What Next Wander Tour

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Evomx971, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

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    Sunday morning in Yuma... sunny and high 50's. Looking great for the final leg into San Diego. Pieced together a breakfast of fruit and a bagel from the motel spread and got ready to roll. Triumph was looking all sparkly after it's bath the night before. Hello sunshine and palm trees.
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    Three miles and I was into Cali. Arizona, I'll be back...

    Well, the weather quickly turned to crap as I left Yuma. Cloudy, foggy, and heavy mist. I was expecting warm and sunny like Yuma so plugged in my jacket liner, set it to 'cozy', and pressed on.

    Rode by the Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis)... have driven by several times before on the trip down to Baja. I checked the top trunk, but apparently I didn't pack my sand paddle and flag. Really need to make it down and ride them sometime. Several people out on the dunes and met lots of vehicles hauling bikes and quads with paddle tires as I made my way west.
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    Rode through El Centro, which was our last US stop in 2008 before heading down through Mexicali and starting pre-running. Saw the hotel we stayed at back then. Kept riding through the mist and fog... then popped out of it right before the mountains at Ocotillo. Really hard to describe what I saw. The sun and blue sky made everything so brilliant and crisp it looked like I was wearing 3D glasses or looking at the landscape through a Viewmaster. Really surreal.

    Then started up into the mountains. Anyone that's did this stretch of I-8 knows what I'm talking about. Very scenic for an interstate stretch. Several passes at around 4000 feet. Very windy as I went through. Didn't really give me good opportunities for pictures, which is unfortunate because it really is a cool stretch. Got colder and colder and then back up into the fog and light rain. Overall pretty crappy riding conditions but the road and scenery were good.

    Kept watching the miles count down and was surprised at how much elevation I was still sitting at with only about 20 or so miles into San Diego. Finally came down out of the mountains, re-entered mostly sunny skies and felt the temps rapidly warm up. Cruised through Mission Beach and found where our condo was and first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean for the trip.
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    Then found a place to stay on the east side of Mission Bay. I'd made it. Now just needed The Girlfriend's flights to get her here.

    Rode down and had some dinner at the Cass St Bar and Grill, in a cool area at the north end of Mission Beach. The Girlfriend and I will have to come back up here. Very respectable salmon and pasta dinner.
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    Another milestone in the trip met. This is as far West as I'll be going. 21 days and 4,741 miles for this wander.
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    Rear tire is about shot.
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    Have an appointment to have Rocket Motorcycles in San Diego do an oil change and put a new Shinko 705 on the rear. The service manager used to work at Baxter in Marne, IA... seems like good people from talking to him on the phone.

    Still not sure "what next"... but really have been thinking about it. Sure would be nice to join all these snowbirds each winter. :D

    I'm not planning to do a daily report on my week in San Diego but will share some highlights at some point. The Girlfriend did make it. Smooth flights, right on time. She really knows how to take care of me...
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    We're enjoying our place and having a great time... one of The Girlfriend's favorite views from the condo:
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    One of evomx971's favorite views from the condo:
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    San Diego from Coronado Island:
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    On hiatus, but the Wander isn't over... will have to get back to Iowa some how...
  2. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    awesome! glad you both made it there safely! Now enjoy your time with your lady and then we get more reporting!
  3. Stan Dalone

    Stan Dalone Gotta get me somma dat

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    Nice view!!

    Enjoy the scenic delights!
    And the well deserved break

    :clap. :lol3. :freaky
  4. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    Awfully quiet on here.....waiting,waiting,waiting:amazon
  5. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

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    I think the guy has better things to do than ride Jeff.:crash
  6. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
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    Ahhh, a week with The Girlfriend in (mostly) sunny Mission Beach San Diego. Daytime temps were 60-70 each day. Shorts and a long sleeve shirt (and a beanie for me) was the daily attire. Got to break out the flippity flops again...
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    Time goes fast when you're having fun. Since I've been on vacation since Jan 7, this week was more for The Girlfriend than myself so she drove the bus... but of course I had some input. :evil She rented a car, which was a nice option for grabbing groceries and times when we had to navigate the Cali freeways.

