Monday, June 28, 2010

June Journey West, Part 2

June 10, 2010 sunset at Centerville Beach on the Pacific

Part 2 of my trip was the time I spent out in California. Part 1 got me here, now I’m hanging out with friends and doing some riding. We also did a little work. My friend Hal is in the construction business and was building a deck. He was just about finished and wanted to complete the job before we left for some off road riding along the coast.

The day I arrived, he was at work, so I unloaded my motorcycle and took a spin. Since I used to live out that way, I am familiar with the surroundings. I just flat out took a ride over Tompkins Hill and into Eureka. I stopped for a cup of coffee at Has Beans, a coffee roasting company out in Shasta who also does business in Eureka.

I talked on the phone with a friend I met while on The Longest Walk II in 2008. She was living in the Bay Area when I met her, but now is student teaching in Arcata, CA, not far from Eureka. We talked and made plans to get together for dinner the next evening. I returned back at my friend’s place and we caught each other up on what’s been going on in our live. The next day, I helped Hal work for a couple of hours and we finished the deck.

We took three rides while I was there. One included the Tigercat road to Petrolia and Honeydew, then South into the King’s Range. We crossed streams and traversed up and down hillsides. We rode along the coast at Cape Mendocino and ended up in Redway where we stopped and refreshed with a beverage at a local coffee shop. The rain had been falling right up until the time I got there. In all my years, IO don’t remember June being part of the rainy season, but it was this year, so the roads did have some ruts and muddy spots here and there. Luckily, it was windy and most exposed areas were drying out real good. The ride home took me through the ancient Redwood forests of the Humboldt County Redwoods.

Hard to get a perspective from this picture of a redwood tree, but they are massive and worth the visit if you've never been there to see them in person.

Like mountains in the forest, you have to look up.

The next day took us out East to visit a friend and up into the mountains at a gravel road called Redwood House. This connected with what seemed like endless dirt and gravel roads strewn with cattle who free-ranged in this neighborhood. We had very favorable road conditions and were really tearing up the gravel having a ball. We saw plenty of deer and wild turkeys along with the cows, and the hawks were flying all around up there in the mountains. The weather was perfect. No rain, cool and sunny. By the end of the day, our back tires were spitting out gravel and dirt as we powerslid around curves. Reminded us of our late teen years in the black dirt and coal tailing hills of Illinois.

On day three of riding, we went East again, this time to do a loop and climb to Black Lassic, an inactive volcanic mountain. We got up into the elevation and snow covered the road and impeded our path. We had to return to where we started and go around the mountain on another side that wasn’t quite so high an elevation to get by the snow. We did around 175 miles this day and saw some beautiful country.

This is Black Lassic. We never made it to the summit as snow covered the road in the higher elevations and we were stopped in our tracks.

We also saw some of the aftermath of the logging industry. Closed lumber mills, rows of trucks sitting idle and bare spots on the sides and atop mountains from the helicopter logging practices. The silt that ran off from the clear cuts choked the streams and creeks which led to the salmon not being able to find their spawning grounds, henceforth killing that industry right along with the logging.

A stock photo of a slash burner in use during the olden days of the logging industry. These structures are all around and stand as rusted hulks these days. They were used to contain the ash and cinders from starting a forest fire as they burned the slash, or unused residue from the logging.

It was a good day of riding though. On the way home, we ran into a fog bank that brought with it temperatures that were at least 20 degrees cooler than those in the mountains. We stopped and donned cold weather gear and rode back to the coast. We had dinner at a small local micro brewery called The Eel River Brewery who say they are first brewery in America to be organically certified. Good brew here to be sure!

This is the South Jetty as it looks from the top of Table Bluff. This spit of land is six miles long and ends at the Southern opening to Humboldt Bay at Eureka, CA

The next day was a rest day from riding, but I did go out and see my friends Tony and Cheryl who live near Carlotta. It was bright and sunny this particular day and I had a great visit with them. They live right in a grove of redwood trees. These are the people we stayed with last year when we took the Grandkids out West. I spent the remainder of the day packing my stuff and getting ready to load the bikes to head out towards Oregon's Outback for more riding in the high desert. I also went down to the ocean and picked up some driftwood that I'll use in an art project. I took some spectacular shots of the sunset. It was one of those days that nature allowed me a great view of the late afternoon show.

