Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time for Two Wheeled Therapy

I was hoping to post blogs about our awesome trip to Baja, Mexico.  Alas, best laid plans and all of that, the trip never happened.  Our fearless leader was tagged for jury duty and the other parties bowed out.  So, that left Eric and me.  Well, we really wanted to go with some other folks and decided we weren't going by ourselves.  Oh well.....I was disappointed (understatement).

The week of our planned adventure came and went and the weather turned sour here.  I really needed to get out and ride.  Honestly, I'm a bit tired of our local area because I've been there and done that so many times.  However, Eric works so doing more than a day ride requires requesting time off.

Finally, it looked like we might get a nice break in the raining, cold weather and we planned a short day trip from home.  The day before Eric went out to the garage to hook up my new BMS heated (yes, heated!!!) seat so I could check it out on our ride.  Rut roh, the bike wouldn't start.  It was so dead, the light wouldn't even come on. Piss.

Honestly, I think the last time I rode was the first of the year, so Beastie Bike has been sitting patiently in the garage all that time.  Fortunately, after plugging in the charger overnight the beautiful Beastie fired right up!  Yippee, we get to go for a ride!!

We decided to ride through Zion National Park (the "Park"), down to Kanab, UT and make a loop back home to Ivins. Zion NP  Although I've ridden this route more times than I can remember, I still enjoyed it immensely.  I needed to ride, I needed some two wheeled therapy!  We left the house about 11:00 am, yeah, we're not early birds unless we have to be!  It was a gorgeous day for a ride with blue skies and some white puffy clouds.  A bit cool but I didn't feel the need to put on my heated gear.  I just zipped up my jacket and put a buff around my neck.

Just before entering the Park, we stopped for lunch.

After several years in litigation with the city planners, a Subway restaurant has finally opened in Springdale so we decided that would make a fine lunch.

 The views are a spectacular tease for what is to come once we enter the Park.
Tuna for me and teryaki chicken for Eric, chips, a raspberry cheesecake cookie and a drink filled us up.  Now, time to saddle back up and ride on.
 We stopped for a quick photo at the south entrance to the Park.
 As we waited in line to show our annual pass to the Ranger, I spied several deer in the field to my right.  We saw a lot of deer on the ride.  Like a boat load.  Tons of fat forest rats. Fortunately, we didn't encounter any on the road!

Traffic in the Park was light and we had it to ourselves for a good part of the ride.  For the first time in a long time, we didn't have to stop and wait at the tunnel.  We just rode on through!  It was stunning through the Park.  There was water running in the small creek and we saw a small herd of deer on the rock wall.  Actually, it was pretty incredible!  Just how it should be experienced with the road all to ourselves.  There were plenty of tour busses but they were either going the opposite direction or parked to let tourists take in the view.  Our ride was unobstructed and simply awesome!

We stopped for another photo op at the north entrance to the Park.
 Once outside the Park, we followed UT Hiway 9 to Mt. Carmel Junction where we turned right on US 89 heading south.  We took a break at the  Thunderbird Best Western motel at the junction.  They have a small golf course there.

 But, they are probably more recognized because of the "Ho Made Pies", lol.

We continued south on Highway 89 towards Kanab.  Again, we pretty much had the highway to ourselves and the scenery was gorgeous!  The wind started to pick up a bit but the sky stayed blue.  I play a moto photo tag game on Facebook and I was fortunate enough to find a perfect subject for the current tag of a very old self propelled piece of agricultural equipment with a lovely patina.  This is what we found along side the road!

 Pretty cool, eh?  Oh, there was a rather large herd of deer just behind the old tractor!
 Since I grabbed the photo tag, I had to post a new one.  We entered Kanab, UT and it has a plethora of unusual "things" to choose from.  I decided the new photo tag was two metal horses!
 Eric was also playing a different photo tag and grabbed this carved wooden bear for his game.
If you ever have reason to go through Kanab, UT, take some time and look around.  They have a really cool museum Little Hollywood Museum among many other things to see.  Just outside of Kanab are the falling down remains of the TV show Gunsmoke set.  Unfortunately, they are tumbling down and on private property but you can ride by and take a gander. Gunsmoke  Also, beyond the Gunsmoke set are some fantastic petroglyphs down Johnson Canyon.  We didn't go there on this ride but have in the past.  Makes a fun trip!

