Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 10 - 4wheeling in St George

today I decided to take a rest from riding and winn and his family were so nice to let me tryout one of there 4Wheeler/Quad, which turned out to be a lot of fun, very intimidating and kinda hard.

the rest of the day is going to be a bbq and tomorrow it's off to zion and maybe the grand canon north rim.

We also ended up burning some woods in the evening, which is quite a spectacular sight

day 9 - Bryce canyon to St. George Utah and meeting some new friends.

after another cold night in the tent I drove the last 2 miles to the park entrance, paid my 80$ fee for a national pass and parked the bike at sunrise point. Were I promptly encountered a person who managed to packed more stuff than me on a bike.

jasmine looks rather tiny next to the packed up 2008 KTM Dakkar. And the proud owner happily announced that he traveled from new jersey over 10k miles so far. I shall do the same, once I get a bike with a 5-6 gallon gas tank.

Anyway some picture from sunrise point, it was not that impressive.

but quite a view. Afterward I moved on too sunset point and went for a small 2 mile hike there and got some truly stunning pictures.

I even managed to run into some new friends at the sunset points and we took off to a ride together and they showed me some parts of utah I would not had seen otherwise.

View Larger Map

partly the roads were in pretty bad condition and so not that safe to begin with. But we managed all right and I was invited to spend the weekend with one and his family, which turns out to be a great weekend.

It also turned out that he has 14 different bikes... And his garage was quite a sight.

they even adjusted my new chain quick, since it got a bit loose after being just installed.

day 8 -> salt lake city to capital reef national park to bryce canon

the 8th day of my trip started with me packing up the bike and getting on the 15 Southbound till hitting the 5o East. This was rather boring, except for me battle against 50mph winds from time to time. Short quite exhaustive. But Utah is truly a beautiful state and so much nicer than Nevada or dare I say it? California

When I finally got onto the 70 it got so much worse that I took the 71 to the 24 to the capital reef national park Which was just plain stunning.

after spending several hours at this national park I continued on the route 12, one amazing street to take the motorcycle on and me having way to much fun on the curvy roads and crossing summits of up to 10000 feet. Short I was truly happy, till I arrived at 9.30pm at the Bryce canyon national park and made camp there.

For dinner we had canned chicken and macaronis cooked in chicken broth. Nutritious, but not that tasty at all...

View Larger Map

Thursday, May 27, 2010

day 6/7 - salt lake city

these two days I spend running around at the conference, talking to people, refreshing connections and presenting my poster. Which had the worst people possible and scared a lot of people of. Once I made clear what it was about, they like it quite well and showed interest. Shows how much a wrong title impacts your work.
Another really interesting thing was how many people asked me, if our software is IPad compatible. I was really not prepared for this question and so could only answer that it should, but needs to be tested..

Do you want to test our new software? Here it is

about the motorcycle issue,

happily I found a local ducati dealer, which told me he can help me with a new chain, if I also upgrade the sprockets. Ok close to 400$ later and 4h of work I got now a new chain and sproket and the bike is like new, except I hear this ticking noise...

so tomorrow we move on to bryce canon. It should be fun.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

day 3/4/5 sacramento -> lahontan nv -> salt lake city utah

since my first attempt did not work out that well I tried to ride the 80 till I can pass it and than camp somwere in Nevada.

Well the first part was rather cold and I keep asking my self for the reason of spending close to 1000$ on summer leathers, when I cover my self the whole time in my rain jacket and pants to block the wind. Slightly frustrating.

