Category Archives: 14 – 01 USA

Outstanding reactions to our `Call for Help´ and meeting the probably best people of California!

The hospitality of Cam and Phil from Cambria is beyond words! They picked us up from the road and made us feel home from the beginning. We spent a lovely time together and they provided the opportunity to us to organize our required fixing of the bikes. The last day Cam took us to a great walk to the sea elephants and to the lighthouse (unfortunately Phil had to go to LA for business that day). And you won’t believe how incredible positive our `call for help´ within the Californian ADV-Rider scene was. What we needed most was a place where we could send the required parts to and a workshop to work on the bikes.  Dave in Escondido offered immediately to use his workshop and we were able to start the shipping of the parts. How fabulous!

So we knew we do have some days to bridge until we get here… and we had the chance to meet and spend time with some incredible lovely people!!! Our first stop was Ventura and there we were invited to stay with Rick. We did not only share riding and travel experiences but also we were invited to ride with the BMW Club of Southern California, where I was taking part as the `steam lock´ (pouring out my coolant all the time). Boys – thank you for your patience and it was a great day and a pleasure to meet you all! By the way, Ventura is a little town at the coast with a bracing atmosphere, with little bars, coffee places and art craft shops without any snobby attitude – worth a visit for sure. Rick was taking us around everywhere, as well to the famous McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream shop – yummi!

We said good bye after lunch at the arrow lake and continued to the Big Bear Lake. Here we had the great pleasure to meet Berndt and stay with him. He traveled a lot already as well through Europe. So we had a beautiful time together sharing stories, cooking, riding around the lake. Unfortunately he crashed a few days ago with the bike so he was still in pain caused of a broken rip. We hope you are getting better soon Berndt!

Not far away from San Diego and the boarder to Mexico we stopped at Escondido. Most of the parts arrived until we arrived (1st August) and we could start to work on the bikes. At the AT the cylinder head cover gasket is changed, the coolant, oil and the tires are new now. The Transalp from Kerstin got the long desired new radiator cap and that should have solved the overheating issue. Kai from the German AT Forum send us a parcel with the parts which have been still missing (petcock, chain guard and the speedometer cable for the AT) arrived just in time… Dave gave us a hand fixing /and pimping the bikes, he had some LED light which he didn’t use anymore so he gave them to me, great improvement,,, THERE WILL BE LIGHT! For Kerstin he produced, welded an new fixation for her bash plate and lifted the Side stand a bit so she has it easier to lift the bike. Great stuff, now we are ready to go!)

Anyhow! At this point we would like to say AN BIG THANK YOU to ALL of you!!! You all were an incredible help to fix our bikes and getting prepared for the next chapter of our journey: Central America. And honestly we hope to see you again; don´t forget to let us know whenever you come to Germany/Europe!!!

Small little things here and there need to be done, but nothing really serious anymore (touch wood!!!). After having all done at Dave’s Garage we continued our trip towards San Diego where we met Randy and his dog Doc. Randy is the creator of the SADAR (San Diego Adventure Rider) Forum. He took us out for some sightseeing, beers and pizza and we had a great evening together in downtown SD… And will have tonight as well. And tomorrow we are going to the boarder and into Baja, MeXico! So stay tuned and you will get some more news the next time we get internet…

Quest for help before we enter the Baja California and Mexico

Crossing back to the west on the Tioga Pass Road we had a much clearer view today unless the fire was ongoing. But at the same time it became much more crowded as it was Friday and we hurried to leave the park.  Due to the fire we had to make a little detour to reach the Big Basin Redwoods State Park south of San Francisco. And again it was a loooong and hot drive through endless plantation areas with no camping options. Just with the dawn we arrived at the park when they told us everything is full and booked out… Suddenly there was a voice behind me, explaining to the woman behind the counter that his camp site would easily fit another tent. I could have kissed Roy!

This is how we met Roy and Rosy from UK who travelled a month through USA on bike they bought here. (Thank you for sharing this place with us! It was a pleasure meeting you and we wish you a save trip home and crossing fingers that you can sell the bike for a good price again!) They as well recommended a place at the coast road to us. As we were queuing in the traffic yam half of the day we started early to watch out for any camping opportunity. But it seemed hopeless. Everywhere we saw the signs FULL and BOOKED. Exactly at the camp which was recommended by Roy and Rosy we were lucky again. Emily and Arron shared their camp spot with us – thank you folks!

