The Pacific Coast Highway, Salton Sea and the Final Leg Home

I don’t know what to say about the PCH that hasn’t already been said. The road winds along the cliff edge so perfectly. The views are so entrancing it’s hard to make yourself stop and take pictures, most of the time you just ride along with your mouth dropped open, mystified by the sheer beauty of it all.

The Zeb with the ocean and a field of wildflowers

Sea cliffs

I hadn’t made it far before I felt moisture on my leg again.

You have got to be f#$!ing kidding me!

Hmmm this time it seemed to be oil instead of fuel…and it was -everywhere-.

I punched ‘motorcycle shop’ into the GPS on my phone and scooted to a nearby location.
It was closed.

I took all the gear and plastics off the bike and called my friend and motorbike guru Aaron.


“Calm down, find the highest place that is oily. Does it look like there’s a hose that came disconnected?”

“Um, yeah actually. This black thing looks like something should be connected…”

“Check up by the top of the engine”

And there it was, tucked quite intentionally out of the way for carb work. I was extremely angry at Werkstatt momentarily, but then I had a flashback of Rob and me placing that hose like that up in Canada…and no memory of putting it back on. I’m not sure who was at fault, but at least it was fixed now. I topped off my oil to replace what was lost and then sprayed down the bike at a car wash so I would recognize any further leakage.

It’s good to have friends who know their way around bikes!

I reassembled my bike. By this time the sun was setting, but I felt the urge to make some more miles and continued along the highway.

I started looking for camping spots, but every site was full. Pull outs were already crowded with people sleeping in their cars and RVs. I continued on…

Soon it was pitch black and I was still looking everywhere for a safe place to camp. I knew I was missing out on beautiful views and it was dangerous to keep riding the twisty cliffside roads exhausted and in the dark.

At last I came to a pull out near a driveway that had room for me to park the bike out of sight behind some trees. I was too tired to mess with a tent and just unrolled my sleeping bag onto a nearby pile of pine needles and fell into a restless sleep.

I kept having dreams about being eaten by pumas and getting woken up to strange rustling sounds nearby. I woke up at the crack of dawn, repacked the bike and hit the road once more.

The next thing I knew I was heading into Los Angeles. I had the number for a couple friends I had made at Overland Expo who lived in the area. I gave them a ring and they told me I was more than welcome to come stay with them as long as I wanted. I intended to stay only one night, but ended up there for two and would have stayed much longer if I could have spared it. All my time had run out and I had to be back at work soon, but they were the most wonderful hosts, feeding me well and even putting a mint on my pillow.

They recommended I stop by the Salton Sea on my way back home, so I set off towards Bombay Beach.

What a spooky and desolate place. People do apparently live there, trailers are lined up on the gridded streets labeled in Battleship style “A,B,C…” one way and “1,2,3…” the other. Yet I didn’t see a single living soul while I wandered the beach taking photographs.

I took I-8 back towards Tucson, stopping briefly to admire the dunes near Yuma and daydream about paddle tires.

The sun set soon thereafter.

I thought it was too dangerous to take the interstate back in the dark, so I turned off onto the little used Ajo Highway through the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation.

While this area is typically quite dry, for a few days every year it is hit with epic monsoons and flash flooding. This was one of those days. the rain hit so fast that I was soaked before I even got my waterproofs fully on, but at least they kept the wind chill down. I continued on down the wet little road, splashing through little rivers forming in the dips.

Soon I came upon a large flooded out portion of road with cars lined up on either side, afraid to cross. I rode up to the front and examined the flow. It didn’t look like -that- strong of a current. I looked at the woman in the car next to me and she shook her head in a way that said “Don’t even try it”. I got off the bike and waded in a bit to check the current. It wasn’t fast at all, but deep enough to run into my boots and soak my feet. I got back on the bike and zipped across without struggle, leaving the cars behind.

I arrived in Tucson at 3am soaking wet and exhausted. I relished the comforts of a warm bath and a soft bed for all of a week before I started longing for the road again.

3 thoughts on “The Pacific Coast Highway, Salton Sea and the Final Leg Home

  1. Woww. I would love to take a road trip with you. You have seen alot.. I drive a sports bike myself, in the small country of Denmark 🙂 But we have snow at the moment, so i have to wait some months… And I really cant wait, to get out and drive when I have seen your pictures…

  2. That you definitely should do. Not many hills and mountains, but a wonderful nature 🙂

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