Friday, January 29, 2010

Fast and Furious

I out together this little movie of us riding through the mountains of northern baja. This is from Rosario to Bahia del Los Angeles. Some great riding (if not a bit straight) through amazing scenery. There is vegetation that appears no where else in the world.
Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Long live the Baja

For me, crossing from Interstate 5 into Mexico is like landing in the middle of the Hang Dong road (those of you in Thailand will know what I mean- those of you not, just picture a crazy highway with people and businesses everywhere and generally in a run down state), straddling my motorcycle, with no plane ride attached. It was wonderful!

The roads were a little more run down. There are very few warning signs for closed lanes. There is a guy pushing a fruit cart the wrong direction down the freeway. The concept of a lane is only that, a concept. In short, one has to take responsibility for one's own life.

With excitement and my heart pounding, we passed "the last US exit" and then we were at the border. We pulled off to get the paperwork taken care of expecting a long line and chaos. However, we parked our bikes in an empty covered lot right next to a series of windows. One for money change. One for immigration. One for the bank (apparently they don't trust the immigration officials to take money for the visa fee). We filled out the paperwork, payed the 20 dollars for the 180 day visa and exchanged cash. In about 20 minutes total, we were back on the road. Very efficient.


We found our way to the 1D, a toll road which winds along the coast of the Baja for a 100km down to Ensenada. From what we had heard, most of the drug related bad stuff that has been happening has happened between Tijuana (the border) and Ensenada. The toll road was empty and a bit expensive (9 dollars per bike) and actually pretty fun to drive. It ends in Ensenada, I called my mom to tell he we were ok, and then we were on the 1. Surprisingly, there was very, very little traffic. I had always heard about lots of trucks and craziness on this road but that was not the case. In about 70 more km, right before the town of San Vicente, we found out why.

We round a corner to a long line of stopped traffic on the road. After waiting for about 5 minutes with no progress, I got off the bike and walked forward a little to see what was going on. I saw a high bridge with a bunch of bulldozers and such pushing lots of dirt around. Yep, the far bank of the bridge had washed out during the last round of storms. As an aside, the baja is very very green right now. Quite lovely.

No problem with the washed out bridge. A track had been cut down to the river and those feeling bold enough were driving across it. I thought back to my experiences crossing rivers in thailand and smiled a bit. It is pretty fun as long as you don't fall off the bike. And even if you do, there are a lot of people around to help you get your bike if it starts washing down the river. On top of that, Irmtraube and Gigi are built for this kind of stuff. The air intake is situated high up on the bike with a large airbox to help separate out any water coming into it.
I tried to video the crossing, but the chest mount for the camera pretty much just takes video of my tank bag and me smashing into it. Next time, I will put it on the handlebars.

With encouragement from the 50 or so people hanging around to watch the fun Megan and I crossed the river with very little incident. For a short time, Megan thought she was floating down the river, but she wasn't. We punched up the deep mud on the far bank with whoops and hollers.
After some great lunch in San Vicente of a torta (sandwich) with carne asada (steak) we set off down the empty road yet again.

After a few more mildly washed out sections we hit another major wash out. This time, the river bed was very sandy (which is not very good for two wheeled vehicles). We scratched our heads in the chaos for a while. Incidentally, riding in sand is not only hard, but you can't actually get off your bikes, because the kickstand doesn't work at all in the sand.

The head scratching didn't last long because with minutes a giant front-loader pulled up and offered to put our bikes in the bucket and drive them across. I politely declined that offer (next time I will probably use it). Instead some guys with a large pick-up said that for 5 bucks per bike, they could drive them across. I nodded and minutes later Irmtraube was lifted into the back of a large pickup and shuttled across. Megan came over on the next "ferry" ride. 10 dollars later and after some great conversation (with my very, very limited spanish) we were off again.

