Petrified Forest

We hauled ass across Arizona to see Stickdog, blowing through a swarm of honey bees along the way. We hit about 40-50 of them in the span of about 2 seconds.  I think both of us were in shock, wtf was that?   The whole bike and us were splattered with dripping honey and anywhere we stopped more bees would start showing up and eating the honey, or flys and wasps. No telling what the bike would be buzzing with when we came out to the parkinglot.   At a nice truck stop in Winslow, AZ I watched one lady park next to us, open the door and quickly close it and move a few spaces over.

Eating on a corner in Winslow Arizona…  Yep, I had that blasted song going through my head for an hour.

Henry ( Stickdog ) graciously put us up in a nice motel in Show Low with some tickets he had won at a poker run.  Thanks a lot man!  You are the best!

All of us rode up to the Petrified Forrest National Park.    Strangely I recognized lots of landmarks and houses and placenames but couldnt remember when I’d last been there, my dad said later that whenever we went to Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas we always drove through the Petrified Forrest, from Southern NM thats the easiest way.  So I’d been through those roads a lot of times when I was very little and just never remembered how we got there.

Anyone want a rock hard chair carved out of petrified wood?  Only a mere $3500ish?  Anyone?

Cool Park Ranger from Austria, he was riding along beside us through the arroyos along the road.

Former residents from the time when the forrest was a little wetter and less petrified.

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Vegas Baby!

Vegas Baby!

We got through all of Death Valley without the bike having any trouble at all. We were mostly travelling at 60+ mph through there and the temp gauge stayed at a steady 80-90c  (175-190f)  but as soon as we hit backed up rush hr traffic in Vegas the crankcase temp spiked up to 120c (250f)  in 15 mins!  Oh Sh!t!   The bike was starting to knock a bit and I started shutting her down any time we came to a complete stop even if for just 30 seconds to a min at a time.  We had to find a place to pull off and quick!

We took the nearest exit which happened to have a Motel 6 right across from the strip and an In and Out Burger down the street, Sweet!   We got a room and noticed that we werent the only ones who had overheated, there was 3 more cars in the parkinglot with their hoods open and steaming.    We got some lunch at my first In and Out Burger and waited out the heat of the afternoon watching a Dirty Jobs marathon and went to check out the town.

Cece took some pics while we rode down the strip.  They came out somewhat ok considering we were moving and it was low light, the top pic is a 8 second exposure with mine from the motel parking-lot.

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Death Valley

View from the parkinglot outside the museum for the area state parks and the reason why the area is so hard to get to.  Those mountain peaks are at 11,000 feet and impassable.

I guess Nav-Air is a significant contributor to the museum and gets its own PR exhibit.    These guys were going to be my employer straight out of college, they recruite a lot of NMT graduates along with the likes of competing weapon maker Raytheon.  Did the interviews and filled out all the hiring papers and was set to move to CA and start working in a few months when they told me that after reviewing my transcripts I was 1 credit hr short on thier math requirement and I was disqualified.  My recruiter and others at NavAir really wanted to hire me and tried to fudge the numbers by counting some CS and Physics courses as math related but that made other numbers short.  They are really strict on the requirements and there was no way around them although everyone involved agreed I was much better qualified than other new hires and I probably would have been given a mid level position to start.  Oh well..    How my life could have very easily ended up entirely different.

Down the road to Death Valley.  Its actually a lot further away than I thought by looking at the maps.  We left the state museum at the main highway at 8am and it was 9 by the time we got to the sign and entrance and further than that to get to anything else.

Glad we didnt have to worry about this problem.    Hottest place on earth and oh by the way turn off your AC while going up hill so you dont break down.

Theres no phone service and the little station midway did not allow using their phones to call for tow trucks, because “the reason why your cell phone doesnt work here is the reason why our phone calls cost so much”.  In short if you break down, and a lot do, you’re f*cked.

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Yosemite National Park

Over Tioga Pass to Yosemite National Park!

The road was under construction and parts were stop and wait traffic backed up the steep roads. Not too fun on a motorcycle but with this scenery like this you couldn’t pick a better place to be in a traffic jam.

One of the alpine lakes at the top of the pass.

