I stayed 4 nights at Rashmi’s house in Seattle, hoping that the pain I’m suffering will lessened. I also went to see a doctor, and was charged USD150 for consultation and some pain killers, which didn’t gv any effect on my pain. Everything was pricey here and I’m worried if this pain will get worse. I prayed hard, asking God to hv pity on me. Yes, He pitied me, and after resting at Rashmi’s house for 4 days, I felt a lil better. Before leaving Seattle, Rashmi brought me out in her car for some sightseeing in her beautiful city, Seattle. Thank you Rashmi for yr hospitality.
|The Space Needle|
|The very first Starbucks|
|Me and Rashmi at Lake Washington|
SEATTLE – PORTLAND – REEDSPORT – EUREKA
On 1st October, I said goodbye to Rashmi and head south to Portland via I-5-S freeway. The freeway was filled with huge, long trucks up to 26 tires and they were crazily racing the road. It was quite scary, especially when they passed me, which I’m sure their speed was 75mph the least, and the turbulence they caused swayed my small bike.
I had to stop at rest area at every 100kms to ease the pain on my back. My Givi helmet, even though its not heavy, gv pressure to my paining neck, so I had to take the helmet off to relief my tensed nerve. I continued riding and arrived Portland city after riding for 4.30hrs, covering a distance of 296km. I checked into Portland International Youth Hostel, which charged USD41 for a 8 beds dorm, and another USD2 for parking. This rate was ridiculously expensive, but since this is the one and only hostel in Portland, what choice do people like me have? I met another overlanders, from Cape Town and Atlanta.
In the evening, I joined the free tour given by the hostel for a sightseeing around Portland. We were taken to some exhibitions at art galleries. It was a nice evening.
The next day, I opt for a coastal ride along Oregon Coast. So after checking out, I took I-5-S again, before turning right to 99W – 18, riding along the vineyards, and finally, the must do highway for bikers, Highway 101. It was a cloudy and cold ride today, even though it didn’t rain. I didn’t manage to see the blue Pacific Ocean due to this. The road was good, but when riding in and out of the national or state parks one after another along the coast, the speed limit was reduced to only 25mph as the road was narrow and winding. This slowed me down as I dared not go more than the speed limit.
It took me 6.30hrs to ride 333km to Reedsport. I found a camp ground and pitched my tent for the night. It was raining in the middle of the night and I’m freezing. My pain worsened when I had to bear the cold like this.
I left the camp ground at early morning and continued heading south via Pacific Coast Scenic Byway . It was a lovely day today and the sun shone its light on earth, making the Pacific Coast looks so very blue. I had to stop my bike many times for pics. It was sooooo beautiful.
I entered California, and from God knows where, suddenly the wind was very strong. It pushed my bike to the right or to the left of the road. I was very scared because I am no longer in control of the bike when this happened. Due to this I had to slow down. Some drivers were mad at me for going slow. It was a double lined road and vehicles were not allowed to pass. I had to stop by the road side and let them passed me first, before continue riding. The strong wind also caused the pain on my neck worsened terribly. I had to tell myself time and again to keep riding….eventually I will be there. It was a relief when after riding 400kms in 8hrs (lots of stopping for pics), I finally took a left turning to Eureka, where my host were waiting for me. It was not difficulty to find the house. I was given a very warm welcome by the French family – Marceau, Nicole and their daughter, Alaya. Marceau was a biker, and I get to know him from the HUBB page in Facebook. They had a very nice house, a bit hidden in the woods and according to them, wild animals including black bears do pay them a visit sometimes.
|The sweet and kind French family|
The next day, Nicole brought me to a few beaches about 30 mins drive from her house as I told her that I really wanna touch the Pacific Ocean. It was a great feeling when I finally managed to touch the waters. After that, Nicole brought me to a supermarket. Knowing that I’m a Muslim and could only eat halal food, she bought fish and scallops. We went back to her house and I told them about my previous rides while they take a look on my blog. Marceau gv me some tips on my upcoming ride on the best route to take.
|Yoohoooo....I hv touched the Pacific Ocean|
Later, I helped Marceau in the kitchen to prepare for dinner. Marceau made steamed salmon and a French cuisine using tomatoes and I cooked turmeric scallop. Dinner was fabulous and I’m glad that the couple liked the scallop which I cooked.
