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Old 06-14-2012, 08:22 AM   #1
John E OP
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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L.A to Santa Cruz on de back roads...

Leaving in just a few minutes for a short (5-6) trip up to Santa Cruz for daughter's college graduation.

Minimal freeway miles with a route that takes me thru the Carrizo Plains and over Pozo Summit and then over to the Coast highway up to Monterey Bay.

Planning on 2 days for the ride up mainly cause I'm trying to get out of the Iron Butt mode of riding that I've been in for quite a while now. The bike of choice is my 2005 Suzuki DR650, bought used from the publisher of "Overland Journal" last year, it was a project bike for the magazine a while back. The main reason I bought it was to do some moto-camping and ride on some out of the way routes at a leisurely pace for a change. Other than the ride home from Arizona when I bought the bike last year, this will be my first real road trip with it.

I've added a Garmin 60CXs hard wired and mounted to the bars, remounted and rewired the LED driving lights that came with it, added a Pelican topbox wired for power, some Wolfman Expedition soft panniers, tankbag, front fender bag, and some generic tank panniers. Made an extra tool tube out of ABS and mounted it sorta behind the stock tube attached to the inside of the Wolfman side rack, gives me access to the stock tube as well as my custom one while they're both on the bike. Not sure if I gonna stick with this configuration but we'll see. The bike already had a skidplate and a billet cargo rack installed along with some new bars and handguards and a few other farkles including the very exclusive "Overland Journal" sticker on the front fairing...;^)

I also added a fused battery charger circuit with a polarized plug that runs along the LH rear grab handle for hooking up a Battery Tender. The topbox was wired with a fuse protected circuit ending in a pretty generic auto type 12v lighter socket, this along with this pretty cool little USB adapter allows me to charge my ipad, my phone and my ipod in the locked hard case, not all at one time of course. I also discovered that a rubber crutch tip fits over the socket almost perfectly and keeps anything metal from coming in contact with the inside of it. Planning on adding a switch to the circuit in the future and I might be swapping out the lighter socket with some Anderson powerpole plugs instead, we'll see.

Did some other stuff too, new chain and sprockets from ProCycle, some very minor carb mods also from ProCycle, some relatively minor electrical maintenance along with some general tightening and hardware adjusting that always seems to take way more time than it should etc.

To document the epic voyage I decided to go old school, taking along a Leica M6 and 4 rolls of Ilford b&w film, will process, scan, and post pics when I get home. I used to work as a professional photographer and haven't shot film for a few years, hope I remember how to do it.

More to come, hoping to post a bit along the way when possible, if for no other reason then to give me a reason to stop and smell the flowers and relax...

Onward...
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:42 PM   #2
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Now that sounds like a great ride, if possible when you get back can you also include your GPS track? I would have to ride that one in reverse living in Santa Cruz.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:10 PM   #3
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San Simeon nights....

are cooler than at home, the moisture laden air blows off the ocean and cuts thru my vented jacket as I ride to my motel room. I was already feeling it while coming over the pass on CA 46 dropping out of Paso Robles on my way to supper in Cambria, so I slide my new pair of LDComfort sleeves on to finish today's portion of the trip.

Along the way I saw jackrabbits on the Plains of Carrizo and a lazy hawk gliding with the currents of warm air as I made my way thru the forests that surround the small town of Pine Mountain Club. Why is a town called a club? I didn't ask, maybe I will on the return trip.

I made a few discoveries along the way too, I remembered how long it had been since I'd ridden a motorcycle in loose dirt and sand. I came to this realization just a few seconds before I dropped the DR on Elkhorn Rd but with no one but me there to see it, did it really even happen or was I just hallucinating a bit from the early onset of summer temperatures in Central California?

"94 in the shade if there was any but there aint no shade out there boy, you must be crazy riding that thing out here..."

I learned just how fast I can pick up a loaded down DR650 as I watched the precious $4.59 per gallon fuel pouring out of the top of the vented cap. The cool new blue anodized whiz bang vent cap with hose attached is on the road somewhere between Frazier Park and Pine Mountain Club, if anyone finds it please keep it but share your method for keeping it attached with me if we should ever meet up further down the road.

