Avoiding seasonal depression when faced with the “Dark Months” - Portland to Panama!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by 0theories, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. muskeg

    muskeg Been here awhile

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    Haha! Yeah, we're up there- 7000' but the skies are clear and it's still in the 60's during the day... I guess waiting for the USPS to figure out where I live could be a blessing in disguise considering what you're riding through! Hope you stay warm and dry tonight!
    #21
  2. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    I've also been watching John Down's ride. You guys have the right idea. I used this link to help me with the weather on my last trip: http://www.wunderground.com/roadtrip/ I stopped at McD's for the free wifi and it routed me around some real crap weather. Keep stopping for pictures. Us homebound folks need something to look at.
    Have a safe trip, Tom
    #22
  3. Mendodave

    Mendodave Road Scholar

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    North Coast California, M/C Heaven!
    the other one was out of focus, hoser! sorry! :D

    its appropriate. hope you didn't get too wet.

    yes, looking forward to some rides too.

    Mendo
    #23
  4. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

    Joined:
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    Springfield, OR
    “This is the most restful night of sleep I've had in a while” I thought to myself as I woke up in Mendodave's cozy trailer. And probably the most restful I'll have in a while. No worries about the bike being messed with, no hassle of breaking down a went camp... I actually had a dream the night before of waking up at camp and finding my bike in various pieces as I hiked down the trail trying to track it down. In the dream I wasn't upset about about it, and I'd like to think I wouldn't be in real life, but I doubt that's true. As Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “The things you own end up owning you.”

    So I packed up my gear and drank a delicious cup of coffee that Dave made me, then after the mandatory photos, I was on my way. My plan was to follow Rt. 1 down to the Bay, but after fighting the severe wind for a few miles I cut across on the 128 back to Hwy 101 where it was wetter, but not nearly as windy.

    Dave (a BMW rider) happily posing in front of the KLR...
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    I'm in a beautiful forest, why not stop for some preventive maintenance...
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    It was another uneventful day in the saddle. At this point I'm just making miles to be at certain places at certain times. This report will be pretty boring until I actually make it into Mexico (sorry). Crossing the Richmond bridge was super sketchy with the wind trying to blow me off the side. I did detour into central Berkeley where I used to live and had the BEST vegan duck! If you're interested, the place is called “Long Life Vegi House” (on University and Shattuck). The vegan duck there is better than any duck I've had anywhere, real or otherwise. It was a pure delight (and I have leftovers!!).

    I proceeded through the urban sprawl of the Bay area and finally came out on the 101 heading south to Gilroy, where I was to stay with Mongox. He's hosting a Advrider event this weekend, but I think I'm too early to participate in the festivities.

    I followed Mongox's extensive directions down some narrow, twisty roads in the dark and rain. He lives in a beautiful area which I'm excited to see during daylight hours tomorrow. Tonight it's fascinating, but mostly in an academic sense. I'm just ready to arrive. I found his house with little difficulty, but had a moment of self doubt when I arrived at his driveway. Luckily, as I turned around to insure I was in the right place, Mongox came out and blinked his flashlight to attract my attention.

    We hung out for a bit and chatted. Mongox is a very interesting guy, with one of the coolest jobs ever. He's living the life! Nice to meet you man!! After relaxing and having a good conversation I hit the sack (in my tent, set up under some cover from the rain), and fell asleep to the sound of raindrops hitting various surfaces, making a lullaby of sorts.
    #24
  5. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    madeouttaglass - thanks for that weather link. Can't believe I didn't know something like this existed! It's now bookmarked...
    #25
  6. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Springfield, OR
    It's my dad's birthday today. Note to self: remember to call and extend my good wishes.

    Woke up in the tent this morning to the sound of rain. Oh boy, here we go again... As I was packing up the soaking wet camping gear, Mongox came out to greet me with a hot cup of coffee. Just what the doctor ordered to make the morning bearable. We spent a bit of time discussing my route. Here I deferred to the expertise of the local. Looks like the most interesting route would be to find Rt. 25 out of Hollister, and take that down to Rt. 198, then cut over to the 101 and continue south. That is just what I did. Although it was steadily raining, Rt. 25 was great fun. Smooth road, wide sweeping turns... It's the closest you can come to flying without leaving the ground. Left a big grin on my face!

    The road to Mongox
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    Today, my gear completely gave up the “waterproof” ghost. If I ever thought the jacket or pants were at all waterproof, I take it back. I got thoroughly soaked (maybe some rodent ate a big hole through the jacket somewhere and I just didn't notice)! So far this adventure is exactly like the beginning of The Hobbit. I'm riding my donkey in the rain, wrapped up in my cloak, feeling rather miserable :)

    This is what most of the ride looked like:
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    I took the 101 for a while, then cut over to Rt. 1, then back to 101, then back to Rt. 1 and into Santa Barbara. Palm trees!! I'm going to be spending a few days here chillin' with an old Marine Corps buddy. He an I were the two dissidents of our battalion. We used to take turns doing something stupid to take the heat off the other person when it got too hot in the kitchen (so to speak).