Another aside, this one is the last- i promise- we have these bluetooth communication devices in our helmets from Chatterbox.  It is pretty cool. As long as we are in eyeshot of each other, we can talk and the sound quality is quite good. So as I am waiting on the other bank of the river, I can talk to megan like she is right there.
We were planning in staying in San Quintin but San Quintin itself is not very nice. Nothing looked great but with our gas lights just on, we decided we would get gas and then find a place to stay. First gas station had a bunch of people sweeping the concrete, but no gas. Ok, we'll go a little further south. No gas at that Pemex station either (I think Pemex is the only gas station down here). Further south, no gas. We finally ask where perhaps we can get gas and the guy at the station says that there is gas about 10km south. 10 km south puts us out in the middle of nowhere and it is now 4:45. But we need gas, and we don't really want to stay in San Quintin. So drive south and spot the open gas station by the lines of cars waiting to get gas. 30 minutes later and about 5:30 pm we have full tanks.

Now what to do? We had said we wouldn't ride in the dark and we have about 30 minutes of twilight left. There is a blip on the map 45 km south of where we are called Rosario. It is a small town which is good for ambience, but the maps have so far been relatively inaccurate and it sure would suck to not anything there. We can camp and eat oatmeal for dinner but that doesn't sound like a great option either.
We punch it south riding vigilantly. Because of the wash outs there is no traffic which is nice (and hopefully no bandits either). We pull up to a military check point as it is starting to get really dark. We had heard bad stories about these things, but Megan talked to the young soldier and was ever surprised to see a woman driving a motorcycle at night in the baja. He waived us through with a huge smile and told us that Rosaria is not far away.
And here we are in Rosaria. It is a very cute town just before the 1 climbs into the mountains. We found this hotel which is like a mini resort. It is very well done with exposed wood beams, and giant stone shower and landscaped with stone and stucco. All for 30 dollars. A relative haven.

In short, the first day on the baja was fantastic. The people that we have met are so nice (I can't wait to speak more spanish) and the landscape down here is second to none. I look forward to more days of riding. Our plan (if we can find gas) is to ride to Bahia de los Angeles and spend a few days in this town on the Sea of Cortez. I'm not sure there is internet so perhaps no blog posts for a while but thanks for reading.

Viva la Baja!


View baja trip in a larger map

Sunday, January 24, 2010

at the border

As we sit in our hotel room in Chula Vista, CA preparing to get up super early and cross into Mexico I am feeling both anxious and quite excited.
Ever since planning the trip, we knew that it wouldn't really start until we cross into Mexico and become foreigners. Driving down the pacific coast has been amazing. We've had great times and met wonderful people along the way but as of yet, I haven't really entered into my challenge zone.
Let me explain what the model I am referring to.
In life, everything we do falls into one of three zones.
There is the comfort zone (green zone), challenge zone (yellow), and panic (red).
The comfort zone is where we spend most of our lives. Waking up in the morning and drinking coffee. Going out with friends. For me, most of the rock climbing I do is now in the comfort zone. It is a familiar place and is often a nice place to be.
The challenge zone is where we do things that may not be comfortable but we know we can handle. For me, getting shots at the doctor is in the challenge zone. Cold calling people on the telephone is also here. I have to think twice about it, but I know I can handle it. The challenge zone is also referred to as the growth zone since this is where we do most of our growing. For the educators out there, the is also the zone of proximal development.
Then there is the panic zone. It is too far outside of our comfort zone. For some, rappelling down a cliff is here. For me, batting a hornets nest definitely falls into the zone. It is very important to know where the line between the challenge and panic zone lies.

So touring down the coast on a bike has pretty much been in the comfort zone. Some of the weather has been challenging and that has been good (and the huge storms seemed to push us into the panic zone since we hunkered down to wait them out).
The political boundary between the US and Latin America also represents the psychological boundary between the comfort and challenge zone. I am excited to cross it and see how I respond. The key is to stay out of the panic zone. It will be interesting to find out where that boundary lies.

So off we go with giddiness in our hearts. I look forward to a month from now when I can look back at this moment and reflect on what caused anxiousness and what I knew nothing about. I'll let you know.

