Jump to content
szurszewski

Bakery Quest - 2016/17 Hacking the US with the kid and dogs

Recommended Posts

szurszewski

Hello SportTourers!

 

A few of you know we were planning to leave just after the Un for a year on the road, in our K1200LT rig....well, July became September and then October. Work and our inability to get things done quickly, capped off with a need for a FD rebuild. What are you going to do?

 

We finally made it out of town on October 7th. It's ten days later now and we're as far as Arcata, CA! It's been a great trip so far, and since I consider this forum my home online (even if I'm pretty quiet and antisocial at gatherings), this is the thread I've put off starting until I could start it perfectly.

 

...but that's never going to happen so I'm starting it now anyway! We've also got a travel blog, and I started an ADV thread for my sidecar friends there - I'll put links at the bottom of this post for those who like those things. I don't do Facebook, but Laura does - so get in touch if you want to follow us that way.

 

Here are the basics:

 

We are Jeremiah, a seven-year-old (only for a few more weeks!) elementary school drop out; Eddy, a ten year old weird as heck dog who moved in with us when we lived in a Yupik Eskimo village; Culprit, a 14-year-old crazy Aussie; Laura, a professional baker who originally studied biology and worked in neuro research before turning to the dark side and running a GED program in rural AK; Josh, who used to be a high school teacher but somehow ended up starting/co-owning a small driving school in Portland.

 

We are all piled into a 1999 K1200LT sidecar rig - and trailer - we put together this spring/summer/fall.

 

The plan is to traipse the US exploring what we can and trying to find a place to start or buy a small bread-centric bakery. We really don't know what we're doing or even where we're going (literally - it's 8:45am and I'm in a Motel 6 - that's all I know).

 

If you have suggestions on what to do, where to go, or know a place that is in need of a new bakery OR a bakery that is need of new owners PLEASE let us know!

 

Our budget for this trip is pretty minimal, so if you have a backyard to camp in, don't be shy (we're actually really shy, but we're working on it) :)

 

All my pics online are in Picasa/Google Pics and don't work well with this site. I need to start putting stuff in something that works better so I can put them here - when I do, I'll get into a recap of the ride so far and then try to stay current. In the meantime, how about we start with a quintessential BMW internet forum picture:

 

1.1475780245.old-bearing.jpg

 

I'd never seen one in person before - it's pretty neat (I mean, I guess it was pretty neat until it started to come apart...at least it didn't get a chance to eat the housing).

 

...and for those who dare venture outside this form, you can find more here

 

trycheckthis.com

 

and here on ADV.

 

Thanks for reading!

josh

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roadscholar

Nice to see Sharon and Jan got you off to a good start. Gotta love a plan that has no plan, following on ADV... :clap::lurk:

 

 

Edited by roadscholar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Hi Bill -

Yes - Sharon and Jan were very good to us. In fact, if no one else is nice to us for a lllooonnggg time, we'll still feel like we're coming out ahead.

 

The only downside is that it was so wet/rainy, we didn't get out to all of the cool places Jan wanted us to go. Next time for sure!

 

 

 

Still don't have pics worked out, and even if I did wifi here is so slow I can't upload anything really anyway.

 

BUT!

 

Today we started in Big Lagoon Park, up near Trinidad CA, and took 101 south. We did the Avenue of the Giants and paid $4 just outside of Legget to drive through what's left - held together by steel rope mostly now it seems - of a giant redwood (it was still kind of fun and the rig BARELY fit {like, we went through twice and the first time I caught the hack wheel on a bit of wood, and to avoid that the second time I had less than an inch of space from the left mirror}), and then took HWY 1 to Ft Bragg.

 

We were going to push on for a campground about 30 miles south, but filling the gas tank after dinner we decided we were tired and there was a Motel 6 right there, with a heated pool, for not too much more than a campground...and we could save an hour in the morning by not having to pack the tents.... yeah....

 

So that's what we did today.

 

Tomorrow we hope to visit the jeweler who made our wedding rings, and then a couple few days in the bay area with Traveler1 and RT Russ. After that I think we'll head east. Jeremiah's got a birthday party (his) to get to in OK on 11/13, and Laura is going to fly back to Portland to help her mom move sometime before that.

 

And that's the plan for now. :)

Pics to follow by this weekend - promise :) :)

josh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TEWKS

Now this sounds awesome and a little scary all at the same time. Watching! :java::clap:

 

 

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Hi Pat -

You're not the first one to say that, and I think we all agree with you.

josh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marty Hill

Enjoy your trip! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Thanks Marty - we're staying with Thor tonight, and I can honestly say your name was instrumental in making this post :)

josh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy Dave

Thanks for posting - following (jealously) along on this bold adventure.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Thanks for reading! I'm behind in updating this as well as the two other online things we're doing (ADV thread and my trycheckthis.com blog) - but we spent a few days in the Bay Area, played in San Fran today, and are south of San Jose tonight. I'm looking forward to a good night sleep tonight (oops- it's this morning already!) having spent about nine hours last night, ending at 3:30am, making a huge mess of RT Russ's garage in a (largely successful) attempt to put on new Spiegler brake lines.

 

I'll try to get something done tomorrow, but we are sadly without wifi :(

 

Getting ready to head east toward CO and then down to OK - probably going south around the Sierras first.

josh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roadscholar

Someone got a shot of Josh and clan on the Golden Gate the other day. :thumbsup: (borrowed from Adv)

 

e5a62450dc069731d390adba254d988a.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RT Russ

The Gypsy tour stopped at our place this past weekend. I posted on the BMWST Facebook page tonight since I can't link photos easily here. Peg and I were/are still trying to transition back to West Coast time zone after 3 weeks in the UK so it was a bit of a struggle to be decent hosts. We had a good dinner for them Friday and and even had Richard and Jacqueline stop by.....no pictures, it didn't happen I know :dopeslap:

 

Facebook pic

 

Facebook pic 2

 

Facebook pic 3

 

Safe travels Josh!

 

Russ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski
The Gypsy tour stopped at our place this past weekend. I posted on the BMWST Facebook page tonight since I can't link photos easily here. Peg and I were/are still trying to transition back to West Coast time zone after 3 weeks in the UK so it was a bit of a struggle to be decent hosts. We had a good dinner for them Friday and and even had Richard and Jacqueline stop by.....no pictures, it didn't happen I know :dopeslap:

 

Facebook pic

 

Facebook pic 2

 

Facebook pic 3

 

Safe travels Josh!

 

Russ

 

This place has a Facebook page? Ok, I guess I knew that, but it's way back in my brain somewhere as I'm not up on the whole Facebook thing. I should get Laura to get hooked up with that.

 

We had a great time staying with you and Peggy! That last shot doesn't do even near justice to the royal mess I made of your garage! Twice!

 

We are in Bakersfield tonight so we can go to the title company tomorrow and sign papers for our house. I was hoping we'd get here early (stayed in Gilroy last night after spending a great and full afternoon in San Francisco), but then we took forever to get on the road from Gilroy, and THEN I ran out of gas about 3.2 miles from the station I was planning to get gas at in Hollister ... within sight of the Corbin factory!...and then I left my cell phone in David's, the guy who gave me a ride to and from the gas station, truck....and then...and then... and then we got here late and so I'm still not hooked up to put pictures here! Maybe tomorrow. Ha!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marty Hill

Looking good! :wave:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Thanks - having fun too!

 

Signed the final papers for the sale of our house today. Heading toward Death Valley for a couple of days. Then either to the Grand Canyon or up into Utah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Oh my gosh - I am doing a terrible job keeping up here. I really need to get some dang photo hosting going (does anyone else do that thing where they feel like there is a chain of events that needs to happen in order and when they can't get one actually not that important piece in place they just abandon the whole chain? or is that just me...) so I can put pictures here.

 

We have been having a great time - since staying with Traveler1, and then RT Russ and his wonderful wife Peggy, we've been to San Francisco, Bakersfield where we signed the closing papers for our house, a few cool spots in the deserts of CA including two days in Death Valley (wish we could go back for DVD but the timing is just not going to work), Las Vegas to buy me a new helmet (broke mine in DV), The Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and a bunch of little place in between, and right now I'm sitting at Whip and Louise's kitchen table enjoying the fantastic Salida sunshine!

 

We're headed up to Denver and then on to Mt. Rushmore for a quick photo op before Laura flies back to Portland. She'll be helping her mom drive said mom's stuff to Oklahoma in a big Uhaul, and we'll all meet up there for Jeremiah's 8th birthday. Which means Jeremiah and the dogs and I have about six days to cover six or seven hundred miles all on our own. So if you have any good suggestions on routes to take or things to do/see between Denver and Altus, please do let us know!

