Dead Kitten Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Rider, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. Rider

    Rider In Your Heart, You Know I'm Right

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Oddometer:
    22,339
    Location:
    Real America
    Saturday, August 12, 2006 –
    Finally, after over 4 months of anticipation, buildup and a modicum of planning, the day has arrived. I awaken at my customary 5:30, a necessity because I’m running behind (as always) and have yet to pack. I throw some things in my luggage, pack the camera inside my helmet and the laptop inside its case for carryon. I pick Cyndi up at 7:30 and we have breakfast at a local eatery. Her spirits are good and so are mine, despite the fact we’ll miss one another so much. Twelve days seems a pretty long time at this point to be apart.
    My flight to Midway on Southwest Airlines leaves on time … in fact a little early. My luggage contains my clothes as well as my boots and gloves. The rest of my gear was shipped ahead to Casa Kbasa a week before; my old Firstgear Kilimanjaro jacket and HT Overpants and my Back-A-Line belt.
    The flight to Chicago is only an hour. Then I had less than an hour in the terminal to catch my flight to Oakland. This flight, too, actually leaves a couple of minutes early and is packed to the gills. There’s not an empty seat on either flight: Southwest Airlines must be doing something right.
    The flight is about 3.5 hours long. I used to fly a lot in a previous life, in fact, I traveled half the world from Alaska to Asia. But nowadays any flight over an hour seems like hopeless tedium. I try to snooze, try to read, have a couple of Bloody Marys, read the paper, anything to keep my mind off the mind-numbing whistling drone of the jet engines and the inane prattle of one of my seatmates.
    When I arrive in Oakland, Tina is there in the baggage claim area, toting a King Dan sign. :lol3 I laugh and we hug and then we wait for my bag to show up on the carousel.
    We wait.
    Then we wait some more.
    We wait a long time. Too long. Southwest Airlines must be doing something wrong.
    We file a claim and jump into Dave’s Ford pickup for the hour-long drive to Casa Kbasa. Because we’re a little late and people are anxious to meet their king, there are already a few ne’er-do-wells hanging around the front yard and driveway, their bikes conspicuous on the street.

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    It didn’t take long for the party to get started. I’m thirsty from the flight and anxious to meet these wackos, weirdos, geeks, freaks and all-around decent guys.
    The list is over 30 names long. From all over. Names that are familiar, a few who aren’t. But all of them showed up to have a good time, a few laughs, and a ride the next morning.
    Seeing the turnout, I am once again humbled and amazed at the whole Adventure Rider phenomenon, how people who’ve never meet in meatspace can still laugh together as if they’re old friends. Dick is there. MaddBrit. Ian408. Hedge36 and Becca. Dozens of people, Dave and Tina the perfect hosts, keeping things rolling and everybody happy. We all hoot and holler like old fraternity classmates. At one point the “Speech! Speech!” chant goes up and I’m all ready to emote when my cell phone rings and it’s Cyndi, wanting to know how everything’s going. I hold up my hand and take the call. It’s all about priorities.
    When the party comes to an end at the reasonably sane hour of midnight local time, I’ve been up for about 22 hours. But I can’t sleep. I’m still wound up. I get two hours sleep, max.


    Sunday, August 13, 2006 –
    The morning comes far too soon. My brain is on Columbus time and after going the whole night not having to pee, suddenly I’ve sprung a leak. I have to go constantly … as soon as I take a whiz and come back to bed, I have to go again.
    The long and short of it is that by the time everybody is suited up and ready to ride, I’ve already been up for hours and I’m freaking tired. But somehow I manage to hang on through the ride down Lucas Valley Road and onward. I’m not a fan of group rides at all and have wondered how this will go but this is the best large group I’ve ever ridden with, bar none. Nobody does anything stupid, we ride at a quick but sane pace thanks to Swider on his R1200RT with Tina aboard and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable morning. The clouds in my head lift slowly but eventually dissipate.
    By early afternoon it’s apparent the airline still hasn’t found my luggage so Dave and I need to go shopping. I pick up some underwear, socks and t-shirts and a sweatshirt at a local store, and some toiletries, then head to a Ducati dealership that’s open on Sunday so I can buy some boots. Amazingly, they have the Oxtars I would have bought eventually to replace my old BMW Gore-Tex beaters that are ensconced in the luggage … somewhere. Probably in Japan by now, I’m figuring.
    Tina is starting a new job Monday morning so we have a nice dinner and she retires early. Dave and I chat for awhile and then head to bed.
    Tomorrow I’m on my own. After consultation with the locals, I come to the conclusion I’m Eureka bound, up the Pacific coast. Once again, I don’t sleep well, the anticipation building.




