By Tuesday it had dawned on me that I may need to run money back down to baby mama. I realized on Wednesday, the day before the trip, that no matter how hard I tried, I wasnt going to be able to avoid, going to get my check, depositing it, taking money back to baby mama, and then heading north. So while my late start was necessary, it was also VERY inconvenient. The 150$ I planned on having in the account for just that reason, didnt last when I started buying last minute supplies for the trip, getting gas twice before I left, and her, with her insatiable appetite to waste my time. I made arrangements the day before for another of my crew to pick up the checks from the office and run it down to me as close as possible to the border. By 9:45, I had the check in my hands and was on my way to drop off the $ to mama. I got back down, mounted the cases, waited for a second, looked around, had a glass of water, and decided that shes taking way too long to go to this meeting at the school. So I left the money on the dresser, and started my trip. Just before that however, I took a lap around the school to see if I could catch her. It was decidedly NO, but I did get to say goodbye to my daughter. So, with all home business taken care of, Im out like a fat chic. I got to the border, and with my abnormal load and girth, it was difficult to cut to the front of the line. Id done it before, not without some minor paint scraping, but this time, I was clear. I crossed, made it inland a few miles, called up michael.brat, let him know, Im 2 hours from his place pending traffic, and Im dropping the hammer. Well, not really, the last time I dropped the hammer on the XR I lost an exhaust valve and eventually, a piston and cylinder. Since then, 80 is generally my top passing speed, and 70-75 is my top cruising speed. This trip is my first weekend trip off the XR, first camping trip, first trip with another XR, first trip to San Francisco, first time using the boxes, and first time on a ride longer than a day. Irregardlessly, I was rolling. Like a homey. In my 5.0. To the 5, 405 and to Torrance. I found my partner, he was ready, and I would imagine, itching to get riding. We decided to get gas for the bikes, and then get gas for us. We stopped at a Ramen place, perhaps hell chime in on the name, or you can find it from the tracks. It was the east finger on the tracks in Torrance. With food in our tummies, water in the camels, smokes in the pack, and not many hours of sun left, we headed north-ish. More like, North West, but the overall direction was north. Ish. Anyway, so you can see, we headed up the 1. I had to make a quick stop in Oxnard to drop off some paperwork to the corp. office, and say hi to some people I havent seen for at least 6 months, a few longer. We had a smoke, planed the next part of the route, and headed out again. We stopped in Buellton for some gas, made the next plan, and got on it. I remembered a volunteer for the tent space thread that was in San Luis Obispo, and sent a PM. Rather late I admit, but nonetheless, I was optimistic. When we arrived to SLO, I checked the PMs, nothing from homeboy, so we headed west to Morro Bay. Michael had stayed there on his was down from SF picking up another XRL, which turned out to be the bike used for this and what will likely be for his next trip. We found a few state parks, saw a campground, and being the poor bastards we are, decided to go up the road a ¼ mile, stuff the bikes in some bushes, and setup off the road. I dont know how much the campground cost, but is was 1000% more expensive than free, so the decision was made. It was starting to get dark, and we setup the tents first. That is, after we had to search for a way to keep our bikes from falling over in the semi-soft dirt. After a few searches, and a few failed attempts, and my bike falling over, we found some rocks to put under the kickstands. It worked, though Ill admit, I was scared to sleep under the left side of the bike in the tent, but worry soon gave way to sleep, and I no longer really cared. I slept.... not well. I didnt bring my therm-a-rest, and regretted it, but I really didnt have room for it, even if I repacked, which I made a mental list of what I needed and didnt for this trip. Overnight, there was a mist, moving through the bog. I could hear it against the rainfly. It was going to be a wet one in the morning for sure. The next morning, Friday, I woke up several times, a few times I heard Mike chanting, a few times not. The night before we had decided to get on the road by 7. I thought that was optimistic, but I didnt say anything. So when we finally got wheels down by 9:30, I was disappointed that it took so long, but I wasnt so upset because I had a feeling that may be the case. My shoulder was still giving me problems. I woke up Thursday morning with a wicked pain in my shoulder. I was quite sure it was from just sleeping badly, but it did hurt bad enough to make me wonder if I was going to do the trip. I didnt take any medicine, but I did pack (I thought) some acetaminophen tabs. Turns out I didnt, but I did have some Motrin in my first aid kit, though that didnt help much for this pain. I rarely take any meds for anything. Including my ankle. I had a motorcycle accident many years back, and the short version is, I still have two screws in it, AFTER, they took out the rest. But I dont take pain meds. Id rather know if something hurts and not do any damage to it, than the opposite. So back to Friday morning. We roll out of the campsite, after packing up, and get to the gas station. I get some more water for my bottle and hydropack. Picked up a pair of 5hour energys and we hit the road north again. Obviously, North. ish. We get back over the 101, head up to Bradley, and take THE road that goes through Hunter Liggett back over the 1. We stopped before entering the base, to make sure we had the right directions, I put the destination in my phone and got turn by turn coming through my headphones, which by the way, have been playing Hunt for Red October most of the way up. And since the iPhone doesnt have turn by turn, I was the man. We found a restaurant along the way, we had mentioned to each other that hunger was creeping on up, so the next thing we saw, wed try. I saw a diner, a little too late; we turned around, only to find that it wasnt going to open for another 25 minutes. So, at 10:35 with plenty of miles to go, we kept on. Eventually a bridge was in our sites, and just before the bridge, was a river crossing. The signs said, By Order of, but he wasnt my CO, so we made it so. It was kind of fun, but only for a second. We stopped on the other side, grabbed a smoke, a drink and a snack before the twisty part of the route. Mike had mentioned the switchbacks were going to be fun, and Ive done Palomar Mt, so I know fun, but its a different, low 2nd gear fun. Not like the high 2nd gear of Palomar. At 20 mph, I could almost fall and not feel it. Almost. I know better than that. We made a few more stops along the way, including walking into the flies nest. These flies were ridiculous, and relentless. I had to walk 20 feet away to get my helmet on, close the visor, get to the bike, start it and quickly pull away just to keep them off. AND, I hadnt gotten my gloves on, so 50 feet later, I pulled over again to get the gloves on and wire in the music. Stupid flies. I wish I had the phone mounted to video for this trip because this twisty, was friggin awesome. I dont think the Google maps can really do it justice. Its on the recommended list for sure. If you have 606s on the bike, and want a fun toss the bike ride, go here. Michael did a fantastic job of keeping up with me, with my 761s. And we both almost got the last set of curb feelers on the tires. Almost. The last stop we made was just a gorgeous view, of the last side of the mountain, the ocean, and of course, the clouds we were going into. It was hot, but being only 20 minutes from the cloud cover, we werent going to take off our cold weather gear. It was better left on at this point. While resting, we saw a great place to pitch the tent, but getting there was going to be a problem. Actually, more to the point, getting OUT was going to be the problem. I think me and the bike could have slid very easily to the resting spot, but the climb back out, while marked, was not likely doable by even the best hill climber. Though I did try to imagine my line..... As we dropped into the clouds, it went from probably 75 to 55 in a matter of minutes. And with the extra coldness, and the wicked drops from the side of the mountain, I went into conservative mode, and stopped pushing the bike. I actually got the vertigo at one place, looking down the side of the mountain. The drop back down to the 1, put us into the cold weather once again, and wouldnt let up, and in fact, would get worse before it got better in the coming miles. Rest of Day 2, and Day 4, the solo return to follow.