In Which We Ride... A Scot and South African go Long Haul

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SuperSonicRocketship, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    Day 464

    The Joshua Trees

    It's a peculiar place, Nevada. This small town of Laughlin was no bigger than a Walmart carpark and yet it had managed to crush in at least 30 gambling halls. Some in the form of enormous themed Casinos that would look more at home in Vegas, others barely a hole in the wall. We stayed there an extra day purely for the rest and an escape from the heat. The mid-day sun can still hit 30+ degrees in late November. The American West continues to surprise me with it's inhospitable climate.

    Our exit route took us twice over a skinny section of the Colorado river, it's the same river that's cuts the mile deep scar at the Grand Canyon. One side of the river is Nevada, the other is Arizona. Each side exists in a seperate time zone, and so most shops that lay by the riverbank have two clocks that hang over the cashier, with two sets of opening times on the front door. It turned out when we had checked out of the hotel, we had actually done so an hour earlier than expected, as we were looking at the Arizona clock in the lobby, rather than the Nevada one barely 6 feet to the left.

    Our plan for the day was especially vague; Our goal simply to get to Johua Tree National Park before nightfall, and try to find some interesting things in the desert en-route. Top tip for anyone planning a road trip; the desert never fails to entertain.

    Most people who reside in the desert, and that is any desert on Earth, are either completely insane, or at some advanced stage on their long journey toward insanity. These insane people also tend to be quite friendly and talkitive, and as such the deserts of the planet harbour some of the most intersting people that the human form can muster up. That includes Mad Mike Hughes; a guy we met somewhere deep in the Mojave desert who has built his own steam powered rocket and plans to propel it, with himself inside, thousands of feet into the air. His goal? He believes that the Earth is flat. He plans to take off at some point next week using his motorhome as a launch pad. Worth noting that he tried to do this last year, but the rockets 'return-to-land' mechanism broke down (a big parachute) and he crashed and almost died. He has since healed up and ready to go again. What a guy.

    The road to the Joshua Trees is a true desert ride. Dry air, dusty trails, and peculiar little cactus' sprouting from the cracked earth. I can quite easily find beauty in the bleakness of the desert. My home climate, that of Scotland is so wet and cold that every second in the desert feels alien and exotic.

    Joshua trees themself are actually quite alien too. From a distance they look like some kind of dried up skeleton of a plant, but as you get closer you can see the tiny green bladed leaves at the tip of the rusted limbs. The sides of the trees that face the intensity of the sun are bare bark, and the shaded side have a scaly frond-like skin. Almost no other plantlife exists in this part of the desert, so the Joshua Trees stand proudly, spaced at even intrevals - never in clusters; truly the most antisocial tree i've ever encountered. Every so often you would come accross a dead one that had fallen and been baked under the sun. They leave a carcass behind - a fragile ash grey husk. They are really very weird and totally deserving of their status as a protected plant in a protected region.

    We left the park by the way of the Berdoo Canyon, a sandy dried up riverbed that trickles down through a rocky route towards the West. The canyon bed highlighted the truly dire state of our tyres, that had still eluded replacement for the last thousand miles. Kyla, being the reigning undisputed champion of crashing motorcycles in sand, managed to do so by washing out in a tiny sandpile no more than a foot high. The completely bald tyre just slid through like a sandal on ice. She never really had much chance. Luckily she was unharmed and the bikes thud into the soft sand was otherwise devoid of any real drama.

    The bottom of the canyon opened into a wide valley just shy of a main road. The whole roadside was choked up with parked trucks from which families had come from all over the whole region to shoot guns at various targets placed out in the valley floor. I saw one guy shooting an enormous rifle, that shook the whole earth around him with every shot, at a washing machine placed perhaps a quarter mile away. Another guy fired in a laughably inaccurate fashion at some rusted tin cans on a rock. My personal favourite was a man, dressed enthusiatcly in some kind of thrift shop army gear, who was trying to convince his extremely unimpressed teenage daughter, to fire a rifle at a paper target he has set up against a piece of cardboard. I'm not sure what I laughed harder at, the fact that the teenager was so wholly disinterested, or the fact that the target kept blowing over in the wind.

    We had our own target; to get to LA and find a tyre shop.

    Love,
    Brucie

    24991594_890052087822471_7552761291639792396_n.jpg

    24774694_890052111155802_8971954680958238022_n.jpg

    24862199_890052327822447_6563016505216027593_n.jpg

    24775079_890052511155762_1790534547734946326_n.jpg
  2. kozy69

    kozy69 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Victoria BC, Canada
    Dang!!!! I missed you guys. I just got back onto Adv Rider hoping to catch you in Canada. I followed during the planning stage then life did what it does and I was taken away from my dream of an adventure bike. I'm back with my dream bike and I was really looking forward meeting up while you were here on the West Coast. I live in Victoria on Vancouver Island.

    Congratulations on your journey so far, what an amazing adventure. I will be following from here on in.
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  3. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    415
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Great stuff Guy's!

    Ever heard of this song by Prism?

