Sunday May 20 to Sunday May 27 2012
Jim and I headed to Lewiston Idaho to stay at his friend Wayneís house.
Wayne has a shop there and Jim was planning to do some work on his bike and to see what needed to be done on mine, like check the valves etc.
Following Jim however seemed like mission impossible, man does that guy race! Wonder if he believes in gravity :P
After a while he was kind enough to slow down to 65 mph in a 55 mile zone and I felt myself breathe a little easier. As we neared Lewiston I heard funny chirping sound coming from my engine and I was getting worried. I mentioned it to Jim and he thought it might be the crankshaft, a problem he had experienced before.
We kept riding and at one point I heard a loud dog barking but there was no dog around, thatís when I really freaked. We made it to Wayneís and I was trying very hard not to get too despondent. Last thing I could afford was a broken engine.
Jim went and ordered a crankshaft for under $100 cause he was sure thatís what it was. Things were looking up until the next morning when we drained the oil and discovered sand like substance and metal flakes in the oil filter. My heart plummeted again. We basically thought this is it, engine gone. My first thought was this is it, the end of my very short trip. Then Jim surprised me by buying a brand new engine, including carb for $1700 + shipping. It only had 426 miles on it, but it was a gen2, so the electrical hookup was going to be a challenge. My sweet Dad pitched in $1000 and Chris and Shawn (?) offered to donate some to the new engine as well. The next few days were spend waiting for the engine to show up, and doing other maintenance on the bike.
I installed anti-vibration risers, throttle lock, and new mirrors. Worked on swingarm, cleaned and re-greased bearings etc. Then on a spur of the moment decided to paint the swingarm black to hide the welding job that had been done on it where the gauge was. It looked cool black. The throttle cable had a few loose wires in it so Jim gave me his decent old one he had and took the frayed one off.
Also went shopping for some gloves and found summer time set that almost fit my thumbs, but it was close enough. The winter gloves I should not have bought and I ended up giving them away, too short in the thumbs.
Then on Thursday I went Morrell hunting with Wayne Sena and John. It was cold in the mountains, but I found quite a few of them. We ate some that night dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. Yum! First time I had ever eaten those kinds of mushrooms.
On Friday I worked on putting the bike back together, Jim had gotten me handguards and we put them on. Spirit was ready for the new engine, but UPS didnít show. I finally urged Jim to check his email and find out where on route it was. Turns out it got shipped to Pennsylvania! Somehow either Paypal messed up the address change (has happened to me before too, or Jim forgot to change it. Either way, there was no way we could wait for it to get here, so Jim hurried to the Post office to get the cover of my engine back, so we could just try to fix it instead.
Saturday was a long day! We checked the valves and they were very tight, so Jim replaced the shims for flatter ones. Then it turns out that the spring of the camchain tensioner (hope I got that right) was compressed too much so the camchain was loose and probably hitting the inside of the case, hence the noise. Jim stretched it out and put it back in, now there was tension. Then somehow the doohickey torsion spring got all twisted up, and the doohickey barely moved. We got that one on better too. The inside of the engine looked flawless, we couldnít find any metal flakes or sand or anything. Then once the engine was back on the bike (for which I was secretly very glad, because I felt that the engine was the true part of what Spirit was, Jim worked on his bike and I put the rest of Spirit back together again.
We started her up and she sounded better than ever!! Hooray, Spirit lived!
Then Jim took the rear wheel off to flatten the bump in rim, and we got another surprise! The spacer in the rear wheel was missing and the bearings all rolled out when Jim removed it. He had an ingenious idea of cutting down the spacer of the neighborís klr250, and it worked!
On Sunday Jim put on a new front tire, and replaced my GPS mount with one that wouldnít fall off the bike. I learned to use a plasma cutter and found out that it takes a lot of skill to operate one of those things. I wasnít very good at it, and instead of the flower I had originally wanted to make I ended up with an oval foot on my adjustable kickstand. Spirit was done! I canít really remember my ups and downs during this week, but I tried very hard to take it all in stride and accept what was happening, good and bad.
