August, 2016

  1. The Warm Welcome to California

    August 23-24, 2015
    Posted on August 22, 2016

    I woke up with an unexplainable fear in my mind. Half awake, I could faintly make out rapid banging sounds which grew louder as my consciousness took firmer grip on my surroundings. It was cold enough that I could see my own breath. Bang! Bang! Bang! I felt butterflies in my stomach as my first guess for the nature of the noise was gunfire. Suddenly, I was not sure if I should continue breathing or play dead. In a few moments I realized that it was actually someone chopping wood. At 6 am. Is this something these people do for fun? After playing Christian rock (2-3 songs tops, on repeat) until about 4 am…

    It’s not that this place was getting on my nerves, it’s more like it got there so deeply and permanently, we have both silently agreed that we’d rather sleep by the side of the road than have the privilege of experiencing this side of America again. No more RV camps for me.

    I waited just long enough for my brain to fully start up, after which we packed up in record time, topped up the oil again and were out of there.

    A herd of elk along a California highway

    Out on the road we started seeing tour buses! One stopped right on the side of hwy 101 (there wasn’t much of a side to it), and everyone poured out to indulge in some wildlife viewing. There was a small herd of elk relaxing in a clearing.

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  2. Crater Lake

    August 21-22, 2015
    Posted on August 6, 2016

    Sometimes life works in weird ways. Back in Olympic National Forest I dropped my bike in a funny way and broke the mirror mount. As our schedule was pretty much non-existent and the chances that this tiny part will just randomly happen to be in stock at the next Yamaha dealer were slim, I just called up the next place I knew we will be in sometime this month: San Francisco. A local dealer there placed an order for the part and I went on my merry way.

    Fast forward to the day I was contemplating heading to Crater Lake. Upon closer examination, turned out this iconic landmark is way inland, a few hours away from the coast. Visiting it would take at least a full extra day of travel. Alex was insisting we just push to San Francisco and pick up the mount so I can finally have two mirrors like a normal person. A little disappointed, I agreed. And then he noticed a Yamaha dealer on the side of the highway in a sizeable town with a romantic name North Bend. He insisted we stop and check it out. And in the most unlikely fashion, they had that part in stock.

    While there, we also checked the oil level on my bike, and found it lacking. For the last couple of months, even before the trip, we noticed that oil was disappearing from my XT. We were topping it up occasionally, sometimes as much as 600 ml after 1000 km of riding. For a bike with barely more than a litre of oil in the first place, that seemed troublesome. We topped it up again in the parking lot, and I kept wondering if I’m measuring it wrong, or if there is a problem with a bike, a thought I was pushing away as hard as it kept creeping back at me.

    For now, seemingly free from mechanical issues, we headed to Crater Lake.

    North Bend

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