Monday, December 23, 2013

2004 KTM 950 Adventure: Welcome to the stable!







The KTM 950 Adventure is a dual-sport motorcycle that was produced in Austria by KTM.


It’s powered by a liquid cooled, four-stroke, DOHC 942 CC, 75° V-twin engine, producing around 102 HP. It goes 130 MPH without any effort. It was designed for the grueling terrain of the Dakar...and handily won on its very first try in 2002.

Blah, blah, blah..

But why am I listing the attributes of a 2004 KTM? Well, let’s just say a friend made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and it’s now a recent addition to the stable.


To answer your—and my wife’s—question: No, I haven’t yet decided which—if any—of my other bikes will have to go. Yes, I know. It’s a sickness.

Some cool links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KTM_950_Adventure

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/177/1012/Motorcycle-Article/2004-KTM-950-Adventure.aspx

http://www.visordown.com/road-tests/living-with-a-2004-ktm-950-adventure/15657.html

Let the farkling begin.

More to follow…

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Interesting (and telling) biker video: Your thoughts?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS3iB47nQ6E


Why the Carlsberg beer stunt video went viral: VIDEO LINK

Numerous couples walk into a movie theater and all but two seats are full of burly, mean-looking bikers.

To add to the intimidation factor, the two available seats are right smack in the middle of the center row.

Many, maybe most, of the couples shuddered and walked out. Some made some not-too-nice comments. But a few brave souls took the seats. And what happened next was quite telling.

What do you do?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baja Ride 2013: San Diego to Cabo and Return (11/27-12/2)

"I'd like to meet the joker who had the nerve to call this a road!" -- Walter Sigmann

Baja Ride 2013: San Diego to Cabo and Return (11/27-12/2)



On Baja’s Highway 1, travelers are warned that everything happens 300 meters ahead: vados (dips), construction, curvas peligrosas (dangerous curves) or the ubiquitous topes (speed bumps). Going from 70 MPH to 25 MPH in the middle of a 90 degree turn -- often -- makes me think that the engineers who designed and built these roads were either crazy or evil. There is no consistency throughout the 1,000-mile ride, unless you count the livestock and construction and water crossings.

And the crosses. Oh, the many, many crosses. You can easily see how the accident went down by looking at the tire marks, the twisted roadside barriers and the brightly colored memorials… usually in the midst of vehicle fragments and pieces of clothing. That should be warning enough for drivers to slow down on a highway where the average speed limit is about 45 MPH.

The ride was a last minute thing. All pavement — or so the leader claimed — 2 days to Cabo and 2 days back. I took my trusty KLR650 and left Rosarito on Thanksgiving Day with 4 others (KLR, FZ1, Buell Ulysses, DRZ).

The guys were all super moto riders and treated Baja's Highway 1 like a track day. It was a pretty hot pace...

We lost a rider right before San Vicente (KM82 ish). He went wide and rag dolled. The bike sustained the usual damage but could be ridden from the scene. The rider was shaken up a bit but his gear did its job. The clinic in San Vicente patched him up and the local chota put him on a bus north at noon (he arrived at the border @ midnight). The local cops were "really helpful." Uh, yeah...

Because of the set-back, we didn't make Santa Rosalia that day but stayed in Guerrero Negro (Hotel Los Caracoles) instead—about 450 miles.

The next day was driving through the desert and buying gas from the back of a rancher's truck.

We made Cabo San Lucas by dark and spent a day and night there living like locals. Great little town for those of you who haven’t been there.

We stayed at the Hotel Mar de Cortez. OK place. Secure bike parking in back and right across the street from Cabo Wabo (touristy, I know, but I like it). It's reasonably-priced and within walking distance of non-touristy beaches and lots of other stuff.

We left on December 1st for as far north as we could ride; ended up in Guerrero Negro again—about 630 miles. Stayed at the Hotel Los Caracoles again!

