It’s horrible the songs that sometimes pop into your head while riding a motorcycle. This one has been in my head a bit too much what with all the passes I’m going over. Now it’s in yours. You’re welcome.
The idea of all of Cali just didn’t happen. First I was in a decent hotel/motel room for the night, one that didn’t inspire me to get up early and leave it, especially after so many nights with not enough sleep. Second, the rain and lightning storms were still going strong when I went to sleep and I knew there was no way I’d make the kind of miles I was needing to make in that weather. In perfect weather it would be difficult for me, in a downpour it would mean pushing harder and faster than I was comfortable with. Plus my body just plain hurt. All those miles on the highway means riding in almost the same position for hours on end, and unlike a car there’s just not much ability to really stretch out, move around, etc.
So I got up a bit later, ate my share of the free breakfast and left sometime around 10am. In the rainy weather the miles just seemed to go by so slowly. I wasn’t making the time I wanted to make and was not going to be just north of LA at dusk. I made it to truck stop heaven and called it a night. For the record truck stop heaven is a place called Buttonwillow. It sounds lovely but I assure you there is nothing quaint about it. It is filled with loud diesel trucks all night long, a few motels, a few fast food joints, a Starbucks, a proper truck stop and gas stations. That’s it. There is nothing else and no reason to be there other than to travel through there. No houses, nothing. Maybe those are elsewhere? There didn’t seem to be much around for miles.
I tried to be cheap and got what wound up being a really gross motel room. Note to self, and extra $20 is worth it if the difference is a place that gives you the heebies (and makes you certain it’s crawling with bedbugs even though it isn’t) and resting peacefully in a place where you’re not afraid to step on the floor without shoes on.
The good news about being cheap is it does actually inspire you to get an early start to the day. My alarm went off at 4am as I tried to get through LA before horrid rush hour traffic. After a few snoozes I got my sorry sleepless butt out of bed and hit the road. Not knowing what was ahead of me I was completely unprepared for the interesting riding ahead. Suffice it to say: 70mph, windy mountain pass, very strong gusty winds, cold as can be, pitch black as the sun doesn’t rise until about 6:30. It was some interesting riding, crouched over my tank cafe racer style to keep from getting blown around so much, both by the winds and the semi trucks which are of course all over the roads at that time of the day.
Coming down the mountain (yes, that song was going through my head!) I wound up directly in LA rush hour traffic. From a freezing pass to stop and go traffic is quite a transition…. frightening to terrifying. Regular rush hour is difficult enough but this is the "we’re going 70 and now we’re stopped and now we’re going 70 again" type of traffic. With tailgating. Awesome. Oh, and jackasses. Lots and lots of them. Honestly though I was expecting so much worse that it really wasn’t that bad. Mostly traffic stayed moving and when it stopped it was only for a very brief period of time. While I wasn’t willing to white line most of the time I did a bit where there was more room. I’m very aware that the new bags on Bob make him even wider then before and at this point I’m fairly certain I’m the width of a Smart car… or at least close. Surprisingly my bombing over the pass and running with the rush hour meant that I was through LA by 8am. Brilliant. I missed the worst of it. Stopping for pancakes I warmed up a bit and rested up. Just a few short miles to San Diego BMW, basically my destination for the day.
I arrived at the dealer just a few minutes before Colin and the crew. Perfect timing. We basically camped out there the entire day, working on bikes, spending too much money, annoying the nice people there. They were great sports about it (considering how much we all spent it’s not that surprising) and we left for the day to do a few errands and get a place to stay. Tomorrow we’ll return so I can drop off a bag of junk I won’t need until heading back north (told you they are great people!) and kill some time since the boys aren’t ready to go through the border just yet.
Tomorrow we’re looking to camp and prep for the border. I don’t know about the guys but it’s a bit freaky to actually do it. For me I just haven’t had time to really think about it as I bombed down I5 to catch up. For them it’s the last time in the states for a very long time, and the end to the plush "you can buy anything you want or we can order it" lifestyle.
As for Bob, he’s not really ready to go either. He’s still acting up here and there. Oddly he’s acting up on boring stretches of road where I probably won’t die and behaving like a champ when I’m passing a semi at 70mph in the dark on a curvy mountain pass. It’s like he knows, "hey, she’s board, let’s act up and get some attention" and "we could die now, be good". Whatever the reason for it I’m very glad it’s worked out that way. For those more tech oriented what he’s doing is basically losing power, stuttering, surging at anywhere from 65 mph plus. Sometimes it’s less, but usually starts at about 70mph. Rolling off the throttle quickly back and forth at about 60mph sometimes helps. Eventually the issue seems to go away. Like any good traveller I’m ignoring it until it gets worse. Frankly I think he’s just set too lean. I don’t need to go over 60mph in Baja anyway.
The other thing is the seat lock broke today… just completely fell apart. I pulled off the seat to look at it as for whatever reason it was not clicking in correctly. The thing just completely disintegrated. Sadly the BMW shop doesn’t have one (Jeff or Omar will you order me up one?) so we’re looking at strapping the seat to the frame. It’ll be super sexy I’m sure. Were I just going to be on the highway I wouldn’t worry about it, but riding in the dirt I’d prefer that the seat was still there after I spent some time on the pegs.
As for pictures like I always do there are few but I promise, I’ll steal Colin’s computer tonight and post them. Look back through the old stuff as I’ll probably just update those with the appropriate pics.