Saturday, June 16, 2012

Over the mountains and through the desert

Nick and Fleiksa, our host and hostess in Northridge, Calif., kindly let David and I keep our motorcycles in their garage over the winter. They enjoy English Springer Spaniels and have kept a pair for decades, giving them nautical names, such as Flotsam and Jetsam, and replacing them with a new generation when they pass.

At about five minutes to six Monday morning, young Navi, the latest pup to join the family, burst through the door to the room where I was sleeping, barking at the top of her voice, while joyously wagging her tail, having apprehended a burglar. Unfortunately, there are no snooze buttons on spaniels and I got an early start.

Young Navi, the pup at right, is identifiable by the
white"Devil's horns" markings on top of her head.
That's me with the socks, one of which she had
hidden in the back yard.

David and I spent Monday getting the V-Stroms ready to ride. "You have to watch out for the dogs," David said after a piece of plastic tubing he was using to bleed his brakes disappeared. "They move stuff."

None of my things went missing until the next morning when I was packed up and ready to leave. I took off my rubber slippers to put on my boots only to discover there was only one sock where minutes before there were two.

After an all-hands search, the missing sock was located in the back yard and I was set to go.

My route was over the San Gabriel Mountains and out past San Bernardino to Joshua Tree National Park. David planned a ride to San Diego to visit friends before joining Daniel and me in Las Vegas on June 18 or 19.

My route took me from Northridge (A) through the Angeles National
Forest past San Bernardino and Palm Springs to the Yucca Valley
entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.
The San Gabriel Mountains above Pasadena were scarred by fire but
bright with wild flowers.
My highest point on California 2 through the Angeles Forest was at the
Dawson Sadlle pass, well over a mile above sea level.
Stopping for a cold drink on California 2, I met a couple who were
out exercising their lovingly restored MGB roadster.
When I stopped for lunch at a Del Taco restaurant near San Bernardino,
where a crowd of bicyclist piled out of a fleet of vans and got ready to
debark on a ride to Washington, D.C., part of a Push America
Journey of Hope
fund raiser by the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity that started
in San Francisco.

driving I-10 through Palm Springs was like being in a
convection oven, but I escaped up California 62 to
Morongo Valley, where a local resident, whose wit was
sharper than his spelling, displayed this political statement.

Joshua Tree National Park's desert landscape is punctuated by
curvaceous rock formations shaped by wind and rain. At an elevation
of 4,400 feet, the Jumbo Rock's Campground was much cooler than
nearby Twentynine Palms, where I had dinner before making camp.

I made camp with the help of a sturdy Joshua tree, leaving the rain fly
off the tent to maximize air flow, and pitching the nylon tarp that I hope
will provide shade in future campsites. I awoke at 1:30 a.m. when the
temperature dropped into the 70s, found a blanket and marveled at
the stars shining in the clear sky.

After breaking camp, I stopped for breakfast in
Twentynine Palms and headed north toward
Amboy through the little oasis of Wonder Valley.

That palm tree at Wonder Valley isn't real. It's a cell phone tower.
I'd seen cell towers disguised as pine trees, but this was a first for me.

My route to Las Vegas took me through the Mojave Desert National
Preserve, through the tiny towns of Kelso and Cima.

The road through the desert was neither perfectly level, perfectly
straight nor perfectly empty -- but almost.

1 comment:

  1. Love that Palm tree/Cell phone tower! The Mojave is foreboding. Did you see any wild life?