Everybody is bailin'...
[Saturday - March 1, 2008]
I look at the clock and it shows 7:53AM. I'm late getting out to
my driveway to meet up with others that are going on today's
ride. As it is, the Sergeant and N2 has just called to cancel
their rides. They are suppose to be the other
two long haulers, but it's not the case for today. Mr. Speedy has
also dialed in and prompted regarding whether the ride is
still on because the road around his neighborhood is extremely
wet. I told him it's still on and I'm expecting the weather to
lighten up as the day progresses. Admittedly, all these questions
and cancellations has me doubting the situation. Still I dawn
the last piece of bike gear and rolled the 12R out of the
garage while simultaneously cranking over the engine. I travel
the several hundred feet to reach the mouth of the cave. I
check the clock again. It's a little after 8, and still no sign
of the others. With a sense of abandonment I call up the Captain
to see if he's going to change his mind like the others. If he
decides not to go, because of wet road conditions, the trip is over
before it even begins. He answers the phone and I give him the
run down. He later told me that he thought I was on the verge of
bailing out. No way! On the contrary, I was checking with
him to see what he wants to do. As for me, I want to go
regardless of wet conditions or not. This is the entire reason
why I have been ride in the rain ever since I started
motorcycling. My definition of rain is being soaked in two
seconds flat from just standing around. In other words, monsoon
type rain. In the end
neither of us want to bail. Instead, we were determine to go come
hell or high water. A good couple of laughs and I'm set to see
the Captain at 8:30AM at his place.
Not too long after talking to the Captain, I'm growing tired of
waiting. I decided to call Mike to see about his situation.
He answers and said he will be here in 5
minutes. He is in the middle of putting his boots on.
Several minutes after I hang up with Mike, I can hear
Kevin's bike approaching. At last, the people that are suppose to
be here are here. A little late but better late than waiting some
more. Not remembering exactly where my driveway is, Kevin almost
over shot the entrance. He did a quick hand full of breaking and
received a small bit of sliding excitement. It seems the road is
wet enough for him to break traction. No matter, nothing became
of it. Minutes later, Mike shows up. Of course the question
is, "So is Russell going to be at Minh's place?" "Yes, he's
suppose to meet us there." I give Kev and Mike a heads up that
I'm going to take it easy on the speed because of the wet
conditions. With that we leave my place behind. On the way
out I remind Kev and Mike to avoid painted stripes when possible as
it's normally silly slick when wet.
About 15 minutes later, we arrive at the Captain's place. Mr.
Speedy is nowhere to be seen but I know he's on his way. The good
news is, Minh's place is absolutely dry. That's a nice sign of
possible things to come. We all talk a bit until Minh got the
bright idea of showing off his radio control helicopter. To say
the least, we all eagerly run away from it. I like to keep all
parts of me intact please. Especially my face and eyes. Not
too long after the air show begins, Russell shows up. At one
point I thought the helicopter was going to do a kamikaze run at
Russell. Fortunately for us, Minh goes for elevation and spare
Russell's R1. Russell got a bit lost so he is a bit
delayed. That's OK, Minh's doing a smashing job of keeping us
entertained and scared senseless.
When Russ asked Minh about using his restroom, Minh said, "Go ahead"
and continued his flying demonstration. This is funnier than
hell. I don't think Russ knows where the restroom is. So I
went into the house and found the restroom for Russ. When I got
back out, Minh had crashed and destroyed another set of his
propeller. He is even missing his tail section. Minh claims
he doesn't need it to fly. Hm... yeah. I have to be
scared. Fortunately for him it only cost $5 for 5 or 6 sets of
propellers. I think Minh should stick to motorcycling.
Plugs in, helmets on, and we're off to fuel up and start our journey.
