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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Feyala, Jun 26, 2012.
Feyela since you asked, a lot of peeps use this dark orange color when doing long reports.
I awoke late. Sleeping was awkward and fitful with this gear. The tent was not nearly long enough that I could sleep in it like a normal person without touching both my head and feet to the ends of the tent, (thus becoming covered in condensation,) so I ended up sleeping diagonally. Was this tent made for children or something?? The cheap, bulky bag from my youth meant that I was chilly all night, and the lack of footprint and poor waterproofing meant that the sleeping bag was soaked on the bottom, but thankfully dry inside. This was around the time that I decided to upgrade my gear when I got back to Portland.
I took my time warming up, making some hot spiced cider and eating some dried fruit while I packed up my gear.
<center><table padding="10px"><tr><td><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/sternocider.jpg" title="Stove collapsed"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/318__320x240_sternocider.jpg" alt="Sterno Stove" title="Sterno Stove" /></a></td><td><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/sternocider2.jpg" title="Heating myself up some cider on a chilly morning"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/319__320x240_sternocider2.jpg" alt="Sterno & Cider" title="Sterno & Cider" /></a></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2"><p style="font-size: x-small; text-align:center;">It really hit the spot.</p></td></tr></table></center>By the time the fog burned off, it was already noon. It became a nice day, sunny and not too hot. I had read online that nearby trails lead to an abandoned gold mine and waterfalls, both things I enjoy. I didnt have time to explore the area this time around due to my late start and time constraints, but if I ever need to camp near LA again, Ill surely be back! I sure do seem to rush around a lot for somebody without a real schedule
I made a friend near my bike:
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/toad.jpg" title="I made a friend!"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/321__320x240_toad.jpg" alt="Toad" title="Toad" /></a>
<p style="font-size: x-small; text-align:center;">I spent entirely too much time picking up this poor creature and attempting to get a good photo.</p></center>
I took the Ventura Highway to the 101. There was an awesome bypass (CA-154 I think?) which cut off a bit of distance from the 101, and had some fantastic scenery and views. If Ive got the road right, this is San Marcos Pass:
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/overlookroadway.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/317__320x240_overlookroadway.jpg" alt="Marcos Pass Roadway" title="Marcos Pass Roadway" /></a>
<a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/views.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/322__320x240_views.jpg" alt="Views from San Marcos Pass" title="Views from San Marcos Pass" /></a></center>
The ocean was beautiful. It had been a few months since Id been along highway 1. I pulled over somewhere near San Luis Obispo to enjoy the sunset over the ocean and avoid riding with the sun in my eyes, and Im glad I did. Gorgeous.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/sunsetcoastline.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/320__320x240_sunsetcoastline.jpg" /></a>
<a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/obispocoastline.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/315__320x240_obispocoastline.jpg" /></a>
<a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/obisposunset.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/316__320x240_obisposunset.jpg" /></a></center>
Darkness fell and I was creeping my way along Big Sur, pulling over to let the few other drivers pass me. I dont like riding at night to begin with, and the headlight on this bike was really underpowered. The high beam did nothing to actually illuminate the road directly in front of me, so I was stuck with the low beam puttering along around 30mph.
This was around the time that I first noticed the bike hiccuping the bike would occasionally sputter for a split-second, missing a beat, and then resume normal activity. Made riding it somewhat less fun.
I was looking for a dirt road I had read about, and was surprised by a deer leaping down into the road from a bluff right in front of me. I swerved and shrieked at the top of my lungs out my open helmet at the deer, which gave me a startled, confused look and darted off to the side and behind me. Shaken by my near-collision, I pulled over, shut off the bike, and took some deep calming breaths to try to relax. I usually make a point not to ride at night for this exact reason. I was grateful that things didnt go much, much worse.
After I calmed down, I realized Id missed my turn, so I doubled back and found the road that I was looking for. It was far steeper than I had been led to believe, and with absolutely no off-road experience on the bike, at night, while I was exhausted and road-weary, I found the road terrifying. Rocks, gravel, ruts. In my wisdom I decided to press on regardless, some of my best ideas have seemed like the worst at the time!
