Greater than 10 tons at 80MPH
353 miles - estimated 7:54 hours
7:50AM. I still have a little time but I'm going to run late if I
don't get myself out of the house. I still have to pay my bills,
shower, and get some cash from the ATM. Bills done. Shower
taken. Now it's just a matter of running over to the ATM kiosk
and take out some money. Onto the 210 East I go. I'm sure I
forget anything this time around. The last trip, Central Coast, has me
easily prepared. One thing is for sure, the bike feels a tad
funny. All the
weight I'm carrying has shifter the center of gravity more towards the
height of the gas tank. The bike has a tendency to easily tip on
turns. It's a bit of getting use to but it's not a problem.
We are to meet at the Denny in Azusa off of the Irwindale and Camino de
la Cantera at 8:30AM to
start off the trip with a good breakfast. I'm a little late,
but it's better than a "Bail"/MIA. It's good to see the remaining
people who said they're going are able to make it. I, of course,
know that I wouldn't miss it for the world. As for the
Captain, he was starting to doubt his Navigator. He was so
paranoid from the Sergeant bailing out that he logged onto the forum
and check to see if I had mad mention of bailing also. He even
me to see if I'm bailing when he didn't see me at 8:30AM. Doubt
in his mind? I think so, but I don't
blame him when two additional people that were suppose to go, bailed
out at the last minute. With the three amigos together be licked
things off with a
good hot breakfast.
What else do you think we're talking about for the next 1 1/2
hours. Every minute of the conversation seems to be focused on
the Sergeant bailing out at the last
minute. Oh well, what is done is done. We finished up,
the waiter (who passed us the wrong check initially), and then headed
10:10AM, we're heading out.
Heading out on the 210 East, things are going well. Nu has
recently acquired the F650GS from the Sergeant who had purchased the
new F800ST. Funny thing is,
the F650GS was my first bike. It has come back into my
relatively speaking. I welcome the bike with open arms and I'm
glad to see Nu putting it to good use. Nu and I had spend a good
part of the previous week prepping the bike for this trip. We got
bike a brand new stock seat, and put on a 43 teeth rear sprocket.
The smaller sprocket makes the 650GS a little slower on the
acceleration, but it's top end is much better and smoother. It
also makes the bike have crazy mileage. In the 75+ MPG. So
good. Nu is able to stay up with us at freeway speeds and not
fall too far behind. We take the carpool lane out the majority of
the way on the 210 freeway.
15 freeway ramp. We look around and what do we see, cars and low
flying living rooms expending much effort to go around a milk
truck as it also takes the ramp to go north on the 15 freeway.
Gas prices aren't what they use to be and these people are still burn
it like they're driving an alcohol funny car. Amazing. As
for us, we stay
behind the truck until it's time to
merge onto the 15 freeway. Eventually we catch up and pass the
At last, our journey begins. All this freeway riding is just a
means for us to get out of town and start our trek. We exit the
15 freeway and get
onto the 18-Happy Trails HWY.
Several miles into the HWY riding, the Captain screams at me, while
for the light to turn green, "Let's get some ice and cold
drinks." "Sure." We'll definitely need it for
today's ride. We turn left onto Apple Valley road and stop at a
Valero gas station. 2 bags of hot fries, 2 bottles of Coke, 2
bottles of Gatorade, 1 Berry Propel, 1 Sobe Pina Colada, and 10 lbs
of ice. Guess what? It all fits into the REI cooler
sitting on the R12R's pillion. While we're standing here
a girl from the gas station attempted to convince us to let her demo a
wash and wax product on our bike. That's alright, we're not
suppose to apply
waxes to our bike's finish.
With drinks in the cooler and a nice big bag of ice to keep it all
we're off and running again. It's the rocks I tell you.
Just looking at the formations while we're scooting along the HWY, it's
sure proof that this use to be at the bottom of the an ocean or
sea. There are signs of erosion
reminiscent of lapping water rounding out rock's at a shore.