After I passed tahoe and enjoyed some beautiful sights up there

I managed to find a small spot in Nevada where I can spend the night. And it was rather beautiful lake in the middle of the desert. Were a couple invited me to stay on there site so I don't have to pay any fees for camping. All I had todo was to offer them some nutella!

on the next day I packed my stuff in the morning after being awoken by gulls and the wind to proceed to utah.
Originally I intended to camp at fort churchill, but since I was not able to pass sonora pass 3 days ago, well my plans got slightly mixed up and I needed to make some time. So I drove down americas loniest highway, the 50 and boy it is lonely. Hours on hours nothing but snow capped mountains and once in a while a semi or other car, My tires are actually flat in a part now instead of round. Its not a bad thing, just frustrating since It means I need to replace them sooner.

the gas stations also turned out to be far and in between and not up to my usual standards. Like selling only diesel and low rated gasoline, which forced me to turn around once to find another way. The gas tank is just to small on the R6 and it might not be the best touring bike after all. Also an airforce station were I stopped refused to help me out with some fuels and made quite clear that I should move on.

Once I crossed into utah, I managed to stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Famous for there speed testing
purpose and used in many movies like 'The last Indian'.

 I resisted and did not test the max speed of the R6, but it was tempting as several people around me did in there cars.

afterward I moved on to the hotel and checked in and calling it a night.

Oh before I stopped for the night, my bike started to make a weird noise from the back wheel and I dropped it off at the mechanic today to see what it is. The diagnose was that I need a new chain and that mine has a tight spot and is worn down to it limits. So I told them to replace it and an hour later they came back and appologized that they have non in stock, but can get one till monday. Which didn't work for me. So they lubricated it the best they could and send me my way and assured me that it should last another 2000 miles without breaking.

Well makes me kinda nervous, since the consequences of a broken chain can be from annoying and stranded on the road, to a shredded engine casing or worse locking the rear wheel and causing a crash. Maybe I can find a chain at a motorcycle tomorrow and get it installed by the dealer. But I kinda doubt it. Sadly I don't have a choice at this point and now need to decide if I go back to davis directly or continue with my trip.

the trip of the last 3 days:

View Larger Map

Monday, May 24, 2010

day two: twain harte -> mason valley

dy two started with me leaving from twain harte, taking the 108 east towards sonora pass, passing pine crest (6000 Feet elevation and surrounded by snow), driving throw a Hail Storm and a Snow Shower... Just to find out that the last 24 miles into nevada, well the highway was closed off there. And my research did not discover these prior. I always read 'might be closed', but this sign:

so it was time for a de tour. Happy Pathfinder I am I already had a backup lined up and happiliy proceeded towards this, throw the hail and snow again just to find out, that the highway 4 pass is closed too.

At this point I turned around and drove back to sacramento.


miles driven: 501
miles progress: 11

but having a wonderful weekend makes more than up for it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

day one - twain harte

the first day started out rather nicely with the check engine light coming on and telling me not enough oil. A quick stop at the mechanic fixed this and we did not put enough in at the oil change.

10 Minutes later it started to rain till my arrival in sacramento and from there it was sunshine and windy while I was driving down the 99. After the wind decided to push me over 2 lanes, I decided to reroute and use the backroads, like the 104 and 125 to the 49. Which turned out to be beautiful. I was passing a nuclear power plant, which looked magnificent surrounded by orchards.
And past he Preston Castle in Ione. The last time I was at this castle I was helping out with a photo shoot and these pictures can be seen here. So it was nice to drive by again and look at it.

At a random point in time I was totally lost and managed to find a REI store and buy some quick stuff, like a lantern, knife sharpener, batteries and first aid kit. First 100$ of the trip are already gone.

Once I passed San Andreas I had to pull over, since it started a bit to rain, but my riding skills defiantly got much better on the 49 and it was the first time I did not drift out on a certain curve.

Around 8.45pm I arrived at the 128 and it turned very dark, started to hail and my one headlight blew out ( I have too) . So tomorrow I need to find a place which sells me a new head light. At 9.00pm I arrived in twain harte and was struggling with the dark and the hail, trying to find the main entrance, when a truck pulled me over and it turned out to be ashley who arrived at the same time and so I followed her to the cabin and got off the bike.

Now how to get the gloves try till sunday evening, this is going to be a good question.