I came to find that I'm not as good at writing down and following directions as I thought I was. I don't know where El Pomar and Cripple Creek roads are exactly but they weren't where I or my GPS expected them to be, no matter, the route is there if you look hard enough and keep the front wheel pointing North by Northwest. Having a GPS with some real maps loaded in it might have helped too. Even using the GPS I was able to find a store in Paso Robles to replace the charging cord for my cellphone. It seems that bringing 3 devices that need charging with 3 separate cords only works if you bring the right 3. Why I brought, let alone still own a USB cord for a phone I haven't used for over 3 years remains a mystery to me.

But In the meantime, the fishnchips at the Main St Grill are as good as i remembered them being and the sleeves kept me warm enough to make it there and then here to my rather large motel room in San Simeon booked well in advance with that company that Capt. Kirk used to shill for, a little sore but a little bit satisfied too.

More to come...
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:53 PM   #4
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Look forward seeing this, as a very young person i lived in Santa Cruz near Glen Arbor. I'm sure there has been a few changes
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:37 PM   #5
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Just a few notes along the way...

I am sitting In Carmel, drinking coffee and enjoying what seems to be a pretty good peanut butter cookie. Very late start today due to family matters in Santa Cruz and a long, very long, breakfast with an old friend and his wife in Scott's Valley this morning.

A few random observations; traffic in and around Santa Cruz on graduation weekends is completely crazy and that comes from someone who has worked as a motorcycle messenger and ridden the mean streets of Los Angeles for many years.

The guys who work at and own "We All Ride" in Soquel are a great bunch of guys, I stopped there to try and solve an intermittent vibration issue on Friday, decided I needed a new front tire, Ted (owner), was able to get one ordered for a Saturday delivery. I've had far worse service in far bigger shops, can't thank him and his guys enough. More to come about the fun I had there resulting in me also buying a new helmet later.

The Cheesecake Factory is a wonder, as in I wonder how they manage to stay in business.

Bicyclists in Santa Cruz take their rights to the road very seriously.

I don't know why there are so many negative reviews written about the camping at Henry Cowell Redwoods Park.

People should try turning their flashlights off while walking thru campgrounds once in a while.

Never, ever, trust that your helmet won't fall off the seat of your motorcycle in a parking lot.

The weather in this area is amazing.


More to come...
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #6
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A little less random and a little more thought...

Or at least I hope so.

Sleep comes as a bonus to me at times, I suffer from insomnia usually brought on by stress, sometimes brought on by nothing at all. Last night I was out like a light, the ride thru Carrizo was not only beautiful it apparently tired me out enough that sleep came without its usual issues.

I wake bright and early and after what seems like forever but was really about 2 and half hours I have eaten, done some minor maintenance on the bike, packed and am ready to depart up the only real road here, it leads up, thru and into Big Sur and then to the Monterey peninsula. I have about 150 miles to go today with a relatively late deadline so I take my time.

Theres really not much one can do along this road but take your time, there are always work crews busy rebuilding, repaving, and replacing the road. Like the workers on the Golden Gate bridge who, rumor has it, finish at one end and then start right back up again. Nature won't be denied and the cliffsides give up their layers of rock, brush and trees in a never ending cycle, returning all to the sea.

I rode this road a year or so ago, just hours after I passed thru, a bridge was washed away. They're rebuilding it again and I can only ride along and wonder how long it will be before it too, falls into the sea below.

A brief diversion to recommend some reading material. "The Control of Nature" by John McPhee. A collection of essays that explore the interactions and the follies of human beings and their attempts to beat Nature. Spoiler alert, nature usually wins.

Stopping for coffee in Gorda by the Sea I cave in and order a brownie to go with it. I manage to avoid a diabetic coma by only eating half of it, saving the rest for another time.

Along the I'm noticing some unfamiliar extra-normal vibrations coming thru the foot pegs. Both random and regular as they come and go I decide it might be worth trying to find a shop along the way. I use the mighty iPad and a wifi connection to look for shops near or in Santa Cruz. I find one that looks promising in nearby Soquel called "We all Ride". Making my way there I ride thru and around the extra traffic that comes with graduation weekend along with the normal beachgoers to
Santa Cruz. It's exhilarating and incredibly frustrating at the same time.