Since we're so slow in cruising around, cars were pilling up behind
us. We pulled over to let them pass. Eventually just pull
over to take a restroom break.
A quick break at Pioneer Park in
Nu thinks he's ducking down and going
really fast. I hope he realizes he's just on the kickstand.
The 18 HWY turns into the 247 HWY. Everything is starting to
look the same. In other words, typical desert riding. We
get a bit of a reprieve from the
monotony when we approach Yucca Valley. Now here's something to
ponder. As we make our way through the out skirts of Yucca Valley
can't help but notice the plethora of Joshua trees in this
region. When I say "plethora" I'm really referring to a forest of
Joshua trees. I even dare say the count is greater than what was
seen in Joshua Tree National Park. The Captain and I should have
just went here to look at Joshua trees instead of riding through Joshua
Tree National Park. One thing is for sure, it would definitely be
less crowded than JTNP.
It's pass 1PM. From all the drinking I've been doing to hydrate
myself, I don't feel hungry at all. Being a former mountain
biker, I know this condition can be
dangerous as it's a false sense of fulfillment. I can very easily
bonk if I'm not careful. For those that don't know what the term
or Bonking means, check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycling_terminology
Since we've been around these parts (e.g Joshua Tree ride this last
we might as well visit the fine Mexican food restaurant at the north
west gate of Joshua Tree National Park. Oh yeah. Fish tacos
for me, Chilly Verde for Nu, and a shrimp platter for the
Captain. As like before, the food is good. A simple lunch.
Palms Marine Corp base. We see an unmarked military bus
ahead of us. He's hauling butt alright. Eventually he
turns left. He must heading into base. As for us, we tour
downtown Twentynine Palms. The Captain says, "let's get some
fuel." One gas station, another
gas station. Nothing to our liking is appearing on the
horizon. I pull into a Beacon gas station thinking that Beacon
should be sufficient. The Captain rejects
the station. "Hm... why? what? Oh whatever." was my
thought. I just hope he is able to handle the ride through Amboy
and still have enough fuel to get to a gas station near the 40
freeway. I remember when he use to question Valero as a reputable
gas station. I just hope the other two can handle the
distance. I know the R12R can.
We're about less than 1 mile out from where we make a left turn to head
to Amboy. Amboy road, it's regular enough. Like most other
desert roads, it's straight as an arrow. That is until we take a
dog leg left and ride in the saddle between two mountain ranges.
It's starts off slowly, but eventually gradually twists and turn to
descend down to the next valley below. It took me a while to snap
out of the straight and mundane straight roads. I eventually did
and appreciated this little section of road.
We pass numerous Hummers on our way to the town of Amboy. They
must we performing exercises close to the Twentynine Palms base.
I wave hello but they don't acknowledge. Eventually we reach a
section of road where it appears to be a salt flat. We later
discover it's salt mine's harvest field. I've seen plenty of
these fields, and have never set foot on one. I know the speed
seeking people out there use salt flats as their playground. I've
often wondered why they've decided to do such activities on salt
flats. Once and for all, I have to see for myself what all the
hubbub is about. We stop. The salt looks soft enough but
when I jump on it, it's like concrete. You can tell me I'm
blissfully naive, and you're right, but I don't normally have
opportunities to set feet on salt flats. Being an ex-farm boy, I
only get to push dirt around, and toss fertilizer here and there.
This is pretty cool. This also explains why the salt flats are
chosen to set land speed records. When I set my boot firmly on
the salt and try to push it around, it doesn't move. Rock
solid. Pretty cool stuff.
Looks can be pretty deceiving. It's not as soft that the eyes
lead you to believe.
