We have set an ambitious goal for this year to ride to all 4 corners of North America.
What can you say… Just a wonderful morning.
We decided to do some serious off-road adventuring so we rented a Jeep to get off the beaten path. We hit up 6 places today.
The ride out to our first stop was great, a definite route I will take with the bike one day. Lots of Dips and Curves to keep it fun.
Ryholite is one of those typical western ghost towns. Boom then Bust. Was kind of interesting but with barbwire fences around everything you can get the idea that people have abused this ghost town so now no one can enjoy it
After that we headed up our first Jeep road up to Leadville, another ghost town. Here is a pic for my buddy Dan’s Jeep. Not sure Dan would be up for this, but I know his Jeep would sure like to live a bit.
Some 10 or so miles later we wandered into Leadville, not much to look at so we moved on to Titus Canyon. It was quite glorious with the way the light played with the shadows on the canyon walls. G got some great pics. After Titus canyon we started our way out via Slot Canyon. When they named it Slot boy did they hit the nail on the head. Really narrow, very twisty… Lots of fun.
After the 25+ mile trek we headed to Stovepipe Wells and grabbed some grub before heading off for the afternoon route.
From Stovepipe we headed west then south up Wildrose and then took the jeep road out to Skido. Now many of you might think hey I know that word, but wasn’t it “23 Skido”. Well friend you would be correct. However the Postal Service refused to put a number at the beginning of a town. So it was legally Skido. Skido was one of the most lucrative gold camps in all of California. Pulling out over 80,000 ounces before its hay day came to an end. Now all that is left it trails, 1000′s of closed off mine shafts, and a few Holes in the ground that you can fall to you death in as not all the mines have ever been fully discovered or marked. The last standing building is the old Skido Mine Processing site. It was the only water powered gold recovery plant in all of Death Valley. It used water to pulverize the stone before it was then run through the slough boxes. We wandered around this old ghost town for a hour or so before heading out.
Our last stop of the day would be Artist Canyon / Artist Palette. It is simply breathtaking in the late day sun. G got some amazing shot which I will share later, but check out the Instagram feed for some quick previews.
Well the day is over the sun is gone and we are hungry.
Merry Xmas Eve Everyone…
G & J
Well today was pretty uneventful. Our basic goal was to make DV before sunset (we failed). The day was cold, but much warmer than the prior few days so we were happy to only have frost on the bike, and not needing a jump. Our first stop of the morning was in Snowy Flagstaff. We grabbed a quick cup of tea and a donut before hitting the road to get out of the snow. An hour later we were west enough to be off the mountains, so we decided to detour off the big road and hit some small roads. We picked up Route 66 in Spiegleman and headed towards Peach Springs. Pretty flat road, but at least it was not interstate. We grabbed a cup of chili at the Hualapai reservation and then headed on into Kingman.
From Kingman we headed west to Laughlin and then on to Searchlight. We then took the Nipto road across the nothern edge of the Mojave before having to jump back on the Interstate for 37 miles to get to Baker, CA. Once we got to Baker we were in the home stretch. We hit CA127 and got some great pics and some video before the sun finally left us. Days are short out here with the mountain range being on your west side. We drove the last bit in dark, but with the extra fog lights I added we had no problem finding our way to the Inn.
Got checked in and we are now saying put for a few days…
G & J
When we woke this morning we found the bike covered in frost and the ground covered in ice and snow. We quickly got dressed and walked down the street to grab some breakfast and to figure out a new game plan. Our original plan had been to head west, but after viewing our situation and the prior days fun we decided we needed to alter our plans. We had tempted fate already on this trip with the drive yesterday and realized that tempting it again today was not a sign of bravery, but more a sign of foolish arrogance. I quickly mapped out a route heading south we we agreed to keep heading south till we were out of the freezer. Then regroup again on our westward migration. So we went back to the hotel and packed up. Just as I was about to crawl on the bike and start her up a nice man walked up and started talking to us. He was a pleasant chap so we chatted a bit before he went in the the local coffee shop to get his morning joe. Once he walked away I climbed aboard hit the starter button and got the dreaded click – click – click sound. Now mind you the battery is in great condition I tested it before I left Dallas. So while I was scratching my head the man came out and saw my puzzled look, asked what was wrong. So I proceeded to tell him. It was the first time in almost 90K miles that Big Red had failed to start for me. He walked to his car and grabbed a jump station while I pulled the seat off. We hooked up the jump station and sure enough 2 more tries and Big Red was back in action. I thanked him numerous times, exchanged emails and then we both hit the road.
