Mennonites at the Airport 2

For a short while this summer, I did fly back and forth between southern California and Denver, with a motorcycle at each airport. (In the winter, I normally use one of the cars or the Tahoe.)

But today is cold and I take the Beamer and park it at Canopy Parking.

When I park at Canopy, I take a photo of the car in the parking space so I have the number. They give me a parking slip, but I don't trust it. Sometimes they are wrong.

I put my passport and my frequent flyer card in my front breast pocket. I have a screenshot of my boarding pass on my phone which charged all night. I turn off WiFi and auto rotation. These are the things that screw you up when you're trying to scan your boarding Pass for the monsters at the TSA.

As I approach the TSA goons that guard the different security alleys, I flash her my frequent flyer badge. She sees that I am A-List Preferred. I had to fly every week for over a year to get that status. (I started flying in July, and it resets in December, so I think it was September before I finally got the highest status. The bastards.)

I clear security and then I see the rarest of things. Memonites at the airport. I had no idea that they flew. But, I do recall when I used to work in Philly, I'd go out to Lancaster county, and I did see driveways that had a horse and buggy, and also a black Pontiac Grand National. So, they do appear to have some flexibility in their travel.

I was really surprised to see them down in Central America. Like..I had no idea they were down there. But, apparently, they fled the oppression of the USA to go to Central America, if you can believe it.

Catch the train out to Terminal 3. The escalators at Terminal 3 have been broken for over a year. At the monitors, I check for my gate information. You have to know 1) what city a I going to and 2) what is the flight number. I locate Flight 4615 Non-stop to LAX at gate C37.

At C37, I hand the woman my passport and say "I need a preboard for the fligh tto Los Angeles."

We get that settled,

"How full is this flight?" I ask.

"Completely full." She replies.

"143?"

Like, I want her to know that I fly every week and I know how many seats the plane has. I'm just showing off really.

Now, I'm waiting to board the flight.

I'm already nervous about the KTM being at LAX. Like, if the KTM is gone, I'm so screwed that there aren't words. I left it in short term parking at LAX 3 weeks ago. I have a notice in the mail saying that my plates expire this month on the KTM and I need to renew them.


They call for Medical Preboards, and I bolt down the aisle, pushing handicapped people and old women out of my way.

Some idiotic tall guy sits in 1A thinking the bulkheads have more legroom. They do not. It looks like they do, but it's an illusion.

I end up in Seat 4A.

I put my helmet in the overhead bin, but I lose my mind if people move it. Since today, I have my CC Filson backpack and hand-bag, I put my handbag in the overhead bin in front of my helmet. So, now, I'm thinking that it is safe from molestation. Like, when people start juggling my helmet around and moving it to different bins, I seriously become a person that you don't want to be near on the plane. I lose my mind. Like...leave it the fuck alone. Just because the space I need to occupy is smaller than your herculean sized Travel Pro does not give you carte blanche to move my helmet t the back of the plane. It doesn't work that way.

Adjust the seatbelt, lights, and the air jets in the middle seat to your own satisfaction before anyone sits there. Adjusting the seatbelt makes it easier for them to sit down. Turning the light off and the air on (if you're hot) is just a heads-up move as the person that will sit there is probably retarded.

Now, the middle seat is empty beside me, and I see that she has lied to me. I want to go back to the gate agent and smack her hands with a ruler.

I didn't even try my line, which I normally use.

Normally, I turn to the person in the aisle seat when she first sits down and I say "a woman is sitting in the middle seat, but she's in the bathroom. So, if anyone asks, the seat is taken."

Now, the rear of the plane is regurgitating passengers. Apparently, they passed up open seats, got to the back, and found that there was no room to sit. These people.

Now, the gentlemen are standing up, removing their items from the overhead bins, and making space available for these lepers.

I'm like...If you touch my helmet, I will kill you and your family.

It occurs to me that this is my last flight to California.

And, so what if I was fired. Who cares? It was certainly a good run. I'm tired of flying to CA every week. It could have been a lot worse. I could have crashed my bike out in LA.


---- on the plane.

So, I saw this week that they closed Tioga Pass, and I almost lost my mind. Like...if I can't ride over Tioga Pass on the KTM, then I don't think that I can go on living

Tioga Pass is my route from SF to Denver. And I've driven it countless times.

And then, today, I checked again, and I see that Tiopga Pass is reopened. I'm like...Oh Hell Yes!

Like, without Tioga Pass, I honestly wouldn't know how to get home. I mean, I guess I could take I-80, but I do not want to do that. Not at all. Not ever.

The beauty of riding across the Nevada Desert between Ely and Tonopah (it's prounounced Toe-NOE-Pah, I recently learned) just can't be described. I mean...the desolation of the deserts is surreal.

Now, all of the times that I rode my KTM down to the beach after work makes me feel like it was a good investment. Like, instead of going home to my AirBnB for the night, I went out and saw Santa Monica or Malibu or Venice Beach. Now, it all seems like I did it right. Like, I got to see the Los Angeles basin finally, and learned how to get across the city, albeit on a motorcycle.

So, I spent a lot of time in Riverside, Cal Poly Pomona, and UCLA. Which was nice. Now, when I see UCLA on TV, and it's supposed to be Colombia, I know that it's UCLA, because I can recognize the buildings.

Like, it was great as a sort of final project to get back to SF and Los Angeles areas. Sort of like a victory lap.

We push back from the gate at 8:40 a.m.
Wheels up: 8:50 a.m.

Im experimenting a tiny bit. I'' carrying both of my CC Filson bags to see how it feels on my shoulders.
I have 2 cameras and a tablet, wifi keyboard, iPhone 4S.

Like, it dawns on me that this will be my last flight. Lord God.

Like...that's crazy. It makes me want to look out the window and take some photos this time.

I'm in 5A, so I can see my house. Our subdivision. Maybe I'll shoot some pics and stay awake today.

But it's cloudy and I put all of my camera batteries in my other bag, which I put in the overhead bin to protect the helmet. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Now, I start thinking about the KTM.

Will it be there? When did I park it?

It was 3 weeks ago, roughly, so that would have been....Thursday August 31st, I think.

Then, the week of the 4th, I was home/remote.
The week of the 11th I was on site in Oakland.
The week of the 18th I was home/remote and sold the DUKW.

I check my phone for photos of the KTM. This is how I keep track of where my toys are. You take a photo, hop on a plane, and disappear for a month. You might forget where you left one of your bikes.

So, the KTM has been sitting in short term parking at LAX for ... uh... let's see...2:00 pm PDT on 8/31/2017 until I get there at about 10:00 a.m. on 9/24/2017. So, nearly 24 days it's been sitting there in 1D in short-term parking. Will it still be there? I dunno. I sure hope so. If not, I'm royally hosed.

