California Cruising
Dates: March 4th - May 12th' 2018

Road Trip Background:

I will be taking a cruise out to California on the Wing on March 4th and returning in mid May. Primary reason will be to visit my daughter and grandkids for a while (She is stationed at Vandenberg AFB). I have 2 weeks to get there as that’s when my wife will be flying out to join me for the visit. First solo sojourn for me in several years but the good news is since I have the time and desire to ride extra I’m going to spice it up by interspersing not only some great riders but the bests of friends that will ride with me along the way or where they live as I come through. So that means stops in the Arkansas Ozark’s for a few days riding with Bob (Monk).Then I’ll move on to Arizona where I’ll meet up with Jim (Arizona16) for a few days riding in the Cactus patch. Next I’ll go to the heart of California around the San Francisco bay area where I grew up and ride with my best friend Russ and visit my niece. Finally down what I can if possible of the Pacific Coast Highway to Vandenberg AFB. Yes, I know about the parts that are still closed from the mud slides … sad. Let the 2018 riding season begin.

Click here for my
SPOT link track if you’re interested in taking a look at my route or checking my progress.

Sunday - March 4' 2018

Ever wonder what the world would be like if Doctor’s would write more prescriptions for taking long motorcycle rides than for taking pills for what ails us? I think the world would be a much better place and we’d all be just a little bit saner, maybe even a little nicer to each other. Perhaps it would look something like this …

Take 1 motorcycle, Mix in a generous slice of time, Stir in the moment and just Take Off.

If that prescription doesn’t work and you don’t feel any better give me a call back and we will discuss maybe increasing the dosage or varying the frequency to achieve maximum results. However, if you should experience an immediate recovery after your very first dose and find yourself totally addicted and can’t stop riding please seek professional help immediately OR just enjoy the heck out of the rest of your life riding motorcycles. CAUTION: side effects include but are not limited to finding and making great friends, seeing visions of unfiltered unparalleled beauty, improved focus and mental capacity along with an increased desire to seek out smooth curvy roads and eat plenty of good food along the way :-) Now that’s a prescription for what ails us!

Well … I don’t need a doctor to write me a prescription to ride as it’s in my DNA and this road trip west to California couldn’t have come at a better time. As the Southwest Airlines commercial used to say “Wanna Get Away?” Aaaaaha .. Yeah … I’ve been waiting all winter. Let the 2018 riding season begin …

The great escape started even earlier than I had planned as I found my self on the road west this Sunday afternoon under beautiful skies and warm 60 plus temps even though it’s still winter on the calendar. Lots of rain moving back in so my better half said to get an early start. Don’t have to tell me twice to go ride.
Heading out from Dover, Tn west through Paris, Tennessee ….and beyond.
… Aaaah … the open road ahead … I am the motorcycle!

NO … this is not a boat ramp ….. Sad to see so much flooding on my ride over to Arkansas today. The Lower Mississippi River Basin area has been deluged with rain this year and many roads are like this one.

Resting in Paragould, Arkansas tonight.

Monday - March 5' 2018

Looks like rolling early on Sunday paid off as most of the storms and rain had moved through by the time morning rolled around and I was back on the road having dodged the worse of it. It was less than 2 hours down the road to Strawberry, Arkansas so I didn’t have far to go for my next stop which was to get some maintenance items done to the Wing. Along the way I stopped at Lake Charles State Park near the Black River just southwest of Powhatan, Arkansas along highway 25 for a short break.
Not even gray skies could come close to dampening my mood.

If you want your motorcycle to take care of you while on the open road you’ve got to take care of it. You got to "pay to play" as they say and I had coordinated some work to be done to my Wing by a friend, Kenny, that I had met through Bob (Monk) few years back. Kenny is an excellent retired Goldwing mechanic and he was going to fix me up with new Air Filter, flush and replace all my fluids and put a much needed new tire on the front. If you’re ever in Arkansas and need someone that knows Goldwings and cares deeply about what he does Kenny is your man.
She's looks good even when she's taking a break for maintenance lol. Kenny is still finishing up his home shop and I know I will be back for future visits.

Time to kill this afternoon after Kenny so graciously drove me to the nearest motel which was all the way into Batesville, Arkansas. He should be finished by mid day tomorrow and I should be back on my steed then meeting up with The Arkansas Ridge Runner Bob (Monk). Weather shaping up for us to have 3 good days of riding the Ozark's.