Marshall

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Megan's photos

Megan uploaded a bunch of photos to her smugmug site. We will keep adding them and I have added a link on the right to them.
Enjoy.
http://meganjepson.smugmug.com/Other/Bubbs-and-Bubs-Motorcycle/

Her general site (with photos from the last three years) is at:
http://meganjepson.smugmug.com

Jenny Fun! and Megan's Mom

We spent some great time in Ventura with our friend Jenny. A couple of years ago, Jenny was offered a dream job at Patagonia. She is a product manager (meaning designer) of the various action oriented items (running clothes, long underwear, boxers).

Jenny is also a Ultra-Marathon runner. Meaning she will go out and run 100 miles in a race. Her boyfriend, Scott Jurek, is also an ultra-marathoner and actually wins said races. Amazing! You can imagine I was intimidated when Jenny asked if I wanted to go running with her. But as she explains it, you just set out to go running and eventually you have gone 100 miles. We didn't run an ultra-marathon but we had a great 5 mile run through Ventura.

We had a great time hanging out with her in her place. She is a vegan so it pushed our limits of food, but it is very fun to cook and eat food that we wouldn't normally cook.

Thanks Jenny


Our Mom, Jan, (that feels weird to write that) and her partner, Ted, made the drive over from their home in Bakersfield to Ventura. We had a fun day of eating nostalgic food (Foster's Freeze Corn Burritos) and enjoying the surf. Ted is an avid surfer and is suffering from a soon to heal leg injury so he couldn't surf, but he showed us the spots. Both Ted and Jan grew up in Ventura so they have a great locals perspective.


Everyone Enjoy




Time flies when you do nothing


Q: How do you make time go by faster than the road runner on steroids?

A: Spend 5 day in Ventura during the lowest low pressure to hit Southern California in recorded history.


So we didn't do nothing, per se. We changed the fluids (brake lines, radiator, and oil). We installed a sealed battery which didn't quite fit into the battery cavity. We changed 3 out of 4 motorcycle tires on our bikes. We would have done the fourth, but for the life of us, we could not break the bead on the tire using the kickstand method. I finally got around to replacing some burnt out dashboard lights (which is not as easy as it sounds). We ran some errands getting ready to cross the border. We did study some Spanish, which was needed. And... well... we just sort of enjoyed some time in Rick and Eliane's house walking the dogs, cooking Risotto, watching movies, posting blogs while it rained and blew and lightninged outside. We were sure stoked to not be riding in that weather.


When it became clear that we couldn't break the bead in the last tire, we went down to RPM cycles in Ventura. This is a woman owned specialized motorcycle shop. It is the kind of place that isn't so much a shop, but a community center that also works on and sells bikes and parts.

There are 3 (or 4) cats roaming the floor, one old dog, and we met 3 fantastic people in the place: Jodi, Gary, and Erik. When they saw us coming, they promptly agreed to drop everything else, change Megan's tire, and hand balance all the others (I always thought they did this on a fancy computerized machine). They had the obscure lightbulbs that I needed right there in stock and browsing through their hand-picked selection of motorcycle gear I sure wanted to try it all out.

This place is great. We chatted for an hour + about all things motorcycle and non-motorcycle. Jodi is a successful motorcycle racer and her mega-positive attitude shows when talking to her. She showed us her bike who is a guy (I can't remember his name) because he has big balls. Normally, bikes are girls (and I agree) but her Aprilla has the sleek Italian grooming and powerful muscle beneath him that he can only be a guy.






Wednesday, January 20, 2010

About the girls

For those of you curious about our bikes, I think it is about time to write a bit about them.
To start, my bike (the red one) is named Irmtraube and is a 2001 BMW F650GS with about 9000 miles on it. I bought her back in 2008 with only 700 miles on her from a friend.
Megan's bike, Gigi Cavaliero, is a black 2009 BMW G650GS with about 5000 miles on her. We bought her new back in June from Ride West BMW in Seattle. The G is essentially the same as my F. Almost all the parts are the same.
Both bikes have ABS (antilock brakes), heated hand grips, and grip protectors.