The nearly-bald rear tire was pretty squirrelly on gravel, but I made it up the hill. Both of the camping spots really just pull-outs along the road were already taken by people sleeping in their cars. After I reached the top and was facing a sharp descent into unknown pitch black territory, I decided to cut my losses and go back the way I came. I discovered that due to the gearing, unlike my Rebel, I couldnt use the engine to brake at less than 15mph as it would cough and lug and threaten to stall, so I ended up riding the brakes all the way down. Going downhill was definitely worse than coming up! All that I could think of was Well shit, I sure hope the brake fluid doesnt overheat
I made it down the hill, didnt die, and didnt drop the bike! Success! But now after all that excitement, I was even more exhausted than when I started
I remembered a comment on the page where I read about the road with the pullouts, suggesting a paved road a few miles north (Nacimiento) might be a less-frequented alternative. I decided to check it out, and found a paved pullout with somebody already car camping nearby. I decided that, even though it was sub-optimal, I really needed to sleep before I met another deer, and if I got woken up by cops in the middle of the night, so be it. I set up my tent in clear view of highway 1, and settled down to another night in the crappy tent.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/bigsurcamp.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/314__320x240_bigsurcamp.jpg" /></a></center>
It was windy as hell that night, and the tent material flapping in the breeze kept me dozing in and out, as did the slight paranoia of discovery. Cars passed all night, seemingly feet away from my tent, and I found out the following day that this road actually goes to a nearby military base. Regardless, I did manage to get some sleep, and the evening was happily uninterrupted by unwanted visitors.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/angeles2bigsur/angelestobigsurmap.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/313__320x240_angelestobigsurmap.jpg" alt="Route Map" title="Route Map" /></a></center>
<p style="font-size: x-small; text-align:center;"><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=W+Loma+Alta+Dr+%26+Chaney+Trl+Altadena,+CA+91001&daddr=CA-1+N%2FCabrillo+Hwy&hl=en&ll=35.993008,-121.256447&spn=0.103889,0.154324&sll=35.997244,-121.467676&sspn=0.051942,0.077162&geocode=FRDkCQId9TH1-CkLsdHGj8LCgDHEyH4vhlhxTA%3BFWcjJQIdGybC-A&t=h&mra=mift&mrsp=1&sz=14&z=13">Larger Map</a>
Total distance: 272 miles.</p>
I awoke to a cool morning with a light, misty rain and wind gusts. I packed up my tent quickly after taking a photo to destroy the evidence that Id been tent camping there, and then took some time to appreciate the gorgeous views while eating half a sandwich from the previous day. It amused me greatly that I was in clear view of highway 1 dozens of people must have seen the tent if theyd only bothered to look up...
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/camp1.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=323&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a>
<a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/camp2.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=324&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a>
<p style="font-size: x-small; text-align:center;">You know, the tent might suck, but some people pay millions of dollars to wake up to these views...</p></center>Proud of myself for managing to camp for free on some of the most expensive coastline in California (even the campgrounds charge $30+ a night), I headed north on the 1 into the mist.
Met an ADVRider randomly at a construction stop he said his name was Stealth Camper, although I havent been able to find him by searching. He was on a 1000cc+ displacement BMW, painted camoflauge colors, with very bulky luggage. He explained that although it looks huge, the extra luggage only adds another 150 or so lbs of weight (?!?), and includes a lot of useful things, such as a motorcycle ramp. He had a camoflauge tarp to cover everything with while he stealth camps, and was wearing at least 4 jackets layered up. It looked like hed been out on the road for a while. He mentioned that Ill want a bigger/heavier bike eventually for touring, to which I replied my other bike is a Rebel 250, this IS the bigger bike!. I couldnt imagine taking anything that heavy off road, or picking it up if it fell over... Different strokes I suppose!
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/mistysur.jpg" title="Sucks to ride in, but the views are unbeatable."><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=325&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a></center>
I made my way up to Monterey. While I was refueling, the rubber gasket underneath my IMS tanks fuel cap disintegrated in my hands. I looked into the tank, and noticed that several chunks of the rubber had already come free and were hanging out at the bottom of the tank. I assumed that the rubber bits had somehow gotten into my jets and that was causing the hiccuping. Son of a bitch! Why would you make gas tanks for a living and not ensure that the rubber bits were ethanol-resistant?!? <b>FAIL</b>.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/rubbercap.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=328&width=320&height=240&mode=" alt="Rubber Cap" /></a></center>
On my way out of Monterey, I noticed that the bike was trying to die at lights... I had to keep on the throttle while stopped or the hiccuping would stall the bike. Also, without any kind of gasket, every time I hit a bump gasoline would creep out from under the cap and drool down the sides of the gas tank. Exciting! I quickly learned that I should try to avoid filling the tank the last gallon or so.
I headed toward Oakland, where my friend had been staying. On the way, I stopped to grease my chain, as it was exceedingly noisy, and got into a conversation with a homeless woman for about half an hour. Shed been living out of her car and seemed rather hopeless at life, mostly due to getting fines and fees and finding it difficult to get ahead, as well as feeling like her life had no direction. I tried to give her some encouraging words, and I think it did a bit of good to talk to somebody.
Eventually I hit Oakland and found my way to the Musick Box, which was recommended to me by my friend, whod stayed there for a week.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/musickbox.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=326&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a></center>
I introduced myself, and asked if I could stay there. After a brief interrogation, a few of the people remembered my friend and the fact that she was a decent person, and so I pulled my bike into their backyard and made myself at home.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/musickparked.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=327&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a></center>
For those of you who have never visited such a place, its a bit strange. Houses like this exist in every city Ive been able to find, as long as there is a college there. (For some reason colleges attract this kind of living situation, even if none of the residents are students). In most of them, you are free to stay there for a short duration as a traveler, as long as you do chores and help out around the place. Somebody usually has to vouch that youre not a drunken slob, snitch, or other undesireable.
