Category - motorcycle

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Ride For Kids Dual Sport 2017
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Super Bloom hits Anza Borrego
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Babes Ride Out 4 Joshua Tree 2016
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Random Thoughts on America
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Day 19: California Here We Come!!
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Day 17 and 18: Bryce UT to Ely NV to Carson City NV. Hwy 50 The Loneliest Road in America
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Day 16: Reminds me of a Taylor Swift song…
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Day 15: Page AZ to Bryce UT
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Day 14: The Million Dollar Hwy Ouray, CO to Page AZ
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Day 13: Colorado Springs to Ouray CO

Ride For Kids Dual Sport 2017

Once again the Ride for Kids Dual Sport Ride was a huge success. We had not planned on going because we had the highly coveted camping reservations in Yosemite National Park. But the forecast for the park was to be 20 degrees and snowing, so we decided to skip it for this year.  Unfortunately none of our LABiker friends could join us so it would just be Frank and I riding. The weather was perfect: not too hot and not too cold. After the all important pancakes, raffles and Honda giveaways, there was also the Celebration of Life and the announcement that we raised over $53,000 this year!!  Way to go RFK task force leaders and fundraisers! I will not go into too many ride details this year other than I crashed way too many times and that takes it out of you.  I was tired, and tired of crashing.  We had so much rain this season so I am blaming it on the giant “swallow your bike” size ruts, and not my ability. I will give the top crash prize to Frank as he tried to ditch his bike over a cliff, and needed help from other guys and even used the straps to pull it back up the hill. Make sure to mark you calendar for every April to join the RFK Dual Sport that starts at Glen Helen Raceway, and takes you up into the mountains and around Lake Arrowhead for a great day of riding.  

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Super Bloom hits Anza Borrego

With the epic amount of rain that we finally got for the first time in over 5 yrs here in Southern California, there was no question that we would be taking a trip to the desert to see the flowers.  The question was where… We packed up the kids and headed to Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  We decided to head out on a Friday night (in traffic of course, this is LA) so we could stay near the park and avoid early crowds in case there was no parking. That paid off in spades because we were able to get up on Saturday morning, easily find parking, and go for a hike down Palm Canyon were there is a Palm Tree Oasis and water flowing from a spring.  It was amazing to see all the different flowers in bloom. Next on the docket was lunch in our favorite town that has pie: Julian. Today’s choice was apple rhubarb.  Then we headed back to see the amazing 130 full-sized metal sculptures of artist and welder Ricardo Breceda.  The art installation is inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years ago. The artworks range from prehistoric mammals to historical characters, fanciful dinosaurs, and a 350-foot-long fanciful serpent.  Read more about it here.  These were not here the last time I visited the park, so it was an unexpected bonus for the day. And the kids were actually impressed by them too! Anza Borrego, another thing I love about California.  It is a great place to take the family, and the Visitor Center is great too. Let’s hope it is not another 10 years before we go back to visit again.

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Babes Ride Out 4 Joshua Tree 2016

