meant they all felt the need to get as close as humanly possibly to us. With so many lanes I don't see any good reason for passing on the right, but pickup truck drivers(4) and General Motors SUV drivers (2) took it to a fine art. The fine art of passing a motorcycle at night in freezing rain is a complicated matter of timing you see. It's important to only pass on the right, next you have to crowd up to the line as close as humanly possibly or even over it a bit if you can. The ideal passing speed is as fast as possible, that way you can cut back to the left without needing to use a signal, as your bunper a few feet in front of the bike is all the signal a rider needs. Bonus points for timing it so that the bike will be passing a slow car, the smaller the space to squeeze through, the more points you get, since you'll be doing a good deed, giving the bike and rider a good shower and cleaning for the next mile. The two wide open left lanes didn't offer nearly as much artistic opportunity, or chances to be charitable and give me a bath I guess.

0000 are cars/trucks 00 is me overtaking the one on the right, 000X is the person trying to pass ...... are the lanes. How would you pass in this situation? I wouldn't go right if I was in a car or a bike to pass here.
.................................................. ...
.................................................. ....
000X...00.....................................
.....................0000 ....................

For anyone arriving in San Francisco via I-80 there's a 5$ toll to get in. Cash only no cards, and no way to turn around. They'll send you a 25$ bill in the mail if you like instead though, I'm hoping I get one, if I do I'll frame it. After reading other people's experiences crossing the bridge in the day, I'm glad I did it at night, light traffic, with the bridge and city lit up made for a beautiful view, the city is much more magical, felt like being an airplane gliding in to land. The smooth precise throttle control and steering Aurora has after Larry Cargill got finished with her surgery completed that feeling.


Leaving Sacramento at 8pm in the rain I rode to San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate bridge at night I was actually able to poke along slowly without being packed in miles of cars, the ride felt like descending to land as a bird in a beautiful city of lights. I discovered a new ability of my front tire, the knobs follow the grooves in the pavement like a needle on a record, a very disconcerting experience at first.

As requested by a reader(which means the following is entirely their fault, and I hope they feel guilty for it.)
I'm having adventures already.
Aurora got a break for this one however.
I found a hostel on the internet, and remarkbly for those who know me, actually navigated my way there in only one try from memory of seeing google maps in Sacramento. No parking out front so I rode around and tried some hills that are so steep you're not allowed to drive up them(so of course I went up and down and almost tipped over). That was plenty of fun, but wasn't helping sort the parking. I found some proper motorcycle parking in front of Cafe Trieste, and went in to buy a tea. They took cash only, and I didn't have any on me, but the guy working loved bikes, owned several in the past and we talked bikes for a long time, then he gave me a free tea and sent me on my way saying "oh, the hostel you were looking to stay at is just around the corner, you can just walk over from here." I unloaded all of my gear, since I have everything but the kitchen sink, including a full sized claw hammer, it was heavy. Two saddle-bags, large rear pack, small backpack, tank bag, cooler with tarps etc in it, tripod bag, helmet and a spare rear tire. A lot to carry on foot, in a full insulated suit and armored jacket. Arriving at the hostel after 20 minutes hard work, a lot farther than just around the corner. Thankfull to have made it as my gear weighs more than I do, only to discover that they were full! They knew of a hostel just a couple blocks further, which turned into 14 blocks by the time I'd walked past it and back again. I would walk as far as I could, at first I could make it three blocks, stop and rest and lift it all and go again. By the end I was lucky to make it halfway down a block, and get moving again only with the realization that I had no other options, and a fair bit of cursing. I could feel every muscle in my back, and actually had muscles give out, something I haven't done since I quit working as a stone mason.
Finally someone in a bar saw me stumbling past, spotting the helmet and spare tire realized I wasn't just a nutter cursing at thin air and carting about a bizarre array of bags and a tire.

