A few weeks ago, I realized I needed a vacation. So I decided to take some time off around the 4th of the July (since the 3rd was also a company holiday) and head down to the desert. Since I knew some of the people going to Drummer California, I decided that I should go ahead and spend three nights over in Palm Springs. So I booked a room at CCBC and off I went. And boy what an adventure it was.
What I am going to do is split this up into multiple posts and leave the gallery of photos up on my SFW site.
If there was a day of real difficulties, this was it – and it was all before I left.
I foolishly left the headlight on Matte on while I was working on waxing the chain the night before. I keep forgetting that you don’t have long on a motorcycle battery before the lights drain it. I went to go hop on him and fill Matte up and test out my bags. He refused to start. Oh fuck a Dead Battery 3 hours before I leave. Good thing I followed the advice of the same friend and bought a battery powered jump starter – and it worked.
Rode around, filled up, and everything was good. That 35 buck device just paid for itself. I put the seat back on and bag back on and time to head out. Time for the next oh shit moment.
I never tested out the dry pack with my backpack full. The two hit and it was not going to work – not even for a ride across town to see if I could find a small can of chain wax for the trip. While I tried it anyways – it was a major fail! During this experiment, I also realized that I was going to change how I mount Matte. This was something that I would figure out by the second day.
The next fail was the shops didn’t have any small cans or bottles of chain wax. While this was less important, it would have been nice to have.
At this point I am trying to figure out how I repack. I decide to take less stuff and fit everything into the dry pack and tank bag. One of the things I forego was my riding jeans. With the armor, they were taking up nearly a third of the dry pack – and given that any serious riding was going to be done in my Dainese perforated pants – I thought this was an acceptable compromise. Given that those riding jeans are warmer than my perforated leather – this made sense for the desert. I was fully aware of the safety risk I was taking while riding around in normal jeans when I did it.
I pretty much had some speedos, underwear, long socks, a bunch of compression shirts, a few loose t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a hoodie, and my toe shoes. Yet by the end of the trip I realized I still packed too much!
Lesson Learned: I need way less stuff than I think for road trips on a motorcycle.
Next I was figuring out how to take the hydration pack. While I could have put it behind my back protector in the jacket that wasn’t fitting right. It did fit well in the tank bag, and some velcro around the handle provided a good place to secure the bite valve for it. This did limit what I could put in the tank bag – but in the end it held everything I really needed up front.
With all of these technical difficulties solved I logged off at work and hit the road. My route was going to be 101 to Morro Bay. The goal was to just get the hell out of the Bay Area and get somewhere nice to crash for the evening. Even though I was passing by Gilroy around 4ish – 101 was a complete mess. I have no idea how people can deal with that traffic every day down to Gilroy or Holister.
In the end I plotted a course to a Taqueria near the freeway with high ratings and made that my first stop. Filled up matte and got some Tacos de Lengua. While not the best Lengua I had, it was loaded with it and rather tasty, this made a good first stop.
Then I was back on 101 and traffic opened up. This is where I realized that doing the super-slab route down to Morro Bay was becoming boring and hypnotic. Shortly, Google Maps suggested an alternative route through Lockwood and by Lake Nacimiento. I pondered for maybe 5 seconds and tapped the screen. It as well worth it. The mildly twisty quiet roads allowed me to get comfortable with the extra weight of the pack on my bike.
After I take some pictures I head back to 101 so I can get to Morro Bay and the unbelievable happens. While in a turn, one of my ear plugs is sucked in to my ear! When I get to Paso Robles, I find a drug store and buy a pair of tweezers and some foam ear plugs.
Since I started riding, I have had a hella hard time finding a pair of permanent ear plugs that fit right for long rides. I thought the No Noise ones were a match, but apparently they were not. In the past I didn’t like foam plugs since the caused a bit too much pressure building in elevation changes. However, after this I didn’t want this to happen again and bought the highest NRR foam plugs that Rite-Aid had. Now I have added a pair of tweezers is part of my bike toolkit under my seat.
I get to Morro Bay just as the sun is starting to set. I am glad that I chose this as my first destination instead of Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo. The views were just great and I took some sunset pictures and selfies. Afterwords checked in to the hotel grabbed dinner and took some night time shots.
Now it is time to get some sleep and rest up for heading to LA the next day.