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Today was the first day I tried to conduct business from the road. I went back to Truckee, and found a library with wifi to work out of. Everything worked perfectly. Hooray! Once the business nonsense was done, I decided to head back to a quiet rest area I had seen earlier, find a picnic bench with some shade and do some development. Got to stay disciplined.

The rest area turned out to be a memorial to the Donner party that got stranded right in that same location. It was a very nice place, but it would become an omen for events later in the day.

After that I hit the road again, and went through Lassen National Park.

Here are some pics of the road through it:

After Lassen I decided to go to Medicine Lake, a beautiful lake near the border with Oregon. The plan was to spend the night somewhere around there, and then make the border crossing in to Oregon in the morning. The bike’s first trip over state lines. It was to be a momentous occasion.

Medicine Lake is simply spectacular. Here are some pics:

Following the taking of these pics I decided to explore a bit. The road to Medicine Lake had a lot of little side logging roads, and I wasn’t quite ready to call it a day. At one point, I stopped the bike to walk around a bit, and with that little innocent event, this ride’s technical glitch begins.

On return I tried starting the bike and nothing. Check kill switch, kick stand, all is good. EWS error comes up on the little screen. What the hell is an EWS error? So I dig out the user manual and find out: Electronic Immobilizer System. So the bike was thinking it was getting stolen. Great! Such a useful feature in the middle of nowhere. I follow the instructions in the manual. Try the spare, ok, still no good. Then it says take it to the dealer. Well that’s easier said than done.

I got a cell phone, but can’t get a signal. The SAT phone… (well you already know the story here)

I figure that the bike probably needs to rest, and it will miraculously fix itself in the morning. Gotta stay positive. I make camp, get liquored up, and ponder my situation.


In the morning I walked around the lake a bit to stretch, and to check to see if the fish were biting.

Then it was back on the road again. I continued up the 395

This bird was giving me the eye outside Mono Lake.

Lake Tahoe was the next stop, and it was overrun with people. Thank god I was on a bike and could squeeze by. It would have been maddening otherwise. Once past all the congestion, I stopped to go for a swim. I figure as long as you can go for a swim somewhere everyday, your BO should remain bearable if you can’t get a shower.

Past Truckee, I found a camp ground and decided to stay there for the night. Quiet place next to a reservoir.

Here I decided to test my SAT phone out. (That’s right, redundancy of all communications equipment as well) Unfortunately, I went the budget route, and bought a used GlobalStar phone. It didn’t work very well. It took forever to find a satellite, and when it did, a call lasted no more than 30 seconds before disconnecting.


Round 2 Begins.

After the disaster that derailed my first ride, I was determined that this time around nothing would be left to chance. Redundancy was the key here. Every system had a redundant counterpart. In one case, triple redundancy.

I felt that perhaps the ‘three time rule’ applied to bike trips as well. That something unforeseen was bound to happen, and that there may be a very good chance that I would need to rush back to LA again. I decided to replace the TKCs with the Tourances. I figured this would allow for a bit more speed on the road when the time came. I was also able to strip the bike of ten pounds of weight making the machine a bit leaner.

With everything in place, I was good to go, and off for my second attempt to make Canada.

Here is the machine all loaded up and ready for the road:

This time around I decided to go through downtown LA, and take the Angeles Crest and Forest Highways to Palmdale. Then take the 14 North through Mojave and up the 395, a most spectacular road that runs along the eastern side of Sierra Nevada. But it now being late July, it was going to be hot.

Once past Mojave you hit Red Rock Canyon, a state park:

I had lunch in Onion Valley. A place I frequent a lot when I go backpacking. It’s around 9000 feet and a good place to spend the night if you want to get a bit acclimated before doing the high altitude hikes over the Eastern passes. I grabbed some sandwiches in Independence, and made my way up. There’s a nice cold stream that runs down the valley and a perfect place to take a dip to cool off. Something I needed bad.

Onion Valley is up in there somewhere.

And looking back down toward Independence.

Getting closer.

Should have taken a few more pics after this, but I was too preoccupied with lunch and cooling off. Oh well.

Later, I continued up the 395 and stopped in Mammoth Lakes for the night. Found a campground and made camp.

Enjoyed some nice soup and some wine.

Made a little fire.

It was good to be out in the country again. I ended up staying up really late just marveling at how dark and quiet it gets in the wilderness. Something I hope I never get tired of. This then reminded me of a story:

After the Loma Prieta earthquake of ‘89, I was in College taking a course in astronomy. We had a guest lecturer from the Griffith Park Observatory who told us about something interesting that occurred for about a month after the quake. They got calls from people asking what was wrong with the sky that caused the quake that afternoon. They told him that the sky looked very strange that night and wondered what it was. Puzzled he told them there was nothing wrong with sky, and definitely nothing that would have caused the quake. The calls seemed to come from the inner cities, and their descriptions were typical of a night sky. And then it hit him, there was a total black out in some areas following the quake and with no city lights to hide them, people were seeing the stars for the first time.


The next morning the VPN issue continued. Something was seriously wrong. I called my man back in LA to try to figure out what the problem was, but he was at a loss as well. And then the calls started. Problems always come in waves. The bug was holding up production, and this issue needed to be fixed immediately. Shit! License and sales problems starting coming in from across the globe as well. Double shit! Without access to the system, I was effectively shut down. The reliance on technology here is huge, and when one thing goes wrong…you’re screwed!

I went to a library to try another connection and still nothing. Realizing that I was in a middle of a serious system melt down, I decided there was only one option, I needed to abort! And only 3 days in! [Expletives deleted]

Spent the rest of the day on the South 101 high tailing myself back to LA. Here’s the sad bike as we rest for a moment.

So my first big bike trip ends in a total disaster. Did not even make it out of the state. Perhaps things were going too well. Laguna Seca was the best, and to have something like that just fall into your lap, well there just had to be repercussions.

The end of round one.


After the races, I continued up north along the coast. Ideal riding weather.

The Golden Gate Bridge:

Here’s Alcatraz.

And San Francisco.

More beautiful California coast line:

Met a lot of racer bikes on PCH and it was a joy trying to keep up with them. Life was good.

Then I started seeing some business activity on the old crackberry. (It was now a Monday and the work week started) This would be the first test of the system on the road. I had tried many dry runs in the city and was fairly confident that all would work well. One of my bigger clients found a bug in the software, and it needed to be fixed. No problem. I setup the machine, got on to the web, and tried to access the VPN. Multiple attempts, and nothing. Could just be the web. Why else would it just suddenly stop working? Perhaps tomorrow it will be better. Don’t things magically fix themselves over night?

I decided to get a hotel room so I could get a controlled environment to help diagnose the problem and higher speed access. Wasn’t too concerned about the technology break down at this point. This stuff happens. I figured Id get this to work before morning. Was more pissed that here I was now in a hotel after spending a couple of nights in a trailer, and had yet to do a single night of camping. I was getting soft.


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