Also while sleeping at the cabin I realized that my sleeping bag is not warm enough and even with a liner and fleece pants it turned out to be to cold.

It also turned out that I forgot my sweater/jacket and now need to find a REI store tomorrow around the way to get a sweater to keep me warm at night.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ok the trip is final and I'm leaving in 120 minute for twainharte...

View Larger Map

and hope to return there at the 6th of June 2010 in one piece...

23.05.2010 Sunday Mason Valley
24.05.2010 Monday Hickison Petroglyth Recreation Site
25.05.2010 Tuesday Bonneville Salt Flats Statepark
26.05.2010 Wednesday Salt Lake City
27.05.2010 Thursday Salt Lake City
28.05.2010 Friday Bryce Canyon
29.05.2010 Saturday Bryce Canyon
30.05.2010 Sunday Bryce Canyon
31.05.2010 Monday Zion
01.06.2010 Tuesday Zion
02.06.2010 Wednesday Valley of Fire
03.06.2010 Thursday Death Valley
04.06.2010 Friday Death Valley
05.06.2010 Saturday Twain Harte
06.06.2010 Sunday Twain Harte

Thursday, May 20, 2010

trip preparations,

time to plan what I have to pack so I don't forget half of it like always.


  • sleeping pad - x
  • sleeping bag  - x - need to buy one which is warmer for the next trip...
  • tent - x
  • sleeping bag liner - x
  • stove - x
  • knife - x
  • spoon/fork - x
  • 2 x gas - x
  • water filter - x
  • 2 x 750ml bottles - x 
  • fleece pants - x
  • fleece shirt  - x
  • under armor shirt - x
  • under armor pants - x 
  • under armor socks - x
  • ultra light zip off pants - x
  • small hat - x
  • light jacket or sweater
  • 10 feet of rope - x
  • hand warmers - x
  • some bags
  • head light - x
  • camera -x
  • memory card - x
  • backup battery
  • matches - x
  • spare keys -x
  • sun glases - x
  • ear plugs - x
  • latern - x
  • knife sharpener - x
  • backup knife - x
  • sun creme - x
  • toilet paper - x
  • towel - x
  • tooth brush - x
  • spare contact lenses - x
  • contact solution
  • allergy pills - x
  • band aid - x
  • books
  • ipod - x
  • iphone - x
  • headphones - x
  • iPod charger - x
  • backup gloves - x
  • rain gear - x
  • brush - x
  • oil for chain - x

did I forget anything?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the preparations for my utah trip are slowly coming to an end and the wallet is close to be exhausted. Well I spend about 400$ more on the preparation than I wanted too, but better safe than 'skin surgery'.

Also thanks to a friend it looks like ashley is finally enjoying her on the back of the R6 and survived a bit over 60 miles last weekend none stop. Now I just need to find a way to feel comfortable my self with having her on the back at higher speeds. Just to worried that I loose her.

Guess we will add this to the stable next january if everything works out.

right now I'm trying to discover a new hobby, short making a chess set from firewood and learning to work with pine and alder wood.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wedding time,

well yet another pair of friends decides to tie the knot and so It was a great possibility for me to grab my photo equipment and shoot this event. Running around, switching lenses forth and back. Trying to not interfere and avoiding the whole 'pose here' or 'smile there' disaster.

but I truly hope I never meet a groom with a white reflective tuxedo again...

Oh yeah I also had the chance to provide my delicious smoked tri tip. Which is rather simple to make:


  • 3-4lbs tri tip
  • salt/pepper/cardamon
  • 5lbs charcoal
  • 4 pieces of wood, hickory


mix a handfull of pepper and salt with 2-3 teaspoons of cardamon. Rub it all over the meat and let rest for 2-4 hours, depending on desired taste.

prepare smoker and heat up to 220F and let the meat smoke for 30 minutes a pound. Remove around 160F internal temperature.

let rest over night and serve the next morning. TADA


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

And another jacket...

