After 20 days on the road, I finally get some honest to goodness dirt roads. The first was the Mt Lemmon Control Rd. coming down the back side of Mt Lemmon outside of Tucson. It was 27 miles of rocky gravel road that dropped over 4000 vertical feet in it’s length. I was up early and out the door just after sunrise at 0515. I knew it was going to be a warm day and wanted to get as far north before noon as I could. I didn’t see anyone on the Control Rd till the last 6 miles when 2 guys on 4 wheelers rolled by. A great road that was highly suggested by my host Steve Loster in Tucson.Thanks Steve for the tip, it was awesome!!
Once back on pavement I stopped in Oracle, Globe and Winkleman for water then had lunch in the curious town of Show Low Az. Apperently it was named after a marathon card game between two business partners that had a dispute over who owned the company. The winning hand was a “Pair of Duces” which is actually the name of the Main Street in town…. I can’t make this stuff up!
After lunch I headed to Heber Az where I took the most direct route to Winslow. I found the road by setting the google maps to ” walking” instead of driving. It put me on a forest road that was 53 miles to Winslow and 27 of those miles were really nice gravel and red cinder.
And of course when I arrived in Winslow, I had to find the “Corner park” dedicated to the Eagles song “Take it easy” I parked behind the Flatbed Ford but only saw lots of tourists…..
Tomorrow is to St George Ut where the high is expected to be 108F and a low of only 71F. I foresee another really early start like today. Sadly it will be all pavement.
Today I’m in very sunny Tucson (think the fires of Hades ) I went visit my host Steve Loster at his work over at Dietz Racing.
The owner Dan Dietz showed me around and explained what they do. It’s a parts warehouse for mainly sport bikes but they do get in cruisers and dirt bikes on occasion. Dan’s team acquires the bikes from auction, consignment or even off craigslist. They will take a bike in just about any condition. The bike is very carefully dismantled, cleaned, catalogued and categorized by year, make and model. If you need a foot peg for an 88 Honda Magna, I know they have at least two. 😉
My host, Steve Loster is a life long rider of just about every style of motorcycle. He is also an extremely through mechanic that uses great care taking everything apart. His personal tool chest at work is every mechanic’s dream. I know a few in the PNWSTOG that would drool at it’s sight( Jeff)
Another reason for stopping by the shop was to drop off my Mosko Moto Backcountry 40L duffle with my Redverz tent, Big Agnes sleeping pad/bag and the rest of my camping gear in it. I’m shipping it forward to Mom’s in Louisiana as my plans of doing sections of the BDR’s are scaled back because I won’t be going alone in 100+ temps during the day and 80 for the LOW! It’s Super 8,Motel 6, couch surfing and rustic cabins between here and Wyoming.
Last night Steve helped me chase down the source of the mystery oil weeping on my engine block to a bad seal on my Cam Chain Tensioner’s gasket. At first we thought it might have been a valve cover gasket which he ordered ahead of my arrival but after we got everything apart, it was the CCT.
I’m working on getting parts to Denver in a couple weeks to get it changed out there. My tires are also getting swapped out in Denver at Woody’s Wheel Works. Last night Steve and I did the bikes 1st oil change of the trip, it’s coming up on 5000 miles from the last Tech day we had. I’ll be covering 1600-1800 miles between now and the 12th, so it’s best to get it done now.
This is my tentative route for the next week and a half. I’m still looking for someone to join me for all or parts. If you can, just drop me a line at email@example.com.
I started off Friday morning from Palm Springs and headed east on I-10, it’s the only way to get to the Chuckwalla racetrack in Desert Center Ca.
I had been invited by the Yamaha corporate office to attend a ” run what you brung” or as they call it, “Get to know your bike day”. The concept was started up in the Northwest by Bill Cameron at Skagit Power Sports and is extremely popular. The last time it was held in the Northwest, a PNWSTOG member got some track time. Watch as Mike has some fun.
My day at the track wasn’t as wet. In Desert Center Ca, the temps where in the high 90’s by noon and when I got on the bike to head to San Diego, it read 118F!
The Yamaha instructors were very thorough in their explanation of the track rules and they ran us through some drills before heading out there.
The instructors were also doing a great job of keeping us hydrated and they even had lunch brought in!
I had a complete BLAST out on the track! I was encouraged to even leave my panniers on. I didn’t quite get my foot pegs scraped but I did have to tuck my toes in a few times 😉 Aren’t these photos amazing?!?!?!
