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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bambooda, Aug 12, 2016.
Good reports. Where to next?
Continuing down the coast and then East towards Grand Canyon! Should have another update soon.
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Just found this thread this morning. Great RR so far. Not sure if you will make it down this far, but we're(THRASHED, Mawesome, bookworm, and The_Thrash_Master) about 30 miles East of Los Angeles. We have lots of tent space and a big garage and tools for any maintenance you may need to do. Hit me up on a PM if you are interested.
Hey! Don't worry, we're still here! And we're still driving!!!
During one of the days in San Francisco, I spent some time to repair my pannier. Here's a better look at the damage:
After removing the steel plate (which was made some what difficult due to the use of red loctite on the fasteners with plain nuts [applied at the factory, I never use red loctite unless it is an area that can be heated to release the loctite]) I was able to get a view of the damage to the plastic.
With a knife I trimmed off whatever was interfering with the plate properly seating.
Then I straightened the plate using the good ol' adjustable-wrench-metal-bending-method and the aid of a specially designed picnic bench vise.
Then of course, if you've got holes too big for your bolts all you need is... bigger washers!!! (Glad to see I learned something in the 4 years of studying engineering!)
I gooped them up with Seam Grip and bolted everything back together.
Good as new! I intend to do a more permanent fix/improvement to the boxes when I get home by replacing the big washers with a flat plate which spans all 3 bolts. You may notice I also reversed the direction of the bolts so that the round button heads are inside the box instead of the end of the bolt. This should prevent them from catching on all my clothes and bags etc. I questioned the manufacturer about this before purchasing the boxes, but they insisted how they had it was the best way. I still fail to see how having the nuts on the inside would be better. I will try to do a very thorough review of the boxes after the trip and can answer any specific questions regarding them if you PM me.
From San Francisco, again, we continued down the coast. However, Paige had recommended that we head inland to go through more redwood forest and to drive her favourite road: Nacimiento-Furgeson road. We had a great ride and there were a bunch of campgrounds that showed up along Nacimiento road on Google that we figured we could camp at. It was a long day for us and the sun was setting as we were still 30km from the edge of the National Forest which contained all the campgrounds... no worries, we've set up the tent in the dark. No big deal.
This presented us with our first night of 'stealth camping'. We figured as this was a national forest, there were probably some forest roads we could bomb down and turn off into the bush to set up camp. Luckily, only a few kilometers passed Ponderosa, we saw a turn off where we could park behind some bushes and set up the tent down a little hill completely out of sight of the road.
We awoke early, packed up and continued back towards to coast. We can completely understand why this would be her favourite road. It was fantastic! The views we received of the coast while coming down the mountain were spectacular.
Once back at the coast, we had an opportunity to view some elephant seals. Chelsey liked this one in particular, as she thought it was especially cheeful looking.
We continued down the coast until just a little ways north of Los Angeles and headed East to avoid going through any traffic. Leaving the coast we quickly returned to very uneventful driving through gas refineries and desert. We said goodbye to the ocean and headed towards a friends house, Axel, near Yucca Valley.
Axel was one of the pair of dudes I met in Anchorage on my trip to Alaska. Axel and his Swiss friend Peter were doing a trip from Alaska back down to Southern California on their XT500's. Our routes coincided for a couple days, so we rode together into Yukon until I began heading East towards home and they continued South. It was awesome being able to catch up with a fellow rider and share stories from the past couple years. We met his wife Zoila and the rest of his family. They made us feel very welcome and comfortable in their house and it was a great opportunity to do some maintenence on the bikes.
Onwards we travelled through Joshua Tree Park and then headed north east towards the Grand Canyon. We'll talk about that in a second, but first....PEOPLE ARE F'IN CRAZY.
