Saturday, November 22, 2008

Death Valley Sojourn

Adventures of a Harley ChicRider -- Death Valley Sojourn

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

We departed home with our motorcycles loaded to the hilt with touring luggage. We packed everything we needed for one week. It was pouring rain in a torrential fashion. I was covered in rain gear and Paul used a riding gear that was water resistant. Paul went past the bank to make a deposit and then to get gas and then off we went to breakfast at Denny's. Once finished with breakfast we hopped on our motorcycles and headed to the freeway. [From here on out I'll use the term bike for motorcycle. It's less to type.]

We rode in pouring rain past Portland, OR. Just past Portland, OR [in the Woodburn area] Paul's rear wheel bearings went out. We stopped on the freeway and he made a search on his cell phone [the new Google T-Mobile phone] to find the nearest Harley-Davidson Dealership that dealt with Buells. There's one in Tigard, OR, near Portland, OR. A highway worker truck came up to us as we sat on the side of the road. They taxied us to the weigh station just up the road less than a 1/2 mile. We waited there. The H-D guy came with a trailer and loaded both of our bikes and took them and us back to the shop. It was getting dark and it was still pouring rain. We sat in the lounge of the H-D Store and Paul got us some food while we waited for his bike to be fixed. Paul decided it was too cold & wet to ride anymore that night. He booked us a motel room and called our other destination and canceled since we wouldn't be able to make it that night.

Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Early morning:

We had breakfast and got back on the road. It was a bit drizzly for a little while as we rode. As we got past the Redding, CA area the rain let up. [One thing that happened in all this is Paul calling his father in SoCal to let him know what was happening and that the plans had changed for us making it to SoCal at the originally planned date & time. Our plans changed to meeting Paul's father & his group in Beatty, NV Friday night instead of SoCal Thursday night.] We made it as far as Williams, CA and it was again too late & cold to continue. We got a motel room for the night in Williams, CA. We got a bite to eat while there. Upon leaving the eatery there were some little boys admiring us, [One boy said, "Hey, motorcyclists"]. After I had my helmet on I leaned over and let one of the boys touch my mohawk. He was too cute.

Friday, November 14th, 2008
Early morning:

The route was changed to reflect cutting across I-80 in Sacremento, CA and going East through Reno, NV then onto a NV State Hwy South to final destination in Beatty, NV. We went through several moutain ranges and at one point I saw snow alongside the road going through Reno/N. Tahoe. Once getting into Reno, NV Paul decided to stop at the H-D dealership to buy a cramp buster for the throttle on his bike because he put his original on my bike for me to use for cruising speeds to save cramping in my hand. Back on the road again. Once we got through Reno and made the Southbound Hwy turn everything became desert and barren. Every 100 miles or so I needed to get gas. I was so concerned a couple of times that I might run out of gas. There was nothing between gas stops. The gas stops were very far apart. Once it got dark it got very cold; in the mid 40s F degrees. We made it to Tonopah, NV and I was to freezing cold I didn't know if I could walk into the warm building. It took a long time for my body to warm up. We left there and headed to Beatty, NV. Once departing and making it to Beatty, NV to our motel I learned it was less than 95 miles to the Stagecoach Hotel. I collapsed in the bed once getting into the hotel room.

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Mid morning:
We checked out of hotel and met up with some other riders in my father-in-law's group for breakfast. We went inside the Death Valley National Park to do a quick ghost town site seeing before breakfast. It was a that moment Paul realized he was having mechanical issues with his bike. We were headed to Furnace Creek Ranch to have breakfast. Paul decided he was going to have to go another 150 miles to Las Vegas to the H-D dealership there to fix his bike. Suffice it to say I wasn't a happy camper. I only knew one person in that group we were with, my father-in-law. I won't go into details here, but I'm not his number 1 fan! Well, as we all departed for breakfast Paul went his way. All of a sudden he blew up on me [quite fast in fact]. It turned out his bike was fine. So, he rejoined the group and we went to breakfast. After breakfast we hung out for a little bit and checked things out. Then a few of us broke off the main group and went to see another site called "Artist Drive". After we finished there we were to meet up with the rest of the group in "Stovepipe Mills". See this map to view areas of park. From Stovepipe Mills we all headed to our next sleep over location at "Panamint Springs Resort".

Inserted here is a funny situation [funny looking back on it. It wasn't funny at the moment it happened]. Before arriving to Panamint Springs Resort Paul & another rider who happened to be with me and Paul's father, the rest of the group seemed to have gone ahead of us, took off and left me and Paul's father to fin for ourselves. It wasn't like we were crawling like snails either. We were headed West and it was afternoon [The sun was glaring down in our faces]. We had no idea where we were going or what to look for at the destination. Everyone else had arrived and were waiting for us. So, with that said, my father-in-law leading and of course I followed, we came to this spot in the road and the sign on the side of the road was horribly faded, we couldn't tell if it was the right place. With the sun baring down in our eyes we decided we were to cotinue on. Paul saw us pass but thought we stopped because he was getting gas and the others were parked at the next place. Paul pulled to the next place past the gas station and didn't see us. He asked the others if they saw us. Everyone just pointed ahead on the road and said we just kept going. [How stupid was that?!?!?] Needless to say, everyone watched us pass by.

Paul briefly got off his bike and pulled off his packpack and threw it down. He took off after us because he knew we'd be getting low on fuel. He finally caught up with us 20 miles later. I was livid to be honest. I shook my fist at him and called him a choice word that I won't mention here. It was hot/cold. Hot in lower levels and cold in the higher elevations. We got up past 4000 feet. It was cold up there. We got back to our motel in one piece. Paul's dad was really mad. He said he could think of a few choice words to call the two guys leaving us behind like that to fin for ourselves and both of us half blind, add the sun factor in. We finally chilled out and ate our food. I ended up going to bed around 7:30pm or so. I was so wiped out. I just collapsed.