Our route would take us south towards Sante Fe, NM. I had hoped that we would get to 30′s before we got there as I wanted to run West through the Navajo back country. But that was not to be this day. We ended up all the way in Albuquerque before the temps climbed out of the 20s. There were several times on the ride down the temp was sub zero so G and I stuck to our plan. South till water can’t freeze then figure out the next step. Once we got to Albuquerque I turned west on I-40, yes I HATE interstate, but today was one of those days I was to cold to care. We stopped a bit west of there and got some gas and a quick bite to snack on. We decided to just burn miles the rest of the day and make it was far west as we could. We knew once we get past Flagstaff things will warm up.
So we rode till dark and stopped in Winslow, AZ for the night. So tomorrow we head to the Death Valley for 4 days of Vacation.
G & J
Was a great morning. We visited the BSA Philmont Ranch and got a nice tour. Great people and beautiful country.
We left Philmont about 10:30. We headed towards Taos via the route through Eagles Nest. The day was nice in the low 30′s, sun was bright and the bike felt great. As we wandered through Cimarron Canyon up to Eagles Nest the road began to narrow up thanks to the snow on both sides of the road encroaching. Once we reached Eagles Nest I discovered a new feature of our R1200GS. Once the temp goes below 0 the temperature gauge only reads ___ , the second thing is that your breath can actually freeze on the inside of your helmet shield. But alas all you can do is carry on and press forward. Once we cleared Eagles Nest we started climbing over the pass into Taos and oddly the temperature climbed as we gained altitude. This is not that unusual, but was unexpected pleasure. Who knew that 20 could feel so warm.
After another 30-45 minutes we found our way into Taos. We had a short day as we wanted to enjoy the afternoon.
Safe Journey My Friends
J & G
This morning we found ourselves a bit battered from all the wind from the prior day, but still healthy and happy so no complaints. We took our time getting ready this morning as there is nothing like 15 degrees to not make you get in a rush. We finally hit the road around 8:30 and brrr was it cold. We both had on 4 – 5 layers of clothing just to try and not shiver. Our first stop of the morning was in a little town called Muleshoe, Tx. Not sure where the name came from, but it was a cute town as west Texas towns go. We stopped at the only place we could find open and grabbed a hot beverage and tried to warm up just a bit. While there we got ambushed by a few local BMW riders who were curious as to where we were going. Secretly I think they were trying to decide if we were sain or not LOL.
After a few friendly words we used the hot air dryers in the bathroom to pre-heat our gloves and then hit the road. Our next stop would be just the other side of Texico, New Mexico in a town named Clovis. Clovis was a bit bigger than I had expected so we found a really nice Coffee Bistro where we could sit down, enjoy a snack and get some more hot beverages (tea for me and egg nog / coffee for g). We chatted with the locals who were curious how we had survived the prior days dust storms. I guess it had made national news or something. Some big wreck occurred just a few miles from where we were. Once we got warm we got back in the saddle.
By this time the temps had finally got in the upper 20′s so we were starting to not freeze quite so badly. We headed north up to Tucumcari,NM and from there we turned NW to Las Vegas, NM. The road between Tucumcari and Las Vegas was great. Wide open, no traffic and wonderful vistas. The temps finally crawled into the low 40′s so we were really starting to feel great. The bike felt wonderful and I didn’t realize it for awhile but we had been cruising at over 100mph for quite awhile. We stopped for a late lunch in Las Vegas at a nice little bakery / cafe downtown. Once we fueled up our bodies we turned north again to our final destination.
About 90 minutes later we found ourselves outside the Famous St James Hotel in Cimarron, NM. Snow was on the ground, but the place is really neat. We stayed the William F Cody suite and only got woke up 1 time during the night by the local resident, a ghost named Melissa who was apparently killed here back in the 1800′s.
So now we find ourselves at the foothills to the Rockies. Today we are heading over to Taos after a meeting here in Cimarron on some business matters.
And as the Most Interesting Man in the World says “Stay Thirsty My Friends” In our case for Adventure
J & G
As most riders know you need to replace your helmet every 5 years. So this was our turn at the table. Now getting a new helmet is fun, but it is also really painful. To get a proper fitting helmet you have to find the right size, and no matter what you do it will feel to tight on your head. It takes about a month to break in the helmet, much like a pair of shoes. So today was our 1st day in the new helmets and wow did they fit tight. We had to stop several times just to let our heads relax from all the pressure.
The day started out ok, just typical DFW traffic. It always takes an hour to just get out of the metroplex. But once we were on the road all we had to deal with was just a pesky wind out of the SW at 15-25mph. We stopped in Jacksboro and grabbed some lunch. Great frito pie . Once we left Jacksboro the wind started picking up and just about 90 miles short of Lubbock we could see the frontal line. The wind really start whipping then and you could see the beginnings of Shitty #2.
