Thursday, June 13, 2019

Final days in Arizona - then to Montana

So the Yuma AZ. heat finally chased us out of town. Prior to taking off we took a little exploration back road drive in the Land Rover. Friend Dan was our guide as he had been out here before.

After a number a back roads / turns we came to an old neglected cemetery.

The photo below is an old Indian Heritage site where spiritual dances were held so many eons ago.

East side of Gila Mountains:

A few days earlier we had hiked to the top of Telegraph Pass....quite a steep distance 6 miles or so.

We took off first thing in the AM but it got pretty hot by the time we got to the top. 

Dome Valley above

The trail up to the top is a concrete access road...very steep...probably 20 - 25% in some stretches.
Going down was actually harder due to the steepness.

We arrived in Montana the first week of May, just in time for a lot of rain. Our Daughter accompanied us so we had a co-driver to share the driving with my Wife. We parked at a local RV park for a couple of days while I prepared our Summer parking area with a bit more gravel. Moved out to our site then it started raining. The property we park for the summer is not "RV access" friendly when it gets real wet, so our timing was good.

We've been seriously thinking about buying a small camper van for some road trips. Don't really want to drive our huge RV into rural areas. Found this Ford Camper on Craigslist so plan on taking a look at it / test drive next week. Going to Spokane WA. for a gathering and will sidetrack our trip over to Townsend MT to check the van over. Appears to be a pretty decent rig with under 70k miles on it.

The van is a "3 owner" rig and appears to be pretty clean from the photos. 
Only issue noted was a non working dash AC...hopefully just needs recharged.(?)

I've been watching for such a rig for the past couple of years, but most are well over $20k....Drove over to San Diego and looked at a slightly newer '93 Dodge Class B rig last Fall....they were asking $13k and it was not in very good condition. After looking it over for 5 minutes I passed on it. Well used...well worn. Hopefully the Ford van will pan out and be worth the $10k asking price. Sounds like the seller is pretty well firm on his price.

I performed a bit of final work on the Yamaha XS400 and listed it for sale of Craigslist. It sold in a few days. I put a few "shake down" miles on it and everything worked great. Should be a good bike for the new owner. Plus I made a little profit on it.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

"Another" California / San Diego County Camping Ride!

My buddie and I had "schemed" about making another camping ride so decided to ride over into San Diego County and ride some of the hill country near the Mex. Border.  Also Dan spotted a Railway Museum over in Campo CA. which interested the both of us. Sounds like a good enough reason for a motorcycle camping trip to me...

I'd planned on riding the old Honda GL1000 Gold Wing. During my routine "check out" a couple days before departure I found that the new wet acid battery was low on H20....3 cells having exposed plates....not good! I had installed an LED Volt meter a while back and knew that voltage output was on the "high" end, but had never verified exact voltage to battery. Hooked up digital meter and found over 18 Volts going to wonder battery was low. My last 300+ mile ride was cooking the battery. 

After some wiring checks, I figured it was a good chance the regulator was faulty. Found a cheap used one on eBay for $7.00 / $8.00 shipping....compared to over $100.00 new and many over $35.00 used.  Didn't have time to wait for new regulator so decided to go to "Plan B"...ride another bike....
(regulator arrived a week later and voltage output down to 14.2 volts to 15.0 volts...acceptable range)

Spent an afternoon and cleaned up the BMW R75/5....hadn't ridden it since last Summer. Checked vital signs (Tire pressures / fluids / charged battery to 100%) and then cleaned off last Summers bugs and road grime. 

I recently bought an old Yamaha 400 SX which had an "ill fitting" windscreen. By chance the windscreen fit the /5 better than the Yamaha. I typically ride it without a shield, or use a little Café style fairing. The Café fairing adds little protection. The "new" screen is just right. 

Riding buddies big ole Suzuki Cruiser. (below) He suffers from serious back / spine problems so his endurance on road trips is not good. He needs to stop every 30 minutes / 30 miles to "walk things off". This actually works pretty good for me as I typically "iron butt" most rides and cause myself quite a bit of similar suffering. The more frequent stops were good and kept the fatigue level down for both of us. 