If it's there, then when I plan on doing is:
gassing up the bike at the first opportunity
drive to UCLA campus and hit up Diddy Riese (the cookie ice cream bar place.)

Then, try to make it 100 miles before noon.

See... 100 miles before noon is a mantra. Basically, it means that you get up, get off your ass, and start moving down the road. If you can do 100 miles before noon, then you can easily ride 200 miles in the afternoon, and you have a nice day of riding the bike.

If, on the other hand, you stay in bed until the housekeeping lady is threating to murder you if you don't get out of the room immediately, then it's much harder to make 300 miles a day.

The flying waitress comes by. Yes. I'd like a cup of ice. And a can of diet coke.
And I realize I forgot to tun off my phone when we took off. Argh.
So many little things to remember.

Now, I'll look at my travel plan for today.

It looks something like this:

These will be the points where I'll gas up along the route:
1) Mile 0 - LAX/Sepulveda
2) Mile 133 - Buttonwillow / Bakersfield (I-5 Exit 257). (133 miles from last stop).
3) Mile 261 - Firebaugh (I-5 Exit 385) (128 miles from last stop).
4) Mile 375 - Oakland. (114 miles from last stop.)

The weird thing about being let go is that it's sort of like breaking up with your girlfriend. Like...part of me wants to go back to see the campus. To wander around the campus aimlessly, taking photos of the buildings for posterity's sake.

But then, part of me thinks that I'm really not welcome there any more. That I'd be escorted off of the premises. Maybe they'd even call the police. Like showing up at your ex-girlfriend's place at night, unexpected, and unwanted.

So, you sort of feel like you've been ostracized, but it's not like it matters.

This is the time, I think, when religion becomes appealing to the huddled masses. Christianity teaches us that God is watching over us. Everything happens for a reason. If he didn't think that you could handle this, then he wouldn't have put this burden on your shoulders.

I don't believe any of this, of course, but it is an attractive proposition. It's a comforting blanket, and I certainly see the allure of it.

So, I try to take some pieces from the religion of Christianity. Basically, what I get out of it is, suck it up. You can make it. Look on the bright side.

I got to see the Los Angeles Basin. I got to see it from Palm Springs and Palm Desert, to Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. From Big Bear Lake down to Marina Del Ray.

I rode up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco last summer. And from Los Angeles to Ragged Point and the Mud Creek Slide about two months ago, on the weekend of July 29th.

And, this is my struggle. Like...I have a little bit of money saved up. Not a lot, but some. And part of me wants to go ride my bike down to Tierra Del Fuego. And part of me wants to save the money and not do it.

Like...fear has nothing to do with it. Finances are my only concern.

But then, part of me thinks...no...this is why I did it. This is why I took this contract. To make some money, and then have some time off to go and ride my bike around the planet.

So, maybe what I need to do is set up a "Go Fund Me" page, and see if I can get Honda and/or my friends and family to help off-set the cost of my trip.

Part of me thinks it would be financially foolish to go. Part of me thinks that, if I don't go, then I don't really know why I'm alive. Like...ok, so they let me go before I was expecting to be let go....so what? Who cares? Who really gives a fuck, in all honesty?

The bus has stopped. They say it's time to get off. Maybe I wasn't expecting it. So what. It makes no difference. All that I can do now is sort of make the best of the situation. I honestly don't want to go back to work. Ever.

Like...how nice would it be if I could just wander around on my motorcycle for a month or two.

One of my concerns with the KTM is that I don't have the gas can on it any more. Like, I used to have a plastic gas can on it, and, when I rode out here from Denver, I ran out of gas in between Tonopah and Ely. Even with the 2.2 gallons of gas, I coasted in on fumes, as I recall. Mainly because it's 183 miles between these two towns and there's not a sign indicating "No Service For Next 183 Miles" or anything.

Of course, I can pick up a gas can and a strap at a Wal-Mart, if I can find one.
And, probably I won't need it if my planning works out. I checked the forecast and planned my gas stops along the route. This is something that I learnd from Igor.

Like...for someon who doesn't believe in God, it sure as hell is hard to explain me running into Igor down in the Baja.

I mean....I was on a Honda XR650 Thumper, kick-start. And the extent of my planning was to through some things into a backpack which fell onto the interstate before I got out of the United States. I went down there without a map. Without a cell phone. Without a guide. Without a plan, really. And I ran into Igor. Someone who'd been around the world on a BMW R1150GS, with panniers, spare tires, and an 8 gallon tank (I think).

5 continents. 123 countries. 300,000 km. That's what his bike said, as I recall.

So, it certainly was fortuitous that I ran into him, and learnd the basics of riding cross-country from a pro.

And then, up in Montana, when I ran into those other bikers that were racing from Key West to Alaska. They were the ones that taught me you could ride 1,000 miles in a day if you just pushed yourself a little.

And now, I find myself again, perched on the very precipice of a grand adventure. This trip will have me bragging that I've been from the Arctic Ocean to Tierra Del Fuego (but not in one trip.)

The only thing I need is to figure out is how to offset some of the costs of the trip.

There are a few places I never saw in Southern California that I'd like to see. Like, the Salton Sea, Slab City, Joshua Tree National Desert, etc. So, maybe I can roll through these on the way back down into Central America.

Like, my plan is to ride the KTM up I-5 to Oakland/San Francisco. Then, work next week in Oakland. Then, maybe spend a day or 2 rolling around SF and Oakalnd shooting murals. Then, roll back to Denver on the KTM, across Tioga Pass (which had better still be open), and then home to Denver.

From Denver, I will spend about a month getting ready for the trip. Ordering things, planning out the trip, getting a 52 page passport, finish painting the house, and finish putting new shingles on the roof.

Then, I'll ride the Honda Africa Twin down to the Los Angeles basin, passing through Joshua Tree, the Salton Sea, and then down through San Diego into the Baja.

When I cross into Mexico, I will get my passport stamped this time. (Have to figure out where to get passport stamped.) Then, down the Baja to La Paz/Pichilingue, to catch the ferry over to Mazatlan.


Now, I have to think about today's ride. What to do now. Must focus on that.
I'll check the oil on the bike when I gas it up. Make sure it's got enough oil, and add a quart if it's low.

I now have a legal driver's license. (Big improvement, since they told me it had been suspended since last August/September).

So, I have a driver's license. I need to get the title straightened out on the Honda Africa Twin. So, I'll call him on Monday and ask where in the world is my title to the bike.

I'll appy for a new 52 page passport and have them expedite it.

I'll move the mount for the Garmin over to the Honda. And make sure that i have all of the maps current for the countries in South and Central America.

Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 24, 2017 at 10:39 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Mennonites at the Airport

For a short while this summer, I did fly back and forth between southern California and Denver, with a motorcycle at each airport. (In the winter, I normally use one of the cars or the Tahoe.)

