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September 29, 2016

Meltdown in Oakland

So, yesterday, after work, I've got 1 1/2hours to roll around and shoot Oakland before our team dinner. They kick us out of the building at 5:00 p.m., and our team dinner is at 6:30 p.m. So, I'm rolling around and shooting like mad. And I'm finding some pretty good stuff. It's only the 2nd day that I've really tried to shoot, because Tuesday I met Carol, David, and Sapna out for dinner after work. So, I shot Monday. And now it's Wednesday. And I'm rolling around Oakland near Lake Merritt and shooting like crazy.

Like, this is not what I thought Oakland would be like. At all. And, I once drove through Oakland about 20 years ago as I recall, but nothing matches my memories. And then I'm rolling down one street and I'm like...this is where I was before...he came here.

But Oakland is very nice. Much nicer than they would lead you to believe on TV. And, granted there's been some gentrification, but Oakland is fine. I'd say it's no worse than the Mission, IMHO.

So, as I'm rolling around, taking photos, I keep stopping and starting. So, a lot of clutch work, of course. And then, suddenly, I notice that the clutch point has changed pretty radically. Like, the clutch barely works any more. And, it works less and less and by the time we have to meet for dinner, I pretty much don't have a clutch any more.

So, I park the bike and we go eat dinner at Drake's Dealership (2325 Broadway). Now, after dinner, I get the bike going, but just barely. And now, I realize the clutch does not work at all and this is the same thing that happened to me on the way back from Mexico last year. The clutch is completely gone. The hydraulic clutch is leaking fluid and now I can't stop. Or start really. So, I'm circling around in the dark in Oakland with no plates, trying not to stop at red lights because I can't stop any more. And every red light I come to I just do an immediate U-turn and try to figure out how I can keep the ball rolling.

But finally, I have to stop and the bike lurches/skids to a halt and I'm off in the bad part of Oakland at night. With a DSLR around my neck. And I'm pushing the starter but the bike is just sort of lurching down the street, failing to launch, as it were. And now this black youth approaches me and I'm like..."fuck...I'm dead now"

And, instead, he senses what the problem is and comes and starts pushing on the back of the motorcycle.

"I think if we can get it going fast enough it will start working right..." I offer.

And he pushes while I hold the starter and the bike speeds off into the night. And I don't even get a chance to thank him for helping me because I'm tearing off through the Oakland night on a machine of questionable worth.

Now I've made up my mind to take the interstate as that's the only way I'll make it back to the hotel and I make a few turns and by the grace of God I'm on the interstate and now exiting on Powell Street to the Sheraton and somehow the lights all turn green and I roll into the Sheraton and the bike skids to a halt at my parking space.

In the morning, after much analysis, I determine that the hydraulic braking system is leaking fluid, and I'm supposed to refill it with Magura Mineral Oil, but, of course, I don't have any Magura Mineral Oil on me.

Finally, I decide that I have to find someone to fix the bike because a) I don't have any Magura Mineral Oil and 2) I'm not sure I could figure out how to make it work if I had a drum of Magura Mineral Oil. Although, I did have a guy walk me through the process of bleeding out the slave cylinder without the use of a syringe.

So I'm in the hotel, calling all over the city trying to get someone to fix the bike, but no one will even look at it. They're all completely booked up and they won't help me even though I explain that I'm on the road from Denver or LA (everyone gets a different pitch because even I'm not sure what the real story is).

I'm supposed to be at work and I'm supposed to check out of the hotel and I really can't come up with a plan. I need the bike to be working. But no one has time to work on it. They're all booked up solid and I try to explain to them that I'm truly broken down on the side of the road in Oakland, when in fact, I'm staying in the 4 Points Sheraton in Emeryville, but let's not worry too much about those details, OK?

Finally, I find a guy that says he'll look at it.

"Like...dude...if you can just help me get it rolling again...I can fix it in LA," I offer.

"Well, I don't like to let bikes go out on the road if they're not working properly," he complains. "Get it in here and we'll see what's going on with it."