We left as a group at 4:15 am. Right before Ciudad Insurgentes, I had a front flat tire at 70+ MPH and had to fix it on the roadside. I tinkered with the tire while the three of them took the "bad" road north. After I got going, I headed to Loreto on the 1.

Two of the guys beat their bikes up a bit (DRZ and Buell) as well as themselves (purple, swollen wrist, bruised ribs, etc.). Street bikes (supermoto) just aren't made for baby head boulders and deep sand. They were able to ride back so it wasn't too bad. One went to urgent care when he crossed back over and confirmed that he did have a broken wrist.

I made El Rosario in record time, then trucked it up to TJ and made the border by 1pm after tacos in Ensenada.

The KLR did really well, though it's just not made for sustained 80-85 MPH riding. At least not by me. In Baja.

Whew! Back to work...

Here was the ride announcement: “This is one of the trips that only a few have the ability or desire to participate in… the lucky few that do will have a story to tell for the rest of their lives. This is going to be a good one. If you want lots of miles in unfamiliar country with a ton of laughs and a few good people to join you in the adventure, this is the trip for you.”

Well, how could I say no to THAT? Sure, I’d miss Turkey Day with my “fascinating” relatives gathered around the table staring at their smart phones. Wow, tough decision…



So, on Thanksgiving weekend, a group of us are going to ride from the USA border at San Diego/ Tijuana, 1025 miles south along Hwy 1 with a destination of Cabo San Lucas. We will spend a day resting and partying in Cabo before hitting the road again and retracing our bread crumb trail along Hwy 1 north back to the good ‘ol USA. Two KLRs will be among the bikes that make this ride.

I’ll provide a ride report when I return. For now, here’s the SPOT GPS tracking device link:

SPOT LINK
(If the link doesn't work, try copying and pasting it to your browser's address bar.)

Baja Mileage Chart Link


The trip itinerary looks like this:

STAGING (Wednesday, November 27th): In Rosarito, Mexico the night prior to departure.

DAY 1 (Thursday, November 28th): We will get an early start and head south on HWY 1, passing through Ensenada, San Quintin, Guerrero Negro and will eventually reach our destination for the first day of Santa Rosalia. (Map estimates: 10.5 hours of highway time / 564 miles.) NOTE: A church designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1887 should not be missed.

DAY 2 (Friday, November 29th): Day two will be another southern push down HWY 1 that will take us through Mulege, Loreto, Ciudad Insurgentes, Ciudad Constitution, La Paz – Baja Sur’s Capital, and eventually we will drop into our trip destination and world famous tourist mecca of Cabo San Lucas. This day’s route will take us south along the eastern side of the tip of the Baja peninsula. (Map estimates: 8 hours & 45 minutes of highway time / 438 miles.)

DAY 3 (Saturday, November 30th: Rest / Party in Cabo

DAY 4 (Sunday, December 1st): We pack up and head north , but this time we will start on HWY 19 taking us along the Western tip of the Baja through El Pescadero and will rejoin HWY 1 north at La Paz. We will continue North on HWY 1 from La Paz, retracing our bread crumb trail that we left just a few days prior, ending up in the town of Guerrero Negro for the night. (Map estimates: 10 hours & 30 minutes of highway time / 574 miles.)

DAY 5 (Monday, December 2nd): The final push north along HWY 1. We will arrive back in Rosarito that evening where some of us will crash for the night and others will make the final 20 minute journey back to the border crossing and re-enter the USA. (Map estimates: 8 hours of highway time / 432 miles. 450 miles for those heading back across the border to San Diego. That’s me…I gotta work on Tuesday.)

Yes, it’s a lot of riding… Yes, it’s in Mexico… Yes, we are a little nutty… Which is exactly why this is going to be the stuff of legends. Stand by for photos and some … "interesting" ride descriptions.

The KLR is packed up and I'm leaving tonight after work.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meet Fellow Bloggers Brad and Brandy (Troubadour on a Triumph & Trobairitz’ Tablet)

Getting to know my fellow motorcycle bloggers is something I really enjoy doing. I’ve had the great pleasure to meet and ride with several friends I’ve met while blogging about something we all find interesting: Riding and writing about bikes.



