The roar of rushing water drowns out the muted sounds of nearby campers as I stare upward following the pattern of the bark of tall pine trees touching the sky. At some 9,000 feet, the dots perforating the sky, those inspiring and twinkling stars, seem that much closer. Though I feel funny sitting in front of this LCD screen as the embers of my fire fade to the sound of pop, crackle and the odd snap. Today’s ride, from the fogged in coast of north county San Diego, though the weekend madness of the inland empire, I traveled some 150 miles before 14 lines funneled down to two, and the roadside clutter finally disappeared.
Eager to get off the slab and find a one or two lane road!
Soon Joshua cactus trees towered, and sage brush disappeared into the horizon and the dimpled and neatly folded hills of distant mountains appeared across the umber desert. And I’m back on my motorcycle.
I have a bit of a hard time with travel by bike these days. First, it takes too long to get anywhere interesting. Second, even when it’s interesting, my mind drifts to Wadi Rum, Ethiopia, the Nile River and the Sudan. So I learn to look closer and get in tune. My ride across the Mojave was marked by killing a few liters of water and feeling the motion and rhythm of a packed motorcycle.
Though I just passed through these roads a month or so back in a car, on motorcycle the scenery, other cars and trucks and the commercial establishments that appear and then fade all take on a new dimension. It’s perspective combined with awareness. In the car I don’t really know how hot it is until I get out. Music fills the space and tinted windows filter the sunlight. On the bike it’s me, the road whizzing by at speed and the wind and everything it carries with it is in my face. If I stop, the temperature surges. When I cruise, I’m comfortable.
The short little journey is a bit of a reunion tour. You see I’m meeting Jeremiah, aka Miah. For regular readers of my world travelers, you might remember him as I traveled south through Mexico. I then reunited with him just a week before the fateful day my bike slid out from under me on a rutted muddy road on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia. I broke my leg badly that day, and had to call it quits to my journey—that is, until I returned many months later and continued for another two years.
Jeremiah is heading from Durango, Colorado through the amazing southern Utah deserts, through Vegas and Death Valley. Had I departed earlier today I might have caught up with him at Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park. But traveling, for me and by motorcycle, takes a warm up period. So while he baked in 116 degree heat and finally set up camp at perhaps the lowest place on earth, I’m hanging in the shadow of the tallest mountain peak in the Continental United States, or as my friends in public service might say, CONUS.
I look forward to riding again with Jeremiah. It’s a short stint, but we’re on a bit of photo odyssey. I hope to share images with you as we take in some of the best of the Sierra Nevada mountains and surrounding areas.
I finally found a dirt road that looped off the main highway. Closest I could come to real adventure today!
Hot days like these requires a lot of hydration.
Classic roadside signage in Lone Pine, California
Camping near the portals of Mount Whitney outside Lone Pine, California
291 miles traveled
Moving Average 61.1 mph
Moving Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 6 minutes
wish I had average and high/low temps!