So what started out as two moto mamas wanting to invite some two-wheeled girlfriends from Instagram out for a moto-camping weekend in Borrego Springs in 2013, grew to a much larger gathering all because of social media.   From a turnout of 50 the first year to the dumbfounding growth of 1700 by the 4th year moving to Joshua Tree for expansion means the founders might be on to something for the future of women in motorcycling. I had heard about the Babes Ride Out event from a few friends and thought I would give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. Plus, I was embarrassed to admit that this CA native had never been to Joshua Tree. So I really needed to go. I was torn between taking my VFR, or the sidecar.  I wanted to show off the sidecar, and promote Ride for Kids, and I had a feeling there would not be too many sport bikes.  ( I later found out that I was right.  Almost no plastic was to be found)  Since I can’t lane split with the sidecar, I decided to take the VFR, and this meant finding a way to load camping gear on my sport bike. Luckily over the years I have become so much better at packing light, but it did look a little silly with all that gear strapped on. The only uncomfortable part was riding with a small backpack chair. At first it kept hitting my helmet and I couldn’t look up enough, so that would have been dangerous. Frank helped me get it situated and I was finally ready to hit the Friday night traffic on the dreaded 91. I unfortunately arrived in the dark, so it would not be until the next day that I would see all the beauty and oddity that was to be Babes Ride Out.  Luckily my friend Sara gave me great directions to the location of their campsite and I parked next to them.  I proceeded to walk down to the “village” area where there was food, drink, music and more.  This would be the location of all the activities for the weekend.  There was free 805 beer and Sailor Jerry, a Biltwell Brodeo, and mechanical bull riding contest, plus booths and fun from all the sponsors like Triumph Motorcycles , Progressive, Biltwell, ATWYLD, STANCE, Sailor Jerry, and 805 Beer,with support from Red Wing Heritage, Stetson, Vans Girls & House of Vans, SENA, Lowbrow Customs, Moto F.A.M, and more. Saturday morning came and sunrise meant I could revel in the enormous tent city that lay before me.  I banded together with my fellow campmates in fixing a quick breakfast and planning our route for the day.  There was a local art tour that we decided to go on, and we drove to a few galleries to enjoy the art, sculptures, and pottery from the local artists.  My favorite was the carved gourds with carved wood inserts. Utterly stunning and otherworldly.  I was also able to finally ride[…]

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Random Thoughts on America

OK, so here’s the situation, my parents went away on a weeks vacation…(bonus points if you just sang that in your head!) No really, here are my random thoughts about America and the things that I have seen on this trip.  There is a lot of road kill out there. I mean A LOT. We have it in California, but not even close to the plethora of dead animals that I have seen so far.  Skunks, raccoons, deer, opossums, birds, ground hogs?, and who knows what else…And the smell, well it is something special. The amount of corn that is growing in this country is incredible.  I got to thinking about how much corn and corn stuff we must eat and found out that Iowa State University’s Center for Crops Research Utilization by way of the National Corn Grower’s Association has a giant infographic showing every thing under the sun made with corn. Who knew?! There was a surprising lack of political posters and campaign signs.  I thought for sure I would see more, but in fact I saw almost none. Who is America voting for?? I have a feeling we will look back on this election of 2016 with many mixed thoughts about the 2 leading candidates. In California there is a helmet law. Many states do not. There are so many people out there who do not where helmets. I personally don’t like the idea of getting hit in the face by a small rock or bug at 70mph. I get that people like to “feel free” and “feel the wind on my face”.  But I like keeping my head protected. ATGATT!! I have met way to many people who refer to California as “Cali”.  I find this quite humorous. Plus all I can think about after they say it is that 1989 son by LL Cool J. I also love one of the Urban Dictionary definitions of Cali: ANNOYING word that people who dont live in california use when talking about california, and think they are cool saying it. seriously inlanders, stfu and just say california instead. Eating on the road is not healthy.  Way too much salt. There were some days when I felt my fingers were and toes were like giant sausages.  It was difficulty to find fruits and veggies in the middle of nowhere, but there was always a Dairy Queen. There are some really amazing and nice people in the United States.  I met so many people that were so sweet and genuine, and really enjoyed talking to them about the bike, the trip and everything. And the few times we needed repairs or help, everyone was fantastic about helping us out. It is a really big country.  I was on the road for over 22 days, and feel that I haven’t even scratched the surface on traveling in the US.  There is so much to see, and I tried to make more side trips to other things but just didn’t have the time. You could easily[…]

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Day 19: California Here We Come!!