A lone tree that has been windblown for years. It's stance reflects the battering from the winds off the ocean.

Hal changed his mind the next morning and I ended up loading just my bike for the trek home. There was some thought given to going up to Oregon and then on to the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho and doing some riding on my way home, but since I was going to be alone and not with my friend as originally planned, I just headed out for Wisconsin.

So far, I had some great fun. All the riding I did on the coast was great, but we never did do a full tilt GS ride with camp outs and other bikes along in a group. And I did get to ride the Nevada desert and mountains, but I did that alone. I did have some disappointment, but I quickly got over it. I understand and respect my friends decision to hang back at home. At that point, the trip was over. I still had to get the bike, on the trailer, back home, so I just saddled up and headed that way.

Next, the last part of the journey. The trek home. I’ll leave you with photos and another YouTube from my time spent in California. The photos are from various parts of the time spent out on the coast and thew YouTube is shots through the redwoods from a camera I mounted on the engine guard frame, left side.

In this YouTube, see the ocean at Cape Mendocino, riding through snow at Black Lassic and riding through the redwoods along California Hwy 36.

Just gorgeous

Almost gone.

Peace to all

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday is the creation of Tracy over at Hey Harriet blog. For guidelines and to see other fabulous Shadow Shots posted by particpants, go HERE

While on a recent trip to the West coast of the USA, I wandered along one of my favorite beaches near Victorian Ferndale in Northern California. The sun was getting ready to set and the shadows were long. As I walked along, I was seeing the footprints in the sand and how they were casting their own shadows. The beach seemed to be full of footprints, like there wasn't any exposed sandy surface that hadn't been trod upon, but at the time I was there, I only spotted a few others hanging about to catch the glory of the sunset.

I'll post a picture of the sunset this day as itself is the matrix of all shadow. The sun never seems to disappoint. I watched from the beach until the last speck of light had shone from Ole Sol. A beautiful scene.

Footprints casting shadows on a busy stretch of ocean beach, near Ferndale, California

Here's the sun, slowly sinking into the ocean waves:


Friday, June 25, 2010

Haiku My Heart Fridays, June 25, 2010

Haiku My Heart Fridays was the inspiration of Rebecca who posts the Recuerdo Mi Corazon Blog. Check it out for more information and some great Haiku, Photographs, Artwork and find out how to participate.

In the meantime, here's my first Haiku My Heart Fridays entry into the fray:

Crispy Leaves in Fall

Souls Close to My Heart of Hearts

Sitting On a Log


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June Journey West, Part 1

Sunset in the high desert

I put my motorcycle on a trailer, hooked it to my van and left my home in River Falls, WI. I headed West on Friday, June 4, 2010. The trip took me across the country through Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and into California. I used the smaller two-lane roads except for a few places where I jumped on the Superslab, (The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System)

I kept a log of all the route numbers of the roads I traveled. It would be quite boring to most, but an avid map reader like myself would find it interesting to see the listing, then follow along and trace the path, (I’ll post it at the end of this story). I’ll say that I look for two-lane roads that run on angles in the general direction of where I’m headed. I’m always rewarded with beautiful scenery, seen up close, and a plethora of cars, trucks and farm equipment “For Sale” on the side of the road. The artwork and the creativity of people with what and how they adorn their homes is astonishing. I love slowing down and crawling through the small towns and checking out the business district. Always looking for a diner tucked away or a coffee shop, perhaps, open, and serving hot brew. You can see all this and more from the small roads.

I love the travel. I don’t mind the solitude at all, but the breaks I take, while passing through the towns, give me the social stimulus I crave at times. Talking to strangers is a thrill and an adventure. People are wanting to give me information about their town or region, and are very willing to answer questions from strangers, it seems. A short conversation is available with a convenience store cashier or eat shop waitress. Then its back on the road, into the rural countryside, looking for the green and white sign that tells you how many miles to the next town, landmark or where the routes divide.

