Sunday, January 24, 2016

San Diego desert loop: 150 miles of much-needed bliss

I had 1/2 day free and wanted a nice ride outside of the city. The weather was looking good so I hopped on my big KTM and headed east toward the desert. It was brisk on the highway but never got colder than 48 degrees.

I passed a few of my favorite rides as I rode east: The Viejas Grade and the Sunrise Highway (S1) are two fine rides in the eastern San Diego area. You can just see those cool roads slicing through the hills…

My soul poked out of my chest, then hopped on to my shoulder for some fresh air and a better view.

"Faster, FASTER!" OK. I smiled and my soul smiled back. Man, I really needed this ride today.

I rode about 60 miles on the I-8 to Ocotillo, then turned north into the desert on the S2, a lazy old paved route that cuts nicely through the middle of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Even better, the temperature averaged a fine-feeling 65 degrees.

There wasn't much traffic in either direction. Not much happening. Even the green-garbed agents at the Border Patrol checkpoint just smiled and waved as I rode past.

Now, if you want to set a personal land speed record, the S2 is a good road on which to do it. But not today, no sir. Today I was just cruising along enjoying the day.

I noticed that the area had received a lot of rain and that means we’ll see quite a desert wildflower display this spring; I look forward to seeing that.

I passed many trails that went to the right off into the desert or to the left up into the hills. But I wasn't exploring sandy trails today so I continued along on the S2’s weathered pavement. I smiled as I passed Canyon sin Nombre, remembering the place where I rode and camped this time last year.

I pulled off the S2 to snap some photos and drink some water. It was dead quiet; just me and a cactus or three. I walked over the landscape as I enjoyed the soothing silence of the desert.

Time to go. I slid my leg over the bike’s seat and throttled through the gears. In 20 minutes I’d reached Highway 78 where I took a left and headed west toward Julian. I leaned into the curves of the Banner Grade, bypassing Wynola Road, a cool little backcountry ride in the Julian area.

I stopped in Julian to have pizza and beer with my friend and fellow rider Dan at the Nickel Beer Co., a newer establishment frequented mostly by locals. The jalapeno and habanero beers were perfect for the brisk, sunny day…

From there we continued along the 78 to Ramona, taking the 67 and the I-8 back to San Diego.

The ride was barely 150 miles but was just what I needed. My goal was some thought-clearing bliss: Goal achieved.

Friday, January 15, 2016

WARPED XII: April 21-23 (Kernville, CA)

So...WARPED is an annual event that my friends always attend. And it always sounds like there's more drinking than riding going on (all you can drink beer is included in the event price). WARPED is the Western Adventure Rider Party and Edurance Drinking event. And that should tell you all you need to know.

It appears the planets are aligned this year. I'm leaving SD on Friday and returning on Sunday. I'll report back if and when I return...

More info:

Your ticket INCLUDES unlimited access to the beer (and other libation) kegs.


It’s included. You can show up, park, set up camp and go to town as much as you want. Truly a life changing event for many-some of us barely make it out of camp..! There is also the super secret voluntary donation SPIRITS TABLE for those of us who enjoy cocktails or whiskey (having one right now as I type this, actually).

Let’s talk about the significance of number TWELVE, this being the twelfth WARPED.

There may be twelve steps to recovery in some of the programs out there, but for those of us who AREN’T quitters, there are twelve steps to WARPED!!!!

1) You admit you are powerless over WARPED.
2) You believe WARPED is a greater power and can return you to insanity.
3) You make a decision to turn your will over to the care of WARPED as you understand it.
4) You make a searching, fearless moral inventory of your ADV riding and endurance drinking capability.
5) You admit to WARPED and yourself the nature of your previous ADV wrongs.
6) You are entirely ready to remove the defect in your character of NOT going to WARPED.
7) You humbly ask the past HDIC’s & noob welcome squad to remove your shortcomings.
8) You make a list of all the times you’ve not partied or rode hard enough (either one is ok) and be willing to make amends at WARPED.
9) You make direct amends by personally taking action on these matters.
10) You continue to take fearless personal & public inventory of these shortcomings in your ADV life in the thread all the way up to WARPED XII.
11) You sought through the bottom of a bottle to improve your conscious contact with Bacchus, the god of wine, ritual madness, and parties, as you understand his will and power.
12) Having a spiritual and existential awakening as a result of these steps, carrying this message to other ADV inmates on our beloved site.