Today is warm, but when we're moving, it's not too bad. We get
into Amboy and discover the restoration process has been going
well. Since the last visit, about 6 months ago, they now have one
functioning gas pump. You can purchase either regular or
premium. Of course, at the price of a little over $5 for fuel,
the Captain turns down this purchase also. However, we get to
check out the film crew trying to shoot a scene for some disaster
movie. They setup this scaled down power pole for some pyros
later tonight. We could hang around to check out the scenes, but
we would totally miss the rest of the ride. Still, it's a cool
"Take a picture of me to show the scale of the model," the
We push on without fueling. After 20-30 miles, the music breaks
and Nu comes on the radio, "How much further do we have to go until the
next gas station? My trip Odo is showing 146 miles completed
already." "OK, from what I can tell, we only need to travel
another 30 miles to the next gas station." That said, I start
looking out for the nearest gas station. We could have turned
west on the 40 freeway to reach a gas station, but elected to stay on
Route 66 because we saw a gas station on our route. Suspiciously,
the gas station doesn't have any postings of the gas prices. We
didn't see the price until we pulled up to the pump. That's when
it hit us.
You go it! $6 for one gallon of premium.
Regular faired no better at $5.60 per gallon.
Nu lucked out with only needing 2.4 gallons. That is the beauty of the
I paid $20 and filled my bike up with 3.33 gallons.
The Popsicles sucking Captain put in 3.6 gallons.
Despite the requirement to hand over the deed to the farm to fuel up,
we did it nonetheless. Fortunately for us, we're not cars and
don't need crazy amounts like 13 or 15 gallons of this crazy
fuel. $78 and $90 for the tank? That's messed up.
A quick break and we're back on Route 66. As we pull out of this
wonderful gas station, I can't help but think, "Suckers! more victims."
to the big trucks with boats in tow pulling in to fuel up. They
must be speeding in excess of $300 to fuel up their truck and
boat. I don't know about those people but I don't want to spend
any more than I have to for mobility. Having a monster truck is
definitely not in my equation. As we continue on Route 66, we get
passed by a brand new, no license plate, big truck. Once again
people are driving like fuel prices don't effect them. I don't
get it, but then again I'm probably not suppose to get it. What's
better is the fact this guy burns all this fuel so that he can wait at
a train crossing. The tracks are filled with box cars and
the only way to get to a bypass is to double back 20+ miles and take
the 40 freeway. I pose the question, as the three of us are
sitting on our bikes in the heat waiting for the train to move, "Do we
want to double back and take the 40 freeway?" To which the
Captain says, "By the time we turn around, the train will probably be
gone." Why would anybody want to doubt the wisdom of the
Captain. Sure enough, several minutes after the question was
asked, we hear metal to metal grinding. The train is
moving. The crossing clears and we continue on. Yup, the
truck driver is as much of a jerk as before.
Boring and as vibee as hell. I expected the 95 HWY to be straight
but I didn't expected it to be this boring. Then again, it's
desert riding. What do you expect. Right? Right.
We're going uphill, and into the wind. This is the worst possible
scenario for the R12R. Why? Because the windshield is
mounted to the handlebars, it generates excessive vibration on the
handlebar due to the turbulence. As a result, my throttle hand
goes numb. Additionally, our shadows are getting extremely
long. With the hand up to the sun estimate, we have about 1 1/2
hours until sundown. At this rate, we're going to be setting up
camp in the dark. Still we make yet another stop. The stops
are starting to be more frequent because we're getting more and more
fatigued. We pull into Terrible's Casino in Searchlight for a
drink and a breather.
Freakin' Nu is showing off his dentures again.
While we're standing in the parking lot sucking down some drinks, a guy
with his custom chopper pull up next
to Nu. "Greetings..." I'm normally not interested in
choppers but this is pretty cool one. "Nice bike!" We chat
bit and made joke about crazy people on the road and then he takes off
to rest for his ride back to Arizona the next day. We stall for a
little while longer then
get back on the road to finish off the day's ride. We have
a good 60+ miles left.