  The big day had finally arrived. I couldn’t believe that it was already the last day. I felt like I had been on the road for months, yet still surprised it was already almost over. I was also a bit bummed that I hadn’t been able to spend more time getting to know more of my fellow riders. Since I was often late getting started, and slower than most of the groups, I was usually by myself on the road, and feel I missed out on more face time with people.  I had met so many amazing people on this trip, and we had become this odd family on a strange family vacation.  And I strangely wanted more of it. The main goal of today’s ride was to get to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, to a staging area for a group photo.  After leaving the hotel in Carson City NV, our GPS took us quickly over the mountain toward Lake Tahoe.  Holy Crap did it get really cold, really fast! We were not expecting that and eventually we couldn’t take it anymore and put on an extra layer. The only thing that distracted me from the intense shivering was how ridiculously beautiful the day was turning out. Clear blue skies and sunshine, and the good to be back home in California feeling. We stopped at Donner Pass to take some pictures, but decided against having a snack. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). We didn’t stay long though, due to a sense of urgency.  We couldn’t afford to waste time or we would miss the photo. Alisa, our rider leader had made picture time at 2:30 sharp. If you weren’t there, you weren’t in the photo. The area around Donner Pass and Donner Lake was beautiful, and it looked like we had just missed a triathlon competition, and the road closed signs were being moved out of our way. If you are ever in that area make sure to stop by the Donner Pass Memorial. There is a monument that shows how deep the snow was that fateful winter that many people died. It really is quite striking. Out next stop was for lunch at A&S Motorcycles in Roseville, where they were hosting an early BBQ lunch for us. Apparently radical temperature changes was also on the menu. (The rest of the way into bay area the temps really heated up.) I was looking forward to a break and some water. We pulled in and there were SO MANY BIKES AND PEOPLE.  Tons of motorcyclists were there to support us and some to join us on the final leg of our journey. We pulled in to park, hadn’t even turned the engines off, and people were coming up and taking pictures of us and the kids. Lots of excitement from everyone. But once again, we couldn’t dilly dally, so we ate quickly, did a little bit of socializing, then time to get moving.  We needed to[…]

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Day 17 and 18: Bryce UT to Ely NV to Carson City NV. Hwy 50 The Loneliest Road in America

Long stretches of desolation abound, be sure to watch your fuel and know you can make it to the next known stop. Take snacks and lots of water.-Sister’s Centennial Ride Guide Book This is the first sentence, or I guess I should say the gentle warning in our guide books.  Highway 50 in Nevada has it’s claim to fame written on the signs you see along the way. “The Loneliest Road in America”  So that is what we are up against for two days.  Our guide book even says: Get gas wherever it is available. Stations are far apart. Very Straight Stretches interrupted by mountain passes.  There were multiple sections where we would crest a mountain pass or go around a curve to see what seemed like an endless line that disappeared at the horizon, like someone had painted it on the ground in front of us, just to taunt us. “Look how much farther you have to go, then when you get there, you have to go even farther”   It was very lonely. It was very desolate. There was a good 400 miles of hwy 50 in Nevada, that make Nebraska and Kansas look like they are overpopulated metropolitans. We would drive for an hour and see nothing. Then there would be a dirt road with a sign noting a town in that direction, 68 miles.  What?  Who lives out here? I often wonder what drives someone to live so far away from the rest of civilization. Maybe it’s because it is not so civil…who knows.  Either way that is one hell of a commute to get to the grocery store.  Nevada did a smart touristy/marketing thing and they have this cute little booklet they call the HWY 50 Survival Guide, and you collect stamps like a passport, to the locations along Hwy 50. then you mail in the card and get a certificate and prize.  Makayla was all over that. Near the Nevada Utah border, we made a stop at Great Basin National Park, and they have a separate area and visitor center for the Lehman Caves. We were going to take a cave tour but all the tours were sold out for the day.  Apparently there was a cave convention staying in Ely, NV. I admit I wasn’t expecting that. I guess there is a convention for everything. So no luck on the cave tour, but we got our first stamp in the passport book. Every now and then you will see small signs indicating that this road used to be the Pony Express. I learned that it only around for 18 months.  Other notable stops along the way included the famous shoe tree near Middlegate, NV. The fact that there is a huge tree out in the middle of nowhere is isn’t odd enough, people hang shoes on the tree. apparently it is a well known tree.  I only  heard about it that morning, but no one could tell me why the shoes.  Stopping for[…]

