I headed South on the Hwy 1 for a while, it was gorgeous as always.
Unfortunately part of the highway was damaged by erosion and closed off. Luckily I rode it last year and since I was blasting all the way to San Diego, the freeway was probably a better idea anyway.
San Diego was an exciting stop on my trip. I had been talking online to a friend-of-friends for a while and was finally going to get to meet her.
Our stories are kind of ridiculously similar. We both started on small bikes (me a 125cc scooter, her a 250 Rebel), decided we needed adventure bikes and went too big (me with the KLR 650 and her with a BMW 650GS) and then settled on DRZ400’s!
We’ve both ridden around Mexico and the Western U.S. some and have dreams of taking our riding adventures even further. She comes with the added riding buddy bonuses of speaking Spanish and having fix-it skills due to apprenticing with a motorcycle mechanic.
We decided it was imperative we meet and go on adventures.
As you can imagine, we made fast friends and spent a few days hanging out, sharing stories, beach bumming and fantasizing about bike trips.
She helped me do some bike maintenance.
Changing brake pads!
We got a surprise after returning from a day trip, when we discovered a screw in my rear tire.
But look how much tread I still have!!!
I debated for a long time about just plugging it, but eventually determined with the heat, load and freeway speeds I’d have on the way home, it was just too big a risk. I could save the tire and put it back on at home when I’m just tooling around town (what I didn’t realize then is no one will re-mount a patched tire or put it back on with a tube in it, as this is one of the few sizes you can get one for…so I kind of hauled it back for nothing).
Anyway, we first had to get the wheel off the bike. Lacking a jack or stand, we came up with leaning it against the wall balanced on the kickstand. Worked like a charm!
I wish we had photos of us attempting to get the tire off the wheel, because it was truly absurd. We had the tire on the driveway, between the wall and fence, pressing down with the kickstand of her DRZ on one side and the BMW on the other, simultaneously, with all the force we could muster, so that we were bracing between the bike and wall/fence without even touching the ground. Our efforts were in vain however, beads on sport bike tires are a force to be reckoned with. We took it to a shop the next morning, I coughed up the cash for a new tire, had them put it on the wheel and we mounted it back on the bike.
The next morning we rode off to meet up with a couple of her friends, Lauren and Steve, who were visiting from the East coast and caravan out to Joshua Tree to camp for the night.
We made a stop to see the odd yet interesting, Salvation Mountain.
Apparently this old guy in the desert lives in a truck…
…in the middle of the desert and he built this mountain out of straw bales, logs and whatever else he could stucco together to form a structure. People regularly donate paint and straw bales for the continuation of his project. I didn’t get to meet him, but you can still walk up to the top and around inside the hollow mountain.
Lauren and Andrea
Internal branches lend support for a roof composed of windows and car doors.
Back behind the mountain there are two large, circular, cement structures.
The first has animal headed people participating in bizarre sexual acts. The running commentary around the top is amusing as well.
The main portal is guarded by this Goddess figure.
The door doesn’t open though, it’s solid cement. We decided we -had- to see over it though, so Steve climbed up on the short wall to the right, I sat on his shoulders and he lifted me up to take this very exciting picture of the mysterious innards of the tomb:
The second structure id decorated with anti-war and anti-corporation sentiment.
Oh yeah, and dinosaurs!
Let me take a moment to talk about how INSANELY HOT it is in the DESERT in SUMMER. Every stop, Andrea and I would run in to the soda dispenser and dispense hand fulls of ice into our undergarments, chug an entire Powerade and crawl into the ice freezer (if there was room).
Despite having a rental car with A/C, the East Coasters weren’t handling it so well (especially after the hike around Salvation Mountain), so we took a beer break in Bombay Beach to collect ourselves.
Bombay Beach is a lovely town.
Bustling with life.
And bursting with activity.
Luckily for us, even weird, tiny towns in the middle of the desert have bars.
Even luckier, this one had burritos! We chowed down, hydrated…and realized we had a problem. Andrea had worn her goggles with tinted visors, the sun was going down and soon she wouldn’t be able to see. Using innovation, scotch tape and saran wrap, I created a new clear visor for her!
We arrived at Joshua Tree after dark, but at least it was cooler. It even sprinkled on us some, which was most welcomed. Lauren and Steve went into town for the creature comforts of a hotel and Andrea and I set up camp on a large boulder.
Sunrise the next morning was -awesome-.
We crawled around on the rocks and got friendly with the joshua trees.
We had to do a creative rescue to retrieve Andrea’s camera from between two large boulders, but then all decided it was too hot to climb much more and sought breakfast at a nearby local diner. After breakfast we said our reluctant goodbyes and Andrea and I made vows for a greater riding adventure next year.
We’re making plans to go to SOUTH AMERICA!
After that I just blasted home down the freeway in the 100+ degree heat, chugging powerade and throwing ice down my pants. BRUTAL.
Can’t wait to do it again. 🙂