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Too much information......lallalllallalllaalllllaaaalllaaaa
+1, I have a very active imagination - just gone into overdrive now
 

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Discussion Starter #82
Ok, so about a week since the last proper update. Since then we have been to Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Kanab in Southern Utah, Zion Canyon, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (free money - yay:)), Death Valley, Yosemite, Napa (free wine :eek:ccasion8:) and now going down the Pacific Coast Highway on what I guess is the last leg of an epic trip. Just under 6,000miles to date. Temperatures in Utah, Arizona, Navada and East/Central California reached 95-100c most days with the max seen on the bike's thermometer being 41c in Death Valley. But, on the coast in Northern California (where we are now), its foggy and just 12,5c although just 2-3 miles inland its sunny and hot at about 32c.

We didn't go into Monument Valley - it seemed over-commercialised, expensive, and a local said go to the Valley of the Gods, just as good, free, and you will have the place to yourselves. Bonus was 30 miles of a very rough gravel road through it. :)

Bryce Canyon has the weirdest rocks and huge-est views ever.

Zion canyon is very pretty - big: huge cliffs, verdant canyon bottom, well organised and relatively busy.

Grand Canyon is absolutely gob-smackingly huge. Nothing prepares you for the size and scale. Its stunning. we went to the north rim, which was mostly quiet and some of the locations very remote. In fact it is 80miles down a dead end road just to get there. Its also at 8500 feet so quite cool - which is a good thing.

Vegas was everything you imagine it to be.

Death Valley was effing hot but a stunning place to cross and so glad we did it. 41c at 10am, it will have got to 45 or more by the afternoon. It almost hurts to breath and riding with visor up was painful. We could only afford to stop for a few seconds to take pics, but keeping the jacket on was actually cooler than taking it off, although we had poured a load of water inside the jackets. Bone dry in 15minutes mind.

Yosemite is big and probably the grandest of the national parks.

PCH is, as mentioned before, cold.

Just a few sample pics

Monument Valley from afar




Valley of the Gods






Valley of the Gods trail to the left, highway to the top. In between is a very steep gravel road rising around 2,000 feet in a couple of miles




Next we took the Burr Trail Road - across some of the most remote parts of Utah.








Bryce




more later.....battery is going
 

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Discussion Starter #83
Pics.......

Zion National Park........

Imminent Thunderstorm




It mostly looks like this


and this...


Humming Bird, never seen one before and damned hard to photo.....


Grand Canyon
The north rim - the cognescenti's choice I was told

most of the photos are between 5x and 20x zoom











Colorado River - over mile below the viewpoint






Arizona filling station - they know what their priorities are...



more soon - Nevada, Vegas and Death Valley in the next installment :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Nevada Desert was bleedin' hot

Near Lake Mead. When you are out in the sticks, even along county roads they have dood pull offs every now and then with a bit of shelter and a couple of long drop composting toilets.


Its proper desert...


Vegas had some interesting sights






It also some fancy buildings they call casinos








and apparently BobA is putting in an appearance


I mentioned before, we went out of our hotel to walk to Sunset Strip for all the sights and something to eat and drink, look at and go in a casino or two, when I saw what I thought was a dollar bill rolling down the sidewalk, I picked it up to $100 on it. Anne said there's another here. We looked at them and both thought it was joke money or something. Anyway I shoved it in my trouser pocket "just in case". Later in a casino we saw someone buying chips with $100 bills so in my opinion that made them legit. Nice little bonus that we ought to have put on balck in the casino, but gambling aint my game. We also had a bonus at the hotel. Walk in price was quoted at us as $120, we had a voucher that said$59.95 but got charged on$42 (about £25 at current exchange rates). Oh happy days.

We rode up and down sunset strip a couple of times after sunset of course but the photos are a bit blurry from the back of the bike. This was an absolutely brilliant thing to do - shorts, tee shirt, no helmet and the temp was still 35c.

Cool car - there's lots of cool cars in USA, i will do a separate post when i sort the pics













DEATH Valley

After riding up and down Sunset Strip we went to bed at about 10pm planning an early start. Up at 6 away by 7 we thought to avoid the heat. What we hadnt realised was that we had lost another hour in Nevada, so we had gone to bed at 9pm and got up at 5am. There were still people out from the night before
:rolleyes:

Anyway onto death valley, past lost of brothels up the road, which I forgot to photograph - just a big sign saying brothel and pink painted building in the middle of the desert with a couple of lorries and cars parked up.

Zabriskie Point - had to call in being a pink floyd fan. The pics are real and the terrain is natural, not caused by mining or anything.









