First out of country experience. 7500 km in 14 days

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  • #13523
        • Junior Member
        • Posts: 18

      So, my lady and I had the bright idea to have a "Vacation" by doing a 7500 km round trip to san diego and back over the course of 2 weeks.
      This is not a vacation
      Rained from Edmonton to lethbridge when we took off promptly after work at 5 pm om the 30th of june. day 1=not pleasant
      day 2 was 1100 km to lava hot springs, where although I do find myself enjoying 80 MPH speed zones, I still could not get to the destination before the natural hot tubs closed for the night. there as also more rain.
      day 3… I did not like this day too much. Started out pleasant with a small town Idaho breakfast and a lot of green scenery. then we hit the Utah border and everything turned to very hot asphalt with the biggest freeway I have ever seen up to that point. I couldn't believe the heat. I started complaining about the desert like temps.
      Then we hit the desert…
      WOW! bikes break down when things get toasty. I got a little panicked as I coasted in neutral down inside a roasting canyon for about a half hour. that was probably the scariest moment of my life! luckily I have done enough research on this machine to identify the problem. the MAP sensor has a tube to feed it air out of the throttlebodies, which had become so malleable in extreme heat that they slid off and made the bike stall at highway speed. Waited with a 3 liter camelback until 9 at night when things got back down to a comfortable 35 degree celcius. I also found out that I can throw tools quite far in the desert when I get stressed. Made it to mesquite, Nevada though.
      day 4 didn't want to even tempt fate out here, so we left with 4 hours sleep at 3 am to beat the sun. Even in pitch black, I couldn't wear my armoured jacket. of to the next destination in a t shirt before dawn.
      The air is dry in Nevada. It stripped all the moisture out of me. I could feel my throat swelling, my skin cracking, the moisturizing sunscreen drying up to the point that we were stopping every hour to reapply.
      AT 430 am, vegas, the city that never sleeps, was pretty quiet. things started looking up as we got farther away. Moisture in the air, and occasional cool breeze.
      Then we saw the sun in the rear view! Nevada sun is tremendous! I would have never imagined that the same ball of gas that we get in alberta could be so massive in size down here. we were frightened and started to go a little faster through the Mojave to get to some greener land.
      We were ready to throw in the towel if the desert went on for another hour, but it was like we rode through some magical invisible wall and things got far more comfortable. in a span of 20 minutes we went from dry and hot to a valley with trees, then bodies of water started showing. we were coming up on LA.
      One day later, and I now saw an even bigger freeway. 6 lanes wide, and everybody trying to escape for the long weekend. It was stop and go all the way to san diego. We made it safely, but exhaustion set in doing 3000km on only 12 hours of sleep.
      Day 5
      I am not looking at the triumph today. Me and the missus will walk to the zoo. lots of cool stuff, but not bike related. feeding a hippo was amazing
      Day 6 (today) we are ready for the main body of this trip. The entire pacific coastal highway from basically mexico all the way to BC.
      the west side of LA has yet an even larger freeway. SEVEN LANES! a rural boy like myself felt a touch of anxiety with that much traffic. It was really neat though with the salty fog. hands were sticky and a little swollen just from the air. Malibu I find is a little overrated as soon as you pull in to the next county, ventura. Ventura as absolutely stunning with windy roads between 2 canyon walls, the one on the left periodically slipping away to show the waves slamming into the rocky shoreline and making 20 foot tall geysers. after ventura, we made our way through santa barbera and back onto the 101. hooked off onto the 1 into Lompoc and the rolling hills there are definitely worth a ride.
      I know that a lot of this update sounds negative, but this has turned from a neat and fun Idea into a true test of my physical limits. I urge anybody that wants to do a desert ride to think carefully about it. I thought I was prepared and it still beat me pretty bad. I want to scare people so they don't end up severely hurting themselves. I had a lot of very lucky steps as far as time of day, vacant hotels from being a weekday, research on the thunderbird to fix a problem that you would normally have to pull the full tank off to fix, ect…
      It could have been very bad.
      This is an experience that I will always remember, and it is a way for me to be humbled by the sheer power that mother nature can hold. I advise anybody that wants to do the PCH to go about it by planning the trip to stay out of the Mojave and death valley in the month of july. I am glad that I didn't decide to go in august when its even worse

          • Senior Contributor
          • Posts: 1523

        Holy crap!
        Message I got…stay away from the dessert in the summer!
        PCH I will be riding that one someday for sure!

