2011 West Coast Swing

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SoosCreek, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    This Ride Report (RR) chronicles my spring 2011 trip from the US Northwest to the Southwest and parts in between.

    I have enjoyed following many of you over the last year or two as I started having to time to ride once again. I have learned from you all and spent countless hours reading your adventures.

    Thought I would try my hand at a ride report, but only if I could add some value to the overall community. That is TBD but I will give it a try.

    Come along for the ride!
    #1
  2. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    RR Caveats

    This RR will be an exploration of my trip, my encounters and my thoughts. It will not:

    • go to exotic places like Mexico, SA, or Africa, etc.
    • have all of the excellent photography like some of you (I am using my Driod phone)
    • have the youthful encounters (sometimes implied in other reports)
    • have all the adventuresome exploits. Breakdowns, thefts, etc. (Hopefully!)

    But it will:
    • chronicle my trip and the adventures therein
    • include my crazy thoughts, collected while riding for hours on end
    • provide some useful information to readers about riding
    • represent a portion of my life that will never be retrieved

    Who Am I?
    • SoosCreek
    • Semi-Retired but still young at 53
    • Completed trips over the years to places like Jasper, Banff, Yellowstone, Glacier
    • Did a trip last summer into eastern Oregon (john Day, Pendleton, and the Oregon coast (Cannon, Lincoln City, etc) on ST1300
    • Spent last 2 summers on 12GS in Alaska, lots of highways including Denali
    • Road back down the ALCAN last summer
    • Plan to ride to Mexico and South America in the fall

    What Am I Doing?
    • Riding to down the US West Coast and around the Southwest
    • Attending and watching the Pac-10 basketball tournament in LA Staples 3/10-3/13
    • Playing some golf with some friends in Palm Desert, La Quinta, Scottsdale
    • Maybe watching a couple of spring baseball games in Phoenix, et al, if I get there in time
    • Enjoying the symbiotic relationship with the bike that comes from riding long distances

    Why Am I Riding?
    • Riding to where there is actual sunshine and getting out of the rain and snow in Seattle
    • Am on a year-long semi-sabbatical from work. Still running things, etc, but not doing client work.

    When Am I Going?
    • 30-45 days in March and April
    • Starting March 4th
    • Ending in April

    Where Am I Going?
    • Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nevada

    How Am I Riding?
    • 2006 Honda ST1300
    • Yes, I left the 12GS at home
    #2
  3. jimbowie

    jimbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Texas prairie.
    OK. I am in for the ride. I will be watching the tournament from afar. Have fun and be safe.
    #3
  4. BobRob

    BobRob Pick one

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    464
    Location:
    Loudon, NH
    Sounds like fun!

    :lurk
    #4
  5. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,534
    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    You're going to be hitting some beautiful country. Have fun and enjoy.
    #5
  6. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    I was somewhat reluctant to commit to writing this RR as I am not one who likes to talk on the phone or strike up a conversation with a stranger and I have moved to text messaging for my primary communications. I was also not sure if I had enough to say that was interesting to the ADV community. But, I was inspired by the enjoyment and knowledge I have received from other ADV RRs and decided that the community might benefit from a somewhat different perspective and approach.

    The Day’s Ride

    I have a client in Oregon and started the trip by heading down to Salem, Oregon in order to attend a key meeting. I was able to leave the Seattle area middle of the day with the hope of skirting the rain showers that were scheduled all day. Just went down Interstate 5 the whole way trying to just get down there without getting soaked. Not much of a trip, but you have to start somewhere and I am anxious to get to the sun and warmth of California.

    Packing for the trip was a real challenge. I have been known to fill any and all available space and then some. So today I had everything packed and then looked over and saw that some of my camping supplies were still sitting to the side! Yes, I am planning on doing a little camping to see how it goes. So I hunted for another bag to put on the pillion with my tent and sleeping bag. Not what I planned at all, but I was running out of time.

    The other trick was to figure out some clothes to take that would allow me to still seem professional while still being stuffed in a saddle bag. I usually (always) wear suits for my job. Figured it was a Friday meeting and I could get away with some cords and a dress shirt. It did require me to pack additional shoes, shirt, pants and socks, but what you are to do? Maybe I will send them back home via the mail later in the trip.

