PART TWO – Sept 8 to Sept 28, 2009
After a week of non-stop over-stimulation at Burning Man, we said a tearful good-bye to some of our closest friends and continued on our journey. Barely a half-hour past the gates, Roz signaled that she had to stop and rest. I sleepily concurred. We found some shade in a field in Empire, NV and snoozed for an hour. We were spent ad and found it hard to get back into travel mode. We limped into Sparks, just outside of Reno, and found a Motel 6 with our names on it. We spent two days there doing laundry, wiping fine desert sand off our bikes and gear, and eating like there was no tomorrow.
I had some maintenance to do on the bikes so we got hold of a friend of a friend in Reno named Michael, who offered his garage and house to us for a few days. It was total luxury. I did some oil changes, installed new handlebars on my bike and finally mounted the last of the four tires. Despite the work, my bike to-do list never seemed to get any shorter. I still had to research, buy and install communications gear. I had grip heaters, hand guards, throttle locks and a few other things to install. And I had to lose some weight off our bikes. We were terribly overloaded and I didn’t like that. But we couldn’t stay in Reno because we wanted to catch Michael Franti’s Power to the Peaceful concert in San Francisco.
So we thanked our host in Reno and hit the road again. Roz isn’t a fan of interstates, but our options were limited, so we got on I-80 and headed west. We thought the Black Rock desert was hot, but as we got closer to the coast, a heat wave roasted us on the searing asphalt. It was a tough ride for Roz, as she doesn’t feel confident going fast on her bike and the tailgating truckers weren’t making things easier for her. Occasionally, I’d find a road that would parallel the highway to give her a break, but for the most part, she just had to endure the ride. (Roz: And doing 60 mph on my thumper was like riding a gas-powered vibrator – maybe fun in the bedroom, but not on the highway!)
What should have been a 3-4 hour ride turned into a two day grind. The worst part for Roz was near Napa Valley where gusting crosswinds scared the hell out of her. We got off the interstate and rolled through small towns until we got to Oakland. That’s when she saw the bridge. Roz doesn’t like interstates. She doesn’t like wind. And she really doesn’t like bridges. Now she had to face all three. It took a lot of mental psyching-up to get her out of the Oakland Denny’s, but eventually, we hit the bridge. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as she feared (her imagination is always worse than the real thing) and we rolled into San Francisco by noon on the day of the concert.
A friend, Beni, had offered his place to us and we gratefully accepted. We found it in the slightly sketchy Mission district, unloaded our bikes and headed to Golden Gate Park for the concert. We got there in time for the last half-hour of Michael Franti, but it was enough. His positivity was infectious and Roz was happy again. So was I.
The next two weeks in San Francisco were a time of debauchery, sleeping in and working on the bikes. Beni and I rocked out to Guitar Hero, Roz entered receipts into the laptop and once in a while, we would play tourist in S.F. It was a good time. In hindsight, this was the real rest we needed after the past eight months of moving, Burning Man and I-80. Thankfully, Beni wasn’t working, so we were all in the same mode.
Beni in the mode with Pasha the cat.
It wouldn’t be a San Fran report without the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Fran is very progressive as far as motorcycles go. Only 25 cents an hour to park downtown. Nice.
Watch it – those buildings are sharp!
Rockin’ out on Guitar Hero with Beni (a daily habit)
The first month of travel had driven home the importance of comms between Roz and I, so after some research, I decided on the Autocomm system. Greg at Marin County BMW spent hours helping me put together a system and I am so thankful for his patient help. While I’m handing out thanks, I’d also like to thank Wayne at Motoport for the Kevlar riding suits we had custom made for us. We both chose the Marathon jacket and Ultra II pants in mesh with quad armour. Bulky, but so cool in the heat (once you’re moving). Both these men exemplify the meaning of customer service and to them, I raise a frosty beer.
Once I installed our comms and a bunch of other things, and reduced our loads a little, we were ready to say good-bye to Beni and San Francisco. But not before our laptop suffered a mishap (no need to go into details at this time) and we lost both it and our photos. It was frustrating to say the least, but such is life sometimes. So remember kids, back up everything!
END OF PART TWO