Can I ride to California from Toronto in March along I80? Yes, but I can't ride home!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by OffRoadCruiser, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Southern Ontario
    Tuesday March 23, 2010

    I left around 4 PM on Tuesday following the usual slabs to Port Huron and then Utica Michigan where I visited my niece.

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    By the time I reached London, Ontario it was sunny.

    The ride was cold and the Homeland Security officer at the border thought I was nuts but was too polite to say so and let me into the USA after asking me many questions about my ability to pay for the trip.:clap


    I want to ride to California to ride some more with my younger brother. He has been working temporarily in California since January and we had made a few attempts to ride together but without success.

    Since his job in California is shutting down he took advantage of the fire sale on Buells and bought one. Now was the right time for him to ride so off I went.

    In January I would have trailered the bike to someplace warm but I have decided to take a chance on the weather, most of my friends think I am nuts

    What do you guys think?:deal


    Mileage Today: 210 miles

    Total time, left at 16:30 arrived 21:30 = 5 hours.





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    To be continued, I will try to post some from the road.

    Carl
    #1
  2. airjammer

    airjammer Montana, SLC, Grand Junction, currently Houston

    Joined:
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    If you make it through Wyoming, you are home free.:evil .....it will probably suck, though.
    #2
  3. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

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    I used to be quite good at fixing electrical problems but that no longer appears to be the case.

    The GPS did not receive any battery power and the electric vest controller did not work but the vest was warm.

    Sometime during the miles I rode on Tuesday evening I remembered reading somewhere that the Widder electric vest turns on by itself if plugged in backwards so I finally concluded that I must have reversed my connections.

    So instead of being able to enjoy a quick visit with my niece and her family I had to take all the luggage off and work on the electricals I constructed before I left.

    Carl
    #3
  4. RabidRover

    RabidRover Adventurer

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    Keep us posted Carl and take some pictures when you get the chance. Just don't challenge mother nature too much :nono
    #4
  5. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Packed early but after some breakfast and some visiting I left Utica shortly after 8:30 AM.

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    The GPS and the Widder controller worked so it turns out I had reversed to connections after all.

    I know that Widder has stopped production but who ever thought of putting those sharp corners on the controller, it left a big scratch in the tank.

    And what about trying to turn that tiny control knob with gloves on?? Plus the controller turns much too easily, at least I had a working vest (for now)

    I rode all slab across Michigan and Illinois without incident but the snow drifts at the side of the Interstate looked foreboding.

    About 250 miles out from Des Moines the rain started but it became serious around 140 miles from my day’s destination.

    It just happened that a riding friend was working in Des Moines that week and offered to host me. Knowing that a bed and a shower was waiting I pushed on in the cold rain, at least the handlebar heaters, the GPS and the electric vest were working now.

    20 miles from the hotel the rain stopped and I made it at 19:30 Central time. There was Steve and Glen, another co-worker and friend with beer and food, excellent.

    Total time 8:30 AM Eastern DST, to 19:30 Central = 12 hours
    Distance according to Streets and Trips = 630 miles

    Carl

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  6. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    623 miles, 11:00 AM Central to 8:30 PM Mountain

    Pictures and text to be added later. :D

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    Nice Hotel, spent last night here.


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    Sun is shining, cool.


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    Leaving Nebraska.

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    Once the sun set in Eastern Wyoming it became cold and there was snow on the ground but the roads were clear.

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    #6
  7. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    563 miles, 7:00 AM Mountain to 7:30 PM

    I will tell you about the icicles freezing on the inside of the helmet, the drifting snow with 40 mph winds and the snow showers later. :huh


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    Taken from inside the heated rest area, there is no way I was going outside without my gloves on.


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    Would you want to live here and look after this rest area?


    I was very lucky, I woke up at 5:00 local and started riding soon after.

    Cold but no rain, only some snow showers.

    The worst was the drifting snow between Laramie WY and Elk Mountain!!!

    I rode on the left shoulder on the noise maker strip to be sure to have traction. The wind was so strong from the side the bike was leaned way over.

    I missed all the bad stuff, either before or after me.

    Sorry, no pictures while riding, the bike was leaned over too far.
    #7
  8. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Only 288 miles to Tonopah but from Ely, NV to Tonopah is almost the maximum range for my tank :deal

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    OK motel in Wendover. The bike backfired here, that should have given me a clue for this:

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    I limped on one cylinder for about a mile out of town before I remembered that this model has a habit of spitting out intake tubes when they backfire.

    The Cruiser has been giving me unending driveability problems for the last 2 years even though I have replaced everything at first I just assumed it was another symptom.

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    Views along to road Alt93 to Ely and Tonopah NV:


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  9. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    Oh man. I'll bet it was a miserable ride on Friday. I was sitting in my office in Laramie (the highest pass on I-80) listening to a hateful cold wind rage. It would NOT have been pleasant to be on a bike headed west through Wyoming, with no windscreen, into the wind all the way, with snow blowing around the passes at Laramie, Elk Mountain and Three Sisters.

    You are a tough man, and I don't even have to see the pics to know it! :devildog
    #9
  10. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

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    From what I heard worse weather was expected so I just kept riding.

    Somewhere around Mountainview there was a fellow on a fully loaded bicycle riding on the I80 shoulder, and I thought I had it rough with heated grips and a vest.

    Carl
    #10
  11. Jman

    Jman a.k.a. FUglyK

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    It is statments like that which make me glad to still be at home. :lol3

    People might think he his kidding here, knowing Carl (and riding with him) for as long as I have I can assure you this is true.

    Shiny side up buddy, call if you need anything !
    #11
  12. redog1

    redog1 KTM 690R

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    You've got some BIG Brass ones. I've driven truck across Wyoming in that kind of weather and have seen the trailer wheels come off the ground due to the high wind. Dead elk every where and cars off of the road every where. Looked like a wrecking yard and slaughter house. Nasty area in the winter. Personally, I don't get why anyone would want to live out there but to each there own. You are either to be respected for your fortitude or commited due to your insantiy. Either way, you have my respect. :loco
    #12
  13. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    That is the section of I-80 which is most frequently closed due to drifting and blowing snow, followed closely by the section between Laramie and Cheyenne. There's a reason few people live here. The weather keeps the wimps away. :lol3
    #13
  14. Jman

    Jman a.k.a. FUglyK

    Joined:
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    I know the answer to that question and I am not telling. :rofl
    #14
  15. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    63,575
    Well, this is certainly an interesting question and riding challenge. But this year, spring came early in Toronto... but by the looks of your pics, not everywhere else...

    :lurk
    #15
  16. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I had not seen my brother in about 2 years even though he lives in Miami and travels to Canada often.<o:p></o:p>
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    It was very good to finally see each other again and to be able to ride together in the desert.<o:p></o:p>

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    Having lunch with my brother Bruno:

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    Steak and eggs for lunch for me:

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    Lunch was here, just a casino. BTW they allow smoking in restaurants in Nevada, quite a change for us now.

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    What is this device in the restaurant parking lot: :deal

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    #16
  17. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    At lunch we decided that we would ride the bikes into the desert and camp for the night.

    I punched 'No highways, no Interstates' into the GPS and asked it to route us to Bishop California from Tonopah.

    The route was along Paymaster Canyon Road. The road was graded gravel but with lots of sharp stones and deep gravel and sand sections. We were able to ride at 35 to 45 mph in the better sections.




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    The path to the campsite:

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    Carl
    #17
  18. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The view from the tent next morning:

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    #18
  19. Viking

    Viking Ækt trønder!!

    Joined:
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    I wont even ask whats in that pizza box:D Great trip and stay south will you till the snow is gone.:clap :clap
    #19
  20. OffRoadCruiser

    OffRoadCruiser Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Having fun in the sand:

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    Then Bruno's Buell has a flat:
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    I had to ride back to Tonopah to get a flat repair kit and more water:

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    Bruno was bored waiting for me for 2 and a half hours, it was about 30 miles one way back to Tonopah and since I was now riding alone I slowed down to 25 to 35 mph.


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    So he took lots of pictures in the desert:

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    Finally I returned with the flat repair kit:

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    In the meantime Bruno had set up the tent fly to provide shade:

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    Problems with the air pump, it had lost the locking cam to hold the nozzle on to the valve stem:


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    But the tire held some air so we rode back to Tonopah for food and a motel.
    #20