18 September 2020

CC20 - Day 4, Part 2

After I got fed up by squashing bugs that were clearly out to get me (no, I'm not paranoid), I got on the bike again and headed to Grand Junction, fastest way, since it was dark and didn't want to risk too much in my super tired state and in an area with lots of wild life on the roads.

Went okay though.

Day 4, Part 2
A fast highway/freeway run to the next hotel

17 September 2020

CC20 - Day 4

This will be a short one, I'm super tired, have to fight some weird bugs in my hotel room and are on the verge of packing up and go some place else.

Today was probably the last day of riding in areas I've been before with a motorcycle when Andrea and I were on our trip in 2013. 

The route took me from Cedar City along Cedar Breaks East to Bryce Canyon and on to Grand Staircase Escalante, through Capitol Reef and to Monticello, UT. 

Red Canyon – on the way to Bryce

Bryce Canyon

It was an interesting day, temperatures ranged from 10C/50F to 36C/97F. The afternoon was tough again due to heat and not having slept well the night before. We'll see how it goes today.

And it's important to be fully alert at all times since you never know what awaits you around the next corner:

Sheep ...

I had ample time to stop and it wasn't a problem getting through. 

Beautiful Nature in Utah

More "Red Stone"

And some straight boring stretches as well

At some point in time I had to stop, be in the shade for a while, eat a granola bar and just relax. The day was long enough to take a few breaks and about an hour before I arrived at my destination, I really needed that break.

Overall, it was a beautiful ride. Especially Capitol Reef was mesmerizing. Southern Utah is definitely beautiful. I did ride into Bryce Canyon National Park, but didn't do any of the other parks here since we stopped for them in 2013 and my goal was "East" ...

Day 4

16 September 2020

CC20 - Day 3

Today was another day of riding mostly roads I already knew and have done before. I'm still in the "get out of the known area"-mode.

The route today was from Henderson, NV to Cedar City, UT. I stopped at Eurocycle in Las Vegas to pick up a cover for my GPS mount and surprisingly they had one in stock, in addition to the ones on all the bikes on the floor, of course. So, at least that part is set. 

Since I wanted to ride some nicer roads today I took a route through the Valley of Fire:

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire

I've been here before, but it's worth it. It's a very beautiful State Park and well worth the entrance fee.

From there I went further North East and rode through Zion National Park, finally getting an annual park pass since the Rangers in Death Valley are only on site during Friday, Saturday and Sunday right now. 

Zion is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking parks I have seen so far, I like it better than Bryce Canyon or others I've seen, the only problem is that it's always packed with people. At least always when I'm there ... 

Zion NP


Zion NP

Zion NP

It was a great day today. I ended it with an interview with a company I've been talking to for a while, could be an interesting job. That's why it was so important to just do this trip before joining the hamster wheel of daily office work again.

Route from today:

Route on Day 3

Tomorrow my route will take me mostly East. I haven't fully planned the day yet, so don't know where I'll end up, but I'll likely keep the pace of 450 to 550km (280 to 330 miles) per day for now. If I don't, I'm not making it to the East Coast and back on the roads I hoped to ride in the planned time of four to five weeks.

Also, I hope to get into slightly more temperate weather, today was again mostly 37C/99F.

15 September 2020

CC20 - Day 2

Another day to get out of California, away from the fires and smoke. I rode from Ridgecrest, CA to Henderson, NV. Henderson is South of Las Vegas, about 450km overall. The hotels there are better, cheaper and much more relaxed, plus we have stayed in this one before and I had an idea how it would be.

I took a route through Death Valley, and although most of it was rather boring and straight, there were some fun bits in there as well.

Route for Day 2

Especially the part that ends on 190 was fun. Some gravel passages and some twisty bits. This is still part of getting out of the areas I already know quite well, I have crossed Death Valley many times on the motorcycle, therefore I hadn't planned exciting routes, just a way to get out of California that wasn't a freeway blast.

