Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Win a chance to ride a Triumph Explorer in Morocco

I know this decreases my chance to win, but screw it.  If someone else wins by reading this post I'd feel good about that too!  I received a Triumph brochure in the mail tonight and they're offering a chance to win a 12 day ride through Spain and Morocco on the newly released Tiger Explorer.  All you have to do is throw your name in the hat by January 27th.  Check it out here: Triumph's Explorer Site

If you do win I expect to be invited over after the trip to see the photos:)

From Triumph's site:

Be one of the first to ride the new Tiger Explorer on an amazing adventure tour from Spain to Morocco
To celebrate the reveal of the new Tiger Explorer, Triumph has launched an exclusive competition, Seeking Explorers, that will see lucky winners from around the world embark on a 12-day trip of a lifetime before the bike even goes on sale.
Organized in collaboration with renowned motorcycle travel company Edelweiss, who run the Triumph Adventure Tours programme, the exclusive tour, worth over €5000, starts in southern Spain on March 9, before crossing the Mediterranean to Morocco for a ride that encompasses everything from the Atlas Mountains in the north to theedges of the Sahara in the south.The winners will have use of the brand new Tiger Explorer for the event and be fully suited out in the latest riding gear from Triumph's clothing range for the all expenses paid trip.
Be the first to take this exciting new model on a real adventure.
The deadline for entries is 27 January 2012, and the competition winners will be drawn on 31 January, 2012.
Spain to morocco Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival day in Malaga
Day 2: Malaga to Chefchaouen
Day 3: Chefchaouen to Ifrane
Day 4: frane to Azourer
Day 5: Arourer to Marrakech
Day 6: Marrackech to Boulmane Dades
Day 7: Boulmane Dades to Erfoud
Day 8: Erfoud Day
Day 9: Erfoud to Fes
Day 10: Fes to Chefchcouen
Day 11: Chefchaouen to Malaga
Day 12: Departure from Malaga

Thursday, November 10, 2011

California Trip - Part II

Day 3 was the day of the party at my friends house.  I woke up around 8 and showered.  The B&B owners served breakfast around 9 and I got to eat with the parents of Gael, who runs the B&B.  They we're very nice people and I probably spent an hour and a half shooting the breeze with them.  Breakfast was Eggs Benedict with potatoes and fruit.
I had intended to try to get in a ride on the surrounding roads, but I left the B&B late, and as I was filling up the gas tank my friends called and wanted to see if I could run into Santa Cruz for coffee.  This meant I got to ride highway 9 again, woohoo!

I was told to go to Santa Cruz Coffee Company in downtown Santa Cruz.  They place smelled wonderful.  I picked up a bag of fine ground "Steve's Smooth French" blend and was on my way back to my friends.  If you get the chance to buy some of their coffee..try it in a french press...Mmmm Mmmm.

It was nearing noon and people would be arriving soon.  Some of us jumped into a car and hit the local Safeway for provisions.
Beer and soda on ice.  CHECK!
Food. CHECK!
Some people flew in from the East coast.  Many of them lived nearby.  Soon the party was in full swing.  I believe we had 12 or 13 people total.
We spent a lot of time talking and having a blast.  The highlight of the evening was when we broke out Rockband 2 with two guitars, a drumset and a microphone.  At first people were pretty timid about singing.  Towards the end of the evening we were screaming into the microphone.  I had an amazing time!  The party went pretty late.  I debated spending another day in Santa Cruz, but for various reasons I decided to head back home the next morning.  I shook hands and said my goodbyes and shared a taxi back to the B&B.

Day 4

Daylight savings happened to kick in the next morning..so while I slept in a hour later, I was still up by 8:30ish?  I forget the name of the next breakfast but it was _very_ good.  It had eggs, potatoes and sausage baked together along with a side of blueberry coffee cake and a amaretto grapefruit.  The grapefruit had a small amount of amaretto with brown sugar and baked in the oven for 10 min or so.  It was so yummy!
It was dry when I woke up, but as I ate breakfast it started to drizzle outside.  This was my view as I ate.
Luckily the bike was parked inside a garage so I was able to pack it without having to get wet.  I probably left the B&B around 10am?  I made a decision to take PCH1 as far south as San Luis Obispo.  It would add  a lot of time to the trip, but I had to take the opportunity while I was here.  My goal was Mission Viejo, CA.  I have friends who live there who was going to allow me to crash on their spare bed for the night.