Resting tonight in Batesville, Arkansas

Tuesday - March 6' 2018

Up early this morning to meet Bob who had driven up from Morrilton in his truck to meet me for breakfast. We quickly caught up over breakfast and before we finished Kenny had called and had already completed all the work on my Wing as he was able to get an early start. We finished up and drove back up to Strawberry to retrieve my steed.
Bob and Kenny being camera shy.

Everything checked out good and Kenny, as normal, went above and beyond and fix a few other minor things he noticed that needed attention. Really appreciate the good work he does and it gives me extra confidence while on the road knowing everything was done right.
This is what my air filter looked like after 33k … Owner's manual suggest changing every 25K. It's not as bad as I thought it might be but may be a good idea to stick to the 25k interval when possible. Just wish it wasn't so hard to get to. Bob and I speculated about how interesting it might be if we knew what state each bug came from. I've probably been collecting them from all over.

We said good-bye to Kenny and took off back south towards Bob's house. We stopped by Sunrise Honda in Searcy, Arkansas on the way to get an up close and personal look at the newly redesigned Goldwing for 2018.
They had several on the floor and I have to say I was impressed by the new design with the exception of the smaller gas tank. I already have enough problems with my existing Wing keeping it full of fuel lol. The updated electronics on the new Wings makes the old Wings seem like they were built in the Stone Age. Don't think there's one of these beauties in my future quite yet as I've got a personal goal to put many many more miles on my 2013.

We arrived back at Bob's place in Morrilton, Arkansas by early afternoon and immediately started planning our riding activities in the Ozark's over the next several days. We've got a couple of other local Wing riders that will be joining us as well. The only fly in the ointment is the temps will be a little on the cool side for at least 2 of the next 3 days (low 50's) but hey ….the silver lining is that there's zero rain chance in the forecast for any of the 3 days we plan to ride here. That's amazing when you think for the last 4-6 weeks it's done nothing but rain in Arkansas and Tennessee. We're going to make the most of our good fortune.

Resting tonight in Morrilton, Arkansas

Wednesday - March 7' 2018

Life is good when your biggest decision is to decide which Red Bike do I want to chase through the Ozark's all day.
Bob and I usually take turns chasing each other through the curves but the results are always the same … A great time! Today we would mix in a few other colors as we were joined by two local Goldwing riders Larry (gwhobo) from Russellville and Curtis who lives in Conway. Temps were pretty cool this morning so we didn't meet up to pull out until around 10:00 a.m. However, we made up for that late departure by skipping lunch. We know where our priorities lie lol.

THE GREAT AWAKENING. After we got our first leg done and were taking our first break Bob commented that it felt like something deep within us had been roused out of us that had been in hibernation all winter. We kinda felt like a bear waking up after sleeping all winter and was now on the prowl for his first good meal to devour. The meal we were after was right in front of us and all we had to do to devour it was twist the throttle and that we did.
For our friends up north that are still suffering through winter that blue sky and puffy white clouds in the picture above may look a little alien to you. We hope you will be coming out of your hibernation soon ;-)
We continued to make our way north heading for Push Mountain Road … our favorite place to lay tread.
If I've told Bob once I've told him a thousand times if he wants to start a fire it's easier if you just use a match rather than the Titanium puck savers that are mounted on the underside of his pegs. He just doesn't listen as he was having way too much fun throwing sparks in my path.

After running through Push Mountain Road and then reversing course and doing it again the other way we stopped to discuss …

If you listen carefully you can hear them taking turns saying "And there I was going into the turn ….."
Yes …. I take an occasional picture of the scenery without motorcycles.
Today's route came in just shy of 300 miles.

We'll be back at it tomorrow …. Someone's got to do it. Road were in great shape.

Thursday - March 8' 2018

Same suspects but different roads. So many roads in Arkansas Ozark's worthy of laying tread on. Another cool start to the day but a warming trend is developing and it will be warmer still on Friday. Today's 315 mile route …

Left to Right Curtis, Me, Larry and Bob

Few more pictures along today's route.
Won't be long now before everything will be blooming.

One more day of riding in Paradise before moving on towards Arizona on Saturday.

Friday - March 9' 2018

Today our riders dropped to 3 as we lost Curtis from the group due to some other commitments. Bob, although he had put on a new rear tire a day ago was now challenged by his front tire that was getting close to being spent. He resolved to just taking it easy today to make sure he had at least a little tread left to get up to Kenny's to get a new tire on come Saturday. Larry and I were sympathetic at first thinking that we would just take it easy and stay with Bob but as soon as we turned on to Highway 16 heading east out of Clinton, Arkansas all bets were off and we took off leaving Bob to meander along by his lonesome promising to wait for him when we got to Pelsor (Sandy Gap on the map below)
The 67 miles between Clinton, Arkansas and Sandy Gap on Highway 16 could be used as your own personal race track. Isolated for the most part with limited access, sweeping curves, changes in elevation along with a few nice long straight sections to fill your need for speed. That is IF you had such a need. Not that we were racing through there but I'm just saying it's a nice stretch of road and that's all I'm saying.

