Since I started 1st Gear I knew my motorcycling trips would become a challenge, especially a California Motorcycle Trip. Getting away was proving to be difficult. It is best to plan ahead so you can prepare for such trips but this trip was special. It was not planned and everything came together as if it was planned twelve months in advance. Some things are just meant to be, this was one of them.

It all started back in June when a student asked me how she could get her motorcycle to Palm Springs (she winters there). She was a new rider so the option of riding it was daunting. I explained to her that shipping it would be the best way. Rather than choose one of those, she asked if I could ride it down. How could I say no?

Smash cut to September, I picked the weekend of September 13th to leave and I would take five days to get from Vancouver to Palm Springs. My route plan was about 2600kms which is an average of 650kms a day. My comfort range. All this went out the window as a very good group of friends I ride with decided to trailer (and truck) their bikes down to Redding the same weekend I was heading down. I hadn’t ridden with them all year so how could I pass it up? It was meant to be! There was available space in a truck which me and the 2002 Honda VFR fit in quite nicely.

For two nights and two days I rode some of the best highways California has to offer (Hwy 36, 299, 70, and La Porte Rd) with some of my most favorite people to ride with. At the end of third day I rode south to North Lake Tahoe. I spent the evening alone but not for long. My good friend Adam rode in from San Francisco and was going to meet me in Sonora. On my way down I rode through two incredible roads Hwy 89 (DH1) & 108. Adam and I had lunch in Sonora and decided to ride through Yosemite. Meeting up with Adam and riding some great roads all in last minute planning. It truly was meant to be!

We spent the night in Bishop which was a perfect point to have a quick ride through Death Valley. Death Valley was last on my list of places to ride through in California and I didn’t think it would be possible on this trip. I guess it was meant to be! This put my arrival time into Palm Springs a day early. I was ok with this as 2400kms is a good amount. In the 10 years I’ve spent riding it was the hottest days I’ve experienced. When I arrived in Palm Springs it was 109F/43C with 70% humidity. Gross! A cold shower and a cold beer never felt so good.

In Palm Springs my place to stay was beyond nice. I started to feel like this was some sort of dream. I guess it was just meant to be! Since I arrived a day early, I was in time for a overnight trip to LA. This included Hollywood Blvd, very cool bars, clubs, and a dress studio to the stars. The whole 24 hours felt like a episode of Entourage.

Back in Palm Springs I showed my student, Jen, the perfect hwy 74. It is close by and perfect for a quick ride. Further east for a slightly longer ride is the race track corners of Joshua Tree Nat’l Park. While Palm Springs may be in a desert, there are some very good options for a great ride.

All this had to come to an end eventually. Everything does return to the mean, which we know as reality! As I walked towards my plane I decided to grab a quick snack at a smoothie bar in the airport. As I waited in line a gorgeous woman in a yellow dress struck up a conversation with me and introduced herself. That never happens! From start to finish, this trip was incredible. I love to plan trips and I am quite good at it, but even this would have been unimaginable.

Never turn down potential trips and opportunities. Run with it, you really never know how they will turn out. So much changes over short periods of time, there is no point in limiting what opportunities are out there.

California Motorcycle Trip: Google Route Map

109F/43C with 70% humidity.

109F/43C with 70% humidity… Still wearing all my gear!

Rain in Palm Springs

Looks like I am headed for rain. I would welcome the cooler weather.

Somewhere in Tioga Pass Yosemite

Somewhere in Tioga Pass Yosemite

In & Out Burgers

Almost forgot to stop!

Hollywood

Hollywood

Hollywood

Hollywood

He can do bird calls and imitate Bela Lugosi

He can do bird calls and imitate Bela Lugosi!

Dalia MacPhee

I know nothing about womens clothing, especially dresses but this is amazing. Check out Dalia MacPhee.

Dalia Macphee

I know nothing about womens clothing, especially dresses but this is amazing. Check out Dalia MacPhee.

Horse Jumping

Ak! Wear a helmet! 😉

Rancho Polo

One of the rare moments I am on a horse.

Horses and Porsches

Horses and Porsches

Pre Ride Check

Pre Ride check before riding to some place called Death Valley

Lake Tahoe in Nevada

Lake Tahoe in Nevada

Chess Game in Nevada City

If you sit at the Chess Game table you have no choice but to play. I fought well but lost…

Trucking down to Redding

Trucking down to Redding

109F

109F

Death Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Palm Springs via Porsche

Palm Springs via Porsche

Off to LA

Off to LA

Roof top patio in LA

Roof top patio in LA. A nice place to enjoy the sunset

Jen and I enjoying the roof top patio

Jen and I enjoying the roof top patio

Hwy 36

Hwy 36

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA

Lunch time in Quincy CA

Lunch time in Quincy CA

La Porte Rd. Quincy CA Lee RideFar

Enjoying the moment on La Porte Rd

Wrong Way Down 2014

Wrong Way Down 2014

Frank loves Hwy 36

Frank loves Hwy 36

Tanya "reflecting" on La Porte Rd.

Tanya “reflecting” on La Porte Rd.

Forest Fire Smoke near Weed CA

Forest Fire Smoke near Weed CA

Tanya approves Hwy 36!

Tanya approves Hwy 36! It was her first ride in NorCal.

Dennis via La Porte Rd.

Dennis via La Porte Rd.

Quadtini

End of day cheers with our Quadtinis

Dean and I rolling in comfort down to Redding

Dean and I rolling in comfort down to Redding

Death Valley

Death Valley. Check!

More cheers!

More cheers!

Tanya