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Old 09-16-2009, 03:51 PM   #31
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I found it interesting that along the route were more signs telling how far to the next fuel station - not that the information could do anyone any good since most were at the half-way point or further.

The terrain was odd, very uninhabited and very few man-made structures, but everywhere the ground looked weird. Portions were pock-marked, others had thousands of odd lumps. I'm not sure how much was simply geology that I'm unfamiliar with and how much is the result of military testing in years past. I'm sure there was some of both going on.

I finally came to a small town. It was very run-down and trashy, most homes were shacks or mobile homes, but in the hills surrounding were covered with dirt bike and ATV tracks:)

The first fuel station in town wanted about $3.50/gal which was a buck higher than most places I'd seen so far. I was low but not empty, the town looked like it might just have more than one fuel station. Sure enough, fuel was well under $3 just a mile further down the road. I stopped with about 240 miles showing on the trip meter. I had at least a half-gallon left in the tank

I re-filled my water bladder and was off. More of the same persisted, though after this town it wasn't quite so desolate (but still way less inhabited or traveled than anywhere else I've traveled).

Eventually a dust cloud and some sort of structure loomed in the distance with larger hills far in the background. The sierras perhaps?

The first structure was a commercial vehicle agricultural inspection station. If not for the GPS I'd have thought I'd mistakenly made a left somewhere and hit a border crossing, but no, seems California considers itself a separate country, though as best I could tell I wasn't in California yet.

I rode on.

Shortly later I came to another big, ominous structure with a big ominous person standing out front. I say person, because I wasn't sure if it was a man or woman. The road was routed though the structure and a sign said all vehicles must enter. Now this was all very odd, still a very remote area and no where near a town or even a place where a person could get gas or water. Just a military-ish looking structure in the middle of the desert.

I slowed, then followed the road into the ominous structure where the person motioned for me to stop. I did so, but left the motor running and a finger on the clutch - none too sure of the situation.

The person, who by that time I'd decided was probably a woman, scowled and shot me a glare. I hadn't said or done anything yet. I said hi in a friendly tone, I think she grunted.

She (I think) walked slowly in a full circle around the bike. She poked at my dry bag - I shot her a glare this time, she backed off.

She returned to her little standing spot, looked up at me and asked, "so, what kind of produce and livestock do you have?" She made it sound like I'd be in trouble if I didn't have any, but I knew better. By this point I'd expected some lame attempt at entrapment and quickly said none in my best you-are-a-total-moron voice, then snicked it in gear and was out of there. The whole time I'm wondering if a state can actually, legally regulate interstate commerce in this manner... At the least they are pushing the limit and I suspect are operating just a bit beyond the bounds of the law.

On the other side of the structure was a welcome to California sign - yeah right!

I rode on.

The road become a lot of fun, there were some twists and turns and many small, steep hills and valleys with the peaks pointed enough that the bike would go light and sometimes float just a bit going over the top. I'm sure a person would only need a tiny bit of throttle to loft the front a touch going over the tops as well....

I went though a park that was somewhat scenic, but not quite photo-worthy when my battery was blinking the I'm-nearly-dead-red-icon.

Then I saw a lake, now it wasn't much of a lake, but I hadn't seen a body of water since leaving Lake Powell two days ago. The air still had that weird, desert haze to it, but I took a pic anyway.


Before long I found myself at the entrance to Yosemite park and Tioga pass. I stopped for fuel and thought I might get a bite to eat. The little restaurant at the base of the pass was super $$$ though so I opted for neither, rode past the entrance a bit and found cheaper fuel.

By this time my tire was looking really bad. I was pretty certain I wouldn't make it to San Diego as planned.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:51 PM   #32
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I went back to the little gas and food place at the base of the pass to sit in the shade and attempt to locate tires via my phone and help from Pilette. A friendly biker inquired about my travels and we talked a bit. I asked him about tires. He mentioned a few towns with dealerships, but it was already getting somewhat late and we both were sure I wouldn't be able to get a tire mounted, but he said I could probably buy one somewhere. Well, that was a start and I've changed street tires myself before with just cheap dirt bike tire levers, but I wasn't too excited about the idea.

The cool, older biker light up and said, "wait a minute," my son has a small race shop and tire machine. He normally only works on sport bikes and stocks only dot race tires and slicks, but he'd be happy to fit a tire if you could find one.

