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roughwaterjohn

Head'n North on 395

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roughwaterjohn

I may not be particular good at ciphering, but it appears that Un IX - 500 miles + 4 days = Hwy 395.

 

Assuming I can get the time off, how much time should I allow for the road trip? What are the "must see's", best side trips? Where would you recommend that I get down off my German steed to stretch my legs and see the sights?

 

Any favorite places to stay? More importantly, where's the best places to eat! What do you crusty 'ol...... I mean "seasoned vets" typically do on a road trip of this length, see some sights on the way up and others on the way back, or do you take your time going up, and take the fastest way back?

 

I know there's no right or wrong, and this is a pretty short trip for most of the participants, based on all the locations many are coming from, but this will be my longest trip I've taken on two wheels, other than those times I was outrun'n the cops. Of course then, I never knew the destination until I got there, or whether I'd still be alone when I arrived. That reminds me, you won't be taking fingerprints when I get there will you, 'cause I've already done that a few times.

 

Thanks!

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mbelectric

Lessee....Ya said a 4 day trip?

 

If I was coming from San Diego and heading to the UnRally, I'd do the trip to UN HQ in 1 day. That leaves 2 solid days for riding the High Sierra's. And a day to get back. Easy peasy, nice an' easy...All 4 days you stay at UN HQ. Your basecamp if you will. And you'll meet lots of riders that way. :thumbsup:

 

Now, if ya have more time allotted, then that's an entirely different scenario.

 

MB>

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roughwaterjohn
.....Now, if ya have more time allotted, then that's an entirely different scenario.

 

MB>

 

Thanks for the info. The four days mentioned was for the event, 12th-15th. I'm trying to decide how many days to take to get there, and how many for return. I want to know how many days total, for the event and the trip up and back I should beg for as time off. :grin:

 

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mbelectric

You'll get all kinds of responses here on a route...that's the good stuff about this group...they know how to ride and know what to see.. :grin:

 

Maybe a trip up PCH1, then angle your way towards the Sierra's. And you could make a run through Tioga Pass on your way to UN HQ. A nice easy 2 day ride there. And back, maybe a detour to Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Its nice staying in the park at summertime.

 

Lots of options.

 

MB>

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Twisties

:wave: Now that's funny!

 

Ok, lets see if we can help you out some. As I understand it you have never toured on the bike. So what I am going to suggest, do not set out to do a 500 mile day right off. Some folks take to distance right off, me, I had to build to it. Took some time to sort things out and learn to do what it takes, and what to wear, etc. I'm still not a distance rider, and will never be. But I can do 700 miles in a day if I really need to. Don't like to, it's not what I ride for, but I can. 500 miles is nice day for me now, not when I started.

 

Les and Jamie on the other hand think nothing of 700 miles, and mind you they go real fast too. They are true distance riders, which means focus, rules, preparation and such. Those guys will do 1000+ mile days without too much thought.

 

So, you need to find out a little about your riding preferences before tackling a long day. This means either:

 

1. Preferably, do some getting out ahead of time. Try a 250-300 mile ride to start. See how it goes, find out what hurts, figure out what you can do about it, then decide. If you can do this a few times before the event, Or,

 

2. Just plan on two days each way. I know you can do that. When I started 300 miles was a long day. This puts you at 250 each day, plus side trips. Should be fine.

 

Now, the reason I say number 1 is preferable is because it allows you to do some sorting out. Go ahead and pack for an overnight, in fact, if you can, do an overnight trip. But either way pack for it. If you are not staying out overnight, stop at a park. Unpack and go through the motions of everything you'll need/do. Dress the role too.

