I guess it is feast or famine when it comes to work. For five months I wasn’t working. Now, I’m working a lot. I was able to pick up a contract as a project manager while their regular project manager is out on maternity leave. Additionally I have four side projects going on. I’ve also incorporated myself in the hopes that I’ll be working for myself or another startup in the next year. Ultimately I want to be in a position where I can work from anywhere and not have an office I ‘have’ to work from. The last three weeks I have been pretty much working from 8 AM to 11 PM. I guess I’ll get to store some nuts away for the winter when it is all done.
One of my favorite current project is Chris Cantore’s site. We have a new look and feel up there and we’re adding new functionality. I’m slowly becoming a WordPress Pro!
I recently visited New York City to join a small start up with some great ambitions. They have an interesting idea and I’ve joined them to help with the project management and development (where I can) I’ll post more on this later.
I was very stoked to see CL & Mona last week. I need to get out to Texas since some of my friends have decided they want to be cowboys. B & M!
Other than that I need to catch up on a few of my recent trips.
Upcoming we are heading up to Northstar at Lake Tahoe to do some park riding. Yippee!!!
And, I have a townie bike to commute on. Today was the first day riding the bike in and it took me 2 minutes longer to get here than to drive. Very happy
The last two weeks were a big weeks for me on the mountain biking front. Let’s see.
Danny taught me how to jump doubles
Attended the IMBA trail building clinic
Rode Tunnel and Knapps trails in Santa Barbara
Tommy came to town!
Tommy came to town
Tommy came to town last week. Very cool indeed! I mentioned in my last post how Tommy and I were riding buds 13 years ago. A few months ago he found me on Facebook and got in touch with me. Tommy was my wingman or I his when it came to mountain biking. We rode all over the damn place in Florida. I know, Florida doesn’t have mountains! But it does have some pretty cool trails. He shipped his downhill bike out and followed shortly on a plane. Very stoked to find him again and have my old riding buddy back.
This is something that I am OK at, but not very good. Especially when it comes to doubles. For those non riders, a double is a jump that has a gap between the take off and landing. The gap part is what freaks me out. If you come up short, it can be very very very very painful. Danny, being the great guy that he is rode with me at out an undisclosed riding location named after a former baseball star. I followed him a couple of times up to the approach to get the speed down. Then I went for it! And landed it! It wasn’t graceful by any means. But, I did it! And then I did it again! I’m pretty stoked about that. I was also able to stick a nice drop on the first try. Pretty awesome day and I totally appreciate Danny taking the time to show me how to do it right. And explain how it all works. I don’t have a problem with drops or table tops, just the ones with a gap. I still need to master getting the nose down so I land the transition smoothly.
IMBA Trail Care Clinic
A few weeks ago Alison and I attended the IMBA Trail Care Clinic put on by the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. We had met Inga and Jason the night before at a small dinner get together and then had the pleasure of their instruction on Saturday morning. Jinga (As they shall be known in this post) work for IMBA sponsored by Subaru as the IMBA Trail Care Crew. The first half of the day is a classroom session followed by going out to the field and practicing what they taught us. From what I understand, typically they do a few things, we learn, and then we come back and do the trailwork for real later. Well, SDMBA has a different idea on that apparently. We finished .5 miles of trail and cleaned up some additional trail that just needed to be cleaned up. Very informative and educational experience. (Not to mention dirty)
We got to learn a lot about Jinga and what they are doing. They are on a two year contract traveling North America teaching people how to build sustainable trails. The program only takes couples which is very interesting. Basically you are a team for two years so they want to make sure you can co-exist very well. I think it sounds like an awesome idea. I wish I could convince Alison to sign with me I hope to keep in touch with Jinga and ride/work with them again in the future. You can find out more about them at www.ihatebikes.net.
Santa Barbara – Tunnel and Knapps Trail
I also got to ride some of my favorite trails up in Santa Barbara. After doing the Trail Care Clinic I went up the coast to see my parents as well ride with Jason from Jinga. Great riding! Great company.
