My friend Donald arrived early on Friday 5/14. Donald's brother Bart and Bart's son Daan arrived the day before the ride on Wednesday 5/19. I was going to ride my Africa Twin, Donald my Transalp and Bart and Daan were renting Triumph Tigers at Dubbelju on Bryant street in San Francisco.
For Saturday 5/15 I had Donald and me signed up for the Tank Museum
(http://www.mvtf.org/) in the hills above Portola Valley. Parking was a bit scary:
On Sunday 5/16 we had diner with the core of TSMC:
Monday and Tuesday I still needed to go into work. Wednesday 5/19 my vacation started. The last two Dutchmen arrived on SFO and we dropped them off at their hotel in San Francisco. The rest of the day was for trip preparations and packing.
I had a special Corbin seat made for the Africa Twin that was shaped after the model for the Transalp. I used to travel with the Transalp, laying a large duffel bag behind me on the passenger spot. I discovered on Wednesday that the seat on the Africa Twin is a lot shorter than on the Transalp and I could not fit my usual duffel bag. Luckily I had upgraded my camp gear to smaller and lighter stuff so with a smaller duffel from REI I was still able to fit my gear (and myself) in the saddle.
The original plan was to go north to Yellowstone and then south from there, into WY, CO and UT. However, weather forecasts for Yellowstone were horrible (snow storms) so we decided to ride our planned route
backwards and ride south first.
Thursday morning Donald and I saddled up:
We first headed to San Francisco to meet Bart and Daan at the bike rental place.
Bart and Daan wanted to cross the Golden Gate so we headed north. Next we headed east, via Stockton we took hwy 4 until it crossed hwy 49. Then south on hwy 49. Donald wanted to go by the old Wild West town of Colombia so we deviated a little bit from hwy 49.
Going down hwy 49 we finally arrived in Mariposa and we camped just outside town.
Friday 5/21 we rode into Yosemite. Weather was still OK. The waterfalls were huge!!
The Tioga pass was still closed so we exited on the south side of the park and headed for our next target: Sequoia NP. We arrived at the park at the end of the afternoon and it was already quite cold. With the
threat of bad weather we canceled our plan to camp in the park and moved back, down the hill to find lodging. We found a cute little motel that worked out just fine.
Saturday morning we rode back up the hill and into the park again. It was freezing cold!! We were very happy we did not camp in the park with our 'summer' sleeping bags. The cold also prevented us from doing much sightseeing in the park but we had to take at least a small hike to some big trees.
On our way through the park we ran into a few bears, just waking up from hibernation.
My fingers were freezing and Donald was just grinning. Then I realized the Transalp has grip heaters and he had found the switch!! We hurried down the hill into warmer elevations, finding our way to hwy 178 to cross over the Sierra's by Lake Isabella. Early in the evening we arrived in Ridgecrest.
Sunday 5/23 we woke up and it rained in Ridgecrest. Very unusual! The locals were looking at the sky in amazement. We rode the first 50 miles or so in the rain, heading for Death Valley. Finally, arriving one valley before Death Valley, the rain stopped.
At the gas stop in Stovepipe Wells the thermometer barely reached above the 60's. Very unusual again....
We passed through Death Valley en headed for Las Vegas. First we needed to cross over a pass of only 5500 feet, through Pahrump. It SNOWED!!!!!
Again I froze my fingers off. I am definitely putting heated grips on the Africa Twin now. When we arrived in Las Vegas we rode the strip up and down, in the RAIN. What the @#$&% happened to global warming??
I have a new little camera and its sensor does good in low lightsituations. Pictures at night on the strip turned out nice.
Monday 5/24 north east into Utah. We checked out the Hoover Dam and lost a lot of time stuck in traffic. We made it to St George in Utah that night.
Tuesday 5/25, first through Zion and then down hwy 12.
We spent the night in Torrey and Wednesday 5/26 we continued down to Monument Valley.
The restaurant in Goulding, in Monument Valley used to be very good but this time our diner was not the best so the next morning we decided to pack up and ride to Mexican Hat for breakfast.
Thursday 5/27 while heading north from Monument Valley it happened: "sputter, sputter, plop..." and my engine died. At the same time the GPS was complaining it lost external power and was running on the batteries.
So I knew right away it was electrical. When I measured the battery it had only 9.5V so indeed, empty.... It turned out that the regulator had died. Donald said that Honda regulators tend to be weak and he had
killed one in his VFR also. Then Daan said that often they don't break completely and can still charge a little bit. So I created a quick jumper cable from some wiring in my luggage and charged the Africa Twin battery a bit from the Transalp battery. I put maybe 20% charge in. The voltage was only 11.8V. Next the boyz pushed me for a jump start and the engine started! I took off with the lights turned off. About 60 miles later at a gas station I measured the battery again and it was 12.3V.
Daan was right, the regulator was still able to charge as long as the lights were off and the total load was very low. I was able to finish the trip riding mostly with the lights off. The bike ran as if nothing was wrong.
We made it to Fruita CO that night.
Friday 5/28 we headed north to go check out Dinosaur NP. That was a bit of a disappointment because they were renovating the main attraction. In the afternoon we headed back into Utah and had to deal with a severe
dust storm for most of the afternoon. It was very intense riding, trying not to get blown off the road and trying to stay clear of others being blown back & forth in their lane. We slept good that night!! (Price, UT)
In Utah we discovered that we were behind schedule and we would not make it all the way north to Yellowstone. It was still snowing up there so it was not a good idea to go further north anyway. So instead we crossed through Nevada with hwy 50, to cut our route short.
Saturday 5/29 we headed for Hwy 50, to cross into Nevada. First we needed to cross a few high passes and again my fingers froze....
That night we arrived in Ely NV where we spent the night.
Sunday 5/30 we crossed through Nevada with Hwy 50, the "Loneliest Highway" in America.
We made it to Carson City NV and on monday 5/31 we arrived back home in Fremont CA.
Total distance was 3084 miles.