 

There are some threads on what to take and such, but nothing real recent. I'll try to pull some up for you, but I'll summarize for you now. Some folks say what you are wearing and a credit card, really. Others take tools, clothes, etc. I fall into that last camp. I'm going real basic here, don't be insulted, I just don't know where you are at on this. Want to make sure we get it all. I've probably still forgotten some basics. :dopeslap:

 

Here is what I think you need:

 

1. Protective gear consisting of boots, pants, jacket, gloves helmet. For this season and distance I recommend an armoured mesh or summer weight suit with zip in/out liners. You must be ready for heat, storm, or cold. I also usually have a rain over suit in a stuff sack. This time of year you can skip heated gear, but you might want both summer and winter gloves, just in case.

 

2. You are one-up on an RT? You can take clothes for the week. But I do recommend some light weight synthetics for undies, socks and shirts that you can rinse out in a hotel sink (and bring a little container of laundry soap, half a cup or so). That will lighten you up a bit. Under your protective gear you are going to want to be wearing something. A lot depends on your gear, some is made for just undies, some is intended for a pair of pants. Of course you need a shirt. I ride with a synthetic wicking undie from REI, a pair of Underarmour heatgear (or similar) shorts or longs, a synthetic wicking shirt, and a pair of wicking hiking socks under my gear. Nights may be cool, so bring some warm stuff for around the event grounds. It could rain. You can probably use your liners for most of your warm clothes needs. I would definitely bring some sort of hat.

 

3. I like to have some evening clothes at these events. It's nice to have something clean after riding all day. Talking t-shirt, jeans or shorts, whatever. Not necessary, but nice.

 

4. Toiletries, of course, but look for some small containers so you don't have to lug a lot volume.

 

5. The bike. Plan on about 2500 miles for the trip. Where are you on service intervals and tires? Take care of that ahead of time, or plan accordingly with a reservation at a shop (Sierra BMW).

 

6. Tools. I carry the tools I need to do a service on the bike. I can change or repair a tire, I have a slime pump, etc. You don't need all that if you have a credit card or towing service. It's just my preference. So far I have repaired a tire once, that saved me days over a holiday weekend, and bailed out another biker that had no tools once. Mostly they sit there unused.

 

7. First aid kit. If you know how to use it. I carry one, most of us likely do not. Your call.

 

8. Other things as desired: laptop, books, gps, bike-to-bike radio, music, sound integrator, maps, radar detector, stainless wine cup, beer mug or whiskey flask.

 

9. Hydration: It's a must. Either stop a lot, or carry (and wear or rig to use) a camelback (or a bladder from one) or similar. Drink plenty. Replace salts, especially potassium. For instance, some say about 1/3 of what you drink could be gatorade or similar (G2 for me). Or you can use various tablets intended for the purpose. Also melon or banana are good, but much less convenient.

 

10. I always keep a full water bottle and some jerky or nuts or something stashed away for emergency.

 

Now, next up, routes and stops. Have you mostly been riding city? How do you feel about steep twisty grades and cliffs? Have you ridden out to Anza Borrego on the Glass Elevator (Montezuma Valley Road)?

 

San Diego to Borrego Springs via Glass Elevator

 

Give us a sense what you are up for in that regard, and we'll help you out.

 

 

Edited by Twisties

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roughwaterjohn
......Give us a sense what you are up for in that regard, and we'll help you out.

 

Thanks, that's "exactly" what I was looking for. Mr Twisties, you're my new hero. :thumbsup:

 

As requested, here's a little about the clay you're trying to mold. I'm pretty experienced mechanically, I've built and modified hundreds (really) of automotive engines, from supercharged race engines running alcohol to British sports cars from the 50's. I'm good with drive trains, electrical, and I'm pretty good at fabrication, diagnostics, and basically figuring out problems on a deserted road, with no lights, and nothing but a quarter and a paperclip in my pocket. (I've done it, don't ask, it wasn't pretty.... but it worked. :grin:

 

But that's automotive, not motorcycles. This is not only my first BMW, but my first motorcycle. I've ridden a variety of motorcycles over the years, even commuted to work for a year or so on an old Honda, but I've never owned one myself.

