Seattle to Rosarito, MX and back: the adventures of Tweedle Dumb & Tweedle Dumber

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dogmantra, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    I want to kick off my first ever ride report with the disclaimer that I am trying to figure out all this embedding images and maps as I go. Sorry if I suck at it for a while.

    That said, here we go!


    About a year ago my buddy CHiP (inmate tc_dick) and I figured we should try to plan and execute a long, multi-day ride. This was, at first, little more than a novel idea. I had just finished grad school and was preparing to start my first year teaching high school. CHiP was a lead tester for a smallish software firm. I had my 1998 R1100GS and CHiP had his 2007 Triumph Bonneville. We both had ample amounts of audacity, inexperience, and excitement for adventure.

    Skip about six months to last December. I was nearing mid-way through my first year teaching, and CHiP was about to be promoted to management. Over :slurp at our local watering hole we decided the trip was a necessity to keep us from losing our freaking minds. All we needed were trip dates and a destination.

    By mid-April we had our dates: (June 28-July 13) and destination: Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

    The next eight weeks or so were designated as planning and preparation time. Other than a fluids change I only had one mod to make for the trip: adding the GMTMoto legs rests I'd picked up over the winter.
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    These babies would help my crippled knees survive the trip.

    I also had to purchase some needed safety and technology bits:

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    One new Caberg Gara and a used and hacked iPhone off eBay. These helmets are going for a screaming deal through Iron Pony Motorsports right now, I recommend checking them out. As far as the phone, well, the maps feature alone saved our asses many a time. I cannot recommend this enough either. The jar of what claims to be spaghetti sauce is actually just my afternoon coffee. We don't use mugs here in Seattle. For long days I have a Camel Back hydration system that I hook up to my espresso machine to make sure I have enough go-go juice to get my buzzzzz on.

    Last, I picked up two jackets from a fellow inmate CETME. One was part of his ill fated Ohio to Florida trip. Jacket modeled by CETME here:

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    Holy crap. Look at those gas prices! I asked Lars (CETME) to please take the jacket to a local witchdoctor or voodoo queen to remove any residual bad mojo before sending it to me. He never stated whether he had this done, so I was understandably a little nervous about making it part of MY trip.

    CHiP had a bit more preparation to do for the trip. First, he had to do a bit of grinding to his peg lower kit for his Triumph:
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    I provided the much needed tool, workspace, and beer drinking support.

    Once the inside work was done it was time to strap the new farkles on his ride:
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    Look! He used the directions! Also, here you can see CHiP's nice, new saddlebag set. He got those and a matching top case special for the trip and then spent tens of hours and dozens of dollars getting brackets made and fitted to his bike. Gee. I hope nothing bad happens to them. :evil

    Hell. I'm throwing pic of my S.O. in here to brighten things up a bit:
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    She is the gal who wrote a special "Adventure Rider" theme song that she sings every time she catches me on these pages. It's a pretty great song. She's smiling here because she has no idea what sorts of hooliganism and (mis)adventures are awaiting her Big Daddy (me, Tweedle Dumb) and his traveling partner (CHiP, Tweedle Dumber).

    Please bear with me as I try to unfold our big adventure over the next few days or weeks. Any technological suggestions will be appreciated as well as any comments and/or suggestions... be they positive or negative.
    #1
  2. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,921
    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    more more more!! too bad I did not meet you, i live just south of Rosarito

    More pics please

    Damasovi
    #2
  3. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    Intended route: Seattle, WA to Corvallis, OR
    Actual route: Seattle, WA to Corvallis, OR


    CHiP and I are both pretty damn smart, so we knew that we should be well-rested, fully hydrated, and get a full night sleep on Friday, the evening before our departure. In our infinite wisdom, we decided that we should spend the night at a rock show in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The band, the Ladybird Unition, were great, and the neighborhood was in full festivity as this is one of the gayer areas in town and it was the beginning of Pride weekend. I didn't get home until almost 1:30 in the morning, and I was so excited that I could barely sleep.

    I awoke at 7:00 AM so that I would have enough time to get ready, load the bike (I had been doing packing dry-runs for a day or two), and get to CHiP's house south of Seattle by 8:30.

    After a nice Saturday morning warm-up, I arrived at CHiP's house, the official starting point of our ride, and the place for the standard odometer shot:

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    I had arrived at 9:00, a bit late, but well ahead of the game as I soon learned. I was packed tight and ready to roll:

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    CHiP had not really thought out his packing regiment in detail. Okay, he hadn't really thought of it much at all. I arrived to find him out in his yard with a giant pile of crap and one single strap with which to tie it all down. I figured I had enough time to walk across the street and get a coffee at Starbuck's. Then I waited:

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    And waited...

    At around 10:30 CHiP finally felt like his load was secured and that he was ready to go. We dubbed his rig "The Flying Clampett." I am sure you can see why:

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    We made it a mission to locate a small rocking chair for CHiP to strap to the top of his load.