Well after 2 month my latest (third!) motorcycle jacket broke now to during basic riding I gave up on the Tourmaster brand and returned it to the store. So I was looking around for a new jacket to replace it.

To say it short, they had to happen a Dainese perforated leather jacket in my size for sale. Can't mention the price, it was just to good to be true. But it was a lot less than Dainese normally sells for.

Now I have a bright jacket and finally not the 'Geek' look anymore as I had with bright yellow one.
Another nice side effect is that the jacket is a lot tighter and closer to the body so the wind pulls less on me.

(Sorry sunshine)

Now I still need to get a pair of pants to go with it.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


last night I went shopping at my favorite grocery store to get all the ingredients for my by now famous cheese fondue. While I was desperately searching for a lager, which is required my eyes stumbled over a violet/purple bottle of beer, called Aventinus. Understandable I was incredible excited. Since I discovered this beer at a tiny bar in germany 2 years ago and managed to go there with Ashley last christmas and rediscover this beer. Which translated in her steeling my beer...

To avoid this happening again I bought the complete stock of this beer at the store. A whopping 4 bottles. I think someone is going to be very happy wednesday night.

The Streets of San Francisco

The weather is finally getting nicer here in california and so I started to extend my rides from the Davis/Sacramento/Auburn area to the Bay Area.

First stop was my favorite american city, San Francisco and I have to say it's quite different to drive there by motorcycle and not by car.

First of all, you need about 45-50 minutes from Davis to SF, instead of two hours. If you take the bay bridge. Basically traffic jams don't exist anymore, thanks to the california law of splitting lanes. Now if you take the Golden Gate Bridge, you can't split lines anymore. The roads are to narrow and so the way back was more like 2.5 hours and my left hand was killing me after being for 1 hour stuck on the bridge in the traffic jam. Pull clutch in, Pull clutch out, Pull clutch in, Pull clutch out...

Reason of being there?

Now why did I actually go to SF? There is this great store, called Johnson Leathers, which provides custom made armor protection for you and your bike. Obviously I'm not rich enough to spend 1500$ on a custom made outfit. But I did get some underpants, so I can ride in jeans/cargo pants and have impact protection, but sadly barley any abrasion.
They did offer me to make a pair of perforated Leather Pants till the next weekend for 500$ to go with the underpants, but I had to decline. Maybe at the end of the year when my wallet recovered from the trip preparations.

For now I hope to be able to find some mesh pants or leather pants at a motorcycle outlet store for 50-100$ to help with the abrasion.

It is funny, you spend all this money on stuff you never hope to use.

Let's see

200$ 3 Season Jacket, which ripped again. So I have to return them. Maybe tomorrow...
100$ Summer Jacket ( which I already wear, whenever I ride in davis. 80F are already to hot)
230$ Back/Chest protector
180$ Winter/Fall pants
120$ Leather Gloves
400$ Helmet
200$ Protective underpants

Sadly my favorite 'motorcycle' headphones broke last week and I don't really want to spend another 200$ on them to buy them again. I mean they only lasted 8 Month, which does not speak of the quality. But they did have great noise isolation.

Maybe I give a Scala G4 or Blueant F4 a shot next? I just don't like to be forced to connect my IPhone/IPod over Bluetooth. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer good old wires for music transfer. I tried to use my old Sennheiser CX300 today, but they don't isolate the wind noise and so are useless. Guess I have to give up on music and use foam ear plugs again to filter these frequencies.

Another reason for going to San Francisco is because I really love to ride the motorcycle and to explore parts of california I would never see by car. Why would you ever take back roads in a car?

On a funny note, I had no problems starting the bike at all at the steep hills in San Francisco. Sure it was a bit noisy and whiny, but I did not stall it and it had more than enough power to keep going. Now If I could avoid to get my legs roasted by the engine heat in stop and go traffic . This would be a plus...