    ---Ride Report Intermission---

    Coming up next: Santa Barbara to Phoenix AZ.
    #26
  7. aviatorbdm

    aviatorbdm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
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    108
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    Oregon
    subscribed!
    #27
  8. nvklr

    nvklr Been here awhile

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Carson City
    Enjoying this, thank you!
    #28
  9. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Springfield, OR
    Now it's my brother's birthday. Time for another facebook post...

    After spending a couple of days hanging out with my friend, his wife and <1 year old baby (which wasn't as bad as I expected), it was time to get back on the road. I'm still trying to make miles so that I can see another friend before he has his finals (accelerated masters in nursing [pretty intense!!]) but I'm not in enough of a rush to ride the interstates, so I took some of the smaller roads, hoping to arrive at Joshua Tree NP before the end of the day. As it's only about 250 miles, I didn't think it would be a problem (and it wasn't). My original plan was to camp in “Slab City” near the Salton Sea. My friend told me though, that the demographics of the area have changed and the hippies and snow birds have been replaced by “meth-heads and thieves”. I don't know if that's really true, but figured it would be cool to see Joshua Tree again anyway (as it used to be my favorite place to trip).

    [I did some research and it looks like Slab City is just fine. I should have known the info from my friend would be unreliable as he's also the kind of guy that wouldn't visit a foreign country if they don't have something equivalent to the FDA. I guess he scares easy... too bad (for him and me). To be fair, my research revealed that it's not really a place for tent camping and more of an RV oriented area as there are no bathrooms of any kind.]

    If you ever want to go to Morocco and don't care about culture, cheap rooms and different food, don't bother. It looks just like this area of California.
    (I'm not entirely serious)

    Outside Joshua Tree, USA:
    [​IMG]

    Outside Tafraoute, Morocco:
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    I took Hwy 101 over to Rt. 126 and headed east through San Bernadino county via Rt. 14 then Rt. 18. Having successfully passed through Desert Sprawlitaire, I entered the true desert with little to nothing in every direction. The miles passed quickly by, and before I knew it I was in the town of Joshua Tree on Rt. 62. I am detecting some issues with the bike, so I stopped at a coffee shop for my semi-hourly fix and to do some research. The bike is making weird “clunking” noises upon acceleration in first and second gear. If I didn't know the doohickey was already done, that would be my first guess. After some searching it looks like it could be my chain and sprockets wearing out. Luckily for me, I plan to replace both sprockets and the chain (as well as the tires) when I get to Phoenix. I really hope that's it, and not some loose metal parts in the engine compartment...

    Joshua Tree recently started to charge for camping even in the more remote sites. This did not bode well for my budget, but the only free camping in the area was on some BLM land north of town. I considered it, but decided to try and ride into the park after dark and the money I would save on the entry fee could be spent on a camp site. However, I found out that if you go in at night for free, they'll still charge you on your way out. Luckily motorcycles are only $5 (versus $15 for a car) so it wasn't prohibitively expensive.

    I rode in and it was very cold. So far it's been really nice since Santa Barbara (almost too hot) but in the desert at night it gets COLD. Out come the gloves once again. I reached my desired camp site, Ryan, with little trouble (except for a rabbit that ran out in front of me and almost got himself [or herself] killed), set up camp and crashed out for the night.

    In the morning:
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    Morocco:
    [​IMG]

    More photos coming from now on. I promise!
    #29
  10. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

    Joined:
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    The Lost Coast of California
    Glad to share it. The good folks at Pashnit.com turned me onto it. Thanks for taking the time to post up your trip. I love seeing California.
    #30
  11. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

    Joined:
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    Springfield, OR
    12/04/2012
    Now it's my sister's birthday. Back to facebook I go...

    Woke up early to sunshine (as opposed to dark at this hour further north) and broke down camp. Time to make more miles and finally see my friend in Phoenix tonight. I'm still taking the back roads, at least for a while. Eventually it gets hard to get to Phoenix without using the interstate while still staying mostly on task. I cruised through Joshua Tree east and north, stopping to take in some sites.

    It's early, cold and wet...
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    Stopped here to dry out gear and self (from dew).
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    Exited the park where they made me pay the entrance fee (7 day ticket for less than 24 hours, but it was only 5 bucks) and headed into 29 Palms for coffee. From there I took Rt. 62, following the northern border of the park east. It's a nice road with very little traffic.