Last week a long lost friend Tommy came out to visit. I haven’t seen him in 13 years. When I left the Army I moved back to San Diego and we lost touch with each other. Tommy and I were mountain bike best buds. Since we lost contact he’s worked at bike shops, as a machinist, and most recently as a yacht engineer. A few weeks ago we were talking and I mentioned since both of us were unemployed he should fly out and we’ll go ride! He took me up on the offer.
So, last weekend we took him on some super fun rides. Tommy sent out a downhill bike to ride, so, obviously we had to go on some downhill rides! Saturday we took him to Anderson Truck Trail and did a couple of runs. He was super stoked. (The funny thing is, he owns a downhill bike and never downhilled it until last weekend). We were able to get in two runs. No major crashes so that was good. But somewhere along the way he smashed the chain guide with a rock and cracked the ISCG mounts on his brand new Intense M3. (More on that later)
Long lost buds
Sunday, we took him to ride Noble Canyon. Our local epic ride. Since it is more of a cross country ride I ran around trying to find a bike for him to ride. (Riding a downhill bike there would suck). Finally it occurred to me to go get my old cross country bike from Vaughn. I grabbed that Sunday morning and did a once over. Needed new tubes, brakes bleed, derailleurs aligned, chain cleaned and lubed and a good once over. I guess it had been sitting a while.
The plan was to meet Ryan and Michelle in Pine Valley around 12:30 and head out from there. We lagged a little bit. Alison, Tommy & I caught up to the on the highway so our laggery was of no consequence.
We loaded the bikes up in the truck and shuttled to the meadow off Sunrise Highway. (I know, we’re shuttle-monkeys) A bit chilly but sunny so it was all good. Pedaled up the old decomposed road and cruised on down Los Gatos Ravine to the Big Laguna trail. Went around the west side of the lake and over to Penny Pines. From there it was full steam ahead for Noble Canyon!
Tommy had never ridden this ride and the last time I rode it was over 10 years ago on a hard tail. What an incredible trail. I wish I had done it sooner and will definitely do it more often. Just beautiful!!! Everyone did great riding up and down including the chunky rock sections. I have helmet cam footage I’m editing currently to show off more of the ride. By the smile on Tommy’s face at the end we could tell that he truly loved this ride. We had only one mishap, Tommy smoked us all and got way ahead. And, instead of waiting at a fork in the trail he motored on. We had a little drama due to this, but, at the end we all reunited at the car and shared some delicious adult beverags, peanutbutter & jelly, and Nutter Butters!!!
Check out the rest of the photos. And, keep your eyes out for the video.
Some of you may not have heard of Friendbay(TM) but it’s where I give my friends dibs on stuff I’m gonna sell on Craigslist or Ebay. I typically price it on ebay then knock off 15%. If you see something you like/want. I’ve been out of work now for almost two months so its time to get creative.
You’re my friend so you should know how to reach me.
SOLD 2 Belkin 400 Watt UPS – $20 each A+++ Buyer. Would do business with again!!!
On Ebay Palm Tungsten T5 (Pretty much new condition) – $100
After leaving Blue River BC I headed to Whistler to meet up with Dave, Jody & Nik to do some more riding. Its pretty much a days drive between Blue River and Whistler but there is plenty to see! Nothing really stood out on the drive other than the scenery and I was tired from being “Last Man Standing” Sunday night. My new Canadian friends harassed me all weekend about not being able to party like they do. I can, I just prefer to be in good riding condition!
I arrived in Whistler around 5 PM and parked in front of the condo. Then, not even 30 seconds later the gang rolls up with huge smiles on their faces after a great day at the park. This was going to be a great week! We all got cleaned up and walked over the Splitz Burgers. Man, those are delicious. Everything is super fresh. We ended up eating here twice during the trip it was that good! The condo is a funny story in itself. We all thought it was going to be bigger than it was. But, hey, the price was right and we had a roof over our heads.
