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  #31  
Old 17 Jun 2012
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Talking Thelma Makeover Part 2

Part of the pleasure of doing bike work in LA is that it is nearly always sunny, this all took place over three days, with various friends and neighbors popping in to our al fresco impromptu bike workshop
Joe really got into the swing of things and started spraying the twisted and dented petrol tank


To prove I was taking my boiler-suited role seriously, here I am having a skype conversation with my sister in England, still in work clothes, which as I was on video mode she was able to see and appreciate

Back out into the open-air workshop and even the topbox had a facelift

We start piecing everything back together

which takes a while as nothing seems to fit!!
Meanwhile, Joe is still spraying

Two pairs of hands are needed for this tricky bit

we're getting there

Finishing touches

and then I'm off to Ojai as Thelma has an appointment there
with these guys

This is Adrian, the maestro of BMW seats, he works at Bill Mayers Saddles, and here he is putting the finishing touches to my new GS Adventure seat.

at the end of it all

Thelma looks fantastic and they decided I needed a bit of smartening up too and gave me a new t-shirt.
Huge thanks to Joe, Lara, Erdem, Sarah, Rob, Adrian and the rest of the guys at Bill Mayers.
Thelma and I are ready for the road once more.
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Last edited by Tiffany; 17 Jun 2012 at 00:45. Reason: misteaks
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  #32  
Old 17 Jun 2012
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Cool Sandy Views

With Thelma looking good and my hair freshly plaited, we headed down to Santa Monica, in search of a certain sign...

OK, so I hadn't actully ridden the whole route, but I HAD ridden from Phoenix to Chicago and then down to LA all within the last two weeks.
and there was a familiar face, Gary aka Bear who also works as a motorcycle guide, he specialise in Route 66 and we'd last met at a bike show in England last year.

I headed over to the Santa Monica pier, as I needed proper proof that I had reacched the Pacific Ocean (I live on the coastline of the Atlantic in England)

lunch at Bubba Gump's and I saw this old advertising sign which seemed very apt for those who have just ridden Route 66, not sure if it was just a joke


Thelma and I headed down to the beach, I was tempted to have a quick ride on the sand but thought I might get told off

Leaving the ocean behind I headed out onto the concrete jungle that forms LA's freeway system. It's something that we hear about in films and on the telly, but it's not until you're in the solid queues of traffic that you appreciate just how bad the congestion is. I went into Brit biker mode and filtered through (lane splitting as it is called over here)
headed out towards the desert

some distance down the road noticed the lines of wind turbines on the hilltops around me, it was a bit eerie and made me feel like a lone wagon in the last century surrounded by native Indians.
Everywhere I looked there seemed to be turbines


Of course the key thing about wind turbines is that they are usually built in places where there is a LOT of wind so not a pleasing sight. I held on tight ready for the gusts but I was in luck, it was a rare wind-free day in the valley, and I soon arrived in Palm Springs at my friend's house.

A warning that it would be a flying visit...a quick catch up on 18 months of chat and happenings, a great Mexican meal with very nice margaritas (sorry, we seem to have lost the photo of the margaritas!) and then I was up and on the road at 5.30am making the most of the relatively cool temperatures at that time of the morning.
As I set off down the road, only the dog was up to see me off

I was heading to Flagstaff and had many miles to cover that day, with a lot of desert to cross
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  #33  
Old 17 Jun 2012
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More great photos Tiff
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  #34  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Talking Overland Expo in Arizona

Flagstaff was to be my destination, I was heading for the Overland Expo
As I looked at my odometer, I realised that I'd managed to cover over 5,000 miles in the four weeks since I had left Phoenix, and yet I was just 120 miles from my starting point. That statistic possibly says something about my meandering route planning.
I knew I was heading in the right direction when I saw vehicles like this
Then, while I was at a petrol station, two bikes did a U-turn and pulled up, they had recognised Thelma - she's getting so well-known that before I know it she'll be asking for her own Facebook page. The riders were Mark Ordway and with him was Gaurav Jani (film-maker extraordinaire http://www.dirttrackproductions.com/ridingsolo.html) who had literally just flown in from Delhi, loaded his stuff onto a borrowed GS and headed up to the Expo. I tagged along with them (I'm sure I was invited!)

