Baja Blitz Yard Sale

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SenorPeligro, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    I'm leaving today for Baja via a SoCal mini-tour taking in Santa Barbara, LA, Joshua Tree and Salton Sea. Riding my adventurized XR650L and going to meet up with my partner in crime for this escapade, xymotic who's riding an F650GS Dakar.

    Wish me luck... :thumb
    #1
  2. kta

    kta Been here awhile

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    Maybe we'll cross paths - I'm on my way north!

    Have fun, it'll be hard not to.
    #2
  3. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    good luck sp and xymotic.....take your time, enjoy, and come home safely.....:clap

    and don't forget to post those damn pics.....:lol3
    #3
  4. jetdocX

    jetdocX Orange Curious

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    Have fun guys. So sorry I'm not going this time.:cry
    #4
  5. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    Some drama. 71 miles travelled. :cry

    (or Plans A, B and C already?)

    I left Fremont this morning, aimed for work at Redwood City to finish some work for a next release, before heading down to Monterey so I could get a head-start on tomorrow's long day, destination Santa Barbara.

    I was really happy with how the bike was loaded and was handling. I've learned a little about packing by now.

    Gassed up in RWC (clue: this bit is important) then took the plunge on 101 South to escape the grinding traffic of the Bay Area rush hour(s). 5 miles later my XR started to loose power a few times before stalling. I pulled over onto the "shoulder" just at an on-ramp before pushing the bike across the ramp in between speeding commuters. After some messing around, it started up as if nothing happened... less than a thousand miles... too early for the CDI to give up right? :dunno

    In denial, I took-off for 85 hoping that maybe it would just get better by itself... :lol3

    Then at Stevens Creek it died on me again and I pulled up the exit ramp, toggling the starter button to keep it rolling. Deciding not to mess with it too much in the precarious position I found myself, instead I rolled the bike between the mass of cars to get to the safety of the sidewalk. A friendly biker spotted my predicament and asked I needed any help. I explained my mess and he escorted me along the street with hazards blinking while I got out on the sea of hungry cars. I took refuge in a nearby gas station while I pondered my next move.

    Plan B: Fortunately my Crackberry was able to supply a list of nearby Honda Dealerships and I wasn't far from Los Gatos. Once again, after a pause the bike started up again. Off we go! :wink:

    Somehow nothing bad happened on the way to Los Gatos. I pulled off at the first exit and pulled into a Starbucks lot to get more detailed directions. At this point I noticed that my Shangri-La was in fact a car dealership

    :stupid

    Plan C. Call some dealers. The service guy at Mountain View was a total tool (him: what do you expect me to do about it?.... me: uh thanks <click>) :jerko so I called my local shop in Fremont who where totally amenable. I decided to make my way back, at least I'd be close to home at this point. On the way, it died three more times. The third time, some dude pulled up in a pick-up just behind me and stopped to see if I was okay. Nice guy. This was getting old. :snore

    After firing it back up I was rolling again and had the forethought to check underneath my handy dandy Cycoactive barpack (best invention ever) and noticed that the line from my vented fuel tank to the California evap junk was all twisted up and kinked. I did a little emergency repair at 65mph (ish :wink) and everything was good in the hood.

    I stopped by my local honda place in Fremont and smooth talked my way into talking a tech for a couple minutes just as they were shutting up. I explained my problem and what I thought I had done to fix it and the wise-man nodded sagely. He suggested a few other things to check as well but I think I fixed the problem "on-the-road". :evil They'll be getting more of my business in the future.

    I contemplated making a dash for Monterey though the waning rush hour traffic but decided against it simply because it's less fun being stopped at the side of the road in the dark.

    Sorry, no photos. Use your imagination.

    Tomorrow is a seven hour sprint to Santa Barbara. :deal

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    #5
  6. bluepoof

    bluepoof insert pithy saying here

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    Yeeks! Glad it was an easy fix, though! Ah well, what's an adventure without adventure, right? :lol3
    #6
  7. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    At least it wasn't dark, cold or raining. :lol3

    I'll try again tomorrow.
    #7
  8. kaia

    kaia team F5 ⌘R

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    With tons of preparation, something silly is bound to happen at the start. Don't let it deter you from your plans; soldier on like a good little ADVenturer.