    Monday, August 14, 2006 –

    Tina leaves for work early, her first day on the new job. Dave can work out of his home and is on the computer and ready for a conference call as I pack the R1200GS. Luckily, the BMW cases are expandable because I have more stuff than I had planned on, even after having to replenish my clothing supply after Southwest Airlines sent it to Manila or wherever.
    Dave has generously provided me not only with a motorcycle and the full complement of luggage but a BMW Motorrad GPS as well. He gives me a quick primer. It’s fairly simple, really, even for my limited cranial capacity and is pretty intuitive. I program in Eureka, California, shake Dave’s hand and head out. I need to fuel up first, since Sunday’s ride drained the tank almost dry. I find a filling station nearby Casa Kbasa but the tank bag defies my efforts to remove it. I struggle getting it off the tank for a good ten minutes and am now beginning to use language not suitable for children. Finally, I get the drill down, fuel up, call Cyndi quickly to tell her I’m finally on my way and get on Highway 101 going north.
    It’s obvious right off the bat I’m not in Ohio anymore. The scenery is so different from anything I’ve seen along the east coast or the Midwest I have to struggle sometimes to keep my eyes on the road ahead and not let them wander around.
    But Rule #1 of the Dead Kitten Tour® reads as follows: Don’t fuck up Dave’s bike. Do not crash. Repeat: DO NOT CRASH.
    There’s an air of unreality to this whole day. It’s really hard to believe I’m finally here, traveling up the Pacific coast. The air smells different. The trees and foliage are uniquely different as well.
    I stop fairly often to snap pictures and give my back a rest. Experience tells me if I spend too long in the saddle in one stretch, I’ll pay for it later. But I’m also extremely impressed by the Rocky Mayer custom saddle. It supports me almost perfectly and the riding position on the GS is very neutral, almost perfect. It’s better than my R1150GS’s was for reasons I can’t quite determine …
    The ground here has a certain … brownness to it, very different from the more clay-like conditions in Ohio and the greenness that springs from all the rain we receive. There’s a certain sparseness that’s nonetheless appealing.

    [​IMG]

    I roll thru Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

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    I also get one of my first glimpses of the ocean. It looks a lot like Lake Erie, just a little bigger. BFD. :razor

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    I reach Eureka late afternoon and find a Best Western with internet hookup. I upload pics, send a few PMs and emails and have a big grin on my face. Day One is behind me. No high drama. No crashes, spills, close calls or arrests. :lol3
    I sleep well but not as long as I’d like. I’m still adjusting to West Coast Time.
    Or something.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006 –

    A lazy day today. I sleep in, have a full breakfast on the hotel, drink coffee, watch the morning news to catch up, read USA Today, talk with Cyndi on the phone, dash off some more PMs and emails and pack slowly. The morning is misty and chilly. It’s hard to believe it’s mid-August but this close to the Pacific coast it makes sense.
    I have purposely scheduled this to be a slow day so I can sightsee and decompress a bit.
    As I leave Eureka, a slight pissing mist spraying the GS and coating my face shield, I feel invigorated. The bike purrs like a contented cat, the ergos are excellent and it’s the perfect bike for this trip. Even loaded down with my – ahem - specific gravity and a reasonably full complement of junk in the saddlebags and topbox, it handles beautiful; light and flickable and comfortable as well. Despite my issues with the R1150GS, the 12 seems to have addressed them rather well. It’s a joy to ride.
    So up the coast again, 101 roughly following the sea with the occasional dipping jaunt into some crazy road gymnastics, the road undulating like a belly dancer on crack. These are the coolest temperatures I’ve faced since early spring. The lining is zipped into my Kilimanjaro but I’ve stupidly left the vents open, which I correct at the earliest possibility, as well as actually closing the collar completely. It’s a ratty old jacket now, soon to be retired (given away) but it’s served me well for years and it does so again today, fending off the gray chill with alacrity. The gloves I’ve borrowed from Dave are light summer weight, so I switch on the heated grips. Why every bike doesn’t come with these as a standard item is a mystery to me …
    I stop often but really not often enough, as I think about it. I snap pictures, but not enough of them and I’m not a good enough photographer to really capture the grandeur of the moments I try to capture. They’re just snapshots, really, not pictures. Not artistic or grand, just point-and-shoot snatches of time. Maybe I’ll try experimenting more as I go along. After all, with digital cameras, electrons are free …
    The fog here is thicker than smoke pouring from a BBQ gone awry …