Well that sounded like a plan to me. I started calling places. Cyclegear had a deal going on some tires so I called several of their shops - none could mount the tires, but most stocked some form of sport touring tire. I wanted to try a Pilot Road 2 as that's what was on the front and in good shape.

As luck would have it, the only cyclegear that was even sort-of along my route had only a regular road in stock, but the biker said the same town had several dealerships as well. That was enough of a plan for me.

We parted ways and I headed over Tioga Pass.

It was quite scenic, but not quite up to Colorado pass standards imho. It did have some exceptional rocks though.

Knowing I couldn't loose more than about 12 minutes off the GPS-ETA for tires, I didn't stop fr pics, but snapped a few as I rode.
















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Old 09-16-2009, 03:52 PM   #33
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After the Pass, I made my way to the town with the Cyclegear and various M/C dealerships. I stopped at the first dealership I saw, a Ducati place. They didn't carry any sport-touring stuff and gave me a weird look when I asked. I figured that since they sell multistrada's and stuff it might be otherwise, but no such luck. They did have a bunch of cool streetfighters on the showroom floor though.

I motored on. The next shop I stopped at was a combo yamaha/harly shop. I figured yamaha with their FJR's and stuff surely must have sport touring tires, but no such luck. The HD shop had already locked their doors, 15 minutes before their stated closing time.

I pressed on (cyclegear was open longer than the dealers so that was the backup option).

I spotted a Triumph/BMW dealership and swing in there. Before I got though the door, a guy named Dirk greeted me, he seemed a cool fellow so I told him of my tire-plight. Three good signs right from the start - he knew what a "Road 2" was, he knew what 180/55 meant, he let me in even though it was closing time.

They even had the Road 2 in stock. It was a bit pricey, but magically ended up $15 less when he rang it up - I think he helped me out a bit. Still more $$ than mail order, but down to the semi-acceptable range.

Then Dirk, who was full of witty, snarky comments (which I loved) insisted on helping me load the tire on my bike.

He wasn't impressed with my meger assortment of bungy cords and said I needed straps and disapeard. He came back with several nice looking white straps and said I could have them, very cool!

We strapped the tire atop my other luggage and I was off to the biker's son's house to get it fitted.

I buzzed down the freeway, split lanes when traffic slowed and arrived looking like this.



My tire definitely was in need of replacement!


The biker's son was himself quite a rider. He was super enthusiastic about all types of riding and had a tricked out GSXR in his garage. We talked bikes for a long time and he mounted my tire. Eventually I left feeling like we were old friends. I told him about advrider, hopefully he'll post up

Here I am in his shop and ready to go.


TLZ'er supernatural had very kindly offered a place to stay for the night, i accepted and made my way to his house.

He's got a cool TL that was in the process of being put together when I was there and quite a nice place!
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:53 PM   #34
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Supernatural said I should hit Alice's Restaurant and Rt 9 and surrounding roads. I figured if Arlo and a TLZ'er both recommended the place it couldn't be bad. As it happens, Arlo is one of the very few musicians I've seen live (I'm not at all into music or concerts) - he was performing at GMU while I was in college there, Pilette had some sort of course that required her to attend and write about performing arts so we went to see Arlo, he seemed cool. He sang about Alice's Restaurant, the superiority of Motorcycles over Pickles and all sorts of stuff.

The roads and food were excellent.

The road to Alice's Restaurant wound its way up this hill and along this ridge-line. Very twisty, very fun!


A fire had broken out just that morning according to a local fire fighter I met along the way.




I had an Alice's Omelet for breakfast. It had fresh cut tomato, onion, peppers, avocado, ham, swiss cheese and probably lots of other good stuff I'm forgetting. :
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:53 PM   #35
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From there I made my way to a park that was said to have some good trees.











The road to the park was covered with a canopee of trees, cutting off so much light that on-the-move pics just didn't work. Where's a full-frame point and shoot for clean ISO3200 imagines when you need it?


There were definitely some good trees. The rangers were all quite nervous about the fire though.






After checking out the trees, I motored on.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:55 PM   #36
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Shortly after leaving the Redwood Forrest, I came to a beach town.


And saw some sailboats.


Ocean-front farming?


At first I was a little disappointed with the coastline - it started out rather unspectacular and my only prior CA-coastal experience had been the run from Palo Alto to Point Reys (SF-Bay and about 90 miles north - all quite striking).