There are also TWELVE gods in the Greek pantheon, BACCHUS, the god of wine, winemaking, parties and ritual madness, being the most important for this event - and he HAS given his blessing to this, our twelfth WARPED!!!

“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”

Aristophanes (the Greeks knew what was up)

Oh man. You know I love this event.

What is WARPED?

It’s an outstanding of group of adv riders of any and all stripes, who are awesome humans and down for anything. Want to ride hardcore singletrack on a little bike? Plenty of folks have and are doing that.

Want to wallow your 500+lb pig around off pavement? TONS of those guys around (that would be me last year, someone has two up off pics).

Want to ride pavement only on some overloaded two wheeled dreadnought the size of a Honda Fit? Yep, Kernville has some of the most outstanding paved motorcycle roads in CA and plenty of other folks around to join in with ya.

Last, but DEFINITELY not least, want to ride in, park it, and hang out all weekend at camp? Well, that would be the rest of us left over!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Arivaca Outback: A mostly KLR camp/ride (February 20-21)

I've been invited to attend the 6th annual Arivaca Outback ride, a mostly KLR-oriented gathering g on 60 acres of land south of Tucson.

I'm riding out from San Diego on 2/19 and will return on 2/22. At least two other SoCal riders will be riding with me.

This looks like a lot of fun...but we all know that KLRs, good peeps and fun go hand in hand!

Here's some info on the event:

Dual Sport Riding in Arivaca, Arizona - February 20-21, 2016

Every year a bunch of us get together and ride around the mountains in Southwest Arizona, Eat BBQ and Sourdough Pancakes, Tell a Bunch of Stories, and Some of Us Sleep Under the Stars.


Take the Arivaca exit (48) from Highway I-19 south towards Nogales. Head up the Arivaca road: 23 miles.
Ride right through town and past the La Gitana. Keep to the right and drive another 1.7 miles to 18180 - at the 10 mile marker on the Arivaca Sasabe Road. Right there is a road that heads off to the east northeast (right) and you'll be there. Look for a big pile of rocks with a Panama Canal medallion on top. It is also marked with the address sign.


We never know just who's going to come except the "regulars" so if you plan to come let us know with an e-mail at Even if you are a "regular."

Announcing the Arivaca Outback!

(A series of tech/ride days on Weekend: February 20th-21rd)
We are again hosting "The Arivaca Outback" down at our place near Arivaca, Arizona on the dates above. Mark your calendars and join us! We'll have a barbeque, plenty of sourdough pancakes, and plan to do things right: eat, drink, tinker, and ride.

2016 will be the 6th year that we have held this event.

Arivaca is a very special place for a number of reasons, but at the top of the list is it's beautiful setting, sparse population and the great many dual-sport riding opportunities.
The riding in the area is phenomenal (see more pictures HERE). Comprised primarily of old mining roads, fire-roads and Border Patrol paths, there is something for all levels of rider and plenty of nice pavement if you'd rather stick to the "twisties." This is a very unstructured event where you can work on your bike, shoot the breeze with other riders, or ride 'til you drop.

Getting to Arivaca is easy. It is about an hour southwest of Tucson and Google Earth has the coordinates of Andy's driveway at:

31° 35' 29.08" N
111° 21' 19.31" W

Our "bike garage" is an outdoor carport with ample room to work on multiple bikes at a time. This event is weather-dependent and will likely be "adjusted" if inclement conditions move in. We'll keep everyone posted.