Sunday, November 16th, 2008
Departure day from Death Valley.

Paul, me, Paul's father & one of father-in-law's friends headed Southwest to Ridgecrest, CA for breakfast. We all parted ways after breakfast. Paul's father & his friend headed back home to Ontario, CA. Paul & I headed to Santa Cruz, CA to see Paul's Uncle. While riding and stopping for gas and food we noticed Paul's rear tire was showing the metal cords. It had worn through from the thousands of miles he put on it prior to our trip. We did not make it to Uncle Joseph's place. So, again, we lost time in order for Paul to get a new tire for safety. He found a tire place in Hollister, CA [about an hour outside Santa Cruz]. We ended up spending the night in Los Banos/Santa Nella because of business ours and being Sunday.

Monday, November 17th, 2008
Early morning:
We got up and ate breakfast. Then headed to Hollister, CA to the tire place for Paul's new tire exchange. The owner of the tire place was a fascinating man with interesting stories. He helped pass the time away while Paul's tire was being changed. Finally, we were back on the road around 2:30pm. We finally made it to Uncle Joseph's place around 3:30 or 4pm. He took us around Santa Cruz. It had been more than 35 yrs since I'd been there. It brought back some memories for me. My family loved that beach. It has changed a lot because of the college kids there now. The beach was full of beach volleyballers. The boardwalk was relatively quiet since it was the work week and late in the afternoon. We finally left Santa Cruz at about 6:30pm. We hopped on a main highway and headed North. We made it through a point of rush hour near San Jose, CA. Finally reaching I-5 near Sacramento. We finally made it to our motel in Redding, CA at about 2am. I was simply exhausted and collapsed asleep.

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Early morning:
We left Redding, CA and headed up I-5 North. We reached the Mt. Shasta area. I thoroughly enjoyed riding through there. It was a pretty day and the Mtn was gorgeous. While gasing up we met a guy that chatted up a storm about riding motorcycles and some of his injuries. He ended up giving us some heat pack things to use. We forgot to bring ours. Paul noticed at one point one of his radiator pods was coming lose. He took it apart and put the screw back in. The bracket was stripped and we hoped that the screw would stay in. We reached a place in OR somewhere and got gas and was looking for a place to eat. A gal where we got gas mentioned a place to eat but we couldn't find it. We ended up stopping a bar & grill place. I accidentally misjudged my space as I was trying to turn around for parking and at a low speed ran into Paul's rider's peg and broke it. He was livid. He really reamed me and ripped me a new one over it. He was a bit harsh though because he was putting all the blame on me for all the issues he had with his bike making it seem as if I was the one having ALL the mishaps. It upset me tremendously and made me cry. When he made it sound like everything that had happened to him was my fault, in my tears, I told him I only had that one mishap the entire 2000 miles we'd went so far. He realized he was wrong for his wrath on me and apologized. He switched pegs with a rear one to get him home. We got back on the road and made it as far as Rice Hill, OR and was gasing up when he noticed the radiator pod was loose again. He was so upset. He bought some zip ties to use. However, that wasn't working. A man saw us there and came up to us and inquired about the issue Paul was having. The man was a H-D rider and has his own shop for repairs and the like. He offered to help fix the issue. An idea struck him to use some lock-tight to fix it. He then let us know that he'd be up the street visiting a "friend" at Peggy's Restaurant. Paul was able to use some lock-tight on the screw. We decided to go over to Peggy's Restaurant and have some dinner and thank the guy for his help. We had fun sitting in there. The local people were very neighborly. [At one point during the evening Paul had talked to the H-D dealership in Tigard, OR who fixed his wheel bearing on the first day out on the road. We thought were going to go there to have his bike fixed again. However, they called Paul back and said the sales manager disapproved and said no because they were piecing parts off a bike that they wanted to sell. Also, Paul had to call a co-worker to update them on his situation and that we wouldn't be able to be home in time to be at work on Wednesday.] So, we were not going to Tigard, OR afterall. We ended up staying in Springfield, OR for the night. It was about an hour South of Salem, OR.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Early morning:

We got up and packed up what stuff we had taken from our bike luggage. We ate at Elmer's across the street from the hotel. They have the best strawberry lemonade ever. They blend it in the blender. So, then after breakfast we went back to the hotel and checked out and got back on the road. We only had to stop once in Vancouver, WA to get more gas. We continued North on I-5 until reaching Tacoma, WA [HOME]. We both had chiropractor appointments for this day. However, early in the morning I had called to let them know we couldn't make that time. They told us not to worry. When we got home to call them to see if there was enough time to fit us in for the late afternoon/evening. After we got home we peeled off the layers, I had about 5 layers on. I changed into something warm. They layers had cold settled in them and weren't keeping me warm anymore. So, we greeted Misa, our puppy, and put her leash/lead halter on and took her with us to the chiropractor. She loves riding in the car. Paul had talked to the Lynnwood, WA H-D dealership about the peg that got broken. They had one in stock. So, we went there after the chiropractor. It was almost closing time. We barely made it. Paul also saw a tank protector he decided to buy as well. We then chit chatted with a couple of the sales guys. They thought it was pretty cool and awesome that we'd just got home and came to the shop already. Haha. We then went to one of our favorite Eastern Indian restaurants in the U-District of Seattle, Bombay Grill, for dinner. Check them out sometime. Their food is awesome. Then back home. We pretty much collapsed into bed we were so exhausted.

Pictures of the trip. Video is forthcoming. It needs some editing.