As luck would have it, just when you get a nice new helmet you get into one of those lovely Texas dust storms. This one started out just bad, but by the time we got to Plainview (north of Lubbock) the wind was sustained at 40-45mph with gusts up in the 60-65mph range. So to add insult to injury the temps had dropped from the mid 60s to the mid 40s and the wind was now out of the NW. So to end the day I found us a warm hotel and just as I went to turn the bike into the portico I leaned and the wind blew and the bike refused to turn which put me on a collision course with the Curb. So in an effort to not hit the curb I had to grab the brake, and of course just as I did that another huge gust came in and toppled us like a house of cards. Broke the dang signal indicator lens /GRRR. Thankfully a guy ran over and helped me upright the bike. So after a few choice words I crawled back on the beast and moved it the final 10 ft to the portico. Parked it, Checked in, and Called it a night.
So there you go our version of the “Tale of 2 Shitties”
The Journey Continues, but to quote one of my favorite authors. “We will Pay the Price, but We will not Count the Cost”
In this case a Bruised Ego and Busted Lens
Follow our Xmas Journey from Dallas through the High Deserts of New Mexico, Across Lower Colorado, into the Great Basin and on to Death Valley.
View Xmas 2012 Outbound Trip in a larger map
Then Follow us back to Dallas as we make our way South across the Mojave, and then East to Big Bend National Park driving one of the “Greatest Motorcycle” roads in the US along the banks of the Rio Grande into Lajitas, TX.
View Xmas 2012 Return Trip in a larger map
Where are G & J Today
Well this morning I am in Raton, NM preparing for the final day of our 2 week journey. The trip from Napa has been exciting as always.
Day 1 found us leaving after a late lunch heading north up CA 29 from Calistoga into Lake county for a different ride home. Very technical road, but lots of traffic as it was Sunday. The temps climbed to an unreal 112 in the mountains. Sheesh…. Took us about 5 hours to reach the Sierra Nevada’s where we finally caught a break from the heat. The ride was very scenic, but to he honest at those temps there is nothing enjoyable about riding. Once we got to Cisco we had to jump on the I-80 and hoof it into Nevada. We stopped in Reno and grabbed a quick snack and a cup of Tea before ending the night in Fernley, NV.
Day 2 we hit the road and headed east along US 50. Great road, and is known as the “Loneliest Road in the US”. This we can attest to as you will drive 100+ miles without any sign of civilization. We stopped in Fallon and grabbed some breakfast and then just hit the road and burned up the miles. The good thing about these Lonely Roads is you can pretty much drive at the pace you want without worrying about traffic. Just got to keep an eye out for Dear & Elk. By 1pm we rolled into Ely,NV where the monsoonal rains had caught up with us. Normally this time of year they don’t reach so far north in the Great Basin, but today they made the trek just for us. We stopped grabbed some gas and a snack and kept on keeping on. We put on our rain gear and hit the road. The rest of the day we would be flirting with the northern edge of the rain, and for the most part we stayed dry. Our plan was to stop where US 50 crosses I 15, but when we got there we found ourselves with no options, no literally neither of the 2 exits you use at US 50 & I 15 had any hotels or restaurants. With this in mind we were forced to keep moving, but now it was getting late in the day. When we hit I 70 we had hoped to find a hotel, but again no luck. We grabbed some gas and headed East on I 70. 2 hours later we pulled into Green River, UT where we found a hotel. By now we were to tired to eat so we just went to the room, got showers, I did some works for a few hours and then hit the bed.
Day 3 we arose to a cooler morning, which was nice and refreshing and we took advantage of it and got moving. I had worked pretty late the night before so G insisted we not overdue it. After all we had done 700+ miles the day before. We stopped in Grand Junction, Co and found a great breakfast. We then headed to the BMW dealership, as my gloves were torn and the ones we had bought earlier in the trip had vanished, so I had been thumbless for a few days. Great dealership, but no gloves… We turned south east on US 50 from there and headed to Delta, CO. The dude at the dealership had given us a recommendation of taking CO 92 from Delta east towards Gunnison. What an amazing ride… This road runs along the North Rim of the Black Canyon, and I mean RIM. It was a great ride… We got to Gunnison around 3pm and G insisted we call it a day, so we grabbed some food hit a hotel and called it quits. This was good cause I had a backlog of work I needed to deal with on this day. In Gunnison there is a local pub called the Gunnisack, they have amazing cookies…
Day 4 we got moving a bit later than normal, but I had worked till 3am so G was glad I got some rest before we started the day out. Our goal was to get within a Day of home and by days end we had reached that goal being we stopped in Raton, NM. We drove a couple of really nice roads along the way. CO 114 from Gunnison to Monte Vista and the CO 12 from East of Alamosa to Trinidad. Both of these roads are well worth the price of admission. Was a cool day and unfortunately the sky was very hazy from the smoke that is still holding in the area from all the fires.
