Road trip from Vancouver to LA - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-30-2014, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Panorama Mountain Village
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Cool Road trip from Vancouver to LA

Hi Guys,

I'm new here, let me first introduce myself!

I recently (last april) came to Canada on a open work visa. After getting my motorcycle license in The Netherlands. Luckily I could transfer my Dutch license to a BC license without any problems.

My ultimate dream came through when I bought my '06 dl650 used. It wasn't my first choice of bike but man am I happy that I bought it!



It was and still is completely stock. When I bought it from a guy in his late 50's (wild guess) in Coquitlam it had 60k something km's on the counter. but in almost mint condition I just bought it for $4,000 CAD. No clue if it was a good deal or not but for me it turned out great.

After buying all my gear, since I didn't own a bike in The Netherlands, I started driving it, man, what a feeling, driving through the Rockies here in BC is GREAT!!

Without any money left for real hard luggage I bought a couple bungee cords and strapped my backpack on the back.



At the moment I'm living in Panorama BC and working on the resort. Hitting gravel roads wasn't the first thing that came to mind but well, it is a V-Strom so I decided to hit it!









Man, I thought I could drive anything, until I dropped it on its left side while making a U-turn on a gravel road. Luckily the damage wasn't bad, just some scratches on the fairing and handguard and a busted turn signal. No holes or cracks .


Well, I've driven my buddy for about 4,000km now and it is ready for a new challenge. As my job here in Panorama is about to end and my new job doesn't start till late October I'm planning to ride to Los Angeles taking the 101 and the Nr 1 south. After I hit LA I will chill out in Vegas for a couple nights and head back up going past the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, back to Vancouver. I'm planning on sleeping in hostels in the big cities, and camping everywhere in between.

With a detour on the start, driving to Nelson, Revelstoke, Golden, Jasper, Prince George, Whistler and Vancouver I'm planning to cover about 9,000 km in the next 6 weeks.

Do you guys have any good places to camp going down the coast? Good shops to buy chain lube? Stuff like that? Any other tips? I'm driving all alone, should I get some roadside assistance contract?

I'm getting the bike serviced in Vancouver, any shops you guys have good experiences with? What should I get serviced? It will need fresh oil and a filter, the valve clearance hasn't been checked in ages, is this necessary?

Sometimes when waiting for a traffic light I smell a light gas smell, could the fuel lines be in need of replacement? Sprocket and chain are about 15,000 km old, I've been oiling the chain every 800 km's.

Hopefully I didn't bore anyone to death with my story, any input would be much appreciated!!

Ride on!
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-30-2014, 08:07 PM
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I did almost the exact same trip lasts June. Vancouver to LA via the 101 and 1, over to Death Valley, over to the four corners area, played in the Rockies of Colorado, made my way back up to Yellowstone, then on to glacier national park and back home to Vancouver.

I would say that 9,000 might be a bit of an underestimate. I clocked in 12,200km on that trip.

I can recommend a lot of places along the way. Just ask.

In Vancouver I got all my work done at North Shore Suzuki, which has since closed. After that I did all of the work for myself. With the exception of the valve adjustment. I took that to 2nd gear motorsports for that. They were alright. No real complaints, no real compliments.

PM me all the questions you may have. I will try to answer them.



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post #3 of 8 Old 08-30-2014, 10:08 PM
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The coast road is cold. 12c up to 18c max. Bring some sweaters and heated grips are recommended. When you go inland the temps go up fast. I was in Vegas in July a few years ago and it was 55c on the tarmac.. brutal. You need evap vest for those temperatures and mesh gear along with a hydration pack.

It will be cold, warm, sunny, rainy, hail, all on the same day, so be prepared for lots of water. It hailed on us at 43c one time. I have Aerostich suit now and heated liner, but that is no good when it gets up to 30c+, need mesh gear. When I went I used Joe Rocket Alter Ego gear, which worked out great as it comes apart down to mesh, and goes back together with waterproof liner and warm almost down to freezing. Still needed heated grips on the coast.