    By now the sun was way way way up in the sky and the temp was up as well: near 90 degrees. After a few check list run-throughs we were ready to officially get underway. Here is a shot of the intrepid adventurers moments before popping the cherry on the big ride:

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    The first day was to be a mid-length ride of about 260 miles from Seattle, WA to the house of CHiP's aunt and uncle in Corvallis, OR. After the late start we pushed through into the afternoon and got south of Portland before succumbing to the rising heat and stopping for lunch at the air conditioned Pietro's Pizza:

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    Mmm... tasty! But, hell, it sure is hot out there. Here is what CHiP thought about going back outside:

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    CHiP can be an angry man sometimes. Today, he had ample reason as it had spiked to over 112 degrees while we were inside eating hot food. His thermometer don't lie:

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    We didn't make it far after lunch/dinner before we had to stop to kit-down. Normally ATGATT guys, we were dying in the heat, and opted to strip to t-shirts and tennis shoes in order to avoid heat stroke or the like.

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    See, my bike is even dripping sweat. CHiP was so weak from the heat he had to find a wall to sit on. He doused himself with water to try and cool off, but sitting in that parking lot was like tumbling in a big dryer. It was so hot that his pants shrunk.

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    After riding all afternoon in a climate that made it feel like we had blow dryers in our faces, we finally reached Corvallis and CHiP's relatives as the temperature began to ebb just a bit. We rolled in and set up shop in their front yard:

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    Their place was great: spacious and out in the middle of nowhere. There weren't many houses, but the abundant livestock made up for the lack of people. We had some interesting neighbors in the pasture 20 or 30 yards away:

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    If you have not heard sheep and goats do their creepy-assed dying-human cry all night long you are missing out. Just before bed I had a short talk with CHiP's uncle and aunt. I expressed my concerns about spending the next two weeks on the road with CHiP, and that, at some point, I expected to want to strangle him in his sleep. His relatives were amazingly supportive. Aunt Julie even demonstrated the method of strangulation that she recommend I try using:

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    "First, you kick him in the groin, then you grab his throat like this..."

    They were great hosts for our first evening on the road. I dozed all night with a mix of dreaming of the coast, which we would hit the next day, and brief moments of terror at all the crazy wildlife in the area.
    #3
  4. Jedediah

    Jedediah Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    822
    Location:
    Riverside County, California.
    [



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    "First, you kick him in the groin, then you grab his throat like this..."


    Yess sir re. I am sub scribbin to this hear thread.

    Jed.
    #4
  5. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,016
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    :ear
    :lurk
    #5
  6. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    It would have been great to meet aother ADVRider in Rosarito! :thumb Chalk that up to another missed opportunity. Pics of our Rosarito section will be up in a few days.
    #6
  7. MikJogg

    MikJogg Weekend Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    672
    Location:
    Oberkirch/Blackforest/Germany
    :lurk great...:thumb
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,671
    Lookin' good :thumb

    :lurk
    #8
  9. Arte

    Arte Pata de Perro

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,624
    Location:
    LEON, Gto. MEXICO
    Me and my buddies are planning to travel to copper canyon July year. We just finished our trip to Xilitla and was great, sure as was yours !!

    From Mexico:

    Arte
    #9
  10. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    Intended route: Corvallis, OR to Gold Beach, OR
    Actual route: Corvallis, OR to Gold Beach, OR

    The day started out hot hot hot. Shorts weather right off the bat.

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    We were looking forward to getting out to the coast where it would certainly be a little cooler, and CHiP promised a great route to get us there: Hwy 34. This little twister took us right into the woods with some sweet rollers and near-hairpin turns. We thought it was a good spot to practice taking some action shots:

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    After a while I felt the temperature drop and the cloud cover thicken: we were getting close. Soon we popped out right at the coast:

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    Yeah. The Oregon coastline. Break out the hats and hooters, but don't bother with your Bermuda shorts and sunscreen. It was cloudy, drizzly, and my teeth started to chat-t-t-t-er.

    One look at CHiP's thermometer confirmed my suspicions, it was a testicle terrifying 56 degrees.

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    Here is CHiP demonstrating his "turtling technique"

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    I guess sometimes it's useful to have the freakish skill of being able to pull your head into your neck?

    If you want to see what the Oregon coast is like I don't recommend driving to it. Instead, go to Southern California, take a picture of the ocean, blast it with light gray primer, dip the photo in water and then put it in the freezer for a bit. Take it out and look at it. You'll get the idea. There are a lot of things that the Oregon coast doesn't have (like heat and sunshine) but one thing it has in spades is big giant boulders all along the edge of the sea. Quite impressive, really:

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    We, of course, managed to pretty up the already scenic beauty by sticking ourselves in the frame:

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    Before pulling away, CHiP grabbed a sharpie from his top case and started scribbling on it:

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    I can't say anything positive about his penmanship, but his seer-like skill of telling the future, as this is evidence of, is downright freaky! Also, here you see CHiP's day-two-new-and-improved strapping technique.