But today is cold and I take the Beamer and park it at Canopy Parking.

When I park at Canopy, I take a photo of the car in the parking space so I have the number. They give me a parking slip, but I don't trust it. Sometimes they are wrong.

I put my passport and my frequent flyer card in my front breast pocket. I have a screenshot of my boarding pass on my phone which charged all night. I turn off WiFi and auto rotation. These are the things that screw you up when you're trying to scan your boarding Pass for the monsters at the TSA.

As I approach the TSA goons that guard the different security alleys, I flash her my frequent flyer badge. She sees that I am A-List Preferred. I had to fly every week for over a year to get that status. (I started flying in July, and it resets in December, so I think it was September before I finally got the highest status. The bastards.)

I clear security and then I see the rarest of things. Memonites at the airport. I had no idea that they flew. But, I do recall when I used to work in Philly, I'd go out to Lancaster county, and I did see driveways that had a horse and buggy, and also a black Pontiac Grand National. So, they do appear to have some flexibility in their travel.

I was really surprised to see them down in Central America. Like..I had no idea they were down there. But, apparently, they fled the oppression of the USA to go to Central America, if you can believe it.

Catch the train out to Terminal 3. The escalators at Terminal 3 have been broken for over a year. At the monitors, I check for my gate information. You have to know 1) what city a I going to and 2) what is the flight number. I locate Flight 4615 Non-stop to LAX at gate C37.

At C37, I hand the woman my passport and say "I need a preboard for the fligh tto Los Angeles."

We get that settled,

"How full is this flight?" I ask.

"Completely full." She replies.

"143?"

Like, I want her to know that I fly every week and I know how many seats the plane has. I'm just showing off really.

Now, I'm waiting to board the flight.

I'm already nervous about the KTM being at LAX. Like, if the KTM is gone, I'm so screwed that there aren't words. I left it in short term parking at LAX 3 weeks ago. I have a notice in the mail saying that my plates expire this month on the KTM and I need to renew them.


They call for Medical Preboards, and I bolt down the aisle, pushing handicapped people and old women out of my way.

Some idiotic tall guy sits in 1A thinking the bulkheads have more legroom. They do not. It looks like they do, but it's an illusion.

I end up in Seat 4A.

I put my helmet in the overhead bin, but I lose my mind if people move it. Since today, I have my CC Filson backpack and hand-bag, I put my handbag in the overhead bin in front of my helmet. So, now, I'm thinking that it is safe from molestation. Like, when people start juggling my helmet around and moving it to different bins, I seriously become a person that you don't want to be near on the plane. I lose my mind. Like...leave it the fuck alone. Just because the space I need to occupy is smaller than your herculean sized Travel Pro does not give you carte blanche to move my helmet t the back of the plane. It doesn't work that way.

Adjust the seatbelt, lights, and the air jets in the middle seat to your own satisfaction before anyone sits there. Adjusting the seatbelt makes it easier for them to sit down. Turning the light off and the air on (if you're hot) is just a heads-up move as the person that will sit there is probably retarded.

Now, the middle seat is empty beside me, and I see that she has lied to me. I want to go back to the gate agent and smack her hands with a ruler.

I didn't even try my line, which I normally use.

Normally, I turn to the person in the aisle seat when she first sits down and I say "a woman is sitting in the middle seat, but she's in the bathroom. So, if anyone asks, the seat is taken."

Now, the rear of the plane is regurgitating passengers. Apparently, they passed up open seats, got to the back, and found that there was no room to sit. These people.

Now, the gentlemen are standing up, removing their items from the overhead bins, and making space available for these lepers.

I'm like...If you touch my helmet, I will kill you and your family.

It occurs to me that this is my last flight to California.

And, so what if I was fired. Who cares? It was certainly a good run. I'm tired of flying to CA every week. It could have been a lot worse. I could have crashed my bike out in LA.


---- on the plane.

So, I saw this week that they closed Tioga Pass, and I almost lost my mind. Like...if I can't ride over Tioga Pass on the KTM, then I don't think that I can go on living

Tioga Pass is my route from SF to Denver. And I've driven it countless times.

And then, today, I checked again, and I see that Tiopga Pass is reopened. I'm like...Oh Hell Yes!

Like, without Tioga Pass, I honestly wouldn't know how to get home. I mean, I guess I could take I-80, but I do not want to do that. Not at all. Not ever.

The beauty of riding across the Nevada Desert between Ely and Tonopah (it's prounounced Toe-NOE-Pah, I recently learned) just can't be described. I mean...the desolation of the deserts is surreal.

Now, all of the times that I rode my KTM down to the beach after work makes me feel like it was a good investment. Like, instead of going home to my AirBnB for the night, I went out and saw Santa Monica or Malibu or Venice Beach. Now, it all seems like I did it right. Like, I got to see the Los Angeles basin finally, and learned how to get across the city, albeit on a motorcycle.

So, I spent a lot of time in Riverside, Cal Poly Pomona, and UCLA. Which was nice. Now, when I see UCLA on TV, and it's supposed to be Colombia, I know that it's UCLA, because I can recognize the buildings.

Like, it was great as a sort of final project to get back to SF and Los Angeles areas. Sort of like a victory lap.

We push back from the gate at 8:40 a.m.
Wheels up: 8:50 a.m.

Im experimenting a tiny bit. I'' carrying both of my CC Filson bags to see how it feels on my shoulders.
I have 2 cameras and a tablet, wifi keyboard, iPhone 4S.

Like, it dawns on me that this will be my last flight. Lord God.

Like...that's crazy. It makes me want to look out the window and take some photos this time.

I'm in 5A, so I can see my house. Our subdivision. Maybe I'll shoot some pics and stay awake today.

But it's cloudy and I put all of my camera batteries in my other bag, which I put in the overhead bin to protect the helmet. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Now, I start thinking about the KTM.

Will it be there? When did I park it?

It was 3 weeks ago, roughly, so that would have been....Thursday August 31st, I think.

Then, the week of the 4th, I was home/remote.
The week of the 11th I was on site in Oakland.
The week of the 18th I was home/remote and sold the DUKW.

I check my phone for photos of the KTM. This is how I keep track of where my toys are. You take a photo, hop on a plane, and disappear for a month. You might forget where you left one of your bikes.

So, the KTM has been sitting in short term parking at LAX for ... uh... let's see...2:00 pm PDT on 8/31/2017 until I get there at about 10:00 a.m. on 9/24/2017. So, nearly 24 days it's been sitting there in 1D in short-term parking. Will it still be there? I dunno. I sure hope so. If not, I'm royally hosed.

If it's there, then when I plan on doing is:
gassing up the bike at the first opportunity
drive to UCLA campus and hit up Diddy Riese (the cookie ice cream bar place.)

