Sunday, May 27, 2012

San Diego, CA

I left the Overland Expo and headed for San Diego to see my son and his family, pick up my frau at the airport and turn the BMW over to San Diego BMW for some much needed maintenance.  I arrived in San Diego Sunday night and went to dinner with my son and granddaughter.  The next day we just hung out and didn't really do much of anything.  Tuesday we picked up the frau at the airport and went to eat at a local brewery.

Wednesday we went to SeaWorld with Lexi, my granddaughter.

The frau with Lexi in a flying fish.

That's me in the Zebra Fish!

SeaWorld was cool.  This was my first time at the one in San Diego.  Years ago I visited SeaWorld in San Antonio.

Next up is the Grand Canyon.  I picked up a rental car and headed back to Arizona with the frau.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Overland Expo

I have spent the last three days at the Overland Expo in Mormon Lake, AZ.  This is an event that brings overlanders from around the world together to see the latest in adventure travel technology, equipment and happenings.  While there I got to meet and chat a little with some of my heroes.

Ted Simon

Tiffany Coates

Rene Cormier

I also got to see some fantastic machines.  This is a bike that has run in the Dakar and its road book.

Not all of the equipment was two wheeled.  As a matter of fact I got the feeling that motorcycles were an afterthought at this event.  There would not have been many bikes there had it not been for the Rawhyde event that was held concurrently.

They had the bikes camping in the horse staging area of the rodeo grounds.  All my equipment still smells like horse manure.

Now here is something I can actually afford and it suits my travel style.

You can get anything you want/need at the Dakar Bar!

Having seen everything a few times over the weekend I left Sunday morning for San Diego.  I rode close to the fires that are currently  burning in Arizona and rode through a lot of smoke.

I rode back through the Mojave Desert and it was like sitting in a sauna with someone pointing a hair dryer in your face.  HOT!

After arriving in San Diego I took a much needed shower (even I smelled like horse manure).  As far as I know there were only two showers at the Expo for about 4000 people.  I did not get to make use of the facilities for three days.  I called my son and he and my granddaughter came over and we got to have dinner together.  This was the first time I had seen family in over two months.  It was also the first time I had ridden in an automobile in more than two months!

My frau is flying in tomorrow and we will be heading to the Grand Canyon (in a rental car) after turning the bike into San Diego BMW for some much need servicing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BMW Steps Up

I just got a phone call from the service manager at San Jose BMW and he informed me that BMW will cover the costs of having my bearings replaced in my final drive before I left for this trip.  That is only $510, but it is better than nothing.  I feel a little better about this whole fiasco, but just a little.  I am assuming that I can post from the Overland Expo since everything there is supposed to be state of the art.  There are classes on satellite communications so I am guessing Wi-Fi will be available as well.  I'm getting psyched!

Flagstaff, AZ

Sorry, no pics this post.  I am in Flagstaff, AZ for the next couple of days waiting for the Overland Expo to begin.  I will spend the next two days reading, writing and being excited about the Expo.  The weather here is perfect!  Bright sunny skies and upper 70's.  I am really looking forward to meeting and mingling with the "rock stars" of overland travel.  Hopefully I will have some really good photos from the Expo to post next week.  Nobody tell my wife, but I am already planning my next trip!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Needles, CA (Part 2)

I spent the day in Needles and decided to go "downtown" and check it out.  I wanted to go early before it got too hot.  Here is a pic of the thermometer at 9:30 AM.

This town's main claim to fame, besides being the hottest climate in the US, is that it was a prominent stop on the Historic Route 66 and the railroad running east and west.

I-40 has replaced Route 66 as the main road hear and Needles has become a place to get gas (if you can afford it).

At one time the railroad stop here a a grand hotel called the El Garces.  Today it is being renovated and they hope to use it as a tourist attraction one day.

Usually the hotel site is closed but today there was a National Train Days Festival going on and the site was open to the public.

What more fitting way to celebrate National Train Days than to stand on the balcony of a historic grand hotel and watch a train pull into the station?

I'll be staying here again tomorrow and then on to Flagstaff Monday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Needles, CA

Sorry, no pictures today.  I left the lush valley and headed for the desert.  I am now in Needles, CA.  Needles is known for being the hottest place in America in the summers.  If you watch the weather in the summer you will regularly hear something like, "And the hottest temps today were recorded in Needles, California".  I'm going to stay here over the weekend and then on to Flagstaff for the Overland Expo!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back on the Road

I'm back on the road!  This is my old final drive.  The part in front is the part that failed.  There are splines on the bottom shaft that you can see if you look closely.  Near the gear in the center the spline were worn beyond belief.  For this part to disengage from the unit it is usually necessary to heat it to 200 degrees C.  The tolerances are that tight.  Mine just dropped out cold. 

This part wobbling also caused damage to the brake rotor and it also had to be replaced.

