Departed: July 20 2017
Returned: March 22 2018
Where:Kings Canyon (CA), San Francisco (CA), Santa Rosa (CA), Chico (CA), Klamath Falls (OR), Bend (OR), Portland (OR), Silverton (OR), Newport (OR), Bay Center (WA), Spanaway (WA), Tacoma (WA), Seattle (WA), Anacortes (WA), Victoria (CANADA), Vancouver (CANADA), Squamish (CANADA), Boise (ID), Jackson Hole (WY), Yellowstone National Park (WY), Bozeman (MT), Gillette (WY), Deadwood (SD), Sioux Falls (SD), New Prague (MN), Minneapolis (MN), Red Wing (MN), Fountain City (WI), Dubuque (IA), Rockford (IL), Fort Wayne (IN), Indianapolis (IN), Madisonville (KY), Nashville (TN), Birmingham (AL), Eufaula (AL), Fort Gaines (GA), Tallahassee (FL), Tampa (FL), Clearwater (FL), Naples (FL), Sebring (FL), Fort Lauderdale (FL), Daytona (FL), Jacksonville (FL) and Orlando (FL).
July 15 2017
Taking my first steps for my first tour, I had to do a lot of research for gear, clothes, supplies, and tools. I was also bringing a passenger so I had to balance my motorcycle gross vehicle weight ratio. We would the heaviest cargo for the motorcycle so we had to pack lightweight accessories, tent, sleeping bags and so on. I brought barely enough clothes for one week, liners for the jacket, thermal shirt and pant, toiletries, camera and lenses, lightweight and waterproof tent, two sleeping bags good for 30 degrees, pair of shoes, power brick, chargers, instax film, laptop, sweatshirts, and tire repair kit. I had to learn how to be effective at packing, placing and watch where I move the weight around.
MORE TO ADD SOON
July 20 - 24 2017
It was going to be ideal to take a weekend to test out all the equipment I had just purchased, how to arrange and repack them. So I went to my old stomping grounds in Kings Canyon where I had camped every May since I was six months old. I wouldn't be too far from home if I had trouble with the motorcycle or my gear. Amber and I rode 350 miles from home to camp for three nights in the canyon of kings. It all worked out superbly with just one teeny tiny flaw. The tent was too fucking small! But I had to learn it was going to be necessary for traveling on the road for a long period of time. It's small, very light, sturdy and waterproof I had to learn to make compromises. During warm nights, I would use extra clothes for back cushion under my sleeping bag. For cold nights, I would insulate the sleeping bag with extra clothes inside. Packing was a breeze as long as you rolled them instead of folding them. We also put small clothes like socks inside shoes to save space. Ziploc bags keep the air out and kept the clothes dry. My parents, my brother and Sharyn and Randy came out to join us as a way to celebrate the start of my journey. We hiked, we rode around the national park, we ate and drank, we told stories by the fires and slept under giant trees and the stars sprinkled the night sky.
River - Sights and Sounds
August 1 2017
Born and raised in Southern California, I never grew fond of the beaches though they are beautiful and peaceful. I grew up camping and taking road trips so I fell in love with the mountains, lakes and rivers.. Rivers remind me of the roads I take, how they sweep and change with the landscape. They make for the most beautiful sceneries around. Waterfalls, small lakes and bridges are the results of just that. I love taking an hour out of my days and sit close to the river and take it all in.. the sights, the smell, and the sounds.. the taste of the outdoors and the freedom.
August 2 - 3 2017
We visited our childhood friend Christina Burke in Portland and man, what a great night it was. We left Bend, Oregon at 6am, made a pit stop in Mt. Hood and met up with Christina for lunch. She took us to her favorite drinking hole before taking us to Elk Rock Island on the Willamette River for a swim and snacks. We met her boyfriend Tony and his friend Dan and we hit it right off. We shared stories about our adventures, our dreams and the things and people we love. After swimming, we went to this neat 5 cent arcade called Wunderland Cinema and Arcade and then we went to Reverend's BBQ, a great local spot, for dinner. Great food, good drinks and great atmosphere. 9pm and the night was still young, we went to Rogue Eastside Pub & Pilot Brewery. We tried flights of drinks before deciding what we wanted and played large Jenga through the night. We walked around Downtown for hours before going back to her place. We said goodbye in the morning and headed back to Bend. One night with them was simply not enough and we look forward to the next time we paint the town..