We were thinking of staying another night as we liked the cliffs and smell of the sea. But we were restless as we had some issues with the bikes since the couple of days. The AT seems to leak oil somewhere at the cylinder head; the TA was suddenly drinking water like a camel after a marathon and still having some power hiccups… so we continued in the mist along the coastline. A little bit further south we had a stop at the elephant seal view point. So funny to watch them; they scratch there bally or there forehead while bathing in the sun and rolling over the beach. And impressing to see them fighting and listening to their balking. We started a chat with Cam from the `Friends of The Elephant Seal´ and after a while it turned out that she and her husband are motorcyclists as well; so we were sharing travel experiences and they found out about our issues as well. Spontaneously we were invited to stay with them, using their garage to find out more details and which spare parts we might need – overwhelmed of their hospitality we agreed to meet later at their house in Cambria. We used the time and enjoyed the seaside and watching the seals and did even some more sightseeing. Indescribably how lucky and happy we are. We started immediately the research on the bikes and trying now to find any place south of here where we can order the parts to and can work on the issues. We would not like to cross over to Mexico/ Baja California before the defects are repaired. Cambria has a bracing climate; you always have a fresh breeze from the sea, it is green and we do hope to see a whale in one of these days. We are incredible thankful to Cam and Phil! These `rest´ gave us the opportunity to find solutions for our troubles with the bikes. Finally we had the chance to calm down…

Two month on the road already – the miracle of the nature, first fire and wonderful accommodating people everywhere

In these first two month of our journey from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego we do have seen so many impressive places and met plenty of interesting and helpful people… Sometimes it is hard to capture all these moments and impressions as we are moving on nearly every day, meeting new people and seeing new places. Finally we are back at the ocean which we have seen the last time in Anchorage. It was a particular moment to smell, feel and see the open endless blue water again. We skipped driving through the Death Valley as it is just the wrong season with around 50°+C; and you always need a reason to come back to a place ;) Therefore we changed our route and just drove a part of the famous Coastal Highway No 1 in California which just opened again after being closed for 1 ½ year cause an landslide.

Visiting all the national parks became more and more a gamble as the holiday season started and most of the campsites are booked out many months in advance. And of course you are not allowed to camp wild (boondocking how it is called here) inside of any park. On the way to the ocean we had a little detour back to the north visiting Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP. Giant sequoia trees are the world’s largest single trees and they are really impressive. Kings Canyon is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than 1600 m deep. It includes multiple 4300 m peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers with waterfalls, and as well some of the world’s largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Luckily we always snatched a camp spot and enjoyed a couple of days with hiking and swimming in the rivers and the waterfall pools.

A little bit further north located western in the Sierra Nevada of California is the Yosemite NP. Everybody is saying it is a must see with its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows and glaciers. But as well it is one of the most visited parks in the US. We doubt that we would find any spot there but we gave it a try. As soon as we left the cooling heights of the Kings Canyon it turned immediately to HOT HOT HOT. South of Yosemite we had a stop at the Visitor Centre of Oakhurst. We were informed that there is a big fire ongoing just at the south-western edge of the park and that many people left the park or cancelled their reservation. The ladies were extremely helpful to find a cool place for us aside a river inside the park. So we went. Arriving at the Wawona camping it was pretty smoky and it was snowing ash. But soon it cleared up a little bit and we were spying at the red-orange sun behind the damp while having a refreshing bath in the river. The rangers told us that they will probably close the glacier point road the following day to establish a fire-fighter-camp. So we woke up at 5am the next morning to drive up there. We were not having the usual breathtaking view into the valley and to the Half Dome but we had a very special spirit… Together with an old local guy we loved this dazed view in the early morning where usually queuing hundreds of people. The ride towards the east end of the pass on the Tioga Pass Road was nice but as well pretty covered in smoke that day and later on we were surprised by a thunder storm with lightening’s all around us, pretty close too… and cached again one of the last camp sites. East of the park the Mono Lake is situated which we visited in the early morning; it is a large shallow saline soda lake which has natural limestone “tufa tower” formations. (We just heard they had to close Yosemite because of the fire – how lucky we have been, even though we had a different view than most of the people)

Escalante to Vegas – Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Route 66 and viva Las Vegas

 

The photo-gallery of the last post were missing and now added – sorry for that ;) Las Vegas we left without gambling or visiting any Casino – probably we saved a lot of money ;) Therefore we had a nice evening together with Brit, Jacob and some friends of them at the old strip of Vegas and we explored the colorful `Valley of Fire´ together with Jacob on the motorbikes on our last day.