    In Salem at the hotel, I took everything out of my bags and got myself reorganized. Ended up selecting some of my clothes as optional and decided to mail a package back home. Took advantage of the USPS “if it fits, it ships” fixed price boxes, the largest one 12 x 12 x 5 and stuffed it full. $14.95, more than I expected but I now had more room. I was then able to put the sleeping bag in the extra bag and gave myself the best of both worlds as I now had some pockets that can be used.

    Ride Map

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    Photos of the Day

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    ADVer of the Day

    As a way of honoring some of the folks I have followed their ride reports and learned something, I am identifying some folks from the ADV community have inspired me to make the effort. Not in any order, just as I think of them. Today’s thumbs up goes to:

    Tricepilot

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=28217

    I am interested in riding Mexico and learned from his RRs to add value and provide instruction, not just chrono my trip. I especially liked the pictures of the the legal items required to enter Mexico. Trip Planning for Dummies!

    BTW, had to learn how to write one of these and post photos, etc...:1drink
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,133
    :thumb

    :lurk
    #7
  8. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    One of the goals of my life was to not know what was on TV on any given night. I did not want to come home each day looking forward to my favorite TV shows. Not that there was/is anything wrong with it, but I saw my parents doing just that growing up and I just figured there that to be more to life.

    Alas, once I stepped back from working those full weeks and travelling 3-4 times a month, that is exactly what I am doing. I am not proud to say that I know what TV shows to watch every night, Monday – Friday. But I digress from the ride report.

    Ride Goals (so far)

    1. Make it home in 1 piece
    2. Don’t get (m)any speeding tickets
    3. Meet and talk to people along the way
    4. Meet up with some ADV riders
    5. Teach myself to slow down and smell the roses (pavement in this instance, gravel in others)
    6. Learn to be a more understanding and better person (don’t we all want that?)

    The Day’s Ride Report

    Woke up early and took off before 8 a.m. as I was again trying to bypass the rain that was scheduled for the day and it was not raining yet. There was a college baseball time from British Columbia at the hotel and they were eating up all the breakfast!

    Time to take advantage of the weather. I headed down I5 to the Corvallis cut off and headed for the ocean. Work was over for the week, clients were happy, it was a Saturday and all was good with the world. My heated gear was working well and I was nice and warm.

    Bike and rider did not seem to be quite in sync as I had not rode the ST in a while and things were a little rough. Shifting, leaning, gear selection, desired RPM and all that stuff. The ST rides completely different from the GS12 and has its own mojo. But I will get it together.

    Hit the ocean fog before long and stopped in Newport on the coast to check the tire pressures and make sure nothing fell off. It would not be the first time if something did. Yup, all there and that back tire did need more air.

    Headed down the coast, a little light rain, but no traffic and especially those RV’s you see every summer on the Oregon Coast. Stopped at Reedsport for some lunch/breakfast and ended up talking to some retired guys who stopped by to ask about the bike, the trip, etc. People definitively approach you more when you are by yourself. Nice folks.

    Got back on the road and kept heading down the coast, man was it really beautiful and so quite. No traffic, no people, etc. Stopped at the Bandon Golf Resort to check out the latest course they added last year, Old McDonald. Talked to the clubhouse folks, started wishing I had some golf shoes with me. I could rent the clubs, buy the balls and such and head out as it was 55 degrees, no wind, no rain. Perfect! But alas, I shipped my clubs down to Palm Desert so I can plan there so I just got back on the road.

    Made it to Crescent City, California for the night and checked into a motel. Seems there is a high-school state basketball tournament in town and all the motels were full of kids. It was like having a room next to a playground until around 11 p.m. Seems some of the teams, boys and girls, had lost already so they had no reason to go to bed! Just my luck, oh well, I am too tired anyway.

    Ride Map

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    Photos from the Day

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    ADVer of the Day

    As a way of honoring some of the folks I have followed their ride reports and learned something, I am identifying some folks from the ADV community have inspired me to make the effort. Not in any order, just as I think of them. Today’s thumbs up goes to:

    DWJ - Donnie, http://advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=27988

    I really enjoyed Donnie’s humble approach to just saying it like it was, taking great pictures and noting their wrong turns and all!

