Western Romanticism - A Loop Around 10 Western States

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by foxton, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:04 PM.

  1. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    Hi y'all, I'm a long time lurker and I'm here to share my big ride with y'all. Thanks to everyone over at my planning thread for sharing their thoughts, tips, and routes I should be taking as I embark on a trip that will span across 10 States over 30 or so days.

    The gist of the journey is to start here in the bay, head down south to LA, cross over to vegas. There I will head north to Zion, cut back down to the grand canyon, eastward to monument valley and into Moab. After a few days in Moab, cut east to colorado, and north to Cody where I'll spend a few days in Yellowstone. My original plan was to go through Glacier, but seeing as only half the park is open and the majority of posters in my planning thread telling me to ride Lolo's pass, that's what I'm gonna do. There I'll head to leavenworth washington, to follow it up by going through the northern cascades where I'll camp for a few days. Head into seattle, visit the rain forest, and ultimately make my way down the pacific coast on my way back home.

    30 Days. Let's get to it.

    The map I posted in the planning thread is now all but obsolete, as I am abandoning my meticulous nature for a "go with the flow approach". I have landmarks I would like to hit, and I have a rough timeline of when I should hit them. Everything else is up to the journey.

    This trip was birthed from a cancelled trip to Vancouver that was supposed to take place in April, and then bastardized from another trip to Toronto. Realizing for once in my life being an American was a detriment to my travels, I decided to travel within my own America, to sites and sights I've yet to see. This trip was my Western Romanticism.

    Rewind. My name is Phuc, Phuc Bui actually. I know, wild name. I emigrated out of Vietnam at the dawn of the new Millennium, and have resided in the Bay Area ever since. Growing up, the hollywood representation of cowboys had always been the thing that stuck most with me. Something about solitude and traversing huge stretches of land with a horse always stuck with me.

    I don't have a horse, but I do have Clementine. Clementine is a 1996 DR650SE with approximately 15k miles on her. She's got that sweet purple frame so many DR riders wished they had but mistakenly waited too many years to buy. Decked out with ProCycle gear and worked on by RMC Motos, she's definitely a work horse, fitting for any cowboy.

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    With all great trips, comes great preparation. I've had ample time to route, reroute, remove, and rereroute this trip hundreds of times, and with the great procrastinator (Covid-19), I've had even more time. But all this on paper planning is useless until proven in the field, so I did just that this previous weekend.

    Living in California the Oceans are to my West, and the great mountain ranges of the Sierras are to my East. I invited a couple of buddies on a camping/fishing trip that yielded no fish, but was more of an excuse to overpack my bike to anticipate what it would be like to travel with so much equipment. I overpacked, and I'm glad I did.

    While my buddies were enthusiastic in nature, I ended up carrying the majority of our cooking supplies. My tank saddlebags (made for an actual horse saddle) was the hero of the trip, being fully waterproofed and insulated, it served as a mini cooler for all of our perishables. Rockgator is the brand if anyone is interested.

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    A little bit more about myself if anyone actually cares about what I do. I am a videogame artist, and while photography had always been the skill I thought a camera phone could suffice, I though it through and began teaching myself how to wield a real camera for the journey. I felt something so epic and life changing would require a more serious effort than just a point and click.

    Also tagging along with me will be a Canon with 2 prime lenses, a 50mm 1.4F and a 24mn 2.8F.

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    #1
  2. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    My actual trip does not actually begin until this Friday. Which leaves me only tomorrow to finish everything I need to hand in for work, packing, and then actually getting enough sleep for the trip. I have finished setting up a tracker so my folks can follow me in my adventure and worry every time the dot stops updating on the live map. 70% of this trip will be out of service. I'm excited and also pretty worried about what lies ahead, mainly the desert portion of the trip. With daily highs in the 115s a drenched jersey and tons of water will be my saviors.
    #2
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  3. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    looking forward to your adventure... :lurk
    #3
  4. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    What could possibly go wrong? But, that's when the fun starts...
    #4
  5. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    Watching :D
    #5
  6. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    No big trip is complete without blessings from the parents. I packed up everything I thought I need to be able to survive for 4 or so days at a time and waited in the kitchen as my mom fiddled around with my bike. After setting up their computers to have a bookmark to a page tracking my travels, I came outside to a new farkle on my bike. Being buddhist, my mom attached a buddha token to protect me from harm on my road trip. After a few small conversations and reassurance that I'll have my phone on at all times, I was off.


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    Having ridden down highway 1 at least 200,000 times I opted to start my descent into LA by crossing Mt. Hamilton. The mountain twisties were fun though tight hairpins on a full loaded bike had me scraping pegs a few time, consistently spiking the heart rate. Atop Hamilton lives a giant telescope and observatory, which is unfortunately closed to the public during the pandemic. The views from the top are almost always extraordinary on a clear day, however not today. I rested here briefly and had a conversation with a cyclist. He found my fully packed bike interesting and asked if I was headed on the TAT. I told him unfortunately the TAT will have to be another adventure and we parted ways.