Now, we were making another turn on our loop and headed west toward home.  We made a quick stop in Fredonia, AZ.

 The wind was picking up significantly but the blue sky held for us as we made our way toward home.  I turned on my new heated seat and whoopee it gets hot fast!  We were getting very close to home and the shadows were long in the late afternoon!
 Almost home!
 And we ended our lovely day riding Zion.  We rode about 180 miles.  Our high temperature was about 64 and the low was around 54.  I now have 13,608 (s)miles on the Beastie Bike and I love riding it more and more!
The two wheeled therapy session was successful and now I'm busy planning more rides!  And, we now have the Beastie Bike plugged into a maintenance charger so hoping no more issues.  Actually, if I just get out and ride more I won't need the charger!!!! (Note to self ;-) )

As always, thanks for following along with me!


Our route today

Friday, January 20, 2017

So Many Places To Go!

Last Saturday we awoke early, like before dawn early, got on the bikes and headed down Old Highway 91 to I-15 south to Las Vegas.  It was time for Beastie Bike to get her 12,000 mile service.  Actually we were about 1,500 miles overdue.  Since the weather has been cold and snowy and well it's winter so going north for service was really not an option.  So south we went to Las Vegas BMW Motorrad.  Some of you may recall that in years past I have had horrible experiences with the Las Vegas dealer and refused to ever go back there.  Life has a way of changing things, we have recently heard good things about the Las Vegas dealer and service department, thus off we went.

Sorry, absolutely no photos taken :-(  My bad.  However, the service department and sales department peeps were wonderful to work with.  I didn't need my oil changed or the final drive oil changed.  Eric can do those things at home.  Mostly we wanted the overall check everything and the valves checked.  The guys at Vegas were happy to accommodate us and charged us appropriately.

Since we were the first appointment of the day, it was only 9 am and no place to go.  We hung around the showroom for a while and walked over to a restaurant that used to be there but wasn't any longer.  So back to the showroom where Gary (sales & customer support) offered to drive us to an eatery.  Awesome!  That's what we did.  Gary drove us to a place called The Cracked Egg.  OMG, it was freaking delish!!!!  I had their version of a Monte Cristo with hashbrowns and I was in heaven.  Eric had their Chicken Fried Steak and he appeared to be very satisfied as well.  Not only was the food great, the service was stellar and our food arrived quickly and piping hot.  Just the way it should!

After that huge meal, we decided that maybe a walk back to the dealership might be a smart thing.  Fortunately, although it was chilly, the sun was shining and we had no problem getting back to the dealer.  We still had a bit of a wait during which time Eric managed to snag a great pair of Klim waterproof gloves and some Rok Straps.  LOL, he needed the Rok Straps because someone who keeps their GS in our garage stole all of his!

Not too much longer and the Beastie Bike was ready to go.  Miller, the service manager went over all the details of the service and was simply pleasant and easy to deal with.  I am changing my opinion of Las Vegas BMW Motorrad and I will go back there again if and when the need arises.  Seems like the ownership got the message and changed things up about 2 years ago - for the better.  They have even more exciting news, they will be moving to a new, much, much larger location and will be renamed to Eurocycles of Las Vegas, Las Vegas BMW.  In addition to BMW, they will carry Triumph, Vespa, Piaggio, Artic Cat, Aprilla, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta!  They will also move their Eagle Rider Rental and Tour group to the new location. I'm sure it will be awesome!

Now that Beastie Bike has had her service and Eric's Yamaha Super Tenere has had it's service and valve adjustment, we are ready to start planning rides for this year.  So, the other night Eric and I were discussing where we might want to go on a riding holiday and it seems the options are endless, unfortunately time and money are not.

We do have camping gear and I suspect this year we'll be doing a fair amount of motorcycle camping to save a few bucks and to try different events.  In February, we have a trip planned for Baja California, Mexico.  We won't be camping on this trip but honestly, the hotels were pretty inexpensive (hoping they are decent!).  Lots of tour companies do this trip in February and I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing lots of folks riding down there!  As of right now though, our leader has been called to jury duty.  It remains to be seen if we actually do this trip or not.  I'm on the side of hell yes, let's go!  Even if we go by ourselves.  Heck, lots of folks do it so it can't be that difficult ;-)  Keep your fingers crossed that we can make this happen and I'll reward you with a blog full of photos!