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Mono Lake

Back into California and into desolation along the eastern border.    I was a bit surprised how fiercely the Californians protect their crops even out here in the middle of desolate nowhere.  We’d crossed the border in 5 places now and had to go through 3 checkpoints to comfiscate any fruits or vegetables.  Only the Lake Tahoe crossings didn’t have any which would’ve required a check point in the middle of a town.  I heard from a coworker that the guards were not to happy that they had a stick sitting on their dash that the kids had found while getting gas in Arizona and it wound up in the car.  Wouldn’t want some contraband like a twig making it into California!

There had been a line at all the checkpoints but thankfully they waved the motorcycles through each time.  Ironically we had been carrying roadside plums and cherries in the bag just a week earlier.

They really have you by the short hairs if you end up needing gas out here, ouch!

The only gas has to be trucked in long distances around the long mountain chain, the short ways to civilization through Death Valley or through Yosemite do not allow trucks.     I should have waited, we passed another station inside Yosemite about 40 miles away and it was 80 cents cheaper, the gas there comes from the coast the short way.

Mono Lake is a super saline basin lake like the Dead Sea outside Yosemite on the east enterance.

One huge hunk of obsidian.  This is the biggest obsidian bomb I’ve ever seen.

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Lake Tahoe and Reno

Lake Tahoe,  not many pics from this day.  We superslabbed it most of the way through central CA and there was not much to see except traffic.

On to Reno!  I had originally wanted to come through Reno first then go up to Lake Tahoe and camp there, but with our shortcut we ended up at the lake first and Cece still wanted to go down the mountain to check out Reno instead of bypassing it.

Cece had never been to any place like this before and was fascinated by the spectacle.  Her pictures as we cruised around town.

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CA Coast Continued

It’d been at least a week since I thought my bike was a dual sport cruiser and attempted to take it down somewhere it had no business being.  What sort of an adventure would this be if we only stuck to the pavement.

We were attempting to get to a hidden valley of waterfalls and ferns up steep rock faces.  Yeah not a good idea with this much weight on the bike, the road was good but in spots washboarded up to the frame and we got beat to death.  Not to mention the trucks flying through here at 50 mph while we were going 5 at best, note the dust.

One of the Redwoods NP visitors centers

Now thats a saw!

More playing on the beach

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California’s Coastal Redwoods

Down the coast to the coastal redwoods in CA.  We stopped by this privately run redwoods park because it had been advertising its ski lift through the tree tops for the last 50 miles.

The famous anatomically correct Babe the blue ox.  Paul Bunion had a speaker somewhere and a guy hidden in the building with cameras to talk to visitors, the hand waves a few degrees.

These foxgloves outside were planted but this is what was growing thick up and down all the highways wild in Washington

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Oregon 101

It had taken us 3 days to get across Oregon when I had only budgeted 1 or 2 days.  All of my friends from the area told me months in advance to avoid the 101 at all costs around the 4th of July and they were right!  They said campgrounds would be booked months in advance as well as all motel rooms because the coast is where everyone in the state tries to vacation.  Unfortunately due to time arangements to be in Washington when we were we ended up being here at the worst possible time.

I figured we’d just blast across Oregon and miss all the crowds and try to make it to California as fast as possible, boy was I wrong..   Traffic was so bad that in a day of motoring we barely made it 60 miles one day and had our only motorcycle accident the next.   It took much longer to get across Oregon than we anticipated so we didnt get to stop to see as many things as we wanted, but at least the scenery was pretty good.  Maybe we need to come back another time at a better season.

Not too many pics because we kept trying to push on and make up lots of lost time.

Further down the road a view of the OR coast just north of CA.

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Fender Bender

We hiked back up to where our bike was parked and there was our helmets sitting on the sidewalk next to the bike, What the hell?  Someone had been messing with the bike!   We ran over and a guy sitting in the shade came up to us and told us what had happened, they had backed into the bike with their SUV and knocked it over @#$%

Both of our helmets were dinged from falling off the seat

My Yellowstone bottle had taken the brunt of the fall, I’m so glad none of the bike ended up like this.

Only body damage, a nicked fender.   Damnit I just fixed that!  I had another one in the exact same place untill our wreck when the insurance replaced the whole fender.

Great now Both turn signal lenses are broken, one from each SUV encounter.

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