There's also ample room for RVs or tents on Andy's property (55 acres) for those who would like to spend the night(s). We'll have a fire going as well. A trailer that sits on the property can house a few riders and there's also some space in the main house. There are some local B&Bs lie the Cottage on Crooked Sky, but sufficient lodging is available in Green Valley, 23 miles away, if you prefer to go that route.


You are welcome to come early on Friday the 19th and we can shoot the breeze or go over to the La Gitana for a beer.

Day 1:

Saturday, February 20th: Meet and greet at the local coffee shop at 9am or at our place at 10-ish to get out riding or break out the wrenches and begin what work needs to be done. We expect to have doohickey tools, a few lifts, assorted other tools (please bring your own specialty tools and/or oil/fluids, if they're required), an air compressor, a small welder, torque wrenches, coolers, some barely edible food, and plenty of good laughs.

For those not wrenching, there is plenty of territory to explore and we'll provide some maps and GPS fixes of places we've been. At days end the barbeque will be cranked up and the fire going so we can sit around compare notes, brag and share lies about our rides. Also, the local tavern is just up the street and we can give you a ride.

Day 2:

Sunday, February 21: More of the same, with a night out at the 'La Gitana' or in nearby Sasabe for those who are interested. We have a couple cars so we can provide transportation.

Day 3:

Monday, February 22rd: For those staying on, we’ll do some more riding and wind it up sometime midday, so we all have time to ride home before dark. So come for a day or for the the entire weekend and enjoy meeting other riders, and tearing around the mountains.

Again, any questions or suggestions contact Andy at

Last year we had some biffs including me getting caught in one of these ruts and being thrown onto one of these ridges. I broke six ribs. This year we are going for no injuries!

Sign in|Recent Site Activity|Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Deep Thoughts with Dan Diego! New Year's wishes, inspiration & motivation.

And now it’s time for Deep Thoughts with Dan Diego!

For many years now, I’ve collected snippets and quotes and compiled them in a little project I’ve titled, “Life is a Series of Disappointments. Then you Die.” I have over 1,300 of these gems. Some passages are inspirational, some are profound, some are silly; all are interesting.

As we move into 2016, who couldn’t use some motivation, some inspiration, a smile on their face? Here are some of my favorites for 2015; I hope you find one or two that you enjoy.

• Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. - Benjamin Franklin

• Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James

• This is your life and it’s ending one moment at a time. – Chuck Palahniuk

• Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

• The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. – Socrates

• I have learned that to be with those I like is enough. – Walt Whitman

• Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed with the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

• Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. – Frederick Buechner

• You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust, riding a rock, hurtling through space. Fear nothing. – Unknown

• A ship in harbour is safe, but that's not what a ship is built for. – William Shedd

• Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. – H. L. Mencken

• The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand

• Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. – Saint Augustine

• I think that I am better than the people who are trying to reform me. – Edgar Watson Howe

• A friend cannot be considered a friend unless he is tested on three occasions: in time of need, behind your back and after your death. – Hasrat Ali

• Often we change jobs, friends and spouses instead of ourselves. – Akbarali Jetha

• Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears. – Rudyard Kipling

• Who is wise? He that learns from every One. Who is powerful? He that governs his Passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody. – Benjamin Franklin

• It's never too late to have a happy childhood. – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

• Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. – Marilyn Vos Savant

• Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years. – James Thurber

• They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price. – Kahlil Gibran

• Man must be prepared for every event of life, for there is nothing that is durable. – Menander

• Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone. Kindness in another's trouble, courage in your own. – Adam Lindsay Gordon

• You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences. – W. Somerset Maugham

• Everybody sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences. - Robert Louis Stevenson

• You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm. – Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

• You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. – Kahlil Gibran

• You are always only one choice away from changing your life. – Marcy Blochowiak

• He who gives when he is asked has waited too long. – Seneca

• 6+3=9 but so does 5+4. The way you do things is not always the only way to do them. – Unknown

• Immaturity can last a lifetime. – Robert Half

• If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Paul (Romans 12:18)