But then it started to improve


As the coastal line improved, so did the cages. In fact, there was a solid stream of cages of this ilk for a few hours!


















The coastal road had some amazing views!





These folks looked to be having fun


This guy was trying to ruin someone's fun.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:27 PM   #37
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Then traffic got bad and I took advantage of this lane-sharing thing. At first I was a bit slow, but then picked up the pace and split my way almost the entire distance from Santa Barbara to Newport Beach. I was surprised how few motorcycles there were, but the cages were amazingly friendly and many even moved over to give me extra space! The only hold-up was when a squid from I think Camp Pendalton (sp? he had on military gear) got in the way and wouldn't move to let me by. He seemed to think he could lane-share, but whenever the gap was too small to fit a tractor-trailer he'd clamp on the brakes hard, then it would open up and he'd gas it hard, make a ton of noise and likely piss everyone off only to slam on the brakes again. Quite annoying, slow and not terribly safe. One of the times that things tightened up and he clamped on the brakes I slipped by. Anyway, I found lane splitting to be not entirely unlike east-coast tree threading - I rather liked it

Didn't take any pics, the close quarters and need for constant readiness precluded one-handed operation.

Then I arrived at N2Wheelies' (TLzoner, engineering professor specializing in hands-on internal combustion research and NHRA bracket racing champ) place in Newport Beach. Here's what he wrote up about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N2wheelies View Post
a shot of bp's so cal arrival



after being on the road since 7 AM i asked him if he would like to chill, ride push bikes, or more mc riding to a bike night 30 miles away. he opts bike night, we swapped bikes on the way home and got some 1250 time on empty CA mega highways, he seemed to like playing with my TLS. and no tickets :)

next morning we did a 5 mile push bike trek down the peninsula and across a small island, then back pch to breakfast. he left a few
hours later to explore cooks corner and ortega on the bandit.

N2's TLS is absolutely amazing! The motor just pulls and pulls - craig said hitting the throttle on the thing is about like being rear-ended by a bus, I'd have to agree as long as its a very fast bus! This bike has a liter90 deg V-twin with 14:1 compression, high-lift cams and the usual assortment of exhaust and fuel injection tuning.

Also all the little things that are often overlooked are perfect on his bike. The brakes are smooth and strong, the clutch effort is light and the engagement feel better than any TL I've ever ridden. Its totally controllable. The suspension works well and the chassis is setup for drag racing - stretched and lowered a bit. It just shoots forward when you take advantage of that killer motor. Amazingly it still handles pretty well too. Turn-in is no worse, perhaps better, than a stock TLS - thanks in no small part to the ultra-trick Carbon/Magnesium wheels I'm surerool

I was woefully negligent in taking pics, so here are a few of N2's bike that I stole from his thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by N2wheelies View Post


BTW this bike is (I think foolishly) for sale, its an amazing machine that really works well. The whole bike as a unit just works, don't let him part it!


After the bicycle ride we grabbed a killer breakfast at where I had another excellent omelet. Californians sure know their omelets I had a great time vising with N2 and learning all sorts of cool stuff about his work and research on cutting-edge internal combustion processes. Also heard about N2's upcoming Burning Man trip - can't wait for those pics and report:)
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:29 PM   #38
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After leaving N2's house I arrived here


Then rode though this cool canopy of trees


To find this road


Which had nice smooth pavement and a turn or two


The next stop was here


















I continued up Ortega and saw lake Elsinore (a special place in off road racing history).








I chased these guys up the backside of the hill and was proud to mostly keep up - their corner entry speed was higher, but I matched their corner speed (which didn't do the footpeg feelers any good:laugh), got on the gas earlier and exited more quickly (easy with the way the bandit makes power, just dial on controllable thrust from low rpm) for roughly the same overall speed. We had quite a good run before we caught up with the pack of cages near the top (shown here).


I turned around and rode Ortega all the way back to the 5 and took it down the coast to San Diego.








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Old 09-16-2009, 04:30 PM   #39
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There was all sorts of fun around SD - taco Tuesday at my sister's house, surfing, more xc mtb, a little dirt biking in the same general area as where we did the downhilling and playing with her dog (a super well behaved Rotty).