 

I'll move it up to the top of the priority list to get some pics somewhere the board can see them in the meantime!

josh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

This is a neat place to see. :thumbsup:

 

http://royalgorgebridge.com/

 

 

Pat

 

Oh crap - I'm terrified of heights (well, of hitting things on the way down - the Statue of Liberty was about the most stressful height related thing I've done) - that looks like great fun!

 

thanks!

josh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TEWKS

100_3950.jpg

 

ironbutttour06034.jpg

 

ironbutttour06035.jpg

 

ironbutttour06036.jpg

 

I think there were one or two safeties built in, what could go wrong? :jaw:

 

 

Pat

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

I'd uh, love to try that, but, uh I, uh can't afford the extra charge. Same with the zipline. Yeah. That's it. Also, I think I'll be pretty worn out from crawling slowly across the bridge anyway :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roadscholar

 

ironbutttour06036.jpg

 

 

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...

 

Come to think of it you are kind of mild-mannered. :grin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TEWKS
I think I'll be pretty worn out from crawling slowly across the bridge anyway :)

Just close your eyes and ride across it. :grin:

ironbutttour06040_zps6cf4d7a4.jpg

 

IIRC they did hit you pretty hard for the extras. :read:

 

Bill, I did feel pretty super right at that moment! ;)

 

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roadscholar

Can you still ride a bike across it, there's a dirt road on the other side I want to get to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TEWKS

 

 

 

there's a dirt road on the other side I want to get to.

Of course there is! :grin:

 

That was somewhere between 2005 & 2012. (my mind records events between bike purchases) :grin: I'm not sure if they stopped it, doubt it because you could exit the park after crossing like we did.

 

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roadscholar

Ok I thought it may have been more recent. Someone told me they don't allow cars anymore as of a couple years ago but was hoping maybe bikes, probably unlikely though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Endobobdds

I went over it in July 2012 - also did some dirt roads on my K bike on the south side of the bridge. :thumbsup:

 

If you are anywhere close it is worth the time to see, however, the Bridge/Park website states:

 

"THE ROYAL GORGE BRIDGE

Marvel at awe-inspiring panoramic views from one of the world’s highest suspension bridges – hanging 956 feet above the Arkansas River! The Royal Gorge Bridge is an all-new experience! The park has a new 16,000 sq. ft. Visitor Center and is one of the world’s longest single-span aerial gondolas, an over-the-gorge zipline and children’s play area.

 

NO PERSONAL VEHICLES WILL BE ALLOWED ON THE BRIDGE AT ANY TIME."

 

 

Edited by Endobobdds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whip
Oh my gosh - I am doing a terrible job keeping up here. I really need to get some dang photo hosting going (does anyone else do that thing where they feel like there is a chain of events that needs to happen in order and when they can't get one actually not that important piece in place they just abandon the whole chain? or is that just me...) so I can put pictures here.

 

We have been having a great time - since staying with Traveler1, and then RT Russ and his wonderful wife Peggy, we've been to San Francisco, Bakersfield where we signed the closing papers for our house, a few cool spots in the deserts of CA including two days in Death Valley (wish we could go back for DVD but the timing is just not going to work), Las Vegas to buy me a new helmet (broke mine in DV), The Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and a bunch of little place in between, and right now I'm sitting at Whip and Louise's kitchen table enjoying the fantastic Salida sunshine!

 

We're headed up to Denver and then on to Mt. Rushmore for a quick photo op before Laura flies back to Portland. She'll be helping her mom drive said mom's stuff to Oklahoma in a big Uhaul, and we'll all meet up there for Jeremiah's 8th birthday. Which means Jeremiah and the dogs and I have about six days to cover six or seven hundred miles all on our own. So if you have any good suggestions on routes to take or things to do/see between Denver and Altus, please do let us know!

 

I'll move it up to the top of the priority list to get some pics somewhere the board can see them in the meantime!

josh

 

 

 

Stay as long as you want. I will be back this weekend.

 

 

Edited by Whip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

 

 

Stay as long as you want. I will be back this weekend.

 

 

You and Mrs. are quite generous, and we'd love to just move in...but once I have finished all your beer and abused your wifi enough to get some pics finally uploaded to post on here, we'll have to move on (seriously: if I don't have Jeremiah in Altus to meet his grandmother by his birthday {11/13} he will be kind of upset and said grandmother will probably hunt me down widow my wife!). BUT! I have been abusing your wifi, and finally have some pics in a bmwrt postable form (I think...), so I'm going to now attempt to properly update this here page (and then we're giong to go check out the skate park and bookstore - it's a rough day we have planned...)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

OK! Here we go - I think I've got some photos ready, and I've got some time (and Whip's wifi!), so I'll back up a bit and start with a brief recap from the beginning. I am ignoring FB's repeated advice to compose offline and then copy and paste (which IS really sound advice - I just don't listen well), so I'll do this in a few parts.

 

First, who are we and what the heck are we doing?

 

Here's us, as taken a few weeks into the trip by our own RT Russ

 

30793627406_fe150bb492_z.jpg

 

and here's where we used to live as taken by the realtor's photog (with the foliage cut back at the stager's request - SO many folks involved in this house selling business!):

 

30802779726_a6670c8861_z.jpg

 

We moved to Portland ten years ago (from far western rural Alaska, like you do) so Laura could go to culinary school with the intention of becoming a baker and opening her own shop. We got through the school part and the baker part, and somewhere along the way I became fully embroiled in driver ed (or, traffic safety education, as my betters would want me to call it) world to the point where I was teaching university courses in it and opened my own business with some friends. Laura decided Portland was saturated and didn't want to add to the pool, so we never got to step three of the plan. Oh - and also somewhere in there we had a kid ;)

 

But where to open this bakery? I was so busy with my two jobs, and then my one job and one business that I wasn't much help, and Laura-who-is-not-a-morning-person was working 10-12 hour shifts of baker's hours, so she was pretty much exhausted all the time (switching to a four-10s helped, but that really meant three 12s and a 6, so she was still essentially exhausted five days a week). As a result, what little free time we had together went to fun things, family things, "necessary" things and a modicum of travel, so little time was spent on the bakery. ...Until about two years ago when I sort of lost it - maybe it was a mid life crisis, but I hope I'm not quite halfway yet - and decided that if we didn't do something else, I was going to go crazy. And something else turned out be almost buying a bakery in a small town in eastern Oregon.

 

We had a very intense few months of negotiating the sale and then planning to hoist up stakes and move rather abruptly to La Grande. Unexpectedly, the day we were to sign papers the seller backed out. So much went into that prep we were sort of left stunned and dropped the idea for a time. With our schedules, and essentially spending all we were earning to afford to live in Portland, how do you figure out where else you want to go to start a new life and new business? And then one day someone says, you know if we sold the house we could live out of the sidecar rig for a year and look around for our next place. And everyone laughs and laughs and laughs. And Laura says, but what about the dogs? And I say, I'll build them an adorable trailer. And everyone laughs and laughs and laughs.

 

30713381932_d8aa5c6805_z.jpg

Edited by szurszewski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

For those who care about the vehicle as much as the journey, this is your post - for those who don't, you can skip this one and not miss anything.

 

Ten years ago I found this site, and then I found my RT. We were living in AK and our bike, a '78 R60 was in WA, and I didn't want a new bike and thought the 1100 RTs were about the ugliest, least motorcycle-y monstrosity ever (sorry - don't hold it against me - I did come around somewhat on that issue). What I did want to do was spend the summer (I was a teacher) in WA restoring my bought while I was in college in SE AK and fairly abused and neglected R60 to a better state. And I had three months to do it. And then Laura started planning other things and suddenly I had like three weeks to do it. Being the wonderful wife she is, she said, well, why don't we get a newer bike that's ready to ride and we can spend time riding this summer and you can work on the other bike later. Not being too stupid, I said, OK.

 

Fast forward to a couple of years ago. We have been looking for a sidecar so we can take Jeremiah with us and still ride. We were ready to buy a new Ural and then there was that whole thing with Russia and the Ukraine (I don't want to get into the politics here, and I'm not a political person, but I have a dear Ukrainian friend, who lives in Kiev, and IS a political person, and I decided buying a new Russian bike would not sit well with him, and so it didn't happen, but almost...).

30208341904_f4d78957b7_z.jpg

{This pic actually made it to the cover of the Ural's US newsletter - we were about the only people that showed up to a demo day during a snowstorm...)

From craigslist I find a Hannigan sidecar up in WA. The seller is motivated and has it listed pretty cheap. If I come get it this weekend, would you take a thousand less? You would? Great. Only I can't get up there, so I call my dad; Dad - can you take a trailer and $1500 in cash to Spanaway this weekend and buy me a sidecar? Great! Dad calls, Have you seen this thing? It's huge. I don't know if it will fit in the trailer. But it did. And it was huge.

