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Topic: SS2000 to the left coast  (Read 4979 times)

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Ken Phenix
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« on: June 09, 2014, 12:03:57 am »

Hi guys! I've been gone a while. Thought I'd check in and share my last little jaunt. Here goes.  Bigsmile
 


When the prospect of a winter trip became a possibility, I set a few goals. I wanted to see the Pacific again. I hadn't seen it since I was 11. And of course I wanted to ride the Pacific Coast Highway. An Iron Butt ride (SS2000) was almost a necessity just to get to the west coast in the limited time available but what I really wanted was to earn a Bun Burner Gold. Don't ask me why. I wanted to meet and ride with internet rider buds in California and weather and time permitting Washington State. There's the annual polar bear ride New Year's Day in Vancouver WA too. It would also be nice to work in a visit with Aunt Peachie who lives in The Sierras close to the Nevada border but I figured everything at that altitude would be impassable on two wheels.



The Tigress (my 2006 919) was ready and eager to stretch her legs. Brake pads, oil change, rear tire and one wheel bearing were all she needed. One by one I scratched the little mods I planned off the list as the holiday season hit at the shop. There was no time. I spent Christmas day packing the bike - no small feat but everything fit.  





Today's the day, December 26th. I pulled out a little after 9am with a couple of stops to make before the gas stop to start the clock. As I passed by a local bike dealer "The Motorcycle Man" I noticed the open sign then and discovered my friend and icon in the local rider community Revon Craig inside at his desk. He happily agreed to be my start witness. What a great way to start the ride!



With my sights on a Bun Burner Gold, I hit the road at 11am. From Houston my route took me north to Fairfield then Waco and back down through San Antonio to ensure the 2000+ miles I needed. I made excellent time until construction and holiday traffic stopped me cold south of Waco.



I lost precious time but was determined to make it. Rain in San Antonio reminded me why I replaced my old comfortable gloves. I refused to take time to unpack the "good" gloves and just turned up the heat. My heated insoles however, were readily accessible in the top case and I plugged them in somewhere in west Texas. After a while though, they were at maximum and losing their effectiveness. I could feel the wires burning my wet fingers but my hands were still cold.  I stopped in Deming NM at 5am mountain time to layer up and change gloves. It was 20 degrees and I had been running 75mph for several hours. I was asking myself, is wind chill cumulative or exponential? Didn't matter - it was cold. Then to my chagrin the 24hr gas pump I had meticulously mapped out was off. I took more time to find fuel. At Lordsburg I came to the realization I would not capture the gold this time and took a 3 hour nap at the Econo Lodge.

Refreshed and with plenty of time to snag the standard Bun Burner 1500 I pressed on. Arizona was sunny and gorgeous with mid-day temps in the high 50's. I encountered some traffic in Phoenix but then enjoyed a particularly spectacular sunset. I rode well past the 1500 mile mark - like 200 miles past and gassed up in Desert Hot Springs California at literally the last minute.

I met up with Mike at a burger joint on the east side of LA.



We had a great visit and then he led me through the spaghetti bowl - I could see his tail light in the distance. I had never seen anybody drag knee on a Burgman before!  EEK!

With fatigue setting in, I pulled off and let myself doze off for 10 minutes or so with my head on the tank bag. I had made a wrong turn onto Hwy 99 and didn't realize it until after getting gas in Bakersfield and not finding the I-5 ramp. I had to map a back road route west back to I-5. The adrenalin shot from the anger and frustration I felt just may have given me the energy to complete the ride.  I made it to the designated end point in Gustine CA at 7am Pacific time and checked in the Motel 6.



I fell asleep while texting Dan, my end of ride witness of my arrival. How do I look?



Would you buy a used motorcycle from this man? ^   Lol


« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 12:40:39 am by Ken Phenix » Logged

Ken Phenix,
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 12:04:39 am »

The room was tiny with a large window only a few feet from the raging interstate - BUT - I had ear plugs. Deep slumber ensued. When I awoke I called Dan. He had given me the address of The Junction, an eatery and our rendezvous point about 50 miles away. I didn't snap to what was in store for me when he said, "I'll see you in about 3 hours."  And then I found out.


He led me through more excruciatingly twisty roads up to the Lick Observatory.



Then I followed him home. I must add that up until this day I only thought I knew what a twisty road was. Whoa! After a nice dinner we spent the evening trip planning and enjoying some fine Islay single malt.

My next treat was breakfast at Alice's with rider friends Ralph and Regina. The place was full of riders - and It was so refreshing to see so much motorcycle gear in one room. I'm usually the lone ATGATT guy in cruiserville. The food and the company were great.