August 16 2017
I'm officially an international traveler! I've dreamed of going to Canada for awhile now and this is a dream come true.. We took a ferry from Anacortes through the San Juan Islands to Victoria, British Columbia. We made port in Sidney, rode one hour along the coast and I was very thrilled to ride in a whole different country, especially on two wheels. The weather was absolutely perfect, the colors were in full blossom even though it was late in the summer. Downtown Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been in.
The Road to Mt. Baker, WA
August 28 2017
Highway 542 is a great road, fast and winding, rides alongside the North Fork Nooksack River, headed east to the top of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. We would spend two nights up there at the Silver Fir campground, very quiet and remote, the site only holds ten campers. Only three of them were in use including us. Our campsite was right on the river, just less than ten steps away.
September 8 - 12 2017
I love my family and I'm always thinking of them, no matter how far away they are. So I wanted to surprise my aunt Evelyn and uncle Carlos, who I have not seen in almost ten years. It was also my first time visiting the state of Idaho. We went around town, checked out the state capitol and the famous Freak Alley where you can see over hundreds of amazing artwork. We also visited their oldest son Carlos Jr. who was not in great shape, he was recovering from something bad. We went to his room to surprise him and he broke down. He was going through a very difficult time and didn't expect to see someone like me and we hugged for a very long time. I could tell I it made his day and it was just what he needed at this time of his life. We talked for hours, catching up on life. I was very proud to have contributed something good to their lives. Family is important. I knew that since I was very young and always made sure I was in touch with as much of them as I could.
October 29 2017
Meeting Peter Kayvon and his friends was the highlight of my trip. A few days prior, I stopped by Redline Honda Powersports in Fort Wayne to buy some oil filter, quarts of oil and spark plugs to do a quick service, Jacqui, who was running the place at the time, greeted Amber and I to her shop and gave us a quick tour. So many vintage Hondas being restored or was already in showroom condition. I told her about my tour and she thought her husband, Peter, would have loved to meet us and hear about our trip. A few days later, I got an invitation from Peter to visit his place for beer, stories and meet fellow motorcyclists. We met, drank, talked all night about everything motorcycles. Seeing the world, meeting new people, trying new booze, tell lies, showing off, love, racing and learning about the road.. It was a night to remember, an experience to have. Peter showed us his his Honda collection and started them all up just for me! I even snuck in my Nighthawk to have a photo op.. What a wonderful man Peter is and his friends are just as awesome. Best people I've met, period.
Set Your Fastest Lap
November 11 2017
We visited Dallara in Indianapolis and took a run on their racing simulator to set our fastest laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Amber ran a 42.4 and I ran a 42.2, 3 second slower than the 2017 pole record. Beautiful cars on display, tons of fun facts and history about the Dallara chassis and a great short movie about the man and his cars.
November 16 2017
If God had a motorcycle garage, this would be it. For years I've dreamed of visiting Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and it wasn't until I was in Indianapolis I realised I had the opportunity to make that happen. I love going to automotive museums and I've been to several but this is THE place to be. A vintage motorcycle museum on a race track? Man, that is fucking awesome! Over 1,200 motorcycles (and race cars) on five floors of heaven. So much history and motorcycles I have never heard of or never seen in person. I was right at home, I was there when they unlocked the doors and didn't leave until they kicked me out. When I first walked in, I ran all over the place, yelling and pointing, and my eyes and mouth were wide open with amazement. I studied each motorcycle with precision and eagerness. It was like God opened his photo album and showed me his precious creations. The museum is so diverse that there was no motorcycle they didn't know about or deserved its own place in history. Turbocharged, steam, electric, V12 and diesel, they had it all. They had the earliest motorcycle and the latest from the future. 50cc to 2300cc, no bike was too big or too small. One cylinder or 12, no engine was too powerful. Even if you're not a motorcyclist, you can understand why motorcyclists truly enjoy two wheels..
