California Cruising
Dates: August 17th - Oct 5th' 2018

Road Trip Background:

I will be taking another cruise out to California on the Wing on August 17th and returning in the first week in October. Primary reason will be to visit my daughter and grandkids again (She is stationed at Vandenberg AFB). My wife will be flying out again to join me for the visit. Plan to take a more northerly route out this time. This time I will not be stopping in Arkansas or Arizona for a few days to ride with friends but instead will ride straight there with planned stops in KC Missouri area, Denver, Co, Ely, Nevada and possibly Tracy, California on my way into Vandenberg AFB. Never know what's going to happen or what adventure you'll find out on the open road so figured I'd journal the experience anyway …. who knows I just might have something profound to say lol.

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

Friday - August 17' 2018

Well, after changing my mind back and forth on which of my two motorcycles I would ride out this time to the left coast I ended up back on the Wing. I “needed” to take my V-Strom out, since I haven't been riding that one all that much, but I finally gave in to what I "wanted" to ride and that was the Wing for obvious reasons. 1,800 miles playing around in Arkansas curves on the Wing last week and now another 5,000 + miles needed to run out to California and back … yeah … the Wing should do. Point and Twist the throttle. it’s made for those kind of miles.

Having had no significant rainfall in our area here in Dover Tennessee for weeks on end it was a given that the day I was to roll would be the opposite. Forecast was for 90% rain with gusty winds and small hail being possible. Lovely. Fortunately, as is frequently the case, forecasts are usually good for entertainment value only and have no basis in reality. Such was the case today. The rain chances diminished early morning with most of the rain moving through overnight. This brought a smile to my face as I mounted up this am …
With the dire forecast for rain today I had planned to stay on the Freeway but I did slide off around Rend Lake in Illinois on to some secondary roads to get around St. Louis a way I hadn't been before and just for a change of pacerendlake2or a change of Turned into a beautiful day …
After lunch it was back to the freeway and the rest of the way into Lone Jack, Missouri where my buddy Robert lives. We're going to get together with a bunch of our old IBM work buddies and go out and have a few colds one tonight for old times sake. Can't have too many as I remember the last time I came through here on a road trip I over did it and the long boring ride through the Kansas flat land to Denver the next day was extra tough with a swollen head.

No swollen heads tonight … We called it an early night tonight but we did squeeze in one or two and caught up with each other.
Robert to the left - George on my right and Ken on my left. Great friends! Good to see them again although briefly.

Resting tonight in Lone Jack, Missouri

Saturday - August 18' 2018

Up early and on the road west out of KC by 6:00 a.m. There's not much to be said for the route between KC and Denver along Interstate 70. I've done it many many times over the years and just about all of them have been an exercise in sheer boredom, heat and wind management. Surprisingly, I had little to none of that today … except for the boredom.
If Highway 50 in Nevada, which I'll be on in a couple of more days, is nicknamed "American's Loneliest Highway" This stretch of interstate can easily be classified as "The most Boring highway in America".

Nothing to do or even take a picture of as you rattle off mile after mile with nothing on the horizon to even look at. I refused the temptation to take another picture of those stupid Wind Fans on the several Wind farms along the route although they are the only significant structure you will find. There is really nothing to do but observe the weather build up gradually all around you as some summer storms begin to take shape …
The morning was cool and comfortable but as noon and early afternoon rolled around the temps began to rise into the low 80's. That was short lived however thanks to the cloud cover and the occasional sprinkling of rain which cool things down nicely into the mid 70's. I was also very happy that the Wind never became an issue at all on this crossing which was a real surprise. I can't tell you how many times I've ridden this stretch leaning over at what felt like a 45 degree angle just to keep the bike on the road.

I'm wising I had a little more time built into this ride which would afford me some time to deviate a little and explore some but that's not the case this time. Looking forward to tomorrow going through Colorado and Utah … hoping the weather continues to cooperate.

Resting tonight in Denver, Colorado

Sunday - August 19' 2018

It was a conspiracy I tell ya. The great riding, the curvy roads, the scenery and the outstanding weather today here in Colorado all conspired to convince me this morning that I had to find a way to take advantage of being where I was at. Surely I wasn't going to just continue down the stupid interstate. I seized upon the fact that I had built into my schedule for this road trip a 1 day buffer just in case I needed it. Given the situation and how I was feeling this morning I felt it was well worth spending that extra day and spending it here in Colorado …. I exited Interstate 70 at Georgetown and hit a road that Ron (1096Dad on the forum) told me about … this was my reward…
This was taken along Guanella Pass - Highway 381 south out of Georgetown, Colorado. It eventually joins up with Highway 285. No center line but paved all the way and fairly decent condition with some beautiful scenery. They were having a biking event today and signs suggested there would be 45 minute delays but I was early and got through before the bike race took place.
The road on the South side had been paved recently and was much better although still no centerline.

I continue on south and then turned west on Highway 50 towards Montrose which I have enjoyed many times over the years. It doesn't matter how many times you ride these roads they never disappoint and the scenery is spectacular.
After getting through Montrose and turning south it was time to enjoy the Million Dollar Highway again ….
The story book town of Ouray, Colorado

What an absolutely perfect day of riding. Temps ranged mostly from upper 60's to mid 70's at most elevations. So nice to ride without all the heat of summer time beating down on you.