    As promised, since I missed checking out the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, we went and toured the USS Midway. The view from the captain's seat.
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    The Girlfriend getting a firm grip on the stick...
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    Spent some time at Coronado on North Island... we'd never seen a house completely covered like this. Must've been some BAD termites. I'll be the neighbors were freaking out...
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    I've only been to San Diego once before and it was just passing through so really didn't get to experience much. The Girlfriend has never been here. Interesting culture. Seems like practically everyone is riding the beach cruiser bikes... hundreds of them running around.
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    Nice to see all the custom cars and motorcycles cruising the streets; and not as Harley-centric as Iowa either.

    Another anomaly was the "college bars"... several bars out on Mission Beach were dedicated to specific college teams. On one of our first nights there we found The Boardwalk, which is not only the first place we've ever seen with Natty on tap, they were the Kansas University bar and it was crazy to see all the Kansas fans come streaming in at game time. In San Diego.
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    This Natty keg was brewed on the date of the last Kansas championship... they seemed pretty proud of it.
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    Ended up hanging out at the Michigan place later in the week and then finally found the Iowa Hawkeye bar (Pacific Beach Ale House). The Girlfriend was a trooper and did a flight of of their micro-brews (they had a very good wheat and a good amber) but wanted to tapout on the Ahi Poke appetizer.
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    We spent most of a day at the San Diego Zoo and saw lots of cool critters. The giraffes wanted to pose with The Girlfriend.
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    We rode down to Point Loma to the Cabrillo National Monument, checked out the old lighthouse, the tide pools, and the old WWII era gun positions and bunkers. Cool stuff. [​IMG]

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    Rosecrans National Cemetary is down on Point Loma... over 100,000 graves here. Amazing to see.
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    Checked out Old Town San Diego... didn't have high expectations but ended up having a really good time walking around down there.

    On Friday we drove up to Anaheim and visited the Happiest Place on Earth (at least for The Girlfriend)... Disneyland. Wasn't bad. The Space Mountain roller coaster is a favorite, the fireworks were great and most importantly, The Girlfriend was happy.

    While we enjoyed and survived the day at Disneyland, the Triumph was at Rocket Motorcycles in San Diego getting an oil change and a new rear tire. They did everything they could to get another Shinko 705 for me but it wasn't going to work out timing-wise... they ended up selling me an Anakee for their cost. Good people. Daniel, the service manager I worked with used to work at Baxter Cycles in Iowa.
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    Great walks along the beach and the bay. Great weather...
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    I think we've come to the conclusion that if we ever have a vacation/winter/retirement home... it really needs to be on a beach someplace.

    Monday will be another turning point in the trip. The Girlfriend will fly back to Iowa, cold, winter, and work. Me, I'll start making steady progress back to Iowa, but plan on enjoying myself as I go. Looks like Iowa is supposed to have a nice warm streak over the next week or two so will try to get back sooner than later.
  7. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice report, thanks for the work.
    I really like the Hill Country part, I had family down there for years and loved those roads, scenery and food!
  8. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    Back on the road again............ That's what I'm talking about:clap.
  9. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

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    Yeah baby! Does the GF need someone to pick her up at the airport?:rogue....:rofl
    ...
  10. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

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    She made it home but not after some snafu's by the airline in Houston had her just miss her connection which awarded her with about 5 extra hours of exciting airport time. Thanks for the pick up offer, I'm sure she appreciates it :D
  11. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
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    Monday morning. The Girlfriend was up early, another great full body hug and kiss, and she was off to the airport. Turning point in the trip... time to re-calibrate my head so I'm watching for "East" roads and not "West" roads all the time. Headed back towards Iowa but going to see more pretty country and great roads along the way.

    The Girlfriend brought me a Butler map for Socal that I'd bought but didn't have before I left. Butler maps are geared for riding and pick out the best scenic curvy roads there are. Between the map and input from steve_k in San Diego (who was fighting a 102.5 degree temp at last message) I had what should be a nice route across Cali.

    The beach was socked in with fog but when the landlady came to check me out of the condo, she said a mile inland was clear and sunny. And she was right. Easy ride out of the San Diego sprawl on I-8, climbed to around 2000 feet then jumped off to ride the Sunrise (S1) highway. Great road climbing and twisting in the Laguna mountains. Got up to around 6000 feet. No snow but had to watch for sand they'd put down in some sections.