Today I would like to introduce you to two motorcycle enthusiasts that hail from the Great Northwet. That wasn’t a typo as I spent five wet years in Oregon! Like the two bloggers I recently profiled—Steve and Tina—Brad and Brandy are also a couple.

I’ll say right now that a characteristic that many of the motorcycle folks I’ve met shared is humor…and these two are no different!

Brandy and Brad each pen blogs you will likely recognize: Troubadour on a Tiger and Trobairitz’ Tablet.

(See http://troubadourtriumph.blogspot.com/ and http://trobairitztablet.blogspot.com/)

What started Brad’s blogging career was an online search for local motorcycle blogs and forums for something to read during lunch breaks at work. After several months of reading “Musings of an Intrepid Commuter” and other blogs that author had linked on his sidebar, Brad decided to try his hand at writing his own blog to document his rides, trips, trials and tribulations. When he first began writing — mainly as a way to remember the rides and post photos — he never expected to be doing it for so long or to have so many readers. And Brandy and Brad definitely have quite a following.

Brandy once rode on the back of Brad’s bike and has since began riding her own bike and writing her own adventures via Trobairitz’ Tablet. Serious foodies may be interested in Brandy’s food blog, Trobairitz' Table d'hote, where she posts vegan recipes and photos of her delicious meals, desserts, cookies, pies and goodies.

I asked them which blogs they actively follow. The response was no different from the other riders I’ve spoken with: Too many to list! Like my friends Steve and Tina, Brad no longer works in an office (lucky dog!). Since he doesn’t have access to a computer during the day, Brad relies on Brandy to stay updated on what’s going on with everyone.

I will mention here that I recently watched the new motorcycle documentary titled “Why we Ride.” Many parts of that film, like our first riding experiences, were very recognizable to me and others in the audience. I laughed at the large number of riders who said that, “minibikes” were their introduction to the world of two wheels. And it appears that Brad is no different. His first riding experience was on a friend’s Sears-type mini bike…and he was hooked! He recounted memories of hanging out at the local dirt riding area and bumming rides from the older kids. He and his brother pestered their parents until Santa finally brought them a Yamaha Enduro 80 for Christmas – which he rode into the ground. Brandy grew up riding on a pillow strapped to the rear rack of her mom’s Honda Trail 90. She took the controls of her brother’s bike once and discovered that riding pillion was best.


Brad rides his (infamous) 2005 Triumph Tiger 955i and Brandy has a 2009 Suzuki Gladius; they share a Yamaha XT250 dual sport that you’ll recognize as covered in mud on one of his recent posts!

As far as previous bikes, Brandy started on Brad’s KZ900 before buying a Honda Nighthawk 250. She owned a Ninja 650R and a Suzuki TU250X before settling on her current steed. She tried real hard to fall in love with a pretty blue and white 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE, but it was not meant to be. Brad’s first street bike was a ’75 Honda CB750 Four and then an early 80s Suzuki GS550, an ‘84 Honda Magna V45, then a ’76 a Kawasaki KZ900LTD (which he recently had the good fortune to buy back – oh how I wish I could find some of my old bikes!), another Honda Magna V45, a 2001 Triumph Sprint ST, then an ’07 Triumph America.

When asked what would define the “ultimate” bike, Brad agrees with others I’ve spoken with in stating that there is no such thing. With all of the Tiger’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, he knows what it’ll do and what he can expect from it. Like many of us, he would like other bikes: a scooter, a Ural sidecar, an FJR, a Tiger 800, an FZ-09 and a Honda Grom all for different reasons and moods. Ah, don’t we all…

Brad stated that he’s proud to be a part of Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program (http://team-oregon.org/) and a member of the American Motorcyclist Association (I’m AMAzing, too). He started a local bike night several years ago that has evolved into a local forum and created a fantastic network of fellow riders, many who are now very close friends and are much like family. He says the same thing for the blogs; they’ve met many great people online and hope to meet many more.