He came out, grabbed my bags, and took them inside, looked up the hostel on a computer, which was back the way I had just walked and told me I could leave my stuff there until I'd sorted out the hostel. Turned out he was a fellow rider, with a KLR250 for getting around San Francisco. I wouldn't normally trust my stuff to anyone, but at that point I wouldn't have cared if they sold it so long as I didn't have to carry it one step farther.
Dave, the manager of Pacific Trade Winds, the hostel I'd missed turned about to be another rider. He came down and helped me carry my bags back, poor guy had a speed triple stolen here. That story led to a sleepless night of worrying about Aurora for me. Definitely a great place to stay. The girl working the desk even stayed past the end of her shift to get me sorted out with a bed etc. As a bonus, on the weekend there is free parking out front of the hostel all weekend until 2am sunday night when the lane reverts back to bus only. If you are passing through on a bike, I don't think you can find a better place to stay. The beds have enormous lockers underneath that could even fit hard bags, or in my case 5 bags a helmet and a tire. The hostel is brilliantly run, and the cleanest nicest I've ever stayed in. Dave even knew all the local hidden spots to park a bike for free indefintely. Meals were all shared, and the age of the other guests ranged from 18 to 60, everyone talking and eating made for a great stay. Dave took us out for a night on the town, he knew of a Castro bar with an 80's night every monday, with 80 cent beer and 2 dollar drinks. For those of you who aren't from the USA, the Castro is the gay area of San Francisco. That was a different experience, I sadly managed to offend a friendly couple. A guy and his partner; either the most perfectly transgendered guy I've ever seen, or who was actually a girl invited me over. I didn't really expect someone to be quite so forward, or put what they wanted quite so bluntly, I do wish that someone had a chance to take a picture of my expression however. I was pretty embarrassed. If I'd asked a girl something like what I was asked I bet I'd have been slapped. They were pretty mad at me after I think. I felt a bit bad, different rules for different places, but still, I wouldn't have minded at least being asked my name first!

The bar mixed the stiffest drinks I've ever come across, a large glass full of vodka with a small splash of whatever juice you were hoping for. Two drinks was enough for me, so I retired to a couch with all our coats for the rest of the evening. Proving that age is no barrier, the older gentlemen from the hostel, a filmmaker from Iran and a British traveler came along. They broke out some incredibly dance moves, if I can move like that when I'm their age, I'll feel younger than I do now.
The next day I was sad to leave, the hostel felt like a home rather than a buisness.
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JGBrown screwed with this post 12-03-2010 at 02:24 PM
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:00 PM   #47
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Ok, the bike build page on the blog is fixed and updated. Problem was the user(me) Program was.
Thanks again for catching that. I gotta get moving but I'll try to get the ADV thread up to date tonight.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:32 AM   #48
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The next day I was sad to leave, the hostel felt like a home rather than a business.



It seems I forgot some pictures in my last post, so here they are now:
People from the hostel, and enjoying a great meal before we went out, really a great communal place, the great food didn't hurt either.

I think someone else might have snapped this picture, but I'm not 100% on that. I liked it enough that I'm including it anyways.



While packing up to leave I recreated my look minus the insulated suit, now imagine me like this wearing a full insulated waterproof suit underneath my coat wandering downtown sweating and cursing. No wonder I got strange looks. The waterproof suit was fantastic at keeping water and sweat in, I think that it might have just been made inside out by mistake.





Couple other travelers and Aurora all packed up




I made an obligatory stop at Triple Aught Design(Tadgear.com), makers of the finest outdoor gear I've used, I lived in one of their stealth hoodies for a couple years, waterproof comfortable and durable, sold it to a friend, no idea what happened to it now. Much of their gear is made in the USA, and always the highest quality materials and design. Used by people who rely on their equipment for their livelihood, from biologists to military. Patrick Ma, the owner and designer came out to talk, he was still at work late on a Sunday afternoon. He's the real deal, a designer and entrepreneur who rides, and explores the world with the gear he designs, we talked about routes through South America, and his time in Patagonia and Chile working with biologists and exploring the wilds.
He hooked me up with the right gear, one of their hard shell raincoats to ride in, and I bought one of their ranger hoodies originally I had thought merino wool offered many advantages over fleece, but I followed the excellent advice about durability and temperature range from him, the fleece is windproof, warmer and much more durable. Despite the thinness of both, they are vastly superior to my bulky insulating layers and zip in goretex liner, in durability and functionality. The hoods are a little tricky to manage with the armors collar but fantastic off the bike. My previous equipment has always soaked through or left me cold within a couple hours of riding. My rain-suit dyed me and my clothing bright blue when it leaked, and left me marinading in a large puddle of water within 20 minutes of starting out from Sacramento. So far the ranger hoodie and raincoat has kept my core warm riding all the way down to freezing, and I basically only take the hoodie off to change, I wear it all day and sleep in it too, as the the weather has been so cold.
Patrick and the newest member of the Tadgear team



Patrick, Aurora and I



I made it back on the road south about four o'clock well fed and rested, after a lot of route discussion with Dave and a cage driver about the best routes, I settled on Hwy 1 and rolled out.
Took a couple pictures of buildings on the way






Riding up towards twin peaks



I rode up over twin peaks before, got an amazing sunset out of it, this first picture with the tower is straight from the camera, no real post processing. The others I played with the colours a bit since I didn't capture it quite right again like the first one.










Heading down the other side towards the highway



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Logbook for
motorcycle travelers I'm developing, draft now available for review.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=739193


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Old 12-03-2010, 05:54 AM   #49
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I love your ADV CX500!
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:43 AM   #50
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Finished bike looks good. Now to head south!
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:24 AM   #51
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This is great so far. In.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:43 AM   #52
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:00 PM   #53
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I've edited my first post some, because it seems that by linking my blog in the signature, I'm showing up in google pretty well when people look for my blog. There were some things which are true, but too personal to be ending up in google records I think. If only ride reports was like Jo momma, I could leave it all in.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:05 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGBrown View Post
"...With so many lanes I don't see any good reason for passing on the right, but pickup truck drivers(4) and General Motors SUV drivers (2) took it to a fine art. The fine art of passing a motorcycle at night in freezing rain is a complicated matter of timing you see. It's important to only pass on the right, next you have to crowd up to the line as close as humanly possibly or even over it a bit if you can. The ideal passing speed is as fast as possible, that way you can cut back to the left without needing to use a signal, as your bunper a few feet in front of the bike is all the signal a rider needs. Bonus points for timing it so that the bike will be passing a slow car, the smaller the space to squeeze through, the more points you get, since you'll be doing a good deed, giving the bike and rider a good shower and cleaning for the next mile. The two wide open left lanes don't offer nearly as much artistic opportunity, or chances to be charitable."

If I read this correctly, I can only offer this as a possible explanation. Not an agreement with any dangerous actions of course, but maybe an insight...


A lot of people take the "Slower Traffic Keep Right!" philosophy very seriously.

Personally, I say live and let live for the most part in such circumstances as giant multi-lane highways where the traffic behind the non-keeping right slowpoke has ample opportunity to pass however they want, but generally speaking, I can see the short fuse being burned when traffic tampons clog up the works by steadfastly refusing to stay right.

Simply for the sake of not becoming a red smear on the pavement due to a road rager, and sincerely not wanting to impede others with my own lack of speed, I never camp out in any lane other than the right-most one for anything other than a quick pass if I can.

Stay safe, mate. I want to keep reading your adventures!
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:40 PM   #55
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Well said L.B.S. Reading that passage made me cringe. Unfortunately, failure to yield the passing lane is an absolute epidemic in some areas. Please use your road sense to avoid these dangerous situations. Learn from the actions of those drivers. Remove yourself from the danger by moving over to the right.

Have a great adventure
Ride safe
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:10 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.B.S. View Post
If I read this correctly, I can only offer this as a possible explanation. Not an agreement with any dangerous actions of course, but maybe an insight...


A lot of people take the "Slower Traffic Keep Right!" philosophy very seriously.
I'm afraid I fall under "A lot of people".. It makes me crazy when slow vehicles are in the left lane.. Maybe its from having been on the Autobahn, but the way they use that highway is brilliant. Left lane is the fast (Passing) lane, stay out of it unless you are passing someone.. Its illegal in many states to pass on the right and its also becoming illegal in more and more states to hold up traffic in the left lane. Utah passed a law about holding up traffic in the left lane on the freeway a few years ago but it really isn't enforced.. The big factor that needs consideration is that if someone is going faster than you and you are holding them up in the left lane they are more than likely going to get upset then make a rash move to pass you on the right if you don't move over.. Then safety is a factor along with possible road rage.

