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  #61  
Old 24 Oct 2012
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Updated from Sep 21 2012: Cupcakes and shoes in Vancouver



From our Cache Creek ride, we booted to our RideDOT.com Vancouver HQ, or as our friends Kevin and Manon like to call it, "home". Yes, every 6-7 weeks or so, we scurry back to K&M's couch to catch up on MotoGP, drink lots of Cherry Pepsi and eat cupcakes and sour-cream-and-onions Pringles for breakfast! It was good to park the bikes for a few days and just hang with friends.


Helga eyes the red garage with suspicion...

We did take the bikes out for a spin in the city to get new shoes. Back to Tourances, since the Heidenau K76s vibrated too much and were too noisy. Riding shots below courtesy of Kevin's GoPro!


Chatting at a stop sign - Pic by Kevin V.

Kevin sat me down and caught me up with what's been happening in the world while we were trekking in the Arctic. He showed me Gangnam Style on YouTube and told me this was probably the most important thing that's happened in the last couple of months. What... The...?


Rabbits and Goats at the BMW dealership


Crossing one of the many bridges in the Vancouver area - Pic by Kevin V.


Manon and I must shop at the same store - matching REV'IT! jackets, Schuberth C3s and Sena coms


Judy, our ex-pat friend from Toronto, showed us a good sushi restaurant then we ate decadent donuts at 49th Parallel Cafe!


Friends!


The last root cupcake!

It was a very relaxing break, great company, lots of decadent foods, warm Vancouver weather, and we could have easily stayed till April, but we've got to get a move on before the cold weather catches up to us!
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  #62  
Old 25 Oct 2012
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Hi guys, just read through all your RR, brilliant, really enjoy it. It was great to meet you in person, wish we had more time in HU meetings, three days seemed too short.

We are still in Fresno try to get Andi's third gear fixed. Good news they did find something wrong with it, bad news we don't know how long it will take to fix it. We might have to extend our visa in US, bother! It will cost more money!

One question if you have time to answer: how do you put a small photo in a big photo?

Happy travel, hope to catch up agagin.

Ellen
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  #63  
Old 26 Oct 2012
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/36.html



After spending over a week and Kevin and Manons', we got on our bikes with great reluctance. We're leaving our home country of Canuckistan today, not sure when we'll be back next. Our friends accompany us to White Rock, a coastal town just north of the US border. They treat us to our final breakfast (cupcakes, of course) in Canada, then we hang out at the pier for a little while before waving goodbye!


The pier at White Rock, BC


Frolickin' amongst the flowers - pic by Kevin V


Kevin is a BMW Motorrad Apparel model


Boats docked at White Rock pier


Final group shot!


And then it's goodbye!

We were a bit worried about the US border patrol, since we were wondering what to say if they asked us, "When are you returning to Canada?" or "What do you do for a living?"... If we told the truth, I was expecting: "So let me get this straight: you don't have a place of residence in Canada, no jobs and you want to come into the United States *and* you can't tell me when you're going to return?!?!"

Surprisingly, those questions never came up! So all our elaborate stories that we agreed on and practiced beforehand went unused! We'll have to save them for the next border crossing!


Neda has a (very) unfounded belief that she is invisible to radar

From the border, we quickly got off the Interstate at Bellingham and rode one of my favorite roads in the area, the scenic and twisty Chucakanut Drive. The heavily forested two-laner winds its way along the Samish Bay coast, all the way to the Anacortes. From there, we took State Road 20 to Fidalgo Island and then to Whidbey Island and stopped at Oak Harbor to pick up a US SIM chip for our iPhone. After some fiddling around, we got our phone interwebs working and we were off to our campsite at Fort Ebey State Park.


It's warm again! Hiking around the shores of Fort Ebey State Park

Fort Ebey was built during WWII after the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor. The remains of a bunker look out towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and I poked around the dark and empty deserted underground bunkers while Neda basked in the sunshine outside. We've spent so long in the Arctic that we're really starved for any kind of warm weather.


Descending the deserted bunker


Through the artillery view port I spot a Neda


Hiking around Fort Ebey State Park


Everything's just Dandy!


Sun setting on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, mountains of Olympic National Park in the distance


Sunset!

