ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Day Trippin'
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-29-2011, 11:48 AM   #1
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Wink First ride in the USA: LA to Lake Tahoe and back

Hi everybody.

A month ago I posted this thread on the "Trip Planning" Foruns:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=709300

It was about my preparation for my first (short) trip on US soil. If you don't want to follow the link, here is a quick overview:

I'm from Portugal, and I had to be in Los Angeles and South Lake Tahoe for the first half of August. Instead of travelling by plane, I decided to rent a bike from EagleRider and ride from LA to Tahoe, work there, and then ride back to Los Angeles to get on the plane back home. Here is the trip:

* I was in Los Angeles from the 1st to the 5th of August working.
* Then I left for South Lake Tahoe on the evening of the 5th. I had to arrive there at 6pm, on Sunday the 7th (which I did).
* I stayed in South Lake Tahoe until the evening of the 11th.
* I left for LA on that evening and returned my bike 24 hours later.
* I got on the plane back home from LA on the morning of the 13th.

So I had 2 days to go from La to South Lake Tahoe, and 1 day to make the return trip. Thanks to good advice I got, both here and on an BMW R90S list, I had a great trip.

I'll post here a kind of a report of what happened (not much, really).

Just a side note: I own a BMW R90S from 1974, which I haven't ridden in 16 years! You can guess I was a bit nervous for this trip .


Here is the panned route: west side of the Sierra going north, and the 395 (east side) going south.


paulotex screwed with this post 09-27-2011 at 01:21 PM Reason: Added a R90S link and the overview of the trip
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
First day Friday, 5th August, evening: From Los Angeles to Visalia

First day
Friday, 5th August, evening
From Los Angeles to Visalia

Friday, 5th August, was my my sixth day in LA. All I had done since arriving the previous Sunday was work at UCLA until evening, and then spend sometime with friends or alone. Friday afternoon was the time to pick up my motorcycle and start the ride north to South Lake Tahoe.

At lunch time a colleague invited me to lunch at a local Thai restaurant. I took the opportunity to buy a USB battery charges, so I could charge my phone during the trip using the bike's battery. This way I was hoping I could use the phone's GPS if it was needed.

I also bought "Cold Medicine", a liquid you can drink that relieves the symptoms for some hours. I was feeling a sore throat since the previous evening, and it was not getting any better. In fact, the throat was a bit better, but I was getting a "whole body feeling" that a cold was coming.

After lunch I sat at the computer to work for a few more hours before leaving, but I could feel the nervousness and excitement arriving. I really couldn't concentrate. Not only I was going to ride an unknown bike in an unknown country, it was also going to be my first ride in 16 years!

At 3:30pm I got a ride to the Eaglerider place close to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). When I got there, I had a few problems to solve:

First, my credit card didn't allow for a $2000 deposit. I wanted to go for the VIP Insurance, but that required that amount to be reserved on the card. Instead, I had to go for the EVIP, which is more expensive per day, but only needs a $1000 deposit. There was a moment there where I thought that even that would be refused, and that I would have to find another way to make that deposit. Luckily, my credit card was fully "loaded", so I could reserve the $1000. First problem solved.

After this problem was solved, I realized how tiny the luggage space was. My ride was going to be the Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster, since that was the only Harley I could afford without breaking the trip budget (motorcycle renting is expensive!). I knew from the beginning that the two saddle bags were small, but I was hoping I could fit my backpack with the tent, the computer, and the sleeping bag inside, on top of the rear rack. That way the saddle bags would only carry some clothes for the week (pair of trousers, a pullover, two shirts and some underwear). I got a shock when I saw how small the rear rack was. You could grill two sardines, but they'd have to be small.



After a few tries that took me about half an hour, I thought I'd give up. In the mean time, several groups showed up, all looking like they were enjoying themselves greatly, picking up huge HDs, with room for my whole stuff, Sportster included. (Can you tell I was feeling an inferiority complex there?)

It was about 5:30pm, and they were starting to close. In one desperate effort, I was able to secure the backpack on the sardine grill using the turn lights to secure the ropes. Then I bought an extra elastic net on the Eaglerider shop, fastened the back with it, and started to feel I could make it.