Then, try to make it 100 miles before noon.

See... 100 miles before noon is a mantra. Basically, it means that you get up, get off your ass, and start moving down the road. If you can do 100 miles before noon, then you can easily ride 200 miles in the afternoon, and you have a nice day of riding the bike.

If, on the other hand, you stay in bed until the housekeeping lady is threating to murder you if you don't get out of the room immediately, then it's much harder to make 300 miles a day.

The flying waitress comes by. Yes. I'd like a cup of ice. And a can of diet coke.
And I realize I forgot to tun off my phone when we took off. Argh.
So many little things to remember.

Now, I'll look at my travel plan for today.

It looks something like this:

These will be the points where I'll gas up along the route:
1) Mile 0 - LAX/Sepulveda
2) Mile 133 - Buttonwillow / Bakersfield (I-5 Exit 257). (133 miles from last stop).
3) Mile 261 - Firebaugh (I-5 Exit 385) (128 miles from last stop).
4) Mile 375 - Oakland. (114 miles from last stop.)

The weird thing about being let go is that it's sort of like breaking up with your girlfriend. Like...part of me wants to go back to see the campus. To wander around the campus aimlessly, taking photos of the buildings for posterity's sake.

But then, part of me thinks that I'm really not welcome there any more. That I'd be escorted off of the premises. Maybe they'd even call the police. Like showing up at your ex-girlfriend's place at night, unexpected, and unwanted.

So, you sort of feel like you've been ostracized, but it's not like it matters.

This is the time, I think, when religion becomes appealing to the huddled masses. Christianity teaches us that God is watching over us. Everything happens for a reason. If he didn't think that you could handle this, then he wouldn't have put this burden on your shoulders.

I don't believe any of this, of course, but it is an attractive proposition. It's a comforting blanket, and I certainly see the allure of it.

So, I try to take some pieces from the religion of Christianity. Basically, what I get out of it is, suck it up. You can make it. Look on the bright side.

I got to see the Los Angeles Basin. I got to see it from Palm Springs and Palm Desert, to Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. From Big Bear Lake down to Marina Del Ray.

I rode up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco last summer. And from Los Angeles to Ragged Point and the Mud Creek Slide about two months ago, on the weekend of July 29th.

And, this is my struggle. Like...I have a little bit of money saved up. Not a lot, but some. And part of me wants to go ride my bike down to Tierra Del Fuego. And part of me wants to save the money and not do it.

Like...fear has nothing to do with it. Finances are my only concern.

But then, part of me thinks...no...this is why I did it. This is why I took this contract. To make some money, and then have some time off to go and ride my bike around the planet.

So, maybe what I need to do is set up a "Go Fund Me" page, and see if I can get Honda and/or my friends and family to help off-set the cost of my trip.

Part of me thinks it would be financially foolish to go. Part of me thinks that, if I don't go, then I don't really know why I'm alive. Like...ok, so they let me go before I was expecting to be let go....so what? Who cares? Who really gives a fuck, in all honesty?

The bus has stopped. They say it's time to get off. Maybe I wasn't expecting it. So what. It makes no difference. All that I can do now is sort of make the best of the situation. I honestly don't want to go back to work. Ever.

Like...how nice would it be if I could just wander around on my motorcycle for a month or two.

One of my concerns with the KTM is that I don't have the gas can on it any more. Like, I used to have a plastic gas can on it, and, when I rode out here from Denver, I ran out of gas in between Tonopah and Ely. Even with the 2.2 gallons of gas, I coasted in on fumes, as I recall. Mainly because it's 183 miles between these two towns and there's not a sign indicating "No Service For Next 183 Miles" or anything.

Of course, I can pick up a gas can and a strap at a Wal-Mart, if I can find one.
And, probably I won't need it if my planning works out. I checked the forecast and planned my gas stops along the route. This is something that I learnd from Igor.

Like...for someon who doesn't believe in God, it sure as hell is hard to explain me running into Igor down in the Baja.

I mean....I was on a Honda XR650 Thumper, kick-start. And the extent of my planning was to through some things into a backpack which fell onto the interstate before I got out of the United States. I went down there without a map. Without a cell phone. Without a guide. Without a plan, really. And I ran into Igor. Someone who'd been around the world on a BMW R1150GS, with panniers, spare tires, and an 8 gallon tank (I think).

5 continents. 123 countries. 300,000 km. That's what his bike said, as I recall.

So, it certainly was fortuitous that I ran into him, and learnd the basics of riding cross-country from a pro.

And then, up in Montana, when I ran into those other bikers that were racing from Key West to Alaska. They were the ones that taught me you could ride 1,000 miles in a day if you just pushed yourself a little.

And now, I find myself again, perched on the very precipice of a grand adventure. This trip will have me bragging that I've been from the Arctic Ocean to Tierra Del Fuego (but not in one trip.)

The only thing I need is to figure out is how to offset some of the costs of the trip.

Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 24, 2017 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

Leaving Los Angeles

So, tomorrow morning, I'm flying into LAX to pick up the KTM and ride it up to Oakland. Next week is my last week on the project, and we'll be in Oakland for the week. My KTM has been in short term parking at LAX for 3 weeks. So, I need to get down there and collect it before Los Angeles decides to confiscate it.

I've already checked the forecast. Looks like it will be warm and sunny for the 375 mile ride up I-5 through the central valley.

These will be the points where I'll gas up along the route:
1) Mile 0 - LAX/Sepulveda
2) Mile 133 - Buttonwillow / Bakersfield (I-5 Exit 257). (133 miles from last stop).
3) Mile 261 - Firebaugh (I-5 Exit 385) (128 miles from last stop).
4) Mile 375 - Oakland. (114 miles from last stop.)

http://www.findfuelstops.com/truck-stop-on-I-5


Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2017 at 8:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Copying files off of Garmin Montana 600

So, I'm thinking I'll copy the gpx files off of my Garmin Montana 600.

1) Launch EasyGPS.
2) Click on "Receive (from GPS)" icon.
3) Click OK.

So, now I see them in my EasyGPS app, but there's no topo map or anything. So, I save them off as s:\garmin\2017_09_23c_California.gpx

Now, to upload them onto a map.

Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/

Select your .gpx file.

Click Map It.
It says it will be available for viewing temporarily.

Basically, it's a map that shows me running around in Southern California, plus my one ride up the coast recently where I rode up the Pacific Coast Highway as far north as the Mud Creek Slide, one of the points where the Pacific Coast Highway was closed.

Now, I want to delete my .gpx files from the Garmin Montana.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Deleting Tracks from the Garmin Montana 600.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Click on Up arrow at bottom center of screen on Garmin Montana 600.
Click on Track Manager.
Click on Archived Tracks.
Select the top track.
Click on Delete.
Click on Delete again.
Rinse. Repeat.