Single Cylinder

In the motorcycle world they are what is referred to as a thumper. A thumper is a single cylinder motorcycle that because of having only one piston makes a thumping sound. Being german motorcycles, the sound is not a loud thump but rather a muffled diggida-diggida-diggida sound with a bit of low end bass.

The main advantage of a thumper, as I see it (and very well could be wrong), is that there is only one cylinder which translates to less maintenance. There are less parts to break and only one set of shims to adjust. People also say that it is lighter and has more low end torque (power when going slow) than bikes with more pistons. The lighter thing doesn't matter too much since we are loading it down with all our gear, but I suppose it could be nice if get the ladies stuck somewhere. The low end power will be nice on steep hills (they were great in San Francisco) and gunk.
The disadvantages of a thumper is that it can't go as fast (I don't care about that) and it is a much more vibraty which translates to shorter days of riding.

Why we got BMWs
BMW bikes are known the world over as some of the most technical bikes you can buy. They are generally owned by engineers and techie types. They cost about 30% more than other comparable bikes on the market, but the engine reliability more than makes up for it (in my opinion). Of course, parts cost more too, but hopefully we won't have to deal with that too much. From what I can tell, the main things that fail on our bikes are suspension, steering column bearings and possible a water pump. Beyond that we just have to do regular maintenance like changing the oil, keeping the chain very lubed, and just keeping an eye on nuts and bolts (literally).
Beyond the mechanical reasons to get a BMW, there is also the community reason. BMW riders are fanatical about their bikes. Anyone who has (or who ever has had) a BMW moto falls in love with them and wants to bond with other people who have them. We have experienced countless interactions with people who just want to chat because we have BMW motorcycles. Just the other day, we were on the street flushing the brake fluid through our bikes and a guy from Brazil and his kid were in the park playing with a fancy radio controlled car. They came up to us and asked us about our bike and the kid kept saying "I love BMWs." We shared our small allen wrenches with them and chatted about bikes for a while.  This happens a lot.

Modifications
I am not a big on customizing a bike. I just don't know what to do and don't particularly love doing major customization (I'm not a typical BMW rider in that sense). I trust that the bike was built well enough for the trip we are taking so I don't really feel like there is much to modify. In an ideal world, I would have sucked up the $1200/ bike for aftermarket Ohlins rear suspension, but I will wait for the current suspension to fail before I do that.

  • Front fork protectors from Touratech. To protect the exposed suspension from rock chips
  • Engine guards from Touratech (although we can only put the right one on megan's G650GS)
  • Aluminum Paniers- one set from Happy Trails, one set from Touratech
  • Metzeler Tourance Tires. High mileage (10,000 miles) 85% on tarmac, 15% off road tires.
  • AGM Maintenance free battery for my bike. I needed a new battery and I might as well get a maintenance free one.
And that is it. Maybe I will come to regret this, maybe not. I'll keep you posted.

Spare Parts
There is a balance one must take between being prepared and adventure (that is what we are calling it when things go wrong). I did a lot of research on f650.com and other sites about what to bring down and decided in the end to bring to bring good tools and some maintenance items, but beyond that rely on good old Fedex.