Pretty yellow flowers somewhere along the way

On this trip, I drove my full size Ford van. I took the seats out and had this cavernous space behind the cockpit. I set up my over length, over width Slumberjack cot and outfitted it with sheets and blankets. At the back doors, I had my cooler, the one that holds ice for up to five days! I used milk crates for the dry goods and cooking gear. I had the “Kit”, a complete set up for brewing a great cup of coffee using the Melitta cone filter system, and a stash of the great tasting freshly roasted beans from my friend Steve’s J & S Bean Factory.

I planned no itinerary except that I was going to Northern California, eventually. I made stops for a few meals at favorite restaurants that I return to from time to time, but mostly, I ate my own food. I stayed overnight at places where no fee is charged to camp or park for a spell, wherever possible. I used highway rest areas and when I got way out West into the high desert of Nevada, I found plenty of public BLM land.

I’ll review the restaurants in another post. For now, I’ll continue with how and where I traveled. The first day was long in the saddle. I left the house at around five a.m. I ended the day at a rest stop on Interstate 80 near Laramie, WY. I turned in and was sound asleep by eleven O’clock. My internal rooster had me up and ready to roll a little after six a.m. I slept right through and made coffee before I pulled back out on the road. Not 15 miles ahead was where I turned off the Interstate and headed Southwest across the border into Colorado through the Medicine Bow National Forest.

As I entered Colorado, the mountain vista lay ahead of me. A large cloud covered the mountain and shaded it completely as I basked in a warm morning sun. Once up into the mountains, the temperature had dropped considerably and the roadway was wet. A shower had passed this way before me and left its dampness, but I experienced nary a drop on my windshield.

Medicine Bow Mountains at the Wyoming/Colorado border

I wound around the mountains and filled the tank at Steamboat Springs. I ate at a roadside table off of US Highway 40 just West of Steamboat. I made another cup of coffee and talked with a passing biker who stopped for a break headed East. I found out he was a Veteran from the American war in Vietnam. He saw I was trailering a bike and the conversation ensued. He had been on a three day trip to visit friends in Grand Junction, CO. I told him “That’s where I’ll end up tonight.”

I was on my way and crossed Douglas pass South of Ridgely which took me into Loma. I traced back East a few miles and stayed with good friends in Grand Junction. I lived in Grand Junction in the early 1990’s. Sonya and her husband Chuck were glad to see me. We had a Barbeque and other friends dropped by. We sat out on the patio way past my bedtime. When I did finally get to sleep, I must have been exhausted, for I slept well into the morning. I had thought of unloading the bike and riding in my old neighborhood of the Unaweep Tabegouche. (you’-nah-weep Tab’-ah-wash)

The road, Colorado 141, has beautiful scenery. I used to ride it regularly when I had the Harley Fat Boy. I always wanted to take the gravel road to John Brown Canyon and over the border to Moab, Utah. This wasn’t going to happen on this trip, but I did file away the idea of making Grand Junction my destination someday for the sole purpose of riding this road and other wonderful byways in the Grand Mesa.

The weather was hot in Grand Junction, but previous to that, it had been cool and comfortable to drive without the gas guzzling air conditioning turned on, with a little rain here and there in Nebraska and at the start of my trip. I stayed overnight with my friends and we went out to breakfast before I got on the road and followed US Highway 50 West through Utah and Nevada.

In Nevada, Highway 50 has the unique designation of being the Loneliest Road in America. There are long stretches with no services, like a gas station, available. The longest is around 100 miles. There are many of these service deprived sections from the Utah/Colorado border all the way through Nevada until you reach the Reno area. My plans were to stop somewhere near Austin.

The sign says it all

Originally, my motorcycle riding buddy from California was going to meet me in Nevada and we were to ride into the Ruby Mountains. I stopped at the turn off to head North from US 50 for the Ruby Mountain Recreation Area. I found a free BLM campground and stopped for the night. This place was near a small reservoir and just a short distance off the road. I pulled in right at dusk and slept in absolute quiet. The desert got downright cold that night, but I kept warm and cozy cuddles up with my Big Agnes Encampment sleeping bag.

