Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Off on another motorcycle adventure, Death Valley here we come!

Dear Family & Friends,

I'm off on another motorcycle adventure... I'm riding with five other men to spend five days riding around Death Valley. This is the absolute best time of year to see Death Valley. Day time temperatures are in the low 80s as opposed to 120+ in the summer...
I'm looking forward to riding around the desert.. When I was young I used to race my motorcycle in the desert. I wasn't particularly good and for the most part if I finished I considered that a win! (Specially when riding my BSA B50. Once I switched to a Husky I went twice as fast and never broke down. What challenge is that?)
When I wasn't racing I used to like to look for fossils. Now 40+ years later I still enjoy riding in the desert (not racing) but I am now the fossil.....
I am riding with a good group of men, all in their 60s and 70s ( so we are all covered by Medicare just in case...). All very good competent riders with interesting backgrounds... 2 architects, 2 computer engineers, a retired county administrator, and me, a Jaguar mechanic.
We all met at Duane's house for an early departure but of course first we had to watch Duane clean his motorcycle......
The weather was absolutely perfect, not to hot or cold and clear sky's. Not good for the California drought but great for motorcycling. 
When we left Duane's house our first stop was for gas then on to the highway. The station is right on the entry road to the freeway. From Duane's house the station is about 2 miles with only two turns..... By the time we got there half the group was lost!  This did not bode well for the trip but I guess when you get 6 senior citizens together there's bound to be some brain fade.... The good news is in about ten years we will be able to just ride circles around the bock, never get lost, and always forget we were just there..
We finally hit the road and after about two hours we stopped at Tina's place for breakfast. A travelers institution were you can sit in a true 1950s dinner and get a big breakfast for $7...
To me motorcycling is more about the ride and route than the destination. Brian, one of the riders took us off the main path to this very remote mountain pass. It was a great two lane road that wound through green meadows, old ranches, old towns and mountain passes. We rode it for two hours and never passed a car! A great find. When we finally dropped out of the mountains we passed Lake Isabella which should be one of the largest lakes in California, unfortunately today it is more like a pond.. The amazing thing about California is one minute your riding in lush green mountains and an hour later your in the Mojave desert. From there we rode north about an hour to Lone Pine. A small highway town who's claim to fame are the nearby Alabama Mountains.  Just about every western movie and TV show from 1920 to 1970 was at least partially filmed there.
After a long day on the bikes we all (except for Duane the vegetarian) went out and did the manly thing and ate steak, potato, beans and beer or wine. A fitting end to a great day.. Tomorrow we ride about 100 miles and we will be in Death Valley.
I'm good and tired and a bit sore. On any long ride I go on the first day is a big argument between my butt and the motorcycle seat. Each is try to make the other conform to its shape. Each sends waves of pain at me to show their displeasure. Tomorrow they will both compromise a bit and we will all be happy.
Again for more photos go to my blog address below.

Time for Duane to clean his bike.......
The "Gang", a great group of riding buddies...
El Senior Biker..

Stopping at Tina's.
Can't travel without food?
Notice the view? Someone had to empty his bladder..

Descending out of the mountains into Lake Isabella, what's left of it..

Never miss an opportunity...
I love stores like this. So much better than corporate stops full of motel 6, Denny's, Taco Bell etc. that's why you need to get off the main highways! So much to see.

Our reward for a long day riding!

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