Unfortunately, after the sun set, the temperature dropped very quickly. We were back to wearing winter clothing and shivering in our sleeping bags. It's very clear to us we need to head further south!
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  #64  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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"We were in the same boat as you two, I had a final drive problem on my R12GS found at the BMW shop in San Jose, so we've been holed up here for the last 3 days waiting for them to finish up. Not cheap! "

Thanks for your reply. We are in Lodi now, and Adver invited us here, we can give our friends in Fresno for a nice break. We were told Andi's bike will be ready next Thursday. Then our visa expired on Friday. We don't want to pay $290 for a couple of days of extension, but we have no choice.

Anyway, we just going to take what we have and enjoy it. Hope you get your bike back soon and carry on enjoy the journey.

Cheers
Ellen and Andi
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  #65  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/37.html



Seattle! Our first major US city in the Lower 48! First things first, we make a beeline to Touratech USA, birthplace of Neda's Touratech F650GS...


TouratechGirl right at home! I hid the credit card before she walked in the store...

The folks at TT were awesome, there were a couple of issues with some of their parts that we encountered on the road - a windshield spoiler that popped off on the highway and got run over by an 18-wheeler, as well as a locking GPS mount that wouldn't lock. They solved both problems and let us advertise their store for free by giving us these TT Seattle stickers that you can only get by visiting their store!


More advertising for Touraratech. Seriously, when does that cheque arrive again? I put one on my Givi topcase... heheh

Yaw contacted me on our website a couple of years ago and we've traded vacation pictures back and forth. Him and his girlfriend, Hélène, are avid sportbike riders and love traveling, so I knew we had a lot in common. Last summer, I told him we were going to hit the west coast on our RTW trip and he offered to show us Seattle and put us up for the night.


Yaw and Hélène, our hosts in Seattle - Super awesome biking couple!

Yaw and Hélène took us to the Pike Place Market downtown and we had a great time talking bikes and travel over our seafood brunch. They recently got engaged!


Yaw's Monster takes centre stage, Hélène's Ninja is hidden behind our ginormous GSes and Neda is txting all her girlfriends back home...


They clean all carbs for free? Will they do fuel-injected bikes too?


We heard they throw fish at the Pike Place Market, but it was a slow day - no fish throwing... Here's a picture of us instead...


Hélène is quite the geek - she pointed out the fractal cauliflower.
I wanted to follow up with a Mandelbrot joke but decided to reveal my inner geekiness a bit later



Colourful peppers at the Pike Place Market


Local Seattle artist Whitney Monge performing outside the first Starbucks. Killer voice!


We're rolling with different motorcycle gangs all over the continent! Seattle chapter of the RideDOT.com Riders


Lookout over Seattle from Gas Works Park


Pretty colours on Lake Union, Space Needle in the distance


Hanging out with the remains of the old coal gasification plant in the background. Very Steampunk!

It was a pretty action-packed day, Yaw and Hélène were perfect ambassadors for their city, taking us riding around all of their favorite spots, and we ended up eating dripping Cuban sandwiches from Paseo's on the shores of the Golden Gardens beach, watching the sun set over the waters of Puget Sound. Super awesome!


Kite fliers on Golden Gardens beach

We thought the day was over, but Y&H invited us to a party they were attending that night. It was packed with really bright UW grad students all working on technologies to make the world a better place. There was a lot of passion and excitement about what they were doing which was very contagious as we talked shop throughout the night. We are experiencing such different slices of life as we travel from place to place, and I can't help feeling so enriched by everyone we've met.


Seattle triptych from Y&H's apartment

The next morning was spent trading geekisms with Y&H over a comfortable breakfast at home. The chatter was so easy that I felt like we've known them for a long time. There's so much warmth and brilliance in this fun couple, Neda and I are so glad to have them as friends and wish them much joy in their life together!


"There's absolutely nothing wrong with iOS6 Maps! Sometimes those reddit guys just make me so... argh!"
"I know, Yaw. I know..."
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  #66  
Old 29 Oct 2012
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/38.html



We bid our goodbyes to Yaw and Hélène as they set off on their motorcycles to Whidbey Island for the day - which is where we just came from! We're taking the ferry over to Olympic National Park, at the north-western tip of Washington State. It boasts amazing scenery and riding roads: SOLD!


Saying goodbye to Seattle from the ferry. The ferris wheel is a mini "London Eye", just opened this summer.

The world-famous Highway 101 starts in Washington and we catch the road at it's most northern point, as it skirts the shores of Olympic National Park. The weather is a bit chilly and the scenery is not as good as advertised, but we see many bikers returning from their weekend rides, so it's still promising. The 101 is set inland a bit so we take Highway 113 (Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway) to the very tip of the peninsula, to a small fishing town called Neah Bay. Now *this* road is entertaining, were it not for the fog and rain haunting the coastline. Great views of the beaches and shores and some very tight turns. Yay!