    [​IMG]


    I’m more into a groove today, slicing more sharply in the curvy stuff, more confident in the bike and in myself. Getting caught behind the occasional slow car or truck is rarely a trouble here: the drivers pull over politely at turnoffs and I twist the grip, give them a wave and motor on by. On 199, cutting diagonally northeast up to Grant’s Pass, a deer jumps out in front of me but it’s far enough away it doesn’t constitute a crisis. It just ratchets up the pucker factor momentarily and reminds me to never, ever get cocky, particularly on a borrowed bike 2,000 miles from home.
    I stop at a gas station just inside the Oregon line to hydrate with some lemonade and the GS once again draws a little crowd. Two or three people want to talk to me about it. I’m now getting tired of explaining the Dead Kitten Tour® concept, the fact that it’s a borrowed bike and that I’m from Ohio, etc. So for the first time when a young guy asks me how I like my bike, I nod and say, “Oh, yeah, and I love it!” :wink:
    So far on the trip, when asked about the bike, I give the full explanation; that a friend of mine is loaning it to me for a trip that I’m from Ohio, etc. But from this point on, I’ve decided, it’s my bike, I live in Marin County, California and, yes, my nickname is Kbasa. :D
    There are some rather impressive drop-offs here and there. One definitely wants to keep one’s eyes on the road. Getting silly and heading over the edge could have some fairly serious consequences. :uhoh

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    Despite the natural beauty all around me, there are still the occasional crass commercial/touristy things to deal with. It’s bad enough to have a huge statue of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Blue, but when a guy with a carnival barker voice is booming over loudspeakers, it’s almost too much to bear. :bluduh

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    Late in the afternoon, almost to Grants Pass, Oregon, finally with Sprint cell coverage again, I check my messages and Southwest Airlines has called with a garbled missive that my bags have been found and where should they be delivered? Well, I would assume to the address Tina and I gave them, meaning Casa Kbasa but that’s apparently over their heads. :baldy I get a call later from a lady at Southwest and we struggle with a bad connection and an accent that’s difficult for me to decipher but the gist is that she wants me to call Mr. Swider and confirm he’ll be home when they deliver my luggage. As if it matters at this point. I’m hundreds of miles away, with new boots and all new clothes aside from my khakis. It’s a little late now. I call Herr Sausage to explain the latest baggage developments, tell him what a great day it’s been and press on.
    As per my conversation with knary last night, I’m to meet up with Gravity’s Dog and him in Corvallis tomorrow. I’m within two hundred miles of Corvallis in Grant’s Pass and decide to stick with my Lazy Day Theme and call it a day early. I find the local Travelodge in Grants Pass. It boasts a reasonable rate and air conditioning and I need air conditioning right now. The temperature is now in the mid-80s and the sun is strong and I’m sweating with my full gear on.
    It’s funny how Man finds a spot of land and builds on it. I’m not always sure the reasons, unless it’s on a body of water for commerce or something but Grants Pass suddenly pops up out of nowhere, choked with late afternoon congestion on the main drag. Perhaps I-5 had a hand in granting the town its license to grow. It was probably a sleep little mountain town at one point until Eisenhower’s Interstate Army marched though in the 1950s and made it a waypoint for travelers. I know it was for me today.
    I don’t have internet access but decide after a mediocre lasagna dinner to set up my laptop and bang out some of the ride report. I can transfer it later. I watch TV in the motel room, something I haven’t done in ages, sipping “mouthwash” as I type with a National Geographic show on in the background.
    Tomorrow, if all holds up, should be a meeting with Gravity’s Dog and knary in Corvallis, an easy blast up the Interstate. I’m starting to get the hang of Dave’s GPS too so I try to program in Jackson’s address and I’ll see if it steers me there. If not, I’ve got some scribbled notes from a Mapquest query.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006 –

