Van/TW roadtrip to Northern Cali from Az
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  1. #1
    Member auto360's Avatar
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    Hi All,



    Wow, its been a long time since I have posted on here. Anyway, my plan is to put the TW on the Vans "cyclerack' and head up to Weed/ Mt.Shasta area. Plan on leaving Weds or Thursday. Leaving Tucson to Prescott and then from Prescott I think I will head to Vegas, then up to Reno and from there I'm kinda open. I plan on spending the 4th of July in Cali but have no plans forsure of where. I know there is some exploring to be done up in Shasta/Weed area but I'm open to other places if someone wants to plan a ride. The only thing is that I broke my back 4 weeks ago so riding the Rubicon for example is out. Otherwise I'm open to ideas. Just slow and not too bumpy. Road stuff is fine also. I'd like to be back in Prescott by the 7th or 8th so I don't think I'm pressed for time. Heck, I have about 5 months time before I can work againAnyway, anyone up for a meet and greet/ride let me know.



    Matt



    Oh, its not the creepy Van I have. Its an 03 E-350 that I have done some modifications to. Dare I say its cool now...

  2. #2
    Member auto360's Avatar
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    So far the trip is going great. Stopped in Prescott the first day to visit my parents. I left the following morning (Friday) and headed up 89 to I-40. I headed west on 40 and then took the first route 66 exit and followed 66 all the way to Kingman. Its great because of the lack of traffic and leisurely pace. I was very happy to find Diesel for $3.49 at the TA at the Hwy 95 exit. Headed north again towards Hoover Dam. About 5 miles before the dam I turned on to a dirt trail that headed east in to the hills. I was surprised how good my Van did but I have a massive rear over hang. My Van is the extended body plus my M/C rack hangs off the back. Finally I came to a ditch that was not going to be possible so I turned around and then unloaded the TW and followed the trail the final way...which was about a mile. Nothing really to see but it was a great view! So, got back on the pavement and made it through Vegas with no problems. Back on Hwy 95 I was headed north to Reno. I was really looking forward to this part of the drive. When possible I really liked having the window down, sunroof open and listening to my I-pod that I finally got working. Instead of wearing the ear buds that fall out of my ears so easily, I wear my sony head phones which stay on just fine albeit maybe a bit goofy looking. The added benefit of those is while the window is down it saves my ears from all the wind noise. There are plenty of neat things to stop and look at while traveling this road, so many that I won't even list them. I sure do like finding all the dirt runways though. There was one at Scotty's Junction with an, what I believe, a brothel that is abandoned. If my back wasn't still mending I would have jumped the fence and investigated. But I did drive on the runway, very cool with the setting sun. I ended up making it to Tonopah that night and pulling off behind the casino where they have RV hook ups. I have an ARB cooler in my Van but have not added the "house batteries" so I have to be careful of running my starting batteries down but so far so good. I ate at the casino and was going to spend a quarter on a slot machine but the 'quarter" slot machines require a dollar. ?? I hate that stuff! Well, such an awesome first day.

  3. #3
    Member auto360's Avatar
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    Saturday the 2nd

    I forgot to add on previous day. Drove over the new bridge that by-passes the Hoover Dam. Couldn't see a darn thing, sides are too hi. They do have a walk way on the side though, so next time I want to take the time and walk over it....maybe when its not so hot. Second thing is...I wish I knew how to post pics. I have tried several times before but no luck. I think someone will have to literally show me how to do it.