    After what seemed like an eternity riding through the cold I began to wonder how the hell my body was going to withstand the constant climate changes that we would be going through during the next 13 days. Before long my hands were like a frozen pizza tossed into an overheated oven: frozen on the top, and crispy on the bottom (yea for heated grips!). Only one thing could fix the situation:

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    That's right, a big cup of coffee from the Circle K. I warmed up to the point where I could move my body just a bit faster than an arthritic spinster. It was just in time too, as moments later when I pulled over to adjust some gear I was nearly eaten by the local wildlife:

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    Having avoided being a T Rex's dinner I was already in a pretty happy mood. Things just kept looking up as our diggs for the night came into sight. Gold Beach, OR:

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    This was to be our first hotel sleep of the trip. Our plan was to do equal parts camping, hotelling, and crashing with friends & family. We checked in and got a suite. My room:

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    Notice the cracks in the walls and ceiling, raw plaster holding the paint to the walls, and wood trim that looked as though it was hand carved by Ash from "Army of Darkness".

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    CHiP's room was complete with a TV, mini fridge and microwave. These almost made up for the windows that had no locks:

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    Let's just say that, with the Oregon Trail Lodge we started off with the bar set pretty low. Here's how CHiP felt about the quality of our home for the night:

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    There was really only one thing to do: get cleaned up and hit the town! The problem was, almost everything closed by 8:00. WTF? We took advantage of a pretty great photo op on the local waterfront. Here is CHiP's "arty photo" attempt:

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    And here is us modeling for the upcoming 2009 Adventure Rider calendar:

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    I am hoping we are picked for one of the 31 day months.

    The evening wound down with many rounds of local beer and a few rousing games of 301 on a local dartboard, with me soundly kicking CHiP's ass. I gloated a bit too much on the zig-zaggy walk back to the Oregon Trail Lodge. Upon returnng CHiP got the last laugh by walking through the door, looking at my bed, grimacing, and saying, "I wouldn't run a black light over that if I were you." Bastyrd. After that there was NO WAY I was climbing between those sheets. Not only did I have had to sleep in my sleep sack inside the hotel room, but I failed in my try to look good while doing it. Here is me making a muscle like a python:

    [​IMG]

    BTW, to the editors of the upcoming catalog: this is my alternate submission.

    Tomorrow: Mendocino, baby!
    #10
  11. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    Intended route: Gold Beach, OR to Mendocino, CA
    Actual route: Gold Beach, OR to Mendocino, CA


    CHiP started off the morning by making further advancements to his strapping technique. He had gone from one strap on day one, to two straps on day two.

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    Now, on day three, he was getting his license plate in on the action. Immediately, I thought about mocking him, but the fact is that CHiP and I often try to out MacGyver each other, and first I had to make sure he hadn’t stumbled upon some brilliant sort of strap-license plate-counter-steering-balance aid. Try as I might I couldn’t come up with a benefit for this maneuver. The events then unfolded like this:
    Me: (pointing) Uh…
    CHiP: (looking down under top case) Aw hell…
    Me: (secure in having established my daily taunting subject) Ha ha! You dumbass!
    After making the necessary adjustments we were on our way. Back in our cold weather gear we continued down the Oregon coastline where it was always wet and gray. There were many amazing sights, and many corresponding pull outs to take photos of said sites. Here’s one now:

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    It’s funny how, on rides like this, you find the oddest things worth documenting. Somewhere along the line, at one of the pull-outs, I saw my odometer, and pulled out the Fuji to give the devil his due:

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    At the same point, CHiP looked at his odometer and realized that the saltwater air was already taking a toll on his Triumph:

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    It was really a bummer that there was no, "Welcome to California!" sign or anything like that. We just saw the highway markers change. Oh well.

    Soon enough we found ourselves approaching the fantastical “Trees of Mystery” attraction/theme park. I had been a bit curious about stopping, just to find out what was so mysterious about trees, but earlier, during lunch, we looked at the “Trees of Mystery” brochure from the little display case near the cafe front door, and decided to skip it. However, now, as we got nearer to the actual physical location we saw something that we simply had to get a better look at:

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    These statues were huge! Having spent the first 25 years of my life in Minnesota, where my family had a cabin near the Paul Bunyan statue seen in the film “Fargo,” it is saying something when I say that I was quite impressed at the size of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. Now, I have to admit… with a name like “Babe” I had always assumed that the blue ox was a girl. Imagine my surprise when I rolled past and saw this:

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    Holy crap! Testes the size of beer kegs! I had to get a closer look:

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    CHiP, like he does, always takes things one step too far:

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    I’m not entirely sure what went on between those two, but suddenly CHiP ran back to his bike, saddled up fast, and he made a beeline south.