    I take some side trips off I-5 but still get to Gravity’s Dog’s place by about 4:30. The GPS leads me right to Jackson’s nice place, even with a detour thrown in. We hug like old brothers, I meet the much-vaunted G-Pup, his lovely wife and two daughters, one of whom is only 2 weeks old. Of course, Jackson plops her in lap while we chat about life, love, jobs and Jo Momma, not necessarily in that order.
    Knary, as is his wont (apparently), shows up late. Jackson leads me to the local motel, I check in and we return to his house, then walk to dinner with the kids in tow. A great dinner, then we drop the kids and Mrs. Gravity’s Dog off and head to a suitably seedy bar for more beers. We talk about JM and some of the personalities, and we eventually stumble over to my hotel room and we bid adieu. An amazing evening … it never ceases to impress me how people who’ve met only on the internet can pick up as if we’ve known each other for years. Scott and Jackson are the Real Deal, two wonderful guys who have their heads on straight. I’m honored to know them and thanked them repeatedly for affording me this opportunity.
    I forget to bring my camera along, perhaps accidentally-on-purpose, so I can just drink in the evening and not have to play photog/tourist. Scott and Jackson are snapping away, anyhow, so there will be lasting memories of the evening anyway.
    I am asleep within 2.84 seconds of my head hitting the pillow.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006 –
    Knary and I finally hook up and blast up I-5 to Portland for “breakfast”, so-called because it’s too early for lunch or dinner. :lol3
    Traffic is heavier than either of us expected. So far, this is the least pleasant ride of the trip but still enjoyable just to see the scenery and knowing Scott is around. He’s warmer than I expected, much more personable. Still cynical to a degree but also funny and open. We get on well. Jackson, unfortunately, can’t join us, as he has to tend to a sick child. :waysad
    We get to his favorite breakfast spot and jmetter and deckside meet us there. God knows they’ve probably been waiting forever.
    [​IMG]

    We have a delicious breakfast and get out the maps and once again everybody tells me where to go. Knary has to leave for a meeting with a client and we say our goodbyes. I watch him ride away on his MPY R1150GS and think to myself, “I wonder if he really knows how much I appreciate this?”
    We had discussed the trip the night before over drinks but I’m not sure anybody can truly understand what a kind gesture this whole trip is unless they’re on the receiving end. Last winter was one of the low points of my life; a second divorce, having to sell the house, etc. Uncertainty and dread were my constant companions. One night things got so bad, I thought I was having a heart attack. I was in a cold sweat in bed, alone and scared, and wondered if I’d see the light of dawn. So to get the message from knary that something very special had been in the works for me, some kind of goofy karmic payment for what I’ve allegedly done for Adventure Rider over the years, was overwhelming, to say the least.
    It’s hard to be the recipient of such largesse. I’m not comfortable with it at all. But I also know the best thing I can do is be grateful, acknowledge the generosity of those who made it happen, and enjoy myself. It is a rare gift I’ve been given.
    Scott is good people. He and Jackson have become like brothers. It was nice to spend some time with them. :rabia

    [​IMG]

    Deckside is to lead us east to Mt. Hood, along the Columbia River Gorge, The Dalles, then down 35S but he gets us lost right off the bat. :rofl :rofl
    And then, as it turns out, Route 35 is closed due to a fire. We have to go further east to go south now but I’m humming inside my helmet (original compositions, I’ll have you know) and we find our exit and stop to hydrate and talk about politics – we’re known to differ on that subject - and chat about other things a little bit. And, as I suspected, we’re not as far apart as it might seem to the naked eye. Dave is a good guy, funny and eager, and we head south from the banks of the Columbia River on SR197, him flogging his F650GS at an impressive rate, me content to let him lead, looking around at the quickly-changing scenery.
    It’s obvious that now we’re in what I would term as desert and, in fact, that’s later confirmed. It’s quite hot, but as the old saying goes, “… it’s a dry heat.” Very dry, in fact. The road is a playground of fast sweepers and the scenery is now quite brown and stark but every bit as beautiful as the stunning tableaus I saw on the Pacific Coast a couple days ago. It’s just different. Not as dramatic, perhaps, but it doesn’t require attention to 15 mph hairpins so I can enjoy the scenery more. I think I even see a cactus and I laugh out loud in my helmet. We’re running an honest 80 to 85mph according to the GPS. The GS is purring and all is right with the world. I wish Cyndi were with me to see this. I’m giggling inside … it’s just so different from anything I’ve seen.


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    I am repeatedly saying, “Wow. Oh, my God!” in my helmet at regular intervals. I can’t stop smiling. This high desert appeals to me. :thumb
    Dave and I part company – he has to head back west – and I’m on my own. I stop at a rest stop in the middle of freaking nowhere and am surprised to see Sprint cell coverage and give Cyndi a ring. We talk for a few minutes and I’m once again amazed by modern technology while incongruously in awe of ancient natural occurrences that give us the stark reality of the high desert in central Oregon.


    [​IMG]

    I gear up again and head south, aiming for Bend but up pops Madras, a little oasis that offers a hotel with a/c and internet connectivity. I debate going another 40 miles to Bend but pull in and settle down for the night. It’s hot but cools off quickly once the sun starts to set. I PM several people, send some emails, drink some beer with some Woodford Reserve chasing it, watch some TV and generally relax. It was yet another wonderful day, full of surprises … I’ve made a couple new friends and seen something I’ve never seen before.
    [​IMG]

    Friday, August 18, 2006 –

    Today was one of those when I just can’t get going. I get up early, about 6:15, but because I have internet access, I get caught up on Jo Momma posts, uploaded pics to Smugmug, do a little online banking, dash off a couple of emails and get the usual blizzard of PMs. By the time I get all my internet business done, it’s after 9:00 and I still have to pack and shower. :baldy
    I also go the auto parts store and buy a quart of 20W50 to top off the GS’s lubrication supply. As a former boxer twin owner, I’m pretty religious about checking the oil level and it needs a couple of shots of dinosaur guts to keep it cool and running well.
    The desert chill dissipates quickly under the blazing sun. I would have guessed the temperature was in the 80s but the bank clock reads 72. Once moving on the GS, with my Kilimanjaro vents open, however, it feels almost chilly. That dry air wicks off the sweat I’ve already worked up just from packing the bike. I run into much more traffic than I had north of Madras. No high-spirited WFO blast. I’m behind a lot of trucks. By mid-afternoon my back is getting a bit ouchy. But it’s a shockingly quick day. It seems to fly by. I ride down 97 then peel off to head to Crater Lake about 40 miles away. It’s well worth it under clear blue skies and warm but almost perfect conditions. I ride the rim, take some pictures, and then wander down into Klamath Falls. I want to get closer to Tahoe and make more miles but I can’t be sure there will be accommodations south of Klamath Falls so I call it a night early. My back is also damned achy and I need to listen to it before it goes all out of whack and leaves me in agony. No internet access so all I can do is download the day’s pics and make entries in the journal.
    Crater Lake was a religious experience, something so breathtaking and other-worldly I might as well have been riding on Mars. It’s a place that deserves a certain reverence. I actually obey the speed limits in honor of its beauty.

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    It’s now late afternoon and I need a beer. I program the GPS to find me a hotel and it does its job in short order and I wind up at the Quality Inn in Klamath Falls. I haven’t done as many miles as I’d hoped but it was a thoroughly enjoyable day . I have to remind myself that I’m not on a big schedule here; I can do what I want when I want and go where I want to go when I want to.
    I’m standing on the balcony outside my hotel room when I see two Harley riders wander over to Dave’s GS and I can see them pointing and talking but can’t hear them. I grab a beer and climb down the stairs, introduce myself and we have a nice conversation for probably over an hour. They’re two guys in their sixties from Reno on Heritage Softails, one of them clapped out with over $10k in chrome goodies. I secretly shake my head in wonderment but both guys, who just happened to both be named Mike, are friendly fellows and I tell the whole Dead Kitten Tour® story and they smile and tell me, “Man, that’s really cool!” I grin and we clink beer cans.
    I really miss Cyndi tonight. It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen her. We talk often but it’s not the same as seeing her and holding her.
    Tomorrow, I head back to California. Oregon has left me with many memories. I realize I love the high desert. It’s an exercise in clearing one’s head; nothing but wide-open spaces, some great roads, fast sweepers, the occasional elevation change and tight switchbacks just to keep the nerves alive and popping. :D
    I open up the iTunes on the laptop and listen to Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”. Indeed it is. I am so blessed, so lucky. I fight back tears. This trip, the good fortunes that have blown my way in the past few months after almost a decade of disappointment and heartache. I have special friends and the love of my life has come my way.
    How can I ask for more?
    Do I deserve this joy? I don’t know. I must quit asking myself that question and just live in the moment. That’s what people tell me, anyway …