    So, on to the second day. I woke at 5:45 and started my morning stretching exercises. My back is feeling good but I can't move around in my Van without support myself. I did build shelves, cabinets, a bed and table in the Van so it is somewhat like an RV now. Still lots of detail work to be done though. Anyway, fixed myself a couple bowls of cracklin oatbran cereal, then cleaned up...me and the inside of the Van and went to find a little diesel fuel. I only needed a little bit to help me make it to Reno so I put $30 at $3.99g. Headed out, weather was cool, about 68 but warming. Love the no traffic! Stopped at a long abandonned hotel, garage, truckstop and investigated for about 30 minutes. It was out in the middle of nowhere! Sure would have liked to seen it in its heyday. Those flourecent lights flickering in the night back in the early 80's.....man, that is some cool stuff to imagine. Left there and next quick stop in Hawthorne, Nv. 100's, if not 1000's of weird looking bunkers dotting the desert to the left and right. Clearly it's a military town, I need to google it and find out what the story is. Just stopped there for a quick break and was on my way again. Not much more to report from there to Reno but did go by a large lake just north of Hawthorne (Walker lake?). Arrived in Reno and needed fuel. TA truckstop was $3.99. I figured I could find better so I fired up the laptop and went to "gasbuddy.com" and found a Sinclair right down the steet for $3.75g. Awesome. Saved me $6.50. I have the Verizon aircard thing so I can get online anywhere I have service which helps me alot. The drive north of Reno to Susanville is nice but was uneventful. After Susanville I turned on 44 and headed to Burney falls. I wanted to find the Railroad bridge from the movie "Stand by Me". I did find it but kind of dissapointing because the track has been pulled up and the bridge was blocked by big concrete barriers. Again, if my back was better I could have gotten around the barriers. Just sad to see tracks pulled up and bridge blocked. Headed back down the road. Oh, forgot my hitch hiker story. So, I see this guy in his 60's with a back pack. First I think homeless traveler but then I see his hiking poles and can tell that he is a real hiker. So I pull over and ask him where he is going. He said a few miles down the road, in "Old Station", opposite of what I'm traveling, is a camp ground, RV resort and hotel rooms. I say hop in. His name is John, he is from Orlando, and is hiking the Pacific Crest trail. The real kicker is he has now survived 3 forms of cancer. Lung, prostate, and throat. Now he is hiking the trail. Amazing. So I dropped him off and headed north again. Well, 45 minutes later I look back and see that he left his hiking poles. OH NO!! I don't want to turn all the way around but he has to get his poles back. So, I turn my Van around, park on the shoulder and stick out my thumb while holding the poles. First a real jerk pulled over and didn't want anything to do with helping. Then a few minutes later a woman in an SUV pulled over and was more than happy to help when I explained the situation. She was going to drop them off at the resort so I can only hope that he got them. So, coutinuing on north on 89, I saw abandonned tracks from the McCloud railroad which is no longer in business after like 95 years. The old RR bed looked good so I took it. Followed it for a few miles in the Van and finally came to a cross road. It led me back to 89 because the old track bed was blocked further on. Well, not much longer I rolled into my destination, Weed, Ca. There is a Pilot truck stop here so I pulled in the back. Its about 7pm so I unload the TW and headed to some trails I found on my V-Strom last May (2010) on my trip to Portland. Trails a loaded V-Strom does not belong on But perfect for a TW. So, following the trail beside the

    tracks I came to the wet section where I had turned around on the Strom a year ago. Well, it was nasty looking still so I turned around. Found trails on the otherside and came to another flooded area. Well, what the heck, the ground is mostly gravel so I should make it. I run along the side where it is shallow and do ok but of course have to put my feet down so now my shoes are soaking wet but no worries. I guess it was about 30-40 yards of water. After that it got nasty again. Mud and stagnent water lay ahead. Nope, not this time. So I head back through the water again. Should have stayed more on the side because it got deep and the TW stalled. Ahh, and a little stuck. I had to lift up on my cycle rack and try to get it to the side to restart. This is not ideal for my back. Just keep in mind that I had surgery barely a month ago and now have a plate and screws in my back. Should I be doing this? Hmm, maybe not, but sitting around doing nothing is not so great either. Well, TW starts fine in the shallow water and I need to start heading back. Following the trail along side the tracks I took a different way. Thought I might have gone too far and about to turn around but took a side trail instead. Turned out perfect, the trail took me behind the truckstop and literally came out directly behind where I parked my van. haha. How perfect is that! So, locked the TW up, gathered my stuff and went and took my shower in the truckstop then ate at BK because I didn't feel like cooking. So, thats it for that day. I will report again for July 3rd but its late now and bed time. I will say that I intend to watch the fireworks over Lake Shasta tomorrow night.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Kev250R's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're having a neat trip! I find that if I post my pictures to a free photo sharing site like Photo bucket, then cut and past the image tag into the post on this (or several other forums I belong to) it makes posting photos easier. Good luck with the back.



    Kevin
    '04 TW - Ricochet skid plate, IMS pegs, Odyssey battery, Seat Concepts seat, wide front tire. Geared low N' Slow Hidden Content

    Honda Grom
    KTM 990 Adventure

  6. #5
    Member auto360's Avatar
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    Sunday 3rd.



    Kev, tried the photobucket thing but seem to be doing something wrong. I'll get it sometime.

    So, Sunday morning I sleep in till 8 since I'm not in a hurry. I'm still back in my corner of the truck stop. I have my breakfast and very slowly get ready to roll out. But I do get on the computer and call a couple friends so that takes time. I put my riding clothes on, fill my camel pack, put my air pump and fix-a-flat in my tank bag. I'm mostly ready, but it would be nice to have a pack ready for this type of thing. I fill my gas tank and pop two Ibuprofen then head out on the trail that was behind where I'm parked. I'm beside the tracks in no time and find the direction I want to head. There seem to be two sets of tracks. One that mostly parallels I-5 and the ones I took, which follow Hwy 97 at a distance up on the ridge line which subsequently gives me a great view of the valley below. Mostly there was a trail beside the tracks but in a couple areas I had to ride kinda close to them but nothing too bad. Sadly I never did see any trains. Not much to say on this part of the ride except I did 18 miles north on the tracks and it was great weather and nice just being out alone following the tracks. RR's sure pass through some beautiful country. I did follow a couple trails off the tracks but they eventually dead ended. Finally I caught a trail back to Hwy 97 and rode south back towards town. Speed limit is 65 and I was doing no where close to that. 55 is annoying. Yes I could regear but I'm not willing to give up my 1st gear ratio. I have another bike that does fine on the road. So, I stop at a nice pizza place in town and had a pretty decent tasting pizza. After that I rode around town and luckily found the Weed museum which was highly interesting. The name comes from a man named Abner Weed who around 1900 started the lumber mill. Feel free to google that. I must have been there an hour. From there I headed out and quickly found a trail that not so quickly led me back behind the truck stop. Its great when I have no idea which trail is which but eventually get back to where I started. I must have gotten back to the Van around 6 and without really thinking about it I layed down and took a two hour nap. At 8 I got up, and did my stretching and went for a 40 minute walk around the area. After that went inside the pilot to get on the computer and plug in the charger. Thats where I updated the last couple posts. Didn't even plan on doing that, just kinda happened also. Thats almost the deffinition of this trip, it just kinda happened. About 11:30 I went back out to the Van and boiled some water for my Mountain House meal and heated up my green beans for a late dinner. It was after midnight by the time I hit the sack. Read a little of my book and then lights out. Over all a really good day. Someday it would be nice to get back on the those tracks and keep going north. No telling how far you go.