From high above Austin, NV looking West into the Great Basin

A little dusty road grime on the Beemer

Daylight came quickly and I proceeded to Austin. Austin sits on the edge of the Toiyabe National Forest. I found the Big Creek Campground, which is about 15 miles off the highway on a dusty gravel road, and set up to spend a day or two. I unloaded my motorcycle and donned my riding gear. The road that took me to the campground stretched out further to the South and I headed out on my G650GS. The GS is a dual sport bike that can accept the rigors of off road riding and still cut up the corners on the hardtop. Todays ride was all off road.

My rig, with motorcycle unloaded, at Big Creek Campground in the Toiyabe National Forest, Nevada

I quickly ran into a stream that crossed the road. I wavered, but then thought out the scenario of walking back to my van and driving to town 15 miles away, soaking wet, to make a phone call or summon help to extract my wrecked bike from the swollen stream. No such luck. I stood up on the pegs and splashed across. I did get wet, but not deterred, and rode on, further up into the mountains. I crossed the stream several times as it zig zagged along the road turned path.

A great winding mountain dirt road in the Toiyabe

Another section of the road

At one crossing, I managed to take a line that had me teetering on the skid plate with no traction to the rear wheel. I dismounted and stood in the cold spring run off up to mid calf. I used gravity and pulled the bike off the hump, aimed for a more serviceable incline, remounted and drove out of the water hazard, only to find myself confronted with a sheet of melting snow at least 2 feet deep totally covering the road not 200 yards ahead. I had no alternative than to turn back, cross Big Creek again and again, and return to my campsite where I changed wet pants and boots.

Bunker Hill Mountain, NV, viewed from a distance

I went back and found other roads and put over 160 miles on my scooter this day, all off road, all great fun. I freshened up at camp and rode the 15 miles into town to have a steak dinner at the Toiyabe Cafe in Austin. The next morning, I rode to the Toiyabe again and had breakfast before coming back, loading my bike and heading West towards Reno and Halleluia Junction, with my ultimate goal of getting to the California Central Valley city of Chico.

I came across many such vistas as this photo, long pieces of tarmac stretched out into the horizon

I put gas into the van in Chico and continued North to Red Bluff. In Red Bluff I checked in to a Motel 6 and treated my bike to a bath at a local car wash, my laundry a bath at the laundromat and myself a shower before dinner. The next day, I continued West on California Highway 36 and found the coast by mid afternoon. I parked the van at my friends place and unloaded the bike. We talked well into the evening about where we would be riding while I was on the coast.

Sunset through the broken lens cover of my still camera, Big Creek Campground near Austin, NV

The van performed remarkably well. I logged 4817 miles in total and averaged 16.57 miles per gallon, and that’s a full size van and pulling a trailer, albeit a small one with a smallish bike, but pulling a trailer none the less, and climbing mountains! Gas was cheapest in South Dakota at $2.49.9 and most expensive out on the coast where it was $325.9 for regular. I was much impressed with the van’s performance overall as it was my bed and home for the past six days, up to that point, and would be until I returned home.

In the future, I’ll tell you about my time in California, then, about my trip home. I’ll probably make it in three parts, with a fourth part as restaurant reviews. There was Lange’s in Pipestone, MN, The afore mentioned Toiyabe in Austin, NV and The Cowgirl Cafe in Red Bluff that was quite the find, not to mention a regular stop when I pass through Riverton, WY called the Trailhead. I didn’t take too many pictures, but here are a few, including a short YouTube of the stream in Nevada. Hope you enjoy the trip.

This short two-minute YouTube shows some of the terrain in Nevada where I spent some time riding my motorcycle in the mountains:


Here are the route numbers for the first leg of my trip:

East Johnson Street in River Falls to WI Hwy 29 West

At Prescott, I turned Right and got on US Hwy 10 West

North of Hastings, MN, I turned Left and got on US Hwy 61 South

In Hastings, I turned Right onto County Hwy 46.

In a couple of miles, I turned Left onto County Hwy 47 South.

At Northfield, I hit MN Hwy 3 and turned Left, South.

