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Old 08-31-2013, 02:44 AM   #91
GP1152 OP
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Hey everyone. Sorry for getting this started so late. Seemed that after falling behind the first couple of days there was no way to actually write anything worth while and still keep up with the daily notes. Not to mention that the places we were going had little to no service, making it difficult to upload the pictures that would go along with the writ-up

As I mentioned before, the original plan was to haul the bikes with the truck to St. George, Utah. There we would leave the truck in storage and continue on with only the bikes. That changed to where we would go with the new camper and store that in St. George. Anyway, here's how the trip unfolded….

Day 1:

First day was a busy one. Stephanie had worked the previous day and was doing some of her packing that same day we were leaving. From home we'd have to drive to where we store the camper, and pick it up. No sense in taking all our stuff to load it up since we would be passing right by our house as we started our route. We would just load everything up at home on the way back and head out from there. The bikes are the only thing we loaded up prior to picking up the camper at the dealer. Even if we wanted to leave early that day we wouldn't have been able to since the dealer was just finishing up some work that needed to be done to it in order to be able to haul the bikes. I'll explain:
As some of you may know, a trailer has the LP gas tanks up front, close to the hitch. because we are hauling the bikes in the truck-bed and need to haul with the tailgate down I needed them to move the LP tanks back to give me enough clearance to turn without blowing up ourselves and/or anyone else (and be able to write this ;) ). This involved welding brackets over the battery box and making all of it functional. This work would be completed that day around 3 o'clock or so. In the end, the work turned out better than even I expected. That's one of those things where you know how everything SHOULD work, but has some sort of a snag along the way and a work-around is needed. In this case, no such (bad) luck. The work came out perfectly, we hitched up and set off towards home.

It had already been a long day by the time we left the dealer/storage (at almost 6:00 PM) and yet we hand't even had lunch. It was late but we needed to stop and get food. We stopped along the way at a Sizzler just off the highway and got a quick bite to eat. I was pretty set on heading down the road tonight, so we ate and were out the door shortly thereafter. Again, we still needed to stop at our place and load the trailer with all our stuff (ramps, gear, helmets, jackets, food, etc, etc).

Fed and ready to go. Sizzler parking lot:



Back at our place, because of the limited space in front of our garage we parked the trailer out on the street and used our FJ to shuttle our stuff to the trailer. Other than the fact that we started to get a slight drizzle, everything went off without a hitch ( no pun intended). At this point though I start getting antsy and just wanted to GO. So GO we did.

The idea was to try and get down to Bakersfield, 270 miles and 4 hours away from home. It was now almost 10 o'clock but I was pretty set on making this happen. It's the start of the trip, I'm pumped, fed and totally ready!! Off we went

I typically do most of the driving unless maybe there's some long highway stretches. If there's any sort of a winding road, forget it, I have to drive unless Stephanie wants to be wearing my last meal. Actually, she's a nurse so she can take it, but the interior of the Raptor, not so much.

Most of the route we were taking this night WAS straight highway but it's also late and I know Stephanie is tired, so I drive. We make good progress and make a few stops for gas and caffeinated drinks. One stops was at one of these TA or Travel Centers of America. If you're not familiar with them, they're those truck-stop-type gas stations you find along interstate highways. For some reason I always find myself going inside to see what they sell. I don't usually need anything when I go in there I can't help but find myself always looking at the things that I COULD buy. Who DOESN'T need a new amplifier to go along with your fifth wheel trailer hitch grease?? (more on that later) These places aren't far behind an airport terminal as far as people watching goes either.

