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Old 11-21-2010, 10:41 PM   #1
abhicles OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
LA to Seattle, then Border to Border in 24 hours

Hello everyone! My name's Abhi - long time lurker but I've learned a ton from scouring these boards. Anyway, I though it was time to give back and share a ride of mine I recently took. Backstory: I live in LA and had to be in Seattle for work. My boss let me take a couple of days off beforehand so I could take the coast up, take care of the conference, then do an IBA Border to Border Insanity ride on the way back.

Special thanks to Wayne, an ADV'er who helped me out when I was in a bind in Oregon, as well as Drake who gave me some advice over the phone when I was stuck. Thanks for reading!

So, here we go:

Got some work done before the trip, including a new set of tires. Anyone need an excellent BMW mechanic in Los Angeles? I highly recommend Valdi and David at Valdi's MotoZone in Carson.

This is Katie, my 1988 BMW K75C - 113k miles or so at the start of this trip, I ended up adding just over 3,000 miles by the end of it. That's Baby Jack on the back.

My first gas stop - breaking in a new tire the boring way - straight freeways out to Ventura.

I always enjoy looking at cloud formations when on the bike.

Every chance I get when I ride up north I try to stop by Casa de Fruta, an excellent fruit shop. I guess I'm used to it now because I didn't bother taking a picture of the store itself, just this water wheel around the back.

I was more surprised by the fact that Recaro makes baby seats.

Baby Jack made a friend before we left Casa de Fruta.

Friend of mine recommended a restaurant (Cafe Brasil) for when I got to Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, by the time I got there it had already closed. This was actually a blessing in disguise - because I stumbled upon "burger." Unique burgers and 37 taps of the good stuff.

The Luther.

and the Phatty. Sadly, I didn't want to die because I fell asleep on the bike from a food coma, so I didn't have either of these. Though I did partake in a few local brews - one of my favorite parts of this trip was trying beers from the PNW that I'd never had before.

Took the 17 up but it was a little too wet to truly enjoy it. Someone found that out the hard way.

Stayed at a friend's place in Sacramento.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:27 PM   #2
abhicles OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
Day 2

The next morning, a cat did not seem pleased to see me as I was leaving.

Saw this randomly outside a fire station and had to see what was going on. Friend of mine later suggested they were practice vehicles for the Jaws of Life. I don't know any better so I'll just go with that.

I'm a huge CR-X fan. This made me sad.

Beware the falling pumpkins of death!

Finally hit the coast again at Bodega Bay. Got stuck behind a Harley for a little bit.

Saw a bunch of these signs, which were new to me.

Drove by a woman painting so I had to go back and say hi. Very cool lady -she's out every weekend painting whatever she wants. Check out her website if you want!

This guy was really throwing his weight around to keep the sail going - very cool to watch.

Appropriately named, as it took you right to the coast. Not sure it counts if it's only 5 blocks long, though.

The day before I had passed by a circus with an elephant just walking around giving rides. I was annoyed with myself so this is my make-up elephant photo.

Some part of PCH, I don't really remember.

Had to pull over for this - a salmon stand nowhere near any sort of city (though I realize that's a relative term for a lot of you guys)

Nice Canadian dude runs the stand. Bought some and put it on ice to save for later.

Figured this was as good of a place as any to stop for lunch.

Yum. Couldn't decide between the Brother Thelonious because it was fresh from the brewery or the ACME IPA because it's so hard to find in LA. So I had both.

I loved the redwoods. Very, very cool.

Some more.

It was closed, so I wasn't able to explore what this was besides 'obviously-named'.

They make some of these wood sculptures out with a chainsaw. Power tools = instantly cool, but still: who's ever going to buy the Shrek one, you know?

Heard about this years ago when I moved to CA from Massachusetts, and it was finally time to check it out!

Shamefully, this is probably the dirtiest my bike's ever been. Making progress, I guess.


Leaving the drive-thru tree I saw this sign. I smiled, knowing I'd be in both of those countries very soon.

Hit the end of the 1!

Don't know why, but someone threw some paint on the road. Could lead to some cool visuals.

I think this is the farthest I was from my bike all trip.

Last gas stop of the night - still dirty from my muddy road excursion.

Got quite dark late at night.

As it was halloween, I felt that baby jack deserved a night out on town. Some girl dressed up in a costume gave him some candy.

End of a day = more good beer.

Unpacked and she's resting.

