Its been a month since our last blog update and we are only 100 miles away from where we left off…….not really the kind of traveling I imagined!
We checked out of dodgy Inglewood and checked into Terminal 3 at LAX ready for our flight home via an overnight stop in New York.
And it was actually sunny when we arrived in Blighty! No time to get over the jet-lag. It was time to sort out some of the things that we didn’t finish before we left. More packing, sell the car, tax returns, paperwork and other boring stuff.
The Green Machine. Isn’t she beautiful? Some other lucky guy is now the proud owner of this fine car.
We flew to Dalaman, Turkey a few days later to join Lisa’s family for her brother’s wedding in Oludeniz. It was a nice break from biking and a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
The happy couple Chris and Aimee….
After 6 nights of fun in the sun, we flew back to England for our last chance to tie up any loose ends and catch up with more people before we headed off on the rest of the adventure.
Lisa meets her new niece Maisie…
Dinner out with relatives…
Great views of the Artic circle on the flight back to LA….
We were back and raring to go! With some help from Bill and the use of his garage, we started fitting the new parts that we brought back over with us.
All was looking good but then I realised that I didn’t quite order all the parts needed so had to drive all over LA countless times so that we could get “Trinny The Tranny” (not sure about that name yet) tip top again.
List of stuff replaced:
New uprated Hagon shock (woohoo!)
New Metzler Tourance tyres
Chain and Sprocket kit
Three legged squirrel pops in for a daily dose of free nuts….
Rev’it kindly sent us free staff t-shirts and stickers after hearing about our trip!
After fixing stuff (and breaking some other stuff) we took the bike for a test ride up the coast to Ventura with Bill, David, John and Anne, stopping for a Thai before riding back towards LA in the evening.
This is where Trinny decided to remind me that she is 25 years old and not as young as she used to be. It began to splutter, loosing power while we chugged along the highway on just one cylinder. After working out that one of the CDI’s had gone bad, we put in the spare that we were carrying and continued back to the motel in time for tea.
We then discovered that the 2nd CDI was not working 100%, so decided to order some replacements from Hollywood Honda before heading south where parts are probably harder to come by. Another two days of waiting around while eating Bill’s food gave us chance to tinker with the bike and find a couple more issues.
This morning our spare parts had arrived, the bike was running well and we were ready to hit the road!
A huge thanks to Bill for putting up with us squatters for so long!!
It feels so good to be back in the saddle and tonight we are only 30 miles from the Mexican border…….we had better brush up on our Spanish!!
After checking out of our motel, in what turned out to be the gay and lesbian area of San Francisco (which explains some of the things we saw on the streets!), we headed south along the Pacific Highway. I was somewhat confused as it was really cold – I had to put my linings back in my bike gear for the first time in ages! So there we were on the coast of California in August and wishing we had warmer clothing – not quite what we had in mind.
On top of the colder weather, we also had our second puncture – this time on the freeway! Luckily we were near an off ramp so after unsuccessfully trying to pump the tyre up we pushed the bike down the ramp away from the traffic. A couple of patches on the tube and a pulled muscle in the shoulder for Dan later, and he had fixed the puncture 🙂
We persevered with the cold coastal road for another day, which included a stop off to see elephant seals on the beach before heading back inland. We’ve become acclimatized to 100 degree plus weather and wanted to get back to the heat.
After heading towards Bakersfield through some sweeping golden hills, vineyards and oil fields we got the map out to try and decide ‘what next’.
California was proving to be tough on the budget and we needed to kill some time before hitting LA. There was only one thing for it…….back to Vegas! For the same price as a nasty motel in California, we could stay in a nice hotel in Vegas…..and after joking about it for a couple of hours, we booked up and headed off.
So Vegas is addictive…..or maybe we have a gambling problem 🙂
As punishment for the decision to go back to Vegas, I did nearly pass out because of the heat in the Mojave desert on the way…..but rather that than the cold coastal weather.
As a bonus after Vegas, when we’re were heading towards Los Angeles we got to ride some more of route 66 and see some more of the quirky things that have popped up along the old ‘mother road’.
We passed what is known as ‘Bottle Tree Ranch’. Created by a guy called Elmer in 2000. After his dad died he was left with a collection of colourful glass bottles so started creating scrap metal glass bottle trees….there are now over 200 of them.
On the way to LA we stopped off to meet a couple of fellow adventure riders, Bill and David, who we met through Horizons Unlimited. Bill is very kindly letting us store our bike in his garage for a few weeks whilst we head back to the UK and letting us carry out some much needed maintenance there when we get back.
As per normal, our quest to find cheap accommodation led to us staying in another ‘dodgy’ part of town…..we were staying in Inglewood, I read someone online refer to it as ‘Gangland’! A visit to the local Taco Bell seemed to prove that this place was not the best as there was an inch thick screen to protect the staff and they passed the food to you via a secure box which you couldn’t open until they released the door – more security than I’ve seen in a bank!. We decided that walking around after dark here was probably not a good idea!
With some free time on our hands, we headed out to visit Venice Beach. It’s a pretty interesting place to go and people watch……especially if you like watching crazy weird people! Also it seemed to be the place to go and get yourself a prescription for medical marijuana- just about every other shop along the beach front was advertising this. Apparently if you suffer from anything from a headache to almost death, marijuana is the answer!!! I’m guessing this service might explain some of the crazy people around 🙂
We had a quick stop off to check out the skateboarders and of course muscle beach……these guys working out must all be pretty vain and on steroids I think!
Also, Dan spotted Danny Trejo who has been in a few films. I didn’t really know who he was, he kind of looked like a local scary gangster cycling by!
The next day was spent doing tours around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. When I make my millions, I think I might buy a place around here……..along with my apartment by Central Park in NYC! If only…………… 🙂
The shops along Rodeo Drive are all very expensive – there is one shop you have to make an appointment to go inside and they run a credit check on you to make sure you a rich enough to shop there! Not much chance of them letting us in then! The owner parks his Bugatti Veyron right outside the shop. It’s like another world to live around here…….
We saw a few of the stars houses, including a new house being built for Leonardo DiCaprio – the artist impression looks like it’s going to be pretty impressive!
After spending a few hours wishing I was a millionaire we met up with two other couples from the UK who have been touring Canada and the US on their BMW bikes. We’ve been to a lot of the same places and following each others blogs, so it was great to finally meet up. Unfortunately LA was the end of the road for their trip, but after speaking to them it’s clear that they had an amazing time too. They were much better at updating their blog than us…..we’ll miss reading what they are up to. For anyone who likes to read other peoples adventure blogs, here’s a link to their site http://fliptopheads.blogspot.com
After a few days relaxing in gangland, we finally dropped the bike off at Bill’s. Thanks to David for dropping us back 🙂
We’re now heading back home to the UK for a couple of weeks to catch up with family and friends, meet my new niece and go to my brothers wedding before heading back to start part two……..beginning the trip south and entering into Mexico (after fixing up some of the issues on the bike which have developed after 12,000 miles).
Canada and the US have been great, we’ve seen loads of amazing things and we’re really looking forward carrying on the trip to see what Mexico, Central and South America have in store for us 🙂
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.
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!
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.
The day after Death Valley, we got our first puncture. It happened after we parked up for the day.
Good timing or what?!?
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.
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.
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!
Lisa’s 30th birthday celebrations in Vacaville, Napa Valley.
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!
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…….