November 17 2017
Waking up to this has to be the most impressive experience on my tour. This campground between Eufaula, Alabama and Fort Gaines, Georgia was a random pick on the map when we left Birmingham, Alabama. By far the best pick I've made by accident and we opted to stay there for four extra days! We originally planned to stay one night as we were ahead of the cold weather that was blowing down to north Florida. But the weather stayed away and we enjoyed this wonderful spot, we watched the birds fly, swim, float and hunt for food. The temperature was in the low 50s and we had perfect skies. We didn't do anything, there was nothing around for miles. We slept, we ate and we drank. Amber was enjoying her coloring books and I took photos.. My Nighthawk was happily sitting next to us, taking a break from that run from Indiana where we left with freezing 30 degrees.
December 5 2017
Lady Hawk has developed an odd transmission issue. I was on the way to Fort Lauderdale from Sebring. When I slowed down and downshift, I suddenly couldn't access second gear. I pulled over with clutch in, kept trying to downshift, it wasn't a smooth change to second. After popping the clutch out and stall, I clutched in and change down to first, no problem. Fired up the engine, I checked all the gears and they clicked fine. Once in motion, I upshifted all the way through the gears and then downshift again back down to first. Had trouble getting around third gear. I was not in a safe place and I was almost a 100 miles from the nearest city. Sebring is a small town and far from everything so I knew not to go back there. I put the bike in third, took off and headed for Fort Lauderdale. It was a sixth gear ride all the way so I didn't have to put a strain on whatever was wrong. Once I got into the city, I was not able to get first or second so I remained in third until I got to a place to park and inspect. The issue was not apparent so I called around for a shop to take a look or run a diagnosis. They told me my third gear was gone, but it didn't make enough sense to me so I asked around. They found some metal in my oil and flushed it out. I rode back from the shop and suddenly I couldn't access any gear but third. With the issue at hand and the holidays coming up, I decided to park the bike someplace safe with shelter and fly home. I would then spend the holidays with my family, recharge and do some research on what problems could be troubling my Lady Hawk.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Flying home feeling down about my Lady Hawk was just what I needed. My Dad had missed his riding buddy terribly, we went riding the very next day! Blessed with nice weather and vintage rides, we rode all day with big fat smiles. I was happy to be riding again especially with the man who introduced me to something called two wheels therapy.. It is truly the best medicine when you've been feeling lousy.. Riding vintage bikes with your old man for the holidays, it can't get better than that. Well, maybe it can.. Mom was home waiting for us.. with shots!! I have great parents and I knew the holidays wasn't going to suck. I got to see more of my families and friends I had missed so much. It made Christmas much more merrier.. A huge feast, endless booze, gifts, laughter, and the house full of people I love.
February 15 - March 5 2018
Helped my cousin Frank with roof repairs on one of his houses to earn some money (and experience) to fix what was troubling my Nighthawk. Working on roofs and spending a lot of time together, Frank and I have gotten real close which is amazing considering I've never met the man until very late last year. Frank and his wife Elsie (whom I've never met either!) welcomed me into their humble adobe like royalty. We get on like we've just seen each other a few days ago. There was no awkward silence or shyness, that's what I love about then. Meeting families I've never met or haven't seen since I was a child is one of the purpose of this trip. With Frank and Itsy (what Elsie likes to be called) there is so much joy, humor, fun and love.. It's what they know best! Frank loves cars, especially Corvettes! So naturally we would get along and become best buds..
Frank taught me how to use the power tools, told me what to do and on I went to work on the roofs. I learned a few things and it is hard work. It was a good experience for me and it was good to do a good deed. I think we did a really good job on them.
Found a broken spring in the shifting mechanism to be the culprit of my troubles. Hopeful to get back on the road soon!