    My pictures for the day do not do any of the ride any justice unfortunately. Seemed like I was constantly catching someone on the road, they'd let me pass, then I'd feel bad about pulling over to snap a picture just to have to pass them again. Plus I was usually having too much fun and didn't want to stop.

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    Sunrise highway dumped me off around Julian, CA in the mountains where I picked up 78 and did what they call Banner Grade. Started seeing a few other motorcycles out playing like I was. Very cool. Banner Grade put me down on a high desert run going east. Lagunas behind me.
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    Then picked up S2 north to catch the Montezuma Grade (S22) over to Anza-Borrego and the town of Borrego Springs. The Montezuma Grade was my favorite of the day. Starts up around 4-5000 feet and drops you down to 600 at Borrego Springs. Could see forever across the desert and over to the Salton Sea.
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    Borrego Springs was a nice town in a cool location. Beautiful day of riding. Clear blue skies. Was perfect temps up in the mountains and mid-to-upper 70's in the lower elevations which just about made it "hot". I might have even perspired a bit. I know all of you back in Iowa are feeling bad for me. :lol3

    Took S22 from Borrego Springs to Salton City and the Salton Sea. Fairly straight road but runs right through the Ocotillo Wells OHV area. 80,000+ acres of nice desert riding from what I saw. Would love to come back and explore. Instead of mountains, it's a maze of canyons and washes going off in every direction.
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    Rolled into Salton City... a couple hundred feet below sea level now. The Salton Sea is the largest lake in CA. The location of an ancient salt lake, it was "re-created' in 1905 when the Colorado flooded. It's slightly more salty than the Pacific ocean, but it's salinity is increasing each year. It's almost like a ghost town in the area. Salton City for example is plotted as a huge town with street lights and paved roads... but there's very few houses. You can buy a 1/3 acre lot with utilities for around $4,000. I rode down to the shore on what would have been a fancy divided road called Yacht Club Drive and when I got to the water, you could see there was probably quite a bit going on at one time, but deserted now except for some curbs, concrete, and re-rod. It's obvious they've tried to make the area a tourist attraction and draw in residents... but it's obviously not worked for some reason. A cabin in Salton City would make a great headquarters for forays into Ocotillo Wells though... not to mention escaping winter.
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    The landlady in San Diego said the Salton Sea has medicinal/spiritual healing qualities. Mmmm. It smells pretty bad from where I was. Seems like anytime a body of salt water doesn't move, like in a still bay off an ocean... it smells. Maybe that's whats driving people away. I decided I was healthy enough and passed on sampling the health benefits of the Salton Sea water.

    Rode north to the Coachella area and around the north end of the sea. There's a heavy middle east influence in the area. Lots of date trees, vineyards, citrus farms, strawberries.... you name it, I probably rode by it up there.

    Jumped onto another great little twister called Box Canyon Road. [​IMG]

    As I rode this section, which has a real "middle of no-where" feel to it, I came up on a semi tractor-trailer parked on the side and something was crossing the road. As I got closer, I could see it was a hispanic fellow driving the three-wheeled forklift thing that you see hanging from the back of flatbed trailers that deliver construction materials and such. Ok. Now I'm interested. As I passed, there was a gal in a tight red dress that was cut high and low in all the right places. Wearing a fedora. Ok, still interested. As I got past, I could see up a side canyon about a 1/4 mile there was a small suv of some sort apparently stuck in the sand. Ahh, the beauty of human charity in action. Why this gal, dressed like that, was trying to drive up that canyon is beyond me and the scenarios I can come up with probably aren't good.

    Box Canyon Road dumps out along I-10... there's really only two ways in or out of southern California from AZ... I-10 or I-8. Time to just get it done. Traffic wasn't bad. Stopped at the first place in AZ for gas and late late lunch/early dinner.
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    Was trying to get back on the road to make it to Tonopah, AZ just west of Phoenix but lost about 20 minutes to a good old boy that works in the "solar fields". He was asking about the bike, he was from part of Baja Mex I'm familiar with, so ended up having a fun chat considering my broken spanish, his broken english, and his lack of teeth. I became his new best friend when I noticed he hadn't put the gas cap back on the company truck he was driving.

