I originally posted this on the http://www.Flairheads.org website which is the Florida Airheads website and forum, and after several requests, I have re-posted here on the BMWMOA forum. This is my latest motorcycle camping trip on my 1982 R100RT airhead, a cross country round-trip from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego, CA and return via the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National parks. I have posted pictures first and then my diary at the end.....hope to inspire others to enjoy what we have in the beauty of this country and the traveling via motorcycle to enjoy the sites....I am 63 years old and already planning my next trip to other parts of the country.
Photos from Eddie's trip out/back to San Diego, Ca. 9/26/2012 -10/9/2012
Gee, just the kind of sign you want to read as you put your tent up at night !
Fun camping with daughter a couple of nights
Historic Route 66 was a blast to cruise on - all sorts of sights
Grand Canyon - speaks for itself.
typical meal over the fire at Grand Canyon camp.
Proud daddy with his beautiful daughter..she works at San Diego Harley Davidson.
This is a very famous old Hotel which has been featured on History Channel before.
A den where bears sleep and hide from people
This giant sequoia shows the mighty root system that allows them to grow so big.
El Capitan -The granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face
Me at famous Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park
Happy Airhead rider arrives back home - dirty,bugs and all - what a blast !!!!!!
Trip to San Diego, CA -
Day 13, Oct 9, 2012 - ARRIVAL BACK HOME SUCCESSFULY !!!!!
Total Trip miles - 5150 motorcycle miles roundtrip - another 750 car miles camping at Yosemite National Park.
Gas - $ 484.59 round trip
Camping/Motel - $ 341.89 (5 nights camping - 5 nights motel - 2 nights at daughters
Food $ 95 (excludes full load of vienna sausages and crackers from Jax)
Miscellaneous $ 150 - goofy stuff, gas/money to daughter/just pure junk
Left Jacksonville with $1000 cash - if I had to do over again (which I will do as soon as saving some money and planning a destination), I would attempt to carry or have access to more funds and plan motel stays - I had planned on more camping but based on not knowing where I would be when I got tired in the afternoons I ended up staying in motels - I found that I could leave faster in the morning from motels and actually made my driving day better by having more morning driving time. I loved the tent camping at the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park, but when trying to make distance the campgrounds for tents were not located where I needed them.
I pulled another 747 mile day (back to back over 700 miles - first for me) - and made it back into Jacksonville, Fl. arriving 9:30 p.m. at my home. And the faithful airhead is purring like a kitten and ready to go again (after different oil filter)....nothing special about this last leg of trip except weather was beautiful, New Orleans has too much traffic, and the Air Hawk seat is worth every cent you have to pay for it. I will post an accounting of trip later with pictures. I purchased what I thought were 2 BMW filters (I use K-bike filters as I have an external oil filter system) at the campground last bike week - one was in fact a BMW - the other looked exactly like it BUT it had different numbers and was all in Japanese - I didn't pick up that when I bought them as seller said they both were the same - well, bottom line, the BMW filter worked, the Japanese filter has a smaller o-ring and it does not seal correctly - it will be in the trash today.
Day 12 - Oct 8, 2012
Longest travel day yet - over 700 miles - left Ft. Stockton with temps in hi 30's - not the greatest riding environment - made it to Louisiana border and it warmed up some. Still wore my rain suit all day just for warmth (no rain )....
Airhead still performing flawlessly - with the exception of oil leaking out of my new (wrong size) oil filter, everything else is great - got to add another plug for the Air Hawk seat - cannot be beat - my butt is not what stops me - it is every other part of my old body that aches, but butt good.
Texas has some pretty neat vista's and mountains (west texas). I am thinking on my next cross country trip (probably to Alaska) I will invest in a mounted video camera somewhere on bike or on helmet.....there has been so many interesting things that I have seen while moving that I wished I could capture for others to see.....if you have the desire to become "one" with your motorcycle and feel comfortable with your skill level for long distance riding, I highly recommend trying a trip like I am about to complete......it has been a uplifting and refreshing experience.
