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October 16th, 2009 - San Jose, CA

First off, I would like to thank Chuck Williams and Hari Crowder for their generous donations. The month of October is almost over and the donation goal has not been reached. If you are enjoying these posts, please take a little time to donate a few bucks for the cause.

Under the torrential rain of San Francisco, I walked through downtown wearing my rain suit and 75 liter pack. I could see a stream of water coming down from the top of my hood every time I stopped moving. A black guy approached me and offered me a sandwich, I was dumbfounded. I realized I looked like a homeless person standing in the rain shouldering a backpack with no umbrella.

The rain finally stopped and after farewells to Elizabeth and Harrison I left for San Jose. In San Jose, I met Jessica Cover and stayed with her for the next two nights. Jessica was one of the most interesting people I have met on this trip. At age 27; she is an accomplished young lady with a bright future as a chiropractor. Even though she was preparing for her exams, we talked for hours and had a great time.

As I have mentioned before, Rob Eberle the owner of Cycle Recycle Parts II has sponsored this expedition and generously shipped some much needed parts to Tom Murphy’s house in Berryessa. Located in Indianapolis, Cycle Recycle stocks an impressive inventory of used and new parts for classic Japanese motorcycles. Shipping is cheap and fast and Rob is a knowledgeable guy to talk to. It is nice to find a shop these days where you can actually talk to the owner rather than answering machines. The box consisted of a new high chrome fender, valve cover gasket, oil filter, inner tube, clutch cable, speedometer cable and a set of progressive fork springs.

At Tom’s house, we changed the front springs, made the new fender fit and fixed the kickstand on the bike. Chuck and Ray, two of Tom’s neighbors, and Bob, another GSer, showed up and the party started. Over some beer and pizza, courtesy of Tom Murphy, we speculated on the best way of fixing the stand. Ray brought his welder over and welded the top surface of the bracket to raise the stand. In the mean time, Tom looked for his missing 14mm wrench for two hours and accused everyone of stealing it. It turned out he had it last and left it on his own shelf!

Tom, Chuck, Ray and Bob are all great guys and their help was tremendous. We had a great time and lots of fun, but I had to be in Los Gatos for the night so I said my goodbyes and made plans for the next day to meet up with them in town for a ride in the mountains.

Chuck rode out with me on his Harley to show me the way.  I was enjoying my new fork springs until we got to the exit ramp. I tried to lean the bike but nothing happened. I pressed on the handle bar and almost wet my pants from what I saw. The handle bar was moving but the front wheel wasn’t! Somehow, between four “Certified Mechanics”, we forgot to tighten the fork pinch bolts and all that was holding everything together were the headlight ears.

I got off the curved ramp god knows how, and tried to catch up with Chuck (I had no idea where we were heading and didn’t want to lose him), but I couldn’t go as fast for the fear of losing control of the bike. Finally I caught up to him and flagged him to stop and we pulled over at a restaurant. Out of 6 bolts, 4 were finger tight and the other two barely hanging on. I escaped yet another fatal mistake…

I met up with Tom and Chuck in town the next day and we rode up on a twisty road going to the top of the mountain to kill some time at the Alice’s restaurant. This biker bar was a cool place and there were hundreds of bikers from all over. The ride was great and besides witnessing a motorcycle accident scene on the way, was without a glitch.

Tom treated us again to burgers and beer and we basked in the sunshine, talking and enjoying the view. Bob and Chuck took off for San José and Tom and I rode on highway 1 south for Santa Cruz. We said our goodbyes and I headed south as usual and Tom north back to San José.

I had a great time staying in Silicon Valley and made some amazing friends. California has been good to me so far. Next stop:  Monterey and Carmel…

There are 2 Comments

  1. Cruz del sur
    October 16, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Hey Chris, I see you are well on your way. I will be emailing my sister and a few friends down south in the next few. You will definitely get some places to stay there. Will see if they can get a few contacts in the rest of South America for you (this one guy went from Central Argentina to Colombia in a Chinese 150 cc to see his son, and I am sure he will not only give you a place to stay, but will have many tips for you. Plus he used to live in the US so his English is very good)

  2. Tom MLC
    October 18, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Chris, it was a great pleasure to meet you, spin a few wrenches together, and put some rubber on the road with you. An experience my neighbors and I will speak of for some time.

    Chuck, my neighbor with the Harley can’t stop thinking of ways to get the word out about your mission.
    Ray stopped by yesterday after I got home. He has a nasty sunburn…between his legs…from welding your kickstand while wearing short pants!. Ouch! He’ll be thinking of you for a few days, at least!
    I’m honored that I could contribute in some small way. Wish I could do more. I’ll follow your adventures knowing I played a small role in the saga. My wife and I wish you Godspeed on your journey.
    I promised you a few contacts. Here are a few GSR members who might be found along your route. I can’t speak for their ability to help you out. You can contact them at your discretion.
    In Santa Barbara, posplayer (Jim)
    In Bakersfield, chef1366 (Bill)
    These two characters are talking about a trip to Arizona next week for a big biker rally. If your timing to Arizona is right, maybe you could join them.
    In Tuscon, first timer (Ryan)
    If your travels take you further south, through LA.
    In LA area, Salty Monk (Dan) and BassCliff (Cliff)
    Many, many others in the LA area. These two are both GSR icons.
    Once again, we wish you well on the adventure. Ride safe, and watch out for those banditos south of the border!
    Just remembered, you asked me about the oil pressure indicator. RenoBruce is your man to ask. He should be able to get one shipped to you somewhere along the way.

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