A blog to record our motorbike adventure through the Americas

The West Side

Yes we are still alive!  I (Dan) have been a bit slack at updating the blog and have put it off for long enough.  I should be able to squeeze it all into one update though – especially as everything gets blurry after suffering the heat of Death Valley and enjoying the excessiveness of Vegas!

After seeing all the amazing rock formations in Utah, we headed to The Grand Canyon. How can I best describe it…… Massive? Humongous? Frickin’ huge? I’m sure there are better ones out there but the place is so magnificent that people just sit and look at it in silence. We met an old guy a while back on Route 66 that has spent the last two decades studying and photographing the canyon in great detail.

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It is a 200 mile drive from the north rim to the south rim so we just imagined what it looked like from the other side and headed to the next destination – Vegas!

We did our research on Sin City before we arrived as people tend to spend a lot of money when they go and we were determined to try and keep to the usual daily budget. We got a great deal on a suite in the MGM Signature and after checking in, immediately rode to the local supermarket to buy supplies to last the 4 days. No need to tip the hotel valet guys – they didn’t even want to consider parking the now very dirty Transalp.

Then we did a lot of relaxing! It was a nice change to riding each day in smelly bike clothing and sweating profusely along the way. We tried to blend in with normal people in the casinos and even ironed our clothes (after washing them in the Jacuzzi). I think it worked as we got free drinks everywhere!

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After four blissful (and slightly profitable) days in Vegas, we hit the road again on our way towards the west coast.

We had to ride through Death Valley on the way as it sounds like a pretty mean place and it didn’t disappoint.
July is the hottest month and it was between 115-120 degrees on the day we were there.

I’ve always been envious of Lisa’s bike clothing as it has a mesh design for great airflow and mine just has a couple of crappy vents. In Death Valley, my gear actually shielded me from the intense sun whereas Lisa suffered mild heatstroke by the end of the day. On top of that, I decided that we didn’t need to refuel on the way through (over 5 bucks a gallon) and was quite worried about running low when realizing the next town was further than I initially thought.

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The day after Death Valley, we got our first puncture. It happened after we parked up for the day.
Good timing or what?!?

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Next destination was Bodie State Historic Park. It is now a ghost town but was originally a thriving gold mining town in the late 1800’s. Murders, shoot outs, barroom brawls and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences back in the day.

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On to Yosemite National Park. We didn’t spend as such time as we could have here. It was a beautiful drive through the park but to see it properly, hiking is recommended. The famous “Half Dome” is very popular but hiking permits are in high demand and run out quickly.

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After driving through the national park we stopped in a small gold rush town of Columbia which is still stuck in the 1800’s and checked into the Fallon Hotel which is haunted. After a long, tiring day of riding, we slept straight through anything that might have happened that night!

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Lisa’s 30th birthday celebrations in Vacaville, Napa Valley.

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We are now in San Francisco. What a beautiful (but chilly) city! We are wearing fleeces for the first time since Colorado Rocky Mountain High! Alcatraz was on the to-do list but unfortunately the trips are sold out until mid August…..boooooooo!

We did the bus tour instead which gives a good oversight to the city.

A strange fog envelops Golden Gate Bridge for most of the day. Evidently it is caused by the water temperature being higher than the air temperature (so the local Kwik-E-Mart guy tells us) and the temperature gets very cold until the bus returns to the blue skies in the city.

We are staying close to the dodgy part of town called Tenderloin. The locals advise us to avoid the area at night as muggings are very common. We saw a nice white Cadillac pull up last night on the side of the road but then noticed the driver was dressed all in black and wearing a gimp mask – frickin’ scary neighbourhood!

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Where next? Riding The Pacific Highway south towards LA. We have a couple of weeks to kill before we fly home for a “holiday” so maybe we’ll see about some beach time on the way. It’s a hard life…….

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6 responses

  1. Steph

    I’m loving all of your blog updates! You’ve seen so much this summer. Btw, the San Fran Tenderloin district is also the biggest gay community in the city 🙂 . When in LA do go to In and Out Burger. They are everywhere there & some excellent fast food. Cali can be very pricy. If you have enough to do tours, the Warner Bros studio tour is pretty cool. As far as beaches to, be careful of Venice beach at night. Orange county beaches are lovely – Catalina, Balboa, and Laguna. Have fun!!! 😉

    August 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

    • I wondered why all the guys were holding hands in Tenderloin – I just thought it was a very friendly place! Ha ha. Cali is definitely more expensive than some of the other states we travelled through and it’s gone really cold too. 60 degrees in August?!?! Thanks for the tips – we’ll be sure to visit some of those beaches if it warms up! 🙂

      August 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

  2. Jeffers

    Dan/Lisa

    Good to see you did the bus tour, bloody freezing or what? We bailed out of SF yesterday and headed inland to Fresno, it’s currently 105 deg C. Much nicer. Here until Monday, after all the excesses of Vegas then chilly Monterey and SF we wanted down time in the warmth, oh and we needed to wash everything. In La Quinta hotel fir ave. king size rooms/ suites £76 per night. Not a lot around us though. What are your plans for the next couple of weeks? We head home 18th August.

    Annie wants to know if you are stalking us, sme of your pics are exactly the same as ours lol..

    Take care, hope to catch you before we head home.

    Geoff.

    August 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  3. Really enjoyed your photos and updates! I´m most impressed that you made it out of Vegas ahead (what´s your secret?). Enjoy the beach time in southern California.

    August 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

  4. Michael

    Good work guys, love reading your blogs. Not at all jealous 🙂

    August 6, 2012 at 5:25 am

  5. Robin

    I have only just managed to bring myself to read this as I suffer from insane jealousy of you guys! Alas I can’t read any more as I might just quit my job tomorrow and join you. You can fit three on the bike right?

    You look like you have had an awesome time. Can’t wait to hear about it! See you in turkey!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

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