I will probably have one more post and then when I return to my mothership computer I will post pictures and an accounting of expenses for Louis Kimsey. This will give you a general idea of the financial outlay for a 5000 mile 14 day airhead adventure.
Day 11 - Fort Stockton, Texas
completely different day today - very cold - had to put on rain suit to seek a little warmth - bike doing great -have developed a couple of leak issues - 1. My left front fork is really dirty and looks like it has some sort of a leak in the seal at the top....no issues with running but definitely a tech day fix; also, I put on new oil filter in San Diego and it is leaking - it does not seem to have a good seal - I am going to remove it when it cools and see if for some reason it is not getting a good seal- again, not a show stopper but if it continue the leaks I will just put on another filter. Speed limits are at 80 mph and the old airhead just gobbles it up - travel on I-10 is long and not that much to see - I am just sitting back enjoying the ride....paid $5.47/ gallon for gas yesterday - now that hurts big time.
Day 10 "On the Road Again" -(willie nelson) - October 6, 2012
Had a teary good-bye with my daughter after we had 2 wonderful days together camping at Yosemite and seeing the sights - left San Diego Harley Davidson at 8:30 a.m.; Been in desert heat all day and traveled 537 miles to Bensen, Arizona - a little truck stop on Arizona/New Mexico border. 3300 miles on GPS since leaving Jax - and the good ole airhead just keeps on pumping it on - even though I wear earplugs I am getting very fond of the sewing machine sound coming from the engine - it seems to constantly tell me that "all is well so far"....of course tomorrow is another day...
Nothing extremely exciting today other that the big cactus that grows around Tucson, Arizona. I have been pouring water down my shirt and sipping water very regularly trying to stay hydrated - Kevin Reimer had given me a helmet/hair net thingy that you put on under your helmet - I have been soaking that in water every time I stop and it is a huge help -
At least 3 more days of travel and 2 nights to get back to Jax and my lovely wife. She has held down the home front while I have been out and yep, I am really looking forward to seeing my bride !!! We have our 31st wedding anniversary to celebrate.
Day 8 and Day 9, October 3-4 2012
Yosemite National Park Camping - we drove another 1000 miles the past 3 days going to Yosemite and returning to San Diego - it was great - Wednesday night we arrived at Yosemite and did a really primitive camping in the middle of bear country - I mean, nothing, no bathroom, water, etc - just a piece of earth to pitch our tents...daughter bought a 2 man tent and sleeping bag and she is WITH the program - she must either have my blood or also be a little bit crazy as she loves the outdoors too. It cooled down really fast but we made a fire and sat around the fire telling authentic truthful tales (hmmm) and it was probably the most perfect moment for a father and daughter. All day Friday we toured all of Yosemite, took pictures and just went wild over the beauty of the park - HUGE trees, gigantic granite mountains, unbelievable scenes just to look at - pictures just do not do this beauty justice - but i would definitely recommend taking some time in your life to visit Yosemite.
I leave San Diego at 8:00 a.m. in the morning from San Diego Harley Davidson where my R100RT is stored.....I hope it will not be too mad at me for leaving it in a storage room with about 100 Harley's - I am sure it is ready to roll and get the heck away from just sitting. With some luck I will be heading over the desert tomorrow and heading towards Texas......more to come and YES, I PROMISE TO POST PICTURES.....I am so thankful for my Flairhead friends - I hope I can represent our group with dignity.
Day 7 - October 2, 2012 "The Eagle has Landed" (or Eddie as it were....)
pictures are coming - but need to wait to return to home base to post.
Arrived at the San Diego Harley Davidson shop where my daughter works at 12:00 pst today - rather normal ride in from the desert, especially hot and a lot of traffic. When I got to the Harley dealer my daughter had already arranged a workplace for me to do some maintenance on the bike for return trip to Jacksonville. Super - air conditioned workspace - I changed my oil and filter, and I check my valves - the valves were EXACTLY as I had set them when I left from Jacksonville - I was ready to party - could not have been more excited seeing the settings of the valves considering we lapped in used exhaust valves at Franks tech day.....went to the local BMW dealer and got new valve gaskets and got the bike all sealed up and ready for return trip to Jacksonville.