I requested some off-roading, Mark knows many of the trails in this part of the world and we headed up Schnebly Hill Road
As always, I didn't slow to take photos on the gnarly bits, just too busy hanging on. Further up we stopped for a break and I got some pictures

As we headed up the Schnebly Hill Trail, we saw some other riders, this is Gaspard from San Diego (or possibly SoCal), not sure if he's onthe HUBB, but if anyone knows him, I've got a couple more pictures of him riding the trail on my facebook.

we paused to look at the great views

Thelma was looking particularly immaculate that day...just an hour before I got driven off the gravel by a small pick-up truck
Gaurav was tearing up the trail- no sign of jet lag

we made it to Mormon Lake, a great setting for an event like this

There were travellers everywhere... in trucks, buses and even an old ambulance as well as the many on bikes. I saw quite a few familiar faces, including Austin Vince and Ted Simon, I tried to keep a low profile as the last time I'd seen those two, I got a bit silly after my second glass of wine and was last seen sitting on Ted's precious original Triumph from Jupiter's Travels whilst wearing a pair of Austin's wife, Lois's knickers on my head
Luckily no mention was made of the occasion, and in fact Ted even had a few kind words to say about Thelma

I gave various talks and taught some classes, generally having a ball of a time. I wondered over to the vehicle driving track to watch some of the big trucks in action

looking at the way they were driving, I was glad I travel on a bike

some were getting rescued

I, rather foolishly jumped into a land rover with a bloke, who was having a go at the tippy over course (it probably has a more technical name than that) I sat in the back, kept quiet, took photos and wondered why on earth I had voluntarily got in as the whole vehicle tipped from one side to the other.


I informed Jeff that my Mum wouldn't be too happy if he tipped this thing over with me in it
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  #35  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Cool Overland Expo 2

There was a petting zoo at Mormon Lake
I'm quite fond of goats so went in to say hello

It didn't seem quite so keen on the whole petting thing

there were even bison

which to my disappointment were not in the petting zoo, but then I saw the adult ones and realised why


a bit big and nasty looking.
Entertainment was provided by the Camel Trophy guys who built a raft



(I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere...wouldn't it be something along the lines of "How many men does it take to make a raft?")


it didn't look the most stable or safe of craft, and guess what they were planning to do with it??

That's right, they're going to try and float a Land Rover across the pond on it- if it was unsuccessful, guess who was chief understudy??
Yep, Thelma, who was waiting in the wings ready to be called forward.
we all watched with bated breath as the Land Rover inched onto the raft

and then cheered as it floated across

celebrations that evening with the Camel Trophy team

and then on the final evening a solar eclipse- I've never seen one before.



I didn't manage to get a photo of it later in the evening when it was more obscured, but still I was pleased to get this picture as it was a bit tricky.
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  #36  
Old 21 Jun 2012
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fantastic stuff, great things happen to good people
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  #37  
Old 25 Jun 2012
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Smile Heading to Utah

All the fun and sociability was put aside the next day, when I said my goodbyes to everyone at the Expo and headed off on my own once more, I went north leaving behind the coolness of the altitude at Mormon Lake and the greenery from the forests, re-entering more typical Arizona dry desert-like landscapes. As the sun was setting I started looking for a place to camp, I decided maybe this was not a good spot
I managed to find a great place, near Page in northern Arizona

I used the local Burger King as my "office" for the evening, there is unlimited WiFi and so I had a chance to log on to the Internet.

Checking emails and planning a route for the next few days- for those who are wondering what's up?? how come Tiffany is PLANNING??
well the event I was heading to the following weekend was the Adventure Summit and it was to be a competition with points awarded for adventure routes ridden to it. I soon had my competitive head on and was looking at maps to work out my best route
waking up in the morning, I found I was right next to this huge dam, it's at the bottom end of Lake Powell and took over seven years to build. It then took 17 years for the Colorado River to fill up the lake.


no riding along the edge of the dam-style stunts for me, a nice bridge instead

if you have vertigo, I would not recommend this route.
I then tried to fond somewhere to get a cup of tea but it was still early morning and the cafe was not open. They had a sign with their opening hours outside which a young couple were examining and looking at their watches. We then had quite a surreal conversation about the time as they were telling me that Arizona is two hours different from Texas (their home) and so the cafe should be open according to their watches, while I was saying that Arizona is eight hours behind England and we were too early according to my watch. Leaving them to wait I rode on..
what a nice State sign

and what a great warning sign- watch out for people driving this type of vehicle in the desert as they obviously don't know how to use the brakes

I felt the title "Hazards of rough terrain" understated things a bit.
the next sign was even better..what an invitation

