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The Road to Corona, California

I had 3 days to make it to Corona, California where I am going to meet up with Race Tech and utilize their suspension expertise on my over weighted DRZ.

Countless stunning views

My general plan now is to get up around 8 and eat a light breakfast.  Then ride until 1 or 2 pm and eat a noodly and cheap breakfast.  I’ll try to stop around 4 but usually end up riding until 6 or 7 because there are no towns around.

Lunch on the road

Heating up Ramen is the easiest way to make lunch on the road.  I carry 2-3 liters of water in my camelback backpack.  From there I’ll dump a little water into the pot and start boiling.  If I’m particularly hungry, I’ll toss in a can of tuna.  It isn’t the best lunch, but it is quite filling and is the best way to stay on a budget in the USA where meals range from 5-12$ for lunch and 10-15$ for dinner.  I’m trying to spend less than $75 a day when using a hotel and <$50 when camping.

Other than motorcycling and other hobbies that end in ‘ing, one of my favorite hobbies is photography.  It is an art and skill that I’m far from understanding.  I did some experiments with HDR photography.  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range as opposed to normal dynamic range like in your camera.  What is meant by this is that the range and depth of colors that a camera lense can see at a single exposure is much less than what the human eye can perceive.  To get a higher dynamic range, multiple images at different exposure settings are shot then combined in software (in my case, Photoshop).   I’m not going for the crazy ultra-vivid stuff like you often see other places.

Here is the standard shot.  Notice how you lose detail in the shadows of the rocks and clouds as well as detail in the lighter rocks to the left of the shot.

Blue Mesa Reservoir Standard Shot

Now there are tons of detail in the shadows and much more color in the light rock.  I shot something like 6 frames at the same F stop but different shutter speeds while the camera was placed on a picnic table.  What do you think?

Blue Mesa Reservoir HDR

Back to the ride.

My friend Gary keeps wondering what I did to my DRZ dash setup. The coolest thing I have up there is the Vapor by Trail Tech.  Other things you’ll notice are my Garmin Zumo 550, Highway Dirt Bikes made the LED dash as well as the new top clamp with holes milled out for switches.  The two switches that didn’t come out in the light control my heated grips and a toggle for the headlight.  The last thing is the squeeze bottle Loobman which is a bit of a hack of a chain oiler when compared to my past Pro Oiler as most of the construction consists of zipties.

What I see all day

After leaving Colorado, the environment went desert quickly.  I stayed one night in Flagstaff only seeing my hotel room at night but even worse… I had to pass up the Grand Canyon.  I’ve still never seen it!

Dessert in the Desert. The best blizzard in the history of DQ

Dessert in the Desert. The best blizzard in the history of DQ

It was the high 110s and really quite miserable.  The best part was my Blizzard at a DQ oasis.

The bike was running great in the heat with the coolant temperature hanging out in the 150s.  The day was starting to wrap up and I was back in civilization on I-15 heading south.  About 30 miles away from Corona I was riding through a pass as the electrical system just completely cut out.  The headlight was dead.  The bike was dead and apparently not sparking.  Blown fuse!

A road-side repair seemed like it would be easy enough since I just blew a fuse, but I was concerned that the fuse would blow again immediately after replacing.  The day was starting to taper and I was pulled over on a major interstate with continuous traffic.  I broke out the cell phone and called AAA.  Yeah, I know.. not the most adventurous thing to do, but hell, I’m in the U. S. of A.  That’s how we do it here.  We’re all about convenience!  Plus, I knew that they’d tow me for 100 miles as included in my package.  I called my friend www.kevinludlow.com and he found me a hotel in Corona as the tow truck showed up in less than 25 minutes.  Did I mention how much I love convenience?

If bike breaks down... always pull way off the road, even if you think it is minor

AAA saves a roadside tear-down

AAA saves a roadside tear-down

The funniest was that the fastest  I went all day (and in fact.. the entire trip so far) was while the bike and I were up on the tow truck.

The fastest I've been all day

I got to the hotel and pulled the panels and got to the blown fuse.  I replaced it then checked all over the bike for loose connections and burnt out wires but didn’t find anything.  I fired the bike up and it ran great during the 5 minute test ride around the hotel hopping over curbs and speedbumps.  My confidence in the bike isn’t very solid right now.  The electrical issue is probably related to all my modifications, but I thought I was quite diligent in soldering, heatshrinking, and taping all connections.  Who knows.  I hate it when something is “fixed” without identifying the problem.  That’s twice now.  Tomorrow I visit Race Tech!


  1. Timmy D says:

    We recently stayed in Flagstaff on our way to California – the whole family. It seemed like a really great town – lots of dogs everywhere. We almost went to the Grand Canyon but really wanted to push through and get to California which we did the next day after getting some good sleep.

    Thanks for posting! I love reading the updates and seeing all the pictures. Also, I like how you described HDR. I remember when Valve released some HDR test stuff for Half Life 2 and I really thought it looked great, but never really understood exactly what it meant – now I do. :)

  2. Thomas & Andrea says:

    Hi Dave
    …. second breakdown :-(((

    We always carry a lot of fuses, because we had some problems caused by the preowner with the Dakar (to many electrical adds & changes). We never figured it out, by my guess, the main problem was the alarm …

    Food … we bought sometimes frozen mixed vegetables in a bag ( it will last frozen almost the whole day), just add herbs/salt/pepper and some parmesan cheese or tuna … tasts very good and is healthier than junk food !

    btw … we never made it to the Grand Canyon (BMW issues)
    Thomas & Andrea

  3. Dad says:

    Sorry you missed the Grand Canyon, I’ve flown over it at least 100 times, and always wanted to go and see it. So when you get back we can go visit it together (of course in a all wheel drive, air conditioned SRX)

  4. daveg says:

    Sounds like the grand canyon is quite elusive. Atleast you’ve seen it tim!

    Thomas: Good idea on the vegetables. Unfortunately it ends up being a TON of veggies for 1 person :( The disadvantage of traveling 1up.

  5. dave jones says:

    Buy a small bag! ;~>


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