And he gives me a tow truck driver that he works with and I call the tow guy but he's down in Pacifica and the tow guy says he'll be here at 1:30-2:00 barring any traffic nightmares.

So, I didn't go into work today at all, and instead, I'm holed up in my hotel room, waiting for them to start banging on the door at any second. It's already 12:30 p.m., so I'm not sure why they have let me stay in here for this long.

Basically, I just a squatter in the hotel at this point. Like, I seriously wonder how they evict people from a hotel room when you can't evict someone from renting house no matter what happens.

I think my biggest concern with the bike is that the bike made everything I was doing make sense. Like...I'm on this epic journey up the Pacific Coast and back. And now, if the bike can't continue the journey, then I'm not really sure where I'm supposed to go at this point. Do I go back to Denver? Or back to Los Angeles? Do I fly back to Denver and drive another motorcycle out? Do I need a 2nd motorcycle in Los Angeles? Maybe I do. It's hard to know for sure.

Maybe that will be my backup plan. Fly to Denver, and drive another motorcycle out here. As long as I can get this bike into a shop in San Francisco, then I can come back for it later. On another weekend.

OK. So, now to start looking at plane tickets to Denver. Lord this is confusing. Bought a plane ticket into Denver tonight. So, that gives me some options. The phone rings. It's the front desk. Ask them to move my checkout time to 2:00 p.m. They agree.

I'm thinking now to let the tow truck guy take my bike to the shop to be repaired. Leave it with the until they fix it right. Fly back to Denver tonight. Then, either I can drive back another bike to LA, or I can fly back to LA on Monday.

Lord God this is confusing.

So, the first thing I do, now that I start thinking about putting the bike in the shop, is I start pulling keys off of my KTM key chain. I'm not making that mistake again. I'll only leave him with keys to the KTM. I still need my Honda keys when I get back to CO. Also, my room keys for my place in Riverside. Lord.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 29, 2016 at 1:02 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 26, 2016

Day 5 - Emeryville, CA to Oakland, CA

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in Emeryville, CA.

Day 5 - Monday 9/26/2016 - Emeryville, CA to Oakland, CA.
Starting Odometer: 46,048
Ending Odometer: 46,071
Miles Traveled Today: 23
Total Miles Traveled this trip: 740

So, today, we got up and drove into Oakland. I say "we" because there are a few of us staying in this hotel. I was really surprised by Oakland because, in my mind, it's always been just this cess pool of crime to be avoided but, honestly, the place where we are is very nice. Like, there are police stationed on every corner, but I think that we must be in the nice section of Oakland.

So, after work, I decided to drive around and shoot some of the murals in Oakland. And, once I overcame my fear, I drove around Oakland without plates on the bike a blew through a couple hundred frames. Like, I'm just sort of trying to capture what little bits I can before the sun goes down. It feels like we have such a short amount of time on this earth. And now, with the days getting shorter, I really am having a hard time trying to connect the dots.

Jennifer mentioned that there was some sort of Black Tie event at her school for parents on Friday night, and I'm thinking...oh man. When it rains it pours. Like...I'm stretched very thin here. My neighbors are complaining that my cats are wandering the neighborhood, begging to get into the houses of strangers. And, I've got to get this bike back to LA this weekend. I don't really see how I can get back to Denver this weekend and also get my bike back to LA. If you drive like a bat out of hell, it's still a 500 mile drive down there.

So, we decide that I won't go back to Denver this weekend. I'll just run my bike back down to Riverside and we'll see if the cats are still alive when I get home next weekend.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2016 at 11:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 4: Salinas, CA to Emeryville, CA.

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in Emeryville, CA.

Day 4 - Sunday 9/25/2016 - Salinas, CA to Emeryville, CA.
Starting Odometer: 45,870
Ending Odometer: 46,048
Miles Traveled Today: 178
Total Miles Traveled this trip: 717

So, on Day 4 (Sunday 9/25), I got up and drove through Monterrey, and then up the Pacific Coast Highway. It's a beautiful ride, and I stopped to shoot some photos at Scott Creek and Pescadero State Beach. It was unseasonably warm, at 92 F.