I quickly filled the saddle bags with some clothes and put all the rest in a transparent plastic bag that was place in their store room. I felt a bit uneasy, since I left the newly bought Nook Touch there. However, most of the other stuff was dirty laundry (you could tell from the outside), so I was hoping nobody would steal that plastic bag hoping to find something interesting inside

I left around 6pm. I was sweaty, nervous, angry, all that before riding one foot! Then, I immediately missed the entry to CA-405 that I had planned to take, and got stuck on the La Cienega Blvd. At least I was going north, that was the right direction. And all the traffic lights gave me plenty of time to practice the clutch, gear changing, breaking, friction point, etc. After 15 min I was enjoying myself, after 30 min I was fed up. I stopped, checked the map and noticed I was moving too much east. I had just gone under the Santa Monica Fwy. So the plan was to get on the next main road going west (the Santa Monica Blvd), and then get on 405 going north. That was quickly done and I think I was out of LA around 7pm.

The traffic was slow all the way to Santa Clarita, already on US-5. Then it got a bit better and I was able to enjoy the sunset on the freeway going over the mountains. My first stop was somewhere close to Pyramid Lake at around 8pm, to grab something it eat. I think I got a slice of pizza and a water, I really don't remember. But interesting bit came afterwards: I couldn't start the bike! I placed the key in the keyhole, but when I turned it, nothing really happened. The bike was dead, and the keyhole felt all wrong, as if it was coming loose!

After a few minutes trying and trying, as I was about to think I would have to call the emergency phone number from Eagle Rider, I realized that perhaps that was not the correct key hole. Indeed, there was a slit just below the one I was trying to use. The key fitted there perfectly and the engine woke up! I was saved! Actually, I was saved from my own ignorance: I had been trying to start the bike using the front fork lock!

Greatly relieved, I resumed my trip. After the mountains north of Los Angeles, I quickly got to the US-5 / CA-99 fork, and took US-99 going north. My plan was to camp somewhere outside Bakersfield. But, as I got out of town, and couldn't find a sign for a camping place. I did find several sites for RV parks. I stopped at one, and realized they were not really fit for setting up a tent: a strecht of tarmak with some trees and some places to connect an electric plug. Several RVs were loudly humming. Back on the road!

It was already night when I passed Delano. From Bakersfield to Delano and even to Tipton, CA-99 is full of very strong smells. Sometimes of simply manure, other times of more strange ones , like cheese or tomato. I think I did smell pizza Margarita for a couple of miles These were some very strange miles! At Tipton I stopped for gas and asked for a motel. I had already given up finding a camping place. A guy told me to go north to Tulare. I did, and a couple of miles before Tulare I stopped at "Budget Inn", $45 a night.

I think I did the check-in around 11pm. I was busted. A shower, some "Cold Medicin", and I was ready for bed!


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

paulotex screwed with this post 08-30-2011 at 03:15 AM Reason: Added day map
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2011, 12:05 AM   #3
jbcaddy
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Oroville & Placerville, California U.S.of A.
Oddometer: 1,202
Muito Bom! keep on posting! JB
jbcaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2011, 02:39 AM   #4
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Second day: Saturday, 6th August, Visalia to Oakhurst, over Sequoia National Park

Second day
Saturday, 6th August
From Visalia to Oakhurst, over Sequoia National Park

I woke up quite early (around 6am). I was feeling better from the cold. As I had to wait until 7 for the breakfast (include in the $45/night) I decided to take a short walk around the area. I also did my first bike picture:

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

(yes, I know, the locks are still on the bike)

The breakfast very simple: cereals with milk and a sweet something that was supposed to look like a croissant with jelly. Now I understood why they could serve a breakfast for $45 a night. Anyway, it was better than nothing, and I decided to stop sometime later for something better. I hit the road sometime after 7 am and pretty soon was entering the base of the Sierra Nevada, on CA-198.

The first curves came, and I started really to enjoy the lightness and nimbless of the 883. Leaning was no problem at all, and I was able to once or twice hear a scraping sound. I wasn't sure if it was the mufflers or the footpegs, but that meant I was leaning enough on the curves!

I was fascinated with the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada: it looked just like Portugal's Alentejo and Spain's Estremadura: dry, hilly, spaced out trees (some oak type). And the "chaparral" name: that's just what we call it in Portugal too! Of course, in the Sierra everything is much bigger: the hills are actually 1000 ft high, the area is as large as Portugal, the climbings are much steeper. Nonetheless, it felt almost like home.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

Entering the Sequoia National Park.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

In the park.