 

I am pretty methodical though, actually.... a few of my ex wives have called me, lovingly of course, Mr. Methodical. I research what I want to do, talk to those who do it, jump in with both feet and practice, practice, practice... until I'm good at what I do.

 

Case in point, 5 years ago, I decided to sell my house, buy a boat, and live aboard full time. Although I had never owned (or even driven) a boat before, I bought a 45' single engine power boat, and moved aboard. I researched, I got training, I practiced, got more training, practiced again, and now I can put that single engine boat in places smaller boats fear to go.

 

I have been on hundreds of road trips, to the mountains, dessert, and points beyond. I've stayed in four star hotels, and I've lived on granola bars and slept under the stars, but never.... on a motorcycle.

 

I plan on going on lots of day trips and overnights before the Unrally, but the information you shared, and hopefully what others will share is what's going to make me competent, and not a hazard or detriment to those I travel with or meet.

 

If I've scared the other locals with my cycling virginity, to the point they fear to tread the same roads as me, so be it. :rofl: But I am really looking forward to, not only this event, but wearing the tires off my RT-P. I often wait quite some time before I get involved in something that has been dear to my heart for a number of years, but when I do, I embrace it with all my heart and a sense of wonder and joy. I've wanted a motorcycle for many, many years, and once the BMW police bikes came out, I knew... some day, I would own one. Now it's time to do something with it.

 

That... is what I see ahead for me, and my new partner in crime, my BMW RT-P. :thumbsup:

 

Bring on the wisdom, bring on the sage advice, opinions and cautious warnings. Mold me, yes... but bring me along for the ride.

 

Edited by roughwaterjohn

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hopz

Yes, Twisties (Jan) has a great combination of good information and willingness to share.

 

I would like to add some fine points, or maybe emphasize some things that deserve a shout...

 

First find and use Ear Protection. The un-avoidable noise of a long ride dramatically increases your fatigue. Fatigue = Danger!

 

Second is Hydration. The long ride takes a LOT of water out of your system. Much more than you think. You need to drink a lot of water. Drink at every stop. Drink at tank-up time. Drink at scenic stops. You need to drink before you get thirsty. If you are thirsty, you are late. I cannot get my hands on the science right now, but I seem to recall something like a Liter an Hour on a warm day... that is a lot.

 

Water is good. Sports Drinks good. Beer=Bad. Soft Drinks like Pepsi and Coke are not my preference either. I find that sports drinks, while good, also leave my mouth sweet with an after taste and that bothers me. Water!

 

Stretching is good too....

Edited by hopz

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randy

stretching is excellent, also take ibprofine BEFORE you leave in the morning. much like thirst, if you are already sore, it is to late. Lots of water and stretching all day long. IBprofine usually in the morning and late afternoon fill up. Also if your budget affords it, a nice motel with swimming pool and hot tub really helps get ready for the next day.

 

Also if you can arrange it, Motels with nice restaurants within walking distance is always my preference. Once I get off, checked in and take a shower and even maybe a short power nap getting geared back up is a pain.

 

 

Also in the morning depending on your appittite/needs, I find it more efficient to head out early, maybe just a piece of toast and some protien (eggs, bacon, sausage), then ride for an hour or so and then stop for breakfast. For some reason it seems I make better time and makes the day seem shorter. At least it seems to shorten the morning.

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roughwaterjohn
..... or maybe emphasize some things that deserve a shout...

 

....First find and use Ear Protection. Second is Hydration.....

 

Excellent information, thanks! I figured water would be a good idea, and I usually drink lots of water throughout the day anyway. Never thought of ear protection though, glad you brought it up. What type of ear protection is best for lessening the road noise, but still allows hearing for safety? Foamies?

 

stretching is excellent, also take ibprofine BEFORE you leave in the morning

......... Also if your budget affords it, a nice motel with swimming pool and hot tub really helps get ready for the next day.