In downtown Northfield, I joined MN Hwy 19, turned Right and took MN Hwy 19 West.

I Turned Right onto US Hwy 169 South near Lesueur, MN (Home of the Green Giant)

At St. Peter, I turned Right and got on MN Hwy 99 West.

At Nicollet, I turned Right and got on US Hwy 14 West.

I turned Right onto MN Hwy 23 South.

I got on I-90 and went West into South Dakota.

I turned Left and followed US Hwy 81 South.

I turned Right onto SD Hwy 44 West.

SD Hwy 44 joins US Hwy 18, I followed this road West.

I turned Left onto SD Hwy 27 South into Nebraska.

I turned Right onto US Hwy 20 West.

I turned Left onto NE Hwy 87 South.

I turned Right onto NE Hwy 2 West at Alliance, NE.

I followed gravel rural county roads to Scottsbluff.

At Scottsbluff, I found NE Hwy 71 South.

I turned Right onto NE Hwy 88 West into Wyoming.

I turned Left onto US Hwy 85 South.

I got on I-25 South to Cheyenne, WY.

At Cheyenne, I turned Right onto I-80 West.

I slept in a rest area on I-80 the first night.

I turned Left onto WY Hwy 230 South into Colorado.

This road is called CO Hwy 127.

I turned Right onto CO Hwy 14 South.

I turned Right onto US Hwy 40 West.

At Craig, CO, I turned Left onto CO Hwy 13.

At Meeker, I turned Right onto CO Hwy 64 South.

At Rangely, I turned Left onto CO Hwy 139.

At Loma, I turned Left onto US Hwy 6 East to Grabnd Junction, CO.

I spent the second night in Grand Junction.

I got on US Hwy 50 West which runs with I-70 West into Utah.

I followed US Hwy 50 West into Nevada.

I spent night number three at Illpah Reservior Campground in Eastern Nevada.

I continued on US Hwy 50 through Nevada and spent night number four near Austin, NV

I went into California and turned Right onto US Hwy 395 just outside of Reno, NV.

I took 395 North to CA Hwy 70 West at Halleluia Junction.

I turned Right onto I-5 North near Chico, CA.

I went to Red Bluff and spent night number five.

I turned Left onto CA Hwy 36 West.

I turned Right at US Hwy 101 North.

I went into Fortuna, CA at Palmer Blvd. Exit to my friend’s home and stayed there for six nights.

End of journey to destination.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm Home

Mount Shasta in a glimmering sun.

Kneeland, Ruth Lake, Redwood House, Showers Pass and Mad River Rock. Tigercat, Honeydew, Petrolia, Horse Mountain and Shelter Cove. These are just a few of the names of the roads, places and towns we rode to or through on my recent motorcycle adventure. All these places can be found at my ultimate destination, my western most terminus, in Northern California.

I always liked the names of these and other places. I call them the “Ahs” and the “Villes”. The Ahs, like Loleta, Carlotta, Arcata, Eureka, Manila and Fortuna, and the villes like Rhonerville, McKinleyville, Garberville, Hydesville, Laytonville and Bridgeville. All these are towns up in Humboldt and Mendecino Counties in Northern California, where the giant old growth redwoods are. I snapped that picture of Mt. Shasta from Highway 299 just outside of Weaverville on my trek home. What a beautiful clear sunlit sky. The snow cover tells the story of the weather extremes encountered throughout the trip as I traversed across the Western states.

I’ll write about the actual trip soon and I do have a few adventures to talk about. Like the stream crossings, the great diners and coffeeshops and how I thought the motorcycle fell off the trailer in the middle of the night.

For now, I’m home and relaxing, cleaning my gear, getting the oil changed in the trusty old van and sorting through pictures. The Grandkids are out of school for the Summer and the younger ones are in day care and summer rec programs. The older two and I will hang out and take care of the household. We have grocery shopping to do and a few other errands, but that stuff can wait until we complete our morning visit to the Dish and the Spoon Cafe. We’ll sit out on the sidewalk and count cars, one of DJ’s favorite games, while we enjoy a sweet roll and a beverage.