When entering the sequoia zone, things got very different. It looks like a pine forest with huge "pines" mixed with normal ones.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

(I think this is just before entering the park. The sculpture is from one single sequoia trunk.)

I did have time to visit the Sherman tree.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


The short walking trail to the tree is full of warnings about the effect of the height of the body and the importance of resting. The way down was easy, so I thought: "These Americans are really in bad shape. Or is the park afraid of being sued if somebody has a heart attack here?" But when coming back, I realized why those signs were there. Going up a mountain at 7000 ft when I've just arrived from the valley is not an easy task. I had to stop along the way for some minutes, and I took it really slow the rest of the climb.

About lunch time I started to feel the flu getting on me. I took a long lunch break. I could only eat half of a small pizza (I kept the rest for dinner), but that made me feel much better.

The road across the Sequoia Park is really beautiful. There was some traffic (it was Saturday) and some road work that made me wait for about 20 min, but it was worth it!

When leaving the park on CA-180, my plan was to take some back roads to CA-41 and then to Oakhurst. I drove to Piedra, Pine Flat Lake, Humphreys Station, Millerton Lake... Beautiful roads and again, just like Alentejo in Portugal. And the temperatures were similar too: around 40C in the shade.

But this is where I realized the importance of a riding jacket: the keeps the moist/sweat inside, so you don't dehydrate so fast. It is really too hot when you stop, but if you keep on riding (specially on a naked bike), the temperature is acceptable and you don't lose so much fluids.

Around Millerton Lake I got lost. My map wasn't very good and I came to a T on the road where I just had no idea which way to go. I waited for some minutes until two farmers in a pickup truck drove by. They stopped and I asked them for directions to CA-41 and Oakhurst. In a really american style, they said it was just close by: 7 miles in this direction, 9 miles in that, 5 miles on that road, and I get there. Their instructions were perfect, but almost 20 miles is not "just close" to my european mind

CA-41 was incredibly hot. To make things worst, there was a 15 mile detour, and a long traffic jam. I decided to slowly overtake the stopped cars, crossing the double line. I just could stand in the heat, since I was stopped and with my riding jaket on. In Portugal that would be no problem, even the police would help you go like this, but I had no idea how things are in the States. Most cars were helpful and moved a bit to the side so I could pass them without going too much to the other side of the road, but some others were not happy at all. One even decided to open the door I just went around it, and I guess he understood how hot it was outside, because he closed it very quickly. My conclusion: just like in Portugal: some people are nice, some are just stupid and mean -- nothing new here

I arrived at Oakhurst in the late afternoon. The park was full, but I was so tired (the heat and the flu really got into me) that I asked if they had any extra spot. They fitted my in a nice spot near the river, in the car parking. I payed a reduced fee ($20 intead of the usual $30) and was set for the night.

This evening was the worst of my trip, the flu was really hitting hard. I think I had a fever for some hours. I was even considering skipping Yosemite the next day and drive straight to South Lake Tahoe

I was able to set up the tent, and I ate the rest of the pizza from lunch. I checked the internet, took some "Cold Medicine" and at 9pm I was inside my tent, ready for bed.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


I woke up in the middle of the night. It was just beautiful. The quiet, the starry sky, the sound of the river... And I was feeling much better, thanks to the "Cold Medicine" ;) I was really a beautiful night, and the next morning I decided to go according to the original plan and drive through Yosemite.

My only regret was to not have accepted a nice invitation for a guy in the park: as I was getting ready to bed, a nice guy in a RV, driving with his wife and two kids, invited me for a cold beer. He had just arrived from Yosemite and had crossed the Sierra over one of the passes. I really wanted to accept the invitation, but I was feeling so tired and sick that I excused myself and said no. Now I feel sorry about that, it would have been really nice to spend some time with him... :(

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011



paulotex screwed with this post 09-03-2011 at 02:45 AM Reason: Fixed some picture links
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 02:27 AM   #5
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Third day: Sunday, 7th August: From Oakhurst to South Lake Tahoe, over Yosemite

Third day
Sunday, 7th August
From Oakhurst to South Lake Tahoe, over Yosemite National Park

I woke up early, around 5am. Got ready, packed up the tent, and left the park before 7. Had breakfast at the local McDonalds. Later on that morning I also bought sliced bread and cheese at a supermarket somewhere along the road. That was all I ate during the day.