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Day 16: Reminds me of a Taylor Swift song…

In the 1980’s I loved Debbie Gibson. She wrote and sang her own songs, and played piano. So I have to admit that if I was a young teen today, I would probably love Taylor Swift. ( I am not saying I don’t like a lot of her songs now…but that’s not the point…)  Before this cross country trip started, I joked with a few people that this trip kind of reminded me of some lyrics of a Taylor Swift song.  “It’s either going to be fantastic, or it’s going to go down in flames!”  I took creative license and changed the line ever so slightly. I did not know that today the part about the flames would actually come true. The four of us were all going to ride together on the Shadow and sidecar and go to Zion. Frank and I had been to Zion before but were not able to hike the Narrows, so we were looking forward to it today. We got up, had breakfast, and got our gear on, and hopped on the bike, with me driving. I drove literally 10 feet out of our parking spot, when all of a sudden smoke starts coming up from between my legs. (Hold your comments to your self, I did not have a case of Montezuma’s Revenge, or some new STD…it was worse) It took me half a second to realize this was bad, and I hit the kill switch. We both jump off and Frank yanks off the left side plastic cover to find flames and more smoke coming from the area above the battery. Frank is trying to put out the flames, I run around and start yanking the snaps off the sidecar cover, and yelling to the kids to “get out now!”.  Makayla, my little bookworm, was already engrossed in a book and oblivious to the possible danger. While I yelled at them to get far away and sit on the nearby grass, Frank was desperately trying to prevent our ride and it’s full tank of gas from bursting into flames. I think I heard him yell for someone to bring a fire extinguisher.  I found out later that one of the other riders actually punched the glass case to get the fire extinguisher out of the case to bring it over to us! How amazing is that? I am surrounded by super women on this ride. The good news is that Frank was able to stop the flames without the fire extinguisher. The problem was that over time the wires leading to the positive side of the battery had been rubbing on the metal frame of the motorcycle, and it wore off the protective cover.  We are guessing that the extra weight of both of us on the bike seat caused the wire to get pinched down on the metal and caused a spark. The red plastic cover over the battery terminal melted, and the wire harness completely broke. Fortunately I travel with[…]

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Day 15: Page AZ to Bryce UT

Yesterday was one of our longest days, today would be one of our shortest.  Again our goal was to get up early and try to beat the heat.  We drove over the “I hope you are not afraid of heights bridge” that leads out of Page. (OK it has a real name, Glen Canyon Bridge) My picture doesn’t do it justice. It really is a deep canyon, and I am sure some people get the heebee jeebies going over that bridge. Frank and I went our separate ways not too far out of town.  He decided to go down a dirt road. I decided I didn’t want to bounce around excessively, so we stayed on the hwy, with the plan to meet up in Bryce. Let’s be honest, I don’t think anyone intended for that Shadow, the sidecar or the trailer to go off road. The kids and I kept moving and eventually stopped just north of Kanab at Moqui Cave. A total tourist trap, but we all loved it.  The name comes from Moqui (or Moki), which some archeologists believe to be an ancient tribe in the Anasazi-Hopi area at an unknown time period. It was rediscovered by white settlers in the 19th century, and served as a speakeasy in the 1920s during Prohibition. In 1951, the cave was purchased by Laura and Garth Chamberlain, who opened a tavern and dance hall the following year. Garth played professional football for the Pittsburg Steelers in the 1940s, later he also worked as a stunt double and extra in many western movies that were filmed in the UT area. He rehabilitated the cave and started collecting fossils and artifacts from his travels.  It currently has 3 big rooms, one that displays all the old bar decor and posters and memorabilia. a second room has a large display of ultraviolet fluorescent rocks, this was the favorite for the kids. Spencer now has a favorite rock, Atomic Slag, from West Virginia.  It glows bright neon green under UV light. That was a fun little stop. We met up with Frank, had a quick lunch, then on to Bryce canyon. We hit the Bryce Canyon visitors Center, then went for a hike down the trail to the bottom of the canyon. We had been here once before almost 16 years ago, but did not have the chance to hike to the bottom of the canyon. So glad that we did this time. Again, pictures don’t do it justice. We did the Queens Garden Trail from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point. We were staying at Ruby’s Inn, and they were also celebrating their Centennial, what a coincidence. After hiking we were really looking forward to a quick dunk in the pool before dinner. What we got was a swim in the worlds coldest pool. It was like torture, I tried to swim a couple of laps, but my jaw was literally chattering from the me being so cold. Hot tub time. Then I dared Spencer to jump back in to the pool[…]