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    For the rest of the day his lips had a slight bluish tinge to them.

    Although our trip was pretty well planed out, not set in stone, but more than penciled in, we did find a few occasions where we had to make spontaneous decisions. One of these was whether to venture off 101 and take the Avenue of the Giants. Somehow, neither of us knew what it was all about. We had seen signs for a number of miles, and, even though we were not certain what we would encounter, we figured it had to be worth checking out. This was a decision that we were very happy that we made, for it is filled with crap like this:

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    If you haven’t been on this stretch, let me tell you- it’s a 31 mile piece of something special. When we first pulled in after exiting Hwy 101 I took this picture of CHiP's bike while he was off in the trees, sitting down to pee like a girl:

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    We took more action shots, including this one snapped by CHiP. It is probably the best photo of the entire trip:

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    Then, we hit the Drive Through Tree for a few speedy laps and quality photos:

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    By now we were quite giddy with the events of the day. This was the most action packed and visually eventful day we had experienced on the trip so far. We were now pretty well into California, and we were beginning to sense the smoke from all the wildfires in the region. Just as we neared Garberville, CA and the end of the Avenue of the Giants, we came across this valley where we first saw smoke from the actual fires. It was a pretty remarkable sight, only made more so by the extreme height of the bridge that was under construction across the valley:

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    From Garberville we blindly followed my GPS as it spat out directions to the home where my friend and coworker Holly was staying in Mendocino, CA. By now we were both feeling pretty quiet after a full day of seeing amazing things and riding some of the best roads we had been on.

    We were ready to get to where we needed to be, but as we turned off 101 onto Hwy 1 two things happened that made it clear that the day's excitement was not over: my GPS flashing that the next turn off of Hwy 1 was 26 miles away, and a road sign that indicated curves for the next 21 miles. Here is what it looked like:

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    All I can say is, holy crap. If you have ever ridden this section of road you understand why we do not have photos of it. If you have not ridden it yet, well, photos wouldn't do it justice anyhow. No traffic at all, just us and twenty-one miles of backbreaking switchbacks, snaky ess turns, climbing and diving rounders, and banked turns so steep that more than once my right eyeball was staring at the shoulder while my left eyeball was looking at the sky. I had never experienced vertigo before this stretch of riding, and, coming out of it, I think I was twice the rider that I was when I went in. I know you guys on the East coast have the Dragon, but, fuck, this is the west coast, and this little stretch of unnamed road is ours.

    When we finally hit the coast again, just north of Fort Bragg, I grabbed the first pullout I could navigate.

    Spontaneous celebration ensued.

    Then excited chatter as we realized that we had just experienced one of the purer moments of what biking and road trips are all about.

    Finally, moments of quiet as it all settled in, captured here:

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    From the looks of him, you'd never guess that just a few hours earlier he was kissing a giant set of blue ox balls, would you?

    Once we were back on the bikes we cruised through cold and fog down to Holly's house where she was waiting to take us out for burgers and beers. It was so great to see a familiar face, and it was fun to introduce CHiP to someone who falls into my side of the "staying with friends and family" part of the trip. It was dark when we got there, and darker still after returning from dinner. Here are a few photos that I took of her place the next day:

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    Holly was a gracious and fantastic host. And, obviously, the quality of our quarters had gone way way up. In fact, this was undoubtedly at the high end of the spectrum for places we stayed. Beds were comfy and the place was quiet as a country mouse.

    The next day we were hoping that we would manage to get into Big Sur, one of my most desired destination on the trip. It had been closed due to fire, but I went to bed hoping to catch a break in the morning.
    #11
  12. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    Arte, when are you going to Copper Canyon? I would LOVE to see some inmate photos from there and hear about it firsthand.

    -Drew
    #12
  13. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    Intended route: Mendocino, CA to Santa Cruz, CA
    Actual route: Mendocico, CA to Palo Alto, CA


    By now we were into the swing of things and very little could waver our morning system of preparing for the day. Today, we planned to breakfast with Holly before heading south. She had some work to do so she offered to leave a bit early, head a bit south to the town of Elk, CA and bunker down at a local restaurant called "Queenies Roadhouse Cafe" while CHiP and I showered, repacked, and loaded the bikes. It was an excellent plan. However, within 10 minutes of leaving, Holly was back, with a dour look on her face. It seems she had made it to the end of the lane before noticing a flat rear tire. She told us that she had never changed a tire, and, me being a teacher, asked her, "Do you want to learn, or should we do it for you?" Holly has always been and will always be game, so she jumped right in:

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    She was doing great so CHiP and I just stood back and helped her work through the process:

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    Of course, we had to mess with her a bit, like when we suggested she mount the spare reverse syle because it would look way cooler:

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    She figured it out and soon she was off to Queenies, and we finished getting ready. Now, you'd think that the good dharma I had put in with Holly that morning would have set a positive tone for the day, but to the contrary, nature had it in for me as I noticed when getting ready to mount up and depart for breakfast. First, I saw little brown wet spots on my duffel, then on my coat sleeve, then I flipped my visor down and spotted the source:

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    Shit. I had been targeted by a Mendocino Blackbird, and he had managed to hit me bullseye in the visor. The intermingling of the birds "Caw!" and CHiP's cackling just about drove me to the edge of freaking out. Only one thing could fix the situation. That's right, coffee, and lots of it- stat! Off we went in search of java.

