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Old 07-24-2013, 09:26 PM   #91
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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Ask and ye shall receive!

Following the coast my next stop was San Fran. I had been to the city a couple times before, but still wanted to stop in because its a cool place to visit. Taking hwy 1 down was super twisty, inevitably I got stuck behind an RV and some trucks pulling boats, but that gave me some time to take in the amazing views. It's hard to keep your eyes on the road in spots. I stopped at a lighthouse attraction for pictures, but skipped the actual entry since it was $7, and seemed like the view was just as good on the ground.

As I rolled up to the bay bridge, I noticed the toll signs. Crap, I forgot you had to pay to cross this thing. So I pull over and dig out a bunch of dollar bills to stuff in my tank bag. I didn't want to be the guy holding up traffic. As I merge back into traffic I see signs that say no stopping, automatic toll. I'm not sure how that works with out of country plates, does the DOT even have access to Canadian registry information? If not I guess I pass go for free. A couple asked me to take their picture for them, and I forced them to return the favor.

I get into downtown and start googling hostels. I find one downtown for $30 a night that has street parking, good enough. What the guy on the phone doesn't tell me is they are located 4 floors up in a building with no elevator. After hauling 70 lbs of bags up these stairs, everyone at the hostel is quite amused at how much luggage I fit on a motorcycle. I told them picture Mr. Bean's car, that's how it all fits.

It's getting late and I haven't eaten all day, so I head onto the pier to find some local grub. I splurge at an Italian spot called Ciopinio's, which I discover is a kind of seafood stew/soup. $32 got me a huge bowl with mussels, clams, crab, shrimp, cod, swimming in tomato, garlic and fennel. It wasn't bad, but I will say it was more interesting than tasty.

Some night time shots walking around the pier.

The next day was spent riding around the city (bad idea) doing touristy things. Rode the elevator up Coit tower for a panorama view, meh. I discovered cycle gear and spent a good 2 hours in the store wondering how the hell they could sell gear for so cheap. I badly needed pants with vents, and they had a promotion where you could get a helmet, jacket, gloves, and pants for $400. I asked how much for just the pants? $350. Wtf? I still walked out of the store with a cooling vest, socks, compression shorts, and a new Shoei Neotec. I was getting sick of struggling with a full face at gas stations, and not being able to look down at a map on my tank bag. I had been wearing cheap helmets all my life, so I splurged on my first name brand premium lid. Since I didn't have room for a spare helmet on the bike, I asked the guy behind the counter if he knew anyone who wanted a free helmet. "we would just throw it in the trash". The lady standing behind me piped up, "I'll take it."

She was in the store looking for a cheap helmet for passengers, I think that made her day. I chatted a bit more with her in the parking lot, and she had just bought this really cool bmw cruiser the day before. I'd never seen anything like this before, but it looked really sweet. I think this was the one:

I ate lunch at an in/out burger which was not what I was expecting, but dirt cheap. Then I saw a homeless guy eating scraps out of various garbage cans, very hard to watch. Another guy comes up to me and asks if I have any food, he's really hungry and doesn't want money. I buy him a burger.

A bit more cruising around town, I think this one was in golden gate park, a really pretty spot.

Touring USA on a KTM Superduke, I have no idea what I'm doing:
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:46 PM   #92
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That evening I met an interesting guy from Germany who was about my age. He had such a thick accent I could barely understand what he was saying, and as he told his story, he got more and more excited. Spoke faster and faster until I really had no clue what he was talking about. But basically he had moved to the USA recently, bought a suzuki cruiser, and was doing a big road trip on it. He was a great story teller and went into detail about how his empty light came on when he reached Moki Dugway in Utah, and having to coast for miles and miles with the engine off, then rolling into the gas station on fumes. Moki Dugway was on my hit list, so I made a mental note to fill up while I was in that area.

After a few beers and a bunch of tall tales, I get the munchies. It's midnight, so the hostel worker gives me slim pickings of places within walking distance. I decide to try out this Thai bar/restaurant called King of Thai. Turns out their $6 pad thai was the best food I had in SF. The $2 pints and the cute young thai waitress was icing on the cake.

The next morning I woke up at 5:30 to move the motorcycle from one side of the street to the other, figuring out which side of the street I could park on at what time was a freakin puzzle. I had to write it out on a piece of paper complete with pictures and an algorithm of how I was gonna juggle the bike. If time is between 7:30 and 13:00 then park left, else park right. Except on MWF park on right, but on Tues, Thurs Park left. Ack.

I skipped breakfast and tried a fancy spot for brunch recommended in my lonely planet guide. Slanted Door on the pier was run by some noteworthy chef. $20 for a small lackluster plate of cellophane noodles topped with a bit of crab meat. Very disappointing as I could have walked into any Vietnamese restaurant and gotten the same stuff for half the price.
Touring USA on a KTM Superduke, I have no idea what I'm doing:
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:06 PM   #93
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I kept heading south on the coast, making slow progress. Stopped for lunch in Santa Cruz at a place called "Burger." which turns out, does not have very good burgers at all. I left slightly disappointed, and in a couple of hours was hungry again.