As motorcycle riders, we had never felt more threatened on this trip than the 20km leading up to the Grand Canyon from Williams, AZ. If we didn't have someone in a Chevy Suburban following 5ft behind us, there was a car coming towards us in our lane trying to pass someone in opposing traffic. We nearly had to jump on the shoulder in one occasion. We do what we can to let people pass, but when people are driving 100mph, its a short matter of time before someone catches up to us after we return to the road from pulling off.
But MAN! WHAT A SIGHT!!!! Grand Canyon is truely a spectacle. There's no doubt it deserves to be one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. We were a bit unfortunate that day as a lot of fog rolled in which obscured our view most of the time. However, during the short periods when it would break, we were able to get some really cool views of the canyon.
We have some long days of burning tarmac until we get to our next stop: Fort Worth, TTTEEEXXXAAAASSSSSS!!
Think my sprocket will make it?
Hey @THRASHED , we're a little behind on our posts and have already passed your area, but we really appreciate the offer!
That's cool. Glad you guys are having fun.
Maybe you can find an engineer to look at that.
sent from my wicked android thingy.
Just don't tell them you're a Blue Jays fan. BJs are in the playoffs and they just humiliated Texas 10-1 in the first game today.
Hello again! Chelsey here:
What is all this "wet" falling from the sky??? We have not seen this before!!! Is this r--- rrraaa--- raiinnnn???
We took off from the Grand Canyon in the mist, and it continued to be a wet drive. From our scientific observations, we have come to the conclusion that, in fact, Arizona is the wettest state in the US of A. It rained the whole day! Isn't it supposed to be a hot desert there!? In all seriousness, we've been extremely lucky on this trip in terms of weather and this was the first significant rain we had seen.
We camped for the night and the fog continued in the morning which ensured that all our camping gear stayed nice and wet. Perfect.
We started making our way towards the Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert and right before we made it, the fog lifted and the sun began to shine! The painted desert was really incredible and you could clearly see the different layers in the rock with a variety of colours throughout.
The petrified wood was also very interesting - it really does look like wood, even though it is as hard as rock and about 300 million years old. There were a couple "forests" throughout the park and some logs outside the visitors center.
We also noted that the Petrified Forest park is the only National Park where the original Route 66 passes through. The telephone poles in the picture below show where the original road passed through the park. There was an old rusty car as well at the monument site.
Despite the rain thumping down on us like bullets, Jeff insited on stopping to take a picture of the sun shining through the clouds. I, on the otherhand, could see that the end was near and continued on my merry way to the end of the rain cloud and waited for him to catch up.
After the rain cleared up, we ended up in Soccoro, NM for the night where we stayed with @SirWrecksAlot and his dog Scooter. Very nice guy with an interesting collection of geods and crystals that he has collected on his travels.
The next morning, we set out to continue into New Mexico, and as we were driving down the road we saw some protesters with signs for the Trinity site - the location of the first test of the atomic bomb. Turns out, the site is open to the public twice a year, and we just so happened to be driving by on an open day! Horseshoes!! So we drove in to see what it was all about. After passing through a military checkpoint, we continued 20 miles down the flat, barren road to the site and noticed radioactive materials warnings along the road.
After entering the area, we learned that the radioactivity is currently very low after 70 years and is really not that harmful (or so they say..). The site is a big circular depression in the earth - not quite a crater as the bomb was detonated pretty low to the ground. There is a monument over the exact area the bomb was detonated and you can see the only surviving part of the base in the bottom left corner; the rest was vapourized in the explosion.
It was a bit unfortunate to see that there was no memorial to those who lost their lives from nuclear bombs in WW2 for the purpose in which these bombs were created, but it was a very interesting detour on our trip none the less.
We passed through Roswell on our way towards Carlsbad Caverns (no alien sightings, sadly) and camped for the night. We drove to the caverns the next morning, and decided to take the hike down the natural cave opening where we saw hundreds of bats. The bat dung smelled absolutely terrible, and is found in some places to be up to 140ft deep!! Happily, the path was relatively poop-free and it was about 1 hour down into the cavern. You can see the bats hanging from the ceiling in the picture below.