    It turned out that Queenie's was closed, but there was another cafe nearby. We went in and while Holly washed the tire grime off her hands I, like a gentleman, ordered three cups of coffee, one for each of us. Well, I forgot that Holly doesn't drink coffee (yeah, she's a bit weird). Now, I have two personal philosophies that came into play here:

    1. If I'm paying for it, I'm using it. This is a close relative of "If I'm doing the time, I'm doing the crime." Applied here, the reality is that I was simply paying for the rental of a cup. Theoretically, I could drink as much coffee as the waitress could pour. I could drink the same amount without Holly's cup, but it would take longer. So, if I was going to rent Holly's cup, I was going to use it.

    2. At some point in time, probably soon, I'll want something to eat or drink. If I have extra now, but turn it down, it just means that I'll regret not having consumed it later on when I get hungry or thirsty. This applies to just about everything: food, water, beer, coffee, the possibilities are endless. So, knowing what I do about this philosophy, I knew that I'd want coffee later, and here I was with an bottomless supply. Normally, in this bottomless kind of reality, I just drink away. My S.O. and friends can attest to that. However, when rule #2 intersects with rule #1 it can get dangerous. The only food equivalent is when eating at a buffet, where it is limitless and you are, again, renting plates. When that happens there is an overarching rule, rule #3, that takes priority: eat as much of the most expensive thing as you can stomach, even if you dislike what it is. My point in all this is to explain why we were so late in departing for the bulk of the ride: I was caught in a vortex of philosophical coffee consumption.

    When we did finally leave CHiP had to hang about placating a fanboy oogling his Triumph:

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    It was funny to gauge their reactions when they learned it was not the same bike that their uncle/dad/cousin/big brother had back in the 60s or 70s but was, in fact, a 2007. One last group shot with Holly and we were underway:

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    The Coastal Hwy south from Mendocino was fantastic! Miles and miles of scenery like this:

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    And roads like this:

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    Along this stretch of road was the only missed photo that I truly regret not taking. Following the cliff line, and heading into a slow sweeping left turn I saw a single yellow traffic sign with one one word on it: COWS. After blinking a few times I thought, "I wonder if they mean OPEN RANGE?" a sign I am slightly more used to. Pretty much instantly I was again reminded of OZYMANDIAS and his thread about heading from Seattle to Argentina. This reminder is nothing new. Clayton has crossed my mind dozens of times since I first read his thread.

    Still, even though I have thought of him often, and adjusted my riding as a result, this was the first time I experienced a direct connection to him, for, as the sweeping left began to turn into a sweeping right, with a steep cliff and sea off to the right side, I saw one of the most amazing things that have passed before my eyes. My mind had a hard time processing what I was seeing. There, just ahead, were two huge black, "...statues? statues of cows? no... too big... statues of steers... why would there be statues of steers on the sides of the road way out here? statues of steers with wet noses? and flies buzzing around them? is that a tail in the road? did that tail just move?" and then the realization hit, "HOLY CRAP! THOSE ARE LIVE ANIMALS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!"

    The one on the left side of the road was just standing there, and the one on the right was lying down on a small precipice of shoulder, he was simply sitting there looking out at the ocean, his tail flopping lazily a foot or two into the lane where I was heading. CHiP and I were both pretty shocked at the sight, and I wanted to turn around and get a picture, but, short of riding up to the livestock, and stopping in the middle of the road, there was just no safe way to get a shot. Here is a faithful representation using my massive skillz and paint:

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    This was one of those amazing ride moments when you just can't believe what you just saw and experienced. I was just happy and fortunate that CHiP saw it too, or I may have thought I'd imagined it all. Suffice it to say that Ozy stayed with me for the rest of the trip, pretty close by.