There. Now, I deleted all of the tracks off of my Garmin Montana 600.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2017 at 6:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Tioga Pass

The truth is that, yesterday, I read that they had closed Tioga Pass. And, I was shocked. Like...I knew that that was a sign. See, I remember my last project in San Francisco, and after I'd been on the project for about a year, I told them that I'd leave when they opened Tioga Pass. And, I did. As soon as they opened Tioga Pass in the Spring, I left. I hopped on my motorcycle and road home from San Francisco across Tioga Pass. Like...it was pretty crazy, as we were riding between these enormous walls of snow. And, I took some shots. And put them into a little slideshow.

But, obviously, this doesn't make any sense, right? Like...you can't say, "I'm leaving the project as soon as Tioga Pass opens." That's not something that a rational person would say. It just isn't.

So, obviously there are some issues here. Like...after a year on a project, I'm usually so burnt out that I just want to die.

And, that's where I am today, make no mistake. Like...my biggest concern, after commuting to CA for 14 months, is that they won't let me leave the project. My contract has already been extended through December.

My KTM motorcycle is at LAX in short-term parking. It has been there for some time (August 31 - 9/22/2017), so, about three weeks or so.

Like...we were at LAX, and then, they told us we were going to Oakland. So, I flew to Oakland and left my bike at the airport (LAX) in short term parking. And, I'm getting around Oakland OK without a bike, mainly on BART, and on foot. But, after 2 weeks, I'm like...'When are we going back to southern Cal?' and they're like "We're not."

So then, I'm thinking....Christ. Now, I've got to fly to LAX and get my bike and ride it up to Oakland. It's not all that far. 375 miles if you take I-5.

It would be nice to take a slow ride of the pacific coast highway, but the Pfieffer Canyon bridge is out, and the \the Mud Creek Slide area is still closed, so you still can't go up the pacific coast highway to Big Sur (like I did last summer, and a few times before).

Like, as silly as it sounds, I've been bouncing back and forth between CA and CO at, at least for this summer, I've had a motorcycle at DEN and a motorcycle in LAX or ONT pretty much non-stop. So, I've always got a bike in short term parking at an airport somewhere. And then, when I go to Oakland, I have 2 bikes at 2 airports in 2 different timezones. Not that any of this makes sense. It doesn't. But this is where we are. This is my life.

Now, I was supposed to be in Oakland for the last 3 weeks but really, I was remote one week (in CO), then in Oakland 1 week, and then I was remote again this week (in CO.)

So, I've been planning on getting back down to LAX and retrieving my bike from short-term parking.

And, I'm at home in bed, and they announce that Tioga Pass has closed for the season. And, I'm just blown away. Like...I'm dumbfounded. I'm in a state of shock. Like....clearly....something has happened. Something is lost. Something has been missed. An opportunity has been missed.

Like...I can't tell you how many times I've crossed the Nevada desert on my collection of motorcycles and always it's been the same route. Always, I've taken the route that goes
I-70 west to US Highway 50 to Ely, Nevada and then US Highway 6 west to Tonopah, Nevada, to Lee Vining, then up over Tioga Pass and down across the central valley and on into SF.

Like, I love this ride. It's a beautiful ride, and I've run into other bikers on the road and they say the same thing. Like...forget I-70 and I-80. This ride across the desert is beautiful. Serene. Calming.

But now, I hear that Tioga Pass is closed, and I'm shocked. Not that it should matter really, but it just hit me out of left field. Like...fuck....Tioga Pass is closed. Like...I've missed my chance to get out. Like... God up above has slammed the door shut on my little adventure, and now I'm trapped and won't be free to travel.

See, I've been planning on making this little motorcycle trip down to Tierra Del Fuego. And, I've been telling everyone I could find that, when this project is over, I'm riding down to Tierra Del Fuego. Now, it's not like this is hard, it isn't. The thing that's hard is getting time off for the trip. And, the more I watched the news, the less likely it seemed that I'd be able to make my trip. That I'd be able to get away at the end of December. Because, there's a timing issue. It will take 2 months to get from Denver to Tierra Del Fuego. And, the seasons are reversed down there, so the warmest month of summer in TIerra Del Fuego will be in January. So, that's when I need to be there. Which means I need to Nov 1- Dec 1. Some time in there.

But, it's looking like I'll have to stay on this project through December, and maybe longer.

And so, I'm thinking that I'll ride the KTM from LA to Oakland, and how nice it would be to get my bike back up in the bay area. And, maybe I'll have to push my trip to Tierra Del Fuego out a year.

And then, today, I'm on this teleconference, and they tell me that they're letting me go. They're releasing me from the project.

Out of left field. they tell me that I'm done. That the project is over for me. And, that it's been fun, and it's been real, but it hasn't been real fun.

And, suddenly I think about Tioga Pass. They just announced yesterday that Tioga Pass was closed. And, to the average person, they won't attach any significance to this. But I do. I see it as an omen. It felt weird when I learned it was closed, and now I find myself attaching a significance to this event, right or wrong. LIke...Holy SHit....that's what they meant when they said it was closed.

And, suddenly, it's time to go on the trip. And, this is why I tell everyone I'm going because, talk is cheap. Free even. And I've been painting myself into this corner very deliberately. Intentionally. So that, I don't have a chance to back out. So that there is no wiggle room.

Because, obviously, no sane person would take this trip. That's a given. My guess is not one person in 100,000 would undertake a trip like this. And, believe you me I'm going.

I'm all in.

Now, only it is a matter of time. When do I leave? When do I get back? How fast do I go? How many nites spend on the road?

What will it be like if I miss Thanksgiving? Christmas? My daughter's birthday?

I rode down the hill today, took some cash out of the bank, and then went by my old employer to see how things were going.

Like, I couldn't even really remember how to get there. But slowly, it sort of came back to me and I drove straight to it.

I walked inside, and everyone there really loved me. LIke, they all huddled around and begged me to tell them stories. But what is there to tell? I commute to California. I wake up and don't know where I am. I've had a motorcycle in short-term parking at LAX for 3 weeks. I went to Mexico twice this year. The cops in Cancun robbed me of $2,000 pesos.

Now, I find myself in the middle of a home.

I stayed and talked for a little bit, and then I rode back home. The traffic is getting so bad in Denver and now it's almost as bad as Los Angeles.

Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 22, 2017 at 4:39 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Vizio E600i

I have this television. I think it's a Vizio E600i, and today it did something funny where my screen got smaller (narrower). Trying to figure out how to make it widescreen again.