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    In hindsight it's funny that I grabbed a photo of this gas sign, as gas would be a developing issue for the remainder of my day.

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    #6
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  7. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    130 runs and splits off at an intersection famously known as "The Junction", and sprung up from the popular location is a restaurant also aptly named, "The Junction". Having skipped breakfast to save an appetite for a burger I was disappointed to see that they were not serving food today. The owner's cat was sick and had to be taken to the vet, and having the propane delivery halted. No matter. I ordered a beer and found shade to hide from the heat. It wasn't scorching, but the temps were slowly increasing into triple digits.

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    As I got my beer, a car I had seen around the Bay Area countless times comes pulling in. A 1965 Shelby Cobra, a head turner no matter the circumstances comes flying in and hops out one of the most interesting people I've met. Thorsten, I believe was his name, hops out and comments on my packed bike and I return with how I've seen his car all over the bay area. I had always known of the car, not too many cobras running around, but never the person who owned it.

    Not only is she pretty, Thorsten has tinkered and wrenched her into producing 550 WHP, a monster for sure. We had conversations about quarantine and life and soon parted ways, him heading to the observatory, and me heading inland to the valley.
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    It was getting hotter and I stopped to unzip my jacket sleeves. I left the bike running and pulled out the camera to snapped some pics of the bike, she was looking extra pretty, when I noticed a puddle of gas slowly forming from the float overflow. I took a big 24mm wrench and tapped the carbs a couple of times and the sputtering halted. A little nervous I was extra careful riding into town, hoping that the issue had sorted itself away.

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    Hot and hungry I waded through patterson, madera, and eventually into Fresno for a bite to eat. The golden arches never disappoints as I enjoyed a burger with some soda and cooled down a bit. Eating in a parking lot has become the norm for me in the age of Covid; watching cars pile more and more into the drive through as I scarf down my food. I noticed that my gas tank was unusually low and checking the odo (~180 miles) I should've had at least 60 more miles, but it sure didn't look like 60 miles. I pulled into a chevron and dismounted my bike to notice a small puddle is forming. I leave the bike on and twist the throttle to find more fuel spurting out. The carb overflow was doing its thing, the float was definitely stuck. No amount of tapping would free the float, and vacuum removed burning up remaining gas didn't free it either. The carb was going to need to come off.

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    Taking my bike to a local shop to have them take a look at it, I was told service is backed up for 3 weeks, and with the weekend approaching, help was going to be rough to come by. Not knowing what to do, I called up my local Mechanic, Rick with RMC Moto and asked what I should do. Rick being the guy he is, is sending one of his tech -Cowboy- to come and help me fix my bike. And that's where the story currently is at, me waiting in an AirBNB waiting for the cavalry to arrive, and hopefully get me back on the road. While this setback has me feeling anxious and worried, no real trip is without hiccups, and I'm thankful this happened in a city and not in the middle of a desert somewhere.
    #7
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  8. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    Carburetor skills, a dying artform. 25 years ago, no problem, now, forget all I once knew...
    Adventure is what you make of it, keeping a positive attitude goes a long way.
    #8
  9. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    Help arrived early in the morning in the form of Tony the "Cowboy". He rolled up into my airbnb with his bag of tools and immediately went to town on the carbs. It had weird residue and the old fuel line was decomposing big chunks of rubber into float, clogged it up pretty bad. With a new lines and a fresh fuel filter, Clementine was longer spewing out fuel. Like all cowboys he came, went, and we are forever changed. If you live in the California Bay Area, I can't stress enough the quality and service RMC Moto provides. Tony drove over a hundred miles out to me just to fix a problem I should've learned to do myself, now that's going above and beyond for a customer.

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    #9
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  10. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    I've always wanted to visit Parkfield for their cafe but never found myself needing to cross no man's land of California. Cutting from Fresno back to the Coast however gave me a perfect opportunity to scratch the itch. Rolled into a bumpy road with warnings of cows for the next 5 miles. I was definitely not disappointed when cows were present for the next couple of miles.

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    Parkfield is this cute little town that seems to be stuck in the 1800s still, Cowboy would've loved this town. I rolled into the cafe and loved the ambiance of the whole place, however indoor seating was not a possibility so I grabbed a seat on the deck. I was the only customer there for a while. Ordered a chipotle sandwich and a beer to wash it all down with.

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    A cold beer and a savory sandwich in the midst of an oppressive sun was heaven. Parkfield is a must visit if you're within 50 miles of the place.
    #10
  11. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    I'll have to remember the name of the Road but I think it was some vineyard road, big sweeping curves to go full open throttle on with not another soul in sight. And as it concludes it dumps you to this beautiful mission. Had to get some cactus shots.