10, 71, 91, and then the 15 freeway. I occasionally check the
temperature. What do I see? It's 55 degrees and
overcast. Another way to describe this, "It's freaking
cold!" We stayed on the 15 freeway until it meets up with the 79
highway. There were cops everywhere dishing out tickets to
inattentive drivers that insist on extreme speeds to get to where
they're going. At one point we even had a sheriff sneak up from
behind us trying to give the pack a set of lovely State of California
"you owe me" accompanied with our John Hancock. Fortunately for
us we're doing 75 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. Sorry buddy, today is
your unlucky day because us geezers refuse to ride like
The 79 highway rolls off onto Pechanga Parkway. We swing right
and keep going. Pechanga Parkway gives way to Pala Temecula
road. This is beautiful country. I should have taped this
section of the ride. Then again, we didn't quite stop long enough
at any one section for me to pull out the POV.1 record to activate
it. If asked to ride to the Pala casino again via the Pala
Temecula road, there would be no hesitation.
The Pala casino. How cool can this be? There
are large motorcycles parking spaces and it's only about 10 yards away
from the entrance. You can't help but be spoiled to be a
motorcyclist when casinos, parking garages, etc. give you this type of
preferential treatment. As predicted, we have reach our
around 10:30-10:45AM. It's taking us a bit to lock up and put
things away. By 10:50+,
we're entering the casino. Any thoughts about gambling is over
shadowed by our immediate needs, brunch. None of us has eaten
anything this morning so we're all famished. On top of that, the
food smells really good.
"I don't know where you put all that stuff!" puntuated Russ.
After just one plate of breakfast munchies, Russell is pretty much
full. As for me, Kev and Mike, we all went for seconds. I
started off with lunch and then went back for breakfast. What can
say, I have to have my share of powdered eggs. To finish it all
off, a Creme Brulee. So far the Pala casino has the best Creme
have ever eaten. The consistency is similar to a Flan but much
softer. Other places I have tried a Creme Brulee met with
disappointment. Their version of a Creme Brulee was akin to
thickened sweetened milk. You call that a Creme Brulee?
That's not how it's suppose to be! I later caught Russ with a
plate full of
fruit. I couldn't help myself and had to shoot the same
question back at him, "Where do you put all that stuff Russ?" I
got a good
smile out of Russ. We finished our buffet and went outside to let
it all settle a
bit. It's overcast but it is still a pleasant day. The
probability of us heading down to Pala again for some more good eats is
very likely. At $13 per
person, it not such a bad deal.
Mr. Speedy one eyed pirate.
Some of us gamble a little, and have nothing to show as a reward for
As usual the house sucks up everything it can take. What else do
you expect? It's a casino after all. Now that gambler's
fever out of our system, it's time to continue the
ride. For us long haulers, Minh and myself, it's getting
late. After all we're trying to make it out to the Salton Sea to
have a glimpse of the scenery. It's around 2:00PM by the time we
headed out to fuel and continue on. For Mr. Speedy, Kev, and Mike
this is the end of the trip. They're heading back home to take
care of their commitments. I later found out that their journey
back wasn't all easy and clear. They
ended up riding in the rain and traffic jams. So much for the
forecast. It's a good thing they managed OK and survived it all.
As for the Captain and myself, we have another 140+ miles to go to get
to our destination. It would be nice and fast if it was freeway
riding, but there are no freeways in sight. That's just how we
it. Since this is unknown territory for use, neither of us know
what to expect. Google satellite maps is one thing. Being
the road and really riding it is another. The 76 highway ride was
much uneventful until one point where I spot a Cat sitting on the
side of the road. My initial thought was, "looks like some
construction work is being done around here." I should have taken
this as a clue and backed off on the agression. Instead I keep on
truckin'. Up ahead is a nice sharp right turn as part of a series
of switchbacks. Doing my usual thing, I crank the bike over and
start leaning a bit. All of a sudden I notice my rear wants to
slide out. Uh hu, there's some sand and dirt in the road. I
immediately stand the bike up to prevent any possibility of a low
side. I really didn't have much to worry about because the Conti
Road Attack was doing its job excellently. The reaction is merely
a matter of
be being instantaneously cautious. No problem, everything is fine
and I keep on going.
By the time we get to Lake Henshaw, the sun is out. It's so nice
to see blue sky again. Minh and I noticed something really funny
as we reached the three way
corner of the 76 and the 79 highway. There is a sign at the
opposite side of the 79 highway saying, "Bikers welcome!!!"