As of yet, we have nothing scheduled for March.  But April looks promising with us attending the  Rawhyde Adventure Days in Southern California.  We will definitely be camping at this event.  Check it out and come join us!  Looks like it will have a lot to offer.

May is still empty as of today, however we're looking at the BMW Club of Northern California 49'er event over Memorial Day Weekend.  49'er Rally 2017.  Not the type of event or rally we have done in the past but it certainly looks appealing.  The price is right and you can camp right there.  We'll see how things shake out for May but this event is on the short list.

June is another month with nothing particular scheduled.  However, July just gets plain CRAZY!! The GS Giants are hosting the  GS Giant Gypsy Tour 2017 - Snake River Ramble.  This starts just outside Idaho Falls, ID with camping, games, riding, food and more on July 9th.  Right on the heels of the GS Giant Gypsy Tour is the BMW MOA National Rally which is held in Salt Lake City, UT this year on July 13 through July 16.  You can read more about it here BMW MOA Rally 2017.

Whew!  If that isn't enough, we signed up for another new to us event being held in Nakusp, British Columbia, Canada.  It's the Horizon's Unlimited Mountain Madness event (HUMM).  I've been wanting to get up to Nakusp for several years and here is a perfect opportunity for us to head that direction.  HUMM.  Check it out! Starting July 28 through 30 with a fews days on each end for travel to the event.  An LD type scavenger hunt on motorcycles in the dirt in the mountains with bear spray a requirement!  Yeah, hahahaha, that's gonna be fun for sure!  When we registered, we had to pick a team name so for now, we are the "F Bombs" ;-)  It may change to Team DFF, we'll see......  Anyway, take a step outside of your comfort zone and join us!

Now, with all of that happening in July, we still haven't figured out what we want to do about the Iron Butt Rally.  We know the start and finish is somewhere in Minneapolis, MN and we'd really like to participate and/or attend the start, finish and/or checkpoint.  We'll see if we can work that into our plans when more news is announced.

The rest of the year is still open and who knows what might come up!  I'm excited to try some new to me events and go to some new places.  Heck, I'm just excited we'll be getting some decent riding in this summer!  Hopefully, I will improve my off pavement riding skills and not end up doing this again.

That's about all I have to report for now folks.  Thanks, as always, for following along.  I suspect when this current storm passes, we'll have a chance to get out do some day rides in the area and I'll be taking photos and posting blogs.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Because We Can - Friday & Saturday December 30 and 31, 2016

Following a good night sleep, we awoke to a dreary day!  Boohoo!  Oh well, it wasn't raining, just cloudy and a tad chilly.  After brekkie at the Best Western we geared up again with all the layers of LD Comfort, heated gear, outer gear, winter gloves, buff, etc. and headed to the ocean.  After all, it was only about 1/2 mile away and it's been a long time since I've been to the ocean so we had to go.  Geared up and bikes loaded, we left the hotel parking lot in search of a beach access.  It wasn't long before we found what we were looking for!

Those dots out there in the ocean are surfers!    Brrrrrrrrr!!!

It was a beautiful beach in both directions.

I watched this surfer catch a wave and ride it in!

We climbed down the million or two stairs to go stand on the sand :-)

And, of course we had to memorialize our visit ;-)

Then, we had to climb up the million or two steps to get back to the street where we had parked the bikes!  Oh, and I was dressed like the Michelin man, lol.

After our brief visit to the Pacific, we headed east on rural roads which was very pleasant as we had very little traffic to deal with.  California Hiway 58 was particularly fun with a lot of twists and turns and then roller coaster hills and valleys.  Whee!  I love it when you feel like you're catching air off the top of rise as you enter the downside.  Good fun!

When I think of CA Hiway 58, I usually think of the slog across the Mojave and it really isn't very interesting until you get to Tehachapi.  But the western side of CA Hiway 58 is fabulous!!!

We took a little break here - the middle of nowhere on CA Hiway 58 where there is a humongous solar ranch.

Big tumbleweeds!  I had one blow right behind me, so glad it didn't get me because it was about the size of a house.  You can see some of the solar panels in this photo.
Oh blue sky!  Yeah, no for long.....

Yeah, another picture of my bike.  I can't get enough of this Beastie Bike!!

After riding through Bakersfield we started heading up the mountain to Tehachapi where we stopped at Denny's for lunch (only the best for us!).  While we were eating, a lot of clouds gathered and the fog got very thick, like pea soup.  The weather report was calling for snow in Tehachapi and neither of us wanted to spend the night there and risk being snowed in.  Besides it was still early afternoon.

So, after lunch, we bundled up again and headed out into the thick fog that now had freezing ice pellets pounding down.  It was nerve wracking!  My new LS2 Metro helmet has it's own proprietary pinlock type shield.  It was a piece of shit and didn't work at all.  That meant, I had to leave my visor up most of the way just to see.  GACK!  Fog, freezing ice balls, bad traffic.  This part was NOT fun.  I was thankful when we got over the summit and started heading down into the Mojave and the weather improved greatly.  I was also thankful for my heated pants, jacket and grips!

We were moving along quite nicely heading to Barstow when about 15 miles out of town, traffic came to a standstill.  Both lanes.  No movement.  Then we got to move like one car length, then another, then another.  Eric suggested we lane split.  Ummmm,  no thanks, not with the Beastie Bike and her big hips.  Besides, I've never really done it before and just the thought intimidated me.  (Actually, during the 2011 Iron Butt Rally, I did lane split in Pennsylvania on route to the checkpoint in Buffalo).  We even had a dude driving a motorhome tell us it was okay for us to lane split in California.  That was nice!

After several miles of this stop and go, the highway merged from two lanes to one lane and everything just became that much more congested.  We were getting some serious slow riding skill training!  Eric started to look for alternative routes on his GPS which pretty much meant off pavement.  I wasn't too sure about that.  I was tired and really didn't want to go exploring.  I was ready for my cocktail and a hotel room.  The motorhome guy told us traffic was clearing up about 5 miles up the road at the intersection of Hiway 58 and Hiway 395, so we just stuck it out.  It took a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG time to get to Barstow.

Although our route today was just over 300 miles it took us hours and hours and hours because of the traffic jam.  This meant it was dark when we got to Barstow.  Ever since I had Lasik eye surgery, my night vision sucks and I was having a tough time merging onto the Interstate with all the traffic and brake lights and stop and go on the Interstate!  Yuck!  We took the first exit into Barstow, pulled over at a Chevron station, refueled the bikes and parked while we searched for a hotel.

The Super 8 where we had stayed a few days prior was already booked up.  Too bad, because it was a decent room, spacious and clean.  Eric was able to book us a cheap room at the Days Inn.  I've found that just like Super 8, it can either be a gem or a shady place.  Unfortunately, this Days Inn was on the shady side.  No, really it was awful, tiny room and filthy.  Gross.  Yuck.  Do Not Stay here, ever!  Don't let the somewhat tidy exterior fool you.  This is a nasty place.  Oh well, I was happy we were parked for the night and I could finally have my cocktail and relax.

The next morning dawned with blue skies and more chill.  I snapped a few photos before we departed again wrapped up in all our heated gear.

It was about another 300 miles to home and it's straight down Interstate 15.  Traffic was much better on our way home than it had been on our way to Orcutt, CA.  There were no lines at the rest stop :-)

It was nice to roll into our driveway that afternoon.  We had a great little ride and got to visit with friends we hadn't seen in quite some time.  Our "Because We Can" lunch was great and popping over to the ocean was a highlight.  The western side of CA Highway 58 was spectacular (go ride this highway!) and we didn't have to deal with any issues other than bad weather at Tehachapi and that ugly traffic jam.  Our bikes performed flawlessly and I managed to stay toasty with my heated gear.

Now, the Beastie Bike has about 13,500 miles and is overdue for the 12,000 mile service.  I have an appointment for next week down in Las Vegas.  We'll see how that goes.....

Thanks for following along.  It was nice to take a little trip in the middle of winter.  We have a Baja California, Mexico trip planned next month so stay tuned!