The break down…

After spending 3 days of attending sessions and hanging out with fellow motorcycle travelers, it was time to hit the road to head home. This time I wanted to take a different route and go through Yosemite Valley.  Believe it or not; I have lived in California for more than thirty years and I have never been to Yosemite yet.  While sitting around the campfire and talking to others about my route and where I should stop for the night, another rider suggested Benton Hot Springs and since I gave myself an extra day I thought it would be a perfect side trip.  Sandy of the Adventure Trio also heard about the hot springs as well and offered to ride together.  I was hesitant at first warning her that my little TW200 bike is no match for their BMW touring bike but she said that they don’t mind taking their time on this leg of the trip.  I was so soaked that I get to ride the Adventure Trio on part of their journey down to South America.

TakeOff

However, due to a late start and mechanical issue; none of us made it to the hot springs.  You’re probably wondering what happened?  First of all, during breakfast, we checked the weather to make it would be safe to head over Tioga Pass and onto Route 395. It looked like the storm will be north of us and it will be clear sailing.  Well it wasn’t long into our ride that it started to rain.  Then as we started the climb up toward Tioga Pass, I started losing speed as if I was hitting reserve.  I thought that was weird since we just filled up not long ago.  So I immediately reached down and switch the petcock onto reserve but I still was losing power.  It when I tried the throttle to give it more power, I knew that something was wrong.  So I pulled over to investigate it further and it was Terry from the Adventure Trio that figured out that I broke my throttle cable.

BrokenThrottleCable

Since there was no cell phone reception, Sandy used InReach which is a satellite communicator and tracking device to send out SOS messages.  Suddenly the Forest Ranger showed up and requested a tow truck.  While we were waiting for the tow truck, it started snowing.  The tow truck never came because it kept being diverted due to multiple accidents caused by bad weather.  So the Ranger decided to take me to a camp ground to hunker down for the night since they’re closing the pass. We had to leave the bike on the side of the road. Once I got the tent set up at the camp ground, I walked over to the gas station to call my son from a pay phone to come pick me up with the trailer.

Ranger

While waiting for him…I met a fellow rider who also broke down was waiting for his friend to picked him up.  His bike mechanical issue was due to the ignition coil. Once his friend showed up and they decided to fetch my bike to take it back to the campground.  We were able to retrieve it before they closed the gate on the pass.

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My son finally arrived at 3 am to take me home and as he put it “Operation Rescue Mom” was a success.

ToTheRescue

All in all, it was an adventure! I learned a lot at the event and learned a lot on the trip itself. I need to do some fine tuning to get ready for my trip next year.

The event itself…

As you may remember from last week, I finally made it to the Mariposa Fairground where the Horizon Unlimited California event is being held.

The Horizon Unlimited event is the premier overland event for motorcyclist.  It a 3 days event packed with educational classes, demonstrations, and travel presentations from the around the world.  It has been inspiring, informing and connecting overland travelers since 1997.  It was started by Grant and Susan Johnson.  They have traveled around the world visiting 39 countries and putting 62,000 miles on their motorcycle.  This spanned over 14 years and they show no sign of slowing down.

While at the event, I got see old friends again and made new friends.  However, one of the highlight for me was meeting my late husband’s idol, Craig Vetter.  At first, I was a bit hesitant to be one of those crazy fans asking for an autograph but I just had to do it in honor of him.  After I got a picture with him, he started talking about the economics of his motorcycle design for the Vetter Streamliner and his plan to build an electric version; he finally glanced over my way and apologized for rambling and going over my head about it.  I started to laugh and explained how he was my husband’s idol and already heard all about it.

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One of my favorite sessions at the event is the women’s only session, where we get to talk about personal hygiene while on the road.  The biggest topic was natural remedies for minor ailments since you may not have access to a pharmacy while on the roads.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus oil can be used as mosquito repellents
  • Peppermint oil can be used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to get rid of nausea
  • A mixture of water and cornstarch can be use to aid diarrhea.

There were two other sessions that I learned a lot from.  One was the Electrical accessory wiring 101 classes where you learn how to add electronics to your bike without setting it on fire.  This is the biggest challenge for my trip next year since the little T-dub’s stator cannot be upgraded to handle the added accessories such as the heated grip, heated vest or the GPS.  I originally came up with the idea of having two batteries on the bike; one for the bike and the other one for the accessories.  However after talking to Erik Stephens of Twisted Throttle after the class, we came up with other ideas.  Such as replacing the headlight which put out 55 watts to an LED light which can range from 10 to 20 watts and adding an auxiliary light for the high beams that is on a kill switch so it doesn’t draw so much power.  There are other ideas that we still need to hash out.  At least now I have hope that I can add the needed accessories to the bike.

