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 🙂
After almost two weeks on the road and about 2500km’s we’re about to cross the border into the US.
We had our first night of camping just outside Halifax, my paranoia about being eaten by a bear began and I made Dan lock all food in the bike panniers away from the tent. After leaving Halifax (with what felt like a very heavily loaded bike) we headed North West into the state of New Brunswick and then through into Quebec in search of warm weather after enduring a pretty cold night camping near Fredericton (in a place called ‘Bear Island’ which really didn’t help my fear of bears). Quebec city was really hot and we stayed a couple of nights so we could take a look around the old city. I’m not sure if our thermometer was working correctly, but it certainly felt this hot!!!
After Quebec we headed down through Montreal into Ontario to the Thousand Island area…..through torrential rain! At least we got to test out the new bike gear to see how waterproof it really is! Everything seemed okay, except for our gloves……and the miserable experience of driving in constant rain. At least the sun was shining when we finally got to the Thousand Islands, so we soon relaxed and put our feet up for a couple of days.
We decided to off load some items and post them back home to free up some space on the bike….including the kitchen sink – perhaps a little unnecessary to bring that along.
With the bike all running well after quite a few days of riding we headed on to Toronto….and managed to arrive at rush hour…in incredibly hot hummid weather, which was somewhat uncomfortable, we were really glad to arrive and set up camp that day!
The following morning we set off on the ride to Niagara Falls but ended up on a slight detour after stopping for fuel and coffee. We met Lawrence, a friendly Harley rider, who came over to chat to us after seeing our bike parked up. He was waiting to meet up with his friends from the Vintage Motorcycle Club to ride the scenic route towards Niagara and then onto Buffalo. We decided to accept his offer for us to join them and set off on an interesting ride on roads we would never of found ourselves with a mixture of Harleys, BMW, Honda’s and Triumph Tigers. It was great to ride with a group, an unexpected highlight so far, and a really nice bunch of people. After stopping for lunch with the group, we then went our separate ways so we could get onto Niagara and set up camp.
Today has also been another highlight, Niagara Falls…..one word – awesome! It was a little bit too touristy really, but it was amazing to see, we’ve had a really great few days.
Tomorrow, another country, more experiences, more fears – this time I’m paranoid about tornadoes (and probably still bears for a little while yet). Dan thinks I’m a bit crazy with all my paranoia, but at the same time I think he’s just glad I’m enjoying myself as secretly he was worried how I might take to this travel by motorcycle.
Our route through the US is still not decided……..other than heading to Washington DC, the rest will all be worked out on route, I can’t wait!