    The scenery stayed beautiful and went on for miles and miles. There were no rest areas to take a break even if you wanted to- which I did. So, I took one where I could:

    [​IMG]

    I swear I saw the whites of his eyes in his Smartcar rearview mirror. It was about this time that CHiP dipped back into his backpack to grap his toiletries kit which held his stash of Ibuprofen. Snake eyes! He came up empty handed. Realizing that his backpack had been left open, he surmised that he had left his toiletry kit out on top of the the Flying Clampett a few stops earlier:

    [​IMG]

    Goodbye Ibuprofen, goodbye toothbrush, pit stick... the works. We rolled right on down into the bay, cross Golden Gate bridge, and into Golden Gate park... where we realized that we had been miscommunicating an important fact: Golden Gate Park does not overlook the Golden Gate Bridge. This pissed CHiP off more than a little bit as it was the bridge he wanted photos of, not the park itself. We wound our way back to the bridge to get this shot:

    [​IMG]

    And, while CHiP snapped pic of Alcatraz, I tried to tell him about the whole bridge being the "golden gate to the west." He didn't much care. What he wanted was dinner. A simple request, but not such an easy thing to deliver in this town. I tried to use my limited knowledge of San Francisco to get us into parts of the town I am familiar with (anywhere between Citylights Book Store and the Buena Vista). Things didn't work as well as I'd hoped when adding in the obstacles of the trolly cars, trolly car tracks, freaking hills, weird one ways, and crazy cab drivers. Eventually, we were spiraling about Chinatown, looking for places to park. CHiP spotted a Subway sandwich shop that had a space open nearby. I had to park facing uphill as I don't trust my sidestand on steap declines. I had a sidestand snap a year ago, and I have been suspicious of its replacement ever since. After securing parking, CHiP ran and grabbed food while I talked with a fanboy:

    [​IMG]

    And that's how we dined during our one evening in San Francisco: standing up, in a park, across the street from our bikes, in Chinatown... eating footlong subs.

    [​IMG]

    Once we finished dinner and took stock of where we were in relation to where we were planning on being at the end of the day, we realized there was no way we were making it to Santa Cruz. Without a clear agenda we hooked up the radios, hopped on the bikes, and started heading south as fast as we could. We had planned to camp in Santa Cruz, but as we rolled south it became clear that we were likely not going to camp as much as bomb into a motel. After a while we were feeling achy from dealing with Frisco and the traffic heading south so we decided to pull off in Palo Alto and look for a motel. Here is where I discovered one of the main issues with running a GPS: it provides information, but doesn't really help solve problems. Sure, I was able to kick up a list of hotels and motels, but finding out their vacancy status, rates, and parking options was a whole other set of issues. We went to at least three hotels that just wouldn't work before stumbling across this little beauty:

    [​IMG]

    Cheap, available rooms, parking right outside our door, a sweet old lady/desk clerk with a nephew who has the same first name as me. It was kismet. I snatched up a key and took a look inside:

    [​IMG]

    Not bad! Better than the Oregon Trail Lodge at least.

    After dropping our bags I went out in search of beer and some toiletries to replace the kit CHiP lost earlier in the day. He stayed behind to freshen up. When I got back he was all sorts of excited to show me the fancy two-button toilet in the bathroom:

    [​IMG]

    Wow. Honestly, the real importance of water conservation wouldn't be learned for another week when we got to Shasta Lake. For now we took our frosties out to the pool deck to enjoy the moonlight:

    [​IMG]

    While we were sitting there I hear a little clicking noise behind me, coming fast up the sidewalk that ran along the walkway in front of the rooms. Turning around, just out of the corner of my eye, I saw a medium sized brown rat make the jump from the sidewalk to the first step heading up to the second level. It bounded straight up while I quickly went through the "kill it! run the other way! God, rats are nasty!" processes. I pointed it out to CHiP and we ran up the stairs where we could see the rat way down the hall scurrying around amongst some giant planters. Damn. And I had all but convinced myself that the Coronet was cleaner and better than the Oregon Trail Lodge. Ugh.

    Returning to the poolside, we pulled out the iPhones to do some map research and ride readjustment strategizing:

    [​IMG]

    This was to become our new evening ritual.

    We were now off course and we would need to develop our impromptu planning procedures, for, as we'd soon learn, we'd be chasing our itinerary for the remainder of the trip.
    #13
  14. summerinmaine

    summerinmaine Hells Atheists MC

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Oddometer:
    75,342
    Location:
    Humboldt Bay & San Felipe BCN

    Cool report through territory that brings back old memories! :thumb

    BTW you probably wanted the view of the GG Bridge from Lincoln Park:

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. golen

    golen Ogre

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I used to spend a lot of time in Rosarito Beach in the late 80s and had a few lobster tacos at Ortegas in Puerto Nuevo. Looking forward to more ride pics!
    #15
  16. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    Intended route: Santa Cruz, CA to Santa Barbara, CA
    Actual route: Palo Alto, CA to King City, CA


    Waking up in Palo Alto was the first morning that we were not where we had planned to be. CHiP really wanted to camp on the beach, so we had spent the previous evening poolside trying to locate some suitable campsites. It had been way too late to check on availability the night before, so now we went into full call center mode. However, all of our efforts fell short. Most sites required reservations made 48 hours in advance but a few would allow walk-ins. This did not sound promising as we were 250+ miles from where we wanted to camp, we wouldn't be there for many hours, and we were right on the cusp of a major holiday weekend. After some nail-biting we decided to just head south and see what cards we are dealt. I was particularly stoked as we decided we may as well try and access Big Sur and spend more time on the Coastal Hwy. I packed in a flash and had time to read a little extra of the Pablo Neruda book that Jess (my S.O.) had given me to take on the trip:

    [​IMG]

    Jess and I are both book nerds, enjoyers of good poetry, and huge Pablo fans. Say what you will. Tease as much as you wish. You will only hurt my feelings, and I will write a sonnet about the experience.