The second informative class I took was the Motorcycle Recovery Systems given by Bill Ellison.  Here we learned how to create a 2 to 1 ratio pulley system to haul a bike up from the side of the hill.  We also learned how to make a Prusik knot which is used as a friction hitch or device that can grab a rope.  He suggested the following items to keep on hand in case in an emergency:

  • 8 ml static rope (75 ft) and rope bag to store it in so it doesn’t get tangled.
  • 4 medium size locking carabiner
  • 3 small size pulley

PulleySystem

All in all, I had a wonderful time at the event and only once I got a bit nostalgic about missing my late husband which I handled well by stepping and find a quiet place and wrote in my journal.  Now I hold a special place in my heart to all of the friends I made through this community.  I also wish “The Adventure Trios” a safe journey on their 18 months trip to South America and to Danell Lynn a safe journey on her one year all 50 states trip around United States.

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Hitting the road to Horizon Unlimited California

Now that I got all of my gears into my new luggage system by Nelson-Rigg, it’s time to hit the road up to Mariposa. Now, remember the little “t-dub” can only go on average 60 mph well if I’m lucky and going downhill, I can get it up to 65 mph.  So my route will be taking me on the back road all the way and will take approximately 2 days to get there.

Day One,

I hopped onto the US 395 North to the SR 178 West which was my first stop of the day.  I’m a sucker for historical plaque on the side of the road and there was one on the junction of SR 178 and SR 14.  State of California had installed plaques on properties throughout the state that are of historical importance.  At this junction was plaque No. 766 called Freedom Junction where the famous explorer Joseph R. Walker passed through here on his way to Yosemite Valley.

 

FreedomJunctionMy second stop of the day was right before Walker Pass, I was stopped due to construction which in turn made it into a one lane thoroughfare.  As I was waiting for my turn to navigate through, I surprised to see all the Joshua Tree are densely packed onto each other unlike the ones at the Joshua Tree National Park where they’re more spread out.

WalkerPass

The next stop on the route was the Onyx Store which is the longest continuously operating store in California.  It’s full of nicks and knacks and also serves sandwiches.

OnyxStore

As I rounded onto SR 155, I took a stop to view Lake Isabella.  This area was founded by Steven Barton in 1893 and named in honor of Queen Isabella of Spain.  Tourist trade is a major economy for this town for various outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and water skiing. I noticed that the water is quite low and researched that it was only at 14% capacity right now.  California is in a serious drought and hopefully we will get some rain soon to get us out of it.

LakeIsabella

Final stop for the night was the Bunkhouse in Glennville which is a small “Gold Rush” town with a population of 282.  I just got into town right before dinner and was starving.  Just so happened there was a restaurant called Hassano right in front of the motel.  So I decided to pop in to get something to eat and was in for a sticker shock with the price tag for the meal.  I thought “what the hell”, it was time to splurge and treat myself.  I ended up ordering the Charbroiled Chicken Ravioli and it was so good that it could have come out of a 5 star restaurant.  It was definitely worth the price! Who knew that you would get a divine meal in the middle of nowhere?

Hassano

After a good meal and a good night rest, it was time to continue the journey.

Day Two

This time the route took me to onto SR 155 West to SR 43 North to Route 198 West and onto SR 41 North.  The area was mostly flat and long stretches of farm lands.  However, while on SR 43, I stumbled upon Colonel Allensworth State Park.  I have forgotten about this place and have always wanted to go and decided to stop and check it out.

Colonel Allen Allensworth born into slavery escaped and became a Union soldier; later he became a Baptist minister and educator, and was appointed as a chaplain in the United States Army. He was the first African-American to reach the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He planted numerous churches, and in 1908 founded Allensworth, California, the only town in the state to be founded, financed and governed by African-Americans.

Allensworth

Finally made it to the Mariposa Fairground where the Horizon Unlimited California event is being held.

HUCA

To be continued…

Motorcycle Luggage

After my last trip, I decided it was time to get a real luggage system before the next trip.  The home-made version worked for the time being but it wouldn’t last a year on the road.  I looked at a couple of luggage systems and I really like the Giant Loop bag but it was WAY out of my price range.  I even tried to make my own version of the Giant Loop bag using fireman pants but did not have a sewing machine that can handle the thick materials that is made of.