The North Shore
The plan Tuesday was to head down to Mt Seymour on the Vancouver North Shore and do some riding. I also had to head into Vancouver to drop off my rental so it worked out great! The North Shore is one of the mountainbike mecca’s in North America. The natural and man made features are outstanding! It was a completely different riding experience than any of us had ever had. On the way we stopped by the Cove bike shop. For some reason bike shops up there carry massive inventory in both bikes and accessories. It was like being in a candy store. Once we had directions on where go we parked my rental at the bottom and drove the van with all of us up to the top. It was maybe a 20 minute drive up for an awesome 2-3 hour down. My helmet cam was on its last legs but I did get some footage. I wish I had some of the later stuff we got to ride. Then you’d get to share the whole experience!!! We got some great pictures as well! Check out the photoalbum to see them all!
Just incredible riding. I highly recommend anyone going to Whistler to not miss this place. I think it was just as good if not better than the park. During the ride I had another SRAM failure. The Matchmaker that holds my shifter pod on the bars just snapped off. No damage, no crashing. Just snapped off. So, the last third of the ride I got to do single speed style! Still a good time none the less. Afterwards we stopped by the Cove Shop again to see if they had replacement parts, and they did. But they couldn’t cover it under warrantee since my bike was bought in the USA. Weird policy. I’ll send SRAM the bill.
Dropped off the rental car at the airport. The drive there was entertaining as Vancouver has no belief in highways. I think there is one. And half of it is on city streets. Then, we went on down into downtown Vancouver to see what we could see. Had some great Schawarma! Wandered around some. Interesting street performances. And even walked into the more seedy part of downtown. Good times.
I was really excited about the bike park. The rest of the gang had already been a few days prior. So, we started out easy on Crank it Up. Easy is relative. Haha! The first run down this trail my jumping muscles were tired! I had never hit so many consecutive jumps in one run in my entire life. I know there were more than 30 at least. By the end of the trip this was my favorite trail. We did some all mountain exploring. One run down Freight Train I tried to roll a drop I should have dropped and managed to fall/slide down about 16 feet of ladder ramp and dirt. Kinda shook me up and pretty much finished my day.
Thursday we took a day off and wandered around and did some window shopping. Everything up there is way more expensive. But, they have a ton of stuff in stock which just amazed me. Bought a few presents. Got a couple of things for me. Dinner, drinks etc. Then off to bed for another day in the park on Friday.
Friday it was spectacular out. I knew Luis and Gracie from JensonUSA were going to be up riding with Candace so I made plans to join them for a bit in the afternoon. Dave, Jody, Nik and I got to the park earlier today than we did on Wednesday. Did a few of our favorite runs and then we made our way to some of the tougher stuff. Dave picked Dirt Merchant. I don’t know if this was a black or double-black. I just know some of the stuff was way over my head. I got about halfway down and caught up with Dave and Jody and said “Hey guys, this is way over my skill level, I’m gonna find a bail out.” Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Nik was behind me and took a pretty bad spill. We got him down to the bottom but he was done for the day. Nik headed back to the condo to get some rest and I broke off to meet up with Candace, Luis, and Gracie.
Riding with these guys was much more mellow, at the start We did a few runs, then at the end we met up with Candace and then she broke off to ride with some friends. We later rendevouzed with Candace and her friend Jeff for one last run down the mountain. Jeff is a coach from another mountain bike camp. At one point they decided they were gonna school me and I was between them going down the trail pretty fast. Jeff saying “Follow me!” and Candace yelling “GET OFF THE BRAKES! ROLL THROUGH THE CORNER!” So, I did! What a blast! I said farewell to them and waited at the bottom of the lift for Dave and Jody to do one last run.
After we wrapped up the day we went to check on Nik. He was pretty stiff and it appeared that his neck took a brunt of the impact. Kept the evening low key. Saturday morning Nik headed over to the urgent care to make sure it wasn’t serious. Fortunately it wasn’t, but its not good either. (2 weeks later he’s still stiff). Since Nik was down we took the day off and packed up the bikes and gear. Did some more bike shop pass throughs and watched the UFC fight that night in a local bar. I had one last thing to accomplish this trip. I had to have a Caffrey’s. The finest Irish cream ale ever made. You can’t get it in the USA. So, I sought out the Irish pub and Dave and I shared an awesome beer to cap out and awesome trip.