    We wound our way west and then turned left. Soon afterwards, we came across this lighthouse. Jess and I have a thing for lighthouses and I have close to a half dozen pictures of us in front of different light houses on both coasts. I will have to photoshop her into this one:

    [​IMG]

    This next few hours of the trip was interesting. I am not sure why, but I recall feeling very quiet and while the scenery continued to inspire, it didn't inspire me to take any photos. We just rolled along, periodically pointing interesting sights out to each other.

    We rolled down through Carmel in beautiful weather, but we were snuffed in our hopes to get into Big Sur. The highway was unquestionably and inflexibly closed. A ten minute iPhone and G.P.S. pow-wow and we had a chosen re-route: Carmel Valley Road.

    What started off as a fun two-laner with loads of twists and turns made out of super sticky asphalt eventually turned into a single lane with no road paint. We had a blast ripping through the canyon following a kid in a Toyora Supra who was driving way too fast. It was great though, having someone to follow into corners so I didn't have to worry about any surprises other than him. After a while he pulled off and we were on our own, ripping it up in the valley with no traffic what-so-ever. I was out front finding spots to test my improved cornering that I picked up a few days earlier, and CHiP was cruising behind, periodically pulling off to take photos of the smoking and flaming valley.

    Somewhere along the line I lost sight of CHiP so I pulled over to wait for him. A few minutes passed and I was a little concerned. I pulled a U and started heading back up the road, but CHiP soon zipped by me. I did another U and fell in line behind CHiP, who was, by now, really moving. Rounding a corner I saw him pulled over waiting for me, and once I was in sight off he went again. I followed as close as I could, but I never managed to catch him. Right. Left. Over a cattle guard. You know, these fantastic contraptions:

    [​IMG]

    As I slowed up and crossed over the cattle guard, I cracked open the throttle and looked up into the wide left turn ahead. Accelerating, I scanned ahead into the further off right hand turn and there, off in the right shoulder was CHiP rolling in a dust pile and starting to get up. His bike was on its side in the middle of the road a few yards away. Everything after that is a bit of a blur. He gave me a thumbs up that he was alright and I whizzed back to the turn after the cattle guard to park my bike with the flashers on lest we both get run over.

    We got the bike up and over to the side of the road and then started assessing the damage to CHiP and his ride. He was moving fairly well, but the Bonny was buggered. What really freaked me out was that we were in the middle of nowhere, on a single lane road, there was no cell service, and I had no idea where I should have gone for help if the need suddenly arose.

    We were really fortunate that this guy came along:

    [​IMG]

    He was there within five minutes of the crash, more or less by luck. A forestry service worker, he had a high power radio that could reach the world outside the canyon. He put in the call for the CHiPs to come out and make a report about CHiP's crash.

    Once the dust had literally and figuratively settled, CHiP started trying to piece it all back together. All he remembered was crossing the gate, speeding up, popping his feet up on his highway pegs, starting into the turn and then, in a flash, the front end sweeping right and the bike going over. We estimated that he was going between 40 and 45 MPH when he hit ground.


    Shots of damage to the bike:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Physically, CHiP seemed to have fared pretty well. His armored jacked was shredded, jeans torn up and a bit bloodied, and his steel toed shoe, well...

    [​IMG]

    It looked like someone had shoved it into a Cuisinart. Mentally he seemed okay for the moment. I had never seem him post crash before so it was a bit hard to judge.

    I like this picture, and I call it "Defeat on A Triumph":

    [​IMG]

    The cavalry drove past on their way from one fire scene to another:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Waiting for the tow truck we could see the smoke curling overhead, blocking out the sun, and moving directly above us:

    [​IMG]

    While we kept moving to avoid the bugs, me pacing back and forth and CHiP walking in a natural circle due to his new found limp, we began to edge into parts of conversation about what to do next. CHiP was pretty determined that he did not need to go to the emergency room. We both knew that his bike was the next highest priority, and that we would be staying in a hotel nearby for at least one night. After kicking around some ideas we decided that we would try to get the bike to a town with a bike shop, secure a hotel, and then track down the nearest emergency room in case CHiP had a change of heart about getting checked out.

    Eventually the tow truck arrived to cart off the Bonny:

    [​IMG]

    The tow truckers were pretty cool guys. One had lived outside Seattle for a year, so when he saw our plates he started asking questions.

