Friday, May 20, 2011

Adventure's end...

With our most excellent adventure complete, It's time to reflect on the journey....

Most triumphant place visited:
Ben: Zion National Park, Utah. The only place in the trip that elicited loud profanities from me while riding my motorcycle!
Fran: Yosemite National park. the waterfalls were like something out of a fairy tale, dramatic and fantastical.
Justin: Zion or the Grand Canyon. Zion was an awesome ride, but the Grand Canyon was breathtaking.

Best Hotel:
Ben: The Santa Maria Inn. Not the most modern, but easily the most lavish and characterful.
Fran: ditto, the most personality and charm all wrapped into one old real hotel, not a motel!
Justin: The historic Santa Maria Inn and the Hotel at Yosemite in El Portal (giant bathtub!)

Best Meal :
Ben: Delicious and abundant sushi dinner at St. George Utah, served by the chattiest waitress ever.
Fran:French toast and syrup. Followed closely by the sushi in Utah.
Justin: The Samurai 21 sushi rolls were great, the 'street tacos' at the Mexican restaurant at the Grand Canyon is a close second.

Most excellent American:
Ben: The old man in the hotel lobby at the Utah best Western who suggested we eat at the "Chuck-o-Rama" because it had "good food for guys on two wheels... I ride a hog! An Electroglide!"
Fran: Waitress in Utah, as she had the ability to talk more and faster than me. Respect.
Justin: All of the many gas station attendants who gave us good directions all over the place, from LA to Utah and Arizona.

Best Route:
Ben: Valley of Fire National park. It was hot, but relaxing and amazing scenery (There have been lots of great routes but a lot of them have not been what I'd call relaxing).
Fran: Route 66 of course, coming into Amboy gas station, with a freight train passing and it's lonely windswept neglect was inexplicably satisfying.
Justin: Route 66 at Amboy was cool, and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge was great, even if the weather wasn't!

Most memorable moment:
Fran: riding out of death valley towards lone pine as a lightning storm raged behind us.
Justin: Riding through the Snow and ice at the Grand Canyon was pretty unforgettable, but the best memory is some of those lonely roads through the desert where there was nothing else in the world but me, my best buddy, his best girl, and our motorcycles....
Ben: Same as Justin's... Unsurprisingly.

Best purchase:
Ben: My hideous brown Yosemite rain jacket. My awesome mesh Icon jacket turned out to be less than ideal for the FREAK RAINSTORMS we encountered.. This humble garment worn on top of it made me water and windproof and therefore comfortable, although looking like a brown Mr Incredible.
Fran: my fannypack (ben loves his too) it's practical on the bike and is still funny every time we say the word "fannypack".
Justin: My Route 66 hoodie. I would have frozen to death without it!

To our friends who have followed our most excellent adventure, remember: "be excellent to each other" and "party on dudes!"

...and who knows, there may be a sequel in the works...

Oh and the final "I love your accent" count was 6.5 - not bad!

*update*: Forgot to mention, when we returned the bikes, the final mileage was just under 2900 miles (@4600 kms)

Location:Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Harley Bear may have found his new a lifeguard on malibu beach!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blue sky!

As we continued down the coast we encountered some warm blue skies at last! The first since Death Valley!

A lunch stop at Cayucos gave us a view of a windy but much friendlier Pacific Ocean than that we saw yesterday...

Did we mention it was windy?

Tonight we're staying at the famous historical 94 year old Santa Maria Inn...

Location:Santa Maria, CA

Grey skies

Our ride down the California coast was accompanied by grey skies and an angry sea that looked more like the leaden North Atlantic than the gentle Pacific Ocean.

We did pass through Castroville - "the artichoke capital of the world"! Whoohoo!

Location:Salinas, CA

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wacky weather

The weather report tells me it's about 15 degrees (C) today where normally it would be about 26 degrees. Sheesh.

Nevertheless, San Francisco is a beautiful city and if you're up this way go eat at Chef Jia's on Kearny Street In China Town - delicious!
(although there was no sign of Lo Pan or Egg Chen)

Today we start the ride down the Pacific Coast Highway, which will be nice....if we can get a little more sun and less rain!