Late night on a highway can also be a great place to see some funny/weird S#!T. Check out this guy that either stole a bunch of mattresses and was getting the most bang for his "buck" OR maybe he believed the "going out of business" sale sign outside the mattress store and bought the lot??:




Stephanie was getting bored so and wanted to drive so we switched at one of the stops. It was her first time driving with the trailer in tow so I guess the long straight stretch of highway ahead was a good place to start. In the meantime I would man the fog-lights and light-bar that we added to the Raptor not to long after we got it. They're great, but like with xenon lights, they're BRIGHT and even with just the outer lights on some people think we have the high-beams on and flash theirs at us. One flash of the 20" light bar has them thinking "hmmm….guess that COULD be a lot worse, never mind". Here's what the set-up looks like



At this point it was getting really late and we were wondering if we weren't going to have to just pull into a truck stop to sleep or at a minimum, a Walmart parking lot (they allow overnight parking for RV's and have security). Our first somewhat planned stop was to have hookups for water and electric, so we didn't fill the water tanks. If we were to stop at a rest stop, we would definitely want to fill the tank. For this we have the perfect tool:


We also have to eat something. It was now about 6 hours since we last ate and we settled on a Wendy's that was attached to another one of those great truck stop stations. This one was a "Pilot" station. Pretty good selection of coolers AND iPad stylus's in this one.

So back to the water tank issue. A while after leaving the incredible supply of mobile electronics available to me at 3 in the morning, we pull into a rest stop, attach the hose & water filter and fill up. DONE!! Once the trailer is fully hydrated we're back on our way. I mull the whole truck stop thing along the way and still just prefer to push towards Bakersfield. Ultimately, that's what we decide on and eventually get to Bakersfield, with a creak. The "creak" is courtesy of the awesome weight distribution hitch we now have and which I guess comes with a REALLY loud creaking sound. I later learn that this happens after the paint wears off the moving parts. I mean, this thing sounds like we're dragging 10 angry witches by their hair. Anyway, I creak our way to a spot at the end of the very empty campground, hook up the electric and water (for the 1st time since we've only dry-camped tip now) and go inside where Stephanie is done getting everything ready and is also ready for some rest. It's now just about 5:30 AM and sleep is needed. Tomorrow/today will be another long day. We'll have to see about that creaking sound in the morning. For now…..zzzzz…..zzzzz……zzzzz…….zzzzzz
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Ducati Streetfighter-S 1098 | Ducati Streetfighter 848 (wife's)

RIDE REPORT: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....3,000 miles
CURRENT RIDE REPORT: Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....4,000 miles

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Old 08-31-2013, 08:03 AM   #92
Blader54
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Wow, what a start!! Those mattresses were hilarious! Maybe that guy owns one of the hotels that rtwdoug keeps running into on his TAT ride. Going to Bakersfield to get around the mtns, then head N?
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:29 AM   #93
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That truck looks SWEET!! Like the lights. I was planning on doing something similar on my WRX. Can you post a link to the light bar? Was it difficult to wire up? Do you have the light bar attached to the high beams? Was it a DIY or did you have someone do it?

Looking forward to the updates!!

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Old 08-31-2013, 10:23 AM   #94
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Hells Backbone Grill

My wife and I have done several moto trips through the years, passing through Boulder Utah. This place is not far from the Kiva cafe and the food is awesome and I would highly recommend it.
Mike
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:40 PM   #95
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Woohoo, the ride report begins for real!
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:43 AM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by live2ridetahoe View Post
Can you post a link to the light bar? Was it difficult to wire up? Do you have the light bar attached to the high beams? Was it a DIY or did you have someone do it?
Thanks. The lights are made by rigid. Here's a link to the 20"bar HERE. I learned that mounting the 20" light bar in the spot its in could be tricky so I had a shop install everything for me. Everything else is pretty easy on the Raptor since it comes with toggle switches like the ones below (not connected to the high-beams) and there's is a relay box you connect to in the engine bay.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bynoid View Post
My wife and I have done several moto trips through the years, passing through Boulder Utah. This place is not far from the Kiva cafe and the food is awesome and I would highly recommend it.
Mike
Patience my friend ;)
(the Kottage rooms are pretty nice too)

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Originally Posted by Candiya View Post
Woohoo, the ride report begins for real!
Hi Candiya. Glad you're reading along, even though you've gotten a preview of some of it already
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RIDE REPORT: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....3,000 miles
CURRENT RIDE REPORT: Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....4,000 miles
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:45 AM   #97
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Day 2:

The next morning we were understandably pretty tired. We ended up waking up around 11:00 am. I had some things to take care of for work and I knew that going forward I'd have to take advantage of any cell phone service I would get. I also wanted to look into the creaking and found some posts where people say to grease up certain moving parts. I'll have to take care of that at some point along the way. With that and some work done, I started getting everything ready to ship out. Stephanie was ready to go and after a few minutes we got moving.