Playing on the 113 to Neah Bay


Marina at Neah Bay

Neah Bay is set within the Makah Indian reservation, and fishing is the primary industry here - the docks at the marina are the most prominent feature of this community. We don't stay too long because the wet and gloomy weather seems to have taken permanent residence here, with the rest of the Pacific Northwest receiving an uncharacteristic long spell of sunshine.


Sunlight streaming through the trees on the 101

Doubling back on Highway 101, we travel southbound on the peninsula, visiting the many picturesque beaches that line the western shoreline.


Cue the chorus of angels


NatureGirl in her element


South Beach at Kalaloch


Waves crash on the hazy shoreline


Looking for interesting shells on the beach. Lots of crab shells!


Huge waves crashing on the shore, some almost as tall as I am


Playing tag with the waves of the Pacific Ocean


Fade to white

After spending some time hiking around the forests and beaches of Olympic National Park, we hop on our bikes again and keep riding south. Along the way, we pass through Forks, WA. If this town sounds familiar, it's because:


Lip-gloss-wearing vampires live in this town

The "Twilight museum" seems to have made its quick buck while the fad came and went. The place looks like it's been closed for quite some time! We spend the night at a campsite just outside of Forks, and I keep a tent-stake under my sleeping bag in case one of those sun-sparkly vampires mistakes me for a whiny 17-year-old girl named Bella...
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  #67  
Old 29 Oct 2012
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Awesome ride report. Sara
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  #68  
Old 30 Oct 2012
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Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/39.html



The Pacific Northwest is normally a rainy, gloomy place, especially at this time of year. But much to the chagrin of local farmers, we've lucked out as Washington's Indian Summer has gone over 80 days without rain and the temperatures have been hovering around 20C during the daytime.


Our campsite at Brooks Memorial State Park


Come on, I promise not to Instagram you...!


"Which way to Watership Down?"

Unfortunately, this has also caused a lot of forest fires in the area, and one of the dual-sport roads we were looking forward to riding - the Washington Backcountry Discovery Roads - is closed. Despite the long break in Vancouver, we're still suffering a bit of fatigue from our hectic race away from the Arctic winter, so we've really slowed our pace in the last few days, just catching up on our reading and doing a bit of hiking in the area, relishing the warm and dry weather. This is the kind of leisurely pace we were missing on all of our shorter trips - the ability to wander wherever with no set schedule, not knowing where you'll end up for the night or how long you'll stay - and we are loving the freedom!


All Star Wars, All the Time at the Star Wars Store in Aberdeen, WA. With a little bit of "Live Long and Prosper" thrown in...

We follow Highway 101 hugging the western Washington coastline until we hit Aberdeen, then turn inland towards Mount Rainier National Park where we camp out for a couple of days. One evening, before we head for dinner, we run into a trio of riders just outside the park:


Ran into Tamas, Dmitri and Rey at Mount Rainier National Park, 3 local riders from ADV as well


A few days later Tamas sends us this pic and says hi to us on our thread on ADV!

Mount Rainier is Washington's highest mountain and can be seen from all around the area. Neda found us a great road that cuts further inland, State Road 410 AKA the Chinook Pass, which gives us great views of Rainier in the distance.


Riding up the Chinook Pass


Doing some hiking just off the Chinook Pass


Views of the valley of the Cascade Mountain Range


From Yakima, WA, we turned south on Highway 97 and visited Stonehenge!

Situated just north of the WA/OR border, this Stonehenge is a full-size replica of the one in the UK. It was built in 1918 to commemorate the American soldiers that came from the immediate area who lost their lives in WWI. The surrounding hills are covered in wind turbines, lending a surreal anachronistic quality around it.


Tilting at windmills


Can't imagine a structure this big built 3000 years ago without the help of aliens!


"These aren't the druids you're looking for"


Proud to be inside Stonehenge with the bikes

On a side note, it's Canadian Thanksgiving and to commemorate our ex-pat holiday (the Americans have their Thanksgiving over a month later), we eat a turkey sandwich at Stonehenge! We've been keeping in touch with family and friends over the Internet and social media but it's just not the same as being there with them in person, especially during the holidays!