Finally, I went to my PC window and changed the properties on the Windows to make the display properties something like Right - Click - Screen Resolution - 1280 x 720.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 19, 2017 at 6:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Peaceful Hills 11

http://www.peeniewallie.com/images2017/peaceful_hills11.png

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 16, 2017 at 7:00 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Freemont Train

In the morning, I wake up and stumble around the YMCA in Oakland. At $70 a night, it's the cheapest place I can find to stay.

Catch the Freemont Train into work. It costs me like $1.90 to ride BART to 19th street station. Then, just a few blocks east to Kaiser Center at 300 Lakeside Driver.

I looked up when I was here last. I was last here 2 months ago in July. In July, we had the farmer's market every wednesday, and the weather was warm.

But now, it's cool and foggy. There's no sky.
Before lunch, I walk down into China Town to the grocery store on 10th between Webster and Harrison and buy 2 bags of their jelly candy.

At lunch, we go to the farmer's market, and then eat outside on the patio. Afterwards, we buy fresh strawberries from the central valley.

When it was warmer, the crowds were larger. But now that it's turned colder, people are haggling over the prices and the markets are trying hard to move their produce.

In the office, some Indians bring in a sweet candy that tastes like pralines.

So, I'm eating pralines, strawberries, and jelly candy from china town. And then, the cookie girls come around. They come around every wednesday bringing us plates of cookies. I take a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie.

Sipping diet coke, looking out over Lake Merritt from the 7th floor of the Kaiser building.

But mostly, I'm bored, and I want to go ride my motorcycle down in South America.

Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 13, 2017 at 4:33 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Swig Company

The Swig Company owns the Kaiser Center at 300 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, California.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 12, 2017 at 3:28 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Don't Look Down

I catch the BART into work. My Clipper card is in my wallet, and it still has about $25 on it. Like...I've not been to Oakland in a while. It's been a couple of months, I think. Not sure when the last time I was here was.

Somehow, I have a bike in Denver, and a bike in Los Angeles, but no bike in Oakland. So, I take BART. And, I walk into the Kaiser building, and I'm not sure what floor I'm supposed to be on. Like, I think it's 7. It's hard ot say for sure. I push 7, and it's the right floor, and my card works. And, I walk down to the office I normally sit in, looking out over Lake Merritt. Like, you sort of get the feeling that, at some point, someone's going to pinch you and you're going to wake up. But the dream keeps going. On and on.

Where is Cindy? Where is Natalie? Where is John? Sapna? Pallab.

Like, I'm just a pawn in this game. A very small player with a bit role. This gig will not go on forever. It can't.

At lunch, Nassir and I walk down to a little Mexican restaurant. Nassir is a good guy, even if he is canadian.

All day, at work, you're seeing people, and a logical question is "where were you this weekend?" Because, we all commute every week. And, if you could fly anywhere on earth for the weekend, then why in God's name would you go home?

Pallab was in NYC. Asok was in Chicago. John was in Jacksonville. Sapna didn't come in. She's taking PTO in Tahoe. Rode her bike around Lake Tahoe last yesterday, apparently.

I fly out here, and leave all of my motorcycle gear on my bike at Denver in short term parking. Only once I get on the plane does it occur to me that I don't have a jacket now. And I'm headed to San Francisco, which Mark Twain once said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco".

But, the weather isn't cold, so I'm ok there. It is raining. And, I wonder why I don't have my umbrella.

John has finally talked me into staying at the YMCA. Like, I don't really care. It's cheap. I'm not proud. What the hell do I care? So, I'm staying at the YMCA Hotel in Berkeley. You have to email them for a reservation. But, no more Marriot Downtown Oakland for $150 a night. Now, I'm staying at the YMCA for $50 a night. Wooohoo!

At some point, I run into Asok.

"Asok, I left a motorcycle at the airport in Los Angeles. Are we going to be back in LA?"

"I dunno. I think that we are done with the co-location part. It seems that maybe now we will be in Oakland...."

Like...this dream doesn't end, but it's not exactly stabled, predictable, or straight-forward.

So, I'll have to fly down to Los Angeles, and get the KTM. Ideally, I'll ride it back to Denver. But, more realistically, I'll just roll it up to San Francisco.

Honestly, I dont' really know what I'll do with it. LIke..every day is like a dream.

After work, I take the BART up to the Downtown Berkeley station, and go check in at the YMCA hotel, and John's urging.

Like, he's always sort of whispered that the YMCA is up here,and it's the chepaest place to stay, and the bathroom is down the hall, and who gives a fuck really?

Like...I've got a lot of problems. Money's not one of them. But, sure. There's no point in handing my $$$ to Marriott, when I could be saving it for my trip to Tierra Del Fuego.

The bring me my pizza at Jupiter. It's a Eutropia pizza? Like...this is where I used ot eat when I stayed in Berkeley. It's one of my hang outs.

I can't say how happy I am with the way my career ended up. Like, instead of bending over and licking the corporate boot, kissing ass to the grave, I tossed certainty aside, took an enormous gamble, that paid off in spades. Now, I have more money than I know what to do with. Like...literally, I can't figure out what to do with all of the cash, and I'm now buying bitcoins.

And, I find myself, possibly, in Oakland for the rest of the year. And I'm OK with that.

Like...I'll need to find a place to park a KTM or an Africa Twin.

My greatest fear at this point is that my contract will be extended. I think it's up at 12/31/2017. And, if they extend me, then it means that I can't go to Tierra Del Fuego in 2018. :(

Like, after spending my life bouncing across the USA like a ping pong ball in a dryer, I'm so happy to be working in California that there aren't words. I finally really got a chance to work in Los Angeles, and get to know the LA basin somewhat. Now, I'm working in the bay area again. And, I'm in Oakland, but I'm OK with this.

Like...I've worked in SF plenty of times. I'm east bay, but I can hop on bart and be in the city in no time.

I certainly don't need a bike out here (in the bay area), but only I think I migh tlike to have one here, if I could only find a place to park it. Like...I could easily just see myself staying out here. Riding my bike up and down the coast, like saragasso weeds on the tide.

Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 11, 2017 at 9:14 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Return to Oakland

In the morning, I get up go to the airpot. Today, I'm flying to Oakland.

Now, I park my motorcycle in the covered parking garage at DEN in Level 4 K West. And now, I have to think....where's the KTM? KTM is at LAX, but I'm going to Oakland. So, I won't have a motorcycle in Oakland. So, I don't need my riding gear, so I leave the helmet, gloves, jacket, pants on the bike.

I go through the pockets like a lunatic. If someone steals the gear, this is not a big deal. It's not really worth anything, and needs to be replaced anyway. But, I dig into the left pants pocket and pull out about $4,000 in my money clip. Don't want to leave that on the bike.

This weekend, I rode my bike over Guanella Pass. I didn't recognize any of it. Maybe 2-3 places I recognized, but mostly it was completely foreign. And I've been over that pass many times.

I board the flight, and I sit in 3A, on the plane at heading to Oakland.

