"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."
- George S. Patton

Crescent City, CA to Redding, CA: US-101 South to Trinidad, then Eureka, US-101 North to Arcata, East on SR-299 to Redding. (

Most days, things go as planned. I live for these days. Theyíre what Iím all about.  

Some days, things donít go exactly as planned. Iím just trying to get by on days like that.

Other days, things just donít go. These are the bad days. Today was bad.

Letís break it down and see just exactly where things went wrong.

8:00 AM ĖWake up and finish the journal for Day 50. So far so good.
9:15 AM Ė Load bike and notice left side saddlebag is coated with oil.
*** Okay, this is where things started to go to crap. Itís all downhill from here.***
9:16 AM Ė Figure out that oil is leaking from the filler cap on top of the left cylinder and blowing back in the wind and hitting the case. This is not good. I clean up the side of the motorcycle and make a point to keep an eye on the filler cap. It seems to be sealing well, but obviously itís not.
9:30 AM Ė Head over to Redwood National Park Visitor Center to get the stamp, a mile up the road. At least they've got the right colored ink (green).
10:00 AM Ė Turn on Canon Elura DV Camcorder and notice it isnít working. The screen says to remove the cassette. Okay Iíve seen this before. Just pop the tape out and then back in and everything is fine.
10:30 AM Ė Still trying to get the tape out of the camcorder. It wonít budge and it wonít play. This is bad.
10:56 AM Ė Manage to get the tape out and then put it back in, but thereís nothing on the tape. All of the video I shot yesterday at Crater Lake didnít record. This is very bad. I reset the camcorder, but it starts acting up again and wonít eject the tape again. This thing is very broken. I need to get a new one, like right away. Like yesterday. But itís Saturday, on a holiday weekend, and Iím over 300 miles from San Francisco. And Iím not going to get there until Wednesday anyway. At least that was the plan.
10:58 AM Ė I decide to go to Eureka, just a few miles past my planned route, to see if I can find an Elura. I realize my chances are slim, but I could get lucky and save the day.
11:10 AM Ė The view over the ocean from the coastal highway is spectacular. A bed of clouds covers the ocean and sweeps up into the redwood covered hills. Itís gorgeous and Iíd love to show it to you but I canít because the camcorder isnít working. SHIT.
11:15 AM ĖThere is a significant amount of oil coming out of the top of the cylinder, around the filler cap. This sucks. I stop and wipe it off. But I canít think about it right now because Iím trying to figure out how to get a replacement for the Elura. I pull out the cell phone and call just about everybody I know who might be near a computer and could help me look it up on the web. But no one is around. Itís a Saturday, and youíre out doing things. Good for you. Bad for me.
11:43 AM Ė The oil problem is getting worse.
11:45 AM Ė I stop at a Chevron Station in Trinidad to buy a roll of paper towels and some stuff to clean up the oil. But I canít get the ignition key out of the bike. Actually I canít even turn it off. I shut off the motorcycle with the kill switch.
11:50 AM Ė I finally get the key out. Today is just not my day. What the hell is going on around here!?!
12:00 Noon Ė Iíve cleaned up most of the oil and wiped down the bike again.
12:01 PM - I decide to take the camping gear off the back seat so I can get to the storage space under the seat where I keep an extra oil filler cap. This is such a hassle.
12:15 PM Ė The camping gear is strapped back on the bike, and the spare oil filler cap is in place. I hope the o-ring gasket on the cap was the problem. If not Iíll know real soon.
12:17 PM Ė Back on the highway heading south and the oil is starting to blow out again. Itís actually worse than before. GOD DAMN IT. THIS SUCKS.
12:35 PM Ė I ride through Eureka and drive around town looking for a video store. Look!!! Thereís one right there called Humboldt Audio and Video. And theyíve got a Canon Video Banner in the window! YES!
12:40 PM Ė NO! They sold their only Elura yesterday. Why do I have to have an Elura you ask? Because it is small and all the accessories I have are for it. I NEED AN ELURA. I ask the kind folks if anyone else in town might have one, but they say theyíre the only Canon dealer in town. No surprise there. How about Redding, 130 miles east? Check the Circuit City they suggest.
12:42 PM Ė On the cell phone with the Circuit City in Redding. They donít sell Canon Camcorders. Try Sears, the guy says. Click.
12:45 PM Ė On a pay phone, calling 1-800-OK-CANON to find a dealer near me. The customer service rep is less than helpful. He canít find anything in Northern California, and will only look up places if I give him zip codes. Like Iíve got a zip code book in my tankbag! Yeah, and monkeys are about to fly out of my ass. But I do have the GPS, and it helps, but the loser on the phone canít find anything in Eureka or Redding or Lake Tahoe. Click.
12:47 PM Ė Not getting anywhere finding the elusive Elura, so I turn my attention to the $15,000 dollar, oil leaking motorcycle. BMWs donít leak oil. Yeah, right! I decide to call Cycle-Logical in Eugene, as they were the last people to touch the filler cap. The mechanic tells me to check the O-ring on the plastic piece which the filler cap snaps in to. He says these leak sometimes and you can fix it with some silicone sealant. I didnít even realize this piece had a seal on it.
1:05 PM Ė Iíve popped out the plastic piece and can see where there was some sealant around it, but just in places, not around the whole thing. I pull off the o-ring, clean up all the pieces and then put it all back together. I donít have any sealant, but it looks good.
1:10 PM Ė I go back into Humboldt Audio and Video and tell them my sorry tale. They feel so bad for me that the owner almost calls up the customer he sold the Elura to. He does call his Canon Sales Rep who tells us that there is a place in Grants Pass, Oregon, and a few in Sacramento. Neither one of those places is in my future plans. The Humboldt guys tries to sell me a Canon Vistura. No thanks, I need the Elura. The Vistura is huge, in comparison, and is nowhere near the Elura in picture quality. Thanks anyway.