As we were headed out I stopped into the office and paid for the nights stay. One thing I forgot to mention with regards to the preparations I had to make to be able to tow the bikes and the trailer is airbags for the truck itself. The Raptor isn't really made for hauling anything other than ass. Not our asses, just hauling ass in general. It's essentially a desert race truck. It has plenty of power with a 6.2 liter V-8, so installing air bags switches the truck into "hauling mode" when we need it. A few PSI into the valves installed at the back of the truck and we're good to go.

Morning…ready to go


No sooner than we got on the highway did I realize I should probably get gas. I pull off the highway and into the gas station just off the exit. The temperature is hovering close to 90 already, but it's a dry heat, right? ;) As I'm filling up a guy pulls in hauling a beautiful, classic hot-rod. He looks over and compliments me on our truck and I do the same about his classic. We talk for a bit and he tells me the car is actually his fathers. He's just hauling it for him over to a car meet/show. We wish each other luck on the road and move on. Stephanie in the meantime had gone inside to get a few drinks. If you've seen Stephanie at the supermarket you'd understand that shopping for anything, is an odyssey of epic proportions. So…. 25 gallons and a friendly conversation later, she appears with 2 snapple iced tea's. Presumably the best iced tea I'll ever have.

We trudge along the long stretches of mostly barren Hwy 58, heading east out of Bakersfield. Along the way our friend with the Classic car waves as he passes by. Sadly, we pass him shortly thereafter when he is pulled over by CHP.

We had decided to bypass breakfast since it was already kind of late and wanted to get going. 90 miles from Bakersfield is the town of Boron, CA. In that town is a mexican restaurant with great Yelp reviews so we agree that would be our first real stop of the day.

Pulling off the exit it's hard to imagine there's much of anything down this way, but I also know that this is in the vicinity of Edward's Airforce Base. Domingo's Mexican restaurant is about a mile off the exit on one of the town's main roads. The parking lot doesn't seem to have an area long enough for us to park so we park right on the street. It's cool though. This guy is watching all the toys:





There's also this right next door to our friend don quijote:


And this handy weather info center:



Love the restaurant's door handle:



Once inside we're given a table by the window where I can provide backup to the Mountie across the street. It's also pretty obvious the clientele they cater to when you see some of the military memorabilia on the walls. They also have this cool little train steaming around the restaurant:


This is just the sort of place you hope to find when traveling…..a local spot with authentic, homemade food. The food was great (ceviche was REALLY good), the service was great and the people couldn't have been nicer. Turns out one of the waiters helping us used to live in Florida, just north of Miami (where I'm from). We spoke for a while about where he lived back east and answered some of his questions about our trip and he answering mine about the restaurant and the area. Overall, an excellent first (real) meal of the trip.

Stephanie's fajitas:



More iced-tea. Good thing I'm hauling my own bathroom. Guess the same could be said about the mexican food. Hey at least I won't run out of gas…haha…get it…..ahh, never mind.



So enough lounging around. Time to hit the road again. Getting out of town doesn't take long. About a mile down from the restaurant and your back on the highway you came in on, HWY-58…...And this inspiring billboard:


The guys at the Airstream dealer had said that at some point along the way I should check to make sure the lug-nuts on the trailer are torque down (since it's new). I see a tire place at the next intersection and pull in….loudly. Loudly enough so that the overall-clad workers look over to see what all the ruckus is all about. I asked one of the guys (in spanish) if they had a torque wrench and incredibly enough, they don't have one. Yes, it's a tire shop and they don't have a torque wrench. Suddenly my hitch creak isn't so embarrassing.