It's strawberry season, so I stopped to eat fresh roadside strawberries. Then, when I got into San Francisco, I drove to North Beach. Not for any real reason, except that I spent so much of my life there that I sort of gravitate to that neighborhood. Got a Philly Cheesesteak at Buster's on Columbus. Then, I drove up to the Marin County Headlands and got some shots of the city from there. Also, I road around and looked at some of the trails I used to ride on the XR. I was surprised how many of the places I used to ride were closed off, and I'm sure they were closed when I used to ride them also, but I recognized many of the places I used to ride. On the way back, I stopped and pulled the plates off the bike because a) old habits die hard and 2) they were expired anyway. This way you can cross the golden gate and bay bridges without having to pay the tolls.

Then, I met with one of my coworkers in the Mission at some place I would have never found. Like, basically, it's in a warehouse in the mission with some dude with no neck guarding it on a stool on the sidewalk. No sign. Nothing.

Then, I drove into Emeryville and checked into the Sheraton for the night.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 26, 2016 at 10:52 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 24, 2016

Day 3: The Salinas Valley

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in the Salinas Valley.

Day 3 - Saturday 9/24/2016 - San Luis Obispo (SLO) to Salinas, CA.
Starting Odometer: 45,650
Ending Odometer: 45,870
Miles Traveled Today: 220
Total Miles Traveled this trip: 539

I started out this morning in SLO. Picked up some gatorade and some snacks at the gas station between Marsh and Higuera there at the edge of town. I finally managed to take the right exit off of US 101 today. I'd been getting off at Madonna instead of Marsh. Doh!

I make it a practice to ride with gatorade and some food because I once got stranded on the Pacific Coast Highway with no cell coverage for hours due to a motorcycle mechanical problem. So now, when I travel, I travel with food and liquid. Like, I am capable of learning, it seems.

So I grab my littles and head out of town. Now, I'm following the signs for California Highway 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway. It splits off from US 101 at SLO town, so I'm following the PCH roughly north towards Morro Bay.

I detour through California Polytechnic State University just because I've often wondered where all of those kids come from for the farmer's market on Thursday night. They're playing a football game today. The campus seems pretty small, so I leave and head roughly northwest towards Morro Bay.

I exit at Morro Bay because I've never really stopped at this town, as best as I can recall. And it has an interesting beach that I'd like to access on the bike. But an old man tells me you can't get out there on the bike. Only by walking. I stop and get some shots along the waterfront. Seems like a cool little town, anyway. The waterfront seems fairly vibrant.

Now, I'm rolling north again and I should mention that there are countless bikers all over the road. Like...an insane amount of bikers. I'm not clear what's going on. So, when I get to Cambria, I see a guy set up with a camera on each side of the road. So, he's got these automated cameras set up, and it's snapping photos of everyone that rides by. And, there's a large analog clock by each camera (one on each side of the road, so he's shooting them coming and going.) A sign says "Remember the time to get your photo" or words to that effect. It's pretty clever, really. This guy is taking photos of everyone that rides by automatically, and then he sells them the photos, and they can identify themselves by saying "I was there at 11:22 a.m."

So, I pull over to ask the guy what is up like...why are all of these vermin choking our highways with their bicycles. But he's just a royal jackass. He's sitting in a van, on his cell phone, guarding his cameras, when I pull over on the shoulder to ask him a question.

Me: "Why are all of these people out here on bikes? What's up?"

Royal Jackass: "You know, it's illegal for you to be parked on the shoulder of the road like that..."

Me: "I can stop on the shoulder if I want to. What if I have engine trouble? What if I break down? Why don't you go fuck yourself?"

Royal Jackass: "Do you want me to call the police?"

Me: "I'd love you to call the police you fat piece of shit."

And I leave. But, I do really like his camera setup. He's just too much of a jackass to communicate with, is all.

So, I continue riding up to Cambria.

