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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by scarysharkface, Oct 15, 2017.
Sometimes I think you could almost eat lunch in the middle of the highway, traffic is so infrequent.
And then, quite literally 30 seconds after I take the panorama shot, a UPS truck and a garbage truck pass us by heading west, side-by-side, engines screaming, drag racing. They disappear into the distance, side-by-side, engines screaming, drag racing.
Things are otherwise pretty quiet and we refuel in Tonopah. Tracy doesn't want to stop for pictures at the Clown Motel, so we keep moving.
For a while, we keep moving. Then we don't.
They do take care of the roads out here, so a little wait isn't a bad thing.
And off in the distance you can see the solar plant that's just outside of Tonopah.
Soon we'll be in California.
Hang a left at Coaldale and hang a right at Benton onto 120, and the scenery again changes every few miles.
We pulled off a couple of times to try to catch the wave/lenticular action in the clouds, but they changed so quickly that is was hard to capture. We should have just stopped and waited a few minutes.
Stunning visuals, but cold and very windy.
My plan, such as it is, is to cruise past Mono Lake to the pullout north of Lee Vining and maybe head on up to Bodie. It's not going to happen, though, because of the cold wind.
We eat a hasty lunch at Nicely's (which isn't particularly so on this day), refuel and take our chances popping over the top down into Yosemite.
Well, that doesn't work so well either. Winds are howling before we ever get near the top of the pass, so we turn around. 50 mph back down feels like we're sitting still, in calm air.
South to Bishop and a warm room.
Forecast calls for rain, with snow at higher elevations.
California desert, and I'm loading the bike in the rain.
There was significant snow on the other side of the mountains overnight.
Yet another windy day.
"Oh, look, there's the turn for Death Valley!"
Tracy tells me about the last time she was there they had a sand storm and rescued a guy who couldn't find the parking lot from the dunes.
I'm sure this won't happen to us.
Well, pretty sure.
It's blowing so hard that when we stop, it's all either of us can do to keep the bikes upright.
Okay, so not all of my choices are good.
We head back the way we came then turn south. It doesn't look nearly so bad from the main highway.
Pretty cool trip. Nice that you guys got to ride together and even nicer that the destination involved a doll and a dog.
We get gas at the Shell station at Pearsonville, and are engaged in conversation with three guys hauling KTMs and a Husky. They're headed up to Kennedy Meadows, and suggest that would be a nice route for us today. So we backtrack a mile or so to 9 Mile Canyon Road, also known as Sherman Pass Road, and take it up into the mountains and grab lunch at the Kennedy Meadows General Store.
The proprietors ply us with a map and some scenic suggestions.
When food is ready, we enjoy it on the deck.
Local law enforcement provide us with more maps and more excellent beta on the route ahead.
Now it's time to reapply the heated gear and do some more riding.
The road ahead is beautiful, nice and twisty, great views and all that, but you'll need to take my word for it because it was so friggin' cold we didn't stop to take pictures.
Except of this. I stopped to take a picture of this.
Pretty soon it is registering 32 degrees and we are getting the occasional rain drop from the ominous cloud cover, so lower elevation and higher temperatures are all we care about.
Beautiful views looking out towards Johnsondale.
I hate to blast past the good stuff, but today it needs to happen.
Things are much warmer down at Johnsondale Bridge.
South to Kernville to top off the tanks, then west to Bakersfield (and Zingo's Cafe) for the night.
Excellent! Great to see you back wandering. Last time I saw Sarah I believe a Jeep was involved. Safe travels.
If we work this just right, and of course we plan to, we can stop at the Tehachapi Loop on our way to Poway, which is just north of San Diego.
So after a handful of miles we exit and take the twisty, fun road up the mountain.
To the Loop.
One really can't see much from the road, but knowing what's there is good enough this time.
The remainder of the travel portion of our day becomes a comedy of frustrations.
There's construction on the highway, so from Tehachapi we can only get on it going back downhill because we don't know there's another set of ramps further east. We go downhill and turn around only to be stuck in uphill stop-and-go traffic.
When we take the turn south toward Victorville on 395, the 2-lane is moving 35mph because some considerate fellow driving a tow truck won't pull over to let anyone pass. Ahead we watch a double-trailer-tanker pass him on a double-yellow, and that sure looks tempting. I figure the cop on my tail might disagree, so we just keep motoring along in the middle gears.
Catching the 15 is at this point a bit of a blessing, as it passes within about a half-mile of our destination. Of course, it's stop-and-go sporadically for the duration of the afternoon.
Land-splitting comes up, but we're loaded with gear and wide, and only a couple of other motorcycles we see are doing it. Cages are swapping lanes like there's no tomorrow, so today is not the day to learn how this works for us. It's Friday.
Tracy and I decide we don't like riding big highways in heavy traffic.
We eventually arrive and I follow Tracy to Sarah's place.
Sarah is walking Neko, and as we climb off the bikes, Neko takes a bit to recognize Tracy, then he goes crazy and they reconnect. Then he sees me and the scene repeats. Hugs all around.
Our weekend is full of good stuff.
Sarah shows us around work, which is way super cool in every way.
Our visit is ending too quickly, as they all seem to. Lots of hugs and kisses and tears and then we shall join the Monday morning traffic.
East is least and west is best, and it's time to start the long slog home.
Anza Borrego is our first stop on the way out.
Today is a work day for most.
But not for us.
I can safely say that I have found the best breakfast burrito for lunch in existence. The Chevron station in Westmoreland cooks them up to order, and wow!
There are many things in my life that I've wanted to see and experience. Salvation Mountain is one of those things.
I turn around and glance at my phone and develop sort of a God Complex myself.
Almost immediately upon our arrival we are engaged in conversation about our take on the kneeling controversy by a veteran who is here sightseeing with family and friends. We have a nice conversation about it and agree to disagree on some points. I think we're both the richer having discussed the issue(s) with civility and respect.
The tone is set everywhere you look.
Time to roll out.
We stop at Bombay Beach to get something to drink. What a sad place.
Here's a video I found online that shows what I couldn't bring myself to shoot.
We continue north, taking Box Canyon Road to the south edge of Joshua Tree National Park, ride through to Twentynine Palms for fuel, then up towards Mojave.
We reach Kelso Depot just in time to grab a candy bar and a drink.
At Cima the Joshua Trees are abundant.
It's a beautiful ride. It's been a gorgeous day. Primm, Nevada, is the nearest lodging and it's getting dark. One of those bazillions-of-mirrors solar plants is right past where we jump onto the interstate. Pretty cool to look at in the dusk, as it's all sparkly. The rooms in Primm are relatively inexpensive, and of course you have to walk through the Casino to get to them. Apparently there is a shortage of competent maidservice workers, as evidenced by the gross hair in the hair dryer.
Regardless, the bed is clean and we sleep pretty well.
Enjoying your RR! Your so fortunate to have her to ride with you :)
Thank you and amen. I am absolutely aware just how fortunate I am. This has been a long time coming and it's wonderful to share the road with her.
Awesome RR John!
Thanks! I would have loved to have hooked up with you, but chasing the not-rain kind of messed that up.
Always enjoy RRs that have the spouse with them. Mine loves to ride with me on my bike, no desire to ride her own so we're stuck on the big street bike for now.
Couldn't help but notice how pristine her gear is compared to yours!