It is a great place to ride though. Be sure to go through Redwood forest. Camping on the Oregon coast is recommended too. Amazing sand beaches there.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-31-2014, 11:04 PM
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Welcome Mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
Well, I've driven my buddy for about 4,000km now and it is ready for a new challenge. As my job here in Panorama is about to end and my new job doesn't start till late October I'm planning to ride to Los Angeles taking the 101 and the Nr 1 south. After I hit LA I will chill out in Vegas for a couple nights and head back up going past the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, back to Vancouver. I'm planning on sleeping in hostels in the big cities, and camping everywhere in between.
There are lots of campgrounds, and being that the summer vacation is about over everywhere in the US, shouldn't be that difficult to find ones with available spots without reservations (weekends excepted).

I think there are some nice places on Hwy 101, but for the most part, it's not that interesting to ride. And you will find there is still quite a bit of traffic during the week too. The more interesting roads crisscross the Cascades and Coastal Range (in Oregon and CA).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
Do you guys have any good places to camp going down the coast? Good shops to buy chain lube? Stuff like that? Any other tips? I'm driving all alone, should I get some roadside assistance contract?
I would recommend you take all the tools and supplies you need with you when you have time to find them before you leave. Yes, some towns have good motorcycle shops, but it won't be on your way or easy to find if you are just passing through. If you are mechanically inclined and have a good tool kit with you, you probably don't need roadside assistance. If not, CAA is accepted in the US by AAA. Just make sure you get the right coverage that includes motorcycle towing (otherwise it's worthless to you).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
I'm getting the bike serviced in Vancouver, any shops you guys have good experiences with? What should I get serviced? It will need fresh oil and a filter, the valve clearance hasn't been checked in ages, is this necessary?

Sometimes when waiting for a traffic light I smell a light gas smell, could the fuel lines be in need of replacement? Sprocket and chain are about 15,000 km old, I've been oiling the chain every 800 km's.
Yes, it will need a fresh oil/filter change before you leave. Again, much easier to do before you get on the road. When were the valves inspected last? If they were inspected and set correctly in one of the initial checks (24K or 48K km) it's likely they are still good. But if you don't know, probably would be a good idea to have them checked. The chain is at about half its life (assuming good care). Again, if it still looks good and tests well, you could do the loop with the existing chain. OTOH, if it starts wearing quickly on teh road and you have to do an emergency replacement, it'll cost you a lot more in the best case or you'll have a chain failure and associated damage in the worst case. The later will likely end your trip prematurely.

Take the advice you got about the changing conditions you'll ride through seriously. The coast can be chilly and wet while the inland valleys are still blistering hot. Make sure you have gear that can get you through those conditions without freezing (yes, 5-10C temps at 100 km/h will feel cold without the right gear) or getting dehydrated.

Given that you have a lot of time, you can probably do a lot of side trips to make this more interesting. Take a look at some maps and ask questions here, I'm sure there are a lot of people that know these areas and can give you pointers to interesting stuff to see along the way.

Good luck,

Gustavo
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-01-2014, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sconde View Post
I did almost the exact same trip lasts June. Vancouver to LA via the 101 and 1, over to Death Valley, over to the four corners area, played in the Rockies of Colorado, made my way back up to Yellowstone, then on to glacier national park and back home to Vancouver.

I would say that 9,000 might be a bit of an underestimate. I clocked in 12,200km on that trip.

I can recommend a lot of places along the way. Just ask.
Thanks! How did you feel about driving Death Valley? Some people say it is not a good idea on a motorcycle.

I will surely be sending you a couple pm's when I'll be on the road.

Yeah, probably the total km's will be more, especially with sidetours and stuff. That also pushes me to just get the chain and sprockets replaced, just to be sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sconde View Post
In Vancouver I got all my work done at North Shore Suzuki, which has since closed. After that I did all of the work for myself. With the exception of the valve adjustment. I took that to 2nd gear motorsports for that. They were alright. No real complaints, no real compliments.

PM me all the questions you may have. I will try to answer them.
When I just bought the bike I got some gear at 2nd gear motorsports. They seemed nice people. But I also have a connection to daytona motorsports so maybe they will be nice to me with the price (they gave me a discount on my clothes and helmet)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BugMagnet View Post
The coast road is cold. 12c up to 18c max. Bring some sweaters and heated grips are recommended. When you go inland the temps go up fast. I was in Vegas in July a few years ago and it was 55c on the tarmac.. brutal. You need evap vest for those temperatures and mesh gear along with a hydration pack.