    "Spaceship Superstar"

    Every night is a different flight to a different galaxy
    Do a sold-out show, then I hit the road in my starship limousine

    Get so damned tired and uninspired doin' all these one night stands
    It's a giant leap for Rock'n'Roll...but it's too much for just one man

    I'm a Spaceship Superstar... gotta solar-powered laser beam guitar
    I'm at the top of all the charts on Mars...I'm a Spaceship Superstar!

    On Mercury, they're crazy about my stellar rock'n'roll
    And I always sell out in advance at the Martian Astrobowl

    The fans, they swarm like meteorites to our concerts on the moon
    You should have seen us knock'em dead on Venus doin' all our favorite tunes

    I'm a Spaceship Superstar...gotta solar-powered laser beam guitar
    I'm at the top of all the charts on Mars...I'm a Spaceship Superstar!
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  4. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland

    Thats ok kozy, we will be returning to BC next year when we make our trip up to the Arctic Coast like in either Prudhoe Bay or Tuktoyaktuk (North of Inuvik) We will go see Vancouver island, as we missed it last time round because we were caught in a vortex of perpetual rain.




    I'm listening to it right now! Actually my username is in fact based off a song title, but rather Super Sonic Rocketship by the Kinks, from the 1972 Album. Opening lyrics are as follows;

    Let me take you on a little trip,
    My supersonic ship's,
    At your disposal if you feel so inclined,
    Well alright.


    ScotsFire and roadcapDen like this.
  5. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    Day 469

    The Lagueuxs'

    The urban perimeter of Los Angeles is as absurdly large, hectic, and as unpleasant to ride through as any city on Earth could ever be. The traffic logjams are more akin to India than ther United States. It took us by surprise as our experience in major American urban centres had actually been somewhat smooth so far. From Joshua tree we had taken a major arterial highway into the concrete jungle and hit first deadlock before we even made it to Riverside, which is still 40 miles from Central Los Angeles. As good a reason as ever to ride in the shoulder for 15 miles to pass traffic, hoping a sneaky cop isn't lurking in the line - which he was, but didn't seem to care.

    Luckily we didn't have to fall too deeply into the cities web.

    By keeping contact with Jef, one of the guys we went offroading in Jeeps with in Death Valley, we organised to have our desperately required tyres and various other service and spare parts sent to his house in the LA sattelite city of Eastvale, which is at a satisfying distance away from the worst of LA's woes. In fact, Eastvale turned out to be a bit of an ideallic American suburban paradise.

    What had originally meant to be a brief stopover and catch up with Jef, had evolved into spending an entire week with Jef and his extremely pleasant family. One of the companies who we had ordered a part from - an oversize desert tank no less - had screwed up the order and would now require us to wait a week to take delivery. With nothing much else to do but wait, we were offered a room in the Lagueux household and promptly treated like A-list guests as Jef, and of course his wife Tif, shuffled us about the various sights and attractions out in the Riverside, and San Bernadino county area. He also gifted us full access and use of his extensive home garage and tool collection so we could give our bikes the deep clean and service that they so badly need.

    New tyres, new fuel lines, seals, and oversize tanks, new screens and wind deflectors, new handguards - most of which was still damaged from Kyla's crash in Siberia, were some of the tedious tasks present on the To Do list. A severely siezed wheel bearing led to a ordeal in which Jef and myself wrestled with the wheel hub for over 4 hours. When we pulled out the battery and airbox mounts, a chunk of suspiciously Mongolian looking orange dirt fell from the underbelly of the bike. Overall, these little machines were in bad shape, but 4 days of rigorous wrench-time, and a sharp blast from a petrol driven powerwasher, had them gleaming once again... ish.

    Truly, the highlight of the week wasn't in fact spent with bikes at all. Instead it was being able to relax, and be made to feel at home, and to observe an intimate slice of this suburban American life. The Lagueux family have a beautiful, quintisentially Californian home as far as I can tell with my foreign eyes. The house itself felt like an open plan setting for an American sit-com when I first walked in - I loved it at first sight - The whole neighbourhood has the same vibe too. The sky is always blue, the sun always shines, and the children are always playing in the street. The atmosphere is infectious; we shot Nerf guns at Jefs 8 and 12 year old boys, we played with kids on scooters, wrestled with his 4 huskies, we went to an air museum, authentic diners, played minigolf, ate cheeseburgers, drank slurpies, rode 50cc PeeWee bikes up and down the neighbourhood, and we scorched marshmallows on sticks in the back garden. All in the name of waiting for a package from the local Motosports warehouse. Perfect.

    One evening we were taken to a local classic car show with Jef in his half restored 1969 Chevy Caprice. Tif came along too, but only on the premise that the car wouldn't break down in a bad part of town.

    "Everything will be fine honey." - Jef assures her, all of us in fact, in a collected tone.

    The only swift way to tell this tale is as follows; The car broke down, blowing its battery, as we were leaving the car show at a fuel stop. Whilst waiting for a jump start in the form of a rescue effort from Jefs sister, we were approached by a man with tear drop tattoos on his face and various inscriptions on his neck. He claimed to be a mechanic, piecing together sentences puntuated by twitches of the eyes and bouts of looking over his shoulders.

