We arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday morning after having had the most fitful sleep the night before. You would think that being up half the night and a 7:00 am flight would be a recipe for sleep on the 6+ hour plane ride, but it was not to be. I don’t know if it was my own adrenalin, fear of flying, excitement for the adventure that lay ahead that kept me awake on that flight or what it was. But, I sat there for the better part of six hours wondering what was in store for me when we touched down and made our way out in to the California sun.

“How was your trip?” people ask. I don’t usually know how to answer that to properly do justice to the experience. I could say it was 40 different things and answer the question correctly, but not fully. Now as I type this, I think that the best I can say is that it was… life. It was amazing, it sucked, it was fun. It was easy, hard, hot and cold. It was too long and not long enough. I was happy to be away but missed home with every ounce of my being. It was indeed a slice full of life.

Wednesday June 11, 2008 New York to San Francisco, Ca

Let’s get the pre-requisite tourist landmarks out of the way Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39. They’re all here, they’re all touristy and I loved them all.

 The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco 

A cable car meandering its way past a bike rental shop 

Alcatraz off across the bay

We pulled up to our hotel in Japantown sometime around lunchtime on Wednesday. Although leaving New York so early was hard, I was definitely thankful to have the entire afternoon to do a quick tour of the city since we’d really only be spending 24 hours there. Hotel Tomo had a neat vibe with its great murals, fun décor and Godzilla movies playing in the lobby.

Hotel Tomo in Japantown, San Francisco

We unpacked some of our things and headed off on foot, huffing and puffing my chubbles up those famous hills for the first time to where? Why, Fisherman’s Wharf, of course. Where else would a tourist go right away? :D

 Under the big crab sign at Fisherman's Wharf

There actually was a method to my madness. A few days earlier I had found a place called “Scootcar,” that offered rentals of 50cc scooter based buggies in which you could tootle around the city. Since we’d be on 2 wheels for the following 9 days, it seemed like a brilliant idea. But, like most of my brilliant ideas… brilliant it wasn’t. To say that a 50cc baseball carrying two people, drum brakes and San Francisco’s hills aren’t exactly the perfect marriage would be a bit of an understatement. I played navigator while Kenny dislocated his hip pressing the brake pedal to the floor to try to keep us from careening into traffic as we made our way down some of those crazy hills. Of course one of our destinations in the death defying Scootcar was Lombard Street’s crooked-est section. I won’t lie. I feared for my life.

 Lombard St, as curvy a road as they come

 Stuffing ourselves into a scootcar

This beautiful piece by glass artist Dale Chihuly was perched in the courtyard of The Legion of Honor. 

Giant blown glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly at the Legion of Honor 

 

I found San Francisco to feel less like a “big” city and more like an outer-lying borough of a large city. It’s very sprawling but the buildings feel kind of low with beautiful neighborhood pockets that are a feast for the eyes. I would definitely like to go back again and spend some time exploring all that the city seems to have to offer outside of its outright tourist venues. I’d love to just walk the streets, look at the gorgeous Victorians and just feel the cities’ energy. It’s very beautiful.

Streetcar bus near Fisherman's Wharf

I try to see love everywhere. Ice cream drip heart~ 

 The streets are filled with ice cream drip love

Thursday June 12, 2008
San Francisco to San Luis Obispo

We were at the Dubbleju Motorcycle Rental place promptly at 9:00 to pick up our bikes for the next 9 days. The three of us outfitted with BMW R1150Rs. Before I got to know my girl more intimately, I must say that the thought of riding something that appeared to be so big, heavy and wide with its sidebags seemed a little, I don’t know… like I’d feel like a fish out of water? But, as the miles ticked on, my pack mule proved to be a pussycat. She was generally well behaved and did as she was told and wanted to go harder and faster when she got warmed up. What more can you ask for?

 Dubbelju Motorcycle Rentals in San Francisco, CA

We pretty much set this day up to be a nice leisurely roll down the coast. We’re from as far east as you can go in the US, now we’d be as far west. I had dreams of Big Sur dancing in my head like sugar plum fairies.

 The pacific surf breaking on some rocks

Kenny gets used to the BMW R1150R 

View along the California coastline along Rt 1 

Rt 1 bridge off in the distance 

Craggy Rt 1 coastline 

I'm attacked by a vicious beaver 

Mugging it up for the camera on Rt 1 

 

Friday June 13, 2008
San Luis Obispo to Bakersfield

We rolled out of San Luis Obispo and headed off towards route 58 to 33 where we met up with Novos in Ojai. Gentleman that he is, he took us to the Rockstore, which I guess is like someone wanting to visit the Empire State Building in NY. He tried to tell us he never goes there, but not 5 minutes after we arrived we hear… “Hey, Ed..” :lol He shuttled us around hill and dale, through the Crest, through tiny mountain roads that wriggled along the landscape like a rattlesnake and he did it all with a smile. We swung in to Bakersfield to see a muffler man Indian and ended up staying there for the night.