I looked round and the only witness was this little fellow

It was a great ride through the desert landscape, the sand wasn't too bad, but then I found out why it was supposed to be closed, as I came around a corner, this was in front of me

and getting closer

they seemed to realise that reverse is possibly not my forte and turned aside

they then flattened things down a bit and I rode through with quite a bit of paddling (and for all those who thought they only helped because I'm a woman, well think again, because the bulldozer drivers thought I was a bloke until I took my helmet off a bit later)
and why did I take off my helmet, well the dust and dirt had been wetted to reduce dust, which resulted in Thelma's tyres looking like this

with a complete lack of grip, Thelma ended up like this

not one of my prouder moments, but you know what.... I was too tired to care. One of the drivers saw what had happened and drove over in his bulldozer to help.
A big thank you to Doug for his assistance, I'd been struggling a while on my own, but as the mud was so deep, I was just sinking deeper into it the more I tried to lift up Thelma. With his help we soon had her upright

and I rode off a bit more gingerly.
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http://www.tiffanystravels.co.uk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAUhV1r-kUo
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  #38  
Old 26 Jun 2012
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Cool Utah Utopia

The trail improved, for those of you wondering where I was it's the Cottonwood Canyon Trail. I had taken Thelma through some water to clean her off a bit, the air is so hot and dry that she soon dried off.

We had plenty of these for company..I think it's a chipmunk, but the only ones I've ever seen before have been cartoon ones

Grosvenor Arch was reached, I attempted to ride up the footpath that starts round to the left of the escarpment, but decided discretion was the better part of valour considering I was on my own and turned round before I got too high.

I was relievd to see that I had reached the end of the road closed section, the car drivers were looking at me a bit curiously as I took photos of the sign.

Fatigue overtook me and I stopped for a nap in a quiet spot with Thelma standing guard

Thelma woke me up after 30 minutes by suddenly dripping petrol from her right-side carburettoand the smell awoke me, she did this deliberately, as she's had no leak before or since then.
Riding on a I found this place, an old fashioned Drive In Movie Theatre with the convertibles already in place. Every night they show films from the forties, fifties and sixties

I lined Thelma up with the cars

but, somehow, sitting on a motorbike is not the same as sitting in a car
Mark, the bloke who runs the place was really friendly and let me have a look around, it's an amazing place as it's in an Airstream Caravan Park, I'd love to stay in one sometime.
Airstream Park Drive-In || Escalante Utah Hotel || Shooting Star
All the way through southern Utah, there was the most amazing scenery, this was another spot where I put my tent up as it was getting dark and woke up to find incredible views across the valley, this is just outside Escalante

I like the small towns, this is the petrol station at Boulder, Utah, run by a very friendly guy who was happy to chat about life in the valley. I was most impressed to find that he stocked lots of organic and vegetarian options, so I sat and had breakfast, chatting to the locals

Red cliffs were beckoning me onwards, this is more the sort of scenery that Utah is famous for

I had the luxury of time to explore some of the slot canyons- awesome to see


A couple on a Harley took this picture- they were very amused by my mud-splattered appearance

Ahead, the Burr Trail was unfolding into the desert, I'm sure I've seen this trail in many a cowboy film.

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  #39  
Old 26 Jun 2012
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Cool Desert Wanderings

In Escalante, I discovered a more al fresco office environment, they were happy for me to use their WiFi as I'd had a meal inside

and whilst I was there, This bloke turned up, having done a U-Turn in the street when he spotted Thelma, he looked around for her owner and finally decided that "yep, she's with the little lady sat over there"

He is quite well known as the Desert Doctor and is the only bike mechanic for 200 miles, he also appeared pretty knowledgeable about airheads.
Riding Burr Trail. it just got prettier and prettier

This is what I like to see, you might feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere and haven't seen anyone for hours, but low and behold there are signs to indicate which trail to take, I was heading for the picturesquely named Bullfrog Basin

Eventually onto tarmac again, and in the distance a glimpse of blue water, I'd reached Lake Powell. Approaching the ferry dock
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On the road from...I'm not sure any more
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Last edited by Tiffany; 26 Jun 2012 at 19:25. Reason: Sometimes life needs a little tweaking
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  #40  
Old 27 Jun 2012
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Good to see you and Thelma are getting along just fine. Looking forward to meeting you next month at the BMW Rally.
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  #41  
Old 29 Jun 2012
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Wink More Utah Wanderings

I left Thelma down on the beach while I had my eye on the lake




But then I had a better idea



1,2,3...



Big Splash



The Patented Tiff Coates Method for Washing Muddy Leathers




Meanwhile, around the corner, the ferry had pulled in, the captain was somewhat concerned at spotting an abandoned bike by the edge of the water. He docked the ferry and wasted no time in heading over to investigate, at which point I emerged from the water. He didn't really know what to say except
"Can I help you with your things?!"

and off he walked back to the boat carrying my jacket and helmet, whilst I tried to make myself presentable.



The ferry crossing was extremely windy, which suited me as I sat in the shade while my wet stuff was draped over Thelma drying off.