More trips are in the planning for this Summer, and I haven't even told you about the one I just returned from. The pressure is on. I'll get going on it real soon, I promise. In the meantime, it's great to be back home even though it was great to be on the road. What a dichotomy!

A busy week ahead, but I’m up for it. Hope your week is a good one and peace finds you. In the meantime, take care and be well.

Peace to all.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday is a meme started by Tracy who writes the Hey Harriet blog. For guidelines and information on how to participate, look Here.

I recently returned from a road trip which took me from my home in River Falls, WI out to the West coast. I did some interstate highway driving, but I prefer the 2-lane backroads. A more peaceful drive with fantastic scenery. Todays Shadow Shot was taken early in the morning as I crossed into Colorado from Wyoming just West of Laramie. As I came to the border, I see some threatening weather only to find it is a huge massive cloud suspended above the Medicine Bow Mountains. The second photo is of a rainbow I spotted just off to the West when nearing the pass into Colorado on the same mountain range.

On this journey, I took many photos with the Shadow Shot Sunday theme in mind. As the weeks move forward, I'll share them with you. Being aware of what I'm actually seeing made the trip even more interesting for me than usual. Some of my photos had a purpose. I hope you enjoy them.

The trip took me to California via central Nevada with a week spent riding motorcycles along the Lost Coast and Kings Range just North of Mendecino. I also had two days riding in Nevada's Toiyabi National Forest near Austin along US Highway 50.

A striking cloud hanging over the mountains at the border where Wyoming highway 230 meets Colorado highway 127 just West of Laramie

As I drove in sunshine, the rain fell in the mountains creating a fabulous rainbow and engulfing the entire mountain in shadow

Peace to all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I've Never Done

I’ve never been an artist. You know, like a painter or sculptor. I’m not creative in this way. Even the writing I do is just the words I would speak to you if you were in the room with me. The room would be a coffee shop or a bar, maybe a restaurant or a park bench on a fine sunny day. I just write them instead of speak them because I am alone. I must need to tell them to someone. The only creativity that I have had a part in was creating children, I fathered three girls. That’s real creativity, but by the hand of a more powerful source than I. Women are powerful as women have the gift of bringing forth life, and The Creator, well, the name says it all. I was there, but I can’t take responsibility for the creation of the children.

I’ve never driven a real race car. Like Nascar or open wheel Indy type race cars. I mean the really fast ones, not the Sunday afternoon take-your-car-to-the-track drag strip 1/4 mile kind. I used to go to the drag races. I’d take off the hubcaps and the air cleaner and close all the windows to reduce the wind resistance and race my car against another of the same class and engine size. I won a trophy once. I gave it to my girlfriend and she put it on the top shelf in her closet because her mom and dad didn’t want her to display it in the house. I’ve had the motorcycle up over 140 mph on a straight stretch of North Dakota highway, but I’ve never driven a race car.

The idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail from one end to the other has eluded me. I’m too old and feeble for such an undertaking now. I always thought that some day I’d attempt one of these hikes. Just live out of the back pack for weeks doing the complete traverse. I have driven on one highway from end to end. I’ve been on every mile of US Highway 101 from LA to Seattle and even did the part that comes back and loops itself along the Washington coast. I went on The Longest Walk, a 4600 mile trek across the country, but I didn’t walk it. I walked the first two miles in California and the last two miles to the Capitol in Washington DC. I took a few steps in between, but mostly drove a support vehicle and hauled back packs and shuttled people. I did Historic Route 66 when I was 10 years old with Mom and Dad. It winds from Chicago to LA, more than 2000 miles all the way. get your kicks....

I’ve never driven a car hauler 18 wheeler. You know, the ones that carry all the new cars? They’re on the freeway all the time. They have pneumatic ramps that raise and lower the cars to certain heights so they can get as many as they can on a load. Never drove one of those, but I have driven almost every kind of rig that’s ever been made. Dry vans, tankers, hazardous tankers, reefers, dry bulk, cement mixers, dump trucks, flat beds, semi and straight. I don’t drive the big rigs anymore. I say I’m semi retired, retired from driving semis.