This place is absolutely from another world. There were tons of different formations in the cavern walls, and the cave is so deep that no natural light penetrates it. Because of this, there are very few creatures that live in the depths of the caves.
There was a section where a ladder from one of the original expeditions into the caves was still hanging - I can't imagine ever using that to climb down into the unknown. Couldn't pay me to do it!
If you are there later in the day, you can stay and watch the bats fly out in hordes for their nightly hunting, but unfortunately we had to move on. The caves were definitely one of the trip highlights because they are so unique and amazing.
We finally made our way to Fort Worth, where we indulged in some southern cooking. We are pretty sure that all this food is going to have us rolling home on our waistlines rather than on motorcycles. My personal favourite was Babe's Chicken where we got fried chicken and unlimited sides of salad, biscuits and gravy, creamed corn and mashed potatoes.
Jeff had ordered a new chain and sprocket set that was delivered in Fort Worth, but in the meantime we had to ride around the city 2-up on Xena. We took off the panniers and ripped around town. She held up pretty well for a 250!
Jeff will talk more about the sprocket change later, and after an oil change we were all set and ready to go. From Fort Worth, we finally started heading North again for the last leg of the journey. Stay tuned!
Hey everybody! Jeff again:
HOLY COW!!! WE'RE ON THE LAST LEG HOOOOMMMMEEEE!
We departed from Texas with the realization that home was about a week away. It was a bittersweet feeling as we drove back into the forests of Arkansas that reminded us so much of home. We hadn't seen growth like that in weeks. To be quite honest, both of us were slightly relieved to be out of the desert; it's clearly not the type of landscape we were used to.
As we entered Little Rock, AR we still didn't have any confirmed plans of where we were going to stay the night. After checking the Tent Space map again, we decided to try our luck with a fellow named @dogjaw. We usually try to give a little more heads up than a couple of hours, but we thought "hey, lets give it a shot". We gave him a call and without any hesitation he replied "yeah, I'm pretty sure we can figure somethin' out!"
Little did we know that we were about to meet, perhaps, the most famous dog on ADVrider! Charlie Bravo the motorcycle rescue dog!!!
Bret and his family were super welcoming and made us feel right at home. And of course, lets not forget the 5 dogs running around! Clyde, Max, Angel, Mia, and most famous of all, Charlie!
One of Bret's friends and fellow rider came over, shared some stories, and did a good job of freaking us the hell out with that banjo. (Deliverance, anyone??)
Joking aside, both of them were excellent musicians and it was a pleasure listening to the two of them playing together.
The following morning, Bret took us out to the location where he had found Charlie for a photo opp and bid us farewell.
And like that we were on the road again heading East. While cruising through Mississippi, we couldn't help but gaze at all cotton fields stretching out in all directions. It was reminiscent of Iowa despite lacking a bit in the sheer endlessness of the corn. We couldn't help but stop and take a closer look; it was the first time either of us had ever seen cotton growing.
While looking for a campground outside Holly Springs, MS, we found a campsite that had a couple setting up a tent next to their Harley. We decided to camp somewhat near to them and strike up a conversation. They invited us over for cheese and crackers in the evening and we sat and talked for hours into the night. Their story: They lived 50 miles away and came out there to camp for the night. Just one night. Back home the next day. Turns out they had a tent and 2 sleeping bags. No air mattress, pillows or pretty much anything else. So why talk about them? I feel like after seeing ride-report after ride-report about people travelling across countries, continents, the world, volcanoes, ice fields, etc, it's important to recognize that going for an adventure can be as simple as grabbing some blankets and hitting the road for a single night away from home! It was inspiring to see this couple just get up and do it despite not having the super fancy gear and not having camped for 35 years!!! It was a pleasure meeting Mark and Lisa and it was great to see a couple out on 2 wheels simply enjoying themselves on their own adventure away from home.
