TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Archive for September 20th, 2009

Day 286– 20th September 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 20, 2009

Sunday – San Diego, California

Well, a ride day was suspended due to a Vstrom down 😦

It was an early start today, we had to be at the meeting place by 8.30 or so for the ride. First stop was to get fuel, I was down to absolute zero, in fact as I rolled down the driveway yesterday arvo, it cut out on me, so I should be OK uphill to get out, maybe 🙂 I had let the fuel run down again so I could do the fuel tank removal, and this time it had been done 🙂 In California they have a rubber shroud surrounding the fuel hose, this has a switch on it so when you push hard into the tank, it will allow fuel to flow. This is designed so fuel vapour is not released to the atmosphere, but it is a real PITA for bikers,especially with a tank bag in place while holding the shroud switch engaged and pulling the trigger on the fuel nozzle!

Then we headed about 25 miles up north to Centre City through a very foggy morning, I am still learning the new camera and the bike shot is a bit blurry, sorry 🙂

At the meeting place we met some other riders, this is an AMA club so everyone had to sign a waiver, I also was shown on a map our route for the day.

Then Rashid, the ride captain spelled out the details of the ride, including the stops, the turnoffs and where we were having smoko and lunch etc. He also mentioned road conditions, especially the tree section after open sunlight and also gravel on corners, especially one corner where an anti biker throws dirt and beer cans, it is on an Indian reservation.

After that we headed off, the bikes were a wide range of styles, about 15 in total, this was an open call ride where anyone could join in, I was a guest rider of Craig’s, there was at least one other like me, that is a non member of this particular club. The plan to start with was to get on the I15 and head north for two exits then get off and hit the country roads.

Now, it did not start all that well, I was 2nd last behind a Honda VTX1800 cruiser with Craig behind me as sweep rider on his K4 DL650. As we were on the freeway the pace was quite fast, around the 70mph mark, I could see the line of bikes in front of me and of course I kept a certain space around me, but because I was just following I did not pay attention to the navigation part, this may have been a mistake on my part.

So, there was now a car or two in the mix as we could not ride as a close group, we were in the right hand lanes near the exits when I saw the lead bikes, in front of the cars, move out into a faster lane, so of course did the cruiser in front of me and I followed him. But, the speedier, faster lead bikes had only done this to get around some cars in front of them and immediately swung right across two lanes to get the next freeway exit!!! They had plenty of time and because I was committed I followed the cruiser and probably gave some car driver a bit of a heart flutter 😦

In hindsight I guess I should have stayed in my lane and taken the next exit, but that did not happen. We stopped at a traffic light and I mentioned to Craig “that was not a good start” and he said we can stay back and do not have to push the front at all. Soon after we turned off onto a country road(on the map indicated by a big arrow), we only went short distance and I could see the lead riders take off into the distance and I was stuck behind a cruiser, who did not seem to have any riding skills at all. The road was not that twisty but it did wind a bit and we were doing around the 50mph mark.

As we came around a sweeping bend, the cruiser got a bit out of shape and seemed to be pulling over to the shoulder area, I backed off but saw no need for brakes at this stage, Craig was behind me a ways, not close, but not far either, the usual safe distance. As we went to the left on a slight bend the cruiser seemed to be very badly controlled and did in fact go off the road onto the dirt. By this time I was alongside him and passing but also slowing down, I saw his front wheel kick around in the soft sand and I thought, he is a downer! So, I immediately slowed down with brakes and looked in my rear view mirror for Craig as I did not want to cause him problems, but I was out of the picture by now, Craig had his own problems!!

I saw the cruiser come out of a cloud of dust and back into the road, straight in front of Craig, I then saw what at the time looked like a collision and Craig get launched over the handlebars, at that point, my main concern was parking and getting back to see if he was OK because he high sided which usually hurts! 😦

I found a place to park which would not cause any dramas and went back, Craig was up and about and the cruiser was still upright and moving his bike to the side of the road. He and I moved Craig’s bike onto the shoulder where I belatedly took my first photo.

He seemed to have a sore shoulder and his helmet had a bad graze, we moved the bikes to a better location off the road edge and checked out the damage to Craig, the bike and the road. The cruiser guy said he was going too fast for the corner and tried to slow down, but got into the dirt where he nearly lost it in the soft sand, but managed to save a drop by gassing it. The marks on the road and the bike tell the story, Craig was shaken and his shoulder hurt, but it was not dislocated, he did have a small twinge in the neck area as well.

Bob(compared2What) turned up at this stage as the cruiser guy headed off to join the rest of the ride group. A phone call had been made to Rashid explaining the situation and the decision to head back also was made. We waited until Craig felt comfortable to ride and during this time I had ridden the bike up the road and back to make sure it was OK, it was 🙂

Just a side note here, Craig has a different set of bars and Acerbis equivelent hand guards(EMGO), with an aluminium strap inside a plastic guard. He does not use crash bars and as you can tell from this shot, there is no damage to the plastics at all, in fact that smiley face is still smiling 🙂

Anyway, we headed back after about 30 minutes all up and followed Craig, we were going to go to a shady spot and have a cool drink, but he felt OK enough to ride home.

Bob had peeled off to go home and when we got back Craig said to start draining the oil while he chased up a medical centre that could do an Xray to see if there is anything wrong with his shoulder, so I did, this is a great oil drain container, it has alid which can be screwed on afterwards before emptying it somewhere else 🙂

So, while that was draining, I drove Craig down to the nearest place that he had booked in to. Now, that was interesting, my first ever drive of a car in the US and it was different!! The floor shift was on the wrong side, I kept reaching for the window winder! And every time I went to turn, I switched on the windscreen wipers, Craig was laughing and mentioned “that’s 5” 😕 I eventually worked things out, but it was real strange I can say 🙂 Craig was seen to in quick time after greasing the palms and was told no break, just tissue damage, so he was lucky. He needs ice, rest etc and also some drugs for the pain, which he may or may not take.

So we went back with him in a sling.

His wife Lisa turned up around 3pm while I was doing the rest of the oil change and of course the explanations then started 😆

I kept out of the way, although it was all fun in a way and concern of course, and just plugged away at the bike, I loosened the front sprocket in readiness for tomorrow, a big bike day as I needed new tyres etc.

We had a quiet afternoon and evening with a great meal and basically chatted until late. 🙂 Lisa had to work the next day, but the boys could play with bikes again 🙂 It was nearly time to crash out when there was a bit of commotion, it seems Bailey the dog had found a skunk in the back yard and true to his name, bailed him up and of course got ‘skunked’ right on top of his head 😦 He was busy rubbing his face over the grass when Lisa grabbed him and dumped him in the bath!

He was not a happy dog, but he stunk of skunk, and he was washed with ‘anti skunk’ shampoo, designed for these moments 😆 That may teach him, but maybe not, as this is the 2nd time, apparently it takes 3 weeks for the smell to go away! He was then given a few treats and settled into his nightly bed.

I now know what skunk smells like, it is very powerful, but not sickening and it now reminds me of some of the smells I had not recognised while riding 🙂 I still won’t drink a beer that smells like this though, so TombStone, forget it 🙂


Day 65 miles and 105 km
Trip – 37,361 miles and 60,127 km

Cheers
TravellingStrom

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