It's hazy from the forest fires all over the country, so I don't shoot and fall asleep quickly.

When I wake, we're over the Central Valley. I start playing some music from my macbook air. I put some songs on it this weekend. It's the songs that Jennifer played on our trips to Mexico this year.

Everything fades. And, I could never remember these songs. Like, when she plays them, then I remember them, and I sing along. But that part of my brain that remembers the songs doesn't work. At all. Like, if you gave me a piece of paper, and said "write down the songs than Jennifer played", I couldn't do it. But, as I'm watching our videos that she shot with the GoPro, I see that we're both singing the songs, driving across the Yucatan or the Baja.

So, I downloaded some songs, and I play them now on my macbook air, as we're flying across the central valley. I don't like flying into Oakland as much as I like flying into SFO. The reason is that the approach is different, and I don't get to shoot the Cargill Salt Flats. I think that I'll start flying into SFO.

We land and taxi to Oakland. Before I deboard, I have to check out my seat like a lunatic. Nothing left behind. No helmet in the overhead bin. I've walked off the plane and left my helmet in the overhead bin before (at Ontario). I've also lost my glasses on the plane before. (I have 2 pair. Don't ask.)

But I deboard and I'm walking down the terminal, and I know this airport well, and I'm expecting to see some stores come into focus, but they don't. And the longer I walk, the more I realize that this airport doesn't fit my mental image of it. At all. Slowly, it dawns on me...I was thinking of LAX, and I'm in OAK. That's why it doesn't match. OK. Got it. Carry on.

I hop onto BART and head towards downtown oakland.

Now, the texts start coming in. John isn't coming in. His team is remote this week. So, John, Natalie, and Sapna won't be in. Natalie and Sapna live across the bay in Oakland.

But, at work, they're redoing the lobby. So, I walk in, and the entire lobby is framed out in sheetrock, so it's very disorienting. I walk around and end up at a starbucks, and then I see Ed Ferrari. "Hey...how's it going?" Last time I was in Oakland, we had dinner together. Some things I remember.

But most things I don't recall that well.

I stop into an office when I see Ragu. One of the people in the office was with me at UCLA, apparently. And took a photo of me sitting on the couch with my feet on the coffee table. On my iphone. Because I asked him to. Like...I don't recall that. And I have the photo.

Gorda comes in on the 7th floor, and she starts talking to me like we're best friends. "Y'all are back. Yay." I look around nervously. I don't really recall ever speaking to her, but I must have at some point. These conversations are hard to fake. Like..you're just making it up out of whole cloth. I think that she lives in Canada.

So, I sit down in my office, turn on the fan. Close the blinds so that the sun over lake merritt isn't too warm on my shoulders. And start another work day. Not sure why I'm here. Or what I'm supposed to be working on. It's all just sort of, you fake it and act like you know what's going on. Don't speak until spoken to. Try to do all of your communication through email, and take notes like a lunatic.

I will say this, though. They should have counseling for people that are single and send their only kids off to college. It's like the worst breakup you can imagine. Michelle and I were only married for 7 years, and I don't think either one of us was glad to see the other one go.

But now, it's different. Now, a kid you brought into this world, that's been your best friend for 19 years, disappears like snow in the springtime. Yesterday, I rode my 2017 Honda Africa Twin by the little stocked pond where she and I used to catch trout when she was knee-high to a grasshopper. And, only now, can I see the pond for what it is. It's just this stupid little square pond, not very big. You could probably throw a rock across it. And, you realize that the pond is nothing. The fish are nothing. It was the fusion of me, her, the pond, and the fish. And, as you start to pull away, you see things more clearly. This is not good. I'm a grown man, riding my motorcycle down the road, crying like a baby.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 11, 2017 at 12:20 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Mexican Road Signs

This website has a bunch of the mexican road signs.

http://consejo.bz/mexico/signs/mex-signs.html

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 10, 2017 at 11:05 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Things to buy for the trip

Buy:
New iphone (one with headphone jacks, thank you very much)
New helmet
new motorcycle jacket
gas can for bike
givi case for bike
order cigarette lighter for bike
contacts
Canon EOS 50D
oil filter
fix a flat

Do:
read owner's manual for new bike
Make spare keys for Honda
Load up Garmin GPS with maps of 16 countries
Repair CC Filson suitcase
install cigarette lighter on bike
copy files off of external hard drive
copy files off of MacBook Air
copy files off of cameras
copy gps tracks off of GPS
erase GPS tracks from Garmin Montana 600
get new 52 page passport
learn what the spanish roadsigns mean
learn the exchange rates for 16 different currencies
create a word document of all of the 16 embassies and print out a copy
trap raccoons

Categories:

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 10, 2017 at 10:21 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Entering Mexico

This time, I need to find out where I'm supposed to go when I enter Mexico. Since they're not really a country, they just wave you through at the border. But, I need to get a stamp when I enter the country, because they require you to have the stamp when you get on the ferry at Pichilingue.

So, I'd like to get this taken care of at the border because, once you get to Pichilingue, they won't let you on the ferry if you're in the country illegally. And, if you're there on a Saturday, then you have to wait until Monday for the office to open up that will stamp your passport.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 10, 2017 at 10:09 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

State Department Advisories

Mexico

Guatemala

El Salvador

Honduras

Nicaragua

Costa Rica

Panama

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 10, 2017 at 9:51 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Planning for Tierra Del Fuego

I'm sort of loosely trying to figure out my trip to Tierra Del Fuego. Like...how far will it be? How will I cross the Darien Gap? Will my cell phone work in Latin America? etc.

It looks like the first part of the trip will be about 6,400 miles.

Then, this guy says he can ship your bike from Portobelo, Panama, to Sapzurro, the first town of Colombia. Then, on another cargo ship, to Turbo, Panama.

From Panama, the trip is pretty wide open, but I'm thinking something like this (9,000 miles).

Then, the last little part to get to Tierra Del Fuego, is about 600 miles and you have to take a ferry.
So, the total mileage looks something like:
North/Central America: 6,400
South America: 9,600 miles
Total: 16,000 miles

If you ride 300 miles a day, that would take about 53 days of riding, plus, it might take about 3-4 days to ship the bike, so that's about 56-57 days. So, about 2 months on the road.

Although, now that I think about it, if I'm crossing the border for 16 countries, then that's going to kill about a half a day for each border crossing. You have to go through Aduana, Immigracion, Immigracion, Aduana each country you go though. So, that takes a while. So, if we add 8 days to it, then you have 64-65 days. I think that, what I can do is, if I'm behind schedule, I can just make a balls-out run down through the Sechura/Atacama desert to make up time, and then hit Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil on the way back from Tierra Del Fuego.

Then, if you're spending $100 a day on food, gas, lodging, then that would cost about $5,300, not counting shipping the bike.

