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Old 08-29-2005, 11:25 PM   #271
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These are the employee bikes parked outside West Coast Choppers. Nelson took me in for a tour of the shop. The black one is a cafe'd Norton Commando.

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Old 08-29-2005, 11:35 PM   #272
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No tour of the area is complete without seeing the Starbucks in Compton. Nelson wonders if they sell Elvis Costello CDs at the counter in this one. Compton really didn't look that bad to me, but we didn't stop for coffee just the same. At least their automatic weapons are fairly quiet. I could barely hear them.

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Old 08-30-2005, 12:05 AM   #273
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Finally, BAJA!

I rode down to San Diego to hang out with my friend Dave. Originally I was going to go to Ensenada, but I couldn't talk Dave into it. He doesn't like Mexico--something about an unfortunate detainment at the border once. He could be talked into going to Tecate, where they make Tecate, but that was it. I really hope no one's been hanging on this long, just for the Baja trip report.

We went on a ride of some great desert twisties east and towards the border, then crossed into Mexico.

Dave, just after crossing the border.




We went in this place and had a beer. Strangely, they didn't have any Tecate, but that's ok because Tecate really isn't that good. I had a Modelo Negra, which I think cost about $1.25, but I'm not really sure and the Mexican change is probably still in my pocket.




Look, it's Baja!




We walked back to the bikes and Dave said, "well, let's go". Wait, you mean back across the border? Well I can come back. No problem.

But then I didn't. I think we rode about a half mile in and back--it was the Baja 1.

I wanted to see Dust To Glory while I was in California, but it wasn't showing then so we saw Star Wars. I wish I'd seen Dust To Glory. I definitely would've gone to at least Ensenada if I'd seen it then. And then maybe died trying to go 100 mph in sand, but who knows.
I saw Dust To Glory yesterday, and now I'm looking at these pictures of the gateway to Baja. Ouch. What was I thinking not going back?

At the time I left San Diego, I was ready to start the way home, and I hate repeating routes. The idea of a down and back the same way wasn't appealing, and I wasn't handling the heat well. Anyway, this is supposed to be an Alaska trip. How'd I end up in Mexico?

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Old 08-31-2005, 03:26 AM   #274
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I got 150 miles from the Arctic Ocean, but I had to go to San Diego to see a polar bear.

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Old 08-31-2005, 03:33 AM   #275
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I headed up the coast on Highway 1. Again, I mostly saw a lot of traffic. I saw a lot of people hanging out on a beach and decided to stop. Since I was wearing my laundry day shorts (swim trunks I wear when washing my jeans), I decided I may as well go for a swim.
Then I saw the sign.

Contact with ocean water may cause illness. Bacteria levels exceed health standards.

Beautiful stuff ruined by too many people seemed to be the theme of California. People were hanging out on the beach, but not actually swimming. There were some kids playing in the surf. I waded out and let some waves hit me while thinking about swimming in it, then when I was totally wet anyway I decided against it. After that I noticed that the stream coming through the town that emptied into the ocean right at that beach had a slightly different sign that said Keep Out, contaminated.
Wish I'd picked a different beach, I really just wanted to swim.
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:38 AM   #276
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I went to Malibu looking for Mulholland Highway. I stopped and helped a girl with her broken down truck and asked her where it was.

I didn't realize how much great mountain road was up there.




The famous Rock Store, deserted at 9 pm. Guess it's too late to see Jay Leno.
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:41 AM   #277
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Coast traffic had sucked up most of that day. The next day I headed up Highway 33. Excellent road.

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Old 08-31-2005, 03:44 AM   #278
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I'd be on this section of road below me in a minute.
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:52 AM   #279
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I stopped here. Hummingbirds were zipping all over in front of this place. I walked in and ordered a beer, and right as he opened it I realized for the first time on the trip I had no cash at all on me. Even on Top of the World I had 3 dollars. He didn't take Visa. He didn't even have a phone line here. One of the two Harley riders sitting in the bar offered to get it for me. I sat in one of the last bars in California you can smoke in and chatted with the Harley riders and their wives.
At one point in the conversation one of them is talking about how he had to settle for black and green for his Harley, but at least it has chrome wheels. All his other vehicles are all black with chrome wheels. Even his backhoe. Yes, he bought it and had it sent straight to the paint shop and the wheels off to chrome. And the exhaust and visible engine parts were chromed too. On his backhoe. This wasn't some young guy either, this guy didn't look too much unlike Wilford Brimley. Only in California.
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:55 AM   #280
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Part of Highway 33 zoomed in on the GPS map.
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:00 AM   #281
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I took 33 to some other highway and had to jog south on I-5 a little ways to hook up with the highway to get me to 15 North. On I-5 I hit stopped traffic and had to lanesplit for miles. When I got to the front of the jam, they'd closed it completely and it was a forced exit with nowhere to go but back the way I'd came. All those cars must've sat there a long, long time just to turn back around. I made a new route on the GPS and got to 15 headed through the Mojave.
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:01 AM   #282
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Mojave rest stop.

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Old 08-31-2005, 04:07 AM   #283
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While riding down the strip in Las Vegas a large woman hanging out the window of an extra long SUV limo flashed me. Oops... what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Some local riders on the strip.
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:15 AM   #284
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The whole way through the desert I wore my jacket with the liner out and all the vents open. Finally I decided to take it off and put it on the back of the bike. The wind started getting heavy, like Wyoming. Big dust devils were forming an eighth-mile off the road next to me and then it cooled off and I started hitting some drops. 15 miles with no jacket, and that was pretty much the end of the desert. I stopped here to put it back on.

Water... sort of.


Looking back from the same spot.
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:26 AM   #285
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Utah



Eventually it got dark in Utah. Running 80 mph I knew my gas mileage was probably dropping into the 30s. I can see the fuel through my clear tank, but it's hard to tell how much is really there when it's low so I still go by mileage. At 100 miles on the tank I thought it was too soon to get gas. At 150 miles I thought I better get it soon. I saw a sign for gas in 15 miles.
When I got to the exit, another sign said it was 12 miles from the exit. I decided to continue on, but the sign after that exit said the next town was 67 miles. I thought maybe it was wrong, but the sign 6 miles later said it was now 61 miles. No matter how I did the math, the only thing I could make it to was the one behind me 12 miles from the exit. I turned around and went back, tucking in and doing 60 mph for gas mileage. When I got back to the exit, the sign from this direction said 12 miles, and closed on Sunday. It was fairly late Sunday night.
Since I couldn't make it anywhere else I rode there, tucked in and doing 60 mph the whole way. When I pulled into the closed gas station there was no gas in the tank, all I had was a float bowl. A kid who pulled in for the pop machine told me the owner lived down the road so I tried riding down and that didn't work. I was able to turn around and coast back into the gas station. I started walking down that road and a sheriff showed up to find out what I was doing.
He called the owner out for me and I was able to fill up. The owner only charged me $5 for the call out and I gave him a few extra.

It turns out, somewhere back there was a sign that said no services for 100 miles. I missed that one.
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