And so it begins...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Malindi, May 2, 2012.

  1. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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    Nelson BC, fer now.
    Not sure how we got from the gas incident to Venezuela but I'm in. Hope to be moseying (sp?) along soon myself so I'll be watching with some interest. What's your time frame and how far are you going? I am a little surprised you are heading south with spring just arriving. Gonna be HOT!:D
    #21
  2. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    We're going all the way around, so to speak. Check the countries list (http://www.nohorizons.net/2012/countries.html)

    We wanted to leave in time to have time in the Galapagos, Cordillera Huayhuash and Patagonia to hike.
    #22
  3. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Whoa, surely wasn{t on a bike I hope:eek1
    Must have been in Caracas trapped like a rat.

    Pure joy at the gas pump always brings a smile and the bike only opens up the beautiful country to exploration:clap

    Safe travels on your route
    #23
  4. Supahflid

    Supahflid Wheelieless

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    Here for reals.
    I am so in! Good luck and be safe!

    :lurk
    #24
  5. BikerGeek99

    BikerGeek99 Horizon Chaser

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    +1

    :lurk
    #25
  6. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    Caracas, the island, at sea.... nope, didn't like it one bit. Never did gas up. Cheapest gas I ever had was in Iran. $2.33 for 11.43 gallons (43 liters) on the G/S. Worst gas price was Turkey at the time 1.36 Euro per liter. This was in 2006.
    #26
  7. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 2, 2012 - We stopped in Reno for lunch and pushed on to Carson City, NV. In the evening I touched base with Bob Fleischer, a local BMW legend, to get some ideas as to good roads around the area. We got some excellent recommendations and our first stop the next morning was Virginia City, NV, on the way around Lake Tahoe.

    Although not a ghost town per se, the place sure felt like it. Part authentic, part modern, the proverbial Sheriff sign creaking in the wind, a laptop was deftly handled by the clerk inside, dressed in a vintage cowboy outfit.

    The old school had been turned into a museum and entering it was a step back in time.

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    The main classroom was largely intact.

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    Expressions of love and boredom from the back row.

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    A few more pictures from Virginia City can be found here.

    Lake Tahoe was a cold affair. The weather was not very warm and the views were so-so. We crossed the pass at Mt Rose and we had to stop to warm up. Emerald Bay was the most scenic part but didn't warrant a picture given the weather. A visit to Bob Fleischer gave us more insight into local riding knowledge.

    On May 4th, we rode to Mono Lake instead of our planned itinerary to go to Yosemite via hwy 120. It was closed. As were highways 4 and 108 we found out later when we tried to make our way to Yosemite. We were clearly too early in the season.

    Mono Lake is quite nice. It's a volcanic saline lake in which brine shrimp seem to thrive. The whole area was deserted and comfortably barren. Two million migratory birds make the lake their temporary home to feed on the brine shrimp.

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    A few more pictures can be found here.

    Next stops are Yosemite and San Francisco. We are ready for some warmer weather.
    #27
  8. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    I take it you where on a boat then instead of a bike? I can see what you mean about coming into port there:puke1

    Got you beat:evil Twice so far I was given full tanks of fuel on my g/s (39liters for a single), like having Hugo for a fuel sponsorship:lol3 It makes my travel budget go a long damn ways:clap

    Maybe see you around down further South or on that PanAm side, I've kinda homesteaded down here over these last few years coming and going:D

    Can't miss a pair of old gs bikes with hpns too easily.
    #28
  9. $kywalker

    $kywalker what's next?

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    Have a great trip. Take your time and keep posting. I will be following with keen interest!

    Luke
    #29
  10. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 5, 2012 - Cold was the theme of our ride to Yosemite today. It took 20 mins to get Jan's bike started as the temperature was nearer freezing than we cared for.

    A quick bite and off we were, on the way to Sonora Pass to cross the Sierras towards Yosemite. At the top, we stopped to take some pictures and minutes later were paying homage to our engines, praying to the almighty BMW gods, or so it must have seemed to a few skiers pulling up to park next to us. We were both kneeling next to our bikes, gloved hands wrapped around the protruding engine to try and extract some warmth for near-frozen extremities. It was just below freezing and with the wind-chill, it was less than comfortable. Add to that the numerous frozen patches of runoff and we were in 100% attention mode on the switchbacks.

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    When someone tells you absolutely have to see this or that movie, and you do, there is always a sense of disappointment, the whole thing being oversold and not in line with your expectations. I felt the same seeing Yosemite. It was nice, nothing wrong with it, in a Disney sort of way, but it's not a place I would make a detour for again.