    [​IMG]

    After spotting CHiP's Phophecy on his top case they became real friendly and started asking about our time in Mexico. CHiP explained that we were on our way there and that the crash may have fouled the trip. The drivers had planned to take us north to the city of Soledad, CA, but after a brief discussion they mentioned that they knew of a bike shop in King City, CA. Since their tow company had offices in both cities they said that they could take us to King City if we preferred. CHiP agreed, jumped in the rig, I hopped back on my bike, and off we went.

    The ride from the site of the crash to King City was very surreal. I was a little nervous about riding, there was a wicked side wind, and the tow truckers were hauling ass so they were not making it any easier for me. What made the ride really bizarre was rolling through the canyons and coming closer to the wildfires than we had been yet. CHiP snapped these pics from the cab of the tow truck:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    In the truck, CHiP and the tow truckers decided to go straight to the bike shop and drop the Bonny off. We ended up at NI Choppers, where a group of guys came out and looked at the Bonny while it was still up on the flatbed. I wasn't sure what their willingness would be to work on the Bonny as they are a full-on custom chopper shop. While CHiP and the NI guys talked I did the G.P.S. hotel shuffle and secured us a room at the finest Motel 6 in town. Soon, CHiP walked over and said that the NI guys were willing to look at the bike that night, see what they could do, and that they would let us know if the morning.

    The guys saw the Prophecy on CHiP's top case and they started asking about the trip. They were really excited that Mexico was our destination and the fact that we were heading there seemed to pique their interest in helping us out even more. They then rolled the Bonny off into their shop, confident that they would do everything they could. To top it off, one of the NI guys even loaded all of CHiP's crap into his truck and drove him to the motel, saving me many shuttle runs back and forth.

    We got checked in and I ran to the quickie mart across the parking lot for some frosties while CHiP cleaned up and took stock of the actual damage to his body. All in all he was in pretty good shape. His gear had saved his skin, for sure. A few bruises and bumps, with the only real casualty being his big toenail, which looked like it wasn't going to make it. We sat around for a while kind of going, "Gee whiz," and "That sure was lucky," and "Wow, that could have been so much worse," before venturing back into the "what next" conversation. We both suspected that major delays were in the cards, with a likely detour to Fresno, where the nearest Triumph dealer was located. We paused in the middle of all this to take this beer salute:

    [​IMG]

    See CHiP's knee? That's about the worst of it.

    We knew that, if we were going to get into any serious discussion we would need fuel, and what goes better with beers than pizza? Just as we were picking out the lucky establishment that would receive our business CHiP's phone rang. He answered, chatted a minute, hung up, looked at me and said, "Fuck. The Bonny is ready to roll!" Could it be true? We had dropped the bike off less than two hours earlier? "Yeah! They said to come get it!" So, without even getting to dinner we were off to pick up CHiP's repaired ride. There was only one way I was going to take him, and that was if I got to take this photo, my favorite from the whole trip, of him riding on the back on my BMW:

    [​IMG]

    I shall relish this for a long long time.

    When we got back to NI Choppers, CHiP took this fantastic pic of the guys and his bike:

    [​IMG]

    They had straightened out the bent crap, replaced all the damaged parts that they could, test rode it, and did a great job explaining the one break that they couldn't fix: a wonky spring in the trans that would allow the bike to drop out of gear every so often. Then the real news, the shop manager charged CHiP for two hours of labor but threw in the shift level, headlight, and a couple nuts and bolts in for free. Freaking great guys there at NI Choppers. If any of you find yourself in or around King City they are worth checking out. Stop by even if you are running mechanically sound, their custom bikes are eye poppers.

    Here is a reminder of the before:

    [​IMG]

    And here is the after shot:

    [​IMG]

    Wow. We took a slow spin back to the motel, ordered up some dinner, and sat in disbelief that we would be able to be back on the road the next day.

    The food was delicious, but, man we were tired:

    [​IMG]

    CHiP was so tired that he couldn't even flip the camera off properly:

    [​IMG]

    Try that again...

    [​IMG]

    There ya go, buddy!
    #16
  17. tc_dick

    tc_dick The Brown Streak

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    23
    asshole.

    No defeat. No surrender. I picked myself up and pushed on.
    #17
  18. dogmantra

    dogmantra the White Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Seattle
    The alternate title idea was "Defeat of A Triumph," but I think "on" has a better ring to it.

    Trust me, I know. I read poetry and shit. :smooch
    #18
  19. SenorFeliz

    SenorFeliz hangin' out

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    408
    Location:
    lake Simple, Ontario
    great stuff............keep it coming:lurk .
    #19
  20. tc_dick

    tc_dick The Brown Streak

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    23
    The alt. title is better, as it works to nicely juxtapose the theme and content of the picture.

    Defeat on a triumph just makes you sound like a dick, as you are drawing attention to the rider, not the situation.

    :D

    You may read poetry, but you know shit.

    :fyyff
    #20