These types of days on the road are so very special and unique. They make it very difficult for me to put into words to share just how wonderful the riding experience was today. I was literally lost in a paradise of riding bliss and I was so happy that I took the time to just enjoy this present moment doing freely what I love to do. Nothing was on my mind all day long … no worries …. nothing …. except just being one with creation and taking in one turn and one breathtaking view after another. It truly doesn't get any better than this and if I could take a day of riding and put it in a bottle to save for a rainy day this would be that day.

However, it got even better. Ron and Jeanette were in Durango for a few days and invited me to come by and have dinner with them and stay the evening at the place they were staying at in Durango. They live in Montrose but Jeanette as doing some work this week in Durango and they had the room. We enjoyed a great dinner that Jeanette prepared and we talked and visited quite a bit afterwards. They even made me eat Peach pie with Ice Cream too. Awesome! I also managed to drool over Ron's new 2018 Goldwing. Man what a beauty and Ron says he really likes it a lot. I sure hope when I pull out of here in the morning I take the correct Wing lol.

Thanks Ron and Jeanette for your hospitality.

Resting tonight in Durango, Colorado

Monday - August 20' 2018

Rise and Shine … What better way to start your riding day than taking in a leisurely ride through Mesa Verde National Park?
Very peaceful and serene.

I always find the early morning hours to be the very best time to enjoy some one on one time with myself. Being solo on a road trip like this reminds me how important it is for all of us to enjoy some solitude and just be present in the moment. Mesa Verde provided just the opportunity and all the right ingredients I needed to quiet my inner voice and just enjoy the start to the day and anticipate all the possibilities of how this day might unfold.
Coming back out of the park ….

I had decided I could make maybe one more landmark before i had to make a beeline to Jim's (Arizona16) house in the Phoenix area by days end. I chose to scoot up to Utah and take in Monument Valley before heading back south. There was a noticeable haze and some smokey cloud cover (probably thanks to some of those California Wildfires) that hung in the air but overall I was still able to get a few goods pics of this magical site.
Coming back out of the park was nice Next Stop …. Monument ValleyIMG_7016
After saying good bye to Monument Valley I pressed on south by the most direst route. I had lost most of my free roaming riding time and now had to stay on the most direct route to the Phoenix area. The bad news was that the temps were starting to soar and the only relief in sight was that maybe some of these clouds would form up for a nice afternoon shower to cool things down some. If not that at least the clouds would provide some much needed shade from the sun.
By late in the afternoon I got my wish. There was severe weather close to my route from Flagstaff to Phoenix but I never caught any direct rain and was able to skirt the worse of it by the time I slide down in to the hot oven that is Phoenix.
WELCOME to Phoenix, Arizona

I was hot and tired once I arrived at Jim's house but after a quick clean up we got a chance to meet up with Lanny (Biglefti on the Forum). I always enjoy so much meeting new people and riders.
We had a great visit together while taking in dinner. Left to right Jim, me and Lanny. Lanny does a lot of riding too and is also about to head out on a road trip in a few days going up the California coast to Oregon and Washington. Great guy … always nice to put a face with a forum handle. Enjoyed it …..

Man …. I'm beat ….. hope to make it into Vandenberg AFB, California by the end of the riding day tomorrow.

Resting tonight in Peoria, Arizona

Tuesday - August 21' 2018

The more days on the road the shorter each sleep cycle becomes it seems. I got as much sleep as I could and was back up early so I could take Jim (Arizona16) and Candi out to get a good breakfast before I headed out. We ate our fill at "The Place" and I was on the road for the final leg into Vandenberg AFB in California by about 7:30 a.m. There was just a little rain around in the morning but the hope for more in order to keep the temps down quickly faded and it was blue sky with a hot sun beating down all day as I crossed into California on I-10. Temps got back up to about 106 degrees … yuck … but the good news this time through was that there wasn't enough wind to create any dust storms and I appreciated that. It was windy some and hazy but the heat was the main enemy I had to stay ahead of. That meant frequent stops due to the vast quants of water needed just to stay hydrated. The other joy was the traffic on the interstate and the congestion and traffic slow downs all through the LA basin but I managed my way through.

Finally … I made it to the left coast and was riding along the ocean on Highway 101 enjoying a much cooler temperature of 77 degrees.
Highway 101 heading towards Santa Barbara.

There's nothing better than when a plan comes together and you accomplished what you set out to do. 5 days covering 2,676 miles has finally brought me to my most precious treasures … Grandkids. As I pull into the garage they rushed out and jumped up on me and the bike. I didn't even get a chance to take my helmet off before I was mobbed.
Now if their Mom would only let them ride on the back of the Wing. Seems I have to wait until they turn 10 years old before that right of passage occurs. I'm so looking forward to that. In the meantime there will be plenty of Dolls and Lego's to keep us busy.

What a great ride out and the Wing performed flawlessly as always. As this Wing ages (currently 132K on this one) I'm getting concerned it will be time for a new battery and alternator soon. I may even just go ahead and replace the battery while I'm out here before I go back just for peace of mind. The original one has lasted 5 years to this point and I don't want to push it any more.

That's all I'll be blogging until I return home in October however, like last time, I hope to have some day rides on the Wing while I'm here and if I do I'll post up in the thread followed by updating my web site. Highway 1 was closed near Ragged Point back in the Spring when I was last out here. It has since reopened so I hope to make another run further up the coast this time.

Let's be careful out there …

Resting and playing with kids and grandkids in California for the next couple of months

"California Day Trips" to continue to next page

Back to Road Trips

Back to HomePage