At this point I was riding past orange trees and artichoke farms. I keep looking for a place to pull over because I have to pee badly, but nada. Then the theme from Sons of Anarchy queues up on my ipod, and I think to myself "Screw this, I'm a badass motorcycle riding sonuvabitch, I'll piss where I dam please!"

I pull over right there on the side of highway, take about 20 steps down an embankment, and relieve myself. Feeling pretty smug I walk back to the bike, and the smile disappears from my face when I see a CHP car with lights on, parked behind my bike.

"WHAT'S GOING ON HERE??" the cop doesn't look pleased. Oh shit.

"I ummm, errr, I had something in my eye?"

He seems to buy it, "Ok, Move along." and pulls off. whew.


So at the next gas stop I decide to give Acerph a call, since I was riding out to his place in Paso Robles. Start digging in my tank bag for my phone, and it's not there. Shit. I sit quietly for a second to think, then meticulously empty out everything in my tank bag on the ground. It's not there. I start thinking about the last time I used it. Burger. Then I think of all the stops where I could have dropped it, the pee stop which is now impossible to locate, and one scenic stop where I dropped for some pictures.

Long story short, the next 2 hours are spent back tracking, until I get back to burger, and it's there behind the bar. That's great, but now I pissed away 4 hours to find this dam phone, and to top it off I was hitting rush hour leaving Santa Cruz. I didn't think I could make it to Paso Robles before dark, but I pressed on anyways.

The good thing was my dicking around meant I got to ride by Carmel by the Sea in the late evening, and the sunset made for some of the most breath taking views on this entire trip.

The shots didn't turn out as well as I wanted, I was rushing because I absolutely hate riding past sundown, especially on twisty roads. Better get moo-ving.

Touring USA on a KTM Superduke, I have no idea what I'm doing:

pne screwed with this post 07-25-2013 at 02:09 PM
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:21 PM   #94
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There was no way I could make it into Paso Robles before dark, so I slowed way down once the sun set. I tailed a mustang down the rest of 1, keeping close to his tail lights and watching for wild life. At this time I also discovered that the pin lock system on my new shoei absolutely sucks for night riding. In fact, I would flat out say its unsafe, not only does it block out a ton of light, but it creates halos around every light source and causes some serious distortion. Not sure why so many people rave about it so much, my scorpion lids with the antifog coating work perfectly, and I can still see just fine at night.

Rolling into town I have my biggest near miss of the trip. I start merging onto the freeway and this douche bag is not letting me in. When I floor it, so does he and the fucker blocks me. I'm looking over my shoulder at him, when I quickly glance ahead and shit my pants. The lane is abruptly coned off ahead with pylons. No warning sign, no flashers, just a bunch of fucking cones with no reflective at all. Whoever closed this lane was a moron that should be fired. There's no time to do anything but swerve, and I clip one of the cones with my boot as I slalom around them. D-bag in the car sees what a moron he is being, and decides to slow down and let me in. I get into the left lane, and watch in my mirrors as a pickup truck falls for the same trap I just did, and completely creams the entire row of cones. There is probably 100ft between the end of the merging lane, and these cones in the right lane that aren't lit at all.

I get to Acerph's place a bit shaken. Good thing he had cold beer. Thanks buddy, and your multistrada made me very jealous.
Touring USA on a KTM Superduke, I have no idea what I'm doing:
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:13 AM   #95
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Frugal Lighthouse..

It's a good thing you saved the $7 fee at the Lighthouse!! It helped offset the $108 for food and lodging

A tip on your cooling vest. If you stop at a convenience store to wet it , see if they have a ice locker were they sell ice. Put it in there for 5 minutes. Your own air conditioner..

Thanks for a very entertaining RR. Be safe..
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:23 PM   #96
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next way was some boring straight line out to Visalia, where I had some bad fish tacos for lunch. I decided to skip buying supplies for dinner while I was in town, which was a bad decision. Riding into Kings Canyon Park was an experience. Lots of very beautiful scenery, from the huge redwoods to colorful canyon faces. I don't understand why it doesn't get the same kind of popularity as yosemite, but to date it has been one of my favorite parks. It's well worth the drive down and back the canyon.

The Sherman tree, which I kept reading as "Shaman" for some reason.

I did some fire roading and popped out in this clearing, which I can't remember the name of. The family there in their SUV was shocked to see a bike made it down there, and couldn't stop gawking at me.

Getting ready to ride down into the canyon:

At certain angles the bike looks pretty badass

I took the opportunity to wind the motor out and listen to the rumbling echoing through the canyon.