I get to the shop to discover that they don't do repairs...I explain my situation and Ted, the owner gets on the phone and starts trying to find a shop that can help. We take another look at the chain and he and I both notice just how bad my front tire has gotten as well. Ted suggests and I agree that no matter what else, I need a new tire. He calls his supplier and tells me he can have one their tomorrow. I tell him to go ahead and he orders the tire. I decide to start with that and see if it will fix the vibration issue. After more discussions, some motel suggestions and the use of the company bathroom, I leave with the understanding that I'll be back to get the tire on Saturday. They tell me that if I can pull the wheel off they can swap the rubber in just a few minutes. Off I go to San Jose.

Traffic and the weather have both gotten worse as I head North, it's at least 20 degrees hotter in San Jose and traffic is worse than at home.

"at least it's a dry heat" thought the turkey as he slid into the oven...

I find a room in nearby Campbell that's 50 bucks cheaper than anything I can find in Santa Cruz. I've decided that between the tire,the family dinner plans, and the really horrible traffic to skip camping out tonite as I really don't want to be riding back to Santa Cruz late at night trying to find the campsite, not to mention the campground itself.

A quick shower, a change of clothes and I'm off to dinner.

More to come as I try to figure out how the Cheesecake Factory stays in business, bicycles take over the streets of San Jose, I remember what I forget to bring with me and my homemade jack stand is put to the test, albeit in a parking lot and not on a trail...with a bonus on dehydration and the color of urine!
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:08 PM   #7
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Home...is where I want to be...

and where I am.

Just a brief update for now.

Left San Simeon this morning, decided to actually ride thru the Carrizo Plains on the recommended road this time so I did and this time the bike and I both stayed upright.

Made my way down CA 33 to Ojai and then dropped into Santa Paula and decided to bite the bullet and use the freeway to finish up.

Upcoming attractions...idiots on Buells, killer bees and suicidal grasshoppers, still no whales but some damned expensive clam chowder, bobbing and weaving on the Foothill Freeway...

Last minute update to the update; film is heading to the lab later this morning, pics to follow soon, along with some extra words at no cost...
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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looks like a nice trip.

waiting to see the pics from your old school camera.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:52 AM   #9
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The color of urine...

is important, yeah really.

Let me back up a bit and fill in a bit too. I work in the entertainment industry as a "Set Medic", I provide first aid and rudimentary health care for film crews and talent, mostly on television commercials. Part of this involves keeping an eye out for signs of things like dehydration when working in hot weather on remote locations. The irony is that like the shoemakers kids who run around barefoot, I too often neglect my own health as I did while riding across Elkhorn Rd. thru the Carrizo Plains. Too stupid for words really, riding a relatively new to me bike across unfamiliar terrain including about 40 miles of dirt by myself in hot weather and I failed to drink enough water along the way, oh I had the water, I just didn't drink enough of it. Don't be stupid like I was, if you're not pissing regularly and the color of your urine isn't mostly clear or light yellow, it's one sign of impending dehydration. It's not the only sign and other things can effect your urine output but it's considered one of the simplest ways for a layperson to be able to check themselves for.

Now where was I?

I think I was making camp in Henry Cowell Redwoods Park after a longish day that started in a motel room in Campbell.

After a dinner that took 4.5 hours from the initial asking for the table for 9 to paying the bill. Yeah, four and half hours to get a table, eat, pay the bill and leave. We wanted to meet at 7 but the Cheesecake Factory doesn't do reservations so my daughter had to go there, put her name in, get told that it would be at least an hour and a half for a table. She asked about getting one later and they suggested that 8pm would be better. We arrive back there at 8, wait until 9:30 to get seated... This is when I patted myself on the back for deciding to get a room in Campbell instead of trying to get back to Santa Cruz late at night. I don't know how or why people put up with this sort of stuff, it's not like there aren't any other restaurants out there. It wasn't my choice to go there but it will be the next time someone suggests going to one, Never again for me. The food was decent, nothing to write about so I won't. We make our way out of there and I jump on the bike for the 2 mile ride to my motel. While we were waiting, a huge group of cyclists ride by on Stevens Creek Blvd. Apparently it's a monthly gathering similar to the Critical Mass rides but with more drinking and socializing and a little less politicizing going on, looked like fun.