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First I promised myself I'd get some pictures of the bike on Highway 9 as I left Ben Lomond.
If you zoom into this next picture you can see another motorcyclist coming the other way.  He waved as he rode past.
I wanted to take some of that coffee home with me so I stopped in Santa Cruz again and picked up some more.  Luckily I was able to find a parking meter with time still on it.  I did see the parking ticket meter lady writing out tickets..on a Sunday morning no less!  Santa Cruz is serious about it's fines.
Then I was off.  South of the town of Carmel, the Pacific Coast Highway hits full swing.  It was so unbelievable amazing!
Me, super happy.  Can you tell?  Ok, well just believe it anyway.
I kept pulling over every mile or so.  I think I had gone 15 miles in the span of an hour.
The sun had come out, but I decided to leave my rain pants on.  They're a pain to take off on the road, and they act as a wind breaker when it's not raining.
There were large periods of time when I'd have the whole road to myself.
The views were truly breath taking.  It's hard to see in this next picture but there is a house on the ridge in the shape of a prism.  Both ends were full windows and you could see right through it.  If anyone knows what/where this house is please post a comment.  I'm sure it must be a famous landmark.
I like this shot a lot.
The winds were coming off the ocean from the Northwest, so it was pretty much at my back as I headed south.  There were a few times it got a big gusty, but otherwise it was easy riding.
Another one of my favorites, with the bridge in the background.  There were quite a few of these bridges.  Some of them had build dates on them from the 1930's.  In addition to the bridges there were quite a few construction sites where they were improving the road.  The road would go to one lane and they had lights on either end letting one side go, and then the other.
 These pictures are farther south on the 1, near San Simeon and Hearst Castle.  Hearst Castle is an imposing structure when seen from the road.  I can only imagine what it looks like up close.  And yes I didn't get a picture of it.  Fail.
Picture from the fence post.
These next pictures were taken at San Simeon Bay.  There were Sea Lions sunning themselves.  If you blow the picture up you can see quite a few on the far end of that beach. 
Luckily there were some others a lot! closer.
They must show up here pretty often, as there was a large parking area setup and quite a few people at the railing.
How come the girls always get to be the inner spoon??  Notice how she's smiling because she's tricked the guy in being the outer spoon?
Can I use you as a pillow??
As I was leaving I spotted this fellow acting cute for some treats.  Too bad he can't read the signs that said don't feed the animals.
From here I stopped for gas in San Luis Obispo and got onto Highway 101.  The sun was starting to set and I still had ~250 miles to go to Mission Viejo.    Needless to say I didn't get time to stop at the "Rock Store".  That will have to wait for another trip.

Lets just say it was quite the _tiring_ ride through Santa Barbara, and L.A. in the dark.  The traffic in L.A. is amazing.  I can't believe how many people live and work there.

I think I rolled into my friends house at 9:30pm?  I had skipped lunch and only grabbed a Snickers bar, for dinner, at my last gas stop.  It felt like the longest leg of my journey, even though it wasn't.  But I couldn't have asked for a better day driving along the coast.

Day 5

My friend had to head into work early the next morning.  So I asked directions to the nearest pancake house, said my goodbyes, and was off once again.  Breakfast was Swedish pancakes with Loganberries.
Today would be the ride home. 476 miles.

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Just before Yuma there is a place called Royla Dunes park.  Some amazing Sand Dunes where people bring there buggies and quads to ride the dunes.  I snapped a few pictures.  I believe they filmed the original Stargate movie here.  The scenes near the pyramid..with the sand.
And that's pretty much it.  I got home around 6pm, the sun had already set.  The wife was waiting for me in the garage.  Overall a very nice trip.  No problems with the bike.  I did find that I had lost one quick release screw that holds the seat on.  It must have gotten loose with vibration.  I'll have to order another one.

I didn't grab a picture of the end mileage...I know _fail_ right?  But it ended up being ~1800 miles round trip.