Over the next 3 days my daughter and I will be camping at Yosemite National Park and spending some quality father/daughter time together - she is trying to sell me on buying a new Harley and I am trying to sell her on the idea of moving back to Jacksonville and to give up the west coast life style.......not sure how this will turn out since I cannot afford a new Harley and she loves the San Diego area.....I am learning that parents don't have that much say so on what their children want to do with their lives....I can only hope.....
My wonderful airhead has brought me 2770 miles flawlessly to my destination.....not bad for a 30 year old motorcycle....I have to admit there is a special bonding of man and machine when you depend on something and it performs as anticipated.
Traffic from San Bernandino on in to San Diego was a mess - bumper to bumper 75 mph and not as courteous as you would hoped from car drivers. Most other motorcycle riders did wave - the ones that didn't wave were unfortunately on the newer BMW's - about 100 to 1 Harley riders on the freeways over the other bikes including BMW's - almost 100 % of the Honda Goldwing riders had their significant other with them on their bikes ( 2 up) Almost all the Harley riders were 2 up also.......... you notice things like this when you are traveling alone.
I can actually state factually about a couple of things from this trip - 1. the Air Hawk seat cushion (thank you Dave P) is the best alternative for comfort if you don't have some custom $100000 seat for your bike/butt. 2. A steady driving pace (thank you Tag) is the key over speed to click in the daily miles for long distance.... and 3. trust your own judgement and knowledge of your bike so you can sense any warning signals of engine problems - after many miles you can actually hear how the engine sounds when everything is correct - and conversely you can tell when something is not sounding right.
I have not regretted one second of this life adventure.............
Day Six - October 1, 2012
Left the Grand Canyon temperature at 42 degrees - had to add about 1/2 quart of oil to the bike - seeing some irratic movement on my amp meter - normally shows about 13 amps constant unless I put on the turn signals - but what I am seeing is the needle jumping back and forth (almost like I hit a bump and made it move) - and then it settles back down to 13 amps - no issues starting or running; I have a spare Diode Board if I am in fact starting to see a problem - just not sure yet what this is telling me.
Drove to Hoover Dam in Nevada - it was so crowded all I got to do was drive across it , turn around and drive back across it - too many cars and too hot to want to stop and I have seen the dam before, BUT it is still magnificent - one of the most impressive feats considering when it was built.
Went on into Las Vegas, Nevada - drove through the city and didn't even get off the bike - again, it was crowded, hot, and has no appeal to me - I suppose if you were in to the gambling scene it would be more entertaining but to me it is just a place in the desert to say I drove through it . Back in 1973 I say Elvis Presley at the Hilton with my Dad on our cross-country motorcycle trip 39 years ago (he was on a BMW R75 and I was on a Honda 750).
Left Las Vega, Nevada heading for my final destination, San Diego, California - tonight I am in middle of Death Valley, California at a motel 191 miles outside of San Diego-----have been almost 2500 miles so far of my journey. Temps were 101 degrees from Las Vegas all the way in to California - I smell, I am sunburned, and a little bit tired - so a good bath, some sleep, and then a relatively short day on in to San Diego, CA. I am going to pick up my daughter and then I think we will take her car and go camping at Yosemitie National Park for some father/daughter time. Tomorrow I am changing my oil and checking my valves in preparation for my return trip to Jacksonville which will be next Sunday.
Day Four and Day Five (September 29,30th, 2012)
Ole faithful airhead took me on in to the Grand Canyon, Arizona -
2 nights primitive camping inside the Grand Canyon - no electricity - no wifi, no phone - what a wonderful experience - arrived Saturday afternoon at the canyon and checked in to the primitive campsite - unbelievable bright stars and moon, temperature down to 42 degrees, fresh air, and not a sound after 10:00 pm - I mean nothing - it was so quiet and peaceful.....took pictures most of Sunday of the wonders of the Grand Canyon and at the end of the day watched a very nice film about the history of the park and all the types of wildlife that live in the area.....of course they had to mention mountain lions ------well, went back to my tent (Sunday night) and I was the ONLY tent in the general area where I was camping - nothing happened but I have to admit I was keeping one eye and ears open most of the night waiting for that mountain lion to come visiting.....I did have a large crow eat my pig skins and breakfast pop tarts which I had left in a bag on my picnic table - stupid me - they had signs all over stating not to leave food out as squirrels and crows were very pesky.