As usual I had the best intentions, get up early, get back to "We All Ride" and get my new front tire installed then go to my daughters house, change clothes and ride over to her graduation ceremony to be followed by a late lunch back at her house and as usual, almost none of that worked out. I got a decent start, hit what would prove to be some pretty horrendous traffic coming out of San Jose on my way back South towards Santa Cruz. A quick time check tells me that getting the tire installed before graduation isn't gonna happen since the shop doesn't open til 10 AM and I recall that they tell me it may not arrive before 1 pm. So the plans change, I decide to find the campground, drop off my camping gear and then head over to the house and then onto the ceremony. I make my way to the state park, it's a perfectly nice place, my site is on the outside edge of the outward most ring road so I have no one behind me and when I ride up, the sites immediately to both sides are also vacant even though the signs all say it's fully booked up. No matter, I pitch my tent, toss the rest of the gear into the tent and head back out. I take a slightly shorter route back to my daughters house only to find that some of the guests are sitting in traffic and still at least an hour away. Ended up taking them over 2.5 hours to drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz, about 28 miles. Good times.

I ride to the ceremony site, find a great parking space in the shade, do a quick pants and boot exchange in the parking lot and off I go to witness the culmination of 4 hard years of work by my daughter. I am so proud of her, she ended up on the Dean's List and graduated with a dual major with "Highest honors in the Major" accolades. She's also been working part-time the entire time she's been away at school. I can't help but brag on her a bit. The commencement speaker is author Jonathan Franzen, a novelist who's just published a book of essays, the topic of which, the increasing disconnect between humans and technology is also the topic of his speech. Very interesting guy.
Soon the ceremony is over and I make my way back to the bike, I see that I've gotten a call from the guys at the shop, I call them back and learn that my tire has arrived and they're ready and able to install it. I decide to skip part of the post-graduation stuff and go to get the tire.

Off to "We All Ride" I go...
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:52 PM   #10
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"Would you like a helmet to go with that...?"

I roll into the parking lot of "We All Ride" which for brevity will henceforth be known as WAR. In my hurry to get the front tire off and let them go to work I fail to pay attention and leave my helmet sitting on the seat. I get my newly made trail jack and put it to work, about 3 cranks on the ratchet or so later I hear a crash and see my helmet rolling across the parking lot...

Not good, it's old but still in decent condition and it fits me just about perfectly, I grab and at first it seems like the shield has simply popped off, closer inspection reveals that the ratcheting mounts that hold the shield are well and truly broken. As in completely, as in unable to use. I curse my inattention, put the helmet aside and continue working on getting the wheel off. The jack does it's job perfectly, I loosen the axle and the small bolts that hold the retaining plate thingabob on and the wheel drops into my hands. I roll it inside and Chance, the installer takes over.

Back to the parking lot I go to look at the helmet again, I already know it's unusable but I feel the need to revisit my stupidity for a bit. With a sigh of resignation I pull out the wallet and head back inside to see what kind of a helmet I'm going to be finishing my ride with. As I pull down a couple of HJC's and a Fly, Chance tells me that they have a virtually brand new Shoei Hornet DS helmet that another customer ordered and returned without using. It's in the locked display case, usually not a good sign when it comes to price but I take it from him, try it on and of course it fits almost perfectly...

A few hundred dollars later and with my new tire mounted, I roll away. I can't bring myself to just toss the old helmet in the trash so far from home so I tie it onto the topbox, I'll take it with me and dispose of it properly later.

More family stuff follows. some food, some presents for the new grad and soon I depart for my campsite. It's about 8 miles away and the sun is dropping in the sky, I really want to get there and get cleaned up and maybe make a snack before nightfall so up the road I go. A mile or two from camp the DR starts to shudder and miss, I look at the odometer and realize I'm a bit high on mileage for that tank, reach down and just like the last time, I move the petcock to the closed position instead of reserve. The engine dies of course and I coast to a stop at a convenient wide turnout. I mess around for a minute or two, take the gas cap off, confirm that there's fuel in the tank and then I remember, look down and as suspected the petcock is closed. I turn it to reserve, hit the switch and it fires up in an instant. Riding away I think about how long it took me realize that same mistake when I did it before, at least I caught it quickly this time.