 

30208349524_464261bd14_z.jpg

 

30803513106_2261d75bc1_z.jpg

Laura's first time piloting the thing

It was really a bit big for the RT, and it took me a solid year - almost - to get them hooked up, and we rode it for another year.

 

30840134945_64452eacfc_z.jpg

Pulled over to commemorate the RT rolling over 100,000 miles!

 

Before, though, I put a bunch of time and money into prepping the rig for this trip I did a bit of online searching, pretty half-assedly, for K1200LT figuring that was more size appropriate and the early ones were starting to go at reasonable (for me) prices. So....after checking the usual places and not seeing anything I both want and can afford, I happen on to an ADV thread. Now, if BMWs are, as everyone knows, for old duffers, the K1200LT has to be for the oldiest and duffiest among us, right? What I found was a kid - a mere pup of 23 - who had somehow picked up a GS (ok, makes sense - he lives in Nevada) and a '99 K1200LT - what?

 

30752232301_82a8058e4a_z.jpg

Glamour shot from the ad

 

 

Now, though, he has found a GSA he really NEEDS and is selling the other BMWs to fund it. He starts the ask somehwere above $4k I believe, and it's in the $3000s when I find the thread. I think about it. I talk to Laura, I don't have time to go to Vegas (or the money...but that's beside the point). I check the thread the next evening. He's down to like $3500 and asking for offers. I check again and he's really asking for offers. I PM and say, if I send you $3k via paypal tonight? He says - sure, if you can get it out of my garage - sends pic of garage which has like a dozen dirt bikes and these two huge BMWs. Sure, I say - no problem. I send money...and I try to figure out how to get a bike in Parhump NV :)

 

The next day I call up our HHO, who sometimes lives in Vegas. Are you in Vegas? Yes. I bought this bike - will you pick it up for me and put in your garage for a while? Yes. Excellent :) :) :)

 

 

30208341594_f3631df8ed_z.jpg

In Harold's garage. I'd never even sat on a K1200LT before and was terrified I'd drop the thing coming off the stand. Turns out though much heavier it's actually lower and easier to low speed around than the RT...

 

A two day ride from Vegas to WA, with a good solid 250 miles of frog strangling type rain between Redding and Roseburg, and the bike was home.

 

30803514356_272068666d_z.jpg

 

Some money (really not that much - less than I expected anyway) to Hannigan, and the driveway looked like this

 

30208346984_e2437e9fae_z.jpg

 

This time in much less than a year, I ended up with this:

 

30208342504_060c1ce561_z.jpg

 

As I said, we were hoping to start this trip in time to hit the Un on our way "out of town"... that didn't happen, but we did make the gathering. It was a good sort of shake down of the idea, and we had fun.

 

30752227421_bc526e7cbf_z.jpg

 

 

...but we still needed a way to haul the pups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Once we finally had the house ready to list it was September! To make it as easy as possible for our fantastic realtor to sell the house quickly and for as much $$ as reasonably possible, we had it fully staged and move our remaining crap and ourselves out!

 

We took up residence at my dad and stepmother's house up in Olympia, WA, and set about getting the bike, sidecar and trailer ready to go.

 

30793621306_eb40684205_z.jpg

The Previous owner had rerouted the crank to vent out the back of the bike instead of into the TBs - that was a pain to fix but worth it to get rid of the oily mist coming out the back at high RPMs

 

 

30529278190_9fa1565425_z.jpg

If you're going to pull a trailer, you're going to need a hitch! Ours came from Ernie's Custom Hitches in Olympia - more expensive than some other solutions, but I think more solid, and Ernie got us in and done quickly on pretty much no notice.

 

 

30793620106_46d67a3e62_z.jpg

While Ernie built the hitch I started on the trailer

 

 

30195179463_726f2ed991_z.jpg

 

30198534814_bcce4348c2_z.jpg

 

30195170483_a5983f7141_z.jpg

 

30195168653_0ce14e9695_z.jpg

and eventually got to this. Notice the uneven illumination on the back?

 

 

30198524294_f738f21349_z.jpg

While Laura worked on adding the windows, I went after the suspect wiring. Turned out, after all new wires, it was the bulb holders in the main tail lights messing with the circuit...so now it has new wires AND new main lights...

 

30198527264_fda259ef1a_z.jpg

 

30198523004_4227f47b6a_z.jpg

The mostly finished product

 

 

 

By this time, my dad and stepmom (that's not them in the picture, by the way - that is their driveway but they were out of town when we finally left) had decided we were never leaving, and my mom was HOPING we were never leaving. We did, though, finally get all our stuff loaded in and we geared up to head out...

 

30198520744_4f8b12772d_z.jpg

 

30198517084_e8765abee3_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whip

FANTASTIC!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski
FANTASTIC!!!!!!

 

I'm glad you're enjoying it - if it weren't for your wifi and your kitchen table, it wouldn't be posted yet. Jeremiah and I spent most of the day at said table, with me splitting time between the above posts and a sort of token attempt at figuring out trip expenses so far/balancing the checkbook, and with him writing post cards, doing some school work, and calculating trip mileage so far (we are officially into our second "month" and have done about 5000 miles...).

 

We did drag ourselves out of the house long enough to walk the dogs to Safeway and back, but that was it for today!

 

I'll see if I can get one more post done before I call it a night (I was trying to get one done earlier when the board was temporarily down, so it's really all Fernando's fault!)....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Well, now you that have the pre-trip background, how about something more on the actual trip? Our first day was pretty great, even if we did just go from my dad/stepmom's place in Olympia to not-quite-our-house in Portland. As you might imagine, that's a trip we've made countless times, but almost always on I-5, which is only scenic if you're from someplace without trees. Or rain.

 

One trip tenet was to avoid interstates whenever possible - we haven't been great about sticking to that since, but we did a great job on day one and found some roads we'd never seen before.

 

This is Jeremiah at our first stop - a coffee place in a town I've never heard of...that's only 60 miles or so south of where I lived the first 18 years of my life, and maybe 60 miles north of where I lived the last nine years. That's exactly the sort of thing I want to do with this trip - find all that stuff you don't find doing the day to day or driving the interstate system around the country.

 

Also, despite having only three coffees on the menu (coffee, latté and mocha), the drinks were really good!

 

30198515124_8804e34eb6_z.jpg

 

Jeremiah's middle name is Rainier, so we stopped in Rainier, Oregon for lunch - another place we live close to but have never stopped. If fact, despite how much I love it, and how much my mom also loves it, Jeremiah had NEVER IN HIS LIFE been to Mt. Rainier National Park until my mom took him there one day while Laura and I worked on the trailer. Maybe Laura and I are just crappy at time management, but I don't feel like we even DO that much in day to day life, and we still never seemed to have time to do fun things like that. Until now :)

 

After lunch we stopped at the nearest OR DMV to get a title and plate for the trailer. Oregon doesn't require them until you get to something like 8000lbs, but I figured, particularly since the trailer obstructs view of the bike's plate and since we're going to be almost entirely out of Oregon and maybe a bit out of the US, it would save trouble down the road to have a plate. $200 later, or 1/4 now of our total investment into the trailer, we have a GIANT license plate on the thing.

 

After the DMV, we hit a closed truck scale and weighed the rig fully loaded. I'm going to let you guess how much. Then we made a quick stop by bmwsit's house. I assume I first met Brian at one of the non-club BMW type dinners he posts up an invitation to on here, and other places, about once a month. I say I assume because I don't really remember, and becaue it feels like I've known him longer than that. Somewhere I have a great picture of Jeremiah and Brian's wife Christina in the sidecar when it was on the RT...but not on this computer. She's great too, by the way, and is all smiles in the picture despite having just been accidently whacked in the head - thank you Jeremiah - by the top of the sidecar. Maybe I started talking to him because he had a Ural and we were looking at buying one, but again I don't really remember. In any case, he also has an LT (and maybe one or two other K bikes in the garage...) so when I figured out I was getting one, he was my first call. Shortly after getting back from Vegas I took my new toy over to his house to see where all the fluids and such go on the beast. Then later I conned him into "helping" me wrestle car tire onto the LT's rear wheel...and then I "borrowed" the wheel spacers from two of his bikes so said rear wheel and car tire would actually clear the swingarm well enough for me to ride the thing back home. I really wish I had a great picture of him to put here, but I don't. Sorry Brian!

 

 

The next day we headed down to the waterpark, which was just one of the many "we really should do this someday" things we crammed into our last weeks in Portland. Just before getting to McMinville something didn't feel quite right with the bike, but since this was only my second day riding with the trailer, I thought maybe it was just something to do with the new vibrations from that on a weird bit of road or whatever.

