While still in Pismo, we had a bad-news/good-news day. Bad being that the bike decided it would be a good time to bust the counter shaft oil seal and dump oil out on Ryan’s driveway (one of the better times for it to happen for us actually) and the good news being that our Brazilian visa’s have been processed and we’re good to head out and leave the country!! We spent a good part of the day figuring out what we needed to do to replace the counter shaft oil seal, and then went on nice ride up to a neat little hike where we were able to explore a little cave and wander through a valley near San Louis Obispo.
The next morning we lazed around a bit then took off down the coast yet again to Santa Barbara. We found a gracious host, GSWayne from advrider.com and his wife who took us in and were wonderful company. Next, down to LA. Hanging out in LA is wonderful as my Brother and Cousin and Cousin’s fiancé all live together in a great house where they have loads of chickens and rabbits. This is our last great pit-stop where we can wrap up all our loose ends before we’re out of the country.
* Care Packages from my parents and from Dan and Chris from Beyond
* Visiting the TCI shop and they added a rear support bar to our motorcycle rack!
* Making/enjoying delicious breakfasts and dinners with friends and family. (Emily helped David kill and clean a bunny!)
* Being tourists with Emily and exploring Hollywood and Santa Monica.
Touring the Zero factory was really neat. Impressive how they pump out so many bikes each day with such a small operation. I’d love to own one of these bikes someday.
After saying goodbye to the Nylund/Newberry clan, we continued our way down highway 1 to meet up with a Doe Bay Festival friend, Bloody-Mary Kevin, who had already secured a great camping space along a stream. Before we showed up, he already became friends with the neighbors. All give of us hung out at the campfire that evening and all trekked up a gorge to a swimming hole the next day too. Wonderful people.
After our second night in the Pheiffer Big-Sur campground, we took off to a ridge-line campsite that I had found online in my searches for free campsites. Riding up Prewitt ridge via the sketchy dirt road was a whole lot of fun. With so much weight on the back, the front tire was skipping around while trying to keep our uphill momentum. Great practice for future rocky mountain roads. The views along the way were breathtaking and the final view at our camping spot was enormous!
We met an odd person at the top of the ridge when we first arrived. His name was Larry and he lives in his van. He has hiked the PCT and the Appalachian trail and many others. He was shaking his head at our admit-ably large load and volunteered his time to go through all our bags with us to tell us what we do and do not need along the way. In our tired state, we declined, but I am a bit more inspired now to lighten our load. I know I have some tools that I probably won’t need and maybe even some redundant tools that I should discard. Now that we’re into more temperate weather we can send home our thermal liners that zip into our riding gear. I have a pair of jeans that have a hole in the crotch that will soon be replaced by lightweight hiking pants, I have too many shirts and so on. It will be nice to have more room in our bags/trunk for larger amounts of food and water so we can go longer without needing pit-stops.
The next morning we were spoiled again with more and more beautiful California coastal views. We are now in Pismo Beach hanging out with my cousin Ryan and his awesome wife Toni. We’re staying here for a couple nights and exploring the Pismo/SLO area. Today we walked along the beach and into the small downtown of Pismo, also bought and changed the Sherpa’s oil.
San Francisco is a destination for us since that is where the Brazilian consulate is located. Brazil is the only country that we plan to enter that requires getting a visa in advance. We purchased some In-N-Out burgers (Dick’s in Seattle is still better), then headed East to Livermore to meet up with my great aunt and uncle who were super hospitable to us for the next five days. Emily setup our tent to dry out which had other thoughts and eventually got wind-blown into their pool… I was tired of our dirt bike tires that were most likely quite old, so we went to a motowrx in Livermore and ordered a new set of Pirelli MT-90 tires which would arrive in a couple days.
During our time in the Bay Area we were able to meet up with a couple friends that I haven’t seen in a while and had some fun being tourists in the City.
We didn’t plan ahead very well with the Brazilian visa ordeal, turned out that you have to make an appointment to apply for a tourist visa and the appointments were all booked up for the next three months! The other alternative that we had was to acquire a fifa spectator visa which is actually free (vs the $160 tourist visa), but the trick to that is that you must have world cup tickets to be eligible and we were planning on scalping tickets when we arrived. Somehow, the stars aligned and the morning before we were going to go attempt to get the visas without tickets, fifa released some last-minute tickets and we were able to swoop some up! The consulate accepted our visa applications and will mail our passports to LA when they’re finished with them 🙂 🙂 Super excited how that all worked out.
