The US west Coast

With highway 1 on the radar, i left early that morning. As i dropped the altitude to the coast, it corresponded with an equal drop in temperature and visibility. There was a thick blanket of fog over the roadway so i pulled in for fuel and dabbled around in the hope it would lift.

After checking everything twice and thinking deeply about my coolant leak and overheating issues. It was time for me to keep moving, into the fog.

I was enjoying the ride but really feeling the cold. So i stopped again for eggs and coffee and to put a few more layers on… It seemed to have an effect on my body heat but not the fog.

Rather than post some pics of an occasional glimpse of a cliff through the haze or some amazing trees when the road went inland. Here is my favorite moment of the morning… I stopped the bike in a car park to see what everyone was staring at. To my excitement, there were sea lions everywhere. Some beach bumming, others paddling about and lots of pairs were wrestling…. or that’s what i thought they were doing. It was an awesome spectacle!!

That afternoon, an hour south of San Francisco, a Lighthouse to the west came into view. I was expecting it as Andy & Cheryl in Phoenix had told me they had found it on their earlier venture in these parts. It was apparently a Hostel, and as I had spent a lot of time in a Hostel recently (working in Panama), I had to check it out..

It was nice, beautiful, and would be a great escape from the city for a romantic weekend but i had to keep moving. I was hoping to push through to San Francisco and meet the KTM inmates up there. Wheatwacker (Martin) had sent me a shock in Panama and it was my turn to get a beer back.

When i went to start the bike, it failed… cranked and cranked for a while but nothing. Then i caught a glimpse of water spitting from a leak in my exhaust…. Hello!! I know this problem!!!

Back in Mexico when i had repaired the head gasket and not replaced it had come back to bite me in the arse… In my defense, there weren’t many options then.

I feel as if all my posts are about issues that have arisen and problems Im in…. You’ll have to take my word for it. There are a lot of good times, great people and beautiful moments as i wind my way through these landscapes.. but what sticks is when im whimpering to myself, trying to resolve another issue alone.

Fortunately, like in many crisis’s prior, there is help, i just need to find it. I sat in my helmet on the bike continuing to think about the issue. Then I was greeted by a passing lady with a pile of washing that said in a polite and friendly way ‘MOVE THE FRI’KIN BIKE’. My response to this was that “I would if I could.” Eventually I pushed the bike around the corner and wondered into the Hostel to see if i could use the internet.

This internet was the beginning, this was when i met ‘Sparrow’. The same lady that had told me to move the bike became a close friend in the hours that past. One of those unexplainable encounters that just happen but just work.

We managed to contact John (ktm owner) in San Francisco who i was meant to meet later that day. He rang Benton (ktm owner) who left work early and took Martins (ktm owner) truck to come and get me.

A few hours later after saying goodbye to Sparrow i was in San Francisco with a couch to sleep on and a beer in hand.

The part hunt was difficult. No dealers had it in stock so i had to order it online which clashed with the weekend for delivery.. It was becoming a little desperate, especially when my credit card failed because the fraud team thought a series of $10 withdrawals at gas station in the US was suspicions . This cost me another day, but i eventually had a new part that was to arrive three days later on Tuesday morning.

I pulled the bike apart and got organized…

A few days off gave me some time of leisure.

Martin was on a ride in the Yukon so John, Benton and I went for a few drinks… My tolerance for the stuff is low these days, coupled with the boys feeding me a glass of whiskey and pint of beer combos, I was piled into a taxi, not long after..

In the following days John very kindly lent me his VFR so I went for a ride with Benton… Even though the fog had not left the area. It was great to be on a different bike, luggage free and San Francisco!!!

I spent much of the time working on my bike, but hidden behind a few other bikes in the garage wan another KLR. It belonged to Martin, and this thing was WORKED. It wasn’t a 650 anymore, it was a 705, and any upgrade you could imagine, it had it.

Martin said if i could fix it, i could use it!! So I did! The carb was playing up, so after removing it a couple of times, replacing some parts and cleaning it. It roared into life, and naturally needed a test drive.

The fog was gone that day, so i set out for a better view of the place… and i sure got it!!

Tuesday came around before i knew it, as i set about work to repair my bike, one of the last things i did was open the package…

Id ordered the base gasket, looks exactly the same but a little smaller.

Crap, crap, crap

I was on the phone instantly, calling around.. Desperate to get it ASAP. After calling all the dealers in LA and other areas i found one three hours away. Then John got home from work he suggests calling Sacremento, two hours away.. So i did, with no luck. Then, the first number John tries…. “Yea, we got one.”

WTF!!! Why couldnt I have done that…. Days ago?¿?

I took off on the VFR at 7am the following morning, I was there five minutes before they opened and back in San Francisco before i had breakfast.

I commenced work and by mid afternoon i started her up to flush the cooling system. Its one of those moments where you cross your fingers and hope its not going to crunch to a halt or spit a bolt into the ceiling.

It started fine, but after 10 minutes it began to weep water from a weep hole in the pump. A quick Google search told me that i was in for new seals in the water pump…. Its never going to end!!

Fortunately the dealer had these in stock and i finally finished the bike around 10pm last night.

Committed to this ride report, i worked into the night
and have now slept, had bacon and eggs and about to pack my clean cloths into the panniers and head east across the Sierra Mountains.

In the desert ill hopefully meet Martin as he returns from his trip in the Yukon and then I will go north, to Canada.

I estimate to have to ride 400km (240 miles) a day to complete what i set out to do…

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