Olde Tyme Fremont movie theater 

Tumbleweeding along rt 58 

Who's got 2 thumbs and thinks the beemer is a tractor? 

Road to nowhere 

Big indian muffler man in Bakersfield 

Somewhere on Rt 33 

Novos' favorite hangout, the Rock Store 

Ducati Desmosidici RR 

You could smell the oil in the air as we rolled by the creepy oilfields near Taft.

Oil rigs in Taft 

Saturday June 14, 2008
Bakersfield to Northfork

I guess Kenny’s zipper didn’t have the tensile strength to hold back the sheer force of his manaconda and ended up blowing out, so before heading out for the day, we had to make a pitstop at Cyclegear to get him a new pair of pants. Then we were on our way to Bodfish, Lake Isabella then on Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park.

 Kenny's manhood bursts out

Heading out along Caliente Bodfish Rd 

Kenny and Novos check out a gulch on Caliente Bodfish Rd 

Sequoia National Park  

Rockin out in Sequoia NP 

Novos splits the uprights 

 

 

Oh Hai!

Sunday June 15, 2008
Northfork to Lee Vining

After staying in what was less than stellar accommodations at the “No Tell Motel” for the night where there may have been more bug inside the room than outside, the four of us headed off towards Yosemite, where we spent our day.

The dump that is the South Fork Motel

The massive scale and beauty of everything in Yosemite really made me feel like a speck in the grand scheme of things. Amazing.

Entrance to Yosemite NP

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Me Love Trees

Really Really Big Tree

Dome in Yosemite NP 

 

The esport crew hanging out in Yosemite 

 

 

 

Climbing rocks in Yosemite 

Snowball attack! 

We exited the park on 108 which dropped us down through the Tioga Pass and put us in Lee Vining & Lake Mono. We shared a nice meal, hugged a grizzly bear, grabbed rooms and took a ride down to check out the Tufa on the lake. Shortly after, we wished sad farewell to Novos who bravely faced a 400 mile slab ride back home.

Big Drop

I can't bear to look

 Nicely's restaurant will do nicely 

Mono Lake Sign 

Tufa Towers in Mono Lake 

The walkway to Mono Lake 

Monday June 16, 2008
Lee Vining to Klamath Falls, Or

Bodie, California is a Ghost town. Literally.

Welcome to Bodie, population 0 

Bodie Wagon Wheel 

Maiden Lane and Virgin Alley

Trinkets from a time long gone

Fill 'er up with dust 

 

 

 

Old mother cupoboards 

After leaving Bodie, we hopped across the Sonora Pass which at nearly 10,000 ft elevation, was amazing riding.

As we climbed down out of the mountains, the heat began to settle in. It was hot, hot, hot. Things were just progressing at a pretty slow pace so after one of my cranky meltdowns which was accentuated by the heat, we had to make tracks towards Klamath Falls, Oregon on the slab if we wanted to squeeze Crater Lake in. It became apparent that if we didn’t, we’d never make it.

We make it to Oregon!

We took the I-5 to the town of Weed and on to Klamath Falls, Oregon where we stayed the night. By some weird planetary alignment Crudmop and I ended up getting a 2 room suite in a hotel which was really nice. Well…Except for the TV in the sitting room. Where do you even get a tv like that?

That's one old TV

Tuesday June 17, 2008
Klamath Falls, Or to Crescent City, Ca

Crater Lake has been on my life’s to-do list for the last few years now. In my previously mentioned heat-induced emotional breakdown, I was pretty much ready to skip Crater Lake rather than sit on the toe-roasting boxer twin for 200 miles of slab. Sometimes I could probably use a good shake to knock some sense in to me. As DrD, Crudmop and I sat on the wall that rimmed the lake, I was thankful that I was encouraged to keep moving. The way that the sunshine sparkled off of the sapphire blue water looked like it was a layer of static hovering over the water if you just stared at it like one of those magic eye posters.

Crater Lake NP

Cold, chilly BMW at Crater Lake

Stupid people, read this sign

Welcome to Crater Lake 

Cool old lighthouse 

Shippin' it up in Northern Cali 

Wednesday June 18, 2008
Crescent City to Mount Shasta City

We dip into Redwood National Forest

I got you, Babe

Tourist trap tree trimming

The people of the woods welcome you

A road of endless possibilities

Eat here and get no gas

Train Lodge

 

Thursday June 19, 2008
Mount Shasta City to Willits

Sundial Bridge by Santiago Calatrava

Lonely lighthouse 

Tune in, Tokyo

The Lost Coast

 

June 20/21, 2008
Willits to San Francisco

Bike repairs in 120 degree heat outside San Francisco

Invisible Bike Cat!