• When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean. – Lin-Chi

• The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. – Bertrand Russell

• I will prove by my life that my critics are liars. – Plato

• Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. – Jose Ortega y Gasset

• To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. – Bertrand Russell

• Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world. – Thomas Carlyle

• Sometimes the light to see your way forward is provided by the bridge burning behind you. – Unknown

• Let's not pray that the Lord be on our side, let's pray that WE are on the Lord's side. – Abraham Lincoln

• It is polite to say and do these things: Smile and Say Good Morning, How are you and Good Afternoon. – Sign on a Customs office in Divisa, Panama

• What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – William Morrow

• If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves. – Thomas A. Edison

• Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your Destiny. – Unknown

• You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings. – Pearl S. Buck

• There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it. – Christopher Morley

• A useless life is an early death. – Johann W. von Goethe

• Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to go to his class. – Choi, Hong Hi

• I have learned to cooperate with the inevitable. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. – Paul (Philippians 4:11)

• Cooperate with the inevitable. If you know a circumstance is beyond your power to change or revise, say to yourself: "It is so; it cannot be otherwise.” – Dale Carnegie

• Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness. – Pearl S. Buck

• When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

• Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

• When grasping for the last breath in the stranglehold of life, a close inspection will show that the hands around your throat are your own. – Bill Deslippe

• Men are born to succeed, not to fail. – Henry David Thoreau

• Beware what you set your heart upon. For it shall surely be yours. Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

• It's not your job to like me -- it's mine. – Byron Katie

• The goal is the same: life itself; and the price is the same; life itself. – James Agee

• The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. – Ernest Hemingway

• A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company. – Charles Evans Hughes

• One is never as fortunate or as unfortunate as one thinks. – Francois De La Rochefoucauld

• Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you won't do anything with it. – M. Scott Peck

• What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do? – Ralph Ellison

• There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotle

• It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better. – Ella Maillart

• Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. – Reinhold Messner

• Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. – Ernest Hemingway

• You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go. – Dr. Seuss

• Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life. – Bertolt Brecht

• Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. – Plato

• The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried. – Stephen McCranie

• A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago – there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine. – General James F. Amos (35th Commandant of the Marine Corps)

• There are two rules for being successful in life. Rule 1: Never tell others everything you know.

• The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you don't really know if they are accurate. – George Washington

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The ADV Rider thread I wish I'd never read: The sad tale of Clayton Schwartz

OK, so you read the truly epic Angola story (Angola: It's not like they said). Now there's this...

Seattle to Argentina on a KLR650: The Thread on AdvRider I Wish I'd Never Read

Clayton Schwartz, screenname OZYMANDIAS, was a young and adventurous guy who decided to ride from Seattle to Argentina on his KLR 650. He had three months to complete the trip before his first semester of Law school at Vanderbilt University.

Things went very badly about 3 weeks into his trip. Somewhere south of Acapulco, an accident involving Clayton and a donkey changed his life. Clayton woke up in a Mexican hospital permanently paralyzed from mid-chest down.

Clayton struggles for the next two years before he finally takes his own life.

His ride report is here:

There are several links to a short book Clayton wrote about his accident and his suicide. The book, Two Arms and a Head: The Death of a Newly Paraplegic Philosopher, ends as he inserts a large knife into his abdomen and bleeds out.

It is a very difficult read, often harsh and very graphic, about how life can turn on a dime.

Now that I've read it, I can't un-ring that bell.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Intro to Baja 2015: The Ride Report

Ok, here's the ride report!

Intro to Baja ride 2015: You couldn’t have knocked the smile off of my face.

Alternate titles, as suggested by the peanut gallery:

· When it all goes south
· 4 burros and a cop
· Buckwheat does Baja
· Maryland Mama’s Boy visits the Pharmacy
· Junior Naps Again
· Keepin’ it above 30KPH!
· Tweakers, tacos, and dirt naps… but not one damn donkey

My challenge to the 5 riders that morning was simple: I’ll need just 4 things: Photographic evidence of you:

· On a sandy Mexican beach;
· With a Mexican beer;
· With a Mexican cop (selfie);
· With a Mexican burro.