    FYI, I will be doing sections on particular riding topics as I go along. Trying to catch up first few days...
    #8
  9. fujian

    fujian Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    Langford ( Victoria ) British Columbia, Canada
    (more) :wings:lurk Thanks for doing this ride report keep them coming
    #9
  10. Scott of the Sahara

    Scott of the Sahara Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    382
    Hey, Soos Creek. I am wondering if you live close to me. The newest section of the Soos Creek trail is very close to my house. I love your courage in heading out in less than perfect weather. Good riding.
    #10
  11. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    I live on the Soos Creek plateau there just outside of Auburn. I play golf at Druids Glen and Washington National mostly, but this winter has curtailed some of that. Always looking for other ADVers to talk to so I will give you a PM when I get back and maybe we could grab a beer.
    #11
  12. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    No matter what you do, it still takes me at least 3 days to really start to feel the change from one lifestyle to another. Today was that day. I feel I am now on my adventure. BTW, I don’t have a specific plan and am making it up from day to day. Have a few targets in mind, like the Pac-10 Basketball Tournament this coming week, but other than that I will just see what happens.

    The Day’s Ride Report

    What a day and a ride! While we all either know or have heard about riding along the Northern California coast, it still is something that amazes me with its sheer beauty and relative wildness. There was hardly any rain today and very little traffic. The bike and I got synchronized and into a rhythm and it was just plain enjoyable.

    Left Crescent City around 9:30 and skipped breakfast as the basketball kids ate all of the food the motel had put out for the free breakfast. Just lived with some weak coffee and got on the road. I am still trying to dodge the clouds so I figured if it wasn’t raining, that I should just get out and cover some miles.

    Riding down highway 101 through the Redwoods was a blast, combination of 2-lane and 4-lane sections without traffic. I was afraid of seeing lots of Basketball moms in mini vans, but I think I left ahead of the crowds. Followed the coast and made it into Eureka for some late breakfast and WiFi. That is when I decided to commit to the RR and started writing this all up.

    I lived in California for a couple years back in the 80’s and Eureka was when I started to see that familiar look and feel. I think it was the eucalyptus trees along the road and the increasing traffic with no manners. But you gotta love the good parts of California.

    From Eureka continued through more Redwoods and stopped in Garberville for some fuel. I was reminded that I was in Humboldt County and the land of marijuana plantations. It was an interesting group of folks. Also, it seems the gas prices have continued to go up from day to day. I think I paid something like $4.30 a gallon today.

    Took a right onto CA Highway 1 just after the Standish Hickey Recreation Area and headed back to the coast. The 10-15 mile section of this highway from the 101 to Rockport was one of the most interesting roads to say the least. There were lots of slow switchbacks and blind corners and I think I only average around 25-30 mph the whole way. I especially liked the small rock slides in the middle of the blind corners that kept everything interesting. Luckily there were no cars trying to cut the corners or it could have been interesting. Definitively a place for a smaller canyon racer, but I think a person would only push it to the limit and end up sailing off the road somewhere. At least I would.

    I got to the coast and cruised all the way down to Fort Bragg. The canyon cut-ins were extremely entertaining and you really had to be paying attention. I had to keep myself from enjoying the view. Fort Bragg “the undiscovered gem of the Mendocino Coast” is a pretty isolated town and I am not sure exactly what folks do for a living here other than fishing, tourism, etc., but it was a good place to stop. I have learned to stop before you get too tired and start making mistakes.

    Ride Map

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    Photos from the Day

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    Gear Report

    I will start with the bike I am riding. I have had my ST1300 for a couple of years and bought it mainly because I like big bikes and Honda has this incredibly low maintenance and reliable V engine. I think it goes back to my first bike which was a Honda CX500 which just ran and ran. My list of improvements are:

    • Throttlemeister cruise control, keeps my hand from killing me
    • BeadRider Ultimate seat cover, lets the air get under my seat
    • Handlebar Riser Plate, keeps me from leaning too far forward
    • Ram Ball mount on the riser plate for my equipment
    • Power outlet in the glove box

    ADVer of the Day

    Today’s thumbs up goes to:

    DirtyBones, http://advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=110717

    I have really enjoyed following this long RR for a long time and have appreciated the photos along the way. I have been learning what it might take to go all the way to Ushuaia solo.

    I have a son at Gonzaga University, so GO ZAGS! They won their semi-final game today and play for the WCC championship tomorrow night.:clap
    #12
  13. WaywardRider

    WaywardRider a geek on two

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    currently PNW
    Keep the reports coming! I'm going to be taking a very similar route in just over a week, so reading your impressions (and road condition warnings) is fabulous!
    #13
  14. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    My first motorcycle was a used Honda 90 that my dad bought and rebuilt for my brother and me in 1969. My dad was an enlisted man in the Air Force and started the first motorcycle safety course for a couple of airbases. My brother and I learned to ride on that Honda and on a Moto Guzi 125. We did some motocross and learned to handle bikes in the dirt. Of course that was before any protective gear and full face helmets.

    As I grew up over the next couple of years I began to have philosophical differences with the motorcycling crowd and turned back to other sports. Most of the other riders, not all, seemed to have had no regard for both other people and the environment. Did not pick it up again until I was 22 when I bought that CX 500, started using it for commuting to college and taking my first adventure ride to Glacier and Yellowstone.

    The Day’s Ride Report

    Skipped breakfast and just got on the road around 9 a.m. and headed down the coast on Highway 1. I loved the town of Mendocino, reminded me of the Monterey area. Road took me away from the highway and down through more Redwoods. Still have not seen any dry pavement.

    Somewhere along the way I ended up on highway 128 headed inland toward the wine country. Must have missed a turn somewhere, but oh well, was getting tired of all that Pacific Ocean. The coastal wine country was very pretty and was a departure from the rest of the trip. I assume they grow Pinot Noir in this area as it is similar to Oregon coast range country. Don’t know for sure.

    Highway 128 turned out to be a total blast. No traffic and some great twistys. Make sure your brakes are good on this one as I tended to go hard into the turns and they always seemed to be tighter than I thought. Came out and hit Highway 101 for a quick run into San Francisco.

    Cruised down the 101 and stopped in Petaluma for some quick lunch as I had some phone calls to make before noon. Then I went down toward the Golden Gate Bridge and the park. Road around a little and crossed the bridge. Seems they don’t have a motorcycle rate, just the $6 car rate.

    Took highway 1 from over the bridge to cruise through some of the typical San Fran neighborhoods. I thought I might go to or by the Olympic Club and/or Harding Park golf courses, but I did not turn on the 35 as I should and caught a view of them from afar. Veered onto the 280 ridge interstate as I have done it before and it was wide open this time of day.

    Dropped off on Highway 92 and headed over the hills to Half Moon Bay. Then I headed down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. This section of highway surprised me and was very rural coastline. Beautiful views, no traffic, lots of parks, plenty of wide open runs and sunshine! Hit Santa Cruz and found all of the missing traffic. This is the California I was expecting and dreading. 6 lanes packed with cars going 70+.

    As I got about 15 miles from Monterey the ocean breeze turned in to a gale force wind of between 25-35 miles an hour or more. It was some rough driving and wore me out. It made me nervous but I have dealt with strong cross winds before. Made it to the hotel and called it a day. I had to get ready to watch the Gonzaga/Saint Mary's WCC Championship game.

    Ride Map

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    Photos from the Day

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    Gear Report

    Technology. We all seem to carry way too much technology on our bike trips, many of the tools overlap or are somewhat redundant. What I am carrying:

    • Verizon Droid 2 Global Cell Phone/PDA. Basically does everything. Camera, email, GPS, etc.
    • Garmin Nuvi 265 WT. I had this sitting around and had a RAM ball, so thought it could not hurt. I do like the traffic feature which may come in handy down in the LA area.
    • Dell Latitude D430. Old laptop, I have had it 4 years, not afraid of losing it and love the Solid State drive.

    ADVer of the Day

    Today’s thumbs up goes to:

    Fishfund, http://advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=77683:clap

    If you have read either his Mexico/Latin America RR or are currently following his travels up Africa, you would know why. It is just fun to see the world through the eyes of some of the next generation…
    #14
  15. doublen

    doublen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Idaho
    :lurk Subscribed
    #15
  16. Radioman

    Radioman Moto rider

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,322
    Location:
    HOME (at least for now)
    Well you missed lots of great advr in Portland. But on your return trip if you need a place to crash before heading home. PM me!
    :ricky:ricky
    #16
  17. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,726
    Location:
    Eastern Washington State
    Did portions of the same trip last summer on a Ninja 250....great to see your pics and thanks for taking us along :clap
    #17
  18. Tlaloc

    Tlaloc Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I'm glad to see your report as I'll ride a similar route starting Friday, March 11. Thanks for the info on Highway 128. I plan to stick to the coast from Crescent City to Sausalito, which makes for a long day. I'm considering 128, which will add some variety to the ride.

    Thanks,
    Carlos
    #18
  19. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    My second motorcycle was a brand new black 1981 Suzuki GS1000 that was outfitted with a black Vetter fairing and Krauser saddlebags. It was one of the first Sport Tourer type bikes in this configuration, big and fast enough with pretty good handling. Great for long trips and relatively inexpensive.

    I liked the GS1000 because it had a high load capacity, greater than 500 lbs, and the best roll on speed in the market. By that I mean, it would go from 40 to 60 faster in 4th and from 60 to 80 in 5th than any other bike that I knew off. I like top end acceleration because it comes in handy on freeways when you need to move forward quickly. I always liked to escape using acceleration and not the brakes. Safer and you could see in front.

    I put about 40,000 miles on the GS1000 over 5 years before a cement truck jumped in front of me on a freeway. I hit the front tire and flew down the road and landed on my head and my hands. I had a good full faced Simpson (black) helmet that saved my face and full gear that limited the damage to broken wrists and lots of bruises. It was tough to open doors for a long while…

    My wife took advantage of me in my weakened and defenseless condition and we ended up starting a family. We had been married for about 4 years. She informed me it was my duty to stay alive and be around to raise the kids …so that limited my riding for a long time…. But the kids are grown now!

    The Day’s Ride Report

    Made-to-order breakfast came with the room so I took my time this morning and actually had a full meal. Checked out the weather and the day was looking pretty good. Packed up the bike once again and then got onto Highway 1 and took off going south. Monterey was nice, Carmel interesting, but a little too “packaged’ for me.

    This road definitively lived up to its reputation. Beautiful coastline twistys that go up, down, in and out. I took a few photos, but at some point with a vista stop every mile or so, it just did not seem to be worth it. You all have seen pictures of this coastline and it was truth in advertising for sure. Sunny weather, 55-65 degrees. I even had to start stripping off the layers and took out my light gloves. Free at last!

    The one surprise was the Big Sur area. I should have not stopped in Monterey and instead just kept going down to Big Sur. Since it is the off season and middle of the week, every lodging place had a vacancy posted. There were plenty of lodging options right on a cliff overlooking the water or in the trees. Probably less than I paid in Monterey without the view and with a lot more charm and interesting people. Some still looked like they haven’t left since the big concert in ’71.

    There was some road construction along the way. Two 1-lane, stoplight controlled sections with up to 5 minute waits. Not really a problem with little or no traffic like today. I do believe they are building a road in thin air at one of the sections, there was just nothing left of the mountainside. Amazing.

    I am not sure if this route would be any fun in the summer with any real traffic and/or RVs. I only saw 1 big RV bus with a dingy and with these curves; it would just be a nightmare to have to follow or pass all of these folks. There is limited turnouts and passing zones. Many, many, many 20 mph curves with sheer drop offs…traffic would have made it a long, long painful ride.

    The sound end of this ride was surprising and very beautiful in its own right. Once you lose the cliffs you are still in some great stretches of road. This includes San Simenon, the Hearst Castle, Cayucos, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, etc.

    I was feeling guilty that I had not changed the oil before I left so I stopped in San Louis Obispo at San Louie Motorsports and asked them if they could do a quick oil change while I got some lunch. Luckily they could and there was a Subway within walking distance. Oil was a little low and I wanted the bike in good condition for the LA freeways.

    Took Highway 1 from Santa Maria to Vandenberg AFB and then to Lompoc. Checked in with some family for a day or two and started trying to figure out where I was going to stay for the Pac-10 Basketball tournament. Seems my alma mater, Washington is seeded 3rd and going against Washington State seeded 6th, for the late game on Thursday.

    Ride Map

    Photos from the Day

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    Gear Report

    Tank Bag, et al. I have a multiple configuration Cortech tank bag with magnets. It allows me to have about 4 different sizes of bag, but for this trip I have the smaller top bag with the expandable option. It has a map pocket on top and lots of little compartments inside and a waterproof cover. I like to keep my laptop, GPS and other valuable in the tank bag so I like the ease of magnetic attachment as I just grab it and take it with me.

    Inside the tank bag I have a fishing tackle container that is subdivided into multiple little areas for tools and all sorts of stuff. See the photos below. I am not sure where I got this idea, but I really like the ease of access to things when you need them.

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    ADVer of the Day

    Today’s thumbs up goes to:

    JGBrown, http://advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=179698


    I still cannot believe he is travelling so far on a 30 year old bike just like the one I had....:eek1
    #19
  20. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose...

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    Forgot the Ride Map!

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    #20