USA (Vagas Baby)

Posted by on Sep 16, 2012 in Travel Blog | 0 comments

USA (Vagas Baby)

By the time we crossed into USA it was late. The sun had disappeared over the horizon. Up until this point of the trip we were able to keep up with the flow of traffic.  However the 6 lane highway with a speed limit of 70 miles an hour proved difficult for our small 125cc bikes.  We could only reach 55 miles an hour. We hugged the right lane for the next 16miles  as we travelled from Tijuana to San Diego along Highway 5. By the time we reached downtown San Diego it was 8pm on a Friday night. The Gaslamp district was packed with people. We found the hostel in no time at all as the streets are easy to navigate due to their grid like pattern. The boarder control explained that we did not require  registering our bikes on their national computer system If we were travelling for 90 day or less. So without the authorities being able to track our licence plates to our passport numbers we knew that we can not receive parking tickets. So we chained our bikes to a street lamp. A security procedure we would adopt throughout North America. After checking in, we hit the streets and visited a few different bars and enjoyed our first taste of live music in America.

Gaslamp district – San Diego

We meet a group of Navy personnel that were off duty for the weekend. I assumed the vessel had been dry for some time because the men were quiet drunk and buying rounds like there was no tomorrow. So naturally Dale and joined in of the festivities until the early hours of Saturday morning.  I dare say I only had a few hours sleep before I was awoken by the sound of a fire engine. I jumped down from my bunk bed and ran to the window. I anticipated seeing a scene from a Hollywood movie. Possibly a lady waving from her smoke filed apartment block. However, luckily it must have been a false alarm as the firemen were casually talking to a cafe owner. I was wide awake now. The streets looked so different than the night before. The tables that spilled out onto the footpath the previous night were now locked up inside. I dodged a street sweeper that passed through collecting rubbish. The city looked so different. We followed the coast road to LA stopping off at places like Orange County, Long beach and Huntington. We didn’t know that the state of California had the Monday off work so when we arrived on Saturday morning the hostels were all full. After being declined 4 times, a Hostel in Venice took pity on us and let us sleep on the couch in the common room. The hostel was in a great location overlooking the beach. The atmosphere was amazing. The pedestrian-only promenade features performers, fortune-tellers and artists. Skateboarders/rollerbladers weave their way through human traffic. We went out for dinner and drinks and enjoyed our time in the beach vibe city.  We also visited places like Santa Monica, Hollywood, Downtown LA and even watched a Baseball match between LA Dodgers and Arizona Dbacks. We really packed alot in. It’s a place that you could easily spend a few weeks sightseeing. From LA we headed East along highway 15 to Las Vagas. There is nothing in between these 2 cities apart from sand as Vagas is set right in the middle of the desert. We checked into our hostel and headed out on the strip. We jumped between casinos and bars and had alot of fun for a few nights. Vegas is not a city for everyone but I personally loved it. The ‘what ever goes’ mentality makes the city very fascinating. From there we headed back to the coast and traveled north along highway 101. The road winds its way along the rocky coast line. The morning fog rolled up the cliff side as we poked through giving small glimpses of the Pacific Ocean.  It’s an amazing ride for anyone on a motorbike. Every 200 meters there is a sign explaining it’s illegal to camp on the side of the road. However with designated national park fees costing $30 a night, we choose to simply pitch our tent in the bush. We stopped off at places like Carmel (Home of Clint Eastwood) and Monterey. When we were in Honduras, we made friends with Richard who invited us to stay with him when we travelled through California. He lived in San Jose and it was great to catch up with him. It also gave us a chance to wash our clothes and sleep in a comfortable bed. We had a great time and Richard made us feel welcome in his home. We drank American Beers and ate barbecued stakes, we also went out in Santa Cruz and visited the famous music venue ‘The Catalyst’, a venue the Red Hot Chili Peppers use to perform at. After giving our bike’s a service we headed north to San Francisco.  We caught up with 2 friends who we meet in Columbia.  Both Hayley and Katie showed us around the city. Not only was it nice to see them again but was a nice break sightseeing from a cars passenger seat. We got to see the nightlife through the eyes of locals.  We watched baseball and NFL games on big screens while playing pool and shuffle board.  We went to a house party, played beer pong and had a few pre drinks before heading out to a few bars to experience the nightlife. We crossed the golden gate bridge and headed north up Highway 5. I was excited for today’s ride as I had been told that the highway intersects the Redwood National Park. The trees are that large that often the roads path is dictated by winding around the large trees that stand hundreds of metres out of the ground. We stopped of in Eureka for a night, a small coastal town just south of the Oregon boarder. It was a rough area. The only other guests at our motel were junkies.  Needless to say we made sure our bikes where locked together that night and I was glad to see them still there in the morning. Heading north we travelled towards Portland.  The road constantly turned left and right as it followed the crystal clear creek line. We arrived in Portland late afternoon and checked into a cheap motel. The city has a large university campus. I have found on my travels that this usually indicates a location with a great nightlife. Trendy bars and restaurants line the main street. Micro breweries are popping up everywhere in USA, especially in the northern states. Needless to say we tried a few different brews. Our next stop and last city in USA was Seattle. Its an easy city to navigate, and we enjoyed riding around and exploring the alleys ways on our bikes. The music scene in Seattle is very vibrant. That night we bar hoped and saw some talented live bands. From there we headed north and crossed into Canada. It was an easy border crossing. We did not require any documentation importing the bikes into Canada, nor did we require insurance. We proved to them that we would be travelling on to Alaska so they wished us luck and we headed towards the city of Vancouver.

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