Joshua Tree National Park
City people are crazy!
[Sunday - March 2,
Last night was insane in terms of wind. When Minh and I went out
to lock out our bikes, we were tossed around like we're in a
hurricane. I swear it must have gusted at about 70-80MPH.
Fortunately the buildings blocked the majority of the wind. If we
were in an open area, our bikes would have fallen over.
Is this good enough?
The first thing I did this morning is to peer out of the window to
check on the conditions. Has the win died down? Yes it
did. However, the tree
tops weren't stationary. It is still swaying around
moderately. Hopefully it won't be as bad as yesterday's ride
"Let load up the bikes and go get some breakfast," barked the
Captain. Sure, we can do that. I rummage around the room
and pack up all of my electronics. Check, double check, and
triple check. I don't want to leave any chargers behind.
All clear. I haul the bags out and plop them on the bike.
Yes, last nights wind has dusted our bikes pretty good. We have a
fine layer of
sand all over the bikes. No matter, the sand is hardly anything
compared to the amount bugs on our windshield and
headlight. Tug this, click that, and we're all done. Again,
we can't help but notice the genuineness and openness of the
staff at this Best Western. The rooms are also very clean.
It's a good thing.
Awesome coat hangers.
Suffice to say, I'm not going to have a problem booking at Best
Westerns in the future. There is plenty of things to pick and
choose with the complementary continental break fast, but first thing
is first. Where's the coffee. European blend and a little
French vanilla cream to boot. Nice!
A simple breakfast for a simple life. Simplicity at its
That looks like a mighty fat arshe you got there.
I drop off the keys at the front desk, collect my receipts, and waved
goodbye to the Hotel. It's a memorable stay even for just one
night. Now I know what to expect and will book directly with the
hotel instead of going through some other third party.
Part 2, we need fuel to start off the day. As we're getting
knocked around I can't help but notice the sand storms in the
distance. Why do we always have to deal with sand storms every
time we go ride in the direction of a desert? This sucks.
It looks like the 12K maintenance is going to happen early.
Sure enough, we make a left hand turn away from our route and smack,
we're in the thick of it all. Yup! The sand is whipping
around like we're in a snow storm. Oh well. We are where we
are and we have to deal with it.
As we're doubling back on the route we took coming in to Indio
yesterday to get to North Shore at
the Salton Sea., we're being kicked around once more. The only
exception is it's in day light this time around. So much for not
having to deal with the wind today. Of course the drivers are all
insane. At one point we get passed by a Suburban doing 80 MPH in
this wind. Just don't roll otherwise it's going to hurt.
Approximately 15 miles later, we're at North Shore. What's
this? It's all boarded up. I've heard reports of the Salton
Sea being deserted but never have I anticipated that it's going to be a
We wander around a bit looking at the abandon buildings until I
found a spot that leads us right to the water front. Since it's
all deserted I don't think anybody is going to care that we're riding
to the beach. Voi la! Instant off roading on a R12R and a
It's a sea alright. There's no mistaking the smell of salt water
and ... fish. I'm so awe inspired that I disconnect from the bike
and take off towards more interesting sights. As I walk out to
the little lagoon I thought I was on beautiful white
sands. When I finally look down, I'm
shocked. This isn't white sand. It's a beach of the
dead. All this white is because of dead sea creatures.
Crustations and shells that have washed up on shore after they've
died. Definitely not a beach for soft soled people. You
won't catch me walking bare feet in this place.
Crunch! crunch! crunch ...
Wandering around shooting video of the place.
This sea is also full of life. There are birds everywhere and
dead fish litter the beach. I can tell some of the
fishes died recently. Most likely due to the birds. Other
fishes look like they've died and simply washed up on shore.
Here are some sad looking specimens.
Fish to scale.
Up to our ankles with dead sea creatures.
Did the astronomers and cosmologist think to also count all of dead
animals on all the beaches in addition to the grains of sand when they
thought about the stars in the universe? Probably not but there
sure is a lot of life on this planet.