Funny. As a matter of fact, we've been waving at a fair amount of
bikers as we head towards the Salton Sea. For the most part
they're Harleys, but they're generally nice enough an give us the
"Peace" sign as we pass in opposing directions. We even encounter
a set of sport bikers as we ready ourselve to turn right onto the 79
While on the section of the freeway where the 79 and the 78 freeway are
merged into one, I noticed something about me. I'm falling
asleep. I should have taken up the waitress' offer for coffee
back in the Pala casino. Now that I know my attention span is
shorten, I know well enough to stay extra alert so I don't do anything
stupid. I signal to Minh about getting something to drink and he
acknowledged. I pass one spot, then another. I could have
stopped but they weren't real coffee shops. I don't like
drinking 5 hour old sock water. Eventually we reach the town of
Julian. It's a nice little place. It looks somewhat
European in style. Perhaps a small village in France, England, or
maybe even Germany. Of course the rolling green landscape helps
the imagination quite a bit.
We down our coffee and things perked up quite well. We continue
on the 79/78 highway until the 79 highway broke away from us and headed
south. We continued on the 78 heading towards the Anza-Borrego
Desert State Park. Words can't describe it. Videos and
pictures will. The mountains that we are trying to leave behind
me of the Arizona ride we did late last year. It is reminiscent
of us leaving Prescott heading down the mountain towards
Wickenburg. The foliage is not the same but the road was winding
in a similar fashion. I was in seventh heaven going towards
eighth and ninth heaven. I wanted to ride back up and come back
down again. We'll have to do this ride again some other time.
As we descend in altitude I notice the mercury rising. What use
to be 52 degrees F is quickly becoming 55, 60+ degrees. Soon I
have to pull over to shed some layers. In Minh's case he was
starting to fall asleep because of the heat. Dropping several
layers definitely help and we're back to normal again. While we
are standing around taking off sweaters, fidgeting with video
equipment, and getting tossed around like rag dolls in the wind,
several motocross and ATVs pass us on the side of the road trying to
to a convenient store. Is this legal? We know ATVs are not
street legal. Oh well, not our concern. However, when we're
done with the break and continued on, we noticed a park ranger taking
to an ATV guy on the side of the road. Busted? Who knows
but it doesn't quite look like a casual conversation. We have
other entertainment on the opposite side of the highway. A big
truck is trying to pull another big truck out of some mud. He got
stuck. The price to pay for off roading.
We know there was wind to contend with but we didn't know how bad it
was until we made the fateful left turn onto the 86 highway. It
was then that I realize we've been riding with the wind the entire
time. Now we have a massive cross wind to deal with. I
don't want to say I'm getting comfortable in the wind but I am.
Looking down at the speedo reveals that we're still able to travel
between 65-70MPH. Additionally, I don't have a death grip, and I
have no worries about my tires slipping out from underneath me.
Minh is also having a but of fun with the wind. He has more
of a handful because he's a fully faired bike. He commented later
that he's getting use to riding at 20-30 degrees left of center.
The good news is, we don't have panniers. That helps a lot.
I look for the Salton Sea to my right, but it is too far from highway
to truly see anything. The sun is starting to set so it's a bad
idea to attempt an eastern side beach visit. It's better to put
off the Salton Sea run until tomorrow morning. As we push on
Coachella towards Indio, we can see splotches of white on areas around
the highway. This could only be one thing, salt. That's so
cool. Even with all this salt, there is still plenty of plant
life around here.
Still strong after a not so easy 230+ miles.
By 5:30-6:00PM we reach the Best Western Date Tree hotel. We
check in, get our rooms, and off load the bikes. What's the first
order of business? Get our arshes into the jacuzzi.
Awesome! We're the only ones in the pool area. It's like we
have a private jacuzzi all to ourselves. We bask in the warmth
for about an hour and then back to the rooms for the final clean
up. We order pizza
delivery and play with the complementary wireless Internet access on my
EeePC. Minh ended up
chatting most of the night before turning in.
Warming up and chilling out in the jacuzzi. Ice tea anybody?
Proof that we have it all to ourselves.
My turn and it's all good. Read 'em and weep Sergeant...
Day 2 - Joshua Tree National Park
[March 2, 2008]
Written on: March 1, 2008
Last modified: March 11, 2008