21 May 2013

An Important Moment

Andrea has had her little F650GS for about two years now and has put roughly 6500 miles on it.

Here's when we bought it:

Andrea and her F650GS

This bike was great for the last two years. We have done trips into the Sierras, the Wine Country, the San Luis Obispo Area, up and down along the Pacific Coast, and lots of day trips here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was the perfect bike for Andrea to get more comfortable riding a "full sized" bike after her little DR200SE thumper.

The next big thing will be our summer trip - we have outfitted the GS with side cases and new tires for this trip:

F650GS with Jesse Luggage

Andrea will have our clothes/shoes/toiletries, while I take care of all the camping gear, tools and gadgets.

But the most important thing, last weekend the GS reached an important milestone:

10k miles

Not all from Andrea, but most of them - as said, we got the F with ~3500 miles on the odometer and Andrea has ridden the bike all over Central and Northern California so far. Next destination: Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. Can't wait!

19 May 2013

Camping in Calaveras Big Tree State Park

In preparation of our summer trip we wanted to test some of our camping and motorcycle gear. During this two week trip we will probably camp about half the time if everything goes as planned and that means we had to check some of our gear for usability and comfort.

Therefore, two weeks ago we rode the bikes to the Sierras again. We decided we didn't want to go very far or very long but just on a nice weekend trip.

Saturday was a pretty good day, the weather was warm in the Bay Area and fairly hot in the Central Valley.

Filling up the two beasts along the way.

Time for a break

Wasn't that soft ... 

After a nice day of riding very simple roads, some curves but nothing as crazy fun as we normally ride in the Bay Area we arrived in Calaveras Big Trees State Park along HW4. 

The campground there was actually pretty nice. Campsites under the trees, not too much dust, nice and big campsites and the neighbors weren't too close, either.

Home, sweet home.

Cheers!

Obligatory Coffee

We also bought some firewood for later which turned out to be a good idea as it got fairly cold once the sun was down. It was great just sitting by the fire and enjoying the evening there. The Kermit Camp Chairs were super comfortable and showed that they are worth their price!

We might not take the leg extensions on the summer trip to save some weight, but if we have space / no weight issues, we might just take 'em for the added comfort.

Nice and cozy place to enjoy the evening.

On Sunday we headed further East on HW4, planning to cross the Sierras here and then head back West on HW108. 

Good plan overall ... but scroll down and see for yourself.

Andrea's BMW

The author and his mighty cat

Along the way it got colder and colder and then started raining. We got in our rain gear which worked just as expected because after fighting for ten minutes with the gear, finally getting it on and back on the bike it pretty much stopped raining. That's exactly how rain gear is supposed to work ... ;-)

Definitely visible!

Now, precipitation and cold temperatures coming together can only mean one thing:

Snow along HW108

Yes, it actually started snowing at some point on 108 and we were very happy when we got over Sonora pass and back into warmer areas. 

Strawberry Inn - Highway 108, California

The Strawberry Inn was a very welcome break after the cold temperatures and slightly slippery roads (although most of that was due to rain and mud on Highway 4). We stopped here and had lunch and a good Cafe Latte.

Back in Sunnyvale, we only had very few items on our list to get for the longer trip:
  • a small hatchet or axe to split firewood and pound the pegs for the tent into the ground when a thunderstorm comes up in the middle of the night and we add 14 more pegs to the 4 we had used to set the tent up initially (luckily, we only got a little bit of hail, not much rain, and not much wind after an hour of thunder and lightning)
  • some harder tent pegs as I bent three of the aluminum ones during the night action while getting hailed on; yeah, the ones linked here are prohibitively expensive, so we got for just in case we need them for super hard ground somewhere
  • a better pillow for me (got an air pillow now from REI, we'll see how that works out)
  • take the flip flops with us, as the Teva sandals take too long to dry after a shower
  • take more food, including coffee and breakfast so we are a bit more independent and can also save a little bit of money when we are camping anyways
Overall a very good test for our gear, pretty everything has worked out great. All the gear fits in our panniers and the one Ortlieb bag for long and bulky items. The longer trip can come! Really looking forward to it.