So now we begin the Final day. We are up early and have a long day ahead of us…
Jeff & Gabriela
Well the last 2 days have been very nice. We left Cedar City, Ut early Monday morning and headed West on UT-56. Very nice road and once you cross into Nevada it gets even better.
We stopped in Panaca to get some fuel and then headed south on US93 to the Extra Terrestrial highway. Now make sure and go just a bit south of the junction and top it off in Ash Springs, because once you hit ET highway there is no fuel for about 170+ miles. It says 150. but trust me its further. The road runs along Area 51 on its eastern edge. You can see all kinds of guard outposts stuck up in the hill side, but we can officially state that on this day ET did not visit. It is a nice road, just watch out for the wandering cattle as they roam freely on both sides of the road, and even in the road. There are some sections of the road that are so long and straight they disappear in the horizon before you see them turn or end. Still was a fun road and you could really open your machine up if you were so inclined.
On the north end of ET Highway we picked up US 6 and headed East to Tonopah, NV to get fuel and food. When we pulled into town they had traffic stopped in all directions as they were moving a storage tank about the length of a football field ( no exaggeration ). There were about 40 pairs of axles under this beast with 2 trucks 1 pulling and 1 pushing. They lets us slip by and head into town where we stopped and grabbed some food. On our way out of town there was a sign for “Last Gas” turn right so of course I did. The road came to a quick end and I was stuck turning around in some not so pleasant sand. Well 1/2 way around the front tire dug in and the bike pitched to the left and down we went ARGHHHH!!!!!. So no cursing at the sand gods we got up dusted ourselves off and got the bike upright with no issue. We pushed the bike back a bit then I hopped on gave it some gas and got it the heck out of the mess. To add insult to injury there was another gas station 1 mile down the road
So we gassed up and headed west. The day had finally warmed up to the century mark and the wind had started kicking up dust from the south so we spent the next 50 or so miles dogging dust devils and just burning up miles. Once NV 95 split off US 6 we kept on west and the traffic let up a bit so was a nice ride, till we caught up with that stupid Tank they were moving. So now we were stuck behind it and they had traffic pulled off the road completely as it was 2+ lanes wide. So after about 15 minutes of 5 mph they were cool, pulled all the way to the left side of the road and the State Patrol waved us by. Whew… man glad to be past that thing again…. The next 50 or so miles were really nice and we crossed into Cali for the 1st time this trip. We stopped and grab some fuel and water and picked up SR 120 towards Tioga Pass (aka Yosemite). I swear the man who drew up some of these roads in Cali should be sainted. They are without a doubt some of the best Motorcycle roads on the planet and today’s selection did not disappoint. We started by climbing about 5K in elevation on some really gnarly twisties then camp the Dips…. And when they say Dips man they mean Dips. The next five miles would make a roller coaster fanatics scream. There were at least 6 times I could have launched the bike into clean air with no effort. The road was just an amazing thrill ride from one end to the other. Once we were out of the Dips we went back into Twisties like the cork screw at Laguna Seca for the next 10 or so miles. Wow what a treat. When we finally made it to the top we crossed the pass and found ourselves peering down on Mono Lake. This is the lake we all remember from the Spagetti Westerns of Clint Eastwood, most notably Paint the Town Red. The sets are long sense gone, but you can see the movies in your mind as you ride down the southern edge of the lake. Once we got to the west edge of the Lake we picked up US 395 heading north. We decided to not go over Tioga pass as all the weekend warriors were out in their finest heading to Yosemite. We decided to take a lesser traveled pass, Monitor Pass and head over to Lake Tahoe for the evening. CA 89 (aka Monitor Pass rd) is a great ride you climb to about 11K feet before crossing over into the Inner Sierra Nevada mtns. There are several great and amazing vistas and hardly any traffic, which made it virtually perfect for the days ending ride.
We stopped for the night at the Ritz in Lake Tahoe, kind of a treat for Gabriela for riding so many days she deserved a bit of pampering. We got up spent some time on property while worked for several hours. Around lunch we hit the road heading to Roseville, Ca to the BMW shop to get a new tire, oil change and brake pads. 3 hrs later we pulled out and made the final journey to Napa.
We will be here for 5+ days so might post, might not who knows depends on the flow of wine I guess
Jeff & Gabriela