Brad and Brandy rarely plan rides and enjoy more impromptu rides like checking out covered bridges or go to the coast (see his site for some nice covered bridge photos). Route planning consists of pulling out a map and finding a twisty road to explore. Yup. They prefer to ride with just each other, as group rides tend to require a lot of preparation and planning. When riding together, they are free to stop, take pictures and enjoy the solitude of each other’s company.

A comment he made struck a chord with me: “We deal with noise and drama at work so to stop at a roadside picnic table for a quiet cup of tea is the best.” Well said.

Not that Brandy and Brad don’t mind a group ride on occasion, but they prefer a small, private group of friends with similar riding styles. Brad recalled the IMBC2012 (International Moto-Bloggers Convention) as a memorable ride where several other bloggers all rode to Baker City, Oregon to meet up and ride Hells Canyon for the weekend.

Want to know a little more about Brad and Brandy? Well, how about this gem, straight from the LoneBiker dating site description? We like long walks on the beach, coffee, chai tea and independent films. Must love cats, motorcycles, music, and have a sense of humor and quick wit. Ah, yes, my kind of people! (Except for the cat thing.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know some of our fellow bloggers a little better. I’ve found that although we come from (often vastly) differing backgrounds, we all meet in the middle somewhere—and usually on two wheels.

More interviews to follow…

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MC blogging interview Tina and Steve from Road Pickle



As part of a series of interviews I’m doing with fellow MC bloggers to see what makes these motorcycle enthusiasts tick — why they ride and why they write about it — I sat down with two local motorcycle enthusiasts/bloggers at a local gastro pub last night. Having just watched a most excellent motorcycle documentary (Why We Ride), I knew ahead of time I’d like these two.

I’ve heard it said that money is the great equalizer; we agreed that motorcycles are actually better for finding commonality in different people.

Tina Walker and Steve Johnson, AKA: Sash and Highway, are quite the couple. Though only married last year, they go together like matching leathers. Throughout the evening, I could see they both had the biker jones…it was a pretty thing to see. I came prepared with lots of questions, but we actually just sat and talked bikes and people and philosophy and our folks. Like many motorcycle enthusiasts, they’re easy to talk to…

Steve and Tina recently wrapped up a nice little 6-month ride referred to as the Road Pickle. For some of the amazing people they met and things they saw, see their blog at www.RoadPickle.com. There is some really nice photography, as well.

Sash actively writes these blogs:
www.SashMouth.com
www.RoadPickle.com
www.BikerNewsOnline.com

Steve writes these:
http://www.motorcyclephilosophy.org
http://www.bikernewsonline.com
http://www.bestbeefjerky.org

They both follow many of the same blogs I follow: The Great Motorcycle Pizza Tour, Flies in your Teeth, Arizona Harley Dude, Ribbon of Highway, Biker Chick News, The Moto Lady, Trobaritz' Tablet, The Motorcycle Obsession, Riding the Wet Coast, The Motorcycle Diary, Riding the USA, Live Free Ride Hard, Introduction to the Harley and Maiden Leather Designs. Steve’s are mainly philosophical in nature. He’s a profound guy, so that’s no surprise. JMADog is a good one.

I asked each why they began blogging. Tina, who’s been writing for most of her life, said blogging about her passion to ride was just a natural transition. She loves sharing her point of view because frankly, there aren't that many women who ride, by comparison. She’s found that many female riders blog! Steve’s main focus is on business and personal expression.

Publishing motorcycle blogs is just part of what they do, but she reminds me it's the BEST part! Her business is Too Much Tina Media (www.TooMuchTina.com), helping business owners and bloggers with their internet presence. They specialize in public relations, marketing, sales and internet publishing, which in this "web-world" really all ties together.

We discussed our riding experiences. Tina rides a Yamaha V Star 650, and Steve has a 2006 Honda ST1300, a bike he considers dang near perfect for what he needs. Although the BMW RT1200 is a fine bike, too!