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    #11
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  12. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    Cayucos was my home for the night and for 99% of the journey there it was perfect. Beautiful cool weather from the coast and lush green trees and grass everywhere. I must've angered the Gasoline gods when I took the picture of the gas sign from yesterday because I ran into a new problem. I ran out of gas. Like an idiot riding on reserve, coupled with an odometer that's occluded by a mini fairing, I lost track of how much gas I had left. Luckily I had a rotopax. Unloaded half my gear in order to access the pack and rolled down into town. That's 2 days, and 2 gasoline issues. I think I'm running rich. Averaging low 40s in gas mileage, maaaaybe even high 30s. Will have to diagnose tomorrow when there's light out.

    At least the view was pretty where I ran out of gas.

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    #12
  13. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    When it comes to places to have bike issues, you certainly could've done worse. Great RR and digging the photos! :freaky
    #13
  14. Nortonbrian

    Nortonbrian nortonbrian Supporter

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    riding solo, before you leave on a trip pull the carb and strip it a couple of times. You may have a float needle stickingin the middle of nowhere and be thankfull for the knowledge.
    #14
  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Glad I stumbled across your report @foxton! Damn cool you're setting off on a 30-day adventure off the bike, though it sucks you had fuel issues 2 days running. I like fuel injection, but my 2-stroke dirt bike is carb'd and I have pulled it off the bike many times in the ~250 hours of engine time racked up thus far - damn floats can be a pain in the ass (she still pisses a bit when on the side stand and the angle is enough). Drives me nuts, but not nuts enough to pull the carb off again and adjust the floats yet again...lol.

    You have a great eye for shots and I'm enjoying your writing style.

    I know you said you're going to eventually be up in Seattle, if you make your way south near PDX and need anything, reach out. Have a shop, tools, and a roof if it comes to that.

    Knobby side down, look forward to seeing what comes next...like maybe a bit more air for the mixture to lean her out.
    #15
  16. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    My day began with me leaving Cayucos with intentions of crossing the Carrizo Plains and heading into San Fernando to visit my buddy. However, being so close to Morro Bay, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit "The Galley" and have a cup of their famous Clam Chowder. While the Clam Chowder was a given, I was persuaded into pairing with it a nice glass of Pinot Noir. I couldn't refuse. The outdoor seating was excellent, albeit a little cold. The fog rolled in as I was leaving but it looked like a blanket just hovering above the horizon.

    The Bay itself changed its appearance several times as the fog rolled in and out coupled with fickle clouds playing blot the sun. 39.png 40.png 41.png 42.png 43.png 44.png
    #16
  17. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    I made my way to the Carrizo Plains without incident, however what's to unfold there is another story. Coming from Santa Margarita, Highway 58 is a nice and fun windy road that leads to the Northern Entrance of the Carrizo Plains. There I made my way through the paved road which eventually turned into packed dirt. I saw a dirt trail run off and decided it would be best to follow it and for 95% of the time on it, it was amazing. I've been mainly riding highways and paved roads, so dirt was a nice change of pace. I approached the end of the dirt trail that required a left turn that was almost a U-Turn, however on my dirt High I took the corner at maybe about 40 or 50 mph. Unbeknownst to me was a mound of sand that proved to ultimately be my downfall, pun intended.

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    Knowing full well I would not be able to pick up the bike without removing some stuff, I opted to leave the bike laying there for 20 or so minutes while I laid in the dirt and drank some gatorade. Eventually I mustered up enough energy to start unloading the wolfman dry sack and proceeded to upright Clementine. She's a heavy beast. After picking her up, I was winded. The heat only amplifies the fatigue. I stood around shuffling through playlists that would take me out of the plains when Dave rolls up in a brand new T700.

    His bike was making a noise that neither of us could diagnose, defeated we rolled out of Carrizo Plains caravan style. 53.png 54.png 55.png 56.png

    Dave was a great guy who owned too many bikes. Dave's wife was also a great lady who owned even more bikes. 3 Days, 3 Separate issues popped up, however I am extremely happy today is the first day without a fuel issue. The bike ran like a champ, although thirsty on the oil. I mean, I did run her hard in 105F weather, so a bit of oil consumption is to be expected.
    #17
  18. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

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    Having dumped my bike and busting my knee up a lil bit I was in a no frills mode. I loaded the bike up with Gas and was about to head back up the pass to take 33 down to Ojai when I decided for gas station lunch. Well a long visit to the portapotty burned precious daylight from my schedule so I decided to slab it to 5 and into San Fernando. My efforts of biting bullet and slabbing it ultimately were wasted as I spent an hour at Pyramid lake, watching people fish.

    Realizing I had to be somewhere to meet up with someone, I loaded up all my gear and booked it to San Fernando. Those Angeles Mountain Passes were definitely not making things easier for the ol' girl, but she passed those sloth trucks swiftly.

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    #18
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