 

The waterpark was fun but a little intimidating. Here's Laura just before her first trip down one of the big slides:

30195154933_02c5b9a9c0_z.jpg

 

I think she's pretty cute when she's nervous. Ok, I think she's pretty cute pretty much all the time, so I should say extra cute.

 

Here's Jeremiah before his first big slide. He didn't really want to go on ANY of the four big slides, but ended up going on all of them. A Lot. Laura opted to skip the rather skinny, kind of dark high-speed slide.

 

30198512944_4f589f3321_z.jpg

 

On the way back from the water park, in the dark, and the pouring rain, really, it continued. I rode the dang bike right past Steve Prokop's place in Dundee and maybe should have stopped. Back in Portland, rolling the bike in neutral you could hear a slight circular grinding. The FD wasn't leaking and didn't have any improper play, so I was thinking maybe the shaft was coming apart. Since I was going to have to remove the FD anyway, I figured I might as well drain the fluid...the fluid I'd just replaced like two days/200 miles ago (and had looked fine at the time). It looked like this:

 

30195149843_aa09fd7175_z.jpg

 

Well, shit. I pulled off the FD and while it felt fairly smooth rotating by hand, it certainly didn't sound right. Did I mention that this all on a Saturday night?

 

With no luck finding a suitable used FD, I set about finding someone to rebuild mine. Since it was the weekend, I couldn't even see if any US dealers even HAD a new FD, and if they did it was going to be $2000. While this is going on, the dogs have taken up residence in my mother-in-law's garage. We got to sleep upstairs :)

 

30198511014_f17755eb92_z.jpg

 

At the suggestion of our own bmwsit, I contacted a guy who had a retirement job working on bikes and building custom gas tanks in a shop at his house. He was of course out of town but said he could maybe help in a few days. Ok - sure.

 

He's Ernie Azevedo, and his shop is http://eazcycle.com/ and I can't recommend him enough. He not only got to work on this pretty much the moment he got back from vacation, despite several other obligations (including tending to some meetings for a business he was just starting, it turns out, with a colleague of mine in the driver ed world), he also let me hang out in the shop and see what was going on without even charging me extra. On top of that, his wife tried to feed me dinner :)

 

30195153113_0ec9a99750_z.jpg

multi-tasking

 

30195151173_31f5e4e6b6_z.jpg

 

The big bearing was just starting to go and the case itself looked fine. Since, amazingly, the local dealer had both bearings in stock "we" went ahead and replaced both...and so far things are going well. Before leaving Portland though we did a few hundred miles up the Gorge and back, stopping to see the giant sturgeon at the Bonneville Hatchery (another thing we'd been meaning to do for years), and to get a couple of shots of the rig at Vista House .

 

30195142753_77614fc356_z.jpg

 

Everything seemed good according to the pups,

 

30198502294_66f92c5c0b_z.jpg

 

So the next morning we packed it all up and hit the road. Finally. Again. Whatever.

Edited by szurszewski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Ok - so, I'm overly verbose most of the time (unless my wife is asking me a question, says Laura), so I'm going to try to limit this to a sort of not quite quick but I'm trying recap of each state (well, California is pretty big, so it will probably get a couple of posts...dang it - there I go not following my own directions already) to get this caught up with where we are today. Or tomorrow. Somewhere.

 

Anyway.

 

Here is Oregon. I am pretty sure this is the last picture taken of us before leaving the metro area. Actually, maybe not - a LOT of people take pictures of our monstrosity rolling down the road, but this is the last picture I have seen that was taken of us in Portland. Maybe ever. That feels weird to say. It was taken by Ernie - the one who rebuilt the final drive, not the one who built the hitch; we just had to drag the rig down so he could see what his work was for.

 

30752429622_f871aee6ea_z.jpg

 

We had originally planned to leave earlier and go east until it got cold - in fact we were thinking we could make it to the east coast by fall. Ha! So now that it was October and already getting cold, what do we do? Go east anyway? Just go south? With all the prep for the house and the rig and all the other wrapping up stuff for the rest of our life (of which we did a kind of crappy job - there are still some friends we only talk to a few times a year that probably don't know what we're doing!), and despite my grandmother asking us repeatedly (did I mention that my 96 year-old grandmother, who also lives in Olympia, fell and broke her hip the same day we moved operations up to Olympia? Helping out with that whole process took up some time and energy as well) where were going to spend our first night, we really had no idea. So we took the easy route and rode over to Sunriver where my family shares a house with a couple of other families.

 

It was dreary and very Portland-y (by which I mean, what you probably think of when you think of Portland but actually not what it's usually like at all) when we left, but it was clear and bright in the high desert. We spent a couple of nights there, made a supply run into Bend one day (bought exciting things like thrift store jeans and hat for me, dog tags, a hatchet {ok, that was pretty exciting for me at least}, etc.), and basically enjoyed the sun and not really having anything to do. Oh, and we sort of started to figure out where we wanted to go. And Jeremiah and I cleaned the pine needles off the roof, out of the gutters and off the deck. I have pictures of that actually, but you'd probably rather see these:

 

Disc Golf

30868972405_b608c268c1_z.jpg

 

30832525366_fba148d7d7_z.jpg

 

Swim-a-swim-a-swiming pool

30869002185_6e0aa724c0_z.jpg

 

and watching The Little Prince. Stupid movies making me cry and all...dang nabbit. (sp?)

 

30868961315_060134a297_z.jpg

 

 

I bet you can tell where we went from Sun River....

 

30529222920_6da71de689_z.jpg

 

30233347103_07cba19f63_z.jpg

 

Our first National Park of the trip, and it was pretty cool. (subtle ha)

 

We made it as far as Klamath Falls that night, and after a great dinner of waffles we checked in to the local KOA for our first camping night,

 

30529213480_2a3d919480_z.jpg

 

read a little Star Wars,

 

30567683600_882e77fe36_z.jpg

 

and called it a day.

 

Now, our camping gear is slanted heavily toward warmer weather, though we did opt for slightly more insulated pad (full-width because with three of us in the two-person tarp-tent some nights, Laura was insistent that she not end up in the crack between individual pads), and it was a bit chilly that first morning (and has been several mornings since).

 

30529211870_02bd98ebe0_z.jpg

 

The pups didn't seem to mind though.

 

30529209580_e0e72d34b1_z.jpg

 

This little critter tried to stowaway in our luggage - looks like a character with some stories.

 

30832520856_36975f52f8_z.jpg

 

 

And that brings us to our second mechanical issue. Yes, already. I don't have any intention of getting into any sort of BMW reliability discussion, but I know that someone reading this (JamesW - are you there? I know you'll enjoy this!) would really enjoy figuring our cost-per mile/days where we had to fix something ratios here. Anyway. The battery on this bike probably should have been repalced before we started the trip, but it wasn't. On cold mornings it's a little hesitant to start the crank, but it's always done it so far.

 

With that in mind, I thumbed the starter and hoped. My hope was rewarded! Laura was already on the bike and everything was loaded. Except something on the table - my gloves or maybe my helmet - and I went to grab. As I did, the idle climbed a bit, and then positively raced! I jumped over and hit the kill switch. That was odd. Tried the throttle and found that it stuck open about 3/4 to WOT. Hmm.... so we started stripping plastic (I gave Laura the super fun job of taking off the handldbar covers) hoping to find where the cable might be hung up. Bar covers and side panels off and nothing was amiss. Poo. Flashlight out I start poking around near the throttle bodies (man but thing thing has a LOT of throttle cables!) and found this:

 

30832570686_8e8c678611_z.jpg

 

Can you see it? Way in there? Where one of the intake clamps has twisted around so the throttle cam (forgive me if I am calling things by totally wrong names; I am not a mechanic) can turn toward open but can't snap back to closed? Have any idea how much of the bike has to come off to get to that stupid little clamp, which I carefully marked before removal, adjusted back to the marks, and checked the operation of several times before putting all the parts back on? Well, it's a lot - you can scroll up a few posts and see the pic of the mostly naked bike. I didn't have anything long enough to reach in and twist it, but thankfully the very nice kampground (it's a KOA!) manager let me into their shop and I was able to borrow some tools to get it moved without taking the whole bike apart. The upside is Laura got another lesson in tupperware removal and installation, and I looked kind of cool because I fixed something (which I probably "broke" in the first place - ssshhh).