Tina put 13,000 miles on her first bike — a Kawasaki Ninja 500— in the first 6 months of owning her…that’s some serious riding. Steve’s parents bought him a 1979 Kawasaki KZ400 after he graduated high school –
his sole transportation for 3 years. Between that and his current bike, he’s gone through a 2004 Yamaha Road Star and TWO 2005 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classics.

We spoke about riding solo and with others and agreed that while riding with a couple of others is fine, being alone with your thoughts is a great thing. Steve began waxing philosophical and most eloquently stated that he’s always alone when he rides—whether in a group or alone. Maybe we all feel that way.

I was not surprised at all when Tina said that she loves riding more than she ever thought she would and
at this point, that's all she wants to do. Day and night, if she’s not riding, she’s sitting around wishing she was. I love that!

Apart from his recent 6-month ride, Steve did a month-long ride from San Diego to Fairbanks, AK and back a few years ago. He’ll be heading back out on the road in early 2014 across the country, probably for 10 months or so. I’ll be following along on Road Pickle.

After a couple high-proof craft brews, it was time to go. Steve left me with this thought:

I'm trying to live with less, and in doing so, put the focus on the person inside. Be more transparent, be honest with myself. Be a motorcycle rider 24/7, not just on weekends and not just when it's convenient.

Well said, brother.

We’ll see you out on the road!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

San Diego motorcyclist Mark McCaffrey dies in accident with SDPD vehicle



The news that a local motorcyclist was killed when he was involved in an accident with a San Diego Police Department vehicle was tragic; it was worse when I read the name … Mark Griffin McCaffrey. I held my breath as I searched for more information and was sad to learn that it was indeed Mark, the owner of Rocket Motorcycles.

Mark was a super cool guy with tons of riding experience. He was friendly, knowledgeable and responsive to bike riders who would filter through his shop on Morena Blvd. My first interaction with Mark was in 2009, when I wanted a new bike and settled on a new Triumph Rocket III. I called and spoke with Mark at Rocket Motorcycles on a Sunday. The shop was closed, but Mark answered and we spoke about pricing. We had a great conversation about what he could offer and said someone would call me on Tuesday. Sure enough, Lance called me and we worked out a tentative deal, much lower than any other place within 150 miles. It wasn’t until later that I realized that Mark was actually the owner. Now that is service!


The bike – or “parts” of a bike — arrived in a crate from England and Mark e mailed me a bunch of photos of the guys uncrating and assembling my bike. Very cool of them.

Since then, I visited the shop for routine service and just buying stuff. The guys are laid back, that's for sure. Mark always came out to chat and just offer his support—that was the kind of guy he was. They don’t make them like Mark anymore and he will be sorely missed by the San Diego motorcycling community.

Mark's funeral will be Sunday, Nov 24th @ 11 am at Clairemont Mortuary, 4266 Mt Abernathy, San Diego 92117.

Here are a couple of articles about the accident, as well as a couple of photos.

Mark was one of the nicest people around. He will be missed. His 3 children (all young adults) say they will continue to ride. Be safe out there, folks.

Rest in peace, my brother.

MAN DIES AFTER MOTORCYCLE STRIKES SDPD VEHICLE
By Susan Shroder9:59 p.m.Nov. 18, 2013Updated11:09 p.m

LINK

SAN DIEGO — A man died Monday night after his motorcycle struck a San Diego police patrol vehicle in Clairemont, police said.

The officer was driving westbound on Balboa Avenue about 7 p.m. when he got a call to provide emergency cover, San Diego police Officer Dino Delimitros said.

The officer made a U-turn at Mount Everest Boulevard to go eastbound on Balboa. The 63-year-old motorcyclist was going eastbound on Balboa and his motorcycle hit the passenger side of the marked patrol vehicle as it was making the turn, Delimitros said. The motorcyclist was transported to a hospital, where he died.

The officer was not injured. Other details were not available as police continue to investigate.