When I look back on a life lived, I can recall a lot of things that I did like drive the big trucks. Now, as I no longer work for wages, some friends find it hard to see me in any other way except the old man who hangs out at the coffee shop. I remember an old R. Crumb cartoon that showed an old wrinkled bent over woman with a cane waiting at a bus stop. The caption stated that we need to remember that even these old people had a wild life at some point in their lives. They then showed flashbacks of her as a young slender beauty in a bikini making out with a guy with more suitors waiting in line. We get old and the people see you and don’t know what you’ve been capable of in your life. What you’ve done, or haven’t done.

Then came the movie, “The Bucket List”. I didn’t see the movie, but I hear people referencing their own bucket list and things that are on such a manifest. I’m guessing that the bucket list is a smattering of things that you’d want to see and do before you kicked the bucket, before you meet your maker, before you go to the great, whatever it is you wish for, in the sky, before you die. Of course in the movie, the two stars were terminally ill and went all out to accomplish living until they died.

I don’t have a bucket list. I might mention something that I’d like to do at some point in my life, but nothing is paramount. But I do have an opportunity to do something that I’ve talked about doing, and the time is now.

To even attempt a trip like this at my age and physical condition is a bit of a challenge, but I'll be careful and I won't take any reckless chances. I suppose any kind of motorcycle trip after having my heart stitched up a couple of times would be a challenge, but I'm goin' for it!

Years ago, 40 or more come to think of it, my friend Hal and I rode motorcycles for sport. Hal, an accomplished motocross racer, and I, a recreational motocross aficionado, always talked about the day when we could ride together across the country. A few years ago, we took our first trip together and had a blast. Then, last year, amid some set backs and illnesses, we did manage to put in almost 5000 miles together.

Our conversations then mentioned an off-road adventure together, one of epic proportions. The dual sport adventure riding craze has been around for a while, but we’ve never been in a position, either with the bikes we rode, or with time and money, to pull off such a ride.

Well, the time is now. Hal has his R100GS BMW ready to frolic in the dirt, gravel and mud. I bought a G650GS BMW and set it up to do the same. I’m leaving soon and taking my new toy out to California and we’re gonna do one of those bucket list things.

My G650GS BMW looks very similar to this stock photo

The plan is to tow my motorcycle across the middle of the country and meet Hal somewhere in Nevada. I’ll park the van and unload my scooter, Hal will have ridden his from California, we’ll meet and ride some of the deserts BLM, (Bureau of Land Management). These seemingly endless roads fade off into the distance and are never paved. We’ll ride The Ruby Mountainsin Nevada, then load the bikes and head to the West coast.

Hal's 1992 BMW is a little more vintage than mine

In Northern California we’ll ride the Kings Range and Sinkyone Wilderness, all part of what folks call the Lost Coast. Gravel and minimum maintenance roads that traverse the coastal mountains and black sand beaches through the magnificent redwoods, from Mendocino to Crescent City. These byways follow ridges and valleys for hundreds of miles.

After a week or so of riding together on the coast, we’ll load up the bikes yet again and head for the Oregon Outback. A sagebrush ocean in the high desert of Southeastern Oregon. We’ll set up camp at Crane Crystal Hot Springs, a place we’ve been together before and I’ve written about in the past. We’ll ride there for a couple of days before Hal heads back to California on his bike and I trailer my bike back across the Rockies for home.

I’ll be gone near a month. This is definitely a trip of a lifetime, and doing it at my age with one of my closest friends makes it a bucket lister.

So I’ll be away from the computer which means away from the blog and Facebook. It will be hard to reestablish a presence after a month of absence, but that’s a price I’ll gladly pay. In the end, I’ll be able to say I did it. I’ll add it to the great resume of life, right along with the many jobs and moves and adventures that I have taken, and I’ll never have to dream about it again.

Please feel free to come here and make yourself at home. Scroll around and check things out. Visit the blogs listed on my sidebar, many have been added over the past few months.

I’ll miss the interaction while I’m away and think of you often. In the meantime, I hope nothing but the best for all of you, my friends, and hope that Peace finds you and embeds itself in your lives.

Peace to All