Done for the night just before the CA/OR border. More to come soon!
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:21 AM   #3
needs improvement
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Wow! What a great way to start posting!
I went somewhere once and came back.
It was kind of fun. I just might do it again.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:28 AM   #4
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What a great ride. Thanks for taking us along

ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:19 PM   #5
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Location: In 5th gear... looking for 6th
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Great first ride report, keep it coming. That part of northern California and southern Oregon is stunning. Nice old beemer too, and btw, the goal is to have a dirty bike! It means your "out there". Not home in your garage. Enjoy.


1997 Honda Valkyrie, 1998 Kawasaki KLR 650
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:12 AM   #6
abhicles OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
Day 3 - Oregon

Thanks for the comments, guys! I know I'm a little sparse on the comments but I figure the photos tell enough of a story. I'm actually planning a ride into Baja for Thanksgiving so I'm juggling that and finishing this report up. Anyway, we continue with the start of day 3.

The sun greets me as I head out in the morning.

Well, it's a ship ashore...

First time I've been in Oregon, so I'm obligated to take a picture of the welcome sign!

Somewhere off the 101.

Crap! My first experience filling up in Oregon. I had heard in the past that attendants have to fill up your gas in this state, but I didn't remember this so I was startled when the attendant approached from behind. Apparently motorcycles are exempt from the law, so I filled up my tank and...promptly over-filled. I wasn't paying attention and the automatic stop didn't work! Oh well - now there's a slight fade in the paint where I put too much pressure trying to clean the excess gas up. It's one thing to fuck up, it's another thing to be reminded of your error every time you sit on the bike. Ugh.

No matter - I cross the Rogue River, which means I'm getting closer to my favorite brewery in the world - Rogue! Hell, I'm currently enjoying a bomber of Dead Guy as I write this. Yum.

Stopped at the Prehistoric Gardens - inside the gift shop there was a map of the Oregon Coast. The cashier told me that each city along the coast is apparently approximately 27 miles from each other, as this was the distance that could be covered by someone on horseback in a day. Don't know if it's true, but it's logical and I'm sticking with it.

Cool sign at the Prehistoric Gardens.

That's me, and my bike. And some Indian dude.

Here I met Tomas and his family. They're Austrian, and oddly enough, doing the same trip as me - Los Angeles to Seattle. They rented a Suburban to do the trip. It was his first time in America, and he wanted to check out the Pacific Coast. Good choice, I say.

Charlie the Tuna Statue

This photo is a lie. I actually just left North Bend but didn't want to u-turn, so I just stopped and took a photo while looking back. Oh well.

I LOVE bridges, particularly drawbridges. There were a ton to check out, unfortunately none in action.

I have a rare name, so this totally caught me by surprise. What are the chances? Yes, an Indian dude runs it. And yes, I went by it and had to turn around just so I could take a picture of it.

These were the windiest conditions I've ever been in on a bike. Here I stopped at some sea lion caves, but even on the sidestand Katie was shaking so much I was worried she'd topple over, so I just hopped back on and took off.

Before I hopped off, I had to take a picture of this lighthouse across the bay. Yay for 15x optical zoom from a pocket camera!

I used to think this bike was terrible looking. After 15 months and 32,000 miles, she's slowly grown on me.

ROGUE! Not just that, but Katie has some company. Two guys from a local Ducati dealership were waiting for a guy named Paolo Pirozzi ( Ducati sponsored this guy to take a new Multistrada around the world, and he was supposed to show up at the dealer today for a promotional event. We were following him on a SPOT tracker but at some point he turned around so the employees bailed to find out what was going on.

This doesn't show just how damn wet it was outside.

My gear is drying at Brewer's on the Bay, which means I'm about to have some beer from my favorite brewery in the world - Rogue!

You have to walk through the brewery to get to the restaurant. One of their mascots is a black lab, hence the sign.

Decided I'd rather just go drink beer than bother with a tour.


The current list at the restaurant. So many that I hadn't tried before!

In an effort to try as many new beers as possible, I tried a sampler. They give you the piece of paper, you write down which 4 you want to try and it all comes back to be enjoyed.

Haha, this is not a duplicate. I just wanted to try more.