I make it to the campsite with no further drama, change out of my riding gear and make a quick bowl of Top Ramen with a side of Slim Jim and green tea. I brought this stuff dammit, I'm gonna use it. I do the dishes and take a quiet stroll around the campground, find the showers for the morning cleanup and while I'm walking back I'm struck at how people seem to be completely unable to walk down a concrete path at night without their huge, bright, annoying LED flashlights swinging in their hand with every step. Never mind that they're blinding every other person they come across and just being a pain, the irony is that if they'd simply give their eyes a minute or two to adjust, they'd be able to see just fine. There's still plenty of ambient light not to mention the many campfires, lanterns, and tiki torches at virtually every campsite. I find my dark site and get ready to hit the rack but not without being blinded a few more times by people who need to see why the guy with the motorcycle is working in the dark...

Coming soon, it all ends....
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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On a roll...

up even brighter and earlier than yesterday, I pack my camp and make my way over to the small town of Felton. Call an old friend to finalize breakfast plans in Scott's Valley. A quick couple miles and I find Mollies Cafe right where he said it would be. As I'm parking I see Mark, he spots me and we greet each other with a quick hair and gut check.

His is gone and mine is too large.

We meet his lovely wife at the door to Mollies wait a minute or two for a table, once seated we play catch up and talk about our mutual past. I'm happy to have found him again and even happier to see that he's doing well, healthy and happy with a new wife and grandkids on the way. It's probably been 20 years since we've seen each other with no excuse other than my own laziness and complacency. We both went thru a couple of bad marriages ending in divorce and keeping in touch became less important than keeping our own lives afloat in the chaos that we lived thru.

A 2 hour breakfast passes in an instant and I know it's time for me to go, I have to get back on the road back to San Simeon and they have their own things to do, we part promising to keep in better touch and I think we will.

A quick stop at WAR to thank the guys there again for the great service, another stop to order a couple of signed books by Jonathan Franzen from the Bookshop in Santa Cruz, one for me and one for my daughter and then I'm back on the only road that matters heading South towards the mountains and fog of Big Sur.

Why do people drive silver colored cars in heavy fog and refuse to turn their headlights on?

Why do idiots on motorcycles think it's cool to ride alongside a car in the same lane in that same fog and do it without their own lights on? What would possess someone to so completely disregard their own lives and those around them? I have to laugh every time I hear some rugged individualist complain about those fucking cagers and their bad driving, guess what, sometimes it's our own fault we're hit and killed too.

It's incredibly foggy as I cut thru the mountains and the shore, I'm wiping my shield off every few minutes and trying to simply keep an even pace. Luckily most of the people driving the only road seem to be better at it than those mentioned above. Well except for the guy who managed to take out about 50 yards or so of split rail fence near the entrance to Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park, same fence I was sitting on just a couple of days ago enjoying a quick break on my ride North. Police were already on scene with lots of pointing and hand waving going on. I'm sure the driver was trying to explain how the fence jumped right in front of the car in the longest, straightest portion of the road for miles. I ride on and pass the needed tow truck heading that way a few miles later. The fog just doesn't give a damn who you are or what you're driving, it usually wins the argument.

I stop again at Gorda by the sea, still no whales and not much sea to see either. I spot what I think must be a typo on my check when I see a bowl of clam chowder that allegedly costs $11.95 but pay it anyway as it's tasty and hot and I'm cold and hungry. Given the remoteness, I guess that's a pretty fair price when I think about it. There's a couple parked there with a Subaru that has somehow lost all of it's coolant, no idea where it's gone but it's not in the radiator and they're headed to El Cajon or somewhere like that and I have a feeling that they're gonna know what a lot of things cost here before they get to wherever it is they're going.

I go on. The fog is thinner now but still persistent. It follows me all the way back to my now regular motel in San Simeon. I pull in, get my keycard, unload the bike, check for all my extremely important missed calls, emails, and text messages. There's one, from my daughter wishing me a happy fathers day, the rest is garbage and I delete them all as fast as I can read the titles. I walk next door to the other motel and order dinner at their restaurant, turns out they offer a discount to guests at my motel as well, they're probably owned by the same people. I ask the server if the Caesar salad dressing really has anchovies in it, he says yes but you can't taste them....I tell him the only reason I want the salad is because I happen to like anchovies. He doesn't seem to know what to do with that bit of information, I order it anyway and he still gives the discount.