The Journey Home
I’m not going to elaborate on this much other than to say read my post about the travel industry. Alison picked me up at the airport in her car, cause she used my truck to Monster Truck Dan’s Accord (Its actually pretty damn funny). Had a great steak at the Turf Club and got home safely.
Sum it up
I’m pretty glad I took the trip even though it was expensive as hell. But, already I remember how great the trip was rather than how much it cost me in surprise expenses. And, I got to practice my newly refreshed skills for nearly a whole week. Thanks for the good trip guys!
This past week I attended the Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camp at Blue River up in British Columbia, Canada. This is the second camp I have attended and it rocked! The first camp I attended was in Corona California and you can read about the adventure if you like. The Blue River camp was a specialty camp as it had a really neat extra feature. A helicopter drop into the alpine. I’ll write more about that later. I planned this trip back in May and originally was only going to attend the camp, visit Whistler for a day, then fly home. As it turned out Dave, Nik and Jody were going to be in Whistler all week. So I extended!
The Journey Up
I flew into Vancouver on Thursday afternoon and picked up my rental car. This didn’t go so well. Online I had rented what was supposed to be a Subaru Outback but they had a Toyota Corolla waiting for me. Big Problem!!! I had a huge case which contained my mountainbike and there was no way this was going to fit into the Corolla. I feel the rental company mislead me and was a little pissed. The only ‘available’ vehicle they had which could carry my bike was an Explorer. At three times the rate. I bartered with them and got them down to two times my rate and settled at that. Just an additional blow to my budget on top of replacing my front fork.
After I got out of the airport with my car I had to decide what to do with my afternoon. I figured since it wasn’t too far away I would go check out Vancouver Island and the provincial capital of Victoria. About 20 minutes from the airport I got to the ferry terminal and the attendant said “That’ll be $60.25.” I thought I misheard her and asked “$6.25?” She replied with “No, six zero and 25 cents.” It turns out it is about $60 each way on the ferry. I opted for the u-turn and headed back to Vancouver. Now what?
The rental company gives you these coupons for free attractions. So I looked through the options and decided to check out the aquarium for the afternoon over in Stanley Park. Its was raining pretty hard so the park and aquarium weren’t crowded. Fun diversion. They had giant catfish, sea lions, otters, crocodiles, and beluga whales to name a few. Walked around until I was soaked. Then got lost trying to get out of Stanley Park. Its a big loop and if you miss a turn off you get to drive the whole loop again. At least its pretty!
Afterwards I debated staying in Vancouver or heading NE to Blue River. I opted for the later and drop until I was getting tired. I stopped in Abbotsford and grabbed a hotel room. I figured getting someplace outside the city would be cheaper. I was wrong. Grabbed some food at a restaurant next door to the hotel. During casual conversation with the bartender I found out that I was hanging out in the third most likely place to be shot as an innocent bystander within Abbotsford. As I looked around, I had to agree. There were a bunch of young wannabe gangsters all hanging around. I figured I’d get out before I increased my odds.
I got up early and hit the road to Blue River. The drive through this area is beautiful. I had been through this region on my trip to Alaska last year. Its a high desert much like inland California with similarities to Colorado. I stopped in Kamloops to stretch my legs and check out a few of the bike shops. Really nice shops! Really expensive prices! I learned later that bringing some things in from the USA is expensive with all the middle-men. Unfortunately it makes them price domestic items at the same levels. Much more expensive than back home. I arrived into Blue River mid-afternoon after driving most of the day. Nice village, nice people, nice views!
Friday night we were on our own. I took a walk around town and ate at the only restaurant I could find. When I got back to the room I went to put a sandwich in the fridge and it was magically full of beer! Turns out my cabin mates had arrived fully prepared for a fun weekend. I met Terry and Colin to be shortly followed by Paul and Ruben. Candace had specifically put me in this cabin as she thought I would get along with them the best. I have to agree, I think I’ve made some life long friends.