Having spent our fair share of time trampling on the carcasses of dead
sea animals, we head over to have a look at the abandon motel. We
should have booked our one night stay here. The accommodations
questionable but the price is right. However, I wouldn't
be caught out here at night without at least a 45 at my side.
While we're taking our gear off getting ready to tour the premises, we
suddenly confronted with attack dogs charging our way.
While they appear extremely threatening, we fought back and and
held our ground.
The Captain is trying to convince the attack dogs that we're not a
Watch out or they'll take out your heals.
Once we plotted our escape route and managed to fight our way out of
situation, we scouted out the rest of the area. Interesting to
say the least. This place has been abandoned for a while.
Perhaps since the
60s. It's still not that far back in the past. About 40
or so and mother nature has taken over again. The break down has
started. Nothing like a bit of chaos to dismantle order.
It's a ghost town but not completely deserted. There are several
mobile homes in the area. Oddly enough, people still want to live
out here. Once we've had our fill of the modern ghost town, we
head off to have a look at Joshua Tree National Park.
Man this stuff is deep.
Talking about being in a rut ...
How deep am I? Oh whatever...
A trip wouldn't be complete if the Captain didn't have a "middle of the
You shoot me...
... I shoot you.
Box Canyon is a beautiful road. The blooms around this time of
year definitely adds to the entire experience. A retrospective
thought has me thinking that Box Canyon is
more interesting than most of Joshua Tree National Park. When we
got out of the
interesting parts, the rest looks like like a Californian desert.
Typical. The south gate of Joshua Tree National Park. It's
freaking cold! Two layers underneath the moto jacket is
definitely not enough. I throw on a fleece pullover for good
This is what the hubbub is all about.
The first think to greet us as we enter the park is a field of
Having had our fill of smelling the fauna, we continue on and
eventually reach the ranger station. We pay our entrance fees,
grab a handful of souvenirs for myself and the family. The cold
is there but the wind is the thing to worry about. Even one of
visitors commented, "Not a good day for a ride, Huh?"
Definitely an understatement, but what can you do except to keep
plugging away. While we're standing around talking to some folks,
rag doll! The Captain even lost
his entrance pass when he attempted to take it out of his pocket to
slap it on the windshield. The minute the zipper opened,
Woosh! The wind
ripped the receipt out of his pocket and contributed the receipt as
part of the desert's composting program. Now the Captain has to
plow back into the stations to ask for another receipt otherwise he's
going to pay double. He receives a second hand written receipt so
now he's legal. We continue and it's slow going.
Why? Because the park's posted limits are 25, 35, or
40. I like to visit national parks but does it have to be so
painful? Even 55 MPH would be nice.
We keep "movin' movin'". The mercury rises and drops. For
part it is drops. The further north we go, the farther down it
falls. At one point, the bike registers 49.1 degrees. With
this good wind chill we're easily riding in 24 degrees. For all
you arctic people out there, you're probably mumbling something to the
"... that is a nice summer temperature". Well, I'm not from the
and am from the land of forever sunshine, LA, so it's cold to
me. On top of that, the rude cars drivers refuse to use the pull
outs to let us
pass. What can you say? Yosemite all over again.
Common courtesy is in short supply these days.
Amazing! People are so rude. Just because a
particular scenic area, Cholla Cactus Garden, is crowded, people are
fighting one another, like cats and dogs, over parking
spaces. Minh and I are waiting for one car to pull out before we
can begin to back in. As we are about ready to pull in to park, a
car dives into our spot. It happens again and again.
Wow! Why the need for rudeness? Everybody will
eventually get a spot. One blue Chrysler PT Cruiser decides to
dive into our spot and hogs up two spaces. The nerve. If
ever is a time for karma to kick these people's arshes, this is a
perfectly good time. I was on the
verge of leaving when Minh finally found a spot.
