I've had the idea in my head for quite some time now to take a motorcycle trip across the US after graduating college. Here I am. Landed a job in Orlando that doesn't start until early August...might was well take the long way! Day 0: Seattle to Portland total daily mileage: 189 mi Net mileage: 189 mi I set out to Portland from Seattle July 5th on my 92 R100GS. Was a pretty emotional experience leaving behind all that I've found over the last five years at UW (and growing up in Portland). There's no doubt in my mind the connections will remain over time...separation will only make the reunions that much more awesome. Thank goodness for social media I suppose. Me ceremoniously riding my bike out the frat door. To be honest it wasn't much of a ceremony. More of me filling up the dining room with exhaust and pissing off my buddies who were neglected a hug goodbye because I was too busy trying to look like a badass during my not-so-cool-looking peel-off. I owe you two a beer [/url][/IMG] The night of the fifth was my sisters 25th birthday. I've never gotten so many dirty/weird/confused looks in a bar before (even in Portland). Here's why... [/url][/IMG] A fun going away/birthday celebration nonetheless. My dad (who rides a 2004 R1100S) was able to take enough time off work to accompany me until Las Vegas where his parents/sisters live. Together we had a good time enjoying a beer while planning a scenic route down Oregon, through the Redwoods to hwy 1 down the Cali coastline to San Fran then East through Yosemite and down to Las Vegas...more details to come. I'm hardly a third of the way to Florida and I can safely say I'd be perfectly content traveling on a motorcycle like this for the rest of my life (sorry worried family/friends...just be happy my 92' GS feels like it's gunna explode above 65 mph). It's a good thing my dad and I are on the same page. I'll have to find a way to convince my buddies to follow suit. I think I've already got a few hooked on the lifestyle. Day 1: Portland, OR to Del Norte Coast Campground, CA Total daily mileage: 362 Net Mileage: 551 mi Departed the house I grew up in in Portland around 8am to a mother worried about her son and husband. She definitely didn't need the additional stress after the stork brought her an 8-day-old foster baby a few days prior. Tuff woman I tell ya. "the horses are ready" as my dad says [/url][/IMG] No family road trip is complete without candy...and lots of it. My dad managed to lose his reading glasses AT THE FIRST REST STOP. Niceeeeeee [/url][/IMG] Pulled over for a bathroom break and a pulled pork sandwich at a neat little side-of-the-road eatery just south of Yoncalla, OR on I-5. [/url][/IMG] Got yelled at for wandering behind the store looking for a bathroom...tried the other side of the joint and got away scot free! Thats what they get for trying to convince me that every routine bathroom trip requires crossing the freeway and walking 2 blocks north to the nearest gas station...TO HELL WITH THAT. We also met a gentlemen who took a keen liking do my dad's beemer "how much does it weight", he asks. My dad couldn't answer the question (who can?). He then showed us images of his torqued-out-wheelie-capable harley, then proceeding to inform us he's a part of a "family biker club". Got a nice chuckle outta that encounter. Crossed over to US199 headed towards the Cali border in Grants Pass. Obligatory state line photo: [/url][/IMG] Met and took 101 in Crescent City, CA to begin our search for a grocery store (for camp food) and a campsite. Met a man in the Safeway parking lot who told us to look up "BMW on ice" on Youtube, "it's BANANAS!!!" Sure enough, BANANAS is a pretty damn good way to describe it. Found a quaint spot in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, just North of the Redwoods hwy: [/url][/IMG] Dinner of hotdogs, chili and fritos [/url][/IMG] After scarfing the meal we spotted a trail head not far from our campsite...the least we could do to our bodies after 12 hrs on the saddle. Felt mighty accomplished after walking the .9 miles [/url][/IMG] From then on it became a tradition of ours to take a post-meal hike prior to bed, recapping our day along the way. I was surprised at how easy it was to fall asleep at 9:30 after an average bedtime of 1am the last 5 years. Day 2: Del Norte Coast, CA to Salt Point State Park, CA Total daily mileage: 311 Net mileage: 822 Woke up at 6am to a cold, foggy morning had a breakfast of crummy oatmeal and delicious hot chocolate. Rain-geared up and grip heaters blaring we continued down 101S, stopping in Eureka, CA for (another tradition) a brunch of pastries and coffee. The ooing and awing over the giant/magnificent/breathtaking/wonderous redwood trees would soon begin. [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] The redwoods were my first excuse to strap the FREAKIN AWESOME gopro to my helmet [/url][/IMG] I bought this thing a few weeks ago and have been nothing but impressed with its all-around performance. If any of you are on the fence about buying one, F:fyyffK the fence, go buy one. You won't regret it. There are a few others things worth stopping for upon entering the "Trees of Mystery", my boy Paul Bunyan for one [/url][/IMG] Here's a head scratcher we found smack in the middle of the redwoods. Thanks sign maker dude. [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] Dad and I made it goal to find the famous drive thru tree. Later we found out that there's more than one and that driving thru a tree really isn't all that exciting. Off the bucket list nonetheless. (for those who were wondering, there's one in Humboldt State Park). [/url][/IMG] The gopro edition [/url][/IMG] We saw a sign for "Avenue of the Giants" and took it without question. 