1:33 PM - Getting back on the bike, when the Humboldt guy comes out to tell me about a repair shop in town. Not an authorized Canon place, but the guy knows about camcorders.
1:50 PM Ė Iím still looking for the repair shop, but canít find it. Screw it. It would probably just be a waste of time anyway.
2:03 PM Ė I stop and call Camera World of Oregon, now called Camerworld.Com. I know they will have an Elura. Theyíve got em, all right, but they canít ship until Monday, and wonít ship to a hotel or motel. I have no idea where Iím going to spend the night on Tuesday anyway. This is not going to work. Theyíre in Portland. I actually think about driving it, but thatís nuts. Way too far. Thereís got to be a closer place.
2:15 PM Ė On the road, heading east to Redding, and there is no oil leaking! Finally, something is going my way.
2:16 PM Ė All I can think about it how I can get my hands on an Elura.
2:17 PM Ė Whoa! Going a little fast for that turn. Letís try to concentrate on the road.
2:18 PM Ė Screw the road. I need a new Elura.
3:20 PM Ė Iíve stopped to get gas. Thereís a pay phone so I call Camerworld again. Iíve plotted an idea where Iíll convince the guy on the phone to drive down to Redding with the camera. Iíll make it worth his while. I mean really worth his while. Cold Hard Cash. He says they donít do that. Okay how about somebody else in the store. They donít do that. Buy heíll ship me one on Monday. Come on, Iím talking American Greenbacks. He puts me on hold, and then the line goes dead. He hung up.
3:21 PM Ė I canít go into details, but let me just say that the pay phone at the Chevron Station in Willow Creek, California, is no longer in working order.
4:13 PM Ė Iím speeding along and thereís a cop on the side of the road. NO,NOT NOW! But heís pulled over because there is stream pouring out of his cruiser. His radiator is blown! I almost stop to help him, to commiserate with someone else having a bad day, but I donít.
5:05 PM Ė The Visitor Center for the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area is closed. It closed at 4. Iím not even close. But Redding is just down the road and Iíll stop there for the night and come back here in the morning to get the stamp. Redding in right on I-5 and Iíve got a feeling Iíll be going down to Sacramento tomorrow anyway. I was supposed to be camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park. No chance in hell that is going to happen tonight. Oh, those Camping Gods got together with the Camcorder Gods.
5:53 PM Ė Iím in the motel room, setting up my computer so I can get online and find a video store with a Canon Elura. But the phone has one of those wires that goes straight in with no plug. WHAT! Okay how about the other end? Where the hell is the other end? Behind the bed which is mounted to the floor and canít be moved away from the wall. DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!
5:57 PM Ė Iíve moved the bed, and probably slipped a vertebrae in the process. The phone wire goes straight in to the wall. Thereís no jack! SHIT!
6:03 PM Ė I knew this wire I been carrying around would come in handy. It has a telephone plug on one end and a four bare wires on the other. Iíve unscrewed the wall plate, matched up the red, black, green, and yellow wires and Iím all connected. Here goes nothing.
6:10 PM Ė Earthlink, my Internet service provider, has a local access number in Redding, and Iím online. Canonís web site (
http://www.canondv.com) has loads of information about the products, but no dealer locator. The only help is that damn toll free phone number. 1-800-OK-CANON.
6:15 PM Ė I give up on the web and call the 800 number again. This time the customer service person knows what sheís doing. I give her some zip codes for Lake Tahoe and Sacramento and she gives me the number for a dealer in Reno and three numbers in Sacramento. Reno would be the best because I could continue my planned route, get the Lassen Park stamp, and pick up the camera at the end of the day. Crossing my fingers, I make the call.
6:18 PM Ė The Reno place is only open Monday to Friday and no one answers the phone. Next.
6:20 PM Ė Two of the Sacramento places are only open M-F, but the last one, Fryís Electronics, is open! I speak to Sunny in the video department and ask him if they carry the Elura. He looks it up and says "Wow, thatís expensive." No kidding Sunny, but do you have one in stock, and are you open tomorrow? He says his list says there are three in stock and they are open on Sundays from 9 till 7. But Iím not going to take some list as gospel. I need actual confirmation. Iím not about to go hundreds of miles out of my way and find out they donít have the camera. He says he'll check the stock and heíll need to call me back as the store is quite large. Okay. I give him my cell phone number. Heís having some trouble with the 917 area code. Heís never heard of that. Itís a cell phone man! Iím not from Sacramento! Donít you get this! He says heíll call back in 20 minutes. I tell him to make it 15.
6:40 PM Ė Sunny still hasnít called back.
6:45 PM Ė I call back Fryís and get Sunny on the phone. He says he tried to call me back but the call wouldnít go through. THANK YOU AT&T, YOU PIECE OF SHIT COMPANY. Iíve got a full strength signal but calls arenít coming through?!?
6:46 PM Ė Sonny says theyíve got the camera. I ask him to put my name on it and hold it for me. I tell him that Iím going to travel hundreds of miles out of my way to pick this thing up. If the camera isnít there, there will be trouble. Iíll be there sometime after noon tomorrow. He gives me a confirmation number.
7:00 PM Ė Okay, so I have to go to Sacramento tomorrow, spend the whole day on interstate slab and Iíll miss an NPS stamp for the first time on the trip. DAMN IT!
8:00 PM Ė Iím going for a walk, getting some air, and thereís a cop who has pulled over a bicyclist and is writing him up. What the hell could a guy on a bicycle do to get a ticket? At least thereís someone out there having a day just as bad as mine. Iíll rest easy knowing that.