Its too hot to open my visor, even stopped


not much here




Way below sea level, and note the temp - kept swapping between +40.5 and 41c


and that was it for Death Valley. It was too hot to stop for photos. We had poured a bottle of water each down our jackets and tee shirts to try and stay cool - which mostly worked as long as we were moving, otherwise we were just wearing clothes covered in hot water. Really glad we did it. On the north side it climbs from below sea level to +5,000 feet in about 5 miles and it felt bloomin' cold up there before descending to another valley with a big salt lake.

one of them straight roads






That's it for now. Next installment Yosemite, Pacific Coast Highway, Golden Gate bridge :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #87 (Edited)
OK we are home, got back Friday at about 9pm after a long very tiring, multi-legged journey with loads of hanging around and I am now enjoying the novel experience of jet-lag, novel for me anyway.

The last part of the trip was into northern California riding through beautiful and deserted mountain ranges and then through Yosemite National Park, then into the wine-lands around Napa, then further north to meet the coast at Fort Bragg, then taking the Pacific Coast Highway all the way south to LA.

Once again we avoided the interstates and dual carriageways except to get round big places like Sacramento and as a result had some stunning riding - check out Highway 49 from Oakhurst through Mariposa to Sonora - about 100miles of the most glorious seemingly endless twisties on well surfaced wide roads in fabulous scenery; or highways 29 & 175 north of Calistoga; or Highway 20 between Willets and Fort Bragg. In fact its hard to find a bad road round here, although the roads were so twisty for so long Anne was getting travel sick on the back. Temperatures inland were also well up in the mid-high thirties centigrade, too hot for riding a heavy fully loaded bike through tight twisty roads , and we ended most days exhausted and only really wanting to lie on a bed with the air con going on full blast to cool down.

The coast however was another matter - about 3 miles from the coast we could see the line of fog and as we rode into it temperatures plummeted to around 16C - which felt bloomin' freezing after what we had been in for the past 4 weeks or so. The fog is pretty much a fixture this time of year and it can be foggy any time of year. This rather spoiled the whole coast section as visibility was down to around 1/2 mile or so and most of the good views of the wild coast were completely lost.

Finally we hated LA - it is huge, incredibly busy, and the freeways, highways and roads around an through it are crazy - 7+ lanes each way all rammed full of traffic, junctions one after the other, roads joining both sides, with speeds being either near zero or around 80 with not much in between, and crazy drivers and riders chopping and changing lanes to undertake and overtake. The good bit was the 2+ person lane which we used and that filtering is legal, although with panniers and pillion its a bit fraught. The other thing was the hotel we ended up in was awful - not our choice hotel, as our target hotels were fully booked when we got to them so just took the first available room at the next hotel. Right on a busy intersection so loads of road noise but also that the room next door (adjoining door) had three or four people in it, who at 1am came back and started talking and were still at it when we eventually had enough at 7.30. One of the girls talked seemingly non-stop in loud black-american slang, mostly complaining about how people showed her no respect. I can only think they were on cocaine or speed or something to keep it up all night - a loud thump on the wall just resulted in a challenge back about "what's my effing problem" and then she phoned reception to complain about people knocking on her wall ! She needs a reality check on how respect is earned. They were also smoking in a non-smoking establishment with the smoke drifting through the adjoining door - its horrid. We decided life was too short to get wound up by it and left early. Travelodge, Gardena: do not go there!!

During the course of the trip we also learned that our passage through US customs at JFK airport, New York had been too smooth - Customs had omitted to give us two VERY important forms. The first is required in case you are stopped by police and need to demonstrate that the bike has been properly imported and the second is required to repatriate the bike. Apparently these are quite long forms requiring a lot of manual input and its not unusual for the customs officers at busy places like JFK not to bother and leave the importer with the problem. The solution is to "ghost" an import of the bike to get the paperwork that allows repatriation. So the bike is now with Schumacher Logistics under a power of attorney so they can apply for import and re-export on my behalf before being parcel-wrapped again and sent home. Should be about 2 weeks.

Pics.......

Yosemite

This is just the approach road




Lunch spot among alpine meadows at 10,000+ feet. There was herd of deer that kept coming in and out the trees, eagles overhead, chipmunks, and ground squirrels. Idyllic.

There's some weird rocks - these huge monolith is granite and is huge and just reared up out the meadows.




Most the white and grey stuff in background is not snow, its granite but makes the whole place all the more scenic.






Yosemite is famous for its waterfalls. I think the first one is called the Bride's Veil




and for its big rock faces. There's usually climbers on here, but its nesting season so its closed. Well over 1000 feet of rock face


Classic Yosemite view


Giant sequoia trees. These are one the two types of Redwood and are the biggest trees in the world, although not the tallest - thats the other sort of Redwood found at the coast. Sequoias are around 70-80metres tall and anything up 40feet in diameter. Nothing prepares you for their size, but they are really difficult to photo as result.