    [​IMG]

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    It's a long road ahead.
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    The ride was quite enjoyable even though I'm starting to get a little worried with how little tread I have left on my tires (the rear especially) and how the chain is starting to bind a little bit (it was the chain that cause the clunking sounds earlier, a little lube took care of it). Both are worn out and both will be replaced in Phoenix. If only I can make it another 300 miles or so...

    [​IMG]

    Mmmmm... Jerky...
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    It's a sign (or two)
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    Art or vandalism? The world may never know...
    [​IMG]

    After taking Rt. 62 to where it meets Rt. 95 ("100 miles to next services" sign not photographed), I stopped at the corner store/gas station and met some Harley riders from Lake Havasu and a couple of Dutch bicyclists who are riding L.A. to Miami. Dutch people are amazing. Anywhere I go in the world, there they are. This couple was in their 60s and had ridden over 80,000 kms around the world on their bicycles. They told me a story of how they got robbed at knife point in Belize, but otherwise Central America was amazing for them.

    Stock photo, not my own.
    [​IMG]

    From the corner store I headed south on Rt. 95 because it follows the river and the Cali/Arizona border. I though it would be a nice change of scenery, but the road was just far enough from the river that it may as well not have been there (in hindsight, I think continuing east instead of heading south would have been much better). The unfortunate result of this decision was that once I reached Blythe, I had to take the interstate the rest of the way to Phoenix. It's fine, but I just prefer the smaller (read: slower) roads. Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe it's the KLR (as opposed to the beautiful, smooth, wonderful and fast VFR), but I prefer not to ride faster than 55mph. I did pick it up on the interstate to, at least, feel safe in the traffic.

    Sunset at a rest area off the I-10. Time to stow the sunglasses...
    [​IMG]

    I powered down the I-10 to Phoenix and arrived at my friend's house. It's really good to see him again. I'm expecting some packages at his house including new riding pants (remember the buckle?) and new tires (Anakee 2s). I'm going to be here for a few days enjoying the break before finally getting to the "good stuff".

    ---Ride Report Intermission---

    Coming up next: Phoenix to Mexico and beyond! (unless I talk about the maintenance I'll be doing at a fellow inmate's garage).
    #31
  12. r6-lover

    r6-lover n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8
    great ride report. I am doing a similar ride this winter. Just left Vancouver, Canada today. Dec. 8. hope to run into you on the road, riding a 2008 KLR650
    #32
  13. agplant

    agplant Ride Fast Travel Slo

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    High Level, Alberta
    I am so going to follow along for this one.
    #33
  14. PPCLI-Jim

    PPCLI-Jim Been here awhile

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    Feb 5, 2012
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    221
    Location:
    Victoria BC where I ride year round.
    Subscribed . Gonna follow this one as I have plans to follow a course similar to what you are doing .:lurk
    #34
  15. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish

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    Santa Monica CA
    Subscribed, Good Luck and ride safe.
    #35
  16. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Man, looks like it's a fun ride already!

    Are you really from Ukiah? I'm from Hermiston; my family has a cabin near Ukiah....I grew up riding dirbikes into town to get icecream.

    Also, good to see some pictures of J-Tree. I lived in 29 Palms for three years!

    Have fun man! You can't go wrong using Jdowns as a source of info. I just rode with him for a day. He's a great guy!
    #36
  17. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Springfield, OR
    r6-lover - I just posted to your RR before I saw your reply :) Hope you catch up and join soon.

    Ulyses - Thanks. I've lived in Ukiah in the summers (~5 months out of the year) for the past 6 years. Used to live right in town but now occupy the Frazier heli-base (it's not a heli-base anymore, it's now a fisheries base) right across the road from the OHV complex. I work for the forest service... Some amazing riding in that area!!

    Did a bunch of work to the bike in preparation of tomorrows departure:
    Valve check (in spec.)
    New chain and both sprockets.
    Fixed fork seal and changed the fork oil.
    New front break pads. Changed brake fluid front and rear (it was brown).
    New tires (Anakee 2s)

    Tomorrow I'll camp just south of Tuscon and then enter Mexico on Tuesday morning and book it south all day, then go nice and slow from there on out.
    #37
  18. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
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    200
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    S. Ontario
    IN!!!:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap
    #38
  19. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Just a quick update from the border. Due to my extreme negligence in one minor aspect, I cannot cross the border at this time. Apparently with all my planning I somehow grabbed copies of both my title AND registration. The officials at immigration were not having it. Turned me back :cry

    So herein lies my dilemma: The only way for me to get an original of either my title or registration is to ride back up to Oregon or wait 4 WEEKS for a replacement. I looked into registering the bike in Arizona, but you need an original title for that too...

    Any suggestions? At this point I'm heading back to Phoenix to regroup at my buddy's house and see what I can figure out.
    #39
  20. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    NM, USA
    How about ordering the dupes to be sent to your buddy in PHX's address and then touring about the southwest until they arrive? BTW, I had no idea you needed originals either.
    #40