    "Hey Jef, is this that bad part of town Tif was talking about?" - I ask.

    "Eeehm... Yeh, i mean... it's not great." - He tells me with a childlike smirk.

    I couldn't help but laugh. Thankfully, no further dramas unfolded and we escaped unscathed.

    The tune of the whole trip took a whole new rythym when Kyla found herself on an American airline ticket price comparison website. You see, last year we spent Chrsitmas away from home, and frankly, we had a terrible time. We vowed that this year we would instead fly home to surprise our family for Christmas and return to the bikes in the new year. Jef agreed to store our bikes in his spacious garage, an act of kindness I really must repay him for, and we booked a pair of ridiculously cheap tickets from LAX to Edinburgh Airport to leave the following Tuesday.

    So, I can officially announce that In Which We Ride is off for the Christmas Break!

    See you in the new year!

    Love,
    Brucie

    20171201_105205.jpg

    20171201_105725.jpg

    20171126_130703.jpg


    20171129_105054.jpg
  6. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    A Very Merry Christmas to every one at home, abroad and on the road!

    Kyla and I are back in Scotland for Christmas - for no other reason than to eat copious volumes of chocolate and roast potatoes.

    It's somewhat colder here than where we paused the trip in California, and it's taken a bit of adjustment to remember what the cold truly feels like. None the less it's excellent to see family again after such a long time on the road. Plus, we were one Christmas in credit as we spent last year stuck in a hostel next to the Taj Mahal in rather dire and un-festive fashion.

    We'll be back on road as soon as the stash of Ferrero Rochèr has been suitably consumed.

    Love,
    Brucie

    FB_IMG_1514337254059.jpg

    FB_IMG_1514337263230.jpg

    FB_IMG_1514337277616.jpg FB_IMG_1514337286562.jpg
  7. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire Just this guy...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    456
    Location:
    Spokane WA
    Did you have any After Eight’s?
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  8. Cameleer

    Cameleer Europe, three days at a time.

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    Dubai, UAE and for now, London
    Happy Holidays guys, enjoy being home!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  9. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    No, i'm not overly keen on mint - but I did treat myself to a few strands of mint matchmakers.

    Thanks Camaleer, it's feels very odd to be home. Hope you are well.
  10. Cameleer

    Cameleer Europe, three days at a time.

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    Dubai, UAE and for now, London
    I know the feeling, after a couple of weeks away from Dubai it feels odd to be back home.
    I am cursed though, after spending this summer riding in the west coast of Scotland I just want to go back there again and again!

    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  11. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    Ah excellent! Did you do a trip report?
  12. lewis87

    lewis87 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Scotland
    Hey Bruce, good to see you and Kyla are having an amazing time! I'm glad you've put your story up on here because as you know Facebook and I don't get along.

    I will get caught up reading this but you and Kyla need to come visit when you're done :)
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  13. Cameleer

    Cameleer Europe, three days at a time.

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    Dubai, UAE and for now, London
    Unfortunately I have not, I am well behind my trip reports - about two years - between illness, work and kids I have just not had the time.
    Soon... “Inshallah”


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  14. Tymbom

    Tymbom n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2017
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Siskiyou County
    Are you guys back at it yet? When you come back north and are getting ready to pass through northern California, let me know. I have a shop off I-5 in Siskiyou County if you need repairs. Or a cup of coffee. Or tea. I'll buy ya lunch
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  15. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    Hey Lewis, great to hear from you! Of course we will come visit. Are you still in Kirrie?



    Hey. Not yet. Very soon though. In fact I think i'll make a little post about it right now!
  16. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    697
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    UPDATE:

    Hey Folks.

    So we are looking at the logistics of our projected route through USA and Canada, and it really doesn't make any sense for us to get back on the road until we can allow at least the worst of the Winter to thaw in some of those Central/Western states. If we go back too soon we will be stuck in lower section of the American West for over a month waiting on the temperatures to rise again elsewhere, which makes no sense as we plan to spend plenty of time there in California/Arizona/New Mexico at the the end of the Summer... No point in doing it twice really.

    So I expect that we will be back on the road in late March. I am already eyeballing a very well priced flight for March 26th.

    In the mean time, I have nothing exciting to report, aside from cold, snow and general life at 60deg North mid-winter.

    Roll on March!
    roadcapDen likes this.
  17. lewis87

    lewis87 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yep same place, well settled here now.

    Pop up anytime.
  18. selkins

    selkins Gotta light?

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,599
    Location:
    The Frozen North
    Enjoy the hiatus, it's well earned.

    It is tough to enjoy some of the fun bits of the American (U.S.) West in winter/spring. Some super scenic routes - Beartooth Pass and Going to the Sun Road as examples - won't open till late May and late June, respectively, at the earliest. Winter out there is much more tenacious than it is in Scotland! Even arriving in late March, I'd suggest looping along the southern states, up the east coast, and then back to the western states after more of the snow has melted.

    Love y'all's spirit, courage and tenacity!