What a rollercoaster ride life is!
Monday May 28 to Thursday May 31st
We had a late start today, mainly due to me and my slow packing skills. I still hadnít figured out how to pack things efficiently and was still trying to figure out where to put what and how to properly balance the weight.
We got poured on for a short period after leaving Lewiston and got pretty soaked. My hands were freezing the gloves were not waterproof after all. Jim let me use his old ones. At one point the mirror flipped down cause the mount was not tight on the handlebar, and the tank bags flipped off because I had forgotten to snap the bungee on the guard. We got to Boise late and had dinner at a small diner outside of Boise; they had decadent vegetarian food, it was really delicious!
That night we slept in the parking lot at Carlís motorcycle store. It felt weird sleeping in the middle of the town in a parking lot. It was also very noisy and I barely slept that night. The next day we met with a rider who looked like he had hit on hard times, and he was looking for work. I gave him my ďwinterĒ gloves cause they didnít fit me anyway. Then I found some killer winter gloves, bright neon yellow at Carlís shop! They fit perfect so now I was ready for cold weather. At around noon I started riding toward Eureka figuring that, with the speed that Jim rides, he would catch up with me in no time. We decided that I should just text him occasionally where I was so he wouldnít ride past me. The plan was a good one had it not been for the fact that I had totally no cell reception when I stopped at Owyee for some coffee and an apple. At one point I took a wrong turn and pulled over to the side of the road to look at my map when I dropped my reading glasses. Even though the kickstand was shorter, the foot was swiveling all the time because we removed the extra bolt because it was still too long, so I couldnít park the bike to pick up my glasses. An elderly couple had witnessed my predicament and made a U-turn to pick the glasses up for me. I felt again very blessed by providence if you could call it such. I made it to Eureka an hour before sunset and the girl at the gas station told me there was a free campsite in Eureka and texted Jim for me to let him know where I was.
The little park where I was allowed to camp was great, soft grass a babbling brook gorgeous mountains, all in all a little peace of heaven to end my long riding day.
I had just fallen asleep given up on Jim getting there that night, when I was awakened by the unmistakable sound of Jimís Desire. He had gotten the text from the girl, and ended up taking the back-road to Eureka, a dirt road on which he narrowly escaped hitting a cow at 70 miles an hour. I am going to feel fine publically saying, ďIDIOT!Ē If I only know how to get him to slow down, but oh well, to each his ownÖ.
The next day when I awoke I was very cold. Jim had made a lean-to and was sound asleep. I didnít want to wake him so I tried to pack my stuff as quietly as I could, and started to cook us some oatmeal for breakfast. Afterward we went our separate ways again (still cause I packed too slow) only to at one point get a text from him in a small town called Beaver saying where he was. I had to laugh! He was exactly one block ahead of me at a small diner flirting with the ladies LOL! We had lunch ad I took off on my own thinking Jim was right behind me, he had to use the bathroom real quick. The first part of the road from Beaver to Junction was nice and I had to stop for about 5 minutes at some roadwork. It was a tad scary going through the broken up road behind the ďFollow MeĒ truck but I did it! Then after a few miles of gorgeous riding the road turned into a dirt road. Well! If my heart could have plummeted for real it would have hit the Earthís core. Holy crap the gravel was loose and Spirit was squirreling all over the place. I have to admit that the only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that Jim was ďrightĒ behind me. Little did I know!
On top of the pass it was freezing, but gorgeous. There were still areas with patches of snow, and I kept my eyes open in case there were bears, it seemed that kind of natural setting with no people around.
