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Old 02-22-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
lifeofadv OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Oddometer: 59
Bay Area and Back Down

I make this trip down to LA fairly frequently since I have family down there. I usually take the 5 down and if I have time, try something different on the way back up. This time, I wanted to test out my new Kaoko throttle lock and the 5 is the perfect road for that. I also had some time for the trip back up so I road through Frazier Park and Carrizo Plain National Monument.

Kaoko and the Ride South


The Kaoko works quite well for what it is. It's no cruise control like I have on my RT but for long stretches, it works. The 5 can be a painfully boring stretch of road between the 580 and the Grapevine. It's mostly flat, straight and brown. Between the endpoints I mentioned earlier, there aren't many vista points. I've always been in a bit of a rush to get down so never stopped. This time I took a moment to stop and take a few photos.


As you can see, it's a pretty straight run. Perhaps there are some hills but this is a vista point, so it's as exciting as it gets. Note how brown it is and it's February!


Looking north from the same vantage point, you get to see a glimpse of the California Aqueduct that feeds the south. This trucker had the vista point to himself until I got there and then he left.


I felt compelled to take a photo of my bike so I went for it.

With this bike, I can make it from Oakland to the Grapevine without stopping for fuel so taking a short breather like this is welcome.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:42 PM   #2
lifeofadv OP
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Zumo and the Ride North
On the way home, I decided that I wanted to see some scenery. I had all day. I even had Tuesday off so what the heck? Because I'm planning on riding up to Alaska this summer for the first time, I wanted to try using some of the tools that I plan to use, namely GPS. I've got a Garmin Zumo 550 that came with the bike and recently downloaded BaseCamp. Garmin programmers aren't Google programmers, that's for sure! I got the basics down using this quirky program and then plotted a route complete with a couple gas stops and even some unpaved roads thrown in to mix things up.

I got a bit of a later start than I would have liked but I had breakfast made for me so that was totally worth it! After eating, I loaded up the bike, mounted the GPS with it's newly updated brain, said my goodbyes and took off. My first stop was Frazier Park for fuel. Up to there, it was a familiar route and the GPS got me there just fine. Getting a later start had an additional benefit which was that it was warmer. It was all the way up to the mid-40's. Oh, for you northerners, I meant + 40's.

After fueling up, I headed on down the road choosing to go west rather than north. Not too long after my start, I began to see some remnants of snow. As I've mentioned before, it's been incredibly dry this season. I was amazed that snow still clung on for dear life up there. That being said, I took a snapshot.


This was the most snow that I saw on the entire trip.

Not far from the snow, I stopped to take a few more snapshots of the bike. II tried shooting one of the front, one from the side, and one further away. It's difficult to get those winner shots.





Eventually, I made it to the end of the Los Padres National Forest. I would definitely like to explore that region more as I'm sure that there are a number of great back roads going through there. There must be. This time I bid it farewell.



I decided that I would like to challenge Elkhorn Road in Carrizo Plain National Monument again. I have next to no offroad riding experience and this new-to-me GSA is a lot to handle with my 125 pound, 5'7" frame. This is an adventure site, right? Adventures are relative, I keep telling myself.

The GPS got me to Soda Lake Road okay but I had a bear of a time finding the road it suggested to cut across to Elkhorn.




I honestly don't think the road that the GPS suggested existed and I didn't want to blaze any trails so I kept on going until I found a crossing at Simmler Soda Lake Road. I passed by quite a few smaller roads that probably lead to Elkhorn but I wasn't feeling that adventurous since I was out there on my own. Eventually, I found Elkhorn and easily navigated the road. What I learned is that I have to be more cognizant of the ABS setting which automatically turns on if you stop and start the bike's engine as in stopping to take photos. Even for a newbie, it's clear that ABS gets in the way in the dirt.



Audible and the Final Push
AFter running through Carrizo Plain, I decided to shoot up the 101 back home and to test my latest downloaded app, Audible. After installing Audible, I downloaded a copy of Murakami Haruki's "Kafka on the Shore" and listened to it for the last couple hours back home. It was dark by then and I've made this trip a number of times so it's a bit monotonous. By the time I got home, I couldn't believe that I was already there and I couldn't recall much of the road but in it's place, images of the story I was listening to filled my mind. It's probably not the safest thing but I suggest it. I used a Droid X and a Sena SMH10.


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Old 02-24-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
PinkPillion
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Very nice! The snow is scarce this year in Cali, even way up here in the northeast corner. So strange. Enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:12 PM   #4
lifeofadv OP
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Originally Posted by PinkPillion View Post
Very nice! The snow is scarce this year in Cali, even way up here in the northeast corner. So strange. Enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing.
I was up at Lassen National Park at the end of summer and was floored by how much snow was still hanging around. This year I imagine will be quite different.

Writing and photography is an art and you really learn to appreciate good writing and photography after giving it a try. I'll continue practicing and reading through other reports like yours.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
ginslung
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Nice pics - you've managed to capture the feeling I had as a kid road tripping through California...and at the same time get 'California Love' stuck in my head. Guess I know what my brain's going to be listening to this weekend.

Very cool, keep it up!
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:58 PM   #6
lifeofadv OP
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Originally Posted by ginslung View Post
Nice pics - you've managed to capture the feeling I had as a kid road tripping through California...and at the same time get 'California Love' stuck in my head. Guess I know what my brain's going to be listening to this weekend.

Very cool, keep it up!
Thanks ginslung! One of my favorite features of this site is the ride reports because reading them gets me to dream and reminisce a bit. It's a wonderful compliment to hear that my report picked your brain a bit, too!

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