I entered Yosemite a little after 8 and just took the usual route through the park, along the famous Yosemite valley. It is even nicer than Sequoia Park.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011



I was worried about not getting to South Lake Tahoe on time, so I took the short way around. I didn't drive all the way across the valley, but instead crossed it somewhere in the middle, so I missed Glacier Point. At 10:30 I was already leaving the park.

I took the CA-120 out of the park, then to CA-49 going north and then to CA-4.
This was a beautifull ride, over very quaint little towns, with houses mostly of wood, reminding the old days. And the towns really don't look like tourist traps, they are for real, with real people and real town life :) Definitly worth to drive through.

The CA-4 across the Sierra is called Hebbetts Pass, and was my chosen pass. I chose it because it wouldn't go above 3000 meters (I didn't want to have too cold weather) and I wouldn't have to ride on the CA-395 (that was my road to go back south). The pass was really great. There was some ice close to the road, but not on the road, and the curves were very tight! I was almost passed by to cyclist going down, but I did manage to keep my honor :)

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011



After the pass I took the CA-89 to South Lake Tahoe. The road was also beautifull, always above 7000 feet. I almost ran out of gas here, just before my destination, but I made it to a gas station just in time!

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011, 05:56 AM   #6
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
From 8th to 11th August, South Lake Tahoe

From 8th to 11th August,
South Lake Tahoe

No riding was done during these days. I was working, attending the "2011 EU-US Summer School on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences"

However, I do have some comments about my staying there :)

I stayed at the Embassy Suites. It is a very fancy hotel, on the California side of the town, but just on the statline road that separates it from Nevada. On the other side of the street, just in front of my hotel window, was a huge Harrad's casino (gambling is allowed in Nevada but not in California).

The difference between the state laws of Nevada and California was a running joke for us. For example, the band Phish played for two nights just outside another casio on the way to the lake, but on the Nevada side of the road. People hanging out outside the precint could be drinking while listening to the concert. People on the other side of the road (the California side) couldn't. :)

The hotel itself was very nice, but it had some lack of attentions to details. For example, the windows were not cleaned when I arrived, and they were not cleaned while I stayed there; the wall next to my bed had a hole in it, as if someone had just kicked it; the shower head was a very fancy piece of equipment, with lots of different possibilities, but none of them worked, just the standard shower mode ;) If I had to pay over $200/night for this, I would have complained. As it was, my stay was payed and this was the fanciest hotel I've ever been, so I and just enjoyed all the other fancy stuff available, like complimentary beverages and newspaper.

There was some minimal riding during those days: the parking lot belonged to the casino, so I was advised to move the bike once a day to avoid complains from the casino. So every day I did a one minute drive around the parking lot and placed the bike somewhere else.

I also did manage to swim in the lake twice. It was great fun!



paulotex screwed with this post 05-04-2012 at 06:46 AM
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011, 07:15 AM   #7
marty hill
The Energizer Bunny
 
marty hill's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: marietta, ga.
Oddometer: 4,196
Glad you have seen some of our good roads. Hope all goes well for the rest of your journey. I plan on visiting Portugal next may or june on my moto.
__________________
ride till you can't.
1200GS/black
Boxer Cup Replika/red-white-blue

Semper Paratus
marty hill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 01:10 AM   #8
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Thanks Marty!
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2011, 02:44 PM   #9
MemphisR32
Adventurer
 
MemphisR32's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Oddometer: 49
Nice start to the ride report, looks like you are enjoying the USA. I spend a lot of time in Oporto and Braga. Maybe I can write a similar report next time I visit for work.
MemphisR32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2011, 01:31 PM   #10
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Fourth day Thursday, 11th August From South Lake Tahoe to Sonora Junction

Fourth day
Thursday, 11th August
From South Lake Tahoe to Sonora Junction

This day was the last one of the Summer School. We had the evening free. My original plan was to leave to LA the next day, and use the free evening to ride around the lake.

However, the day before I started to get a bit nervous about this plan. My plane was leaving at 11 am on Saturday. I had to deliver the bike at La Cienega at 9 am, repack the stuff I had left there, get on a taxi, and be at the airport in time to do the check-in. The recommended time for international flights was 3 hours, and I was sure I could not get to the airport before 10 am, only 1 hour before the flight. So I decided to be extra careful and start the return trip earlier (this evening). The drawback was that I would miss the trip around the lake

I left the hotel at about 5:30 pm. My plan was to ride US-395 on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. So I took the Nevada SR 207, then the 88 and finally the 395.