 

Nice bed, pool/hot tub and ibuprofen, I can live with that. :thumbsup: I think I'm past the camping on the side of the road bit.

 

Thanks for all the guidance and suggestions. Any scenic, rest stop or sightseeing recommendations?

 

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Les is more

All water under very hot conditions not good. Supplement with Gatorade or some such, at all stops. I mix mine 50/50 with water to avoid the syrupy sweetness and throw a bottle in the side case. I wear a Camelbak for sipping water on the go.

 

I don't like putting the sports drink in my Camelbak as it makes it that much harder to avoid mold and keep clean.

 

If you decide to go up 395, a wonderful ride, and you don't want to do the whole 500 miles, Stop and check out Manzanar (about 310 miles). Allow yourself a couple of hours to take this very moving trip through history.

 

Out of Big Pine, east on the 168 and up a fun little road you'll find the Ancient Bristlecone Pines. Another walk through a MUCH older history.

 

Further north, Mono Lake, in Lee Vining at about 420 miles is well worth learning about.

 

Oh, and before you leave, rent the movie "China Town" since you'll be riding through the Owens Valley.

 

So, if you want to stop and sniff around a bit, you may want to split your trip into a couple of pieces. You could stay in Lone Pine, Big Pine or Bishop at around 296 miles, 338 miles and 350 miles respectively or stay in Ridgecrest (more utilitarian, less scenic) at about 224 miles.

 

I'm not sure what our agenda is yet but I'm pretty sure we'll go all the way in one shot.

 

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hopz

Ear Protection...

 

Well now, we are gonna open up a can 'o worms but here goes...

 

There are many choices. Almost all of them meet the criteria of cutting down wind and road noise and still allow hearing the important stuff.

 

foamies work and are a staple of many riders. Funny thing though is that some foamies fit better then others. For years I tried to make them work and only just this summer did I find out that Wal-Mart has a great variety in different sizes. The regulars always fell out for me. Hardly worth it. I found a larger size that do fit me, and they are now my regular wear.

 

There is the Wax, swim ear plugs. Work for me but they get nasty pretty quick, but afford the needed protection.

 

There is the Rubber stopper kind. Tiny little rings around a central shaft. Some use them- they never fit for me, but I like the strings.

 

Then there is the good stuff. There is a member here, Arizona Al who will make you a set of custom formed ear plugs that are the Rolls Royce of the genre. Expensive but maybe the last pair you will ever need.

 

None of this addresses the type of plugs that integrate with sound systems... I will leave that for others with experience in that field.

 

Me, I just play the Autocom and go for it.

 

And, oh yes! I agree that water alone in the heat needs to be augmented with some sort of electrolytes, Gator Aid is my favorite, but cut it down with water like she said. I avoid caffeine after the first coffee of the day.

Edited by hopz

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Twisties

The AzAl's can be either solid, or with earphones for an mp3 player or whatever. Foamies are fine.

 

Two things still not mentioned: cell phone and camera.

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CoarsegoldKid

Take a couple of weeks and see California. Trust me you can't take too much time doing it. Ride the Coast, see the Monterey Aquarium, see the Redwoods, or ride the Sierra Foothills. Traverse it west to east or east to west with a northerly spin on things. I can give you a route out of Bakersfield all the way to UN and you never get off a two lane, and mostly off the beaten path. Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite.

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Bill_Walker

Since you're a fairly new rider, I'm gonna jump in here with what I think are two books that you ought to read, if you haven't already:

Everything by David Hough, but especially "Proficient Motorcycling". It'll save your life. (OK, I know, I said two books and that's already three).

 

Motorcycle Touring and Travel by Bill Stermer. It's not the be-all, end-all of moto touring, but it's a great start and will give you a good idea of what stuff you need.

 

I rather expect I'll be doing the one-day blast up 395 with Jamie and Leslie if my knees will hold out that long on the bike. Leslie has already profiled some of the sights on that route.

