My big ride - A Kiwified Dutchman heading South from LA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Normlas, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    573
    Location:
    overcrowded Northern Colorado
    Hmmm...a one-eyed, inexperienced rider, heading south of the border, on a questionable KLR? Sounds like the perfect recipe for a real adventure! Now get there and have a blast!! :lol3:clap

    Ride safe,

    Taz9
    #41
    SOLOKLR and Normlas like this.
  2. crackadamia

    crackadamia n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Pleased to see you found some help with the mechanical side, got worried when I read the list of things you changed till I read on and saw you had some help, your hands are probably better suited to hanging on the handlebars as apposed to fixing them.
    Have a great ride,
    #42
  3. gman71

    gman71 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Wasn't sure when you left, voicemail told.me to check here for you. Ok, get on with it, I'm all ears. :)

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    #43
  4. Beredon

    Beredon n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ajan, no prob's. I'll continue in English but not right now
    #44
  5. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Thanks for the confidence everyone - very heart warming :lol3

    Yesterday I decided to go for a shake down run into the big smoke - LA, rode around the old center, Sunset Blvd, Hollywood Blvd, Melrose, Beverly Hills and the Griffith Observatory overlooking the whole city.

    [​IMG]

    Sure is a city of extremes, I have never seen so many homeless people living rough in any city in the world and I've travelled a fair bit, it was sad to see. Tents everywhere, people holding cardboard signs, groups of Mexicans outside every hardware store looking for work ....... Had Carl Jr for lunch and there was a big fight on when I arrived over a homeless person stealing soda, then I had beggars come up to me while I ate in the restaurant asking for food or money..... Whilst I had just ridden around Beverly Hills dodging blacked-out $200K cars, it sure made for a stark contrast.

    The bike was not running great, rough idle, poor power, poor starting and rattles everywhere, didn't make me happy, and it got worse, much worse, after lunch I set out to Malibu down the PCH and the bike kept stalling and losing power while I was riding, had to crash start it on the freeway doing 70mph several times....:(

    [​IMG]

    Limped home feeling super low about the bike, almost ready to walk away.....

    But Randy to the rescue and we checked the obvious things (petcock/spark plug) and ended up doing a second full strip down of the carburetor, whilst we were in there we did the 22c mod (lifting the needle with a washer) drilled out the slide and screwed the air-mix screw down to 1.75 turns (you KLRistas out there will know exactly what I mean). We also changed the tyres to new Conti-trial attack and new tubes, lubed everything up well and got rid of all the rattly bits, and...

    she is running awesome ! :rilla

    Like a new bike, powerful and smooth and taking corners like she should, I am very happy and have my faith restored, woohoo, go Lucy! Just got back from a test ride and I've had 4 KLR's but never one that went this fast ....

    Onwards and upwards
    #45
    MrKiwi, Beredon, TaZ9 and 3 others like this.
  6. gman71

    gman71 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Not too late to buy an 800GS. . Just saying.
    #46
  7. chopperT

    chopperT n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Queenstown NZ
    Hey, Glad to hear you got your problems sorted. Sorry I missed your call. First rule of troubleshooting, start with the last thing you touched!
    #47
  8. gman71

    gman71 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Assume you made it through the wildfires and are not waiting at the Kawasaki dealer for it to be fixed. The next post better not be about how long the queues are to get on your AIR NZ flight home.....
    #48
  9. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Woohoo, I am finally on the road!

    After a couple more days of fluffing around LA,and getting a blow-out front tyre (not fun), I am finally on the road for a proper shake-down run, fully packed and headed out towards Sequoia National Park.

    [​IMG]

    It was a lovely ride once I got out of the LA freeway system. I feel like the Americans have two distinct driving personalities, in the suburban traffic, with loads of uncontrolled 4 way intersection because of the grid layout of most cities, they are remarkably calm, make eye contact and appear to gladly give-way even when they don't have to.... But get them on the freeway and indicators, speed limits and calm are history. It can be a viscous battle, and all pretty much as fast as possible, with speed limits around the 55-70 mph and average speeds of over 80 mph, it is cut throat. Unfortunately, the fully packed KLR, including my delicate wee frame, is no speed demon and 70-75mph is about tops for this sailboat on the freeway.... which means big rigs passing even though they are only allowed to do 55mph??

    But once on the rural highways, where the freeway gives way to the desert, and all is well again. Fantastic ride through Joshua tree forests and sandy plains, into the hills to a free camp at Walker's Pass where I met a friendly retired tramper named Steve - we had a great chat, got a good fire going and all was well.
    [​IMG]

    He seemed rather switched on about politics and world events, he had also been abducted by aliens and had a chip implanted in his brain, which I thought was odd, but he was adamant that this was the case, and he seemed none the worse for wear for going through this. :hmmmmm A lovely and interesting guy and we had a great night and even a coffee in the morning

    It was cold, around 5C and I had pretty much all the clothes I had :) but slept OK.