Racing down the Columbia River

The Columbia River starts out in BC, but we now follow it as it snakes westwards back towards the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River Gorge acts as a natural border between Washington and Oregon, and it's hard to keep your eyes on the road when you're riding beside something that spectacular!
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  #69  
Old 2 Nov 2012
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Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/40.html



The Oregon shoreline reminds me a lot of California. It's just as pretty, with large rocks rising out of the coastal waters and miles and miles of sandy dunes tempting us to get off our bikes, which is just what we did:


Hopping off the bikes for a scenic hike

The coast of Oregon is well-known for its sand dunes, there are tons of dune-buggy rental places as we ride south along the 101. I've always wanted to get paddle tires for our dirt bikes and go blasting up and down the dunes, it looks like a riot! That, and getting/making some studded tires and riding out onto a frozen lake are two motorcycle items on our bucket list.








A dog runs out to greet us


And then his owner chats with us for a while

We love dogs, we've met so many on this trip. On the beaches of Port Orford, Bernie introduced us to his owners, Jean and Don, and we spent some time talking about our trip and where they are from. They own a cottage about a mile away from the beach and after finding out that we were just wandering around with no place to stay for the night yet, they insisted that we sleep in a proper bed for the evening!


Bernie enjoys long walks on the beach during sunset and being scratched under the chin

Even though we've been offered accommodations and meals and plenty more while we're on the road, I always marvel at how generous people are to virtual strangers. We made sure we didn't remains strangers, sharing our travel stories with Jean and Don, and learning a bit about their lives and family. They own an almond (pronounced "Ammin" - like "Jammin'") farm in northern California and they had plenty of stories about their kids riding motorcycles (pronounced Motor-Sickels). Which brought up a good question - why do you pronounce bicycle "bi-sickel" and motorcycle is pronounced differently?


Mickey Mouse painting dreams over Neda's sleeping bag

Unfortunately, I am allergic to pet dander as it collects on carpeting, furniture or anything indoors - which is ironic because I'm always the first to pet and play with dogs on our travels. This means that I can't sleep inside the cottage, but Jean and Don put us up in the cabins that their grandkids sleep in when they visit.


In the morning, we had home-made apricots and Ammins, and fresh scones!


Don and Jean and Bernie!


Jean tries out the motor-sickel!

We thanked Jean and Don for their generosity and left Oregon in the late morning, our bellies full of homemade food and our hearts filled with the kindness of two "Ammin" farmers from Northern California!
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  #70  
Old 5 Nov 2012
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Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/41.html



Hustlers grab your guns,
Your shadow weighs a ton,
Driving down the 101.
California here we come...


While growing up in the East, we've been inundated with TV shows, movies and songs about California, and many a long, cold winter was spent dreaming of escaping to the land of Ponch and Jon, Baywatch and The O.C. One of our earliest motorcycle road trips was an 18-day trek from Toronto to San Francisco and back, and we stayed glued to the seat for the entire duration, stopping only to eat, gas or sleep.

Well, this time around we're taking the scenic route, it's taken us about 4 months to get here! We've discovered that when we're not trying to outrun Old Man Winter or a vacation-deadline, we travel quite slowly.


Avenue of the Giants, CA

Just south of the OR/CA border, the 101 crosses into Redwood National Park, and further south we get off 101 to properly ride through the giant trees on the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile detour that follows old Highway 101. Don told us that before the current 101 was built, the wider trucks would graze the edges of the Redwood trees on the Avenue of the Giants, because the road was built so close to the trees. It was easier to build the road around some of the largest trees than cut them down!


Riding past some of the world's tallest trees!


Neda rides off into the forest


So cheesy, but we had to do it. This tree wasn't even standing on its own...

Towards the end of the Avenue of the Giants, we see a sign advertising a drive-thru a living tree! Cool! However, we're not sure it would have survived without all the baling wire to keep it from toppling over. While we were there taking our tourist shots, we notice that another motorcycle couple had the same idea, and they were ADVers as well! Jon and Natalie were on a 2-week whirlwind trip riding their SV650 and Bonneville border-to-border from Vancouver to Tijuana and back, very cool!


Jon and Natalie from Seattle - she made those panniers herself from ammo cases!

Don recommended that we take Hwy 20 to get inland, as we were heading towards Yosemite Park. What a great scenic, twisty road! However, we hit Sacremento rush hour and we debated whether to take our wide-load motorcycles filtering through stopped traffic. It seemed a bit tight, so we stewed in jam for awhile... At least it was warm! From there, we took I5 to Stockton, and then the 4 to Copperopolis to Angels Camp, however by then, we were driving in pitch dark. It gets dark at 6:30PM! We rode the very twisty Hwy 120 and we knew we were missing out on amazing scenery as the road switched back on itself as we climbed higher and higher in the cool, inky darkness of the late autumn evening. Just outside of Yosemite, we stopped for the night at a neat campsite just outside of Groveland. It still dips below freezing overnight... we just can't escape the cold...


