Travel Blog USA

24.10.-03.11.2019 Tough start in the USA, Storage preparation in California

Last maintenance before the storage
Last maintenance before the storage

Ready to go we wanted to sit up and ride off. But my BMW just didn't start! We waited and waited and tried again - nothing! Then after another 15 minutes we gave her one last chance before we wanted to call a mechanic. Then she started with a lot of persuasion all at once. Relieved we drove off towards Tecate, border to the USA. On the way we experienced a wind that even topped the one in Chile. It became the worst trip with side wind of the whole route! Cramped and completely tensed we tried to withstand the abnormal gusts. Kai had above all big trouble with the surfboard at his side. Finally, we arrived at the border however, the next challenge waited for us: No official knew where we had to go now for the departure and refund of our payed deposit (approx. 360€ per bike). After a long time back and forth we found the right place. But then the next problem: The officials could recognize the chassis number of the Yamaha (corroded by wind, salt and rain), but was not able to photograph it. as this was essential for the documentation. After an eternity and two cameras later, they could photograph it then to some extent and issued us the receipts for the return transfer of the deposit. For the exit stamp in the passport we had to go individually to the counter again.


With the motorcycles we could drive past the long queue before the border to the USA and came directly to the entry desk. We had not applied for a visa online yet, but we got it on arrival without any problems. We had thoughts about whether they would let us in with the surfboard at all and what they would control. However, we did not have to open a single pannier or bag and were asked nothing. We only had to fill out a form, pay the fee of 6$ per person and that´s it. That was by far the easiest entry of the whole trip! Also, nobody was interested in our motorcycles. No number plate was recorded and nothing.


After the border we drove only twenty minutes to a recreational park with camping site. 21$ was said on the Internet, 24$ it was then on the spot. Due to a strong wind warning, together with high danger of forest fires, the entire electricity was switched off, that´s why also the showers did not work. Kai was so exhausted that he didn't want to go on. I could understand that, I was very tired myself, but the predicted 100km/h (in the gusts) made me very nervous. If I had listened better to my feeling, because our tent unfortunately did not survive this storm. This was the worst night of the whole trip! Sleep was hard to think of. The gusts tore up the awning. A repair would not be worthwhile itself. We were now officially homeless and had no more home! If we would have been better listening to my BMW and stayed one day longer in Mexico…


Frustrated and tired we packed our belongings together in the storm (the wind simply didn't stop) with blue sky and sun. We didn't want to stay there one minute longer. Meanwhile one of my flip flops broke and Kai's bag also gave up. Great day!


We only drove 45 minutes to the next camping site in the east of San Diego. But it was fully booked! So, we had to take an overpriced motel room (approx. 63€). What a terrible start in the states!


At least we were not far away from the city center and could take the train to Downtown San Diego. The city is very beautiful, very clean and there was not much going on for a Saturday.


After a day in the city we moved on to Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach. In California the sun always shines - unfortunately not on this day. We wanted to meet Neil, where we would store our motorcycles for the winter. The storage is in his house in Encino (near Los Angeles) and he lives in Escondido. There we went to visit him. We thanked him for the hospitality with beer and a BBQ, which was very well suited to the football game that took place that evening. Thank you very much, Neil and Lisa!


Neil wanted to accompany us to Encino and stay there with us for two days. Actually, we only wanted to stay one day in Escondido to have enough time to prepare the motorcycles for storage. But first there was still something to do, then the strong wind and the predominant forest fires made us a little worried (a forest fire was not far away from Encino) and then we had to go with Kai to the doctor, because he had strong shoulder pain. 250$ deposit he had to pay for the doctor's visit. The change of about 38$ comes with a cheque by mail. Of course, not in time. Thus, we had to hope that our foreign health insurance (ADAC) would still accept the bill after half a year...


After three days it was finally time. We drove off to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, we started much later than expected and so we landed directly in the rush hour of the megacity. Neil drove far ahead of us and suddenly stood on the side strip, but showed us that we had to drive on. We were shimmying from one traffic jam to the next and finally arrived in Encino in the dark. Then we read the news from Neil: His bike was broken! He would follow with the train. If we would have known that, we would have stopped and helped him! His daughter (she lives in the house) wasn't at home and wouldn't be back for three hours. We spent our time shopping and looking for something to eat. Our budget was only enough for baguette. Yummy. Four hours later Neil and his daughter arrived. What a day.


Kai maintained the motorcycles the next days and we drove to BMW and Yamaha to check the service in six months. We repacked, got rid of things we didn't need any more and cuddled with "Pablo Escobark", a Chow Chow-Mix, who mistrusted us at the beginning, barked and finally came to bed with us.


In the evening before the departure it was all set up: Our bikes stood covered in the garage. It was a strange feeling to leave them alone for such a long time. But we were also looking forward to the land Down Under. Once again, many thanks to Neil and his daughter Sydney for giving us the opportunity to store our bikes and stuff!


The next day we went to the airport in the evening - bye bye Los Angeles! See you in a couple of months!