Friday, June 29, 2007

Jennifer's Travels

Every once in a while you need to get away from what you are doing, and you need to get on your motorcycle and get far out of the city and your regular life.

So when my friend Sarah Lyon, who made that great calender about female mechanics (and in which I am the July girl, and which you can still buy at Sarah's website) said she would drive her BMW from Kentucky to San Francisco I borrowed a Honda Transalp from my friend Vincent which is more touring worthy than the GSX-R and decided I would meet her somewhere before she hit San Francisco and go motorcycle camping for a week or so.

After a lot of back and forth on where to meet, since she got caught in Salt Lake City with an electrical problem on her BMW, and then got delayed another day because of high winds that actually toppled a semi, we decided to meet in Winnemucca, at a randomly picked restaurant called Las Margeritas.

We pulled up at the same time, by a minute apart, me coming from Jackson, CA, 280 miles away, and her coming from Salt Lake City, 350 miles away. Sometimes, slacking with the departure actually makes it work out perfectly. Rushing is waaay overrated.

From there we continued north to find those hot springs my worn out Hot Springs of California book was talking about, 9.2 miles after this junction, and the 4.3 miles to the left, and watch out you might miss them. That is where this picture was taken.

It was a great trip, leading us to beautiful and remote camping spots nary seeing another soul from Nevada to Oregon back to California and Nevada and then California again.

We found a beautiful green camp site called Dairy Creek with knee high grass to stay at in Oregon, rejoicing to the eye after dry and gray Nevada.

We drove around Crater Lake with 10 feet high snowbanks surrounding us and the thick fog obscuring the view of the big hole in the ground completely, and it was totally surreal.

We staid with a Bonnie, bartender in Cedarville, who took us in because we got surprised by dark and full motels trying to find hot springs down a long dirt road.

We got stuck in the mud by the Trego Hot Springs in the Black Rock Desert on my bike, and had to walk back 3 miles back to the camp site and return the next morning with Sarah's bike to dig it out after the dust-turned-into-mud-after-the-rain had dried up again.

Fortunately Sarah had tools (shame on me, I didn't, arrogance of a mechanic). We had to take the fender off which was so caked with mud that it had blocked the front wheel which we hadn't realized with dusk falling and a long way back to the camp site.

On the way back (shame on me after preaching about chains all this time) my chain broke at 85 miles an hour on the freeway in Stockton. And fortunately again, it didn't get balled up and locked up the bike or broke the engine case, it just fell off and stranded me at an off ramp with No Services, and we had to find a Uhaul to get me back to the City, which cost me $300. Argh.

Nevertheless, it was all worth it, one of the greatest trips I have ever taken, and I highly recommend packing up your motorcycle this summer, by yourself or with friends, tent and sleeping bag, and hit the road in the search of serendipity, since I now have a lot of great stories to tell some of which might appear at one point in this blog, but for the sake of keeping it sweet and (somewhat) short this time I'll end here. Keep posted!

(photo by Sarah Lyon, of course)

You're screwed

In this city, you're getting nailed a lot. Or screwed. However you want to put it, I like to call it nail city. That's as in - getting a nail in your rear tire.

And this object on the left here is the biggest object I have EVER seen in a tire, by far, and usually it's a nail, or a screw, not a BOLT, like a 1/4 in x 25 or then some.

When I worked in Munich I saw like 1 screw in 1 tire of 1 customer in about 4 years working as a mechanic.

In San Francisco, I see people with screws in their tires come in almost every day.

Needless to say, this tire was completely flat and beyond repair. Most of the time the nail or screw goes in straight, in the middle, making a little hole that can be patched easily.

How the hell did this THING work its way into the tire? I have an answer for almost everything, but this time - nope. No idea.

Usually the tire is low on air, or low on tread, so the nail has an easy time to go through that kinda thinnish rubber layer, or the object is very sharp.

The little mean sharp ones are the those that preferably work their way into the brand new tires.

Like the little sharp nail lays there on the street and is bored and fed up with its location, and thinks to itself: Hey there is a brand new tire rolling down the street, I think I'll hitch a ride with this one.

Only that that hitch just brings it to the next shop, where it gets pulled and permanently deposited into a garbage can. Duh. That didn't get you very far, little dumb nail. Thought you were sharper than that. Caused me a bunch of pain though.

Anyway, just thought I share this THING with you - the sheer SIZE of it...incredible. I'm in awe.