 

Well, eventually we made it on the road. Actually we were rolling by 10am, which at the time seemed like an hour late but as it turns out in retrospect it was pretty early :)

 

A quick stop for bagels and then a nice ride through the hills brought us to Ashland. Maybe some of you are familiar with the acronym UDF, or Ural Delay Factor; as it happens, it seems to apply to all sidecars, and we attracted the usual questions when we stopped in downtown Ashland. Interestingly this time one of the couples that stopped to ask questions, we found out eventually, were in town with one of Laura's high school teachers. Small world. Also in town was one of my former students, who was gracious enough to find us downtown, show us around and take us out for ice cream. Apparnetly though that wasn't enough of our company, and he insisted we come by in the morning for breakfast. Saul nad his wife have a great little place just outside of town, and Jeremiah had a great time harvesting some eggs and then frying them up for lunch (breakfast was fresh baked scones and fresh fig jam).

 

30832551716_f726cea732_z.jpg

 

30567689800_5b0c06dce4_z.jpg

 

30868968485_ab2f6a6731_z.jpg

 

You know what? Oregon is just as good as California (and I'm hungry!), so we're going to break it up into two parts as well (heck, maybe three - it's a fantastic state!), and right now I'm going to get dinner out of the oven, and I'm going to drink one of Whip's beers, and I'll pick this up after dinner. Maybe.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Oregon Part The Second

 

Ashland was great, the weather was perfect, and everything was just wonderful, so, of course, we left.

 

As we headed toward the coast on a Tuesday afternoon the temps went from too warm to just right to, hmm - it's a little damp and chilly. Really, this was also our first California day as we followed 199 toward 101. Rolling into Brookings, we were headed to a "Taco Tuesday" meetup at Chan's restaurant. Now, having lived in a small coastal AK town for several years (well, small by real-world standards - at the time it was the 5th largest city in AK) I was hoping for some of that oddity; specifically I was hoping for a Chinese restaurant that had, for whatever reason, started serving tacos on Tuesdays. Sadly, that was not the case. However, since that was the only disappointing thing we encountered during our - prolonged! - stay in Brookings, I'm going to let it slide. :)

 

Walking into Chan's there is a large group seated just inside the doors. They clearly have spotted us coming in (rig hard to miss, yeah?) and I look over and say something really clever like, None of you are eating tacos! And of course, I'm a big hit. Seriously though, it was a very welcoming welcome to be sure. We'd been invited to stay with, and have tacos with, Twisties and Bullet, but neither of them are there. gsgar, gottago and Tank all are though, and there are some other local friends as well. We had a great time at dinner and Jan and Sharon did make a brief appearance between a bike selling thing (I think) and a political thing. We talked with Nancy, Gary and Bill after dinner for a good while and then Nancy led us up to Jan and Sharon's place and let us in. And that's pretty much where we stayed. For a week!

 

Arrival

30832520546_bdc35e6063_z.jpg

 

 

Where's Lola?

30832557766_59eb655a3c_z.jpg

 

 

Our first day in Brookings (you can tell because it's not too rainy to take pictures!) was great - we did a bunch of really exciting things like went to the hardware store, bought dog food, had keys made - cool beach stuff like that. Oh - we also did go to the beach.

 

30868965125_48c74ef0f9_z.jpg

30868994525_cbf6b0a1e3_z.jpg

 

And I think that was the night Jan let us make dinner. Maybe. If so, I think we got to make breakfast AND dinner that day.

 

30832556676_d6684bb939_z.jpg

30567687120_fae649f462_z.jpg

 

That was all fun and good, and we were hoping, though we knew a storm was coming, we could hang out in Brookings a couple of days and then sneak down the coast. (We had looked at where we'd need to go, while in Ashland, to avoid the predicted heavy rains, and concluded we'd need to get well into eastern Idaho or as far south as lower central CA, and running that far quickly didn't sound like fun...so we figured we'd just head to the coast and see what happened). But the next day it looked like this:

 

30830104985_b344e725de_z.jpg

 

And then it really started to rain. And blow. As I recall, the rain gauge at the house measured six inches - during the day - one day. Yikes.

 

I'm pretty sure we offered (quietly) to get on the road anyway, and Nancy and Gary had offered to put us up for a while as well, but we basically took advantage of Jan and Sharon's continued generosity until it looked nice again.

 

In the meantime Jeremiah did a lot of this (with "help" from all of us at various times)

30233362693_60fa10e790_z.jpg

30832564966_086a3405da_z.jpg

30830105915_26f15ee763_z.jpg

 

and some of this

30198459704_37f71221b3_z.jpg

 

 

and Sharon and Jan spent a lot of time on their computers and the phone trying to web together a lot of loose pieces into a not that far in the future non-profit dance performance (no kidding - they seem to be involved in quite a dizzying array of things)

30830109765_cec318eee6_z.jpg

 

 

I spent some time in the garage wrapping this giant tire onto the front wheel and then shoving the thing back in place.

 

30868942565_3f0b8b51cf_z.jpg

 

Eventually the weather cleared up enough to brave the beach,

30752412052_5279bfdd0d_z.jpg

 

and enjoy the sun

30869001235_ba55262020_z.jpg

30832571656_f9c2f24fcf_z.jpg

 

Jan and Sharon, after some deliberation, decided we were allowed to leave (ha!),

30868951935_7a36fc15a9_z.jpg

 

 

and we packed, and we left

30832540776_372c7116e9_z.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

California. The Northern Part.

 

 

Leaving Brookings, even though the heavy rains and winds and thunder had let up, it was still pretty damp. We had a good time tooling damply down the coast on 101, checked out Klamath Beach Rd, and went in to see the Stout Grove in Jedediah State Park

 

30198458474_64e147ffcb_z.jpg

30792116211_8bc2acbf94_z.jpg

30579445510_44ea9efc33_z.jpg

 

The road to Stout Grove, heading in from Crescent City, turns to gravel once you get into the park. With the recent heavy rains and wind the road almost wasn't gravel anymore though - it was pretty much covered by litter from the trees and looked red. We had so much fun riding it, after visiting the grove we rode it back the way we'd come in (and we are not really backtracking kind of folks most days).

 

As a result, the rig got a teensy bit gritty.

 

30713336312_df9b020a99_z.jpg

30713338522_1c768a9b6e_z.jpg

 

And while we were having said great time, we were also getting a bit chilly and damp, and opted for a swanky Motel 6 room in Arcata.

 

30792120861_827bc1640b_z.jpg

 

 

 

A friendly ADV inmate implied that maybe that wasn't the safest part of town (quote being something like: better make sure you take everything nice off the bike or someone else will!). When we arrived there was what appeared to be a group of semi-international street "kids" hanging out in the parking lot drinking beer and smoking, as well as a couple of old guys, also smoking and maybe drinking, sitting outside their rooms playing guitar and singing. As is usually the case when we park, the rig is universally loved among most any demographic (in Klamath, a woman very well and conservatively dressed said how lucky our son was to be getting this trip, followed less than a minute later by a young street punk let her guitar down long enough to throw up some devil horns and yell, you are some badass parents - totally bad-ass! - kind of great but at the same time sort of sad as I bet the two of them, though obviously some overlap in attitude, would be very unlikely to take the time to talk to each other), and I felt like we were in good hands.

 

 

The next morning dawned a bit drier. We headed back north a bit to get Jeremiah a stamp from Redwood National Park and see some more trees (they were still big, in case you were wondering). Being a bit less damp we braved camping that night.

 

30195096783_8e44813f4a_z.jpg

30713334572_451b6ce827_z.jpg

 

We also braved dinner in Trinidad - food was good at The Lighthouse Grill, and what you can't see in the picture - because I ate it too quickly - is my waffle-cone-mashed-potato-brisket-cheese-bacon-gravy dinner. My only quibble is that it needed to come in a three pack.

30793517276_7c220d63e9_z.jpg

 

 

The next morning was beautiful and just right for breakfast on the beach.

30830076365_9c7cfd0013_z.jpg

30579441640_e02d0351e2_z.jpg

 

Eddy likes to mug for the camera.

30793514886_3b563b1819_z.jpg

 

Culprit has other ideas.

30793513536_3f71a726f4_z.jpg

 

 

Heading south along the coast we continued to enjoy good weather and beautiful roads. Where we turned off 101 for 1, we just had to drive through a tree

30245212103_35a141b561_z.jpg

 

climb down the bluff to a secluded cove

30793511876_806fb6012a_z.jpg

 

and simply contemplate the vast beauty of the Pacific

30742294831_6efcd462e8_z.jpg

 

We were hoping to make it to a campground farther south, but having stopped for dinner in Ft. Bragg we found ourselves a bit fatigued fueling up and so stayed at the adjacent Motel 6. Jeremiah lucked out in that this was an older beach motel likely bought out by 6, so not only were the rooms large, but they also had a good sized indoor pool.

 

The next morning we took a quick adventure ride (by which I mean we had breakfast at Starbucks), and then headed on toward the the middle of CA.