  • spare rear spocket and two front sprockets. (I left the chain at home since our chain is readily available worldwide.
  • 2 oil filters per bike with sump plug crush washers (these are hard to find).
  • 3 spark plugs (megan's bike has two, mine has one) and one cap for my bike
  • 1 air filter
  • spare crucial nuts and bolts (especially the subframe bolt).
  • Two sets of front and back brake pads. We need to be able to stop efficiently, now don't we.
Tools:
    • The standard BMW tool kit that came with my bike. 
    • Proxxon Engineers Socket set. This thing is sweet!
    • 13mm spanner, adjustable spanner (0-30mm)
    • 5mm and 8mm allen wrenches
    • Wire cutters, needle nose pliers, small vice-grips
    • Bolt for locking the engine when doing a valve shim check (could also act as a secret lock when leaving the bikes in sketchy places. Feelers for shims, Valve shims for both of the bikes.
    • pocket volt meter from radioshack
    • Spare fuses for both our bikes
    • gorilla tape, various gauges of wire for holding things together, jb weld, liquid steel, silicone, super glue
    • Lots of loc-tite both red and blue
    • micro air compressor from Aerostitch, valve stem tool with extra plugs.
    • CO2 canisters (and adapter for tire) for inflating the tires quickly. I think this is redundant but oh well.
    • I "site sucked" the entire F650.com FAQ website onto my computer. This is probably the most important tool. We also bought the Helge Pederson F650 instructional DVD which was really useful for great beta on how to change the tires. It made it much easier to know his tricks.
      In a future post I will write about our camping and personal gear that we are bringing down.
      Thanks for reading.


      Monday, January 18, 2010

      Humanity is still alive and well


      For those of you who are having a tough day with humanity (road rage has hit you hard, people tend to ignore each other, you've had something stolen, ...) let me tell you that there are some truly great people out there. From our experience that ancient custom of treating travelers with compassion and respect still holds very true in the world (or at least along the pacific coast).
      Our latest episode of Xenia came at the hands of two fellow BMW owners in Ventura, CA.
      With the storm of the decade rolling our way we decided we just couldn't work on our bikes on the side of the street anymore and that we needed a garage to get the girls a royal spa treatment.
      The BMW motorcycle owners association puts out a book called BMW Anonymous. It lists all the members who have volunteered their place for any number of services, from Coffee and Conversation to a pick-up on the side of the road during a breakdown. It is just a list of phone numbers sorted by city with a series of codes stating what this particular phone number offers up. So down the list I go starting with the phone number with the most codes after it. "This number has been disconnected," "Thanks for calling such and such store," "Please leave a message." I started to get a little disheartened. Perhaps this book wasn't going to be great resource.
      Finally, an actual human answered. A woman with a soft european accent (later learned that it was Moroccan) instantly made me feel comfortable as not only invited us but encouraged us to come over to her and her husbands house to use the garage.
      We packed up our stuff, rode the 2 miles to their place and within minutes Megan and I felt right at home with this great couple. Rick and Eliane (pronounce el-ii-ana) made us a cup of coffee, showed us around the garage, introduced us to their dogs, Buddy and Nekita, and gave us a great space work. But not only that we enjoyed fantastic conversation as Megan learned that both of their kids (now in college) went to Montessori schools and that they are the Solar Kings of California as founders of California Solar.

      The day went on we were fed an amazing lunch with their own "Woodie Wine" -as in the station wagon- and gourmet cheeses.
      To prevent this post from rambling too much, I will cut to the chase. By 6 o'clock, we were invited to stay at their house indefinitely to wait out this storm (which could last into next weekend). They will out of town on business so we will be house-sitting. We can use their garage to finish up the bike maintenance and it all starts tonight when we go over to their house for dinner (which I'm sure will be fantastic).

      As we were driving back to Jenny's house (who has also taken care of us beyond belief) last night in the rain I kept shaking my head in disbelief and feeling warmth in my heart from how lucky we are to be able to take a trip like this and interact with such great people. This is the greatest thing about traveling. You put yourself out there to meet new people and experience new things and sure enough, the world returns the favor.
      So for those of you feeling like the world might not be so good. Let me re-assure you that it is. You just have to go out and find it.

      Friday, January 15, 2010

      Megan got a new look

      She went to a Salon in Ventura to get her hair colored and came home with a hairstyle very unique to her. It will be back to normal tomorrow.








      But before that we were trying real hard to find a crush washer and instead added another photo to our collection of photos of real big tools.

      the rain in california stays mainly in the north...