When does my passport expire? May of 2023. So, I've got 5+ years before it expires.
How many pages are left empty in my passport? I have about 12 pages left in my passport. Not sure if that will be enough, because they seem to stamp your passport when you enter and exit a country. So, let's see how many countries I would go through:
Mexico,Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile. So, that's 16 countries, or 32 stamps. But it looks like they can usually do 2-3 stamps per page. So, if they did 3 stamps per page, it would take up 11 pages. That would be cutting it pretty close.

Maybe I should get a new passport before I leave and ask for one with lots of pages in it. I think you can get special passports with more pages.

OK. Here's the deal:

You used to be able to add more pages to your existing passport, but they don't do that any more.

If you renew your passport within the United States, please indicate your preference for a 28-page or 52-page book by checking the appropriate box at the top of the form. The good news is that there is no fee difference for book sizes.

My deal is that I don't want to turn in my current passport. I always just tell them that I lost the old one, so I don't have to turn it in. In theory, they return your passport to you, but I'm not clear that they always do return it.

The Verizon Trip Planner says my iPhone 4S is compatible for Voice, 2G, and 3G data with the following countries:

Mexico
Guatemala
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Costa Rica
Panama
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Bolivia
Argentina
Paraguay
Brazil
Uruguay
Chile

What would be the best time to roll into Tierra Del Fuego (temperature-wise)?

So, I'm trying to figure out when the best time would be, ideally, to get to Tierra Del Fuego. Like, ideally, I'd get there on the warmest day of the year. Much like I did when I got to Dead Horse, Alaska. I got there on July 31, and then left on August 1st. However, for the record, when we left Dead Horse on August 1st, it was 38F, and raining. Like...we were freezing our asses off from Dead Horse to Ptarmigan Pass. It was very close to snowing. Not fun. So, I really don't want to repeat that experience in Tierra Del Fuego.

In places where the difference between the length of day and night is greater between summer and winter (such as very far north - Alaska, Norway, etc), the solstices are called midsummer and midwinter. But where the temperature variation is more noticeable than the variation in the length of the day, like in Iowa or the lower United States, we use the terms "the first day of summer," etc.

Northern Hemisphere:

Summer Solstice - The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is June 21.
Winter Solstice - The shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is December 21.
Normally, December through February feature the coldest temperatures of the season in most of the United States.
In Alaska, the coldest day of the year usually occurs in mid-to-late January for much of the state.
In Alaska, the hottest day of the year usually occurs in July 1st - 20th for the northern part of the state.

Southern Hemisphere:

In Argentina and Australia, winter begins in June. The winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere is June 20 or 21, while the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is December 21 or 22.

Winter Solstice - The shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere is June 21.
Summer Solstice - The longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere is December 21.

In Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), the warmest month of the year, on average, is January. But, it looks like, if I could get down there by the end of February, I'd be OK.

https://www.yr.no/place/Argentina/Tierra_del_Fuego/Ushuaia/statistics.html

I am not sure when my last day on the project will be. Right now, I believe my contract is set to end on 12/31/2017. However, they could terminate my contract tomorrow (which would be fine with me), or they could extend me through June of next year. You never know with these things. My problem is that, if they decide to extend my contract, I'm not clear that I'm in a position to refuse the work. So, basically, if they choose to extend me again, then it means my trip to Tierra Del Fuego is put on hold for another year. This is not something I desire, but again, I can't really walk away from this project. I just can't.

Assuming that they let me go at the end of the year, however, then my plan looks something like this.
1) Ride the KTM from Los Angeles to Denver.

2) Ride the Honda from Denver to Los Angeles, staying as far south as possible, due to winter weather in northern hemisphere.

Now, the timing of this doesn't have to be in December. In theory, I could bring back the KTM the next time I'm in Los Angeles. (I'm not clear when that will be. I'm in Oakland for the next two weeks, apparently.)

But, in theory, I could swap bikes some time around the end of this month, before it starts to snow (hopefully).

The reason that I want to start my trip in Los Angeles, is that I want to roll through Baja again. I kind of like it down there, in a crazy sort of way. Like, it's just this barren desert, and it's really hard to say what the attraction is, but there are a few places along the Baja that I have skipped, and this bothers me at night. Like, OK...sure....I've been to Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Bahia De Los Angeles, Loretto, Mulege, La Paz, Todos Santos, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, Muleje...but there's a few places in the Baja that I've not been.

I've not been to Bahia Tortugas, Puerto San Carlos. These are a few of the towns that I skipped on my previous trips through the Baja. And, what's funny, is that Peter DeLeo told me this. He castigated me. When I told him about my maiden voyage down through Baja on the XR650R, he told me....."No. Man. You're missing it. Get off of Mexico 1. You've got to go down to all of the out of the way beaches. You've got to get down there to where no one has ever been before. That's the trip man. That's what you're after."

But, of course, I just ignored him. I was scared to death. It was the first time I'd ever been outside of the United States alone on a dirt bike in the Mexican desert. I wasn't comfortable pushing the envelope in the manner he described. But now...yeah...I'm all in. So, I do want to hit a few of these smaller off-the-beaten path places. Finally.

So, Bahia Tortugas and Puerto San Carlos. Those are the big ones on my list that I'd like to at least visit on this trip.

Then, down to Pichilengue, catch the ferry to Mazatlan, and just follow the coast (on the Pacific side, this time).

So, right now, my map looks something like this.

From here, there's nothing tricky in Central America. Just roll down into Panama. This time, I'll go all the way to Yaviza, Panama, and then ride up to Colon, as well. So the Costa Rica / Panama part looks something like this.

So, if I look at these maps that I've thrown together here, my milage now looks something like this:

Denver to Punta Arenas, Costa Rica: 5,630 miles
Punta Arenas to Colon, Panama: 900 miles
Denver to Colon, Panama: 6,530 miles
Miles per day: 300
Days from Denver to Colon, Panama: 22 days

So, the ride through North and Central America looks like roughly 6,530 miles. And, if I'm doing 300 miles a day, then that's 22 days. Or, 3 weeks. So, that doesn't seem too far off. It seems somewhat reasonable.

The Darien Gap prevents vehicles from driving to South America. It's a swamp/jungle that's protected, overrun with drug traffickers, snakes, mosquitos, jaguars, police that need to be bribed, etc. It's not a good place for a gringo to go on a street bike.

To get to South America, I can either crate the bike up at the Tocumen cargo airport like I did last time, or I might possibly try to put the Honda Africa Twin on a ferry/sailboat.

One guy say's he'll take your bike on a sailboat from Portobelo. So, I might end up taking a ferry/sailboat from Portobelo, which is only 30 miles from Colon, Panama.


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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 10, 2017 at 12:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink