I had a job in California but my weekends were free. I explored. I'll post ride reports as I write them... mostly pic-heavy updates because as a nerd, I am not much of a story-teller. No ride lasted longer than 4 days, so day-trippin' it is. Trip 1; I went with my friend to Death Valley.. We got there the last tolerable-weather weekend. It was hot, but not bad. We stayed at Furnace Creek one night. Your author: I must say, of all the parks I've been Death Valley has the WORST side-roads. If you want to get off the main drag, I warned you.. Ubehebe Crater: Natural Bridge: random path: gettin' lost: Scotty's Castle: I wish I knew at the time what the "racetrack" was. There was no desctiption on my map except a checkered flag. I regret missing it. ..and we went to Sequoia. I saw this on the way back. I thought it was funny and a WTF candidate. My friend didn't. ..and we went to Devils Punchbowl. ... Trip 2; I went with my friend to LA/Hollywood/whatever. I don't really like huge groups of tourists or tons of agonizingly slow traffic, so this was my only trip to "the city." Malibu: Hollywood sign: ... My friend went back to St Louis, MO. I was free to just mess around on my own, and the random day-trips started. In all my personal trips, I have a rough idea of where I want to end up, but no real plan of getting there, and no real deadline. I travel by means of "oh, this looks cool" and if I get lost, I consult a paper map. I have no GPS, no CB, no radio, no heated grips.. I wandered out over Castaic, CA one evening. I met up with Adventure Kitty and she led me to Pine Mountain and Los Padres Forest... ...among other random roads: At some point later, I stopped by the Tehachapi wind farm. ... More random trips to come. Now on to the weekend trips. Trip 4: I did another repeat of my favorite loop; Angeles Crest. For this picture, I was taking my camera out of the sidebag when the bike started leaning away. I grabbed the bike, but the sidestand had enough time to retract and the bike fell towards me. Gas leaked. I picked it up and put it on the sidestand. I put the camera back in the bag, and the bike fell over on the other side; the downhill side. I wrestled it back up, and backed it down and into a better position. Yes, I stopped by Newcombs. This is the area that burned out during the California wildfires last year: I headed up to Burro Schmidt Tunnel. I decided to stop in Lancaster, CA for gas. During my trip through Lancaster and Palmdale, I noticed that 1) we're in the friggin' desert, 2a) people still have sod and water it, and 2b) almost everyone has a malfunctioning sprinkler system. Several yards have small fountains bursting forth a waste of water in the summer heat. As such, every street "gutter" was filled with water, slime/ooze, and at stoplights; oil. As I've learned is common in California, you can get off the highway, but you can't get back on at the same exit. On the hunt for a gas station and an entrance ramp, I approached the intersection with no traffic to my left. I was turning right at about 15mph. I heard my engine rev twice and I saw the curb which was to my right dead ahead followed by flashing of sky/ground. I tumbled to my feet to see my motorcycle laying upside down in the road but still running, what little gas I had left, leaking out of the top of the tank. The SUV that was approaching during my get-off passed me as I ran back to the bike and picked it up. At this point, I still didn't know what happened and thought they hit me from behind while I was making the turn. Of course, as I got the bike upright, it died and I pushed it into the post office parking lot, slightly shaking from the adrenaline. The good thing about riding a beat-up bike is you can beat it up some more and no one will notice. I took out my camera. My mirror was scuffed, but bug guts later filled it back in. My valve cover dug a chunk out of the asphalt. ..and here you can see the whole scene (water, pavement gouge, gas spill): After sitting for a minute, I realized the back end swung out in the ooze/water causing my engine to rev and the bike to spin 180 degrees facing the curb where the tire gained traction and the bike chucked me off. I landed on the left side of my left foot and tumbled across my back, not hitting my head. ATGATT made sure I had NO cuts/scrapes. My first (and last) motorcycle accident. Went to the gas station, filled up, and went out to the desert to see the tunnel. On a previous ride with Adventure Kitty, she told me of the tunnel, but said the road to it was hard packed dirt. Unfortunately, it wasn't. 3 miles down the 8 mile road, I figured it was time to abort the mission. I could get off my bike and it'd stay vertical with no centerstand. The sand was past the wheels. Here's one time of digging it out. Of course, it was harder going out than in, and I had to stop every 5 feet for 3 miles to push/dig. There was NO ONE around. I could have yelled "Fire! Rape! Help!" and no one would have heard a thing. Towards the end of the road, when I should have been able to start to get some traction again, I could smell my 2000-mile old clutch smokin'. Yay. I knew I'd want to remember how soaked in sweat and pissed off I was, so: At this time, I noticed I kicked off a swingarm pivot cover in the process and got sand all in it. I went home, had a drink, and relaxed. The next day, I went to San Bernadino and surrounding twisties. Note the gas can. I figured if I found myself out in the middle of nowhere again, I'd have just as much luck (or less) than before. So, I brought it along. I rode the Rim of the World (or whatever it's called) road, but didn't really think it lived up to its name. I found a boogie board in the street and bungeed it to my seat. Yes, I am a cheap bastard. I went by El Mirage on the way back, but they want like $15 to get in. I figured I'd come back some other time, but never did. Yes, I am a cheap bastard. The road back "home" really made 90mph seem like 20. That evening, I took my truck to Burro Schmidt. As before, I was the ONLY person out there. Sheer silence. I wasn't going to come all the way out here and NOT go down the tunnel, so... at dusk, I did. My flashlight didn't really work (yes, I am a cheap bastard) so I just took flash pictures every once in a while so I could see where I was going. I'm used to this kind of navigation with some of my other hobbies. The tunnel curved, so there was never really any light at the end to help. I popped out the other side and saw more nothingness: On the way back, I checked out the 2 side-tunnels. One had a box with something really smelly in it, and I had no desire to check out what it was. I kinda regret not looking now, but at the time.. His house: That's a good stopping point for now.. and probably too many pictures for y'all to digest. I'll update it again soon. Coming up; My trip(s) to the Penngrove Power-Up, Alcatraz, Missile Base, Bunkers, Submarine, Liberty Ship, Bodie, Humboldt, Highway 36, the Old Ridge Route, the Pacific Coast, Yosemite, Flying in a homebuilt plane, an Airhead tech day, the emergency room and more!