An impromptu stop we made along our way was at the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It was really neat reading about the rich history of the distillery and all the troubles they persevered through. The successor of Jack Daniels, Lem Motlow waited for 29 years to continue production of whiskey after prohibition had been placed on the county. Motlow worked his way to become a State Senator and repealed the law on production. Talk about persistence.
At last, we had a chance to get some real BBQ. As Chelsey mentioned, I'm surprised we could still swing a leg over the bike after all the food we ate down in the south. Those people know how to feed you!
Once we awoke from our food coma, our next stop was North Carolina. We knew that if we were in the area and didn't do the infamous 'Tail of the Dragon' people would never let us live it down. Man! What a sweet road! And of course, there's not just one road in the area full of twisties, the entire area is a spiderweb of amazing roads! It was fun to sit on the side and watch the guys that were really givin'er.
I have to throw a special thank you to @dogjaw for pointing us towards his favourite rd. County road 32. It's easily as windy as Tail of the Dragon and it takes you to a neat little store called the Big Creek Country store. What makes it super awesome is that the last mile of the road is gravel! I'm sure this is what keeps all the hooligans and cruisers off this road allowing free reign for all us Dual Sporters out there!!! The section of gravel at the end is very simple too...even a streetbike could do it. (But ssshhhhhh, lets keep this our little secret!!!).
Upon arriving in Ashville, we loaded up on food and headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Another SWEEEEEEET road. Consistently curvy, well maintained, and amazing views. It's a REALLY long road (755km). There's 2 things you need to know about it though if you're thinking of including it in your journey: The speed limit is 45mph, and there are NO services. No restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, etc... Just state park stuff. Because of this, we bailed after about 100km and changed our route to a more direct route home. With the colours changing, we drove through excellent scenery and the convenience of having gas stations and food more often was worth it, especially because it was getting colder.
After putting in some longer days, we finally have arrived at Allegheny National Forest. Our last stop before home.
So *like*ing this. Love that area.
Especially with all the fall colours!! It's pretty amazing.
Really enjoyed reading this report. Thanks for sharing.
Here we were, sitting in a forest only one more day away from home. It's certainly true: near the beginning of the trip it feels like you’re going to be on the road for an eternity, driving for days and days on end as if it will never stop, then all of a sudden you're looking back on the trip wondering how it all happened in a flash. So many faces and places come and gone in what seem like nearly a blink of an eye.
It was a calm, cool morning with overcast skies and light fog clogging up what visibility you had through the forest of various greens, reds, and yellow trees. The campground was quiet and still; the outline of the car from the only other inhabited site could be just barely seen through the trees. As we packed up the tent for the last time in near freezing temperatures, it was hard not to be excited for being back at home. We knew that at home we would be welcomed with warm food, warm drinks, and warm hugs. We were excited to be seeing family again in such a short matter of time. With the bikes packed up, we sat on the bench and reminisced briefly. The gentle tingling of our increasingly numbing toes kept us from pondering too long. Time to go.
With not a single other vehicle in sight, we slowly putted out of the campground and back to pavement. As we drove through and out of Allegheny forest we went up and down into a heavy fog that stubbornly sat at a constant elevation and refused to yield to the sun. It became hard to receive any enjoyment from driving as the numbness in our toes turned to pain. The dampness of the air caused the cold to penetrate any piece of clothing. So much, that it felt like the cold was creeping into our bones. We pulled off the highway and stopped at the first gas station & restaurant available. Sure enough, after the hour we needed to sit inside to warm up, the clouds and fog finally gave way to some sunlight. With the sun out, the drive became pleasant again as the colours of the trees really began to shine. Although we continued to experience occasional bouts of rain, we were treated to absolutely amazing views of the trees as we drove through the various valleys in New York.
The rest of the drive was smooth sailing and we made it home fine. The End.
It wouldn’t be an adventure if we didn’t have any excitement or mishaps on the LAST DAY would it?!?!?!