    [​IMG]


    To be continued ...
    #1
  2. Waco

    Waco Renegade Sickle Hound

    Joined:
    May 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    15,069
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    Waco, Texas
    Looks like a great report, Rider. :thumb I'll have to finish reading it later this evening.
    #2
  3. Dbear

    Dbear Hanging on

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,854
    Location:
    900 feet above Route 100
    Great ride report, Dan.

    The best part?

    No pics of your mug!!!

    BTW, I was at the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue thingy on my parent's honeymoon when I was 4.
    #3
  4. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    25,367
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
    Wordy fugger arent yaz!

    :lol3







    Nicely done Dan, and it was a pleasure to meet your aquaintance Sir.

    :thumb

    It is truly amazing this little place we have on the internet. Looking forward to the rest of the report.

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
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    47,959
    Location:
    Gates of Moscow
    :lurk :kbasa
    #5
  6. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    25,367
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
    Damn I have been 205'd already. :bluduh

    :lol3
    #6
  7. Dbear

    Dbear Hanging on

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,854
    Location:
    900 feet above Route 100
    You folks have to remember what the King does for a living. He makes more money the more ink that is used...
    #7
  8. George Papadopolis

    George Papadopolis between

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
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    9,059
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    Neverland
    keep it coming mate, good stuff! Dont lose your way now:lol3
    #8
  9. Mulekick

    Mulekick 2.7 on Fu Man Chu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
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    25,744
    Location:
    Tradin' Nachtflug Rookie Cards
    :snore


    Wake me when you get to the part where you get to wear the sweet orange jumpsuit.....



    :lurk
    #9
  10. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
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    Auburn, CA
    As I've said before, it was an honor meeting you, Dan. You are capturing the true spirit of our little community here with your thoughts and words. I got goose bumps reading about how this trip has affected you. You may think that you're the lucky one, but in reality we're all pretty lucky to be a part of what is an extraordinary bit of cyberspace. Keep it coming!
    #10
  11. Rider

    Rider In Your Heart, You Know I'm Right

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Oddometer:
    22,339
    Location:
    Real America
    Saturday, August 19, 2006 –

    Up early this morning, eager to roll. I grab some coffee and program the GPS for Susanville. Within a half-hour, I’m back in California and – wonderfully – out in desert again. I am thriving on it. It’s cool and sunny, totally clear, not a cloud in the sky. As beautiful as the left coast is, the desert conditions have enchanted me the most. As it turns out, I’ll be in them most of the day. I roll thru the Modoc National Forest, one of the most incredible places on the trip so far; a fair number of pines but still somewhat sparse, compared to the lushness I’m used to back in Ohio. Occasionally, there are signs of previous forest fires, where trees stand bare and black. Chipmunks scurry across the road at regular intervals. I stop a couple of times to take pictures and just take it in. A couple on a K1100RS whir by at one point and we wave. Another guy on a Valkyrie slows down and gives me a quizzical look, wanting to know if I’ve broken down. I give him a smile and a thumbs up and he waves and rolls on. One would not want to break down here. There is zero cell coverage and it’s getting hotter by the minute.

    [​IMG]


    In Susanville, rather than take 36 across the Sierras, I go the other way … towards Reno.
    I want more desert. And I want to say I’ve been to freaking Nevada. Okay, it’s a silly little thing, but that’s the way it is. It’s about 80 miles from Susanville to Reno, all of until the very end on a reasonably lonely two-lane. I want to stop every ten seconds to take another picture but exercise discipline and keep rolling, halting only twice to snap pictures.