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    I shot a slew of pictures and decided to delete just about all of them, converting some to black and white to create somewhat of an effect over and above the standard postcard shot.
    In the evening, we stayed in a place at Angels Camp, from where we rode straight to San Francisco the next day.
    #30
  11. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    I agree with you about Yosemite, but I was really impressed by the Sequoias nearby.
    #31
  12. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Yup, I'm a girl.

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    I still love driving into the Yosemite Valley, but I usually come in from the south and the change from forest to open area lined with rock going straight up always makes me smile. I hope you made it up to Sequoia NP, it's definitely worth the extra time to see those trees. Seriously, they're pretty incredible.
    #32
  13. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 6, 2012 - San Francisco was the next stop. And what a stop it was... We had roughly 2 full days to poke around and we saw plenty. First stop was Pier 23, where we pulled up as we rolled into the city and parked the bikes casually on the sidewalk, next to a few shiny (and loud) Harleys. Not something we would entertain in other circumstances, but we were hot and tired and needed to get off the bike.

    Looking around for a motel was an interesting challenge. A few tries later, we ended up a block away from San Francisco city hall in a pretty decent place, although it had its moments. From there, everything was within walking distance, except Golden Gate bridge.

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    One of the first stops was the Museum of Modern Art, always a treat.

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    Even the foyer provides rich photographic fodder.

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    The entryway.

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    The MOMA covers off a range of topics. One of the themes was the "Whole Earth Catalogue" movement and the alternative ideas therein to make the world a better place. From it, some interesting work persisted into current sustainable living models, such as this fully automated sun-activated residential concept.

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    The MOMA's paintings are still the most enjoyable aspect of the whole experience.

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    Next stop was Golden Gate bridge. Quite interesting and although I'd crossed it in the past, this was the first time I actually spent some time looking at it.

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    We had a few excellent meals, most notably at Modern Thai on Polk street, a very lively corridor right near the hotel.

    Next stop is Death Valley and Las Vegas, where we are going to take a breather and hang for a few days. The pace of travel has been high and we want to start slowing down.

    Edit: I updated the slideshows page as well if you wanted to see more pictures.
    #33
  14. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

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    Good report, keep them coming, you'll be glad when you have it to look over after the ride. My wife and I just got back from seeing many of the same places on a different kind of boxer. Loved it all including having fellow inmates ride along vicariously. Thanks for taking the time to post your adventure, Tom.
    #34
  15. dirtinthevillage

    dirtinthevillage Adventurer

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    Durham, NC
    Great report so far; subscribed. :lurk
    #35
  16. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 10, 2012 - From San Francisco, we went to Big Pine, CA, as a first stop to Death Valley and Vegas. Between Big Pine and Lone Pine, Lone Pine is the place to stay, as Big Pine is a wide spot on the road with no functioning restaurants, three gas stations and a convenience store. We bought some food in the convenience store and later Jan went back to buy a frozen pizza, in the hope we had a microwave in the room.

    The motel owner very kindly warmed the thing up in her oven. The next day was a leisurely ride to Death Valley and Vegas. I'd never dropped into Death Valley from Lone Pine so this was a nice change from the Ridgecrest/Trona or Vegas routes. Gradually the temperature increased as we descended.

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    There were a few new lookout points as well along the way.

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    We didn't do a whole lot in Death Valley except ride to Furnance Creek, flee into the restaurant and order lunch. After quaffing five glasses of water, I felt human again. A few days ago we were freezing on Sonora Pass and now we were faced with the opposite extreme. This ride ranked an 8 out of 10 in terms of heat, runner up to riding along the Dead Sea in summer time on the Jordanian side and crossing the desert in Iran mid-summer. In Iran my handlebar grip glue let go and the grips spun around. Made it challenging to keep the speed up...

    We skipped Dante's View but instead circled through Artist's Drive.

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    Vegas is just Vegas. Not much changes except the levels of collective insanity seem to increase every time I come here. There is not much here but people acting out of character, or worse, people in character. It's a cheapish place to cool our heels for a few days, catch up on websites, emails and to-do lists. We've discovered that some things in the world do get better, such as McDonalds coffee, now certainly better than Starbucks, especially the lattés. Since I wanted to make sure Jan would get a taste of America true and proper, we went off to Denny's, only to be disappointed. They now have healthy "build your meal" choices and lean cuisine. We had an excellent fish-based meal the other night and will be back for more. The portion sizes are also much more reasonable versus the mountains of food you get elsewhere.

    The first time I stayed in Vegas, in 1982, we stayed at Circus Circus, then a novelty, now an also-ran casino and hotel. Still, the rooms are large and very well appointed, so it was an easy choice given the prices are very reasonable.