Camp – Day 1
Ruben on the Drops
Saturday started with a buffet style breakfast and getting signed into the camp. This camp was going to be different than the last one. We had three sessions in the morning then a trail ride in the afternoon. Sunday would be no sessions and primarily focused on a helicopter drop into the alpine. I had chosen Braking and Descending, High Speed Corning, and Drops. I figured all three would be appropriate to refresh and improve my skills for the rides ahead. (Honestly I took High Speed Cornering because its a blast!) That afternoon we broke into ride groups. My group was the downhill group. Composed of Terry, Colin, Ruben, Amy and I with our instructors being Geoff Gulevich and Lorraine Blancher.
Quick note for those who don’t know our instructors. Lorraine is an phenomenal rider. Very skilled, great coach, and she won the Women’s division at Crank Works in Whistler the prior week. (Congrats Lorraine!!!) Geoff is a very talented young man. I say young man because he’s 21 and does stuff that is just incredible. At the same time he’s super cool, very humble, and a blast to hang out with.
The Camel Toe Gang
Now back to the ride. The downhill ride was the most difficult trail I have ever ridden/walked/slid down in my life. It was wet, rooty, STEEP and very difficult. One the way up the hill I was actually getting a little sick after hearing Geoff and Lorraine say how hard and step this trail is. I thought about chickening out but I knew that Terry and Colin wouldn’t allow it and I’d get endless crap because Amy did it and I didn’t. So, I was in. I’m not even sure I can describe the trail other than how I already have. So, I’ll let you enjoy the helmet cam footage from Terry and I. (It doesn’t not do a good job of showing how steep it really was.)
Camp – Day 2
Day 2 was all about the helicopter drop. We got our bikes up to the sport shop by 8 AM so they could load them into the net and fly them up to the alpine ahead of us. Then every 15 minutes or so they would take 3-4 people up to the top and come back for more. I was pretty excited about this part of the trip. I don’t know anyone who has done this before other than the people that were up there with me. And riding in the alpine is a free ride heaven. Just about every level of challenge you can think of and then some. Our group was pretty much the same as it was the day before. Ruben was swapped out for Jonathen but the rest of us were still together. Kevin Wood was our guide/instructor for the day. We had about four hours to ride where ever we wanted and try whatever we liked within our skill limit.
Unfortunately my helmet cam started to die within the first hour of the trip so I didn’t get as much footage as I would have liked. I missed some hilarious crashes. And some georgeos riding. The last section of the ride was some really awesome singletrack which dumped us onto a fire road which we bombed down hitting jumps along the way. Here is a sampling of the pictures.
Now you can enjoy the little helmet cam footage I did get.
I can’t even express how much I enjoyed this trip. I made some great friends, had some great rides, and definitely took my riding skills up the next level. If any of you have the opportunity to attend a Dirt Series class do so. You will not regret it. Check back soon for my North Shore and Whistler write ups!
Kevin and I embarked on the ride of nearly all rides. The goal was to complete our first Iron Butt ride. 1000 miles in 24 hours. The route planned would takes us from Bakersfield CA to Springer New Mexico. We would pass through Barstow, Needles, Flagstaff, Albuquerque and then on to Springer. 1022 miles in total. There are three reasons for this plan; We want to get to the rockies, We want to do it quickly, and we’re totally insane. The later one came into realization as the alarm went off at 5 AM. We figured we could get on the road by 6 AM Pacific and be done by 10 PM Mountain. Seemed like a pretty sound plan. It wouldn’t be an interesting ride other than the fact we covered a massive amout of distance in a short time on a motorcycle.