22 mi of jaw dropping up-close views of the redwood trees. I'm very grateful we had and took the time to wind our way through the nooks and crannys of the redwoods. They didn't disappoint. Ate poor boy sandwiches and peeled layers after exiting the shade of the Redwoods in Garberville, CA. Continued south on 101 until Leggett, CA where the beautiful Hwy 1 begins. Candy break just before hwy 1 reaches the coast [/url][/IMG] Various views of the Cali coast along 1 with the iphone and gopro: Go dawgs [/url][/IMG] Dad on the edge of the abyss [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] They deserve their own photo [/url][/IMG] 10 minutes before this came around a corner Dad dropped some knowledge on me about how Russian settlers first inhabited a large portion of the California coast. This is the most Russian looking structure I've ever seen. How he knew this is beyond me. [/url][/IMG] Funny coincidence [/url][/IMG] Road winding up in the fog [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] Hints of blue sky [/url][/IMG] Found a place to camp in Salt Point State Park near Gerstle Cove. [/url][/IMG] Burrito dinner. NOTE TO SELF: when buying avocados, check for ripeness. They aren't worth jackdiddlydoda if they're as hard as a watermelon rine. Shouldn't I know this after 23 years? [/url][/IMG] Is there an aftermarket cruise control for old GS's? Sher could use it... [/url][/IMG] After dinner we followed a trail near camp that took us to the ocean. On the way down we realized just how lucky we had been the previous 12 hours. Neither of us could recall a single RV or 18 wheeler either in front or behind us. Not one. On a Sunday. No complaints there! There road was also in PERFECT condition. Seems to have been paved not more than a year ago. Couldn't have asked for more. Interesting growth on the rocks near the water [/url][/IMG] Yea I where a headlamp from 1988! What of it?! [/url][/IMG] Zonked by 9:30. Another 12 hour day really took it out of us. Day 3: Salt Point State Park to Yosemite Lakes Campground Total Daily mileage: 292 Net mileage: 1,114 mi Woke up 6am. Burned bagels and hot chocolate for breakfast (at this point we're running out of breakfast ideas...any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind that I'm without a skillet/frying pan. Minimal effort is a plus! Packed up camp then zoomed down 1 to Bodega Bay for pastries and coffee. Man in the parking lot (Mr. DR650 we later called him) filled us in on the primo way to make our grand entrance into San Francisco. "Mt. Tamalpais" he says. More great advice from a fellow enthusiast. Stunning views [/url][/IMG] Thanks gopro [/url][/IMG] That bridge is incredible [/url][/IMG] Ate chinese with one of my dad's high school buddies then departed San Fran via 580. Terrible traffic on the Bay Bridge and increasing heat made for a stressed out airhead rider. Luckily the bike held up until traffic cleared 25 mi east of SF. Took Hwy 108 to 120 up the hills into Yosemite. Not sure why I decided to block the cameras view... [/url][/IMG] We decided to camp just outside of Yosemite in a place called Yosemite Lakes, about 10 mi from the entrance to the national park. [/url][/IMG] Burritos again for dinner...this time we ditched the avocado altogether and added hot sauce. Made all the difference! Contemplated utilizing the camp showers until we realized neither of us brought towels or soap. No hand soap in the bathrooms either. Showers will have to wait. For $40/night in a campground you think there'd be at least hand soap right? To date we haven't stayed at a campground that provides hand soap. Oh well, we'll have better immune systems by the end of it Walk around the perimeter of the campground then bed by 9:30. Day 4: Yosemite Lakes to Bishop, CA Total daily mileage: 265 mi Net mileage: 1,379 Wake up at 6 for a breakfast of cocoa and fruit...excited to gawk at the awesomeness that is Yosemite National Park. Before the fun starts I discover the bike is slowly burning oil...good thing I checked or else things could have turned sour real fast. On the look out for an open gas station on the way to the valley. We enter the park to a sign that reads "Pay upon exit"...ever since I bought this $80 "America the Beautiful" annual pass I've been itching to flash the badge and waltz right in...hasn't happened yet. Hwy 120 down to