Typical. We get back on the road and end up stuck behind an 18
wheeler. It's a moving truck with all kind of goodies strapped to
the back. I want to pass the truck once we get to an open section
of the HWY, for safety reasons, but what I'm about to see and
experience has me saying, "Oh my god, run away!" He's in the fast
lane. I look down at my speedometer and see 75 MPH. That's
nuts! A vehicle that weighs over 10 tons is moving at the speed
of a passenger vehicle. Not only that he also weaves in and out
of the slow and fast lane. We're doing 75 and we're barely able
to keep up with this guy. I don't want to be behind him if he
crashes. Who knows what he will throw in our direction.
Once a window of opportunity appears, we go for it. At 80 MPH,
we're barely passing him. I swear I was a desert tortoise making
a mad dash to a juicy cactus bloom. I had enough. I push it
up to 90 MPH and squeeze by. We change to the slow lane and drop
back down to 75 MPH. Holy cow! He's catching up. We
increase speed to 80 MPH and we're barely able to stay in front of
him. For once in my life I find myself agreeing with one of the
California's state laws. I wish other state would adopt the same
speed requirements for 18 wheelers (e.g. 55 MPH max speed limits on
highways and freeways). The amount of energy a greater than 10
ton truck can really devastate anything that comes into its path.
If this moving truck jackknifes, it's going to explode and frag
What is worse is we have to fight wind gusts also. Insult to
injury. Even what looks to be a 400+cc enduro books it and pass
us. He on off-road tires. This guy is nuts too. I
understand that Nevada is the state of independence but geez.
Does everybody have to be so insane when they drive?
I never thought I'd be so happy to see the Highway Patrol, but I
am. When everybody sees the flashing red and blue lights from a
car receiving a special gift on the side of the road, all chaos turns
order. Speeds are moderated and the big rig, that was threatening
to flatten us, finally falls back and stay in line. Amazing.
Boulder, Nevada. All we see are fast food restaurants on this
stretch of road. We pull into a Panda Express for dinner.
This is plenty fine as it's getting late.
The campsite is not that far now. It's about 8 miles out.
In the pitch dark, I follow the GPS's instructions to get to the
campsite. If I try to do this visually, we would be going around
in circles for quite some time. At last, the Lake Mead park
entrance. It's so late that no park rangers are at the
scoot right on in to search for the campsite. Unfortunately for
me, the GPS doesn't have this campsite on the map. We have to do
a bit of Zen driving to find it. Sure enough, we're not too far
off. All three of us are parked on the side of the road
reading about the camping fees. I fill out the form and find out
we need to write down the campsite number. Since Nu has the
intercom and radio, I asked him and the Captain to go ahead and find a
campsite then radio to me what the site number is. I write it
down, put the $10 in the envelope, and drop the payment into the park
fees box. As I get ready to go meet the others at the campsite, I
realize I had forgotten my gloves behind me on top of the cooler.
I didn't want to drop the gloves and have to find it in the dark
later. With the kickstand up, I turn around to grab my
gloves. This twisting motion of my body causes the bike to lean
left. Since the kickstand is up, the bike started leaning further
and further until, "Oh screw you", it went down for the count.
Being fatigued, I refused to save the bike from it's fall. I know
I would strain myself. I
hopped off and looked at it lying there thumping away. I hit the
engine kill switch to shut off the bike. There you have it, after
a year and a half of clean biking fun, I finally drop my bike.
Yup, nobody is immune to such activities. If you have two wheels,
you're going to eventually drop your bike. I laugh about it and
then radioed to Nu for assistance to pick up this monster.
He comes over, we both push it up and got on our way. Man it's
dark. I get to the campsite, position my bike and this time, made
sure the kickstand is down.
It took us about 45 minutes to setup camp. Afterwards, we each go
do our cleanup and relax a bit before calling it a night.
Cottonwood Cove ... are you sure? - Day 2
Should have used Coolvest yesterday - Day 3
Written on: June 2, 2008
Last modified: June 22, 2008