    [​IMG]


    It’s funny how towns sprout out of nowhere in the desert and Reno is no exception. It’s a rather large, busy place that could be Anytown, USA aside from the slot machines and liquor in the Shell station. It’s not pretty either, from what I can see. But at least it will offer some semblance of civilization, which I can use at this point. My back is aching pretty good now and the bike is full of dirty, sweaty clothes. Time to do some laundry and grab some cold beer.
    The hotel offers Ethernet hookup but only in the conference center. So I haul the laptop into the un-air-conditioned room, hook up to the cable and check on a few things but don’t stay long. It’s hot in there and I’m hungry and thirsty.
    The sun is really strong here. It literally seems to push on me like small arms. And yet as soon as it begins to set, the temperature drops quickly until it’s about 55 during the night. Almost perfect.
    Tomorrow, back to California again, probably down to Yosemite.



    Sunday, August 20, 2006 –

    As I head south from Reno to Yosemite, I get to thinking that if there’s any misperception of me from the website, it’s that I’m always “hail fellow, well-met”, that I’m some kind of rolling party. In fact, I’m much more of a loner than people suspect. I can happily go days without talking to anybody, which has now been the case except for filling station attendants and a few hotel personnel and the two H-D guys from Reno. It’s not that I’m anti-social … it’s just that I get lost in my own world sometimes and have a hard time breaking out of that reverie. Maybe it dates from when I was a kid, moving constantly, in five different schools at one point in five consecutive years. It forced me to be social or I would have slipped into being a total wallflower ...
    It’s nice to hear nothing here but the wind that leaks thru my earplugs. I’m enjoying being alone. I need this time to myself. But I also have the luxury of knowing that I have a life back home now, something I haven’t had much of for about a decade. I’ve gone thru a few changes in the past year and need to sort of take stock, put things on a shelf, pick them up, turn them over, inspect them …

    Route 120 through Yosemite is probably the most scenic one, from what I hear, so head that direction.

    Once again, the scenery is breathtaking. Mono Lake pops up before I get to Route 120 …


    [​IMG]

    I figure I’d better fuel up prior to entering the park proper. Obviously, the gas station owner in Lee Vining, California knows he’s got a monopoly. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    At the entrance to Yosemite – a $10 charge and fifteen minute wait – a sign reads “Elevation: 9,949 Feet Above Sea Level”. You can feel the thin air, sense it. And the temperature changes today, and for that matter throughout the entire trip, are at times stunning. Enter a valley, pop up over a mountain … the temperature might change 20 degrees in a matter of feet. Today’s no exception. Entering the park, the temperature drops considerably, and it feels invigorating. :rilla

    It’s also just plain drop-dead gorgeous.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    I’d been warned that on a weekend, the traffic might be pretty heavy but I found it to be acceptable, despite a bit of a jam on the way out. There are a lot of places to pull off and if you time it right, you can avoid the next clot of campers, RVs and old guys with bad breath and horrific toupees in Cadillacs.
    And every time you stop, there’s something magnificent to see …

    [​IMG]




    To be continued ...
    #11
  12. RedRocket

    RedRocket Yeah! I want Cheesy Poofs

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    Yay. You found your camera. :D
    #12
  13. knary

    knary sunshine and puppies

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    :clap
    #13
  14. Just_Sean

    Just_Sean herewegoagain

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    :lurk
    #14
  15. ian408

    ian408 Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2003
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    I'm glad you had the opportunity to smell the roses. Sometimes, a chair
    and a view is the best form of relaxation.

    Ian
    #15
  16. Rider

    Rider In Your Heart, You Know I'm Right

    Joined:
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    Quick Note: I just got a call from Southwest Airlines. They have my luggage in Columbus (I called them yesterday) and it's to be delivered to my office tomorrow.
    Better late than never, I guess. :lol3
    :lurk
    #16
  17. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Nice report, Dan. :thumb

    I'm also pasting some of the big words you've been using over to a Word doc...for later study. :1drink
    #17
  18. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Insurance claim would have been better...maybe.
    #18
  19. Rider

    Rider In Your Heart, You Know I'm Right

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    That was really a part of the plan, Ian. I never intended for this to be a blitzkrieg tour to see how many miles I could pile up. I wanted it to be at a sane pace that allowed plenty of time for reflection and smelling those roses.
    As it turned out, it was dead solid perfect. :thumb
    #19
  20. ian408

    ian408 Administrator Administrator

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    obtw, i have a new place for you to visit when you are next out.
    the town of coralitos. apples and sausages. what more can you
    ask for?
    #20