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Day 14: The Million Dollar Hwy Ouray, CO to Page AZ

We had a long day ahead of us, as this would be one of our longest days at over 330 miles, as well as a day with the most dramatic landscape changes, and variety.  Our plan was to get up early, have breakfast and get going.  The city of Ouray looks like a little town you would find in the Swiss Alps.  I was bummed we were only there for a short time. We departed, surrounded by the Colorado Rockies,  and it was cool and, are you ready…it started to rain. We donned our rain gear and hit the steep turns leading out of town. The San Juan Scenic Byway (US Route 550), more frequently referred to as the Million Dollar Highway, offered lots of steep and tight, twists and turns through red mountains and craggy peaks as it took us down through the town of Silverton, where we saw the old remnants of a mining company. In Durango, we actually got to see a steam locomotive.  At first when I saw the blackish smoke I thought a diesel truck was spewing up ahead. Then there was more and more, and it looked like something was on fire in the middle of the road. We finally got closer and saw that it was a train going down the track. I bet that was quite a sight to see back in the day, as that monster spewed black smoke coming down the line.  We grabbed some sandwiches and continued our ride to Four Corners. We made a quick stop at Mesa Verde National Park to look at the Visitor’s Center. The kids were tired and did not want to go drive up to the Indian cliff dwellings, plus we had a lot of miles to go, so we moved on. That will be a great place to visit when we come back! The weather got warmer, as did the colors of the landscape. By the time we arrived at the intersection of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico the desert heat was sweltering. We took the obligatory photo of us in 4 states, and looked around at all the vendors selling indian jewelry, pottery and art.   The temperature really started to heat up, and we needed to find some water to get our cooling vests wet. There are only port a potties at the four corners site, so we took off in search of the nearest gas station or anything. Luckily it was not too far we were able to gas up, get water and Gatorade, and dunk the cooling vests for the next leg of the journey. In the parking lot we chatted with an Indian man who was admiring the sidecar. He warned us about driving on the 160, to be on the lookout for horses and cattle.  We went less than a 1/4 mile when we see 2 horses sauntering across the highway without a care in the world. Once again we had great luck with the[…]

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Day 13: Colorado Springs to Ouray CO

Today’s journey took us away from Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak, and led us over another high peak, Monarch Pass, at 11312 ft.  The sidecar rig chugged up that big hill pulling the weight, but we made it. The ski lift there was running to take summer visitors up for hiking and biking, but we kept moving on. We made sure to stop at the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, National Park. Very dramatic cliff views similar to the Grand Canyon.  The type of lookouts that give you a hint of vertigo when you are at the edge holding onto the rail. More twists and turns brought us to Ouray, the “Switzerland of America”. I must admit that driving through town was not easy. The road was tilted down to the right, so I had to really fight to keep the bike going in a straight line.  We finally arrived at the Twin Peaks Lodge, a picture postcard setting, and this hotel even had its own hot springs. The swimming pool was like heaven. We are already talking about coming back here. An absolutely gorgeous spot to relax and do nothing…or ride your motorcycle. Now that Frank is with us for the rest of the trip home, we should have some more photos. It is nice to have your own personal photographer help document the trip.  

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