Until next time!  Thanks to everyone who's been following along.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

California Trip Part 1

Hey there.:)  Sorry for not making enough posts on the road.  Between staying up late, visiting with friends, and being on the road I didn't find a lot of time to blog as much as I'd hoped.  I'll try to do better on future rides.  I'd still like to share some photos I took while on the trip.  I'll start at the beginning of day 2.  The previous day I had driven ~526 miles to Santa Cruz.  I didn't hit any rain and the temperature was fine.  The only downside had been the long straight roads from Buckeye, AZ to LA.  But I was so excited about being on the road it went quick.

A note about the Airhawk seat cushion.  It exceeded my expectations.  I was a bit nervous about using it in the beginning.  I sat on it while riding down to the gas station, the night before I left,  and not to be gross, but "the boys" felt out of position and I was worried there might be problems on all day use.  My concerns quickly faded as I found the cushion to be quite comfortable.  I'm sure the first day, and my ride from Santa Cruz to Mission Viejo, would have been a lot harder had I not had the new seat.  I'd suggest anyone who's looking for some extra cushion to give it a shot.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

OK.  So I got up the next morning in Santa Clarita worried about rain. It had rained during the night, but I had put my motorcycle cover on.  Luckily the rain took a break during the morning.  I was able to oil the chain and strap on the bags while the sun took peeks from between the passing clouds.  If anything my biggest problem was sweating to death while making my final preparations in all my gear.  The humidity was so high!  I headed north on I5 into the Los Padres National Forest.  You start to climb into higher altitudes, and I saw rain further north, so I pulled over to put on my rain gear.  I snapped this picture just as I was getting back on the bike.  I have no idea where I was.
This was probably the scariest part of the trip for me.  As I passed through the national forest I hit pockets of rain and strong wind.  On addition to wind and rain they were also re-surfacing the roads.  The top layer had been ground down leaving grind marks that my front tire would weave in and out of.  It was the one time I felt very far from home and that if something bad would happen it would all be over.  Luckily I came out in one piece and I just had to deal with strong head winds.

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I stopped for gas and food in the city of Lost Hills.  I made a decision to get off I5, I was tired of interstate and headed west over to the 101.  I pulled over about half way, at a place called Jack's Ranch Cafe to put my rain jacket back on.  There were a few clouds in front of me.
I think getting off I5 was a smart choice since even though I still hit a few pockets of rain I believe I avoided the larger cells and ended up heading into Santa Cruz very dry.  I can remember seeing a very long line of dark clouds off to my right, as I was headed north, and was glad to be behind them.  I drove into Santa Cruz looking for New Brighton State Beach.  I had seen it from Google maps and I needed to take a break from a long ride.  After paying my 10$ fee I parked and headed out to the sand.  This was from the parking lot.
They had a history marker just as you headed down the stairs.  Why can't people just get along?
I called the wife and chit chatted while I enjoyed the sun and the waves.
It's like the long miles I had just ridden melted away.
I got a call from my friends who lived in Santa Cruz, and they decided to come out to the beach to meet me.  So I sat down and waited.  Peaceful.

They arrived and we spent a few moments on the beach catching up and enjoying the company.
As the sun went down it got a little chilly we decided to head home.  We all decided to go out to eat that evening but first I needed to check into the B&B I had made reservations at.  So we parted company and I headed up Highway 9 to Ben Lomond.  Let me tell you this is an amazing little road to ride on a motorcycle.  Here are a few pictures from Google maps.
It's amazing!  If you're in the area you have to give it a ride.  I'm only sad that I didn't get to explore other roads in the area.  Not enough time.

I stayed at the Fair Manor Bed and Breakfast.  This owners of this place were very cool.  Jack and Gael.  Jack is a fellow motorcycle rider and let me store the bike in his garage.  They were actually leaving for dinner when I showed up and had no problem leaving me a key to the garage and the house.  I snapped a few pictures of my room.
The place was great.  If you wanted to come explore the Santa Cruz area you definitely stay here!
 After I unpacked, my friends showed up and we went out to dinner at a place called Sushi Garden in Capitola.  I ordered waay to much..but it was sooooo good.
Needless to say I went to bed stuffed and slept like a log:)  Part 2 tomorrow!