    Next day I shot up towards Lake Isobelle and then up the Kerr river through Kerville and over the Sherman Pass in the Sequoia Park and back towards the I-395, got to 8200ft high and serious ice and snow (well at least for an Aucklander, it was serious!)

    [​IMG]

    Beautiful ride, big trees, babbling brooks, loads of ice and it was cold, pussy grips on and still cold in the summer gloves - and loving it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It warmed up when I got to Death Valley on the other side of the I-395, awesome ride through the valley and ironically staying at Emigrants camping in Death Valley National Park.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rode past the rock canyon where they filmed the Star Wars canyons scenes and was very impressive, such big country - just huge. The change in elevation is very obvious in the temperature, going from freezing at around 8000ft down to a balmy 25C at -200ft in Death Valley.

    Had a lovely evening with a couple of girls from Minnesota at the camping and another good night sleep. Lots of coyotes running around the camping at night and had some coyote footprints on my bike seat in the morning. Next day I left the tent standing and spent the day exploring in Death Valley, rode the wrong way up the one-way Titus Canyon (whoops, figured the sign didn't count for bikes and all was fine), and explored the crater and salt flats - and yes, tasted it and it's super salty.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Had another nice evening chatting with the other campers there, nothing but nice people so far (until they get behind the wheel and on the freeway).


    [​IMG]

    Next day rode through more awesome dessert and slowly back to LA, learnt a few things about the bike, she ran great and never missed a beat but the chain is throwing out o-rings like a lolly scramble and will need to be replaced, I also don't much like the continental trial attack tyres - just way too roady, so will change them too. Seems I lost my chain guard somewhere and that will also need replacing, but not a biggie. She did burn a bit of oil too but that was to be expected given I had to wring her out for many 100's of miles of freeway mayhem. All in all she went very well and I'm super glad I did this shake-down run and can deal with these minor things here in LA and not in Mexico. I did almost 1500kms and was probably a bit much for me and my dodgy back - pretty sore today which is another good lesson, I think 200-300km days will be better for me, just that the US is soo freaking big, and distances are huge. Not unusual for my GPS to say, next turn left in 150kms.....

    So will be a couple of days of wrenching/arranging stuff before I head South for real.

    One big question for other travellers here - I have a spare set of tyres, do I lug them with me (pain in the ar$e) or try and get some in the bottom of Mexico somewhere - how easy is it to get KLR tyres in Mexico?
    #49
    jmcg, KLRalph, Robthekiwi and 2 others like this.
  10. gman71

    gman71 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Real adventurers make their own tyres out of snake skin, pig intestine and coyote fur. Come On, lift your game.
    #50
  11. Beredon

    Beredon n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Netherlands
    You 're going to have a great journey ahead! Wish you luck and fortune!
    #51
    Normlas likes this.
  12. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Yeah - you're dead right mate, that reminds me, must pack some chewing gum and a hair clip, just in case ..... :photog

    BTW - you still thinking to join me down here sometime? You are always welcome dude!
    #52
  13. Beredon

    Beredon n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Sorry can't come right now..... Staying home because of Fets, you know... But I'll watch your trip like à hawk, no doubt about that! Keep that bike between the lines!,
    #53
  14. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    So the chain has been replaced, the chain guide ordered, engine oil changed to the elixer of KLRs (Rotella T4) and I've have decided to keep the roady tyres and have simply deflated them a little and improved the ride.

    My immediate plans have also changed as I've been invited to Oregon for Xmas and am keen to see a bit of the US I would otherwise not. This has given me a couple of extra days so I've been exploring some of the best rides around LA.

    Rode the Mulholland Highway in the hills behind Malibu and then all the way around to the Angeles Crest Highway through the mountain range at the back of LA.

    Customary ADV salute to the bros
    [​IMG]

    Angeles Crest Highway looking towards a hazy and smoky LA ;

    [​IMG]

    And I did the Ortega Highway over to Lake Elsinore a few days ago, also a lovely ride (and got a really bad haircut by a dodgy Egyptian barber at the lake...).

    [​IMG]

    Funny thing is that with the grid layout of LA - there are basically no corners other than slow 90 degree turns! It also makes for a lot of "chicken strip" motorbike tyres here because there is little to no leaning into anything until you get well out of town. So it was refreshing to ride a few windy roads and test out the side walls of my tyres - and all is good.
    #54
  15. bajaburro

    bajaburro Ancient Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,187
    Location:
    Huntington Beach CA
    Get the hell out of L A it's a shit hole.
    #55
    chopperT likes this.
  16. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    So I spent Xmas in South Lebanon - sounds gangsta doesn't it? But it's actually a rather well-healed village in Northern Oregon, about 1100 Miles North of LA. The US is still freaking huge, we drove for 15 hours on the same road (I-5) , without making a single turn - and no, I didn't take the bike, we went in true US style - in an H2 Hummer :) Taking turns at the wheel.