View from the ferry...lots of rock and lots of water



ferry workers ignoring the clothing draped over Thelma as they prepare for docking



Letting my leathers dry out a bit more, I rode off wearing my shorts





Just don't tell my Mum I was riding in shorts!
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  #42  
Old 29 Jun 2012
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Smile

A fuel stop at one of the loneliest petrol stations I've encountered, in the middle of nowhere.



Looking at the dirt ahead, I donned my somewhat soggy leather trousers, a mite uncomfortable at first, but in the Utah heat they were like having built-in air-conditioning

I tried recreating my Sahara Desert picture, but the sand just isn't the same in America.



Ascending up through the trees, in search of cooler temperatures.



I'm riding through the Manti La Sal National Forest in southern Utah. It's stunningly beautiful with a great range of dirt tracks- I later found out it features in the Back Country Routes DVD from Touratech. I rode through dirt, gravel, rock, sand and mud before realising that maybe I should check my direction, I hadn't managed to get a very detailed map of the forest and there seemed to be many more trails than I was expecting. There is a definitely a lack of people in these parts, I discovered someone camping in the middle of nowhere who very clearly had come up here to get away from it all and did NOT want to be disturbed by anyone. However, needs must, I took a deep breath and approached, noticing as I did so that his pick-up truck had a large sticker on it bearing the legend "Pissing off the world one person at a time" good grief I thought that's all I need. As I walked closer, helmet off, smile plastered on face, I could feel the hostility radiating off him. In my best British accent I told him I was lost and needed to check my route. Luckily he didn't shoot me, (he definitely had a gun in his truck) looked surprised at my accent and gruffly gave me directions, also pointing out to me how the forest tracks are numbered. I quickly said my thanks and retreated back to Thelma. As I was about to ride off, he approached (I flinched) and he offered me some stew, I claimed a dinner date and headed off down the trail. Who was I kidding about a dinner date in this remote bit of forestry?!

The views became more and more spectacular, as I came over the top of the mountain and was descending a trail that hugged the edge of the steep slope. No room for mistakes as I would have gone hurtling down the vertical drop which was several hundred feet. After talking to him I didn't see anyone else the rest of that day except two quad bikes who passed me in the opposite direction.



I was getting tired and making silly mistakes, I realised I wasn't going to get anywhere near Moab tonight, let alone down to the valley floor at the bottom. I had no idea how much further the trail went.

As the sun was setting, I rode on, keeping my eyes open for anywhere suitable for my tent.


Eventually I had to ride off the trail up a steep slope through soft earth, cactus and shrubs, finally stopping to park Thelma behind a bush as I set up the tent next to another one and settled down to eat my peanut butter sandwiches and enjoy a cup of tea. In the cactus next to me was Flat Stanley, a school project piece from a friend's daughter whom I'm supposed to be taking with me and photographing in different locations.

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  #43  
Old 1 Jul 2012
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Hi Tiffany,
I'm new to your adventures but really enjoying reading about this one! Thanks for taking the time to post such great ride reports! I love the variety you have in your photos. So often when traveling alone it's easy to get in the habit of just taking snaps of the landscape with the bike in the foreground, and then I get to thinking it looks like my bike went on the trip solo. Am I correct in thinking you have a tripod and perhaps some kind of remote shutter release so you can ride solo but get photos with you in them?
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  #44  
Old 1 Jul 2012
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Fancy Camera Stuff (or maybe not)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
Hi Tiffany,
I'm new to your adventures but really enjoying reading about this one! Thanks for taking the time to post such great ride reports! I love the variety you have in your photos. So often when traveling alone it's easy to get in the habit of just taking snaps of the landscape with the bike in the foreground, and then I get to thinking it looks like my bike went on the trip solo. Am I correct in thinking you have a tripod and perhaps some kind of remote shutter release so you can ride solo but get photos with you in them?
Blimey, remote shutter release!?
That sounds a bit fancy for me- it is just self-timed pictures, a bit tricky with riding shots as you can imagine.
My tripod is a very small 3.5 inch one with bendy legs from Vivitar- $10 it cost I think. It's usually perched on top of my helmet by the side of the track as I ride past.
Glad you're enjoying the description of my ride through America - more to come.
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  #45  
Old 1 Jul 2012
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Wink Moving Towards Moab

The next morning, I was rewarded with a great view from my tent



and narrowly avoided the pink spiky cactus just outside!




Riding back down the slope, I came out onto a trail that was beginning to look like it might actually lead somewhere, still no sign of anybody else.





Some amazing landscapes and rock formations, I love rides like this



Even a bit of a river crossing-



The trail was a bit better than it was last night, I was off the tight narrow mountain tracks and in to the bowl of the valley



I started to see telegraph poles and realized this must lead to civilization and potentially a hot cup of tea!

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