After a while I got used to the road a bit and started feeling a tad more confident when it turned into more of a sandy dirt and gravel road sloping down with hairpin turns and no guardrails. Spirit was very forgiving; I rode her very slowly constantly braking on both engine and brakes. I made it down safely and still no Jim in sight. We met up eventually and it turned out that by going to the bathroom he missed the window and had to wait half an hour at the roadwork sign in order to be able to go.
We rode on and off together and ate dinner at a restaurant in a gorgeous canyon area. I met a couple from Switzerland and talked to them for a while. Jim had struck up a conversation with people from Poland on the other side of him. It was a multi-county get-together. The night was gorgeous, and a bit of a novelty to me seeing as I normally donít ride at night. I donít like being surprised, and the dark does not let you scan the road way ahead of time. That night when it turned out we were still too far from Moab, Jim opted to stay at a motel, which we did. It was nice to sleep in a bed and take a shower.
We met shortly with Tori in the morning and headed to Moab afterward. The first road we took was terrible so we turned around and took the long one along the river. It was an awe-inspiring road.
Jim went, or should we say raced, ahead but somehow I still got there before he did. The campsite was not exactly spectacular, but it would do. I pitched my tent and went to bed early, I was exhausted.
Saturday July 2nd
Friday, yesterday, was memorable, to say the least!
After breakfast with Jim at Eklectic Cafť, we met up with Alex at the campsite.
Alex is Jimís friend and I instantly liked him. He is very easy going and I found myself surprised to be at ease around him despite out age difference.
The group rode to Fredís at Arrowhead Motors where I met Laura. She was putting the tire on the rear wheel and I watched her do it in case I ever had to do the same. Afterward we all rode to Deadhorse point and enjoyed the view. The lookout reminded me of Kauai, the same earth-tones as Kokee Canyon.
Then half the gang went back to camp and the other half decided to go do some trail riding. I decided to test myself and see if I could control the bike going down dirt trails. Oh boy, had I known what awaited me, would I have done it??? Truthfully I donít know, but I was glad that I had at least the off-road practice from Beaver to Junction. The experience was both terrifying and gratifying. I only wiped once in deep sand going down a gap in the hills when my rear tire hit rock and the front one deep in sand. (itís a month later as I write this, and I still have some yellow bruising left on my thigh) I did mess up Spirit a bit, broke my brand-new throttle lock and bent my hand guard. The rest of the trail was doable and jumping into the river on the way back was just what I needed.
Of course then Jim goes and does something stupid! I tell ya, that cat has more than 9 lives! He goes and checks out the depth of the river and figures out where the deepest part is, so he can go and jump off the cliff. I go up and jump where he pointed and it went fine. He then goes past the point of where he said to jump and lands in shallow water his back hitting the mushy river bottom. I think itís the mushiness that saved his behind, literally!
Laura and I walked almost all the way across the river; it was that shallow!
That evening at the camping we got together for the sharing of the goodies. I lucked out! Not only did I score a cool knife a flash light and fuel filter kit, I ended up with an original KLR tank bag from Guido. On top of all this I ended up with an extra wide rear rack that has literally made traveling so much easier.
Alex Jim and I went to have dinner that night, and a lovely girl was our waitress, Jim was in heaven! Both guys were very giggly that evening, and I better not post why, but you can probably guess. Looking around and observing them I realized that even though we were all such different people, there still was a cool and amicable dynamics between us. Slept good that night but was still tired in the morning. That huge bruise on my leg was zapping me of any energy I might have had.
Today I lounged in my hammock, I let Alex sleep in it, and he seemed to like it. I didnít really feel like off-roading but when almost everyone went to Onion Creek I decided I should too even though I was tired. Jim zoomed ahead, but Guido stayed with me, he was my lifesaver that day. I dropped the bike 3 times, once in a sandy and rocky spot coming out of the creek (I got Spirit up myself, Yay!) once in very loose sand because I couldnít reach the ground and had my foot sink into the sand when I stopped, and once in gravel on the side of the creek. I was happy that going through the creeks went great, giving gas really helped there. Unfortunately dropping the bike in gravel bent up my left hand-guard, broke my brand-new choke and somehow made my handlebars crooked. I made it to the end where everyone was resting, and the guys straightened out my handlebars. I was wiped but glad that the rough part was behind me, or so I thought. Turns out we had to go the same way back. Oy! I so did not want to do that, but resigned myself to the fact that I had to, going on would have been longer and harder I was told.