It will be cold, warm, sunny, rainy, hail, all on the same day, so be prepared for lots of water. It hailed on us at 43c one time. I have Aerostich suit now and heated liner, but that is no good when it gets up to 30c+, need mesh gear. When I went I used Joe Rocket Alter Ego gear, which worked out great as it comes apart down to mesh, and goes back together with waterproof liner and warm almost down to freezing. Still needed heated grips on the coast.

It is a great place to ride though. Be sure to go through Redwood forest. Camping on the Oregon coast is recommended too. Amazing sand beaches there.
I got pretty sweet gear with removable inner liners and airvents. Next to that I'll be wearing thermo gear under my suit. I drove rogers pass at 4am (2 degrees celcius) and that went fine.. Only my hands got cold because I only have summer gloves and no heated grips.

Thanks for the tip about Redwood forest, those roads look very sweet on google maps!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post
Welcome Mark



There are lots of campgrounds, and being that the summer vacation is about over everywhere in the US, shouldn't be that difficult to find ones with available spots without reservations (weekends excepted).

I think there are some nice places on Hwy 101, but for the most part, it's not that interesting to ride. And you will find there is still quite a bit of traffic during the week too. The more interesting roads crisscross the Cascades and Coastal Range (in Oregon and CA).
Thanks man! I'll keep an eye on the map for some sweet roads. After that I'll probably will be able to find some tips and stories about the drives here or somewhere else online.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post


I would recommend you take all the tools and supplies you need with you when you have time to find them before you leave. Yes, some towns have good motorcycle shops, but it won't be on your way or easy to find if you are just passing through. If you are mechanically inclined and have a good tool kit with you, you probably don't need roadside assistance. If not, CAA is accepted in the US by AAA. Just make sure you get the right coverage that includes motorcycle towing (otherwise it's worthless to you).
I just have the original toolkit. Pretty good for adjusting the chain and some small repairs, cleaning the airfilter and what not. I changed the oil myself last time, but as I'm planning to get it serviced anyway I'll just let them change the oil and the filter this time.

My main concern about the bike breaking down is running a flat tire. I've got no idea how often that occurs. I think I'm going to check out what the cost is for CAA with motorcycle towing. Just to be sure, hitch-hiking isn't really my thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post

Yes, it will need a fresh oil/filter change before you leave. Again, much easier to do before you get on the road. When were the valves inspected last? If they were inspected and set correctly in one of the initial checks (24K or 48K km) it's likely they are still good. But if you don't know, probably would be a good idea to have them checked. The chain is at about half its life (assuming good care). Again, if it still looks good and tests well, you could do the loop with the existing chain. OTOH, if it starts wearing quickly on teh road and you have to do an emergency replacement, it'll cost you a lot more in the best case or you'll have a chain failure and associated damage in the worst case. The later will likely end your trip prematurely.

Take the advice you got about the changing conditions you'll ride through seriously. The coast can be chilly and wet while the inland valleys are still blistering hot. Make sure you have gear that can get you through those conditions without freezing (yes, 5-10C temps at 100 km/h will feel cold without the right gear) or getting dehydrated.
I'm thinking of getting the chain checked at the shop. They'll probably want to sell me new stuff so I don't know how reliable there advise will be.

I recently cleaned the chain and sprockets, could you give me an assessment on the condition based on some good pictures? They looked pretty good to me. Or is it important to measure the stretch? I believe I've read something like that in the workplace handbook or the instruction book.

For the clothes, I made a good investment before I bought the bike. If I get cold it will probably happen on the drive to Golden or Jasper, so I will know in time if I need some extra gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post

Given that you have a lot of time, you can probably do a lot of side trips to make this more interesting. Take a look at some maps and ask questions here, I'm sure there are a lot of people that know these areas and can give you pointers to interesting stuff to see along the way.

Good luck,

Gustavo
Yeah, it would be sweet to camp on every spot for 2 nights, so I have one full day of riding without a lot of gear on the bike. Thanks for your advice!!


What should I expect to pay at a shop for an oil+filter change, valve clearance check (with and without adjusting) and new chain and sprockets?