Now, at Cambria, I exit from CA 1 to drive through town because Cambria is where they dropped me off when those people from South Africa saved my life by picking me up in a van when I was broke down on the side of the road a few years back. There are about 3-4 exits off of CA-1 for Cambria. I roll through town and I loosely recognize all of the buildings. The Bluebird is where I stayed, of course. Also, I ate in the Italian restaurant Lombardi's Pasta and Pizza.

But, I don't feel like waiting around too long or anything. So I stop in at a little taco stand at Burton Drive and Main Street. Choke down a couple of tacos, gas up, and I'm on the road again.

From here north, gasoline gets really sketchy. Like, there's only the town of San Simeon between me and Carmel, at this point. So, I'm never sure where the gas is. Also, I melted my plastic gas can, so now I'm riding without extra fuel. So, I'm watching my gas and I fill up before I leave Cambria, and now I'm heading north. With the bicyclists. On a very twisty piece of PCH1 that's just a 2 lane black top road following the mountains north up the coast.

By the time I get to San Simeon, I decide that we'll just have to kill all of the cyclists. Like, there's no way around it, the bicyclists have to die. Then just north of San Simeon, there's a sign that the ride is over, and they all disappear like snow in the spring time. I see a couple of cyclists on the side of the road, and decide to ask them what's up. Finally, they tell me what's going on. Something the jackass with the cameras couldn't bring himself to do, for whatever reason.

They're on a 100 mile bike ride from San Luis Obispo to the Blanco Piedras Lighthouse (White stones lighthouse). So, that's what's going on. Why couldn't that fat slob have just told me that when I asked him?


So, the good news is that I won't have to deal with these people any more.

Eventually, I pass the place where I was stranded on the side of the highway last time for hours. Then, I pass Lucia. So, apparently I was south of Lucia? I'm not clear. It's been a long time.

Eventually, I roll into Big Sur and stop for gas again, because I'm looking at the wrong odometer. I think I've gone 150 miles without getting gas when it's only been 75. I think that my memory issues are starting to impair my driving abilities.

After Big Sur, I'm at Carmel, and now the 17 mile drive. Now, last time I tried to make the 17 mile drive, the jackass wouldn't let me. But now, I know the trick. It goes like this:

Guard: Motorcycles are not allowed on the 17 mile drive.
Me: Oh. Well, I've got reservations at Roy's restaurant at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach.
Guard: Oh...are you a guest there? Are you staying at the hotel?
Me: Yes. (Sort of panicked. Wasn't expecting that one.)
Guard: And under who's name are you staying?
Me: Well, I'm not actually staying at the hotel, per se. I'm just eating dinner there.
Guard: Oh. OK. Very well.

And he lets me go down the 17 mile drive. Now, I'm not even really clear where the 17 mile drive goes. I haven't been on it in 20 years. But I just can't stand the thought that some jackass is getting paid good money to keep me off of it, so fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

And, I take the 17 mile drive which basically loops through the center of the Monterrey peninsula, and then returns down the coast around the Pebble Beach golf course. So, it's a nice ride. Near the exit, I see a sign for Carmel, so I go out that way so I won't have to guy by the guard that I lied to about my dinner reservations. And it spits me out into Carmel and now I'm heading for Monterrey.

I haven't been through Monterrey proper in a very long time and now, I'm looking for a park that Jen and I went to a very long time ago. It's called Dennis the Menace Park and there's a water fountain that I have a photo of her drinking out of and, it's been so long now I can't even really recall what the water fountain looks like. Only that was funny and I find the address of the park in my GPS and it routes me right to the park and sure enough...there's a lions head wide open that the kids drink water out of. Pretty cute. So I stop and get a photo of it.

I find the aquarium and somewhere south of here, Michelle and I saw a sailboat breaking up on the rocks below the cliffs, but now I'm looking for a place to stay. I'm really tired and the sun is getting close to the horizon. I decide to stay in Salinas, as it's cheaper than Monterrey or Carmel, so now I'm driving out into the Salinas Valley, and by chance, I pass by Laguna Seca, where Will and Jim used to race. I'm driving into the beautiful central valley, and now, I come to the US Highway 101, only I'm all turned around and I follow the GPS to the motel and crash for the night.