After leaving the track, I headed to San Diego to meet up with an old supervisor and friend Kevin Logan and his family. The 1st town off I-10 I stopped at was after 20 miles of canyon carving to the town of Mecca Ca. Having served time in Saudi Arabia and stationed 40 miles outside the other “Mecca” I have to say they are eerily similar…… No “infidel bypass” here 😉
After scooting around the west side of the great Salton Sea, I headed west into and over more canyons and eventually climbed to the 4000ft mark before dropping down into San Diego. I’m really enjoying my time here catching up with an old friend. The time off the bike over this long Memorial Day weekend is nice as well. Next week, 1st stop is corner #2 where the Pacific Ocean meets the Mexican border where I hope not to get hauled off by ICE agents. I’ll then be stopping at Jacumba Hot Springs (less than a mile from the border) and head to Tucson before going north across Arizona, Utah, a quick visit to Vegas, then back north to Salt Lake City. In Idaho, I hope to see the Klim HQ before crossing into Wyoming by mid June.
Thanks to everyone that’s been following me. The Facebook blog has 375 likes!
Good afternoon y’all! I passed the 3000 mile mark today! 🙂 I guess it’s going good because I don’t want to stop.
I’ll caption some of the pics with locations as I post, a lot of ground was covered in a few days..
Leaving Patterson Ca
One beautiful vista after another
Looking down at the switchbacks
Lunch was NW of San Jose on Skyline at The real Alice’s Restaurant, and I got whatever I wanted… A BLT 🙂
After lunch, I stopped to see John Bettoncourt and his great crew at Moto Amoré in Scotts Valley. Need a Heidenau tire? They have plenty!
That night, I camped not far from the Pacific Ocean in Carmel Valley, 1st night in a tent on the trip. I think I’ll plan my tent times for more than one night from now on. Setting up and tearing down in less than 12 hours doesn’t seem worth the effort.
The next 2 maps are how I crossed the state SE to get to Edwards AFB. I had reservations for a single room but they were full up so I was put in family quarters( 2 bed/bath duplex fully furnished) for the same price.
Cal 198 San Lucas to Coalinga
Carmel to Greenfield
NASA B-52 that dropped the X-1 and many other “X” planes
Earlier this his morning I met up with Mike and Cindy from Idaho, they were returning home from picking up their Super Tenere in Long Beach that had been shipped from Peru! They have already ridden two up across North America and down into South America. A VERY inspirational couple that just get on their bike and ride! The blog for their travels is www.TRVLIN.wordpress.com
My day ended in Palm Springs because it’s the closest town to the Chuckwalla raceway SE of Joshua Tree. Yamaha invited me to their “Run what you brung” track /demo day. Say a prayer for me if I get on an R-1 on a real racetrack…. I’ll post pics tomorrow if I’m still around 🙂
I had such a great last couple days scooting around the Bay Area . It started Sunday with a ride on a race tuned YZ 450 on the Sacramento River delta. Thankfully the roads were flat and in straight lines because that’s more dirt bike then I’ll ever be able to handle 😉
The fun continued on Monday with a very nolstogic ride up to Lake Berryassa with my old friend Matt Thomas. We served and rode together 20 years ago while stationed at Travis AFB. Matt is about to retire after 24 years of service.THANK YOU for your service and friendship.
Lunch was in Rio Vista care of Kurt Friedrich from a go fund me donation. Thanks for the tacos!
Then I rode down to Tracy Ca. to meet up with the founder of the Super Tenere USA Facebook page, Murray Newton. While his Tenere is getting a complete Ohlins custom suspension, he let me ride his brand new Yamaha XSR 900. That thing is a kick in the pants! (especially after riding the loaded Tenere around) Light and nimble is an understatement. We met up with Don Nordstrom in Modesto for BBQ, Don is also a PNWSTOG member that rode with us to the Horizions Unlimited meeting a few years back.
Today I’ll be taking the road less traveled up to the Link observatory as I skirt my way around the south end of the Bay Area to have lunch at the Iconic “Alice’s Restruant” where I hear I can get anything I want 😉
I have to say that Northern California has some extremely challenging roads and by challenging, I mean FUN!, it also has some spectacular views. Here are a few pics that help make my point. If you are ever out this way, take the road less traveled.
I also need to give a shout out to Steve and Paula McCarley of Redding Yamaha Seadoo . We had just stopped in to say hi and were invited to the 1st of their summer bike nights. The hot dogs were delicious! Thanks!
My tour of Northern California ended in Garberville with the best Cajun food west of Louisiana. ( I know, it’s shocking) Cecil’s New Orleans Bistro‘s head chef once worked with Emeril at Commanders Palace in New Orleans. The food is amazing!
Tomorrow I head to the Bay Area in the rain, hopefully it won’t be too wet.