Saturday, May 17, 2014

Coast to Coast: Day 10: San Francisco, CA. Saturday, May 17, 2014

     San Francisco was a neat city. Traffic wasn’t as bad as LA, but it felt like absolutely no thought went into layout of the streets. Maybe the civil engineers weren’t paid enough. The city was a maze. In some places, the roads went up at such a high angle that I thought I was going to fall over backwards on my motorcycle.

     My first stop was at a Starbucks. I had a craving for a white mocha frappuccino early in the morning. Then I went to a motorcycle shop since Liz really needed an oil change and new spark plugs, but they were closed. After a little research on my phone, I found another shop just a mile away.

     R.C. Engineering in downtown San Francisco was as good of a shop as the “Cafe Racer” in Kansas City. It was significantly smaller; the width of the shop was about as wide as a small alleyway, but the staff was extremely knowledgeable. They inspected my bike and found deep crevices in my tires, so I decided to save myself the risk and get two new tires. I asked one of the shop owners out of curiosity if they had a replacement turn signal lens for my bike, and to my surprise, she gave me a straight “yes”.

     She took me upstairs to a small room filled to the brim with hundreds of spare parts. It was mostly a mess, but we went through a few boxes of turn signal parts and found the lens I was looking for out of the assembly of a turn signal for a different Honda. I took it back to my bike, and it fit perfectly.

     I had two hours to kill until the mechanics finished servicing Liz, so I went for a walk around the city. I stopped at the bike shop where I was originally going to get my bike serviced. I really needed a windshield, but they didn’t sell them anymore.

     I passed into a BMW Motorrad dealership (Motorrad is German for motorcycle), and saw an R 1200 GS Adventure. This was the bike I would have used on my trip if I had all the money in the world. It had a surprising amount of features that would take away all the touring issues I was having with my bike. It had a larger gas tank that I didn’t have to fill up every hundred miles, It had plenty of cargo space, and twice the horsepower. I was still a pretty heavy Honda fan though, and Liz was my bike for life.

     After a conversation with the BMW salesman about several models of BMW motorcycles, he told me I could go into the lounge for a Coke before I headed out. It was hot, so the coke was extremely refreshing. I walked down the street to another motorcycle shop with the same question, and still no windshield. This shop was neat because is sat on a small road, and there must have been fifty or sixty vintage bikes in varying conditions across from the entrance of the shop. With just a few minutes left on the two hour service, I went back to R.C. Engineering, paid $590 for parts and labor.

     I discovered further proof of R.C. Engineering’s competence when I had a small chat with the mechanic. He said that when he changed my motorcycle’s oil, the metal gasket between the spring on the housing and the filter was gone. As long as I have owned that motorcycle, I have never seen it and no one had ever mentioned it to me before. He said that most people throw them away, and of course he had a spare that he put in the filter housing. The mechanic also mentioned that my bike needed new rear fork bushings, and I asked him if my bike would be able to make it back to Ohio. He was unsure, but I didn’t have time for him to order the part. With that, I left the shop and shot up the street on my refreshed bike.

     Elizabeth was riding nicely again, but my phone battery was low on charge. I lost the external battery which charges the phone at the hotel the night before, and I only had the charger for the external battery. I wasn’t going to go back to the hotel to get it. It was a piece of junk. I decided to go to the apple store a few miles away for a car charger adapter, but traffic was really heavy. A little lane sharing solved this problem. I got the adapter for my iPhone and saved my battery just in the nick of time

     I really wanted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, as it was really my only reason for coming to San Francisco in the first place. When I first saw the bridge, I found it hard to believe that this massive feat of engineering was completed in the 1930s. When I crossed it, it seemed to go on for miles. It probably did.

     On the other side of the bridge, I turned around and took an exit before crossing the bridge again. I went uphill and found an excellent spot to take a picture.

The Golden Gate Bridge 

     This was the only picture I took in San Francisco. It wasn’t that I didn’t find anything else interesting, it was just that the purpose of my journey was Golden Gate, and that was all I was really concerned about. I spent another hour looking for a hotel for the night. There was a major event of some kind going on in San Francisco, so all of the hotels in the city were booked. I found a Hampton Inn in Livermore about half an hour from the city. I rode there, and spent the rest of the day updating my journal.

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