On the way to the motel, I see a sign on US Highway 101 that says San Luis Obispo is 164 miles south of here. So, somehow, I managed to drive all day...from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and only went, by some measure, 164 miles. Doh!

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 24, 2016 at 9:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 23, 2016

SLO Town, SLO County

Day 1 - Thursday 9/22/2016 - Riverside, CA to San Luis Obispo (SLO).
Starting Odometer: 45,331
Ending Odometer: 45,612
Miles Traveled Today: 281
Total Miles Traveled: 281

Day 2 - Friday 9/23/2016 - San Luis Obispo (SLO) to Pismo and back.
Starting Odometer: 45,612
Ending Odometer: 45,650
Miles Traveled Today: 38
Total Miles Traveled: 319

Yesterday (Thursday), I leave work at about 2:30. My plan is to drive up the coast very slowly. Work in the SF Bay area next week, and then slowly drive back down the coast. I should have gotten away sooner. But at 2:30, I gas up, stick some Gatorade into my little bag and roll out of Riverside.

Now, the traffic is bad, so you just start lane-splitting. Like, life is short, and I don't feel like going 60 mph. So, pretty soon you're lane-splitting at triple digits thinking....well...whatever it is that people that drive like that think. You can rationalize it a lot of ways. But I'm not the only one doing it. I can tell you that.

60 West to 71 North to 210 West. I'm 60 miles east of Los Angeles. And today, it seems like I'll never make it to the coast. Finally, the 210 turns into the 101 and, at Ventura, finally the beach. I sort of accidentally follow the coast once I get to Santa Barbara County. And now, at some point, I stop for gas. While I'm filling up, I notice that somehow, my plastic gas can has slipped off the seat, was hanging on my muffler, and has melted the top open. So, I just hide it behind the gas station, gas up, and hit the road.

Now, I'd always thought that the oil rigs I saw were off the coast at Santa Barbara. But now, I'd have to say that they're not very close to Santa Barbara. They're in Santa Barbara County, but I'd say that they're closer to Gaviota that to Santa Barbara.

Now, I'm rolling up the coast and, this guy on a bike comes by and wants to race, or so it seems. So, we're like just tearing up the 101 following the coast to Gaviota, then turning north and going inland.

Like...I don't know what's wrong with my brain, but it never even occurs to me what the speed limit is. Like...all I'm thinking is that, technically, lane splitting is legal now, in California. (They just made it officially legal like...last month.)

Somehow, we roll north for a long way and don't get stopped. At some point, he exits. And I exit with him, but he just ignores me. Whatever.

My goal (if it can be said that I have one) is to get to SLO Town before it gets dark. I made a reservation at the Motel 6 (South) in SLO Town. I've stayed at the Motel 6 (North) also, but I prefer the South one, even though they're only 100 yards apart.

So, that's sort of the goal. And I'm burning daylight. I like going back to a town. Back to a place. Like, I love exploring, and that's great. But then going back to a place you've already explored to so cool. Like, even better than seeing it for the first time, in an odd sort of way. Because it's like confirming something that you'd long suspected, but couldn't prove beyond doubt.

Roll into SLO, check into the motel, and now I'm looking for the Farmer's Market in SLO. I always exit too soon when I'm going North. But I find the even about dusk-thirty. Park the bike the same place I did back in July. Now, I've gotten here soon enough that the lines aren't as crazy as they were last time.

Now, I'm walking up and down the main drag, and really loving SLO Town.

Friday - 9/23/2016

Now, I wake up in the Motel 6 - South SLO Town. I have a 10:00 a.m. teleconference with my boss (he's in Chicago). And a 2:00 teleconference with some people(they're in Dallas/ Oakland).

The trick to all of this is mainly to stay awake, of course.

I finish the teleconference with my boss, and head down to Pismo Beach for lunch. Somehow, I'd never noticed the large compass painted on the pier at Pismo Beach. At lunch, the girl tells me that people jump off the pier and try to swim to the beach, but that they seldom make it.

Then, after lunch, I return to SLO Town Motel 6 for the 2:00 teleconference. This is the deeply boring.