For those of you who don’t know about the Iron Butt I’ll give a quick brief. Specifically we are doing the Bun Burner (I’m guess cause your rear end is on fire!) That is 1000 miles in 24 hours. Its pretty doable in 16-18 hours. When you start the ride you have to have a witness sign off that you’ve left as well as get a reciept from a gas station with a date and time stamp. The key part of the witness is they need to be reachable to verify they did indeed see your crazy ass leave that particular place. Then along the way you need to gather receipts at any stop possible as well as log these stops. This is especially important when you are making a prominent turn in the route. Then when you finally arrive at the destination you need a gas receipt with a date and time stamp as well as another credible witness. Not much, but enough to make it interesting.
Time for the Iron Butt
The alarm went off at 5 AM, we were loaded and ready to go by 5:30. We had to backtrack about 20 miles to get to our official starting point. It didn’t take long so we got our receipt and hit the road. Something of note, Kevin’s bike has nearly twice the fuel capacity as mine. I can go about 200 miles before I need gas where as he can do over 350 miles. We had our first gas stop in Barstow CA and took a quick break. Then back on the freeway we went. I’m so glad I bought the XM Radio receiver to run through my Zumo. As the freeway is incredibly boring on a motorcycle. As we approached the Arizona border and the Colorado river it started to get hot and muggy. Uhg. The kicker of taking this route via the 40 is you think you’re going to cross into Arizona an moment but instead you end up following the river south for a while. In the hot mugginess.
At about 160 miles we planned to start looking for gas. Unfortunately the nearest gas was 40 miles away. That puts me pretty close to running out of gas. In middle of the desert there aren’t many places to fuel up. Kingman AZ was our nearest location. My bike started flashing at me around 170 miles saying “Dude, get gas.” At 204 miles we rolled into a gas station in Kingman. My fuel guage said I had 0 miles to go until I ran out. Fueling up, I put in 5.5 gallons into my 5.2 gallon gas tank. Close! We finished fueling and rolled over to CJ’s Steak house (Carl’s Jr. for you common folk).
Leaking Final Drive
After lunch we get ready to load up and what’s this?! There is oil coming out of the rear seal on his final drive. Let me tell you. This is the one thing that Kevin always says he’s worried about. And here its happened. We were 350 miles into the Iron Butt and failed. I wasn’t too worried about it, these things happen. Something of note the particular BMW both of us ride (Not at the same time, we have our own bikes) has a shaft drive rather than a chain. Unfortunately sometimes the seals have failures. And, if you don’t catch it soon enough it can be really bad. Pondering what to do I grab my iPhone and start looking up BMW dealerships. The two closest are Las Vegas and Phoenix. Las Vegas is about a 100 miles and Phoenix is just over 200. Since Kevin’s bike said “Go to hell!” we figured Vegas was the closest we could find. (Phoenix is a close second with the heat!) So, knowing our Iron Butt run is over we head towards Phoenix hoping to get to the dealer on Tuesday morning and repair the bike. For some reason, BMW dealers are closed Sunday and Monday. Go figure.
We found the Devil's Hangout
Once we located the dealer in Vegas we had to determine where were gonna stay. I pulled out the iPhone again and checked out some places. Cheapest place I could find was the Tropicana for $50 a night. Not to shabby but definitely no five star resort. Nice thing it was on the strip so we could walk to go do things. With our incredible desire for Vegas night life we went to the movie theater! Haha! It was hot, and neither of us really wanted to be there so we saw Batman. Great movie btw! Afterwards we wandered over to NY NY for some pizza, beer, and people watching. You see some funny stuff in Vegas! Eventually we made it back to the room and crashed out for the night.