Desert break time near Mex. Border.

US / Mex. Border barrier wall near Boulevard CA. 

Old Railway Trestle in CA. 

Next stop was Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo CA. 

We spent 2 - 3 hours wandering around the place. Well worth the stop. 

Huge fully restored steam engine

The Museum delegated quite a bit of information concerning the African American influence on the American Railroads throughout the years. Very well done.

Lots of working engines here.

Ugly old Green Naval Yard "Push / Pull" Engine.

Ended up at Potrero Park in San Diego County.
Buddy "Dan" is a minimalist camper so no tents for him. 

Nice park and very few campers on a Sunday night. 
Got a bit chilly during the night....probably low 40's. 

Found a bit of firewood laying about so had a small campfire.

Next morning was very nice/ mostly sunny and we got a fairly early start at 8:00 or so.

No real route planned so just "winged" it as we rode....finally crossed under I-8 and headed North into cooler elevations. 

Near Lake Cuyumaka Ca.... then over to Julian California.

Eventually back  down into the desert….Anza Borrego Area. 

Stopped at an unmanned U.S. Border Patrol check point....

Had to "check" ourselves....

Yuha Desert

The route we had planned had a "bridge out" from earlier storms this Winter so we had to retrace our route from yesterday. All in all a great couple days of easy problems or drama.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Anza Borrego Desert Motorcycle Road Trip

My neighbor is a motorcycle fanatic as I am, so we decided it was time for a motorcycle camping trip a few weeks back. He recently ended up with a nice Suzuki V-Twin bike and has been personalizing it with some minor repaints, saddle bags, upgrades.
We decided to camp for 2 nights and camp at local desert Hot Springs in the Anza Borrego area.
I decided to ride the old Gold Wing since it had been "down" for a few months with a broken ignition system. The "Dyna" Ignition sensors were replaced a few weeks ago.

We stopped for a quick break at a rest area....a truck driver had the road blocked as he high centered his trailer.


Gold Wing in "travel mode"

We stuck to back roads whenever possible but had to ride 30 miles of Interstate as there was no alternative. Followed the Mexican Border into California.

       A pull off spot along the road....not sure what this "over view" area was.

Border Patrol pull a "Drag" through the sand every day. This obliterates foot prints / tire tracks in the sand so they can monitor "fresh" activity.

Mexico in the distance

Historical Marker

Another "break" along S-2 in the Anza Borrego Desert

 We kept the day's ride fairly short and took a camping spot at Agua Caliente, a San Diego County Park with a Hot Springs. We spend nearly every New Years Eve here with our BMW Airhead Club. We enjoyed the Hot Springs...planned on revisiting in the evening but they closed to pool after 5:00 pm during weekdays....sad.

My riding partner is a true minimalist camper....ground sheet / little wood burning stove. 
I prefer a tent....and when I took it down in the morning a knarly looking huge centipede was under the tent. I've found large scorpions under my tent in the past....I'll keep using the tent!

The Marine Corp had a few choppers in the area. they were busy all night. In the middle of the night, I heard what sounded like a freight train approaching.....all of a sudden a huge blast of wind hit, then subsided as it traveled away. This happened numerous times in the night. My partner's open campsite was blown all over and he ended up moving a few feet for more of a wind break.

Off to an early start on day 2, and ran into a snow flurry on our intended route. Had to reroute our ride. Wasn't going to ride into a snow storm. 

Road side break at Box Canyon

Followed a little faint trail up the hill and it led to a couple of old stone out houses....with a view.

 We altered our route due to inclement weather ahead, I led us on a route which I had never ridden.

The untraveled route ended up being a great twisty road leading to Borrego Springs Ca.

Stopped in Borrego Springs and found a great Mexican Cafe for an early lunch. Also saw a lot of old vintage bikes running around. Later we found that there was a vintage motorcycle gathering that weekend. 

Had a great 3 day ride...I had a few more photos but my camera "lost them"
Planning another short trip this coming weekend....Sunday / Monday. Going to visit a Rail Road Museum!

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.