Of course Jim went that way, and I left with Guido following me. I felt bad for him, Iím sure that the last thing he wanted to do was babysit me.
I surprised myself going back. I finally had the courage to stand on my pegs, even though I didnít really have any grip seeing as Spirit still had the rubber ones, not the spiky metal ones. I did not wipe out once and safely made it back to the group.
I was pretty wiped when we got back. Made myself some lentil soup and decided to find Alex and Jim at the restaurant. Jim had safely mad it back in record time, go figure! Found them at the Blue Pig and stole one of Jimís two salads. ☺
I was too tired to walk all the way back so I climbed over the wooden fence of the campground seeing as my tent was right behind it. I started a fire and later that evening we had a whole group sitting around the fire and talking. I was about as lively as a doorknob; what was I thinking, a 51-year-old woman trying to be young again? Good thing I donít listen to that part of myself too often. You are as young as you feel they say, and my spirit inside me is infinitely old yet amazingly young at the same time. Everyone was smoking around the campfire and when I declined I told Jim my story on how I lost my little jade Buddha necklace. He loved it.
Here it goes: I wore a Jade Buddha around my neck and I told myself that if I ever lost it, that it would mean that I was on the wrong path.
One day in Northern India (Himachal Pradesh) a couple of guys accompanied me up the mountain. We left early but didnít get there until around sunset. We were all stoned out of out heads, so neither one of us had taken into account that we might need about the same amount of time to get down the mountain as it took us to get up there. So after watching the sun set all of a sudden the predicament we were in dawned on us. Then I had a bright idea, and told them about a Jack Kerouac book I had read in which he stated that you canít fall off a mountain. Jack described how you could get down a mountain by jumping from rock to rock. And us, silly as we were, decided that it had to be the truth, and we began our descent by jumping from rock to rock. We made it to the village just as it had gotten too dark to see. It had literally taken no time at all to get down. I was so thankful to have made it down safe that I reached for my necklace and say a quiet thank you to the jade Buddha, when I noticed it was gone. I havenít smoked since.
I went to bed with the guys still around the campfire.
The next day, Monday, I mounted the rack and I loved it! Got rid of the Walmart tote that caught too much air, and redistributed my junk differently so my load was lower.
I also activated the other Jimís cellphone for him.
Alex and Jim took off earlier to do the white rim trail.
I ended up going up the river road to find a quiet campsite. I found a really nice one called Hittle Bottom. I hung up my hammock and relaxed in the shade of the trees.
Jim and Alex had said theyíd find me later and I told Alex Iíd hang my peace pants for him to see. I had no reception where I camped, so I rode back into town to text Jim and tell him where I was camped. While I was back in town I decided to get some good food and some stuff for the guys to eat in case they made it back early. I met a lady called Gail from Alaska.
That night turned out to be one out of a horror story.
The occupants of the tent nearby turned out to be a large family or friends, 4 kids and three adults. They were talking and screaming till about 1:30 AM after which the dad told them to go in the tent and watch a movie. Unfortunately one of the kids, a young boy of about 8 was throwing a bit of a tantrum about having to watch a movie he didnít want to watch. I have never heard a dad scream such horrible language at a kid, totally putting him down and belittling him. The F word was pretty dominant.