This one has been down for a couple of hundred years. There are photos of this tree dating from the american civil war.




The aforementioned highway 49




Very low reservoir - should be full of melted snow this time of year. There is a major drought in California with various restrictions on water usage in force.


I found this place amusing




Pacific Coast Highway, which I am sure would be beautiful if we could see it properly. It was at least as foggy as this most of the way to LA. However just 2-3 miles inland it was beautifully sunny and warm.


More Redwoods - the taller thinner ones this time






The Austin Creek state park. Gotta to be the best place we visited ;)










Crossing the Golden gate Bridge




PCH fog and clear air can be side by side. Also some of it is a very good biker road, but can be congested






This headland was above the fog






Elephant Seals - there was loads of them




Not sure ifit was mating ritual or males fighting but there was lot of fighting going on along with sealy/barky noises.




Pub in Morro Bay - I dont think there really was the choice 48 beers, but there was lot of 'em, the one's i tried were V good, but quite expensive at around $7 for a US pint (4/5ths of a UK pint).


and I will finish the write up in the pub as we didn't take any photos of LA and that horrible hotel - The Travelodge, Gardena, Los Angeles.
 

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Stunning pics and ride report Austin:thumbup:
How did you and Anne get on with the bike? Did she(the bike;)) give you any hassle?
Also what was your total milage for this trip?
See you August:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #94
Austin those crash bar bags don't look as if they're on properly. When they are you shouldn't be able to see any of the bars.
Thanks for the tip. I picked up the bike today and had a quick look and it's bleedin' obvious now how they should fit now. To be fixed.

Anyway the bike is back all in one piece and no damage or anything. Started on the button too. Schumacher logistics' packing was even better than on the way out but the downside was a big box that was expensive - £1800 expensive due the size of the box and the currency exchange rate going against USD.


Sent from my iPhone with a smile :)
 

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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #95
Stunning pics and ride report Austin:thumbup:
How did you and Anne get on with the bike? Did she(the bike;)) give you any hassle?
Also what was your total milage for this trip?
See you August:thumbup:
The bike was brilliant and apart from having to put air in the tyres a few times and breaking the centre stand didn't need any attention all trip.

Total mileage was 6700 and average fuel consumption from start to finish was 53.5 mpg although for a long time it was at 58+ but dropped in the heat and altitude of the south west. I ran it mostly on super unleaded from full to around 50 miles left when a refill of around 7-8 US gallons (28-30 litres) cost less than $30 - about £20. Which was very very nice. We rode very steadily most of the time 65 ish even on the wide open roads in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico and 55 was about right on the mountain passes mainly as it allowed time to look around. Speeds could have been a lot higher but I couldn't see the point. On the really twisty mountain roads I tried to ride without braking for the corners - so that meant 2nd 3rd and occasionally 4th gear. Some corners were very tight and some with big drop offs terrified Anne as she tried to steer the bike towards the middle of the road. Many locals fly down these roads even in yank tanks way way faster than I was prepared to go. It was amusing watching them get well out of shape at times. Slower cars are very very good at getting out the way using the many "turnouts" (passing places) to allow overtakes as the solid centre line often runs for tens of miles.

The seat on the bike was uncomfortable after about 3 hours especially so in the heat. I think your skin softens up or something and also sweats in the heat as I could ride all day in the cooler weather on the pacific coast.

Bike wise in the east and mid west it is 90%+ Harley's but in the mountains and in California dual sport bikes dominate - F800gs and KLR650 by far the most popular. I saw plenty of tiger 800s too. All bikers wave as you pass and nearly always make time for a chat at stops.

Apart from a couple of nights in proper hotels we stayed in roadside motels that we either just went to coz we had had enough or because they had an offer in our coupon book. The cheapest we paid was $35 the most expensive was $130 and in all cases we got a huge ensuite room with either an American King size bed (huge) or two queen size beds (still huge) plus table and chairs, air con, a million tv channels, and in many places a 3 piece suite and walk in wardrobe. Most places provided a simple breakfast. They Motels were good value for money and always very convenient and there's loads of them. We didn't take camping stuff but the campsites we saw didn't look very nice and when we looked at prices weren't cheap either. Cabins on campsites were expensive - it was cheaper in motels.

It had had taken nearly two weeks to shake off the jet lag though.


Sent from my iPhone with a smile :)
 

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Great report. Couldn't see the pics from the office so just caught up :thumbleft:
I particularly liked the old mining towns in Colorado.

Jet Lag - my sister said she didn't believe it existed - until she went to NZ with me in January. Hope you're both feeling well now :)
 
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