September 2003, Harley Davidson Dyna Lowrider centenary edition collected from
Route 66 Riders of Marina del Rey, Los Angeles. Biggest thing I've ridden, but
very gentle to ride.
Follow Hwy 1 north out of LA, passing many familiar names from music and films. Freeway swiftly changes to 2 lane coast road, sometimes down at ocean level, others high up, looking down cliffs. Stop near Ventura and watch a pod of dolphins slowly cruising the shore. Shortly after, a lone man stands playing french horn at the roadside.
Gentle run to Santa Barbara.
9th, Ride north through farmland and along coast. Getting some biker waves now. Few RV parks and beaches devoted to driving large vehicles on. Morro Bay, watch sea otter cracking abalone on back, and few sea lions playing. On up to San Simeon and Hearst Castle.
10th, Leave San Simeon in sea mist, fine riding through Rugged Point, Gorda, Nepenthe, Lucia. Smells of fennel and eucalyptus. Walk through Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park. Over Bixby bridge, Point Lobos reserve for some more walking trails and on to Pacific Grove.
11th, Leave TV reading roll call of dead
from 911. Low rise older timber town onto freeway for a while, through artichoke
country, to Santa Cruz and world's first or smallest surfing museum.
Pigeon Point lighthouse currently closed, as bits dropping off. Through pumpkin country to Half Moon Bay, then bigger, faster to roads to San Francisco. Take sunset cruise round bay and under bridge.
12th, Johnny Cash dead. North into Marin County, Muir beach, Stinson, Point Reyes, Tomales to Bodega bay. Take a tour round marine biology research institute. The perfect place to be doing the job that I once wanted to do. Turn east, inland, through Forestville to Sebastopol.
13th, Through Santa Rosa, Calistoga. Walk through petrified forest and visit Old Faithful geyser. Seems there is more than one. Down Napa valley, past Lake Berryessa then onto freeways through Sacramento. Hot and numb. Slower freeway to Placerville, old mining town.
14th, Climb through Sierra Nevada, up to Lake Tahoe and cross into Nevada, when town turns bigger, pumped up by gambling. Through Carson City, detour up through Virgina City and then long empty road to Fallon.
15th, Quickly into scrub of Great Basin. Long, straight and very empty road. Stop at some petroglyphs and at the loneliest phone. Very fast and very peaceful. Distant dust devils twist around. Through Austin, cross Smoke valley, smelling witch hazel. Good speed with following wind through Eureka to Ely.
16th, More long empty desert road, now headed south on 93, through Pioche, stop at Cathedral Gorge, through Caliente, Ash Springs and Alamo, before Las Vegas appears in distance. Looms up over about 25 miles. Ride south down the Strip and check in to Luxor. So weird, especially after last few days. Serves to put off any temptation to gamble, eat drink or smoke copiously or be surrounded by topless women.
17th, Fly to Grand Canyon, western rim in Hualapai country. Walk, boggle. Fly back to Vegas then ride south to Boulder.
18th, South across Hoover dam and into Arizona. Visit Chloride and on to Kingman. Take 66 east for a bit to Hackberry, then west through Oatman, then 95 south to Lake Havasu City. Stroll to London Bridge.
19th, South, over Parker dam and back into California, then pick up 66 very straight but uppy downy through Mojave. Through various abandoned bits, Amboy, Ludlow, Newberry Springs, (late lunch at Bagdad Cafe) Daggett to Barstow.
20th, Bits of 66 southish, Lenwood, Helenwood, Victorville, Cajon pass then into sprawl of LA. Long haul until start to smell ocean again at Santa Monica
21st, Ride around LA a bit, cruise Venice
beach, Santa Monica. Return bike 2302 miles older, with large collection of dead
A good bend well taken. Riding in reliably perfect weather. Most of the coast road up California, desert roads across Nevada and Arizona. Ghost towns.
Finding veggie tolerant eating. Hitting large bugs at high speed.
Took too much gear (inevitably). Thicker waterproof gloves and leather trousers never needed. Most locals are riding similar bikes in shorts, vest and the tiniest possible lid.
This is really easy. Accommodation is easy to find and cheap. The roads are mostly excellent.
Felt really strange to get back on my own bike. So high, so quiet. Completely different riding position.