Needs more anchovy...

My oldest friend returns tonite and I struggle to sleep, eventually I just seem to pass out around 2 or 3 am as is usual when the insomnia hits. I suppose I should be grateful that I'm able to eventually get some sleep, I know of people who end up going without sleep for days at at time when it comes on hard. Waking up at 630 I don't feel lucky at all.

I've decided to try one last thing to get rid of the vibrations I'm feeling thru the footpegs, I take off the stock sprocket retainer with it's shoulder bolts and plastic spacer and go back to using a C clip retainer. The new tire is a definite improvement but it failed to fix the problem. I lube the chain a bit and button things up, time to go find some coffee and a pastry at one of my favorite bakeries.

Cherry danish and a large coffee from the French Corner Bakery in Cambria is about as good as it gets for me. I enjoy mine sitting outside next to the bike. I've noticed that largish dual sport bikes with a topbox, yellow saddlebags and a yellow waterproof duffle strapped to the seat attracts attention, or it might be the tank panniers, GPS and SPOT device attached to the bars, I don't know. All I know is that I've had more people ask me about the bike than any other one I've ridden. Makes me feel like I'm actually on an adventure instead of just riding around for a few days. Since I have an ego, I'm flattered by the attention and yet it saddens me to think that most of the people asking seem to do so with a real sense of envy in their voice. An old friend once said, "far away is only far away if you don't go there..." I wish these people would realize that the only thing we can't replace or make up is time, no money can get you any more of it no matter how much we might wish it. Just go...

More to come...
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John E screwed with this post 07-07-2012 at 05:33 PM
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:31 PM   #12
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It all balances out...

in the end. The cell phone rings and it's my mechanic, he thinks the Land Cruiser has a blown head gasket...I dropped it off before I left to have some other work done, now he's wondering if it's worth doing. I tell him to do what he can and let me know. I'm thinking that this is turning into the most expensive 5 day trip I've ever been on and then an email appears on the Blackberry with a television commercial job offer for later this week with one of my favorite production coordinators. Should help pay for the head gasket or whatever else the Cruiser needs. There is nothing else to do but ride on, so I do.

I've plotted out a route similar to my ride up with a couple of changes, the most important one is that I will not be riding over Elkhorn Rd. again, this time I'm determined to go over Soda Lake Rd. thru the Carrizo Plains. I head over CA46 and then drop onto Vineyard to get to Templeton, from there I take CA 58 over to the plains. It's clear and warm and all is well until the killer bees appear. As I'm approaching California Valley, I think about pulling over for some water and a quick stretch, I spot a truck pulled over on the shoulder under the shade of some hard to find large trees, decide to pull off in front of it and as I roll up, I flip my shield up about 2 seconds before I realize that the load on the truck is dozens and dozens of bee hives...full of bees, well not full exactly, about a million of them are buzzing all around the truck and they begin to strafe me too, I get a couple of them inside my helmet but somehow don't get stung. I get away as fast as I can and pull over when its safe, pull off the helmet and shake them out. Dozens of them have given their lives to my oil cooler, front forks, windshield, and headlight. I pull the now not so new looking helmet back on and roll on.

Stopping at the entrance to Carrizo Plains National Monument, I take a few pics, tank up on water and head into the monument. Most of Soda Lake Road is paved, with sections of dirt interspersed along the way with no obvious reasons for the changes. There are different types of dirt roads here, some of it is washboard, some is as flat and hard as concrete and some of it is truly dirt and loose sand. I try to figure out why and where I might come across the different types but there seems to be no patterns or at least none I can see. The only constant is when approaching the numerous cattle guards the dirt and sand seems to build up. At one point I stop and let a little air out of my front tire, helps tremendously or it seems to anyway. I make good time across the plains, well good for me anyway. I'm sure more experienced dirt riders would laugh at my speeds and that's ok.

I make my way to CA33 and decide to take it South to Ojai and from there I'll either take CA126 to the freeway or to a surface street route home. The ride down the 33 is nice, it cools off a bit as I head thru the mountains and the road is mostly quiet with very little traffic. I stop for a drink of water along the way and the bike blows over in a gust of wind. I've been thinking that I need to shorten the kickstand a bit, now I know I have to. I can't have this happening, it blows my riding cred...