Lots of riders taking a weekend ride through Yosemite

This is our 2nd time through Yosemite, as mentioned earlier, we did our own whirlwind trip through the National Parks of SW US a few years ago. This time, we actually got off our bikes and hiked around a bit. It's interesting reading through our ride report from the first time around, and contrast that to what interests us now that we have more time on our hands. Can't believe we stayed at such expensive places as well!


Riding through the quaint town of Groveland in the morning


In Yosemite, we ride Highway 120 right through the Tioga Pass, the highest mountain pass in California.


Hiking around Olmstead Point on the Tioga Pass


Seeking shade at Olmstead Point - not sure why, it's pretty cold up here!

Olmstead Point is a popular visitor's stop on the Tioga Pass. It offers great views of Tenyana Canyon below as well as Half-Dome, a very famous Yosemite rock formation, in the distance.


Tenyana Canyon and Half-Dome


Half-Dome


Back on the road!

Everything we've been told about hot and sunny California has turned out to be a lie. It's cold here too. We've got to find someplace warmer!
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  #71  
Old 6 Nov 2012
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Your trip is awsome!!!

Thanks for Sharing

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  #72  
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Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Everything we've been told about hot and sunny California has turned out to be a lie. It's cold here too. We've got to find someplace warmer!
Head on over to Charleston, SC and enjoy some great weather and southern hospitaity.
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/42.html



We're sick of the cold. So we're headed to the hottest place on Earth, which is conveniently located around the corner from where we are. Our ride to Death Valley ironically passes through a couple of ski resort towns, notably Mammoth. We notice a lot of dirt bikes gathering around the town of Bishop, perhaps there's an enduro happening in the area? I envied all those light bikes with their knobby tires...


Endless desert road in Death Valley

As we descend into the valley, the temperature soars to a blistering 38°C! This is *exactly* what we were looking for and we set up camp at Stovepipe Wells for a couple of evenings, basking in the heat like lizards. Overnights only dipped to a sweltering 28°C, and it felt good not to be swaddled in winter gear and wrapped in mummy bags! Just down the road, we hiked around the Mesquite sand dunes, they are marvelous:


Mesquite Sand Dunes


Popular spot for visitors - had to hike a distance from the road to find untouched sand!

Footprints stay in the sand for quite some time until the next rainfall. I've heard that in some deserts that receive no precipitation, marks in the dunes stay etched in the sand forever. They say that you can still see the treads in the sands of the Sahara desert from when Rommel's Panzers roamed the dunes during WWII.


Lots of sand in Death Valley, but the dunes are areas between the mountains that trap the sand


Begrudgingly hiking the dunes - it was worth it!


Yoga half-moon pose - almost...


Riding around Death Valley

We rode over to Furnace Creek and spent a couple of days there - about 200 feet below sea level. Death Valley is so hot because of the natural basin created by the high valley walls that trap the heated desert air, allowing no outside circulation. You know it's pretty desolate when they charge you $6 a gallon for gas - that's more expensive than Prudhoe Bay in Alaska!!!


Scotty's Castle - fabulous building in the north end of the park built by a multi-millionaire in the 1930s


Ubehebe Crater - an inactive volcano



Cracked floor deep within the Ubehebe volcano


Our neighbours at Furnace Creek campsite - Simon is not a morning person

We met Christina and Simon from Bern, Switzerland at Furnace Creek. Although not on motorcycles, we found them to be kindred traveling spirits, they took a year off, selling all their possessions to travel around the world. Unfortunately for them, their trip is over in November, but we spent a night at the Furnace Creek bar, getting to know them and exchanging travel stories over . Awesome couple!


Aborted off-road mission, Neda is coming to help pick my bike up in deep gravel. Slightly sprained ankle for me

We left Death Valley feeling recharged, we wished we could have stayed longer in the desert, but we had an appointment to keep.
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I really hate schedules.

We're heading to Cambria, CA for the Horizon's Unlimited meeting, a chance to get together with like-minded travelers, exchange stories and tips. However, we've had to cut our desert-time short and head to the coast for the weekend. After 4 months of unscheduled wandering, having to make a date is kind of stressing me out, even if it's for something that we're looking forward to.