My sis lined up a baja trip for us. We went with a guy Andrew who races down there regularly (250, 500 and 1k) and is a full-time tour guide. Andrew took his XR400 he uses for pre-running, we had my sis's BF's XR400 and borrowed another XR400. The XR400's suited Andrew and I quite well, but were quite large for my sister. As you might have noticed she's quite small - guessing 5'4" and can't be much over 100lbs.

We loaded up the bikes in Andrew's duramax-powered truck and headed south!


We parked the truck on the US side and rode the bikes across the border. The crossing was a total non-event, actually much easier than going from Nevada into CA. We didn't even stop, by the time we slowed to about 2nd gear speed the boarder crossing guy was waving us on and giving thumbs up. Andrew busted a big standup wheelie out of the crossing area and the border guards cheered and gave thumbs up - we definitely weren't in the US anymore!

A quick ride though town and lots of great wheelieing by Andrew (including carving a highway entry ramp on the back wheel and proceeding probably a couple of miles that way) and we suddenly turned off the paved road onto a dirt track.

It wasn't long before the scenery looked like this


Sis approved and was having no trouble with the big XR4, she even managed to get it started by her self most of the time.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:31 PM   #40
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We rode further and came across a fire tower. There was a Mexican guy in a uniform at the bottom (and signs that looked like they said we weren't supposed to be there, but I can't read Spanish so don't really know), Andrew conversed with him, he seemed friendly and soon enough we were climbing up the fire tower to check out the view:)

Sis and I. You'll note I'm already really dirty - I ran chase for most of the ride this day as if my sis dropped the XR she would typically need help getting the cantankerous beast started again.


And a view of our trail/road.


Then we happened across a great rock for squidding!


This time I lived up to Duken's term of art for the sport - I blame it on being unaccustomed to the XR's slow revving nature and even slower throttle response (power came on later and stayed on longer than I wanted) Luckily, my sis managed to catch my only fall of the trip on camera. Unluckily she hadn't worked out how to work the camera by this point so I don't have an actual sequence of this event.


Undeterred by the near-death experience (or low speed tip-over - either way)






Good squidding, but never really got the hang of the XR in such situations, the throttle (or perhaps my brain ) was just too dull and slow, both in trying to summon up some thrust and trying to shut it down. I was cautioned that these things have weak clutches so I didn't press my luck by using the clutch to modulate power as I otherwise might have, particularly given our remote location and the fact that we still had about 400 miles of riding to do!

Then off on another lovely trail.


We rode on many miles of road like the one pictured before, then got to a portion of the 250 course that hadn't been smoothed out since the race - much better! Big whoops, sand berms, now the workout was really starting. We didn't stop for pics, but we did eventually stop for some excellent tacos in a small town.

We bought fuel at Ramona's, which is a tiny, ramshackle ranch that's a big part of baja legend. I don't know why I didn't take any pics there, but the experience was cool. We purchased fuel from Ramona, a 78 (I think) year old lady. The fuel came to us in recycled 1 gallon milk jugs, we poured it in, mindful not to dump in the sand that was also included in the jugs for no extra cost:)

Then we continued on the 250 course and eventually the whoops were gone as this portion gets vehicle traffic (but was part of the race course) and is somewhat maintained. It led somewhere nice though;)

For those that follow or ride in Baja, the legendary Rancho Mike's Sky sign was stolen last year - now there's this in its place:



We arrived just as the sun was getting low after about 230 miles of trail and dirt road



How does one get to the delightful motorcycle parking? Why you ride right though the main entrance like any civilized person of course! (sis on her way out, but you get the idea)


and park here

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Old 09-16-2009, 04:34 PM   #41
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And cool off here




Speaking of cool, these folks had a cool idea




Sis made a new friend after breakfast
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:35 PM   #42
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We ate steak, rice and beans for dinner - all very tasty, then were fed eggs, beans and such for breakfast the next morning.

Shortly after leaving Mike's we came across one of the infamous Baja shortcuts - many of these are very technical and more of a way of earning bragging rights than actually saving time. This was one such "shortcut". Naturally we had to try it. Andrew went first and made it look easy.

Sis went next, I broke out the camera. This was a very steep hill with a tricky ditch right at the bottom, a slight turn, a bike-flipping, momentum-killing rock ledge, then another slight turn followed by a longish steep climb. What made this last bit tricky is that it was all silt with a few rocks hiding under the powder to keep life interesting. Now my sis is ordinarily an exceptional hill climber, but this looked a bit much considering that she was riding an unfamiliar, 300lbs bike that was way too tall for her...

