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Old 04-16-2011, 09:47 PM   #16
lonesoldier84 OP
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Gallons of water (or catheter, can't remember)



Bye bye Vegas!!



But, with the soul-shattering ride to Vegas behind me, laid back days riding through sunny California and its many canyons were very welcome. I was still loaded up like a mule and made a mental note to try to get rid of as much of my luggage as I could when I got to L.A.. That was another lesson learned…..packing. I packed WAY too much ****. And then I threw a massive Jerry can on it….just retarded.







Anyway, back on topic. We enjoyed the roads through the canyons and stopped every once in a while so as to keep the overall pace of the day pretty laid back. We only had to get as far as LA.









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Old 04-16-2011, 09:47 PM   #17
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Waiting on Dirk....LOL



Finally dude.



:P

But then, during one of these stops, eagle-eyed Dirk from out east spotted something shiny and metal in my rear tire. “@$$@#$#@$#@$@” I said. #^%%^#&#$^@#$% it to hell.

Well, major kudos to Dirk for spotting it when he did. But we still had a problem. It was holding in the air, but with the big load of my rather supple ass and a ton of luggage on it, I didn’t want to go very far on it. There were a couple Ducati riders at the stop we were at and one of them offered up a spare race tire he had. We took him up on his offer and followed him home. It was fortunate for us that he had a spare tire. It was fortunate for him that I had a stupid amount of spare fuel on the back with my luggage since he was running on fumes already.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:54 PM   #18
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INTERMISSION

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjLs9iKD2E
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #19
mrphotoman
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Cool trip and photos so far and the intermission was funny as hell
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:44 PM   #20
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Thumb Intermission

I AM, into your mission. ROCK ON!!!
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:11 AM   #21
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nice trip
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:59 AM   #22
zandesiro
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Awesome report...!!


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Old 04-17-2011, 02:41 AM   #23
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Well, after I fueled the Ducati guys’ tanks up a little bit like the motorcycle fuel tanker than I was, we got rolling to pick up a spare rear race tire one of them had. The pace from this point was quite slow as we nursed my bike down the canyon roads. I was pretty pissed to be quite honest. These canyon roads were what I had been looking forward to for quite a while. But "sunny California" is right. It blew me away how beautiful the days were and how little that changed over the course of the year. I had to be in a dream. This couldn’t be a real place. Year round riding? That is worth any sacrifice. It really is. To hell with Edmonton.



Nice rides.



We finally arrived at this fellow’s place around 6 or 7 if I recall correctly. We all took the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the "Ducati Dudes" and rest up for a bit. We poked around Robert’s garage and saw tucked behind some things….a full-on Graves R6. I didn’t get a picture of it but Dirk did. I hope they don’t mind my putting it up…but I will.



Well, after we rested up a bit we got ready to head out, I grabbed the spare race tire and threw it on top of the rest of my stuff. At this point everyone thought it was pretty hilarious and I’ll admit I laughed at it too….but holy shit. Seriously, I burned into my mind the lesson learned….don’t pack so much god damned useless shit. I am not going to list all the stuff I brought….but I could have easily thrown half of it away and not have been that bothered. It’s nice to have it all, but it’s not needed. And you need to boil it down to the bare, bare minimum and essentials on a riding trip. With the rear loaded on, I felt like I was navigating a loaded camel through the desert.

We got rolling. The dealerships were closed and there was no way to mount the tires, but the tire had held up so far and so I decided to push on a little way further to a friend’s house which was about 90 minutes away. John was kind enough to give a couple of us a place to crash for the evening. That was a good night. Good times.

The next morning, John got ready to head out with us for the next stretch to Laguna Seca along the coastline. Half of us had never seen it before so we felt like kids on the way to Disneyworld.



Jesus Christ. Lesson learned....leave the sink at home.



Here I will make mention of John’s modding abilities. Not only did he create from scratch everything needed for a streetfighter conversion (eg. brackets/etc), but he MADE an exhaust system. And all of this just by tinkering around and researching things on the internet. That’s some commitment. I had seen a couple pictures before, but they didn’t do the bike justice. It was as unique as it was pleasing to look at. Great work.

Second from the right.



We had a quick breakfast and got moving. First stop was a local bike shop to get the tire mounted. They refused to help out and fit us in that morning (we were there literally as they opened too….lame). I forget what they were called otherwise I’d post the name. So we decided to roll down to Santa Barbara Motorsports since I was planning on meeting up very briefly with a friend that lives there for lunch. The guys at SBM were great. They went out of their way to get me in and my tire changed so we could get rolling again. They understood the need for expediency right in the middle of a big riding trip. Thanks gents. Anyone in the area should definitely check them out if they need anything.

So, with the tire finally on and lunch in our bellies, we finally got moving towards the ride for the day. I had left most of my stuff with my buddy in Santa Barbara since I was going to come back down after Laguna Seca. I was finally light and nimble for one of the best stretches of road of the trip. It worked out great. The highway that curls along the coastline is beyond brilliant. For someone landlocked in the Canadian prairies all his life, riding down a secondary highway along the shoreline was more than my senses could take in. The endless expanses of water, the brilliant blue skies, and this brilliant bit of tarmac snaking its way through the rocky terrain climbing as it went through numerous elevation changes and switchbacks….oh god it was epic.

Lazy bastards. Get a job ya bums.





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Old 04-17-2011, 02:46 AM   #24
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This is worth any sacrifice. It is beyond addictive. Southern California lives up to the hype and then some. I’ve seen some stretches of road in South Africa and in Australia that are similar in terms of landscape/roads. But this is within reach. It is practical if you force it a little bit. Make the sacrifice. Make the trip. You will be beyond thrilled with yourself for doing it.

Traffic was pretty light and we kept a good pace. We got to quite near Laguna Seca before we decided to stop for the night. Food is so great on riding trips. It’s like you’ve never seen food before everytime you get a meal. Love it.

The next morning we hit the road pretty early and before long we were at Laguna Seca.



Now, seeing it for the first time is brilliant. You’ve seen it on countless screens either in races or in video games. But as you come over the rise and see it nestled in its valley, and you see all the flags flapping in the wind and the circuit itself comes into view….yeah. It's pretty special.







I have a panorama shot I'll have to crop together of the full track view from the top.

But..



There was a race school in progress and a class was whipping around on Mazda MX-5’s. The urge to get out on that track with a motorbike is intense. I looked into it and th only option was to pay $2,000 - $3,000 (or something ludicrous) for a three day Skip Barber course on an RC-8. They didn’t have any open trackdays for bikes in that time window. But one day…

The corkscrew is something else. I had heard you have to see it to really get how extreme it is. And you really do. It is like driving off a cliff. You could see it on the cars hurtling over it. Full compression of their suspension followed by a complete release as it seemed like the entire undercarriage of the car just fell away. And you see the underside of the car when you’re standing near the bottom. They do fly off that thing.





I'll put up a video of the cars flying off the top later.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:47 AM   #25
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We all said our goodbyes as we were leaving Laguna. The others were carrying on to San Fran then hoofing it back East. I was going to work my way back south with John to have a couple days of surfing with my buddy in Santa Barbara. Oh, and high-powered rifle shooting. Haha, you can’t come to the States and not blow something up. His house had formed the ultimate destination of the trip as a kind of "max distance checkpoint". The concept was that everything after Santa Barabara would be "on the way home". I was going to be a tiny bit behind schedule but still had time to turn into central California to explore the canyons as I worked my way up to Northern California.

So, with the other guys gone, John and I picked up the pace a little bit on the way back south. Having a decent idea of where the really tricky bits were was good. All the corners held a steady radius or opened up as you went through them. There were very few off-cambre bits but some of the hairpins were wickedly tight. When it said 10mph corner….it was a 10mph corner.









It's like this ALL god damn year there.....Jesus.





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Old 04-17-2011, 02:48 AM   #26
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After we got about three quarters of the way through the fun bits John fell pretty far behind as he got caught behind a truck and I pressed on for a bit. I finally found a nice scenic place to stop off and waited. After a little while John pulled up and we used the time to rest up and have some water and soak in the shoreline. It is pretty peaceful when you’re not flying through it. So awesome.

There he comes.












We got rolling again. Now, I’ve mentioned I learned a number of lessons on this trip? Here was another BIG one coming up. When you stop to cool off….so do your tires. And you can’t assume the tires you have on will behave the same way as the set you "always" use. The reason I wasn’t too bothered about my tires was that I had supreme faith in them. They were race tires! And I am not a racer. Warming them up a little bit would provide infinitely more traction then I would EVER need….

Well….



This flashlight took the full brunt of it and still works well to this day. Lol.



There was a slight elevation change and the second corner of this stretch of two was much tighter than the first one.

Looking back:



Draggin Jeans < Leather.

