“falling rocks the next ___ miles”
I saw a sign as we ended our ride down the PCH that said “falling rocks the next eight miles” and it made me laugh a little, inside I felt like “now you tell me” or “you don’t know the half of it." But it was appropriately fitting that out of the hundreds of road signs I saw and the hundreds more I didn’t see while on the road I noticed that one—one I’ve ridden past so many times, probably on every bike I’ve owned I’ve done that route to or from Ojai at that moment I noticed it.
I want to give perspective on this whole trip give insight into what we actually did. Which, lets be honest, wasn’t breaking land speed records (although I tried..ha ha ha) it wasn’t rocket science and it’s not like people haven’t done this a thousand times before greater distances on more questionable bikes facing greater odds and overcoming far greater challenges etc.,I know that. There are so many more amazing bike trip stories out there but in the end this was ours and in the end this was my challenge to myself and those who came along hopefully saw that and I appreciate all their support from start to finish.
I think I mention this because in the end when you sit and think about doing a long road trip on a bike you probably ask these same questions or think in a similar manner, so many people along the way would not even on bikes would say the same things “thats on my bucket-list” or “I’ve always wanted to do this” along with the occasional old-timer saying “I had that same bike when I was a teenager?!” The camaraderie of motorcyclists is definitely challenged when they see you on this little bike but in the end I was never met with anything but curiosity and support from Harley riders in Sturgis to the Gold Wing long haulers and everything in between.
I’m struggling to recap this maybe because I hate to admit that it’s over all I want to do even now 3 days after is get on and keep going, disregard everything and head to Mexico and back up to through the south to just keep exploring… alas that is not the case. I see why countless people do just that, “say fuck-it!” and just keep going, it’s addicting. When Steve and I pulled into Los Angeles we sat at a Pete’s coffee and had to hold every bit of our being to not pull out our phones and look to where we were heading next.
After arranging with Steve for storage of his bike and getting him to a hotel by the airport I headed home and in that 18-mile stretch I was cut-off more than the entire 3000 miles and I was thinking, “wow, hilarious if I were to get hit NOW!!!” But I did make it back and now reflecting the best way I could put this experience is this “It was nothing I planned and everything I ever wanted in a motorcycle adventure.” Simply put this was our adventure from the first five days with the four of us putting around the Black Hills ripping canyons and thinking about what it even took to get up here… Rebuilding carbs on a picnic table in Iowa to spark plugs blowing out; from a flat tire two blocks from Luverne Kawasaki in MN. to hunting down a rectifier for the triumph and convincing the Sioux Falls dealership to pull one off a floor model so we could keep going to camping by the “Mighty Mo” (Missouri River)… From Taco John’s to it’s western rip-off Taco Time (taco time is better) and every Subway in between, you’d a thought we were sponsored by them like Jeard we stopped so many times, every little town along the way and every person who showed a helping hand and suggestions. From day 6 when Steve and I split from Bud and Nick and our adventures broke into two… From the similarities and all the differences we would share.
Being turned away from road construction because it was “to muddy” to stumbling into a Lander, WY. for the night and hearing of “climber fest” for the first time and realizing that’s why there is no where to stay, hunting down a camera battery charger in the most random place and they actually had it! Riding the Salt Flats and all the great routes we found along the way. From the odd rip-off burning man in Utah that they wouldn’t let us in (which is probably a good thing since I would not have returned if so) to bolting the desert of Nevada at night dodging jackrabbits left and right roadside camping to an amazing view almost 10,000 feet in elevation in Yosemite to riding up the PCH and feeling like I had never seen the pacific ocean before. Through it all it was our adventure and in many ways for all of us it was our individual experience no matter what. In the end I will say this to anyone who “always wanted to do a bike trip” I say go for it. This will be your adventure with all the twists and turns (literally at times) and unexpected experiences along the way.
As I reflect on all this I think about what I set out to do on this trip: enjoy my time away, take lots of pictures, maybe even work in a video project or two. And in-the-end although I had a blast it wasn’t about all that it and became about my relationship with the bike. I had to listen to it at all times. Every morning I had to check the plugs assess how they looked, clean and make any adjustments and I would also check the static timing. Three times on the road we did a valve gap adjustment, I changed the oil twice along the way, checked over bolts and nuts making sure they were tight after a day of rattling down the road and all the obvious in between, chain lube, tire pressure, etc. to the unexpected exhaust-pipe hardware store fix. This little bike wanted to be a real part of this trip not just the thing I rode but to teach me, I think to challenge me too, which was what I wanted out of this whole adventure no matter what my initial plans were.
To those who supported me and were with me along the way physically and in my thoughts I truly thank you and for those who thought I couldn’t do it I appreciate your concern.
And to everyone who helped along the way I am grateful and I hope to those who we helped along the way especially Dean outside Nevada with the broken fan on his KLR, I really hope you made it where ever you were headed and again it was your adventure. And Willie who was riding his mountain bike for cancer for his daughter.
Last but not least to my fellow travelers Buddy, Nick and Steve you guys did a great job and I truly hope you had the adventure you were and weren’t expecting all in one. Please share your photos and experiences in the hopes to inspire others get the bike trip they never expected…
And to Chhun, thanks for working with me on this what a great way to communicate.
Thanks you all.
Any questions or if you would like to get a hold of me directly feel free
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