Showing posts from January, 2010


Short update; internet on this tub costs 75 cents minute, so cheapskate me won't be doing a lot of posting. Today (21st) was the worst day for weather yet. So bad they diverted my mother, brother, and sister in law's plane to LA. The ship departs in 2 hours, and they are not here, so this may be a solo voyage. So now I have lost, in order, my drivers license, visa card, nephew, mother, brother, and sister in law :-) They tell me that if they miss the boat today they can join the cruise in Hawaii, which basically means they will miss 5 days of open ocean with nothing to look at but horizon, water water everywhere, etc. etc.. My DL and visa did arrive at my brothers, so no worries there, and I won't be needing them for the next 15 days anyway. Bon Voyage, see you all in February! -- Erik S

Killin time

The last few days I have been hanging out in San Diego, waiting for the other family members and cruise ship.  I got here about the same time as a massive rain storm that is raising havoc all over Southern California.  There are many attractions within walking distance, so the KTM is getting a rest, and a wash as it turns out.  It is expected that the rain that will fall this week will be the equivalent of a year's worth of rain for San Diego.  They have been in a four year drought, so the rain is welcome.  Welcome it may be, but it is also wet, very wet.  I got soaked yesterday walking home, and right now it is hosing down again. Yesterday evening I got together with 'CW' a fellow subscriber to the oldscoolcz yahoo group dedicated to CZ motocrossers.  We had beers and burgers at Whiskeygirl (yes, she was cute).   We had a pleasant visit, another example of how connected we can be through internet and mutual interests.   People have been doing this for as long as ther

San Diego

I have been in San Diego for a few days now.  San Diego will experience what will likely be its worst week for weather all year.  Temperatures in the sixties and and rain all week. What an Edmontonian could expect for the first weeks of autumn.  I am tough, I can take it. On Thursday I will be boarding the cruise ship Zaandam with my mother and brother and his wife.  Zaandam is the name of the town in Holland where my father, brothers and yours truly were born, along with many ancestors, so this is kind of cool.  I have arranged to deposit the KTM in a storage facility, 29.95 for the first month, I doubt I could get parking for that, and it will be locked in its own little compartment. San Diego is a very nice city, Canadian clean, lots of trees (green leafy trees), and it does not look like it just came out of a crate.  There is a good mixture of old and new buildings, most of the new buildings are as attractive as the old.  My cheap motel is within walking distance of downtown,


 As I roll into Las Vegas, I pull into a parking lot to get my bearings, I put down the side stand to get off the bike, and crash!, I am on the ground with the bike on top of me.  The sidestand bolts have broken.  I need to fix this, as it is very difficult to get off the KTM without it.  The seat height is 37" and my ass is 3" closer to the ground than the seat.  I have been dismounting the same way you get off a horse, and the strain finally got to the sidestand.  No worries, Sportsman Cycle Sales is nearby, and technician Steve Gabbert is able to drill out the busted bolts and get the stand back on.  Meanwhile I practice dismounting without using the side stand until I get it right.  While Steve fixes the stand I use the opportunity to change my rear tire for an OEM Bridgestone (OEM for a Suzuki), I am hoping this tires lives up to its crappy tire that lasts forever reputation, as quantity (as in distance) over quality will be more important.   I stay in las Vegas for

Blackberry Update

I am locked in a timewarp in Laughlin Nevada for the next three days. This place is unbelievable. My otherwise excellent room does not have any kind of internet access, the TV has 13 channels, I just finished watching Adam 12. It is costing me 25 bux a night. Even the furniture is old, er, retro. SCORE off road racing starts tomorrow. I got some good pix in Vegas, I will post later. I found Las Vegas a little disappointing. It is like a much bigger, better version of West Edmonton Mall, but the edginess that I remember from 1969 (my last visit) is gone. Tamed, or neutered if you prefer. Ran into a NAIT instructor who will remain nameless :-) I guess it was inevitable that I would meet someone I know in Las Vegas. Laughlin Nevada seems more interesting, but in a different way. John Irwin told me I would be the youngest guy in town, and he wasn't exagerating. It looks like the old Las Vegas, a cluster of high rise neon hotels in the middle of the desert. Mo