Edited by szurszewski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

The Belly of the Beast

 

 

Which brings us to central Califonia. One stop we made was to see the jeweler who made our wedding rings back a couple of years ago, or whenever it was that we got married. His name is David Clarkson, and he's been the jeweler in Point Reyes Station for some years . There is of course a whole story as to how we ended up having someone in central CA make our rings when we were living in far western AK, but I'll save you the trouble of having to read that now. Sadly, Mr. Clarkson wasn't there the day we came though, but we did have the fun of getting the rig stuck on a sort of curb/gutter thing (my fault - as usual - shouldn't have pulled that far forward!). We also had the fun of shoving ourselves free, and then made it on to see this gentleman

 

30742285081_d94edcc690_z.jpg

 

Many of you probably know Thor - or Traveler1 as he is here - because he sure does seem to get around. He kindly sent us an invitation through the board, and we were happy to take him up on it. His hospitality started by insisting that our rig take his car's spot in the garage (which made a fun spectacle for the neighbors when I had to back the beast out of there and onto the street) and continued through our stay. We'd already made plans to have dinner with RT Russ the following night or we would have taken further advantage of Thor - he seems fairly quiet but has a ton of great travel/work experiences to talk about.

 

After everyone else was in bed for the night I headed out to the garage to poke around at the rig. We were having an issue with the rear brakes (there really weren't any), the rig had developed an occasional clunk that seemed to coincide with potholes and some severe dips on the road, and the front fenders were both being rubbed by the new front tire. For some reason, maybe I figured I was too tired to deal with anything important, I dug into the front fender.

 

I had already modified the mounts a bit by drilling out the holes on the mounting tabs so I could flip the body nuts around, but the left side was still shaving a bit of rubber (the right side seemed to clear just fine)

 

30742290641_25ba5c62a8_z.jpg

 

and the front front fender was starting to show a little wear

 

30195085593_be342ac01c_z.jpg

 

Not having the mental capacity left to do much about that at the time, I checked the rig over for loose bits in the front end and the center and side stands and the swingarm. Concluding that there probably wasn't anything wrong there that might kill us, I cleaned up went to bed.

 

The next day we drove back from Fairax to Point Reyes Station to say hi to Mr. Clarkson and get our rings shined up, and then made a few crtical stops on our way back to Fairfield to see Russ and Peggy.

 

30195083743_27fd8076d3_z.jpg

 

 

One thing I've realized in updating this post, and the other posts, is that I don't take nearly enough pictures of important stuff. And by important stuff, I mean people. Which is to say, while we had a great time with Peggy and Russ (Jeremiah particularly had a good time with Peggy as he found in her a fellow game player and avid National Parks fan), and even got to see Richard and Jacqueline (I suspect they were lured in by the promise of a deliciously grilled by Russ meal...). Do I have pictures of ANY of that? No.

 

Russ and I (especially I) spent some time in the garage though, and I do have pictures of that. We worked out some simple brakcets

 

30195082503_3497f7fb41_z.jpg

 

that moved the fender up a bit so at least the front front fender now fully clears the tire

 

30742279281_c8e7186240_z.jpg

 

thought it did reduce the clearance here

 

30742273181_79611f2b6b_z.jpg

 

All in all, I think it's a good trade. We have some new shocks being built in Holland just now, which will soon hopefully be making their way through Ted Porter to us, and I'll be installing a Steer Lite kit from Hannigan when the shocks go on. Depending on what that all does to the front, I'll adjust the brackets if necessary.

 

Speaking of Ted Porter, I called him up and ordered some new brake lines when we started having issues coming down HWY 1 (ordered the shocks then as well) and he was kind enough to take them to the post office that afternoon (Thursday) and ship them Priority to Russ's house (I suggested USPS since otherwise to get delivery on possibly Saturday it would have been quite spendy - as it was, the lines beat us to Russ's house on Friday). I can't remember if I started Friday night or Saturday early in the morning, but at some point I pulled the car off the rig thinking I'd be pulling the right side panels to replace the brake lines. Before I got that far, I figured out that the brake problem and the thunk were both directly related to the suspiciously missing rear caliper bolt! Russ happened to have a bolt that would fit, once cut down, and we were supposed to go meet some cousins for lunch, so I just put the thing back together and called it good.

 

Here are said cousins:

 

30253404114_738ce68f5f_z.jpg

30796922971_4c62fd02e7_z.jpg

30885364055_f90b3f2830_z.jpg

 

Russ and Peggy had another engagement to attend that evening (I'm sure they had lots of things they could have been doing other than feeding us and such, having just returned themselves from a few weeks abroad), so we were left to our own devices. Being that it was a beautiful night,

30195080973_56ee770539_z.jpg

 

I decided I'd ignore my family and spend some time in the driveway putting those lines on after all. That lasted about twenty minutes until the mosquitoes found me, at which point I shoved the rig back into the garage and got to work. That was about 1830; round about 0330 the following morning, thanks largely to this dog's assistance

30742269231_67c91f0730_z.jpg

and the coffee candies thoughtfully included by Mr. Porter, we had new brake lines.

 

The next morning we said our goodbyes (ok, maybe it wasn't morning - but do remember some of us were up until 4am!), and headed out.

 

30793627406_fe150bb492_z.jpg

 

Our first stop was just around the corner at a Little Free Library. Jeremiah had a book to drop off, and he picked out a new one on mummies (which is our current night time reading this week). After that it was off to The Paris of the West (seriously - look it up). My hope had been to leave Fairfield early enough to cross the Golden Gate between 10 and 11, do a few things in The City (seriously, look it up), and then be headed out of Baghdad by the Bay (seriously, look it up), but - and again I take the blame for this one, though I was up about the same time as everyone else - as it happened we rolled across the bridge closer to 1pm. Also my blasted Sena shut it's camera off 1/4 mile before the bridge. I don't take many pics or videos, but I was looking forward to one of the bridge. In what I see as a hugely fortuitous coincidence, an ADV inmate and Hacks forum regular happened to be crossing at the same time. He didn't know who we were, but he took a pic and posted it on ADV and someone else directed him to our thread there, and by the time I checked our thread that night, I found this:

 

30769439682_0f055e9347_z.jpg

 

Laura wanted to do EVERYTHING in San Francisco, but it was well beyond our budget to spend a night there. Even so, we managed to do a lot:

Fancy Bakery?

check

Dolores Park?

check?

Random Neighborhood Architecture Wander?

check

China Town?

check

Walk Big Hills/See Lombard St.?

check

Trolley?

check

Fisherman's Wharf?

check

Ghiradelli Square?

check

Pay a Ton for Parking?

check.

 

30195079813_71ccf102ce_z.jpg

30742263411_815fbf490a_z.jpg

 

All that done, and the weather turning cool, we headed out through San Jose and made it maybe as far as ... Gilroy? does that make sense? before succumbing to the twin allures of Denny's and Motel 6. (Weird moment in the parking lot where we realized our kid is not growing up the same life we that we did: Originally we'd agreed on a Korean BBQ found on Yelp! which Jeremiah said sounded great; arriving we find the BBQ just closed {thanks a lot lying "open now" filter!} and say, sorry Jeremiah - how about Denny's instead. To which he replied, What's a Denny's?)

 

No pictures from his first Denny's, but I do have a picture of an amazing amount of stuff piled on a luggage cart. You haul this much crap on moto trips, right?

 

30529119180_b61c1d6f05_z.jpg

 

I know there's a whole debate on this, but I'm calling everything after this Southern California (Part 1).

Edited by szurszewski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

SoCal?

 

From that place that might have been Gilroy, we were headed to Bakersfield. Apart from being an iconic adventure touring destination, we'd made arrangments to sign the closing papers for our house there. My plan was to enjoy the back roads, check out Pinnacles National Park, and still arrive in Bakersfield relatively early. Maybe even early enough to get the wonky screen (the digitizer had started decided I was touching the screen even when I wasn't - usually just amusingly annoying, but downright frustrating when using the phone for navigation).

 

Since that seemed to be such a great plan, for various reasons we decided to not get out of town until well after noon. But wait, I thought, we could probably still make it to Bakersfield at a reasonable hour without having to rush, I'd better do something! So, I ran out of gas.