That wasn’t too much to ask. Or was it?

This is the story of how it all went south, literally…

We all met at the American Legion in La Mesa on Saturday morning. There was Brad (Drunk Uncle), Doug, Steve (SoloKLR), the father and son duo of Dave and Clay...and me, your fearless leader.

There were four KLRs, a KTM and a Triumph Tiger. There was a good vibe in the air and I could tell right away this was going to be a fun ride.

We started off at 10:30 for Tecate and, after a short ride on old Highway 94, were across the border. We rode Highway 3 south to Ensenada where we were greeted by throngs of revelers celebrating the end of the Baja 1000.Because it was so crowded, I couldn’t get to my favorite fish taco stand. We found a little place to sit and enjoyed some chow and beers. The owner thought we were big shot Baja 1000 riders and insisted on snapping photos of us with our bikes to place in his restaurant.

Shortly afterward we were fueled and heading south.
We left the pavement at Santo Tomas, about 500 miles behind the Baja 1000 racers. The dirt road looked good and we were making good time. About 10 miles in, the road turned bad, rutted and torn up from hundreds of racers the day before. And that’s when the carnage began…

I crested the top of a short hill and found myself alone. There were supposed to be riders behind me. When the dust cleared I saw not one but two bikes on their sides. No one was injured and we were off and running in no time.

The coast was now in view, beckoning us to follow where cold beers and a sandy beach would be waiting. But ruts and sand were to prove a challenge and bikes were down again. And again.

The sun was setting and we were still over an hour from our first scheduled stop. I did not want to be on that trail in the dark. And then the path turned to sand...

I’ve gotta hand it to Clay; he knows the correct method of picking up a loaded bike.

We arrived to La Calavera fish camp with minutes of daylight left. Looking ahead, I saw Doug heading down a side trail to the beach. Oh, boy, he’s gonna be stuck. And he was. As darkness arrived, I saw Steve extricating the bike as we rode along the coast road.

We passed Rancho Tampico where Steve snapped a photo of the famous “Chupacabra” sign. The blurry photo that Doug was trying to pass off as a “burro” just might’ve been the Chupababra.

We rolled into a festive Coyote Cal’s 45 minutes after dark. We were tired and thirsty and Rick, the owner, set us up with everything we needed. We decided to stay there instead of heading 3 miles south to camp on the beach. Within minutes we had our bikes parked, our gear unloaded and buckets of beer in our dusty hands. Then the storytelling commenced…

There was a lot of dust, no injuries, not much damage to the bikes and lots of smiles as we recounted the day’s ride. Everyone was in a good mood as we enjoyed cold ones and a fine dinner. We all agreed it was a good decision to forgo camping and stay at Cal’s instead. In our condition, I’m unsure if we could’ve made it the 3 miles to the camping spot on the beach.

We were asleep early after a good day of riding.
The next morning we had breakfast there and snapped a photo.

We then saddled up and rolled down south to see the ocean and where we would’ve camped. After a few minutes at the shoreline, we all rode through a volcano and headed south to San Vicente.

After passing through a military checkpoint (one of 3 that weekend), we rode 40 miles of dirt road to Valle de la Trinidad. The last mile included some fun sand. Note: Riders should approach sand at 30 KPH (18 MPH) for maximum efficacy. Just sayin’…

We enjoyed some really good carne asada tacos and fueled up before heading east to San Felipe on Highway 3. A young boy passing by snapped a cool group photo for us.

At the junction of Highways 3 and 5, Brad split off and headed north to Mexicali. The rest of us headed south and were on the beach by 2:30 PM. We found a camp spot and promptly went out for supplies (beer). We rounded up some firewood and had a nice fire while we drank Tecate and talked about the day. We set our tents up on the beach, a few feet from our bikes and sat down to enjoy a nice afternoon.

Much to our surprise & dismay, a local denizen by the name of Manny the Deportee came along and entertained us with tales of crime and punishment. He was a real piece of work and it took $3 to make him disappear. He was gone so fast that only his footprints in the sand and burglary tools remained. That was the best $3 we spent in Baja…

We walked next door and had a restaurant prepare a to-go meal for us. It was tasty and enough for 5 hungry guys. An emboldened Doug, knowing only “amigo” and “taco” in Spanish, left – sans helmet—for more supplies. He returned shortly with saddlebags full of Mexican beer. Didn’t I tell you this was a great crew?

After walking down to the shore for a few minutes, we turned in early and were up at first light. The weather couldn’t have been better: warm days & brisk nights.
We packed up the bikes and found a local place where we had coffee and birria tacos…the perfect Mexican breakfast. After fueling up, it was just a 140-mile ride to the border.

At about the 80-mile mark, we stopped to rest at a local establishment. It must’ve been something in the 50’s and 60’s but was not much more than an antiquated diner now.

We enjoyed some cold sodas then hopped back on the bikes for the final push north, reaching Mexicali at 12:30. We moved right to the front of the line and were into the US at Calexico in minutes.

After fueling up, I handed out KLR-specific prizes for everyone who found at least one item on the list. We then said our good-byes and headed our separate ways. I went west to San Diego, Dave, Clay and Steve went northeast to the Phoenix area, while Doug went back into Mexico at Algodones for his “mom’s” medication. Yeah…

I was home in 90 minutes and received confirmation that everyone else had made it home safely later that evening.

This was an extremely fun ride with a group of very cool riders. I’m already planning the next one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Garmin Virb Elite helmet camera

I just bought a Virb helmet cam to replace my Contour HD. Never took to the GoPro, even after being offered one for free. "They're boxy but good." I've owned a bunch of Garmin GPS products (Zumo, Nuvi, StreetPilot, etc.) and have always been satisfied.

I've been wanting a Virb for a while; when Garmin recently cut the price in half, I ordered one off of Amazon.

It came with an assortment of mounts and I bought a couple extras, too.

I'm still playing with it to figure out all the functions. Gonna try it out in the real world (BajA) this weekend and will report back.

I chose the subdued gray/green over the white version.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

French/Italian Adventure Riders Patagonia-bound

So, I met the nicest French/Italian couple in La Mesa tonight. Massimo and Sophie are world travelers en route to Patagonia on a BMW F650GS. I'm envious of their adventure and, over beers @ a local pub (The Hills), provided some basics on crossing into Mexico. They're planning on 6 months but hope it extends to a year. Yup, must be nice...

As part of their Americas Adventure, they've traveled from New York to San Diego. They plan to cross into Mexico via Tijuana on Tuesday morning after some minor repairs at BMW San Diego (center stand bolts). I'll be joining them for the initial leg of their journey.

If you're interested in following them, here's their blogsite:

And here's a summary of their ride plan.

We quit our Job, destination America!


Hi guys,

my name is Sophie, I'm french. My boyfriend, Massimo, is Italian.

About a month ago we decided to do a lifetime adventure trip. We both quit our job and packed the bike. She is a little GS 650. She does not measure with all the Harley we meet here on the road. She probably feel even smaller here than she really is but she does the job!

We left Italy, went through France and the UK. We airfreighted the bike to New York from London. Got her there and our Cost to Cost trip had started!

Right now we're in Las Vegas. So many highlights in the trip so far but would not know where to start. Your country is MASSIVElol All the people we met so far have been amazing. So friendly.

We're mainly using airbnb to sleep at places. Our itinerary is done on a daily basis as per recommendations of people we meet. Awesome.

We aim to cross the death valley tomorrow.

Busy looking for an accommodation after that. Does not look so easy this timewe will see.

I'm writing to you right now from the Harley Davidson bar in Vegas. Just perfect lol

Anyway, just wanted to share that with the forum. I'm new to that.

We plan to go to San Francisco, then go down, cross Mexico (not sure where yet?), then reach south America. Final aim is Patagonia let's see how far we go.

We're enjoying every moment of the journey. And thank you for being such a friendly country


If any of you are around would be a pleasure to meet you for a (or wine?).

If any of you have any advises on the crossing of the border at Mexico would be greatly appreciated as well.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Baja Lite: KLRistas South! (November 21-23)

As some of you might know, I've done a few "Intro to Baja" rides in the past 4 years. Scroll through my blog for previous posts highlighting the shenanigans of past rides. By popular demand, I'm leading another ride in November. It'll be almost all KLR riders and will be 3 days of fun, relaxing Baja riding. So far I have 4 confirmed and 4 possible riders joining the group. This should be interesting.

So here's the rough route plan for the planned 3-day Baja ride:

(Note: We will not be mixing with Baja 1000 traffic. It's the last day of that race and we won't be near the racers.)

We'll meet early on Saturday in the San Diego area, likely La Mesa. After a ride briefing, we should be on our way by 10 or so. No rush.

We'll head south from the Tecate border crossing to Ensenada. (We may see some Baja 1000 celebrations there.). We'll continue south through Maneadero to Santo Tomas, fueling up somewhere along the way.

From Santo Tomas we have two route options to the coast: easy or moderate; and I'll decide which one to take at that time.

We'll ride over to the Punto San Jose lighthouse, then south along the coast to Coyote Cal's for a quick break. We'll eat dinner at Cal's or a little seafood place nearby then head down the coast about 5 miles where we will camp on the beach.

The next day we'll eat breakfast in Erendira then head south on Highway 1 to San Vicente. From there we'll take a dirt road across country to Valle de la Trinidad. We can eat there and fuel up before heading east on Hwy 3, then south on Hwy 5 to San Felipe. We'll find somewhere to beach camp and enjoy a nice afternoon there.

The next day, Monday, is just a ride back to Ensenada where we will grab some fish tacos and fuel up. From there it's an easy ride north to Tijuana on the very scenic toll road and a fairly easy -- but "interesting" -- border crossing. We should be back in the USA by early afternoon.

That's a rough idea of my plan.

Questions or comments?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

San Diego to Michigan for free beer: The Ride Report

Lots of photos to follow!

(I've subtitled this Ride Report: OCD and the Art of Motorbike MPG.)

Bombing across the desert before dawn is a wonderful feeling. The wind and the rising sun are at our backs as we’re wrapping up a 12-day road trip.

We’re at the end of Route 66 and are just a few hours from home. The bikes are running well—not a glitch during the entire ride—and we’re feeling great even after 5,000 miles of riding.

So here’s how it went down…

My buddy Chuck and I departed San Diego before 6am on Friday, July 31st… and early morning starts would be a theme throughout the ride.

We were up and on the road before the sun was up, almost always. I would maintain a slower speed and closely scan the road for debris until it was light out. Then we would pour it on, staying within the “spirit” of the posted speed limit.

Our first day’s ride, to Mesquite, Nevada, was probably our hottest. Though barely 400 miles, it was a scorcher. Checking out of the hotel the next morning, I left my air compressor and helmet Bluetooth device in the room. I was to go without music or audible GPS instructions the rest of the ride. And that kinda sucked.

The next day’s ride to Denver was to be our longest, in a couple ways. Mileage-wise, it was only to be 700 easy highway miles. However, 60 miles from our destination, we came upon an accident (motorcycle fatality) that completely blocked the I-70 eastbound for at least 6 hours. It was a hot and miserable time waiting in the small town of Idaho Springs, Colorado. We arrived to a friend’s hours before 11pm and he had cold beers and a full bar waiting; that made a tough day so much better! The next day we got a little later start, enjoying breakfast and a walk around his property. The tour included many deer, some classic cars and a stable full of motorcycles. Well worth the extra time.

Shooting for a 500-mile ride to Omaha, we only made it to Lexington, Nebraska; a short 350-mile day. However, we made up for it the next day on a nice 625-mile ride to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Waking early the next day, we rode 200 quick miles to Milwaukee only to find that we couldn’t board the ferry across Lake Michigan due to the returning Sturgis bike traffic. Our next option, the port town of Manitowoc, was only 100 miles away and they could get us on that ferry, so off we went.

The S.S. Badger is one of the last coal-burning ferries still operating and it was a true pleasure to be aboard. Classic in every way, the 4-hour ride was pleasant as we relaxed, chatted with other bikers and enjoyed the scenery.

We landed at Ludington, Michigan, at 7pm and decided to stay the night (instead of dodging deer in the dark). We checked into the Stearns Motor Hotel—a place that turned out to be our favorite lodging of the ride.

They sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore…

The next day’s ride to Lachine was nice and easy…barely 200 miles. And that brought me to Pappy’s Pub and the aforementioned “free beer.”

We stayed 2 days with our friend and fellow Blue Knight, Chuck. A retired Detroit police officer, he was the consummate host, leading us on a ride along Lake Huron, up to Michigan’s UP and across the Mackinac Bridge…something I’d wanted to do for years.

We stayed with Chuck and his former DPD partner Brenda for two nights. What a great time!

We departed Michigan with a goal of riding as much of Route 66 as possible. Now, if you’re familiar with the song, I can confirm that we definitely got our kicks along the way, visiting all of the places mentioned in that tune.

Passing through Route 66’s official starting point of Chicago, we hustled all the way to St. Louis, Missouri; a 600-mile ride that brought us to a fine hotel at the base of the famous Arch where I spent time with my cousin who lives there.

Leaving St. Louie early the next morning, we headed toward Oklahoma City. It was oh, so pretty, but we continued another 85 miles to Clinton, OK. We weren’t able to visit the Route 66 Museum there, but we did stay in America’s Worst Hotel Room; scabies are NOT the preferred Route 66 souvenir…

We left before it was light on Sunday, August 9th, for Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 450-mile ride was one of the quickest and easiest and we arrived before 1pm. We spent the day relaxing with my brother and his wife’s family. Lots of fun; a very much-needed break from riding.

We left Albuquerque before dawn. The morning was cool and clear…but that was to change. Standing at the corner in Winslow, Arizona, we could feel the heat coming.

By the time we reached Seligman, AZ, it was 109F, officially “hot as balls” as southern folks are prone to say. After eating at Lilo’s West Side CafĂ©, we rode classic Route 66 through Peach Springs and Hackberry, stopping at the famous general store there.

Due to the intense heat, we didn’t stop in Kingman, Arizona, as planned, but rode on through to Needles, California, skipping a scheduled stop to see the ghost town of Oatman and its mules. As we approached Needles on the I-40 West, I couldn't help but sing that Three Dog Night tune, “Never Been to Spain” to myself.

Well, I've never been to England, but I kinda like the Beatles
Well, I headed for Las Vegas, only made it out to Needles

And so we did.

It was so nice to get out of the heat. Chuck and I just cranked up the AC and laid there in our shorts.

We were up early on August 11th, ready to ride the final leg of the trip home. It was a little over 300 miles to San Diego and we hit it just right, missing all of the heat and rush hour traffic. We arrived home before 11am, safe and happy after a fun, easy ride.

Trip facts:
• My bike’s odometer read 5,580 miles; my GPS reflected 5,441 miles (the latter likely being more accurate).
• Though we rode through some wind and heat and a little construction traffic, we encountered only light rain on a couple of occasions.
• We passed through 16 states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico.
• We spent less than $11 on road tolls—mostly in Oklahoma—and $115 for the ferry (passenger and bike).
• As far as trip packing went, we traveled pretty light but didn’t lack anything along the way. I spent $390 for fuel, paying under $3 a gallon for premium—and often closer to $2.50—the entire time.
• Lodging costs were only $243 each, staying four nights with friends and family.

I’d say that made for a very reasonably-priced road trip.

So, what’s next? I’m planning the Next Big One now. Eastern Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador sounds mighty interesting…