So I decided to purchase the Nelson-Rigg USA Adventure Dry Bag and saddlebag Survivor Edition for a couple of reason.  One is the price; the total combined cost me around $250.00 for both.  Secondly, it designed like a dry sack bag used in backpacking.  This way I didn’t have to put everything in a dry sack bag before putting it in a luggage.  Thirdly, the saddle bag is a soft pack.  I was worried about getting a hard case panniers system in case I drop the bike and it would crush my legs.

dry bag

 

saddle bag

 

 

 

 

 

So far, I haven’t regretted purchasing it, it was easy to put it on the bike and hook it together.  Also, it is holding all of my stuff needed for this trip to Horizon Unlimited event in Yosemite.  Here is what it looks like set up on my TW200 bike.

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I will post when I get back as to how it handled on the road.

Mixed emotion….

Whoo-hoo…next week is the annual Horizon Unlimited Travelers Meeting http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/events/california-2014 which is the premier overland adventure travel event for motorcyclists.  This year it will be held at Mariposa Fairground in Yosemite, CA starting on Thursday, September 25th through Sunday, September 28th.   At the event, we hear inspiring stories of travel around the world; get tips and tricks on preparing for our own journey, navigation, first-aid and photography.  I’m so excited I can’t wait to go.

The first time my late husband and I went was last year which was held in Cambria, CA.  Yep, we rode our little TW200 bike to the event and proudly assumed our rightful place amongst the 251 or so assembled adventure bikes in attendance.  Probably 75% of the bikes present were of large displacement, high-priced variety but there wasn’t a trace of elitism at the event.

It was at this event where I first met Carla King www.carlaking.com, an amazing women motorcycle rider and travel writer who wrote a book about riding around the USA as a test rider for Ural America, “American Borders”.  She interviewed us about our little cult bikes and the homemade accessories we use as tools and gears for them.  She was the one who hinted that we should start a blog about our bikes and our frugality of traveling.  If it wasn’t her faith and constant encouragement, I would have never have had the nerve to begin this blog.  Writing for this blog has been a blessing in disguise in multiple ways, it has given me confidence in my writing and it has also been therapeutic to release all of my bottled up emotion onto paper.

We also met the Borden family; Terry, Sandy and Jack www.adventuretrio.com at this event as well. An amazing family, it’s a husband and wife team along with their teenage son who has been traveling all over for the last seven years. Now they’re getting ready to go another adventure down to South America for 18 months.  I’m looking forward to meeting up with them again and wishing them a safe journey.  Wishing that I was starting my journey as well but I still have probate to deal with so in due time, I will eventually get to begin mine soon.

There are many other inspiring travelers, too many to mention here that will be presenting or just hanging out at the event.  I’m looking forward to rub elbow the among the elite riders and hopefully learn many tips and tricks for my future travel.

This post is taking me awhile to write, in the beginning I was so excited to share about the event that I am going to next week but I kept writing and rewriting the same thing over and over again. After stepping back for a while, I just realized why, this event was the last vacation that we took together.  My late husband was reluctant at first about going but in the end he was so happy that we got to go.  At first he seemed so rejuvenated when we got back from the trip but in the end he kept getting sicker and sicker as the days went on. So once again this will be a bittersweet event for me.  It will be a reminder of the last good time we had together and the stepping stone toward the next chapters in my life without him at the same time.

Story

 

Pictures vs Memories

Last Sunday, I had to go for a ride on the bike to get away from all of the stress and unwind.  The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind frenzy with dealing the house being in escrow and trying to sell everything on the property such as 27 motorcycles, 4 cars, 5 trailers and 2 acres of junk or as my brother-in-law would call it “merchandise”.

It’s hard to be parting with all of the stuff we had.  Each little piece brings back memories of the good times and the bad that we once shared.  A part of me doesn’t want to let them go but the other part of me know that I need to move on.  As the more I pack of what I’m going to keep, the more I realize that the door is closing on this chapter of my life, the more it scares me.  I don’t want to say that I have been in denial of his death but this process of moving on without him makes it a reality that I don’t truly want to happen.  Sometime I wish that I can turn back the clock but I can’t.  I can only move forward from here on out with memories of the past to carry with me.