Miles Today: 237.1
Total Miles: 16.287
Time on Motorcycle: 4 Hours 8 Minutes
Average Speed: 57.4 MPH
States Visited today: 1 (CA)
Total States Visited: 32
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 1
NPS Stamp totals: 118 Stamps, 29 States
Weather: Clear and Bright
Number of times I smiled today: 0

I didnít notice anything today because I was too obsessed with my own problems.

So why do I need a Canon Elura Digital Video Camcorder so bad? Because, despite the fact that mine is broken, it is an amazing device and no one else makes anything like it. Part of my trip involves shooting video for Discoveryís Travel Channel, and theyíre paying me good money to do so. And I feel like I donít want to see all these wonderful things without recording them. The camcorder is part of my trip as much as my still camera is. Actually, I use it much more, having already recorded 15 hours of footage.

The Canon Elura (http://www.canondv.com) is the latest and greatest in camcorder technology. A Digital Video Camera it records video at near broadcast quality and the entire unit fits in the palm of my hand. You wonít believe how small this thing is, and on a motorcycle miniaturization is the most important thing. I can actually hold it in my hand and still safely ride the motorcycle.

But the Eluraís size doesnít mean it lacks quality. The images it produces, recorded on a tape the size of a pill box, are incredibly clear and rich with detail. The state of the art unit contains a Progressive Scan CCD that records 60 frames per second. (Most units out there only record 30) This capture quality allows each video frame to be used as a still picture, so the camera does both video and stills. The audio quality matches the video as the Elura records sound in digital stereo. The unit has digital and analog inputs and outputs, a 2.5 inch LCD viewing screen, amazing auto exposure and white balance, allows full manual control, and includes a 12 times optical zoom with a 48 times digital zoom. This thing is just amazing.

If youíre looking for the latest, greatest, smallest camcorder, make sure your check out the Elura. If you shop around you can get on for about $1300. I wonít leave home without it.