EUREKA – MENDOCINO – LAKE TAHOE – BISHOP
After two days, I continued riding south and this time my destination was Mendocino, which were 300kms away from Eureka. I took the route which Marceau suggested, ‘Avenue of The Giants’. Yes, the redwood trees were like giants covering the area making it looked dark and a bit scary. I stopped many times here too, admiring the big trees. The redwood trees were said as the biggest in the world, but I think I had seen bigger trees in tropical forest in the National Park back in my country.
I spotted a sign, saying “Ride In A Tree”, so I checked out the place. It was actually an opportunity to ride in a tree, as the tree was so big, it enabled a road to be built inside it.
After that, it was a winding ride all the way to Leggett and after that along the coast to Mendocino. It was getting dark and I was worried if I couldn’t reach my host place, which was located at Little River, 3km south of Mendocino before the sun went out. It was another 8kms to reach the house which was in the middle of the redwood forest. Dave, my host was down with bad flu, so he suggested that I sleep in a trailer behind his house. It was kinda fun for me to experience two nights in the trailer, even though it did felt eerie as the place was too quiet at night.
Before I left, Dave, who was also a biker, suggested me to forgo the freeway, but took Highway 12 instead to my next destination. He was very right. Even though this route was longer, winding, narrow at certain parts and I had to stop many times due to road construction, the scenic view made this choice of route unregretful. I felt as if I’m in another world. The view of the surrounding mountains was very beautiful. I had to stop many times for pics.
As I’m nearing a town named Williams, I could see lots of peach garden alongside of the road. There were stalls selling peach too but I didn’t stop as I was in a hurry. I reached Lake Tahoe around sunset, but the camp ground listed in my GPS was of non-existence. I had to ride another 50kms to south of Lake Tahoe for another camp ground. I was actually very tired already, but I cant afford to opt for a cheap motel here, as its not cheap for my money. While riding to the southern part of Lake Tahoe, I saw a sign saying ‘Emerald Bay’. It was late but I must check out this place. It was beautiful, but could be even more beautiful if there was sunshine.
I hurried back to my bike after taking some pics at Emerald Bay. It was almost dark by then and I didn’t even know where to stay for the night. I had to waste another 15mins waiting at a construction site as only 1 road opened for traffic. Finally, after riding 527kms, I reached the camp ground and had to pitch my tent in the first pit which I found. God knows how exhausted I was.
I woke up late this morning as I didn’t get a good sleep last night. I wonder why…but every time I camped, it will definitely rain in the middle of the night. I found a note on my bike from the rangers, asking me to register at the office. After packing up my stuff, I went to the office, and was charged USD35 for camping at a RV site. I told the ranger that it was very dark, the camp ground was not lit, and I was very exhausted when I reached the camp ground last night. I didn’t even use the full hook-up service (water and electric city) at the site. The ranger refused to listen to me and demanded that I paid the full amount. I was very pissed off but I had no choice. This must had been the most expensive camp site in my whole life. Imagine, had to pay USD35 (RM157) only for pitching my tent at the site.
Nevertheless, the ride today was a very spectacular one along Highway 395. I’m supposed to visit Yosemite National Park today, unfortunately the road to the park at Tioga Pass was closed due to snow.
It get even more beautiful when I took Highway 120 (on the opposite side) to reach Bishop. I stopped every 10 minutes for pics. It was sooooo lovely. At times, I felt as if I’m in Tajikistan. I saw red grass fields and snow capped mountain. I also saw orange, brown and yellow coloured bushes. There were also awesome rock formations along the way. I was so glad that I took this route, which was not only beautiful, but very deserted, that I could count how many times I met other vehicles.
