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.