      View Larger Map
      On the last exciting episode of the indulgent adventures I was still OCD about the weather. I still am but more on that later.

      The short version:
      3 days of great riding along the California coast. The hospitality of friends as well as total strangers is mind boggling. Giant winter storm (the biggest since 1995) is expected to pound southern california for the next week.

      The long version (I'm doing this more as a journal for myself, but if you want to, read on):
      We woke up in Garberville after a long night of rain and more rain. Our bikes were tucked safely under the awning of the motel, all locked up and covered but despite this relative security we kept waking up all night and peeking out the window to make sure they were safe. I know, I know, compared to Mexico the stonerville of Garberville is a very benign place, but none-the-less we were concerned for the safety of our ladies.
      We hit the road and within minute were wheeling through driving rain on the 101. It actually wasn't that bad because we were tucked beneath our GORE-TEX® outerwear (I have to write it that way since i now work with W.L. GORE) which really does work surprisingly well. However, when it really starts to pick up I become concerned about other drivers on the road loosing control and hitting us. We made it to the junction of the 1 and the 101. Fate was in our hands. Turn left and drive the freeway to San Francisco in less than three hours. Turn right and go over a windy pass towards the coast and Mendocino California where we might encounter high winds, heavy rain, and whole lot more adventure. We hemmed and hawed for a while but then realized that are in this trip for the adventure and adventure rarely comes when one chooses the expected way.
      We chose wisely. The road over the pass had exactly 2 cars on it as it wound through the redwoods towards the coast for 25 miles and then dropped south along empty miles of fantastic coastline on a perfect road. Eventually we ended up in Mendocino. A sort of Aspen meets artist town with great coffee and pizza. We really wanted to go satisfy my inner hippies and watch waves smashing the coast so we found a route out of Mendocino to a bluff with massive breakers. They were big and loud and cool.

      Then it was back towards San Francisco. Once we regained the 101, it was an hour of freeway driving in pouring rain. I spend a lot of my life looking for moments of focus. Those moments where one can only pay attention the task right in front oneself and the rest of world disappears. Riding on a california freeway in the rain puts one into that state of mind. I would have liked to seen a movie of myself with eyes wide open cruising down the left lane (because the left lane is the safest) paying full attention to everything that is going on around me in all directions. This is exhausting but cool. We finally hit the Golden Gate bridge with big smiles and no toll (motorcycles are free). Yippee California.
      Megan's friend Jess has a most amazing flat on top of the highest hill in San Francisco. Jess graciously let us stay in her place for a night. Her kindness was most appreciated and it was great to have a something besides a motel room for an occasion. The view really is something to remember. We also were able to spend a little time with Megan's relatives Alexandra, Kurt and their three great boys (and soon to be daughter). All great people.

      Jan 13


      The Big Sur Coast. We headed out of town to a finally glorious day of sunshine. We road south to Castroville, artichoke capital of the world where we indulged in a half pound of deep fried artichoke hearts. I remember going to this place as a kid and it is good to know that it is still there. and yummy.
      the afternoon took us down the 1 on the Big Sur Coast. Fantastic curvies amongst sea cliffs and remote rocky beaches. We found a campsite to settle down for the evening. We set up our new tent from Hilleberg, one of the world's best tentmakers. This thing really is quite an engineering feat. If you are a gearhead, do yourself a favor and check one of these things out.
      As we were setting up our tent a guy camping next to us, Chuck, came over and struck up a conversation. I won't go into too much detail but we ended up drinking some Makers Mark with him later in the night and having one hell of a great conversation. In fact, we made friends with all the people surrounding us at the campground. One thing about motorcycle touring, it is so damn easy to talk to people. People are usually quite curious about what we are up to and generally friendly beyond belief.




















