"This seems like a bad idea." Border-to-border on our first real trip!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tesla314, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

    Joined:
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    We've never been on a 2-wheel trip longer than two nights.
    Never taken our motorcycles out of the state.
    Only 500 miles of experience with a clutch for me.
    Winter's fast approaching.

    ...So 3600 miles from Canada to Mexico and back should be easy, right? :deal:deal :deal


    [​IMG]
    Scalpel3000 and Tesla314. Photo by Gene of rideDOT.com

    [Note: we're home again, I'll be posting up our blog entries to create the RR. Hope you guys like it!]
    #1
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    i think that seems like an awesome idea.
    #2
  3. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

    Joined:
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    713
    Location:
    Coventry UK & South Dakota.
    I'm in, :*sip*

    Bang those gears, who needs a clutch?
    #3
  4. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

    Joined:
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    My husband (Scalpel3000) and I are experienced scooterists, regularly taking our scooters where they shouldn't go (up steep forest "roads"), making them do things they weren't designed for (camping trips!), and generally Getting Up To No Good.

    But we want to take longer trips, and can't spare the months to emulate daBinche or Nathan, so we each buy a motorcycle:


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    Scalpel's Suzuki SV650, with home-done wrap and luggage.


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    My Bonneville, with homemade panniers. It didn't dawn on me till we got home that I could have put the bedrolls on top of the panniers to make less of a sail...

    My scooter has a semi-auto clutch (it's a Sym Symba, which is the modern form of the Honda Cub), so I understood gears but hadn't used a clutch lever since the MSF class several years ago. So much of the summer was spent doing drills in the parking lot of the local college. But I'm still pretty tentative on the bike when we leave, with only 500 miles on a bike that's four times the weight of my scooter and almost too tall for me.


    After blanching at the cost of "proper" luggage, we built our own from ammo cans and random bits from the hardware store. My mounting solution involves hockey pucks. I brought along a couple spare pucks because I knew they'd be hard to find south of the 45th parallel.

    I was impressed how much we fit into our luggage: tent, sleeping bags, thermarests, tool kit, oil, gas, first aid kit, food, a couple changes of clothes (lots of sink-laundry nights), emergency Baileys, etc etc.

    Our to-do list before we left was extensive and made for a lot of late nights. I won't bore you with details but I'll say that three days before we left, I was still doing wiring work and Scalpel's back wheel was completely in pieces!
    #4
  5. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

    Joined:
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    We kept our plans a secret from our family, friends, and riding-mates. At first because we weren't sure we'd pull it all together in time, and, as the summer went on, because we were increasingly daunted by the whole idea. And we were just amused by the thought of surprising everyone.

    On the morning we left, we invited our family to breakfast, where we broke the news that our "weekend camping trip in eastern Washington" was off. Instead, we were headed to Tijuana. But first we were going to Canada! (I lost the bet as to which parent would flip out, and which would think it was a spectacular idea. :rofl)

    Simultaneously, this post went live on our blog/Facebook:


    The Border-to-Border

    Why have we been so quiet here on The Geek Castle?
    Why have our friends been told over and over throughout the summer, "sorry, we're working on our motorcycles"?
    What the hell have we been doing?

    Sorry for the secrecy, but we didn't want to tell anyone until we were sure we were committed. The wraps come off today: we've been busy with last-minute preparations for a trip we dreamed up over a year ago: Two weeks, two borders. The Geek Castle Border-to-Border. It's not a round-the-world epic journey, but then again, we've never crossed so much as a state border with our motorcycles...

    Today, September 29th, we're taking off on our bikes to Vancouver, B.C., Canada, to get a donut and a double-double. Then Sunday morning we turn around and head south until we hit Tijuana, Mexico. Then we turn back around and head home.

    At least, that's the plan. We'll do our best to keep you up-to-date here on The Geek Castle, whether we make it there and back again, or flame out before we leave Washington. Stay tuned...
    #5
  6. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    :lurk

    Always curious about fellow Seattle locals' adventures
    #6
  7. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

    Joined:
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    Day 1, 9/29/12:

    In Seattle we're fortunate to have several moto-friendly bars/restaurants. We spend a lot of time at Cafe Racer, and all of our moto trips begin there. This is also where we finally told our family what we were up to.

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    Cafe Racer, our home-away-from-home, and Mile 0.


    [​IMG]

    So naive! So clean! And puffy... chilly morning = layers!
    #7
  8. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    Onward to Canada!


    ...Eventually.