Then Dan and Regina led me to a San Francisco beach and pointed me at the bridge.


Thanks again for everything CRASH!
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 12:07:21 am »

So what was it that made my friends scatter? All I said was that I wanted to ride over The Golden Gate Bridge.

TRAFFIC! That's what. It took me over an hour. I am soooo over The Golden Gate Bridge.  

Here's a shot of the bay.


My attention turned quickly ahead - to the Pacific Coast Highway and the deep blue ocean beyond. Breathtaking.


The road and view were incredible but I began to realize the going was too slow and I'd have to punch it to reach my goal of Ft Bragg or Eureka by nightfall. The afternoon sun was quite warm compared to the crisp 40 degree morning. I had peeled off electric and thermal layers and since my cases were full I deployed the bungee net on the top case to secure them. Later at my next gas stop - the unthinkable. I discovered I had neglected to hook the bungee net at a previous stop and my cold weather gear so vital for my trip home was GONE! I retraced my route and luckily recovered the gear before dark. There was heavy traffic and I had to endure watching countless cars and trucks and even a land yacht as they ran over my stuff. It took an eternity to find a safe place to put the sidestand down and wait for a break in the traffic. To my surprise my hand-made heated liner wasn't shredded. I plugged it in and it still worked save the left arm. An easy fix. How stupid and how lucky was I?


My luck held a bit longer as I secured one of the last rooms at the Bodega Bay Inn. The man at the desk took pity on me as I told my story and gave me a deal. Happy ending or not, this little gear recovery escapade put a dent in my trip plan too big to fix. I would not have time to color in Oregon or Washington this trip. I payed close attention to the forecast checking for any possibility of precipitation. The next morning, December 30th I would ride The Pacific Coast Highway a short distance to Jenner and then say goodbye.









It was worth it. The coastline is simply spectacular.

I turned east and paused in Guerneville for brunch at The River Inn Grill.





I made my way through wine country toward Sacramento. Once there I stopped for gas and called Aunt Peachie. Plan B is in motion. Then suddenly a rider on another 919 appeared. It was fellow Wrist Twister Ed. Great to meet you man!

 

Darkness fell as I rode US-50 toward Lake Tahoe and so did the mercury quickly approaching the freezing mark. There was a substantial amount of snow along the roadway but the pavement was dry. I continued with caution using my HID beams when possible and taking advantage of turn outs to allow 4 wheeled traffic to pass. I noted the elevation signs as I passed them, 5,000, 6,000 and then 7,000 feet. It was a long ride to Carson City and I found the Motel 6 parking lot covered in ice. They let me leave the bike in front of the office for the night.



Today's route:
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2014, 12:10:54 am »


The next morning, New Year's Eve, high 20's I believe, I treated myself to the sheer grandeur of the snow covered Sierra's. I was even treated to a token handful of snowflakes on my visor on the way out of Carson City. Again, I did not expect to be here in winter but here I am. US-395 is a must ride.



I kept seeing repetitive signs, not on the scale of Bucee's mind you but touting nonetheless the $5.95 steak 'n egg breakfast special at the Topaz Lodge. I bit. I had to walk to the back of the massive casino and couldn't find the cafe at first. The waitress seemed frustrated when I ordered the special, and even more so when I asked her to take my picture against the beautiful backdrop of the lake. Her heart just wasn't in it.



Well at any rate, the view was impressive . . . . .



. . . . and the steak was excellent.



The sun had warmed things up a bit to near 40. It was a feast for the eyes.









A tourist at the overlook offered to get a shot of me with the bike - and actually put some effort in it.



I arrived at Aunt Peachie's around 3pm. We had a late lunch and spent New Year's Eve watching game shows and catching up on family business. It was a very enjoyable visit.


New Year's Day. Bishop, CA. After breakfast at Denny's and fueling up I hit the road around 10am. I was thinking I sure hope the locals here don't take this view for granted.



Once again, no precipitation in the forecast. I can't believe I'm actually talking about crossing yet another mountain pass, this time Westgard pass at 7,000ft in winter but I am - and I did. There is even a section where CA-168 goes to single lane between the rocks. Fantastic. I only got one shot here but hopefully my son can stabilize the shaky GoPro video footage.  



The decent into Nevada gave a striking view too. (Wait for the video) I had neither the time nor inclination to stop in Vegas so I got gas and pressed on. I did however, stop here. I did not venture around back where they keep the dancing alien girls.  