 

30256446214_836e73d7a0_z.jpg

 

in the middle of this intersection

 

30587226580_0d08505b39_z.jpg

 

Did you notice the Corbin factory in the background of the first picture? I didn't either until I rode past it riding in this fine gentleman's truck

 

30742259461_078992d46e_z.jpg

 

Not only did David save me a 2.5 mile walk to the gas station, he also insisted on driving me back. Pretty great. But wait - there's more. My phone started to ring while we were riding to the station; I took it out of my pocket to put it on silent, and I set it down on the seat. Can you see where this is going? Once back to the rig, gas in tank, all suited back up, I go to take a picture...no phone. Crap. I try calling my phone but no answer; I send a text with Laura's number so he can see it on the lock screen, and I look up the location on Laura's phone. I figure we can get gas and then track him down, and off we go. About a mile down the road Laura whaps me on the shoulder, yells "Look!" and points left. There's David driving back toward us, headlights flashing, arm waving out the window. And that's how I got my phone back. :)

 

We did end up seeing some of Pinnacles NP, and we did get to Bakersfield, and on the way we had a good meal at a diner in Coalinga, and we even met a guy from Alaska who was touring around and had a nice chat, but David was definitely the highlight of my day.

 

Our signing got moved from 10am to 11:30, so I ran over to a weirdly not abandoned but it sure looked that way from the outside mall to drop off my phone, and then we hustled over to the title company for the signing. I haven't participated in many such affairs, but this one seemed weird - we were in an office of the same company handling the title transaction in Portalnd, but they had some mobile notary come in. She started off by complaining about how hard it was to find the office and went on seeming put off about being there. Also, she loaned me a pen, and for future reference you really shouldn't loan me pens. I tend to put them in my mouth. Oops. But in the end, it was done.

 

30772322522_ef87955e9e_z.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Welcome to the Desert

 

 

I am NOT a heat person. I am not a dry person. I grew up on Puget Sound and camped a lot in the Olympics. I don't remember a camping trip that didn't involve a lot of blue tarps. When I was 19 I moved to someplace where it rains three times as much, is only clear about 50 days a year, and is really dark a lot. I was perfectly happy there. As such, deserts have always seemed interesting to me in the same way spiders have; they are cool and mysterious and kind of freak me out because, I don't know, they might kill me.

 

So I was pretty excited to be heading into Death Valley for the first time in my life (hey wait - don't deserts have REALLY BIG SPIDERS IN THEM?!?!?!?!). Cruising out of Bakersfield we had sites set on Red Rock Canyon Campground in the similary named California State Park. A stop in Tehachapi found a good burger spot and a very large and interesting German bakery. Even being smart enough to go AFTER we ate dinner, we still came out with a large coffee cake and some other things, having intended only to pick up a loaf of bread.

 

Jeremiah, a very literal kid, buck's the trend at The Burger Spot (<-- actual name since 1956)

30588967080_f88f5f978b_z.jpg

 

Sun of a son at the German Bakery

30774144812_fb02c9b8fb_z.jpg

 

After dinner we drive out into the desert. The temps are feeling pretty good, but it's still warm. We have a map of California and we know how to use maps, we even have maybe three compases with us, but we are also lazy and "Maps" on my phone is pretty darn easy to follow. No worries about picking the best route here because there is only one way to get to the campground (well, unless we want to go back to Bakersfield and then far enough north to go through the Sierras and come down 395 or whatever). Five or so miles before the park the road forks. Maps says go right and I oblige. Then Maps says turn left in whatever. There is nothing to our left. Not true; there is a large, monolithic red rock to our left. There is no road. Maps wants me to turn around and then turn right, into the desert and toward the rock. The rock is red. I consider it. I also consider that Maps may be trying to kill me. Perhaps my phone feels the screen replacement earlier was some sort of violation and is seeking revenge. Pulling over and looking at the actual map on Maps it is clear that we should have stayed left, and that the actual road to the actual state park and campground is directly on the other side of the large, red rock. I suppose in a non topographical way the directions were accurate.

 

When we do make it to the campground it is self check-in and we are in a short line behind two trucks pulling 5th wheel trailers. We wait, we take pictures, they leave, we pick up the check in slip but decide to drive the park before committing to a site. There are a few loops, there are almost no campers, the roads are fairly narrow and gravel and all one-way. We come up behind the two fifth wheel trailers. Their people are off checking out a couple of sites. The trucks and trailers are parked squarely in the middle of the road, but there is almost room to sneak around on the downhill/left side. I stop. I turn off the bike. I am patient. The people walk slowly back sort of toward their rigs, pausing to talk about where they want to park. I say hello. They say, can you pull over there? I want to back up where you are. Pulling over and having someone back a large vehicle past my small, and not very nimble, can't really back up, easily crushable and containing my family vehicle seems like something I would not enjoy. I say, oh no worries - if you just pull forward like five feet I'll just go around you. No - I want to back up; you can just pull over there. I say something ass-hat ish like, thanks anyway, and start the bike and cut through a site onto the wrong way of a loop. Laura apparenlty couldn't hear this and wonders why I'm acting like an ass. I repeat their part of the conversation, she says, they wanted US to move out of THEIR way?

 

And in the end we get to camp with this impressive background.

30529114970_23cdaabd0e_z.jpg

 

And we get this fantastic view.

30742255541_3dc9982c4f_z.jpg

 

And we walk the campground after dark and marvel at the stars and try to remember constelations and I pick out Venus and no one believes me until I get out the sky guide on my phone. Ha. And I wish I had a real camera. In the morning we eat an entire coffee cake with no problem and I make Laura some hot tea because it's cold. The sunrise is amazing.

 

Before we break camp, Jeremiah sketches the rocks to our west. He'd like to have about ten more shades of beige-y yellow-y brown, but I think he does ok with what he's got.

 

30529103480_2a6342fa4f_z.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Seconds, Please

 

30742243071_1c85c86f4e_z.jpg

 

We spent two days in Death Valley arriving at the Stovepipe Wells area an hour or two before sunset. It was 90 degrees. We met a couple touring with their motorcycle as well; I didn't see the bike because it was on a trailer and under a cover, but I'm guessing it was a Harley. They seemed nice and we chatted for awhile before turning around and heading back to the free Emigrant Camp - not because it was free but because it was 2000' higher and we assumed would be cooler, and it was.

 

Someday this boy will model moto gear

30195060743_a6042ec91d_z.jpg

 

30830015635_c8fbe61746_z.jpg

 

30830004905_cf52a01c2a_z.jpg

 

My mom tried to give us a TON of stuff before we left. We managed to get away without most of it, but we did take her up on a hammock (she wanted a lounging one for all of us, but we talked her into a Scout hammock for Jeremiah to sleep, which he loves), and some candy, and two sets of these lights. I thought they were just gimmicky camp lights - there is this colored set and a white set - and they kind of are, but they were small and light and I didn't want to see my mom cry more than necessary, so we took them. They have actually turned out to be pretty useful. We didn't bring a lantern, and strining the white strand up serves that purpose well - you can even read by them. The colored ones go in Jeremiah's tent when it's up - makes it easy for him to see inside or find his way back in the dark, and they look kind of cool. Thanks mom.

 

30793475586_9df25c356c_z.jpg

 

Our second day we started at the acutal Stovepipe Wells site, which was very simple but beautiful in its way, and oddly down an unmarked gravel road. Oh, and I got the rig stuck again. It's actually stuck in this picture, can you tell? I couldn't when I took it.

 

30830002315_d8e6858e2c_z.jpg

 

Poor Laura who is not really comofortable piloting the rig volunteered to drive back to the main road, but stalled the bike a couple times trying to get started. More gas, less clutch, says her husband. She stall several more times. I take over. I stall - I give it a LOT of gas. It doesn't stall but it also doesn't move. Oh. Sorry honey - my fault. We get unstuck, we start to leave, the road is narrow and Laura pulls to the side - too far - for an oncoming car. We are stuck again. Finally she gets to drive it back to the road and a ways down it. She does great of course.

 

After that we do touristy things like go to Furnace Creek and Badwater Basin where we meet some very nice folks from Pennsylvania. The are riding rented Harleys from Vegas and having a good time.

 

30793472016_6eafc9ac70_z.jpg

 

It's getting hot and we can't really take the dogs anywhere but the parking lots, so we head down the road past a number of coyote and keep going until we start to get up in the hills. At a snack stop with no shade but a little bit of a breeze I see that we have lost the cap from one of the trailer wheel hubs. Not having much of an option, I come up with this.

 

30793469846_1372ec1b3c_z.jpg

 

The cap that will now likely live out a very long life in the desert had been acting squirrley anyway and letting out some grease now and then. The duct tape and zip tie actually worked better all the way to Vegas and I couldn't see any wear even then, but I still replaced it with a new one (stolen, sort of, right off the floor model at a Harbor Freight).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Eighteen Hours in the Meadows

 

30595486480_bf70c6014f_z.jpg

 

I suppose we would have passed through Vegas in any case, but we hadn't planned to stay here...but, since we needed to find a cap for that hub (it turns out it's a weird/metric size and neither the huge trailer supply place in Vegas nor Harbor Freight sell a replacement for it), and since I broke the chinbar latch on my helmet, also in Death Valley, we decided to have a shopping day there. Since we were there, we considered staying a second day to play around and see some of the off the strip things, but since we arrived on Thursday that would have meant a steep increase in the room rate (more than double, most places) for the second night.