I get the bike upright, notice that I've managed to tweak the bars a bit but decide to fix it in Ojai. I should have fixed it then because I fell in behind a group of motorcyclists, well they were riding motorcycles anyway, that apparently didn't know that the slow race isn't usually run on open public roads. I'm no speed demon, I've received exactly 2 speeding tickets while riding in the last 30+ years but for gods sake, would it kill you to either use one of the turnouts so thoughtfully provided by the state or at the least could you quit playing follow the leader long enough to let me, the fire truck and the guy on the fucking bicycle get by...? 14 miles of this nonsense on a narrow road. I would have passed on the double yellow against my own better instincts but the fire truck kept me on edge a bit so I sucked it up and settled in. Luckily they were all headed to the local "biker bar" or what passes for one in Ojai anyway so they all pulled off together and of course they waited until the last possible second to signal and then make the right turn from the far left side of the lane so we all got to wait until they revved up the Vtwins and made into the parking lot without falling over.

Since I'd gotten this far I decided to go even further, all the way to Jersey for a submarine sandwich. Ok, it was a Jersey Mikes Sub shop, sue me. Better than Subway or Quiznos and I got a free cookie for being a "Mikes Rookie". I straightened out the bars and filled my water bottle with some ice while I was there.

Back on the road, I head towards the small farming town of Santa Paula. On the edge of Los Angeles county, it's a reminder of what rural California used to look like. The highway cut it into pieces and most people never get off of it to see what's actually there. It's a nice little town with a downtown that's pretty much unmolested by time.

I ride thru town, get onto the highway and head towards I5 and home. I've decided to skip the last part of my original route and stay on the freeway until I get to La Canada, stop for a quick hot fudge sundae at the Scottish hamburger chain restaurant and then it's just a few minutes til I'm home in Pasadena. No permanent damage from the wind drop, the sand drop, the bees or the thousands of suicidal grasshoppers that populate the Carrizo Plains, several dozen of which made the trip home with me stuck to the bike and on the top of the skidplate.

The bike performed flawlessly other than the vibration issues, I think it's a chain alignment problem and will be working on fixing it. I modded the carb mixture screw before I left and got great mileage, well other than that time I screwed up the petcock anyway. All the other gear worked as expected, the SPOT kept my girlfriend from worrying too much, the GPS helped, me knowing how to use it properly would have helped even more. I treated myself to some new LD Comfort clothing for this trip, some of their shorts, arm warmer sleeves, a new top and a helmet liner, they all worked great, highly recommended. My homemade ratcheting screw jack worked just as I hoped it would, made lubing the chain and changing my front tire a piece of cake. The repairs and mods I did before leaving all worked as I hoped, no fuses were blown and I was able to keep my phone and ipad charged in the top box just fine. The only questionable piece of gear was the 20 dollar Coleman seat pad, I guess it helped but I'll be heading up to visit the guys at Seat Concepts very soon.

Hope you enjoyed the ride, will post some pics ASAP.

See you down the road...

P.S. I know I'm wordy. Edward Abbey once said a word is worth a thousand pictures if it's the right word at the right time. I struggle to find that one...
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" ...that was the river, this is the sea..."

This is the Sea
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John E screwed with this post 06-19-2012 at 08:49 PM
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:00 AM   #13
John E OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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"Be prepared to stop..."

Some photos from the ride.

[IMG][/IMG]

The DR is ready to roll...

[IMG][/IMG]

The beginning of the back roads...



Above Bouquet Reservoir...



The roads above Los Angeles aren't so bad...



Near Frazier Park...



Elkhorn Road, 40 miles or so across the Carrizo Plains...

More to come...
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
SQ Beemer
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Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the rest of the photos.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:41 PM   #15
John E OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 755
"Be prepared to stop..."







The hills above Cambria...



Ratcheting jack hard at work...



Big Sur, a large portion of this fence was destroyed by a car 2 days after this was taken...



The "office" on the back of the DR at my campsite...



Henry Cowell Redwoods Park outside of Santa Cruz...



Big Sur



Coming home on Soda Lake Road...

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" ...that was the river, this is the sea..."

This is the Sea
The Waterboys/Mike Scott

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