      Jan 14

      video

      Another glorious day of weather. More curvies on the road to start the day. By mid-morning we saw an upcoming rest area with 50 cars parked in it. What the _____? Since we are are pack animals at heart, we too stopped at the rest area. As it luck would have it, this is a viewing area for Elephant Seals. And boy howdy were we lucky. It is the one week of the year when momma elephant seals swim up to the beach to give birth to their young. I missed it, but Megan saw a little critter pop right out of the back of one of the mommas. The sounds that 200 hundred elephant seals can make is... well... quite tribal. A mixture of a bronx cheer, a whooping wine, and guttural yelp that goes on and on. This video only slightly does it justice.

      More miles on the road and we ended up in lovely Ventura to the graciousness of our friend Jenny. We have been sending motorcycle gear to her for the past few weeks and our plan is to spend a few days in Ventura tuning up the bikes and getting them ready for the next leg of the trip.

      To end this endless post on a weather note, take a look at the screen shot from the weather service. This is our next week.
      Crazy!

      Monday, January 11, 2010

      no wind and then wind, but not wet



      View Larger Map

      It seems that I am living my life by obsessing about the forecast and the weather conditions. Well... a huge pacific storm was headed for the coast and we are going to be caught up in it. When we checked the forecast on Saturday night (right now it is monday night) there was a high wind advisory for the southern oregon coast (30-60 mph) for the day we were going to ride on the southern oregon coast. Yikes. If you haven't had the pleasure of riding a motorcycle in wind, let me describe the sensation. First... let me describe the regular sensation of riding a motorcycle with no wind. Imagine the coolest roller coaster you can think of (minus the loop-d-loops). Basically we are riding that roller coaster only we can choose our speed. Now to add wind, pitch the track over 10-20 degrees depending on the wind speed. [adjusting the chain tension] Now add gusts... pitch it back and forth only you can't tell when the wild swings are going to happen. For those of you who have been to disneyland and ridden space mountain, it is something like that. It is fun... but also kind of scary. For instance, we were on the 101 today going over the Eel river on a fairly high bridge and boy did the wind start blowing. I looked over the edge of the bridge and thought... I wonder if I could survive the fall off this bridge into the water? Now, it really isn't that bad. I won't ever fall off the bike and as long as I keep it mellow and am prepared for anything, I feel like I am in control. Which is fun. But too much fun can be tiring.

      video

      [mama mia, that's a big'a tree] So here we are in Garberville, CA- probably the epicenter of marijuana growing in the USA. An interesting town for sure. It is just south of Humbolt State Park which is home to the 25 mile Avenue of the Giants. A small winding road through the largest trees in the world. I think we saw one other car on the road (which happens to be in the video). Absolutely fantastic riding. And the cool thing about giant redwoods? They block the wind.

      What else have we done? We have ridden countless miles of spectacular coastline with giant waves (25 foot breakers are predicted for tomorrow). We have ridden past uber green fields with spots of fog dotting the skyline. We bought groceries at a COOP in Eureka and the cashier (who owns a motorcycle very similar to ours) invited us to stay with his daughter in Santa Barbara. In the same coop we talked with a bunch of different folks including a little girl who was so fascinated with bikes that she made her parents wait around for us to start up our bikes and ride off. She started off by saying "it is going to be loud." Thinking that she doesn't like loud noises, I reassured her that our bikes actually aren't that loud but as it turns out, she was waiting for us to start our bikes so she could here loud noises. I regretted disappointing her with the sweet german purrr of a single cyclinder BMW. (you can barely see here behind the pole in this photo)

      [check out the sweet swell in the background] Tomorrow we head to San Francisco. Our plan was to head slightly south of here and then at Leggett start the 1 all the way into San Francisco. The 1 is the classic winding coastal road with very little as far as civilization. However, with 30 mph winds predicted and pouring rain (it is now raining hard outside our hotel room) we may take it easy and cruise the 101 instead. We'll see what the morning brings.

      [running in the forest]








      [a perfect snack, salami-thanks ian- cheese from the tillamook factory and coffee]








      [sunrise at the sunset hotel]











      [watching the radar image-this isn't good]