Temperature was an okay 42C/108F in Death Valley, I poured some water over my base layer and into the arms of my GoreTex jacket and then controlled the temperature via ventilation. It was quite okay. 

Burros crossing ... ;-)

And yes, they did cross. Not quite in front of me, but they seemed to have used the road as a toilet rather often ... there were some signs of that. Plus I saw a few in the distant hills.

Boring stretches.

And I was wondering why my water was gone so fast!

I easily had 3L of water during the ride today. Even though my temperature regulation measures worked quite well, I was going through the water fast.

Entering Nevada

I arrived early today and will hopefully have a better night than last where an overly loud AC system kept me awake. The AC here in the hotel isn't quiet either, but I still hope I can get some more sleep.

Tomorrow morning I'll visit the Las Vegas BMW Motorcycle dealer and try to convince them to sell me a cover for the GPS mount when no GPS is in there. I take mine to the room each night and forgot the cover at home. Don't want it to sit like this when I might get rain. Not a problem right now, but during the trip it will likely happen.

14 September 2020

CC20 – Day 1

Packed everything up nicely yesterday and today it was mostly just getting on the road. Everything from the photo before is packed in here:

All packed into Luggage Liners

I weighed the liners, they were 7.1kg (left side case) and 5.5kg (right side case), so with the tripod on the right side it turns out to be just right. The bike feels balanced, although it is a bit heavy ...

Side cases took the liners, camera gear in black case behind the seat.

Then it was time to go ...

Ready to leave

I didn't go all that far today, Sunnyvale to Ridgecrest. I had to re-plan my route due to the fires in California and Oregon, so I'm taking a route that I have done a few times before to get out of California and then through Nevada. 

This was today:

Click for a larger view

I arrived shortly before 6pm, had some dinner and now I'm about to plan the route for tomorrow. Again, since I'm taking it a bit slower for the first few days, I'm just headed to Las Vegas, but at least I can try to find a nice route.

Too much to take ...

Put everything together and packed it in liners to go on the the bike tomorrow morning:

It's not too bad, but still a bit more than I'd like, but I'm planning for a 30 to 35 day trip as well as a full service/inspection of the bike somewhere in the middle of the trip. 

Also, I carry some more camera gear than I'd normally do, but I really want to document this ride, so I hope it will pay off. The rest is mostly for convenience during the time, some food and other items. Shouldn't be too bad.

13 September 2020

Cross-Country 2020 (CC20)

Long time, no posts. Now the time has come for another series over the next few weeks – a cross-country trip from the West Coast (California) to the East Coast (Virginia, the Carolinas, maybe New York if I can fit it in).

Over the last few weeks I've been preparing my motorcycle for a long trip, making it more comfortable, adding luggage options, a case for camera gear, riding it, getting used to it, trying the various changes I made, going on a California, Oregon, Washington trip with Andrea in August, just before the fires broke out here. 

The bike has morphed quite a bit, from the day I picked it up:

BMW R1250GS – First Day when picking it up

To how I rode it on the trip with Andrea:

BMW R1250GS – close to how it looks now

Here, I don't want to go into details, I will add a page about the various additions and changes I made like it I had for my old GS. The original bike felt (and was) smaller and lighter, but as it is today, it is much more comfortable and ready for the roughly 9000 miles I'm planning over the next weeks.

I will try to write entries here, maybe not every day, but often enough, about where I am, where I'm headed and adding photos and stories about the journey.

If you're interested, stay tuned and check back often!

07 November 2019

Cleanup of Old Posts

A few weeks ago I decided not to extend my SmugMug subscription. I have been using their service since 2009 or so. The price has been too much for what I'm actually using it for, not a fault of SmugMug, just that it was overkill for what I did, basically just hosting images for this blog (which I can do here as well) and for sales ads I had on various forums.