    [​IMG]

    Leaving LA at 4am allowed us to miss the local traffic and get a good start on the journey, sunrise from the Hummer;

    [​IMG]

    Mt Shasta, North California.
    [​IMG]

    The temperature dropped the further North we got starting at around 25C in LA and ending at about 0C in Lebanon (pronounced Lebanin to prevent confusion with the middle east version :D). Ice and snow and a real Christmas feel, Oregon actually reminded me more of a European Xmas than a NZ one.

    [​IMG]

    We were very warmly received by extended family and had a wonderful time exploring the area and lots of seasonal over-eating and drinking. A huge thank you to Lydia, Terry and Penny for making me feel so welcome and at home.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The dogs also enjoyed their present - for about 30 seconds...

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention that the US is freaking HUGE - and signs like this just rub it in, a single road that will take you many, many days to cross the entire country ....

    [​IMG]

    Oregon is also famous for it's liberal attitude to Cannabis and recreational weed can be purchased by anyone at any one of the many "dispensaries" - we were therefore obliged to try this out and true enough - it works pretty good :) sh1ts and giggles were had.:jack

    We also got a chance to explore some of the other well named places like - Sweet Home and Tangent Oregon and the town appropriately named Weed, California just over the state border...



    [​IMG]

    After another 15 hour drive home, it's good to be back in LA. I now have to get my eyes checked by a retinal surgeon as part of my injury from September and am trying to get this organised in LA before I head South, but that is already proving tedious with NZ insurance companies and tiresome US bureaucracy, but I'll hopefully get it sorted in the next 2-3 days.

    Best wishes to all for a good new year celebration.
    #56
    MrKiwi, 84cubs and roadcapDen like this.
  17. gman71

    gman71 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Happy New Year dude. Saw the snowfall near where you are and thought bugger that on a bike. But Hummer style? ..No.worries. Klim gear, new helmet and BT comms purchased. Just in case.....
    #57
  18. Beredon

    Beredon n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Happy new year to you man. Still no snow here! Lost of rain and wind (storm Actually) greetings from Malden.....
    #58
  19. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Looks like a great journey!

    :thumb

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Thanks,

    JM.
    #59
  20. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Thanks guys and Happy New Year to everyone!! :clap
    I am finally leaving LA......:rilla

    Ordered the rear chain guard from Kawasaki and went to collect it at the dealership and they had ordered the wrong part :dirtdog That was just before new years and they were going to be closed till the 3rd. Then my NZ insurance company borked at me having to see a retinal specialist and that took 4 days to come right also. So I ended up having New Years in Huntington Beach, finally got the right part from Kawasaki and also saw the retinal specialist for a check up on my bad eye - which I have to do every 2 months - and thankfully all was good. My vision is still a bit dodgy out of that eye but apparently it's just something I need to learn to live with.

    Managed to get my bike insurance for Mexico sorted via Baja Bound Insurance as agents for HDI Seguros (liability only), I know it is not essential to have insurance in Mexico but highly recommended and at about $160 for 6 months, including roadside assistance, I thought it was worth the peace of mind. I've read a few horror stories about tourists being locked up in jail until everything is sorted after an accident and this insurance will give me free legal help and bail etc, even includes some medical evac support.

    So I've been chiling out and enjoying LA for the last few days, rode down to Carlsbad on the PCH and also had a ride on Randy's Yamaha FZ1 1000 - OMG!!

    Carlsbad Pier
    [​IMG]

    Last sunset for 2017 on Huntington Beach
    [​IMG]

    By far the most powerful bike I've ever ridden, what a blast ! The fastest I saw on the speedo was around the 200km/hr mark and it was too scary to look down after that :ricky (sorry Mum) I think that was only in 3rd gear - seemed like the other traffic was standing still. I'm pretty sure that this is not the bike for me, super exciting but way to dangerous, give me the KLR any day.

    Randy's rice rocket and her sista KLR
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The KLR is running great, I get about 200 to 220 mile on a tank of fuel and another 20 or so on the reserve, she hasn't burned any oil since I put the Rotella T4 in and she's starting great.

    So the plan is to head out tomorrow toward Slab City, a collection of oddball people camped out near The Salton Sea, about an hour or so from the Mexican border, I plan to camp there for the night and cross the border on Sunday morning. I had some issues with US immigration so I have to make sure I get stamped out of the USA and then on the Mexican side I need to get my tourist card (FMM) and my bike import permit (TVIP) sorted, and get some Mexican cash and a Mexican SIM card for my phone. If I can get all that sorted I'll be very happy. Aiming to camp about 2-3 hours into Mexico, somewhere near San Felipe, Baja.

    I have just loved the US and especially here in Huntington Beach, everyone has been so kind and especially Randy, Mary and John could not have been better hosts and we've all had a lot of fun, it's part of the reason it's been so hard to leave here! I am eternally grateful for all their help, caring and sharing - it's been simply awesome. Things are going swimmingly :beer


    But I sure do have itchy feet and am really looking forward to hitting the road - I have some normal apprehensions as well but mostly just excited to get going South, next update hopefully from Mexico!
    #60
    MrKiwi, roadcapDen, dano619 and 2 others like this.