 

Here's what we did in Vegas:

 

In the morning I drove all over looking for a cap - finally found one at Harbor Freight, but I had to get them to take it off the floor model - and Laura and Jeremiah did something a bit more relaxing.

30265190594_4cae5d9d40_z.jpg

 

For some reason they didn't want to go watch me helmet shop,

30793467676_12663e462d_z.jpg

 

so they walked the strip instead.

30265195184_85d21564a6_z.jpg

 

We met at this swank parking garage

30265192424_da1cd6c5e1_z.jpg

 

and had lunch at Smashburger (really quite good) in Henderson (where we also stocked up on dog food and some other pet supplies).

30793465296_de3064853f_z.jpg

 

And that was Vegas.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Intermission

 

 

We, Jeremiah and the pups and I, have been sponging off of Louise and Larry's hospitality here in Salida a few days, and I'd hoped to get this all caught up (along with my other two online things, my paper log, and some other financial stuff....and....and...)

 

But, as it happens, the beer and Milkbones are running low, the bikes in the garage are all out of gas, the garbage and dog hair are piling up and the neighbors have started complaing about the noise, which probably means it's time to go (also, we're supposed to be in Oklahoma in a couple of days for a birthday party).

 

Culprit looks particularly despondent at the idea of our departure, but the time has come.

 

30860714026_c689d0e7ae_z.jpg

 

Really, the time has come and gone - we were going to leave by 0800. However, when I checked the temp this am it was only 26F, and that's a bit chilly for the gear we have (and for the dogs who essentially have no gear with them), so we're having a slow breakfast as the temps climb - looks like it's pushing 40 now at 0830 so I think we'll be on the road at 9.

 

I'll see if I can get a bit more done tonight in Amaraillo.

josh

 

 

also, I'm a terrible speller and have somehow turned off both Grammarly and the imbedded spell check, so my apologies for any weirdness

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy Dave

BRAVO!!! Enjoying your adventure - thank you for taking the time to take us along. Wonderful update!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ESokoloff
SoCal?

 

From that place that might have been Gilroy,

 

 

 

30256446214_836e73d7a0_z.jpg

 

...........

 

Did you notice the Corbin factory in the background of the first picture? I didn't either

..........

This is Hollister and never mind Corbin, the main attraction was across the street at my cousin Dick (Swank)'s establishment http://www.swankfarms.com/

 

Hope your good "Bikema" continues :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

That looks like a pretty sweet farm - if only we'd known!

 

Next time I run out of gas there we will stop by for sure ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whip
Intermission

 

 

We, Jeremiah and the pups and I, have been sponging off of Louise and Larry's hospitality here in Salida a few days, and I'd hoped to get this all caught up (along with my other two online things, my paper log, and some other financial stuff....and....and...)

 

But, as it happens, the beer and Milkbones are running low, the bikes in the garage are all out of gas, the garbage and dog hair are piling up and the neighbors have started complaing about the noise, which probably means it's time to go (also, we're supposed to be in Oklahoma in a couple of days for a birthday party).

 

Culprit looks particularly despondent at the idea of our departure, but the time has come.

 

30860714026_c689d0e7ae_z.jpg

 

Really, the time has come and gone - we were going to leave by 0800. However, when I checked the temp this am it was only 26F, and that's a bit chilly for the gear we have (and for the dogs who essentially have no gear with them), so we're having a slow breakfast as the temps climb - looks like it's pushing 40 now at 0830 so I think we'll be on the road at 9.

 

I'll see if I can get a bit more done tonight in Amaraillo.

josh

 

 

also, I'm a terrible speller and have somehow turned off both Grammarly and the imbedded spell check, so my apologies for any weirdness

 

Relax...I will be there Saturday and we can have some real fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy Dave
Intermission

 

 

Culprit looks particularly despondent at the idea of our departure, but the time has come.

 

30860714026_c689d0e7ae_z.jpg

 

 

I'll see if I can get a bit more done tonight in Amaraillo.

josh

 

 

 

Relax...I will be there Saturday and we can have some real fun!

 

Looks like Culprit is on the lookout for you Whip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski
Intermission

 

 

We, Jeremiah and the pups and I, have been sponging off of Louise and Larry's hospitality here in Salida a few days, and I'd hoped to get this all caught up (along with my other two online things, my paper log, and some other financial stuff....and....and...)

 

But, as it happens, the beer and Milkbones are running low, the bikes in the garage are all out of gas, the garbage and dog hair are piling up and the neighbors have started complaing about the noise, which probably means it's time to go (also, we're supposed to be in Oklahoma in a couple of days for a birthday party).

 

Culprit looks particularly despondent at the idea of our departure, but the time has come.

 

30860714026_c689d0e7ae_z.jpg

 

Really, the time has come and gone - we were going to leave by 0800. However, when I checked the temp this am it was only 26F, and that's a bit chilly for the gear we have (and for the dogs who essentially have no gear with them), so we're having a slow breakfast as the temps climb - looks like it's pushing 40 now at 0830 so I think we'll be on the road at 9.

 

I'll see if I can get a bit more done tonight in Amaraillo.

josh

 

 

also, I'm a terrible speller and have somehow turned off both Grammarly and the imbedded spell check, so my apologies for any weirdness

 

Relax...I will be there Saturday and we can have some real fun!

 

That sounds great but unfortunately we have an engagement to attend in Altus this weekend, and we are already in Amarillo. We will have to come back when you and Louise will be home. (But based on the 26F temp at your house this morning I'm wondering if we will be able to do that this year...)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
szurszewski

Now let's see, where was I? Oh yes - Onward to the Canyon!

 

Since we didn't want to stay in Las Vegas another night, and since we didn't know where we were going to stay, we of course went somewhere we couldn't stay:

 

30793462816_b795d1f06a_z.jpg

 

We had a good time walking around on the dam and making dam jokes and what not, and then after they kicked all the pedestrians off we had a good time taking pictures from the parking area (I got at least one better one of the sunset, but it's being elusive right now - oh wait, here it is:)

 

30908037375_18512c2831_z.jpg

 

 

After that got old - often, between the three of us, we've the attention span of a pixi-sticked park squirrel - we decided we'd stay in Kingman, AZ and ride a bit of historic 66 the next day. Some folks when settled in for a night in an iconic town on the mother road would venture out to see what's what. We did laundry.

 

30780596092_4f060691e3_z.jpg

 

Well, really Laura did laundry - I was banned for various reaons from laundry duty some time ago, which is pretty nice at times like this; so I did something even more exciting and fell alseep.

 

When I woke up, the sky looked like this

 

30896680645_7f625e96dc_z.jpg

 

and I puttered around the room making excessive noise (a technique learned from my father) until I'd woken up the rest of the group. We did follow Route 66, which sort of arcs above the interstante for a little less than a hundred miles (Route 66 motto: get where you're going slower, and maybe get to see stuff - perfect for us), and we found this place

 

Grand Canyon Caverns

30860736906_cb31f3851a_z.jpg

 

primarily, it features this elevator, of which they give guided tours

 

30860742546_caa0768dee_z.jpg

 

to occupy your time waiting for the return trip up the elevator, there is some stuff to look at like this bedroom suite which you can rent for only $800 per night (for two - additional person up to six at $100 pp)

 

30860740446_48140023d8_z.jpg

 

The caverns were pretty neat, and once we got our tour guide - who looked to me like she was fifteen but I assume is slightly older since she said she's getting married, in the caverns, in the spring - off script and no longer sounding like a robot she had some really intersting things to say. Like, remember that Mummies book Jeremiah picked up by Russ and Peggy's house? There's a mumified bobcat on the tour, and Jeremiah started telling Aspen (sp? sorry if I'm wrong, tour guide) about it. She said, you like mummies? Ok - come over here - and took us off route around some barriers and into this weird nook to show Jeremiah a tiny mummified lizard she'd just found a few days ago. Pretty neat.

 

One of the other folks in our tour group (including us, five folks total) asked if there was any way out of the cavern, other than the elevator-going-up-tour, and Aspen said there was also a fire escape stair/ladder job in the shaft, apparently from a torn down New York City apartment building, and that we could go back up the 22 stories that way if we wanted. Jeremiah and I both said, OK!, but apparently she was kidding. *sad face*

 

We stopped one more time on the way to The Canyon for groceries and so Jeremiah could take this goofy pic of us

 

30793627256_398954b788_z.jpg

 

Once set up at our site in Mather Campground (which is HUGE but pretty nice and really quiet by "quiet hours"), I retaliated by taking this

 

30860733206_d82344b2c0_z.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×