Friday, August 7, 2009

Home to San Diego

Woke up early to head out towards San Diego. And meet Jay for breakfast. I told him my standard thing about trying to eat at a local establishment and he recommended a great cafe in El Segundo. It is a very nice part of the LA area, just south of LAX. We talked about old teachers & principals and how life had changed since we were young.


As much as I liked hanging with my buddy, I was extremely anxious to do the remaining 150 miles to San Diego. So I parted ways with Jay and hit the road once again. There isn't a lot of good riding roads between LA and San Diego on the coast, so I just took the 405 to the 5 and on down. I did pull over at one rest area to get a pic of the bike and the coast.


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I started to get pretty excited after I hit Oceanside. I felt the perma-grin as I reached Encinitas. Getting off the Interstate I felt elated as I cruised down the local streets towards my house. Tracy had requested I let her know when I was close so I stopped to send a quick text. As I rounded the corner into the street, there she was waiting for me. What a great sight, my own home, my own bed and my future wife.


We celebrated my return with dinner that night at the Fish Market, downtown. The next day we did something I've wanted to do ever since I left...go to the beach. These pics were at Coronado, my favorite area beach.


What a great day to be home too, temps in the mid 70's, sunny and beautiful with a slight breeze. Aaah, San Diego, I missed you.

Now that I'm home, I'll take a week or two to reflect on my thoughts and then post a moto-adv wrap-up that discusses my trip and what I would and wouldn't do next time. It's been 9723 miles so far. And hopefully this is just the first of many trips like this. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Los Angeles

Mike and I woke up early and got some breakfast. Not too early mind you, my ride today was real short, just from Oxnard to LA to visit my bro for a day or two. After a nice meal of bacon and eggs at a local cafe that Mike recommended, I hit the road.

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I went into Santa Monica via the coast, which was beautiful. Lots of traffic tho, so I didn't get any pics, too busy trying not to get killed. Some sort of stinging insect flew inside my sleeve and started stinging me on the arm, which was painful until I could pull over and deal with it. I finally made it down to David's work and we got some lunch at a local taco shop. Man, it was great to get So-Cal mexican food again. Been missing that a *lot*.

David lives up in the San Fernando Valley, just north of LA, famous for porn stars and hot weather. He recommended I take the coast back up and SR-27 (Topicanga Canyon Rd), which was nice and curvy. If it weren't for the danged traffic, I could have had some real fun. But it was nice and pretty. Stopped at a park for a shot of the valley.


Finally made it to his doorstep in the late afternoon. It was about 105F out and my bike had been doing fine. But as I stepped off, I noticed I had a coolant leak that had just started a few min ago. I let the bike cool off as I tried to figure out what to do, I couldn't really drive it anywhere. Luckily I had planned to stay with him the next day so I had a day to get it fixed.


Had dinner that night with our mutual college buddy Chris, who we both hadn't seen in years. David knows some good places to eat, and we ate at the Peruvian place down the street, so good.

Woke up the next day and called around a few places to see what I could do. I took off all the panels on the bike (and the crash bars) to get to the hose. Apparently the pipe only has a lip on one side, so it looks like it had just vibrated off over time. I stopped by a local auto-parts store for coolant and a local grocery for distilled water. Snugged that baby back up and re-filled the radiator and over-flow tank to the right levels. Done.


Normally I would explore the towns I stay in a bit more but I've been up here a few dozen times so I just went for a mid-afternoon walk. I didn't know LA County had a logo, cool.


Had dinner that night with David, his fiance Kavitha and my friend Jason. Had some great Italian food while David and Jason discussed the virtues of Redondo Beach, where David just bought a house. Jason and I stayed up late that night talking about my trip and his new job in San Francisco. Good luck up there man! I had also tried to meet up with my elementary school buddy Jay while I was in the area but we were just too tired to make it out, so we decided to get breakfast the next day.

Tomorrow, San Diego!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Central California Coast

Woke up early to a dreary San Francisco, cloudy and about 50 degrees. I said good by to my guest host Brian who had to head off to work and packed my bags.


I knew parking in his garage would be tough but getting the bike out would be even tougher. I don't know if you can tell from this pic but it is an *extreme* angle.


I hadn't dropped the bike in the last 9000 miles, I sure wasn't going to drop it now. So I ended up turning the bike around in the garage, powering out of there up to a flat spot at the top of the hill and coming back down to shut the garage. Whew. I headed down to a breakfast spot that Brian's room-mate had recommended at Half-Moon bay. I can't remember the name of the place but it's at the intersection of Main and Miramontes. Something like "Main Street Cafe". It was an excellent 60's style diner and even the cooks were singing along to the hits on the juke-box.