March 10 - 18 2018
In between fixing roofs and repairs on my Nighthawk, I had the opportunity to experience Daytona Bike Week and man.. WHAT A WEEK!! I drove up with my cousins Frank, Itsy and Sonia just for the day to visit my uncle Eddie and the Vance and Hines crew. We walked around main street and saw many crazy creations on two and three wheels. Ladies were dressed up, covered in paint, or sometimes almost nothing at all! We drank, ate and met a few people. Music was playing everywhere, people shopping, dancing, drinking, playing games and whatnot. It was truly a day and night to remember..
I eventually returned for a few more days courtesy of my uncle Eddie. Daytona Bike Week is immensely huge, it would take you almost a week to see everything!! The event was scattered all over Daytona Beach. One place was all about vendors, another place was all about the show itself and another about racing (American Flat Track Racing) and test riding. I spent three days at three different locations to experience most of Daytona Bike Week.
March 15 2018
Daytona TT was my first taste of American Flat Track (AFT) racing and my first visit at the Daytona International Speedway. I got to hang out with the Vance and Hines crew as I watched and photographed the flurry of action as they put together the race bikes, tuned them up and send out their racers for practice, qualifying and heat races. I also met their riders Brandon Robinson, Jarod Vanderkooi and Sammy Halbert.
March 22 2018
Repairs was not going to be possible in Jacksonville due to tight time restraint versus risk. A friend of mine was in Daytona for Bike Week and he offered me to bring my Lady Hawk back home in his truck after Daytona Bike Week. Problem was I wanted to fix her when she was in JAX but I couldn't risk missing a free ride home if I couldn't fix her there. It was a tough call for me, to end the tour earlier than expected. Though I had made the right decision to bring her home, it was very hard and disappointing. Not that I didn't want to go back home to a wonderful loving family, but I wasn't done seeing the world..
March 28 2018
My carb whisperer guy happens to be my awesome cousin. His name is Victor and he is the man when it comes to old school two strokes. Though my Nighthawk is a four stroke, he was more than willing to help me take her apart and find out what went wrong. We would spend a few days taking her apart one by one to make sure nothing else was affected or badly worn out. We had some trouble splitting the case apart so we went back to each bolt and checked if we missed something.
Now there is nothing left of her.. she is all opened up, pieces everywhere. Breaks my heart to see her that way and if we couldn't fix her.. she'll likely remain that way. Forever.
April 2 2018
We finally split open the bottom case from the top end and went through all the gears. All looked healthy there until we found a broken alternator chain tensioner. It was snapped in two and the rod was found to be running loose inside the transmission. Luckily, nothing else was damaged but when I went online to find a replacement part, it proved tricky and nearly impossible. The tensioner was nowhere to be found on eBay and the photo of it didn't show up in Google search, so it became difficult to describe and research further for that part. I've called around, asked friends from both West and East coast.. nothing. Without that tensioner, the Nighthawk will never run..
April 18 2018
The motorcycle gods has finally answered my prayer, I finally found the alternator chain tensioner for my Lady Hawk. I spent weeks checking online for it and then one morning, BAM! It was on eBay for a low price of $39.99 with free shipping. I was nervous when it was shipped, wondering if I had gotten the correct part and if it was in a good shape. Days later, I got the package and quickly inspected the part, it was a perfect match and had slight wear.
April 30 2018
After a great weekend with the motorcycle community at Corsa MotoClassica (AHRMA sanctioned event) held at Willow Springs International Raceway and Two Stroke Extravaganza at Wolf Creek Brewery in Santa Clarita, I had met so many people (mechanics, racers, riders and journalists) I told them about my tour, the good, the bad and the ugly. They gave great insights and personal experiences on the road, I began to feel much more confident about what the future lies with my Lady Hawk..
My cousin Victor and I cleaned up the used parts I ordered, cleaned them up, inspected then and began rebuilding the transmission. Operation went well we are just putting her back together slowly..
Will she roar back to life? Fingers crossed..