Going down on the 207 is a great ride. The curves are perfect, the cliffs are beautiful and the view from above over the high planes below was amazing. The sunset bathed the landscape in tones of orange and red.

After a few miles, 207 joins US-395 and after that is just going south until the Mojave desert. I didn't went that far this evening :) Going south from South Lake Tahoe, the 395 runs on the Nevada side for some miles, along a river with a rough bank. The ride there is beautiful, with mountains on both sides (the Sierra Nevada on the right and some other mountains on the left) and the river following very close to the road.

A few miles south the beautiful Topaz Lake comes into view, and I entered California again. The 395 follows the shore of the lake for some miles. Around 8pm the sun was alreading setting. I decided to stop at a rough camping place (no office, no showers, just some toilets and some envelopes to put the cash), well hidden in a pine forest on the side of the sierra. It was about 15 miles north of Sonora Junction.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


I enjoyed the place greatly. However, I didn't stop except for fuel the hours before, so I had nothing for dinner! I decided to rough it up, drink plenty of water, and have a special breakfast the next morning, in Sonora Junction.

The night was without any accident, although I did get scared once because of some noises outside my tent. I didn't have any food, but the camping sign board had several warnings about bears in the area. I opened the zipper and had a look outside, and was just able to see a shadow moving about 10 meters away from the tent! It took me awhile to go back to sleep :)

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2011, 11:08 PM   #11
rgiroux
Invisible Man
 
rgiroux's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Socal near the great 33
Oddometer: 2,290
Nice RR! Those roads are some of my favorites, too!
__________________
"Otherwise, its been a carnival of idiots, and Im the f*ckin ringmaster" - RTW Doug
Speed is your friend, it also why you see a bike up in a tree from time to time - WarLlama

2009 Alaska , 2010 Moab
2011 Calif Dreaming , 2013 Mexico
rgiroux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2011, 06:29 AM   #12
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Fifth day, Friday, 12th August, from Sonora Junction to Los Angeles

Fifth day
Friday, 12th August
From Sonora Junction to Los Angeles

I woke up early (about 6am), packed my stuff and was on the road before 7. It was chilly. It was the first time I rode with all the warm stuff on: the jacket liner, a cotton jacket and a scarf. I was warm with that, both my hands were freezing!

I passed Sonora Junction, thought about breakfast, but decided to keep on riding.

Then came Devil's Gate summit. The sun was just rising over the mountains, I had to stop to take some pictures. Besides, my hands were freezing...

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


I don't remember where I had breakfast. Was it before or after Mono Lake? Anyway, the pancakes were excellent!

After breakfast, there were some miles of high plains, and then Mono Lake!

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011



Little by little, the landscape started to change and some desert signs were visible. At 12 am I was in Lone Pine. I stopped to have a sandwich at the local Subway. Lone Pine was for me the beginning of the desert. I stopped there for an hour, went for a walk, and took a picture of Mount Whitney (the highest mountain in Sierra Nevada, with 4420 meters) behing the Alabama Hills.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

Lone Pine, view of main street from inside the Subway. That's my bike outside.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011

The view of Mount Whitney from Lone Pine.

After Lone Pine, I felt a bit in a hurry. I wanted to deliver the bike before 5pm and check in at a hotel close to the airport for the night. I stopped two hours later in the town of Mojave, for a quick lunch in the local McDonald's (Big Mac Menu is what I always have, in case you're wondering).

Gas stations were scarce in the desert, and I was a bit worried of running out of fuel. Once I took the wrong exit and ended up in an abandoned gas stop. There was a rusted boat in the yard (int the middle of the desert!), some broken furniture, and broken signs. It was then that I realized how I still had all the clichés from Hollywwod in my head. Somehow I thought that all those movies with poverty and misery were shot in some build-uo scenarios. Well, here there was no need for that!

I arrived in LA a bit after 4 pm. Unfortunately, I read my map wrong and though that Rt 5 was the correct one to go. It was packed! And it was not. After a while, I started to get worried. Where were all the known signs to West Hollywood, Westwood, Venice Beach, Ingelwood (that's where the airport is)? And what's with the signs to Santa Ana? A check on the map showed me that I should have taken the 405 instead the 5. Luckly, I hadn'd pass the airport yet. I managed to get on the 105 going West and arrive at Eagle Rider just a bit after 5pm. They took the bike, I packed the stuff I had left and was checking in at my hotel around 7pm!

