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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Los Angeles to Stockton to San Jose (960 miles)

Hey folks, here's the story of my first "rehearsal" road trip, which I took from LA up to Norcal this past Thursday and Friday. If you're not familiar with the story, see my original post. Long story short, the reason I got a motorcycle is that I'm riding to Mexico to visit my family (3600 miles), but before that I'll be taking a few "rehearsal" trips to gain some experience.

Other than gaining experience, the other (real) reason for my trip was to visit my nephew for his high school graduation which was Thursday evening, and to deliver my niece's graduation gift which was an Acer S7 ultrabook laptop.



I started Thursday morning before 7am, from Koreatown in Los Angeles. Odometer read 808 miles (that means I only had 808 miles of motorcycle experience before I took this trip). Weather was partly cloudy, but otherwise it seemed like a normal spring morning in Southern California. Thirty minutes later, I was trembling freezing as I went through the Newhall and Tejón Passes on the 5 freeway northbound. I took a much-needed rest stop right before the 5 and the 99 split and had a warm cup of coffee from Starbucks.

After about half an hour I continued on my journey (it was approx. 8:30am by then), and took another small break a little after because I needed to adjust my Bluetooth headphones, and that's where I took a few shots below.





As you can see from the second picture, I carried my niece's laptop in a Microsoft Store bag hung around my neck. Creative, uncomfortable, or dangerous? :p Well it worked.

At around noon I stopped for lunch at a rest stop that advertised Baja Fresh (yay!) and had fish and shrimp tacos. That morning coffee made me jittery during the ride and want to pee a lot, so I drank a small diet cola instead. I continued on and made an additional rest stop to take some more pictures below.





At around 4:30pm, I arrived in Stockton, and had about three hours to do a couple of errands: charge my phone and Bluetooth headphones, book a motel, buy flowers for my nephew, and get the gift wrap for my niece's gift. I ended up wasting a lot of time finding the gift wrap and there weren't any florists open and they took forever to find my reservation at the Red Roof Inn in Stockton, so I ended up getting to my nephew's school about an hour after Commencement started, by which time it had already ended. I looked around to see if I could find him and the rest of the family, but didn't see anyone.

So I left the school and went to find a place where I could get some flowers, and ended up buying a lame flower pot from Wal-Mart, and I found a nice gift bag and greeting card at Target. Keep in mind I was doing all of this on the motorcycle by either stashing the things underneath my jacket or draping it around my neck. It was quite hilarious.

Here are some pictures I took in downtown Stockton right before my phone died. If you're wondering what kind of phone take such incredible pictures at night, it's the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone. It's awesome!





Anyway, so that was my day one of the motorcycle trip. I was happy to have captured the exact moment my bike had 999 miles as well as 1234 miles (though not 1111 miles). I went to sleep at around 1:30am, to get some rest for the ride back home the next day, by the California coast.





To be continued...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Part 2

On Friday morning I left later than I did the previous day (after 9am), and headed to San Jose. I found out through my phone's notifications that it was my San Jose niece's birthday and I wanted to stop by to give her a birthday card. So I took the 580 West from Stockton to Pleasantville, and then the 680 South to San Jose. On the 580 the carpool lane turned into the Fastrak and I didn't have a sensor but I continued on it because I don't have plates yet so they can't "catch" me.

Here are some pictures I took in downtown San Jose:




Because of lunch and all the "sightseeing" I did around San Jose (not to mention getting and delivering my niece's birthday card), I ended up leaving San Jose back down to LA at 2 p.m., taking the 101 South. Being as I was on "vacation mode", I didn't realize that it was a Friday and there was rush hour traffic, so this gave me a chance to both try out my lane splitting skills as well as bask in the glory of one of the advantages of riding a motorcycle.

I purposefully took Highway 101 all the way down the coast instead of the much faster Interstate 5 because I wanted to take the scenic route, but for the most part there was nothing very "scenic" about the route. In fact, some of it was quite boring, especially the industrial area south of Salinas. Not only that, but it was also quite windy in some areas, so I had to slow down from my 85MPH because I feared the wind would knock me over.

I arrived at Paso Robles right before 6PM and stopped by at San Antonio Winery but they were closing, so I left. Half an hour later I arrived in chilly San Luis Obispo. This is where I had dinner (at a Jack In The Box, on account of their power outlets to charge my phone). Here is a shot outside the Amtrak station:


I wish I could have stayed longer at SLO, perhaps taken a ride around Cal Poly, but I was starting to freeze my butt off (stupid marine layer), and since the sun was still up I wanted to catch the sunset at the beach, so I left, and about 20 minutes later I arrived at Shell Beach. Here are the amazing shots from there:





I hopped back on the 101 south and was greeted by a gorgeous looking full moon. By this time I was REALLY freezing my ass off and was starting to get jealous of the comfy cars I was passing by. It did get a little better all of a sudden when I passed Solvang, about 30 minutes before Santa Barbara, it's like a "heat wave" hit me or something. Anyone ever experienced this while riding at night? Sudden changes in temperature?

Anyway, on to Santa Barbara. Needless to say I needed a break, so I stopped by a Starbucks to get some hot chocolate and stretch my limbs a little bit. On the way to the starbucks I got to see a little bit of the beautiful downtown Santa Barbara shopping area, and on the way back to the freeway I intentionally got a little bit "lost" and ended up at the pier where I took these shots right at the edge:





(Yes, that is the moon shining down)

I left Santa Barbara and the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, also I wanted it to be over already and go to sleep as I was tired of riding on and off for more than 14 hours. I arrived in LA at midnight, got off the bike, noted the mileage, headed inside, hopped into bed and fell asleep right away.

Beginning mileage: 808 miles
Ending mileage: 1768 miles
Total trip mileage: 960 miles

To be continued... (final thoughts and future planning)
 

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Absolutely awsome. Will have to tell us all about it and bring that lap top bag around your neck to the meet and greet. :D
 

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But... Guevara was Argentinean not Mexican... and south America not north :p title is misleading hahaha

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Great pics - thanks for sharing.

Backpacks are relatively cheap at Sears, and considerably less dangerous to ride around with than a Microsoft bag about your neck. I hardly ever ride without mine; you can store your raingear and if you have to pick something up on the way home, you have a place to put it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You couldn't see it in the pictures, but I did also have a regular backpack for storing my clothes/toiletries for the two-day trip (Ogio Newt 13):



The Microsoft bag was for storing my niece's gift computer which was still in its packaging, ergo I only rode with it for half the trip.

But... Guevara was Argentinean not Mexican... and south America not north :p title is misleading hahaha
#Guevara is the code-name for my Mexico trip because Ché's "Motorcycle Diaries" trip inspired me to do my own. Maybe I should've code-named it #JamesDean instead :p
 

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You couldn't see it in the pictures, but I did also have a regular backpack for storing my clothes/toiletries for the two-day trip (Ogio Newt 13):



The Microsoft bag was for storing my niece's gift computer which was still in its packaging, ergo I only rode with it for half the trip.



#Guevara is the code-name for my Mexico trip because Ché's "Motorcycle Diaries" trip inspired me to do my own. Maybe I should've code-named it #JamesDean instead :p

I know but I felt like being a wise ass :p

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Get you some throw over saddle bags from cortech, then you can keep some raingear and other essentials in there, raingear also serves as a windbreaker to improve body temp.
 
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