LOOK HERE FIRST!!!!
Ralph (AKA Trawlercat)Trawlercat@gmail.com
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Woke up this morning humming; “I’ve been through the desert on a Honda with no name” Lala lalalala, as I struggled with my heavy winter underwear before donning the rest of my riding gear. Surprise. At 7:00 a.m. our morning temperature – 62 degrees. A quick fill up and I felt myself swapping cold weather gloves. Our motorcycle meetup group this Sunday met in Yucaipa, CA for a ride out to Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree is a National park that at first glance may not seem to offer much for a visit. Wrong. This park sits between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in Southern California. Winter is when the park comes alive with people. Our small group came to ride the roads, explore a little and feel the crisp clear mountain air. Only two roads run through the park – Park Boulevard and Pinto Basin road.
Park Boulevard is at about 3,000 feet of elevation and runs through the Mojave desert. Strange rock formations and thousands of Joshua trees are the norm. When I say rock formations, think big – rocks as tall as six-story buildings. Rocks that you easily see people suspended by ropes. What we learned at one of our stops (Skull Rock) for a photo-op is that these rocks are regularly climbed from rock climbers from around the world – and now (winter) is the season.
Pinto Basin road passes through the Sonoran desert part of the park. Here you have lower elevations, hotter temperatures and plenty of wide open spaces. Once again, we did not come for the rock climbing or the hiking or the backpacking but, for the roads and scenery. The air was a cool 60’s degrees, the visibility possibly 100%, picture perfect.
Joshua tree is about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, 160 miles SW of Vegas and 12 miles NE or Palm Springs. Highway 10 that takes you from coast to coast is the parks southern border. Highway 62, aka 29 Palms Highway is the parks northern border. Three towns are nearby, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and twenty-nine Palms.
There are three main entrances to the park, West Entrance reached from Joshua Tree off Park Boulevard. North entrance reached from twenty-nine Palms off Utah Trail; and South Entrance reached from Cottonwoods Springs road off Highway 10. Three other destinations in the park are reached by separate roads; Black rock, Covington Flats and Indian Cove.
Our first stop after our initial meet and greet at the Yucaipa Chevron. The next stop at JB Country Kitchen (61768 twenty-nine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree CA. The food and service were great. Six riders – four Harleys and two Hondas. Thank you Raul for planning ahead and making reservations plus using your park passes to get us all into the park. As we approached the park entrance, a string of cars is all we saw. A few minutes later a park ranger made his way to us and escorted us around the cars. Us two Honda guys holding up the rear joked that the ranger probably didn’t want the harleys overheating on his watch or dripping oil all over his road.
Everything planned was accomplished except for the date milk shakes and getting some illegal drone footage of the group.
Did you know that there are about 250 abandoned mines in the park many of which contain open shafts. There are also nine campgrounds in the park. Possible future moto-camping opportunity.
Since the 10 freeway was backed up as far as the eye could see the group opted for a back roads detour that led us towards Desert Hot Springs. Here the group stopped for a lunch of hamburgers. All Star Burgers – 70065 Dillon Road, Desert Hot Springs, CA
The infamous Joshua Tree – to the Mormons passing through the area in 1851 the tree resembled the prophet Joshua pointing them to their promised land. This strange looking tree is known to grow up to 30 feet tall and one around 10 feet tall is said to be around 200 years old.
And if I would’ve just remembered my camera you would see some amazing desert scenery and boulder like rocks. Next time. And then there was the lane splitting. For me a record 9 miles. Once we dropped down highway 62 and onto the 10 freeway, it was nearly a parking lot. Since it was every man for himself once the group broke apart I started lane splitting until I came upon Raul. In a short period of time he yielded over to me to take over and then he started following. His headlight grew farther and farther away as I kept making good time honking and lane splitting. About five to seven miles up I come upon two other motorcycle riders who allow me to relax a little. Two miles later they yield the lead to me and I soldier on. Traffic then started moving near the start of the 60 freeway. Then it was all down hill. I exited the 15 freeway and as I got off, a few minutes before 5:00 p.m., the gps suddenly went to night mode, and then it was nightfall. What a ride: 275 miles since 7:00 a.m. around $20 in premium fuel; $20 for a burger and coffee for breakfast and around $10 for a lunch hamburger.
Great riding. Great conversation. Great meeting new friends. La la lalalalala. Lala. “It felt good to be out of the rain” “In the desert you can remember your name, for there ain’t no one for to give you no pain. La la. (A Horse with No Name Lyrics from my youth)
The Western Flyer and Yukon Jeep expedition is now history. The story below has some great pictures.
The Western Flyer YTD 2014
As 2014 came to a close, and while watching, count’em three, three grand children; I quickly wrote down a short list of what the Western Flyer taught us. What it taught US is probably way different from what it taught ME. For starters, trying to write, even a short story with interruptions is extremely hard work – add to that trying to single finger type on an Iphone or Android tablet with the same story started and not finished or saved in either the family computer, the android or Iphone and ….. you get the point.
Sorry for the initial automatic posting on Facebook before this story was completed – in my defense, instead of finding on my tiny , tiny screen (save draft) I accidentally hit (publish).
This initial post started out simply with a list like for example; what have we learned; our…
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I’ve gone for a while now without writing much. For now I can thank my first motorcycle ride to Mexico on my Honda Africa twin for the new inspiration. With our boat sold and new found love of Adventure bike riding plus recent new purchase of a Phantom 3 drone – stay tuned, more to follow.
Subject: A thousand-words
Some how I just can’t seem to write a story without taking a picture or two for the motivation, or should I now call it – the inspiration. Looking at a picture saves me a thousand words, don’t you think. So,……… . I propose to you.
“Is a picture really worth a thousand words? What thousand words? A thousand words from a lunatic, or a thousand words from Nietzsche? Actually, Nietzsche was a lunatic, but you see my point. What about a thousand words from a rambler vs. 500 words from Mark Twain?
He could say the same thing quicker and with more force than almost any other writer. One thousand words from Ginsberg are not even worth one from Wilde. It’s wild to declare the equivalency of any picture with any army of 1,000 words. Words from a writer like Wordsworth make you appreciate what words…
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Dog lovers may enjoy this story. Also, at the Los Angeles Adventurers Club I once shared a speaking engagement with Lynn & Larry Pardee and Dave Clark, both round the world navigators. I copied the story of how he lost his dog at sea. Read on.
Every morning Lucy dog gets to decide when it’s time to go out for morning exercise by casually tossing a ball at one of us. That’s what starts the chain of events that leads to her morning exercise ritual. With her morning ritual complete Lucy and I end up at the Western Flyer. Before the morning heat kicked full in I decide to hose off the entire boats bilge area from bow to stern using lots of boat soap and water.
Glad to report that she now smells less like a stink pot (derogatory word for power boaters by sailors) and more like a condo on the water.
And now I was not only hot but completely wet but, it felt real good. Me being one to want to pass that feel good feeling off to dog I quickly considered throwing her overboard. Then I found item (13) on my…
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Earlier this morning (11/17/2018) I shared on FaceBook that the two people to my right were experiencing the best times in a boaters life. 1) When you sell a boat; 2) when you buy a boat. At the request of the friend who bought the Western Flyer and renamed it; I was asked to go over the boats system with the new owner and to also move it to a new slip in Huntington Harbour.
On retirement and hiking. February 2018 marks my 8th retirement year so obviously allot has changed since writing this story. We sit in a new home, in a different city, the Western Flyer sold last year and thru-hiking the PCT is history. For 2019 my plans are to hike the Camino de Santiago (Spain) starting at the border of France.
It’s been almost three years now so, what has retirement taught me so far, if anything and what if anything can I share or relate to others possibly NOT so content in their retirement years or those close to retirement?
MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t not only go into retirement with a Plan A but a Plan B and possibly even C. Life tends to continue to throw curves at you – even at retirement.
If we were now playing the “what if” game then several months after retirement could’ve easily been my last. Attempting a thru hike of the PCT, on the heaviest of snow years may have resulted in a slip, a fall, frostbite, hypothermia, dehyration, eaten by wolves, mountain lion, or even drowned.
“Long distance hiking is not a vacation, it’s too long for that. It’s not recreation, too much toil and pain involved. It is, we decide, a…
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Within a few days (11/17/2018) Lucy turns 7 and she still weighs 80 pounds. Good job to Patti Mama.
Lucy and now departed mama Jessie
A young Lucy on a road trip across the USA – here she bit off my road trip mascot that was firmly mounted on the rear view mirror
Trump golf course – California
Dog Beach – Huntington Beach, CA
Lucy swimming – finding a (big) stick so I can throw it.
Lucy shaking it off but leading the trail!
Three years old and still weighs pretty close to 80 pounds.