Breathtaking, gorgeous, magnificent, striking, amazing… whatever word you use it will not explain how you feel in these sceneries of the National Parks. Following more or less the Colorado River we visited parts of the Escalante NP, went through the Capitol Reef NP, spent a full day at the Bryce NP, drove through Zion and up to the Kolob Reservoir and finally we explored the north and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We hope we can transfer an idea off all this impressive beauty we saw with the pictures we selected.

On the way to Las Vegas, where we are now, we drove a part of the famous Route 66. The road on its own was pretty boring except the stops where they display all the oddities of the old times; nevertheless a good alternative to the Highway and probably it helped us to escape the thunderstorm. Actually we have been lucky all these days with the weather. Pretty often we could see a black wall, heard the thunder rolling, saw the lightning but except strong winds and a few drops of rain we never were caught by one of these storms. Cross finger it stays like that!

Las Vegas is HOT! And we are lucky that we found a place at Brittany’s and Jacob´s home to stay. Sascha’s AT seems to drink a little bit too much oil and sometimes I can see a dark cloud coming out of the exhaust. As well he has misfires continuously. He just has an eye on it at the garage. For the evening we plan to investigate Las Vegas and its famous Strip. Sascha is keen to gamble a bit – I will think of the budget to release for that ;-)

Where the Gollum is hiding? Great off-road trail, beautiful Arches and stunning Natural Bridges

Someway we are sure we have a hidden Gollum with us; constantly we do miss items or doing not logical things. OK, the heat is cooking our brains pretty much… but nevertheless we never had so many losses on any journey before. The list is getting longer and longer: Sascha is missing his chain guard (we hoped he forgot to put it back in Prince George when he refilled the scot-oiler, but unfortunately Kelly could not find it). We lost a poach of tobacco, a lens cover of the camera, 3 mini screws of a lens and as some other things! Dam it! The zipper of Sascha´s tank bag is broken and when he put the new tires it took him 3 hours for mine because he misplaced the space holders – how frustrating that was you can probably imagine… Anyhow we hope we can break the jinx and free the Gollum soon.

The days with Patty and Kevin in Salt Lake City were just great. We enjoyed the Spa, cooked together, went to the Air force Museum and met their lovely family. Kevin supplied not only his great workshop but was always there with and helping hand and good advices. And Patty was the best route adviser for all the upcoming national parks. As well we had the chance to adapt a little bit to the hot climate. Thank you both so much for everything!!!

The first destination was Moab, Arches NP and we followed Patty’s guidance to ride the Gemini Bridges Trail. A beautiful off-road track which we really enjoyed even though I struggled here and there a little bit with the parts of fine sand and big rocks in between. So it happened and I had my first crash. Nothing really bad but I was annoyed about myself of course. Suddenly Sascha was shouting `stop where you are!´ There was a section where the track went down steep ( I would say about 80% gradient) for about 150 meter with really deep fine sand and big rocks. At the end we could see a giant rock on the trail and we were wondering if we will be able to go through. Sascha walked it down in the heat to have a closer look and met two motorcycle guys in the shade of the giant rock. They were coming the way up, saw the road condition and decided to have a break before going it up J But they had the good message for us that the trail is much better from now on. We decided it is better if Sascha brings down both bikes. I felt slightly guilty as it was striking hot and he had to walk up and down this sandy section three times now. He brought the bikes down safe and we had all together a break in the shade while inhaling this remarkable deserted area. We did a little detour to the Dead Horse Point (The legend of this name: In the 1800s wild mustang herds were common in this area. This peninsula, 2000 feet above the Colorado River, was used to corral and capture them behind a 50 ft. fence at the neck of the formation. One time a herd of unwanted horses was left out there, where they died of thirst. – what a sad story in such a beautiful place!) Later on after a break at the Colorado River we explored the Arches NP with its stunning stone formations and arches. Our neighbor at the camp side was family originally from Germany, Bavaria who lived several years in the states now moving back home and they supplied us with yummi fruits and chocolate pancakes (we wish you a good start back home!).  

The next destination was Bryce NP. But spontaneously we were following some signs which led us to the Natural Bridges NP. A wonderful place with only a few people around. We were told that this is one of the darkest places in the US so we were sitting and watching the stars for a looong time…