Rent is usually exceedingly cheap I think bunks at this place ran $150 a month, and the people tend to be pretty awesome if you enjoy folks who live outside the box hippies, punks, musicians and artists.
<center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/musickbunk.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=329&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a>
<p style="font-size: x-small; text-align:center;">In the upper right there is one of the cheap bunks. This photo was taken in the living room. Pretty sure this is not up to code, but eh, who cares!</p></center>Theres always something going on music jams, somebody cooking up a big pot of free grub, etc.
Oh, and lots of art everywhere!
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<a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bigsur2oakland/musickkitchen2.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/index.php?callback=image&pid=331&width=320&height=240&mode=" /></a>
<p style="font-size: x-small; text-align:center;">Here's the kitchen.</p></center>I grabbed the wireless key from one of the inhabitants and contacted my friend. She said we could meet up the next day, so I settled in, ate some lentil soup that somebody offered, and had some great conversation. I claimed one of the couches for the night and slept like the dead.
Wow, that is some kitchen! haha. My mother would have killed me!
Glad you are doing well on your adventure and that nobody bothered you in the night. It's good to have fun AND be safe at the same time....
Amen... I try to get off the road a bit, is less interruption of sleep I have a Big Agnes sleeping bag... The inflatable pad slips in a pocket on the back...has in inflatable pillow too! It's an investment, but if you are always using it (and your back is tired of HARD ground) it's money well spent. My Eureka tent has enough room for me AND my gear, and holds out the weather well (not too derpy!)...that said, gear does not all come overnight, and you have to find what works for you (I am taller than you, so take bigger gear)... there are wonderful gear threads here on ADV that cover this at length.
Keep up the good work!
Plastic side up, seeing the world, writing a good tale! (I'm liking it! )
I will keep that in mind!
Thanks! It's a constant battle against things and stuff... they seem to attack when I least suspect it, but so far I've been victorious! I hope to continue the trend.
The red is courtesy of the previous owner and some rattlecan. If you keep an eye out, you can actually see the paint disappear gradually over the course of the trip...
It's okay! I'm here from the internet!!
Sequoia is fabulous, I've been there once or twice on previous escapades, but this trip was coastal. I'll be back sometime, I can't seem to go a year without landing in California for some reason or another anyways...
I may take you up on that couch offer someday!
It was great riding with you, however briefly, to the meet in Portland. I've been following your RR since, and have read a significant chunk of the stuff in central and south america. You've sure gotten around! I'm glad you enjoyed the Himalayas!
I'm honored you're following along!
It almost seems like I HAVE to go back to HC next year, as I didn't get to see all the trails people kept going on about... Was good meeting you!
To be fair, like 20 people lived in that house... even cleaning it multiple times a day, there's really no way around the clutter!
I did end up upgrading my gear in Portland... and I do have a BA bag, it just wasn't with me (I had to pack all of my MC gear on the bus and it didn't leave me much room for camping supplies so I had to wing it). Also didn't have a pad for it until very recently. Crappy gear definitely makes me appreciate the good stuff...
We are planning to take a long trip "somewhere" next year and was looking for a thread about gear. All I could find was a thread dealing with first aid equipment which was very helpful, but I needed to know other things too for long distance trip. I know a good tent with a fly is mandatory if we plan to sleep under the moon. But not sure how folks are packing stoves and things like that on ONE bike????
Help the sista out! Show me where to go! Or please tell me what you have found helpful and necessary...
and for heavens sake....RIDE ON!!:dllama
This thread has all sorts of good information on camping gear:
Good Luck, part of it is just figuring out what you like or don't like...
(Lighter is funner to ride, but not necessarily easier camping!)
Thanks! I'm gonna check it out right now!
I like the detail in the reports and lots of pics!
But at the same time I feel like you are barely moving.
Glad you are having what sounds like the time of your life and one day I hope to as well.
IN from 5500 miles away
I read a lot of rr's to learn about foreign cultures and people. Same goes for this one :) Keep it coming I love it!
Hello from Tennessee, thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us. I find that your writing and the wonderful pics (what camera are you using) bring a huge smile to my face. You are living a life many of us only dream of doing. Venture on girl, we will all follow you anywhere.
Awesome. If you're ever in Oakland again, look me up, I have a quiet solo apartment for your crashing amusement--we DR650 gals gotta stick together, though I'm not half the nervy traveler you seem to be!
I can point you to some decent free camp spots scattered around the state, too.
Feyela, we need more!
Hey chica. :) Hopefully the radio silence means you're just chillin' and enjoying life. Maybe check in so we don't send out a search party?
Sorry, internet is sporadic. I'll have downtime and be able to update and try to catch this thing up, then leave for 5 days to Idaho with my BF to visit his family or whatever. This will likely only get worse the more stuff I get into! I just hope I can get this thing current before my situation gets destabilized again.
I appreciate the concern though! More updates soon...