OK. With all these prickly things all over the place and Minh
being camera less because he's out of batteries, what do you think he's
going to concoct to keep himself
amused? What else. He decides to make the ultimate
test. If you just stare at the image immediately above, I think
you get the idea. Can the thick hide of his Coretech suit handle
the pricklies? Will it get pass the slickness of a cow's once
ever sensitive hide and give the Captain a good jab in the
whatever? The question was posed and I thought he was going to
get pricked. Of course he doesn't think so. What's the
Nada... Zippo... Zilcho... How disappointing.
Nothing happened to him. All those signs at the entrance to the
walk path screamed massive hemorrhaging if anybody so much as look in
the direction of these
things. Well, not quite that bad, but all these pricklies did
nothing to Minh. I guess it's a testimony to the motorcycle
clothing people. Then again, he wasn't using all that much
force. I'm sure if the entire weight of his body were to press
down on one of these things, things might turn out different, but
that's alright. I don't want to spend time pulling out needle
after needle while the Captain screams at the top of his lungs.
Then again, that might be interesting after all.
Here's a good spot to camp out if you want some security when sleeping.
While we're gearing up, several vultures are circling above head.
They're just waiting to pounce even when the body is still warm.
Sure enough, we back out and here they come. Nice little scenic
spot rude bunch of people. We slowly continue on doing 40
MPH. The temperature keeps on falling. When we reach the
intersection of Pinto Basin road and Park blvd, I can't stand it any
more. Even with my fleece pullover and fleece pants, I'm freezing
to death. I have to admit this is the one time when having a
canvas suit doesn't help at all. Too much wind is getting pass
the outer shell. I pull over to add the Gore-tex liner and put on
the heavy Buff. My torso and legs are now doing a little better
but even with the heated grips cranked on high, the hands are still
having a bit of an issue. 50 degrees at 50 MPH yields something
like 25 degrees equivalence because of the wind chill. Man it's
cold! In additional to all that, we haven't eaten anything since
this morning and it's already 3:30pm. Unlike Death Valley, there
are no restaurants or resorts in Joshua Tree National Park. As I
think of it, I don't think the ranger station we checked in had any
food. Perhaps some candy bars and the like but nothing with real
We reach the Jumbo Rocks campground area. We're both tired but
the sight is interesting enough to make us stop. From this
parking lot, there is a good view of the valley below. It's still
freakin' cold. At least we're warming up due to a lack of wind
chill and the sun is shinning right on us.
There are suppose to be caves around here where nomadic people use to
live. When asked if he wants to go see, Minh replied, "I'm too
tired." That's a first. Then again, it's probably due to
the lack of food. I have to remember to bring at least two MREs
on the next trip. That way we will always have food.
It feels like forever but we only have about 10 more miles to go before
reaching the north entrance. It's probably due to the cold
weather and the fact that we're only allowed to drive 45 MPH.
There it is. We're at the north entrance. The ranger that
is suppose to verify we paid to get in didn't even bother to glance in
our direction. Minh would have been fine without the
receipt. No matter, at least we're finished with Joshua
Tree. However, it's not over yet. The car that refused to
take the turn offs to let us pass is still in front of us.
Regardless of the fact that this lady doesn't know how to negotiate
turns at moderate speeds, she refuses to let us get by.
When we reached the north entrance I did a stupid thing. I
removed my breath guard to let more air through my helmet because it's
getting a little warmer. That was a bad idea. While we're
heading down to lower lands from Joshua Tree, an instant dust devil
formed to the right of me. It charged right next to the car in
front of me but missed. I, on the other hand, went right through
it. What I got was a nice sand blasting at 50 MPH. I
instinctively turned my head but it was too late. If it was
water, it would have just sting a bit. In this case, it was like
getting pimp slapped with 300 grit sand paper. Ow! That
hurts! Damage done. I just dealt with it and promised to
myself not to take off the breath guard while in the desert on future
There you have it. The 62 HWY and Joshua Tree the town.