Thanks a lot you guys! You have been very helpful!!
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-01-2014, 06:58 PM
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I have now been to Death Valley twice on the strom. It is warm. Scratch that. It is hot. Last June I saw 46 on the temperature gauge. It got to the point where keeping the visor shut was cooler than keeping it open to the wind...
I was always fully suited when I went through Death Valley, that being said, my suit can zip down to be just a mesh jacket and pants so that kept me decently cool. But I still soaked them through with sweat...
I personally think it was worth it. And there were motorcycles everywhere both times I went. There is lots of back-roading to be done there


I have no experience with Daytona motorsports. So I can't tell you much there.

Let me know if I can be of any more help.


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post #7 of 8 Old 09-01-2014, 07:03 PM
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I live in Brea, CA (not La Brea). If you break down near here, tow it to my house. Also an option: send tires, chain, sprockets to my house if you like. Or just pop by for a home-cooked meal, laundry, and to do any minor maintenance like oil changes, etc. I have tools for everything. PM me. I am 10 miles N of Disneyland. There is a CycleGear store near here if you wanted to outfit for the desert. It can get REALLY hot out there, please don't underestimate the heat. Good luck!
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-01-2014, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
Thanks! How did you feel about driving Death Valley? Some people say it is not a good idea on a motorcycle.
It's late enough in the season that it's just going to be hot, rather than hotter than hell... :mrgreen:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
Yeah, probably the total km's will be more, especially with sidetours and stuff. That also pushes me to just get the chain and sprockets replaced, just to be sure.
I think that would be a good idea before such a long trip. It doesn't guarantee anything, but it's a better starting point than a half worn one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
I just have the original toolkit. Pretty good for adjusting the chain and some small repairs, cleaning the airfilter and what not. I changed the oil myself last time, but as I'm planning to get it serviced anyway I'll just let them change the oil and the filter this time.

My main concern about the bike breaking down is running a flat tire. I've got no idea how often that occurs. I think I'm going to check out what the cost is for CAA with motorcycle towing. Just to be sure, hitch-hiking isn't really my thing
I think the original tool kit is good for what you decribed, but not much more. Good thing the V-Strom is so reliable...

I haven't had a flat tire in ages, but it happens. And last time it happened was on tour, so you need to be prepared. I'd get something like this:

Amazon.com: Victor 22-5-00106-8 Heavy Duty Tubeless Tire Repair Kit: Automotive

and a small air pump you can power from the bike. Like this:

Amazon.com: Slime 40001 Motorcycle Tire Inflator: Automotive

There are different brands that make more or less equivalent products, so don't worry if you don't find those two particular items.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
I'm thinking of getting the chain checked at the shop. They'll probably want to sell me new stuff so I don't know how reliable there advise will be.

I recently cleaned the chain and sprockets, could you give me an assessment on the condition based on some good pictures? They looked pretty good to me. Or is it important to measure the stretch? I believe I've read something like that in the workplace handbook or the instruction book.
The instructions for checking the chain are in the manual. Follow the directions there, it'll give you a good idea. If you still have doubts, take pictures as you do it and post them here. We'll be able to give you a second (and 3rd, 4th, etc. :mrgreen opinions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vanderwood View Post
What should I expect to pay at a shop for an oil+filter change, valve clearance check (with and without adjusting) and new chain and sprockets?
No idea, I do all maintenance myself, my bikes don't see a motorcycle shop unless I ride there to buy something...

Maybe I lied, I looked up the MCN article on the Glee from a couple of years ago. These are US prices, but I assume similar to Canadian rates:

Item Time Parts Labor
Oil & Filter ................0.2 ..........$33.07 ..........$16.00
Air Filter....................0.3 ..........$46.72 ..........$24.00
Valve Adjust ............1.75 ..........$80.88 ........$140.00
Battery Access..........0.3 ............MF ..............$24.00
Final Drive ................0.1 ..................................$8.00
R/R Rear Whl. ..........0.4 ................................$32.00
Change Plugs............0.5 ..........$39.80 ..........$40.00
Synch EFI..................1.0 ................................$80.00
Totals....................4.55 ......... $200.47 .........$364.00

(assumes labor rate of $80/hr)

Hope this helps,

Gustavo
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