The Badass Beemer Bikers run to Tonopah

Ever since the bike was unloaded I was having trouble with one of my mirrors, trying to fix it with my limited tools I managed to strip the mounting threads.  Fortunately, Antelope Valley Kawasaki Yamaha also sells KTMs and was able to repair my mirror, so here is a plug, if you are ever in Lancaster CA with a busted KTM (or Yamaha or Kawasaki) these guys are great. On Saturday my plan was to head for Needles.  I had stopped at the spaceport just to get a few more photos.  While I was there this guy zooms in on a BMW and we start to talk.  It turns out he is meeting with a group of BMW riders coming from One Thousand Oaks CA.  My new friend Rick says, 'Come in to the restaurant and have some breakfast'.  So in I go for a coffee, and next thing you know the rest show up, and I accept their invitation to join them on a ride to Tonopah Nevada. Now Needles is south, and Tonopa is north,  but I figure, what the heck, these guys are from around here, they would not lead me astray

Mojave California

I decide to become a resident of Mohave for the next three days.  The Desert Inn has no stars, but it is economical, and it suits me.   Mohave's claim to fame is that it is a spaceport.  I never been to a spaceport before. Mohave airport, er spaceport, is where spaceship one was launched.  Space ship one,  for those who have forgotten, won the X prize in 2004, for being the first successful private enterprise space craft.  See the details on Wikipedia,   There is also this weird rocket nose thing beside it, 'rotary rocket' a less successful wannabe spaceship, A (defunct)  KTM shop, a victim of rerouting the highway around town. And desert, lots of desert. Edwards air force base is a few miles down the road.  I try to get on, but no dice, there is a tour for Friday, but it is all booked.  At the entrance to Edwards is a neat old B52 that

More Desert

Imagine that you are six years old again, only this time you have the worlds biggest sand box to play in, and much better toys....

The Desert

Adrian was getting on a plane to Ontario as I was heading to Bakersfield, so he is safe and sound.  Adrian sold the van, so that is OK too.  Bakersfield is cold, damp and foggy.  I head for Mojave (the town), thinking that it will be nicer there, thanks to internet weather forecasts.  Bakersfield is in a flat as a pancake valley surrounded by farms and orchards, but it is too foggy to really see anything.  Leaving the valley, the road begins to climb and the fog gets even thicker.   Pretty soon I am going at a walking pace on a narrow, twisting road hoping there is no one else around because I can't see.  Just as the fog is thickest it starts to get brighter, a sign I am soon going to be above it all.  Sure enough a few more feet up and I am looking down on a cloud and up at a blue sky.  A few miles farther I see all these windmills.  The road is fun once I can see.  Soon I am in the town of Mojave, surrounded by desert and hills, a perfect place to stay for a few days.

Batting a thousand

Well the score so far, one lost drivers license, one lost VISA card, one lost nephew, and one lost van.  This is getting discouraging.  Added to that, Bakersfield is cold damp, foggy and dark. I leave messages for Adrian to call, but no news. 

Where is Adrian?

After speaking to Adrian I figgered I would go to Bakersfield and see if there was anything I could do.  He was staying at a Motel 6.  he has no phone.  There are four motel 6 in Bakersfield, there was no sign of Adrian or Snowball at any of em. Adrian said he would be fine, and not to worry, so I am assuming he is OK and did what he needed to do, which was get rid of the van, ship his stuff, and get on a plane.  Adrian has been on his own pretty much since he left High School four years ago, and he is very independent, so I guess I should have listened to him,  still I feel responsible, and would have liked to have helped.


On my trips I always take pictures of signs.  Signs tell me about the places I am visiting, and they serve as notes or reminders of where a group of pictures were taken later.  I posted a collection of signs from this trip on my picasa site . Enjoy!  I will add more as the trip progresses. 

California Here I Am!