            • Junior Member
            • Posts: 18

          If you ever want to do it from the Golden Gate Bridge northbound, I would go back in a heartbeat. It took us 5 hours to do 200 highway kilometres because of how tight the road was. I swear I need new rear brakes! The thunderbird was really heavy for that kind of cornering, and the better half would walk away from me on her 100+ pound less victory. Absolutely breathtaking from San Francisco to the redwood forest. We had warnings from many locals to not go past Astoria though. The highway turns to logging roads and many a tire puncture happens up there.
          We stayed in a hippie commune in odema that was quite odd. You’re on the ocean, but yet are going to plant a wall of trees to never see it? I don’t understand. Need to make a trip back to see the “avenue of the giants”. Kinda twisted the throttle a bit to make our hotel and never got to explore.
          Skipping some steps here, but the most memorable place was gorda, where we had the best cheesecake OF MY LIFE on a patio close enough that we were whale watching over dessert. The mood was broken when the neighbourhood seagull that the locals named moe dive bombed my half empty plate and sent chairs to the ground. Also a giant seal was singing us lullabies from a cliff down below the cliff.
          Back to the redwoods. Around crescent city, there is a botanical area that is so high in elevation that it is basically a rainforest in the clouds. Magical!
          Drop out of the high shoreline and enter Oregon where the welcome centre treated us like VIPs after hearing the apparent accents and seeing the plates. Got a few gold beach bumper stickers and patches for free too. I want to go explore Oregon more. People are so friendly and it looks like an extremely well kept kaninaskis country. Found a “performance scooter”garage outside of Portland and would rent a few if I ever took 4 wheels down there. Culture shock between the east and west side of the cascades in that state too. On to Washington where things got stupid windy. Leaning so hard into the wind where I could barely follow the road bearing left.
          Stopped in tri cities for the night where the restaurant/bar had what seemed to be the cool kids from a nearby retirement home out for karaoke. They were so much fun. Didn’t stay in that state for more than a night though. Back into Idaho and off to the Canadian border in one day. On the way, I tried to convince my lady to stop at silver wood theme park becaus of the giant wooden roller coaster we had seen from the highway. After pulling over and trying to convince her, she was winning the debate on making the hotel by nightfall. Then a bee stung me and it was 2 against one. Yay canada border!
          The border patrol don’t really share the same enthusiasm as me when I tell them I have nothing to declare and decided to drive to the San Diego zoo “just because”… Got grilled for 20 minutes, but let me go with no searches. Why would she ask if not really interested? I was getting more and more proud of my cross country journey, and everybody else that asked was a lot more receptive.
          Anyways, yahk BC. Rolled 10000km on my new bike. Stopped in cranbrook for the night where some “domestic” riders snubbed my British bike but were ok with my lady’s domestic. It wasn’t worth the battle or debate at this point. Even though the triumph is scuffed, scraped, zip tied, sandblasted, taped down, hit gravel on her side, ect. She is my bike and I love her. She has served me well and will be my companion on a lot longer hauls. Not the best reception when I got to my own country, and left a little bit of resentment for a minute, but then again, what do I care what people think. I have every right to be proud of my journey. I have decided that there is a difference between a stereotypical biker and an “enthusiast”, and I consider myself the latter. Who cares what machine you’re on. They are all capable and puts a smile on the owners face. If anybody stops me at a coffee shop, I want to hear about your adventures, not your displacement. This trip has humbled me from thinking my machine is the most amazing one on the planet, and has opened my eyes on the capabilities of them. Safe journeys to everybody here.

              • Senior Contributor
              • Posts: 1523

            Totally agree…all bikes put wind in your face…brand doesn’t matter!
            Sounds like an awesome trip and I’m jealous!

                • Full Member
                • Posts: 57

              Good story, thanks. If I ever decide to ride to vegas (I want to one day) ill plan for may or september.

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