    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    It's about time! :)

    Subscribed!
    #9
  10. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    :wave Hi Gene! What are you doing reading ride reports, did you get bored of warm weather and margaritas already? :D
    #10
  11. BcDano

    BcDano One Lucky Dude

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    Rolling on the RTW
    Have fun we did. We spent 10 weeks in Mexico and had a hard time leaving. We look forward to your posts.

    Sara

    worldwideride.ca
    #11
  12. nickgindy

    nickgindy KLR Basher

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    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Its only dumb if you dont prepare or wear safety gear.
    #12
  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Just keeping up with all the people we've met on this trip! A ton of ADVers on the road! :clap
    #13
  14. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    (written by Scalpel)

    Complications

    Our first day of the trip was supposed to be a quick jaunt up to Vancouver, B.C., to camp for the night. Instead we ended up waiting in line at the border for an hour and a half, arriving at the campground after it closed, and striking out at several hotels. Flash forward to the present, as I stand outside the majestic Motel Hollywood, trying to sip from its meager Wi-Fi signal. The room is dingy, the carpet is torn, and it is by far the worst hotel I have ever been in.
    At the end of Day One, this "adventure" is not doing so hot.

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    Day 2: 9/30/12

    In the light of day and of Tim's


    (This is Wedgehead. Jon bought him for me on our first big adventure, in 2005 when we rode nearly every roller coaster in California in a week. He comes on all our trips.)

    We fled our motel to the embrace of Tim's. Wi-Fi, donuts, coffee. We feel human again :)

    The ride itself yesterday was great, fast riding through open countryside. Corn and llamas. The border crossing was super long but went smoothly once we finally reached the gatehouse.

    Does anyone know if u-turns are legal in Surrey? There's cops everywhere because there's a marathon today, and all the roads have median dividers...

    Today: back to the US, in the general direction of Yakima.

    [​IMG]


    Finally earned my Canada flag! We have the flags of all the countries we've ridden in, emblazoned on our bikes and scooters.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    Day 2 9/30/12, Surrey BC -> Ellensburg WA

    The ride almost stopped here. Due to a wildfire along our planned route, our actual path took us past our house. We took the opportunity to grab a few things. Unexpectedly back in the embrace of our house, the misery of last night's slum motel (seriously, it was really bad, like I'm pretty sure the kitchenette had been used to cook meth, and we slept in our sleeping bags rather than risk the bed) combined with the stress of the previous month's preparations and our fears for our first big trip, and we were both nearly ready to just call it quits right there. But we decided we'd never forgive ourselves if we backed out. And we didn't want to deal with months of questions and knowing looks from our non-rider friends.

    So we got back on our bikes, and pulled out of our driveway for a second time.
    #16
  17. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    A monster of living smoke


    The smoke of the wildfire is an unbelievable sight. It is massive, and solid, and has a Presence. We rerouted to 90 rather than 2-Blewett, and a good thing, there's no way we could have ridden through the heart of that beast.
    #17
  18. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    [By Scalpel]
    Lunch Update From Eastern Washington


    We spent the first half of the day following the Yakima River south from Ellensburg, WA, after resolving some bike maintenance issues with the Bonneville. Apparently sitting in line for 90 minutes at the Canadian border (and then another 30 coming back) burned off some oil. After topping it off in Ellensburg, it's run 100 miles, through 80 degree heat, and over a pass without losing any oil, so we think we have it sorted out.
    Next up is crossing the Columbia River and heading into Oregon. We'll see how far we get today after the delays this morning, but once we're actually on the road we're making really good time.
    #18
  19. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

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    I take back everything bad I've ever said about Eastern Washington

    I-90 is not the way to see it. The canyons and passes are gorgeous.


    Especially Canyon Road from Ellensburg to Yakima. Amazing!
    #19
  20. Tesla314

    Tesla314 >_<

    Joined:
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    [By Scalpel]
    You Take the Good, You Take the Bad


    Who knew it was so hard to camp? After being turned away from a half-empty RV park because they "don't do tents", we chased the setting sun to the local state park, which had zero vacancies. Why won't anyone let us camp?
    Our of options and with the sun gone for the day, we grabbed the first hotel we saw. It turned out to be quite nice and for not too much more than a cheap motel. When the front desk girl asked whether our road trip was to celebrate something, I said "to celebrate taking out first really long road trip on bikes." This was apparently enough for her to upgrade our room and send a bottle of champagne over for us.
    So screw you, camping! You're banished until we turn around for the trip home.


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    #20