Balboa Avenue was shut down in the area.

Victim of motorcycle/SDPD collision ID'd
By Susan Shroder6:45 p.m.Nov. 19, 2013

LINK

SAN DIEGO — A motorcyclist who died following a collision Monday night with a San Diego police patrol vehicle in Clairemont has been identified by the Medical Examiner’s Office as Mark Griffin McCaffrey, 62.

The officer was initiating a pursuit of a suspected hit-and-run vehicle about 7 p.m. when he made a U-turn in front of the motorcycle on Balboa Avenue at Mount Everest Boulevard, a medical examiner’s investigator said Tuesday. The patrol vehicle’s lights and sirens were on.
McCaffrey was riding eastbound on Balboa Avenue within the speed limits, the investigator said. He applied the motorcycle’s brakes but was unable to avoid the collision, the investigator said. He was ejected from the motorcycle.

The officer radioed for medical help and paramedics arrived shortly afterward. McCaffrey was transported to a Sharp Memorial Hospital. Advanced life-support measures were initiated, but he failed to respond, the investigator said.

San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer said Tuesday that police are waiting for the results of a California Highway Patrol investigation of the collision.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time,” Mayer said.
No hometown was listed for McCaffrey.


Here's the report from the Medical Examiner web site:

Case Number: 13-02625
Name: Mark Griffin McCaffrey City of Residence:
DOB: 05/02/1951 Gender: Male
Place of Death: 7901 Frost Street, San Diego CA
Place of injury: Intersection of Balboa Avenue and Mt. Everest Boulevard, San Diego CA
Date/Time of Death: 11/18/2013 8:21:00 PM Date/Time injury: 11/18/2013 1906
Summary: The decedent was a 62-year-old Caucasian male who on November 18, 2013, was traveling in his motorcycle eastbound on Balboa Avenue within speed limits. At the same time, a San Diego Police Officer initiated pursuit on a suspected hit and run vehicle. With lights and sirens on, the officer made a U turn in front of the decedent. The decedent applied the brakes but was unable to avoid the collision. He was ejected from the motorcycle and the officer radioed for medical help. Paramedics arrived within a short time and the decedent was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital where advance life support efforts took place. Death was pronounced when the decedent failed to respond.
Cause of Death/Updated Cause of Death: Multiple blunt force trauma
Contributing Conditions: None
Manner: Accident
Investigating Agency: San Diego Police Next of kin notified? Yes

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Highlighting other MC blogs: Ride, Stop and Go

I get a lot of enjoyment from reading about motorcycle stuff on my fellow motorcycle enthusiasts' blogs. I wanted to take some time and highlight some of their sites.

Today, it's all about Angela and Troy from Alberta, Canada, who run Best Motorcycle Rides and Roads, AKA: Ride, Stop and Go.

I really like this group (RideStopGo) and their site (www.ridestopngo.com) -- made up mostly of Harleys and big cruisers -- who have fun wherever they go.

What first intrigued me about their site was a Baja motorcycle ride: Here is a recent installment titled, "Riding our motorcycles into Mexico." Knowing Baja like I do, these guys really nailed it.

Check out their informative video on the Baja peninsula road conditions: VIDEOlink. Great job, guys!

Plan on riding down into Baja? No problemo. Here’s a quick video about the roads riding down the Baja peninsula and how good they actually were. About the same or better than Canada’s back roads!

What are the Roads in Mexico like?


Who in the hell said “the Roads in Mexico are horrible” ? They must have never ridden their motorcycles across some of the depilated roads at home here in Canada. The Baja’s “Transpeninsular” Highway or Mexico Federal Highway 1 as it is more commonly known runs North and South down the Baja of Mexico. The highway starts at Tijuana and criss crosses the Baja peninsula for just over 1000 miles ending in the beautiful resort city of Cabo San Lucas.

