We are soon to go into the unknown, out of our comfort zone – into the big Spanish speaking world. We are planning on crossing the border tomorrow and leave California and the U.S behind.
The last couple of days we stayed at Dogwood Campground high up in the San Bernardino Mountains. We had to do a lot of maintenance on the bikes and get new tires before we travel further south. The National San Bernardino Forest is the all season playground for the whole wider L.A area. The forest receives more annual visitors than Yosemite or Yellowstone, mostly by Californian’s escaping the heat and do some skiing in winter.
An awesome Highway # 18 leads you from San Bernardino up to the mountains and you can escape the heat and smog in the valley and enjoy the great outdoors in a lush forest setting. The road is super twisty and fun to ride on.
After we settled in the mountains I rode back into the valley next day to get my bike’s rear shock rebuild as it was due for an overhaul. Ed Sorbo from Lindeman engineering was super knowledgeable and did a terrific job and I learned a lot about suspensions that day. He works out of his home, is motorcycle racing himself and supports other racing teams when it comes to suspensions.
I also discovered that my rear tire had a lot of splits in it. It must have been a bad tire – I have never seen that on an Avon Gripster. So even the profile was still good the tire was a safety hazard. So I went to look for new tires and ended up at “Chaparral” where they installed two new tires. I took them off one by one in the sunny parking lot at 42 degrees. I was pooped at the end.
Still went on to another dealership “Malcolm Smith Motorsports” to get some more parts for Feli’s bike (front brake pads and a new chain). They did not have everything that I needed and they pointed out the BMW dealership down the road “BMW Motorcycles of Riverside”.
So I went there and what a surprise: I was treated with lots of kindness and got the missing sprockets and rear brake pads for Feli’s bike. I also inquired about new tires for Feli’s bike and Daren told me when I come back tomorrow they would try to help us anyway they can.
So I went back to the mountains where it was a nice 25 degrees to meet up with Feli again to discuss the next day. We decided to go back to the BMW dealership to work on the bikes and then return back to the mountains to relax a few more days before crossing over to Mexico.
So next day we drove with our two bikes down to the dealership and set up shop under a canopy in the parking lot. I borrowed a hammer and an oil drain pan to change the transmission fluid on my bike, because at the last change I found some metal grit in the tranny. This time there was a little bit but I think it should be o.k.
The Tranny was rebuild recently and I guess it is normal that there is some metal grit in the oil first. I also took off the tires on Feli’s bike one by one and gave them to Kyle (the service manager) and in the meantime I tried changing the sprockets and chain on Feli’s bike only to find out that the other dealership cut the chain too short – bummer. And it was hot again 45 degrees in the shade.
Went back the Malcolm and they gave me a new chain (no charge) because they had to admit that they screwed up. Went back to BMW and finished the whole project in the afternoon. We also met the owner Dan Schoo and his wife who gave us valuable info on Mexico and in the end they offered us their computer system to use to purchase insurance for Mexico and we were able to print it off on their printer.
I was really impressed with the support and kindness that Darren, Dan, Kyle and all the other employees showed us. We felt welcome and we were very grateful for their awesome support.
After returning to the mountains and actually getting wet in a thunderstorm we decided again to stay the weekend, relax and move on the following Monday.
Saturday we rode to Bear Lake in the mountains 7700 feet high and went up a hiking trail (Cougar Crest Hike) to overlook the Lake from there.
It was a great day, nice twisties, nice hike and a nice camp dinner with lots of beer. We really enjoyed our stay in the mountains regardless that it is really a hangout for rich people from the valley.
So long Mexico here we come – we are all prepared (we hope)
Hasta la vista