Remember this phrase.. "drive right, pass left" Interpreted, driver correct, stay in the right lane except to pass..

Be safe and have an incredible adventure! Im green with envy!!
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:17 PM   #57
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I'm afraid I fall under "A lot of people".. It makes me crazy when slow vehicles are in the left lane.. Maybe its from having been on the Autobahn, but the way they use that highway is brilliant. Left lane is the fast (Passing) lane, stay out of it unless you are passing someone.. Its illegal in many states to pass on the right and its also becoming illegal in more and more states to hold up traffic in the left lane. Utah passed a law about holding up traffic in the left lane on the freeway a few years ago but it really isn't enforced.. The big factor that needs consideration is that if someone is going faster than you and you are holding them up in the left lane they are more than likely going to get upset then make a rash move to pass you on the right if you don't move over.. Then safety is a factor along with possible road rage.

Remember this phrase.. "drive right, pass left" Interpreted, driver correct, stay in the right lane except to pass..

Be safe and have an incredible adventure! Im green with envy!!
Exactly my point, I was riding in the correct lane for my speed, I was doing always about 10-15 mph more than the cars in the right lane, so I was passing continually, maybe a car every 30 seconds to a minute, as it was a 3 and 4 lane side to the interstate, there was always two perfectly good empty lanes to my left, literally empty, at least 500m in either direction when I was getting passed, often up to no car in sight in either direction in those lanes. It would have made very little sense for me to ride there just so they could enjoy passing me on the right. This left no logical reason for them to be going to the right, cutting in between a slower vehicles rear bumper and over onto me, other than the entertainment value of doing so. It baffles me to be honest. I never had it happen since.
0000 are cars/trucks 00 is me overtaking the one on the right, 000X is the person trying to pass ...... are the lanes. How would you pass in this situation? I wouldn't go right if I was in a car or a bike to pass here.
.................................................. ...
.................................................. ....
000X...00.....................................
.....................0000 ....................
__________________
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Logbook for
motorcycle travelers I'm developing, draft now available for review.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=739193

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Old 12-03-2010, 02:24 PM   #58
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Well, one thing that is constant and will never change is that there are some stupid drivers out there.. Hopefully they werent just messing with you creating an unsafe situation.. The big hope is that you don't run into another situation like that again and that the remainder of your trip is a safe one!
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:29 PM   #59
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Exactly my point, I was riding in the correct lane for my speed, I was doing always about 10-15 mph more than the cars in the right lane, so I was passing continually, maybe a car every 30 seconds to a minute, as it was a 3 and 4 lane side to the interstate, there was always two perfectly good empty lanes to my left, literally empty, at least 500m in either direction when I was getting passed, often up to no car in sight in either direction in those lanes. It would have made very little sense for me to ride there just so they could enjoy passing me on the right. This left no logical reason for them to be going to the right, cutting in between a slower vehicles rear bumper and over onto me, other than the entertainment value of doing so. It baffles me to be honest. I never had it happen since.
0000 are cars/trucks 00 is me overtaking the one on the right, 000X is the person trying to pass ...... are the lanes. How would you pass in this situation? I wouldn't go right if I was in a car or a bike to pass here.
.................................................. ...
.................................................. ....
000X...00.....................................
.....................0000 ....................

In this instance I would chalk it up as "asshats" then.

George Carlin: Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a moron.



Or something along those lines
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:34 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by L.B.S. View Post
In this instance I would chalk it up as "asshats" then.

George Carlin: Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a moron.



Or something along those lines
True, but if they didn't like my moronic driving, they had two good open lanes to the left to pass in. If they felt like using signals it would actually have required less hand effort to pass on the left and push down. I'm still baffled by it.
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Logbook for
motorcycle travelers I'm developing, draft now available for review.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=739193

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