Onward we go and eventually we reach the Nevada border. It's nighttime already and you'd swear that you'd actually arrived in LAS VEGAS when you drive up and see all those lights. Quite the welcome. It's really only a short stretch of a few hotels/casino's that I guess cater to people that really just can't wait that long to part with their money. Speaking of which, it was time for gas so we pull off the next exit and into a Pilot Station. For some reason the pump doesn't like our AMEX so it's time for Stephanie to go inside to see about that and grab some refreshments (uh oh…."i'll be inside the Airstream taking a nap if you need me"). Stephanie likes slot machines and when she goes in she sees one calling her name. She realizes she doesn't have any cash on her (and presumably distracted by the overwhelming selection of inflatable pools likely available at this station) and comes back outside. The pump still won't work so she goes back inside to check with the cashier. In the meantime, since I didn't want to start fiddling with a bunch of grease I have yet to buy, I decide to try and give the hitch a little one over with the Dupont teflon lube that I was carrying with me for the motorcycle chains. Not a good idea. I think it actually made it worse, which led me to utter enough bad words that I think would ban me from life itself. Still, it's not as bad as a tire shop without a torque wrench.

As I finish up accomplishing nothing Stephanie comes back and tells me that when she went inside there was a guy at her slot machine……and he just won $2,500. I'm sure you're thinking exactly what I was thinking at the the time. That would have paid for a LOT of grease. "you think he wants to buy a snazzy new weight distribution hitch??".

Anyway, we pull out of there $2,400 poorer than we should have and keep going. At this point we weren't really sure where we were going to stop. We were trying to push further past Las Vegas but it was obvious that anywhere worth pushing towards is just too far for tonight. It's also 100 degrees out (at night) and we wanted a place with electric hookups to run the AC (rather than running our generator). We settled on trying to find someplace nearby. Next stop, Las Vegas.

Being that it's Las Vegas the places available to us are RV "resorts". Stephanie finds one that looks nice and shortly thereafter we're at the exit ramp leading to it. I swear at this point I feel the creaking in my bones so I pull into a gas station that is also just off this exit. I go inside to find ANYTHING that I can use to lube this thing, which as I just learned when I tried the teflon lube, I'll still have to wait to even use it (until I can un-hitch the Airstream). It turns out that it didn't matter when I could do it because they didn't have anything that would work and that wasn't meant for sexual intercourse. Oh well, we were close to getting somewhere to spend the night so I'll find something in the morning.

A quarter mile down the road was the turn for the place we were looking for. We pull in and find a place that looks more like the entrance to a luxury community than an RV resort. As I pull into the long drive to the guardhouse I can see over the concrete walls that there are rows of Prevost type motor-coaches behind it. The guard came over and tells us that this place is only for Class-A motor-coaches (like the ones just described). And no, it wasn't the creaking that made him turn us away, yet. But don't you worry, as soon as I had to turn around I made enough noise to wake the RV gods from their slumber. The guy was nice at least and gave us info on a place down the road that we could go to. We head that way and pull into a place that ALSO looks like the entrance to a hotel. We park and walk into the "lobby" which is decked out with a fountain and marble floors. The guy at the front epitomized the night shift employee. No personality and even less people skills. Whatever, tell me where to go so I can creak my way to where I can get some sleep. I asked for a spot far away from where anyone else might be parked and the guy pointed to a spot on his little map and said the spot he was giving us didn't have anyone on either side (I'd later see that there were spots a bit further down all by themselves….thanks). He gives us directions to our spot for the night and sends us on our way. Keep in mind, it's sometime around 11:30 at night and nice and quiet. That is until WE come barreling into the neighborhood. Good thing I can just pull into the spot and don't have to back in.

We settle in and Stephanie makes us a nice meal. We eat, shower and before I head off to bed I go online and see that the hitch manufacturer makes some sleeves for the hitch which are meant to eliminate the noise and eliminate the need for any grease (and therefor avoiding that mess). I note the 2 dealers that carry their products locally and head off to bed. If I don't find that thing tomorrow I'm going to put on my hazmat suit and lube the S#!T out of that hitch!!!