Like...they're talking about budgeting, and I'm listening to them, but just barely. They drone on and on for about an hour.

Finally, they shut up talking, and I just fall asleep instantly. When I wake up, the sun is setting, and I head back into SLO for the evening.

I take a different route into town, and find an old collapsing barn. Stop to shoot some photos, and a security guard is coming at me now, waving a little pencil and paper. Fuck you. I'm not stopping for this maggot. Ride into SLO town, and I discover that they have a little homeless creek behind the main drag.

Stop at a new place for dinner and drinks. It's called "Luna Red" on Chorro Street.

I'm surprised at how cool it is here in September. Like, the only other times I've been here, it's always been in the dead of summer for whatever reason. And now, it's downright cool. Like...you wouldn't be riding a motorcycle without a jacket on. It's much too cold for that.

Tomorrow, I'll drive up the coast...maybe to Carmel. Maybe to SF. I haven't decided yet.

Pandora's late-night lounge is the station.


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2016 at 8:16 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 22, 2016

Exporting Apple Photos

OK. I'm trying to export photos from the new Photos app. God I hate apple.

Launch Photos.
Select "Albums - All Photos" on the left.
Command-A to Select All.
File - Export - Export Unmodified Original for 28,174 Items.

Click Export in the little dialog box that eventually appears.

It looks like I exported to Seagate Backup Plus Drive - iPhoto - 2016_09_22_Complete_Photo_Export.

It looks like I got about 3,900 files in there. Well...out of 28,000...that aint bad, right?
Wrong. Apple Sucks.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 22, 2016 at 12:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Copying Files of the Garmin Montana 600


So, I'm finally getting around to copying the .gpx files off of my Garmin Montana 600.

1) Launch EasyGPS.
2) Click on "Receive (from GPS)" icon.
3) Click OK.

So, now I see them in my EasyGPS app, but there's no topo map or anything. So, I save them off as s:\garmin\2015_co_mexico.gpx

Now, to upload them onto a map.

Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/

Select your .gpx file.

Click Map It.

Now, I see I've got some earlier tracks out there from 2015, which I really don't want.

So, I deleted the co tracks and saved off my file here:


Then I went back and deleted my earlier tracks from 2015 before the trip to Mexico.

So, now it seems like I have some maps to share.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 22, 2016 at 9:52 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 21, 2016

2010 KTM 990 Adventure Owner's Manual

I hate to admit that my freaking clock on the KTM has been stuck in CDT since I came out here on the 4th of July because I'm so freaking stupid that I can't figure out how to reset the clock on the bike.

2010 KTM 990 Adventure Owner's Manual

Finally, I see what I was doing wrong. I have to put it onto the Odometer display first, then push down the top 2 out of 3 buttons at the same time. Argh.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 21, 2016 at 7:47 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 18, 2016

Artie's in New Girl - Season 3, Episode 18


I'm not sure where this is. I assume that it's in LA in the Arts District, but this is just a guess.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2016 at 8:54 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Jennifer Goes to College

Jennifer got back from Europe late at night on Sunday August 14th, and she was sick. So I picked her up Monday morning (Aug 15th) and I worked remote that week and she and I binge-watched Stranger Things.

Then, I finally had to take her to school on Thursday August 18th. I cried like a baby once I got home. It wasn't pretty. No one should have to go through this. It isn't fair.

Last weekend (Sunday Sept 11th), I went up and took her to dinner on the Pearl Street Mall.

And then yesterday, on Saturday September 16th, she asked me to come get her and I'm like..."I'm on the way." We stopped and got Cliffie in Lakewood, and she spent the weekend with me. We went to lunch in Golden yesterday at the Capitol Grill. And then we went shopping for some things she needed at college and for groceries. And then today, we watched TV and pretty much didn't do anything but hang out. And then I took her back to her dorm room. But it was so great to get to see her that there just aren't words. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2016 at 7:22 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 16, 2016

Is new Alzheimer's drug a 'game-changer?'


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 16, 2016 at 8:41 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink