Thread Notes: SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS! [201307162339 7cdt] * * * BMW Rally LA CA to Salem OR (Los Angeles California to Salem Oregon) Round Trip Bill & Clif 2013 MOA (BMW Motorcycle Owners of America) International 201307130124klrct According to advrider, I haven't logged in here for nearly 9 months. For me, the actual trip will begin in about 3 days, as I've received permission to spend the night at Bill's prior to our morning departure. This says a couple things: First, an hour's worth of riding can already drain me quite a bit. I didn't want to embark towards Oregon having already endured an hour of trauma. Second, "LA" is a term millions of Los Angeleans use to describe a general area that's actually very, very large. Another part of the reason as well is that one of the freeways I would be using to arrive at Bill's is extremely unpredictable. I've learned from my year+ of riding that each freeway, and even freeway-segment has its own personality. I don't know how or why that is. It can be different drivers, cars - but inevitably, those segments tend to be chaotic, aggressive, inconsiderate, dangerous - no matter who's driving on it. I won't say specifically which freeway, as I want to respect Bill's privacy as to his locality. A lot of my memories of the Alaska trip either needs to be brought up through conversation, or has become vague. That's not all bad, because when I read through Bill's narration of our trip, it's like re-experiencing a lot of the adventures anew again. However, one of the general themes I recall discussing with a lot of advriders was the question of why some people... or maybe most people stay at home, while others actually take these trips. This is why I've decided to start this thread at least a few days early, so that everyone (including myself) can contemplate what lifestyle sacrifices have been made to make this "short" one-week trip possible. I remember also reading through other "epic" ride reports, and finding myself particularly interested in the "beginnings" part, as they shed light to the variables that made a riding adventure possible. I don't remember who it was now, but someone on advrider did point out to me that a lot of the riders were retired millionaires, or multi-millionaires who were simply able to say, "geez, today feels like a good day to start touring the world." They go to the dealership, get their bikes, and off they go! I am not one in that category. I have been worrying, doing mental math, struggling with finances for so long now that I've stopped questioning its reality in my life. Having written this so far, I have to point out that I really had no clear idea where I was going for this ride until 20 minutes ago, when I had to review my email exchanges with Bill. And finding the destination was only a necessity as I had to correctly fill in the "Post New Thread / Title." So... that's another perspective on leaving home and going for an adventure. Perhaps the hard part is just preparing. But once you're prepared, the adventure is so certain that the destination isn't even important. I went through and passed drug testing and extensive background checks for an environmentally related full time job I was asked to apply for. Before my "training" started, I picked up two and a half Production Assistant jobs - so I held off the environmental job a week. That led to another delay because they said I couldn't train with the 4th of July in between. And finally by July 3rd, I called my supervisor-to-be and explained that I thought we should hold off me starting indefinitely. Mostly, it was because I liked being a PA and hoped to find more of that work. But another reason too was that had I done the training July 8 - 12 2013, I would have had to take a week off anyway starting July 17. It didn't feel right. So I essentially turned down the job. What I learned from Alaska was that extended motorcycle trips do change your outlook. And outlook is everything - so of course (A = B = C --> A = C) motorcycle trips change your life. That being the case, I instinctively didn't want nor need to take up a full time job I didn't really want, then to spend a whole week on the road blurring other epiphanies with a decision (aka epiphany) already at the foremost that I should quit that job. If I could have an ideal job, I'd like to work in a field that studies and measures aging. I'm fascinated that people everywhere, in every country age. Are there scenarios or people that seem to hold onto youth forever? How far are we technologically to achieving immortal youth? Then another area I like is being a production assistant or related to that industry - making youtube videos. The Alaska trip gave me the courage to pursue youtube and I had some success. Around $1,300.00 was coming in per month based on those videos. However, it also came with "stalkers," people mining my privacy, and since I was covering current events - the heartbreak of trying to console the families of so many people that encountered untimely deaths in tragic situations all over the world. When I make youtube videos now, I find myself fearing any one video doing very well for the simple reason that I try to help anyone seeking a friend or a sole listener - and I end up feeling depressed or very disappointed in humanity. Finally, I'm very interested in motorcycles. I think I'd really enjoy a job related to bikes (with engines). Tonight, I followed up with a query intended to look into an existing online hub where I think it might be financially viable to test and report about motorcycle accessories. Oh fickle heart! I finally got over the fear of the S1000RR and took it for a test ride about 4 - 6 weeks ago. Some guy I met at the dealership who received the S1000RR from his dad as a gift said, "This is the fastest street bike in production. It's so sensitive. Even if you move the throttle a quarter of an inch, it'll do a wheelie!" (Or at least that's how I perceived what he said - and anyway, I know that's pretty close to what he said). I stood at the dealership parking entrance with my mouth open like a kid that saw an ice cream truck for the first time in his life. I thought the guy riding the bike was like Captain America. So from that time which was probably a year ago up until my first test ride, I'd relate to the S1000RR only by sitting on it. My dear friend the dealer would come out and offer me a test ride, but thinking that I'd surely fly on the s1, crashing through the car dealership across the street - I turned him down without feeling any regret. I remember on my first S1 test ride, I was so scared of the machine that I was even fearful of pressing on the ignition switch. Yesterday (ok, technically the day before if you want to acknowledge it's past midnight) I took the S1 on the third test ride. I probably would have already purchased the S1000RR, but somehow I heard about the HP4. It bothers me I don't remember how I heard of it, but I did. Then after that, I wanted the HP4 over the S1. And once I looked into it more, I know I want the HP4 competition package. The dealer said that with a downpayment, I'll still have to wait probably at least 5 months to get the HP4-C (c = competition). That's fine because it'll give me some time to try and improve my finances. Right now (in fact, I made another payment today) I'm actually ahead in paying the K1600 (I still call her "baby girl" ; I don't care how that freaks you guys out). But I really long for the day where I can pay these critters off in cash, on the spot. Speaking of the K16, I do dearly love her. But she continues to be a quirky little monster. I took her in because even after extensive time reviewing the manual, looking at online forums, calling in to the dealership, messing with programming the bike from the console, messing with the remote keys - I could not for the life of me figure out how to get her alarm back on. It was only supposed to take a few seconds or a minute to turn her alarm back on, but what developed was a mystery within a mystery. What happened was that at the 18,000 mile service, she was making so much noise that a computer was hooked up to her to quiet her. I'm sure she was driving everyone at the dealership mad. So neither the key, the on board computer console, nor anything I could do would have turned the alarm back on. The only way to turn the alarm back on was to use what turned it off: hooking BG to the computer. What surprised the mechanics was that even with the computer attached again, she still remained mute. Finally, it was determined that her "control board" was broken. I did ask if that might have been what was behind the incessant overheating (which actually hasn't occurred for some months now). On the phone, he joked, "Well, yes. But now that the control board will be new and fixed, the overheating will actually result in an explosion while you're riding it." I actually thought it over and asked in all sincerity, "Really?" "No, I'm kidding Clif!" God. We had a good laugh. So what was going to be a short fixer, turned into something overnight. So yesterday, I rode home a loaner, whom I affectionately call, "Bumble Bee," because of its bright yellow and black (but mostly yellow) colors. I was a bit surprised that by today afternoon, the dealership didn't call me to pick up Baby Girl, so I called in and found out the control board needs to be ordered. So BG will need to stay at the dealership at least until Monday. That's fine. Bumble Bee is fun to ride too and I'm just glad I got one of the sport bikes to ride around. (For the record though, I did ask if I could use one of the S1000RR's in the back as a loaner, but he explained that it was too powerful and aggressive - it would have been a liability for the dealership). Despite my recent episodes with the S1000RR and Bumble Bee models, I still miss Cindy's Buells. They are like tiny toys that a small child would hold under their hand and skate it around the kitchen floor. Then when it's time, you would clean it by throwing the small thing in the dishwasher. I don't know why the Buells appeal to me so much. I doubt they can accelerate like the S1 - but something about them makes them really fun. Yeah - maybe that's what it is: the sport Buells are fun. The S1 still feels like a serious bike to me. You can be going at 50 or 70 mph - and if (for the record, I use "if") you accelerate too fast, you could be in big, big trouble on the S1. Riding the S1 on the freeway is surreal. For the most part, I cannot grasp how something that small can deliver so much force so quickly. Occasionally, I feel the irony that I'm having a strong desire for something (the S1) that will eventually kill me. But... we won't think in that direction. A lot of us (including myself) thought that I'd die on the Alaska trip. But here I am making more noise before the much shorter Oregon adventure. I'm planning to take much less on this trip. The side and top carriers are in storage. The big advantage I like about riding the GTL (aka K16) without any cases is that it's much sportier. It feels much lighter on the curves and the acceleration is also more sudden. It's also possible (well, probable) that the Akrapovic exhausts give it more acceleration. I didn't realize how heavy the stock exhausts were until I went to move them in a box. So the K16 has the added acceleration both from akrapovic technology AND its reduction in weight. I'm pretty sure BG will be ready by Monday or Tuesday. If not, I don't mind taking Bumble Bee to Oregon. They're both BMWs, so they should both be welcome at the 2013 BMW MOA (Motorcycle Owners of America) International Rally (wow, I'm out of breath).