Location:San Francisco, CA

Monday, May 16, 2011

By the Bay

Hit San Francisco this morning, just ahead of the rain. Everyone we talk to can't believe how unseasonably cold and wet is has suddenly turned and assures us it was warm and wonderful last week!

Riding across the Golden Gate Bridge was a definite highlight, even if the sky was grey. We ventured down to fisherman's wharf for lunch and a wander, from where we could see 'the rock' and the famous sea lions.

Location:San Francisco, CA

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wrong side of the road

Driving on the wrong side of the road has been much easier than I expected. I guess all those hours playing Grand Theft Auto have really paid off!

Now I'm worried when I get home I'll be trying to drive on the right....

Location:Liberty City

View from the saddle

Location:The open road

Sad fact

It's a sad sign that I was playing too much Fallout:New Vegas before heading off on holiday, but whenever I see the California state flag, the bear looks like it has one head too few...

We rode through Sonoma today, the place where the California Republic flag was created...

Location:New California Republic

It's mountain cold!

The biggest ride of the trip today, some 400 miles (600+ kms) to get from Lone Pine to Yosemite. As the Tioga pass is closed and full of snow, we had to take the long southern detour around Sequouia National Park, passing through Bakersfield and Fresno.

The largely long and boring freeway ride was rewarded with the beautiful (but mountain cold!) views of Yosemite and the Merced river.

And Harley caught up with some distant relatives....

Navigating sans GPS - aka 'old school' - has been relatively trouble free, although we've had the occasional misstep...

Location:Yosemite National Park, CA

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Valley of Deeeeaaaaath

When they said it was hot, they weren't kidding! I'm glad we didn't come through Death Valley in the summertime!

Riders and bikes struggling in the heat, we saw some beautiful scenery and a visit to Badwater, the lowest point in the western hemisphere - 85 meters below sea level.

Leaving Death Valley some clouds started rolling in and (mercifully) dropped the temperature to something much more bearable....

Location:Death valley, NV

Blogger probs

Seems blogger has been acting up, not displaying posts etc....


Friday, May 13, 2011

Sad sight

Saddest sight in Nevada, people playing poker machines at a gas station (a gas station less than a mile from a casino no less). Does anyone really need to gamble that badly?




Vegas is amazing, tacky, sleazy and sad all at the same time. Along with the amazing casinos and architecture like the Luxor, there is still an underlying depressing vibe of desperation. Not many of the gamblers looked like they were actually having fun...

Funniest sign in Vegas - a strip club offering a mothers day discount!

P.S.: Harris, if you're reading this, no luck at roulette mate!

Location:Las Vegas, Nevada

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hawt weather

Having survived hurricane-like winds, cold overcast weather and snow, today was true desert weather - Hot! Hot! Hot!

Riding through the Valley of Fire National Park, the red earth and rocks reminded me of Australia, and the temperature reminded me of an Aussie summer!

Our bikes and bodies melting in the desert heat, we headed on over to the impressive Hoover Dam...

Tonight we're in Vegas......

Location:Las Vegas, NV

Vegas bound

Next stop...Las Vegas.

If this is the last blog entry it's because we lost everything gambling...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Samurai 21!

As we checked in an old guy (who proudly told us he was a Harley rider) and his wife pointed us in the direction of a local Japanese restaurant. Although somewhat dubious about sushi in the desert, we couldn't resist and ended up with the best meal of the trip so far....


Location:St George, Utah


Today began in a most excellent fashion, with the creation of delicious waffles...

Filled with pasty goodness, our fearless heroes set off into the wilds of Utah, only for Utah to show us no love with cold overcast weather...

However after a visit to a Chinese restaurant our luck (and the weather) began to change as our fortunes (and the sun) were revealed...

Bouyed with sage advice from the mysterious oriental cookies, we saddled up and headed towards Zion national park, with a short stop at Glen Canyon dam.

Before hitting Zion, we detoured through the beau Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Reserve.

After surviving the desert, our intrepid adventurers road on to the incredible Zion National Park...

Which was totally rocked by our most excellent air guitar!

Location:St George, Utah