Parts, labor, and CA taxes... $3100 out the door!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

San Jose, CA

I made it to San Jose BMW and they are totally going to take care of the bike.  I will be stuck in San Jose for a couple of days, but my accomodations are MUCH better here.  The section of San Jose I am in has sidewalk cafes, Starbucks, and little shops.  The bike should be repaired soon and then I will start for Flagstaff and the Overland Expo.

In from of San Jose BMW

Waiting to have final drive repaired

Monday, May 7, 2012

Final Drive Problems

I had my final drive rebuilt before leaving Asheville and I just went out and the rear wheel is wobbly.  The dealer in Santa Cruz is closed so my closest dealer is San Jose, about 50 miles away.  I will head there tomorrow and hope I make it.

National John Steinbeck Center

What many of my motorcycle buds don't know about me is that I have a degree in American Literature.  Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Wolfe just don't come up that much around campfires with a bunch of guys that have been riding through slop all day.  While in Salinas I had to visit the National John Steinbeck Center.  It was well worth the visit.  The exhibit was set up depicting scenes from Steinbeck's major works.

East of Eden

Tortilla Flat

The Grapes of Wrath

Steinbeck's truck and camper from Travels With Charley

Salinas has a very nice Old Town.  I strolled around a little taking advantage of the great weather.

That afternoon I visited two old army buddies that I had not seen in thirty-five years.  It was good to sit in someone's home instead of a motel room for an afternoon.  We had his daughter take the obligatory photo of the three of us.  They were married while stationed in Germany shortly after my wife and I were married.  We still look just like we did then!

By the way, this is the infamous motel in Salinas where I have stayed the last few days.  

It really doesn't look that bad during daylight hours.  At night it is a different story.  Yesterday morning I was awoke by screaming in the parking lot outside my room.  I still have no idea what was going on or even what language was being screamed.  Hookers, drug dealers and cops are constantly cruising up and down the street in front of the motel during the night.  One more night here and I am headed further south tomorrow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Laguna Seca

For some reason I booked my motel room in Salinas for four nights.   I am in a bad section of town (hookers and transients) but I have already paid for three more nights so I am sort of stuck here.  It is interesting observing the seedier side of life from my motel window.

Today I went to Laguna Seca to see the race track.  I have always been fascinated with famous tracks.

Being that is Cinco de Mayo I thought I should celebrate in an appropriate way.

Well, I have three more nights in Salinas and just need to make the best of it.  Not that Salinas is a bad place to be, but there is just not a lot to do here for a tourist.

Bay Area

I left Garberville and rode to Salinas where I will spend the next four days.  I had my GPS set to avoid toll roads so it took me through Oakland instead of over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was not able to take any good pictures but I did take these really bad ones from across the bay of downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Please don't tell any of my fellow photographers that I took these! 

I'm really traveling slow now because I have to be in Flagstaff on May 17 and then ride to San Diego after the Overland Expo.  I am trying to save my rear tire and oil until then.  The bike is going to get a well deserved servicing in San Diego.

I have a friend that is also a traveler that lost his son six years ago to cancer.  Since then he has been traveling trying to find answeres with a dog named Spirit.  I have just learned that he is in Albuquerque and had all of his camping equipment stolen off of his bike.  Please send bad karma to the thieves.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garberville, California

Well, it looks like I picked a good day to rest and write.  In downtown Garberville it is rainy and cold.  The heat is on in the motel room and the bike is getting its first real shower in six weeks.

This town must be on some kind of trail or something.  Something like Hot Springs, NC and the Appalachian Trail hikers.  There are a lot of backpackers walking around in the town.  Some of them look like they have been hiking for months. 

The Weather Channel says the next few days will be dry and warmer.

I know the bike is looking forward to its visit to San Diego after the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, AZ.  She is going to get fresh oil/filter, new gear/neutral indicator sending unit, rear tire, valves and throttle body sync checked, and I'm going to ask if having a rubber ring floating around in the gas tank hurts it or not.  It seems that these monster pump handles in California pushed the rubber grommet on the gas filler opening into my tank.  At least, I think that is what happened.  It was there when I filled up in Oregon and after my first fill up in California it's gone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Oregon Coast

I left Portland in the cold and the rain and headed for Tillamook to pick up US 101 and ride down the coast.  It was cold, grey and wet.  From what the locals told me this is nothing unusual for this time of year.

I made it as far as Reedsport where I got a cheap motel with no Wi-Fi.  It didn't matte,r there was a Big Bang Theory marathon on TV and I have come to love that show.  I had never seen it until I was introduced to it by my brother-in-law back on my visit to Texas six weeks ago.  Finally a sitcom with some intelligence!

I got up early the next morning and headed for California.  It was still cold, but dry.  I rode through the Redwood forest and while they were impressive, I still think the Sequoias were more grandiose.

I'm going to hang out in this one horse town for another day and then start riding towards Salinas to visit the National Steinbeck Center.  Maybe I should download Travels With Charley on my Kindle.