Cruising on the back roads somewhere in New York, it looked like a city was approaching on the GPS. I figured it was about time to take a look further up the tracks on the GPS and see what the best route through town wou----HOLY SHIT A CORNER!!!!
Everybody knows wet grass has great traction, right??? Luckily, instead of continuing down into a big ditch, it was quite shallow and had a small drainage rut in the bottom. Upon connecting with the rut, I was able to get the bike going in a straight line, control the speed and find an exit back onto the road. OK OK, it’s not all that tragic or anything, the rubber side stayed down, but just as I was starting to think we were gonna make it home without one of us driving into the ditch, there I go and botch that!
The rest of the drive was smooth sailing and we made it home fine. The End...
Well, we had to get through the border…
Ok, it’s not what you’re thinking, we didn’t get put on a blacklist or something while we were away. We get to the border and I pull up first, and of course, turn off the engine. I pull out my passport, the border guard asks me questions, yadda yadda, all good… I take some time putting away my things and gearing up, go to press the start button……eeeerrrrrrgggggggghh. The engine made about a half rev and just stopped. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! NOW?!?!?! AT THE DAMN BORDER?!?!?! I CAN SEEEEEE CANADA. AND THERE’S A BUNCH OF PEOPLE LINED UP BEHIND ME. I DON’T WANNA BE STUCK HERE.
Sure enough, in front of probably 200 people I’m doing the walk of shame and pushing my bike through the toll gate and onto the side of the road. Packed away I had some wire that I could use to hook up one of our batteries to the working bike if one of them ever died on us in the middle of nowhere, but I didn’t really feel like messing around with that now, one of the toll operators said that the guys inside were looking for a booster pack. I don’t know what they were doing, but it took forever, so in the meantime I figured I would try and bump-start the bike. I’ve never been successful bump-starting the KLR on flat ground, and there weren’t many hills around… so I had to improvise.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get enough of a run going down the slope without smashing down onto the sidewalk, so I was unsuccessful in my attempts at bump-starting. Eventually, the guys showed up with the booster pack and she fired up no sweat… OFF WE GO!
At this point we were only 2 hours from home. Back in the land of Canadia, we saw the shining beacons of Tim Hortons and Canadian Tire from the highway. We were starting to be in a land that felt familiar…
At last we were home!
This was an incredible trip for both of us, and I’m unbelievably proud of Chelsey for working so hard to achieve it. We had carefree days where there was nothing on the schedule, where others we felt like we were fighting for our lives. We saw and experienced amazing things, met amazing people, and decided to tie the knot with the person we enjoy travelling with the most. We couldn’t find a corner of that beautiful country where we weren’t treated with a smile, a friendly conversation, a good meal, or a warm bed to sleep in. The amazing people that we met will always hold a special place in the memories we have of this trip; as proven before, it’s the people that turn driving a motorcycle across a country into an adventure of a lifetime. Whether it was someone at a gas station in Texas simply amazed we were all the way from Canada, a stranger that offers to lend a helping hand, or people that we stayed up with and talked for hours.
We hope to be half the people, the couples, or the adventurers of the people we met. It’s inspiring to see so much good spread throughout the country, and as always, our doors are open for you and any other traveler in need of a place to sleep, tools to use, or beer to drink.
This was a spectacular trip and I’m glad we did it together. This certainly won’t be the last for us.
Glad to hear! Thanks for following along.
Bravo! Thanks you for taking us with you! Let's go again.
Enjoyed your writing style and following along through your photos.
Thanks for bringing us along.
You guys Rock!!! You were to us those amazing people you met and I'm so glad you did it.
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A bit behind your report. Really enjoyed it. Love it that more and more women are getting out there and traveling. Ya'll did some great country and hope that you do more. Chelsey has me beat on the size bike she toured on as my smallest was a DR350SE then to a KLR650. Hope ya'll make it to South most Louisiana for a ride along the gulf one day. Again, enjoyed.
Been quite a long time since this RR was left off and we'd
like to know if you've tied the knot yet?