Charlotte to Canada to South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by funklab, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Haha, you might get it daily or twice daily or thrice daily for the next week or so, but once I get caught up, you can only expect it weekly... if that. Im in Sothern California, so I got nothing better to do besides update this thread, theres nothing good around here:lol3 just givin you a hard time.

    I am at my second library of the day now, in Carlsbad, CA. We must learn about these "internet cafe's" that the rest of the world seems to have kept secret from us.
    #81
  2. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Kingsman, AZ

    It got very cold last night. After I took a shower, I checked out the map in the laundry room. Looked decent, so I took it with me, in digital form.
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    There were a couple of dirt roads that looked like they headed in the general direction of where I was headed (west), so I set out to find them.

    hmmmmm we seem to have a luggage problem here.
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    I pulled out one of my BMW tie down straps, which the dealer in Matthews, NC had given me for free, and used that to secure the bag to the frame I had a long loose end hanging down though (more on that later).

    Shortly after I took that pic I dropped my bike. It was sad. I had pulled over, and was trying to fish my camera out of my pocket, so I could check the map. I didnt put the kickstand down, and I was using both hands, so I just leaned too far, and down the bike went... at least she doesnt leak so much gas now when I drop it. I had to take my freshly rigged bags off of the bike though to lighten it enough to get it upright.

    After a while and past a couple of gates I came to this one.
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    I went thru it, but when I tried to get the gate back closed, it just wouldnt fit. Maybe I was too weak, or maybe there was some trick to it, but I couldnt figure it out for the life of me, so I grabbed a piece of barbed wire off of the ground and made an extra loop so I could get it closed.
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    that'll have to do.

    Shortly afterwards, I came to an area where there were a bunch of T intersections, and I really wasnt sure where I was any more. A guy was in his pickup truck off the side of the road, and I asked him. Apparently I was headed towards the indian reservation ("the res" he called it) and there really wasnt anything up there. He pointed me in the right direction though. So back thru my customized gate and across these bad roads again.

    Its hard to tell from these pics, but these roads were pretty rutted, and sometimes the ruts were soft sand, somtimes they were hard baked mud, with no easy way to tell which.
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    The roads he sent me down were really really rocky, and went thru the middle of nowhere. I started worrying that I didnt have enough water.

    Eventually I came to an open area and had a snack by this tree.
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    At least no one was around to see me running like a fool in my boots to try and get back in time for this photo.

    After a little bit, I caught the main road... I think this was the one I was supposed to be on all along, but I ended up taking it almost all the way back to where I started. Nice and smooth... and really really straight.
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    After that time consuming experience, I decided to stick to roads with signs. Which alas, meant I would have to stay on paved roads.

    I took the paved roads all the way into Kingsman, AZ. But lots of that was route 66 which is a reasonable road. At the motel I stayed in, the lady at the desk said there was a whole Route 66 museum. Route 66 is cool and all that I guess, but I didnt really want to see a museum about it.
    #82
  3. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Las Vegas, NV

    I got breakfast this morning at a diner called Hot Rod Cafe. It had a bunch of photos of cool old cars taken out in front of the cafe plastered all over the walls. I shoulda taken some pics of it.

    I rode on down and across the Hoover Dam. Wow! I didnt know it was such a tourist spot. I didnt stop to take any pics there. I did notice that the water level above the dam was pretty low (compared to the water marks on the canyon wall) hope they dont run out of water around here.

    I went to an REI in Vegas to try and find a footprint for my tent. They didnt have one, but told me to buy some painters drop cloth at Home Depot and make one myself.

    No pics today.

    I got a room at a Motel 6 for a couple of days and hit the Casinos. Lost $180 playing poker.
    #83
  4. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Las Vegas, NV

    I hit the casinos again today, and to make up for yesterday, I won an 11:00 texas hold em tournament, for $280. Spent most of the day wandering around and played a couple of other tournaments. Again, no pics, if you want to see what vegas looks like google it.
    #84
  5. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Tonopah, NV

    I hit the Honda shop in Vegas for a couple quarts of oil and a filter.

    Headed north into the desert and saw this sign off the side of the road.
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    In case you cant read all that, it says something about how they test nuclear missles here for "defence and peaceful uses of nuclear explosives" Peaceful nuclear explosives:huh ???? I think by definition explosives cannot be peaceful... especially nuclear ones. That one had me laughing for the next 5 miles.

    Outside of Tonopah, I saw these hills with dirt roads carved all over them.
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    Looked pretty fun, so I rode around them for a minute. I was gonna camp somewhere around there, but the ground was so rocky, and I didnt have a ground cloth, plus there were these no trespassing signs every once in a while, so I rolled into town and got a cheap motel. Tonopah is supposed to be the #1 place for stargazing in the US. I think because its high dry desert and there isnt anything for a few hundred miles in any direction, but it didnt seem especially spectacular or anything.
    #85
  6. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Reno, NV

    It was a kinda chilly morning. And it was windy all day.

    Yesterday was the first day I went around a right hand turn leaning left. It feels a bit odd. Today I was leaning left the whole day.

    As I came out of Tonopah I felt a snap, and pulled to the side of the road. My tie down strap that is holding my saddle bag on got ripped off by the chain. I look around for the end that got ripped off, but dont see it, so I head on down the road, figuring it probably got thrown off.

    Came across this interesting shoe tree to the side of the road. The little driveway from the highway was even paved, and it didnt go anywhere but to the tree.
    [​IMG]

    Apparently there was nothing interesting the rest of that day, cuz I didnt take any pictures. Or maybe I was just hanging on for dear life leaning left as hard as I could to try and keep going straight:D .

    I got a hotel in Reno and played another poker tournament I was 6 or 7th out of 50, but it didnt matter because the money started at 4th.

    I got out of my tournament at 10:00 or so, and I couldnt find any food! All the restaurants were closed. I had to hit a convenience store and get some junk food for dinner.
    #86
  7. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Sacramento, CA

    It was COLD in the morning. As I hit the road it started to rain... wait thats not rain...
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    its hard to see in that picture, but THAT'S SNOW!!!:eek1 :eek1

    And a lot of it... at least to me, a southern boy.

    I pulled off and had some food at the subway, called some friends and tried to wait for the snow to go away. It let up for a little bit, so I hit the road.

    Apparently the road has to go over a mountain, 7000 feet or so:cry this isnt gonna be fun. I stopped to warm up at a convenience store which was called "Base Camp" also a bad sign.
    [​IMG]

    A guy in the store tells me how to avoid the highway and get over the mountain on old 40. I take it. Its really hard keeping the visor clear of fog and snow at the same time. I was half blind most of the time.

    trying to keep my breath off of the face shield
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    Near the top.
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    At least there isnt much traffic here, but it sure is cold. I have to stop to warm my hands ever 10 miles or so.

    More of this stuff than I ever wanted to see while riding a motorcycle.
    [​IMG]

    I make my way over the mountain eventually, and as I get down into Sacramento, its 80 degrees. At least I got through the snow without crashing.
    #87
  8. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    County Park near Stockton, CA

    I fulfilled one of my goals today. I ate a cheeseburger at Squeeze Inn in Sacramento. I had seen it on TV back home a few months ago, and I told my friends that if I was ever out there I was definitely gonna get one. So when I decided to ride out, I had to come thru here. The line was long, but the food was good. I even got a seat inside (i think there are only 8 or 9 seats) so I could watch them make the burgers.

    You may commence drooling...
    [​IMG]

    yeah, theres a good bit of cheese on that sammich.

    I spent some time at the library today, uploading photos, and didnt really leave Sacramento until 4:00

    I did my usual just pick a road that looks like its going in the right direction. It didnt work so great today, because there are a bunch of rivers/canals that you have to cross at certain points.

    I did wander into this area though.
    [​IMG]

    Which was pretty cool. There were a bunch of campgrounds, but the only one with an attendant said that they were for members only.

    So I hit the interstate south for a little while.

    Got off of the road just past Stockton, CA and found a little County Park with camping. The lady there was really rude and bitchy, running up to me before I even got off of the bike to see if I put my money in the little pipe thingy yet. But the campsite had electricity, so I could charge my phone and camera batteries, and nice soft grass so that I wouldnt rip a hole in my tent (still dont have a ground cloth). They even had hot showers FOR FREE... sweet.
    #88
  9. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Big Sur, CA Andrew Something-or-other State Park

    This morning I notice a good bit of oil underneath my bike, and splattered around the front sprocket area. I pull off the countershaft cover, and I see the blue tie down strap that got ripped off back in Nevada. Its wrapped tightly around the shaft, behind the sprocket. I pull that off, and it was a good 2 and a half foot length that had got wrapped up in there. Probably not good. Hope that didnt have anything to do with the oil that my bike is now leaking.

    I rode south, and hit California 130C. That is a gooooooooood road. Paved, but gooooooooood.

    like this for 80+ miles
    [​IMG]

    almost stepped on this guy getting that shot.
    [​IMG]

    lots of trees in the way, but you get the idea, this is a tight road
    [​IMG]

    At the top there are a bunch of telescopes, I guess its an observatory or something. On the other side, the road is still like this.
    [​IMG]

    except on the way down you are on the San Juan side, and there are odles of bicyclists all over the road, so that lowers the speed a little bit.

    From San Juan I worked my way over to highway 1, the pacific coast highway. I had some Cambodian food for the first time, but it was cooked by a white guy in restaurant that looked like it mighta been a chain, and it was very underwhelming.

    Stopped at a Home Depot and got a big sheet of material to make a ground cloth out of for $3.

    The pacific coast highway was pretty nice, very scenic for the parts that it is actually along the coast.

    I stopped at Andrew XXXXXX State Park (i need a better memory), and got a campsite. It was a fairly nice camp ground, but I had to haul all my gear (100lbs +) 1/3 of a mile to the site, and leave my poor bike all alone.

    made it to that left ocean.
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    And got to see the sun set over the ocean. Cant see that from my side of the country.
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    On the sandy hill to the right of that last photo this girl kept walking up to the top and doing summersaults down the hill. Looked kinda fun, but I bet she got really sandy.

    Snow and sand a day and a couple hundred miles apart.
    [​IMG]

    Saw a bunch of deer on my way back to camp from the ocean. I'll have to be more careful and keep an eye out for them on the road.
    #89
  10. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Lompoc, CA

    I hauled all my heavy gear back out to the bike in the morning, not a lot of fun.

    I rode down the PCH again. I tried to find a library to use the internet, but everything in a 100 mile radius at least was closed... no, not for Columbus Day, they were all closed for a computer upgrade. And a bunch of the libraries were just not open Mondays ever... whats up with that???

    A nice sight to start the day off.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I stopped for breakfast at a little cafe off the side of the highway. I shoulda checked the prices before I ordered. 3 blueberry pancakes and a coffee ended up costing $16, no hash browns, no eggs, no toast, just the pancakes and a cup of coffee. Ouch.

    A little down the road I saw this.
    [​IMG]

    I guess seals just like hangin out at the beach, no wonder they were almost hunted to extinction. It couldnt have been that hard to run down there and bop a few of 'em on the head.

    I ended up in Lompoc, CA for the night.
    #90
  11. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Carpenteria, CA

    Actually now that I look back on it, I'm not sure if the seals were today or yesterday.

    First thing today I went to the bike shop to see if they had some parts that I needed and to get some more oil (since my bike was leaking I had used up so much oil that I needed more).

    They gave me the number of a shop in Escondido to get some work done to the beast, and I ordered $650 worth of parts.

    I hit the road, saw a sign for a closed road near Refugio Beach. Closed, eh, sounds like a challenge. It wasnt. When I go to the top of the mountain the road wasnt closed, it just wasnt maintained any longer by the state, still in decent shape (decent for an xr, dont try it on a goldwing). But at the top of the mountain I had this view.

    [​IMG]

    it looked much different with my actual eyes. It seemed like the sea was above the mountains, kind of disorienting.

    I changed my oil near the top of the mountain and rode down.

    In Santa Barbara I found an internet cafe. Awesome!!! I didnt know we had those in the US. I spent a couple hours here, and thats really what got me mostly caught up to date. Just a couple days ago I was 30 days behind in my posts.
    #91
  12. timk519

    timk519 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,090
    Location:
    Kitchener Ontario, Canada
    Great pics and story - it reminds me of my ride through that area this summer. This looks almost as much fun as getting snowed on in Colorado in the middle of June. :lol3
    #92
  13. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    You got snow in Colorado in the middle of June????

    I was up over 12000 feet in late september and got rain instead of snow. Some guys have all the luck:evil .

    UPS is a piece of shit. They gave me a wrong adress to ship a package too, so that I could pick it up. But that didnt matter, because they lost the package anyway, before it made it... Well they say that they should be able to find it on monday... probably... UPS sucks.

    Picked up a bunch of parts in Escondido, CA today, getting some work done on monday, and then hitting the border ASAP. Gotta find a nice small town to cross the border at. Any suggestions???

    josh
    #93
  14. salcar

    salcar Riding 4 Health

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,085
    Location:
    Nicaragua or Mexico or ?
    Hi Josh, i just found your thread, i'll be keeping an eye out for you as you head south of the border... i'm living in nicaragua and i got a room for you.. good luck and ride slooow!!!:freaky
    #94
  15. Hellfish6

    Hellfish6 Virgin ADV rider

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    Chicago/Seattle/Iraq
    Good ride report so far. My humble advice - take lots of pics. All the time. This is a trip of a lifetime and you don't wanna regret not taking more pics of it 5 or 10 years down the road when you're stuck in some shitty job and trying to remember how awesome life really is.
    #95
  16. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18,341
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    Thanks for the report and I will continue to tune in.

    Be safe and take care.
    #96
  17. funklab

    funklab high plains drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Sweet. I'd love to meet you Salcar!

    I followed your story, and it seems like you really travelled well.

    I would love to meet up with you in nicaragua.
    #97
  18. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    29,536
    Location:
    Denton,TX

    Cross at Tecate... about 65 or so miles, depending on routing.

    Great trip from a fellow Tarheelian!
    When you get back in the area, lemme know, I;ll buy you a beer or 12
    #98
  19. jimmydeanh

    jimmydeanh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    flatlands of Maryland
    Awesome trip! I like how your on an older bike and not the vanity GS or KTMs. Enjoy the ride:freaky
    #99
  20. salcar

    salcar Riding 4 Health

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,085
    Location:
    Nicaragua or Mexico or ?
    i sent you an email :deal

    waiting for more reports from the road...:ear