Day Three - September 28, 2012
Yes, Zion Canyon is on my stops over the week end - plus Bryce Canyon and of course the Grand Canyon - then a quick stop in Las Vegas, Nevada and then on to my daughter in San Diego first of next week (probably Tuesday according to my schedule). Return trip to Jacksonville will be a bee line I-10 straight back to my beautiful wife.
Another wonderful airhead day - traveled 510 miles today (total 1700 miles in 3 days so far) and ended up in Moriarty, New Mexico, Motel 6 on Route 66 (yep, the famous route 66)....planned on a few more miles today as time change to mountain time has given me a couple extra riding hours but heavy chilling type rain pushed me right in the front door of Motel 6. One problem today - my tachometer quit - it was working, then it just went to zero and stop working - it has been somewhat erratic over the past year but must have finally given up the ghost. Time to see if our Flairhead inventory might have a good replacement tach????
I have seen many bikers and all are very friendly - 99% are on harleys - but I did see another airhead with a side car and he was heading opposite direction. Met nice couple from England that rented a harley in Chicago and are driving across USA to Los Angeles - oh, and I did see a cruiser with a surf board strapped to it - not sure what that was all about considering we are in New Mexico ???
Day Two -
Arrived in Decatur, Texas - just northwest of Dallas - 520 miles today - biggest surprise was the 75 MPH speed limit almost all the way from Baton Rouge to Dallas. Motorcycle doing just perfect - it seems to be in the groove and loves the steady speeds - I am impressed... I plan on checking my valves when I camp tomorrow night which will be a little over 1500 miles since leaving Jacksonville. Saw the Texas Nascar Speedway and it was huge and impressive - But I am not real fond of the traffic going in and around Dallas - it was a nightmare just sitting in 6 lane traffic idling and burning up....and I was supposed to be on the bypass around Dallas !!
Slept in this morning until 6:00 cst as my back was a little tired from first day on road. But today my butt seems to be toughening up some as I am not as tired today as I was yesterday - I anticipate that by the fourth day of riding I should be pretty well back with my sea legs, or sea butt as it were....
Staying in motel tonight - bad weather coming in and I can't find a campground that looks useful....anyway, I had planned on about every 3rd or 4th night in someplace where I could take a shower.
Leaving for Albuquerque,New Mexico in morning - goal is to hit Grand Canyon and Painted Desert area for my primary picture taking and actual vacation part of this trip.....Need to arrive in San Diego, CA on Tuesday to get my daughter and we are going to Yosemite National Park for a father/daughter camping trip.
This is part of my "bucket list"...........
Day One - September 26, 2012 (my 31st wedding anniversary date)
- Left on one of my "bucket List" trips sadly on my 31st wedding anniversary September 26th......I will have a long honey due list wihen I get home but I have a very loving understanding wife......
Well, packed my Bible, beer, Colt 45 Combat Commander, and my Airhead 2012 Directory - kissed my dogs, patted my wife, and pulled out of Jacksonville, Fl. at 6:20 am - Interstate all the way to Baton Rouge, LA, 610 miles - saw the USS Alabama battleship in Mobile Bay - what a beautiful ship (means a lot me being Navy vet)... saw deer on side of road this morning near Lake City - just standing there looking at traffic. Camping at Baton Rouge KOA which is great - pool, Jacuzzi, beautiful weather - my faithful airhead running like a charm with new rear AVON rubber and dynabeads.... my AirHawk seat is absolutely wonderful - definitely bought me extra 100 miles of travel due to comfort.
Hope to pass Dallas, Texas tomorrow headed towards Painted Desert, AZ.... will post nightly if I can and hopefully post pictures too when I take any.