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Old 04-17-2011, 02:49 AM   #27
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I had lined it up and was coming off the brakes and rolling back onto the throttle. I was a tiny bit quick and the rear was stepping out ever so slightly (as I have the habit of leading with the rear brake before rolling onto the throttle when I am "in-too-quick"). But I was still within my comfort zone and thought nothing of it. I got my body position sorted out during the straight-line braking portion and tipped the bike into the corner…but it tipped….all the way. Haha. I dragged my knee…..then rapidly followed that up in quick succession with my elbow, shoulder, and the side of my head.

But no big deal….right? Ok so the luggage was mangled. Whatever. So my gloves and jacket were coming apart slightly. Whatever. So your windscreen was destroyed…whatever. Grind through it you’re still good for the rest of the trip….

That’s what I was telling myself anyway. But nope.

God damn it.

Handlebars were bent quite badly and I had no front brakes. Awesome.

I had a very minimal amount I could turn her and almost ran her off the road a couple times. Any kind of speed was impossible since I couldn’t turn and even if I could I had no brakes except the rear. We nursed her back until we got to a local bike shop about 90 minutes away. That was a crazy 90 minutes. At one point John turned to me as we came up on a ton of traffic and asked with a hand signal if I was up to lane-splitting. I shrugged at him to say "what are you joking???" and he immediately nodded his head and rocketed off into traffic splitting lanes as he went. Haha, god damn it John! I couldn’t afford to lose him since I had no idea where we were so I kept up….but if anything had happened needing me to brake that would have been it for me. Ah well, if you gotta go, no better place than Southern California!

We finally got to a shop and the guys there were beyond helpful. They stayed late WELL past their 5pm closing time and got me sorted out. A set of dirtbike handlebars and brakelines off a cruiser to give me one functional caliper on the front was a massive improvement.

Now, this is where I have to tell everyone about a place called Anderson’s Pea Soup in Buelton, California. Seriously. This is probably the greatest place on earth. I have been DYING to go back. http://www.peasoupandersens.net/ So awesome. On a long day’s ride through the chilly coastal area, this stuff is beyond amazing. They give you a bunch of stuff with the soup it’s a whole big thing about it. I’d never had soup this good. I made some Cream of Mushroom in my pants as I was eating it.

We got back to Santa Barbara Motorsports and I got them to change out my rear. I now hated this race tire. "Full Bore" was the brand name. The guys at the shop told me "yeah it was an EXTREMELY hard compound tire and it was all but impossible to get on". Great. I felt like an idiot but whatever. Some lessons you have to learn the hard way. It could have been worse.

Unsafe to operate? To hell with that!



But now I wanted them to do a full check on the bike and make sure everything was good for the rest of the ride. The next day was not the peaceful day of surfing I had envisioned. John and I parted ways and I rested up in Santa Barbara for a while. I was sore but still doing alright.

Walther PPK. Bond, James Bond.



Range? Can't remember. Pushed it to medium-ish so not too close.



Good cluster for shooting at fat people. Best not rob a Dunkin Donuts when I'm around, haha.





Good friend of mine from Santa Barbara. I still hate his guts for living in such an amazing place haha.



I'm still a threat to fat people....even from a distance... :P



Well, at this point I was still pretty enthusiastic. "It’s man Vs. the world, you’re going to take a few shots" I told myself. I had been keeping score in my head of "amazing holy shit this is awesome" moments vs "god damn it you’re retarded" moments. Right now "retarded" had scored an equalizer to round out the first half, haha.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:50 AM   #28
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Definitely not as shiny as when we left home.









But, I was determined to rock on and grind through it. The best moments only happen when you gring through the shittier ones. And riding through California gunning for the Oregon coast I had heard so much about was definitely not a shitty way to spend a few days. But I never made it to the nice bit of the Oregon coast. It was bloody cold without a windscreen in the damp and cool coastal air. I turned it inland into Redwood country eventually. Within an hour or so, the mercury rocketed upwards and I was back to enjoying brilliant summer days again.

Now, Oregon….HOLY SHIT!











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Old 04-17-2011, 02:51 AM   #29
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It was just supposed to be a random state on the way back to BC….but holy hell was it awesome. Seriously turned out to be one of the best spots on the trip. I had told myself that with only 40% of my initial front-braking capacity I would take it easy…..but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Oregon was beautiful and the roads were truly remarkable. The corners were a great batch of relaxing sweepers you could hit at a comfortable speed that was quick enough to be brilliant fun and slow enough to spot wildlife. Wildlife was a big concern in this area because of how lush Oregon is. You are cutting through endless swathes of lush forest.











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Old 04-17-2011, 02:53 AM   #30
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The redwoods are huge. You think you know they are big just by seeing pictures, but seeing them in person is something else. They have been there for a VERY long time.



















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