Okay, this needs some explanation. After my joyous moment of enjoying beers at Rogue, things went horribly, horribly wrong. 5 miles south of Lincoln City I noticed that the instrument panel on Katie has gone completely dead - but she's still working. I decide to wait till I get into the city to try and figure out what's wrong. I park at Chevron and realize that fuse #1 has blown. Katie won't start. I replace it with another 7.5 amp immediately blows as well. Crap. Tried another fuse, and had a brief moment of success - documented here, but the fuse blew within 10 seconds.

Walk 1/2 a mile to the hardware store to pick up more fuses.

The dreaded fuse block. 2 HOURS go by of me trying to find where the short is. I give up, pull out my BMW MOA book and look to see if there's anyone in Lincoln City that's willing to help. I luck out. Get in touch with a guy named Wayne who drives out to meet me. Once we determine that we're pretty much SOL, he sets me up in a motel down the street, gets me the local's rate, and tells me about a mechanic buddy of his that might be able to help next morning.

I put Katie away for the night. Tired, wet, and incredibly pissed off, I wasn't in the mood to take photos of what was going on while things were apart.

The Anchor Inn. Very kitschy and dirt cheap, although the amenities reflected it. My cell phone got wet and was acting up, and the wireless internet barely worked. I downloaded a wiring diagram for my bike and reached out to the BMW dealership in Portland, 80 miles away, just in case.

I got a couple of portable heaters because the normal room heater was busted. I was fairly dry myself, so instead I used them to dry all my personal belongings. Didn't really work that well.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:13 AM   #7
abhicles OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
Day 4

The next morning. I'm up at 6 ready to look at Katie, but it's still wet and dark outside. I go back to bed. 8am - the sun's out. Hopefully the short is water related and has dried out?
No such luck. Wayne has put my problem up on a couple of internet message boards (including ADV), and I get a couple of people who send me their numbers and want me to call them. I start to disassemble the bike at the gas station again, looking for common problems per the advice I receive on the phone. Still blows fuses instantly.

Before resigning myself to getting it towed to BMW. I wheel it down to Wayne's friend's shop. We unplug nearly every circuit in an attempt to find where the short is.

3 hours later...success! All the rain from the night before had worked itself into atight spot where a wire had previously been pinched. It was just enough to short said wire against the handlebar. I finally stop panicking.

I go back to Wayne's to wash up and formally say bye. My hero heads back, Western-style. The sheer amount of generosity exhibited by this guy was outrageous. 2 hours into tearing down the bike, he said that if we couldn't find the short in time, he'd offer to lend me his backup motorcycle to take to Seattle. I mean...who does that?
Unfortunately, I have to modify the route so I can get to Seattle in time, so there wont' be any exploration of NW Washington for me.

Why it's called Lincoln City - our 16th president.

1/2 way between the equator and the north pole. Very cool.

Large fishing pole.

2 o'clock rolled around and I realized that due to the bike trouble, I hadn't had anything to eat yet. Tillamook Cheese?! Problem solved.

The company makes more than cheese - they also do ice cream, for example. I had to take a picture of the hat the ice cream servers were wearing.

New state sign = automatic photo.

There was a surprising amount of this in WA.

That's a big freakin' boat

As long as it's not an electrical problem, I don't really care anymore.

People are trusting in rural WA.


Sunset -a bit later

It was so cold that I didn't take another photo until I got to the ferry. I was a huge nerd about this - I've always wanted to take a motorcycle on a ferry, and this was my chance!

Motorcycles are loaded up first. Baby Jack waves hi.

I had no idea what the ferry schedule was, and so I got there at 7:30. Unfortunately, the ferry pretty much leaves every x:30, so I had to wait an hour for the next one.

They made me de-nozzle my aux fuel can.

On board the ferry. Too dark to take pictures of anything meaningful, so I didn't bother. However, walking around I did find a history of the boat, which I thought was very cool. This is because I'm a nerd. =)

Finally. 4 days and almost exactly 1500 miles later, I'm where I need to be. It was back to reality for a few days of work at the AAPMR conference, and then the Iron Butt run from border to border. That will come soon! Thanks for reading so far.

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Old 11-23-2010, 06:43 AM   #8
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Good story and pix - I like the beer stuff. I also noticed a J-ville Beach sign at Sea Birds - a touch of FL out west? I guess unless there is a one out there as well?
Well played on the bike fix as well. Remember the bike love you give is the bike love you get. Always good to pay it fwd. Big ups to your heros.

Guns keep society safe.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Cali
Oddometer: 165
Good stuff Abhi, keep it coming.