Sorry for so many pics, but I thought the sequence was pretty cool:)
















[/url]













Well she made it further up than Andrew or I expected - we both thought the rock ledge would be the stopping point!






Of course I had to show sis how its done... See, you weight the rear wheel a bit (what, you haven't got any weight to toss back there?), roll on the throttle - this is where that tractable, slow revving XR is really in its element - if there's any traction to be had, it will find it without demanding that the rider pay all that much attention - and it can't hurt to loft the front end a bit - no sense leaving it where those mean rocks can try to deflect you.l


I like going down as much as up (perhaps more), so I ran it backwards too
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:37 PM   #43
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We continued on a combination of the old Baja 250 and Baja 500 courses from Mikes making our way west. As usual, Andrew knew where all the good stuff was and took us on an absolutely fantastic route

We saw a bunch of goats









And enjoyed more great views. Andrew says the Ocean is way over there...


Then came to a fire


The fire looked pretty fresh, it was spreading rapidly and people were scurrying around to move farm animals from its path. We saw it overtake a farm building, but it looked like the owner's home was spared.

From this area I spotted a winding path up a hill on the other side of the road. I didn't get a picture, but it was very steep and long with lots of turns. I couldn't resist and convinced Andrew that a detour was in order to find out where it went. Andrew said it wasn't there the last time he'd been though this way.

Once we got near we found that it was indeed very recently cleared. Looked like some sort of tracked earth-mover had cleared the path and as best we could tell, no other vehicles had attempted to go up. The ground was extremely silty, riding in this stuff was weird - it is much lighter than sand, almost like riding in snow really. In some places there was a solid foot of silt covering rocks - this made the going very difficult. Andrew led the charge and made it about half way up before getting stuck. I only made it about another 40' or so. After seeing how much silt there was and just how steep and twisty the climb go, we were pretty sure neither of us could make it all the way up.

Still we had to give it another go. After a couple of false starts I was able to get some momentum going and clawed my way about 3/4 to the top before I lost momentum in a particularly tight, steep turn. We both rode down the hill hot, sweaty, tired and absolutely delighted with the attempt. Andrew vowed to conquer the hill at some point - ideally after a bit of rain so the silt would be packed in a bit more.

We continued on.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:38 PM   #44
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There were lots of cool looking, but very prickly plants.


We grabbed some excellent tacos in a small town






Pretty soon we saw water




There's nothing quite as perfect as smooth, wet sand for drifting the rear end around!!!


Sis and I enjoying the beach!


And of course more rock squidding!






Sis having fun on the sand


Andrew demonstrated proper beach-wheelie technique;)


More cornering






And Andrew decided to try some rock squidding!








He did quite nicely.
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'09 Buell XB12XT, TL1000S, H1F, M620, CR250R, KX100, XR650R, Cota 315R

Summer 2009 Ride Report http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...1509c&t=507038
Summer 2008 RR. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367703
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:39 PM   #45
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Shortly after leaving the beach, we came to another famous Baja short-cut/hill climb. This one had a fairly tight turn at the bottom which meant starting with minimal momentum, then had very large ruts up the face with a combination of deep silt, silt covered hardpack and silt covered rocks. The silt was not nearly as deep as the hill Andrew and I had attempted earlier, but it was still enough to keep life interesting. I was excited for the climb, but not sure sis would be up for it - it was getting late in the day and she was getting pretty worn out. She said she was game to attempt if I was game to pickup her bike - a deal was struck.

I promptly broke out the camera - this one looked more challenging than the previous sis-hillclimb-sequence.

She struck off up the hill


And took advantage of the slightly less steep and less silty area just after the first turn to gain back a bit of speed. She kept the power on the whole time, accelerating as hard as traction and gravity would allow


She kept the power on the whole time, accelerating as hard as traction and gravity would allow


And then hit the deeper silt, the bike fish-tailed all over as she disappeared into a cloud of dust.


And then to everyone's surprise, the dust cloud continued progressing upward and soon she was at the top with Andrew waiting for me. Job well done!
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'09 Buell XB12XT, TL1000S, H1F, M620, CR250R, KX100, XR650R, Cota 315R

Summer 2009 Ride Report http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...1509c&t=507038
Summer 2008 RR. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367703
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