BISHOP – DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
I said goodbye to my lovely host, Matthew and Bethany for hosting me at their nice home at Bishop. The view of White Mountain and Sierra Nevada dominated my view as I exit the town. Matthew had suggested that I took Highway 395 to Big Pine, and later Highway 168 as the view was more beautiful. It seemed that I will never follow my earlier planned route (as suggested by Google Map), whenever I stayed with the local, as they knew which route is the most scenic. Matthew had warned me that the temperature will rise along my way to Death Valley (hence the name, as nothing can grow there), so I opted for Givi summer gloves and I kept my inner Hevik jacket inside my box. Yes, it sure get warmer and warmer, and there was no rest area at all along the way!!! However, the view was really amazing as I made my way along the winding road with lots of dips that I felt as if I’m riding a roller coaster. At other times, the road was looong and straight for many many kilometres.
|Ikut suka mak bapak aku la kan nak buat apa pun :)|
The moment I entered Death Valley National Park via Scottys Junction, again, I felt as if I am in a different world. The mountain look so barren and weird. Am I in Mars, I wondered? As I’m getting dehydrated and exhausted, I didnt take many pics. I rode fast to the camp ground. Unbelievably, there were too many people at the camp ground, and there was no more shaded site for non RVs. A very nice lady, Cheryl, offered me to pitch my tent next to hers and she refused any money from me. She was very kind. I hurriedly pitched my tent, and only took a rest once everything was done. I felt like fainting due to the 40’C heat and the exhaustion after only manage to take a rest 6 hours since I left Bishop this morning, and covering a distance of 334km.
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK – ZION NATIONAL PARK
I started early this morning to avoid the heat. The road, as yesterday, was long and straight. It was amazing when I checked my odometer that the straight road went for 20kms, before making a slight bend and then another looonggg straight road again. I met another over lander, Andrew, who was traversing US from west to east with his retro Triumph bike. Since we both heading to the same destination, we rode together for a while. I lost him when I bypassed Las Vegas at I-15.
Like any other inter-state freeways in US, the cars and trucks were moving way too fast, much more than what the speed limit allowed. I was glad when I had left Las Vegas behind me and the traffic started to lessen. The view when the highway cut into the high mountain was very spectacular but there was no opportunity for pics as there was no suitable place for me to stop my bike.
Finally, after riding for 500kms, I reached Zion National Park, By this time, I had re joined with Andrew. There were so many people at this small town and the camp grounds were fully booked. We went to a private camp ground, and was told that it was full too. Gosh, where am I going to sleep tonight? I told Andrew to try asking from the people if they would let us pitch our tents on their sites, and we could share the fees. On the first attempt, Andrew failed to get their sympathy. I tried my luck, and thankfully, a nice young couple from Germany let us pitched our tents beside their RV.
I hurriedly go for a sightseeing tour at Zion National Park. To enter this park, I must take a sightseeing bus which will bring tourist along the spectacular sights inside the park. The rock formations were indeed a spectacular sight. I was very glad that I listened to my friend, Andrea, who had advised me to visit this place.
ZION NATIONAL PARK – GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
After saying good bye to Andrew and the Germany couple, I made my way to Grand Canyon National Park via Highway 9 – 89A – 64. I had to enter few tunnels which was cut into the mountains which offered really awesome view.
There were two ways to get to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. I wanted to take route 89, but my GPS kept directing me to route 89A, which cuts along Kaibab National Forest. The road was quite narrow and winding. I met some motorcyclists along the way. The view was nice and I saw lots of deers. However, by taking this route, I missed Page (which was along route 89). By the time I entered Highway 64, Page was about 40kms behind, and I don’t want to return. I do regret this because I really want to visit Antelope Canyon and the tour starts at Page. Well, perhaps a good reason to return some other time, huh?
After riding for 434kms, I arrived Grand Canyon National Park. Again, there were lots of people here. I was told that it was a long weekend for the locals as Colombus Day fall on Monday. No wonder la.
I checked in at a camp ground, and was disappointed to see the camp site. It was not well kept and the ground was uneven. I pitched my tent and just rest after a long tiring ride. It was very cold in the night when temperature fall to 2’C. I couldn’t sleep at all, and had to seek shelter at the toilet which was heated. I slept on the bench inside the toilet.
The next day, I took the opportunity to explore the national park. Indeed, even though there were lots of canyons in US, Grand Canyon was the grandest among them all. Let the pics do the talking lah...
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK – LAS VEGAS
In the morning, I said good bye to Martha, my ‘neighbour’ at the camp site who lend me her down sleeping bag last night. To my surprise, Martha gave me the sleeping bag, and wished that I will have warmer camping nights through out my journey. I was so touched with her kindness.