Great day, great ride, but the trip was over!

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


paulotex screwed with this post 10-09-2011 at 10:49 AM Reason: Replace a wrong picture
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2011, 07:20 AM   #13
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Final thoughts

Renting:

It is much more expensive than a car, but acceptable if you have the money. I had a very tight budget, so having a small accident and hurting the bike was a continuous worry on the back on my mind. The bike (HD Sportster 883) was a bit small for the luggage, but it was the cheapest Harley (about $100/day, with extra insurance included and 7-day discount). Under the same conditions, I might decide to save on the waiver (go for the VIP instead of EVIP) and go for the next class: either the Dyna Low Rider (if I still want a Harley)


or the Honda ST 1300 (which is a great touring bike for european standards).



Working with Eaglerider was ok. Online support is very good, I used the live chat a few times. However, the physical places are franchised, so they might vary a bit. The LA Airport site was very helpful and friendly. I left some extra luggage there in a plastic bag and everything was untouched when I returned 6 days later. They don't drive you to/from the airport, but they give you a cab voucher of $15 and call you a cab, so it is the same. I would rent from them again without any doubt.

The bike Harley-Davidson Sportster 883



For the cheapest model, this was an acceptable choice. The lack of fairing is not an issue, since I couldn't drive faster than 65 mph. It is very nimble and easy to ride. The power is completely adequate. It does have a few shortcomings. Some are just because I was using the bike for touring, and it was not design for that, but others were really a bit weird (what were they thinking?). Here is a list:

Not adequate for touring:
* Small tank. I had to stop to refill every 100 miles.
* Small bags and rear rack.
* No fairing. This can be a problem when it gets cold or wet.

The previous shortcomings are just because I was using the bike for a propose it was not intended to. So they are not really a problem of the bike, just some points to take into consideration if you want to use it for touring.

Real shortcomings:
  • Almost useless rear mirrors. The mirrors are placed in a way that your sholders block almost of the view. You can have a limited view of the left and right lanes, but you can't see if somebody is behing you.
  • Hard seat. The seat has a very nice round form, that snuggles you but nicely, but the foam is unnecessarily hard.

The general feeling is that it is a very nice bike. If you are on a tight budget, it is the way to go. I was able to do 450 miles per day on the bike without much trouble. Riding above 60 mph is a bit hard because of lack of fairing.


The trip

The roads were absolutely great. I loved the mix of mountain and desert. I highly recommend the Rt 395. Riding was very easy, since in those roads everybody stuck to the speed limit (or perhaps a few miles above), so there was no danger of being overtaken by some guy going twice as fast as me. You should obey the speed limit, or at least go as fast as the other cars next to you. I saw several hw patrols and, in some freeways, traffic helicopters.

Camping was also very nice. The american campers were very quiet and friendly, the camping places well taken care of. Also, the motels where I slept were also acceptable for the low buget. The prices: camping for $25 and motel for $60. Forget to camp in the National Parks (specially Yosemite), all the campings were full. But you can camp outside, drive inside for the day ($10) and hike for a while.

About the miles per day: you can easily do 450 miles per day on a freeway on a "small" bike like the 883. However, mountain roads can be much slower (about half the speed), so that is something to take into account. Also, remember to save a couple of hours per day for food shopping and perhaps for a short hike.

From From Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, 2011


Conclusion

I loved this trip and the whole experience. It was really worth doing it. I hope I'll have another opportunity, perhaps trying Rt 101 along the coast. I also hope to have more time to stop more often and perhaps even go for a hike.


paulotex screwed with this post 05-04-2012 at 07:04 AM Reason: Some links were broken
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2011, 04:45 PM   #14
Hakatan
quality > quantity
 
Hakatan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Perusing my Colorado Benchmark...
Oddometer: 1,020
Wonderful ride report Paulo. Thank you for taking us along
__________________
"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood." -- Daniel Burnham
Hakatan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2011, 12:10 PM   #15
paulotex OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Portugal
Oddometer: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakatan View Post
Wonderful ride report Paulo. Thank you for taking us along
Thanks Hakatan. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
paulotex is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014