|Around Big Sur|
A while later the rain caught up with me and I got a bit wet - just a little bit though, not even worth putting the liner into the jacket. The windshield deflected most of the rain, the little I got on the pants and shoulders wasn't a problem and about half an hour later I was in great sunshine again.
|Near Hearst Castle|
As it was getting colder and colder later in the day I scratched my plan to go all the way down to L.A. It was getting dark pretty fast around 5 in the afternoon, the liner was already zipped in, I was freezing. Then, after missing a very promising looking turnout in Santa Barbara with motels and restaurants, I took the next one where a saw a hotel: the Best Western Carpet Inn in Carpinteria. Nothing great, just a solid, not too expensive hotel along Highway 1.
Getting off the bike I was thankful for the great ergonomics of the GS - not too stiff, backside still okay, a bit stiff in the shoulders, but very, very cold. So, first things first, a hot shower, after that: food. The hotel's restaurant looked promising enough and not going out in the cold again sounded even better, therefore a good steak right there was just about perfect for dinner. Watching some college football (I already forgot which teams ...), eating a good steak in a warm and cozy room after a good day of riding. It was a promising start.
I reached San Diego around 11am or so, heading for the harbor and, more interesting, the Gas Lamp Quarter - the old area in San Diego with restaurants, pubs, and so on. Seeing a motorcycle parking space for free (San Francisco, are you listening? Payed motorcycle parking is shit - especially if you can't pay right at the curb!) I stopped, and left the GS sitting right there, walking through the Gas Lamp Quarter and just plain enjoying a nice, fresh day, lots of sun and friendly people and later Chai Latte at Starbucks (with free Internet to plan the next leg of my route). San Diego is definitely worth another visit, maybe a weekend or so, it's not that far away, maybe if we get some cheap flights one day.
|Clouds and an insanely|
cold wind. About 1500m
high and 0 deg C cold.
|"Pee Stop" in the Desert|
The day ended in Indio, CA, close to Joshua Tree National Park in a Motel 6. If I had seen that the motel was right next to a train line I would have gone somewhere else, but I didn't, got the room, it was okay and cheap, and so the day ended around 7pm. A very long day. I was dead tired, needed a hot shower again, and was still looking forward to the next day in Joshua Tree NP.
|Joshua Tree NP|
Right at the entrance I met two other bikers, sorry guys, I forgot your names! One on a white 2010 R1200GS, just like mine but much, much more farkled. Aftermarket seat, Aeroflow windshield, GPS, pannier racks, engine bars, additional lights front and back and so forth. Quite some interesting stuff and it was nice to see it on a pretty much identical bike to mine. The owner, Rob, if I remember his name correctly, a retired guy from near Vancouver, BC, Canada, told me he got the bike recently and took his time transferring equipment from his old R1150GS - whatever fitted was transferred. Good things for a great bike. His companion was riding a Honda Valkyrie, not quite the perfect bike for the curvy roads in Joshua Tree, but he wasn't slow either. And, as always in groups - you just wait whenever the road splits. Therefore, no problem when everybody goes his own pace. Rob (Was that the name?) was riding a nice pace so I just followed along until we split up again, after setting up a lunch time meeting in the village Joshua Tree, as the two were heading a different way for a closer gas station and I was following through Joshua Tree, occasionally going on dirt roads to view points or just to make the trip more interesting. Quite a lot of fun but still new to me and I was careful in the sandy conditions.
|Following a dirt road that looked interesting.|
|Still in Joshua Tree NP|
After leaving Joshua Tree NP I met the two again for lunch in the town Joshua Tree. A nice, small, family owned restaurant where I got some fried Thai food - yum. The two headed back to their basecamp and I rode on towards Barstow and Bakersfield.
The original plan was to stay in Bakersfield over night and then leave for the coast very early in the morning. But then, checking the weather forecast, made me re-consider. The forecast was very cold for the morning, my wife was at home, we could go on a ride together in the Bay Area if I was home on Thursday, so I decided, if a warmer pair of gloves was cheaper than a motel room I was going to ride all the way home on Wednesday evening.
In Bakersfield I found a pair of Frank Thomas gloves - the warmest they had in the store - trying to get the size at least kind of right and then pressed on. I5 North was it now, towards 152, over the foothills to Gilroy and 101 and 85 the rest of the way back. I had to stop one more time around 9pm somewhere along I5 as I was again shivering like crazy and I could barely move my hands anymore. It was that cold and the gloves were not nearly as warm as they looked. Not the best quality, but cheaper than a motel room, what did I expect? They'll make for a pair of "visitor gloves in spring / fall conditions", but definitely not for cold weather gloves for me.
But again, Denny's free Hot Chocolate refill and $2 for two pan cakes saved the day and after a 45 minute warmup I was back on the road and home by about 0:45. Again shivering and freezing like crazy, but I was at home and getting warmed up again took only another 45 minutes ...
It was a great trip, lots of great sights, lots of kilometers covered on windy roads (roughly 2100km / 1300 miles), some lessons learned:
- When going on a trip like that I either need a different hair cut or a baseball cap in the top case. For now, I'm carrying a cap.
- My BMW Rallye II jacket is not up to the task when the temperature drops below 5 degrees C (40 Fahrenheit) in windy conditions over a longer time. A trip like this calls for a warmer jacket.
- My BMW Airflow pants are survivable with long ski underwear and rain pants pulled over in the same conditions. Not comfortable, not warm, but survivable. Warmer pants might be on the horizon if I plan another trip in similar conditions.
- I need, and I mean need, warmer gloves. No way around that in the long term.
- The bike used again a little bit of oil, I refilled 250ml during the 2100km. It's still okay right now.
- Even with the Givi Airflow I get buffeting. It's not too bad and I'm still experimenting whether it's from the windshield or the large handguards. More experiments will show more.
- The GPSMap 60CSx worked great if I don't try to find a route on it. The display is just too small for this but other than that it worked absolutely great. The Touratech mount works really well and having the GPS powered by the bike gives peace of mind regarding batteries.
- The weight high up in the top case was no problem on the road, but is still not a good idea when going on unpaved roads. Side case are needed sooner or later.
- A solid bash plate and engine bars are even more needed than side cases. Going on unpaved roads - I will drop the bike sooner rather than later. And I don't want to damage it.
- Metzeler Tourance EXP are not the preferred tires in sand. But the wear was fine, the rear got a little bit of flat spot in the middle but that was to be expected after my blast home.
More to come. I'll probably prepare the GPS tracks and put them here, too.