Tuesday – July 22, 2008
Tuesday morning we got over to the BMW dealer around 8:30 so we could be some of the first inline for their service department. It was a good thing too. Shortly after we arrived a number of other people did including a tour group with about 10 riders. They were pretty accomodating and got Kevin’s bike in right away. We went accross the street for breakfast with our new aquantence Chuck. Chuck is down from Alberta on his way to San Diego via the BMW rally in Gillete Wyoming. Great guy. I’m hoping to catch him while he’s in San Diego. By the time we got back from breakfast the bike was done and we were set to go! Or so we thought…
About 25 miles outside of Vegas we stopped to get gas. And his bike was leaking again. Crap! So, back to the dealer again. This time they did some more diligence and took it for a longer test ride. This seemed to fix the problem and we beat feet to get out of the heat. Our Iron Butt was blown but we still wanted to see the Rockies so we got headed in that direction. We figured we would stay somewhere near Flagstaff since it would be much cooler. We had dinner at Rod’s World Famous Steakhouse in Williams AZ. We had never heard about it but gave it a shot. It was ok. I think the touresty route 66 trap has taken its toll on it. It was about then we remembered they don’t do Daylight Savings in Arizona and asked the waitress what time it got dark. She said “About 8 or so.” It was 6:45 now. we had little time to find and setup a campsite before dark.
Camping in the mountains
We found a campsite near Lake Ashurst just south of Flagstaff. It was nice and cool and a great spot. Kevin noticed they had these giant ants. I never saw one but I’ve heard about them getting that big. I made sure I used extra stakes to hold the tent down. Sometime around 1 AM I woke up with one of those “Oh shit, something is outside” feelings. Sure enough, there were coyotes out sniffing around the tents and bikes. Kind of a weird feeling but what can you do. I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Waking up the next morning was awesome. The weather was great. I made some spegetti and meatsauce for breakfast. Then walked around and took some pictures.
Next installment: Four States at a time and Durango
Friday was the start of the races. I opted out of watching some of the qualifiers and ran some errands for things I had forgotten. Dropped by REI, Target & Best Buy. I failed to pack any T-shirts, toothpaste, or a headset to talk on Skype with (I had intended to get a little work done on the down time). I also figured out that if you buy a Starbucks gift card you can get 2 hours of free internet a day. Not too shabby (Again, thought I would get some work done).
Kevin and Karen
I grabbed some lunch and thought “Hmm, Santa Cruz BMW is close” So I hopped on the bike to head up there. It was about 14 miles away up in Watsonville. On the way up Kevin called so I pulled over on an onramp to talk to him for a few minutes. In the three minutes we talked about nine CHP on motorcycles went by. As I discovered five minutes up the road they were staging for a speed trap. There were between six and ten CHP sitting on the backside of the ramp with one on top of the bridge radaring people. DOH!
Rolled up to Santa Cruz BMW and took a look around. My only complaint about my GS is I get a lot of turbulance off the stock windscreen. And, non of the San Diego dealers have aftermarket ones laying around the shop. But! SCBMW did! So, I looked at a couple, picked one out. They graciously offered to ship my stock one back to house after I took it off my bike. There was the trick. I left my tools back at camp. Their service department wouldn’t let me borrow any. And all their tools on the sales floor were off at the BMW rally in Gillete Wyoming. Fortunately I begged tools off a fellow rider who was fixing his bike in the parking lot.
Price's foo foo drink
Motored back on down to the racetrack to meet Kevin and Karen when they arrived. Pretty mellow ride back watching for speed traps along the way. Rolled into camp and waited around for about 30 minutes and K2 showed up. Helped them get their camp setup and we set off to grab some food down on Cannery Row. We parked the bikes and did the obligatory walk down and back looking at all the bikes. Amazing some of the stuff people will do. The pumpkin bike stood out the most to me.
Dinner turned into a mass meal event. Everyone we were camping with showed up five minutes after us and sat down with and next to us. We of course had to help Price get his foo-foo drink. And the heckling amongst friends ensued.
Then, we were all off to a good nights sleep. (Except me, I forgot my ear plugs)
Saturday at The Races
Edwards in Turn 3
Saturday we watched some of the preliminary races and checked out the vendor booths. Kevin was quick to point out that I have the same pumpkin tent as Charlie and Ewan have in Long Way Down. Wasn’t planned that way, it was on super sale at REI. Watching some of the races I fell asleep up above turn 1 for a while. Then Kevin and Karen went to go watch the last race of the day from the Grand Stands. I found Bill and gang and was given an extra super paddock pass! Then went up to the turn 4 Grand Stands to watch the last two races of the day. Pretty laid back day over all. For dinner we went to Fisherman’s Wharf and had Italian food.
Race Day – Sunday
Sunday is the day of the big race. We planned to leave right after the GP race so we got up and packed up our campsites. Kevin and Karen had paid for Grand Stand seats so they went off to get their good seats while I wandered around looking for a good spot to watch. On the way up the Corkscrew I ran into Oz and Sully with a few of their friends. They had an extra ticket for the turn 4 Grand Stands so I chilled with them and watched the Red Bull Challenge racers and the final GP race.
The Red Bull Challenge races are pretty cool. Basically they and KTM setup teenagers with a bike a gear and they get to travel and race around the USA. Very nice! I also got within 10 feet of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards!
The GP race was very exciting. I’m not going to bore you with the details. Either you like racing and watched it, or don’t and don’t care. Rossi and Stoner put on a great first half. Very exciting indeed! Afterwards we headed back to the bikes and geared up to hit the road. We were originally going to drop Karen off in Bakersfield then move on to Kernville. That plan didn’t make much sense as we wanted to complete an Iron Butt the next day. So, we got to Bakersfield and all stayed in the hotel to get a good nights rest. I have to admit, I’ve been eating so little fast food the Carl’s Jr we had for dinner killed my gut.
Wednesday night I headed north on my way to Monterey and the 2008 MotoGP races. Kevin and Karen were heading south from Idaho and we planned to meet by Friday. The first leg took me from San Diego to Valencia where I met Bill, Jenny & Steve. We all met at the Hyatt in Valencia which was the same place Alison and I stayed at for Darrius and Shannon’s wedding. What was weird is I ended up in the same room we had stayed in. The evening was pretty fun. Steve apparently is a great disher out of crap. Well, so am I when prompted. We got along great! We went out for sushi at a pretty good place right across the street then had some ice cream before crashing out for the night.
The next morning we met up at 8 AM to head north. Bill apparently has pretty good knowledge of the backroads up to Monterey. Including a pot holed road that takes you up on top of some pretty cool passes. Bill and I are on dual-purpose bikes but Steve was riding a BMW RT. He had a to take it a bit slower through the rough stuff. As for riding partners, we all were about the same pace. Bill is faster with Steve and I being about the same speed. A couple of exciting moments of the ride; Suicidal little dog trying to run under our wheels, pot-holed road, and the insidious tar snake. Of the three the tar snake was the scariest. Through a tight turn my bars went full right lock and the bike tried to take me off the road. Made it out but scary non-the-less. Total blast of a ride! One thing of importance on these long distance rides is properly taking care of yourself. Stay hydrated, fed, and above all liberally apply Anti-Monkey Bugg powder. I cannot express the importance of this enough.
I have a few other pictures from the ride but I’ll have to upload them sometime this week. I haven’t had much high speed connectivity along the ride. I did however figure out that if I buy a Starbucks card I can get two hours of free Wifi per day. Nice!
Catch you all soon! Monday is the day to follow the Spot Tracker!
Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space
-Born to be Wild, Steppenwolf
Funny story behind that song but I’ll get to that in a bit.
I thought I’d let you know I’m heading out on another adventure! Kevin and I are meeting up at Laguna Seca this weekend to watch the MotoGP races then heading out for another seven days of riding and camping. We’ll be at the races from Friday until Sunday morning. Then we’ll head out to Kernville to camp by the river and prepare ourselves for an Iron Butt taking us all the way to Springer New Mexico completing a 1000 miles in 24 hours. I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated for your enjoyment. But if you want some near real time update click on the Spot Messenger link over on the right. It will ask for a password, if you don’t have it email me and I’ll send it to you.
As for the song reference. Last year when we did the Alaska ride I had loaded a bunch of music on to my Zumo GPS. As I rolled away from my house I hit ‘play’ on the mp3′s and the first song that came up was “Born to be Wild.” (I think because it was alphabetical). The song is incredibly appropriate, and now I play it every time I embark on a big trip with the bike. Kinda neat!