Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back in the U.S.A. and even better... back to the bikes!!!

Don't worry, we're still on Hondas... but we really like BMW :)
Upon touching down in LA, Roel and I hit the ground running. A dear girlfriend of mine picked us up from the airport, late Thursday evening, and while she was at work on Friday, we sorted out how to travel the 60 miles from her house to Irv Seaver Motorcycles, where our bikes have been looked after in our absence. 

With a “to do” list for each bike that seemed to run a mile long, consisting of odds and ends from simple things like “change front tire” to more complex things like “replace engine valve seals,” we had our work cut out for us. We spent almost every day of the next week making the journey on the I-5 (for those of you not from the LA area, the I-5 is a 6-7 lane raceway/parking lot, depending on the time of day, disguised as a major highway), to the land of beautiful BMWs, kind (and funny) associates, and extremely helpful mechanics. 

We had met David Diaz, the general manager of Irv Seaver Motorcycles at the Long Beach Motorcycle show prior to our return to Australia to work, and he very generously offered to help us out. While David is a gem, we soon discovered that he is just a reflection of the culture at Irv Seaver Motorcycles, and all of his employees are just good, good people. These guys and gals (love when I see ladies working in the parts department) work LONG hours, but are always smiling - indicative of their passion for motorcycling and excelling in the realm of customer service. And speaking of passion… if helping out two Honda riders, from whom they stand to gain little from financially, doesn’t show an extreme dedication to bikers helping bikers, I don’t know what does. And it certainly doesn’t hurt our affection towards BMW as a brand ;)
The only thing that is OK about this photo is that my new KLiM LADIES Altitude suit is in that box!!!
Engine work, not so much :(
My bike presented the most complex project with us trying to determine my oil consumption issue by getting into the engine and seeing if swapping out the valve seals made any difference (it didn’t), so we were back to riding two up on the Africa Twin for that week. I often rode in wearing jeans and then changed to shorts in an effort to beat the heat wave that took over the area that week. With these daily wardrobe changes, a couple of the guys dubbed me Adventure Barbie. Ha. Ha. (Very funny, Kevin.)

But then, my new KLiM suit arrived, and if Adventure Barbie were to have a suit, this would be it! The developer and designers at KLiM really put their best foot forward with this
New KLiM Ladies Altitude Suit. Yes.  
first foray into this aspect of the female rider market. The suit is streamlined in all of the right places, but still roomy where it needs to be in order to be comfortable, and it has all of the safety features, bells and whistles one would expect from KLiM. Add to that, cinches and waist zippers to give it a distinctly feminine look, and it’s a winner. I have to admit that it took a few minutes to get over the fact that my knees are going to get nice and dirty given how often I need to stop and top up oil on my bike, but hey, as one rider commented regarding whether or not to wear a light colored suit: “it’s ridiculous that we buy black bikes, black suits and black helmets and then spend all of this money and energy trying to become high-viz.” And I agree. Safety is the name of the game here… we’ll just see how well all of the stains I’m sure to “earn” will wash out in a few months ;)

We wrapped up our week in LA and at Irv Seaver Motorcycles with a small presentation for some of their customers. It was a nice way to connect with some more local riders and reconnect with old friends…                        
Réal, our friend from Quebec surprised us at the presentation
                                           Réal, a rider we first met in Quebec, happened to be next door in Arizona and rode over to see us! 

After bidding farewell to the Irv Seaver family, we headed in the direction of Flagstaff, AZ… our destination: The Overland Expo.. a conference for overlanders of all types, where we can network, trade travel tips and stock up on any gear our overloaded rigs might be missing…

We split the ride into two days, spending our first night back on the road in Joshua Tree National Park. We pitched our trusty tent under a brilliant sky full of stars and a nearly full moon that provided the perfect amount of light to silhouette the Joshua Trees that surrounded us. What a way to kick off this next part of our journey!

Joshua Tree National Park

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