First order of business, let's find a place to eat. I try to do a
search with the nav but Minh has already spotted something potentially
good. There is a little Mexican restaurant across the street and
it looks to be a ma and pa shop. Good enough for me. I
don't much care at this point. We head on over and went in.
It turned out to be a fast food place but it looks authentic
enough. Everything looks good on the menu. In the end I
went for the two fish taco meal. I don't normally eat fish tacos
because most of the places make it does such a poor job. It's not
the case here. They are positively the two best dish tacos I've
ever eaten. Perhaps it's because I'm hungry. On the other
hand, I think they simply have really good food here.
After we tank up, we fill up the bikes and head out for the remaining
stretch home. Asked if he would do this ride again Minh said,
without hesitation, "No." I can tell my R12R is really struggling
to at high speeds because of the session through the sand storm.
This baby desperately needs a new air filter. Now let's hope the
wind won't be so bad on the way home.
By the time we reach Redlands any thought of a normal ride home has
long left my mind. The wind was gusting so badly that we're once
again being tossed. What's worse is the fact that there are cars
on either side of us. We definitely don't want to low side and
end up under some vehicles' wheels. Not a good deal.
There is a glimmer of hope, in a way. We eventually catch up to
this one Volkswagen van. Apparently we're not the only ones who
are experiencing the effects of the strong winds. This box of a
vehicle is also being tossed around like a rag doll. Since we're
similar company, I decided to hang behind the van while trying to
prevent the white knuckle syndrome that is starting to take
effect. This turned out to be a smart idea. I started
noticing that every time the Volkswagen drift left, I would do the same
thing a couple of seconds later. Check that out! I have
myself a wind gauge. From here out I follow behind the van at a
moderate distance. When the van got slapped silly, I prep myself
to also get slapped silly. Knowing when the wind is going to hit
really help me to stabilize the bike. Cool! Who would have
This tailing business lasted for a good while until we passed
him. We had just pass the 15 junction so we're truly on the home
stretch. Montclair, Claremont, Pomona, and the 57 freeway.
I take the 57 north to go home while Minh continue on the 10. A
couple of quick waves and we split apart.
As I pass the 605 junction and pop out of the carpool lane to take my
exit. I checked my four and I'm clear to go into the fast
lane. When I check six again I see a van zoom up behind me.
I know I didn't cut him off because the lane was clear when I first
checked. This guy is nuts. What does he want and what is he
thinking. After a short time he high beams me. I'm not
effected by the high beam and ignore it. Yeah, he's nuts.
When I get close to my exit, I cross the freeway slowly to get
off. This nut is till tailing me and high beaming me. At
one point I lightly tap my breaks to get my tail light to flash.
It does nothing to this wacko. He's still on my tail. I
don't know what this guy is hoping to do but I definitely feel the
danger. I refuse to argue with a 2 ton vehicle because I know
he's going to win. In the end he pulls up to me at a stop sign
and decides I'm not the person he's looking for. He turns right
and takes off. What was all that about? I will never know
and don't want to know what that weirdo's intention was. Then it
finally strikes me. These people living in the city forget who
they are and what they're here for. The most insignificant things
will trigger them to do the oddest of actions. Was it road rage
or was it simply curiosity? Is it all that worth while for these
idiots to chase after somebody because they can't control their
increase in blood pressure? The mere fact that these people don't
think or want to think about their situation is all the reason to fear
them. Bottom line, city people are crazy. I'm glad to say
that even though I live in the city, I'm not a city person. I'm
still a farm boy at heart and will always be a farm boy no matter what.
The garage door opens. At last I don't have to deal with any more
crazy people. About 15 minutes later a confirmation comes from
the Captain that he is also home safe. It was a good trip but I
don't think we'll be heading back to Joshua Tree National Park any time
soon. Having been to Death Valley and other similar spots in the
southern section of California, Joshua Tree is not all that
interesting. As for the Salton Sea, we might head back out there
Day 1 - Salton Sea [March 1, 2008]
Written on: March 3, 2008
Last modified: March 24, 2008