I pulled into the only gas stop/diner/cabin along the road at 7, trying to grab a bite to eat. The guy tells me he closes the kitchen at 6:30. Um, ok. It's not like you're swimming with business here, you're not willing to make me a sandwich? Whatever.
Turned around and headed deeper into the canyon, making camp at a nice secluded picnic site called convict flats.
Touring USA on a KTM Superduke, I have no idea what I'm doing:
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:47 PM   #97
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Great ride! gotta watch some of the cages, there could be an ego there someplace. Take care and will be looking for more! Thank you.
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:58 PM   #98
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next up is Yosemite of course, I dropped off my stuff at the yosemite bug hostel and checked in front desk. The lady behind the counter tells me I'm going to be sharing a room with 3 girls from europe. I give her a big grin picturing swedish supermodel pillow fights all night. Unfortunately nobody was in the room and it was still early afternoon, so I jumped back on the bike to ride down to the canyon.

I can see why this place is so popular:

When the sun started setting I back tracked into Mariposa for an ortega burger at the local burger joint, which wasn't really the best burger in town as they claimed. Back at the hostel I took a quick shower and went back to my room to get some sleep. Still no sign of the swedish supermodels, weird. Finally around midnight they barge in. Not Swedish, but British, and not only were they homely looking, they were in real need of a shower. Still I decide to be polite.

"Hi I'm John, I'm from Canada", I offer with a smile.

"Hi" "Hello." *silence follows*

Umm.. ok. Fighting the urge to say "and your names are....??" I roll back into bed.

What followed was several minutes of me trying to tune out their inane chatter, along with the strange behavior of them having what I call a wet-nap shower. IE wiping your pits, crotch, and feet with baby wipes. It's beyond me why they didn't just take an actual shower down the hall. Whatever, to each their own. The lights get turned out, my earplugs are in, and I am just beginning to drift off when there's a banging at the door.

3 very drunk guys barge in and turn on the lights. I sit up blinking my eyes and trying to figure out what is going on.

"Sorry mate", One guy blurts out.

"No problem", I reply, thinking they need to grab something from the girls. Evidently not, they all start drunken yammering and the girls seem to think this is really funny. Amidst their giggling, I am getting pretty irritated.

"Do you guys need something??"

"no..." and they shuffle out.

An hour later there is more banging at the door. This time they don't come inside, but instead start their idiotic cat calling and noise making outside the door. The girls are finding the whole thing pretty funny, and will not stop giggling. I'm thinking of how this is going to play out. I could open the door and start yelling at them. They are pretty drunk and I'm pretty mad, this could break out into a fight, which I really don't care for. Because it would end up with me getting beaten up or 3 guys with bear spray in their faces. No good to anybody. I give it a few more minutes, to see if they give up and leave. They don't. Now the whole floor is awake and people are coming out of their rooms to tell these guys to STFU. Finally they give up and leave.

This leads to one of the lessons of the trip. Skip the hostels. They just aren't worth the hassle. You pay around $30 to sleep in a room with a bunch of strangers, worrying about your shit disappearing. Or putting up with some guys snoring. I have met one or two cool people in hostels, but inevitably there is always 1 or 2 drunken assholes who go around slamming doors and making a bunch of noise when everyone else is trying to sleep. For an extra few bucks I would take a cheap motel over a hostel every time.
Touring USA on a KTM Superduke, I have no idea what I'm doing:
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:16 PM   #99
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We opted out on the probably the same lighthouse. That's where my bike broke the second time and we were stranded in there in Point Arena. It was horrible. Stuck at the beach, couldn't go anywhere. Our motorcycle trip began to feel like a vacation...
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:45 PM   #100
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Cool RR! If ya make to WI you've got a place to stay. I can promise a free bed, cheap food, and cold beer!
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:01 PM   #101
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Awesome RR! I can't wait to try touring on my Super Duke now. I like your set up. Keep us posted, I'm subscribed!
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:38 AM   #102
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Excellent! I joined the adv forum just to follow this thread! Although I am somehow certain I'll be losing countless hours browsing the entire forum...
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:01 AM   #103
Hey! Watch this.
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LOL! Damn, John. Too bad on the tipsy Swedish supermodels. Ah, win some, loose some I guess. Yosemite looks great. Bucket listed. Take care.
Ride hard, you might be dead this time tomorrow!
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'11 BMW F800GS lava orange, '08 Kawasaki Concours, '06 ZX-10R track bike
'13 KTM 500 XC-W
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:34 AM   #104
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:41 PM   #105
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I got my map back in the mail.... thanks.

It was good meeting you, and the spare bedroom is yours if you need it again.

But seriously.... you rode across Texas and had nothing to report? No pictures to show? This hot flat place isn't that bad, is it?

Safe travels.
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