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    The Bellagio is the new darling in Vegas, despite the other and newer Wynn developments.

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    Next we're off to Grand Canyon and beyond.
    #36
  17. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 14, 2012 - Part of our ride from Las Vegas ran over Route 66, which was amusing in the usual tacky tourist sense. The ride was pleasant though. The original plan was to ride to Flagstaff and cut up from there, but we ended up in Williams, AZ, a very friendly place with loads of cheap motels and one crazy Greek restaurant owner.

    My bike developed a weird ailment in that it decided to leak oil from the filter housing cover. I fixed it, twice, and now it seems ok. Another fix that was needed was replacing a U bolt on the side stand as yours truly had a tendency to scrape the side stand on hwy 120 coming out of Yosemite. Some of the best twisties in the world, five miles of nothing but hairpins.

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    Grand Canyon was very nice this time of year. Sunny, but not too warm. It was a bit hazy this time around. When I was here in November 2010, it was cold and crisp, which was better for photography. I shot all the Grand Canyon pictures with the Canon S95. There are a few more here.

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    We camped at the last campground before heading out the Eastern exit of Grand Canyon. It was very quiet at night, with the Milky Way out in full bloom. I was fully intent on getting up at the crack of dawn to take sunrise pictures, but the first time I peeked out of my sleeping bag it was just before 7 am.

    If you want a super-sized picture from Grand Canyon, click hereto download it.

    From Grand Canyon, we headed towards Zion National park in Utah. On the way, we came through Marble Canyon, which was a nice surprise as we'd been a bit sloppy planning our route. However, we're in a part of the world where it's hard to find a road you don't thoroughly enjoy.

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    We stopped in Vermillion, just past Marble Canyon for lunch and then crossed the valley floor. The shot below looks back at where we came from.

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    Mt. Carmel was the stop for the night, from where we will start a leisurely ride along a lot of the national parks in Utah, starting with Zion National Park.
    #37
  18. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile

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    I'm looking forward to the rest of your adventure. Looks like a fantastic ride so far :thumb<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #38
  19. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 16, 2012 - Zion National Park was a surprise in the most positive sense. It was much more of an "in-scene" experience versus the gaping impressive hole that is Grand Canyon. You really are among the rocks. You can get off the bike and touch them and be part of it all for a brief moment in time. A nice touch was that the road was red, instead of black asphalt.

    We stopped just about everywhere you were allowed to and the camera got a workout. Again we were there mid-day, so the light was too harsh and I can only imagine what it would be like if sunset pictures were an option.

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    Zion doesn't have single must-see pieces but rather an uninterrupted stream of new small surprises.

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    After Zion, we ended up in Panguitch, UT. Unwittingly, we had dinner at the Cowboy's Smoke House Restaurant, apparently an institution in the BBQ world. The place was filled with tourists and a very sullen guitar player who cranked out tunes that left us guessing as to whether we had ended up in a new version of the Milgram experiment.

    On May 17th we went through Bryce Canyon which was certainly the prettiest of the three so far.

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    After hitting all the highlights, which took the better part of the day, we looked for a place with some decent coffee and were sorely disappointed. We're still convinced, after plenty of sampling, that McDonalds serves the best lattés. It's a bit like saying the Virgin Mary can be seen on stage at Crazy Horse, it's that unlikely, but if this is the result of the Liebeck v. McDonalds case, then they need to be applauded and we'll gladly bid adieu to Starbucks.

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    The travel routine is falling into place nicely. We've only been gone for roughly three weeks and have covered quite a bit. The next stop is Moab and Arches National Park, after which we'll head for Colorado and start poking around there for a while.
    #39
  20. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    May 18, 2012 - The odometer clicked past 4,000 miles a day or so ago, a mental note made to check the valves on my machine. After Zion, we rode from Escalante all the way to Blanding, CO.

    On the way from Escalante to Blanding we passed through some great riding areas. It's hard to find a bad road around here and eventually you give up trying to remember the best spots. Draw a big circle on the map in southeastern Utah and ride every road in sight is probably not too far off the mark.

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    In short order, we rode through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Natural Bridges National Monument. Drifting through the ever changing scenery is a mesmerizing experience. The roads are picture perfect, well marked and, at least at this time of year, there is next to no traffic. Purring valve chatter from the old boxer engine completes the happy experience.

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    The Colorado river snakes through the countryside and I have lost count as to how many times we've crossed it now.

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    The bike in all its glory.

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    We ended up in Blanding, UT. The name says it all and we were happy to get out of there the next day. Moab and Arches National Park await.
    #40