I made my way via Highway 64, and later I-S-40. Unlike the other inter-state freeways, I-S-40 was not as chaotic. I felt at ease riding on this highway. Then, I turned right to Highway 93, heading to Las Vegas. I arrived my hosts house after riding 500kms from Grand Canyon National Park. My host, sis Joyah Vegas, was a Malaysian. She was a well known Malaysian here and this kind hearted lady always host Malaysian people who came to Vegas. She had a nice big house with swimming pool. That night, she cooked curry chicken for dinner, and I couldn’t help tears because it was soooo delicious, and especially that I had not taste chicken curry for 1 month since I left Malaysia.
|Sis Joyah and her beautiful daughter|
I stayed 3 nights at her house and while I’m there, another 2 Malaysian guys came to stay here too. We took the opportunity to visit Vegas most famous casinos at “The Strip”.
LAS VEGAS – TEMECULA – OCEANSIDE – SAN DIEGO
It was hard to say goodbye to my nice host, sis Joyah Vegas who had look after me well and cooked delicious food everyday during my stay at her place. But its time to continue my journey. My destination today is Temecula, 600kms away, which will be the longest in distance since I started my ride. It was getting warmer and warmer during daytime, so my ride was comfortable with Givi outfit. I didn’t hv to use the winter or rain gloves anymore.
I rode on Highway 95, and later turned to Highway 62. I had been depending too much on my GPS that I was careless not to check on my paper map. I was not aware that my route today will be crossing Mojave Desert. The result was my bike nearly went out of fuel and the only gas station was located at Desert Centre. I had to slow down to save on fuel consumption, and was shocked to see the fuel price at Desert Center rocketed to double than normal price.
|A unique sign post in the middle of the desert|
The road along the desert was in good condition, only a bit narrow. Sometimes, its winding and sometimes it was long and straight with lots of dips. The cross wind was strong here as there was no hill or building to slow the wind down. When the wind came from my right, I was hoping that the upcoming road will turned to the left (and vice versa), so that instead of getting a cross wind, I will get a tail wind. The wind worsened when I entered I-S-10 freeway. I had to hold my bike’s handle firmly to avoid getting being swept away. It was a relief when I exit I-S-10 to Highway 371 and later 74 which offered scenic mountain views.
I arrived my host's house, feeling exhausted after the long ride. My host, Deborah Chang was a Malaysian. She lived in Temecula with her kids and her fiancée, Mark Baker, an American. They were very nice to me. That night, again I felt like crying when Deborah served halal lamb satay with kuah kacang for dinner. This must had been the most delicious lamb satay that I had tasted.
I stayed 3 nights at Deborah’s place. During my stay, she took me for the long awaited and needed massage for my pain. She also stocked me up with food and all the things that I need for my ride, including a chain spray, skin creams and she also bought for me engine oil for my bike’s second service. She refused any money from me. Her son, Patrick, helped me with the oil change and checked on my bike.
While my stay at Deborah’s house, we received a visit from Malaysian friends living in San Francisco - Joe, Evonne and their son Axel. It was a lovely Malaysian gathering and we talked about lots of things from economy to politics and other things. I received an angpow from them too. Thank you very much
My long time rock n roll internet friend, Spence also paid me a visit. I knew him thru Scorpions Fans Club and we chatted regularly way back in 2003. Its unbelievable that I managed to meet him here.
Before I left Temecula, again I received the hard-to-forget hospitality from Deborah and Mark. They escorted me to a gas station nearby and paid for my gas. I was speechless. Not only they lend me their roof, they feed me with good food everyday, care for my necessities, and now this. Thank you very much Deb & Mark. I will never forget your kindness till the day I die. The occasion left me with tears rolling all the way to Oceanside. I was sooo touched by their care and love.
At Oceanside, I received hospitality from another Malaysian, Faizal Ali. He lived in a nice big house in a private area. I felt so proud to see Malaysians doing so well in the US. Faizal ran his own Vololight business and had been living in US since he’s a teenager. The ointment for my neck pain from Ayuni and my replacement visor which Givi send to his address had arrived. He helped me to fix the new visor.
The next day, Faizal and me rode to the beach front at Oceanside and later to San Diego via I-5-S freeway, which was 80kms away. I found Andrea’s house (a lady biker friend) without difficulty. It was very nice to finally meet her in person. Andrea had been helping me with route planning and what to see in the US, Central and South America. She was very generous in giving tips and advises. That night we had dinner with some other friends at a Moroccan Restaurant.