For those that are familiar with the historic
Hankins Country Store there in Pelsor (Sand Gap) that has been closed for awhile it appears someone plans to remodel and reopen it ….
This location is perfect for a business as I'm sure it would draw for a lot of motorcycle customers in the height of the riding season. Looking forward to this reopening but no indication when that might be.

We decided to cut the riding day short to save Bob's front tire from utter destruction. We dropped back south and packed it in with only a half day of riding. I needed to get a few things done as well in prep for my departure further west at o-dark thirty in the morning.

It's been a great few days of riding here in Arkansas and we chalked up about 800+ miles riding in circles but now it was time to say good-bye to ….
Sure enjoyed my stay with Bob and riding with some of the local Wingers. Larry and Curtis …see ya next time I'm over this way. Bob …as always thanks so much for your hospitality and please give my best to Margaret. You guys made my stay so enjoyable. By the way once I'm gone the rain should move back in lol.

Resting one last night in Morrilton, Arkansas.

Saturday - March 10' 2018

On the road heading west early this morning with a 6:00 a.m. roll after a cup of coffee and a handshake good-bye to Bob. I needed a jump on today's first day of riding straight since it had been several days of riding in circles in Arkansas lol. Weather was questionable but turned out favorable as it was cloudy overcast, but mild and no rain.

On to the Interstate … Oh Joy …
The usual Suspects …. so many trucks … I wonder what it will be like when all of them are driverless.

Oklahoma City traffic always a pleasure.

In the morning hours the storm clouds were forming above me and moving east as I rode west with no rain. The afternoon was just the opposite with lots of sun.

Temps rose nicely to the upper 70's in the afternoon.

Brief stops for gas and quick bites of food allowed me to made good time over to New Mexico. Check out the flying saucers clouds today in New Mexico …

Must be the Roswell affect. Can't make this stuff up … very surreal.

I pulled up in Santa Rosa and left myself a decision point in the morning as to which way to proceed into the Phoenix area. Jim (Arizona16) will be riding out to meet me. Colder temps with rain and possible snow chances at higher elevations predicted. May be something may be nothing. Will probably dive south tomorrow and meet up with Jim and keep close taps on the weather.

714 miles today all interstate … not bad for an old man but I'm feeling it.

Resting tonight in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Sunday - March 11' 2018

Well, one out of two ain't bad. I had risen but I wasn't quite ready yet to shine. The sun had the same problem this morning … it had risen but wasn't about to shine through all the rain, clouds and snow predicted at higher elevations throughout much of the state today. I study the weather and the forecast and final made the determination that heading south was the only prudent thing to do if I wanted to make my way into the Phoenix area without encountering snow. So off I went riding south on highway 54 out of Santa Rosa then this pops up on the Wing's radar….
Drat …. Foiled again! However, the good news for me was that it never touched the ground and when it did it didn't stick. Yes, I saw snow but the temps, which had dropped from the upper 40"s down to around 34 degrees, was still to warm for any accumulation. As I continued on south it seemed the rain was all around me but never really settled in to a steady rain event so it wasn't that bad. Of course the wind and cold weren't any fun.

I saw a couple of trains coming my way today on a track right next to the road. When this happens I love to try and get them to blow their horn when they pass by pumping my hand with a closed fist up and down while I wave to them frantically. This one didn't hit the horn for me but there was another one that did see me and gave me a big blast of train horn. I love too do that! If you've never tried it you should. Just another way to say hi and have a nice day to a complete stranger.

I made it pretty much all the way south down to Deming without to much difficulty at all. Jim had left early from his home in the Phoenix area and we were going to meet up in Deming sometime around noon. I arrive about 20 minutes before Jim but eventually he pulled in …

We grabbed a bite to eat and started back towards Tucson and Phoenix. Temps gradually rose and the rain all but stopped and by the time we got to Phoenix it was 79 degrees and sunny. Go figure…. what a contrast to this mornings weather.
Overall not a bad day considering how it might have turned out if the weather had become a problem.

I'll be spending a few days riding the local area here with Jim (Arizona16) and hopefully Ken (Kwthom) before getting back on the road towards California later in the week.

Thankful to be resting tonight in Peoria, Arizona

Back to Road Trips

Back to

To Continue reading click here for March 12 and beyond