    Used up every ounce of available light and rolled into Tonopah. Really nothing there except a couple of gas stations/fast food, one Family Restaurant & Cantina, and the mom-pop motel Steve_k had mentioned to me. The place was cheap and absolutely adequate for my needs. Rode up to the Cantina for a couple tacos, chips/salsa, and a Blue Moon then back to plan my attack for Tuesday using suggestions from buls4ever. 373 miles and two states... good progress back home.
  12. steve_k

    steve_k Long timer

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    Looks and sounds like a great day of riding!
  13. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

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    I love following your trip. You have good taste in roads and bikes and women and food. Diet Mt Dew I can understand but really... cool mint chocolate Cliff Bar?:puke1..Please say its just something the GF packed for you. Why not beef jerky? Keep the tastey pictures coming and good luck with the weather.
  14. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

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    It was! Thanks for your input Steve, especially on the place to stay in Tonopah... I was ready to be off the bike when I got there.
  15. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

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    Clif bars and Fiber One bars are staple food for me and my sleek figure :huh

    The Girlfriend is not a fan of Clif bars. The Cool Mint are one of the better flavors IMHO. I bought a box of them and a box of Fiber Ones for while we were in San Diego... and wouldn't you know, we were out and about so much, I didn't eat a single one while we're there... so I have quite a few in the tail trunk now to 'enjoy' on my daily adventures.
  16. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

    Joined:
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    Tuesday morning bright, sunny, and low 50's at my rustic motel in Tonopah, AZ... this pic has it all. Motel with southwestern charm, sweet Triumph Tiger, sunshine, mountains, and palm trees...
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    Hit the road around 10 to try and miss the Phoenix morning commuter traffic. Not many good ways to get to the east side of Phoenix other than just running straight through town. I shucked. I jived. Not bad, just boring. Cleared town and got on 60 headed east for Globe. Stopped for gas and bought a Powerball ticket. Decided in San Diego that Not Working does seem to be more enjoyable than Working. A Powerball win would enable a Not Working lifestyle for The Girlfriend and I. Decided I'm going to purchase a Powerball ticket at every gas station I go into on the trip back to Iowa. Strangely, not a single place I stopped at coming out of Cali sold lotto. What a great news story if I win.

    The stretch from Phoenix to Globe I rode with Dad a couple of years ago when we were down there celebrating his retirement and rented a couple of BMW's for the day. Good ride with nice scenery. Going east of Globe on 60 was new to me. Good stuff. Ran up to around 6000 feet.
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    Lot's of saguaro cactus... here's a fine specimen.
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    About halfway to Show Low highway 60 runs through Salt River Canyon. Mountains and mounds are cool... but I have to admit I think I'm sick for canyons, cracks, and crevices. :D

    This is some of the best scenery I've had on the trip. Great road too... so nice having the new rear tire now. The worn out squared rear had an on-off spot when leaned over that was a pain to work around.
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    Rolled into Show Low. Interesting town, had a good feel to it. Love a tough looking grill guard and I think this one counts.
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    Chatted with a guy newly transplanted to Show Low from South Carolina riding this custom sportster. Temps had dropped to around 50 by Show Low. The guy was really bundled up and rocking a leather aviator type hat with the ear flaps... should have got a pic of him.
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    Time to put the 'lectric liner back on.

    Took 260 from Show Low over to Eagar/Springerville. Was surprised to fine about 13 miles of businesses and what-not and a 35-45mph speed limit leaving Show Low. Finally cleared town and climbed to a highest elevation of 9100 feet. Lots of snow along the road but clear sailing except for a little sand here and there. Luckily 260 had been plowed... this road had not.
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    Snowed over mountain lake at 9000 feet...
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    Rolled into Springerville (just 13 miles from the NM state line) and found a good place to stay. 292 miles for the day. Icy patches in the parking lot still. Walked over to the Java Blues Coffee House Bar & Grill (all bases covered I guess).
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    Can't remember what the burger I ordered was called. Pepper-jack cheese, guacamole, and I had them add some super-crispy bacon. Bowl of chili for the side. One of the best meals I've had on the trip.
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    Larry the Bartender and Harley Heritage pilot... stopped in Springerville with his old lady years ago on their way to Corpus Christi because the motor blew up in his new Dodge truck. She made some 'bad decisions' and moved on. He's still in Springerville. Ride on Larry.
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    Tomorrow I'll head down AZ 191 (formerly AZ 666...) the Devil's Highway before heading east to New Mex. Everyone I've talked to about it says it'll be the best road of my trip. Looking forward to it! Planning on meeting back up with buls4ever around Silver City, NM and riding with him down to Las Cruces for the night.