 

What you DON'T want to do, IMHO, is ride up I-5 up the central valley and then cut east to the Rally Site. The Central Valley in July is not a great place to ride a motorcycle (is it ever?). It's really hot, and the long, straight slab is basically all there is. 395 may not be the most scenic road around, but it's better than many and it's at most a 4-lane divided highway and has a few curves. And even if you go up the coast instead of up the valley, you still have cross the valley at some point. The closer you get to SFO, the more congested your crossing point will be. Mind you, I've crossed the valley numerous times and survived them all, but it's not the route I would choose for my first long trip.

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mbelectric

If nothing else, adjust your riding times and routes for weather and traffic. I don't think anyone here suggested a bazai route up Int 5. As Joe said, there are a bunch of roads in California that are of the two lane variety that'll get you where you want to go. Plan your departures accordingly.

 

But first, you've got to plan a trip on the time and distance.

 

MB>

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roughwaterjohn

Thanks to all the wonderful people here for your suggestions and recommendations. What an amazing source you've created here. The books were great also, because I love to read as much as I love motorcycles. :D

 

I've driven up, down and across the coast of California many times over the years by car. I'm looking forward to visiting my favorite haunts on my bike, but I've never been up the eastern part of the state past Hwy 395 at Hwy 58.

 

Right now, it looks like I'm going to take 10-12 days, so I can take my time, sight see, take lots of pictures and explore new territory. I think I'll do most of my exploring on the way up, and give myself 2, maybe 3 days to get back.

 

Did I mention how wonderful all you crazy people are? (Or is that how crazy you wonderful people are?) Either way... thanks! :thumbsup:

 

p.s. I finally get to pick up my bike Sunday morning, and drive it back from Orange County! It's only been a week, but it seems like it's been several months.

Edited by roughwaterjohn

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Tank

I havn't heard it mentioned.... but becuse of the july weather, if it were me leaving lowerend California, I would get a good nite sleep, awake around 4 am , eat a apple and drink some water ,,, ride out of the city envirions than after a tank of gas look for a gas stop with breakfast.

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mbelectric
I havn't heard it mentioned.... but becuse of the july weather, if it were me leaving lowerend California, I would get a good nite sleep, awake around 4 am , eat a apple and drink some water ,,, ride out of the city envirions than after a tank of gas look for a gas stop with breakfast.

 

Which is why we all say "goodbye" to Tank after an event 'cause he leaves under the cover of darkness.... :grin:

 

MB>

Edited by mbelectric

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tallman

10-12 days?

Hmmm, plenty of time for a four corners.

Start at the S.Cal one, go east and down to Key West, then north, west back to Washington and down to the UN.

You'll win the Unprize for longest ride to get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probably.

:lurk:

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roughwaterjohn

Surprisingly Tim, that doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. :grin:

 

I figured I'd give myself 3-4 days to cruise north, taking my time, seeing the sights, stopping where I want and taking any side roads that look interesting.

 

Arriving Sunday, I'd spend Mon-Thur at the Un-IX, then 2-3 days home, taking my time again, and allowing enough time for the vagaries of weather and road conditions. I may even swing by Davis, CA to see family before or after the event.

 

I'm setting aside the time, but not making definite plans. I want to leave myself open to changing my mind and direction based on what I see and how much fun I'm having.

 

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Bill_Walker
...I'm setting aside the time, but not making definite plans. I want to leave myself open to changing my mind and direction based on what I see and how much fun I'm having.

 

An excellent plan. There's a saying: inexperienced touring motorcyclists choose a destination and go. Experienced touring motorcyclists choose a direction and go.

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notacop

I like to brekky at the Ranch House Cafe in Olacha. Further up the road is Schatts, a classic. There are lots of small towns on 395 in Owens Valley that have cafes, be brave and report back to us.

Nicelys in Lee Vining was a decent meal too. I stayed at the Yosemite Gateway motel a time or two, nice funky place with cable telly.

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