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Ducati Streetfighter-S 1098 | Ducati Streetfighter 848 (wife's)

RIDE REPORT: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....3,000 miles
CURRENT RIDE REPORT: Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....4,000 miles

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Old 09-01-2013, 11:08 AM   #98
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That is a new twist! What size and model of Airstream?
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:31 AM   #99
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Love the start so far. Can't wait to read the rest. Nice rig - great way to travel.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:38 PM   #100
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That is a new twist! What size and model of Airstream?
Thanks. It's a 19' International


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Gus M.
Ducati Streetfighter-S 1098 | Ducati Streetfighter 848 (wife's)

RIDE REPORT: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....3,000 miles
CURRENT RIDE REPORT: Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....4,000 miles
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:24 PM   #101
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Leveler even required?

Guys I know with those levelers are pulling houses... I've heard that heinous noise they make, seems the Raptor with air bags wouldn't even notice the 19' Airstream... that thing could be pulled with a Subaru?
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:27 PM   #102
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Guys I know with those levelers are pulling houses... I've heard that heinous noise they make, seems the Raptor with air bags wouldn't even notice the 19' Airstream... that thing could be pulled with a Subaru?
lol, good luck towing this thing with a subaru. Engine-wise, we clearly have no issues. But, as for the Subaru.....The Airstream we have weighs 4,500 lbs with water and gear in it and has a hitch weight of 550 lbs. Add 800+ lbs of payload for the 2 bikes. (plus two 14 gallon water jugs and 2-gallon rotopax with fuel we carry in the bed) and you're right around 1,500 lbs. That's well over the 920 lb payload capacity of the Raptor (which as I'm sure you can imagine, that lower number is due mainly to the suspension). The weight distribution hitch cuts the hitch weight of the Airstream roughly in half. That, along with the airbags makes everything work just the way we need it to
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Gus M.
Ducati Streetfighter-S 1098 | Ducati Streetfighter 848 (wife's)

RIDE REPORT: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....3,000 miles
CURRENT RIDE REPORT: Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....4,000 miles
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:39 PM   #103
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Hi Gus, I don't write many replies to threads, but I really admire your posts/treads, always fun and interesting to read, seems like the two of you have a good time most of the time...

The reason for my reply is a question about why do you run such a heavy tongue weight on your trailer, here in Europe we try to keep it to around about 160-180 pounds no matter what you tow..?

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Old 09-03-2013, 05:52 PM   #104
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Hi Gus, I don't write many replies to threads, but I really admire your posts/treads, always fun and interesting to read, seems like the two of you have a good time most of the time...

The reason for my reply is a question about why do you run such a heavy tongue weight on your trailer, here in Europe we try to keep it to around about 160-180 pounds no matter what you tow..?

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Thank you very much SevenFifty. I appreciate the feedback. It always makes it easier to sit down and write this stiff when you hear from people that are enjoying it.

The tongue/hitch weight is unfortunately something one has no control over. It is simply a matter of how heavy the trailer itself is. It is the amount of pressure (weight) on the hitch-ball. The tongue/hitch weight is typically 10%-15% of the weight of the trailer. In this case, the trailer is right around 4,500 lbs. So using that rule of thumb, the tongue weight of ours is right around 12% of the weight of the trailer. We (briefly) had a 16' Airstream which was about 1,000 lbs lighter than this one and the tongue/hitch weight was right around 350 lbs. obviously something bigger and heavier altogether would be heavier up front. Hope that all makes sense.


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Ducati Streetfighter-S 1098 | Ducati Streetfighter 848 (wife's)

RIDE REPORT: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....3,000 miles
CURRENT RIDE REPORT: Part 2: Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's.....4,000 miles
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:03 PM   #105
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What sort of gasoline mileage are you suffering with that rig?

Thanks for sharing this and your other ride reports.
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