We’re now down south of Santa Cruz, what a difference those new tires make!!! 70mpg no longer feels like the bike is swimming all over the road, such a smooth ride. We’re staying with some dear friends and their adorable 11day old baby girl. Planning on visiting Zero Motorcycles tomorrow to check out their facility and to hopefully test-drive an electric motorcycle!
I haven’t written much as we’ve been in and out of signal and rain.
Highlights and lowlights:
Between Coos and our camping destination at Elk Prairie there were amazing ocean views! 101 is a gorgeous ride. Rain sprinkled on us on and off, but not too bad. It really started coming down right as we setup camp and escaped into our warm tent. Pretending to be hikers, we snuck our little bike into the hikers camping area and camped for free.
The next morning we spoiled ourselves by sleeping in (at least I did) and going to a tiny cafe for amazing steak and eggs. On our waiter’s suggestion, we rode out to view a fern canyon where apparently some scenes from Starwars and Jurassic Park were filmed. The ride out to it was beautiful in itself and the most actual dirt bike riding I’ve ever done, so fun!
Leaving there we got stuck in an intense downpour, found a campsite and put our soggy selves to bed.
Avenue of the Giants… Amazing road!!!
You just drive and drive and drive through a narrow road surrounded by giant redwoods. We couldn’t help but stop many times to stare at enormous trees!
The Portland-Eugene leg of the trip is hopefully our last major stretch of freeway we attempt. The Sherpa is not a freeway king and the freeways are just boring with way too many cars. Headwind going down I-5 was even worse than the first day making our journey that much slower. When we finally took our Harrisburg exit, the north-bound wind made it so we had to lean way over to stay vertical.
We met up with Sue, Tom, and family, so great to catch up with them again. They graciously offered for us to crash there for the night. Then we took off to Springfield to meet Chris and Danielle and their cutie little daughter. Chris started up gaming/comic shop in Springfield and it looks great! Lastly we went to Pizza Research Institute in Eugene to see Jake, Allison, and Paige. It was rad catching up with so many people from what feels like my past-life and to see them all doing so well.
Monday morning, March 3rd, we went to Wandering Goat for coffee and to REI for a backpack cover for Emily. My pack has been somewhat successful in staying dry with a poncho tied around it, while her garbage-bag setup has been lackluster. This new Osprey cover did not do any better.
Driving from Eugene to Florence was quite the welcome change in roads. Windy and single lane with lots of mossy forests to look at is much better than car after car. The rain kept pretty steady the whole way until about 10minutes away from Florence we had an intense downpour. Ignoring the puddles forming in my shoes and jeans soaking through, I find riding in the pouring rain to be really exciting. We stopped at Fred Meyer in Florence to dry off a bit and grab lunch. Emily had the brilliant idea to warm/dry her gloves in the hot-chicken case.
Now we’re down by Coos Bay, occupying a Yurt in Sunset Cove Park. Spoiled by an electric heater we’ve strung all our gear around to dry. We did sneak our way through some private property to a secluded beach to run around and toss a Frisbee for a bit before coming back to the yurt to break in our MSR Whisperlite International stove that can burn unleaded gas, made a lovely top-ramen and chicken-sausage dinner. Attempting to trek down to the Redwoods next.
First day is complete! Finally the hectic process of packing/selling/trashing/cleaning/bike-prep/blahblah is over and we are off! We planned on leaving my house at 10:32am, we left somewhere around then but it wasn’t South. We drove separately up North to Snohomish where my VW Bus will rest in loving hands (thanks Cole!!). Then we purchased some last minute rain gear and made our snowy exit from Seattle. Stopping for lunch in Federal Way, we were surprised by Shawn and Kim who, at the last minute, decided to be our support team for the first leg to Portland – sweethearts.
It was 32*F as we arrived with frozen toes to Portland, at some sandwiches at the grilled cheese bus and crashed at Vanessa’s house.
The drive down was quite windy, the little 250 didn’t like fighting against the wind at freeway speeds. Hopefully we’ll have much less freeway in our future. My neck is the only sore part so far from battling against the wind. I’m going to have to find a stiffer spring for the rear shock as the back tire rubs against the luggage rack when we hit bumps. Other than that, the Sherpa performed admirably and is ready for more!