Sunday, December 21, 2014

Monterey to LA with an Unhappy Africa Twin

Love the PCH!!!

From Monterey, we headed South to LA on a Tuesday, with a target of riding over the border on Friday or Saturday. We had several errands to run while in LA and we also had several friends we wanted to catch up with before we left the country. However, with Roel’s visa for the US expiring on Sunday, we had very little time to work with.

And the the Africa Twin decided to make things interesting… By not starting properly. So then all bets were off.

The issue had begun in the Bay Area and initially just seemed to be due to colder evenings and mornings.

But then when it took 4 attempts to start at a gas station in Santa Monica… Then Roel had to roll the AT all over a parking lot and down a hill at a grocery store in Pasadena. And then, the battery died in my girlfriend’s parking garage when Roel was trying to start the Twin, we knew our social “calendar” would have to be scrapped.

I was lucky to get to see my girlfriends as we stayed with them while in the area and they were extremely understanding of how hectic the situation was, but furthermore, we didn’t get to see anyone else. So, for those of you reading this who we were supposed to meet up with or should have reached out to… we’re sorry - we had the best intentions.

While Roel was in the garage tinkering, I was upstairs contemplating our options online: would we have to trailer the Africa Twin over the border? At this point, we knew we weren’t going to make the Friday deadline and the Saturday deadline was looking pretty far out of reach.

Fortunately, after pulling apart the Africa Twin, Roel found some corrosion on the starter relay and found a spark plug that did not look the way it should. He scraped away the corrosion and replaced all of the spark plugs and the result was a much happier Africa Twin. Not a perfectly happy Africa Twin, mind you, but happy enough that we could trust him not to refuse to start after we chat with immigration officials.

We made the call to cross the border on Sunday morning and took the opportunity to change my front tire as my shoddy steering head bearing had left a really unpleasant pattern in my old front tire.

A new Kenda K761 for the Transalp!

On Saturday night we rode south and camped at a closed state park next to the I5. Just when you thought you couldn’t hate the I5 anymore that you already did, you go and camp right next to it and within a couple of hours realize that the traffic on the 5 never sleeps. So nor will you.

Adrenaline shot of the day: Emergency stop on the side of the i5 to drop off this unwelcome hitchhiker!

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