Love the older bikes, makes the adventure that much more fun! :)
2003 Ninja 250
2004 ST1300
2009 Ninja 650R - Sold
1982 NightHawk 450cc - Sold
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:27 PM   #10
abhicles OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
A few days in Seattle

Russell - thanks! I'd love a new-ish K1200r (or a hundred other new bikes), but there's something about putting more and more miles on this bike that I love. She treats me well. I think I'm at 118k or so now.

So, finally having arrived in Seattle I had a few days to take care of work and generally relax. No riding photos in this post, unfortunately. I took a ton of photos in Seattle so I'll try to pick only a few.

View from the hotel room.

Exploring Pike's Market. Who cares about the first Starbucks when you've got signs like this?

A rare day in Seattle when clouds/fog don't obscure everything. It didn't last.

Qwest Field

Why I was in Seattle in the first place.

Didn't really bother with any more photos from the week during the conference. After it ended my girlfriend joined me to explore the city.

I'm annoyed I didn't get a better photo of this - guy and his wife had to take off to catch a ferry after we chatted for a bit. K100 with a sidecar!

The Gum Wall in Post Alley near Pike's Market

On our way to check out the Fremont Troll, we saw this car. Can't tell what the stickers are?

Well, ninjas and Jesus, of course!

Fremont Troll - built under a bridge just north of downtown.

Saw this tiny boat on the way to check out Gasworks Park

Gasworks. I thought this park was awesome. Shame about the weather.

At the top of the park is a sundial that gets use, what, 1/6th of the year?
Here it collects water. I liked the ripples created by her boots.

Seaplane comes in for a landing. Must have been cool to be one of those rowers and have a boat come in right over you.

Another part of Gasworks.

Headed over to a bar to check out the USC football game. Thanks to the wonders of mobile internet, we were able to figure out where the USC Alumni Association of Seattle (or something like that) was going to watch the game, so we headed over to the bar, the name of which I can't remember. I'm originally from Boston, so the duck boats made me nostalgic.

Right after the ASU kicker blew a field goal to give USC the win. Woohoo!

Checked out the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Space Needle the next day.

Not much to say about this one.

Checked out the UW campus and decided to grab a beer nearby. My kind of clock.

Stopped by Ezell's Fried Chicken. Delicious!

But nuggets are tasty!

Went to Elysian to try their beers. Couldn't believe the color of this one, though it was a little too weird for me - some sort of chocolate/cherry mashup.

After the girlfriend flew back home, I headed up to Vancouver to explore a little and get some rest before I tried the border to border ride.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:06 PM   #11
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
Border to Border in 24 hours

Well, Vancouver was awesome - if I didn't have to get back home soon I would have tried to spend a week there. However, as much as I wanted to explore, I didn't want to make the same mistake I did the last time I tried an IBA ride. Back when I did the 1500 miles in 36 hours, I somehow managed to start after a full day of work. Needless to say, I had to take a couple of naps on the way. So, this time I'd make sure I'd get some rest before I set off to try and cross the country in 24 hours...

But first, checking out Vancouver!

First, I had to cross the border.

A very attractive border agent started questioning me. Then questioning my trip. Then, I think, questioning my sanity.

No matter, she let me through and I was into the best place on earth.

Canadian-only vehicles amuse me. Case in point - the Acura EL. AKA, a fancy Civic.

Goofed around Vancouver not really knowing what to do. Eventually I called a friend who loves this city and she gave me some ideas.

My trusty steed gets her first rest on foreign soil. I was next to the stadium where the Canucks play.

Even the clouds were more exciting in Canada. Or I was just losing it.

Misc. shots in Vancouver.

Wanted to grab some beer... I went to Steamworks.

My last of approximately 25 new beers I had tried during this trip.

My friend Adrienne recommended a hostel to get some rest at. On my way I noticed this - Pursuit is such a better name than G5!

Oddly enough, the public parking on the street was just...on the sidewalk. Still paid a meter and such.

Hosteling International. I explained I'd be out by 10pm (it was around 5pm at the time), and the clerk took care of me. Charged me the rate to share a room with 3 others ($30 plus tax), but put me in a room for 2 and promised he wouldn't book the room to anyone else until I left. Excellent.

Utilized the free-wifi to take care of a couple of work-related things and then caught some sleep. The plan was to leave around 11pm (on Sunday), so I could ride all Monday, get into Mexico around 11-ish, spend a little time in TJ and then head back home to Los Angeles, get a few hours of sleep and head into work on Tuesday.

Well, I left Surrey, BC around 11:15pm - got a pleasant gas station attendant to sign my starting witness form and took off. I was in such a rush (and it was so cold the entire morning) that I didn't bother to take photos. In fact, I promised myself that I wouldn't risk the extra time required to stop and take photos to make sure I got to Mexico in time. This photo was my first stop after sunshine - I grabbed a quick breakfast at some cafe and was entranced by the fog. One of very, very few photos from today - so if you were looking for excellent documentation of the border to border ride I'm sorry to disappoint.

Hours later, I found something that was worth pulling over for, as it was the first time I'd seen it - Mt. Shasta.

Zoomed in a little bit.

My only other photo stop -a beautiful sign.

Okay, that's not true - I turned around to find this evil face of a sunset staring at me.

BAM - got lost in downtown TJ trying to find a gas station. This is the back of the "welcome to tijuana" sign - but I didn't actually realize that until later while I was fumbling around. Finally, I decided to break out my terrible Spanish and ask someone to help me find gas.

Success! Got my receipt - final time, 23 hours and 15 minutes.

Thought about exploring Tijuana a little bit but I really wasn't prepared for it, so I decided I'd head back to LA and call it a night - not before stopping to grab some cheese enchiladas, of course.

While waiting in line at customs I figured I'd try to get the agent to sign my ending witness form, as I couldn't get anyone in town too. He "politely" said no. Oh well, hopefully the gas station receipt is proof enough. If not, who cares - I know I did it.

A couple of photos at the border and that wraps things up. I was so tired I didn't really bother with photos of anything else, just went up the 5 and headed back to West LA. Home sweet home.

However, my couple of hours in TJ piqued my interest to check out Mexico some more, so right after Thanksgiving I'm taking Katie down the Baja Peninsula to explore for a few days! Hope it's just as enjoyable as this trip was.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Kind of quick report, and it pales in comparison to what a lot of you have done, but I had a great time and inspired by Wayne I figured I should share with the community that I've taken a lot of great stories from.

Oh, and as a little bonus: Why my bike is named Katie. The day I bought the bike and brought her to work, my boss's border collie (also named Katie) went right up and took a liking to the bike. The dog matches the bike, so I thought, why not?

Safe travels, and thanks for spending some of your time reading about my trip!
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:23 PM   #12
bike curious
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: california
Oddometer: 1,106
Thanks for posting the trip report!

Originally Posted by abhicles
This photo is a lie. I actually just left North Bend but didn't want to u-turn, so I just stopped and took a photo while looking back. Oh well.
Oddly enough when you're in North Bend, Oregon, you're to the south of Bend Oregon. Not due south tho...

davidji screwed with this post 11-23-2010 at 10:29 PM
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:28 AM   #13
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Sacramento
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Nice report. You truly do have an iron butt. Did you sleep or nap at all during the border to border run?
Life's too mysterious,
Don't take it serious.

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Old 11-25-2010, 02:44 AM   #14
abhicles OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 78
David - Thanks! I never would have known that. And frankly, that's just weird.

Orion - thanks for the love. No, I didn't - but only because I got a few hours of sleep before I head off. When I did the 1500 miles in 36 hours I had to pull over to nap 2 separate times. It was the result of poor planning and I was determined not to repeat my mistake. Oddly enough, the moments where I felt the most tired/wanted to pull over and sleep were early in my journey - 3am, 4am etc. when there was nothing but darkness and rain. I prevented any misfortune by pulling over twice at gas stations for approximately 30 minutes and chatting with gas station attendants while I tried to warm up and stay awake. Once the sun came out I was golden.

I will say that because I live in West LA, I actually came within 30 miles or so of home on the way down to Mexico. It took a surprising amount of deliberation to prevent me from turning west and heading home instead of continuing south. I think what finally got me over the hump was the fear of being upset at myself if I had made it basically 4/5ths of the way and then decided to bail. Yay for self-inflicted peer pressure!
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:02 AM   #15
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Very enjoyable report.
Just right for some light Thanksgiving morning reading.

Tough ride, congratulations, good thing I lived that through you, so I don't have to do it. Wow.
"got no problem with keeping truly roadless areas as wild....
On the other hand, if it has been logged or mined and roads already exist,,
...then that land should be open for public use" (peterman)
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