After a good breakfast, I hit the coast. And of course, more sight-seeing tourists clogging up the roads. But I just took it easy and enjoyed the view.


I had decided earlier that I would stay the night in San Simeon. But after getting there quite a bit earlier than I expected, I decided to trek on down the coast. My new destination for the night was Oxnard, to visit my motorsports buddy Mike. I see him every year at the Monterey Historics and he's always invited me down to his house so it's high time I took him up on that invitation. Mostly uneventful, driving down the coast. Just nice and pretty.


The sun set on a beautiful Pacific ocean as I got into Oxnard. Again, my GPS took me on a scenic tour of the wrong part of town. My fault actually, I wasn't paying attention. I finally rolled into Mike's garage about 8pm. The car you see behind us is Mike's Lotus 7 kit, with a Mazda rotary engine and a supercharger. I've been hearing about this rocketship for years, it was good to finally see it.


Mike's is like me, been affected by the economy. But he's been looking for work a lot longer than I. We had dinner that night, talked about economics, politics, race cars and women. I was thankful he shared his home with me on one of the longer of my riding days, a little over 400 miles and 14 hours on the road.

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Tomorrow, down to the Valley to see my brother!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Into California and San Francisco

I woke up early in Fallon with intentions of blasting out of Nevada and getting into California via Lake Tahoe, before traffic gets bad (Sunday vacationers returning home). But as I was packing up, I saw a tweet from another adventurer that had just started his trip, @jryden. He said he was just leaving Carson City. I quickly hit him up on twitter to see if he wanted to get breakfast in Fernley, which is not too much out of the way for either of us. We met up at 9AM and had breakfast at a place called "Wigwam". His name is Joe, nice guy...his bike looked so clean to me, being used to mine with a zillion bugs, mud, salt and grime. But I guess he is only 2 days into his trip. Follow his adventure on his blog and on twitter.


After breakfast, I continued west, passing thru Carson City and on towards Cali. I passed the "Welcome to California" sign just as I got into South Lake Tahoe. And predictably, into a big mess of people. I've been used to some solidarity on this trip so the sudden infusion of people into my trip was a little much. I took a break from the traffic and went down to the waterfront to take a pic or two. It's beautiful there, may have to visit sometime.


After sitting in traffic for a while, I started fiddling with my GPS to find a new route. I discovered there is a 'back road' thru South Lake Tahoe and quickly went for it. What a time saver. I took SR-89 to SR-88, which was a great road with lots of curves that takes you through the Eldorado National Forest. I passed Caples Lake and Silver Lake. It would have been a great drive if it hadn't been for the traffic...and a logging truck that wouldn't use turnouts for anyone to pass. So I tried to relax and take in the scenery. It was a bit smokey, I assume due to a fire.


I got into Jackson, stopped for a fill-up and and phoned into my contact in SF to get directions to his place. I took SR-16 into Sacramento from there. Lots of farmland out in Northern Cali that I'd never seen before. Pretty rolling hills and "Happy Cows".


I wanted to cross the Golden Gate bridge as part of the end of this trip, so I went north of San Pablo Bay thru Vallejo on SR-37 and stopped in Novato for gas. A pretty drive actually, with lots of potential for exploration...if you have a boat. Once I hit the 101, I started to think of how close I am to home and stopped to get a pic to send to Tracy. A fellow on a BMW 1150RT chatted me up at a gas station and actually offered to take the pic. Thanks man!


A cool tunnel on the way to the GG Bridge.


I hit up Golden Gate Park, to drive up the hill and get a shot of the bridge. Beautiful, but foggy and cold. It was 55F up there! And it had been in the low 100's just a few hours earlier, nearly a 50 degree change. But the shots were awesome.


Finally got down to the Golden Gate. Crossed the bridge in a little bit of traffic. I got honks when they saw me taking shots. People are so impatient, I just wanted to capture my $6 view!


Didn't realize it cost $6 to cross it or I'd have had my money ready. D-oh.

I had programmed my GPS to take me right to my destination for the night...but it decided to take me on a scenic tour of downtown San Francisco that lasted 45 minutes. When I finally stopped to see what was up, I realized I had passed his home just at the south end of the bridge, doh! My friend Paul had hooked me up with his college buddy Brian, whom I'd never met. He was super nice and his house was awesome. One challenge was parking my bike on the 45 degree angle street he lived on...thankfully he had an open garage and I slipped the bike inside. Decided I'd worry about how to get it out tomorrow. We dined on thai food and hit the sack around 11PM.

His view of the city at night.


My route for the day, 341 miles.

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Tomorrow, I do the Cali coast and on towards So-Cal!