After having promised it for a long time, I can finally tell a bunch of selected episodes of our BRO11.
The idea started long time ago (15 years, pretty much, when I’ve got my first two wheels machine), and it brew in my mind until the right conditions popped out.
So when Greg and Christine shown interested into the mad project to get some Harley and tour California, we actually got organized to do it. Organized it means we booked the bikes, and we got the flight from London to America! We finally set off for California, after I’ve managed to submit, with the idea to start from San Francisco and hit the road for 9/10 days. We didn’t arrange anything before except the bike, but we had a map!
We ended up making more than 2000 miles..
It would take too long to tell you everything, so I’ll just tell you same selected stories…
Getting the bikes
We have booked our bikes in March, however when we arrived at the Eagle Rider shop in San Francisco, they actually told us they have got a trouble with the reservation, therefore they couldn’t give us the bikes we ordered. While there was no trouble for the Fat Boy (my ride), the two 883 which Christine and Greg chose were not available… but Free upgrade!
Greg got a Dyna Low Rider, which had the long range pedal (you were able to stretch your feet all the way, easy rider style), Christine got a Street Bob, a bad-ass ride, all black satin, a nice dark looking. The bikes were big, but not as big as the Fat boy, which was renamed Battleship Bob.
I’ve rode an Xt 600 for nearly 10 years right now, but I never jumped on a Harley. When the guy started the bike, the sound of the V-twin filled the air. It was a hell lot of noise. It sounded good, very good.
When all the bikes were out, we jumped on, put the first gear and started to ride. I was impressed. I always thought they were beautiful but bulky, but I have to say that I was wrong. The ability to turn and the smoothness of the ride was impressive. It was still considerable the amount of space needed to turn, but that’s America, and they are not short of space.
The first day we travelled around the North of San Francisco, to get known the bikes and get the feeling of the riding. It was very good.
The road which makes you
As I said, we didn’t have a plan. We did have a map. When the question come up: “Which way ?” the answer was pretty easy: “South” – “Why?”‘ “‘Cause is down hill!”
So we started to go downhill, making the road as we went, following the advice of other bikers met on the road, or just coming up with a road instead of another just because it looked good on the map, and it was not a massive Freeway. We always find an accommodation for the night. A hostel in the vibrant town of Saint Luis Obispo, a super cheap motel with furniture from the 70s and which could be perfect for a Tarantino’s movie in Monterey, a travelodge in Eureka, Will’s base in San Francisco, and the the duck-tape tent, which was hold together with duck tape everytime we were out in the wild, hitting a camping ground.
Racing the sun
When we left the Ocean and the Pacifica (the 1, this is a hell of a ride), we aim the mountains and the National Parks sitting over there. The plan was easy and not too complicated, however we didn’t think about a detail…
A massive fields of farming area was displaced in front of us, where the temperature was very high. To give you an idea, grab one massive hair-dryer and the point it on your face. Then select 60 miles per hour as speed. Hot air. Now, you can have an idea about the conditions of the riding.
At the end of this terrible stretch, we reached the National Park. The ranger at the entrance told us the first useful camping ground was at two hours riding, another one at 3 hours distance. The closest one was full, and the park operated a first come-first served policy, so there was no guarantee or way to actually know if there was a space, or if the space would be available when we reached the camping ground.
We decide to pursue it anyway. We stopped just after the entrance of the park, to get some water and grab some nuts as energy snacks. Then we jumped on the bikes, ready to ride.
The road turned to be super twisty as soon we set off, and our average decreased consistently to barely 20 miles. The condition of the road started also to deteriorate, due to same work in progress, with the result of loose gravel on the road.
You see, loose gravel is a dangerous thing with a motorbike, ’cause you’ve got to stay in the line cleaned by the cars’ tyres and not end up on the dirt, especially when you’re turning.
As soon we got accustomed with this driving, the sun started to settle down to get the another night rest. We were wearing the classic HD helmet, so no visor for us, except the sunglasses.
It was getting dark, and wearing sunglasses when is dark does not increase your vision. The race was set. Either the sun was going down, or we were going down. Bears are common neighbours in these areas, that’s way is warmly suggested to get a spot on a camping ground, instead to attempt some wild pitching in the park.
I was in front that time, and I decided it was time to hurry. The Fat Boy lamp was pretty big, although the darkness was advancing with fast pace, helped by the sunglasses. By the end, I was guessing where the was road, but slowing down was not an option, ’cause we needed to reach the camping ground, and fast. Christine was just beyond me and she was able to see my red light, assuming that the road should be at least close where I was with the bike. Greg was catching up from behind, seeing these two crazy red lights climbing the mountains like ants on crack, at full speed.
We outrun cars on a twisty mountain road wearing sunglasses. We hit the campsite, find a space, got some wood, open a bunch of beers, and light up a camp fire, enjoying the epic ride just happened.
It was epic. No bear visited us that night (although I’m not sure that there was none outside our tent).
A big thanks to Will, which offer his house as base to start the trip. If you reading this, well, “there is a zombie on your lawn”, you know why.
Another big thanks to Steve and the guys at Lake Isabella, to offered us the space, the beer, the food and company for an amazing chat. We knew Californian people are cool, but you set the bar very high.
Last but not least, big thanks to all the bikers/people we met on the road who gave us hints and directions, tips and beers.
We come up with a video of the adventure, posted just down below with a bunch of picture, and even some road footage.