the Yosemite valley is just a teaser to what awaits at the base. Just the beginning [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] I was awestruck at the sight of El Capitan from the bottom of the valley. . Very impressive. [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] Half Dome in the top right [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] More pastries and coffee at the Yosemite Village. AND A GARAGE! WE'VE STRUCK MOTOR OIL! I can finally stop worrying about my engine seizing. Topped it off and off we went up the 26 mi Glacier Point Road to even more incredible views of the valley. [/url][/IMG] Girl on the right adds a nice touch [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] Finally made it to Glacier Point [/url][/IMG] Phenomenal view of Half Dome. I couldn't stop imagining the colosssal effect the other half sphere must have had on the ground below when it sheared off... [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] Peeling layers before the decent back to Yosemite Village [/url][/IMG] Shade break [/url][/IMG] Before departing the park dad and I took a dip in the Merced River. The closest thing to a shower since we left Portland. Now I know how Bear Grylls feels when he finds an oasis in the middle of a desert. [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] Departed Yosemite NP via Tioga Road ("Do not stop, continue through" the sign said), beautiful views of the Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake Tenaya Lake [/url][/IMG] I'm still kicking myself for not lighting up the gopro for the rock falls just a few miles prior to Mono Lake. I finally decided to turn it on once Mono Lake came into sight: [/url][/IMG] A fellow biker at the gas station near Mono Lake filled us in on the June Lake Loop...15 mi loop that "looks like Switzerland". Not exactly sure what that looks like but it was freakin gorgeous nonetheless [/url][/IMG] [/url][/IMG] SIDE NOTE: are Ford Mustangs cheap in California? This was BY FAR the most popular car in Yosemite. Five years old or newer convertible mustangs. The drivers must have been curious why two dudes on motorcycles were pointing and laughing at their (cheap?) car. Our goal was to make it all the way to Lone Pine, CA, wake up at 4am before the sunrise then book it across Death Valley before the heat. We only made it as far is Bishop, CA (60 miles short) before it was time to find a campground. We found a nice place called Browns Town Campground and ate a delicious ravioli dinner [/url][/IMG] It seems Death Valley would have to wait. Just too risky given the time of year, the lack of resources within the park, our limited water supply, and the fact that we were already an hour behind our goal of Lone Pine. Walked to the end of the camp, tried to make friends with the cows (weren't havin it), then hit the sack. Day 5: Bishop, CA to Las Vegas, NV Total daily mileage:______ Net mileage:______ Woke up at 5am to beat the desert heat. Breakfast of fruit. Took Hwy 395, to 168 to 95 to 160 to Vegas Sunrise on the hills [/url][/IMG] with the gopro [/url][/IMG] Obligatory state line photo [/url][/IMG] I'm beginning to wonder how I'm to take these photos once my dad returns home... Stopped for brunch in Beatty, NV. Dad discovered he's got a slow leak coming from around the final drive seal area (good thing we didn't cross Death Valley . "Where the hell can we find gear oil in Beatty, NV" Sure enough a dinky hardware store down the road had exactly what he needed. This begged the philosophical question, in my dad's words, "How long has that bottle of 80-90 gear oil been waiting for me to pluck it off the shelf?" and "Where was I the day it was first brought into the store?" We'll be waiting a long time for the answers to those questions...one of the great things about being on a motorcycle is all you can do is think about whatever comes to your mind. Big news in Vegas the past couple days has been the Carpenter 1 forrest fire (caused by lightning) that's been raging since early July...quite a site from Hwy 160 [/url][/IMG] Rain that evening brought the containment from about 10% to 40%. And it hardly EVER rains in Vegas this time of year...mother nature apologizing for her wrongdoings I suppose. Bikes home safe at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Vegas! [/url][/IMG] Another evening walk to continue the tradition...along for the "walk" are my Aunt and Uncle's "dogs" that are too decrepit to take a walk around the block...good thing it was dark outside [/url][/IMG] These last few days spent with family provided a much needed change of pace. After two nights in a bed I feel 100% refreshed and ready for the next leg of my trip east. Through Zion, Bryce Canyon, Natural Bridges, Arches, then into CO via I-70. Btw are there any recommendations out there for good west to east adventure riding through CO? I know the state's chalk full of all sorts of terrain, I bet I really couldn't go too wrong with any route I choose. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Cheers all!