    As the crow flies... I'm only 989 miles from home now.
  17. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    Those flat areas that you put on that new tire coming down I-10 into Apache Junction will be equalized by what you will ride today:clap. This may be the longest and best stretch of curvy, up and down road in America.... Just don't tell everyone:D. Thanks for helping out in SD Steven_k and hope you feel better soon.Time for state #3, NM:jose:1drink:dg.
  18. Evomx971

    Evomx971 Wave as you fly over

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    Waiting for it to warm up bit more this morning before heading down Devil's Highway and over to New Mexico so thought I'd share my navigation/communications/entertainment set up since I know there are tech geeks out there. I'm generally NOT at the forefront of technology, but try not to lag too far behind. I put some thought into what I wanted for this trip and have been very happy with where I landed. I wanted the most functionality with the minimum number of devices and the least amount of weight.

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    GPS - Garmin 60csx: I've had this unit since '06 or '07. Only gps I've owned. Has the North America maps loaded to it. Lot's of functionality and tough. Can load routes and maps to it and download tracks back off of it. Only drawback is the small screen size. I usually have a paper map on my tank bag for general navigation then use the gps for details, finding stuff, calculating mileage, recording the route, etc. Usually have it plugged into the bike going down the road, but runs a long time on two AA batteries if I'm using the power port to charge something else. Easy on and off the bike with the RAM mount.

    Smartphone - Samsung Galaxy S4: I moved up from an old flip-phone in early December. Now that I have a smartphone I'm not sure why I waited so long. I've been very happy with it. Can get about a full day on the battery and that's with the Bluetooth and GPS on (The Girlfriend can stalk where I'm at that way). Can charge it on the bike if it starts getting low on battery. Great for getting the weather, email, etc. I loaded about 350 songs into a playlist on it. All my pictures have been taken using the phone which then has an app that easily pushes them up to Photobucket. The phone can be set up as a hotspot for my laptop if the Wi-Fi sucks where I'm at.

    Helmet Bluetooth - Sena SMH10: Have two of these so The Girlfriend and I can chat while riding, which makes navigation, deciding when to stop, where to eat, etc much easier. Got them sometime last summer. On this trip, I use it nearly everyday for listening to music on the boring sections. Not the best sound quality from the speakers, but adequate. Can also answer the phone while riding and if needed, make a call using voice commands. Slick. I have it on all the time and can get two full days out of the battery if needed. Can recharge on the bike if needed.

    Laptop - Macbook Air 13: Wanted to take a laptop for ride reports, checking accounts, responding to lengthier emails, web surfing, Skype with The Girlfriend, route planning, etc. Have never had a Mac before so still getting used to it but like it so far. Had to switch from Garmin Mapsource to Basecamp but it was an easy transition and Garmin even has a couple of apps that made moving my maps from the PC to the Mac really simple using a flashdrive. Was a little nervous since the Air's don't have a DVD drive and my maps were on a DVD. No problem though. A laptop can't get much thinner or lighter than this thing. Slips easily into the pannier.

    Power - Powerlet to cigarette to USB adapter: The Triumph has a Powerlet port next to the ignition switch in front of the tank. Everything I have except the laptop will charge off of a USB. I think the Powerlet to cigarette adapter I got from Powerlet and the cigarette to USB I got from Burnsmoto.
  19. steve_k

    steve_k Long timer

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    Any issues with installing the Sena on the Netoec? I have the Neotec and want to add BT to it and the Sena seems to be the way to go.
  20. bbjumper

    bbjumper Been here awhile

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    First time I did that was on my then new Yamaha FJ1100 in the summer of 85. Moved here in 95 and been down that road several times since and yes IMO the best ride in AZ. It can get iced over this time of year.

    Suggestion, come down the 191 and then pick up 78 East to the 180 back up North to 12 East, that will run you into Hwy 60 just past the Continental Divide and on to Socorro, NM.

    The VLA (Very Large Array) is there and worth a look, Remember the movie Contact?

    Enjoy