At 2 AM I was so tired and could not sleep because the guy was talking loudly. I walked to the road for a bit to enjoy the quiet and the view of the moon over the valley. As I got back to camp I asked the three adults if they would be going to bed soon. I explained that I had a long ride tomorrow and wanted to be alert on my motorcycle. The guy got horrible rude and told me very clearly that he had no inclination to go to bed at any time soon, and that if I didnít like it I should move my stuff and sleep somewhere else. I told him kindly that normally people are respectful of other campers and donít make a bunch of noise at 2am. He then told me that if I wanted he could make things really unpleasant for me by going to his truck and getting his 45.
I told him go ahead. That shut him up for just a sec. I also told him he was rude and that he had no right to holler at his kid like that. Then I wished him love and peace in his heart and left. While I packed my stuff I felt so powerless. Here is someone so obnoxious and all I wanted was peace. I did not want to argue with him or fight , just kindness and consideration, but neither one was possible. I also did not want to pack my stuff and move cause I was so tired. I ended up screaming loudly out of sheer frustration of my predicament. In the end I took the peaceful giving way instead of the resisting way and moved to the other side of the campground with the help of Gail who was also camped there. Unfortunately that side didnít have trees for my hammock so I pitched my tent and got about 3 hours of sleep. I have yet to get to a point in my life that I accept whatever it dishes out without getting too ruffled by it.
The next morning, Tuesday June 5th my daughterís Birthday, I cleaned up camp and waited for Jim and Alex who showed up later in the morning.
I told Jim the story of what happened, which I guess I shouldnít have seeing as he stormed of in the direction of the guyís camp. I told him to just let it go, forgive and forget. All happens as it should, but he didnít really listen.
I guess the guy hid the whole time Jim hovered around.
Then Jim rode off and Alex stayed behind napping until I had my bike packed up.
Turns out he really hurt himself on the white rim trail. Crashed his bike pretty hard and hurt his hands. The he told me about the deer he hit and how it ended up with two broken legs. Jim held it and caressed it for 10 minutes trying to heal it but couldnít. He ended up having to put it out of its misery using a knife. I am glad it wasnít me. I donít think I could have coped with that to good. Neither could Alex. It was a pretty traumatic night for him, hence the napping.
We went to Fred at Arrowhead Motors again where I put on Jimís rear rim that his wife had mailed to Fredís. I also spend money on a new stainless oil filter, a new choke, throttle lock, tire spoons, and inner tube. Fred made some money on me that day. I gave Jim some of the money my dad had sent for the rear rim, the shipping money he lost when the engine got shipped the wrong way and some of the stuff he had gotten for me. It was not nearly enough; maybe one day I can return the favor.
I texted Tammy that day after I tried to call her but got no answer. I wished her a happy Birthday and found myself rather sad to miss her 18th Birthday
That night the three of us spend out last night together at a motel, it was nice to sleep in a bed again.
The next morning, Wednesday June 6th, after breakfast at Eklectic cafť Jim left to go his way and Alex and I rode together a short while. The wind was howling and I was being buffeted left and right. Something was wrong with Spirit! I rode slow and pulled into a gas station of the freeway, Alex following me. I checked everything I could think off. The front shocks, 4 of the bolts were a little loose and re-aligned the rear wheel, it was just a little off. Then Alex said it might have something to do with me riding on a new rear tire, the knobbies where still long. I was torn between just camping right there and then and waiting for the wind to go away, or just biting the bullet and learn to ride in strong wind. I decided to do the latter and get over my fear. Alex also gave me some good pointers on how to ride in the wind, and to not grip my handlebars too tightly but loosely and to let the bike do its thing.
We said goodbye, I was sad to see him go, having company on the road is nice at times. As I rode of on my own I realized that my solo adventure had only now started. This whole time, with the exception of my solo ride to Diamond Lake, I had been in the company of Jim or Alex. It felt weird finally being on my own, but also liberating. My time was my own now.
I rode to Escalante that day and camped at an RV park. I met Ben at the campsite, he had a broken chain and was waiting for a new one to arrive at the bike shop. He offered me a beer but I had to decline and explain to him I didnít drink.