    Don't forget lots of pictures so we can live vicariously through you!
    #8
  9. Haywood

    Haywood Been here awhile

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    Chula Vista,CA (spittin' distance from Baja)
    :lurk Have a safe ride.
    #9
  10. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    :wave

    I think I owe you a PM (sorry). The plan got pared down and we lost of couple of good guys. Now it's only the dregs on humanity that are going on this trip :jkam

    I think our course is headed eastward to rather than through San Diego at this point. But if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll lower your property prices and drop you a line.

    OK. I need to go. there's *something* I should be do doing today. :wink:
    #10
  11. Moto-Yeti

    Moto-Yeti n00b

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    Good luck, Shackleton. Write often. If you get stranded and have to go "Donner Party", make sure you braise Xymo first before making him into a stew. Mmmmm...Long Carnitas!:wink:
    #11
  12. jetdocX

    jetdocX Orange Curious

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    You just forgot about us, right? I know you're back Mr. Dangler! Post some pics pronto!:D
    #12
  13. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    OK kids, sorry for the delay. Normal post-whoring will resume imminently... :wink:
    #13
  14. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    This was it, the big day. The XR was already packed after yesterday's adventure fail so I got an early start. Opting for the more direct route down 101 then across to Monterey via 156 I started out into the cool blue morning.

    I was hauling ass for the first couple of hours and I noticed when I got to the gas station at Carmel Mission that I was using oil. This just hadn't happened before and I was surprised. I knew the bike was supposed to do that on highway runs, just never seen it. So I backtracked up to the Honda shop in Seaside to get some oil and a huge plastic funnel.

    The Big Sur was as spectacular as ever... my fun only being interrupted by the bike cutting out on a nice-tight corner :baldy but sure enough, the evap line from the tank was twisted. Totally relieved that I had correlated cause and effect, I untwisted the line and thumped off down the road in XR style.

    I stopped at Cambria to fill-up and check my oil. It had held out fairly well on the ride from Seaside. Just the high-speed stuff burning it up. I called Chain Gang inmate patobravo, who I was supposed to be staying with in Santa Barbara, to let him know I was still on my way but running a little late after my problems on Tuesday. He gave me a tip on taking 154 into Santa Barbara over the mountains so I pounded out some more grueling miles on 101 before taking the scenic route into town.

    Sure was pretty up there.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I caught up with patabravo, who is working on tricking out his F650's with some serious suspension and mods. Patobravo had kindly offered me a place to stay. When I arrived he said I be staying in the garage... I had a sleeping bag and tarp with me so I could make a fort out of my bike and stay nice and warm... turned out his garage was nicely converted into a bedroom. Luxury!

    We went out for dinner with his son and spook, another Chain Gang rider who I met at Altitude Sickness (our first dual sport rally in California) last year. Some beer and a Martini helped smooth me out after a long day on the road. There's nothing like sharing stories with people who have travelled, whether on a motorcycle or off. Travel tends to round out a person... just like the man, Mark Twain said:

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

    Smart guy. I hit the sack hard.

    This was really happening. The Baja Blitz Yard Sale was on. :clap

    [​IMG]

    Skip to Next Day
    #14
  15. Y E T I

    Y E T I Unpossible

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    :lurk
    #15
  16. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    OK, let's back up a little.

    Time for an introduction. This is me, Andy:

    [​IMG]
    (at Morro Bay, more on this later)

    I've lived in California since 2005 after moving from the United Kingdom. I absolutely love this state and am constantly amazed by the scale and diversity of environments, and people, here. This was my first road trip along the coast by bike. I'd done a little in 2003 by car but was hungry to see all I could on the way.

    This trip sort of came about at Altitude Sickness last year. One of the guys was talking about riding down through Central America and I had expressed a similar desire to travel in Chile and Argentina. We discussed a couple of practice rides to Mexico to get a feel for traveling down south. We started planning this trip with four or five people. We had a gang of six at one point then, as these things often do, ended up with the hardcore lunatics who weren't paying attention to Anderson Cooper telling everybody how dangerous it was in Mexico. It's hard to get two weeks off from work for most people. I'm essentially a free-lancer plus I entertain the troops with my photos when I get back so I had a pass.

    Back to the trip. Where was I? I dropped in by the Honda dealer in Santa Barbara to ask about my oil burning. I spoke to Jack, the mechanic there and he didn't think it was anything unusual. Said he'd seen lots of XR600's with seized pistons from running out of oil on highway riding and just advised me to change the oil every 1000 miles or so and switch to synthetic. They had a very cool, old-school shop down there. Full of photos or trail riding and racing. I wish I had a shop like that nearer to me. It was from a different, less commercial age.

    I had breakfast with patobravo, said my goodbyes then went to check the oil. It was very low again and I used the last of the quart I bought in Seaside! :eek1 So I decided to head back to the Honda shop and see if they could fit me in for an oil change. They looked busy but Jack said to give him an hour and he'd have it ready for me :clap

    I drank coffee and people watched. ultimately deciding I'm not good looking enough to live in Santa Barbara. :cry Jack was just finishing up pouring fresh oil into my XR when I arrived. New filter, new synthetic oil and a spare quart of HP4! Time to hit the road. Thanks again Jack.

    The weather in Santa Barbara was overcast with thick marine-layer murk. I hadn't expected this... doesn't the sun always shine in SoCal? :dunno

    [​IMG]

    After the freeway burn yesterday I wanted some twisties so I pointed the bike in the direction of Ojai. It was a nice ride but there really wasn't anything to the town to speak of so followed the road back down to Santa Paula. This place had a Main Street out of 50's America and seemed to be quite lively. It had a railroad station which made it a big deal back in the day. There was also a cool memorial to a couple of motorcycle cops who, in 1928, rode down to warn the town of that the St Francis damn had broken and helped save lives before the flood waters hit. Apparently more than 450 people died that night.

    [​IMG]

    Back on the road again. 101 to 1... down to Redondo Beach. My Google Maps route was insane and must have cost me an hour going through Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach before finally dumping me in Redondo. I grew up in a seaside town in Britain and it there was a familiar vibe to the area.

    I pulled into the Marina and spotted my partner in crimes-future, Aaron, AKA xymtoic, AKA Crashymotic, AKA Crashy, working on last minute Dakar farkling.

    Crashy lives on a boat. I think this is very cool. It's like this, just smaller:

    [​IMG]

    However, I worry that he may have fallen in with a bad crowd.

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, this is Crashy:

    [​IMG]

    Kinda looks a bit like Lex Luthor right? :hide

    We drank beer, ate pizza, and talked ourselves into believing we were awesome enough to confront Baja with nothing but motorcycles, bravado and determination. :deal

    Apparently I have led a sheltered (or at least non-nautical life) because I had never slept on a boat before. :dunno

    I didn't get seasick... berthed at the Marina.

    Skip to Next Day
    #16
  17. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Excellent! More!
    #17
  18. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    This big day started out with breakfast at "Eat at Joe's". Food was damn good.

    Next we changed our tires over to D606's and did a little maintenance on the bikes. It was my first time with the 606's and they felt just like TKC's, just harder. My XR was even taller thanks to the extra height from the knobs. Seat height must have been close to 38"... :deal

    It felt like we were already burning too much daylight so we got packed and ready to hit the road.

    [​IMG]

    The XR was actually packed light. The rear subframe is a known point of failure so I only had my sleeping bag and air pad on top.

    We left Redondo around 1pm and headed east on LA freeways. It's just like riding in the SF Bay Area except it's safe to split at 50mph apparently :lol3

    We stopped at an old-school In'n'Out near Malcom Smith Powersports for some secret-menu goodness. Here's Crashy doing two of his favorite things. Ingesting In'n'Out products while surfing the Internet using his iPhone.