  7. #6
    Member auto360's Avatar
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    July 4th!!!!

    Oh WOW!! What an awesome 4th this is turning out to be. Got up at 6:30 with a phone call from my buddy back east. We talked a bit then I got up, ate, stretched and headed south on I-5 towards McCloud. Note: My van started fine after being off for 2 nights and a day. Thats pretty good. The cooler weather helps the cooler not to kick on so much. I had loaded the TW the night before. I got back on 89 south and went a few miles. There was an old motorhome pulled off in a turnout area so I stopped to see if they were ok. A girl came out, who turned out to be Russian, and not wearing very much. Anyway, she said they were fine and then she ask me a few questions. Haha....that was all very interesting. So, I drove a few miles and found a trail on the side of the road that was right next to the old RR tracks. I followed that and found a place to park and unload the TW. Made sure I had everything and headed down the tracks. Not much of trail so I had to run down the center of the tracks which was a bit annoying because of how bumpy with the RR ties....you know, my back the way it is...anyway, I stood up mostly until I could get back beside the tracks. I came to an interesting area. Somewhat of a clearing and a flag pole stood there, with a our Flag, plus it had a wooden ramp beside the tracks where people might disembark. Well, there was a very small crossing there also and road/trail that went up towards Mt Shasta its self. Up and up I went, then came to a T intersection and turned right, went up some more. I went up so much that I began going through snow islands on the road. When I started heading down I came to a huge tree that had fallen across the road. Positively no way around it. Hill on one side with deep snow and a drop off on the other side. I wonder where that would have dropped me off at as I had no map or GPS with me, just my awesome sense of directionWell, returned back to 89 and went into McCloud to go explore on foot the old rail yard. Plenty of stuff there to look at. Even was able to get on an old sleeper car and dinner car but too bad vandals had done so much damage. They were pretty trashed. Makes me sad. There was huge building that still had locomotives in it and other equipment. I would have loved to get inside but as I walked aound front I heard what sounded like a phone ringing but I think it was some kind of motion alarm...outside. Wouldn't be the 1st time thats happened to me. I decided it was time to get out of there. Filled up with gas at the Chevron and rode back to the Van and loaded up. Went into the town of Mt Shasta and made the mistake of going to Subway. Why do I do that....I could have made my own sandwich. I guess because when I'm by myself I get the craving for human interaction sometimes and thats why I go to Subway or BK and the such. Headed south from there on I-5 to the magical exit of 707. I found this place about 6 years when I drove "over-the-road". Nothing at the exit except RR tracks, cool bridges, trails-trails-trails and a beautiful clear cold river. There is a huge concrete bridge there that is no longer in use. This is the 3rd time exploring this exit but this time I have the TW and time. Last time was on the aformentioned V-Strom trip. There is no clear way to the top of this abandonned bridge. Well, first I decide to hit some trails. I went west and followed a very narrow windy road that turned into dirt. At 10 miles it started splitting off in different directions. The views up there were incredible though! It 4pm and I'm not prepared to keep going. I'll save that for another time. I need to get back so I can have time to find fireworks tonight. I get back to the Van, change into my swim trucks, grab my wash rag and soap and head down to the river. Its bath time but someone didn't turn on the hot water heater because that water was COLD!!! Holy cow, it was all I could do to stay in, soap up and rinse off. I air dried and got back on the TW back to the Van. Loaded up, headed out and stopped at a few places to ask about fireworks. Turns out Redding has some good ones but no one could seem to give me good directions. Finally at a Chevron the Cashier dude told me the best place to watch them. I'm parked in a little field beside the road along with a 1000 other people. Its now 9:20 and I need to sign off because it won't be long before they start. Hmm, when I see people sitting in there cars it sure makes me happy to have my Van. Been here 2 hours now and has almost all the comforts of home.

    Not sure what's in store for tomorrow...or even where I'm sleeping tonight. It'll just happen.....

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