I'd like to see the Grand Canyon again someday but not today. And there was a long line to get to the Hoover Dam visitor's center so I rode on. Hwy 93 into Phoenix may have been a beautiful ride but nondescript after dark. I made it as far as Eloy AZ and checked into the Motel 6 around 11:30pm.



January 2nd. I'm still 1200 miles from home. I learned we're short an employee at the shop so I have to report for duty Saturday the 4th. No problem.

I stopped to meet a facebook rider buddy, Steve Loster of Victory Police Motorcycles of  Tucson. He gave me the grand tour. Very impressive. It seems more and more law enforcement agencies are retiring their Harley and BMW fleets in favor of Victory. And it's no wonder. These guys deliver a fully integrated, built to order, duty ready machine that doesn't have to go out to a third party for radio, lights, etc. My guess is they're cranking out around 5 police bikes per week. Steve rattled off an impressive list of his Texas clients too, Denton, Corpus and Missouri City to name a few.  He showed me some nice features such as foot board/crash bar arrangement that allows 34 degrees of lean and the bike will not fall over. Officers can bail off the bike for foot pursuit without taking time to put down the sidestand. I was most impressed with the keypad on the bars that pops the left side case and for 15 seconds releases the electronic lock on the AR-15 inside. Slick.    

I also took time to take in Arizona's rugged beauty.



« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 12:56:56 am by Ken Phenix » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 12:13:57 am »

So I think I figured out why Deming New Mexico is soooo cold at night.



Is it beginning to feel like I'm beating it home yet? That's alright.

Back in Texas. I made it through moderate traffic in El Paso. I skipped Ft Hancock on the way out so I had to stop this time.



Oh look! There's Morgan Freemen stepping off that old Trailways bus!    Lol

Of course while in Ft Hancock I couldn't resist a world famous Angie Burger.


:eat:
Angie made it herself.



9pm. Alright I'll admit it. It's cold! I pulled off somewhere to layer up.



I split the distance to home at Ft Stockton. I had been running 75mph in low 30's for hours. The Motel 6 was full but someone there obviously has a sense of humor.  



So I lugged my gear up the stairs at the Super 8.

January 3rd. Continental breakfast - Republic of Texas style.



The day was a little warmer and crazy windy but otherwise nondescript. I rolled into the garage at 11pm.

4848 glorious miles in 10 blissful days and 2 IBA certs. I can't think of a better way to ring in the new year.  
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 12:16:45 am »

I took about 4 hours of video on the trip but much of it is just too shaky to use. My son is helping me sort through and stabilize it.

Here's some taken on US-395 December 31st. Enjoy!  Smile

http://youtu.be/1gcCrfgQ1q0

Here's Westgard Pass new year's day.
http://youtu.be/idNy0LScvYY


Here's another one.

I was wishing I wasn't under such time constraints and could have enjoyed US-50 to Lake Tahoe in daylight. Riding it at night below freezing was a whole different deal.

http://youtu.be/1qG_-tqz6MM

Here's some still shots taken from the video.

Arizona sunset, December 27th.





The landscape along Diablo Grande Parkway off I-5 looked like a litter of shar-pei puppies.



And that Pacific Coast Highway - I'd love to take 2 or 3 weeks just to ride it end to end.





US-395 was spectacular too. I was so lucky to get to see it in winter.





« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 01:10:16 am by Ken Phenix » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2014, 12:25:06 am »

I'M CERTIFIABLE!    Rolleyes



Oh yeah I almost forgot, I was so amped trying to get the BBG I didn't give any thought to the SS1000 since you're not allowed to dual certify those two. It wasn't until after my BB1500/SS2000 packet arrived that I went back and did the math. I had done 1022 miles in just under 15 hours when I reached El Paso. So I applied for the in-state TEXAS SS1000.



And it comes with the coolest pin ever!

Here's my windscreen properly adorned.



I've never been much for patches but I needed to cover a spot. So I ordered a "Mile Eater" patch to cover the spot on the arm of my heated base layer where I laid it on the table and didn't see the candle burning. I think it's a cool one and what the heck, I earned it.   Bigsmile

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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 06:17:48 pm »

Thanks Ken, very good ride report. That's quite the ride, especially that time of the year. Enjoyed your video on 168 I've always enjoyed that road.
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 02:00:28 pm »

Reading that and seeing your pics was very inspiring. I am now in serious bike shopping mode. Congrats on a safe iron butt
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2014, 11:46:22 pm »

Thanks guys - can't wait to do it again.
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