    [​IMG]

    We stopped at Malcom Smith's to drool at the KTM's and I pick up a liter of Repsol fully synthetic for the trip. If you haven't been, it's a pretty cool store. Plus many cute girls work there.

    We mounted up and headed east again. Crashy saw the sign for Chaparral and decided that was a must-see experience from me. He wasn't kidding. Must of been the most-biggerest motocycle store I have ever seen. :eek1

    This is about one quarter of the store... full of motorcycle goodness.

    [​IMG]

    Mmmm orange bike. Much lust.

    [​IMG]

    Finally we escaped the spider-web of freeways through LA and headed east towards Joshua Tree. It was really frickin' windy out there. There was actually a dust storm, which was pretty cool.

    [​IMG]

    I think I truly had a front-page worthy photo of Crashy in the swirling dust in one of my mirrors but my camera was hard to get to and I couldn't get off the bike without being blown over.

    Crashy is one of those kids your mom warned you about when she said "just because the other boys are doing something dangerous, doesn't mean you have to join in".

    "Let's go find a dirt road and look at the windmills", he said. Sorry Mum, I just knew I needed to go with.

    [​IMG]

    Crashy claimed to have been blown off his bike. That's his version anyway. :lol3

    It really was spectacular out there.

    [​IMG]

    We tabbed east along an extremely windy road. We were both hanging it out sideways to keep going straight.

    We made it into Twentynine palms just before sunset, found somewhere to stay, dropped our bags then went to play on a dirt road behind the motel.

    [​IMG]
    (xymotic)

    End of the trail. Time to turn around.

    [​IMG]
    (xymotic)

    Nice BBQ for dinner as the a dust storm rattled windows at the little restaurant we chose. Some beers before to ease the aches and pains of being on the road. :freaky

    I think this is when the sheer horror of my snoring caught up with Crashy for the first time. Sorry dude. :lol3

    Skip to Next Day
    #18
  19. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    I have a feeling this is a post-ride, ride report? So maybe no point in giving advice at this point? But just in case ....:D I know a bit about the XR-L having owned one years ago and having ridden with a lot of guys on LONG Baja rides since 1993 or so.

    Question: Is this bike brand NEW? If so, as I'm sure you've heard, best to break in with plain, high quality mineral oil. NOT synthetic. This is especially true with this Honda. Also, having owned two XL600's, XR600 and XR-L, I can attest to the fact that these Honda's do not like to get low on oil. Not even slightly low!

    First thing to happen is your cam will be pitted and make a nice little ticking noise. No big deal. After that, you can get piston schuffing and the small and big end bearings might be stressed if oil is low enough and revs are high for long periods of time.

    I would run regular oil for at least two thousand miles, or until you bike's oil consumption stops or is reduced substantially. Once broken in, THEN go to synthetic, or my choice, semi-synthetic. I've ridden all my Hondas down highway 5 from San Fran to L.A. or even Mexico many times. My XR-L was run at 80 mph all day only used maybe one quarter of a quart. In "normal" riding, almost no oil usage.

    If you have XR-L questions there is no one wiser or smarter on them that I know of than Scott Dunleavy (sp?) at Berkeley Honda/Yamaha. Scott is a long time Baja racer and Pike's peak winner and now manages Honda's Baja race team. HE KNOWS YOUR BIKE very well.

    Looking forward to more of the report when you get time!
    #19
  20. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    Hey there. Yeah the bike is new new. It had about 900 miles on the clock before I started. It has close to 3900 now.

    I was running Honda GN4. Think I should swap back to that for a while?

    Thanks for the info. I get the impression that this bike is a little unusual in these times. Apart from the oil issue it was a great ride on the dirt roads and trails. It's actually more fun to ride at 65 on a dirt road than it is on the highway :D

    I seem to get very different oil levels when I check the bike cold (after a 5min idle) versus after a ride (followed by a 5min) idle. It's easier to avoid overfilling it when checking warm I think?
    #20