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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…

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 ;-)

The Beartooth Highway – Yellowstone on the way to Salt Lake City

The Beartooth Highway was a really great ride and it goes up to 10036 feet (3345 meter). Yellowstone is impressive no question about that. The scenery, the geysers and the wildlife; but suddenly there were everywhere so many people, partially you had to cue up. We were not use to it. Nevertheless we enjoyed the parts we saw but we decided to shorten it a little bit. A funny thing was we met Bill and Josh at the camp site and they gave us one of these hiking dried food bags for the way, “Pad Thai”. Everybody who knows us knows we do love Southeast Asian food especially Pad Thai – but like that??? So we are curious to find out one of these days how the taste is – but for now we will keep it as an emergency reserve. Thank you Bill and Josh! It was a pleasure meeting you and have save travels!

It was not only because of the crowded places we hurried up. In Salt Lake City, were we are just know, we are hosted by Patty and Kevin – thank both of you for your great hospitality and your help!!! They offered us to stay with them and using their workshop.  Do you remember the broken gas pipe? Since then we do smell a little bit too much gas all the time, and sometimes the Transalp seems not to take the throttle – it feels like little holes/hick-ups. Sascha is just working on that… I hope we will find out the reason and we are able to fix it. As we were rushing we just went through Grand Teton National Park but really enjoyed the ride – it is certainly worth to spend more time there. Going to Jackson (hey you know the song!?) we were hungry, tired and running late. Just before the sunset we found a place for our tent when we drove 6km into a gravel road a little bit south of Jackson. Surrounded by cows, mosquito’s and birds we felt soon asleep. We woke up early to arrive in time in Salt Lake City. We built down the soaking wet tent (we slept next to a river) with frozen fingers and we hopped onto the bikes. Somehow it felt very strange to me (I did not have a coffee yet!) and I said so to Sascha. He just yawned, yeah me as well… BUT ohhhhh nooooo!!! You have a flat tire!!! Here we go… we used the “fix A flat” as we wanted to get a new tire anyhow. And with some stops at gas stations filling up air we finally made it to Patty and Kevin in Salt Lake City. We started with maybe 2-3°C in the morning and arrived completely sweated and overheated with 36°C. Puhhh we need to get used to the new climate from now on and rearrange our clothing packs.

Oh I nearly forgot to mention our new companions. The 18th June we had our 8th Wedding Anniversary (and 18 years together). Sascha got a little black bear from me to take care of him. Two days later on a very remote recreation camp we found `Pepe´ alone on a bench looking really sad. For sure there is a kid somewhere very sad as well. We decided to take Pepe with us – either we will find his owner somewhere on the way or we will find a new kid taking care of him on our way to Tierra del Fuego. So from now on Kerstin is driving `two-up´ ;)

Cheers and see you soon!