The roads in Mexico were nothing like we were told


We entered Tijuana in late March 2013 with some trepidation on the 2000 miles of unknown roads that lay ahead of us for the next three weeks. We soon found out the roads conditions were fantastic. Besides little or no shoulders, some construction, a few wash outs in the “dips”, the odd animal close to the road; we found the route down to Cabo, no worse than highways at home. Great blacktop, twists and turns, long flat straightaway’s, ample gas, hospitable people and great friends ensured we totally enjoyed the ride down the Baja. And so should you…

What is this… New Black Top on the Roads in Mexico


You will be just as surprised about the roads in Mexico, if you haven’t already ridden down the Baja before, how a large majority of the roads are fantastic. There is no seal chip highways on this road, sections of the roads just finished being upgraded as the black top was sweet to be riding on. When we rode down March 2013, the only rough section was around Catavina, the dips in the road showed signs of a previous wash out.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eagle Mike KLR Tech Day: San Diego, 11/16/13



Eagle Mike is a legend in the KLR community. He is credited with identifying and correcting a major flaw in the Kawasaki KLR motor. In short, he addressed the balancer lever or "doohickey" problem by making a newer, better version and showing KLR riders how to install it.

As well, he's developed several products to make the KLR experience that much more enjoyable. All sorts of custom-milled goodies to ensure your KLR is properly farkled.

For years he's hosted tech days at his shop in downtown San Diego, Julian and his new location in El Cajon (380 Vernon). Yesterday I attended my second tech day...and actually did more than just shoot the breeze with my KLR brothers -- I checked and adjusted the valves on my trusty 2011. In addition to reshimming them (at the 5,200-mile mark), I helped out on some other projects -- at least two doo-jobs and a ThermoBob.



The group of guys at the tech day were all very cool--totally typical KLR riders.

Mike is just fantastic and we appreciate him hosting these tech days.

I wish I could remember everyone's names, but here are some of them:

The Watt-Man himself! You, sir, are truly world class.
Carl the bike mag writer. (Be gentle if this makes it to RoadRunner!)
Ron, JD an Sal the crazy Riverside crew. They brought a new meaning to "shims" and it has nothing to do with valve clearances.
Charlie (Mach1Charlie). Big thanks for your help with my valves.
Sam Ko (another bike legend) and brother of Mike.
Ken (Tube Bender).
ThumperBob.
Brandon (ManiacSux).
Shane Barton.

And a couple others whose names escape me right now...my memory is mush after 7 1/2 hours.





I can't say enough about the friendly, helpful and knowledgeable folks.

If you own a KLR and are within 250 miles, you've gotta plan to be at one of the next tech days!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Why We Ride (Motorcycle Documentary)

The wife and I went to see a showing of a very neat motorcycle documentary in La Jolla last night. We were surrounded by other motorcycle enthusiasts--and several fellow members of the group I ride with locally -- San Diego Adventure Riders (LINK).



We enjoyed the film very much. It was reminiscent of Bruce Brown's most excellent flick, On Any Sunday.

I smiled, laughed and nodded in recognition along with the other riders in the audience.

Here's the movie's synopsis: Why We Ride is a story about who we are. Individuals with a desire to dream, discover and explore. Seeking a life outside our daily confinements and sharing those moments together. It’s a story about the journey, not the destination. Motorcycles represent the milestones of our lives. From a kid’s dream come true, to a retiree’s return to freedom. From a family riding together on the sand dunes, to hundreds of choppers carving through the canyons – the bond is the same. It’s about the passion of the riders and the soul of their machines. Your senses will heighten as the world rushes in, your heart will beat to the pulse of the engine, your mind will race and set you free. Once you let a motorcycle into your life, it will change you forever.

Now who can't agree with that?!

Highly recommended viewing for the bike enthusiast in your life (and the DVD is available for Christmas).

Here is the trailer to get people excited: LINK

And here's a link to the film: http://whyweridefilm.com/faqs.html LINK

Monday, November 4, 2013

Doing the Baja Bounce: San Diego to Ensenada, up and back

Nothing too exciting, just a quick Baja bounce: San Diego to Ensenada and back.

Ryan Popma, a fellow rider from Horizons Unlimited (HUBB), plans to spend 4 months in Mexico before riding into Central America. He plans to work on a farm for a while.

(See that info here: http://www.wwoofmexico.org/profile/RyanPopma)






He asked if I'd be interested in joining him on the start of his adventure. Well, duh!

So I hopped on my trusty KLR and met him in San Diego on Sunday, November 3rd. I saw that his Triumph T100 Bonneville was loaded for the trip!

We headed down to San Ysidro to cross into Mexico where Ryan secured his tourist car at Tijuana's new Chaparral port of entry. He was unable to obtain the temporary vehicle import, though, and will have to get that in La Paz before boarding the ferry.

The ride down the coastal toll road (Mexico 1D) was easy going and well worth the 12 peso ($1.25) toll per stop. We enjoyed little traffic and spectacular views of the ocean almost the entire route.

We stopped along the way to enjoy the view from the Mirador (scenic overlook) before continuing to Ensenada.

We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant (yeah, I know...) before Ryan and I split ways -- he south to camp on the beach and me back to San Diego.

I decided to return via the Otay port of entry and it turned out to be a good choice. The newew Boulevard 2000 led straight to the Otay crossing and there was much less traffic than San Ysidro. I was through immigration in under 6 minutes and back in the USA.

Not too bad for a Sunday ride...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Otay Mountain Truck Trail ride: 10/20/13





I did a quick solo ride (2.5 hours) of the Otay Truck Trail today.


The trail, southeast of San Diego, is right along the Mexican border and gives the rider some very scenic views.

This is not a difficult road for dual sport bikes or 4 wheel drive vehicles as it's mostly gravel with some red clay dirt, used and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Border Patrol and BLM.


The Otay Truck Trail follows the ridgetops of the San Ysidro Mountains. From most of the high points, riders can see way into Mexico toward the south, the Jamul Mountains to the north, Lyons Peak to the northeast and Tecate Peak to the east. Riders can park next to the fence and actualy step into Mexico where the fence ends (not recommended).

The trail is easy because it is almost all leveled shelf road; limited passing opportunities and many blind corners are the only difficulties you will face. Numerous mirrors are positioned at blind spots to ensure you don't end up as the hood ornament on a border agent's truck.

I saw only two other vehicles on today's ride -- both 4x4s -- and passed them as I went up the hill. And while I didn't meet up with any border agents on the trail today, I was buzzed by a helicopter and a small airplane -- both USBP -- that were likely looking to see who was setting off their sensors. Once they were satisfied that my ugly orange KLR650 wasn't smuggling people or contraband, they headed off in search of more interesting things to do.


If you do go, plan for enough time to explore the many side trails that lead to observation points (mainly for border agents) along the way.

Most of them end just a few hundred yards from the main road but are interesting to follow. I ran into several "Ys" along the way and took them all. It's my policy that when presented with a "Y" I always say, "Y not."


How to get there: There are two main entrances to the Otay Truck Trail, both about 20 miles from downtown San Diego.

The north entrance is off of Otay Lakes Road, east of Lower Otay Reservoir. About 2.5 miles west of Highway 94 is the Pio Pico Country Store. The entrance to the Otay Truck Trail is on the west side of the parking lot (up the hill, not into the RV park).

The east entrance is off Highway 94, about 1.5 miles east of Dulzura, at Marron Valley Road. Follow Marron Valley Road for 2.5 miles where the Otay Truck Trail branches off to the right.

Entering or exiting at the west end can sometimes be tricky as border agents will often shut and lock the gates; no worries as there are ways around that. The easiest way to exit at the west end of the trail at Alta Road, not far from Donovan State Prison and the county/ferderal detention complex.* When you reach this exit at Alta Road, turn left and head toward the 905 an the major north/south freeways (I-5/I-805).

* NOTE: Those that know me understand why I was unfortunately in one or more of these facilities. Nuff said...