Show and tell at the HU meeting parking lot

The meeting was excellent, we really felt an affinity with so many folks that didn't bat an eye when we told them we quit our jobs, sold our home and just went riding. Back home, a few of our friends and a lot of our family thought we were a bit crazy to do this, but at the HU meeting, we met so many people that had either had done the same, were doing it right now (lots of e-mail addresses exchanged), or were planning on doing it that it felt like we were in a herd of black sheep. Lots of head nodding and Amens!


A little cankle-action, courtesy of my Death Valley off. Not as bad as it looks, just a slight limp for a few days


Reunited!

Neda met Carolyn at the <a href=http://www.RideDOT.com/dozen>Adventures for the Cure dirtbike charity ride</a> in Colorado a few years ago. They've kept in touch over the years and the girls were excited to see each other again!


The best part of attending the "Cooking on the Road" session


Spent most of the weekend in seminars like this, getting travel tips


Tents galore at the HU meeting

On Sunday night, we had a bit of excitement when a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit King City, just 60 miles away from Cambria. We were in our tent shortly after midnight when the quake hit. We thought it was someone shaking our tent as a practical joke! The funny thing was the animals knew long before it actually happened, all the birds were going crazy about an hour earlier and 10 minutes before, the sea lions on the coast were making a huge racket. So bizarre! I just recently read about the Italian scientists who got sued for not predicting an earthquake. They should have used animals!

The next morning, all the California locals shrugged their shoulders - happens all the time they say. "If it ain't the Big One, nothing to worry about..." Geez!


Buddies at Big Sur


After the conference, we rode to San Jose with Carolyn, to get some service done to our bikes. Stopped at Big Sur to see the elephant seal colony.


Elephant Seal colony just south of Big Sur on Hwy 1

At this time of year, most of the seals are pups and teenagers, spending their time on the beach to develop bone mass on shore, before returning back to the weightless environment of the sea to hunt.


Graceful in the sea, but very awkward-looking once they climb onto land


Fastest hands in service bay! New chain and sprockets!


R12GS undergoing major surgery - final drive crown wheel bearing...


Captain America waiting for the bikes in San Jose


Rolling around San Jose on loaner bikes

Today marks a bit of an anniversary of sorts. One year ago, we officially told my parents that we were quitting our jobs, selling our home and riding around the world. That dinner was kind of an uncomfortable event... But tonight we're celebrating with order-in Chinese food and !


Treating ourselves in San Jose


A bit late, but accurate, nonetheless!

After spending a few days in San Jose, we've come to the realization that we're not big city people anymore. It's crowded, expensive and looks the same as any other big city. So we're off again...!
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/44.html



Our trip so far has been interrupted by the Horizons Unlimited meeting and the need for some MotoTLC. So we're resuming our trip where we (almost) left off by heading back to the desert. Hoping there'll be more warm weather there.


No warm weather here, but good snow-cones... Donner Pass over the Sierra Nevada.

Since we're no longer Big City People, we decide to head to Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World". We've ridden to Las Vegas before on our previous trip of the SW US, so we're spending an evening walking around the Bright Lights, Little City.


Drawn like moths to the neon lights of the Biggest Little City...


Slow night, off-season in Reno


New tattoo for Neda?


Mesmerized


We stayed at a state campsite just outside Reno instead - freezing overnight!


A lot of Vegas casinos also have a branch in Reno

Reno really reminded us of Old Vegas the way it was before the gigantic theme parks sprung up on the new strip. More about the neon and cheap food ($5.99 for a prime rib dinner!) than about the roller-coasters and Celine Dion.



From Reno, we headed south to the Highway 50. We're beginning a two-day ride through the desolation of the Nevada desert, trying to discover what led Life Magazine to dub this the "Loneliest Road in America". US 50 follows the Nevada section of the old Pony Express route back when the US Postal Service used to deliver mail via horse, riding day and night from the west coast all the way to Missouri!


Might look lonely up the sand dune, but there were dozens of vehicles behind this one and all over the hill

The Loneliest Road became a lot less lonely when we stopped in to visit Sand Mountain, just past Fallon. Tons of RVs were in the parking lot, belching out all kinds of dune buggies, ATVs, three-wheelers and dirtbikes onto the huge sand dunes just off the highway. Dozens of them climbing up and down the dunes like ants.


Soooo jealous! Paddle tires FTW!


When we set up our cameras at the base of the sand dunes, *everybody* started wheelying in front of us!


Even the little kids were getting into it!

We stopped for the evening at Lahontan State Recreation area right on the Loneliest Road in America, can't wait to soak up more of the desert lifestyle!
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