So whenever I go for a ride, I always bring a camera with me just in case I see something that I want to remember or to share with others.  However, in my rush to get out and ride, I forgot the camera.  As usual, I didn’t have a destination in mind and just headed out on Highway 138.  I ended up taking the same journey that I took about a month ago on the other bike.  Instead of taking the side street, I actually jumped onto Highway 14 to get to Tehachapi, CA.  This highway takes you to the west of Edwards Air Force Base which it is known as the backup runway for the Space Shuttle landing in case the weather is bad in Florida.  While heading north, two of the B-52 like planes flew overhead and it was so low that it felt like that I could reach up and touch it with my hands.  I felt so small and insignificant like an ant on the ground compared to these magnificent and enormous steel birds in the sky.  At that point, I wished that I had Go Pro camera mounted onto the helmet to capture the image.

PhotographQuote

Also in my need for a ride on Sunday took me  on a longer ride than I anticipated which cause me not to plan for the thunder store that was brewing with a warning of a flash flood in the area.  So on my way home on heading south on Highway 395, I could see the wall of the storm up ahead which mean that I knew that I would be riding through a down pour.  Mind you, I have ridden in the rain on the dual sport bike but not on the street bike so I was a little apprehensive about it.  Surprisingly, the bike and I handled it very well.  I just took my time riding through it at a safe pace.  However, it was the lightning that had me more jumpy than the rain itself.  A couple of time the lightning struck in the desert landscape to the left of me.  It was frightening and mesmerizing at the same time.  The image was like a “Kodak” moment and once again I wished that I had the camera with me to capture it.

It just dawned on me after re-reading what I have written here the irony of my ride on Sunday.  Seeing the beauty of the two huge military airplanes that were created by us that glide through the air gracefully and then seeing Mother Nature bringing on her fury with the lightning and the rain which make life seem treacherous to waddle through at times.  However, with rain, it brings new growth to nourish one’s life.

Maybe I wasn’t meant to bring a camera to capture the moments but to rely on the memory to see the metaphor of what’s around me as it is in life as well.

The Compass

After posting my story on the Stand Up to Cancer, many supporters and well wishers were asking for a map of my trip. I don’t have a set route yet but I do have a general plan of roads that I do want to travel on in no particular order.

Map

http://www.roadtripusa.com/routes.html

  • Pacific Coast – This is also known as Highway 1. I have done some of this road in the past but I have not been on any part of it north of San Francisco. I do particularly want to visit the Lost Coast area in Northern California.  I have seen beautiful pictures of that area
  •  Border to Border – This is also known as Highway 93. It runs from the Canadian border at Jasper National Park and into south of the border of Mexico.
  • The Road to Nowhere – This is also known as US-83. It was once the only entirely paved route from Canada to Mexico until modern history.
  • The Great River Road – This route is just a series of roads that was created in 1938. It is designed to show off the 10 states bordering the Mississippi river.
  • Appalachian Trail – There is actually a parkway that parallels the pedestrian route of the Appalachian Trail. It winds from the north woods of Maine all the way south to Georgia.
  • Atlantic Coast – This is almost a 2,000 miles of two-lane country roads that run along side of the Atlantic Ocean almost the entire way.
  • The Great Northern – This is also known as US-2. It was dubbed the Great Northern in memory of the pioneer railroad that parallels the western half of the route.  It is the longest east-west US Highway (2,571 miles) across the northern continental United States.
  • The Oregon Trail – This is also known US-20. This is another east-west US Highway.  It starts in Oregon and run the most of the way through to Massachusetts.  There is a break at the entrance of Yellowstone Park since this road was not a planned coast to coast route.  It was extended in 1940.
  • Loneliest Road – This is also known as US-50. This is another east-west highway that runs through the heart of America.  It has been dubbed the “Loneliest Road” since it passes through desolate, remote areas with few inhabitants and few communities with minimal services. 
  • Southern Pacific – This route follows the old US-80 on the southern part of the US from California to Georgia. It was once known as the Dixie Overland Highway.
  • Route 66 – The most famous route of all time is Route 66 that runs from California to Illinois. I have done half of this route and want to finish it.  My late husband and I did it on our honeymoon but we got hailed, snowed and rained on most of this trip so when we got to Albuquerque, New Mexico we decided to head south to warmer pasture.  This is where we ended up on US-60 and encountered people, places and things that we did not knew about.

These roads will be just a starting point but ultimately it will be my heart and the bike that will be the compass in this journey. The thought brings up memory of the best of times my late husband and I had been him always saying “let’s see where that road goes”. I want to continue that spontaneous sense of adventures that we once shared.

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