The result of that was that a lot of posts now had broken image links. Given that these were mostly old ones, I took the opportunity and cleaned out posts five years and older. Nobody is interested in them anyways ... ;-)

So, moving forward I'm going to use the integrated image upload here – if and when I have something interesting to share. I still use Flickr, but I don't trust it either, it has gotten to be the "old peoples photo hosting site" and I'm not sure how long it'll be around with competition from Instagram, FaceBook and Google, which, apart from very few Google services, I don't use.

11 June 2017

The Ducati Saga Continues

Yesterday I mentioned the fun we are having with getting the proper parts for the top case mount for the Multistrada to mount our Givi top cases.

Today we wanted to mount the new MRA VarioTouring windshield that is custom made for explicitly this Multi (2015/2016 model) and what did we find? It didn't work. The instructions say to use the original mounting parts, but of course – they don't fit. The OEM windshield is mounted in rubber grommets via a shouldered screw, the MRA windshield has the holes in the correct pattern but much too small to fit the original mounting equipment.

Now, as I don't want to put a drill or file to the brand new windshield, more back and forth with the shop where we bought the windshield and the manufacturer is needed.

Hmpf ...

10 June 2017

New Motorcycle – A New Challenge To Get It "Just Right"

Motorcycles are unfortunately neither as comprehensively equipped nor as adjustable as cars. There are often accessories missing that need to be purchased from the manufacturer or aftermarket to make it "complete" for ones own use case.

This fact has created a healthy system of aftermarket parts and some manufacturers are jumping in to gain some after sales money as well. Neither BMW nor Ducati are different in this regard, although the availability of 3rd party accessories for the GS is way beyond what Ducati could ever hope for.

Now, since we have the new 2016 Multistrada 1200S Touring in the garage, we had to add a few parts well:

  • Protection bars, so that a simple tip over isn't going to hurt the expensive plastics all too much, just the also expensive stainless steel Touratech bars that are sold as Ducati original equipment.
  • A brake light that flashes a few times (4x) and then comes on solid to gain more attention from following traffic.
  • A tank bag for convenient storage of wallet, keys, (sun) glasses, phone, ear plugs and so on.
  • Ducati offers a top case kit including the case but we opted for just the carrier as we already have Givi cases and didn't need another one. This has been quite an adventure so far, read below ...
  • A Crampbuster – Andrea loves this even on a bike with cruise control as it is really comfortable  once you are used it.
  • For wind protection the Multi is actually pretty good, but there is some buffeting for Andrea and a lot of buffeting for me. So we are trying to lower the amount of buffeting with a different windshield.
So far installed are the brake light, the Crampbuster, the tank bag and the protection bars. We have the windshield and will give the new one a try tomorrow, we also have most of the parts for the Givi top case, but not all yet.

Top Case Adventure

The 1200S Touring already comes with side cases which we decided to keep even though we don't like them all too much, but it didn't come with a top case or even a mount plate for one.

The kit Ducati offers includes the case and the mount and needs an additional set of painted parts to complete the look. We already have two top cases that are perfectly fine and didn't really want to add another one so we decided to buy the mounting kit as parts. 

Yes, you have heard correctly. Ducati does not sell the top case mount as a kit. Only together with the top case. Completely ridonkulous in my opinion, but okay, here we are. 

What did we do? We ordered "the kit" as parts, just without the top case. Or so we thought. When the parts arrived this was the state:
  • One large rubber piece was completely missing from the order.
  • The Givi plate didn't come with the little rubber spacers which prevent the case from rattling. 
  • One set of bolts needed 4 but the dealer only ordered 2. 
  • One set of bolts and one set of nuts needed two each, dealer ordered 5 each.
  • A set of spacers should include 4 but only 2 were ordered.
  • The dealer ordered 1 special screw (shouldered), but 2 are needed.
Wow. It's been going for over three weeks now and we are still missing parts. Is it really that hard to just offer a kit and prevent the above frustration?

I'm looking forward to finally receiving the remaining parts to find out what else is screwed up in that area. 

More to come – including photos.