Friday, 25 September 2009

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Whilst in LA a friend took me to a NASA centre. I must say I was impressed and would love to work for the organisation. Or would I rather ride around the world? Actually I prefer riding my bike. I suppose the only mark that I can leave on the world are from a set of Continental Twinduros (tyres for those who have yet to try the thrill of motorcycling).

OK seriousness over with.

The Beatles have even reached mission control and the Mars Rover is put through its paces in a box of flour.

and one of the early rockets where space exploration started. Followed by the Kepler Telescope wrapped in gold foil and the only telescope to determine the abundance of earthlike planets in the universe. Wow!!!!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Highway 1 wildlife and cultural stuff

Decided to take a drive along Highway 1 before taking the bike along it when I would be more interested in the quality of the bends rather than the beauty of the scenary and wildlife. So one of the destinations was Hearst Castle. Built in the 1930's and trying to look like a southern European villa and furnished with many beautiful works of art taken from Europe and simply cut to fit. A bit like my blog postings. All higgledy piggledy. The phrase patchwork quilt comes to mind. Quite an achievement but smacks of American brashness.

There was an absolute mass of wildlife. Cute cuddly otters, not my words, and ugly blubbery elephant seals and a praying mantis who was clearly a fan of Goodyear.
This could well be death by birds.

Just to complete the wildlife. A couple of those rare American horses and I saw a dog even though it was the height of summer or is it autumn? Spiltting peas proved to be hard work and the protein return from them was very poor. My friend told me that he had to leave after we terminated a couple more peas but he would be back.

Now is the time for you all to laugh!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks or Big Trees and Scary Bears

Kings Canyon was stunning.

In Sequoia there was loads of wildlife, some of which were very accustomed to people, you really had to watch everything. Mr X here had clearly heard that Dave Tours was the best way to see Sequoia National Park. Unfortunately he did not have the required fee he just had a couple of pine cones. If he had come on the tour he would have seen the General Sherman Tree. The largest single living organism on earth, by volume, due to its club like trunk. 275 feet tall, 103 feet circumferance at base and weighs 1385 tons. A bit of a monster. Every year the tree puts on enough new wood to make a 60ft tall tree of regular proportions.

I could have explained to Mr X that it is perfectly safe to sleep in a tent with black bears around so long as you follow the rules. That said when I came across 2 brown Black Bears blocking my path I decided to beat a rapid retreat (not running) whilst managing to get a photo of them. Well at least of the ground!
I am very surprised that Mr X did not wish to sneak up on a Mule Deer or see a bird with a yellow front.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Caught the Greyhound to LA and been staying with a friend. There are worse places to have to spend a week or so. I have been kayaking in a beautiful handbuilt boat, met some great new people and had my view of LA changed for the better. For some reason Arnie's feet are a completely different shape to my hands and yes 'he was back'.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Disaster - AGAIN!!!!

Only managed to get about 30 miles out of San Fransisco before I got a puncture. In tigthening up the axle clamp it fractured and so there was practically nothing holding the wheel in place. Decided that a slow speed ride would be OK and got another 30 odd miles down the road before the puncture repair failed. So Catch 22. Could not repair puncture since the axle clamp would fall apart and I would not be able to ride the bike. A $180 lift on a recovery truck found me at a hotel adjacent to a bike shop. Unfortunately the bike shop could not order the parts so they are on their way from the UK. It appears that the new manager at my UK bike shop was not very helpful so the bits are coming from an untested supplier. As they say in the Navy 'that is life in a blue suit' or life when dealing with a person who has not been subjected to my charm, wit and good looks.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Monster flight.

It is hard to believe that San Fransisco is 10 hours flying time from Korea. So after such a long flight I was dreading the bureaucray of immigration and customs. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised when it took only 20 minutes to get the bike out of customs and 2 hours later I was heading towards downtown. Didn't anyone tell the packers that you can suffocate playing with cling film. ' Buy buy baby, baby goodbye eye eye. Having been directed towards a bikers cafe I spent an hour or so talking motorcycles and motorcycle adventures with the owners. It was there that David and I met up after a couple of months on the road by ourselves. We are now going to have to readjust to riding with someone.
This poor old guy has to ride alone. That said he doesn't manage to get very far and the view is always the same. and finally 'just some bridge'.