I slept like a baby that night ☺
Thursday June 7th
Today I rode through some gorgeous countryside. I passed Bryce Canyon.
Somewhere at one of the viewpoints I dropped Spirit again. I had not put it in first gear and the bike stalled abruptly with a sideways momentum and I couldnít hold her. Fortunately after having gotten the bike halfway up, a guy on a yellow BMW saw my predicament and stopped to help me left Spirit the rest of the way.
As I rode to Panquitch I had to turn at a fork in the road and go a different way because the sign said road closed.
Had I listened to my voicemail I would have been able to go, seeing as Jim left me a message saying that he went that way anyway and that it was fine.
I donít regret going the other way, because it detoured via Zion, I loved it there!!
I rode into Nevada and stopped at a wonderful campground in Panaca, only $7 and it had showers. I slept in my hammock that night, carefree and happy.
Friday June 8th
Today I rode the extraterrestrial Hwy toward Yosemite.
It is an amazingly beautiful area despite the barren surrounding, or maybe because of it. There is such a vastness of space that fills you as you ride. Hard to explain, but I loved it. The road stretched ahead of me like a pencil mark on a map. I rode past area 51 and tried to sense if there were aliens around, but didnít.
I rode as far as Lee Vining that night right at the beginning of Yosemite. It was a gorgeous forested campsite with bear-proof storage areas.
Saturday June 9th
Yosemite was gorgeous and windy and I kept on being amazed by the scenes in front of me; the depth of the valleys and the colors of the rock formations and hills. I had mapped out a road North but was unable to find it. My GPS had died on me early on the road and I had gone and bought several maps instead. I did end up finding my way North which led me through Sonora where I decided to stop at Walmart and buy a $10 tracfone so I would have reception in areas where my droid phone had none. I also got a pump and a tire gage. I rode on and over the Sonora pass. It was a scary experience but also gorgeous and freezing! As it neared night I found a campsite in the woods. All I could do was pitch my tent eat my barely heated up soup and crash; I had bitten off a bit much that day, I needed to slow down!
Sunday June 10th
I rode through South Tahoe today, there was a Renaissance fair happening, and loads of people were walking around in medieval costumes, it was great!
After Tahoe into Lake Tahoe where I spend time at a coffee shop using the internet and having coffee and a cookie. After my much longed for internet use I headed North to Lassen state park. Holy cow, there was still snow up there, but the scenery was awesome!
I kept on riding and hoping I would find a campground, I did, but they wanted so much money for it that I turned around and kept riding. I went offroad to camp behind the trees, but I dropped Spirit, again. My rear wheel hit a big rock when I tried to turn and I couldnít hold her. It was dark and I walked over the hilly edge to the highway to wave someone down cause I couldnít get Spirit up; too much gravel for me to get a foothold. After a few cars a young girl stopped and helped me get Spirit up. I was so tankful and amazed that someone her age, late teen I think, stopped to help. I was bummed cause I broke my mirror, and the JB weld on the throttle lock had cracked, but it was still whole.
I was physically and emotionally exhausted, so much for taking it slow and easy. Things had to change I decided, this was no fun. I found a deserted road near the forest park and made a lean-to like I saw Jim do in Eureka, and crashed.
I slept good even though it was freezing that night. It was a short night though seeing as I woke at 5:30 am as it was turning light.
Monday June 11th
I headed to my friend Catiaís house in Redway today stopping in Arcata and calling her to let her know I was coming, and then taking the scenic route.
Me and my ideas! What a road! If I had been prone to heart attacks I would have had a few of them. An absolutely awesome route, but scary as hell!
I got to Catia early afternoon.
It was nice to hang with my friend for a few days. I helped her in her garden, ate some freshly picked strawberries, steamed homegrown artichokes for dinner along with Broccoli and onions from her garden.
Redway and Garberville are nice communities with very friendly people. I like it there.