We made sure that there was a gas station near when we dumped the bike out, as there was only a bit of gas in the tank.  A few miles down the road and 33 dollars later the KTM is gassed and ready to race (KTM joke). I stop for a break in Cayucos and a couple of local high school kids fill me in on the local attractions.  'Go see the big rock in Morro Bay and stay in San Luis Obispo.'   An interesting thing about the KTM is that most bike riders don't know what it is, and mostly don't care to know either, it clearly ain't a Harley or a supersport and at 625 cc is 'just a little bike', but every kid dirt biker loves it.  My new friends are dirt bikers and they think it is cool.  It appears I will have no problems relating to the youngest generation despite being a crusty old man :-) "By thy long beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ?" The boys have given me good advice.  Morro Rock has lots of visitors, sort of a Cal

Snowball comes to a bad end.

Adrian just phoned from Bakersfield.  Apparently the van's radiator blew, and the brakes are shot.  He will probably fly out and ship his stuff as parts prices are more than the old pig is worth.  Not sure what happened there, the brakes were OK when I checked them last summer, but they did get quite a work out on the mountain passes and the coastal highway.  Probably resented my slanging it as well.  According to Adrian he will save money over driving it back. I hope this is not a sign of disasters to come.

Separation is go

We bunk down in Bodega Bay, it was too dark to see, and it looked like the next town was a long ways down.  The room was nice, with a price to match, but this was place was dead, D.E.D dead!  Saturday night, and the sidewalks were rolled up.  Literally.  One restaurant open, a high end sea food joint.  I hate sea food.  I had the veggie burger (garden burger).  Adrian said the snapper was great. Bully. We were out of there at 6:30 AM.  A few hours later we were driving over the golden gate bridge.  We took the downtown exit for San Francisco and drove through.  We decided that SF was just another big city.  I told Adrian that SF was Super Vancouver, and he got it right away.  A few more hours on the number one and we decant the bike in a roadside campground.  Adrian will head for the Grand Canyon via Las Vegas, and then to visit relatives in South Carolina.  I continue to head south, bidding a not so fond farewell to snowball, may I never see it again. 

Bike Prep

This could be tricky.  The KTM has 52,000 km on it (~30,000 miles).  It is still very tight, does not use oil, and everything works the way it should.  My gut and 40 years of riding tell me that it will go the distance, but this trip will add at least another 30,000 km and possibly double the miles already on it.  Something will go wrong.  I will have to replace tires, chain and sprockets.  Oil changes will have to be done on the road.   I can perform all my own repairs, but I will need access to parts and I will not be able to carry all the tools I would need to fix all the things that could break or wear out.  The internet tells me that there are KTM dealers in every country I will visit.  Motorcycles are a popular form of transportation in Latin America, so there will be plenty of shops and expertise.   The KTM's wheel rims are of a size able to accommodate a variety of common tire sizes and types, notwithstanding  the factory would not recommend such, they will work in a p

Highway One

The Pacific Coast 'byway' is 101 in Washington, Oregon, and the northernmost part of California.  Then Highway 101 heads inland and highway 1 becomes the coast road.  This road is painful in the Dodge.  The road corkscrews over mountains and along the coast, old snowball fights it all the way.  I let Adrian drive, I have seldom been so terrified. The ocean vistas are spectacular.  The sun comes out. It is warm.  Time to get the bike out.

North West Pacific Coast

Adrian and I left Vancouver in the rain, and it rained all day.  The customs people (Homeland Security) were interested enough in our story that they wanted to hear more details, so we were invited inside for a visit and a chat.  That went well, but it took about an hour before we were on our way.  We followed the interstate to Seattle, looked around a bit, then we found the Pacific Coast Highway.  Day one was too rainy too see much and the curves were scared the pants off the Dodge van who was only used to straight prairie roads.  Somewhere along the way the van was christened "Snowball", after the pig in George Orwell's Animal Farm.  If I can only find a curly tail to paste on the rear. We made it through Washington and stopped in Oregon for the night.  The next day started rainy but it did clear up a bit later.  We got some great pictures.  

Screw Up Number One

Jan 30 I checked into a hotel in Vancouver with the worlds most clueless desk clerk. With all the fumbling and misdirecting I did not notice that she had not returned my drivers license and credit card until I was in Oregon.  Fortunately (I hope) the hotel will send the DL and credit card to my brother who will be meeting me on the 21st.  The hotel will remain nameless (so as not to piss them off so long as I need something from them). Unless they screw this up as well!!!!! We won't say anything about the nitwit who forgot to check his wallet.